Links 12/11/10

Doctors shocked by spread of swine flu – and its severity Independent (hat tip reader May S)

Lost Civilization May Have Existed Beneath the Persian Gulf LiveScience

Face mask that’s so good every crook wants one Independent (hat tip reader May S)

Military Bans Use Of Removable Media After WikiLeaks Disclosures CRN

Zimbabwe’s ‘Blood Diamonds’ exposed by Wikileaks cable Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The New McCarthyism, The Real Terrorists—The Case of Wikileaks, Part II Gonzalo Lira

Anonymous cyberwarriors stun experts Financial Times. I wonder if this is being misread or maybe even misrepresented. You have a lot of libertarians among techies. What is happening could be a groundswell, as in techies who have not been active in Anonymous before pitching in too.

Kettling, the Media and #day3x Fintag (hat tip Richard Smith). This eyewitness account indicates why the media reports of student protests in the UK are more than a little bit misleading.

OECD Education Rankings – 2010 Our Times. Reader May S highlights that the US has a lesser percentage of percentage of 25-34 year-olds who have completed an upper secondary education. In fact it is singled out as “the only OECD country where 25-34 year-olds are not better educated than 55-64 year-olds.”

Bank complaints soar even after law changes Associated Press

Money Printing Alea. Seems to support the contention that QE2 is an asset swap….

Bank of America Thaws Foreclosure Freeze Consumerist (hat tip Lisa Epstein)

Housing agencies clash over mortgage-relief program Washington Post

LPS claims stories by Reuters and Florida Times-Union inaccurate, sensational Housing Wire. As Lisa Epstein commented via e-mail, “Housing Wire, the go-to place for your LPS press releases.”

Warren Says Wall Street Bonuses Show ‘We Still Have a Problem’ Bloomberg

Antidote du jour:
Screen shot 2010-12-11 at 5.54.18 AM

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  1. Alex

    Regarding the “swine flu” link, sigh here we go again. I guess it’s good that people are paying attention to it, because it’s the problems people are ignoring that really blow up (e.g., the financial crisis we’re going through now.) But at this point, it’s clear that H1N1 is not going to be the pandemic the media was anticipating/hoping for.

    1. Paul Repstock

      Alex. Do not be complacent about any of this.

      For any reader who has a major problem with “Conspiracy may as well stop reading this before you have a heart attack.

      For anyone else; please consider the facts.

      1) The last “Pandemic Scare” proved to be a fizzle inspite of all the media, government, and WTO hype.

      2) There is considerable evidence that at least parts of that ‘flue strain’, were engineered in a lab.

      3) There is an ‘unsuppressed’ counter culture to the vaccine program. Some people are reported as becoming ill from recieving flue shots.

      4) Remember the ‘Weasles’! Two years ago 72 kilograms of lethal vaccine base containing “Live” H1N1 plus “Live” H1N5 virus were distributed from Baxter Labs in Austria Only to be discovered at the 11th Hr and 59 min?? How could such a lethal stew be manufactured and released from a “Bio security level III” facility???

      In my paranoid little mind I can’t help but wonder if there is some shell game running. I mean really, only government supporting/compliant people would take flue shots now. I can’t help thinking that this would be such a fitting way to get rid of all those “Useless eaters” who are also resistant to government programs…after all, the government is offering flue shots????

      For those few who haven’t ignored me yet, think of the Georgia Guide Stones and their message. Do you really doubt that the stench of a few million rotting bodies would spoil their self imposed “Vacations” to Barbados or Bremuda???

  2. Alex

    And regarding the Anonymous story from FT: most of the people participating in those attacks were not technologically sophisticated. As the article says

    Anonymous encouraged “hacktivists” to download a simple tool – known as the “low orbit ion cannon” – that allows their computers to be used to inundate the targeted website with requests and bring it down.

    The only skill required was downloading and invoking a piece of software. Communities of skilled hackers are distancing themselves from the attacks, and Anonymous itself, or at least some representatives thereof, claims to be moving away from the actively hostile strategy they’ve been pursuing.

      1. spc

        Here’s detailed tutorial how to shoot this LowOrbitIonCanon.
        It’s not about being tech savvy, it’s about clicking.

        This page has been marked as “containing malware”, though.
        I was directly there, nothing happened.

        You just download .exe file – source code is included, how nice – fire it up, and you’re ready to sink war ships .

