Links 6/20/13

Happy Summer Solstice!

Today we are launching a mobile version of our site, which you can access at This does NOT have to do with our recent site migration, it’s just a coincidence of timing.

It should display a version of the site appropriate to the device you are using (as in there’s an iPad version that is different and has some features that are different than that of the mobile phone variant).

There are some limitations to both versions. One is that neither includes comments. You need to click over to the regular site to view them (the iPad version has a button at the bottom of the text for each article on the left).

Feedback is welcome! If you are having operational problems (as in it doesn’t load or click through properly), please let us know what type of device you are using. If you have aesthetic or feature issues (as in “it not doing Q like XYZ mobile site does makes it less useful/appealing”), please also tell us. And in either case, please let us know whether you will use the mobile version or will stay with the main site (if you have a LONG comment, you can e-mail me at, with “NC mobile site feedback” in the subject line). Just keep in mind that these versions come from a service called Onswipe (as in these are not custom designs, but customized variants) and they serve the ads (which will hopefully be in a less intrusive swipe-y version). In other words, this is not a “custom” design but is customized from one of their templates. That means there may be some stuff you’d like that don’t fit into what they do (their templates presume a more visual, less text heavy site than NC is).

The Okinawa diet – could it help you live to 100? Guardian

Morning coffee just killed your creativity MSN Money (Lambert)

When environmental chemicals act like uncontrolled medicine Cell Press (Brad Miller via CF). Apropos the discussion yesterday of changes over the last 40 years that have contributed to the US obesity epidemic.

Clear your cache: Websites store personal data on your Web browser Los Angeles Times

Singapore Smog Reaches ‘Hazardous’ All-Time High on Fires Bloomberg

Ford’s Mulally Calls Japan Currency Manipulator Amid Weaker Yen Bloomberg

1 in 8 homes sold for a loss over March quarter MacroBusiness. No longer “safe as houses” down under.

Germany’s ascendancy over Europe will prove short-lived Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

What Really happened during the Argentine Economic Collapse of 2001 Surviving in Argentina. Correcting the record.

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

How Edward Snowden could sidestep extradition USA Today

Snowden versus the dragons Reuters

The Terror Con Indeed papicek Firedoglake

Fisa court oversight: a look inside a secret and empty process Glenn Greenwald. Neglected to include this yesterday

Dem Congressman ALAN GRAYSON Grills Martin Bashir For Criticizing Surveillance YouTube. If you had any doubts that MSNBC is completely in the tank for Obama, this should settle them. Both the “host” and the smirking MSNBC host Karen Finney (weirdly treated as a guest in this clip) gang up on Grayson. Oh, Finney has likely been on the payroll of SIFMA, a financial services “industry association” aka lobbying group.

Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown Washington Post (Paul T)

Bernanke sees 2014 end for QE3 Financial Times

It is hard to defend the 1 per cent by claiming their contribution added value Bill Mitchell

If American Car Companies Are Doing Well, Why Aren’t They Hiring? Consumerist

NYC’s official website explains why NYC’s official compost plan can’t possibly work Grist

Why Education Isn’t Like Sports Eugene Stern, mathbabe

Niall Ferguson: More Mistaken Musings from the Land of the Excel Spreadsheet Error Dean Baker

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: Enroll America’s President launches slush fund-driven campaign, says goal is to “create echo chamber” Corrente

Antidote du jour:


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  1. AbyNormal

    Firefox Web browser to move ahead plan to block tracking
    “We’re trying to change the dynamic so that trackers behave better,” said Brendan Eich, chief technology officer for Mozilla. (thata boys’)

    I give the fight up: let there be an end, a privacy, an obscure nook for me. I want to be forgotten even by God.

  2. RexLex

    I would prefer to live healthy until I die. Thus, most probably not to a 100. Not even close. I have aging parents. Nothing beautiful with old age (generally speaking although there are of course exceptions)

    1. subgenius

      one day articles about diet and development in the mainstream media might get around to covering Weston Price’s work ~100 years ago, and stop harping on about some miracle diet. It seems to have more to do with minimally processed foods and an active lifestyle.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        That sounds like what a Luddite would do…or more likely, a Neanderthal – he is guaranteed to be active to avoid being eaten by bears.

    2. Propertius

      I’ve spent a lot of time on Okinawa – while I never personally met any centenarians, I have met Okinawans in their 90s who were more active and alert than a lot of Westerners in their 60s. Age doesn’t necessarily equate to disability and loss of function.

  3. diptherio

    Photoshopped! Has to be. While I can see the kitty snuggling up with a squirrel (or anything else, really), I find it super hard to believe the squirrel would put up with it. This looks like the east-coast-transplant squirrels (tree-rats) that infest my mountain town (as compared to our local chipmunks). A friend’s cat once tried to man-handle one of these squirrels and ended up in the kitty-ER.

    I mean, maybe it is real (I want to believe), but my experience of squirrels leads me to conclude otherwise.

    1. AbyNormal

      years ago a child brought me an abandoned baby squirrel (looked like a sm. smooth stone in my palm)…they happen to be against the law around these parts so i looked everywhere for someone to take it. finally found a licensed wildlife handler (happened to be retired police officer) to take it off my hands…but that was after a week and a half of pure hel! on my part. during that time my daughters tabby took to it. i got the feeling the feline might’ve been waiting until the squirrels eyes opened…to make a fair(fun) sport of it. i never got any sleep…squirrels are a pain in the @ss, i don’t care how adorable they come off!

