Assorted links


6. Shouldn't that be "When"?

1. Tyler, I'd be very interested to see your opinion about that article in the Telegraph.

#6: When? Agree.

Meaningless. You want to see bipartisanship? Wait until the super committee cuts become real. There will be a mad bipartisan scramble to "save our phoney baloney jobs". You will see a budget agreement negotiated so fast it will make your head spin. Well, not a budget agreement, a continuing resolution. By next March people will be saying, "Super committee? Never heard of it."

1. First thing I did was check the date on the article, expecting to see the 1990s. Interesting. Will increasing wages and costs in China relative to the US lead to more ZMP workers there and fewer here?

1. It seems somewhat overly optimistic, but the fundamental's strike me as correct. The US has significantly increased it's oil and natural gas production. Chinese wages are rising rapidly and it's quite probable this will decrease downward wage pressure in the US. And furthermore, it's unlikely the Chinese can keep the yuan pegged at such a low rate vs the dollar forever.

Well, let's pick at this statement, found in this article -
'Combined, the U.S. and Canadian oil output will top 11.5 million barrels per day, which is even more than their combined peak in 1972.' First, the combined is quite cute - Canadian 'output' has been increasing, while actual American production continues to fall (with some interesting bumps along what seems to be 1940s levels of production).

Add in some interesting problems in actually keeping the Alaska pipeline, which carries 11% of America's current oil production (currently around 600,000 barrels a day, down from its peak of around 2 million barrels a day in 1988) working in winter conditions -

And notice the term 'oil output?' Much of the increase comes from digging up tar in Alberta, in an area roughly the size of Florida - no Texas oil man would have ever thought that strip mining would be considered oil drilling.

Reading the article carefully is really interesting - the terms are being redefined in plain sight - oil output being a wonderful way to actually distract from facts ( )-

268,940 252,431 269,650 260,541 267,684 256,619 264,964 260,841 258,577 264,489 254,852 266,777

167,589 156,193 170,670 161,703 167,083 162,753 163,926 168,648 169,563 172,695 166,583 170,731

Without being too precise, we would need to increase oil production by 50% today to return to the production of past peak America in 1980, back when Prudhoe Bay still had 16 billion more barrels of oil in it. As for the ANWR coastal plain - well, oil drilling is always a bit of a crapshoot, but no one honestly believes that 16 billion barrels or recoverable reserves are waiting to be pumped, though no one can honestly say it is impossible. And the real reason we haven't pumped it yet? - that's it, the cupboard will have been stripped bare, it being the last major untapped oil field left onshore in the U.S. (though the pipeline which could be used to transport the field's output is starting to get really creaky).

5. It seems like the preferred model for virtual schools would be a hybrid approach. Which if done well could result in significant savings in building space and transportation. A well optimized model with a 50/50 split between physical class time and virtual class time would halve the size of building space dedicated to classrooms, as well as, transportation costs.

Not that the post wasn't interesting, but from now on, could you please refrain from linking to any of Brian Leiter's pages. Thank you.

About the Telegraph article, does anyone know where Pritchard got that information about U.S. oil imports? 72% seems a bit high, even if it has been growing over the last few years.

We import half our oil consumption. Pritchard might be right if we look at our energy consumption as a whole.

I'd have figured total energy was more domestic than oil. Much of our coal, which provides most of our electricity, comes from here. And I believe the plutonium/uranium that powers our reactors is also from here. Am I wrong about this?

For that matter, though, I can't understand why anyone thinks it matters. Energy markets are world markets. The price Americans pay for oil (and their ability to get it) wouldn't be much different if all the world's oil came from here — if the amount of oil that came from here was the same as currently comes from the entire world. (Yes, you'd avoid the theoretical security concerns of needing to import fuel [which hurt both the Germans and the British during both world wars], but the practical differences are smaller than the typical person believes by an order of magnitude.)

For that matter, though, I can’t understand why anyone thinks it matters. Energy markets are world markets. The price Americans pay for oil (and their ability to get it) wouldn’t be much different if all the world’s oil came from here — if the amount of oil that came from here was the same as currently comes from the entire world. (Yes, you’d avoid the theoretical security concerns of needing to import fuel [which hurt both the Germans and the British during both world wars], but the practical differences are smaller than the typical person believes by an order of magnitude.)

