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I Wish

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 23:06 by Paul Jay in category: Funny!, Great Picture


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Can we tame the banks?

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 21:19 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


As Andrew Haldane, director of stability at the Bank of England, put it in a historical overview a few years ago, ‘there is one key difference between the situation today and that in the Middle Ages. Then, the biggest risk to the banks was from the sovereign. Today, perhaps the biggest risk to the sovereign comes from the banks. Causality has reversed.’ Yes, it has: and the sovereign at risk is us. The reason for that is that in the UK bank assets are 492 per cent of GDP. In plain English, our banks are five times bigger than our entire economy. (When the Icelandic and Cypriot banking systems collapsed the respective figures were 880 and 700 per cent.) We know from the events of 2008 and subsequently that the financial sector, indeed the whole world economy, is in an inherently unstable condition. Put the size together with the instability, and we are facing a danger that is no less real for not being on the front page this exact second. This has to be fixed, and it has to be fixed soon, and nothing about fixing it is easy.


In the UK, the government has spent magic money on QE to the tune of £375 billion, 23.8 per cent of our GDP. An amount equal to a quarter of our entire annual economic activity has therefore been willed into being in an attempt to stimulate the economy. If they’d just given the money directly to the public, perhaps in the form of time-limited, UK-only spending vouchers, it would have amounted to just under £6,000 for everyone, man, woman or child, in the country. Can anyone doubt that the stimulus effect of that would have been much bigger?

But you can’t trust little people with all that money, can you? Giving banks money is the only way out of our mess, right? The trouble with just giving people money is that they’ll go out and buy things with it, effectively wasting it on foolish nonsense like food, and housing.

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Photo Du Jour: Asiana Flight 214 Lands Again

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 19:49 by John Sinteur in category: Great Picture



An eerie sight at SFO on Monday, July 8th as Asiana Airlines flight 214 lands on runway 28R, right behind where the wreckage of Asiana Flight 214 from July 6th still rests off to the side of runway 28L.

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Tougher capital rules proposed for 8 largest U.S. banks

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 19:30 by John Sinteur in category: Robber Barons


The nation’s eight largest banks would have to meet tougher financial ratios than required under international standards as part of proposed rules designed to protect taxpayers from another financial crisis.

Under the plan, Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Citigroup Inc., Wells Fargo & Co. and four other U.S. bank holding companies designated as “systemically important financial institutions” would each have to hold capital equal to at least 5% of total assets.

In addition, their federally insured bank subsidiaries, such as Citibank and Chase bank, would have to hold capital equal to at least 6% of assets, according to the proposed rules.

Other U.S. banks and bank holding companies have to meet only a 3% leverage ratio under rules adopted by regulators as part of an international agreement known as Basel 3.

Michael Milken (of junk-bond infamy) once said:


“When I was on Wall Street, we rarely had more than 1:1 leverage, and the highest I recall in my career was 4:1. The idea of leveraging 30:1 or more, as many financial institutions did recently, is not a business.”

When the guy responsible for a market meltdown based largely on not being able to cover losses tells you your leverage is off, it might be a good idea to listen.

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US agency baffled by modern technology, destroys mice to get rid of viruses

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 17:08 by John Sinteur in category: batshitinsane


In December 2011, the Department of Homeland Security notified both the EDA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) that there was a possible malware infection within the two agencies’ systems.

The NOAA isolated and cleaned up the problem within a few weeks.

The EDA, however, responded by cutting its systems off from the rest of the world—disabling its enterprise e-mail system and leaving its regional offices no way of accessing centrally held databases.

It then recruited an outside security contractor to look for malware and provide assurances that not only were EDA’s systems clean, but also that they were impregnable against malware. The contractor, after some initial false positives, declared the systems largely clean but was unable to provide this guarantee. Malware was found on six systems, but it was easily repaired by reimaging the affected machines.

EDA’s CIO, fearing that the agency was under attack from a nation-state, insisted instead on a policy of physical destruction. The EDA destroyed not only (uninfected) desktop computers but also printers, cameras, keyboards, and even mice. The destruction only stopped—sparing $3 million of equipment—because the agency had run out of money to pay for destroying the hardware.

The total cost to the taxpayer of this incident was $2.7 million: $823,000 went to the security contractor for its investigation and advice, $1,061,000 for the acquisition of temporary infrastructure (requisitioned from the Census Bureau), $4,300 to destroy $170,500 in IT equipment, and $688,000 paid to contractors to assist in development of a long-term response. Full recovery took close to a year.

