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    Daily Digest 2/16 – Japan’s Economy Expands Less Than Expected, Anti-Fossil Fuel Movement Grows

    by DailyDigest

    Monday, February 16, 2015, 4:15 PM


Japan’s Economy Expands, but Less Than Expected (jdargis)

Given the support provided by Abenomics, that Japan nonetheless fell into recession last year was a surprise and a worry. A long-planned increase in the national sales tax, carried out in April, hit consumers harder than the government and most economists had expected, calling the effectiveness of Mr. Abe’s approach into question. Wages are still falling, adjusted for inflation, and many workers feel left out.

Guess who’s not coming to dinner: Obama cyber push rankles tech giants (jdargis)

The bulk collection of data — started under President George W. Bush, continued under Obama and publicly confirmed in the leaks from Edward Snowden — changed the relationship tech and communications businesses have with the federal government, and specifically with the intelligence community. While most of the largest U.S. telecoms allowed the National Security Agency access to their lines and switches — in exchange for fees or under threat of losing government contracts — the “openness” of U.S. communications networks to U.S. intelligence has large international players looking for more secure options.

The real reason why the U.S. is falling behind in math (jaytee)

We are pretty much the only country on the planet that teaches math this way, where students are forced to memorize formulas and procedures. And so kids miss the more organic experience of playing with mathematical puzzles, experimenting and searching for patterns, finding delight in their own discoveries. Most students learn to detest — or at best, endure — math, and this is why our students are falling behind their international peers.

The FAA’s new drone rules are four years late and still don’t make sense (jdargis)

In a press conference this morning, transportation secretary Anthony Foxx and FAA administrator Michael Huerta both refused to say when they thought the new proposed rule might actually be implemented–probably because it could take years. Foxx and Huerta also dodged questions about how the FAA would even be able to know if rules are being violated. Huerta said the FAA’s first focus is on ensuring people know what the rules are.

As Oil Prices Slip, North Dakota Struggles to Get a Firm Grip on Its Budget (jdargis)

But some lawmakers here worry that the surge bill goes beyond what the state can afford during a time when oil revenues are drastically falling. A joint legislative committee released a revised revenue forecast in January, predicting that oil and gas tax revenues would drop to roughly $4 billion over the next two years. Last December, budget forecasters had predicted the number would be closer to $8 billion.

Siemens Sticking With Energy Push Heralds Subsea Deals: Real M&A (jdargis)

Innovations in subsea processing equipment could drop the more than $100-a-barrel cost for offshore oil recovery by about 30 percent by 2020, according to William Blair’s Heymann. That could help turn what is now a $30 billion equipment market into a $150 billion industry by the middle of the next decade, he estimates. Processing equipment separates the output from the well into oil, gas and water, before transporting the product.

Anti-Fossil Fuel Movement Grows (James S.)

Don’t look now but the anti-fossil fuel movement is quickly building momentum. Climate activists have campaigned against oil, gas, and coal for years. And while legislation in the U.S. Congress addressing climate change seems as remote as ever, outside of the beltway the anti-fossil fuel movement is building support at a breakneck pace. Consider the series of wins that environmentalists continue to rack up. The Keystone XL pipeline seemed destined for approval several years ago with an oil-friendly Secretary of State in Hillary Clinton and a largely indifferent President in the White House. That all changed when environmental groups led by made the project a defining issue for the Obama administration. Nearly five years after protests began, the pipeline appears close to being killed off for good.

Oil Is Cratering. American Oil Production Isn’t. (jdargis)

Look hard enough, and you can see it in the oil patch, too. In recent decades, the oil industry—especially in the U.S.—has evolved from a brute-force industry into a nimbler high-tech manufacturing one. Fracking—a new drilling technology developed primarily in the U.S.—propelled the shale revolution. And technology-based companies don’t respond to falling market prices by cutting production or shutting down. Rather, they innovate and experiment to bring down the cost of production and operations, push suppliers for lower prices, and hold down costs. If the market won’t keep the market price above the break-even price, you can stop producing—or you can try to lower the break-even price.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/13/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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