Links 5/27/11

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Electrical Implant Allows Paralyzed Man to Stand and Walk (video) Singularity Hub (hat tip reader Francois T). This is amazing.

The Antarctic island that’s richer in biodiversity than the Galapagos Independent (hat tip Buzz Potamkin)

Fukushima Faces ‘Massive Problem’ From Radioactive Waste Water Bloomberg

Groups sue FDA to stop Big Ag antibiotic abuse—and it just might work Grist (hat tip reader Francois T)

Internet chiefs unite against regulation Financial Times

Chinese rare earth metals prices soar Financial Times

NYSE Tries to Body Slam TPM! TPM (hat tip reader Mark H). Go enter their contest and help TPM embarrass the NYSE for trying a new, craven “silence critics” tactic.

There’s a Secret Patriot Act, Senator Says Wired (hat tip reader Paul S)

Christine Lagarde: ‘There should never be too much testosterone in one room’ Independent (hat tip reader Mary). I’m not keen about all this gender-ism. How about “there should never be too many short sighted status competitive bullies in one room.”

Israeli Central Bank Chief Exploring IMF Bid Wall Street Journal

Basel III break for banks in EU Financial Times. Gee, the Eurobanks had even lower capital ratios than US banks going into the crisis, did even less to clean up their balance sheets afterwards, and now they have quite a bit of periphery country debt. No wonder Basel III is resorting to a bit of extend and pretend.

The RBS report could fatally undermine the FSA’s leadership Telegraph (hat tip Richard Smith)

Why the British economy is in very deep trouble FTAlphaville (hat tip Richard Smith)

‘Dying’ Michigan City to Newsweek: Drop Dead [Video] Gawker. Marcy Wheeler just moved there and gives it a thumbs up. So there!

Judge Strikes Down Anti-Union Law in Wisconsin Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Florida Clergy, Faith Leaders Tell AG Bondi: Stop Siding with Wall Street Banks Tim Lillenthal

Hank Investigates: Mortgage Documents WHDH (hat tip reader Bruno L). A Lisa Green signature is now being treated as a “get out of debt free” card. Lordie.

The Economy Is Wavering. Does Washington Notice? David Leonhardt, New York Times. Anyone who was paying attention knew this “recovery” was running on fumes.

Visualizing Keynesian & Monetarist recessions Steve Waldman. Wonks will have great fun with this one…

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Anon

    Areva is apparently charging a cool US$50bn to remediate 22,000 tonnes highly radioactive soup from Reactor 3 (US$2.4m/tonne). Apparently, because of course the contract with Tepco is protected under commercial confidentiality. What a joke. Disaster capitalism at its finest. (

    Meanwhile, monitoring of Building 4 is no longer made public. Why? Is the instrumentation finally fried? gives readings for Building 1, and

    ?n=2 all function, but for
    ?n=4, you just get taken back to, a summary page of charts of the readings for buildings 1-3 & 5-6

    Building 4 info is now AWOL. Is it now the great unmentionable? We just pretend it isn’t there?

    Info was previously given for ?n=4 – I have screen shot of it from 7 April-29 April, which shows supression chamber (S/C) reading for Building 4 on 29 April of 6,100Sv/hr.

    On 7 April, S/C was 4,950Sv/hr, on April 19, S/C was 4,350Sv/hr. So readings were fluctuating and being reported. But not now.

    Building 4 spent fuel pool is/was full of plutonium – Tepco itself admitted that 1,331 used fuel rods (135 tonnes, says US NRC) and 204 unused fuel rods were stored in it – plus several reactor cores!

    Fairewinds’ Arnie Gundersen has said worst case scenario is Building 4 spent fuel pool catching fire, on account of all the plutonium it contains.

    How long does it take for 135 tonnes of plutonium-containing spent fuel rods to burn away, once no longer cooled, and exposed to the open air?

    And where do the residues end up?

        1. aet

          it perhaps ought to be repeated that reactor no 4 had no fuel in its core at the time of the accident; the spent fuel pool – which they have been able since to visually inspect – showed no damage other than some in-fallen debris.

      1. Anon

        Who are you calling a liar, exactly? Afraid, ignorant?

        The totally transparent truth-tellers of Tepco, with their excellent track record?

        Or Gregory Jaczko, the chairman of the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission?

        Jaczko’s testimony before the US Congress in mid-March:

        Mr. Jaczko’s most startling assertion was that there was now little or no water in the pool storing spent nuclear fuel at the No. 4 reactor of the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, leaving fuel rods stored there exposed and bleeding radiation into the atmosphere.

        As a result, he said, “We believe that radiation levels are extremely high, which could possibly impact the ability to take corrective measures.