      1. diptherio

        I once took a duckling from an acquaintance who had found it and brought it home with him but didn’t know what to do with it. I called around, finally to a lady I know who runs a farm-animal sanctuary. She just sighed and told me to go release it somewhere and try not to worry about it. That’s just life.

        Wild animal babies: cute, but not worth the trouble. You just can’t save everything.

  4. dearieme

    ” … head of the 1st Sustainment Command, who is overseeing the drawdown in Afghanistan. “This is the largest retrograde mission in history.””

    The Clear English award goes to the US Army.
    “retrograde mission” presumably means “retreat”, so the claim is wrong. If it means something else, what?

    “1st Sustainment Command” presumably refers to the opposite of sustaining i.e. scrapping: or does it?

    1. Lambert Strether

      We sure are starting post-war Afghanistan off on the right foot, leaving the ground littered with surplus military equipment.

      Oh well, I’m sure somebody will put it to good use!

    2. Cujo359

      Sustainment commands are logistical organizations. This one is now faced with figuring out how to pack up the Army’s things and go home.

      Here’s an Economist article from April on the subject.

      Of course, not everything will be economical to pack up and bring home, partiularly since the nearest available port cities are in Pakistan. That’s one reason why we’re leaving so much military junk there.

  5. from Mexico

    @ “What Really happened during the Argentine Economic Collapse of 2001”

    The author writes:

    Anyone doing battle with the police at any time before or after the fall of President Fernando DelaRua’s government was either rioting or looting…. If you are in the middle of a violent looting and cops trying to stop it bad things can happen to you. Normal, by this I mean law abiding citizens didn’t do battle with the police.

    There are so many things wrong with this statement I don’t even know where to begin.

    The person who wrote this is a person who is in love with the satus quo, a person with an authoritarian personality, and a person who believes that police are always right and can do no wrong.

    On the other hand, anyone the police hurt is either stupid or a criminal. There are no other possibilities.

    1. Fernando

      About the deaths… when you look case by case you can see the author has no clue:
      But I feel I should say something in favor of the goverment at the time: the police wasn’t a force they could really control (nor it is now), there is a good reason the is no mafia nor Narco gangs in Argentina… the police doesn’t want competition.

      Another point about the piece is that it is said that you could still use your credit (or debit) card…. this is true, but if you had savings you couldn’t protect them (no one was going to accept you paying them with something that was inside a bank if the transaction was on something valuable).
      I should add that if journalists wouldn’t have been all in the pockets of the local 1% some of them would have spoken after Cavallo anounced that he was going to let the AFJPs (pension funds) “consolidate their savings abroad” (i.e. take all their savings out of the country), I still remember the silence about that was absolute.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      I know that bit triggered you, but you seem to have missed the point for including that piece. The author was saying the accounts of the 2001 “collapse” make it out to be markedly worse than it was.

      1. from Mexico

        And this seems to be consistent with what Frederick Lewis Allen reported of when Roosevelt declared a national bank holiday and closed all the US banks in the spring of 1933:

        In The Folklore of Capitalism, Thurman W. Arnold tells of a conversation he had, before the bank panic, with a group of bankers, lawyers, and economists. They were one and all aghast at the possibility of a general bank closing. “My mind,” said one of them, “fails to function when I think of the extent of the catastrophe that will follow when the Chase National Bank closes its doors.” Mr. Arnold told his friend Professor Edward S. Robinson about this conversation, and found him unaccountably cheerful. “Do you think,” asked Professor Robinson, “that when the banks all close people will climb trees and throw coconuts at each other?” Mr. Arnold replied that this seemed to him a little unlikely but that a bank crash of such magnitude suggested to him rioting and perhaps revolution. Whereupon Professor Robinson said, “I will venture a prediction. . . . When the banks close, everyone will feel relieved. It will be a sort of national holiday. There will be general excitement and a feeling of great interest. Travel will not stop; hotels will not close; everyone will have a lot of fun, though they will not admit that it’s fun at the time.”

        Despite the fact that indirectly the bank holiday brought new distress, through new curtailments of business and new layoffs, and intensified the suffering of many people who were already hard hit, Professor Robinson was essentially right. The majority of Americans felt a sense of relief at having the lid of secrecy blown off. Now everything was out in the open. They felt that this trouble was temporary. They felt no shame now in being short of money–everybody seemed to be. They were all in the same boat. And they responded to one another’s difficulties good-naturedly.

        The grocer lent credit (what else could he do?), most hotels were glad to honor checks, shops were cordial about charge accounts….

        True, the shopping districts were half deserted; on the upper floors of department stores, clerks were standing about with no customers at all; there was a Saturday air about the business offices, trains were sparsely filled, stock exchanges and commodity exchanges were closed. But in the talk that buzzed everywhere there was less of foreboding than of eager and friendly excitement… “Did you see those pictures of the gold hoarders bringing bags full of gold back to the Federal Reserve Bank? Those birds are getting off easy, if you ask me.” “Mrs. Dodge beat the bank holiday all right–overdrew her account last Friday. No, not intentionally. Just a mistake, she says. Shot with luck, I call it.” “Stop me if you’ve heard this banker story: it seems that a banker died and when he got to the gates, St. Peter said. . . .”

        The banks opened without any such renewed panic as had been feared.

