Friday Squid Blogging: Market Squid in Alaskan Waters

Rising sea temperatures is causing market squid to move north into Alaskan waters.

As usual, you can also use this squid post to talk about the security stories in the news that I haven't covered.

Read my blog posting guidelines here.

Posted on March 30, 2018 at 4:17 PM • 56 Comments

Comments

echoMarch 30, 2018 5:03 PM

Chicken eggs behave like a chemical clock.

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/mar/30/scientists-solve-eggshell-mystery-of-how-chicks-hatch
The team then turned from the eggs that wind up on our breakfast tables to looking at the structure of chicken eggs that had been fertilised and incubated for 15 days. While the nanostructure of the outermost of the three eggshell layers remained unchanged, the nanostructure of the inner layers had become smaller in size. That, said McKee, is a result of calcium carbonate being dissolved in acidic conditions and used in the chick’s skeleton, and the process might be aided by the nanostructure increasing the surface area of the calcium-containing mineral.

echoMarch 31, 2018 12:29 PM

I don't believe this article and it whiffs of misusing comments and observations such as you would discover on this blog. Basically, they are saying switch your brain off and buy a walled garden product from a monopoly and you will be safe. Sorry but I don't buy into organised religions.

https://www.cnet.com/news/how-google-chromebooks-became-the-go-to-laptop-for-security-experts/
How Chromebooks became the go-to laptops for security experts.
Chrome OS has provided one of the most robust cases of “usable security” available. Here’s the design philosophy from Google that led to that.

JG4March 31, 2018 1:35 PM


Making steady intellectual progress here. Recently discussed with taxi drivers the effects of Uber and Lyft. They went from middle class to whatever the NC term of art is. I wondered to myself why they don't own the means of communication between themselves and the customers. I am on the record that the free speech right to communicate the need for a ride and the right to engage in commerce are fundamental. What isn't fundamental is who owns that conduit. We recently saw the news that concensus algorithms open the door to distributed systems, including the recent news that Facebook could be replaced by an open-source user-managed codebase. We clearly have enough interest in open-source hardware, firmware and software to muster the engineering resources. What is missing is the management tool/wherewithal to herd all of the cats into simultaneous productive activity. And the tests to prove that it meets the specs. The proofs of sufficiency of the specifications are important too.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/03/links-3-31-18.html
...
We now have the first clear evidence cell phone radiation can cause cancer in rats MIT Technology Review
...
Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Under Armour says 150 million MyFitnessPal accounts breached Reuters. EM: “MyFitnessPal sold my data to identity thieves and all I got was this lousy T-shirt!”

US may tie social media to visa applications BBC
...
Drugs, lies, bribery exposed in Virginia’s transportation agency fredericksburg.com. JTM: “A reminder that corruption never sleeps… unless it’s with a sex worker or subordinate…”
...
The Grift

Ex-Kirkland Partner Robert Khuzami Banked $11M Partnership Share Law.com. Adrien F: “Revolting.” For those of you who followed the crisis, Khuzami refused to pursue CDO related abuses, no doubt because any hard look would go back to patient zero, Greg Lippmann of Deutsche Bank, where Khuzami had been General Counsel of the Americas from 2004 to 2009.
...
Should Tech Companies Be More Tightly Regulated? Project Syndicate (David L)
...
Evidence is mounting that Amazon’s HQ2 will land in ‘the bull’s-eye of America’s internet’ Business Insider. A reader predicted earlier that the HQ would be in DC. Please stand up and take credit in comments.
...

hmmMarch 31, 2018 1:48 PM

"We now have the first clear evidence cell phone radiation can cause cancer in rats"

This isn't quite brand new. Cell phones can cause albumin to cross the blood-brain barrier,
where it becomes trapped and there are no mechanisms to remove or process it.
Studies have witnessed this mechanism causing cancer well over a decade ago.

https://www.emfacts.com/2008/11/979-cell-phones-and-blood-brain-barrier-new-study/

http://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1305582/

There are dozens and dozens of these studies over the last couple decades.

It's amazing to me though how these studies get buried while people go about their business.

echoMarch 31, 2018 5:19 PM

@JG4

The UK government under John Presscot fumbled an opportunity to create a joined up transport system. Government also failed with developing an online media content delivery platform. Both handed victory to the likes of Uber and Netflix.

There is also the earlier problem with collapsing aeroplane manufacturing and failure to properly integrate with the EU. The cancellation of TSR2, dumbing down of television, failed regional development including failed regional banking, huge income disparities and pockets of poverty, narrowing of school curriculums, increased discrimination, a failing criminal justice system and failing prisons, and party political turf wars skewing the economy and creating unecessary friction between the public and private sector is all part of this horrible picture.

The UK government has already openly admitted a foreign policy of willingness to trade off human rights against economic gain. For the rest of us? The turkey has had its head chopped off and feathers stripped. All we have to look forward to is being gutted.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/mar/31/manufacturing-firms-plan-job-cuts-after-brexit

More than a fifth of manufacturing firms are planning to lay off workers to cope with the costs of Brexit, according to a survey that suggests the sector is already losing business.

More than one in 10 (11%) of manufacturers say that they have already lost contracts, according to Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply data shared with the Observer. Unions warned companies not to use Brexit as “an excuse to lay people off”. The figures have emerged as a group of cross-party MPs and peers hope to persuade the government to reconsider its determination to leave the European Union’s customs union – a move causing serious concern among manufacturing groups.

[...]

“My conviction is that [Brexit] was a mistake. I think that you will see the effects. You have already got a slowdown in your economy at a time when the other economies in the EU are growing relatively well. Europe and Poland would have no problem if you changed your mind.”

albertMarch 31, 2018 6:05 PM

@Hmm,
"...It's amazing to me though how these studies get buried while people go about their business...."

'Business' is the keyword there. They will find a lot more problems with cellular radiation in the future.

Now leave me alone while I find a cigarette!

. .. . .. --- ....

Bauke Jan DoumaApril 1, 2018 11:00 AM

@Ismar

The announcements offer a glimpse into Beijing's ambitious attempt to create a Social Credit System (SCS) by 2020 — that is, a proposed national system designed to value and engineer better individual behaviour by establishing the scores of 1.4 billion citizens and "awarding the trustworthy" and "punishing the disobedient".

Funny, that is exactly what our educational institutions do.

WinterApril 1, 2018 11:52 AM

@Hmm,
"...It's amazing to me though how these studies get buried while people go about their business...."

