HOMELAMB: Sesame Street parodies 'Homeland'. Heh.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
YOU DON'T SAY:
President Barack Obama’s seemingly hands-off management style is raising fresh questions and concerns that could upend his second-term legacy.
Claims by the administration and other Democrats that Obama didn’t know about sensitive matters in his own administration -- such as problems with the health care website and revelations of National Security Agency surveillance on foreign leaders -- have many in Washington scratching their heads.
“It all fits as part of a pattern. Who is in control? Who is running things? There are a lot of questions,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart, who helps conduct the NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, which Wednesday showed Obama’s approval rating dropping to an all-time low.
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
IF YOU SEARCH “Obama unaware" in Google News, it almost explodes with so many results. Good thing he's the most powerful man on Earth, huh?
WHAT DID THEY KNOW, and when did they know it? Quite a bit, it turns out: “The Obama administration was given stark warnings just one month before launch that the federal healthcare site was not ready to go live, according to a confidential report obtained by CNN.”
HYPOCRISY ALL AROUND:
Millions of phone records at the center of a firestorm in Europe over spying by the National Security Agency were secretly supplied to the U.S. by European intelligence services—not collected by the NSA, upending a furor that cast a pall over trans-Atlantic relations.
The revelations suggest a greater level of European involvement in global surveillance, in conjunction at times with the NSA. The disclosures also put European leaders who loudly protested reports of the NSA's spying in a difficult spot, showing how their spy agencies aided the Americans.
The phone records collected by the Europeans—in war zones and other areas outside their borders—were shared with the NSA as part of efforts to help protect American and allied troops and civilians, U.S. officials said.
Tuesday, October 29, 2013
SOMEHOW I missed the news that David Pogue has left the NYT for Yahoo. Wow.
EMPHASIS ON 'MAY': The Economist: 'The worst may be over -- Mariano Rajoy predicts economic joy, but Spain still has a long way to go'
THE U.S. spies on allies? Big deal: everybody does. And they were caught too, but it wasn't dealt with the theatrics we're now seeing.
Oh, and by the way, apparently Merkel had a secure cellphone, it's just that she didn't use it...
29 STUNNING PANORAMAS That Will Make You Want To Move To Manhattan.
Monday, October 28, 2013
DANIEL LACALLE: Careful with China. “China continues to grow in a planned and optically spectacular way (9.1% annualized in the third quarter compared with the same period of 2012). The machine is doing 'okay' as long as the Government keeps it well oiled. It is the triumph of massive debt and central planning. Triumph? No, it is not . Even prime minister Li Keqiang, according to Reuters, referred to Chinese GDP as 'man-made and for reference only." Read the rest.
IF HEALTHCARE.GOV had been built by Facebook, Google, or Amazon...
Saturday, October 26, 2013
A PARTICULARLY CHILLING DETAIL in this piece at The Economist on the Eurozone crisis: “The corporate-debt problem is worst in Portugal, Spain and Italy, where the IMF says that 50%, 40% and 30% of debt, respectively, is owed by firms which cannot cover their interest payments out of pre-tax earnings. These firms are unable to invest or grow. They are zombie companies, much like those wafting through Japan in the 1990s.”
THE CHART that explains the world:
On the far right of the chart is one of the two biggest “winners”: the 60m or so people who constitute the world’s top 1 per cent. About half of these are the richest 12 per cent of Americans. The rest of the top 1 per cent is made up by the top 3-6 per cent of Britons, Japanese, French and German, and the top 1 per cent of several other countries, including Russia, Brazil and South Africa.
The even bigger “winner” is the new global middle class, particularly in China and India. In 1988, a median earner in China would be richer than only 10 per cent of the world’s population. Twenty years later, that median income would put the average Chinese in the top half of the global income distribution.
