Thursday, December 31, 2009

BBC News - Stock markets recover in 2009

BBC News - Stock markets recover in 2009

Well if you had not lost your nerve a year ago and bought up you would be sitting very pretty right now.  A £351,000 made a lot the low point of the panic would net you a £190,000 return in 10 months.  The story of 2009 will be how people who did not lose their nerve profited over those who did.
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Op-Ed Columnist - Sparking a Savings Revolution - NYTimes.com

Op-Ed Columnist - Sparking a Savings Revolution - NYTimes.com
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Comparing apples to apples

(Newser) – Congressional Republicans hammering President Obama for a "72-hour" delay in responding publicly to the Christmas Day attempted airline bombing seem to be forgetting something: It took President Bush six days to respond to a parallel situation, Politico reports. In December 2001, shoe bomber Richard Reid was foiled by passengers in an attempted attack that exposed gaping security deficiencies just months after 9/11—but neither party nor the media openly criticized Bush over his response time.
Dems Slam GOP Hypocrisy Over Detroit Terror - Bush's shoe bomber response took 6 days; no one complained

This Modern World » Blog Archive » The Year in Crazy, Part Two

This Modern World » Blog Archive » The Year in Crazy, Part Two
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Ten Miserable Years | The New Republic

That is why Obama, despite his fervent wishes, has been unable to usher in a new period of consensus. Bush's defenders know that Obama's election represented a popular reaction against the consequences of the 43rd president's time in office. Because Obama is both the anti-Bush and the leader of the post-Bush cleanup squad, his success would complete the rebuke. So the Bush camp -- Karl Rove's regular contributions to The Wall Street Journal's opinion pages are emblematic -- must stay on the attack.
Ten Miserable Years | The New Republic
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Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

It is extraordinary to see the US begin to make the same mistakes in Yemen as it previously made in Afghanistan and Iraq. What it is doing is much to al-Qa'ida's advantage. The real strength of al-Qa'ida is not that it can "train" a fanatical Nigerian student to sew explosives into his underpants, but that it can provoke an exaggerated US response to every botched attack. Al-Qa'ida leaders openly admitted at the time of 9/11 that the aim of such operations is to provoke the US into direct military intervention in Muslim countries.
Patrick Cockburn: Threats to Yemen prove America hasn't learned the lesson of history - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent
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Revealed: hand of Iran behind Britons' Baghdad kidnapping | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: hand of Iran behind Britons' Baghdad kidnapping | World news | The Guardian
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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Doctor's orders

Facebook | Gail Orenstein's Photos - cig

New answer to the Fermi Paradox: Its global warming

No present observations suggest a technologically advanced extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI) has spread through the galaxy. However, under commonplace assumptions about galactic civilization formation and expansion, this absence of observation is highly unlikely. This improbability is the heart of the Fermi Paradox. The Fermi Paradox leads some to conclude that humans have the only advanced civilization in this galaxy, either because civilization formation is very rare or because intelligent civilizations inevitably destroy themselves. In this paper, we argue that this conclusion is premature by introducing the "Sustainability Solution" to the Fermi Paradox, which questions the Paradox's assumption of faster (e.g. exponential) civilization growth. Drawing on insights from the sustainability of human civilization on Earth, we propose that faster-growth may not be sustainable on the galactic scale. If this is the case, then there may exist ETI that have not expanded throughout the galaxy or have done so but collapsed. These possibilities have implications for both searches for ETI and for human civilization management.
[0906.0568] The Sustainability Solution to the Fermi Paradox

UK debt levels big? Well actually no not really, UK debt leves are actually LOW

BBC News - French public debt in new high after stimulus spending

We see about the real reason for the Tories drive to put UK public sector on massive diet.  The UK economy can be divided in to two groups: bankers and productive people.  Productive people certainly pay taxes but also do business with the public sector.  Bankers on the other hand only really care about the value of the pound.


Bankers want to keep public sector debt very very low so that the pound will return to high levels so that investment will flood in to the UK.  Don't think that this money coming in to UK banks produces UK economic growth.  The money is then invested outside of the UK for the most part, the only economic activity produced is the banks activity.

So right now the bankers are concerned firstly that the public sector owns them now, and that the world economies are being kept alive by government spending which is increasing debt levels.  The UK was hit hard because banking is such a large part of its economy, but came from very low debt levels compared to other developed countries.

Ignore 500,000 or so jobs were saved by effective government response to the economy,  the bankers want to have a weak pro-Bank government they can push around and they want the dept brought down very low to bring up the pound no matter the consequences for ordinary Brits, and Cameron has promises them all this.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Tiger Woods Scandal: $12 BILLION Fallout?

