15 Feb 2013

ISP fascism, Telecoms incompetence, meteorites, and more mouseshit.

This posting is brought to you by Beishon Magic Lanterns of Villeneuve-sur-Lot
The Slog: There are two things paramount (among the many hundreds of things that concern me about software giants and ISPs) that I find creepily irksome. One is the tendency to do things without asking the customer; the other is remorseless selling – but without providing any ability to answer their brainless suggestions.
To explain simply by analogy, how would it be if you went down to your local supermarket, and as you walked in a sales assistant collared you to announce, “Hi! I just dropped some duck eggs down your chimney, because every day is Christmas at Tesbury!” You would recoil, I’d imagine. You’d probably think this sad person had suffered some form of brain trauma involving a leakage of intelligence via the ears.
But supposing that person then went on to say – wrestling you to the ground with a smile as he did so – “Don’t forget to stock up on steak, which is on offer this week at a staggering £3.50 per lb if you buy a whole cow!” and you then replied “But my freezer is tiny and I’m a vegetarian”, only to see  the mad person walk away muttering “No reply no reply no reply no reply”.
And suppose further still that you went to the service desk and explained what had happened, and the woman behind it said,Sorry, that doesn’t match any of our standard questions, would you like to sit in one of our chat rooms here and ask other customers that question?”

Urgent! Hedge Funds Preparing For Market Sell-Off

 By Gregory Mannarino

Wars for Taboos, Lies and Indoctrination

Morris: Yet again I am saying the same things: The reasons for the wars are to create multiculturalim, homosexuality, selfishness. debt and genetic diversity. Source

Cyprus, ‘A Money Laundering Machine For Russian criminals’ – Amounts, Flows, and Mechanics

By Wolf Richter: Russia’s booming underground economy and “endemic corruption” with its dizzying flows of illicit money, fed largely by oil and gas, is at the core of an 84-page report by Global Financial Integrity (GFI). The non-profit in Washington, D.C. is advising the Russian government on how to tackle this problem. But buried deep inside is a gem: the amounts and flows of Russian black money into and out of Cyprus.
Cyprus (banksters are) is broke. Its banks carry on their books €152 billion in decomposing assets, about 8.5 times the country’s GDP of €17.8 billion. Of these “assets,” €23 billion are nonperforming—130% of GDP! The banks also sit on €26 billion in Russian “black money,” according to a “secret” report by the German version of the CIA, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), leaked last November [here is my story on the leaked report...  The Bailout Of Russian “Black Money” In Cyprus].
Now Cyprus needs a bailout of €17.5 billion—100% of GDP—of which €12 billion would go to the putrid banks. It’s the first Eurozone bailout that is so unpalatable that the German parliament might actually refuse to nod it through, which would scuttle it.
But the GFI report isn’t about Cyprus. It’s about Russia. And for Russia, as it outlines remedies that the Russian government might want to pursue. And in doing so, the report fingers the transfer of illicit Russian capital. The most common mechanics: misrepresentation of export earnings via endemic misinvoicing of trade,” a form of “trade-based money laundering,” aided and abetted by a “weak customs administration,” primarily involving Russia’s crucial energy sector. And that’s where Cyprus comes into play.

Ponzi Fetish The Icahnator: This Is What Happens When You Piss Off A Billionaire On Prime Time TV

