Links 10/28/14

Stop taking selfies with bears, hikers warned Daily Mail (Li). Darwin Award futures.

World Cat Show – in pictures Guardian (furzy mouse)

Experts have severely underestimated the risks of genetically modified food, says a group of researchers lead by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Medium (furzy mouse)

The Silver Economy: Silicon Valley joins quest to ‘cure’ ageing Financial Times (Li)

Your Grandpa’s Robot Helper Is on the Way MIT Technology Review (David L)

This Scientist Is Building A Robot Version Of Himself, And It’s The Most Uncanny Thing Ever Business Insider (David L)

Solar Struggles To Compete With Other Renewables On Cost OilPrice

CVS and Rite Aid block Apple Pay mobile payments service Financial Times (furzy mouse)

Attention Wal-Mart Shopper: Apple Pay Isn’t for You Bloomberg


US advises against Ebola isolation BBC

How to Quarantine the Ebola Panic Bloomberg

Hong Kong

Hong Kong Democracy Standoff, Circa 1960 New York Times

Alibaba’s Jack Ma Says Hong Kong Protests Not Just Political WSJ China Real Time Report

China Fake Invoice Evidence Mounts as HK Figures Diverge Bloomberg. The story isn’t new, but the scale may be.

We need coal to fight climate change, says Whitehaven’s Paul Flynn Sydney Morning Herald. EM: “Channeling the US commander in Vietnam who (in)famously uttered the double-speak about needing to destroy the village in order to save it.”

Hacking Trail Leads to Russia, Experts Say Wall Street Journal


Taliban Might Replicate IS Success After Western Troop Withdrawal: Expert RIA Novosti (furzy mouse)

ISIS in the Suburbs Foreign Policy‎

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Report Reveals Wider Tracking of Mail in U.S. New York Times

Feds identify suspected ‘second leaker’ for Snowden reporters Yahoo News

Pentagon and Congress closer to deal on how to streamline military acquisitions Washington Post. PV: “WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG? (that hasn’t already gone wrong). You’ve got to love the ‘need to move away from a compliance mindset.’ Since when has that been a problem?”

Bipartisan Organizations Meet To Figure Out What To Do Now That Bipartisanship Is Dead Huffington Post. Except this is a particularly loathsome organization. If the first priority of “bipartisanship” is catfood futures, bipartisanship deserves to die.

Midterm Elections 2014: No TV Cable? Candidates Struggle To Court The Cord-Cutter Vote David Sirota, International Business Times

Quality of U.S. hospices varies, patients left in dark Washington Post. Include a searchable database.

Chris Christie’s Battle Against Transparency New York Times. The Grey Lady rouses itself to point out that it’s gotten the same stonewalling that David Sirota has.

Man charged with breaking a trooper’s fist with his face Police State USA. Dikaios Logos: “I think any decent human being will find this story among the most stomach turning things they have read in a while.”

Chris Hedges – The Myth of the Free Press TruthDig (RR)

Whither Markets?

Wall Street Expects Already Fat Profit Margins To Expand Into 2015 Business Insider (furzy mouse)

Don’t Buy A Home: You’ll Get Burned Ilargi

Fears grow over QE’s toxic legacy Financial Times

Corporate cash hoarding has to end to drive recovery Financial Times

Class Warfare

7 things the middle class can’t afford anymore USA Today (Chuck L). This is an amazing, as in depressing, list.

The Land Grab Out West New York Times

Buying Derelict Detroit: Mystery Bidder Wants 6,000 Foreclosed Homes Businessweek

Detroit: The Dispersal of Urban Black America Begins Glen Ford

Feds Kill Funds for ‘Most Successful’ Senior Housing Program New America Media (furzy mouse)

Antidote du jour (Steve K):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. craazyman

    I’m not sure if that’s an antidote or something that makes you run. If I was there in person, looking at that thing looking at me, I’d run. Fast. In fact, I almost feel like running now just looking at it. Fortunately, there’s a place to run right now — the day job. The reason there’s the day job is that I haven’t gotten rich quick after several years of reading macroeconomic doom & gloom every day — much of it posted right here! It twists your mind and you lose money. Then you feel like that beast in the picture. When people see you coming, they start to run, just because of the look on your face that you get from continually losing money. The only way to break the doom loop is a 10-bagger. When you get a ten bagger you see a beast like that in the field and you think to yourself “I bet I could walk up and pet that cute little animal right on the top of its head!” That’s when the crash starts. Too bad you were long.

      1. craazyman

        shit I thought it was a bull. when you live in New Yawk the only animals you see are pigeons and rats. you lose touch! haha

        1. craazyboy

          Bulls and cows are two completely different species.

          One time I was driving around in a rural area. Was wondering why the speed limit was only 25mph. Turned out it was an open range area and around the bend I see this huge longhorn steer the size of Bullwinkle. He swung his big head around and locked his eyes on mine and gave me a look that would make Sly Stallone turn tail and run away screaming bwaaaaaa the whole time. He tracked my car as I slowly drove by [I tried to avoid direct eye contact, in case that makes them mad], like he was deciding whether to punch my headlights out, then flip the rude interloper turtle thing on its back.

