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Maybe It Really Is Turtles All the Way Down…

January 25, 2011

…and then again maybe not.

It all started the other day as I was reposing in front of the TeeVee when suddenly I was confronted by the maniacal shrieking and wailing of four modern day Gorgons emanating from tube . As changing the channel was not an option at the time , and not wanting my few still functioning neurons to be immediately petrified, I flipped open my trusty laptop to shield myself from the Gorgons’ stony gaze in the hopes that I might find something interesting to read while awaiting their departure an hour or so later. Here’s what I discovered on my trip through the interwebs.

Started off at the Physics and Physicists blog which I hadn’t read in a while and found this post about what the Large Hadron Collider had discovered so far.

That post linked to this article which contained more specifics. In a nutshell, scientists haven’t discovered much new yet but they have been able to eliminate some of the more outré theories because of what was not discovered. However, some of the commenters on the article and one in particular took it to mean that the LHC was a huge waste of time and money and researchers should stop looking into “pseudoscience” like string theory and supersymmetry.

The one who took the most offense was a Mr. Oldershaw. He listed his URL so, wanting to know what the guy was on about, I checked it out and it turns out Mr. Oldershaw is a proponent of something called Fractal Cosmology.

Interest piqued, I did a search and checked out the Wikipedia article on the subject to get a rough overview. Turns out fractal cosmology is also a rather fringe viewpoint which posits that the universe looks roughly the same on any scale you look at, large or small. Since electrons circle atoms and planets circle stars, this doesn’t seem all that revolutionary. But fractal cosmology also claims that the Big Bang Theory is completely wrong and that Planck’s constant, which sets a lower limit on how small anything can be, is in error because you can always get smaller. Kind of like a Horton Hears a Who universe with entire worlds on a speck of dust, which in turn have more worlds on their own gently wafting motes.

A little out there from the sounds of it, but then again so is string theory, brane theory, etc., so I went back to Mr. Oldershaw’s site and found some of his publications on the subject and also this comparison showing the similarities between different states of atomic excitation and various planetary nebulas. Sounds like he is at least trying to take a scientific approach, so I took a look at his credentials.

On his website he says he is “…an independent researcher in the field of cosmology. Since 1988 I have been loosely affiliated with Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts and do my research there and at the University of Massachusetts.” Then on this paper he lists himself not as a cosmologist, but a geologist. Not exactly what I was expecting, but then again there was a patent clerk about 100 years ago without any big credentials who thought something was awry with the prevailing theories of the day and manged to make quite a splash in the world of physics. So I continued and then things started to get really strange.

Watched this video which didn’t seem to have much of a point at all.

Further down the rabbit hole there was Yun Pyo Jung, and he really starts getting into “woo” territory, where things are true because they feel true. After gazing at the stars from his boat for many years, he had some sort of epiphany about fractal cosmology. This rather long and rambling essay attempts to disprove the Big Bang theory by throwing out a bunch of numbers that don’t add up and even if they did, any astronomer worth a damn would have noticed the discrepancies he tries to point out long before now. And taking a look at Jung’s credentials (or complete lack thereof), it appears that he also had an epiphany about little green men because apart from his day job, he is the head of the Korean Raelian Movement which claimed with great fanfare to have cloned a human being a few years back and hasn’t been heard from much since.

Then there are some entries on fractal cosmology you can’t even access on google because according to a note at the bottom of the search page, they have been removed in response to a legal request. Following the link there, you find that the request was made by something called the Meru Foundation. And who exactly are they? Turns out they are Kabbalaists, looking for meaning from the secret codes they are sure are wrapped up somewhere in the Hebrew version of Genesis.

Now for a theory called fractal cosmology, you’d think Benoit Mandelbrot, who knew a thing or two about fractals, might have weighed in at some point. Having read a bit of Mandelbrot, I’d never heard him mention this application of his discoveries before and while my research was far from exhaustive, the only mention of any support for this theory from Mandelbrot himself came from this site where the author drew inspiration from fractal butterflies. And it sounds like Mandelbrot may have just been trying to be polite if he ever even spoke to the author at all-

In addition, I wish to thank Benoit Mandelbrot, who became excited
about the implications of my theory, when he first learned of it.

So that’s when I gave up looking any further.

