Friday, October 30, 2009

So what! A Bumpy Ride

Two fellas travel down a bumpy road. One has tight suspension and the other has lose suspension. Both fellas manage to steer their cars well and both travel at 50 miles per hour. They both get to their destination at the same time.

Paul Krugman mistakes the speed of arrival with the smoothness of the ride. There is no need to veer off course to avoid a few bumps, if our goal is to get to the destination.

in reference to:

"The obvious interpretation is that once the exchange rate is freed, it bounces around a lot, while domestic prices in domestic currency are sticky, and don’t move much."
- Adjustment and the dollar - Paul Krugman Blog - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Don't Let Our Nation Die

There is not enough money in the world to satisfy the demand for health care provided by others; never has been and never will be.

The bigger the government, the greater the corruption. Corruption, by both republicans and democrats, is now built into our system. Week after week, huge grants are given to the friends of government officials.

There is not enough money in the world to satisfy the greed of those who have fought and won great power.

Great nations fall as a result of internal weakness. They fall when the governed lose faith in the fairness of their leaders.

Those who care for the downtroddened understand that resources must be allocated very efficiently and not by political fiat. Millions of people in Africa no longer live off less than $1.25 per day because free enterprise is becoming common.

It would be a huge mistake for the US to move in the direction of socialism, especially when our competitors are moving toward free enterprise at such a rapid pace. The US dollar has fallen dramatically because the prospects for economic growth are much higher in the rest of the world. Drive the cost of producing goods and services higher in the USA and all of our people, rich and poor will suffer. Don't let our nation die!

in reference to: Words of Wrath: Don't Let Your Neighbors Die (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Motorola Droid Turn by Turn Directions

The Motorola Droid ranks at or near the top in all the important cell phone qualities. It excels in a few ares. Best of all is the GPS feature. Users speak the address or just the information they know and Google is likely to find the destination desired. Once the exact address is found, the Droid gives turn by turn directions at street level view. Perspective is available via satellite view and traffic conditions are displayed in the form of green, yellow and red roads. One can request alternative routing around red roads.

If you have not looked at street level view, take a look at detailed Google maps. You can "walk" the streets as you wish. Again, there are many reasons to purchase a Motorola Droid, check it out!

in reference to: Motorola Droid initial impressions – Cell Phones & Mobile Device Technology News & Updates | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Jobs Created by Climate Change

A few years ago, we created a bunch of jobs converting corn into ethanol. We raised the price of food to the poor while we fertilized and sprayed pesticides. Taxpayers paid through the nose and special interest went to the bank. How many times will we allow the powerful to take advantage?

in reference to: EERE News: Report: Addressing Climate Change Yields 4.5 Million Clean Energy Jobs (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tenneco Score $24 Million From Taxpayers

Yep, taxpayers loaned another big corporation money. Our children can pay it back.

in reference to: EERE News: DOE Offers a $24 Million Loan to a Manufacturer of Emissions Controls (view on Google Sidewiki)

Joe Biden's Friends Score

What business does the government have in picking car winners and losers? Many a small business can't afford a loan right now, but Joe's friends picked-up $528 million.

in reference to: EERE News: Plug-In Hybrid Automaker to Reopen a GM Plant Using a DOE Loan (view on Google Sidewiki)

Obama's Friends Score

Once again, Obama's friends receive pork. About 1% of the locations that applied for funding received any part of this 3.7 Billion payoff. Only friends should apply.

in reference to: EERE News: President Obama Announces $3.4 Billion to Spur Smart Electric Grids (view on Google Sidewiki)

Which Crime?

Goldman and the government set up a "no-lose" system for the banks. Serious penalties, such as jail time for bank officers, were the stick. Grant loans or else!

The implication made in this article is that the police are always as pure as the driven snow. When the police are corrupt, they certainly do encourage "the bad guys" to go along.

in reference to: Regulation Didn’t Break Banks; Police Don’t Cause Crime (view on Google Sidewiki)

Food Technology to the Rescue

The technology of growing more food per acre has saved billions from starvation. Now, technology is converting "normal food" to "health food".

Modified food will cause a few groups to get their panties in a wad, but, as the benefits grow, the good sense of the products will be realized by the masses. Scientist say that half of all babies born today will live to be 100. I say, half will live to 500 or more.

The keys to aging are being unlocked at an ever accelerating pace. Average life spans have increased from something like 65 to 79 over the past 50 years, but the increase has not been linear, the gain per year is rising. Many cures for disease are close at hand. Genetically modified food will help us cure things like obesity and diabetes.

in reference to: FuturePundit: Monsanto Wins FDA Soy Omega 3 Approval (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Facebook: Social Network: Freedom: The Word?

A few months ago, a friend said, "Facebook is just a social network". At the time, this friend could not see what all the "buzz" was about. I wonder if he is beginning to understand.

The attached article tells how Facebook is helping bring freedom to the oppressed. While the article goes on to say that words can be used for evil as well as for good and that shining the light on a problem is only part of solving the problem, we all know the power of words.

Around 1830, Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote the memorable phrase, "The pen is mightier than the sword". A similar phrase, "The tongue is mightier than the blade", may have mistakenly been credited to Euripides who died in 406BC. (Wikipedia info.) No matter, the power of words has been documented for millennium.

The Gospel of John certainly tells us about the power of God's Word. A less familiar statement is written in Hebrews 4:12 "Indeed, the word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart."

The automatic rebuttal; "Is Facebook the Word of God?".

The answer is, "It depends on us".

in reference to:

": “These technologies paired with effective methodologies can help organizations make significant contributions toward advancing the democratic process in authoritarian states.”"
- Facebooking for Freedom » The Foundry (view on Google Sidewiki)

Microsoft Sues -- HP Wins

Microsoft is suing, trying to prevent Google from building a book business. HP is scanning books, building a book selling business. Microsoft is the loser, HP and Google are the winners.

The public, the authors and the publishers will be served by the connections that HP and Google will make to bring knowledge, tucked away in library stacks, to the public.

Chances are that a new settlement will be reached between Google and the publishers. Next month, when several new book readers are on the market, the HP and Google initiatives will start to bear fruit. Microsoft is going to be left, wilting on the vine.

in reference to: HP One-Ups Google on Books | BNET Technology Blog | BNET (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fox -- Obama -- CNN

Each time Obama attacks Fox, its ratings go up and CNN's ratings go down. An interesting pattern is developing.

Each time Kerry and Boxer come out blazing about how they will fix global warming, the odds that the cap and trade tax will go through falls. Each time Nancy Pelosi speaks about health care, the odds that the health care taxes will pass goes down.

Obama's favorable ratings are still slightly positive, but the congress, including Pelosi has very little support. It appears that the "loyal opposition to 'change'" is ready to win a few battles.

in reference to: Steep losses at CNN as cable ratings tumble in October -- DailyFinance (view on Google Sidewiki)

Nook, Vook and "Negative Halos"

Are you ready for the revolution? The consequences of books going digital are probably bigger and sooner than you realize.

Eight months ago, at a committee meeting, I talked about the demise of the post office and the newspaper "boy" being just around the corner. A friend responded that I would ultimately be correct, but it would take 15 years. As new software programs, including Windows 7 and Chrome OS, and scores of hardware devices, such as Alex and Nook, roll out, I suspect my friend is beginning to appreciate that the electronic reading tablet will soon be as common as the pocket calculator. In situations similar to this, my old boss, Jim Brinkley, President of Legg Mason Wood Walker, had a fondness for saying that he did not know the exact outcome, but that "economics wins".

The economics of delivering an electronic book versus the physical delivery of a book is not a contest; the total cost of electronic delivery is a small fraction of the cost of physical delivery. The neatest thing is that a copy of the book that has been delivered electronically has been saved for additional use time and time again. This "cloud copy" gives the reader several powerful opportunities. For example, books down-loaded to Nook readers can be lent to a friend for up to 14 days and readers can read on a device at work and then pick-up where they left off on a different device at home. Students no longer have the excuse that they left their book at school/home.

