Links 4/15/2012

‘Sounds of Silence’ Proving a Hit: World’s Fastest Random Number Generator Science Daily (Server)

Paper and model show climate impacts of methane leakage from natural gas Environmental Defense Fund

Fracking concerns raised over N.C. homes sold without underground rights McClatchy. Texas homebuilder DH Horton sets neighbor against neighbor.

Frackers Outbid Farmers For Water in Colorado Drought Alternet (Aquifer)

Obama Open to Debate on Drug War, But Legalization Is ‘Not the Answer’ ABC. Some “debate.”

Agreement reached with Iran on formal nuclear talks in May McClatchy

11 Secret Service agents put on leave amid prostitution inquiry WaPo

Olympics 2012: branding ‘police’ to protect sponsors’ exclusive rights Guardian

Exposed: The reality behind London’s ‘ethical’ Olympics Independent

What Amazon’s ebook strategy means Charles Stross

Google Fined for Impeding Data Collection Inquiry Times

“Although a world leader in digital search capability, Google took the position that searching its employees’ e-mail ‘would be a time-consuming and burdensome task,’ ” the report said.

U.S. has 18th best unemployment benefits in OECD; also trails 13 non-OECD countries Angry Bear

Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 944 Institutions Calculated Risk

Saving Capitalism From the Capitalists: Are the Trading Desks Destroying the Futures Markets? Jesse’s Café Américain

JPMorgan Said to Transform Treasury to Prop Trading Bloomberg. What could go wrong?

Meet Allan Hill, the man who lives In Detroit’s abandoned Packard Auto Plant Yahoo Auto

‘Guerrilla gardeners’ spread seeds of social change WaPo

Israel forces airline to cancel tickets of British ‘flytilla’ activists Guardian. Who next?

‘My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist’: Bollywood star detained at US airport, again Russia Today

Sidestepping Debate, Appeals Court Dismisses Airline Passenger, Pilot Lawsuit Over Scanners, Virtual Strip Searches & Full-Body ‘Rub-Downs’ Rutherford Institute. Strange bedfellows!

In justifying the dismissal, U.S. District Court Judge Henry H. Kennedy, Jr. cited a secret order issued by the TSA requiring that the D.C. Court of Appeals hear any reviews of TSA procedures.

What next? Lettres de cachet?

Inter-Parliamentary Union Condemns Government Investigation into Member of Iceland’s Parliament Electronic Frontier Foundation

Argentina ex-dictator admits dirty war “disappeared” Reuters

Police Shooting of Mentally Ill, Unarmed Man in Alabama Triggers March Afro-American News

Why Are McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, and Intuit Fleeing ALEC? Business Week

ALEC has attracted a wide and wealthy range of supporters precisely because it does its real work in a black box. Membership lists are secret. The origins of the model bills are secret. Deliberations and votes on model bills are secret. The model bills themselves are secret.

ALEC is prefigurative of the government the 1% would like to see. No transparency. No accountability.

As elections approach, France contemplates a bonfire Reuters. French first vote April 22.

How Hillary Got Hot The Daily Beast. Howard Kurtz, who has not yet appeared on Atrios’s little list.

Spain’s King Juan Carlos has emergency hip replacement after falling during Botswana elephant hunting trip Daily Mail

New photos show damaged fuel storage pool at Fukushima plant Asahi Shimbun “Within the next three years, TEPCO plans to begin removing the spent fuel rods from the storage pool.”

Fukushima governor rips restart of Oi nuclear reactors Asahi Shimbun

A Visual Tour of the Fuel Pools of Fukushima George Washington’s Blog

Forum: The Port Huron Statement at 50 Boston Review. Rehabilitating Ayers and Dohrn.

Not Just Another Fake Mona Lisa Times (Christine Monnier)

Israel’s Other Temple: Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy Der Speigel

America: The Gasoline War The Archdruid Report

Antidote du jour:

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Jim Sterling

    Re: the unemployment benefits article. Often you hear that unemployment benefits are “better than having a job” and that this must be fixed or unemployed people won’t take jobs. This is both backward and ignores the response of employers to labor supply. It’s backward because unemployment benefits shouldn’t be lower to force people to take a lousy job– jobs should be made less lousy to encourage people not to take unemployment benefit. It’s not a bug in the system, it’s a vital social purpose of unemployment benefit, to create an artificial labor shortage that raises wages. There’s nothing wrong with labor shortages, not even artificially-induced ones. That’s what a strike is, after all.