That Icahn is out there. He can't be bargained with. He can't be reasoned with. He doesn't feel pity, or remorse, or fear. And he absolutely will not stop, ever, until Ackman is destroyed."
Everyone recalls the slow motion trainwreck from the afternoon of January 25, when in an epic bitchfest, hedge fund titans Bill Ackman and Carl Icahn screamed at each other telephonically for about an hour on CNBC in what was nothing but one big pissing match. Just over two weeks later, Icahn forced a major squeeze in the stock when as we wrote previously and as we predicted, he disclosed a massive 13% stake, or some 14 million shares in the company built up through stock and calls (essentially costless thanks to Icahn's recent profits on Netflix). What many may not know however, is that for Icahn, the HLF stake was nothing more than a $500 million dollar impulse buy. Why? Because as the chart below, which breaks down the cumulative purchases of HLF stock by various Icahn's funds, shows, the billionaire only held some 1.7 million shares until the January 25 afternoon of his screamfest with Ackman. Then the Monday after the feud Icahn went ballistic, and proceeded to buy some 120,000 shares on Monday and 197,459 option-equivalent shares, after which he tapered off his stock purchases while ramping up the call buys, and buying an epic 10 million share-equivalent calls in the next two weeks, without pause, compassion or remorse, and with just one thought: crush, mangle and destroy Ackman!

US tested new weapon, no meteor in Chelyabinsk – Russian LibDem leader

Vladimir Zhirinovsky, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party.(RIA Novosti / Alexander Utkin)RT: Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the head of the Russian Liberal-Democratic Party, said that no meteor fell in the Urals on Friday – the US “tested a new weapon” over the region, he claimed.
You’re like some primitive tribe. What meteorite? he said, adding that space is a “universe that has its own laws.” Zhirinovsky is a politician well-known for making similar eccentric statements. “When something falls – it’s man-made. People are warmongers and provocateurs,” he explained.
Earlier in the week, US Secretary of State John Kerry reportedly tried and failed to reach Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov by telephone for two consecutive days. The State Department said that Kerry wanted to discuss the recent North Korean nuclear test, as well as the conflict in Syria.
However, Zhirinovsky claimed that the top US diplomat wanted to warn Lavrov about the provocation and that it may affect Russia,” RIA Novosti reported.
On Thursday, Moscow confirmed that on February 12 it had received Washington’s request to organize an urgent phone conversation between Kerry and Lavrov. The Foreign Ministry said, however, that State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland was “inaccurate with her statements” regarding their inability to get in touch with Lavrov for two days.
Unfortunately, the conversation could not be held because of the intensive schedule of the Russian foreign minister and his working tour to African countries,”

US college student creates blueprints for a drone-proof city

RT: Asher Kohn isn’t an urban planner, but he has managed to draw up designs for an entire cityand a drone-proof one, at that. But according to Kohn, a town that’s impermeable to the newest instruments of war isn't just a novelty. It's a necessity. AFP Photo / Tom Pennington“Architecture against drones is not just a science-fiction scenario but a contemporary imperative,” says Kohn, a 25-year-old American-born law student who is currently living in the Netherlands. And although architecture and urban planning are rarely core classes of most law school curriculums, earlier this year Kohn handed in a simple blueprint for an assignment offered by a professor at the Sam Fox School of Design in St. Louis, Missouri.
“I was assigned ‘military architecture’ and realized that for every huge military advance that made it easier to blow up urban areas, there was usually a passive response invented within a generation,” he tells Britain’s Daily Mail. “So I was wondering what the response would be for drones if drones are the next great advance like artillery and airplanes were.”


The Deflationary Spiral Bogey - Ludwig von Mises Institute

By : What is deflation? According to dictionary.com, it is “a fall in the general price level or a contraction of credit and available money.”
Falling prices. That sounds good, especially if you have set some cash set aside and are thinking about a major purchase.
But as some additional research with Google would seem to demonstrate, that would be a naïve and simple-minded conclusion. According to received wisdom, deflation is a serious economic disease. As the St. Louis Fed would have us believe,
While the idea of lower prices may sound attractive, deflation is a real concern for several reasons. Deflation discourages spending and investment because consumers, expecting prices to fall further, delay purchases, preferring instead to save and wait for even lower prices. Decreased spending, in turn, lowers company sales and profits, which eventually increases unemployment.
The problem with deflation, then, is that it feeds on itself, destroying the economy along the way. It is the macro equivalent of a roach motel: perilously easy to enter but impossible to leave. The problem, you see, is that deflation reduces consumption, which reduces production, eventually shutting down all economic activity.

