Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 12/18 - Debt Reckoning, What's The Fracking Problem With Natural Gas?

Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 12:53 PM


Debt Reckoning (jdargis)

House Speaker John A. Boehner, playing hard ball only days before the nation heads into a fiscal crisis, will tell fellow House Republicans that he will move forward with his own tax plan in the coming days to increase tax rates only on income over $1 million, then shift the fight on spending cuts to early next year when the nation runs into its borrowing limit.

John Boehner's fiscal cliff ‘Plan B’ going nowhere in Senate (jdargis)

Boehner made a simple argument to House Republicans that tax rates will go up on everyone come Jan. 1. “The question for us is real simple: How do we stop as many of those rate hikes as possible?” Boehner told House Republicans. Quite simply, the vote is one way House Republicans will avoid blame if the nation goes over the cliff.

What Will Benefit from Global Recession? The U.S. Dollar (Nervous Nelly)

Those who feel the dollar should decline look at the Federal Reserve’s money-creation operations (buying $85 billion a month of mortgages and Treasury bonds) and see money expansion that devalues the existing base of dollars. Thus they feel the dollar “should” decline, and any rise in the dollar versus other currencies, oil and gold are temporary.

Those on the other side are dollar bulls, of which I am one; I have consistently been presenting the case for a stronger dollar since early 2011. We see other dynamics in play that “should” push the dollar much, much higher.

Gulf states face hard economic truth about subsidies (westcoastjan)

Their governments, run by royal families, have a social contract with the people that in its simplest terms effectively says: "In return for your acquiescence we will provide health, education, water, energy and other services virtually free."

But what happens if the governments are no longer able to fulfil their side of the contract?

What's the Fracking Problem with Natural Gas? (westcoastjan)

And so we end up with catastrophes such as the spill -- and deaths of 11 workers -- from the Deepwater Horizon blowout in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010. We turn a blind eye to the massive environmental devastation of the tar sands, including contamination of water, land, and air; destruction of the boreal forest; endangerment of animals such as caribou; and impacts on human health. We blast the tops off of mountains to get coal. We figure depleted water supplies, a few earthquakes, and poisoned water are the price we have to pay to maintain our fossil-fuelled way of life.

The Bribery Aisle: How Wal-Mart Got Its Way in Mexico (jdargis)

The plan was simple. The zoning map would not become law until it was published in a government newspaper. So Wal-Mart de Mexico arranged to bribe an official to change the map before it was sent to the newspaper, records and interviews show. Sure enough, when the map was published, the zoning for Mrs. Pineda’s field was redrawn to allow Wal-Mart’s store.

Unlocking the Secrets of Cellulose to Improve Biofuel Efficiency (James S.)

In a paper published in the online edition of Nature, the researchers map out the 3D architecture of the enzyme complex responsible for cellulose production. The researchers first determined the components necessary to produce and secrete cellulose and then solved the structure of the enzyme complex.

Their study reveals how new cellulose polymers are extruded from a cell through a channel, a bit like a spider spinning a thread of spider silk, and how this process is intimately linked to the formation of cellulose.

It’s the middle of winter and -18C outside … perfect weather for riding a bike (westcoastjan)

“A year ago, we bought two wardrobes and I hauled those by bike. It was November, but it was winter. It was 20 below and there was snow,” he said.

When his son was younger, Mr. Judge would bundle the tot in the back of a trailer along with a small collection of cozy sleeping bags and blankets. All he could see was his child’s nose. Now the two ride in tandem.

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