Links 5/29/12

Common Scents: Plants Constantly Catch a Whiff of Their Neighbors’ Perfume Scientific American

Behind the scenes at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology hawk cam Grrlscientist

It Took Earth Ten Million Years to Recover from Greatest Mass Extinction Science Daily

Rajoy Seeks European Backing as Spain’s Access Narrows Bloomberg

Bankia’s unusual bailout City AM

Bankia debt issue plan splits opinion FT

Bankia Bailout Hits Spanish Bonds WSJ

Greece Extends Cash Boost To Major Banks WSJ

General payments freeze takes hold Ekathimerini

Main points of SYRIZA proposals (Aquifer)

Germany Seeks Financial ‘Redemption’ for Europe Business Week. Plan from “the wise men.”

Switzerland fears euro fallout – because its currency is too strong Independent

How to build a fiscal union to save the eurozone Wolfgang Münchau

The End Of The Euro: A Survivor’s Guide Simon Johnson

US Let China Buy Treasuries Directly During Debt Ceiling Crisis EmptyWheel

Icelandic Anger Brings Debt Forgiveness in Best Recovery Story Bloomberg

Canada to force striking rail workers back to work BBC

Plan to Pipe Tar Sands to East Coast Protested The Dominion

America’s falling carbon-dioxide emissions Economist

The on-going debate on natural resources and development Vox EU

Rubble hinders decommissioning work at Fukushima No. 4 reactor Asahi Shimbun

Bankrupt Nuclear Waste Firm Impact Services Gets Deadline Bloomberg

Texas isn’t ready for bigger ships from Panama Canal expansion McClatchy

Fire at one of world’s most luxurious malls leaves 13 children dead Independent. Doha.

Questions arise about builder’s work on Bay Bridge foundation McClatchy. “Straight-up bad faith.”

Bishops ‘not obliged’ to report sexual abuse to police Belfast Telegraph

Multiple board service raises questions both of competence and commitment, governance specialists say Gretchen Morgenson

The Strong Demand for Charlatans Economist’s View

The Globalisation of U.S. Special Operations Forces IPS News (Valissa)

Vintage Spy Plane Gives High-Tech Drone A Run For Its Money NPR. “Be quick, be quiet, and be on time.”

Meet ‘Flame’, The Massive Spy Malware Infiltrating Iranian Computers Wired. 20 megabytes (!), partially coded in Lua (!!).

Our Bodies, Our Products Salon. Commodity fetishism.

The Fake Magazines Used in Blade Runner Are Still Futuristic, Awesome Atlantic

* * *

D – 102 and counting. *

I’ve got the apolitical blues. And they’re the meanest blues of all. –Little Feat

This Week with George Stephanopoulos hosted by Jake Tapper as told to The Bobblespeak Translations: “TAPPER: wow it’s memorial day and we’re still at war for the 11th straight year – that’s an all-time record! AUDIENCE: USA! USA!”

Montreal. “Young people are not always right. But a society is always wrong to beat them up.” (Jacques Parizeau, PQ). “The NDP is professing strict neutrality.” (Thomas Mulcair, NDP leader) In Montreal: “In fact, [last night’s] protest seemed destined to end without a single arrest until late in the night, when Montreal police arrested two people for allegedly hitting a police horse” (oh?) “What happens is that everybody is fed up of paying, paying, paying. So the students’ affair is a good way to tell the government, all the governments, that we’ve had enough.” “The civil unrest consuming Quebec is also seizing media attention abroad — with more than 3,000 news reports from 77 different countries in recent weeks.

In Quebec City: “On the day when student leaders and the Quebec government reopened negotiations to try to break the deadlock over tuition fee hikes, police arrested close to 100 protesters and bystanders – including the negotiator for one of the student groups involved in the talks.” Including BanAnarchiste, “the guy in the banana costume.” (Well done that man!) Students are out of class, and have leverage since the tourist season is beginning. Desjardins, FEUQ: “I think the government is having a lot of pressure right now with all those demonstrations on a day-to-day basis,” she said, “not only in Montreal anymore but in a lot of cities across the province. I think the government wants to make this stop. They tried with Bill 78, but unfortunately [for them] it’s not working.” Nadeau-Dubois, of Classe: “If Madame Courchesne refuses to discuss tuition and Bill 78, I certainly doubt how much time we will spend at the table,” Nadeau-Dubois told reporters prior to the start of talks.

