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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 1 November

by dvx Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:49:36 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Europeans on this date in history:

1862 - birth of Johan Wagenaar, Dutch composer and organist (d. 1941)

More here and here

Levenszomer, Op. 21 (Summer of Life) - Fantasy for Orchestra (1903)

 The European Salon is a daily selection of news items to which you are invited to contribute. Post links to news stories that interest you, or just your comments. Come in and join us!


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 EUROPE 



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:17:09 PM EST
UK supreme court says rendition of Pakistani man was unlawful | Law | guardian.co.uk

Human rights campaigners have called for a full criminal investigation into the rendition of a Pakistani man by UK and US forces to Afghanistan, following a supreme court judgment describing his subsequent detention at the notorious US prison at Bagram as unlawful. Yunus Rahmatullah has been imprisoned ever since he was handed over by the SAS to American forces in Iraq in 2004, and has never been charged.

Lawyers for the man argued before the UK's highest court that the government should apply pressure on the US to release him. The court of appeal had previously issued a writ of habeas corpus - an ancient law that demands a prisoner is released from unlawful detention - requiring the UK to seek Rahmatullah's return or at least demonstrate why it could not. However, the US authorities refused to cooperate, arguing that they would discuss Rahmatullah's situation with the Pakistani government.

Lawyers for William Hague and Philip Hammond, the foreign and defence secretaries, had argued that they had no power "to direct the US" to release him and that it would be inappropriate for the courts to instruct them to ask the US authorities to return Rahmatullah.

Rejecting this argument, a panel of seven supreme court judges ruled that the UK did not need to have actual custody to exercise control over his release. The UK's most senior judges also declared that there was clear evidence that Rahmatullah's rendition and detention was a breach of international human rights law, despite "memorandums of understanding" Britain had agreed with the US over treatment of detainees.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:44:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Closing the door after the horse has bolted. Pointless.

Justice for the UK.....coming sometime, maybe

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:22:04 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey calls for German aid in Syrian refugee crisis | News | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

During talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan called for Germany help with its Syrian refugee crisis. The two leaders also discussed Turkey's accession to the EU.

Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan asked Wednesday for German help in grappling with a flood of Syrian refugees, calling the civil war across the border a "catastrophe."

Erdogan told reporters after talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel that Turkey could not manage the influx on its own. DW.DE Ankara and Berlin: A unique partnership

As Turkey's Prime Minister Erdogan visits Berlin, he knows that Turkey is a crucial partner for Germany, both in business and foreign policy terms. But the partnership comes with challenges for both sides. (31.10.2012)

"We absolutely need the support and assistance of Germany," he said. "At a time when we're searching for global peace, this is of course a catastrophe and we have to stop it."

Merkel acknowledged the situation in Syria had become "a real burden" for Turkey and offered "humanitarian aid" to help cope with the tens of thousands fleeing the civil war.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:44:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy clamps down on corruption to lure investment | News | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

Italy has passed an anti-corruption law deemed necessary by Mario Monti's government to attract investment. Last year, Italy ranked 69th in a corruption perception index by the Berlin-based Transparency International.

The law creates punishments for crimes in the private sector. Previous sanctions only covered corruption that leaked into the public sector.

"The first word that comes to mind at the news that the anti-corruption law has been passed is 'finally'," read a statement from Luciano Hinna, a member of Transparency International's Italian office. DW.DE Germany, a safe haven for money laundering

Money laundering as an organized crime is increasingly becoming a problem in Germany, says a new report by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). But fighting money launderers has proven to be difficult. (30.10.2012)

Italy's 69th-place finish out of 182 countries in the survey was the worst result among the European Union's 27 members, making some outsiders wary of investing their money. Corruption costs debt-laden Italy an estimated 60 billion euros ($78 billion) a year, according to the country's Court of Accounts.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:45:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Embedded in the above article, DW added a link to this other story (as a counterpoint?):

Germany, a safe haven for money laundering | Germany | DW.DE | 30.10.2012

Money laundering as an organized crime is increasingly becoming a problem in Germany, says a new report by the Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA). But fighting money launderers has proven to be difficult.

About 13,000 cases of suspected money laundering were reported last year; in half of the cases, authorities later confirmed their initial suspicions.

That's a record high since 1993, when Germany's Anti-Money Laundering Act came into effect. From then on, banks had to report large transactions to the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin).

According to the BKA's report, transactions from Italy, Russia, Ukraine and Belarus caught the investigators' attention. In addition to real estate agents, restaurant and amusement arcade owners, it appears to have also become common among individuals, to allow criminals to use their bank accounts for money laundering purposes.


EU: Germany too lenient in prosecution

The European Commission has already launched an infringement procedure because of Germany's hesitant behavior; its main argument being that non- pursuit of money laundering would enable the funding of terroristic activities. According to figures issued by the OECD's Financial Action Task Force (FATF), other countries do investigate more thoroughly and detect crimes four to 20 times more frequently than German authorities do.

by Bernard on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:20:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oi !! Money laundering is the City of London's job, we've spent centuries creating a legal framework to enable all the scumbags of the world to clean their shit up and we don't need no jerry-come-lately muscling in

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:24:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Plus with UK libel laws, you could find yourself in court for saying that.
"City" might be OK. Anything more specific would be dangerous.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:26:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"lure"?
DW needs better translators or editors.

The law creates punishments for crimes in the private sector. Previous sanctions only covered corruption that leaked into the public sector.

Wait, what?


-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:25:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Government 'to lose EU budget vote' in Commons | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Treasury aides have indicated they expect the Commons to pass a rebel amendment calling for a real-terms cut in the EU budget by 20 votes.

