Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Bad Android

Maybe I shouldn't have taken that Molly?

Warm Yourself by the Fire

Happy New Year 2014

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon
Happy New Year!

Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon;

The flames of Love extinguished, and fully past and gone:

Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold, that loving Breast of thine;

That thou canst never once reflect

On Old long syne. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Case Against IP "Copying is NOT Stealing"

Myth: Copyright is free market capitalism at work.

Despite what regressives would have us believe Copyright violates nearly every tenet of so-called free market capitalism. Under the current regime of copyright [in America], producers of content are entitled to a guaranteed, government instituted, government subsidized content-monopoly. It is guaranteed because it is automatic upon publishing, but most major commercial holders file a claim with the US Copyright Office for further legal protection.
Under current law, a copyright holder is entitled to their lifetime plus 70 years of monopoly status in America. A song copyrighted today by Justin Bieber, could easily still be under copyright in 2160, a 150 years from now.
Copyright is a system implemented and regulated by the government and backed up by a litany laws that allow for massive damages for minor violations. These excessive damages are unlike any other conventional tort law damages and are vastly disproportionate to any purported damages to the Copyright holder.

One good example is Limewire. They were sued in 2010 for $75 trillion, based upon Section 504(c)(1) of the Copyright Action enabling such large fines per violation. This potential award is more money than the entire music recording industry has made since Edison’s invention of the phonograph in 1877, and thus in no way corresponds to the actual demonstrated “damages,” to the record industry.

In my day Copyright was only 28 years.

By Congress creating an arbitrary statutory fine for damages the government has implemented its own system for discouraging copyright violators above and beyond conventional tort law for a perceived "property" like right. Copyright violators can face jail time, and government agencies are tasked with investigating copyright violations and stopping these activities.

We may debate whether this is a good decision or a bad decision, but it is a form of the government subsidizing the costs of recovering assets that are not actually taken from from another person, rather just copied.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tax Expert David Cay Johnston Explains Why Ryan Budget Deal is an Epic Fail for the 99%

Partial transcript from Democracy Now interview on Dec. 16, 2013.

"The corporate loopholes aren’t being closed. The tax-avoidance techniques of billionaires, who can legally live tax-free if they choose to, are not being shut down. The hedge fund and private equity managers will continue to be advantaged. And we’re going to kick 57,000 poor children out of Head Start, which means we’re going to narrow their economic futures and make all of us worse off in the future. We’re cutting a billion-and-a-half dollars from medical research to save lives.


Because the very richest people in America, those who have benefited most from being in this market, don’t want to pay for that kind of services. And by the way, being The War and Peace Report, the Pentagon is getting an extra $20 billion out of this deal. We already spend 42 percent of all the money in the world on our military. More money for the Pentagon? Seriously? While we are cutting off unemployment benefits and cutting medical research, reducing pensions for federal workers? This makes absolutely no sense. It will make us worse off."

Read more from David Cay Johnston:


V for Vendetta Quote of the Day

We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea… can still change the world.
V for Vendetta.

Is the Center for American Progress a Front for Third Way Lobbyists?

John Podesta, former chief of staff to Bill Clinton, has not been a registered lobbyist since 2007. The firm is now headed by his brother, Anthony Podesta, who is still registered.

The interactive Muckety map above shows major companies that have contributed to CAP and also contracted with the lobby firm.

Podesta Group last year collected $27.4 million in lobbying fees from all clients. That amount included more than $2.4 million from clients shown in the map. (Dotted lines represent former relationships; solid lines are current.)

On their website the Podesta Group brags about 3 recent wins, which make more sense when you look at the Muckety chart above.

Win 1: They got the SEC to scrap recent pro-consumer reforms and allow clients like Bank of America to offer loans to small business at rates exceeding 35% through one of their front companies. This is how they describe it:
At the height of the credit crisis, the nation’s largest peer-to-peer lending company was abruptly shut down by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company had facilitated $180 million in consumer and small business loans between hundreds of thousands of American borrowers and lenders over the Internet. They turned to the Podesta Group for help.
Gee they almost make usury sound almost respectable. Podesta's client, Prosper states on their website "Rates from 6.73% to 35.36% APR". You can bet most of the loans will be closer to 35.36% than 6.73%. Their gimmick is that they like to pretend they are some kind of "Kickstarter" bank. What they really are is a way for Bank of America to loan other peoples money out with no risk to themselves while still skimming fat profits off for themselves completely unregulated.