Tiger Woods has destroyed $12 billion in stock value since his post-Thanksgiving car accident, according to a new study from two University of California, Davis economics professors. The study estimates that Gatorade, Nike and Electronic Arts have suffered the most, while Accenture "experienced no ill effects following the accident."
Tiger Woods Scandal: $12 BILLION Fallout?
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First the iPod, then the iPhone. So is Apple about to launch iSlate? - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent

First the iPod, then the iPhone. So is Apple about to launch iSlate? - News, Gadgets & Tech - The Independent
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Hamas's rhetoric of resistance masks new stance a year after Gaza war | World news | guardian.co.uk

"When Hamas entered the Palestinian legislative elections their slogan was a mix of resistance and politics. It has completely failed," said Mkhaimar Abusada, a political scientist at al-Azhar University in Gaza. "Hamas knows resistance is going to cost them their regime in the Gaza strip."
Hamas's rhetoric of resistance masks new stance a year after Gaza war | World news | guardian.co.uk
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Op-Ed Columnist - The Big Zero - NYTimes.com

So let’s bid a not at all fond farewell to the Big Zero — the decade in which we achieved nothing and learned nothing. Will the next decade be better? Stay tuned. Oh, and happy New Year.
Op-Ed Columnist - The Big Zero - NYTimes.com
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A New High-Tech Battle - Which 3-D Glasses Are Best? - NYTimes.com

A New High-Tech Battle - Which 3-D Glasses Are Best? - NYTimes.com
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Sunday, December 27, 2009

Mich. sues Ill. to protect Great Lakes - Washington Post- msnbc.com

The reversal of the Chicago River a century ago, to send the city's sewage to the Mississippi River instead of into Lake Michigan, was hailed as an engineering marvel. Now Michigan is suing Illinois to potentially re-reverse the river to prevent the movement of voracious, invasive Asian carp into the lake.
Mich. sues Ill. to protect Great Lakes - Washington Post- msnbc.com
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Gehring and New Netherland Project Translate New York History - NYTimes.com

Gehring and New Netherland Project Translate New York History - NYTimes.com
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Saturday, December 26, 2009

Avatar the Botleg

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Lucianne.com News Forum - Thread

Reply 34 - Posted by: Snapper59, 12/26/2009 5:52:10 AM (No. 6126781)

I had read that the Washington Post originally reported "President Obama, vacationing in Hawaii, was informed of the situation three hours after the plane landed..." In later editions of the exact story, the "three hours later" was scrapped, and "immediately sprung into action when informed" substituted.
Lucianne.com News Forum - Thread

Reading a Republican Right wing Social Network is a bit disturbing.  Do these people remember their beloved Bush's response to 9-11.  Its on video tape how he responded to hearing that the US was UNDER SUCCESSFUL attack by Al Qaeda. If I recall he just sat there, and sat there, and sat there, and sat there.....
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The Beck Supremacy | The New Republic

It’s no surprise, then, that thriller writers often appear on conservative shows as political experts. Take Flynn, for instance. Prior to becoming a thriller writer, he worked in sales for Kraft Foods, but, these days, he routinely goes on Beck’s show and other Fox News programs as a national security analyst. “We have allowed the far left in this country to define torture down, to encompass everything,” he told Bill O’Reilly last December.

Thor performs a similar function, but he has better range. Sometimes he plays the role of Islamic scholar, thanks to his novel The Last Patriot, which Beck has described as “The Da Vinci Code for Islam, except The Da Vinci Code was so much more fiction than this is.” “Islam has some very dark, very scary skeletons in its closet that it does not want out there,” Thor once told Beck. At other times, Thor turns his eye to domestic politics: Asked by Beck whether “foreign operatives” were at work inside the United States, Thor replied, “I have no doubts. I think they’re here. I think some of them even hold public office.” Whatever Beck and his producers need, Thor, who used to work in television himself as the host of a travel show, is ready to provide it. He explains, “Any time they call me and say, ‘They just whacked this guy outside of Islamabad, can you come on and talk about his network?’ I’m happy to do it.”


The Beck Supremacy | The New Republic
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HaitiAnalysis.com Slavoj Žižek: Use Your Illusions

HaitiAnalysis.com Slavoj Žižek: Use Your Illusions
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The tsunami's widowers search for love - Asia, World - The Independent

The tsunami's widowers search for love - Asia, World - The Independent
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Friday, December 25, 2009

Apple stock soars to all-time high -- latimes.com

Apple stock soars to all-time high -- latimes.com
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Survey: There Will Be More Jobs in 2010 - Newsweek.com

Survey: There Will Be More Jobs in 2010 - Newsweek.com
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What is the Right wing even talking about



I think its time to just come out and say it. With the failure of the "free market" to make reality perfect, with the failure of mindless pathriotic anger in Iraq, the Right wing movement in the United States is without substance. It is no longer a set of concepts and is just a life style without underlying political meaning. Its a religiou and identity issue trying to experss itself as a political concept and failing.
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BBC News - Ceausescu execution 'avoided mob lynching'

BBC News - Ceausescu execution 'avoided mob lynching'
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This Modern World » Blog Archive » The Year in Crazy, Part One

This Modern World » Blog Archive » The Year in Crazy, Part One
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Don't blame the system for winter travel chaos. Stay put | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian

Don't blame the system for winter travel chaos. Stay put | Simon Jenkins | Comment is free | The Guardian
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

BBC News - Molecules and synapses cement memories, say scientists

BBC News - Molecules and synapses cement memories, say scientists
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Another post from the wierd Right

Reply 19 - Posted by: kdog, 12/24/2009 7:42:07 AM (No. 6123720)I am completely disgusted that the bodies sworn to ensure the Union would work so hard on a bill that has the potential to destroy us. Using their own figures there are less than 15% uninsured in this Country for all sorts of reasons. Why are we taking such a drastic action when 85% of us have no problem whatsoever, let alone "crisis". The part that makes me dispair is that I know most of these people will be re-elected.
Lucianne.com News Forum - Thread

The American Right wing is getting kind of scary, like all of them are bomb makers or something.  Their reasoning is getting kind of strange.  Like this guy.  Hey why would we act on something that impacts only 15% of the country.  That is only one in seven people.

