Links 11/13/10

Edward Harrison here. Since Yves is still figuring out how to function with ancient computer gear, I am stepping in one last time for the links. Have a great weekend. Good luck, Yves.

An Ode to Yves (I have to admit, there’s something about the terminology and the way this article is written that rubs me the wrong way.)

Alleged robo-signers in their own words

The Dismal Science

Parodies of the Dismal Science – These two videos are pretty funny (Thanks, Scott)

Other Stuff

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About Edward Harrison

I am a banking and finance specialist at the economic consultancy Global Macro Advisors. Previously, I worked at Deutsche Bank, Bain, the Corporate Executive Board and Yahoo. I have a BA in Economics from Dartmouth College and an MBA in Finance from Columbia University. As to ideology, I would call myself a libertarian realist - believer in the primacy of markets over a statist approach. However, I am no ideologue who believes that markets can solve all problems. Having lived in a lot of different places, I tend to take a global approach to economics and politics. I started my career as a diplomat in the foreign service and speak German, Dutch, Swedish, Spanish and French as well as English and can read a number of other European languages. I enjoy a good debate on these issues and I hope you enjoy my blogs. Please do sign up for the Email and RSS feeds on my blog pages. Cheers. Edward


    1. spc

      Mac users!
      Please Be Quiet ! I beg You !!.
      I can’t take it anymore…….
      The Pain ! The Pain !

      Besides, it’s not what you drive it’s how drive.

      1. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Then again, if what you’re driving has an engine comprised mostly of tin, has a low RPM max, and a petrol tank limited to about 10 liters, it greatly complicates your travel plans.

        — rOTL (avid Mac/Apple user)

    2. Richard Kline

      Actually, Yves, I’m hoping that you’ll be able to invest in _two_ Macs. One for every day; the other for rainy day as at present. Costly, but a lifeline for us with a jones for ‘what Yves knows.’

  1. William

    Unless something new happened after the 1/4 point, there’s nothing funny about that “gold and guns” video, and it wasn’t meant to be funny. It’s merely a cheap way to reiterate the same-old same-old gold bugs’ arguments. Why would you say it’s funny?

    1. Edward Harrison Post author

      To each his own.

      The guy who wrote it is clearly a self-effacing gold bug because the positions the guy in the video takes are laughably extreme. And the lady has a few good points.

  2. Jim Haygood

    The key sentences from Jeremy Warner’s article in the Telegraph:

    “If by 2013 countries like Greece, Ireland and Portugal are still in a shaky position, with weak fiscal accounts and weak growth, any new debt issued with SDRM clauses will carry exorbitant yields, inconsistent with debt sustainability.

    “The EU would then have to choose between a full-fledged, open-ended bailout, and reneging on the promise that existing debt would not be restructured.”


    It is so obvious that restructuring is coming, sooner or later. This will become clearer in the next few months, as countries following austerity policies fail to grow as predicted, or even slide back into double-dip recession.

    A specter is haunting Europe …

  3. Jim Haygood

    From the Independent article about Irish banks’ ECB borrowings:

    “Irish-based lenders’ borrowings from the European Central Bank rose 7.3pc last month as the yield investors demanded to hold the state’s debt surged on concerns about its budget deficit and mounting bank losses.

    “ECB funds used by lenders including international and domestic companies climbed to €130bn as of October 29, from €121.1bn at the end of September, according to statistics published on the central bank’s website today.”


    Bloody hell, man — that’s over a hundred freaking percent of Irish GDP (€120bn)!

    Wake me up when the restructuring is announced!

    * pops another Guinness for breakfast *

  4. Jim the Skeptic

    “DNA shows man may have been wrongly executed”

    Good heavens, why was this man on the street instead of in prison. See his record in the last paragraph below.

    “Claude Jones, 60, was executed by lethal injection on 7 December in Huntsville, Texas for the murder of a liquor store owner.

    In November 1989, Jones entered Zell’s liquor store in Point Blank and asked the owner, Allen Hilzendager, to retrieve a bottle for him. As Hilzendager turned to get the bottle, Jones shot him three times with a .357 Magnum revolver. Jones took $900 from the cash register and fled in a getaway vehicle waiting outside. Waiting in the car were Jones’ two accomplices, Kerry Daniel Dixon Jr. and Timothy Mark Jordan.

    Three days later, the trio robbed a bank in Humble, Texas, obtaining $14,000 in loot. They then went on a weekend trip to Las Vegas. About three weeks after the liquor store robbery, Jones was arrested in Florida for bank robbery.

    Jones, who also used the aliases Carl Roy Davis, Butch Jones, and Douglas Ray Starke, had eleven prior convictions in Texas for crimes including murder, armed robbery, assault, and burglary. He served 6 years of a 9-year prison sentence from 1959 to 1963 and three years of a 5-year sentence from 1963 to 1965. In 1976, he was convicted of murder, robbery, and assault in Kansas and received a life sentence. While in Kansas prison, Jones killed another inmate. He was paroled in 1984.


    1. gruntled

      His long criminal record should not detract from the fact that he may have been innocent of the crime for which he got the ultimate punishment.

