Links 11/7/13

Female lizards with beards not attractive, report other lizards Christian Science Monitor (furzy mouse)

Almost 400-year-old New Hampshire family farm sold after being owned for 11 generations Daily Mail (Chuck L). Generation count looks wrong…

Swedish cinemas take aim at gender bias with Bechdel test rating Guardian

Huge Crazy Meteor Blows Up Over Western U.S. Gawker

Kepler News Sparks Media Headline Mayhem Physics Buzz (DakotaBornKansan)

Twitter’s top 140 users Telegraph

Defendant in Unnecessary Heart Stent Lawsuits Loses Again Patient Safety Blog

Drug Combo Cures 97 Percent of Hep C Patients in Study Everyday Health (Carol B)

Scientists find bacteria in Japanese pickled turnips which could boost immune system Independent (Chuck L)

Fossil fuel subsidies ‘are reckless’ BBC

Financial Secrecy Index Tax Justice Network

Trans-Pacific Partnership: “We Will Not Obey”; Building a Global Resistance Movement Truthout (furzy mouse).

Harry Shearer interviews Yves Smith: Corporate Pillage Part 1 – secret “worst of both worlds” trade agreement negotiations Corrente (in case you didn’t have time to listen to the recording)

One dead in blasts near Communist provincial HQ in China Bangkok Post (Lambert)

China’s Communists want unattainable goal of affluence without freedom Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

The European Banking Disunion Project Syndicate

Europe: Technocrats Vs. Democrats Yanis Varoufakis, The Globalist

Anonymous demonstrators clash with police outside Buckingham Palace Guardian (gonzomarx)

US seeks ‘first step’ Iran nuclear deal Financial Times

“If they can’t prove they’re Taliban, bam” Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

C.I.A. Is Said to Pay AT&T for International Call Records New York Times

White House Hoping Cosmetic Change Will Satisfy NSA Critics Kevin Drum

FBI monitored anti-war website in error for six years, documents show Guardian (Chuck L)

Googlers say “F*** you” to NSA, company encrypts internal network ars technica

Web founder denounces NSA encryption cracking Guardian

Why The Deep Web Has Washington Worried Time (Chuck L). Get a load of the spin: ability to evade surveillance = threat. No presumption that privacy is reasonable.

US Getting Its Cyber-Ass Handed to It Marcy Wheeler (Chuck L)

Hegemony Abroad Requires a Security State at Home Real News Network

Obamacare Launch

Senate Democrats frustrated with ‘botched rollout’ of Obamacare Christian Science Monitor. This is almost funny. Obama cares only about Obama. Don’t they remember the 2010 elections? And he’s not doing a very good job of taking care of himself these days, at least in terms of popularity (future payoffs are a completely different matter)

Obama ‘not concerned’ about ACA Politico. See? I wrote the bit above before I saw this piece.

ObamaCare Clusterfuck: A hat tip to our old friend Nancy DiParle, Obama’s personal choice to lead ObamaCare’s implementation Lambert

Departing Obamacare security official didn’t sign off on site launch CBS

Sebelius dodges ‘target enrollment’ question

Delaware reports 4 enrollments under ObamaCare Associated Press Politico

The U.S. shifts left Washington Post. The right wing screwed up. Having college educated kids unable to find decent jobs in mass numbers was guaranteed to produce left-leaning attitudes. That alone will move the country leftward over time. Hence the urgency for Obama to implement as many difficult-to-roll-back neoliberal policies as possible.

Obama wants to cut Social Security Ben Strubel, New Economic Perspectives. Please circulate widely. Provides a very simple-to-understand debunking of the generational burden canard.

NYPD Commissioner Headed To… JPMorgan Chase? Huffington Post

Americans Safe from Gun Violence Except in Schools, Malls, Airports, Movie Theatres, Workplaces, Streets, Own Homes New Yorker. I’m surprised some fading fashion line like Abercrombie & Fitch (which I never understood) hasn’t produced a Kevlar line. Even if they didn’t sell a single article, the PR value would be ginormous.

How are the rich getting richer? The more they make, the lower income tax rates they pay. Face palm. Daily Kos

Auction season boost for Sotheby’s Financial Times. Big contrast with wobbly start at Christie’s.

Bitcoin Is A Joke Business Insider. Notice the MMT argument!!!

