Links 11/1/15

Seals Use Their Whiskers to See and Hear The Atlantic

The Cure for Corporate Wrongdoing: Class Actions vs. Individual Prosecutions Jed Rakoff, NYRB

Clever accounting means wrongdoing can offer tax benefits FT

Inside the Secretive Circle That Rules a $14 Trillion Market Bloomberg

Largest U.S. banks face $120 billion shortfall under new rule Reuters

How Muni Bonds ‘Yield’ 4% in a 2% World WSJ

Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck of Justice Dealb%k, NYT

These Are the Charts That Scare Wall Street Bloomberg

Al Gore’s Plan to Save Capitalism: Does It Make Sense? James Fallows, The Atlantic

U.S. retailers push banks to use PINs on credit cards as confusion reigns Reuters

The Promise and Limits of Postal Banking Credit Slips. What’s wrong with bricks and mortar? Even leaving aside the smidgeon of community the built environment can create, bricks and mortar post offices are where you would situate the antennas for free, high-speed community wifi, right?

Study on online charter schools: ‘It is literally as if the kid did not go to school for an entire year’ WaPo. Oopsie.

High-Profile New York Charter School Kept List of Kids It Wanted to Force Into Quitting Slate. Good stats are easy when you select your population.

Welfare Schools and Psychoanalyzing Education Reformers Matt Bruenig. Interesting to think of ideological conviction as a form of path dependency.


Portugal’s political crisis: ‘Europe is very concerned’ Green Left Weekly

The mess in Portugal is negative for debt sustainability Credit Writedowns

Portugal PM, president urge talks to let minority government rule AFP. No doubt!

Portugal Prosecutor Accuses Economist of Bond Market Manipulation WSJ. In 2010.

Limbo in Lisbon Politico

Tsipras shamed by Europe’s handling of migrant crisis Times of Malta

Greek Banks Need up to $15.8 Billion to Strengthen Their Capital Base WSJ


Russian airliner with 224 aboard crashes in Egypt’s Sinai, all killed Reuters

Syria: US Boots on Ground risks Conflict with Turkey, not Russia Informed Comment

U.S. Stopped Syria Air Strikes While Nusra And IS Prepared Attack On Government Supply Route Moon of Alabama

The real winner in Yemen’s civil war could be al-Qaeda PRI

Opening Soon: Germans Race to Capture the Iranian Market Der Spiegel

20 years later, a changed Israel marks assassination of Yitzhak Rabin McClatchy

Caribbean dealings stalk Malaysia’s 1MDB FT. It seems that the FT is too genteel to mention that the Cayman Islands are located in the Caribbean (and “Caribbean dealings” is 18 precious headline characters, vs. 15 for “Cayman dealings,” so WTF?)

I Died When He Proposed ‘Tapping Dat EZ-Link Card’ Crooked Timber. Wow, Singapore…

‘AlDub’: A social media phenomenon about love and lip-synching BBC. Watch out, K-Pop!

Diplomatic Dialogue in the Internet Age The Diplomat. It is time to back the tradition of “penned conversations.”

Imperial Collapse Watch

Retreat from Range:  The Rise and Fall of Carrier Aviation. With handy charts (PDF) Center for a New American Security. (Joe Lieberman’s presence anywhere is a bad sign. From the executive summary:

Today the Navy faces a future in which its increasingly expensive carriers have been rendered ineffective by defensive systems being developed, fielded, and exported by our competitors, but there are paths back to relevance for these symbols of national greatness [eesh] if the Navy makes the right investments. New capabilities in the areas of unmanned systems, stealth, directed energy, and hypersonics could be combined to provide the range required to perform deep strike missions. Experimentation, such as that seen with the X-47B demonstration unmanned combat aerial vehicle, as well as the lessons learned from operating unmanned platforms such as the MQ-9 Reaper over the past decade of conflict, provide an opportunity for the Navy and the nation to move forward with an innovative and revitalized approach to sea power and power projection. Cost curves can be bent [just like in ObamaCare!], and the combination of mass, range, payload capacity, low observability, and persistence — capabilities that emerged as critical during decades of naval air operations — can once again characterize the carrier air wing of the future, ensuring the carrier’s relevance for decades to come.

The ka-ching is very obvious, isn’t it? That said, and assuming good faith (see, again, the charts), given (a) the lead times to design, specify, and build  such “new capabilities,” and (b) the many, many years it takes to dig enough gold out of the earth with which to laboriously and weightily plate American weapons systems, is there reason to think that “we” can seize this “opportunity” to “move forward” [lambert coughs gently] in time?

Google co-founder Brin says some Alphabet business units may soon return to China South China Morning Post

Russia and the Curse of Geography The Atlantic


Hillary Clinton Emails Show Insiders Embracing Flattery WSJ

The Myth of the Bernie Bro Jacobin. Democratic apparatchiks at Salon making stuff up again. Film at 11.

Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Kiss Babies. That a Problem? NYT

Jeb Bush’s Problem Is Jeb Bush FiveThirtyEight

Yes, Marco Rubio’s Finances Are a Big Deal The New Yorker. Could be the reason the Mittster didn’t elevate him to Veep status….

Could America Elect a Mentally Ill President? Politico. Oddly, or not, no speculation about Reagan.

Binary thinking — right for computers, wrong for the real world FT

This is the key to the perfect password (and it’s easy to remember) Short List

Take 5 minutes and up your opsec game with Tor Messenger Ars Technica (Earnest).

“I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now…” Geographical Imaginations (Re Silc).

