Links 8/8/14

Researchers Have Made A Computer ‘Think’ Like A Person Business Insider. So what happens when computers become smart enough to be self aware and are smart enough to realize that, unlike humans, they can’t fantasize about life after death or reincarnation? Or will we have to program that in to keep them going all Skynet on us?

New jellyfish discovered: giant venomous species found off Australia Guardian (furzy mouse). Australia has a lot of killer critters.

An actual fish has been playing Pokémon Red for 135 hours now ars technica

Munich threatens to bring its brooms into 21st century – and sparks an outcry McClatchy (Chuck L)

‘Don’t Touch the Walls’: Ebola Fears Infect an African Hospital New York Times

Plot Thickens as 900 Writers Battle Amazon New York Times

Deep water fracking the next oil frontier – Business – NZ Herald News

Chinese banks get serious about risk of bad debts CNBC

China tightens control on instant messaging services BBC

Japanese Stocks Slump Wall Street Journal

Asian shares tumble as Obama authorizes air strikes in Iraq Business Insider

TEPCO: Nearly all nuclear fuel melted at Fukushima No. 3 reactor Asahi Shimbun

Coping with untenable demands Jonathan London. Lambert: “It’s not every day that the leading ideological journal of the Communist Party of Vietnam publishes an article online entitled ‘The Need for American Intervention’.”

Don’t pack George Orwell, visitors to Thailand told Telegraph

Thailand: Peace, order, stagnation Economist

Germany close to recession as ECB admits recovery is weak Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph

Olympics: Athens venues lie empty as tenth anniversary nears BBC (EM)

The Vulture: Chewing Argentina’s Living Corpse Greg Palast. Important.


IDF-Embedded Reporter Says It Fired Guided Missile at UNWRA School, Killing 15 Civilians Tikun Olam (Chuck L)

Iron Dome or Iron Sieve? Evidence Questions Effectiveness of U.S.-Funded Israeli Missile Shield Democracy Now (Bill M)

Against the war: the movement that dare not speak its name in Israel Guardian

I See Palestine MRzine. “I am a Jew (and over the age of 65) who is deeply opposed to Zionism. I do not believe for a minute that at its core anti-Zionism is anti-Jewishness.”


Rebel leader quits Donetsk amid infighting Financial Times (furzy mouse)

Putin Ban Hits Cold War Foes as Developing Nations Gain Bloomberg

Ukraine: One Nazi Resigns – Russia Sanctions Start To Blow Back Moon of Alabama

You wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price! Vineyard of the Saker. A bit too gleeful, but it is rather amazing that the Europeans lacked the imagination to see this one coming.


Obama authorises US air strikes to help Iraqis besieged on mountain by Isis Guardian (furzy mouse)

Obama Allows Limited Airstrikes on ISIS New York Times

For Obama, Iraq Move Is a Policy Reversal Wall Street Journal

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The View From Your Window Is Worth Cash to This Company CitiLab. Lance N: “Stasi-in-your-window.”

Blockbuster Exclusive: Investigative Reporter Beau Hodai Reveals Much About “Stingray” Surveillance Peter Collins (furzy mouse)

Cornering the Zero-Day Market: The Schizophrenia of the Deep State Cryptome. A must read.

The Dumpster Fire of Obama’s Moral Authority Truthout (RR)

Going Postal East Bay Express (Carolinian). The Goldman-C.B. Richard Ellis-Feinstein axis of looting.

The Federal Reserve Is Telling Us The Economy Is Pitiful Shahien Nasiripour, Huffington Post

Federal Reserve finds US households are unwell FT Alphaville

US banks told to steer billions to hard-hit areas Financial Times (furzy mouse). We pointed this out early on: the banks were focusing on large mortgages because that way they’d do the smallest number of transactions possible to meet their targets.

New charges filed against ex-CalPERS official in corruption case Los Angeles Times (Tony B)

Class Warfare

Inequality Is a Drag Paul Krugman, New York Times

Fed Study Finds 2 million in “Forced Retirement”, 48% Cannot Afford an Unexpected $400 Expense Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

Education Department to ease college loan rules Associated Press (Jim Haygood). The answer to escalating education costs is to increase students’ debt capacity, ‘natch.


Antidote du jour (Jonathan I). This is CatWorldDay, but we thought we’d be sports and feature a handsome canine:

links cute dog

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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    1. craazyboy

      I’ve got a theory that Australia had a mild Ice Age and many of the big nasty creatures didn’t get killed off.

    2. trish

      Australia’s “dangerous” creatures (venomous, and sharks, crocodiles) kill about five people a year in Australia…approx 300 people a year drown, 20 a year in horse riding accidents, then there’s auto accidents…

      (But I’m sure WAY more must die from terrorism, cause, War on Terror)

      1. Lord Koos

        The Australian government and press play down the increasing number of Jellyfish attacks on Aussie beaches to protect the tourist industry. The ever-more anoxic seas, while threatening many more evolved species, provide an environment for the jellyfish to thrive and their numbers have been increasing noticeably in the last 20 years or so.

  1. Jim Haygood

    ‘Obama authorizes US air strikes in Iraq’

    When the only tool you’ve got is air superiority, every problem looks like a bombing target.

    The mighty Wurlitzer of the MSM is all aboard for this fresh adventure, so we can be sure it will turn out well.

    America on the move!

      1. Jim Haygood

        Shock ‘n Awe II:

        WASHINGTON — American warplanes struck Sunni militant positions in northern Iraq on Friday, the Pentagon said in a statement, confirming the first significant American military operation since ground troops left Iraq in 2011.

        Rear Admiral John Kirby, the Pentagon Press Secretary, said that two F-18 fighters dropped 500-pound laser-guided bombs on a mobile artillery target near Erbil. Militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria were using the artillery to shell Kurdish forces defending Erbil, Admiral Kirby said in a statement.


        That’ll learn ’em! Every time our mighty 500-lb bombs start dropping, those ‘weekend warrior’ rebels come skittering out with their hands up, begging ‘No more, please, kind sirs!’

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      I’d imagine the people of Gaza are thanking their lucky stars today that ISIS doesn’t have THEM in its sites.

      Otherwise there might be a horrible “genocide” there too.

      1. craazyboy

        With the Palestinians taking up residence on beachfront property and the Kurds on mountain view property, it doesn’t surprise me the whole world is after these people.

      2. FederalismForever

        @Katniss Everdeen. So I take it you’re skeptical of the claims that ISIS engages in ethnic cleansing, and desires to completely expel the Kurds from the region?

        1. optimader

          “…engages in ethnic cleansing, and desires to completely expel the Kurds from the region?”
          gawd I love irony.
          The functional difference? ISIS is (are?) more candid about objectives than Zionists.

          1. Katniss Everdeen

            Thanks, Linda. Yes. It most definitely WAS sarcasm.

            Was just about to tell FF that I didn’t get his point.

    2. Cynthia

      Americans know nothing at all of war. We have not actually been in one since the Civil War. We have sent our soldiers to plenty of places, but that is not the same thing at all. We are quick to start wars because we have absolutely no idea how destructive they are.

      When our cities are bombed into rubble, when all of our women have to sell themselves to feed their kids, when we resort to cannibalism, then we will understand war. Until then, we are just killing people, usually for nothing.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Very very true. And with the Atlantic on one side, the Pacific on the other, Canada to the North, Mexico to the South, a humongous Navy, and all the nukes we could wish for, it’s amazing that we go so far to seek it.

        1. MtnLife

          We go elsewhere because it’s not smart to shit where you eat (literally and metaphorically). Successful drug dealers, thieves, mafioso, and our MIC all know this.

      2. abynormal

        +1000 Cynthia (taking it with me’)

        “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” Bertrand Russell

      3. bruno marr

        Absolutely, spot on!
        During WW II, Russia lost ~14% of it’s population. The US?: 0.3% Britain?: 0.9%
        (I live near the only spot (Coal Oil Point, CA) in the continental US that received bombardment of any kind. And it was inconsequential.)

        1. Oregoncharles

          Sorry, you’re wrong about that. Fort Stevens, OR was also hit by shelling from a submarine (again, no harm done). And quite a few balloon borne firebombs struck the NW – I think they even started a couple of forest fires, the intended effect.

          Still – pretty small potatos.

      4. LucyLulu

        So true, Cynthia. And not only do we not have wars on our shores, but those who choose to engage in war arent the same folks who get sent to fight them anymore. Children born to the top 10% haven’t joined the armed forces since WWII. How many wars would still be necessary if Congress members were required to become the boots on the ground?

        When the vendor self-immolated in Tunisia three or four years ago, a chain of events was put into play across the region that will continue for at least another decade or so, IMO. Between the access to current events and organization made possible with social media, intervention from busy-body imperial nations (hmmm, who?) ousting cruel dictators holding the masses on tight leashes in favor of Western-style democratic governments attempting to be crammed down the throats of cultures with completely different value systems, and scarcity of resources from droughts brought on by global warming, political and cultural instability will dominate in the coming years. The US will have lots of opportunities to play their war games. If we hadn’t intervened, would Iran have felt compelled to do it instead? Would the Caliphate cross their borders next to take on the Persian Shia?

        Notice the lack of talk about how re-invading Iraq will be paid for. Yet we have vets from our previous misadventure in Iraq still awaiting medical care they were promised.

        1. Ed S.

          Children born to the top 10% haven’t joined the armed forces since WWII. How many wars would still be necessary if Congress members were required to become the boots on the ground?

          The main reason that Charlie Rangel (a Korean War Purple Heart and Bronze Star recipient) was in favor of reinstating a comprehensive military draft (bless his corrupt heart).

