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daily 03/31/2014

    • RBC might have been the fifth-biggest bank in North America, by some measures, but it was on nobody’s mental map of Wall Street
    • “Everything was to excess,” he says. “I met more offensive people in a year than I had in my entire life. People lived beyond their means, and the way they did it was by going into debt. That’s what shocked me the most. Debt was a foreign concept in Canada. Debt was evil.”
    • The first day after the merger, Katsuyama got a call from a worried female employee, who whispered, “There is a guy in here with suspenders walking around with a baseball bat in his hands.”
    • Frommer told a group of business students: “It’s not just enough to fly in first class; I have to know my friends are flying in coach.”
    • The market wasn’t open; nothing was happening. But he was like, ‘Oh, my God, it’s happening in real time!’ ”
    • Katsuyama couldn’t believe it. He thought: The guy who just sold us our new electronic-trading platform either does not know that his display of technical virtuosity is absurd or, worse, he thinks we don’t know.
    • He had been supplying liquidity to the market; now whatever was happening on his screens was reducing his willingness to do that.
    • ‘Five.’ Then I’d hit the Enter button, and — boom! — all hell would break loose. The offerings would all disappear, and the stock would pop higher.”
    • At which point he turned to the developers behind him and said: “You see, I’m the event. I am the news.”
    • To that, they had no response. Katsuyama suspected the culprit was Carlin’s setup. “As the market problem got worse,” he says, “I started to just assume my real problem was with how bad their technology was.”
    • Right away he saw that, even though his friend was using software supplied to him by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley and the other big firms, he was experiencing exactly the same problem as RBC: He would hit a button to buy or sell a stock, and the market would move away from him.
    • Between the public stock exchanges and the dark pools — private exchanges created by banks and brokers that did not have to report in real time what trading activities took place within them — why were there now nearly 60 different places, most of them in New Jersey, where you could buy any listed stock?
    • Why would the market on the screens be real if you sent your order to only one exchange but prove illusory when you sent your order to all the exchanges at once?
    • As they increased the number of exchanges, the percentage of the order that was filled decreased; the more places they tried to buy stock from, the less stock they were actually able to buy.
    • “I just thought, BATS is a great exchange!”
    • One morning they sat down to test the program. Ordinarily when you hit the button to buy but failed to get the stock, the screens lit up red; when you got only some of the stock you were after, the screens lit up brown; and when you got everything you asked for, the screens lit up green.
    • “It’s 2009,” Katsuyama says. “This had been happening to me for almost two years. There’s no way I’m the first guy to have figured this out. So what happened to everyone else?” The question seemed to answer itself: Anyone who understood the problem was making money off it.
    • You could see that when you were trading a stock, the market knew what you were going to do, and it was going to move against you.”
    • The online broker TD Ameritrade, for example, was paid hundreds of millions of dollars each year to send its orders to a hedge fund called Citadel, which executed the orders on behalf of TD Ameritrade. Why was Citadel willing to pay so much to see the flow? No one could say with certainty what Citadel’s advantage was.
    • The same tax rate applied to that sum came to nearly $160 million a day. “It was so insidious because you couldn’t see it,” Katsuyama says. “It happens on such a granular level that even if you tried to line it up and figure it out, you wouldn’t be able to do it. People are getting screwed because they can’t imagine a microsecond.”
    • He also lacked the Wall Street trader’s ability to seem more important and knowledgeable than he actually was.
    • How a switch made by Cisco compared with a switch made by Juniper.
    • In 2005, he went to work for BT Radianz, a company that was born of 9/11, after the attacks on the World Trade Center knocked out big pieces of Wall Street’s communication system. The company promised to build a system less vulnerable to outside attack. Ryan’s job was to sell the financial world on the idea of subcontracting its information networks to Radianz. In particular, he was meant to sell the banks on “co-locating” their computers in Radianz’s data center in Nutley, N.J., to be closer, physically, to where the stock exchanges were located.
