Links 1/25/11

Iran’s endangered cheetahs are a unique subspecies BBC

‘Universal’ memory aims to replace flash/DRAM EETimes

Where have all the thinkers gone? Gideon Rachman, Financial Times

Aljazeera’s Leaks Reveal Sham ‘Peace Process,’ Israeli Stonewalling Juan Cole (hat tip reader ex-PFC Chuck)

Chinese stealth fighter jet may use US technology Guardian

Buiter on Europe’s secret liquidity operations FTAlphaville (hat tip Ricard Smith). This confirms worries about the Irish central bank’s wee Euro “printing” exercise.

Europe’s Industrial Rebound: The Power of Mean Revision EconomPic Data

Eurosclerosis, Then and Now Paul Krugman

Space, time and public pension black holes FTAlphaville

Managing the Digital Transition at the New York Times Marion Maneker, The Big Picture

Tepid trading fails to curb US bank bonuses Financial Times

Chocolate set for price rise as cocoa soars Independent

Schork Oil Outlook: Shorting the Trend? Remember Keynes CNBC (hat tip reader Michael Q). Get a load of this:

Hetco (partly owned by Hess Corporation) has taken control of “the first eight North Sea Forties crude oil cargoes loading in February” in addition to two Brent cargoes. There are 25 total Forties cargoes, each of which typically comes to 600K barrels.

This may not mean much on the electronic markets, but Hetco has effectively taken control of ~30% of the Forties and Brent physical market in February (emphasis theirs).

Keys to Today’s Rally Michael Panzner (hat tip reader Scott). Funny.

Churches Find End Is Nigh Wall Street Journal

The Making of a ‘Liar’s Loan,’ With Help From the Loan Officer Abigail Field, DailyFinance

“Zero-Interest Policies as Hidden Subsidies to Banks” Mark Thoma. We’ve been saying this for a while, and the Fed no doubt sees that as a feature, probably the most prized feature, rather than a bug. Nice to see Serious Economists catching up.

Fed Speak & the WSJ Bruce Krasting

The Antidote to Deficit Hysteria – the Financial Transactions Tax Dave Dayen, FireDogLake

Antidote du jour:

Screen shot 2011-01-25 at 3.35.28 AM

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  1. russel1200

    The stealth fighter technology is pretty old. The fighter itself is far from “invisible” at night. It is all a matter of degrees.

    The use of a shotdown airplane to gather intelligence is hardly a smoking gun.

    1. Jim the Skeptic

      If the Chinese can’t examine a small fragment of a 117 for a stealth enabling coating then they are not very intelligent.

  2. Dennis

    Nice to see that the Americans arent the only ones pissing money away on stupid, vanity projects like the stealth fighter. Lets hope they build an aircraft carrier as well.

    1. ScottS

      The Chinese aren’t that stupid. They are going to sell this turkey to rogue countries who are that stupid.

      Stealth fighters made in China. Coming soon to a Wal-Mart near you.

  3. me

    I have heard of the financial transactions tax before during the GST debate in Australia and it seemed to be a good idea at the time and a better one now.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Echoes of eastern Europe, 1989, in the huge demo in Cairo today:

      Radwa Qabbani, 26, said:

      ‘I am not protesting the police. They are citizens like me. I am protesting corruption, unemployment and high prices. We are just asking for the smallest dreams.’

      Sayid Abdelfatah, a 38-year-old civil servant who marched with an Egyptian flag, said:

      ‘We are fed up; this is just enough. Tunisia’s revolution inspired me but I really never thought we would find such people ready to do the same here.’

      We’re seeing a demonstration of how tenuous is the authority of a massively-armed state, when the people withdraw their cooperation.

      Of course, the US and Israel stand on the wrong side of history, backing the hated dictator Mubarak.

      A free Egypt could bust the Gaza blockade. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head!

      1. Elliot X

        Jim Haygood said: “Of course, the US and Israel stand on the wrong side of history, backing the hated dictator Mubarak.”

        It’s encouraging to see Egyptians follow the Tunisians in standing up against corruption, poverty and unemployment. And when it comes to choosing sides between another hated oligarch versus impoverished downtrodden peasants, it goes without saying which side the US government is going to stand behind.

  4. dunkelblau

    On the financial transactions tax, I think I’m already paying some kind of tax on stock sales. On purchases I pay cost of shares plus commission. On sales I get back proceeds from shares minus commission and minus a few cents.

    Would this proposed tax also hit CD purchases, bank or 401k deposits, life insurance premiums, billpay, etc?

  5. Jim the Skeptic

    ‘Universal’ memory aims to replace flash/DRAM

    The current flash memory has a life of 10,000 read/write cycles. This new device will have to dramatically improve on that if the intended use is in small computers.

    Even then it would probably have to be used intelligently or you would end up with defective memory before the normal replacement of the computer. I suppose you could use the new storage feature when the computer goes into sleep mode.

