Links 3/28/15

Dark matter even darker than once thought ESA/Hubble

Learning to See Data New York Times (furzy mouse)

Hong Kong actively seeking to join Asian infrastructure bank, says financial secretary South China Morning Post

The devil, or Mr Wang: China’s second most powerful leader is admired and feared Economist (Bob H)

Has Japan’s ‘Big Bazooka’ Misfired? Wall Street Journal

The voodoo economics of the Europe’s quantitative easing policy Globe and Mail


Greece to pay pensions . . . for this month Financial Times

Both Greece and its creditors must compromise to prevent the risk of a Grexit Greece@LSE

The good, the bad and the ugly: when SYRIZA meets Europe openDemocracy

Greeks add €3bn-a-year sweetener to debt talks Times. This is the negotiating equivalent of rolling over and exposing your belly.

Greece submits reform proposals to eurozone creditors – with a warning Guardian


Showdown looms over Ukraine’s debt Financial Times

Putin’s Economic Team Plays Houdini Bloomberg


US: Yemen Rebels Have Looted Intelligence Files Newser. Tim F: “Speaking of the Saigon parallel…”

Tunisia’s Hour of Need New York Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

The US as Shiva, Lord of Destruction and Renewal Sic Semper Tyrannis (Chuck L)

The Folly of Machine Warfare Counterpunch (Bob H). On Andrew Cockburn’s book Kill Chain.

Distorting Putin’s Favorite Philosophers Consortium News (Chuck L). A must read.

Our Mister Brooks And The Messianic Mr. Putin Charles Pearce, Esquire (Chuck L)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

AT&T’s plan to watch your Web browsing—and what you can do about it ars techinca (Chuck L)

Exclusive: TSA’s Secret Behavior Checklist to Spot Terrorists Intercept

Senate Passes Republican Budget With Deep Safety Net Cuts Reuters (RR)

U.S. House okays bipartisan bill to fix Medicare doctor payments Reuters (EM)

Budget Grandstanding in the Senate New York Times (furzy mouse)

Can a New White House Plan Catch Up to the “Superbug” Threat? PBS (furzy mouse)

Trey Gowdy: Hillary Clinton wiped email server clean Politico (furzy mouse). The world-class unflattering photo is an interesting bit of editorializing that suggests that Hillary is increasingly seen as past her sell-by date.

Lawmaker publicly discusses her rape and abortion, man in audience laughs at her Salon (Dr. Kevin)

Life term recommended for Alabama woman who ran granddaughter to death Reuters (EM)

Dismal Scientists

Study: Plastic surgery pricing and supply-demand economics Cosmetic Surgery Times (Dr. Kevin)

Ellen Pao Loses Discrimination Case Against Kleiner Perkins Wall Street Journal

Ellen Pao Lost, Women Didn’t Bloomberg. Maybe in Silicon Valley, but look at the comments on the WSJ article above. At least when I looked, a lot of open hostility to women on display, of the “Women are nurturing and not cut out to do math or be leaders” sort.

Amid trial, Kleiner Perkins recruits next generation of partners Reuters. EM: “One wonders: does LinkIn have a ‘hyperambitious asshole’ option among their ‘skills’ choices?”

Yellen says rates likely to rise gradually Financial Times

Macquarie pays $15m to settle SEC charges Financial Times. Adrien: “If this is not actionable criminal fraud…then what is it?”

Are Equities Overvalued? Project Syndicate (David L)

Earnings “Beat the Street” Manipulation Underway as Profit Warnings Mount Michael Shedlock

Secular Stagnation for Free Project Syndicate. Not sure I buy the core assumption, which is that life is better now (in advanced economies) than in 1970. We have more material wealth, but much greater income disparity, less job stability, weaker social ties and community engagement, less trust, a much higher % of people in prison, cops armed like the military and a creeping surveillance state…If you are rich, or a minority that has seen real gains (gays, Hispanics), then yes, but for other groups, the answer is not so clear.

Class Warfare

The Shut-In Economy Medium (William B)

As Job Rate Rises, Older Workers Are Often Left Behind New York Times

Antidote du jour. Keith: “my son Dane and his black lab, taken by my son Blake.”

lab and boy links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. William C

    My copy of the FT has an interesting article by Nikolaus Blome suggesting that Merkel and co are preparing the ground for a climbdown by Germany on Greek finances.

    1. different clue

      If Greece were under vengeful management, either TroikaNazi Europe would do a climbdown or Greece would do a burndown.

  2. diptherio

    “Objects in mirror are closer than they appear”

    Those two must really be into each other, as they appear pretty close already…

  3. Carolinian

    Good Consortium link. Elsewhere in Consortium News there’s this rather amazing read

    Given my nom de plume this part stands out

    What must certainly be seen as neo-fascist under any system of government but especially under a nominal “constitutional republic” as the U.S. claims to be, is Sen. Lindsey Graham’s threat that the first thing he would do if elected President of the United States would be to use the military to detain members of Congress, keeping them in session in Washington, until all so-called “defense cuts” are restored to the budget.

    In Graham’s words, “I wouldn’t let Congress leave town until we fix this. I would literally use the military to keep them in if I had to. We’re not leaving town until we restore these defense cuts.”

    While the ideology of S.C’s senior senator may seem slippery at times, Pierce nails it for what it is: good ole 20th century fascism. And he shows how this also applies to the Republican party in general and their Israeli twin, the Likud. While I’ve been an adherent to Nader’s “not a dimes worth of difference” view of our political duopoly, there is at least one key difference between team R and team D….the Dems do believe in voting. The Repubs, in their heart of hearts, don’t believe in it at all. Perhaps it’s only a matter of time before they introduce their own “Enabling Act.” First Lindsey will need to grow that little mustache….

    1. Carla

      Dems only believe in voting as long as it doesn’t count. Face it: Dems and Repubs are all working for the same people, and those people ain’t US. Is it a Republican president who’s pushing for Fast Track on the TTP? C’mon.

  4. roadrider

    Re: older workers left behind

    This is sadly true. I’m 59 and have been out of work for 20 months since losing my last job when my company was sold. I recently heard from some old college buddies and found that many of them had experienced the same fate.

    Age discrimination in hiring and retention is rampant and de facto legal. In an at-will employment situation its almost impossible to make the case that you were let go because of your age unless your manager is dumb enough to tell you to your face in front of witnesses that your age is an issue. But the pattern is clear. I never had a problem holding a job until I turned 50 but since then I’ve been laid off three times and nearly escaped a fourth. Once you’re out of the game, especially for any length of time, getting back in is proving to be nearly impossible. And even if you do its almost certain to be work that’s below your skill level, poorly compensated and with few, if any, benefits.

