Links 6/23/11

Why Supermarket Tomatoes Suck OneEarth (hat tip reader Carol B)

Man flies US Airways in women’s underwear (Photo) SFGate. Reader Ken wrote, “I’m not a gambling man but I would bet this guy opted for the TSA pat down.”

University of Minnesota engineering researchers discover source for generating ‘green’ electricity e!ScienceNews (hat tip reader Robert M)

High-Tech Bracelets Locate Missing Ohio Seniors, Autistic Children GovTech (hat top reader furzy mouse)

Researchers Graph Social Networks to spot Spammers ThreatPost (hat tip reader furzy mouse)

Harvard scientists to make LSD factory from microbes Guardian (hat tip reader John M)

Climate of Denial Al Gore, Rolling Stone

The Myth of Precision-Guided Coercion CounterPunch (hat tip reader Carol B)

Failed States Index 2011 Foreign Policy (hat tip reader furzy mouse). Note the US is not in the “most stable” category.

“Growing Your Way Out of Debt” Is a Fantasy Charles Hugh Smith (hat tip reader Bruno)

Goldilocks, the Crash, and the Perfect Fiscal Storm Ed Harrison

Geithner: Big Banks Spend ‘Huge Amount to Erode’ Dodd-Frank Law Washington Wire. Marshall Auerback notes: “Dr. Frankenstein seems shocked, positively shocked, that the monster he created continues to act like a monster.”

How insider trading becomes endemic Felix Salmon

Antidote du jour:

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  1. fresno dan

    ” “Dr. Frankenstein seems shocked, positively shocked, that the monster he created continues to act like a monster.”

    Dr. Frankenstein SAYS he’s shocked, positively shocked, that the monster he created continues to act like a monster.
    Dr. Frankenstein says he has implemented safeguards, including provisions that should the monster create havoc too big to fix, that will assure that such destruction will not happen again. However, should the destruction happen again, the monster will be allowed to expire.

    Dr. Frankenstein noted that monsters are the lifeblood of the economy, what with the need for production of lighting rods, torches, pitch, etcetera and that without monsters, the village would forego the benefits of modern monster theory.

    1. Rex

      On that WSJ page I can only see a couple teaser paragraphs, but not sure I really care to read all about Timmy’s latest kabuki performance anyway.

      I did read some of the comments posted there, though. Ugh! Many read like Fresno Dan’s last paragraph except those posters really seemed to be serious. Mucho distaste for anything that might presume to ruffle any feathers on the wall street maestros. Quite a horror show. The living dead are still quite intent about their right to eat the rest of us.

    2. brian

      not dr. frankenstein
      more like louie the corrupt vichy cop in casablanca
      i’m shocked
      here are your winnings sir

      1. ambrit

        Next time you watch ‘Cassablanca’ look closely for the quite funny ‘bit of business’ that transpires between Rick and Frenchy in the background just after Louie pockets his ‘winnings.’ The epitome of todays moral morass, played out in a 40’s Hollywood movie.

    3. Cedric Regula

      That’s FrankenStEEn!

      This may be the New Abe Normal. Igor will keep an eye on it.

      1. Just Tired

        Better bone up on your Deutsch fool. Next you’ll tell us you’re related to EEN-stEEn!

  2. dearieme

    “Why Supermarket Tomatoes Suck”: because most customers don’t give a button about flavour or texture, unlike culinary sophisticates like me.

    (P.S. I first visited the US in 1966 – your tomatoes were rubbish then too. But I admit that my comparison was with the delicious tomatoes that my father grew in his greenhouse – which were therefore available only in summer and early autumn.)

    1. ambrit

      Dear dearieme;
      A lot of us here Down South, crossing all class and social lines, grow our own tomatos ‘in the back yard.’ Look carefully and you’ll find them ripening on windowsills in kitchens everywhere. I don’t know about where the ‘Damyanks’ live, but the growing season here is quite long. A bit of plastic and a few old plastic water pipes and you have a dandy tiny greenhouse too, to extend the growing season.
      Don’t just restrict the approbation to Tomatos. A great deal of the ‘produce’ in local supermarkets is picked too soon and bundled off to the poor ‘consumers.’ This is one place where bigger is definitely not better. (Did your Dad also brew his own beer? My Grandad did that and wine, too.)

      1. Sock Puppet

        Grow tomatoes, peppers, beans, basil, etc., bake my own bread, make my own bean sprouts, yogurt, hummus and yes, brew my own beer.

      2. recognized troll

        brew his own beer? My Grandad did that and wine, too.)


        I fill out my own downloaded .pdf files from IRS.GOV. If anyone find out I would be sooo embarrassed.

      3. Cedric Regula

        Got a batch of wheat beer spiced with orange and corinder in the fermenter right now. Will be ready to bottle in one week. Two weeks of bottle carbonation, then it’s ready!

      4. K Ackermann

        Every person incarcerated in the US has eaten tomato-based products at some point in their lives.


        9 out of 10 doctors is about 90%, and 50% of all doctors graduated in the bottom half of their class.