          OTOH, one time at the state fair a cow walked up to the fence and gave me a warm, friendly look. For the next 5 minutes she never moved, never blinked, just kept looking at me with those big round eyes. I felt like she expected me to do something. It was kinda weird, but relaxing anyway.

          1. abynormal

            Bulls and cows are two completely different species.
            one ya tip…the other’ll tip U

            “I have learned that I, we, are a dollar-a-day people (which is terrible, they say, because a cow in Japan is worth $9 a day). This means that a Japanese cow would be a middle class Kenyan… a $9-a-day cow from Japan could very well head a humanitarian NGO in Kenya. Massages are very cheap in Nairobi, so the cow would be comfortable.”
            Binyavanga Wainaina

          2. craazyman

            sounds like you were about to get lucky. it’s always easiest when they come up to you. hahahaha ahhahahahahahah

          3. Furzy Mouse

            Grew up next to a Guernsey cow dairy farm in Maryland…and believe me, cows can be very dangerous! If you are on a horse, OK, but on the ground in the same field, they charged at me a number of times… had to run really fast to get over a fence!!…Cows are mostly peaceful, and til this day, I don’t know what set them off…no new calves were around…I have heard that if you drop to “all fours” to look like a wolf? it will spook the bovines, but I’m not about to try that! BTW, how do ya know its a cow, not a bull or steer?

            1. susan the other

              There’s a clip of 8 or 10 hefty cows encircling a hapless black bear. They are clearly ready for battle to protect their calves. The black bear manages to get away and runs like hell for the edge of the pasture.

            2. Noni Mausa

              You know it’s a bull because it has a firehose rather than an udder. Mind you, if it is running towards you the distinction is both moot and invisible.

              A rural friend rented one of his pastures to neighbours so they could graze a bull-calf there for the summer. I would climb the fence and play with him, mostly “tag” where we would chase each other across the field, each taking turns to chase the other. When I got tired and sat on a rock, he would nuzzle my neck with his softball-sized, glutinous nose. But, after a couple of months of this, he began to view me with a more calculating look, and I stopped climbing that fence.

      2. trish

        when they take the calves away from the mothers (either to ween or ship off somewhere) at a farm near where I hike, the mothers’ grief-stricken cries echo across the hills, late into the evening…

        1. JEHR

          I love looking at cows and talking to them. It is, indeed, a sad cry that cows make when their calves are taken away. Always makes me wonder if they regret letting themselves become domesticated.

          1. trish

            I, too, love seeing them, talking softly to them. I even love the smell of them, especially in a field at dusk when the dew is settling on the long grasses and the cows are lying down, chewing their cud… Overall a wonderful warm and peaceful smell.

            and like Kafka to the fish in the aquarium: I can look at them in peace; I don’t eat them anymore.

            1. Jess

              My cousin raises Angus beef on our old family farm in KY. Never forget the first time I looked across the fence into the eyes of a thirteen hundred-pound steer and realized that the fence was not going to stop him from doing whatever he wanted to do, whenever he wanted to do it.

      3. frosty zoom


        cows love music so i pull out the melodica and play for them. the little ones always come first. one day the cows are enjoying the tunes when matriarch cow shows up and with a couple head nods sends them running to the safety of some trees a hundred metres away.

  2. Juneau

    I have always loved cows since meeting a herd in the land behind my school. They were so cute and came up to the fence and were just adorable…..oh wait, is that a bull? He musta bailed on his indexes in 2008-I think you are right. It went against his nature. A baby bull at that. Just at the beginning of his compound earnings potential. Aww.

  3. rjs

    an entertaining article by sylvia kronstadt:

    Baby Boomers — with a little help from their capitalist “friends” – transform getting old into a sexy new fad. –
    Thank god, bladder incontinence has become trendy. It’s about time! We Baby Boomers are inspiring each other to regard elderliness as alluring, sassy and brilliant. Now, hundreds of profit-mad companies have succumbed to our voluptuous wisdom by creating products that have turned 80-year-olds into the new hip-hop generation. And she means anything, sister! We should urge the Obama Administration to award the Medal of Freedom to Depends adult diapers (the Freedom to pee any time, anywhere), pictured at the top of this post with the ever-desperate “celebrity,” Lisa Renna, and her gang of leaking jocks. This dear corporation has reminded us that peeing our pants can be as much fun as it was when we were little babies. It has taught us that getting old is kind of like getting young (which I’ve been telling my readers for years). And it has shown us that the great entrepreneurial spirit can dream up all sorts of products that will make the aging process the hippest, most fashionable and most liberating time of our lives.    Anyway, toilets are such a bore. And they’re never there when you need one.

    1. roadrider

      Hey asshole – your “jokes” about incontinence are not funny to any man who has undergone surgery for prostate cancer.

      Fuck you.