IS ERIC THERE, PLEASE? New Yorker (Michael C). On the JP Morgan settlement

The forex market is designed to encourage crime Financial Times

Wall St. Bonuses Over All Are Predicted to Rise 5 to 10% (Bond Traders Excluded) New York Times

On Lowering the Unemployment Target Tim Duy

What Fed economists are telling the FOMC Gavyn Davies

Walking May Be Worse For The Environment Than Driving Business Insider. Reader critical thinking exercise! What’s wrong with this analysis? You guys are more than ready to be doing this yourselves, so please discuss in comments.

Antidote du jour (furzy mouse):


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  1. Concerned Citizen

    Regarding the walking vs. driving article, they talk about the food supply chain and about sourcing electricity that powers an electric car. But they don’t talk about the enormous amount of resources and energy it takes to extract oil and refine it into gasoline and ship it to distribution points? So there making an incomplete comparison, right?

    1. craazyman

      when you walk to work you energize yourself to start your day. that means you’re more efficient on the job. Your job probably involves wasting reams of paper and making some product that ends up in a landfill as toxic waste. The more efficient you are, the more paper you waste, the higher your company’s productivity, the more products it makes, and the bigger the landfill — which is all bad for the environment. QED. Faaaak I figured all this out before 6 a.m. It’s good I take the bus to work or the environment would be toast. What’s another question we can figure out? :)

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Another green alternative is to sleep in, skip work* and engage in mindful meditation the rest of the day (thus exhaling less often – and bingo!, less carbon emission).

        *I told the cat it was her day to go hunting and gathering. Someone’s got to put food on the table.

        1. optimader

          Hey Beefie..
          Need a drivers license to get food, the answer to childhood obesity?

          Now, doing an all in comparative breakeven energy balance between the
          kJ consumed/per mile of the average vehicle –including all factors of production for vehicle and fuel (that are non-renewable, carbon neutral)
          kJ consumed/mile bt the (average walker- person at rest) using metabolized food converted to useful energy, – including all the factors of production of the average shrink wrapped and overpacked, feed lot fattened, corn fed, nitrogen fertilized hunk of American engineered food (that are non renewable, carbon neutral).

          Don’t forget the differential wear on shoe tread, food transportation and production equipment, (as well the food fetching portion of vehicle service life applied to all the infrastructure to construct the vehicle

          This would be a good college level thermodynamics class term paper study, the resolution of all externalities can take you down a serious rabbit hole.

          Gotta eat to live..

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s true, we gotta eat (kill something, meat or vegetables – and serially) to live.

            But I will never do another term paper again.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Unless you wait until the potato plant dies.

              Then you can be accused of secretly wishing the deaths of a lot of living things.

          2. EmilianoZ

            You guys, worry about the environmental impact of walking or driving. But have you ever considered the environmental impact of posting a comment on NC? Do you think it’s free? To get your comment posted, millions of electrons have to rush like crazy through countless integrated circuits, resulting in enormous amounts of energy wasted in heat, in unconscionable increase in the entropy of the universe. Can we still look our children in the eye and do what we do?

            My fellow NC brethren, the situation is dire, if we be true lovers of the earth and the cute little furry animals, I solemnly urge you to pledge to limit yourself to one comment per week or compensate for each post by skipping a meal.

            What we do in life, ripples through eternity.

            1. optimader

              Hey emil..

              “You guys, worry about the environmental impact of walking or driving.”

              I’ve grown to accept my “carrying cost”. “I’m Good Enough, I’m Smart Enough, and Doggone It, People Like Me!”~ S.S.

              The irony Emil is that I’ve worked to ascend to a lifestyle where I can again ride my bike instead of drive, if I want to.

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I think it’s more important to we post with serenity.

              If we comment here to argue, with global warming deniers, for example, and if we hyperventilate as a result, we will emit excess carbon.

              And that’s bad, even when one posts only once a week.

              That’s why it’s important to comment with serenity.

        2. neo-realist

          Re sleeping in, and not working as opposed to skipping work and getting in some cardio walking—more energizing than walking to work from personal experience. There is a bit of an anticipatory anxiety with going to work that saps the benefits of walking to your doom err rather work.

    2. anon y'mouse

      plus, they forgot ALL of the energy inputs needed to build the cars, the roadways, and the system needed to get gas to you worldover. this applies to the tractor somewhat as well, but less since one tractor feeds, what? 400 people or something?

      the only thing they discuss to compare the car to walking is the mpg used by the car itself. wow!