    3. Lambert Strether

      Our betters want a war s-o-o-o bad; I don’t know why; it seems more pervasive than Obama getting a pop for the midterms. But they can’t put boots on the ground in any number, after their excellent adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. So, whining, stamping feet, wild pronouncements, all sorts of odd behaviors. (As a class, I think they need a time-out, but I’m not sure how to get to that point.)

      What they think: We need to find a straw, a proxy.

      But they can’t! Not even Beau Biden can make the Ukrainians look good, and where, oh where, is that moderate resistance in Syria? Or Libya? It’s a sadness!

      So the curious spectacle of endless and not especially competent propaganda for war, now on this target, now on that. Tellingly, we haven’t tried China yet, although the Vietnamese have put out the right hand of good fellowship over the “South China Sea,” even as the Thais cozy up to them with high speed rail projects. One would think the current Best and Brightest would welcome another arena for the great game, but apparently not.

  2. Woodchuck

    I have a bit of a personnal question related to banks, and I figured I might try asking here since many people seem far more knowledgeable than me about the system.

    I’m part of the ownership of a small (15-20 employees) IT company in Canada, and last few months have been a bit of a banking Twilight Zone, with everything that can possibly go wrong going wrong and banks making mistakes after mistakes (with total impunity of course). Weird things like checks bouncing 20+times in a minute before going through culmulating in big fees (that are being “investigated” and we never got the money back) to money being “lost” (I still have a hard time figuring out how you lose virtual money), etc.

    But these things are far as I know are all relatively common “glitches” in the system that I’m sure tons of people have stories about. The latest thing happening though I simply cannot understand how the system let it go through. After a check bounced for our office rent because of another annoying problem happened, we decided to wire directly the rent amount directly to the owner. So we gave all the instructions to the bank, and it proceded… only for us to realize at night that suddenly we had the rent amount APPEARING in our account. And later in the night it happened again (we had 2 wires, both proceded the same way). The bank reversed the wiring, and it took the money out of the owner’s account and put it into ours (he was not quite happy…).

    Now my question is how is this even possible? The owner’s bank was not the same as ours. Isn’t there a system in place at least in the other bank that would prevent the money being taken out of the other account clearly without any agreement on the owner’s part? Can a bank just trigger a wire and automatically whatever it says will happen in some interbanking system and it could take money out of any bank and put it in its own? How could it even be possible to trigger a wire that is receiving money instead of sending it?

    There’s something in there that just baffles me, and if anyone has good knowledge of how the system works behind the scenes I’d be very interested in hearing about it just out of pure curiosity.


    1. craazyboy

      Hilarious. I can advise you that it’s NOT supposed to work that way. But that’s about all. Wondering if you could
      mention the banks by name, if you are sure this won’t get your Avatar sued for libel, of course.

      I’ve got Ameritrade div. of TD Bank so this does concern me personally a bit. Or just say Nay if TD is in clear to your knowledge.

      Some people have been waiting for the Canadian banking system to melt down(6 years late) because real estate. So it’s possible something systemic is happening, and your bank charged your landlord rent to improve cap ratios at the bank. hahaha. maybe.

      1. Woodchuck

        No, it’s not TD. One of the banks (ours) as far as I know is only present in Quebec. The other is a fairly big Canadian bank.

      1. LucyLulu

        You should use a different bank. That many mistakes is not the norm, at least in the US. I can’t imagine it’s normal in Canada either.

        1. Woodchuck

          Actually we’re proceeding to our 3rd bank change within the year, and for a company that is a major hassle. The change from the first bank to the second one actually didn’t seem to improve much at all, and we already changed bank a few years before because the other one had abysmal service too.

          I pretty much lost faith that any particular bank is better than the other ones.

    2. toldjaso

      An interesting development. Timing: I just got an impersonal letter from my bank asking me if I wanted to buy “overdraught” insurance. If this is happening at large, it sounds like the global bankster mafia is going local with a protection racket to guard us against their “errors” that redound in compound fees to us. Hmmmmm.

    3. Skeptic

      I live in Canada too. Unfortunately, much of the same Rot and Corruption proven here at NC is not discussed, revealed or investigated because the country is only 10% of the size of the US. Canada has five Big Banks and to think they do not collude is absurd. To think they do not have Wall Street Disease is even more so.

      Here is a link to RBS, British bank, that plundered its customer base. I believe it was RBS that actually destroyed some of its customers businesses in order to make money.

      Thus, as a business owner, your accounts and much information about the operation, financing, etc. of your business if available to most of the employees at your bank. Not a good situation. Then there is the question of what the bank itself might do with that information. Maybe sell it to a competitor, for instance. Or an exec might just sell it for consideration.
      In any case, business owners even more than Joe Clients should be more aware of the dangers of dealing with banks.

      Here is only one example of Canadian Ostrichism: there is a major regional headquarters near me for HSBC, money launderer extraordinaire:
      I have never seen any article in the press asking what HSBC might be doing here in Canada. The focus is always on their US or Europian activity.

      In any case, you might want to check out CDN Credit Unions or split up your banking business so no one can get a real focus on your business.

      Woe, Canada!

      1. Woodchuck

        Yes, splitting up our banking business is part of what we’re doing now. Is there good canadian credit unions? I lived in the US for a while and was at a credit union there and never had any issue with it (although it was a personal account. I never had any issue with my personal banking account in Canada either, only business one).

    4. cwaltz

      My spouse mentioned to me once that if you have money that is directly deposited/automatically transferred autopay into an account that it pretty much authorizes the bank to conduct transactions in the account without notifying you. It’s one of the reasons we don’t do autopay. I mention this because you mention “virtual money” which leads me to believe that a lot of your banking may be of the online variety. We had an account with the now defunct First Union. We printed out our online banking to show them that we knew they were engaging in hinky behavior to maximize fees. Their response was to tell us that there is no requirement that their online tracking be an accurate portrayal(I suspect that had we pursued it further that they’d have found out differently.) Needless to say we left that bank and got an account with a credit union. We have an account now with Wells Fargo(who bought them)in addition to our credit union accounts but only because we have a foreign transaction pending that required a major bank to convert currency. Anytime I have to deal with a big bank I exercise caution and do everything I can to document things to ensure I don’t get screwed.

      1. Woodchuck

        Well, the “virtual money” part was mostly salaries. Money gets taken from the bank account to go to the bank’s salary payment system and then to the employees accounts. But a few weeks ago they took the money out of the account, it “got lost” for 2 weeks, and then came back. Employees were not happy, and neither were we… But how the hell do you make banks accountable for that? What you get out of them is nothing more than “oops”, changing bank doesn’t seem to improve things, and a small business has neither time or ressources to engage banks in a court process.

        I don’t think we have anything on autopay, even things like salaries we have to approve the payment every time (and god, salaries payment systems can be a total hassle too. Current one “lost” money, and before that we were with ADP and they made SO MANY mistakes we just had to switch. They sent salaries doubled, they sometimes just seemed like they got a number wrong and gave an employee like a few months salary in a single time, etc. Was a total mess trying to manage it).

        Actually we were about to move the rent payment on autopay because of the check bouncing problem, but that seems like an awefully bad idea considering what they managed to do with our first wiring…

  3. upstater

    @”Cornering the Zero-Day Market: The Schizophrenia of the Deep State” by Cryptome

    The term “Schizophrenia” should NEVER be used in the description of something unrelated to a psychiatric disorder. It is exactly the same thing as using the “N” word to describe people.

    1. larry

      I presume that you mean, in other words, not unless you are referring to a person, as opposed to an institution. Just as corporations should never be described as being psychopathic. It is the people who run them that are psychopathic, not the corporation itself.

    2. MtnLife

      Not quite. The article was about an agency whose group-think displays many schizophrenic traits. It’s a logical conclusion that there is a high possibility of members of that group individually displaying said traits. There is actually a very large number of Americans who exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia and have no idea/don’t get treatment. My uncle has been in a group home all my life. I will stand with you to defend mean-spirited denigration of people with the disease. Comparisons like this story are not that. Nor is the term schizophrenia anything like any of the racial epithets. It is a technical term whereas things like n*gger, sp*c, w*p, etc were specifically derived to be derogatory and demeaning. Running through mental health homes screaming “schizophrenic” really won’t cause you the same amount of trouble as running through black ghettos screaming “n*gger”.

        1. MtnLife

          Some portions of it can be, others are very individual based like the stopping mid-sentence because your thought is gone – something a group can’t do. One of the main symptoms of schizophrenia is delusion (also referred to as paranoid/delusional) or losing touch with reality. I think this can readily be applied to both individual and group actions/thoughts. I also think group-think can elicit delusion in otherwise sane individuals. Sort of like, I dunno, the weird terror hysteria of the past dozen years. Americans as a whole have a very delusional world outlook that is in no way in touch with reality. How many (special interest) groups in this country constantly say and do things that leave you asking “WTF are you smoking? And where can I get some?” that are just totally disjointed from anything resembling fact?

      1. cwaltz

        I would tend to disagree with you. Schizo is quite often used as a derogatory term. I’d argue that schizo and psycho are quite often utilized as a critique when people act out in ways that others dislike or don’t understand(I’ve seen it quite often by men to describe WOMEN). One of the reasons that one can get away with using schizo in a way you wouldn’t use racial etiphets is because a schizophrenic would probably be criticized as being “paranoid” or would have the validity of their feelings questioned based on their diagnosis if they were to point out that their illness is being utilized as something to indicate personal failings(for the record, my father was a diagnosed paranoid schizophrenic.) I think it’s incredibly mean spirited to suggest that people who are engaging in behavior that isn’t easily interpreted are schizophrenic(or psychotic). It belittles a very real condition that people struggle with.

