Links 9/22/14

Special relativity aces time trial Nature

Human sense of fairness evolved to favor long-term cooperation, primate study suggests Science Daily

G-20 Warns of Potential Market Risks Amid Uneven Growth Bloomberg

How sanctions are hastening the world without the West Russia and India Report (1 SK). Maybe.

American elites have completely failed to understand what the Fed should be doing right now Jared Bernstein, WaPo. “full employment is a ‘policy variable.'” Yes. As I’ve said for years, permanently high disemployment is the preferred policy of the elites.

Relief over Scotland gives way to ‘Great Stagnation’ worries Reuters

So the union is secure for a generation after the referendum? I wouldn’t be so sure, Mr Cameron Guardian


Obama Taps Star General To Build Syrian Rebel Army to Fight ISIS Daily Beast

Obama Vetted ISIS Speech In Off-The-Record Meeting With Establishment Media FDL (furzy mouse). Wowsers.

Military missions don’t creep anymore, they accelerate toward disaster Daily Kos. “Blowback is coming.” At some point, you gotta wonder if what keeps happening keeps happening because policy.

Fuelling Isis Inc FT

Implausible as it sounds, ISIL has plundered Mao’s playbook The National

Joint Chiefs chairman: Arab nations needed in fight against Islamic State Air Force Times

Gates: ‘Small number’ of US ground troops needed to combat ISIS The Hill

Shocking anti-Islam ad campaign coming to MTA buses, subway stations New York Daily News. Pam Geller funds it.

Flying High Foreign Affairs


Ukraine SITREP September 20, 23:34 UTC/Zulu: War or Peace? Vineyard of the Saker (CL)

Ukraine Clashes Test Truce as Russian Oppositon Protests  Bloomberg

German families to sue Ukraine over MH17 deaths Deutsche Welle. Lawyer: And maybe Russia if “Western governments” come up with enough evidence.

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

Apple’s “warrant canary” disappears, suggesting new Patriot Act demands GigaOm

Are you being watched? License plate scanners that capture the movements of MILLIONS of vehicles on the rise Daily Mail

Las Vegas cop behind controversial killing now influential union leader Las Vegas Sun

Pass the Word: The Phone Call Is Back Times. I wonder if people think the NSA isn’t capturing voice?

The Demons Of On-Demand TechCrunch

Forget GMOs. The Future of Food Is Data—Mountains of It Wired (DL)

Imagination: Our greatest skill New Scientist

This is your brain on narcissism: The truth about a disorder that nobody really understands Salon

The Economics of Violence Project Syndicate

400,000 Converge on Manhattan to Demand Climate Change Action Time

Bringing the Noise on Climate Change New Yorker

Dark Age America: The End of the Old Order The Archdruid Report

Corporate elite networks and US post-Cold War grand strategy from Clinton to Obama (PDF) Long and requires log-in, but worth a look.

Antidote du jour:


Bonus antidote (furzy mouse): How Wolves Change Rivers (“trophic cascade”):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. Banger

      I don’t think so.

      The mainstream media is about as bad as it can get–if it gets “worse” then great, I certainly don’t care–the worse they get the less credibility they will earn among people who think. Many very smart and in-the-know people still will believe mainstream reporting after the complete show-biznessing of the industry they will be forced to look elsewhere. Yes, some stories are more or less true but you cannot trust anything. For the ordinary person I recommend just not listening or reading the “news” because it is misleading at best. Eventually it will all be “reality” TV–staged situations that the power-elite will stage manage.

      The proverbial “ball” is now in the court of the alternative media–NC is a prime example,

  1. Steve H.

    “How Wolves Change Rivers”

    Wondrous. Especially that it is the behavioral changes that drive the ecological development. That’s a secondary cascade, which can’t be seen simply looking at gross biomass quantities.

  2. DJG

    Wowsers, indeed, Lambert. Taking advice from Frank Bruni, former restaurant reviewer and general idiot, on foreign policy? To reflect what we are heading into, which is a consensus that includes Pamela Geller, Sarah Palin, the aforementioned Bruni, and Joe Lieberman (the president’s “mentor” in the Senate), your name Sryaqistanza just isn’t big enough for the imminent slaughters, waste, devastation, and epidemics. So I’m proposing Operation Ishtar Omnishambles, which sounds manly (as Yves suggested). The abbreviation can be Opisos, which sounds very Washington-efficiency-speak. What lies beneath? The four horsemen of the apocalypse. It’s a shame. It really didn’t have to be this way, but we live in a baroque era of fundamentalism, punishment, blood lust, and looting.