On the far left of the chart is one of the two biggest “losers”: the very poorest. (This picture is probably too rosy given problems with data collection. Researchers find it tough to get data from people at the very bottom and very top of the global income scale.) The other, around the 80th percentile, is what Prof Milanovic calls “a global upper middle class” – including many people from former Communist countries, “as well as those citizens of rich countries whose incomes stagnated”.
“It was probably the profoundest reshuffle of people’s economic positions since the industrial revolution,” Prof Milanovic writes of these 20 years.
CHILE, A SUCCESS STORY:
Chile is definitely a success story of the last systemic transformation. After going through economic, political and social change since the mid-1970s, the country now has one of the most liberal, open, and market-based economies in Latin America. According to the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean an average GDP per capita growth between 2000-2007 (3.2%) was higher than those of Argentina (2.5%), Mexico (2%), and Brazil (1.9%). In 2012 Chile economy grew at 5.6% (mainly due to the expansion of the business services, commerce, construction, personal services and manufacturing). The Economist Intelligence Unit expects Chile to grow on average 4.8% per year in 2013-17, given the strong levels of private consumption and investment. Chile is also a pioneer in the regions in terms of number of the Free Trade Agreements. As of 2013 it has 22 FTAs with 60 countries in the world (even more than Mexico which is four times bigger in terms of the GDP), with access to 4.2 billion consumers. In the near future Chile is expected to expand its FTAs network to i.e. Vietnam, and Hong Kong. It also negotiates the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Pacific Alliance.
Friday, October 25, 2013
THE PC IS NOT DEAD -- we just don't need new ones.
WHY you look like your dog.
10 INCREDIBLE GIFs Showing How Aging Changes Our Appearance.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
NO LESS DISTRESSING, ON ANOTHER LEVEL: “Europe already has one foot in 'Japanese’ deflation grave”.
Europe is sliding into a deflationary trap, displacing Japan as the world's epicentre of policy error. The effect is already causing debt ratios in half a dozen countries to ratchet upwards to the point of no return, making a mockery of the EMU debt crisis strategy.
THIS IS DISTRESSING: "An American student drinking a bottle of beer was viciously beaten by a gang of five Asian youths in an area of London which has seen attacks on people accused of un-Islamic activities.''
THIS IS BRILLIANT: Creative Mom Turns Her Baby’s Naptime Into Dream Adventures.
WHY PEOPLE don't trust online dating sites, but use them anyway. I have never used them, but can see why people do.
Tuesday, October 22, 2013
BUDGET DEFICIT IN SPAIN SINCE 1990: (for a bigger view, click on the link)
AT FAST COMPANY MAGAZINE, a world map showing what each country leads the world in. "Sometimes you just have to take your victories wherever you can get them. A new map tracks the crowning achievements of each country around the world, even though in many instances the honor is dubious.''
In Spain's case, it's dubious indeed...
AT THE ECONOMIST, Unlikely results: Why most published scientific research is probably false. It's a short video, about a minute and a half.
THIS REMEMBRANCE of Norm Geras by Ben Cohen captures his personality very well.
Monday, October 21, 2013
THIS IS HILARIOUS: 15th Century Flemish Style Portraits Recreated In Airplane Lavatory. An example, but there's more at the link:
YOU COULD SEE THAT COMING FROM A THOUSAND MILES: "Governments and established financial institutions are likely to launch a campaign to quash the decentralized digital currency Bitcoin, according to a leading economist and academic. Simon Johnson, a professor of entrepreneurship at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, expects Bitcoin to face political pressure and aggressive lobbying from big banks because of its disruptive nature.''
THE DARK SIDE of this year's Nobel Peace prize winners. Also this year's: “[T]he 2013 Nobel Peace Prize went to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), which is supposed to investigate suspected chemical weapons makers and stop the proliferation of these terrible agents. But the organization's record isn't as rosy as it might appear.”
