Links 2/11/15

Fossilized grass hints that dinosaurs ate hallucinogenic fungus similar to LSD Raw Story (YY)

Google’s dog robot looks too real for comfort when getting kicked Mashable (furzy mouse)

Grandparents Who Babysit Are Less Likely to Develop Alzheimer’s [VIDEO] Cars 108 (furzy mouse). Groan. Correlation is not causation. How about: “Older people with the early signs of Alzheimers have enough self awareness not to sign up for child care duties?” That is just as plausible…..

Our Fear of Artificial Intelligence MIT Technology Review (David L)

Smartphone theft drops in London, 2 U.S. cities as anti-theft ‘kill switches’ installed Reuters

50 Shades of Shadow Banking: China Risks Reined In Bloomberg

Swiss leaks show deposit by daughter of China’s ex-premier Associated Press


Germany Toughens Tone With Greece Before EU Meetings Bloomberg

EU Sources: Eu-Greek Relations Soured by Leaks; Sides Further Apart MNI Euro Insight (Jim Haygood)

No plan for Greece ready, Athens must extend bailout: Moscovici Reuters

US urges eurozone and Athens to strike a deal on bailout Financial Times

Grexit supported by 1 in 2 Germans EurActiv (Stephen M)

Obama joins the Greek chorus Bruegel (Swedish Lex)

For the third time in a century, America will have to ride to Europe’s rescue Telegraph

Greek government wins confidence vote MarketWatch

End of Austerity @yanisvaroufakis becomes comic book hero @AndrewLainton (Richard Smith)

Mexican Political Family Has Close PRI Ties, and Homes in the U.S. New York Times. Another installment in the blockbuster high end real estate expose.


Russia Would See U.S. Moves to Arm Ukraine as Declaration of War Moscow Times (furzy mouse)


Vacancies Multiply in Moscow’s Upmarket Retail Districts Moscow Times (furzy mouse)


Obama to Seek War Power Bill From Congress, to Fight ISIS New York Times

Hacktivist Group Anonymous (#OpISIS) Takes Down Islamic State (ISIS) Social Media Accounts Hacker News

Imperial Collapse Watch

Saying No to Torture, A Gallery of American Heroes TomDispatch

Navy censures 3 admirals in far-reaching bribery investigation Washington Post

Jon Stewart Had Been Telegraphing His Comedy Central Exit for Some Time Bloomberg

Jeb Bush just published thousands of citizens’ names and email addresses Daily Dot (furzy mouse)

Healthcare: The race to cure rising drug costs Financial Times

Black Injustice Tipping Point

Missouri cities, including Ferguson, sued over ‘grotesque’ jail conditions Los Angeles Times. Lambert featured this in Water Cooler yesterday, but this is such an appalling story I wanted to make sure you did not miss it.

An NYPD Officer Was Just Indicted for the Shooting Death of Akai Gurley Vice. Mirabile dictu.

The S.E.C.’s Hazy Approach to Crime and Punishment New York, Times


Halliburton to cut up to 6,400 jobs as oil price falls BBC

Drillers Take Second Crack at Fracking Old Wells to Cut Cost Bloomberg (Joe Costello)

US shale oil boom masks declining global supply Financial Times

Apple building big solar energy farm in California Los Angeles Times (EM)

Are we numb to silly valuations again? FT Alphaville

IRS Issues John Doe Summons To FedEx, DHL, UPS, HSBC In Massive Offshore Account Hunt Forbes

What People Mean When They Say ‘Audit the Fed’ New York Times. This is a pretty standard apology, in fact it reads like a recitation of talking points.

Class Warfare

Oakland City Council CED just voted unanimously to exempt Walgreens from Living Wage Ord. at Seminary Point project Inagist. EM: “Upshot: Living wage requirement will only be for those who can least afford it, i.e. small businesses, rather than highly profitable big corporations which can extort exemptions by threatening to scuttle or move new developments.”

Worldwide clustering of the corruption perception Cornell University (furzy mouse)

Data Mining Reveals a Global Link Between Corruption and Wealth MIT Technology Review (furzy mouse)

The Problem With Market Definitions Ed Walker, emptywheel. See also the first post in this series: What is the Definition of a Market?

