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daily 04/30/2014

April 30, 2014 Leave a comment
    • He’s talking about the Arctic, which Scott Minerd, the chief investment officer of [$210 billion management firm] Guggenheim Partners LLC, calls “not just the best opportunity of our generation, but of the last 12,000 years.”…

      Companies will spend an estimated $100 billion in the Arctic over the next decade, according to Lloyd’s of London Ltd, the world’s oldest insurance market

    • I really don’t understand how Amazon has so many hard working temps, who would actually like to get hired on, but they choose to bring new people off the street to receive the benefits and higher wages.
    • They would have all their cashiering staff (me!) clock out at midnight and then make us clean up the store after hours, off the clock.
    • We were 100% commission, we only made money when we were selling to customers. Yet, we were expected to arrive to our shift 30 minutes before open or stay 30 minutes after close to arrange items and get everything in order.
    • Now, when you try to pull a large slab with upturned edges carrying a 2.5 ton load, it tends to dig into the sand ahead of it, building up a sand berm that must then be regularly cleared before it can become an even bigger obstacle.
    • This prevents the sand from berming in front of the sled and cuts the force required to drag the sled in half. In half.
    • They determined both the required pulling force and the stiffness of the sand as a function of the quantity of water in the sand.
    • Artwork within the tomb of Djehutihotep, which was discovered in the Victorian Era, depicts a scene of slaves hauling a colossal statue of the Middle Kingdom ruler and in it, a guy at the front of the sled is shown pouring liquid into the sand. You can see it in the image above, just to the right of the statue’s foot.
    • Winston has had previous run-ins with the law, but no arrests. He was investigated for an alleged rape, but the State Attorney declined to bring charges due to a lack of evidence. In November, the associated press reported that Winston was questioned about his involvement in a long-running BB gun battle, and that a Burger King reported Winston was stealing soda in a ketchup cup.
    • When the last American soldiers left Iraq, at the end of 2011, the bloody civil war between the country’s Sunni and Shiite sects had been stifled but not resolved.
    • In the protests at Ramadi, a Sunni member of parliament named Ahmed al-Alwani had inflamed the crowds, accusing Maliki of being in league with the Iranian regime, the region’s great Shiite power. “My message is for the snake Iran!” Alwani shouted into a microphone, jabbing his finger into the air. Referring to Maliki and those around him as “Safavids” and “Zoroastrians,” terms that denote Iranian invaders, he said, “Let them listen up and know that those gathered here will return Iraq to its people!”
    • Soon afterward, troops cleared the Ramadi camp, on a day when it was sparsely occupied. Anbar Province erupted, along with the rest of Sunni Iraq, and the violence has not ceased.
    • n the effort to put down the upheaval, Maliki ringed the province’s two largest cities, Falluja and Ramadi, with artillery and began shelling. Forty-four Sunni members of parliament resigned. In Falluja and Ramadi, Sunni police abandoned their posts.
    • If he wins this time, he will never leave,” the longtime Maliki associate told me.
    • I saw Maliki in his office in February, and he appeared as stiff and colorless as he did during his televised speech—an apparatchik become the boss.
    • The bombs are back, sometimes a half-dozen a day, nearly always deployed by Sunnis to kill Shiites.
    • The Green Zone—still known by its English name—has the same otherworldly feel that it did during the American war: a placid, manicured outpost in a jungle of trouble. Now, though, it is essentially a bastion of Shiite power, in a country shot through with angry Sunni citizens.
    • much more to what the writer Rebecca West, describing the inevitable difficulties of international politics, called “clumsy gestures based on imperfect knowledge.”
    • Can it be that, in this country of thirty million people, the choice of Prime Minister is either Jaafari, who is incompetent, or Ali Adeeb, who is Iranian? Isn’t there anyone else?”

       

      “I have a name for you,” the C.I.A. officer said. “Maliki.”