    This is the “recovery” that is being celebrated by pol and journos. Well, for those of us who haven’t been invited to the party its nothing to celebrate.

    1. tswkr

      My father had the same thing about 5 years back. Big bank found a way to terminate him at age 61 a few years after a demotion. He’s been shuffling around PT home-care work assignments since to supplement retirement income and keep up.

      For all the talk of raising the retirement age, the real challenge seems to be those not losing any savings you have accumulated in those last ten years from 55-65. If you lose your job in that span, it will derail the entire life plan.

    2. tyaresun

      Yup, I am 56 and several of my friends have lost their jobs after many years of excellent annual reviews. 15 years ago there used to be lawsuits when the older folks made up a large percentage of those fired. I remember getting notices and training describing those above 50 as a protected minority.

      I suppose that is one more law that is not being enforced.

      1. jrs

        It’s illegal but not being hired or being fired because one is a protected class has always been difficult to prove. Hard to prove they didn’t hire you because your black, or let you go more readily than they would have a white person for instance.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          With ‘deep safety net cuts,’ will older unemployed people be ‘enticed’ to take up the offer of ‘It’s not just a job. It’s an adventure?’

          And have no doubt that we live in a free-will world, because, for older savers, jumping into the riskier stock market, with the authority ‘smartly’ lowering rates, is strictly ‘voluntary.’

          You are free to make a choice.

    3. Worker-Owner

      The Tech-Giants have been on a youth-kick (replacing older and higher paid with younger and lower paid wokers) as if any worker is equivalent to any other. The obvious fact under all this is that they are over-staffed from a headcount perspective. They maintain the numbers for ego and executive compensation reasons. The productivity from the application of the technology they produced has generally failed to produce reductions in the labor-forces of those using it. The corporate work, in general, just turns what used to be significant jobs into McJobs they can hire inexperienced and inexpensive people to McDo. Then they turn around and complain about the lousy quality of candidates for promotion from within.

  5. Antifa

    What Saudi Arabia fears, and has feared since the founding of the Kingdom, is piecemeal separation. Being carved up inito its separate provinces, some containing nothing but sand, some containing nothing but oil. The grip of the Saudi royal family on all their oil wealth is their grip on the USA as their prime savior and customer. The saudi royals know well that when they run out of oil in a decade or two, or technical advancements come along that make their oil of little value, the USA will leave them with their sand and camels and nothing more.

    And now the carving up is at hand. ISIS has vowed to take Mecca, and now Yemen’s Houthi have sworn to take back the several provinces of Saudi Arabia that the Saudis took from the Houthis a couple three generations ago. This is why the Saudis were so prompt in attacking the Houthis.

    When the Wahabi Kingdom falls, the land where Mecca lies will be a smaller and very divisive country.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Isis has vowed to take Mecca; Netanyahu has vowed to take Jerusalem (all of it).

      And the U.S. has taken sides in both of these medieval fights to the death.

      Brilliant. Simply brilliant.

      1. cwaltz

        Our rocket scientists running the nation see this as a win-win scenario. After all it isn’t their kids or money that’s going to be wasted in the medieval fights-they intend on making money hand over fist selling to both sides-Yay capitalism!

    2. different clue

      The Saudi royals and princelings and princessettes themselves will all be spirited out of the country to join their money in safe havens.

  6. Doug

    Thank you for noting Paul Grenier’s Distoring Putin’s Favorite Philosophers as a ‘must read’. It’s outstanding — and illuminating. Still, Grenier falls into a trap when he writes of David Brooks et al: “Such sloppy thinking would not have happened were these three otherwise intelligent people not (one hopes temporarily) previously incapacitated by ideological blinders.”

    Brooks is not ‘an otherwise intelligent’ person. Intelligence undoubtedly has many minimum threshold characteristics. Among them, though, MUST be ‘critical thinking’ and ‘do your homework’. Brooks routinely does neither of these. He is NOT intelligent.

    Unless and until intelligent people like Grenier call out Brooks’ ignorance for what it is, we will continue to have ignorant people like Brooks populating perches in American discourse that would be far better off occupied by intelligent not unintelligent, ignorant people.

    NC folks talk a lot about the need for holding those with power accountable. When Grenier writes, ‘otherwise intelligent’, he fails to hold Brooks accountable for Brooks’ ignorance. Stop it.

    Call Brooks what he is: a dumb, ignorant ideologue who destroys instead of creates understanding, insight and knowledge.

    Or, if you prefer, an ignorant agnotologist who is making the world unsafe for our children and grandchildren. A man who is destroying their future. A man who should be banned from any and all discourse that goes under the name of ‘intelligent’.

  7. Jackrabbit

    Distorting Putin’s Favorite Philosophers Consortium News (Chuck L). A must read.

    If you’re short on time, skip to the first (and as I write, only) comment. Maybe not a “must read”, but certainly a “don’t miss”.

    H O P

    1. tgs

      The article is well done and informative but the first commenter is correct that the author discusses David Brooks and his ilk as if they are serious thinkers – when in fact they are simply attack dogs. The author also, uncritically IMOP, works from the assumption that we in the ‘west’ live under a ‘liberal democratic’ system. To the extent that we did have such a system, it is disappearing in the rear view mirror at this point.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Even if the liberal democratic system is disappearing, the exceptionalness thinking is still intact…because fortune.

    2. JEHR

      Re: Distorting Pubin…

      “Putin has a clear vision of a strong, centralized, law-based government with defined and limited competences, consistent with native Russian schools of thought. Our relations with Russia would be greatly improved if we were to acknowledge and engage with this reality instead of tilting at irrelevant caricatures of a police state.” (from the article)

      It is refreshing to get a different viewpoint on Putin. His qualities may not endear him to us, but at least he can be shown to not just be a stereotypical dictator.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Why just Russia?

        Because she has lots of fancy toys?

        The same should be said about all nations, coexistence, universal brotherhood, one out of many, and none of this ‘hierarchy, alpha male, we are exceptional’ stuff.

      2. Yonatan

        Early in Ukraine coup saga, Putin told as story that clearly illustrated his philosophy. He recounted a conversation with a fellow (at the time) KGB officer stationed in Afghanistan during the 1980’s. This officer said he judged his success not by the missiles fired at the enemy, but by the number of missiles not fired. Putin clearly shares the same beliefs and follows the same strategy, as do the leaders of the Russian military and security services. A recently released video of the background to the events in Crimea clearly show this philosophy in action. The video is long (> 2 hours) and is a mix of original footage and reconstructions with original participants. The video is well worth watching to understand what happened, when and why, in Crimea.

