Saturday, June 17, 2017


We are not far from the point where the deliberately organized forces of society may destroy those spontaneous forces which have made advance possible.--Hayek

Ancient “hobbits” recently discovered in Indonesia were not an early form of modern human--or a form of dwarfism--but an entirely different species, scientists have found.
Experts initially believed the Homo Floresiensis – or Flores man – were just a shrunken variety of early humans. But a study by The Australian National University (ANU) found the race were most likely a different species altogether.
Researchers think they were related to a sister species of Homo habilis – one of the earliest known ancestors of modern mankind which lived in Africa 1.75 million years ago.

O'Reilly's departure from FOX creates some interesting problems. He was an entertainer, not a spokesman for conservatism, but I do think he brought some organization to government criticism which the country does not really have.

Data from the Environmental Protection Agency show that, from 1995-2015, levels of every air pollutant it monitors saw steady declines, to the point where they are at or below national standards.

Carbon monoxide levels plunged 72% over those years; nitrogen dioxide fell 45%; ozone, 24%; soot, 37%; sulfur dioxide, 73%; and lead declined 93%.
The sharp reduction in sulfur dioxide emissions "significantly reduced damage to water quality in lakes and streams, and improved the health of ecosystems and forests," according to the EPA.
The share of children tested who showed high levels of lead in their blood dropped from close to 8% in 1995 to just 0.5% by 2015.

An interesting idea from Loasby: Since each organization embodies a particular cluster of ideas, we might derive from [Karl] Popper’s advice to let our ideas die instead of ourselves the recommendation to let organizations die, as an aid to the growth of knowledge. "let our ideas die instead of ourselves....." Could you substitute "ideals for "ideas?"

An interesting conversation with a stewardess who lives for shot periods during layovers in the very expensive San Francisco area repeated by Henderson: "She explained that 18 flight attendants share a 3-bedroom apartment near SFO. She said it's illegal, but I don't know whether that means that the local government has a regulation forbidding it or it means that it violates the rental contract. I asked her what the maximum number of people sleeping overnight it is at any one time. The most she's seen is 7: two in each bedroom and one on the couch. Her share of the rent: $420."

I at any rate shall not be suspected of undervaluing the benefits of a free trade. Commerce is an interchange of conveniences and luxuries.  In proportion as the market is extended, the people of every country are enabled to make the best division of their labour, and the most advantageous use of their exertions.  Not only does it enable them to procure better and cheaper commodities, which, if there be no other means of getting, they can make themselves, but it furnishes them with the means of getting other commodities, which but for foreign commerce they would never get at all; their climate being unfitted to their production.--From a letter from Ricardo to T.R. Malthus circa 1820.

Nuclear Pamplona: American and Canadian fighter planes scrambled to intercept two Russian TU-95 “Bear” bombers Thursday night, marking the fourth consecutive night of Russian probes near the Alaskan coast, U.S. defense officials said Friday.

At no point did the Russian aircraft cross into American or Canadian airspace, but the incursions into the Air Identification Zones — which extend beyond the territorial waters of the U.S. and Canada — represent a sharp increase in activity in the area, which has seen no Russian activity at all since 2015. The flights may also herald the return of Moscow’s 60-year-old nuclear capable bomber to the international stage, after the entire fleet was grounded in 2015 after a rash of accidents.
Baiting the bear. Just waiting for a stupid,dangerous accident.
Anyone who believes that we can afford collectively what we cannot afford individually is delusional.--Kling

Who is...Steven Chu?

“In the past, we’ve lost secrets to foreign adversaries,” retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, a former director of both the CIA and the NSA, said in an interview. “Now we’ve got the self-motivated insider that is our most important counterintelligence challenge.”

For some reason the Mannings and Snowden--and the Rosenbergs--of the world have no anxiety about sworn enemies to the nation. Indeed the Rosenbergs proclaimed that they wanted to improve the balance of power between the more dominant U.S. and the less able Russian state.
In September 2008, Steven Chu, who would go on to become Obama's secretary of energy, told the Wall Street Journal that, "Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe." Who thought the government would see its job as creating scarcity for its citizens?

A strange March, in this time of marches, on April 22: The March for Science. It is creepy to see the politicization of science but maybe everything that isn't entertainment is politics and we might well have to live with it. One hero who will be there is Bill Nye,  best known for his children’s show, “Bill Nye the Science Guy.” Nye has a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Cornell.

Nye was a contestant in the 17th season of Dancing with the Stars in 2013.

Golden oldie:
There has been a lot of talk about the value of education, how it is the path to the middle class and how American citizens are suffering o...
Well before this year's full spring California snowmelt, over 50 million acre-feet of water had already drained out to sea. The lost freshwater was greater than the capacity of all existing (and now nearly full) man-made reservoirs in the state, and its loss will make it harder to deal with the next inevitable drought.

Central banks (ECB & BoJ) have bought $1 trillion of financial assets just in the first four months of 2017, which amounts to $3.6 trillion annualized, "the largest CB buying on record."

A financial bubble is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when an asset class becomes overvalued and is accompanied by an obsession or preoccupation with that asset class. For example one might argue that the U.S. stock market is overbought but there is clearly no preoccupation with it. By that standard the only real asset price bubbles out there are in residential real estate in Canada, Australia, and Sweden.

The guy who shot the French officers in Paris has a more complex history than originally reported. The Paris prosecutor
Francois Molins says Cheurfi was known to police and judiciary forces and had been convicted for previous gun attacks on law enforcement officers going back 16 years, including conviction for attempted murder on a state representative in 2001. Cheurfi served 10 years in prison after firing on two plainclothes officers in 2001 as they tried to apprehend him in a stolen car. While in detention, he shot and wounded a prison officer after seizing his gun

Chinese state-backed hackers have recently targeted South Korean entities involved in deploying a U.S. missile-defense system, says an American cybersecurity firm, despite Beijing’s denial of retaliation against Seoul over the issue. (WSJ)

The journal Tumor Biology is retracting 107 research papers after discovering that the authors faked the peer review process.

The highly secretive meeting being held in Queenstown recently is a gathering of intelligence and security agencies related to the Five Eyes spying network, according to the NZ  Herald.
Among the people believed to be attending are Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) director James Comey and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director Mike Pompeo.
It is understood about 15 agencies which carry out intelligence for Five Eyes - the spying partnership of the United States, Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and New Zealand - are attending the conference.
Spies have conferences?

In February, the CBC, (Canada's national broadcaster), revealed DNA test results which indicated the chicken used in Subway Restaurants' sandwiches only contained about 50% chicken. Now, Subway is suing the public broadcaster for $210 million, because "its reputation and brand have taken a hit as a result of the CBC reports.

For those of you worried about the current administration, this from Hayek, quoting J.A. Wheeler from an article in American Scientist, 1956: "Our whole problem is to make the mistakes as fast as possible."

AAAAAaaaaannnnnnddddddd.....Wedding day photograph of Abraham and Mary taken November 4, 1842 in Springfield, Illinois:

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