        On Wednesday night, Mr. Jaczko reiterated his earlier statement and added that [NRC] representatives in Tokyo had confirmed that the pool at No. 4 was empty. He said Tokyo Electric and other officials in Japan had confirmed that”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeVeggies

      Didn’t TEPCO admit recently that the fuel pool in building 4 caught on fire? I believe they had to when it was discovered the zirconium cladding was missing.

        1. aet

          the meltdowns in reactors 1, 2 & 3 are problems enough, no need to look for more!

          As to the spent fuel pool at No 4, they have som,e concerns, but it is not as bad as doom-sayers have stated (I am impressed at the ability of theri eyes to see so far, and through walls, too.

          …that’s the plan, but what plan does not change once therehas been further information recieved?

          1. Anon

            What don’t you understand about the seriousness of a jump of 2,000Sv/hr in a reading in the Building 4 supression chamber between 7 April (c4k Sv/hr) and 29 April (c6k Sv/hr)?

            The fact remains that, by the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission’s own admission, Building 4 contains a minimum of 135 tonnes of plutonium-containing spent fuel rods.

            Given that Building 4 is now a wreck, the spent fuel pool in which these rods reside is now exposed to the open air.

            Japan is about to be hit by Typhoon Songda (; the typhoon season peaks in Japan in August-September.

            The contents of the Building 4 spent fuel pool will gradually be dispersed one way or another, whether by fire, wind or (ground) water.

            Nothing on earth can get near anything emitting a radiation dose of 6,000Sv/hr and live.

            Hell, 6Sv/day will kill you dead, let alone a thousand times that in one hour.

  2. rcyran

    News of those groups trying to force the FDA to stop antibiotic use in animals makes my day. Thank goodness.

    Squandering these in prophylactic use in feed lots is long-run stupidity that’s nearly criminal considering how little effort is being spent on developing new antibiotics and how difficult it may be to develop successful new classes.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeVeggies

      Yet hundreds of millions of people keep eating this meat as if nothing was the matter…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Organic vegetables or inorganic?

        BTW, a public annoucement. Sometimes I might post under StopVegetableCruetly!

  3. Max424

    YS: “I’m not keen about all this gender-ism.”

    I like to roam meadows, to find the brightest perennials, so as to deliver them in a bouquet form of my own unique design; to my true love, for … my gentle other.

    Also, I grieve o’er the existential fate of all my fellow traveling creatures (even spiders), and I routinely weep for them, and I shout out to them, “desperate friends, I wish you only happy trails!”

    At the same time, since I was born, I’ve had a deep urge to plunge sharp edged weapons into abdomens; to sever spines, to cut fuckers in two; to drink in the departing soul of the newly dead; to take what’s left behind into chattel slavery — but only if the helpless are smart enough, not to resist.

    How ’bout you? What’s it like, on your side of the ledger? Are gals born to rape and slaughter, do you think? Is your DNA programmed for it? Mine most certainly was; and so is the DNA of all* the other men I’ve ever known.

    * Almost all, if I’m being generous to my gender ( which I am not predisposed to do at this crucial — evolutionary — juncture).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeVeggies

      “Is your DNA programmed for it? Mine most certainly was; and so is the DNA of all* the other men I’ve ever known.”

      You should know that is a common fallacy about male genes that serves current elite interests. In fact, our genes predispose us to cooperation. If you are like this, it’s probably due to social conditioning.

      1. aet

        That is right : by nature, people are kind, gentle and co-operative.

        You have to “work” on them, pressure them in some way, for them to change their natures.

        And don’t the malicious know it!

        1. Max424

          Prime, aet, I like the optimism, and I like the defense of my gender.

          Now, is my DNA programmed for cooperation? Absolutely. On this we agree.

          But, if you don’t cooperate, is my DNA programmed to slaughter you, and it’s only through self-discipline, modern social conditioning, or sheer laziness, that I refrain? On this we might disagree.

          Are we, men and women, DNA wise, gentle creatures all? I don’t think so, but it’s a lovely thought; and one I’d like to believe.

          1. Toby

            Genes react, they does not ‘control.’ They’re not ‘decision’ making entities. Hence humans are not really cooperative or violent ‘by nature,’ we are both, it just depends on the circumstances, all of them. While our phenotype is of course important, environment it what makes it sing, or scream, or gambol, or blossom, or whatever.

            Apologies for the speech marks, but our language and way of thinking lead us astray. ‘Reality’ (whatever that is) is far more ‘complicated’ (whatever that is) than we ‘think’ (whatever that is). And don’t forget structural coupling! Very important.

