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DEA Granted Authority to ‘Conduct Covert Surveillance’ on Protesters: Report

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Johannes Eisele/AFP/Getty

The Department of Justice has just given the Drug Enforcement Administration approval to conduct “covert surveillance” on protesters taking to the streets over the killing of George Floyd, according to BuzzFeed News. Citing a two-page memo signed by a DOJ official, BuzzFeed reports that the surveillance powers are being granted on a temporary basis. In addition to being given the authority to conduct surveillance, DEA agents have also reportedly been given the power to gather intelligence on demonstrators and share it with local and state law enforcement, as well as the right to “intervene” to “protect both participants and spectators in the protests.” “Police agencies in certain areas of the country have struggled to maintain and/or restore order,” the memo reportedly said in making the case for the DEA to step in. The move comes after President Trump vowed to use “all available federal resources” to quell the protests. 

Read it at BuzzFeed News

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dmierkin
137 days ago
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Цитата #460607

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re_marque: настроение: пойти лесом
partizan: маску надень!
re_marque: от клещей
anzhei: блядь это ж еще и клещи :(
saver_ag: КОРОНА С ЛАЙМОМ
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dmierkin
211 days ago
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Corona w/Lyme !
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Цитата #460089

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chilipizdrohan@twitter:
🇷🇺: кто в каком классе учился? я в а
🇺🇦: о и я в а
🇧🇾: а я в б
🇰🇿: а я и в а и в б
иностранцы: мы для вас шутка да?
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dmierkin
245 days ago
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Claims about Chennai naps

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A three-week treatment providing information, encouragement, and sleep-related items increased sleep quantity by 27 minutes per night without improving sleep quality. Increased night sleep had no detectable effects on cognition, productivity, decision-making, or psychological and physical well-being, and led to small decreases in labor supply and thus earnings. In contrast, offering high-quality naps at the workplace increased productivity, cognition, psychological well-being, and patience.

That is from a new NBER working paper by Pedro Bessone, Gautam Rao, Frank Schilbach, heather Schofield, Mattie Toma.

The post Claims about Chennai naps appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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dmierkin
249 days ago
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Yes to naps!
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Why Didn’t Ancient Rome have Dungeons and Dragons?

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Why didn’t ancient Rome have Dungeons and Dragons? I am talking, of course, about the game. Anton Howes presents the general problem:

A theme I keep coming back to is that a lot of inventions could have been invented centuries, if not millennia, before they actually were. My favourite example is John Kay’s flying shuttle, one of the most famous inventions of the British Industrial Revolution. It radically increased the productivity of weaving in the 1730s, but involved simply attaching a little extra wood and string. It involved no new materials, was applied to the weaving of wool — England’s age-old industry — and required no special skill or science. Weaving had been “performed for upwards of five thousand years, by millions of skilled workmen, without any improvement being made to expedite the operation, until the year 1733”, was how Bennet Woodcroft — one of the nineteenth century’s most important historians of technology — put it. (Lest you doubt that description of Woodcroft, he was, in addition to being an inventor himself, the man who compiled and categorised England’s entire patent record up to 1852, and who collected the inventions that would later form the basis of London’s Science Museum, particularly some of the earliest steam engines — among the most important machines in human history — that grace its engine hall today. My hero!) Weavers had been around for millennia, as had shuttles: one is even mentioned in the Old Testament (“My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And are spent without hope”). As a labour-saving invention, Kay’s flying shuttle was even technically illegal.

I keep coming back to this example, because it goes against so many common notions about the causes of innovation. When it comes to skill, materials, science, institutions, or incentives, none of them quite seem to fit. But I keep seeing more and more such cases. There’s the classic example, of course, of suitcases with wheels – why so late? Was the bicycle another candidate?

…The economist Alex Tabarrok calls these cases “ideas behind their time”. I tend to just call them low-hanging fruit. Hanging so low, and for so long, that the fruit are fermenting on the ground. I now see them everywhere, not just in history, but today — probably at least one per week. And I now have a new favourite example, suggested yesterday on Twitter by Jordan Chase-Young: tabletop role-playing games.

Was it lack of the right the bureaucratic mindset? Lack of numeracy? Lower population densitie? Were such games invented but then lost to history? Ultimately Howes rejects these explanations, I think correctly.

Physically, there was nothing that actually stopped the invention of such games centuries or even millennia earlier. It required no special level of science, skill, or materials. So why did it take so long? Rather than there being any constraints, soft or otherwise, I think it’s simply because innovation in general is so extremely rare. It’s a matter of absence, rather than of barriers. The reason we have had so many low-hanging fruit throughout history is just because very few people ever bother to think of how to do things differently. We are, most of us, quite set in our ways. So even today, when there are many more inventors alive than at any previous point in human history, the fermenting fruit still abound.

