Categories 21

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 09,2021
  • EU majority vote against mass surveillance through facial recognition

    ... such as that used by police. It's called 'biometric surveillance.'

    It's not a law against, that they voted for. It's more of a statement against the idea.

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 05,2021
  • Tesla ordered to pay $137M to ex-worker over hostile work environment

    He was an elevator operator who said someone or people did racial abuse to him.
     
    What percentage of people would you guess would willingly have someone do racial abuse to them for even $137?
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 28,2021
  • R. Kelly found guilty

    Groupies going backstage and getting the performer's number and hooking up were recast by the court/media as victims being groomed. Kelly's wife, a person he loved, was also treated as a crime.

    It was reported as a victory for the MeToo movement.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 20,2021
  • China, famous 'MeToo' case thrown out

    3 years ago, a TV station employee alleged a prominent TV host groped her and used force to kiss her when she was an intern under him. She sued him for damages, and he countersued for damage of his reputation.

    The trial she initiated ended today with the finding that she had not shown enough evidence to prove her boss had done so. The accused was not 'even' required to come to court to testify. Some feminists and others considered the trial something of a Chinese MeToo thing.

    The woman, Zhou Xiaoxuan, said it was worth it either way, and she knew the outcome could have gone either way. "I am very honored to have gone through this together with everyone.'

    She will appeal, she said.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 12,2021
  • Canadian govts go for mandatory vaccines

    ... but there were large protests outside city halls and hospitals over the freedom to chose. A further concern has to do with people not feeling the vaccines currently being offered are not adequately tested, we don't know enough about them, and they don't feel comfortable putting it in their bodies.

    Legally, people have the freedom to choose they don't want a vaccine, according to Canadian employment lawyer Lior Samfiru. It can't be forced on them. He said it's actually a human rights violation (to require a medical procedure and also to distinguish between people who have and don't have Covid) as well. He said it's not legal for employers to impose it on employees, and if they let employees for this they are liable to pay severance (possibly up to 2 years). Samfiru said people who challenge their employers have a good chance of success.

    In the US, however, it might be different. Dorit Reiss, law professor at the University of California Hastings, told CNBC there was a history of vaccine mandates in the workplace. Health care employers have required vaccines, and some restaurants have required Hep A vaccines. Employment is at will, which means the employer gets to set many of the workplace rules, and vaccine rules are health and safety rules, making the workplace safer. But there is a question whether the government can mandate a vaccine under an emergency authorization (which it is currently under in the US). However, the EUA only limits the Federal government and doesn't say anything about other employers. Citizens don't have constitutional rights against employers, although they may have some legal rights.

     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 20,2021
  • New China data privacy law

    ... goes into effect Nov. 1.

    It targets digital companies. Collecting a lot of random info on users in order to 'provide a better service' seems it'll be not as available to businesses. The restrictions in the bill target businesses and don't really apply to the CCP.

    Under the law, companies are required to only collect the minimal amount of data for a service, and must obtain consent for collecting sensitive info (like biometrics), offer easy opt-out options, and if they want to transfer data overseas they have to get govt approval first.

    Does this put China ahead of the West in internet privacy?

     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 06,2021
  • Some Afghanis are fleeing to cities to escape new Taliban law

    'If they don't kill us today, they'll kill us tomorrow,' a husband told a wife who worked as a teacher for years before being promoted to principal, after death threats began. She worked at a government-run school in an increasingly Taliban-controlled town. Schools are attacked by rockets and suicide bombers sometimes. The Taliban have their own schools. The couple moved to the city where Taliban holds no real sway, although some of her sons remained in the town.

    A typical punishment for women: public whippings for an unmarried woman talking on the phone with a man. A married woman who did something similar could be hanged.

    A local government head sitting at a local trial said to France24: 'Today, just like yesterday, all Taliban decisions must be in harmony with Islamic law. Whether it be stoning to death, decapitation, or mutilation of the hand, these are strong principles of Islam. They're strong principles of Sharia. And we will never change thm until judgement day.'

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 30,2021
  • Hong Kong man jailed 'under national security law'

    The man, during pro-democracy protests in HK against the Chinese government, purposefully rode his superbike at a line of police. He carried a flag which read 'Liberate Hong Kong.'

    Western media is headlining this as the first person to be charged under Hong Kong's new national security law, and highlighting the law's restrictions on protest slogans that are 'capable of inciting others,' on secessionist activity, and that without a guilty plea there should be no leniency.

    ... despite this man's actions being clearly not just protest oriented.

    This may logically make China appear unfairly presented, and give China a valid claim to such. American commenters on the story noted that the man would probably have been gunned down by US police if he tried that in NY. ... However, China may follow this trial of what many consider an aggressive act with trials of peaceful protesters, journalists (which reportedly it has lined up about 30 of them), etc.

    9 years. He will appeal.

    (following this video clip, the motorbike was on the ground with police surrounding him. It appears he slowed and turned to the side and did not hit any police once he charged up close to them.)