        Crimea. Way Back Home.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          “…missiles not fired…”

          Yang is visible, rigid, strong, action, etc…

          Yin is dark, pliable, soft, non-action (wei wu wei – see wu wei, Wiki), etc.

          We often glorify action – he/she invents, he/she builds, etc.

          What we overlook, what we do not celebrate is when he/she skips over excess consumption, consciously avoid acting on partial knowledge, etc.

      3. Lexington

        Putin has a clear vision of a strong, centralized, law-based government with defined and limited competences, consistent with native Russian schools of thought. Our relations with Russia would be greatly improved if we were to acknowledge and engage with this reality instead of tilting at irrelevant caricatures of a police state.

        It is refreshing to get a different viewpoint on Putin. His qualities may not endear him to us, but at least he can be shown to not just be a stereotypical dictator.

        There are none so blind as those who will not see.

        One of the occupational hazards of being sufficiently interested in a foreign country to make it the focus of your academic career (though Grenier is a translator by trade rather than a scholar) is a loss of perspective and tendency to overidentify with the interests and viewpoints of your subjects. Grenier commits this fallacy in spades.

        The idea that Putin, who is believed to have personally embezzled over $30 billion dollars (making him oligarch-in-chief), who almost certainly murdered hundreds of Russian citizens in a false flag operation that was used as a pretext for Russia’s brutal invasion of Chechnya, who has repeatedly used the state security apparatus to harass, imprison and murder political opponents, who has stamped out any semblance of a free press or extraparliamentary opposition, and who has placed a large part of the economy (particularly the energy sector) under the control of his political cronies believes in “law-based government” can only be described as blatant intellectual dishonesty.

        Putin isn’t the next Hitler, and he probably isn’t even seriously trying to reconstruct the former USSR (though I have no doubt like many Russians it’s where his heart still resides) but he isn’t a nice guy who is just misunderstood by the West either.

        1. JEHR

          The opposite of not being stereotypical is not “nice.” When one understands what makes a person who he is, it is easier to see what he may do whether nice or not.

        2. sid_finster

          Got any evidence for your assertions regarding V.V. Putin’s alleged fortune or your claims regarding a false flag attack?

    3. susan the other

      Putin’s favorite philosopher of the mix is Ilyin. Never heard of him, naturally, but nice to see him described as a “liberal conservative”. In the 50s, he predicted an interesting thing – the breakup of the Russian territory. This article alludes to the cause being a coming diverse political unrest. Not the US going after all that oil? What is now Russia, a vast country stretching from Ukraine to Vladivostok, is not so diverse as the USSR was. It’s doubtful there will be too much political “unrest” in Siberia since there aren’t enough people to reach any sort of critical mass. So was this detail gratuitous? I’m just wondering if info like this helps pave the way for Russia to compromise on backing down over, say, the Caspian because it is after all situated in the middle of its former empire which is primarily Muslim. Just wondering. There are a lot of right wing nationalists in Russia; Boris Nemstov was one (he accused Putin of “giving away” Siberia).

    4. Ned Ludd

      The article caught my attention a few paragraphs into “Analyzing the Analysts”. Paul Grenier paraphrases and quotes the philosophical thinkers who influence Putin and contemporary Russian political thought. I found this more thought-provoking than reading (again) about how the U.S. press corps lies &amp lies & lies (which just prompts me to down my whisky at a financially unsound rate).

  8. craazyboy

    “Yellen says rates likely to rise gradually”

    This could get interesting. Last crash ( I think we still call the GFC) , IIRC the measure of short term money, M1, shot up to $8T – a large component of this being 3month and shorter T-bills. Rates here actually did go negative due to everyone bailing out of other “financial assets”.

    This go around, the Fed owns a very high percentage of T-bills (Wall Street has been complaining of a “shortage” – they “need” them for shadow banking collateral ) . They also own a lot of longer term treasuries(and “AAA” MBS due to all the QE.)

    They still like AAA collateral for “emergency” lending to banks.

    So if Mr. Market all of a sudden has a “liquidity preference”, the Fed will have to sell large number of short T-bills ( ok, the Treasury may help with that too) and will probably encounter a shortage of AAA rated bonds in the hands of banks that banks can use as collateral for Fed cash loans to satisfy Mr. Markets move to cash and 3 month T-Bills.

    So I’d say the Fed doesn’t really have a clue what will happen with interest rates across the yield curve, and also may have new rules handed to them by Mr. Market regarding the quality of collateral they will be accepting to keep fractional banking ( or FB cubed as the case may be nowadays) from collapsing and providing everyone with the proper amount of money electrons in their banking and brokerage accounts.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      When a crisis occurs, those in power and those with connection to power, will be at the front of the line.

      That’s why power must to distributed, like money, like food…and not concentrated.

      1. susan the other

        It’s ironic that the Fed can’t just stand up and say exactly what they are planning because if they do that then there will never again be any give and take, ergo there will be no market. Not even a synthetic one. So everybody decides according to their interests: corporations are borrowing as fast as they can while the rate is still low and everybody else is buying those stupid bonds as fast as they can because they feel secure in the reality that a rise in interest rates will destroy the pyramid. I think the idea of a market has reached the logical end of its life. There is no idea so useless as one whose time is passed.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Honey, I vacuumed the server:

    After her representatives determined which emails were government-related and which were private, a setting on the account was changed to retain only emails sent in the previous 60 days, her lawyer, David Kendall, said. He said the setting was altered after she gave the records to the government.

    “Thus, there are no emails from Secretary Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state on the server for any review, even if such review were appropriate or legally authorized,” Mr. Kendall said in a letter to the House select committee investigating the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

    Classic Nixonian stonewalling.

    Were any federal laws broken? What difference, at this point, does it make?

    1. Jim Haygood

      Does the name David Kendall ring a bell? Why, yes … yes, I believe it does.

      Kendall was Bill’s personal attorney during the infamous ‘depends on what the meaning of “is” is’ deposition. He also at least deserves co-credit for the innovative “eatin’ ain’t cheatin’ ” defense.

      Not only is the Clintonian Parade of Scandal (TM) back, but it’s the same old, same old faces and fixers that we so fondly remember from days gone by.

    2. DJG

      The Republicans have always been ham-handed about the Clintons–she must have choked Vince Foster to death with her bare hands, right? They have never let the laws and the justice system take their course–because the Republicans spend so much time undermining the court system all the way to the top with clowns like Alito, Scalia, and Thomas. Yet the Democrats and the liberal crowd, in keeping with the axiom that U.S. life is Eternal High School, rally around and come up with excuses. There are liberal-ish writers and many liberal-ish commenters who still titter about how it was only a blow-job. Lewinsky was an intern. When will it be sexual harassment? (And, again, the Republicans, with their contempt for women and the law, missed their opportunity then, too.) So this will be spun by the Democrats as Hillary Clinton’s Rosemary Woods moment–she just kept her foot on the erase-pedal key too long–as Republicans try to show that Hillary Clinton is possessed by the Devil. Our elites are corrupt all the way down to their wingtips.

