Open Thread – February 2014

Open Thread – February 2014

“We violinists know how to look after of our violins.” [start watching around 7:25]

A Violinist’s Triumph Is Ruined by Thieves

“We’re not engaging in the pretense that this is just any other crime,” Chief Flynn said on Thursday. “This is an extraordinary art theft. It is just as extraordinary as if some master criminal crept into the Milwaukee Art Museum and stole several of its most valuable pieces. It’s an inordinately rare violin of unquestioned provenance, made 300 years ago and worth a lot of money. So obviously we are treating this like much more than just another mugging.”

For Mr. Almond, the last few days have been a surreal combination of enforced silence — the police have advised him not to speak publicly about the theft — and psychic pain over having lost a beloved instrument that is both valuable and rare. Antonio Stradivari was, by common agreement among violin fanciers, the master builder of violins, a creator of instruments with a sound that subsequent makers have been at a loss to reproduce. Fewer than 650 of Stradivari’s violins survive, and Mr. Almond’s — which was given to him on “permanent loan” by an anonymous patron in 2008 — is regarded as a particularly fine example.

161 Replies to “Open Thread – February 2014”

  1. re: violin

    so i watched from about 7:00, not sure why.

    my only thoughts are:

    humans have always fetishized all sorts of objects, man made and otherwise.

    artists of all sorts have always relied on patrons of all sorts.

    i think.

  2. the violin is a nice instrument. a stradivari one is exceptionally well made. too bad it was kiped, but hey, it was a gift, so no fiat money, bitcoin or precious metals were lost. end of story.

  3. i wonder, is it possible to give a Darwin Award to an entire family? if so, gentlemen & ladies, i present my nomination for 2014, and yet so early in the year. perhaps there will be others…

    please note, as a special commondation to my award normination, the position of another large boulder that “had rolled down the mountain some years ago”. the new one almost hit it, in a kind of geologic billards. apparently, the Trebo family had built their farmhouse just uphill, and had been farming around the old boulder, before disaster struck.

    Mr Trebo: “heya okay, it missed our house and no one was hurt or killed, but looka ata my poor barn anda my vines, a total loss.”

    Mrs. Trebo: (hands waving) “who woulda have known these dangers? mia poor bambinos” (referring to the lost vine plants.)

    i’m sure their homeowner’s insurance will gladly pay their claim, so they can continue to live on and farm there.

  4. thanks Mark, i’d be the old geeser shuffling around the floor with the bad knee, all the while dreaming i was with the Ukranian champion pole dancer.

  5. Gail’s fun tip for the day (Super Sunday):

    Gail Tverberg says:
    February 2, 2014 at 7:23 am
    “The issue is financial. Many of the high EROEI reserves will end up staying in the ground. People have gotten too much confidence that high EROEI tells them something. It tells them a small amount about how much energy of mixed types is needed to extract certain types of resources. It doesn’t tell you much else. Wood that can be cut down with an ax is a high EROEI resource that will undoubtedly be used, leading to deforestation. Other high EROEI resources will still require too much of a long distance supply chain, and will be as useless as low EROEI resources.

    I don’t think we have five to ten years to do anything. Demand reduction usually looks like loss of jobs. It doesn’t really help anyone. Demand reduction through higher mileage vehicles won’t happen–the new cars are too expensive and too slow to feed into the system.”

    Go Broncos.

  6. my sincere condolences to the Broncos fans out there. that was a difficult game to watch, unless of course you’re a fan of the nasty, dirty tricks playing seahawks, aka the fouling falcons.

    hey, here’s a link to a nice 200 plus-year history of the working class stiffs/heros and their rentier class owners, nicely summed up by the reverse engineer (RE):

  7. yeah, personally i think that: “if it can be burnt, it will be burnt.”

    low eroi sources will be used to supplement high eroi sources (however one might want to differentiate “low” and “high”), and vice versa, and so on. the main concept to keep in mind is that it must be burnt, if at all possible. the finances to make that happen are a side show. they can be rigged as needed. look at what’s happening as we speak (qe’s and such).

    i think.

  8. i should, more accurately, say that they can be rigged up to some point. i think that point is still about 10 years out. but, i’ll be the first to admit that i could be very wrong about this timing. we all just play our best hunches.

    i guess.

  9. does changing planes at the atlanta airport count as visiting the city? if so, i can say i’ve visited most major american cities, like boston, new york city, baltimore, newark, chicago (many times), denver, dallas, houston, miami, etc.

    i’ve visited africa that way also, for a restroom break and a snack while they refueled the plane. nice place, a little hot along the equator.

  10. it’s a joke. the only so-called commies left are chinese.

    “ah say you’re built too low, boy, them jokes is flyin’ right over yer head.” — F. Leghorn

  11. so Gail T. is saying global collapse within the next 2 years. dave and Bif say moron like 10. everyone who knows about this stuff is hoping dave and Bif are correct, and Gail is wrong. i guess we’ll get to find out if Gail’s right fairly soon.

