Saturday, June 12, 2010


How a river is drying in Iraq, leaving only sea water to flow in its place.

A Tennessee Valley Authority for the Gulf Coast?

Inequality surges back to pre-recession levels.

Great story on our understanding of genomics: it’s produced many insights in the basic sciences, but no breakthrough economic applications.

Is entrepreneurialism just about the exit? Also, here’s a look on Britain, immigration and entrepreneurs.

Great New York State: they’re borrowing $6 billion from their pension fund…so they can lend $6 billion to their pension fund. Brilliant!

Regulators pursuing Apple and Google. Also, Google is applying for a license to provide mapping services in China.

Slate goes super-counterintuitive: Karate Kids villains masterpieces in moral complexity! [nodsslowlyandbacksaway]Hmmm-hmm[/nodsslowlyandbacksaway]

On tampering with high-stakes testing.

Joe Posnanski writes a history of the dear departed (?) Big 12.

The amount Americans have in basic savings accounts at banks and thrifts rose to a record $5.06 trillion at the end of May, a jump of $209 billion since the start of the year….Nobody is parking cash at a bank for the yield. These accounts — passbook-type vehicles and money market deposit accounts — are mostly earning less than 1% annual interest.
Can we say more incentive for stimulus? Look, companies are saving money relentlessly; people are saving money relentlessly. These are savings floating around searching for something to invest in, and the private sector appears unwilling to invest it in anything in particular—hence the low rates they’re paying out. But it doesn’t exactly take much time to think of worthy public investments that would generate a positive economic externality: sewers, water, roads, trains, power grid and so on and so forth. Stimulate us!

A very good take-down of The Rational Optimist.

Why they needed to add noise to the Nissan Leaf.

Some scattered, sporadic resistance in Iran, on the first anniversary of the stolen Presidential election.

Michael Pettis on investment in China:
Why are there so few value investors in China and so many speculators? The answer lies in the kind of information that can be gathered in the Chinese markets and how the discount rates investors use to value this information are determined. If we broadly divide information into fundamental information, used for making economic decisions about long-term cashflows, and technical information, which covers short-term supply and demand factors, it is obvious that the Chinese markets provide a lot of the latter and almost none of the former. The ability to make value decisions requires a great deal of confidence in fundamental information, like the quality of economic data and the predictability of corporate behavior, but in China today there is little such confidence.

Poor macro data, inaccurate financial statements, a weak corporate governance framework, and many of the very factors that make speculation such an exciting game in China, make it difficult for relative value investors, and nearly impossible for fundamental and value investors, to ply their trades. With interest rates heavily controlled by the People’s Bank of China, and subject to policy shifts, investors are not even sure what an appropriate long-term discount rate might be.

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