Links 10/31/14

Wikipedia is threatening to delete the entry for Naked Capitalism, claiming that “Entry not Noteworthy and the entry lacks independence of subject.” Given that we did not provide the entry, it’s hard to see the “lacks independence” part. And given that this site has regularly been ranked among top finance and economics blogs, and our book ECONNED has been listed as one of the 100 best economics books of all time, it’s hard to see “not noteworthy” by the encyclopedic standards of Wikipedia. This looks as if someone we alienated is trying to get a bit of revenge.

Can readers who are Wikipedia-savvy please ride to our rescue? Your help is very much appreciated!

Stanford engineers develop tiny, sound-powered chip to serve as medical device Stanford (David L)

Why the U.S. Has Fallen Behind in Internet Speed and Affordability New York Times

The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World Wired (David L)


Nurse defies Ebola quarantine with bike ride; negotiations fail Reuters

Why Kaci Hickox might lose a legal battle against Ebola quarantine Washington Post

Fighting Ebola in Sierra Leone: ‘The world is not safe’ Guardian

Ebola: Danger in Sierra Leone, Progress in Liberia ABC News

Why Taxation Must Go Global Project Syndicate (David L)

China’s GDP growth: Less Than Meets the Eye? WSJ China Real Time Report

Europe’s Deadly Fiscal Paralysis Bloomberg

Four rescue measures for stagnant eurozone Financial Times (David L)

German Retail Sales Fall Through The Floor Business Insider

Some countries getting killed by cheap oil CNN

Russia and Ukraine reach gas deal Financial Times


Islamic militants still flow to Syria despite airstrikes Washington Post

Iran Foils Sabotage Attempt on Heavy Water Tanks Associated Press

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

The “second source” for Snowden reporters, explained Washington Post

The FBI’s Secret House Meeting to Get Access to Your iPhone National Journal

Gideon’s Army at Guantanamo Just Security

Is Military Spending Driving U.S. GDP Growth? WSJ Real Time Economics

90 Pounds of Cocaine Found on Cargo Ship Owned by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s Father-in-Law Liberty Blitzkrieg (rich)

The U.S. Shale Boom May Be Shorter Than Predicted OilPrice

Whither Markets?

Get ready for déjà vu in the credit markets MarketWatch

Earnings Cheating Season: Is Your Favorite Company Cooking the Books? Michael Shedlock

Apologizing to Japan Paul Krugman. The contrast is even more striking when you factor in that Japan’s commercial/residential real estate bubbles were even bigger relative to their economy than the US housing/residential real estate derivatives bubbles were.

Class Warfare

The Case Against Labor-Market Individualism Counterpunch

The Constitutional Right of Scabby the Rat Atlantic (JTFaraday)

Buybacks Can Juice Per-Share Profit, Pad Executive Pay Wall Street Journal (furzy mouse). Duh!

Affordable housing and the legit big-city whinge

Dark Age America: Involuntary Simplicity Archdruid (hunkerdown). I quibble with his reading of Tainter. Tainter concedes that some societies pull themselves out of a collapse trajectory but doesn’t examine them. And he also rejects culture as playing any role, when his only explanation for why the cultures that avoided collapse were able to do so was that they had better elites. How is that not culture? Not that gives us much reason to hope, mind you.

Antidote du jour (hat tip Claudia):

birds holding hands links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. JTFaraday

    re: The Constitutional Right of Scabby the Rat, Atlantic

    I always find Scabby the Rat sort of weird as a protest prop as it seems more symbolic of labor disunity than of “labor solidarity,” so called.

    1. optimader

      Just took an earful yesterday from a (union) electrician we throw work to. We tolerate the contractor he works for because we like him, he’s competent and familiar w/ our ways so we justify using him on the basis of learning curve efficiency.
      He concludes he has been priced out of the trade by the Union and he’s contemplating his next move. His book time is at $126.00/hr. “who’s gonna hire us to do any residential work?”, which used to be his bread and butter but now long gone.
      The industrial work they used to get is fading as well, the rates are just not justifiable. Since 2007, year over year, he is working less and less as his rate is escalating. His booked hours are down 30% this year compared to last and it’s not because there isn’t work. He’s paid into the mandatory Union “pension fund” but is not at all optimistic about the funds being there and expects it will be in the Union “must have spent” vapor account.

      1. Glenn Condell

        Is the problem union corruption or unions per se, do you think? Ie, would we be better off without them?

