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European Salon de News, Discussion et Klatsch - 20 December

by dvx Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:08:18 PM EST

 A Daily Review Of International Online Media 


Scientists on this date in history:

1901 - birth Robert J. Van de Graaff, American physicist and inventor (d. 1967)

More here and here

 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 ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:08:54 PM EST
Patient care at risk as GPs are asked to cut services | Society | guardian.co.uk

GPs are being asked to reduce or axe activities including childhood immunisation campaigns, out-of-hours care and minor surgery in emerging evidence that £20bn of NHS "efficiency savings" are leading to cuts in patient care.

Evidence of the cuts has appeared in the form of a letter to GPs in south London, in which health managers say they have to make £2.32m savings in 2011-13, and list services that should be reduced or abolished this financial year.

Further services, including physiotherapy and osteopathy, are being reviewed in anticipation of possible further cuts in future years.

Azeem Majeed, one of the GPs whose practice received the letter, calculates that the cut of just over £100,000 for this year amounts to about 10% of the surgery's core budget - a figure he estimates will be about average for GPs in the area affected.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:19:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
After failed bomb, Germans discuss surveillance | Germany | DW.DE | 18.12.2012

After an attempted bomb attack at Bonn train station, Germany's interior minister has called for more surveillance cameras in public places. But not everyone believes that this is the right way to go.

There are surveillance cameras at Bonn central station. Yet there are no recordings of what happened last Monday (10.12.2012), no images that would show how a blue bag containing a self-made bomb was placed on one of the platforms - and more importantly, no pictures of who put it there. "You can plaster the entire city of Bonn with cameras but if they don't work then that's good for nothing," Cem Özdemir, chairman of Germany's Green Party told Deutsche Welle.

The cameras in Bonn are run by Germany's national rail operator, but they didn't record the attempted bomb attack last week. The police assume that the perpetrators come from the extremist Salafist scene in Bonn; the investigations are focusing on witness statements and a video from a surveillance camera in a fast food restaurant in the train station. That's led Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich to call for an expansion of video surveillance in public places in Germany.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:20:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Pollard inquiry: BBC 'incapable' of dealing with Jimmy Savile affair | Media | guardian.co.uk

Chaos and confusion, a lack of leadership from senior executives and an adherence to "rigid management chains" meant that the BBC proved "completely incapable" of dealing with the Jimmy Savile affair, according to an excoriating 185-page report into the handling of and fallout from the decision to axe a Newsnight investigation into child sexual abuse by the late presenter.

Peter Rippon, Newsnight's editor, is to be replaced, after the report by former head of Sky News Nick Pollard - costing £2m and published on Wednesday - found that his decision to drop the Savile investigation was "seriously flawed".

But Pollard concluded that Rippon's decision was "done in good faith" without him being put under "undue pressure" by his bosses, the BBC's director of news Helen Boaden and her deputy director, Stephen Mitchell.

Yet it was Mitchell who faced some of the most serious criticism from Pollard and he announced his retirement on Wednesday. He will leave the BBC in 2013 after nearly 40 years.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:20:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
my experience at BBC News is that this farce is entirely typical. Management is about ensuring that fault is never found, so messes like this are never properly dealt with. when it becomes public it just looks like a cover up when they're really just being a mixture of pathetic and polite

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 03:58:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not completely comfortable with a report on integrity and procedure from a former high up at Sky News...

I'm sure the BBC has it's particular problems, but I think there are not many organisations in society that would respond well to this particular kind of problem.

Most of all though, I'm unsure how the Savile scandal became all about the BBC, as opposed to all the other media outlets that helped turn a blind eye to his activities, or about the actual people on the ground giving Savile access to (for example) Broadmoor, etc.

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:48:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, it is certainly true that the BBC is paying the proxy price for all the other organisations which enabled Savile.

Indeed, I hear BBC News are pissed that they're getting kicked when it was Radio and TV entertainment which gave him license payers money to go off and bugger children right left and centre.

And, what about all those freedom loving newspaper editors who somehow failed to investigate what Savile actually boasted about doing in his autobiography ?

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 09:11:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
BBC News - Dutch skydiver Mark van den Boogaard lay dead for days

Dutch police are investigating how the body of skydiver lay undetected in a field for more than a week.

Mark van den Boogaard was not reported missing and his body was discovered by chance by rabbit hunters. His parachute had failed to open.

He organised his jump with the largest skydiving club in the Netherlands.

But the club said it had not launched a search as it was not usual for skydivers to report back after their jump.

Police information officer Anton De Ronde said a local team had visited Mr Boogaard's family to inform them, but that he was not close to any of his relatives - which is, the police believe, why no-one reported him missing.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:20:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Suicide by parachute is not rare.

But the idea that there is no protocol for checking on your mates is frankly nutty. Imagine if that were applied to diving.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:17:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Presumably there is not all that much you can do to help once the parachute failed to open.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:36:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's the third fatality in ten years of that particular club.

They've been caught completely off guard by the furor - which comes mostly because it took nine days to figure out someone had died. Van den Boogaard's bag was still left in the hangar - unnoticed for a week. His car was at the parking of the airport - unnoticed for a week.

It all underlines the amateurish, hob-nob spirit of the society. And the sad, solitary and unnoticed life Van den Boogaard must've led.

by Nomad on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 10:57:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
German weapon registry to take effect in 2013 | Germany | DW.DE | 18.12.2012

How many weapons are in private possession in Germany? The question has emerged again after the shooting spree in Newtown, CT. A central registry aims to minimize the danger of similar incidents in the future in Germany.

The Federal Ministry of the Interior in Germany estimates that around six million weapons in Germany are in circulation legally. But beginning next year, security officials will be less dependent on conjecture. The National Weapon Registry (NWR), housed in Cologne, will be ready for use on January 1, 2013. A test phase including the participation of 10 weapons offices has been completed successfully.