The vote, to be held on Wednesday evening, has brought together Tory rebels and Labour MPs.

The prediction of defeat came despite frantic efforts by government whips and David Cameron holding personal meetings with wavering MPs.

The prime minister earlier moved closer to Tory rebels saying he would like a cut but would settle for a freeze. Rebel Tories have joined forces with Labour on Wednesday to demand the government take a tougher line on negotiations over the funding package for the next seven years.The European Commission has proposed an £826bn budget ceiling for the 2014-20 period - a 5% rise compared with 2007-13. Despite other members such as Germany joining calls for restraint, Downing Street has suggested a rise in line with inflation is the best outcome that can be achieved.

If no deal is reached at the summit, the budget is automatically rolled over to next year with a 2% increase.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:46:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Heseltine's No 10 report blasts coalition over growth strategy | Politics | The Guardian

Lord Heseltine will on Wednesday deliver an explosive critique of the government's economic policy when he publishes a six-month study commissioned by Downing Street that dismisses deregulation as the sole path to growth and lambasts Whitehall for the lack of a coherent state led industrial strategy.

In a no-holds-barred report, the experienced former Conservative cabinet minister warns "continuing as we are is not an acceptable option", adding "the message I keep hearing is that the UK does not have a strategy for growth and wealth creation".

His iconoclastic proposals call for a major restructuring of local government and handing £58bn of Whitehall cash to city-based engines of growth, co-ordinated by businesses and local councils.

Among some ministers there was incredulity that David Cameron had asked such an interventionist figure as Heseltine to compile a report into every aspect of Britain's low growth.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:46:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It will be ignored. Sadly. I think Heseltine has done a good job with the report, but Osborne isn't interested in the message

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:25:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So many ways to say "we thank you for your excellent work" ...
Have a gold star.

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:29:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Audit slams effectiveness of EU's Kosovo mission | Europe | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

An EU audit has leveled criticism against the European rule of law mission in Kosovo alleging that crime and corruption are still rampant. Hoping for progress, the European Commission wants to negotiate.

The European Court of Auditors (ECA) issued a sobering assessment that the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) is not efficient enough. The report, issued on Tuesday (30.10.2012)), asserted that a high level of crime and corruption are still present in the transitional country.

Court of Auditors member Gijs de Vries, who was responsible for the report, said the ECA found police are "not yet capable of dealings with serious financial crimes such as money laundering." In an interview published by the European Commission, de Vries added that "there is a lot of political interference with the judiciary and with the police."

The international community provided 3.5 billion euros ($4.5 billion) in assistance to Kosovo between 1999 and 2007, two-thirds of which came from the EU and member states. An additional 700 million euros in assistance was provided by the EU between 2007 and 2011.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:49:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh finally they are seeing the light...
Ex YU throw a hell a lot of the money to Kosovo for decades only to find same result...
by vbo on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 08:37:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ET gets mail: press release from the European Humanist Federation:

Tonio Borg's nomination as European Commissioner would be a disgrace for the EU

On October 16, the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli, from Malta, resigned after an anti-fraud inquiry linked him to an attempt to influence tobacco legislation. Malta has now nominated its Foreign Affairs Minister, Tonio Borg, to replace the former European Commissioner for the remainder of the mandate of the College.

"This nomination is a disgrace for the European Union, says Pierre Galand, President of the European Humanist Federation (EHF). The EU has always been deeply committed to the promotion of human rights but there are serious doubts as to whether Mr. Tonio Borg shares this commitment."

As Minister of Justice in Malta, Tonio Borg repeatedly and vigorously opposed women's sexual and reproductive rights and even campaigned in 2004 to constitutionalize the abortion ban in his home country. In 2011, he also strongly opposed the legalisation of divorce in Malta. In addition, he has openly expressed contempt for the LGBT community and opposed the recognition of the rights of homosexual co-habiting couples in the Maltese Parliament in 2009. Finally, as Home Affairs Minister, he clearly failed to protect the rights of illegal migrants. Despite several calls from human rights organisations, he oversaw in 2001 the deportation of more than 200 Eritreans back to Eritrea where several of them were eventually tortured and killed.

For the European Humanist Federation Tonio Borg's candidacy is clearly damaging to the image of Malta in the European Union but is also very risky for the quality of health services enjoyed by European citizens. This EHF is strongly convinced that other candidates, who better reflect European values, could be appointed by Malta for the Health and Consumer Policy portfolio. The EHF requested the European Commission to reconsider Tonio Borg's candidacy and MEPs to vote against it.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 05:52:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
He's so disgusting he could offer his holiday home to Blair

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:27:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Billy Blog: Eurozone policy makers destroying prosperity (November 1, 2012)
In the last week, several major data releases have been published by Eurostat, culminating in yesterday's release of the September unemployment which shows that the jobless rate has risen to its highest in the currency union's history. There are now 18.49 million people in the Eurozone without work and that is the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assess the wasted production and lives that the fiscal austerity is creating. Just in the last month, a further 146,000 became unemployed. More than 25 per cent of available workers are unemployed in Greece and Spain. We have moved from describing this tragedy as a recession. This is now a full blown Depression of the scale of the 1930s travesty and, once again, its depth is a direct result of policy failure. All the indicators are coming together and providing an unambiguous verdict - that the Eurozone policy makers destroying prosperity and have relinquished any sense of capacity to govern, where that term means the capacity to advance public purpose and improve welfare.