Win 2: They got the FCC to let AT&T use the 2.3 gigahertz band of wireless spectrum. This spectrum is very close to what SiriusXM radio uses, and there were legitimate concerns of interference. The FCC already ruled back in 2010 that WCS spectrum could be used for mobile broadband services, but AT&T says that the existing rules do not allow for efficient use of the spectrum, which would be crucial for its LTE services. This so-called win for AT&T is really a massive lose for the consumer by for solidifying duopoly status for AT&T and Verizon. The Competitive Carriers Association puts it this way:
Relaxing policies that safeguard competition has led to an excessive amount of consolidation in the wireless industry, ultimately to consumers' detriment. As the industry retreats step-by-step towards a stagnant duopoly, with two carriers dominating the marketplace, the FCC should undertake a holistic review of its rules and policies that effect mobile competition.
Win 3: They got a new cost control rule [bundled payment] scrapped for DaVita and Quest Diagnostics. Bundled payment, also known as episode-based payment, episode payment, episode-of-care payment, case rate, evidence-based case rate, global bundled payment, global payment, package pricing, or packaged pricing, is defined as the reimbursement of health care providers (such as hospitals and physicians) "on the basis of expected costs for clinically-defined episodes of care. Unlike fee-for-service, bundled payment discourages unnecessary care, encourages coordination across providers, and potentially improves quality.

A study done by the Rand Group estimates that switching Medicare to the bundled payment system would save taxpayers 5.4% annually. When you consider Medicares budget is $524 billion for 2013 we are talking on the order of billions in savings or in DaVita and Quest's case hundreds of millions in extra profits. This is how Podesta describes it:
Two of the nation’s largest health care companies came to the Podesta Group seeking assistance in pushing back on a provision in the health care reform bill that sought to sweep separately bundled end stage renal disease (ESRD) drugs, or dialysis drugs, into the bundled payment under Medicare.
When you consider the fact that the healthcare industry already has one of the highest profit margins around it makes their move even more nauseating.  American taxpayers spend more than $20 billion a year to care for those on dialysis. On average $77,000 per patient, that is considerable more than any other nation. Yet the United States continues to have one of the industrialized world's highest mortality rates for dialysis care. Hardly a clarion call to throw more money at DaVita and Quest. In fact together DaVita and Quest clear about $2,000,000,000 in profit from the dialysis market, with the lion share being paid for by the taxpayers.

Now ask yourself "Do these 3 examples sound in any way progressive?" From my point of view I hardly see any difference between what the Podesta Group does than say the NRA or Monsanto. In other words "Not Progressive". Despite what their Center for American Progress website advocates its actions like those mentioned above that have destroyed the 99% economically. Furthermore it's people like Podesta and President Obama that have destroyed the credibility of real progressives. In public they cry a river for the 99%, all the while covertly carrying the water for likes of Wall Street Banksters and the worst of Corporate America.


The FCC already ruled back in 2010 that WCS spectrum could be used for mobile broadband services, but AT&T says that the existing rules do not allow for efficient use of the spectrum, which would be crucial for its LTE services.

Read more at http://www.mobileburn.com/19901/news/att-petitions-fcc-to-use-wcs-23ghz-band-for-4g-lte-service#2IEWj8TtAqCUk8Jr.99

The FCC already ruled back in 2010 that WCS spectrum could be used for mobile broadband services, but AT&T says that the existing rules do not allow for efficient use of the spectrum, which would be crucial for its LTE services.

Read more at http://www.mobileburn.com/19901/news/att-petitions-fcc-to-use-wcs-23ghz-band-for-4g-lte-service#2IEWj8TtAqCUk8Jr.99

The FCC already ruled back in 2010 that WCS spectrum could be used for mobile broadband services, but AT&T says that the existing rules do not allow for efficient use of the spectrum, which would be crucial for its LTE services.

Read more at http://www.mobileburn.com/19901/news/att-petitions-fcc-to-use-wcs-23ghz-band-for-4g-lte-service#2IEWj8TtAqCUk8Jr.99

Suggested further reading:



Edward Snowden's Alternative Christmas Msg for 2013

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.
American Hero

The Alternative Christmas Message 2013

Hi. A Merry Christmas.

I'm honored to have a chance to speak with you and your family this year.