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 22,2021
  • Tanzania government rounds up members of opposition party, talk they might charge them with terrorism

    Previous VP now president after death of previous president extending authoritarian tendencies used by previous president?

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 19,2021
  • Design trolls lose another lawsuit over their copyrights

    Design Basics is a website that uploads lots of house plans, copyrights them, then sues home builders (they've sued over 100 in recent years).

    Introduction from KANNE, SCUDDER, Circuit Judge:

    Copyright law protects individual expression while encouraging creativity and maintaining the public interest in spreading ideas. In recent years, however, a cottage industry of opportunistic copyright holders—earning the derisive moniker “intellectual property trolls”—has emerged, in which a troll enforces copyrights not to protect expression, but to extract payments through litigation. Design Basics, LLC fits that bill.

    The firm, which holds copyright in 2 Nos. 18-3202, 19-3118 & 20-1515 several thousand single-family home floor plans, has brought over 100 infringement suits against home builders in recent years. But many defendants—the targets of the settlement-extraction scheme—are starting to push back. This case is a good example.

    We have affirmed dismissal of Design Basics’s lawsuits twice in recent years. See Design Basics LLC v. Signature Con-struction, Inc., 994 F.3d 879 (7th Cir. 2021); Design Basics, LLC v.Lexington Homes, Inc.,858 F.3d 1093 (7th Cir. 2017). We do so again today. In dismissing Design Basics’s copyright in-fringement suit against the Kerstiens family’s home building business, the district court recognized that the firm has a thin copyright in its plans because they consist largely of standard features found in homes across America. We agree and affirm.

    #Copyright #Design #Trolling

    Design Basics, LLC v. Kerstiens Homes & Designs, Inc, No. 18-3202 (7th Cir. 2021)
     
  • Climate litigation on rise

    ... like the German case on human rights climate grounds.

    Norway is facing a climate suit (from Friends of the Earth) for its plans to drill in the Arctic.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 30,2021
  • Bill Cosby released, conviction overturned (vacated) on rights issue

    ... after serving 2 years of his 5 - 10, sentenced for giving quaaludes to a woman who said he later sexually assaulted her.

    The judge said Cosby's due process rights had been seriously violated in the trial because a prosecutor had made a deal with Cosby under the table, after which Cosby in his statement included that he had given quaaludes to a woman he was pursuing years earlier.

    Some have said the judge with this move has set a precedent that, although police are notoriously allowed to lie to pursue convictions, when a prosecutor makes a deal saying he won't prosecute that's basically equivalent to an immunity deal. If later judges follow his lead. However, I don't know that DAs were ever allowed to lie to get testimony the way police currently are.

    Another option the court could have taken is to send the case down for another trial, without using the evidence the judge said he didn't like.

    From the ruling: "In accordance with the advice his attorneys, Cosby relied upon D.A. Castor’s publicannouncement that he would not be prosecuted. His reliance was reasonable, and itresulted in the deprivation of a fundamental constitutional right when he was compelledto furnished self-incriminating testimony. Cosby reasonably relied upon theCommonwealth’s decision for approximately ten years. When he announced hisdeclination decision on behalf of the Commonwealth, District Attorney Castor knew thatCosby would be forced to testify based upon the Commonwealth’s assurances. Knowingthat he induced Cosby’s reliance, and that his decision not to prosecute was designed todo just that, D.A. Castor made no attempt in 2005 or in any of the ten years that followedto remedy any misperception or to stop Cosby from openly and detrimentally relying uponthat decision. In light of these circumstances, the subsequent decision by successorD.A.s to prosecute Cosby violated Cosby’s due process rights. No other conclusioncomports with the principles of due process and fundamental fairness to which all aspectsof our criminal justice system must adhere."

    However, legal professionals have asked whether Cosby should be saved from bad legal advice to wave his fifth, which he may have done in the interest of not looking guilty in front of the jury.


     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 29,2021
  • Mexico decriminalized recreational marijuana

    ... by video conference, the Supreme Court 'recognized the right to the recreational use of marijuana.'

    It's still not legal. The Supreme Court can just cross out unconstitutional laws. Legalization (rules for consuming, growing and selling) is for the Senate and Congress.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 16,2021
  • Word is both sides of US Congress is taking aim at Big Tech

    Usually, they seem quite antagonistic but people say they're aligning on this issue.

    Antitrust bills.

  • DOJ used powers to legally spy on Journalists and elected members of Congress

    We don't know everything about the story, or what led to the Trump admin investigating journalists, because of the US's secrecy (even in its court trials).

    Rather than investigating the journalists, they went to the tech companies that had the emails and other information and served them not only a warrant for the information, but a gag order (non-disclosure order). Once the gag orders expired, companies were able to notify the journalists.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 13,2021
  • right to speak from his expertise and experience.  

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  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 08,2021
  • Pandora Papers

    (Filed under ¿Journalism? rather than under Journalism)

    Many many documents were leaked, not showing illegal activity or wrongdoing, but simply how wealthy people move money and make purchases.