The Vook is another interesting innovation. The Vook is the combination of video and text. In many situations, this is powerful. For example, the history student, reading about man's assent to the moon, might click on a link to watch the event.

In the near future, teachers will give reading/writing assignments and then monitor the progress of each student as they read and view the assignment and as they make their outlines and then write their "papers". No more asking Billy if he has done his homework, instead, the teacher will know exactly where Billy is in the process, even checking in with Billy's progress with home work. The students finished with assignments might be offered any number of other "vooks" to enjoy.

The "game is changing". The idea to appreciate is that low cost and ease of electronic delivery changes what is delivered, when it is delivered and when a response is delivered. The student is able to "turn in his assignment" immediately. Even better, the student might be given the opportunity to review his earlier work late in the year and to modify it based on what he has learned during the year. The teacher can become a collaborator, helping the student complete a very nice "finished product".

An employee, preparing a presentation, will be able to share the unfinished presentation with associates for feedback. Productivity will be enhanced as the finished product is likely to be a better product, finished in less time.

One might correctly argue that employees already use computers to enhance productivity. My favorite comparison is that internet 1.0 is like the Model T automobile. The Model T was a small improvement over the horse and buggy and it changed the world, but it was during the second half of the product growth curve when better vehicles shrunk supply chains and drove down costs around the world. The internet that most of us use today is a good tool, but mobile, anytime delivery, is like putting a Cadillac in a Model T world.

Soon, one organization after another is going to feel "the great pull". Schools, businesses and churches will discover that they do not need to "push" electronic delivery as a cost saving method, but that their "customers" are demanding electronic delivery.

Over the next two years, the masses will upgrade their "phones" to internet connected readers. Organizations will soon face a new response. A significant number of recipients of "paper newsletters" will be turned-off by the producers lack of sensitivity to the environment. The "customers view" of wasted ink, paper and delivery fuel will "rub-off" as a negat

in reference to: Nook and Vook are poised to make eReading interesting (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, October 25, 2009


High yield available in a sold growth stock. What is not to like?

in reference to: Verizon Communications (VZ) NewsBite - VZ Upgraded By Credit Suisse (view on Google Sidewiki)

The Verizon Droid: "Top Gun"

When reading about the Droid, I am reminded of the movie "Top Gun" and the "need for speed".
The specs for the new Verizon phone, a Texas Instruments processor controlled by the Google Android operating system, suggest that the Droid is an awesome and fast phone!

The speed is not just clock speed. The TI processor is designed to rapidly switch from one task to the other, giving users the ability to be interrupted without having to start a task over. The spacing and size of keyboard keys and predictive text auto filling makes for extra fast text input. The support of html5 means that web pages will jump onto the screen. And, most importantly, Verizon has committed to continue to lead the nation with the most comprehensive network. Indeed, Verizon has already committed to spend billions of dollars rolling out high speed LTE 4G service.

Speed and great network support are not the only advantages offered by the Droid. Like the fighter jets in "Top Gun", the Droid is loaded with advanced features; such things as street view maps, speech recognition, turn by turn directions, 5M camera with 4x zoom, noise reduction, calendar sync, contact sync, pre-loaded Facebook software, pre-loaded Amazon mp3 software and support for Google Talk, YouTube, IM, SMS and MMS.

Top speed, top quality, top support and top features make an awesome combination. The official Droid announcement is scheduled for Wednesday, October 28, 2009. Deliveries should begin in early November.

in reference to: Motorola Droid makes appearance on Motorola’s site : Boy Genius Report (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Government Pork Stimulus Limited

The government stimulus went into the pockets of a relatively few people. The good news is that large capital investments are being made in various industries; despite the fear of higher taxes and costs that will be imposed on US businesses. Indeed, the positive effects of the government stimulus are most likely totally off set by the negative effects of growing government.

in reference to: The Stimulus and the Economy, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Thursday, October 22, 2009


This fact demonstrates that free people should be allowed to remain free. Those who would impose restrictions on my car should get rid of their dog first.

in reference to:

"The eco-pawprint of a pet dog is twice that of a 4.6-litre Land Cruiser driven 10,000 kilometres a year, researchers have found."
- They Laughed at Me When I Said it, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Strong Economy Weak Job Growth

The idea that the recession of 20080-09 was a "recalculation recession" rather than a "Keynesian recession" has merit. The chart showing that more than 55% of the jobs lost in this recession will not come back is solid evidence that "the world has and is changing".

The chart is also an indication of just how great the Schumpeterian proftits are going to be! Ever since the price of oil went above $30 per barrel, it has made great economic sense for businesses to invest capital in order to reduce costs. Of course, most businesses do not do this by drilling oil wells or learning how to hydro-crack methane rich shale.

Most businesses have only a few options. They can practice techniques designed to increase process efficiency, such as Japanese Kaizen production techniques: they can invest in robots, they can out-source work to low cost producers; or, they can lower administrative and communications costs through the adoption of "Web 2.0".

A widget producer that had become unprofitable using 2x inputs of labor and 1x input of technology might now be very profitable while using 1x input of labor and 1.5 inputs of technology.

History gives us cause for great hope. A year or so after the 1990-91 recession, "permanent job loss" reached a post WWII record of 45%. By 1993, the number of "new" jobs created was miraculous.

Right now, 85 to 90% of Americans have never "had it so good". The cost of living in America has reached never before lows. Real incomes for most Americans are at all time record levels. Over the coming decade, Americans are going to buy many things that have never been available before. Obviously, internet connected pocket computer/readers will be a common purchase. Another will be medical procedures made possible by DNA sequencing. Before these procedures can be applied, the "patient" will first have to spring for the sequencing. An economic boom is within sight.

Arnold Kling continues to worry inflation; central bankers have made more money available than ever before. To a significant degree, businesses and the public have not shown great interest in grabbing hold of this money. The sharp fall in the dollar in recent weeks demonstrates that demand for money in fast growing economies has taken hold.

Job growth is likely to follow the pattern of the past two recessions; unemployment will plateau while world wide economic growth will strong. The "jobless recovery" will stretch-out to a couple of years. Aggressive investors will make high returns while many cower due to the fear induced by reported economic conditions. After a time of preparation, huge Schumpeterian profits will cause many "new jobs" to be created.

Again, the idea that this recession is a recalculation is a good one. It takes more time to think-up and develop a new business than it does to resume an old one. The result will be a couple of years of strong US economy accompanied by weak job growth before it becomes obvious that we are living through the strong growth brought-on by the second half of the internet product life cycle.

in reference to:

"What does a "jobless recovery" mean? I do not like the term. Around 2003, when the term was first coined, I instead described it as a "productivity-cushioned recession." Either term describes the same phenomenon--GDP growing significantly faster than employment."
- A Recalculation Data Point, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Dollar Weak Because Growth is Strong

The doomers, who titillate us with "economic pornography", see the decline in the dollar as something worthy of screams; such as OMG and ain't it awful!

The reality is that because rapid economic growth in the developing world has resumed, there is suddenly demand for foreign capital; why hold US dollars when other countries are enjoying rapid growth? The obvious example being China, which grew its GDP at 8.9% this past quarter!

If an economy is growing at 8.9%, then that economy is going to attract capital one way or another. And yes, by causing the dollar to drop, the rapid growth in developing countries becomes the engine of growth for us.

Every time the dollar falls a notch, American assets go on sale; no matter if we are talking about real estate, stocks or spare production capacity, including labor. The growth in demand overseas leverages itself-up such that increased demand for capital overseas results in increased domestic capital.

No doubt, the FOMC must eventually "lean the other way". And, with history as our guide, we are assured that the FOMC will ultimately overshoot. The main reason for the persistence of overshooting is that the market takes over, which is exactly the process playing out now. After the FOMC starts the presses, the printing of money morphs into a function of markets.

With US unemployment pushing into double digit territory, there is a case to be made for continued economic stimulus. The decline in the dollar suggests that it is time to start reigning in the stimulus.

