Links 6/9/13

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Minn. woman saves deer with jar stuck on its head Associated Press (Chuck L)

Hero dog returns to Philippines BBC

Zabu the Tiger Ignores Everyone Else, Just Doesn’t Give a Fuck Jezebel (Lance N). When you are that handsome, why not?

Mourners traumatised after corpse explodes Sydney Morning Herald (Richard Smith, of course, via Paul Murton)

Help us locate and count all the Carbon Dioxide at the world’s power plants! Ventus (Chuck L)

Pollution in Northern Hemisphere helped cause 1980s African drought University of Washington (Slashdot)

Facebook’s first data center DRENCHED by ACTUAL CLOUD Register

Japan PM Abe unveils plan for tax cuts to boost capex Reuters

Ankara protesters clash with police BBC

Turkey: A change of tempo Financial Times

The IMF’s Anger – and what it means for the Eurozone’s crashing Periphery Yanis Varoufakis

Pakistan summons US ambassador over killings Guardian

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Boundless Informant: the NSA’s secret tool to track global surveillance data Glenn Greenwald and Ewen MacAskill, Guardian

Renowned Rights Watchdog to Downgrade United States in Freedom Rankings Slate (Ed Harrison)

Spy agency seeks criminal probe into leaks Reuters

National intelligence director slams ‘hyperbole’ in coverage of NSA data-mining program Raw Story

White House Plays Down Program that Collected Data New York Times. Duh!

The PRISM spin war has begun Foreign Policy

How the U.S. Uses Technology to Mine More Data More Quickly New York Times. One buddy who is well informed (prosecutors in his family + government contacts) and only mildly paranoid told me some time ago that iPad 2 and the later ones were surveillance devices, as in the NSA could use them to listen in on the conversations where they were located (as a result, he was of the point of view that it is nuts to own one). If true, this “all we care about is the metadata” should be taken with a fistful of salt. But another tidbit: a different buddy, in the early days of the Web, developed and released an e-mail anonymizing program. Within days, his office was broken into and all his computers were smashed. He was pretty convinced the two events were related.

Jacob Appelbaum’s 29C3 keynote on the out-of-control surveillance state BoingBoing (Richard Smith, notice date)

Internet Shattered: Spies, Spooks, and Disgust Lauren Weinstein (Chuck L)

The NSA Sent a Takedown Notice Over My Custom PRISM-Logo T-Shirts Gawker

Obama FCC Chairman Nominee Walking Conflict of Interest DSWright, Firedoglake

A viable alternative to Basel III prudential rules VoxEU

Some Baby Steps on Money Funds Gretchen Morgenson, New York Times

How Much Is Adorable Worth To You? Is It 116bps A Year? Matt Levine

Hedge Funds Haven’t Owned This Much Of The Stock Market Since Right Before The Crash In 2008 Clusterstock

Cash Home Sales, Flipping, Offer More Signs of Housing Bubble; Housing Insanity Stage 2 Michael Shedlock

How did we get here? A “map” of the Fed’s balance sheet’s history Sober Look

U.S. Household Worth Tops Pre-Recession Peak for First Time Bloomberg

High prices are driving more motorists to rent tires Los Angeles Times (rich)

“The Purge”: A Horror Flick About…Income Inequality?! Mother Jones

Antidote du jour (martha r):


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  1. dearieme

    It presumably does you little harm at election time, having access to all that data.

    1. Jim Haygood

      With cyberfeeds that sophisticated, how hard would it be to hack a few primitive Diebold voting machines?

      Oh, wait …

    1. ex-PFC Chuck

      And do these systems have back doors with a fat pipe to some black site in the Negev Desert?

      1. Ned Ludd

        The picture is from the Wikipedia page on proxy servers. This is how communication with internal servers is typically setup. Technically, it does not provide “direct access” to the servers. Only DBAs and system administrators need direct access to the internal servers that are running in production. People viewing and modifying data typically do not have and should not have direct access to the servers.

