LInks 10/29/14

Top 10 ghost towns and modern ruins you can visit Guardian (furzy mouse)

Deep Undercover: Police Officer in UK Fathered a Child with an Activist as Part of an Investigation Earth Island Journal

Unmanned US supply rocket explodes after liftoff Reuters

Google developing a cancer detector BBC (David L). So Google now wants to monitor my bodily functions? I don’t think so.

The war against taxes (and the unmarried) Cathy O’Neil. Dubious use of models.

Feds set to destroy H-1B records ComputerWorld. Rick V provides some background: “The IEEE-USA is a case in point. The group has been trying for nearly two years to discover how many H-1B visa holders are male. It believes men get as many as 85% of the visas, a percentage that can help explain the lopsided male and female ratios at visa-hiring
companies such as Facebook (69% male), and Google (70% male).”


Suspicion of authority is feeding America’s Ebola panic Ed Luce, Financial Times

Internal memo pushes bringing non-citizens to US for Ebola treatment; State denies plan Fox (furzy mouse)

China Shadow Banking Shifted to Insurers Alarms Moody’s Bloomberg

Pettis Not Terribly Worried About Chinese Real Estate Prices Value Walk

Another Reason Not to Trust China’s Economic Data Business Week

Unconcerned China hacks the iCloud Bangkok Post (furzy mouse)

A Blogger Backlash in Beijing Bloomberg

EU provisionally clears French, Italian budgets after tweaks Reuters

Rousseff Tasked With Keeping Brazil at Investment Grade Wall Street Journal


Russia Backs Plan by Ukraine Separatists for an Early Election New York Times

Safe-Deposit Box Craze Lays Bare Ukraine Woes After Vote Bloomberg


Syria: “No (U.S. supported) Field Force To Liberate Damascus”
Moon of Alabama

Economic Pain Looms Large for Iranians in Nuclear Negotiations New York Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

GCHQ views data with no warrant, government admits Guardian

People trust NSA more than Google, survey says CNET‎

White House Hit With What Appears To Be Sustained Cyberattack Huffington Post

AT&T Sued By Feds For Throttling “Unlimited” Wireless Customers Consumerist. Notice how the service agreements made class action litigation impossible.

A “Bag of Money,” but Executive Says Don’t “Give Me Any of that Ethics Cr*p” – DaVita’s Latest Settlement for $400 Million Health Care Renewal

Midterms Prediction: Billionaires to Retain Control of Government Andy Borowitz, New Yorker (RR). Um, this is supposed to be humor…

Whither Markets?

FOMC Meeting Tim Duy

The End Is Nigh for American Quantitative Easing MarketPulse

Durable Goods Decline Second Month; Key Take-Aways Michael Shedlock (furzy mouse)

QRM’s Missed Opportunities for Financial Stability and Servicing Reform Adam Levitin, Credit Slips

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to Lowest Since Early 1995 Bloomberg

Class Warfare

African migrants look down on white-clad golfers in viral photo Guardian (furzy mouse)

Going hungry, and the importance of absolute poverty OurKingdom

Digital divide exacerbates US inequality Financial Times. We wrote about limited internet access in the US in the context of Obamacare, that the design assumed people could shop online.

Antidote du jour (hat tip Doug S):


See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. pretzelattack

    i won’t even ask why the cops need to infiltrate animal rights and environmental activist groups. protecting and serving.

    1. ambrit

      Here in the U.S., unlimited logging rights for a starter. The basic cause for animal rights groups being targeted would be the defend and preserve the extensive use of animals in medical and pharmacological testing. The infamous “sheep scene” in Lindsay Andersons’ “O Lucky Man” is one take on it. As LeCarre has shown in his book “The Constant Gardner”, Big Pharma has taken their “unalienable right” to test on animals and extended it to include Human “animals” as well.

    2. EmilianoZ

      That story would do a great movie with plenty of human interest, moral dilemma, twists, … Jennifer Lawrence as the activist. For the undercover agent, we need a nuanced, understated, multifaceted performance from Brad Pitt. And we have Oscar material.

      One day we’ll learn that half the bohemian weirdoes we saw at OWS camps were undercover agents. Gosh, I seem to remember there was an Occupy baby.

  2. craazyboy

    Ebola News

    If you’re not the panicky type, and just curious about Ebola, Washington’s Blog posted a couple new posts yesterday.

    “Ebola Virus Is More Likely to Spread through Aerosols – and Survive Longer – When It’s Cold”

    This article comes with handy, easy to use charts for estimating Ebola lifetime vs. temperature applicable to out of body experiences. Also sneeze distances, but these are for estimating purposes only.

