Thursday assorted links

1. Questions that are rarely asked.

2. No more hotel room interviewing for AEA (but are suites so different?).

3. Is North Korea losing? (NYT)

4. The most surveilled cities in the world (Atlanta making the top ten is the surprise).  I was surprised to see facial surveillance on the Venetian Grand Canal and advertised as such.


By 2020 a camera for every other person ?

Trump wants to give the NSA program permanent power (aka USA Freedom Act) to search through American text messages and phone calls. Tell him to f* off.

So what you are saying is anyone including Russia and China can search through this but not the NSA, right??? Why?

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4. Should have been measured per sq. kilometer rather than per capita. I bet those Atlanta cameras don't capture anywhere near the same percentage of people as do the Singapore (11th on the list) cameras.

So the top 10 are all in China, UK, and the USA. There is something wrong the latter two being on this list.

London and Atlanta were rich Olympic cities. Stupid.

Efficient packet switch network came online after 1990. Out of the 6 Olympic cities 4 are in the top 20 except the 'budget' Olympics at Athens (rank 36) and Rio.

The surprise is Tokyo is still not in the list. Don't they prioritize security??

Japanese people don't commit crimes.

Eh. The conviction rates like 99%, so its more like, when they do, no one needs video evidence to convict.

In Japan there are a ton of private surveillance cameras that the cops look at. Every crime on the news has video. And there are police cameras at controlled intersections, along with license plate readers. The extent of this only became public as a consequence of the sarin attack, when they tracked down the cultists to their boltiholes almost instantly.

On the other hand, there is less crime. It's nice to have a high-trust racially and socially homogeneous country with little immigration.

Atlanta has 58 cameras per square mile, while #11 ranked Singapore has 308 cameras per square mile. #12 Abu Dhabi, however, has only 53 per square mile. The Chinese cities on the list are not easily comparable, because China defines cities as huge areas more akin to U.S. counties, but the cameras per area in the true urban parts of these cities are almost certainly far above Atlanta.

It's interesting that Atlanta ranks so highly in terms of cameras per person, at least compared to other U.S. cities, but when they have 7800 cameras and everyone else in the top 10 has at least 500,000, it seems unlikely that they are truly in the same league in terms of camera surveillance.

4. CCTV cameras are a part of a surveillance system, but only a part. Obviously, things like EasyPass and license plate readers are part of a surveillance society, even if not generally considered as such (well, any longer).

It is tests like these that make CCTV appear fairly irrelevant, in a larger sense - 'Up to 25 unmanned solar-powered balloons are being launched from rural South Dakota and drifting 250 miles through an area spanning portions of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin and Missouri, before concluding in central Illinois.

Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000ft, the balloons are intended to “provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats”, according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defence company.

The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather. The tests, which have not previously been reported, received an FCC license to operate from mid-July until September, following similar flights licensed last year.

Arthur Holland Michel, the co-director of the Center for the Study of the Drone at Bard College in New York, said, “What this new technology proposes is to watch everything at once. Sometimes it’s referred to as ‘combat TiVo’ because when an event happens somewhere in the surveilled area, you can potentially rewind the tape to see exactly what occurred, and rewind even further to see who was involved and where they came from.”'

My city police department has a little car festooned with cameras, and labeled "parking enforcement." Presumably these things are networked now.

Not that I'm really bothered. I am an "in public" traditionalist. What we do in public is in public, and if anyone wants to take a picture, fine.

Though we should also promote good photo etiquette. Those "What Not to Wear" photos should have a black bar to obscure identity.

'What we do in public is in public'

Yes, but the idea that someone would be able to access data connected to where you parked your car months or years later, simply by tipping in a number, or be able to track your movements over an entire day, along with everyone else driving a car, is something new, basically. Even if a totalitarian state would have done almost anything to have such capabilities in the past, these days any government of even minimal size is capable of purchasing such tools.

I'm mostly with you, but as prior says, they should not save the info. The police cars have license plate scanners. If they pick up my plate, run it against a database, and I'm clean, then the info should be deleted.

Much ado about nothing. The balloons in the Dakotas were experimental, only staying aloft for six hours. The cool thing about facial recognition in China is that for jaywalking your face is recognized then the fine is automatically deducted from your smart phone payment account. Ain't it cool?

I have heard that if you add fake eyeball tattoos on your forehead, facial recognition fails.

China has rolled out surveillance software in Beijing and Shanghai which authorities say can identify people from their walking style, even with their backs turned and faces hidden.

It identifies step length, stride length, cadence, speed, dynamic base, progression line, foot angle, hip angle, and squat performance

Together with mobile phone ID tracking the accuracy is very high.

It's more that the authorities are testing the waters. Put up a Big Brother balloon and see how the public reacts. If there are no audible "no's" then keep pushing the line. This is the slow boil technique. As libertarians we need to be on guard for our liberty and push back on this nonsense.

