Saturday, April 10, 2010


Taking the taxi in Yangshuo, China.

In Soviet Russia, Kremlin Innovates You! (On Russia’s government’s efforts to create its own Silicon Valley)

Do rising oil prices threaten recovery?

What if we all threatened not to pay the bank? Reminds me of one of the few intelligent things Donald Trump has said: “If you owe the bank 7,000 bucks, it owns you; if you owe the bank 70,000,000 bucks, you own the bank.” (amounts are from memory, and frankly I don’t feel like googling it. You get the idea.) Apropos of this idea, note that several of our cities will be broke in the near future.

On that drought in southwestern China I linked to earlier, here's more detail about the crops they grow. Also, what’s up with the monthly trade deficit China reported?

Reforming credit agencies.

Apparently the number of older people taking the maximally complicated (and, natch, expensive and prone to complication) surgery for spinal stenosis has increased fivefold. The linked article included this priceless quotation, which more-or-less sums up the coming fight on health care reform:
Earlier studies have not found that the complex surgery leads to better results or greater pain relief, said Dr. Richard A. Deyo, a professor of family and internal medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland and the lead author of the study, published April 7 in The Journal of the American Medical Association.

“It’s hard to argue that the most severe pathology has increased fifteenfold over the same period of time,” Dr. Deyo said, adding: “Surgeons do prefer the more complex procedures. There are financial reasons to prefer them.”
Those same reasons are the same ones why some sort of change needs to be made and why it will be so difficult.

Why Los Angeles is more like Paris than New York, and why it can be the next transit metropolis.

Our crazy copyright laws, documentary and music edition.

The university wars for talent.

The Wall Street Journal writes about Cuban baseball, but I liked it better when Michael Lewis wrote the story:
Soon after he seized power, in January 1959, Fidel Castro banned professional sports from his island. The next year he tossed out the first pitch to open the Cuban amateur league and even took a few cuts with a bat. The ramrod-straight stance, plus the whiff of fourth-grade girl in the cock of his bat, should have dispelled the rumor that the Maximum Leader had once been a pro prospect, but the myth survived this brush with reality. (“Total bullshit,” says Ralph Avila, who is in charge of scouting in the Dominican Republic for the Los Angeles Dodgers and played ball in Havana during what was meant to have been Fidel’s prime. “Fidel never played any sport at university. He didn’t have time. In Havana there was a pitcher named Felix Castro. Fidel used his name to say that he played baseball.”)

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