        1. Shutter

          Frederick Lewis Allen from Wiki…

          “His best-known books were Only Yesterday (1931), a book chronicling American life in the 1920s, and Since Yesterday (1940), which covered the Depression of the 1930s. His last and most ambitious book, The Big Change, was a social history of the United States from 1900 to 1950. ”

          The first two books listed are a pleasure to read. Haven’t tried the Big Change. Allen didn’t tie himself up in convoluted reasoning. His accounts of the events and their effect on people ring true. Keep it simple keeps it accurate.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Whereas banks were where people went to get money to spend at that time, is today’s equivalent credit-card-company-holiday?

  6. Lost Padres

    There is considerable irony in any article about privacy on this site. According to my browser, a visit to NC triggers tracking by these 17 – count ’em sites:

    Google analytics
    Aol advertising
    Media Innovation Group
    Comscore Beacon
    Google adsense
    Invite Media
    Right Media
    Rubicon Project

    Install the DONotTrackME firefox plugin and see for yourself. NC is the worst. The content is great, but why this disconnect?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      No I am not being hypocritical. You apparently didn’t read the article. It is about websites (websites, not your browser) keeping SENSITIVE personal data (like bank account info) when hackers might be able to get access to it. This is the reason, for instance, if you use personal banking the site will often tell you to close your browser window after you log out.

      By contrast, all that ad stuff is to track how many people visit the site and how many ads they get served. Period. Unfortunately, some advertisers like some info sources better than others, hence there’s a lot of redundancy.

      The NSA isn’t interested in that data.

      I don’t control it, this is my ad service, and pretty much every major financial blog (I know for a fact Barry Ritholtz and CR) use this service. So we are not “the worst”. We are absolutely normal for a site of this type.

      If you don’t like it, please write us a big check. No ads and this site goes dark. It’s that simple. I wish it were otherwise, but that is where things are. If I said more popular stuff, I could get well paid corporate speaking gigs, but this is the price of not currying favor with the parties in power.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Wellie, my server is in CA, but it is time stamped East Coast time…so the site now lives in CA but pretends otherwise.

          1. AbyNormal

            if i could i’d write you that big fat check! this is by far the best financial site around!!

            now if i could just leave a reply to FromMexico (ive tried 5x in last half hour bahahahahaaaa)

            hope this reply gets thru…Your the Best
            (i do hope your taking care of yourself…you looked a bit too thin on msnbc couple wks ago)

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            @ AbyNormal,

            Thanks for the nice note and concern!

            TV is very lighting and makeup dependent. I can look 20 pounds different the same week in 2 different studios.

  7. Gerard Pierce

    Looking at the fruit salad on Gen Alexander’s uniform, I became curious since swivel-chair warriors usually do not get that many awards besides the “I was there variety”.

    Looking at widipedia: :

    I was surprised to find a list of medals and awards that incuded the bronze star and the senior parachutists badge.

    Clicking on the above decorations, seems to indicate that each of these two were recieved around 2008. It’s rare tbat general officers are engaged in combat, and jumping out of airplanes is not a common hobby for generals.

    It would appear the General Alexander has had a more active career than we would expect.

  8. from Mexico

    @ “The Terror Con Indeed”

    The same manipulations of reality used to commit the terror con are the same ones used to con the public into supporting the other half of the security state empire, domestic policing/criminal justice.

    They include 1) appeal to fear, 2) misleading vividness (Describing an occurrence in vivid detail, even if it is a rare occurrence, to convince someone that it is a problem.), 3) anecdotal evidence (Discounting evidence arrived at by systematic research or testing in favor of a few firsthand stories.), and 4) jumping to conclusions (Drawing a quick conclusion without fairly considering relevant, and easily available, evidence.)

    The Justice Policy Institute did a very insightful study on how propaganda creates a huge chasm between perception and reality.

    For instance, the study reports that:

    Despite sharp declines in youth crime, the public expresses great fear of its own young people. Although violent crime by youth in 1998 was at its lowest point in the 25-year history of the National Crime Victimization Survey, 62% of poll respondents felt that juvenile crime was on the increase. In the 1998/99 school year, there was less than a one-in-two million chance of being killed in a schoolin America, yet 71% of respondents to an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll felt that a school shooting was likely in their community.

    Besides young people, Whites also harbor an irrational fear of minorities:

    At the same time as Americans are fearful of youth crime, they are more likely to exaggerate the threat of victimization by minorities. Twice as many White Americans believe they are more likely to be victimized by a minority than a White, despite the fact that Whites are actually three times more likely to be victimized by Whites than by minorities.

    Then the study goes on to explain how these huge gaps between perception and reality are created by the engineers of consent:

    More than 70 years ago Walter Lippmann wrote a now-classic work, Public Opinion. In that book he described the impossibility of knowing through direct experience everything that it was necessary to know to function as a citizen in our modern democracy. Instead, Lippmann explained, we depend on “pictures in our heads,” many of them delivered by the news media, to tell us about the world. Our decisions about how to behave and how to construct our society have to be based on those pictures, Lippmann believed, because the world was too vast to experience personally.

    The public depends on the media for its pictures of crime. Three quarters (76%) of the public say they form their opinions about crime from what they see or read in the news, more than three times the number who state that they get their primary information on crime from personal experience (22%). In a Los Angeles Times poll, 80% of respondents stated that the media’s coverage of violent crime had increased their personal fear of being a victim. A 1998 report by Public Agenda found that daily TV news viewers were more likely to think that crime and drugs were Baltimore’s number one problem than were those who watch the news less frequently (67% vs. 42%). Despite declining crime rates in Baltimore, one woman there stated, “I get more nervous and worried the more I see, so the less I see, the less crime I would feel is going on out there.”