The databank will collect and summarize information from the nearly 600 weapon permit offices in Germany. Collecting this data fulfils an EU requirement, which specifies that all member states must implement a digital and up-to-date register of weapons by 2014.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Court upholds Strauss-Kahn pimping probe - Europe - Al Jazeera English

A French court has decided to maintain aggravated pimping charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Wednesday's ruling in the French city of Douai means a judicial investigation into allegations that Strauss-Kahn and associates arranged sex parties with prostitutes will continue.

The case revolves around a suspected luxury prostitution ring in northern France.

Strauss-Kahn, once tipped to become president of France, is under fire over parties in the so-called Carlton Affair, named after a hotel at the centre of the inquiry.

Strauss-Kahn's lawyers said their client attended "libertine" gatherings but did not know some women present were paid.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:27:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In France, Free Birth Control For Girls At Age 15 : NPR

Beginning next year, young women in France between the ages of 15 and 18 will have access to birth control free of charge, and without parental notification. The French government says the new measure is intended to reduce pregnancies in this age group that result from a mixture of ignorance, taboo and lack of access to contraception.

One place where information is available on birth control, abortion and sexual abuse is a family planning clinic in a gritty neighborhood in the east of Paris.

On a recent day, a counselor talks with a handful of teenage girls in a sitting room. Clinic director Isabelle Louis says the young women who come to the clinic aren't necessarily poor; she says many hail from well-off families and live on the other side of Paris.

"It's not very easy for young women to go to see her family doctor and ask for contraception," Louis says. "A lot of them are afraid the doctor would tell the parents she came."



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In case anyone wonders, the age of consent in France is 15.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:07:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Eurointelligence Daily Morning Newsbriefing: Mario Monti will run for office after all (20.12.2012)
Several newspapers report that Mario Monti has decided to become the leader of a centrist political list for the upcoming Italian elections;  an official announcement is expected sometime this weekend, after the dissolution of parliament; President Giorgio Napolitano wants to set Febuary 24 as the election date; Silvio Berlusconi has said that he would support Monti - but nobody is quite sure of what that means; there has been an escalation in the conflict between Spain's central government and Catalonia, with a contingency plan by Mariano Rajoy to ban Catalonia's premier Artur Mas from office; the central government also plans to challenge both the referendum law, and, if it happens, the referendum itself; the central government also nullified a Catalonian tax on bank deposits, by introducing a national zero-rated spoiler tax; the latest move is will also cause problems for several other regions; Jorg Asmussen outlines a path towards a resolution mechanism, which he wants to be anchored at the ESM, and to rely primarily on the bail-in of private investors; Mary Watkins writes that a degree of normality has returned to the banking sector, but the challenge of a return to senior funding remains;  Yannis Stournaras warns that a Grexit is still possible if the political system cannot cope with the reforms in 2013; Greek public sector workers have staged a 24-hour strike in protest against new austerity measures; the Greek government has moved 164 directors and other senior officials in the tax departments, as part of a major shake-up; the Greek constitutional court rules that the government can, after all, collect taxes through electricity bills; the IMF says a restructuring of the Irish promissory notes is an essential pre-requisite for a return to the bond market; eurozone sovereign bond markets have rallied towards the end of the year, with Portuguese 10-year yields having fallen below 7%; a Milan court, meanwhile, passes a criminal conviction against four banks, including Deutsche Bank, in connection with derivative trades to the city of Milan.


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:17:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Rising political stakes between Spain and Catalonia

There has been a big escalation in the tug-of-war between the central government in Madrid and the regional government in Catalonia over the proposed referendum on independence. Mariano Rajoy is preparing a strategy that might involve barring Catalan Premier Artur Mas from public office, and suspending the regional government. El Pais reports that the Spanish government still hopes the referendum will never take place, because the ERC-CiU agreement includes an 'out' clause allowing a graceful exit, and because one of the two parties making up CiU reportedly is not very happy about the idea. Nevertheless, the Spanish Government is preparing first to appeal any law CiU and ERC pass on the referendum, and then the referendum itself, before the Constitutional Court, which the Central Government is sure the Court would strike down. El Mundo goes a bit further, and reports that the Government plans to then go to the criminal courts if Mas goes ahead with an explicitly unconstitutional referendum, barring him personally from public office and suspending the regional government (which is allowed by article 155 of the Constitution). El Pais also mentions that the recent reform of the Budget Stability law and the introduction of the Regional Liquidity Fund (which Catalonia has tapped to the tune of €5bn) allow the Finance Ministry to intervene a regional government as well.

(This is clearly and attempt at shock-and-awe, but at least it's playing it strictly by the book. Some press outlets such as El Mundo are throwing red meat to both Catalan and Spanish nationalists by emphasizing the 'criminal' action and the 'suspension of autonomy' as a last-resort.)

Madrid sabotages a Catalonian deposit tax
Another sticking point has been a tax on deposits proposed by the Catalan Government. The minister for Finance and Public Administration, Cristóbal Montoro, reacted by pre-emptively introducing a national-level deposit tax, but with a tax rate of zero. As there cannot be two different taxes of the same category (though national taxes can be delegated to the regions), this would nullify the Catalan proposed new tax. The problem is that three other regions, Extremadura, Andalusia and the Canary Islands were already applying such a tax, and these regional government will presumably appeal against Montoro's zero tax before the Constitutional Court, reports Europa Press. In another story by Europa Press, Montoro threatens to go to the Court himself against the stated intention of the Catalan Government to introduce a decree making the tax retroactive to all of December, so that it is in place before the national tax comes into force. The problem is that the Catalan government is 'acting' (due to the recent elections), and Montoro would challenge the legality of an acting government legislating a new retroactive tax by decree.

