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    Daily Digest 4/27 – Solar Shingles Offer Cheapter Option, Where Are All The Homebuyers?

    by Daily Digest

    Sunday, April 27, 2014, 6:27 PM


Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: We’re Headed for Oligarchy (jdargis)

Piketty writes as if a tax on wealth might sometime soon have political viability in Europe, where there is already some experience with capital levies. I have no opinion about that. On this side of the Atlantic, there would seem to be no serious prospect of such an outcome. We are politically unable to preserve even an estate tax with real bite. If we could, that would be a reasonable place to start, not to mention a more steeply progressive income tax that did not favor income from capital as the current system does. But the built-in tendency for the top to outpace everyone else will not yield to minor patches.

NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds (jdargis)

The Obama administration has provided almost no public information about the NSA’s compliance record. In June, after promising to explain the NSA’s record in “as transparent a way as we possibly can,” Deputy Attorney General James Cole described extensive safeguards and oversight that keep the agency in check. “Every now and then, there may be a mistake,” Cole said in congressional testimony.

White House “big data” study to reveal potential for discrimination (jdargis)

“Because poor people and the elderly were less likely to carry smartphones, let alone download the app, the app wound up systematically directing city services to wealthier neighborhoods,” Podesta said. “We need to pay careful attention to what unexpected outcomes the use of big data might lead to, and how to remedy any unintended discrimination or inequality that may result.”

My Students Don’t Know How to Have a Conversation (jdargis)

It’s no surprise to any teacher or parent that teenagers rely heavily on cell phones for communication. According to the Pew Research Center, one in three teens sends over 100 text messages a day. More than half of teens use texting to communicate daily with friends, versus only 33 percent who regularly talk face to face. Cell phone use is rampant at most schools (mine included), despite attempts to restrict or even integrate it into the curriculum.

Slow, Grinding Strategy of Inflicting Syria Misery (jdargis)

The West has focused on that above all else, offering little response to the violence or the near impossibility of a negotiated settlement to end the crisis in the near future. Moving ahead with the election, experts say, will, like the chemical weapons handover, serve only to entrench Mr. Assad and the effective partition of the country for a long time.

Carmakers Are Cutting Carbon Emissions, Except When They Aren’t (jdargis)

It is possible, for example, for a manufacturer to routinely fall short of meeting the fleet average tailpipe emissions targets yet remain in total compliance with the program. For example, while it is fair to say that nine manufacturers were unable to meet their car and/or truck fleet average CO standards applicable in the 2012 model year, this fact in isolation has no meaning with respect to the overall compliance position of these manufacturers. All but one of these manufacturers were able to offset any resulting 2012 model year deficit through GHG reductions achieved through other means and the application of optional credits generated from those reductions.

Where Are All The Homebuyers? (jdargis)

Homeowner equity is simply how much more a house is worth than the underlying mortgage. A house that would fetch $500,000 in a sale with a $400,000 mortgage has $100,000 of equity. This equity, equal to 20 percent of the purchase price, corresponds to the amount that could be used for a down payment in a subsequent move by the owner.

Solar Shingles Made from Common Metals Offer Cheaper Energy Option (Wendy SD)

U.S. scientists say that emerging photovoltaic technologies will enable the production of solar shingles made from abundantly available elements rather than rare-earth metals, an innovation that would make solar energy cheaper and more sustainable.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 4/25/14

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