      1. Tom Denman

        If the G.O.P. had any sense at all they’d be doing everything they could to bolster Hillary Clinton until the minute the Democrats nominate her. They couldn’t possibly hope for an opponent with a greater propensity for self-destruction.

        As it is, Ms. Clinton’s complete ineptitude means that there’s still a chance the Democrats will nominate someone who can win (and who, if elected, would be any better than the Republican nominee).

  10. steviefinn

    I would agree on the 70’s thing, even in England which was way behind the States in material wealth. A risk of rose tinted glasses & sounding like my now dead older relatives who seemed to be forever talking about ‘ The Good Ol’ Days ‘ – a period they were always very vague about when confronted by my childish interogations. I would add a sense of freedom to your list – I know for a fact that many of the things I did as a youth, are now not possible & I feel as though there is a sense of fear in most people, especially in the places where there were strong communities built around the workplace.

    1. William C

      I would add also a sufficiency of leisure time, as well as jobs, for all. By comparison with then, when we all worked 35 hours and not a minute more, nowadays those who have jobs must expect to work much longer, while those of working age who do not have jobs, of course, have more leisure than most of them want.

      1. steviefinn

        Good point William C – Also a high percentage of Mother’s back then didn’t have to work & many who did only worked part time for what they called ‘ Pin Money ‘, used for extras rather than desperately trying to stay afloat.

        1. dandelion

          Well, it’s also true that in 1970 working for “pin money” were the only kinds of jobs mothers could get, regardless of how much money they might need. In 1970, it was still legal to fire mothers for getting pregnant, and there were several states in which women still could not get credit in their own names. It was absolutely unheard of, in 1970, that fathers would actively participate in the labor of home and childcare, and if the marriage ended, it was near certain the mother would end up in poverty, because, in the US at least, she had so little access to work, support payments, or later, pension payments or adequate Social Security, a situation that required changes in all sorts of federal and state laws and practices to correct. In the 1970s, the single biggest demographic living in poverty was women over 50, most of whom were mothers, because divorce or widowhood had left them with nearly nothing. This is when the meme about the elderly eating cat food started, because women over 50 were so severely impoverished.

          1. steviefinn

            That might have been the case in the US, but through most of the 70’s in the area where I lived, employers were desperate for women to join the workforce. Most of them worked in what was called ‘ The Potteries ‘, working at what was called ‘ piece work ‘, where they were paid for what they produced. Stoke-on-Trent was then the largest producer of ceramic giftware / tableware / sanitryware on the planet, but now it barely exists except for those who invested in quality & design & managed to update the Victorian, class ridden mainly incompetent management set ups. Something that the then very small in comparison German industry managed to succeed in doing, resulting in there present very successful exporting.
            That is very sad in regard to the over 50’s women on the scrapheap – I suppose the difference here might have lay in the welfare system which is presently being neoliberalised.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            You have a good point, and that shows, like the society itself, that progress itself is not equal.

            In fact, for many, the situation has regressed.

            “I was a free-range chicken in the 70’s. Now, I am caged.”

            “I was afraid of BT toxin in the 70’s, but this cotton bollworm has built up immunity now.”

        2. neo-realist

          Many African American mothers in the 1970’s worked full time, at least the ones I knew. You never knew when one of the spouses would be the “last hired, first fired”. So the extra security for income coming into the household was necessary.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      ‘…fear in most people…’

      See the above link to NSA checklist to spot targets?

      Fear is when you think twice about clicking that link, because ‘do you have something to hide, to be afraid or concerned?’ ‘Why do you need to know how to evade us?’

      But if you join us, if you are on our side, if you stop distrusting Big Bro, you will be at the front of the line.

      “I want to see you make internet comments that you believe in the omnipotence of Big Bro, at least as far as money is concerned.”

      1. fresno dan

        “Fidgeting, whistling, sweaty palms. Add one point each. Arrogance, a cold penetrating stare, and rigid posture, two points.”

        People forget the billions, upon billions, upon billions spent PRIOR to 9/11.
        That the twin towers were attacked PRIOR to 9/11.
        That Osama declared war on us PRIOR to 9/11.

        I went to Israel for my job about 10 years ago. I got questioned upon arrival – it wasn’t onerous, or particularly unpleasant, but it was INTELLIGENT. (i.e., the young woman was able to formulate questions, on the fly, based on what I had JUST said to her to determine if my documents and other facts at hand were consistent with I being who I said I was for the purpose I claimed)

        Now consider what we pay TSA screeners. And consider your own experience. I am surprised their handbook doesn’t state “subject people wearing ‘death to America’ ” to enhanced scrutiny…

    1. JEHR

      Add Waugh, too, to your list (Chrome Yellow, Point Counterpoint, Brave New World).

      If you substitute “Money” for “Machine,” it also makes sense, especially near the end of the story.

      1. JEHR

        “On Exactitude in Science
        By Jorge Luis Borges, Collected Fictions, translated by Andrew Hurley”
        “…In that Empire, the Art of Cartography attained such Perfection that the map of a single Province occupied the entirety of a city, and the map of the Empire, the entirety of a Province. In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer satisfied, and the Cartographers Guilds struck a Map of the Empire whose size was that of the Empire, and which coincided point for point with it. The following Generations, who were not so fond of the Study of Cartography as their Forebears had been, saw that the vast Map was Useless, and not without some Pitilessness was it, that they delivered it up to the Inclemencies of Sun and Winters. In the Deserts of the West, still today, there are Tattered Ruins of that Map, inhabited by Animals and Beggars; in all the Land there is no other Relic of the Disciplines of Geography.
        –Suarez Miranda, Viajes de varones prudentes, Libro IV, Cap. XLV, Lerida, 1658”

        This story also makes sense if you treat cartography as Finance and maps as Money.

  11. PlutoniumKun

    The Ellen Pau case is a curious one. I came to it a little late, when a female friend jokingly accused me of having harassed her because I once lent her my copy of The Book of Longing by Leonard Cohen (apparently, part of Pau’s case included an allegation that one manager gave her a copy of the book). My interest in the personal goings on of venture capitalists in the Bay Area is pretty much zero (and my sympathy for people on 7 figure salaries even less so), but it was interesting to see a light shone on a world we rarely see. I was particularly curious about why her complaints were based solely on sexism – nobody to my knowledge brought up the problems Asian-American women specifically bring up about racial stereotyping in the workplace. Perhaps this was on legal advice.

