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Showing posts from February 15, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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Alaska gold mine project that would ruin American salmon business is a sham, analysts say

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[So-called "Trump's Gold" investment is a hopeless boondoggle. "President Trump's EPA may be easier on the mining industry than President Obama's,” they add, “but it can't make a success out of a value-destroying boondoggle." *RON*]
Alan Pyke, Think Progress, 14 February 2017
A 15-year fight to mine for gold along Alaska’s pristine Bristol Bay might have just ended — with a whimper.

Canadian mining firm Northern Dynasty Minerals has been a hot topic in investment advice since Election Day. The company’s stock jumped 326 percent after Donald Trump’s victory, as newsletters feverishly pitched the company’s prospects under the new regime. One even went so far as to label the stock “Trump’s Gold.”

On the Line

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[On the crapification of McJobs. How call centers quietly became the modern epicenter of precarious, exploitative work. *RON*]
Jamie Woodcock, Jacobin Magazine, 21 February 2017 issue.
The next issue of Jacobin, “Journey to the Dark Side,” will be out February 21. Subscribe for the first time at a discount.

Over one million people in the United Kingdom alone are now estimated to work in call centers, often on casualized contracts and with low pay. Mark Serwotka, leader of the UK’s Public and Commercial Services union, described them as “the new dark satanic mills” and have been said to replace factories, in the Global North, as epicenters of worker exploitation.

Google AI invents its own cryptographic algorithm; no one knows how it works

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[I just came across this creepy older piece. Neural networks seem good at devising crypto methods; at least they're less good at codebreaking, so far. *RON*]

Sebastian Anthony, Ars Technica UK, 29 October 2016

Google Brain has created two artificial intelligences that evolved their own cryptographic algorithm to protect their messages from a third AI, which was trying to evolve its own method to crack the AI-generated crypto. The study was a success: the first two AIs learnt how to communicate securely from scratch.

What in the Heck Is “Money Printing,” Anyway?

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[Interesting piece. People — especially economists — use this term every which way from Sunday. See also: The truth is out: money is just an IOU, and the banks are rolling in it. *RON*]

By Steve Roth, Evonomics, 2017 February 12


“Printing money.” You hear it all the time in economics discussions — from economists in every phylum of the (rapidly) evolving field, from financial types, from reporters and everyday news consumers, and from politicians across the spectrum. For some participants, it’s the most bitter invective you can hurl; it explains the moral decline of nations, and the world. Even less…enthusiastic discussants attribute great economic power to the act.

But most references to money printing are just gestures toward something undefined: roughly, “pouring money into the private sector.” The presumption is that doing so has important economic effects — whether it’s governments issuing new physical currency, central banks issuing “reserves…

What are your rights at the U.S. border?

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[In brief, not much. See also: What Are Your Rights if Border Agents Want to Search Your Phone?Social Media at the Border: Can Agents Ask for Your Facebook Feed?; and 'He asked if I wear the niqab': Canadians denied entry to U.S. after questions about faith take case to feds. *RON*]

CBC News, 11 February 2017
Reports of Canadian citizens being refused entry to the United States after facing questions about their Muslim faith and Moroccan heritage are raising questions about what rights Canadians have at the border.

CBC sought answers from a civil liberties advocate, an immigration and refugee lawyer, and a spokesman from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency in its coverage of those incidents this week.