Saturday, August 31, 2013

OF COURSE: "You know that “women make 77 cents to every man’s dollar” line you’ve heard a hundred times? It’s not true." Read the piece. It doesn't have the ultimate explanation, though.

If companies really 30% less to women for the exact same job, there would be hardly any man working. Because, didn't we agree that corporations are evil because they only care about money? If so, why throw 30% of your labor cost out the window?

BARCELONA: a global startup hub in the making?

There's ample reason to think there's a lot of untapped potential. And yet, there's also reasons, listed at the linked post, why Barcelona is not yet on the map. I think entrepreneurs should particularly tatoo this one on their foreheads:

Less Government or Bank Funding: Government or bank loan programs have no place in the startup world. It only scares off smart money down the road. Entrepreneurs in Barcelona and everywhere for that matter, must learn to sell their idea and raise their own initial capital to build their MVP. The Spanish startup community in general must stop looking to the Government or banks for financial help.

Because 9 out of 10 (that's a wild shot, I know) complain of lack of funding because the government doesn't give them money and banks won't lend them. But as per above, that's definitely not the way to go.

ELIZABETH O'BAGY writes that the conventional wisdom —the Syrian rebellion is controlled by al-Qaeda— is wrong:

With the U.S. poised to attack Syria, debate is raging over what that attack should look like, and what, if anything, the U.S. is capable of accomplishing. Those questions can't be answered without taking a very close look at the situation in Syria from ground level.

Since few journalists are reporting from inside the country, our understanding of the civil war is not only inadequate, but often dangerously inaccurate. Anyone who reads the paper or watches the news has been led to believe that a once peaceful, pro-democracy opposition has transformed over the past two years into a mob of violent extremists dominated by al Qaeda; that the forces of President Bashar Assad not only have the upper hand on the battlefield, but may be the only thing holding the country together; and that nowhere do U.S. interests align in Syria—not with the regime and not with the rebels. The word from many American politicians is that the best U.S. policy is to stay out. As Sarah Palin put it: "Let Allah sort it out."

In the past year, I have made numerous trips to Syria, traveling throughout the northern provinces of Latakia, Idlib and Aleppo. I have spent hundreds of hours with Syrian opposition groups ranging from Free Syrian Army affiliates to the Ahrar al-Sham Brigade.

The conventional wisdom holds that the extremist elements are completely mixed in with the more moderate rebel groups. This isn't the case.

Keep reading.

Friday, August 30, 2013

ACTUAL FOOTAGE of the 1898 Spanish-American war from the Library of Congress, free to download on iTunes.

AN IMPRESSIVE PICTURE: "August 28, 1963. "Emancipator looking down on demonstrators. Participants in the March on Washington in front of the Lincoln Memorial and massed along both sides of the Reflecting Pool, viewed from behind Abraham Lincoln statue." Photo by James K. Atherton for United Press International."

CHINA'S debt problem.

Thursday, August 29, 2013


Testimony from victims strongly suggests it was the rebels, not the Syrian government, that used Sarin nerve gas during a recent incident in the revolution-wracked nation, a senior U.N. diplomat said Monday.

Carla del Ponte, a member of the U.N. Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria, told Swiss TV there were "strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof," that rebels seeking to oust Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad had used the nerve agent.

But she said her panel had not yet seen any evidence of Syrian government forces using chemical weapons, according to the BBC, but she added that more investigation was needed.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

WHY OBAMA is giving away the element of surprise in Syria:

Military thinkers from Sun Tzu to Napoleon Bonaparte have long emphasized the element of surprise. So it might seem strange that the Obama administration is not just clearly telegraphing that it likely plans to launch limited strikes against Syria, but also when it’s going to strike and what with. Even the likely target list is starting to come out. This is the opposite of how military tactics are supposed to work, right?

Actually, publicly revealing when, how and where the United States (and some allies) will likely strike makes sense, given what Obama wants to accomplish. If his goal were to fully enter the Syrian civil war and decisively end it, then, yes, secrecy would be the way to go. But the administration has been very clear that it has a much more modest goal: to punish Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad for his suspected use of chemical weapons so that he, and future military leaders, won’t do it again.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

HITLER was beta.

Friday, August 23, 2013

NO, VIRGINIA, Europe has not seen a sharp rise in far-right support since the start of the crisis.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

CRACKS in Erdogan's party?