“Lawyers [protesting Bill 78] dressed in their courtroom gowns paraded in silence from the city’s main courthouse through the streets of Old Montreal to join the nightly march.Along the route they were greeted by claps of support and people shouting “merci.” (picture)

CA. “[D] leadership and PACs donated over a million dollars to two ‘incumbent’ Assembly members running in super-safe Democratic districts while virtually ignoring other seats in swing districts.”

CO. “‘… [t]he controversial Canyon Creek eight-well natural gas site, which sits between Red Hawk and Erie elementary schools….”

IL. “Since taking office, [Rep. Mike Quigley (D)] has worked more than 40 jobs, including conducting an elementary school band, working on a garbage truck, making pinball machines, laying water pipes, fishing for Asian carp, delivering pizzas and eating lunch at a Chicago public school.”

OR “[T]he conservative nature of politics in SW Oregon, the isolation, the end of a long-standing federal support program and local dependence on what are now more limited natural resources have combined in something of a ‘perfect storm.'”.

PA. Range Resources (fracker) sued in Washington Country: “conspired to produce fraudulent test reports that misrepresented the families’ well water as good.” PA’s ballot signature system: “[L]ed the Helsinki Accords’ Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights… in 2006 to call the commonwealth one of the worst spots in the entire world to hold free and fair elections.”

TX . Petty tyrant watch: TX honor student working two jobs, supporting siblings jailed for truancy. Judge: “If you let one run loose, what are you gonna’ do with the rest of ’em?”

VA. “Loyalties are fleeting in northern Virginia.” Indeed. “Hey, I’m all for helping Richmond’s creative class thrive, maybe I could make a buck out of that, but Downtown Richmond surely doesn’t need more phony deals.”

WI. Milwaukee example of where “businesses committed to sustainability are taking off.” You wouldn’t know it from the campaigns. “Two [Madison brat festivals] shared a progressive tinge, reflecting their origins last year in the Walker protest movement. These modest alternative venues highlighted bratwursts and other treats from smaller Wisconsin-based suppliers.” “The four WI state Senate recall elections on the ballot are nothing to sneeze at. Democrats need to flip just one of them to wrest control of the chamber from the GOP.” “The John Doe probe has produced charges that Walker’s political confidante and frequent appointee to positions of public trust Tim Russell embezzled $20,000 from a charity intended to assist families of Wisconsin soldiers who were killed in the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.” “According to an analysis by the political-money-watching Wisconsin Democracy Campaign, $3 out of every $5 raised by Walker came from outside Wisconsin. Walker’s largest donors include Texas homebuilding king and Swift Boat for Veterans backer Bob Perry, Las Vegas casino tycoon Sheldon Adelson, and Richard DeVos, heir to Amway fortune. A little more than $1 of every $10 given to Barrett was out-of-state campaign cash.” Americans for Prosperity: “Lunch and dinner will be provided.” Pass the foie gras!

Inside Baseball. Big Picture: “It seems that the latest stock quote is one of the primary drivers of the well-being of the country and a real-time reflection of the President’s efficacy.” “There are lots more rich and powerful Republicans than Democrats.” “[W]hen it comes down to Super PACs and the unlimited spending that has ensued, TX is easily in first place with $36.5 million.” “49.1%: Percent of the population that lives in a household where at least one member received some type of government benefit,” 2011 Q1. “The churches [not the Ds?!] will really have to step up to the plate and help parishioners get the voter ID required by some states.” Tardy! Chris Hayes beatdown on “hero.” Honestly.

Roboma vs. Obomney. A half-dozen times [Obama] uttered the signature phrase “I see an American century” — much as Mr. Romney has promised to deliver “an American century” in his speeches.