Maybe there’s something to this theory and it really is (fractal) turtles all the way down. Something about the Standard Model with all its potential particles has always sounded a little Ptolemaic to me and what’s really happening at the physical level may be a lot simpler than previously supposed. But in this case, it sure seems like the “woo”-merchants have latched onto some little bit of science and bastardized it completely, much like Deepak Chopra and the like do with quantum mechanics.

But hey, at least I got to exercise the old bean a little bit.

And it beat the hell out of watching Sex and the City reruns.

41 Comments leave one →
  1. cometman permalink*
    January 25, 2011 3:54 pm

    The image was the best I could find that looked something like turtles in a fractal pattern in case anyone was wondering what is was supposed to be.

    Also, Oldershaw had a kind of nice kid’s story about how the universe came to be here.

  2. cometman permalink*
    January 25, 2011 5:58 pm

    In other potentially pseudo-scientific news, some Italians are claiming that they have developed a cold fusion reactor and this time it’s the real thing.

    Last Friday, the scientists held a private invitation press conference in Bologna, attended by about 50 people, where they demonstrated what they claim is a nickel-hydrogen fusion reactor. Further, the scientists say that the reactor is well beyond the research phase; they plan to start shipping commercial devices within the next three months and start mass production by the end of 2011.

    Something sounds more than a little fishy when the demonstration is invitation only.

  3. cometman permalink*
    January 25, 2011 6:29 pm

    The governed in Egypt begin to revoke their consent.

    More from Al Jazeera.

  4. cometman permalink*
    January 26, 2011 7:16 am

    Eye candy – snowflakes under the electron microscope.

    Haven’t been able to get the stereo images to work by staring at them crosseyed yet…

  5. artemis54 permalink
    January 26, 2011 12:01 pm

    Based on last night’s effort, Barry’s future in stand up comedy looks pretty dubious.

    What could be funnier than a joke about a plane crash?

    Then we have the salmon. Not only unfunny, it reminded me very much of some of the babbling bs emails I get from a teabag relative. Not funny, and it makes no point, but you get the vague notion that there is supposed to be some point. What is it?

    Is joint responsibility really so odd? Over a resource that wanders from Redfish Lake to the mid Pacific through a thicket of manmade obstacles?

    Watch as current Sec Commerce and former WA governor tries to force a smile, or is it just a grimace?

    It just reinforces the obvious: when it comes to the environment and natural resources, Obama knows nothing and cares less.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 26, 2011 2:36 pm

      Yeah, this crack about TSA patdowns wasn’t particularly humorous either –

      – as if people using trains will never ever even possibly be subject to searches. Guess any potential terrorists know where to go now!

      And 80% will have high speed rail in only 25 years! I look forward to watching Stewart and Colbert tonight to see clips of some jackass politician saying the same thing back in 1986.

      Even though Barry doesn’t have much of a future on the comedy circuit, I wouldn’t mind a bit if he did quit his day job. Along with about 530 or so other assholes.

  6. cometman permalink*
    January 26, 2011 2:46 pm

    Some science notes –

    Check this out – Runaway Star Plows Through Space.

    A massive star flung away from its former companion is plowing through space dust. The result is a brilliant bow shock, seen here as a yellow arc in a new image from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE.

    The star, named Zeta Ophiuchi, is huge, with a mass of about 20 times that of our sun. In this image, in which infrared light has been translated into visible colors we see with our eyes, the star appears as the blue dot inside the bow shock.

    Zeta Ophiuchi once orbited around an even heftier star. But when that star exploded in a supernova, Zeta Ophiuchi shot away like a bullet. It’s traveling at a whopping 54,000 miles per hour (or 24 kilometers per second), and heading toward the upper left area of the picture.

    As the star tears through space, its powerful winds push gas and dust out of its way and into what is called a bow shock. The material in the bow shock is so compressed that it glows with infrared light that WISE can see. The effect is similar to what happens when a boat speeds through water, pushing a wave in front of it.

    Here’s the pic –

    Nice interview with Brian Greene regarding his new book on parallel universes .

    And this one seems to suggest that the mind only saves to memory what’s truly necessary with all the other data received forgotten almost immediately – Out of Mind in a Matter of Seconds: Surprising Rate at Which Neuronal Networks in Cerebral Cortex Delete Sensory Information.

  7. cometman permalink*
    January 26, 2011 3:07 pm

    Congress looks to bring up internet “kill switch” legislation again.

    The “Justice” dept. would like to be able to track all internet communications whenever the hell it wants.