    1. James Levy

      The army is suffering the death of 1000 cuts, but these idiots were never in the army or studied armies or what soldiers can and cannot do. They seem to come to foreign policy with the ethics and mentality of a wife-beater; somehow, if I knock her around enough, she’ll come to appreciate it as a necessary corrective and love me more. That’s how these nuts view bombing and killing–a necessary corrective for these inferior types who can’t possibly understand reason or know what they want or where their own interests lie. But you can only send “the troops” out there to suffer and bleed on so many dubious missions with no psychic payoff before they become completely ineffective. Soldiers want to know their sacrifices are for something and not in vain. They need to believe in victory and that victory can’t be based on corporate profit margins or denial of access to resources to foreign conglomerates. “Victory” as defined in the neoliberal struggle for global domination will not motivate GI Joe to press an attack. We’re a lot closer to the French Army in 1917–the troops won’t run away, but they won’t go forward, either, or if they do only sullenly, half-heartedly, or at gunpoint–than any of these clowns could possibly imagine.

      1. hunkerdown

        Don’t most supremacists view Others as children to be raised or animals to be culled?

        Soldiers may want to know that, but it could be reasonably predicted that they’d be doing the same thing in Flint for no consistent paycheck otherwise, and it doesn’t take that much torture to share that poster-child “step up” with all those of one’s identity group and call it a payoff. We do live in a society where not being cropped out of a picture with a VIP is the best “representation” we can expect.

    2. Jim Haygood

      A “small number” of U.S. ground forces will be needed to vanquish the threat of Islamic extremists galloping through the Middle East, former Defense Secretary Robert McNamara Gates said Sunday.

      Gates said that, while President George W. Barack Obama is “right” to emphasize that “the primary ground action” should be undertaken by local forces, American boots would be necessary to combat ISIS.

      — The Hill

      He said ‘vanquish’ — LOL!

      1. susan the other

        +100 and also too: the only reason a war effort ever needs troops, aka “boots on the ground” is to hold said ground. In this case, oilfields, outlets, ports, etc. It is necessary to hold the resources in order to get control over them. Funny how nitty-gritty the whole drone fantasy becomes when you must achieve your goal.

  3. chris

    Re: the Salon piece on narcissism… it was challenging to read past Kluger’s second response about “correct” amounts of self-love:

    “Whatever else people may like or dislike about Bill Clinton, the man can work a room like nobody’s business, because he wants to be recognized, he wants to make a difference. Even if we don’t necessarily respect the gratification he’s getting from that — the narcissistic gratification he’s getting from that — the fact is that he’s doing to make a difference, to make the word a better place….”

    Bill Clinton? Really?

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      No kidding.

      Bill Clinton’s a great guy. If you don’t believe it, just ask him. (As my Dad used to say about the Clintonian-style human peacocks.)

    2. Bill the Psychologist

      OK, so all we need now is to change the part in the President’s swearing in, where he swears “to uphold the Constitution” to swearing to “work as many rooms as possible”………n’est ce pas ?

      and Voila ! more effective govt……….

    3. nony mouse

      that whole article was truly bad. there were only a few good paragraphs in it. the rest tried to take the public actions of public figures while they were holding public office as symptoms of an underlying PD, and dissolves its ‘very important ideas’ into the realm of pop psychology as a consequence. even the personal anecdote of the author reinforces that approach. I have been told that it takes a therapist in clinical practice at least 1 year one-on-one contact to diagnose a PD. probably because the person WITH the PD is not able to self-report. this IS their reality. that leads me to highlight the few paragraphs of that article that ARE worth reading:

      “Believe me, don’t worry about revealing too much. I have spend a great deal of time in the clinical anxiety world, so I completely understand. It’s a terrible feeling. And, as you know, with general anxiety disorder, with phobias, with OCD, with social anxiety, with all ranges of disorders, you know it’s a problem. You want it fixed. You can’t keep people with anxiety disorders out of psychologists’ offices, because they want to be happy. They know they’re not as happy as the people around them and they run into doctors’ offices and say, “Fix me, please!” There’s nothing as quite as gratifying and liberating for people with anxiety disorders as when they first begin googling and realize, “Wait a minute this is a real condition. I can go get this fixed!” And they do go get it fixed. That is because the disorders are, as I say in the book are egodystonic. You know that there is something you want to get fixed.