Green Party. Roseanne Barr on Presidential Run: Two Major Parties Are a ‘Bunch of Prostitutes Who Work for Big Money’ (hat tip Aquifer) (I deprecate Barr’s trope; it’s insulting to prostitutes.) Ursula Rozum challenges in NY-24 (hat tip Aquifer). “As part of her economic platform, Rozum said that she supports an “economic bill of rights” similar to what was proposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1944.”

Ron Paul. Precinct battles in ID: “It doesn’t take a majority to create a civil war. Just ask the South.” MA: Regulars move to invalidate (Paul-dominated) caucus ballots.

Grand Bargain™-brand Catfood Watch. Simpson: “You know damn well the system was never created as a ‘retirement’ – it was an ‘income supplement’ to take care of folks working in CCC camps who lost everything in the Great Depression.” Bowles: He and Simpson are “working with a bipartisan group of 47 Senators and as many House members to frame a compromise … I believe this group will come together during the lame duck… [T]he markets will force us.” Translation: Shock Doctrine. It never gets old!

Romney. The United States now has two paths forward, Romney said. He called one “the pathway to Europe.” “To shrink our military smaller and smaller to pay for our social needs. The other path: “to commit to preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.” Oh, bullshit. “The dip [in the jobless rate] is mostly explained, Romney argues, by people giving up their hunt for a job because of the poor market. Such people aren’t counted as jobless.” Not bullshit. But too complicated. Just say Obama’s faking the numbers.

Obama. Michelle Obama sponsors Navy’s first submarine with all-female crew. Obama on sending troops into “harm’s way”: “I can promise you I will never do so unless it’s absolutely necessary, and that when we do, we must give our troops a clear mission and the full support of a grateful nation.” They all say that! Lengthy Plouffe hagiography: “Romney is thoroughly tactical. He makes whatever decision he needs to get through the next battle without respect to the war.” Unlike who? “Obama formally launched his campaign this month with the message of “Forward,” but senior D says “stay tuned.” Also, too, “Winning the Future,” “A Fair Shot,” “An America Built to Last,” and “We Can’t Wait.” And who can forget “Are you in?” Why not just “He whacked OBL and he can whack you, too” and have done with it?

* 102 days ’til the Democratic National Convention ends with a “Choom Fest” on the floor of the Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, NC. Orbital Vehicle 102: The space shuttle Columbia.

A la prochaine fois!

* * *

Antidote du jour (hat tip LN):

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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. rjs

    re: America’s falling carbon-dioxide emissions

    dont get too excited; methane emissions from fracking are higher, and in the short term methane is 70 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2…

    1. curlydan

      Lambert: Why continue posting this fracking PR piece? The Economist’s article’s premise is just a re-hash of the FT piece you linked to last week.

      The fact is that over 85% of the 450mt decline in U.S. CO2 emissions occurred in 2009 along–the worst year of the recession. That’s the economy, not fracking. And as RJS noted, these pieces conveniently leave out the effects of methane–a major bi-product of fracking.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Why the coming ‘election’ will change NOTHING:

    A half-dozen times [Obama] uttered the signature phrase “I see an American century.”

    Robamney: “preserve America as the strongest military in the world, second to none, with no comparable power anywhere in the world.”

    Despite being located on one of the safest, most defensible continents on earth, the US devotes an extra 2-3% of GDP more than comparable developed nations to military spending.

    Compounded over decades, this unproductive excess military spending guarantees a widening shortfall in US economic progress, relative to the rest of the world.

    In plain words, the US middle class is gonna get sodomized into pauperism, as the rest of the world eats our lunch.

    Like Barbara Bush’s retarded son, Robama and Obamney are beetle-browed Harvard grads who can’t understand that ‘superpower’ status is unsustainable because it don’t pay for itself.

    If you won’t vote third party in November, then please do your family and fellow citizens a favor and DON’T VOTE AT ALL for these elitist saboteurs. Robamney’s Depublicrat platform is a road to ruin.