    1. ltk

      The most amazing thing about the DDoS attacks is that everyone seems to be using their own computers, and so few people have faced any consequence. This is fairly close to certain to be a violation of any ISP’s terms of service, and in any case is in most jurisdictions a crime. And, it’s trivial to track down any one participant. There’s thousands, but they’re mostly kids joining a fad, with no coherent ideology; so a few percent chance of any kind of consequence at all would probably be enough to dissuade them.

      If the ISPs have been refusing service to Wikileaks for some dubious violation with no clear legal theory, then you’d think they’d be a bit more proactive about actions that are (a) unambiguously against their terms of service, (b) probably also criminal, (c) attracting attention to the cause, and (d) causing real economic harm. So are they (and the police) just too lazy/stupid to act?

      In any case, the targets will upgrade their networks. There’s nothing particularly difficult about withstanding a DDoS attack, if you have money, and a few weeks to plan for it; just a matter of more bandwidth, and either more raw server capacity, or something upstream to identify and discard traffic from the attackers. So they’ll spend the money, pass the cost along to the customer–among payment processors, for example, almost every major player was affected, and the ones who weren’t will probably add capacity anyways; so there’s no competitive pressure not to)–and life returns to normal.

  3. Richard Kline

    Regarding the potential of the Persian Gulf basin as a reservoir of human migration out of Africa in the Palaeolithic, I have personally argued that in research in other contexts for four years. Based on an efficient way to locate sequential Y-DNA and mtDNA haplogroup spreads, it’s my view that the Gulf Basin was by a long measure the cradele of mankind, certainly for South and East Asia. Secondary expansions from this region into SE Europe in the Neolithic account for the demographic majority of the genetic complement in Europe too, though not represenative of the earliest groups there. The brief mention in the article of a sudden-onset Neolithic horizon inshore of the modern Gulf boundaries c. 5500 years ago is not meaningful in the context of this larger argument, though. Most of the Gulf Basin would have been submerged on the order of 20-15,000 years ago in the Epipalaeolithic. I agree that finding _any_ new lithic horizons near or under the Gulf of Palaeolithic range would be exceedingly interesting and useful.

    I don’t suppose I’ll ever get a not from the study’s author, but that’s OK: the idea is fairly obvious to any scrutiny of the issue, and doubtless had occurred to others before I took a kick at it.

    1. Dan Duncan

      This was an fascinating story. Richard, do you have any links to your other research? It would be interesting to learn more.

      I know that in the past you’ve referenced the fact that your theories on non-linear dynamics and fat tails preceded those of Nassim Taleb. And who could forget that even though you “hate economics”, your ideas on credit-money creation were in place well before Steve Keen’s commendable research? And how about modern medicine and diagnostic theory? You’ve done a lot of work in this are as well…but that too was “unpublished”.

      And now you’ve done pioneering research on human migration in the Palaeolithic Era!? Amazing. Where does it end?

      Thankfully, it appears that your research and arguments on the Palaeolithic were actually published. Why else would you lament the lack of a nod? It would be criminal if these seminal theories also went unrecognized. You deserve a nod from these authors!

      Please…give us a link to your writings. I think a Naked Cap Campaign could be started to petition the authors of this latest study to recognize your work.

        1. Dan Duncan

          There wasn’t a trace of irony in my post. Sarcasm, definitely, But irony…No.

          Despite the sarcasm, there wasn’t anything in my post that was untrue. Richard Kline has in fact asserted that he has deep knowledge on linear dynamics, monetary theory, world history, medical diagnostics and–I shit you not—theoretical physics. As a result of this knowledge he is deemed a “polymath” and is given a platform as a featured writer. His featured essay on the 4th of July immediately comes to mind. [So it’s not as if I’m taking a shot at a random reader who just happened to have done research on the Palaeolithic Era.]

          Sorry, but I call bullshit.

          I think Kline’s wise sage routine adds some faux gravitas to this online community. I think he’s given this latitude because his views agree with the left-leaning sentiments of the site; only he expresses them far more eloquently than most.

          Note that from non-linear dynamics to Palaeolithic genetics…these disciplines are apolitical. Yet, if Kline regularly endorsed views that were not regularly endorsed by the Left, there would be howls of laughter if he were to make the comment he made here today…

          But…when Richard Kline—a left-leaning polymath and poet(!) who is on the cutting edge of physics, medicine, history and other scientific pursuits–participates in the various discussions on world events, and agrees with the majority view here, it makes you feel better about your own views. In exchange for this affirmation “from the genius”, you agree not to call him out when he routinely makes outlandish claims about his cutting-edge research and that certain authors owe him a nod.

          Sorry, but I think it’s a load of shit that perpetuates the false consensus and Group Think that pervades this site.