      On the other hand, personality disorders like narcissism, paranoia, histrionic personality disorder and borderline personality disorders are what is called egosyntonic. You think you’re not narcissistic, you really are better. You’re not paranoid, there really are people who are after you. So until you get over that belief, until you can stop fighting on behalf of your disorder, you’re never going to get into a psychologist’s office in the first place.”

      1. Juneau

        I think narcissism is very destructive to others, but some of the author’s examples really should be labeled antisocial/socipathic. Nixon broke the law and so do a lot of these other folks. And Christian Bale’s character in American Psycho (a wonderful film) is a raging psychopath.

        There is a lot of overlap between the disorders but law breaking is the realm of socipathy.

        1. hunkerdown

          Not necessarily. Oppositional-defiants break laws because they (correctly, IMHO) believe that the pompous twits the peasants bow down to and lick the feet of are dead weight, not a reason to live. “Normal” is its own pathology, let me tell you.

      2. ewmayer

        “They know they’re not as happy as the people around them”

        Perhaps because they’re constantly comparing themselves (or better, their image of themselves) to the people around them (or better, what they see of/in the people around them)?

        I seem to recall that a now-famous English writer wrote a book about that very disease, from whence sprang the saying “keeping up with the Joneses” (commonly misattributed to Edith Wharton, or perhaps that was simply an independent similar coinage). A slightly later English periodical made a practice of skewering the same kind of social-climbing and pretensions. Rumor has it that long after said writer’s passing a popular US magazine took the same title but specialized in promoting such pretensions, apparently without a hint of irony.

      3. Banger

        The article lost me very quickly if for no other reason that narcissism is the default setting of this culture. It is what we aim for in society and what we reward. I don’t see it as a personality disorder though, when it is more extreme, it can appear to be just that–but really it is a moral disorder even if it is “caused” by trauma. My father, I believe, had more than his share of narcissistic characteristics. The world revolved around him and his children were little objects that did not please him much to his chagrin. Yet, in other areas of life he exhibited compassion, love and concern he was, in short, very complicated. Human beings cannot be defined so easily and trying to do so results in authoritarian structures.

        I don’t classify Clinton or Bush II as having NPD–even though they exhibit some of that characteristic. Some people think Nixon had it–but I know people who knew him fairly well–one didn’t like him and two others thought he was a kind and nurturing human being and these two knew him very well one when he was POTUS and the other after he was deposed. People are complicated and giving them labels is unhelpful–Thomas Szasz has a critique about psychological categories that is worth checking out.

        1. hunkerdown

          “People are complicated and giving them labels is unhelpful”

          At the same time, people claiming that their personal brands shall not be impeached in any way are worse than unhelpful, as they impede action for their narcissistic purposes.

  4. James Levy

    The essay by the Archdruid reminds me that Occam’s Razor can still be wielded effectively–his heroic refusal to surrender to the academic fallacy that a simple answer cannot possibly be right is heartening. I’ve read Tainter and Diamond and I think that the Archdruid is close to a viable theory of societal collapse. However, if you tell a professional historian what he and others have found, they’ll get the bends (decompression of all their obsession with trees over forest and belief in human agency will induce anger and denial). People who would denounce “magical thinking” in others are loathe to admit our predicament: “Just because people with advanced pancreatic cancer will die of the disease 95% of the time does not mean, or even imply, that such a thing will happen to us!”. It’s astonishing when I’ve pointed out where we are at to historians, how uniformly they respond that either we, or our predicament, are “different” (strangely mimicking my children when I point out their bad behavior or failure to live up to their word). History, as the old joke would have it, is something that happens to somebody else.

    1. hunkerdown

      I think the Prussian educational model’s teaching of submission as self-evident moral propriety for nearly two centuries rises near or to the level of a crime against humanity, and tearing it out by its roots — “Seeking to replace the controlling functions of the local aristocracy, the Prussian court attempted to instill social obedience in the citizens through indoctrination. Every individual had to become convinced, in the core of his being, that the King was just, his decisions always right, and the need for obedience paramount.” — might be one of the closest things to a silver bullet to preserve the relative looseness even of today’s hierarchicalism.