The following graphic is a capture of today's (November 1, 2012) Latest News Releases at Eurostat. The juxtaposition of a listed items is very interesting (in an intellectual sense - tragic in a personal sense) and weaves a narrative that is very familiar to those who have read and understood Modern Monetary Theory (MMT).

There is no ambiguity at all in what the various data release headlines are signalling.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 05:19:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: IMF and Germany at loggerheads over OSI (01.11.2012)
At a conference call, Wolfgang Schauble resisted pressure by Christine Lagarde to move towards OSI in Greece; Schauble said accepting a haircut would be legally impossible for a large number of eurozone countries; Thomas Wieser says there are currently no discussions at working group level about a haircut; options include lengthening of maturities, reduced interest rates, an interest rate moratorium, and debt buybacks; the deadline for a deal is November 12;  the Greek government has released new forecasts showing an increase in debt-to-GDP above the troika's worst-case scenario; the Greek parliament narrowly passes the privatisation law; Mohamed El Erian writes that it is high time to find a resolution for Greece, and to decide whether Greece should be in or out; Vincenzo Visco warns that Italy's situation remains precarious, and that the country still faces the threat of a vicious spiral of falling growth and rising debt; the Italian cabinet has decided to cut the number of provinces from 86 to 51; Grilli warns that a balanced budget in 2013 is necessary, but not sufficient; the Italian government has agreed to cancel income tax cuts as a concession to parliament, in exchange for maintaining VAT at present levels; Italian unemployment reaches the highest level since 2004, with youth unemployment now over 35%; Franco Debenedetti says the Partito Democratico should end its obsession with Silvio Berlusconi, and discuss its ideas of how to renew Italy; Four additional Spanish ex-cajas require public funds, Mariano Rajoy is reported to have decided not to make a rescue application during 2012; Spain's labour minister is criticised over a silly prediction of green shoots; Luis de Guindos says Spain's Q3 performance will be better than forecast; the Portuguese parliament votes for the austerity budget, but a court case is likely to follow; Mark Schieritz, meanwhile, is poking fun at an economically illiterate German banker.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 02:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
†ECONOMY & FINANCE†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:17:25 PM EST
Greek economic forecasts worse than expected | Europe | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

Greece's economic crisis is worse than previously thought, with both the recession and public deficit deeper than originally forecast. Athens is currently trying to meet austerity targets in order to receive more aid.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras submitted a new national budget to parliament on Wednesday, as lawmakers prepared to vote on a privatization drive aimed at meeting austerity targets set by the country's international creditors. DW.DE Second haircut for Greece will be unavoidable: troika

In the spring, private creditors were forced to cancel some of Greece's debt. Now, eurozone nations themselves have been asked to make a second haircut happen - to the chagrin of the German finance minister. (29.10.2012)

According to the submitted budget, Greece's economy is expected to shrink by 4.5 percent in 2013, revised downward from the 3.8 percent contraction projected last month. The country's economy is expected to contract by 6.5 percent this year.

Greece's public deficit is expected to stand at 5.2 percent in 2013, higher than the original forecast of 4.2 percent. Greece's total sovereign debt is forecast to be 189.1 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:49:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
[No Shit, Sherlock!]

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:27:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Stop saying "haircut"! You're not a young hip finance executive.
Some other barber-administered activity would be more appropriate. Leeching? Blodletting? Tooth extraction?

Amputation!

"Up until now, Germans have been told that their country was only assuming liability for a certain sum without taxpayers actually facing any costs," [...] A year before Germany's general election, the government doesn't really want to tell the population the whole truth as to the real costs of the operation involved.

It's a good thing most Germans have never learned to read, don't have access to media from other nations, don't have history books, and have never heard of basic economic theory.

"Vote yourself rich". Man, you gotta love democracy.

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:39:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurozone unemployment hits record high in September | Business | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

Unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone reached a new high in September. Statistical data reveals that harsh austerity measures in place in much of the bloc have hampered growth and job creation incentives.

Joblessness across the eurozone increased to a record seasonally-adjusted high in September, the European statistics agency, Eurostat, reported on Wednesday.

It put the month's unemployment rate in the 17-member bloc at 11.6 percent, which means another 146,000 people joined the jobless ranks in September, bringing the area's total to 18.5 million people.

That number included almost 3.5 million people under the age of 25, marking a youth unemployment rate of 23.3 percent. Greece and Spain once again suffered most from a continuously shaky labor market, with jobless rates of over 25 percent.

Energy costs up again

By contrast, the lowest rates were recorded in Austria (4.4 percent), followed by Luxembourg, Germany and the Netherlands.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:49:50 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Germany expects record 2012 tax revenues | Business | DW.DE | 31.10.2012

A panel of fiscal experts has said Germany looks set to secure a record amount in tax revenues this year, billions of euros (dollars) more than originally expected. The windfall is the result of a stable labor market.

The German federal government, along with the country's states and communities, can look forward to record tax revenues in 2012, a report by fiscal experts said on Wednesday. They spoke of tax income to the tune of 602.4 billion euros ($783 billion), six billion euros more than predicted during their last previous forecast in spring.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble called the results of the latest tax estimate "gratifying" and added that the federal government could probably come up with a balanced budget as early as 2013. "That would be three years earlier than called for by fiscal stipulations in our constitution," Schäuble said.

The government in Berlin attributed the positive development to the domestic economy's ability to steer clear of recession, while many of its fellow eurozone partners had been grappling with contraction for many quarters in a row.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:49:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fed Says Banks Saw Rising Demand for Auto and Real-Estate Loans - Bloomberg

Banks in the U.S. reported stronger demand for auto loans and commercial and residential mortgages during the third quarter, according to a Federal Reserve survey.