Recently, we learned that our governments, working in concert, have created a system of worldwide mass surveillance, watching everything we do.

Great Britain's George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information.

The types of collection in the book - microphones and video cameras, TVs that watch us - are nothing compared to what we have available today.

We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.

Think about what this means for the privacy of the average person.

A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all.

They'll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves; an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought - and that's a problem, because privacy matters.

Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.

The conversation occurring today will determine the amount of trust we can place, both in the technology that surrounds us, and the government that regulates it.

Together, we can find a better balance.

End mass surveillance - and remind the government that, if it really wants to know how we feel, asking is always cheaper than spying.

For everyone out there listening, thank you and Merry Christmas.


Watch the the video:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Twenty Truly Awesome Christmas Wallpapers

New Mobile Responsive Template

Android or iOS?

According to Google Analytics roughly 10% of the visitors to Democratic Progress use an iPhone or Android. Well I hope you like the updated template. I changed it to be more in sync with the desktop and tablet template [layout]. Hopefully this will increase mobile readership. Please let us know if you like or dislike the new layout.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

iOS7 Jailbreak Crack Loaded with Chinese Spyware

With iOS 7.0 jailbreak by Evasi0n being released, it contains Chinese spyware which tracks your internet usage, texts, everything.
Don't Jailbreak with Evasi0n!

The iOS 7.0 jailbreak by Evasi0n is said to contain Chinese spyware which tracks your internet usage, texts, everything. At last count over a million downloads. Evasi0n then allegedly sells your info to a company in China. The purchasing company makes a ton of $$$ by selling out to big companies who then target you with an incessant barrage of ads. Do NOT jailbreak unless you want to be tracked to an extent far more than what the NSA can go to.

According to Apple: "Security compromises have been introduced by these modifications that could allow hackers to steal personal information, damage the device, attack the wireless network, or introduce malware or viruses."

Some have claimed that the spyware loaded apps from "Taig" is only an issue if evasi0n7 detects Chinese language as default on your device. While there are certainly many users in the US for example having Chinese as the primary language on their device, the bulk of users with this specific setting is obviously in China. It has been asserted that the makers of Evasi0nwere were paid $1,000,00 USD for the insertion of this Chinese spyware. Because of intense pressure from the iOS jailbreak community Evasi0n has issue this press release / apology.

Dear Jailbreak Community,

We are deeply troubled by the rumors and speculation surrounding our iOS 7 jailbreak. We would like to present the whole story to you.

Most of the concern surrounds the inclusion of the Chinese App Store Taig. In the course of developing the iOS 7 jailbreak, we were approached by the company with an offer of partnership in offering Taig bundled with the jailbreak in China. Taig is a Chinese App Store written in Chinese. tailored and, we believe, well suited to meet the needs of users for the Chinese market. Users are not locked into Taig. Cydia can also be installed and Taig removed afterwards. It would be deeply hypocritical to remove choice from the user in the course of jailbreaking.

Taig has never asked us to disclose our exploits to them, let alone sell them. We were simply asked to bundle their third-party app store in China in a similar way we bundle and distribute Cydia around the world as an additional App Store, and in a similar way to how previous jailbreaks like blackra1n have bundled non-Cydia stores.

Of course, the safety and security of our users is a paramount concern, and due to the amount of close scrutiny by security professionals around the world, we offer one of the lower risk programs available for download on the Internet. We are saddened by the accusations that we would ever do such a thing, or sell weaponized exploits. If anyone ever attempted to include malware in a jailbreak, we are confident that the many security experts combing through jailbreak software would find it. The binaries are obfuscated for a similar reason to why we have in the past compiled in Cydia rather than including it as a separate file. We wish to secure the integrity of the jailbreak and discourage its use by third parties who may in fact wish to weaponize it. The obfuscation is of course not intended to deflect serious analysis by security professionals (who have quickly already fully analyzed and discussed the contents of the jailbreak), it is simply intended to prevent easy repackaging by other parties.

Preventing piracy is also extremely important to us. We are deeply sorry and embarrassed about the piracy that was seen today. All of us have spoken out vehemently against piracy in the past. We don’t believe it’s right for developers to not get paid for their work. In our agreement with Taig, we contractually bind them to not have piracy in their store. This was an extremely important precondition of working with them. In entering the agreement with them, we had hoped and continue to hope that our cooperation with Taig will improve the piracy situation in China. Many App Stores within China, including those run by large corporations, have many issues with pirated software. Promoting an app store that is required not to have piracy with our jailbreak, we believe, will help developers.

