Monday, December 31, 2012

2013 - no reason for optimism

This positive feeling for 2013 may be misplaced - Telegraph: "Contractionary policies across the eurozone make continued recession in the region for at least the next year a virtual certainty. While the periphery struggles under the cosh to make itself more competitive, France seems to have adopted the opposite strategy of making itself less so, incubating an even more calamitous crisis further down the road. So, although the eurozone is once again likely to see out the next year in its present, 17-nation form, it’s unlikely to be a happier experience. Austerity Europe has quite a number of years yet to run. I dwell unduly on the outlook for the eurozone because, regrettably, it is likely to remain the big negative for the UK economy over the coming year."

Hardly a recipe for optimism.

Friday, December 28, 2012

GPS Tracks Secret Nuke Tests

It's all in the "data"--

GPS Tracks Secret Nuke Tests : Discovery News: "Like earthquakes, underground nuclear blasts send pulses of acoustic energy up through the earth that momentarily disturb the ionosphere. Those disturbances propagate outward through the ionosphere like waves from a stone thrown into a pond. As the ionospheric disturbance passes between a GPS satellite and a GPS receiver on the ground, there is a noticeable blip error in the data. Add together lots of other such errors from the same wave passing between multiple receivers and satellites, and you get a lot of very specific data that points back to a the source. “It's very similar to seismological detection of an epicenter (of an earthquake),” explained Jihye Park, a post-doctoral researcher at Ohio State University. In fact the same methods can be used as those employed by seismologists, she said. They applied their technique to archived data and found clear signals of US nuclear tests from the 1990s as well as underground detonations in North Korea."

I'm sure North Korea is not pleased to know there are "no secrets."

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Latest temperature data shows a 16 year stall in global warming

Something odd going on--I observe others' reports, you decide--

Fmr. Thatcher advisor Lord Monckton evicted from UN climate summit after challenging global warming -- 'Escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his UN credentials' | Climate Depot: ". . . Monckton quietly slipped into the seat reserved for the delegation of Myanmar and clicked the button to speak. "In the 16 years we have been coming to these conferences, there has been no global warming," Monckton said as confused murmurs filled the hall and then turned into a chorus of boos. The stunt infuriated negotiators and activists here who gather every year to address what they believe is one of the world's top threats, the steady rise of man-made global warming. As Monckton was escorted from the hall and security officers stripped him of his U.N. credentials, several people noted that just a few hours earlier a group of young activists had been thrown out of the convention center and deported. Their crime: unfurling an unauthorized banner calling for the Qatari hosts to lead the negotiations to a strong conclusion. . . . Monckton was referring to the latest temperature data showing a 16 year stall in global warming. . . ."

UK Daily Mail: 'Global warming stopped 16 years ago' according to UK Met Office 'quietly released' report -- 'Pause' in warming lasted about same time as when temps rose, 1980 to 1996' -- 'The new data, compiled from more than 3,000 measuring points on land & sea, was issued quietly on internet, without any media fanfare, & , until today, it has not been reported. This stands in sharp contrast to release of previous figures 6 months ago, which went only to end of 2010 – a very warm year...From beginning of 1997 until August 2012 there was no discernible rise in aggregate global temps.'

UK Daily Mail: 'Claim that there has been any statistically significant warming for past 16 years is therefore unsustainable' -- Reaffirms 'a 16-year 'pause' in rising temps' -- 'Two new separate peer-reviewed studies, published in prestigious academic journals last week [challenged 'Hockey Stick'] -- 'The level of warmth during the peak of the MWP in the second half of the 10th Century, equaled or slightly exceeded the mid-20th Century warming.' There was also a pronounced warming period in Roman times'

Flashback 2011: A PNAS peer-reviewed admission that 'global surface temperatures did not rise between 1998 and 2008'

Prof. Judith Curry on 16 year global temps: ' Nothing in Met Office's statement...effectively refutes [UK Daily Mail] Rose's argument that there has been no increase in global avg. surface temps for past 16 years' -- Curry defends UK Daily Mail article: 'How does this refute Rose's argument? No statistically significant positive trend, and it makes it look like [warmist Skeptical Science] hasn't done their homework with the latest data' . . .