The Fed described the share of banks reporting increased demand as "significant." Demand for most other loan types was "about unchanged," the Fed said today in Washington in its quarterly survey of senior loan officers.

The report provides further evidence that sales of cars and homes, bolstered by record-low interest rates from the central bank, are helping to fuel the U.S. economic recovery. The gains are helping to shield the world's largest economy from a decline in exports and cooling business investment.

Cars and light trucks sold at a 14.9 million annual pace in September, the most since March 2008, according to Ward's Automotive Group. New homes sold at a 389,000 annual pace in September, the most in more than two years, according to a Commerce Department report last week.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:50:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
UBS Fixed-Income Capitulation Boon for Deutsche Bank - Bloomberg

Global investment banks such as Barclays Plc (BARC) and Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) will probably increase their market share after UBS AG (UBSN) decided to scale back its trading arm in the face of higher capital requirements.

UBS announced an unexpected pretax loss of 2.87 billion Swiss francs ($2.7 billion) at its investment bank yesterday and job cuts totaling 10,000 across its business. Deutsche Bank reported an eight-fold surge in its pretax profit from investment banking, and adjusted pretax profit from the business at Barclays more than doubled, the London-based bank said today.

"It's positive for the banks that remain active as new business will be split among fewer players," Daniel Hupfer, who helps manage 36 billion euros ($46 billion) including Deutsche Bank shares at M.M. Warburg, said in a phone interview yesterday. "Investment banking and lending margins will rise if fewer banks offer those services."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:50:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Copper Futures Gain for a Second Day on Signs of Asian Revival - Bloomberg

Copper futures rose for a second straight day after signs of revival in Asian economies bolstered prospects for demand.

Taiwan's economy resumed growth last quarter, South Korean production climbed for the first time in four months, and Singapore's jobless rate fell, separate reports showed. An official gauge due tomorrow may show manufacturing in China, the world's biggest copper consumer, expanded for the first time in three months in October, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists. Futures ended an eight-session slump yesterday on prospects for Chinese demand.

"Copper is rebounding, and the news out of Asia and China looks to be supportive," Frank Lesh, a trader at FuturePath Trading in Chicago, said in a telephone interview. "It seems that it has at least stopped the market from going down any further."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:07:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Opium production 'on the rise in SE Asia' - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

The cultivation of illegal opium has increased in Myanmar for a sixth successive year, driven in part by a rising demand for heroin across Asia, according to the United Nations.

Myanmar is the world's second-largest producer of opium after Afghanistan, accounting for nearly 25 per cent of global poppy production, according to a report released by the UN on Wednesday.

The surge comes despite a government campaign to eradicate the crop from the Southeast Asian nation.

The rise in output of opium, the raw ingredient used to make heroin, was documented in the latest annual survey by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

The report said farmland under opium cultivation rose by 17 per cent this year, up from about nearly 40,000 hectares  in 2011 to 51,000 hectares in 2012.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:07:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Futures market: Wall Street's thirst for water : Nature : Nature Publishing Group

Early last year, I published an article in Foreign Policy that explained how Wall Street profits from hunger. I traced the history of financial markets in food and noted how the prices of maize (corn), soya, rice and wheat had broken records three times in the past five years1. I examined the impacts of climate change and biofuel mandates on the grain futures markets, and argued that a global food-pricing system that once benefited farmers, bakers and consumers had been undermined by financial derivatives created by investment banks.

These commodity index funds effectively destroyed the traditional 'price discovery' function of the grain futures exchanges in Chicago, Kansas City and Minneapolis, and turned these markets into profit engines for banks and hedge funds while driving up the price of our daily bread2.

Although regulation of global food derivatives has been promised, years have passed and nothing has materialized. In Washington DC, abuses of commodity markets and other fiddles resulted in 30,000 pages of new regulations: the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010. Predictably, implementation of these laws has been challenged in court and stalled. Even if the regulations make it beyond the Beltway, there will be plenty of room for exceptions for the biggest banks.

Therefore, it is wise to consider what global resource will be the next financial derivative. What could be more catastrophic than betting on the world's food supply? What about our water?

Speculators can already bet on snow, wind and rain through weather-related futures contracts bought and sold on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. The market value of weather grew by 20% from 2010 to 2011. But the sector remains small -- a paltry US$11.8 billion. Still, weather futures indicate how restless Wall Street has become to transform Mother Nature into the mother of all casinos.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:14:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Truly they do Gods Work.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:45:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Number 6:
Truly they UNdo Gods Work.


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:38:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
†WORLD†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:17:43 PM EST
Superstorm moves on, leaving devastation behind in N.Y., N.J. - The Washington Post

Sandy, the hybrid hurricane/nor'easter, began to lose steam Tuesday as it drifted across Pennsylvania and veered toward Canada. But the damage was done, and it will go down as a historic storm, not least because of what it did to New York City, where a surge of seawater inundated some of the most valuable real estate in America.

Much of Manhattan, the seat of American finance, is in the dark. Someone standing after dusk Tuesday in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge would see the lighted-up Chrysler Building and other Midtown skyscrapers to the north but darkened buildings to the south -- almost all of Lower Manhattan vanishing into the night. Only City Hall was illuminated.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie tells the "CBS This Morning" co-hosts that he "can't thank the president enough" for accelerating the Major Disaster Declaration for New Jersey.

Power could be out for a week -- a fact noted by some New Yorkers who packed their bags and headed for the exits.

