Later On

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Archive for November 11th, 2013

No surprise: Happiness springs from our animal natures

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The cultural construct we think of as “ourselves”—the conscious observer—is only part of the picture, completed by the animal nature—the basic underlay that drives the creation of culture. As animals, we when young have a strong drive to mate. Culture then dictates how that is played out, and the total cultural matrix—clothing, music, rituals, permissions, prohibitions, rites, and so on—can be totally different, but they are all alike in being driven by the animal part of ourselves.

But humans are not just any kind of animal: we are social animals, not solitary predators (cf. the honey badger), and social animals evolve to live in that environment, with which we have the same sort of symbiotic relationship with many others (our social network) as our gut microbes do to us. In each case both parties need and are nourished by the other, and either without the other cannot live because they have evolved to require each other (cf. fig and fig wasp). It’s mutually beneficial, but we somehow got the idea on the social side that we could trim down that—but just as when we wipe out our gut microbes with antibiotics, imbalance, illness, and trouble result.

Emily Esfahani-Smith writes in the Atlantic:

Matthew Lieberman, a distinguished social psychologist and neuroscientist, basically won the lottery. This past summer, he was offered three million dollars for an academic position—one million in raw income and two to do lab research. That’s a king’s ransom for a psychology professor. On average, psychology professors make less than six figures and rely on a patchwork of modest grants to sustain their research. All Lieberman had to do was spend four months this year and next year in Moscow, a nice enough city, doing some research—which he would have done anyway at home at UCLA.

But there was a catch. He would have to be away from his wife Naomi and seven-year-old son Ian for those eight months. They could not join him in Moscow. He had a basic trade-off problem, one that kept him up for many nights: Should I take the money and give up those eight months with my family or should I stay home and give up the money and research opportunities? In one form or another, we’ve all faced this dilemma, if on a more modest scale. Do you work late tonight or join your family for dinner? Do you go to the conference or to your friend’s wedding? Do you prioritize your career or your relationships?

Lieberman’s new book Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect hits the shelves this month. It’s a book about relationships and why relationships are a central—though increasingly absent—part of a flourishing life. Lieberman draws on psychology and neuroscience research to confirm what Aristotle asserted long ago in hisPolitics: “Man is by nature a social animal … Anyone who either cannot lead the common life or is so self-sufficient as not to need to, and therefore does not partake of society, is either a beast or a god.”

Just as human beings have a basic need for food and shelter, we also have a basic need to belong to a group and form relationships. The desire to be in a loving relationship, to fit in at school, to join a fraternity or sorority, to avoid rejection and loss, to see your friends do well and be cared for, to share good news with your family, to cheer on your sports team, and to check in on Facebook—these things motivate an incredibly impressive array of our thoughts, actions, and feelings.

Lieberman sees the brain as the center of the social self. Its primary purpose is social thinking. One of the great mysteries of evolutionary science is how and why the human brain got to be so large. Brain size generally increases with body size across the animal kingdom. Elephants have huge brains while mice have tiny ones. But humans are the great exception to this rule. Given the size of our bodies, our brains should be much smaller—but they are by far the largest in the animal kingdom relative to our body size. The question is why.

Scientists have debated this question for a long time, but the research of anthropologist Robin Dunbar is fairly conclusive on this point. Dunbar has found that the strongest predictor of a species’ brain size—specifically, the size of its neocortex, the outermost layer—is the size of its social group. We have big brains in order to socialize. . .

Continue reading.

It seems as though we have developed the social equivalent of a nutritional disease—a beriberi, or pellagra, or scurvy—by not having a sufficient intake of social activity, obtaining (and contributing) social nourishment.

UPDATE: It strikes me that this article strongly supports the idea that solitary confinement is torture.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 3:19 pm

Posted in Daily life, Science

Why Aren’t There More Female Libertarians?