    • “He says, ‘My latency time is 43 milliseconds,’ ” Ryan recalls. “And I said, ‘What the hell is a millisecond?’ ”
    • The logic was the software, the code instructions that operated the boxes. Ryan didn’t know much about software, except that more and more it seemed to be written by guys with thick Russian accents.
    • “Physics is physics — this is what the traders didn’t understand,” Ryan says.
    • A huge number of the outfits he dealt with — Hudson River Trading, Eagle Seven, Simplex Investments, Evolution Financial Technologies, Cooperfund, DRW — no one had ever heard of, and the firms obviously intended to keep it that way.
    • “They’d be just five guys in a room. All of them geeks. The leader of each five-man pack is just an arrogant version of that geek.”
    • One group of guys Ryan saw over and over: four Russian, one Chinese. The arrogant Russian guy, clearly the leader, was named Vladimir, and he and his boys bounced from prop shop to big bank and back to prop shop, writing the computer code that made the actual stock-market trading decisions, which made high-frequency trading possible.
    • “He walks into the meeting and says, ‘I’m always the most important man in the room, but in this case, Vladimir is.’ ”
    • He needed, specifically, someone from deep inside the world of high-frequency trading.
    • e now suspected that every human being who knew how high-frequency traders made money was making too much money doing it to stop and explain what they were doing. He needed to find another way in.
    • He couldn’t very well call him vice president in charge of explaining to my clueless superiors why high-frequency trading is a travesty. So he called him a high-frequency-trading strategist. And Ryan finally landed his job on a Wall Street trading floor.
    • The maps told a story: Any trading signal that originated in Lower Manhattan traveled up the West Side Highway and out the Lincoln Tunnel.
    • One way or another, they traveled west to Secaucus, the location of the Direct Edge family of exchanges owned in part by Goldman Sachs and Citadel, and south to the Nasdaq family of exchanges in Carteret. The New York Stock Exchange, less than a mile from Katsuyama’s desk, appeared to be the stock market closest to him — but Ryan’s maps showed the incredible indirection of fiber-optic cable in Manhattan. “To get from Liberty Plaza to 55 Water Street, you might go through Brooklyn,” he explained. “You can go 50 miles to get from Midtown to Downtown. To get from a building to a building across the street, you could travel 15 miles.”
    • The reason they were always able to buy or sell 100 percent of the shares listed on BATS was that BATS was always the first stock market to receive their orders.
    • They knew something was very wrong, but they didn’t know what, and now that they knew, they were outraged.
    • Your biggest competitive advantage is that you don’t want to [expletive] me.”
    • Wall Street brokers what percentage of the trades executed on their behalf were executed inside the brokers’ dark pools.
    • But the dark pools were opaque. Their rules were not published. No outsider could see what went on inside them. It was entirely possible that a broker’s own traders were trading against the customers in its dark pool: There were no rules against doing that.
    • A huge percentage of the customer orders sent into a dark pool were executed inside the pool.
    • If an investor as large as T. Rowe Price, which acted on behalf of millions of investors, had trouble obtaining the information it needed to determine if its brokers had acted in their interest, what chance did the little guy have?
    • “Thank God, finally there’s someone who knows something about high-frequency trading who isn’t an Area 51 guy.”
    • With the purposelessness of the exercise hanging in the air, Park said, “I just had a sick idea.” His idea was to license the technology to one of the exchanges. The line between Wall Street brokers and exchanges had blurred.
    • We just sat there for a while,” Park says, “kind of staring at each other. Create your own stock exchange. What does that even mean?”
    • They loved the idea of a stock exchange that protected investors from Wall Street’s predators. They also thought that for a new stock exchange to be credibly independent of Wall Street, it could not be created by a Wall Street bank. Not even a bank as nice as RBC. If Katsuyama wanted to create the mother of all stock exchanges, he would need to quit his job and do it on his own.
    • But he also needed to find out if the nine big Wall Street banks that controlled nearly 70 percent of all investor orders would be willing to send those orders to a truly safe exchange.
    • Creating a new stock exchange is a bit like creating a casino: Its creator needs to ensure that the casino cannot in some way be exploited by the patrons. Or at worst, he needs to know exactly how his system might be gamed, so that he might monitor the exploitation — as a casino follows card counters at the blackjack tables.