Getting the turn right is more art than science. It is not like the FOMC is shooting doves off a telephone wire. The doves are flying at 40 miles per hour. To hit the target, the FOMC has to shoot where the birds are going to be, not where they are.

Item 4. is the important issue. With so much spare production capacity in the US, it is common sense to err on the side of stimulus. The calm in the treasury markets fully counter the claim of gold, that inflation is ready to break-out. The only sector that is bumping up against capacity limits is the mobile communications sector and the rapid growth there is for the purpose of substituting energy efficient goods energy intense goods. Yes, the dollar can go lower, encouraging domestic growth, without pushing us into hyper-inflation.

in reference to:

"Supply-side, production-based multipliers are the best kind to have and they can outweigh the economic costs of higher import prices."
- Marginal Revolution: How can a weak dollar be beneficial? (view on Google Sidewiki)

What the Church Should Learn from Google (3 of many)

Think Big!!!!

What the Church Should Learn from Google (3 of many): "

3. They haven’t arrived.

Most of us would say Google is pretty big. Just 11 years after they launched their search engine, they are one of the top ten most well known brands in the world. But despite how big they’ve become, they continue to think bigger. Instead of looking back at what they’ve accomplished, they look outward and to the future.

For example, with Google Translate they are aiming to break down language barriers across the globe. That’s a pretty ambitious goal, but it’s just the kind of big vision that helps propel organizations to go further.

As churches, it’s really easy to look at what God’s done–our history, heritage, or recent success–and become more focused on that instead of the big opportunities for what could be.

Is your church as big as Google?

No? Great, there are a lot more opportunities for your church to reach this world.

Yes? Great, there are a lot more opportunities for your church to reach this world.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Radical Hospitality

Years ago, Aunt Melba offered "radical hospitality". If she did not have a fresh baked pie ready when you walked in the door, she immediately went to work. My church is a friendly church, but I would not call its hospitality radical. "Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations" sounds promising.

in reference to:

"Radical hospitality is one of the five practices stressed by Robert Schnase in Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations. The word “radical” takes the ho-hum “hospitality” beyond the typical handshake and “ratchets up” hospitality"
- Theolog: On the shelf: Five Practices of Fruitful Congregations by Robert Schnase (view on Google Sidewiki)

TV Moms Are Saving Lives

Facebook and Twitter are social and TV is anti-social, but poor people around the world are learning good things from TV. The reduction of fertility rates among poor TV watchers is a documented phenomenon. The improvement in the treatment of women is another.

"New TV", the kind we hold in our hand and currently call smartphones, will make a even greater impact in the years to come. The main reason is affordability. Maybe three times as many people own phones as TVs. Upgrading to a smartphone is a natural progression.

The power of TV for the under-developed world is: "I want to live like those guys". Foreign leaders, particularly Muslim leaders, are apt to criticize the decadent content of American shows, but the people do become more like us after watching us.

in reference to:

"The portrayal of plausible female characters with few children, apparently, was an important social cue."
- Charles Kenny on why TV, not Facebook or Twitter, is going to revolutionize the world | Foreign Policy (view on Google Sidewiki)

A Nuclear Freeze

The risks of nuclear proliferation by Iran, North Korea and Buma are great. Our government needs to get serious. The US should work with our European allies to impose a "nuclear freeze"; no cooperation with these rouge nations or their trading partners until nuclear 123 agreements have been reached.

in reference to:

evidence points toward Burmese collaboration with North Korea in the
development of a secret nuclear reactor and plutonium extraction
- The Future Nuclear Powers You Should Be Worried About | Foreign Policy (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Big Mack Minimum Wage Hike

The iPod nano is cheap in the USA relative to the Big Mac. Is this just a random event?

I suspect a big portion of the difference has to do with the local wage content of the products. Hong Kong is the land of the free whereas the US is the land of the regulated. The minimum wage pushes up the price of the Big Mac in America.

Another factor could be differences in import tariffs on beef and electronics. While there is value in the data offered, the value would be increased if other dimensions were added, such as wage rates and import rates.

in reference to:

"a side-by-side comparison of the Big Mac Index and the iPod Nano Index suggests that these might not really be good metrics for measuring currency valuations. As you can see, the two indexes result in wildly uncorrelated results. If it were really a matter of currency valuation, you’d expect both to show similar valuation problems. Instead, the pattern just seems random"
- CHART OF THE DAY: The iPod And Big Mac Indexes Just Don't Work (view on Google Sidewiki)

Common Sense Versus Pointy Heads

Common sense says that increases of CO2 lead to increased total plant mass. The phenomenon that occurs is call "Natural Carbon Sequestration". Pointy headed group thinkers keep saying yes, but...

There is no need for the but. The more CO2 produced, the more plants are fed and fertilized, fifth grade science, end of story. The but in this particular case is yet another instance of common sense falling victim to pointy headed logic (that my made up reason has to be better than traditional thought). "The effect of temperature is mostly negative"! This guy would try to grow green beans in Antarctica just to show that his ideas are "smart"!

in reference to:

"doubling that amount of carbon dioxide while holding steady all other inputs–water, nutrients, and so forth–yields a 70 percent increase in plant growth, an obvious boon to agricultural productivity.” I’m not 100% sure of this, but"
- Climate change in Superfreakonomics | Stand-Up Economist (view on Google Sidewiki)

99,000 Deaths Per Year: Hospital Infections!

It is sad but true that more than twice as many people die by picking up an infection in the hospital than die from auto accidents. 1.7 million HAI's per year!

The problem is clear: the patients are not the hospitals customers. Medicare, medicaid and insurance companies are the customers. The second problem is that none of the democrats plans to reform health care, reform problem one. They all make it a bigger problem than it is now!

in reference to:

"The odds a hospital patient will be diagnosed with an HAI are 1 in 22.06, which represents an estimated 1.7 million cases each year. While about one-fifth of these are surgical site infections, the majority are unassociated with the primary medical condition and yet can be as much of a health risk, if not more, to the patient. The infections can be quite serious, complicating the primary medical condition and leading to 99,000 deaths from HAIs per year."
- Book of Odds--Health Care’s Side-Effect: Hospital-Acquired Infections (view on Google Sidewiki)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stocks: Full Speed Ahead

A good chart for seeing the stock market rebound is not over is presented here.

Tradition is usually the best guide!


Change should generally evolve slowly. It is wrong to remain routed in old beliefs long after the evidence proves the old beliefs wrong. The more common arrogance is to push for the change we believe is right, before the change has been sampled, tested and tasted by many.

in reference to:

"tradition is usually the best guide. Clever innovations can improve on tradition, but they do so with much less frequency than intellectuals implicitly believe."
- Political Dispositions, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

High IQ and Common Sense Mutually Exclusive?

I neat, well thought out and funny post. Do you think there is truth in these words?

in reference to: A Proposal for Masonomics Fieldwork, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

I like Alex Android!

It is not the exact format, but the creative thinking that is exciting. The "phone-controller" portion of this device could be a pop-out device, the bigger device being an independent docking station!

The technology and economies of scale are upon us that will take the price of plain Jim pocket reading devices down to the pocket calculator level! With free software provided by Google and hardware subsides from service providers, "combo devices" such as this one will soon be offered "free of charge with a two-year contract". The day of the 5,000 song Hymnal, 20 version Bible "pew reader" is only a few devices away.

Keep in mind that next year, the two screens could be totally independent, but WiFi linked. A six inch touch screen could morph into a full qwerty key board before jumping back to phone mode. While the touch screen is busy displaying a Hulu show or Netflix movie, the second screen could be displaying social network comments from all viewers.

Carrying two screens on occasion would be a pleasure, no burden at all, if the combination of two small screens gave one all the functions of phone, reader and computer! I suspect a stacked arrangement or a face to face format, like a book, would be better than this 10" tall version. Since the docking concept would require separate batteries and separate radios, the combo idea might be a winning solution.

in reference to:

"work around for taking advantage of the readability and energy saving features of E-Ink, while also offering support for color graphics and multimedia"
- Alex: Dual Screen eReader With Google Android (view on Google Sidewiki)

Do We "See as well as the Disciples"?