We are very upset that despite our agreement and review by their team, piracy was found in the store. It was not acceptable and they have been strenuously working to resolve the problem in good faith, and have removed all instances of it that we have brought to their attention. We are happy that it was not overlooked by the community. We’ve been so heads down working on the code that we didn’t see this. We are sorry. We will continue to monitor this issue and work to resolve it completely. Taig will be pulled from the jailbreak if it cannot be resolved.

Many of you have also wondered why this jailbreak was released without Cydia and MobileSubstrate being updated for iOS 7. After we received the offer from Taig, we informed Saurik, our friend, of our decision to accept the offer. SaurikIT had been in talks with Chinese companies regarding potential partnerships, made a counteroffer. We believe they share our views on how a relationship with companies in China currently utilizing jailbreaking might benefit everyone in the community. Unfortunately, the negotiations did not work out. A few days later, we received information that SaurikIT was working with another group to release a jailbreak ahead of us. We decided to release, knowing that Cydia, MobileSubstrate, and jailbreak tweaks would be updated after a few days, just as it always has in the course of jailbreaking.

Yes, we have benefitted financially from our work, just as many others in the jailbreak community have, including tweak developers, repo owners, etc. Any jailbreak from us will always be free to the users but we believe we have a right to be compensated in an ethical way, just as any other developer. However, the interests of the community will always be the most important thing to us. When releasing the jailbreak, we pledged all our donations to foundations supporting the interests of the community. We are deeply upset at how we have inadvertently distressed the community and we are focused on fixing it.

We love the jailbreak community and you motivate us to do this work. Having a choice and freeing your device is important.

We hope you understand and we thank you for all of your support.


Bottom line:  Get an Android instead.

Here is the  Evasi0n jailbreak website: http://evasi0n.com/

Saturday, December 21, 2013

20 Years Ago the Middleclass Died or How NAFTA Destroyed Millions of Manufacturing Jobs

President Clinton signing NAFTA agreement.

By Dr. Charles McMillion

Twenty years ago, global bankers, President Bill Clinton, Republicans in Congress and a few economists insisted that the North American Free Trade Agreement's unprecedented "free" trade model of radical property protection and trade deregulation would be an economic and political win-win for both the United States and Mexico. Now, despite its utter and worsening failures on virtually every measure, bankers and their retainers are still inventing new claims to spin this model as positive or at least neutral.

In 1993, the broadest assurance by those selling the Nafta trade model -- including almost all Republicans and President Clinton -- was that it would create American jobs by expanding the trade surplus the United States then enjoyed with Mexico. Statistically a trade surplus adds to domestic production, jobs, incomes and tax revenues whereas a deficit cuts production, jobs, incomes and tax revenues.

Two former Treasury Department officials, Gary Hufbauer and Jeffrey Schott, supported by AIG and other financial interests as Fellows in the Institute for International Economics (renamed the "Peterson Institute for International Economics" after the private equity CEO) provided the key Nafta sales "analysis" in 1993 in their report "Nafta: An Assessment." They wrote: "Our job projections reflect a judgment that, with Nafta, U.S. exports to Mexico will continue to outstrip Mexican exports to the United States, leading to a U.S. trade surplus with Mexico of about $7 billion to $9 billion annually by 1995." They predicted the U.S.-Mexico trade surplus would then remain between $9 billion and $12 billion per year.

In fact, the U.S. trade surplus with Mexico vanished within months of Nafta's implementation and worsened rapidly despite an almost immediate financial bailout of Mexico's global bankers by the United States and other governments. While bankers were made whole, the Mexican people were forced to repay the debt.

Now, the United States suffers chronic $60 billion to $70 billion annual trade deficits with Mexico and by next summer the accumulated U.S. current account losses with Mexico under Nafta will pass $1 trillion. This "judgment" of Nafta's promoters was off not only in direction, but by over $1 trillion with Mexico in just the first 20 years.

Nafta's promoters also claimed that the trade agreement would be a huge benefit to Mexico, stemming immigration to the United States and reducing drug trafficking and corruption. (How is that working out?) But even with Mexico's $1 trillion Nafta surplus with the United States, Mexico still suffers a chronic global trade deficit as China and other countries use it as a back door to the U.S. market. Last year, Mexico paid $60 billion for imports of mostly manufactured goods from China while earning only $6 billion from exports of mostly mineral and agricultural commodities to China. (Remember this the next time a bankers' "retainer" in a Washington think tank claims that U.S. trade data overstates deficits with China.)

