Friday, May 31, 2013

THIS PENTAGON PROJECT Makes Cyberwar as Easy as Angry Birds.

PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT: How to pronounce the name of Ikea furniture right. It's only the furniture, so the Swedish equivalent of "shit" is not included...

A COLLECTION of weird photographs of Nazis at play.

WHY FIRE MADE US HUMAN: "Cooking may be more than just a part of your daily routine, it may be what made your brain as powerful as it is"

THE ECONOMIST: Towards the end of poverty in the world?

GOOGLE, DO NO EVIL! In Lithuania, the Tax Man Cometh Right After the Google Car Passeth. Assessors Use Web Giant's Street View Photos to Find Signs of Undeclared Wealth

Thursday, May 30, 2013

FRACKING is Pitting OPEC Members Against Each Other. It Couldn't Happen to a Nicer Bunch of Cartel Members.

AND IT'S NOT PRETTY: Former WikiLeaks Employee James Ball Describes Working With Julian Assange

TELSA WORSE THAN SOLYNDRA: "How the U.S. government’s bungled investment in the car company cost taxpayers at least $1 billion."

AT HIGH SPEED, on the Road to a Driverless Future:

Last month, on a freeway from Jerusalem to the Dead Sea, I sat in the driver’s seat of an Audi A7 while software connected to a video camera on the windshield drove the car at speeds up to 65 miles an hour — making a singular statement about the rapid progress in the development of self-driving cars.

While the widely publicized Google car and other autonomous vehicles are festooned with cameras, radar and the laser range finders called lidars, this one is distinctive because of the simplicity and the relatively low cost of its system — just a few hundred dollars’ worth of materials.

SENATOR McCARTHY, CALL YOUR OFFICE: German Association Of Journalists Demands Apology From German Ministry Of Environment For “Black List Of Skeptics”

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

CLIMATE ALARMISTS' CLAIMS are purely hot air, says researcher:

It is true most climate scientists would agree that rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere due to fossil fuel use could affect global climate. The basic physics is there to support this view. But there is no evidence that the putative change would be large or damaging. Output from computer models is not evidence unless model performance has been validated. So far, it has not.

The so-called evidence of minor human-caused climatic change can also be attributed to causes or processes other than those related to the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

What is rarely mentioned by climate alarmists is the incontrovertible fact that adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere has an ever-decreasing effect on global temperature. To illustrate this, compare covering a glass window with very thin paint. The first coat of paint cuts out some light, the second some more; but each subsequent coat has an ever decreasing effect on light shining through.

Keep reading.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

TO THE HORROR of Global Warming Alarmists, Global Cooling Is Here.

RAJOY Awaits Reprieve as Spanish Recession Evidence Mounts:

Spain will probably secure two more years to tame the largest budget deficit in the European Union as first-quarter data show the effects of the toughest austerity measures in its democratic history.

The European Commission will decide tomorrow whether to grant Spain until 2016 to bring its deficit back within the EU limit of 3 percent of gross domestic product. Its verdict is due as a series of releases this week including mortgage lending, gross domestic product and inflation may underline that the construction-sector slump that triggered the nation’s economic crisis in 2008 is far from over.

'AUSTERITY' TO BLAME? But Where's The Austerity?

The Keynesian stimulus crowd blames austerity for the world’s economic woes without bothering to examine facts. I advise them first to consult my colleague at the German Institute for Economic Research (Georg Erber, I See Austerity Everywhere But in the Statistics), who, unlike them,  has actually taken the time to examine the European Union’s statistics as compiled by its statistical agency, Eurostat.

The official Keynesian story is that the PIIGS of Europe (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) have been devastated by cutbacks in public spending. Austerity has made things worse rather than better – clear proof that Keynesian stimulus is the answer. Keynesians claim the lack of stimulus (of course paid for by someone else) has spawned costly recessions which threaten to spread.  In other words, watch out Germany and Scandinavia: If you don’t pony up, you’ll be next.

Erber finds fault with this Keynesian narrative. The official figures show that PIIGS governments embarked on massive spending sprees between 2000 and 2008. During this period, their combined general government expenditures rose from 775 billion Euros to 1.3 trillion – a 75 percent increase. Ireland had the largest percentage increase (130 percent), and Italy the smallest (40 percent). These spending binges gave public sector workers generous salaries and benefits, paid for bridges to nowhere, and financed a gold-plated transfer state. What the state gave has proven hard to take away as the riots in Southern Europe show.

Then in 2008, the financial crisis hit. No one wanted to lend to the insolvent PIIGS, and, according to the Keynesian narrative, the PIIGS were forced into extreme austerity by their miserly neighbors to the north. Instead of the stimulus they desperately needed, the PIIGS economies were wrecked by austerity.

Not so according to the official European statistics. Between the onset of the crisis in 2008 and 2011,  PIIGS government spending increased by six percent from an already high plateau.  Eurostat’s projections (which make the unlikely assumption that the PIIGS will honor the fiscal discipline promised their creditors) still show the PIIGS spending more in 2014 than at the end of their spending binge in 2008.