    Nobel Prize Winner for Medicine: People Without Symptoms Or Fever May Still Spread Ebola

    This doc actually referenced a study, with data, that found:
    In fact, in a study published online in late September by the New England Journal of Medicine and backed by the World Health Organization, 3,343 confirmed and 667 probable cases of Ebola were analyzed, and nearly 13 percent of the time, those infected with Ebola exhibited no fever at all.
    But in conclusion, the doc does warn that individuals should weigh their risk of panic vs reading about this. The article may have side effects. Check with your doctor. YMMV.

      1. optimader

        George is implying interchangeability of characteristics between droplets, aerosol and films..

        I think figure 5 all the way at the bottom if the most relevant data. I am just briefly looking at this but I don’t see any characterization of virus particle/droplet.
        ” If a viral infection generates aerosols containing 10 virus particles per droplet, but it takes 1000 virus particles per human cell to establish an infection, then those aerosols are not infectious, even though they contain virus”
        I used to read GW, but I think he often tends throw stuff out there uncritically

        1. optimader

          …he often tends throw stuff out there uncritically

          Case in point, self referential link
          “Because Ebola can spread through aerosols “

          1. craazyboy

            I noticed that too, but lets say he didn’t want to go med school for 8 years, and sometimes just tosses some things that smell funny out there.

            I’m not really looking for exact, precise theories, where there are none to be had. Plausible guesses is all we can do, then see if we can find a smidgeon of actual data, interpretation of data, and evidence.

            But yeah, that mangled sentence of his should be improved upon, but I think it does point in the general direction of questions like what is the viral density in a “droplet”, at what stage of incubation thru the symptoms stage is it significant, what is the decay rate/time constant of the viral population outside the body, what is the minimum population size that can infect the body/overwhelm the immune system – and down below I posted a link indicating 1-10 organism is enough to overwhelm the immune system, which is the scariest thing to me about Ebola I’ve read so far.

            1. Optimader

              I think a couple solid engineers need to be put on the case. You and CM need to send in your CVs to the Mayor. They probably have pretty good chow at Bellevue staff resturant, maybe Yves can be your agent and take a 15% cut?

              1. craazyboy

                I ain’t goin’ anywere near New Yawk.


                But then they’ll fly the 3000 troops back somewhere along with the thousand or however many med people, then fly in the replacements.

                Can’t go anywhere then.

                But we got 310 million people in this country, so no big problem like losing a “significant” percentage of ’em. Besides, we’ll get killed off some other way.

        2. Yves Smith Post author

          I consider GW to be doing irresponsible, alarmist work on Ebola. He’s stretching to find any and every cause for worry. This is disturbing given that he provided good coverage on the BP oil spill, and pretty good on Fukusahima. He’s out of his depth here and it shows.

          1. Mark P.

            GW was out of his depth on Fukushima, too. Sorry. But I was embarrassed for you guys when you posted that stuff of his on your site.

    1. Optimader

      Re Ebola…cold
      Im kinda suprised why so far i haven’t read anything much on the analogy but yeah, the drying time of a aerosol is a function of temp, humidity (vapor pressure) and particle size. This is relevant insofar as ebola virons need to stay moist to be vital Basically a very accurate model for environmental hygiene could be sorted out directly w/ the criteria used for designing spray dryers. The equipment used for drying powdered milk, catalysts, pharmacueticals… Militarized anthrax .

      To the good is that the surface area to volume ratio is a third order equation that does not favor ebola aerosolizing and remaining vital. (Ie transmissibility) . The smaller the particle the quicker it drys, the efficacy of a particle to be deeply inhaled is a function of diminishing particle size. So, it comes down to the ineffective encapsulation strategy of ebola virons that allow it to quickly dehydrate that limit airborne transmission based on what Ive read

        1. craazyboy

          hmm. I think what we learn here, and eventually integrate into our personal daily regimen, as well as public heath protocols and guidelines, could be applicable to influenza as well.

          Here’s what the CDC has to say about influenza transmission.

          Influenza viruses are spread from person to person primarily through large-particle respiratory droplet transmission (e.g., when an infected person coughs or sneezes near a susceptible person). Transmission via large-particle droplets requires close contact between source and recipient persons, because droplets do not remain suspended in the air and generally travel only a short distance (less than or equal to 1 meter) through the air. Contact with respiratory-droplet contaminated surfaces is another possible source of transmission. Airborne transmission (via small-particle residue [less than or equal to 5µm] of evaporated droplets that might remain suspended in the air for long periods of time) also is thought to be possible, although data supporting airborne transmission are limited.


          Sometimes you advance your knowledge in one area, and find you can apply it in another circumstance as well!

      1. craazyboy

        They also mentioned that humidity greatly helps knock the carrier particles out of the air. So good news for Florida in the summer. Not so much for supermarkets, I’m sad to say.

        The other lucky physical property limiting deep respiratory exposure is that many particles only make it as far as the lips or interior of the oral and/or nasal cavity – at which point swallowing or absorption thru mucous membranes would prevent entry to the lungs. Also, too tonsils.