#3 was a very odd piece, resting on (1) feels and (2) a lack of quantifiable progress.

So I guess if you can choose the right feels, the lack of progress can be a win? Winning?

Even if NK actually does have more missiles and nukes than any time previous?

Maybe Tyler was just trying to give us a case study in mood affiliation.

Yup, and you failed.


NK and Un are *quantitatively* better off than before, before Trump responded to their charm offensive.

More military hardware and not an official peep about the cybercrime funding it.

“North Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.1% last year in real terms, the worst since 1997 and the second consecutive year of decline after a 3.5% fall in 2017, the South's Bank of Korea estimated”

NK has always been grass eating poor, and now with nuclear missiles.

In this scenario, it isn't NK GDP that makes Trump want to downgrade US support for SK.

You said

“NK and Un are *quantitatively* better off than before, before Trump responded to their charm offensive.”


“As long as sanctions remain, time is on the U.S. side,” said Kim Byung-yeon, who also wrote the book “Unveiling the North Korean Economy.” “Sanctions are the most effective means to draw North Korea into negotiations, so they should not be lifted or eased without major progress on denuclearization.”

“North Korea's gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 4.1% last year in real terms, the worst since 1997 and the second consecutive year of decline after a 3.5% fall in 2017, the South's Bank of Korea estimated”

“The report followed a joint announcement from two United Nations relief agencies this month that about 10 million North Koreans, or 40 percent of the population, were facing “severe food shortages”

“The sanctions on trade in North Korea’s most valuable commodities sent bilateral trade plunging 52.4 per cent last year compared with 2017.”

“China’s imports from its neighbour dropped 88 per cent in 2018 year on year to 1.42 billion yuan (US$210 million)”

Mood affiliation indeed.

I guess we can trade numbers all day.

"By 2016, North Korea was projected to have 14 to 48 nuclear weapon equivalents. The estimate was dropped to 13 to 30 nuclear weapon equivalents in 2017, but was increased to as much as 60 equivalents later in August of the same year."

As I say, NK was grass eating poor before this started.

Do you think GDP is shaping their future?

That they are poor and under sanction isn't even news.

That it is no effective break on their expansion of a missile and nukes arsenal is.

And of course 3 ballistic missile tests, just since July.

Seriously, Trump hasn't unlocked some secret answer here, he's just put lipstick on the pig.

It is not healthy to have conversations with yourself. Both persons are talking to an idiot.

I call BS on the whitewash.

Trump announced a nuclear disarmament deal. Instead we got more nukes and more missiles.

And handwaving that hey, GDP went down, and if you squint hard Kim Jong Un should be unhappy with all Trump has achieved.

I prescribe dope for a dope. Take 20 Fentanyls and call me in the morning.

That should fix your TDS symptoms. The disease is incurable. Sorry!

And I look forward to Tyler's Bloomberg on the advantages of a Greenland purchase.

Perhaps we will learn which foreign territory the Democrats yearn for, making it as always a "both sides" thing.

lol Here you go.

Hi anonymous. Your IP address is from Central Asia, aka Russian dominated
ex-soviet countries. Georgia? 😉

You claim to be an ex IT worker in LA that inexplicably doesn’t understand any technology. Or LA anything.

Dude as a guy involved in psyops. Russians are hilariously pathetic.

Try to rout your vpn NOT from ex Soviet territories. Jesus Christ dude 🤣🤣🤣

I’ve reported to my former employer. Your IP bounces from Belarus, so good luck. Their government is pretty cool with us.

Right, I must be a Russian to oppose Trump's love fest with dictators, communists included.

Take 2 Fentanyls and call me in the morning. Wait! Make that 20!

Are you saying the mouse is actually a mole?

And here I thought I knew the vermin well. Dang!

#3 Define 'losing'? If the NORK's current short-term goal is keeping the Kim dynasty in power and China's ultimate goal is keeping them the petulant and violent stepchild - albeit red-headed - they occasionally need than no, they're not But A) the Kim dynasty will not last forever and B) the North is increasingly irrelevant internationally as other global complexities emerge and are an increasing headache to China.

There will come a day - this century - when they will fail in one of these goals, and then fail the other very rapidly.

#4 Surprised to see Sao Paulo and Jakarta not on this list.

Brazilian authorities don't need cameras to prevent crime. Brazil has achieve a record 20% decrease in murders in the first six months of President Captain Bolsonaro's administration. It means that, in ten years, crime will be 100 rimes less common than it is today. We are talking about a country being able to abolish violent crime in less than one generation. It is a great time to be alive.

"China's ultimate goal is keeping them the petulant and violent stepchild"

I doubt that is really China's ultimate goal. Most likely they would prefer NK to just go away.

China and NK arent really friends, its just in both of their self interests to pretend they are.