([Yet a]nother sticking point is the charging of €1 per pharmaceutical prescription, to fund health care. This is being introduced by both the Madrid and Catalonia regional government, but the Central Government is mostly criticizing the Catalan government and may also go to the Constutional Court)



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the Constitutional Court have any apparent biases on this issue?
by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:51:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally think it's a slam dunk that the Catalan parliament cannot call a binding referendum without approval from the national parliament.

As to political biases, I would expect it to break at least 2:3 in favour of the PP's position in this case.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:54:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant 2/3. Gah

The high courts in spain are basically about 50/50 PSOE/PP. Any PP-aligned judges are unlikely to be accomodating of a "self-determination" referendum. And the PSOE while officielly "federalist" has a strong streak of Spanish Centralists. Not all of them purged themselves into UPyD.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 04:27:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Silvio Berlusconi has said that he would support Monti - but nobody is quite sure of what that means

Berlusconi supports monti comme la corde soutient le pendu, one imagines.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:06:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Italy is worse then Greece when it comes to rewarding the biggest alliance of parties.

Italian Parliament - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The winning coalition receives at least 55% of the seats on national level in the House, and on regional level in the Senate, while the remaining seats are proportionally divided between minoritarian parties.

So I guess the real question is wheter or not Berlusconi and Monti will be in the same alliance.

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 Dec 20th, 2012 at 06:47:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Faced with defeat, Berlusconi says he will support Monti. Or not...

Silvio Berlusconi plans to support Monti at the next election, Il Foglio writes. The reason is that the latest polls point to a big defeat for Berlusconi's party, Popolo della Libertà (PDL). According to IPSOS, the centre-left Partito Democratico is at over 30%, while the PDL is around 16%.

(Be careful with any such announcement. Berlusconi is clearly playing tactical games with his constant flip-flopping.)




I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:36:35 AM 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 ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:09:13 PM EST
S&P boosts its Greek credit rating | News | DW.DE | 18.12.2012

Standard & Poor's has raised Greece's credit rating following its successful debt buy-back operation. But a leading lobby has warned that the country is still not out of the danger zone.

Ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) on Tuesday said that it had raised Greece's credit rating by six notches to B-.

The ruling pulls Greece out of what S&P deems to be "selective default," though the agency still considers Greek bonds to be "speculative" or "non-investment grade" papers.

The agency said that the upgrade was a reflection of the fact that eurozone countries had displayed determination to prevent Greece from leaving the euro.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:19:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greek bond bet pays off for hedge fund - FT.com

One of the world's most prominent hedge funds is sitting on a $500m profit after making a bet that Greece would not be forced to leave the eurozone, bucking the trend in a difficult year for the industry.

Third Point, headed by the billionaire US investor Dan Loeb, tendered the majority of a $1bn position in Greek government bonds, built up only months earlier, as part of a landmark debt buyback deal by Athens on Monday, according to people familiar with the firm.

The windfall marks out the New York-based firm as one of the few hedge fund managers to have profited from the eurozone crisis. Standard & Poor's, the rating agency, raised its assessment of Greece's sovereign debt by several notches on Tuesday, citing the eurozone's "strong determination" to keep the country inside the common currency area.

Mr Loeb is one of only a handful of hedge fund titans to have made big returns this year. The $2tn hedge fund industry - made famous by investors such as George Soros, who bet against the British pound and "broke the Bank of England" on Black Wednesday in 1992 - has struggled to find its confidence after two years of lacklustre returns.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:19:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Mr Loeb is one of only a handful of hedge fund titans sociopaths to have made big returns this year.

FIFY.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:44:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
UBS corrupt payments exposed as bank pays £940m to settle Libor claims | Business | guardian.co.uk

The Swiss bank UBS has been fined £940m (1.4bn Swiss francs, US$1.53bn) by global regulators for "extensive and widespread" attempts to manipulate key benchmark interest rates known as Libor for five years.

This is the latest and most serious escalation of the rate-rigging scandal and exposes corrupt payments for the first time.

The £160m portion of the fine levied by the Financial Services Authority is the largest ever imposed by the City regulator and surpasses the previous record of £59.5m imposed on Barclays in June for attempted manipulation of the Libor and Euribor rates. The total Barclays fine was £290m and led to the resignation of chief executive Bob Diamond days later.

At UBS at least 2,000 requests for "inappropriate submissions" to the key rates were documented and at least 45 individuals "including traders, managers and senior managers were involved in, or aware of, the practice of attempting to influence submissions", the FSA said. It added that every one of those submissions was potentially suspicious.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:20:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is increasingly obvious that a significant proportion of city trading is some form of internal conspiracy to defraud the rest of us, yet somehow politicians don't seem to notice.

which makes you suspicious about their integrity and how expensive it is

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:01:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
... a significant proportion of city trading is some form of internal conspiracy to defraud the rest of us, yet somehow politicians don't seem to notice.

Sure they notice. They notice, they encourage, they benefit from it. So?

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 Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:52:49 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ex-Porsche bosses charged over VW bid - FT.com

Two former Porsche executives were charged by German prosecutors with market manipulation after a lengthy investigation into the sports car maker's controversial attempt to take over the much larger Volkswagen.

‪Wendelin Wiedeking and Holger Härter‬, the former chief executive and chief financial officer of Porsche respectively, are accused of issuing incorrect statements in 2008 over Porsche's intention to acquire VW shares. They deny the charges.

Porsche's failed attempt to take over VW using a complex options strategy shocked Germany's conservative corporate establishment and enraged international investors who were wrongfooted and lost money.

Prosecutors have been investigating the two executives for three years and the charges could aid billions of euros of lawsuits brought by US and European investors against the Porsche holding company.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:21:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Gold May Tumble to $1,535 on 200-Day Average: Technical Analysis - Bloomberg

Gold, down 7.1 percent from the 2012 high in October, may extend its losses through next quarter, according to technical analysis by Stifel Nicolaus & Co.