      5. ambrit

        To one and all;
        Ah, for the joys of ‘real beer!’ Coriander? Wasn’t that part of the old Egyptian Pharoaonic formula found in the “Brewers Tomb?”
        BTW, if you can get it, old brew mash makes an amazing ‘soil additive’ for the vegetable patch. (Looks like a lot of afficianados of this site are preparing for ‘hard times’ coming.)

        1. Cedric Regula

          Corinder is used in Belgium and Germen Wit beers. Wit means wheat. Half the grain bill is wheat, half is malted barley.

          The American Wit beer is Blue Moon, made by Coors, I think. Served with a slice of orange in the glass.

      1. ambrit

        Oh H—! I’m not sure we could handle the Truth if it came up and bit us on.. Oh, wait a minute.

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    We should all be required to become insiders.

    That ought to solve the insider trading problem.

    1. ambrit

      Eureka Springs;
      Well, as to cross dressing air passengers; the most ‘infamous’ such practicioner of said art I can think of is the ‘fabulous’ Ed Wood Jr. He can positively be named the Derivitives Fund Specialist of Hollywood.
      Can I also suggest that the present economic and political ‘elites’ have cornered the market in psychoactives? Their behaviour is a dead giveaway. If, as has been shown, “LSD absorbs 47 times its own weight in excess reality,” then Modern Finance absorbs 47 times its own value in ‘useful investment.’ Both lead to initial euphoria, but when you ‘crash,’ oh what a bummer.

  4. CoinKoin

    Failed States Index 2011 : I hope their inversion of Guyana and Suriname isn’t representative of the study…

    Also, did nobody told them that Newfoundland is an undisputed Canadian territory, French Guyana an undisputed French one, just like the Reunion, and the Galapagos an undisputed Ecuadorian one? And Madeira belongs to Portugal, not Spain, just like the Azores; and the Bonin and Volcano islands to Japan, and Socotra to Yemen, not Somalia, and the Laquedives to India, not the Maldives, and Jan Mayen to Norway, not Iceland… And Mayotte is a disputed territory administered by France, not an undisputed territory of the Comoros, and the same goes for the Glorieuses islands, and Ascencion, St Helena and Tristan da Cunha belong to the UK, and Fernando de Noronha to Brazil, and the eastern half of the Tierra del Fuego to Chile…

    Ok, I’m tired now. What the hell is wrong with their geography?

    1. CoinKoin

      Sorry, of course I meant : the WESTERN half of the Tierra del Fuego. By the way, why let Cape Hatteras white, as if it were a disputed area?

    2. Cedric Regula

      Sure, but why pick nits when they rate Ireland as “most stable” and Greece as “stable”?

  5. BondsOfSteel

    RE: Man Flys in Women’s Underwear

    Wow. I’m really offended by that guy. It seems his idea of dressing up like a woman is dressing up like a prostitute. His outfit is a very unflattering view into how he perceives women.

    At least the guy with droopy drawers wasn’t insulting.

  6. Pat

    “Alternative scenarios . . . ” (in the Greek crisis)
    by Chris Giles:
    The author lists four “what if” alternatives, with two of them looking rather frightening (disorderly default and leaving the euro), like a Godzilla movie but with the Invisible Hand of the Market replacing Godzilla. Actually, I think the author exaggerates what would happen if Greece defaults. As Iceland has shown, all you really need to do is shut the banks for a few days and reopen with capital restrictions, emergency laws, and perhaps a new currency. No more bank runs. It’s better to do this when no one is looking for it and no one expects it, although that would be difficult in this case.
    In fact, the Eurozone could solve a lot of its problems if suddenly one weekend all the banks were shut down and re-opened Monday with new local currencies replacing the sick Euro, and the conversion rates already pegged at realistic levels. That way there would be no capital flight and thus no need for controls.

    “As the prospect of a disorderly Greek default draws near, officials draw up “plan B” proposals for default and exit from the eurozone. The news leaks, creating an immediate flight of capital from all Greek assets. Realising the game is up, the Greek government calls a week-long bank holiday in which it converts holdings of euros in banks into the new drachma and announces it will no longer meet interest or principal repayments on its debts.

    When the banks reopen, the drachma plummets against the euro, forcing many Greek companies with external debts into bankruptcy. The Greek government prints drachmas to fund itself, creating hyper-inflation. Elsewhere in the eurozone, capital flees from all peripheral European countries for fear of the new currency risks that were thought to be abolished with the creation of the euro. Spain, Ireland, Italy and Portugal are all forced out of the euro in the ensuing chaos, triggering a greater confidence crisis than after the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

    As Europe enters a depression, its leaders contemplate the ruins of their political and economic experiment of the early 21st century.”

    1. Cedric Regula

      This guy just doesn’t know about MMT. Surely this cannot happen to a Sovereign Nation!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He’s probably shocked by the MMM (modern monetary monster) that he created is acting like an MMM*.

        * to be distinguished from the post-soviet MMM Ponzi scheme of the early 1990s.