    Things like photos of homes that the owners wanted to keep private were shown. Anyone wanting to rob them can say "Thanks."

    People like Ringo Star are in it. Everyone knows he's rich, knows how he made money, and he's not suspected of wrongdoing.

    Types of documents in the leaks: passports, bank statements, tax declarations, company and corp records, real estate contracts and due diligence questionnaires.

    The way this data data was taken from lawyers offices and financial firms was most likely illegal, it is considered.

    The org that published (or gave to 600 journalists to pick through) the leak was the ICJ.

     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 31,2021
  • Funny or interesting headlines this month

    Afghanistan will return to 'safe haven for terrorism': Retired Brigadier General Kimmitt : CNBC

    French youth: Politically active but not voting : France24
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 13,2021
  • Nicaragua newspaper out of paper

    They can't get more imported, and they expressed doubts about the reason. They said they'd continue to publish online. The paper is La Prensa.

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 21,2021
  • Some funny or interesting headlines this month

    'Biden’s Against Hate-Crimes, Unless They Are In Israel' | By Robert Inlakesh : RT

    Blinken vows to support journalists - critics raise Assange case (regarding the Secretary of State's 'defense' of Iran-critical VOA journalist Masih Alinejad) : RT

    Haiti president assassination suspects trained by Pentagon : RT (This is completely false and not journalism - the report was just about that the assassins had some American training or something in their lives, not that the Pentagon had anything to do with the assassination.)

    9/11 families want Biden to declassify documents or stay away from 20-year memorials: CNBC (Bush, Obama, Trump admins all declined to release them. The DoJ is likely to order a review of them, while they have been classified under the state secrets)

    US Spent $89 Billion & 20 Years Building Afghan Army and All of It was Toppled in Just Days : The Free Thought Project


     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 08,2021
  • Saudi Arabia is going to have a news platform with a studio in DC.

    It will have journalists who were formerly part of AJ, Fox, NBC, and Sirius XM. It is expected before the end of the year.

    It's part of a new lobbying effort aimed at the White House and Congress.

    This is according to the DOJ: SA's foreign lobbying disclosures.

    The news org will be owned by Taqnia ETS, a SA-based subsidiary of SA's $400b PIF (Public Investment Fund). Taqnia is supervised by the Saudi Ministry of Info.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 26,2021
  • Americans trust in news down to 29%

    According to Digital News Report's study of many countries. US trusted their news the least of all countries included. Canadians trusted their news 45%. Finlanders trusted theirs the most at 65%.

    The US level has declined steadily from 40% in 2017, and it is thought to be due in part to the pandemic, the media relationship with Trump, and increasingly prioritizing their audience's preferences or reactions to presenting quality news.

    The business model of creating hate and outrage to sell news to a particular demographic is considered to probably continue to increase, according to some analysts.


     

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  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 25,2021
  • Hostage diplomacy worked for China

    ... The Huawei exec who's been under house arrest in Vancouver for a couple years on request by America (they said she bypassed their embargo on Iran, I think, and wanted her deported to the US. She's been arguing against deportation from Canada since then).

    Shortly after the exec's detention, China detained two Canadians, saying they were spying. (It sounds like they were never charged, just detained until now).

    Shortly after the exec recently made a deal with the US and was released by Canada to return to China, China released the two Canadian men.

    "Because it was so blatently a form of hostage diplomacy I think people are going to start thinking about how they deal with China. ... a major emerging power that doesn't really follow international law, so there's a lot of implications that need to be addressed." - Clifford Coonan

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 21,2021
  • Biden mentions ' relentless diplomacy' after 'relentless war' in Afghanistan, at UN meeting

    ... amid a speech full of platitudes about the most common topics. He also mentioned 'human rights' and the UN Charter, which might make some viewers at home laugh. The US targets and goals he mentioned were the same as the past eras, and with the same language of urgency (in allying with the US?).

    He mentioned "leading the world toward a more peaceful, prosperous future for ALL people. Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past we are fixing our eyes on [?Will we get something new or specific here? Nope.] devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future." Climate, pandemic, global power dynamics, trade, cyber, 'the threat of terrorism as it stands today,' were what he mentioned.

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 27,2021
  • Some say diplomacy in the US done less by (career) diplomats and more by people from political backgrounds

    Highlighted by the recent talks between China and the US in Anchorage, where the US government was represented by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in which the US reportedly brought a list of demands/complaints against China, and which didn't go over very well with the Chinese.

    Now Wendy Sherman will head a mission to China. China may send only lower level officials to talk to her.

    Wendy Sherman is a diplomat and politician since the Clinton presidency, and also active under Hillary.

    But the question being raised is 'How much does Sherman know about China or Chinese?' She might have some superficial armchair knowledge, but no real competency, it is thought.

    The Russians and Chinese do use career diplomats, real career professionals.

    This idea came to our attention by a vlog by Alexander Mercouris.

    US is criticized for trying to 'coerce' China into doing things the US wants. Treating China as an adversary or enemy, and only talking to China really when the US wants it to do something.

