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Links 3/30/11

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Tiger Numbers Increase in India ScienceDaily (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

The Art Destroyers New York Review of Books (hat tip reader Kendall G). Our version of the Taliban blowing up Buddhas.

World’s First Air-Powered Car Carznew (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Researchers Close in on Technology for Making Renewable Petroleum Science Daily (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Frontline Ignores Most Embarrassing “Cause” of WikiLeaks Leak Marcy Wheeler

‘Crying is useless’: Fukushima 50 put lives on the line and get dry biscuits, rice and one blanket Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck)

Seawater Radiation Level Soars Near Plant Wall Street Journal

Bank Bailout Cost (so far) Corner Turned (hat tip Richard Smith)

The unbelievable truth about Ireland and its banks Robert Peston, BBC (hat tip Richard Smith)

Far from cutting debt, Osborne’s plans will make it soar False Economy (hat tip Richard Smith)

Euro-Zone Confidence Falls Wall Street Journal

FACT CHECK: How Obama’s Libya claims fit the facts Associated Press

How Elite Colleges Still Aren’t Diverse David Leonhardt, New York Times

Congress Needs to RECLAIM Constitutional Authority Big Government

Trump Fails At Birther Theatrics, Begins To Lose Presidential Support Care2 (hat tip reader furzy mouse). I’m no fan of Obama, but why this birther nuttiness? There are more than enough legitimate grounds for going after him.

Friedrich Hayek, Zombie Paul Krugman

As Obama and Congress fiddle, America liquidates housing sector Chris Whalen, Reuters

Foreclosure Aid Fell Short, and Is Fading New York Times

Where the Bailout Went Wrong Neil Barofsky, New York Times

Is There Anyone in the World Who Is Demonstrably Less Competent Than Alan Greenspan to Pass Judgment on Financial Reform? Dean Baker

The science of empathy Guardian (hat tip Richard Smith)

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-03-30 at 6.58.41 AM

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60 comments

  1. rjs

    re: Researchers Close in on Technology for Making Renewable Petroleum Science “opens the door to making petroleum-like hydrocarbon fuels using only bacteria, sunlight and carbon dioxide”

    very much an over simplifaction; the bacteria themselves need nitrogen & phosphorus to produce their DNA, and at minimun the building blocks of chloroplasts for photosynthesis..

    1. Cedric Regula

      There are a number of R&D projects going on like this where either algae or other micro-organisms, sometimes bio-engineered, are used to convert sunlight plus co2 to a oil based output suitable for cracking into refined fuel.

      The co2 is released ultimately from the tailpipe of course, but we now would end up with a closed loop of co2 source and sink, which is good enough.

      Exxon has teamed up with a Nobel prize winning scientist and his researchers to do it with algae. Exxon claims they are serious about the research (I know there would be doubters) because it would just be a new feedstock for their existing refineries, and making the feedstock could be more profitable that finding or buying oil in today’s world.

  2. toxymoron

    re World’s First Air-Powered Car
    This has been a rip-off for the last 15 years. An air-powered motor is notoriously inefficient, and the car has no place to store the large and heavy tanks required to give it mileage.
    An expensive way to waste a lot of electricity at home.
    But who cares these days?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If solar enegery can be stored in hay, what is a bio-degradable, solar-powered vehicle?

      A horse?

      1. Cedric Regula

        You can be certain that someone will invent one, and soon.

        And hay is a CO2 sink, until being released as horse methane gas, of course.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Actually, hard-core green that I am, I like it to be organic, bio-degradable solar-powered.

    2. OHOA

      Do you know anything about this or are you just venting?
      1. The breakthrough here was development of carbonfiber or similar composite tank materials that can withstand high pressure but are extremely light, unlike metal tanks.

      2. “Air cars are notoriously inefficient” this is the kind of generic statement that offers no logic, no supporting argument, it is almost bigotry like saying empirically that people from southern US are Hicks and have inferior intelligence. If the car provides 300km for 2 dollars, that is about 200 mpg at current prices of gas, WITH zero emissions.

