Links 10/18/13

Has the Yeti mystery been solved? New research finds ‘Bigfoot’ DNA matches rare polar bear Independent (furzy mouse)

Blow to multiple human species idea BBC

LSD is good for you, say Norway researchers The Local (furzy mouse). From August but this seems to have gone under the radar

How science goes wrong Economist

The case against algebra II Cathy O’Neil

Protests against fracking in Canada Solidarity Halifax (Deontos)

China’s economy speeds up, but Sept. data weakens MarketWatch

Troika sees €2bn fiscal gap in Greek budget Financial Times

Unemployment, labour-market flexibility and IMF advice: Moving beyond mantras VoxEU. A defense by Olivier Blanchard. Notice the failure to mention large scale emigration in Ireland and Latvia.

Is London housing a boom or a bust? MacroBusiness

Shutdown Showdown (it’s not over, just on hold till January!)

Business groups stand by Boehner, plot against tea party Washington Post

Parties feel contrasting effects of shutdown crisis Guardian

Ted Cruz Won’t Rule Out Another Government Shutdown Talking Points Memo

Norquist: Defunders Owe Conservatives an Apology National Review (Deontos)

America’s skewed democracy lurches toward its next crisis Guardian

What A Drag Paul Krugman

Fed could taper as early as December Financial Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch:

Europe Moves to Shield Citizens’ Data New York Times

We All Go Down Together: NSA Programs Overseas Violate Americans’ Privacy, Yet Escape FISC, Congressional Oversight Just Security

Snowden Says He Took No Secret Files to Russia New York Times

President Obama Bashes Bloggers Then Shills For Monsanto DSWright, Firedoglake. I wasn’t the only one to notice.

Rep. John Conyers Pushes for a “Full Employment” Bill TruthOut (furzy mouse)

Breaking black: The right-wing plot to split a school board MSNBC

REPORT: RI Public Pension Reform – Wall Street’s License to Steal Providence (Chuck L)

New York is Drowning in Bribes and Corruption CounterPunch (Carol B)

Study: Poor children are now the majority in American public schools in South, West Washington Post (Carol B)

Geithner, Paulson Deposed in AIG Case FoxBusiness (Chuck L)

New effort to reform US mortgage banks Financial Times

Too Big to Jail? Government Accountability Project

Antidote du jour:

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  1. XO


    Typical Republican/”Conservative” reaction — disown your own child when it turns out ugly, criminally insane, and stupid.

    Obama v. Bloggers:

    Shithead wouldn’t be POTUS if not for bloggers (if I remember correctly, one of the first statements out of this liar’s mouth, after being elected, when asked about the call for legalization of marijuana from the left wing blogosphere, was to question what the left wing bloggers were smoking).

    Obama is a conservative in liberal clothing.

    To restate the Bush mash-up/mangling:

    “Fool me once, we won’t be fooled again.”

    Bernie Sanders/Alan Grayson 2016.

    Screw the rest of them.

        1. Stan Musical

          Don Quixote/Sancho Panza 2016
          A Rock and a (Jelly) Roll 2016
          Brangelina 2016*

          *the green choice, AF2 can be hangared for 4 years.

      1. Stephen Gardner

        The serious non-quixotic choice has been working so well. Right? :-) Seriously, the people Carlin called the real owners make sure the choices you have are all alligned with their needs not ours.

    1. man

      Obama defines the modern liberal socialist thinking..
      Socialists never liked criticism of their failed policies.
      Go through history of beloved United SOCIALIST republics of Russia…you will find many instances.
      The only thing missing is dead bodies…may be obama will catch up with stalin …the drone wars,afghan-iraq campaign didn’t produce many dead bodies

      1. Massinissa

        Oh joy.

        Another nitwit who thinks FORCING PEOPLE TO BUY PRIVATE INSURANCE is ‘COMMUNIST’

        What a goddamn joke.

      2. ambrit

        Leftist Fiends;
        I’m wondering if ‘man’ is any relation to ‘real’ from several days ago. Similar talking points and ‘attitude’ are in evidence. ‘Man’ seems to be riffing off of an exchange ‘real’ and I had about Comrade Stalin and Ronnie Reagan being ‘fellow travelers.’ I countered one of his points by saying that R.R. didn’t match C.S.’s quantity, but did match his quality.
        Then, just join the two ‘handles’ together and you get: ‘real man.’ Just the moniker I’d expect.

    2. optimader

      “..Obama is a conservative in liberal clothing…”

      A mutant third way fascist insuring his own future.

  2. diptherio

    Sadly, John Michael Greer appears to have drank the “we’re broke!” Kool-Aid:

    These days the US government spends about twice as much each year as it takes in from taxes, user fees, and all other revenue sources, and makes up the difference by borrowing money. Despite a great deal of handwaving, that’s a recipe for disaster. If you, dear reader, earned US$50,000 a year and spent US$100,000 a year, and made up the difference by taking out loans and running up your credit cards, you could count on a few years of very comfortable living, followed by bankruptcy and a sharply reduced standard of living; the same rule applies on the level of nations.

    And JMG is usually so good…sigh. I’m pretty surprised that he hasn’t gotten a schooling in MMT yet. He parrots deficit-hawk talking points, even comparing the US debt situation to that of European countries.

    Apart from the faulty macro-, however, it’s a good article and worth the read. The problem, as JMG is well aware, is running out of resources, not running out of money that we create ourselves.