Antidote du jour:

cats in box links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. tongorad

    Good riddance, Jon Stewart. Not exactly Lenny Bruce, was he? Or for that matter, even the Smothers Brothers.

    1. diptherio

      He had his moments, but I lose all respect for people when I see them mewling over the POTUS, like pretty much every liberal media celebrity does. John Stewart: speaking truth to power…except when it might be bad for his career.

      He was definitely a step up from Kilborn, though.

    2. lord koos

      What are you guys, too hip for the room? The 2016 election is going to be even more of a drag without Jon Stewart.

      1. Emma

        Thankfully Jon Stewart and his team of writers are mostly focused on what is right to point out.
        You know, everyone has their strengths and weaknesses.
        Most of us with any signs of intelligence are on the same side anyway, aren’t we?
        We deplore the dumbification of mainstream media and the escalation of illiberal politics. Both of which present the only significant signs of evolution in America today – albeit destructive. This makes it doubly important to find the humor in life.
        So lighten up.
        Oh, and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to extend a word of thanks to the few in our team who do go out to bat for us all.

        1. hunkerdown

          Bourgeois self-congratulation much? I suggest, instead, that your class arrogance and profound lack of self-awareness is a very large part of the problem you’re having selling your version of aristocracy to the proles you only wish to exploit in your own class’s preferred fashion. Save the sister act for Democratic rallies.

    3. L.M. Dorsey

      Chris Lehmann agrees with you

      [T]he larger problem with the “Daily Show” franchise [was that it] breached the ill-defined boundary separating take-no-prisoners satire from the terminally chummy protocols of American celebrity culture. By the time Stewart’s show had become a breakout liberal hit, it had made its name as a fast-track entry into the star-making machinery of broadcast shtick…There are, however, hidden costs in this soft-focus satirical branding strategy. One of the most obvious is Stewart’s cringingly deferential track record as an interviewer…Condi Rice…

      One thing the Charlie Hebdo discussion has brought into relief is just how docile the American press is. Bewitched by celebrity and the cult of getting along. “Like a patient etherized upon a table,” and all that.

  2. vidimi

    Let me introduce you to the world’s most powerful terrorist recruiting sergeant. It’s a US federal agency called The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. Its decision to cause a humanitarian catastrophe in one of the poorest and most troubled places on earth could resonate around the world for decades.

    So you take a country suffering from terrorism, massive youth unemployment and the threat of famine and you seek to shut off half its foreign earnings. You force money transfers underground, where they are more likely to be captured by terrorists. You destroy hope, making young men more susceptible to recruitment by an organisation promising loot and status. Through an iniquitous mass punishment, you mobilise the anger and grievance on which terrorist organisations thrive. You help al-Shabaab to destroy Somalia’s economic life.

    this looks to me like a feature, not a bug

    Compare this pointless destruction to the US government’s continued licensing of HSBC. In 2012 the bank was condemned by a Senate committee for circumventing safeguards ”designed to block transactions involving terrorists, drug lords, and rogue regimes.”(16) It processed billions of dollars for Mexican drug barons and provided services to Saudi and Bangladeshi banks linked to the financing of terrorists(17). But there was no criminal prosecution because, the attorney general’s office argued, too many jobs were at stake(18). The outrageous practices revealed this week(19) will doubtless be treated with the same leniency.

    1. frosty zoom

      Why don’t we ban agriculture in case fertiliser is used to make explosives? Why don’t we stop all the clocks to prevent armed gangs from planning their next atrocity?


      why don’t we prohibit coffee and end all greed?
      why don’t we only allow people under the age of zero to drive?
      why don’t we ban funny hats so that we just don’t have to be afraid anymore?

      1. jrs

        Wait what are we stopping the clocks for again? Oh right, to prevent a ticking timebomb scenario. Sounds good to me then!

  3. MartyH

    One is probably correct to remember “correlation is not necessarily proof of causation” in reading the two linked references to the one bit of work correlating national corruption and economic performance. On reflection, one might wonder whether, if the conclusion drawn is actually correct, we would be that much better off again if we eliminated the quite obvious high levels of corruption in the USA (proudly in Cluster 1). Get un-bought legislators doing “the people’s business”, start prosecuting corporate executives and de-chartering corporations for crimes, re-instate criminal liability for police and military, etc. Would we then see GDP per capita dramatically improve again? Inquiring minds wonder.