Some interesting NK/China facts:

1) China receives roughly 1/10 of their coal - and at significantly reduced market prices - from NK.

2) In the last 3 decades an estimated 800,000 NK women moved into Jilin, Liaoning, and Heilongjiang. In JiLin alone almost 15% of marriages are Han/Korean. There are significant family ties, and a lively 'trade' continue to thrive.

3) NK arms manufacturing and quality have absolutely cratered in the last 15 years. So much so that China is the primary supplier of military hardware and resupply for the Kim regime. There is also a thriving market in Chinese mfg goods and secondary market there. NK is definitely more reliant on China than vice versa, but it's not insignificant for the central committee either. So much for juche!

4) Never discount the unifying hatred both have for Japan. People in the Western Hemisphere simply do not understand it until you've experienced it firsthand.

5) Despite their backwardness, NK is still a nuclear power. That means that with the exception of Russia - which is increasingly Sinophilic - the only nuclear powers of consequence in East-Asia are in the 'Sinosphere'. That definitely matters, especially when one comes off as manifestly unhinged...

Lastly, China most absolutely positively does not want regime change nor for NK to 'just go away' if that means millions of N Koreans will turn into a refugee problem for them. Even if 75% decided to head south the remaining 25% would be an enormous headache for them, one better handled by keeping the status quo with the Kims, who btw they lost almost 500k men in the 1950s to prop up.

I don't think there's any pretending regarding their self-interests, but definitely the 'who and why is dependent upon whom' is a complete charade. Everyone knows who NK is dependent on...

"Never discount the unifying hatred both have for Japan. People in the Western Hemisphere simply do not understand it until you've experienced it firsthand."

For some reason, we love those who murder young Americans. China is our friend, Saudi Ariabia is our pal, Japan is our best friend ever, Germany is great, etc. Meanwhile, Brazil who came to our aid in WW II is wudely hated and slandered by MSM and politicians. Apparently it is true what they say... no good deed goes unpunished. Sad.

I rubbed Ben Gay on my balls by accident.

That is the impersonator.

I am relieved to hear that.

As Tywin Lannister said, "When a man bends the knee, you must raise him to his feet, or no man will ever bend the knee." And Japan and Germany bent the knee about as deep as a nation can.

"4) Never discount the unifying hatred both have for Japan. "

The Chinese and Japanese views of each other have shifted over time.

In 2005, a poll showed 60% of Chinese had an unfavorable view of Japan but in 2007 and 2008 that had dropped to 40% only to climb to 90% in 2013 and then 80% in 2016.

In 2005 and 2006, 40% of Japanese had an unfavorable view of China, which jumped to 65% in 2007, 80% in 2011 and then 90% from 2013 to 2016.

I call BS on that survey. Japanese opinions on China, and Korea, are largely reactive. If there is an anti Japan demonstration, Japanese are puzzled and wonder why they behave like that.

Chinese regularly go nuts and vandalize Japanese businesses. Koreans regularly mass around the Japanese embassy in Seoul. This does not happen in Japan.

This is the result of generations of hate education in China and Korea versus generations of forget-the-past education in Japan. Hate education does not work. The theory of "condemned to repeat" is working in reverse, not as designed.

Atlanta has more surveillance than Urumqi? Someone needs to check that stat.

#1 Twitter can't find that page.

Obviously a question they don't want asked

I was thinking there are no questions rarely asked. Massage tables come to mind. Did anybody ask Epstein's gofer why they needed all of those massage tables, or is that a question rarely asked?

#2 - having conducted several meetings out of hotel suites...YES it is a completely different situation than a standard room. Somehow seeing a bed in the same room as your interview just messes with your comfort level of being in "professional" mode. Even with just 3 men in the same room.

When I was on the market, every AEA hotel room interview I had involved at least one person sitting on a bed. It was just plain weird. Whatever side of the interview you're on, it's hard to nail "professional" sitting on a bed. Suites would make a big difference.

Handing the applicant that little plastic bucket and timing how fast they can get back from the ice machine would be a good test of their skills and motivation

Three men in a room with a bed in it means somebody is about to be assassinated.

I haven't had first-hand experience with AEA interviews in decades. Some other disciplines are de-emphasizing face-to-face interviews at their annual meetings, and using skype or other video interviews instead. Have economics searches moved in this direction? Seemingly not, from that AEA post.

Economics may have a major difference compared to most other disciplines: job-seekers with PhDs actually have a very good chance of getting a job offer (though perhaps not at their preferred type of university or geographic region). The job outlook for PhD holders in a lot of other disciplines is so dismal that the cost-benefit calculation might make it not worthwhile for candidates to even attend their annual meeting. So maybe that explains the shift toward virtual interviews.

