Friday, 24 June 2011

Friday morning ramble: The ‘Bleeding Obvious’ edition

Once again, while the world burns and economic fortunes tumble, the local politicians and their commentariat are more interested in a race-based by-election and a bloke who had the temerity to point out the bleeding obvious. So let’s look at more important things, shall we?

  • Don Brash appears to understand the RMA “is the biggest single obstacle to economic growth in New Zealand.” He just doesn’t know how to replace it—or doesn’t care to. But it’s not difficult…
    RMA impeding economic growth: Brash -  N Z   F A R M E R ‘ S   W E E K L Y
    What would 'Party X' do about the environment? - PART 3: Replacing the RMA -  N O T  P C , 2007
    New Zealand's Persecuted Minority: Property Owners  - S C O O P , 2002
  • There are two ways to tackle the mounting welfare crisis. Confront it head on, or lie about it. Which method do you think this govt (helped by an asinine media) have adopted?
    DPB - more going on than leaving – L I N D S A Y   M I T C H E L L
  • Sections in a beleagured Christchuirch are still on the maret $200,000 when they should be around $50,000, if not for the absurd ring fenvcing of New Zealand’s most tragic city. Never has cheap land been so essential, and finally, after years for pressure, we have what High Pavletich calls “ a belated step in the right direction”: The “planners” have released one small part of the ring fence to allow around 5000 plots to be built on.
    Environment Canterbury looks to release land on Christchurch fringes for up to 5,000 homes; up to Environment Court 
    – I N T E R E S T . C O . N Z
  • By the way, here’s something to ponder if you think little old NZ is going to continue weathering the world’s storms while racking up new debt at the rate of more than a billion dollars per month…
  • Here's a thought on the Greek/euro crisis brought to you by Austrian
    economic thinking. As you know, bond yields in the peripheral countries
    are spiking. Greek 10-year bonds are nearly 17 per cent, Irish and
    Portuguese 10-year yields are around 11.5 per cent. Conventional
    thinking says these high yields reflect concerns about default.
    While that's true, they also tell you something far more important.
    That is, there is very little real savings left in the banking systems
    of these economies. Rising market interest rates is
    an indication of scarce savings. Therefore, the price of money
    must rise to encourage saving and discourage consumption.
    When savings are plentiful, the price of money falls to encourage
    consumption and discourage saving. This process doesn't occur
    in a market distorted by central banks and currency unions.
    It only reasserts itself when the money fiddlers
    lose control, as they now have...

    - Greg Canavan, Daily Reckoning Australia

  • This week marks the 40th Anniversary of the "War on Drugs.” Begun by Richard Nixon, everyone’s favourite President. his war has resulted only in failure, misery, violence and death. Isn’t it time to review?
    40 Years of Protecting Us from Ourselves – Valery Publius,  U N D E R C U R R E N T
    War on drugs produced swollen prisons and little else – Zachary Goelman,  R E U T E R S
    Another Admission 'War on Drugs' Has Failed 
    - Charlene Muhammad,  N E W  A M E R I C A N   M E D I A
    Tough birthday for War on Drugs  - C H I C A G O   N E W S
    The Drug War: What is It Good For? – Art Carden,  F O R B E S
  • Warmists constantly claim skeptic scientists make a fortune from their skepticism. They don’t … but warmist James Hansen (who just toured NZ)  does.
     NASA Scientist Accused of Using Celeb Status Among Environmental Groups to Enrich Himself 
    – F O X  N E W S
  • By contrast, here’s a good example of  “principled climate science scepticism.”
    Prof Kelly shows the middle way- Prof. Mike Kelly,  C L I M A T E   C O N V E R S A T I O N
  • Germany shoots itself in the foot (the one they didn’t shoot by joining the European Monetary Union).
     Germany Finds Going Green is Tough Going – N C P A
  • You have one minute on the over-population myth, starting now:

  • Human productivity allows mankind to escape the Malthusian population trap—and with freedom and a greater population, even greater productivity was possible. So why are the anti-industrialists against this? “Today, environmental groups call for a reduction in carbon on scales that would require a gigantic decline in our population numbers: we are told we must self-sacrifice and surrender our standard of living for the general good of a much lower population.  The most extreme voices would send us spinning back to the dark ages and the more moderate would see us stagnating in development.” Why?
    Global Warming: The New Malthusian Scare – Toby Baxendale,  C O B D E N   C E N T R E
  • Just one example of how ingenuity and productivity combined open up whole new areas of the environment in which to live—making even greater population possible: the air conditioner. Hurray for Mr Carrier!
    The Heat Is On! – Mark Thornton,  M I S E S   D A I L Y
  • Shit cars. Cool doors. [HT Tomahawk Kid]

  • “If we pursue another economic stimulus of similar size to the previous one, we may as well condemn the economy to another 10-20 years of recession.”
    "Stimulus is like using morphine to fix a broken arm"
    -  Veronique de Rugy, N A T I O N A L  R E V I E W
  • ‎"It's almost as if Washington envisions the economy not as a complex network of billions of voluntary, mutually beneficial relationships, but as a lawn mower which could be forced to run smoothly if only they'd yank hard enough on the starter cord...
    ”Lawmakers should face the facts: Intervention is hurting, not helping, the economy."
    The One Stimulus Government Hasn't Tried – Jonathan Hoenig, S M A R T   M O N E Y
    [Hat tip Keith W.]
  • Is the US economy worse than Greece? The world’s biggest bond buyer says “Yes!” But is he right? And what does it mean for future interest rates? [No, Bernard Hickey won’t  understand any of this.]
    Is the U.S. Economy Actually in Worse Shape Than the Greek Economy? – P J T V
  • So, ah, just how are those risk signals looking in the European Zone? I know, let’s ask the European Central Bank governor…
    Trichet Admits the Obvious "Risk Signals Are Flashing Red"
    – M I S H ‘ S   G L O B A L    E C O N O M I C   T R E N D     A N A L Y S I S
  • Price controls always raise prices. Latest example: U.S. healthcare.
    Confessions of a Price Controller -  T H E  A M E R I C A N
  • Santiago CalatravA’s Chicago Spire was going to be one of the world's tallest buildIngs. But the financial downturn torpedoed its funding, and now it is all but dead. With other major projects on hold or cancelled, some critics say this is the end of North America's love affair with skyscrapers. Robert Bruegmann, of the University of Illinois, considers the fate of super-tall buildings in the US, and explains why he believes the spire may yet be built. And it’s a beautiful slideshow…
    Audio slideshow: Chicago's doomed spire – Robert Bruegmann,  B B C
  • 4472 (1)A poor interviewer takes on the world’s best apologist for his own mistakes, and fails. Watch the man who brought down the world explain over thirty minutes that it was all someone else’s fault, that he and his friends always knew what they were doing, that basically their shit doesn’t stink—helped by an interviewer who never knows how to ask the right question at the right time.
    Charlie Rose interviews Alan Greenspan – C H A R L I E   R O S E
  • “Alan Greenspan has always cared about one — and only one — thing. Every nerve ending in his body at every moment in his life has been devoted to the promotion of Alan Greenspan.”
    Chairman Greenspan: A Fiat Mind for a Fiat Age
    -  Fred Sheehan,  M I S E S  D A I L Y
  • More broken economic theory coming right up: The Phillips’ Curve is really just a load of old junk.
    The Phillips’ Jumble – C A F E    H A Y E K
  • Wealth in a market economy is not a static quantity of stuff, never an inexhaustible fund that pays out goodies to lucky passive owners; wealth has constantly to be created and re-created; it’s never fixed. But the market “distributes” stuff unequally, you say? Baloney. The market is constantly redistributing wealth far more productively and fairly than any government efforts.
    Ludwig Lachmann on Income ‘Inequality’ -  C A F E    H A Y E K
  • Want a bigger slice of the pie? Then bake your own.
    “When It Comes to Wealth Creation, There Is No Pie”
    • Don’t worryabout (former) All Black Stephen Donald. Stephen Donald is holed up at Peka Peka Beach. Just him, a penguin, and a werewolf. [Note: Parts of this may be satire.]
      Stephen Donald resting up on Kapiti Coast beach – S P O R T   R E V I E W
    • Wow!
      Turning The iPad Into A Weapon  - S T R A T E G Y  P A G E
      [Hat tip Geek Press]
    • The ten best things about smartphones (and you doubted there was even one!)
       Why I Love & Hate Having a Smartphone –  T H E   O A T M E A L
    • Turns out you really can make a silk urse out of a sow’s ear.
       Can Do  -  F U T I L I T Y   C L O S E T
    • In March 1974, Ayn Rand faced the improbable task of lecturing on the crucial importance of philosophy—to the graduating class of West Point. She succeeded magnificently: she attracted three times the expected attendance, she elicited an enthusiastic ovation, and her lecture was reprinted in a new philosophy textbook published by the U.S. Military Academy. Set aside a spare hour to relive this memorable occasion and insightful speech, and (re)discover the irresistible intellectual power of Ayn Rand.
      Philosophy: Who Needs It  - A Y N   R A N D
    • Parents, teachers, anyone interested in education … listen up! Here’s the ideal weekend workshop for you: a Montessori weekend in Matakana no less. What could be a better way to learn about the best philosophy in which to raise your children?
      A Montessori Workshop in NZ – A  M O N T E S S O R I   H O M E
    • Should the state waste time and resources tracking down “deadbeat dads”? Or recognise instead that just as there should be no involuntary servitude, there should be no involuntary parentitude (to coin a phrase).
      Video: Fatherhood Should Be Voluntary –  N O O D L E  F O O D