    1. Jagger

      JMG has never impressed me. His logic seems suspect to me. I still remember the one article in which he compared the collapse of the US empire to the Roman empire rather than some much more recent empire decline. The Rome comparison makes a more dramatic story when you can compare the Mexican drug gangs to the Franks and Gauls but is not the logical best comparison when you could look at the decline of Spain, Russia, Venice, England and many others more compatible comparisons. JMG likes to go for worst case scenarios whether logical or not.

    2. Andrew Watts

      He’s too much of an old fashioned conservative to think otherwise. My problem with his latest essay is that none of the events he covered took place in a political void.

      It was the ‘New Left’ faction of the Democrats in the 60s/70s who first abandoned labor and the New Deal coalition. They advocated in favor of equality, environmentalism, and feminism while they surrendered every piece of ground that was previously held in the class struggle. This was the basis of identity politics that has proven itself incapable of addressing American’s economic needs. Their ascent within the party also marked the beginning of the decline of the real wages that average American workers received. The decline of purchasing power has in turn led to the series of speculative credit bubbles that has devastated the American economy.

      By ignoring this bit of history he is not contributing much to the understanding of our present political crisis. I know he blames the 70s oil crisis for what has transpired, but I see it as a major failure of our democracy. A failure that continues to compound itself to this very day.

      1. Wyndtunnel

        “They advocated in favor of equality, environmentalism, and feminism while they surrendered every piece of ground that was previously held in the class struggle. This was the basis of identity politics that has proven itself incapable of addressing American’s economic needs.”

        Do you have any links/readings to suggest on this topic? I’ve been somewhat suspicious of all the social gains of the past 50 odd years in the sense that surely these could only “permitted” by the PTB if it was ultimately in their favour which the current situtation seems to be bearing out. It’s a trap!

        1. Corner Cubicle

          Pivotal Decade: How the United States Traded Factories for Finance in the Seventies

          Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and the Last Days of the Working Class

            1. Klassy!

              I’m not sure that Cowie’s book makes the case that the new left abandoned labor. Cowie describes the period in the 70’s when labor lost so much as being a failure of some of the leaders. There were a lot of wildcat strikes that spoke to this dissatisfaction with the leadership and their coziness with management. He writes of the leaders’ support of the Vietnam war (which was not supported by the rank and file– support for the war among blue collar workers was actually lower than that of college students). He also rightly fingers Nixon’s southern strategy.
              Of course, over time identity politics triumphed over class politics.

              1. JTFaraday

                I haven’t read the book, but I’m under the impression it was titled after Saturday Night Fever based on the author’s impression of the working class in the 1970s, ie., that they had adopted a liberal individualist ideology and wanted to escape the confines of the working class, just as the John Travolta character follows the leading lady out of Brooklyn.

                I’m also under the impression that the author makes note of the work of Bruce Springsteen, whose early work thematizes this kind of escape, as in the final line of Thunder Road– “It’s a town full of losers and we’re pulling out of here to win.”

                Then later he memorializes the demise of the factories in things like “Allentown,” which suggests the flight to white collar jobs, like the many tech jobs that were opening, many of which did not at the time require a college degree, may have been the right move.

                Maybe the real question is not “why didn’t the New Left keep its boot on necks of the wimmins and the N-ers,” but why didn’t the white boy’z unions follow them?

        2. Andrew Watts

          Most of these insights came from the conversations I’ve had with old labor organizers and people who were heavily involved in post-WWII politics. When they no longer had Nixon/Ford/Reagan/Bush to scapegoat and the Clinton Administration was kicking their teeth in it forced them to re-evaluate history. Unfortunately the last person I knew of this mold died in 2003.

          It’s as good of an explanation as any as to why the present incarnation of the Democratic Party is not too interested in preserving the last remnants of the New Deal. It is not the political legacy of the New Left or the Third Way Democrats.

            1. Andrew Watts

              It’s not a direct line of succession. Political parties are a coalition of various factions and interests. The dominant political alliance within the Democratic Party is the New Leftists and the Third Way. The New Leftists don’t have any real ideology that serves to provide a intellectual framework for their activism. Which if they did would probably have prevented them from allying with Wall Street. When the New Deal coalition disintegrated they had to find some other basis for their political organization. That was the origin of identity based politics. The sad truth is that since the New Left’s ascension politics has been defined by what you stand against.

              I can prove these assertions. Can you tell me what Obama stands for? Trick question. He’s a black president. How many times have we heard that?

                1. Andrew Watts

                  The UAW leadership was at the mercy of economic forces beyond their control. They still managed to secure wage productivity increases at a time when America was being flooded by cheaper automobiles that were better made. This shrunk the overall share of the market that the American auto companies had previously enjoyed. When the wage increases could no longer be sustained they obtained shares of the corporations. Overall that wasn’t a bad deal that the union leaders secured. The union helped it’s members wages keep pace with raging inflation. Indirectly it helped other Americans wages keep pace too. I don’t know how an economist like Yates can ignore the socioeconomic conditions at the time, but I detect the same anti-authoritarian/hierarchy bias that is a cornerstone of the New Left.

                  By the 90s the UAW had no political cover for any union activity. The deck was firmly stacked against them. That was something that not all those union guys appreciated. They still blamed Republicans.

                  Everything old is new again.