          2. spokesmann

            That doesn’t really explain instinctual behavior Toby. For example, birds flying in formation or flying south, or insect behavior in colonies.

          3. Toby

            I’m not saying genes (or instincts) are irrelevant. But when do birds fly south? Something like temperature or length of the day (environmental change) activates that ‘urge’. But then humans don’t fly south for the winter under similar environmental conditions, unless they can afford that kind of life of course! And there’s another point. Humans have created an environment that gives them more opportunity for a wide variety of behaviours. Before airplanes no human ‘flew’ south. Was it ‘instinct’ that caused humans to create flying machines? Yes, in that we have the biological equipment to accomplish that, including curiosity, but without environmental cues (like birds) we wouldn’t have. And so on and so on…

    2. mk

      sounds like you describe the difference between being a psychopath and being a human, not a difference between genders.

    3. Francois T

      At the same time, since I was born, I’ve had a deep urge to plunge sharp edged weapons into abdomens; to sever spines, to cut fuckers in two; to drink in the departing soul of the newly dead; to take what’s left behind into chattel slavery — but only if the helpless are smart enough, not to resist.

      My ribcage hurts like hell…Thanks for the laugh; sure made my day!

      1. Max424

        Your welcome.

        There’s not enough humor in this blog, so I thought I would lighten things up a little, with some Genghis Khan.

        Genghis usually brings down the house.

    4. Susan Truxes

      Good response Max. I read years ago in Science News that testosterone makes men smarter. The more testosterone, the smarter the man. I’ve never read that it makes them immoral. My guess is that only opportunity makes people immoral. That is, if anyone needs an excuse. So Legarde was kidding because she has two sons and she knows how smart they got when their testosterone kicked in. And she likes the fact. To answer your question about slashing up your enemies with a double-edged knife. Yes. Women do have those fantasies. It depends on the threat. Women also evolved to protect their kids from anything. So point taken. Women are as murderous as men. Also, is my memory correct (no pun here) – did I also read that women convert estrogen into testosterone and it is also good for their brains?

  4. Average Joao

    What is America coming to? Not only the information collected under the Patriot Act, but the government’s interprestation of it as well? Maybe in the future, Congress will classify all laws so we won’t know what they are until we break them. Then our trials will be classified so no one will know why we were disappeared. Then our lives will be classified so our families won’t be able to find out about us.

    Why do I feel so much more terrorized by this than a couple of kids with box cutters?

  5. ambrit

    Re Secret Patriot Act;
    These allegations of secret interpretations of the “Patriot Act” have all the hallmarks of Star Chamber methodology. The Police State is already here and working hard to expand its’ scope and effectiveness. Huey Long was right when he said something to the effect of “Dictatorship will come to the United States disguised as Patriotism.” Look what happened to him.

    1. Francois T

      Whomever wanna some extension of “scope and effectiveness” (“just to feel safer, know watta mean?”) can rest assured that Congress is obliging with the unusual celerity reserved for the great occasions where Washington either 1) can get screwed by us with a vengeance (Do Not Call Registry) or 2) can screw us with a vengeance.

      Oh! Rest also assured that said “obligeness” shall be bipartisan in its very essence; we’re talking about dominating the unwashed, stupid, and obnoxious masses here, the favorite sport of ALL the political elites.

      Note that Washington can only achieve this kind of control by fostering hope while instituting unfairness, which is Barack Obama prime specialty.

  6. Jim Haygood

    The Wall Street Journal article about Stanley Fischer’s bid to head the IMF toes the standard MSM propaganda line. Since Fischer currently head Israel’s central bank, opposition would come from Arab nations and developing countries, the WSJ says, implying that it’s just their parochial squabble.

    Not so fast. Israel’s 44-year illegal occupation defies numerous United Nations and International Court of Justice rulings, including a 2005 ICJ ruling that Israel’s security wall is illegal, must be dismantled, and reparations paid to the Palestinians. Since the ICJ is situated in The Hague and has numerous European judges on its panel, Fischer’s candidacy likely would attract principled European opposition as well.

    Despite his outstanding experience, Fischer’s candidacy is doomed by his nation’s outlaw status, just as surely as a South African bid to head the IMF in the 1980s would have been out of the question for an apartheid state.

  7. ambrit

    Am I the only one who thinks FTAlphaville should be renamed FTBaitAndSwitchVille?
    I plead nolo contendere to being underemployed and cheap, but, comeon, this is just a teaser site. Is Murdoch involved with the FT somehow?

    1. Susan Truxes

      Yes, probably because Bush, Blair and Rupert met in London just before or just after they cobbled together the coalition of the willing. If FT is under the thumb of Downing Street, it has also been somewhat modified by Rupert.