The price may drop to $1,535 an ounce if it closes below the 200-day moving average, said Dave Lutz, the head of exchange-traded fund trading and strategy at Stifel Nicolaus in Baltimore. Futures for February delivery were little changed at $1,670.10 at 12:51 p.m. on the Comex in New York, after falling as much as 0.3 percent to $1,665.10. The 200-day moving average is about $1,669.

Gold is facing "headwinds" amid low inflation and the prospect for a budget agreement in Congress, Lutz said. If lawmakers are able to avoid the more than $600 billion in tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January, it would remove an obstacle to economic growth and reduce demand for precious metals as a haven, he said.

"Low inflation and low-to-medium growth are going to be a negatives for gold," Lutz said in a telephone interview. "Businesses are holding back on spending, but as soon as we get the budget stuff out of the way, 2013 could certainly be a good year for growth" in the economy, he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:21:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Euro at 8-Month High on German Data; Dollar Pares Loss - Bloomberg

The euro strengthened to a more than eight-month high against the dollar after a German report showed business confidence was higher than forecast, bolstering demand for the region's assets.

The dollar and yen pared losses against major counterparts as President Barack Obama said he wants a deficit-reduction deal in place by Christmas, even as Republicans have been "wasting time" and "posturing" in proposals to avert the so-called fiscal cliff. Japan's currency was lower against the euro as investors speculated the nation's central bank will expand stimulus at a two-day meeting ending tomorrow. Norway's krone rose as Norges Bank kept interest rates unchanged.

"Markets are tracking the fiscal cliff news -- markets have been relatively complacent on the cliff as we've seen wide expectations for a deal to be reached by the end of the year," said Vassili Serebriakov, a currency strategist at Wells Fargo & Co. in New York. "German Ifo helped us get to the $1.33 level on the euro, but with year-end there is limited participation."

The euro advanced 0.1 percent to $1.3248 at 12:39 p.m. New York time after climbing to the strongest level since April 3. The common currency rose 0.4 percent to 111.80 yen after reaching the highest since August 2011. The yen fell 0.2 percent to 84.39 per dollar.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:21:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Treasury to Sell G.M. Stake Within 15 Months - NYTimes.com

The Treasury Department said on Wednesday that it planned to sell off its entire 32 percent stake in General Motors within 15 months, eliminating another reminder of the bailouts precipitated by the financial crash of 2008.

The news comes a week after the Obama administration completely sold off its entire holdings in the American International Group, one of the most controversial rescues of the market crisis.

According to a plan outlined on Wednesday, the Treasury Department will sell a little less than half of its stake, or 200 million shares, back to General Motors for $5.5 billion by year end. The purchase price of $27.50 is about 8 percent higher than the car maker's closing price on Tuesday.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:30:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
 WORLD 


The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:09:28 PM EST
Obama to Give Congress Plan on Gun Control Within Weeks - NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON -- President Obama declared Wednesday that he would make gun control a "central issue" as he opens a second term, submitting broad new gun control proposals to Congress no later than January and committing the power of his office to overcoming political opposition in the wake of last week's school massacre.

The president's pledge came as House Republicans restated their firm opposition to enacting any new limits on firearms or ammunition, setting up the possibility of a philosophical clash over the Second Amendment early in Mr. Obama's second term.

"This time, the words need to lead to action," Mr. Obama said, referring to to past mass shootings that prompted outrage but led to little or no legislative changes.

He said the proposals would not be just about weapons. "We are going to need to work on making access to mental health care at least as easy as access to guns," he said.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:28:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Boehner's backup tax plan shakes up `fiscal cliff' negotiations - The Washington Post

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) veered off the bipartisan course he had been charting toward a broad tax-and-entitlement deal with President Obama and instead Tuesday pushed a GOP package to extend tax cuts for income up to $1 million.

The move shook the Capitol after several days of significant progress between Obama and Boehner, who had moved closer to a pact raising taxes on the wealthy and curbing government spending, including on Social Security.

Boehner and his aides stressed that he was not giving up on talks with Obama over a broader deal. But the speaker said that the White House had failed to make an acceptable offer and that, as a result, he needed to move ahead with a more limited "Plan B." He said that time is running out before the end of the year, when more than $500 billion in tax hikes and spending cuts are set to take effect, and that he had to proceed with his fallback plan to ensure that most Americans do not see their taxes rise.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:29:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Grand Bargain Sellout - The Grand Sellout Emerges - Esquire

I generally believe Ezra Klein when he talks about how everyone who matters is coming together to make a deal, so may I just congratulate all the important people on both sides of the aisle who have come together in semi-good faith to ram it to the rest of us. Really, kids, if this isn't really just a trial balloon big enough for the Macy's parade, well done.

On the spending side, the Democrats' headline concession will be accepting chained-CPI, which is to say, accepting a cut to Social Security benefits. Beyond that, the negotiators will agree to targets for spending cuts. Expect the final number here, too, to be in the neighborhood of $1 trillion, but also expect it to lack many specifics. Whether the cuts come from Medicare or Medicaid, whether they include raising the Medicare age, and many of the other contentious issues in the talks will be left up to Congress.

So here's where we sit. The Democrats, led by the president, who never is going to need to depend on Social Security, are prepared to concede on an issue that has absolutely nothing to do with the deficit. They are going to make life harder for millions of seniors. Social Security is now squarely "on the table" in any future budget negotiation. (Hey, who unplugged the third rail?) The simplest solution -- raising the cap -- is beyond discussion, now and forever. The "chained-CPI," which is a terrible idea on its own merits, as well as a piece of noxious moral sleight-of-hand, seeing as how it cuts benefits while pretending not to do so, is being adopted whole hog without a corresponding mechanism to raise more Social Security revenue to make up for the loss. If the president maintains his faith in the great god SimpsonBowles, the old folks will get a bump for only two years after the deal takes effect. Swell.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:29:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What the fuck did you expect? We have a govt. run by the wealthy, as bad as the Brits, and you expect what??!