  2. AbyNormal

    our antidote du jour is BEAUTIFUL
    stripes & polka dots…my kinda ensemble!

    The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.
    jim morrison

  3. William

    Woman saves deer–(this comment was intended for the publication in which the article appeared, unfortunately it required a Facebook login).

    She says it was man-made problem so man has the responsibility to fix it. Yet she’s interfering by feeding the deer, which are extremely overpopulated which causes all kinds of trouble for the rest of nature. They eat way too much of the forest, decimating many plant species and not allowing many types of hardwoods (they really like young oak leaves) to grow. They spread disease like Lymes, they get chronic wasting disease due to overcrowded conditions, and of course the damage and huge expense to gardeners and motorists. They a VERMIN. Once you see them for what they really are, they become about as cute as a rat.

    1. William

      If you believe in humans taking responsibility for their interference with nature (I certainly do), then you must support the serious reduction in deer population. They are having a huge negative impact on the ecosystems on which they graze.

      1. JohnL

        I think you mean a serious reduction in the human population. Your anthropocentrism is showing.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Another alternative is having smaller humans.

          Presumably smaller humans will need fewer calories per day to maintain.

          And smaller brains within those smaller humans – they say brain is the most energy thirsty organ of one’s body.

          Basically, we need to brainwashed into thinking short, skinny women are pretty, instead of tall, skinny women…and outlaw basketball and sumo wrestling.

        2. nick b

          William is right. Deer spread disease and destroy property. They are really no different than rats, just bigger.

          1. Yonatan

            Nick b is right. Humans spread disease and destroy property. They are really no different than rats, just bigger.

          2. nick b

            I hope you are just mocking me. If not, my problems with deer seem insignificant by comparison. Good luck to you.

        3. optimader

          Man is the only creature that consumes without producing. He does not give milk, he does not lay eggs, he is too weak to pull the plough, he cannot run fast enough to catch rabbits. Yet he is lord of all the animals.

    2. Yves Smith Post author

      You have no compassion.

      You can say bad stuff about just about any kind of creature when its population becomes too large.

      It is one thing to support population culls via hunting (where most of the time the critter dies humanely) and other population reduction strategies (with certain kinds of insects, I’ve read about large-scale introduction of sterile ones to defeat reproduction and cut population size that way).

      Starving to death is a terrible way to go. No creature should have to go through that. Particularly in panic on top of that.

  4. Mr Anonymous

    We have lived in a surveillance state for several decades now. A secret file has been secretly kept on each and every American Citizen. The culprit?

    American Businesses!

    Until these people who holler about *Government* surveillance spend as much time yelling about the Orwellian Businesses — Then they’re two-faced, hypocritical, and I just can’t take them seriously.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Who employs the violent police force with the guns and the tear gas? Who trains and deploys the world’s most powerful military to threaten and occupy foreign nations? Who crushes protests that threaten to disrupt the status quo? Who throws people – suspected of no crime – in cages, in solitary confinement, for months because they won’t give up personal information about political activists they know?

      All of this data that the NSA collects, they are doing it on behalf of the corporate state. Corporations and the state are two parts of the same oligarchy. Go protest corporations! Rally people on behalf of worker coöperatives and mutual aid. But if you are going to turn around and piss in the tent, and tell people to tamp down their outrage at the government, then you are acting as an apologist for the state part of the corporate state.

      1. from Mexico


        Mr. Anonymous is merely parrotting one of the principle talking points crafted by our aspiring fascists.

  5. William

    NC is one of the best sites for media analysis. One of the foundational techniques for such analysis, particularly in the analysis of how images are employed, is to understand “denotation” and “connotation” (as well as “signified” and “signifier.”) And so, in considering this, I now realize the basis of the extreme annoyance I’ve felt toward the daily “antidote” image. I disagree vehemently with the connotation that a pretty image of a living creature (the denotation) shall serve for us a kind of emotional respite from the tribulations of our time, that by realizing there is such beauty in the world, we can relax and everything will be ok.

