Links 4/26/15

New TSA Precheck Program Offers Expedited Interrogations For Muslim Passengers The Onion (Chuck L)

Buildings collapse, hundreds killed as 7.9 magnitude quake strikes Nepal South China Morning Post

Nepal earthquake: death toll exceeds 1,800 and terror reaches heights of Everest – rolling report Guardian

Why Bad News Is Good News Pacific Standard (Bob H)

How a Giant Ball Will Help This Man Survive a Year on an Iceberg Outside Online. Chuck L: “Darwin Award watch.”

Liquid mercury found under Mexican pyramid could lead to king’s tomb Guardian (Chuck L)

The Anti-Corruption Drive and Risk of Policy Paralysis in China Center for Foreign Relations

Europe Has Completely Lost It Ilargi ‘


PM tries to appease mayors, regional governors over cash bill ekatihmerini

UBS chairman says Greek default increasingly seen by IMF as controllable Reuters

Eurozone Finance Ministers Contemplate ‘Plan B’ for Greece Wall Street Journal. The ECB is the one that has to make the most serious preparations, and they have been thinking about this for a while.

Scrip tease Economist (Li)

Greece and its lenders must reach a debt reform deal ‘by early May’ Reuters. As we pointed out yesterday, news reports quoted Eurogroup head Djisselbloem saying that the Eurogroup would not consider a Greek proposal at its May 11 meeting. Per the Financial Times: “Mr Dijsselbloem suggested next month’s meeting of finance ministers, scheduled for May 11, would only ‘take stock’ of the situation rather than serve as a chance to reach a deal.”

Denialism ekathimerini


Ukrainian analysis by the Saker: no hope for peace left Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L). Conclusion: “War therefore appears to be inevitable.” And this means a bigger-scale war.


Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe’s problem Independent (Chuck L)

Obama and the “right side of history” in Yemen Asia Times

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Obama hacked Russians read president’s emails in security scare for White House Guardian

Computers That Know How You Feel Will Soon Be Everywhere Wired

To help spread its message, the NSA has produced a coloring book. You know, for kids Pando

Imperial Collapse Watch

Army morale low despite 6-year, $287M optimism program USA Today (Chuck L)

A tale of two cities: Part 1, The epicenter of America’s transportation system Affordable Housing Institute (Qrys). From the beginning of this series of posts: “Within a year, two at the most, Chicago will be the next ‘biggest US municipal bankruptcy ever,’ overtaking Detroit for that dubious honor….How did Chicago become to large to be sustainable?”

Trade Traitors

The Revolution Will Not be Fast-Tracked Counterpunch

While Hillary Was Secretary of State, Foreign Corporations in Favor of TPP Paid Bill over a Million Dollars Alternet


Jeb’s scary new adviser: Meet Jordan Sekulow, global attorney for the religious right Salon

Obama Ribs Those Jockeying to Succeed Him at White House Correspondents’ Dinner Bloomberg

Police State Watch

A Residence With Locking Doors And A Working Toilet Is All That’s Needed To Justify A No-Knock Warrant Techdirt (Chuck L)

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner Accuses Unions Of Manipulating Elections International Business Times

Baltimore Freddie Gray protests turn violent as police and crowds clash Guardian

New York police shoot unarmed man dead during East Village arrest attempt Guardian

Just How Leaky Is the Fed? More Than You May Realize Bloomberg

Wall Street can’t stop talking about the ‘ridiculous’ arrest of the ‘Flash Crash’ trader Business Insider

New Reverse Mortgage Policy Leaves Widows and Widowers Homeless Philly (Paul Tioxon)

Racial Inequality and the Economics of Social Justice Truthout

Why can’t we read anymore? Medium (Bob H). Wow, I can’t relate to this. Do you? I assume not since NC posts are long! I’ve read four books in the last three months despite having virtually no leisure time (although I do read books on the treadmill). This information processing issue is alien to me. But 1. I do not own a smart device of any sort (when I leave my desk, I do not want the Internet following me) and 2. I suspect I do not have the dopamine reaction this article describes (I get so many messages I find them to be an intrusion and stress inducer, save for ones from certain key people).

Antidote du jour. chitownrdh: “Poor bugger, he has been hanging on since last night. He is alive just trying to wait out this cool, 39 degree, with wind gusting at 20mph, Chicago day.”

FullSizeRender links

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. run75441

    Something about turning the pages of an interesting book which is not the same as moving a pseudo-page on an electronic device. Your mind wanders and it is escapism.