And why act of civil right eh, blacks are a minority as well.

But I wonder if this fellow imagined a need to invade Iraq 7 years ago?  Now what percentage of America was actually threatened by that.  Lets see,. 0% maybe.
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First taste of an utter piece of shit



Hey look, its the Sex in the City old ladies, they are still alive. Its been 2 years, and now they are in the sands. New York and Dubai property ad gone badly wrong.

If you would like to know my experinece of this, start the trailer and scream "fuck you" over and over again while point your middle finger at it.
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Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul Bill - NYTimes.com

Senate Passes Health Care Overhaul Bill - NYTimes.com
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Colbert Dishes On Bush, Glenn Beck, and MSNBC - James Warren

Colbert Dishes On Bush, Glenn Beck, and MSNBC - James Warren
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Ben Chu: There's a good reason why climate naysayers are failing - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

Ben Chu: There's a good reason why climate naysayers are failing - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent
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The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons | World news | The Guardian

For months, the source of the information was kept under wraps within the CIA but once it became more widely known in the agency it immediately came under question. Playboy quotes one former counterterrorism official who attended a briefing on the source as being furious. He said: "I was saying: 'This is crazy. This is embarrassing.' They claimed they were breaking the code, getting latitude and longitude, and al-Qaida operatives were decoding it. They were coming up with airports and everything, and we were just saying: 'You know, this is horseshit!' "
The Nevada gambler, al-Qaida, the CIA and the mother of all cons | World news | The Guardian
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Banks That Bundled Bad Debt Also Bet Against It - NYTimes.com

Banks That Bundled Bad Debt Also Bet Against It - NYTimes.com
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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Judge: Condoms not mandatory on porn sets - Sexual health- msnbc.com

Judge: Condoms not mandatory on porn sets - Sexual health- msnbc.com
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New home sales drop as recovery teeters - Answer Desk- msnbc.com

New home sales drop as recovery teeters - Answer Desk- msnbc.com
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Obama And Brandeis « The Baseline Scenario

The only thing that will make a different is regulation. This is the lesson of the 1930s in the US – the regulations imposed at that time created a financial sector that did not impede growth after World War II; basic intermediation (connecting savers and borrowers) worked fine and destabilizing frenzies were avoided. During this period, the financial sector came up with venture capital, ATMs, and credit cards – arguably the three most important financial innovations of the past 100 years, and much more helpful of real innovation than anything you’ve seen since 1980.
Obama And Brandeis « The Baseline Scenario
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BBC News - Marriage becoming middle class institution, Tories warn



But he also admitted that because of financial constraints Tory plans to recognise marriage in the tax system would not be in the party's first budget if they win power next year.
BBC News - Marriage becoming middle class institution, Tories warn
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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The perfect gift? How about an end to loneliness – and not just at Christmas | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian

The driving force behind these projects is Participle, a social enterprise which aims to reimagine the entire public realm. Co-founder Hilary Cottam, named designer of the year in 2005 for innovative work on health, schools and prisons, says Southwark Circle came about by doing what public services so rarely do: listening to the public. Rapidly she came to realise that older people rejected both the old 1950s state and 1980s market models. "They didn't want to be needy recipients, but nor did they want to be passive consumers."
The perfect gift? How about an end to loneliness – and not just at Christmas | Jonathan Freedland | Comment is free | The Guardian
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How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room | Mark Lynas | Environment | The Guardian

Above all, Obama needed to be able to demonstrate to the Senate that he could deliver China in any global climate regulation framework, so conservative senators could not argue that US carbon cuts would further advantage Chinese industry. With midterm elections looming, Obama and his staff also knew that Copenhagen would be probably their only opportunity to go to climate change talks with a strong mandate. This further strengthened China's negotiating hand, as did the complete lack of civil society political pressure on either China or India. Campaign groups never blame developing countries for failure; this is an iron rule that is never broken. The Indians, in particular, have become past masters at co-opting the language of equity ("equal rights to the atmosphere") in the service of planetary suicide – and leftish campaigners and commentators are hoist with their own petard.
How do I know China wrecked the Copenhagen deal? I was in the room | Mark Lynas | Environment | The Guardian
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BBC News - David Cameron pledges even more spending

David Cameron says he will act to guarantee more funding for hospices which treat terminally ill children, if the Conservatives win the election.
BBC News - David Cameron pledges children's hospice funding

