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Tech Demo for Pillow Castle’s First Person Puzzler

Posted on January 9th, 2014 at 17:49 by John Sinteur in category: awesome

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On Secrecy, Oaths, and Edward Snowden

Posted on January 9th, 2014 at 17:09 by John Sinteur in category: News


These two pieces, the first by Marcy Wheeler, in part commenting on the second by Amy Davidson in the New Yorker (along with Snowden himself, in his interview with Bart Gellman) are the first I’ve seen making a point I’ve been making for years: contrary to the frequent assertions in the last week (including by Fred Kaplan) that Snowden is particularly reprehensible because he “broke his OATH of secrecy,” neither Snowden nor anyone else broke such a secrecy “oath.”

Such an oath doesn’t exist (look up “oath” on the web). Rather he—and I—broke an agreement (known as Standard Form 312) which was a condition of employment.  It provides for civil or administrative penalties (e.g., losing a clearance or a job) for disclosing classified information: serious enough to keep nearly everyone quiet about…anything classified, no matter how illegal or dangerous.

The reason this matters is that Snowden, as he said to Gellman and as I’ve repeatedly said, did take a real “oath,” just one oath, the same oath that every official in the government and every Congressperson takes as an oath of office. He and they “swore” (“or affirmed”) “to support and defend the Constitution of the U.S., against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

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Japan’s Coming “Wage Surprise”

Posted on January 9th, 2014 at 16:08 by Sueyourdeveloper in category: News


The year 2013 saw the Japanese economy turn the corner on two decades of stagnation. And the future will become even brighter with the appearance of what we are calling the “wage surprise.”

Intensive discussions since September among Japanese government, business, and labor leaders have been geared toward setting in motion an upward, virtuous cycle whereby increased wages lead to more robust growth…

The wage surprise draws its inspiration from the Netherlands, where a consensus emerged in the early 1980’s that in order to sustain employment, the burden of taming rampant inflation should be shared by employers and the employed. That consensus was enshrined in the 1982 “Wassenaar Agreement,” named after The Hague suburb where it was forged.

Japan is now witnessing the emergence of a similar national consensus, or, rather, the Dutch consensus in reverse: a shared sense that the government, major industries, and organized labor should work together to increase wages and bonuses (while facilitating incentives that could enhance productivity).

Interesting. They’ve tried everything else, so they now want to try increasing people’s pay so they can buy stuff. How about reducing inequality as well, or is that too difficult?

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  1. My impression is that inequality is relatively low in Japan. At least the last time I saw the list of multiples of CEO pay vs median employee pay, it was said to be lower in Japan than in any other developed country.

  2. Agreed. Although things have been going the wrong way:

    “…Japan is still one of the healthiest and most egalitarian nations in the world, and social inequalities within the population are less expressed. However, the magnitude of the social stratification has started to increase, and this is an alarming sign.”

    And Abe has a point; bringing wages up is necessary.

Harvard psychiatrist on David Brooks’ pot column: “His ignorance about this subject is vast.”

Posted on January 9th, 2014 at 10:02 by John Sinteur in category: News


Dolce: He insists that young people who smoke “suffer IQ loss and perform worse on cognitive tests.”

Grinspoon: Both of those statements are absolute nonsense. I’d like to see the data he finds convincing. I’ve been reading it for a long time now, and I find no data for either contention. A lot of those cognitive studies were compromised.

Let me give you a little anecdote. Years ago I got a call from the editor of a journal called Depression who asked me to give my feedback on an article on cannabis being useful in treating depression. I explored it and it seemed to be true. By the time the article was published, I noticed a new paragraph at the end that said we want the readers to know that while the studies say that marijuana is useful in treating depression, we in no way support its use for depression or any other purpose. And I said, “Why in the world did you add this last paragraph?” The editor almost started crying. She said, “Dr. Grinspoon, our lab is supported by NIDA [National Institute on Drug Abuse] and if we don’t include that we jeopardize our funding.” You’ve got to be careful with a lot of that literature. They won’t publish anything positive about marijuana.

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  1. That quote and the one from the hired hack Ms. Brown, reminds us that selling bullshit for money is the only thing that conventional media does really well.

  2. I was at a company in 1990 that brought in an “expert” to explain how drugs effected our DNA causing mutated children. They had to be using!


Posted on January 9th, 2014 at 9:48 by John Sinteur in category: Cartoon

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