Saturday assorted links

1. “In total, 3,821,926 toys were seized from two warehouses, and would be sold at low prices, it said…The agency also posted photos of the two executives being marched from the premises by a squad of heavily armed soldiers.” Link here, you can guess the country.

2. Peruvian governance update, by Cesar Martinelli.

3. French Polynesia seasteading update.

4. Japanese city tags dementia sufferers with bar codes.

5. Louis Armstrong sings “Give Peace a Chance.”

Comments

I thought the first link about stealing toys was going to be America... Maybe just because of the press that magnet toy case has gotten lately.

Come on. In America the two suspects would have been gunned down.

No, the interest is more in punishing bad thoughts (conservatism). I thought maybe Gibson guitar had a toy factory now.

Are you sure no one's false flagging both sides in a "divide and conquer" sort of strategy?

Or ... people who want to screw with people for diverse other reasons ... then taking false flag cover under whatever they hate or whatever you believe would screw with you ... in your case "liberals" who want to punish "conservative thought"...?

I dunno ... I don't see much reality of people wanting to punish "conservative thought", although a reduced preference for misleading spin (understatement, often) would be good

Because, last I checked, speaking freely in opposition to views that would constrain my freedom (excluding those related to violence) sounds rather more like conversation or debate than punishment. If you're feeling it as punishment, this is highly suspect, since that'd be more likely to cause to to retrench and hate the people you're talking with rather than to consider their arguments.

#1 What do Argentina, Russia, Poland, Bulgaria, Hungary, and Portugal all have in common?

If things get bad enough for enough people, anything can happen.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-08-18/russia-seized-citizens-pension-funds-dot-could-that-happen-in-the-u-dot-s-dot

I'm sorry I don't have time to look into stealing toys from businesses.

I'm working on my superhero outfit. I am going to fight child abuse happening in pizza chains.

BOOM! You really stuck it to those guys!

What will happen when Venezuela runs out of plunder? Speaking of which, anyone know what's going on with El Rey? I haven't seen any of their chocolate at retail in a long time. Not my favorite, but it was among the best chocolate made anywhere. Unusual that it was being made in cacao-producing country, in fact Venezuela produces some of the best cacao in the world. Mexico produces cacao and makes chocolate too, but they eat most of it themselves. I'm not too impressed with the Mexican chocolate I've tried.

Brazil's Northeast cacao is the best in the world, and Brazilian chocolate (particularly the Garoto and the Lacta brands) is widely thought to be among the best in the world.

I haven't tried Brazilian chocolate, but I have tried several varities of Brazilian coffee. Only coffee from Vietnam is worse. I suppose it has something to do with Brazil maximizing production by not using shade trees in their coffee fields. That, plus primarily producing robusta coffee, which never tastes good but is cheaper to grow and is the coffee of commerce for mass market pre-ground and instant. If you drink coffee but it all seems the same to you, you're drinking robusta.

It is a lie. Brazilian coffee is the sweetest in the world and it is renowned for its bouquet. I drink several cups of it a day mixed with a little milk. And only one-fifth of Brazil's production is made of robusta. Brazil is the biggest producer of superior arabica coffee the world has ever seen. Brazilian coffee is so famous, Mr. Napoleon Hill mentioned the imports of it as an example of the success of trade in making people's lives better.
"Brazil has been the world's largest producer of coffee for the last 150 years, currently producing about a third of all coffee. In 2011 Brazil was the world leader in production of green coffee, followed by Vietnam, Indonesia and Colombia. The country is unrivaled in total production of green coffee, arabica coffee and instant coffee." Almost all arabica is exported to earn hard currency because we prefer robusta.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Brazil#Production

And Brazilian women are deeply unattractive, unless you like brown skin and big butts. Kardashian-size butts.

Several cups a day, a little milk....that's drip coffee, not coffee.

"And Brazilian women are deeply unattractive, unless you like brown skin and big butts. Kardashian-size butts."

It is not true at all, Brazilian women are widely considered the most beautilful ones in the world, and there is amazing variety fit to please the most demanding tastes. Suffices to say, São Paulo City is the biggest "Japanee city" outside Japan and I was born a few kilometers from Polish and Pomeran colonization zones, overcrowed with fair-skinned, blondes.
Our diversity is our strenght.

"That’s drip coffee, not coffee."
It is the best coffee mankind has ever known, very unlike the swill Americans and their puppets swill.

#1 -- progressives do not like that some portion of the populace is not getting some good, do they roll up their sleeves and do a part in making more of that good? Perhaps donating their personal surplus so that the good can be distributed to those they find needy? Or do they stick a gun in the face of those that produce and coerce them to do their bidding?

One of those actions seems like pure good, the other pure evil. Seems like an easy choice and it is, to the modern progressive.