Reminder, this is the man who has told the truth to the people of the UK about the hard spending cuts that will need to be made for the UK.  Here is a try for anyone out there, find an English speaking Conservative Regime that ever actually reduced deficits?
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Cartoons: Daryl Cagle looks back at the decade - Decade in Review- msnbc.com

Cartoons: Daryl Cagle looks back at the decade - Decade in Review- msnbc.com
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Bankers Can't Find Greener Pastures - The Atlantic Business Channel

Bankers Can't Find Greener Pastures - The Atlantic Business Channel
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The Battle For Tora Bora | The New Republic

Kerry remains furious about Tora Bora today. “They declared Osama bin Laden the world’s number-one criminal, and went out boldly proclaiming, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ and talking about the dangers of Al Qaeda,” he told me recently. “And when they had an opportunity to completely, not only decapitate it, but probably to leave it with the minuscule, last portion of its tail, they never showed up.” His anger is justified. Bin Laden was clearly at Tora Bora, and sending so few troops was indeed a major failure. It’s a lesson that bears remembering today as the United States continues to pursue Islamist militants in both Afghanistan and Pakistan: In the hunt for members of the Taliban and Al Qaeda, there is simply no substitute for boots on the ground. Afghan proxies, Pakistani soldiers, drones--these are not unimportant tools in the war on terrorism. But they are not effective substitutes for U.S. troops. If we want to kill bin Laden and Zawahiri--and other top Al Qaeda leaders--we are probably going to have to do it ourselves.

The Battle For Tora Bora | The New Republic
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Tories are a party for the rich, say voters - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

The findings will add to the jitters in the Tory high command after the gap between the two main parties closed in recent weeks. Amid fears that the Tory message has been too "austere" because of the economic crisis, Mr Cameron will try to paint a more positive vision of life under a Tory government in a new year campaign.
Time for yet another course change.

Tories are a party for the rich, say voters - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Al Jazeera English - Focus - The end of American exceptionalism

Al Jazeera English - Focus - The end of American exceptionalism
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Milorad Pavic, Serbian Author of Unusual Novels, Dies at 80 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com

Milorad Pavic, Serbian Author of Unusual Novels, Dies at 80 - Obituary (Obit) - NYTimes.com
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Joss Garman: Copenhagen - Historic failure that will live in infamy - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent

Joss Garman: Copenhagen - Historic failure that will live in infamy - Commentators, Opinion - The Independent
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Gay activists praise rugby star Gareth Thomas's decision to come out | World news | The Observer

Gay activists praise rugby star Gareth Thomas's decision to come out | World news | The Observer
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Op-Ed Columnist - Tiger Woods, Person of the Year - NYTimes.com

From what I can tell, Accenture is a solid company. But the Daily News columnist Mike Lupica raised a good point when I spoke with him last week: “If Tiger Woods was so important to Accenture, how come I didn’t know what Accenture did when they fired him?” According to its Web site, Accenture is “a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company,” but who cared about any fine print? It was Tiger, and Tiger was it, and no one was to worry about the details behind the mutually advantageous image-mongering. One would like to assume that Accenture’s failure to see or heed any warning signs about a man appearing in 83 percent of its advertising is an anomalous lapse. One would like to believe that business and government clients didn’t hire Accenture just because it had Tiger’s imprimatur. But in a culture where so many smart people have been taken so often, we can’t assume anything.
Op-Ed Columnist - Tiger Woods, Person of the Year - NYTimes.com
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Friday, December 18, 2009

BBC - Science & Nature - Sex ID

BBC - Science & Nature - Sex ID

Your personal brain score:
Average score for MEN who've taken this survey:
Average score for WOMEN who've taken this survey:
According to the BBC Robert Hooker is a woman!!!!!! Wow.  Or at least I think like a woman.
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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cutting the cost and size of government in the UK?

"I want to launch this from day one of a Conservative government, with councils actually going house to house, street to street, to identify the areas, the homes and the people that would most benefit," Cameron said.

A household with the most basic package of measures could expect to see savings of 360 pounds a year on its heating bills, the paper said, with an energy-efficiency provider putting in an initial investment of 1,500 pounds.
Conservatives plan energy scheme | Top News | Reuters

Tory lead cut to nine points in Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | The Guardian

Tory lead cut to nine points in Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | The Guardian

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

BBC News - Protest over research funds plan

BBC News - Protest over research funds plan

University professors are due to march on Parliament later to protest at planned changes in funding they say will threaten "blue-skies" research.

They oppose plans in England to offer extra financial incentives for research that has "demonstrable benefits" to the economy, society or culture.

They argue imaginative ideas will lose out to "unoriginal research proposals".

The Higher Education Funding Council for England says it will still support "curiosity driven research".

The academic protest will include an unveiling, by the University and College Union, of a picture of Albert Einstein in Westminster.

Einstein has been chosen because he once said: "If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?"

