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Tuesday Open Thread

by afew Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:01:43 AM EST

If you're feeling down in the dumps


Display:
Watch old Monty Python episodes.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:03:32 AM EST
Or if you're not. Though i yam.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:04:18 AM EST
Interesting... so was Popeye.

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 Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:45:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
As expected, François Hollande has appointed Jean-Marc Ayrault (trademark "economic realism" according to Le Monde) as Prime Minister.

I'm going to watch some Monty Python.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:05:21 AM EST
afew: May 4th, 2012
The optimistic scenario I posted some time back was posited on a strong showing from the left in the first round of the election, a more leftwing prime minister as a result, and pressure from social movements and unions. The first of those conditions didn't come through, since the strong electoral showing was from the far right. The second is 99% certain not to materialise: the bets for PM are on Jean-Marc Ayrault (whom I personally take for an apparatchik, but the media say he speaks fluent German, which is presumably going to be helpful placating Teutonic ire). The third, we'll see.
Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
@ronpatz
The new French Prime minister is already on Twitter: @jeanmarcayrault. He didn't tweet the scoop,clearly doesn't get Twitter... ;)


guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:10:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does one pronounce that Euro (German: oy-row)?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:14:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ey-row.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:16:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
oy-row. And the ,,o" is not a diphtong. Just a long "o", not rolling sideways.
by Katrin on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:19:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But making fun of names is bad manners, unfortunately
by Katrin on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:20:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In times of dringency, nothing is sacred, no?

Or have eye fo-pahd again.

(Ed. - At least CH didn't try pronounce his name to rime with salt, as in the thing Brussels puts in people's wounds.)

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:27:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually it sounds like "héro"

but I don't believe none of what I hear. And only half of what I see.

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

by eurogreen on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:35:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ayrault de la classe ouvrière? Hardly.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:41:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Not fair, I learn. His parents were workers.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 02:54:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
his parents were distinctly working class


Son père fut ouvrier agricole, ouvrier dans une usine textile, puis cadre. Sa mère, couturière puis femme au foyer.


Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:35:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Afew, Jérôme:

What matters is he. I know many children of poor people who are very right-wing.

by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:46:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ayrault déclassé.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:01:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I know you row, that's why the ship of ET is always on course. I was asking how you pronounce the you row expert I row's name.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:21:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ey-row.

Hi already tolled you that.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:24:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Whee don't pay no stinkin' tolls. We're Yurpeen.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:29:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Written language! The script unites, the speech divides.
The Spanish Minister of Economy (De Guindos) is called now De Güindos (as De Windos).
And that is serious: in Spanish there is a phrase "fall from the cherry," which would not apply to our minister, if it is not pronounced well.

Guindo = cherry (tree)
"caerse del guindo"("fall from the cherry")= realize what is happening.
 

by PerCLupi on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:45:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Hollande's chief economic advisor at the Elysée will not be Philippe Aghion as surmised here earlier, but Emmanuel Macron, "close to the PS" ie not even on the right wing of the PS, associate manager of the Banque Rothschild.

(Pining for the fjords, I am).

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:15:03 AM EST
So it's a plus they didn't choose Emmanuel Necron?

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:19:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Māāāāāācron.

It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:26:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mah mee, they're makin' fun of my brain impediment again.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:30:59 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've had a tune going through my head for a couple of years and I never knew what it was, until today.

It's only natural by Crowded House. I'm not pretending it's the greatest track ever, although I kind of like the 60's ish guitar lick I'm just glad I now know what it is.



keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:45:01 AM EST
I didn't know the song. Not much of a tune really, certainly by Neil's generally high standards. Somewhat surprised to see his brother Tim in the video.

I first saw Neil in about 1975, solo, opening for Split Ends (note original spelling). Already excellent, melodic, rather tame compared to the main act.

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

by eurogreen on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:55:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Segments of the crazy Horse clan are hoping for a red-white evening.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin
by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:10:37 PM EST
I can't tell what the gods are trying to say here:
French President Francois Hollande's plane returns to Paris as a precaution after being struck by lightning en route to Berlin(@RTÉnews
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:12:38 PM EST
Aaargh.