Progressives, the worst people in the world.

What kind of world do you live in where you honestly believe any significant portion of first-world progressives would support this action?

I think it starts with "La La ..."

This is what underlies all of your actions, progressive.

Quebec a few years ago mandated that doctors perform emergency medicine, and if they didn't they lost their billing privileges. Their mismanagement caused the problem, and their only 'solution' was to use the blunt instrument of government force to fix their mess.

One advantage was the availability of qualified doctors who moved to other jurisdictions.

And by the way, how is this different from forcing a florist to serve a gay marriage?

If progressives didn't lose elections when they got too uppity, you and they would do exactly the same thing. It is simply that you can't get away with it.

It's different in that the florist will not go bankrupt from this.

That said, I'm definitely not in favor of this kind of thing. If the florist wants to sacrifice some business for the sake of her moral judgment, let her, it's her right. Besides, the beauty of capitalism is that the customer will just go to somebody more open-minded. Everyone wins in the end.

What good would be a service mandate if anyone could just opt out with no penalties?

I highly doubt more than a small handful of doctors (if any) would have sought higher income prospects in Anglo destinations based on rules to uphold service delivery requirements.

"And by the way, how is this different from forcing a florist to serve a gay marriage?"

You're 100% right it is exactly the same. It is using the violence of the state to impose one group's will on another. It is reprehensible.

BTW: thanks for reminding me why leaving Quebec is always the right choice. The philosophy which drove the french revolution is strong in that province, Robespierre would find it a nice home.

The horror! One day you're in a potentially lethal accident, but your wallet flew out the window after smashing into the bus.

You have no ID. The doctor does not know if you have insurance.

Horror! Horror! The doctor must stitch you back together, by law, and figure out how to get paid at a later date.

It would be better otherwise.

Price controls and publicity stunts as an excuse to distract from inflation is the hallmark not of progressive but failing regimes. Nixon did it, so does Venezuela.

In other news we have a President-elect who is 'saving' jobs by personally ringing up business leaders.

Nixon is considered a progressive Republican, dude.

So his economic policies were motivated by his ideology rather than his pathological desire for approval and popularity?

It doesn't stop with dementia sufferers. The nation/state is intent on keeping tabs on everyone. In the US visa entrants, drivers, criminals, college students, everybody could have a bar code. Or a little sub-dermal micro-chip. It's going to happen.

If you oppose it, it's better to speak of it as something to be fought against, not something for which resistance is futile.

If anyone one suggested real, deployed, technology for license plate and facial recognition 50 years ago, the answer would have been "tinfoil hat" or "send them to Bellevue(sp?)"

Now it is essentially the invisible backdrop.

(And I didn't even mention freely shared cell phone metadata.)

We'll ask for it, for convenience or for a discount through an affinity program.

You won't ask for it, but without it you can't get a credit card, unlock your smartphone, order an Uber, or get discounts at Safeway.

There's gotta be a way to make money and get around that at the same time.

The first scannable humans I heard of had had themselves tagged on the biceps so they could pay their tabs in a fashionable beach bar in Florida without having to carry a card.

@Nathan

Talked to my VC angel:

"I have a plan to make money selling something that Facebook, Google, Apple, etc, as well as most governments, will be giving away for free. My customers will be paranoiacs, technophobes, criminals, and wannabe criminals."

Angel is anxious to get started.

So the pathway to the ubiquitous surveillance state, infinitely worse than could have been imagined by Orwell, will be brought to us by free apps?

Surely, there are people out there willing to pay a dollar or two for a product that is not technically difficult to produce and with basically zero marginal costs.

Do you want the option that leaves every blink and twitch on permanent record, or for a dollar a month would you like to have a private conversation from time to time?

People are getting less dumb about this stuff. In time I think basically everyone will prefer to pay a small amount of money to keep ownership over what little data is created on their file in the first place.

The wannabe overlords of the AI-powered human mental enslavement society, however, may disagree. As may quite a number of common criminals and other groups who benefit enormously from the desire of retards (I'm being nice here, I promise) within the state to have easy access to everyone's everything.

@Nathsn.
You're quickly aging out of the demographic of interest to them. Your replacements will take the arrangement as given. "Surely there are some people out there" means whatever you say it means

Youth of today will sign up for an Orwellian state with ubiquitous surveillance to save 2 seconds paying for coffee and to get an occasional discount from people who really just want to milk them?

Maybe some, but I don't think we, or they, are that dumb.

You seem to be almost drooling at the prospect. Don't forget, a ubiquitous surveillance state might just bite YOUR ass.

Wrong free thought. "You're it".

Youth of today will indeed, but their framing of the question is different from yours.