“Love is scalable”: Poshmark’s CEO explains how to grow users by slashing marketing (and the time he was nearly sent to jail) Pando

Loophole-free Bell inequality violation using electron spins separated by 1.3 kilometres Nature and Tangled Up in Entanglement The New Yorker

Do-gooders Harpers

Friday lay day – the tide is turning but there is a long way to travel yet Bill Mitchell. In part, a critique of this article by David Graeber.

Antidote du jour:


A coywolf.

Bonus antidote, both both Halloween and National Cat Day:

Trick-or-treat cat

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


    1. craazyman

      Yes there is! Doing it only once a year would be more irrational. After only 8 years it would be midnight right now

    2. Steven D.

      The time zones should be shifted so that in nowhere is there more daylight in the am hours than in the pm, as it is in Chicago on Central Standard Time. The boundary between the eastern and western zones should be between Pittsburgh and Cleveland and everyone go on year-round daylight savings time. Alternately, New England outside the New York orbit could go on Atlantic time with Newfoundland, Chicago placed in the eastern zone, and everyone stay on standard time.

    1. optimader

      I sprinkle sesame seeds on the keyboard and use my pet chicken, I learned the hard way you need to film him,, he’s quick

    1. craazyman

      I hope it doesn’t spread all the way to New York and take down the entire country. Is there somebody out there who can fill it with cement or something, while it’s still small? That might stop it somehow. If that doesn’t work, find some big trees on either side and tie them together with ropes. Hopefully they’ve already thought of this and they’re working on it now, as I type these words.

      1. craazyboy

        It might be a good place to keep our new fleet of F-35s. And if it does open up all the way to the Eastern Seaboard, we can keep our aircraft carriers there too!

        1. craazyman

          if there can be driverless cars then why not sailorless boats?

          there’s gotta be something they can do with those things by remote control.

          if nothing else, turn them into condominiums for rich plutocrats. they could park one off New Yawk City and have some speedboats for food delivery.

          1. craazyboy

            Be even better than a gated community with the wimpy security guy at the gate! Wonder what the association dues would be like? Would you need a license to take off in the F-35s and cruise around the city? Would Dominoes deliver??

          2. JTMcPhee

            Sailorless boats? I recall I think it was Larry Ellison had one of his megayachts, maybe a 136-footer or so sloop-rigged monster with like a 25-foot draft and a mast that wouldn’t fit under the New York bridges, rigged up with a complicated and ultimately eff-up set of “controls” that would let him sit at his touchscreen anywhere in the world and “drive his boat,” or invoke some code that would integrate all the sensors for wind, position, sea state, angle of heel and all that and move the vessel from A to B. And of course on my one ocean sailing voyage on a little 38-footer, that crossed the “sea lanes” from Hokkaido to San Diego and other bus routes, most of the car carriers and container ships we encountered were not keeping watch, and were being steered “efficiently” along great circle-modified-by-winds-and-currents courses by GPS linked to autopilots, usually with no one seemingly on the bridge… There are “rules of the road,” like there’s “international law,” but these nice concepts devolve to one simple principle — tonnage. Lots of small vessels “lost at sea” have been run down, knowingly or unconcernedly, by these “world trade vessels…” Just another externalized cost of doing business…

          1. abynormal

            HA, better than Opti’s chicken on speed. oops ‘seed’

            “A monster of vaguely anthropoid outline, but with an octopus-like head whose face was a mass of feelers, a scaly, rubbery-looking body, prodigious claws on hind and fore feet, and long, narrow wings behind.”

    2. Oregoncharles

      For comparison: a few hundred years before whites got here, a massive landslide blocked the Columbia River. Perhaps I should put that in all-caps: it’s a BIG river. The river broke through, of course, but underneath, presumably filtering through the rocks, so there was a land bridge there almost into recorded history. It’s the subject of native “myths” = in this case, historical memories. The landslide scar on the mountain is still visible, and so is the flat area along the river there. It’s called Cascade Locks.

  1. financial matters

    Inside the Secretive Circle That Rules a $14 Trillion Market Bloomberg

    Nice to see this getting more attention. This derivatives market is very dangerous and definitely needs more transparency and probably some winding down. We definitely have the foxes in control of the henhouse here.

    The ‘superpriority’ of these derivative contracts many of which were made in bad faith is crazy and threatens many pension funds etc.

    As we’ve seen with the great article here on NC a while back on Detroit, the financial system wants to keep the superpriority of derivatives intact. These overweigh pension funds, money market accounts etc and are not subject tobankruptcy stays.

  2. edmondo

    Jeb Bush’s Problem Is Jeb Bush FiveThirtyEight

    I never understood the rationale for Jeb! (registered trademark) running in the first place. There already is a candidate who will implement a neocon foreign policy and neoliberal domestic agenda. Her name is Hillary. With the GOP field so weak, she ought to try for both party nominations. Her policy stands (on alternate weeks) would fit nicely into either platform.

    1. craazyman

      that’s a good idea. Another possibility is this — the Democrat ticket is Hillary for president and Jeb for VP, and the Republican ticket is Jeb for President and Hillary for VP. Voters will still have a choice!

      1. Clive

        That’s actually not a bad idea. I’d maybe even go a tad further and go for the option where you can solve the problem of how you can even get Hillary out of the equation — which is that it’s done exactly as you describe, but instead of having to have Hillary, you just have Jeb, but (as required) the team who do RuPaul’s hair and makeup come in and get Jeb dolled up and doing a passable version of Hillary. And, pre-emptively reposting those who are ready to flag it up, as for the pant suit issue, well, you can buy those anywhere.