Anti-anxiety drug pollution makes fish fearless and antisocial - UK and US rivers feminize them/us

By Agence France-Presse: Anti-anxiety drugs find their way into wastewater where they make fish more fearless and antisocial, with potentially serious ecological consequences, researchers said Thursday.
This undated photo courtesy of Bent Christensen and the American Association for the Advancement of Science shows a perch (Perca fluviatilis). (AFP)Scientists examining perch exposed to the sedative Oxazepam — which, like many medications, passes through the human body — found that it made them more likely to leave their school and strike out on their own.
“Normally, perch are shy and hunt in schools. This is a known strategy for survival and growth,” said ecologist Tomas Brodin, lead author of the article, which will be published in Friday’s edition of Science.

“But those who swim in Oxazepam became considerably bolder,” he said, putting the fish at greater risk of being eaten by predators.
Brodin and other researchers at Sweden’s Umea University tested the fish by exposing them to drug concentrations corresponding to those found in wastewater in densely populated areas of the Scandinavian country.
In addition to growing bolder, the fish also ate more quickly, which the researchers fear could disrupt the ecological balance.
“In waters where fish begin to eat more efficiently, this can affect the composition of species, for example, and ultimately lead to unexpected effects, such as increased risk of algal blooming,”

Report: Google sends personal information to app developers without user knowledge or consent

By Madison Ruppert: In a disturbing new report, it is revealed that every person who downloads an application through Google Play has had their personal information including name, email and address passed on to the developer without their knowledge or consent.
While this might be troubling, perhaps even more troubling is the highly secretive relationship between Google and the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), their ties to the U.S. intelligence community and the lack of transparency in their so-called transparency reports.
Still, this “flaw,” uncovered by an app developer in Sydney, Australia, is no small matter. Perhaps the most concerning aspect of the report by news.com.au is the point that the “flaw” actually “appears to be by design.”
The developer, Dan Nolan, has created an application that hit number one in the Australian app store and he says that he does not feel comfortable being the custodian of all of that personal information.
Furthermore, Nolan says that there is no reason any developer should have all of this highly personal information at their fingertips.
Let me make this crystal clear, every App purchase you make on Google Play gives the developer your name, suburb and email address with no indication that this information is actually being transferred,” writes Nolan on his blog.
“With the information I have available to me through the checkout portal I could track down and harass users who left negative reviews or refunded the app purchase,”

The Great Rebalancing: 10 Things To Watch In 2013

SThe great trade, capital flow and debt imbalances that were built up over the preceding two decades must reverse themselves. Michael Pettis notes, however, that these imbalances can continue for many years, but at some point they become unsustainable and the world must adjust by reversing those imbalances. One way or the other, in other words, the world will rebalance. But there are worse ways and better ways it can do so. Pettis adds that, any policy that does not clearly result in a reversal of the deep debt, trade and capital imbalances of the past decade is a policy that cannot be sustained. It is likely to be political considerations that determine how quickly the rebalancing processes take place and whether they do so in ways that set the stages for future growth or future stagnation. Pettis' guess is that we have ended the first stage of the global crisis, and most of the deepest problems have been identified. In 2013 we will begin to see how policymakers respond and what the future outlook is likely to be. The following 10 themes are what he will be watching this year in order to figure out where we are likely to end up.
Authored by Michael Pettis: What I'll Be Watching In 2013,

I’ll be watching a number of things in 2013 in order to get a better sense of what the future will bring. On January 22 Princeton University Press will be publishing my bookThe Great Rebalancing: Trade, Conflict, and the Perilous Road Ahead, and in the last chapter of the book I argue that the great trade, capital flow and debt imbalances that were built up over the preceding two decades must reverse themselves. Imbalances can continue for many years, I argue, but at some point they become unsustainable and the world must adjust by reversing those imbalances.