      3. “It won’t have space for luggage”. Unlike the fat Americans almost everyone in the world does their groceries in tote bags not on Carts laden with goods that they don’t “need” but “want.” You can put a tote bag on the seat next to you or in the back and you can put your children or your briefcase there. Of course you won’t be able to haul dirt bikes in it, but people who hang on to the need for dirt bikes will be extinct anyway in the next 100 years.

      Perhaps it is because a French guy envisioned it and a very successful Indian car company that is commercializing it, is the reason behind these unreasonable comments. Maybe if American person or entity born with golden skin would have done it you would be more enthusiastic.

  3. Dave of Maryland

    I’m no fan of Obama, but why this birther nuttiness? There are more than enough legitimate grounds for going after him.

    The reason for birther nonsense is that the Big O smells of fraud & nothing he can do or say will take that away. Which, like ants at a picnic, will go on annoying.

    If you work it through very closely, if you followed the (weekly) updates to his mommy’s Wiki page back in 2007, if you know the criteria for fake IDs – really good fake IDs – (birth in a distant land, missing daddy, carefully selected mommy), if you study his personal habits (diet, his left hook), you may come to the same conclusion I did, which is that

    Obama was born & raised in Chicago. Not Hawaii & certainly not Kenya. The fruit does not fall far from the tree that bore it.

    You wanna find his real records & settle this? If I’m right, search the mid-1970′s Illinois penal records (as an adult). And the Chicago-based Nation of Islam. You’re looking for a mug shot of that iconic face, though probably with a bit more hair.

    1. Abelenkpe

      Your post needs to come with a disclaimer letting readers know you are off your meeds and completely insane

    2. Abelenkpe

      Your post needs to come with a disclaimer letting readers know you are off your meds and completely insane.

    3. sherparick

      I am kind of lost for words. All I can say is that if you believe this, I have a bridge in Brooklyn and some sweet “land” in Florida that I can sell you cheap. I will prepare the Quit Claim Deeds to all my rights right now.

      Again, perhaps I am cynical, but I always vote for the candidate who I think will do the least damage to the country. It was obvious all the way back in 2000 that the U.S. would be electing a Black man for President in 2008. I mean it was a sure thing right!

      Between the real candidates that ran in 2008, Obama and McCain, obviously Obama was preferable and I am pretty confident the country would be far worse off if McCain had been elected. I am pretty unhappy with Obama’s center-right, pro-banker, neo-liberal economic policy, but look at the alternative as symbolize by Paul Ryan and Alan Greenspan. Look how Republicans are governing from Maine to Arizona in the states! Crony capitalism at its most lawless.

        1. ScottS

          I’ve asked myself many times if we’d be better off with a senile member of the Keating Five and a Hockey Mom.

          It’s tough to decide.

          Honestly, it might be better in the short-term, since Republicans wouldn’t have had to shift so far to the right. But eventually, a Democrat would get in there and the race to the right/bottom would be on.

          1. liberal

            I don’t like Obama much, but it’s not tough at all—there was a nonzero chance McInsane would have gotten us in a shooting war with Russia over Georgia.

  4. Brick

    The article on empathy is interesting and I wonder whether generally empathy has declined due to increasing isolation through Technology.

  5. dearieme

    “why this birther nuttiness”: put aside the nuttiness of those who claim to have proof that he was borne elsewhere. There are two legit reasons for discomfort.

    (1) The Constitution requires the Pres to be a natural-born citizen, but Congress has never passeds a statute to effect a suitable test before a Presidential election. That should be an embarrassment to anyone who takes all the Constitutionality fol-de-rol seriously.
    (2) O has made energetic and expensive efforts to hide his birth certificate. It follows that there is something embarrassing on it (which may have nothing to do with his being, or not being, a natural-born citizen) and it is entirely natural to want to know what it is.

    For myself, I think that a much more interesting question is “Who knows what that embarrassing thing is and what has been their price for silence?”

    1. Dave of Maryland

      You can be assured that before any man takes the Oath of Office, the FBI has done a background check. Which, good or bad, they do not make public, but which I presume circulates among members of a certain echelon.

