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March 2012

March 28, 2012

Two more on passenger choo-choos

I've tried to quit posting about this. But I can't. I just can't.

"China's Great Rail Leap Forward Is Looking More And More Like A Disaster".

"A failure of imagination put Metro on wrong track".

"The 15 Most Profitable Movies of All Time"

As ranked by CNBC on "return on investment". (I'm not sure the list is complete. Some smaller-budget films I expected to see listed aren't.)

"Market Capitalization to GDP"

And other measures of stock market valuation. They suggest the market is a little high right now. 

March 27, 2012

"Smith, Entry, Samuelson, and Why Economics Should Teach Good Old Chicago School Economics"

Amen to that. Deirdre McCloskey:

The core of Smithian economics, further, is . . . entry and exit, and is Smith's distinctive contribution to social science. . . . He was the first to ask what happens in the long run when people respond to desired opportunities. Smith for example argues in detail that wage-plus-conditions will equalize among occupations, in the long run, by entry and exit. 

"The meltdown explanation that melts away"

Bethany McLean seems to refute the claim that the 2004 SEC rule change permitting greater leverage of investment banks played a key role in the financial crisis. 

Energy and technology

Energy and technology just might cause an economic boom:

"The biggest change on the margin".

Not only is the price of natural gas declining significantly, but it is getting cheaper relative to crude oil by leaps and bounds. And it's all thanks to new drilling technology (fracking) that has resulted in huge new natural gas discoveries and production in the U.S. It's probably impossible to imagine all the ramifications of this for the U.S. economy, but they are surely going to be very significant. 

"The US Energy Industry Is Going To Grow So Fast, It Will Spark A New 'Industrial Revolution'"

Oil and gas production in the United States and North America is going to skyrocket in the next 8 years due to strides in natural resource extraction, write Citi analysts in a report published yesterday. In fact, they went so far as to call North America "the new Middle East," at least in terms of oil production.

This—as well as a trend towards declining U.S. energy consumption—will completely transform both the domestic economy and the threats the U.S. will face in the future.

"The future will be better than we think if politicians don’t ruin it".

But the pattern is the same: Technology is a disruptive force, and the first instinct of a ruling class is to take control, because any such disruption, however good it might be for humanity at large, is a threat to their own power.

Over the past couple of centuries, things have gotten better because science and technology have advanced faster than the ruling classes have been able to respond.

3D printing is here

Two links to start:

"Amazing 3D Printer In Action".

"How to Get Started: 3D Modeling and Printing".

"What Do Movie Producers Do?"

Ever wonder why some classic movies of the past had just one producer but some more recent pieces of dreck have, like, twelve? Explanation here.

March 26, 2012

"A man navigates the medical system with humor"

A vast understatement. If "plastic bag of shit" grosses you out too much, don't listen.

But if Andy Borowitz explaining how he got within an inch of dying and then came all the way back, and then making very funny jokes about it--concerning, for examples, "pro-illestomy propagands" and "I know you've had a lot of complications with these first two surgeries, so I'm gonna be extra careful this time"--might interest you, then do listen

"The Enormous Benefits of Autophagy"

Another vote for intermittent fasting. And for the Perfect Health Diet.

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