    Since I fly a lot and for long periods, I always have a couple of books with me to read. If I run out of things to read, I pickup more and make the donation to phone cards for returning military. The hospital stay for 2.5 weeks gave me time to read through 4 books, 2 easy and 2 not so easy. Rereading favorites is a pastime for me also. There is always something interesting in them.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      I must admit that Medium article was all too relevant to me. I am by nature a bit of a magpie for information (in my pre-internet teens I would spend hours in bookshops just randomly browsing through science and history magazines and books). But i did also read a lot of books. But in recent years i’ve found it almost impossible unless I have a long train journey or flight. Its shocking for me to realise how few books I’ve read lately. The last book I read (Mishima’s ‘The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea’, I actually stopped two pages before the end (my train arrived), but I haven’t managed to pick it up to finish it in the past 3 weeks. The internet simply proves too attractive (and I have to say, Naked Capitalism is one of my chief drugs of choice, it takes up most of my lunch break and a chunk of my evening before cooking dinner). Its worse now that wifi is everywhere – I used to read on holidays, but since you can even get good wifi now in remote campgrounds, I find myself reading online instead of the books I bring.

    2. Garrett Pace

      People don’t re-read things anymore. Today, communication is intended to be disposable, affecting momentary decisions (click this, buy that) and then forgotten.

      Not that there’s nothing worth remembering out there on the internet, but there’s very little economic value in remembering anything other than, say, a brand name and the emotional affect tagged to it. Come in, have your spurt of dopamine, and jump off to push the lever again for another pellet.

      1. Garrett Pace

        Also, first hand experience has shown that if I disengage from the internet for long periods of time during the day, the internet becomes a very very boring place. I’ll think, “okay time to catch up on what I missed during the day” and it takes 30 minutes, and I get up to do something else.

      2. optimader

        People don’t re-read things anymore add “many “as a qualifier and you have a defendable claim.
        Fact is there are different type of reading, and of course some things need to be reread and some things are just fun to reread (anything by K Vonnegut for example). You can think of it this way, as more people don’t reread, or only read superficially, it potentiates strategic advantage for people that do.

        Not that there’s nothing worth remembering out there on the internet, but there’s very little economic value
        I seem to uncannily specialize in retaining the little economic value content

        1. Garrett Pace

          While there are exceptions, generally anything not worth re-reading is not worth finishing.

          1. NoFreeWill

            Nothing that’s a linear narrative is worth re-reading, re-watching, or re-experiencing. Why, when I have access to an infinity of great works of history, the recent past, and present, would I choose to waste time I could spend experiencing something new?

            1. Garrett Pace

              Oh wow. I just read Brave New World again. The first time it was a sarcastic, fantastical romp. I identified with Bernard Marx, and that should tell you all you need to know about my personality. This time (and now I have kids) it was emotionally devastating and kept me thinking for a long time. Can anyone say I was wasting my time, even if it makes me two days slower to start into another work of shattering brilliance?

              I think I can agree with you that any narrative where just one thing is happening at a time is probably not worth further examination, or any at all. But that is very much not the case with Thucydides, or Groundhog Day, or Achilles in Vietnam, or Napoleon at Borodino. Those all have far too many dimensions than can be examined in a single exposure.

              Though I do not encourage rapid re-reading. The second time you approach a work, it should be as a different person.

      3. Yves Smith Post author

        Huh? I regularly re-read important articles and good novels (for instance, one of the four books I mentioned is The Left Hand of Darkness, which I read so long ago as to have completely forgotten the plot).

        1. OIFVet

          Took a gender studies class in college for an easy A, got to read Ursula Le Guin instead. Still got the A, but reading “The Left Hand of Darkness” was the highlight by far. Still have that paperback all these years later, and reread it every couple of years.

        2. Garrett Pace

          Unfortunately, I’m not sure the NC crew is a representative sample of society at large.

      4. jrs

        All I hear on the internet is how screwed up the world is. I often think I’d rather not remember.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I suggest a little bit of everything, reading, pondering, wondering, looking, observing, watching, thinking and non-thinking.

      Non-thinking is too often ignored…and yet is useful in enlarging the compassion zone in our brains.

      “One goes west to reach the East and one can reach more understanding via non-thinking. Nothing is flat.”

      Take the path not travelled since we entered the first grade.

    4. Ignacio

      The difficulty to concentrate on books or songs sound to me like an adult hyperactivity disorder. ADHD.

  2. PlutoniumKun

    The Nepal earthquake seems appalling, but I think they may well have dodged a bullet. I was in Kathmandu a few years ago, and all my reading, and looking around, convinced me that it was a potential catastrophe in the making. The quality of construction is unbelievably low and the city is built largely on a dried up lake – these sediments can wobble like jelly in an earthquake, causing far more destruction than for buildings on rock. I’ve read serious predictions of a million or more casualties if a big one hit the vicinity – and this certainly was a big one.

    I don’t know why the casualties appear (so far) to be relatively low, but it may have been a quirk of geological luck. Lets hope their luck holds out – sometimes big aftershocks can do a lot of damage to weakened structures.

    1. diptherio

      The quality of most modern construction in KTM is awful. I was also surprised that the casualty numbers were so low, although I expect they will continue to increase in the days to come.