        1. optimader

          I posted link previously, but ill reiterate as it’s relevant to your post.
          …The last thing that needs to happen before the newly made virus particle can go on to infect other cells or other organisms, is that it must leave your cell. And instead of politely declining that last round of synthesis and using the door, it busts through your cell membrane, taking part of it in the process. Yes, it inserts some of its own proteins into the membrane, sidles right up and gets cozy (doesn’t even buy it a drink) and BAM wraps it around itself and rips it off. Now it is a complete virus particle safely surrounded by what had been your cell’s lipid membrane, with viral proteins embedded. This is what we refer to as the viral envelope and the completed viral particle is called a virion. Ebola virions are shed through bodily fluids which can transmit the virus. I’m sure you can tell by the shape that the budding virus in this graphic representation(wikimedia commons) is not Ebola. Ebola is long and filamentous, but this one is better for illustrating the concept. Here’s a really nice paper on the Ebola life cycle if you want to read more about this amazing process.

          Still with me?

          Well, it turns out this new shiny viral envelope is actually Ebola’s Achilles’ heel. Not all viruses have envelopes, and those that don’t are actually much more stable in the environment. Those viruses are encapsulated in what is known as the viral capsid, which is made of proteins, not lipids, so it’s very sturdy. All the viral proteins are tucked safely into the capsid so it’s much more difficult to inactivate those viruses. Unfortunately for an enveloped virus like Ebola, that lipid membrane it stole is pretty susceptible to many environmental factors like sunlight (UV radiation), heat and drying, but also to all sorts of disinfectants and detergents, even alcohol. So even hand sanitizers work on Ebola, as long as the concentration of alcohol is over 60%.

          1. craazyboy

            “Still with me?”

            Yup. I boned up on my virology a few weeks ago reading a virologists’ article on Ebola.
            Goods news, it is in the spectrum of “frail” viruses, and easily killed by disinfectants, UV, thorough cooking of salads, etc….but survives bodily defenses like saliva, stomach acid and white blood cells. May even eat them, which is kinda like a burglar eating your Doberman. But we do have the data they survive outside the body, for a significant length of “people time”.

            That’s once it gets outside the body. The other issue is how well it can rape your cells inside the body, replicate exponentially, and find a path back out again. Say, the lymph system cleaning bacteria and anything else from the blood so we can sweat these things out, in an attempt to limit the population size and probably also keep our temperature from going up too much.

        2. optimader

          ditto this one..

          “…First, What Does “Airborne” Mean?
          Let me clarify. Bodily secretions that make it into the air from various orifices (e.g., nose, mouth) are called droplets and are classified based on size and distance traveled. The smaller the droplet, the longer it stays suspended in the air, the farther it travels and the deeper into the respiratory tract it can go upon inhalation by the person sitting down the aisle from you on the airplane. Teeny-tiny droplets (less than 5 microns) are generally referred to as “aerosols” and can be generated by a cough, a sneeze, exhaling, talking, vomiting, diarrhea, passing gas etc. Aerosols can also be generated mechanically by things like flushing a toilet, mopping, or rinsing out a bloody wash cloth. When aerosols are infectious, they transmit disease when they are inhaled by an organism and its called “aerosol transmission”. When droplets are larger than 10 microns they are called “large-droplets” and if infectious, they transmit disease by inhalation if the organism being infected is close enough to inhale the particles before they settle out of the air. They can also transmit virus if someone gets showered with droplets from, for example, a sneeze, or touching a droplet that is on the surface of an object(fomite) or someone’s skin and it’s called “large-droplet transmission”.

          When we say that a virus is airborne, we specifically mean it is capable of aerosol transmission via inhalation, even when not in close proximity to the source of the aerosol. For example, someone two aisles over at the market has the measles and coughs up a lung. When you get into that aisle you inhale the teeny aerosol droplets that are still hanging out in the air and they begin depositing virus particles in your respiratory tract. These particles then enter your cells and begin to replicate. You are infected. I hope you were vaccinated!

          Large-droplet transmission is not considered airborne. An ebola patient sneezing directly on you will get virus particles on you, but those large droplets that landed on your lip weren’t technically airborne, they settled out of the air and onto your lip fairly quickly and they weren’t inhaled. If you’re close enough for this, then I’m sure you are inhaling some aerosol sized droplets as well, and at this close range they are likely infectious. However, to be considered “airborne”, those aerosol particles would have to remain infectious while they hang out or move through the air. Evidence indicates that while Ebola is found in the respiratory tract and theoretically could produce infectious aerosols and be airborne, for unknown reasons we don’t see this happen between primates/humans in studies or in outbreaks (for detailed discussion of these studies read this post).

