Links 2/5/10

Slicing Brains DIY h+ (hat tip reader David C)

Man Hunts Crocodile That Has Eaten Over 200 People Tree Hugger (hat tip reader Tim C)

Pictured: Nasa scientists’ most amazing photos of Pluto ever Telegraph

Finance ministers promised a meal of seal at G7 summit in Iqaluit Guardian. Eeew! Funny, I have no compunctions about eating venison, but seal?

The myth of CPR Inside Story (hat tip reader Crocodile Chuck

Using Google Images to Investigate Fraud F-Secure (hat tip reader John M)

Gene Patents Under Legal Attack Wired (hat tip reader John D)

Behold ‘The Amazon Effect’: Now Murdoch’s Gunning for the $10 E-Book Wired. I hate to sound like an old fart, but I like paper books. They are much less hard on your eyes than screens, and I also believe research shows most people can read faster from a printer page than from a screen.

Did Obama’s economists do their homework on the Volcker rule? Jeff Madrick, New Deal 2.0

The Myth of Business Friendly Legislation Global Research (hat tip reader John D)

CCTV in the sky: police plan to use military-style spy drones Guardian (hat tip reader Michael T)

Taxing times BBC (hat tip reader Tim C)

China to Impose Dumping Penalties on U.S. Chicken Bloomberg

Bank of England’s time-out for quantitative easing plan BBC (hat tip reader Michael T)

Missionary Stumbles On Road to Haiti Wall Street Journal. This story trips my bullshit detector, big time.

Fears of ‘Lehman-style’ tsunami as crisis hits Spain and Portugal Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

France and Germany to unveil 10-year plan EUObserver (hat tip reader Swedish Lex)

US DoJ dissatisfied with Google book deal Financial Times

Fiscal Scare Tactics Paul Krugman, New York Times

Mystery Men of the Financial Crisis William D. Cohan, New York Times (hat tip readers Benedict and Crocodile Chuck)

Victim of a Real Estate Scheme? Tell Us Your Story Huffington Post Investigation Fund. This is for real. If you have a story, or know someone who does, please get in contact with HuffPo.

Antidote du jour:

Picture 62

And a bonus! Demon sheep! As reader John D noted, She’s running her campaign the way she ran Lucent:

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  1. attempter

    Gene patents are one of the most obscene chains laid across the river.

    Here above all (but the same as it should be in all comparable areas) we as a people can hire a company as a contractor to work with a natural resource, but the resource itself is as purely natural and therefore as purely national as it gets, and any property in it, any “patent”, is social.

    The Ayn Rand bullshit is just that, bullshit. If this industry didn’t exist on a privatization basis, then the same work would be done without it. It’s very simple.

    Re Krugman, it’s interesting that you can win a sort-of “Nobel” prize without knowing simple arithmetic.

    I say that because he seems to think the Republicans have been in some sort of position to force Obama and the Dems to do things they don’t want to do.

    I don’t know: 59-40, 60-40, and now 59-41….those all sound like majorities to me.

    1. Peripheral Visionary

      Totally agreed on gene patents. I am a huge supporter of the patent–it was (wisely) enshrined in the Constitution, and deserves to be protected. But part of protecting the patent is throwing out ridiculous abuses of the system, particularly patents of natural materials, common-sense procedures, etc.

      The point of the system is to serve to protect the legitimate work of inventors, not to act as a land-grab where natural resources and existing methods can be claimed by whoever gets their application in first, which can only lead to ugly and protracted legal battles over materials and ideas that should be in the public domain. A more restrictive definition of what qualifies for a patent will strengthen the system, not weaken it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I am against the concept of patent.

        I think a home is not an investment, and a degree is not a path to a job (I am going to put all my degrees in a safe deposit box, never to see the light of day).

        You study for the sake of knowledge.

        Art for art sake; knowledge for knowledge sake.

          1. history_offensive

            Yes, historians and astronomers are certainly some of the most offensive people in my experience.