    I’ve been involved (on the Union side) in work issues relating to sexism and its a difficult and fraught area. In my experience, problems are rarely simply about sexism (except when it is a straightforward case of sexual harassment by a senior manager). There is often a mix of issues and problems, in which sexist behaviour is just one aspect of a problem in how people relate in the workplace. It is usually a case in my experience that managers form cliques, and anyone who doesn’t fit into the clique, whether by way of gender, race, education, class or other issue of background ends up excluded, but it can be very hard to put your finger on why one individual gets singled out, while others don’t have problems. I’ve often found that even very good workplace policies can have unintended consequences – I recently sat with someone who’s main complaint was that family friendly policies had resulted in single women specifically in the organisation being dumped on by senior female managers with children under the apparent guise of female solidarity in the workplace.

    A further issue – and the Pau case reminded me of some of these – is that it is often the least sympathetic people who are willing to take cases to formal procedures to court. I’ve known a few cases where even the Union organisers felt that the individuals were using allegations of sexism (or racism) as a smokescreen or a weapon to be used in pursuing real or imagined gripes against organisations or management (and in some cases, its even been a form of bullying in its own right), while it can be very hard sometimes to persuade genuine victims to take formal action as they simply fear the stress and exposure this involves too much.

    1. James Levy

      People don’t understand that the workplace should be governed by a certain level of formality and distance. The “buddy-buddy” baloney of the American workplace creates a false sense of camaraderie and creates all sorts of space for discrimination and misunderstanding to thrive. I think it also makes the precariousness of modern employment more stressful, because you think the people you are dealing with on a daily basis and who call you by your first name and celebrate your birthday are your friends, when in fact they are not. You are a cog in their machine and a disposable one, which makes cutting you loose that much more painful and disorienting for the person being let go. I expect the people I work with to be civil and polite. We’d be a lot better off if bosses were held to that standard and not expected to be our “pals”.

    2. Working Class Nero

      Race, to Pao’s determent, was the key to her defeat. Pao’s case was dead-on-arrival due to her being Asian. Pao tried mightily to make it all about gender because women are undeniably underrepresented in Silicon Valley. As a group, if you are half the population but only have a few drops of water in the glass, then it seems just that the glass would be half full. In other words if only a few women have powerful positions, then it would seem to make sense to demand that half of these positions be held by women.

      But many social justice crusaders kind of miss the fact that explicitly demanding for the glass to be half full is to implicitly accept that the glass should also be half empty. If it is social justice that half the positions go to women, then half should go to men. Call it proportional representation. But keep in mind, just as in economics one group cannot run a surplus without causing another group to run a deficit.

      This is all relatively clear with gender but when we talk about race or ethnic identity it becomes a bit more complicated. The recently launched social justice jihad in Silicon Valley has had to awkwardly stumble around the ugly hate fact that while blacks and Hispanics are severely underrepresented; Asians are vastly overrepresented in tech: both male and female. Whites have roughly their population proportions. Now the facile explanation for black and brown deficits is typically white racism, so the reason for Asian success must also somehow be found to be white racism or else it should just not be talked about otherwise the whole victim politics paradigm starts getting undermined if it is found that a huge white conspiracy is actually not the cause of some social ills.

      So blacks and Hispanics have a stake in proportional representation because being underrepresented in many areas, they would gain in such a system. But for overachieving Asians it would be a catastrophe. Asians only have a few drops (5%) of population but their success glass is disproportionately full in Silicon Valley (25% or so). So social justice (proportional representation) is not in their interests. Blacks would feel the same way if we tried to introduce social justice into the NBA or the NFL.

      And if we look at the racial breakdown of the Pao jury, what people in the know tell me is that there were six Asians, three whites, one black woman, one Hispanic man, and one Hispanic woman. Pao won for the most part the sympathies of the black woman and Hispanic man, while generally the whites, Asians and the Hispanic woman voted against her (there is some ambiguity on the fourth claim).

      The Asian jurors realized that pushing proportional representation of any sort would limit their children’s chances in the future. Social justice proportional representation calls for 5% of positions in universities and white collar jobs to be Asian. Currently they have much higher representation in those areas and are quite happy to keep it.

      What’s interesting is that traditionally whites have been against proportional representation because presumably they would lose places. If we look at enrollment to elite universities, at least Gentile whites may be soon changing their minds. At most Ivy league schools the racial/identity break down is: 25% Asian, 25% Jewish, 25% white Gentiles, 25% blacks and Hispanics. With Gentile whites making up around 60% of the population, they are severely underrepresented at elite universities. So in time, if they are smart, white Gentiles may join blacks and Hispanics on the proportional representation wagon and a future Ellen Pao may be able to swing a couple of those white jurors into her column. But as of today such thinking is anathema to most whites of both political tribes.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Interesting comments. Although of course, even the description of her as ‘Asian-American’ shows what a minefield identity politics can be. It actually isn’t true, strictly speaking, to say Asian Americans are particularly successful in business or academia. There have been several waves of Asian immigration to the US, some of which have been more successful than the median, some less so. The first wave of Chinese and Japanese immigrants in the 19th Century was not particularly successful. But Pau’s parents were of recent Chinese descent, specifically those who were refugees from the Chinese Revolution. Those who found their way to America’s shores in the 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s were overwhelmingly from the upper middle classes of China – often highly educated, and (through family connections) with capital behind them. Similarly with many Vietnamese of Cantonese extraction who came with the boat people. Because of the application of visa rules, recent Indian American immigrants were biased strongly towards an elite of Indian society – mostly very educated and ambitious. Unsurprisingly, their off-spring (including Ms Pau) were far more successful than the median American. Whereas those Asians who came from (for example), Laos or Cambodia after the SE Asian wars often came from peasantry, and have struggled very badly economically and educationally. Sociologists would call it the ‘first generation’ advantage.

        So even to talk of ‘Asian Americans’ as being highly successful is only meaningful if you disentangle their origins. Second generation Lao or Filipino Americans or those descending from illegal (mostly Fujianese) Chinese most certainly have not been successful and would need as much help as African Americans or Hispanics in any positive discrimination policy in Silicone Valley or anywhere else.

        Its a very difficult issue. This is one reason why I am firmly on the side of seeing these things through the medium of class and income rather than race or gender wherever possible.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The next wave is going to consist of billionaires and highly resourceful ‘Marxists.’

          Their children won’t be just bookworms. They will be ueber-menschen…money, and pre-arranged IQ, will to show those imperialist Westerners, etc.

      2. EmilianoZ

        If this proportional representation were ever to be enacted, surely Jews and white goys would be put in the same group so that white goys wouldnt gain that much.