          Now I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a total asshole if I’m wrong. Hell, I’ll even grant that I’m an asshole if I’m right…but wouldn’t it be great to have Richard Kline stick it in my face with a simple “Fuck you” and a link or some cite to his research on this matter? C’mon Richard, if not for you, do it for the others. Do it for the children.

          If you do, I’ll never post here again. I promise. Hell, I’ll even buy your book of poetry. [I assume that since you’ve referred to yourself as a poet that you are in fact published.]

          So, what do you say: How about that link?

          1. emca

            Dan sez:

            “Hell, I’ll even grant that I’m an asshole….”

            Righteous of you to assume the mantle of what is already known.

          2. Paul Repstock

            You may be right, or you may be wrong. No matter, atleast you are civil about your critique. Just do not automatically assume that Richard cannot have studied and theorized about all these subjects. When I was young I fantasized about being the next Leonardo Da Vinci or Roger Bacon. I too have read and contemplated a huge range of subjects. I’ve had 5 businesses and about 25 paid jobs. When I tell people what I’ve done they normally give me a shrug. I have never published anything, just filled notebooks and scraps of paper with thoughts on everything.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        Not to defend Richard, but it really is amazing how much the people who are afraid of the unknown become endlessly and compulsively irritated by those who think deeply, consider new ideas and incite others toward discoveries.

        What a waste of time, trying to fool yourself into believing that your idiotic views on life are sound by picking at the far edges of someone else’s and then posting a pale imitation of intelligent sarcasm.

      2. Paul Repstock

        DD: You gave me a bit of a laugh there..:)

        However, even though I sometimes don’t agree with Richard, I do not doubt his ability to have studied some very obscure subjects. The whole mindset that one needs to be part of the established culture of reseach has lead to much stupidity and ignoring of good information. Richard Kline is undoubtable sharp.

        If you people really knew how far above my “Peter Principle” ledge I sometime get, then nobody would read my posts. Sometimes when I read what I wrote, I wonder, “Where the heck did that come from?” However, the fact that I’m no Einstein and cannot even spell, does not automatically mean that I cannot have insights. Leaps of logic and intellect are not a fixed commodity. Remember the quote (by somebody), “A wise man can even learn from a fool.” So pay good attention to what I say..:)

      3. Richard Kline

        So Dan, when you graduate from the third grade, we’ll have that conversation. I don’t let children play with sharp objects.

        1. Dan Duncan

          Richard Kline. Sorry I’m late with my response. [I was working on the unification of quantum mechanics with the Special Theory of Relativity. I think I figured it out: I’ve developed a a synthesis of String Theory and Information Theory in a multi-dimensional matrix.]

          Anyways, as to your response: I guess it’s fair to say you have no cite to any research you may have done….on anything.

          Too damn funny.

          And the Ancient Mariners calls: Not a drop to drink, nor is there a cite to see.

  4. Steve Sewall

    Re the Gonzalo Lira Wikileaks piece: I’m mailing a check for $10 to Wikileaks in Australia. Wish I had more to send. But at least big brother will know whose side I’m on. Thanks Yves.

  5. LeeAnne

    this is very sad

    from HuffPo

    NEW YORK — A law enforcement official tells The Associated Press that a son of Bernard Madoff has been found dead in New York City of an apparent suicide.

    The official says Mark Madoff was found hanged in his Manhattan apartment.

    A family member notified police around 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

    The official spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t allowed to speak publicly about the case.

    Mark Madoff and his brother, Andrew, were under investigation but hadn’t faced any criminal charges in the massive Ponzi scheme that led to their father’s jailing.

    Bernard Madoff swindled a long list of investors out of billions of dollars and is serving a 150-year prison term.

    THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
    Story continues below

    1. hondje

      This isn’t sad, LeeAnne. Someone killed Bernie’s first born son two years to the day that he first ‘confessed’ to them. This was revenge, and every ache that Bernie’s rotten heart feels today was earned.

      You know why he ‘confessed’ to them, and they went to the FBI for him, right?

      1. Rex

        “You know why he ‘confessed’ to them, and they went to the FBI for him, right?”

        Umm, wrong — I guess. He, them, they, for him. I can’t figure out what you might be trying to say.