In Mark's Gospel we lean that time and again the 12 failed to "see their calling". Do we?

Monday is a good day to "start blogging toward Sunday"! If we are not ready, we should at least follow along with the THEOLOG blog.

in reference to:

"Jesus’ 12 disciples are pictured as flawed individuals—failing time after time to see, to hear, to understand Christ’s mission and their role in it, their calling to accompany him on his journey to the cross and to pick up their own cross and follow him."
- Theolog: Blogging toward Sunday: Flaws and calls and healing (view on Google Sidewiki)

Drivel About the Dollar

"another coffin nail for the dollar", "no just kidding", "well maybe"

Over the past 50 years, there must have been 10,000 articles which put "another coffin nail" in for the dollar. In the referenced article, the Financial Times says, "yes, no, do nothing, maybe". In the early 1980's, there was a streak of several years when the articles went the other way, saying, "Oh my God, the strength of the dollar is going to kill us all!".

It would be silly for oil to be repriced into something other than dollars, when America continues to be the biggest buyer on the world markets, but it would not be Armageddon if it happened. It is just as easy to calculate exchange of dollars for euros as it is to calculate the exchange of euros for dollars. There can be do excessive dumping of dollars without producing great profits for those willing to be the dumpees!

There are many countervailing forces at work. American's largest export is computer chips. The price of computer chips is falling rapidly and demand is rising exponentially. For as far as the eye can see, very strong sales and profit growth are projected for big American companies such as INTC. Over the next few years, computer chips are going to send terabytes of information from from road regulatory signs and health monitors to other chips that will resend and process this data. Your guess is as good as mine as to what innovative uses will be found for the most inexpensive and most powerful chips ever made! The source of America's oil import money is alive and prospering.

The primary source of concern, about the strength of the dollar, is not even mentioned in the FT article; yes, if democrats get their way, America will increase its domestic spending on heath care by trillions and America will be forced to raise taxes dramatically. However, in district after district, the American public is already prepared to throw the big spenders out. Intrade odds on passage of an Obama health bill in 2009 have fallen by more than half.

If investors are inclined to make very difficult and complicated bets on international finance, more power to them, but they should not rely on the "yes, no, maybe drivel" in articles such as this. More importantly, they should not be scared away from investing in equity by these kinds of articles that, decade after decade, use words like requiem and coffin nails. The thing that needs to be buried once and for all is "pornographic economic drivel".

in reference to:

"Australia has just this week hammered another nasty nail into the dollar’s coffin by – in what everyone is referring to as a “shock move” – shifting interest rates from 3 per cent to 3.25 per cent."
- / Personal Finance - It’s too early to sing a requiem for the dollar (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Make Them Click Again?

Clicking a mouse button is such an inconsequential event that we do not think of it as work. Effort is defined as the conscious exertion of power and we typically click on a mouse without conscious thought. But, there is a huge gap, more than effort, between seeing an advertisement on a page and clicking through to an article on another page.

For Google to become the fifth largest capitalized company in America it had to do more than one thing right. One of those things has been making every fraction of a second counts. Google constantly works on speed. It keeps it's information presentations minimalistic in order to save a fraction of a second each and every time the Google search button is hit. The total difference in pages seen is immeasurable.

The French certainly have a strong sense of who they are and it is easy to make arguments about how slowing down life a little is a good thing. Like the click of a mouse, the loss of a fraction of a second here and there seems like such an inconsequential thing, but the loss of trillions of advertising views is the result.

Orange is a big player and there is room for many big players in the information world, but economies of scale are critical in information networks. Orange needs to make a deal with a big provider, such as Google or Yahoo, to provide display ads and the French need to back-away from what in essence is a trade war.

By the law of comparative advantage, there are many French authors who will benefit if their works are given wide distribution through Amazon and Google book services. The people of France and the people of the world will benefit by having the widest selection of books available. It is the French who will be hurt the most if protectionist walls are raised, even if some of the walls are as small as the extra click of a mouse.

in reference to:

"Orange does not plan to sell ads in connection with the newspaper articles but says the papers will benefit when readers click through to their Web sites, increasing their online audiences"
- Media Cache - France Moves to Win Back Control of Content - (view on Google Sidewiki)

The French Lose

If America refused to allow Toyota cars in America, Americans (American consumers in particular) would be the losers. Limiting Kindles to English language books will slow sales of Kindles, but it will also slow sales of non-English books. Publishers win when they increase distribution outlets.

Besides, it is not at all clear that Kindle, which is a "closed system", will continue to lead electronic books sales after the browser becomes common on wireless table computing devices. Tablets with web browsers will be tablets for the masses. The masses will buy many more books than the relatively few who are willing to shell out significant dollars for a dedicated book reading tablet.

Amazon's saving grace will be that it will soon sell more electronic books through Kindle apps on non-Kindle-dedicated-devices than it will through Kindle devices. It remains to be seen how many of these books will be written in French.

in reference to:

"So far, the French and other European publishers have refused to sign digital book deals with Amazon, and Kindles sold outside the United States will offer only English-language books."
- Media Cache - France Moves to Win Back Control of Content - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Billions Here, Billions There

Add (boe) billions of barrels here and billions of barrels there and sooner or latter the foolishness of US energy policy is clear. While democrats are busy wasting billions of stimulus dollars on every thing from corn fuel to wind power, there are nonillions of methanogens producing natural gas as fast as we can use it!

in reference to: Green Car Congress: Eni Makes Giant Gas Discovery in Offshore Venezuela (view on Google Sidewiki)

China's Dollar Bonanza!

Kenneth Rogoff has done a good job of writing a yellow journalism article about China's accumulated holdings of $2 trillion dollars. By tossing in as many rotten walnuts as he could find, he made a scrumptious banana split into a diabetic disaster waiting to happen. Just because, one time, way back when, America ruined the Europeans' banana split by mixing in rotten walnuts, it does not have to happen that way again. Do you think we might have learned from prior mistakes? Is the current situation really all that analogous to the hyper-inflationary times of the late 70's?

History does indeed rhyme time and again but Mr. Rogoff has stretched time all the way around the corner from a tough deflationary recession to his perceived future time of ravaging inflation. The ravaging inflation of the past that he attempts to link us to was "the cost of waging the Vietnam War and a surge in oil prices". Duh! From best I remember, the cost of the Iraq war and the price of oil in this cycle peaked a year or two back. Is Rogoff ready to predict that oil is going to $300 per barrel anytime soon? Rogoff is fighting the "last inflation war" just like old generals are inclined to re-fight "the last military war".

The reality is that comparing the America-Europe situation in the 1970's to America-China situation today is the biggest stretch Rogoff makes. Europe and America were far more protectionist in those days. All the big industries were protected from outside competition such that each time prices rose, the union bosses in each industry would demand over-compensating wage increases. This inflation was called a "wage-price spiral".

Today, we enjoy almost the opposite situation. The real cost of producing goods is actually going down. The movement of goods production to the low cost producer is lowering the wage cost per unit of goods. In the 1970's the world experienced the oil price shock when supplies were suddenly severely restricted. This time, because billions of poor folk around the world are moving up the acceleration curve of wealth, it was increased demand that pushed the price of oil to $150 per barrel last year. Those same poor folk felt the crunch even more than the rest of us. When a few months of high priced oil wipes out the entire net worth of a family, it is natural for that family to save a higher portion of his net worth. It is not a problem but common sense at work when a few billion very poor people save an excessively high percentage of their wealth.

High energy prices have served as a call to action. Development of additional resources is well underway. The best example is the nuclear power production assembly line built by the Chinese. The Chinese are building energy production at a cost of less than $30 per barrel of oil; as scale and efficiency develops, the price could go to $20 per barrel!

What a blessing for a nation of poor farmers 20 years ago, to have been able to accumulate $2 trillion dollars in savings! What a blessing for these people of rising standards of living to remain conservative enough to save such a significant portion. Until the recession hit hard, Americans had grown overly financially secure and they enjoyed living too well.