      1. abynormal

        uh did you miss the obvious sark? i know rj and am familiar with his health issue…you may want to reread the piece. (hint, your not alone)

        “So the whole war is because we can’t talk to each other.”
        Ender’s Game

          1. rjs

            roadrider, the lady who wrote the article has written about her elderly girl problems several times previously, & i have been dealing with BPH myself tor nearly ten years, tried a half dozen meds and am now on 3 which arent doing me a lot of good…so i will probably be facing that surgery myself within the next year or two, not for cancer, but for frequent & difficult urinating…if you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re hopeless..

            1. susan the other

              Thanks for the chuckle rj. Actually we boomers should invent a capture device. Something basic like a long catheter with a baggie taped to our ankles. Of course we’ll have to wear our bellbottoms. So that’s cool. And we can form a co-op to pasteurize the pee, maybe warehouse it a while (refrigeration?), and sell it to the pharmaceutical companies, since urine is a very valuable commodity. And about the other stuff, Japan is recycling human sewage into what looks like sterile soil. The farmers are eager to use it as fertilizer is getting expensive. So it must be full of otherwise wasted minerals. Yum.

              1. trish

                “and sell it to the pharmaceutical companies, since urine is a very valuable commodity.”

                careful, they’ll patent your pee.

    2. craazyboy

      Yup. Pee in your diapers, no teeth, baldness and a couple bright shiny pennies to play with. Cool Dude!

  4. skippy

    OT – If your into pain watch the fuaxnewbs bunker chat with Glib Gates, Buffin Buffet, and Merciless Munger.

    Mouth toad of the day from Munger… I want more inequality… so I can get richer… and then give it away…

    Skippy… yeah old senile man giving money away will secure the future… barf~

  5. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: Man charged with breaking a trooper’s fist with his face Police State USA.

    To “protect” and “serve.”

    I immediately thought of Eric Frein, the “survivalist” cop killer, or possibly avenger???, who continues to elude PA’s “finest.” I wonder if he knew Robert Leone, or knew OF him.

    Several quotes on Eric Frein brought to you by the law enforcement compadres of the perpetrators of the Leone incident:

    “It cuts us to the core that such an event could happen,” Noonan said. “[They] really had no chance to defend themselves. It’s a cowardly attack.” Noonan is a police commissioner.

    “Every attack on an officer of the law is an attack on our state, our country and civilized society,” Gov. Tom Corbett said in a statement.

    “If you are cowering in some cool damp place,” Bivens said, “We are coming for you. It is only a matter of time until we bring you to justice for committing these cowardly acts.”

    Cowardly. Civilized. Justice.

    How about “Reap what you sow.”

  6. dearieme

    For all I know GMO crops may indeed carry underestimated risks. But they’ll not convince me with twaddle about ““The precautionary principle should be used …”. There is no general Precautionary Principle: it’s sheer windbaggery.

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      God knows caution and suspicion with respect to GMO conventional wisdom is nothing but “twaddle” and “windbaggery.” I’m sure that’s why ADM and Monsanto fight tooth and nail any time the people try to force them to merely label “food” as GMO.

      So by all means, dearie, eat that stuff by the fistful.

      And let us know how it turns out.

      1. George Hier

        When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?

        We’ve been using GMOs for about 20 years now. So far, there haven’t been any major recalls or horrifying reveals of tumors, or any weird shit like that. At what point are you willing to accept the evidence? 30 years? 40 years? A century? If you say never, then you are engaging in nothing more than religious zealotry. Which is fine if you want to keep it to yourself, but don’t go making the rest of us live under your holy rules.

        And of course, should credible evidence emerge of problems with specific GMO crops, then I will change my mind accordingly. But I will do so according to proof, not vague feelings of non-organicness.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          Right you are, Mr. Hier! I beg your forgiveness for my irrational, unsubstantiated “zealotry.”

          But look at it this way. The less GMO I eat, the more there is for you and yours.

          So, eat up and Bon Appetit!

        2. Larry Headlund

          And of course, should credible evidence emerge of problems with specific GMO crops, then I will change my mind accordingly. But I will do so according to proof, not vague feelings of non-organicness.

          You have put your finger on the key point of the source article. As the authors write

          A lack of observations of explicit harm does not show absence of hidden risks. … To expose an entire system to something whose potential harm is not understood because extant models do not predict a negative outcome is not justifiable; the relevant variables may not have been adequately identified.

          The authors seem to be arguing that past results are not only not a predictor of future performance, but for certain identifiable situations, the introduction of GMO among them, the potential systematic risk is so great that lack of evidence is not sufficient. How well they make their case depends on the original article and if what they did write conflicts with what someone thinks it should say, I will be told “you refuse to get it”.

        3. TedWa

          What if it takes 30 – 40 years to show? What if it’s generational? passing with our genes? We all haven’t been eating them for the last 18 years. Monsanto et all are controlling the scientific testing and results legally pressuring those whose reports show harm into withdrawing their results, or outright buying the company to keep the results hidden. There has been no real testing outside of Monsanto et al and they say there’s no harm in them. Super-weeds and super bugs are evolving as nature finds a way, and the cure is more pesticides – made by Monsanto of course. The lovely company that brought us Agent orange and is still denying claims of damage, including genetic damage.