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Interesting column in The New Republic, by Nora Caplan-Bricker:

Close your eyes and picture a libertarian. Maybe Rand Paul’s grinning visage and satyr-like curls swim before your lids. Maybe you see that guy from college who hijacked a seminar on Madame Bovary by pontificating about laissez-faire economics. Either way, you are definitely picturing a white dude.

Anything else would be pretty close to inaccurate, as a survey released by the Public Religion Research Institute earlier this week reminds us. “Compared to the general population,” the 7 percent of Americans who identify as libertarian (plus an additional 15 percent with libertarian leanings) “are significantly more likely to be non-Hispanic white, male, and young. Nearly all libertarians are non-Hispanic whites (94%), more than two-thirds (68%) are men, and more than 6-in-10 (62%) are under the age of 50.” A good deal has been written about why libertarianism is off-putting to so many people of color, especially after bigoted newsletters that were published in Ron Paul’s name in the 1980s and ‘90s resurfaced in 2011. But why are there so few libertarian women? Don’t women enjoy freedom, too?

The thing about freedom is that its heights are limitless, and its lows are bottomless. Libertarians, I presume, look at that void and never consider that they will do anything but rise. And “communalists,” as the Research Institute dubbed the other end of the spectrum, probably look and are horrified by the many eventualities that could sink them. This is Thomas Hobbes’s “state of nature”: The strong snap up all the firewood and nuts and berries and whatnot, and the weak die starving and shivering in the cold. But what does that have to do with gender? In any state of nature that today’s libertarians would like to return us to, women seem as well-equipped to succeed as men, their paucity of brute strength not being such an issue thanks to modern amenities. So the divide must be more between how women see themselves and how men, especially libertarian men, see themselves—not how they actually are.

That conclusion shouldn’t come as a surprise to pretty much anybody, and beyond its intuitive familiarity, there’s plenty of research to back it up. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 2:43 pm

Posted in Daily life

The US, betraying its friends and allies

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I think in the future people should think a lot harder about helping the US. We’ve already seen in Matt Damon’s wonderful movie Green Zone, about our invasion of Iraq, how we left our helpers in the lurch, to face death. Now we’re doing it in Afghanistan. That sends a clear message to the world. Kevin Sieff writes in the Washington Post:

KABUL — A growing number of Afghan interpreters who worked alongside American troops are being denied U.S. visas allotted by Congress because the State Department says there is no serious threat against their lives.

But the interpreters, many of whom served in Taliban havens for years, say U.S. officials are drastically underestimating the danger they face. Immigration attorneys and Afghan interpreters say the denials are occurring just as concerns about Taliban retribution are mounting due to the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

“There are tons of Talibs in my village, and they all know that I worked with the Americans,” said one interpreter, Mohammad, who asked that his last name not be published for security reasons. “If I can’t go to the States, my life is over. I swear to God, one day the Taliban will catch me.”

Mohammad received a U.S. form letter saying he had failed to establish that there was a “serious threat” against his life. He had explained in his application that the Taliban had spotted him on the job and spread word in his village that he was a wanted man.

In one particularly dangerous assignment, he was asked to mediate between U.S. soldiers and locals after an American convoy ran over and killed an Afghan child, he said.

In the initial phase of the visa process, “an applicant has to establish that he or she has experienced or is experiencing an ongoing serious threat as a consequence of employment by or on behalf of the U.S. government,” said Robert Hilton, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

He said the applications were examined by an embassy committee, which decided whether they should move forward to Washington.

Hilton and other U.S. officials would not explain what constitutes a “serious threat” or discuss specific cases in which applicants were denied visas.

‘A real sense of frustration’

Another interpreter who was denied a visa had worked for years at a U.S. military prison screening visitors. U.S. military officers wrote several letters stating that his job put him in particular danger because of his constant contact with the families of detained militants.

But the State Department review board said those concerns didn’t amount to a “serious threat,” the man said, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of concerns for his safety.

A third interpreter, who received a similar denial and gave only his partial name, Naseri, survived three attacks by improvised bombs on the military units he accompanied during a five-year stint. He said he explained in a visa interview at the U.S. Embassy that he had been called a “spy and a traitor” while on patrol with his American unit and that the Taliban knew where he and his family lived. This year, he said, someone called his father and threatened to kill members of his family.