      Still havent’ heard from any of my friends there…it’s nerve-wracking.

      1. GlennF

        The US embassy is functioning and taking care of Americans. I don’t have contact information just an email relayed through multiple people from a person there on the scene.

  3. Ned Ludd

    The moral values prevalent in Brussels, whether it comes to EU policies regarding Ukraine, Greece or the refugees’ dilemma, don’t seem to be shared in any individual European nation (if anything, they’re reminiscent of what various extreme right wing parties espouse).

    And as the Greek negotiations with the eurogroup and the ‘institutions’ show us with intense and increasing clarity, the notion of the euro being a boat to lift all tides turns out to be full-on bogus. Southern Europe’s nations will be either thrown out or allowed to stay only as debt servants.

    It is telling that the left in Europe is so enamored with the E.U. The role of the capitalist left is fundamentally anti-democratic – co-opt popular movements, divert dissent, and provide liberal justifications for reinforcing or shifting more power to elite institutions.

    Sinking nameless to the bottom of the sea, with no-one either ever knowing who you are or aware of how you are doing. That is our new valuation of a human being. It’s price discovery in its most cynical sense, it’s how assets get re-priced in markets.

    What Tsipras and Varoufakis must accomplish is to make people understand that what Europe does to the refugees, it will do to its own citizens too.

    That is not the role of Tsipras and Varoufakis. Their role is to keep hoi polloi in the E.U. boat, to be pushed overboard or sunk to the bottom as the markets demand.

  4. Ulysses

    The Urie piece in Counterpunch, linked above, makes a number of great points. Yet it also introduces an extremely unhelpful false dichotomy: “[the]opposition strategy to the TPP is to draw a circle around the political process, ‘fast-track,’ rather than challenging the base premises of the broader proposal.”

    Why can’t we do both??!! Every now and then the perceived need of our corporate overlords, to play by some sort of political “rules,” allows us ordinary subjects of the regime the chance to apply enough pressure– at a particular choke-point– to at least slow down our oppression. Preventing fast-track is one such opportunity. Just like preventing one massacre doesn’t end violence forever, stopping fast-track won’t stop the transnational kleptocracy from trying other schemes to enrich themselves in the future. I believe we are obliged to seize any opportunity to prevent massacres that we can!

  5. Ned Ludd

    NATO hopes for war between Russia and Ukraine.

    Always keep in mind that the real goal of the next Ukronazi offensive will not be to defeat Novorussia, but to pull Russia in and then [have the offensive] be defeated by Russia. Such a defeat at the hands of the Russian military will probably provide NATO with a justification for its existence for the next 50 years and completely crush any European desires to rid itself from the EU’s current status of “voiceless US colony”. Should that happen, the much awaited “new Cold War” will be again in full swing, the US military-industrial complex in complete bliss and the US population suitably “re-terrified” by the next “global enemy”.

    The dubious politics of Fortress Europe” (via Raúl Ilargi Meijer) reveals similar machinations underlying Europe’s immigration policy.

    Apostolis Fotiadis, an Athens-based freelance investigative journalist, seeks to document a paradigm shift in Europe’s immigration policy away from search and rescue operations to all-out deterrence. The switch, the 36-year-old author argues, plays into the hands of the continent’s defense industry and is being facilitated by the not-so-transparent Brussels officialdom. […]

    “Without a crisis there would be no need for emergency measures, no need for states to upgrade their surveillance and security systems,” he said.

    We are watching the “democratic” governments of the West manufacture consent for policies that viciously feed back into more war and more crises, enabling them to expand military profits and increase social control of the populace.

    1. Jack

      That can be the plan all they want, but the Ukrainian military is a husk at this point. They pissed away all their trained soldiers months ago. A few weeks or months of training by US troops isn’t going to transform their conscripts and skinhead volunteers into effective fighters, and unless their military leadership is given a lot more of a free hand in the field they’re just going to fall back on artillery and Chechen War style armor rushes again. Any Ukrainian offensive will be defeated without a need for Russia to overtly intervene.

  6. roadrider

    Re; Why we can’t read anymore

    It would be interesting to track the number of articles documenting the mythology behind multi-tasking and how cognitive science has debunked it as opposed to the number of employment ads that specifically mention skill in multi-tasking as a requirement or desirable trait for prospective employees.

  7. Disturbed Voter

    Immigration from Africa into Europe and from Latin America are part of the blowback for European/American neo-colonialism … not just the Middle Eastern/South Asian terrorism. It is amazing that college educated people still believe that dealing with symptoms solves problems, but dealing with causes is too hard … because it would reveal the ugly face of the developed world. The developed world is a vampire … the under-developed world should invest in garlic and wooden stakes, since the vampires are so shy around mirrors.