Like it or not, the USA just went through a cycle where "the dogs (banks) were allowed to run". Everyone had a good time until the choker lease was cinched. The policy of government went from encouraging home ownership on 100% borrowed money to a policy of choking the dogs for having run so fast. Goldman and friends made a few trillion off the switch.

We went from one extreme to the other and are now in the process of settling somewhere closer to the middle. Americans were given a harsh lesson that excessive leverage is risky. The Chinese have been given the lesson that their levels of savings are more than adequate.

Rogoff implies that Chinese savings will double from $2 trillion to $4 trillion. To keep from being easily proven wrong, "pornographic economists" do not make outlandish predictions but only imply them. The reality is that whil

in reference to: Project Syndicate (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Google by a Nose? Google by a load!

Electronic "book race" articles imply that Google will likely come in third in a three horse, book seller, race. Amazon, Apple, Google? I guess these folk see WalMart, Sony and the largest book seller in the world, Barnes and Noble, as plow horses, in the "also ran" category.

Amazon has a head start. It has lined up more publishers, sold more reading devices and sold more electronic books. It is the king of online retail with a solid repeat-customer base. Amazon controls price and offers electronic books at substantial discounts to hard cover prices. It constantly offers a few free books; the avid reader can easily save the price of the Kindle in 3 to 9 months. Should the avid reader buy a Kindle, a Sony, one of the readers in the growing Barnes and Noble stable or should he wait?

Apple is the mobile gadget king because it makes the best gadgets. The iPhone is kicking butt and taking names. Nokia hardly knows what happened, it was cruising along selling more phones than anyone when Apple grabbed hold of the top-line market and refused to let go. Apple has a huge presence in the online music market and is selling Kindle format books, readable on the iPhone and the iPod. The coming Apple tablet computer has been built and rebuilt and rebuilt to get it right; Apple makes quality products. The new Apple Tablet will be first rate; a high dollar purchase but a powerful, easy to use, product. The combination of Amazon books on a top quality Apple Tablet will be a formidable competitor for the $800 plus marketplace.

Google is running in a very different race. For Google the issue is not about selling X number of books or electronic gadgets for X dollars profit per book/gadget. Yes, Google will sell "Google Edition Books" for only a 37% share of revenue (making publishers and authors happy), but it has the much broader mission of making information available to all, while making profits by connecting the knowledge to the knowledge seeker.

Put another way, Amazon and Apple are operating under the Cournot theory of business profits and Google is operating under the Bertrand theory. The difference is that "Cournot businesses" limit their production to avoid dropping the price of their products to the marginal cost of production. Google is in the enviable position of benefiting when the marginal cost of information drops to the marginal cost of distribution and those costs are rapidly approaching zero.

Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine, has written two authoritative works that explain the digital world and it's relationship to Bertrand theory -- "The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business is Selling Less of More" and "Free". The bottom line of these works is: 1) the cost of storage and distribution of digital goods, by the rule of Moore's Law, will continue to rapidly approach zero and, 2) the aggregate demand for these low cost goods will continue to soar--at Moore's Law compounded rates!

Google's approach to this "book race" is not to get to the finish line first but to get there with the most. Google has said to publishers and to Sony, Barnes and Noble, WalMart, Verizon and hundreds of thousands of others, "help us carry the load and we will all make money". Google is willing to go all out to reach the economies of scale needed to win. Google says to publishers, "allow us to sell your content and right from the start, even before economies of scale kick-in, we will give you 63% of the revenue". In the following breath, Google says to retailers of gadgets and books, "We have wholesale goods available at very attractive prices"! Google is staying true to its model of being willing to perform new services for zero income; patiently waiting until high volumes and continuing cost declines to push forward positive returns.

Google also makes the strong statement to consumers; "We are on your side!" Indeed, Google offers hundreds of software products to consumers free of charge. Google even says to gadget makers, "in order to help you offer your customers the best deal, we will give you your ope

in reference to: Google Editions Bookstore to Face Stiff Challenge From Amazon, Perhaps Apple (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Hello Gideon!

Newsweek has taken a look at the new GLO media rich electronic Bible and declared Gideon dead. In reality, Gideon (Gideon International) will counter with a very low cost electronic edition. The GLO sells for $90 and is currently only available for the PC. In a few months it will be available on hand held gadgets, but $90 is beyond the Gideon price range.

The Gideon organization has distributed over 1.3 billion Bibles, 77 million last year. Gideon produces Bibles in 90 languages and distributes in 190 countries. The opportunity to do even more is fast approaching.

Soon, low cost hand held readers will be as common as calculators. Downloading an electronic version of the Bible to a hand held reader can be done for only a few pennies. Would it not be wonderful if all the new book readers were to come with a free copy of a Gideon Bible pre-loaded?

I look forward to getting a look at the media rich GLO Bible, with the hope that the richness will be an aid to the Holy Spirit. I read somewhere today that the Bible is an ever constant and ever changing book. How true? The Word of God remains forever true, it changes in that our understanding is a work in progress.

in reference to: Digital Bible Could Hasten End of Bound Scriptures | Newsweek BeliefWatch: Lisa Miller | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Purchase a House Now! Digitalization is Making Houses Cheap!

Those who have a job (92% of all who want a job) should buy a house now! 

The combination of very low mortgage rates and very low...

Thursday, October 15, 2009

E-Reader Adoption Faster Than Expected

Many view e-readers as one trick ponies. In reality, e-readers are not just for books. Put a Chrome OS in a reader and you have a low cost tablet browser. Add a multi-touch interface and dozens of applications and you soon have more function than in a full blown desk-top computer.

An interesting thing about the upcoming adoption curve will be that people who never purchased a desk-top computer and people who own one but seldom use it will see the rational to purchase readers. The ability to read the "news" from an easy chair will make e-readers a different experience from reading from a computer.

If the rumors are true, that Google and Apple will try to spoil the launch of Windows 7 on October 22 by launching Chrome OS and the Apple Tablet, then the battle of the e-reader, tablet computing shift will start with a bang. Barnes and Noble and Best Buy are gearing up to retail the devices.

in reference to: Why E-Reader Adoption Will Be Slower Than People Think | paidContent (view on Google Sidewiki)

Kentucky - John Wall is Not Enough

The hype is in. John Wall is great. Calipari has knack for winning. Kentucky will certainly be much better than last year. My preseason guess is that they make it to the sweet sixteen with a little luck.

in reference to: 2009-10 SEC Basketball Previews: Kentucky | Bleacher Report (view on Google Sidewiki)

Conservative Libertarian Liberal

The libertarian is all for the rule of law while desiring to repeal all unnecessary laws. Conservatives are willing to use government to maintain the status quo while liberals are willing to use the law to force change. Give the people freedom to decide!

in reference to: Conservative != Libertarian, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Messed Up Health Care

1954 was a bad year for our health care system. That was the year that corporations were granted the right to deduct health care expenses and employees were allowed to receive the benefits income tax free. The cost of health care has been on the high road ever since, aided and abetted by the start-up of medicare in 1965.

Even before these events, Congress exempted insurance companies from antitrust laws in 1945. Instead of fixing the problem, legislators would like to add layers of additional complications, because that is the way to collect campaign contributions from special interest.

We have a messed up health care system because decisions are being made for political reasons. The good news is that limits have been reached. The results could be no bill because the pending health care bills will either cause massive increases in taxes or government rationing of care. Theoretically, democrats can pass whatever they want but what the unions, insurance companies, senate and house want are all different things. Representatives from rural states want something very different than representatives from urban states. Democrats need a consensus among themselves.

The treat of ending the insurance antitrust rules will increase the flow of funds into campaign war chest but threatening and acting are two different things. It is going to be interesting to see the Harry Reid version of health care reform. One slip and democrats will lose plenty of seats.

in reference to: End to insurers' antitrust exemption proposed - MarketWatch (view on Google Sidewiki)

Blogging toward Sunday:

Many folk attend church on Sunday but pay God little attention during the week. The idea of "Blogging Toward Sunday" is a good way to stay engaged.

in reference to: Theolog: Blogging toward Sunday: A scandalous life (view on Google Sidewiki)

WalMart Offering $45 Cell Phone Unlimited!