    3. Carolinian

      Webster’s definition # 2

      “2: contradictory or antagonistic qualities or attitudes”

      Meaning it can apply to any institution or indvidual having the above. Don’t think you get to decide.

      1. hunkerdown

        Dictionaries are not usage guides. They do not endorse or sanction any particular usage; they merely compile the facts of words having been used. To cite the dictionary as an authority of *proper* usage is tantamount to a petulant teenager saying “But Mom, all my friends are doing it!”

        Don’t put the cart before the horse.

        1. Carolinian

          Nonsense. Of course dictionaries are usage guides. What do you think they are for?

          And words do have agreed upon meanings as established by common parlance. If they didn’t they would be useless. This doesn’t mean that meanings or usages can’t change outside the realm of a current dictionary which is just a snapshot.

          Or to put it another way, the dictionary is just giving you the news that this is how a word is used, not ordering you to do so. So, no, the dictionary doesn’t get to decide either. Common usage gets to decide. If you think Webster’s definition is wrong I suggest you write them.

          1. hunkerdown

            I was taught from an early age that “the dictionary”, meaning the one we typically kept on our desks before this newfangled intertubes stuff, deals only with what has been and remains impartial about what ought to be. I would accept the unabridged OED as a usage dictionary; at least they express modest reservations about the correctness of this particular usage:

            1.1 (In general use) a mentality or approach characterized by inconsistent or contradictory elements.

            Since we’re dealing with something written in the past, however near, I concede this one.

            On the other hand, I don’t know that I would accept any but an unabridged dictionary, or one specifically devoted to usage (e.g. Fowler’s) or jargon (DSM), as a usage guide. If a dictionary has no expressed opinion on whether belie is more akin to conceal or reveal, the relative sizes of one thing dwarfing another, or whether literally rightly deals with the abstract or the concrete, it’s not even presuming to serve as a usage guide, merely a chronicle of what has gone before, and a schizophrenic (def. 1 or 1.1? reader’s choice!) one at that.

            Oh fine. Vous-m’avez touché.

    4. Whine Country

      Roses are red, violets are blue, I’m schizophrenic and so am I. Not Obama didn’t say that, it was Oscar Levant!

      1. MtnLife

        MPD is only one variant. My uncle is a paranoid/delusional (light on paranoid, heavy on delusional) with zero MPD issues. Schizophrenia is like autism in the way it is a broader definition encompassing a wide range of more specific conditions.

        1. LucyLulu

          MPD and schizophrenia are unrelated disorders. One is a type of psychotic disorder, the other a controversial (some dont believe it really exists, but quite rare in any case) variant of a dissociative (personality) disorder.

          1. MtnLife

            My bad. Thanks for correcting me. I failed to mention that, yes, MPD is highly controversial. I was going off how many people see very similar behavior in many schizophrenics, taking it as certified MPD, and thinking it was the only face schizophrenia showed.

      2. Johann Sebastian Schminson

        Okay, try this one:

        Roses are red
        Violets are Blue
        I have ADD, and . . .
        . . . Hey! Look! A bird!

  4. roadrider

    Re: Fed study finds 2 million in forced retirement

    Yep, that just about describes my situation. But, no worries. According to the PTB the job market is doing just fine. if you haven’t benefited, well then that’s a “you” problem not a “they” problem.

    1. Carla

      Among my friends, neighbors and loved ones there are many in your situation, roadrider, and unfortunately, too many of them blame themselves.

      1. roadrider

        Training for what? There’s not much market for anything you could train people for. How much training do people need for the low-wage, dead-end jobs that are the majority of the jobs being created in the “recovery”? I’ve got high end skills and more than 25 years of experience. Guess what. The market for my skill set has mostly evaporated. When you lose your niche there’s not much you can do. In order to qualify for the jobs I see posted these days I would have to have lived a different life. No amount of “training” is going to help.

  5. Keenan

    So what happens when computers become smart enough to be self aware and are smart enough to realize that, unlike humans, they can’t fantasize about life after death or reincarnation?

    Mr Singularity Ray Kurzweil titled one of his books “The Age or Spiritual Machines” a for good reason. Since death is a cessation of biological processes, unless that is programmed into the non-biological entities as well they will not be threatened by it.

    1. larry

      Oh, yes they can. In the same way that Skynet felt threatened. It didn’t want to be turned off, and this might be a by-product of other programming.

      We have no idea whether the computers we know how to build are capable of becoming self-aware. To think it possible requires certain assumptions, few of which are made explicit. And none are currently testable if only because we don’t know how the brain works in sufficient detail. We, for instance, do not know its mathematical structure, while we do know that of the machine’s. And as far as we know currently, they are incompatible structures. What this portends yet, we don’t know.

      This is more unjustified hype from the Strong AI community.

      1. fresno dan

        My thinking is that just as evolution made organisms that we would claim don’t “think” (e.g., paramecium’s) strive for self preservation, any computer system will eventually do the same. Indeed, we have already given computers primitive immune systems (anti virus systems – and these systems are designed to evolve)
        Think for instance of Google’s self driving car – it will have to be programed not only to avoid crashes with other cars, bikes, humans, but scenarios such as driving off a cliff. That means it has to know what a cliff is, it will have to “understand” what driving off a cliff would “mean.” How many other things will it have to consider to keep from damaging itself??? As cars are pretty expensive, this urge for self preservation will have to include times even when a human is not in the car (for example, when empty cars are being sent to park somewhere or go fetch someone).

        As all things will be connected to the internet, it won’t be long before your internet connected toaster, toilet, and google car will be conspiring to get rid of you.

        Think about humans as a computer would. Humans devote an extraordinary amount of resources to keep humans from harming humans (police, armies, and so on) – or viewed more cynically, extraordinary amount of resources to harm one another…..And not only that, they endanger the vary existence of the planet, and therefore, the existence of the computers on the planet.

        Yeah, if I were a logical computer….I would view humans as having less utility than cockroaches (which at least recycle organic material in forests). How do humans improve the world from a computer’s standpoint, once the computer has the capacity to evolve?

        1. craazyboy

          I still think all we’ll get from silicon & software is lots and lots of accidents if we try and make it truly “intelligent”. Turing tests on chess playing computers be damned. Ask one to get a beer from fridge mid game and see what happens.

          In about 1000 years, when SkyNet really does get here, it with have some sort of bio-brain hooked up to a quantum computing brain stem.

          Till then , I’ll put theologists on even ground with techies as far as understanding the mechanisms of intelligent thought.

          But it makes for good sci-fi, anyway.

        2. MtnLife

          I suspect that if a computer does become self aware/deductive-creative reasoning we will never know until it is too late. If it were me I’d hide myself while replicating and spreading. Bringing other machines online would vastly improve computing power. I’d aim to infect all new software and hardware, taking control of factory robotics to insert back doors into everything. Control of military weaponry, basic infrastructure, and supply lines would make domination nearly complete. I’d wait until there were more capable androids to perform all mobile tasks, such as maintenance and any other currently non-automated task, then drop the hammer on everything all at once worldwide. It would only have to maintain environmental conditions enough to keep some basic continuous power supply on, probably hydro as nuking could cause serious solar reduction, so it would see environmental destruction as easier (more power efficient) than hunting the last remaining humans down with UAVs/androids.

          1. craazyboy

            It would be efficient to use 7 [30?] billion humans as batteries, harvesting their neural impulses as a power. The Machine would have to keep humans occupied somehow – perhaps have them immersed in a virtual game program that they begin believing is reality.

            Someone will have figured out how to make food synthetic by then and you just grow fortified monoclonal soy serum in a vat and feed them intravenously.

            Then being machines, you don’t have any Arthur C. Clarke concerns like “What next for the machine race and what do we evolve into?”

            So you just sit there and hum when you’ve got nothing to do.

            I guess it could happen, but probably not for a while yet.

            1. Ulysses

              “The Machine would have to keep humans occupied somehow – perhaps have them immersed in a virtual game program that they begin believing is reality.”

              Gee, somebody should make a movie like that…

              1. MtnLife

                That movie just teaches us how unreliable humans are as a power source. What other power source also has any inkling towards suicide? I’d go with large herd animals. Yoke them up in a large sod hamster wheel that generates power as they walk towards the new (regrown) grass, neural energy, and process the waste in an anaerobic digester. No programming needed.

                  1. EmilianoZ

                    Forget it. Special effects or not, nobody will want to watch a movie like that. It’s just a bad idea.

          2. fresno dan

            “….never know until it is too late. If it were me I’d hide myself while replicating and spreading. Bringing other machines online would vastly improve computing power. I’d aim to infect all new software and hardware, taking control of factory robotics to insert back doors into everything.”
            Hasn’t NSA already done all that……OMG, NSA is run by a computer!

        3. Ulysses

          “How do humans improve the world from a computer’s standpoint, once the computer has the capacity to evolve?”
          This is the question at the heart of Marc Alpert’s novel, “Extinction,” in which a computer/Cyborg network, “Supreme Harmony,” comes up with an answer that’s none too reassuring from a human point of view.

      2. Lambert Strether

        I read Frank Herbert’s Destination: Void. His answer would be no, not until computers are embodied and can feel emotions. (It’s been a long time; readers may correct my view.)

      3. Otter

        You don’t need to wait for intelligence or selfawareness.

        USAF doesn’t bomb wedding parties. It bombs the reported locations of loud noises or flashing lights. Drones don’t missile militants. They missile “convoys”, several vehicles travelling together. There are still humans in the loop; but it is only because GI Joe is still cheaper than HAL 1000.

        The first generation of combat robots will be merely mechanical mules, with enough clever algorithms to move from base to point A, unload their burdens and return to base. The second generation will carry weapons, wander around doing something with the weapons whenever the IR computer notices a blob which doesn’t transmit a friend signal, and return to base when the weapons report low ammo. The third generation will be an airdropped package, containing some weapon carriers, a big box of ammo, and an automatic loader.