  6. Ignim Brifes

    “Total banks deposits before QE2 = $7.897 bln
    Total banks deposits after one month of QE2 = $7.896.5 bln”
    (“Money Printing” Alea)
    So banks deposits have not increased after 90bln of FED purchases of Treasuries. The crux of the argument is that reserves that banks hold with the FED are not money. Is it similarly the case that the interest the FED pays on these reserves is not money? Now one might grant that Treasuries, even the longer dated ones targeted by QE2, are as good as money anyway; particularly when the FED stands ready to buy them up or ITNS (in the new speak) reservify them. But if this is the case, and the banks have exchanged 90Bln of monetary equivalents for a non-monetary asset call reserves, then the FED is effectively decreasing the amount of money or equivalents that is available to the real economy.

    In the absence of QE2, if the banks were to extend loans requiring 90bln in reserves they would have had to sell their Treasuries in the market to fund the reserves. (Of course, the could have posted these as collateral with the FED). Now they are spared this requirement. So the lending capacity of banks as been boosted between 900Bln and 3000Bln depending on what reserve requirement applies.

    Of course maybe it does not matter. Maybe reserves at the FED are just a barbaric relic.

  7. Dirk

    Re that Zimbabwe blood diamond article: some source names were not removed? So either Wikileaks is getting sloppy and endangering people’s lives or this “leak” did not come from them. I mean, the latter is what I would do if I wanted to discredit Wikileaks. Where did The Telegraph get these “cables”? I will need to take these “Wikileaks” disclosures with a grain of salt now.

    1. scraping_by

      I have to admit by being underwhelmed by Dr. Paul in the past–the first speech I saw on was a video from a New Hampshire living room where he punctuated a thesis on the economy with, “and keep the government out of our bedrooms!” I didn’t see the connection.

      However, he has spoken truth to power, not to mention calling a spade a spade. While it’s dangerous to give too broad a benefit of the doubt for one good act, he bears listening to. Not part of the right wing noise machine.

  8. Anonymous Jones

    The Antidote! I’ve got it!

    A fat cat banker sitting in the sink even though he hates the water and wants only to clean himself; he just needs to ensure that no one else who needs the sink can use it.

    Ah, the inherent sadism evidenced in the wake of destruction left behind by a domestic cat. I love it…

  9. Sundog

    NYT headline writer FTW:

    “Twitter Sensation in the Senate, Despite Using Slightly More Than 140 Characters”

    I half-listened to the last two hours or so and would happily download a podcast of all eight hours.

    Meanwhile in the House:

    “Democrats Attack WikiLeaks or Remain Silent, but Republican Ron Paul Says: ‘State Secrecy is Anathema to a Free Society’
    John Nichols,

    I’d like to see these two oddballs get together on tax reform.

  10. Sundog

    El Pais of Madrid has several new articles on the war in Mexico, including five WikiLeaks cables.

    Los cables expresan la frustración de EE UU por las rivalidades internas en las Fuerzas Armadas y la corrupción “generalizada”

    Meanwhile NYT has a telling story on US adventures with the black economy in Afghanistan.

    James Risen, “Jailed Afghan Drug Lord Was Informer on U.S. Payroll”

  11. Sundog

    In addition, El Diario reports that 9 (or 8) people were killed in the space of 2 hours. And since that story was reported, another says that 6 members of a family were shot in their house. Three died and three were taken to the hospital. It will probably end up as the most violent day so far in December in Juarez. The death toll from murder for the month will top 80 by tomorrow. And the 2010 toll is
    approaching 3000.

    “We have 18 months,” he said [apparently in October 2009] “and if we do not produce a tangible success that is recognizable to the Mexican people, it will be difficult to sustain the confrontation into the next administration.” He lamented the pervasive, debilitating fear that is so much a part of contemporary Mexican society [to all appearances things have only gotten worse in the intervening 12-months-plus], where even people in the Yucatan, with “European levels of security” are afraid because of the instability in a few distant cities [maybe something to do with la corrupción generalizada?]. He expressed a real concern with “losing” certain regions. It is damaging Mexico’s international reputation, hurting foreign investment, and leading to a sense of government impotence, he said.

  12. Sundog

    NC has republished book reviews by Satyajit Das in past and could do worse than forwarding this one.

    Throughout the global financial crisis, politicians, business and economic leaders have steadfastly refused to contemplate a Japanese future for the global economy, at least for the developed economies. As the problems remain unresolved and policy options dwindle, the prospect of “turning Japanese” is now openly debated. “Contemporary Japan” provides a detailed and important perspective on what the future may look like and prospects that await the underclass that “Griftopia” portrays.

    Human history is the stuff of myth. Adam Smith, Goldman Sachs, Alan Greenspan, the Ambanis and Japan are icons that mask elusive truths. As with any myth, the real importance is in what it reveals about those who hold them important and self evident.

    “The Past, The Present and an “Unusually Uncertain” Future”

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