        Perhaps what we need is better unions with more workers in them. How about a market for unions… competing for worker allegiance to their particular charter of wages and conditions, may the best charter win, and then negotiate with owners to reach an agreement beneficial not to just to both but to the wider community. This is roughly how things were before the Great Unravelling and in its pomp that arrangement, with the profit share from growth not yet dwarfing wages and thereby ensuring healthy aggregate demand and only moderate inequality, delivered the greatest period of shared prosperity known in historical times.

        There is a respectable view that unions are dinosaurs we’d be better off without (Mish is representative here), which dovetails nicely with the less respectable elite view that they’re somehow anti-American and ‘socialist’. But what would a union-free reality really look like?

        1. ambrit

          “What would a union-free reality look like?”
          Come on down to the Deep South y’all and find out. Down here we like to call it, “Right to work. (For less.)”
          The South has always been a bastion of Paternalism. Several wealthy families controlled everything in these small towns. One or two streets of Victorian Gothic palaces sat in their glory amidst a sea of small bungalows and shotgun shacks. Services were rationed strictly according to wealth and status. There’s a reason why there are so many pieces of great Southern literature themed on the extraordinary struggles of communities and saintly individuals. Those stories were the exception that proved the rule, of wealth.
          Knowing that this is an economics blog, I still feel impelled to observe that Trades Unionism was as much a social and political movement as an economic one. When the Unions die out fully, ordinary people will have lost a major means of getting their needs and aspirations met. If nothing else, Unions were a way to accumulate money to counter the wealth of the ruling classes. It’s all very well to hope for and encourage divisions within the ruling elites, but that does little to remove those elites. They will still control the ‘levers of power.’ Unions were another set of hands countering the elites manipulations. So, my ultimate question is; where are our “New Unions” to counter the Powers That Be?
          Thanks for letting me rant.

  2. Banger

    Just a note on Wikipedia: it has become very political. Personally, I believe it is being managed by the U.S. intel/security services as part of the cyber-war against all and sundry. There’s a lot of good historical information there for which I’m grateful but just so you know–the honchos there don’t like dissenters. Read Walter Lippman’s Public Opinion to understand the ideology behind it all.

    1. abynormal

      agree. i don’t see a disgruntled commenter having that kind of pull…maybe one of shrills from Pharma, GMO, Finance or Climateers. through hard work and perseverance this site is a thorn from any bush. Yves mentioned last week about watching for cracks in the elite…good, be afraid!

      No short-haired, yellow-bellied, son of tricky dicky
      Is gonna mother hubbard soft soap me
      With just a pocketful of soap.

      John Lennon

    2. EmilianoZ

      Wikipedia is like the mainstream media. It’ll give you the official accepted version of everything.

      I’m not surprised they wanna scrap NC while they probably have an entry for every single Pokemon character.

      That’s why I’ve never participated in any of their fundraisers. It would feel like giving money to the NYT or Wapo.

    3. reslez

      Wikipedia is dominated by cultists who believe the best way they can improve Wikipedia is by deleting articles from it. Their standard of truth is whether something can be googled in English. The culture is highly political, misogynist and forbidding to newcomers. Discussions are dominated by score-settling editors, impenetrable internal jargon, and passive aggressive claims to reasonableness and neutrality. Honestly, NC is better served by not having an NC page where Wikipedia’s reigning trolls can score points by slanting the facts through omission and fraud.

      Revenge, ego and the corruption of Wikipedia

      Wikipedia’s Sexist Turn: Men Are Novelists, Women Are ‘Women Novelists’

      Sexism on Wikipedia Is Not the Work of ‘a Single Misguided Editor’

  3. Banger

    I don’t think the “links” section at NC has mentioned Patrick Cockburn’s masterful analysis of the Syranqistan situation which I read in Counterpunch but is also at LRB. Cockburn’s reporting is what reporting ought to look like, i.e., the direct opposite of U.S. MSM reporting. I urge readers to read it–I linked to it yesterday or the day before and hadn’t seen any mention of it here.

    Compare it to the limp reporting from WaPost that is cited here today–any mainstream reporting I’ve seen since the beginning of the Syrian civil war has been abysmally bad and direct from CIA and State Dept. sources largely unfiltered by independent reporting.

