Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 3/25 - Good News Friday: How Oil Can Defeat ISIS, Americans' Changing Moral Universe

Friday, March 25, 2016, 11:53 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!

Economy

Close Rikers? There's An App For That (jdargis)

“This pilot is an attempt to see if our well thought-out models of intervening with these young people that have been proven to be successful…can also be effective with another population that many deem as more risky,” said Jethro Antoine, technology director at the Center for Court Innovation, which is running the day-to-day operations of the pilot with the staff of the Midtown Community Court. The court helped pioneer special programs to keep people accused of low-level crimes out of jail.

The Harvard Library That Protects The World's Rarest Colors (jdargis)

A lot has changed in the art world since painters worked with "colormen"—as tradesmen in dyes and pigments were known—to obtain their medium. The commercialization of paints has transformed that process. "Artists today will use anything to get the idea that's in their head into a physical form," Khandekar says. "It could be pieces of plastic. It could be cans of food. It could be anything. We need to be able to identify lots of different materials that are industrially produced as well as things that are produced specifically for artists' use."

Minimalist genome—only 473 genes—synthesized and used to boot up a cell (jdargis)

What's in a minimal cell? The authors classified the remaining genes according to their functions. In the biggest category, 195 genes encoded proteins were involved in turning the genetic information in the genome into proteins. They transcribe the genome's DNA into messenger RNAs or translate those RNAs into proteins. Another 34 gene products were used to maintain and duplicate the genome itself. Combined, these accounted for nearly half the genome.

The Real Value Of Gold (Tiffany D.)

What I am saying, however, is that gold is a fundamentally mispriced asset. It’s treated by Wall Street and many economists as an anachronistic asset unworthy of investment merit in the modern world. They continue to call it a commodity though that’s a misinterpretation of reality; its commodity uses are negligible, while its wealth-preservation characteristics — from jewelry to coins and bars — is unmatched for historical longevity.

Which is precisely why I added those Mexican two-peso coins to my collection.

Group Drumming Bangs Away at Anxiety and Depression (jdargis)

"Significant improvements were found in the drumming group, but not the control group," the researchers report. For the drummers, "by week six there were decreases in depression, and increases in social resilience. By week 10, these had further improved, alongside significant improvements in anxiety and mental well-being."

At follow-up interviews three months later, "all significant changes were maintained," they add.

Rockefeller Family Fund hits Exxon, divests from fossil fuels (jdargis)

"The Rockefeller Family Fund provided financial support to InsideClimate News and Columbia University Journalism School which produced inaccurate and deliberately misleading stories about ExxonMobil's history of climate research," Exxon spokesman Alan Jeffers said in a statement.

Stacy Feldman, executive editor of InsideClimate News, stands by those stories.

How Oil Can Be Used To Defeat ISIS (Josh O.)

As luck would have it, both Tesla and GM are launching EVs that can go 200 miles per charge with a sticker price at or below the average new car price in the U.S. of $35,000. This has become possible, at scale, because the price for a lithium ion battery, per kilowatt-hour, has now fallen to around $250, on its way to $100. At that price, a 60-kWh battery, which will take you 200 miles on a charge, only costs $6,000. That leaves plenty of room in the budget for things like tires, seats and a steering wheel.

The swift rise of cage-free eggs reveals Americans’ changing view of the moral universe (jdargis)

It’s been clear for a long time that cage-free is the way to go. Cage-free conditions offer real improvements over cages. Hens can walk, spread their wings, perch, nest and engage in other important behaviors denied to caged hens. Unfortunately, the label “cage-free” doesn’t necessarily mean cruelty-free, but it’s a big step in a better direction. It’s also better for food safety, with studies showing that cage confinement causes higher rates of Salmonella than cage-free systems.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 3/23/16

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."

5 Comments

Mark Cochrane's picture
Mark Cochrane
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: May 24 2011
Posts: 1222
Anyone believing this?

US economic growth revised upward

The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to official figures.

The US Commerce Department revised its fourth quarter GDP to upward from an initial estimate of 0.7%.

Overall, the US economy is estimated to have grown at a rate of 2.4% for all of 2015.

One reason for the revised figure was greater consumer spending than officials initially thought, boosted by an improving labour market.

Analysts had expected the fourth quarter growth rate to remain unchanged from the last estimate of 1%.

As someone who actually uses data to make successive estimates from data, I do not have a problem with updates that change the final numbers but my eyebrows do go up when each successive 'correction' gets larger than the last. Subsequent corrections should generally get substantially smaller if your initial data had any validity, as you work from the most significant elements to the less important ones, in this case we went from 0.7, to 1.0, to 1.4 for 4Q GDP.

The majority of the revision was  related to a sudden 20% increase in previous estimates of total consumer spending. What the heck happened? Finally at the end of March, the government suddenly found a massive drawer stuffed with receipts they had overlooked until now? They should be correcting rounding errors in the final revision, not making 40% corrections to the already adjusted GDP numbers. The final GDP is now 100% larger than the initial estimate.

I really don't know if there is any intent behind these machinations or simple incompetence/futility but at best you can conclude that this stuff is more noise than signal and provides dubious 'information' upon which to make significant decisions. Yet we treat it like it was gold...