    2. bwilli123

      Hoisted from one of the Archdruid’s comments so it won’t be entirely forgotten.
      ..”I agree that we could see some new life from the Left, but only after the Left no longer represents the interests of the privileged middle class. That latter is one of the main things that has reduced the Left to its current state of weakness.”

      1. hunkerdown

        Having argued with some center-right-wing bourgeois-supremacist nutjob this weekend who claimed the right to call his beige self “left” because America (and, richly, he who worships the New Democratic Party’s footprints calling *me* a cult member!), you’re absolutely right. These people need to be bounced from the “conversation” as colonists and interlopers.

    3. jgordon

      The Archdruid and Automatic Earth and Tainter and Diamond have greatly influenced my awareness of what’s coming down the pike. Glad to see that NC readership are now regularly being exposed to that stuff too. Economic/monetary theories that are completely detached reality, and there reality of the coming century, are frankly not very good or useful theories.

    4. gordon

      European population in the late Roman and early Mediaeval periods – the Dark Age, as it’s commonly known – was falling. This needs to be remembered when talking about the life and opinions of those at the bottom of the social tree of those days. McEvedy apparently* estimates a fall of 20 per cent for population of the Roman Empire from 150AD to 400AD, and a further fall of another 20 per cent from 400AD to 600AD. The arrival of bubonic plague and smallpox didn’t help; one historian suggested a European population loss of 50 to 60 per cent between 541 and 700AD.

      Much of this population decrease, especially in the earlier period, might have been due to the collapse of urban life.

      * “Apparently”, because the reference section of the Wikipedia article is defective as to source.

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Shocking anti-Islam ad campaign coming to MTA buses, subway stations New York Daily News

    So now it’s OK to shout “FIRE!” in a crowded theater?

    And who is Pam Geller anyway?

    1. susan the other

      When Pamela did this stunt under Bloomberg the courts told her she had to take those obscene signs down, right? So how is she doing it again? Is this a sign-by-sign decision the court must make. It’s hate speech. Period.

  6. Vatch

    In “This is your brain on narcissism: The truth about a disorder that nobody really understands”, I found the part about tribal narcissism to be especially interesting. This applies to multiple types of groups at different levels: nations, religions, ethnic identity, castes, political parties, and sports teams. People at NC often correctly comment on American exceptionalism; I wish there were more recognition of other types of narcissistic exceptionalism. Many people around the world consider their group (or groups) to be the best.

  7. Brindle

    masaccio over at FDL has good post on Syraqistan:

    —-Or maybe it’s about oil or something something about Sunnis and Shia and their masters in Saudi Arabia and Qatar and other oil-rich nations who can’t be bothered sending their own heavily armed soldiers to fight when US armies can be conjured up with a couple of slickly filmed beheadings, or maybe its something something about Israel’s interests or some Great Power fallout about Ukraine something. Who cares? US citizens are well-conditioned to bombing and killing, our masters just have to push the same buttons they always do and we beg for respite from fear.—

  8. hh

    the one about narcissism and the one about fairness got me thinking… they go hand in hand dont they? We want fairness for other people like us (mass narcissism), the way we define the group we belong to and self-percieve define the extent that we demand fairness for others… of course im not a scientist!

    1. Lil'D

      If you figure out how large someone’s perceived “tribe” is, you can guess their politics.
      If it’s large, they are more likely to be “left”/socialist/progressive. “All men are brothers”
      If they only identify with a small tribe, more likely to be “right”/anarchist/randian. “I’ve got mine”

      1. hunkerdown

        There are complicating factors, such as the absolute size of the tribe in powers of Dunbar’s number. It’s been observed that polities built on representative government and populated by more than a few million exhibit weakened or absent popular accountability outside of the insider top few million, which works out to the outsiders less vigorous or accepted claim on the assets of the tribe, and thus ruthless inequality is baked into the system to give those few million the cheap thrill to which John Calvin has entitled them.

  9. rich

    Nursing Home Neglect Trial Fights Shell Company Transfers

    Trying to collect a $110 million verdict against two nursing home companies has led her family on a four-year odyssey through a maze of private-equity firms and shell companies to a bankruptcy court trial that began today.

    A corporate structure designed to transfer liabilities from the nursing home operator to a shell company without assets also has kept five other families from pursuing wrongful death lawsuits or collecting judgments, said lawyers for the family of Jackson, who was 76 when she died.

