Thursday, June 17, 2010


Illinois is going down the path of paying debts with I.O.U.s.

Energy watch—Nigeria is pushing through reforms (charging its offshore operators more); China is pushing through reforms (less emissions); and Brazil? Oh Brazil: apparently they have a ton of offshore oil (speculated to be the 4th-biggest country in terms of proven oil reserves), but then there’s this:
Brazil’s pre-salt fields were discovered in 2007 and are in the early stages of exploration. They are, as their name suggests, trapped beneath a hard-to-penetrate layer of salt that poses technical problems not yet faced anywhere in the world. They are also under a lot of rock and seawater. The much-talked-about Tupi field, for example, lies under 7,210 feet of water, rather more than the 4,920 feet of water under BP’s Deepwater Horizon rig.

As Peter Millard pointed out in Business Week, Petrobras, Brazil’s national oil company, is easily the world’s biggest deepwater oil company. This, he argues, leaves it “more exposed than any oil company on the planet” to the risk of a Deepwater Horizon event.
Apparently it’s full speed ahead for Brazil’s offshore drilling. And here’s an apt comment on our overall energy situation:
…we can't wean ourselves from foreign oil because we can't wean ourselves from oil, and we can't wean ourselves from oil because it's a fucking hard problem given the inadequacy of competitive technologies, and our unwillingness to change a damn thing about how we live. Pretending that this is about Republicans, Democrats, or random acts of presidents is, however entertainingly intended, part of the problem

Supreme Court hamstrings NLRB (though assisting roles are played by Congressional obstructionists).

Pixar is falling for Hollywood sequelitis. Personally, I give Pixar the benefit of the doubt: whatever they want to do, good with me.

There’s something quintessentially American about the evolution of hummus here.

Is the Billy Beane Moneyball era over?

Breaking the Harbaugh code.

On financial innovation:
The most innovative product for a financial firm is one that always has volume and, sometimes, always has volatility. Many investors would prefer neither, they would prefer their investments boring. So there’s a clash here.

U.S. experiences deflation in May. And yet remember that we must cut our deficits because of the imminent threats of inflation and bond market revolt.

We have a problem with drug resistance.

Spain has a successful bond market sale; Spain is also struggling to reform its labor market.

Bell Telephone, Ulysses and the humanities.

A good book review on Ciudad Juarez.

Technology and the Chinese government have empowered Chinese labor to seek out and win pay raises. Perhaps this is China’s indirect route to trade rebalancing?

Nothing like a good case of mortgage fraud.

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