Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
March 17, 2013

Facing Bailout Tax, Cypriots Try to Get Cash Out of Banks

ATHENS — In a move that could set off new fears of contagion across the euro zone, anxious depositors drained cash from automated teller machines in Cyprus on Saturday, hours after European officials in Brussels required that part of a new 10 billion euro bailout be paid for directly from the bank accounts of ordinary savers.

The move — a first in the three-year-old European financial crisis — raised questions about whether bank runs could be set off elsewhere in the euro zone. Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the president of the group of euro area ministers, declined early Saturday to rule out taxes on depositors in countries beyond Cyprus, although he said such a measure was not currently being considered.

Although banks placed withdrawal limits of 400 euros, or about $520, on A.T.M.’s, most had run out of cash by early evening. People around the country reacted with disbelief and anger.

“This is a clear-cut robbery,” said Andreas Moyseos, a former electrician who is now a pensioner in Nicosia, the capital. Iliana Andreadakis, a book critic, added: “This issue doesn’t only affect the people’s deposits, but also the prospect of the Cyprus economy. The E.U. has diminished its credibility.”

In Nicosia, a crowd of around 150 demonstrators gathered in front of the presidential palace late in the afternoon after calls went out on social media to protest the abrupt decision, which came with almost no warning at the beginning of a three-day religious holiday on the island.


March 17, 2013

Why today’s Cyprus bailout could be the start of the next financial crisis

It is a bad day to have your money deposited in a bank in the Mediterranean island nation of Cyprus. And it may just mean some bad days ahead for the rest of us.

Early Saturday, the nation reached an agreement with international lenders for bailout help. Part of the agreement: Bank depositors with more than 100,000 euros ($131,000) in their accounts will take a 9.9 percent haircut. Even those with less in savings will see their accounts reduced by 6.75 percent. That's right: Anyone with money in a Cypriot bank will have significantly less money when the banks open for business Tuesday than they did on Friday. Cypriots have reacted with this perfectly rational reaction: lining up at ATM machines to try to get as much money out in the form of cash before the money they have in their accounts is reduced.

What makes this important for people who couldn't locate Cyprus on a map is this: It is one of the 17 nations using the euro currency, the fact that it's a lot closer to Beirut than to Paris notwithstanding. European officials have spent the past six years moving heaven and earth to ensure that no depositors with the continent's banks suffer a loss despite the financial strains the banks have been under.

Most dramatically, the Irish government in the fall of 2008 backstopped its banks, putting its public finances through a wringer. Even as the Greek economy has fallen into depression and Spanish bank losses on real estate have reached dangerous levels, the European Central Bank and the continent's government have ensured that bank deposits were safe. They have feared that if depositors in any country were forced to take losses, it would spark a destructive cascade of withdrawals across Europe.


March 17, 2013

Cyprus Bank Deposits to Be Taxed in $13 Billion Bailout

Euro-area finance ministers agreed to an unprecedented tax on Cypriot bank deposits as officials unveiled a 10 billion-euro ($13 billion) rescue plan for the country, the fifth since Europe’s debt crisis broke out in 2009.

Cyprus will impose a levy of 6.75 percent on deposits of less than 100,000 euros -- the ceiling for European Union account insurance -- and 9.9 percent above that. The measures will raise 5.8 billion euros, in addition to the emergency loans, Dutch Finance Minister Jeroen Dijsselbloem, who leads the group of euro-area ministers, told reporters early today after 10 hours of talks in Brussels. The International Monetary Fund may contribute to the package and junior bondholders may also be tapped in a so-called bail-in, the ministers' statement said.

Officials have struggled to find an agreement that would rescue Cyprus, which accounts for just half of a percent of the euro region’s economy, without unsettling investors in larger countries and sparking a new round of market contagion. Finance Minister Michael Sarris said the plan was the “least onerous” of the options Cyprus faced to stay afloat.

“This decision should not be compared to the ideal, but to the very real possibility that much more money could have been lost in a bankruptcy of the banking system or indeed of the country,” Sarris said in Brussels.


March 16, 2013

If gun suicides are the main cause of gun deaths why isn't that the main rationale for gun control?

And if that is not a good enough reason for gun control why is that statistic included in the number of deaths that need to be prevented using gun control?

March 16, 2013

For Adam Lanza, a Debated Diagnosis That Meant “More to be Worried About”

During FRONTLINE’s and The Hartford Courant‘s investigation into the Newtown tragedy, one potentially important clue came in an email from a family member. According to the message, Lanza as a young boy had been diagnosed with sensory integration disorder (SID).

The condition — also known as sensory processing disorder or sensory integration dysfunction — makes it difficult to handle information interpreted by the body’s five senses. Sights and sounds can be overwhelming, as can smells and even the sensation of being touched.

“For these kids, the volume is turned way high,” explained Alice Carter, director of the clinical psychology program at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. “So what seems reasonable to most people is very overwhelming to them.”

On a day-to-day basis, the symptoms can mean any number of complications for young children. Coordination can be a challenge, as can seemingly innocuous activities such as taking a bath or getting a hair cut. Tantrums can become common, as can a low tolerance for crowds.


March 14, 2013

Iraq war cost $2 trillion

@RichardEngel: #iraq war cost 2 trillion dollars, new study says. Could grow in 6 trillion over next 40 years with veterans care to pay

March 13, 2013

Search engine for 3D printed gun parts launches in a month, promises Defense Distributed

A new search engine for 3D printed gun parts and other patented objects is coming within a month, according to Austin-based organization Defense Distributed. The upcoming "Defcad.com" is set to be a new, improved version of of the organization's current 3D file catalog, Defcard.org. It will host paid advertising alongside search results to help pay for the organization's growth, as founder Cody Wilson explained in an interview with Forbes' Andy Greenberg. Wilson, a 24-year-old law student, is also due to reveal more details at the South by Southwest Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, this afternoon.