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BBC News - Cameron pledges energy upgrade for 3m homes

BBC News - Cameron pledges energy upgrade for 3m homes

Since Cameron promised to clash spending and get the budge back in line, he has made ever expanding series more money pledges from extra pay for Afghan soldiers to tax cuts for business and married couples to cutting inheritance tax.  Now he is going to give out 3,000,000 grants that could go up over £6,000.  Assuming that the average is only 1,000 pounds that is a 3 billion pledge coming from the man who promises to cut 10% of the budget.

The question emerges, is Cameron serious about being Prime Minister?  Frankly it seems his ego wants it, but he is even less prepared than Boris Johnson was for the job.  He has already made so many contradictory pledges and gotten himself in so many fights with other nations who would want him in with a paper thin majority.  I can't imagine anything could motivate the Tories to want this man with the kind of majority he at best could get but for spite.
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Glenn Beck pimps Gold



Why is Glenn Beck Glenn Beck? Well the answer is simple. He is working to produce a consumer base willing to buy in to the massive Gold Bubble.

Historic gold price charts The Right Wing Plot to make a new BUBBLE

Historic gold price charts -- gold prices in dollars and euros

The new Bubble

Notice the 20 year gold line.  From 1990 top 2005 investment in gold returned a flat return.  Gold was generally a shit return and has only spiked some since 2006, with the full impact of the Bush years hitting global markets.

With the economic crisis currently there has been a rush to stability and gold is fairly safe.  But what is starting to be a work here is a new bubble, a bubble being stoked by media figures like Glenn Beck.  Glenn and other pushing the Tea Party have been recently exposed as also taking money for promoting gold.

Its this simple.  There is a large population of people out there who are in economic trouble and are selling gold.  Gold sales are very high right now as cash scrapped people cash in family gold all over the world. 

So the supply of gold is up.  Now the economic concerns alone are not going to insure that these people buying gold are not going to get killed.  Companies, like Goldine which Beck is a paid spokesperson for, are going to want to promote the sale of Gold.

Bingo, suddenly you can see it.  The right wing media and blogs like Drudge, Beck and Rush have an amazing opportunity right here, an opportunity they are using.  A large part of the US population is white, dull, uneducated, and disgusted by the presence of a black President. 

So the right wing media is pumping them with stories to promote Gold over other kinds of investment.  Drudge reports every day the dollar goes down without reporting when it goes up.  Gold prices are given over 7 years, with helpful "chart work" to show "if these trends continue", but when you look at the 20 year line you can see a clear bubble.

We go for stocks to housing to gold, and sadly the same kind of people are being exploited.  But what is sad is we see how the white male Reagan working class is being piece by piece stripped of assets.  In the 1990s they were going to get rich quick on emerging stocks and they bought massively in to the broader markets which have never fully recovered.  When that collapsed the look for a more secure housing market, where they could get solid returns they assumed to be safe.

Now they are looking for basic survival.  Gold is being presented to them as a potential place make a quick buck under the assumptions that US capitalism is about to die.

Sadly the outcome of this bubble is clear.  The above chart is so familiar.  Beck, Drudge and others are profiting by sending people to gold web sites and 1-800 numbers, but with prices so high these investors will be clobbered when the economy returns to normal conditions and global investors reduce gold purchase to invest in equities, especially when the banking sector resumes.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

This is bigger than climate change. It is a battle to redefine humanity | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian

While economies grow, social justice is unnecessary, as lives can be improved without redistribution. While economies grow, people need not confront their elites. While economies grow, we can keep buying our way out of trouble. But, like the bankers, we stave off trouble today only by multiplying it tomorrow. Through economic growth we are borrowing time at punitive rates of interest. It ensures that any cuts agreed at Copenhagen will eventually be outstripped. Even if we manage to prevent climate breakdown, growth means that it's only a matter of time before we hit a new constraint, which demands a new global response: oil, water, phosphate, soil. We will lurch from crisis to existential crisis unless we address the underlying cause: perpetual growth cannot be accommodated on a finite planet.
This is bigger than climate change. It is a battle to redefine humanity | George Monbiot | Comment is free | The Guardian
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Lieberman Flexes Muscle as Democrats Rethink Health Plan - NYTimes.com

Lieberman Flexes Muscle as Democrats Rethink Health Plan - NYTimes.com
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Tory lead cut to nine points in Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk

Tory lead cut to nine points in Guardian/ICM poll | Politics | guardian.co.uk
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Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Media Equation - Tilting to the Right at Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal - NYTimes.com

It certainly doesn’t appear that the $5 billion purchase of the newspaper was a big financial success — the News Corporation took a $2.4 billion write-down on the purchase — and Michael Nathanson of Sanford C. Bernstein said the Bancroft family, which sold the paper, “now look like geniuses” and described the purchase as “one of the worst media deals in history.”

