With the markets down another 2%, and now negative YTD, let’s see what there is that is worth reading:

• In Proposed Mortgage Fraud Settlement, a Gift to Big Banks (Dealbook)

• Just How Black is the Japanese Nuclear Black Swan? (Automatic Earth) see also Experts Long Criticized Weakness in Design of Stricken Reactor (NYT)

Michael Lewis: 1989: How a Tokyo Earthquake Could Devastate Wall Street & World Economy (Scribd)

• Yen Hits Highest Against Dollar Since 1995 on Radiation Concern  (Bloomberg)

• China suspends approval of nuclear plants (FT.com)

• Major report debunks alleged link between piracy and terrorism    (Ars Technica)

• A Declaration of Cyber-War (Vanity Fair)

• An Accelerated Grimace: On Cyber-Utopianism (The Nation)

• Can Google Save Itself From Google? (GigaOm)

• Fewer Are Angry at Government, But Discontent Remains High  (Pew Research)

Category: Financial Press

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

14 Responses to “Mid-Week Reads”

  1. louis says:


    If the wind blows right, all those Toxic Mortgages will now have a Toxic Roof.

  2. V says:

    From the wtf file: EU to stress test nuclear reactors.

    This isn’t exactly going to inspire confidence after thos ebank ‘stress’ tests.

  3. swag says:

    Well, I guess that settles that:

    “House Repubs Vote That Earth Is Not Warming”


  4. …Lawrence uses five key figures in American history — Roger Williams, Thomas Paine, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, W.E.B. DuBois, and Vine Deloria — to trace an alternative, radical history of law and constitutionalism. Lawrence is interested in two things — the relationship of radical ideas about law to more traditional ideas and more specifically the relationship of religious thought and practice to law. Together he uses the ideas of his subjects to show that there are alternative paths — sometimes taken, often not taken — in American history.

    A couple of things interest me about Lawrence’s book — first, the relocation of the center of ideas from more mainstream people to radicals. So instead of hearing about John Winthrop (and a generation later Cotton Mather), we hear about Roger Williams; instead of George Washington and James Wilson we hear about Paine; instead of Daniel Webster and John C. Calhoun, we hear about Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and instead of Booker T. Washington and Woodrow Wilson we hear about DuBois….
    A Bit More on Data Caps
    Quite coincidentally (or not), the subject of data caps came up briefly at a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday. Daniel Castro, Senior Analyst for the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) spoke in favor of a stronger legislative response to online piracy. Much of it focused on legislation that would give law enforcement the tools to combat illegal file sharing such as allowing the editing of DNS servers to eliminate references to know pirate sites, among others. One of his suggestions concerned the use of data caps to discourage illegal downloading. I assume he means that consumers would be discouraged from using the Internet to download content if they had to pay more for their data.

    I do not believe ISP data caps would have any significant effect on piracy. AT&T’s has stated that the company would charge $10 for an additional 50 GB after three occurrences of exceeding the monthly limit of 150 GB. 50 GB represents about 10 or more films, in compressed format, and a huge number of songs whether in lossless or mp3 format. $10 for 50 GB of media sounds like a bargain. AT&T is essentially taxing pirated content where the “tax” goes to itself rather than the RIAA, the MPAA, or the content creators. AT&T is not discouraging piracy, merely taking advantage of it to earn a buck or two (billion). It would take significantly stronger data limits and costs associated with other controls to discourage illegal file sharing, and that’s not commercially viable. Imagine telling middle eastern protesters they have to pay extra to coordinate their revolutions through Facebook. This is hardly affected by caps in the United States, but the concept is there. Or telling domestic political operatives that distributing their campaign videos are subject to a possible surcharge on some consumers. Free but illegal movies and music or Sarah Palin. What a choice. Nice try, though.

    Ars Technica has a story on the testimony, and the hearing materials are here. The Ars story is a bit over the top, but the point is well taken. While we’re on the subject on intellectual property controls, see this Ars Technica article on what amounts to the Son of the ACTA treaty. The U.S. government didn’t get the global intellectual property controls it wanted through ACTA. Now comes Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which has its own secret history, apparently, for the last four years. [MG]

    March 16, 2011 in Congress, Current Affairs, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0)

  5. eaglepilot says:

    Here another good read all about nuclear accidents comparing Three Mile Island, Chernonoble and Fukushima. National Geographic notes-Three different types of reactors-three different responses by humans during the critical early phases- http://bit.ly/hngkC4

  6. Matt S says:

    In Proposed Mortgage Fraud Settlement, a Gift to Big Banks

    Obama Administration Pushing For Banks To Modify Millions Of Mortgages To Settle Foreclosure Claims

    Interview with Leader of Antibank Protesters: MakeWallStreetPay.org

    Congressional Progressives Introduce Billionaires Tax Bill

    JPMorgan’s Dimon Says Risk-Retention Exemption May Benefit Biggest Lenders

  7. VennData says:


    Shouldn’t they vote the deficit to zero, the terrorists to stop and then turn their attention to Pi.

  8. Francois says:

    Editorial from the journal Nature. For any American (practitioner of common sense, that is) who care about his/her country, the embarrassment is almost too much to bear.

