Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 6/29 - Greece Crisis Postponed, Hell In The Rearview Mirror, How To Feed A Planet

Friday, June 29, 2012, 10:36 AM

Economy

A Big Hairball Of Risk (remizajac)

There are two problems with this optimistic take. The first is about will: authorities may be more willing to tolerate a slowdown and less enthusiastic about stimulus of the kind used in 2008 since it would delay rebalancing away from investment. The second is about ability. China’s record of managing growth is not to be taken lightly but the policy that guarantees 8% growth with no booms or busts has yet to be invented. If China suffers a hard landing this year, it will only prove its leaders are human. Odds of a good outcome: 80%.

Friends with benefits: Peer-to-peer insurance (remizajac)

There should be benefits for Friendsurance and its partners, too. “Insuring in self-selecting groups can improve the quality of the risk,” says Dave Aron of Gartner, a consultancy. Friends tend to be more honest with each other, which makes fraud more unlikely. They are also less likely to put in for very small claims—a broken teapot, say—which generate a lot of costs for traditional insurers. And social insurance is viral: customers have an interest to spread the word and get other friends to join in.

Defense Spending In A Time Of Austerity (remizajac)

Robert Gates, America’s defence secretary, has ordered that production of the F-22 should end this year, capping the fleet at 187—a final cull for the Raptor, whose numbers were once supposed to reach about 750. In Europe orders for the Typhoon—a fighter made by Britain, Germany, Italy and Spain—will fall. And on both sides of the Atlantic the rising cost of the stealthy F-35 Joint Strike Fighter means its order book could shrink sharply.

Crisis Postponed (jdargis)

Although there aren't any other good options, Syriza continues to speak for those who think that there are. Syriza continues to promise an alternative: no austerity, more spending, more government jobs. Reject the conditions that Europe demands in exchange for sending good money after bad. Reject what many Greeks perceive as a foreign, German-led attempt to undermine their nation. Wave a magic wand, and let money pour into the economy. Never mind that it can't be done: If Greece breaks its budgetary promises then Europe will stop lending, Greek banks will fail, and the country will be forced into a rapid exit from the euro. In the long term, this outcome might well be better for Greece. In the short term, there would be massive chaos.

Energy

Budget Cuts Force U.S. out of the Nuclear Fusion Race (OPA)

The US Energy Department used to spend about three times as much on research into nuclear fusion in the 1980’s and 1990’s compared to today. Prager worries that fewer scientists will be attracted to the field of nuclear fusion due to the lack of federal support, and that this could result in a loss of expertise which will hamper the ability to capitalise on future research in comparison to other countries.

Environment

Environmental Accounting for Pollution in the United States Economy (Ben Johnson)

Health effects from coal-fired plants — increased deaths from sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particulates — comprise more than a quarter of pollution-related damages from U.S. industry. That's a conservative estimate, done by centrist economists, that leaves out the health effects of climate change altogether. But probably more important is the conclusion that coal plants are a cost-benefit nightmare.

Insight: In hours, caustic vapors wreaked quiet ruin on biggest U.S. refinery (Julie)

After a five-year effort to double the plant's capacity, making it the largest in the country, they must now reassemble many of the same people and parts for a blitzkrieg fix that may exceed the original $300 million cost of the unit: corrosion experts are flying in from across the world; hundreds of workers are being hired; bespoke 30-inch (75-cm) stainless steel pipelines and 30-story cranes may need to be obtained quickly, according to sources involved in the repairs.

How to Feed A Planet (remizajac)

This chart is the nearest thing to a snapshot of everything you need to know about feeding the world. It comes from Cargill, a grain trading company, and shows which regions of the world have a food surplus or deficit, and how imports or exports have changed since 1965. The big changes in food production during that time came in South America (Brazil, mainly) and in Eastern Europe (Russia, mainly). The worry is that these increases were down to one-off factors: the farming of land that had been left alone in Brazil and the collapse of Communism in Russia. Meanwhile, on the consumption side, it seems likely that Asia and the Middle East and Africa will continue to require increased imports to satisfy growing populations. To feed itself for the next half century, the world needs an agricultural revolution in Africa.

WALDO CANYON FIRE: Hell in the rearview mirror (jdargis)

Neither of us could believe what we saw: a hurricane of fire had erupted in the foothills. Cary called me describing menacing flames along 30th Street and Centennial Boulevard. I figured she must be exaggerating. Then I got closer and faced the otherworldly orange glow of the swirling clouds and winced at the ash-filled, 101-degree winds.

I joined a line of cars backed up along Rockrimmon Boulevard and Delmonico Drive like I never could have imagined.

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to dd@peakprosperity.com. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

9 Comments

saxplayer00o1's picture
saxplayer00o1
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littlefeatfan's picture
littlefeatfan
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More 3E related Links, Resources and Cartoons

new post up at http://3es.weebly.com/ & don't miss http://www.occudoc.org/#!home/BlankPage_0 Free new movie on Occupy (Agree or Disagree - well done Doc)

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Poet
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Closing Time...

Don't know how long this story has  been going around...

Poet

----------

Heidi is the proprietor of a bar in Detroit. She realizes that virtually all of her customers are unemployed alcoholics and, as such, can no longer afford to patronize her bar. To solve this problem, she comes up with a new marketing plan that allows her customers to drink now, but pay later.

Heidi keeps track of the drinks consumed on a ledger (thereby granting the customers' loans). Word gets around about Heidi's "drink now, pay later" marketing strategy and, as a result, increasing numbers of customers flood into Heidi's bar. Soon she has the largest sales volume for any bar in Detroit.

