05
Jan
12

Roundup – Community with the Dragon Tattoo

Line O’ the Day:

The MVP dilemma. Brees made it a horse race, and more than that.

It’s a horse race… ONLY THE HORSES ARE ALSO CARRYING GUNS.

- Big Daddy Drew, Which Interesting NFL Columnist Relies On The Legendary Josh Bickford For His MVP Thinky Thoughts? [KSK]

Best of the Best:

‘Magic Mushrooms’ Return to Psychology Labs 40 Years After Leary [Elizabeth Lopatto on Bloomberg]

Almost 40 years after Richard Nixon called former Harvard University psychologist Timothy Leary the most dangerous man in America for promoting use of hallucinogenic substances, there is a rebirth of interest in their therapeutic benefits. Reamer was enrolled in a clinical trial at Johns Hopkins to relieve fear of death in cancer patients, one of a half-dozen similar studies under way at New York University, Harvard, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of New Mexico. The new research, largely driven by the psychiatric community, is also testing psychedelics for use against depression, chronic headaches and addiction as current scientists, much like their 1960s predecessors, seek to understand the “consciousness-expanding” effects of the drugs.

‘It was priceless': The moment angry Pearl Harbor veterans gave the stars of Hawaii Five-O a mass one-fingered salute [Mail Online]

The obscene gesture was delivered in unison from a bus as they were leaving, and left them all in stitches of laughter. Mr Tubbs said: ‘This was immature of me, but I said, “Gentlemen, if you so choose, how about we give them one big one-fingered military salute?”’ The last thing the production crew saw, he said, was a bunch of 90-year-old men flipping the bird at them. ‘It was one of the priceless moments of my life.’

Americans Set “Rich” Threshold at $150,000 in Annual Income [Gallup]

Americans say they would need to earn a median of $150,000 a year to consider themselves rich. However, 30% say less than $100,000 would be enough, including 18% who would consider themselves rich if they made less than $60,000 a year. On the other hand, 15% say they would need to earn at least $1 million per year before thinking of themselves as rich.

Why We Unfriend People on Facebook [Nielsen via The Atlantic Wire]

A newly release chart from Nielsen shows the most common reasons we friend — and more importantly, unfriend — people on Facebook. The No. 1 reason anyone sends anyone else a friend request is obvious: they know the person IRL. But our reasons for performing that online sacrilege that is unfriending are of course juicier. Most of those surveyed (55 percent) say they have unfriended someone because of “offensive comments” they have made, followed by not knowing the friend well enough at 44 percent.

The More Things on the Small Screen Change [Terry Teachout on The Wall Street Journal]

Network television as we know it came into being on Sept. 4, 1951, when AT&T threw the switch on the first transcontinental coaxial cable. Up to that time, TV had been an essentially regional phenomenon. The most important network shows were all performed live in New York, and the only way for West Coast viewers to see them was for fuzzy-looking film copies called “kinescopes” to be shipped to Los Angeles and broadcast a week later. The coaxial cable changed that by making it possible to transmit live video signals from coast to coast—in both directions. Within a matter of months, Hollywood had become a major center of TV production.

The Worst Hockey Game Ever: On Nov. 9, Philadelphia and Tampa Bay Did Literally Nothing for Long Stretches [Mike Sileski on The Wall Street Journal]

Twenty-seven seconds after the puck was dropped, as the Flyers took possession in their own end, things got weird. Flyers forward Wayne Simmonds passed the puck backward to defenseman Kimmo Timonen, who slid it over to fellow defender Braydon Coburn in the right faceoff circle. There Coburn just leaned on his stick, with the puck at rest behind the blade. The aim of this tactic, Laviolette said in an interview later, was to force Tampa to drop the defensive style it had used to such great effect before. By having Coburn stand still, Laviolette hoped to draw the Tampa forward at the top of the 1-3-1 alignment out to challenge the puck-carrier—thereby taking Tampa’s defense out of the trap. What Laviolette didn’t anticipate is that the Lightning’s forward, Martin St. Louis, would never go anywhere near Coburn. Instead, he stayed in the circle in the middle of the ice in his proper spot. After watching Coburn do nothing for close to 30 seconds, referees Rob Martell and Chris Rooney blew their whistles to stop play, then told Laviolette that his players have to keep the puck in motion. The crowd began to boo.