So true, I would think that as importance of industries goes, IT would be far more important than fuel.

"The practical differences are smaller than the typical person thinks"

I beg to differ. When we've been spending $100-$300 billion per year just to maintain access to oil (Not for the oil. Just to maintain access to it.) which has drug down our economy like an anchor.

Economists taught me that offshoring was good for America because the gains from cheaper goods exceeded the small numbers of lost jobs. So if offshoring is no longer cheaper how is re-inshoring also good?

Wages have adjusted in both China and the U.S. Add in shipping and the price of oil, and the gap begins to close.

Whatever is efficient is good. There is the ancillary benefit of demonstrating that Chinese wages rise to meet productivity, something doubted by many trade skeptics.

Efficient or more profitable?

Good or acceptable?

1. see fourth link in 2. of

Is #1 from The Onion?

Are you an American and if so have you ever lived anywhere else in your life? Not visited, lived?


These virtual schools are largely unregulated, people! For all we know, these kids are being taught that 2+2 = 5. It's anarchy out there!

I waz edjucated at one of those skools. As Shakespeare's character Anita Karena says, 'don't mock me, dude!'

On 1, the real swing will come when the tariffs go up.

5: Teacher union-funded study says schools that might compete with "their" schools need regulation. How original and interesting!

4. My wife and kids and I live on a street much used by dog owners and dog walkers. It's a rare week when there isn't a steaming pile of dog poo right outside the garage or front door. Don't really know what to do, as lawsuits and 'doggie DNA' databanks seem excessively statist... I'd really like to have a word with some of the owners but that's probably not wise. And I expect the police would laugh at me wasting their time.

If you don't want to deal with the state, but you are too shy to deal with individuals... then I think you're stuck.

The state isn't a solution if your neighbors, or at least the ones with a lot of free-time that tend to overlap with the busybodies, aren't in general agreement. How 'bout a sign and a dog poo bag dispenser in your front yard. Yes, it should be the dog's responsibility, but should in one hand and...well you know the rest.

Are you saying I'm in the doo-doo?

I don't consider myself an optimist on USA, but I've always thought predictions of America's relative decline were exaggerated. What countries could plausibly rival the United States? Only a few countries are big enough. Japan has modest per-worker growth and a declining working age population. The EU wasn't outgrowing America even before their current troubles, and they have a more dire demographic problem than the US. Russia has a population death-spiral in progress and the oil can only disguise the underlying economic problems for so long. If nothing else, the oil will run out eventually.

The only places that seem resilient to the demographic transition are Africa and some places in the Middle East. But the core reasons for the dysfunction of most African and Mideast countries don't really seem to be abating.

When people talk about America's decline, they're really describing the rise of China (and maybe India) to global prominence. Which may or may not happen. But overall I think discussions of the "decline of America" are usually used as fodder for whatever ideological problem the person has with the United States (too religious/godless/capitalist/socialist, etc.)

#1. I don't know where he got his figure of 72% from. The US produces a just a bit more than half of its own oil and part of that is because the US doesn't use as much oil as it used to. This does make me wonder about how accurate the rest of the article is. But I do admire the author's spunk. Personally I look at exactly the same information and feel all depressed about it. I guess I'm the kind of guy who thinks the glass is half empty and manufactured in China where it should be.

Outsider/insider bias

Everyone thinks their own country is going to hell in a handbasket and the other ones are going to eat their lunch.

Just a nitpicking philosopher. On link 2; they're not Straussian claims about Plato, in fact Dr Kennedy believes his work proves Strauss wrong in his interpretation of Plato.

Yes, Tom M has it right. Kennedy's article claiming to have proven Strauss's interpretation of Plato is wrong can be found here:

In my opinion, his claim is rather weak, and his explication of Strauss's interpretation of Plato and theory of esoteric is tendentious in the extreme. Nevertheless, It will be fun to follow this controversy, and it could actually be enlightening.

And its....NOT GUILTY!

WAMU is taking a bit of an unholy joy in reporting the story.

Speaking of the culture that is Fairfax:

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