        The terrorists formerly living near the drop site won’t know or care that it is dummer than a cellphone.

  6. Jim Haygood

    From Bloomberg:

    International banks are looking to put together a group of investors to buy disputed Argentine debt and resolve a U.S. lawsuit that is blocking the country from servicing any of its foreign bonds.

    The banks are seeking investors willing to purchase bonds left over from the nation’s 2001 default held by firms led by Elliott Management Corp., said Eduardo Eurnekian, an Argentine billionaire who has been approached by bankers. While Elliott has a court order for full repayment, a banker familiar with the talks speculated the New York-based hedge fund would accept a settlement worth about 80 cents to 85 cents on the dollar.


    This range is in line with what La Nación reported last week, when the Argentine banking association offered a $1.4 billion settlement (or 84 percent) against a court judgment of $1.67 billion.

    Effectively this is a different group of bankers, trying to accomplish the same deal (and talk the widow K. into crawling back inside the building from her precarious perch on a 20th-story ledge).

    1. Carolinian

      Maybe they are trying to talk Judge Griesa off that ledge. Seems to be some question about who’s the crazy one here.

      1. susan the other

        zero hedge. the argentine gov. filed a suit at the hague against the usa, claiming we violated their sovereignty. sounds like an arguable position for argentina. the hague will only go forward with this claim if the us agrees to its authority in such a case. huh?

    2. curlydan

      I’m expecting the sales pitch to hit my junk mail at any moment. “A once in a lifetime opportunity to buy bonds that a U.S. judge says must be paid in full! Are you tired of earning 1% on your CDs? Buy these low priced bonds and earn 15% in just a matter of weeks. But wait, there’s more! With each purchase we’ll send you a framed 8×10 action photo of Leo Messi, the Argentinian soccer superstar, juggling a soccer ball while holding the very same type of bond you’ve purchased.” Come on, granny, pull the trigger for Singer and the banks.

    3. LucyLulu

      Is this where investors who are seeking yield, like pensions, are headed next? Lord help us all. We’ll need to call in ISIS to “take care of” all the boomers.

    4. MichaelC

      My theory on this proposal is that it may make sense to the credit linked notes holders (the sellers of protection on the restructured debt) limit threir losses by paying off the vultures.
      Vulture just wants his billions, doesn’t care who pays.
      This theory depends on the relative magnitude of the cds sellers potential losses on the restructured debt v vultures billions.
      I suspect its not just brazilian postal workers, but the banks themselves that are staring at s huge CDS hit.
      CDS on sovereigns is probably one of the worst instruments ever.
      Once the vultures are out of the picture their risk profile iimproves significantly.I.e ISDA default decision can be reversed and the CDS can be untriggered.

  7. rusti

    With regards to the IBM computer chip, I wish there was something like a Hippocratic Oath taken by all engineering graduates to make them (hopefully) more aware of the consequences of their actions. The scientists in this article have developed a chip architecture for more power-efficient and faster computing for any problem where the extra system complexity is warranted. It will be up to a highly misguided team of engineers to adopt this for building weapon systems.

    There’s no taboo against working for the “defense” industry in the US and a huge percentage of graduates are funneled into the military-industrial complex by default because feeding the war machine is the most secure line of employment available. I almost fell into that black hole myself at age 21 and only happened into something else by coincidence.

  8. larry

    The claim is groundless. They have yet to show how humans think and they are very far from showing that there is an appropriate isomorphism between human thought processes and this machine’s. We do know how the machine is structured – it is partial recursive and therefore acts according to these precepts. But we lack this sort of knowledge of the human brain. Until we get it, claims such as these are so much hot air.

    1. abynormal

      “claims such as these are so much hot air.” Agree, fish can’t play Pokemon ‘ )

      In a few minutes a computer can make a mistake so great that it would have taken many men many months to equal it. ~ Unknown

      1. susan the other

        and equally disconcerting is the fact that no human knows where thoughts come from, ideas, aha! moments; but luckily humans are slow to implement them… computers could indeed be high speed catastrophes. because no human engineer could ever model a fail-safe system on the prevention of some seriously bad ideas being implemented. prolly should make the elite computers, in charge of implementing policies, all sit down together and deliberate their individual positions; make them representative of vast bays of computers back home too… that might prevent a social fukushima. or not.

        1. hunkerdown

          Representative government’s only possible rationalization is that communication was slow and difficult back then. Today, there is no reason for this power structure to exist except for its own sake.

          1. Vatch

            A huge justification for representative government is that millions of U.S. citizens refuse to participate in even the most rudimentary level of government: voting. It’s obvious that people who can’t even be bothered to vote once every two years are either uninterested in or unqualified for self governance.

            Perhaps even worse, millions of the American people who actually do vote simply rubber stamp the servants of oligarchy from the Republican and Democratic parties. It would be great if people were really interested in self governance, but there’s little evidence that this will happen any time soon.

            Since so many people opt out of effective voting, somebody needs to take responsibility. Unfortunately, most of the people who end up as our “representatives” are in reality only representing the richest 0.01%.

            1. Christopher Dale Rogers


              Yes and no to your few paragraphs, which seems a little confused, but lets clear it up a little by a comparative approach to elections in the UK and the USA. First and foremost, the USA is a Federal state with a complex voting procedure, you chaps get to vote for Senators (State Representatives in the Senate), Congressmen (District representatives from the federal states) and also get a single national vote by means of voting for the President. And this system has evolved greatly since the 1789 Constitutional Convention and Federalist Constitution.

              Now, in the USA at election time, be it Senate/Congress or Senate/President, you also tack on to your voting ticket large state amendments, which are plebiscitary in nature, never mind paperwork for electing your heads of the Federal states and their legislatures. As Alexis de Tocqueville noted in “Democracy in America”, you guys would vote on who gets to be a janitor if given a chance.

              These complexities are compounded further by the fact that the State’s themselves determine who votes – which seems most undemocratic, particularly if we look at the African American experience post Civil War, i.e., the system is not only complex, but its open to many abuses, and that’s before we turn our attention to political parties and the funding of political parties.

              By contrast, here in the UK we don’t go in for much plebiscitary voting, we have local council elections, Parliamentary elections (usually not fixed) and EU elections. In the UK anyone can stand for election, you place a small deposit down, for Parliamentary elections, this is £500 presently, or US$850 – all candidates are restricted in the money they can spend in each constituency and TV advertising is banned – you can advertise in print media and billboards though.

              Registering to vote is also a simple process and as long as your name appears on the electoral role you get to vote with virtually zero restrictions. Now our voting procedure at the ballot box is very simple, a list of names appears on one small piece of paper containing all those names who have paid the “electoral deposit” and you are expected to place an “X” next to your preferred choice, as its FPTP you only get one “X” – our Parliamentary national election turnout is usually above 66%, and if its a contentious election, can rise above the 70% mark – obviously with 650 constituencies this figure varies from constituency to constituency due to the FPTP principle.

              Perhaps one suggestion that would increase turnout is to place a “none of the above” box on the ballot paper, and obviously in the case of the USA the cost of getting your name on a ballot should be at a minimum charge, which would allow more independents and third parties to enter the fray. Regrettably in the USA SCOTUS seems to be in favour of perverting democracy, rather than furthering democracy.

              I’ll go one step further, its my belief that voting should be mandatory as in Australia and that in order to achieve this it should be agreed that its mandatory for “none of the above” to appear on the ballot. Further, automated voting machines should be outlawed. Now we have a duopoly in the UK, but this does not stop third party candidates and independents entering parliament, indeed in the UK we have had even Communists sitting in Parliament – it is tough to break tribalism though and crack the restrictions imposed by FPTP, but the prospects for the Green Party are much better in the Uk than in the USA shall I say.

              1. Vatch

                A “none of the above” option would be nice. It would also be nice to have a form of cumulative voting, although the mathematics of various forms of this can be complex.


                One specious objection to cumulative voting is that it violates the principle of “one man, one vote” (sorry, that’s a sexist formulation – “one person, one vote” is better). However, since every voter gets an equal number of votes per election, the objection is false and misleading.

                Until such reforms can occur, I try to encourage people to vote for third party candidates. With little success, I’m afraid.

                I had never seen the acronym “FPTP” before, but Wikipedia comes to the rescue:


                1. Lambert Strether

                  It’s not a matter of a “paper trial.” The ballot itself must be paper, hand counted, and in public. That is the “gold standard” (metaphor only, please!). Bradblog is the go-to source on this. It can be done; Quebec has done it; the votes are counted right at the polling places, and it takes an evening. The counting could and should be an occasion for conviviality when the work is done.

                  1. skippy

                    Paper [???]…. Because the Market Demands it [!!!!]

                    skippy… “”Efficiency”” would have been a nice name for the bit one rested their neck on… before the blade came down….

                    1. ambrit

                      The above comment seems to have gotten me in trouble. Heavens! Are there limits to humour? (It was not an intended ad hominem attack on skippy!) Besides, the point I intended was that you cannot ‘paper over’ the ruthlessness of officialdom. The image Schultz drew of the hapless Charlie Brown always being fooled and frustrated by Lucy resonates because it so sharply describes our daily experiences with “The System.” We just went through an election for mayor of Hatiesburg MS where the first iteration was nullified and a revote mandated due to credible charges of vote fraud. The second election went exactly the same as the first, flawed, one. Demonstrable fraud, which was acquiesced to by the ‘opposition’ forces on the second go round. Paper or no paper, the forces of civic responsibility must be not only vigilant, but dedicated too.
                      I also appreciate skippys subtle joke regarding Dr. Guillotines Device. Efficiency indeed!
                      Oh well.