According to these studies, it is even more amazing that 25 years of mass use of cell phones did not result in more deaths, or even more disease.

Almost every human uses a cell phone and life expectancy still keeps increasing. Where are all those brain cancers that we have been promised for decades?

Why are people in big cities not dying like flies from all this low frequency radiation?
(Hint, maybe cell phones do not cause cancer at all?)

albertApril 1, 2018 11:58 AM

Google Sells Out! (Again)

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney to merge with Google. The new company will be called Morgan Stanley Smith Barney Google.

https://en.wikipedia.org /wiki/List_of_mergers_and_acquisitions_by_Google

. .. . .. --- ....

gordoApril 1, 2018 12:49 PM

I suppose one could file this under local color...

TRASH DENIED
IT’S WEIRDLY HARD TO STEAL MARK ZUCKERBERG’S TRASH
Private security guards, dead ends, and a whole lot of paranoia: Here’s what happens when you try to rummage through the garbage of the man who owns the world’s secrets.
Joe Veix MAR—31—2018

In 2014, Mark Zuckerberg bought a new home in San Francisco’s Mission District, about a mile from where I lived at the time. Shortly after the purchase, the man who once printed business cards boasting, “I’m CEO, Bitch” began refurbishing the $10 million “fixer upper.”


I immediately biked over to the area to scope the place out. ...

https://theoutline.com/post/3994/it-is-weirdly-hard-to-steal-mark-zuckerbergs-trash

bttbApril 1, 2018 1:06 PM

Regarding cell phones and health issues, Is this considered perhaps valid or relevant today (from 2011)?

“Less Radiation Exposure from CDMA Phones Compared with GSM

The Council of Europe’s recent resolution (below) on the need to reduce exposures to electromagnetic fields focused on cell phones with “continuous pulse waves”, the kind emitted by GSM phones (e.g. AT&T & T-Mobile) but not by CDMA (Verizon, Sprint), says Joel Moskowitz, PhD, Director, Center for Family and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley.

CDMA cell phones do not pulse their signals.  Dr. Moskowitz says “GSM phones emit about 28 times more radiation on average compared to CDMA phones according to one published study.  Moreover, the toxicology research suggests that GSM phones are more biologically reactive compared to CDMA phones. “ Moskowitz recommends those wishing to reduce radiation from cell phones may want to switch to the CDMA carriers. …”
http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/gsm-cdma/ (http)

and from Wikipedia

“For a classic example for understanding the fundamental difference of TDMA and CDMA, imagine a cocktail party where couples are talking to each other in a single room. The room represents the available bandwidth:
TDMA: A speaker takes turns talking to a listener. The speaker talks for a short time and then stops to let another couple talk. There is never more than one speaker talking in the room, no one has to worry about two conversations mixing. The drawback is that it limits the practical number of discussions in the room (bandwidth wise).
CDMA: any speaker can talk at any time; however each uses a different language. Each listener can only understand the language of their partner. As more and more couples talk, the background noise (representing the noise floor) gets louder, but because of the difference in languages, conversations do not mix. The drawback is that at some point, one cannot talk any louder. After this if the noise still rises (more people join the party/cell) the listener cannot make out what the talker is talking about without coming closer to the talker. In effect, CDMA cell coverage decreases as the number of active users increases. This is called cell breathing.”
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_mobile_phone_standards

and, finally, what about this?

““Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks” is authored by communications technology expert Dr. Timothy Schoechle, PhD, an international consultant in computer engineering and standardization, former faculty member of the University of Colorado, College of Engineering and Applied Science and Senior Research Fellow at the National Institute for Science, Law & Public Policy.
 
Dr. Schoechle says, “We are seeing the present national emphasis on wireless technologies because the “triopoly”, of Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast that dominates our access to the Internet imposes artificial scarcity, planned obsolescence, and high prices to maintain their immense profits. It is in their interest to obscure the fact that advanced copper and optical fiber are far superior to wireless in both cost and performance.” 
 
From a broad analysis of available data, “Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks” demonstrates wireless systems cannot provide long-term solutions for universal, reliable and affordable Internet accessibility, nor support the ever-increasing data rates that will be needed in the near future for each American home and business. Investment in wired, not wireless, information infrastructure is needed across the U.S. right now.
 
Schoechle says, “Government officials have been misled about the adequacy of wireless communications. Legislators should stop enabling the wireless industry’s plans for massive new deployments of 4G LTE and soon 5G millimeter wave antennas throughout American neighborhoods, and instead commit to supporting reliable, energy-efficient and enduring hard-wired telecommunications infrastructure that meets the nation’s immediate and long-term needs.
 
“Re-Inventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks” explains why on technological and other grounds an intensely wireless approach to communications is the wrong direction.
 
The wireless industry is forging full throttle ahead to install millions of new antennas, and dozens of Bills in Congress, and in State legislatures, seek to pre-empt local laws and regulations. A national fiber broadband system deployed as close to the consumer as possible, the report says, is a more intelligent choice, in many respects. A national network of locally controlled fiber networks would far better serve to sustain economic growth and competitiveness, meet projected market demand, overcome access inequality and second-rate connectivity issues, and diminish a range of well-known risks from wireless communication, including safety, security, privacy, public health and environmental risks, while at the same time reducing the extraordinary, and little considered, energy requirements of wireless and cellular networks.
 
Schoechle says, “An advanced information highway is what is needed, not an inefficient and expensive ‘toll road’.””
http://electromagnetichealth.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/ReInventing-Wires-1-25-18.pdf ; (http and pdf)
 

TazApril 1, 2018 9:48 PM

An ios 11.3 update anyone? All that is known concerning Cellebrite's (and other's) ability to unlock them?


Very disappointed this is even a thing in 2018 :(

65535April 2, 2018 12:43 AM

@ albert

Your link seems to hit two pages. Morgan IPO'd hugely Giggle years ago – tenor was the last merger according to Wikipedia. No Morgan thing on Wikipedia merger page of Giggle?

April fool’s joke? USA holiday or joke day?

@ Taz

“An ios 11.3 update anyone? All that is known concerning Cellebrite's (and other's) ability to unlock them?”

I don’t touch droid or ios. I would guess they both are hacked.

[Apple PR at its best]

"iOS 11 brings hundreds of new features to iPhone and iPad including an all new App Store, a more proactive and intelligent Siri, improvements to Camera and Photos, and augmented reality technologies to enable immersive experiences. iOS 11 is also the biggest release for iPad ever and adds powerful new multitasking features, a new Files app and more ways to use Apple Pencil."-apple

https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208067

Mat Green say you either trust Apple or don’t. Apple slides by the “back” door with a front door in the form of a complete custom image or a custom boot image which unlocks the system.

