Archive for February 2013
Posted: 02/26/2013 11:47 am EST | Updated: 02/26/2013 6:53 pm EST
Like most soft-spined Americans, you probably have painful memories of the financial crisis and consequent recession. Perhaps you even think of those things as “bad.” Fortunately, Jamie Dimon is not like the rest of you losers.
That is because, unlike you, Jamie Dimon is CEO of JPMorgan Friggin’ Chase, America’s greatest bank, which just so happens to snack on financial crises and recessions like so much KIND bar.
“This bank is anti-fragile, we actually benefit from downturns,” Dimon bragged to his bank’s investors at a conference on Tuesday.
And it is true! The bank definitely benefited from the last downturn. It got to buy Bear Stearns in a government-backed fire sale, getting itself a brokerage business on the cheap in exchange for shouldering only a few tiresome legal burdens. It also got billions of dollars in government handouts, from $25 billion in TARP funds to billions in savings from low-interest-rate borrowing programs to a permanent subsidy arising from the idea that the government will bail out the bank if it ever gets in trouble.
That permanent subsidy amounts to about $17 billion per year, according to a recent Bloomberg View study, representing nearly all of the bank’s profits. No other bank gets such a large subsidy, according to Bloomberg’s study (although, to be fair, some find Bloomberg’s methods unsound, to quote from Jamie Dimon’s favorite movie).
Of course, this may not have been the sort of benefit Dimon was talking about. Instead, he has repeatedly opined that his bank thrived — was in fact a “port in the storm” — during the downturn simply because it was so gigantic.
Funny enough, JPMorgan is sometimes not at its tip-top best when things are actually looking up. For example, it managed to lose $6 billion on credit default swaps last year, at a time when markets were doing just fine. So maybe “anti-fragile” is not the best term for JPMorgan?
Posted on July 26, 2012
“We are the first to show that optogenetics can alter the behavior of monkeys,” says Wim Vanduffel of Massachusetts General Hospital and KU Leuven Medical School. “This opens the door to use of optogenetics at a large scale in primate research and to start developing optogenetic-based therapies for humans.”
In optogenetics, neurons are made to respond to light through the insertion of light-sensitive genes derived from particular microbial organisms.
- Light Activates Pain Nerve Cells With New Compound Tested by Scientists (scienceworldreport.com)
- Integrated Implant Makes It Easier to Control the Brain With Light (spectrum.ieee.org)
- Epilepsy Successfully Controlled Through Optogenetics in Mouse Model (medgadget.com)
- Flipping the Switch: Using Optogenetics to Treat Seizures (scilogs.com)
- 7 talks on monkeys, and 7 talks on mind control (ted.com)
- Found: Altruism Brain Cells (livescience.com)
Although conventional wisdom has held that the concentration of carbon dioxide needed to slow cognition is much higher than the amount we encounter on a regular basis, a study published last month in Environmental Health Perspectives suggests that the collective carbon dioxide exhaled by all the people around you might cause you to think more slowly.
When researchers from SUNY Upstate Medical University and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory put 24 healthy young adults in an enclosed room and tested their decision-making ability at different levels of carbon dioxide concentration routinely experienced in crowded rooms, they found that the participants’ performance declined significantly.
The conservative dark-money group Donors Trust contributed huge sums to battle against climate-change science.
Conservative billionaires used a secretive funding route to channel nearly $120 million to more than 100 groups casting doubt about the science behind climate change, the Guardian has learned.
The funds, doled out between 2002 and 2010, helped build a vast network of think tanks and activist groups working to a single purpose: to redefine climate change from neutral scientific fact to a highly polarizing “wedge issue” for hardcore conservatives.
The millions were routed through two trusts, Donors Trust and the Donors Capital Fund, operating out of a generic town house in the northern Virginia suburbs of Washington, DC. Donors Capital caters to those making donations of $1 million or more.
Whitney Ball, chief executive of the Donors Trust, told the Guardian that her organization assured wealthy donors that their funds would never by diverted to liberal causes.