Posted by Dyskolos in blogs & zines 9 years ago
One of the duties of the modern nation-state is persuasion. Each state aims to keep its citizens convinced of the legitimacy of its rule. The state may be run chiefly for the enrichment of a few at the cost of the many, but the endurance of the state is widely thought to depend on its ability to sell its rule to the many as a common-sense truism. Or at least that was how it used to work. We may be entering a new era in the evolution of the state, one where the state approaches a state of utter shamelessness.  
It seems to me that over the past decade, in the United States, the state and a narrow circle of powerful interests—banks, energy companies, and private health insurers in particular—have simply given up trying to persuade the rest of us that their interests were our interests. Could we be moving in the twenty-first century to a state that practices domination without hegemony? Or, to put it in plain English, will the state shamelessly turn itself completely over to serving the interests of a powerful few without bothering to pretend that it's not? And if it does, how should we respond?
cc: government, the biz
Posted by SpearmintFur in the wired 10 years ago
Turn short, easy to remember URLs into unnecessarily long URLs with Charles Dickens passages. becomes (from "A Tale of Two Cities").
A Media Matters study of Sunday talk shows and 12 cable news programs from January 25 through February 8 found that few economists have been given time on television to talk about the economic recovery plan. During 139 1/2 hours of programming in which the economic recovery legislation was discussed, economists made 25 guest appearances out of a total of 460 -- only 5 percent.  
Media Matters purposefully used a broad definition of "economist" to be inclusive, coding as an economist any guest who has a master's degree or doctorate in economics or who has served as an economics professor at a university or college, as best as we could determine. (All current members of Congress were coded as non-economists.)
Over seven days our writers recommend the best books to read about crime, war, fantasy, travel, science fiction, family and love.
Big Head Press
Posted by SpearmintFur in it's the arts 11 years ago
Publishers of "thoughtful stories", generally with a sci-fi and anarcho-capitalism bent.  
Check out especially Roswell, Texas, an alternate history graphic novel where David Crockett lived and won the Battle of Alamo won, establishing a Texan Republic and they race against the French Empire and others to find a recently crashed flying saucer. Also, there's The Probablity Broach, a graphic novel adaptation of the novel about a man who travels to an alternate timeline where Shay's Rebellion succeeded, Washington was publicly executed, and a government based on the Articles of Confederation succeeded. Best of all, you can read the stories online for FREE.  
[anarchy day]
Q: What the fastest time that anyone has ever eaten a Quadruple Bypass Burger?  
A: Joey Chestnut devoured the Quadruple Bypass Burger in only 1 minute and 47 seconds!
In a 'manual' which is officially to be released only to 'students from foreign countries on a case-by-case basis only', the US Army outlines a program of what it now calls 'irregular warfare', in fact US state sponsored terrorism, insurgency, and PSYOPS.  
The US Army document, cited above, is an arrogant, imperialistic and ill-considered response to a growing 'threat' --but a threat that is posed only to US monopolists and death merchants, i.e., the Military/Industrial Complex, a fancy name for Murder, Inc. The US has, in fact, squandered the limitless goodwill that had been extended our nation at the end of World War II.
The Constitution is not an instrument for the government to restrain the people, it is an instrument for the people to restrain the government-- lest it come to dominate our lives and interests. -- Patrick Henry
Wacky Japanese Stuff
Posted by johnny2000 in strangely funny 11 years ago
Hello and welcome to my ongoing documentation of strange and unusual, crazy, funny, and sometimes just simply interesting products, services and events from Japan.
Public displays of untidiness, such as graffiti, may promote bad behavior, but when it comes to personal cleanliness the opposite appears to be true. A study just published in Psychological Science by Simone Schnall of the University of Plymouth and her colleagues shows that washing with soap and water makes people view unethical activities as more acceptable and reasonable than they would if they had not washed themselves.
Carl, a Florida native now living overseas, is afraid to move back to the United States. That's because he can't afford to pay his student loans.  
