John Naughton: Why American farmers are hacking their own tractors | John Naughton

A black market in pirated engine software is growing as manufacturers use digital copyright law to impose expensive repair bills on their customers

John Deere is a large corporation that makes tractors. They’re green, big and powerful and they don’t come cheap. I’ve just noticed a nearly new 6175R model for £77,500 plus VAT, for example. That’s £93,000 in real money, so imagine how proud you’d feel if you were fortunate enough to own one of these magnificent machines.

Well, it depends on what you mean by “own”. If you mean you can do what you like with your new tractor, think again. This is because your splendid machine is now controlled by software that comes embedded in the vehicle – and John Deere controls the software. “If a farmer bought the tractor,” a Nebraskan farmer told the online magazine Motherboard, “he should be able to do whatever he wants with it. You want to replace a transmission and you take it to an independent mechanic – he can put in the new transmission but the tractor can’t drive out of the shop.” Instead, a Deere technician has to drive to the repair shop and plug a connector into the tractor’s USB port in order to “authorise” the new part. And the cost of this rigmarole? Why, a $230 fixed call-out charge, plus $130 an hour on top.

Nobody likes laying out 100 grand for a piece of kit that suddenly becomes an expensive paperweight

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The Oldspeak Journal Essay: I’m worried having a baby will make climate change worse


Sophie Lewis had trouble reconciling her concern for climate change with her desire to be a parent. Photo: Michael Clayton Jones

Oldspeak: You know how I can be fairly certain we’re proper fucked? Because, people are at this last stage in the show, still having this conversation. And this is no average joe having this conversation either, it’s a climate scientist!!! Who presumably knows that having a child ultimately adds about well over 10 thousand tons of carbon dioxide to the carbon legacy of an average parent – about 5.7 times the lifetime emissions for which, on average, a person is responsible. And she is having a child anyway. Not only that, but presumes, fueled by hopium no doubt, that the child will some how, “fix the problems set in motion by its parents and grandparents.” 0_O As if this is even fucking possible at this point. As if having a baby that will live out its natural life is likely to happen. As if this, Earth’s 6th mass extinction, is fixable on human time scales. Oye. I need a shot of what she’s having.  Anthropocentric thinking of this variety is a large part of the reason we’re soooo done.” -OSJ

Written By Sophie Lewis @ The Sydney Morning Herald:

Part of my motivation for becoming a climate scientist was my grave worries for our future and my desire to make a positive contribution. In today’s world, this isn’t straightforward.

Earlier this year, I wrote publicly of my qualms around desiring children. I have always loved children and always wanted children in my own life. At the same time, among my friends and colleagues, such ordinary desires are increasingly accompanied by long, complex conversations about the ethics of such aspirations.

Children born today face a dramatically different climate future than their parents did.A child born today is a child of a changing – and extreme – global climate. The decision to have a child is a decision to exacerbate such climate extremes.

We collectively recycle, switch off lights, install LEDs and chose green energy providers. But such measures are more than negated by a decision to have children; having a child in Australia is an ongoing commitment to a high carbon future.

At the same time that I wrangled with the inter- and intra-generational consequence of having children, I also experienced years of infertility. Friends married, bought houses and announced surprise babies. All the while, my partner and I were consumed by tests, injections and surgeries, but mostly by unrelenting grief.

Over these years, I analysed climate data demonstrating an extreme future born of our global policy prevarication. Meanwhile, I was dragged into an undertow of crushing sadness, as miscarriage followed miscarriage and my connections to the world slipped further away from me.

Perhaps this was all for the best, I thought. After all, a child is irreconcilable with my professional dedication to remedying our global challenges.

And then, just as senselessly as our grief began, it ended. For no particular reason, the expected bad baby news never arrived and now the complexity of having an imagined child will become a concrete ethical entanglement.

Older climate scientists speak widely about their worries for their grandchildren and the world they have provided them. While such concerns must weigh on older minds, younger climate scientists’ future concerns require active deliberation. Should we have children? And if we do, how do we raise them in a world of change and inequity? Can I reconcile my care and concern for the future with such an active and deliberate pursuit of a child?