2. Actually, the AEA is "strongly discouraging" conducting interviews in a regular hotel room rather than prohibiting such interviews. The AEA must have spoken to a lawyer who advised against an absolute prohibition. For example, an absolute prohibition might impose a requirement on the AEA for the AEA monitor/assure compliance. Alternatively, whoever at the AEA came up with this wanted some flexibility just in case that particular AEA member chose to conduct an interview in a regular hotel room for what at the time seemed like a very good reason.

#4 - I am guessing Atlanta is on that list primarily due to the security measures at Hartsfield-Jackson.

--which might go some distance in explaining why Chicago ranks as the only other US city in the global top twenty.

Probably correct. I thought they started installing surveillance cameras in Atlanta for the Olympics in '96. Though that failed to stop a bombing.

I am wondering if someone has an archive of what #1 was about? It looks like it was removed.

It was removed because Tyler's link to the rarely asked questions risked making them more than rarely asked.

#2. I guess they'll just have to conduct the interviews on the table instead.

If #1 is in fact a solicitation, I'd pose a question that I suppose is rarely asked (or has not been asked prominently in almost sixty years):

with his farewell warning to Americans concerning the post-war advent of "the military-industrial complex", what might US President Dwight D. Eisenhower have meant by this specific warning:

". . . in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite."

(A wild conspiracy theory out of someone else's mouth, but Ike surely qualifies as one of our most sober-minded Presidents.)

We could wonder further how "science education funding" flourished at every level of US public and private education across the interim: anyone might have thought that a good way to counter pernicious elitist influence would be train Americans broadly (and soundly) in the various and numerous sciences.

Our corrupt and corrupting Media Establishment doesn't highlight these topics too frequently or too thoroughly, does it?

3. Eberstadt has been very wrong about North Korea in the past. That said, he is a exceptionally smart guy (we were at Exeter together), and he has studied North Korea a lot more than most people, so he is worth reading.

The truth was always clear. There’s only one viable option. Crippling sanctions and a willingness to talk without preconditions.

Same goes for Iran.

We’ve run out the clock on ‘give MFN/trade status to bad actors and hope the regime decides to be cool because they were only angry about poverty’.

China used their money to put a million innocent Muslims in concentration camps and create a dystopian monitoring network. And bankroll universities in the west to control the narrative. And attempt to make passage of the SCSea impassible without their permission by building weapon platforms in the shape of islands. And attempt to dissolve the human rights of 8 million Hong Kongers. And threaten the population of an independent democratic nation with human rights called Taiwan. (We’re in a Cold War and the response so far leads me to believe the free world loses round 2)

Iran used their money to pay Hezbollah to murder Sunni civilians and Jews, pay the Houthis to murder innocent Sunni civilians, and work on perfecting their nuclear delivery capabilities. That was after murdering thousands of American soldiers in Iraq and bankrolling genocide in Baghdad and southern Iraq.

Time to try a different approach. Tough Tariffs/sanctions and a willingness to talk without preconditions.

I'm not familiar with Eberstadt but even very smart people can make very bad decisions, a la The Best and the Brightest. This latest op-ed by him seems problematic in both his interpretation of events and his claims about where they will lead.

For example he says that the US "has said it was considering plans to deploy intermediate range missiles in Asia. Not only would this move, if consummated, check North Korea’s threatening power on the Korean Peninsula, but it could incite China to exert more pressure on North Korea to denuclearize".

I don't see how any of that holds. How does the presence or absence of American intermediate range missiles affect anything? The US already has the ability to bombard North Korea with land-based and naval surface and submarine forces at will. And why would China then exclaim "OMG American missiles" and in a defeated panic tell North Korea to de-nuclearize?

4. We are close to having "normal" property crime disappear in Australia. I always have at least one device with a microphone and camera operating at home. Already I could set it up so I will be notified if it sounds like there is someone there at a time no one should be home. We just need some people to put the pieces together to overcome consumer laziness and make it smart enough to reduce false positives. If I ever get round to buying a new car I'm sure it will do the same, even if it's just to keep the insurance cost down. We'll have our friend The Computer watching us all the time for our own peace of mind. Remember, The Computer is your friend!

4. So all these CCTV cameras can't possibly be monitored in real time. Computers are used to alert security through facial recognition programs, which may or may not be effective, and tapes are stored for a period of time to possibly identify crime perpetrators and reconstruct crimes and accidents. Big deal. As is happening even now, people will be wearing hoodies, dark sunglasses, hats, fake beards, etc. There's no stopping human ingenuity.

Facial surveillance on the Grand Canal?? Can you provide more details? I can’t seem to locate further info online... Thanks!!!!

Plus “Liverpool World Museum used facial recognition technology on visitors to Terracotta Warriors show” (

Would be great if someone could circumvent the Twitter censorship (if that) and repost questions in #1.

How much of the Atlanta surveillance occurs at the airport?

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