by Tyler Cowen
on June 5, 2014 at 12:33 pm
1. Godfather markets in everything (“same effect — without the mess”).
2. Bulletproof and fireproof house made of used plastic bottles.
3. Plans for a self-assembling moonhouse.
4. Indian Muslims and the child mortality puzzle.
5. What would negative ECB interest rates mean? And what would you expect from a web site titled RussianOptimism?
(2) Can anyone find anything more recent than the nearly 3 year-old article this sources? I can’t find anything, which suggests it’s struggling with scaling up.
Bulletproof and fireproof house made of used plastic bottles. … and a lot of sand and mortar.
(Interesting to see what happens as that plastic fails over time, I suppose…)
If you can keep the UV off it it might last pretty well. Anyway, it’s like a modern wattle-and-daub, which I rather like. If I were younger I might have tried building a garden wall of it.
It could be like a honeycomb. The bottle could be used as spacer to save sand and mortar.
It said the bottles were filled with sand, using them to contain it.
Even then, I’m not sure it’d be structurally sound if the spacers disintegrated.
(Keeping the UV off helps, but the ends of the bottles, in the photos, were exposed to the elements.)
Maybe it’s worthwhile compared to other options even with those caveats…
I had a similar idea once, but in mine I’d have filled the bottles with water. What, I wonder, are the pros and cons? Water is certainly not going to be contained if a bottle fails. On the other hand, my idea was for a mini-greenhouse, so that eventual UV failure would be guaranteed. But the thing was intended only to last for one summer.
Water adds thermal mass but there wouldn be much insulating value. Just air in the bottles and expanding foam for mortar might be good for a greenhouse. PETE does pretty good in the sun.
Yeah, the thermal mass was intended to protect the plants from overnight frosts. The motive was partly dismay at throwing out, oops, recycling, so many 2L bottles. (We like carbonated water, which costs us only about 30 cents a bottle.) If the mini-greenhouse were to let us confidently plant sweetcorn earlier in the spring, we’d be well rewarded, we hoped, in the late summer. Of course it would be much less effort to use conventional cloches, but where’s the fun in that?
5. Time will tell.
One theory is that commercial banks will withdraw excess reserves (is that their present reserve position?) funds from ECB and lend to businesses/consumers thereby fostering economic growth.
Pacem theory. For some time now in the real world, real interest rates for both central bank reserves and commercial bank deposits have been negative. Why would this latest experiment produce a different outcome?
Will any of the powers that be hold accountable the central bank if it “all goes south”?
Is “goes south” the new “goes west”?
No. I am not advocating executions by firing squad of ECB employees when the plan fails to produce the intended outcomes.
4. Facetious comment: That reminds me of a Futurama episode.
Serious comment: Some cities in India had covered sewers over 4000 years ago. Apparently half of India’s population is culturally Paleolithic.
it’s decently rare to have such a fertile river valley anywhere in the world, allowing such high population densities without urbanization
diet may play a role too. pre-industrial china collected nightsoil to feed pigs. Pork isn’t eaten as frequently in India though.
nightsoil is also traditionally used as fertilizer, but chemical fertilizers are safer and more importantly cheaper nowadays.
Orkney had sewers 5000 years ago.
What am I bid?
“What do I think of Western civilization? I think it would be a very good idea.”
Tell that to India’s girls.
It is interesting only in so far as it suggests that Judeo-Islamic religious rules are actually adaptive and beneficial. A lot of China’s improvement in health was due to making people stop defecating anywhere they pleased. Although the use of the by-products on the fields continues apace.
However it cannot be all to the disparity in child size between Africa and Asia. Indonesia is Muslim and its children are not exactly giants. Nor is there any reason to think most Africans don’t take a dump wherever they feel like. At least those of them that are not Muslims.
India is not monolithic, that’s the point of the article. Poorer people but with different habits dies less than richer people. Culture, habits, knowledge, common sense, what ever you name it, that thing makes the difference.
5. He mistranslated “village” as “woods” (деревня vs деревья) and his pronunciation is Hollywood-level bad.
If ECB has legal problems buying government debt and commercial problems buying private debt, why does it not buy US$. That would increase the money supply and devalue the currency that the Fed could then use to buy more USG debt or MBS. Or the ECB just buy US Tbills or US MBS directly?
4. What about diets containing meat v. those that do not?
Yet another indicator that social outcomes are not independent of culture.
High caste hindus likelier to be vegetarian than low caste hindus / Muslims. And I think its quite likely that mortality rates are lowest among high caste hindus among all demographic segments. So I don’t see a story here.
Regarding 4 –
Indian Muslims, though poorer on an average, are likelier to live in urban areas than Hindus. Hence the lower open defecation rates!
It has nothing to do with Hindu or Muslim culture per se. In fact the popular perception in India is that Hindus are cleaner and more hygienic than Muslims. And the Muslim’s legendary lack of cleanliness is one of the drivers of Hindu prejudice against them.
Also when you compare open defecation rates, one needs to do it for caste hindus versus Muslims. Because about a 20% of Hindu population are without a caste (the so-called former untouchables). Not sure if we should even regard them as hindus. The open defecation rates among them would be very different compared to the rest of the Hindu population.
So a dominant community thinks it is cleaner than a minority community?
You don’t say. You don’t say.
Well, talk to people if you think I am making up about this perception.
And no. It’s got nothing to do with who is in a majority or in a minority.
Hindus do not perceive Parsis to be unclean. Jains, a very small minority, are perceived to be cleaner than even Brahmins.
“talk to people if you think I am making up this perception” ….there are thousands upon thousand of websites in this world, and I am familiar with much less than one percent of them. Hence, I cannot say that there are not any websites where a comments section argument that “reality is on my side” will be viewed as determinative, but I can say that such a website this one is not.
I didn’t propound an absolute truth here.
I only talked about a perception that is common enough in India. Not corroborating / gainsaying it.
Regarding the link’s conclusion – As I mentioned there is unlikely to be a correlation between religious habits and infant mortality. Muslims probably exhibit lower mortality rates due to their greater concentration in urban areas where open defecation is not even an option! I am not sure if that “20% lower” figure controls for region.
With regard to muslims having lower mortality rates in a given area compared to Hindus – It’s probably because Muslims are concentrated in ghettoes where very few Hindus live. The Hindus that do live are likelier to be from less privileged backgrounds / “lower” castes.
Too many variables at work here.
Regular reading of Marginal Revolution keeps me well informed on India’s sanitation practice.
Abstract: Female bargaining power in rural Haryana, as in much of northern India, is constrained by widespread discrimination against women. In recent years, however, women successfully demand private sanitation facilities from potential husbands as a precondition for marriage – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2011/12/no-toilet-no-bride.html#sthash.UQhm5h3R.dpuf
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