I live in a country of fucking assholes.

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 Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 06:39:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Indians call for 'no mercy' in rape case - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Students, politicians, and activists across India came out into the streets demanding no mercy to be shown to the culprits of the Delhi bus gang rape case - as three of the four accused confessed to the crime in a local court.

Delhi police chief Neeraj Kumar said four men had been arrested and a search was under way for the two other men.

Three of the four accused were produced in a local court on Wednesday, where they confessed to the crime.

The court has remanded two of the accused to four-day police custody, while one of them has been sent to judicial custody for 14 days.

Police say six men raped the 23-year-old medical student, and beat her and her companion with iron rods before throwing them off the bus.

The woman is in a critical condition in hospital and doctors say she has severe internal injuries.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:29:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More attacks on polio workers in Pakistan - Central & South Asia - Al Jazeera English

Armed men have killed three more people working on a polio vaccination campaign in Pakistan, officials said, as the nationwide drive against the crippling disease suffered a third day of bloodshed.

A female health worker and her driver were shot dead in Charsadda, near Peshawar, the main town of northwest Pakistan, police official Wajid Khan told AFP news agency on Wednesday. A second police officer confirmed the incident.

Another worker shot and critically wounded in an earlier attack on the outskirts of Peshawar also died, doctor Ahmad Saqlain of the city's Lady Reading Hospital said.

On Monday and Tuesday, six female health workers were killed in attacks in the southern port city of Karachi and Peshawar. The youngest was 17-years-old.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:29:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
South Korea elects first female president - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English

he daughter of South Korea's former military ruler has won the country's presidential election, promising in a speech to her supporters to heal a "divided society".

The win over her liberal rival Moon Jae-in on Wednesday makes Park Geun-hye the country's first female head of state.

The office of South Korean President Lee Myung-bak congratulated party colleague Park on her win, even before officials had finished counting votes.

The 60-year old conservative Park will now return to the presidential palace where she served as her father's first lady in the 1970s, after her mother was assassinated by a North Korea-backed gunman.

With 92 per cent of the national vote counted, Park had an insurmountable lead of 51.6 per cent to the 47.9 per cent of Moon, her liberal rival, according to the country's election commission.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:29:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Settlement push a risk to peace, US warns Israel

WASHINGTON: The United States has criticised plans by Israel to build nearly 5000 new settler homes in annexed east Jerusalem, saying it would run ''counter to the cause of peace''.

''We are deeply disappointed that Israel insists on continuing this pattern of provocative action,'' the State Department spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, said in her strongest remarks in recent days on settlements.

''Israel's leaders continually say that they support a path towards a two-state solution, yet these actions only put that goal further at risk.''

Jerusalem municipal and district committees will consider four projects this week in the Givat HaMatos and Gilo neighbourhoods, said the non-governmental groups Peace Now and Terrestrial Jerusalem, which track settlement construction. Advertisement

The projects are being discussed after Israel on Monday gave the green light for the construction of 1500 homes in the east Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ramat Shlomo, a move which has already drawn US criticism.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:46:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More useless bullshit.

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 Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 06:39:45 PM 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 ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:09:44 PM EST
Canada Leaves Kyoto Protocol, Lets China Buy Into Oil Sands | Environment News Service

OTTAWA, Ontario, Canada, December 17, 2012 (ENS) - Canada's withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol took legal effect on Saturday, December 15. Canada is the only nation out of more than 180 to legally exit the treaty that governs greenhouse gas emissions.

"It is the first treaty in the history of Canada that we have ever ratified and then repudiated and quit," said Green Leader Elizabeth May, Member of Parliament for Saanich-Gulf Islands. "This decision threatens Canada's standing in the world and, more importantly, our children's future."

"Harper's Conservatives present us with a fake contradiction between environmental protection and a healthy economy. They want to fool Canadians by using per capita instead of overall greenhouse gas emission numbers. It's high time honesty and integrity are reintroduced in our country's debate on climate change," said May.

In 1990, Canada emitted 589 million tons of greenhouse gases. In 2010, that number rose to 692 million tons, a 17 percent increase. Under the Kyoto Protocol, which Canada ratified under a Liberal government, the country had pledged to reduce its total emissions by six percent between 1990 and 2012.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:40:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Canada kisses its groundwater resources goodbye. where does it think the water for the Great Plains wheat belt comes from ?

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:05:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Great Lakes dying by "a thousand tiny cuts" - Cottage Life

A team of both Canadian and American scientists has released a comprehensive map identifying the greatest environmental stressors on the Great Lakes.

"The lakes face many different problems that would not necessarily be fatal on their own, but they can combine to create major declines in ecosystem condition," said Jan Ciborowski, a biologist at the University of Windsor and one of the few Canadians who contributed to the environmental stress map, created by the Great Lakes Environmental and Assessment and Mapping Project (GLEAM). In other words, the Great Lakes are dying a "death by a thousand cuts," according to another researcher involved in the project, who was also quoted in a recent report.

The detailed map identifies 34 of the biggest stressors on these lakes, which include coastal development, pollutants transported by rivers from agricultural and urban land, climate change, invasive species, and toxic chemicals.

According to the map, lakes Huron and Superior, where the coasts tend to be less populated and developed, experience relatively low stress. This was found in contrast to large regions of lakes Erie, Ontario, and Michigan, which have experienced moderate and even high levels of cumulative stress, particularly on their coastline



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:40:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
They think that's bad. just wait till some of the water from Calgary tar sands arrives.