    Maybe Big Brother can just ram a minicam up everyone’s ass the moment they’re born to bring the surveillance/police state to its complete fruition.

  8. cometman permalink*
    January 26, 2011 3:15 pm

    Couple financial notes –

    Via ZeroHedge, it looks like mark-to-market accounting has gone the way of the dodo and banks can now declare their assets are worth whatever the hell they want them to be. Perhaps I’ll go into the local BofA looking for a couple mil and tell them I have a ’76 Pinto worth a billion dollars to put down as collateral.

    And this Boston Globe op-ed regarding pension cuts in Mass. really got my hackles up. It praises the governor for the cuts he’s making (most of which seem pretty reasonable) but then continues that he isn’t going far enough, suggesting defined benefit pensions should be done away with altogether. And of course its one of those op-eds nobody dares put their name to.

    Not going to take long to get to the bottom at all the way things are going.

  9. artemis54 permalink
    January 27, 2011 1:39 am

    Room with a loo: Bats in Borneo roost in carnivorous pitcher plants

    The bats get a safe dry place to sleep, and the plants get a third of their nitrogen from the bats’ waste. It had been previously noticed that these particular plants were very poor at trapping insects.

    For the moment the original paper is online: A novel resource–service mutualism between bats and pitcher plants

    • cometman permalink*
      January 27, 2011 9:06 am

      Hmmm. Sounds like that particular pitcher might have evolved to be poor at insect trapping because they got most of what they needed from bats. The interconnectedness of the natural world never ceases to amaze.

      If you didn’t catch it already, check out the latest Nature program about birds of paradise in New Guineau. Lots of really breathtaking footage of their various dances. Watched it last night and thought it was very well done.

      Almost finished reading Bonobo Handshake. Pretty good book but I’m thinking it probably wasn’t geared towards my particular demographic. I’d get it from the library or used if you’re interested. For those who don’t know a ton about bonobos it would be a great read but if you’re familiar with these animals, what she has to say is fairly basic. Lots of stuff about Congolese politics and the various recent wars that have wreaked havoc with the bonobo populations.

      Did make me want to donate to the bonobo refuge she worked at though and if I can scrape a few bucks together I think I will. You can donate at Friends of Bonobos. Going to add a link to that on the blogroll too.

  10. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2011 9:46 am

    The final report of the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is out. Here it is for what it’s worth, since Barry and the Banksters have already indicated they aren’t going to do a damn thing about any of this.

    Couldn’t figure out how to embed the document but you can view it here.

    Skimmed through some parts and they seem like they’re on the right track, concluding that the crisis was eminently avoidable if government regulators hadn’t fallen asleep at the wheel and allowed the banks to whatever the hell they wanted to. While they do place blame where it belongs, they are careful to say that this does not mean that everyone is to blame, and thus no one was really at fault. Supposedly they will be recommending some prosecutions but I haven’t seen the specifics on that yet.

    Of course, all the republicans on the committee were in dissent with the findings.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 27, 2011 10:33 am

      Guess I should have read a bit more thoroughly. Looks like Yves Smith did and she blasts the report and so do some of those involved with its production – FCIC Insiders Say Report Gives Wall Street a Free Pass, Simply Sought to Validate Conventional Wisdom About Crisis. Wish those insiders would give their names, but I can see why they’d be reluctant in this case. Wonder if one of them was Brooksley Born….

      In a nutshell, the report is evidently very short on detailing all the FRAUD that went on and merely uses a few already well reported facts to confirm the pre-conceived notions of the commissioners, both in the actual report and the dissents.

      Side note: Smith also mentions that the report shows the Goldies had been lying through their teeth in previous sworn testimony – Quelle Surprise! Goldman Profited From AIG Bailout Via Abacus Trades.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 28, 2011 2:45 pm

        Looks like I was wrong about Born being one of the insiders too.

        Yves Smith had a conference call with her and Angelides and was given the runaround when she tried to ask some tough questions, her implication being that somebody had trained Born to get her mind right.

        Post from today – FCIC Insider: “I Can’t Believe They Suborned Brooksley Born”.

  11. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2011 2:01 pm

    David Kato, a Ugandan civil rights activist fighting for gay rights has been murdered.

    Myers is 100% correct in pinning part of the blame on US xtian whackos who’ve been egging on the Ugandan government on as they crack down on gays.