    • Here’s Paul Kelly’s tribute to a favourite place. You know, he’d give you all of Sydney Harbour, all that land and all that water, for that one sweet promenade.
    • Here’s Billy Strayhorn’s impressionistic masterpiece, inspired by the sight of London’s Chelsea Bridge through the fog, played by the masterful Ben Webster. [HT Jazz on the Tube]
    • And this, a few final moments from another of my current obsessions, takes up where Ben & Billy leave off.
    Final moments of Bruckner’s 4th Symphony, with paintings by Caspar David Friedrich

    Enjoy your weekend!

    PS: Thanks to all those who deserve a hat tip, and my apologies for not remembering who was responsible for which link. My thanks, and my fault.


    1. That's cool doors from the shit car.

      Anyway, I suspect that what has been depicted in science fiction movies (doors like the one from the shit car) will become reality at some future date. Such vehicles appeared in classic movie Demolition Man, starring Stallone, Snipes, Bullock. Those cars in the Demolition Man have the doors folding upwards rather than downwards and also self-driven autonomously by in-car system computer, like the one shown here:

      Autonomous Vehicle Driving Itself on Highway

      The vehicle above imitate how a human driver drives a highway. It has artificial eyes mounted at the front, which are digital cameras. Once the in-car computer system learnt with high accuracy of how to do that, then the human driver hands over the control to the in-car computer system to drive on its own with no control from the human driver, unless he (human) wants to intervene in an emergency situation.

      This has been done before in the early 1990s, where by a car was driven in a highway between 2 states for 100's of kilometers on its own, in the presence of other vehicles. That technology used digital cameras (artificial eyes or computer vision) to feed in lane images to the in-car computer system so that automated steering can be updated/corrected real-time (in time-lapse of micro-seconds). The learning algorithm used was ANN (artificial neural network) by engineers/scientists from Carnegie Mellon.

    2. Nevada Is the First State to Pass Driverless Car Legislation, Paving the Way for Autonomous Autos

    3. That was the first time I've heard Ayn talk for so long, to the Westpoint graduates.

      Best thing I've heard for years.

    4. Falafulu, that driverless car thing is NOTHING mate.... In 2008, New Zealanders handed over control of their whole country to a driverless GOVERNMENT.

      This brave experiment, though, lacks the safety features of the driverless car because there is as yet no mechanism to intervene in an emergency situation.


    1. Commenters are welcome and invited.
    2. All comments are moderated. Off-topic grandstanding, spam, and gibberish will be ignored. Tu quoque will be moderated.
    3. Read the post before you comment. Challenge facts, but don't simply ignore them.
    4. Use a name. If it's important enough to say, it's important enough to put a name to.
    5. Above all: Act with honour. Say what you mean, and mean what you say.