    1. David Lentini

      Wired Only Adding to the Stupidity on AI Reporting

      Do we really need to read about AI from Wired, Sili Valley’s verson of Tass? Do we really need read such assinine phrases as “industrial-grade digital smartness”? Do we really need to rehash the same old stories about computer “intelligence” coming down to (in no particular order): (1) faster processors, (2) parallel processing, (3) lots and lots of something they call “data” (more likely bull$sh’t), and (4) algorithms software (showing the usual ignorance, the author doesn’t understand that algorithms don’t actually do anything, they have to be encoded as computer instructions, i.e., software, which is a whole other can of worms)? Stories that have circulated for decades with no actual basis in reality?

      So, once again, we have announcements of “Artificial Intelligence”; but only so long as we don’t pay any attention to: (1) a definition of “intelligence” that has nothing to do with intelligence, and (2) cherrypicking examples that sound fantastic until you realize how little real intelligence is involved. In fact, most popular reporting on AI, like economics, probably degrades the reader’s intelligence.

      The link to the IEEEMichael Jordan (no not that one) was the real deal. Links like that one are the true strength of NC, no the repetition and ciculation of the techo-tripe that is a mainstay of the MSM. I appreciat that it’s often helpful to know the foolishness out there, but there is a fine line between warning and propagation.

      1. MikeNY

        Check out David Brooks’s mildly superior take on AI in today’s NYT. It’s still overblown, but at least he recognizes that computers can never be human and can’t reason in any meaningful sense of the term.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Instead of Artificial Intelligence, we should pour more research money into Artificial Love.

        It’s a bigger market, and I believe, a bigger need.

        We need robots that will meditate (to grow the robotic brain’s compassion zone) and robots that can love us (God, we need that…)

        We want Artificial Love. We want AL, from genuine robots.

        Already, we have too many smart, or rather, very smart people (judging by their capitalistic bank accounts*), walking around with little love in their hearts.

        *Under capitalism, per MSM, if you’re rich, you must be very smart. That’s the official line.

        1. hardWorkingBee

          I’d like to think of a cybernetic meadow
          where mammals and computers live together
          in mutually programming harmony
          like pure water touching clear sky.

          I like to think (it has to be!) of a cybernetic ecology
          where we are free of our labors and joined back to nature,
          returned to our mammal brothers and sisters,
          and all watched over by machines of loving grace.
          [R. Brautigan]

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I don’t care if my robot is dumb, but it showers me with its Artificial Love every day…

            1. optimader

              “… artificial love…”
              it’s already the oldest profession in the world

              “I don’t care if my robot is dumb”. even the dumbest one wont backup while vomiting hairballs behind the couch.

              1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                My point exactly.

                We already have human ‘artificial love.

                AND we also already have human ‘artificial intelligence’ – look around and you will see plenty of humans with artificial intelligence.

                So, why bother with robot artificial intelligence or robot artificial love?

        2. zephyrum


          You’re absolutely right about the need for artificial love, but it’s all around us:
          Technology loves me, this I know,
          For the Marketing tells me so;
          Little ones to It belong;
          They are weak, but It is strong.

        3. Paul Niemi

          Before “artificial Intelligence”, AI stood for “artificial insemination.” I suppose that’s a kind of artificial love, but it generally involved bovines.

      3. hunkerdown

        My only quibble is that WIRED is a lifestyle magazine, not a news magazine. it’s more Silicon Valley’s GQ than its Tass. Other than that, you nailed it to the wall.

    2. David Lentini

      Agreed. Cockburn’s reporting and commentary has been excellent and generally far more reliable than anyone else. I hope NC will focus on his stories, which, of course, don’t make it to usual US news outlets.

  4. no more banksters

    I was trying to write a message at wikipedia objecting about naked capitalism article deletion when suddenly I saw that the deletion message has removed. I don’t know what’s going on but I will be monitoring the situation.

    1. Mel

      What did the deletion message look like? It’s certainly gone now.
      Seems to be one enthusiast who joined Wikipedia on Sept 25 and set out to change the world, including deletion flags for some dozens of various pages, with a bias towards economics. Seems to be a whiff of narcissism — has picked a fight and has threatened to leave Wikipedia forever. Net result so far is that others have made the page more informative.
      Whether it’s an enthusiast or an operative disguised as an enthusiast — there’s a question.

      1. no more banksters

        Yes, still I see that the message is not there. I only managed to see it for a few minutes after Yves’ message above, then disappeared. Apparently too many people complained about it.

        1. Mel

          Thanks to Fíréan I dug through the history again and found the deletion marker. It was in there flagged as a minor edit.