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Leaders thought fracking would save our climate. They were wrong

Because burning natural gas releases significantly less carbon dioxide than burning coal, CO2 emissions have begun to trend slowly downward, allowing politicians to take a bow. But this new Harvard data, which comes on the heels of other aerial surveys showing big methane leakage, suggests that our new natural-gas infrastructure has been bleeding methane into the atmosphere in record quantities. And molecule for molecule, this unburned methane is much, much more efficient at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.

http://www.thenation.com/article/global-warming-terrifying-new-chemistry/

thatchmo's picture
thatchmo
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2008
Posts: 458
lies, damned lies,....

Mark Twain comes in so handy these days!  Got to remember it's an election year, Mark (God save us...).  Then again, I did buy myself a new ham radio in December, so maybe that's part of it.....;^).  Aloha, Steve.

Tall's picture
Tall
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Feb 18 2010
Posts: 564
Honeybees and household pesticide use

He has lost 50 percent of his hive where he lives in Manchester, Md., and 100 percent in downtown Baltimore since 2012, about 20 each year. Hives with up to 20,000 bees cost about $1,200. “It’s been awful,” McDaniel said.

“I’ve had them there for 30 years,” said McDaniel, a master beekeeper, and in the last four years, “I can’t keep them alive no matter what I do. The trouble is they started selling these pesticide to homeowners. They put these things on flowers that bloom within a mile of the beehive. No one can offer me a reasonable explanation of any other cause for what I’ve been seeing.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/03/24/marylands-honeybees-are-being-massacred-and-the-weapon-might-be-in-your-house/

rjs's picture
rjs
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Aug 8 2009
Posts: 445
@ Mark Cochrane on the GDP revision
Mark Cochrane wrote:

US economic growth revised upward

The US economy grew at an annualised rate of 1.4% in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to official figures.

The US Commerce Department revised its fourth quarter GDP to upward from an initial estimate of 0.7%.

Overall, the US economy is estimated to have grown at a rate of 2.4% for all of 2015.

One reason for the revised figure was greater consumer spending than officials initially thought, boosted by an improving labour market.

Analysts had expected the fourth quarter growth rate to remain unchanged from the last estimate of 1%.

As someone who actually uses data to make successive estimates from data, I do not have a problem with updates that change the final numbers but my eyebrows do go up when each successive 'correction' gets larger than the last. Subsequent corrections should generally get substantially smaller if your initial data had any validity, as you work from the most significant elements to the less important ones, in this case we went from 0.7, to 1.0, to 1.4 for 4Q GDP.

The majority of the revision was  related to a sudden 20% increase in previous estimates of total consumer spending. What the heck happened? Finally at the end of March, the government suddenly found a massive drawer stuffed with receipts they had overlooked until now? They should be correcting rounding errors in the final revision, not making 40% corrections to the already adjusted GDP numbers. The final GDP is now 100% larger than the initial estimate.

I really don't know if there is any intent behind these machinations or simple incompetence/futility but at best you can conclude that this stuff is more noise than signal and provides dubious 'information' upon which to make significant decisions. Yet we treat it like it was gold...

to give you a more complete picture, here's the paragraph i wrote on that part of the report this morning...

 real personal consumption expenditures (PCE), the largest component of GDP, were revised to show growth at a 2.4% annual rate in the 4th quarter, rather than the 2.0% growth rate reported last month, as a 2.7% increase in the rate of personal spending was deflated with an annualized 0.3% increase in the PCE price index, an inflation adjustment which was revised from the 0.4% PCE price index reported in the second estimate....real consumption of durable goods grew at a 3.8% annual rate, which was revised from 3.4% in the second estimate, and added 0.28 percentage points to GDP, as as real output of recreational equipment and vehicles consumed rose at a 13.1% annual rate even as real consumption of automotive vehicles fell at a 5.7% rate.....real consumption of nondurable goods by individuals rose at a 0.6% annual rate, revised from the 1.2% increase reported in the 2nd estimate, and added 0.09 percentage points to 4th quarter growth, as real consumption of both food and energy goods decreased and real consumption of clothing was unchanged while the other categories of non-durable consumption saw modest growth...meanwhile consumption of services rose at a 2.8% annual rate, revised from the 2.1% rate reported last month, and which added 1.30 percentage points to the final GDP tally...an increase in the real output of recreational services at a 14.2% rate led the services increase, as real consumption of housing and utilities fell and output of financial services was slightly lower than it was in the third quarter...

first thing you see is the change in the PCE price index; that accounted for a quarter of the revision...note that the upward revision to durable goods consumption is more than wiped out by the downward revision to non-durables consumption...so the entirety of the upward revision was due to the increase in the output of services used by consumers...there was no hard data on services output prior to this release; the source of that data is the quarterly services survey, which was published on March 10th...

https://www.census.gov/services/index.html

i've been following this report for over 5 years, & large revisions in the 3rd estimate based on that new services data are not uncommon...

here's the full report: http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/2016/pdf/gdp4q15_3rd.pdf

table 3 shows both the current dollar value and inflation adjusted value of each of the GDP components

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