Links Christmas 2013

The Grinch Who Stole China’s Christmas Bloomberg

5 things to know about tracking Santa’s journey Associated Press

Storms wreak havoc in Britain, France on Christmas Eve Reuters

Scottish man with tonsillitis develops ‘baboon syndrome’ after rare side effect of penicillin causes his buttocks to turn red Daily Mail (Chuck L)

McDonald’s to Employees: Don’t Eat Fast Food, It’s Bad for You Gawker

World’s first text message using vodka: Messages sent via molecules can aid communication underground, underwater or inside the body Science Daily (Chuck L)

Mima Mounds Are Built By Generations Of Gophers, New Computer Model Suggests Huffington Post

Melt water reservoir lurks under ice BBC

How Changed the Whole Software Testing Conversation SmartBear

Why it’s time to ditch the word “cancer” New Statesman

China cash crunch symbolises central bank policy quandary George Magnus, Financial Times

Mother Nature Intensifies the Gaza Siege Counterpunch (Chuck L)

Assad Stays While Erdogan Goes? Moon of Alabama (Chuck L)

Thousands dead in S Sudan, UN says BBC

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Cameron’s internet filter goes far beyond porn – and that was always the plan New Statesman (Chuck L)

The UK “Porn” Filter Blocks Kids’ Access To Tech, Civil Liberties Websites That Grumpy BSD Guy (Chuck L)

A New Twist in International Relations: The Corporate Keep-My-Data-Out-Of-The-U.S. Clause Bloomberg

Edward Snowden Has A Special Christmas Message For The World Business Insider

Obamacare Launch

Sign-Up Period Extended Again for Health Plan New York Times. My sister-in-law in Virginia had a look and could hardly stop sputtering about how terrible the plans were. She saw only high premiums and high deductibles.

PR nightmare on Pennsylvania Ave. Politico. Huh? The Administration still does not perceive that it has substantive problems?

Going to extreme efforts to reach ‘young invincibles’ Washington Post

Heinz trims retiree health care contribution Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Capitalism: In search of balance” Financial Times. Lambert:

Actually interesting despite the hilarity of this paragraph:

As Prof Saez notes, the top earners in the US are mostly not rentiers, living off income from wealth and property. Instead, they are the working rich – such as bankers and lawyers – and entrepreneurs who have “not yet accumulated fortunes comparable to those accumulated during the Golden Age”.

Banksters not rentiers? Do tell.

South Carolina AG Joins Calls For The Recusal Of Supreme Court Justice For Calling For Punishment of Prosecutors For Abuses Jonathan Turley

The NCAA is punishing a coach for tutoring his players Twin Cities (Chuck L)

One more bit of shame for the holidays Attaturk, Firedoglake

Utilities Mimic Cable’s Monthly Fees to Preserve Grid in Age of Solar Bloomberg (Lambert)

Robert Wilson, Hedge Fund Founder, Leaps to His Death at 87 Bloomberg

Regulators face legal threat on Volcker Financial Times

Antidote du jour:


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  1. McMike

    Re utilities to charge for access to “their” infrastructure…

    Sure, just as soon as they pay market rate for the easements to cross our property.

  2. TimR

    Mima mounds. Interesting but why is this guy limiting himself to computer models? It seems like he needs to go total surveillance state on those gophers and get some tiny cameras down in their burrows. Then he could see if their behavior matches what his model says they’re doing.

    Also I was really hoping for a cutaway diagram of their burrows showing how they supposedly make these mounds. But maybe that’s more a 60s science thing, todays’s 3D modellers don’t do diagrams.

  3. Jim Haygood

    Today marks 24 years since Romania’s liberation from the Ceausescus, Elena and president-for-life Nikolae.

    Elena, who had a fourth-grade education, amazingly submitted a PhD thesis featuring ‘162 pages, 32 tables, 40 figures, 440 references, and a description of a very valuable artificial polymer material.’ Facing the firing squad, she allegedly protested, ‘But I’m a famous academic!’ (which probably only served to hasten her demise).

    Merry Romanian Christmas, comrades! We may not be free. But we’ve got some great after-Christmas sales … and the NSA Securitate to protect us from those who hate our shopping.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think they took the word ‘life’ in president for life seriously when terminating his presidency.

  4. scraping_by

    RE; Antidote

    Not to get picky, but someone forgot to wrap that dog’s kitten.

    Merry Christmas everyone, anyway.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      For my cat’s Christmas gift, I made a drawing of her as Vitruvian Cat.

      She and I agree that her dimensions are perfect…legs just the right length, the torso, the tail, etc.

  5. JGordon

    This is a true story:

    I was roadtripping up to New Orleans with a friend to meet and stay with a couple of Thai girls we’d got in contact with online previously when we got hungry and foolishly decided to stop at a McDonalds. In actuality I was wary at first, but I did spy some healthy-looking “McWraps” and felt that giving them a chance wouldn’t be a bad decision.

    So, a few minutes later I got my McWraps and bit in to one; big mistake! The inside of it were drenched with some sort of foul creamy/thick/sweet sauce that about made me want to puke. The “healthy” piece of chicken breast and tomato on the inside were lost in a sea of putrid sauce. I spit it out and threw the rest of them in the garbage

    That was the one time in some years that I had deigned (by necessity, seemingly at the time) to eat at a fast food restaurant, and in all honesty my belief has been reconfirmed that I would rather starve than eat that trash. How can people put that stuff in their bodies? It’s disgusting. If eating that stuff is what being a “consumer” means, “consumers” need to be put out of their miser… err no I can’t say that. They seriously need a lot of help I mean.

