Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 10/2 - Good News Friday: 2015 'Genius' Grants Announced, U.S. Price Of Solar Has Fallen

Friday, October 2, 2015, 10:16 AM

This is Good News Friday, where we find some good economic, energy, and environmental news and share it with PP readers. Please send any positive news to [email protected] with subject header "Good News Friday." We will save and post weekly. Enjoy!


The 2015 MacArthur ‘genius grants’ honor — and surprise — 24 fellows (jdargis)

Similar scenes played out across the country. Classicist and archaeologist Dimitri Nakassis, who grew up in Gaithersburg and graduated from Richard Montgomery High School, said he found out while lying in a hospital bed, woozy from medication for a procedure he was undergoing. (His test came out fine.) And when puppeteer Basil Twist got the call in the middle of rehearsal for his new show, he bristled. “I was like, ‘Who is this, a bill collector?’ ” he said.

The Immigrant Advocate Who’s Helping Prove That Latinos Are Essential To Our Economy (jdargis)

Juan Salgado, who heads an organization called Instituto del Progreso Latino, was one of 24 recipients selected as 2015 fellows with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The so-called “genius grant” awards him a $625,000 no-strings-attached stipend over the next five years. The award money will be used to continue his organization’s work in helping Latinos and immigrants rise beyond “very low-wage” jobs.

Banned Books Week Is A Crock (jdargis)

Once upon a time, book bans were a serious issue in the United States. The Comstock Law, passed by Congress in 1873, made it illegal to circulate “obscene literature.” Even classics like The Canterbury Tales fell under that description in the eyes of Victorian moralists, and in the middle of the last century, publishers and booksellers of forbidden novels including Tropic of Cancer and Fanny Hill were actually prosecuted in court. But in the years since, social and legal tolerance for censorship plummeted. A 1982 Supreme Court decision, Island Trees School District v. Pico, ruled that local school boards can’t remove books from their libraries simply because they’re offended by them.

Self-Driving Cars Could Save 300,000 Lives Per Decade in America (jdargis)

“By midcentury, the penetration of [autonomous vehicles] and other [advanced driver-assistance systems] could ultimately cause vehicle crashes in the United States to fall from second to ninth place in terms of their lethality ranking among accident types,” wrote Michele Bertoncello and Dominik Wee in a paper for the consulting firm, McKinsey & Company. Bertoncello and Wee further estimate that better road safety will save as much as $190 billion a year in health-care costs associated with accidents.

Trading With The Enemy (richcabot)

I spent 4 years planning and eight months breeding and homing a kit of fifty pigeons to a loft I built in Key West. My goal was to prove that pigeons could make the 90-mile flight from Havana back to Key West carrying highly coveted contraband Cuban Cohiba cigars. Eleven returned.

Robots are about as bad as humans at assembling IKEA furniture (jdargis)

But the dowels are actually pushing the limits of the robot’s vision system, resulting in the robot looking like two inebriated humans trying to put the furniture together in slow motion. In the end, as the video shows, the robot did actually manage to get the dowel in. The research team published their findings Sept. 16. They plan to keep working on the robot until it’s managed to master all the tasks required to build the chair.

Price of solar energy in the United States has fallen to 5c/kWh on average (Arthur Robey)

Newer solar projects generate electricity more efficiently. Projects completed in 2013 performed at an average capacity factor of 29.4% (in AC terms) in 2014 - a notable improvement over the 26.3% and 24.5% average 2014 capacity factors realized by projects built in 2012 and 2011, respectively. This improvement among more-recent project vintages is due to a combination of several trends: newer projects have been sited in better solar resource areas on average, and have increasingly oversized the solar collector field and/or employed tracking technology to increase energy capture.

Radio frequency 'harvesting' tech unveiled in UK (Arthur Robey)

The Freevolt technology has a multi-band antenna and rectifier—a type of battery that converts alternating current to direct current—and is "capable of absorbing energy from multiple radio frequency bands," its developers Drayson Technologies and Imperial College London said in a statement.

"Companies have been researching how to harvest energy from WiFi, cellular and broadcast networks for many years," Drayson said.

An evening up close with the Tesla Model X (jdargis)

As he took the stage, Musk dove into an unscripted discussion of the Model X's safety features. The car apparently has a five-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, with a 6.5 percent probability of injury. Musk added that because the car's battery is distributed along the chassis, the Model X has a significantly reduced probability of rollover injury. The car also "comes standard with automatic emergency braking and side collision avoidance systems."

