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Andreas Schou has been at 1 events

HostFollowersTitleDateGuestsLinks
Nicholas Kristof1,352,021The issue of the moment is Syria, so I'm delighted to host a Google+ hangout in which we'll be able to pose questions to Secretary of State John Kerry about Syria policy. I'll be joined by +Lara Setrakian, a journalist whom I've long admired who specializes in Syria. Andrew Beiter, a social studies  teacher and a regional education coordinator for the Holocaust Memorial Museum, will also be in the Hangout. Most of all, we'll be joined by all of you--so jump into the conversation on this page and leave us your questions. In particular, with this Hangout we want to involve teachers and students, so spread the word in the schools, please, and student questions are particularly welcome!This kind of online interview is something of an experiment, and we're still figuring out how to make it work best. So we also welcome your suggestions and guidance before and criticisms after. Syria: Weighing the U.S. Response2013-09-10 20:00:007002 

Andreas Schou has been shared in 76 public circles

You can see here the 50 latest shared circles.
If this is your profile, you can check your dashboard to see all shared circles you have been included.

AuthorFollowersDateUsers in CircleCommentsReshares+1Links
Eduard Dimitrov3,781Start of my "Google must be better place campaign". Week one: This post. People currently working for Google. 114 Google's Google+  profiles to add - people actually working for Google  company.Week 2: Shared circle two: More 100 Google employees next week.Week 3: I will show you how to work with google webspam team to aviod problems in Google Webmaster Tools - the right way, tools and tactics.Week 4: Ethics of non-natural links problems in GWT and communication with google webspam team  in Google Webmaster Tools.If you want to receive notifications from me, add me in separate circle and switch on notifications for this circle.Happy Holidays!  #worksatgoogle #googleteam #googleemployees2014-12-23 14:29:07114011
Sunny CT2,281Increase your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sharedcircle 2014-09-15 09:05:4950111313
Sunny CT1,994Fresh AdditionIncrease your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sha2014-09-12 13:14:5050111415
Sunny CT1,994Fresh AdditionIncrease your following with our Amazing CirclesNext circles to include only those resharing thisEven if you are included in this circle,  Add me, +1 , comment and share this to be included in next 2 circles (after 12 Hours)Want to grow your follower list? Need more followers? Join my circles now To be added to the Circle you have to do these simple steps: 1 - include me in your circles 2 - Click add people and create your circle 3 - share the circle (include yourself) 4 - add +1 to the post(Comment on the original post so that I know you have shared)#powercircle #sharedcircle #topsharedcircle #circleoftheday #sharedcircle #trustinme #circlesharing #circleshare #circles #circleoftheday #sharedpubliccircles #sharedcircles #share #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday #sharewithyou #followme #followers #followback #circle #googleplus #coolpeople #circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedcircles #sharedpubliccircles #circleshare #circlesharing #fullcircleshare #powercircle #sha2014-09-12 07:07:225017313
Colin Wilson56Increase your following with our Amazing CirclesThis is a super Circle and in it I put together a group of really interesting and active people on Google Plus to add in your circles.If you want to be added to the next Circle you have to do these simple steps:1 - Include me in your circles 2 - Share the circle (Publicly) 3 - Add +1 to the post #circles #shared #share #add #friends #circle #share #sharecircle #circleshare2014-09-08 06:25:20459111619
Becky Collins13,434Mobile Operator Circle:Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia  #media  #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing  #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles  #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-07-24 05:16:124763112
Maria Morisot31,837Moan Lisa's All Kinds of People Shared Circle06 June, 2014RESHARE if you want to be includedmoanlisa.org2014-06-06 14:31:022928274100
Becky Collins10,282Mobile Circle :Circle of very #social #engagerspeople and companiesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircle), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest) Ex: Fashion, SEO, Companies, Social Media Marketing, Sailing, Photography, Bloggers/Writers, Web graphics and design, Italy, Artists, Sport, Finance/Economy ...3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)Improve your popularity, be social be cool !Keep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104  #socialmedia   #media   #circles   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlecircle   #beckyscircle   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday  +Becky Collins ?2014-05-28 05:03:174777219
Irina Sadokhina19,423Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle   . This #circle    is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle   . Apr. 21st, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecirclecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #circleshare   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #crazycircles   #circleoftheweek  2014-04-14 16:53:094558052121
Irina Sadokhina18,499Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle   . Apr. 14th, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circleshare   #circlescirclescircles   #circlecircle   #circlecirclecircle   #circles   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #crazycircles  2014-04-08 12:47:424927248106
Irina Sadokhina17,311Hello my dear friends!!!This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last #mondaycircle  . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle  on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next #mondaycircle . Apr. 7th, just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circlecirclecircle   #circles   #circlescirclescircles   #circleshared   #crazycircles   #hyperball   #plusmastermind   #circleoftheweek  2014-03-31 18:07:204536655108
Irina Sadokhina16,720Hello my dear friends!!! This is my weekly #mondaycircle  . This #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last mondaycircle . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome circle    on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next  #mondaycircle   , March 31st. just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecirclecircle   #circlecirclecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #hyperball   #crazycircles   #plusmastermind   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circleoftheweek   #circleoftheday  2014-03-24 18:59:534707753123
Irina Sadokhina15,346Hello my dear friends!!!HELLO! This is my weekly  #mondaycircle . This  #circle   is very important for me because there are people who were with me last time, commented my funny pics, and just made me happy. Also, there are people who RE-shared my last  #mondaycircle . Thank you so much for this!!! And I would like to ask you Re-share this awesome  #circle   on your stream, please. If you wanna be included in my next  #mondaycircle   , March 17th just:1) plus2)re-share!!!Thank you. You all have a wonderful week.Make sure you share the original version! #circle   #circles   #circlecircle   #circlescirclescircles   #hyperball   #rustyball   #crazycircles   #plusmastermind  2014-03-11 16:53:09467664993
Константин Вишневский44,825Circle of the Most Active Users of Google+A Very Social CircleКруг наиболее активных пользователей Google+Если вы поделились этим кругом вчера, вы находитесь в нем сегодня. Если вы разделяете его с друзьями сегодня, вы будете в нем и завтра.If you shared this circle yesterday, you are in it today. If you share today, you'll be in tomorrow2014-02-12 15:12:36462483276
Mikhail Petrovsky64,592Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-02-07 07:45:58497543383
Mikhail Petrovsky76,199Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-15 08:21:34499531881
Mikhail Petrovsky61,999Good morning / evening to all.This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-14 04:50:25498451577
Artur Mashnich43,991A Very Social CircleCircle of the Most Active Users of Google+Круг наиболее активных пользователей Google+Если вы поделились этим кругом вчера, вы находитесь в нем сегодня. Если вы разделяете его с друзьями сегодня, вы будете в нем и завтра.If you shared this circle yesterday, you are in it today. If you share today, you'll be in tomorrow.#Forfriends  2014-01-11 14:37:57478411671
Mikhail Petrovsky61,336Good morning / evening to all. You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!Это социальный круг / This social circle #EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2014-01-09 04:51:54498392268
Mikhail Petrovsky59,714This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2013-12-29 11:29:4447830959
Mikhail Petrovsky73,777This is a Social Circle of interesting people with an active lifestyle in Google+Это социальный круг общения интересных людей с активной жизненной позицией в Google+You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!#EarthMyMother #ForFriends #photo2013-12-29 11:02:20500341261
Константин Вишневский39,554Circle of people, with active life position in Google+Simple To be added PLUS the post Share the post and Add the circle. Once you have done this let me know in the commentsКруг людей с активной жизненной позицией в Гугле+Просто быть добавлены PLUS сообщению Share пост и добавить круг. После того как вы сделали это, дайте мне знать в комментарияхIf you agree that this is a great circle, please re-share!2013-12-29 06:03:17464422473
Vladimir Samsonov23,289Good morning/evening to all. You'll love this circle. Photographers, artists and other interesting people!Вам понравится этот круг, добавьте его себе. Фотографы, художники и другие интересные люди!Это социальный круг This is a Social Circle#ForFriends #photo #EarthMyMother2013-12-05 12:35:51501533078
Константин Вишневский35,785Circle of people, with active life position in Google+Simple To be added PLUS the post Share the post and Add the circle. Once you have done this let me know in the commentsКруг людей с активной жизненной позицией в Гугле+Просто быть добавлены PLUS сообщению Share пост и добавить круг. После того как вы сделали это, дайте мне знать в комментарияхIf you agree that this is a great circle, please re-share!#ForFriends #photo #EarthMyMother2013-11-24 15:07:31464412067
Jan Havrda20,092Deep Thinkers.2013-11-15 00:06:31141216
Matteo Pelucchi3,024Circle of #topengagers  1. Plus this post. (Original post)2. Comment on this post.3. Reshare this circle publically to your stream.4. Don’t be a blue head.Have a wonderful Wednesday increasing your #popularityTnks to +Alessandro Folghera and +Rusty Ferguson  #tuesdaysharedcircle   #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle #trustinme  #circlesharing   #circleshare        #circles        #circleoftheday   #sharedpubliccircles     #sharedcircles    #share  #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday        #sharewithyou        #circlefriday   #circlethursday  #followme     #followers #followback#circle #googleplus    #coolpeople  #circleshare #sharedcircles     #sharedcircle  #sharedcircles       #sharedpubliccircles    #circleshare    2013-09-11 07:31:19397441745
Alessandro Folghera12,080Another special #sharedcircle  to be added among your circlesTo be included in my shares (#sharedcircles), be so kind to:1 - Do +1 t the post2 - Comment the post and specify your "category" (job or interest)      (ex: fashion, photography, seo, social media marketing)3 - include the circle among your circles4 - share the circle (include yourself)If you come accross Google error messages, incorporating my circles, please provide me the error, I'm classifying these errors. Have a wonderful weekend and a better popularityKeep yourself updated, enjoy the Shared Circles Hellenic Alliance, you can share your shared circles inside the upcoming Community:https://plus.google.com/communities/112552559573595396104   #saturdaysharedcircle   #topsharedcircle   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircle #trustinme  #circlesharing   #circleshare        #circles        #circleoftheday   #sharedpubliccircles     #sharedcircles    #share  #vipsnowballcircle #sharedcircleoftheday        #sharewithyou         #followme     #followers #followback #circle #googleplus    #coolpeople  #circleshare #sharedcircles #afo #myseoissocial     #sharedcircle  #sharedcircles       #sharedpubliccircles    2013-09-07 15:52:43397351953
Richard Green25,294Engagers Showcase Circle, September 5 2013If you received a notification, it means that you are included in my Engagers Showcase Circle. “Showcase” means that you are invited to leave a comment (on the original post) with a link to one of your own posts, which ideally should be one of your best recent posts.This circle consists of people who have engaged with one of my recent posts in the form of +1s, comments and reshares. Because I ran out of room, some of the engagers on very recent posts will be included next time.As always, reshares are appreciated, and I look forward to seeing everyone's links. Thanks for reading my posts!2013-09-06 01:37:50501254124248
Brian Wolfe22,328I haven't shared a circle in a long time. Maybe too long.Anyways.. Here is the circle that my browser spends the most time on.   Just in case I become a petulant child and walk away (not that I'm planning on doing so , just in case.)2013-08-22 05:36:251941335
Daniel Mihai Popescu4,968A circle based on +Richard Green's last creation! Add it to yours, share it! They all have some wonderful spark in them!If you're notified, you're in! Sorry to disturb you with the notification! If you want out, just say so :)2013-06-19 09:59:4539032732
Steven Krohn1,616The Popular Choice Circle________________________Richard Green originally shared:Here's version 2 of my Popular Choice circle. The members of this circle were nominated for inclusion here (http://goo.gl/vY07d). Anecdotal evidence suggests that this circle is a pretty good one to add: after the last share, somebody that I follow made the comment:I have to admit I have never had so many people add me back so shortly after adding a shared circle.As guest members of the circle this time, I'm including everyone who has created a circle with me in it in the last four weeks, including +Chris Cota, +Steven Krohn, +Marlo Angelo Tito, +Leo Walsh, +Cesare Riccardo, +Michael Bennett, +1212Scenery, +Daniel Mihai Popescu, +Gai Xinh, +Mithu Hassan, +Daniel Stock, +Marino Puletti, +Christy Sandhoff, +Johnathan Yesson, +Roleta Anedotas, +Linda Dee, +Mariusz Zapart, +César Bustíos Benites, +Andrea Orselli, +Katherine Vucicevic, +Networx, +Rome Heels, +Thumb up your Followers ►, +AyJay Schibig, +Zbynek Kysela, +Ewart Corrigan, +Hamilton Carter, +Don Dobbie, +Brian Buckley, +Wajahat Khan, +Crazy Circles, +Laurent Jean Philippe, +Maria Leoni and +Wolfgang Wodeck.  I'd especially like to thank +Scott Buehler, +Ludovic Moreeuw and +Science on Google+: A Public Database for including me in some particularly exciting circles: the Hyperball, the VIIP Circle and the Smokin' Science Circle, respectively.And now the surprise feature: I invite everyone to leave a comment on (the original post of) this circle share containing a link to one of your own posts. Ideally, this should be something that you posted recently and that you are particularly pleased with. (Don't post spam though; I will delete it.)2013-06-18 14:06:1838425937
Daniel Mihai Popescu4,802I have added version 2 of +Richard Green's  Popular Choice, re-freshed with my nucleus of Invincible circle and brushed of inactive accounts :)If you are notified, you're in, of course :)Thank you for sharing!2013-06-17 10:29:4338924937
Richard Green16,268Here's version 2 of my Popular Choice circle. The members of this circle were nominated for inclusion here (http://goo.gl/vY07d). Anecdotal evidence suggests that this circle is a pretty good one to add: after the last share, somebody that I follow made the comment:I have to admit I have never had so many people add me back so shortly after adding a shared circle.As guest members of the circle this time, I'm including everyone who has created a circle with me in it in the last four weeks, including +Chris Cota, +Steven Krohn, +Marlo Angelo Tito, +Leo Walsh, +Cesare Riccardo, +Michael Bennett, +1212Scenery, +Daniel Mihai Popescu, +Gai Xinh, +Mithu Hassan, +Daniel Stock, +Marino Puletti, +Christy Sandhoff, +Johnathan Yesson, +Roleta Anedotas, +Linda Dee, +Mariusz Zapart, +2013-06-17 04:33:32384693082
Christy Sandhoff10,119Richard Green originally shared:Remember the Much Better than the Average Circle circles I used to share?  Well, this circle is much better even than those.  The people in this circle were recommended for inclusion in response to my call for nominations, and there are some really interesting profiles in here.  If you've never added a circle before, this one would make a good Starter Circle.I'd especially like to thank +Dirk Talamasca, +Ed Ross, +Korinne M Jackman, +Nina MJ and +Tim Utzig, each of whom suggested a large number of profiles for the circle.  I think I added everyone who was tagged in the nomination post; sorry if I missed anyone.And here's the circle.2013-06-04 04:14:1033821830
Richard Green15,407Remember the Much Better than the Average Circle circles I used to share?  Well, this circle is much better even than those.  The people in this circle were recommended for inclusion in response to my call for nominations, and there are some really interesting profiles in here.  If you've never added a circle before, this one would make a good Starter Circle.I'd especially like to thank +Dirk Talamasca, +Ed Ross, +Korinne M Jackman, +Nina MJ and +Tim Utzig, each of whom suggested a large number of profiles for the circle.  I think I added everyone who was tagged in the nomination post; sorry if I missed anyone.And here's the circle.2013-06-02 14:20:43338532176
AyJay Schibig16,440ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-04-13 06:43:023024213
AyJay Schibig15,217ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! Circles I am curating:21ST CENTURY PHOTOGRAPHERS (1&2), ALL KINDS, DISCOVERY, FULL CIRCLE,SOCIAL, ECLECTIC,ENGAGERS, AWESOME, NEW HORIZONS and BOOST#circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou     #ShareYourCircle2013-03-02 11:23:44245206
Mohammad Rahimi2,027I would like to share this circle of people i follow their posts.2013-02-25 05:38:581061928
Ian Herndon8,223Shared Circle Time! - G+ Community Moderators (4 of x)Re-Share to help moderators easily connect with one another!Now that Google has launched Communities there has been a ton of activity by people to create communities relating to their interests, join ones created by others, and meet other creators in an effort to learn more and more new ways to build and contribute to G+ Communities. +Community Moderators is an example of a page/community dedicated specifically to having a single place where all moderators can join in discussion around just that.I have been hard at work creating Circles that consist of Community Moderators and Owners only. My hope is to be able to help others expand their network of friends to also include like minded people dabbling in the Community space too. In the near future I intend to eventually group these moderator circles into smaller more targeted ones tailored to specific interests. So with that said, here's our circles!G+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (1 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/ETe6deLAMq2G+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (2 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/7i2DXeQpknnG+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (3 of x) - 12/31/2012https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/j1rsi9YGGVgG+ Community Moderators & Owners Circle (4 of x) - 1/12/2013https://plus.google.com/u/0/110099838681495349209/posts/VFUjZcifXPQ#Community   #Moderators   #Owners   #Communities   #Circle   #SharedCircles   #CircleShare2013-01-12 15:28:345005210
AyJay Schibig13,588ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2013-01-10 07:15:50257003
Nils Tschampel2,828The Cream of the Crop of December 2012What's this?On +CircleCount everyday some very interesting persons are choosen and recommended. These are persons without hundreds of thousands of followers but with a lot of interesting content. You won't find silent people here leading the rankings, but interesting people that are worth to be followed.You can find the Cream of the Crop daily here:http://www.circlecount.com/daily/Past Cream of the Crop circles:November 2012: http://goo.gl/LSQjcOctober 2012: http://goo.gl/ohdceSeptember 2012: http://goo.gl/ie3VNAugust 2012: http://goo.gl/5vUUPJuly 2012: http://goo.gl/oAemEJune 2012: http://goo.gl/YZt1yMay 2012: http://goo.gl/4Tq43April 2012: http://goo.gl/NvbKjMarch 2012: http://goo.gl/3auLoFebruary 2012: http://goo.gl/TWYpKJanuary 2012: http://goo.gl/HBdHbDecember 2011: http://goo.gl/RBCpgNovember 2011: http://goo.gl/x6TJkOctober 2011: http://goo.gl/2xVn92013-01-08 19:52:4728412311
AyJay Schibig12,717ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-21 06:26:433277010
AyJay Schibig12,080ECLECTIC CIRCLEFeel free to add  and re-share. this  Eclectic Circle of  G Plussers! #circleoftheday   #circleshare   #circlesharing   #circlesharingforthepeopleplc   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharedcircleday   #publiccirclesproject   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  #sharedpublicircles   #circle   #circles   #circlemeup  #awesomepeople   #awesomecircle   #circleme   #sharedpoint   #sharewithyou 2012-12-12 04:23:1442210216
Zbynek Kysela1,918BEST SHARED CIRCLE - Share, share, share!===================================HOW TO BE PART OF IT: 1) Add this circle to your circles -> Add circle2) Share added circle with option "include yourself in shared circle". Done. You're welcome :) ZbynekMy entire social presence:*****************************http://xeeme.com/bouchac*****************************2012-12-07 20:33:1441920625
Kurt Smith14,400Thought Provokers Circle Share - Who's Made You Think Lately?Who's Made You Think Lately? Are they in this circle? For me, +Dede Craig King had me really going last Monday, +Lacerant Plainer always gets me thinking, and just a few days ago it was +Randy Hilarski.Here's latest round of the Thought Provokers Circle. This is an #awesomesauce  circle of great plussers who will make you think (we're all trying anyway). The cool thing about this circle is that you had to be recommended by someone else to get in.Add & Reshare so others can discover these awesome people to follow. Current members please update your circle. If you'd like to join in, please suggest 3-5 people and tell why they make you think. #circleshare   #circles   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #sharepubliccircle   #publiccircle   #publicsharedcircles  2012-12-04 15:53:26287653061
Brunner Nathan325Some people that comment and follow back.Don't forget to give a share and a plus one.#circleshare #sharedcircles #sharedcircle #sharedpubliccircles #circlesharing #publiccircle #circles2012-11-29 18:03:5327516419
Mj Bedford0Shared Circle Saturday My #peace   #circle  Thank you allI circle people who circle meand I refresh this circle Peace2012-11-11 04:03:07258426
Kurt Smith6,542Thought Provokers Circle Share -- Plussers Who 'Make You Go Hmm...'Next round of the Thought Provokers Circle. An amazing circle of great plussers who will make you think, well maybe. Here's some of the people and wisdom inside:"And a few of us that make you go "HUH???" from +Bearman Cartoons. " Ummmm.... I suddenly feel like I'm back in grade school again and the entire class is giving me the look... You're going to get your arse kicked at recess!!!! said +Frank Garufi Jr.. Check out and discover some new people - I've met +Dede Craig King, +Susanne Ramharter, +MommyLovesTech.Add & Reshare so others can discover these awesome people to follow. Current members please update your circle. If you'd like to join in, please suggest 3-5 people and why they make you think.#circles   #circle   #circleshare   #circleoftheday   #circlesharing   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles  +Full Circle +Circles +CIRCLES on Google+ 2012-10-31 14:11:37275922881
Kurt Smith4,603Thought Provokers Circle -- Plussers Who 'Make You Go Hmm...'Round 2 of the Thought Provokers Circle. An amazing circle of great plussers who will make you think! New additions include +Thomas Power, +Bobbi Jo Woods and dozens of others.Add & Reshare so others can discover these awesome people to follow. If you'd like to join in, please suggest 3-5 people and why they make you think.#circles   #circle   #circleshare   #circleoftheday   #circlesharing   #sharedcircles   #sharedpubliccircles   #sharedcircleoftheday   #publiccircles   #publicsharedcircles   +Full Circle +Circles +CIRCLES on Google+ 2012-10-17 13:52:172561193675
Tim Moore23,874My Go To Circle when I'm using +Google+ from my mobile --- which is a lot!IF you use +Google+ from your mobile device and want GREAT CONTENT, then this is a money circle for you.  All the guys and gals in here are fantastic and post very shareable items.Created for the circle when you want to reliably find and share great content quickly from your mobile!>>> Help your friends who may be new here to +Google+ - share this circle with them.  They will love you forever......... or at least until payday. :) #greatcontent   #sharing  +Shared Circles on G+ +Public Circles +CircleCount +Nothing but Circles  #sharedcircles   #circlesharing   #circleoftheday  +Shared a circle with you +Full Circle  #mobile  2012-10-02 19:10:48484723561