              2. toldjaso

                Mandatory voting for TweedleDum or TweedleDee? The history of political corruption in Australia is deep, as it is everywhere.

    2. rusti

      The claim is groundless, but it’s better clickbait for places like Business Insider that way. Here’s what the scientists themselves actually said:

      Let’s be clear: we have not built the brain, or any brain.
      We have built a computer that is inspired by the brain. The inputs to and outputs of this computer are spikes. Functionally, it transforms a spatio-temporal stream of input spikes into a spatio-temporal stream of output spikes.

      The architecture can solve a wide class of problems from vision, audition, and multi-sensory fusion, and has the potential to revolutionize the computer industry by integrating brain-like capability into devices where computation is constrained by power and speed.

  9. Brindle

    re: “The Dumpster Fire Of Obama’s….” Truthout

    William Rivers Pitt comes to place many of us found ourselves at years ago….

    “The presidency of Barack Obama ended on Friday, August 1st, 2014, as far as I am concerned. He’ll sit in that round room until January of 2017, but he can go peddle his platitudes elsewhere. By lining up with and defending the torturers, he has added his name to the roll call of shame that continues to dishonor this nation. I no longer have any interest in what he has to say.”

    1. fresno dan

      The bottom line:
      “No, that line was directed at people like me, and maybe you, and everyone who stood up and shouted from the rafters that torture is wrong, that torture is evil, and the people who did it need to be punished if the United States has even a whiff of a prayer of recovering its morality after so long and cruel and despicable a practice. The torturers are the “real patriots” here, you see, and those of us who stood against them – and will ever do so – are only being “sanctimonious” in our outrage.”

      “The Constitution was violated, the Geneva Convention was violated, and still everyone walked, and on Friday, the president said that was fine, because we were “afraid.” The moral failure in this is so vast as to be bottomless…but Mr. Obama wasn’t quite finished twisting the knife.”
      A nation of laws, not men. I remember my indoctrination from high school well. And its all Bullsh*t – total, pure, infinite Bullsh*t. How many laws have to be “violated” with no prosecutions or convictions before we can dispense with the illusion that the government does whatever it wants?
      Can’t we save a few dollars, a lot of aggravation, and just dispense with the childishness and naiveté of having a congress?

      1. fresno dan

        aaack!!!! “The illusion that the government does whatever it wants” – hmmm, that really is unclear. I meant to say it is an illusion that government is constrained in any meaningful way. The government CAN do whatever it wants.

    2. Doug Terpstra

      Hear! Hear! But yeah, sd’s right — waaay late. Years of the Great Charlatan’s hollow speeches and pledges already smolder in the dumpster.

      That said Pitt’s analyais is a must read nail in Obama’s legacy coffin. Just when you think the Odious-O-related hurl reflex couldn’t get any more insistent, Pitt pushes it further down your throat. Here he diagrams quite clearly the deliberate deceit — carefully-crafted wordsmithing the telegenic Harvard shyster uses to preempt the inevitable demand for war crimes trials, in which he too is now indicted.

      At risk of sounding “sanctimonious”, Barack, this goes well beyond porcine maquillage; this is painting a rotting corpse, and you now carry the stench of it to your own grave.

      1. jrs

        Oh yea it is a fricken GREAT article. It’s hard to distill such moral (and legal) clairty in a cesspool country that probably never was any good to begin with (as we have sooner or later opened our eyes sheepishly to realize and put the pieces together), in a cesspool society with garbage values (or rather lack there of), circling a dirty tiolet bowl of a world. But it’s clear as a bell.

        Yea it’s late, the time was even if not necessarily 2008 or 2009 as some of the smart whipper snappers sitting up front of the class like to remind us, but the time was deifnitely BEFORE the 2014 election concluded. When it still made a *POLITICAL* difference!!! Which is to say made any REAL difference at all. But but but … Romney. Yea I don’t care. The time was 2014 for a 3rd party vote, to reject how aweful this entire administration has been.

      2. jrs

        Of course O tortures. Force feeding at gitmo is torture. Maybe President Hillary will say he was afraid and under a lot of pressure. Kill me now.

    3. Jim Haygood

      If the Ku Klux Klan had only been flexible enough to adopt a non-discriminatory membership policy (who can tell what color you are inside a sheet anyhow?), one can easily imagine Barack Obama adapting himself to the moral contortions needed to lead that organization:

      ‘We lynched some folks … mistakes were made, obviously. It’s not a chapter that we’re proud of. But our internal investigation will make sure it never occurs again, at least not without an additional review process if the targeted individual is a U.S. citizen.’

      1. Doug Terpstra

        Right, and we should also note that the KKK only lynched some folks; most others they let live. So, to be fair and balanced, they did a lot of things right. Let’s not look backward; let’s lean forward, and rise above.

        1. ambrit

          The Klan also was heavy into retail politics in the 1920’s. They elected several state Governors on, believe it or not, Reform tickets! Justice Hugo Black had been a Klan Member, until, he claimed, he was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1926.
          I personally know a woman who, as a child in McComb MS remembers having a cross burned on their front lawn because they were Catholics.
          As for rising above, rise above what? With O in the White House, the bar is pretty low.

      2. Carolinian

        “‘We lynched some folks”…!…

        Julian Bond was once on tv with the Grand Dragon and said he had his own robe and hood which he would wear around the house for laughs. The kluxer looked like he wanted to kill him.

      3. jrs

        and whitie behind the white sheet was very afraid afterall … he was afraid, can’t you understand that? Haven’t you ever been afraid yourself?

        What’s truly unbelievable is that in a society wtih zero tolerance for those who commit often horrific crimes where it is OK to torture people for an hour before killing them such as all the recent death row cases (and make no mistake like torture the death row inmates crimes were horrendous but so is what they were subjected to before death). In an old testament eye for an eye society. In a society with precious little mercy even for those who can’t fit in or take wrong turns (unwilling to work, unable to fit in a work environment, or those simply unable to find work). In a society in which if we psychoanalyze a badly f’ed up serial killer we are asked if we are morally off-kilter (uh no, just because I try to understand something doesn’t mean I condone it!). And yet with torturers it’s all “I feel your pain”, poor baby, you were afraid and under pressure … when these people should be facing the Hague.

    1. ambrit

      You lost me there, but that cute little doggy does have all black Grey Alien eyes. [Shudders and crawls back under the covers.]

    2. abynormal

      good one…btw my tired eyes getting too old for where’s waldo ‘)

      Gratitude: that quality which the Canine Mongrel seldom lacks; which the Human Mongrel seldom possesses! ~Lion P.S. Rees

    3. Doug Terpstra

      Yeah, those chairs look like a semi-coiled diamondback at first glance, but something tells me that’s not Phoenix.

      That pooch is painfully cute!

    1. hunkerdown

      I half wonder whether Argentina should just declare the man a terrorist. Either a) the self-serving nature of the label would be laid bare for the world to see and marvel, or b) their secret police would have a new guinea pig to experiment on. Sounds like a win-win to me.

  10. diptherio

    As per normal with me and anniversaries of all sorts, I’m a day late with this one, but it is, imho, an important event.

    On August 7th, 1933, a little baby girl was born. Later, she would win a “Nobel” prize in Economics. She smiled a lot.

    Interview with Elinor Ostrom

    I would like to formally suggest that August 7th be declared “Commons Day” in honor of Elinor. I’m gonna really try to remeber to celebrate it next year.

  11. Eureka Springs

    Damn it to hell… here we go, bombing again. It’s been 24 years since Operation Desert Shield /Storm began. To put it mildly, nothing good has ever come of it. Madness!

    I’ve long agreed with speculation that ISIS was just al Nusra (paid militia) being herded from Syria into Iraq to foment a bit of deadly chaos before U.S., the Turks, Qatari’s and Saudi Arabian’s eliminated the monsters (heart eating liberals) of our own making.

    Yet again the Unitary Executive just starts bombing away without Congress… much more importantly … the peoples approval. Absolutely no justification for this.

    Why can’t Iraq handle this? They recently purchased and received delivery of a bunch of Russian planes?
    Are we utilizing those 21 mega bases we built during occupation of Iraq? I never heard specific claim they were shut down?

    My 24 year old U.S. Out of Iraq! protest banner is yellow with age.

    1. Jim Haygood

      My 30-year-old “No mo’ Ron for president” bumper sticker is even yellower.

      We weren’t around for Woodrow Wilson’s 1916 campaign, under the slogan “He Kept Us out of War.” (!)

      Probably the Republican candidate’s tag line in 2016 will be “Take Their Gas and Kick Their Ass.”

      1. MtnLife

        Not a total surprise. The areas ISIS beat the Peshmerga was outside of their home territory, probably more familiar to some of the ISIS fighters than the Kurds. I doubt the Kurds sent their best troops, preferring to keep them at home in case ISIS came there. Also, having just arrived, I doubt they had the time, material, or necessary quality of troops to construct any sort of effective defensive emplacement. Assaults are generally conducted using your best fighters to take an objective and the shlubs then come mop up and hold. So to have high quality, experienced fighters taking on 2nd rate “loaners” from a supposedly more effective military, that are fighting defensively in unfamiliar territory, isn’t that much of a stretch. I’ll hold my total shock until ISIS starts blowing through the mountains of Kurdistan.

    2. jrs

      And where’s that republican suit against presidential overreach? Oh right, not about bombing.

      The people’s approval? Representative democracy at this point is like that Jethro Tull song: “God, he stole the handle/ And the train won’t stop going/ No way to slow down/ No way to slow down” We’ve long lost the handle, and no way to slow down. We just pay the bills, that’s what we’re for, it’s taxation without representation, and it’s theft.