    • From the point of view of the most sophisticated traders, the stock market wasn’t a mechanism for channeling capital to productive enterprise but a puzzle to be solved.
    • “Investing shouldn’t be about gaming a system,” he says. “It should be about something else.”
    • The old Soviet educational system channeled people into math and science. And the Soviet-controlled economy was horrible and complicated but riddled with loopholes, an environment that left those who mastered it well prepared for Wall Street in the early 21st century. “We had this system for 70 years,” Sokoloff says. “The more you cultivate a class of people who know how to work around the system, the more people you will have who know how to do it well.”
    • The New York Stock Exchange, for one, had created an order type that traded only if the order on the other side of it was smaller than itself — the purpose of which seemed to be to protect high-frequency traders from buying a small number of shares from an investor who was about to depress the market in these shares with a huge sale.
    • taxonomy of predatory behavior in the stock market.
    • The necessary delay turned out to be 320 microseconds; that was the time it took them, in the worst case, to send a signal to the exchange farthest from them, the New York Stock Exchange in Mahwah. Just to be sure, they rounded it up to 350 microseconds.
    • hey would not sell to any one trader or investor the right to put his computers next to the exchange or special access to data from the exchange.
    • They would pay no rebates to brokers or banks that sent orders; instead, they would charge both sides of any trade the same amount: nine one-hundredths of a cent per share (known as nine mils).
    • They’d allow just three order types: market, limit and Mid-Point Peg, which meant that the investor’s order rested in between the current bid and offer of any stock.
    • the new exchange did not allow anyone who could trade directly on it to own any piece of it:
    • If the bank was unable to execute an order in its own dark pool, the bank could direct that order first to the exchange that paid the biggest rebate for it.
    • it would reduce the informational value of investors’ stock-market orders to zero.
    • The big Wall Street banks and online brokers that routed investors’ stock market orders to the new exchange would surrender billions of dollars in revenues in the process. And that, as everyone involved understood, wouldn’t happen without a fight.
    • On the first day, IEX traded 568,524 shares. Most of the volume came from regional brokerage firms and Wall Street brokers that had no dark pools — RBC and Sanford C. Bernstein
    • And we gave them a 120-year head start,” Ryan said, playing a little loose with history. Someone had given him a $300 bottle of Champagne. He’d told Schwall that it was worth only $100, because Schwall didn’t want anyone inside IEX accepting gifts worth more than that from outsiders. Now Ryan fished the contraband from under his desk and found some paper cups.
    • EX had made its point: That to function properly, a financial market didn’t need to be rigged in someone’s favor. It didn’t need payment for order flow and co-location and all sorts of unfair advantages possessed by a small handful of traders. All it needed was for investors to take responsibility for understanding it, and then to seize its controls. “The backbone of the market,” Katsuyama says, “is investors coming together to trade.”
    • What he had discovered was just how badly the market wanted to remain in the shadows.
    • After the first six weeks of IEX’s life, a big Wall Street bank inadvertently disclosed to one big investor that it hadn’t routed a single order to IEX — despite explicit directions from the investor to do so.
    • A fourth investor was told by three different banks that they didn’t want to connect to IEX because they didn’t want to pay their vendors the $300-a-month connection fee.
    • Trades on IEX were also four times as likely as those elsewhere to trade at the midpoint between the current market bid and offer — which is to say, the price that most would agree was fair.
    • The stock market really was rigged.
    • some large amount of what Wall Street had been doing with technology was simply so someone inside the financial markets would know something that the outside world did not.
    • Unsavory elements of high-speed computerized trading have been a concern since at least May 2010, when the so-called “flash crash” struck US exchanges. (Die-hard market geeks were concerned long before that.)  But Michael Lewis’s new book Flash Boys, on the perils of high-speed computerized markets, could still be important if only because it cuts through the dense webbing of jargon and complexity that has proven dangerous to the US financial system and the economy as a whole.

