Saturday, January 9, 2010

News and Notes - 9 Jan 2010

It's damned cold outside. The thermometer on top the local charter school is still reading in the mid-20's. Here's some reading material for you as you sit around your house clutching your hot beverage of choice trying to stay warm.

College Football Coaches Face the Summer of '69. Fantastic article going through some college football history. About how coaches lost their dictatorial power and the racial struggles at the end of the 60's.

Very long David Simon interview. Worth a read. Can't wait until Treme.

China's Energy Solution: Ignore the Cost. China plans massive buildout of alternative energy, whatever the cost. China is forcing public utilities to buy renewable power at cost + fee basis. While "communist"-sounding, might actually be quite capitalistic by breaking the biggest logjam in financing and construction of new wind, etc. projects. Alternative Energy companies have a hard time securing financing due to the massive fluctuation in energy prices. Almost all alternative energy projects (wind, solar {very useful for peak power}) are economical at least SOME of the time. The trick is when energy prices collapse, they're left trying to pay off a massive initial capital cost. Cost overruns probably won't be that bad because the energy companies still have to front the money.

What's driving up oil prices (now above $80 on all indexes {WTI, Brent, Tapis, etc.})? Well, according to this article, it's the LACK of speculators.

Aldous Huxley vs. George Orwell.

The Nightmare Life Without Fuel. Essay from 1977 by Isaac Asimov. I've been getting into a lot of classic science fiction writing recently and Asimov's stuff is really good and holds up well over time. I got more of the Foundation series for Christmas.

Drew Brees: Pro-Bowl Quarterback, New Orleans-lover, Philanthropist, and Washington Post Op-Ed writer.

And here's the best articles for last:

Village will not be moved. Isle De Jean, like many other small Cajun towns south of New Orleans, is slipping into the Gulf, but residents refuse to leave. Great read.

Recession fuels shift to public schools.
"Public schools play such an important role for our democracy as the only institution that serves all children," he says. "If you lose the people who have the power of choice because they have the resources and the information and the time to make a difference, it becomes a system that only serves people who have no other option. And that's a problem."

Profile: Hussain al-Shahristani - Times Online The most important man in the Middle East that you've never heard of. Tortured for 10 years at Abu Gharib, he's now the incorruptable man in charge of Iraq's oil. Reminds me of reading about Zaki Yamani in Saudi Arabia. Related: Oil Drum discussion of potential Iraq oil production capacity. Lots of caveats, but there's potential for a Russia-like situation to develop (poorly managed large fields turned over to IOC's with Superstraws resulting in a "new Saudi Arabia" almost overnight, thanks to lots of hard work. The photo near the end will bring a smirk to your face, too.

And ending with something fun: Looking for a way to stay warm? Try this:

1 comment:

Dr. Wu said...

That video demonstrates the tragic consequences of the unrestrained sale of explosive potatoes.