    Is that what the connotation of the “antidote” is? Because for anyone paying attention to the mass extinction event we are now in the midst of, and the cause of, seeing images of rare and beautiful creature is a powerful reminder of how humans are laying waste to the planet, a reminder of one more beautiful and amazing creature destined for extinction. I wonder if the creature being used for our purposes in this way has a name, and what is its status as far as a possibly threatened species?

    1. AbyNormal


      The main condition for the achievement of love is the overcoming of one’s narcissism. The narcissistic orientation is one in which one experiences as real only that which exists within oneself, while the phenomena in the outside world have no reality in themselves, but are experienced only from the viewpoint of their being useful or dangerous to one. The opposite pole to narcissism is objectivity; it is the faculty to see other people and things as they are, objectively, and to be able to separate this objective picture from a picture which is formed by one’s desires and fears.

      good luck w/that Wilham

        1. AbyNormal

          aren’t you the calculating moderator
          not a problem Chris…its a big net

          later all

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      William, it depends on how uses them.

      One can use them to recharge one’s days so one can go out and fight again.

      Or one can use them to just escape.

  6. Ms G


    Re. your friend who said that the “iPad 2 and the later ones were surveillance devices, as in the NSA could use them to listen in on the conversations where they were located.”

    What “conversations” are had on an iPad? Does it have phone capabilities? Or does “converstation” refer to e-mail exchanges via iPad?

    Just curious.

    1. YankeeFrank

      It think its all of the above. You can video chat/phone, text chat, email, post comments, etc. from an ipad, just like a regular computer.

    2. Ned Ludd

      The woman is visible from thousands of miles away on a hacker’s computer. The hacker has infected her machine with a remote administration tool (RAT) that gives him access to the woman’s screen, to her webcam, to her files, to her microphone. He watches her and the baby through a small control window open on his Windows PC, then he decides to have a little fun.

      This is the type of thing that black hat hackers can do. The iPad and iPhone are suppose to be malware-proof since all the apps are approved by Apple. However, Apple could include spying technology, into iOS, for the NSA. The iPad contains a built-in microphone and a camera. It can technically spy on you and what you are doing, unless you stick it in a soundproof bag.

  7. frosty zoom



    Accused Of Passing Secrets To Eurasian Spies!

    Minitrue To Release Statement Yesterday…

    1. Massinissa

      Lol it took me a moment to realize that was a 1984 reference and not a reference to the real world ^_^

      1. frosty zoom

        well, 1984 was when it was morning in america again.

        perhaps we need some new commercials to put things right.

        1. optimader

          OT: the title “1984” was a last minute change of heart w/ his publisher and was merely a reordering of the year he finished the book–1948. the title is meant to evoke a point in time in the not too distant future.

  8. frosty zoom

    well, i for one have set up a VPN that is ultra-secure. It consists of tin cans and thread.

        1. frosty zoom

          well, our LEADERS [insert fanfare here] have been spinning yarn for quite some time now and yet somehow i feel less secure…

          1. frosty zoom


            or certain people will know you are:

            20133 SPOOLHARDY WAY
            SSN 987-65-4320
            (203) 546-3321

            just sayin’…

    1. Jagger

      Time to drop email and go back to snail mail. I wonder if they can collect and open mail without a warrent.

      1. diptherio

        PRISM US Gov ‏@PRISM_NSA 21h

        Declassified: our research indicates that 95.9% of Americans who claim to be LOLing are in fact L-ing silently, if at all.

  9. Susan the other

    This is the first I have heard of the movie “The Purge.” It looks like a classic. I would submit that the title does not refer to the purge night but to the aftermath of the purge we have just suffered at the hands of the finance wizards, and the movie is just doing a piece about the cleanup. Very reminiscent of pogroms, no?

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Abe tax cuts to boost capex.

    I hope that capex is not for investing in robots to replace human workers.

    (I believe hiring robots is counted as capex, but hiring human workers is not).

