Dear patient readers,
The combination of holiday travel and a return to tech problems (the result of a bizarre fail across three DNS servers at our webhost) has taken a lot out of your humble blogger.
World’s oldest banded bird returns 63rd year USFWS (Stephen L)
Conserving Asian newts could save the world’s salamanders Australia Museum
Texting and Driving Statistics Texting and Driving Safety. Guess how dangerous texting while driving is compared to drinking before clicking through.
Hawking warns on rise of the machines Financial Times (David L)
Amazon Releasing 15,000 Robots In Its Warehouses Huffington Post
Is Chernobyl still dangerous or was 60 Minutes pushing propaganda? Atomic Insights (bob)
Here’s How Climate Change Has Altered Life On Earth In The Past 20 Years Associated Press (David L)
The Virus Detectives New York Times (David L)
Ebola: The economic damage is mounting Financial Times
Educational feedback loops in China and the U.S. Cathy O’Neil
Australia enters income recession, dollar dives as economy stalls Sydney Morning Herald (EM)
Modernization Efforts, Concerns over China Giving Rise to Robust Asia-Pacific Defense Market Forecast International (Bob H)
How might a China slowdown affect the world? Michael Pettis
French bank dumps British assets, contrasts UK sclerosis with Francois Hollande miracle
Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph
Chile’s turn with the power of people failed evolution
Anger and dismay as Russia scraps $50bn gas plan Financial Times. Collateral damage.
With Russia on Brink of Recession, Putin Faces ‘New Reality’ New York Times. The Western triumphalism is ahead of events. The West may well be able to precipitate a banking crisis in Russia and that could have nasty side effects. However, what all this focus on the economic cost to Russia misses is that Russians correctly see the effort to destabilize Ukraine and move NATO in as an existential threat to Russia. Putin’s poll ratings are at record levels and even his leftist critics in the intelligensia have fallen in line.
Iraq’s Ghost Army Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch
U.S. to Use Psych Tests to Vet Syrian Rebels for Moderateness Peter Van Buren,
Firedoglake. If you believe that, I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
An Economic Agenda to save America: Bernie Sanders Daily Kos (RR)
Shocking mistake in Darren Wilson grand jury MSNBC (furzy mouse). Important. If you need a simple anecdote to demonstrate that the prosecution was out to get Wilson off the hook, this nails it.
Computer hackers taking aim at insider information at health care companies Star Tribune. Chuck L: “At the intersection of cyber crime and financial crime.”
Oil Price Plunge
Saudi Arabia Declares Oil War on US Fracking, hits Railroads, Tank-Car Makers, Canada, Russia; Sinks Venezuela Wolf Richter. A good overview of how various sectors are affected. Also provides evidence in support of the thesis we’ve advocated from early on (and some readers pooh poohed), that the price decline was engineered by the Saudis refusing to play their usual role of controlling output to support prices, and one of the biggest drivers of that ploy was to make fracking unprofitable for a large proportion of US operators.
Low Oil Prices Are History’s Greatest Case of Market Failure American Prospect
Northern Oil and Gas: Michael Reger’s deeply misleading tweet John Hempton. An interest case study of a company bragging that it hedged oil at $90 a barrel. Mind you, not all are in this shape, but just a warning to look beyond the “we are hedged” part of the story.
Teaching Economics After the Crash BBC. A must listen.
Antidote du jour (@SuzanneLepage1, hat tip Lambert):