The storm was blamed for 51 deaths up and down the East Coast, according to the Associated Press. The tempest played havoc with the power grid, knocking out electricity to 7.5 million people. More than 16,000 airline flights have been canceled so far. Eqecat, a firm that models the costs of catastrophes for insurance companies, estimated Sandy's economic impact on the country at $10 billion to $20 billion.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:05:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hurricane Sandy is a duty and opportunity for Obama | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- In the final days of his final election, President Barack Obama is finding that a storm IS his campaign.

After suspending official campaigning in deference to Hurricane Sandy for three crucial days, he's using the power of his office not only to oversee the federal government response, but also to showcase for voters the popular side of an active government while presenting a take-charge image of himself reinforced by the multi-media message machinery of the White House.

Obama addressed the nation from the White House. Cameras followed him to a local Red Cross office. His staff released a flurry of photos of the president being briefed on emergency preparations and readouts of his calls to governors and mayors.

Obama and his aides even managed to adapt his campaign slogan - "Forward" - at least five times this week in official statements about Hurricane Sandy.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:05:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish I ran this show ... what a "Naomi Kline" moment I would make of it.

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:50:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ex-FEMA Head Brown: Obama Responded "Too Quickly" to Sandy

Meanwhile, the former head of FEMA, Michael Brown, known for overseeing the Bush administration's tepid response to Hurricane Katrina, drew ridicule on Tuesday when he criticized President Obama for responding "too quickly" to Sandy. Comparing Sandy to the killings of U.S. personnel in Libya last month, Brown said, "Why was this so quick? ... At some point, somebody's going to ask that question."

You keep these SOBs around and you wonder why things are fucked up!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.

by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 08:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Via Krugman.)
Mother Jones - Kevin Drum - A Case Study of Republicans vs. Democrats on FEMA
The lesson here is simple. At a deep ideological level, Republicans believe that federal bureaucracies are inherently inept, so when Republicans occupy the White House they have no interest in making the federal bureaucracy work. And it doesn't. Democrats, by contrast, take government services seriously and appoint people whose job is to make sure the federal bureaucracy does work. And it does.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 08:19:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not so, Kevin. You anoint Repubs with too much humanity. They look on any situation as a potential profit center, regardless of the pain that they cause. They are disease organisms masquerading as humans, ... and should be dealt with accordingly!

The good news ... it's only a life sentence. You eventually leave this planet of idiots.
by THE Twank (yatta blah blah @ blah.com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 10:06:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
North America most affected by increase in weather-related natural catastrophes | Munich Re

A new study by Munich Re shows that North America has been most affected by weather-related extreme events in recent decades. The publication "Severe weather in North America" analyzes all kinds of weather perils and their trends. It reports and shows that the continent has experienced the largest increases in weather-related loss events.

For the period concerned - 1980 to 2011 - the overall loss burden from weather catastrophes was US$ 1,060bn (in 2011 values).The insured losses amounted to US$ 510bn, and some 30,000 people lost their lives due to weather catastrophes in North America during this time frame. With US$ 62.2bn insured losses and overall losses of US$ 125bn (in original values) Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was the costliest event ever recorded in the US. Katrina was also the deadliest single storm event, claiming 1,322 lives.

The study was prepared in order to support underwriters and clients in North America, the world's largest insurance and reinsurance market. Using its NatCatSERVICE - with more than 30,000 records the most comprehensive loss data base for natural catastrophes - Munich Re analyzes the frequency and loss trends of different perils from an insurance perspective. The North American continent is exposed to every type of hazardous weather peril - tropical cyclone, thunderstorm, winter storm, tornado, wildfire, drought and flood. One reason for this is that there is no mountain range running east to west that separates hot from cold air.

Nowhere in the world is the rising number of natural catastrophes more evident than in North America. The study shows a nearly quintupled number of weather-related loss events in North America for the past three decades, compared with an increase factor of 4 in Asia, 2.5 in Africa, 2 in Europe and 1.5 in South America. Anthropogenic climate change is believed to contribute to this trend, though it influences various perils in different ways. Climate change particularly affects formation of heat-waves, droughts, intense precipitation events, and in the long run most probably also tropical cyclone intensity. The view that weather extremes are becoming more frequent and intense in various regions due to global warming is in keeping with current scientific findings, as set out in the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as well as in the special report on weather extremes and disasters (SREX). Up to now, however, the increasing losses caused by weather related natural catastrophes have been primarily driven by socio-economic factors, such as population growth, urban sprawl and increasing wealth.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:38:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You broke it, you bought it

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 04:29:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Blaze kills Saudi Arabia wedding guests - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

At least 25 people have been killed by electric shock in a wedding in eastern Saudi Arabia, civil defence officials and local media say.

Celebratory gunfire brought down an electric cable at a house in Ain Badr village where the wedding was held on Tuesday night, Abdullah Khashman, an Eastern Province official, said.

Thirty others were injured in the incident near Abqaiq, a centre of the Saudi energy industry.

Some Saudi media reports said the blaze erupted inside a tent, killing at least 23 women and children. The kingdom's conservative codes require genders to be separated at most public events, including weddings.

The media cited civil defence officials as saying that celebratory gunfire brought down a power line that touched off the fire.

However, Reuters news agency quoted Khashman as saying: "At the wedding, the cable fell on a metal door and the 23 people who died were all electrocuted."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:06:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"Fire" sounds more credible somehow.


-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:50:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Deadly blast in Damascus as fighting rages - Middle East - Al Jazeera English

Two bombs have gone off in the Syrian capital Damascus, one killing at least six people near a Shia shrine, state media and opposition activists said, as heavy shelling was reported across the city.