    But probably this device will replace more Flash memory than Dram memory in real world applications.

    And I wouldn’t expect to see this in commercial products for years.

    1. DF

      The article is somewhat misleading in that it says that Flash uses hot electron injection.

      NOR flash uses that, but NAND flash uses tunneling, like this memory does. The tunneling gives NAND flash more rewrite cycles than NOR flash as a result, but there’s still a finite lifetime for the NAND flash, ranging from 10,000 cycles (for MLC devices) upwards of 1,000,000 cycles (for the best SLC devices).

      In short, I don’t really see the benefit of this technology outside of a few niche applications. In general, it should be possible just to put a DRAM die and a NAND flash on a single die and just write over the DRAM’s contents to the NAND flash.

  6. Michael Cain

    As long as I was involved in technology, some new ‘universal’ memory tech was proposed at about two year intervals. Magnetic RAM of various sorts, phase-change RAM using lots of different materials, ferroelectric RAM, memristors, nano-RAM based on physical positioning of carbon nanotubes, etc. Some are actually in production for niche markets. There have been so many over the years that I no longer pay attention to announcements about the underlying tech — if they haven’t built a many-megabit functioning device, it doesn’t count.

  7. Max424

    My prediction: in the near future, Hetco, or some other savvy player, will monopolize (100%) of the Forties and Brent market. It won’t be hard. Within a decade or so, monthly North Sea oil production should fit in a thimble.

    Say hello to peak oil, Europe!

    Stupid Brits. They sold almost their entire share of North Sea crude when prices were in the $30-40 /barrel range. If Great Britain had saved it (for the grandkids!), and sold it when oil prices inevitably hit the $250-500 /barrel range, so much wealth would have poured into the Kingdom, the Brits could have reconstituted the Empire — with cash!

    1. liberal

      Great point. It’s one of the arguments I trot out when I state that I’m opposed to domestic oil exploration. The citizenry profits the most by leaving the stuff in the ground for now.

  8. Abe

    Paul Krugman argues ZIRP is not a hidden subsidy because of interest rate risk:

    Well. I bet Bernanke & Co communicated more to the banks than what the FOMC minutes show, and even the stated intention to keep the rates low for an “extended period” is, more or less, a promise. So far they’ve made good on all of their promises to the banks. Meanwhile, bonuses are not promised – they’re paid, as Krugman rightly notes.

    BTW, John Hussman in his latest column talks of the danger of an exogenous shock to short-term rates.

    1. attempter

      Ha, there’s one for my Krugman file.

      I like how he pretends it’s some cockamamie new allegation.

      Here’s Dean Baker’s analysis from almost a year and a half ago:

      As always it’s a given that we should hand over our wealth to private banks (proven criminals) so that they’ll later (much later, Krugman himself confesses in his own argument) allegedly trickle a portion of it back down upon us.

      Never mind that all forms of trickle down are proven lies.

      Left unexplained is why we shouldn’t just directly use all of our own wealth, like in a WPA type jobs program along with direct-to-the-citizen stimulus, and not alienate any of it.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Where have all the thinkers gone?

    The only thinker I can remember, I think, is a stone statue and he couldn’t have gone far, by himself, don’t you think?

  10. Cynthia

    “Obama’s Goal: Get America Feeling Good Again”

    Sounds like Obama is doing a McCain on us by suggesting that we are just in a psychological recession. So all we need to do is have happy thoughts or take prozac and the economy will rebound. But if prozac or happy thoughts don’t rebound the economy, electroshock therapy is bound to do it!

  11. ScottS

    Re: Managing the Digital Transition at the New York Times Marion Maneker, The Big Picture

    No mention of classifieds. eBay and craigslist have taken all the classifieds, Google gets the lion’s share of ad revenue.

    Until the old print dinosaurs produce news that’s worth paying for (and signs are they aren’t), then they’re done-for.

    Journalism is a loss-center, subsidized by classifieds and ads. Better-quality, free information is just a click away in the online world.

    Up the quality and charge subscriptions, and the “newspaper” might live on with smaller “circulation”. You’ll probably have to narrow the focus, as well.

    I see a future for magazines with in-depth investigations since they can charge subscriptions, but print daily news is done.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Not to mention that the putatively ‘liberal’ NYT often sounds like a neocon falangist rag, at least on certain subjects. Get a load of this Op Ed:

      In terms of American interests … there is plenty of peril in democracy. Arab autocrats … made peace with Israel. Democracy … brought the extremists of Hamas to power in Gaza. Do we really want … King Abdullah in Jordan undermined by widespread street demonstrations?

      Who needs freedom and democracy, asks the expediency-minded Times, when dictators are so much easier to work with?

      I’m sure not gonna pay for unAmerican crap like this!

  12. Crocodile Chuck

    Ironic that China sourced sourced shards of the F-117 from Serbia….where (in the same year -1999) the US mistakenly bombed the Chinese embassy.

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