As  Erber wryly notes: “Austerity is everywhere but in the statistics.”

The PIIGS remind me of the patient whose doctor orders him to lose weight by eating less. The patient responds by doubling his calorie intake. He later cuts back  by ten percent and wonders why he is not losing weight. The PIIGS went on a spending binge from which they do not want to retreat. They then blame their problems on austerity and the lack of charity of others.

Monday, May 27, 2013

HOW EUROPE sleepwalked into World War I.

GOOD: Africa Is Starting to Look Like the Tech Industry's Next China.

TOP FIVE MYTHS of genetically-modified seeds, busted. On NPR, not Fox...

THIS IS GOT TO BE one of the worsts front-page news positioning ever...

(via Facebook)

Sunday, May 26, 2013

WTF? FBI agents who eliminated Boston terrorist Tsarnaev mysteriously killed: "The FBI agents, who eliminated Boston terrorist Tamerlan Tsarnaev, died as they fell out of a helicopter, the press service of the FBI said."

UPDATE. More at the NYT. There's no mention that the agents killed actually took part in the raid that killed Tsarnaev. Only Pravda does, so take it with a grain of salt.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

YOU GET A TATTOO of your girlfriend's face on your body. Then after a while you break up. What do you do?


HOW BING CROSBY AND THE NAZIS Helped to Create Silicon Valley. The title is a bit of a stretch, but it's a fascinating reading nevertheless.

SOME PREDICTIONS of how the world would be in 2001, made in 1901. Click to enlarge, it's worth it.


CAN'T WAIT! Christopher Lee Readies Heavy Metal Album for 91st Birthday.

DANIEL DENNETT'S seven tools for thinking

LIFE LESSONS From the 1968 Playboy Club Bunny Manual.

DID YOU KNOW that you can visit certain areas inside the White House with Google Maps' Street View? That's not closed due to the sequester!

GOOD: "Australian Scientists Think "Salamander-Like" Human Limb Regeneration Is Possible"

TEN MAPS that changed the world.

Friday, May 24, 2013

ARE THEY SAYING LIKE IT'S A BAD THING?: "MI6 spent $200m bribing Spaniards in second world war. Newly released documents reveal secret services paid out fortune in bid to stop Franco joining war on Hitler's side"


SPIEGEL: BBC Poll: The World Doesn't Actually Hate Germany. "Even in Spain and France, a majority have a high opinion of Germany". They're saying this only because they don't read what I find on my Twitter timeline...

Thursday, May 23, 2013

MY EYES, MY EYES: Obama’s 1979 Prom Photos.



GREAT MOMENTS IN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY: "Spain just spent $680 million on a submarine that can’t swim"

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

AM I THE ONLY ONE who sees "Anthony Weiner" and thinks "Peter Russo"? (pre-final, of course)

THE END OF THE WORLD IS NEAR. At the NYT: "Wine and Cola? It Works"

WHY RATIONAL PEOPLE Buy Into Conspiracy Theories. "Apparently rational" would probably be more correct.

THE GREENING Of Gore's Bank Account.

15 THINGS worth considering about coffee.

SIGNS that you really need to improve America's education system.

BBC REPORTS that a new study shows no global warming in the last 15 years:

Scientists say the recent downturn in the rate of global warming will lead to lower temperature rises in the short-term.

Since 1998, there has been an unexplained "standstill" in the heating of the Earth's atmosphere.

Writing in Nature Geoscience, the researchers say this will reduce predicted warming in the coming decades.

But long-term, the expected temperature rises will not alter significantly.

The last bit is funny, though. They're asking is to believe them about the future... right after admitting they blew it about the past without knowing why.

SPAIN'S FORMER PM AZNAR suggests may challenge Rajoy:

In a rare interview on Spanish television since leaving power in 2004 and handpicking Rajoy as his successor in the center-right People's Party (PP), Aznar called on the government to cut taxes and create new jobs.

Although credited with bringing Spain's public finances under control, Rajoy has been under fire for failing to reduce a 27-percent unemployment rate and bringing an end to recession.

While declining to say if he would back Rajoy again, Aznar, who ruled from 1996 to 2004 and is widely credited with overseeing Spain's economic boom, said he would be willing to return to frontline politics if circumstances dictated.

"I have never hidden from my duty. I will do my duty (to) my conscience, my party and my country. Have no doubt about that," Aznar said on Antena 3 television when asked his intentions.

This would be a blow for Rajoy, who enjoys a comfortable majority in parliament and has little to fear from a weak socialist opposition but has been challenged in his party for his handling of the economic crisis as well as for his tepid response to corruption scandals involving senior PP members.


I WAS READING THIS EXAMPLE (via Instapundit) of how the NYT completely changed a story to remove its teeth so it couldn't bite, and couldn't help thinking that this is yet another example of why the Internet is shaking the news business top to bottom.

In the past, we would have only seen the 2nd version; there would have been enough time to revise it before sending it to print. Then comes the internet, with the rush to go on air ASAP, and sometimes — as in this case — the commissars are sleeping. Which means we can see how the sausage is made, and it's not pretty.