    1. diptherio

      When studying previous empires, it’s no big deal to point out that imperial powers loot wealth from those they conquer, which then goes to enrich the imperial nation. That’s the whole point of imperialism, no? But when it comes to our American empire, we refuse (generally) to admit this. No, no, we insist, we’ve earned all our wealth fair-and-square. But that’s as ridiculous as claiming that you got knocked up while remaining a virgin: it’s just not the way the world works.

      As plenty of others on this site have pointed out, the wealth of the US–the relatively high standard-of-living we have here in the US compared to the “developing world” (which is the vast majority of the world)–depends on the repression of, and extraction of wealth from, those living in our resource colonies. The system of control over our colonies has been adjusted from previous imperial iterations–we prefer to work through local proxies and ostensibly independent local leaders, rather than taking direct administrative control–but the results are the same. Those in the colonies are immiserated while those in the imperial seat get to enjoy the “excess” of the colonies on the cheap.

      Why can we buy all this amazing technology for so cheap? Because everyone from the miners to the factory workers who built the thing for you got paid pennies an hour. We’re all guilty, to some extent, of benefiting from this messed up system, even if we have done nothing in particular to create or encourage it.

      The point of the whole system, though, is not to make cheap consumer goods available to the average imperial citizen, but rather to further enrich and empower the elites of the empire; the cheap consumer goods are just a side-effect, although a necessary part of the contemporary system. It’s the cheap consumer goods that keep those of us on the bottom of the hierarchy in the imperial homeland content to go along with the system. But they are just a few crumbs–table scraps from the macabre cannibalistic feast that our elites are continually engaged in, greedily devouring the lives and dreams of the colonized peoples.

      What’s happening now (and has been happening for my entire lifespan, so far as I can tell) is that the elites are so greedy that they have now progressed to not just cannibalizing foreign peoples, but their own as well. Fewer scraps are being allowed to fall off the table and more and more people in the imperial heartland are themselves being devoured by the elites. My take on it is that we experienced a bit of an interregnum, during which the elites exported the majority of exploitation to other parts of the world–but now diminishing marginal returns have set in for this export market and the only place left to really squeeze are the chumps at home. Hence all the talk of pitchforks and guillotines in the last six years. Eventually, the greed of the elites will be their undoing, but how long that might take is anyone’s guess…imho.

      1. Ed

        The United States was the world’s leading oil producer, the predecessor to Saudi Arabia, through to the 1960s or thereabouts.

        That’s all you need to know about the “high standard of living” in the US (which you realize is really not that high if you’ve traveled). The US sits on an easily defensible continental landmass with lots of resources, where most of the original population was killed off by disease. There really was no need to go and extract wealth from peasants living in other places.

        The American empire is more characteristic of the Soviet Empire, where the elite starved the core to maintain control of the periphery. There is alot of literature on post-industrial revolution imperialism, Parker Moon’s book is still the best, that makes it clear that the process probably lowers the wealth of most people in the core. What it does is that wealth from the less powerful in both the core and the periphery extracted for politically well connected groups that are attached to the structure maintaining the empire.

        1. optimader

          Agree with the notion about domestic energy resource as a historical standard of living catalyst. but it goes much further than that. (BTW, I don’t agree with the SU comparison, historically, very different deals.)
          Location location location, the United States has benefited from very abundant indigenous natural resources, an extensive arable climate over most of the land mass AND a uniquely extensive warm water tri-coastal coastline.
          Diptherios handwringing about US imperial looting is a bit ironic in a historical context when comparing with Empires of the likes of: Rome, Portugal, Span, Britain, Russia which indeed evolved for the purpose of occupation and resource extraction. The United States attempts at Empire, which incidentally are, w/ some notable exceptions) a fairly recent endeavor, pretty much since WW2. Rather than “looting” it has been more about resource/territory denial (in particular recent middle east policy).
          If we consider the “imperial”efforts put forth, if the purpose has been simplistically “Imperial looting” then effort has little to show for it.

          The United States as a Coastal Nation

          1. OIFVet

            I suppose the Spanish-American War occurred after WW2, and that the preceding displacement and genocide of native populations does not count as “empire-building”…

            PS You need to bone up on neocolonialism

            1. optimader

              I suppose the Spanish-American War occurred after WW2
              Your supposition would of course be wrong but you make my point:Rather than “looting” it has been more about resource/territory denial
              In fact our version of “looting” more recently has been a rather questionable reverse approach wherein we give away resources and entire industries.

              PS You need to bone up on neocolonialism

              mmmm. no I really don’t think I do.

              1. OIFVet

                Yes, you really do. Resource denial is just the PC phrase of latter day apologists for the neo-empire, what with resource denial being the same as resource control and all… One can’t deny access to something without controlling it first… The fact that control is now corporate is rather irrelevant, and hardly constitutes “giving it away”… You think them “free trade” deals and US military making the world safe for “democracy and the free market” is “denial of access”? How quaintly absurd and disingenuous… But nice try Opti, keep exceptionalism apologia flowing…liberally.

