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What Booman said

Yes, you heard me right, What Booman said. It seems that King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has warned that the West will be the next target of the jihadists sweeping through Syria and Iraq, unless there is "rapid" action.

Yes

Seriously

Because the entire House of Saud is a bunch of rotten cowards incapable of fighting their own wars. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Special effects at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

This is my favorite kind of water feature: A thin sheet of water barely flowing over an edge:

Of course, Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens works on the grand scale (with the grand budget). But I could still steal the basic idea! Read below the fold...

Brilliant algorithm on the shape of epidemics

I was reading this fine article by Kevin Drum on lead and crime, when this paragraph jumped out:

Experts often suggest that crime resembles an epidemic. But what kind? Karl Smith, a professor of public economics and government at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, has a good rule of thumb for categorizing epidemics: If it spreads along lines of communication, he says, the cause is information. Think Bieber Fever. If it travels along major transportation routes, the cause is microbial. Think influenza. If it spreads out like a fan, the cause is an insect. Think malaria. But if it's everywhere, all at once—as both the rise of crime in the '60s and '70s and the fall of crime in the '90s seemed to be—the cause is a molecule.

The way to fight ebola is said to be contact tracing, but I can't a graph mapping the shape of the contacts; my guess is that its spread follows transportation routes, or maybe it leaps via transport nodes, and then ans out from each node. I'm not sure why there's no shape listed for "viral," as opposed to microbia.)

But I wasn't thinking of ebola. Read below the fold...

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Real Fiscal Responsibility I: Preliminaries

This is the first in a lengthy blog series that will evaluate the US Government's record on Real Fiscal Responsibility, Administration period by Administration period, since the Administration of Jimmy Carter in 1977. In evaluating the US Government's record, it’s important to state clearly that I will be evaluating more than just each Administration and its activities.

The record of fiscal responsibility is not the product of the Executive Branch alone. It is the outcome of the interaction of the Executive with the two Houses of Congress and the Federal Reserve System, even on occasion the interaction of one or more of these with the Supreme Court. All bear joint, though not equal responsibility for the record of Government fiscal responsibility or fiscal irresponsibility, as the case may be, during each Administration period. Read below the fold...

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Democrats, warmongers with a human face

ELIZABETH WARREN FINALLY SPEAKS ON ISRAEL/GAZA, SOUNDS LIKE NETANYAHU

But Warren steadfastly defended her “pro-Israel” vote, invoking the politician’s platitude: “We’re going to have to agree to disagree on this one.” According to the account in the Cape Cod Times by reporter C. Ryan Barber, flagged by Zaid Jilani, Warren was also asked about her Israel position by other voters who were at the gathering, and she went on to explain:

Read below the fold...

"The British goverment has learned..."

For anybody who came in late, here's why the headline is a joke: Read below the fold...

Occupy Congress

Could bring up happy memories, although I didn't see anyone I knew. Read below the fold...

In the garden: Density

Swaths, tranches of color (here, I admit, mostly green). That's what I'm after. Not a few widely spaced specimens separated by bark mulch. Read below the fold...

And not one bankster went to jail, not one

Brad DeLong:

A year and a half ago, when some of us were expecting a return to whatever the path of potential output was by 2017, our guess was that the Great Recession would wind up costing the North Atlantic in lost production about 80% of one year’s output–call it $13 trillion. Today a five-year return to whatever the new normal might be looks optimistic–and even that scenario carries us to $20 trillion. And a pessimistic scenario of five years that have been like 2012-2014 plus then five years of recovery would get us to a total lost-wealth cost of $35 trillion.

At some point we will have to stop calling this thing “The Great Recession” and start calling it “The Greater Depression”. When?

But what should the banksters go to jail for, you ask? Read below the fold...

Distant sounds of breaking glass

Will Bunch in Philly, still plugging away:

Then something approached, like a gathering storm.

“I heard a distant sound, like a rally of noise and people -- like when people fight, with cheering and jeering, and it seemed far away,” recalled [Richard] Watson, now 68, grey-haired and soft-spoken. “Then I heard breaking glass. Then I heard more breaking glass, and it sounded like it was on my block!

“That’s when I said, ‘Whoa, what’s going on here?’ Then I heard the sirens.”

Read below the fold...

Bill Gates gives Cornell $6.1 million to "depolarize" the GMO debate

Oh, good:

Supported by a $5.6 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Cornell Alliance for Science will help inform decision-makers and consumers through an online information portal and training programs to help researchers and stakeholders effectively communicate the potential impacts of agricultural technology and how such technology works.

The project will involve developing multimedia resources, including videos of farmers from around the world documenting their struggles to deal with pests, diseases, crop failure and the limited resources available in the face of poverty and climate change.

“Proponents and opponents alike speculate whether biotech crops are of benefit to farmers, but rarely are those farmers engaged in the biotech discourse or their voices heard,” said Sarah Evanega, senior associate director of International Programs in Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), who will lead the project.

“Our goal is to depolarize the GMO debate and engage with potential partners who may share common values around poverty reduction and sustainable agriculture, but may not be well informed about the potential biotechnology has for solving major agricultural challenges,” Evanega said. “For instance, pro-biotech activists share a lot of the same anti-pesticide, low-input, sustainable-agriculture vision as the organic movement.”

Oh, please. Read below the fold...

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