      Proud to say I have never been on meds and am completely batsh*t.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The ancient Egyptians removed all images of the heretic pharoah Akhenaton from public buildings after he died.

      Why?

      They wanted it to be like it never happened.

      If the birth certificate is really a problem, then this presidency never happened.

    3. PQS

      Methinks there’s really only one reason for discomfort – one that makes this President unique.

      Really, dearieme, did anyone in the RW ask about GWB’s time in the National Guard? His drinking? His records from school? HIS birth certificate?

      No, they didn’t. They went further than that and drove anyone who DID ask about it out of business: e.g., Dan Rather.

      The birther nuttiness is just that. And anyone who takes it seriously deserves to be laughed at.

    4. sherparick

      His “certificate of live birth” is on THE FREAKING WEB. It has been on the FREAKING WEB since 2008. It says “State of Hawaii on it. http://www.snopes.com/politics/obama/birthcertificate.asp It pretty much has the same information on it as the New York certificate that Donald Trump produced. And apparently, it is not disputed that this certificate is pretty much what anyone born on Hawaii will get when they ask for the birth certificate. So why does this zombie meme and its various permutations that has Obama is some sort of Manchurian candidate. I also note that many of the similar memes were circulated when Clinton was President to undermine his legitimacy.

      There are lots of appropriate criticism to make of the President (basically adopting the Foreign and indefinite detention policy of the second term of the Bush-Cheney administration; covering up for corporate crime and enabling Energy companies to continue to pillage the country; adopting the pro-bank, pro-finance sector policies of the Rubin-Summers-Geithner cabal; and basically buying into the austerity meme of the University of Chicago school of economics – none of which, contrary to David Koch appear to be “anti-capitalist,” in fact quite the opposite.
      Why don’t all you birthers just admit it, a Black guy just can’t be a Real ‘Murikan no matter where he is born.

      1. MLS

        “Why don’t all you birthers just admit it, a Black guy just can’t be a Real ‘Murikan no matter where he is born.”

        You know, you had a really legitimate point (basically expanding on Yves’ point above) about why the birther argument is such nonsense. Then you go and ruin it with a completely worthless, no-value-added comment of your own. Your points are still valid, but I think you discredit yourself with such drivel. All it does is demonstrate bias, lack of ability to think independently and pre-conceived notions.

        (Full disclosure: no fan of Obama but definitely not a birther)

      2. kevin de bruxelles

        Chester Arthur
        Christopher Schürmann
        Charles Evans Hughes
        George Romney
        Barry Goldwater
        Lowell Weicker
        John McCain
        Barrack Obama

        All these men have faced this question but only one is black (half white / half black actually). So I’m going to have to reject this portion of your argument.

        I think the true common denominators here are political opportunism and a really badly drafted phrase in the Constitution. They should just define “natural born citizen” as being either born in the US and / or being born to at least one American citizen parent.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Interesting if one is half-white, half black, people think you are black.

          That’s so…19th Century.

          Imagine if the situation were the other way around, where blacks dominate the world, if you are half black, half white, you will have to live in an all-white neighborhood and ride the bus in the back with the other poor whites.

        2. ScottS

          Chester Arthur — Irish ancestry, accused of being born in Ireland and/or Canada.
          Christopher Schürmann — Can’t find any presidential candidate with this name.
          Charles Evans Hughes — No accusation of foreign birth according to (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Charles_Evans_Hughes).
          George Romney — ‘Questions were occasionally asked about Romney’s eligibility to run for President due to his birth in Mexico, given the ambiguity in the United States Constitution over the phrase “natural-born citizen”‘ — was technically not born in the US.
          Barry Goldwater — Episcopalian, Jewish ancestry. Not accused of being born anywhere but Arizona, according to Wikipedia (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Barry_Goldwater).
          Lowell Weicker — Accused of being a bear. Not accused of being a foreign bear (https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lowell_Weicker).
          John McCain — Born before signing of Constitution, so he is grandfathered in.
          Barrack Obama — African ancestry, most persistent “birtherism”.