Monday, December 24, 2012

How the government can get your digital data without warrant

No warrant, no problem: How the government can still get your digital data | Ars Technica: "The US government isn’t allowed to wiretap American citizens without a warrant from a judge. But there are plenty of legal ways for law enforcement, from the local sheriff to the FBI, to snoop on the digital trails you create every day. Authorities can often obtain your e-mails and texts by going to Google or AT&T with a simple subpoena. Usually you won’t even be notified. The Senate last week took a step toward updating privacy protection for emails, but it's likely the issue will be kicked to the next Congress. In the meantime, here’s how police can track you without a warrant now: Stuff they can get - Phone records: Who you called, when you called . . . "

Who cares? I'm afraid my "digital data" (like most Americans) would be pretty boring. However, with government's history of incompetent, inept, and unaccountable employees, it won't be long until such information is improperly obtained, handled or disclosed--opening up the specter of untold civil liability suits. I wouldn't be surprised if many law firms are already anticipating this!

Friday, December 21, 2012

The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale

Here's a great quote--illuminating and yet shocking to old media--

The press, Google, its algorithm, their scale | Monday Note: "Legacy media (particularly European media) must deal with a harsh reality: despite their role in promoting and defending democracy, in lifting the veil on things that mean much for society, or in propagating new ideas, when it come to data, news media compete in the junior leagues. And for Google, the most data-driven company in the world, having newspapers articles in its search system is no more than small cool stuff."

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Unemployment facts and resources

Looking ahead to 2013, we have a chronic, long-term unemployment problem in most of the developed world, including Europe and the US--

Unemployment in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Unemployment rate forecasts - The Congressional Budget Office provides an unemployment rate forecast in its long term budget outlook. During August 2012, it projected that the unemployment rate would be 8.8% in 2013 and 8.7% in 2014. CBO projected the rate would then begin falling steadily to 5.5% by 2018 and remain around that level through 2022. This forecast assumes annual real GDP growth will exceed 3% between 2014 and 2018.[77]". . . The U.S. civilian labor force was approximately 155 million people during October 2012.[5] This was the world's third largest, behind China (795.5 million) and India (487.6 million). The entire European Union employed 228.3 million . . . Obtaining data:

The FRED database contains a variety of employment statistics organized as data series. It can be used to generate charts or download historical information. Data series include labor force, employment, unemployment, labor force participation, etc. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) also releases employment statistics. Some popular data series include:
FRED - Civilian Labor Force
FRED - Civilian Labor Force Participation Rate CIVPART
FRED - Civilian Unemployment Rate UNRATE
FRED - Civilian Unemployed UNEMPLOY

Job creation in the U.S. is typically measured by changes in the "Total Non-Farm" employees.
FRED - Total Non-Farm Employment

FRED has gathered many of the employment statistics on one page for easy access:
FRED-Unemployment Series"

Monday, December 17, 2012

Unemployment in the US and Free Trade

Unemployment in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "Economist Paul Krugman wrote in 2007: "For the world economy as a whole — and especially for poorer nations — growing trade between high-wage and low-wage countries is a very good thing...But for American workers the story is much less positive. In fact, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that growing U.S. trade with third world countries reduces the real wages of many and perhaps most workers in this country...The trouble now is that these effects may no longer be as modest as they were, because imports of manufactured goods from the third world have grown dramatically — from just 2.5 percent of GDP in 1990 to 6 percent in 2006.". . . Bill Gross wrote in September 2011: "Globalization has hollowed developed economy labor markets...Globalization and technological innovation have been extremely negative influences on domestic wages and employment." Economist Joseph Stiglitz said in February 2012: "The economic theory is very clear...What happens when you bring together countries which are very different like the United States and that the wages in the high-wage country get depressed down. This was predictable. Full globalization would in fact mean the wages in the United States would be the same as the wages in China. That's what you mean by a perfect market.". . . Economist Peter Navarro wrote in June 2011: "The American economy has been in trouble for more than a decade, and no amount of right-wing tax cuts or left-wing fiscal stimuli will solve the primary structural problem underpinning our slow growth and high unemployment. That problem is a massive, persistent trade deficit — most of it with China — that cuts the number of jobs created by nearly the number we need to keep America fully employed."[60] Economist Peter Morici wrote in May 2012: "Cutting the trade deficit in half, through domestic energy development and conservation, and offsetting Chinese exchange rate subsidies would increase GDP by about $525 billion a year and create at least 5 million jobs."