'HONEY, I SHRUNK THE NUCLEAR REACTOR:
America’s nuclear industry isn’t healthy. Thanks to the rise of cheap shale energy, four nuclear plants have closed so far this year. Older reactors can’t compete with today’s energy market conditions, but a new generation of nuclear technology promises to breathe new life into the industry. NuScale Power has plans to shrink containment vessels down to just two-fifths the height and an eighth of the diameter of industry standards. It’s a move that reflects a potential sea change in nuclear power: smaller, cheaper, less powerful reactors that would compose a more distributed (and therefore more robust) energy network.
Saturday, October 19, 2013
EPIC: 12 Best Breakup Messages Ever. And I thought I was cruel…
Friday, October 18, 2013
ON THE OTHER HAND, this I agree with: How Your Brain Interprets Food As Love. Everytime I see a hot girl, I wanna eat her…
THAT'S WHERE Socialism leads to eventually: Mainstream baffled as French turn to far right. It's an action-reaction thing.
TROUBLE IS brewing in Android land: Indications of desperation at Samsung, chaos at HTC, and reduced focus at Google suggest Android faces rough sailing.
I DON'T BUY THIS:
Kachur explained that there are "good" bacteria, like Bifidiobacterium and Lactobacillus, that are present in yogurt. They produce a happy signal called GABA, which acts on the nervous system to curb depressive symptoms and anxiety.
Meanwhile, "bad" bacteria like the Clostridium family, of botulism fame, live in our guts and dine on our Western diets of high fat, high sugar and processed foods, Kachur said. She added that these bacteria can produce toxins that are released into the bloodstream and could affect the brain.For more than a year I've been on a doctor-supervised diet of no fiber, no dairy products, which means pretty big amounts of fat and sugar, and have never been in such a better mood... Of course, that may just be precisely because I'm nuts…
DID THE HUMAN FAMILY TREE just get simpler? Skull stirs up debate.
EVs, SOLAR PANELS, and free lunch sophistries:
- Squeaky clean green electrons from solar panels don't care whether they power an EV or a toaster oven. The virtue of green electrons, or the quantum of green if you will, arises from their creation. Once green electrons exist on the supply side of the equation, their use is irrelevant.
- Electrons must be used or stored the instant they're created. So while EV and PV may work for vampires, they're a logistical nightmare for normal people drive their cars during the day and charge them from the grid during off-peak hours when demand and prices are lower.
- While PV sales skyrocketed as status conscious consumers bought cute solar panels for their homes, the 794 GWh of electricity US solar systems generated in July is barely 2/10 of 1% of the 393,753 GWh of electricity the US consumed in July. PV is subsidy-distorted symbolism that contributes nothing to an electric grid where transmission and distribution losses average 7% nationwide.
- On a planet with 7 billion inhabitants, every barrel of avoided oil use and every ton of avoided coal use in wealthy countries will simply increase supplies in poorer countries where another human being who has to choose between freezing in the dark or increasing his carbon footprint will pick his comfort over somebody else's climate concerns.
HORRIBLE NEWS: Norman Geras has died. What a big loss: a decent human being, with a fair vision of things, friend of his friends. He will be so sorely missed. Rest in peace, my friend.
THE FORTHCOMING new Apple campus is simply amazing.
REMEMBERING ED LAUTER: His 10 Most Memorable Roles.
THE NEW YORK TIMES: As Secession Talk Swells in Catalonia, Business Leaders Remain Wary of Costs.
Thursday, October 17, 2013
There's more, don't miss 'em.
TAKE IT EASY, it's not Bush so who cares? Documents reveal NSA’s extensive involvement in targeted killing program.
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
RON MILLER: Why I'm Returning Google Glass.
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
NO KIDDIN': North Korea Still Sucks at Photoshop.
IT'S NOT BUSH, so it's no big deal, right?