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Top posts in the last 50 posts

Most comments: 148

2014-11-24 21:19:19 (148 comments, 21 reshares, 97 +1s)Open 

Four stories about work:

One: Immediately out of college, I took a job working as the receptionist at a homeless shelter. The social worker quit, and I added those duties to my own, despite not knowing how to execute them. Then the executive director quit, and I took his job.

There was no duty pager for staff. If there were incidents, and there were, the police responded without staff support. I would only find out about the response the next day, from the on-site manager -- who, in general, was a trusted client. The trusted client was cooking meth.

I found a new one. But I took the phone as well. I was the only employee, and so I was the call rotation.

Clients would show up drunk. My phone would ring. There would be fights. My phone would ring. The sheriff would show up to serve summonses. My phone would ring. And although my workday wasn't usually any... more »

Most reshares: 31

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2014-11-13 21:02:36 (48 comments, 31 reshares, 80 +1s)Open 

In the 1400s, at the height of the Hanseatic League's power, the Hansa had a simple response to any local lord that barred the passage of river trade: they'd put together an army, burn his castle, and clear the river. They'd then warn the lord not to charge extortionate tolls. The Hansa made a profit, the peasants paid less for their goods, and everyone (save the lord whose castle was burnt) won.

At the time, it was obvious that what was happening was a tariff of some sort. The lord was individually sovereign over a stretch of river, and so had the ability to charge people to cross it. Or seize cargoes. Or charge different trade ships different prices. And once you look at a lord as a governmental entity and not just a private landowner (he was, in actuality, both), it's similarly obvious that what's occurring is a restraint on trade.

But what makes lords... more »

Most plusones: 101

2014-11-19 00:11:27 (61 comments, 11 reshares, 101 +1s)Open 

I do not believe in God. But only in the same sense that I do not believe in a great many other things that I do not have evidence for. For similar reasons, I do not privilege belief in God as being especially pernicious.

People are routinely wrong. I am routinely wrong. I am not so insistent on my own view of the truth, or even the truth itself, that I would deny someone something that gives them comfort, and, more to the point, makes them both desire to do good and actually do good.

I take a kind of rough comfort in the idea that there is no safety net: that if I do not care about doing good, it will simply go undone, because the universe does not care and cannot be made to. But this is a strange position, and I certainly cannot expect that people will believe it for the idiosyncratic reasons that I do. 

Latest 50 posts

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2014-12-23 22:23:57 (1 comments, 6 reshares, 14 +1s)Open 

Hey, if you guys have some extra money for Christmas, or would have paid for anything I did this year for free, you should drop some money in David's pocket.

Long story short: after an incredibly shitty childhood, he dropped out of high school, worked hard, got through community college with flying colors, and made it into Stanford. Then, shortly into his college experience, he had a huge medical emergency. He needs the cash to finish up -- he's only got one more semester, and is almost over the line. 

I'm incredibly proud of him.

Hey, if you guys have some extra money for Christmas, or would have paid for anything I did this year for free, you should drop some money in David's pocket.

Long story short: after an incredibly shitty childhood, he dropped out of high school, worked hard, got through community college with flying colors, and made it into Stanford. Then, shortly into his college experience, he had a huge medical emergency. He needs the cash to finish up -- he's only got one more semester, and is almost over the line. 

I'm incredibly proud of him.___

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2014-12-19 20:17:46 (18 comments, 1 reshares, 42 +1s)Open 

I've been relatively quiet about the Ferguson grand jury, largely because I believe that a conviction would have been virtually impossible. I'd like to point out, however, that McCulloch is admitting to violating the rules of attorney professional conduct by calling Witness 40. She was lying. The prosecutor knew she was lying. He let her go ahead anyway.

From the MRPC:

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly [...]

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures [...]

If he knew that the witness was lying, he had an affirmative professional responsibility not to call her, and not to allow her to offer evidence to the grand jury. Not to do so isg... more »

I've been relatively quiet about the Ferguson grand jury, largely because I believe that a conviction would have been virtually impossible. I'd like to point out, however, that McCulloch is admitting to violating the rules of attorney professional conduct by calling Witness 40. She was lying. The prosecutor knew she was lying. He let her go ahead anyway.

From the MRPC:

(a) A lawyer shall not knowingly [...]

(3) offer evidence that the lawyer knows to be false. If a lawyer, the lawyer’s client, or a witness called by the lawyer, has offered material evidence and the lawyer comes to know of its falsity, the lawyer shall take reasonable remedial measures [...]