    That’s what working time laws are, artificial restrictions on the labor an employer can get from one worker, that forces them to employ more workers. The workers aren’t “forced not to work”, there’s a ton of things they can do with their free time (remember being too tired after work to do that chore that needs doing?). And they’re not deprived of wages either, experience shows the weekly wage doesn’t get better nationally when the hours are longer, nor does it get worse when the hours are cut shorter.

    The second reason that calls to cut unemployment benefits to make “jobs worth it” are misguided, is that the lower unemployment benefits are, the worse jobs get. Employers respond to the environment to pay as little as they can get away with, so there will always be jobs so bad you’d sooner stay unemployed, no matter how bad they make it to be unemployed. Look at the Depression, when not having a job could mean actual starvation.

      1. Flying Kiwi

        The Titanic was not “H.M.S.” as she was not part of the Royal Navy. She was R.M.S. – Royal Mail Ship or Steamer, a ship prefix for vessels that carry mail under contract to the British Royal Mail.

        However even had she been H.M.S. it would have been “His Majesty’s Ship” as the monarch of the time was King George V.

        While undoubtably a particularly tragic example of hyperbole leading to hubris I fail to see any ‘parable’ in her end, and i don’t think anyone has ever argued that she took on the iceberg because she was said to be unsinkable.

        1. Procopius

          I read somewhere that the ship would probably not have sunk if the captain had not tried to go around the berg. Of course he didn’t know the berg extended further under the surface than normal. Because the ship was moving at full speed longitudinally to the berg several of the watertight compartments were torn open. If he had thrown the engines into full reverse and hit the berg straight on that wouldn’t have happened. He had a timetable to meet and took the risk and lost — and his passengers paid the price.

  2. timotheus

    The Guatemalan president and many others are criticizing the utterly failed war on drugs for a host of good reasons. This is NOT equivalent to endorsing legalization. Obama and the mindless echo chamber in the MSM are battling a straw man that they have conveniently stuffed and displayed.

    1. Glen

      Prisons in the US are being privatized as a “for profit” industry. There are now financial incentives in “corporate America” to lock up people for any reason (because it’s a “money maker”) and never rehabilitate them (because we’re not paid to do that)!

      If you think the push back against dropping the War on Drugs or throwing non-violent protesters in jail (say for OWS or protesting Iran war) is big now, just wait til the lobbyist start handing out money to Congresscritters.

    2. Senor Gringo

      I’ve had first hand observation of “The War On Drugs” in one of our border town theaters of engagement.

      Two drug cartels are in competition for control of the border route. First of all, don’t ask me why they are in competition for anything as plentiful as a border route – they just are. So they were shooting each other and any innocent bystanders and messing up the public commons. They shot the police chief too, but who knows why.

      So the Mexican government sent in the Federales to prosecute the War. The USG kicked in our taxpayers dollars so we could do our part. The Federales patrol the streets in troop carriers full of machine gun toting soldiers.

      They are keeping the peace – between the drug cartels.

      The drug cartels called a truce.

      They are going about their business peaceably.

      The Powers That Be have apparently declared mission accomplished!

    3. Jim Haygood

      “The capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting if not more corrupting than the status quo,” Obama told a gathering of top executives at the summit.

      This statement is just brain-damaged. If you can grow your own weed, or buy it from an old hippie at the organic farmers market, there won’t BE any drug cartel.

      Cuz you can’t make money smuggling a substance which is in plentiful, legal supply locally.

      Like the alcohol Prohibitionists of the early 20th century, Obama is a stooge of the mafia.

      And of course, as a former ‘constitutional law professor’ [don’t laugh, that’s what the MSM tells us with a straight face!], Obama doesn’t even consider the liberty-based argument against sanctions on victimless crimes.

      1. Senior Gringo

        I think we have reached a point in the supercycle where domestic meth labs could use some competition from some good pot – domestic or otherwise.

        I think the Big O is trying to raise the spector of how Organized Tobacco has corrupted the government.

        That one makes me feel a little nostalgic too!

  3. skippy

    I humbly offer you…

    Karise Eden Sings It’s A Man’s World… a 19 year old aussie gal.

    Click on her name on the upper right side.

    Skippy… It cuts… her voice… I have no more walls… and I thank her for it… reminding me… of that vulnerability.

    1. psychohistorian

      Thanks for the link that didn’t work but Google got me to a place that let me listen once before saying no. A very outstanding young woman. Her voice goes everywhere seemingly effortlessly and contains more “soul” than her age would indicate.

