Daily Digest 2/23 - No Country For Old People, New Dawn for Smart Grid?
Naturally, there’s poor old Quebec, wrestling with its culture of corruption, and also facing fiscal meltdown. This follows decades of being incapable of saying no, in either official language, to virtually anyone or anything, from undercharged university students to daycare mothers paying only $7 a day.
La Belle Province slowly slides despite massive handouts from the rest of Canada. In 2014, Quebec will get $7.833 billion, roughly half the total.
Moody’s said that despite considerable structural economic strengths, growth is expected to be sluggish due to a combination of weaker global economic activity and the drag on the UK economy “from the ongoing domestic public- and private-sector deleveraging process.”
Obama's Sequester Deal-Changer (Thomas C.)
The president and Lew had this wrong. My extensive reporting for my book “The Price of Politics” shows that the automatic spending cuts were initiated by the White House and were the brainchild of Lew and White House congressional relations chief Rob Nabors — probably the foremost experts on budget issues in the senior ranks of the federal government.
Obama personally approved of the plan for Lew and Nabors to propose the sequester to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). They did so at 2:30 p.m. July 27, 2011, according to interviews with two senior White House aides who were directly involved.
The Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) weighs in with two reports of concern for older Americans. The first finds their debt levels have spiked. Specifically, American families headed by individuals age 75 or older had increases in the incidence of debt, the average amount of debt held, and the percentage with debt payments greater than 40% of their income in 2010, the latest year in which numbers were available.
Is America's Future Southern? (jdargis)
Cox and Kotkin are right to reject stereotypes of the South as backwater good only for resource extraction and the supply of cheap labor. First of all, population growth in the South isn’t driven exclusively by low-skill immigration or monstrous families of slack-jawed yokels. Southern states are also destinations for an increasing number of well-educated. What’s more, the growth sectors are often high-tech. Auto manufacturing and energy aren’t the “dumb” industries they once were. The South is now competitive in business services, as well. Finally, while it’s true that wages are lower in the South, so is the cost of living, particularly housing. So people don’t need to earn as much to achieve a reasonable standard of comfort.
New Dawn for Smart Grid? (guardia)
After Hurricane Sandy smarty-pants pundits like me suggested that maybe what we need right away is not a smarter, more agile grid but, rather, a really tough dumb grid. Indisputably, technologies integrating digital communications and computing into power system infrastructure were materializing much more slowly than their proponents had predicted, and measurable benefits were hard to find. But if the darkest is just before dawn, as the saying goes, then perhaps now the smart grid may at last be coming over the horizon.
This week’s blizzard brought a measure of relief to the Plains when it dumped more than a foot of snow. But it did not change the basic calculus for forecasters and officials in the drought-scarred West. Ranchers are straining to find hay — it is scarce and expensive — to feed cattle. And farmers are fretting about whether they will have enough water to irrigate their fields.
Mallette believes the old model of subsistence farming is a relic of the past, particularly with the challenges to agriculture from increasing climate change disruptions and disappearing arable land. He said the only way to address a rising population in bleaker urban and devastated rural landscapes is through engineered farming.
Gold & Silver
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