Canadians are lucky that much of it discharges out through the Hudson bay instead of the GL system, but there will be some

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:06:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
How Wal-Mart Used Payoffs to Get Its Way in Mexico - NYTimes.com

SAN JUAN TEOTIHUACÁN, Mexico -- Wal-Mart longed to build in Elda Pineda's alfalfa field. It was an ideal location, just off this town's bustling main entrance and barely a mile from its ancient pyramids, which draw tourists from around the world. With its usual precision, Wal-Mart calculated it would attract 250 customers an hour if only it could put a store in Mrs. Pineda's field.

One major obstacle stood in Wal-Mart's way.

After years of study, the town's elected leaders had just approved a new zoning map. The leaders wanted to limit growth near the pyramids, and they considered the town's main entrance too congested already. As a result, the 2003 zoning map prohibited commercial development on Mrs. Pineda's field, seemingly dooming Wal-Mart's hopes.

But 30 miles away in Mexico City, at the headquarters of Wal-Mart de Mexico, executives were not about to be thwarted by an unfavorable zoning decision. Instead, records and interviews show, they decided to undo the damage with one well-placed $52,000 bribe.

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The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda's field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart's store.

Problem solved.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:40:53 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 ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:10:00 PM EST
'Habitable' planet discovered circling Tau Ceti star | Science | guardian.co.uk

A planet with conditions that could support life orbits a twin neighbour of the sun visible to the naked eye, scientists have revealed.

The world is one of five thought to be circling Tau Ceti, a star just 12 light years away that is almost identical to the sun.

Astronomers estimate the Tau Ceti planets to be two to six times bigger than Earth. One of them, with five times the Earth's mass, lies in the star's "habitable zone".

Also known as the "Goldilocks zone", this is the orbital region that is neither too hot nor too cold to allow liquid surface water and, potentially, life. Details of the discovery are to appear in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:32:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood

Dec. 18, 2012 -- A recent study by a researcher at the Centre for Studies on Human Stress (CSHS) at the Hôpital Louis-H. Lafontaine and professor at the Université de Montréal suggests that bullying by peers changes the structure surrounding a gene involved in regulating mood, making victims more vulnerable to mental health problems as they age.

The study published in the journal Psychological Medicine seeks to better understand the mechanisms that explain how difficult experiences disrupt our response to stressful situations. "Many people think that our genes are immutable; however this study suggests that environment, even the social environment, can affect their functioning. This is particularly the case for victimization experiences in childhood, which change not only our stress response but also the functioning of genes involved in mood regulation," says Isabelle Ouellet-Morin, lead author of the study.

A previous study by Ouellet-Morin, conducted at the Institute of Psychiatry in London (UK), showed that bullied children secrete less cortisol -- the stress hormone -- but had more problems with social interaction and aggressive behaviour. The present study indicates that the reduction of cortisol, which occurs around the age of 12, is preceded two years earlier by a change in the structure surrounding a gene (SERT) that regulates serotonin, a neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation and depression.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:32:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bullying by childhood peers leaves a trace that can change the expression of a gene linked to mood
Our results suggest that victimization experiences are the source of these changes," says Ouellet-Morin. According to the author, it would now be worthwhile to evaluate the possibility of reversing these psychological effects, in particular, through interventions at school and support for victims.

It's nice when science validates the bleedin' obvious... that's worth a hearty [No Shit, Sherlock!]

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:32:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, environmental factors lead to physiological changes leading to changes in gene expression. That is big.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:36:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah absolutely. And I find it illuminating with respect to aspects of my own character.

I was reacting emotionally to the human aspect : yes, support services for bullied kids would be nice. And would no doubt reduce the incidence of them coming back to school one day with an assault rifle.

But thinking it through, from personal experience, a supportive environment for kids who are bullied, if it does not prevent a recurrence of the bullying situation, is probably not enough to prevent the biochemical expression of the change. The child interiorises their low status, and the changes in cortisol and serotonin are no doubt coping mechanisms, helping them to accept their position fatalistically and not fight back.

Nature is wonderful.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:56:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Puts a whole new meaning to the word interiorizing.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:37:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More fundamentally, the school environment is very nearly unique in its potential for self-reinforcing invidious group dynamics. A very strong case can be made for schools being more comparable to prisons and latifundiae than to the workplaces of free laborers.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:07:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A very strong case can be made for schools being more comparable to prisons and latifundiae than to the workplaces of free laborers.
indeed.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 04:24:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's called epigenetics.
by stevesim on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:42:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know what epigenetics is, thank you very much.

But this is a particularly interesting example of it. And we're not just talking about environmental influences in embryonic development, we're talking about emotions having lasting effects on gene expression.

The next question is, can these kinds of changes in gene expression be inherited, too?

And, away from genetics into sociology. What does this kind of thing say about the development of cultures differing in the way they treat childen?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:35:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
the way we feel does have an effect on which genes are expressed.  That is one facet of epigenetics.  people who spend time with other people have a more efficient immune system -  that is epigenetics.

The way our mother felt, what she ate, when we were in the womb, all influence what kind of person we become.

The research on this is vast, the mechanism is more unclear.

by stevesim on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:53:02 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you consider that cancer is a persistent, peculiar pattern of gene expression triggered by environmental factors then cancer is also epigenetics.

How current is Stuart Kauffman's theory of cell types as attractors in the dynamical system of gene expression? It's key to his book the Origins of Order but that's 30 years old. Has it been superseded?

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 11:24:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Cell Fates as High-Dimensional Attractor States of a Complex Gene Regulatory Network.