                PS Come to think of it, you are right: you don’t need to bone up on neocolonialism. The problem seems to be denial of the existence of the neo-empire…

              2. OIFVet

                I suppose this is denial of access to them pesky Russkies, and totally not a looting: Private electricity at the expense of the State: The privatization of Maritsa Iztok 1 and 3 in Bulgaria. Poor AES and Entergy are saddled with the thankless task of denying access to them Russkies, by a US government that keeps giving away resources and industries, and all they get is a lousy 200% the market rate for their electricity. Brought to you by privatisation programme written up by the US Chamber of Commerce advisers to the BG governments of the 1990’s.

                Nope, no looting in sight in the “independent and fully sovereign” nation of Bulgaria.

      2. MartyH


        I suspect a rereading of Lundberg’s America’s 60 Families has done me good. They have been squeezing the chumps at home. That was the Great Depression, good for the banks and the rich, not so good for the country. A good war is always good for business … war profiteering is an Imperial Tradition going back AGES … and has been the primary driver of “RealPolitik” for a really long time.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The rich go blow up the rest of the world and then bring home the problems for the working middle class (what used to be the middle class) to work them out. Never, ever, mind the First Cause. We must always, always, be preoccupied ourselves with our own humanitarian crisis at home. It’s very urgent all the time. Don’t think about anything else. “We will take care of the other problems abroad.”

      To ‘expedite’ the process, they also have the unlimited global reserve money to attack profitably and monetarily vulnerable nations with the additional benefit of no-way-to-avoid current account deficits. That way, the working stiffs formerly known as the middle class can contribute their erstwhile jobs to the world.

      “Keep printing that global reserve currency. Because International Commerce! And because we can and Greece can’t!!!!!”

      “We’re exceptional.”

  8. Carla

    I like the new header “Trade Traitors” in Links, but suggest “TPP Treason” might be even stronger.

  9. optimader
    Researchers at the laboratory where the electron was discovered in the 19th century have designed a sensor that can detect the charge of a single electron in less than a microsecond. The sensor, which was designed at Cambridge University’s Cavendish Laboratory, could be used in quantum computing to detect information stored in a single electron’s charge or spin, the team says.
    Called a gate sensor, the device gets its sensitivity through coupling to a silicon nanotransistor that forces electrons to flow effectively in single file, the team explains in Nature Communications.

    “We have called it a gate sensor because, as well as detecting the movement of individual electrons, the device is able to control its flow as if it were an electronic gate which opens and closes,” explained lead researcher Fernando González Zalba of the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology.

    The new device is more compact and accurate than previous gate sensors, Gonzalez Zalba said. The detection speed of around a nanosecond is the fastest obtained so far for this type of system.

    Devices such as ultra-precise biosensors, single electron transistors, molecular-scale circuits and quantum computers are all predicted to work by using the properties of individual electrons to carry data, rather than the flow of many electrons as is the case with current systems
    Researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology are planning for an even bigger challenge to cryptography and cybersecurity. While scientists and engineers worldwide are working intently to make the dream of quantum computing a reality, information security managers are watching the horizon with some apprehension. The overwhelming computational abilities accessible upon the arrival quantum computers would quickly unravel the most advanced public key encryption available today, thus rendering current cryptographic standards obsolete. If quantum computers appeared as a viable technology tomorrow, there would be precious little alternative and acceptable means for securing our online and wireless transactions.………..
    Current cryptographic encryption methods are analogous to an arms race. Researchers add complexity to the algorithms that encode our messages while hackers attempt to break them. For now, researchers are able to outpace the majority of these malicious attempts. However, quantum computing would compel the use of keys so long that most public key systems in use today would not be practical. This necessitates a complete redesign of the algorithms involved in online encryption, and those efforts are known as Post-Quantum Cryptography.

    Because the most complex encryption methods in existence today will be resolved in “real-time” on quantum computers, the challenge for researchers is to develop newly structured mathematical algorithms that maintain security amid quantum computers.

    “Each of the major public-key protocols used in e-commerce today depends on a procedure which is easy to do but difficult to undo,” says Dr. Robert Gilman of the Department of Mathematical Sciences at Stevens. In RSA, for instance, it is easy to multiply two large primes, but very difficult to factor a large integer into a product of primes. Researchers have long thought factoring to be a “hard” problem, but they have not proved it. “If it turns out that there is an easy way to factor, or in the case of quantum computing, if technology suddenly gains the power to solve hard problems much more quickly, then RSA will not be secure.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Luckily we humans don’t trust each other and thus the need for nonstop information-arms race…probably a few Nobel prizes in the process to impress and dazzle all those who relate to the world via intelligence, solely or primarily, and which our current educational system is all about, beginning in pre-school, all thanks to that original ‘sin,’ or maybe we call it Prime Cause, of pan-suspicion. “You out-smart the other kids!”