        4. Chief Bromden

          mmmmmmm, yummy poisons…. a crap, worthless product that does not work (can never “feed the world”) and that there was never any natural demand for—- a force market of the command economy. I wonder when the true evolution deniers are going to finally admit that they cannot win an ever-escalating bioweapons war match with mumma nature. Surely the super bugs and super weeds will finally win out once and for all as we dump more and more pesticides and herbicides into the ecosystem.

          What happens when an industry is given creative license to provide the safety “science” it so desires to unleash its contaminants on the world? I’ve seen this movie before.

        5. YankeeFrank

          Its nice to know you are comfortable having your body and environment used by giant agribusiness in their mass profit making experiments. Some of us, however, do not appreciate this.

          Its also apparent most of it not all of these commenters have not even read the article in question. The precautionary principle is not windbaggery. It basically says that if the harm from a given action may cause global ruinous harm then all possible care must be taken when taking that action, up to and including NOT taking that action. Since massive monoculture GMO’s have invaded our landscape at exponential rates its safe to say the potential for ruinous harm is global, not localized. There are other great points in the piece as well, so you should actually read the damned thing before spouting off.

          Another point not in the OP is the habit of Monsanto’s mad scientists to use terminator genes with their plants so they don’t produce seeds which farmers can then use the next year. What happens if those terminator genes propagate into the environment at large and our plant life largely becomes sterile? Oops.

          1. OIFVet

            Plus there is the pollution from increased pesticide use which negatively affects other organisms and water supplies, the threat to biodiversity, and the questionable wisdom of allowing a corporation to patent life, thus giving it a monopoly and complete control over the food supplies.

        6. susan the other

          For such an otherwise rational commenter, George, how could you have missed all the evidence against GMOs? Did you even the reason GMOs were designed in the first place – to promote the use of Round Up (at least at Monsanto). Also known as Agent Orange (I think). There are ways to breed plants naturally. That is what we should be doing.

        7. Optimader

          Is the inability to contain GMO genetic contamination sufficient threat?

          In the event the collective We want to rewind the tape, how do you undiffuse genetic contamination that has u intentionally plumed
          A hint on the depth of MON knowledge of the unintended consequences side of the equation was their assurance this would never occur.
          So kinda like ciggs, i have the right not to breath someone elses poor judgement, i should also have the right not to eat sh-t that did not occur in nature.

        8. invy

          “And of course, should credible evidence emerge of problems with specific GMO crops, then I will change my mind accordingly. But I will do so according to proof, not vague feelings of non-organicness.”

          How will you tell which products have the GMO crop that you are trying to avoid? There is a reason people want labels on their food telling us exactly what is in them. We want to chose what goes into our bodies, if the information we have is inaccurate, it does not effect you in any way…

          1. Vatch

            Absolutely! If GMO foods are safe, then there’s no reason why they can’t be labeled. Labeling will only help convince people that GMO foods are safe to eat. Yet the agriculture industry continues to oppose labeling of such foods. . . I wonder why. . . .

      2. dearieme

        It’s not “caution” I object to – caution is often a virtue. It’s elevating caution into a bogus “Principle”.

    2. Vatch

      “Windbaggery”, perhaps. For anyone who wants to learn about the precautionary principle, here’s a place to start:

      I tend to believe that it’s a little more than windbaggery. So far, I’ve avoided mesothelioma by the precaution of trying to avoid asbestos, and I’ve also avoided Creuztfeldt-Jakob and similar diseases, perhaps because precautions against infected cattle have been taken. I also look before crossing the street. If I don’t hear a car coming, I’m probably safe, but I look anyway.

    3. Mel

      They’re philosophers trying to make a point about agronomy by using only philosophy. I was particularly touched by “Even if the Loch Ness Monster will kill you, it’s OK to swim in Loch Ness because the Loch Ness Monster will only kill you if you swim in Loch Ness.” Truthified by some handwaving about local and global effects. I see a parallel here with generic management.

  7. savedyirony

    re:”man charged with…” Jesus wept. It’s a miracle that man escaped with his life. And i think the point in police PR nowerdays is for the general public (not just minority and poor populations) to understand, though we are not to publicly talk about it, perfectly well and expect that the police are growing at liberty to act and get away with acting this way. How do we fix it? Short of a full on revolution, though it could certainly be one primarily fueled thru organized mass civil disobedience, i don’t think at this level of extreme minority elite economic and institutional social control, we do.

    1. Jagger

      How do we fix it? Short of a full on revolution, though it could certainly be one primarily fueled thru organized mass civil disobedience,

      That is a problem that should be fairly easy to fix compared to most. Police forces are typically local. The Police Chief and Mayor, etc have an impact on police tactics and are usually elected. Police tactics needs to be an issue during elections. Of course IMO, local politics are often as dirty as national politics and dependent on the town, opposing the wrong local politicians/policemen can be dangerous.

      1. Paul Niemi

        I have noticed local judges often run unopposed in their jurisdictions. They could undoubtedly put a stop to police misconduct and overzealous prosecutions. Will they? Not until more than a few are booted out by the voters.

