Links 1/24/09

Climate shift ‘killing US trees’ BBC

Obama Sides With Bush in Spy Case Wired

Bob the Impaler I, Cringley (hat tip reader Jean-Paul). Charges that Microsoft’s layoffs fall considerably short of what is needed.

JRE Keeps You Entertained All Weekend: A Series of (Metal) Tubes Josh Reviews Everything

Indians flee Dubai as dreams crash DaijiWorld (hat tip reader Colin)

Goat Owners Get Left High and Dry by Lehman Wall Street Journal

Lots Of Homes Selling For $1,000 Or Less Boom2Bust

Do elite economics departments produce the best papers? Andrew J Oswald, VoxEU

Minister attacks ‘grossly over-rewarded’ bankers Times Online

Britain on the brink of an economic depression, say experts Telegraph

Venture Capital Fell 33% Last Quarter to Lowest Level Since ’05 Bloomberg

Tishman’s Stuyvesant Town Fund May Run Dry This Year Bloomberg. This was a real lose-lose deal (for everyone save the seller, that is). Peter Cooper Village was a nice complex of middle class housing, deservedly so, in that the apartments were pleasant but modest, in an only so-so neighborhood (the far East teens and 20s are underserved, transit-wise, and the ‘hood, while safe, is not very tony). The buyers assumed they could convert a lot of the rent-regulated apartments to market rate, and even though they were aggressive (to the point of harassing tenants), Manhattan tenants have stronger property rights than elsewhere, and the rent increases fell well short of projected levels (anyone who knew anything about Manhattan knew the forecasts were barmy).

Is the U.K. an Iceland 2? No but there are serious financing risks ahead Nouriel Roubini (free trial). The headline is more reassuring than the content.

CBO’s Non-Estimates of Stimulus Spending Rates Dean Baker

Antidote du jour:

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  1. Dave

    How do tenants have property rights? It would seem one has to own property in order to have rights on it.

  2. fresno dan

    “I use data from the ISI Web of Science produced by Thomson. It is probably the most widely used source of citations data.2 Citations are taken here as a proxy for the objective quality of an article (measured with the benefit of hindsight). I take the journals listed by the Helpman Committee in the recent ESRC Benchmarking Report on Economics in the UK.” Do elite economics departments produce the best papers?

    Um, I don’t think everybody believing something is much of an indicator of objective quality. Why, I remember that Amazon.Com traded for 400$ a share once.

  3. David-Michael

    Given the amount of credit made available to even totally credit-unworthy south-east asian migrant workers by banks in Dubai there is going to be staggering loan losses over the coming year. Particularly, since most of these workers when laid off and sent home have nothing to lose and every incentive to max out credit cards and simply stop servicing loans as they may never return. Even Citibank in Dubai has routinely issued credit cards with an AED 20’0000 credit limit to migrant workers on salaries of less than AED 2’000 per month and no assets whatsoever. Same thing with loans of frequently more than AED 100’000 which typically went towards building homes and supporting family in the workers’ home countries. Granting of such loans can only have been predicated on those workers never being laid off.

  4. Anonymous

    How do tenants have property rights? It would seem one has to own property in order to have rights on it.

    Several hundred years of court cases and legislation disagree.

  5. asphaltjesus

    haha Microsoft has nowhere to go but down **regardless** of their monopoly (price maker) status.

    I’m an IT guy by trade in a Microsoft shop and their current licensing costs are ridiculous compared to where they were with win2k, XP, mssql2003. Feature sets are nothing special.

    1. They have long, long ago lost site of their consumers needs and replaced most of them with the needs of other corporations. (Media conglomerates come to mind)

    2. They have always been a “fast follower” borrowing the best from smaller projects. Now they start by fast following, and screw it all up from there.

    3. Their product pricing cannot defy the down-market forces for computing devices. Fewer and fewer customers will pay progressively more for a meaningfully worse Microsoft product.

    The price of their stock doesn’t reflect this reality right now. But, the future is bad for Microsoft.

  6. Anonymous

    Yves: we haven’t yet heard much about the impact of the crisis on India. Any chance to get something up on that?

    And would a worsening situation in India benefit China?

  7. artichoke

    Geithner Delay Slows Assembly of Crisis Team

    “The interregnum isn’t unusual during a hand-over. But it comes as the banking system takes another lurch downward, sowing concern on Wall Street, where lobbyists and bankers are unsure whom to contact. “Sometimes the phone just rings and rings,” said one financial-industry lobbyist.”

    Gee, I thought the banks that received TARP weren’t supposed to lobby any more. They want Geithner confirmed fast so they can get back to their lobbying!

    Scum, utter scum :)

  8. Anonymous

    @anon 3:37

    India news you say, well couple of days ago they banned toys manufactrued in China.


  9. satan


    Arabs treat indian workers as subhumans, so they should not complain about indians defrauding them.

  10. bg

    re: microsoft layoffs.

    Word on the street was the layoffs were going to be for 15,000 until the last minute.

    re: venture capital.

    The metric of investment in new companies is much lower than your headline implied. They had old companies and old investment in the pipeline, and that is vitually all of the activity last quarter. This is the worst environment for VC since the 80’s.

  11. doc holiday

    This is really old and off topic, but I found this to be as stimulating as Obama’s Bailout Plan:

    The End is Near

    What was the beginning of this end? Some might say Adam and Eve and the apple of knowledge. I say it was Prometheus, a Titan, a son of gods, who in Greek myth stole fire from his parents and gave it to human beings. The gods were so mad they chained him naked to a rock with his back exposed, and had eagles eat his liver.

    And it is now plain that the gods were right to do that. Our close cousins the gorillas and orangutans and chimps and gibbons have gotten along just fine all this time while eating raw vegetable matter, whereas we not only prepare hot meals, but have now all but destroyed this once salubrious planet as a life-support system in fewer than 200 years, mainly by making thermodynamic whoopee with fossil fuels.

  12. Anonymous

    Not to worry doc holiday,

    MSM/Hollywood will just change the ending like they tried to do with Terry Gilliam’s “Brazil”, after the pre-screening showed a negative response, forcing him (Terry) to smuggle in copy’s and only be played in Art movie theaters in the US.

    BTW I model my self after the freelance Air con man.


  13. Anonymous

    doc holiday,

    Problem with that quote is that the statement is, quite simply, false.

    There are many documented instances of packs of Chimpanzees hunting smaller monkeys and literally tearing them apart for food when they catch them.


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