Links 3/10/11

Kangaroo bounce mechanics snapped BBC. The article explains why this is worth studying.

How the penis lost its spikes Nature (hat tip Richard Smith)

Recent Earthquakes in Central US (hat tip reader bob). You tell me…

Text messages to replace stamps in Sweden The Local

Dalai Lama ‘Retiring’ The Diplomat (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Interrogator in the Assange case friend with woman accusing Wikileaks founder Expressen (hat tip Clusterstock)

US farmers fear the return of the Dust Bowl Telegraph (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Southeastern States Mired in the ‘Diabetes Belt’: CDC Report Business Week

Libya’s main oil terminal ablaze after raid Financial Times

CIVIL WAR LIVE: Qaddafi Attacks Ras Lanuf By Air, Land And Sea Clusterstock

Japan must develop nuclear weapons, warns Tokyo mayor Independent (hat tip reader furzy mouse). Before you get too concerned, Ishihara is a long-standing extremist. He was co-author of the 1980s “The Japan That Can Say No” which was translated and made the rounds in the West, and his own “I Still Say No” which was apparently pretty cranky, a best seller in Japan (like the first book), yet no one here seemed aware of the fact that it existed.

McKinsey model springs a leak John Gapper, Financial Times

Unexpected Trade Deficit in China; Chinese Importers Caught in a Squeeze; Global Macro Picture Weakens Michael Shedlock. China has this interesting way of reporting trade deficits shortly before the Treasury is required to opine (April and October) on whether China is a currency manipulator.

Just in time for the summit, eurozone bond yields achieve new records EuroIntelligence

King helps the case for banking reform Financial Times (hat tip Richard Smith). This row has gotten zippo attention in the US.

Updated: Wisconsin GOP Rams Through Union-Busting Measure; Thousands Storm Capitol AlterNet (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Pulitzer Prize Winner Seymour Hersh And The Men Who Want Him Committed WhoWhatWhy (hat tip reader furzy mouse). This is an article from February but still worth reading.

House prices, gold, and long-term investing MacroBusiness

“The Free-Banking vs. Central-Banking Debate” Mark Thoma

Antidote du jour (hat tip Tracy Alloway):

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  1. rjs

    re: Recent Earthquakes in Central US

    fracking, of course: Two oi1 and gas companies agreed to temporarily shut down wastewater disposal wells in Arkansas that some experts believe are connected to a recent swarm of earthquakes. The State Oil and Gas Commission was scheduled to request the shutdowns at an emergency session on Friday morning, six days after Arkansas experienced its largest earthquake in 35 years. The companies that own the wells, Chesapeake Energy2 and Clarita, agreed to the request before the meeting, said Shane Khoury, deputy director of the commission, though company officials did not support the theory, held by some state researchers, that the wells may be connected to the earthquakes. Such wells are dug for the disposal of wastewater that is a byproduct of natural-gas drilling3. Researchers have long studied a potential connection between the use of disposal wells and earthquakes, a correlation that researchers for the Arkansas Geological Survey have observed in recent months.

    1. Parvaneh Ferhadi

      In 2007 there was an earthquake in Basel City, Switzerland of 3.1. It was caused by a geothermal project that did work with water being pumped at high pressure into the ground.
      It’s the same approach as is used for fracking.

      They may have been lucky there, because in 1356 Basel was wiped out by an estimate 6.2/6.5 earthquake.

      2007 earthquake:

      1356 earthquake:

    2. Mark

      I’m not a fan of fracking but I am a fan of good science. What can be said to be known of the earth’s crust and it’s “activity” is quite poor and is quite a bit worse than knowledge of the earth’s climate for example. Ascribing some particular seismic activity, even in a place not known to be an area of recent activity, is akin to ascribing today’s weather to climate change.

      I would suggest sticking to arguments about underground aquifers when attacking fracking. You’ll be on much better scientific ground and therefore more credible.

      1. Mighty Booosh

        Because only once the surface estate is completely destroyed by a series of earthquakes caused by the lubrication of faults and strata with a myriad of undocumented chemicals and polluted water will we have a large enough sample population to state that we probably should not have lubricated the faults and strata such that they moved and produced earthquakes causing the destruction of the surface estate. At least the survivors can enjoy their new artesian fountains of delicious short chain hydrocarbons.