If he knew that the witness was lying, he had an affirmative professional responsibility not to call her, and not to allow her to offer evidence to the grand jury. Not to do so is grounds for professional discipline.___

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2014-12-18 17:06:24 (90 comments, 2 reshares, 41 +1s)Open 

Finally: Republicans are getting serious about arbitrary detention and persistent human rights violations in Cuba. 

Oh.

Their arbitrary detention and persistent human rights violations in Cuba. Not ours. 

Not as good.

Finally: Republicans are getting serious about arbitrary detention and persistent human rights violations in Cuba. 

Oh.

Their arbitrary detention and persistent human rights violations in Cuba. Not ours. 

Not as good.___

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2014-12-17 17:29:23 (9 comments, 3 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Why are Americans strongly favoring torture right now? I'd point to this paper from Reed College on polling about torture from 2001 to 2009:

http://academic.reed.edu/poli_sci/faculty/rejali/articles/us_public_opinion_torture_gronke_rejali.pdf

Figure 1 shows torture gaining popularity starting in late 2004. More than likely, it reflects the spin-up of Republican damage control in response to Abu Ghraib, a scandal which would result in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. That is also the year when the CIA went on an aggressive leaking offensive, which included insistence that torture had worked.

So what gets us to the poll +Scott Maxwell shared earlier is likely the consolidation of partisan views behind torture as it becomes more strongly identified with the Bush administration and, though it, with Republican politics. Perversely, the more morally indefensible something... more »

Why are Americans strongly favoring torture right now? I'd point to this paper from Reed College on polling about torture from 2001 to 2009:

http://academic.reed.edu/poli_sci/faculty/rejali/articles/us_public_opinion_torture_gronke_rejali.pdf

Figure 1 shows torture gaining popularity starting in late 2004. More than likely, it reflects the spin-up of Republican damage control in response to Abu Ghraib, a scandal which would result in the Detainee Treatment Act of 2005. That is also the year when the CIA went on an aggressive leaking offensive, which included insistence that torture had worked.

So what gets us to the poll +Scott Maxwell shared earlier is likely the consolidation of partisan views behind torture as it becomes more strongly identified with the Bush administration and, though it, with Republican politics. Perversely, the more morally indefensible something is, the more political defensible it becomes. People's identities are on the line and it becomes very hard to dismiss grave wrongdoing as a mere mistake. Once you reach the nadir of morality, when the wrongs are grave and pervade a leadership, you also reach the zenith of political defense.

I suspect that is what you see in that poll and, likely, all the others which show large measures of support for moral repugnance in the past. Mostly, there aren't any policy results. Those who line up to actually get, f.ex., torture done will largely be over-signalers. The danger is that they can't be excised without tacit admission and, so, moral taint. With the passing of a generation the view will correct as new people lack any connection to the events.___

2014-12-16 20:53:58 (1 comments, 1 reshares, 6 +1s)Open 

For Max Huijgen, an index of prior fiction about Hell:

Punishment: http://goo.gl/gg5fV
Justice: http://goo.gl/LxQe2
Memory: http://goo.gl/Dw9MD
Cartography: http://goo.gl/ryfbv
Science: http://goo.gl/EEvWB
History: http://goo.gl/L3mdN
Labor: http://goo.gl/RIE59y
Renunciation: http://goo.gl/MDcZu
Envy: http://goo.gl/18ll9

I think this covers everything I've published on G+.

For Max Huijgen, an index of prior fiction about Hell:

Punishment: http://goo.gl/gg5fV
Justice: http://goo.gl/LxQe2
Memory: http://goo.gl/Dw9MD
Cartography: http://goo.gl/ryfbv
Science: http://goo.gl/EEvWB
History: http://goo.gl/L3mdN
Labor: http://goo.gl/RIE59y
Renunciation: http://goo.gl/MDcZu
Envy: http://goo.gl/18ll9

I think this covers everything I've published on G+.___

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2014-12-15 20:11:34 (9 comments, 4 reshares, 5 +1s)Open 

I heard about this on Snap Judgment this weekend.  It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard of.  

I heard about this on Snap Judgment this weekend.  It's one of the most bizarre things I've ever heard of.  ___

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2014-12-15 17:53:31 (41 comments, 5 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

Interesting. I'd assumed all along that we were tapping Angela Merkel's phone -- it's aggressive, but it's the sort of thing which states routinely do. But it turns out that we weren't. And it turns out that the document which was provided to Der Spiegel as proof was not a surveillance order from the NSA.

If I had to make a guess about where it came from, I'd finger someone in the orbit of Wikileaks. If I had to make a more specific guess, I'd finger Israel Shamir, who's already known to have peddled fraudulent leaked US documents to the foreign press.

Interesting. I'd assumed all along that we were tapping Angela Merkel's phone -- it's aggressive, but it's the sort of thing which states routinely do. But it turns out that we weren't. And it turns out that the document which was provided to Der Spiegel as proof was not a surveillance order from the NSA.

If I had to make a guess about where it came from, I'd finger someone in the orbit of Wikileaks. If I had to make a more specific guess, I'd finger Israel Shamir, who's already known to have peddled fraudulent leaked US documents to the foreign press.___

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2014-12-13 00:19:46 (36 comments, 2 reshares, 30 +1s)Open 

Q: So, Andy, where in Idaho are you from?

A: Boise. 

Q: Cool art scene, some great restaurants, great bands, good beer, the river -- good football team. But uh, you just lived there for two years. Where are you really from?

A: Fine, fine. Moscow.

Q: Little college town. Bucolic. Looks like the default Windows background. But you just went to college there. Where are you really from?

A: God damn it. Fine, I'm from Pocatello.

Q: Never heard of it. What's there?

A: Well, there's a play about an Olive Garden there. But mostly ... well... see below. 

#CowLivesMatter  

Q: So, Andy, where in Idaho are you from?

A: Boise. 

Q: Cool art scene, some great restaurants, great bands, good beer, the river -- good football team. But uh, you just lived there for two years. Where are you really from?

A: Fine, fine. Moscow.

Q: Little college town. Bucolic. Looks like the default Windows background. But you just went to college there. Where are you really from?

A: God damn it. Fine, I'm from Pocatello.

Q: Never heard of it. What's there?

A: Well, there's a play about an Olive Garden there. But mostly ... well... see below. 

#CowLivesMatter  ___

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2014-12-11 20:55:14 (14 comments, 19 reshares, 53 +1s)Open 

The torture report is remarkably quiet on this issue, quoting the CIA without comment, but as this article points out, there is no such thing as "rectal feeding." If you insert food into someone's rectum, it will fall back out. 

The term they should have used was "violent sexual assault."

The torture report is remarkably quiet on this issue, quoting the CIA without comment, but as this article points out, there is no such thing as "rectal feeding." If you insert food into someone's rectum, it will fall back out. 

The term they should have used was "violent sexual assault."___

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2014-12-11 05:27:09 (9 comments, 2 reshares, 17 +1s)Open 

Freddie DeBoer basically captures my feelings on the death of the New Republic. They're short, so I'll just quote them in their entirety here:

The New Republic was never anything but a warmongering racist antileft trashpile and I hope the whole enterprise burns to the ground and if you are nostalgic about it you’re nostalgic for The Bell Curve, the war on Iraq, and Marty Peretz’s Muslim Hating Neo-Fascist Jamboree. The whole enterprise was corrupt right down to its colonialist bones and if some Facebook billionaire wants to turn it into Tinder For Politico Jagbags it could not possibly suffer in comparison. Shedding tears for Leon Wiseltier’s job is like worrying about what became of Stalin’s cat. I only pray for the day that your twisted obsession with Village bric-a-brac is performed by the unpaid interns that are the inevitable future of Big Media, which will be celebrated byyou neo... more »

Freddie DeBoer basically captures my feelings on the death of the New Republic. They're short, so I'll just quote them in their entirety here:

The New Republic was never anything but a warmongering racist antileft trashpile and I hope the whole enterprise burns to the ground and if you are nostalgic about it you’re nostalgic for The Bell Curve, the war on Iraq, and Marty Peretz’s Muslim Hating Neo-Fascist Jamboree. The whole enterprise was corrupt right down to its colonialist bones and if some Facebook billionaire wants to turn it into Tinder For Politico Jagbags it could not possibly suffer in comparison. Shedding tears for Leon Wiseltier’s job is like worrying about what became of Stalin’s cat. I only pray for the day that your twisted obsession with Village bric-a-brac is performed by the unpaid interns that are the inevitable future of Big Media, which will be celebrated by you neoliberal clowns right up until some 17 year old earning nothing but 3 $9,000-a-credit-hour credits literally unplugs the keyboard from your workstation. Tell Stephen Glass I said hey and shut out the lights on your way out.

Basically that. The audience for "center-left but weirdly racist American magazine, except rabidly right-wing on Israeli politics" is basically nobody. Nor has it ever been anyone. It's always been a vanity project funded by the Singer sewing machine corporation, and insofar as it's ever been a real journalistic enterprise, it's only because Marty Peretz was so dedicated to getting his letters to the editor published that he was willing to throw money down a hole for half a century.___

2014-12-10 21:45:51 (60 comments, 0 reshares, 24 +1s)Open 

"In late January 2003, in response to the death of CIA detainee Gul Rahman and the use of a gun and a drill in the CIA interrogations of' Abdal-Rahim al-Nashiri, DCI Tenet signed the first formal interrogation and confinement guidelines for the program."

Notable here is the fact that Jose Rodriguez ordered the destruction of the tapes of Abal-Rahim al-Nishiri's interrogation, and attempted to destroy the documentary evidence. The only remaining evidence from the CIA interrogation consists of peripherally related cables which have not been scrubbed.

Rodriguez now believes that al-Nishiri was, while not innocent, also not at all important to the USS Cole bombing of which he is accused. This is all somewhat moot, of course. We will never know whether he is actually guilty, or what he was guilty of. (Although we will continue to detain him.)

His torture, and... more »

"In late January 2003, in response to the death of CIA detainee Gul Rahman and the use of a gun and a drill in the CIA interrogations of' Abdal-Rahim al-Nashiri, DCI Tenet signed the first formal interrogation and confinement guidelines for the program."

Notable here is the fact that Jose Rodriguez ordered the destruction of the tapes of Abal-Rahim al-Nishiri's interrogation, and attempted to destroy the documentary evidence. The only remaining evidence from the CIA interrogation consists of peripherally related cables which have not been scrubbed.

Rodriguez now believes that al-Nishiri was, while not innocent, also not at all important to the USS Cole bombing of which he is accused. This is all somewhat moot, of course. We will never know whether he is actually guilty, or what he was guilty of. (Although we will continue to detain him.)

His torture, and Rodriguez' destruction of evidence to cover his crimes, have rendered it impossible to prosecute him in any system which vaguely comports with Western values.___

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2014-12-10 21:01:37 (24 comments, 4 reshares, 43 +1s)Open 

From the torture report, some unsurprising data that's gone unmentioned elsewhere: it is difficult to find torturers except among people with a predisposition to torture. From the torture report:

Contrary to statements later made by CIA Director Michael Hayden, and other CIA officials that "[a]ll those involved in the questioning of detainees are carefully chosen and screened for demonstrated professional judgment and maturity," CIA records suggest that the vetting [...] not take place. The Committee reviewed CIA records related to several CIA officers and contractors involved in the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, most of whom conducted interrogations. The Committee identified a number of personnel whose backgrounds include notable derogatory information calling into question their eligibility for employment, their access to classified information, and their... more »

From the torture report, some unsurprising data that's gone unmentioned elsewhere: it is difficult to find torturers except among people with a predisposition to torture. From the torture report:

Contrary to statements later made by CIA Director Michael Hayden, and other CIA officials that "[a]ll those involved in the questioning of detainees are carefully chosen and screened for demonstrated professional judgment and maturity," CIA records suggest that the vetting [...] not take place. The Committee reviewed CIA records related to several CIA officers and contractors involved in the CIA's Detention and Interrogation Program, most of whom conducted interrogations. The Committee identified a number of personnel whose backgrounds include notable derogatory information calling into question their eligibility for employment, their access to classified information, and their participation in CIA interrogation activities.

In nearly all cases, the derogatory information was known to the CIA prior to the assignment of the CIA officers to the Detention and Interrogation Program. This group of officers included individuals who, among other issues, had engaged in inappropriate detainee interrogations, had workplace anger management issues, and had reportedly admitted to sexual assault.

After the initial coercive interrogations of AZ at Station ALEC failed to turn up anything of substantial intelligence value, the counterterrorism team stationed there questioned their ability to continue with interrogations they felt to be futile. As the program continued, the career counterterrorism officers were replaced with a broad assortment of incompetent but committed sadists.

As unsurprising as it is depressing.___

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2014-12-10 20:07:48 (6 comments, 5 reshares, 34 +1s)Open 

Torture: A Historical Parable

After a long history of adventurism in the Islamic world, a major world power turned to torture to fight terrorism. Initially justified by exigency, used only in response to imminent threats, it rapidly became a ubiquitous outlet for pure sadism. Its use expanded from high-value targets who were planning attacks directly on that major world power, and it was widely used in its program of extrajudicial detention, both in-theater and outside of it.

When restrictions were finally placed on generals' ability to directly order war crimes, and the world power pulled back its colonial forces, the generals staged a coup. Because, having serially committed war crimes, they could no longer be assured of the law's protection.