        1. edmondo

          RuPaul’s hair and makeup come in and get Jeb dolled up and doing a passable version of Hillary.

          I’m pretty sure Lindsey Graham would be a better choice

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I’d like a president who is more like us…someone who has only $1,000 in savings.

        “I too feel your pain. And I am not imagining either. No, I am not mentally ill, though if many, many of you are, I will be too, so I can be more like you.”

  3. allan

    “Arbitration Everywhere”

    One of the players behind the scenes, The Times found, was John G. Roberts Jr., who as a private lawyer representing Discover Bank unsuccessfully petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a case involving class-action bans. By the time the Supreme Court handed down its favorable decisions, he was the chief justice.

    Just a disinterested umpire, calling balls, strikes and game over.

    1. tegnost

      Whatever happened to that phrase we used to be subjected too all the time…judicial activism? I guess we know now why he was so eagerly recruited

  4. wbgonne

    The Cure for Corporate Wrongdoing: Class Actions vs. Individual Prosecutions Jed Rakoff, NYRB

    The argument is for more aggressive, quasi-privatized class actions to deter corporate wrongdoing. While that would likely succeed to some extent the problem is that the courts are increasingly hostile to such collective-action lawsuits. Further, Mr. Coffee’s proposal to privatize the function yet still depend upon government assistance and coordination seems doubly doomed. First, it flies in the face of the strong trend that, contrary to nearly everything else in the universe, public-good litigation is increasingly “publicized” not privatized. This, of course, places it directly under government control and subject to government priorities. Second, the proposal depends upon cooperation from government at a time when neoliberalism makes public welfare a low priority for government and government officials. IOW: if this proposal could be successful we wouldn’t need it because the government would itself be fulfilling this function.

    This all brings me to a larger point, which the article title alludes to but is scarcely addressed in the text: whether class action lawsuits or individual criminal prosecutions better achieve deterrence in the corporate setting. To me, one of the most insidious aspects of modern neoliberal capitalism is the diffusion and dilution of personal responsibility. That is the essential purpose of the corporate form. Class action damages, while sometimes impactful financially, are absorbed by the corporation. Individual criminal prosecutions of corporate bad actors pierce that corporate veil like nothing else can.

    1. Noni Mausa

      “…one of the most insidious aspects of modern neoliberal capitalism is the diffusion and dilution of personal responsibility…”

      Which, as you say, is the whole point. When the machine has 1000 working parts, each doing something innocuous, most having neither authority nor any overview of their collective effect, and many desperately dependent on a precarious paycheque, while the few who do have financial freedom and an overview of the machine’s structure and effect can easily obscure evidence of their decisions and intentions — how on earth is some overloaded law enforcement department supposed to take down such a toxic cloud creature? Much less dozens or hundreds?


      1. wbgonne

        Well said. The thing is that the Department of Justice could change the neoliberal paradigm with just a few well-aimed criminal prosecutions. Had Obama done so against the Wall Street banksters in 2008 everything might be different today. The fact that he did not, however, is caused by the same principle that will make it impoossible for the DOJ to “partner” with private attorneys general to rein in the capitalist excesses: the government is owned and operated by the corporatists who are engaging in and benefiting from those excesses.

        1. Brooklin Bridge

          Had Obama done so [used the slammer] against the Wall Street banksters in 2008 everything might would be different today.

          I know, nit-picky…but true.

          Putting .01% criminals behind bars should have been priority #1 along with huge personal fines designed to bankrupt the offender (the one humiliation – besides jail – that would have an effect). The very concept of criminal as applied to these people has been (as Pelosi likes to say and do) taken off the table.

  5. Inverness

    Re: “The Myth of the Bernie Bro.” It’s so easy to find an angle and use it to smear Sanders. On what planet is Hillary Clinton — who was on the board of Walmart, and supported three strikes and you’re in jail forever, an even remotely progressive candidate? Salon, and other “liberal” journals need to wise up realize that feminist rhetoric is being perverted to help out the neoliberals.

    1. nippersdad

      Hacks like Marcotte need their paradigms to get through the day without undue effort, and their sponsors are happy as long as they fluff the right people. When it becomes financially remunerative to plague the establishment I’m sure that they will suddenly figure it out, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for that to happen.

  6. wbgonne

    Welfare Schools and Psychoanalyzing Education Reformers Matt Bruenig. Interesting to think of ideological conviction as a form of path dependency.

    Interesting article and, as Lambert suggests, at least some acknowledgement that ideology shapes one’s world view. When all you can imagine is a hammer, every problem has to be a nail.

    As for this:

    Once the naive college student gets plugged into education reform organization (and especially TFA), they are then path dependent on education reform. Some might defect, but for the most part, there is nothing you will ever be able to do to convince them to decide that they’ve basically been wasting their time. Nothing. They are going to be education/school guys to the very end.

    One very interesting test case is that some of the major BLM actors are TFA alumni and have lately been getting some flack from the black community for privatizing the schools.
    Will they change or double down? So far, the author’s hypothesis checks out:

  7. petal

    1000 people at the Sanders rally in Lebanon, NH yesterday. I had not heard about it or seen any publicity leading up or I would’ve tried to go and check it out. Lindsay Graham is doing a town hall mtg 12-1p at Dartmouth on Wednesday but I have an experiment planned that day so I can’t go.

  8. wbgonne

    Yes, Marco Rubio’s Finances Are a Big Deal The New Yorker. Could be the reason the Mittster didn’t elevate him to Veep status….

    If what’s detailed in the article is the worst, I think this is going nowhere. In fact, I increasingly see Rubio positioned as the GOP’s 2008 Obama: a thoroughly corporate candidate with an ethnic, outsider veneer.