I suupose there's a remote chance there's a divine bug and they're on our side for once.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:25:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm so glad i didn't post the screenwriter's image of Frau Merkel cackling over her hexen cauldron.

Seriously, lightning can be dangerous to a plane, so glad all's well that ends well.

"Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one's courage." - Anaïs Nin

by Crazy Horse on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:33:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's not like the weather forecast didn't warn of copious rain showers and possible thunderstorm in the Paris area for today.

Undaunted, Hollande stuck to his original plan to cruise the Champs Elysées in an open-roof Citroën car (HuffPo).

As some wise guy (dryly) noted on Twitter: "...and tonight, cold shower with Angela Merkel".

by Bernard on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 02:36:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Unbeknownst to me, the swearing in ceremony for President Hollande takes place at the Hôtel de Ville, in front of which I pass when commuting to work from my home in Belleville, in passing by the Bastille, Concorde and then the Quais/Invalides/Tour Eiffel/Beaugrenelle through to Issy-les-Moul.

Well, after a dentist appointment, at 16:00 I'm riding into work, decked in my old team gear and one of my old racing bikes since racing bikes is all I got and it's a long way to work - 40 minutes or so. Traffic was hell once I got to the quai de la Rapée in front of where Geezer in Paris used to live, so I got on the bike trail. Once I get to quai des célestins, about 1.000 metres from the Hôtel de Ville, there's a police cordon, so now I know why traffic is backed up. Naturally since I'm on a bike I went through the police cordon and, seeign there were no cars on the quai at this point, got back on the road, which I now had for myself, except for another police cordon going through which I got yelled at.

Paying no mind, I rounded the turn through another police cordon and came upon the front entrance of the Hôtel de Ville, in front of which a couple of dozen Citroën C8s and a bunch of police cars were parked. Continuing on, heading west from in front of the Hôtel de Ville towards Châtelet, there are ceremonially garbed cops everywhere, both sides of the roads are barriered off like in a bike race, and given the road was completely clear and blocked off left and right even from the north-south arteries like Sevastopol, it was easy to cruise at 40 km/h. The crowds noticed me and started cheering, and I started waving and blowing kisses, including to the France Television people who were there and who I noticed.

It was like being off on a solo flyer in a criterium. It's been a long time since I've been off the front solo in a crit race. It was fun.

Once I got to Rue de Rivoli I sorta figured out why the streets had been cleared for my commute into work.

Got into work easily 10 minutes faster than usual this afternoon. And, if you see camera footage of a cyclist riding solo decked out in a Green and Gold "Grandstay Residential Suites" kit (one of my old semi-pro teams) that was me, and please, let me know, the old sponsor would love to see that footage I am sure...

 

by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 02:25:34 PM EST
Ha, good story.

You're lucky you're in France, in the UK you'd be in a deepest dungeon Paddington Green police station can offer and neither we nor your family would be hearing from you for days

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 02:36:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, if I were commuting in the UK, I'd be dead by now, never could get used to riding on the wrong side of the road!
by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 02:43:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If he were in the USA he would probably be undergoing a body cavity search just now.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:04:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And they'd find the bike.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:06:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
racing competitively.

But it didn't get that much bigger!

by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:15:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
but not in the USA...happened in Denmark.
by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:16:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With a bit of luck you'd have got sworn in!

(Without a bit of luck they'd have grabbed you as a commie bastard who was fucking up the parade... ;))

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:00:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Redstar being sworn in in place of Hollande is a happy thought.

As the Dutch said while fighting the Spanish: "It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:06:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Only racing bikes, eh? The fad around here now is direct drive single speeds. I saw a kid with one of these the other day; at first I thought it was something he had put together starting with a ten-speed frame from 1975, but then noticed that the axle slot enters from the rear. Other than their complete impracticality, they are an interesting retro stylistic commentary...

by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:09:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's actually more or less a racing frame, the horizontal dropout facing backward is typical of track bikes, though the geometry of the frame in the picture isn't one of a track frame. Track bikes are fiwed gear like that one as well.