(pdf)

Abstract:

Cells in multicellular organisms switch between distinct cell fates, such as proliferation or differentiation into specialized cell types.  Genome-wide gene regulatory networks govern this behavior.  Theoretical studies of complex networks suggest that they can exhibit ordered (stable) dynamics, raising the possibility that cell fates may represent high-dimensional attractor states. We used gene expression profiling to show that trajectories of neutrophil differentiation converge to a common state from different directions of a 2773-dimensional gene expression state space, providing the first experimental evidence for a high-dimensional stable attractor that represents a distinct cellular phenotype.


Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot
by ATinNM on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 02:26:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So the idea is still current.

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 03:09:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
?

how did you get to that conclusion?

they are still working on epigenetic factors on cell differentiation but it is widely known and researched in other situations.

by stevesim on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 06:06:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
you're welcome, and of course you do.

Migeru:

And, away from genetics into sociology. What does this kind of thing say about the development of cultures differing in the way they treat childen?

in the tedvid ss linked to she says the y are transferable into future generations.

in the other link there is this, which would appear to answer part of your question.

Cloning Cats: Rainbow and CC Prove That Cloning Won't Resurrect Your Pet | Animal Behavior and Medicine Blog | Dr. Sophia Yin, DVM, MS

Kittens of undernourished mothers develop brain deficits leading to developmental delays in crawling, suckling, eye-opening, climbing, playing and predatory behavior. By four months these kittens show stunted learning ability and abnormal levels of fear and aggression.

my bold.

that's why it's so important to scrutinise these mass murder cases for epigenetic clues as to why they developed such fear and aggression.

this will help us determine the optimum sociological approaches to legislate for and against.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:59:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think I will be pro well-nourished mothers regardless of what the epigenetics research says about it :)

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 Dec 20th, 2012 at 10:41:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
of course, it is so intuitive and common sensical.

science takes the long way home, but once it comes around it comes around.

i see it as the bridge between the old and new medical paradigms, extremely exciting and confirmational.

but yes, the essence of it has been known to people with intuition since god was young... what's amazing is how set in stone the dying attitudes were...

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 02:11:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The next question is, can these kinds of changes in gene expression be inherited, too?

Time to rehabilitate Lysenko!

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 09:53:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And <shudder> eugenics?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 11:00:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No, not eugenics. Which, as I understand it, is an illusory quest to perfect the genome.

No, the message here is "life is what you make it"...

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II

by eurogreen on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 06:27:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean eugenics in the sense of "if life experiences including behaviour and social pressures can change your epigenetic in inheritable ways, maybe we should start sterilising the poor, the ill, the convicted felons..."

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 04:22:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
sounds like stevesim know about it, but my SO studies medicine and has been sharing about it with me.

it's a revolution in the field and has enormous implications for education, preventative medicine, and much more specialised, accurate forms of treatments.

seems very intuitive to me, still not quite sure why it took so long...

thanks steve for the clone/in utero explanation, maybe you could write more about this for our enlightenment.

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

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 06:24:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by stevesim on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:12:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, if one thinks about it, it wouldn't be very good if we couldn't adjust our neurological - thus physiological - response to the environment.  The Dutch Obesity study intimates how pre-natal nutritional intake is affective in "programming" a person to expect a low-fat diet.  

Study does warn:

However, the relation between fetal growth and obesity in later life is a complicated one. The extent to which the prenatal environment contributes to this is unclear ...

Behavioral Genetics is a new field, rife with methodological problems.  Findings need to be taken with skepticism.

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 02:44:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Wow, environmental factors lead to physiological changes leading to changes in gene expression. That is big.

If it's real.

An alternative hypothesis is that there are underlying heritable or natal conditions which correlate both with the observed gene expression changes during and immediately preceding puberty and with social isolation.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:08:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
erm, I don't get the distinction. Are you postulating non-causal correlation? Dumb luck?

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 03:55:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No.

First, not having read the paper, I don't quite want to go so far as to postulate anything.

Second, what I note is that you need to control for the possibility of a common underlying cause. This is not "dumb luck," and it is a causal connection. Just not the causal connection the paper argues.

Suppose that you observe that people with long educations and high seniority have high incomes. You might perhaps be forgiven for assuming that long educations and high seniority cause high incomes (since the reverse, high income causing high education and seniority requires a violation of causal order). In reality, high incomes, high education and high seniority are all available to people, and increasingly are exclusively available to people, who hold power. And it is the power that shows up in their remuneration. So it's not a coincidence, and it is a causal relationship. But if you attempt to exploit the causal relationship by giving everyone in society Moar Education, then your policy will fail. Because the problem and the solutions are about political and economic emancipation. Education is largely just a class marker.

Similarly, it is not unimaginable for some undiscovered deficiency in the regulation of stress hormones to both cause social isolation (in the present school environment) and interact inimically with the onset of puberty. There are lots of interacting chemicals involved in puberty, and we don't understand them nearly as well as we would like.

If they had observed the same effect in people between 30 and their mid-40s who were subject to workplace harassment, it would have been much closer to slam dunk evidence. Because the brain and the biochemistry are (AFAIK, IANAD, etc.) far more stable during that part of one's life.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 05:29:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I would hold off on jumping to conclusions based on one paper.

As I understand it, the process is quite well understood and there's a good understanding of what molecules can be used to regulate gene expression.

by stevesim on Fri Dec 21st, 2012 at 06:09:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As long as science hasn't identified and described the mechanisms by which it happens, ambiguity reigns. Other people than you may find the bleedin' obvious is something quite different...
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:03:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
it's called epigenetics.

there are a variety of mechanisms involved.  certain molecules block gene expression, others activate genes.

this is why the cloned cat looked nothing like the original, remember that?  subtle factors in utero caused the differences in colour.

by stevesim on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:44:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there are a few TED talks on the topic

here is one  - epigenetics makes you unique

http://tedxtalks.ted.com/video/TEDxOU-Courtney-Griffin-Epigene

our lack of understanding of epigenetics is a major reason that I am 100% against GMO

by stevesim on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:15:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
With the new findings coming out about glia cell affect and influence on neuro-transmission (long and short term) and long(ish) term affect on neural activity of the neuro-hormones collapsing explanation(s) to epigenetics is precipitous.