      2. hunkerdown

        03:56, 1 October 2014 (diff | hist) . . (+58)‎ . . Editorial ‎ (→‎See also: added Zero Hedge as a leading online source of editorial content)

        Well, that’ll be interesting.

  5. MartyH

    Wikipedia has some group of “Editors” who act in this political and highly biased way. Our technology leader produced a library that performs much better than most of its competitors, has been adopted by many Open Source Software projects, and is being integrated into still further projects as we speak. But Wikipedia has repeatedly taken down the entry for the software as “Not Notable” which it most definitely is.
    We are well aware that our software is superior to commercial offerings and is, as Open Source Software, less expensive. However, the Wikipedia’s organizational behavior is apparently serving either commercial interests or the interests of others who would prefer that people not learn about what we have. My guess is that this is being done for similar reasons to NC!

    1. Banger

      Clearly some people in the security services consider NC as a threat–should be seen as a badge of honor.

    2. reslez

      Many Wikipedians view it as a badge of honor to delete pages. Wikipedia is basically a big video game, and that’s one way they score points.

  6. nobody

    About that alleged “Progress in Liberia,” the blogger at H5N1 is skeptical:

    [W]hile Dr. Aylward hedges his comments, he’s giving the media encouragement to spin the story at least a little optimistically. This seems to me in conflict with what WHO actually said… Words like “hamstrung” are rarely found in upbeat WHO reports. More significantly, WHO seems very unhappy with the quality of Liberia’s case reporting. When the whole country failed to report five days’ worth of cases in the last ten, the numbers WHO got were at best science fiction, and perhaps outright fantasy.

    The rate of new cases may have slowed. The rate of reporting new cases has certainly slowed, and the conclusion I draw from that is that Liberia’s healthcare system can barely maintain the pretense of case reporting.

    1. Juneau

      Sadly MSF is skeptical too. Perhaps the disposal of remains is affecting counts and people are afraid to report etc…

      I imagine MSF is very worried about losing support, thanks to recent HCW controversies regarding voluntary quarantine. I really think Ms. HIckox has injured her cause more than she may realize. HCW are held to a higher standard than the usual activist. It is just a fact. She lost sight of that fact. Whether she is an agent provocateur or on a mission matters not. She has hurt the rest of us and made it harder for laymen to trust HCW. Here is one example of the anger generated (fair or unfair).

      1. lee

        Ms Hickox seems a bit unbalanced to me. Ebola or no, I wouldn’t want to see her at my hospital bedside with a syringe in her hand. Meanwhile, she is being shrilly defended by some on the mainstream left. I am glad to be on the other side of the continent and as a Stanford patient, also glad of that institution’s decision to quarantine the recently returned Dr. Bucks. The issue of quarantines appears most disgustingly to have become subject to pre-election partisan politicization and ideologically driven polemics.

      2. different clue

        One almost wonders whether this Hickox person was a long-game secret agent for ISIS on a mission to get infected with Ebola and bring it back to America and spread it around. And is vocally bitter now that her suicide germbomber plans have been foiled.

        1. lee

          That’s the best ebola laugh I’ve had all day. And now for today’s ebola quiz.

          True or False:

          Viruses without borders is the ultimate expression and final stage of globalization.

          The constitution is in fact a suicide pact.

          Anyone favoring quarantines on travelers from ebola hot zones is helping Republicans beat Democrats in the midterms and is a racist to boot.

  7. dearieme

    “Buybacks Can … Pad Executive Pay”: that’s the whole point of them, I assume; shareholders are looted by the executives. Executives even prove good at looting organisations that don’t have shareholders – look at what goes on in universities.

  8. abynormal

    zh…the BOJ shocked the world with a decision to boost QE, announcing it would monetize JPY80 trillion in JGBs, up from the JPY60-70 trillion currently and expand the universe of eligible for monetization securities. A decision which will forever be known in FX folklore as the great Halloween Yen-long massacre. In other words, several days after Larry Fink mysteriously visited Abe, the BOJ announced it would do everything in its power push the Nikkei into green for the year, which it did with its announcement overnight, and to truly crush the local population’s buying power.

    and Krudmon wants to apologize…decades AFTER i killed your family and eliminated the possibility for a cell of a generations survival

    1. abynormal
      Nikkei futures halted limit up – over 1100 points post-BoJ (+1400 post-FOMC) as USDJPY tops 112 (up 4 handles post-FOMC) to its highest since Jan 2008.

      we’re on a road to nowhere
      go’n 1100mph

      1. abynormal

        Dow n S&P just blewout all time highs…and we’re not even consuming!