      +

    • “If it wasn’t complicated, it wouldn’t be allowed to happen,” he says. ”The complexity disguises what is happening. If it’s so complicated you can’t understand it, then you can’t question it.”
    • Complexity is profitable and it keeps regulators at bay. ”T
    • Lol. You can’t spell squints without ints.
    • “The haves paid for nanoseconds; the have-nots had no idea that a nanosecond had value,” Lewis writes. “The haves enjoyed a perfect view of the market; the have-nots never saw the market at all.”
    • Everything about this says this thing shouldn’t work, but yet it does. if there was a derp equivalent of a plane, this would be it, hands down.
    • The idea would be that this will segue into a third movie, which would lead us back to the origins, and lead us back to the very, very first movie.  So we have yet to complete another cycle.  This film is about survival.  In the next film, the conflict between apes and man intensifies.
    • very time I run into Brad [Bird, director] he always tells me Frozone is part of what’s going on, so I have to believe that…” 
    • Do you remember the 21st night of September?
      Love was changing the minds of pretenders
      While chasing the clouds away

      Our hearts were ringing
      In the key that our souls were singing.
      As we danced in the night,
      Remember how the stars stole the night away

      Ba de ya – say do you remember
      Ba de ya – dancing in September
      Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day

      My thoughts are with you
      Holding hands with your heart to see you
      Only blue talk and love,
      Remember how we knew love was here to stay

      Now December found the love that we shared in September.
      Only blue talk and love,
      Remember the true love we share today

      Ba de ya – say do you remember
      Ba de ya – dancing in September
      Ba de ya – never was a cloudy day

      Ba de ya – say do you remember
      Ba de ya – dancing in September
      Ba de ya – golden dreams were shiny days