I do agree 100% with you wrt GMO.  

Skepticism is the first step on the road to truth. -- Denis Diderot

by ATinNM on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 02:48:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it's called epigenetics.

Epigenetics is a novel and interesting field, but unfortunately also one that has an unusually large popular following of quacks and crackpots. Those who comment on it without hewing close to the technical literature do so at the peril of talking nonsense.

- Jake

Austerity can only be implemented in the shadow of a concentration camp.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:02:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
New Lethal Bird Flu Strain Emerges in Indonesian Ducks | Environment News Service

JAKARTA, Indonesia, December 18, 2012 (ENS) - Indonesia has identified the bird flu virus that has killed hundreds of thousands of ducks over the past few weeks as a virulent type which is new to the country.

More than 300,000 ducks in several provinces on the island of Java have died since November, a poultry breeders' association reported to the Indonesian Agriculture Ministry.

In a letter to local government offices and the World Health Organization, the ministry's veterinary chief Syukur Iwantoro explains that the newly identified viral strain of avian A/(H5N1), called a "clade," is "very different to the avian influenza found before" in Indonesia.

"We found a highly pathogenic avian influenza sub-type H5N1 with clade 2.3.2.," Iwantoro wrote.

Iwantoro recommended further research into whether the virus previously found in the country has mutated, or whether the new strain originated overseas. The new strain may have been introduced from outside Indonesia by migratory wild ducks or by poultry imports from other countries.

Now, the new viral strain has claimed its first human victim. A four-year-old boy died from West Java died from bird flu on December 6 at the the Tangerang District Hospital about 25 km west of Jakarta.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:42:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ramses III Had His Throat Slashed, New Study Suggests - NYTimes.com

The pharaoh Ramses III, who ruled Egypt in the 12th century B.C., had a scheming wife who was intent on murdering him to bring their son to the throne. The plot is documented in an ancient papyrus, but the exact circumstances of Ramses' death have been unclear.

Now, researchers have used CT scans of the pharaoh's mummy to reveal that his throat was slit.

"The big cut is in his throat and it was very deep and large," said Albert Zink, an anthropologist at the European Academy, who was involved in the research. "It would have killed him immediately."

Dr. Zink, along with colleagues from Egypt, Italy and Germany, publish their findings about Ramses (sometimes spelled Ramesses) in the British medical journal BMJ.

The researchers also discovered an amulet in the king's wound. Called the Eye of Horus, it was supposed to guard against accidents and restore the wearer's strength.



The fact is that what we're experiencing right now is a top-down disaster. -Paul Krugman
by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:43:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Apocalypse - The Morning News

Any good fictional apocalypse includes a scene where the survivors forget their perilous predicament long enough savor the silver lining of end-times. When the world is decimated of its human inhabitants, the keys at the Maseratti dealers always seem to hang in invitation.

This is known in the business as the "bliss montage," and it was played out in any number of New York neighborhoods that watched disaster befall lower-lying neighbors from the safety of televisions five blocks from the flood zones.

Mine came early, at a "storm's a'comin" party in Brooklyn on Saturday night. There was a live band. There was salsa dancing. There was a guy in an immaculate white mariachi suit and outsized sombrero. He was an excellent dancer. He was also the construction foreman in charge of four East River tunnels.

"Shouldn't you be shoring up?" I asked him. "Uh-hunh," he said, and spun me into a complicated turn pattern. "But there's no holding back the tide."

Twenty-four hours later the bliss was still strong. My neighborhood stocked up on hard cider and secretly hoped the electricity might fail just long enough for a comfortably smug candlelit dinner. Barring that, there was Lonnie Quinn, weatherman. We cheered every time he came on to tell us that a confluence of catastrophic factors--the full moon, the higher tide, the dreaded "cork in the bottle"--was going to ensure that our borders would be breached by this encroaching menace.

snip
Last weekend, the Halo Corp, a group of private vigilantes named after a video game,  trained 1,000 marines on a island in California how to respond to a zombie attack. This was not a joke. This was national security, a training exercise funded in part by the U.S. Government,that a spokesman justified by noting that while "we're not expecting a zombie apocalypse in the near future ... the effects of what might happen in a zombie apocalypse are probably similar to the type of things that happen in natural disasters."



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 06:34:51 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 ät gmail dotcom) on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 01:10:15 PM EST
Have Eye, to wit:


Ken 'RU Sirius' Goffman
My favorite part of the Second Amendment is the part that reads: "No matter how much more complex, populated or technologically different these United States becomes and no matter how many rules and regulations related to commerce and personal behavior our government shall deem necessary; the sale or possession of any implement that mimics the form and function of the musket, however exaggerated that function may be, shall be considered sacrosanct. Further, those possessing these implements, however disconnected with or individually dissimilar one is from the other, shall be considered a part of a militia; an armed militia being necessary to resistance against any tyranny that might arise. Let it be understood by all future tyrants that these armed citizens, yea even into the 21st century, shall hop upon their horses, distribute pamphlets in the town square and spread revolution throughout all 13 states.


"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 06:13:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Homage an van de Graaf

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 06:14:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Great photo chosen by dvx!
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 05:04:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Thanks!

Some people might be inclined to say that it's the only good thing to come from that particular source.

(Some people might - I couldn't possibly comment.)

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

by dvx (dvx.clt ät gmail dotcom) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 07:52:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If one were looking for a visual symbol for ET membership, this photograph might fit the bill.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:11:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I guess you have to laugh lest you cry.

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 04:08:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]


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