Far Fewer Enter U.S. Illegally From Mexico [Miriam Jordan on The Wall Street Journal]

At 150,000 last year, Mexican immigration to the U.S. was one-fifth of what it was in 2000, when 750,000 Mexicans flocked to the U.S., the majority of them illegally. All told, net immigration from Mexico is “essentially zero,” said [Jeffrey Passel, a senior researcher at the independent Pew Hispanic Center]. Nearly 21,500 agents, about twice as many as in 2004, guard the Southwestern border. They are backed by hundreds of miles of fencing and high-tech surveillance, including thermal imaging and unmanned aerial systems. Mexican drug cartels also may play a role in discouraging people. The cartels often ply the same routes to the U.S. that undocumented immigrants use, making those paths violent and dangerous. Some crossers have been forced to serve as drug carriers for cartels. Some demographers say more undocumented Mexicans may be leaving the U.S. than arriving as a downturn in construction, hospitality and other industries makes low-skill jobs scarce. Thousands of illegal immigrants have lost their jobs after the U.S. has audited company payrolls to find undocumented workers.

The Limits of Bigger Penalties in Fighting Financial Crime [Peter J. Henning, professor at Wayne State University Law School via New York Times Dealbook]

Before any punishment for financial misconduct can be imposed, the government must prove an intentional violation, which in a criminal case requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. That is often the rub, because the perceived financial “crimes” committed by Wall Street firms and others believed responsible for the financial crisis would involve showing intent to defraud, a difficult standard to meet. The recent collapse of MF Global is a good example of just how hard it will be to prove criminal violations. A lawyer for the bankruptcy trustee said that the apparent loss of more than $1 billion in customer money was the result of “suspicious” transactions. The New York Times reported that there were multiple instances in which customer money was used to keep the firm afloat, perhaps going back as far as August 2011. In his testimony last week before the House Agriculture Committee, Jon S. Corzine, MF Global’s former chief executive, said he had no idea how the customer money disappeared. He asserted that he “never intended to break any rules,” and that if any employee claimed the transfers were at his direction, then he was “misunderstood.” This is the classic defense offered by senior corporate officers when there is wrongdoing at a firm, that they were not directly involved and therefore did not have the intent to mislead. Any decision to transfer customer money likely involved multiple layers of corporate management, meaning that fingers can be pointed elsewhere if no one had the primary responsibility for the decision.

Life Under the Gaze of Gadhafi’s Spies [Margaret Coker and Paul Sonne on The Wall Street Journal]

Mr. Mehiri’s tangle with the Libyan surveillance apparatus shows how U.S. and European interception technology, though often exported for the stated purpose of tracking terrorists, could instead be deployed against dissidents, human-rights campaigners, journalists or everyday enemies of the state—all categories that appear in Libyan surveillance files reviewed by the Journal. The story also underscores how the intelligence apparatus overseen by Mr. Senussi, the spy chief, invaded the lives of Libyans amid acquiescence from the West.

Blinded by the ‘animal spirits’ myth [Daniel Ben-Ami on FundWeb]

The statistic used more than any other to support this argument is that about 70% of American GDP is accounted for by consumption. At first sight it seems like game, set and match to the proponents of consumer capitalism. It also appears to follow that the recipe for economic recovery lies in reviving consumer demand or what are sometimes called the “animal spirits”. Once consumers regain confidence it is argued that the economy should move back to an upward path.  If only the 70% figure were interrogated more often it would become clear it does not support the consumer capitalism argument. On the contrary, capitalism is just as dependent on production as in the past. Indeed without the act of production it would not be possible to have any consumption. Once this point is understood it provides a fundamentally different perspective on solutions for the current crisis.

Curiously Strong Remains:

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

ΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩΩ

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