  2. Itamar Turner-Trauring

    The demon sheep ad also has an figurative ‘literally’: “a budget that *literally* set the stage for etc.”. Possibly it’s a demon budget that moves under its own volition!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Carly ran marketing at Lucent, and was responsible for the bright idea of taking dot-bomb paper to pay for shipments of Lucent products. Lucent stock went from over $100 a share to $1 a share as a result of this brilliant move. She got paid handsomely, destroyed a great company, got a promotion (running HP), and this little exercise in looting has been airbrushed from the official accounts of her history.

  3. Ina Pickle

    I understand the demon sheep has quite a following on twitter.

    You gotta love the gall to actually portray a segment of the American people as “sheeple.”

    I’m with Attempter: there is no excuse for permitting gene patents. They are an abomination, and somebody needs to seriously think through the concept of permitting the government to grant some artificial person a monopoly in something derived directly from a real person. How can this end well?

  4. Peripheral Visionary

    Re: Missionary Stumbles On Road to Haiti.

    I do think it’s possible that the woman in question is corrupt or of some other virulent bent, but I think it’s just as likely that she’s yet another Mrs Jellyby, who our society seems to have no end of. There is, it turns out, a world of difference between quietly doing good in ways that significantly benefit the world, and “doing good” in ways that are designed primarily to bring glory (and income) to the do-gooder, but our non-profit industry seems to be rife with the latter.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I didn’t want to spell out my suspicions, but someone who goes from owning a Lexus and running an online personal shopping business to having an intense interest in Haitian orphans (when her plans include a grandiose “orphanage” in her home state) sounds more than a tad opportunistic:

      Ms. Silsby had equally grand ambitions closer to home, according to a local builder. The Idaho plan called for a “multi-million-dollar complex” for runaway children on a 40-acre lot in Kuna, Idaho, according to Eric Evans, owner of Eric Evans Construction in Meridian. Ms. Silsby told him it would have an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and dormitories for the children, said Mr. Evans, adding that she had discussed having him build the project.

      Now I have to wonder where the seriously indebted Ms. Silsby intends to live…since her house was foreclosed on late last year. In this glam compound, perhaps?

      The thing that really tripped by BS detector, however, was the Journal calling her a “missionary.” Huh? She’s not a cleric, her active involvement in Haiti started only very recently (despite the claims it dates back to her father being a missionary, this looks more like her levering his connections).

      And why is the Journal running an obvious PR plant? Aside from her attorney and her parents (ie, people who are clearly not objective), the only other comment about her comes from a creditor, who says she seemed sincere. That can be read both ways.

      1. NancyinStL

        re: Ms Silsby: The BBC reported the other night/morning that most of the “orphans” had been reunited with their parents. The parents were hoping to get their children into a better place. It’s unclear what Ms Silsby was actually trying to do.

        The BBC also had an interesting piece on why “reste avec” wasn’t a very favorable thing. (“reste avec” translates as “stay with” and originally was a way for rural families to place children in the city as a sort of au pair, in return the child would gain an education.)

        For the last 20 or so years, this has become a way for city families to gain a form of indentured servants. If the city family had a downturn in fortunes, the “reste avec” kids were turned out into the streets to fend for themselves. It is not viewed favorably within Haiti.

  5. Martin

    “The Myth of Business Friendly Legislation”
    reads like bullshit.

    The author completely ignores the investment sector, which creates demand, too. If investment is that heavily taxed, a lot less investment will be done or people will concentrate on non calculable assets like education. In each crisis taxes would have to be increased, illiquid assets would have to be sold at firesale prices. Where is the motivation to create assets?
    Such a nation would see hardly any productivity growth at all and fall back hopelessly, as todays investment provides the additional income of tomorrow.
    This professor of philosophy and logic better stays away from economy. It is too complicated for him.

  6. Jeff

    I find simple and clean HTML, a large monitor, and a scrolling wheel to be perfect for all my reading needs. Navigation is a cinch and you can adjust things like font size on the fly. It’s too bad more publishers won’t adopt it because it’s too easy to copy and paste.

  7. shargash

    I guess I’m going to have to stop describing myself as “fiscally conservative”. I always took that to mean balanced budgets at low levels of spending. In the Republican lexicon is apparently means tax cuts uber alles, reduced spending on anything that benefits ordinary people, increased spending on the military, and deficits don’t matter unless you’re trying to score political points.