        1. MikeNY

          I think we’re in the bubble self-perpetuation phase in the US. This could go on for quite some time yet.

        2. ambrit

          I see it a little differently aby. We’re like the farmers who eat all the seed corn. Next spring, we’re forced to hard choices. Now though, someone else has eaten the seed corn. Time to sharpen up the pitchforks and dust off Madame La Guillotine.

          1. abynormal

            no i see it the same…due to an overwhelming dread, i lean into sarcasm. and i agree with the theory of no end to the products of manipulation tptb will/must attempt. the experience will be slow like a violent hunger. unfortunately, by the time a majority are on the same page, we’ll be too weak to lift the social pitchfork.

            but out of the ashes…

            1. ambrit

              My problem with that, short sighted mini narcissist that I am, is that “out of the ashes” could be one or two full generations hence. (I hope that all these “live forever” strategies run full stop into a genetic brick wall. Shorter lifetimes for the individuals translates into quicker adaptation times for the species, on the physical adaptation front. As for the social adaptation times…)

  9. Paul Tioxon

    I’m surprised to find businesses wasted time and effort = $ to suppress a prop for a direct action by the unions. The rat has long be a sign of protest over non-union workers being used, primarily inside of the city of Philadelphia where the trade unions are strongest. More recently, Fat Cat has been used as well. It is usually covered in the video reports of more notable disputes on the local news channels, a prop as a visual that makes good copy. It does stand out as you ride by on a bus or car and draws your attention to some union conflict with a construction site in the area. As such, it does the job, which is to alert the public of a specific grievance at a specific site. Sometimes, this also alerts the print media of a story. All in all, as an advertising and promotional gimmick, it does the trick. It is comparable to any number of other oddly displayed over scaled plastic promotional gimmicks that are used by car dealers, such as king kong gorillas on roofs, wobbly stick man in front of you name it. Of course, the most popular gimmick is the US flag the size of Montana on a flag pole that could be used to help launch Apollo XI to the moon. Why car dealers in particular seem to need to display this gargantuan icon as if car sales and the Red, White and Blue were some how connected to the flag raising on Iwo Jima is a mystery of life to be deciphered by pedents more cynical than me.

  10. fresno dan
    Liberals, conservatives, and moderates “did not significantly differ in subjective ratings of disgusting, threatening, or pleasant pictures,” the researchers report, “except that the conservative group had marginally higher disgust sensitivity than the liberal group.”

    The brain scans, however, told a different story. Researchers “reliably differentiated the conservative and liberal groups” by observing how the distinctive ways their brains responded to images that evoked disgust—particularly ones that served as reminders of our animal nature, such as images of mutilated bodies.

    “A single disgusting image was sufficient to predict each subject’s political orientation,” Montague told Cell Press. “I haven’t seen such clean predictive results in any other functional imaging experiments in our lab or others.”
    Well…..first I guess I would start by asking if Bush the junior was a “conservative” – and than I would ask if President Obama is a liberal. And who was disgusted upon viewing either picture….
    And one could ask what “disgust” is – I am truly disgusted by the lack of prosecution of financial crimes.

    “At least theoretically, these results could help lower the temperature of our political squabbles. If we could do away with the idea that “You’re an idiot for thinking that way” and replace it with “Your brain simply processes things differently than mine,” it would make it harder to demonize those on the other side.

    But that would require giving some thought to how our ideological leanings arise, and letting go of the mindset that insists we’re right because we know we’re right.”

    Well, perhaps there is some differences among people with regard to brain processes. But I doubt that accounts for the fact that at one time the south was solidly democratic, and now it is solidly republican. I doubt it accounts for the fact that if your born in the “west” your much, much more likely to be a Christian than if your born in Saudi Arabia. So I would conclude brain processes account for very little differentiation of beliefs.
    I have noted before that I had an Alan Greenspan moment and changed some of my libertarian views. Because as much as I was ideologically invested, I was more invested in reality. As John Maynard Keynes said,
    “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