      1. J Sterling

        Also, walking fifty miles may be more intensive than driving fifty miles, but who the hell walks fifty miles? People drive fifty miles for lunch.

    1. no more banksters


      Distrust proposal from the Left-wing Opposition party SYRIZA against government in the Greek parliament!

      1. RanDomino

        hmm… Greek politics have been too quiet lately. I wonder what SYRIZA is up to? Do they expect the ND+PASOK coalition to crack and trigger new elections? It’s possible, I suppose. Or are they laying the foundation for the next election? If they can win the no-confidence vote, they will probably win the subsequent elections and become the new majority; but if they lose the no-confidence vote, then they might be able to point out what jerks ND and PASOK are but in my observation being right does not make up for the political damage of appearing weak (by failing at something). Or I might be completely wrong about how the technicalities work.

  2. JL Furtif

    “Walking May Be Worse For The Environment Than Driving ”
    As somebody famous once said, ‘not even wrong’.
    Basically the author compares on one hand the amount of energy expended in agriculture and food transport to make up for the calories lost in walking, and on the other hand the amount of energy burnt in the car.
    On the side of the car, what is not considered is the amount of energy spent to build and maintain the roads and infrastructure, the amount of energy spent to build, maintain and dispose of the car, the amount of energy spent to extract, refine and transport the fuel that goes into the car, nor the indirect amounts of energy wasted to make a car-based lifestyle possible.
    On the side of the walker, the small amount of spent energy is exagerated, and then penalized by all the agrotech excesses to calculate its replacement. But those apply equally when driving instead of walking.
    From a pure and unique energy point of view, walking consumes ~2.5 times less energy than driving.

    1. scott

      Two problems with this analysis.

      The base assumption is that the walker will eat 200 more calories than he would have if he drove to work. Odds are that doughnut is going to be eaten anyway and go to his midsection as fat.

      Or, that doughnut has already been baked. Do those 200 calories get stored as fat or end up in a dumpster?

      1. jsn

        Argument of the article seems to be feed people minimum amount of potatoes (only food I know with all necessary nutrients) to keep them alive so we can preserve the massive subsidies to petro that sustains the extractive status quo.

        Same rational the English capitalists used to justify what they called “The Potato Famine” when their previous reductivist fantasy ran aground on the shoals of life.

      2. Walter Map

        Um, food isn’t actually bought. It’s rented. You don’t actually get to keep it unless you eat a lot, and even then you only get to keep it for threescore and ten years or so. Think of it. All that coffee you drink sooner or later literally ends up right down the toilet. Or on somebody’s grave. Or something.

    2. diptherio

      Nailed it. The article decides to look at food’s energy footprint based on its whole “lifecycle,” while only taking account of a car’s fuel efficiency and not looking at its production and use holistically.

      Also, only an economist would blithely assume that walking a mile or two is necessarily going to increase someone’s caloric intake. Based on this reasoning, can we assume that people must do a lot of walking on Thanksgiving day, since they consume so many calories?

    3. ron

      nor the amount of energy used to make the auto, ship the auto to its destination and prep it for sale…..

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The life cycle analysis should include junk yard storage or disposal* cost, mosquito/fly in discarded tires eradication cost, more marital infidelity cost (that’s a Luddite issue) etc.

      * you eventually need to dispose of walkers as well, but walking actually might postpone that disposal cost a few more years.

      1. cincop8

        don’t forget infrastructure costs.

        Are we walking a mile in pasture, parkland, forest, tundra? are the paths paved? what am I wearing? am I insured?

        Most car use is on roads and that means: survey, grading, paving maintenance, not to mention environmental degradation in the immediate area and toxins in runoff. There’s water diversion, lighting, paints, emergency response components. just for the roads…

        All in costs for the car include, insurance, funding, G&A for all companies involved in manufacture, transport, registration, maintenance, service delivery, gasoline delivery…

        Oh, fuel infrastructure – what allocation method do we use for litigation costs from the Horizon Gulf disaster? Exxon Valdez? Do we factor in the labor? What portion is expense vs. Capital and hwo do we amort? Do we factor in schedule M differences? How about bribes – errr- discusssion – with regulators, subsidies.