  12. i figure most girls named “destiny” are easy. i met a girl named “rainbow” (maybe not her given name, but who cares?) once, a long time ago. she was amazingly easy. back in the day when we had mobile bedrooms aka surf vans.

  13. so what’s interesting to me is, at least in the USA aka UPL, it looks like we’ll try to keep on partying hard as ever right up until something big breaks the system. then i suspect things will get rough in a hurry, like no moron food stamp credit cards that work, no moron government programs that pay out money, the money’s suddenly no good execpt as TP or for starting a fire, or just nothing left to buy at the food stores. i think everyone’s gonna miss food, a lot.

    i guess some folks will miss their heaters working in winter, too.

  14. i think that the deal maker breaker is the us military. it can do lots and lots of damage. the us still produces about 10 mgd of oil and such, when you factor in canada and mexico. the $ will remain the currency of choice as long as this remains the case. something like that, i think.

  15. that seems to be the case out here, on oahu island, home of pearl harbor, hickam AFB, schoefield army base, kaneohe marine corps base, nanakuli sub-mm global nuke sub comm center, and more radar, sonar and other band-width tracking stations than you care to count. all hiding in plain sight.

    i often wonder how the ridges will act as baffles against a nuke strike on pearl or downtown. i think we might survive for awhile, assuming we’re home at the time. you can’t have too much bottled water on hand.

  16. forgot to mention massive underground fuel depots built during WWII, underground Pacific CINCPAC HQ, and a few nukes and assorted conventional bombs, torpedos and misc. ammo tucked away in deep caves and tunnels here and over there.

  17. i love wolves and dogs, cats, etc. but you can keep the fucking bears for yourself. too bad they don’t have valuable ivory claws or teeth, then maybe they’d all be extinct by now.

  18. Dave that guy looked just about dead in the vid, so not surprised. I think he would have been cool with being dead. Dead in the woods. Chewed on and drug around. He seemed to want to get into the circle of life.

    Doom I think Gail is getting ahead of herself, but she might be smarter than me. Still, I’ll go 10 yrs before SHTF. Plus or minus 3.

  19. Bif, she’s focused on the financial aspects. if something drastic could be done in the wake of a pending financial collapse, like a military junta takes over the already weak and indecisive feds, ala Argentina, in the US and EU, perhaps also Japan, then martial law at home, stare downs and sword rattles abroad, might work for awhile. a few years, tops.

    those wanting to legally immigrate might want to leave now, before they shut the borders and make it impossible to renounce citizenship, at least officially. unemployed young people would suddenly have a new profession, as cannon fodder, err, soldiers.

  20. guess i’ve read and seen too many ancedotes about those cute little bears in the woods. been in woods where there was a real concern about bear attacks, with ranger reports on recent deaths in the area–southern BC.

    wolf lovers should re-read part in Dr. Zhivago about hungry wolves attacking peasants who hid under large overturned pot. sounded plausible to me.

  21. nothing but miles and miles of trailer homes…each one with an 18-year old waiting for a good time inside. of course, they’re sleeping at noontime, when those losers drove by. at least there’s a burger joint open down the road. such is life.

  22. planning a trip to Japan? staying in Tokyo? don’t stay there too long.

    Dr. Mita: “But if the value [of white blood cell neutrophil] is really low, some children have difficulty recovering to the average level of 4,000 even after evacuating to the West. So my advice is: if you see some abnormal changes in the numerical neutrophil value, you should evacuate to a place that is not contaminated.

    The value of neutrophil has been relatively stable among children who have evacuated to a clean place even for a few weeks at a time. But my real hope is to have not just children but also adults move away from Tokyo.”


    1) Tokyo has been heavily contaminated with radioactive materials from Fukushima nuclear accident.
    2) because of [stupid] ongoing burning of contaminated waste, the air continues to be contaminated there and inhalation of particles is an ongoing health hazard.
    3) children are most at risk, but adults should also evacuate the city to escape the ill effects of radiation sickness on their immune system.
    4) increased risk of cancer is a “no brainer” for Tokyo residents and anyone living in NE Japan.
    5) TEPCO and governments are lying to the public about the extent of contamination and the health risks. duh.

  23. yarra, a dead giveaway that you are reading a pro-nuke post or site: they like to confabulate external and internal dose. Fukushima has dangerous levels of both, of course, but the widespread contamination danger is and has always been internal, via inhalation or ingestion. since there is no known safe dose of internal radiation, it’s all bad, and the risks and tissue damage only get worse at higher doses.

    Chris Martenson seems to know the difference. I don’t like his pay wall, though.

  24. according to CM, Yassar Arafat was killed by a lethal dose of 210Po, the mark of the Russian hit squad, formerly KGB. i did not know that. it is easy to prove, if so.