      Thusly, we motivate ourselves to make ‘progress.’

    2. ewmayer

      o Re. Link 1: “…could be used in quantum computing to detect information stored in a single electron’s charge or spin…”

      Ehm … it is impossible to use the charge of an electron – except in the “how many electrons?” sense – to convey information, as it’s a fundamental constant of nature. I suspect the research is really aimed at rapidly counting the number of such immutable single-electron charges which pass through such a gate, and that the blurb writer simply botched that aspect. With the spin of a single electron the amount is similarly fixed, but you at least can toggle the sign, i.e. can convey a single bit of information.

      o Re. Link 2: “The overwhelming computational abilities accessible upon the arrival quantum computers would quickly unravel the most advanced public key encryption available today, thus rendering current cryptographic standards obsolete.”

      Good grief, what a barge-load of hooey this is – not in its bare facts, but rather in the ‘alarmism omits crucial information’ aspect, the glaring omission in question being with respect to the existence – known for roughly 40 years now! – of fundamentally quantum encryption schemes. (The blurb is talking about quantum decryption of classical encryption). Whichever PR flack wrote this direly needs to do some remedial reading on unbreakable quantum encryption schemes, which are rendered so precisely by the fact that they do not rely on the ‘computational-hardness / trapdoor-function’ mathematics which underpin classical (that is, non-quantum) encryption schemes. The piece you link is simply talking about the well-known fact that quantum computation can be used to break most if not all of the latter. The loud PR from the Stevens Institute notwithstanding, this is all well-known stuff. Sounds like someone’s trying to get funding for their latest grant proposal.

      1. optimader

        it is impossible to use the charge of an electron – except in the “how many electrons?”

        I presume it is presence or no presence of an electron charge, as well spin. so yes that would be counting electrons.

        A direct quote from the principle researcher with his contact info in what I believe is the original citation:
        “The device is much more compact and accurate
        than previous versions and can detect the
        electrical charge of a single electron in less than
        one microsecond,” M. Fernando González Zalba,
        leader of this research from the Hitachi Cambridge
        Laboratory and the Cavendish Laboratory, tells
        More information: M. F. Gonzalez-Zalba, S.
        Barraud, A. J. Ferguson, A. C. Betz. “Probing the
        limits of gate-based charge sensing”. Nature
        Communications, 6: 6084, 2015. DOI:

        re link 2, I think you are inferring direness? It is merely a convenient link that expresses the fact that when all the technical punchlist items are satisfied for practical quantum computing, present encryption techniques are toast. Link 1 demonstrates that counting single electrons is not a fatal prerequisite technology barrier for quantum computing.
        As far as unbreakable encryption schemes, unbreakable is a word like “never”. The time domain is a relentless adversary.

        1. ewmayer

          My point is that even if real-world applications of quantum crypto will suffer from similar “only as secure as its implementation” issues as classical crypto, there is no reason for alarm about quantum computers “leaving us all wide open” because practical quantum crypto will be developing in parallel with quantum-compute capabilities.

          And at least with quantum crypto, the science *guarantees* that a properly implemented scheme will be bulletproof and not bypassable by to e.g. man-in-the-middle attacks. A similar guarantee is lacking for classical crypto: While the overwhelming consensus in the mathematical community is that factoring (RSA and PGP-style schemes) and discrete-logarithm-taking (elliptic-curve crypto) are as hard as the mathematical heuristics and state-of-the-art (at least the publicly known state of the art) indicate, there is no proof that this is in fact so.

          1. optimader

            to an interesting article and comment thread.
            ewmayer ,
            And at least with quantum crypto, the science *guarantees* that a properly implemented scheme will be bulletproof and not bypassable by to e.g. man-in-the-middle attacks.
            way not my field of expertise, I’ll accept your assessment re: MITM attacks. I usually am not comfortable w/anything describes as “bulletproof”. but that just me, In many circumstances ( and maybe this isn’t the case here) symmetric aspects of technology don’t develop at the same rate

  10. whine country

    “The Army said the effort to use the questionnaire results to gauge morale Army-wide is experimental. ‘We continue to refine our methodologies and threshold values to get the most accurate results possible,’ it said in the statement.” The methodologies may continue to be refined but the core principle, beatings will continue until morale improves, endures. Until that core principle is changed all efforts at “refining” will just be re-arranging the deck chairs… Think VA Healthcare system.

    1. evodevo

      Duh! ~$300 million for nothing, as usual. The Post Office does the same thing with us – has us fill out a mandatory questionnaire yearly, full of nonsensical buzzword questions, all the while making it more and more difficult to do our daily work, constantly piling on more tasks in the same time allotment (productivity, for the win !!!) and imposing more irrational regulations. Before the Crash, I used to recommend the PO as a good career choice – not any more. They’ve gone corporate.