          1. Aquifer

            I thought you would appreciate it – I thought it was a perfect caption for that sequence …

  3. LucyLulu

    Winning campaign slogan: “He whacked OBL and he can whack you, too”.

    (If only we had a PAC to run THAT ad!)

    Loved it. Thanks for the morning chuckle.

  4. MontanaMaven

    Simon Johnson “Ms. Lagarde’s empathy is wearing thin and this is unfortunate –”

    Ms.. Lagarde’s empathy? If ridiculing the Greeks with disdain is what Johnson thinks passes for empathy, I have a hardtime with the rest of the article.
    The IMF and World Bank should never have been hatched. They are just schemes to steal the people’s commons.

    1. jsmith

      I know, it’s comments such as Johnson’s that show that how contagious the sociopathy of the elite really is.

      This f*cking monster named Christine Lagarde in the below linked Guardian article tells the Greeks and other Europeans that “it’s payback time” in addition to her other outrageous, non-human comments and all Simon Johnson can think to say is that she MIGHT be losing her empathy and that it’s unfortunate?!!

      When you are needlessly condemning people to die and then say have the audacity to tell said people that they have no right to even complain or protest, you are a little too far removed from any vestige of what a normal human being would consider “empathy”.

      1. LeonovaBalletRusse

        Don’t forget she learned Chicago manners, with Cicero manners on the side.

  5. Up the Ante

    The apocalyptic ‘Republicans’ forced Treasury, ‘Treasury’, to hand over the passwords to ‘the Hackers’ ?

    “Then by letting China buy directly last year .. Treasury gave the appearance that China was net selling debt, rather than (presumably) continuing to buy a great deal of it. ”

    Note the power that ‘non-conspiratorial’ business org, the WTO, wields over the business of nations ..

    1. LucyLulu

      The video above is the explosion at reactor #3 on March 14, not reactor #4, which occurred the next day. You can see unit #4 appears unscathed in the video posted (pretty amazing), after the explosion. Here is a link to the complete timeline of the event along with much other useful information:

      The debris presents challenges, not only because of the quantity, but because much of it is either quite radioactive or in areas that are quite radioactive, thus severely limiting exposure times of workers, if allowing human access at all, and requiring equipment that is adequately radiation-hardened. Unit #4 has the lowest radiation levels, but there is a fair amount of debris in the spent fuel pool itself which must be removed before the fuel can be transferred.

      1. Up the Ante

        The sides of 4 that you can see appear unscathed.

        Of course that’s the #3 explosion video. It’s also presumably the source of the highly radioactive fuel fragments found between 3 and 4, you know, the ones that had to be bulldozed under by remote-control ? That radioactive.

        At Chernobyl they were picking up fuel fragments by hand, and they died quite early deaths.

  6. Up the Ante

    “There is about one million pounds of waste” at the company’s compound,
    The radioactive waste “is low-level”

    This is probably the stuff they have literally been burning, like Japan is currently doing.

    “The American Museum of Science and Energy operates a summer camp in the area for children in fifth through seventh grades, ” Nice. Children .. on a dare, is it ?

    The Oak Ridge area is where they accept “low-level” waste from Europe to burn, also.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yesterday’s story from the same source, about service being halted on a Greek commuter line because thieves stole electrical cabling, was intended to make the same point about the stress the Greeks are under.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yeah, it sure is odd that this story isn’t getting regular coverage either in our famously free press or the famously “progressive” blogosphere.

      Adding… Can’t say I’m impressed by that particular post; there’s a distinct lack of linky goodness, and it would be great to have backup for the interesting points it makes. Do you have any more sites like this? I’ll add them to my list of places to check.