Carl (who doesn't want his last name used) stopped making his $450 monthly payments after his family incurred some unexpected medical expenses, and his $55,000 private loans went into default. That's when the phone calls from debt collectors started, and Carl decided not to come back.  
"It was made clear that if I ever came home, I'm screwed," says Carl.
Recently, the American public was issued a challenge by the folks at KFC. The fast-food joint argues in its latest commercial that you cannot "create a family meal for less than $10." Their example is the "seven-piece meal deal," which includes seven pieces of fried chicken, four biscuits, and a side dish -- in this case, mashed potatoes with gravy. This is meant to serve a family of four.  
I'm not really a competitive soul, but this was one challenge I could not resist. When it comes to food, America has been sold a bill of goods. We've been flimflammed, bamboozled, hoodwinked. We've been tricked into thinking that cooking is a chore, like washing windows, to be avoided if at all possible, and then done only grudgingly and when absolutely necessary. On the contrary, cooking is a vital, spiritual act that should be performed with a certain reverence. After all, we are providing sustenance to the ones we love -- can anything be more important?  
nonetheless long YUM BRANDS ...
This course is an introduction to game theory and strategic thinking. Ideas such as dominance, backward induction, Nash equilibrium, evolutionary stability, commitment, credibility, asymmetric information, adverse selection, and signaling are discussed and applied to games played in class and to examples drawn from economics, politics, the movies, and elsewhere.  
This Yale College course, taught on campus twice per week for 75 minutes, was recorded for Open Yale Courses in Fall 2007.
When Nassim Taleb talks about the limits of statistics, he becomes outraged. "My outrage," he says, "is aimed at the scientist-charlatan putting society at risk using statistical methods. This is similar to iatrogenics, the study of the doctor putting the patient at risk." As a researcher in probability, he has some credibility. In 2006, using FNMA and bank risk managers as his prime perpetrators, he wrote the following:  
The government-sponsored institution Fannie Mae, when I look at its risks, seems to be sitting on a barrel of dynamite, vulnerable to the slightest hiccup. But not to worry: their large staff of scientists deemed these events "unlikely."  
In the following Edge original essay, Taleb continues his examination of Black Swans, the highly improbable and unpredictable events that have massive impact. He claims that those who are putting society at risk are "no true statisticians", merely people using statistics either without understanding them, or in a self-serving manner. "The current subprime crisis did wonders to help me drill my point about the limits of statistically driven claims," he says.  
Taleb, looking at the cataclysmic situation facing financial institutions today, points out that "the banking system, betting against Black Swans, has lost over 1 Trillion dollars (so far), more than was ever made in the history of banking".  
dedicated to my 'wonderful' statistics teachers @ my time @ the university of vienna, especially Mr. Bruckmann, who later became a member of the austrian parliament for the conservative Volkspartei
It began with an awkward phone call: "Would you like to, um, go bowling with me?"  
"Go what?"  
"Go... uh... bowling. Would you like to bowl with me? I'll pay for everything, of course."  
"You just want to go bowling?" She was incredulous.  
"Yeah, I'll go bowling with you. What time do you want to go?"  
So it was set. My first date with a prostitute would be at a bowling alley in west Broward. We could talk about whatever she wanted. Do whatever she felt like doing. As long as it didn't involve anything even close to sex.  
It had to be one of the weirder propositions she'd heard. Call it some sort of half-baked sociological experiment: What happens when you take a hooker on a regular date? What happens when you share a walk on the beach or a piece of pizza instead of, oh, something that ends in job?
747 Turned into Hostel
Posted by bear in destinations 11 years ago
Jumbo jets are magnificent machines, but when they go to die they bake in the desert, perhaps get converted into houses, or scrapped. At the same time, people are sleeping on airport floors as airlines go bankrupt, overbook or get caught in changing weather patterns.  
So what could be more logical than to take an old jumbo and turn it into a hotel?