    1. DownSouth


      Thanks for the heads up on the Spanish protests.

      If you happened to have missed it, Freedom Riders is a superb documentary on how nonviolent protest works.

      Hannah Arendt, writing in Crises of the Republic, perhaps put it better than anyone I’ve seen:

      To tear the mask of hypocrisy from the face of the enemy, to unmask him and the devious machinations and manipulations that permit him to rule without using violent means, that is, to provoke action even at the risk of annihilation so that the truth may come out–these are still among the stongest motives in today’s vioence on the campuses and in the streets. And this violence again is not irrational. Since men live in a world of appearances and, in their dealing with it, depend on manifestation, hypocrysy’s conceits–as distinguished from expedient ruses, followed by disclosure in due time–cannot be met by socalled reasonable behavior. Words can be relied on only if one is sure that their function is to reveal and not to conceal. It is the semblance of rationality, much more than the interests behind it, that provokes rage. To use reason when reason is used as a trap is not “rational”; just as to use a gun in self-defense is not “irrational.”

  8. KFritz

    Re: South Georgia

    The main body of a delightful short story by Robert Graves, “Old Papa Johnson,” is set in South Georgia…..during a biological expedition!

    My version is in a compilation entitled “Occupation Writer.” In the introduction, Graves reports that he delayed publication of the story until the eponymous main character was deceased.

  9. Larry Elasmo

    America’s Top Hypocrites by Alexander Cockburn

    “Was there ever a nation so marinated in hypocrisy as America? At home and abroad President Barack Obama trumpets Uncle Sam’s virtues and dispenses patronizing homilies to other nations on how to behave themselves and honor freedom and democracy. This last week it’s been Europe’s turn to hear these self-righteous preachments.”

    1. KFritz

      Yes. There have been and are nations, tribes, cultures as hypocritical as the US. But we’re the big kid on the block and so our hypocrisy is bigger and more apparent, at the very least to thinking Americans.

  10. Max424

    “slashing up your enemies with a double-edged knife.”

    Slashing enemies? With Knives? That’s for girls. We men have an innate desire to bisect our enemies, to separate them into equal halves, with large, preferably, two-handed weapons (the rapier is for sissies).

    “Women are as murderous as men.”

    I disagree. I disagree because unlike the Republican Party, grandmothers really, REALLY do care about their grandchildren. Grandma’s DNA is telling her to do everything in her power to stake out a happy, healthful, and fruit bearing future — for her extended progeny — well beyond her individual life cycle.

    The same cannot be said for Grandpa, in my opinion. Grandpa’s DNA is telling him to pursue power and profit and sexual pleasure, and if that pursuit involves poisoning the planet well beyond the point of no return, thereby killing off any chance his kids and grandkids might have, so be it. Grandpa is all about the here and now.

    Unless Grandpa is a Buddhist. That’s a different story.

      1. Max424

        He did, didn’t he.

        Well, I was thinking more about the reincarnation cycle. If Grandpa believes he’s coming back, he’d be a fool — in this life — to poison up his next life’s landing zone.

        1. Max424

          Unless Grandpa thinks he’s coming back as a cockroach. The cockroach and his extended kin can survive whatever poisonous world awaits them — or so I’ve been led to believe (by propaganda?).

    1. ambrit

      Unless grandpa is married to a grizzly grandma. Then he’d be shown on the cartoon as a bedraggled coyote and identified as “Ursus Uxorious.” I’m pondering that this might be the ubiquitous Ur-Patriarch. “In your dreams,” as Saint Freud said.
      With all this conversation centreing on tostesterone levels, let us step back a bit and consider that the rise of civilized “Personkind” has been by the steady replacement of gene driven behaviours with meme mediated behaviours. Any appeal to strictly utilitarian and determanistic behaviour systems is an implicit endorsement of Social Darwinism. Considering what a bunch of ruthless murderous s___s the Randians and Inerrantists have shown themselves to be, what more do we need to turn away from the Fane of the Temple of Mammon?

  11. Steve Devos

    To safeguard the earth or respect the weather, the wind and rain, we would have to think toward the long term and because we don’t live out in the weather, we’ve unlearned how to think in accordance with its rhythms and its scope. Concerned with maintaining his position, the politician makes plans that rarely go beyond the next election, the administrator reigns over the next fiscal budgetary year, and news goes out on a daily and weekly basis, As for contemporary science, it’s born in journal articles that almost never go back more than ten years; even if work on the paleoclimate recapitulates tens of millennia, it goes back less than three decades itself.

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