    Trans Healthcare Inc. and Trans Health Management Inc., which the plaintiffs claimed operated the homes, never appealed or paid the 2010 verdict — $55 million each — awarded by a state court jury in Bartow, Florida. Collection was thwarted through a complex transaction that sent Trans Healthcare’s liabilities to a shell company called Fundamental Long Term Care Inc., which had no assets, while creating a solvent nursing home chain that was protected from judgments, lawyers for Jackson’s family contend.

    The defendants including private-equity firm GTCR Golder Rauner LLC counter that they were never responsible for negligence at the homes and weren’t involved in a scheme to send liabilities to an insolvent company.
    ‘Fraudulent Transfers’

    this is pretty much how everything is structured today except mom and pop………..

    1. Vatch

      Here’s an interesting quote from the article:

      “Former GTCR Chairman Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, wasn’t a defendant in the case.”

      Not a defendant, yet in this context, it is easy to imagine the sort of things that he was involved in when he was the chairman of GTCR.

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      You forgot the best part:

      ” Former GTCR Chairman Bruce Rauner, the Republican candidate for governor in Illinois, wasn’t a defendant in the case.”

      I’ll bet Rauner and Rick Scott know each other. There must be a manual somewhere about parlaying “healthcare” fraud into a governorship. Just what Illinois needs.

      How much longer can such a twisted, corrupt center hold?

  10. Consultate with my two-handed Redeye

    In the US government’s frantic rear-guard efforts to keep its torture cowards out of trouble, State is trying to step in between civil society and the international review committees. They want NGOs to write down their indictments and denunciations so State can be ready to deny it all without too much stammering in Geneva. Why would anybody fall for this bullshit? Just go over their heads to Geneva.

    From: Eyrich, Kara []
    Sent: Friday, September 19, 2014 1:27 PM
    To: Eyrich, Kara
    Subject: Invite to Oct 14th CAT and UPR consultations at the Department of State

    Dear Colleagues,

    The State Department invites you to participate in two civil society consultations with representatives from various United States government agencies on Tuesday, October 14.

    The first consultation, on the morning of October 14, relates to U.S. implementation of its obligations under the Convention Against Torture (CAT), in preparation for the November 2014 presentation by the U.S. government on its 2013 CAT Periodic Report before the CAT Committee in Geneva. This consultation will also be an opportunity to address Universal Periodic Review (UPR) recommendations supported, in whole or in part, by the United States that relate to torture.

    The second consultation, led by the Departments of Justice and Defense on the afternoon of October 14, in the same location, will address UPR Issue Group 4 recommendations supported, in whole or in part, by the United States that relate to national security. A list of the UPR recommendations relevant to the afternoon session is attached.

    The CAT/UPR consultation on the Convention Against Torture and torture-related UPR recommendations will take place on Tuesday, October 14 from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM at the George Marshall Auditorium in the Main State Department Building (21st St entrance between Virginia Ave and C St NW). There will also be an option to dial-in by phone.

    The UPR Issue Group 4 consultation on national security-related UPR recommendations will take place from 1:30 to 3:30 PM in the same location, also with a dial-in option.

    Please RSVP to no later than Thursday, October 9 with the following information: (i) your name, (ii) institutional affiliation, (iii) whether you will attend one of the consultations or both and (iv) whether
    you will participate in person or by telephone. Based on your acceptance of this invitation, the State Department will provide additional information to facilitate your entry into the Marshall Center and participation in either or both of the consultations. Written statements provided in advance are strongly encouraged, and will be given priority on the agenda. Please e-mail any advance written statements to by Tuesday October 7, so that we may review them prior to the event. We also encourage all civil society organizations to send their UPR and CAT Shadow Reports to, so that they may be reviewed.

    Finally, we invite you to circulate this invitation to other individuals and groups who may be interested in participating in either or both consultations. If RSVPs exceed capacity, we may ask organizations who have
    responded to limit attendance to one or two representatives. These events are off the record and closed to the press.


    Kara Eyrich

    U.S. Department of State
    Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor
    Multilateral and Global Issues Office
    Harry S. Truman Building, 2201 C St., N.W., Washington, DC 20520
    Ph: 202-647-3322

    This email is UNCLASSIFIED.

    Off the record and closed to the press, but UNCLASSIFIED. Assholes.