  8. Jim S

    I hope no one is calling paper old fashioned! The Kindle features the e-ink display, of course, and I personally find most e-ink displays to be very nearly identical to reading a paper page.

    The theory I’ve seen and ascribe to is that this move by publishers is less about pricing quibbles and more about trying to kill off e-books altogether.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    As mean as the cat tries to pretend, thanks to the Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens, it has lost all its noble savage nature, living on handouts from its master instead.

    By the way, if the chicken war and the problems in PIGS seem familiar, they may just be today’s answer to that final straw of the 30’s: Smoot-Hawley and Kreditanstalt. And if history does repeat itself in this area and now, it’s because the players are still the same – all members of Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens.

    Hopefully, the new species that will replace the pitifully us will see how stupid we were and know all these problems could have been easily resolved. But our brain was just not up for the job, not able to fathom concepts obvious to the new species.

    1. Andrew Bissell

      Hopefully, the new species that will replace the pitifully us will see how stupid we were and know all these problems could have been easily resolved.

      Sure they will. And then some day down the road they’ll be replaced by yet another species that thinks it’s invincible, that it has every problem licked, and it is composed entirely of geniuses. And they’ll make all the exact same mistakes over again.

      The idea of regulating this impulse out of human affairs will remain a silly interventionist fantasy which causes more harm than good.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You don’t have to regulate the arrogant impulse of feeling invincible.

        Just realize and remind ourselves daily how silly we are should be sufficient enough.

        1. Andrew Bissell

          Yes, but it’s apparently hard for people, as a group, to maintain that sense of forbearance when they’re rolling in the prosperity created by their more prudent predecessors.

          But I agree, there’s no need to regulate the impulse. Simply let those who follow it FAIL. Pull out all the props holding up bad speculation, including the central bank and even deposit insurance (which exists to bail out depositors who make imprudent bets on the solvency of their bank). The worst offenders will simply get in over their heads and be carried off the battlefield in stretchers. They will still cause damage for sure (as they always will), but it will be more limited in scope and more focused upon the people who cause it.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Biologist E.O. Wilson said Planet Earth had the vast misfortune to have carnivorous primates become dominant. And you attribute a conquestial (yes that’s a made up word) impulse to smart species, when the two don’t have to go together. Dolphins appear to be as smart as humans, and the emotional regions of their brains are much better integrated into their reasoning centers than ours are. I’d submit that humans are intelligent and have faulty operating systems.

        As Wilson said in a 1993 essay, “Is Humanity Suicidal“:

        Now in the midst of a population explosion, the human species has doubled to 5.5 billion during the past 50 years. It is scheduled to double again in the next 50 years. No other single species in evolutionary history has even remotely approached the sheer mass in protoplasm generated by humanity.

        Darwin’s dice have rolled badly for Earth. It was a misfortune for the living world in particular, many scientists believe, that a carnivorous primate and not some more benign form of animal made the breakthrough. Our species retains hereditary traits that add greatly to our destructive impact. We are tribal and aggressively territorial, intent on private space beyond minimal requirements and oriented by selfish sexual and reproductive drives. Cooperation beyond the family and tribal levels comes hard.

        Worse, our liking for meat causes us to use the sun’s energy at low efficiency. It is a general rule of ecology that (very roughly) only about 10 percent of the sun’s energy captured by photosynthesis to produce plant tissue is converted into energy in the tissue of herbivores, the animals that eat the plants. Of that amount, 10 percent reaches the tissue of the carnivores feeding on the herbivores. Similarly, only 10 percent is transferred to carnivores that eat carnivores. And so on for another step or two.

        In a wetlands chain that runs from marsh grass to grasshopper to warbler to hawk, the energy captured during green production shrinks a thousandfold. In other words, it takes a great deal of grass to support a hawk. Human beings, like hawks, are top carnivores, at the end of the food chain whenever they eat meat, two or more links removed from the plants; if chicken, for example, two links, and if tuna, four links.

        Even with most societies confined today to a mostly vegetarian diet, humanity is gobbling up a large part of the rest of the living world. We appropriate between 20 and 40 percent of the sun’s energy that would otherwise be fixed into the tissue of natural vegetation, principally by our consumption of crops and timber, construction of buildings and roadways and the creation of wastelands. In the relentless search for more food, we have reduced animal life in lakes, rivers and now, increasingly, the open ocean.