Several U.S. military officers wrote letters to the State Department about the role Naseri played. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 1:18 pm

The attack on France

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Paul Krugman has a very interesting column today:

On Friday Standard & Poor’s, the bond-rating agency, downgraded France. The move made headlines, with many reports suggesting that France is in crisis. But markets yawned: French borrowing costs, which are near historic lowsbarely budged.

So what’s going on here? The answer is that S.& P.’s action needs to be seen in the context of the broader politics of fiscal austerity. And I do mean politics, not economics. For the plot against France — I’m being a bit tongue in cheek here, but there really are a lot of people trying to bad-mouth the place — is one clear demonstration that in Europe, as in America, fiscal scolds don’t really care about deficits. Instead, they’re using debt fears to advance an ideological agenda. And France, which refuses to play along, has become the target of incessant negative propaganda.

Let me give you an idea of what we’re talking about. A year ago the magazine The Economist declared France “the time bomb at the heart of Europe,” with problems that could dwarf those of Greece, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In January 2013, CNN Money’s senior editor-at-large declared France in “free fall,” a nation “heading toward an economic Bastille.” Similar sentiments can be found all over economic newsletters.

Given such rhetoric, one comes to French data expecting to see the worst. What you find instead is a country experiencing economic difficulties — who isn’t? — but in general performing as well as or better than most of its neighbors, with the admittedly big exception of Germany. Recent French growth has been sluggish, but much better than that of, say, the Netherlands, which is still rated AAA. According to standard estimates, French workers were actually a bit more productive than their German counterparts a dozen years ago — and guess what, they still are.

Meanwhile, French fiscal prospects look distinctly nonalarming. The budget deficit has fallen sharply since 2010, and the International Monetary Fund expects the ratio of debt to G.D.P. to be roughly stable over the next five years.

What about the longer-run burden of an aging population? This is a problem in France, as it is in all wealthy nations. But France has a higher birthrate than most of Europe — in part because of government programs that encourage births and ease the lives of working mothers — so that its demographic projections are much better than those of its neighbors, Germany included. Meanwhile, France’s remarkable health care system, which delivers high quality at low cost, is going to be a big fiscal advantage looking forward.

By the numbers, then, it’s hard to see why France deserves any particular opprobrium. So again, what’s going on?

Here’s a clue: Two months ago Olli Rehn, Europe’s commissioner for economic and monetary affairs — and one of the prime movers behind harsh austerity policies — dismissed France’s seemingly exemplary fiscal policy. Why? Because it was based on tax increases rather than spending cuts — and tax hikes, hedeclared, would “destroy growth and handicap the creation of jobs.”

In other words, never mind what I said about fiscal discipline, you’re supposed to be dismantling the safety net.

S.& P.’s explanation of its downgrade, though less clearly stated, amounted to the same thing: France was being downgraded because “the French government’s current approach to budgetary and structural reforms to taxation, as well as to product, services and labor markets, is unlikely to substantially raise France’s medium-term growth prospects.” Again, never mind the budget numbers, where are the tax cuts and deregulation?

You might think that Mr. Rehn and S.& P. were basing their demands on solid evidence that spending cuts are in fact better for the economy than tax increases. But they weren’t. In fact, research at the I.M.F. suggests that when you’re trying to reduce deficits in a recession, the opposite is true: temporary tax hikes domuch less damage than spending cuts.

Oh, and when people start talking about the wonders of “structural reform,” take it with a large heaping of salt. It’s mainly a code phrase for . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 1:11 pm

Posted in Business, Government

152,000,000 login IDs and passwords lost by Adobe

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I subscribe to ShouldIChangeMyPassword.com, and this morning had an alert that Adobe had been hacked and 152 million login IDs and their associated passwords had been lost. As SICMP explains:

In early October, Adobe announced that 2.9 million customers were impacted as a result of a data breach. The attack was allegedly carried out mid-August.