          So we have two presidential candidates who were dogged by trumped-up allegations of foreign birth, whose respective ancestries are frequent targets of racism.

          We have one candidate who was in fact born in another country to American parents, so no allegations at all — just questions about the verbiage in the Constitution.

          The rest don’t seem to have such allegations worth mentioning in their Wikipedia entries (yes, yes, I know).

          So what was that about opportunism? It’s nothing but flagrant racism.

          1. ScottS

            Jeez, thanks WordPress for butchering my post. Let’s try that again:

            Chester Arthur — Irish ancestry, accused of being born in Ireland and/or Canada: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Chester_A._Arthur

            Christopher Schürmann — Can’t find any presidential candidate with this name.

            Charles Evans Hughes — No accusation of foreign birth according to: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Charles_Evans_Hughes

            George Romney — ‘Questions were occasionally asked about Romney’s eligibility to run for President due to his birth in Mexico, given the ambiguity in the United States Constitution over the phrase “natural-born citizen”‘ — was technically not born in the US: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/George_W._Romney

            Barry Goldwater — Episcopalian, Jewish ancestry. Not accused of being born anywhere but Arizona, according to Wikipedia: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Barry_Goldwater

            Lowell Weicker — Accused of being a bear. Not accused of being a foreign bear: https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Lowell_Weicker

            John McCain — Born before signing of Constitution, so he is grandfathered in.

            Barrack Obama — African ancestry, most persistent “birtherism”.

            So we have two presidential candidates who were dogged by trumped-up allegations of foreign birth, whose respective ancestries are frequent targets of racism.

            We have one candidate who was in fact born in another country to American parents, so no allegations at all — just questions about the verbiage in the Constitution.

            The rest don’t seem to have such allegations worth mentioning in their Wikipedia entries (yes, yes, I know).

            So what was that about opportunism? It’s nothing but flagrant racism.

          2. ScottS

            The racist part comes from Arthur’s Irish ancestry. The Irish suffered decades of persecution in America.

            Thanks for the link. Ironic that John McCain actually was not born in the US at all.

          3. kevin de bruxelles

            The problem is you are still using racialist circular logic. Because the Irish (actually Catholic Irish, the people who most hated them in the US were descendants of Irish Protestants) suffered decades of oppression in the US, it means that any challenge to the qualifications of Chester Author based on his Irish father being foreign born (he was technically British) is automatically racism. So what was an honest person to do who truly felt this guy was not eligible? Cower in racial shame and just keep his mouth shut. And what about the case of Róger Calero? He is from an oppressed group (Latino) and ran for President as a Socialist in 2004 and 2008. Is it racism to point out that he is not actually eligible to run for President since he is not even a US citizen?

            Short of any evidence that the challenges were based on bigotry (personally I don’t call white-on-white beefs racism, but whatever) towards Irish Catholic, I will stay with the more obvious political opportunism.

            When I show other examples of people, not from oppressed groups, being challenged you dismiss it by saying these disputes don’t show up on their Wiki pages. Well have you had a look at our current President’s Wiki page? To a racialist though the lack of any mention of the birther garbage on Obama’s page is just another sign of, … what for it, … Racism!

            This race shaming is a typical tactic that Obama lovers use to stomp out any criticism of their guy. At its most extreme it becomes: to not love Obama is to be a racist. While there will always be a few weak and guilt ridden souls who may fall for this racket; I’m sure not one of them. At the end of the day, the racialists on the left, and the racists on the right, are just two sides of the same coin and equal vigour should be used to denounce their race obsessed ways.

          4. ScottS

            The fact that John McCain was technically not allowed to be president, yet this was not mentioned during the campaign, undermines your point about opportunism on both sides.

            Though, if you don your tin-foil hat, it could be why he agreed to allow an such an obvious secret Muslim/Kenyan to run against him — “You don’t ask about my birth certificate and I won’t ask about yours.”

            Still, I don’t buy your argument. Arthur was Irish (Catholic?). Arthur had the most unfounded, baseless accusations of foreign birth until Obama.