    These survey results are consistent with communications research finding that the news media largely determine what issues we collectively think about, how we think about them, and what kinds of policy alternatives are considered viable.

  9. Goin' South

    Re: Grayson vs. Bashir—

    I call that network MSDNC. Finney actually worked for the DNC a few years ago.

    During this NSA dustup, they’ve been putting on Michael Hayden while even Fox is putting on William Binney. I can’t see how anyone can argue that they’re not as much in the tank for Obama as Ailes’ Fox is for the Rs.

    1. Jackrabbit

      Grayson made his point very effectively when he said:

      “The point is that we’re taking measures that are not correlated in any way with our safety; and even if they were they would be beneath our dignity as human beings. That’s what this is all about. Alright listen, you can always make people, uh, safer by taking extreme measures . If, uh, we lower the speed limit to 10 miles per hour, people would be safer; if we outlawed knives and forks, people would be safer; if we made everybody fly on the airlines naked, people would be safer. Non of those things corresponds to my sense of human dignity, and I think I’m not the only one who feels that way.”


      The Democrats are trying hard to make surveillance into a partisan issue to diffuse criticism of Obama.

    2. from Mexico

      I’m sure glad we have Grayson to stand up to the enemies of privacy, visible government and democracy.

      These Democratic Party groupies just can’t get their head around the fact that there are a great many Americans who still hold privacy, visible government and democracy to be dear, and that these Americans hail from all points of the political spectrum.

  10. AbyNormal

    grab your protective eyewear …kulturcritic chiselin away

    “He is the man behind the rough looking body guards lounging lazily in the Foster Grants… like the fearsome North African leaders of old; he determines who lives and who dies… He is the hegemon… the angel of death… the grim reaper… he is Barack Obama.”

  11. El Snarko

    Coffee destroys creativity? Nonsense! Well at least in my most humble case. However the article may have a point, now that I apply creative thinking to it. I have my coffee after being awake for 60-90 minutes. I find that I do “creative thought” or what passes for such in my case quite effectively in those minutes. This is time in the shower, or a treadmill, outside for a walk/jog, or with kettlebells. After coffee I find the “output” snaps into bold relief and forms extensive associations. Tea works almost as well,though, but slower.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      What destroys creativity?

      Reading all the time.

      I urge people to write, post and make fools of themselves here on this blog or other blogs.

      It’s when we remove the fear of being judged fools that we can truly liberate ourselves.

      Don’t blame it on coffee or tea.

      Blame ourselves.

    2. Garrett Pace

      I’m glad you feel so productive, but don’t mistake “output” for creativity.

      Coffee makes people good at performing tasks and focusing thinking. That is not creativity, really rather the opposite.

    3. nobody

      “Simply put, caffeine gives a coffee drinker pinpoint focus, but it doesn’t allow the mind to wander. And a recent study showed that losing focus helped inspire creative solutions.”

      That’s why the gods gave us beer.

      “Beer for the idea… Coffee for the execution.”

    4. AbyNormal

      Julia Cameron has strongly influenced me thru the years. i lovingly remember my first whirl with ‘The Artist Way’…the exercises produce some mystic rides.

      “Life is a spiritual dance and that our unseen partner has steps to teach us if we will allow ourselves to be led. The next time you are restless, remind yourself it is the universe asking ‘Shall we dance?”

      “We should write because writing brings clarity and passion to the act of living. Writing is sensual, experiential, grounding. We should write because writing is good for the soul. We should write because writing yields us a body of work, a felt path through the world we live in.
      We should write, above all, because we are writers, whether we call ourselves that or not.”

      “Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to learn to do it well, but the point is to do it no matter what.”

      “Artistic anorexia & sexual avoidance have the same root fears – fear of intimacy, fear of exposure, fear of failure.”

      “Just as a good rain clears the air, a good writing day clears the psyche.”

      “Perfectionism doesn’t believe in practice shots. It doesn’t believe in improvement. Perfectionism has never heard that anything worth doing is worth doing badly–and that if we allow ourselves to do something badly we might in time become quite good at it. Perfectionism measures our beginner’s work against the finished work of masters. Perfectionism thrives on comparison and competition. It doesn’t know how to say, “Good try,” or “Job well done.” The critic does not believe in creative glee–or any glee at all, for that matter. No, perfectionism is a serious matter.”

      “Procrastination is not Laziness”, I tell him. “It is fear. Call it by its right name, and forgive yourself.”

      “Festivity Breeds Creativity, Rigidity Breeds Despair.”

  12. don

    Here is the REAL explanation for what took place in Argentina.

    Watch the video.

    “Documentary on the events that led to the economic collapse of Argentina in 2001 which wiped out the middle class and raised the level of poverty to 57.5%. Central to the collapse was the implementation of neo-liberal policies which enabled the swindle of billions of dollars by foreign banks and corporations. Many of Argentina’s assets and resources were shamefully plundered. Its financial system was even used for money laundering by Citibank, Credit Suisse, and JP Morgan. The net result was massive wealth transfers and the impoverishment of society which culminated in many deaths due to oppression and malnutrition.”

  13. scott

    This new site keeps putting multiple entries into my browser back button (Google Chrome on Win7). It looks like 4 EXTRA entries from every page. It makes the BACK button unusable for navigating from one post back to the list and to another post.

    I REALLY dislike sites that do this. It’s considered bad manners. I like the site content but this will drive me away.

    1. scott

      Ok… i just did a simple page refresh (F5) and now i have 4 MORE entries on my BACK button. Ugh. Almost as bad as a porn site.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Win7/Chrome here too, all latest non-beta distro. Not getting the behavior you describe, everything normal for me in that respect. Just as a datapoint.