        1. john c. halasz

          Jesus, Yves! There’s no excuse for turning evolutionary/ecological theory into bad metaphysical poetry. As if a gay marriage between Rev. Malthus and Schopenhauer would suffice to account for our current straits.

          In the first place, humans, nor any other primates, are not carnivorous, but rather omnivorous, like bears. (IFAIK only the feline family is strictly carnivorous among terrestrial mammals, having lost the genes to digest vegetable proteins). Nor did they evolve at the very top of the food chain. (Likely proto-humans weren’t dominant hunters, but more scavengers, having figured out how to extract the bone-marrow from the remains provided by other dominant carnivores). What is distinctive to paleo-human evolution is a) the harnessing of fire to cook food, which increased the nutritive/energy efficiency of digestion, thereby decreasing the expenditure on both foraging and digestion and thus freeing up energy for energy-intensive brain development and b) neotenic birth, due to bipedal locomotion, which narrows the female birth canal, which results in embryological rates of neural growth after birth and thus neural learning in interaction with environmental experience. Neotenic birth, as increasing the dependency of the mother/infant relation and extending its term, was also a prime driver of the formation of increased sociality, as well as likely the peculiarity of human sexuality, hidden and continuous estrus to facilitate pair-bonding. The result was the gradual evolutionary emergence of symbolic thinking/natural language on the basis of prior systems of social/relational communication, and it was that development that vastly extended the range of human ecological adaption and dominance through extending networks of communicational learning and social organization. It is only with language/symbolic thinking (hence counterfactuality) that there emerges fully “Being”, in the sense of the manifestation of the manifoldness and interconnection of entities, apart from immediate functional needs, and the relational horizon of the otherness of other, which involves the other limit conditions of human existence, self-consciousness, “internal” time-consciousness, and the awareness of death. Which, of course, gives rise to paranoid anxieties and thus their religious purgation in tribal forms of social organization, leading on to “higher” civilization, with the agricultural revolution, (which was likely a net nutritional regression), with the alliance between warriors and priests in the esoteric mythology of divine kingship. It is only then that the human species comes to be the “top predator”, though still amply subject to the ravages of “nature”. And it is only with the industrial revolution that human civilization begins to forage into other natural resources as its “food”. There is no basis for attributing such a contingent sequence of “developments” to a prior biological/genetic “destiny”.

          Despair at “our” current conditions and predicaments, if you wish or will or must. But that’s no reason for reifying them as a “prior” causal destiny, at the expense of any analytic clarity and synthetic capacity, in alliance with reductionist thinking and reactionary sentiment.

          1. Yves Smith Post author

            I suggest you read more closely. The text you found offensive is by E.O. Wilson. Biography courtesy Wikipedia:

            Edward Osborne Wilson (born June 10, 1929) is an American biologist, researcher (sociobiology, biodiversity), theorist (consilience, biophilia), naturalist (conservationist) and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, a branch of entomology.

            Wilson is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction. He is known for his career as a scientist, his advocacy for environmentalism, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters.

            As of 2007, he is Pellegrino University Research Professor in Entomology for the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University and a Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry. He is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism.

          2. john c. halasz

            Double b’jesus, Yves. What did I fail to read sufficiently closely? And how does an appeal to authority by way of Wikipedia work? And what makes you think that I don’t know who E.O. Wilson is, that good ole Alabama boy, and his “consilience” thesis? Or am entirely unfamiliar with the whole “territory” on which such issues and disputes occur?

            O.K. What I offered was a strange mixture of evolutionary facts and existential “ontology”. But were either wrong? Or have I read too much Nietzsche? It’s important to distinguish the levels and layers of emergent phenomena, lest one make potentially disastrous mis-attributions, the “fallacy of mistaken concreteness” wise. The “predatory” behavior of highly leveraged Wall St. style finance has nothing to do with “universal human nature”, nor with the “universal laws of nature” per se. Such conflations amount to complicity in horrific ideological rationalizations. The causal/structural chains need to be delineated and differentiated, if there’s to be any hope of rectification by anything like human agency, no?