    Finally, I was just in a jury pool (a very big pool). Among the jurors undergoing voir dire questioning for a civil suit was a woman who herself was being sued. She professed a strong belief that punitive damages are always unjust, and would not retreat from this position.
    Now, one could certainly argue that there are too many lawsuits, and punitive damages are often too high, while still understanding that punishment is an important aspect of justice. After all, if you are caught stealing, just returning the stolen item is not typically found by itself to be a sufficient remedy. And if it was the rule, you would always be better off trying to take advantage of stealing. Yet this woman simply, undoubtedly due to her own circumstances, thought that punitive punishment in a civil suit was always unjustified.
    I would say that it probably is due to a lack of imagination, reasoning ability, abstract thinking – now those are brain processes, but I don’t think they reliably lead to being “conservative” or “liberal”. I leave it to others to debate how important those qualities are with regard to intelligence. The only intrinsic brain process I see displayed by this woman is an emotional self regard, which most people restrain due to social conditioning, as well as deeply embedded behavioral characteristics of us social animals, humans. Undoubtedly, the peril this woman finds herself in from this civil suit overwhelms her reasoning ability.
    And one postscript: is being against punitive damages liberal or conservative? Its my understanding that the vast majority of civil suits are businesses suing businesses, and that most businesses would very much want to retain the right to sue for punitive damages…

    1. Massinissa

      That the south was democrat and is now republican has always striked me as beyond the point.

      They were conservative democrats and are now conservative republicans. Their actual views never actually changed, they just changed ships. The political orientations stayed the same.

      1. ambrit

        Living in the Deep South has shown me one thing clearly; social norms here are following the national trends now much more closely than in times past. The younger cohort is showing clear signs of relaxed racial attitudes. Short of a massive reaction imposed from above with serious ‘social costs’ factored in, the New Nuevo South will be nothing like Grandads’ Dixieland. (Just look at the demographics. How many Latinos were there in the Deep South back in, say, the 1950’s and 1960’s? Today they’re everywhere. Don’t even get the old guys with the Confederate Battle Flag license plates on the front of their pick up trucks going about mixed race marriages. They’ve lost, and they know it.)

        1. Kurt Sperry

          Agreed, based on first hand reports from the Deep South. Attitudes are changing in Dixie, but as the evolution essentially takes place in discrete generational quanta, it doesn’t manifest in a smooth or incremental manner that is friendly to simple analysis or scoring.

          1. ambrit

            Agreed about the generational nature of the shift. Indeed, the framing of the phenomena in sports terms, implying a natural state of intense competition between discrete groups, only helps elites take advantage. (If I were a cynic I’d suspect the more astute elite factions of promoting just such framing.) It is, if nothing else, not simple.

  11. Kurt Sperry

    Re: “The Three Breakthroughs That Have Finally Unleashed AI on the World”

    For anyone interested in AI and consciousness, I’d strongly recommend reading John R. Searle’s essay on the subject “What Your Computer Can’t Know”, published recently in the New York Review of Books and available online here:

    It I think effectively delineates the underlying fallacies and magical thinking required to believe that “AI” can in any foreseeable future achieve anything like what we call consciousness. This isn’t just a metaphysical distinction either, it bears on the practical utilitarian limits of machine AI, limits that its proselytizers pointedly refuse to see.

      1. Kurt Sperry

        Sorry, didn’t scroll down to the splat on the paywall–I’d already read it in the print version. Shame, I found it excellent and persuasive.

        As you were then.

    1. optimader

      The simulation of human consciousness will require a hardware/software system that can construct a comprehensive (not necessarily accurate) virtual representation of reality, then be able to learn and process all manner of countless simulations of the future, filtering out the perceived impossible, improbable and unlikely to arrive at plausible courses of action to satisfy future objectives, anything in the time frame from that limited by the autonomic nervous system (say blinking) to mortality and beyond (say making out a will)….All this background processing while trying to discern things as mundane as if you have one black sock and one blue sock, or if the tea kettle is going to transform into a rum-cake.
      All this processing power performed in a little tub of cholesterol we know as “The Brain” that can be run on a fuel supply as modest two pack of Twinkies.
      “..The average human brain has about 100 billion neurons (or nerve cells) and many more neuroglia (or glial cells) which serve to support and protect the neurons (although see the end of this page for more information on glial cells). Each neuron may be connected to up to 10,000 other neurons, passing signals to each other via as many as 1,000 trillion synaptic connections, equivalent by some estimates to a computer with a 1 trillion bit per second processor. Estimates of the human brain’s memory capacity vary wildly from 1 to 1,000 terabytes (for comparison, the 19 million volumes in the US Library of Congress represents about 10 terabytes of data)…”

      So I say good luck w/ that, considering we’re still challenged by Aplysia’s 20,000 nervecells vs ( the human brain 100BB est) It’s good to have noble projects, but I’m not holding my breath for anything that implys high level AI in my lifetime.