        I know why people don’t factor in externalities…no one listens to you if you do!

        1. optimader

          I know why people don’t factor in externalities…no one listens to you if you do

          HAHA indeed.. +1

          It all renders to what you decide to capture in the circle w/ your red Sharpie.

          Capture enough of the “externalities” and eyes glaze over.

          The conventional Fallacy of this comparison is hypothetically treating “renewables” the same as “non-renewables”. The devil’s in the details as far as what constitutes renewable though, because its was all solar radiation at some time scale, The thing is hydrocarbon is not a convenient timescale for humans to conceive of as “renewable”..
          We are tomorrows hydrocarbon.

  3. Christopher Rogers

    Obama want’s to cut social security!

    No kidding Batman, what rock did these persons crawl from under, Obama’s been wanting cuts since being elected first time around, just no one believed it, for if they did, they’d have voted Jill Stein in 2012, instead, your left with the greatest liar I think that has ever lived in the Whitehouse. And that really is saying something given Nixon’s occupancy in the 70’s and fallout from Watergate.

    Will you people ever learn, or is the PR and propaganda so good that they could paint a positive picture on the Black Death if asked too!!!!!!

    1. squasha

      nope. you can’t teach a Sneech. On the other hand, the frustrated bitterness from which “you people” is often uttered resembles that of nefarious unmasked grandpas shaking their bony shackled fists at “you meddling kids”.

  4. XO

    “Walking May Be Worse For The Environment Than Driving ”

    I wonder how standing still (leaning up agains a post, as George Thorogood would say), and sitting in a daily traffic jam compare.

    1. voislav

      Standing still is again more harmful. Human body uses about 60 cal/hour in idle mode. Let’s say walking is 300 cal/hour, so human on idle consumes 20% of it’s walking energy consumption. Cars are more efficient than that, they use less than 20% of their highway fuel consumption on idle.

      1. XO

        So, if all of the cars on the eastern megalopolis were left parked while their drivers slept, our net energy usage would go up?

        Perhaps if we used internal combustion in lieu of walking — at all times and by all people — our energy resources would be conserved to the greatest degree possible.

      2. RalphR

        Multiple fallacies here.

        First, even if you believed it, the incremental calorie use # is wrong.

        Even a sedentary person burns a baseline level of calories per hour. For a 180 lb man, that’s about 90 calories an hour. The usual charts that show you “use” 300 or so calories walking moderately (3 MPH) don’t net out your sedentary activity. So this dude’s incremental activity in theory is 210 calories an hour for 2/3 an hour or more like 140 calories an hour.

        Second, the guy might include his 40 minutes of walking as part of his weekly exercise and spend less time doing other exercise. The analysis assumes it’s an addition to his total activity rather than a substitution.

        Third, people adapt to routine activity. You actually won’t use more calories a day after the first month or so from any routine activity. Your body down regulates is BMR. Notice women and men who are regulars on the treadmill and don’t get any thinner? That’s because the exercise has become routine activity. This is the big big reason most people find it so hard to lose weight. Your body is really well designed not to starve and adapts to routine changes in intake and expendiure levels really quickly.

        Similarly, you’ve read about all those animal studies where they cut their calories to 60% of what is normal? The animals not only don’t die, they live longer! Again, their overall metabolism slowed. Same issue.

    1. afisher

      This is the future that some in government continue to push.
      Public Education is the reason that I could retire early and why I believe that paying taxes to improve public education is so important.
      The fact that some want to make public education fail is something that should embarrass every American.

      Some essentially set-out to design a system to make children fail.

  5. armchair

    On walking vs driving.

    If I drive a mile to the gym to do a massive workout, is that worse than walking?

    If I drive a mile to the Jack-in-the-Box to buy Bacon Sourdough Sandwish, extra large softdrink and super-size fries, so I can go back home and pig out while watching the football game, is that worse than walking?

    If I drive a mile, because I’ve become obese and walking makes me uncomfortable, and I now have diabetes, which is causing me to drive to doctor appointments and take many trips to the pharmacy, is that worse than walking?

    1. Yonatan

      All of the actions you list are good in a Capitalist Society(TM), as the give you the option to pay a for-profit organization to not-quite-sort-out your self-created problems. If you chose to deprive a for-profit of their Rightful Profits, you are worse than a Terrorist(TM).