            If you want to quibble over the definition of race, then be my guest. “Irish” was definitely another race according to people who thought of such things 100 years ago. But both Arthur and Obama are/were part of minority groups, and were both incessantly accused of foreign birth.

            Majority group members who were, in fact, ineligible to be president suffering appropriate doubt about the technicality of their ability to be president, does not in any way disprove what I said.

    5. under the radar

      What really drive the bats nuts is that obama is most likely the object of a spiteful union.

      When was he born? Into a VERY upper class family (mother Dunham, resume for grandmother reads like MI6).

      Do you think that mommy was trying to make a point by finding the blackest guy she could to bring home?

      1. JTFaraday

        No, they can’t think it through that far. What drives them nuts was the D-Party campaign sloganeering about how Obama personally understood what it meant to be poor–his mother (you know, the perpetual student) was on foodstamps.

        Don’t you remember the “McCain can’t even remember how many houses he owns” vs. “Obama’s foodstamps” smack down?

        Birth of the Tea Party. Right there on the spot.

        1. PQS

          (smacks forehead)

          I thought for sure the birth of the Tea Party came after the Joe the Dumber exchange….you know the “redistribution of the wealth” meme, which, after all, is just code for “taking my middle class money and giving it to people who don’t deserve it.”

          1. JTFaraday

            Obama’s mom was on food stamps set up the need for Joe the Plumber. No food stamps, no plumber, no Tea Party.

            THEN, if they actually research Obama’s background (where’s the birth certificate?!), find out that contrary to D-Party hype, his grandmother was a banker (back when most women were still getting their butt smacked in the secretarial pool) and that her daughter a perpetual student on food stamps, Tea Party goes into high gear.

            They found the birth certificate. Now they’re just building the movement.

  6. Max424

    From Science Daily: “The research is funded by a $2.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-energy (ARPA-e) program, created to stimulate American leadership in renewable energy technology.”

    $2.2 trillion!! …what?…oh, oh dear… $2.2 million.

    Beyond Petroleum spends that kind of money daily on in-flight booze downed on their private jets and helicopters.

    The situation is, to use a much loved word of Thomas Paine, “farcical.”

  7. DownSouth

    Re: “The Art Destroyers” New York Review of Books

    It’s all déjà vu of Entartete Kunst, no?

    In their cultural speeches Goebbels and Hitler stressed the fact that the increasing variety of movements and styles was the product of a greedy Jewish Bolshevik clique. Modern art was the villain; it stood for decadence, internationalism, Jewishness, homosexuality, Bolshevism, big-city capitalism.

    [….]

    [Hitler] branded their groups as exemplars of what would later be called “cultural Bolshevism,” a label extensively used in National Socialist phraseology.
    ▬Peter Adam, Art of the Third Reich

    The nationalization of the great masses can never take place by way of half measures, by a weak emphasis upon a so-called objective viewpoint, but by a ruthless and fanatically one-sided orientation as to the goal to be aimed at… Poison is only checked by antidote, and only the insipidity of a bourgeois mind can conceive the middle lines as the way to heaven… The nationalization of our masses will be successful if, along with all positive fighting for the soul of our people, it’s international poisoners are extirpated.
    ▬Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925

    Those who are responsible for the shaping of people’s attitudes in the sphere of politics must endeavor to direct [the people’s] artistic forces—-even at the risk of rigorous intervention.
    ▬Adolf Hitler, opening speech for Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1939

    We now stand in an exhibition that contains only a fraction of what was bought with the hard-earned savings of the German people and exhibited as art by a large number of museums all over Germany. All around us you see the monstrous offspring of insanity, impudence, ineptitude, and sheer degeneracy. What this exhibition offers inspires horror and disgust in us all.
    ▬Adolf Ziegler, opening speech for Entartete Kunst, Munich, 1937