    1. voislav

      The key term is “perception of corruption”. It does not mean the coutry is more or less corrupt, just that it is perceived as such by its own citizens. To me the explanation is quite simple. The incentives to engenge in corrupt practices change with income level. If your salary is $50,000 there is no incentive to take a $100 bribe, so the low level corruption, the one perceived by everyday person, is naturally eliminated. The lower the salary, the lower the level at which the corruption makes economic sense (risk vs. reward) and the higher the perception of this corruption.

      Also, I imagine there would be a correlation between the level of civil service vs. GDP which incentivizes low level corruption in low GDP countries to expedite the processing. This again would increase the perception of the corruption. I’d love to see a study that looks at corruption at different levels of government for the Cluster 1 countries (maybe percentage of legislators indicted?), that would be much more informative than perception of corruption.

    2. Vatch

      As you point out, it is (or should be) obvious that there’s a lot of corruption in the United States. Bank bailouts, the revolving door in politics, and the bizarre intricacies of the tax code are all proof of corruption.

      Perception of corruption isn’t the same as the existence of corruption. Perhaps if the people in the lower economic strata of a society are in genuinely desperate circumstances, their contrast with the privileged members of their society make the corruption more apparent. In a country like the U.S., where many poor people have rental homes with a toilet, a refrigerator, and a television, and there’s also a large middle class, the existence of people who live like royalty is less noticeable, because the contrast is less extreme. The decline of the U.S. middle class ought to make more people notice the stark contrasts in U.S. society.

      1. trinity river

        Thank you. Depends on how one defines corruption. I would argue that almost all politicians are corrupt in the U.S. Almost all wall street management who took bailouts and were not prosecuted are corrupt. I could go on. Include all the regulatory government employees who are cognitively captured. I see endemic corruption in the way electricity companies and telephone companies are run.

      1. frosty zoom

        you ¡caw!’t me on that one.

        (that crow looks like he’s going to swallow another one of these circular things he’s holding with his right [insert correct crow hand name]).

        1. ambrit

          Considering the source of the image, I’d suspect that round thing he or she is holding was the centre of the Cosmic Wheel. As in all hippy dippy music wheels, the auditor starts from the outside and slowly works inward, approaching the source as it were. This puts the authors methodology at risk. The test was to match the centre symbol to one of the two outer signs, thus gaining a reward. If, as I suggest, the centre is the source of all being, and the manifestation of nothingness, what would be a match? I, for one, can’t think of any. The experiment would be absurd. The crow in the picture evidently understands this, and is holding on to the real prize; “That about which all else revolves.”
          (Excuse me for a while whilst I contemplate the Psychedelic Dinosaurs.)

  4. jgordon

    Psychedelics and dinosaurs–well apparently those things have been around since animals have had complex nervous systems. The first time I tried mushrooms I felt like I’d come awake for the first time in my entire life. Mathematicians who have a seemingly insoluble problem on their hands will often add dimensions and find that it comes obviously untangled higher up the ladder of reality. If you’re fairly intelligent and put some thought/effort into it (the caveat–if you go into it without a plan you’re wasting your time), psychedelics can cause seemingly insoluble social or political problems to unravel in a similar fashion. I admire dinosaurs for being pioneers in that respect.

    1. Jim Haygood

      I saw lots of stuff on mushrooms — they used to grow on cow paddies along I-30 — but not dinosaurs on acid, which would have rather frightening.

    2. diptherio

      Dale Pendell’s series of books on psychedelics is a must read for anyone who wishes to travel down this path. At the very least, read some Tim Leary on having a good trip. Dosage, set and setting…

      The mushies always seemed to show me how ridiculous my worries and anxieties were, reminded me of the oneness of everything and then made me laugh uncontrollably that I could have ever forgotten that…and then let that forgetting cause me misery! Currently their being used by some cutting-edge hospice providers as a way to ease the fear of death. Makes perfect sense to me.

      1. jgordon

        I find it useful for thinking about things while not having my identity interfering with the process. Who we are both personally and culturally so intrinsically taints everything we contemplate that it’s really a revelation to see just how subjective and delusional our normal, non-enhanced thought processes are. Once you see that, it’s impossible to unsee it–months or years after the experience.