                  1. Klassy!

                    So, Paul Volcker or feminists and environmentalists? Who is more responsible for labor’s diminished influence?
                    And cripes, it is not like some of our labor unions don’t have an unsavory past in rooting out communism here and abroad.

                    1. Andrew Watts

                      The point remains that nobody from the New Left ever bothered with matters of class. Their general attitude is and remains equality of opportunity. Which is a lie as there’s little to no class mobility in this country. Environmentalists and feminists are predominately drawn from the privileged middle class. It’s only now when it’s their turn to be fed through the meat grinder do they care about wealth inequality.

                      You seem to think that the New Left is only comprised of the thoughts of college professors. You’re wrong. It was a political movement that succeeded in capturing political power and is embodied in the Democratic Party. But we’re a little short on examples of successful political movements in the present. So I understand if you don’t know the difference.

                    2. Lambert Strether

                      I can’t even begin to untangle the distortions and bad history in this comment. Please, to not ever post on the “New Left” again. Thank for your consideration in this matter.

            2. jrs

              I think a lot of things are being called New Left here that I don’t think actually are New Left. Yea the Democratic party has gone in that direction, definitely, but where in the intellectual influences of what was actually the New Left do you find that?

              1. JTFaraday

                Yeah, I think the “New Left” is more or less several hundred baby boom college professors, most of whom Todd Gitlin still has on speed dial.

                1. Klassy!

                  yeah, the idea that any movement that threatens the system is going to emanate from American universities is laughable.

              2. Andrew Watts

                How about those anti-woman Tea Party racists?

                The intellectual framework is still there even if the influences are not. Which is just a nice way of saying that they sold out. We’re still living in their America though.

    3. b2020

      > JMG good

      Greer is an excellent whetting stone for the mind – he is arguing an absolutely toxic view of human life with incredibly sophisticated sleights of hand. He is also a perpetual tease – he eloborates a line of argument up to the brink of a rather unacceptable conclusion, then interjects a new track, and proceeds to deal with that in “the next series of posts”. We are treated to more or less refined criticism of other ideologies, faiths (or, if you will, religions), but his own position is only ever hinted at in the mirror in the shadows cast by a never-ending series of “not this”.

      As Stephen King wrote in his “Anatomy of Horror”, it is the reveal that destroys certain types of narrative.

      So it depends on your definition of “good”. On topics where he is out of his depth his value is negligible in any case. I did not expect anything profound on the shutdown kabuki, but his post’s rehash of growth economies and the connection between energy surplus and civilization was useful.

      Speaking of closet conservatives of the “Apocalypse Lite” version of misantrophy and anti-enlightenment, Kunstler is an even more toxic case, and more narrow-minded – his crusade against tattoos is approaching ridiculous proportions.

      Both are, of course, required reading.

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Unfortunately, the government is like a household and we don’t have the money and should spend any on the NSA and drones.

      1. Propertius

        In fact, the government is *exactly* like my household. We print our own money, eavesdrop on the neighbors, and if somebody has something we want we bust into his house, burn it down with him in it, and take all his stuff away!

    5. Danb

      What Greer was trying to elucidate is found in the writings of Frederick Soddy and Nicholas Gerogescu-Roegen. They make the connection between energy and money. But yes, Greer’s analogy of the government budget to a household budget is inaccurate. In fact, MMT and the platinum coin make sense if the economy is growing (here Greer is right that the economy is not growing) and our problems are ONLY of a sociological nature, as in neoliberal elites siphoning wealth created by others labor upwards. We’ve got two problems, however: 1. the well understood -at this website- one of neoliberal class exploitation and -much less appreciated- 2. reaching the physical limits to growth. A week or so ago I quipped in a comment at NC about how I’d rather have a trillion barrels of oil than a trillion dollar coin. Lambert replied this was a category error. I suggest that money and oil are two sides of a coin if you accept the logic of Soddy and Georgescu-Roegen. Also, we’ve got a host of other ecological and resource dilemmas. Finally, holding the issue of growth in abeyance, the platinum coin and MMT are subversive because they expose money as a social construction of reality -as in the false contention that money naturally is scarce. This definition of money is scarce is now controlled by elites. If you can just mint a trillion dollar coin, what moral justification is there for anyone to be hungry, or in any way materially needy, etc? There goes the class structure…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Humans are strange and weird.

        If there are not enough tulips, people will want more of it.

        When we can get tulips anytime, anywhere, we will treat it like dirt.

        1. Danb

          And credit is tied to the ability to repay, which is tied to natural resources facilitating the creation of surplus wealth to repay at interest…Read Soddy and Gesogescu-Roegan, please. The promise of a government is irrelevant in this context.

    1. man

      judges were always corrupt…the only problem is now we have too many laws so ending up in court is a certainty..keep the bribes ready folks

  3. anon y'mouse

    a city of 118k people in Tejas, and the high school sports stadium cost 47mil? what the heck do they need it for?

    in our day of walking 10 miles in the snow, it was a grassy field and decrepit bleachers. and we were proud o’those darn bleachers!

    and people have the temerity to constantly blame the teacher’s union. how many other projects like this are lurking on the balance sheets of various school boards?

    look to your administrative layer. one of the member’s brothers probably owns a big construction co.

  4. Chris Maukonen

    On the subject of getting rid of Algebra II (where I got a D in the class).