CHARLIE BECKETT: "Like a lot of people I objected to the treatment of David Miranda at the hands of the UK security officials and I was worried by the pressure put on The Guardian, as related by editor Alan Rusbridger. But I am not so sure about the Orwellian conspiracy/victim framing of the narrative by some on the open Internet side of things. […] But before we all sink into a slough of digital dystopian despair it might be worth considering this: is this a sign of the strength, not weakness, of revelatory journalism in the digital age?


The Brotherhood is simply using the same tactics and ideology of the political party that it allied itself with in the 1930s and 40s: the Nazi Party. What is happening to the Coptic Christians being beaten, kidnapped, and killed all over Egypt is similar to what happened to Jews in Germany during Kristallnacht on November 9-10, 1938, when Jews were killed and beaten and their homes, stores, schools, and synagogues ransacked, looted, and demolished in Germany and Austria.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Sheikh Hassan al-Banna, who was a great admirer of Adolf Hitler and who formed an alliance with the Nazis. The Brotherhood helped distribute translated copies of Mein Kampf and other Nazi propaganda. The ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood is eerily similar to Nazi fascism, including its ultimate objective of world conquest and a new caliphate. The only difference is it believes in the supremacy of Islam instead of the supremacy of the Aryan race.

The Nazis even helped fund the Great Arab Revolt of 1936-1939 against the Jews and British in Palestine, which was led by Hajj Amin al-Husseini, the grand mufti of Jerusalem, and one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was al-Husseini who met with Hitler in 1941 and helped augment the traditional Arab hatred of Jews with plans for a genocidal campaign against Jews.

The fascist origins of the Muslim Brotherhood are fully ingrained in everything it does. Its hatred for Jews has migrated into a hatred of all non-Muslims, particularly Christian Arabs. In the Muslim Brotherhood’s eyes, Coptic Egyptians are traitors to their race and the only true religion, Islam. Many Americans refuse to understand that jihadists like the Brotherhood do not accept any separation between church and state — the only acceptable government is a Muslim theocratic state based on Sharia law.

There is another parallel to Nazi Germany in the situation in Egypt that Americans should also keep in mind. Adolf Hitler and the Nazis were democratically elected in the 1932 elections just like Mohamed Morsi was in 2012. Hitler then set out to destroy Germany’s democracy and make himself and the Nazi Party its supreme ruler. Morsi has spent the past year taking the same type of steps, slowly throttling his opposition and media critics, and working to make his formally banned fascist party, the Muslim Brotherhood, sovereign over all of Egypt.

JP MORGAN'S Venezuelan cronyism reaches a boiling point.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

I BLAME BUSH THE NEO-FASCIST: Obama administration asks Supreme Court to allow warrantless cellphone searches.


NINE HOUSEHOLD PRODUCTS that could be spying on you.

HOW ZARA Ballooned Into a Multi-Billion Dollar Brand Without Advertising.

BUSTING THE MYTH that each of the brain's hemispheres does different things.

Monday, August 19, 2013

MICHAEL GURFINKIEL: Vibrant Jewish communities were reborn in Europe after the Holocaust. Is there a future for them in the 21st century?

TIMES SQUARE GRATE: a portal to another dimension?

Sunday, August 18, 2013

NO LESS INTERESTING: this multimedia feature at the NYT on the changes that New York has experimented during Bloomberg's tenure as mayor.

VERY INTERESTING VISUALIZATION: a map of race distribution in the US in which each dot is one person.

I SOMETIMES WONDER if they already aren't: Can Neanderthals Be Brought Back from the Dead?

Saturday, August 17, 2013

WHAT HAPPENED WITH HOLLYWOOD? "After a fascinating summer movie season — still ongoing — with more tentpole titles than ever, few of them outstanding and many embarrassing, for the first time in a few years there seems to be a fairly widespread sense of, 'something’s wrong with Hollywood.'"

Friday, August 16, 2013

EIGHTY YEARS of New Yorker advertisements.

KLEPTOCRACY, THY NAME IS DOS SANTOS: How an 'African princess' banked $3 billion in a country — Angola — living on $2 a day.

THE ECONOMIST: "The internet has not yet produced the hoped-for productivity miracle." Duh. It's actually made things worse: it brought us Twitter and Facebook!

IT'S NOT JUST peripheral countries who put some makeup on their numbers: Germany's Exposure To Debt Crisis Above Govt Estimates.