            Have you heard of Clark’s “A Farewell to Alms”, which foregrounds Malthusian and quasi-socio-biological theses in providing a neo-classical economic history by which only markets and not social institutions matter for the (ex post) history of economic “growth”. I read a pdf. by an economic historian which claimed that, according to the overwhelming consensus of the economic history profession, Clark got his main facts wrong, (rather preposterously). That’s just one instance of how bad biology functions as an ideology to underwrite bad economics. (Not a trivial consideration, on either account).

            BTW, have you heard of Ernst Juenger? He, too, had a doctoral degree in entomology.

            So, think again, dear. With your “cetacean” emotional brain.

          3. Yves Smith Post author


            You seem to be awfully bent out of shape by Wilson, and your first remark did look like you were attributing what he said to me.

            This thread started with MyNotSoPrimeBeef repeating his call for the Post Homo Sapiens species, and Bissell sayin’ it would be see itself as having every problem solved and as invincible as humans. I was responding to his rather anthropocentric assumption that no species could do much better than humans had. Read the book A General Theory of Love (the worst title in the history of man, I am sure the publisher insisted on the authors in the hopes it would draw in self-help readers). It talks about the development of the human brain and the psychological problems that result from the poor integration of the limbic brain and the cerebral cortex.

            You gave a very long discourse, but you did not address the core issue in Wilson’s piece: we may be omnivorous, but we LIKE meat. Pretty much every vegetarian population on the planet is vegetarian solely for religious reasons (or poverty/limited local hunting opportunities: their meat eating is constrained). That is Wilson’s issue, the planetary cost of our meat consumption. Look at the consequences of the Chinese eating more meat. Jim Rogers said merely adding one egg a week to the Chinese diet would require a tripling of world grain production. All the emerging economies want a first world level of meat consumption.

            Nowhere in this thread is there a discussion of ” “predatory” behavior of highly leveraged Wall St. style finance has nothing to do with “universal human nature”, nor with the “universal laws of nature” per se.” This is projection on your part. Bissell made a mention, but I was NOT replying to his later remark, and there is nothing in MY comments that refers to that.

            As for dolphins, they do cooperate in social groups beyond their immediate circle; they are the only species besides humans known to form ad hoc alliances for short-term initiatives. They may even understand their own mortality. Dolphins in captivity have not very happy lives (both the treated water and the confinement lead to lots of health problems and comparatively short lives). One of the dolphins used to film Flipper killed herself, which led her trainer to begin a campaign against dolphin confinement (sadly, which the very success of Flipper increased enormously).

          4. Skippy

            JCH said…In the first place, humans, nor any other primates, are not carnivorous, but rather omnivorous,…

            Umm animal protein is in every thing now save straight from the veggie patch. Maybe we should create a new category just for us.

            Skippy….white swirly pig fat served icy cold umm thanks Macas, the final bi product of fire and bone run away Skippy!

          5. john c. halasz

            .K. Yeah, it’s just a bunch of stray subaltern blog comments. But accuracy and adequate differentiation in thinking is important. (One needn’t be an idealist to believe that). Large over-generalizations and spurious rationalizations based on category mistakes do real damage. (Wall St. high finance, for example, is only metaphorically “predatory”, though really dysfunctional, exploitative and imperialistic).

            The basic point is that any species that through high intelligence/social complexity managed to “transcend’ and exceed its ecological limits would have to be relatively high up on the food chain, (because of the high energy requirements of brains, which is why large-brained animals are the evolutionary exception, not the rule), but that the characteristics determining planetary domination are not biologically determined, having to do with a fixed instinctual endowment and sets of physiological needs, rather than a relative lack of such, but rather “ontological”, i.e. due to the “otherness” opened up to and in the world by language/symbolic thinking, from which the “negativity” and “destructiveness” of human beings derive. Any notional replacement species from any other clade, such as, say, Swift’s Houyhnhnms, would have precisely the same “ontological” features. It’s not a matter of innate dispositions to aggression, violence, or voraciousness, nor the result of the sort of reductive biological determinism that the Wilson cite fairly revels in. (The metaphor of human society as an insect heap goes back at least to Dostoyevsky, if not Mandeville. Juenger fancied it, too. It’s use implies a highly schizophrenic attitude).