  12. cometman permalink*
    January 27, 2011 2:10 pm

    Egypt is still erupting but opposition leaders are not warming up to Mohamed ElBaradei as a potential replacement if Mubarak is forced out, saying he’s been to far removed from the action for too long and hasn’t joined those doing the heavy lifting on the ground.

    Tunisian protests continue as authorities urge Interpol to issue arrest warrants for the former president.

    Meanwhile, thousands of Yemeni protesters call for the ouster of their president.

  13. sisdevore permalink
    January 27, 2011 7:59 pm

    Off topic. One of my fave artists:

    • cometman permalink*
      January 28, 2011 9:36 am

      Very cool. Reminds me a bit of the artist that hamburgler IIRC used to link to a bit. Wish I could remember the name.

      And no glue! Good thing the artist didn’t have this guy interviewing him on his project.

  14. cometman permalink*
    January 28, 2011 1:45 pm

    Robert Fisk with an excellent article on the goings-on in Egypt – Egypt’s day of reckoning. Sure sounds like Mubarak is on the way out but nobody seems to have a grasp on who might replace him, which is not usually a good sign.

    Biden claims Mubarak is not a dictator and shouldn’t resign because he’s been so damn helpful to the US in mollifying Israel over the years. Biden is too fucking stupid to grasp or too cowardly to admit that this is precisely why the Arab street is sick and tired of their US-approved rulers.

    Jordan is the next country to get mad as hell as protests erupt there.

    Meanwhile, the FBI cracks down on hackers associated with wikileaks and Anonymous. Good luck with that. Looks like the cows are already gone and it’s a little late to try to shut the door now.

    And one more kaboom. Looks like somebody was trying to send a message to the banksters who will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos shortly as a small explosion went off in a hotel basement there. But then again, who knows? Since the explosion was described as not much more than a firecracker, it doesn’t seem designed to harm anyone. Perhaps whoever set it off was looking for an excuse to have even more security at the Forum and more crackdowns on protesters.

    • sisdevore permalink
      January 28, 2011 8:56 pm

      It’s so damn exciting to watch the Egyptians revolt.Wish Americans could do the same. Fuck Biden and the commuter train he came in on.

      On another off-topic note. I have adopted another dog from the shelter. She is gloriously mellow. A year & a half old, not interested in chewing things much. Now asleep in her armchair.I feel blessed.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 29, 2011 5:11 pm

        Glad to hear it’s working out well!

        Did you get another pocket pooch?

        • sisdevore permalink
          January 29, 2011 9:34 pm

          she’s not pocket–19 pounds.

  15. cometman permalink*
    January 28, 2011 2:52 pm

    Couple on supposed environmentalists and their sell-outs to the corporate world.

    First, an excerpt from a forthcoming book which sounds pretty promising. The new book from Jeffrey St. Clair and Josh frank is called GreenScare: the New War on Environmentalism . The excerpt, which gives a rundown of some of the sellouts from the last few decades – A Concise History of the Rise and Fall of the Enviro Establishment.

    And on a related note, Whole Foods, Stonybrook Farms, and others cave in to Monsanto. The article gets a bit shrill at times but here’s the gist –

    In the wake of a 12-year battle to keep Monsanto’s Genetically Engineered (GE) crops from contaminating the nation’s 25,000 organic farms and ranches, America’s organic consumers and producers are facing betrayal. A self-appointed cabal of the Organic Elite, spearheaded by Whole Foods Market, Organic Valley, and Stonyfield Farm, has decided it’s time to surrender to Monsanto. Top executives from these companies have publicly admitted that they no longer oppose the mass commercialization of GE crops, such as Monsanto’s controversial Roundup Ready alfalfa, and are prepared to sit down and cut a deal for “coexistence” with Monsanto and USDA biotech cheerleader Tom Vilsack.


    The main reason, however, why Whole Foods is pleading for coexistence with Monsanto, Dow, Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and the rest of the biotech bullies, is that they desperately want the controversy surrounding genetically engineered foods and crops to go away. Why? Because they know, just as we do, that 2/3 of WFM’s $9 billion annual sales is derived from so-called “natural” processed foods and animal products that are contaminated with GMOs. We and our allies have tested their so-called “natural” products (no doubt WFM’s lab has too) containing non-organic corn and soy, and guess what: they’re all contaminated with GMOs, in contrast to their certified organic products, which are basically free of GMOs, or else contain barely detectable trace amounts.