Promoters also insisted that Nafta with Mexico would provide cost-cutting efficiencies that would lower if not eliminate the then annual U.S. global $100 billion deficit for both merchandise and the full current accounts -- usually less than 1 percent of GDP. And yet, as the Nafta and its less formal PNTR model quickly was applied worldwide, annual U.S. merchandise deficits soared to $700 billion to $850 billion with current account losses of $400 billion to $800 billion or -3 percent to -6 percent of GDP. Since implementing Nafta with Mexico, the United States now has accumulated over $10.5 trillion in global merchandise deficits -- $7.1 trillion in lost manufacturing production alone -- with $8.5 trillion in overall current account losses.

Of course, these multi-trillion dollar trade losses -- net imports -- force the United States to produce vastly less even than its weakened "aggregate demand" growth for consumption and investment. But even this massive production loss understates the cancerous effects of 20 years of Nafta trade deficits as U.S. businesses do all they can to avoid being a trade statistic by cutting cost corners on health and safety, taxes, wages, jobs, investment, small business profits, moving production abroad and much more.

One of the strongest incentives for federal, state and local tax cuts and meager spending that spurred a quadrupling of public debt over the past 20 years has been to bolster after-tax incomes and to lower production costs to hold off imports. Likewise, a major reason for the tripling of household debt in the last 20 years has been stagnant real wages and a shift to individuals of the costs for health care, education and retirement. Yet, unlike government and household deficits that exist in almost all countries, including China and Japan, trillions of dollars in U.S. trade losses by definition require offsetting borrowing or selling assets to foreign interests, undermining U.S. business and financial independence.

Finally, promoters of the Nafta model also claimed that low-wage countries cannot threaten good U.S. jobs or wages because, they insisted, higher average U.S. productivity offsets higher U.S. costs. The auto sector was a constant example of an industry that would certainly enjoy production and job growth from a widening trade surplus (then) with Mexico and reduced deficits worldwide.

Of course, Nafta's radical property protection clauses (anti-environment, anti-workers' rights, anti-zoning, anti-liability) immediately led to a massive shift of U.S. and world auto production to Mexico. In virtually every year since 1998 -- including each of the last 10 years -- Mexico exported more cars just to the United States than the United States exported to the entire world.

Lost in the current celebration of the revitalized U.S. auto industry (and the literal bankruptcy of Detroit) is that the auto/truck/parts sector is suffering worsening, record trade losses and a two-to-one imbalance between imports and exports. The sector's record worldwide deficit in 2012 was $148 billion and the 2013 deficit will set another record, bringing total losses since 2000 to over $1.7 trillion. The U.S. auto sector's 2012 deficit with Mexico was a record $48.5 billion and the 2013 deficit will be about $54 billion to bring total auto sector trade losses with Mexico just since 2000 to about $395 billion.

Of course, none of this matters to today's media where a recent National Public Radio story nicely presents the bankers' latest spin. A consultant who works to help transnational corporations expand their operations framed NPR's evaluation of Nafta's first 20 years by asserting that what is most important is that adding together exports and imports between the U.S. and Mexico shows total trade has grown rapidly -- like if you have stagnant income but soaring spending that shows robust success.

Apparently the tag line changes throughout the day but when I read the NPR story online it helpfully noted that "Support Comes from Charles Schwab" (www.npr.org/2013/12/08/249079453/economists-toast-20-years-of-Nafta-critics-sit-out-the-party).

-- Charles W. McMillion is the recently retired president of MBG Information Services, a former Associate Director of the Johns Hopkins University policy institute, former Contributing Editor of the Harvard Business Review and a founder of the once meaningful Congressional Competitiveness Caucus.

James Flynn: Why our IQ Levels are Higher than our Grandparents'

What does IQ measure?

That depends what it's used for. Sometimes, an IQ test is a force for good. You have a kid at school who is doing badly and you think he seems brighter than that. You give him an IQ test and he knocks the socks out of it. So it can be used to help diagnose an individual's educational problems. Some universities use IQ tests as part of an entrance exam.