          Not all viruses can form infectious aerosols. It depends on where the virus goes in your body and what happens when it gets there. Aerosol infectivity of a virus is determined by how long the virus remains infectious in the air, how deep into the lungs it can travel, and how many virus particles are actually in each droplet compared to how many are required to actually establish an infection. If a viral infection generates aerosols containing 10 virus particles per droplet, but it takes 1000 virus particles per human cell to establish an infection, then those aerosols are not infectious, even though they contain virus. In addition, while airborne, aerosols begin to lose water content by evaporation and virus particles, especially enveloped particles like Ebola, can be affected by other environmental conditions such as humidity, air currents, and sunlight. These particles are also subject to the laws of physics and mechanical forces. A good example of a virus for which these characteristics have been better defined is influenza and this is an excellent article that really explains the different kinds of aerosols and how they are transmitted.
          One question we got repeatedly during the Twitter #Ebolachat session was, “If it’s not airborne, then why are health care workers not only wearing head-to-toe protective gear, but dying in spite of it?”
          Fair question and one I discuss in another post but I will reiterate here….

          1. craazyboy

            Yeah, thanks for that. Good point, or more correctly, matrices of points. With some thought, I think we can use this information to design our daily regimen to safely navigate within/without the safety envelope we’ll devise from this fundamental insight.

            1. optimader

              I think the reality is for the average person, the virus factory infective Ebola victim is so sick as to be immobilized, think your worst hangover combined w/ the stomach flu. So unless it is a family member or you’re on the treatment frontline, you probably have a better chance of winning the lottery.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Looking forward, as we throw more drugs at Ebola, and I think of each new drug we deploy as a new battle between our chemical troops and the viral soldiers inside human bodies, new war doctrines will evolve, on both sides, just like what has happened in all human wars, now that an ‘Eve Ebola’ is out of Africa.

              2. craazyboy

                Don’t think so, if I read you right. Incubation time ranges from 2 to 21 days. Remember the article at the beginning of the tread – 4000 person data collection showing 13% infection rate with NORMAl temperature and no symptoms.

                True, no one moves around much with a 103F fever and your stomach attempting to exit thru your mouth. But the virus as a quite a bit of wriggle room/time till that point.

          2. craazyboy

            “Not all viruses can form infectious aerosols.”

            Furthermore, as you so rightly highlight in the rest of paragraph, it’s important to know what one is talking about, both from a theoretical basis, then have at least a bit of lab evidence supportive of said theory.

            Even more so when the fundamental question involves what is the exponential decay rate of the population size of Ebola virus outside the body, both in the one case which involves beginning and ending on a ballistic trajectory, as well as other possible transmission vectors.

            Then one also needs to know the population decay rate, under applicable environmental factors. Next, if one knows the safe Ebola population level, then one can determine his/hers real time data needs and develop successful tactics which may help eliminate or reduce ones’ risky behavior.

            Personally, I don’t feel I’m all the way there yet, but here’s some more data I’ve been mulling around.

            INFECTIOUS DOSE: Viral hemorrhagic fevers have an infectious dose of 1 – 10 organisms by aerosol in non-human primates Footnote 41.


      1. Lambert Strether

        So it is; look for “may tell what’s really going on.” MSF has every incentive to get things right — “skin in the game,” in the most literal sense — as well as the expertise. On the other hand, fear sells newspapers and skews elections, so our famously free press has incentives to get things wrong — especially when the story is redolent of a zombie apocalypse. So it’s a shame to see GW buying into their methods and message. Yes, this is an argument from authority.

        1. craazyboy

          Not sure what you picked up from GW’s article, but I think the salient point he was making, and made it clear is was a guess on his part, is he seems to think aerosol “particle” transmission is a problem for West African caregivers, and their masks are not up to spec.

          I did see something from the CDC recently indicating the recommended protocol is now a N95 mask – this is designed to remove 95% of airborne “particles”. Hopefully MSF is adopting that – or maybe they even originated it – I’d prefer to give credit where it belongs, of course.

          We’ll have a better idea if any of this is correct by continuing to monitor how many doctors and nurses get infected.

          I did use three sentences to introduce the article, and knowingly overemphasized it was not simply conveying undisputable facts. That’s because I’m miffed about being browbeaten by our authorities, from the beginning, that the Ebola is NOT AIRBORNE – like that is even hugely relevant or conveys the proper connotation to laymen and perhaps even medical professionals. Almost like it’s propaganda, or something like that.

          Just clarifying:)

          1. Optimader


            Just for the purpose of not getting a snootfull of projectile viral “spray” an n95 is a falling off the log pragmatic suggestion, i would have to check its efficacy at viral particle size distribution, that is a kettle of fish.
            In any case I wouldnt go near a symptomatic victim without a face shield and mask just for protection from larger particle droplets

          1. bob

            Because doctors come into contact with patients. Very simple, really.

            Doctors, for years, were the main transmission mechanism for disease. Then they found out that they should wash their hands between grabbing at someones insides and taking another persons temperature. 1900 area.