      2. ambrit

        I remember when psychic engineers promoted its’ use to ease the fear of living.
        The mushies, (nice ellipse there,) always did the “cosmic oneness” effect for me too. The uncontrollable laughing can be a nuisance when the campus cops would drop by and suggest we shut up, people want to sleep at night.

    3. frosty zoom

      psychedelics can cause seemingly insoluble social or political problems to unravel in a similar fashion

      you know, i’ve long wondered why we just don’t fight our little human battles with ‘shroombombs or REEFERCLOUD X-2.3000.

      metal hurts.

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘(Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will propose to Congress on Wednesday a new three-year authorization for the use of force against Viet Cong Islamic State with limits on U.S. combat troops’ involvement, lawmakers and congressional aides said.’

    It won’t be easy to pip George W. Bush for the title of Worst President Evah. But by getting involved in a fresh quagmire in Iraq and Syria, Obama at least has a fighting chance to win his race to the bottom before the gong tolls and he’s unceremoniously yanked off the stage.

    Permanent war is the most efficacious way to build the unaccountable national security state, while destroying the last shredded tatters of the constitution. For this Obama ghost-studied ‘constitutional law’? I puke in his general direction.

    1. jgordon

      I knew that Obama had GW beat when I found out that the Obamacare mandate wasn’t a sick joke. Pun intended.

      After that the weaselly mewlings of the Obamatards only led me to greater and higher heights of disgust for them and their pathetic party. I often wondered if the Obamatards were even human beings, rather than the wretched, pustulent slugs that haplessly oozed along the ground before sliming their way up the chair, to the keyboard, only to leave a bit of foul detritus on internet extolling the Glory of Obama and His works–that I imagined them to be. By the way, I voted straight Democratic tickets from 2004 until 2008. Since 2009 though I’d strongly consider engaging in some novel form of self-mutilation given the binary choice of that or voting Democrat again.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Victory Retreat with honor in Yemen:

        (Reuters) – Armed Houthi rebels in the Yemeni capital Sanaa seized U.S. embassy vehicles after the ambassador and diplomats left the country on Wednesday, local members of embassy staff told Reuters.

        The employees said that more than 20 vehicles were taken by the fighters after the Americans departed from Sanaa’s airport.

        Having been chased out of Sana’a with our tails between our legs (in a replay of Saigon 1975), now we’re gonna roll into Syraqistan and sort it out? Congress believes it because it’s absurd. Or maybe their NSA handlers just told them, ‘Cry war or be outed.’

        Duopolistic ‘democracy’ sucks. There is only one War Party.

      2. neo-realist

        Both Obama and Bush are bad on war, health care and regulating the financial sector, but Bush beats Obama for the for worst with his selections of Roberts and Alito which gave us Citizen United, and gutting of the voting rights act, not to mention other potential horrible decisions that take the side of wealth and the state against the individual.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      Woohoo!! The Peace Prize Winner will now have his very own brand spanking new war. No more Bush sloppy seconds wars for him. MIC Champagne bottles are popping everywhere.

      Countdown to final bankruptcy of the US Taxpayer 3.2.1….

    3. Katniss Everdeen

      OK, I’m defending the fact that I know what’s in this comment by saying that I watch “Morning Joe” to familiarize myself with the current twists and turns of government propaganda. It’s my story, and I’m stickin’ to it.

      Yesterday morning some boob “congressperson” named Sean Duffy suggested that we need “boots on the ground” fighting ISIS since they are engaged in the “CRUCIFICATION of little children.” I sh*t you not–“crucification.”

      Today, CIA media plant Bob Woodward said boots on the ground were required since ISIS has proven so effective in “recruiting” militants. 20,000, so far, or so sayeth the crawl. No mention of the fact that US scorched earth Middle East policy over the last decade and a half has been the most effective “recruiter” Allah ever delivered to his murderous chosen jihadists.

      The dead US aid worker is also front and center for the boots-on-the-ground cheerleaders. No mention of the fact that she was killed by the heroic Jordanians in an airstrike, and not by the barbarian “crucificators” who have kept her alive for over a year. But what good are insignificant details? A sympathetic martyr is a terrible thing to waste.

      An AUM of only three years seems like a light or even arbitrary sentence for all this mayhem. But, who knows? In three years we may have to take on those Nazis who somehow spontaneously regenerated in Ukraine.

