Links 10/24/09

Tiger skin trade in China exposed BBC

Robotic Craft Mimics Falling Maple Seeds LiveScience (hat tip reader John D)

Long-term use of mobile phones ‘may be linked to cancer’ Telegraph

Pet dogs as bad for planet as driving 4x4s, book claims Telegraph.

Thin Liberalism and the Folly of Burning Bridges Timothy B. Lee (hat tip reader DoctoRx)

Goldman Sachs Still Paid for Swaps on Redeemed Bonds Bloomberg

Short Memories at Goldman Joe Nocera. Nocera can be too forgiving to the financiers, so when he writes something like this, it’s a real sign of the divide between the Street and everyone else. And note how the Goldman guys absolutely do not get that the firm would be a pile of smoldering ashes were it not for public support.

Glass Steagall on steroids now Diane Francis, Financial Post

Talking Out of Their You-Know-Whats Michael Panzner

WSJ Presents Yet More Utter Nonsense from the National Association of Realtors Dean Baker

Transcript: George Soros interview Financial Times

Elizabeth Warren for President Matt Taibbi

The truth about banks and dogs Chan Akya Asia Times

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    1. BDBlue

      It also doesn’t address why Americans should have to pay more for healthcare than other nations. Or that, in fact, moving to any sane kind of healthcare system, the kind practiced in all other developed nations (none of which is even on the table in the current debate) would save Americans money as well as their lives. It’s only the 30% administrative surcharge going to support the unregulated private insurance system that ensures the increased costs of healthcare “reform” and that, as with Wall Street, if we cut out the surtax paid to keep corporations and their executives fat and healthy, the rest of us would be economically (and physically) better off.

  1. J.

    Couple of link fixes –

    The maple seed aircraft link is broken, it should be here.

    The link for the Nocera article is here.

    The faux maple seeds are awesome! DO WANT.

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Regarding pet dogs being as bad for the planet as driving 4x4s, I just finished watching Werner Herzog’s Ends of the World and I can’t help but ask, will scientists destroy the Antarctic while in the process of studying and saving it? I can’t believe all those modern machines, buildings, etc over there.

    I also wonder about nature filmmakers destroying nature while filming nature.

    If one person loves nature and decides to return to nature, it’s all cute. But if 1 billion Homo Not-So-Sapiens Not-So-Sapiens decide to return to nature, I believe nature will be doomed. It’s a girl saying to a guy, please don’t love me, you kill me with your love.

    I also find it interesting that while the poor and uneducated continued to pollute places that are already heavily polluted, it’s the rich and/or educated who pollute the pristine, the as yet unpolluted. Just look at Mt. Everest.

    Again, I ask, who has done more damage to the world – Ivy Leaguers or a shoe repair man? Smart people or not so smart people? (No value judgment here. I happen to value not so smart people higher than smart people).

  3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Why is it that we don’t see animals worship other members of their own species as sex symbols, fantasizing to some glossy photographs? Yet we do. Is that some kind of mental disease?

  4. ComparedToWhat?

    PrimeBeef, I just finished a book that touches on the issues you raise (and many more). It’s written by someone who has been engaged with these issues for decades and on multiple levels, from digging out weeds at local parks to consulting for giant oil companies and the US intelligence community.

    The book is Whole Earth Discipline by Stewart Brand, and I recommend it to all.

  5. ComparedToWhat?

    Fun links.

    Do the bottom 80% of Americans stand a chance? by TraderMark in 2007.

    “While at times ‘Wall Street’ and ‘Main Street’ disassociate, that cannot go on forever.”

    Plutonomy: Buying Luxury, Explaining Global Imbalances (Ajay Kapur, Citigroup analyst, 2005)

    “In plutonomies the rich absorb a disproportionate chunk of the economy and have a massive impact on reported aggregate numbers like savings rates, current account deficits, consumption levels, etc. This imbalance in inequality expresses itself in the standard scary ‘global imbalances’. We worry less.

    Revisiting Plutonomy: The Rich Getting Richer (Ajay Kapur, 2006)

    “We think this income and wealth inequality (plutonomy) helps explain many of the conundrums that vex equity investors, such as why high oil prices haven’t seriously dented growth, or why ‘global imbalances’ are growing along with the equity bull market. Implication 1: Worry less about these conundrums.”

  6. ComparedToWhat?

    Kedrosky points to an interview with Roubini.

    === How does this get fixed?

    Roubini: I don’t believe in market discipline. It doesn’t work. That was the ideology of the last 10 years; self-regulation means no regulation. Market discipline doesn’t exist with irrational exuberance and reliance on internal risk management models that don’t work. Nobody listens to risk managers, because it’s risk takers that make the profits. The reliance on ratings agencies that have their own conflicts of interest, the reliance on soft-touch regulation, the focus on principles instead of rules—that particular regulatory philosophy has been a disaster, and we’ve learned it the hard way. We have to go to simpler rules, tougher rules and more binding rules. That’s the right approach.

  7. emca

    The piece on dogs having a greater impact on planetary health than a 4x is pure unadulterated bull sheet (or should I say “dog-poop”?). K-rice, the guy’s an architect, hardly a student of scientific methodology and assessment. If you follow his menu of sustainability, you’d eat your pet dog or cat for dinner and toast your pet hamster for dessert.
    One can only imagine considerations for a horse, whose carbon ‘hoofprint’ must be equal to a fleet of belching big-rigs. Next thing you have is someone advocating eating old people, since they’re pretty useless owning the aforementioned carbon-intensive pets, doing nothing but watching T.V. all day and exhaling all that CO2.

    On a more positive note, Live Science has an good review of various new technologies on the horizon, well at least on the horizon of scientific speculation. Of interest was the discussion of community ownership of a wind device (windmill) to generate power. With wind, bigger is better, but the costs outstrip returns with larger wind generation units. This can be overcome by joint ownership of means, a group of homes paying capital costs to establish a wind tower for their collective use. (a miniature version of large scale centralize generation of say a dam). This supposedly is being done in Europe, but has not caught on in the U.S. (a country where an individualistic ethic has parasitic overtones?). I not an advocate on one source fixes all, but the idea of a organized group in a localized manner dealing with an issue (similar I suppose to a co-op), rather than a large, centralized effort is another slant on the question of energy independence.

  8. mechanic

    The government will not push back on the mercantilist trade from Germany, Japan, and China. We, however, have a choice in what we buy. If you all are condidering that Adam Smith stands behind the political economists, he doesn’t. Mercantilism is an abomination, just like a monopoly.

    Buy American. There is a 20% unemployment in this country.

  9. RueTheDay

    As a NJ resident, the story of the interest rate swaps with Goldman really pisses me off. And these stories just keep on coming. The entire idea of auction rate securities is a scam. How many times do people have to be burned before they realize that implicit guarantees are not real guarantees.

    As for the swaps – Corzine and his cronies like to fancy themselves as financial wizards. Yet they entered into a swap arrangement with no clause to allow for early exit on bonds which clearly allowed pre-payment. Dunces.

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