Given that the vast majority of money, power, and cleverness, both government and private, are prepared to nudge, bribe, and coerce to get information, it's not even an interesting question. When almost everyone hands this information out freely, the few who don't will stand out and be easily scrutinized as needed. Also, keep in mind that the cultural center of gravity of the internet and the global economy will tilt further from the WEIRD as time passes.

Framing it as “that dumb” or “smarter than that” also misses the point.

So, done deal, over. I wouldn’t bother posting on the topic, except to distinguish it from:

Bar-coding or chipping humans: Much more open, interesting, question. Relatively new and under-explored. So far those who chip themselves, their children or their pets do so voluntarily. I wait to see how this develops, but I’m betting that it will go as nudged, over a couple of decades.

Interested, amused =/= salivating.

To the barricades, Nathan! I’ll follow it on twitter.

This is the underreported part. It's all voluntary, or maybe "voluntary."

What is the bar code for "666"? Does it get placed on one's forehead?

Rush warned us about this with their song Body Electric in 1983 - a full year before George Orwell wrote his book in 1984.

Uh, '1984' was published in 1949

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/may/10/1984-george-orwell

Read it?

I fear you were trolled.

Huxley, (Brave New World, 1932) got a lot of our recent trends right.

Also, check out Anthony Burgess' 1985.

The Seasteading Institute has indeed made progress on the floating city project in French Polynesia--but that story from September does not do their effort justice. The *real* update: Pres. Fritch recently announced that he will sign an MOU with the Institute.

http://m.tahiti-infos.com/La-Polynesie-accueillera-t-elle-la-premiere-cite-etat-flottante_a155436.html

#1...I guess it never occurred to the Venezuelan government that some businesses, like, say, toy companies, do a significant part of their business during the Christmas season, which they need to survive, and therefore engage in what we call stocking up, as opposed to what they call hoarding.

I repeatedly see the media blaming Venzuela's problems on the price of oil.

Is that lazy journalism, or an agenda? Not very many media sources were critical of Castro's legacy either.

Fer fooks sake, it's such an obvious case of bad policy and totalitarianism as failure.

Maybe.

But why is it happening now and not 4 years ago?

Oil. Relevant.

It was happening 4 years ago, when Venezuela accused its domestic toilet paper manufacturer of hoarding, took over the factory, and imposed price controls.

Oil was $103 per barrel back then.

Venezuela not producing enough oil because they nationalized the oil company.

See, I created a dialectic version!

I hope videos. personal stories, documentaries and books are produced about the transition of Venezuela from an oil rich country to a despotic Marxist socialist hell hole. For the sake to the Venezuelan people I hope they are not held hostage in this hell hole as long as the Cuban people have been.

Don't they have more industrial capacity than most comparator oil-intensive economies?

The list of criticisms of their economic planning is both long and full of very specific things. Please resist the temptation to ignore that extremely clear statement in considering the moderating position I suggest now. However, it is not obvious that they are doing a much more incompetent job than many others at managing their resources wealth.

If a $5/barrel equivalent cost energy alternative were to fall from the sky tomorrow, would Venezuela be in a worse position than Saudi Arabia, for example?

PS, don't both with whatever "industrial capacity" stats you might look up to disprove the point.

Oil-intensive economies basically always include much activity in the oil sector as "industrial" - which in many ways it is, but that does not apply for the sort of analysis that would be relevant here.

Yes. They don't have enough toilet paper. They stand in line for bread. They have to cross borders to buy food.

These are not normal things.

"We're just as well diversified as Saudi Arabia!" is not a ringing endorsement.

If a $5/barrel equivalent cost energy alternative were to fall from the sky tomorrow, would Venezuela be in a worse position than Saudi Arabia, for example?

Well, there are a lot of Saudi Arabian wells that can profitably pump oil at a market price of less than $5/bbl, there'll still be demand for petrochemicals for which Saudi Arabia would be the low-cost provider of feedstock, Saudi Arabia has a few hundred billion dollars of non-oil assets in its sovereign wealth fund, about a third of the people in Saudi Arabia are resident foreigners who can be sent home, and it's got a permanent tourist sector thanks to the hajj.

On the other hand, Venezuela has no oil at all it can get out of the ground at $5/bbl, a lot of debt, and has seen its non-oil exports in both goods and services collapse over the last few years.

Whatever is lower than their marginal cost is the point of reference I'm talking about. I'm not sure that that was clear.

"...3,821,926 toys..."

I call BS. Too precise to be true.

It could be truthy though.

Guilty pleasure: it was I who emailed TC #1, from the BBC news feed I subscribe to. The BBC does good world journalism (though they are not as fast as CNN on original content) and I'm amused that this comment thread picked up on #1 as the biggest story.

