Links 4/16/13

Supernova left its mark in ancient bacteria Nature

Moore’s Law and the Origin of Life MIT Technology Review (Kurt Sperry)

The Bitcoin Collapse Continues — Now Below $57 Clusterstock

Japan court tells Google to stop autocomplete words PhysOrg

Jailed for eco-activism, and then jailed for blogging about eco-activism Grist (Francois T)

Merkel: Germany too weak to withstand more stimulus Telegraph

German Economic Sentiment Misses Big And Dives In April Clusterstock. No wonder!

Threat of ‘wealth tax’ on holiday homes Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

‘It’s odd bank bosses have avoided charges’ Telegraph

Never Mind Oil, Libya could Supply Europe with Solar Power OilPrice

Syria: Two Moral Boosts For the Government Forces Moon of Alabama

U.S. Engaged in Torture After 9/11, Review Concludes New York Times. We needed a study to establish that?

Obama, Guantánamo, and the enduring national shame Glenn Greenwald, Guardian

Immigration Bill Opens Path for Foreign Workers Wall Street Journal. Chuck Schumer is a front person. Need we say more?

Why Republicans Should Never Raise Taxes Grover Norquist, National Review. Paul Tioxon: “Grover’s political algorithm for the perplexed.”

Obama Signs Partial Repeal of STOCK Act Roll Call. The excuses for letting Congresscritters engage in insider trading were pathetic.

The Fed messed with the wrong senator Dave Dayen, Salon

FBI probes deadly Boston Marathon ‘terror’ blasts BBC

The latest from Boston: Search warrant served at suburban Boston home; Pakistani Taliban denies responsibility Salon

UM Coach: Bomb Sniffing Dogs, Spotters on Roofs Before Explosions Local15TV (Mobile)

Brief Comments on the Boston Bombing Ian Welsh

Legislature OKs Parnell oil tax cuts that will cost state billions Anchorage Daily News (down2long)

Nevada buses hundreds of mentally ill patients to cities around country SacBee (Lambert)

Drug Makers Use Safety Rule to Block Generics New York Times

Taxpayers failing to get their fair share of wireless gold rush Los Angeles Times (Scott S). A feature, not a bug.

Class conflict on the bus Corrente

First Quarter Petroleum Usage Charts: Total Distillates, Gasoline, Jet Fuel, Fuel Oil Michael Shedlock

New kid on the block: Corporate titans Palm Beach Post (rich)

Financial crisis caused by too many bankers taking cocaine, says former drugs tsar Telegraph (Jim S). According to ex Goldman CDO salesman Tetsuya Ishikawa, it was a major sales tool (along, of course, with ladies of negotiable affection). But the story itself is hysterical.

Paulson Gold Bet Loses Almost $1 Billion: Chart of Day Bloomberg

Fathers struggling to ‘have it all’ Financial Times

Baghdad Burning Riverbend

Antidote du jour (Ivan Kislov):


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  1. Kathy Menasco

    Thank you for providing the Riverbend link. I had followed this woman’s blog during the “active” war. Her last entry related the turmoil of trying to flee to Syria. The last line of the link related to me. I did care what happened to her. I’m conforted to know she is alive.

    1. evodevo

      Hooray! Riverbend is back! Followed her up till the exodus to Syria, and have been wondering how the current situation there has affected her and family. Good to know she is still around.

    2. Jim S

      “Finally, after all is said and done, we shouldn’t forget what this was about – making America safer… And are you safer Americans?”

      Would that more of my fellow citizens ask this of themselves. Nearly twelve years on, two wars, “interventions”, embargoes, drone strikes, CIA, TSA, DHS, and are we safer? No. We have made the world a more dangerous place, for us, and for everyone else as well, even the most remote of tribes.

      The world is an inherently dangerous place. Always has been, always will be. Well that we should seek peace, but we are ill-advised to chase after safety; if the price of peace is eternal vigilance, the price of safety is eternal war.

      Living in fear stunts the spirit of a man, blinds him to the suffering of others, turns him into a caricature of a human being. This country, my country, has lived in fear too long. No more.

      I kept meaning to check that link. Glad I finally did.

  2. Massinissa

    Jesus christ, Bitcoin is $57? isnt that a drop of a hundred?

    I honestly think successors of Bitcoin will be more successful than bitcoin itself. Bitcoin is essentially an alpha or a beta in my mind.

    Im sure glad I didnt involve myself with it though. I prefer to watch roller coasters than to actually ride them…

        1. skippy

          RE: Massive Online Game

          As denoted in another thread, this is just a “pure token” gaming platform as opposed to a – market within – a gaming platform see: WOW, EVE, and virtual world platforms.