      A cool mapping of the retinal neurons

      1. steviefinn

        Reply meant for Kurt.

        Yes Optimader – I was reminded of the facts you state the other day while watching Carl Sagan’s ‘Cosmos’. This episode ‘ the persistence of memory ‘ covered it. I have been surprised by how much my so called persistent memory had forgotten in relation to the still pertinent information contained within the series.

        Tragic that Mr. Sagan left us prematurely.

        1. optimader

          “This video is not available in your country.” Youtube BS..

          in any case, yeah too bad about Carl Sagan,. Lost opportunity. One of those intellectually fertile guys that would have been fun to follow a few more decades.
          I’ll have to hunt-up that title “Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: Episode 11-The Persistence of Memory” elsewhere
          I’m sure I was it in the way back.
          these are all excellent, Good to run in the background when your doing something mundane, or late night:

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Steve, when Big, Rich Brother finds out how our brain works, how do we know our brains are still our brains, and that we are not being manipulated by Big, Rich Brother?

        1. steviefinn

          I suppose we wouldn’t know – perhaps that’s how it was for the vast majority of mankind who up until relatively recently were born into a rigid social structure in which there was very little chance of escape – they knew their place. Hopefully dissent is an evolutionary process designed to aid the survival of the oppressed, as we would be totally lost without those who are willing to tell the so called elites to go f**k themselves.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Is military spending driving US GDP growth?

    That would not be the kind of fiscal stimulus we, the little brother people, need, from Big, Rich Brother.

    1. optimader

      “Is military spending driving US GDP growth?”

      0100 Level example of Broken Window Fallacy.
      It is the equivalent of paying people to add value to “natural resources” (hate that term), then dump them in the Mariana Trench. It’s worse in fact because much of it is used to destroy other stuff.

      The only people that make out are the ones that get first use of the money that pays for MIC spending because it is purely inflationary.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


          Cheap, import robot politicians…(probably illegally smuggled into this country).

    2. Larry Headlund

      There is no there there. The article speculates on the reasons behind a rise of $12 billion in military spending between two quarters in 2014. Well, the same two quarters in 2013 had a rise of $17 billion but the author didn’t bother to check.

  13. rich

    Bernie Sanders on Breaking Big Money’s Grip on Elections

    Bernie Sanders, Vermont’s independent senator, is angry about what he sees as big money’s wholesale purchase of political power. It’s a grave threat, he believes, not only to our electoral process but to democracy itself.

    you don’t need a tank to roll over people…..just infinite access to money….and they have it.

  14. ambrit

    About the Wikipedia issue; does the Wikipedia ranking system rely on number of hits per unit of time? If so, the Commentariat could perform a little ‘Astroturfing’. Say, every morning for a while, first thing we do is link onto Wikipedia asking for Naked Capitalism. If Wikipedia does source matching to requests, it’s a non starter, but, here’s hoping.

    1. Mel

      No. The Wikipedia system depends on people logging in and changing stuff. The NC Commentariat could in principle go in and make the page say anything they want. Then some Wikipedia regulars would probably have to come in and change it back. Go to the Naked Capitalism Wikipedia oage, then click on :”View history” for a capsule summary of this latest brouhaha. Clicking “Talk” gets you to where changes are supposed to be proposed and discussed, but that’s pretty darn thin in this case.

      1. reslez

        Wikipedians are suspicious of outsiders who join a discussion after an appeal from the subject of a page. If that’s you, expect to have your opinion discounted.

        1. ambrit

          “Wikipedians are suspicious of outsiders…” That sounds like ‘in group’ thinking. It’s hard to believe that something as ubiquitous as this is based on a cult model. “We will all now bow down and pay obeisance to the ‘Wikihead!’ Bring forth the Sacrifice!”

      2. ambrit

        Ah ha. So that’s how it “works.” I just clicked over and scrolled to the bottom of the page where it says last modified today. The Talk page had several laudatory comments. The entry is still identified as a stub, so, not out of the woods yet, but getting there.
        Fascinating to discover how systems ‘work.’

  15. William Hunter Duncan

    Krugman wants to apologize to Japan? Because they look like a roll model? Would that be about Fukushima? Or their 2.5/1 Debt/GDP? Or their demograpic reality trumping neo-liberal economic hoodoo? That they have no significant native fossil fuel energy to exploit?