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  1. I’m guessing the EDA CIO got a significant bonus for his/her 2011 performance based on “…bold and decisive response to cyber threats to critical infrastructure.”.

  2. CIO — Chief Idiot Officer. Most CIOs I have had the displeasure to meet fit this description.

Who orchestrated this?

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 12:06 by John Sinteur in category: News


I’d like to make a donation, but I’m baroque.

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  1. Oh stop fugueing, so was Bach

  2. Very clavier.

  3. Continuo the puns, eh?

  4. I’m struggling to keep my composer.

  5. Their English is baroque. Please call Bach.

  6. I knew the comments were going to be treble as soon as I made the post…

  7. I just encourage everyone to conduct themselves with dignity.

  8. You shouldn’t use this organ to trumpet your views.

  9. I’d love to make a Beethoven joke, but I can’t here.

Movie Subtitle Fansite Raided By Copyright Industry And Police

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 11:48 by John Sinteur in category: Intellectual Property


The move subtitle fansite undertexter.se, literally meaning subtitles.se, is a site where people contribute their own translations of movies. This lets people who aren’t good at the original language of a movie or cartoon put those fanmade subtitles – fansubs – on top of the movie or cartoon. Fansubbing is a thriving culture which usually provides better-than-professional subtitles for new episodes with less than 24 hours of turnaround (whereas the providers of the original cartoon or movie can easily take six months or more).

What’s remarkable about this raid is that the copyright industry has decided to do a full-out raid against something that is entirely fan-made. It underscores the general sentiment of the copyright monopoly not protecting the creator of artwork, but protecting the big distribution monopolies, no matter who actually created the art. The copyright industry in Sweden has previously asserted threateningly that the dialog of a movie would be covered by the copyright monopoly, and that any fan translation – even for free – would be a violation of that monopoly. Still, going all-out with a police raid backed by the copyright industry’s enforcement arm in Sweden is a clear escalation of violence.

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  1. I wonder what they’re Haydn.

  2. All these comments are Straussing me out. We need to get a Handel on things before I unRavel.

  3. Compose yourself, John!

  4. Oh, I gotta put that on my Chopin Liszt!

  5. I can’t afford to on my Salieri.

Microsoft issues partners Windows XP phase-out marching orders

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 10:49 by John Sinteur in category: Microsoft


Microsoft and its partners would need to migrate 586,000 PCs per day over the next 273 days in order to get rid of all PCs running Windows XP, Visser said. Microsoft’s actual goal is to get the XP base below 10 percent of the total Windows installed base by that time, he said.

How on earth are these partners going to be able to sell that many Macs? I don’t think it is a realistic goal…

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  1. One of issues is the degree of pain. To migrate upward, one needs to reinstall all non standard MS programs a company uses. Unless you have a tiny firm, that is a high degree of pain. Better companies go to a desktop VDI solution IMO. But that also comes at a price. MS should put XP in the public domain and let others support and enhance it. But pigs will first I believe.

Security-Enhanced Android: NSA Edition

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 9:36 by John Sinteur in category: News


Tech giants listed as part of the National Security Agency’s Prism spying program have gone to some lengths to convince the world they aren’t in bed with the U.S. government. Google (GOOG) has filed a request with the U.S. Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act court asking permission to disclose more information about the government’s data requests. So there’s a certain irony that NSA programmers are now refining code that Google has approved for the company’s mobile operating system, Android. Google spokeswoman Gina Scigliano confirms that the company has already inserted some of the NSA’s programming in Android OS. “All Android code and contributors are publicly available for review at source.android.com,” Scigliano says, declining to comment further.

It’s really a catch-22: on one hand it makes some degree of sense to ask the NSA for help securing a system given their unparalleled experience/expertise. On the other hand, there’s no way that we can trust anything that they’ve helped with due to their secrecy and purpose as an organization. For example, like this

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Wal-Mart says it will pull out of D.C. plans should city mandate ‘living wage’

Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 9:17 by John Sinteur in category: News


The world’s largest retailer delivered an ultimatum to District lawmakers Tuesday, telling them less than 24 hours before a decisive vote that at least three planned Wal-Marts will not open in the city if a super-minimum-wage proposal becomes law.

In little more than half a century, the concept of a Living Wage – a day’s work for a day’s pay – has gone from traditional bedrock American value to the outer fringes of extremism, and the term itself has become a synonym for “handout.”

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Posted on July 10th, 2013 at 9:11 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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