            We’ve come a long way since, but it really is that simple. If you come into physical contact with an infected patient, you are at risk of becoming infected.

            Wear all the safety gear you can buy and then rub at your bare eye with your gloved hand. Infected.

            Very small mistakes cost big. It’s not so much the equipment as the training and discipline of the people using the equipment.

      2. VietnamVet

        The media is simply echoing talking points not providing information. There are powerful people who want uninterrupted free trade and free travel. Quarantines hurt someone’s bottom line. HIV and Ebola both are transferred by bodily fluids. Ebola just works a lot faster so you have dead bodies in the street.

        The difference in the Ebola epidemic is that there has been transfer of the virus between the sick and the health workers and in a contaminated environment with dead bodies. But, if you wait 21 days and have negative blood tests, you are Ebola virus free and you can return to a normal life. The 13% transmission rate seems reasonable when compared to transmission of HIV of less than 3% from sex and 45% from mother to child. It makes sense to avoid risky behavior and use prudent precautions to prevent transfer of the virus to friends and family and not to be released into the public until certified free of the virus. Only quarantines provide zero risk. Without a quarantine, you are playing Russian Roulette; yes, with a very low risk but it is deadly if hit. Until the West African epidemic is controlled, more infected persons will travel around the world and somewhere, someplace, without an effective quarantine, Ebola will establish a new hot zone.

  3. fresno dan
    “Quote of the Day: Bush Would Have Punched Putin in the Nose”
    Bush the junior was the guy who stated “I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. We had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul; a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country.”

    And final irony – I agree more with Bush’s statement now than when Bush made it….

    Considering the needless wars Bush got us into, maybe he would have started a war over Crimea.
    But it drives me to apoplexy when politicians think we have such short memories….

  4. Eeyores enigma

    This blog as well as many others seem to operate with a large degree of cognitive dissonance.

    First and foremost is the whole “it’s the economy stupid” thing micro analyzing all the myriad elements of the global economy and how it might be “fixed”.

    Then there is the collapse of the entire bio-sphere and the fact that it is all of the actions and activities of the global economy that is to blame for this destruction.

    These two issues are diametrically opposed and neither of them can or will be affected in any positive way by little tweaks here and there. It seems that a lot of postings and comments are focused on convincing ourselves and others that its really not that bad and if we just do this or that things will get better.

    It really is a matter of one or the other. If we want to save the world economy then we will loose the natural system that supports life on this planet. If we truly want to maintain a reasonable biosphere to insure a reasonable future for humanity we will loose the global economy as we know it.

    The two are inseparable and must be felt with as one with an emphasis on our global life support system.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We can, as Nature figures a work around its’ Human problem, limit collateral damage to many plants and animals, by loosing the global economy.

        These life forms have nothing to do with Nature’s Human problem.

        1. ambrit

          We are the top predators, who can go quiescent of course. The other part of this is that the Earth is entering the Sixth Extinction Event. Ascribing moral agency to an environment is tricky. The real question is whether or not Nature can knock us to our knees before we do too much damage. (We are helping Nature out a good bit in that endeavour. There is still hope.)

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Before Nature shows off her ‘stuff,’ she needs to warm up, like all top athletes.

            And we are really ‘warming’ her up, with our global economy. Many plants and animas don’t deserve any ‘Collateral Credit’ in this at all. Their participation is often ‘involuntary.’

            1. Eeyores enigma

              Ya all seem quite flippant. If thats truly how you feel then why do you choose to participate in all this financial folderol? Entertainment factor? The need to set people straight? What?

              1. ambrit

                Dear Ee;
                Sometimes it’s a case of laugh at the absurdity or end up crying your eyes out. (Oftentimes, it’s both together.)
                A lot of the back and forth is in the nature of a Dialogue. We are learning from the responses to our questions or statements. Maybe not a true dialectic, but d— close.

              2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                Eeyores, I agree with you and have always said that we need less consumption.

                Even here, I am advocating a more active, aggressive restraining of global human ‘economic activities,’ in the face of Nature-Fatalism.

                1. ambrit

                  I’ve always ‘gotten’ your slant on the problem, and the possibility of enacting solutions. I guess that I’m just more of a Pessimist than you are. Lack of political will is, has been, and will be the primary impediment to solving this crisis. How to ‘motivate’ our politicians is the question, before Nature ‘motivates’ us into extinction.

                  1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                    Ambrit, you are’ right, but I believe a less-consumption movement can be marshaled into a potent social force.

                    Smart politicians will get onboard at that time

                    1. steviefinn

                      I know we are up shit creek & someone sold the paddle, but I like the gallows humour & banter that is found here. It’s a kind of rebellion – ” Wylie Sypher once said that it has the social effect of strengthening the morale of the oppressed & undermines the morale of the oppressors – so what the hell have we got to lose by laughing with our backs against the wall ? & who knows for sure what the future will bring ? Populations even if decimated have survived plagues, extinction events & climate change before. While there is life there is still hope, as some would say & there is no point in letting the bastards grind you down, but when they inevitably do it’s good to have somewhere to go to in order to lift your spirits.