A few weeks later it surfaced that the number of effected customers was over 40 times the original amount with 152 million email address and passwords published online. To our knowledge, this makes it the largest publicly known password database compromise in history.

We have received and reviewed the file.

Of the 152,450,038 valid records:

  • 24 million were “gmail.com” email addresses
  • 2.3 million were “.edu” email addresses
  • 249,629 were “.gov” email addresses

In Australia alone (our home country), we found:

  • 1,145,100 addresses from “.au” domains
  • 128,952 addresses from “.edu.au” (educational institutions)
  • 35,006 addresses from “.gov.au” (government institutions)
  • 488 address from “police.*.gov.au” (our police force)
  • 276 addresses from “aph.gov.au” (Australian Parliament House)

Although the passwords were encrypted, the methods used by Adobe were defective and it didn’t take the community long to decrypt a large number of passwords.

Along with the user credentials, it has been reported that the source code for some of Adobe’s software products was also compromised, including ColdFusion and Acrobat.

We have addded to our repository the fingerprints of the over 152 million email addresses affected, and we have commenced notifying all email addresses and domains tracked by our Email Watchdog that appear in the breach. If you’re not a Watchdog customer, you can check your email address for free using the form on our home page.

If your email address was compromised, we recommend you follow our 10-step guide for what to do.

Adobe has also published a customer security alert.

It’s never a great day when things like this happen, but it does make us more steadfast in the service we provide.

Some more coverage of the Adobe breach:

I did reset my password, but then when I tried to log in and look at my profile, I could log in, but the profile page never finished loading. I tried multiple times on two different browsers but I simply could not get it to work. And Adobe’s support seems AWFUL: I was having a website problem and there was no way to notify them. All the “contact us” forms REQUIRE you identify the product, and seem to be oriented only to product problems.

Their website does have a “chat” facility, which I used. It was very, very slow, and the support person, once he finally grasped the problem, offered this: Try a different browser.

TL;DR: Do not buy Adobe products. Support stinks.

UPDATE: Adobe should be punished for their failure to implement good security. Indeed, these password thefts are all because corporations don’t take enough care—and the reason: the loss of your password does not hurt the corporation at all.

My suggestion: The Federal government should fine companies that lose IDs with passwords 10¢/ ID or password. The usual loss of (say) 100,000 would cost the company $10,000, which is enough to motivate the company to take proper steps to secure the information. In this case, it would be a fine of $15 million for Adobe, which they can afford but would also get their attention and make it economically in their interest to protect their customers’ data.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 12:13 pm

Posted in Business

How to Grow a Moustache Punkin 3.14: summary

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SOTD 7 Nov 2013

Photo above is of the second shave, which I blogged sans lather comments in view of the Scent-Off that Sharpologist is running. So here, after a delay, are my comments on the second shave’s lather. (For comments on the first shave’s lather, see this post.)

When I opened the tin this morning (7 Nov), the pumpkin-pie aroma of the soap was strong—and pleasant and warmly welcoming. This fragrance I really like. And the lather was glorious: thick, creamy, and packed the Vie-Long brush full. I could have done another complete shave with the lather left in the brush.

The razor’s action was very smooth: the lather has excellent glide, and the comfort of the shave was such that I felt I couldn’t cut myself (and I didn’t), though part of that is undoubtedly due to the blade-razor combination in use (Eclipse Red Ring and Personna Lab Blue).

SOTD 8 Nov 2013

As noted in the detailed post previously, I did encounter a few nicks, but that was certainly not due to the lather. I seldom experience such a rich, dense, thick, creamy lather as this. I’m sure the Thäter brush helped, but much credit I give to the soap—and the more I use this particular mix, the more I like the fragrance: warm, familiar, comforting, and spice-laden.

This particular soap (perhaps with an accompanying brush) would make a great Thanksgiving gift (if you’re into that sort of thing) for any male who shaves. What a lather!