    3. rd

      The deep well injection could be a contributing factor. The quakes are typically occuring at a depth of 4 to 7 km below the surface which is within reach of the deepest injection wells, although most are much shallower.

      It should be noted that major earthquakes usually occur in areas that have been relatively quiet since the strain in the ground needs to be locked and not released in smaller quakes. a classic example is Parkfield, CA where there is an M 6 earthquake about every 20 years. This allows the San Andreas fault to move in Parkfield, so they are unlikely to get a M 8 quake. However, the San Andreas does lock up in the LA and SF areas which is why those areas are subject to less frequent monster quakes. As a result, lots of small quakes are often a good thing although they could be transfering strain to a locked up portion of a fault a little ways away.

      The New Madrid Fault Zone is an interesting area. It largely flew under the radar screen until people wanted to start siting nukes around the country and really investigated earthquake risk.

      USGS has a decent fact sheet out about the region and its earthwquake risk:

      One of the interesting aspects of earthquakes east of the Rockies is that the ground is not as fractured as the area west of the Rockies. As a result, high intensity shaking can spread much further. You can see this on this map of 2% probability of peak ground acceleration in 50 years for the US:

      California up through Washington State has a high probability of earthquakes on numerous faults, so the risk is high throughout the area. However, areas like New Madrid and Charleston are unlikely to have more than one serious earthquake in a long period of time (average return intervals of about 500 years) but those quakes will affect much larger land areas.

      The Mississippi valley around the New Madrid area have the largest liquefied sand deposits in the world. Probably only some of the Chinese river floodplains can compete. Along with significant structural damage of buildings, the large liquefaction zones in an earthquake would likely do tremendous damage to the region’s levee system which would leave the area susceptible to major flooding after a quake.

  2. attempter

    It looks like things are slowly getting bad in “social democratic” Scandinavia. The Assange case is typical police statism.

    The electronic stamps, on the other hand, are a symptom of creeping rentier totalitarianism. Sure, it’s “optional” now. But we know the drill: Using the robust, non-tollbooth old way will become more and more difficult and subject to new barriers, and eventually discontinued.

    It says they have no current plans to raise postal rates. Anybody want to bet on what will happen to the rates on these privatized Stamps once the system is entrenched and involuntary?

    And it’s apparent how this will facilitate database compilation on who sends what mail to whom.

  3. nick r


    His name is Ishihara, not Ishikawa, and he’s less extremist than you might imagine. Google him.

    Nick R.


    1. YY

      He’s more Koch than Bloomberg. Outspoken is correct, mostly out of his ass. He setup a bank run by the city as a corrective to commercial banks not giving credit to small business. The bank failed spectacularly as aggressive lending led to bad debts. Basically his philosophy is go it alone and very simplistic in the logic. That’s his appeal, just as well his political life is almost over. He’s entertaining but full of the same kind of lunacy as one would find in say a Gingrich. Nukes in Japan is not a foreign policy issue, nor is it a practical issue, it has too deep a moral/ethical dimension for easy implementation.
      However if you’re basically an oaf, it appears easy.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      Another example of my name dyslexia, fixed the post.

      I read “I Still Say No” in a bootleg translation, it was really pretty barmy.

  4. dearieme

    Hersh seems to have ignored the proprieties; it’s traditional when pointing at The Pope to mention The Queen and The Jews too.

    1. skippy

      Muddying the waters again…eh. Refutation by popular association, well on the Queens part there is that sheep skin thing…you know the first two names on it stuff. Damn if I take that route, then the other mob, well you know what I mean.

        1. skippy

          Genealogical sheep skins with Jesus as their direct ancestor which is superseded by only GOD him self….LOL…the well spring of all their Noble Power is based on these scrolls…eh.

          Any mob that derives power from thousands of years ago, especially monotheistic systems, as a means to bedazzle the commons…is a sham.

          Skippy…they givith alms, but, take lives.

    2. gordon

      It’s worth remembering that there are two organisations which might loosely be called “Knights of Malta”; the one referred to in the link, and the other one called the “Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem”.