The first deadly blast, which happened in the Sayeda Zainab district on Wednesday, also wounded 13 people but the number of people killed after a carbomb went off in the southwest of the city was not clear, Al Jazeera sources said.  

The semi-official Addounia television said the deadly bomb was placed in a garbage bag.

Another bomb in the area was defused, the station reported.

"The explosion occurred just east of the shrine. Lots of people are also wounded," said one of the activists in the area, who declined to be named.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:06:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Science in the developing world: Eritrea's shattered science : Nature News & Comment

Early this year, Eritrea severed a scientific lifeline almost as old as the African nation itself. The Eritrean National Health Laboratory in Asmara cut long-standing ties with Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, potentially setting back many gains that the country had made in public health. "St Louis supplied everything: American doctors, expertise, chemicals, materials," says Assefaw Ghebrekidan, an Eritrean ex-freedom fighter who now heads the public-health programme at Touro University in Mare Island, California. "And now it's all over."

Eritrea, an impoverished country of 3 million people on the Horn of Africa (see 'A troubled corner'), is not known for its science. It ranks 177th out of 187 countries on the United Nations Human Development Index. It comes in last in terms of press freedom and is the eighth most militarized country in the world. The World Health Organization estimated that there were just 5 medical doctors per 100,000 people in the country in 2004.

But against this depressing backdrop, the country's medical-research partnerships have been a source of promise and pride. Eritrea built its first medical school in 2003, aided by scientists from the Central University of Las Villas in Santa Clara, Cuba. After US universities helped to establish postgraduate training and research programmes in paediatrics, surgery, and obstetrics and gynaecology at the institution, Eritrean medical scientists published their first papers in international, peer-reviewed journals. Public health has benefitted. In 1991, Eritrea was cursed with the highest maternal mortality rate in the world -- 14 deaths per 1,000 births. In 2010, it was on track to meet the Millennium Development Goal of cutting that rate by 75% by 2015.

But progress in Eritrean science has now gone into reverse, say a number of scientists and doctors in exile. In response to mounting criticism from the United Nations and the United States over the country's human-rights record, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki is severing partnerships with all US universities, says Ghebrekidan. "Everything that Eritrea has worked so hard to achieve is at stake."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:17:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
This:
Science in the developing world: Eritrea's shattered science : Nature News & Comment
The severing of ties may be a backlash against the United States and the United Nations over their criticism of Afwerki's human-rights record, says Ghebrekidan. In 2009, the United States imposed sanctions on Eritrea for supporting Islamist insurgents in Somalia. A highly publicized cable from US ambassador Ronald McMullen, later released by Wikileaks, said that "Eritrea's prisons are overflowing, and the country's unhinged dictator remains cruel and defiant". In July, the UN Human Rights Council established a special rapporteur to investigate reports of rights violations by Eritrean authorities, amid stories that Afwerki keeps his critics in solitary confinement in shipping containers.

Reminded me of this:

TED Blog | The complexities of the psychopath test: A Q&A with Jon Ronson

You know what though? I'm thinking on my feet here, but you just said psychopaths don't care what people think of them. The ones who score high on the Hare checklist have a grandiose sense of self-worth and they do get really pissed off if they're being disrespected. High-scoring psychopaths, past 10, tend not to be emotional, but they care a lot about their social standing. So maybe that's not true.

Also in 2001 after this:

Science in the developing world: Eritrea's shattered science : Nature News & Comment

Although the plea failed to sway the president, it encouraged others to criticize him openly for the first time. In July 2001, Semere Kesete, leader of the student union at the University of Asmara -- Eritrea's only institute of higher learning -- criticized the government for reducing academic freedom. He was arrested and thrown into solitary confinement, causing riots at the university. When the government demanded that the students do extra national service -- on top of the 18 months required of all men and women -- they didn't turn up. In retaliation, the government bussed all of the students to the Danakil Depression in southern Eritrea, one of the hottest places on Earth, to build roads. Two students died from the heat. Crackdown

A month later, Afwerki launched his biggest crackdown yet. He shut down all private media, threw 10 journalists in jail and imprisoned 11 politicians who had demanded elections -- many of whom were old comrades in arms. He also began to dismantle the University of Asmara.

There was a formal protest from the EU, that was delivered by the Italian ambassador. Italy was also Eritreas largest donor. A smart dictator would make empty promises of change and go on his merry way. Afwerki instead accused the Italian ambassador of black marketeering and threw him out.

I am not saying he is a psychopath, but he sure is acting like it. Which of course might be due to institutional restraints on being former gerilla-leader turned president. But in the end it comes down to the same policies.

A vote for PES is a vote for EPP! A vote for EPP is a vote for PES! Support the coalition, vote EPP-PES in 2009!

by A swedish kind of death on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 08:15:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:49:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
†LIVING OFF THE PLANET†
†Environment, Energy, Agriculture, Food†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:18:01 PM EST
Southeast India braces for Cyclone Nilam - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Schools and ports have shut down in southeast India as Cyclone Nilam heads towards the coast, with landfall expected on Wednesday evening.

Authorities said thousands of people had moved to higher ground as the cyclone could cause a tide surge of up to 1.5m and flood low-lying areas of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh states.

The meteorological department said the cyclone was expected to damage thatched huts and uproot trees, knocking out power and communication lines across the two states.

Heavy rain has already started, lashing the region.

Chennai, the state capital of Tamil Nadu, is in the middle of the affected zone.