The second thing they are often used for is to measure the difference between groups. But this works only if their quality of environment is roughly comparable.

Your book, Are We Getting Smarter?, talks about the recent IQ gains made by women.

Women today match men but only in advanced countries, where women get an equal shake. One of the most interesting things is that at university women do have IQs about two points lower than men, maybe three, and a lot of scholars say: "Ah-ha, that means women aren't as bright", but why do you think that might be?

Is it to do with the type of people who pursue going to university?
Well, it has to do with the fact that, if you take a girl of 17 from secondary school with an IQ of 100, she will get better grades than the typical boy. So that means that the girl with the IQ of 100 may well get to university and the boy won't. So the male sample is more elite; it has a higher threshold. This reveals one of the disturbing things about British education: if you look at the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development statistics, at the end of secondary school, only the top third of boys matches the top half of girls for reading. In America, only the top quarter of boys matches the top half of girls for written composition. This is why so many women are beginning to dominate journalism and law.

If I took an early IQ test, would I find it baffling the way the problems are set?
No, you would knock the socks out of it because people who designed the early IQ test were ahead of their time. They were highly professional people who had been schooled in the scientific ethos, and they weren't typical of their day. Let's take a question that you would get and an intelligent person of 1900 might not: if you were asked: "What do dogs and rabbits have in common?", what would you say?

They are both mammals.

Correct. A kid in 1900 would say: "You use dogs to hunt rabbits." He would get the question wrong because, before people had lots of formal schooling, they had a utilitarian mentality, and they were fixated on the concrete world and using it to advantage. You've been raised in a scientific world where you think classifying things is an obvious prerequisite for understanding them. To you, a dog and a rabbit are just mammals; you are not interested in whether it is a beagle and good for hunting rabbits. So IQ gains over time are totally fascinating if you know how to interpret them and don't just run around saying: "Are we getting more intelligent?"

So these observations show that IQ is determined by environment rather than genes?

At the individual level, genes are important, as they are for other qualities such as height.

It's very different, however, to use IQ to compare groups and say that, because one group has a lower mean IQ, that shows that it is genetically inferior. For example, if you look at developing nations, there are six for which we have good IQ data. Three of these are making gains faster now than we Europeans are. These are Turkey, Brazil and Kenya and I predict that eventually all three of them are going to match us for IQ. As for the three other nations, there is nothing the matter with their genes but with their circumstances. You have Sudan, where they keep having civil wars; you have Saudi Arabia, where most of them are sitting around feather-bedding on oil wells; and you have the Dominican Republic, where they have their infrastructure wiped out every 10 years by hurricanes, tsunamis and tornadoes. There is nothing the matter with their genes, but if Britain had all of its infrastructure destroyed every 10 years, it wouldn't be doing so well.

You have also described something you call the "bright tax".
It has always been thought that bright people's minds deteriorated less after the age of 65. I found that that was true for verbal abilities, but the brighter you are the faster your analytical abilities deteriorate after 65, all the way down the scale. Even the average person deteriorates more quickly than the below-average. That sets an interesting question. Is the good analytic brain, like a high-performance sports car, something that requires more maintenance in old age than the body can give it – that would be a physiological hypothesis. Or is it that we mainly use our analytic ability at work, so that if you are bright you have a cognitively demanding job and when you retire you are like an athlete who has lost his exercise advantage.

How would one mitigate this cognitive decline post-65: do crosswords, take up running, learn a new language?
Mental exercise will do you good at any age. Even if your brain is deteriorating, it will deteriorate more slowly if you use it. Just as while I can't run 10k anything like [as fast as] when I was young, if you are really out of shape, even at 78, I could give you a hard time.

Are you going to tell me your time for 10k?
When I was young it was 32 minutes, and in those days the world record was around 29. When I was 66, I could still run it in 45½. My ability to run at under 50 minutes has receded since I have entered my 70s.

Other than the obvious physical benefits, why do you run?
There is no doubt that the blood supply to the brain, due to a cardiovascular system that is efficient, helps intelligence in the pre-frontal lobes; that is true. I don't do it for that reason, but I am sure that I get the benefit.

There was a wonderful study by the OECD where they gave a test of working memory – what a pity it wasn't a test of analytical ability, but it wasn't – and they divided the countries into those like France, where 80% of people retired between 55-65, and those like Sweden and Switzerland, where 80% were still in work, and the loss on working memory in France for that age was twice as great. Which tells us that, if you kept exercising your brain at work, your working memory held up better.