      3. James Levy

        Bringing up the NBA and the NFL is disingenuous–those skill sets are obvious and easy to measure and no one is giving out multi-million dollar contracts to blacks in those sports out of a heartfelt desire to do good. Who would make a good tech executive is a lot more murky and it is much more likely that Asian and white men could circle the wagons against “outsiders” in such a context and in a way that simply does not happen in sports where measures of excellence and success are quite transparent. At one time Chase and Morgan banks kept out Jews. They didn’t do it because Jews lacked some essential skill to function as bankers. They did it because they didn’t want any Jews working for their banks. In the atmosphere of banking before the Great Depression that was possible. Today, it would be impossible. I would argue that the tech field is where banking and brokerage houses and white shoe law firms were years ago–still closed shops that can and do allow the “right kind” in and keep the “wrong kind” out. Given the superior performance of young women vis-a-vis men on all kinds of standardized math and science tests, I would say it is hard to attribute their lack of advancement to a lack of ability. Given that my daughter is graduating from MIT with her skill-set in biology and computer modeling, I have some personal knowledge from which I speak.

      4. Yves Smith Post author

        Asians are not at all well represented at the VC firms themselves. They are white male bastions.
        And you might read this piece about bias even at firms that think they are managing against it, which Kleiner Perkins wasn’t. The “you have to fit our culture” often boils down to “you have to strongly resemble our current partners” which is almost impossible for any out-group member:

        1. Working Class Nero

          Here is a study that claims 20 out of 87 leading venture capital firms in Silicon Valley had “significant Asian limited partners”. They never defined “significant” but I suppose we can assume that means they were not “white male bastions”.

          Here is the partner page for Kleiner Perkins. Now sure they may have diversified it up for the lawsuit but still:

          By my count they have 17 Asian partners out of 56. So a demographic with around 5% of the general population has around 30% of the partnership positions. Something tells me Asians will not want to be going to proportional representation any time soon, as was shown by the Asian jurors’ rejection of the Pao lawsuit.

          1. PlutoniumKun

            Thats quite an interesting selection of mugshots on that Kleiner Perkins webpage! And not a tie to be seen (except for Colin Powell of course).

            But to restate my point above, I would not mind placing a bet that the overwhelming number of those Asian American faces are first or second generation descendants of either: 1. upper middle class Chinese refugees from the Chinese Revolution or other similar upheavals elsewhere in Asia, or 2. The direct descendants of immigrants who came in special education or skill based visas. In other words, their families were upper class and highly educated even before coming to the US (although some may have been impoverished due to war). This distinction would not be lost on any Asian Americans who don’t fall into those categories, but is often overlooked in these discussions – not least that study paper you link to which does not make this distinction. Its not my specialist area, but to my knowledge scholarly work is quite unambiguous that by far the most important determinant of any ‘ethnic’ Americans economic success is the educational and economic status of the ‘first generation’ in your family to reach America (the same applies in any other immigrant society). There is no evidence whatever of any cultural/genetic determination behind the success or failure of particular ethnic groups. The ‘disciplined study and work’ oriented Asian is as much a myth as the ‘lazy’ African American or Hispanic.

            I personally believe the success of Asians in certain areas is every bit as much evidence of an economy skewed in favour of the well-connected and already wealthy as is the usual row of smug white male faces usually seen in major company brochures.

            1. Working Class Nero

              The Powell picture is pretty funny. He is of course the only black or Hispanic among the partners.

              I grew up in the Bay Area, went to UC Berkeley, and work in the architectural profession, which kind of makes me an expert on Asians. I can tell you that there were all sorts of backgrounds represented at Berkeley among my Asian friends. In particular I remember one working class family (father was a butcher, mother sewed costumes for the SF opera) who had five children who all went to good universities. But there were certainly many children of Master’s immigrants from the 60’s and 70’s. One small generalization I could make is that the Asian children from elite education backgrounds tended to succeed more in their subsequent careers than the kids from working class parents.

              Be all that as it may, these are just more reasons that Asians will never buy into proportional representation. Yes, of course not ALL Asians succeed, that would be bizarre. But enough do so that they do not want to start getting into looking at population proportions and calling it social justice if these targets are met. The truth is, in Silicon Valley at least, whites have roughly their population numbers (although skewed towards too many men) while blacks and Hispanics are practically non-existent. Their places have been taken by Asians, and any social justice movement based on population percentages would have as a conclusion that the over-represented Asians need to be replaced by under-represented blacks and Hispanics. And whether they are from working class backgrounds or from the elite, Asians are just not going to buy into that.

              1. PlutoniumKun

                Colin Powell of course, is a prime example of the ‘first generation’ principle. He is the child of educated immigrants from the Caribbean with some Scottish blood, not ‘african american’ in the usual sense.

                I’ve no experience with west coast asian americans, apart from a SF viet-american friend who was a boat person refugee – she is (in accordance with the stereotypes), a PhD in science, and also the child of parents who were middle class in Vietnam, but like most of Cantonese extraction, were pushed out and impoverished after the fall of Saigon.

                I’ve been interested in Asian American history due to a few East Coast Asian American friends – its interesting just how intense the racial hatred they encountered in the 19th Century (the Unions were often the worst offenders), and at how relatively unsuccessful they were. They were quite literally burnt out of mining towns like Butte, Montana. All the stereotypes applied to successful Asian Americans now really apply to what most of my Asian American friends would describe as a very specific sub-culture of Chinese and Vietnamese second and third generation people (a Chinese friend of mine scornfully describes them as ‘ABC’s’s – American Born Chinese). They really are highly sensitive (rightly so) to those cliches and stereotypes, especially when they apply to women. So I think you are quite right to say that Asian Americans are very cautious of supporting people like Ellen Pau for fear it could backfire on them – but that is not the same as saying that they are not acutely aware of their status as being ‘not quite’ Americans.

              2. James Levy

                That’s like saying “Southerners aren’t going to buy into the repeal of Jim Crow because it favors whites.” No shit, it was still racist twaddle that kept whites up and blacks down and had to be smashed whether the crackers who used terror to enforce it liked it or not. And I notice you are strangely silent when anyone challenges you and puts the issue of racism front and center. But I guess there is no racism in America, no sexism, and all the rich and powerful white guys hold their positions because they are inherently better and more deserving than those stupid blacks and illegal immigrant Latinos. From everything you’ve ever written (or failed to write) that is the only conclusion I can reach about your beliefs from your posts.

                1. Working Class Nero

                  Let’s see, I propose that it would be in Gentile white people’s interests to have racial/identity proportional representation laws (quotas) but that these ideas would be fought tooth and nail by actual privileged groups including Asians and Jews who are both hugely over-represented in elite circles. You should either agree or disagree with me but instead you deflect from the question by railing against the fact that I don’t rail against racism.