    • This song is all about suspension—not in the voice-leading 4–3 sense, but in the emotional sense, which listeners often associate with “exhilaration,” being on the road, being on a roller coaster, travel.
    • This sense of suspension is created simply, by denying the listener any I chords. There is not a single I chord in the song.
    • Laymen, the I chord (“one chord”) is the chord that the key is in. For example, a song is in G but there are no G-chords.
    • Notice, too, how Katy’s melody begins on the tonic—tonic: the root note of the missing I chord, the same note that the key is in.
    • The “feeling of suspension” I mentioned is an effect of this. The insistence of the tonic in the melody keeps your ears’ eyes fixed on the destination, but the song never arrives there. Weightlessness is achieved. Great work, songwriters!
    • As Katy moves out of introspective mode and starts using imperatives “Let’s go all the way tonight! No regrets! Just love!” she gets straight, more serious, no syncopation.
    • Then—genius—the chorus inverts the weighting that we heard in the verse. [Syncopated:] “You make me [straight:] “feel like I’m living a …” [syncopated:] “teenage dream!” And the gooey heart of the song, the “skin tight jeans” bit, is rhythmically entirely straight, voice tumbling out of the tonic-focused cage of the verse and chorus, like long-hair from a scrunchie released.
    • Third observation: Daft Punk pulls off a classic move in this song during the bridge, at that moment when the chorus of robots breaks it down. The move? They overlay the hook from the pre-chorus with the hook from the chorus, getting them both going simultaneously. This is not an original device, but a classic one in the world of Western music theory, subject and countersubject. Two melodies that live separately but will join together in a climax of ecstatic melodic copulation.
    • It sounds off-balance and playful and sexy, like a foreign exchange student who might be a little drunk.
    • just try to live passably and don’t go out of your way to inject chaos into other people’s lives.
    • Telling the bartender to give everyone’s drinks that name-brand Tylenol treatment (EXTRA STRENGTH) is a very, very different thing from telling him to get all the women bombed. Working hard to get everyone wasted is the job of the never-gonna-retire social chair of this noble frat. (You should still warn the group about what you’re doing.) Fucking with specific people’s drinks is the purview of sex predators and spies.
    • If these women are grown enough to send courteous thank you notes to a party’s host, they are grown enough to dictate the strength of their own drinks. If they are not grown enough to do that, they are too young and too ill-mannered to be drinking alcohol in the first place.
    • You supplied an open bar. People were going to get drunk without any further assistance from you. Ordering extra-strong drinks at an open bar is like counting to infinity by twos.
    • A responsible bartender would not continue serving alcohol to a customer that was falling down-drunk. (A crafty bartender would have accepted your tip–”Sure thing, boss!”–and then watered down the drinks as usual.)
    • But when DMCA complaints are sent Dropbox’s way—by record labels or content producers or whoever else—the files to which they relate are also hashed. If you’ve been uploading the exact same files that Dropbox has received a complaint about, Dropbox will match its hash to one on its list, and stop your sharing it. Like Dropbox explains on its site:
    • We don’t look at the files in your private folders and are committed to keeping your stuff safe.”
    • After five more years and upon seeing a dog on a leash like his own, Caesar (now an adolescent) openly questions his identity and Will tells him of his origins. Meanwhile, Charles’s
    • During the credits, we see Hunsiker who, having been infected by Franklin, leaves his house for work (it’s been revealed earlier that he is an airline pilot), arriving at San Francisco International Airport for his flight to Paris. His nose begins to drip blood onto the floor. The camera then zooms into the flight-status board and a graphic traces the spread of the humanity-killing virus to Europe and then around the globe via international airline flight routes.
    • “Boeing is, of course, not the first autopilot technology in existence, but this one has been designed with counterterrorism first and foremost in mind. Not only is it ‘uninterruptible’ — so that even a tortured pilot cannot turn it off — but it can be activated remotely via radio or satellite by government agencies.” This means and proves that commercial airplanes can be controlled remotely by lets say… the CIA and Mossad!
    • It is now universally recognized that the plane’s course was diverted by human intervention in the cockpit of the plane. Why would the pilots have diverted the plane into the South Indian Ocean? If they wanted to commit suicide, why fly for 7 hours?
    • Part of the trove of highly classified documents leaked by former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, the secret briefing published by Der Spiegel also shows that intelligence on foreign leaders is shared between all “5-eyes” intelligence partners – the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
    • Shiva Star, originally just SHIVA, is a high-powered pulsed-power research device located at the Air Force Research Laboratory on the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The device was originally built in the 1970s for high-power X-ray research, was later re-directed to studies for the Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI), and is now being used for magnetized target fusion research. Shiva Star was named after the Hindu god Shiva, partly because its prototype originally had four “arms”; it now has six “arms”
    • Shiva Star was also used to develop an experimental weapon known as MARAUDER for the SDI effort between 1989 and 1995. The idea appears to have been to create compact toroids of high-density plasma that would be ejected from the device using a massive magnetic pulse.[2] The plasma projectiles would be shot at a speed expected to be 3000 km/s in 1995 and 10,000 km/s (3% of the speed of light) by 2000.
    • Most of what  I intercept is digitally encrypted but occasionally clear-voice communications can be heard, especially when a UHF TACSAT DAMA operator hasn’t bothered to secure the downlink.  There are other satellites and space-born platforms both domestic and foreign transmitting in this band and as a result I’ve captured some pretty wild stuff. 
    • So it’s time to dip into my reporter’s bag of tricks and pull out another card. I reason that if it was an explosion or a geological event there would be traces – seismic traces.
    • Someone on one of the chat forums suggested it was radar chaff.
    • I then searched the Internet for images of radar chaff and compared them to the mystery plume and it wasn’t even a close match.
    • But still, to be sure it wasn’t chaff it was time to do what any good reporter would do, address the obvious and make some phone calls.
    • This is something most conspiracy theorists wont’ do because they don’t want the truth (because their truth is more compelling) and (or) they don’t trust information coming from official sources.
    • She said, “I did some research on my end and found out there was a test on the range that night. A test missile was fired from Dugway in Utah and it was intercepted by a Patriot Battery in the range around 9:00 PM our time, however that does not coincide with the radar plume you mentioned which I believe you said occurred around 7:00 PM our time right?”
    • Although I still didn’t have my answer the fact that they returned my call and volunteered information was very telling. 