Friday, December 14, 2012

John McAfee video - stranger than fiction

Played the "crazy card"--

John McAfee, Back in the U.S., Says He Played the "Crazy Card" in Guatemala | Maximum PC: "This whole time it appeared that John McAfee, founder of McAfee antivirus (now owned by Intel) had lost his marbles, but really he was just playing the "crazy card" in hopes of trumping Belizean officials. Seeing as how the 67-year-old is now back in the United States, his convincing plan appears to have worked. It came at a cost, however, as McAfee says he left his fortune behind. McAfee, who had been on the run for more than a month and was sought for questioning in an overseas murder case involving his neighbor, landed in Miami last night, according to ABC News. . .While in detention, McAfee says he faked a heart attack to avoid being deported to Belize, where he claims the government wants him dead."I have nothing now," McAfee said. "I've got a pair of clothes and shoes, my friend dropped off some cash." McAfee says he left about 15 properties and some $20 million in investments in Belize, along with his 20-year-old and 17-year-old girlfriends, who he is focused on getting back."

Sounds to me like he's still playing the "crazy card."

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cruise ship delayed in Buenos Aires

Doesn't Argentina have anything better to do than obsess over the Falklands?

Cruise ship delayed in Buenos Aires; U.K.-Argentine Diplomatic Row Escalates - Seabourn Cruise Line: "A Foreign Commonwealth Office spokesperson told Cruise Critic that the Ambassador was summoned "over the Government of Argentina's failure to respond to several requests for an assurance that British and other shipping would not be disrupted in Argentine ports. "Ships engaged in legitimate commercial business, including tourism, should not be prevented from going about their business," the statement continued. "The Argentine government's increasingly aggressive actions against the people of the Falklands Islands are unacceptable and must stop." The U.K. is expected to file claims against Argentina before the International Maritime Organization, the European Union (and by extension the World Trade Organization). 2012 has seen at least three other ships affected by the diplomatic row. In February, P&O Cruises's Adonia and Princess Cruises' Star Princess were both refused entry to the Argentinian port of Ushuaia, because they had visited the Falklands. Cruise ship stops are estimated to be worth at least £10 million to the island's economy, a sizable revenue stream that, if disrupted, would threaten the Falklands' economy."

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Reasonable Expectation of Privacy

Reasonable Expectation of Privacy | EFF Surveillance Self-Defense Project: "The Fourth Amendment only protects you against searches that violate your reasonable expectation of privacy. A reasonable expectation of privacy exists if 1) you actually expect privacy, and 2) your expectation is one that society as a whole would think is legitimate. This rule comes from a decision by the United States Supreme Court in 1967, Katz v. United States, holding that when a person enters a telephone booth, shuts the door, and makes a call, the government can not record what that person says on the phone without a warrant. Even though the recording device was stuck to the outside of the phone booth glass and did not physically invade Katz’s private space, the Supreme Court decided that when Katz shut the phone booth’s door, he justifiably expected that no one would hear his conversation, and that it was this expectation — rather than the inside of the phone booth itself — that was protected from government intrusion by the Fourth Amendment. This idea is generally phrased as "the Fourth Amendment protects people, not places.""

Furthermore, it is important to note situations in which the Fourth Amendment does not apply--here's one (read the full article at the link above for other situations):

 "Public places. It may sound obvious, but you have little to no privacy when you are in public. When you are in a public place — whether walking down the sidewalk, shopping in a store, sitting in a restaurant or in the park — your actions, movements, and conversations are knowingly exposed to the public. That means the police can follow you around in public and observe your activities, see what you are carrying or to whom you are talking, sit next to you or behind you and listen to your conversations — all without a warrant. You cannot necessarily expect Fourth Amendment protection when you’re in a public place, even if you think you are alone. Fourth Amendment challenges have been unsuccessfully brought against police officers using monitoring beepers to track a suspect’s location in a public place . . . "

Hence, security cameras or webcams in public places which also provide a deterrence to crime.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Taxing need: simpler, fairer, and lower (in most cases)

