Assorted links

by on April 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. The economy that is Singapore, cruises for pets.

2. Can you patent a steak?

3. U.S. infrastructure is better than you think.

4. Will Aereo disrupt TV?

5. China markets in everything, selling the phone numbers of foreign correspondents.

6. What is Europe’s most important renewable energy source?  Wood, it turns out (there is a great stagnation).

mw April 9, 2013 at 12:44 pm

3. LOL. I’ll let the other passengers know the next time my flight into JFK is delayed by 2 hours for no reason other than we can’t build another runway.

maguro April 9, 2013 at 2:20 pm

There really isn’t enough room for another runway at JFK, unless you’re going to reclaim land in Jamaica Bay with landfill or something.

gabe April 9, 2013 at 2:59 pm

“There really isn’t enough room for another runway at JFK, unless you’re going to reclaim land in Jamaica Bay with landfill or something.”

this type of thing was easy to do in Boston in 1840…but way beyond our capability now…progress huh?

Chip April 9, 2013 at 8:00 pm

Singapore’s Changi airport is regularly voted the world’s best airport by passengers. You can go from touchdown to getting in a taxi within fifteen minutes.

And the entire airport was built on reclaimed land, as is much of the new extension to the central business district.

Face it, some countries still see progress as a good thing whereas others are just trying to manage the decline.

Ricardo April 10, 2013 at 6:48 am

Hong Kong also. From Wikipedia, “Hong Kong International Airport was built on a large artificial island, formed by levelling Chek Lap Kok and Lam Chau islands (3.02 km² and 0.08 km² respectively), and reclaiming 9.38 km² of the adjacent seabed. The 12.48 km² airport site added nearly 1% to Hong Kong’s total surface area, connecting to the north side of Lantau Island near Tung Chung new town.”

Oh, and construction from start to finish took about 7 years.

Careless April 9, 2013 at 2:23 pm

I do not see how that qualifies. The runways there aren’t falling apart, and they’re not failing to build more due to a lack of federal funds, AFAIK

prior_approval April 9, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Well, if Americans can patent basmati rice, there is no reason not to let the meat eaters enjoy the benefits of American patent laws.

Cliff April 9, 2013 at 1:28 pm

German patent laws are pretty much the same FYI

prior_approval April 9, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Except for patenting anything living, like basmati rice. Or patenting software. Or business processes.

Cliff April 9, 2013 at 1:57 pm

You are completely wrong about this. Ask a European patent attorney. There are European patents for software and for plants and other living things.

Careless April 9, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Sometimes I get the feeling PA gets paid by the wrong

JWatts April 9, 2013 at 3:58 pm

Clearly. If he were paid for being right, he would have starved long ago.

maguro April 9, 2013 at 5:05 pm

Only if we had Social Darwinism. Sigh.

prior_approval April 9, 2013 at 1:45 pm

And I should have added, though one might be able to protect the name of a cut of meat (just like Dresdner Stollen is protected – though making your own stollen using exactly the same ingredients and recipe is completely legal), the idea of patenting it would be considered another example of those crazy Amis.

Cliff April 9, 2013 at 1:59 pm

I doubt it. I believe this would be patentable in Europe, although I am not going to waste my European associates’ time to find out for sure.

Andrew' April 9, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Their may be a renaissance in wood. What I’ve been pondering lately is where we are going to put the stuff.

Mark Thorson April 9, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Yes, and not just as a fuel. A new process changes the properties of fast-growing softwoods to more resemble those of slow-growing hardwoods like teak. This enable wood to be more competitive as a structural material against metal and concrete.

http://www.energytrendsinsider.com/2008/12/14/carbon-sequestration-in-practice/

Cliff April 9, 2013 at 1:53 pm

What’s the big deal about Aereo? It lets you do the same thing on your mobile device that you can at home (use a digital antenna and get free channels)? But only for a very limited number of channels? And you can DVR, which I am sure there is free software for anyway. Doesn’t seem like it would be that popular.

Dan April 9, 2013 at 2:36 pm

You ever setup a digital antenna and DVR? Its a pain. That hurdle is enough that people will spend 10 bucks a month for it, especially if they aren’t paying for cable.

The reason the networks don’t like it is because it reduces their ability to price discriminate. Someone who watches over the air TV probably wasn’t going to pay for cable anyways. Someone who uses Aereo and Netflix might have paid for cable had they not had those new options.