      1. Llewelyn Moss

        Good recap. Yes, Rule #1: Always make sure to exploit a death of a sympathetic victim for political reasons.

        And of course, 3 years AUMF will get Obama to the end of his presidency and give the next Scum Sucking Presnut plenty of time to make it open ended war.

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          “And of course, 3 years AUMF will get Obama to the end of his presidency and give the next Scum Sucking Presnut plenty of time to make it open ended war.”

          So true. Apologies to Harry Truman, but “the buck” never stops ANYWHERE.

          “These are strange times we live in
          Hard games we play
          Wager very carefully
          And play’em as they lay

          But don’t play no cards ain’t in your hand
          So long Harry Truman
          Goddamn it’s hard to find an honest man”

          Danny O’Keefe is timeless.

    4. tongorad

      Obama exposed the limits of identity politics: there are no limits.
      He is quite possibly the worst president ever.

  6. diptherio

    Re: Jeb Bush privacy SNAFU

    In a tiff goof that now seems tame by comparison, on Monday, his office admitted that they had asked their new Chief Technology Officer to delete jokes he’d tweeted about “sluts.”

    The “eGovernor” needs his CTO to delete a tweet for him! Oh my, that’s rich.

    Ok, time to start going through all those emails for SSNs and other identity theft fodder…this eCandidate is an eIdiot…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      In what sense of the word are these “tweets” even remotely referred to as “jokes?”

      “Two female Mensa members walk into a bar…… and they’re both sluts. And ugly too.” Why, that’s positively hilarious! This guy should take it on the road.

      I’d be willing to bet that if you consulted the DSM-5 (or whatever number they’re on now) this creep would be diagnosed with Tourette’s for his incessant repetition of the word “slut.”

      Not to mention what would happen to a black, male, inner-city high school student who made such a “joke” about a white, female cop in Mississippi or, I don’t know, TEXAS. Bullying!! Terroristic threats! Criminal moral depravity! Anti-biblical hate speech!

      Give me a break.

      1. diptherio

        Wow. I hadn’t even looked at what he was trying to delete…that man has no future in stand-up, that’s for sure.

        So, what’s he implying? That smart women are promiscuous and unattractive? Christ, I wish! My weekends would be a lot less frustrating…

        1. Katniss Everdeen

          The “two Mensa members in a bar joke” was actually mine–a “simulacrum” of his “tweets.”

          But his “jokes” were even less “joke-like.” I was just trying to make a point.

  7. Blurtman

    Say it ain’t so.

    Elizabeth Warren Opposes “Congressional Meddling” ‘Audit The Fed’ Bill

    “But I oppose the current version of this bill because it promotes congressional meddling in the Fed’s monetary policy decisions, which risks politicizing those decisions and may have dangerous implications for financial stability and the health of the global economy.”

  8. Clive

    Re the Antidote… I’ve been reading way, way too much on this subject obviously, because when I saw it couldn’t help but christen these moggies “Germany” (the one on top of the box), with “Ireland”, “Spain” and “Greece” being the ones inside the box. I just wish I could make up my mind for, amongst the ones in the box, which was which.

  9. NotSoSure

    I am not scared of the so called AI, I am more worried about the people behind it, because surely it’s just another technology that will ultimately be used to repress other human beings.

    1. Brooklin Bridge

      Right. Always the same as in It’s not guns, it’s the people who use them.

      To go a step further, I love technology, but observe that it seems to be inextricably mixed up with human corruption. Like guns, growth in technology explodes when we are at our most blood thirsty.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      After reading the MIT Tech post on AI I feel just as uncomfortable as before. For me the scary part of AI isn’t the possibility super-intelligent conscious machines will destroy mankind. That makes for an interesting science fiction story or movie plot. What’s truly scary is the use of less than super-intelligent AI by mindless businessmen.

      An AI to improve on medical diagnoses or map drug interactions, an AI to sift through and look for patterns in the extremely complex chemical signaling pathways in a cell — this kind of application for AI is ongoing and seems likely to provide valuable benefits — in the right hands. Computers and their programs including AI are tools. But like all tools, they can be misused.