                  Do you agree that in a socially just America positions of power would be distributed by population percentages? And this obviously includes gender; I want my daughter to have access to elite universities and power if she were ever to decide to live in the US.

                  Yes or no? My position is that Gentile whites are foolishly fighting against proportional representation when it is now in their interests (I gave the example of elite college admission where Gentile whites are severely underrepresented). My other point is that Asians are correct to fight these types of proposals from the point of view of their ethnocentric interests; which you seem to agree with. So where is our disagreement?

                  You seem to be not be aware of the decline and fall of the WASP ruling class and are still living in an America that existed 50-100 years ago where a Gentile white ruling class ruled the roost. Those days are gone; there are new groups with disproportionate power in the US and it will be interesting to see how they handle increasing demands from blacks and Hispanics (and hopefully Gentile whites) for a fair share of power.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          Yves, that report is excellent – it certainly should be required reading for quite a few companies. It certainly accords with my experience of organisations which genuinely try to do the right thing, and yet somehow don’t fix the problems (or just create other problems).

  12. bob


    Better is how he ended up in prison-

    “Posing as staff from Barclays Bank, Lloyds Bank, and Santander he managed to persuade large organisations to give him vast sums of money.

    Sometimes he answered calls from victims using a man’s voice and then pretended to transfer the call to a colleague before resuming the conversation in a woman’s voice, the court heard earlier.”


  13. TiC

    Lang thinks social justice people run the country? What solar system is he talking about? Don’t tell me Lang actually managed to confuse the happy-clappy nobodies of the social-justice movement with the ruling class. The World Social Forum, How many divisions do they have?

    It must be a rhetorical device, pretending to believe that social justice means knocking countries over and blowing shit up. The US ruling class appropriates and distorts human rights language to justify coercive interference and use of force. That in itself breaches a peremptory norm. Every single person in the world knows that the US government is full of shit when it talks about justice or democracy or rights of rule of law.

    Lang’s last line is nice & pithy – calling deserts peace. As long as we all know that they do not mistake deserts for peace. They like deserts. They don’t give a shit about peace. The US government, they’re not mistaken, they’re criminals, enemies of all mankind.

  14. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Dark matter darker than thought.

    Some things have limits – the lowest temperature, the fastest velocity, etc.

    Some don’t – how small can matters be or how big? How old is the universe – we don’t know for sure, but can look forward to the best explanation every other day, it seems.

    How dark can dark matter be? Is that a scale for that?

    And why is it that some are bounded and some are not? I understand some are uncomfortable with universal constants, because, perhaps, that implies specialness. They should be similarly uncomfortable with this arbitrary division between bounded-ness and unbounded-ness.

    1. John Merryman

      Part of the problem might be that fundamentally light is treated as a point particle and only as a wave en masse.
      What if gravity is not so much an effect of mass, as an effect of energy coalescing into mass? When you turn mass into energy, it expands, because it occupies more space and creates pressure. So if energy turns into mass, it occupies less space and so would create vacuum. Now when you treat light as a point particle, it can’t get any smaller, but if you treat it as a wave, it can shrink in size and increase in energy/mass. The overall effect would be to pull everything together, aka, gravity, since there are lots of electrons, cosmic rays and other forms of radiation out where this dark energy is supposed to be. This would make gravity more of a composite effect, than a specific force.

      In other forms of math, when the equations don’t add up, it might be because of some additional factor, or it might be because some error has been overlooked, but in cosmology, there are no errors, so it must be some enormous new force of nature.

      The nice thing about being a science crank is that you don’t have to worry about the thought police putting you in their files. Anarchists are ignored.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can there be both errors and new forces in cosmology, as practiced by fallible humans?

        1. John Merryman

          Try this one on for size; Space expands between galaxies. Space contracts in them. (actually measures of space and within galaxies, its mass points and outside, its radiation). These two effects are apparently in equilibrium, resulting in the appearance of flat space. The story goes that it only appears flat because inflation blew the universe up much larger than we can see, much as the surface of the planet appears flat.
          Now we appear to be at the center, but since it is supposed to be expanding space, based on relativistic spacetime, the argument is that space itself expands and so every point appears as the center. What they completely forgot about is that for it to be based on General Relativity, the speed of light should increase, in order to remain constant, but that’s not the story. The story is that space is being “created” as these galaxies move away and so it takes light longer to cross this distance. What seems to be overlooked here is that the speed of light is presumably our most fundamental measure of everything, including intergalactic space. So we have space expanding, based on the redshift of this intergalactic light and we can tell this because we can compare it to the stable units of lightyears, based on the speed of the very same light. Hmmm. Okaay.
          Now we are the center of our view of the universe, so an optical explanation for redshift would quite logically explain why we appear at the center, but with light as point particles, the only way to explain redshift is if the source is moving away.
          Now ask yourself, is it possible someone might have overlooked something, or are there these enormous forces of nature, inflation, dark energy, dark matter, hiding in empty space?

          1. John Merryman

            To tie the two comments together, if we have expanding radiation and contracting mass and they are two sides of a cosmic convection cycle, with everything falling in eventually being radiated out, or what falls into the center, being shot out the poles as quasars, then eventually cooling off in intergalactic space to the point it condenses out as mass……
            For one thing, it would explain why expansion and gravity are in equilibrium.
            Like I said, I’m a crank. If you want to hear about multiverses and black holes, go to the experts.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Everywhere is practice hall, so goes a Zen saying.

              One learns wherever one can – even from cranks, taxi drivers, barbers…

              I am a big dreamer in simple explanations. Maybe one day, we go from a 2 dimensional mental world to 3 dimensional mental world, or from a 3 to a 4 dimensional one, and everything can be explained more simply. For that to happen, perhaps, we need a different brain.

              One thing for sure, we perceive the universe differently than, say, a cat (Light? What is that?). A more powerful brain will likely see it differently than us, unless we assume this brain is it, as far as thinking goes.

              1. John Merryman

                Keep in mind complexity is part of a cycle and tends to reset often and not just increase. Nature deals with this by having individuals die and the species regenerate, but we are just building an enormous wave and now it’s just the foam and bubbles at the top of the crest.

  15. Carolinian

    The Counterpunch “Folly of Machine Warfare” makes a nice bookend to yesterday’s Paul Craig Roberts review of Kill Chain (which caused me to immediately go get the book from the library). Here’s a money quote

    Viewing war as an engineering problem focuses on technology (which benefits contractors) and destructive physical effects, but ignores and is offset by the fundamental truth of war: Machines don’t fight wars, people do, and they use their minds. Our technology’s physical effects can be — and often are — offset by our opponent’s mental counters or initiatives, reflecting both his adaptability and unpredictability, and his moral strengths, like resolve and the will to resist. Combat history has proven this over and over that mental and moral effects can offset physical effects, for example, when the destruction of ball bearing factories did not have its predicted effects in WWII, when bicycles carrying 600 pounds of supplies were used to by pass destroyed bridges on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and when the Serbs used microwave ovens to fool expensive anti-radiation missiles in Kosovo. And as Cockburn shows, this has proven true again in the ongoing war on terror, and its mirror image, the war on drugs.

