Monday, December 10, 2007

News Buffet

News buffet is open. All you can eat.

LifeStraws. A year supply of potable water in your pocket. I've heard the new version even eliminates the iodine aftertaste. This is the sort of down to earth engineering we need much more of. A great emergency preparation measure. Just imagine the suffering in Africa and elsewhere a few million of these could alleviate. They're cheap to produce and relatively easy to distribute. I'd imagine they could have saved quite a few lives in the aftermath of Katrina.

A lot of politicians are praising ethanol as the solution to Global Warming/Dependence on Foreign Oil (pick your party line). Ethanol: Dangerous Delusional Bullshit. WSJ article on Ethanol. I like the quote, "Ethanol is for drinking, not driving." There's an important distinction to make, though: current forms of corn-based ethanol are wasteful, while sugarcane-based ethanol has been viable for at least a decade. The most positive scientific report I've seen on corn based ethanol has it as a slightly positive EROI (energy return on investment). I'd say the majority, though, say it's either a wash or a waste. Nothing any politician says will ever override The Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Sugarcane-based ethanol, however, is economically viable and was part of how Brazil (along with major investments in offshore oil and energy conservation) became energy independent. What makes sugarcane-based ethanol so great is you get to use the bagasse from the crop. Given Louisiana's large sugarcane industry, there are some real business opportunities here.

CNN: The Corrupt News Network. Kudos to the LA Times. Remember, it was CNN that gave you the steaming pile of dog poop that was Crossfire (which also gave the world Tucker Carlson). Fox News, to a larger degree than some people seem to think, is more of an evolution of CNN than an out of the blue creation by Rupert Murdoch.

Speaking of Fox News, they give the smackdown to Rove on his historical revisionism on the leadup to Iraq. The blind squirrel finds yet another nut. I've noticed some actual quality journalism on Fox News every once in a blue moon. I'm thinking Fox News, being a business first and a propaganda outlet second, might be hedging it's bets on a Democratic 2008 Tidal Wave.

91% of Americans think they'd have a higher quality of life in Canada. They're forgetting about 1 thing: WINTER! Well, if Global Warming takes hold, I just might move to southern Canada and be happy.

Ending Famine, Simply by Ignoring the Experts - New York Times. Don't listen to the Chicago Boys if you want to feed your country.

politics: My generation(18-24) needs to take the election back from their genertion (65+). Interesting discussion on Reddit.

Apple hits record 6.81% market share with indications that might be low. I'm a proud member of that 6.81% for almost 6 years now and no regrets.

The battle for brainpower. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, the country that sits on 25% of the planet's oil, knows that oil is not his country's future. That's why he's spending $12.5 billion to found a graduate research university, which he'll endow with $10 billion - as big an endowment on day one as MIT has built in 142 years. The point of this project, on a grand scale even by Saudi standards: to attract the best researchers in science and technology.

Nigeria has more oil than any other African country but can't keep the lights on because of violence and corruption. Sad, but true.

"This time, market players seem truly horrified — because they’ve suddenly realized that they don’t understand the complex financial system they created." Krugman on the Subprime mess. How bad could the subprime mess get? Well, one could look at Detroit's Housing Apocalypse for a real nightmare scenario. $250 for a house. Estimated note of $1.

More financial news here. US Citizens thinking about leaving the US and more on the subprime mess. A good quote: “With someone like HSBC throwing in the towel, going for transparency… it makes Citi and the other parties look conspiratorial at this point if they don’t ‘fess up and do that.”

1 comment:

Leigh C. said...

New Brunswick is very nice. And it is where the Acadians emigrated from to eventually settle in Louisiana. Just sayin'...