      The Wikipedia disambiguation page gives links to articles about each:

      From the article about the Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem (not the linked one):

      “The order’s approximately 25,000 confrères, supported by 4,000 employees and 250,000 volunteers,[4] are mainly of the Protestant faith, though those of other Christian denominations or other religions are accepted into the order, and honorary membership is presented to distinguished adherents of other religions. … It is perhaps best known through its service organizations, St. John Ambulance and St. John Eye Hospital Group, the memberships and work of which are not limited to any denomination or religion”.

      H.M. the Queen is the Sovereign Head of this Order, which as far as I know is a perfectly innocuous and very useful volunteer and charitable medical organisation.

  5. Richard Kline

    Regarding the tainted investigation in Sweden of Julian Assange, this entire investigation is really, really despicable. That sums it up in a single, accurate word. The allegations reek. The investigators are blatantly partisan. The complaint has been patently and extraordinarily political in its pursual. The intermediaray authorities meant to assess the substance of complaint passive rubber stampers.

    If one needed any evidence that Wikileaks was justified and meritorious in its actions, the scummy nature of the process against Assange is the purest demonstration: there’s nothing substantive to raise against the truth, so it’s down to throwing dirt.

        1. Mark

          No but I’m a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel lover and the picture looks like what I would imagine a “Cav-a-Poo” puppy might look like. I haven’t decided yet what I think of these things. Cavaliers have a major problem with heart disease and Toy Poodles have temperament problems. In theory one might think you could “fix” this with a pairing but good Cavaliers and good Poodles are available from quality breeders. I think the motivation of most of these “Thing-a-Poo” breeders is pure profit however.

          1. Mark


            I’m familiar with the syringomyelia problem. In the US there are two competing Cavalier Clubs. We’ve always gone to breeders from the older club which fought AKC registration of Cavaliers. One of our dogs was given to us by a breeder with truly remarkable ethics. She (our pup) was born with congenital cataracts and the breeder considered it unethical to accept money for her. She also spayed the entire litter and the Dam (for whom this was her first litter). Sadly there are too few breeders like this and too few owners willing to compensate breeders properly for running their kennels ethically.

          2. Graveltongue

            Ethics and profit are not happy bed fellows. Dog breeding should never be a competition, under any circumstances. It is nothing short of eugenics. Physical abnormalities should not be rewarded or encouraged. I find the whole process of maintaining certain characteristics in animmals because they are pleasing to the eye abhorrent. My apologies, I feel very strongly about the ‘dominion over animals’ bullshit. I’m not some animal rights nutter, I just think we need to tone down human arrogance a couple of notches.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Speaking of poo, it is interesting to note that, for washing hair, most humans consistently prefer sham poo over true poo.

        Why people would take some sham product over a true, genuine product is truly puzzling.

  6. Spunky McGoo

    Diabetes belt, bible belt, why don’t we just skip to the chase and call it what it is…the Stupid Belt!

  7. Mark

    As for Hersh and FP I would suggest that one review Glenn Greenwald’s criticism of John Burns Iraq coverage for a primer on the attitudes and motivations of the kind of people running and writing for FP.

  8. dave

    Japan was the most pacifist nation I ever lived in, it was very refreshing. The average citizen was firmly against nuclear weapons.

    At the end of the day its academic. If Japan ever really needed nuclear weapons for a pressing threat I would think they could develop and build them within a month given their technological capabilities.

  9. gordon

    From the BBC item about kangaroos:

    “…at low speeds, they use their tail like a fifth limb, inching along like an inchworm”.

    “Inchworm” is quite wrong. Slow-moving ‘roos lean forward, take their weight on the tail and forelimbs stretched forward, then let their big hindlimbs swing forward, held out of contact with the ground, to a position underneath them again. I’ve yet to encounter a worm with forelimbs and hindlimbs, let alone a tail.

    “Humans fatigue very easily when we do this…”. I haven’t met many humans with tails, so they can’t “do this” at all, fatiguing or not.

    Total failure of descriptive prose.

  10. Mr. Incognito

    A unionized public employee, a teapartier, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table is a plate with a dozen cookies on it.

    The CEO reaches across and takes 11 cookies, then looks at the teapartier and says “Watch out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie!”

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