        1. James Levy

          The weird thing though is that very immunity of not regularly facing electoral challengers should put judges in a position to make others straighten up and fly right. What I guess they fear is a “law and order” challenger to their seat on the bench put up by the cops if they don’t kiss the cops’ asses. Weirder still is the fact that life tenure doesn’t seem to make them any more zealous in reigning in official misconduct. I saw this at the university level with tenure, a system that is supposed to immunize you and give you a broader perspective but simply fails to do so 9 times out of 10 (although service at the whim of administrators is worse). Few groups could more jealously guard their perks and look after their health care and retirement benefits (at the expense of those coming after them) than aging tenured professors. Why tenured judges should care what the DA and the cops think of them I can’t fathom.

    1. hunkerdown

      Low-middlebrow Establishment propaganda for football rubes who fancy themselves too cool for USA Today *is* what they’re good at.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Fake Chinese invoices = falling Chinese foreign reserves = money to buy houses in Hong Kong/Vancouver/Los Angeles???

    1. Paul Niemi

      Yes, and the more I think about it, the more I believe Vladimir Putin got taken to the cleaners in the oil/gas deal he made with them. He agreed to accept yuan/renminbi in exchange for a valuable product, on the faith that that currency will be able to hold its value in the face of the mountains of ostensively bad debts written in it.

    2. craazyboy

      Well, Chinese Debt Obligations (CDOs), insured by the insurer of last resort – The Federal Reserve of America…..should do it, methunks. [hick]

  9. cwaltz

    A machine that can wash dishes? How novel! Oh wait the domestic dishwasher was invented in the 1920s. I guess we’re supposed to be impressed because these will look more human then the giant box that does dishes. I have a great idea- since bankers and lenders, who make 5 to 6 figures, feel they no longer can be responsible lenders how about we ask South Korea to get started on a robot lender. They certainly couldn’t do any worse than the idiots who have basically washed their hands of doing what they are paid for.

    1. craazyboy

      Yeah, but your brick & morter dishwasher can’t wash dishes AND sing commercial ditties for household cleaning products at the same time!

      1. optimader

        My brick and mortar dishwasher was smashing everything ’til I went the institutional stainless steel spork and tray route. Now I just crank the stereo to drown out the racket. Everything has a nice hammer finish patina, quite attractive…-857860-2.html

        Kaku: That’s true. ASIMO, the best robot around today has the intelligence of a cockroach. However, that will change. In the coming decades, robots will be as smart as mice. Now, mice are very smart. They can scurry around, hide behind things, look for food. I can see that in 10, 20, 30 years, we will start to have mice robots, then rabbit robots, cat robots, dog robots, finally monkey robots maybe by the end of the century. They will do dirty, dull and dangerous jobs for us. That means they have to feel pain too.
        The Graduate “One Word: Plastics”

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    7 things the middle class can’t afford.

    Make it 8 – your grandpa’s robot helper….well, maybe if Medicare covers it.

  11. fresno dan

    “Why did the face in the Oval Office change but the policies remain the same? Critics tend to focus on Obama himself, a leader who perhaps has shifted with politics to take a harder line. But Tufts University political scientist Michael J. Glennon has a more pessimistic answer: Obama couldn’t have changed policies much even if he tried.

    Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.”
    The point a number of NC commenters make – just more evidence….

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Scientist building a robot version of himself.

    It’s easier if the scientist is already robot-like. The critical mass, of course, is achieved when a 100% pure blooded robot procreates another 100% pure blooded robot. Then, you have a chain reaction to the Age of Superfluous Man.

    It would be harder to replicate a selfie robot, if he is prone to daydreaming, being emotional, irrational or an eccentric, etc.

    1. not_me

      Any robot as fully capable as man would have the same problems so why bother? The reason being that such a robot would have to function at the quantum level and thus would be subject to quantum uncertainty, same as man.

      Artificial Intelligence is a great movie and the ending neatly separates the sheep from the goats when it comes to cynicism, imo, depending on whether people like or hate it.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s not about being quantum.

        It’s that the robot has to have more than just artificial intelligence

        It has to have

        artificial sincerity
        artificial honesty
        artificial wisdom
        artificial passion
        artificial faith
        and a bunch of other artificial capabilities…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You can tell robots are products of people with a narrow perception of the world.

            A guy/gal walks into a (on-line) room, or a real room, any of these can happen – he/she surveys the locale and thinks to him/herself, in sizing up the situation:

            I am the most intelligent
            I am the best looking
            I am the richest
            I am the most artistic
            I am the most charitable
            I am the wittiest

            I have said this before – in wisdom, there is no first, second or third. There is no wisest, because making the ego happy is not wisdom.

