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Wednesday Open Thread

by afew Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 10:55:55 AM EST

It's even Wednesday


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Cannot resist a virgin page!
by stevesim on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 12:10:28 PM EST
Cycling body's ex-head says riders were warned when near doping limits | Sport | The Guardian

The former president of world cycling's governing body Hein Verbruggen has admitted that for years it warned Lance Armstrong and other riders when they came close to testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs.

Verbruggen, who is still an honorary president of the UCI, and his successor, Pat McQuaid, have come under increasing pressure since Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France victories and admitted doping throughout each of them.

In an interview with the Dutch magazine Vrij Nederland published on Wednesday, Verbruggen said dozens of top riders and team managers were invited to the UCI's headquarters in Aigle "one by one", where the UCI's chief doctor Mario Zorzoli gave them presentations on its anti-doping strategy and information about suspect values.

i.e. they coached riders on how not to go over the limits.

Time to dissolve the UCI.

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

by eurogreen on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 12:11:59 PM EST
more like time to give up on cycling as a sport

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:23:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
More like time to allow unrestricted drug use in professional sports. Why is it ok for players to destroy their brains by concussions, but not by performance-enhancing drugs? Actresses all have boob jobs. Professionals all drink coffee. The argument against drugs is all mixed up in the idea of sportsmanship and amateur athletes, which we are completely over in practice.

I vote for allowing pre-meditated joint replacement (titanium knee better than bones), elbow surgery to move muscle attachment points to optimize your throwing arm, lung transplants to improve oxygenation, excess organ removal to reduce player weight, synthetic blood, etc., whatever you can think of--in addition to drugs. Why not?

by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:41:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
So I'm not the only one who finds myself agreeing a lot with The American Conservative
The use of performance-enhancing drugs may stand out as "unnatural" in comparison an idealized vision of the athlete rising early to hit the track, or taking endless batting practice. The fact is, however, that doping does not replace these practices but only increases their results.


Naulty's fastball, for example, gained considerable speed. But speed doesn't count for much if a pitcher can't also locate his pitches-a skill that cannot be acquired from drugs. Indeed, Naulty's career provides clear evidence that no amount of drugs can turn a mediocre player into an excellent one. While Clemens's alleged use of steroids likely allowed him to extend his career to nearly a quarter-century, Naulty played just a few unimpressive seasons.

What's more, scientific nutrition, reliance on serious painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs, and use of high technology (such as artificial low-oxygen environment) also have performance-enhancing effects when they are combined with diligent and intelligent training. It is unclear to me, however, what makes them more fundamentally "natural" than doping.

by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:03:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well, I was actually being cynical. Or ironic. Or something.

I would prefer to make sports amateur endeavors. Most of the problem is professionalism, where you can make a good living (or become a multi-kajiliionaire) playing ball games or riding a bike. It's ridiculous. And it encourages people to do anything possible to win.

by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:24:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not so sure. Check Race across American (RAAM). It's a bicycle race across the US, with the winner typically doing it in 9 days, averaging 2-3 hours of sleep per night. I don't think there's any other sports event that comes close to it in insanity, and yet it's mostly amateur, with very little money involved.  
by gk (g k quattro due due sette "at" gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 04:40:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Yeah, we have a bunch of those sorts of nutjobs around here, too. Like the ones who run up Pike's Peak and back. Lots of funky/disgusting biological processes can be observed...
by asdf on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 01:52:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
be careful. Enemy of your enemy as friend is a tricky proposition hereabout.
by redstar on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:41:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]


"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:54:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
WTH?

BBC: Davos 2013: IMF official says fixing banking still slow.

The entire banking industry still makes up more than 60% of the world's annual economic output, said Mr Zhu.

This is ridiculous.  We've got the bark wagging the dog.

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

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:20:03 PM EST
While some banks continue to wind down their debt piles, the global economy's exposure to the financial sector remains large. The entire banking industry still makes up more than 60% of the world's annual economic output, said Mr Zhu.
That has to be wrong.