    This hits on why I never considered going into education as a field of study. I would never have been aloud to teach the way I would want to.

    First I would through those damn text books in the dumper. They only make the situation worse by confusing it.

    I would teach ONLY by using real world examples and applications. Making it meaningful and there by logically applicable.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I would probably ask the class, those who think the class might help them get a job, they can, if they wish, go play in the woods and strawberry fields.

      Those who are intellectually curious about Algebra II, they are welcome to stay.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Too Big To JAIL?

    As always, one needs to be post-modern.

    The problem is jails are too small for those too big.

    Solution: Build jails on Mars for those who are too big.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Blow to multiple human species idea.

    In the future, they will make discoveries to blow apart the multiple political parties idea. It’s just one single party, our future Nobel prize winner will announce.

  7. Ron

    LSD is good for you: Good news! I took it four or five times back in 1968 after a tour of duty in Vietnam. Several members of my platoon came to visit and we all took a dose together it was a remarkable experience.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s hard to be happy about the sad state of affairs.

        People will be happy when that changes, hopefully, and probably not otherwise.

    1. Peter Pan

      I have taken LSD on about a dozen occasions. I highly recommend having marijuana and unlimited quantities of beer (it must be beer!) available for consumption to enhance the LSD experience. I should warn men that they may experience very serious shrinkage, so the first time you go to urinate you may have difficulty finding your genitalia. There’s a strong possibility that you may freak out and believe you’ve been turned into a woman, or you may feel delighted that you have been turned into Peter Pan.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There was a Maya ruler at Uaxactun called Smoking Frog.

        He was from Tikal and led them to victory over Uaxactun. As was the ritual, the entire royal family was subdued and packed off to Tikal to face the sacrificial axe. The city was sacked. Every male over the age of 5 was killed.

        He probably smoked too much…a bit too happy maybe.

      2. Synopticist

        I would reccomend teenagers to take LSD o few times. I’m convinced it made me a bit smarter.

        1. skippy

          I think you should qualify that a bit more ie. environment, compound[s et al.

          skippy… bad experiences can be irreversible thingy~

      3. David Archer

        So I listened to Syd Barrett music on YouTube for about half an hour earlier today (really) and now I don’t know what to think.

        But I did end up writing a new song and I’m no longer worried about what happens to all the calculations if it turns out that six actually is nine.

  8. brian

    We want to solve what we don’t know
    but we give in fast and let it go
    millenia creep by with but a layer of dust
    then only minutes, our creations rust.

  9. Ron

    Business groups stand by Boehner, plot against tea party:

    The GOP less the Tea Party could be the beginning of a true conservative 3rd party but it would align itself pretty much with any GOP’s remaining so its difficult to project its voting impact but it might end the modern era of the GOP as a national party. The South and Border states have been betting on the GOP as a political vehicle and that looks to be in crisis as the more fundamental members move on to create a new separate Tea Party leaving the GOP.

  10. Bill Frank

    Anyone naive enough to think that judicial corruption in New York is just a New York issue? Substitute “New York” with the name of any sizeable US city and the story reads the same.

    1. Skeptic

      Very correct, Bill.

      What amazes me as the Massive White Collar Crime Wave expands is there is not one criminologist in the US who can put a number on how many serious White Collar Criminals are operating amongst us. Lots of stats on rape, car theft, prostitution, drugs of course, etc. but no report on the width and breadth of the Massive White Collar Crime Wave.

      Absolutely remarkable!

      1. anon y'mouse

        I irritatingly kept pointing this out to my criminology professor. his only discussions were of peasant-type crimes–robbery, rape, theft, drugs, etc. every assignment he gave, I used research to push in his face this blatant blank spot on fraud, white collar criminals, wage theft and that kinda thing.

        he gave decent grades, but made no comments.

  11. John Merryman

    As for that How Science goes Wrong, in the Economist, this is the comment I posted to it, regarding one of my pet peeves;
    It’s been my impression that the current field of cosmology is seriously due for review.
    The entire Big Bang model is based on the assumption that redshifting of the spectrum can only be due to recession of the source, yet when findings conflict with this concept, enormous patches are taken for granted. Inflation and Dark Energy being the two most egregious. Some overlooked optical effect, due light crossing enormous distance would be a far more rational solution, but any ideas put forth are ignored, as we have to hear about multiverses and other fantastical speculation.
    This expansion has been described as relativistic, yet to be relativistic, the propagation rate of light would have to increase, in order for the speed of light to remain constant to this expanding space, yet that would refute the premise of redshift due to recession. These distant galaxies are presumably receding and will eventually disappear, but that implies a constant distance as measured in lightspeed. So the question I keep raising, if “Space is what you measure with a ruler,” what is the ruler? That which is constant and this increase is being denominated in, or that which is expanding?
    Suffice to say, I don’t get much response from anyone whose career depends on the favors of the establishment.

    1. craazyman

      You should get a Nobel Prize just for that. :)

      I know how you feel. the more particles they look for, the more they find. If they stopped looking, they wouldn’t find any. But if they keep looking, they’ll find more and more. if they look forever, they’ll find an infinte number. I think Nature is just f*cking with them, but they dont’ get the joke.

      Have you seen the machines they look for particles with? Of course you’ll see particles if you have a machine like that. What’s the big deal. LOL.