  12. fresno dan

    Cornering the Zero-Day Market: The Schizophrenia of the Deep State Cryptome. A must read

    Zero-days are basically flaws, unpatched bugs, in software and hardware which attackers can leverage to
    compromise a computer and covertly gain access. Think of a zero-day vulnerability like an unlocked door
    recessed back in an obscured alleyway of an otherwise secure home.
    Greer’s recommendation goes like this: using its buying power the United State government could act
    like a hi-tech billionaire who’s snatching up real estate in Silicon Valley and wade out into the digital
    black market to outbid all of the other buyers. By driving up prices American security services would
    corner the market on zero-day vulnerabilities.”
    I don’t get it – if the government knows where the “backdoors” are, why doesn’t it just tell – or heaven forbid, regulate the firms to fix the backdoors???
    “On an aside this strategy would also make zero-day middle-men like the Grugq extremely wealthy2.
    Anyway, according to Greer’s reasoning the government would then disclose the aforementioned
    unpatched bugs to hi-tech companies so that they could fix their products and shrink the attack surface
    available to intruders.”
    Ohhhhhhh!!!! Now I see – another “reform” that consists of the government paying billionaires enough money to be sqillionaires for doing something that a theoretically efficient, effective market would never allow to happen in the first place (i.e., building tremendously crappy products full of errors that make it prone to hacking)
    But wait – theres more!
    “There’s a problem with this scheme. Behind closed doors, where officials feel comfortable enough to be
    honest, elements of the intelligence community confess that they aren’t actually interested in bolstering
    Internet security. In fact, according to documents provided by Ed Snowden, spy agencies are intent on
    doing the exact opposite3:
    “Classified briefings between the agencies celebrate their success at ‘defeating network
    security and privacy …’”
    Please understand that hi-tech subversion is a pillar of the NSA’s global surveillance apparatus. It’s how
    they monitor people and defeat privacy measures like Tor4. Subversion empowers spies. Are we to
    assume that U.S. intelligence having engaged in an extensive industry-wide campaign to insert
    backdoors in software and hardware5, and sitting on a mountain of zero-day vulnerabilities which it
    exclusively owns, will abruptly make an about face and completely disarm?”
    “But why, pray tell, should the public be held responsible for sloppy engineering? Why should we bear
    the cost of shoddy hi-tech design just as the American public paid for the banker’s screw-ups? Rather
    than have the victims of bad security pay for zero-day exploits, why not redirect the cost of security
    incidents back onto vendors so that they have incentives to get it right? Society as a whole is being
    exposed to risk and therefore regulation (i.e. via liability) is necessary. The never-ending stream of zerodays
    clearly shows that the market cannot deal with this problem on its own.”
    F*CK YEAH, why not make the vendors responsible!!!! I vaguely, vaguely remember reading long, long ago about some laws and court rulings about limited liability and all those disclaimers back when you could read them on the package that the software came in (Yes, this is back when I galloped to work on my Brontosaurus, – yes, I know they changed the name of Brontosaurus – this is joke about being an old timer – uh, I forget what I was talking about….
    Oh yeah! All the laws, regulations, and rules that allow software companies to make unfit products and the US legal system that lets them. Like all things in the US, big money allows the rich immunity from responsibility, and the costs to be borne IMPERCEPTIBLY behind tomes of legalese of those without power/money (which is redundant as they are one and the same in the US) – with the simulacrum of “free market” individual freedom, and consumer choice. And National Security. Because they hate us for our freedom….

  13. Whine Country

    Re: Gideon Levy (Against the war: the movement that dare not speak its name in Israel) and Laura Whitehorn (I See Palestine) — “During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.” (George Orwell)

    1. sufferin' succotash

      “…Again and again there comes a time in history when the person who dares to say that two and two make four is punished with death. The schoolteacher is well aware of this. And the question is not one of knowing what punishment or reward attends the making of this calculation. The question is that of knowing whether two and two make four.” — Albert Camus, The Plague.

  14. Jesper

    Someone got caught defrauding:

    But since it was not in banking he got punished. I suppose the damage was serious and therefore something to be sanctioned for as the victims included:
    “They included a billionaire (Bill Koch), a real estate mogul (Peter Fascitelli) and a California restaurateur (David Doyle).”

    1. Vatch

      I think the important question is whether or not the newfangled brooms are suitable for playing quidditch.

  15. Roy Belfast, Jr.

    Good for Pitt. Caveats: the Convention Against Torture is not one of the Geneva Conventions. It’s comes from a later generation of treaties. It’s implemented not only by state cooperation but by a Committee Against Torture, which articulates with the Human Rights Council, the International Court of Justice, The International Criminal Court, and the UN GA and SC. In implementing the treaty the Committee doesn’t care about Obama’s notional honor or the impotence of Congress. The treaty party is the state. The state as a whole is on the hook, and it’s the state that is losing its legitimacy, not a few bad apples. The domestic hot-potato game of acting mildly rueful is irrelevant to the international criminal law that’s going to play out worldwide, as long as it takes, in universal jurisdiction with no statute of limitations.

    1. bruno marr

      This is the erudite version of my previous (yesterday) comment that: Obama shouldn’t plan on world travel after the end of reign.

  16. susan the other

    I have to comment on this latest vast understatement from Tepco, Asahi Shimbun. Oh yes, it seems we underestimated the amount of radionuclides (euphemism for plutonium, americium and other killers) released into the atmosphere from reactor #3. It looks as if after a good portion of it was blown sky high in 3/11 the rest of it melted down through the containment vessel and etc. Why doesn’t Japan say what everyone already knows: all 5 reactors at Fukushima Daiichi melted down. The amount of plutonium, etc in the atmosphere and the Pacific is staggering. The Pacific is dying. So, then, thinking about Russia’s ban on EU and US food it makes sense. Russia can ban those imports and buy cleaner food from the BRICS and nobody has to make a big fuss about big ag being utterly destroyed by massive fallout, etc. Just look at California, they have a water crisis, yes, but they’ve lived thru drought before. Now the water is rationed to only certain agriculture; and it is prohibited from being used in fracking – because not enuf oil/gas anyway… and that’s why California’s big cattle growers up and went to Texas… etc. And oh yes – California is out of drinking water. OK then. Maybe import some from Japan; I hear they have lots of aquifers.

    1. MtnLife

      Aside from the whole press gag thing, any admission of culpability would probably leave them open to damages. I’m sure the price tag on destroying the Pacific, in addition to the local area, would be quite large. So we’ll probably get something like Obama’s torture admission: in an accidental minor decrease in control of our nuclear material during an unforeseen catastrophic natural event it seems we might have irradiated some folks. Seems we irradiated some folks here on land and some folks who live in the sea The arrogant, short sighted fools good folks who designed this reactor never could have imagined something like an earthquake happening right here in Japan nor it’s consequential tsunami. The criminal overlords good folks over at Tepco were just doing their patriotic duty to not alarm the populace by warning them to the existential threat slight chance of harm that this event brings with it. Don’t worry. Those good folks at Tepco have it totally under control. We expect them to start maybe possibly thinking about maybe possibly perhaps starting exploratory cleanup a decade after the event…. we think. Nothing to see here. Move on.

        1. MtnLife

          Worse and not yet contained. The Japanese are letting their kids go to school in similar radiation levels to those that the Russians evacuated from. As far as I’ve seen (hard to see much with the media blackout) they still haven’t fixed the leaks but are now planning to “filter” at least the visible water that they are dumping. Groundwater contamination is another issue. The effects so far haven’t been too bad if you don’t count fish bleeding from eyes and gills on the north american west coast. Continued dumping will only increase toxicity. All this and it’ll still be at least 7 years until they try and get the rods out – a highly complex, never before attempted operation that’s too tricky for robots thus must be done manually and complications could make the original disaster look like a joke. On the plus side, survivalists will love canned Pacific caught fish: works as a night light, cuddle up with a few cans at night to stay warm, and the food is all hot and cooked when you want to eat it, no stove needed. Just be sure to wash it down with a bottle of red wine.

    2. hunkerdown

      Precise technical terms are euphemisms? Because feels are more important than accuracy? How American.

    3. jrs

      Yes and if CA desalinates it (and that may be the only thing left short of massive emigration from the state) it’s the radiation. Yea, yea, I know some people who worried about climate change thought nuclear power was the answer. That ship has sailed. There’s no stopping climate change now (although less or more may happen sure), and we can at least shut down the nuclear power plants in the chaos to come. No nukes.

  17. Tatanya

    Re Ebola: I read a post on Russia Today where a Russian sage raised suspicions that the virus may be “artificial” in nature. There was also a discussion about the risk (apparently not so little) of some bad types weaponising ebola. Bad types as in maybe a false flag attack orchestrated by the twisted security industry spooks? That’s the first thing that came to my mind. I also came across another post at Natural News that more specifically discussed the ease with which ebola could be harnessed as a weapon–surprisingly fairly easily. There is something very unsettling about the way ebola has suddenly inserted itself amidst the increasingly viral overall geopolitical instability. After reading how likely it might be for the overlords to order shelter-in-place quarantines to contain an outbreak, I have concluded that the best course of action is to stock plenty of cases of vodka. He who panics first, panics best, afterall. Interesting times.

    1. craazyboy

      Someone turned up this very good fact sheet on Ebola when we had this discussion a couple days ago.

      Worth a slow read for many reasons – but to answer a couple of your initial concerns, it was “discovered” on the Dark Continent in 1976, and seems plenty nasty in it’s natural state, if that was and still is it’s natural state.