                      During the Falklands war as HMS Sheffield began to sink with about 250 of the crew waiting for rescue, they sang ” Always look on the bright side of life ” – May as well, despite the odds.

              3. Yves Smith Post author

                Gee, you must be independently wealthy. You have no compassion for or interest in people who are suffering now, via having lost their homes, facing predatory debt collectors, lacking the money to fund retirement (many of them will probably wind up homeless or committing suicide when they can no longer work), and being unable to find work due to high unemployment levels. No, I see that’s all mere “financial folderol.”

                People can’t organize to address larger societal issues if they are fighting for basic survival.

                1. lightningclap

                  Ding-ding-ding! Without the means for basic survival, many do not have the ability to address societal ills. At least here, one can learn to define and understand the larger issues. Being armed with knowledge is the first step.

                2. Ulysses

                  “People can’t organize to address larger societal issues if they are fighting for basic survival.”

                  Excellent comment.! I think that much of what people mistakenly label apathy, or “docility” in the face of oppression. can be better explained by considering Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.

                  We can’t blame each other for not being able to magically solve huge problems. What we can do is try to better understand the problems that face us and try to support each other in developing potential ways to make things better. Faced with elite incompetence, and callous indifference to our suffering, why not indulge in a little gallows humor?

                  Some of us are more flippant, others more depressive. I think w can respect a wide range of coping mechanisms here at NC– just like Winnie the Pooh, and Piglet, never told Eeyore to get lost just because he wasn’t very cheerful.

    1. whine country

      I am reminded of what Winston Churchill once said about us: “You can always count on Americans to do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.” Hopefully we will soon run out of other things to try.

      1. hunkerdown

        Silicon Valley’s sacred duty, along with every other cornucopian, is preventing that terrible catastrophe. Of having to do the right thing, I mean.

    2. optimader

      If this were a raffle, I’d buy a ticket for the global economy vapor locking to a new, (lower) equilibrium state and the human population reestablishing at a new (level) accordingly. Every generation has it’s apocalyptic predictions, I expect something more like a drawdown.

    3. TedWa

      Maybe the philosophy of a “global economy” isn’t worth saving.

      “Democracy, national sovereignty and global economic integration are mutually incompatible. It’s possible to have any 2 but not all 3. It’s the inescapable trilemma of a world economy” – Dani Rodrik He is the among the 100 most influential economists in the world according to IDEAS/RePEc

    4. Yves Smith Post author

      If you don’t like what we write here, please read another blog. I don’t take well to general complaints about our content. We clearly state we are a finance and economics blog. No one is holding a gun to make you read our copy.

      Life is an exercise in cognitive dissonance. We carry on as if we will live forever in the face of the certainty of death.

      1. Banger

        He’s generalizing about blogs, I didn’t get he was critical–cognitive dissonance, logical contradictions are part and parcel of our culture in general which is reflected in discussions across the board. All of us, to one degree or another, have fled from facing the implication of our situation so I can’t blame his from a bit of lamentation.

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          Please read his later comments. My assessment of him was correct. He talked about what we do here as mere “entertainment” and writing about “financial folderol.” Absolutely no compassion or concern for the fact that people are having their lives destroyed by financial predators and that as long as most of the population is struggling just to get by, they don’t have the resources (time, money, emotional energy) to work on problems that are a generation away. If you are living paycheck to paycheck, or don’t even have a paycheck, it focuses the mind.

    5. not_me

      First and foremost is the whole “it’s the economy stupid” thing micro analyzing all the myriad elements of the global economy and how it might be “fixed”. Eeyores enigma

      A fix for the economy would eliminate the NEED for growth while still allowing it and would eliminate or greatly reduce the size, scope and duration of boom-bust cycles.

      And if you think economic Depressions are good for the environment, then I direct your attention to WWII.

    6. bob

      The zero sum because I say so rule. “Sacrifices must me made! Bring me the virgins!”

      Eeyores Calvinism.

  5. rich

    Lobbyists, Bearing Gifts, Pursue Attorneys General

    The quick reversal, confirmed by Mr. Koster and Ms. Kalani, was part of a pattern of successful lobbying of Mr. Koster by the law firm on behalf of clients like Pfizer and AT&T — and evidence of a largely hidden dynamic at work in state attorneys general offices across the country.

    Attorneys general are now the object of aggressive pursuit by lobbyists and lawyers who use campaign contributions, personal appeals at lavish corporate-sponsored conferences and other means to push them to drop investigations, change policies, negotiate favorable settlements or pressure federal regulators, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

    A robust industry of lobbyists and lawyers has blossomed as attorneys general have joined to conduct multistate investigations and pushed into areas as diverse as securities fraud and Internet crimes.