Put simply, I can’t. Nowadays, the pitter-patter of tiny feet is inevitably the pitter-patter of giant carbon footprints. Reusable nappies, a bike trailer and secondhand jumpsuits might make me feel like I’m taking individual action but they will achieve little. A child born today is inevitably a consumer and, most significantly, is a consumer of greenhouse gases.

Our much longed for child will both exacerbate climate change and will have to fix the problems set in motion by its parents and grandparents. In essence, this burden is the choice I have made for my child.

Having made the decision to multiple my own carbon footprint in perpetuity and to inflict an extreme climate future on my daughter, the question becomes – what now?

Living in and starting a family in volatile and uncertain times are not unique experiences. My grandmother fled Europe in the early 1950s for a better life in Australia. A German Jew, her family had been scattered, with herself interned in Britain, her sister lost in Auschwitz and her family’s desperate flight rebuffed by an indifferent world. Years of horror, combined with strict rations and economic uncertainty drove her to strike out bravely for a new life in Australia with her young babies.

Climate change is a critically different problem. In my grandmother’s time of abject horror, good people were empowered – to varying degrees – to do good. After the war ended, the actions of just a few were recognised as having salvaged the honour of all our humanity. Nowadays, the very act of living in Australia, regardless of concern for our climate future, is detrimental.

I do not pretend my motivation for having children was anything other than entirely selfish, but I hope the consequences are not. Just as in my grandmother’s time when horror was countered by hope, the obverse of our climate challenge is opportunity. I hope today’s children, born of a complex admixture of anxiety, guilt and fear, but all the while fiercely desired, can do better than their parents did. I hope they can be more empathetic, more creative and more responsive than we have been.

As for myself, my work thoughts should be punctured by worry. By senseless luck, my forthcoming daughter will have the opportunity to thrive in a warming world. Many, such as the children of our Pacific Island neighbours, will not. This should prompt more sadness, not less.

Nonetheless, in recognising the sadness of our near neighbours, I also feel compelled to recognise the beauty and opportunity of my own life. Despite my uncomfortable internal conflicts, the impending arrival of a much-wanted baby is intensely joyful.

via The Oldspeak Journal

The Oldspeak Journal Study: “Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic, but the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”


On a lake, plumes of gas, most likely methane from the breakdown of carbon in sediments below the lake, keep the water from freezing in spots, outside Fairbanks, Alaska, October 21, 2011. As the Arctic warms, the threat of abrupt methane releases is rising, too. (Photo: Josh Haner / The New York Times)

Oldspeak: “The study, titled “Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction,” highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate.

In the wake of that mass extinction event, less than 5 percent of the animal species in the seas lived, and less than one-third of the large land animal species made it. Nearly all the trees died….

The scenario that humans have created by way of the industrial growth society is already mimicking these eventualities, which are certain to worsen….

As the global CO2 concentration continues to climb each year, the threat of even more abrupt methane additions continues to escalate along with it….

Scientists have been warning us for a number of years about the dire consequences of methane hydrates in the Arctic, and how the methane being released poses a potentially disastrous threat to the planet. -Dahr Jamail

“The Methane Time Bomb is still ticking. It won’t stop ticking until it goes boom. Each additional gigaton of anthropogenic and naturally produced  CO2 and CH4 emitted into the atmosphere makes it more likely that this life extinguishing bomb will detonate sooner than later. And, it could happen at any time. Meanwhile, trending now on Yahoo…

Tick, tick, tick, tick, tick…..” -OSJ


Written By Dahr Jamail @ Truthout:

A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire — and possibly prophetic — warning, though it garnered little attention in the media.

“Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic,” reads the study’s abstract. “But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic.”

The study, titled “Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth’s Greatest Mass Extinction,” highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate.

In the wake of that mass extinction event, less than 5 percent of the animal species in the seas lived, and less than one-third of the large land animal species made it. Nearly all the trees died.

Methane hydrate, according to the US Office of Fossil Energy, “is a cage-like lattice of ice inside of which are trapped molecules of methane, the chief constituent of natural gas.”