      1. Jim the Skeptic

        We convict people “beyond a reasonable doubt”, but that is not conviction to a certainty. So you could always say the accused/convicted may have been innocent.

        Locally a man was convicted of killing a women where the prosecutors didn’t even have any proof the victim was dead, in other words there was no body.

        We don’t know whether this Jones was guilty and we never will. So what lessons can we learn?

        First, all evidence should be checked for DNA matches in death penalty cases.

        Second, career criminals should serve every single day of their sentence. This man and the victim would probably both be alive today if he had been kept in prison serving what seems to have been a life sentence.

        1. gruntled

          Only a piece of hair linked him to the crime scene, and now DNA evidence indicates it wasn’t his. You think the evidence against him could have been a little less than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in a capital punishment case?

          1. Jim the Skeptic

            The jury had all the evidence and it was more than just a hair. At least one of other arrested men testified against him, though he retracted that testimony after the execution. (So when was he lying?)

            I haven’t seen a trial transcript, have you?

            I believe that this is just unknowable at this late date. Even the ‘Innocence Project’ is not saying Jones was innocent.

            At least they had a body, unlike the local case which I mentioned.

            I think your definition of “beyond a reasonable doubt” is more demanding than the majority of jurors.

            I went through a jury selection process once where the death penalty was being invoked. There were jurors who just said flat out that they were not capable of voting for the death penalty. If they had been allowed on the jury their definition of “beyond a reasonable doubt” would have been so high that the prosecutor could never have gotten a conviction.

  5. Paul Repstock

    Stopping the patenting of genes may have been the most important thing the US Government has ever done. It takes little imagination (or paranoia) to recognise the enormous threat embodied in the article below.

    The following quote show what is now possible..It is the stuff of Doomsday scenarios and horror movies.

    “..Alphey’s team bred a version of the male Aedes aegypti mosquito which can attract and mate with females but is genetically modified to die if it is not fed on a certain antidote, in this case an antibiotic called tetracycline.

    “We put a segment of DNA into the mosquito which means it will die unless it gets the antidote,” said Alphey told reporters at a briefing in London on Thursday.

    “By giving them tetracycline in the lab, we can keep them alive and breed large numbers of them, but when we release the males into the environment and they mate with wild females, all the offspring inherit a copy of the gene that kills them if they don’t get the antidote…so they die.”

    Given that some groups and individuals have shown no compunction about or remose for, destroying countries, economies, corporatations, and individual people; the important aspect of laws denying natural gene patents is that it also removes the profit motive from ‘monopolising’ the ownership of specific genes.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Just imagine what would happen to the world if similar manipulations took place with the genes of pig or cattle, or specially rice or soybeans.. One can even extrapolate to the application to humans….If you don’t cooperate and agree to our demands, you won’t get your antidote, and your children wont get the antidote (remember the dependancy in these mosquitoes was passed on genetically)…

      Do we drink the koolaid now or latter??

    2. attempter

      Well, they haven’t really done much. It’s a DoJ amicus brief. It does represent a major change in government “opinion” on the subject, to the extent that matters. On the other hand, the patent office, clearly a fully corrupt agency which identifies with the patent-seekers, publicly complained about this and has said it will continue with the status quo until otherwise explicitly directed. It’s hard to imagine Obama exerting himself in any anti-corporatist way. The next time will be the first.

      Also, this new position only applies to unmodified genes. The brief explicitly says the DoJ still supports patents for “modifications”.

      So while this is the first limitation on gene patents the US government has ever asserted, and that is important, it’s not a repudiation of the basic principle. On the contrary, it reaffirms it.

      But we need a complete rejection of the principle.

    3. Richard Kline

      So Paul, I’m with you all the way. From the Food Freedom link: DoJ: ““The chemical structure of native human genes is a product of nature, and it is no less a product of nature when that structure is ‘isolated’ from its natural environment than are cotton fibers that have been separated from cotton seeds or coal that has been extracted from the earth…”

      Oh yeah, about frickin’ time. ‘Patenting’ genes is nothing more than a scam on the vast majority of humanity. It’s scarcely believable in the Bushbama era that the Federal government can find anything to do that’s right, but this is an important brief that’s long over due and massively in the public interest.

    4. john c. halasz

      Leaving aside the absurdity of converting nature into IP, the scientific premises are wrong. You’d have to patent gene interactions or synergies!

  6. Sundog

    Stuxnet monitors the current operating frequency of these motors, which must be between 807 Hz and 1210 Hz, before Stuxnet modifies their behavior. Relative to the typical uses of frequency converter drives, these frequencies are considered very high-speed and now limit the potential speculated targets of Stuxnet. We are not experts in industrial control systems and do not know all the possible applications at these speeds, but for example, a conveyor belt in a retail packaging facility is unlikely to be the target. Also, efficient low-harmonic frequency converter drives that output over 600Hz are regulated for export in the United States by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission as they can be used for uranium enrichment. We would be interested in hearing what other applications use frequency converter drives at these frequencies.

    Eric Chien, “Stuxnet: A Breakthrough”

  7. Peg Bertaina

    In the beginning just remember it was darked and then someone smiled! try this:
    off topic but hey you smile My life has a superb cast, but I can’t figure out the plot.

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