  14. TomDor

    When environmental chemicals act like uncontrolled medicine Cell Press (Brad Miller via CF).

    Yes, no doubt in my mind that these man made chemicals are a culprit in the endemics we see.

    My equal concern is the following question. What effects are happening with GMO food?

    I suspect that many effects of GMO food will be discovered if, and when the Monsantos of the world stop suppressing research in this area – I suspect they are actively hiding what they already know.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One effect, I believe will be that we will all forget to ask, ‘what effects are happening with GMO food?’

      Luckily, since going organic, I have fewer holes in my brain and can still ask questions.

      “Before science, was everything organic?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With the Fed playing rearguard, the 0.01% have all been safely evacuated from their financial Dunkirk.

      Now, they are ready to launching their Normandy landing to liberate their oppressed/enslaved/persecuted derivatives.

      1. AbyNormal

        as for our derivatives mkt…i’ve take up with tom’s higher power

        Something has got to hold it together. I’m saying my prayers to Elmer, the Greek god of glue.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    2014 end for QE3.

    We have to be careful there.

    Does it mean 2015 is the beginning for QE4?

    1. Massinissa

      That, or the FED thinks the US government is about ready to handle the shit that will happen if the FED stops artificially propping up the world economy.

      Which I find HIGHLY improbable.

      So yeah, my money is on QEFinity.

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    It is hard to defend the 1 per cent by claiming their contribution added value.


    If you are really old (like if you have grandkids) and have worked hard, and a mortgage free house could easily put you into that hated 1% category.

    And if this guy wants to talk about adding value, these old (formerly working class) people, by continuing to live, definitely do not ‘add value.’

    Maybe he is better off going after the 0.01%.

    1. Massinissa

      They could be in the top 10% sure, but the top 1%? Sort of doubtful IMO.

      And anyway its sort of different when the money is in home value and not actual money isnt it?

      But either way, we both know the article is mostly talking about overpaid hedgefund managers, Beef.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think so too (about the hedgies).

        I would just avoid any ambiguity by writing ‘the 0.01%.’

    2. Propertius

      Pretty doubtful, MLTB. Top 1% is $343,000 in annual income/$8 million in net worth. Those are pretty high numbers to hit for a member of the working class, no matter how hard they’ve saved – even if his/her house is paid off.

    1. AbyNormal

      thanks for passing this along…my gut whispers monsanto will have a hand in this question: ‘why is it so rapid’

      also found this test enlightening & hopeful:
      Chemical That Makes Naked Mole Rats Cancer-Proof Discovered
      The next step will be to test the effectiveness of HMW-HA in mice. If that test goes well, Seluanov and Gorbunova hope to try the chemical on human cells. “There’s indirect evidence that HMW-HA would work in people,” said Seluanov. “It’s used in anti-wrinkle injections and to relieve pain from arthritis in knee joints, without any adverse effects. Our hope is that it can also induce an anti-cancer response.”

      “A lot of cancer research focuses on animals that are prone to cancer,” said Gorbunova. “We think it’s possible to learn strategies for preventing tumors by studying animals that are cancer-proof.”(i wanna say DuH but i’ll pass)

      1. optimader

        If it doesn’t occur in nature, don’t eat(drink) it.
        Used to be a simpler rule to live by, but still doable if you don’t indulge in most packaged food/beverage products.

  17. optimader

    RE:Scrapping equipment key to Afghan drawdown

    The transportation vs scrap excel sheet would be a fun one to sit down with a beer and review.

    At least when the S.U. failed in Afghanistan they had the courtesy to bring what they could back home to scrap/reuse.
    I remember after the implosion of the Soviet empire enterprising but ill considered entrepreneurs trying reengineer tracked vehicles and trunk into farm implements.

    So with regard to redundant MRAPS, the only thing worse would be to bring them home and donate them to civilian police forces.

  18. Susan the other

    Obamacare. Corrente. Lambert. The trade pact with the EU should include Pharma, Insurance, and healthcare clinics, equipment and professional practices proven to be successful in the EU. These services and goods should be imported without tariffs and without sneaky regulations because that is the free trade way. Since clearly health care here is not a right, it is privilege, and an opportunity for others to make a profit. Healthcare is truly a discretionary item.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      By you have to say it explicitly or else you forfeit that right.

      Policeman 1: You are guilty because you didn’t say you wanted to remain silent.

      Policeman 2: And you will be guilty of lying if you said you wanted to remain silent (the acting of saying so broke the silence and made you guilty of lying – gotcha!).

    2. jrs

      Maybe people should just take a break from ALL the technology. Like reatreating to a mountaintop for wisdom or the woods. No tv, no internet, no phone. Take a break until you have figured out what to do about the fact *they* spy on everything. And yes of course have encryption when you come back.

      I can’t guarantee the spy cameras and spy drones won’t monitor you nonetheless, I just don’t think it’s quite that advanced quite yet, but yea the FBI is using spy drones on Americans now.

    3. diane

      You’re more trusting than me. Looking at the text (click “Back to Bill Summary and Status” in the upper left corner, and then click, “Text of Legislation”) on the bill, H.R.2356 (and honestly that title, We Are Watching You Act of 2013, is creepy), I don’t see any prevention whatsoever from listening or viewing in real time. It’s only a prevention from the provider collecting the data. Further, it leaves a totally wide open backdoor for those who allow the collection (why any fool would do that, who knows) for the provider to disclose info to The Law without the viewer’s consent:

      (c) Requirements for Information Disclosure- An operator of a video service that collects visual or auditory information from the vicinity of the device used to display the video programming stream to the consumer may only disclose such information

      (1) with the express consent of the consumer; or

      (2) as required by a court order issued in connection with a law enforcement investigation.