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 12:00 pm

Posted in Shaving

Wal-Mart: An economic cancer on our cities

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A very interesting book excerpt with a tough-nosed approach to see whether Wal-Mart alternatives are more or less valuable for the community/city than Wal-Mart: an application of the basic negotiating principle of finding (and improving) your BATNA—your best alternative to a negotiated agreement. Until you know the BATNA well, you’re in a very weak negotiating position because when you get an offer you have no idea whether it’s good or bad—that is, whether it is better or worse than what you could get without the agreement. And the more you improve your BATNA, the stronger you’ll be in the negotiation because the better the alternative, the better the offer you will accept. (Obviously, you don’t accept an offer that’s not so good as the BATNA—why would you?)

All that is straight from Roger Fisher and William Ury’s book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving InAnd it implies that when Wal-Mart comes to town to negotiate a new store, the town had better know its BATNA.

Salon has an excerpt from Charles Montgomery’s book Happy City: Transforming Our Lives Through Urban Design:

Jobs, Money, and Geometry
Most of us agree that development that provides employment and tax revenue is good for cities. Some even argue that the need for jobs outweighs aesthetic, lifestyle, or climate concerns—in fact, this argument comes up any time Walmart proposes a new megastore near a small town. But a clear-eyed look at the spatial economics of land, jobs, and tax regimes should cause anyone to reject the anything-and-anywhere-goes development model. To explain, let me offer the story of an obsessive number cruncher who found his own urban laboratory quite by chance.

Joseph Minicozzi, a young architect raised in upstate New York, was on a cross-country motorcycle ride in 2001 when he got sidetracked in the Appalachian Mountains. He met a beautiful woman in a North Carolina roadside bar and was smitten by both that woman and the languid beauty of the Blue Ridge region. Now they share a bungalow with two dogs in the mountain town of Asheville.

Asheville is, in many ways, a typical midsize American city, which is to say that its downtown was virtually abandoned in the second half of the twentieth century. Dozens of elegant old structures were boarded up or encased in aluminum siding as highways and liberal development policies sucked people and commercial life into dispersal. The process continued until 1991, when Julian Price, the heir to a family insurance and broadcasting fortune, decided to pour everything he had into nursing that old downtown back to life. His company, Public Interest Projects, bought and renovated old buildings, leased street-front space out to small businesses, and rented or sold the lofts above to a new wave of residential pioneers. They coached, coddled, and sometimes bankrolled entrepreneurs who began to enliven the streets. First came a vegetarian restaurant, then a bookstore, a furniture store, and the now-legendary nightclub, the Orange Peel.

When Price died in 2001, the downtown was starting to show signs of life, but his successor, Pat Whelan, and his new recruit, Minicozzi, still had to battle the civic skeptics. Some city officials saw such little value in downtown land that they planned to plunk down a prison right in the middle of a terrain that was perfect for mixed-use redevelopment. The developers realized that if they wanted the city officials to support their vision, they needed to educate them—and that meant offering them hard numbers on the tax and job benefits of revitalizing downtown. The numbers they produced sparked a eureka moment among the city’s accountants because they insisted on taking a spatial systems approach, similar to the way farmers look at land they want to put into production. The question was simple: What is the production yield for every acre of land? On a farm, the answer might be in pounds of tomatoes. In the city, it’s about tax revenues and jobs.



To explain, Minicozzi offered me his classic urban accounting smackdown, using two competing properties: On the one side is a downtown building his firm rescued—a six-story steel-framed 1923 classic once owned by JCPenney and converted into shops, offices, and condos. On the other side is a Walmart on the edge of town. The old Penney’s building sits on less than a quarter of an acre, while the Walmart and its parking lots occupy thirty-four acres. Adding up the property and sales tax paid on each piece of land, Minicozzi found that the Walmart contributed only $50,800 to the city in retail and property taxes for each acre it used, but the JCPenney building contributed a whopping $330,000 per acre in property tax alone. In other words, the city got more than seven times the return for every acre on downtown investments than it did when it broke new ground out on the city limits.

