"naked capitalism"

Thousands of elderly Hong Kongers march in solidarity with young human rights activists

For more than a month, Hong Kong has been rocked by an escalating series of public demonstrations that have persisted in the face of violent police suppression tactics; the demonstrations were kicked off when Hong Kong's puppet regime -- elected after China banned pro-independence candidates from standing in local government races -- proposed a new rule that would make it simple for Beijing to demand the extradition of political dissidents to mainland China, where torture and arbitrary detention of political prisoners is the norm. Read the rest

Read: Trump's grandfather's letter, in which he begs not to be deported

In 1905, Friedrich "Bone Spurs" Trump -- grandfather of Donald -- dodged the Bavarian draft and was ordered deported by Luitpold, the prince regent of Bavaria. Friedrich Trump sent Luitpold a letter groveling and begging not to be deported. Prince Luitpold deported him anyway. Read the rest

Trump's trade war cost the world $2t, wiping 6% off the global one percent's books

Trump's trade war has reduced the world's net worth by $2 trillion ($1.5 trillion of which came off the balance sheets of the 1%), with losses most deeply felt in China and Europe; North and South Americans took smaller losses, while the Middle East actually made gains: the richest Saudis have grown 7% richer during the trade war, while the richest Kuwaitis are 8% richer. Read the rest

After poacher crackdown, Tanzanian endangered rhino and elephant populations are staging inspiring recoveries

Four years ago, there were 15 known black rhinos left in Tanzania -- "ground zero of the poaching crisis" -- and today there 167 of them; elephant populations (which dropped 60% between 2009-2014) are rebounding too, up to over 60,000 from a low of 43,330. Read the rest

Understanding "transfer pricing": how corporations dodge taxes through financial colonialism

Every day, the world's poorest countries lose $3b in tax revenues as multinationals sluice their profits through their national boundaries in order to avoid taxes in rich countries, and then sluice the money out again, purged of tax obligations thanks to their exploitation of tax loopholes in poor nations. Read the rest

After Microsoft moves its servers back to the USA, German state's privacy commissioner advises schools not to use Office 365

After the Snowden revelations, US-based Big Tech companies raced to reassure their non-US customers that the NSA wasn't raiding their cloud-based data, moving servers inside their customers' borders and (theoretically) out of reach of the NSA; then came the Cloud Act (Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act), in which the US government claimed the right to seize data held on overseas servers and the companies began consolidating their servers back in the USA. Read the rest

Subway tunnel heat-exchangers could heat and cool thousands of nearby apartments

In Numerical investigation of the convection heat transfer driven by airflows in underground tunnels (Sci-Hub mirror), a group of engineers from L'Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology propose that low-cost heat-exchangers placed in subway tunnels could be used to heat and cool homes essentially for free (the system would last 50-100 years, and the pumps would need replacing every 25 years). Read the rest

Robotic nursing aide wins over both skeptical nurses and their patients

Diligent Robotics's Moxi is a robot created by Andrea Thomaz (a former robotics professor at UT Austin and Georgia Tech's Socially Intelligent Machines Lab) and Vivian Chu (one of Thomaz's former grad students); they funded by a National Science Foundation grant to create a robotic nursing aide that is designed to do routine, non-human-interaction chores for nurses with a minimum of effort from nurses. Read the rest

Chase customers have ONE MONTH left to opt out of binding arbitration

Ten years ago, Chase was forced to withdraw the binding arbitration clauses in its credit card agreements as part of a settlement in a class-action suit (the company was accused of conspiring with other banks to force all credit-card customers to accept binding arbitration) (one of the things binding arbitration does is deprive you of your right to join class-action suits!). Last May, the company stealthily reintroduced the clauses, and gave customers until August 7 to notify the company in writing if they do not agree to binding arbitration. You have ONE MONTH LEFT to opt out. Read the rest

AI is like a magic trick: amazing until it goes wrong, then revealed as a cheap and brittle effect

I used to be on the program committee for the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conferences; one year we decided to make the theme "magic" -- all the ways that new technologies were doing things that baffled us and blew us away. Read the rest

Hong Kong's beleaguered chief exec says the extradition bill is "dead" but won't make it official

When the Chinese politburo gave itself the right to veto nominees for Hong Kong elections in 2016, it ensured that any future legislature on the supposedly independent island would be a puppet regime, its electors literally beholden to Beijing for their office; and by 2019, the puppet regime of Carrie Lam began to deconstruct Hong Kong's independence by introducing the "extradition bill," which would allow Beijing to demand that political dissidents be rendered to the Chinese mainland for show-trials and arbitrary detention. Read the rest

Hong Kong protests continue to mount, and popular sentiment is with the protesters

In early June, protesters surged into Hong Kong's streets to protest a change to the country's extradition rules that would allow the Chinese state to demand the extradition of political dissidents to the mainland; as the protests grew, Hong Kong's puppet government had no choice but to withdraw its proposal -- but that wasn't enough, and millions of people poured into the streets, demanding the resignation of administrator Connie Lam and the release of imprisoned demonstrators. Read the rest

The reporter on the NYT's Bernie Sanders beat consistently fails to identify her sources as corporate lobbyists

Sydney Ember is a news reporter who covers Bernie Sanders for the New York Times; her coverage is consistently negative (part of the Times's overall pattern of negative reporting on Sanders, including "stealth edits" to make its coverage less positive, to the dismay of the paper's public editor). Read the rest

The rent's less damned high: rents falling in most of America's most expensive cities

In all but a few of the most expensive cities in the USA, median rents on one- and two-bedroom apartments have fallen, sometimes quite sharply (for example, in NYC median asking rents on a one bedroom are down to $2940, a 12.8%/$430 decline from their peak in March 2016; while in Honolulu, rents are down 21.6% from their peak in Mar 2015, down to $1670 from $2130). Read the rest

Why is the American Medical Association finally weighing to oppose anti-abortion bills

In the late 1800s, the American Medical Association invented the anti-abortion movement, but over time, its ceased to advocate on either side of the debate -- until a bizarre 1997 statement supporting a GOP bill banning late-stage abortions (later revealed to be a "blunder" on the part of the trustees), after which the group returned to silence. Read the rest

Police cameras to be augmented with junk-science "microexpression" AI lie-detectors

The idea that you can detect lies by analyzing "microexpressions" has absorbed billions in spending by police forces and security services, despite the fact that it's junk science that performs worse than a coin-toss. Read the rest

Robert Reich backs Elizabeth Warren's plan to break up Big Tech

Robert Reich (previously) served in the presidential administrations of Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Bill Clinton, was Clinton's labor czar, and sat on Obama's economic transition advisory board; though he is generally on the Democratic Party's left flank, his own history shows that he has credibility with the establishment wing of the party as well. Read the rest

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