  25. @JR, how are those tomato plants doing on the back porch?

    concise ‘to do’ list:

    from comments to Gail’s latest post:
    edpell says:
    February 15, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    “Buy a small farm in an out of the way location, with a water source. Farm for personal consumption and commerce to pay the taxes, up keep the equipment, and car. Buy PV and batteries for off grid electric. I know this will not last forever but nice to have light and power tools while figuring out how to deal with the new economy. Buy wood working tools power and hand. Buy metal working tools powered (lathe, mill, drop saw, drill, sheet metal punches, etc). Learn to use above over time to maintain farm DIY as much as possible.”

    I would add: choose location where heating in winter to survive is not necessary. also, taxes and car will soon be part of history. future transport by foot, cycle or pack animal.

  26. Advantages to living in a cold climate:

    1) no need for a refrigerator/freezer.
    2) less problem with bugs, pests, and vermin
    3) closer to the N or S pole, beat the rush

  27. Oaxaca coffee and local cream, free-range egg, mushroom, sweet onion, red potato omelette, buttermilk pancake w/quinoa flour. Not bad, eh?

  28. ever read the book “Angela’s Ashes”? the mom and kids were very poor, living in Limmerick, Ireland in the 30s-40s, i recall. the kids would scavenge the streets for coal dropped from the trucks. eventually, after most of the furniture was burned, they resorted to burning the studs in the walls. it was a rental, so all’s good there. i think they realized the futility and eventually got some assistance from the catholic church.

  29. anyway, they say hypothermia is a strange way to die. If you’re lucky, you just fall asleep and freeze. but a lot of times, your body actually heats up as it tries to maintain the core, so they find these folks have taken their clothes off, to cool down, just before they die. weird, but probably explained by thermodynamics.

  30. i don’t understand why those ukranians decide to protest in the middle of winter. and they get some serious weather there, too. must be a serious protest.

    check out the entropy growth on cnn.

  31. just think of the money those carolina chocolate drops save on brass instruments. no instrument to purchase or lose, no expensive cases, no baggage charges or insurance costs, nothing really to tote around. no key repairs or other maintenance. just show up with a microphone—set.

  32. you guys need to get your thread comments in order.

    hey, if you thought 9/11 was a good act, how about Hilter’s siege of St. Petersburg? Alexander’s siege and complete distruction of Tyre? Pyrrus’ “victory”?

    yeah, a few players were adversely affected, but hey, you gotta break some eggs to make a great omlete, too.

    the fire bombing of Drysden, single bomb drops over Hiroshima & Nagasaki, the US Civil War (in several acts, concluding with Sherman’s March to the Sea), Nixon’s bombing of Cambodia, Bush’s Shock & Awe, etc. and i sure there’s moron to come, before it’s back to sticks and stones.

  33. yeah doom, the perpetrators of dresden, for example, were expecting a payoff. the perpetrators of 9/11 were expecting death. huge difference, i think. art/not art

  34. here’s what 9/11 and Dresden had in common: cold, calculated mass murder. i have to admit, 9/11 was moron theatrical, with lotsa props like mohamed atta’s pristine passport, planted in the pulverized concrete and melted steel of one of the world trade center towers, i forget which one. good stuff. one in a million.

  35. this woman seems bent on spoiling our happy denial, dream-like trance…

    Gail Tverberg says:
    February 25, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    I don’t think so. All of these things need investment. We are running short on funds (and stuff) for investment. It will not be long before borrowing for investments will be very difficult. It is this cut off of credit that will cut off most of (or all of) these things. We need a high-tech civilization for all of these fancy investments. It will be increasingly difficult to keep up such a civilization.

  36. she looks like my old college roommate’s ex. nice bod, pretty to behold and (i guess) to work with, only problem: schizophrenic. (and i hope this girl is not her, or has a similar condition.)

    kinda like those offers of cheap new corvettes, only problem: original owner had heart attack, drove it into a lake, and wasn’t discovered for awhile, so the upholstery might have a ‘funny’ smell.

  37. “The new strategy is, in effect, maintaining dividends by returning part of capital. It is clearly not a very sustainable strategy.

    It will take a while for these cut-backs in Capex expenditures to find their way through to oil output, but it could very well start in a year or two. This is disturbing.

    What we are seeing now is a cutback in what companies consider “economically extractable oil”–something that isn’t exactly reported by companies. I expect that what is being sold off is mostly not “proven reserves.”

    In this talk, it looks like lack of sufficient investment is poised to bring the system down. That is basically the expected limit under Limits to Growth.”

  38. wow, maybe the right-wing supremes were correct, after all. corporations are indeed like humans. when faced with death by [income] freezing, they shed assets to protect the core. clearly unsustainable in the long term, but it saves the center for awhile longer. maybe long enough for management to take some assets to that little hideaway finca in paraguay?

  39. current events quote of the week: “Secretary of State John Kerry — a haircut in search of a brain — is winging to Kiev tomorrow to pretend that the USA has a direct interest in what happens there.”—JHK

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