      1. John Merryman

        There is a lot of complexity out there and Rubic’s cubes are beyond me, but they are fudging the basics to make these ideas work and as this country will eventually find out, nature gives you a pretty long leash, but you don’t want to be at a dead run when you get to the end of it. They are setting themselves up for a fall.

      2. craazyboy

        Just the fact that they have experimentally proven quantum entanglement actually does happen, even over a very long distance, tells me there is something very, very deep and spooky we don’t understand about the nature of the universe.

        1. MikeNY

          I like these posts, Craazy.

          I am admittedly WAY out of my depth here, but I’ve always believed that matter is infinitely divisible, and that the notion of a “finite but unbounded” universe doesn’t make much sense.

          It’s just “something in my little finger”, as Einstein would say.

          1. craazyboy

            It’s a real mind blower. Check out wiki.


            This implies the “quantum entangled” particles can be separated by very long distances – then changing the state of one instantaneously shows up as a state change in the other. That’s spooky. This means information can be moved faster than the speed of light. This would be one bit of data, but do it with, say, 64 particle pairs and you have 64 bit instantaneous communications.

            This is a “technology” that gets used in some sci-fi novels for instantaneous interplanetary and interstellar communications. But they say they have actually experimentally proved the physics. Course they need to downsize a CERN particle collider before they can fit the tech in our iPhones.

            1. John Merryman

              Part of the problem might be our own assumptions. Bosons are force carrying “particles” and you can put as many of them as you want in one place, but the result grows larger. So say what you are really testing here is different points on a bubble that any testing device would effectively “pop.” So you can’t really tell it’s there, except by popping it and physics believes that only what can be measured is real. So the bubble/wave isn’t considered to be real, just the points it gets measured at.
              Sometimes, when you find yourself in a blind alley, the solution is not to keep looking for a door that isn’t there, but to backtrack and examine why you got there in the first place.
              Just saying. The whole Bell’s inequalities is a real hot button issue and everyone has their positions on it.
              John M

              1. craazyboy

                I don’t read that much “real” physics, so it would take quite a while to get up to speed with what the serious people think. If they say they measured it and proved it, I just say ok. If someone says they have trouble measuring or perceiving something to small to see, I nod and say “natch”.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      John, that’s an interesting observation.

      The question I have is, is the ruler not a physical one, but something mental, like when we say, relative to a fixed point in space (in a universe in motion)?

      PS: What happened to the first comment which was essentially the same question here?

      1. John Merryman

        Keep in mind the one universal constant physics seems to agree on is the speed of light. In arguments over this one point I hear is that it’s four dimensional and I just don’t understand the math, but the space between two points is only one dimension and the ruler we commonly use for intergalactic distance is based on lightspeed, ie, lightyears. So when they say these galaxies are receding from each other and what is now x lightyears apart will eventually be 2x lightyears apart, that is distance denominated in a stable unit and it’s not even a relativistic effect, because, as I said, to be relativistic the speed of light would have to increase in order for it to remain constant to the space. Then there is the argument that light is just being carried along by this expanding space, which is also complete nonsense. You denominate the space in lightyears and that’s your standard! It would be like saying that if I put a ruler in my car and drive down the road, it stretches space.
        Basically space is treated as a measurement between points, so that, mathematically, gravity contracts space. Thus those galaxies are not inert points of reference, but “space sinks.” They effectively balance the expansion between galaxies, resulting in overall flat space. So physically it amounts to a convection cycle of expanding radiation and collapsing mass. It’s just that photons expand when released and don’t travel across space as point particles, which is why recession is the supposed reason for redshift.
        Could keep going on this, but I’ve banged my head on this wall a little too much.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I can see why we would feel like banging our heads.

          It’s like Zeno’s turtle and Achilles. When it gets to the place x-lightyears away, that place has moved.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              It’s also known as the ‘chasing the ex-spouse for alimony’ problem.

              When you get there, he she has moved.

        1. craazyboy

          I read some physicist that supposedly understands string theory* state that it implies we need 10-11 dimensions and then we can have multiverses.

          *This is the math that supposedly “bridges the gap” between relativity and quantum mechanics and resolves the conflicts in theory. But I just stick to reading sci-fi novels. No math and anything is cool.

            1. craazyboy

              The physicist did say any more than 3 dimensions plus time would be invisible to us.

              I guess the cool part about being a theoretical physicist is you can say anything and still get paid.

              1. John Merryman

                Sometimes quite well paid.
                When Wall St. wanted mathematicians to create their trillion dollar wagering structures, they went to quantum theorists, not accountants. Could it be that accountants learn you can go to jail for funny math, but quants think entire universes spring from their equations?

    3. Hugh

      While the speed of light establishes the speed limit for objects moving through space-time, space-time itself is under no such constraints. This is seen not just in Hubble expansion and cosmic inflation but also in blackholes.

      Hubble expansion does not affect the speed of a photon moving through space-time, but an effect can be seen in its wavelength which will get stretched or lengthened over time. This is the well known redshift.

      Similarly, the cosmic background radiation began in the shorter, hotter x-ray region and over time has been stretched out into the longer, cooler microwave region.

