Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 8/19 - Tomorrow's Smart Cities, What Unsustainable Demand Looks Like

Monday, August 19, 2013, 11:23 AM


Is The Wealth Effect Already Tapering? (Taki T.)

The latest consumer confidence figures from the Michigan University have dropped compared to the previous month. Consumers appear to be less confident. The most likely explanation is that they have only been hearing about an economic recovery, but they have not experienced it. At one point in time, the experience takes over expectations.

An Unsung Hero of the Nuclear Age (Chris M.)

But what about that person at the top of the chain of command, the person who gives the order? Has he been "authenticated"? Who authenticates the authenticator? Can the president start a nuclear war on his own authority—his own whim or will—alone? The way Brigadier Gen. Jack D. Ripper did in Dr. Strangelove? What if a president went off his meds, as we'd say today, and decided to pull a Ripper himself? Or what if a Ripper-type madman succeeded in sending a falsely authenticated launch order? You're about to kill 10 million people, after all.

Tomorrow's cities: Do you want to live in a smart city? (westcoastjan)

In Singapore, Stockholm and California, IBM is gathering traffic data and running it via algorithms to predict where a traffic jam will occur an hour before it has happened.

Meanwhile in Rio, it has built a Nasa-style control room where banks of screens suck up data from sensors and cameras located around the city.

The Trends Few Dare Discuss: Social Security And The Decline In Full-Time Employment (Phil H.)

The increases in beneficiaries in the next two decades was modest: 4.3 million more between 1980 and 1990, and 5.6 million more between 1990 and 2000. Meanwhile, the economy added roughly 30 million full-time jobs over those two decades.

The increase in beneficiaries between 2000 and 2010 was almost 10 million, while the number of full-time jobs in 2010 actually declined from 2000.

Upper West Side condo has separate entrances for rich and poor (westcoastjan)

In October, The Post reported that five of the luxury firm’s towers cost the city $21.8 million in tax revenue in their first year alone.

Together, the buildings paid just $567,337 in annual taxes. Without the 421a program, they would have paid the city $22 million, according to appraisal firm Miller Samuel Inc.

Extell declined to comment.

Quite Possibly the most Eye Opening Six Minutes Ever on Film (Jason C.)

Here is a hard hitting dose of perspective of what unsustainable demand looks like.

Ottawa testing $620K stealth snowmobile for Arctic (westcoastjan)

Prime Minister Stephen Harper is scheduled to arrive in the Arctic on Sunday for a six-day tour of the region, where his government's main focus has gradually moved from improving the country's northern military capabilities to promoting economic development.

The stealth-snowmobiles project has withstood that political shift.

Can the US Export its Way to Energy Independence? (James S.)

But the situation is likely to get much worse. Here's why: Gas from shale deposits is rising as a percentage of total U.S. production. Shale gas wells decline much faster than the current overall rate (which includes conventional gas wells), between 79 and 95 percent in the first three years. That means some 80 to 90 percent of all existing shale gas production must be replaced every three years. With shale gas, it is as if we are on a down escalator trying to go up; but, the down escalator, in this case, is increasing its speed, making any upward progress difficult, if not impossible.

Ecuador Looks to Boost Economy with Amazonian Crude (James S.)

The original plan introduced by Correa was actually aimed at ensuring the ITT fields were never developed. In 2007 he presented a carbon-dioxide abatement plan to the UN, asking countries around the world to donate $3.6 billion over 13 years in order to avoid the necessity of developing the oil fields; protecting the rainforest, and preventing the emission of an estimated 407 million metric tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere.

Some VT utilities try to put brakes on solar boom (Amanda)

Washington officials, like those at the Johnson-based Vermont Electric Cooperative and the municipal electric department in Hardwick, say they worry that allowing some customers to roll their meter back to zero will leave others picking up the utility's fixed costs — sending crews out to fixed downed power lines in storms, running a billing department and the like.

Artificial Food: Incredible Or Inedible? (westcoastjan)

Perhaps science fiction can offer some clues. There are serious novels like Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake (along with its sort-of sequels The Year of the Flood and the about to be published MaddAddam) which offer chillingly detailed dystopian visions of near futures in which food is either blandly synthetic, badly genetically modified, or both.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the Gold & Silver Digest: 8/16/13

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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Flow battery could enable cheaper, more efficient energy storage

New flow battery could enable cheaper, more efficient energy storage

CAMBRIDGE, MA -- MIT researchers have engineered a new rechargeable flow battery that doesn't rely on expensive membranes to generate and store electricity. The device, they say, may one day enable cheaper, large-scale energy storage.


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How Resource Shortages Sparked Egypt's Months-Long Crisis

I've mentioned this before. And others before me have, too. Nice to see this up front in the mainstream media.

How Resource Shortages Sparked Egypt's Months-Long Crisis (August 19, 2013)
"A major turning point for Egypt arrived in 1996, when Egypt's domestic oil production peaked at about 935,000 barrels per day (bpd), dropping since then to about 720,000 bpd in 2012. Yet Egypt's domestic oil consumption has increased steadily over the past decade by about 3 percent a year. Since 2010, oil consumption - currently at 755,000 bpd - has outpaced production. It is no coincidence that the following year, Hosni Mubarak was toppled."


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