Torture is cancerous. Once authorized, it is rapidly institutionalized. Once institutionalized, it is extraordinarily... more »

Torture: A Historical Parable

After a long history of adventurism in the Islamic world, a major world power turned to torture to fight terrorism. Initially justified by exigency, used only in response to imminent threats, it rapidly became a ubiquitous outlet for pure sadism. Its use expanded from high-value targets who were planning attacks directly on that major world power, and it was widely used in its program of extrajudicial detention, both in-theater and outside of it.

When restrictions were finally placed on generals' ability to directly order war crimes, and the world power pulled back its colonial forces, the generals staged a coup. Because, having serially committed war crimes, they could no longer be assured of the law's protection.

Torture is cancerous. Once authorized, it is rapidly institutionalized. Once institutionalized, it is extraordinarily difficult to bring it to heel. ___

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2014-12-10 03:41:43 (0 comments, 8 reshares, 32 +1s)Open 

For many people, gender identity is more complex than just "male" or "female."  Starting today, I'm proud to announce that Google+ will support an infinite number of ways to express gender identity, by giving you the option to customize the way your gender is represented on your profile. 

Previously, we provided options for “Male,” “Female,” and “Other,” to encompass both those who don't fit into the traditional gender labels and those who don't want to declare their gender to the world at large. Now, the gender field on your profile will contain four entries, “Male,” “Female,” “Decline to state,” and “Custom.”  When “Custom” is selected, a freeform text field and a pronoun field will appear. You can still limit who can see your gender, just like you can now. We’ll be rolling this feature out for all users over the next fewdays.

Many thanks to the ... more »

For many people, gender identity is more complex than just "male" or "female."  Starting today, I'm proud to announce that Google+ will support an infinite number of ways to express gender identity, by giving you the option to customize the way your gender is represented on your profile. 

Previously, we provided options for “Male,” “Female,” and “Other,” to encompass both those who don't fit into the traditional gender labels and those who don't want to declare their gender to the world at large. Now, the gender field on your profile will contain four entries, “Male,” “Female,” “Decline to state,” and “Custom.”  When “Custom” is selected, a freeform text field and a pronoun field will appear. You can still limit who can see your gender, just like you can now. We’ll be rolling this feature out for all users over the next few days.

Many thanks to the people and groups who gave us advice on the best ways to do this. Your input has been really valuable to us, and we hope you like the result!___

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2014-12-09 01:06:02 (20 comments, 25 reshares, 85 +1s)Open 

How Terrorism Actually Works in the Real World: A One Act Play By Michael Hayden, Former CIA Chief

Scene: A terrorist training camp in eastern Syria. Two mujihadeen sit around a fire, reading the National Review. Overhead, the buzzing of an American drone; in the distance, the low booming sound of Syrian artillery.

Mujahid #1: Oh, what the fuck is this shit. Hey, Sayyid. Look at the National Review.

Mujahid #2: What? 

Mujahid #1: It says here that back in 2003, the American government was engaging in torture.

Mujahid #2: Oh, that's horrible.

200 meters away, a Hellfire missile blows up in the middle of a field. Both jihadis are knocked out of their seats.

Mujahid #1: [Indecipherable.]

Mujahid #2: I'm sorry -- I guess I'm still a little concussed. Whatw... more »

How Terrorism Actually Works in the Real World: A One Act Play By Michael Hayden, Former CIA Chief

Scene: A terrorist training camp in eastern Syria. Two mujihadeen sit around a fire, reading the National Review. Overhead, the buzzing of an American drone; in the distance, the low booming sound of Syrian artillery.

Mujahid #1: Oh, what the fuck is this shit. Hey, Sayyid. Look at the National Review.

Mujahid #2: What? 

Mujahid #1: It says here that back in 2003, the American government was engaging in torture.

Mujahid #2: Oh, that's horrible.

200 meters away, a Hellfire missile blows up in the middle of a field. Both jihadis are knocked out of their seats.

Mujahid #1: [Indecipherable.]

Mujahid #2: I'm sorry -- I guess I'm still a little concussed. What was that you said?

Mujahid #1: I mean, that's it. That's the absolute last straw. I used to be totally on the fence about the United States, but torture? That's totally over the line.

Mujahid #2: Yeah. I was fine with the war in Afghanistan. Fine with them killing all of our leaders. Totally fine with the war in Iraq. Totally fine about that thing Zawahiri made up about the US Army selling children's organs for dog food. Even this bombing campaign is pretty okay. But the well-reported torture that was in every major media outlet for the past ten years? That's absolutely over the line.

Mujahid #1: Yeah. So, death to America, then?

Mujahid #2: I hate to say it, but yeah: death to America.

Fin.___

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2014-12-08 19:35:11 (15 comments, 2 reshares, 29 +1s)Open 

I have a tremendously difficult time sympathizing with any Israeli political discourse. How in God's name did this sentence pass the editors?

"Under Obama the US has switched sides, supporting Iran and its allies, satellites and assets, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, against America’s Sunni allies and Israel."

US-Israeli relations are certainly colder than they were under Bush II, but they're hardly at historical lows. They were far colder under Bush I -- we even suspended military aid -- and our relationship with the Israeli right was extraordinarily strained under Clinton.

If anything's changed, it's that the demands of the alliance have grown increasingly one-sided. Israel isn't necessary as a regional counterbalance to the USSR, doesn't substantially help with our problems in Iraq, and puts substantial strain on otherr... more »

I have a tremendously difficult time sympathizing with any Israeli political discourse. How in God's name did this sentence pass the editors?

"Under Obama the US has switched sides, supporting Iran and its allies, satellites and assets, including the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, against America’s Sunni allies and Israel."

US-Israeli relations are certainly colder than they were under Bush II, but they're hardly at historical lows. They were far colder under Bush I -- we even suspended military aid -- and our relationship with the Israeli right was extraordinarily strained under Clinton.

If anything's changed, it's that the demands of the alliance have grown increasingly one-sided. Israel isn't necessary as a regional counterbalance to the USSR, doesn't substantially help with our problems in Iraq, and puts substantial strain on other relationships. Some of that can be chalked up to geopolitical change and antisemitism in third-party countries, but Israel's unforced errors and completely tone-deaf diplomacy have made it very difficult to work with them on any substantial matters of mutual concern.

If this actually reflects the position of the Israeli right, I can see why.___

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2014-12-05 02:54:49 (32 comments, 12 reshares, 28 +1s)Open 

Ayup. From Food Babe's article on microwaving food, the following awesome paragraph:

"Last by not least, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is famous for taking pictures of various types of waters and the crystals that they formed in the book called “Hidden Messages in Water,” found water that was microwaved did not form beautiful crystals – but instead formed crystals similar to those formed when exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs. If this is happening to just water – I can only imagine what a microwave is doing to the nutrients, energy of our food and to our bodies when we consume microwaved food. For the experiment pictured above, microwaved water produced a similar physical structure to when the words “satan” and “hitler” were repeatedly exposed to the water. "

Ayup. From Food Babe's article on microwaving food, the following awesome paragraph:

"Last by not least, Dr. Masaru Emoto, who is famous for taking pictures of various types of waters and the crystals that they formed in the book called “Hidden Messages in Water,” found water that was microwaved did not form beautiful crystals – but instead formed crystals similar to those formed when exposed to negative thoughts or beliefs. If this is happening to just water – I can only imagine what a microwave is doing to the nutrients, energy of our food and to our bodies when we consume microwaved food. For the experiment pictured above, microwaved water produced a similar physical structure to when the words “satan” and “hitler” were repeatedly exposed to the water. "___

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2014-12-04 21:07:42 (18 comments, 2 reshares, 19 +1s)Open 

I. Reviewing the literature on the subject, Scott Alexander concludes that when you control for crime in the neighborhood, past criminal record, socioeconomic status, type of drug arrested for, and type of stop, studies will find that the level of unalloyed racial animus in police behavior is relatively low. But as +Ezra Klein points out, these very things are purported to be causal! 

Scott Alexander agrees. A bit. But then argues with the idea that these structural factors can be called "racist' in any meaningful sense. This isn't exculpatory. It's worse.

Imagine that, tomorrow, we get new police, new prosecutors, new judges, and new juries, none of which have any racial animus whatsoever. Structurally, everything remains precisely the same: minorities are still, in the aggregate, poorer; minority neighborhoods are still more heavily policed; stop-and-friskpo... more »

I. Reviewing the literature on the subject, Scott Alexander concludes that when you control for crime in the neighborhood, past criminal record, socioeconomic status, type of drug arrested for, and type of stop, studies will find that the level of unalloyed racial animus in police behavior is relatively low. But as +Ezra Klein points out, these very things are purported to be causal! 

Scott Alexander agrees. A bit. But then argues with the idea that these structural factors can be called "racist' in any meaningful sense. This isn't exculpatory. It's worse.

Imagine that, tomorrow, we get new police, new prosecutors, new judges, and new juries, none of which have any racial animus whatsoever. Structurally, everything remains precisely the same: minorities are still, in the aggregate, poorer; minority neighborhoods are still more heavily policed; stop-and-frisk policies are still assigned to the same places; criminal records from before the magic shift are still in place. What do we solve?

Basically nothing.

Surprisingly few problems are caused by the attitudes of police themselves. If we cure that, we reduce the conviction rate somewhat. We get more black folks off of death row. We possibly have fewer police shootings -- but maybe not. In a system populated by angels, we have rebuilt a system of mass incarceration on a foundation of perfectly good cops. 

II. It's easy to prefer narratives where causality points in only one direction: poverty causes crime, or long-term neglect of minority interests causes unjust criminalization, or racist cops cause incarceration. When we pick apart bundles of causes or effects, we're trying to produce the most salient threads. But at a high resolution, distinctions disappear.

The pathologies of poverty, of which mass incarceration is one, are linked in ways which are difficult to disentangle. Endemic crime in a community attracts cops, increasing the probability of arrest, and reduces social trust. Mass incarceration breaks social bonds. Discrimination against felons elevates unemployment. And naked racial animus is a thumb always pressed to the scale.

To unravel this toxic hysteresis, it doesn't even matter where we begin. We could end stop-and-frisk. There's perfectly good evidence from Boston that less aggressive techniques work as well or better. We could normalize cocaine sentences. That's easy, and the present policy doesn't even make sense. We could increase the population of diversion programs. We could legalize low-risk drugs.

These are all things that Scott Alexander might agree with, so long as I keep the word "racism" taboo. But how else do we gather together these threads and call them by a single name? What do we gain by keeping to parlor-room-debate rules about an issue of such pressing concern to so many people?___

2014-12-04 17:31:26 (15 comments, 3 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Capsule Review, Black Mirror S01E01: Easily the most affecting short film I've seen about an important political figure fucking a pig -- but 2014 still has four more weeks, so I'm suspending judgment.

Capsule Review, Black Mirror S01E01: Easily the most affecting short film I've seen about an important political figure fucking a pig -- but 2014 still has four more weeks, so I'm suspending judgment.___

2014-12-03 21:16:31 (2 comments, 0 reshares, 9 +1s)Open 

"""
Such is the inherent defect of law-enforcement unionism: It’s peopled by those with a material interest in maintaining and enlarging the state’s most indefensible practices. [...] How could empowering police — increasingly militarized and shot through with a culture of preening brutality — yield anything but stepped-up repression? How could the traditional socialist goal of worker self-management result in anything but a dystopia of metastasizing prisons, imperious cops, and Minuteman-esque border-patrol guards? The best we can hope for from police, it seems, is passivity.
"""

"""
Such is the inherent defect of law-enforcement unionism: It’s peopled by those with a material interest in maintaining and enlarging the state’s most indefensible practices. [...] How could empowering police — increasingly militarized and shot through with a culture of preening brutality — yield anything but stepped-up repression? How could the traditional socialist goal of worker self-management result in anything but a dystopia of metastasizing prisons, imperious cops, and Minuteman-esque border-patrol guards? The best we can hope for from police, it seems, is passivity.
"""___

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2014-12-03 21:02:42 (5 comments, 1 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

Read.

@a_man_in_black tweetstorms on #gamergate

Most #gamergate-rs are not consciously racist or misogynist, or consciously intending to harass, or consciously aggressive.

[...]

Why would Zoe Quinn talk about her life and the harassment she's been enduring if it weren't to draw attention to herself? Chan thinking.

Channers detest moderation, seeing it as an unnatural intervention into the "natural" emergence of consensus.

Chan culture considers personal reputation meaningless but collective identity sacrosanct.

[...]

Don't you DARE suggest there anything wrong with anonymity or gaming! But if some chick's reputation is ruined, oh well, who cares.

This also explains how #gamergate can be so obviously sexist and racist but also harbor everyone in #notyourshield.

As long as you sublimate yourself to the consensus constructed identity, #gamergate accepts you, no matter who you are!

But if you assert that gamer culture is hostile to women or POC or LGBT people, based on your own experience, you are out of fucking line.


The "Literally Who" women, Quinn, Sarkeesian, Wu, and Harper, are smeared by saying they want to aggrandize themselves somehow.

This goes against the anon culture idea that credit belongs to the whole, not themselves. They're stealing attention away from gamers!

[...]

The slur isn't that I was supposedly banned from WP; it's that I'm a human with a history, instead of just an anon.

Ironically, it's about humanizing their opponents.

Look at the replies to these tweets. I'm being accused of trying to build a reputation off of this writing, despite nobody knowing who I am.

It also explains their paradoxical obsession with and sensitivity to doxxing. It isn't hypocrisy.

Doxxing is the highest crime because it pierces anonymity.

But it's fitting for anyone who draws attention to themselves. Anyone who draws attention to themselves should not be able to escape it.

If they want attention that badly, they can have it.

[...]

It's a fundamental culture clash.

