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« October 2006 | Main | December 2006 »

November 2006

November 30, 2006

"Limits to Growth" claptrap never dies

Thomas Homer-Dixon, director of the Trudeau Center for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Toronto, briefly recaps the famous Ehrlich-Simon bet on natural resource prices and then asserts ominously:

But today, it seems, Mr. Ehrlich and his colleagues may have the last (grim) laugh. The debate about limits to growth is coming back with a vengeance. The world’s supply of cheap energy is tightening, and humankind’s enormous output of greenhouse gases is disrupting the earth’s climate. Together, these two constraints could eventually hobble global economic growth and cap the size of the global economy.

After some bogus discussion about falling "energy return on investment"--why are real oil prices lower now then 25 years ago?--Mr. Homer-Dixon concludes:

As the price of energy rises and as the planet gets hotter, we need significantly higher investment in innovation throughout society, from governments and corporations to universities. Perhaps the most urgent step, if humankind is going to return to coal as its major energy source, is to figure out ways of safely disposing of coal’s harmful carbon dioxide — probably underground.

But in the larger sense, we really need to start thinking hard about how our societies — especially those that are already very rich — can maintain their social and political stability, and satisfy the aspirations of their citizens, when we can no longer count on endless economic growth.

Which, of course, utterly misses the late Julian Simon's magnificent point.

And please note, Mr. Homer-Dixon doesn't offer to bet on Simon's proposition.

Didn't know these were offered: annuities with inflation protection.

"7 Pains You Should Never Ignore".

And if you have to go to a hospital, consider a large teaching hospital.

Ronaldinho does his thing.

November 29, 2006

Very Important and Popular Question, Take Two: "Should I Go to Graduate School?"

Concise presentation of the "assortive mating" theory of autism.

Some objections.

An interesting example of a self-organizing social system: the "shadow Internet".

The worldwide Enzo community mourns another one gone.

You think your commute is bad? Take a look at some pictures of the Moscow-Yakutsk City road. After the rain. (Via Reddit.)

November 28, 2006

Essays at Minnesota

If you're going to write a Ph.D. thesis in economics at Minnesota, it's evidently required that it be "Essays".

(Yeah, yeah, there's one exception. Sue me.)

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