    • Maliki was born in 1950 in Junaja, a village along the Euphrates in southern Iraq, just as the Shiites were beginning to cast off the legacy of British occupation. His grandfather Mohammed Abu al-Mahasin was a famous rebel, known for his political poetry. “He was a real revolutionary and wasn’t into material things,” Maliki told an interviewer for the Iraq Media Network, in 2012. After the British left, Maliki’s father worked to undermine the new dominant force, the Baath Party, a secular Arab nationalist movement that emphasized Sunni power. Both father and grandfather were jailed by their oppressors.
    • The region’s downtrodden Shiites were galvanized.
    • In his village, Maliki said, sixty-seven people were executed.
    • Saddam’s ruthless counter-offensive killed as many as a hundred and fifty thousand Iraqis, the overwhelming majority of them Shiites; the U.S. stood by, which Shiites see as a monstrous betrayal.
    • In 1981, Dawa operatives, with Iranian help, launched a suicide attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut, killing the Ambassador and sixty other people.
    • “All we knew was that he was not a super-duper bad guy, like some of the others.”
    • “You can’t know what arrogance is until you are an Iraqi Arab forced to take refuge with the Iranians,”
    • nd though Maliki insisted that Hezbollah, the Iranian-sponsored militia and political party, was an object of loathing in the Dawa Party, the associate told me that Maliki was very close to Hezbollah.
    • Maliki acknowledged that the bombers had belonged to Dawa, Crocker told me, but said that they were working exclusively for Iran. “Is that true?” Crocker said. “We decided that it was plausible enough.”
    • As Beals explained it, the Americans decided that waiting for an untainted partner was impractical: “A history of armed covert struggle against Saddam wasn’t a disqualifying factor.”
    • Over the years, the U.S. government had supported nearly all of his enemies—most notably Saddam—and opposed his friends, especially the revolutionary regime in Iran.
    • aliki used his position to continue the war for the Shiites, fighting what he sees as an irreconcilable group of Sunni revanchists.
    • Hussein al-Shahristani, the Deputy Prime Minister, was imprisoned and tortured in Abu Ghraib, where he spent ten years in solitary confinement.

       

    • Crocker had been a young political officer in the American Embassy in Baghdad in 1980, when Dawa’s leader, Mohammed Bakir al-Sadr, was executed
    • After seizing power, Qasim implemented progressive land reforms and an expansion of women’s rights.
    • But, he argued, fanatical caution had served him well. “His secret? He is a very intelligent tactician—all politics is short term. He doesn’t have any vision for the state.”
    • “If we put a nobody in power, he’s no threat to anybody.”
    • American officials were appalled, believing that the hurried execution undercut the legitimacy of the Iraqi legal process
    • “It was a lynching,” the former diplomat told me. “They basically martyred him.”
    • he Mahdi Army, was entrenched. Sadr was an old rival; his party competed with Dawa for the loyalty of Iraq’s vast Shiite underclass, drawing power from the Mahdi Army’s reputation for protecting against attacks by Sunni extremists.
    • Maliki flew into downtown Basra, landing at an old palace, which was surrounded by Sadr’s militiamen.
    • n Washington, Brett McGurk, a national-security aide, walked into the Oval Office and put a map of Basra in front of President Bush. The map showed Sadr’s forces everywhere. “Maliki was this little red dot in the middle,” McGurk recalled. Bush, unfazed, said, “Make sure he wins.”
    • It was a political turning point: he had shown that he was willing to take on a Shiite armed group as readily as a Sunni one, and even to defy the Iranians.
    • Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Quds Force, the Iranian paramilitary corps. For nearly a decade, Suleimani had loomed over Iraq as a powerful, shadowy influence: he had flooded the country with agents, brokered political deals, and smuggled in sophisticated bombs to kill American soldiers. Iran’s goals in Iraq were twofold: to bleed the Americans and to bolster the power of its Shiite clients.
    • Ayad Allawi, a persistent enemy of the Iranians.
    • But it was the meeting with Suleimani that was ultimately decisive. According to American officials, he broke the Iraqi deadlock by leaning on Sadr to support Maliki, in exchange for control of several government ministries. S
    • Most dramatic, he agreed to expel all American forces from the country by the end of 2011.
    • We lost four thousand five hundred Americans only to let the Iranians dictate the outcome of the war? To result in strategic defeat?”
    • “I needed American support,” he told me last summer. “But they wanted to leave, and they handed the country to the Iranians. Iraq is a failed state now, an Iranian colony.”
    • The American attitude was: Let’s get out of here as quickly as possible,” Sami al-Askari, the Iraqi member of parliament, said.
    • You just had this policy vacuum and this apathy,” he said. “Now we have no leverage in Iraq. Without any troops there, we’re just another group of guys.
    • Less than twenty-four hours after the last convoy of American fighters left, Maliki’s government ordered the arrest of Vice-President Tariq al-Hashemi, the highest-ranking Sunni Arab.
    • When the Integrity Commission uncovered a network in Maliki’s cabinet that was issuing government contracts to fake companies, he blocked the prosecutions; soon afterward, the commission’s director was replaced with a Maliki ally.
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    • Twitter says these changes reflect a more streamlined experience, but we have a different theory: Twitter is entering its twilight.
    • From the beginning, there were a few useful precepts that those of us who have obsessed over the platform had to believe. First, you had to believe that someone else out there was paying attention, or better, that a significant portion—not just 1 or 2 percent—of your followers might see your tweet. Second, you had to believe that skilled and compelling tweeting would increase your follower count. Third, you had to believe there was a useful audience you couldn’t see, beyond your timeline—a group you might want to follow one day.
    • Once again, Wheeler completely glosses over the fact that the only reason a federal appeals court gutted the previous neutrality rules was because a shortsighted FCC never thought to categorize Internet service providers as vital communications infrastructure. As numerous supporters of a true net neutrality have repeatedly pointed out, reclassifying ISPs would likely mean the FCC could reinstate the old rules (and possibly more stringent ones) and survive a legal challenge.
    • You’d think that, given his previous experience CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association and president of the National Cable Television Association, Wheeler would have some insight at how to beat the telecoms at their own game. But instead he’s fine with letting Verizon win, so long as it results him checking “Do net neutrality thingy” off his to-do list.
    • On the specific issues of fast lanes, Wheeler once more accuses consumers of overreacting and not trusting that a governmental agency run by a former frontman for both the cable and wireless industries has their back.
  • OH BABY YOU
    YOU GOT WHAT I NEEEEED
    BUT YOU SAY THE GAME ENDED
    YEAH YOU SAY THE GAME ENDED