      1. Valissa

        I just discovered that news site recently and haven’t yet researched it’s origins or funding other than reviewing their About page

        It looks like it’s ‘staffed’ by volunteer bloggers. I suggest you comment on the post or contact the blogger who wrote it and suggest they include more links in their articles.

        btw, I am a fan of Google News for the ability to create your own categories of interest in addition to their standard ones, and I have found lots of interesting articles and lesser known news sources that way. I added Gary Johnson as a category recently because he’s not covered much in the MSM and that’s how I found articles from

      1. Valissa

        Yeah, tech issues can swallow a comment, and more

        The challenge blog comments

        Blog breakdown

        Going local

        Another silly blog cartoon

  7. Brent Musburger, Jr (news anchor)

    Breaking News! This Just In!

    After first committing 23.5 billion euros of public money to bail out insolvent Bankia, Spain has reversed itself and decided instead to keep the 23.5 billion for the Spanish people and offer Bankia executives and bondholders a choice between being guillotined or fed to Hammerhead sharks…

    Story developing….

  8. jsmith

    Regarding new malware:

    From the article:

    “The malware, discovered by Russia-based anti-virus firm Kaspersky Lab, is an espionage toolkit that has been infecting targeted systems in Iran, Lebanon, Syria, Sudan, the Israeli Occupied Territories and other countries in the Middle East and North Africa for at least two years.”

    “Symantec, which has also begun analyzing Flame (which it calls “Flamer”), says the majority of its customers who have been hit by the malware reside in the Palestinian West Bank, Hungary, Iran, and Lebanon. They have received additional reports from customer machines in Austria, Russia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates.”

    Well, I’m sure that if Iran infected our computers with a new cyberweapon we’d sure wouldn’t consider it an act of war, right?

    Hmmm, now who would want to spy on the Palestinians?

    And to think this is what the brightest minds of our generation are doing, spying on people living in an open-air concentration camp.

    How super-cool is that?!!

    The United States and Israel: Axis Powers 2.0

  9. Susan the other

    Way cool. Bloomberg on Germany’s Idea for Financial Redemption for Europe. Germany’s Council of Economic Experts, aka the Wise Men, has come up with a dagger straight to the heart of debt derivatives. I think. It is a big fat liability policy for each other’s sovereign debt called the European Redemption Pact. It is based on the principle of shared liability for both solidarity and accountability. Sounds very like a union of the political and fiscal to me. It will work like an insurance fund that actually has funds, as opposed to the naked derivatives market. And bloodthirsty short sellers. Any sovereign debtor exceeding 60% of GDP will have the right to borrow at low interest rates for up to 25 years in order to restructure their economies without too much austerity and sovereign taxes will be earmarked for debt servicing and repayment.

    The rub with Eurobonds was that there was no limit on the amount a country could borrow – with this plan there is a limit to the amount but a long time horizon for getting back on track.

    1. Aquifer

      So, with taxes marked for debt repayment, and with no sovereign ability to print its own currency – what’s left for the gov’t to use for its own people?

      1. Susan the other

        Well, it’s a direct conduit and it eliminates credit default swappers. But no plan is perfect.

          1. Susan the other

            I think so. But less austere. 25 years is a generation of creativity and change that will not be chained to outrageous crippling debt. The only better thing would be debt forgiveness. And then do this.

    2. craazyman

      sounds like the germans are finally creaking into action

      but still, it’s a way to avoid writedowns and losses on investments that were bad from the start and probly fraudulent in many cases.

      extend the looting and pretend it’s a virtue. and this 60% number, it works as long as the govermint doesn’t have to assume the plutocrat’s future private gambling debts. which the peasants end up paying, les plus ces change. one prince insults another prince and 30,000 peasants die in war. or from debt.

      It seems to me like another fudge to keep the financial class from ever facing the consequences of their actions, which seems to be their highest (and only) talent.

      1. Susan the other

        Germany is a powerhouse of efficiency but it doesn’t have the money to carry all of Europe. Some reports say it is in deep red already. This could be Germany’s epiphany that they know it’s all 19th century bluster and cooperation is the only way forward.

  10. kevinearick

    Town 4 Sale

    Apple cannot exist without economic slavery;
    Google cannot exist without invading privacy;
    Priceline cannot exist without false advertizing; and
    Facebook cannot exist without the false economy of fake people.