People who are hostile or arguing in bad faith can hide their bad faith behind this approach, but most do not realize how they come off.

This hostility is an implicit but intentional challenge to defend your arguments or shut the fuck up. It's the chan policing behavior.

But channers don't realize that they collectively are not a peer of the people they swarm around.

[...]

#gamergate is a bewildering mass with no spokesmen, leaders, organization, or consistent message. Who do they talk to?

[...]

#gamergate won't accept organization; it runs against their culture. But without organization, they can't collectively interact with anyone.

Conversely, each #gamergate-r won't leave the whole to interact as an individual.

That would mean surrendering both the #gamergate collective identity and the perceived power it entails.

https://storify.com/a_man_in_black/how-chan-style-anonymous-culture-shapes-gamergate___Read.

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2014-12-03 20:50:54 (37 comments, 9 reshares, 39 +1s)Open 

In completely unsurprising news, it turns out that the Solyndra loan program produced a complete bust-and-boom cycle, and is now in the black. Why unsurprising? (And why doesn't it really matter at all?)

(1) This is a venture capital program. For reasons that are near-tautological, investments in projects before the point of commercial viability will typically lose money. Some projects that aren't commercially viable at their inception will turn out to not to be commercially viable at all.

(2) The Solyndra loan was a hedge. When you hedge, one of your positions will lose. The majority of companies the DOE invested in were using polysilicon-based technologies. As demand increased, polysilicon prices increased in step. Solyndra, on the other hand, was using a more expensive but less volatile gallium-arsenide cell. Unless the technologies were roughly comparable (and... more »

In completely unsurprising news, it turns out that the Solyndra loan program produced a complete bust-and-boom cycle, and is now in the black. Why unsurprising? (And why doesn't it really matter at all?)

(1) This is a venture capital program. For reasons that are near-tautological, investments in projects before the point of commercial viability will typically lose money. Some projects that aren't commercially viable at their inception will turn out to not to be commercially viable at all.

(2) The Solyndra loan was a hedge. When you hedge, one of your positions will lose. The majority of companies the DOE invested in were using polysilicon-based technologies. As demand increased, polysilicon prices increased in step. Solyndra, on the other hand, was using a more expensive but less volatile gallium-arsenide cell. Unless the technologies were roughly comparable (and it turns out they weren't), one or both of the technologies would be priced out of the market. 

But even if those weren't the case, it doesn't really matter because:

(3) The government has other ways of recouping a loss. When a private lender pushes out a loan, their profits come from the part of the interest that doesn't just represent the risk premium. When the government pushes out a loan, its profit consists of the interest plus the taxes on additional economic activity created by the loan. As a result, it can make pure economic sense sense for the government to loan on terms that the market won't offer.___

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2014-12-02 20:40:52 (18 comments, 0 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

From my hometown, a crime committed by a poor woman who only had two possible tracks in life: petty crime or children's television host.

From my hometown, a crime committed by a poor woman who only had two possible tracks in life: petty crime or children's television host.___

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2014-12-01 19:55:33 (3 comments, 1 reshares, 13 +1s)Open 

This is probably not a Roman god. It would be surprising if it was.

It seems likely that this is a Hellenized depiction of Tammuz, whose cultic center was about 100 miles away from this site. It's an unusual depiction, but the attending features are correct: the god is reborn from vegetation, and depicted with (perhaps) a stalk of wheat. It would admittedly be more clear if we could see whether there was a head of wheat on top, but we can't.

This is probably not a Roman god. It would be surprising if it was.

It seems likely that this is a Hellenized depiction of Tammuz, whose cultic center was about 100 miles away from this site. It's an unusual depiction, but the attending features are correct: the god is reborn from vegetation, and depicted with (perhaps) a stalk of wheat. It would admittedly be more clear if we could see whether there was a head of wheat on top, but we can't.___

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2014-12-01 19:08:08 (13 comments, 2 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

Below, a list of the data sources for intelligence in the President's Daily Brief.

BLARNEY, an upstream data intercept program relying on FISA for its authority, is the single largest source of information in the President's daily brief. FAIRVIEW and STORMBREW, which are also upstream intercepts relying on FISA authority, come in at #6 and #8 respectively.  INCENSER, a similar data intercept program which doesn't rely on FISA, is only #11. 

Here's the terrifying part:

BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, and STORMBREW are all US-based, and may target US citizens. INCENSER is foreign-based, and targets the Middle East and China. Which means that the data sources with the least legal basis are the primary SIGINT sources the President reads.

Below, a list of the data sources for intelligence in the President's Daily Brief.

BLARNEY, an upstream data intercept program relying on FISA for its authority, is the single largest source of information in the President's daily brief. FAIRVIEW and STORMBREW, which are also upstream intercepts relying on FISA authority, come in at #6 and #8 respectively.  INCENSER, a similar data intercept program which doesn't rely on FISA, is only #11. 

Here's the terrifying part:

BLARNEY, FAIRVIEW, and STORMBREW are all US-based, and may target US citizens. INCENSER is foreign-based, and targets the Middle East and China. Which means that the data sources with the least legal basis are the primary SIGINT sources the President reads.___

2014-11-26 19:19:11 (7 comments, 0 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

At-Will Employment: Family Feuds

A decade before the Civil War, an itinerant Presbyterian preacher and abolitionist named John C. Ingersoll moved from upstate New York to Illinois with his two young sons, Henry and Robert. As tensions rose in the run-up to secession, the Ingersoll family was burned out of their home and forced to flee back to New York.

In his public life, John Ingersoll was intensely moral, but stern and demanding. Which is likely why his two sons lived their entire lives in an attempt to obliterate their father's memory. In the decades after the civil war, Robert Ingersoll became America's most prominent atheist.

His brother, Henry "H.H." Ingersoll, became a lawyer and tireless crusader for the Lost Cause. After the war, he set up a legal practice in Tennessee, helping to restore the franchise of Confederate veterans. And as... more »

At-Will Employment: Family Feuds

A decade before the Civil War, an itinerant Presbyterian preacher and abolitionist named John C. Ingersoll moved from upstate New York to Illinois with his two young sons, Henry and Robert. As tensions rose in the run-up to secession, the Ingersoll family was burned out of their home and forced to flee back to New York.

In his public life, John Ingersoll was intensely moral, but stern and demanding. Which is likely why his two sons lived their entire lives in an attempt to obliterate their father's memory. In the decades after the civil war, Robert Ingersoll became America's most prominent atheist.

His brother, Henry "H.H." Ingersoll, became a lawyer and tireless crusader for the Lost Cause. After the war, he set up a legal practice in Tennessee, helping to restore the franchise of Confederate veterans. And as Reconstruction began to collapse, he was appointed to the Tennessee Supreme Court, where he wrote a series of intensely anti-free-labor opinions. Including the opinion in Payne v. Western Atlantic  which abolished the duty of good faith and fair dealing in labor contracts.

In the years after the decision, Tennessee's mines and railroads shifted sharply toward the use of unfree labor.  And it was another family feud -- this one between brothers -- that brought it to an end.___

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2014-11-26 00:27:50 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 12 +1s)Open 

From the cringe files, a detailed account of the worst, most bizarre medical accident that can possibly happen to a human being: direct injection of mercury compounds into the central nervous system.

From the cringe files, a detailed account of the worst, most bizarre medical accident that can possibly happen to a human being: direct injection of mercury compounds into the central nervous system.___

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2014-11-25 17:36:53 (12 comments, 4 reshares, 33 +1s)Open 

We talk about grand juries as though they're impartial fact-finders. But the procedures available to the prosecution make them nothing more than a rubber stamp. Which means that talking about the grand jury "doing its job" misses the point. The point is whether the prosecutor did his job.

What's clear to me is that the Ferguson police department was at war with the population of Ferguson well before Brown was shot: it was a town with more warrants than people, and which funded itself from fines and court costs. It failed to adequately investigate the shooting, and the eyewitnesses were unreliable, as eyewitnesses generally are. Then it made the news by fucking up the backlash beyond all human comprehension.

At that point, could they have gotten probable cause on Wilson? Absolutely. Was there a reasonable doubt? Absolutely. If the police don't do their job, the prosecution... more »

Some explanatory context about the lack of an indictment in Ferguson: while grand juries are nominally one of the checks on executive power, with the prosecutors only able to indict someone if they can convince a grand jury, this hasn't really been the case in decades, if ever. In the famous words of Sol Wachtler, former chief judge of the New York Court of Appeals, district attornies have so much influence over grand juries that they could get them to "indict a ham sandwich" if they wanted.

This is because grand jury proceedings are rather one-sided: there is generally no judge involved, nor any defense, but rather the prosecutor simply presents whatever evidence he or she chooses, and has to convince the grand jury that there is "probable cause" that the person committed a crime, i.e. that a reasonable (ordinary) jury could conceivably convict. If this seems like a rather low bar to you, you're right: quite a few people have argued that grand juries are a complete waste of time, and only half of US states still use them. (The federal government is required to by the fifth amendment; no common-law jurisdiction outside the US still bothers)

In those places which still use them, their main remaining function is to provide plausible deniability to prosecutors who don't wish to pursue a case: just like you could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich by only showing one story, you could get a grand jury to refuse to indict Freddy Krueger by showing them enough evidence to make the legitimacy of the state's case unclear.

That's not a common use for grand juries -- prosecutors generally have better things to do with their time than look for plausible deniability. (In the federal courts in 2010, for example, grand juries refused to indict 11 times, out of about 162,000 cases. Given that a prosecutor can generally guess when they don't even have a good enough case to indict, you can assume that those eleven each decided to have the grand jury be the one to say no, instead of them, for a reason)

What this means is that when you're trying to interpret the news and understand what a grand jury verdict means, you can basically take it to be a summary of the prosecutor's decision to prosecute or not to prosecute the case, rather than the verdict of an independent panel. 

(The analysis below notes that, in high-profile cases, there's another important reason that a grand jury may not indict, which is that the prosecutor feels that the case isn't strong enough to actually push through, but nonetheless feels political pressure to try anyway. That's not likely to be the case with today's news, as county prosecutor Bob McCulloch took the rather unusual step of having Darren Wilson, the prospective defendant, testify before the grand jury for several hours. Prosecutors who actually want an indictment generally don't invite the defendant to give their side of the story at length, as this is not considered conducive to getting the desired variety of ham sandwich. So it's fairly safe to read today's headline as "McCulloch decides not to prosecute Wilson," and interpret that as you will.)

If you want to read about the grand jury system in the US, as good a place to start as any is
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grand_juries_in_the_United_States___We talk about grand juries as though they're impartial fact-finders. But the procedures available to the prosecution make them nothing more than a rubber stamp. Which means that talking about the grand jury "doing its job" misses the point. The point is whether the prosecutor did his job.

What's clear to me is that the Ferguson police department was at war with the population of Ferguson well before Brown was shot: it was a town with more warrants than people, and which funded itself from fines and court costs. It failed to adequately investigate the shooting, and the eyewitnesses were unreliable, as eyewitnesses generally are. Then it made the news by fucking up the backlash beyond all human comprehension.

At that point, could they have gotten probable cause on Wilson? Absolutely. Was there a reasonable doubt? Absolutely. If the police don't do their job, the prosecution can't do its job. And so here we are, pretending that the legal process has done its job. 

It hasn't. It failed. It failed from the day Michael Brown was shot, and failed in increasingly catastrophic ways until yesterday, when the grand jury came back with a decision that had been a foregone conclusion since day one.

2014-11-24 21:19:19 (148 comments, 21 reshares, 97 +1s)Open 

Four stories about work:

One: Immediately out of college, I took a job working as the receptionist at a homeless shelter. The social worker quit, and I added those duties to my own, despite not knowing how to execute them. Then the executive director quit, and I took his job.

There was no duty pager for staff. If there were incidents, and there were, the police responded without staff support. I would only find out about the response the next day, from the on-site manager -- who, in general, was a trusted client. The trusted client was cooking meth.

I found a new one. But I took the phone as well. I was the only employee, and so I was the call rotation.

Clients would show up drunk. My phone would ring. There would be fights. My phone would ring. The sheriff would show up to serve summonses. My phone would ring. And although my workday wasn't usually any... more »

Four stories about work:

One: Immediately out of college, I took a job working as the receptionist at a homeless shelter. The social worker quit, and I added those duties to my own, despite not knowing how to execute them. Then the executive director quit, and I took his job.

There was no duty pager for staff. If there were incidents, and there were, the police responded without staff support. I would only find out about the response the next day, from the on-site manager -- who, in general, was a trusted client. The trusted client was cooking meth.

I found a new one. But I took the phone as well. I was the only employee, and so I was the call rotation.

Clients would show up drunk. My phone would ring. There would be fights. My phone would ring. The sheriff would show up to serve summonses. My phone would ring. And although my workday wasn't usually any longer than ten, eleven hours, several times a week, I would be rousted out of bed to go handle some emergency or another. 

I was bad at my job. This was in part for the usual reasons; viz., that I had no training. But almost every morning at 4 AM, I would wake up shuddering, and drag myself to the bathroom to puke my guts out. I didn't sleep. And so basic things like grant billing and meeting scheduling began to fall apart as fatigue-driven errors crowded in on every side.

Eventually, I left, having kept the organization from imploding. But I did very little other than that: I held on white-knuckled, and managed a hard landing for an organization that could have cratered. But I did an awful job. Even my emails from that era -- some of which I've kept -- are riddled with typos. 

Two: Insofar as I have been successful, I owe my success to that job. Everywhere I've gone, from that point forward, the very first thing written on my resume has been "executive director." It's what took me to ATVP, and what got me into law school, and after law school, this set of things got me my clerkship, and after my clerkship, it convinced people that I was hard-working enough to cut it in the job I got at Google.