Local authorities said they were preparing helicopters and boats for any emergency. Existing cyclone shelters, schools and community halls have also been identified to serve as potential relief camps.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:06:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mass extinction study provides lessons for modern world

ScienceDaily (Oct. 29, 2012) -- The Cretaceous Period of Earth history ended with a mass extinction that wiped out numerous species, most famously the dinosaurs. A new study now finds that the structure of North American ecosystems made the extinction worse than it might have been. Researchers at the University of Chicago, the California Academy of Sciences and the Field Museum of Natural History will publish their findings Oct. 29 online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Share This: 105

The mountain-sized asteroid that left the now-buried Chicxulub impact crater on the coast of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula is almost certainly the ultimate cause of the end-Cretaceous mass extinction, which occurred 65 million years ago. Nevertheless, "Our study suggests that the severity of the mass extinction in North America was greater because of the ecological structure of communities at the time," noted lead author Jonathan Mitchell, a Ph.D. student of UChicago's Committee on Evolutionary Biology.

Mitchell and his co-authors, Peter Roopnarine of the California Academy of Sciences and Kenneth Angielczyk of the Field Museum, reconstructed terrestrial food webs for 17 Cretaceous ecological communities. Seven of these food webs existed within two million years of the Chicxulub impact and 10 came from the preceding 13 million years.

The findings are based on a computer model showing how disturbances spread through the food web. Roopnarine developed the simulation to predict how many animal species would become extinct from a plant die-off, a likely consequence of the impact.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:15:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Arctic snow cover shows sharp decline : Nature News & Comment

Arctic snow is fading fast. June snow cover in the Northern Hemisphere has dropped by almost 18% per decade during the past 30 years, according to a study published in Geophysical Research Letters1.

The drop in snow extent will lower the amount of sunlight reflected away from the planet -- a process that has a cooling effect -- by exposing darker and less reflective soil, shrubs and trees, which absorb solar radiation and re-emit the heat into the atmosphere. The change also stands to warm the permafrost, alter the timing of spring runoff into rivers and lead to earlier plant growth in spring.

"It was a bigger number than we initially thought we might have seen, but when you look at the changes in Arctic sea ice, we would expect a similarly large number," says Chris Derksen, a cryosphere scientist at Environment Canada in Toronto and a co-author on the paper. The swift pace of the snowmelt between 1979 and 2011 exceeds the rate of decline in Arctic sea ice, which clocked in at just under 11% per decade over the same period. September 2012 saw the the lowest extent of sea ice in the satellite record -- and when this year's data were included in calculations, they revealed a 13% per decade decline in sea ice and a 21.5% per decade drop in snow cover.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:38:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
†LIVING ON THE PLANET†
†Society, Culture, History, Information†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:18:40 PM EST
Sun ordered to explain what happened to phone allegedly stolen from MP | Media | guardian.co.uk

The Sun newspaper has been ordered by a high court judge to reveal what it knows about the alleged theft of a mobile phone belonging to Labour MP Siobhain McDonagh, which was reportedly handed to the paper by a member of the public.

Mr Justice Vos also on Wednesday issued a temporary injunction against the Sun preventing the tabloid publishing any material in relation to confidential information on the phone.

At the same time Vos issued an order barring reporting of witness statements submitted to court in relation to the theft to prevent potential criminal proceedings being compromised by "the side wind of civil proceedings".

McDonagh's phone was allegedly stolen in October 2010. But it did not emerge that it had been handed over to the Sun by an unidentified individual until the Metropolitan police discovered the connection this summer as part of its Operation Tuleta investigation into alleged computer hacking and other criminal breaches of privacy by newspapers.

Details



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:05:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
(BBC4 News Quiz)
Sandy Tokswig (Host): Could you say the word "allegedly" really nicely so the producer can edit that in as required?
 

-----
sapere aude
by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:55:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lower costs lure U.S. college students to Canada, UK | McClatchy

WASHINGTON -- More American teenagers are thinking about picking up a passport and heading abroad for their college years as a way of attending a top-rated school at a lower cost, Canadian and British college recruiters say.

More than 10,000 Americans are earning graduate and undergraduate degrees in Canada, and 15,000 are pursuing degrees in the United Kingdom. Even with extra fees for international students, colleges and universities outside the United States, in many cases, cost less than the tuition at private colleges or the out-of-state charges at public universities.

In some places, American student interest has gone up as tuition rates rise here nationwide and state spending for higher education declines. The University of British Columbia, for example, reports a 33 percent growth in U.S. applications since 2008.

Because of California's "sagging economy" and cutbacks in public aid to higher education, "I am encouraging my students to look beyond our state's borders, and that includes other countries, such as Canada," said Jill Montbriand, a counselor at Rio Americano High School in Sacramento.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:06:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Scientists Dissect the Psychology of 'Truthiness": Scientific American

Late-night television satirist Stephen Colbert urges his audience to rely on their gut for what he has dubbed a feeling of "truthiness." Truthiness, Merriam-Webster's 2006 word of the year, is "the quality of seeming to be true according to one's intuition...without regard to logic [or] factual evidence." Although Colbert deserves credit for coining the word, psychologists have long known that people rely on their feelings to draw all sorts of conclusions, and a recent paper clarifies one situation that seems to lead us to strong feelings of truthiness - the presence of additional related (but irrelevant) information.

The research finds that a statement in the presence of images or other additional information enhances people's feelings of truthiness, even when they don't provide any evidence the statement is true. This is especially important in the context of political campaigns, as it suggests that that the mere presence of a picture next to a candidate's written claims could lead people to be more likely to believe them. And the work is another demonstration of the ease with which our thoughts, beliefs, and behaviors can be manipulated through relatively innocuous means.