            In any case, people who only relate to the world through intelligence, will, accordingly, assign what is most important (which is intelligence) to them in their imagination or pursuit – making robots in this case. They will talk about robots as being as intelligent as or more intelligent than humans, but not robots being as kind/cruel/spiritual/creative/lazy/sincere/honest/dishonest/passionate/irrational/graceful/emotional as humans

            1. steviefinn

              I once read a scary article whose main thesis was that if robots became intelligent enough, they might consider humanity as the problem – which if you think about it in terms of this planet, could be considered valid. I suppose that as long as they do not have the power to eliminate this problem – it is of no concern.
              Hal 9000 logically decided the mission was more important than the lives of the crew, & like any self respecting psychopath took the appropriate steps. It seems to me that we have enough humans acting out of pure self interest & lack of empathy without adding robots to the mix.
              Perhaps like ‘ Kryten ‘ in ‘ Red Dwarf ‘, they can be programmed to put ALL humans first, but as with everything else it depends who is in charge & I cannot see them worrying too much about instilling artificial empathy into something powerful. I am just surmising as I don’t know that much about the subject, but there always seem to be a dark side to new power & there are much more qualified people out there who are worried. Where’s the booze ? was always my first thought on entering a party.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                What if they were only just as intelligent, or even slightly less so, and with less physical strength (thus couldn’t get rid of us), but more processing power to whine?

                Would they just complain all day long?

  13. proximity1

    RE : Experts have severely underestimated the risks of genetically modified food, says a group of researchers lead by Nassim Nicholas Taleb Medium

    In all my efforts from time to time to argue against the folly of genetically-modified food crops (G-M food crops), I have never been able to get my opponent to grasp what, to me, is the simple, fundamental and unanswerable problem with G-M food crops stated so clearly here:

    “A. PP [precautionary principle] is not Risk Management

    It is important to contrast and not conflate the PP and
    risk management. Risk management involves various strategies
    to make decisions based upon accounting for the effects of
    positive and negative outcomes and their probabilities, as
    well as seeking means to mitigate harm and offset losses.
    Risk management strategies are important for decision-making
    when ruin is not at stake. However, the only risk management
    strategy of importance in the case of the PP is ensuring that
    actions which can result in ruin are not taken, or equivalently,
    modifying potential choices of action so that ruin is not one
    of the possible outcomes.”

    The Precautionary Principle (with Application to the Genetic Modification of Organisms)
    Nassim Nicholas Taleb et al
    Full journal paper text link:

    1. susan the other

      It’s high time we started talking about the Precautionary Principle. We have let our technologies get so far out in front of us we couldn’t put out all the fires if we had to. Like Fukushima. Back in the 50s when it was built, and on the cheap, it was well known that a deep fault line was located just offshore. And it was well known that there was basically no solution to a nuclear plant meltdown. This mess has been referred to as an “incomplete technology.” We need to step back from technologies that pose this problem. Like almost all of our military technology. And chemical technology.

      1. proximity1

        I agree so much on every point you make here. In fact, the cited paper, while an excellent statement of the precautionary principle’s meaning and import, fails to apply it just there where, as you point out, in the realm of nuclear-fission power-production (or any other uses, civil or military) it so deserves application.

        In fact, the paper authors do worse–they expressly exclude nuclear-generated power as a proper place for the PP’s application. One day, and too late, catastrophe shall demonstrate the gravity of that stupendous blunder.

  14. Goyo Marquez

    You want to stop the corporate cash hoarding inflate the currency. You generate a nice 4-5% inflation rate and see how long those dollars stay stuffed in the mattress. On the other hand, you deflate the currency and those dollars stuffed in your mattress become a nice investment.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Not all inflations are created equal.

      If we get 4-5% wage inflation to force corporate spending, it’s good.

      If we get 4-5% food inflation with wage deflation, is it worth it?

  15. craazyboy

    Well, I can only stay serious for so long, then something comes along to tickle the funny bone.

    “Ebola outbreak: US advises against quarantine”

    Now that the world is set to send thousands and thousands, nay, perhaps tens of thousands to West Africa to help, we can’t possibly quarantine all them on their return to the homeland of their choice….dummies.

    hahahaha. hehehehe. hohohoho. hiccup.

    1. optimader

      Still haven’t seen any detail on where I would be quarantined if I were to visit NYC. If I were to stagger into The St. Regis at noon, projectile vomit a mouthful of Beer and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups in the revolving door then stagger in and lay on the floor, would they drag me up to a nice suite for my quarantine? Ah, to experience 21 days of Fall in NYC…. I Heart NY!

      1. craazyboy

        [burp] ‘scuz meh. waaashhing..[hick]…ung…ton dee sheee …. shruburb…nopsie……..burro nyc

  16. rich

    How Chinese fortunes are hidden in Australia

    While substantial, these two wedding gifts were just the beginning of what Su, the son of a powerful Chinese railway official, would receive during his time in Australia.

    After his father, Su Shunhu, was ­sentenced to life in prison for corruption by a Beijing court last Friday, an investigation by AFR Weekend has pieced together the money trail between China and Australia.

    Using court documents from the trial, along with property and company searches in Australia, it provides the first detailed account of Australia’s status as a favoured destination for the funds of corrupt Chinese officials. Court documents show the money began flowing to Australia in the months after Su and Qian were married.

    They reveal that $1.2 million was transferred to their Australian bank accounts between December 2008 and January 2010.

    The money was wired to Australia from both the industrial city of Nanchang, south west of Shanghai, and Hong Kong in ­16 separate installments.

    Since it began landing in Australia, the couple have bought and sold around $4.5 million worth of property in Sydney.

    Their situation is not unique.