[Mat Green]

“Apple claims that it does not record these keys nor can it access them. On recent devices (with A7 chips), this key and the mixing process are protected within a cryptographic co-processor called the Secure Enclave. The Apple Key Derivation function ‘tangles’ the password with the UID key by running both through PBKDF2-AES — with an iteration count tuned to require about 80ms on the device itself.** The result is the ‘passcode key’. That key is then used as an anchor to secure much of the data on the phone. (Apple pegs such cracking attempts at 5 1/2 years for a random 6-character password consisting of lowercase letters and numbers. PINs will obviously take much less time, sometimes as little as half an hour. Choose a good passphrase!… So one view of Apple’s process is that it depends on the user picking a strong password. A different view is that it also depends on the attacker’s inability to obtain the UID. Let’s explore this a bit …The Secure Enclave is designed to prevent exfiltration of the UID key… earlier Apple devices this key lived in the application processor itself. Secure Enclave provides an extra level of protection that holds even if the software on the application processor is compromised — jailbroken…One worrying thing about this approach… is according to Apple’s documentation, Apple controls the signing keys that sign the Secure Enclave firmware. So using these keys, they might be able to write a special “UID extracting” firmware update that would undo the protections described above, and potentially allow crackers to run their attacks on specialized hardware… One wrinkle in this story is that allegedly Apple has been helping law enforcement agencies unlock iPhones for a while. This is probably why so many folks are baffled by the new policy. If Apple could crack a phone last year, why can’t they do it today? …the most likely explanation for this policy is probably the simplest one: Apple was never really ‘cracking’ anything. Rather, they simply had a custom boot image that allowed them to bypass the ‘passcode lock’ screen on a phone. This would be purely a UI hack and it wouldn’t grant Apple access to any of the passcode-encrypted data on the device. However, since earlier versions of iOS didn’t encrypt all of the phone’s interesting data using the passcode, the unencrypted data would be accessible upon boot. No way to be sure this is the case, but it seems like the most likely explanation…Notes: * Previous versions of iOS also encrypted these records, but the encryption key was not derived from the user’s passcode. This meant that (provided one could bypass the actual passcode entry phase, something Apple probably does have the ability to do via a custom boot image), the device could decrypt this data without any need to crack a password. ** As David Schuetz notes in this excellent and detailed piece, on phones with Secure Enclave there is also a 5 second delay enforced by the co-processor. I didn’t (and still don’t) want to emphasize this, since I do think this delay is primarily enforced by Apple-controlled software and hence Apple can disable it if they want to. The PBKDF2 iteration count is much harder to override. ..”-Mat Green

https://blog.cryptographyengineering.com/2014/10/04/why-cant-apple-decrypt-your-iphone/

If GreyKey is using an custom boot image and scams the secure enclave chip it is almost game over. Anybody know?

Excuse my mistakes.

albertApril 2, 2018 11:04 AM

@65525,

Frankly, I didn't expect anyone to read the link, that's why it's 'broken'. Look up "Barney Google".....

. .. . .. --- ....

echoApril 2, 2018 2:29 PM

@65535

I'm fed up of hearing about Apple and the other large American tech giants. Not a week or even day passes without one of them being in a news article. If this is "selling the product" or "selling America" this is turning me off. There's a lot of variety available and a big world out there. The UK is no different although mostly in beaurocratic ways and this gets tiring too.

65535April 2, 2018 5:12 PM

@ albert

Happy Aprils Fools day. Ha.

@ echo

Sorry if I offended you.

I didn’t build them. I don’t work for them directly and I don’t own stock in them [I may do repair work and networking with their products].

echoApril 2, 2018 6:54 PM

@65535

Oh, don't worry it's not you. It's mostly the tech and social media always picking the same big names which adds to the volume and network effect and constant repitition. UK politics which can ruin my mood. Ugh. I need to step away from the computer screen.

bttbApril 2, 2018 9:04 PM

Disinformatiion, not fake news, in the USA

“Video of Sinclair anchors voicing same script about fake news goes viral” ; about two minutes of video
http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/z-on-tv-blog/bs-fe-zontv-sinclair-video-anchors-20180401-story.html

Trump tweeted about it. Perhaps Trump is afraid voters might see the parallels between Sinclair above and EFF.org below.

“Fake News” as a pretext for curbing free expression in Latin America

In 2018, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia and Costa Rica, among others, will undergo electoral processes involving their respective presidencies. These governments are beginning to exploit concerns over “fake news,” as though it were a novel phenomenon, in order to adopt proposals to increase state control over online communications and expand censorship and Internet surveillance. Such rhetoric glosses over the fact that propaganda from traditional Latin American media monopolies has long been the norm in the region, and that Internet companies have played a critical role in counterbalancing this power dynamic. Frank La Rue, the former UN Special Rapporteur on Free Expression, remarked at the 2017 Internet Governance Forum on the inherent risks of importing the term “fake news” to Latin America:

I don’t like the term “fake news” because I think there is a bit of a trap in it. We are confronting campaigns of misinformation. So we should talk about information and disinformation.

La Rue believes that when distinctions between fake and real news are drawn, they are done ultimately to dissuade the public from reading news or thinking independently. He argues that “the problem again is that fake news becomes a perfect excuse to just silence or shut down any alternative or any dissident voice.” To respond to this threat, EFF co-signed an open letter along with other 34 Latin American NGOs at the end of last year."
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/03/fake-news-offers-latin-american-consolidated-powers-opportunity-censor-opponents

HmmApril 2, 2018 9:53 PM

@Winter

"Almost every human uses a cell phone and life expectancy still keeps increasing."

Well, dubious assertion but I'll grant it for the purpose of argument.. "using" a cell phone = wide radiation variability depending on phone model, usage = a massive variable unto itself because "nobody" uses it 24 hours per day, including sleeping with it against their faces or perhaps using it in an VR headband-holder, age/developmental stage of user, and then there's the variability of susceptibility to the particular cancer determined by each individual's physiology as oncologists understand it currently 'generally' in practice... oh yeah, and "life expectancy" is actually falling in the US after flat-lining since about 2005 or so. It's actually going down now. So that's a hole in your boat.

https://www.cnn.com/2017/12/21/health/us-life-expectancy-study/index.html

"Where are all those brain cancers that we have been promised for decades?"

https://www.nytimes.com/1990/07/31/science/rising-incidence-of-brain-tumors-is-drawing-attention-and-concern.html

Do you even bother to google these questions you hurl so quickly? Why am I your google?