    From now on we are going to wage a merciless war of destruction against the last remaining elements of cultural disintegration… Should there be someone among [the artists] who still believes in his higher destiny—-well now, he has had four years’ time to prove himself. These four years are sufficient for us, too, to reach a definite judgment. From now on—-of that you can be certain—-all those mutually supporting and thereby sustaining cliques of chatterers, dilettantes, and art forgers will be picked up and liquidated. For all we care, those prehistoric Stone-Age culture-barbarians and art-stutterers can return to the caves of their ancestors and there can apply their primitive international scratchings.
    ▬Adolf Hitler, opening speech for Grosse Deutsche Kunstausstellung 1937

    You ask about the causes and sense of this hatred: it has neither sense nor cause! Politics—-in other words, the will to power.
    ▬Gerhard Marcks, letter to Oskar Schlemmer, December 12, 1937

    What was so irresistible about National Socialism…was the promise of absolute authority, there was clarity here, a sense of unambiguity.
    ▬Fritz Stern, “Der Nationalsozialismus als Versuchung”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      They found that, in comparing early humans and the Neanderthals, humans shared similar culture and art over a wider area than Neanderthals.

      In any place they co-existed, in competing with the early humans with their shared identity, united through art, it is conjectured, that the Neanderthals were less able to muster in quantity.

      If that’s the case, art was a very effective weapon.

      There is another definition of art – that art or creativity is not something you hang on the wall, but something you live. One can be creative in taking out trash, for example – the abstract style where you take a few representative samples of trash, the impressionist style where you take out what impresses you the most, or the realistic style where you take out the real trash down to the tiniest bits…most wives like their husbands to master this last one.

      This art is more personal, more meaninging and private. Usually the government doesn’t bother you with this kind of art. And unlike art on the wall, you can’t buy it like some neauveu riche buying million dollar Tibetan dogs, but you must make it, or live it, yourself and this kind of art shouldn’t make your neighbors jealous either.

  8. Ron

    ” there is about $11 trillion in financing behind the real estate sector: $4.4 trillion in the portfolios of banks, $5.5 trillion in agency securitizations guaranteed by Uncle Sam, and $2 trillion or so in private label securities.”

    Chris Whalen believes what the local RE market needs is a credit pick me up to prop up prices. I am sure he is correct as we can see how this idea has worked wonders for the equity and commodity markets. No doubt lower credit standards will be used to entice Americans to buy their dream home but sooner or later the pool of fools runs out and maybe we are closer to this then Chris and other modern financial medicine men realize.

  9. Philip Pilkington

    That empathy article is really good – even though I’m not inclined toward the good doctor’s methodology.

    What is really interesting – and was noticed years ago by the Marxist philosopher Theodor W. Adorno (of all people) – is that empathy rests to a certain extent on sight and mimicry. (I believe this was also recognised to some degree by that wacky French psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan…).

    Adorno was, like many of his Jewish and Marxist peers, chased out of Germany by the Nazis. He and his generation saw the pogroms and sought to understand them.

    What he noticed was that in humans mimicry played a fundamental part in their ability to empathise. Thus, empathy is traceable to the animal instinct for mimicry – that is, the simulation of the Other through the observation of their movements etc. First we, as children and like animals (think monkeys etc.), attempt to mimic the Other (the fireman, the housewife, the dancer etc.) and then as we mature we use the same psychological mechanism to try to simulate the Other’s emotional states within ourselves and adjust ourselves (or not) accordingly.

    Note that on the internet people – myself included – are often quite cruel to others when engaged in an argument, far more so than they would be in the ‘real world’. I think that this is partially because on the interweb we don’t ‘see’ other people and so our instinct for mimicry and thus empathy breaks down.

    Oh, and regarding this from the article…

    “Zero degrees of empathy does not strike at random in the population. There are at least three well-defined routes to getting to this end-point: borderline, psychopathic, and borderline personality disorders.”

    …shhhh! Don’t tell the Randroids. After all, you might hurt their feelings!!!

    1. curlydan

      “Note that on the internet people – myself included – are often quite cruel to others when engaged in an argument, far more so than they would be in the ‘real world’. I think that this is partially because on the interweb we don’t ’see’ other people and so our instinct for mimicry and thus empathy breaks down”

      At work, I often force myself to go talk to someone face-to-face rather than continue in contentious email exchanges because I know that face-to-face contact will help lower the animosity and help get to a better understanding.