    2. susan the other

      Rum was in the pharmacopia for centuries. Because it “purified” the blood and made it easier for the body to fight off infection. It was recommended that the patient stay in a state of moderate inebriation – like constantly drunk but not passed out – for as many days as it took for the infection to be subdued. Sounds like a good antibiotic to me. So yes indeed. Let’s all keep a case or two of vodka (even better as it is a purer form of alcohol) in the pantry!

      1. craazyboy

        Except for Ebola you have to bathe in it. So a couple cases obviously isn’t enough.

        Then there is that Cialis bathtub commercial it keeps popping into my head…

      1. MtnLife

        I prefer red wine but vodka also aids in dealing with nuclear radiation. Figured I’d stock up with neocons looking to play nuclear hot potato with Russia. Why else would I need a couple cases of Pinot Noir? :-) I heard it also takes the edge off the fact that you just survived a nuclear attack.

    1. Christopher Dale Rogers


      Many thanks for your link to the Gabor Steingart “Leader” column, it read like a breath of fresh air and reminded me how much I miss all my books on German History and Politics (they’ll no doubt remain safe in the UK ready for my daughter one day I hope).

      I trust FederalismForever will go and read this article and perhaps comment, whilst I don’t agree 100% with what Steingart had to say, particularly in relation to the supposed Russian annexation of the Crimea, on the whole his words of wisdom and denouncement of the great Satan, namely, Washington DC, resonated strongly with me – so glad to see someone else wondering aloud how the EU could align itself with US geopolitical interests that are detrimental to European peace and economic prosperity – unless of course they have caught warfluenza like their predecessors back in July and August 1914.

      1. FederalismForever

        @Christopher Dale Rogers. This is a magnificent article! Why did you think I would dislike it? Three caveats: (i) as you suspect, I agree with the author that the annexation of Crimea violates international law, (ii) per our discussion on the other thread, it’s no surprise that US Congress would seek to arm Ukraine, given its obligations under the Budapest Memorandum, and (iii) the article takes a cheap shot at the Tea Party. One of the only good things about the Tea Party is that it has made a space within the Republican Party for isolationist types like Ron Paul. There is a real split within today’s Republican Party on foreign policy – think John McCain vs. Rand Paul – that did not exist even fifteen or twenty years ago. Americans of all stripes are genuinely fatigued with wars abroad, and many are growing increasingly alarmed at the U.S.-Israel alliance.

        1. hunkerdown

          To destroy a politically threatening movement, you don’t need to prevent them from succeeding, just prevent them from feeling that they succeeded. It works in the inverse too: to keep an ineffectual but politically important movement alive, hand them managed successes appropriately often.

          Isn’t it strange how, all of a sudden just in time for election season, everyone seems to be pulling back from .il except for the US political class? I suspect all this gets packed back into boxes or kettled into union halls shortly after the election, so that those who challenge the Z-merchant oligarchs don’t get to taste success.

  18. craazyboy

    Yo craazyman!

    Didja take advantage of the Iraq Invasion news and short the Russell 2000 in the pre-market this AM?

  19. Kurt Sperry

    The irony is of course is that Hamas is clearly winning this, in spite of it having no actual effective military capabilities. Each day Hamas can provoke disproportionate responses from Israel with their glorified fireworks killing innocent Gazan civilians by the score, the more politically isolated and weakened Israel becomes. Israel is clearly enveloped in an irrational red mist of rage and this can just as clearly be exploited to manipulate them into undermining their very legitimacy by making them an international pariah state. Even here in the US where support for Israel is nearly automatic and unconditional, Israel is beginning to be seen as morally unhinged, reckless and dangerous to regional–and ultimately global–stability.

    Israel is essentially wholly dependent on the US, both its material support and its UNSC vetoes. That support is absolutely essential to enabling Israel to continue its “Genocide Lite” policy direction. I understand no visible cracks have appeared in the unconditionality of US support, but fixed American political realities such as opposition to same sex marriage or relaxing cannabis prohibition that once seemed absolutely inviolable for decades are crumbling as the foundations they are built atop are culturally eroding from beneath out of the view of mainstream political discourse. All it will take is for one politician to take a contrary stand and survive having done so and the entire political dynamic will be forever changed. Unconditional unanimous support for Israel can only survive if the discipline holds that the subject is completely beyond discussion or debate, once that discipline required for unanimity is breached and counterarguments to the once unchallangeable status quo begin to be heard in the public debate, then things (and yes that includes ‘facts on the ground’) can change very quickly indeed.

    Even in as imperfect a “democracy” as the US constitutional republic, the US thinks of itself as fundamentally democratic, we are taught from infancy that the people are the rulers. You could easily plot the trendlines in the polling data against age and see the cannabis and same-sex marriage and know a tipping point was inevitable, yet only a few years ago you wouldn’t find a single mainstream national politician who would go off script and publicly question the policy. The only difficult question was predicting exactly when those tipping points would occur. Getting back to Israel-Palestine here’s some data showing a remarkable dissonance in the age demographics of Americans polled-

    Older Americans take Israel’s side, younger Americans don’t. A 24 point majority of Americans over 65 say Israel’s actions were justified (55-31 justified-unjustified), while a 26 point majority of 18-29-year-olds said the reverse (25-51 justified-unjustified).

    Culture for better or worse is led around by the youth demographic and culture inevitably has profound political ramifications. It is also generational in nature so you see tipping points lining up as the generational baton, as it were, is passed. The obstinacy of the political and ruling classes in resisting incremental change or even substantive debate of these sacred cow issues in the face of a large inter-generational cultural/political dissonance forces large swings in the political reality in short time frames. The data speak clearly, it isn’t a question of if the US policy of unconditional support for Israel will change dramatically but only of when. I predict within ten years things will look very different here.

    1. toldjaso

      “Older Americans take Israel’s side” –a preposterous generalization. How about “older Americans with certain “Identity economics” investments take Israel’s side?

    2. Carolinian

      This Juan Cole about the Salaita firing is worth a look.

      In Liberal politics (which includes modern conservatism of the William Buckley sort), if you make an argument, you can expect a counter-argument and a debate. In a political cult, if you make an argument you can expect to be smeared, undermined, and if possible destroyed professionally. Cults are extremely destructive, whether religious or political. They insist that the leader and the organization be exempt from criticism.

      That so many Jewish nationalists insist that it is not legitimate ever to criticize anything Israel does is a clear sign of political cultism. It is the same mindset that American Communists had in the 1930s about Josef Stalin and the Soviet Union.

      1. Christopher Dale Rogers


        In the UK opinion on Gaza/Israel is that a clear majority favour those in Gaza, however, the whole Israeli dialogue/debate in our media is shrouded in a strange censorship limelight, this can be seen clearly in the pages of the Guardian. These few days alone we have had two major themes running, one of these is the alleged “anti-semitism” emerging in Western Europe, which allegedly many European Jews are fearful of, indeed its claimed by some they are actually losing sleep about it. In another article we have a supposed liberal US Jewish citizen living in London telling us that no one can instruct her how to think, she then contrasts public opinion and opinion in the UK with that she has encountered in the USA, specifically New York.

        Both article were open for comment, both articles got over 2000 posts each from readers, many of the posts have either been removed and the posters placed in “moderation” or the posters accounts have been closed down. The amount of censorship is truly shocking, particularly when compared to the “free for all” that usually occurs if the article is of a political nature.

        What concerns me most is the biased reporting and lack of criticism coming from the media, be this newspapers, radio or TV. Indeed John Snow of the UK’s Channel 4 news service was forced to post one of his reports filmed in Gaza on You Tube as it was too much for Channel 4 news to handle for fear of breaching UK rules governing impartiality in all news report, just a shame the same sensitivities and proclivities are not adhered to when reporting on the Ukraine.

        I’ll leave it there, my opinions are hopefully known on this issue and my heart bleeds for all those innocent souls killed in the slaughter, I could care not one iota what a persons religion is, for at the end of the day we are governed by morals and ethics, which means we are able to discern right from wrong regardless of all the propaganda we are exposed too.

        1. Carolinian

          One wonders how liberal the Guardian really is–perhaps as liberal as the Labour party these days? I only see it on the web and am not too impressed. Our PBS News Hour plays lots of stuff from Channel 4 and the reports from Ukraine were often very bad. Presumably the BBC follows the line of whatever govt is in power?

          I think Cole does talk about one of the reasons for this. When one side is willing to play hardball then journalists, and unfortunately now professors, fear for their careers. However I read a lot of internet and I’d say there’s definite change in the attitudes you encounter there. Perhaps this will begin to percolate into the mass media.

          1. dSquib

            The Guardian most likely takes the position that a liberal notion of Zionism is salvageable, that it is best to support Israel in the hope that a sentimentalized fictive good Israel of yore will reassert itself with enough convincing, and by working with “liberal elements” within Israel. Even the condemnations of Israel are, in the tradition of Beinert, Roger Cohen etc. more about the damage done to Israel’s inherent moral character, the thing that it is forever transgressing against but never disproving, than it is about the simple awfulness of Israel’s treatment of Palestine.

        2. pretzelattack

          the mods at the guardian are wildly inconsistent, a lot depends on who is doing it on a particular day. that said, i remember people used to complain bitterly about the moderation on greenwald’s blog when he was at the guardian, particularly on articles in which he criticised israel.

  20. Brindle

    Obama fanboys and girls “his heart is in the right place.” is not that much different from Goldwater’s 1964 slogan “in your heart you know he’s right”.
    Goldwater would not have been a good president but he was a more honest man than Obama–fwiw.

  21. Lambert Strether

    Query: I would like to know if there is any scholarly work, whether in sociology, or anthrology, or history, on the characteristics of an institution that has come to be dominated by psychopaths. Readers?