You have written four books this year, including one about climate change.
I kept the book under 100 pages, it is called Climate Change and the Environment – I'm looking for a publisher. I guarantee anyone can read it in less than four hours and learn what they need to know.

My conclusion is that, yes, we are making a contribution. At one time, the climate sceptics had a case, but their case is now falling apart. Keep your eye on the west Antarctic ice shelf: we are in trouble. It looks as if it's going to go, and, even if half of it goes over the next century, that will raise sea levels by three metres, and your beloved London is going to be in a fix.

Laser fusion is probably the best long-range hope for clean energy: that is where you bombard heavy hydrogen with fusion to try to set up an interaction that would actually generate more energy than you put into it. But that research is probably about 70 years away from being dominant. Before then we are going to need a stopgap.

James Flynn: Why our IQ levels are higher than our grandparents'
James Flynn



Friday, December 20, 2013

Difference between Bitcoin and US Dollar InfoGraphic

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment network and digital currency with a public transaction log introduced in 2009 by pseudonymous developer "Satoshi Nakamoto"
Click to enlarge.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment network and digital currency with a public transaction log introduced in 2009 by pseudonymous developer "Satoshi Nakamoto".

The U.S. dollar is the currency most used in international transactions and is one of the world's most dominant reserve currencies. Several countries use it as their official currency, and in many others it is the de facto currency. It is also used as the sole currency in two British Overseas Territories: The British Virgin Islands and the Turks and Caicos islands.

NatCen4ScienceEd Activist Workshops Part 1 and 2

Part 1: This webinar, chaired by Josh Rosenau, shows activists, educators, and other concerned citizens how to counter science denial attacks in the classroom and in the community. This is the first in a new series of online workshops aimed at broadening and deepening the networks that make NCSE's work possible. Where: online When: November 25, 2013.

Festivus for the Rest of US

The holiday's celebration, as it was shown on Seinfeld, includes a Festivus dinner, an unadorned aluminum "Festivus pole," practices such as the "Airing of Grievances" and "Feats of Strength," and the labeling of easily explainable events as "Festivus miracles."
After the meal, the "Feats of Strength" will be performed.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Progressive News Section Now New and Improved

Dear Readers,

Please note that our Progressive News section is now powered by Reddit. You will find it much more useful and timely than our old source.


This Video About Elephant Abuse Will Bring a Tear to Your Eye

Wild elephants won’t let humans ride on top of them. So in order to tame a wild elephant, it is tortured as a baby to completely break its spirit. The process is called Phajaan, or “the crush”.

It involves ripping baby elephants away from their mothers and confining them in a very small space, like a cage or hole in the ground where they’re unable to move.

The baby elephants are then beaten into submission with clubs, pierced with sharp bull-hooks, and simultaneously starved and deprived of sleep for many days.

Baby elephant being beaten into submission with metal gaff hook.
Baby elephant being beaten into submission with metal bull hook.

Twas the Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore

Full Text: 

'T was the Night before Christmas 

WAS the night before Christmas, when all through 

the house 

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse ; 
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care 
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there ; 

HE children were nestled all snug in their beds, 
While visions of sugar- pi urns danced in their heads; 
And mamma in her kerchief, and I in my cap, 
Had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap, 

HEN out on the lawn there arose such a clatter, 
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. 
Away to the window I flew like a flash, 
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash. 

HE moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow 
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below, 
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, 
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, 

ITH a little old driver, so lively and quick., 

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. 

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, 

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name; 

OW, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancerand Vixen? 
On, Comet! on, Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen! 
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall! 
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all! ' 

S dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, 
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky; 
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew, 
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St. Nicholas too. 

XD then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof 
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof. 
As I drew in my head, and was turning around, 
Down the chimnev St. Nicholas came with a bound. 

E was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot, 
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot, 
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back, 
And he looked like a pedler just opening his pack. 

IS eyes how they twinkled! his dimples how merry! 
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry! 
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow, 
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow; 

HE stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth, 
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath; 
He had a broad face and a little round belly, 
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly. 

E was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf, 
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself ; 
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, 
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread; 

E spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, 
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk, 
And laying his finger aside of his nose, 
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose; 


E sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle, 
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle. 
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight, 
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night. " 



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