          These markets are – primed – by the originators, by infusions of good money to get the ball rolling, then skim off it. Although gamers like finding exploits… OH BOY[!!!]… do they love that challenge~~~

          Accumulation of Money or perceived success by the rules is not the main motivational incitement… it is to be – GAWD LIKE – to Pwn the the others, to be an ***Owner***, this is the personal incitement which motivates behaviour.

          As an ex-admin on a million+ per day MOG FPS server for a few years I can tell you… its a jungle out there…

          skippy… The psychoanalysis of virtual online gaming correlates highly to present world market environment imo.

          Meet the Spy

          Personally this is how I think the markets really work: Griefing: Hot Girl Backstabbing

    1. AbyNormal

      The Winklevoss twins, Cameron and Tyler — Olympic rowers, nemeses of Mark Zuckerberg — are laying claim to a new title: bitcoin moguls.
      The Winklevii, as they are known, have amassed since last summer what appears to be one of the single largest portfolios of the digital money, whose wild gyrations have Silicon Valley and Wall Street talking. The twins, the first prominent figures in the largely anonymous bitcoin world to publicly disclose a big stake, say they own nearly $11 million worth.

      chumps just can’t catch a break

  3. MacCruiskeen

    “The Fed messed with the wrong senator.”

    I wonder if the Administration is regretting pushing her into the Senate now. Those hearings would be a lot quieter if Brown had been reelected. I guess you can’t blame them–the conventional thinking at the time was that she’d be a low-totem-pole player with no influence.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      FYI Dayen says the piece was edited to put more focus on Warren.

      And she is kicking up a ruckus on an issue where it is not clear how she has any real impact. The settlement is done. There is not going to be more money for homeowners. It is Maxine Waters, not Warren, who has launched a bill to put much tougher curbs on the hiring and use of consultants.

      Now she may kick up fights like this on issues where she can make a difference. But this is not one of them. So we need to see if this is a warm up to real action, which means she is prepared to cross Obama, since any middle class advocacy inevitably entails that.

  4. AbyNormal

    re, Boston explosions: Patton Oswalt
    I remember, when 9/11 went down, my reaction was, “Well, I’ve had it with humanity.”

    But I was wrong. I don’t know what’s going to be revealed to be behind all of this mayhem — one human insect or a poisonous mass of broken sociopaths.

    But here’s what I DO know. If it’s one person or a HUNDRED people, that number is not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a percent of the population on this planet. You watch the videos of the carnage and there are people running TOWARDS the destruction to help out. (Thanks FAKE Gallery founder and owner Paul Kozlowski for pointing this out to me). This is a giant planet and we’re lucky to live on it but there are prices and penalties incurred for the daily miracle of existence. One of them is, every once in a while, the wiring of a tiny sliver of the species gets snarled and they’re pointed towards darkness.

    But the vast majority stands against that darkness and, like white blood cells attacking a virus, they dilute and weaken and eventually wash away the evildoers and, more importantly, the damage they wreak. This is beyond religion or creed or nation. We would not be here if humanity were inherently evil. We’d have eaten ourselves alive long ago.

    So when you spot violence, or bigotry, or intolerance or fear or just garden-variety misogyny, hatred or ignorance, just look it in the eye and think,
    “The good outnumber you, and we always will.”

    (includes you! banksters, financiers and crooked government(s) enablers)

    1. Paul Tioxon

      And remember as well, when the filthy rich die, they can’t take it with them!!!! Now that is vengeance served on a really cold slab.

      1. Invy

        They do, however, pass it on to their children…that is enough to insure eventual collapse as the inevitable fool inherits the reigns to the kingdom.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Also, it’s best to stay away from dangerous toys.

          Too much cocaine, sex, champagne and caviar is not good for one’s health.

  5. Brindle

    Re: “Bomb Sniffing Dogs @ Marathon etc.”

    The cross country coach has run in some the of the big marathons all over the world and he says he never saw the high level of security presence before the start at any other race event.
    Hard to know at this point what this means, perhaps very little.
    I do not have faith in the authorities giving a straight answer as to obvious questions.

    1. 1231239

      think the cross-country coach, an obvious counterterrorism expert, is suffering from confirmation bias.

    2. Director of National Intelligence

      Salon quotes an unnamed senior intelligence official about a domestic crime. I guess we’re dropping the pretense that unnamed senior intelligence officials are not in charge at home. Let’s quit dicking around and put up ubiquitous posters of Big Sister Mary Margaret Graham.

  6. Jim Haygood

    On the morning of a weak CPI report, Bloomberg publishes a ‘Death of TIPS’ screed:

    History is repeating itself in the bond market as investors capitulate on bets that the Federal Reserve’s money-printing efforts will spark faster inflation.

