Sewage treatment is a big contributor to antibiotic resistance

Love the subtitle Ticking Timebomb /sarc, it ends;

‘We’re on the brink of Armageddon and this is just contributing to it,’ Wellington says. ‘Antibiotics could just stop working and we could all be colonised by .’

Ask places like population-dense (~1b) India why they aren’t storing their antibiotic medicines properly (a direct cause of growing resistance) with all that foreign aid money, but funding a space program.

Also, ponder the impact of allowing third-world immigrants into first-world countries, carrying in their colons (to be released into the sewerage system periodically) the worst bacteria cultures in the history of the world. Drink up that tapwater!

Double dip recession, anyone?

This blatant rigging of western equity markets has gone on for several years, with stocks soaring despite weak economic fundamentals. While everyone in financial circles knows this, to say as much out loud is to guarantee pariah status — and I should know. But eyebrows are now being publicly raised by genuine insiders, with the Swiss-based Bank for International Settlements, an umbrella organisation for the world’s leading central banks, warning of ‘euphoric’ equity valuations. ‘It is hard to avoid the sense of a puzzling disconnect between the markets’ buoyancy and underlying economic developments globally,’ it argued in its annual report published earlier this month.

Systemic global risks today may be greater than before the Lehman crisis, the BIS warns, as debts have risen. Across the developed world, the average combined public and private debt ratio is at 275 per cent of GDP, compared with 250 per cent in 2007. And no less than two fifths of new syndicated loans are now sold to dodgy ‘sub-prime’ borrowers, the BIS adds — above the pre–Lehman high.

trans. In popping one small balloon, we’ve blown up lots of big ones.

… It’s undeniable, for those willing to look, that numerous technical stock-market indicators are now flashing red. For one thing, the S&P500 sports an average cyclically adjusted price-earnings ratio of 25.6, according to Professor Robert Shiller of Yale University. That’s way above the historic average of 16.5, suggesting prices are unsustainably high.

…Trading volumes, meanwhile, are wafer thin, with just 1.8 billion shares trading daily within the S&P500 over recent months — that’s a six-year low. High valuations and low volumes amount to classic crash conditions. Yet still the rally continues — because investors can’t quite bring themselves to believe that the Fed will fully implement the planned end of QE in October as planned, or raise interest rates from ultra-low levels any time soon.

Western share prices generally have ballooned amid slow profit growth and still deep-rooted concerns about where the world economy is actually going. As such, global equities valuations are detached from reality and propped up by printed money.

…‘I would be extremely wary of stock markets right now,’ says Professor Michael Dempster, co-founder of the Centre for Financial Research at Cambridge University. ‘The last crisis was caused by cheap money and it’s happening again via QE, which is very, very worrying. QE started as a way of priming the pump, but no one knows how to turn it off without causing financial havoc.’

Admati points also to the failure of policy-makers [DS: change you can believe in!] to reform the ‘too big to fail’ western banks at the heart of the worst economic collapse in almost 80 years. ‘Our financial system remains bloated, inefficient and reckless,’ she says. ‘It endangers innocent citizens unnecessarily and distorts the economy to benefit the few. This recklessness isn’t only tolerated but, perversely, encouraged and rewarded by flawed policies and ineffective regulation.’

Admati pillories the official attempts to fix our banking system. ‘Supposed tough reforms are just tweaks to the previous rules that failed spectacularly, maintaining key flaws,’ she says.

‘Chinese walls don’t work,’ [DS: have you seen their debts over GDP? says Dempster. ‘Glass-Steagall should never have been taken down,’ he argues, referring to US legislation that, between 1933 and 1997, kept such activities in separate companies, insulating taxpayer-backed deposits from risky investments. ‘It was the reason we had a reasonably stable banking system for almost 70 years.’

…In March, the International Monetary Fund admitted such banks still receive annual implicit subsidies of $590 billion, with creditors judging that state bailouts will indeed be forthcomingwhen reckless, highly leveraged investments go wrong. This flies in the face of political rhetoric that the problem is solved and taxpayers will never again have to bail out bonus-fuelled traders.

This autumn, as the end of Fed ‘tapering’ and rising interest rates loom larger, overvalued western stock markets will come under intense pressure. Our largely unreformed, debt-soaked, loss-hiding banks mean a sharp asset price correction could spark a systemic crisis, involving not only the ‘advanced’ world but the large emerging markets, too. I don’t want it to happen, but there’s a good chance it might.

Regime uncertainty of elections need to be accounted, inc. the September Scotland referendum.


Study shows socialists are cheaters

Paper here.