In a report to a parliamentary finance committee last week, Schaeuble included only the risks from German contributions to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and the European Stability Mechanism (ESM).

He did not include German's 20% contribution to the E60 billion European Financial Stability Mechanism (EFSM), or bilateral credits to Greece via the KfW Development Bank that amount to E15.2 billion, FAZ reported.

DO YOU WANT TO KNOW how 'old' are your ears? Check out this video.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

IF YOU WANTED a clear-cut argument against central planning, here it is: Businesses claim Obamacare has forced them to cut employee hours.

Who was the genius who thought that the 30-hours-a-week mandate would not affect jobs? I mean, it's already problematic when central planning is done by intelligent people, but when it's done by idiots then it's a nightmare...

WHO IS Obama's community manager, a 15-year-old? This doesn't sound very presidential, does it.

PAUL KRUGMAN criticizes Austrian economists for not being realists, unlike Friedman's monterarism "although it looks wrong in the light of recent experience". Huh? Who's the non-realist, then?


ANATOMY OF A WOMAN'S HEART (1853). As usual, click to enlarge.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

¡ES IMPOSIBLE crecer con recortes! "El PIB portugués subió un 1,1% entre abril y junio de este año respecto al primer trimestre, con lo que ve la luz tras dos años y medio de crecimiento negativo. Portugal está desde 2011 bajo la asistencia financiera de la UE y el Fondo Monetario Internacional, que han exigido una dura política de ajustes al ejecutivo luso."


THIS OCTOBER, China will become world’s largest oil importer.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

6 FAMOUS DOCUMENTARIES That Were Shockingly Full of Crap. No less shockingly, the list doesn't include any by Michael Moore, not even Bowling for Columbine. C'mon, guys.

THIS IS COOL: Honda wants to save America's drive-in movie theaters.

NINE WAYS altruism is destroying the world. Reminds me of yesterday's Brandeis quote on a different level, but the principle still applies: few things are worse than uninformed do-goodism.

THAT STORY about the Spanish skycraper, the tallest residential building in the EU whose builders forgot the elevator? Another hoax. (yes, I fell for it too  — the drawback of blogging too fast)

Twitter pal @jamoral alerted me that not only the builders flatly denied it but, more importantly, that back in April — that is, well before the controversy erupted — a journalist explained on his blog (link in Spanish) how he went all the way up in the elevators. He even got pictures:

(partially covered for protection during construction)

The building is ugly as hell, to be sure, but it does have elevators. It's got not one, not two — it's got eleven: 3 in each of the towers (two of them high capacity for lifting furniture), plus 4 for the penthouses on top, plus a panoramic one on the outside. It takes less than one minute to ride on them from bottom to top.

The hoax seems to come from a bad translation by Gizmodo of a somewhat confusing article in the Spanish daily El País which only touches the elevator issue tangentially (it's basically about chaos in the building planning), but that doesn't really say that the building lacks elevators. The original El Pais piece was taken by a Spanish Kinja contributor, with a very slanted take, picked by Gizmodo, and from there to the stratosphere...

I'm told that several American TV crews (CNN, CBS etc) arrived yesterday in Benidorm to cover the story. If so, the trip's gonna be wasted...

Monday, August 12, 2013

QUOTE OF THE DAY: "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government's purposes are beneficent. Men born of freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding." — U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brandeis

NO, THIS IS NOT ABOUT MICHAEL MOORE: The History and Psychology of Clowns Being Scary.

THAT STORY about Japanese teenagers licking each others eyeballs? A hoax.

HYPOCRITE IN CHIEF: 5 Limits On NSA Spying That Senator Obama Supported But President Obama Opposes.

OLD NEWSPAPER ADS that show how things have changed.

MEET THE RESEARCHER Whose Fake-Poop Project Could Save Your Life.

CREEPY: World's biggest insect is so huge it eats carrots. There's a pic.

BARRY RITZHOLD: 10 reasons why economics is an art, not a science.

DON'T POP IT YET: Euro Area’s Recession Seen Over as Champagne Kept on Ice.

USING SMARTPHONES to Cure Diseases While You Sleep.

EUROZONE BANKS need to shed €3.2tn in assets to meet Basel III:

Europe’s biggest banks will have to cut €661bn of assets and generate €47bn of fresh capital over the next five years to comply with forthcoming regulations aimed at reducing the likelihood of another taxpayer funded bailout.