    China's diplomacy

    China has also been considered to alienate its global partners through it's foreign policy. China frequently makes criticisms of America that are a great stretch, such as equating China's current human rights abuses with those that took place in America 100 years ago.

    China's 'wolf warrior diplomacy,' where it acts forcefully abroad, may be popular within China, but it may be alienating other countries, including Asian countries (reported rise in anti-Chinese sentiment in the region). What place do wolves have in society?

    'I think (the non-issuance of Chinese visas to US students, due reportedly to China's non-infection policy during the pandemic, while China wants removed the US political sanction on Chinese students who want to study in the US) is a good thing actually. The US side should put forward such demands, such concerns, because this is engagement. The US side will say, "I want Beijing to do this and that," the Chinese side will say, "I want Washington to do this and that." In this way, we can cooperate and reduce their concerns," commented Qinduo Xu of Pangoal and CGTN.

      

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  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 27,2021
  • Some scientific organizations now will censor themselves on anything that gives offense to others

    Reportedly, the Royal Society of Chemistry issued a letter to its editors to keep from publishing offensive content, which included the words, 'we bear in mind that it is the perception of the recipient that we should consider, regardless of the author's intention' and that they should look for anything that could potentially cause offense.

    They explicitly say what is offensive content: 'Any content that could reasonably offend someone on the basis of their age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religeous or political beliefs, marital or parental status, physical features, national origin, social status, or disability.'

  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 02,2021

  • People know, or at least reveal info about, their friends and family more accurately than about themselves, researchers say.

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 01,2021
  • New material lattice

    ... which looks similar to a 3d honeycomb, and whose cells have 14 sides each, 3d printed from flexible polymer, then heated until only pure carbon remained.

    They shot sand-like particles at the lattice (similar to what space debris does). At low speeds it bounced off. At high speeds it gouged out craters, crushing the lattice, and remained lodged in the material (didn't pierce the material).



     
  • 'Time neurons' that help brain know when something happened (episodic memory)

    "The activity of the population of hippocampal cells allowed for decoding one temporal epoch from another."


    Human hippocampal neurons track moments in a sequence of events - Leila Reddy et al. at the French national research agency CNRS in Toulouse
     
  • 3d printing tiny lattices water climbs up

    The lattice cells are only 1mm wide.

    New printers are allowing for tiny cells to be printed which, similar to the way trees use capillary action and surface tension to draw water upwards from roots to leaves (which was the model copied here), overcome a problem we have when we try to use liquids (and gasses), which is that we have only been able to use a small part of their mass as their exposed surfaces (like the surface of a container of water). If we can arrange the liquid to have more surface, we can increase its ability to perform things like cooling and exchanging gasses.

    The lattices not only increase the amount of water we can have facing outward. They also bypass the downward pull of gravity (and in the future we'll be able to control the path the liquid takes along a lattice design).


     
  • May, 2021
  • May 01,2021
  • Convicts in private prisons serve 90 days longer than public prisons

    This is about 5% longer.

    In private prisons, the company's contract has it that they are payed a per diem for each occupied bed.

    "The delayed release erodes half of the cost savings offered by private contracting and is linked to the greater likelihood of conduct violations in private prisons. The additional days served do not lead to apparent changes in inmate recidivism," according to the author.*

    Mukherjee, Anita. "Impacts of Private Prison Contracting on Inmate Time Served and Recidivism."

     
  • How much is a dollar difference?

    A lot more than a dollar, according to research that concluded that Americans pay an average $33 more on auto loans, after analyzing a data set of 35m such loans.

    People perceive the difference between prices that end in 9 and one number higher that ends in 0 as being more different that just one dollar. This is especially true with numbers ending in 99 and 00.

    *An Empirical Bargaining Model with Left-Digit Bias: A Study on Auto Loan Monthly Payments. Zhenling Jiang

  • Conversations don't end when we want them to

    In fact, on average they last twice as long as desired, according to some new research at Harvard, which concluded that the reason for this is a 'coordination problem': conversants have no idea when their partner wants to end and think their partner wants to keep going.

    The reason for this 'unsolvable' problem is that conversants require information they usually keep from each other to know when to end a discussion.

    We usually end conversations through highly routine practices, they noted, such as re-stating the reason they started the conversation ("Well, I just wanted to see you you were doing") or making arrangements ("So let's sort out what time on Monday").

    *Do conversations end when people want them to? Adam M. Mastroianni et al.

  • Wasp benefits

    UC London and U East Anglia researchers studying wasps ave found that while people generally hate them, that hate is in large part due to ignorance about the benefits they bring.

    Their recent study points out that wasps are effective pest controllers. There are 33,000 wasp species. Some are specialized in which aphids, caterpillars or other insects they hunt as food, and can be used as pest control for crops that have to deal with those specific insects. Other wasps hunt insects more generally and can be used for multi-crop farms.

    They're also important pollinators, and some plant species are completely dependent on wasps for reproduction.

    There is also some evidence, although not much as yet, about various values of wasps for making medicine and as a food source.