       

       

       

       It indicated they were as stumped as I was and weren’t covering up anything.
    • “There’s a lot of strange stuff that goes on out there that we aren’t privy to. Good luck ion your quest.”
    • The event that produced the plume began as a surface event. It wasn’t a storm that had begun at an altitude above the ground. 
    • It was a burst, a quick pulse and then a mass ejection of gaseous material blasted into the atmosphere.
    • The data also revealed that some kind of gaseous substance, maybe smoke lingered in the area for an hour after the original event. 

       

    • basically a snow storm at altitude and that’s what the mystery plume was most likely made of and thus explaining it’s persistence.  

       

    • Although I now knew more about the plume itself, the mystery only grew deeper. The new data was revealing and sobering at the same time.It revealed a much larger but very quick and powerful event capable of actually creating a crystallization of the atmosphere.  What could have caused this? More in-depth analysis was in order.
    • Then I had an idea. Since the new radar data was more detailed I could actually pinpoint the location of ground zero by overlying the radar data on map images I pulled off Google Earth. 
    • It only took me a few minutes and I was able to nail down (within a few hundred yards) where the event originated.

       

       

       

    • It was obvious to me that since I had last called them they had probably received dozens of calls from the press and and as a result had prepared an official release and was ordered to not deviate from it.
    • Although the plume wasn’t generating much column space in the states overseas the European press was putting their spin on it as a possible nuclear test.
    • Early missiles used liquid-fueled motors. Many liquid-fueled ICBMs could not be kept fueled all the time as the cryogenic liquid oxygen boiled off causing unwanted ice formation on the fuselage, plus missiles on alert had to be fueled before launch putting a huge dent in readiness times.
    • That in mind, I decided to research the site of the event itself and low and behold I stumbled on something that made me actually shout “Eureka!”and just may be the explanation that fits the evidence.

       

    • The facility is designed to assemble and evaluate advanced sensor, tracking and atmospheric compensation systems. The goal is to improve the U.S. Air Force’s ability to track missiles and then efficiently transmit laser energy through the atmosphere to destroy those missiles.”
    • They agreed it was quite possible an exotic energy weapon had been fired from the site.
    • Although North Oscura Peak is known more for being a laser weapons laboratory it’s quite possible much more exotic weapons are being tested there, running the gamut from microwave, particle beam and plasma weapons all capable of disrupting the atmosphere. They also agreed that SDI had not gone away but had gone black and billions had been pumped into developing exotic weaponry since the mid 1980s.
    • “demonstrate fully compensated laser propagation to low earth orbit satellites.”
    • Another postulated that the huge discharge of super-cooled gas could have been indicative of an accident and maybe a tank farm of cryogenic fuel had ruptured which would have accounted for the large plume and the crystallization of the local atmosphere. 
    • If it was a test firing of a weapon, the only way to gauge the success or failure of the weapon is to fire it at a target. So what was the target?