      When a photon that originated on the other side of the observable universe arrives a few light years from us, it will only take it a few years for it to complete its journey to our eye or a light detector. The effects of Hubble expansion will be minimal in our near vicinity. But the effects on the space that photon has traversed will be enormous. Not only will that space have expanded but that expansion will have expanded and that expanded expansion will have expanded. It is like the problem of compound interest applied to space-time. The upshot of all this is that the photon that reaches us now from some early galaxy began its journey when the universe was much smaller than it is now but it still took that photon 13 billion years to complete its journey. A photon from the same galaxy today or its descendant would now begin its journey 40 billion light years from us. Only it would never reach us because the intervening space, those 40 billion light years, are expanding at a few times the speed of light.

      What this means is that when we look at one of these early galaxies, we are looking into the past when the universe was smaller. That galaxy now is no longer part of our universe. It has passed beyond the event horizon of our observable universe. In relativity, light is the yard stick for all things. It is the bearer of information. If a light signal can not be sent from A to B, that is if information can not be retrieved from B, then B can not be known and for all intents and purposes it is not part of our universe. Maybe in some future physics where we have a deeper view into space-time, we will not be bound by this limit. But right now, our physics are based on relativity and hence the limits it defines.

      1. looselyhuman

        This. Loosely fits into my very basic understanding of redshift and expanding universe, and then proceeds to blow my mind. Well done.

      2. John Merryman

        This may be repost. Connection is lousy.
        That is all well and good, if it is supposed to be an expansion in space, but that premise was rejected because all those galaxies are redshifted proportional to distance, with no apparent lateral motion. Which creates the impression we are at the center of the universe. An perception that would be quite expected, if redshift were considered an optical effect. So instead, in order to preserve the theory, it became an expansion OF space. This is described as a four dimensional expansion, but since we only perceive three dimensions, the analogy of the surface of the expanding balloon is used as a two dimensional model.
        The problem, as I keep pointing out, is it still assumes a constant speed of light as a stable measure. So the question is as to what or where does this essentially stable property of the vacuum come from, if space itself is expanding? What is proposed amounts to two distinct quantities of space, one stable and one expanding. You say light is carried along by this Hubble expansion, but there is no explanation for how this stable metric came to be, other than it is just taken for granted.
        Now in normal math, when you have a base number, that is known as the denominator, while the variable quanity of this base is the numerator. So when you say that these galaxies move away, that eventually their light will no longer reach us, you are explicitly using the distance measured by the speed of light as the denominator and the increase in this distance being the numerator. That is not an expansion of the units used as the denominator, but an increasing amount of them. Which is not expanding space, only increasing distance. This is not a four dimensional issue, because the space being referred to, between two points, is only one dimension. This means the argument that it is a relativistic expansion of space itself, falls apart. With relativity, the speed of light is constant, so if the length is shortened, the clock rate slows to match, thus it is always C. Consequently, if the length were to increase, the rate of propagation and thus the clock rate, would have to increase as well ,so that it remains C.
        So if it isn’t an expansion of space, then either we are at the center of the universe, or redshift is an optical effect of light crossing billions of lightyears, that we have yet to appreciate.
        Sorry for any typos. Writing on a phone.
        John M

        1. skippy

          Space within time within space within an unknown possible observable after the fact~

          skippy… Monkey bonk~

        2. Hugh

          Not following you. You have a numerator which is a distance and a denominator which is a velocity. This yields a time.

          Time is not considered the same as the spatial dimensions. The speed of light is considered a constant because all observers can develop the same value for it, build the same physics from it, and relate their physics to observers in other frames through the transformations in special relativity. The speed of light is hardly unique as a constant. There are Planck’s constant, the Gravitational constant, the charge of an electron. There are all kinds of constants. Time, however, is not a constant.

          Hubble expansion works because we see it no matter what direction we choose to measure it from. So if I find distance galaxies in one quadrant of space and then look at others in a quadrant 90 degrees to it, the Hubble expansion I measure will be the same.

          You can of course write physics taking any point in the universe as its center. If we are looking at very distant objects across the universe, no problem looking at earth as the center of the universe. However, if we did so in our local neighborhood, the math would quickly get impossibly messy. Much easier to say the earth travels around the sun and the sun around the galactic center and the whole shebang of the Milky Way headed somewhere else in the sky.

          And of course with objects moving in space-time in accelerative frames as opposed to on the space-time bubble, it does matter which object is undergoing the acceleration because this will affect its clocks, that is its time.

          All of this is special relativity. General relativity adds new wrinkles, so to speak, to space-time, especially about how it folds around mass. This is different from Hubble expansion in that Hubble expansion is driven not by mass but by some entity physicists have taken to calling Dark Energy. That is they can see its effects but don’t have a clue to what it is. From Newton to Einstein, the workings of the universe seemed to be getting simpler and clearer but with the advent of relativity and quantum mechanics, the universe looks stranger and stranger, rather as if the more we stare at it, the more it stares back at us.

          1. John Merryman

            Light travels about 186,000 mps. That makes a lightyear about a trillion miles. That is a distance. Your argument is that this distance remains stable, but space is expanding, thus what was x trillion miles, is then 2x trillion miles.
            If the redshift of light is some form of optical effect, then it would also be the same in all directions and magnified proportional to distance.
            Here is an interesting possible reason;
            In my own considerations, it has occured to me the size of the photon is more a function of its absorption by atomic structure, thus the limit of what can be measured and there is some experimental evidence of this. So the further away a source is, once the light falls below the threshold of continuous absorption, it becomes like drips of water. The size doesn’t get any smaller, but the time between each one being recorded gets longer. This would seemingly stretch out their profile.
            As it is, there have been more than enough mismatches between theory and observation that any objective observer would consider a review in order.