    Into ignorance
    Journal name: Nature
    Volume: 471,
    Pages: 265–266
    Date published: (17 March 2011)
    DOI: doi:10.1038/471265b
    Published online 16 March 2011

    As Nature went to press, a committee of the US Congress was poised to pass legislation that would overturn a scientific finding on the dangers of global warming. [Francois here: Let me get this straight: a bunch of rear echelon mother fuckers that have no clue whatsoever of what science is all about will legislate facts?? FML!] The Republican-sponsored bill is intended to prevent the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) from regulating greenhouse-gas emissions, which the agency declared a threat to public welfare in 2009. That assessment serves as the EPA’s legal basis for regulation, so repealing the ‘endangerment finding’ would eliminate its authority over greenhouse gases.

    That this finding is scientifically sound had no bearing on the decision to push the legislation, and Republicans on the House of Representatives’ energy and commerce committee have made clear their disdain for climate science. [Francois here: As can be expected from any Koch-sucker in Congress] At a subcommittee hearing on 14 March, anger and distrust were directed at scientists and respected scientific societies. [Francois here: The author sure meant these lawmakers resented the fact that scientists are such better human beings (and quite smarter too BTW) than they are. Sucks to be a asshat, doesn’t it, Congressman?] Misinformation was presented as fact, truth was twisted and nobody showed any inclination to listen to scientists, let alone learn from them. It has been an embarrassing display, not just for the Republican Party but also for Congress and the US citizens it represents.

    It is tempting to write all of this off as petty partisanship, a populist knee-jerk reaction to lost jobs and rising energy prices by a well-organized minority of Republican voters. After all, US polling data has consistently shown that, in general, the public accepts climate science. At a hearing last week, even Ed Whitfield (Republican, Kentucky), who chairs the subcommittee, seemed to distance himself from the rhetoric by focusing not on the science but on the economic effects of greenhouse-gas regulation. “One need not be a skeptic of global warming to be a skeptic of the EPA’s regulatory agenda,” said Whitfield.

    Perhaps, but the legislation is fundamentally anti-science, just as the rhetoric that supports it is grounded in willful ignorance. One lawmaker last week described scientists as “elitist” and “arrogant” creatures who hide behind “discredited” institutions. Another propagated the myth that in the 1970s the scientific community warned of an imminent ice age. Melting ice caps on Mars served to counter evidence of anthropogenic warming on Earth, and Antarctica was falsely said to be gaining ice. Several scientists were on hand — at the behest of Democrats on the subcommittee — to answer questions and clear things up, but many lawmakers weren’t interested in answers, only in prejudice.

    It is hard to escape the conclusion that the US Congress has entered the intellectual wilderness, a sad state of affairs in a country that has led the world in many scientific arenas for so long. Global warming is a thorny problem, and disagreement about how to deal with it is understandable. It is not always clear how to interpret data or address legitimate questions. Nor is the scientific process, or any given scientist, perfect. But to deny that there is reason to be concerned, given the decades of work by countless scientists, is irresponsible.

    That this legislation is unlikely to become law doesn’t make it any less dangerous. It is the attitude and ideas behind the bill that are troublesome, and they seem to be spreading. Fred Upton, the Michigan Republican who chairs the full energy and commerce committee, once endorsed climate science, but last month said — after being pinned down by a determined journalist — that he is not convinced that greenhouse-gas emissions contribute to global warming. It was yet another blow to the shrinking minority of moderate centrists in both parties.

    One can only assume that Congress will find its way at some point, pressured by voters who expect more from their public servants. In the meantime, as long as it can fend off this and other attacks on the EPA, President Barack Obama’s administration should push forward with its entirely reasonable regulatory programme for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions where it can, while looking for ways to work with Congress in other areas. Rising oil prices should increase interest in energy security, a co-benefit of the greenhouse-gas and fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles that were announced by the administration last year. The same advice applies to the rest of the world. Work with the United States where possible, but don’t wait for a sudden change of tenor in Washington DC.

    One of the scientists testifying before Whitfield’s subcommittee was Christopher Field, director of the Carnegie Institution’s global ecology department in Stanford, California. Field generously hoped that his testimony at last week’s hearing took place “in the spirit of a genuine dialogue that is in the best interests of the country”. Maybe one day that hope will be justified.

  9. Kris Dannon says:

    Quite interesting information in the NYT and Automatic Earth articles…

    Appears the GE Mark 1 (a forty year old reactor design) had a containment vessel that was of such inferior design that it was almost banned by engineers and earned itself a reputation of being the reactor most likely to “end the age of nuclear power”. Apparently this was mainly due to insufficient strength and economical design of the containment vessel and lower water-retaining torus.

    The NYT mentions also that there was culpability of Japan’s nuclear plant designers (who selected and integrated specific reactors into plant designs). These often gave insufficient thought to safety in selecting a location for a nuclear power plant. This was said to be due early on to an ambitious attitude to see Japan – with few oil reserves – become completely independent of imported energy. Elsewhere I’ve learned that the GE Mark 1 comprised only two of the six Fukushima reactors.

    Something else of interest is that several Tepco executives were forced to resign in 2002 over altered safety documentation at the Fukushima nuclear power plant

    “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” – Friedrich Hegel


  10. VennData says:

    Texas Bank Robber Who Showed Teller His ID Sentenced

    “…The teller stalled and told Pugh that he needed two forms of ID before she could hand over the cash he demanded. Pugh showed her his Wells Fargo debit card, then a Texas state ID card bearing his name…”