            And though not without warrant, misanthropic sentiments shouldn’t be indulged in rhetorically, nor substantively, (except perhaps in the satiric mode, with its excessive malice), since they generally function as a form of malignant blame-shifting.

            If you want to criticize excessive meat consumption that’s fine by me. I’m all for attention to sustainability issues. Though it’s likely a taste for animal fats rather than protein that’s at the evolutionary root of the preference, and it’s especially an American (or Argentinian) tendency, for obvious reasons. But still some source criticism is needed. The Jimmy Rogers claim- (I’m assuming that’s the bow-tied financial speculators),- is dubious, as it would imply that current global egg consumption is several orders of magnitude less than 1.3 billion eggs per week, or that current global egg consumption takes up all current global grain production.

            There’s been a flourishing of biological science in the past few decades, though it perhaps comes too late, in the light of the “disappearance” of nature. But it’s also resulted in a lot of pop biological thinking of a reductive-deterministic cast, which tends, via the notion of “adaption”, to slide into an ideological apologia for the status quo of capitalist market competition, precisely by offering spurious “biological” explanations for what are in fact socio-cultural phenomena. That’s why I cited the Clark book, which makes vague claims of a biological/hereditary basis for economic “performance”, repressing the work of Karl Polanyi. Wilson’s work represents the same sort of disciplnary “imperialism” coming from the opposite, complementary direction. I think such conflations are to be resisted and pointed out when and where they occur, for the sake of gaining some clarity about what we’re actually talking about and dealing with, rather than allowing such matters to be rationalized away.

            Emotions BTW as biologically evolved phenomena are social: they are responses to perceived relational (im)balances. That is why they are always somewhat askew of cognitive-instrumental intelligence and neither can, nor should be “integrated” with it. At any rate, I don’t think that such issues can be adequately dealt with simply in terms of the given mechanics of brain organization. Besides which, we humans are mal-adapted anyway, by virtue of our “ontology”.

          6. Andrew Bissell


            You wrote Bissell sayin’ it would be see itself as having every problem solved and as invincible as humans

            If my original assertion came across as anthropocentric it was not intended this way. I interpreted the call for “a new species,” less than literally, as a call for a human society which would finally “learn the lessons of financial history, once and for all,” and stop repeating them. There have been similar calls after (and in the midst of, as I believe we are today) every past crisis. And they all end the same way.

            (Perhaps this was the result of a deeper anthropocentrism on my part, in that I don’t believe the current state of affairs heralds “the end of it all” and mass human extinction, to be followed by eventual domination by some other species. I don’t really believe such a thing will ever happen, absent some cosmic calamity such as an asteroid strike rendering human life totally impossible on earth.)

            I had intended to express skepticism toward the (arguably anthropocentric) notion that such a “new species” (of human being) could or would arise. I will grant that the ability to truly learn from history’s mistakes and not repeat them would represent a kind of phase shift in human evolution, something akin to the development of language.

            By the way, I don’t really even see perceptions of invincibility and “having every problem solved” as even an essential characteristic of human beings. It’s one that arises in periods of euphoria, such as we have experienced over the recent decades, but it clearly carries within it the seeds of its own undoing, and disappears when they bear fruit. Only someone with a pathological disability could see human society as invincible today.

            Say whatever else you will about human beings and their messy, inconsistent steps toward progress, but over the truly long term we do move forward. Sometimes the setbacks last as long as a recession and sometimes they last as long as a Dark Age, but eventually the upward trajectory resumes.

          7. Yves Smith Post author


            Sorry if I seemed to come down hard on you. It was not my intent. MyNotSoPrimeBeef is kind joking, kinda not re his repeated calls for post homo sapiens, with my reading being of him being are a rather screwed up species, even though we have been successful on certain axes of performance.

            I also think we have a narrow conception of what a species would look like, based on Planet Earth constraints. Dunno how much science fiction you read, but one can posit other corporeal forms (or possibly even non-corporeal forms, we need craazyman here to elaborate). Does not mean they do exist, but serves to highlight that our conceptualization of what is possible may be unduly limited.

  10. Bolt

    RE: E-Books.