But Mr. Murdoch and his lieutenants have made two significant bets: that the cachet and reputation of The Wall Street Journal are elastic enough to encompass a much broader array of news and that objectivity in a general-interest newspaper is a losing strategy.
The Media Equation - Tilting to the Right at Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal - NYTimes.com
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20 Years Of The Simpsons - Features, TV & Radio - The Independent

20 Years Of The Simpsons - Features, TV & Radio - The Independent
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John Lennon, the boy we knew | Music | The Observer

John Lennon, the boy we knew | Music | The Observer
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Gay woman wins Houston mayoral race - More politics- msnbc.com

Gay woman wins Houston mayoral race - More politics- msnbc.com
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Cameron's lead bounces back to 17 per cent - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

Cameron's lead bounces back to 17 per cent - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
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Briton Mohammed Ezzouek was held in Somalia as an al-Qaida suspect: his interrogators were British | World news | The Observer

Briton Mohammed Ezzouek was held in Somalia as an al-Qaida suspect: his interrogators were British | World news | The Observer
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Saturday, December 12, 2009

Arrests fuel new fears of ‘homegrown terrorism’ - Washington Post- msnbc.com

Amazing how clockwork-like it seems to be these days. A few days ago, Ross Douthat, current resident conservative at the NY Times writes a bunch of drivel about how problems with Islam in Europe are rife, with the usual implication that the United States, in its superior wisdom, does not suffer from such problems. This has been the line in the States for some time. Too bad it turns out not to be quite so simple.

Arrests fuel new fears of ‘homegrown terrorism’ - Washington Post- msnbc.com
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Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway | UK news | The Guardian

Tony Blair has said he would have invaded Iraq even without evidence of weapons of mass destruction and would have found a way to justify the war to parliament and the public.
This is just weird. He destroyed his political career over Iraq. He would probably be President of Europe now were it not for Iraq. And yet, still he can not admit to any mistake. He is comfortable saying that he lied to get us in, but not that it was a mistake to go in.

I really wonder about his character.

Tony Blair admits: I would have invaded Iraq anyway | UK news | The Guardian
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Economic Crisis Is on Curriculum at Columbia and Elsewhere - NYTimes.com

“Marx is the uninvited guest in the discussion,” Dr. Plotkin told the group of undergraduates assembled in Rockefeller Hall. “By looking at the financial crisis through the lens of a Marxist analysis, we begin to see how the American debate about power is shaped by Marxism.”

Economic Crisis Is on Curriculum at Columbia and Elsewhere - NYTimes.com
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose

Doonesbury@Slate - Daily Dose
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Jet cemetery: Where do aircraft go when airlines go to the wall? - Home News, UK - The Independent

The phenomenon is part of a global shift in the aviation industry which will see 12,500 passenger planes around the world reach the end of their useful life over the next 20 years. That's 400-plus aircraft a year to be recycled, stripped of their usable components and compacted into scrap metal.

Jet cemetery: Where do aircraft go when airlines go to the wall? - Home News, UK - The Independent
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Energy stored underground could be used to heat homes | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Energy stored underground could be used to heat homes | Environment | guardian.co.uk
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Laid bare: the sex life of the ancient Greeks in all its physical glory | Culture | The Guardian

Laid bare: the sex life of the ancient Greeks in all its physical glory | Culture | The Guardian
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U.S. tops world in health spending, results lag - Health care- msnbc.com

PARIS - The United States ranks near the bottom in life expectancy among wealthy nations despite spending more than double per person on health care than the industrialized world's average, an economic group said Tuesday.
U.S. tops world in health spending, results lag - Health care- msnbc.com
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BBC News - Gen McChrystal: Bin Laden is key to al-Qaeda defeat

The top US commander in Afghanistan has said al-Qaeda will not be defeated unless its leader, Osama Bin Laden, is captured or killed.

Testifying to the US Congress, Gen Stanley McChrystal said Bin Laden had become an "iconic figure".

He said President Barack Obama's deployment of 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan meant success was possible.

But he said the mission was "undeniably difficult" and the next 18 months would be crucial.

"I don't think that we can finally defeat al-Qaeda until he's captured or killed," said Gen McChrystal of Bin Laden.

"I believe he is an iconic figure at this point, whose survival emboldens al-Qaeda as a franchising organisation across the world," he said.

The general said that killing or capturing Bin Laden would not spell the end of al-Qaeda, but that the movement could not be eradicated while Bin Laden remained at large.

The militant leader is believed to be living in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said last week that officials have had no reliable information on Bin Laden's whereabouts for "years".


BBC News - Gen McChrystal: Bin Laden is key to al-Qaeda defeat
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Chuck Woolery, Patriot | The New Republic

Chuck Woolery, Patriot | The New Republic
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Monday, December 07, 2009

Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails? - Europe, World - The Independent

The FSB security services, descendants of the KGB, are believed to invest significant resources in hackers, and the Tomsk office has a record of issuing statements congratulating local students on hacks aimed at anti-Russian voices, deeming them "an expression of their position as citizens, and one worthy of respect". The Kremlin has also been accused of running co-ordinated cyber attacks against websites in neighbouring countries such as Estonia, with which the Kremlin has frosty relations, although the allegations were never proved.

"It's very common for hackers in Russia to be paid for their services," Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change, said in Copenhagen at the weekend. "It's a carefully made selection of emails and documents that's not random. This is 13 years of data, and it's not a job of amateurs."

The leaked emails, Professor van Ypersele said, will fuel scepticism about climate change and may make agreement harder at Copenhagen. So the mutterings have prompted the question: why would Russia have an interest in scuppering the Copenhagen talks?