Innovation doesn’t happen very often. How many people have ever invented a new way of doing anything? If stasis is the norm, then we should expect that many great ideas are routinely overlooked. For an economist this is an uncomfortable thought because we tend to think that profit opportunities are quickly exploited (no $500 bills on the ground). But while that is certainly true for choices within constraints it may not be true for choices that change constraints. This is also consistent with Paul Romer’s views on the combinatorial space of possible innovations—when the combinatorial space is vast and the explorers few, the innovations will be few and far between. What times, places and institutions generate more explorers?

Jason Crawford on twitter has more background and thoughts.

The post Why Didn’t Ancient Rome have Dungeons and Dragons? appeared first on Marginal REVOLUTION.

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dmierkin
249 days ago
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It is weird how some inventions came so late. Like wheel in new world
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duerig
248 days ago
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Perhaps the answer to this and many other similar questions is that innovation is extremely common but is usually local and disappears just as quickly. We can only look at history and see the 'lottery winners' that took off and created a self sustaining community that propagated it over large areas or long periods of time. We cannot see the innovations in history directly. All we see are the ripple effects if they take off.

Innovation itself is commonplace. Everybody ends up with their own quirks and unique things that they thin works for themself. Often they don't tell others. Or if they do the other person is not convinced and ignores it. If we notice more innovation today it is because we can communicate more easily and instead of losing 99% of innovations maybe we lose only 98%.
duerig
245 days ago
Thinking about this a bit more, the original author is wrong about the prerequisites for the innovation of tabletop RPGs. Literacy and numeracy are both required as is a modern sense of probability and crucially, the existance of a mass audience. None of these things existed in widespread form until quite recently. Literacy is required because those hundreds of pages of books are required as creative story prompts and a way to set the expectations of players. They are needed to establish the cliches which will be used to play the game. If the game creators don't do it then whoever is running and playing the game does. And writing down all these details and being able to refer to them later is crucial to a smooth experience. Numeracy and especially easy mental math are critical. If you can't easily add and subtract in your head and see almost immediately what the result it, the game will be a chore to play at best. So the potential number of people who are both literate and numerate will be quite small until modern times. Even those who were both did not have a modern sense of probability. The idea that you could make a smooth scale of odds and manipulate it in various ways (adding more dice versus not) is crucial to the design. And you have to believe that the dice really are a secular device, not guided by supernatural forces of luck or providence or good streaks or bad. The players of the game might believe in these things to some extent or another, but the designer of the game cannot. And finally, you need a mass audience to justify the effort to put into the creative endeavor. This is not a solo thing where somebody can compose a poem or write for their own benefit. It is a social construct, which means you have to have a community of people to perpetuate it. The vast variety of games to day is due in large part because people around the world believe (and are justified in doing so) that they can spend years perfecting something and then release it to an appreciative audience, possibly making some money or at least getting recognition. At the end of the day, this isn't about the invention of one particular form of game. We have many forms of game and other liesure activity that were never known before because we have large communities that have liesure time and the communications technologies to connect them with each other. It seems almost certain that many individuals throughout history have thought of the idea that would come to be known as tabletop RPGs. But they faced obstacles that would have made the experience clunky and not the joy that many people find it to be today. So they never followed through or they did and after an awkward evening never tried again. I think the real focus should not be on 'innovation' but on 'enduring improvement' which is a much trickier thing. I have way more innovative ideas than I could ever take the time to implement properly even if they all were great ideas. Everybody does. The question is what prevents these innovations from becoming a reality and enduring.

Rare and Unusual Birds Photographed Like Humans

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British photographer Tim Flach has spent years scouring the globe for the world’s most striking and endangered birds, shooting highly-controlled portraits of them.

Some of the photos are shot in a studio while others are shot in the birds’ natural environment. Some of the birds are critically endangered while others are more plentiful on Earth, but all are unusually beautiful.

Red Splash Jacobin Pigeon
Crested Miniature Duck
Vultrurine Guineafowl
Philippine Eagle
Gouldian Finch
Himalayan Monal
King Vulture
Shoebill
Victoria Crowned Pigeon
Grey Crowned Crane
Silver-Laced Rooster

Several of the portraits seen here are part of Flach’s 2017 photo book titled Endangered, which documents animal species on the edge of extinction. Others will be featured in an upcoming book of his about birds.

You can find more of Flach’s work on his website and Instagram.

(via Tim Flach via Colossal)


Image credits: Photographs by Tim Flach and used with permission

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dmierkin
325 days ago
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bogorad
325 days ago
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Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
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