Reason Coverage;

When playing a dice game that could earn them €6 ($8), subjects originally from the East, which was for four decades under socialist rule, were more likely than their market economy counterparts in West to lie about how they fared. The Economist explains the task:

The game was simple enough. Each participant was asked to throw a die 40 times and record each roll on a piece of paper. A higher overall tally earned a bigger payoff. Before each roll, players had to commit themselves to write down the number that was on either the top or the bottom side of the die. However, they did not have to tell anyone which side they had chosen, which made it easy to cheat by rolling the die first and then pretending that they had selected the side with the highest number. If they picked the top and then rolled a two, for example, they would have an incentive to claim—falsely—that they had chosen the bottom, which would be a five.

The results were that “East Germans cheated twice as much as West Germans overall,” leaving the researchers to conclude the “the political regime of socialism has a lasting impact on citizens’ basic morality.”

You can outlaw competition, but you can’t change human nature. Especially in a resource-scarce mindset.

The paper discusses some potentially related reasons for the outcome, such as the fact that

socialist systems have been characterized by extensive scarcity, which ultimately led to the collapse of the German Democratic Republic (GDR) in East Germany. In many instances, socialism pressured or forced people to work around official laws. For instance, in East Germany stealing a load of building materials in order to trade it for a television set might have been the only way for a driver of gravel loads to connect to the outside world. Moreover, socialist systems have been characterized by a high degree of infiltration by the intelligence apparatus.

The Duke-Munich team positions their work against a 2013 study, “Of Morals, Markets and Mice,” which concluded “that market economies decay morals” but “compared decisions in bilateral and multilateral market settings to individual decisions rather than an alternative economic allocation mechanism.” The new research finds that “political and economic regimes such as socialism might have an even more detrimental effect on individuals’ behavior.

In another aspect of the study, the researchers note that “we did not observe an overall difference between East and West Germans in pro-social behavior,” such as donating to hospitals, the capitalist-influenced demographic does, in fact, donate marginally more. [ explained by a true sense of community, instead of just speaking about one ]

Capitalism is the best we’ve got. Until something better comes along….

Fake Bohemians are crushing the working class white and taking their jobs

Recently one morning, as I was weeping over Caitlin Moran’s (daughter of Mr and Mrs Moran of Wolverhampton) brilliant book How to Build a Girl — specifically, the heartbreaking way she writes about coming from an impoverished family — a report came on to the radio with the glad tidings that working-class white children are now doing worse in schools than any other ethnic group. Said one Graham Stuart, the Conservative chairman of the education select committee, ‘They do less homework and are more likely to miss school than other groups. We don’t know how much of the underperformance is due to poor attitudes to school, a lack of work ethic or weak parenting.’

No, we don’t, do we? But what if it was to do with feeling that there’s just no point in bothering? That the odds are now so shamelessly stacked against a white working-class child getting a decently paid job, let alone one they actually enjoy, that to try hard at school would be to give up the last remnants of agency and rebellion? It’s no secret that social mobility — which just a few years back we all presumed would rock on regardless — has reversed, doing over the already vulnerable working class with the force of a steamroller. Yes, you chirpy Cockneys and you stoic Northerners, not only have the jobs your parents did — making things — disappeared, but the cushy jobs that a blessed few of you once might have escaped the surly bonds of the proletariat by nabbing — modelling, acting, writing for newspapers — have now been colonised by the children of the rich/famous/well-connected, too.

Looking at photos of Moss Junior, one is spitefully reminded of that line some wag came out with about Greta Garbo’s stand-in, one Geraldine Dvorak: ‘She has everything that Garbo has. Except that thing that Garbo has.’

They think qualifications can be bought.

Though simple starlets may compare showing off for lots of money to being a soldier (Paltrow and Cruise), being raped (Charlize and Kristen) and being stoned to death (Geldof), that’s just to put us ‘civilians’ off and keep the jammy jobs safe for their own spawn.

Idiots. Not even useful idiots.

If a Martian came down today, he’d believe that only the children of the famous are allowed to have enjoyable careers — the royal family started it, but only now are we seeing how crass and counterproductive it is when people get jobs because of who their parents are.

Because they aren’t qualified. And it isn’t fair, but neither is life.

Insult follows injury follows indignity when it comes to the prospects of today’s white working-class youth.

That’s the thing about nepotism; it’s ultra-conservative but the opposite of patriotic, wasting the endless talent of all those could-have-been runners and writers born on the wrong side of the tracks.

No matter, because the BBC have just announced that they have hatched a new £2 million scheme to fast-track black and Asian writers, actors and presenters. That’ll be the young blacks and Asians who in fact do better than poor whites in school — but as the white trash have a lack of work ethic, it’s probably their fault. Similarly, the Guardian has a ‘Positive Action Scheme — Ethnic Minorities’ in place, but zero for poor white would-be journalists.