I ride one of those in the the winter, easier to control in ice and snow via retropedelling. When I see some of the hipsters clowns around here riding them though, I note another fad...riding one without brakes, assuming you can brake via retro-pedalling (which indeed you can do, and works just fine on a track).

Problem is, traffic isn't on a wooden track, and there's a bit of a problem trying to retropedal when you've dropped your chain, which happens often. Chains stretch over time, and when they do, you have to adjust the rear wheel to tighten the chain over the gearing in the front and rear. Which you of course can't do all the time and certainly not while riding.

by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:14:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The old 'retropedal when you've dropped your chain' problem? Bummer. Not in flat Amsterdam, but the hills round here watershed nicely into a busy main drag. I'm forever tightening brakes. Judder is even worse on steep cobbled inclines. But that might be just my cackhandedness.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:39:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
even in flat Amsterdam...

Hit an intersection cruising at 30 km/h (pretty easy to do on one of these things, they're built for relative cruising speed) and drop your chain, and you'll be peeling your face off of the hood of a car in no time.

I know the hill thing...other issue with a fixie on a hill...it's easier to go up 'em than go down 'em. When you go down, say, a -6 or -8, and you've got a 45 cog in the front and a 16 cog say in the rear, you're pretty quickly going to be hitting cadence of 160. That's a lot of furious pedalling which, being a fixed gear, you've no choice but to do (or unclip and let the pedals fly round and round alone, which is funny to watch when you see someone do it...)

It's good to see hipsters these days on bikes though. Back in the day they'd be on a Vespa or somesuch...a bicycle is so much cooler, in all ways!

by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:44:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There were a lot of them when I was a kid. Fixed gears, I think we said. Fun at low speeds, trouble at higher speeds.
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:52:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Really? Ours were all one-speeds, but with coaster brakes. Some of us had the very fancy hubs where you back-pedaled a bit and it selected another ratio. Then we moved on to three-speeds and ten-speeds in high school...

My first bike was this model. (Surprised to find the image.) When in about third grade, I managed to crash it badly enough that the two front down tubes came off the seat tube (brazed on without lugs). Still have the scar from where the handlebar end tried to puncture my lung.

by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:46:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually, the one in the picture looks like it has lugs. Mine didn't, but otherwise looked exactly like this. Hmmm.
by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:47:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I suppose it's year-to-year variation of manufacturer...this one has no lugs, but the wrong handlebars...

by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 11:59:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Many old Finnish bikes are retropedelars. There's a learning curve with them.

What amazes me is the number of Finnish cyclists that continue through the winter - using either deeper treads or even studs.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:44:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
are far and away the best studded tyres you can put on a bicycle. I've got a pair on the cross bike I ride in the winter, had em for ten years, they've probably got 30.000 km on 'em now.

Weigh damn near more than the bike they're on.

by redstar on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 03:39:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It is possible that only the rubber side of the Nokia brand (finally divested 2003) will remain when the mobile/network companies disappear. They also make rather good rubber boots. They've also added an 'n' = Nokian.

But all these companies began life at the turn of the 20th C as the Finnish Rubber Works (no tittering at the back there!).

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:52:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
We have a velodrome here. Also a submarine sandwich delivery community that likes this sort of bike. Personally, I'm a three-speed type...

by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:40:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's a nice one. Should be, it's where USACycling's Olympic training camp is.
by redstar on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:47:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The track racing season starts one week from today...
by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 12:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The 6th sense tells me that eurogreen - 'the man who loses bicycles' - will enter this dialogue imminently.

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:31:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sixth sense failed you this time.

Nothing to add, seriously! Enjoying the thread, but I'm a complete dilettante with a bike.

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 02:28:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
NYC messengers have been on these for decades
by rootless2 on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 04:03:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
hah, good for you.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:30:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I missed all the fun today, despite communing both times on my velib.
Friends tell me they saw Hollande on the Champs Elysées get drenched under the rain, though.

Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:41:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A "dry-run" before the "cold shower" with Merkel tonight, surely?
by Bernard on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:47:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Do not forget that "a sunny day" was called "day of the Führer." Let us sing in the rain!
by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:46:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Greeks apologise with huge horse

Left outside the European Central Bank in the dead of night, the horse has now been moved into the ECB's central lobby where it is proudly on display.

A gift tag attached to the horse, which is surprisingly light for its size and has small holes along the length of its body, suggested that it should be placed in the bank's vaults overnight to avoid it being targeted by thieves.

Mario Draghi, President of the ECB, said: "How nice of the Greeks to acknowledge the trouble we've been put to on their behalf with this wonderful horse, handmade and so large it could hold a dozen double-decker buses.

"The card with it, which had a teddy bear dressed as a hobo on the front, explained that Greece made us this because they don't have enough money for a present, which brought a tear to my eye.

"Nonetheless, unless they can somehow find €200 billion overnight then austerity measures must continue."

Oddly, Greek representatives in Brussels have hinted that they may soon be in a position to settle their debts and have puzzled the French and German banks that hold their loans by asking if there is any discount for cash.

The government of Spain has reacted angrily to the gift, accusing the Greeks of trying to bribe the ECB and redoubling their own efforts to weave a gigantic sombrero-wearing straw donkey.



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:40:08 PM EST
Even funnier


Greece could exit eurozone, IMF chief tells FRANCE 24

International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday that even an "orderly" Greek exit from the eurozone would pose great risks but remains an option if the country's "budgetary commitments are not honored".



Wind power
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:43:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"The government of Spain has reacted angrily to the gift, accusing the Greeks of trying to bribe the ECB and redoubling their own efforts to weave a gigantic sombrero-wearing straw donkey."

The current government of Spain is "the spiritual reserve of the West".

by PerCLupi on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:11:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
American contamination of British popular culture is so complete that even the Daily Mash can't help making a mexican joke about Spain.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:34:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
pobrecitos
by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 06:17:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean Rajoy doesn't look like the Frito Bandito?

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 06:38:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
He doesn't know what that is, as I don't.

Daily Mash could have proposed a gigantic hat-wearing, guitar-carrying Sherry bottle with a vest:



guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 06:43:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Also, too, Speedy Gonzales.

Be nice to America. Or we'll bring democracy to your country.
by Drew J Jones (pedobear@pennstatefootball.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:19:57 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Everyone knows that one.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:33:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there a diary that breaks down the Greek parties to show why they can't form a government? I understand that the two main parties lost a lot of seats, but why can't the opposition get their act together? It seems like there is one pretty huge question, austerity yes or no, and that you should be able to split the parties up that way...with somebody coming out with 51%...
by asdf on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:43:26 PM EST
Only if you want to coalition with the nazis.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:52:04 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You can check out talos' diaries:
Greece election day II - Election diary and info (with a short description of all parties)
SYRIZA and the Eurocrats: a letter of intent (with some update in the comments)
by Bernard on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 03:58:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the 300-seat assembly the pro-austerity parties (ND and Pasok) holds 149 (thanks to ND's largest party bonus of 50 extra seats). So to collect the rest you need to include the nazis, and even if you did not I don't know how the communists and the conservative anti-susterity party would feel about sitting in the same government. And add that Greece does not appear to have a political culture to support minority overnmets.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:05:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Another reading is that the centris parties together have 168 seats (ND, PASOK, and Democratic Left) but as Democratic Left not only wants to be "responsible" (agreeing to form a government) but is anti-austerity (the reason they broke off from PASOK in the first place) and need to cover their ass for betraying that position (or else they'll lose all their support to SYRIZA or back to PASOK), DimAr insisted that they will only join the government is SYRIZA does, too.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:36:24 AM EST
[ Parent ]
iPredict, an NZ "prediction market" (poll of rich stupid people easily parted from their cash) has opened markets on vote share in the upcoming Greek election

https://www.ipredict.co.nz/app.php?do=browse&cat=783

It will be hilarious (and probably lucrative) to see what antipodean money traders make of Greek politics.