And so I've landed here.

Earlier, +David desJardins accused me of being contemptuous of startup culture. I've never worked at a startup. But I've been in a similar place: working insane hours, never being entirely off the clock, cutting my own salary to keep the money from running out before the task was complete. It made me terrible at my job. The more I scrambled to keep the money from running out, the less I deserved it.

There are strong personal incentives to the sort of work which depletes all of your resources; the sort of work that renders you incompetent. I benefited from them. I still benefit from them. But I can still name the people I harmed, and can still trace, in detail, the things I was terrible at.

In the aftermath of negligence, it's tempting to offer yourself the cold comfort that there was no better way. As hard as it is to make decision that makes others suffer, it's tougher still to admit that that decision was unnecessary -- that you passed up an easy win because the incentives were wrong.

Three: We have evidence from medicine that there are probably some easy wins across the board, and across all kinds of high-performing jobs. Since the 1960s, doctors have insisted that working residents 100 hours a week was necessary for training, and that failing to do so would cripple medical productivity. 

The evidence, such as it was, looked fine: doctors unwilling to work the hours washed out, and doctors who worked longer hours were more successful. Not only that, they treated more patients. This seems adequate to empirically demonstrate that working more hours is better.

Of course, when you examine the rate of medical error, you find that overworked doctors are terrible at their jobs. As you would expect, the rate of medical error among people working more than sleeping is tremendous.

So were we rewarding terrible doctors? 

No. Because there's a confound: the same people willing to work hundred-hour weeks are more dedicated to their job, and otherwise better workers. But we had somehow managed to engineer a system which rewarded the production of low-quality work by high-quality workers, and which -- even more perversely -- used the production of low-quality work as a proxy for high-quality status. 

Unless software development is utterly unlike any other human activity -- and the mythical man-month suggests that it's not -- then startup founders are simply engaged in the same status-demonstration game that doctors were, and there's no reason to take them seriously. Conceding that they'd been wasting their time (and others' time) raises troubling questions that they'd rather not answer.

Four: A coda. In medicine, the policy changed. Often, nothing improved, because the incentives didn't change.

Doctors' hours were reduced from thirty-six hour shifts to sixteen-hour shifts. During their previous shifts, doctors slept, but they slept on the job. Now, working sixteen hours at a time, doctors never slept. The fatigue issues that were the core of the problem? They didn't go away. Doctors still needed to signal that they were working hard; the incentives to ignore the policy and exceed its bounds were still there.

Caring about incentives and caring about outcomes are often deeply at odds. Even knowing what I know now about work, I wouldn't change what I did: it was absolutely, unequivocally in my best interest. But the evidence is good that exhaustion makes us vulnerable to catastrophic failure, and that the incentives within subcultures of workaholism are deeply broken.___

2014-11-22 00:08:02 (12 comments, 0 reshares, 23 +1s)Open 

At-Will Employment: Even Weirder

There's another simple liberal narrative about at-will employment. It goes like this: in the late 1870s, Horace Gay Wood decided to put his thumb on the scale in favor of employers. He was, after all, a railroad attorney. He worked for some of the most abusive employers in America -- businesses that broke strikes using lethal force, and for whom shedding unions was critically important.

But that's not true, either. Either he thought it would be an improvement over the status quo, or he just made a terrible mistake.

It's true that Horace Gay Wood was, at one point, a railroad attorney. He contracted tuberculosis, quit that job, and retired to Vermont to write legal treatises. Thumbing through his books, it seems as though he was a pretty mainstream reporter of the law. On a random sample of politically sensitive topics of... more »

At-Will Employment: Even Weirder

There's another simple liberal narrative about at-will employment. It goes like this: in the late 1870s, Horace Gay Wood decided to put his thumb on the scale in favor of employers. He was, after all, a railroad attorney. He worked for some of the most abusive employers in America -- businesses that broke strikes using lethal force, and for whom shedding unions was critically important.

But that's not true, either. Either he thought it would be an improvement over the status quo, or he just made a terrible mistake.

It's true that Horace Gay Wood was, at one point, a railroad attorney. He contracted tuberculosis, quit that job, and retired to Vermont to write legal treatises. Thumbing through his books, it seems as though he was a pretty mainstream reporter of the law. On a random sample of politically sensitive topics of time time, he seems to have gotten the law pretty much right. In the aggregate, he doesn't seem to have been biased in favor of employers.

As you would expect.

Because Wood was, among other things which we'll get to later, a member of Vermont's very liberal Whig party, and was elected to the state legislature on that platform. Though the Whigs had largely been broken up by the Civil War and replaced by the Republicans, the few stub Whig parties remaining in northern states were generally advocates of public education, public infrastructure, and free labor. Though there's little indication that he was a trade unionist, he seems to have been a fellow traveler with them.

I mention this not because he was a Whig or a lawyer-- being one in the 1870s was an extremely eccentric political position, the party having effectively dissolved in 1856 -- but rather because he was also a prominent Theosophist. Relatively early on in his career, he wrote a book about his extremely ecumenical, extremely peace-love-and-flowers personal philosophy. 

Sorry, sorry -- I buried the lede.

He didn't really write a book about his personal philosophy. Thomas Paine wrote a book about his personal philosophy. Horace Gay Wood, accidental author of the American doctrine of at-will employment, was just the spirit medium that channeled it. Its general political tenor is anti-wealth, anti-accumulation, anti-monopoly, distributist and ... well ... remarkably progressive for its time. He imagines the afterlives available to Indians and Muslims, condemns the pursuit of wealth, and exalts the spirit of Reason.

I find it hard to believe that this guy -- railroad attorney, sober legal reporter, progressive, and batshit crazy spirit medium -- was somehow acting to sabotage American law. No, that was actually someone else's fault.

Next Up: The two family feuds that sabotaged American labor law.___

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2014-11-21 18:39:24 (0 comments, 1 reshares, 1 +1s)Open 

"""
India has a problem with overly restrictive labor laws. The OECD puts together an index with a bunch of measures of how protected workers are. On a scale from 0-6, the U.S. measures about 0.5; the measure for the high-income OECD countries is roughly 2;  and the measure for India exceeds 3. Many of these rules only apply to firms that hire more than a certain number of people, like 10 or 100. As a result, firms in India hesitate to grow, relying instead on networks of tiny firms and temporary workers.
"""

In developing countries corruption and enforcement problems often mean that worker protection laws do not have the intended effect. In developed countries, stringent protections often result in a sort of suicide pact labor market. In both cases the cause is the same: demand suppression reduces the ability of workers to take other jobs, leaving them,... more »

"""
India has a problem with overly restrictive labor laws. The OECD puts together an index with a bunch of measures of how protected workers are. On a scale from 0-6, the U.S. measures about 0.5; the measure for the high-income OECD countries is roughly 2;  and the measure for India exceeds 3. Many of these rules only apply to firms that hire more than a certain number of people, like 10 or 100. As a result, firms in India hesitate to grow, relying instead on networks of tiny firms and temporary workers.
"""

In developing countries corruption and enforcement problems often mean that worker protection laws do not have the intended effect. In developed countries, stringent protections often result in a sort of suicide pact labor market. In both cases the cause is the same: demand suppression reduces the ability of workers to take other jobs, leaving them, paradoxically, more vulnerable to abuse.

Labor law has to strike the right balance between protecting workers from abuse -- on the millennia old theory that "the strong may not harm the weak". But this is tricky in practice and is more likely well-served by structural measures in corporate governance (like enfranchising workers onto boards) or reducing risks faced by the jobless (tipping the balance of bargaining power away). In many cases, such reforms lead to better functioning labor markets, with workers sorting better into firms and firms policing the abuses of lower management to retain them.___

2014-11-21 17:42:22 (33 comments, 11 reshares, 52 +1s)Open 

At-Will Employment: The Story is Always Weirder Than You Think

In Tennessee, in the 1880s, the state's highest court was dominated by mining and railroad interests. The industries that dominated the court were, themselves, dominated by former Confederate politicians and officers. And those industries rapidly shedding union labor in order to reap a bounty of unfree black labor. And so, when the former Confederate governor of Georgia fired employees for buying goods outside the company store, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that employers had no duties to employees, and they could be fired at will.

This is a tidy liberal story, wrapped up in a bow. Simultaneously, prison-industrial magnates vanquished both unions and the last vestiges of Reconstruction-era law, and America entered the postwar nadir of both labor and race relations. The Long Depression even appropriately... more »

At-Will Employment: The Story is Always Weirder Than You Think

In Tennessee, in the 1880s, the state's highest court was dominated by mining and railroad interests. The industries that dominated the court were, themselves, dominated by former Confederate politicians and officers. And those industries rapidly shedding union labor in order to reap a bounty of unfree black labor. And so, when the former Confederate governor of Georgia fired employees for buying goods outside the company store, the Tennessee Supreme Court held that employers had no duties to employees, and they could be fired at will.

This is a tidy liberal story, wrapped up in a bow. Simultaneously, prison-industrial magnates vanquished both unions and the last vestiges of Reconstruction-era law, and America entered the postwar nadir of both labor and race relations. The Long Depression even appropriately punished us for it.

The story is actually much stranger. Consider how we got here:

In the 1870s, the law was clear: if not explicitly specified, the term of a labor contract was a matter of fact to be determined by the jury. In most places, if no explicit term could be decided, then the default period of employment was a year. By the 1880s, American courts had decided that the at-will employment rule -- the rule that exists today -- dated back to deep antiquity, and had always been the rule.

This is a puzzling result. How did American courts seamlessly flip between one rule and another without realizing that they'd done so? And the answer, basically, is that for some reason or another, a treatise author -- Horace Gay Wood -- misstated the prevailing rule. Courts read the treatise instead of the law. And suddenly, nationwide, at-will employment was the rule.

For complicated reasons, it was both a tremendous liberal victory and a catastrophic blow to free labor.

Before Master and Servant, employees were bound to their employers by a tight network of public-law obligations. These included the right to sue for injuries the employee negligently sustained, on the theory that an employee’s injury prevents him from completing his employer’s assigned duties, as well as the right to intervene in the employee’s suits against third parties for negligent injuries. Central to these causes of actions was the theory that, once the employee had contracted away his labor, the value of his labor belonged to the employer.

This was true for the entire duration of employment. For the entire duration of the labor contract (which was not often well-defined), employers and employees had causes of action against each other: the employee had the right to sue if fired, and the employer had to right to sue if the employee quit. This was a profound constraint on labor mobility.

It gets worse.

In some jurisdictions, employment contracts were considered “contracts entire.” If the contract’s duration was not completed, the employer could recoup the costs of employment over that period. In some cases, this led to tremendous windfalls for employers: in Massachusetts, for example, a farmhand signed a contract to work a year for $120 in wages, but left the farm voluntarily before his contract was completed. Because his employer wouldn’t compensate him for the time he completed, he sued for unpaid wages. Though he won at trial, the Supreme Court reversed: not only was the worker not entitled to the value of the contract, he had contracted his labor away for the period of the contract. In the event that he went to another employer, he was required to remit the value of any labor he performed back to the employer who had originally purchased it -- a huge windfall for the employer.

This rigid labor system was increasingly unsustainable. At the time of Master and Servant, the United States was mired in an apparently unending depression. Speculation in postwar railway development had led to a collapse of the banking system; simultaneously, wars in Europe and demonetization of silver had led to wild fluctuations in price. There was very little net economic growth between 1873 and 1879: disagreements between labor and management were over a small and shrinking pot of economic goods. 

In many places in the country, the right to at-will employment was something we now take for granted: the right to quit your job. In others -- Tennessee in the 1880s -- it shattered the tenuous legal position held by free laborers, provoking labor wars which continued into the 1920s. Was it a good idea, a liberal reform? That depends wholly on the system it's embedded in.

But the story gets even weirder than that. Next up: how theosophists, railroads, tuberculosis, and a family feud changed the face of American labor law.___

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2014-11-20 23:16:43 (94 comments, 5 reshares, 35 +1s)Open 

I am sympathetic to the underlying argument here, but the core of Lanier's solution is perfectly literal Luddism. At the dawn of industrialization, automated looms drove mass unemployment. And so the framebreakers -- people who had once been employed as weavers, but who no longer had a job -- broke up the machines they blamed for their unemployment. 

Never mind that creation of cloth handicrafts was an awful thing to be forced to do: the fact that it had to be done, and that people had to be forced to do it, was the reason the incipient framebreakers were able to subsist at all. In a choice between automation and their livelihood, we will each choose our livelihood. 

But we do not have to choose.

The catastrophe that faced the framebreakers, and the catastrophe that faces us, isn't caused by automation. Since the 1980s, the American companies that once employed theb... more »

I am sympathetic to the underlying argument here, but the core of Lanier's solution is perfectly literal Luddism. At the dawn of industrialization, automated looms drove mass unemployment. And so the framebreakers -- people who had once been employed as weavers, but who no longer had a job -- broke up the machines they blamed for their unemployment. 

Never mind that creation of cloth handicrafts was an awful thing to be forced to do: the fact that it had to be done, and that people had to be forced to do it, was the reason the incipient framebreakers were able to subsist at all. In a choice between automation and their livelihood, we will each choose our livelihood. 

But we do not have to choose.

The catastrophe that faced the framebreakers, and the catastrophe that faces us, isn't caused by automation. Since the 1980s, the American companies that once employed the blue-collar middle class have been (a) shedding workers, (b) increasing production, and (c) failing to automate. That persistent growht in production? It's not capital investment. It's caused by employers shedding waste while disclaiming their duty toward their employees.

