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Daily Digest 12/13 - China's Money Changes Australian Landscape, Is The U.S. In The Middle Of A Solar Boom?

Thursday, December 13, 2012, 10:44 AM


Mortgage Crisis Presents a New Reckoning to Banks (Nervous Nelly)

fforts by the banks to limit their losses could depend on the outcome of one of the highest-stakes lawsuits to date — the $200 billion case that the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees the housing twins Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, filed against 17 banks last year, claiming that they duped the mortgage finance giants into buying shaky securities.

China's money changes the landscape in Australia (Alan W.)

Soaring coal prices fueled by China's economic growth have made mining parts of the Australian landscape far more lucrative than farming it. It's one example of how China's emergence as a global trading power may transform countries in ways never contemplated and not yet fully understood.

Guest Post: A Five Minute Example of HFT Shenanigans (westcoastjan)

t 09:40:20, the stock prints through my hidden order again at $26.30. Again, no execution for me. Frustrated, I cancel my order.

A few seconds later, at 09:40:36 a couple of HFT programs battle out for the top of the order queue, and the bid changes rapidly, as you can see below:

FedEx ‘systematically overcharging’ customers for years, internal email claims (westcoastjan)

“We allege that FedEx has and continues to engage in a pattern of intentionally charging its customers residential delivery fees for deliveries to obviously non-residential addresses such as courthouses, government offices and banks,” Steven J. Rosenwasser, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, said in an interview.

Here are the key dates ahead in the fiscal cliff standoff (westcoastjan)

With lawmakers rushing to avert events that could trigger another recession, here is a look at key dates ahead, with estimated impacts based on research by the Tax Policy Center and the Bipartisan Policy Center, both non-partisan think tanks.

Mark Carney suggests targeting economic output (westcoastjan)

A central bank could make it clear how high inflation or unemployment would have to go before interest rates would be increased, he suggested.

He said that people would have to be confident that rates would stay very low even if there was a small rise in inflation above the target level, because otherwise, low rates would be a less effective stimulus to the economy.

Silver: Outlook For 2013 (Taki T.)

When looking at the same chart taking the SGS inflation into account, we see a totally different picture. That’s a measurement that is used by Shadowstats.com and is using the CPI with the same calculatation methodology as in 1980 (which was obviously than today’s calculation). By doing so, the picture becomes more extreme. David Morgan explains that a move from today’s $ 33 to $ 100 would indeed be a threefold move up, but still significantly low compared to the historic peak.

Hite to announce plans to close 37 school buildings (Thomas C.)

Hite said the district first drew up a list of potential closing targets that was a "big number" based on academic performance, safety, building condition, and utilization. After a series of community meetings to help set priorities for choosing schools, district staff whittled down the list to about half.

Terence Corcoran: Bernake steers Fed’s monetary machine into uncharted waters (westcoastjan)

When Chicago Fed president Charles Evans delivered a keynote lecture to the C.D. Howe Institute in Toronto two weeks ago, he outlined the rationale for the jobless target. With inflation low, he said, “a number of macro-model simulations … indicate that we can keep the funds rate near zero until the unemployment rate hits at least 6.5% and still generate only minimal inflation risks.”


A Renewable Version of the Oil Sands - in Nova Scotia (westcoastjan)

According to recent models Lumley says there is roughly 7,000 megawatts of potentially extractable tidal energy in the Minas Basin. Of that number, researchers say about 2,500 megawatts can be tapped safely. That's more than enough electricity for all of Nova Scotia.

Indeed this enormous storehouse of energy is the reason why the province and Premier Darrell Dexter created the Fundy Ocean Research Center on Energy. There are two objectives for the centre.

Northern Gateway: UBC Study Suggests Cost Of Worst-Case Spill Outweighs Rewards (westcoastjan)

Using the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill as an example, researchers calculated various scenarios, from a spill with no impact to a high-impact spill of 257,000 barrels of crude, in winter, over 52 kilometres of coastline that includes Haida Gwaii and Porcher Island, near Prince Rupert.

Israeli Researchers Use Rust To Store Solar Energy (westcoastjan)

Iron oxide is a common semiconductor material, inexpensive to produce, stable in water, and — unlike other semiconductors such as silicon — can oxidize water without itself being [oxidized], corroded, or decomposed. But it also presents challenges, the greatest of which was finding a way to overcome its poor electrical conductivity properties. "For many years researchers have struggled with the tradeoff between light absorption and the separation and collection of the photogenerated charge carriers before they die out," says Rothschild. "Our light-trapping scheme overcomes this tradeoff, enabling efficient absorption in ultrathin films wherein the photogenerated charge carriers are collected efficiently."

Oil sands facing labour shortage as talent search proves a challenge (westcoastjan)

Alberta’s hydrocarbon -fuelled economy is facing an acute labour shortage with unemployment levels at 4.7%, while Eastern provinces are staring at jobless levels of about 7.8% in Ontario and Quebec and double-digit unemployment in New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Is The U.S. In The Middle Of A Solar Boom? (James S.)

And according to Shayle Kann, vice president of research at GTM Research, that deployment was just “the opening act” for the final quarter of this year. According to a new report from GTM and the Solar Energy Industries Association, the U.S. market could see 1.2 gigawatts of solar photovoltaics installed through January, bringing 2012 installations to 3.2 gigawatts. That’s enough capacity to power about half a million average American homes.


First they come for the syrup: Thieves steal 400 tonnes of corn in bold Quebec farm heist (westcoastjan)

Thieves broke locked fences to get onto the property in St-Leonard-d’Aston and then neutralized the alarm system, even shorting out surveillance cameras.

Corn prices have increased significantly in recent months because of a drought in the United States last summer.

Garden Contingency Planning (westcoastjan)

My garden has had a non-optimal gardener many years – in fact, all of them. I went through three pregnancies during the summer. There was the year we lost Eric’s grandparents and much of the spring was taken up by grief and the sort of their things. There was the year I foolishly agreed to place the deadline for _A Nation of Farmers_ on May 31, meaning that peak planting season was spent with my staring at the computer and feeling guilty. There were years when we were sick or busy or away during a critical moment. In fact, I don’t think my garden has yet ever had the garden it deserves.

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