    The Buffets and Gates of the world are shorting their own enterprises, Oprah can’t get money out of a bank, and Silicon Valley is confident that it can spend tax dollars best. When stupid is the correct answer, you are watching empire TV, breeding stupidity to scale economies with MAD derivatives, while the operators all hide in their offices, paid week to week by the taxpayer, the Fed, watching Wisconson.

    Pick a town, any town. They are all for sale, whether you know it or not, if you can pay the escalating tribute. And, in case you didn’t hear the proclamation through all the noise, Congress temporarily digitized local government pensions by throwing Social Security under the bus. Where is Jerry Lewis when you need him? Walking on water somewhere I suppose, once his manservant drops the stairs.

    They keep adding pictures to the Facebook wall, and dropping those coins in the slot. First it was straw; now it’s pictures, instead of bricks. That didn’t work for Kodak, Rochester, or anyone else. It only works in Hollywood. Have you ever been to Hollywood, anxiety with no place to go but inward?

    An empire is a depression.

    So, I’m in Oprah-land and kid Latin cop pulls over in his $1/2M RV mortgage, looking for Oprah’s house, like she takes a risk on mingling with the lower robots, in a town for sale at $2M. I would have directed him across the country to Virginia, but he already had enough fairy tales, like his pension, to chase.

  11. Patriot

    The article about SW Oregon is particularly timely. You see a lot of rural areas that are in similar situations. Very little industry, big retiree population. Most of the money flowing into the community is either government dollars, some tourism, or resource extraction. These communities attract the hardcore white-flight crowd, which has bought into the “end government” ideology because they didn’t want to live in a functioning nation state with black people. They don’t realize it but they’re anarchists essentially, and now they’re going to find out how well that works.

    If federal funding goes away, all they have left is state funding and resource extraction, which, if they run with it, will limit out within a generation. Sources of federal funding are: retirement (military and otherwise), the federal grants mentioned in the article, VA benefits, Medicare and Social Security. State funding comes in from public works, mostly roads, and then parks and various other minor state functions. But the libertarian crowd has worked hard to slash state funding too. Oh and I forgot, there is a cottage industry that thrives in remote locations with minimal law enforcement– narcotics. Cannabis growing, and the nastier meth labs are one source of outside dollars. They bring some nasty folks though.

    What the old bigots are about to find out is that living in anarchist society where the youngsters are making money via the drug trade is no place for old people.

    1. Up the Ante

      “The article about SW Oregon is particularly timely. You see a lot of rural areas that are in similar situations. Very little industry, big retiree population. Most of the money flowing into the community is either government dollars, some tourism, or resource extraction. .. They don’t realize it but they’re anarchists essentially, and now they’re going to find out how well that works. ”

      I say very good, both you and Bill Black are describing the same sort of social dynamic. Substitute ‘prosecutors’ for
      ‘examiners’ and both you and Bill Black will be forced to realize that the systems you are describing can and have been bought. Senior levels. Yes. Of course.

      “The tendency of embedded examiners to “marrying the natives” at the SDIs is a serious problem, but the most severe weaknesses in regulation are at the senior levels. The examiners remain the strongest part of the regulatory chain at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) and the Federal Reserve System. ”

      Seniors, ‘hedges’, chosen venues, and legitimacies.

  12. K Ackermann

    I wonder why the sensational reports on viruses infecting Iranian computers.

    First it was Stuxnet, and now Flame, both supposedly new classes of ultra-sophisticated malware that will “take 10 years to study”.

    From what the article describes, Flame is basically the kind of malware that you’d get from a pathetic idiot who wrote malware. It’s supposed to steal data, yet is sprays data everywhere, shouting “look at me! I’m an idiot!”

    The article read like an ad for Kapersky – somebody with skin in that game.

    There’s a company that gives away security software for free, and lots of it. It’s name is Microsoft, and it has a lot of money and the desire to fund serious anti-malware labs. They’ve got detailed reports on malware agents that make Flame look like a harmless prank.