by IdiotSavant on Tue May 15th, 2012 at 08:03:03 PM EST
The Pirate Party knows where the money is | Al Jazeera
Near the top of the list of the Pirate Party's demons is copyright protection, and rightly so. Copyright protection is an antiquated relic of the late Middle Ages that has no place in the digital era. It is debatable whether such government-granted monopolies were ever the best way to finance the production of creative and artistic work, but now that the internet will allow this material to be instantly transferred at zero cost anywhere in the world, copyrights are clearly a counter-productive restraint on technology.

As every graduate of an introductory economics class knows, the market works best when items sell at their marginal cost. That means we maximize efficiency when recorded music, movies, video games and software are available to users at zero cost. The fees that the government allows copyright holders to impose create economic distortions in the same way that tariffs on imported cars or clothes lead to economic distortions.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:39:48 AM EST
Dean Baker is a nutter on this subject, and his argument makes no sense.

It makes no sense because you can apply it to almost anything. If everything should be priced at the marginal cost to 'maximise efficiencies', what product or service has actual use value?

If everyone in the arts should work for free, why doesn't the same argument apply to all other trades, professions and pastimes?

There's certainly a (long suffering) debate to be had about the value and financial structure of creative work. But resorting to meaningless econo-babble is simple anti-creative bigotry, and helps no one.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:11:44 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I can steal a Mercedes for free...

Therefore the marginal price of a Mercedes is zero, therefore...

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:19:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you could print the pieces to an Mercedes in a 3D-printer and could assemble them yourself, should you have to pay fee to Mercedes for the pleasure of doing so?

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:27:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Why should I buy cherries from you, when I can pick them myself for free (off your tree, or off someone else's?)

i.e. it's not about value, it's about enforceability. If you've got a shotgun, maybe I will pay for cherries.

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

by eurogreen on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 09:07:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Can you tell me why Mercedes should bother designing the car for you to print out and assemble?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 09:42:03 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Consider a 3D copier, not just a 3D printer. You could disassemble a car and copy the parts. This would make reverse engineering rather cheaper than it now is. To some extent reverse-engineering is limited by intellectual property laws. Should it be?

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 09:44:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And if you say, yes, it should be: do you say the same for a life-saving medicine, too? And if someone holds the "intellectual property" of an invention, can they veto research further developing this component?
by Katrin on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 11:56:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 12:19:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
if someone holds the "intellectual property" of an invention, can they veto research further developing this component?

Yes.

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

by ATinNM on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 12:24:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I meant "should it?", not if it is so now.
by Katrin on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 01:36:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If they don't, and we still want a Mercedes, then we have an argument for treating Mercedes designing as a public good and finance it accordingly.

This might appear far fetched but the advance in 3D-printers has at least the Swedish furniture makers association worried.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:12:34 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The designing part of a Merc is a lot less important than the selling part.

You can make a case for open source engineering, although I don't think the technology for large objects is anywhere close to being ready yet. (Even if you can print the parts for a car - an interesting problem, given some of the alloys - how long is it going to take you to assemble them?)

But the basic issue is that there should always be rewards for useful inventiveness. Patents are a clumsy system, but if I spend X years and Y thousands of currency units developing something, I won't bother if there is no prospect of ever seeing a return on it.

That's a bad thing, on the whole.

I suspect there's a clear social reward curve, with rigid monopolies at one end and total free at the other. The point of maximum social reward is at neither of these extremes.

In all the smoke and rhetoric generated around the subject, I've yet to see anyone making a mature and reasoned attempt to find it.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:06:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Attempting to find, ab initio, some social optimum is usually a waste of time and effort. It is generally more useful to shift policy in the direction of increased social benefit, until the direction in which you are shifting policy stops being the direction of increased social benefit.

- Jake

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

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:37:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
the basic issue is that there should always be rewards for useful inventiveness

Which was kind of my point.