The authors, researchers from Victoria University of Wellington, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, and University of Victoria, performed four experiments. In the first three studies, participants viewed names of celebrities, displayed one at a time. Some of the names also had a picture or a short verbal description attached. Finally, half of the participants judged the truth of the statement "this famous person is alive," while the rest judged the truth of, "this famous person is dead." The participants were more likely to judge a statement as true when it was accompanied by a picture or by a short description, regardless of whether the statement was that the individual was alive, or that the individual was dead. The effect was stronger for less familiar celebrities.

In a related experiment, the researchers showed the effect was not particular to celebrities. Participants viewed trivia statements, some of which were accompanied by related photos which provided no evidence of the truth of the statement, and indicated whether they thought the statement was true or false. For example, next to the statement "macadamia nuts are in the same evolutionary family as peaches," a participant might see a picture of macadamia nuts. The photos increased the bias toward rating statements as true.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:15:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Empathy represses analytic thought, and vice versa: Brain physiology limits simultaneous use of both networks

ScienceDaily (Oct. 30, 2012) -- New research shows a simple reason why even the most intelligent, complex brains can be taken by a swindler's story -- one that upon a second look offers clues it was false.

When the brain fires up the network of neurons that allows us to empathize, it suppresses the network used for analysis, a pivotal study led by a Case Western Reserve University researcher shows.

How could a CEO be so blind to the public relations fiasco his cost-cutting decision has made?

When the analytic network is engaged, our ability to appreciate the human cost of our action is repressed.

At rest, our brains cycle between the social and analytical networks. But when presented with a task, healthy adults engage the appropriate neural pathway, the researchers found.

The study shows for the first time that we have a built-in neural constraint on our ability to be both empathetic and analytic at the same time



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:16:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it helps explain why wholebrain thinking in humans is as rare as juggling sealions!

;)

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 07:51:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
hey, I juggle sea-lions all the time!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 08:33:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
yeah, but you've been brain-balancing at ET for a while now!

"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Nov 4th, 2012 at 12:16:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Fairly Simple Math Could Bridge Quantum Mechanics and General Relativity: Scientific American

Could an analysis based on relatively simple calculations point the way to reconciling the two most successful -- and stubbornly distinct -- branches of modern theoretical physics? Frank Wilczek and his collaborators hope so.

The task of aligning quantum mechanics, which deals with the behaviour of fundamental particles, with Einstein's general theory of relativity, which describes gravity in terms of curved space-time, has proved an enormous challenge. One of the difficulties is that neither is adequate to describe what happens to particles when the space-time they occupy undergoes drastic changes -- such as those thought to occur at the birth of a black hole. But in a paper posted to the arXiv preprint server on 15 October (A. D. Shapere et al. http://arxiv.org/abs/1210.3545; 2012), three theoretical physicists present a straightforward way for quantum particles to move smoothly from one kind of `topological space' to a very different one.

The analysis does not model gravity explicitly, and so is not an attempt to formulate a theory of `quantum gravity' that brings general relativity and quantum mechanics under one umbrella. Instead, the authors, including Nobel laureate Frank Wilczek of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, suggest that their work might provide a simplified framework for understanding the effects of gravity on quantum particles, as well as describing other situations in which the spaces that quantum particles move in can radically alter, such as in condensed-matter-physics experiments. "I'm pretty excited," says Wilczek, "We have to see how far we can push it."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 03:16:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ethiopian kids hack OLPCs in 5 months with zero instruction | DVICE

What happens if you give a thousand Motorola Zoom tablet PCs to Ethiopian kids who have never even seen a printed word? Within five months, they'll start teaching themselves English while circumventing the security on your OS to customize settings and activate disabled hardware. Whoa.

The One Laptop Per Child project started as a way of delivering technology and resources to schools in countries with little or no education infrastructure, using inexpensive computers to improve traditional curricula. What the OLPC Project has realized over the last five or six years, though, is that teaching kids stuff is really not that valuable. Yes, knowing all your state capitols how to spell "neighborhood" properly and whatnot isn't a bad thing, but memorizing facts and procedures isn't going to inspire kids to go out and learn by teaching themselves, which is the key to a good education. Instead, OLPC is trying to figure out a way to teach kids to learn, which is what this experiment is all about.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 08:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mark Pack: Lib Dems step up plans for more employee ownership (1 November 2012)
Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg said:

"Businesses that are owned by their employees produce more, grow faster, keep their workforce happier, and pay staff more fairly. Graeme's report makes clear that sharing ownership means sharing success.

"Our economy suffered a massive heart attack - now we have to build our strength back up. To pump oxygen back into the system and get Britain working again, it's got to be out with the old and in with a new more diverse economy that is fairer for all.

"The plans we're setting out today are the first important steps in boosting this burgeoning sector."



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 06:16:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
(Request: stop using simile and metaphor. You are the plaque in the arteries of the nation.)

"Ownership" sounds good, but I have yet to see a model that makes sense.

More from Mark Pack:
How does UK employee protection compare with other countries?
(Short answer: Where employee protection? UK employee what? UK who protection?)

-----
sapere aude

by Number 6 on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 07:08:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
†PEOPLE AND KLATSCH†


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Oct 31st, 2012 at 02:18:57 PM EST
Germans are horrified to have for an ECB president an Italian who manages the Euro as a FIAT currency.

They would much prefer a Volkswährung.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Nov 1st, 2012 at 05:54:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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