This time, if it was indeed the FSB behind the leak, it could be part of a ploy to delay negotiations or win further concessions for Moscow. Russia, along with the United States, was accused of delaying Kyoto, and the signals coming from Moscow recently have continued to dismay environmental activists.

When Ed Miliband, the Secreatary of State for Climate Change, visited Moscow this year, he had meetings with high-level Russian officials and pronounced them constructive. But others doubt that Russia has much desire to go green.

Up in the far northern reaches of Russia, there are stretches of hundreds of miles of boggy tundra; human settlements are few and far between. Often, the only inhabitants are indigenous reindeer herders, who in recent years have reported that their cyclical lifestyle is being affected by the climate: they have to wait until later in the year to migrate to winter camps, because the rivers do not freeze as early as they used to. In spring, the snow melts quickly and it becomes harder for reindeer to pull sleds.

Much of Russia's vast oil and gas reserves lie in difficult-to-access areas of the far North. One school of thought is that Russia, unlike most countries, would have little to fear from global warming, because these deposits would suddenly become much easier and cheaper to access.

It is this, goes the theory, that underlies the Kremlin's ambivalent attitudes towards global warming; they remain lukewarm on the science underpinning climate change, knowing full well that if global warming does change the world's climate, billions of dollars of natural resources will become accessible. Another motivating factor could be that Russia simply does not want to spend the vast sums of money that would be required to modernise and "greenify" Russia's ageing factories
Was Russian secret service behind leak of climate-change emails? - Europe, World - The Independent
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Map Reveals Which Countries Wikipedia Discusses Most -- And Least (PHOTOS)

Map Reveals Which Countries Wikipedia Discusses Most -- And Least (PHOTOS)
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Senate to confront abortion in health debate - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com

Abortion-rights supporters in the Senate say they are confident they have the votes to defeat Nelson amendment. Thune appeared to agree with that assessment at a news conference earlier Monday.

The top Senate Democrat said Monday lawmakers are approaching the end game on the far-reaching health care legislation and fully expect to prevail on President Barack Obama's signature issue.

"We've tried to get to this point with health care legislation for almost 70 years, and we're there," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., after a weekend of work capped by a presidential pep talk Sunday. The rare weekend session saw intense negotiations among liberal and moderate Democrats — along with Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe of Maine, who may yet vote for the bill.


Senate to confront abortion in health debate - Capitol Hill- msnbc.com
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UN chief claims Russia is behind Climategate | News & Politics | News & Comment | The First Post

Are the Russians behind the leaked 'Climategate' emails, the awkward series of messages from scientists at the University of East Anglia's world famous Climatic Research Unit (CRU) which threaten to undermine the already precarious global warming summit opening in Copenhagen today? That's the theory put forward by the UN's deputy climate chief, Professor Jean-Pascal van Ypersele.

The emails, which were leaked in late November, appear to suggest that the respected CRU director Professor Phil Jones and his colleagues at East Anglia were manipulating data to prove their case that climate change is man-made. With the divide between 'green' politicians and what Gordon Brown calls the 'Flat Earth climate sceptics' already wide enough, the resulting scandal threatens to make it even more difficult to reach an agreement on carbon emissions at the summit.

The emails, sent to and from fellow scientists around the world, date back as far as 1996. The most damaging one, from 1999, appears to refer to Prof Jones's wish to "hide the decline" shown in a record of temperatures obtained by studying tree-ring growth since 1960. The temperatures recorded this way were not the same as the actual recorded air temperatures.

As a result of the ensuing controversy, Prof Jones has stepped aside from his post while the emails are investigated. He continues to deny that the emails provide any evidence that data was manipulated.

Prof van Ypersele believes it was Russians who hacked into the CRU emails and leaked them, carefully timed to disrupt Copenhagen. "It's a scandal," he said. Supporting his theory, the Mail on Sunday reported yesterday that it was very likely a web server called Tomcity that was used to start the process of diseminating the emails online.

The server, located in the Siberian city of Tomsk, is used mainly by Tomsk State University and other scientific institutes. According to the Mail, computer hackers in Tomsk have been used in the past by the Russian secret service - the FSB - to close down websites which promote views not approved by the Kremlin.

As one of the world's largest producers and users of gas and oil, Russia has a vested interest in opposing any agreement reached in Copenhagen to reduce emissions.

UN chief claims Russia is behind Climategate | News & Politics | News & Comment | The First Post

Looks like US Right Wingers are now Russian stooges
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Sunday, December 06, 2009

Brown bounce or Cameron crumble? - UK Politics, UK - The Independent

It is the Tories' worst electoral nightmare: a remarkable political resurrection, a huge lead in the polls, but still not enough to win a general election on their own. And, as the events of the past few weeks have suggested, it just may be coming to pass.
Brown bounce or Cameron crumble? - UK Politics, UK - The Independent
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Election 2010: The polls - politics.co.uk

The headline is: as things stand we're heading towards a hung parliament, or at least a minority administration. Cameron will want a firm mandate if he's going to take the country through a painful period of higher taxes and cuts in public spending. These figures won't give it to him. Unless we see a change soon, we could be heading towards a very interesting period in British politics.
Election 2010: The polls - politics.co.uk
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Climategate controversy has echoes of Watergate, UN says - Times Online

UN officials likened the Climategate controversy to Watergate today, claiming that computer hackers who stole thousands of e-mails sent by a senior climate scientist were probably paid to do it by people intent on undermining the Copenhagen summit.
...