  11. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bad news is goo news.

    Job losses —> Rates stay low —-> bigger stock market bubble.

    Areas cleared for agriculture/tress cut down/resource extraction/animal extinction —–> bigger GDP —–> better ‘economy.’

    Thus bad news is good news.

    We are Nature’s…’rentiers.”

    We are…all rentiers now.

  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef


    PM tries to appease mayors and regional governors over cash bill.

    The struggle intensifies on the domestic front, rather than taking the fight abroad….

    Is this by design? Are the Greek leaders in control? Do they have the institutions where they have always wanted?

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the link, China’s anti-corruption drive.

    In order to address this policy paralysis, the central leadership should seriously consider limiting the objectives of the anti-corruption campaign and incorporating it into the track of rule of law

    From Wiki, about the man in charge of the Legalist reform in the State of Qin:

    Shang Yang (Chinese: 商鞅; pinyin: Shāng Yāng; Wade–Giles: Shang Yang, 390–338 BC) was an important Chinese statesman of the State of Qin during the Warring States period associated with the Legalist Philosophy of the The Book of Lord Shang. Born Wei Yang (simplified Chinese: 卫鞅; traditional Chinese: 衛鞅) in the State of Wei, with the support of Duke Xiao of Qin Yang enacted numerous reforms in Qin and assisted Qin in its change from a peripheral state to a militarily powerful and strongly centralized kingdom. He enhanced the administration of the state through an emphasis on meritocracy, devolving power from the nobility.

    And his ultimate fate:

    Deeply despised by the Qin nobility,[2] Shang Yang could not survive Duke Xiao of Qin’s death. The next ruler, King Huiwen, ordered the nine familial exterminations against Shang and his family, on the grounds of fermenting rebellion. Yang had previously humiliated the new Duke “by causing him to be punished for an offense as though he were an ordinary citizen.”[3] Yang went into hiding and tried to stay at an inn. The innkeeper refused because it was against Yang’s laws to admit a guest without proper identification, a law Yang himself had implemented.

    Yang was executed by chelie (車裂, dismemberment, being fastened to five chariots or cattle and torn to pieces);[4][5] his whole family was also executed.[2]

    That’s the risk and the potential price for implementing rule of law. Not too much for true believers.

  14. tongorad

    Re Jeb’s “scary” new advisor
    If we had a working political system/process, it follows that there would be a authentic left counterpoint to these clowns. But there never, ever is…

  15. fresno dan

    The racial questions hover in the air, too, but the problem runs deeper. In the Washington suburbs, a white man named John Geer was shot in his own home 20 months ago by Fairfax County police officer Adam D. Torres. For most of that time, county officials refused to convene a grand jury, identify Torres, or even provide an explanation for the shooting. When the police chief refused to provide Torres’ personnel records to a county prosecutor, the case was referred to the Justice Department, which did nothing other than stonewall the family and the media.

    The Washington Post kept the case alive, as did the victim’s family. A civil suit was settled for $3 million last week when it was finally revealed that four other police officers said Geer had his hands over his head when shot by Torres.

    It’s not that “Black Lives Matter” is the wrong slogan. They do matter. But all lives matter, and Geer’s death, like the deaths of the others, raises fundamental questions about the lethal authority we’ve delegated to government officials in this country, along with a presumption of goodwill afforded to law enforcement authorities. And it seems to me that in our zeal to combat crime we—“We, the People”—have given away too much.

    When the police have lost this guy, its like Johnson losing Cronkite….

    1. Jagger

      ————-It’s not that “Black Lives Matter” is the wrong slogan. They do matter. But all lives matter, and Geer’s death, like the deaths of the others, raises fundamental questions about the lethal authority we’ve delegated to government officials in this country, along with a presumption of goodwill afforded to law enforcement authorities.—————–

      When the problem is defined as a black issue, poor whites and hispanics tune out. And poor whites/hispanics definitely have a problem with the police as well. But if you define the problem as a police issue or a poor man’s issue, everyone unites. This is a case of using race to define an issue which could have far greater reactive mass if it wasn’t defined as a race issue.

      1. neo-realist

        The Geer case appears to be an outlier as far as police executing a unarmed person who is not a person of color. It’s hard not to frame it as a black/non white issue since the victims are overwhelmingly persons of color and persons of color are for the most part seen from long term framing as enemies of law abiding property owning white middle america, which I suspect makes it hard for those whites to identify with the movement. It would probably help mainstream the movement if more white people joined the anti-police violence demonstrations, which in turn could help mainstream the message into one of irresponsible fascist police state violence against main street America instead of a particular subset of Americans deemed by many to be disposable.