The National Security Agency is harvesting hundreds of millions of contact lists from personal e-mail and instant messaging accounts around the world, many of them belonging to Americans, according to senior intelligence officials and top-secret documents provided by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The collection program, which has not been disclosed before, intercepts e-mail address books and “buddy lists” from instant messaging services as they move across global data links. Online services often transmit those contacts when a user logs on, composes a message, or synchronizes a computer or mobile device with information stored on remote servers.
Rather than targeting individual users, the NSA is gathering contact lists in large numbers that amount to a sizable fraction of the world’s e-mail and instant messaging accounts. Analysis of that data enables the agency to search for hidden connections and to map relationships within a much smaller universe of foreign intelligence targets.
During a single day last year, the NSA’s Special Source Operations branch collected 444,743 e-mail address books from Yahoo, 105,068 from Hotmail, 82,857 from Facebook, 33,697 from Gmail and 22,881 from unspecified other providers, according to an internal NSA PowerPoint presentation. Those figures, described as a typical daily intake in the document, correspond to a rate of more than 250 million a year.
Each day, the presentation said, the NSA collects contacts from an estimated 500,000 buddy lists on live-chat services as well as from the inbox displays of Web-based e-mail accounts.
BARCEPUNDIT, A PUBLIC SERVICE: A Scientific Guide to the Perfect First Date.
AUSTRALIAN BOOKSHOP TO DELIVER … BY DRONE: “Guys? You do know Amazon can already deliver books to your smartphone?”
Saturday, October 12, 2013
NUMBERS DON'T LIE: old movies were more creative than new ones.
Friday, October 11, 2013
I KNEW that Africa was big, but I must admit I didn't even imagine how huge it really is.
CAPOTE, MAILER, HEMINGWAY: the homes of these, and other, icons of American literature, where they wrote some of their most famous lines.
REALLY? WHO WOULD'VE THOUGHT! NYT Editor: Krugman's Column Is Our 'Biggest Nightmare'
Thursday, October 10, 2013
SO CHOCOLATE IS A SUBSTITUTE FOR SEX, EH? Then look what happens: “The world will run out of cocoa - the basic ingredient of chocolate - within the next seven years due to pressures of rising global demand, experts have warned.”
So you know what you gotta do to reverse the situation, girls: less substitution and more of the real thing. It's for the planet's sake!
Monday, October 07, 2013
Ev Williams has figured out the internet.
That’s what he told the gathered tech heads at the recent XOXO conference in Portland, Oregon, and while he may have said this with tongue partly in cheek, he spent the next 30 minutes unloading his unified theory of the global computer network, an interpretation formed after 20 years of hard thinking — to say nothing of his experience creating seminal internet companies Blogger and Twitter.
In his speech, Williams explained what the internet is, how it works, and how to get rich from it. Truth be told, Williams is not the best public speaker, but his message was clear: At a time when so many internet entrepreneurs are running around Silicon Valley trying to do something no one else has ever done, Williams believes that the real trick is to find something that’s tried and true — and to do it better. It’s a speech that should serve as a signpost, a bit of much-needed direction for the Valley’s younger generation.
This reminds me of a marketing professor I once had years ago. He quipped that you can succeed by providing people with the opportunity to do old things in an old way, or new things in an old way — but never new things in a new way, at the same time. They lose reference, it's too much novelty.
ARE YOU A GEEK OR A NERD? Scientist creates graph that explains the difference - and shows where YOU are on the scale.
This I will not comment.
Saturday, October 05, 2013
THE STORY of why we eat popcorn at the movies. Two tidbits of data particularly got my attention: movie theaters reap as much as 85 pct of their profits from the sale of stuff vs tickets. And — most notably — popcorn itself has an average markup of… 1,275!
Friday, October 04, 2013
CHEERS! The Oldest Alcoholic Drinks on Earth.
SPAIN: SEEDS OF RECOVERY. "The country is emerging from the recession but critics claim confidence is both premature and dangerous"
Wednesday, October 02, 2013
JUST FOR A SECOND, imagine it was Bush: "Obama waives ban on aiding regimes that use child soldiers"