  11. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Human sense of fairness evolved to favor long-term cooperation, primate study suggests Science Daily

    Sorry to say, but it would appear that this study is seriously, um, “flawed.”

    Both of the monkeys are the same size.

    If one wants to learn about human behavior, a small monkey should be paired with a 900-lb gorilla, and the small monkey given a greater “reward” than the gorilla for “the same task.”

    Should the small monkey survive, you might have some useful data on the “evolution” of “fairness” and “long-term cooperation.” As in, size matters.

    1. Antifa

      Agreed. Comparing two matching monkeys is no basis for concluding anything.

      Plus, In nature there are many kinds of strength superior to physical size. Look at the insane honey badger of Africa — even hungry adult lions have no desire to mess with one of them because they are so vicious, tenacious, and nasty. Grizzly bears leave wolverines alone for similar reasons. Humans evolved to cooperatively kill and eat mastodons, lions, buffalo and anything else walking around. Then we domesticated plants and animals and moved ourselves right out of the food chain. Very few of us leave the house in the morning with a sharpened stick, looking for breakfast.

      In primates, the superior strengths are intelligence, patience, persistence, deception, cunning, love, and so forth. Brute strength is no match for most of these in practice.

      Beyond that, the real deal with primates, and especially humans, is that they tend to band into groups, cliques, tribes, religions, nation states, and then act in unison against individuals or smaller groups. Such group action is virtually always supremely well calculated to benefit the group doing it, or to defend the group from others. Primate groups form and dissolve on the fly, according to opportunity and calculation.

      Being the emotional, thinking, social creatures that they are, life is not a brute struggle for primates, nor a game of chance. It’s more like a never ending game of chess or Go. The stakes are different for every interaction, and primate interaction takes place at the speed of thought. The mere act of looking at one another is a complex social interaction for primates.

      To hell with the two monkeys. I’d prefer to know what interactions and assumptions and calculations went on between these researchers to make them think watching two monkeys could yield something worth publishing.

      1. gordon

        It would be more revealing to watch two free-market economists trying to find evidence that competition is a basic – perhaps the basic – human motivation.

    2. hunkerdown

      Stripped of their soi-disant claims on wealth and status, the .01% and the 99.99% are equally sized monkeys and approximately as easy to euthanize. Therefore, the experimental setup is correct.

      Honey badger don’t care about size.

  12. financial matters

    400,000 Converge on Manhattan to Demand Climate Change Action Time

    from the link to the interview of Naomi Klein yesterday
    Climate Change Is an Opportunity to Dramatically Reinvent the Economy The Atlantic. Interview with Naomi Klein.

    “”That’s why the climate march happening this weekend is significant.

    And if you just glance at the kinds of policies we would need in order to take the science seriously, it would mean strong regulations of the corporate sector; it would mean big investments in the public sphere to prepare ourselves for heavy weather and to lower our emissions rapidly.

    Shaban: One of the themes of your book is stitching together a grand political coalition that extends beyond the environmental movement. You suggest that we might be better off collectively demanding a minimum income than advocating for a carbon tax. Can you elaborate on this?

    Klein: If we were to adopt what the Europeans call a “strategic de-growth policy” where we were to engage in that kind of serious transition and try to lower our emissions in line with what scientists are telling us, then we need to make sure we do that equitably. The only way you are going to have sign-on is if people are not being asked to choose between having a job and destabilizing a climate. One of the ways to do that is to have a stronger safety net, because when you have no safety net, and people’s lives are much more precarious, they’re going to be more prone to putting the immediate needs of feeding their family, entirely understandably, before what’s seen as a longer term goal of making sure your kids have a stable climate to grow up in.

    So we need to introduce policies that give ourselves better choices.

    I think a much more plausible strategy is looking at the constituencies that are already engaged and already organized on a range of issues. They are fighting austerity, they are fighting for housing, they are fighting for healthcare, they are fighting against police brutality, and for immigration and for getting money out of politics, and it’s important to find those intersections of places where there is common ground and to build a kind of umbrella movement that harnesses the urgency of the climate crisis.

    In her latest book, This Changes Everything, Klein tackles the unintended but inevitable consequence of fueling GDP with oil and gas and coal: a destabilized climate.””