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 9/29/15

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."


phecksel's picture
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Posts: 204
Only Common Core Math

could eliminate 300,000 deaths in 10 years with an imaginary self driving car.

Srsly, 2013 had 32,719 deaths.

10x that is 327k

Does anybody truly believe we can get to the point of 2,719 deaths in one year?  Even if you could suddenly and magically make 100% of cars self driving, I doubt you'd get that low.

saxplayer00o1's picture
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Posts: 4263
Repost Of Today's News

Treasuries Surge After Jobs Figures Cast Doubt on Fed Increase

Bloomberg - ‎1 hour ago‎
The calculation is based on the assumption that the effective fed funds rate will average 0.375 percent after liftoff. Expectations for a 2015 increase had dimmed since July amid the market turmoil following China's currency devaluation and as the Fed ...

Eurozone Producer Prices Fall Sharply, Adding to ECB's Concerns

Wall Street Journal - ‎5 hours ago‎
FRANKFURT—The decline in eurozone producer prices accelerated in August, putting further pressure on the European Central Bank to stem the risk of deflation. Prices at the eurozone's factory gates fell 0.8% on the month, their steepest monthly fall ...

Kuroda Struggles to Wean Banks Off Bonds as More BOJ Easing Seen

Bloomberg-7 hours ago
With the Japanese economy weakening markedly, banks are flocking to longer-dated government debt on expectations the Bank of Japan will expand its ...

Distressed Bonds at 59 Cents Threaten Emerging Market Gains

Bloomberg-15 hours ago
In China, “growth continues to be supported by robust consumption and policy ... bonds over Treasuries rose to 625.8 basis points Thursday, the highest since ...

UPDATE 1-Czech central bank discussed whether further easing ...

Reuters-4 hours ago
One ratesetter said in early September the central bank might need to ease policy further because of disinflationary risks from abroad. Others have left open the ...

New Zealand Likely to Cut Rates Yet Again--4Q Central Bank Outlook

Nasdaq - ‎4 hours ago‎
New Zealand's central bank has cut interest rates three times this year and economists say there is more easing to come as the nation grapples with tepid inflation and weak dairy prices. The country lifted rates four times in 2014, encouraged by ...

Economic Data May Pressure Poland's Central Bank to Cut Rates -- 4Q Central ...

Nasdaq - ‎4 hours ago‎
Poland's central bank is under growing pressure to revisit the possibility of interest-rate cuts in response to uninspiring economic data and falling consumer prices, but the general expectation and official guidance is that it will hold fire for the ...

Russia''s Economy Minister Says Room for Interest-Rate Cut

Nasdaq-4 hours ago
SOCHI, Russia—The Bank of Russia has room to cut interest rates further as the ... The central bank subsequently put rates on hold after cutting them five times ...

Venezuela annual inflation 180 percent -opposition newspaper

Reuters - ‎Oct 1, 2015‎
CARACAS Oct 1 Venezuela's monthly inflation was 16.9 percent in September, the highest in a quarter-century, and has reached an annual rate of 179.5 percent, an opposition-leaning newspaper said on Thursday, citing a source close to the Central Bank.

UPDATE 1-Q3 investor flight wiped record $10 trillion off global ...

Reuters-1 hour ago
Dedicated Europe funds saw tiny $20 million outflows in the past week, but Q3 ... Net capital flows to emerging markets will be negative this year for the first time ...

National debt grows amid weak peso

Philippine Star - ‎4 hours ago‎
The state debt pile hit P5.898 trillion for the first eight months, up 0.9 percent from P5.847 trillion recorded as of the end of July. Compared to the January to August 2014, liabilities rose by 3.2 percent. According to a Treasury statement, the ...

USA debts bombs bursting

Pravda-5 hours ago
(Few Americans know what a derivative is, but we as a nation are on the hook for up to $315 trillion in additional debt because of these derivatives.) These debt ...

Treasury Sets Sales of $100 Billion in Debt

Wall Street Journal-17 hours ago
The Treasury Department will auction $100 billion in securities next week, comprising $45 billion in new debt and $55 billion in previously auctioned debt.