    I forget what some of their sites are, but here’s one of their security blogs that is probably a jumping point into their world.

  13. Up the Ante

    jim asked a question recently about cancer diets, here’s related info

    released vs. consumed glycine

    “One of the most striking results of the new data is how the pattern of glycine consumption relates to the speed of cancer-cell division. In the slowest dividing cells, small amounts of glyine are released into the culture media. But in cancer cells that are rapidly dividing, glycine is rapaciously consumed. The researchers note that very few metabolites have this unusual pattern of “crossing the zero line,” meaning that rapidly dividing cancer cells consume the metabolite while slowly dividing cells actually release it.”

    “.. across these 60 cell lines, we clearly see this association between how fast cells are dividing and how much glycine they are taking up.”

    “In addition to looking for metabolites that correlated with rates of cell division, the team also looked at the expression of almost 1,500 metabolic enzymes. Enzymes required for biosynthesis of glycine within the mitochondria were among the most highly correlated. ”

    “To further validate and understand these results, the team observed what happened when the cancer cells were deprived of glycine, both by removing it from the media and by blocking the enzymes involved in glycine metabolism. In both cases, the fast dividing cancer cells slowed down, but the slower growing cancer cells were unaffected.

    A limitation of observing such effects in cancer cells grown in the laboratory is that such cells may behave differently in the human body. One way the researchers followed up this work was to look at data available from studies of breast cancer patients over the last 25 years, searching for potential patterns between survival and the levels of enzymes involved in glycine metabolism. They found that higher levels of these enzymes predicted poorer outcomes for patients. ”

    1. Ms G

      Thank you for this. Priceless. The squirming German and his Irish PR handler lost. The old-style journalist won. We don’t have any like him in this country (U.S.). I am forwarding this widely.

  14. Hugh

    Re Christine Lagarde, elites self-validate and self-legitimize themselves. Lagarde is a member of the elites and as head of the IMF, a major player working on behalf of the kleptocrats. Traditional media, however, portrays all such hardened criminals as dedicated, serious professionals, at once above us and like us.

    This is perhaps the biggest cognitive dissonance going. Modern villains and monsters aren’t scruffy and dirty like some outlaw riding out of a western oater. They don’t wear SS uniforms like in the war movies. They don’t wear capes and twirl their moustaches like in the cartoons. And they don’t have nervous tics like psychos in slasher films. They are nice people. They dress in nice suits, have nice credentials, nice offices, write op-eds in nice newspapers, give speeches at nice meetings full of similarly nice people. Everything about them is nice, except of course for the one thing about them striving, quite successfully I might add, to destroy the wealth and freedom of 99%s everywhere and enslave us all to the wills of their kleptocratic masters.

    This is I think the hardest lesson for us all to learn. Our elites are not on our side, ever. They are not nice, however many trappings of niceness they surround themselves with. They mean deeply, sincerely, and completely, to destroy us. And there will come a time, and maybe not that far off, where we, the 99%, are going to have to decide whether it is going to be us or them, because it can not be both. And if it is them, then we will be their slaves. That is what we need to keep foremost in our minds as we read the day’s stories whether they are about Lagarde, or Obama, or Romney or any other of our elites. They are not mistaken, and they are not stupid. They are well dressed, well sounding evil. It is an advantage we cede to them that we continue to extend them the benefit of the doubt, that we continue to assume that, at heart, they really are like us and have good intentions toward us. They aren’t, and they don’t.

  15. Tim

    Regarding the NPR Article on the U2, not to take anything away from the U2 which is an amazing aircraft, but the statement that the U2 is cheaper than a Global Hawk is derived from an analysis performed by the Air Force which is being questioned within the military and congress, because it appears to utilize faulty (read “biased”) accounting methods to determine maintenance costs.

    Some key top Air Force Brass are ex U2 pilots, and all are ex-pilots of real aircraft one variety or another. So the point is the Air Force HATES unmanned aircraft with a passion, for one reason only: there are no pilots, and any opportunity they have to kill off an unmanned aircraft they will jump at.

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