    2. Just Tired

      The Greeks will not be allowed to default. The CDOs written on Greek debt will expose the fraud’s lying in the daisy chain of counter-parties, and bring down the TBTF banks just like AIG threatened to do before. CDOs are a massive fraud based on the concept that you receive premiums for so-called insurance and then never pay off. The truth is that no one, I say again, no one on this earth can say that I am wrong because no one knows what the truth is. This is precisely the point that Amar Bhide made yesterday. The game now is how much Europe can get Bernanke to chip in when he comes out of his self-induced coma and realizes what’s at stake. (We really haven’t studied this just yet will be his first thought upon waking up.) As for my prediction, time will tell.

  7. ambrit

    If DARPA is jumping into synthetic biology in a big way, can “The Arlington Strain” be far behind?

    1. Just Tired

      Well, how about this:

      “A public school teacher was arrested today at John F. Kennedy International airport as he attempted to board a flight while in possession of a ruler, a protractor, a compass, a slide-rule, and a calculator. At a morning press conference, Attorney General Eric Holder said he believes the man is a member of the notorious Al-Gebra movement. He did not identify the man, who has been charged by the FBI with carrying weapons of math instruction.
      ‘Al-Gebra is a problem for us’, the Attorney General said. ‘They derive solutions by means and extremes, and sometimes go off on tangents in search of absolute values.’ They use secret code names like ‘X’ and ‘Y’ and refer to themselves as ‘unknowns’, but we have determined that they belong to a common denominator of the axis of medieval with coordinates in every country. As the Greek philanderer Isosceles used to say, ‘There are three sides to every triangle’.”
      When asked to comment on the arrest, the President Obama said, ‘If God had wanted us to have better weapons of math instruction, he would have given us more fingers and toes.’ White House aides told reporters they could not recall a more intelligent or profound statement by the President – It is believed that another Nobel Prize will follow.”

        1. Cedric Regula

          Don’t worry. When it comes time to prosecute, they won’t be able to place Holder anywhere.

  8. Valissa

    Canada unveils mesmerizing “polymer” money

    The Bank of Canada is rolling out new, plastic-based $100 bills, which will hit the country’s wallets by November. … The Bank will be unveiling $50 and $20 polymer notes next year. “The new bills will last at least two and a half times longer than cotton-based banknote paper, and after being removed from circulation, for the first time in Canada, they will be recycled into other products,” the Bank’s Governor mark Carney said, according to the Digital Journal. “Safer, cheaper, greener: these new banknotes are a 21st Century achievement in which all Canadians can take pride, and in which all Canadians can place their confidence.”

    fyi, there is a short video at the link showing the new note in more detail.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Imagine, recycling those things into other products.

      Into, like, real money? Park benches? Toilet seats?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think I am sitting on $1 million Canadian dollars here…well, what used to be.

        Talk about inflation.

        One minute it’s $1 million and the next, it’s a mop.

        1. ambrit

          Beware! You reveal too much of your occult and arcane knowledge! To sit on a mop is to link yourself to the Witch Cult! (Happy flying!)

      2. Valissa

        Oil rich country starts making money out of plastic… gives a whole new meaning to the concept of petrodollars!

    2. Sock Puppet

      Not going to work too well as toilet paper. Probably better for snorting coke though.

  9. Francois T

    Re: “Geithner: Big Banks Spend ‘Huge Amount to Erode’ Dodd-Frank Law”

    You mean, there is moisture in the water?

    Who knew?

  10. Externality

    Were Obama’s claims of mass rape in Libya like Bush’s claims of WMDs in Iraq?

    Human rights organisations have cast doubt on claims of mass rape and other abuses perpetrated by forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi, which have been widely used to justify Nato’s war in Libya.

    Nato leaders, opposition groups and the media have produced a stream of stories since the start of the insurrection on 15 February, claiming the Gaddafi regime has ordered mass rapes, used foreign mercenaries and employed helicopters against civilian protesters.

    An investigation by Amnesty International has failed to find evidence for these human rights violations and in many cases has discredited or cast doubt on them. It also found indications that on several occasions the rebels in Benghazi appeared to have knowingly made false claims or manufactured evidence.

  11. Cedric Regula

    File: Novels Possibility Worth Reading

    I was just browsing my library to find out if any of my favorite bizzarro novelists have published anything new lately.

    Found this:

    Title Kraken : an anatomy / China Miéville.
    Author Miéville, China.
    Publisher New York : Del Rey/Ballantine Books, 2010

    Being chased by cults, a maniac, and the sorcerers of the Fundamentalist and Sect-Related Crime Unit, cephalopod specialist Billy Harrow inadvertently learns that he holds the key to finding a missing squid–a squid that just happens to be an embryonic god whose powers, properly harnessed, can destroy all that is, was, and ever shall be.

    Giant squids — Fiction.
    Magic — Fiction.
    Cults — Fiction.
    Museum curators — England — Fiction.
    Fantasy fiction.

    It’s gotta be good.

    1. ambrit

      Mr Regula;
      Sounds a lot like CSI meets Lovecraft. The Kraken character is a dead ringer for Cthulu. “Ia! Ia! Cthulu fghatn!”

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