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Election Notes: The Beginning of the End
After Mitt Romney’s 12-point win in Illinois, it’s difficult to see how anyone else could win the Republican nomination. His lead in the delegate count over Rick Santorum has expanded to 300 (although the Santorum campaign argues hopefully that his count will be a little higher than most think). Newt Gingrich—who came in fourth in Illinois, with just 8% of the vote—is almost 430 delegates behind and millions of dollars in debt. As Nate Silver says, Romney has won 56% of the available delegates of far, and needs to win just 46% the rest of the way to ensure himself of a majority before the convention. With the victory came a key endorsement by former Florida governor Jeb Bush, a sign that the Republican establishment is beginning to come together behind Romney.
Romney will win the nomination, but the race will go on. As Ronald Brownstein says, the fundamental dynamic remains the same. Conservative and evangelical Republicans clearly prefer Santorum or Gingrich, which is why Santorum will probably win the Louisiana primary handily this weekend. It doesn’t help that Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom seemed to tell CNN that Romney would “hit a reset button” on the conservative positions he has taken when the fall campaign started, comparing the campaign "an Etch A Sketch.” Romney denied that his adviser was talking about his political positions, even though that’s clearly what the interviewer was asking about. The Santorum campaign immediately issued a press release saying Romney is not “a man of principle.”
Chance Mitt Romney will win the Republican nomination: 92.1% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will win control of the Senate: 58.7% (Intrade)
Chance that Republicans will maintain control of the House: 69.8% (Intrade)
President Obama’s approval rating: 47.5% (Pollster)
Mitt Romney’s favorable rating: 33.6% (Pollster)
Republican advantage on a generic congressional ballot: 0.2% (Real Clear Politics)
“The knock on Romney since Day One has been that he’s a shallow, unprincipled politician, willing to say anything to anyone to win. “Etch A Sketch” is so perfect a metaphor, it’s extraordinary that it came from the campaign’s own communication director.”—Steve Benen
UP NEXT: the Louisiana primary on Saturday, March 24
Mitt Romney image from Gage Skidmore
Ever since we've had the technology, we've looked to the stars in search of alien life. It's assumed that we're looking because we want to find other life in the universe, but what if we're looking to make sure there isn't any?
Here's an equation, and a rather distressing one at that: N = R* × fP × ne × f1 × fi × fc × L. It's the Drake equation, and it describes the number of alien civilizations in our galaxy with whom we might be able to communicate. Its terms correspond to values such as the fraction of stars with planets, the fraction of planets on which life could emerge, the fraction of planets that can support intelligent life, and so on. Using conservative estimates, the minimum result of this equation is 20. There ought to be 20 intelligent alien civilizations in the Milky Way that we can contact and who can contact us. But there aren't any.
Frequent shopping for single items adds to our carbon footprint.
- A new study shows e-commerce sites like Amazon leave larger greenhouse gas footprints than retail stores.
- Ordering online from retail stores has an even smaller footprint than going to the store yourself.
- Greening efforts by major e-commerce sites won't curb wasteful consumer habits. Consolidating online orders can make a difference.
A pile of recycled cardboard sits on the ground at Recology's Recycle Central on January 4, 2018 in San Francisco, California.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images<p>A large part of the reason is speed. In a competitive market, pure players use the equation, <em>speed + convenience</em>, to drive adoption. This is especially relevant to the "last mile" GHG footprint: the distance between the distribution center and the consumer.</p><p>Interestingly, the smallest GHG footprint occurs when you order directly from a physical store—even smaller than going there yourself. Pure players, such as Amazon, are the greatest offenders. Variables like geographic location matter; the team looked at shopping in the UK, the US, China, and the Netherlands. </p><p>Sadegh Shahmohammadi, a PhD student at the Netherlands' Radboud University and corresponding author of the paper, <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2020/02/26/tech/greenhouse-gas-emissions-retail/index.html" target="_blank">says</a> the above "pattern holds true in countries where people mostly drive. It really depends on the country and consumer behavior there."</p><p>The researchers write that this year-and-a-half long study pushes back on previous research that claims online shopping to be better in terms of GHG footprints.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"They have, however, compared the GHG emissions per shopping event and did not consider the link between the retail channels and the basket size, which leads to a different conclusion than that of the current study."</p><p>Online retail is where convenience trumps environment: people tend to order one item at a time when shopping on pure player sites, whereas they stock up on multiple items when visiting a store. Consumers will sometimes order a number of separate items over the course of a week rather than making one trip to purchase everything they need. </p><p>While greening efforts by online retailers are important, until a shift in consumer attitude changes, the current carbon footprint will be a hard obstacle to overcome. Amazon is trying to have it both ways—carbon-free and convenience addicted—and the math isn't adding up. If you need to order things, do it online, but try to consolidate your purchases as much as possible.</p><p>--</p><p><em>Stay in touch with Derek on <a href="http://www.twitter.com/derekberes" target="_blank">Twitter</a>, <a href="https://www.facebook.com/DerekBeresdotcom" target="_blank">Facebook</a> and <a href="https://derekberes.substack.com/" target="_blank">Substack</a>. His next book is</em> "<em>Hero's Dose: The Case For Psychedelics in Ritual and Therapy."</em></p>
Chronic irregular sleep in children was associated with psychotic experiences in adolescence, according to a recent study out of the University of Birmingham's School of Psychology.