    1. susan the other

      A basic income for everyone. Single Payer health care. And while we’re at it, let’s look at the fairness of the capitalist “gotcha” principle whereby the quickest sociopaths get out and leave everyone else holding the bag – in this case crippling debt. We need debt forgiveness. Across the board. Give everyone a new deal. A clean slate.

  13. pretzelattack

    i see the detroit water department is arguing in court that it “can’t give away free water” because it could “prove devastating to the bottom line”. long as they have their priorities straight.

    1. davidgmills

      Especially since the Antarctic ice extent set records for the highest extent the last nine days in a row and global ice extent is where it was in 1979.

      1. Skippy

        “”Antarctic sea ice is poised to set a record maximum this year, now at 7.6 million square miles and continuing to increase,” the National Snow and Ice Data Center reported on its website.

        The center has sea ice data dating to 1979, when satellites were first employed to measure coverage.

        Sea-ice coverage extent is defined as the total area of the ocean where concentrations of ice are at least 15 percent in satellite measurements.

        This is the third year in a row that Antarctic sea ice coverage has set a record, scientists note.

        The same cannot be said for the continent’s land ice, they say, as land-based ice sheets continue to melt.

        Some of West Antarctica’s glaciers are melting at rates from which they are unlikely to recover any time soon, studies earlier this year found.

        At the other end of the world, Artic sea ice in 2014 has shrunk to 1.96 million square miles, considerably below the average recorded between 1979 and 2010 of about 2.37 million square miles.

        That’s about the same as was recoded in 2013.

        “In the short term, it seems like there hasn’t been much ice loss in the past couple of years, but I think it’s still very much within the long-term trend of declining sea ice,” says Axel Schweiger, head of the Polar Ice Science Center of the University of Washington. “One shouldn’t necessarily expect every year to be a record low.”

        The steadily diminishing extent for Arctic ice has been blamed on man-made climate change that has seen rates of warming in the region exceed the global average for the last few decades, scientists say.

        The added sea ice in Antarctica may somewhat slow global warming by reflecting sunlight back into space, but an overall trend of global shrinking will be unavoidable, says Jan Lieser of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Center in Tasmania.

        “By 2100 we will see dramatic reductions,” he says. “Once it goes belly-up it’s not good for the rest of the world.”

        Skippy… the insistence of some to seek bias conformation so egregiously can unfortunately bleed into other topics and by that observation… discredit other opinions of other stuff…

  14. susan the other

    This one was interesting. Wired. Forget GMOs. This story said Bill Gates had invested in something better than Monsanto. Thank god. Billy has gone organic vegan. He’s put his money where his food preference is, hopefully. Not again in more genetic modification in order to use more pesticides to keep Monsanto in business, but with organic plant combinations; studying the most healthful protein combinations. Like the old cookbook on combining your amino acids to achieve complete protein, aka animal protein. The new food research company is named Hampton Creek, based in San Francisco. They sound sane. Really. So that’s good. I’m a dedicated carnivore, but if these guys get their food together even I could change. They have vegan chefs at one point in their research chain even. I’m thinking they should also have a department which looks at the unrecognized benefits of animal protein – because we humans have lived on it for 3 million+ years. And then compensate for what we will be missing. The one thing I would not like to see happen is for Bill Gates to take all his ill-gotten Monsanto produce and vertically integrate it into this company and poison everyone’s liver.