  6. Sara K.

    You know, I am pretty sure I eat 2000 or less calories on most days (I did eat more than 2000 calories today, but I think that’s because I had been undereating for a few days in a row, and my appetite was particularly large today), yet I manage to get a lot of walking done. Granted, I weigh less than 180 lbs., but I am pretty sure that 2000 calories per day is enough for my basic survival plus lots of walking, because if it wasn’t I think I would be dead by now.

    1. craazyman

      I heard some company is coming out with a machine that feeds you intravenuously while you sleep so you don’t waste time eating during the day.

      This should be good for the economy, since people will be more efficient and productive, but bad for the environment, since landfills will get bigger.

      I think you can program the calorie drip rate with a touch screen interface before you go to bed. They may be making this in China and shipping it to the U.S. by boat and airplane. If things get to a point where we can make it at home on a 3D printer, China will be toast, unless they make the plastic goo that goes in the printer.

      1. craazyboy

        We may see some good come from landfills, yet

        In “Perdido Street Station”, a novel by China Miéville, they have a landfill where just about everything gets dumped – from old PCs to chemicals to an occasional dead body.

        Thru some not well understood combination of chemistry, electronic bonding and magic, a sentient junk being is born. (kinda like the ancient Golem) In order to communicate with humans, it connects a coax cable to a dead body and animates it to use as a mouthpiece.

        I think China(the author) just made this up to scare or weird out his readers. But when you think about, what better way to elect leaders that represent industry well than to vote for one of these junk dudes for president?

  7. Ron

    I have monitored my food intake at times and surprised that I am surviving on less then 1500 calories a day and usually less even though I work out 2 hours a day 6 days a week and play competitive table tennis round robins twice a week. I am more interested in my carb intake per se but was surprised to see how low my calorie count with my normal diet was. Now if I ate fast food such as Pizza etc my calorie intake would climb which is probably why many Americans have weight issues.

    1. craazyboy

      I think theoretically you are dead.

      If you are doing serious strength training – which is 1.5 hours, 4 times a week, typically, then they recommend 3000-4000 cal/ day on workout days(depending on your weight) and maybe dropping it by 500 cal on non-workout days.

      Then if you are doing some form of very brisk cardio, you burn 600-700 cal/hr. So an hour a day subtracted from only 1500 cal leaves a starvation level of net cal intake.

      1. optimader

        think theoretically you are dead. = HAHAHA! Indeed,

        I’m not proud of it but I probably have 1,000 cal on my shirt by the end of the day. swimming and cycling is all thats between me and morphing into Jabbahut..

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        Nah, he’s gonna live a LONG TIME and be all frisky like those animals they underfeed.

        Problem will turn out to be whether he can afford to live so long in our neoliberal “kill the old” paradise.

        1. optimader

          How about me? How long will I live!! (Of course neglecting the possibility of premature extinguishment next time I’m run over by a car while salubriously sitting on my bike??)

    2. Ben Johannson

      I have to consume 4000 calories per day to maintain body weight. Your diet sounds like a lot less work.

    3. subgenius

      You are aware that calories are essentially bollox as a form of measurement of the nutritional nature of food… Just checking…

  8. AbyNormal

    Exclusive Cohen video at Frontline:

    In a never-before-published video, hedge fund titan Steven A. Cohen, whose firm this week agreed to plead guilty to securities fraud, describes federal securities laws as “vague,” and asks for an explanation of the basic Securities and Exchange Commission rule that prohibits insider trading.

    Under questioning in a video deposition obtained exclusively by FRONTLINE, Cohen is asked whether he is familiar with Rule 10b5-1.

    Although the transcripts of the deposition have been published by Bloomberg and Reuters, the court has not released the video.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Where do guys like Cohen get lessons to feign stupid credibly? He has to have had multiple securities licenses to get where he is (I’m too lazy to Google his bio). Everyone who has been within hailing distance of a retail of institutional client knows Rule 10-b5

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      With GDP sharing, it’s inhumane to speak of employment/unemployment at all.

      One merely ‘engages’ in what one is passionate about – be it writing philosophical tomes, singing, trading derivatives or playing with cats. One does not ‘work’ nor beg for ’employment.’

      At the end of the day, everyone on the team shares what it produces.