    *Ryan E. Brock, Alessandro Cini, Seirian Sumner. Ecosystem services provided by aculeate wasps.

     

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  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 18,2021
  • Dan Ellsberg interviewed by Tutsi Gabbard (US Rep Hawaii)

    (In 2019 or 2020)

    "I was the first person charged under the charges he [Assange I think he's talking about] is now facing. But I was charged as a source, and there wasn't one for 10 years after that. ... and then 3 and 9 and 1 other. There were 3 cases and then 9 under Obama. They were all either plea bargains or won in court. It's never gone to the Supreme Court.

    "Mainly they were sources like me, and they were using the Espionage Act, which was designed for spies, and has no provision in it for pleading any public interest. You can't argue in court. I wasn't allowed to speak in court to answer the question--I spoke for four and a half days--but I wasn't allowed to answer the question, 'Why did you copy the Pentagon Papers?'

    "So my lawyer, a consitution lawyer, said, 'Your honor, I've never heard of a case where the defendant was not allowed to tell the jury why he did what he did,' and Judge Burns said, 'Well, you're hearing one now,' and that's been true of every case since then..

    "So you can't get a fair trial as a whistleblower. ... you can't say anything about what the impact has been, whether there was harm, what you wanted to accomplish.

    "But it was never meant to be an official secrets act, a British type official secret s act. ... and in fact they said at the time, in 1917 when they passed this, we don't want an official secret act. The question was could you use it against a source like me. Well, that never had been done since 1917. So it was an experiment with me.

    ... But the new thing about this [Assange] is that it's the first time a journalist has been tried as a defendent, and that makes it into a full British official secrets act.

    "So it's not even just that he can't argue motives effectively, as a journalist he should not be ... it's always been clear to papers that sources, like me, should not be tried under the Espionage Act where they can't plead public interest at all. But the newspapers never got behind us very much.
     
  • Aug, 2021
  • Aug 06,2021
  • Apple to put software on iPhones that will scan all photos user-side

    ... unlike things Microsoft and Dropbox currently do, which is scan images people upload to their cloud storage, Apple has said they are going to actually scan users phones themselves. They cited 'harm against children' as their auspice.

    Commenters have pointed out that in addition to just being privacy-invading and certain to lead to governments around the world monitoring journalists, dissidents, and everyone else, it means there will be unknown people in a room somewhere reviewing any photos they take of their children being bathed in a sink, etc.

    Commenters say it marks a change in direction for Apple, who had built a (somewhat dubious but somewhat popular) rep as going against attempts to invade their customer's privacy.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 28,2021
  • Turkish underworld figure, hiding out in Dubai, is blogging regularly about the dirt on Turkish politicians

    His name is Sedak Peker. Turks tune in every week for his updates, and the majority think there is at least some truth in them. Although many of the things he says are already known, that he is saying them and the evidence (although it seems there's not much in the way of evidence) makes people listen.

    His most recent video said he was now on a 'red list,' meaning there was a high chance he'd be killed, but said he would still do what he had said, which is talk about Erdogan. Erdogan has called it a 'conspiracy.'

    'People listen to him because the media here in Turkey has been silenced. They can't report many facts, so people prefer to believe what a Mafia leader says,' according to a DW Turkish Service worker.

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 26,2021
  • US seized and blocked 33 Iranian media websites

    The US justice dept said the publishers, including a channel used by Yemen's Houthi rebels and 3 websites using by a Hezbollah group in Iraq, were using the sites to spread misinformation.The domains for the sites are registered in the US.

    Iran recently elected a new president who reportedly has already ruled out meeting with Biden, while negotiators from Iran, the US, Russia, China and other countries are working on revising the 2015 nuclear deal. Negotiators reportedly are close to a deal that would bring Iran again into compliance.

    Some wonder if the action has the possibility to derail the negotiations.

    Some critics point out that there is a concern in turning the domain name system (DNS) into a tool of geopolitical info warfare because that threatens the integrity of the internet and the global network.

    "What the US did to Iranian websites was a breach of all principles of freedom of speech, which the United States is proud of." - Some guy not identified by RT

    Who gets to decide what is info and what is misinformation? The censor of the internet?

     

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  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 06,2021
  • "It started with Alex Jones. This is nothing new. And I think Alex Jones was the test case to see who you can silence under the pretext of 'protecting,' and they got away with it with Alex Jones, and it's only escalated since then." - David Freiheit

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  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 05,2021
  • "We do know that the immunity after vaccination is better than the immunity after natural infection"

    ... is what the FDA has been saying, which seems to contradict evidence and the opinion of experts. Unless 'better' in this sentence means something other than 'more effective.'

    They say 'it appears ... that natural infection provides immunity, but that immunity is seemingly not as strong and may not be as long lasting as that provided by the vaccine.'

    They say that 'generally the immunity after natural infection tends to wane after about 90 days.' Also contradicts science.