While there is not a scientific consensus around the cause of the Permian Mass Extinction, it is widely believed that massive volcanism along the Siberian Traps in Russia led to tremendous amounts of CO2 being added to the atmosphere. This then created enough warming to cause the sudden release of methane from the Arctic sea floor, which kicked off a runaway greenhouse effect that led to sea-level increase, de-oxygenation, major oceanic circulation shifts and increased acidification of the oceans, as well as worldwide aridity on land.

The scenario that humans have created by way of the industrial growth society is already mimicking these eventualities, which are certain to worsen.

“The end Permian holds an important lesson for humanity regarding the issue it faces today with greenhouse gas emissions, global warming, and climate change,” the abstract of the recent study concludes.

As the global CO2 concentration continues to climb each year, the threat of even more abrupt methane additions continues to escalate along with it.

The Methane Time Bomb

The methane hydrate situation has, for years now, been referred to as the Arctic Methane Time Bomb, and as been studied intensely.

A 2010 scientific analysis led by the UK’s Met Office, published in the journal Review of Geophysics, states clearly that the time scale for the release of methane in the Arctic would be “much shorter for hydrates below shallow waters, such as in the Arctic Ocean,” adding that “significant increases in methane emissions are likely, and catastrophic emissions cannot be ruled out.… The risk of rapid increase in [methane] emissions is real.”

A 2011 study of the Eastern Siberian Arctic Shelf (ESAS), conducted by more than 20 Arctic experts and published in the Proceedings of the Russian Academy of Sciences, concluded that the shelf was already a powerful supplier of methane to the atmosphere. The conclusion of this study stated that the methane concentration in the atmosphere was at levels capable of causing “a considerable and even catastrophic warming on the Earth.”

Scientists have been warning us for a number of years about the dire consequences of methane hydrates in the Arctic, and how the methane being released poses a potentially disastrous threat to the planet. There has even been a study showing that methane released in the Arctic could trigger “catastrophic climate change” that would cost the global economy $60 trillion.

Of course, that level of planetary heating would likely extinguish most life on the planet, so whatever the economic costs might be would be irrelevant.

“Highly Possible at Any Time”

The ESAS is the largest ice shelf in the world, encompassing more than 2 million square kilometers, or 8 percent of the world’s total area of continental shelf.

In 2015, Truthout spoke with Natalia Shakhova, a research associate professor at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks’ International Arctic Research Center, about the ESAS’s methane emissions.

“These emissions are prone to be non-gradual (massive, abrupt) for a variety of reasons,” she told Truthout. “The main reason is that the nature of major processes associated with methane releases from subsea permafrost is non-gradual.”

Shakhova warned that a 50-gigaton — that is, 50-billion-ton — “burp” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the ESAS is “highly possible at any time.”

This, Shakhova said, means that methane releases from decaying frozen hydrates could result in emission rates that “could change in order of magnitude in a matter of minutes,” and that there would be nothing “smooth, gradual or controlled” about it. She described it as a “kind of a release [that] is like the unsealing of an over-pressurized pipeline.”

In other words, we could be looking at non-linear releases of methane in amounts that are difficult to fathom.

A study published in the prestigious journal Nature in July 2013 confirmed what Shakhova had been warning us about for years: A 50-gigaton “burp” of methane from thawing Arctic permafrost beneath the East Siberian sea is highly possible.

Such a “burp” would be the equivalent of at least 1,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide. (For perspective, humans have released approximately 1,475 gigatons in total carbon dioxide since the year 1850.)

The UK’s Met Office considers the 50-gigaton release “plausible,” and in a paper on the subject added, “That may cause ∼12-times increase of modern atmospheric methane burden, with consequent catastrophic greenhouse warming.”


via The Oldspeak Journal

GIITTV: From The Crate: The Velvet Underground & Nico -S/T

To celebrate the recent 50th anniversay of the classic 1967 debut album by The Velvet Underground and Nico.We revisit Sam Chamerlaine’s review of the deluxe box set released in 2012.