The price of service keeps falling for unlimited voice and unlimited data. Before long, home broadband could go the way of the home land line.

Once the WalMart devices available include combination e-readers and voice phones, the shift from paper books, newspapers and checks will accelerate.

in reference to: Walmart Offering $45 Unlimited Cellphone Plan Nationwide - Walmart - Gizmodo (view on Google Sidewiki)

Adam Smith Understood

Adam Smith understood that the common good was served miraculously when moral and immoral individuals sought what was in their own best interest. What we have now is what George Washington warned about in his farewell address. We have special interests pushing for their groups best interest. The common good is certainly not the main concern of many of the parties.

in reference to: Adam Smith Meets the Rich Young Ruler: Health Care and the Common Good - LaVonne Neff - God’s Politics Blog (view on Google Sidewiki)

Barnes and Noble Readers--TI Calculators

The basic reader is a relatively simple device. When Texas Instruments offered hand held calculators for $2,000 in 1966-67, there were plenty of skeptics about the ultimate success. My guess is that basic e-readers will be sell for $59 or less within 18 months and that cell phone companies will offer them free of charge with a two year service agreement.

The dual screen of the BN reader sounds interesting. I am more than ready for my RSS feeds to terminate at both my desk top Google Reader and at my hand held e-reader. Of course, they should sync.

Can you envision the day when you have multiple e-readers lying around? The $99 Wikipedia reader is also an interesting machine. Load a similar device with 20 translations of the bible and the church hymnal, bring the price down to $10 or so with manufacturing scale and most churches in America will see the electronic light. Folks who have said they will never buy a computer will spring for a $59 easy to use device.

in reference to: Barnes and Noble's E-Reader Like a Kindle/iPhone Chimera: First Photos and Details - Barnes and Nobles reader - Gizmodo (view on Google Sidewiki)

Liberal Lament

The US political pendulum swings, but our system of checks and balances generally prevents us from adopting the most extreme positions. Even when the majority swings into support of extreme positions, our system often requires 60% support for major moves to occur; it is tough to reach and hold 60% through one complete budget cycle.

Having one republican to support a bill that is hated by unions, the self employed, insurance companies, libertarians and conservatives certainly does not imply 60% support. Yesterday, a democratic senator from ND said that merging the finance bill with one of the others, which might add a public option based on medicare distribution, would make the bill a non-starter for him. Others have said they will not vote for a bill that does not include a public option. Some of these statements will prove to be bluff and thunder, but the public will bring forth a strong protest if democrats muscle through any of these extremely expensive bills.

The Baucus bill imposes a 59% marginal tax bracket on moderate income families. Wow! Will democrats willingly commit election suicide? Is government control over health care such a priority that democrats will sacrifice their majority to obtain it?

Ironically, the second half of the Bill Clinton Administration was a swing of the pendulum to the right. Adding irony is that the George W. Bush Administration was a swing to the left (domestic policies). Completing the irony is that the peak of the pendulum swing was reached just after Obama's election; when the big government, phony stimulus package (the broken window law) was passed.

The momentum is now down the big government hill, back toward the middle. A misstep by democrats at this juncture could increase the momentum and result in big wins by republicans the next two if not three Novembers.

in reference to: Howard Kurtz - Liberal Lament - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

The Methodist Tradition: Blogging just posted the 10 commandments of social media.

John Wesley and brother Charles were prolific "bloggers". No one knows for sure how many pages were written by John because many of his words were destroyed by fire and others were lost. We know that Charles wrote approximately 5,500 hymns!

The real blogger of the family was mother, Susanna Wesley. Susanna led a tough life, educating kids (as one of 25 kids, she knew about large families) and managing a home on a forever tight budget. Never-the-less, she found time to operate a large Sunday Afternoon Sunday School and to write and to write. Commandment I of the 10 commandments of social media is: Thou Shalt Blog (like crazy).

Susanna would have surely enjoyed social media. Unfortunately, a number of Susanna's works were also lost to fire. It is my hope that the Google Library Project will win court approval on November 9. Too much rich history and knowledge from the past has already been lost.

in reference to: Church and Technology MyCom Articles | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Spectrum Crunch

The combination of SMS and 1 billion YouTubes per day are consuming loads of spectrum. This Christmas selling season will see many more "hot" hand held gadgets. Never-the-less, prices for all you can use plans have been gradually coming down. Fiber Cable Specialist continue to learn how to pack more data into one data stream. Our world will see huge gains in mobile data use at ever lower cost per byte. The end of paper delivery is near.

in reference to: The worldwide spectrum crunch - FierceBroadbandWireless (view on Google Sidewiki)

Boom: INTC Takes Flight After Monster Quarter

Investors should get used to high revenue and profit growth from INTC. Computer chips are starting to show up in everything. The price has fallen to levels that make chips affordable for perhaps a million applications we have not even dreamed of to date.

Health care applications are among the most exciting. Pregnant women, heart patients and diabetics are just a few of the people who could benefit by constant monitoring and feedback.

in reference to: BOOM: Intel Delivers A Monster Quarter (view on Google Sidewiki)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

World Manufacturing Share

No doubt, the USA leads the world in manufacturing. We consume more goods and services, produce more goods and services, export more goods and services...

Maple Springs - The Pumpkin Church

It was nice of Esbee to post pictures of pumpkins found at Maple Springs. Pumpkins of many sizes and shapes are offered. Esbee likes the unusual ones.
in reference to: Life in Forsyth: GRAY pumpkin (view on Google Sidewiki)

Maple Springs UMC - "feeding hungry people".

Maple Springs UMC welcomes volunteers to assist in our "feeding hungry people" outreach. In recent weeks, we have fed several local groups, including groups at the the Open Arms Community Center and the Green Street Church. Through our local food pantry, we provide groceries to hundreds of families. This afternoon, more than 60 volunteers met at Maple Springs to prepare 20,000 meals, most of which will go to Haiti. We hope you will join our efforts as there are an average of 25,000 deaths, caused by malnutrition, each day. Our Church, locally known as "The Pumpkin Church", is located on Reynolda Road, just past the entrance to Wake Forest University.

in reference to:

"Maple Springs UMC welcomes volunteers to assist in our "feeding hungry people" outreach. In recent weeks, we have fed several local groups, including groups at the the Open Arms Community Center and the Green Street Church. Through our local food pantry, we provide groceries to hundreds of families. This afternoon, more than 60 volunteers met at Maple Springs to prepare 20,000 meals, most of which will go to Haiti. We hope you will join our efforts as there are an average of 25,000 deaths, caused by malnutrition, each day. Our Church, locally known as "The Pumpkin Church", is located on Reynolda Road, just past the entrance to Wake Forest University."
- Local Groups Help Feed People In Time Of Need - Money News Story - WXII The Triad (view on Google Sidewiki)

Abundant Sidewiki Skeptics

"it's hard to imagine that Sidewiki will really catch on with users." Bah Humbug!

This sidewiki is written for the purpose of making a note to myself. In the early days, Sidewiki will not spread like wildfire, but it will be successful. There has long been the need for comments to be ranked and organized.

in reference to:

"it's hard to imagine that Sidewiki will really catch on with users."
- Kutano Launches First Third-Party Client for Google Sidewiki (view on Google Sidewiki)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Chrome Will Help Bring Old Dreams to Reality

The dream of the electronically connected home, indeed person, will soon be a reality. All the pieces are coming together. Intel is putting out the radio powered chips in great volume and Google is preparing the fast, lightweight OS.

My only quibble with the highlighted line is "within arms length". It should say, "within hearing range". The ability to carry on voice conversations with computers is now a reality.

in reference to:

"you will be able to access your apps & data from any device within arms length (smartphone, notebook, photo-frame, eReader, television, refrigerator, carputer,"
- Next-gen operating systems: Facebook on steroids? | TalkBack on ZDNet (view on Google Sidewiki)

Yes, We Should Celebrate Columbus Day!