      1. Philip Pilkington

        Most definitely. Here’s an interesting experience drawn from real life experience from the other day (disclaimer: I wasn’t dumb enough to do this – it was someone else).

        (1) Get colleagues piece
        (2) Email criticisms
        (3) Receive reply saying criticisms are unwarranted and insisting that the rest of the group survey the piece
        (4) Forward reply to rest of colleagues together with piece
        (5) Plug into anthropologist-mode and watch the tribes form
        (6) Prepare email inbox for incoming vitriol emailed to all involved
        (7) Watch project crumble to dust
        (8) Realise that people turn into cavemen on the internet
        (9) Throw computer out the window
        (10) Buy typewriter

  10. Cynthia

    Don’t you think we oughta find out exactly who these so-called anti-Qaddafi “rebels” are and what sort of government they want for the people of Libya before we decide to arm them to the hilt? For all we know, they could be just another despotic group of trigger-happy, torture-loving rebels no different from Qaddafi and his gang of thugs. Or worse, they could be the Libyan equivalent of al Qaeda or the Taliban. But if these Libyan rebels do turn out to be our enemy or evolve into our enemy, this won’t be the first time that we have found ourselves aiding and abetting the enemy.

    As to why we continue to make military decisions that invariably come back to bite us in a never-ending cycle of blowbacks, all I can figure is that our top priority isn’t to win wars, but to keep them in a perpetual state. Because if we were to win any of our wars in the Middle East or elsewhere in the world, we would be forced to downside our military, which would slow down the pork-laden gravy train going to defense contractors and lobbyists.

    You know that you’re living a country that views war as nothing more than money-making machine when it refuses to put a stop to its wars for the sake of protecting profits for the K Street-Wall Street axis of evil.

  11. Eureka Springs

    I would like to pre order an compressed air powered car now. First heard about the Tata car via forwarded emails, emails which seemingly had more info than I could find on the web… which of course makes it all suspect. Up until a few days ago the Tata web page was pitiful http://www.tatamotors.com/. It’s a wee bit improved now, but still no mention of the air car at all.

    1. Mundo Feliz


      compressed air powered car

      I was sitting inside Panera Bread one noon when I looked out at traffic next to restaurant and there was a guy in an air powered car. The thing was built from 1/2 inch steel tubing welded into a frame with large air tank on it. I don’t know how far down the road that thing will get without an air recharge, but my suggestion would be to use CO2, not air in the tank. CO2 can be liquefied thus tank can hold much more of it. With the AGWS, Anthropogenic Global Warming Scare now over, CO2 may have a shot at replacing air in a car that seemed to have put a big smile on that guy’s face as he drove easily and quietly down the street.

  12. financial matters

    Similar to Elizabeth Warren he seems to have been given a window dressing job with no real teeth… Too bad, he seemed to have gotten off to a good start..

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/30/opinion/30barofsky.html?_r=2
    Where the Bailout Went Wrong Neil Barofsky, New York Times

    “”(In my job as special inspector general I could not bring about the changes I thought were needed — I could only make recommendations to the Treasury Department.)”"

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/09/25/neil-barofsky-tarp-inspec_n_300178.html

    Neil Barofsky, TARP Inspector: Financial System May Now Be In A “Far More Dangerous Place” (VIDEO)

    The Huffington Post Investigative Fund | Christine Spolar and Lagan Sebert
    09-25-09

    “”Neil Barofsky is the man who tracks the historic bailout known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP. The 39-year-old special inspector general monitors a dozen separate bailout-related programs that now account for nearly $3 trillion in financial commitments.A former federal prosecutor, Barofsky has subpoena power and has launched about three dozen investigations since being named to the post in December 2008.

    In an audit released in July, Barofsky made clear that he was intent on demanding transparency from all quarters — including the U.S. Treasury. His next audit is due in October.

    During an interview with the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Barofsky made some striking observations. Among them were:

    He found hundreds of banks capable of tracking their use of the TARP money – despite claims by the U.S. Treasury that the task was impossible.