    It also contradicts the position of the UK and Israeli data.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 13,2021
  • Some experts disagree with US gov over booster

    Key FDA meeting coming up. The US gov plan is Sept 20, 8 months after the 2nd dose people can get a booster. FDA Commissioner Woodcock said "We conclude that a booster shot will be needed to maximize ... protection ..."

    In the Lancet today 2 doctors from the FDA (who have announced their retirements due to frustration over how the FDA is handling the booster plan) and 16 other scientists published a letter saying they think current protection is holding up so "Current evidence does not, therefore, appear to show a need for boosting in the general population."

     
  • Jul, 2021
  • Jul 01,2021
  • New way to lower blood pressure: Strength training breathing muscles

    You suck at a straw that has resistance to sucking. The current regimen being used by researchers is 30 inhalations per day at high resistance.

    "IMST can be done in five minutes in your own home while you watch TV."

    The benefits were significant. Systolic bp dropped 9 points on average (exceeding benefits of 30 minutes walking 5 days a week), and equivalent also to some bp-lowing drug regimens. 6 weeks after the 36 older adults tested quit the training, most of the health benefits remained. (They' got funding to do another test with 100 people.)

    It's not yet known how it works: How strengthening breathing muscles ends up lowering blood pressure. A guess they have is that it causes cell lining blood vessels to provide more nitric oxide, causing them to relax.

    It also strengthens diaphragm muscles.

    IMST stands for High-Resistance Inspiratory Muscle Strength Training.
     

  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 27,2021
  • Biohackers aim at producing $7 insulin, compared with $300 insulin from Big Pharma

    Reportedly, insulin costs $1.50 to $5 per vial to make, but is sold for around $300. Biohackers are working on reverse engineering insulin to produce a recipe they will make public, and say they will sell vials for $7.

    Three large companies own 90% of the insulin in the world. Novo Nordisk, Lilly, and Sanofi. Millions of people need insulin, and some can't afford what they need.

    The FDA wants to open the market for insulin, according to some, and therefore they will approve the molecules created by the 'biohackers' [Open Insulin project]. Once they complete their work, they will make the recipe public so community labs around the world can produce it locally.

    'There was a time for being angry,' said one of the Open Insulin workers, 'It's not anger anymore. It's just determination.'


  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 14,2021
  • Pakistani town HIV outbreak among children

    As it it a poor, rural town where the parents work every day from the early morning, it is proving difficult to administer medicine to the young children in Rato Daro (in Sindh) who may require it for life.

    The outbreak is believed to stem from one doctor who was using unclean needles a couple of years ago. Although he was punished in the legal system, many say he was scapegoated and the responsibility lies with the government for providing good medical equipment.

     
  • Jun, 2021
  • Jun 12,2021
  • FDA advisors are resigning because of Biogen's Alzheimer's drug approval

    The drug was approved, but when supporters were interviewed they couldn't say anything more compelling than that they were receiving the news positively because people suffered from Alzheimer's, without being able to say anything in favor of the drug itself.

    The drug came out a while back, and was not approved upon review last year (because no benefits were substantially proven, the FDA advisory board voted 10 against, 1 uncertain, 0 in favor), and since then nothing has changed, but the FDA decided to approve it now.

    It is rare for this type of decision to be overturned, and usually when it does happen, it's after a vote that is closer than the Biogen drug was.

    There are millions of potential consumers for the drug, and Biogen has priced it at $56,000 per year.

    Commenters said that after the third resignation, there might be some real attention on what's going on here.


    3 prestigious FDA advisors who quit:


     

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  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 24,2021
  • "When did this happen to us? When did housing turn into a commodity? Why is housing being traded on the stock market? How is it that a public good is being used to make such astronomical profits?"

    -Said by a Berlin resident who didn't move out of an apartment building, although they want him to move out (as every other tenant already has) to make room for them to demolish the building and build new apartments. He received threats and had his car set on fire, reportedly.

    Rents have skyrocketed as global investments have poured into Berlin real estate.

    A recent large referendum had 57% vote in favor of (who? the State? the city?) buying out companies who hold more than 3000 units. ("The most successful referendum in Berlin's history")

    There's a line in Article 15 in the German Constitution that says property can be expropriated when it's for the public good. (There are lots of other options to fix the problem besides expropriation, however.)

    It's a pattern that exists in most European cities. Demolishing old buildings and building new ones. Prices rising. Long term residents left with not much choice but to move elsewhere.

    How can we contrast 'a public good being turned into a commodity' with having enough money to satisfy the market and the possibility of lack of such money being treated as sufficient excuse to seize property without consent (which, you could argue, is frequently done by governments during land development)?

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 20,2021
  • Bitcoin ETF

    The first one the SEC let pass. Gensler hinted he's more comfortable with trading on an regulated futures exchanges like NYSE (where the Bitcoin ETF 'Proshares,' BITO, owned by ProFunds Group [$58b under management] is listed) than on Binance and that type of exchange.

    BITO is not based on actual Bitcoin, but rather on futures contracts, and filed under mutual funds rules that provide significant investor protections, according to SEC. The product already exists, and this is just a repackaging, and if something goes wrong the SEC knows how to deal with it and knows how to intervene.