      I look forward to hearing more from her.

  4. scraping_by

    RE: Iran talks.

    The US’s undeclared war against Iran makes little sense. It’s true that Barry needs to pose as a warlord to appeal to idiots, but there are smaller, less capable victims than Iran. While war on Iran doesn’t make sense for us, it makes sense for Saudi Arabia.

    The US-Saudi “compact” has been US military protection for SA while they pump oil for us and park their money in US Treasury bonds. Most reasonable people would interpret that as in NATO, a purely defensive alliance. But if the princes decide on an aggressive campaign, the US military goes on the attack.

    Saddam Hussein was an annoyance to the US. He was an enemy to the Saudis. So tens of thousands die, hundreds of billions spent, and we have to declare victory and go home. The US acted in another nation’s interest.

    We get no benefit from a war against Iran. The benefit is entirely to the house of Saud. Some would say this makes the US a bunch of chumps. Some would say the US is now in the mercenary business. But it’s the leadership of the country who is anxious to continue warmaking. If it’s like the rest of politics, Barry will have a nice well-paying gig after the administration, perhaps in the Carlisle group with Bush father and son.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Take a look at who paid Bill Clinton $600,000 for two speeches after he left office: Saudi Arabia’s Dabbagh Group, which is run by Amr Dabbagh, a member of the Kingdom’s Supreme Economic Council and, in 2004, appointed to a ministerial role as Governor and Chairman of the Board of Directors of SAGIA. According to CNN:

      Almost two-thirds of President Clinton’s earnings from 365 paid speaking engagements since leaving the White House have come from overseas. Since 2001, he has earned $40.1 million from 197 speeches in 45 foreign countries.

      At $200,000 a speech (for the 197 speeches in foreign countries), it pays to be the loyal servant of powerful corporate and international interests while in office.

      1. Jim Haygood

        So why has Israel (and its U.S. amen corner, AIPAC) taken the lead in agitating for an attack on Iran?

        Nice try at misdirection, but it don’t wash.

        1. LucyLulu

          Both Israel AND Saudi Arabia would like to see war on Iran. And I disagree with we have no vested interest in helping Saudi Arabia, they bribe us with their cheap oil. However Israel is pushing harder for this war than the Saudis. AFAIK, the Saudis don’t have the equivalent of a J Street in DC that applies intense heat to any politicans who don’t keep appeased.

    2. The Rules

      This is an undeclared war that the US is waging, which breaches Article 1 of Hague Convention (III) relative to the opening of hostilities. It’s worth remembering that Japan’s punishment for breaking Hague Convention (III) was unconditional surrender on pain of the unprecedented atrocity of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is how they put it, at the highest levels of the US government: that’s what you get. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, EXCOMM declined to use the most effective response for fear of the consequences of breaching Hague (III). And now here ‘s America’s Tojo, Barack Obama, breaking a law that carries the national death penalty. And educated people in this country are telling me that I should vote for this dead state walking, instead of putting this state to death as required by universal-jurisdiction law.

  5. kravitz

    Reuters interviews Judge Jed Rakoff

    “The ethical level of lawyers is I think higher than 100 years ago.”

    “What has declined, is the ability to try a jury case and that’s because there are far fewer trials. I know lawyers when it comes to writing motion papers and arguing legal matters, they are superb. Then they get in front of a jury and I don’t know what they are talking about.”

  6. RanDomino

    ALEC: Not just “No transparency. No accountability.” but a legislature of big business interests. Which is basically Fascism as exemplified in the Japanese and Portugese senses.

  7. gs_runsthiscountry

    Re: JPMorgan Said to Transform Treasury to Prop Trading

    The second paragraph heading [Lines Blurred] caught my attention in this article. How apropos, because the phrase “Lines Blurred” could be applied to the root causes of everything that has gone wrong in finance, and America, in the last 2 decades. The lines have blurred from the repeal of Glass-Steagall to the implementation of Dodd-Frank, from regulatory shopping to Citizens untitled, from the constitution to the 1984esk legislation we see…and on and on.

    It’s interesting how we have read articles every day that describe the job functions within a financial firm that have blurred. With all the lines blurred, Risk management falls upon whom again?

    The CEO does what – execute trades? And, traders do what – run the company? The chief function of a bank is extending credit or . . . ?

    Yes, excellent question, what could go wrong, right?


    1. Jim

      Blurred lines enable you to say, as they say in Mexico, mejor pedir perdon que pedir permiso.

      Better to apologize than to ask for permission.