    Firms from U.S. Bancorp to Federated Investments that had been buying government securities that protect against rising consumer prices during the Fed’s recent efforts to inject cash into the economy are now selling on the behalf of clients. For the first time since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008, mutual funds that target Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities have seen outflows for three straight months, according to Morningstar Inc. (MORN)

    “With such weak labor markets, flat income growth and flat wages, and commodities weak, we just won’t see the inflation that the TIPS market is pricing in,” Dan Heckman, a fixed- income strategist at the U.S. Bank Wealth Management unit of U.S. Bancorp, which manages $110 billion, said in telephone interview April 9.

    The unsourced bold-faced quote indicates that this article is nothing but a sponsored press release, typical of Bloomberg’s junk journalism.

    Buried in the 22nd paragraph of the article is some actual returns data:

    Returns on TIPS have topped non-indexed Treasuries since 2009, gaining an average of 9.4 percent in each of the past four years, versus 3.41 percent for nominal U.S. government debt, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch indexes. This year, nominals are beating TIPS, 1.93 percent versus 1.27 percent.

    So this whole hatchet job hinges on TIPs’ 66 basis point underperformance during the last 3.5 months. On a 12-month basis, 10-year TIPS have beaten nominal bonds with a 6.67% return versus 5.60% for the nominal 10-year, according to Barclays indexes.

    Historically, gold and bonds have been somewhat negatively correlated. That is, the recent gold smash, as well as today’s notable weakness in CPI, represents a relatively benign backdrop for bonds.

    Gentlemen prefer bonds, comrades.

  7. rich

    When hunger came to Egypt

    Prices of subsidized basics like bread, sugar and oil in Egypt look like going the same way as the price of beans – beyond the reach of half the population – as the flat-broke state sinks further into the financial mire. The question is how long Egyptians can go hungry before the Muslim Brotherhood loses its capacity to govern.

    The half of Egyptians that lives on $2 a day no longer eats beans, let alone milk products.

    The price of fava beans, the country’s second-most important food staple, has already risen by 40% this year, to 5,000 Egyptian pounds (US$728) per ton from $3,000 Egyptian pounds in January. Imports of proteins have collapsed, according to the Egyptian Gazette:

    1. Massinissa

      Well, maybe the revolution will be more successful on the second attempt, with an actual democracy created next time.

      Lets hope the second will be as relatively bloodless as the last one at least…

      1. BondsOfSteel

        I don’t think that’s the way the world works. Failed democracies become dictatorships. When people can’t agree they start to look for a strong man to take charge :(

        1. Antifa

          The core problem in Egypt is the officer corps of the Army. Mubarak so arranged the economy that every officer had some stake in virtually every business in the country, right down to the Mom n’ Pop stores in the bazaar.

          That fiscal grip on the economic life of the populace needs to be broken for real change to happen.

    1. AbyNormal

      plato said, A dog has the soul of a philosopher…im trying to funnel bankers an ducklings

      but nice lift…thanks for the share Reader

      1. direction

        yes, it was suspiciously well documented from start to finish. even before the start really, that stinks of PR firm

    1. diane

      (oopsie doopsie, unfortunately the link is not working now, it was a great post, anyone interested may want to try later, to see if it reappears. Even if it doesn’t, I’m sure there will be plenty worth reading there, as there always is.)

      1. Synopticist

        That is some fuc*ing astonishing sh*t.

        That Rogoff and reinhard paper is all the austerians have. It’s their entire fu*king economic justification. Lying bastards.

        1. Lambert Strether

          Actually, Konczal tweets I’m wrong; the cherrypicked data are more important, though the Excel features bugs are still important.

          I fixed on it because Excel errors are so ubiquitous in the the business world (e.g. in the London Whale trade, another case where people looked no further than the bottom line that suited their purpose).

          1. Synopticist

            The spreadsheet thing COULD be a genuine mistake. Unlikelly, especially as there’s 2 of them, but it’s a possibility.

            Not so the cherry picked data. That is so disgusting. I’m actually suprised. Even after half a decade of this bullsh*t, i’m still amazed that academics could sink this low.

          2. direction

            Looks like a lot of confirmation bias and cherry picked data in the links today. The Moore’s Law/evolution piece perhaps being the worst of it.

        2. Procopius

          Naw, the Reinhart-Rogoff paper was pretty well debunked long ago. The thing is the Austerians don’t need any intellectual basis for their policy. It’s something that everybody knows. This is an interesting development for the few hundred or thousand people who are really interested in such things, but it won’t have any more influence on the Austerians than the drop in gold will have on the gold bugs (hellloooooo Crazy Uncle Liberty (!), Bill Gross, John Paulson, Bill Schiff, …)

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cocaine taking banksters.

    If you are a priest in the Church of Mammon, two issues concern you:

    1. it’s outrageous you are being taxed, violating the constitutional separation of church and state.

