Links and Quick Takes 2/19/08

Patentability Of Business Model And Software Patents Comes Under Court Scrutiny TechDirt

Saudi Threats And US/UK Bribes Hit Us In The Guts Culture of Life News. This post includes a very lengthy and useful discussion of the history of the Sauds and who did what to whom in the Arabian peninsula from roughly 1800 onward.

Secret lives of badgers revealed BBC. Aaaw.

Setting rules for sovereign wealth Financial Times. Australia is trying to set an example, but despite their current account deficit, they have far more leverage than the US, since they have commodities that everyone wants.

Prevention or Treatment? ArthurDeVany. Argues that preventive health care may not be all that cost effective. The problem is that in the US, “preventive care” = lots of testing, and many of those tests are either not that effective (mammograms are bad at capturing the dangerous-fast moving cancers and product a lot of false positives which lead to unnecessary procedures) or are looking for ailments that occur in such a small proportion of the population as to not be worth testing for unless other risk factors suggest it.

Another Washington Post Fusillade for “Free Trade” Dean Baker

Latest U.S. Economic Forecast: Apocalypse Boom2Bust. And you think I’m bearish….

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  1. barron von holiday


    Did you cover this?

    Re: Banks in the United States have been quietly borrowing “massive amounts” from the U.S. Federal Reserve in recent weeks, using a new measure the Fed introduced two months ago to help ease the credit crunch, according to a report on the web site of The Financial Times.
    The newspaper said the use of the Fed’s Term Auction Facility (TAF), which allows banks to borrow at relatively attractive rates against a wide range of their assets, saw borrowing of nearly $50 billion (25.6 billion pounds) of one-month funds from the Fed by mid-February.
    The Financial Times said the move has sparked unease among some analysts about the stress developing in opaque corners of the U.S. banking system and the banks’ growing reliance on indirect forms of government support

    Non-Borrowed Reserves: False Alarm

    A number of people on Wall Street have noticed a recent plunge in non-borrowed reserves in the banking system and wondered it is a sign of distress in the banking system or of unusually stringent monetary policy. They dropped from $42 billion last November to negative $2 billion at the end of January.
    It’s probably a false alarm, though. The drop is purely technical, a function of how the Fed has chosen to classify the money lent through its new Term Auction Facility.

  2. dearieme

    I wouldn’t put much weight on the views of your historian there. “Russia, England and France ravenously tore the Ottoman Empire apart.” Well, apart from the Crimean War, for example, where France and Britain fought Russia in defence of the Ottoman Empire. I wasn’t too surprised to eventually reach the bit about zee Chews.

  3. Yves Smith


    She isn’t a historian, and she can overdo the colorful metaphors and sweeping generalizations.

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