Treasury's Lew says US will hit debt ceiling around Nov. 5

Reuters-18 hours ago
In a letter to lawmakers, Lew said the federal government would likely have less than $30 billion in cash at that point, straining its ability to pay its obligations.

US municipal bond sales up 40% this year

CNBC-19 hours ago
The sale of debt by states, cities, schools and other issuers in the U.S. municipal bond market totaled $300.8 billion in the first three quarters of 2015, up nearly ...

Brazil''s Caixa Postpones Plans for Insurance Unit''s IPO

Nasdaq-2 hours ago
... unit in an operation that could generate up to 11.25 billion reais ($2.8 billion). ... downgraded the country's sovereign debt to below investment-grade status.

Vietnam struggles to sell bonds as funding challenge mounts

Reuters-1 hour ago
Just 127.5 trillion dong ($5.67 billion) was raised via government bond ... Public debt in 2014 was at 59.6 percent of gross domestic product according to ...

Russia prepares for wave of bankruptcy filings under new law

Dispatch Times-17 hours ago
... number of debt holders, will immediately qualify for bankruptcy on October 1. ... For example, the UCB's latest data showed loans totaling 181 billion rubles ...

Russia doubles size of Reserve Fund draw to 402 bln rbls in Sept

Reuters-29 minutes ago
The Finance Ministry said the 402.2 billion roubles used to fund the deficit last month ... This compared with 4.7 trillion roubles, or $70.69 billion, on Sept.

Russia to Collect Extra Revenue from Oil, Gas Firms Obtained from ...

Nasdaq-2 hours ago
... rubles ($4.97 billion) in 2016 from oil and gas companies that obtained extra ... In 2017 and later, the deficit should decline by one percentage point a year.

Volkswagen Diesel Scandal Sparks Europe Debt-Crisis Flashback

Bloomberg - ‎9 hours ago‎
“Don't underestimate the effect on funding costs,” said Michael Huenseler, who helps manage more than 15 billion euros ($16.8 billion) at Assenagon Asset Management SA in Munich. “A lot of the cars are sold with a loan and more expensive financing ...

Fairfax County public schools face $70 million budget deficit

Fairfaxtimes.com-16 hours ago
Fairfax County public schools face $70 million budget deficit ... 730 positions in 2013, her first year as superintendent, while schools have cut almost half a billion ...

Chicago businesses brace for potential doubling of property taxes

Reuters-14 hours ago
Combined, Chicago's police and fire pension funds had a deficit of $12.1 billion as of December, city records show. The fire pension system is only 23 percent ...

Kansas tax collections $31M short of expectations last month

Washington Times-17 hours ago
Since the fiscal year began in July, tax collections have been $1.37 billion, ... adjustments to lessen the chances of a deficit in the state's $15.4 billion budget.

Loan requests, disbursements at Brazil's BNDES sink through August

Reuters-37 minutes ago
... lending in Brazil, targets total disbursements of 170 billion reais this year. ... budget deficit and the crowding-out of banks and debt markets from credit markets.

Rauner Slashes Social Services, Cites Lack of State Budget

Chicago Tonight | WTTW - ‎20 hours ago‎
Mayor Rahm Emanuel estimated these changes would deny roughly 90 percent of low-income families access to affordable child care. Emanuel included $9 million into Chicago's 2016 budget to provide daycare services to 5,000 previously ineligible children ...

Chicago Public Schools downgrades four years of inflated graduation rates

Chicago Tribune - ‎4 hours ago‎
The policy shift also presents a new challenge for the latest schools administration, which was appointed after former chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett resigned amid a federal probe and has started a school year with a budget relying on $480 million from a ...

JC Penney unveils plan to reduce pension obligations by $5 billion

MarketWatch-4 hours ago
J.C. Penney Co. Inc. JCP, +4.05% on Friday unveiled a plan to reduce its pension obligations by $5 billion, or 25% to 35%. The company said it has already ...

Illinois pension crisis still there. Can we talk about it, please?

Reboot Illinois-1 hour ago
The state budget impasse has consumed the news cycle in Illinois for the past three months, but the Illinois pension crisis remains a $105 billion unsolved ...

Oil forecast dims, bankruptcies rise

San Angelo Standard Times-13 hours ago
He points to the more than $4 billion in debt, largely taken on when a group of ... of fields like Texas' Eagle Ford shale and the Bakken shale in North Dakota.


Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
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Posts: 1227


The magic qualifier is the word 'could' in that article about self-driving cars. It fits with the statement that if wishes were fishes the seas would be full.

If everything was perfect and adopted everywhere and nothing went wrong then maybe, just maybe, you'd get such results. Things would work just great up until:

1. There was a power outage on your route or affecting the network.

2. Someone hacked the cars or the network - nah, that could never happen.

3. Someone spoofed or blocked the GPS signals in an area, which is already ridiculously easy (see Future Crimes)

Safety is a definite upside for such a system, if it functions as advertised, but the downside is that in the surveillance economy your every move and passenger would be monitored and recorded for posterity, advertising, and potential control or prosecution. What a benefit that soon no one would know how to or be able to drive. I foresee a comeback for bicycles which is a plus.

Optimism or paranoia. Everyone's choice.


HughK's picture
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Posts: 764
Lowest interest rates in 5,000 years

This is sort of positive news, so I hope it qualifies for good news Friday.

This is the best time to borrow money in all of history (Washington Post) Note: I'm not taking out new debt due to this headline. :)

Original source: Speech by Andrew Haldane, Chief Economist at the Bank of England


rjs's picture
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 8 2009
Posts: 445
factory orders

on the factory orders report released today...the totals for new orders for non-durable goods and shipments of non-durable goods are identical, ie, all the amounts for June, July, August and year to date are identical, as are the percentage changes shown...
tables 1 & 2:
i downloaded the excel files for both and they also showed non-durable data to be identical...i called the Census bureau unit before 5PM and left a message notifying them of this error, but apparently they'd all gone home...
i suspect the error is with the new orders, but it's hard to tell, since the monthly difference between orders and shipments has been around 0.6%..
you will be pleased to know, however, that all of the MSM and econobloggers reported on this data as it was reported by the Census despite this obvious glaring error...

Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Net capital flows to emerging

Net capital flows to emerging markets will be negative this year for the first time ...

That made me laugh. I think I need help

Perhaps they meant to say 

Capital left emerging markets

phecksel's picture
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Posts: 204
Automotive Safety


I've worked in automotive for decades.  I remember the outlandish claims and rationalization for 3rd brake light.  It was supposed to reduce rear impacts by 50%+.  Those improvements never materialized.

Recently I've been driving some cars with collision avoidance.  First time it went off it scared the living crap out of me... and it was a false alarm.  Also found that adaptive cruise struggles in hard braking applications and will tend to over brake, making the situation behind you even worse... potentially leading to increased rear impacts.  I haven't had the guts to let a car with cruise control set come to a complete stop and then restart again.

Technology I'm most fascinated by, self parking.  It's freaking amazing to watch how well it does.

phecksel's picture
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Posts: 204
Automotive Safety


Arthur Robey's picture
Arthur Robey
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Posts: 3936
Pepper raises moral questions in Japan.

"The incident has been received with immense scrutiny from the public, as it is regarding a human-like sociable machine that was inappropriately treated," Weng wrote. "If the object had been an ATM or vehicle, the moral impact would be much less, as an evolved set of ethical principles for sophisticated and intelligent machinery like Pepper have yet to be developed."


pinecarr's picture
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Posts: 2262
U.S. Bombs Afghanistan Hospital, Doctors without Borders

"U.S. Bombs Afghanistan Hospital, Kills At Least 9 Doctors And 3 Children, Calls It "Collateral Damage"".  http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-10-03/us-bombs-afghanistan-hospital-kills-9-civilians-injures-37-tosses-it-collateral-dama

From ZH:

Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse for US foreign policy, or for the credibility of the US state department to slide further, it got much worse.

Less than a day after US ambassador to the UN, uber-warhawk Samantha Power informed Russia of the latest US foreign policy stance by tweeter, when she called "on Russia to immediately cease attacks on Syrian oppo[sition and] civilians" in the latest desperate attempt to halt the Russian campaign against US-created ISIS which may wipe out the terrorist threat in just a few short days, it was the US itself which admitted that early on Saturday the US airforce bombed an Afghan hospital run by the medical aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres, or Doctors without Borders, in the Afghan city of Kunduz in an air strike that killed at least nine people and wounded 37.

And an update from ZH:

Update 2: the death toll has risen to 16, including 9 hospital staffers and 3 children.

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