    Approximately 2/3 of the products sold by Whole Foods Market and their main distributor, United Natural Foods (UNFI) are not certified organic, but rather are conventional (chemical-intensive and GMO-tainted) foods and products disguised as “natural.”

    Never shopped there anyway for precisely the reasons listed above. Bunch of fancy marketing justifying higher prices for food that’s essentially the same as what’s in most other grocery stores. If you want whole foods in the corporate age, go to your local farmer and buy direct or grow it yourself. Otherwise you really don’t know what you’re getting.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 29, 2011 2:49 pm

      One of my chronic beefs is the deluge of paper mail from so many environmental groups that I ever made the mistake of commenting to signing up for newsletters, etc. I’m looking at you, Defenders of Wildlife, Alaska Wilderness whatever it is, Union of Concerned Scientists, a dozen more. It reached a crescendo in December. every day a new pile of free return address sticksers, calendars – I have 14 calendars, you would think maybe 12 would be enough. Audubon is maybe the worst offender: sheet after sheet of address stickers all with my name misspelled.

      Not to mention the 6 page letters from each, all the little extra flyers stuck in. It is a chore trying to deal with all this shit. They have a lot of nerve printing “please recycle” on every fucking envelope full of crap.

      I am adopting a policy of only dealing with groups that keep all this to an absolute minimum. The big winners there, in my experience: the CBD and KSWild, both of whom send me a tiny little recycled envelope once or twice a year with maybe one little sheet of paper inside.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 29, 2011 5:17 pm

        I try to give some extra cash to The Nation on top of my subscription fee and get the same treatment. So many requests for further donations and renewal notices and then I can’t tell when my subscription is actually up. Called this year and found it had expired several weeks earlier. Pleasantly surprised that they offered to start sending me just one letter from now on.

        • sisdevore permalink
          January 29, 2011 9:36 pm

          Harper’s is begging, too.I pledged $25.

  16. cometman permalink*
    January 30, 2011 9:27 am

    The uprising in Egypt has put antiquities in danger with a few mummies damaged by looters at the Cairo Museum. The biggest threat seems to be that fires from neighboring buildings could spread to the museum.

    Sounds like precautions were taken though. I wouldn’t try to fuck with Zahi Hawass –

    Before the army arrived, young Egyptians – some armed with truncheons grabbed off the police – created a human chain at the museum’s front gate to prevent looters from making off with any of its priceless artifacts.

    “They managed to stop them,” Hawass said. He added that the would-be looters only managed to vandalize two mummies, ripping their heads off. They also cleared out the museum gift shop.

    Wouldn’t be surprised if the truncheon wielding youths were Hawass’ students. He’s pretty fanatical about keeping Egypt’s treasures safe. More in the article from Kent Weeks –

    Archaeologist Kent Weeks, who is in the southern temple town of Luxor, said that rumors that attacks were planned against monuments prompted authorities to erect barriers and guard Karnak Temple while tanks were positioned around Luxor’s museum.

    Have to go look and see if Hawass has posted any thoughts on the political situation.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 30, 2011 9:37 am

      Hmmmm. Nothing I could find on the current situation at Hawass’ website.

      Just more articles mentioning him saying the antiquities are safe for now. Here’s another

      Would-be looters broke into Cairo’s famed Egyptian Museum, ripping the heads off two mummies and damaging about 10 small artifacts before being caught and detained by army soldiers, Egypt’s antiquities chief said Saturday.

      Zahi Hawass said the vandals did not manage to steal any of the museum’s antiquities, and that the prized collection was now safe and under military guard.

      Considering that the large part of his funding likely comes from the Egyptian government, he’s probably wise not to publicly take sides until it’s clear what that government will be.

  17. artemis54 permalink
    January 30, 2011 11:48 am

    Jumping cryo preserved organic jaysus.

    Went to Seed Savers Exchange to order a few seeds, since they are the only place I know that has Sheepnose pimento peppers. Since I visited last an enormous titty fight has erupted in the top echelons, with founder Kent Whealey quitting and levelling all sorts of charges against current management, first among them a giant beef over SSE giving seeds to the Svalbard bank. He claims this is a sellout to corporate control of the global genome, etc etc etc.

    SSE’s front page now includes defenses from current members, much emhasis on a relationship with Vandan Shiva – talk about pulling out the big guns! if Whealy is going to talk about biopiracy, Shiva is the authority to drag in – and responses from outsiders.