            1. AbyNormal

              all in all…Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

              1. John Merryman

                Light can’t think. It has no internal activity, thus no clock, thus no narrative.
                Awareness is like light. It conducts effortlessly. Thought, on the other hand, is a resistor. It slows this awareness and feeds it back into itself, being self awareness…

            2. John Merryman

              FYI; The mile was originally derived from how far a horse could gallop before getting tired and today, most horse races are between 3/4s and 1 and 1/8s mile.
              While most race tracks are a mile, that’s not actually a popular distance, since it requires putting the starting gate at the finish line, which is at the top of the home stretch and thus close to the first turn, or requires a long shute. Some tracks are longer though.
              John M

  12. b2020

    I don’t read Silber often in recent years, but his criticism referenced yesterday of Greenwald (and, implicitly, Assange) for being possibly too eager to embrace a “gatekeeper” role of filtering, redacting etc. is necessary – especially as Assange articulated a very good discussion of information asymmetry, secret networks, and their impact on any open society. So maybe the next iteration of the whistleblower-distributor should just publicly announce that the government has been provided with a copy of the pending disclosures three months ago, and had reasonable opportunity to limit possible danger to “sources” and other rethorical devices.

    Today’s link to NYT quoting Snowden illustrates the need for whistleblower-distributer version 3.): upload copies of the documents and shut up. Snowden:

    “So long as there’s broad support amongst a people, it can be argued there’s a level of legitimacy even to the most invasive and morally wrong program, as it was an informed and willing decision,” he said.

    Please substitute torture, rape, or slavery. The repeat disclosures have diverted the outrage into a discussion of just how much surveillance we would like, and whether we would prefer it “opt in” or “opt out”. It should be clear that, at this stage, one should give a shit in just how many ways the NSA and its aiders and abetters break, bend, distort, or “iterate” the law, and how they plan to do this in the future. Pervasive surveillance is incompatible with an open society, and a violation of human rights to a point where participation in a democracy is no longer possible, and democratic institutions are no longer trustworthy.

    There is, of course, the “Transparent Society” as proposed by David Brin. Mandatory disclosure of all surveillance at the end of an investigation or the statute of limitations, along with the full service record of the judges, attorneys and agents appraised of the surveillance and/or its results would be a good start. Mandatory full disclose of all surveillance records for every citizen running for public office or corporate management would be another.

    1. anon y'mouse

      considering all the studies and all the journals and all the work that is being done, it is totally unsurprising that no one is really looking over anyone’s shoulder in this realm.

      the most important point seems to be that no matter how scientific humans want to pretend to be, they have their preconceived notions and the gatekeepers are NOT letting through anything that challenges those without a big fight. if those three dudes had not been so tenacious, people would still be citing those stupid papers and no one would be the wiser.

      and that guy selling pos. psych. to the military is laughing all the way to the bank.

    2. optimader

      Good link, total BS misapplying mathematics to quantify human behavior . Taleb has eviscerated the dubious attempt to predict human (economic) behavior mathematically. People do not behave rationally, they are not predictable and therefore their behavior is not quantifiable.

  13. Punkyclown

    Wells Fargo ads, really? How can you speak truth about the banks and then take their money and run their ads on your site. How can anything you would say about them hold the validity of truth. Integrity a word with no meaning?

    1. Jess

      On the contrary, I can think of few things that are so deliciously ironic as using ad revenue from a TBTF bank to finance disclosure of their wrongdoing and ineptitude. In international political circles it’s called “blowback” and often it’s a bitch. (Like when the Muhajadeen that we funded and armed to fight the Russians morphs into Al Queda and the Taliban.)

    2. hunkerdown

      Should Machiavelli’s The Prince be required reading in middle school/1st form? Or maybe enrich a critical thinking unit with a good five or six hours devoted to the fundamental misattribution error?

      1. optimader

        “,,,Seligman wrote, along with two military personnel, that CSF’s goal is to, “increase the number of soldiers who derive meaning and personal growth from their combat experience,” and “to decrease the number of soldiers who develop stress pathologies…”

        How could this not possibly work out? Well, it did for the grant trollers at least.

  14. Jess

    Re: Algebra II — I liked math up through geometry. Had a good algebra teacher and a great geometry teacher. Didn’t mind trig that much, either, even though I was always a liberal arts guy.

    But Algebra II? And later calculus? Once they started talking about imaginary numbers and the square roots of negative numbers I knew that this would have no bearing on my future. And frankly, unless there was some important downstream science/aerospace application that I didn’t know about, why in the hell would anybody need to know anything about numbers that don’t exist? Negative numbers? Sure, you overdraw your checking account, you’ve got a negative number. But beyond that? I can still remember thinking, “This is just plain stupid.” Anybody that can give me a real world reason why I was/am wrong, step right up.

    1. optimader

      “Once they started talking about imaginary numbers and the square roots of negative numbers I knew that this would have no bearing on my future.”

      Do you know your future? Let me know how that works.
      Complex numbers infact do have a bearing on your future, whether you understand there applications or not, like many things.

      Ubiquitous in engineering and science. It goes to understanding dynamic processes, how they grow, shrink, accelerate/slow down, where they were in the past if know where they are now and the rate of change, stuff like that..

      Disinterested in science and engineering?

      How about the dismal field of economics?