By providing her customers freedom from immediate payment demands, Heidi gets no resistance when, at regular intervals, she substantially increases her prices for wine and beer, the most consumed beverages. Consequently, Heidi's gross sales volume increases massively.

A young and dynamic vice-president at the local bank recognizes that these customer debts constitute valuable future assets and increases Heidi's borrowing limit. He sees no reason for any undue concern, since he has the debts of the unemployed alcoholics as collateral.

At the bank's corporate headquarters, expert traders figure a way to make huge commissions, and transform these customer loans into DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS. These securities then are bundled and traded on international securities markets.

Naive investors don't really understand that the securities being sold to them as AAA secured bonds really are debts of unemployed alcoholics. Nevertheless, the bond prices continuously climb, and the securities soon become the hottest-selling items for some of the nation's leading brokerage houses.

One day, even though the bond prices still are climbing, a risk manager at the original local bank decides that the time has come to demand payment on the debts incurred by the drinkers at Heidi's bar. He so informs Heidi.

Heidi then demands payment from her alcoholic patrons, but being unemployed alcoholics they cannot pay back their drinking debts. Since Heidi cannot fulfill her loan obligations she is forced into bankruptcy. The bar closes and Heidi's 11 employees lose their jobs.

Overnight, DRINKBONDS, ALKIBONDS and PUKEBONDS prices drop by 90%. The collapsed bond asset value destroys the bank's liquidity and prevents it from issuing new loans, thus freezing credit and economic activity in the community. The suppliers of Heidi's bar had granted her generous payment extensions and had invested their firms' pension funds in the various BOND securities. They find they are now faced with having to write off her bad debt and with losing over 90% of the presumed value of the bonds. Her wine supplier also claims bankruptcy, closing the doors on a family business that had endured for three generations, her beer supplier is taken over by a competitor, who immediately closes the local plant and lays off 150 workers.

Fortunately though, the bank, the brokerage houses and their respective executives are saved and bailed out by a multibillion dollar no-strings attached cash infusion from their cronies in government. The funds required for this bailout are obtained by new taxes levied on employed, middle-class, non-drinkers who have never been in Heidi's bar.

Now do you understand?

- Author Unknown

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
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littlefeatfan wrote: new post

littlefeatfan wrote:

new post up at http://3es.weebly.com/ & don't miss http://www.occudoc.org/#!home/BlankPage_0 Free new movie on Occupy (Agree or Disagree - well done Doc)

When I was in college, I was one of the only few that argued with my Econ and Lit professors (cannot argue with Math).   The people you see in the video are/were the nodding heads brown nosing a grade.   Now they are clueless and spout nonsense.  I expect a WWIII by 2016.

chm's picture
chm
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Posts: 46
Sudden Decline of US Middle Class & EU Poor Selling Body Parts

The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America's Middle Class
They had good, stable jobs - until the recession hit. Now they're living out of their cars in parking lots.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-sharp-sudden-decline-of-americas-middle-class-20120622

Black market for body parts spreads among Europe's poor
 'When you need to put food on the table, selling a kidney doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice'

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4800883a7/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times/#.T-6b23UdGpJ

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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A tale to tell.

Koonin resigns from DOE.

My understanding is that he was implacably opposed to any research on Cold Fusion.

If you will pardon my wild speculation, how about this? Chu realises he has been misled about CF and decides to drop support for ITER as he thinks that the dollar buys more result from CF and Focused Beam fusion. (Not forgetting Muon catalysed fusion.)

Koonin is heavily invested in his Left brain model and is unable to accept the evidence emerging from the labs.

or

The Navy begins to investigate Rossi's 1MW device and Koonin heads of to join the Navy advisory board to kill this thing before it can damage his reputation.

All highly dramatic and imaginative.

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 711
chm wrote: The Sharp, Sudden

chm wrote:

The Sharp, Sudden Decline of America's Middle Class
They had good, stable jobs - until the recession hit. Now they're living out of their cars in parking lots.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-sharp-sudden-decline-of-americas-middle-class-20120622

Black market for body parts spreads among Europe's poor
 'When you need to put food on the table, selling a kidney doesn't seem like much of a sacrifice'

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4800883a7/ns/world_news-the_new_york_times/#.T-6b23UdGpJ

"They had good jobs."   Those jobs were built on fiat money and debt so they were fictional.  Did they vote to change the system?  No.  Ron Paul was single man yelling into a canyon only hearing his echo.

KugsCheese's picture
KugsCheese
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 711
Arthur Robey wrote:Koonin

Arthur Robey wrote:

Koonin resigns from DOE.

My understanding is that he was implacably opposed to any research on Cold Fusion.

If you will pardon my wild speculation, how about this? Chu realises he has been misled about CF and decides to drop support for ITER as he thinks that the dollar buys more result from CF and Focused Beam fusion. (Not forgetting Muon catalysed fusion.)

Koonin is heavily invested in his Left brain model and is unable to accept the evidence emerging from the labs.

or

The Navy begins to investigate Rossi's 1MW device and Koonin heads of to join the Navy advisory board to kill this thing before it can damage his reputation.

All highly dramatic and imaginative.

Would Nature give up Her secrets so easily?  Regarding the CF article, all the statements I have read come from Rossi.   Maybe when the stars extinguish Nature will give up all secrets.

chm's picture
chm
Status: Bronze Member (Offline)
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Posts: 46
MIT LENR System

There was a video of a recent presentation by an MIT prof on cryptogon, who showed that they've a working CF system running since january of this year and that it clearly produced, IIRC, 8 or 14 times more energy than was put in:

http://cryptogon.com/?p=28977

This is quite credible compared to Rossi...

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