    Turns out there is more to it than meets the eye, including Whealey’s affair with some tramp and subsequent divorce from the other founder of SSE, Diane Ott Whealy, and remarriage to a rich new wife.

    I don’t understand it all, but I think Whealy is overstating his case. My point is, there are dozens of these forums at SSE and elsewhere where gardeners, seed savers, and plant diversity activists are tearing each other to shreds over this. Worse than the American political left. It’s an anarchists’ convention.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 31, 2011 10:25 am

      Hmmm. Sounds like a big kerfuffle about not much. I’m glad people are keeping a watch on this type of thing to make sure these groups aren’t selling out, but that doesn’t seem to be the case here. Didn’t see much sinister looking about the Svalbard bank. Sounds like they may accept GMO seeds but they also accept everything else too from pretty much whomever wants to donate. There’s a knee-jerk reaction to everything “GMO” (which I’m guilty of myself at times) but pretty much all crop plants have been genetically modified one way or another. It’s what they’re modified to do that’s important. Not a fan of modifications that make sterile seeds or wipe out pests, but I don’t see the harm in a rose with a few extra petals.

      Anyhoo, I checked at Johnny’s Seeds where I order once in a while to see if they had what you wanted. Couldn’t find sheepnose pimentos specifically although there were one or two that looked similar. But it sounds like they’ve had a similar controversy lately with accusations that they’re owned by Monsanto.

      Here’s the back and forth if you’re interested –Who owns Johnny’s Selected Seeds?

      Basically Monsanto bought up a smaller company that Johnny’s used as a supplier, but they haven’t started stocking the place with Frankenseeds (yet at least), Johnny’s isn’t selling out to them, and are taking steps to not be affiliated with them at all. Don’t know more details than what was at that link, but again, it sure sounds like Monsanto is taking a page out of The Windup Girl and looking for access to a greater gene stock. They know damn well that they need to keep splicing or their products will become useless as pests become resistant, etc. Really hate those fuckers.

      Also spent quite a bit of time browsing there. Think I’m going to get some blueberry bushes for the yard this year. The squidlette should enjoy those.

      • artemis54 permalink
        January 31, 2011 11:26 am

        I wound up ordering from Johnny’s yeterday too. They have a $1.00/pack sale on some Asian greens and a few other things, including a long, green Thai eggplant. At that price I’ll try em. I am not happy unless I have five or six different eggplant varieties scattered around in the flower beds.

  18. artemis54 permalink
    January 31, 2011 4:55 am

    Claire Danes bagged another award for her performance in Temple Grandin a SAG this time.

    • cometman permalink*
      January 31, 2011 10:27 am

      Think I forgot to mention it earlier, but one of the recommendations on the dustjacket of Bonobo Handshake came from Grandin.

  19. cometman permalink*
    January 31, 2011 1:32 pm

    A thousand or so protesters showed up outside the semi-annual secretive Koch Bros. back-slapping event over the weekend.

    Greenpeace even brought a blimp –

    More astounding hypocrisy from the Koch Bros. spokesperson, who doesn’t seem to get what freedom of assembly is all about –

    “We respect all Americans’ rights to free speech and to peaceably assemble. It is disappointing that some members of the group protesting today made the choice to not be respectful of the community or of our right to meet,” a Koch spokeswoman said in a statement.

    The Kochs have a right to assemble and the rest of us have a right to assemble around their assembly to call them a bunch of assholes. See: Fred Phelps.

    However the Kochs seem to have rights the rest of us don’t have as riot cops were called in and 25 peaceful protesters were arrested.

    Funny how once the riot cops are called in, somebody can always be found (or provoked into) doing something “wrong”.

  20. cometman permalink*
    January 31, 2011 1:48 pm

    Some financial notes –

    Mike Whitney with more on the FCIC report – Another Whitewash for Wall Street. He seems to have read through a good bit of it at least. His take –

    The whole 500-page rehash could be summarized in two words, “shit happens”.

    Then others, like Goldman Sux lackey and all around ratfucker Neel Cash-Carry look at the FCIC report and manage to conclude that banks should have been given even more bailout money

    “The FDIC insurance fund came out of the WaMu bankruptcy whole. So did the uninsured depositors, and (of course) the insured depositors. But the FDIC never contemplated using FDIC funds to protect unsecured creditors, which it could have done by invoking the ‘systemic risk exception’ under the FDIC Improvement Act,” the report said.


    But Treasury officials felt differently when interviewed by the FCIC, according to the report.