When Lou Reed and John Cale came together to create this experimental and improvisational style of performing and recording, they were unaware they were about to make such a pioneering impact on music. What started out
as beat style poetry amidst a gentle rhythm, of dronings, humms, ostrich style guitaring and experimental loops, began to etch out the foundations for the future Velvet Underground.

This groundbreaking relevant and timeless album, originally received with skepticism and disapproval is now regarded as one of the most important albums of all time, influencing bands including: David Bowie, Can, Stooges, Roxy Music, The Strokes, R.E.M. The Velvet Underground were the beginning of a counter cultural movement that went on to open up the boundaries and redefine avant guarde with this experimental, leftfield, expressionist, art music.

The first track credited to them, Loop, was released as part of a multimedia art magazine designed by Andy Warhol, Aspen, which was made in the image of a FAB laundry detergent packet. All this was a representation of 60s counter culture, defiant, non-conventional, alternative. The dynamic energy of these songs paint droning textures of darkness and light, with this range and style they encompass a versatile expression, they often take turns into the darker corners of the psyche, with, ‘Venus in Furs’, ‘All Tomorrows Parties‘ and ‘Heroin‘ or they delve into brighter more esoteric experiences with, ‘Sunday Morning’.

At the time of release, the album sold barely 10,000 copies, but was an underground phenomenon, and as Brian Eno put it, ‘I think everyone who bought it formed a band.’ In the Sceptor sessions, you can hear the experimental developments coming through in ‘European Son‘, with a thunderous drum roll and breaking glass, ‘The Black Angel Song‘, carries disgruntled angels, with hissing and skillfully disjointed violas. The Sceptor sessions, recorded by Norman Dophe, are a testament to John Cale’s creative insight and the ingenuity of the Velvet Underground. Lou Reed has also acknowledged Andy Warhol’s influence, as he gave them the artistic space and freedom of self-determination, to invent and discover their own sound.

In the Factory Rehearsal recordings, Jan 3rd, 1967, you can also hear tracks, ‘Walk Alone‘, and ‘Miss Joanie Lee’, a previously unreleased track. An 11 minute tumbling, rolling sound, of guitars and percussion, a studio improvisation, really reminiscent of Can, raw and alive.

The Factory Rehearsals include a version of; ‘There She Goes Again,‘ you can hear Nico exclaiming, “I have to Learn that”. It is an acoustic version, with Nico singing vocals. The Factory Rehearsals give a glimpse of being there in the studio, this kind of living performance, as the sound is developed in its early stages for the album. These recordings capture the energy and importance of a moment, with a faint hiss in the background.

The Super Deluxe edition also includes both stereo and mono versions of the album, with a few alternative mixes. Nico’s solo album, that was released just 6 months later, ‘Chelsea Girl‘, The original Scepter Studio acetates, (originally cut April 25th 1966) that went on to form some of the original recordings for the final album, previously unreleased recordings from The Factory Studios, an 88 page booklet with an essay by biographer Richie Unterberger and a live recording from Valleydale Ballroom in 1966.

The post From The Crate: The Velvet Underground & Nico -S/T appeared first on God Is In The TV.

GIITTV: 20 Questions: Misty Coast

Norwegian duo Misty Coast have been attracting our admiring glances with their heavenly new single ‘Heavy Head On A Body’ which they say ‘soundtracks the mind’s journey from consciousness into sleep, drenching the senses in a lush, hazy cloak as it floats upwards towards an ethereal spiritual plane.’

Linn Frøkedal’s mysterious vocals tiptoe over hazy, woozy, backdrops carved in concert with her acomplice Richard Myklebust. Each haunted couplet like a whisper in your ear as you drift off to the sound of this soundspace that’s visited by the ghosts of 4AD acts of yore, it’s majestic.

Comprised of The Megaphonic Thrift, we sent Misty Coast 20 Questions and here are the answers:

Where are you and what’s the weather like?

We are in our hometown Bergen, on the west coast of Norway. We hate to talk about the weather. It rains off course.

What’s your favourite record in the charts?

Blood Bitch by Jenny Hval

What are your favourite films?