      What I’m reading in between the lines, is that future tvs will all be designed to listen to and view customers in real time, period. Left silent is the fact that The Law will be able to listen to and view customers, and collect that data (on their own devices if need be), whether the viewer gave consent to the provider to collect data, or not; which is probably why he doesn’t note the bill number (with only one sponsor from North Carolina) in his press release.

      Note, there is no provision to prevent listening or viewing here, only to prevent collection of data, by the provider (only):

      (b) Consumer Choice of Alternative Service-

      (1) IN GENERAL- If an operator offers a video service involving the collection of visual or auditory information from the vicinity of the device used to display the video programming stream to the consumer, such operator shall offer a video service that does not involve the collection of such information but is otherwise identical in all respects.

      (2) DEVICE PROVIDED BY OPERATOR- In the case of a video service that is accessed through a device sold or provided to the consumer by the operator of the video service, the operator shall sell or provide in connection with the alternative service required by paragraph (1) a device that is not capable of collecting such information.

      Re (2): Of course if the device can see and listen The Law can use their own device to collect that data.

    4. diane

      You’re more trusting than me. Looking at the text (click “Back to Bill Summary and Status” in the upper left corner, and then click, “Text of Legislation”) on the bill, H.R.2356 (and honestly that title, We Are Watching You Act of 2013, is creepy), I don’t see any prevention whatsoever from listening or viewing in real time. It’s only a prevention from the provider collecting the data. Further, it leaves a totally wide open backdoor for those who allow the collection (why any fool would do that, who knows) for the provider to disclose info to The Law without the viewer’s consent:

      (c) Requirements for Information Disclosure- An operator of a video service that collects visual or auditory information from the vicinity of the device used to display the video programming stream to the consumer may only disclose such information

      (1) with the express consent of the consumer; or

      (2) as required by a court order issued in connection with a law enforcement investigation.

      What I’m reading in between the lines, is that future tvs will all be designed to listen to and view customers in real time, period. Left silent is the fact that The Law will be able to listen to and view customers, and collect that data (on their own devices if need be), whether the viewer gave consent to the provider to collect data, or not; which is probably why he doesn’t note the bill number (with only one sponsor from North Carolina) in his press release.

      (sorry if duplicated, first, longer post disappeared so I broke it into two posts)

  19. Hugh

    One of the reasons so much equipment has to be left behind in Afghanistan is because it cannot be shipped through our supposed ally Pakistan, without incurring huge fees and bottlenecks. It is just another consequence of having our two biggest “allies” in the war on terror, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, being the two major sources of anti-US terrorism.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Alexander was Great because he had the right solution: Just stay here and marry the local girls and boys.

      1. Andrew Watts

        I doubt any present day American president will be associated with military greatness. Bush the Elder came the closest and he was only a one term president. Nor all that impressive.

        If we have to marry off a American president to a Pashtun princess to get ourselves out of Afghanistan I’d totally be for it though.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Only if we don’t party too much at the wedding banquet.

          We don’t want to encourage binge drinking.

    2. bob

      They always leave a massive pile of death machines behind. Feature or bug? When they get home they have to buy another.

      The “pictures” of the decommissioning are too much. Proof that a few machines were “disassembled”.

      For parts? To go to other machines?

      Do you have any idea how hard it is to “destroy” something that is designed to be bomb and bullet proof?

      “we need to get rid of this stuff, we will pay”

      “You’re going to PAY me to take your guns and ammo?”

      “yes, but we need to make sure it gets destroyed”

      “OK, I can destroy the first and show you the same picture one thousand times”

      “well, we might get in trouble”

      “But we’ll be rich! Do you know what a bullet proof hummer goes for in China these days?…Destroy it…sure”

  20. Denis

    Please, please, please, get rid of this piece of sh*t-I’d-rather-get-shot-than-endure-it crapware of OnSwipe that crept on your site today. It is Sh*te with a capital P, the bane of tablet user-experience. I wish its designers will endure a slow and painful death as they burn in hell, in the meanwhile, please your iPad viewers will enjoy a much more enjoyable experience on your site without it.

    1. Lambert Strether

      Can you be just a little more specific in what you dislike?

      I sometimes read NC on my iPad too — hi, NSA! [waves] — and it’s not all that easy in that format either.

      1. Bridget

        Barry Ritholtz has the same thing. After multiple times of switching to desktop view, my ipad seems to have learned. My phone, however, continues to insist on opening in a**wipe mode.

        I like text. Just text. I read really fast and like to be presented with lots of written words. It’s quite a delectable sight to open up a web page and immediately see all the treats there for the reading. Swiping through page after page of pictures desperately seeking words gives me a big ol headache.

      2. ex-PFC Chuck

        I’ve been unable to view NC content on my iPad. I can’t get past the Onswipe page that comes up. My bookmark is for “” and in less than a second after I touch it the URL substitutes “” But what comes up is the OnSwipe page. Admittedly, I’ve been taking care of my 1 yo granddaughter today and haven’t had much time to play with it.
        It would be useful if you offered iPad and iPhone users a choice of whether to use the mobile interface or the conventional browser one, with a “Don’t ask me this again” choice as well. At least until whatever the problem is is fixed.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          I had no idea that readers would be automatically redirected. I thought they’d have an option (I’m not a mobile device user).