"Why are people in big cities not dying like flies from all this low frequency radiation?"

Because other things are statistically attributed more easily and are probably killing them faster?

https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/1/9/16860994/life-expectancy-us-income-inequality

There are a lot of ways to answer your questions that you could find, if you looked.
"Actually" looked.

MarkHApril 3, 2018 2:23 AM

@Hmmm:

An article on rising incidence of brain tumors from 28 years ago?

I looked at time series data a few months ago. Incidence is nearly steady. If there's any trend, it is perhaps a modest decrease.

I don't know how much cancer risk is posed by mobile phones, but the lack of any public health trend suggests that it's somewhere between small and zero.

Although early adopters were a relatively small population, they now have 20+ years of cumulative exposure, and in their early years were using the analog system (with much greater transmit power).

Going back decades farther, thousands of people involved in the testing, operation and maintenance of radar and microwave communication equipment probably had imprudently large doses of absorbed EM radiation.

If there were a strong carcinogenic effect (for adult humans, at least) it would probably be evident by now.

I'm not a defender of the industry, and don't consider that cancer risk has been disproved. But let's look at less speculative risks, for which causative mechanisms are clearly established.

The use of mobile phones is likely to contribute to illness and death by way of:

* encouragement of sedentary living
* contributing to isolation (in the sense of actual human contact)
* road deaths due to distracted driving

These are likely to affect from thousands to millions of people each year.

JG4April 3, 2018 6:17 AM


The incidence of brain tumors is fairly low, so even the Swedish proof of a doubling from 0.016% to 0.032% (IIRC) is not a major health threat. The 75% of Americans on the insulin-resistance spectrum (pre-pre diabetic, pre-diabetic and diabetic) is a major health threat, because the elevated blood glucose is a risk factor for just about everything else, specifically including cancer, artery disease, dementia and a lot more. I would point to sugar (processed food), lack of exercise (TV and cars), hydrogenated oils (and other sources of inflammation), too much meat, and too much of the wrong kind of meat. Not enough greens, beans, fish and nuts to keep the gut biome happy.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/04/links-4-3-18.html

...

Imperial Collapse Watch

A Last Look at The West That Was Vineyard of the Saker (Chuck L). Important. I’m old enough to remember this America….

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Grindr Is Letting Other Companies See User HIV Status And Location Data BuzzFeed

Should I Buy A ‘Smart’ Phone? Moon of Alabama

Fitbit is crashing after a pretty rough note from Wall Street TechCrunch (EM)

The Isolation of Julian Assange Must Stop Counterpunch

With paper and phones, Atlanta struggles to recover from cyber attack Reuters (EM)

...

bttbApril 3, 2018 9:33 AM

Three Links from https://Lobste.rs

"Chrome Is Scanning Files on Your Computer, and People Are Freaking Out"
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wj7x9w/google-chrome-scans-files-on-your-windows-computer-chrome-cleanup-tool

Cloudflare DNS 1.1.1.1 competes with Google 8.8.8.8, Quad9 9.9.9.9 and OpenDNS 208.67.222.222

https://medium.com/@nykolas.z/dns-resolvers-performance-compared-cloudflare-x-google-x-quad9-x-opendns-149e803734e5
https://cloudflare-dns.com/

and one from Hacker News
https://freedom-to-tinker.com/2018/04/02/a-privacy-preserving-approach-to-dns/
"Oblivious DNS: Plugging the Internet’s Biggest Privacy Hole
The recent news that Mozilla and Cloudflare are deploying their own DNS recursive resolver has once again raised hopes that users will enjoy improved privacy, since they can send DNS traffic encrypted to Cloudflare, rather than to their ISP. In this post, we explain why this approach only moves your private data from the ISP to (yet another) third party. You might trust that third party more than your ISP, but you still have to trust them. In this post, we present an alternative design—Oblivious DNS—that prevents you from having to make that choice at all."

bttbApril 3, 2018 10:27 AM

From Democracy Now on privatizing Veterans Affairs:

"AMY GOODMAN: We begin today’s show looking at the turmoil in the Department of Veterans Affairs. On Wednesday, President Trump fired Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin and said he’d replace him with White House physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, a rear admiral in the Navy. Dr. Jackson has no experience running a large agency. The Department of Veterans Affairs is the federal government’s second-largest agency, with 360,000 employees.
Shulkin had been facing criticism for various ethics violations, including using taxpayer money to pay for his wife’s airfare during a trip to Europe last summer. But Shulkin says he’s actually been ousted because of his opposition to privatizing the VA, which runs 1,700 hospitals and clinics. In a an op-ed for The New York Times, Dr. Shulkin wrote, “They saw me as an obstacle to privatization who had to be removed. That is because I am convinced that privatization is a political issue aimed at rewarding select people and companies with profits, even if it undermines care for veterans,” unquote.
The push to privatize the VA has been led by a group called Concerned Veterans for America, which is funded by the billionaire conservative Koch brothers. But other veterans’ groups, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion, have opposed the privatization plans. On Sunday, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont tweeted, “The struggle at the VA is about Trump’s desire to privatize the VA and his belief that Shulkin is not moving fast enough in that direction. The Senate Veterans Committee, on which I serve, must stand with the veterans of our country and oppose all efforts to privatize the VA,” Senator Sanders tweeted.
We’re joined now by Suzanne Gordon, an award-winning healthcare journalist. Her recent piece for The American Prospect is headlined “Studies Show Private-Sector Providers Are Not Ready to Care for Veterans.” Gordon is the author of The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare: Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care. Her forthcoming book, ‘Wounds of War: Veterans’ Healthcare in the Era of Privatization’. “
[snip]
***
“SUZANNE GORDON: Well, that’s par for the course for Donald Trump. He tweets that you’re fired. He doesn’t do it in person.
I think the issue here, really—Dr. Shulkin, sadly, gave some ammunition to those who wanted to get rid of him, because they felt that he wasn’t privatizing the Veterans Health Administration, which is really what this is all about. It’s the second-largest agency—the VA is the second-largest agency in the United States, and it runs the largest healthcare system in the United States, which is the Veterans Health Administration, which serves the needs of 9 million of America’s 22 million veterans. And there’s been a move since 2014, mostly promoted by the conservative Koch brothers, to use the VA to discredit government and to try to privatize the VA and send more and more veterans to private-sector doctors and hospitals. And Secretary Shulkin wasn’t doing this quickly enough. He was doing it partially, but he wasn’t doing it quickly enough.
And his ringing defense of the VA in The New York Times is very important for people to read. I’m sad that he didn’t articulate that kind of defense earlier, in the many hearings that he was in and in other public statements. But the fact that he’s doing it now is really to be commended. And there is a huge threat to privatize the VA by people like the Koch brothers, by the infamous hedge fund insider trader Steven Cohen, who’s trying to set up an alternative mental health system to compete with the VA. This is a very serious moment for the VA.”
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/30/david_shulkins_firing_at_the_va
also
http://prospect.org/blog/tapped/studies-show-private-sector-providers-are-not-ready-care-veterans
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/28/opinion/shulkin-veterans-affairs-privatization.html