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Renting tires?

    What is next – renting food?

    It would not surprise me.

    (I am here to repossess the bacon you rented last week).

    1. subgenius

      a week? it might be a little late…they could come round the next morning and I will happily dump their returns into their sweaty palms…

      1. frosty zoom

        a week is hardly too late.

        see, bacon is like debt — easy to take on but impossible to take off.

    2. ron

      Our auto driven life style is getting sticker shock over auto operating cost from tires, gas to simple maintenance checks. A set of tires can cost anywhere from $400 to $1000 on average American sedans and SUV’s blowing a large hole in the common man’s budget. Our up tempo high tech GDP is really a shell when compared to the importance of auto/truck on our GDP. Take away the auto industry and all the associated businesses attached and our thriving economy suddenly would look very small.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    US household worth tops pre-recession peak.

    I like to see that broken down into

    1. 0.01% household worth
    2. 99.99% household worth

    1. mansoor h khan


      It is not that important who owns the wealth. What matters is who gets the income.

      Most Income (actual goods and services created) needed to/should be spread throughout the general population in order to maintain social stability and a just society (Justice = Balance = Social Stability, Injustice = Imbalance = Choas/War/Crime).

      Social Credit (instead of debt based credit) can achieve this balance without actual ownership of the income production asset.

      Economist Clifford H. Douglas figured this in 1924.

      More at:

      Mansoor H. Khan

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Pollution in Northern Hemisphere…drought in Africa.

    I have been wondering maybe those savage barbarians didn’t raid peaceful, non-violent farming settlers in the ancient worlds out of envy, aversion to hard farming work or just plain savagery, but maybe out of desperation as their traditional grazing areas were being slowly taken away, non-violently (except to the plants that got in the way) by those ancient farmers…or maybe not.

    1. Lee

      Given the success of ancient agriculturists relative to hunter-gatherers it seems unlikely that the former were pacifists.

      A very interesting and plausible take on the Old Testament as it relates to the conflict and resulting mythologies of the two groups is provided in the implausible form of a talking gorilla in the novel, Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    A thought to share, for tomorrow, Monday:

    To get through a traffic jam, take the less travelled lane. It will make all the difference in your commute.

    Have a great day.

  15. curlydan

    Hoping this is not a repost.

    I think everyone should push back on the term “meta-data”. The “cool kids” at the NSA making $100+/hr are analyzing this “meta data” while the $20-$30/hr translators are looking at the “voice data”.

    If someone gives me a data set full of voice data or text, I think “oh God, this is gonna be a chore” and probably a worthless one at that. If someone hands me a multi-million row dataset full of numbers, locations, etc., then I start drooling. It’s the innocuously sounding “meta data” where the power is. From a pure data analysis perspective, it’s kick ass data. Don’t let them tell you it’s anything less.

    1. Ned Ludd

      Myth 5: Big Data Is Anonymous:

      “A study published in Nature last March looked at 1.5 million phone records that had personally identifying information removed. It found that just four data points of when and where a call was made could identify 95 percent of individuals. ‘With just two, you can identify 50 percent of them,’ Ms. Crawford said. ‘With a fingerprint, you need 12 data points to identify somebody.” Likewise, smart grids can spot when your friends come over. Search engine queries can yield health data that would be protected if it came up in a doctor’s office.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        That’s a great link. But it reminds me — correct me if the analogy is false — of the claims by data conversion shops of 95% accuracy.

        Sounds good, but turns out, if you think about it, that’s 5 errors in an average paragraph. Not nearly good enough. (Of course I may be showing my age; matters may have improved.)

        So one does multiple passes to clean the data, with each pass an increasing cost (and the highest cost of all is human judgement). And that’s where the issues that Durusau raises enter in.

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I want to know what those 4 data items are. Presumably one is the SIM card identifier.

        I have a stupid phone and although I see TPTB can triangulate from cell towers with them, I wonder how good that is is practice v. relying on smartphone GPS.