    If the purpose of the TARP rescue was to increase lending, it has failed.

    The U.S. financial system, now dependent on bigger and fewer banks, is shakier than ever.”"

  13. Jojo

    The science of empathy

    Does it upset you when you see people arguing? Do you cry at the cinema? Empathy is one of our most powerful emotions yet society has all but ignored it. Autism expert Professor Simon Baron-Cohen reveals the science behind “the world’s most valuable resource” – and how its lack is the root of human cruelty
    ===========
    Empathy was the key to saving the universe from evil in one of the all time great SF series called the Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons.

  14. scraping_by

    “…why this birther nuttiness? There are more than enough legitimate grounds for going after him.”

    It’s a brilliant piece of preemptive slander. By putting forward an easily parried irrelevance, the point of reference is the tinfoil hat brigade. Southerners with John Birch libraries. Militia groups and tax protesters. Fringies.

    Now, all opponents to Obama continuing Bush’s policies are “like the birthers.” Dismiss the opposition out of hand because it’s part of a wrong-headed category. Using a stigma where facts won’t serve.

    Only the MSM and a handful of sheep will consider fall for the conflation. If you oppose the head-fake administration, do it proudly. Your tradition is Jefferson, not John Birch.

  15. dearieme

    “did anyone in the RW ask about GWB’s time in the National Guard? His drinking? His records from school? HIS birth certificate?” I don’t know what”RW” means. But everyone laughed at W’s feeble record in the National Guard, and laughed even more at his notorious boozing. His educational records were public knowledge. So the case would seem to be quite different: O is very secretive about much of his life (which is a neat trick when you’ve written two autobiographies). I don’t know why – but, anyway, to be secretive about his birth certificate bears on the Constitution, whereas if he’s ashamed of his undergraduate record, that’s his business.

    One of the most amusing features of this business is how people on both sides of the debate just make up stuff to suit themselves. Thus making play of theofficial but risible “certificate of live birth”, or claiming that since O’s father was British O can’t be a natural born American – twaddle, as far as I can see. The Clinton supporter who started this hare running during the Democratic primaries is presumably pleased at the result of his efforts. Or perhaps not.

    1. PQS

      Even if, as you say, “everyone laughed” at GWB’s NG record, the fact is that a journalist was fired over questioning it publicly. And nobody questioned it again, ever. Certainly nobody in the Right Wing.

      The “both sides do it” meme is just tiresome laziness. Both “sides” aren’t made up of loons. One side definitely has more than its fair share of them. (And they have their very own television network full of stars to spread the lunacy.)

      Going on and on about details that have already been answered and settled by the authorities in the same way they are answered and settled for everyone else (and in any case are one-way streets to nowhere as regards actual public policy), is the habit of loons, and paranoid ones, too. And paranoid politicized crazies have a long and storied history in America with very recognizable features and habits. Not the least of which is fear of The Other. And obsessions with Secrecy.

  16. Dirk77

    Thanks Richard and Yves for the posts on the Irish bank crisis. I find it fascinating that they don’t just default.

  17. Sundog

    I feel it’s safe to assume most NC readers also follow CR but Lawler’s take on industry response to new rules for qualified residential mortgages (QRM) and his own analysis of the issue shouldn’t be missed.

    The private-label RMBS market, by the way, played an extremely minor role in the overall US market until last decade, and even before last decade it was subject to some serious “perturbations” – the subprime market in the latter part of the 90’s (less credit risk than prepayment risk, which precipitated the increased use of excessive prepayment penalties) and the manufactured housing debacle just a few years later (the catalysts for which were eerily like those of the subprime implosion last decade).

    Tom Lawler, The “Shrill Cry” from Lobbyists on QRM
    http://www.calculatedriskblog.com/2011/03/lawler-shrill-cry-from-lobbyists-on-qrm.html

  18. michael kranish

    When John Freemont ran for president in 1856 as a the first republican, his enemies accused him of being a crypto-Catholic and also of being born in Montreal. His mother was a good American, but his father was French.

    Things never seem to change

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