      To me the recent applications of data processing techniques and AI to jobs and matching internal and external resumes to job postings provides a good example of a misuse of these tools. Now instead of employees, we are all human capital in every sense of the word. Our current and past experience, our degrees and credentials are mapped into a set of attributes; the tasks and skills needed for all jobs are mapped into a set of attributes. Open jobs become bins in which to place fungible cogs while optimizing pay to obtain the lowest price.

      In a related area, various scheduling and monitoring tools help middle managers drive the cogs to crank out projects, while AI applications are working furiously to replace the middle managers. In a short time, I expect some form of AI can soon enable implementing a truly hellish extrapolation of what C. Wright Mills called the Managerial Demiurge.

  10. Vatch

    The article about the Ferguson dungeon really is appalling. Haven’t the authorities in that town heard of community service as a substitute for paying a fine?

    1. ambrit

      Wrong question. You are assuming the authorities have the best interests of the community in mind. You should be asking; who has the contract to run the dungeon?

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    I have a theory that dinosaurs also ate an apple a day.

    All I need is get a billion somewhere to fund research to prove my hunch.

    1. ambrit

      Contact craazyman over at the U of M Psychics Department.
      If that doesn’t pan out, try one of the Peterson Foundation ‘Tanks.’ They’re professionals at living in the past.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Robot dogs.

    ‘No, Lucy, I am not seeing another dog behind your back. You are my one and only dog. I love your genuine love instead of AL* dogs.”

    *Artificial Love (state of art, of course).

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘Oh, no. The shelter is flooded with real dogs. People have abandoned them for robot dogs – that latest fad.”

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    Our (unintelligent) fear of artificial intelligent.

    “That will be our marketing thrust. We intelligent people have to save all those cave men and Luddites from themselves!!! We have to HELP them.”

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Apple’s big California solar farm.

    I believe you can see it from outer space, along with China’s Great Wall, and it looks like a lemon from there, or perhaps it looks like an iPad.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Working at McJobs is also good for seniors’ health as well.

      “We have to take as many jobs away from teenagers as we can.”

      “Keep an active live! Flipping burgers keep your arms and wrists in functional shape.”

    2. Marko

      “Grandparents with Alzheimer’s Rarely Asked to Babysit”?

      ….and when they are asked , they say : ” Sure , I’ll sit on your baby “.

  15. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Audit the Fed.

    To me, it means a thorough search for all the missing platinum coins.

    Where did they go – Iraq, Afghan, Ukraine, Syria?

  16. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Admirals in bribery investigation.

    Corruption and Wealth.

    I have always maintained that we need an encyclopedia of the Complete History of Corruption (in both the private and public sectors).

    Freedom from corruption is rare and very exceptional, I believe, sadly.

    1. Vatch

      Some NC readers might be interested in the book Corruption and the Decline of Rome, by the eminent classical historian Ramsey MacMullen. Blurb:

      Ramsay MacMullen, Dunham Professor of History and classics at Yale, here offers a new perspective on the decline and fall of Rome. He argues that a key factor in the empire’s military and administrative failures was a steady loss of control over government, as its aims and focus were thwarted for private gain by officials and military men at all ranks. The fruit of a decade of research and analysis presented in an informal and lively style, this book offers the first survey of just what evidence exists for the ‘decline, ‘ and provides a fascinating, fresh line of explanation for the empire’s most obvious inadequacies in the face of its economic and military challenges.

  17. ep3’s-uaw-again

    Yves, i could only stomach the first 2.5 paragraphs. At first they say he’s fighting for the unions. Then in the second paragraph they describe him as looking to make lots of money for hedge funds and himself. Those two entities are in no way looking for the same outcome (that’s referring to unions as the hard working blue collar persons mopping the floors, making the cars, fixing the broken machines). And now he’s a “restructuring expert” (quotes taken from the article itself.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    America to Europe’s rescue.

    That’s what I have been saying – we are the policemen of the world. Law and order – that’s our job number one. And the Troika is acting like local Ferguson cops.

  19. Vatch

    Regarding “Healthcare: The race to cure rising drug costs Financial Times”, this quote appears in the article:

    Pharmaceutical executives say their ability to price drugs in the US according to what the market will bear allows them to cover the considerable cost of finding new, often revolutionary, treatments; the cost of developing and winning approval for a new drug now runs at $2.6bn, according to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development, compared with $802m in 2003.