        Plus I can of course turn my cell off and it won’t rat me out then.

  16. Ned Ludd

    DNI James Clapper says that the leaks are “literally gut-wrenching”. Literally.

    “For me, it is literally – not figuratively – literally gut-wrenching to see this happen because of the huge, grave damage it does to our intelligence capabilities,” Clapper told NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell.

  17. frosty zoom

    frosty zoom says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    June 9, 2013 at 12:36 pm

    uh, no worries there. just kiddin’, of course.

  18. Goyo Marquez

    Speaking of the housing bubble… Saw a billboard for 5/5 ARM driving through San Diego yesterday. I think it was off the 805 somewhere near Miramar. Here’s what appears to be a blog post/ad in the local paper’s real estate blog about it. It kind of makes me feel as though I’ve been transported back in time a few years.

      1. Ms G

        It must be that the vulture fund speculators buying up all the properties direct from the banks (in bulk) isn’t working out so well to jack up property prices (again).

        Renters have it just as bad, except they don’t get to pay half the rent for a few years … :*

      1. curlydan

        Wow! What courage.

        A few interesting things:
        He didn’t even work for the NSA at the time he got the documents. He worked for Booz Allen as a contractor. Outsourcing backfires again. Haha!
        He’s got guts and is smart to come out publicly. They would find him no matter what, and coming out gives him some small advantages versus possible rendition.
        Reveals why Glenn Greenwald was in Hong Kong.
        To people who don’t follow these issues closely, they might think he’s paranoid, but I think he seems very level-headed, especially considering all the heat he’s got to be under. The guy has guts. Edward Snowden: You’ve got the spirit of ’76! You’ve done your country a favor.

        1. Jim Haygood

          Compare Snowden’s character — justice though the heavens fall — to Obama’s craven, empty and fraudulent persona.

    1. gordon

      Maybe these revelations will lead to a revival of the fountain pen, envelopes and the penny post, at least for the important bits of our communications. I wonder whether the NSA will find a way of identifying emails and social media messages with the purport “I’ll send the important bits by snail-mail”.

  19. Kevin Watts

    Wow that little tidbit next to the NY times piece is pretty incredible. For years I think we knew that all this new technology is being used to spy on us. Now we have a bit of a confirmation.

  20. Hugh

    The Bloomberg article on the recovery in household wealth is actually quite funny. It is only in the last paragraph that it says that when inflation and population growth are taken into account, only 62.8% of the wealth has been recovered since the “end” of the recession in June 2009.

    And too there is the problem that the $3 trillion increase in wealth in the first quarter of 2013 is based on the stock bubble ($2.1 trillion) and the new semi-bubble in real estate ($836.8 billion). The bottom 80% of Americans own very few stocks and bonds so the vast majority of that $2.1 trillion increase has nothing to do with them. As for the $836.8 billion, that wealth is based on the current mini-bubble (properties being trickled on to the market, flipping, and buy to rent speculation) and could disappear at any time.