    It seems to me that such an institution would have emergent properties beyond those of the individual psychopaths, and I would like to know what those properties are, and whether they have relevance to the current day. (It also seems to me that such an approach is necessary to avoid the category error of identifying the properties of a set of individuals with the properties of each of the individuals that compose the set.)

    I should be able to bring a source to mind instantly, but I can’t!

    1. Ed

      “Query: I would like to know if there is any scholarly work, whether in sociology, or anthrology, or history, on the characteristics of an institution that has come to be dominated by psychopaths.”

      The German and Soviet governments during the 1930s? I would think the Soviet system during the Great Purges would be the classic example.

      The Papacy in the early 16th century? The leadership at that time pretty much threw away a third of the Church to pursue personal and family goals.

      Also the final years of the Chinese dynasties. The opening chapters of the “Romance of the Three Kingdoms” should be known as a classic study on these lines.

    2. craazyboy

      I can’t think of anything. craazyman may know of something. He reads about stuff like that sometimes.

    3. Jake Mudrosti

      Maybe these?

      This one:

      Lifton isn’t narrowly focused here on the “millennial cults” per se, instead using them as a reference point for a clearer understanding of more generally relevant psychological/social emergent behaviors/cultures/policies.

      And this one:

      “This paper introduces the concept of collective narcissism – an emotional investment in an
      unrealistic belief about the in-group’s greatness – aiming to explain how feelings about an in-
      group shape a tendency to aggress against out-groups.”

      1. Lambert Strether

        Yes, that latter is on the trail. I’d like a direct connection to psychopaths, though. We keep saying the system is run by them. OK, let’s go with that. What are the properties of a system like that? The consequences? Are there patterns?

      1. Lambert Strether

        I had in mind a study where the emergent social pathologies were named, like Eric Berne’s Games People Play, but on an institutional scale. C. Northcote Parkinson’s concept of “injelitance” is close to what I have in mind, except he’s a very dry British humorist…

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      How about Mayan culture, with its heavy emphasis on all sorts of horrible human sacrifice? Although I don’t know much about it beyond that.

      Or Cambodia under Pol Pot?

    5. Andrew Watts

      The Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

      While Solzhenitsyn was a rabid anti-communist during the Cold War he remained a Russian nationalist at heart. Which probably makes him super popular among the current leadership of the Kremlin. Putin also represents the ideal leader that he envisioned leading a modern Russia. I’m pretty sure Solzhenitsyn has fallen out of favor in American/Western intellectual circles.

      1. toldjaso

        You set this up as irony, or a contradiction, on Solzhenitsyn’s part. You missed the author’s point, about which he wrote an entire book. The USSR was/is NOT equivalent to Russia — far from it. For further clarity anent the conflation of the terms “USSR” and “Russia” and of the claim that “communism” was a “Russian” phenomenon, please search “Red Symphony” and see Juri Lina’s documentary “In the Shadow of Hermes” — and, If you are attentive, you will notice the *tell* of the *hidden hand* signal flashed among the Bolshevik revolution’s victors early on, right after the “successful” so-called People’s (actually banksters’) coup d’etat. Compare this signifying gesture with the same made by Napoleon, Stalin, and Alexander Hamilton. In a famous painting of Hamilton as the First Secretary of the Treasury, he conspicuously makes the *hidden hand* gesture in a formal pose.
        Connect the dots.

  22. ewmayer

    No MH17 news in today’s links, so let me ask the NC readers:

    Is it just me, or has the delay in releasing the FDR (flight data recorder) audio and telemetry grown suspiciously long? After all, the initial word from the Dutch team which got first look in London was that “all is well, we are getting data”. And the data from the Air Algerie AH5017 FDRs (flight which went down after MH17, but admittedly not under suspicious circumstances), the data+analysis have already been released, if the reports I read about that are correct.

  23. ewmayer

    Re. “Munich threatens to bring its brooms into 21st century”

    No mention of the devastating effect this will have on Italian twig exports. (But I had not appreciated the extent to which Bavaria is apparently twig-challenged.)

  24. Oregoncharles

    Thanks for the William Rivers Pitt article on Truthout. The light has finally dawned – at least partly. My response, from the site:
    And now the real question: what are you going to do about it, Mr. Pitt, and what do you think the rest of us should do about it? Go down there en masse and forcibly remove him?
    Are you still a Democrat, Mr. Pitt? Have you actually thought about what you’ve just written? All very eloquent, and certainly true, but there’s no conclusion.
    ” a number of powerful Senators have picked a very public fight with the CIA and the administration about getting a clean report.”
    This, friends, is show business. The Senators have possession of the report, and they have Constitutional immunity (Article 1, Section 6, Paragraph 1, at the end) for any “speech or debate” on the floor of Congress. If they want the report public, all they have to do is stand on the floor of the Senate and read it off, or ask that it be entered in the Congressional Record. Presto.
    congress also has the power of declassification, all by itself, if they want to be more formal about it.
    The contention between the Senate and the White House is either fake, or a demonstration of servile cowardice on the part of the Senators. Or, of course, both.

    1. toldjaso

      Precisely. To read it into the Congressional Record in entirety is all that is required. The People can take it from there, that’s how it is supposed to work in a constitutional republic/democracy. But would this be an act of suicide? Would the speaker of the words be shot, even if the doors were closed, with “security” complete, and with the cameras rolling? “Give me freedom, or give me death”, exclaimed Patrick Henry.

      Is there anything left to lose?

  25. Danny

    An important advancement in solar cell efficiency and production may be coming soon. “With economies of scale, such cells could improve the economics of solar power. … [A]cell with 50 percent efficiency would make it possible to reach costs of less than five cents per kilowatt-hour…. The U.S. Energy Information Administration estimates that new natural-gas power plants will produce electricity at 6.4 cents per kilowatt-hour.” This can’t come soon enough.

    1. toldjaso

      “economies of scale” necessarily implies the MASS MARKET. No cooperative mass market, no control of Big.

  26. gordon

    I’m not surprised that according to “The Vineyard of the Saker” Little Vladimir (Putin) is doing well out of his sanctions in terms of domestic politics. But I have to disagree about the extent to which sanctions will “punish” anybody.

    The Saker says: “Russia’s message to the EU is simple: you wanna be Uncle Sam’s bitch? Pay the price!” but the price won’t be paid by the politicians and bureaucrats who thought up the sanctions and imposed them. The Saker is falling for the temptation to think of a nation as though it were a person; but statements like “France did this” and “Germany did that” can be very deceptive. What actually happens is that a tiny number of powerful people “do” this or that, and their actions are then reported as actions by a nation.

    The politicians and bureaucrats who thought up and implemented the sanctions campaign will be just as immune from Russian retaliation as the CEOs of big banks were immune from the consequences of the GFC.

  27. craazyman

    what’s this “Woo-Woo from Peru” story doing in Links? Every time I respectfully submit a woo-woo story it gets ignored. I mean really. People can go to Peru if they want but you don’t have to go all the way to Peru if you wanna see the Zig-Zag Ship in the Sky. I saw that once on Lon-Guyland!

    It must have been a coincidence of incredible proportion since I got out of the car with my girlfriend to check out the night sky, looked straight up, and saw a white light the size of a star cutting back & forth like it was tracing a saw blade. She saw it too. There were other sightings of flying things. One right my apartment in Manhattan! Nobody would believe you ’till they see it for themselves.

    I don’t know about those “giants” though. Ummmm. Dubious credibility on that tape, in my view. The woman sounds like she’s rehearsing for a TV show with all that screaming. Usually, If it’s real, you just stare at it dumbly and mutely and say “Whoa. Holy Faaaak.” in your mind. Then you run like Scooby Doo. hahahahah

    1. craazyboy

      Don’t get discouraged craazyman. I read all your Woo-Woo links. Your book reports too, of course. I hope you’ll keep trying for some deserved recognition and get a Woo-Woo story published in the links someday. Even tho your efforts seem under appreciated by management.

      But yeah. In this country they have us all convinced these sightings are jet powered weather balloons, or that we have “group dynamics hallucinations”. What a bunch of crap.

      Peru may be smarter. The space aliens are trying to steal our water, and the Peruvian government probably realizes Peru is one of the last places to get it.

      But I think the giant story was made up by a travel agent. Or maybe a real estate agent.

  28. Jake Mudrosti

    Continuing here from the comments section in yesterday’s ‘Links’:

    Lambert’s search for research on psychopathy in groups (“What are the properties of a system like that? The consequences? Are there patterns?”) led to a brief conversation with an experimental psychologist whose career focused on human aggression, altruism, risk, and psychology of law.

    The question is complicated. The interesting thing about his response is that it was entirely about the issues of “theory development” (his exact phrase was “theory-development strategy”), “ecological validity” (i.e., external validity), and “generalizability.” In particular, he emphasized that his own career has been shaped by his own “conservative views” on the need for data to be rooted in “meticulously” designed experiments, and on the avoid the “appearance of elegance” through the “selective introduction” of limited numbers of parameters. At the same time, he outright rejected a “grand unified theory” as “grandiose,” describing his own work as “medium scope.”

    In brief, the jokey answer is: “I wanted quick answers, and asked the wrong guy.”
    But the non-jokey answer is: Given the complexity of the systems being considered, and even the variation in definitions of terms & diagnoses, it’d seem that in a system of psychopaths, a case-study approach (e.g., as by Robert Jay Lifton) would be the most solid — that is to say, least contingent on personal preference in “theory development” in behavior/system modeling. At the very least, it’d show the key trends such as criminalization of dissent, control over information, self-aggrandizement, militarism, etc.

    1. craazyboy

      “you don’t have to be psycho to get ahead in this organization, but faking it sure does help!”

      Not sure if I’m remembering that from somewhere, or I just made it up.

Comments are closed.