Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 4/26 - Philly Schools Face Renewed Cuts, The Global Land Grab

Saturday, April 26, 2014, 10:05 AM


The Global Land Grab (jdargis)

This is a global humanitarian crisis. An unprecedented worldwide scramble for land—predominantly for agriculture—has spurred a new era in the “geopolitics of food scarcity,” according to Lester Brown, founder of the Earth Policy Institute. That scramble escalated dramatically with the 2008 economic crisis and subsequent rise in food prices. Countries that export food began to limit how much they would sell. Countries that import food “panicked,” Brown writes, and started buying up or leasing other countries’ cheap land on which to produce their own food. Hardest hit were poor countries like Cambodia, where the elite eat abundantly and the poor already struggle to feed themselves.

Washington Post reporters who broke NSA stories warn “there’s more” (Wendy SD)

The Washington Post Executive Editor Martin Baron explained, “It’s obvious to all of us that a story of this magnitude was going to need a lot of ‘lawyering,’ and was going to need a lot of careful thought about how to balance the risks of disclosure with the necessity of bringing big policy decisions before the public.”

“There’s so much sensitive material in there, we’ve been much, much more controlled,” said Gellman.

With Philadelphia Shortfall, Schools Face Renewed Cuts (jdargis)

Cuts would also be made in school security, nurses, transportation, administration and maintenance, officials said. They are also seeking cost savings from the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers. The $2.49 billion budget does not include the $96.2 million, but school principals have been instructed to assume that the money will be found, although they have also been warned that staff cuts will be necessary if it is not, Dr. Hite said.

Who Will Watch The Watchers? (jdargis)

Far fewer people have viewed the video of Arévalo’s killing, though both incidents raise the same essential questions about how lethal force is being used along the border, especially with respect to incidents of alleged rock-throwing attacks on agents. Border Patrol agents and CBP officers both work for an agency called Customs and Border Protection, which is a division of the Department of Homeland Security. Official CBP policy allows agents to use lethal force when they feel their lives are in danger, and while the agency for years has declined to make public the details of this policy, senior officials have long maintained that the agency considers rock-throwing attacks (or “rockings,” as agents refer to the incidents) to be potentially life-threatening situations. Rockings can be dangerous, T. J. Bonner, the former president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents agents, told Homeland Security Today magazine in 2011, not just because of the damage a thrown rock could cause but also because of what could happen after an agent was incapacitated by a rock. “What’s to stop one of these people,” he said, “from then taking the agent’s firearm and executing him?”

Biggest Credit Bubble In History Runs Out Of Time (June C.)

Private equity firms have been ruthlessly taking advantage of that “insatiable demand.” And they have a special self-serving trick up their sleeve: Their junk-rated overleveraged portfolio companies issue new loans, but instead of using the funds for expansion projects or other productive uses, they hand them out through the back door as special dividends. It’s one of the simplest ways PE firms use to strip cash out of their portfolio companies. It loads even more debt on the already highly leveraged portfolio company without adding productive capacity. And those who end up holding this debt – for example, the mutual fund in your portfolio – have a good chance of losing it all.

Phone Company Bid to Keep Data From N.S.A. Is Rejected (jdargis)

Separately, the independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has issued a lengthy analysis rejecting the surveillance court’s view that a provision of the Patriot Act — which allows the F.B.I. to obtain business records that are relevant to an investigation — can be legitimately interpreted as authorizing bulk collection. The board issued its report after the phone company made its challenge, and neither it nor Judge Collyer’s ruling addressed that issue.

How Obama Shocked Harper as Keystone's Frustrator-in-Chief (jdargis)

By the time Harper hung up, according to people with knowledge of the episode, he had sized up the potential economic calamity for Canada and its oil ambitions. Western Canada’s land-locked Alberta oil sands hold roughly 168 billion recoverable barrels of heavy crude known as bitumen. America gobbles up almost all of Canada’s oil exports. An energy research group in Calgary had run the math: If Keystone died, it could cost Canada C$632 billion ($573 billion) in foregone growth over 25 years -- 94 percent of it from the economy of Alberta, the province Harper calls home.