    But unlike the lobbying rules covering other elected officials, there are few revolving-door restrictions or disclosure requirements governing state attorneys general, who serve as “the people’s lawyers” by protecting consumers and individual citizens.

    A result is that the routine lobbying and deal-making occur largely out of view. But the extent of the cause and effect is laid bare in The Times’s review of more than 6,000 emails obtained through open records laws in more than two dozen states, interviews with dozens of participants in cases and attendance at several conferences where corporate representatives had easy access to attorneys general.
    The group had gathered at the exclusive Beach Village at the Del — where rooms go for as much as $4,500 a night and a special key card is required to enter the private compound — for the most elite event for Republican attorneys general, a gathering of the Edmund Randolph Club (named for the first United States attorney general).
    Andy Abboud, a lobbyist for Las Vegas Sands, which donated $500,000 through its chief executive to the Republican group this year, has been urging attorneys general to join an effort to ban online poker. At breakfast, he approached Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida.

    “What are you going to be doing today?” he asked.

    “Sailing,” Ms. Bondi replied.

    “Great, I want to go sailing, too,” Mr. Abboud said, and they agreed to connect later that day.

    The increased focus on state attorneys general by corporate interests has a simple explanation: to guard against legal exposure, potentially in the billions of dollars, for corporations that become targets of the state investigations.
    game over.

    1. TedWa

      You just know that had to be the case when 49 state AG’s had their national mortgage settlement agreements to not prosecute robo-signing and other egregious crimes by the banksters – for a return of a pittance of what had been stolen from home-owners. It appears to be SOP now.

          1. hunkerdown

            You just didn’t put any text inside the link to click on. Try highlighting the text you want to linkify, then press the button and paste the URL.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Suspicion of authority in Ebola panic.

    Suspicion – is it

    1. We have been giving birth to more suspicious babies in the last few decades
    2 past actions of authority

    Based on what is happening today, do you think people in the future will be

    I. more suspicious
    II. less suspicious

    And in the present Ebola panic, what should we do

    A. be less suspicious…because we are told to be so
    B. the authority confronts past actions and makes corrections to regain people’s trust

    If you just look at the words, suspicion, Ebola panic in the headline – the inference seems to A is needed, completely ignoring B.

    1. Banger

      Paul Craig Roberts has something to say about the rather strange details surrounding Ebola. The story is dated today and called “The Ebola Story Doesn’t Smell Right.” Once you have looked into deep politics you find out one thing–nothing is quite how it seems. We are already down the rabbit hole.

        1. hunkerdown

          The late, legendary electronics engineer and eccentric gadfly Bob Widlar is said to have once called San Jose International Airport and demanded they turn off a radio tower because it was interfering with his testing of a new design.

          Just as with the Beastie Boys album Paul’s Boutique, we as a society have legislated certain kinds of eccentric genius out of existence, to our own detriment.

  7. JohnB

    Very interesting article by Irish economics professor Brian M. Lucey, on how economics courses (in their current form), may be influencing the behaviour of students in a negative way (making them more likely to be greedy/corrupt – unless causing self-selection for people with those traits, which is also likely/plausible):

    It covers a whole slew of things beyond that as well, and is backed by multiple research studies – very interesting read.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Our blogroll is way too long by Google standards even now. We are getting big search ranking demerits for it. We trimmed it of blogs we’ve been linking too less often than in the past. We lost a huge amount of traffic when Google changed its search algorithms in May so this is not a theoretical issue.

  8. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    People trust NSA more than Google.

    Very nice and subtle…the lesser of two evils. ‘Welcome back to Big Brother, my little brothers’

    Correction – Not ‘Big Brother’….but ‘Big, Rich Brother.’

    Big, Rich Brother has lots of money, but he profligates on nice, new toys, and ignores little, poor brothers…:(

    Poor, little hungry brothers….absolute poverty.

    1. YankeeFrank

      The difference between google and the NSA is easily within the margin of error for such an unscientific poll. The distrust google rating was 7.39 and for the NSA it was 7.06. Shocking? Not. Bait-link headline? Yep.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Like the one about being a weakling to panic and be suspicious of authority, this one is also subtle.

        “Come and give your Big, Rich Brother a hug.”

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        I consider the fact that they are even in the same range to be revealing. The NSA can get you whacked. Google at least as of now, can’t.

            1. bob

              Drones are a lot easier, although I agree that they are one in the same.

              With cars, you have to deal with 3 dimensions, but only have control over 2 of them.

              They’ll probably roll them out in 3rd world countries first. Just like with drones, no one cares if a few thousand 3rd world peasants get splattered in the name of progress.

        1. hunkerdown

          If you depend upon an online business for your livelihood, Google sure can “whack” you in a meaningful sense. It’s simply a matter of speed.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The end is nigh for American Quantitative Easing.