The European discovery of America was an important event in history. End of story; there is no valid reason to revise history; the truth should always be told.

The history of the American Indian is also important. Establishing a day to celebrate the history of the American Indian is justified. While I have no problem honoring Crazy Horse, his story is not representative of the whole story.

Perhaps, a new nationwide day of celebration should be called "Melting Pot Day". The story of America is the story of people from around the world coming together to form a common bond. October 12 would not be a bad day to celebrate "Melting Pot Day". The story of Columbus would naturally be an important part of the celebration, as would the story of the many Indians who have helped our nation become what it is. The key point is not to dishonor one part of the story in order to honor another part.

in reference to:

"by commemorating
it as Columbus Day, Americans stand to ignore part of the past that deserves to be remembered."
- Should we even have a Columbus Day? | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Continental Air: Cream of the Crop

After 31 years of rationalization, airlines are finally ready to enjoy a steady climb in profits. The most recent news was bleak, with Continental being the only one of the majors to turn a profit. However, the world economy is in lift-off mode; three big examples are Russia, China and Australia. Believe it or not, even Africa is rapidly moving along the air travel "acceleration curve".

The green movement still has US energy production throttled, thus, production of goods continues to move to international locations. America will remain prosperous, but products created in America will be manufactured elsewhere. Low cost long distance communications make international business all the more practical. More than half of Continentals revenues come from overseas routes.

in reference to:

"Continental Airlines being the only airline that actually was able to turn a profit."
-   Airlines Think Recovery Could be on the Way by News (view on Google Sidewiki)

A 'Necessary' War?

Peggy Noonan knows how to set-up a debate. She starts her article about Afghanistan with: "All in. All out. Double down. Withdraw."

For some reason, America has the tendency to fight wars half way. Recently, President Bush fought the War in Iraq half way, until pushed to "go for the win" by John McCain. Obama has declared the War in Afghanistan as a "War of necessity" but then he has shown a reluctance to "go for the win".

America needs to avoid war when ever possible, but it should never fight to lose. It is time to go all in or to withdraw. The lives of our patriotic citizens are too precious to waste on half-way measures.

in reference to:

"All in. All out. Double down. Withdraw."
- Peggy Noonan: A 'Necessary' War? - (view on Google Sidewiki)

Stock Picks: Google

Credit Suisse analyst Spencer Wang has boosted his price target on Google to $600. My target is $20,000.

We are entering the "second phase" of internet advertising. Yesterday, I went to a

The News is Not Free

The publication of the news is being paid for by advertising. Murdoch (Chair of News Corp, Owner of the Wall Street Journal and a number of other papers) can belly ache all he wants but, as Jimmy Leach notes, readers have many choices on where to get their news. Murdoch wants readers to pay a higher price but GM would like to sell cars for a higher price. Producers have the right to set their prices; the market has the right to respond by buying or walking away.

in reference to: Jimmy Leach: Murdoch will pay for the end of free news - Online, Media - The Independent (view on Google Sidewiki)

Google Sidewiki

It is interesting that your readers responded with positive comments, including their plans to try the system.

in reference to: Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: Google Sidewiki (view on Google Sidewiki)

Barnes and Noble Wireless E-Reader

Two ideas in this article are very appealing. 1) Wi-Fi is key, 3G is not. 2) The lending option sounds fantastic.

With prices falling rapidly, one can envision having several readers "in the

The Last Tech Bubble is Dead, Long Live the Tech Bubble

Even when one disagrees with The Market Oracle, one must appreciate the good charts posted. The Dow to Gold Ratio, as the 20-year chart shows, has gone full circle. Stocks are as cheap, in terms of gold, today as they were in the early 1990's.

Common sense often offers the best investment advice; when gold is high and stocks are low, sell gold and buy stocks. The advice below, from The Market Oracle, is to buy gold and to sell stocks. I will not argue about the short term direction, other than to say that the next big move is stocks-up, gold-down.

in reference to:
"And here's a long-term 20 year chart of the Dow to Gold ratio with a prediction on where and when this ratio will next bottom based on the channel in this ratio chart that has formed:"
- Dow to Gold Ratio Update :: The Market Oracle :: Financial Markets Analysis & Forecasting Free Website (view on Google Sidewiki)

The Power of Stem Cells!

"...the discovery that human stem cells are able to immunize against colon cancer is both new and unexpected."

Next Big Future is one of the best websites to read during this period of incredible scientific advancements. Stem cell advancements and nano-technology advancements are the two most exciting areas of research. The use of skin cells to prevent cancer and to heal damaged body parts is going to accelerate increases in life expectancy.

One educated guess is that half of children born today will live more than 100 years. My expectation is for much greater advances. Our understanding of human cells is growing by leaps and bounds. The complexities remain, but significant progress will attract a flood of investment which will in-turn accelerate progress. Building a vaccine to immunize against colon cancer is the kind of achievement that attract top talent to this productive area of research.

in reference to:

"the discovery that human stem cells are able to immunize against colon cancer is both new and unexpected."
- Stem Cells could be used for Colon Cancer Vaccine and Possibly Lead to Universal Cancer Vaccine (view on Google Sidewiki)

Peak Oil Fiction on Top of Fiction

The argument has been made that oil production will start declining by 2030 and that "governments" will not have time to prepare. How silly?

If it comes true, that oil production starts to decline by 2030, sharp increases in price will cause the law of substitution to kick into an even higher gear. The current pace of substitution is remarkably fast.

During the upcoming Christmas season, the "hot product list" will include electronic readers which will sharply reduce the energy spent in production, delivery and disposition of paper, particularly newspaper. The US Postal Service is shutting down hundreds of post offices and cutting one day per week of delivery while millions of tunes, videos and books are being delivered electronically.

By 2030, China will have built more nuclear power generation capacity than currently exist in the USA! Don't tell me that governments are not preparing for "peak oil".

On the other hand, take a look at the oil discovery news. Two hundred billion barrels of oil were discovered last year and BP and CHP just made a deal to spend $20 billion developing Iraq's fields.

Take a look at the research news in regard to fusion power generation. By 2030, the price of electricity is likely to have fallen in real terms by even more than it fell during the past 50 years. The lower the price of electricity, the more substitution that will take place.

It is time for you guys to move onto another topic. The phrase "peak oil" put fear in the hearts of readers last year when the price of oil was around $150 per barrel. Today, we are at $72 or so and on the way to $35. If your purpose is to generate web traffic by scaring the public, you need to find another topic.

in reference to:

"Steve Sorrell, the report's author, argues that even 2030 is too soon for governments to prepare."
- FuturePundit: Range Of Peak Oil Dates All Too Soon To Prepare? (view on Google Sidewiki)

Friday, October 09, 2009

YouTube and McDonald's 1 Billion Served

Jason Kincaid is on YouTube like a duck on a June bug. Back in June, he reported YouTube downloads of 1.2 billion per day. The new YouTube logo, which notes 1 billion views per day, is reminiscent of McDonald's X Billion Served postings. The biggest difference is in the cost. The inventory and delivery costs of YouTube videos is fast approaching zero, hamburgers still cost real money to process and deliver. YouTube is becoming a money printing machine!

Jason notes that Google paid "a whopping $1.65 billion" for YouTube, three years ago. His rant is mindful of the rants about Seward's folly. When Seward negotiated to buy Alaska for 1.2 cents per acre, there was great controversy. The deal was approved and funded by congress only after multiple acrimonious debates.

Google's purchase of YouTube will ultimately be considered as good a deal as Seward's purchase of Alaska. In case you have not noticed, mobile Internet is in break-out mode. If you don't believe me, go get in line at a Verizon store. Where are all those customers coming from?

in reference to:

"acquired YouTube for a whopping $1.65 billion."
- YouTube's New Logo Announces '1 Billion Views Per Day!' -- Seeking Alpha (view on Google Sidewiki)

Perdue says Dell will pay back every "red cent"

Gov. Beverly Perdue says North Carolina has no choice but to keep offering incentives packages to attract out-of-state companies even after the closing of the Dell computer plant.