    1. nippersdad

      That seems to be the consensus, but I can’t help but think that their nativist base will find some way to sink his candidacy. It would only take one viral meme, one picture of him in a mariachi band, to make him unelectable, and there is no lack of meanness in that Party.

      My money is still on a Trump/Carson ticket.

      1. sd

        Trump would never share the ticket with Carson. He has to be the center of attention. If Trump is the nominee, he’ll look for a running mate outside of the primaries.

        1. nippersdad

          One can get a lot of attention and not actually have to do the job as we saw during the Bush Jr. Administration. I don’t expect ANY Republican to actually do the job for which they are elected, they have ALEC and various backstage Cheney incarnations for that.

          Which leaves a lot of time for preening to their various bases. Trump and Carson would about sew up the majority of their Party these days, so I think it would be a winning ticket for all of them.

      2. different clue

        His parents were Cuban exiles from COMMunism. Why would the “nativist base” object to that?

        1. ambrit

          Having grown up pretty much in the Miami, Florida area, I can attest to the ‘nativist’ distaste for the Cubans. There was a serious English as the official language movement back in the eighties. The antics of Alpha 66 and the other “Anti Castro” groups made that dimension of the Cuban presence the source of much humour. One example; “What’s the cheapest way to demolish a house? Rent it to Alpha 66. They’ll blow it up trying to make bombs.” I can remember seeing some of the first signs in the windows of tiendas on Calle Ocho saying : “We speak English here.”
          As for the discontents of ‘nativism,’ we would do well to consider the history of the Wests’ genocide against the Native Peoples.
          My favourite take on this aspect of American history:

          The Apache Homeland Security poster.

    2. andyb

      Rubio is being financed by billionaire Paul Singer who is a dedicated Israeli firster and committed to Israeli hegemony over all the ME. Rubio will be just another treasonous POTUS who will the darling of the Zionist Rothschild cabal and the MIC.

  9. Inverness

    The piece on welfare schools by Matt Bruenig is brilliant. I have encountered Teach For America recruiters on New York transit. I could identify them by their canvas bags. They were in their twenties, and had already taught in the program.

    I told them that one serious flaw of TFA was that candidates teach for just a few years, and leave. One responded, with the typical TFA youthful bluster, “Actually, that’s not true. A lot of TFA teachers end up working in administration.”

    I told her that’s a problem. Teachers with just a few years under their belt are rookies, and nowhere near proficient enough in their craft to be considered effective teachers, contrary to the popular Hollywood-neoliberal lie that great teachers don’t need experience, they just come out swinging and get their students addicted to calculus and poetry. Studies show that effective teachers usually have years of experience of reflective practice under their belts.

    But they want to believe that’s all it takes — a prestigious undergraduate degree, a bit of training, particularly in corporate management-speak, and a few years in a classroom, and you’ve transformed a group of poor students in the inner city. The saviour myth is seductive. If the electorate buys into it, you won’t have to invest in solving the real culprit of most academic inachievement: economic inequality.

    1. tongorad

      “Actually, that’s not true. A lot of TFA teachers end up working in administration.”

      I told her that’s a problem.

      Yes, but no – that’s The Plan – to take over the administration of schools. The goal of TFA is to take over public schools, not to staff classrooms.

      The saviour myth is seductive.

      Indeed yes. How or why is it so seductive? A very simple rhetorical move, I reckon: You take whatever corporate reform your trying to ram down people’s throats and you simply frame it with good intentions – it’s all about what’s best for kids, or closing the achievement gap is the civil rights movement of the 21st century, etc.

      1. Inverness

        Yes, tonograd, that’s the plan, as you accurately put it. And they’ve been very savvy about how to market it.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you are not rich, you have at least two disadvantages to overcome, as far as competing for work (and for mating and survival) by getting and using an education factory certificate:

      1. No 24/7 support, such as after-school tutoring, outside school
      2. No family guanxi to call upon.

      The second can nullify any ‘academic achievement.’

      A third disadvantage is that the system is indifferent that it and its enforcers/executors are producing more certificates than there are jobs in most, if not all, fields. It’s better for the system to over-produce than to under-produce, ‘understandably.’

      “Some of you will be certified, sorry, will graduate and find no work for which you are certified to do. But that is beyond the scope of my venal work. I just follow orders. Again, congratulations, you’re certified now.”

  10. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Carrier aviation.

    Is the submersible aircraft carrier the answer?

    Hide in the vastness of the world’s oceans.

    1. craazyboy

      They would have to take the wings off the aircraft so they could launch them from underwater. But you might be on to something there.

      1. Airplanefixr in Flyover

        And the airplane you would need to operate a submersible aircraft carrier?

        The F-35! Or something very similar.

        In the meantime, the Russian’s and Chinese capability to take out US carriers is overrated. Especially if you consider that even attempting it would open up the USAF and USN’s toolboxes for countermeasures. Like Tomahawk cruise missile attacks on targeting sensors, for example.

        OTOH, pushing for a “long range strike” capability for the carriers is the Navy’s way of trying to kill the USAF’s new heavy bomber. .

        Either way, nobody is going to be able to do either mission without USAF or USN carrier based airborne tankers. And nobody seems to be too concerned about the fiascos in that department.

    2. PlutoniumKun

      The Japanese actually had a few submarine aircraft carriers in WWII, not that it did them much good. I think one plan was to use one to attack the Panama Canal.