Especially when Elysium put out a press release two days ago saying that their 8 week summer human trial of 40 people taking NR at 250mg / pterostilbine at 50mg increased NAD+ levels in 60 to 80 year olds by 40% and that 40 people in that age group took NR at the double dose of 500 mg / pterostilbine at 100mg increased NAD+ levels 90% against a placebo group of 40 senior citizens.

I doubt anyone over 60 reads MR, so a study of this sort run by a company with seven Nobel Laureates in medicine and biology who sit on the science advisory board is unlikely to attract attention with the whipper snappers Tyler's age.

Why would an over 60 not read MR? Just curious to see your thinking.

Sorry, that was sarcasm.

I do think it is amusing that Tyler "30 years of stagnation" Cowen never links to medical or health breakthroughs.

And I mean never.

Have you ever seen a link to the astounding stem cell breakthrough that occurred this year at Stanford? Have you ever seen a link to cancer treatment progress in the last few years?

Of course not. That would go completely against Cowen's laughable 30 years of stagnation narrative.

Cowen knows chess, economics and food.

Science and technology? Approaching zero.

But he's read '1984'

You haven't.

Elysium?

'Press release'?

Heh, heh..

Co-founder Leonard Guarente at M.I.T.:

“We plan to submit the full results of the trial to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.”

By the way, I think Cowen does actually know quite about what is going on in science and technology so will comment on robotics, driverless cars and computers beating the top chess, Jeapordy! and go players. But medicine is also a pretty large part of the economy. /rant

Inventories are a thing. Maybe even a thing that the Venezuelan private sector still has.

2. Peruvian governance update, by Cesar Martinelli. - I don't understand how this is any different from a UK "vote of no confidence" in the Prime Minister (PM), which would require elections. From what I infer (UK readers please feel free to correct me) the difference might be in Peru there's no minimum amount of time between which parliament cannot call for a vote of no-confidence, unlike the UK, meaning that in Peru the parliament can continually ask for the PM to be dismissed, the PM can call for snap elections after dismissing parliament, and this cycle can repeat indefinitely, which invites a military coup. By contrast, in the UK it seems after a snap election the PM is safe from a vote of no confidence for at least X months, absent say treason. Italy might be (I intuit) closer to the Peruvian model, since they seem to have PMs constantly being asked to resign.

Is this the same "impressive" leader Tyler wrote so glowingly about?

http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2016/09/who-is-the-most-impressive-leader-in-the-world-right-now.html

Why yes he is! I guess all of the impressive credentials and degrees in economics and philosophy from Oxford can't make up for sucking at politics. Worthless academics. I'm going to enjoy watching this guy fail over a pisco sour.

Look at the globe. Isn't French Polynesia a wee bit far away from nearly everything? Maybe that's the point. Get these people together in a remote place isolated from everyone else. And teach them about the wisdom of Ayn Rand or L. Ron Hubbard or something.

I think if living on the water can become a big thing, it will be in San Francisco Bay or Lake Michigan, some place protected from tsunamis and other strong wave action. A cruise ship anchored off the coast of Mountain View for Google and Facebook employees might be a viable business model.

Google dropped their secret barge.

Supposedly, the barge was supposed to be a showroom for their technologies. Or maybe a server farm stationed at sea that would use cold deep-sea water for cooling. But not a dormitory for employees. It was constructed of shipping containers welded together, so not likely to be a nice place to live.

A luxury cruise ship is already a nice place to live. Find one that is a good buy, for example because the newest ones have much larger capacity or more amenities like larger swimming pools or casinos, and maybe it would make good business sense to buy an obsolete one and moor it close to Google and Facebook headquarters for use as a dormitory.

#4-- How can they tell the difference between demented Japanese and non-demented Japanese?

For one thing Thiago, they are wandering around in winter without warm clothes. In summer, something similar, maybe not enough clothes.
But usually it's because they have been reported previously by a care-taker for wandering off. The city informs us via loud speakers that an old person is wandering around, and to call the police if we see them. (I didn't look at the link, this is just what I know from personal experience here)

It seems the kind of thing the Japanese do once in a while.

On the contrary, it happens almost every day, and on some days, several times day. They also send us notifications via blaring loudspeakers when the wandering person has been found. I read on the internet that in some cities in Brasil "they" send out capangas and a specially tasked esquadrão da morte to "solve" the "problem" of "homeless" people. Not saying it's true, just saying that's what I read, on the internet. Not saying they "kill" them, maybe just "relocate them". Not in the good parts of Brasil, just places like RJ and SP. That's what I read anyways.

The death squads have ceased almost completly to act in the last five or six years. Even at their height, they probably killed fewer people than American "lone wolves" (actually ill people American society betrayed and forsook).

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