In the just released EIP report, North Carolina’s overall electoral integrity score of 58/100 for the 2016 election places us alongside authoritarian states and pseudo-democracies like Cuba, Indonesia and Sierra Leone. If it were a nation state, North Carolina would rank right in the middle of the global league table – a deeply flawed, partly free democracy that is only slightly ahead of the failed democracies that constitute much of the developing world.
Calpers Rings Pension Warning Bell (cmartenson)
This is a good sign because it finally shows some grasp of reality. Unfortunately it points to a substantial amount of pain ahead for workers, who will inevitably have to pay more into their pensions in the very near future. And that pain could be even worse because expectation of a 7 percent annualized return is still too high.
A Pictorial History of Suburbia (Merle2)
We are all familiar with exurbia – the sleeper cities in which our beloved McMansions loom over the non-existent sidewalks. However, this way of living is very recent in the grand scheme of history, even in America whose history is very short.
The Force Driving the Next Bull Market (Tiffany D.)
That group is the millennial generation — which is bigger than the baby-boomer generation with 92 million members. The oldest of the millennials turned 34 in 2016, which marks the point when people begin their years of maximum earning power.
The Great A.I. Awakening (jdargis)
Translate made its debut in 2006 and since then has become one of Google’s most reliable and popular assets; it serves more than 500 million monthly users in need of 140 billion words per day in a different language. It exists not only as its own stand-alone app but also as an integrated feature within Gmail, Chrome and many other Google offerings, where we take it as a push-button given — a frictionless, natural part of our digital commerce. It was only with the refugee crisis, Pichai explained from the lectern, that the company came to reckon with Translate’s geopolitical importance: On the screen behind him appeared a graph whose steep curve indicated a recent fivefold increase in translations between Arabic and German. (It was also close to Pichai’s own heart. He grew up in India, a land divided by dozens of languages.) The team had been steadily adding new languages and features, but gains in quality over the last four years had slowed considerably.
The design of the roof has multiple benefits. Made of limestone it is heavy and not easily shifted by hurricanes and in the past it was covered in a lime mortar, which had anti-bacterial properties. Now the mortar has been replaced by paint. It’s still white, because this reflects ultra-violet light from the sun, which also helps to purify the water.
And the system has a less visible benefit too – self-sufficiency encourages islanders to conserve water.
U.S. Shale Is Now Cash Flow Neutral (cmartenson)
By 2016, oil companies large and small had shed a lot of that extra fat, running leaner than at any point in the last few years. By the third quarter, oil prices had climbed back to above $40 and traded at around $50 per barrel for some time, replenishing some lost revenue. That was enough to make the industry cash flow neutral for the first time in its history.
Fortunately, Ségolène Royal, France’s ecology minister, has a much more reasonable goal in mind: she would like to see solar roadways replace one kilometre of every 1000 in France. Again, assuming she means two-lane solar roads at around €10 million per kilometre, the total cost would be €10 billion—not bad, assuming the panels (and the accompany electrical system) don’t need regular maintenance, and that they produce enough electricity to be worth the much higher initial outlay.
Gold & Silver
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