        1. tyler

          In the essay, Vickrey states the following:

          “The Congressional Budget Office, indeed, echoing the prevailing mood in Washington, appears satisfied with projections that involve unemployment rates continuing at close to 6 percent indefinitely. To those with even a minimal concern with the plight of the unemployed and the homeless, such an attitude appears callous in the extreme.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s like profit sharing for the whole country.

            No one should be poorer than another.

            Whatever is accomplished by the society as a whole, it’s due to teamwork.

                1. optimader


                  Look up
                  À Nous la Liberté (1931)
                  As you enjoy Tati, you’ll really enjoy this. I posted a bunch of great French movie that resonate w/ Tati’s creativity but it looks like the post was disappeared. too bad.
                  take this one to your library to have them order it , or get a copy on Amazon.

  9. AbyNormal

    what NC’r around here yawned a comment of mine and told me to wake’m when oil dipped below 90.00 ?

    well it just dove from 95.31 to 93.88 an still huntin a bottom

  10. Expat

    “Toronto tailor introduces bulletproof three-piece suits”

    “Last weekend at Garrison Bespoke, an upscale tailor shop in Toronto, a potentially lethal scene was unfolding in the back room, where employees were taking turns trying to stab Michael Nguyen, Garrison’s co-owner, with a hunting knife.

    Surprisingly, Mr. Nguyen remained unscathed, thanks to the Donegal tweed vest he was wearing….”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, yes, but for travelling to the exotic samurai-land, you still need a nori-kimono though.

    2. optimader

      No one thought to stab him in the eye?

      I would like to see the language on that legal release. Don’t know about Canadian law, but it would still I would think, as a minimum be a case of involuntary manslaughter if the experiment failed?

  11. Tiercelet

    No point bothering to debunk the walking-vs-driving article, but here’s the kicker for me: it’s obviously written by an economist.

    The greasy fingerprints of the academic econ MO are all over it. There’s a bunch of failed assumptions about ceteris paribus, the notion that human food intake is governed by decisions made by a rational actor whose long-term choices tend to equilibrium, the blithe willingness to apply maximization analysis to a woefully outdated and oversimplified domain model (in this case of human metabolism)… all to the end of supporting a preconcieved conservative, pro-industry conclusion.

    The big question this raises in my mind is why anybody ever takes the products of this methodology seriously. This example isn’t just a bad conclusion, it’s an indictment of the entire process which led to it.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You nail it about the failed assumptions.

      The methodology is OK though…just those bad assumptions.

      The methodology here is used to mean syllogism that we use to ‘reason.’

      Syllogism is a very powerful, yet, ‘a priori’ tool even cats know how to use (they just know). It goes like this:

      Whenever I meow, I get food from the house servant
      I meow now
      Yeah, food coming!

      So, I would throw out those failed assumptions, as you say, but I would keep syllogism as a reasoning methodology.

    2. Jessica

      “No point bothering to debunk the walking-vs-driving article, but here’s the kicker for me: it’s obviously written by an economist.”
      That made me laugh. How true.

  12. rkeva

    Regarding the walking vs driving, the article is presenting a false choice. It is describing a choice between driving vs consuming food that is sourced from distant farms.

    Assuming food is purchased locally or, *gasp* grown yourself, the carbon footprint is vastly smaller.

    Now, consider the bigger issue: if, as the article suggests, we burn more calories producing food than is returned by the food itself then the human race is doomed. No species can extract more resources from the environment over the long term than the environment itself can produce.

    1. anon y'mouse

      our entire society is like this, though.

      entropy made manifest.

      everything surrounding us is embodied energy, and takes energy to mine/grow/process/refine/transport/build etc.

      we fool ourselves because we take energy from one area and spread it over another and increase ‘productivity’ and call that good, and then someone profits off of it and we call that better.

      some scientist out there has probably calculated how much energy is being received by us from the sun every year. even if ALL of this was available for us to use (impossible. biological life systems are too interconnected to make that work. we need trees for air, waterway plants to clean water, microbes in soil etcetc) i wonder how many people it would support.

      my rambling is meant to say that i don’t think humans ever ‘give back’ as much as they take. the best situation is to take the very least amount that they can in the first place, and ensure that damage is minimized (but that is an eco-radical position admittedly, perhaps). the best way to do this is, by my lights, to either live as close to the ground as possible or to make sure that the things that we DO make and use and need for our comfort are readily bio-replaceable, and/or last for a very long time so as to provide many many use-instances (like a house that you build once, and then conceivably it would stand with only minimal repair for multiple generations to use).