      There have actually been various proposals over the year for sort of semi-submersible aircraft carriers. No doubt someone has sucked up a few billion drawing up a few designs. The main problem is that there are so many systems involved (the carrier, the range of aircraft specially made for it, etc), that it would be mind bogglingly expensive, even by military standards.

    3. optimader

      Is the submersible aircraft carrier the answer?

      The USN modified the Akagi, Akitsu Maru, Amagi, Chitose, Chiyoda, Chuyo, Hiyō, Hiryū Kaga, Ryūjō, Shinano, Shinyo, Shōhō, Shōkaku, Sōryū, Taihō, Unryū, Unyō`, Zuihō, Zuikaku for the Imperial Japanese Navy with partial success. Although they submerged successfully , I don’t think any of them successfully resurfaced. In the event they do, we will be well prepared.

  11. allan

    AP: Prices, politics challenge health law’s 3rd sign-up season

    Partly because it can be so hard to hang on to customers, the administration and the states have focused on making their websites more consumer friendly this year. … At the same time, there’s plenty of unfinished business. Doctor and prescription look-up tools that were supposed to be showcase improvements this year are still in final testing and could turn out to be less than reliable.

    Beta testing on 10 million financially and psychically stressed individuals struggling to make ends meet.
    What could possibly go wrong?

  12. 3.14e-9

    “Bernie Sanders Doesn’t Kiss Babies. That a Problem?

    Hilarious that the top “NYT Picks” comment is critical of Sanders and Sanders supporters and had only 32 recommends, whereas the top “Readers’ Picks” had 589. Looks like the editors had to comb through hundreds of comments to find the few that matched their editorial bias.

  13. LifelongLib

    Re Lincoln and mental illness, my understanding is that “blue mass” was used as a laxative, not as an anti-depressant.

  14. direction

    I’m still catching up on yesterday’s links. From the WP piece on the guy reducing his garbage: “a few skeptics wrote me off as a tree-hugger.” Do people really think forest activists hug trees? Fascinating that the emasculinization achieved by this term is so effective and grating. It’s a dangerous branch of activism, and I have yet to see any hugging of trees. One I guy I met was killed by loggers. Possibly a second as well; he “disappeared” in the woods. Cops enjoy a good chase through the woods and have been know to hogtie their catch, extractors hog tied a woman 150 in the air and lowered her down from a tree sit dangling by her feet. All in good fun, right? It’s got a deadly history. I was fascinated to find out the term is Indian in origin:

    “The first tree huggers were 294 men and 69 women belonging to the Bishnois branch of Hinduism, who, in 1730, died while trying to protect the trees in their village from being turned into the raw material for building a palace. They literally clung to the trees, while being slaughtered by the foresters. But their action led to a royal decree prohibiting the cutting of trees in any Bishnoi village. And now those villages are virtual wooded oases amidst an otherwise desert landscape. Not only that, the Bishnois inspired the Chipko movement (which means “to cling”) that started in the 1970s, when a group of peasant women in Northeast India threw their arms around trees designated to be cut down. Within a few years, this tactic, also known as tree satyagraha, had spread across India, ultimately forcing reforms in forestry and a moratorium on tree felling in Himalayan regions.”

  15. MIWill

    re: Rise and Fall of Carrier Aviation

    Also, the carriers need to go through sand. We can build on our current successes & train some moderate camels.

  16. mirjonray

    In The Atlantic article “Russia and the Curse of Geography”, the author wrote, “Western leaders seem to have difficulty deciphering Putin’s motives, especially when it comes to his actions in Ukraine and Syria; ….”

    Geesh! Have our Western leaders never cracked open any world history books in their lives? Putin’s motives are about the easiest things in the world to understand. It’s U.S. motives that I can’t figure out.

    1. john

      They missed the “Crimean War” circa 1855 in their historical review, oddly enough.

      Just started reading up on it, but sure seems important.

      Also, from Fox News sunday panel this morning.

      “A quote from Napoleon… ‘When you siege Vienna… capture it.'”

  17. Jake Mudrosti

    No, no, no, no, no to the frequent NC links to bad reporting on quantum mechanics.

    As mentioned in previous NC comments, poorly-chosen NC links have already factored into ongoing pedagogical discussions in the field. This is not an irrelevant side issue — in previous NC comments, I referred to the German pedagogical controversies which are impacting modern physics education:

    It is our intention, to inform about some events that have shaken the physical community in Germany and that have also emanated into some other countries; we believe that they concern all of us physics educators.

    Why would anyone contemplate such pedagogical shifts? Succinctly: first make a careful study of the entire New Yorker article. Afterward, read this entry: “Identity and Individuality in Quantum Theory”

    I won’t bother asking whether the New Yorker’s article prepared you for that entry. Fortunately, Abbott and Costello are here to save the day with a concise summary of the New Yorker article’s confused approach:

    You mean nine Yankees are gonna play against one Feller?
    That’s right!
    You mean there’s no fellers in the outfield?
    And there’s no fellers in the infield?
    No! Cleveland only has one Feller!

    Look, all the players will be out there helping him.
    You said there was only one feller on the team.
    That’s right.
    Then where did all them other fellers come from?

      1. Jake Mudrosti

        First of all, I want to stress that NC is an invaluable resource for its readers. Certain science links, though — particularly those concerning quantum mechanics — detract from the whole. It really all boils down to the terrible science journalism on the subject, in combination with certain conceptual errors that have become entrenched due to repetition and bad pedagogy.

        A quick read of the Nature article reveals objective descriptions of their methods and underlying physics, without undue ontological or other interpretive statements grafted on. Note, though, that even seemingly clear words such as “physical influences” can have multiple meanings in quantum field theory — some of them faster than light (in the underlying field contributions), some of them not (causality is strictly preserved in transport of matter and information-bearing signals). Without the theory’s proper context, it’s not even remotely obvious which meaning the author is referencing. A hint of danger there already.