The more responsible capitalism of the 1950s and 1960s wasn't caused by technological poverty. And the solution is not to throw away our technological progress, wasting entire lives on creating sufficient busywork to justify wages -- it wouldn't work anyway, as first-world busywork cannot sustain first-world standards of living. 

If there's a second automation revolution coming, the solution is to balance the supply of labor against demand for it, not to increase the supply of worthless labor until it justifies the wages we pay for it.___

2014-11-20 22:20:45 (16 comments, 15 reshares, 48 +1s)Open 

In the 1880s, the entire Tennessee prison system was bought out by Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI). The entire thing. Prison stockades were constructed at coal and iron mines, and  free workers that remained were threatened with replacement by (largely black) convicts who had no choice but to work under unsafe conditions. The unions wouldn't have it. So they started blowing up prison stockades and freeing prisoners. Regular union violence against prison stockades continued until the 1890s, when Tennessee abolished convict labor.

In the midst of the violence, when major employers were trying to rid themselves of free labor and purchase as many convict sureties as possible, Tennessee adopted a mutant version of the prevailing at-will employment rule: employers could fire their employees for any reason, even reasons which breach the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  It's the version oft... more »

In the 1880s, the entire Tennessee prison system was bought out by Tennessee Coal and Iron (TCI). The entire thing. Prison stockades were constructed at coal and iron mines, and  free workers that remained were threatened with replacement by (largely black) convicts who had no choice but to work under unsafe conditions. The unions wouldn't have it. So they started blowing up prison stockades and freeing prisoners. Regular union violence against prison stockades continued until the 1890s, when Tennessee abolished convict labor.

In the midst of the violence, when major employers were trying to rid themselves of free labor and purchase as many convict sureties as possible, Tennessee adopted a mutant version of the prevailing at-will employment rule: employers could fire their employees for any reason, even reasons which breach the duty of good faith and fair dealing.  It's the version of the rule that's stuck around until the modern day.___

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2014-11-20 21:35:10 (9 comments, 2 reshares, 11 +1s)Open 

So, uh. Maybe don't watch this at work. But you should probably watch it. 

So, uh. Maybe don't watch this at work. But you should probably watch it. ___

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2014-11-20 18:25:29 (34 comments, 1 reshares, 21 +1s)Open 

When operating an unlicensed taxi company is criminalized, only criminals will operate unlicensed taxi companies. 

There is basically nothing wrong with challenging monopolies that are enshrined in law. Taxi medallions are, as a rule, a stupid way of organizing people who drive other people around. But if a business model is illegal, whatever the reason, the risk of sociopaths becoming involved is far higher.

This being why prosecutorial discretion on stupid laws is never an adequate substitute for legalization: you're likely to get most of the stupid law's downside (as we apparently have with Uber) while capturing only a fraction of the upside.

When operating an unlicensed taxi company is criminalized, only criminals will operate unlicensed taxi companies. 

There is basically nothing wrong with challenging monopolies that are enshrined in law. Taxi medallions are, as a rule, a stupid way of organizing people who drive other people around. But if a business model is illegal, whatever the reason, the risk of sociopaths becoming involved is far higher.

This being why prosecutorial discretion on stupid laws is never an adequate substitute for legalization: you're likely to get most of the stupid law's downside (as we apparently have with Uber) while capturing only a fraction of the upside.___

2014-11-19 17:26:24 (18 comments, 22 reshares, 84 +1s)Open 

Think, for a moment, about lignin itself.

It's this complex structural biopolymer made by trees. It's what makes trees woody. And it's totally, transcendently worthless to everything else on earth. There's a tremendous amount of stored energy there -- this being why wood burns -- and nothing can get at it. Millennium after millennium, the accumulation of woody debris starves the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and poisons all of the earth's fresh water. Insofar as anything living has the capacity to suffer, everything is.
 
Eventually, bracket fungus figures out a way to break down lignin. In a matter of a few hundred thousand years, the quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide triples, and the amount of atmospheric oxygen plummets. The giant insects that dominate the Earth begin to die. Temperatures rise. The oceans acidify. Almost everything dies.

Go back... more »

Think, for a moment, about lignin itself.

It's this complex structural biopolymer made by trees. It's what makes trees woody. And it's totally, transcendently worthless to everything else on earth. There's a tremendous amount of stored energy there -- this being why wood burns -- and nothing can get at it. Millennium after millennium, the accumulation of woody debris starves the atmosphere of carbon dioxide and poisons all of the earth's fresh water. Insofar as anything living has the capacity to suffer, everything is.
 
Eventually, bracket fungus figures out a way to break down lignin. In a matter of a few hundred thousand years, the quantity of atmospheric carbon dioxide triples, and the amount of atmospheric oxygen plummets. The giant insects that dominate the Earth begin to die. Temperatures rise. The oceans acidify. Almost everything dies.

Go back further, and disruptive species become increasingly catastrophic. For instance, when cyanobacteria discovered photosynthesis and produced oxygen as a byproduct, nothing respirated. These huge mats of bacteria were producing a waste product more toxic than chlorine gas. And it destroyed almost all life on earth, down to the microbiome, not that there was anything other than a microbiome. The ground corroded, crumbled, washed into the sea.

And then life, by chance, stumbled on a way to use this horrifyingly toxic gas to ride a more efficient biochemical gradient. And that's all there is to it.

In expending all of the Earth's stored carbon, we're acting just like bracket fungus, or cyanobacteria, or the first cycads. We've found a clever chemical trick and are riding the entropic gradient as long as we can, because, at worst, it temporarily relieves suffering, and at best, it gives us more degrees of freedom to someday not act just like bracket fungus.

This is a low bar -- to not be literally as dumb as a mushroom. But the biological incentives of disruptive species, us included, make environmental catastrophe difficult to avert. The dimensions in which disruptive biology is unsustainable will eventually place a burden on biodiversity system-wide.___

2014-11-19 16:41:19 (25 comments, 3 reshares, 40 +1s)Open 

TIL: G+ actually supports Sumerian cuneiform Unicode, even as mixed characters, meaning that you can add the Dingir determinative (𒀭) to your name if you are, in fact, a verified deity.

TIL: G+ actually supports Sumerian cuneiform Unicode, even as mixed characters, meaning that you can add the Dingir determinative (𒀭) to your name if you are, in fact, a verified deity.___

2014-11-19 00:11:27 (61 comments, 11 reshares, 101 +1s)Open 

I do not believe in God. But only in the same sense that I do not believe in a great many other things that I do not have evidence for. For similar reasons, I do not privilege belief in God as being especially pernicious.

People are routinely wrong. I am routinely wrong. I am not so insistent on my own view of the truth, or even the truth itself, that I would deny someone something that gives them comfort, and, more to the point, makes them both desire to do good and actually do good.

I take a kind of rough comfort in the idea that there is no safety net: that if I do not care about doing good, it will simply go undone, because the universe does not care and cannot be made to. But this is a strange position, and I certainly cannot expect that people will believe it for the idiosyncratic reasons that I do. 

I do not believe in God. But only in the same sense that I do not believe in a great many other things that I do not have evidence for. For similar reasons, I do not privilege belief in God as being especially pernicious.

People are routinely wrong. I am routinely wrong. I am not so insistent on my own view of the truth, or even the truth itself, that I would deny someone something that gives them comfort, and, more to the point, makes them both desire to do good and actually do good.

I take a kind of rough comfort in the idea that there is no safety net: that if I do not care about doing good, it will simply go undone, because the universe does not care and cannot be made to. But this is a strange position, and I certainly cannot expect that people will believe it for the idiosyncratic reasons that I do. ___

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2014-11-18 23:19:50 (60 comments, 3 reshares, 27 +1s)Open 

If Udall doesn't do this, then we won't ever see it: the incoming Republican Senate has both the power and the desire to bury it forever, and other than Wyden, the remaining Democratic minority on the committee is wholly owned by the American intelligence community. 

If Udall doesn't do this, then we won't ever see it: the incoming Republican Senate has both the power and the desire to bury it forever, and other than Wyden, the remaining Democratic minority on the committee is wholly owned by the American intelligence community. ___

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2014-11-18 17:37:36 (14 comments, 11 reshares, 48 +1s)Open 

This is our first and last chance at technological civilization. Exponential growth is in no small part due to the exploitation of fossil fuels -- certainly, world-spanning globalization would be extraordinarily difficult if we could not essentially write off the cost of physical transport. Not to mention the cost of electricity. 

Even if we stretch things out to the long run, where "long run" means "tens of millions of years," fossil fuels aren't coming back. Coal is the result of evolution's failure to figure out a way to degrade lignin. Now that white rot fungi exist (a relatively recent development), there's no more coal in the pipeline, and there never will be. 

For a very long time, we thought that kerogen (the precursor to oil) was a pure carbon sink, and that bacteria couldn't metabolize it. Unfortunately, evolution seems to have discovereda... more »

This is our first and last chance at technological civilization. Exponential growth is in no small part due to the exploitation of fossil fuels -- certainly, world-spanning globalization would be extraordinarily difficult if we could not essentially write off the cost of physical transport. Not to mention the cost of electricity. 

Even if we stretch things out to the long run, where "long run" means "tens of millions of years," fossil fuels aren't coming back. Coal is the result of evolution's failure to figure out a way to degrade lignin. Now that white rot fungi exist (a relatively recent development), there's no more coal in the pipeline, and there never will be. 

For a very long time, we thought that kerogen (the precursor to oil) was a pure carbon sink, and that bacteria couldn't metabolize it. Unfortunately, evolution seems to have discovered anaerobic extraction of energy from kerogen, and it appears as though that's being broken down faster than it's being renewed.

For hundreds of millions of years, life hadn't found a way to take the energy sequestered in these chemicals. Now it has. And there's no route back.___

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2014-11-17 18:19:23 (60 comments, 13 reshares, 42 +1s)Open 

This Saturday, I went to a debate between John Zerzan, an anarcho-primitivist, and +Zoltan Istvan​, a transhumanist. It was disappointing in the typical sort of way: the speakers weren't familiar enough with the others's evidence to really dig in. I did, however, take some notes on problems with both of their positions, presented here in their entirety. 

Re: Zoltan Istvan

(1) Most of the problems cured by civilization are, themselves, pathologies of civilization. The first outbreaks of influenza, of smallpox, and of typhus are historical events: they occurred not just after the development of domestication (which John Zerzan takes as some sort of watershed event) but after the development of written language.

There is a legitimate debate about whether civilization until the Malthusian inflection point in the 1800s was actually worth it. We have hadse... more »

This Saturday, I went to a debate between John Zerzan, an anarcho-primitivist, and +Zoltan Istvan​, a transhumanist. It was disappointing in the typical sort of way: the speakers weren't familiar enough with the others's evidence to really dig in. I did, however, take some notes on problems with both of their positions, presented here in their entirety. 

Re: Zoltan Istvan

(1) Most of the problems cured by civilization are, themselves, pathologies of civilization. The first outbreaks of influenza, of smallpox, and of typhus are historical events: they occurred not just after the development of domestication (which John Zerzan takes as some sort of watershed event) but after the development of written language.

There is a legitimate debate about whether civilization until the Malthusian inflection point in the 1800s was actually worth it. We have had several thousand years of evidence that civilization sucks, and a few hundred years of evidence that civilization is great. If exponential growth stops in relatively short order, it might be reasonable to conclude that agriculture was a mistake. 

(3) All exponential trends are sigmoidal. In a finite universe, exponential growth cannot continue into infinity. Thermodynamics prevents it.

At some point, there was an inflection into exponential growth. There will someday be an inflection back to flat growth. At some later point, either due to local or global entropy, there will be a decline. We do not know when that will occur. We know that it will.

(4) Neither the physical universe nor human biology nor basic mathematical laws have consented to make transhumanism possible. We may live in a universe which imposes hard barriers to exponential growth well before we make ourselves immortal, find a limitless source of energy or computation, or upload our brains into computers. 

We may not have hit those barriers yet, but we haven't proven they don't exist.

(5) Biological immortality -- Istvan's hobby-horse -- is especially problematic. The human body has self-repair systems, but it's unclear that those self-repair systems are robust enough to hold off entropy forever. Even if we fix all known biological failure modes, fixing them will uncover new tiers of failure modes: subtle defects in human design which we cannot detect because more spectacularly fatal defects kill us first.

Re: Zerzan

(1) Some pathologies of civilization result from having fixed other problems. Take, for instance, cancer: Zerzan believes that cancer was caused by civilization. Which is in fact true! But it's caused by living long enough to die of cancer, not by some inherent carcinogenic property of modern living.

(2) Zerzan is correct that hunter-gatherer societies work less, live longer, are far more egalitarian, and are much less violent than societies before the Malthusian inflection. These are general principles, however, not unconditional facts: there are hunter-gatherer societies without domestication, but with most of the pathologies of civilization.

The Chinook, for instance, engaged in warfare, slavery, political stratification, capitalism, and status competition, and did not practice domestication. The North Sentinelese try to murder anyone who gets close to their island. (Though this is reasonable -- see below for what happens to uncontacted tribes when contacted.)

(3) Returning to hunting and gathering would require the death of more humans than have ever lived as hunters and gatherers. I mention this because it's a bullet that anarcho-primitivists need to bite.

Of course, compared to nuclear omnicide or grey goo or another technological armageddon, this may be preferable -- but if we're judging anarcho-primitivism, we need to judge it against catastrophes that kill nearly everyone, not human civilization as it exists.