    The futures in BITO are a bet on the price of bitcoin, without having to actually store bitcoin, so there's no risk of theft of coins or loss of passwords. If bitcoin goes down in price, your money goes to pay those who took the other side of the bet.

    The risk is taken by the arbitrageur who holds bitcoins he buys for full price plus a margin of 1/3rd. Ie a bitcoin which costs $60k means $80k for him. They do this because they charge for this service.

    The return for you of buying BITO is less than buying Bitcoin. It will tend to trade about 8% above the price of bitcoin. (Right now this premium is about 15%.) The ETF's management fee is about 1%.

    So why is this product even necessary? Some experts say 'institutional money.' Boomer investors who will never get a crypto wallet even if it's easy to do, but who have money to invest and want to put it in bitcoin. Josh Brown recently said Chicago investment culture is such that they would approve an ETF for anything as long as they thought people would put their money into it, or something like that.

    Bitcoin up steadily over the past months from it's 25k low (or 30 I forget) and is now at $55k (up several percent since BITO dropped).

      
  • Some restaurants using robots because they can't get workers

    In the US, 75 or 80% percent of restaurants are understaffed.

    Robo-chefs.

    Flippy-2 robot makes deep fried wings. The restaurants are looking at unlocking capacity: faster food for guests. Doing less desirable, more dangerous tasks. Costs now about $3000 per month (I don't know what that means exactly).

    Matri-D by Richtech delivers plates of food to tables. It's basically a robotic food tray. Costs up to $20k. Can serve more tables, customers get food faster, no tips.

    An Australian delivery robot delivers food from a mall to houses within a half a mile.

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 17,2021
  • 6% increase in social security benefits

    Highest increase in 40 years.

    Based on cost of living adjustment (COLA), based on actual government-reported inflation numbers. Retirees need the increase. The average check is going up about $100. Most people receive about $1200 a month on this.

    Ie, inflation. A 2% increase is considered to be high.

    6% is a non-sustainable number.

     
  • Several sectors in US seeing worker strikes

    Entertainment, health care, UAW.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 11,2021
  • Used fast fashion, low quality, doesn't find a market when it arrives in Africa

    15m items of used clothing arrive in just Ghana every week, sent from the first world. Lots of people go through this clothing to sell it in used clothing stores. More and more of what arrives is 'fast fashion,' which is low quality and doesn't last long.

    There are fields of garbage that include a lot of this clothing (estimated 40% of used clothing that arrives in Ghana goes there).

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 08,2021
  • "The global financial system needs legally stable tax-neutral jurisdictions in order to facilitate international business transactions, which in no way dodge any taxes." - Patrick Boyle, talking about offshore tax havens like BVI and Caymans, in light of the Pandora Papers.

    Governments like the US gov also use them, for investment like in the TARP program, which helped bring liquidity to the markets after the Global Financial Crisis.
  • India's coal

    Coal is 70% of India's energy mix (most mined domestically).

    India keeps adding lower and middle class energy consumers, who are buying goods like fans, lights, and TVs.

    Mines were flooded recently by monsoon rains.

    There is only a few days of coal stores. But it doesn't look like there will be a power outage.

    It's more a fear for businesses than homes.

    India has some solar, but solar outputs are reportedly declining.

     
  • Energy crisis in Europe?

    Some (especially Northwestern like Austria and Germany) nations keep low stocks of natgas, buying is on spot. These will drive the price up.

    This is based on capacity and ability to stock up over the past summer.

    Exposure to spot market rates.

    Asia is winning bidding wars with Europe for cargos.

    There is a question whether Russia really can deliver as much as it says it will. Russia is also looking to fill up its own storage.

    Spain suggested to the EU a shared reserve of energy for emergencies.

     
  • At some point, Chinese crackdown on companies will be more or less finished, and from that point there will be a more stable operating environment for a lot of companies.

    The next catalyst for Chinese stocks.

    CCP wants to see 'no further monopolistic behavior.'

     
  • Fantasia, a second big Chinese real estate firm, missed a big key payment
  • China power crunch

    As China came out of the pandemic, the economy recovered fast, which led to energy demand, which led to really rapid production of coal, which led to some mining examples. As a result, the gov put some safetly regulations on, which constrained coal mining production this year. Prices went up.

    Over the summer, local officials were really conscious of these issues and tried to coordinate with power companies to make sure power supply and demand would be balanced. But in September, demand was higher than expected.

    Also, wind and hydro were lower than expected in some areas.

    In some areas also, local officals were not meeting their energy intensity targets.

    This led to the CCP unilaterally deciding to cut power supply to certain sectors of the economy.

    At the heart of it is really 'local officials' decisions,' it was said.

    (Coal has been the best performing commodity this year price wise.)

     
  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 06,2021
  • Putin assured EU he has all the natgas they want

    Europeans pay 5x what Americans pay for natgas.