  15. John Merryman

    While the math of spacial relativity works quite well, does that really mean there is this “fabric of spacetime?”
    The math of epicycles worked quite well, as well, because our perception of the universe is geocentric, not that there were giant cosmic gearwheels.
    The reason the math works for SR is because it amounts to a tautology. Light is the basis of atomic structure, as well as the cosmic speed limit, so when you accelerate matter, it slows the rate electrons cycle/vibrate, so the combination of internal activity and external velocity doesn’t exceed C. So atomic structure both shrinks and slows. Thus the clock and the frame remain constant.
    Where their theorizing goes off the track is when the math extracted from this relationship was used to save Big Bang Theory. When it was discovered that all these distant galaxies were redshifted directly proportional to distance, with the rate of acceleration increasing relative to distance, it created the impression that we are at the center of this expansion and so the idea of relativistic spacetime was invoked to say that space itself expands and every point appears as the center of expansion. The logical fallacy here is they forgot that the clock needs to remain proportional to the space. Such that if this space is expanding, then the speed of light would have to increase, in order to remain “Constant!” If that were the case, though ,we wouldn’t be able to detect any doppler shifting of the light spectrum. The doppler effect requires moving in a stable frame. That the range of the signal is being affected by the motion of the emitter. If it is moving away, then it is shifted to the red. But that would mean the light would take longer to cross this space and so it is not relative. The clock doesn’t speed up to match the increase in distance.
    The fact is that redshift would far more plausibly be explained as an optical effect and one that compounded on itself, over distance. Then it would gradually go parabolic and eventually those most distant galaxies would appear to be receding at the speed of light and this would create a horizon, over which visible light couldn’t travel, only black body radiation, which is exactly what we call the cosmic background radiation. In essence, the solution to Olber’s paradox, ie, why the night sky isn’t lit up by infinite numbers of stars.
    It would also explain the need for dark energy, which was invoked to explain why this expansion drops off, but then flattens out. Which viewed from the other angle, is the expansion before it really starts to go parabolic.
    Now I know this might seem trivial, compared to the many problems facing humanity, but it is one more example of how those in charge are loath to let go of their beliefs and structures which empowered them in the first place. It’s much easier to patch a pet theory, than question it. When I try pointing this out in physics discussions, the normal response is the philosophy of the three monkeys; See, hear and speak nothing against that which is good.

  16. TedWa

    On the Salon article on narcissism. It’s amazing to me that they got through that whole article without once mentioning Obama. I wonder why

    “This is your brain on narcissism: The truth about a disorder that nobody really understands”

  17. Skippy

    Coming too a neolibreal enclave near you soon….

    First a little exposure from a left perspective –
    Building the Infrastructure State: Plans, Anti-Politics and Sullen Refusal
    Posted on September 20, 2014

    Below is the text of my paper that I presented at Historical Materialism Australasia 2014. I haven’t had much time to generate much new research so this paper serves two roles: it is a summation of the argument made in Roads to Nowhere – Capital’s Plan A and it introduces a new problem. This problem is that despite an existing and clear strategy for stimulating capital accumulation, a plan shared by many of the thinkers and political forces of capital, the state has not been able to effectively realize it. Key legislation hasn’t been passed, opposition to privatizations remains high and it appear that the East West Link is stalled and may possibly fall over. – snip

    Now what do we find in the MSM from a neoliberal homo econumnuts.

    EVERY road in the nation would be tolled with costs tied to what, where and when you drive, under a recommendation from a powerful review commissioned by the Federal Government. The review of competition policy also argues for opening up industries such as taxis and pharmacies, removing restrictions on trading hours and deregulating power prices, as well as closing the gap between what Australians and the rest of the world pay for books, music and software.

    But of all the recommendations in the 313-page report, the most controversial is the proposal for “cost-reflective pricing for roads”.

    Review panel chairman, University of Melbourne economics professor Ian Harper, told News Corp Australia “we now have the capacity to charge people for their use of the road system according to time of day, size of the vehicle and whereabouts they happen to be”.

    Professor Harper said “the road system is the only example of an infrastructure asset, where the government owns the great bulk of the asset, funded through the tax system and given away for nothing”. –…/story-fni0cp8i-1227067053501

    Skip here… now of course the gov would have to lease such activity’s for say 99 year leases, can’t have the gov screwing with private market price discovery, distorting wealth accumulation [cough…. capital] now can we…. barf~~~~

    Harper has published numerous articles,[2] and recently wrote Economics for life (ISBN 0908284950) which won the 2011 SPCK Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.[3]

    2011 Australian Christian Book of the Year: Economics for life: An economist reflects on the meaning of life, money and what really matters by Ian Harper (Acorn Press) ISBN 9780908284955

    Skippy…. had a chat with an ex fraud investigator yesterday, suffice to say, if your pile of capital is big enough…. the options available are damn near infinite i.e. you can’t go under unless the mob wants to consume your carcass. Oh… that…. an only industry sorts are now hired to investigate their former chums e.g. passive accounting skills are more highly sought after than investigative skill experience. You know modular humans. Pull one out and then plug another in thingy…

  18. vegasmike

    The story about the killer cop becoming a union official was published in the Las Vegas Review Journal. The Las Vegas Sun politics is closely aligned with the Clinton Democratic party. The Review Journal is kind of Rand Paul Republican. But they are actually pretty good about Civil Liberties. They ran a multi-part series about Las Vegas area police shootings that was very detailed.

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