  21. Herman Sniffles

    So real estate is in another bubble? Hmmmm… Well, according to James Dines the number one definition of a bubble is that it is “invisible” to most people. Is that true in this case? Or are people screaming “bubble” from the rooftops? It’s mildly amazing, really. Since the real estate market bottomed out and started back up a few years ago, this site (which I adore) has pretty much without exception pooh poohed the rise as some sort of temporary aberration. The current rise is like an Olympic diver just as she leaves the board. It’s just a momentary prelude to the horrendous fall to come…any moment now…I can feel it coming…no, wait a minute…oh here it is… no, but just another sec! I just read that in the Sacramento real estate prices are up 30% in the last twelve months. Prices are going up so fast in my area that I can’t keep up with it. And you can still buy a house for 2/3 of what it would cost to build it. Huh? You can buy it for less that it costs to built it? Shoot, that’s got to be a bubble, right? And if you buy a little house for $100k, you can rent it out for $1200 a month. That’s $14,000 a year gross income from a $100k investment. And, of course, that’s another sign of a bubble, because it’s much better having your money in good old B of A earning 1%. As I said, it’s a bit amazing. What people forget is that NOBODY knows what any of these markets are going to do. And I mean NOBODY. They go up, they go down, they spin around and around and around. And the best a person can do is watch them carefully, AND WATCH THEMSELVES even more carefully. Watch themselves for the times when their BELIEF about what is GOING to happen starts to diverge from what is ACTUALLY happening right in front of them. And there’s something odd about we humans that makes that particular self perception nearly impossible to grasp. The fleeting ability to make that self realizaion – that we are basing our perception on what we believe should happen rather than what is actually happening – apparently only comes from having the holy shit kicked out of you by the markets over and over and over for years and years. And it’s like being an alcoholic, you’re never cured! There’s always that tendency to try to predict. Banks are holding back inventory? Oh my god, this is just a bubble! Interest rates are artificially low? Oh my god, this surely is a bubble! The Big Boys are slowing their purchases of single family rentals? Oh my god, this is certainly a bubble! Congress is grumbling about making Fannie and Freddie private? Well, you get the picture (actually, odds are you don’t). And all the while prices just keep chugging up and up and up and up. How will we know when it’s over and prices are ready to level out or fall? What I’m watching for is a slough of articles with titles like “Are the current real estate price rises actually justified?” or “Has real estate returned as the number one sure bet?” THAT’S when it will tank, or maybe just level off, which is actually historically more up real estate’s alley. Remember how it works 1) at the tippity-top the talking heads are screaming at you to buy 2) at the bottom the talking heads are screaming at you to sell. While it’s going up, most people are holding back their purchase because they think it will fall. While it’s going down people hang on because they think it’s going to start going back up. It’s how markets work. And it’s probably based on our desire to be right more than out desire to make money, and the fact that we don’t like being wrong. And it makes us wrong when we should be right, and right when we should be wrong. And I’m not saying it’s going to keep going up. What I’m saying is IT’S GOING UP RIGHT NOW. And as stupid as this sounds, it won’t start going down until it actually starts going down, no matter how much people expect it or want it to go down. Will Rogers said ‘If you want to make money in the stock market, find a stock that’s going to go up, and buy it. If it doesn’t go up, don’t buy it.’ And in a weird way he’s right. There’s a wonderful chart on page 2 of James Dines fantabulous book on investing “Mass Psychology” that pretty much says it all.

  22. Herman Sniffles

    And another thing, Michael Shedlock makes the point, correctly, that bubbles are difficult if not impossible to reinflate. Historically, it rarely if ever happens. But instead of seeing this as evidence that what is happening in real estate right now is NOT another real estate bubble, he sees it as just an unusual outlier and the result of unusual forces, and then he decides it must be a bubble after all. It’s so very human to come to a conclusion, and then try to make whatever facts come along fit that conclusion no matter how much you have to torture them. It’s probably a defining trait of human kind. Nouriel Roubini recently predicted that gold will continue to fall because it “has no intrinsic value.” That’s an odd thing to say. It’s Orwellian really, because “intrinsic” value is the only thing that gold has! One nice thing about Warren Buffet, all he ever does is talk his book and screw the public.

  23. Hugh

    Anything that can add $837 billion to wealth in a single 3 month period without any serious fundamentals behind it but a lot of market manipulation (as I noted above a large shadow inventory of properties held off market and trickled into it, and various speculative activites, flipping and hedge fund purchases with the loony idea properties can be rented and then sold at a profit) is a bubble.

    If the bursting of the 2007 real estate bubble and the 2008 meltdown should have taught us anything, it would be not to take surface events at face value or bet against the math of the fundamentals. If the Fed stops its $80 billion a month in QE or the ZIRP, the stock market would nose dive and the current bubble in housing would not be far behind. No one would mistake a patient on life support with a healthy individual, but somehow when it comes to economics this is precisely what we are asked to do.

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