      JPM’s prop desk claims all the trades are hedged. Where have we heard that before.

  8. Michael Fiorillo

    Re: The Port Huron Statement

    Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers had nothing to do with the creation of the Port Huron Statement, which was drafted years before they became involved with SDS (this from Kirkpatrick Sale’s history of SDS).

    In fact, their fame/notoriety is primarily based on their integral role in the fragmenting and dissolution of SDS, and their leadership of one of the splinter groups that came out of that dissolution, The Weather Underground.

    The Weather Underground became the poster child for the New Left, when in fact it represented its deluded, degraded afterlife. At the time, their attitudes and tactics were rejected by the overwhelming majority of people in the Movement, due to their arrogance, insularity and idealization of violence.

    It should also be pointed out that virtually everyone in Weatherman came from a highly privileged background – Ayers’ father was the head of Commonwealth Edison, the Chicago-area electric utility – which apparently gave them their sense of entitlement to speak for “The Movement” and “The People.”

    A funny and revealing anecdote in Sale’s book relates how the opponents of Weatherman (their initial name, later rejected for its sexism, although sexism was rampant in the New Left of the time)) mocked the origination of their name, which was based on the Dylan lyric, “You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

    Their version? “You don’t need a rectal thermometer to know who the assholes are.”

    Dohrn and Ayers deserve to be left alone and free from the attacks they’ve suffered in recent years, but let’s not paint them as emblematic of the Left, then or now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I agree. I don’t think that Dohrn or Ayers are representative of the left, new or otherwise, and Weather was indeed “deluded, degraded.”

      Which is why it doesn’t make a lot of sense to rehabilitate them by inviting them to post in this symposium. That was my point, in case it wasn’t clear.

  9. justanotherobserver

    what’s up with the hate for Atrios’ fun wanker list ?

    Thought it was a good idea and all who are showing up on it are worthy of the honor.

    1. cwaltz

      I like the list too. He probably shouldn’t have tried to confine it to 10 with so many worthy wankers. It leaves alot of wankers off the hook. Maybe later he’ll continue with a 100 days of wankers series. That way his list can be more inclusive. Or he could do wankers of the media and wankers of industry or wankers of politics…..I mean the possibilities are there to have more people on the wall of shame.

      1. justanotherobserver

        that would dilute the impact – although your completely correct in that their are so many candidates.

        he is specifically going after the punditocracy that continues to say stupid and factually incorrect things to push their idealogy.

        the most notable example being the iraq war fiasco.

        so I like the fact that he’s keeping it focused, and provides lots of linkies in the paragraph to describe the wankishness.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not hate, snark. That said, media figures are at best minor league wankers, compared to those who hold actual power. Surely, for example, Colin Powell was a wanker extraordinaire for his work propagating WMD disinformation? And so on and so forth.

      There’s one wanker yet to come: To me, it’s between Howie Kurtz and Judy Miller. But editors are bigger wankers than stenographers, publishers bigger wankers than editors, owners bigger wankers than publishers.

      “Adding…” I should say that Atrios gave me my start as a blogger (I was in the first group of summer fill-ins) and I’m very grateful for it, even if the “blog and grow rich” thing didn’t quite work out.

      1. Anonymous Jones

        I think there was a semantic clarification about wankers and c*nts in the comments here the other day.

        The stenographers are the wankers. The owners are the c*nts.

        We could probably parse this a little more finely for the editors and the publishers, but that’s above my pay grade.

  10. F. Beard

    I like truly random number generators because one can encrypt unbreakable messages no matter how much computer power is thrown at them.

    I wonder if the NSA can detect messages that can’t be decrypted or if they go ahead and waste computer resources on them anyway?

    1. name (withheld)

      There is a gap between quantum theory and the actual apparati used to measure the vacuum noise, which is in this case the source of randomness for hardware random number generation. The measuring device itself like all other hardware randomness devices would decrease the randomness in predictable ways that could be used to decode encrypted messages.

      Be assured that if a device capturing this noise were marketed, the NSA would have many instances of it and would know exactly where and how the device and means of measuring injected regular patterns into the random numbers generated.

      However, the NSA relies mostly on so-called “side-channel” attacks which would not be effected even by perfect randomness.

      As far as your question as to how many resources they would use, that would depend on the value of the message to be decrypted, and perhaps also on politics.

