Saturday, August 14, 2010


BP hasn’t updated its emergency plan to deal with spills.

How a Chinese mining company causes tension in a Peruvian town.

On the scourge of free parking:
Many parking spaces are extremely valuable, even if that’s not reflected in current market prices. In fact, Professor Shoup estimates that many American parking spaces have a higher economic value than the cars sitting in them. For instance, after including construction and land costs, he measures the value of a Los Angeles parking space at over $31,000 — much more than the worth of many cars, especially when considering their rapid depreciation. If we don’t give away cars, why give away parking spaces?

Corporations are issuing junk bonds at a prodigious pace. Hmm…..

Is the era of genetically-modified salmon upon us soon?:
The firm has developed genetically engineered salmon that reach market weight in half the usual time. What's more, it hopes to avoid the pollution, disease and other problems associated with saltwater fish farms by having its salmon raised in inland facilities.

Unlike ordinary salmon, AquaBounty's genetically modified fish grows during the winter as well as the summer, so it reaches an 8-pound market weight in 18 months instead of 36. That's accomplished by inserting part of a gene from an eel-like creature called the ocean pout into the growth gene of a Chinook salmon, then injecting the blended genetic material into the fertilized eggs of a North Atlantic salmon.

"This is a single gene and it's a salmon gene in a salmon," said Stotish, a biochemist and pharmaceutical researcher who joined AquaBounty in 2006 and became CEO two years later.

The salmon is identical in taste, color, protein and other attributes of a non-engineered North Atlantic salmon, he said, and consumes up to 25% less food over its lifetime. The AquaBounty salmon don't get bigger than other salmon; they just grow to full size faster.

The Economist gives some coverage to the Felipe Calderon suggestion that Mexico legalize drugs.

Also, some coverage on the Pakistan floods. The Guardian elaborates by noting that cholera is spreading virulently.

How does TED fit into the future of education?

Ah, the for-profit college scam:
Although the department issued no analysis or comparison of repayment rates by sector, outside advocacy groups that analyzed the data found that in 2009, repayment rates were 54 percent at public colleges and universities, 56 percent at private nonprofit institutions, and 36 percent at for-profit colleges.

Scientific American talks about the future of synthetic biology.

Why the EU can’t afford to turn its back on Turkey.

I think this is a beautiful “View from Your Window” entry in Andrew Sullivan’s wonderful series.

What’s the legal definition of a pirate (and why can’t we convict the Somalian ones)?

A pair of Andrew Cuomo profiles—one in New York and one in The New York Times Magazine leave the reader deeply ambivalent re: Andrew Cuomo.

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