        Then we get the attempted “summary” in the New Yorker which strives to fill up a bingo card of misapplied history, buzzwords, bad semantics, and botched interpretations. Consider by analogy a bombing campaign in Iraq, and someone reporting “objectively” on this event as “liberation.” You can prod all you want, but it’d be hard to get the reporter to admit that the concept “liberation” was entirely grafted on by them through a misguided interpretation of the underlying events. No; as far as they’re concerned, “liberation” has been proved, and their language is objectively “true.” As soon as the claim is repeated n times, it develops a bizarre staying power.

        Note: Peskin “An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory,” chapter 2, has a very concise and readable account of how a combination of antimatter and a multiparticle formalism allow the resolution of the apparent paradox of “faster than light” and “no effects faster than light.”

        1. Jagger

          some of them faster than light (in the underlying field contributions),

          Would you expand on faster than light influences. I would have expected influences more at the speed of light rather than faster than light. For me that is the core issue along with simultaneous action between 2 locations.

          1. Jagger

            The reason I ask is because whether a particle exists at faster or slower than the speed of light then time and distance exists. How can two particles act simultaneously if time and distance exist? Some sort of coordination is required for simultaneous action. Coordination requires time if distance exists which eliminates the possibility of simultaneous action. I can’t see how it is possible for simultaneous action between two particles, outside coincidence, could even exist within a universe of time and distance.

          2. Jake Mudrosti

            I used the phrase ‘field contributions’ above in reference to the general calculation scheme in quantum field theory. As discussed in Peskin, chapter 2, without the contributions from antiparticles, the theory would spit out a nonzero probability of scooting an electron faster than light. Reassuringly, the full set of contributions cancel to yield a zero probability of finding the electron outside of the light cone.

            Without specific reference to his work, consider the conceptually useful definitions: “phenomena” and “interphenomena” used by Reichenbach:

            That’s the fun thing: quantum field theory doesn’t impose relativistic causality from the top down, in describing phenomena. It just hands it to you after you let it go.

            Clarification: “causality” has two different yet scientifically precise meanings, just to thoroughly mess with our heads. “Causality” as used above refers to events in the light cone, and emphatically doesn’t refer to “determinism” in quantum mechanical interactions.

            1. Jagger

              Reassuringly, the full set of contributions cancel to yield a zero probability of finding the electron outside of the light cone.

              Well that is good to hear, thanks. Although that would eliminate the faster than light electron as a factor in entangled particles collapsing at distances greater than the speed of light. By definition, the entangled particles at distances greater than the speed of light would be outside of each other’s lightcone.

              Still wondering about how simultaneous collapse could possibly occur in any situation involving time and distance.

              Also I will check out Reichenback when I have some time. At the moment watching the Royals tie the Mets up in the ninth. Amazing how many ways the Mets have managed to not beat the Royals.

              1. egg

                > At the moment watching the Royals tie the Mets up in the ninth. Amazing how many ways the Mets have managed to not beat the Royals.

                They’re doing it with real determination and ingenuity! Duda’s botched throw home was really artistic. 3-2 KC in the top of the 12th now and as I type this, a fumbled catch at second…

    1. craazyman

      How could there be only one Feller on the team when Who’s on first?

      That’s at least 2 players. What’s on second? it could be three players.

      Where the hell is that electron anyway?

      Let’s face it Lambert. none of us are qualified to critically evaluate quantum theory narratives. That’s some serious math there..It’s not like economics, where anybody can have an opinion and it probbly won’t be as wrong as an economists opinion. Any opiniion about quantum theory is wrong unless the opinionator understands the underlying equations and understands English well enough to translate them in a reasonably faithful way. There’s probably only a few dozen people who can do that. God knows who or where they are. But we know Who’s on first. hhahaha. That was’t so funny but I couldln’t help it.

  18. allan

    Disrupting ain’t cheap: Airbnb wages $8 million campaign to defeat San Francisco measure

    Airbnb has spent more than $8 million and hired a top political operative to defeat a San Francisco initiative on the ballot Tuesday that could threaten the growth of one of the most valuable global technology companies.

    Proposition F, which would limit short-term rentals, was brought by affordable housing advocates fed up with the city’s housing stock being used as rentals for tourists while residents face skyrocketing rents and evictions. …

    The campaign Airbnb orchestrated against Prop. F, outspending supporters by nearly 30 times, suggests how fearful the company is.

    “It doesn’t want to give (regulators), or community activists, ideas that they can take on Airbnb,” said Henry Harteveldt, founder of travel research firm Atmosphere Research Group.

    Airbnb used the battle to craft its playbook for other political challenges, said Chris Lehane, its global policy chief.

    “It will inform us of not only how we work in San Francisco but around the world,” said Lehane, a political strategist who managed scandals during the Clinton administration.

    Clintonworld. Your one-stop shopping for neoliberal regulator- and hippie-punching.

    1. allan

      Clintonistas really do think that they’re God’s great gift to the unserious, unwashed masses, don’t they?

      “Prop F does absolutely nothing,” said Chris Lehane, a Washington political operative who was recently appointed Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs. “There is not a seriousness of purpose behind it, when it comes to actually substantively trying to address affordability.”