Were emails related to former Veterans Affairs Secretary Shulkin hacked?

https://federalnewsradio.com/veterans-affairs/2018/02/shulkin-to-pay-back-travel-expenses-turns-attention-back-to-unprecedented-va-budget-request/
“Shulkin said the department is continuing to look into confusion about his chief of staff’s email, which he said may been tampered with. The IG said VA Chief of Staff Vivieca Wright Simpson altered emails to make it appear that Shulkin received an award to justify his wife’s travel.
“We have found that somebody has taken over the chief of staff’s email and is sending emails as if it’s her,” Shulkin told reporters after Thursday’s hearing.”

Regarding travel and the current Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin:

https://www.emptywheel.net/2018/03/18/three-things-flying-moochin-mnuchin-air/
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/09/14/the-moochin-mnuchins-the-treasury-secretary-again-is-fodder-for-rich-humor/?utm_term=.af17ec2a57d0

OT
https://www.wsj.com/articles/mnuchin-dogged-by-protesters-doesnt-want-video-posted-1519849427
and
“And U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is blocking the release of a video showing protesters confronting him over the Trump administration’s policies during an appearance at the University of California, Los Angeles. About 400 people attended Monday’s free event at a UCLA lecture hall, which the university filmed, as it typically does for guest speakers. But Mnuchin withdrew his consent to have the video posted online after he was repeatedly confronted by protesters, who called out Mnuchin’s support for President Trump’s tax cuts and his record of foreclosing on homes during his tenure as CEO of OneWest Bank. Parts of Mnuchin’s appearance were captured on cellphone cameras and posted to social media. …”
https://www.democracynow.org/2018/3/2/headlines/treasury_secretary_mnuchin_blocks_video_showing_protests_at_ucla_talk

CallMeLateForSupperApril 3, 2018 10:42 AM

"'Being cash-free puts us at risk of attack': Swedes turn against cashlessness"

If you have control of the servers belonging to Visa or MasterCard, you have control of Sweden. In the meantime, we will have to keep giving our money to the banks, and hope they don’t go bankrupt – or bananas.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/03/being-cash-free-puts-us-at-risk-of-attack-swedes-turn-against-cashlessness

Well, at least some people - somewhere - are having discussions about this.

albertApril 3, 2018 2:34 PM

@Everyone,
The Corporatocracy (which runs everything) want to privatize -everything-, and they will stop at -nothing-* to get it done.

This is the base we work from. We are on a hell-ride to oblivion, and when it becomes too unsafe to live here, the Elite will scurry off to their favorite foreign estates.

I guess when the planet becomes uninhabitable, they'll head to the Moon, or Mars. Imagine the kind of society they'll construct out there.

I think they should make that trip right now. We can get by without 'em.
-------
*well, maybe 'almost nothing'. I haven't heard of anyone being killed over this. At least -directly- killed.

. .. . .. --- ....

JG4April 3, 2018 8:22 PM


@albert - I think that you'll get some entertainment from this excerpt. The whole article is insightful and well written.

Class Warfare
“Notes from an Emergency” [Maciej Cegłowski, Idle Words].
http://idlewords.com/talks/notes_from_an_emergency.htm

Yves Smith from NakedCapitalism comments:

This is really a must-read; it’s an angle on the tech world (and
Haygood’s Five Horsemen) that we rarely see. Here’s a sample, and save
us from squillionaires with bright ideas:

Given this scary state of the world, with ecological collapse just
over the horizon, and a population sharpening its pitchforks, an
important question is how this globalized, unaccountable tech industry
sees its goals. What does it want? What will all the profits be invested in?

What is the plan?

The honest answer is: rocket ships and immortality.

I wish I was kidding.
...
As happy as I am to see Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos fired into space,
this does not seem to be worth the collapse of representative
government.
...

Clive RobinsonApril 4, 2018 12:37 AM

@ Albert,

I guess when the planet becomes uninhabitable, they'll head to the Moon, or Mars. Imagine the kind of society they'll construct out there.

We don't have to imagine we know.

For various reasons mankind is not destined to lead an egalitarian existance, because some idiot will always "see an angle". If you think about it as long as there is value in "hidden knowledge" markets can be neither fair or efficient, thus there will be "rent seeking" behaviour, or "middlemen".

Since the Thatcher and Reagan era poloticians have favourd "middlemen" in so many ways, that it can only be by the "middlemen" purchasing the law (that is politicians are not overly bright when out of their own knowledge domains and always desperate for funds to stay in their positions).

We could try to force legislation through to stop politicians misbehaving, but history tells us that not only will they fight it every step of the way. But worse there is no way to write legislation to stop it, without it being so broad it becomes a weapon to enforce tyranny.

The way to stop the power of hidden knowledge is to make it effectivly worthless. That is things only have high fiscal value when in short supply.

For instance aluminium once had a value that was almost worth it's weight in gold, but the ability to "get at" an abundant resource effectively made it more and more abundant and the value dropped to one where it should be based on it's utility after value added cost of processing. However the price of aluminium has been unexpectedly rising over the past few years. It turns out that the "middlemen" have put themselves into a position where they control the supply of bulk stock as a "metal market exchange" thus they not the producers control the flow of aluminium, thus they control the "market price" differential to their profit.

They then turn those profits into acquiring further assets they can "rent seek" on in longer terms. Which accounts for your first point of,

The Corporatocracy (which runs everything) want to privatize -everything-, and they will stop at -nothing-* to get it done.

Then having aquired an asset such as property, as soon as they can they mortgage it to buy other assets. Hence creating not just a shortage, but an excuse to increase rents extortionately.