Achim Steiner, director of the UN Environment Programme, said the theft of e-mails had echoes of the Watergate scandal.

"This is not 'climategate' it's 'hackergate'. Let's not forget the word 'gate' refers to a place [Watergate] where data was stolen by people who were paid to do so. So the media should direct its investigations into that."

Climategate controversy has echoes of Watergate, UN says - Times Online
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Friday, December 04, 2009

The Stupidity Crisis (Comics)

The Stupidity Crisis (Comics)
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The Stupidity Crisis (Comics)

The Stupidity Crisis (Comics)
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Alaias, Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards, Make a Comeback - NYTimes.com

Alaias, Ancient Hawaiian Surfboards, Make a Comeback - NYTimes.com
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One Cheer For Bank Of America's Bailout Repayment | The New Republic

Still, it's hard to get too excited about this milestone. In some respects, it's tough to see what the BofA repayment proves, except that if you were a badly-run commercial bank that had the good fortune of merging with a big investment bank just before a massive run-up in financial asset prices, then you're probably going to look relatively healthy before too long even if you're lending business still stinks.

One Cheer For Bank Of America's Bailout Repayment | The New Republic
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One Cheer For Bank Of America's Bailout Repayment | The New Republic

Still, it's hard to get too excited about this milestone. In some respects, it's tough to see what the BofA repayment proves, except that if you were a badly-run commercial bank that had the good fortune of merging with a big investment bank just before a massive run-up in financial asset prices, then you're probably going to look relatively healthy before too long even if you're lending business still stinks.

One Cheer For Bank Of America's Bailout Repayment | The New Republic
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News: Cameron claims chocolate on expenses 19493195

Conservative leader David Cameron has been charging tax payers for chocolate bars, it has emerged.

The snacks he has claimed for include Maltesers, a Galaxy, a Caramel bar, and a Mint Aero.

The snacks, which also include sandwiches, have all been claimed on Mr Cameron's Commons allowance for his staff, with the majority being claimed under his administrative and office allowance, the Mirror newspaper has claimed.

MPs allowances are meant to be used to pay for office equipment, supplies, and services for themselves and their staff.

Earlier in the year the Tory leader berated members of the Conservative party for abusing the MPs expenses system, saying some of the claims were "unethical and wrong".

Mr Cameron and his wife Samantha are estimated to be worth about £3.5 million.

Susie Squire, of the Taxpayers’ Alliance, said: "It may be a nice idea to provide treats. But David Cameron's staff should pay for their own like ordinary taxpayers."

None of the snacks claimed for break the MPs expenses rules as MPs are allowed to bill for "meals and subsistence for interns, volunteers or permanent employees working away from their main place of employment".

A Tory spokesman said: "All these claims were published on the Conservative party website and are a matter of public record.

News: Cameron claims chocolate on expenses 19493195
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Vladimir Putin praises Stalin for creating a superpower and winning the war - Times Online

In a verdict that will be obediently absorbed by a state bureaucracy long used to taking its cue from above, Mr Putin declared that it was “impossible to make a judgment in general” about the man who presided over the Gulag slave camps. His view contrasted sharply with that of President Medvedev, Russia’s nominal leader, who has said that there is no excuse for the terror unleashed by Stalin.
Vladimir Putin praises Stalin for creating a superpower and winning the war - Times Online
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Thursday, December 03, 2009

Mystery looms over possible brown dwarf star - Space.com- msnbc.com

Mystery looms over possible brown dwarf star - Space.com- msnbc.com

Astronomers say they have taken the first direct image of a planet-like object orbiting a star much like our own sun.

A similar breakthrough was announced last year, when astronomers unveiled direct images of a single-planet and multiple-planet system. However, the host stars of such systems are stellar giants that are much more massive than the sun.

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Why didn't Bush get Bin Laden, just look who the conservatives is in bed with

E-mails hacked from a climate research institute suggest climate change does not have a human cause, according to Saudi Arabia's lead climate negotiator.
BBC News - Climate e-mail hack 'will impact on Copenhagen summit'
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Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Peter Mandelson declares war on Rupert Murdoch's media empire | Media | The Guardian

Peter Mandelson declares war on Rupert Murdoch's media empire | Media | The Guardian
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Lou Dobbs: 'Who The Hell Does This President Think He Is?'

Former CNN host Lou Dobbs lashed out at President Obama on Tuesday for working on an international climate change treaty, suggesting it was a step toward monarchy and demanding, "Who the hell does this president think he is?"
Lou Dobbs: 'Who The Hell Does This President Think He Is?'

Uhhhhhh..... He thinks he is the leader of the most powerful country in the world.
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