What's he talking about? Banking sector balance sheets being 60% of World GDP? I can believe that. But "The entire banking industry still makes up more than 60% of the world's annual economic output" has to be a misquote.

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

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:13:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Actually I think you're seeing confirmation bias in action. Banksters and financiers are very prone to talking up the indispensability of their activity and its share of total GDP.

So massive exaggeration like this is probably common currency

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:26:17 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think they slipped a decimal point somewhere

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:24:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Downsizing the banking sector is so hard. They own those that would be doing the downsizing. We are just spectators, but, unfortunately, most of us are not even that. It is all just so boring.

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 Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:40:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
With the rise of Raspberry Pi (no link) and other 'down sized' computers this is looking to be the next wave of personal computers:

Dell is planning to release by mid-year a computer that's all of 3.5 inches long and 1.5 inches wide. It's not much bigger in girth than a USB stick, and is similar in design.

This Wi-Fi enabled device is designed to be plugged into something, most likely a monitor or TV. It has two USB ports for a keyboard and a mouse and, alternatively, Bluetooth capability. It displays at 1080p and can support touch screens.

The device will be powered by an ARM system-on-a-chip manufactured by an undisclosed vendor.

(Find out what ARM is here.)

And it's about freaking time.  

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

by ATinNM on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 01:38:18 PM EST
Haha Dell should go to the Apple store and check out the iPod Touch. Not only do you get the computer, but you don't even have to "plug it into something most likely a monitor or a TV." Dell's innovation is only around 5 years behind the curve...
by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:46:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Some TVs are shipping with tablet functionality built in now.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 09:29:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Minus the touchscreen.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 09:30:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
two steps forward, one step back. I stepped on a snake today and so have gone backwards a bit in my recovery.

{/grumble}

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:27:28 PM EST
A snake?
by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
snakes and ladders

keep to the Fen Causeway
by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:01:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
!!!!!

was it urging you to eat an apple?

by stevesim on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:33:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Twas the black before Yuletide, and all through the pad,
King Kong and sweet reefers were all them cats had.
Their boots were laced up to their armpits with care,
They all were hep, that St. Nick ain't nowhere.

Then out of the pitchblack, ole Santa drilled in,
Draped at the top and pegged back in the end.
His stumps were enclosed in some hard cuttin' brown,
And the glare from his fresh conk brought all the cats down.

He dropped to his benders and opened the pack,
And the glitter and the glamour drove the frantic mob back.

Then one hipster arose from the gage blowin' hot,
And said, "Hip us, Scribe Santa, just what have you got?"

Santa bared his bridgework in fanatic glee,
As he cocked his receivers to the viper's plea.
"Will you lay some sweets on me, Santa?" said he,
"To preserve the fragrance of my most righteous tea
"Or some sweet mellow music, Or some soft dim lights?

Just wise us, Scribe Santa, Just what have you got?"
Santa jumped up and from where he stood,
He snatched up his luggage from the polished wood.
"I've got lots of things for you cats, fine and nice,
"But the only thing you'll get from me is some fine advice.

"Now shuck all the cases, and step on a snake.
"And never give a square an even break.
"When your jive gets low and you don't think it'll last,
"Don't sip it and tease yourself to death. Do as I do, blast!"

With these final words, he cut through the slammer,
And that was the last the cats dug of ole Santa.

Now my story is fine, as you cats will agree,
And ain't no cat so hep as me.
Trilly is my play, so take it slow,
Hit it once, Jack, all reet now let me go.

by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:44:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]


(about 1 min in)

It's a bit like the Fen Causeway.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 02:14:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
....when you stumble upon 'Wind lenses' ?