If you look in the Oxford English Dictionary you will find "Rachmanism", which was a very very unsavoury business practice. Named after Peter Rachman, who exploited the idea to great profit. He was a friend of the Cray twins and ran the women behind the Profumo Affair scandle. Which hit the headlines very quickly after his very untimely death of a "heart attack" at 42 years old.

In essence Rachman's idea was simple, buy up properties that were under various forms of rent control, get rid of the rent control by significantly changing the property (turning houses into mulriple flats etc). Then filling the properties with people he could then exploit viciously.

As far as profiteering goes it is not a bad model to rake in vast quantities of profit. Firstly by exploiting the rent market, secondly by commercialising a property and vastly increasing it's value, thus enabling the ability to raise more capital via mortgages and other loans to purchase other properties to convert rent seek and capitalize on. Giving rise to a vast property price bubble. Which is just one of the reasons there is a significant property shortage in the UK, with house prices having gone up over 1000% in around quater of a century. Whilst "upper working class" / "lower middle class" wages have changed little in many professions and in real terms have actually gone down.

The latest such behaviour not to far from where I live is to convert "office blocks" into rented accommodation for the likes of Students. Where what is in effect a single room toilet and shower is rented out at the equivalent of a little under 1500USD per month... Likewise the YMCA charges a similar amount to various levels of "unemployed" men. To my knowledge there have been two office conversions and three new builds of such accommodation in less than a mile on a single road in one South West London "suburban area" road causing absolute mayhem for those that live in or pass through the area. Similar madness can be seen in South East London in the transport bottle neck called Lewisham where around twelve out of a proposed twenty or so high rised accommodation blocks have been built over the past three years just north of there Deptford and Greenwhich have just had similar numbers of high rise accommodations built (many with similar cladding as Grenfell towers[1]).

It's clear that the UK Gov policy is to encorage this new form of Rachmanism at what ever cost to those who can least defend themselves to the profit of those who can most easily profit and avoid any liability...

It's funny but other European Nations appear to have this under better control...

Ultimately though the way to stop such profiteering is to significantly "up supply" in a way groups of sociopaths can not gain control to their benifit. But there is a problem that Mark Twain observed about "real estate" which is "they are not making it any longer" thus it was a way to make money.

Whilst we remain on this planet we will reach a succession of bounds on supply, each one giving a profiteering opportunity for those who wish to employ Rachman like behaviour.

Thus rather than send the sociopaths off to "new opportunities" maybe it is us who should go and leave the sociopaths behind to fight it out amongst themselves? After all we kind of know what happens in prisons. But trust me when I say the likes of the "visible entrepreneurs" are mear amateurs when it comes to others. Have a look at the Koch Brothers, but they still chose to be visable, like roaches there are way more and nastier ones you can not see and they have their apprentices and a large eco system of guard labour and other authoritarian hangers on...

There are times when I think Douglas Adams was humorously right and we did get the equivalent of a B Ark and it's contents dropped on us to serve as a prison for unwanted middlemen...

However on the more serious side we are aware of the "normal distribution" which means we have tails on both sides. What we need to consider is in what direction the population is moving in. If middlemen have assets, then they get the likes of breeding privileges that go with them. They also have the assets to hand down the family chain setting up their next two or three generations in a way which would favour the sociopath behaviour... Some reckon that 20% of the population exhibit sociopath behaviour and are thus likely to favour the middleman way of existance. They name them "Hawks" whilst the rest of us get called "Doves" which has overtones of hunter and prey. But I feel it's more a case of Farmer and Livestock. In effect "the lunatics have taken over the asylum" or are at least trying to, and by all appearances are succeeding to do so...

[1] http://www.vickyfoxcroft.org.uk/grenfell_tower_fire_we_need_reform

tyrApril 4, 2018 4:40 AM


@Clive

If you take the long view the current arguments
for society turn out to be ridiculous falsehoods
that only apply as long as things remain stable.
The Ancien Regime in France was sure it had all
the answers to stability for society. Less than
a generation later they had completely disappeared.
The various abortive attempts to revive nobility
and to sustain the idea of monarchy have all gone.

Not only can the current generation conceive of
change when they ask about it they are told it is
impossible. The trouble with any system that is
built on suppressing meaningful change is that
it builds a set of stresses that can suddenly
release and sweep away everything in their path.

For all the hubris involved we don't control the
planet and the universe. All it takes is a super
volcano to awaken or a massive solar flare to
come directly at us and all of this carefully
constructed house of cards will come down.

The less said about the current loons supposedly
in charge of things the better. Those of us old
enough to remember the previous nuclear stand
off with the Rus can't believe these morons are
starting to play with the nuclear fire option
again.

The real effect of the French Revolution was
that the liars of the media who instigated the
whole thing wound up washed away in blood by
the Terror. Propaganda makes it sound like they
were after aristocrats but the records show a
different picture. People don't figure out
that they are being lied to and about immediately
but when they do they will take revenge for it.

Any of the current super rich had better hope
they can get to Mars before the mobs get them.

Guard labour can also become less of an asset
as we note from Roman history when the Praetorians
raffled off the emperors job to the highest bidder.

Here in USA the spooks have moved out into the
limelight tempted by the dazzle of infotainment
and trying to control the "news". No longer
covert its now blatantly in your face. That
coupled with the track record of the past that
led us into the kind of adventurisms that got
the Nazis hung based on fake stories made up
for short term effects does not bode well for
the average citizen.

My personal complaint is that it is embarrassing
to see the current faces who supposedly are our
facade to the world. Bolton is the kind of nut
who should have had a net dropped over him
years ago. Of course I have a similar opinion
about Bo Jo both would look a lot better in
a padded private room at the sanitorium.

echoApril 4, 2018 6:57 AM

@Clive Robinson, @tyr, @albert

Flipping heck. You cheery lot! I wonder if too many economic squeezes have been used to condition and demoralise people. I don't disagree which is why I have been giving myself sel-therapy to de-stress and change personal priorities.

On a security related note I couldn't sleep last night and had a horrible nasty cigarette outside in the early morning. A neighbours cat was outside and tried to barge inisde. When this failed the cat tried social engineering by rubbing itself against my legs and being cute and clingy.

A small bird airgapped itself from the cat by perching in the garden tree.

It's war out there isn't it?

JG4April 4, 2018 7:59 AM


this may be a new twist on some old quotes

"Empire is a machine with gears made of guns and words, driven by greed, amorality, hubris and fear, that crushes bodies and souls to make money and power."

I prefer self-optimizing resource-extraction asset-stripping engine, but your mileage will vary.