Not that I care that much about Mercedes, or that I'd be against a system of public payment.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:43:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
It makes no sense because you can apply it to almost anything.

Well, the marginal cost of making a loaf of bread never goes below the cost of ingredients and labor required to make the extra loaf. So yes, you can apply it to everything, but the result will be different.

ThatBritGuy:

If everything should be priced at the marginal cost to 'maximise efficiencies', what product or service has actual use value?

I don't see how that follows from Bakers argument. Or rather I don't see how the use value is related to the price.

ThatBritGuy:

If everyone in the arts should work for free, why doesn't the same argument apply to all other trades, professions and pastimes?

Did we read the same article?

The Pirate Party knows where the money is - Opinion - Al Jazeera English

Of course we need to pay creative workers, but we should find more efficient mechanisms, where a higher percentage of the cost borne by the public ends up in the workers' pockets. Some alternatives already exist. There is much creative work in the United States and around the world that is supported directly by governments or private non-profits. For this work, writers, musicians, and other creative workers are paid for their work at the time they do it. There is no need for copyright protection.

So you pay everyone in the arts for the time to create, not per additional song downloaded. Not same as working for free.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:33:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No product is ever sold on the basis of bottom-line marginal costs.

And the argument still makes no sense, because it brings up the old canard of zero distribution cost -> therefore should be free.

Which is just plain nuts. (Even if the cost of internet distribution really was zero - which in practice it never is. Never mind the cost of instruments, art consumables, recording and video equipment, etc - most of which cost serious fuck loads of money if you need professional tools.)

The Pirate Party quote is interesting, but I don't see how it's even slightly related to what Baker is saying. (Have the Pirate Party ever made any concrete workable proposals for paying artists?)

I have seen Baker argue for some kind of bizarre voucher system in the past. Presumably lucky creatives can trade vouchers for food, or something.

I'm not sure what advantage that has over giving people actual money - except that it seems to avoid direct payment, and he appears to have some sort of problem associating creative work with real cash.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:45:34 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I have seen Baker argue for some kind of bizarre voucher system in the past. Presumably lucky creatives can trade vouchers for food, or something.

No? The voucher system he advocates in this very article would give real money to creatives. It's basically public funding.

The fact that he uses marginal pricing as an argument doesn't make current copyright laws any less deserving of euthanasia.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter

by generic on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 09:31:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:
Even if the cost of internet distribution really was zero - which in practice it never is.

It is very, very low. Otherwise there would not be an issue here at all, would it?

ThatBritGuy:

Never mind the cost of instruments, art consumables, recording and video equipment, etc - most of which cost serious fuck loads of money if you need professional tools.

Which stays the same no matter how many copies is made. An argument to pay a serious loads of money once and not per copy made.

ThatBritGuy:

I have seen Baker argue for some kind of bizarre voucher system in the past. Presumably lucky creatives can trade vouchers for food, or something.

I'm not sure what advantage that has over giving people actual money - except that it seems to avoid direct payment, and he appears to have some sort of problem associating creative work with real cash.

Do you dislike public funding because of its lower status? Because it sure sounds like that to me.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:06:03 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The actual cost isn't low a all. In fact it's so high that most people who attempt to sell music online end up subsidising the various outfits that offer distribution as a service. (And as I said, that's not counting equipment costs. You might feel differently about this if you were setting up a decent studio and needed a six or seven figure investment to get it running to a level where you had a reasonable chance of getting enough work to break even.)

I have no problem with public funding. In fact I'm personally involved in promoting various schemes.

What I have a problem with is glib economists and bystanders who know nothing about the subject thinking they can tell creatives how it should be done, on the basis of little knowledge and no practical experience.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:21:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
ThatBritGuy:

What I have a problem with is glib economists and bystanders who know nothing about the subject thinking they can tell creatives how it should be done, on the basis of little knowledge and no practical experience.

ThatBritGuy:

(Have the Pirate Party ever made any concrete workable proposals for paying artists?)

I have seen Baker argue for some kind of bizarre voucher system in the past. Presumably lucky creatives can trade vouchers for food, or something.