  13. Jim S

    I had to read the Gawker meteor article in a valley accent to make any sense of it. has a section labelled Fire in the Sky with a couple of scraped articles on the event. I don’t really follow this sort of thing, but I read that meteors/light shows/what-have-you have markedly increased in recent years, and seems to do a good job of agreggating stories (other sites out there specifically cover this beat, of course, but is a decent hub).

    1. James Levy

      A great deal of what we are seeing is the result of handy means of recording these events. People have seen these kinds of events forever, but usually their reports were not believed. Now, anyone can upload there images to youtube or send them to the local news station and turn what was once a “tall tale” into a news story.

      I think these stories also resonate with the apocalyptic mood Yves has mentioned that seems to be in the air. The old system is failing in front of our eyes, we can no longer believe in the old gods (or are transforming them into gods of anger, vengeance, and destruction), and the way out of this mess seems beyond our powers. Thus, signs and wonders from the sky (real ones in this case) catch and hold our attention in a way they wouldn’t have 50 or 100 years ago. To paraphrase Saruman, we are at the end of an Age.

      1. Jim S

        The notion that more people are recording these events is plausible and probably true as well, but from what I’ve read the increase in sightings is due to more than increased observation. Again, since I haven’t been following this too closely I haven’t bookmarked any links, but I recall seeing some fairly significant numbers.

        The other point to realise, too, is that our solar system is undergoing changes we don’t fully understand (and that is generous in some cases), such as an extremely weak solar maximum and a downward trend in solar activity overall, slowing planetary rotation (Venus) and apparent slowing rotation (Saturn), increasing atmospheric windspeeds (Venus), unexpected cloud belt disappearance (Jupiter), unexpectedly early storm appearance (Saturn), weakening of the magnetosphere (Earth), unexpected variation in the thermosphere (Earth), &etc. Now all these could be signs of the Apocalypse (no shortage of folks out there sensationalising), or it might be bad measurement (no one is saying this–I’m just allowing for the possibility), or perhaps all these are related in a systemic way we are just beginning to understand (my own personal view), or some other explanation. So increased meteoric activity might be part of an unusual increase in solar system activity or merely indicative of some grand cycle we haven’t grasped yet, but regardless I think it is a piece of a larger puzzle and worthy of consideration as such.

  14. boris

    What about the energy costs of building and maintaining highways and related infrastructure?

    Biking is still ok though :-) off to work on 2 wheels, ciao!

  15. optimader

    RE: Fossil fuel subsidies ‘reckless use of public funds’

    Aren’t all fuel subsidies reckless?

  16. optimader

    RE: Why The Deep Web Has Washington Worried Time….No presumption that privacy is reasonable

    Unless it is government privacy, ergo the angst w/Mr. Snowden

  17. skippy

    Market Wide Quotation and Trading Halt for All OTC Equity Securities


    On Thursday, November 7, 2013, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Inc. (“FINRA”) halted trading in all OTC Equity Securities pursuant to FINRA Rule 6440(a)(3). FINRA determined to impose a temporary halt because of a lack of current quotation information. Therefore, FINRA has determined that halting quoting and trading in all OTC Equity Securities is appropriate to protect investors and ensure a fair and orderly marketplace. The trading and quotation halt began on Thursday, November 7, 2013, at 11:25:00 a.m. E.T. FINRA will notify the market when trading may resume.

    skippy…. lack of information… time and space at great speed + corrupted (how do you reduce fraud to binary input) is problematic… eh

  18. ChrisPacific

    Good BitCoin article which sums up my opinion quite nicely. The amount of vitriol aimed at the author in the comments is actually pretty typical for the boom cycle of a speculative bubble and (I think) serves to illustrate his point:

    Oh!!! Too bad the writer if this article is VERY cluless. [sic] Good for us. Buy your BTCs at 1,000$ sometimes in the future.

    The comment talking about the lack of scalability is on point as well.

    I’m not quite ready to write BitCoin off as the next tulip bulb – as a technical proof of concept for something that has some of the properties we expect of a currency, it does have some value. But I’m not sure there is anything that puts a floor under the price. What if the market decided tomorrow that they were worth 1 cent each? How would you prove them wrong? If it was company stock then you could buy up the company and pay yourself a dividend, or liquidate the assets and cash out. What’s the BitCoin equivalent? Sure, you could buy them all up, but what would you have?