    So I went to the Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development website, and I found this:

    The $2,558 million figure per approved compound is based on estimated:

    Average out-of-pocket cost of $1,395 million
    Time costs (expected returns that investors forego while a drug is in development) of $1,163 million

    My question for people who know more about finance than I do is whether or not it is misleading to say that the average cost of new drug development is $2,558 million instead of $1,395 million?

    1. MLS

      It’s not misleading or inappropriate per se to consider the financial effects of time delay waiting for a drug to reach the market, but it’s very fair to question the assumptions used to get to that particular figure. Seems to me there’s A LOT of potential wiggle room and fudging in that calculation.

  20. vidimi

    taking on propaganda, one article at a time:

    vidimi, by email:


    The headline to the article in the subject line, link:
    reads “Mourning for US aid worker Kayla Mueller, murdered by Isis” on the homepage.

    This is objectionable because there is no evidence to suggest that she was murdered by Isis and not by Jordanian bombs as reported elsewhere. Reporting that she was murdered by Isis has the effect of stoking a desire for retribution in readers, thus perpetuating the cycle of violence, rather than recognizing that it is the retribution itself that has led to this tragic death.

    kind regards,

    reader’s ed:

    Thank you. That headline has been amended now.

    Best wishes
    reader’s editor

    1. Vatch

      Your point is valid: we don’t know who killed her. We do know that she was kidnapped and held hostage by ISIL

  21. Punt

    Helmer’s latest is slightly muddled by old-time Bircher propaganda. The Gatestone Institute agitprop he links to has Bolton’s senile walrus face up there. That tells you all you need to know. The issue here is US/UK resistance to customary and conventional international law.

    Green is in a tough spot because the UK government is working hard to compromise the residual independence of the High Court of Justice. The law is straightforward, as Bank Mellat showed. Coercive measures without express UNSC authority are illegal. The US knows that, so its NATO satellites use the idiosyncratic word ‘sanctions’ to evade the legal force of the UN Charter’s term. Countermeasures would be legal, under specific substantive and procedural conditions set out in State Responsibility doctrine (Article 22). But countermeasures are tested against fundamental obligations like the UN Charter, peremptory norms, international humanitarian law, and all the other universal-jurisdiction law the US lives to break. That’s a tarbaby for the aggressors, torturers, and gunboat diplomats of the UK.

    It’s not that Green is green or out of touch. It’s that Green is not enough of a hack to do what he’s told. If Green dreamed up a decision rationalizing arbitrary sanctions under UK municipal law, the ECJ or ICJ would torpedo it in spectacular fashion. That would be a personal disgrace. But a correct decision incorporating international law might precipitate UK withdrawal from the civilizing influence of the ECJ and ECHR. Green lacks Oxbridge indoctrination so he’s unable to ignore that risk.

  22. docg

    What’s with cats and boxes? My theory: it’s an evolutionary adaptation — kittens with a box fetish were less likely to be attacked by birds. Does that mean the existence of boxes must have predated humans, proving the existence of God? Fortunately no. The kinky kittens would originally have secreted themselves in small caves, under protruding tree roots, etc.

  23. Garrett Pace

    An Open Letter to the Parents of League of Legends Players

    Ably rebutted here:

    First off, it’s hilarious to hear gamers whine about how much of their time has been wasted by some kid joining a PVP game right before dinnertime. Gaming time is that it is already pre-wasted, and they’re just mad that they’re not getting the dopamine ping they were hoping for. But there’s another side. It reminds me of the article about pro gamers in China from earlier this week. When an adolescent takes a close and sensible look at their life and the opportunities thereof, and prefer the closed and sterile online world in comparison – there isn’t something wrong with the kid.

    Every generation has its opiate. Or skinner box.

  24. Oregoncharles

    “An NYPD Officer Was Just Indicted for the Shooting Death of Akai Gurley Vice. Mirabile dictu” – indeed. But watch for a fake prosecution. In the Amadou Diallo case, the prosecutors grossly overcharged, insuring that they couldn’t make a case and the murderous cops were let go. In the Gurley case, they can’t prove much more than negligent homicide (barring evidence we haven’t seen), so a stronger charge will be a way of letting the cop off the hook.

    And also: if this guy was indicted, why not Pantaleo, whose actions were obviously deliberate and illegal?

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