    Over the past decade, those officials have been drawn to Australia’s political ­stability, clean air and robust legal system, which ­provides some of the strongest protection for individuals facing criminal charges ­anywhere in the world.
    This flow of money out of China has reportedly boosted demand for houses, filled universities and fuelled spending on luxury goods right across the Australian economy.

    In pleading guilty to accepting bribes, the elder Su said he took the money to pay for the education and living costs of his son and daughter-in-law. But given Su’s elevated position – he was the deputy director of the transport department within the ­Ministry of Railways – the reported sums look to be grossly understated.

    This is often the way, as Chinese courts, which are beholden to the Communist Party, need to present enough evidence to warrant a lengthy jail term without ­revealing the true scale of corruption in the government.

    It’s therefore a fair assumption that Su’s illicit gains were far larger than the ­published figures.

    sounds like?

  17. Paul Tioxon

    The Oil Insider uses top notch people to calculate costs for electricity production world wide and surprisingly finds solar voltaic panels more costly than nuclear. The Solar insider says the Oil Insider is full of shit.

    1. James Levy

      That used to be an easily adjudicated disagreement–the numbers, if you gather them honestly and explain your methodology clearly, don’t lie. If you were the NY Times or the Washington Post you could send out both sets of figures to mathematical or engineering experts at say, Cornell, Michigan, and Texas/Austin and have them check it out. If all three came to the same conclusion, you could be pretty damned sure you had found out what the reality was. Why this no longer works baffles and upsets me. If Joe the Terrorist tosses a grenade onto a crowded bus, chances are excellent that people are going to be injured by the blast and fragments. Reality is like that. It is just not that subjective (of course, how I view Joe is subjective, but the results of his handiwork are not). The same is true of the cost of electricity. If we agree to factor in all the same variables, then we will know which form of electricity is more expensive. It’s up to professional standards and ethics to enforce a uniform set of variables on the participants (that’s what peer review is for). Once they are in place, then it shouldn’t be all that tough to find an answer to the question.

      1. Paul Tioxon

        Externalities will be and have been the death of us. I am invoking the mega death calculations of Herman Kahn, noted Rand Corp Thermonuclear War Strategist. Yeah, those boomers got all of the cool, well paying jobs, and we got left with developming apps to find a blow job on the subway.

        “One can obviously put this into perspective by comparing the death toll from nuclear power with that related to coal—would one then actually have to be against the use of coal? The numbers of coal-related deaths are astonishing. But the first, most obvious point to make is that being against coal doesn’t require being in favor of nuclear power! It’s also extremely important to realize that death and morbidity figures for nuclear power are highly contested. Take the figures concerning Chernobyl. The IAEA and WHO put Chernobyl deaths at 4,000. A study published by National Cancer Institute in the United States puts the deaths at something like 43,000. A meta-analysis of 5,000 Slavic language scientific studies estimates the total number of Chernobyl deaths (some of which are yet to come) at 900,000. These discrepancies have a lot to do with controversies over the biological effects of low-level radiation, and also with the technopolitics of measurement and counting. Comparing the two energy technologies is much more complicated than merely counting coal deaths vs. nuclear power deaths.”

        So, when I hear the same tune I heard back in the 1970’s, back when Jimmy Carter funded the National Solar Information Center out of the Franklin Institute, all I hear is that old joke about Brazil: It will always be the nation of the future. All of the old technologies are dead ends. We need to build out Solar Electric not because of the economy, but because of survival. It won’t be shot gun shells and tuna fish cans stock piled that will make your life better, it will be electricity. Playing the price discovery game of the market based economy is boxing their style. You can’t win fighting on some one else’s terms. I ignore anything from big coal, gas, oil, or nukedom, they are irrelevant. Some people think there will be a fair and square debate about the best options, the cost benefit path to conflict resolution. It is irrelevant.

      1. Optimader

        Bingo at least with presently deployed technology
        Where do you want to draw the energy balance control volume?
        At best , easentially perpetual waste storage is a big hole in the energy balance

        1. davidgmills

          Much better is the option of thorium fission using liquid fluoride salts as the medium. Tested and proven at Oak Ridge by the person (Weinberg) who patented the existing uranium reactors and who disliked the uranium reactors he designed and thought they would only be around as an interim technology.


          1. Almost impossible to weaponize
          2. Can’t melt down because it is already melted — it freezes up when power is lost.
          3. Only 1% of the nuclear waste and very short decay cycles
          4. Burns up nuclear waste as a starter fuel to start the breeding process
          5. Operates at 1 atmosphere not 70-150
          6. Enough thorium to last 5,000 years at present rates of energy production

          TED Video from the NASA scientist who is most instrumental in bringing it back:

          1. Torsten

            I was enthusiastic about thorium for a while, too, but this 2012 Nature paper showed that protactinium-233 can be separated from the thorium-232 fuel cycle to produce weapons-grade uranium-233. The weapons might not be as powerful as plutonium-based weapons, but it appears they could be much more easily produced. Accordingly, I’ve had to write thorium off as an acceptable alternative energy source. Given recent advances in solar, wind, and battery storage, I find the proliferation risk of thorium to be unacceptable.