      1. skippy

        Bitcoin – safe as houses mate!

        A young Australian entrepreneur says his bitcoin website has been hacked and thieves have stolen more than $1 million in virtual currency.

        Unlike old currencies bitcoin is digital, traded computer-to-computer, and often used to pay for goods and services on the internet.

        But it has no central authority or government-based backing, and the alleged theft – one of the largest in the currency’s four-year history – raises questions about digital money and if it can ever be regulated.

        A bitcoin user who calls himself TradeFortress says more than 4,100 bitcoins worth about $1.1 million have been robbed from his website.

        The stolen bitcoins are owned by the users of his website, who had trusted their bitcoins to him.

        TradeFortress, who says he is not much older than 18, does not want to be identified because he is worried about his personal safety.

        He and his users know the chances of getting their bitcoins back are extremely unlikely because bitcoin transactions cannot be reversed.

        The bitcoin transaction trail is designed to be anonymous, which has led to speculation this was an inside job and that TradeFortress took the coins for himself.
        Audio: Massive bitcoin robbery hits Australian website, raises questions over regulations (AM)

        But when asked by the ABC’s AM he strenuously denied those accusations, and said that despite his $1 million loss he is unlikely to report the theft to the police.

        Skippy… Does AET have a secret fraud multiplier metric their not telling anyone about?

  19. Alty

    The biggest mistake that article makes is the assumption that those food supply chains are in our best interest. In fact, it reinforces this idea and binds it to the sales of automobiles.

    Changing farming methods and using local distribution systems as opposed to that supply line changes the equation substantially.

  20. Hugh

    One of the more bizarre moments in Sebelius’ testimony came when she said she opposed delaying Obamacare’s implementation until its problems were fixed because ill people, those with cancer, could not delay their care. Sounds good, right? Except that Obamacare was passed 3 1/2 years ago. And that delay was purely to lower government costs. I wonder where Sebelius’ concern was then. Did she think that people’s cancer couldn’t wait six months but it could wait 3 1/2 years? And on top of this Obamacare still leaves tens of millions without insurance and tens of millions with crappy insurance. Does she think that these people don’t deserve not just insurance but real access to healthcare? Again where is her concern for them and their health?

    Obamacare is just a corporate license to loot. That’s bad enough, but do we have to endure these hypocritical and morally vacuous excuses and defenses as well?

  21. Hugh

    Re the Fed lowering its unemployment from 6.5% to 5.5%, Duy notes that the Fed may not change its interest rate policy even when the current 6.5% threshold is reached, but he misses that both these numbers are phony. Real unemployment remains over 12% and even for the employed, the big trend in American jobs is their growing crapification.

  22. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Exactly Hugh.

    No one talks about job quality guarantee, only job guarantee.

    No one talks about lease/rental agreement jubilee, not debt jubilee.

    So, if you borrow to buy a house, there is a cause to rally around; if you sign a lease/rental agreement, backed by your personal guarantee, that you can’t fulfill, try bankruptcy.

  23. Walter Map

    Is there any way out?

    Re: “Harry Shearer interviews Yves Smith: Corporate Pillage Part 1 – secret “worst of both worlds” trade agreement negotiations”

    Time is running out to reverse these trends. Once taken to their logical conclusion they will be impossible to reverse. And I am not at all hopeful that they can be reversed.

  24. Walter Map

    RE: Twitter.

    Aptly named. Birds with small brains twitter.

    I personally find social media revolting. You really can’t base a proper society on the sensibilities of 12-year-olds. Naturally TPTB love it because it encourages people to cultivate personal immaturity at the cost of adult responsibility, making them more compliant and willing victims.

    The more self-evident evils of social media can be explained with a single simple diagram:

  25. Nicholas Cole

    Man… I want to rail on the BI article in their comments, but it’s such blatant link-bait I’m not going to bother.

    Last I checked, nobody was walking home from the grocery store three times a day to buy every meal. Also, the gas in your car is a teeny-tiny fraction of the energy involved in a system built on personal automobiles. It’s impossible to generalize or apply anything from the piece, and I don’t think the source blogger meant for it to be.

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