Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 6/6 - Swiss Voters Reject Basic-Income Plan, The Ethical Quandary of Self-Driving Cars

Monday, June 6, 2016, 7:47 AM


China's Debt Load Is (Much) Higher Than Previously Thought, Goldman Says (jdargis)

Of particular issue is the rise in opaque loans given noises surrounding China's circular financing schemes, which involve banks lending to non-bank financial institutions (NBFIs) as opposed to directly to companies. While this "round-tripping," as Goldman dubs it, does help boost bank profits, it also means more investments on bank balance sheets and more money meandering through the financial system as opposed to moving into the real economy through an increase in M2 money supply.

Switzerland's voters reject basic income plan (jdargis)

The supporters camp had suggested a monthly income of 2,500 Swiss francs (£1,755; $2,555) for adults and also SFr625 for each child. The amounts reflected the high cost of living in Switzerland. It is not clear how the plan would have affected people on higher salaries.

The supporters had also argued that since work was increasingly automated, fewer jobs were available for workers.

Why the Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive (jdargis)

The optimists are led by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, co-directors of the M.I.T. Initiative on the Digital Economy. They argue that there have always been lags between when technology arrives and when people and institutions learn to use it effectively. That has been true for a range of technologies, including the electric motor and the internet, which contributed to the last stretch of healthy productivity growth in the late 1990s and early 2000s.

The gains from current tech trends like big-data analysis, artificial intelligence and robotics, they say, will come. Just wait.

Happy Sunday, Welcome To Rikers (jdargis)

“If they sentence you, you know they sentenced you to however many years, you get used to the idea, and you do your time,” said Anna, exasperated. “But when they don’t sentence you and they throw you in there — he’s losing his mind.”

The Ethical Quandary of Self-Driving Cars (jdargis)

In some ways, the idea of crash optimization is old wine in new bottles. As long as there have been cars, there have been crashes. But self-driving cars move to the proverbial ethicist’s armchair what used to be decisions made exclusively from the driver’s seat. Those of us considering crash optimization options have the advantage of engaging in reflection on ethical quandaries with cool, deliberative remove. In contrast, the view from the driver’s seat is much different—it is one of reaction, not reflection.

Advanced-to-Revolutionary Space Technology Options – The Responsibly Imaginable (Greg G.)

The major cost centers for Humans-Mars are LEO access, the interplanetary round trip and habitats and surface ops. Much, too much for far too many years, of the Human LEO costs have emanated from flight and launch ops, these being the same order as “rocket”/vehicle costs. High leverage approaches to Humans-Mars cost reductions include reduced crew size, structural weight reductions, more efficient propulsion/ power, pre-deployment on inexpensive “slo-boats” [sails etc.] and/or Serious ISRU [do not haul it there, make it there] and closed loop life support including the “solids.”

Why OPEC’s Inaction Didn’t Harm Oil Markets (Josh O.)

Oil storage levels fall. But the losses were quickly regained on June 2 as the fundamentals continue to provide some reassurance. Storage levels in the U.S. fell by another 1.4 million barrels, the first time that the U.S. has posted consecutive weeks of declines in a long time. Also, U.S. oil production fell by yet another 32,000 barrels per day last week – the losses continue to mount and output is down by more than 900,000 barrels per day from last year’s peak at nearly 9.7 mb/d. The oil markets were buoyed by these figures, pushing WTI and Brent back towards $50 per barrel following the disappointment from Vienna.

The Mushroom Farmer Versus Drug-Resistant Superbugs (jdargis)

Thanks to their strong antimicrobial properties, secondary metabolites have long been exploited in medicine for use against infections. Penicillin and ethanol are both products of fungal metabolites. Lovastatin and cyclosporine, too. Focused on defending his mushrooms, Cotter at first didn’t see any medicinal potential in his discovery. But after two years of experimenting, it clicked: If his mushrooms could grow tailor-made weapons against any other types of fungi, would it be possible for them to do the same against any type of bacteria, too?

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 6/3/16

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

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Re:Why the Economic Payoff From Technology Is So Elusive

There have been many economic payoffs some examples

1. On line ordering. No longer does one have to make a dozen calls to find someone not readily available. I can order stuff online at anytime: Weekends, Holidays, etc

2. Easier and faster access to information. Need to find information about a product or service? Odd are the information is readily available on the internet

3. Automation in manufacturing. many Products are made using automation,and produced products are offen machine QCd before being shipped. Take for instance food. High speed machines sort and automatically reject bad items (cherries, nuts, cereal, etc) before getting packaged. 

The biggest issue with tech (in my opinion) is excessive bells and whistles. There are features no one really uses, and adds unnecessary complexity and loss of reliabilty. Car seems to be exceptional loaded with features that don't really add functionally. For instance Traction control. it doesn't work and when the sensors fails it causes problems and agravation. 


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