          I’ve gone back to Onswipe and told them to change that. It may take a day or so assuming they can do this. If not I might cancel.

          Lambert has details, but if you go to the Onswipe version there is a “desktop version” button, I believe in the upper right. He tells me if you choose THAT, that choice persists, at least for him (as in when he comes back to the site it goes to the desktop version).

          1. Bunk McNulty

            I know Barry and other good folk use OnSwipe, but it sucks on the iPhone. Have to wait and wait for the “swipe to browse” banner to go away.

        2. Lambert Strether

          On the iPad:

          1. Touch the ||| logo down in the orange bar at the bottom.

          2. A sidebar opens up

          3. Click Desktop version.

          This will:

          A. Display the desktop version, as before

          B. Set the default to the desktop version (that is, the choice of the desktop is persistent, at least for me on my Ipad; you don’t have to keep doing step 1-3 every time you boot Safari.

          * * *

          Obviously, we shouldn’t to things that readers hate with the hatred of a thousand burning suns. On the other hand, Ritholz uses this. On the third hand, the process I just described ameliorates the harm. On the fourth hand, there are things that help keep NC free and open to all, and this could be one of them.


          Are there any cell and pad users who view the OnSwipe user experience positively?

          Either way, do you know of user experiences for cells and pads that are optimized for those platforms that make you happy instead of irritated?

          1. Still Above Water

            Like Denis, I was very anti-Onswipe. The reason – Onswipe severely reduced my visits to Ritholtz’s “Big Picture”. On my iPhone 4S, w/ up-to-date iOS, I would get the Onswipe load screen for 20-30 seconds before Safari crashed. I could _sometimes_ get the 3 stripes and choose the desktop version to avert the crash, but not often enough to make me stop visiting. :(

            I was a bit upset when I saw that NC had added it, but after following your advice, it appears that Onswipe is much improved. It now remembers my preference for the desktop version, even after a power-cycle. So, my “violently against” vote has changed to “don’t care”.

      3. Denis

        @Lambert: simply put, it either crashes the device, or brings it to a crawl depending on the number of open apps and tabs.

        This site is already slow by any standards on a first gen iPad, due to the enormous JavaScript payload geared towards tracking and serving ads. It’s unresponsive. I periodically feel like installing an RSS reader to trim the trash (the double underlined green links are amongst the worst offenders), but the content is good so I tolerate the sluggishness.

        OnSwipe, in term, tosses in extra layer of JavaScript that makes the entire thing even more unresponsive. It introduces extra lag, and leaks memory as it loads new articles. This invariably crash the device at a point or another.

        It also transforms your links from permalinks that you can actually share, to mobile-specific hashbang urls. This is not good for SEO, for reader experience, and for a variety of other reasons that you’ll eventually regret — read up on why hashbang urls are bad.

        The pages themselves on OnSwipe load with awkward transitions, whose performance might peak at around 5 frames per second. They give the impression your device will blow up in your face, and aren’t exactly tab friendly (I like to open several links in tabs).

        Adding insult to injury, it fixes the font size on the device, denying you to zoom in, occasionally breaks the Safari Reader button, and (this may have changed since I last bothered with it) prevents you from selecting text — which is crucial if you want to define a term or google it for more information.

        Admittedly, you can revert to the original site. Look closer, however, and you’ll note that many users won’t ever find the button to do so, because the site’s navigability goes from not-so-good to absolutely terrible — and this is assuming their device doesn’t crash before they do so.

        As a means to showing respect to users who actually do find the link to disable it, OnSwipe additionally finds it appropriate to open the desktop version in a separate tab — thus keeping its JS payload around in memory, punishing you even further. And there’s no option to disable it permanently.

        The whole thing is truly dreadful, and I’m far from being alone with this sentiment. If you google around, you’ll find that users who are savvy enough to understand what is being served to them hate OnSwipe with a passion. The silent majority, if that is how it should be called, simply doesn’t know how to disable it.

        If the latter statement sounds fishy to you, take five users for a UI-test, and load the site with and without OnSwipe on a 2-3 year old tablet. Then ask them which they preferred to read. I’dl bet you a beer than nearly all will prefer the UX without it.

        Anyway, like I told Barry Ritholz when he made the switch alongside his site’s redesign, it’s Yves site and’ call at the end of the day. FWIW, I do know this much: Scanning The Big Picture is no longer part of my morning routine.

  21. Jackrabbit

    Did NSA snooping stop ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks?

    On Thursday, Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall, Democrats who both serve on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and have access to the nation’s most sensitive secrets, released a statement contradicting … [General Alexander] … “Gen. Alexander’s testimony yesterday suggested that the NSA’s bulk phone records collection program helped thwart ‘dozens’ of terrorist attacks, but all of the plots that he mentioned appear to have been identified using other collection methods,” the two senators said.

    Indeed, a survey of court documents and media accounts of all the jihadist terrorist plots in the United States since 9/11 by the New America Foundation shows that traditional law enforcement methods have overwhelmingly played the most significant role in foiling terrorist attacks.

    This suggests that the NSA surveillance programs are wide-ranging fishing expeditions with little to show for them.

    1. Hugh

      These big NSA spying programs are about the construction of the Surveillance State. Whatever their original rationales and restrictions, they evolve or devolve so that their ultimate targets shift from the international to the domestic, and from a specific mission like counter-terrorism to any kind of criminality and from there to any kind of dissent. They morph from intelligence gathering into instruments of state power and social control.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      …fishing expeditions with A LOT (for the right people) to show for them.