When Minicozzi looked at job density, the difference was even more vivid: the small businesses that occupied the old Penney’s building employed fourteen people, which doesn’t seem like many until you realize that this is actually seventy-four jobs per acre, compared with the fewer than six jobs per acre created on a sprawling Walmart site. (This is particularly dire given that on top of reducing jobs density in its host cities, Walmart depresses average wages as well.)

Minicozzi has since found the same spatial conditions in cities all over the United States. Even low-rise, mixed-use buildings of two or three stories—the kind you see on an old-style, small-town main street—bring in ten times the revenue per acre as that of an average big-box development. What’s stunning is that, thanks to the relationship between energy and distance, large-footprint sprawl development patterns can actually cost cities more to service than they give back in taxes. The result? Growth that produces deficits that simply cannot be overcome with new growth revenue.*

“Cities and counties have essentially been taking tax revenues from downtowns and using them to subsidize development and services in sprawl,” Minicozzi told me. “This is like a farmer going out and dumping all his fertilizer on the weeds rather than on the tomatoes.”**

Price, Whelan, and Minicozzi helped convince the city of Asheville to fertilize that rich downtown soil. The city changed its zoning policies, allowing flexible uses for downtown buildings. It invested in livelier streetscapes and public events. It stopped forcing developers to build parking garages, which brought down the cost of both housing and business. It built its own user-pay garages, so the cost of parking was borne by the people who used it rather than by everyone else. All of this helped make it worthwhile for developers to risk their investment on restoring old buildings, producing new jobs and tax density for the city.

Retail sales in the resurgent downtown have exploded since 1991. So has the taxable value of downtown properties, which cost a fraction to service than sprawl lands. The reborn downtown has become the greatest supplier of tax revenue and affordable housing in the county—partly because it relieves people of the burden of commuting, and partly because it mixes high-end lofts with modest apartments. All of this, while growing what one local newspaper emotionally described as, “a downtown that—after decades of doubt and neglect—is once again the heart and soul of Asheville.” . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 12:00 pm

People are getting fed up with patent trolls

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And Congress may take action. The Senate is having a hearing.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 9:24 am

Posted in Business, Congress

Lara Logan’s sloppy “60 Minutes” report on Benghazi and lack of explanation

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Lara Logan said explicitly what everyone already knew: CBS made a big mistake that gutted their Benghazi report, but she was completely silent regarding an explanation or any subsequent investigation. It was all, “So sorry, now don’t bring it up again. We’re moving on.” This is completely unlike the “60 Minutes” reaction to the Rather case, which launched a major investigation with multiple high-level firings. Nobody is being fire, nothing is being investigated, and it’s to the next fraudulent scoop. It seems that People magazine has higher journalistic standards than “60 minutes.” (Exaggeration, but the refusal to take responsible steps is annoying.)

Kevin Drum quotes Jay Rosen and then comments:

When someone does something wrong, the press demands answers. But when the press itself does something wrong, the usual response is to stonewall and “stand by its story.” And even when the jig is finally up, they typically resort to a short apology that explains nothing. This, however, is supposed to satisfy us all. Move along, nothing to see here.

The latest example of this is 60 Minutes, which tonight aired a correction of its Benghazi report from two weeks ago that relied on the testimony of an anonymous security consultant who turned out to be a bullshitter:

The apology lasted only 90 seconds and revealed nothing new about why CBS had trusted Mr. Davies, who appeared on the program under the pseudonym Morgan Jones. Off-camera, CBS executives were left to wonder how viewers would react to the exceptionally rare correction.

While veteran television journalists spent the weekend debating whether the now-discredited Benghazi story would cause long-term damage to the newsmagazine’s brand, some media critics joined the liberal advocacy group Media Matters for America in calling for CBS to initiate an independent investigation of missteps in the reporting process.

But the CBS News chairman, Jeff Fager, who is also the executive producer of “60 Minutes,” has not ordered an investigation, and on Sunday a spokesman indicated that the program was going to let its televised apology be its last word on the issue.