    The nobel laureate economist incapable of putting ANYTHING in context. Maybe they will give him another for comparing the Post-Carbon Institute to the Koch brothers?

    I recommend instead something like debt jubilee, and consigning neo-cons and neo-lib technophile globalists to window washing or something like it :)

  16. rich

    BlueCrest Downgraded as Aksia Tells Clients to Pull Money

    “The recommendation is due to the increased lack of transparency of their operations based on a thorough operational review conducted by Aksia,” according to the minutes.

    The firm follows Albourne Partners Ltd., another consultant that reduced its ratings for BlueCrest earlier this year saying the hedge fund hadn’t provided sufficient information about a proprietary fund run for the benefit of its partners.

    In February, Albourne told clients it had discovered BlueCrest was running a $1.5 billion internal fund that only senior partners invested in. Albourne said its existence raised concerns that BlueCrest’s interests weren’t aligned with investors, people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.
    Internal Fund

    nice feature…hmmm?…that adequate disclosure response doesn’t really do it for me in this “let’s make a steal” environment…or is that deal?..or was the steal the deal?

  17. susan the other

    Project Syndicate. Hello Wolfgang! Schaeuble advocates a global taxation. I couldn’t agree more. If taxation is attenuated by the deprivation to poorer populations as opposed to the “expenses” of capital.

    1. Glenn Condell

      Wouldn’t it be great to see in the near future a contest between the leaders of the two major parties of the greatest democracy in the world in which one advocated more of the same elite offshore tax avoidance (say Romney) and the other pushed for this global tax to defeat avoidance (umm… can’t think of anyone off the top of my head)

  18. Marianne Jones

    Regarding the Wikipedia entry, there are a couple of things that need to be improved and ought best be crowd-driven by NC’s readers:

    1) The website and the author ought be separate entries. There are attributes to the website that are unique to the website and it’s place in the financial news of today, then there are attributes of the person and what she does.

    2) More information about the website, needs to be added, starting with an infobox. Here’s the website infobox link:

    3) Things like the Alexa rating for the site need to be added. Etc.

    4) All information about the website needs to be corroborated by a 3rd party, and should never point back to NC as a primary source.

    1. Marianne Jones

      Okay peoples, I’ve added the website Infobox and a couple details. I hope others can add others.

      Going to add a number 5 to the list of stuff:

      5) I’d consider this article a stub. Really needs a proper introductory paragraph, then a proper outline to get it out of stub territory.

    2. Marianne Jones

      Regarding #1) I see someone has already put in a redirect for Susan Webber / Yves Smith to the NC wikipedia page. This is probably adequate, as long the redirects stay in place.

      The upside is that this allows for real world activities taken by Susan Webber / Yves Smith with Aurora (example the FOIA lawsuit against Calpers) to feature under the NC page.

  19. skippy

    Naked Capitalism, An Invaluable Source

    As admin of the Seniors for a Democratic Society Facebook page and blog, I find Naked Capitalism an indispensable source of information. I use Wikipedia, Wikimedia, and others on a regular basis, but I use Naked Capitalism on a daily basis for links and information to aid in the dissemination of information not generally available in the neutered mainstream press. There is no other source with such an important collection of this kind of news. — (talk) 13:00, 31 October 2014 (UTC)
    Naked Capitalism: web rankings

    17 on Time’s 2011 list of Top 25 Economics Blogs:,29569,2057116,00.html

    9 in Onalytica’s 2103 ranking of top 200 economics blogs:

    As of today, “Conscience of a Liberal” (that’s Paul Krugman’s economics blog at gets 290,000 hits on Google; “naked capitalism” gets 586,000.

    This is a *very* important and influential economics blog. However it does need a more substantive Wikipedia entry. I am sure same will soon be provided. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:02, 31 October 2014 (UTC)

    Skippy… bawhahahaha… not to worry Yves, I get the same treatment here and there in the political economic sphere… usually some spoil sport with admin rights being petty… usually fixed up pronto by shaking the tree a bit.

  20. buffalo cyclist

    Clearly, some of the powers that be do not like Naked Capitalism (surprise, surprise). This website speaks truth to power in a way that is very uncomfortable to the economic and political establishments.

  21. Propertius

    Obviously the solution to high-priced New York housing is to get rid of that big piece of “idle land” in the middle of Manhattan. Sell Central Park to the developers and I’m sure the housing crunch will be over.

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