On one hand you appear to demand answers as to how artists should be payed, on the other you do not appear to want them.

So, given that copyright violations run rampant despite all draconic punishment and surveilliance laws that has been passed, what is your informed proposal for how artists should be payed in a world where copying continues?

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:48:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, the marginal cost of making a loaf of bread never goes below the cost of ingredients and labor required to make the extra loaf. So yes, you can apply it to everything, but the result will be different.
And, via the cost of labor, it begs the question.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:49:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Or rather I don't see how the use value is related to the price.

You (and Baker, and the Marginalists) are equating price with production cost. But price might be equated to use value. And those need not be equal.

Production cost is how much you have to pay me to get me to produce something for you. Use value is how much I can expect you to pay me for giving you something.

If the production cost exceeds the use value, the thing doesn't get produced.

If the use value exceeds the production cost, there is room for bargaining, i.e. politics, in finding a clearing price.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:52:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sure, but I wanted TBG to actually spell out his argument.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:09:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's pay economists like Dean Baker for the papers they produce at the marginal rate. Either they will reconsider their theory or starve. I don't mind.
by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 12:12:45 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Time to create? So Mozart dashes off low value compositions quickly?

Or so everyone "creative" works for a government agency - properly supervised of course?

In practice, these proposals are to transfer what little scrap of income inventors/composers/etc now own fully to publishers.

by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:15:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
problem not!

Crowd-founding will save you. You never hard of kickstarter or what?

Seriously, that is the kind of argument that I tend to hear on any copyright discussions.

That said, one of my favourite webcomics had a success on kickstarter recently, so there seems to be a model for some creators.
 

by IM on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:27:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
like, information wants to be free, man.
by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:55:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
My musician friends who make a living have essentially become advertising jingle writers.  That's the result.
by rootless2 on Thu May 17th, 2012 at 10:56:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And more and more mathematicians, physicists and engineers wind up number-crunching in the financial services industry.

guaranteed to evoke a violent reaction from police is to challenge their right to "define the situation." --- David Graeber citing Marc Cooper
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu May 17th, 2012 at 11:22:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But God forbid hipsters have to pay for a download - because that would be oppression.
by rootless2 on Thu May 17th, 2012 at 02:56:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Conventional economics is nutty if consistently applied. Which is what he does.

Von überall könnte das Volk, Urbrut alles Undemokratischen, Zelle des Terrors, über die gewählten Hüter von Wachstum und Wohlstand® kommen. - flatter
by generic on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 08:48:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dean Baker's economics are those of the professional class. He gets a salary from a foundation for producing whatever it is he makes and he doesn't see why anyone else should do better.

He is also a big believer in the theory that manufacturing is a kind of stupid hobby.

And he is what passes for "left" economics in the USA right now.

by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 12:10:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
rootless2:
And he is what passes for "left" economics in the USA right now.

At least in this question it is conservative against liberal economics all over again. 19th century redux.

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 Wed May 16th, 2012 at 04:55:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems to me that there is an argument for copyrights, patents, and similar controls IF there is a reasonable time limit. As it is now, with copyright being extended forever, it can't be defended. And with patents now accepted for obvious and trivial "inventions," that system has been manipulated into something that is only intended to keep the little guy out of the marketplace.

The easy solution to today's mess is to throw the whole intellectual property system into the bin. Wanna make music? Fine, there's a coffee shop with a stage right down the street; put out your hat and see what coins drop into it. Wanna write software? Fine, make me an app for my iPhone and maybe I'll pay you $5 for it. Everything else is either a trade secret, which you keep secret on your own, or open source.

by asdf on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 05:52:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The system you propose would be enormously profitable for the largest companies with the most powerful marketing and sales organizations. Those of us who design or compose or write things for a living can return to the good old days where an aristocratic sponsor was necessary in order to eat. Maybe I should write my letter to David Koch now.
by rootless2 on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 07:17:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]


It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue - Queen Elizabeth II
by eurogreen on Wed May 16th, 2012 at 10:17:24 AM EST


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