There you have it. This will be their last word on this issue:

  • They will not explain why they apparently failed to vet Davies’ story with anyone else on the scene.
  • They will not explain why, in an investigation they say lasted over a year and involved over a hundred sources (!), they failed to get hold of a copy of the FBI debriefing of Davies—surely the absolute minimum level of scrutiny they should have given Davies’ account.
  • They will not explain why they failed to mention that Davies was promoting a book published by a CBS affiliate that specializes in right-wing agit-prop.
  • They will not explain why Lara Logan—who has very publicly demanded “revenge” for the Benghazi attacks and pretty obviously has a stong personal agenda—chose to raise the “lingering question” of a better military response without bothering to mention that this question has been addressed over and over by the Pentagon.
  • They will not explain why they aired an interview with Gregory Hicks as if it were something new and damning, without mentioning either that he testified before Congress months ago or that his testimony has been called into question.
  • They will not explain why they vigorously backed up Davies for over a week after learning that he had filed an “incident report” that conflicted badly with his 60 Minutesinterview—something that should have set off alarms since Davies had kept that report a secret and then provided a wholly implausible explanation for the discrepancy when it became public.
  • They will not explain why they weren’t skeptical of a source that Fox News (!) dropped because he started asking for money.

There are probably several other things that CBS will also refuse to explain. This list is just off the top of my head. But I’m afraid that CBS no longer deserves the benefit of the doubt. Someone there needs to demonstrate that they actually care about accuracy these days, rather than treating a huge fraud as a minor issue requiring only a short correction. And Lara Logan, who reported the story, and Jeff Fager, who is both CBS News chairman and the executive producer of 60 Minutes, really need to be held more accountable for both the story itself and their response to its obvious problems after it aired. “We made a mistake and we’re sorry” just doesn’t cut it.

Jay Rosen has more here.

By all means, read the Jay Rosen post—and particularly the comments—as well as this Politico piece by Dylan Byers. Both are chock full of good information and thoughtful points that reveal just how utterly untrustworthy CBS has become. (The Big Report on “60 Minutes” was apparently a pre-launch plug for Davies’ book that was being published by CBS: using the news to advertise product. VERY bad. In the articles by Rosen and by Byers some good analysis shows how “60 Minutes” has moved out of the “news” structure at CBS to stand alone, apparently as a promotional vehicle for CBS publishing.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 9:10 am

Posted in Books, Business, Media

Armistice Day? Nicks galore…

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SOTD 11 Nov 2013

I don’t know where “galore” actually kicks in, but I had two or three. Yes, I’ve now replaced the (Personna Lab Blue) blade. Some blades do get nicky as they die.

On a positive note, I did have an opportunity to try out the powdered alum, as recommended in comments by Rupert Bizzell. The Wife returned from Paris with a little container of powdered alum (photo here), and today I had a good opportunity to use it. The most severe nick was operator error: I placed the razor to my face at the wrong angle, and I got a little cut. On that one, the alum powder (at the end of the shave, of course, following the final rinse) did a pretty good job but didn’t quite stop it entirely, so I fell back on My Nik Is Sealed, which did. The others were very tiny—though with blood—and the alum powder did fine on those. On the whole, though, I find the rollerball format of MNIS to be more convenient, and it does seem to do a somewhat better job. (To be fair, it also has a considerably more complex formula than the powdered alum, whose ingredients are: alum.)

To start at the beginning: I wanted to try the HTGAM Lime shave stick shown, and it work quite well. When I first brought up the lather, it was ample but somewhat dry, easily cured with a dollop of hot water in the center of the brush, then working that into the stubble.

After treating the nicks, a good splash of Geo. F. Trumper’s West Indian Extract of Limes aftershave was a pleasant treat.

The shave result is BBS, and the little nicks are all sealed, so I feel ready for the week.

Blade has been replaced with a Kai blade.

Written by LeisureGuy

11 November 2013 at 8:59 am

Posted in Shaving

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