    • A former brewer of one of these Mexican brands shared with me that when they put their beer in cans, they intentionally skunk it to keep the taste consistent with the UV ravaged bottled version. Heineken does this too.
    • Today on its earnings call, Twitter indicated that it has no plan to host a secondary offering of its shares to provide liquidity to its large shareholders and early investors.

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daily 04/29/2014

April 29, 2014 Leave a comment
    • Along with original cast members Han, Leia, Luke, C3PO, R2-D2 and Chewbacca, the new Star Wars film will also feature John Boyega (Attack the Block), Daisy Ridley (Blue Season), one of the older Weasley brothers, Hannah Horvath’s boyfriend, Llewyn Davis, Gollum, and the incomparable Max Von Sydow.
    • I put this sentiment over in the io9 thread, but it’s appropriate here — OSCAR FUCKING ISAAC, man. In ten seconds, I went from not giving a crap about this (having been burnt out and abused by the ‘prequels’) to anxiously awaiting the release date. I hope he’s playing Han Solo’s son or something because he’s certainly got the swagger.
  • Big things are happening at our house – watching Star Wars for the first time.

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daily 04/28/2014

April 28, 2014 Leave a comment
    • At the Towers, Sterling’s staff issued applications for garage-door remote controls that required residents to disclose their birthplace and national origin. Darren Schield, controller at Beverly Hills Properties, later denied that Sterling wanted the information to screen tenants by race. Instead, he said, “sometime after Sept. 11, 2001,” an FBI special agent warned that several tenants who were “foreign, I mean as Muslim, or, you know,” were targets of Bureau investigations. Even more bizarre but just as effective at driving away African-Americans and Hispanics, Beverly Hills Properties changed the name of the Wilshire Towers complex to Korean World Towers. A huge banner printed entirely in Korean was hung on the building, and the doormen were replaced by armed, Korean-born guards who were hostile to non-Koreans, again according to testimony given by multiple residents. In August 2003, during the Housing Rights Center lawsuit, a federal judge ordered Sterling to stop using the word “Korean” in the names of his buildings, but the damage had been done. “Even to this day, I still feel leery that at any given point we could be evicted,” testified tenant Aubrey Franklin. “[It’s] not pleasant to live in a community [where] the spirit and the camaraderie [are] gone.”