Our favourite films can some days be Fight Club, Leon, Battle Royale and Mystic River. But most of the time we really enjoy the quirkiness in movies like Me You and Everyone We Know, The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

What is your favourite book?

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

What are your favourite TV programmes?

We don’t watch that many TV programmes, but we’re into a lot of series on Netflix and HBO. Right now its Billions, The Path and The People v. O.J. Simpson. We also actually watch a lot of Masterchef Australia. And we love documentaries about serial killers.

What was the first record you bought and where did you buy it from?

Linn: I’m from this very small village, and we’ve never had a record store there. So you had to buy cds from the local gas station. The first cd I can remember that I bought was No Doubt – Tragic Kingdom. The ones I had before that was given to me by my elder siblings. My first cassette was a home ripped Nevermind by Nirvana, that my brother gave me.

Richard: I think my first album was Back in Black by AC/DC. On cassette of course. It was the 80s. Can’t really remember where I bought it. But I’m guessing Rockline in my hometown, Kristiansand. RIP.

What is your least favourite record that you have made, and why?

Hehe, that’s a crazy question! That’s like asking a mother which of her children is her least favourite. Not going there!

Do you believe in God?

Richard was raised in a christian cult in the south of Norway. But he grew up and grew out of it. The answer is no, we do not believe in God. We think God is just a very easy way of explaining very difficult stuff.

Which football team do you support?

Ehm, you know we Norwegians mainly watch slow sports like skiing or chess on TV? But guess Linns football fan of a father will be happy if we say Manchester United.

Do you have any pets?

Richard used to have a sourdough starter, but it died while we were touring in Japan with The Megaphonic Thrift this fall. Linn used to have a sheep called Søta (Sweetie) when she grew up. Her grandparents sent Søta to the butcher and left Linn with a lousy 500-bill (50 pounds).

Who would you want to play you in the film of your life?

Richard: Sean Penn
Linn: Sure about that Rich? He’s gonna be pretty old when they finally make this movie. I want Natalie Portman to play me.

Vinyl, CD, Download or stream?

Vinyl at home, cd on road trips in old cars and streaming at parties. Don’t think we ever download music anymore…

When was the last time you cried?

We watched The Truman Show again last Sunday. And we both cried again.

What’s the best cover version you have ever heard?

Dinosaur jr covering The Cures ‘Just like heaven’ is a classic.

What’s the strangest thing that has ever happened at one of your own gigs?

Since Misty Coast is a fairly new project, we can count the shows we’ve played on two hands. So sadly we’ve not had any strange accidents yet. But with our second band, The Megaphonic Thrift, a lot of weird things have happened! Once we played in this little shed in Austin during SXSW. Half of the room was for the audience, and the other half was kind of like a stage. Suddenly every stage/audience boundaries disappeared, and the whole room became this massive mosh pit. We had a man in his underwear on top of the bass amp, and a pair of identical twins were hitting the cymbals with their hands.

Have you ever been starstruck?

Many times. We got super starstruck when we met Thurston Moore backstage when we played in Madrid with Stephen Malkmus. But it has to be really big heroes. And it helps if they are tall.

What is your culinary speciality?

Linn invented the Norwegian taco and Richard is the master of Bacalao.

The Royal Family: should they stay or should they go?

Hehe, you know here in Norway the royal family is actually quite entertaining. Our princess sees and talks with angels and our soon to be queen used to be stoned at the biggest music festival in Norway during the 90s – and her drunken father sold stories about her to the biggest gossip magazine in Norway. It’s kind of sad that some people have to be born into a life in public. We don’t mind if they go.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you like to be?

Linn would like to be an archaeologist and research dinosaurs.
Richard would probably be a chef, and have his own restaurant with comfort food.

What were you like at school?

We were both pretty good students. Linn had problems keeping her mouth shut when it was supposed to be quiet. Once her teacher actually taped her lips together.

If you could change one law, what would it be?

The law of gravity

Which decade would you have most liked to have lived in?

We would like to take a quick stop back 240 million years, to check out some dinosaurs. But guess we wouldn’t last very long there. We would have to choose the 60s! Think about it: Woodstock, the Moon landing and the Beatles!

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