  22. Cujo359

    It’s from a couple of days ago, but I didn’t see this Economist op-ed on Edward Snowden: Whistleblowers And The Economy of Esteem:

    “Yet I do give a whit about Mr Snowden and I do worry about his fate in the court of public opinion. I worry because the conversation influences our tolerance for future overreach and deception from the security apparatus. More importantly, it influences our attitude toward future acts of bravery by public-spirited Americans who witness overreach and deception of this sort. One need not believe that Mr Snowden is a hero to see that the campaign to smear him is in large part a campaign of pre-emption against future leakers. The prestige and infamy that ultimately attach to Mr Snowden will surely affect the supply of future leaks. The rush to lionise and belittle Mr Snowden is a rush to get the jump in the fight to determine the level of status that whistle-blowers will enjoy, or suffer, in our culture.”

    [I tried to put that in a blockquote, but I don’t remember if that works here.] If not, sorry.]

    Interesting take on it, at least from a mainstream news outlet.

    1. diane

      I think something a lot of better known journalists miss, is that those who don’t live in their accessed world much admire whistleblowers, versus spooks. His comment

      But I have heard no speculation about the worrying sort of person who becomes Director of National Intelligence. Why not? Part of it is that, as our popular entertainments attest, Americans are infatuated with the romance of our secret police, and our soldiers are, ipso facto, heroes.

      reminded me of the very first phrase in the Jack Reuters piece linked above:

      One measure of our culture’s disdain for whistle-blowers like Edward Snowden …

      I can’t even relate to that in the world I dwell in, their’s seems a quite rarified and connected “culture” to me.

      Further, I think ‘the little folk’ are highly concerned, on a personal level for Edward Snowden’s life, and feel that any commentary made should err towards his well being, not towards a pundit wanting to gloat about their deductive reasoning.

      1. Cujo359

        That might depend on which little folks we’re referring to. There seem to be plenty who think of Snowden much as those with access do – as some sort of spy or traitor, and really don’t question what the government is doing much, if at all. The “if it keeps us safe” mantra seems to be a powerful one.

        I worry about both this whistleblower and the future ones. We need them. Secrecy is a dangerous thing, and without the occasional whistleblower it will be used by the government to get away with whatever it wants. The author of the article in that link is making a useful observation about what effect this will have on the future of secrecy. Changing the environment changes what happens in that enviroment. If that’s “deductive reasoning”, whatever.

        1. diane

          I agree with the author’s main point, though, as I noted, don’t agree that the general populace prefers spooks over whistleblowers.

          As far as deductive reasoning, I was referring to the deductive reasoning that can be found which ultimately only serves to paint Edward Snowden in a very negative light (Naomi Wolfe comes to mind), when his life is actually at stake.

  23. diane

    The libertarian iCapitalists wouldn’t have anything to do with the state … would they?
    Silicon Valley worships at the altar of laissez-faire, trickle-down economics. It’s a flawed vision, but it speaks to a generation

    Big tech, originating in California’s Silicon Valley, has always been about more than cutting-edge engineering. It embodies a value system that merges a counter-cultural 60s romantic individualism with a cold-eyed commitment to free markets. …

    And it is this rebellious pose that reconciled a whole swath of the educated professional classes – the “creatives” – to free-market capitalism. In the 1980s, it was besuited corporates who were in the vanguard of Thatcher’s and Reagan’s neoliberal revolution – people such as the hard-faced, downsizing financier Mitt Romney. The iCapitalists, however, presented a far more appealing vision to liberals – one of denimed democracy, of gender-blind and colour-blind egalitarianism. ….

    And of course it has been anything but gender and race blind (not to mention humanitarian, class, age, etcetera, blind).

    1. bob

      TOR was developed by the ONI, Office of Naval Intelligence.

      I don’t know why this is a surprise to people.

      The navy needs “overhead” to get lost in the same way fx traders need “real money” moves to trade.

      The question then becomes, it is signal or noise? Is there any difference?

    1. diane

      When James O’Donnell was wrongly convicted, he exploded with anger and cursed the judge and jury. Then he composed himself and said, “I am really sorry for my outburst. I tried to be as civil as possible.

      No small wonder that the U$DOD/Pharma/Med Indu$try allowed the D$M 5 to be published, there will be no more righteous emotional outbursts allowed from the ‘populace,’ they will be considered mentally ill/psychotic and dangerous to the $tate for having any emotions whatsoever (especially those coming from targeted victims).

      Perhaps Obomber and Mickey can be put on their own Dangerously Ill List for expressing these strong emotions upon feeling snubbed by The Queen!.

    1. AbyNormal

      best comment’ )
      Jack and Jill at school are being asked by their teacher what their fathers do for a living.
      Says Jill: “My dad is working as an accountant for a big company.”
      Says Jack: “Mine is working as a male stripper at a gay nightclub.”
      When walking home, Jill expresses surprise to Jack about his dad’s line of work. Says Jack: “Actually he’s working for the NSA, but I was way too ashamed to say so in front of the whole class.”

  24. sgray

    Harris County, Texas joins the list of big $$ losers ($47 million and counting) to “advice of financial consultants”
    Harris County’s toll road-refinancing decision takes toll on taxpayers

    and here is “full explanation” from said ‘advisor’
    First Southwest Company
    Statement Regarding
    Harris County Tollroad Authority Interest Rate Swaps

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