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daily 04/27/2014

April 27, 2014 Leave a comment

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daily 04/26/2014

April 26, 2014 Leave a comment

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daily 04/25/2014

April 25, 2014 Leave a comment
    • The filters approved in Europe and Canada are better at blocking UVA. Ecamsule, for example, absorbs light waves best at 344 nanometers, which is squarely in the UVA range. Sunscreens that combine the old filters with the new ones provide broader protection against the sun.
    • The first and most benign is that these four young adults all bought these fake bibs off Craigslist or a comparable site from a chief bastard because they themselves would never steal anything, including pencils and music from the internet. In this scenario, they were the victims.
    • Among those who support views of limited government, there is often a “higher than average endorsement of views that could be seen as racial resentment,” said Andra Gillespie, an associate professor of political science at Emory University.
    • Gillespie said part of the issue is a perception that the far right is made up of people who are white and uneducated.
    • Furthermore, the results of the regressions we ran tell a similar story. After individually regressing QBR, Sack Percentage, Adjusted Net Yards Per Attempt, Passer Rating, and Interception Rate Per Attempt on the corresponding Wonderlic scores, we did not find a single relationship that proved to be statistically significant at the 5% level, and most are not even close. That is, a quarterback’s score on the Wonderlic Test does not serve as a significant predictor for any of the metrics we analyzed.
    • It’s not merely that Cliven Bundy is a racist lunatic; he’s a reductio ad absurdum of what passes for libertarian thought among its unreflective but reflexively militant white male interlocutors.
    • Bundy is the loudest, clearest expression of the id of Inner America.
    • Most investors, of course (except The One True God) have no fucking way of knowing whether or not there’s going to be a disaster this year.
    • Caity: Yes, but American Girl is always going for more aspirational than kiddish These are $110 dolls that are hard to play with. American Girl isn’t about fun. It’s about American Girl.
    • would say the same of my cheeseburger. I’d order it again because I’m a kid and I hate to try new things at American Girl Place. I want everything to stay the same forever and no one to get divorced on my birthday.
    • One of the very few things American Girl does wrong is that they don’t get multiple staffers to sing the Happy Birthday song the way chain restaurants do. The Happy Birthday song sang by one quiet gay man sounds more like a Happy Birthday dirge.
    • Addy escaped slavery so that she could afford a $90 table-and-two-chairs set that could only fit doll bodies.
    • he Campbell Apartment, probably because you assumed it was closed or didn’t know it was there, tucked behind Cipriani Dolci (which you are NOT allowed pass through as a shortcut! OK, OK! Calm down Cipriani Dolci!), it is the grand former office of a long dead railroad executive named John W. Campbell.
    • and that the place is teeming with bridge and tunnel people (the bridge and tunnels both lead to Ghost World).
    • but if you or your date commutes from Westchester or Connecticut (as surely you must, because why else would you be having your first date in this train station?), you can certainly afford it.
    • Caity: It is a GREAT place to not only have an affair, but to engage in public coitus without fear of discovery.
    • Think the Romans. They didn’t create their empire so we could make cool mini series about them. They waged bloody wars in order to have access to metals such as copper and tin.
    • Every home has up to 400 pounds of copper, both in wiring and in the plumbing… It is quite frankly the metal that runs modern civilization.
    • The real answer will most likely be a new technology, a new alloy or graphite that will both conduct electricity and be cheap. Something like that is most likely more than a generation away.
    • Amazon wants to be the future of the retail business. It will accomplish that by not only competing with Wal-Mart and Target on price, but also on convenience. If Amazon wants to compete, it must not only
    • mazon is doing that in part by moving away from normal delivery services like UPS—which provide “jobs” to “employees”—in favor of smaller delivery services that use “independent contractors.”
    • On top of that, since they aren’t employees, they have a hard time unionizing, they get slammed on their taxes, and they don’t get benefits.

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daily 04/24/2014

April 24, 2014 Leave a comment

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