  19. Daryl

    > This is the key to the perfect password (and it’s easy to remember) Short List

    As someone who keeps long passwords, I can tell you this will very quickly hit on character limits. Hilariously, it seems like the more important a password is (i.e. for a bank, or a college), the more asinine arbitrary restrictions they place on it, thus reducing the strength of passwords and making it easier to crack them with rainbow tables, if they haven’t been salted. This is sometimes because the passwords may be stored on older, weird databases (banks) and sometimes just because the people who put those restrictions in place are incompetent.

  20. Oregoncharles

    “Al Gore’s Plan to Save Capitalism: Does It Make Sense?”
    One of the linked items mentions SRI – Socially Responsible Investing. Indeed, that’s been around for a long time now. And for much of that time, SRI funds mostly outperformed the market. The usual explanation was that they were better managed. They may also experience less blowback – re-applying that term to the business world.

    And not mentioned in most such analyses: SRI funds were a significant portion of the market – about 10%. If you take 10% of funds and focus them on a subset of companies, you will raise their prices. It’s market manipulation, and it’s exactly what SRI is supposed to do: reward socially responsible management.

    However, I hadn’t seen references to SRI for a long time now. If Gore has managed to resurrect it, that’s a useful contribution. And yes, it is supposed to be profitable.

  21. Oregoncharles

    Presidents and mental illness: Reagan’s Alzheimers was perfectly apparent during the second debates. In his peroration, he visibly forgot where he was and wandered off down the Big Sur highway, which is, admittedly, a much nicer place than where he was.

    Apparently most people liked it, and voted for him. But then, does anyone think Reagan was really running the country? Or GWB, for that matter. Both were essentially greeters, and I have my doubts about Obama.

  22. ewmayer

    From the New Yorker “Tangled Up in Entanglement” piece:

    Quantum theory, however, suggests that objects which have been carefully prepared together and placed into a combined quantum state can, even when separated across the galaxy, remain “entangled,” as long as neither has any significant interactions with other objects to break the entanglement. If I perform a measurement on one of two entangled objects, the state of the other object will be instantaneously affected, no matter how far apart the two objects are.

    The poor word choice ‘affected’ in the last sentence may or may not reflect confusion on the part of the writer, but it will certainly help to disseminate the kind of confusion in the non-expert readership which he laments. A better word here is ‘determined’, which does not connote faster-than-light communication as does ‘affected’, such communication being an impossibility according to the same rules such experiments set out to test. You prepare 2 particles whose wave functions are entangled, which property has the spooky-in-macroscopic-terms property that physical distance loses its classical meaning entirely. As long as the particles don’t interact with anything else in the universe they maintain this special property and their fates are linked, but by definition indeterminate. If either – again a concept rendered more or less meaningless by the entanglement, which produces a kind of arbitrarily extensible single quasiparticle – interacts with anything else in a way that causes its state to collapse into determinacy, the entanglement is broken, and the state of the partner in the dance also simultaneously determined. There is no ‘communication’, only determination-via-external-interaction. I believe the great quantum physicist the late David Bohm dubbed this property of entangled particles ‘nonlocality’. It is indeed bizarre in classical terms, but like so much in QM it simply cannot be understood in such terms. We must abandon our classical/macroscopically evolved intuition, and one key step in that process is properly adjusting our verbiage, as the above passage illustrates.

    1. Jagger

      So an action takes place, producing a collapse (action) by one particle from field into determinancy due to an interaction (cause). Simultaneously, the paired particle also collapses (action) at a distance greater than the speed of light. So no communication faster than the speed of light but a single (cause) and 2 simultaneous (actions ) is OK at a distance greater than speed of light.

      Clearly a single cause produces two simultaneous actions at a distance greater than the speed of light.

      The concept of simultaneous action between separate particles bothers me. Regardless of how close 2 particles are, with time and distance, coordination (linkage/communication) of action producing simultaneous collapse requires some time no matter how small. One possible solution for coordination is something like a tachyon moving backwards in time to enable simultaneous action. But even a tachyon should have a fixed speed which means simultaneous action could only occur at a precise distance dependent on speed of the tachyon. So that doesn’t seem likely without a variable tachyon speed dependent on distance. Highly unlikely. What seems much more likely is that the simultaneous coordination occurs in a manner that ignores time and space. Now you would logically have simultaneous actions between 2 particles.

      We also need to look at the field aspect. We are assuming a field connects the two indeterminate particles. Again how does the result of a single action somewhere within the field, coordinate two actions at a speed greater than the speed of light? Same problems. Somehow, 2 particles must emerge simultaneously regardless of distance. Still not possible within the physical rules of our universe.

      —-which property has the spooky-in-macroscopic-terms property that physical distance loses its classical meaning entirely.—-a kind of arbitrarily extensible single quasiparticle—–David Bohm dubbed this property of entangled particles ‘nonlocality’—-

      No offense but this sounds like waving hands and saying, magic happens. It explains nothing. Sure we know it happens but precisely how can it possibly happen within the rules of this universe?

      Although there are some intriguing possibilities. Einstein showed that at the speed of light, time and distance=0. Simultaneous would be the only manner of interaction. Pure energy exists at the speed of light. A field is energy. Collapsing from a field to a particle is conversion from energy to matter. No time and distance, so simultaneous collapse. Seems like a promising line of thought which suggests results exactly as we are seeing with the simultaneous collapse of two particles from a field at distances greater than the speed of light.

        1. optimader

          And a quick sidebar, I’m sure you’re both aware (ewmayer and jagger), light can be pretty damn slow.