@tyr - A blob of molten rock circling a nuclear fireball is subject to both tectonics and volcanism.

@Clive - I think aluminum production and industrial capacity to turn it into aircraft became one of the decisive factors in WWII. Can't recall where I saw the numbers laid out, but the number of aircraft produced and destroyed was staggering.

I think that the sociopath/psychopath circuitry is pretty widespread and comes out in various places. I generally agree with your 20% figure, but the number of people who are devout sociopaths might be closer to 4%. It can be trained via the usual neurogenesis. The number of people who are capable of sociopathy against a rival tribe is closer to 96%. It's not a bug, it's a feature.

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/04/links-4-4-18.html

...

Imperial Collapse Watch

The U.S. Navy Wants to Spend Billions on Aircraft Carriers That Aren’t Ready PlutoniumKun

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Suit to let researchers break website rules wins a round Axios

Maybe it is time to #DeleteWhatsApp Vivek Wadhwa (David L)

Public Hearing on IoT Risks Bruce Schneier

US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC Associated Press. This is news? After we eavesdropped on Angela Merkel’s cell phone?

Your own devices will give the next Cambridge Analytica far more power to influence your vote MIT Technology Review (David L)

...

vas pupApril 4, 2018 8:34 AM

Four types of employees who are potential insider threats:
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/03/180326090601.htm
The four types of employees who could potentially become an insider threat to their company are:
• Omitters -- These are people who carry out this behaviour through an incapacity to effectively self-regulate their actions. They unintentionally breach rules and need help from colleagues to reduce the insider threat risk they present.
• Slippers -- These are employees who occasionally undertake single acts of counterproductive work behavior, such as taking home 'on-site only documents' or being rude to others.
• Retaliators -- These are employees who deliberately undertake small acts designed to harm the organization. Over time, if unchallenged and uncorrected, these can cause problems for colleagues and create additional costs and risks for their employers.
• Serial Transgressors -- These individuals undertake a wide array of counterproductive work behaviour which undermines the authority of management and increases the security risks of those they work with.
But Prof Searle and Dr Rice say managers can help reduce this behavior by introducing the five core skills.
These are: being fair and consistent with HR procedures and people during times of change;
creating a system of organizational citizenship in which reporting counterproductive working behavior is considered a protective measure rather than a punishment;
communicating change initiatives transparently, consistently, regularly and collaboratively;
adapting change initiatives in response to assessments of individual, team and organizations vulnerability; and
managers leading by example."
I'll add #6: "Do not treat your employees as used condom." It probably should be #1 to prevent major insider threats.

bttbApril 4, 2018 8:39 AM

From eff.org: "The Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) last week" and "The FBI Could Have Gotten Into the San Bernardino Shooter’s iPhone, But Leadership Didn’t Say That"
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/04/fbi-could-have-gotten-san-bernardino-shooters-iphone-leadership-didnt-say
"... according to the OIG report, the chief of the FBI’s Remote Operations Unit (the FBI’s elite hacking team, called ROU) knows “that one of the vendors that he worked closely with was almost 90 percent of the way toward a solution that the vendor had been working on for many months.”
[snip]
Let’s briefly step out of the timeline to note the discrepancies between what the FBI was saying in early 2016 and what they actually knew. How is it that senior FBI officials testified that the agency had no capability to access the contents of the locked device when, the agency’s own premier hacking team knew capability was within reach? Because, according to the OIG report, FBI leadership doesn’t ask the ROU for its help until after testifying that FBI’s techs knew of no way in."
[snip]
"The head of the FBI’s Cryptologic and Electronics Analysis Unit (CEAU)—the unit whose initial inability to access the phone led to the FBI’s sworn statements that the Bureau knew of no method to do so—is pissed that others within FBI are even trying get into the phone without Apple’s help. In the words of the OIG report, “he expressed disappointment that the ROU Chief had engaged an outside vendor to assist with the Farook iPhone, asking the ROU Chief, ‘Why did you do that for?’”"

HmmApril 4, 2018 12:35 PM

@Mark

"but the lack of any public health trend"

That you're able to observe without actually looking, perhaps.
When you start off by blurting out something that isn't even true...

It's relatively easy to identify a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, a vice habit.
It's less easy to put those down statistically as 'definitive' causes of incidental cancers.
For obvious reasons. There are a lot of factors and subjects aren't 100% studied.

It's an impossible ask if you understand where these statistics come from to expect an emergent latent cause in the process of being both discovered and denied by industry to be tabulated as a definitive cause of cancer complete with a long already-denoted public data trend to look at. Because if that existed it would be impossible to ignore.
And we've seen it's quite easy to ignore, look how easily you managed it.

Statistically you're right, you're going to die of cheeseburger poisoning.
You should continue to worry about the cheeseburgers and vice habits.

However, that fact does not prove cell phone tech does not / cannot cause brain tumors.
You have not studied statistics if you expect all trends to be super-obvious to all.

Few have done comprehensive double-blind selective lifetime studies on children's developing brains exposed to cell radiation, but what data there is shows a strong inclination curve in developing countries that have them. And the reason I chose that specific article from a period when relatively few people were using cellular phones by comparison to today as the trend strengthened, it demonstrated in fact the trend is visible, if not attributable to cell phones entirely of course :

Brain tumors are the most common cancer occurring among those age 0-14, and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children (males and females) age 0-14, according to a

2016 report that places brain tumors in children above leukemia for both statistics.

It is estimated that more than 4,600 children and adolescents between the ages of 0-19 will be diagnosed with a primary brain tumor this year.

Brain and CNS tumors are the third most common cancer occurring among adolescents and young adults (ages 15-39) and the third most common cause of cancer death in this age group.
Tumor-Specific Statistics

Meningioma represents 36.3% of all primary brain tumors, making them the most common primary brain tumor. There will be an estimated 29,320 new cases in 2018.

Gliomas, a broad term which includes all tumors arising from the gluey or supportive tissue of the brain, represent 26.5% of all primary brain tumors and 80.7% of all malignant tumors.

Glioblastoma represent 14.9% of all primary brain tumors, and 56.1% of all gliomas.

Glioblastoma has the highest number of cases of all malignant tumors, with an estimated 12,760 new cases predicted in 2018.

Astrocytomas, including glioblastoma, represent approximately 75.5% of all gliomas.

Nerve sheath tumors (such as acoustic neuromas) represent about 8.4% of all primary brain tumors.

Pituitary tumors represent nearly 16.2% of all primary brain tumors and rarely become malignant. There will be an estimated 13,210 new cases of pituitary tumors in 2018.