(4) There is a plausible argument that hunting and gathering was a fine lifestyle because we outran our parasites and predators. Outside of Africa, hunters and gatherers do fine. Inside Africa, we were plagued by parasites that evolved alongside us -- things like malaria, black plague, guinea worms, river blindness, and yellow fever. Once we spread outside of Africa, the intermediate hosts for our parasites didn't follow us.

When we encounter uncontacted tribes outside of Africa, they frequently die of parasites and diseases that are endemic in the outside world: pathologies of an evolutionary arms race which, not coincidentally, have now become pathologies of civilization. If we return to hunting and gathering, we don't return to an Edenic state. We return to a world wracked by parasites toughened by civilization's war against them. 

(5) We also don't return to a world without domestication. Within a few generations, corn is dead, but sweet potatoes, amaranth, manioc, cattle, sheep, and horses remain. If we decided en masse to return to hunting and gathering, the world still contains the basic building blocks of agricultural civilization. Under those conditions, there is an ontological failure of primitivism -- we attempt to return to hunting and gathering, but the world provides simple targets for domestication. ___

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2014-11-13 21:02:36 (48 comments, 31 reshares, 80 +1s)Open 

In the 1400s, at the height of the Hanseatic League's power, the Hansa had a simple response to any local lord that barred the passage of river trade: they'd put together an army, burn his castle, and clear the river. They'd then warn the lord not to charge extortionate tolls. The Hansa made a profit, the peasants paid less for their goods, and everyone (save the lord whose castle was burnt) won.

At the time, it was obvious that what was happening was a tariff of some sort. The lord was individually sovereign over a stretch of river, and so had the ability to charge people to cross it. Or seize cargoes. Or charge different trade ships different prices. And once you look at a lord as a governmental entity and not just a private landowner (he was, in actuality, both), it's similarly obvious that what's occurring is a restraint on trade.

But what makes lords... more »

In the 1400s, at the height of the Hanseatic League's power, the Hansa had a simple response to any local lord that barred the passage of river trade: they'd put together an army, burn his castle, and clear the river. They'd then warn the lord not to charge extortionate tolls. The Hansa made a profit, the peasants paid less for their goods, and everyone (save the lord whose castle was burnt) won.

At the time, it was obvious that what was happening was a tariff of some sort. The lord was individually sovereign over a stretch of river, and so had the ability to charge people to cross it. Or seize cargoes. Or charge different trade ships different prices. And once you look at a lord as a governmental entity and not just a private landowner (he was, in actuality, both), it's similarly obvious that what's occurring is a restraint on trade.

But what makes lords special?

Land. Physical territory is unlike every other capital asset, in that it is entirely nonfungible. If your goods are in one place, and they need to be in another, there are a finite number of routes to get from one space to another, to get to market. In addition, there is only one ideal route; the more trade routes plotted into a single space, the more elaborate (and thus costly) they become. This allows the owners of roads, rivers, canals, ports, railroads, and other channels of trade to extract other entities' returns to innovation and trade as rents on land. They can do this through extortion, tariff, legal right, or discriminatory pricing, but every method is essentially identical in its result.

Which is a long way of getting around to Net Neutrality.

Comcast and other telecommunications companies are not "competitors" to the companies that serve over their lines. They're channels of trade, like roads, rails, and rivers. This is more literal than you would expect: if you take a cursory glance at the histories of companies like Sprint and AT&T, you'll find that they descend from entities that once owned a huge number of easement rights -- largely telegraph and railroad easements. There aren't any more of those entities, and the easement rights are rivalrous: just as you can't build a more efficient road to a city that's already wreathed in freeways taking the cheapest routes, you can't lay new cable to compete with Comcast without zigzagging around the places where line is already laid.

This is precisely why common carriage laws exist. This is why they have existed since the 1100s. When allowed discriminatory pricing power, common carriers can free-ride on others' innovation, turning public pain into private profit.  ___

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2014-11-12 23:20:24 (74 comments, 7 reshares, 31 +1s)Open 

"Jobs are obsolete" does not lead to a libertarian conclusion. If jobs are obsolete, then the primary mechanism for allocating material surplus will have permanently broken. In a world without jobs, the bulk of humanity does not generate demand, and one of two things must be done:

(1) Productive capital must be reallocated to the people who would be otherwise working, so that they can afford goods, or;

(2) The goods themselves must be allocated outside the market, leading to massive allocative inefficiencies.

Of the two, the former is probably less disruptive to pricing mechanisms than the latter. But as the amount of productive labor to be done narrows to a very small range of very high-skill occupations, the prudential case for strong property rights in capital diminishes to almost nothing.

"Jobs are obsolete" does not lead to a libertarian conclusion. If jobs are obsolete, then the primary mechanism for allocating material surplus will have permanently broken. In a world without jobs, the bulk of humanity does not generate demand, and one of two things must be done:

(1) Productive capital must be reallocated to the people who would be otherwise working, so that they can afford goods, or;

(2) The goods themselves must be allocated outside the market, leading to massive allocative inefficiencies.

Of the two, the former is probably less disruptive to pricing mechanisms than the latter. But as the amount of productive labor to be done narrows to a very small range of very high-skill occupations, the prudential case for strong property rights in capital diminishes to almost nothing.___

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2014-11-11 18:56:12 (15 comments, 3 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

In a sense, all contracts are trades in possible futures.

So long as my future is no worse than this, you agree, then your future will be no worse than that. And if there's some discrepancy in the desirability of the futures we're trading each other, or one of the futures we promised does not occur, then we'll settle it out in cash. Simple.

At the center of the contract, there is the primary trade: cash for a house, for instance, or work for insurance. Near the margins of every contract, there are trades in unlikely contingencies. If the house I'm paying you to build burns down, then who has to bear the risk of loss? If the market collapses, who has to eat my losses? As contracts grow longer and more important, the risk of ruinous coincidence grows increasingly well-allocated.

But ruinous coincidences and breaches of duty still occur. They have just been... more »

In a sense, all contracts are trades in possible futures.

So long as my future is no worse than this, you agree, then your future will be no worse than that. And if there's some discrepancy in the desirability of the futures we're trading each other, or one of the futures we promised does not occur, then we'll settle it out in cash. Simple.

At the center of the contract, there is the primary trade: cash for a house, for instance, or work for insurance. Near the margins of every contract, there are trades in unlikely contingencies. If the house I'm paying you to build burns down, then who has to bear the risk of loss? If the market collapses, who has to eat my losses? As contracts grow longer and more important, the risk of ruinous coincidence grows increasingly well-allocated.

But ruinous coincidences and breaches of duty still occur. They have just been traded for cash or other futures entirely. As a result, the dominant parties in contracts can buy a risk- and duty-free path into the indefinite future, limited only by the imagination of their actuaries and lawyers and their ability to pay. Which brings us to Scott Alexander, who complains -- not unreasonably -- that there are certain risks he can't sell:

I would really like to be able to ask my patients to sign a contract saying they waive their rights to sue me if things go wrong. Actually, I want to be even more evil than that. I want to ask my patients to sign a contract waiving their rights to sue me, and threaten to commit them to hospital against their will if they refuse.

Putting aside the primary objection (viz., that Scott is a psychiatrist and his patients, who are crazy, ought not to be making contracts under duress), there is still a problem here: he is a doctor. As a society, we only allow certain people to exercise medical judgment; in return, we require those people to use their best medical judgment. Accordingly, we cannot allow them to sell the risk of bad medical judgment to someone else. 

The problem, in other words, is exactly the converse of Scott's point. The problem isn't that the patient can't waive his rights. The problem is that a doctor cannot discharge his responsibility to use sound medical judgment in any other way than using sound medical judgment. 

The same principle follows elsewhere. A board of directors can't discharge its fiduciary responsibility by asking you to waive your right to sue. A lawyer can't discharge his responsibility to give sound legal advice by demanding that you waive malpractice. A bank can't defraud you by requiring that you consent to be defrauded. Where there are rights that are inalienable by contract, they often correspond to a risk that is inalienable by contract.

We tamper with those at our peril.___

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2014-11-07 22:45:35 (30 comments, 10 reshares, 99 +1s)Open 

So close and yet so far.

So close and yet so far.___

2014-11-07 17:03:54 (31 comments, 11 reshares, 65 +1s)Open 

Something most people don't know, but which still shapes my feelings about pure contractualism:

For a brief period following the Civil War, slavery was reinstituted behind a fig leaf of legal process: labor contracts for freedmen would specify that the freedman would obey his master, "as it had been in slave times," subject to criminal enforcement of his labor contract. Any black freedman traveling without papers from his master would be subject to imprisonment. Considering that this seems perfectly identical to slavery, and that slavery was illegal, the Supreme Court struck it down.

During Reconstruction, the law briefly stabilized, and slavery -- such as it was -- paused. But then something peculiar happened. No particular law re-instituted slavery, and no particular bond later established constituted slavery-qua-slavery. There was no particular point at which the... more »

Something most people don't know, but which still shapes my feelings about pure contractualism:

For a brief period following the Civil War, slavery was reinstituted behind a fig leaf of legal process: labor contracts for freedmen would specify that the freedman would obey his master, "as it had been in slave times," subject to criminal enforcement of his labor contract. Any black freedman traveling without papers from his master would be subject to imprisonment. Considering that this seems perfectly identical to slavery, and that slavery was illegal, the Supreme Court struck it down.

During Reconstruction, the law briefly stabilized, and slavery -- such as it was -- paused. But then something peculiar happened. No particular law re-instituted slavery, and no particular bond later established constituted slavery-qua-slavery. There was no particular point at which the weight of the regulations binding black Southerners became slavery itself.

By the 1880s, however, involuntary labor laid at the end of every branch of a freedman's decision tree, and any misstep or misfortune lead to bondage. Violating the apprenticeship statute led to criminal sanctions; criminal sanctions led to convict labor. The death of one’s parents led to orphanage, which led to apprenticeship. Reneging on a labor contract led to criminal sanctions, then back to convict labor. Losing your job led to criminal sanctions, and therefore convict labor. Debt led to a debtor’s prison, and therefore convict labor. At each stage in the process, the government reaped the benefits of convict leases, and employers reaped the benefits of inexpensive black labor.

The key takeaway is this: when black workers found themselves reduced to peonage, as they frequently did, they had inevitably breached some obligation found in public or private law. It became easy to blame them: they had defaulted on their debt, or committed a crime, or escaped an apprenticeship. All of these things were true: in some limited sense, they knew the consequence, and intentionally committed the act which invoked it.

But speaking about the consequences piecemeal, as though they had independent purposes, obscured the scope of the crime: blacks were no longer free, and they would remain unfree until the entirety of the system was given a single name.___

2014-11-07 05:24:58 (2 comments, 1 reshares, 16 +1s)Open 

Imagine that I've built a building and, when asked about a change I'm contemplating, I say that the building is about selling coffee. In furtherance of that claim I show that I'd spent a lot of time talking to the architect about selling coffee, how coffee shops are best laid out, and so on.

But then you drop your objection: the coffee shop is a 500 sq. ft. space in an 80 floor skyscraper with residences and businesses and more besides. Clearly, the building is about being a skyscraper, not selling coffee. I may do that incidentally, but it's obvious there are other, perhaps many other motives in the building. Perhaps I should rethink that change, you suggest, in light of this fact.

Which is a reason Judge Sutton's opinion in the recent Sixth Circuit case on gay marriage is so strange. Sutton asserts that the procreative possibilities of heterosexual relationships... more »

Imagine that I've built a building and, when asked about a change I'm contemplating, I say that the building is about selling coffee. In furtherance of that claim I show that I'd spent a lot of time talking to the architect about selling coffee, how coffee shops are best laid out, and so on.

But then you drop your objection: the coffee shop is a 500 sq. ft. space in an 80 floor skyscraper with residences and businesses and more besides. Clearly, the building is about being a skyscraper, not selling coffee. I may do that incidentally, but it's obvious there are other, perhaps many other motives in the building. Perhaps I should rethink that change, you suggest, in light of this fact.

Which is a reason Judge Sutton's opinion in the recent Sixth Circuit case on gay marriage is so strange. Sutton asserts that the procreative possibilities of heterosexual relationships can strike a difference, allowing it to pass review under rational basis. But he doesn't look at what the whole of state marriage policy is.

While it's true that there are clear procreative intents within the marriage policies of states, there are many others. Marriages factor into adoptions, inheritance claims, statutory rights, tax benefits, subsidies from the state, and so on. Many of these have no clear link to procreation even though, really, it would have been simple to create them. It may be that the policy started with procreation but -- just as I must have stopped talking to my architect about coffee and more about towers -- at some point marriage policy became more about the relationship between the adults, not the possibility of children.

Rational basis is highly deferent to the legislature, requiring only that something be rationally related to the policy a state is pursuing. The state doesn't get to just say what that policy is, though. The whole of the policy must be looked at, not just any single part, no matter how important historically. It's that policy, the skyscraper policy, which must be judged under the rational basis standard.___

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2014-11-06 23:35:34 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 26 +1s)Open 

Neat. So, it turns out that a Chinese fan of my SCPs -- who has only ever encountered them in translation -- has done a couple pieces of artwork inspired by them. 

They're here:

Neat. So, it turns out that a Chinese fan of my SCPs -- who has only ever encountered them in translation -- has done a couple pieces of artwork inspired by them. 

They're here:___

2014-11-06 20:46:37 (8 comments, 0 reshares, 2 +1s)Open 

If you'd like an Inbox invite, I have a couple.

If you'd like an Inbox invite, I have a couple.___

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