Dan Weber April 9, 2013 at 3:06 pm

It’s significant from a legal perspective. Cable companies have been paying money to the networks to re-broadcast their content on their network. With the Aereo ruling, it may be possible for cable companies to re-broadcast OTA content without paying any money. Depending on a lot of factors which are way beyond a blog comment.

The broadcast networks get something like 3/4 of their revenue from cable companies paying them to re-broadcast, so this could be the death of broadcast as we know it.

Kevin April 9, 2013 at 11:21 pm
Buzzcut April 10, 2013 at 8:27 am

Agreed. This is nothing that you couldn’t do yourself 10 years ago with a Slingbox. Even new, at $10 a month, you could pay for a used Slingbox off eBay in a few months. This service makes no sense to me, and I really don’t understand why it is getting so much attention.

The future is Netflix/ Amazon Prime anyway. Cable is going to go the way of… broadcast television!

dearieme April 9, 2013 at 1:55 pm

“3. U.S. infrastructure is better than you think.” That’s impossible – I never think about it.

Careless April 9, 2013 at 2:31 pm

I think we need a philosopher for this

JWatts April 9, 2013 at 4:01 pm

That’s impossible – I never think about it.

Ah yes, but you just did, now didn’t you. ;)

dearieme April 9, 2013 at 5:31 pm

Nah, I merely thought about whether I ever thought about it.

Roy April 9, 2013 at 2:08 pm

2. Of course you can patent a steak, butchering is a masculine activity, its products are patentable. Just as clothing designs and recipes are not patentable because dressmaking and cooking are feminine pursuits.

Cliff April 9, 2013 at 4:13 pm

Recipes and clothing designs ARE patentable. They are not protected by copyright (neither is butchering, unless you write a book about it). Patenting a recipe is tough, but clothing design patents are relatively common.

anon April 9, 2013 at 3:16 pm

2. Doesn’t seem any more absurd to me than many of the current patents in other fields (e.g. software industry).

JWatts April 9, 2013 at 4:08 pm

6. What is Europe’s most important renewable energy source? Wood

Wood may well be a better energy source in Germany than solar. At least more cost effective. But of course Europe importing massive amounts of wood by diesel powered trains and oil powered freighters will probably result in a net negative in terms of CO2 reductions, per the article. But this is probably more of a status signalling issue than anything else.

Ronald Brak April 10, 2013 at 2:43 am

Actually point of use solar is more cost effective than utility biomass. At the average installation cost, rooftop solar in Germany will produce electricity at about 12 cents a kilowatt-hour which is less than half the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid.

JWatts April 10, 2013 at 9:03 am

Sigh.

At the average installation cost, rooftop solar in Germany will produce electricity at about 12 cents a kilowatt-hour which is less than half the cost of purchasing electricity from the grid.

That’s a very heavily subsidized rate. So, please read my post again, and stop a moment at the At least more cost effective. part.

Ronald Brak April 10, 2013 at 1:59 pm

No, that’s without subsidy.

jtf April 10, 2013 at 1:58 pm

The article was very poorly written and researched, and cited a Princeton policy wonk who has very little knowledge of the way things actually work, relying on some incredible estimates of indirect land use change. There’s no doubt that wood for fuel is less than carbon neutral, but Tim Searchinger has a history of being openly hostile to all types of bio-based fuels and consistently overestimating land use changes by several orders of magnitude. He’s about as scientific as Howarth and his “natural gas is worse than coal” spiel.

bp April 9, 2013 at 8:17 pm

The piece on infrastructure would be much more convincing if it looked at trends going back more than 5-10 years. This is really a pretty short time-frame given the expected life of most infrastructure.

I have no idea if the author is right or not, but this seems like a glaring omission.

Kevin April 9, 2013 at 11:06 pm

“Infrastructure” includes a lot more than just roads and bridges. The electric grid, telecommunications, water systems… these are all areas where the US is falling behind.

Mike H April 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm

#5 How ironic that more than a hundred years after the 1911 revolution that overthrown Qing dynasty, the peasant underclass of China still have to travel to Beijing and beg and cry to the bureaucrats up high for a tiny chance that their case can be heard.

Jim K April 10, 2013 at 1:58 am

#2 needs to be addressed vis-a-vis the Great Stagnation. I would have thought all the steaks had been discovered sometime between the continents and the planets.

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