      1. name withheld

        In fairness to the researchers, they are using a source of randomness that’s provably truly random. In the current state of affairs with hardware random number generation a variety of sources such as mouse movements, electrical anomalies, and the like are used which are clearly not truly random. Then their entropy is distilled usually by XORing them until the desired level of randomness is achieved. The achievement of these researchers is to use original sources of entropy that have theoretically perfect randomness as opposed to the appearance of good randomness.

        Large quantities of random numbers are needed for simulations, and this approach shows a lot of promise for that application.

    2. K Ackermann

      The most difficult types of encryption to crack don’t use generators per se. A strong system should survive attempts to decypher by the NSA even if they are handed the algorithm. A one-time pad fits the criteria, and electronic versions thereof.

      As for generators, I think there is a way to introduce true randomness from withing the PC with no quantum peripherals needed. Most modern CPU’s have temperature sensors that can be read out by examining some registers. What I don’t know is the precision, or range of values these sensors are capable of generating, but in theory, it’s a source or randomness.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Let’s hope they don’t do a lot of fracking in or around Fukushima.

    Still, the geniuses dream that they can frack here and make an impact half way around the world. In their nerdy lingo, ‘Wow, that would be cool!’

  12. F. Beard

    re Israel’s Other Temple: Research Reveals Ancient Struggle over Holy Land Supremacy:

    Wow! What a stunted religion that they only accept the books of the Bible written by Moses!

    But I’ll stick with what Jesus said:

    The woman *said to Him, “Sir, I perceive that You are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped in this mountain, and you people say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” Jesus *said to her, “Woman, believe Me, an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But an hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for such people the Father seeks to be His worshipers. God is spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” John 4:19-24 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    1. John Merryman

      That was an interesting article. Considering that temple was presumably torched 128 BC, it had to still be a major political issue in Jesus’ time and he was from Samaria, it might be a significant part of the backstory. His major act of sedation was chasing the money changers from the temple. Might it be that he was symbolically attacking the temple itself? More than anything, it would explain why the story of his life and death resonated in the very earliest years.

      1. Skippy

        There is the that sore spot he had with the genealogically awarded priesthood, vertical authoritarian system ( gatekeeper to god thingy ) and wealth disparity.

        Skippy… the last one seemed to be the kicker for both the romans and priests ( romans the .1% and priets the 1% thingy).

        1. John Merryman

          The tendency of authority to co-opt popular movements and scrub them of their more inconvenient details and sanitize the remaining makes what’s under the surface interesting.

  13. paul schwartz

    Re Rutherford post.
    I consulted a law blogger and got this answer.
    The requirement that review of TSA orders must go to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, not a district court, is in a federal statute, 49 U.S.C. § 46110, not a TSA order. See .

    I still do not like this but tis the law of the land.Is fact checking slipping a little?

  14. K Ackermann

    It’s almost inconcievable that the recent behavior of those Secret Service agents.

    What’s next? Swiss Guards showing up to work with 5 o’clock shadows and stained uniforms, telling dirty jokes to children.

    1. Senior Gringo

      Legal age in Columbia is 16 too!

      Some cuties there too – knew one guy that married one and brought her home. Knew another guy that married one and left her there for biz trips. He did pay the rent & food tho.

      During the Bush admin I heard there were some fat women libbers trying to get a law passed that Americans can be arrested for 16-17 year old sex – even if it’s legal in the country they are in. Comes with the standard 20 year sentence all of us deal with after graduating high school. Don’t know if that passed, but that could be a shock for our secrete service guys if it did. I’m sure they check IDs.

      Other than that Columbia wouldn’t be a bad place to visit if it weren’t for the rather high possibility of getting caught in the crossfire of a gang shootout, getting robbed or run over by a cab driver, getting robbed or run over by a cop, or getting killed by a doc as the doc was performing some minor but necessary procedure on you.

  15. Jean

    Re Guerilla Gardening…

    All good and wonderful. However, others have been doing this for decades, including Fukioka, an old man in Japan that wrote the One Straw Revolution and invented these seed ball techniques.

    Now a bunch of Janie-come-latelys act as thought they have invented the entire procedudure and claim the press rights. Same thing has happend with the Greywater Guerillas, a bunch of gals that pretend that Art Ludwig didn’t invent the industry, help rewrite the California Plumbing Code and post an incredibly useful website with an constellation of free information.

    Nothin wrong with enthusiasm but give credit where credit is due…

  16. Jean

    The elephants have a message:

    “HIP, HIP, HOORAY!!!”

    Hunting elephants? Get your royal ass back to Madrid and solve your country’s problems. Stop shooting animals.

Comments are closed.