Google and Amazon refuse to yield in tax row - Telegraph: ". . . .In a report published on Monday, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) accused Amazon, Google and Starbucks of “immorally minimising their tax obligations”. The report also called for the Government to “get a grip on large corporations which generate significant income in the UK but pay little or no tax”. Starbucks announced at the weekend that it had entered into talks with HMRC having “listened to feedback from our customers and employees”. The coffee chain admitted that to “further build public trust, we need to do more”. The company said it would release details of its proposed tax arrangements later this week. On Monday, Margaret Hodge, chairman of the PAC, said that Starbucks’ climb-down was “very promising.” During recent evidence to the PAC, it emerged that over the past three years Amazon’s UK division has paid just £2.3m corporation tax on £7.1bn sales. Google paid £6m corporation tax on £2.5bn of UK revenues in 2011. Google stuck by the comments of it UK boss, Matt Brittin, who said last week that the company “plays by the rules set by politicians”."

Yeah, this is interesting--the multinationals play by the rules made by politicians--then the politicians blame the multinationals for playing by the politicians rules!

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Bad Luck of Winning

Your worst luck may be your "best luck"--

The Bad Luck of Winning - "There is, to take one of the most prominent examples, the story of Jack Whittaker, a West Virginia businessman who won a $315 million Powerball jackpot in 2002. A decade later, his daughter and granddaughter had died of drug overdoses, his wife had divorced him, and he had been sued numerous times. Once, when he was at a strip club, someone drugged his drink and took $545,000 in cash that had been sitting in his car. He later sobbed to reporters, “I wish I’d torn that ticket up.” I read about Whittaker, and a host of other sad stories about lottery winners, in a recent e-book written by Don McNay entitled, “Life Lessons From the Lottery.” McNay is a financial adviser and newspaper columnist, based in Kentucky, whom I’ve gotten to know over the years. He specializes in helping people who have come into sudden money. He is convinced that the vast majority of people who win big-money lotteries, like the recent Powerball prize, wind up broke within five years. “The money just overwhelms them,” he told me the other day. “It just causes them to lose their sense of values.” Every once in a while, a lottery jackpot, like the recent Powerball, becomes so large that it attracts national attention. People who normally understand that lotteries are a sucker’s game, can’t resist buying a ticket or two. It all seems like good fun. It is worth remembering the damage lotteries do — sucking money from the disadvantaged, while burdening the winners with sums they can’t handle — and remembering as well this is the doing not of some nasty corporation but of government. Whatever else lotteries are, they aren’t harmless. It is impossible to know whether the Hills will be able to remain “normal” once they cash their nine-figure check. McNay says that those who do the best are the people who are able to remain anonymous, take the money in annual increments, find a good financial adviser who can insulate them from all the new friends they are going to have, and spend their money with some real purpose in mind."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies

Give it to the French--they are now re-inventing Dale Carnegie's "How to Win Friends and Influence People" to "How to Lose Friends and Make Enemies"--

French bank governor Christian Noyer calls for City of London to be sidelined as Europe's financial hub - Telegraph: "Christian Noyer told the Financial Times that there was "no rationale" for allowing the eurozone's financial centre to be "offshore". "Most of the euro business should be done inside the euro area. It's linked to the capacity of the central bank to provide liquidity and ensure oversight of its own currency," he told the Financial Times in an interview. "We're not against some business being done in London, but the bulk of the business should be under our control. That's the consequence of the choice by the UK to remain outside the euro area." Mr Noyer's broadside is one of several outspoken public attacks that have been launched by French leaders on Britain. . . . "

Monday, December 3, 2012

The Triumph of the City

Recommended: The Triumph of the City
From the 4th annual Boston Book Festival, panelists, including Edward Glaeser, author of The Triumph of the City: How Our Greatest Invention Makes Us Richer, Smarter, Greener, Healthier, and Happier, discuss the city of Boston. Other panelists include Ayanna Pressley, Boston City Councilor, and Barbara Berke, senior policy advisor to Boston Mayor Thomas Menino. The panel was moderated by Bob Oakes, host of WBUR’s Morning Edition.

Reuters: World News

Top Stories - Google (UK) News

Reuters: Technology News

The Register articles by Kieren McCarthy

Altucher Confidential

BuzzMachine - Jeff Jarvis


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