Lymphomas represent 1.4% of all primary brain tumors.

Oligodendrogliomas represent nearly 2% of all primary brain tumors.

Medulloblastoma/embryonal/primitive tumors represent 1% of all primary brain tumors.

The most common site for primary brain and CNS tumors (37%) is within the meninges.

EPApril 4, 2018 1:07 PM

CallMeLateForSupper, a quote from the article was "When you have a fully digital system you have no weapon to defend yourself if someone turns it off". The quote more accurately describes a centralized system. There are other ways to design systems that can avoid the availability and privacy concerns.

In the meantime, we will have to keep giving our money to the banks
Or use cash wherever possible. If a store sees 30% of revenue coming in as cash, they won't decide to reject it.

echoApril 4, 2018 8:14 PM

@EP

I like to call fine art "bitcoin for the wealthy".

If the wealthy (who often control the system) want to get rid of money so they can control and track us more then ok. But only if we burn the fine art their wealth is locked up in first. This would of course be a loss to humanity so we might offer the alternative of living in a one bedroom council flat on welfare and a behaviour order banning them from contacting or attempting to use the influence or receive direct or indirrect benefits from their wealthy support network, or access to their personal wealth for a period of five years - per item of fine art.

Clive RobinsonApril 5, 2018 1:30 PM

@ JG4,

US suspects cellphone spying devices in DC Associated Press. This is news? After we eavesdropped on Angela Merkel’s cell phone?

That is what happens when you put blinkers on and go into attack mode with no thought of defence. It used to be known as the "Berserker approach" but any old soldier can tell you that the only time you use it is when you have no better choice and death by taking them out is the least painfull way to go.

Which brings me onto @echo's comment,

It's war out there isn't it?

Yes and that's because those supposadly in charge show less sense than even the most basic of the blue green algaes... Just looking at current UK/US cyber-security policies tells you rather more than you would like to know about moronic behaviour...

But then I don't have a "Make it so" Startrek captains chair to hold my rear end when pretending to know what I am doing...

Clive RobinsonApril 5, 2018 2:55 PM

@ Hmm,

It's relatively easy to identify a sedentary lifestyle, a poor diet, a vice habit. It's less easy to put those down statistically as 'definitive' causes of incidental cancers.

Actually the statistocs are easy to fudge as various industry parties know only to well.

For instance on trick is to ask a question in either an overly narrow or overly wide way.

The current example is the "Processed meat" question / advice. You can ask people "Do you eat processed meats?" which the majority of people would answer yes to so no correlation shows up in the results. When as a real researcher what you should be asking is "Do you eat meat that has been cured with curing salts?". Alternatively if you want to fritz things the other way you ask "Do you eat haemin or haemoglobin products that have nitrate preservatives in them?" which most people would say no to whilst holding a half eaten slice of pepperoni pizza in one hand...

Thus a smart meat processor can further fritz things by not using nitrates or curing salts, but say "flavour enhanced with natural celery extracts"...

Other examples are Government Department Statistics, which basically lie by various tricks of categorisation. One example that is well known but I fear bringing up is that about deaths by guns. Various tricks hide the extent of the issues and when researchers realy started to dig various government record keepers were basically told to not keep records in a usable or forthright manner...

HmmApril 5, 2018 3:11 PM

@Clive

That is true, just how you go about setting up a study can/does bake-in bias.
It takes a very concerted and methodical effort to carve out the significance.

What you're studying determines what you can find. Who pays for it is a major consideration.
This is partly why multiple major studies are required - and that's huge money.
There isn't some massive donor org looking to study this specifically.

Industry on the other hand has money to put towards making the numbers line up "properly" -
and the reality of statistical analysis means there is 'some' evidence in every direction.

"Money involved? Then it's fungible." - Cash's law.

MarkHApril 5, 2018 4:01 PM

@all re. public health:

A property (or perhaps weakness) seemingly universal to human cognition is confirmation bias, the rejection of inputs that seem to conflict with what a person already believes.

In the 21st century, most people have ready access to tsunamis of "information," and enact their confirmation bias by their assessments of what kinds of sources they trust. This leads to the construction of "information bubbles."

In electronic media, most people can enact their confirmation bias so thoroughly that they achieve what is (probably rather inaptly) now called "epistemic closure," a philosophical term which has become a shorthand for the near impossibility of absorbing information that does not comport with what one already "knows."
___________________________________________

Clive observes correctly, that it is quite practical to construct survey questions so as to systematically skew results.

When public health professionals do so, either by design or negligence, they are unambiguously betraying the ethical code of their discipline.

So, to what extent do the US NIH, or the other well-established public health agencies of many developed states, design to distort the results of their information gathering?

If you believe (as many do) that "they are all part of the conspiracy," then their results can be rejected out-of-hand whenever convenient.

It is probably infeasible to gather high-quality epidemiologic information outside of such agencies, so anyone who assumes them to be corrupt is left with their own biases and anecdotal inferences.

What could go wrong?

Clive RobinsonApril 7, 2018 1:05 PM

@ MarkH,

What could go wrong?

It might be easier to find "What could not go wrong" as it will probably be a very much smaller set...

When it comes to biological research papers a friend of mine who had to trawl through thousands each year told me that there was a sort of unofficial code in paper writers. Put simply the title says it all whilst the body of the paper just gives the methods used and results followed by statistical analysis then a short conclusion and future work comment. Thus in theory if the methods are correctly described you can re-run the experiment. The importance of the future work, was in effect a "hanging out of a shingle" to get like minded collaborators or grant money.

Other scientists have similar codes for their domains, and a meta analysis of them and a comparison can cause the odd eyebrow to crawl up a centimeter as it is quite telling in many ways...

MarkHApril 8, 2018 2:28 AM

@Clive:

I wasn't referring to published research, whose problems have been much discussed in recent years.

I mean giant epidemiological data sets, like the SEER data which shows (so far) no clear "signal" of increasing brain cancer incidence.

To the best of my knowledge, the agencies gathering public health statistics in Western countries have been remarkable for their comparative freedom from bias and politicization.

Can mobile phone RF emissions cause cancer in people? I haven't the foggiest. Can they cause other adverse health effects? I wouldn't be surprised. Are they a significant cause of brain cancer? Either (1) no; (2) yes with a very long latency; or (3) yes but by surprising coincidence some other causes of brain cancer have diminished in near-perfect synchrony.

As I've written before, case 2 is rendered unlikely by no-one having noticed this among people working around microwave transmitters.

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