No wonder they're scared.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

WHO INVENTED CLOTHES? A Palaeolithic archaeologist answers.

Monday, May 20, 2013


El Corte Ingles SA hired Morgan Stanley (MS) to help reorganize about 5 billion euros ($6.4 billion) of debt owed by Europe’s largest department store chain, according to three people familiar with the matter.

The retailer is renegotiating terms of its borrowings with lenders including Banco Santander SA (SAN), said the people, who declined to be identified before the deal is complete. The Madrid-based company wants to relax covenants governing terms of the debt, including an extension of maturity, said the people.

El Corte Ingles is grappling with a collapse in consumer confidence after Spain’s unemployment rate surged to 27.2 percent in the first quarter, the highest in at least 37 years. Efforts to tackle the European Union’s biggest budget deficit crimped economic growth, with retail sales falling almost 11 percent in March compared with a year earlier.

THINGS YOU BUMP INTO ON THE INTERNET: World's tiniest monkey eats a noodle (video)


In the past week there has been an enormous uproar in Spain created by an opinion article published in The Daily Telegraph under the title "Spain is officially insolvent"

Do we really believe that an article is so important that it could change anything if what it says is untrue?

The article, let's be clear, says nothing new or that has not been written before in reports by Citigroup, Exane, JP Morgan or a handful of local analysts.

I live in London and work in the City and as a Spaniard it angers me often to see how my country constantly revises and changes economic data expecting no one will notice and praying we can hold our breath for another month. No, the lack of confidence of markets is not due to the foreign press, but to of our track-record.

So, on to the article, let me clarify some concepts without entering into hopeless patriotism. Spain is not yet insolvent , but if it continues to spend and avoids tackling its debt issues hoping that someone else solves its problems, it run the risk of becoming so.

Keep reading.

UH OH: Anonymous Cincinnati IRS official: “Everything comes from the top.”

AND THAT'S WHAT SOME PEOPLE call "a real democracy": Maduro admits to knowing “the IDs and all” of the 900.000 Chavistas who did not vote for him.

Friday, May 17, 2013

INTERESTING MAP of the world’s most and least racially tolerant countries.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

HOW EUROPEAN stereotype one another, in one chart.

DUBAI TIMELAPSE: awesome video.

POSTUREO: Dimite el jefe de la agencia tributaria de EEUU por acosar a conservadores.

¿Por qué escribo "postureo"? Muy sencillo: porque el mandato de Steven Miller, que era el director interino del IRS (equivalente a la Hacienda de EEUU), se acababa en una semana.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

SAY HELLO to the 100 Trillion Bacteria That Keep You Healthy.

HYPOCONDRIACS BEWARE: How to Convince People WiFi Is Making Them Sick.

DANIEL LACALLE: "The slump of bond yields seen recently is not the result of the successful policies of our governments."

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

AWESOME: Ferrari World theme park in Abu Dhabi.

AN INTERACTIVE VISUALIZATION of migration flows across the world. Great website.

Thursday, May 09, 2013


If you want to introduce someone to libertarian thinking, encourage them to try this experiment. Spend a few days reading nothing but technology news. Then spend a few days reading nothing but political news. For the first few days they’ll see an exciting world of innovation and creativity where everything is getting better all the time. In the second period they’ll see a miserable world of cynicism and treachery where everything is falling apart. Then ask them to explain the difference.

- Andrew Zalotocky

FROM THE 'scientists with too much time on their hands' department:

Carrying a guitar can increase the chances of you getting a date by a third, according to a study by researchers from the University of South Brittany.

The study found that women were 31% more likely to give their number to a man carrying a guitar - double the amount of people who would give their number to the same man when he was empty-handed.

But this technique only works if your [sic] a man, women are not seen any more or less attractive if they carry a musical instrument.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

H. PYLORI REDUX? Antibiotics could cure 40% of chronic back pain patients.


Gun crime has plunged in the United States since its peak in the middle of the 1990s, including gun killings, assaults, robberies and other crimes, two new studies of government data show.

Yet few Americans are aware of the dramatic drop, and more than half believe gun crime has risen, according to a newly released survey by the Pew Research Center.

Let alone Europeans...

Monday, May 06, 2013

"SMILE IF YOU'RE EUROPEAN. It’s all relative: why it’s not so bad to be European after all." Not yet, buddy; not yet. More seriously, he does have a point.

Friday, May 03, 2013

THE LATEST Evian commercial is really brilliant:

WSJ VS. RAJOY: "Madrid's attempts to take a bigger chunk from a shrinking pie aren't working out too well."


The Segway. The Bluetooth headset. The pocket protector.

What do these three technologies have in common? They all pretty much work as promised. They all seem like good ideas on paper. And they’re all too dorky to live.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

CITI: These 10 Technologies Are Completely Changing The World



HEARTWARMER OF THE DAY: blind and disabled 16-year-old girl sings "Star Spangled Banner" before a game.