The figures form part of an analysis by the UK’s Royal Bank of Scotland – which singles out Deutsche Bank, Crédit Agricole and Barclays as the banks most in need of fresh capital – highlighting that five years on since the financial crisis, Europe’s banks are still “too big to fail”.

Overall, the region’s banks need to shed €3.2tn in assets by 2018 to comply with Basel III regulations on capital and leverage, according to RBS.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

TWELVE BLACK AND WHITE PHOTOGRAPHS that don’t tell the whole story.

Friday, August 09, 2013

THE ECONOMIC AND GEOSTRATEGIC IMPLICATIONS are mindboggling: The US Is Well On Its Way To Replace Saudi Arabia As The World's Largest Oil Producer.

Thursday, August 08, 2013

GREAT MOMENTS IN ARCHITECTURE: "The Builders of This Spanish Skyscraper Forgot the Elevator"

MORE PUBLIC SERVICE INFORMATION: Orgasms could be better for our brains than doing a crossword or a Sudoku puzzle, an academic has claimed.

It's also a hundred times more fun...

WOW. Here’s What Happens Inside You When a Mosquito Bites.

WATCH OUT: Chrome doesn't really protect the passwords you store in it.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

THE 20 most awkward high fives in history.

WRONG: "Washington Post Co.'s Kaplan Bet May Have Cost It The Paper". Kaplan was profitable until Obama started meddling with regulation, as the article itself says.

THE UN-PC PC: A computer that writes sexist jokes has been developed by scientists. Sounds to me like the fake cleverness that you get with random combinations, but check it out.

BARCEPUNDIT AS A PUBLIC SERVICE: World map of Average Breast Cup Size in the World by Country.

YOU BET: "Madrid still covets Gibraltar, but it would do better to imitate it." As someone in my Twitter timeline said, Spanish weather and food, British institutions and low taxes = paradise!

Monday, August 05, 2013

FIVE MYTHS about libertarians.

ARAB SPRING: Religious rebel committee in Syria bans croissants.

22 STRANGE ANIMALS you probably didn't know they exist.


Spain has become a giant laboratory for an experiment never before attempted in a modern democracy. Can a program of austerity and structural overhauls extricate an economy from a debt crisis? Is it really possible for a country to achieve a so-called internal devaluation—restoring its competitiveness by cutting wages and boosting productivity rather than lowering its external exchange rate? Are European democracies capable of confronting vested interests and coping with the resulting social upheaval?

Until now, the small group of believers—mostly to be found in Berlin—have been widely dismissed as freaks or sadists. The conventional wisdom argued that the only possible escape for countries like Spain was a large-scale mutualization of euro-zone sovereign debt or to quit the single currency.

The government of Mariano Rajoy has, however—through necessity as much as conviction—set out to prove them wrong.

Keep reading.

VISIT AN AIRBUS A380 with Google Street View.


NEWSWEEK, a.k.a. Hot Potato, has been sold again. Last time, Barry Diller bought it for $1. One wonders whether he had to pay the buyer now in order to get rid of it...

Sunday, August 04, 2013

ACCORDING TO A CDC STUDY, the massive deaths of Aztecs in the 16th-century Mexico were due, not to ilnesses imported by Europeans, but by "indigenous hemorrhagic fevers transmitted by rodent hosts and aggravated by extreme drought conditions". No doubt those drought conditions were caused by the global warming due to all those CO2-emitting factories and cars.

Saturday, August 03, 2013

YOU CAN STILL BE HORNY, THOUGH, but it's not technically the same thing: New study suggests sexual addiction is not actually an addiction.

THE TROUBLED CURRENCIES PROJECT: exchange rates and inflation. Wow.


Friday, August 02, 2013

WOW, THAT'S CLASS: Teamsters picketing funeral homes. Phelps, call your office, you've got a competition problem!

'CHANGE' and all that: "After the attacks of September 11th 2001, George Bush tipped the balance too far from liberty towards security, and it has stayed there under Barack Obama." — The Economist.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

OINK, OINK: How Transplanted Pig Lungs Could Save Human Patients.

UGH: black holes in China's shadow banking.


More here.

PRACTICAL DEFINITION OF BEING CONFUSED: Kenyan Lawyer Sues Israel Over Death of Jesus. Other defendants in suit include Pontius Pilate, King Herod

RAHM EMMANUEL OR TOM KANE? City of Chicago’s cash cushion plummets, debt triples, arrests drop, water use rises