  • Oct, 2021
  • Oct 05,2021
  • Stagflation?

    CEOs are planning for supply chain disruptions in 2022 also, which means they are starting to worry about maintaining output levels even though demand is there (ie profits lost not just deferred).
  • People now seeing inflation as not going down. US, UK, Germany.
  • "Companies feel more confident to increase prices because prices are going up everywhere."

    Mohamed El-Erian, on inflation being seen now as not so transitory.
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 30,2021
  • Threat of attack on international money transfers cited by investor

    I forget who it was.
  • China banned crypto, nomatter where trading takes place

    US regulators are also looking at doing something. Notably DeFi (Gensler).

    China is experiencing energy shortages (Goldman downgraded China's growth forecast for this), and it might last months.

    Still, any Chinese with a wallet could trade on permissionless decentralized exchanges where there is no KYC.

    There are also VPNs and many Chinese live and work overseas where it could be impossible to prevent their trading crypto.

     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 28,2021
  • US home sales have turned negative

    Tight supply pushed prices up. Sales of homes under $250k fell compared with a year ago, although those over $1m rose 40%.

    First time buyers are having a hard time with higher prices. Home prices are up 20% over the past year. Median price is $356k (I think). First time home buyers are half the percentage of the market they used to be. Sticker shock?

    Fed is doing this, according to Josh Brown, with 'mindless asset purchases,' like mortgage bonds of $40b a month, harming the first time buyer.

    If rates rise further, which is speculated, it might slow home buying even more. Some experts think this will affect second house buys and more expensive house buys, rather than first home buys, because Americans still seem to like the idea of owning a home and putting their money into this investment, whereas people who already have a house will be less likely to buy a different one.
  • About 100 OnlyFans accounts made over $1m each, reportedly

    What is missing in the societies where the clients come from?

    Users pay $5 for a monthly subscription to any given account, and pay tips up to I think $100, in order to sort of be friends with an attractive person. Accounts make content and personalized content.

    The UK company is worth about $10b, it's estimated.

     
  • Jack Ma's companies lost like $800b in a year, reportedly


     
  • US economy start of October

    Wages going higher, lots of jobs offered (11m openings), savings still high, retail sales very strong, resurgence (V-shaped) in manufacturing which is barely below pre-pandemic.

    General mills expects 7-8% inflation for fiscal 2022.

    Investor confidence high. Yield curve steepening.
    Preparing for tapering and rate increases.

    Labor and supply chain issues have both worsened. No one knows when supply chain issues will be fixed. But they will eventually (after 2022?) be fixed, although wages are 70% of company costs, so it might be different there. Wages and rent.

    The economy is very strong. Profits are high and growing. Profits get recycled into capital expenditure and hiring. The Fed is still acomodative.
    It's considered likely the US will get infrastructure.

    Manufacturers (like Ford) saying US needs to start making chips and minerals like cobalt locally. A local supply chain that's circular.

    Consumer confidence is lowest since Feb.

    Real yields are rising, which is typically a sign of real growth.
     
  • Sep, 2021
  • Sep 24,2021
  • China told local governments to prepare for fallout from Evergrande

    They're tasked with things like preparing to take over and continue building projects, monitoring civilian protests, and paying migrant worker salaries who are working on Evergrande projects.
  • Way more $ going to investing into startups recently

    Usually in a recession businesses are shut down, and don't open.

    Startups have tons of money now, hundreds of millions or billions, and this can be contrasted to startups in previous decades which had a million or a few million. Well capitalized, competing warchests of cash.
     
    Thousands of companies, in competition with each other, who are in no rush to turn profitable. They can try 5 or 6 things before they need to have a success.
  • Retail sales, which are 30% of GDP, down

    Economic optimism in a recent survey went down 14% in a month (considered significant for a month over month).

    Retail sales in July were 17% above Feb 2020. Growing 3x their normal rate, because govt spending all this money, and now that is over.

    The consumer is 70% of GDP.

     
  • Fed whispered the word 'taper' this week.

    Investing talkers seem to be wanting a taper already. Just throwing money at people.
  • Bonds are being sold just on stability

    No longer stability and growth. No longer a source of income.

    People are kind of scared.

    - Jenny Harrington
     
  • "The next recession will be caused by the stock market"

    "That happened in 2000. There was nothing else. It was the stock market."

    "The economy is no longer big enough to offset whatever the Fed is doing and whatever the stock market is doing."

    - Josh Brown on The Compound, Sept 24 2021

  • Rayban changes leading design into 'waycreepers'?

    It's been reported Rayban has licensed or partnered or something with fb to put camera's in their most iconic line.

    So now are we going to be looking for this design to spot people creeping on public locations?

    The last time a large glasses-camera attempt was made was a few years ago. It was Google Glass. What ended it was when a wearer (you might imagine that people interested in buying these products correlate somewhat with people who don't respect the public privacy of others) was punched for wearing them somewhere. Whether for the pr or whatever that might follow this, the project was turned down or off. Will we see the same thing here, to end the current movement towards spying on all public life?