    2. craazyman

      From the Department of Deep Thawts: they’re really (no pun intended) no more imaginary than square root of 2 or Pi. They’re no more imaginary than 1 and 2, because 1 and 2 imply discrete boundaries which don’t exist in nature. Say you have 10 tennis balls laying on a tennis court, each ball is only an imaginary idea because there’s no way to say where the ball stops and the court starts, if you go down to microscopic levels where the atoms in the fibers mix with the atoms on the court. You could say you have 1 tree, but the roots have nutrients and water coming and going and so do the leaves have light coming and chemical processes. You really can’t say where the tree stops and the sky starts or where the roots stop and the dirt starts, if you want to be impeccably precise in your thinking. These singularities are all purely imaginary, therefore 1 and 2 are no less imaginary than square root of -1. You’d have to be really weird to enjoy thinking about this for long periods of time. I don’t think about it very often, but when I do — especially as a form of procrastination and only for brief periods — it’s sort of amusing.

        1. optimader

          every interface is a gradient, that would include sanity/insanity.

          In the case of LSD, a much maligned alkaloid. Be comforted in the knowledge whenever getting on a AA flight that at least one of the senior pilots did very large doses of exquisitely pure Windowpane acid in the late 1970’s.

        1. craazyman

          I watched almost the whole video you linked about that dude looking for the higgs boson.

          that machine was incredible. it impressed me more — all the different colored wires woven among themselves in that massive circle of shiny immaculately forged metal — than anything about the higgs boson. hahha

          that machine was incredible just to gaze at and ccntemplate.

          1. optimader

            To me, this stuff is fine art. It has its own aesthetic, the fact that it does what these brainiacs conceive is amazing.

    3. Max

      Using imaginary numbers is basically just a two dimensional number line. It’s kind of like going from a line to a square. Sometimes you can do a physics problem on only one dimension, sometimes you need two (or three, or four…). They’re also really good for modeling things that oscillate back and forth. For example, problems involving a thing moving in a circle are pretty well modeled using imaginary numbers. The “square root of negative one” thing doesn’t make a lot of intuitive sense, you can basically think of it as a necessary way of differentiating between two types of numbers (real and imaginary) needed to plot two dimensions.

    4. Whistling in the Dark

      It’s not necessary to imbue mathematical objects with some sort of Platonic existence. From a practical perspective, you only need to pay attention to what you do them and whether they end up modeling some tangible phenomenon that you might be interested in. For instance, you might like to measure the length of some object to arbitrarily fine precision. This would require something like the rational numbers (fractions) — to model it abstractly. (The others of the real numbers are definitely not necessary or even helpful for this speficic task.) And, then, you start asking yourself, what sorts of things do I like to do with lengths? What sort of tasks should I be able to carry out in my abstract model? For one, if you can increase the length of something, you will probably also want to be able to decrease it on occasion. Hence, you start messing with things which act just like “negative numbers” as taught (probably badly) in school. They don’t have to exist in-and-of themselves, whatever that means. It is enough they act “on paper” like we would want them to in order to model something tangible.

      1. Propertius

        For instance, you might like to measure the length of some object to arbitrarily fine precision. This would require something like the rational numbers (fractions) — to model it abstractly. (The others of the real numbers are definitely not necessary or even helpful for this speficic task.)

        Not even if you’re trying to determine the length of the diagonal of a unit square?

        1. Whistling in the Dark

          Not that it matters, but here are the key words there:

          “to arbitrarily fine precision”
          On a practical level, this is what you need. To put it another way: It is less practical to indicate various irrational (i.e.: relative-incommensurable) values on a given ruler along-side the usual selection of rationals, although there is no reason why we couldn’t accommodate a few, if we so desired. Nevertheless, the accuracy of the marks is mediated by the accuracy of their use. How might one measure the accuracy? Well, again, rational numbers would be perfectly adequate to the task. The real numbers are redundant from this standpoint. And we need not introduce them until we feel a need. I’m not sure my original target-audience of one felt such a need. But, then again, I may be a poor judge of that.

          Is it interesting that the ol’ square root of two is irrational. Sure — as a bit of trivia? What to make of it beyond that is not immediately clear. I like immediacy, when it comes to math. Makes it less twerpy.

  15. Hugh

    Labor market flexibility. Translation: Shit jobs at shit wages. You have to love, or maybe not, the lengths neoliberals and kleptocrats will go to cast their evils in bland technocratese.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Don’t worry. If wages rise just a little bit, it’s the sworn, sacred mission of the Fed to kill it.

      Rising food prices are ok. We exclude them. They are the ‘imaginary’ numbers that we learned in our high school algebra.

    2. Whistling in the Dark

      Maybe we should have a tax on evil. Probably a 100-1000% tax, somewhere in there, on ill-gotten gains, depending on the severity of the case. (And the corporate death penalty, but that’s another story.) We could empower a panel of 12 children and ask, considering the details of the case, whether the accused is deemed to have been naughty or nice. Should be pretty clear. Maybe mediocrity can be taxed at a nice middle-of-the-road 50%, too. That way the bureaucratic aiders and abbettors of even the grayest of beige stripes can be brought to justice as well. (Still trying to think what the fkkk social justice would actually look like, if it existed. Which, we can agree, the fact of its not existing is the only proper present point of departure of its inquiry.) And, so, the day can end with a happy thought…

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