    “We were saying that’s great, we can all be tough, and we can be so tough that we plunge the financial system into the Great Depression,” Treasury’s Neel Kashkari told the FCIC. “And so, I think, in my judgment that was a mistake. . . . [A]t that time, the economy was in such a perilous state, it was like playing with fire.”

    Meanwhile in Davos, looks like only one guy was willing to speak the truth – Loneliest Man in Davos Foresees 2015 Bank Crisis While Global Elites Party.

    As politicians, executives and financiers networked at parties and panels last week in Davos, Switzerland, Barrie Wilkinson was in a nearby hotel, warning that a 2015 financial catastrophe may be looming.

    “The fundamentals haven’t been addressed at all,” Wilkinson, a London-based partner at consulting firm Oliver Wyman, said in an interview at the Hotel Morosani Schweizerhof. “The things that caused the previous crisis — loose monetary policy and trade imbalances — they’re actually bigger now than they were then.”

    And the rest of them really had a reason to party. Later in the article we find –

    The same theme pervaded a World Economic Forum dinner on Jan. 28 that discussed what would happen if a big bank were allowed to fail. The group, which included Nomura Holdings Inc. Chief Operating Officer Takumi Shibata, 58, former Italian Finance Minister Domenico Siniscalco, 56, and ING Groep NV CEO Jan Hommen, concluded that governments have no choice but to come to the rescue of any failing multinational megabank because there is no system to handle a controlled failure.

    If a government was unable to save such a bank, the contagion and damage could be severe.

    I came into this dinner somewhat pessimistic and worried about the assignment we are here to discuss,” Simon Johnson, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management and a Bloomberg News columnist, said halfway through the evening. “I am now terrified. There is an incipient sovereign crisis here mixed in with the bank crisis.”

    So rather than using the summit to, I don’t know, create a system to handle a controlled failure, they party it up instead because there will be bailouts coming no matter how much they steal. Rrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 31, 2011 2:23 pm

      Saw someone at Davos, don’t know who, pointing out that thr folks who rate banks now uprate them based on the certain knowledge that they will not be allowed to fail. If that isn’t “picking winners and losers,” what is? This is a one way streetand it ain’t going my way.

  21. artemis54 permalink
    January 31, 2011 3:24 pm

    Today’s Beck, condensed: the enemy of my enemy is the frenemy of my enema, with the exception of Van Jones, Bill Ayers, Frances Piven and Paul Bernays, who with the help of their time machine are installing the new caliphate in Cairo as we speak.

    • artemis54 permalink
      January 31, 2011 3:31 pm

      Oh my god, he’s got Ireland in the caliphate now (something I worry about night and day). Um, . . . . it’s all blurring together, enough Beck for now.

      • cometman permalink*
        January 31, 2011 4:00 pm


  22. cometman permalink*
    January 31, 2011 4:11 pm

    Jesus H. Strunk and White key-riced!!!!!

    Listening to a local public radio segment about some new changes to the rules that allow foreign youngsters to get visas to come here and work during the summer. Evidently they are adding some restrictions to make it more difficult and the (ridiculous) worry is that there won’t be enough waiters on the NE coast this summer. With waiters taking home several hundred to a grand a week during tourist season depending on the venue and so many people out of work, I really don’t think it will be all that difficult to find someone to take these jobs. Shit, I took home way more $$$ as a waiter during the tourist season (and much of the rest of the year too) than I do at my more responsible grown up job.

    But I digress. So they interviewed one woman who said the new rules wouldn’t be a problem for her because as soon as she hears from a potential foreign summer applicant, she tries to get them on board right away by hooking up with them on Skype.

    She said she does this so she can get an idea of how they look and also, and I quote, to “see how well their English is“.

    What was that you said about giving people books and all they do is eat the covers? ;)

  23. artemis54 permalink
    February 1, 2011 9:31 am

    Crimes against the future:

    Egyptian Deserts Gene Bank Looted, cooling system destroyed.

    The North Sinai station housed crop wild relatives of eggplant and tomato, medicinal and aromatic plants native to the region, and thousands of other accessions.

    Michiel van Slageren from Kew Millennium Seed Bank reports that at least some of the material is backed up at Kew. Cold comfort at best, and it certainly serves to illustrate the need for multiple, distributed storage to protect against natural disaster – as has happened a number of times – or human, what shall we call it, human error? human nature I guess, as has happened in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Russia.

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