    Next up, Quantum Easing.

    One definition of quantum: a required or allowed amount, especially an amount of money legally payable in damages.

    Quantum easing then would be easing the burden of the Little People caused by damages inflicted on them by the banksters.

    How to ease their burden?

    I suggest quantum packets of newly created money directly to the Little People.

    1. not_me

      I suggest quantum packets of newly created money directly to the Little People.

      Good idea but you’d better muzzle the banks first. Otherwise, when the economy takes off after the drop, the banks will create tons of new credit and inflate away the value of the money drop.

      And guess what will be blamed for the price inflation? The banks? Never. The money drop will be blamed instead.

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Blogger backlash in Beijing.

    First of all, how can we see it, Beijing being so smoggy these days?

    The other question is whether Beijing ever graduated from the Finishing School for all Empire wannabees? One asks because everything is covered there – from how to look suave to ‘how to make people crave for more brainwashing’ to ‘Self-Service brainwashing for your citizens.’

    Right now, China looks like a only second-rate totalitarian empire.

  11. Oregoncharles

    “Suspicion of authority is feeding America’s Ebola panic ”
    Gee, you think? I’m pretty suspicious of it myself. For one thing, the standard reassurances – for instance, that it’s hard to catch – simply don’t match experience, which is that the most-protected people repeatedly do catch it. Something is wrong with their assumptions.

    This, on top of a general, justified suspicion of authority.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      I suggest you do homework rather than feeding fears. I wrote this earlier and it bears repeating:

      Your question reflects a lack of understanding of who is at risk of getting Ebola. It’s people exposed to Ebola patients when they are dying, as in health care workers and potentially family and/or people exposed to the body if the person does not die in a hospital. The disease is blood borne. You need to be exposed to bodily fluids of the person who has Ebola, and even then bodily fluids that contain particles of blood. The big risk of contagion is when they are dying because the disease course makes them basically dissolve into bloody vomit and bloody poop. They expel most of their bodily fluids in the course of dying.

      No one in Duncan’s family appears to have contracted Ebola. Of eight nurses treating him in a hospital whose protocols were so bad that it may have made their odds of infection worse, only 2 got sick (the use of duct tape, which almost assured they’d get any small amounts of Ebola goo on them on their hands when removing it, which then means there is a high risk of getting it in your eyes or mouth by touching/rubbing your face, which people do all the time). Even with that, the two who contracted the disease weren’t wearing key pieces of protective gear! As a doctor at Emory, which was where the two US doctors who contracted Ebola and were flown to the US to be treated, wrote:

      The two nurses now have been confirmed that they were not wearing masks or goggles for two days while taking care of Duncan while he had projectile vomitting and bloody diarrhea. No doctor has become sick yet at the facility since their contact is casual…the poor nurses have to clean up the poop, vomit etc. All it takes is getting a drop on your mucous membranes…

      Remember, in 100 years of microbiology not a single virus has mutated from being fluid/blood transmission to airborne. It’s why we haven’t panicked about AIDS and Hep C becoming airborne. With airborne transmission you don’t have to have direct contact with the patient ( eg. TB and Flu ) However, if you cough and sneeze a large amount of respiratory fluids and someone else unmindfully touches it and makes it to their mouth or eyes, there is a possibility of transmission. there was some initial panic with pigs potentially getting the ebola airborn but that has been debunked. I believe there was a case of HEP C via large respiratory droplets from coughing ( which contained microdroplets of blood). I used to be chief of infectious disease at my hospital when we had no ID specialists. The gowns and gloves used for contact isolation, if not taken off in the right order, (and it is not as simple as ripping off the gloves and gowns) can cause a serious breech of contact isolation

      The authorities keep mentioning that it might be possible to get it via airborne means. Please read what the Emory doctor said. This is bending over backwards to be cautious. That a very small number, perhaps as few as one which is in doubt, of cases of Hep C being transmitted that way. With Ebola, given the way patients die, the transmission vector is close contact with the dying victim.

      Firestone was able to beat Ebola in a Liberian town:

      1. Oregoncharles

        Yes, I’ve seen all of that – I’m not medically trained, but I’ve been following it as closely as I can from lay sources.
        Sorry – still doesn’t add up. Doctors Without Borders has been described as having the best protocols, at least in Africa, but there are still a lot of them sick. There’s something the “authorities” haven’t quite figured out yet, and I don’t mean you.

        What is the difference between sounding an alarm, or raising pointed questions, and “feeding fears”?

        1. Yves Smith Post author

          You’ve got your facts wrong.

          MSF has treated thousands of Ebola patients. All of 17, including the doctor in NYC, contracted the disease. The doctor from Emory stressed that the time when front-line staff are most at risk is when they are removing protective gear. It is a complicated, time-consuming process. If you are tired or distracted, you can screw up. So some degree of failure is inevitable.

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