    Have you even really used an e-book? My experience (Kindle) is that it’s not like reading a computer screen at all and does not hurt your eyes the same way. In fact with the additional tools built in (enter notes, built in dictionary, etc.) has made me a more effective reader without losing the pleasure of it. Furthermore, for someone who travels these things are a God-send. You can bring whatever size book you want, anywhere you want without a problem.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I would like to think a penal colony on the dwarf formerly known as planet Pluto could solve our problem of prisons soon to be over-crowded with former financiers.

  12. sux2bme

    Carly forked up Lucent and then went on to fork up HP. When she was finally sacked, “Ding, dong the Witch is dead” was playing through the cubicled hallways in the labs and what used to be Bill & Dave’s Excellent Adventure.

  13. i

    As we know in Houston (*former* Compaq headquarters), if Carly can do something wrong, she will. Cute ad. It’ll persuade nobody.

  14. William Mitchell

    From Jared Diamond’s “Collapse,” if I remember correctly: the Western palate’s intolerance of seal meat helped the Inuit wipe out the Vikings in Greenland in the 15th century.

    Rather than eat seal, the Vikings insisted on trying to raise livestock. Soil degraded within a few generations, and then a few bad winters and/or battles with seal-fed Inuit finished them off.

  15. Keenan

    RE “Slicing brains”

    The article’s final sentence: In the future, we might understand brain circuitry so well that such devices could be used to scan and “upload” an individual’s mind to any type of substrate (a new body, robot, or artificial environment). This Matrix-like immortality would be the ultimate backup of ourselves.

    I question this conclusion. I suggest that “Mind” is to “brain” as “software” is to “computer”. A completely detailed circuit diagram of the processor/memory circuits will not capture the program.

    Mathematical physicist Roger Penrose has written on this question especially in his “Shadows of The Mind”

  16. MonkeyMuffins

    It would be optimal if you would refrain from linking to Conspiradroid Moonbat Central (a/k/a, d/b/a globalresearch(dot)ca. is a counterproductive and unforgivable site featuring large sections devoted to easily debunked urban legends such as “nine eleven was an inside job” and “vaccines are NWO-ZOG-clade plans to infect, kill and control for profit”.

    Seriously, should be shunned as a matter of principle.

    Shame on you for lending credence to their effluent brand of snake-oil.

    1. Skippy

      The back door is unlocked and the light was dimmed.

      Australia has since WWII been a nice test bed for all manner of trial balloons, before global release.

      Its use as a back door political tool to the east has always been one of its greatest strengths. And as John Howard was Bushies pal, I think Rudd and Obama may become the same with the job of middleman ongoing.

      My fear is it may be used as a launching pad for some 2.0 version of global credit finance. Although I will have to wait a week or two for the intel to filter down to me from rumor control.

      Skippy…the Republic of Australia coming soon[?]…signing off from the Anglo Saxon OP down under. That Jindalee Radar sure is BIG!

    2. Skippy

      Initial reports from rumor control have it as a cost of funding and price fixing piss up, and as a side note, it has been observed that just before last years hangover the RBA jacked rates up for wriggle room. Lets see how many more we get down the road post the all clear, given not that long ago.

      Skippy…party time tonight!

  17. Freethinker

    Re: Victim of a Real Estate Scheme?

    I wrote HuffPo to explain that we are all, not just those who became mortgage / HELOC recipients over the past decade, “victims” of real estate schemes. Currently desperate loan recipients were once prospective home buyers. Home buyers were and remain far more plentiful and desirable targets for real estate schemes.

    I was motivated to try to make these points partly by the MSM’s attempts to cast these more recent loan recipients as more innocent or more deserving victims than the rest of us and partly by the MSM’s complicity in ignoring the more recent schemes to re-inflate housing bubbles and further victimize all of us.

    At least those who are unable to afford their loan payments any longer can walk away. The bigger, longer-lasting societal problems of higher unemployment, less discretionary income, higher sales taxes and government-imposed fees, fewer or less accessible public services and spaces, crony capitalism, a shrinking real economy and growing FIRE sector are ones we cannot walk away from.

    Until the media tells many stories about the massive societal costs of asset inflation and state-sanctioned opportunism / parasitism of the commonweal by the few & powerful, the more the masses will sink into victimization mode.

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