    2. Using sacred plants, not confining to one’s own self, but to spread misery for others (99.99% here) to share among their pathetic selves, is doing Mammon-god’s work.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That’s a professional risk.

        More publicity like this and we will start seeing robot economists.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Wealth tax on holiday homes.

    As a first step, maybe we should start with a wealth tax on paintings and other collectibles. Often, they are worth more than the house. A

    Van Gogh and a Jihong (Sacrificial Red) vase, and we are talking $100 million here. This will hit the 0.01%, instead of some holiday home-owing 99.99% (and I don’t have a holiday home).

    1. data

      ‘How Much Unemployment Was Caused by Reinhart and Rogoff’s Arithmetic Mistake?’

      “[…] according to a review of her work with Rogoff discussed below, the lower growth from debt levels above 90 percent, that austerity is supposed to avoid, turns out, it appears, to be largely the result of errors in the research. In fact, there is no substantial growth penalty from high debt levels, and hence not much gain from short-run austerity.”

      I hope they both burn in hell.

        1. Procopius

          Their initial response is prety awful, basically, “Well we meant a less robust connection and of course we commented on the reverse causality problem, but if you look at the median instead of the mean it doesn’t change much.” Of course they’ve received fame and honors in abundance for their paper so there’s no way they can admit to any defects. Might as well expect David Hubbard to apologize for his report on what a great investmen opportunity Iceland was. I’ll be interested to see if they give any explanation for why they dropped date for the years 1945-1950 — not by mistake, but on purpose. Also why they weighted their data so that one year of high debt and low growth was equal to many years of high debt and high growth. That’s the error that I find most significant. Where did these guys study econometrics?

    2. diane

      Folks would be horrified to know how much falsehood (accidental, and certainly intentional) might be revealed by an actual analysis of what is rarely, if ever, reviewed in global consequenced MS Pivot Tables, which that graphic appears to possibly be.

      Not to mention the fact that some times, even when the equation/data was entered correctly, … software burps out very bad data (Oracle database reports certainly come to mind here also) due to some obscure issue which is so many times undiscovered, or deliberately obscured, as the entity puking out the bogus report has become too big/important to be allowed to fail by virtue of slashing anyone on its already under hired/under appreciated labor force who dares request to actually verify its data.

  10. ScottS

    Re: Nevada buses hundreds of mentally ill patients to cities around country SacBee (Lambert)

    Wow! Stay classy, Nevada!

    I’ll have to save this story in my back pocket for the next libertarian who talks down to me about the need for rugged individualism.

    Shades of The Walking Dead where the corrupt “Guvnor” in the neighboring town dumps zombies onto our heroes’ camp as petty revenge. Only in Nevada’s case it’s even worse as these are just people who need help but Nevada is too cheap and heartless to care for them, not blood-thirsty monsters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One doesn’t need an atlas to know that one is not always young nor strong, even if one was lucky enough to be born mentally stable.

      1. Lambert Strether

        “Are there no Greyhound bus stations?”

        * * *

        I like the policy of using the length of the trip to figure out how many cans of nutritional supplement to give them. It’s so humane. Or at least plausibly humane should it come to a lawsuit. Which comes to the same thing these days, doesn’t it?

    2. Garrett Pace

      “The other” is always monstrous, whether zombies or anyone else. The measure of a culture’s health is how many different groups get placed into that category by the majority.

  11. alex

    re: Obama Signs Partial Repeal of STOCK Act

    “Both houses of Congress passed this bill unanimously and it was not done in a vacuum,” Press Secretary Jay Carney said. “Congress changed the online posting provision only after a panel of experts from the National Academy of Public Administration studied this issue and issued a report recommending indefinite suspension,” raising national security, law enforcement and personal security concerns.

    What sort of “national security” concerns? That if the American people realize how corrupt congress is, there may be another revolution?

    1. progressive humanist

      Interesting result:

      Comments on FireDogLake report on this nearly match those at; no division in outrage on this issue!

  12. alex

    re: Immigration Bill Opens Path for Foreign Workers Wall Street Journal. Chuck Schumer is a front person. Need we say more?

    It’s behind a pay wall. I know Schumer is a front person, but what aspect of that does the article discuss?

    1. Otter

      Dean sez, “the years of high debt in the United States had slow growth because millions of women opted to leave the paid labor force.”

      Actually, they were forced.

  13. rich

    NPR: Congress Quietly Rolls Back the Law Against Congressional Insider Trading

    But on Monday, when the president signed a bill reversing big pieces of the law, the emailed announcement was one sentence long. There was no fanfare last week either, when the Senate and then the House passed the bill in largely empty chambers using a fast-track procedure known as unanimous consent.

    In the House, Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., shepherded the bill through. It was Friday afternoon at 12:52. Many members had already left for the weekend or were on their way out. The whole process took only 30 seconds. There was no debate…

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