  6. psychohistorian

    I find it interesting that 3 of the 8 bullets in the MoneyNews paid advert in the right column refer to the bible or a Christian leader.

    Maybe it is like the G7 institutionalizing swap lines for the central banks……econcentricity around the dollar.

    The lines are being drawn………or are they?

    It is a very small fragile world we live in and Mother Nature speaks first and last.

  7. coboarts

    on software testing… As I was learning my way into software project management I realized that the time for necessary testing and rework iterations seemed undervalued. Taking a course through the UC extension in software project management I was fortunate to have an instructor who had been in the trenches for many years. When I tentatively asked whether he would be ‘ok’ with scheduling 50% (I smirked maybe even 75%) of the overall development time for testing, his confident assurances were very beneficial to me as I had to make that case with our clients. We had an internal test lab and I also worked with external labs, and I can’t understate the importance of rigorous, formal testing. Then, after unit testing and alpha testing a full round of beta testing is required to root out all of the potential problems to be found across all of the potential platform/software configurations. And then implementation of mission critical software has to be phased in so as not to drop the entire system due to some unforeseeable conflict. And then you must have full expectations and preparations for rework and upgrades as there is no more dynamic environment than our information technologies. Since so much of our world is critically determined by the firmware/software underlying the structure, it’s a darn good thing that the public at large begins to understand a little about what goes on under the hood.

    1. Denise

      Early in my programming career, 30 years ago, I rarely delivered anything that had any bugs in it. Unit testing was taken very seriously and time allocated for it. Integration testing was done by the developers. When the product was delivered to the Quality Assurance or user departments for their testing, it contained few or no bugs. It was a point of pride and it was what was expected of us by management.

      No one, and I mean no one, can test as well as the programmer can. He’s the only one who knows how to get through all the logic gates because he’s the only one who knows where they are. He’s the only one who knows how to test all the conditions and boundaries and interfaces. If he doesn’t do this level of testing, it doesn’t get done.

      And as time went on, more and more it didn’t get done. Rather than being pressured to make my code perfect, I began to be pressured to just deliver it to the testers, and not given time for more than cursory testing myself. We began to be judged primarily on how well we met the coding deadlines; finding bugs was someone else’s problem. I can’t describe what a disaster this is. It is incredibly inefficient to let problems leave development and get caught later. It is ten times quicker to fix them in development. And the coders are more careless because they are not accountable.

      1. Lee Baker

        Unit testing is a great thing but it depends on the project specs being adequately defined and locked down. In my own thirty year career this was the point of most disputes that arose in the QA stage.

        There simply are no mysteries here: Define project requirements; write a test plan to fit the requirements; sign off on the requirements; code; test.

        When requirements change, repeat the above. If all steps are not completed, don’t release.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Vodka molecules aiding communication…

    How far away are we from (or maybe we are already there) being manipulated to think and vote by the molecules and chemicals in the food we eat and the drinks we imbibe?

    It’s hard work to go from being a billionaire to a trillionaire, you know.

  9. RanDomino

    The UK “Porn” Filter Blocks Kids’ Access To Tech, Civil Liberties Websites
    The comments quickly establish that the author is dealing with a whitelist.

  10. kareninca

    So, on Obamacare. I just read the Mother Jone’s article re how Catholic hospitals are on a buying spree, buying up broke regional hospitals. You can guess what this means for women with, e.g., tubal pregnancies (in those hospitals, tubal pregnancies only can be ended if woman’s life is in MORTAL danger)(so they wait, even though the “fetus” was not going to live anyway; they intentionally wait until the situation gets ultra dangerous!!!!!). Or in cases where the woman’s life is in true danger and the danger would be ended by abortion, but the fetus still has a heartbeat (sorry lady, no abortion). In Wisconsin 30 percent of the hospitals are Catholic. How many people, due to shitty Obamacare networks, are going to end up in Catholic hospitals without wanting to be in one? And getting the “let the woman die” treatment, without having knowingly signed on for it? It’s not disclosed to prospective patients. That’s even leaving aside end-of-life decisions and gay/lesbian partner issues.

  11. Mildred Montana

    “Robert Wilson, Hedge Fund Founder, Leaps to His Death at 87 Bloomberg”

    I’m a 60-year-old taking care of an infirm 85-year-old and seriously, society needs to reconsider its attitude toward suicide.

    Suicide is a “permanent solution to a temporary problem” say the keep-on-living-at-all-costs dimwits. Well, that glib phrase is just not true. Suicide is a permanent solution to a PERMANENT problem, that problem being life itself, and the refusal of the lungs and heart to quit when the mind has had enough.

    Mr. Wilson had suffered a stroke in June. Apparently he had had enough. He did the sensible thing. He ended his life while he still could. He spared a lot of people a lot of time and pain at the expense of a few years of hellish existence. He deserves praise, not censure. His end should be a source of inspiration to all, not the subject of opprobrium. May he rest in peace.

    P.S. With our aging and ailing North American population, we will need voluntary euthanasia centers soon—if not sooner. Then people like Mr. Wilson needn’t jump out of windows to a grisly death.

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