  18. GuyFawkesLives

    What the middle class can no longer afford:
    That list was quite sad. Can’t care for their teeth? Can’t go on vacation?
    Lately, I have been poor. Too poor to buy retail to replace things that have started wearing out: my living room chairs, my living room rug, and my mattress. I have replaced the living room chairs by buying two on Craigslist for $100. I bought a mattress at an estate sale, I got a steal on a $4400 Tempurpedic bed. And I’m still looking for a cheap rug. I don’t intend on buying that retail.

    A couple weeks ago I read an article that retailers in the US were starting to worry about Americans lower wages, as it was starting to affect their bottom line……..well, DUH.

    Everything the bankers have stolen from the populace slowly starts navigating to the theft of profits from the retailers. And it goes full circle……

      1. GuyFawkesLives

        Oh, I totally scored. It is mechanical, so I can lift the head of the bed when I read at night. I can also lift the knee section since I sleep on my back, it helps with back issues. And the best part……it has a massage function…..and I won’t mention what that helps with. *grin*

        The Tempurpedic bed takes some getting used to because it doesn’t function like springs, so the bed does feel a little different. But now I’m on my first full week and I can say that my sleep has gotten so much better. I want to marry this bed. Can one marry an inanimate object since the whole “marriage” thing has sprung wide open? No alimony if I divorce!

        The best part: I bought it for $250.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I have been thinking about getting one.

          How did you get it for such a great price? Craig’s list? Wholesaler going out of business?

        2. bob

          I’ve heard that “they’re great for sleeping, bad for sex”. Not enough spring, although that was a base model, no massage.

          I do have a memory foam pillow that is awesome. Not sure I could sleep or fuck on a whole bed of it, but love the pillow.

      2. Paul Niemi

        I bought a Tempurpedic bed in 2004, a dual queen size with frames and foundation cost $2500 new at the time. It will never need to be replaced, and I haven’t even flipped it. The sensation of weightlessness given by the memory foam can not be duplicated, but it is stiffer when the room is cold until your body warms the surface. Another advantage is it doesn’t need an air pump, like the windbag we know that plugs for the Select Comfort mattresses.

  19. frosty zoom

    We as Americans are willing to go to foreign lands and spill our own blood in the defense of freedom (both ours as well as someone else’s), yet here at home our freedoms are being directly attacked on a daily basis by the very agencies that are in place to assure us things like this never happen. ~the trooper fistbreaking story

    hmm.. last night i voted in our municipal election here in canada. i was quite dismayed that for the first time a computerized vote counting machine was used. so i wrote our local paper [excerpt]:

    We send our sons and daughters off to foreign shores supposedly in the name of preserving freedom and yet we blithely say “oh, well” when our voting process is infringed upon by our own institutions.

    when the election results were posted later last night, i was happy to see a headline talking about “voters upset by election machines”.


    turns out the voters were upset that an american flag (the machines were leased from the u.s.) appeared onscreen when their ballot was fed in instead of the canadian flag.


    1. OIFVet

      That’s what happens when democracy is outsourced. At least you were spared the indignity of being shown the Diebold corporate logo.

  20. JTFaraday

    re: “Stop taking selfies with bears, hikers warned Daily Mail,” Darwin Award futures.

    I think I may be somewhat of the opinion that maybe no selfie is a good selfie.

  21. Oregoncharles
    Is this why Frein went rogue? He left a statement, which they haven’t shared. Maybe he had a case.

    I’ve been wondering when the vigilante counterattacks would start. First Doerner, now Frein. And there’s a learning curve: Frein GOT AWAY. Almost unprecedented; the PPD must be quaking in their boots. (Hunting a marksman through the woods is really, really dangerous. I suspect he got away because they just wouldn’t go in there. Bunch of chickenshit bullies.)

    1. Jess

      Want to indulge in a little fiction about how vigilante counter-attacks might lead to real reform? Check out my novel, PUBLIC ENEMIES, on Amazon. About an ex-Army guy who goes on the warpath after his wife dies due to lack of health insurance for breast cancer. I’m generally IT-challenged but think this is the correct link:

      Averaging 4.5 out of 5 stars on 68 reviews.

  22. Jess

    You have to love unintentional ironies. Just under the Chris Hedges TruthDig piece that excoriates the media and explains how Nixon got busted for Watergate only because he violated the rule against elites attacking other elits is a “related story” — Ben Bradlee, Truthteller.

    There’s also a “related story” about Elizabeth Warren, who is a perfect example of coloring all criticism within the lines.

  23. fresno dan

    How many cops does it take to collect a civil judgment from a 75-year-old man? The town of Stettin, Wisconsin evidently believed the answer was 24—and an armored military vehicle for good measure.

    Marathon County officials aren’t apologizing for their tactics. Sheriff’s Capt. Greg Bean said officials expected to have to seize and remove tractors and wooden pallets to pay the judgment — hence the cadre of deputies. He also said what while Hoeppner was never considered dangerous, he was known to be argumentative.

    Oh-OH! I’m known to be argumentative!

    I expect to hang prior to the new year….

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