7 Badass Farm Trucks (jdargis)

These trucks didn't need cheesy country music and slow-motion to sell, they worked when they needed to, and hey, if they broke down, you could probably fix them with a kick, some choice words and a ball-peen hammer. Thanks to the extensive archives of the Library of Congress we can still enjoy the timelessness of these hard working machines.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 4/24/14

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."


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
First practical solar powered Airplane.

At last someone has done the blindingly obvious. (Please remember that this is just the first.) How do you expect to travel long distances in an age of oil scarcity? Wheelbarrow?

With a little bit of foresight we can do this thing very gracefully.

You will have to go to the vimeo source yourself as I lack the skill to embed it.

sand_puppy's picture
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Posts: 2039
Awesome solar airplane!

Thanks Arthur.  That is very very inspiring and beautiful.


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
Plane Thinking.

If you had a bit of a front yard you could land and park this thing (The airplane) in front of the house and use it's solar cells to power up the house batteries.

I am thinking that the fuselage could be made out of carbon impregnated poly ethylene terapthalate. (PET), the same stuff that they make aerated soda pop bottles out of. Cheap, light, strong and UV does not seem to affect it. 

A more up market version would be carbon/carbon matrix.

Offset biplane wings would decrease the wingspan.

I have given some thought to Doppler effect radar set to scan at 45 degrees in the vertical plane to search for thermals. A computer would subtract the forward velocity from the vertical components so that pilots would not have to search blind for their fuel stations. (Thermals).

It would need bigger tires for rougher fields and a high wing to avoid scrub + dihedral. (It is anticipated that in an age of energy scarcity people will have other uses for their energy than manicuring runways). A little forethought could make it amphibious.

If the fuselage were pumped up to several atmospheres while drinking your early morning coffee and waiting for the sun to stir thermals, the take off would be an unsubtle affair as the compressed air was released as a rocket. (Pressurizing the air would also provide the water for the cup of coffee  You have seen the condensate from compressor vessels.)

KugsCheese's picture
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 2 2010
Posts: 1469
Arthur Robey wrote: At last
Arthur Robey wrote:

At last someone has done the blindingly obvious. (Please remember that this is just the first.) How do you expect to travel long distances in an age of oil scarcity? Wheelbarrow?

With a little bit of foresight we can do this thing very gracefully.

You will have to go to the vimeo source yourself as I lack the skill to embed it.

Hitchhike?  I did my hitchhike journey right before the US people started to turn completely paranoid but when TSHTF it will come back in force.

AinSophAur's picture
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Joined: Sep 25 2009
Posts: 18
Here in Slovenia We are

Here in Slovenia We are already there...




Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 4 2010
Posts: 3936
We cheer your progress AinSophAur.

 I have been watching the development of your beautiful battery powered gliders for some time now. Perhaps a bit of competition from major industrial hubs would spur this obvious market on. (Detroit, are you taking notes?)

It puzzles me that executives are incapable of reacting to the markets. Lets say that a certain car manufacturer is taking a shellacking from an over-supplied car market- what to do?

Why not find some product that people really lust after and cannot buy. Is it just me? Am I missing something?

The early horseless carriages were expensive, unreliable rich mens' obsessions. In time they became too ubiquitous. My impression is that gliders are like bicycles- the lighter they are (Less material input) the more expensive they become.

Once one has the design perfected they will be cheaper to build than cars. I am sure one large pressure molding machine could pop the fuselages out with monotonous regularity. (I leave the production process to those more knowledgeable than me- We have a lot of experience with plastics.)

Like your Slovenian gliders the control surfaces could be controlled by stepper motors.I have in mind something much simpler. How about foot operated canards? Here is a picture of a canard.


Let us prognosticate that the highway systems of the world collapse. How will we get around? Anyone who solves this problem will have the world beating a path to their door.

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