        1. Jagger

          Shooting a black man in the back is just the most extreme case of police abuse. But it is clear police abuse is greater than just executions. If we want police reform, we need to include other abuses such as confiscations, no knock raids, railroading and other identified abuses. And if we want the critical mass to achieve results, the problem needs to be identified as a problem that unites hispanics, whites and blacks. Defining the problem as a black issue divides rather than unites.

          I also suspect the problem goes well beyond just the police but also includes the judicial and prison industrial system. Incentives are greating a very oppressive justice system as a whole which impacts large segments of society.

      2. tongorad

        When the problem is defined as a black issue, poor whites and hispanics tune out

        Good point. Any chance of “Black Lives Matter” becoming a solidarity moment/movement? I don’t see how, going forward.

        1. different clue

          How about ” Civilian Lives Matter” ?

          One could even hashtag it. #CivilianLivesMatter

  16. barrisj

    While reading the so-called “public airing” of Herr Dr Dronemeister’s death-from-the-skies program in this week’s NYT, the business about how Congress and “the public” are far more “comfortable” with killing by drones than torturing “terrorist” prisoners leaves one quite perplexed. It seems as though people are more than willing to concede to the US government the indisputable “right” to inflict mayhem on foreigners or whole countries as a consequence of “protecting America”, but also that some actions are more acceptable than others. The fact that far, far more innocents have died by drone than by torture seems not to be a very big issue, and the general premise seems to be that the US will do nasty things, just don’t put a human face on it. Or, if one does, just make sure that they’re not white faces, and everybody will remain quite content or neutral about it all. Torture, killing by drones…shit happens, but that’s the price for defending freedom…well, somebody else’s price, I should add.

  17. JTFaraday

    re: Antidote du jour. “Poor bugger, he has been hanging on since last night. He is alive just trying to wait out this cool, 39 degree, with wind gusting at 20mph, Chicago day.”

    Yeah. Last autumn my 3.5 yo niece chased a praying mantis all over the back deck.

  18. bwilli123

    “..a full 91 percent of the pages made what are known as third-party requests to outside companies. That means when you search for “cold sores,” for instance, and click the highly ranked “Cold Sores Topic Overview WebMD” link, the website is passing your request for information about the disease along to one or more (and often many, many more) other corporation.”

  19. OIFVet

    A Tale of Two Cities:

    [Emanuel’s] modest victory (56% to 44%) shows that four-ninths of Chicago’s voters have no clue how desperate their city’s situation is.

    What a presumptuous, condescending twit. I dare say the vast majority of these 4/9ths know only too well the desperate fiscal situation the City of Chicago is in, but are hardly enamored by Emanuel’s neoliberal solutions which will amount to monstrous giveaways to Emanuel’s corporate owners and the ever increasing marginalization of large number of people. That whole series of posts left me with the impression that the author has his nose up Rahm’s rear end, from whence he feeds, as they amount to (and in fact the author alludes to it) a new form of trickle-down economics, only aimed at cities this time around. We all know how that worked out already. Then there is the straight-out-of-Silicon-Valley wish for the richer neighborhoods to secede, as if they got rich in a vacuum rather than by decades-long Chicago policy of segregation and redistribution of wealth upwards. “Affordable Housing Institute” is an Orwellian moniker in the context of these series of posts, as under Emanuel housing has become ever less affordable and segregation is making a strong comeback.

  20. skippy

    Your featured links intermission clip…

    Cecily Strong FULL SPEECH 2015 White House Correspondents Association Dinner

    Skippy… an event that is increasingly more akin to a epitaph… than a bit of light banter… too relax the room….

    PS. the quip about the delineation between Republicans and Libertarians was apropos…. snicker… I have a macro key for libertarians these days….

  21. optimader

    “Correspondents Association Dinner”
    ugh, the confirmation of the morphing of a journalist into groveling Quisling

    1. barrisj

      Well, yes, but Stephen Colbert, at the 2006 Dinner, really hammered the Bush WH, and how the media let that crowd get away with quite literally, murder. He’s not been invited back since.

  22. JohnB

    A slow brewing corruption scandal has just hit mainstream here in Ireland, and now seems to be affecting Hilary Clinton as well, involving (arguably) corrupt Irish businessman Denis O’Brien – who most likely bribed a politician into giving him a lucrative monopoly mobile phone license 2 decades ago (which made him a billionare effectively), and is linked to a string of further corruption scandals (lately involving construction firm Siteserv, having €100 million in debt to the state written off before being sold to O’Brien, and then given a lucrative government-contract for installing water meters, following gradual privatization of water here).

    He has been linked by WSJ as having ties to Clinton:

    I don’t keep as up to date on this kind of local news as I should, but may be worth a small bit of research and mentioning in links.

    I recommend Elaine Byrne as a good source on corruption in Ireland – her book (a little dated now but covering O’Brien) is very good:

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