Daily Digest 2/13 - The End Of The Middle Class, China Approaches Breaking Point
At a time when the Trump administration is promising to make America great again by restoring old-school manufacturing jobs, AI researchers aren’t taking him too seriously. They know that these jobs are never coming back, thanks in no small part to their own research, which will eliminate so many other kinds of jobs in the years to come, as well. At Asilomar, they looked at the real US economy, the real reasons for the “hollowing out” of the middle class. The problem isn’t immigration—far from it. The problem isn’t offshoring or taxes or regulation. It’s technology.
This time last year, only a few of us were suggesting that Brexit was likely. The mainstream view was that it couldn't possibly happen. But it did. And so too did Trump. When this column argued in June that "we should prepare for President Trump", one or two local talk shows chuckled and sneered at the mere suggestion that such a creature could inhabit the White House. But he is there.
China Approaches Breaking Point (Aaron M.)
The problem in a nutshell:
A worsening debt crisis and slowing growth have capital fleeing China as fast as its feet will allow. The Institute of International Finance reports that capital outflows swelled to a record $725 billion last year.
Hold Tight To Cash (Tiffany D.)
Of course, the Swiss are still coming in ahead of Americans. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco reported that in 2015, only 32% of consumer transactions were made with cash, compared to 40% in 2012. Furthermore, a recent Gallup poll showed that only 24% of Americans said that they used cash in all or most of their purchases.
As Ted showed recently, only about 4% of total U.S. money supply in existence is in actual physical currency while the rest is virtual currency. We’ve found easier ways to make purchases, through any number of applications on our phones or just through swiping a credit card or debit card.
At the same time its budget prospects are brightening, India is gearing up for one of its highest-ever profile launches this week. The country's workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle rocket will carry a payload of more than 100 small satellites into orbit, breaking the record of most satellites deployed in a single launch. The majority of the satellites in the Feb. 15 launch will come from the US-based Planet, which is sending 88 of its "Dove" satellites to Sun-synchronous orbit at an approximate altitude of 500km. Once there the small, 4.7kg satellites will join an existing constellation of Planet satellites to image the Earth daily.
Energy Storage Set To Boom In 2017 (Michael K.)
Three new storage plants are in the works and they’re unlike anything before. The plants will be completely reliant on lithium ion storage. Lithium powered batteries have seen rapid reductions in price in the past several year’s thanks to the high demand for electric cars. Tesla is also developing a gigafactory in Nevada to mass produce these batteries, some of which will be used in the storage plant. AES Corp. and Altagas Ltd. are the other two companies creating battery plants in California. The Altagas plant was activated January 27th. AES has another battery plant in Arizona scheduled to go online within the next several months as well as a project internationally in India.
When it calves, the Larsen C Ice Shelf will lose more than 10% of its area to leave the ice front at its most retreated position ever recorded; this event will fundamentally change the landscape of the Antarctic Peninsula. We have previously shown that the new configuration will be less stable than it was prior to the rift, and that Larsen C may eventually follow the example of its neighbour Larsen B, which disintegrated in 2002 following a similar rift-induced calving event.
Democrats and the rule’s supporters consider the regulation more beneficial than costly, saying it will cut pollution, combat climate change, and put more natural gas onto the energy market.
The rule “is a win for the taxpayer, a win for the environment, a win for the climate and a win for common sense,” Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Calif.) said.
Gold & Silver
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