       

    • This Doppler Shift indicated to me that what I had intercepted was a LEO (Low Earth Orbiting) satellite transmitting a steady tone, and quite possibly could have been the target.
    • during the Cold War one of the Space Shuttle’s classified missions was to deploy dozens of simple micro-satellites capable of receiving, recording and repeating the “go code.” or Emergency Action Messages on STRATCOM (formerly known as Strategic Air Command) frequencies. 
    • These micro-sats were to be used in case other communication channels were destroyed during a first strike, for example if a Soviet ICBM was exploded in space sending out an EMP pulse knocking out communications satellites in geo synchronous orbit.
    • The aircraft seen here was accompanied by two others. This and the fact that Steve picked up some apparently related voice traffic suggests that the aircraft is piloted: I doubt that you’d dispatch three large, classified unmanned aircraft anywhere in formation. The risk of a midair would be present, and such an event would be non-career-optimal. 
    • I jumped up to look out a window in the direction of the “sound” which was increasing by the moment. 300 ft away I noticed that the sky was pitch black over an out building that was approximately 75 ft wide. It took a few seconds for my eyes to adjust to the darkness.
    • No sound what so ever from the craft. Only from the ground. I assumed it to be a military craft, because it was so large and flying over a populated area not far from an Air Force base.
    • I followed an Italian manager and it cannot be easy when you follow a manager who thinks very differently.
    • When you just work tactically, in pure football sessions, you can see the way they can think football.
    • or a start they should think one thing. In the Premiership there are 20 managers. Only three have won European trophies. Only three, not 20, three: Sir Alex [Ferguson], Mourinho and Benitez.
    • It all depends on the concept of a galactico. Who is a galactico? Is he a famous guy with a lot of money, a lot of prestige? Or is he a player who can play 60 matches a season, putting in consistent performances?
    • Braavos was lost in fog
    • “What hour?” Mercy called down to the man who stood by the snake’s uplifted tail, pushing her onward with his pole.
    • The envoy from Westeros was expected at the Gate this evening, and Izembaro would be in no mood to hear excuses, even if she served them up with a sweet smile.
    • After that she found her razor. A bare scalp helped the wigs fit better, Izembaro claimed.
    • Izembaro hated it when the mummers wore his costumes in the streets.
    • It was a real mummer’s cloak, purple wool lined in red silk, with a hood to keep the rain off, and three secret pockets too.
    • Braavos was a good city for cats, and they roamed everywhere, especially at night. In the fog all cats are grey, Mercy thought. In the fog all men are killers.
    • The small canals were even more hazardous, since many of the houses that lined them had privies jutting out over the water.
    • The Bloody Hand in its place in huge red letters. He was painting a bloody hand beneath the words, for those who could not read. Mercy stopped to have a look. “That’s a nice hand,” she told him.
    • “The King of Westeros is sending his envoy to do homage to the King of the Mummers tonight,” he told his troupe. “We will not disappoint our fellow monarch.”
    • “He’s fat enough to count for two,” whispered Bobono.
    • Lady Stork has stepped on the hem of her gown again. Come help me sew it up.”
    • We were meant to be together, Mercy,” Bobono insisted. “Look, we’re just the same height.”

       

      “Only when I’m on my knees.

    • That was one of Izembaro’s “wisdoms,” as he liked to call them. You have to please the pit.
    • Always give them something they haven’t seen before was another of Izembaro’s “wisdoms,” and one that Bobono had no easy answer for.
    • ossomo the Conjurer had come as well, and on his arm was Yna, the one-eyed whore from the Happy Port,
    • Have you ever seen such clothes on an old man? And look, he’s brought the Black Pearl!”
    • She had dressed in a low-cut gown of pale yellow silk, startling against the light brown of her skin.
    • “I would like to see a dragon,” Mercy said wistfully. “Why does the envoy have a chicken on his chest?”
    • and golden lions with red garnet eyes clasped each cloak at the shoulder.
    • “It’s only… well, he’s fair to look on, don’t you think?”
    • An Oklahoma judge ruled the state’s execution law unconstitutional Wednesday because its privacy provision is so strict that it that prevents inmates from finding out the source of drugs used in executions, even through the courts.
    • Several U.S. states, including Missouri, Ohio, Florida and Georgia have been turning to lightly regulated compounding pharmacies for drugs to use in lethal injections, after pharmaceutical companies stopped allowing sales of their drugs for executions.”

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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