"Malaysia Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad and the Sultan of Johor are seen in a blue Proton Saga... "When asked whether there is any tension with the sultan, Dr Mahathir said: “No, I don’t see anything because I went to see him and he drove me to the airport. I don’t want to comment on the sultans because if I say anything that is not good then it’s not nice because he is the sultan”"

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Sunday, March 01, 2009

"Assuming either the Left Wing or the Right Wing gained control of the country, it would probably fly around in circles." - Pat Paulsen

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RANDOM.ORG - True Random Number Service - "Most random numbers used in computer programs are pseudo-random, which means they are a generated in a predictable fashion using a mathematical formula. This is fine for many purposes, but it may not be random in the way you expect if you're used to dice rolls and lottery draws. RANDOM.ORG offers true random numbers to anyone on the Internet. The randomness comes from atmospheric noise, which for many purposes is better than the pseudo-random number algorithms typically used in computer programs."

Fake paper detector - "You may remember the story of some cheeky MIT students who wrote a computer programme to generate scientific papers. Well, now some researchers at the Indiana University School of Informatics have come up with an Inauthentic Paper Detector to foil it."

Robert Reich's Blog: If They're Too Big To Fail, They're Too Big Period - "Pardon me for asking, but if a company is too big to fail, maybe – just maybe – it’s too big, period. We used to have public policies to prevent companies from getting too big. Does anyone remember antitrust laws?... the original purpose of antitrust law was also to prevent companies from becoming too powerful... Maybe the biggest irony today is that Washington policymakers who are funneling taxpayer dollars to these too-big-to-fail companies are simultaneously pushing them to consolidate into even bigger companies... So we’re ending up with even bigger giants, with even more power over the economy and politics, subsidized by taxpayers, and guaranteed never to fail because they’re just ... too big."

Vantage Point: Incentives and the financial crisis - "Although a full analysis of how this can be achieved will require time and data, there are two policies that I believe are worth considering. The first, which I have alluded to already, is curbing the size of investment banks. By keeping them small, failures can be allowed in times of crisis without endangering the entire economy. Consequently, government can credibly commit to not bail out these institutions... A second approach would be to align incentives by reconsidering the corporate structure of investment banking. Less than 10 years ago, Goldman Sachs was a partnership. If Goldman were still a partnership today, its partners would be personally liable for all of Goldman's losses... for 130 years Goldman Sachs operated as a highly successful and very profitable partnership. If those enormous profits are indicative of the value created in those years, one would be hard pressed to argue that the partnership structure handicapped Goldman's ability to take on risk or otherwise serve as a valuable middleman."

Jobless ex-con asks for more prison time - "A jobless Taiwan man released from prison two years ago asked police to send him back so he could eat, police and local media said Tuesday, a grim sign of hard economic times on the island... Wang had also contacted police separately with his request, a spokesman said. Officers who found him bought him a boxed lunch but declined to send him back to prison, the police spokesman said."

Twitter / twittgenstein - I wonder how long he'll take to Twit the whole of Wittgenstein.

Make This Please: Baby Slippers - "Seriously, these are better than bunny slippers."

A Paragirl's Special Place - "All Sexy Wheelchair Girls. Hi I'm Jennifer! My girlfriends and I will prove to you just how sexy wheelchair-bound gals really are. Come see what we have for you!"
They also have the "Sakura Girls Network of Foot, Cast, Sprain, Crutch, Wheelchair, Para Sites". Unfortunately there's no preview so I can't see if there's mud...

Octopus opens valve, floods Santa Monica aquarium

Human evolution kicks into high gear - "For decades the consensus view — among the public as well as the world’s preeminent biologists—has been that human evolution is over... They find an abundance of recent adaptive mutations etched in the human genome; even more shocking, these mutations seem to be piling up faster and ever faster, like an avalanche. Over the past 10,000 years, their data show, human evolution has occurred a hundred times more quickly than in any other period in our species’ history... Many of these DNA variants are unique to their continent of origin, with provocative implications. “It is likely that human races are evolving away from each other,” says University of Utah anthropologist Henry Harpending, who co-wrote a major paper on recent human evolution. “We are getting less alike, not merging into a single mixed humanity.”... “No one on earth had blue eyes 10,000 years ago,” Hawks says... “It would be boring if all the races were fundamentally the same,” he argues. “It’s exciting to think that they bring different strengths and talents to the table. That is part of what makes melting-pot cultures like our own so invigorating and creative.”"

Originative sin: the future of banking - "For the late John Kenneth Galbraith, an acute observer of market folly, finance and innovation were fundamentally incompatible. Every new financial instrument, he said, “is, without exception, a small variation on an established design, one that owes its distinctive character to the ... brevity of financial memory”. The world of finance “hails the invention of the wheel over and over again, often in a slightly more unstable version”... Andrew Hilton, director of the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, a London-based think-tank, even argues that “you can make the case that banking is the only industry where there is too much innovation, not too little”. Economic literature offers both passionate advocates and passionate opponents – which is understandable, given that the impact of financial innovation on social welfare is impossible to measure"

Do Not Unbutton Your Blouse During Traffic Stops Anymore; Many Cops Are Gay

Report: "On the Making of Silk Purses from Sows' Ears," 1921 - "As the report notes, the old adage "you can't make a silk purse of a sow's ear" had been used for years to discourage inventiveness and enterprise. "We resolved...to prove that it was false, and we have done so. We have made a silk purse of a sow's ear.""

Norway Education Minister: there's no future in fighting P2P - "As the IFPI pressures Norwegian ISPs to begin blocking The Pirate Bay, Norway's Minister of Education has spoken out against measures to fight illegal file sharing. He says that not only is file sharing a good way to discover new music, fighting it wastes resources that could be used to actually pay the artists in the first place."
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