    Any one who doubts that this critique applies to drones used in a counter-terror strategy should be asked to explain the collapse of in Yemen — the place where drones reached their apotheosis as the centerpiece of American counter-terror strategy.

    Or, shorter version, “the moral is to the physical three to one” (Napoleon). One fears the folly of our robot war obsession is going to haunt this country long after the silly things–half of them so far destroyed in accidents–have been abandoned. Perhaps General Atomics’ assassination platform should have been named not Predator but Icarus.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Like nuclear technology, which spread much faster than the U.S. had imagined in 1945, drones are everywhere now. Crashed U.S. drones have already been salvaged and reverse engineered.

      Unfortunately, it’s only a matter of time before a weaponized drone attacks a U.S. target. One can already predict the confusion which will follow: enemy attack or false flag? When secrecy prevails, we’ll never know.

      1. optimader

        Most all technology evolves to commodity level. That cycletime compresses as we go into the future
        That’s the myopia of the MIC that behaves as if incremental technological advantage is a remedy to forgo playground rules (behavior)

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          There is another MIC – the Monetary Industrial Complex – that simply rewrites the playground rules whenever necessary, or just to impress the average man.

          This is more pervasive and powerful.

    2. susan the other

      and as every behavioral research conclusion knows: morality is a real thing. Even if you bribe it, you have never bribed it. It just sits there like Yoda and makes near-perfect judgments. mmmm… maybe dark matter is primarily composed of morality…

    3. PlutoniumKun

      I have the book on order, it sounds fascinating. But I wouldn’t like the overstate the issue of war technology failing in the face of determined opposition. This isn’t far from what the Nazi’s, fascists and their Japanese equivalents thought in the 1930’s – that the Will to Power and Blood and Iron or however they described it of a determined population would always beat a technologically advanced and rich democratic country. That didn’t work out so well for them. I seem to recall the Khymer Rouge thought something similar when they suicidally picked a fight with the Vietnamese. On the other side, what US drone strategy is trying to do is what Michael Collins succeeded in doing during the Irish War of Independence – Collins used a network of spies to identify the weak link in the British occupation forces – namely, the use of on the ground intelligence officers who ran networks of informers. He simply assassinated the key ones (just a few dozen officers), rendering Britain blind in Ireland. He then ran what amounted to a bluff war, convincing everyone that the IRA were vastly larger, better armed, and better supported than they actually were.

      Of course, it all depends on the technology, and how it is applied. It seems to me that the achilles heel of US military thinking is the obsession with killing from a distance – the notion that you can strike an enemy by just spending money on technology, avoiding that nasty issue of casualties to your own side. Its a tempting idea that you can police the world doing that, but all the evidence suggests that it simply doesn’t work. The only reason to think it will work against Isis is that the Iranians and Kurds may be able to do the dirty work on the ground.

  16. steviefinn

    When I watched the video showing the amateur drone turning up univited at a Merkel press conference, I wondered whether the top brasses might one day regret the invention of drones. i’m not very technical but would it perhaps not be possible for someone for not much expense, combine a 3D printer, a miniature camera, some sort of fast, stable propulsion system, a metal tip dipped in ricin & radio control, to produce something small & fast enough to be very hard to stop ? Maybe I have just read to much sci-fi.

    1. craazyboy

      Yup. This one is made of wood and costs about $150 less radio transmitter.

      Plus there would be a wonderful niche for low cost terrorist drones. About $5K a piece with a range of maybe 2 miles for those that aren’t wimpy about getting sorta close to an enemy target.

      ‘Course in the personal assassin niche, DARPA still has the tech lead with insect size poison stringer drones.

    2. Llewelyn Moss

      If you think about it, a bad guy could tape a small block of plastic explosive onto a drone. Those drones already have an onboard radio controller, and a battery pack likely to have enough punch. And I think the radio controller is programmable. Merkel and her buds we probably dumb to stand there gazing at it in wonder.

  17. fresno dan

    Sacramento-based Sutter Health said Friday that it had net income of $402 million in 2014, up 34 percent from $300 million in 2013.
    The health system said operating revenue last year totaled $10.2 billion, up from $9.6 billion in 2013.

    Must be do to all the cost saving under the ACA….cause we know there’s no inflation…

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From bipartisanship on fixing Medicare doctor payments:

      He added that this could help the stock prices of hospital companies, such as Community Health Systems, HCA Holdings Inc and Tenet Healthcare.

      Maybe it’s time to take a little risk and put that FDIC insured CD money into the stock market…..

  18. bob

    Re-define the product-

    While it might throw flames, it’s not a flamethrower. Real flamethrowers, in the classical, burn a human alive trench warfare style, are a lot more insidious and brutal. They “throw” napalm, sticky gasoline, meant to stick to, and burn, whatever it come into contact with.

    “But it’s against the law, man!” No, no it’s not. But, I bet there’s a follow on campaign to get a 3D printed version out.

    $19.99. No blue LED “on” light, or crowdfunding/sharing economy excitement. But, for $580 less?

    Are the fuel re-fills going to be like K cups? $80 for a $2 can of butane.

    Blow-off top to the “sharing economy”?

  19. participant-observer-observed

    USA as Shiva?
    I don’t THINK so!

    Not enough even fake resemblance to deontological ethics available here for making a religion out of US power culture of war (fast) & financial (slow) crimes against humanity, animals, and ecosystem!

    USA doesn’t even qualify to play Rudra, or the Yakshas!

    USA is a RAKSHASA (man-eater demon)

  20. Oregoncharles

    “Dark matter even darker than once thought”

    IOW, it doesn’t exist. It’s a kludge – duct tape holding together a flawed theory.

    Granted, I’m not a physicist and don’t know what I’m talking about. But I’ve read a lot of science, and it’s fairly obvious, from articles like this, that it’s mostly hand-waving. And indeed, I’ve seen theories that would eliminate it.. Remember, physics still hasn’t reconciled general relativity (gravity) with quantum mechanics (particles). That means one or the other,or probably both, is wrong. If they solve that one, I’m guessing dark matter will quietly evaporate – or it will suddenly be obvious what it is.

    If we’re really lucky, that will happen within our lifetimes. And before our civilization collapses.

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