Politicians are what they are because they choose to be in the limelight. They want to be at the center of "what's happening". They justify their existence by coming up with one reason after another for bigger government. Sooner or later, the public is stuck with the bill. Medicare, Social Security, the US Postal Service and virtually every other governmental program is broke or deeply in debt, but NC "has no choice"?

The good news is that the old concept of public service is not dead. There are legislators who believe in the necessity of limited government. Hopefully, the developing backlash will continue to gather momentum. Citizens must forever remain vigilant about who they choose to hold the public purse.

When Dell was started, it sold small computers. Today, it continues to try to sell what are now large computers. The size of computers kept getting smaller but Dell has struggled to make the change to "smartphones". NC gave Dell enough money for it to try to force more desktops onto the market. The market cannot be forced without the continued waste of resources (yes, even the subsidized post office is headed for a fall and ethanol plants are dropping like dead flies). Dell should have taken a lesson from Warren Buffet and treated the desk top business as a "Bershire Hathaway", a cash cow to be used to fund other initiatives.

It is likely that Perdue will be able to collect the money owed by Dell, but a detailed accounting, including the opportunity costs squandered, will show that government boondoggles benefit politicians but not the people!

in reference to:

"Perdue says Dell will pay back every "red cent""
- Perdue says Dell will pay back every "red cent" (view on Google Sidewiki)

Will the Amazon / AT&T Kindle Deal...

Will the Amazon / AT&T Kindle Deal Herald the Arrival of 'Dumb Roaming Pipes'?

I'm glad to have found the above article, posted by Dean Bubley. Dean is one of few who appreciate the size of the big Internet Reader Tsunami that is about to hit the world. Today, another blogger, the name escapes me, made the forecast that the electronic reader will be the "hot Christmas gift" this year.

According to Bubley, the key to the Amazon/AT&T deal is that AT&T will pay local carriers cell phone roaming charges for delivering books. Apparently, Amazon will pay AT&T an extra upfront charge of about $20 per "international" reader sold.

By only bone to pick with Dean is in regard to "other than book down-loads". It seems natural that much more than books will be downloaded. Amazon already offers more than 7,000 blogs and news feeds, most of them for a per month fee of 99 cents each, some for a couple of dollars per month. Certainly, there must be more detailed provisions for how this incremental but potentially huge revenue is to be shared. Other streams of info will certainly be added. Many a Kindle Reader will want his Facebook Status Feeds, many other RSS feeds and even emails to come into his reader.

Rupert Murdoch and other media moguls will want a cut, if the feeds from the Wall Street Journal and other subscriber only publications are included. In other words, many of us will not subscribe to the "whole" Wall Street Journal, but we might be willing to pay a monthly delivery fee for packages of RSS feeds.

Bubley's article implies that AT&T gets only a set wholesale rate. My suspicion is that the rate is at least variable; one rate for big downloads of books and another for dealing with day to day transmission of email and RSS feeds.

in reference to:

"Will the Amazon / AT&T Kindle Deal Herald the Arrival of 'Dumb Roaming Pipes'?"
- Will the Amazon / AT&T Kindle Deal Herald the Arrival of 'Dumb Roaming Pipes'? -- Seeking Alpha (view on Google Sidewiki)

If You Want Big Government, Move!

Below is a link to yet another Dan Mitchell, Cato at Liberty, post. Dan does a good job of supporting his arguments with data. Here he shows us that the left should be objective about Scandinavian nations; great places to live, with many of the freedoms found in America. Those who desire the "equality of big government" should move there. Move there and live relatively poor.

in reference to: Are Living Standards Higher in Denmark or the United States? | Cato @ Liberty (view on Google Sidewiki)

Murdoch and Curley: Google Pay for News!

The shift of breaking the news into desirable streams is going to continue, no matter the bombastic attitude of Murdoch and Curley. Millions of people, myself included, do not want to receive all of the Wall Street Journal in our inboxes, however, we are each willing to "pay" for certain parts of it.

The "wisdom of the market" will dictate how to pay content providers for their news steams. Supply always meets demand at a price; setting the right price is the tricky part.

Since electronic delivery costs, with highly targeted advertising attached, are virtually nil, the demand for content is soaring. The problem for Murdoch is that MySpace has not captured nearly as much of the burgeoning demand for "social news" as has Facebook. Never-the-less, advertising revenues are going to grow dramatically over the next decade. Targeted advertising will increasingly pay the freight for content. Total subscription fees to newspapers and magazines are likely to continue to decline.

Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, MySpace, PayPal and others continue to try to hit the big home run in regard to micro-payment systems. Many readers will ultimately decide to drop a few pennies or even a few dollars to have access to certain streams. Most steams will only be worthy of advertising support.

in reference to: Roy Greenslade: Murdoch and AP chief demand payment for content | Media | (view on Google Sidewiki)

Goldman Upgrades to JPM, BAC and C

Goldman says "up" while Chris Whalen says "down". Goldman sees blue skies ahead, while Whalen says banking is "headed into the storm".

Reality: it is nothing but normal for commercial real estate to be the last sector of real estate to go into recession and the last to come out. Housing has already made the turn; it is well on the way out. The storm has already hit commercial real estate. The storm has not passed but the description of "heading into the storm" is hype.

The fourth quarter "bloodbath" is already old news. Banks now have about a year of fat margins as a result of dramatically lower funds. Banks will not heal quickly, but all but horrible earnings news will be "good news".

in reference to:

"He says the industry is in fact "heading into the storm."
- Goldman Sachs bank analysts take contrarian road - FierceFinance (view on Google Sidewiki)

GM Sales in China -- Up 55%!

Green Car Congress stays on top of the news about auto technology. This posting about the sales boom in China is revealing. The world economy is transitioning from bust to boom in a hurry. As noted, GM and its partners hold an estimated market share, in China, of 13.4%. Total auto sales in China are on the path to exceed auto sales in the US, perhaps as early as next year!

The most important point for investors is that the steady pressure on resources will cause the current technology shift to mobile computing to shift into high gear. Internet Bubble 2.0 is being inflated while you read.

in reference to: Green Car Congress: GM and JVs Set Monthly Sales Record in China in September (view on Google Sidewiki)

Rail Traffic Decline Is Proof? of What?

Many thanks for the nice post and excellent chart.

Your chart shows that year over year freight traffic was up as of November of 2008, long after the recession hit some industries extremely hard. Today, Internet traffic is shooting out the roof. As I recall, iPhone Internet traffic is up more than 600%. Looking at freight traffic is a bit like looking at employment data. The peak unemployment rate usually occurs about 15 months after the end of recessions. I suspect that the economy will be very strong before freight traffic reaches the old high.

in reference to: Rail Traffic Decline Is Proof The Economy Still Sucks (view on Google Sidewiki)

Countrywide/BAC Foreclosures

Congratulations to Dr. Perry for once again posting an incredible picture, one that speaks volumes. Less than a year ago, Countrywide/BAC held 21,500 homes for resale. Seventy-two percent of these homes are no longer on the books!

It may be that many of them have been purchased by private investors who are holding them for resale, but the bank write downs have been taken and bank balance sheets are mending. Homes held by private investors for resale were...

Problems With Coal CO2 Capture For Sequestration

Thank you for the info. Wouldn't it be ironic for "do gooders" to create deadly earthquakes while saving us from global warming.

The addition I would make is how the big oil lobby figures into this story. Big oil companies want government subsidies for pumping CO2 into their oil wells; the real purpose of such pumping would be to increase the yield of oil. It makes no sense to sequester CO2 as it feeds our plants. Politicians understand that if they are able to sell the story that they are fixing planet earth, they will be the re-elected partly because of full campaign war chests. Plenty of scientist are willing to "do the research", provided government grants are available. This is all a game of I'll scratch your back if you will scratch mine.

in reference to:

"Problems With Coal CO2 Capture For Sequestration"
- FuturePundit: Problems With Coal CO2 Capture For Sequestration (view on Google Sidewiki)