Friday, November 20, 2009

SAR #9325

The dollar hasn't fallen, it's retraced its gains. - Mr. Bernanke.

Non-News News: This week's unemployment data is essentially unchanged from last week and the week before and the week before – initial claims are about half a million, total drawing unemployment is still about 5.5 million. It ain't getting better, it's stopped getting worse, and you wouldn't mistake it for a recovery. Come January, as a million former consumers run out of benefits, bankers will be getting over $30 billion in bonuses.

Coal for the Little Boys and Girls? Yields on January and February T-Bills are turned negative – what are folks expecting in the Christmas stockings that is so scary that they'll pay Uncle Sam to hold onto their money for them?

On Needling the Rich: Six reasons, with comments: They have more money so they pay more taxes. They indulge in philanthropy to assuage their guilt and lower their taxes. They give money to colleges to get buildings named after them and to lower their taxes. They spend money on luxuries, which creates jobs – but how many servants does one need? They have the money to buy up good ideas from inventive poor, it's called vulture venture capitalism. And they have the money because they are smart and you are not and money is the only true measure of smartness in America. And lastly, God really wants them to be rich (and you to be poor). But the best use of the rich is as a target for satire.

More is not Better: Mortgage delinquencies continue to rise, reaching 9.64% of all mortgages in the third quarter. That's 4.5 million more of us on the road to foreclosure, and one in seven mortgages – 14% - are now either in foreclosure or delinquent.

Moderation: I should get credit for my restraint in not mentioning a study showing that my daily scotch lowers my risk of heart disease.

Remember: The “worst financial crisis in generations” happened after “eight years of basic neglect of basic public goods, in health care, in education, in public infrastructure, in how we use energy.” So said Mr. Geithner to a forgetful GOP Representative from Texas.

Just So Stories: Société Générale has advised clients to prepare for a possible "global economic collapse" in the next 2 years. Government rescues of the banks cured nothing, simply converted private liabilities into sovereign debt, which “looks entirely unsustainable. We have reached a point of no return for government debt.” Private debt is too high, too. If the US could maintain a 7% savings rate and use all of that 'savings' to pay down private debt, it would take a decade to reduce the debt to safe and sane levels. For the graphic tour, click here.

Predisposed: Some people are more empathetic than others because of their genetic heritage. The rest of us learn it socially. Or don't.

Pick A Number: Yesterday's report suggested house prices had a long way yet to fall to reach the long term trend line. Today another report says there's only a little way left to fall to reach the trend. The question seems to be which trend line (nominal, inflation adjusted), which prices (mean, median), and how long long-term is (since 1970, 1980, or 1990). Statistics.

The Good, The Bad, & The Ugly: Data provided by Celsias, “a platform for corporate social responsibility”, show that during 2008 US CO2 emissions fell by 3% and that they are on course to fall 9% more this year. According to them, "carbon emissions are declining and will likely continue to do so.” Meanwhile, a report in Nature Geoscience reported that CO2 emissions have increased 29% since 2000, and that these emissions continue to outstrip the ability of the earth's natural carbon sinks to absorb them. Coal has surpassed petroleum as a source of CO2, and developing countries now emit more than the developed countries. Global temperatures will increase by 6C if urgent steps to control CO2 emissions are not taken soon.

How long is a yardstick? The accepted standard for determining age via DNA testing have been underestimating the age of evolutionary events by 200% to 600%. Biologic events thought to have happened 100,000 years ago probably happened at least 200,000 and perhaps 600,000 years ago.

Porn O'Graph: CERA says we're going to discover our way around peak oil; this chart says it ain't happening.


Anonymous said...

RE: How long is a yardstick?

Those wacky Scientists! Thank God they know so much and are just so smart and want to help us fight Global Warming. Which is coming, any day now, or maybe it's here, or maybe not or maybe it's just on hold or maybe the climate models aren't quite as good as we thought or or or....


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

RBM - I rather think the point is not that science is imperfect - it is - but that it is self-correcting, getting better by refining and extending knowledge. Unlike fairy tales. Of course the climate models are not perfect; they are better than they were a year ago and the year before. Science is the process of refining the truth by identifying error. Finding errors is the way science makes progress.

Anonymous said...

Uh oh: global warming fraud?

To the average person, most scientific theories aren't very exciting. To scientists, they obviously are. And to political opportunists, they also can be, as is the case with global warming, climate change or whatever the name du jour happens to be.

But what everyone finds interesting (and therefore captures their attention) is deception, conspiracy, arrogance, and other forms of bad behavior.

Indeed, that's why Michael Crichton didn't write a dry scientific book about the cult of global warming. He wrote a fictive thriller, filled with... deception, conspiracy, arrogance, and other forms of bad behavior.

That's why this story may have legs.

Anonymous said...


If we know it's imperfect can we please stop saying "the science is settled"


Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

RBM Your willful and disingenuous misunderstanding the nature of science weakens your emotional attacks on science and it's practice. In the sense that it only takes one exception to overthrow a scientific theorem or theory, then no science is "settled". Progess in science is made by unsettling the settled. but you know all this and are intent on entertaining yourself, not enlightening others.

kwark said...


Yah, you know those climate scientist types, only faking the data to get more and better grants so they can vacation in the Bahamas and drive fancy sports cars. How pathetic that a primary tactic in the so-called "climate debate" is to challenge the veracity and ethics of the scientists. But then challenging the data is a sure way to loose so what the hell.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

Anony 4:30 - You'll have to be happy with kwark's reply. I've just spent three hours on "the scandal" and find nothing in it that challenges climate science as published in thousands of peer-reviewed journals. That scientists, myself and my son excepted, are competitive and emotional is shocking to learn, but doesn't change their results. And that's as much effort as this tempest gets from me.

Anonymous said...

Even the lefty German paper Der Spiegel is questioning global warming.,1518,662092,00.html

Global warming appears to have stalled. Climatologists are puzzled as to why average global temperatures have stopped rising over the last 10 years. Some attribute the trend to a lack of sunspots, while others explain it through ocean currents.

At least the weather in Copenhagen is likely to be cooperating. The Danish Meteorological Institute predicts that temperatures in December, when the city will host the United Nations Climate Change Conference, will be one degree above the long-term average.

Otherwise, however, not much is happening with global warming at the moment. The Earth's average temperatures have stopped climbing since the beginning of the millennium, and it even looks as though global warming could come to a standstill this year.

Ironically, climate change appears to have stalled in the run-up to the upcoming world summit in the Danish capital, where thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, scientists, business leaders and environmental activists plan to negotiate a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. Billions of euros are at stake in the negotiations.

Billions of euros are at stake? I wonder when it will occur to anyone that "billions of euros are stake" might have something to do with "the science is settled."

The same folks who believe George W. Bush starts wars in order to goose Haliburton's stock price by half a point don't ever consider that billions of euros being at stake might induce someone to deliberately fudge a regression analysis.

Go figure.

Charles Kingsley Michaelson, III said...

For those who actually want to understand the science behind global climate change, I have added three of my favorite science sites to The List: Climate Progress, Real Climate. and Skeptical Science.

If you want to bitch and whine about global warming, resist the urge to blather here and spend the time at one of these sites soakingup a little bit of the actual science.

Anonymous said...

Yada yada yada...