They are noticing.

These deaths by a thousand snubs add to the impression of white working-class children being young ghosts in their own country, a new blank, betrayed generation of Chesterton’s famous Secret People:

‘We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,

Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.

It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,

Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.

It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest

God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.

But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.

Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.’

These ghosts may be less patient than their pacified parents, and prime candidates for the Ukip dream.

Correct. They will be very angry voters.

I believe these are the people who will pull off any sort of Revolution, if it hasn’t already sunk in they’ve been abandoned and replaced by Labour, their historical home.

Guardian feminist misses the prejudice and negative stigma of tattoos

It makes her feel less special.

Of course I hate myself too. For what could be more close-minded and short-sighted than passing judgment on what someone chooses to do with their body? I feel like a throwback, obliged to stifle an involuntary shudder when the waitress who serves my flat white reveals a sleeve tatt as long as, well, her arm. “What on earth does your mother think?” I inwardly tut, avoiding the uncomfortable thought that her mother probably has one too.

Of course, anyone with an ounce of intellectual curiosity or emotional openness will know that all this is wild nonsense, socially constructed. Indeed, it’s at this point someone always pipes up that “tattoos used to be upper class”. Winston Churchill had one and so did his mum. However, these days we have Sam Cam with a dolphin just below her ankle while Emma Parker-Bowles is reported to have a kitten on her bottom. By this reckoning, today’s tattoo wearers may simply be social climbers, adopting a status symbol in the way that people 10 years ago would wear green wellies in the King’s Road.

Or you could suggest instead that the current trend for “respectable” young people to get a tattoo is a response to the current crisis in body image; they may simply be kicking back against society’s demands that they should be absurdly slender, shaved or pumped. By this reading, tattooing is not an act of disguised self-harming, but a celebratory turning of the ordinary self into a work of art.

For the political analyst, meanwhile, today’s mild and well-mannered skin inkers are simply playing with nostalgic ideas of rebellion. Since there is nowhere to be an outlaw any more, the best anyone can do is fiddle on the margins. Getting a rose on your upper thigh may be your way of working for the man while signalling to your nearest and dearest that you are not a slave to him.

All these arguments are wearingly familiar, yet they make not a jot of difference to my visceral reaction when I see a Celtic cross marching down someone’s upper arm. In response to a stranger’s body my own starts to respond with waves of nausea. Today’s tattoos make me anxious because they jumble the categories by which I first learned to make sense of the world, the difference between safe and unsafe.

This doesn’t make me proud, but it is worth attending to because this is how prejudice starts, with a fear so deep it cannot be reasoned away, no matter how much we wish it to be. The best we can do, perhaps, is acknowledge it freely to ourselves, then learn to bite our tongues.

We are dealing with children’s minds in adult bodies.

The Land of Sand and Scripture


I wonder if the likes of Mindweapon have an opinion on what magical fuel the impoverished Palestinians are using to overpower the Israeli military might? it vaguely reminds me of something he wrote

Originally posted on The Legionnaire:

Given current events, I thought it might be prudent to bang out a brief write-up on the Israel/Palestine issue. This will not be any kind of #officialneoreactionaryposition, but rather, a few personal thoughts on the matter that deep down I hope are wrong.

The whole Israeli-Palestinian dynamic is perhaps best encapsulated by a plot element from the Harry Potter books: “Either must die at the hands of the other, for neither can live while the other survives”. There was perhaps once a chance for peace between the two sides. It is gone now. There is too much history and too much hatred on both sides for any meaningful reconciliation to occur (barring, of course, some kind of black swan event). The only way this ends now is with a river of blood. Peace will come only with genocide.

I think that deep down, both sides are aware of…

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Google: Government Is Likely to Collapse Under Its Own Weight


Resurrect the warrior caste. It’s the only hope from a generational perspective.

Originally posted on al fin next level:

To be precise, Google’s co-founder Larry Page said:

… regulation that “increases without bounds” is likely to lead government “to collapse under its own weight:” _

Denizens of Washington DC seem to believe that government was meant to do anything and everything. That kind of thinking has led to the hopelessly expanding monstrosity on the Potomac. Sure, eventually it will collapse under its own growing weight — if allowed to continue long enough.

But there are other forces at work which are unlikely to allow things to go on quite so long. The leaders of Russia and China, for example, are feeling under increasing pressure to remove the constraints of US power from their own ambitious plans of expansion. Special cyber war units inside Russia and China have made impressive progress in the ability to disrupt critical infrastructures inside enemy nations. This threat against Europe and the Anglosphere…

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