"The future is already here -- it's just not very evenly distributed" William Gibson

by ChrisCook (cojockathotmaildotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:40:59 PM EST
Ducted fan. Good idea but it takes a lot of infrastructure (the ring) for moderate benefit.

by asdf on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:49:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
@MigeruBlogger
Migeru Shimbun is out! http://paper.li/MigeruBlogger/1351816577 ... ▸ Top stories today via @Frances_Coppola @EvaOrue


I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 02:50:17 PM EST
...video interview of IMF chief economist Olivier Blanchard on the burning question is Europe finally on the mend?

I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 03:19:16 PM EST
Beppe Grillo's Blog

It's the triumph of the web and the social media by Sergio Di Cori Modigliani

"It's the virtuous face of the Internet, it's turning what makes sense, upside down. It's that silent civil revolution that is often pompously discussed, in an academic, statistical way, a high-tech way of selling stuff to young people and discounted stuff to everyone. Long live e-commerce.
It's the virtual world that influences the real world.
It imposes change because of how it is.
It's the defeat of the nostalgic reactionaries, of the Luddites, of those who hide behind the senescent cloak of "oh yes when I was a lad ..." because -from this tiny massive victory- the so-called "silent majority" come out defeated, replaced for ever by the new chaos caused by the comic strips on Facebook, by the stolen quotes, by the bilious rancorous outbursts, shouted out, spat out in the spasmodic search for a Meaning: the new noisy cacophonous majority, the multicoloured and blundering lot that we all are.
To give us back a Meaning to our civil existence.
It's the silent revolution that the media mafia don't talk about and don't give credit to. Because they cannot.
Because they will not.
Because, if they were to do so, they would be signing their own documents of surrender, their inevitable retirement and their subsequent removal to the attic, beaten by the history of human progress.

...

According to them, according to the mummies, we are all "populism".
It's what historians have always called "popular outrage".
We will never again see these people in parliament: Scilipoti, Scajola, Belsito, Rutelli, Rosy Mauro and Alfonso Papa.
It was the anger of the people that sent them home.
It's been our bulimic anger that has forced the mummies to have electoral committees.
They are starting to understand that the count down has started for them.
They are starting to realise that we are sending them all home.
And this is just the beginning."
Sergio Di Cori Modigliani



"We can all be prosperous but we can't all be rich." Ian Welsh
by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 04:01:05 PM EST
BBC News - Florence Cassez to be freed in Mexico

A Frenchwoman jailed in Mexico in 2007 for 60 years for kidnapping is to be freed, the Supreme Court has decided.

Florence Cassez had denied the charges and many irregularities have been found in the case, including a staged televised police raid.

Three judges on a panel of five voted to have Ms Cassez released immediately because her rights had been violated.

The case provoked tensions between Mexico and Paris and French President Francois Hollande welcomed the news.

This has been a cause célèbre in France for the past couple of years.

by Bernard on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 04:16:10 PM EST
Bernard:
This has been a cause célèbre in France for the past couple of years.

So now it's cause célèbrate?

I'm sorry - sometimes I just hate myself.

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

by dvx (dvx.clt št gmail dotcom) on Wed Jan 23rd, 2013 at 04:36:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bill Mitchell: Youth Guarantee has to be a Youth Job Guarantee (December 11, 2012)
The solution is not more of the same.

Among the proposed "Youth Guarantee" measures I see:

  1. More training which is ineffective if it is outside the paid-work environment.
  2. More information to be provided about jobs yet it is hard to provide information about jobs that are not there!
  3. Proposals to address poor signalling which amounts to making one's CV look better for jobs that are not there!).
  4. Wage subsidies to address slow job growth barriers: of all the measures proposed this is the only one that seems to focus on the demand-side of the labour market.

That is, directly address the shortage of jobs. Wage subsidies have a long record of failure and operate on the flawed assumption that mass unemployment is the result of excessive wages.

...

The overwhelming problem that I see with the Youth Guarantee proposal is that it seems to skirt around the main issue - a lack of jobs. It seems to be about full employability rather than full employment.



I distribute. You re-distribute. He gives your hard-earned money to lazy scroungers. -- JakeS
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 24th, 2013 at 04:56:14 AM EST


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