Daily Digest 3/14 - Endless Government Manipulation, The Price Of Green Energy
I tried to estimate a simple reaction function for the fed based on “employment” (rate, Civilian Employment-Population ratio) and “prices” (PCE core inflation). The estimation period is 1990 to 2007. 2008-13 is forecast.
Charlie Rose: Jeremy Grantham (Joe M.)
Jeremy Grantham, Co-founder and Chief Investment Strategist of Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo. He discusses long-term prospects for natural resources, agriculture, population, and investments.
Mark Faber: Endless Government Manipulation (Arthur Robey)
I worry about the time when the current asset inflation will give way to a serious asset deflation, which will inevitably happen sometime in the future. As an observer of markets I am, therefore, concerned that the decline in gold prices could be telling us that we are about to enter a period of asset deflation.
The first major problem with inflation targeting is that increases in money supply and credit (the true measure of inflation) frequently appear in the form of asset bubbles, not consumer prices.
Even if that were not the case, it's easy to show why 2% inflation targeting is a bad thing.
Franco Bernabe, head of Telecom Italia, said firms are “dying from lack of liquidity” and called on the Bank of Italy to take bold action to head off a disaster. “The Italian economy is being suffocated. The country must intervene rapidly to reinject funds into the economy,” he said.
Young inventor’s flash idea to scare off lions (westcoastjan)
Richard Turere, a Maasai who lives not far from Kitengela, is scared of the lions – and for good reason. He’s only 13, and small for his age – no match for a hungry feline on the prowl. But that didn’t stop him at the age of 11 from wanting to find a way of protecting his family’s livestock.
The next stop could be a district courtroom either in Detroit or Lansing. Many councilmembers do not want to wait to see what Gov. Rick Snyder will do about an emergency financial manager before being ready to act.
Financial institutions file more than 15 million "suspicious activity reports" every year, according to Treasury. Banks, for instance, are required to report all personal cash transactions exceeding $10,000, as well as suspected incidents of money laundering, loan fraud, computer hacking or counterfeiting.
"For these reports to be of value in detecting money laundering, they must be accessible to law enforcement, counter-terrorism agencies, financial regulators, and the intelligence community," said the Treasury planning document.
It's Going To End Badly (GE Christenson)
The media encourages us to believe that practically everything in our economy is either good or getting better. Another way of stating the media hype is “all of our problems will be solved through the combined efforts of our capable politicians coupled with the wisdom and competent management of The Federal Reserve.”
Thieves Blight Nigeria's Swamps with Spilt Oil (westcoastjan)
The impact on the environment of such so-called "bunkering" practices - and on the largely subsistence fishing communities who live around the pipelines in the creeks and swamps of the Niger Delta - is devastating. Decades of oil spills from a combination of theft and poor environmental management by oil majors has ravaged this fragile wetlands environment.
At the nonjury trial over liability, U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier is to determine responsibility for the disaster and whether BP, owner of the well; Transocean Ltd., owner of the Deepwater Horizon; or Houston-based Halliburton acted with willful or wanton misconduct or reckless indifference — the legal requirement for establishing gross negligence.
The Price of Green Energy: Is Germany Killing the Environment to Save It? (north-of-the-border)
Kaiser says this is "a climate-policy disaster" and estimates that this clear-cutting alone will release more than 1,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Forests are important for lowering levels of greenhouse gases, as large quantities of carbon dioxide are trapped in wood -- especially the wood of ancient beech trees like these. Less than two years ago, UNESCO added the "Ancient Beech Forests of Germany" to its list of World Natural Heritage Sites.
Methane is a major component of natural gas and governments including Canada, the United States, Norway and China are also looking at exploiting hydrate deposits as an alternative source of energy.
Japan used depressurisation to turn methane hydrate to methane gas, a process thought by the government to be more effective than using the hot water circulation method the country had tested successfully in 2002.
Greenland's resources boom still more talk than action (westcoastjan)
EU officials, fearing losing out, flew to Nuuk just days before the Chinese visit to sign a letter of cooperation on accessing its "strong potential" of "critical" materials, including rare earths at competitive prices.
In 2011, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also paid a visit to signal her country's interest in rare earths, a group of elements needed in most electrical devices from mobile phones to televisions.
Analysis: Antibiotic apocalypse (westcoastjan)
Antibiotics kill bacteria, but the bugs are incredibly wily foes. Once you start treating them with a new drug, they find ways of surviving. New drugs are needed, which they then find ways to survive.
Pentagon weapons-maker finds method for cheap, clean water (Ben Johnson, Nervous Nelly)
It's 500 times thinner than the best filter on the market today and a thousand times stronger," said John Stetson, the engineer who has been working on the idea. "The energy that's required and the pressure that's required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less."
Access to clean drinking water is increasingly seen as a major global security issue. Competition for water is likely to lead to instability and potential state failure in countries important to the United States, according to a U.S. intelligence community report last year.
Gold & Silver
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