Defense Distributed released a video trailer for the new Defcad.com search engine this morning, in which Wilson provides a brief summary of the organization's history and philosophy, highlighting the fact that 3D printer company Makerbot and its CEO Bre Prettis took down 3D printed gun files from Makerbot's file catalog, Thingiverse, in December last year. In the trailer, Wilson promises "no takedowns," on Defcad.com. He also says, "Defcad stands against artificial scarcity, intellectual property, copyright, patentable objects, and regulation in all of its forms."

The move comes on the heels of Defense Distributed's recently published videos of successful test firings of new 3D printed automatic weapon parts, including a from-scratch high capacity AR magazine design it calls "Cuomo," after New York State's gun-control supporting Democratic governor, and a new AK magazine named after another gun control proponent, California's Democratic Senator Diane Feinstein.


To get the full impact watch the YouTube clip.

DEFCAD takes aim with open source 3D Printing Search Engine

Posted by Chris Burns on March 12, 2013.

The group known as DEFCAD have, up until today, been known primarily for their supply of downloadable CAD (read: 3D Printing) templates for firearms. This week they’ve announced that they’re going full steam ahead with a DEFCAD search engine for 3D printable models of all kinds – and they need funding. If you’re willing to toss a few bucks their way, they’ll be willing to let you in on the final product once it exists: completely devoid of the censorship they maintain is running rampant.

At the moment, the DEFCAD crew host a single zip file that contains 50+ files for your easy printing-at-home entertainment. These pieces include pieces of guns, mostly, but exist in a way that – at the moment – is entirely legal. The whole show is powered by the group known as Defense Distributed, also known as the “home of the wiki weapon project.”

The mission of Defense Distributed should not be mistaken for the mission of DEFCAD. With Defense Distributed, their aim is to “create the world’s first 100% 3D printable gun.” Meanwhile the mission statement for DEFCAD is more broad – their aiming to create a search engine for “all 3D printable files, not just innocuous trinkets and garden gnomes.” With the release of DEFCAD in the future, it’s said that the entirety of the project’s source will be released on github under AGPL license. According to the DEFCAD collection of manifesto-like snippets, they do not aim to maximize profit with this venture.

“Like Wikipedia, nightly database mirrors will also be made available via BitTorrent. Our goal is not profit maximization, it is an end to the artificial scarcity of copyright, IP, and regulation.” – DEFCAD

March 12, 2013

Asians: Too Smart for Their Own Good?

AT the end of this month, high school seniors will submit their college applications and begin waiting to hear where they will spend the next four years of their lives. More than they might realize, the outcome will depend on race. If you are Asian, your chances of getting into the most selective colleges and universities will almost certainly be lower than if you are white.

Asian-Americans constitute 5.6 percent of the nation’s population but 12 to 18 percent of the student body at Ivy League schools. But if judged on their merits — grades, test scores, academic honors and extracurricular activities — Asian-Americans are underrepresented at these schools. Consider that Asians make up anywhere from 40 to 70 percent of the student population at top public high schools like Stuyvesant and Bronx Science in New York City, Lowell in San Francisco and Thomas Jefferson in Alexandria, Va., where admissions are largely based on exams and grades.

In a 2009 study of more than 9,000 students who applied to selective universities, the sociologists Thomas J. Espenshade and Alexandria Walton Radford found that white students were three times more likely to be admitted than Asians with the same academic record.

Sound familiar? In the 1920s, as high-achieving Jews began to compete with WASP prep schoolers, Ivy League schools started asking about family background and sought vague qualities like “character,” “vigor,” “manliness” and “leadership” to cap Jewish enrollment. These unofficial Jewish quotas weren’t lifted until the early 1960s, as the sociologist Jerome Karabel found in his 2005 history of admissions practices at Harvard, Yale and Princeton.


March 12, 2013

SEC charges state of Illinois with securities fraud

The SEC, which disclosed the charges with a filing Monday, said the fraud occurred between 2005 and 2009 when the state sold $2.2 billion in bonds without disclosing the impact of problems with its pension funding schedule. There were no fines or penalties against the state as part of the settlement.

"Municipal investors are no less entitled to truthful risk disclosures than other investors," said George S. Canellos, acting director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement. "Time after time, Illinois failed to inform its bond investors about the risk to its financial condition posed by the structural underfunding of its pension system."

The agency said Illinois issued corrective disclosures beginning in 2009. The state agreed to settle the SEC's charges without admitting to any wrongdoing. A statement from Illinois said the settlement is in its best interest and that it had cooperated with the probe.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn was not governor when the fraud allegedly occurred. Rod Blagojevich, who has since been impeached and sentenced to 14 years in prison on unrelated corruption charges, was governor at the time. But the SEC did not refer to Blagojevich or any other state government official by name in its statement on the charges.


March 8, 2013

Man has 75% of skull replaced with 3-D printed implant

Some are fascinated with 3-D printing. One man can't get it out of his head.

An unidentified man had 75% of his skull replaced with a 3-D printed implant made by Oxford Performance Materials, a Connecticut company. The surgery this week was the first time a patient received an implant made specifically for him using 3-D printing technology.

The patient, whose name and injury OPM would not disclose, had his head scanned as part of the procedure.

The operation marks a big step in the advancement of 3-D printing technology, the company said. With 3-D printers, users can produce objects with a molding machine based on computer digital models.


Profile Information

Member since: 2003 before July 6th
Number of posts: 37,305
Latest Discussions»dkf's Journal