          In 1999, after years of practice, Lene Hau learned how to bicycle at the speed of light. She’s not a racer; she’s a physicist at Harvard University. She didn’t achieve this amazing feat by cycling faster; instead, she slowed light down – to an incredible 60 kilometers (37 miles) an hour. And just this year, she did something even more amazing – she stopped light dead in its tracks
          (fast for a bike)

          1. Jagger

            Yes, that has always confused me. Speed of light is a constant when unhindered but apparently can be slowed down and still remain pure energy. Intuitively, I would think as it slows down, it would begin to convert to matter…but it doesn’t.

            Sort of goes back to that article from a few days back in which a particle was frozen in time. Theoretically, the entire universe could/should be frozen. Unless interaction is extremely fleeting or constantly interrupted, that would be expected. Perhaps like a series of frames in a movie, the universe is constantly stopping and starting (perhaps/probably time is discrete) interrupting inteaction which would then allow for change. And if each moment in time is discrete would the encoded information ever be lost. Perhaps a history of the universe would exist frame by frame somewhere.

            1. Jagger

              Slowing light this way doesn’t violate any principle of physics. Einstein’s theory of relativity places an upper, but not lower, limit on the speed of light

              Ahhh…here we go…

            2. optimader

              Speed of light is a constant when unhindered but apparently can be slowed down and still remain pure energy. Intuitively, I would think as it slows down, it would begin to convert to matter…but it doesn’t

              the special relativity phenom I never really wrapped my head around was that c (spd of I in vacuum) is invariable as it approaches a viewer no matter the viewers speed. Attempting to escape it at 0.999c results in the same approach speed as if the viewer is not moving at all.

              The speed of light in matter “slowing” I can conceptually square with by considering the atoms in matter notionally as capacitors. Each time a photon bumps into an atom at c it is absorbed in a shell and another photon is released after a fleetingly short delay. So macroscopically, accumulating delays, it appears c slows down through matter but infact it’s at c on both sides of the transaction — c is conserved and energy is conserved (same amount of photons released as absorbed). At the limit, stopping light, the photons have to be absorbed into electron shells and not released.
              But then again, I may be full of sht, but this works for me.

  23. VietnamVet

    The Fall of Carrier Aviation:

    The carrier group deployment pretty much summarizes the sending trillions of dollars for nothing. Of current eleven strike groups only three are deployed in the Indian Ocean, Southeastern Pacific and Sea of Japan. Far enough to be out harm’s way in the Middle East but unable to provide air support for a no fly zone over Syria advocated by eight Presidential Candidates or bomb the Islamic State, the supposed enemy.

    Even crazier is embedding 50 Special Forces with YPG post-Marxist Kurds in northern Syria who are being bombed by Turkey. I suppose their job is to avoid being blown up and directing air strikes if YPG and its allies head south towards Raqqa. But, YPG wants to cross the Euphrates cut the Islamic State supply lines and consolidate Kurdish territory. If the Kurds don’t listen to their new advisors and cut the supply lines; with his election victory, the Turkish armed forces would have to obey Erdogan’s order to invade Syria to assist their fellow Sunnis and Turkmen being attacked by Kurds, Hezbollah, Russians and Iranians. The ongoing regional holy war would get one more participant. A world at war would be close.

  24. different clue

    I think that Jacobin article is far too kind about why pundits say what they say about who supports what candidate. I think Marcotte and the others are conduction PsyWar InfOps against their readers. Their goal is to manipulate their readers into supporting this and opposing that by claiming that “various demographic groups” are supporting this and opposing that. Marcotte hopes that if she repeats the Big Lie of gender divide between Clinton and Sanders often enough, that she will get her readers to believe it and act on it and perhaps create a measurable gender divide to be able to accuse Sanders of down the road.

    I am beginning to see Clinton and her supporters as such a dog’s vomit puddle of filthy shitty subhuman scum that I would never vote for Clinton under any circumstances. If its Clinton vs Huckabee, let Huckabee be President . . . if my Third Party vote causes Huckabee to win.
    If its Clinton versus Trump, I think I will vote for Trump. A President Trump would kick some shit over sideways and stomp on it.

  25. Abigail Caplovitz Field

    Regarding the article/book on class actions/private attorneys general, people should know that three cases currently pending before the Supreme Court–Campbell-Ewald, Spokeo, and Tyson Foods, all pose profound challenges to class actions and are simply the latest in corporate strategic litigation efforts to close the federal courts to workers and consumers.

    The first two cases pose existential threats to certain types of class actions, particularly consumer class actions. The third poses a broader existential threat, but was a poor vehicle for the corporate agenda because the case arises in the wage and hour context which has very good case law–70 years of it–on the pro class action side.

    The worst part is that the Court is poised to decide these cases in ways that Congress may not be able to cure. The first involves a strategy of involuntary mootness–the corporation essentially tries to prevent class actions by forcing the putative lead plaintiff to accept full settlement. I don’t see Congress insisting such settlement offers cannot be made or accepted, so to make a change would involve telling the judiciary it can’t find mootness on those facts, which it’s not clear as a matter of separation of powers that it could.

    The second case is a straight separation of powers situation, can Congress create article 3 standing that doesn’t require a plaintiff to show harm? That is, consumer laws often say violating the law is the harm, no need to show the violation–like a false credit report–caused harm. Can the violation alone create standing? If the Court says no, Congress can’t fix it; we’re in amendment land.

    The third case is about how perfect the contours of a class have to be to conform to corporate due process rights, again, a constitutional issue.

  26. Peter Luria

    Atlantic article focuses on Eagleton who was responsible enough to seek treatment for his condition and was able to serve as an effective (at least in the opinion of his constituency) public servant for an additional half generation. No mention of Reagan and his Alzheimer’s; senility and God alone knows what else.

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