Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 2/14 - Nuclear Fusion Breakthrough, Why Are Almonds So Expensive?

Friday, February 14, 2014, 12:34 PM


Why the Federal Reserve Needs an Overhaul (westcoastjan)

When Morgan’s manipulations failed to heal the hemorrhaging banking system, the Morgan men turned to Treasury Secretary George Cortelyou and implored him to send money—lots of it. The next day, some $25 million in emergency federal deposits were sent to New York, and the Morgan team spread the money around among the desperate banks. About the same time, Morgan dispatched two industrialists from US Steel to meet with President Teddy Roosevelt and get his assurance that the government would look the other way as they executed a corporate merger likely to violate anti-trust laws.

Ex-Morgan Stanley Chief Jams Foot in Mouth, Complains of CEO Abuse (Michael W.)

It's already funny that of all the injustices in the world, this was the one Mack decided to worry about on TV: the criticism of poor Jamie Dimon's 74 percent raise. But more to the point: If we really did live in a world where shareholders rewarded performance, would a CEO who just oversaw a record $20 billion in regulatory penalties even have a job, much less be getting a raise?

Clapper Reads From the Bush/Cheney/Nixon Playbook to Fear-Monger Over Transparency (Michael W.)

In a recent New York Times op-ed detailing how exploitation of terrorism fears is the key to sustaining the modern surveillance state, Northwestern University Philosophy Professor Peter Ludlow wrote that “since 9/11 leaders of both political parties in the United States have sought to consolidate power by leaning … on the danger of a terrorist attack”. He recounted that ”Machiavelli notoriously argued that a good leader should induce fear in the populace in order to control the rabble” and that “Hobbes in ‘The Leviathan’ argued that fear effectively motivates the creation of a social contract in which citizens cede their freedoms to the sovereign.” It would be surprising if people like Clapper didn’t do this.

How to Protect Your Portfolio from the Mother of All Bubbles (Taki T.)

As you say, nobody really wins a currency war. All currencies are debased when the war ends. What’s important is what happens then. Countries reestablish their currency in a sound way, and that means rebuilding on a base of gold. So the winner of a currency war is the country that ends up with the most gold.

Exclusive: EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap (Suzie G.)

The document said the "appropriateness" of the EU capital and liquidity rules for long-term financing will be reviewed over the next two years, a process likely to be scrutinized in the United States and elsewhere to head off any risk of EU banks gaining an unfair advantage.

The EU executive will also complete a study by the end of this year on the feasibility of introducing an EU savings account, open to individuals whose funds could be pooled and invested in small companies.

This algorithm can predict a revolution (Suzie G.)

Forecasting the future of a country wasn’t always done this way. Traditionally, predicting revolution or war has been a secretive project, for the simple reason that any reliable prediction would be too valuable to share. But as predictions lean more on data, they’ve actually become harder to keep secret, ushering in a new generation of open-source prediction models that butt against the siloed status quo.

Throwaway Americans (Thomas C.)

A bachelor who earned up to $70,000 a year, owned a home, an airplane and two cars, John now is a couple of months from being evicted from his East Falls apartment. He last paid the $1,100 rent in December. He can't afford the rent or the cost of moving or storing his belongings. When the bottom drops out, he's prepared to move into his car with his cat, Charger - and there are payments due on the car. It's hard to see how it could get much worse.

He does have an $11-an-hour, desperation part-time job at Lowe's - he's grateful for that - but the monthly $350 check won't keep him from sinking.

Why Are Almonds So Expensive? (westcoastjan)

Phippen's solar-powered farm is a partnership between five families. It is one of the first in the world to use robots, designed using Nasa technology, to sort good almonds from bad.

It is a highly mechanised process with sophisticated irrigation systems in the orchards but, above all, almond production is dependent on the climate.

Breakthrough on Nuclear Fusion (James B.)

Scientists made a major breakthrough in the quest for the ultimate energy source: fusion. Reports from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) indicate that scientists generated more power out than was put in, a long sought after goal for the development of fusion. The NIF uses giant lasers to shoot a fuel pellet made up of hydrogen. Unlike conventional nuclear power that uses energy from splitting atoms, fusion energy forces atoms to fuse together, with energy as a byproduct.

Aquaponics a growing trend in urban agriculture (westcoastjan)

"So the fish...they poop into the water and produce waste. That waste is converted by micro-organisms into nitrogen and other minerals and nutrients," Weir explains. "The plants take that up, they clean that water for the fish, and then the clean water goes back to the fish."

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/13/14

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."


thc0655's picture
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Gunderson: 50 tons of rubble fell into Unit 3 pool

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cmartenson's picture
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Not so fast on that fusion "breakthrough"

Man, I hate poor reporting.

To read this, you would think that more power came out of the fusion reaction than went in (from the link above):

Scientists made a major breakthrough in the quest for the ultimate energy source: fusion. Reports from the National Ignition Facility (NIF) indicate that scientists generated more power out than was put in, a long sought after goal for the development of fusion.

And why not?  After all, that's exactly what the article said.  

However, the last I heard they were so far away from that moment that I had to go and chase this story down...because it would be a HUGE development if true.

Alas, "more out than in" is still 100 times away from being true....from a different article:

"For the first time anywhere, we've gotten more energy out of the fuel than what was put into the fuel" when using this technique, said Omar Hurricane, physicist at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and lead author of the study in the journal Nature.

The research is a long way from achieving what's known as ignition, where the overall setup generates more energy than it consumes in a self-sustaining chain reaction and without which fusion power wouldn't be practical. 

(source - WSJ)

Ah.  They got more energy back than was contained in the fuel pellet.  That little pea sized glob of hydrogen and deuterium at the center of it all.

The cost of ignition, which include the energy to supply the lasers that crush and heat the pellet of hydrogen, is still 100 times larger than the energy that was released.

Yes, it's a milestone but, no, that's not even remotely close to 'generating more power out than was put in' as the first article incorrectly stated.

I consistently wonder why science reporting is so shoddy in the US...it's not like the context and distinctions are particularly challenging or anything....

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Yet another reason to subscribe to this site. Thanks Chris, for poking holes in that which needs to be poked, helping us to decide where to (and not to) place our focus or beliefs.


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Arthur Robey
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A True Perpetual Motion Machine.

I sometimes wonder if the $ megga dollars that go into Hot Fusion are not funding a true perpetual motion machine.

In a previous video link that I offered it was shown that people's performance improves if they are not obsessing about money.

I hope they succeed but the implications will be that energy again becomes a centralised monopoly liable to being parsed out for whatever they can shake out of you. Not Ideal.

Bytesmiths's picture
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Precisely, 128.57 times

Science News reports that 1,800,000 joules went in, 11,000 of that was absorbed, and 14,000 joules came out.

A joule is the power of one watt for one second. So the energy released was like a 60 watt light bulb on for about four minutes, whereas the energy needed to make this happen was like 129 60 watt light bulbs on for about the same amount of time.

Or in ERoEI terms, about 0.008:1. Makes corn ethanol look wunnerful by comparison.

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