Random Links XXXVII

Complexity & Neuroscience: “The human brain is on the edge of chaos”

Neuroscience & Aging: “Cognitive decline begins in late 20s” – Another instance where intuitions drawn from my personal experience are later confirmed by science.

New Frugality:

“50% of Americans said they have only a one-month cushion…or less before they would be unable to fully meet their financial obligations if they were to lose their jobs…28% said they could not make ends meet for longer than two weeks without their jobs. / Twenty-nine percent of those making $100,000 or more a year said they would have trouble paying the bills after more than a month of unemployment.”

Future of Manufacturing: “Streamlined production and technological improvements also mean fewer jobs need to be cut in a downturn.”

1.  Makes me wonder why we bother with outsourcing manufactures.  Why not just invest in increasing productivity via automation, etc., hereabouts?

2.  Suggests to me that tariff-induced “reverse offshoring” needn’t necessarily lead to higher prices; we may still get “extra low prices” – companies may simply find themselves forced (via tariffs on the one hand, and domestic competition on the other) to deliver such prices via higher productivity.

3.  I would count it as a success if automation permitted reverse offshoring of American manufacturing sufficient to dramatically lower (or even eliminate) our import dependence in all areas of manufactures.  Even if higher productivity meant fewer manufacturing workers than in the past, at least the factory capacity would still be located on US soil.

Dark Age Coming, Nuclear Weapons Edition:



Note the unspoken presumption in the IEEE article:  If we don’t rebuild our capability for designing & manufacturing new nuclear weapons designs, then eventually the anti-nuclear lobby will be able to make the case that a) our current weapons are too old; b) even advanced S&T can no longer certify them as safe without testing; c) it would cost too much to rebuild our nuclear weapons design & production infrastructure; therefore d) we must instead (unilaterally, if necessary) eliminate nuclear weapons.

The notion that building new nukes would detract from readiness by sucking $ from SSP is absurd.  RRV or SSP is a false dichotomy; we’re quite capable of funding both at the same time.  If need be, we can divert $ from other programs (e.g., non-defense ones) – and, given the importance of possessing & maintaining a reliable nuclear arsenal, such a diversion would be eminently justifiable.

Adult Stem Cells: “Converting Cells Shows Promise for Parkinson’s”

Liquidity for Dummies:




Liquidity in Excess:




Too much liquidity => more dumb investments => setup for a crisis

Perpetual Communism: Gorby as the sine qua non of the USSR’s collapse.

Atlas Shrugged, AIG Edition:

Overview:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/18/AR2009031804104_pf.html

DeSantis:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/25/opinion/25desantis.html

Jane Galt:  http://meganmcardle.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/03/a_twice-told_tale_of_aig.php

Another AIG Insider:  http://www.businessinsider.com/blogging-from-inside-aig-exec-says-everyone-else-is-lying-2009-3

Foreclosure Upside, New Homebuyer Edition: “the nation’s housing crisis is set to open the door for many first-time homebuyers — usually young families, many of whom were left behind in states like California and Florida by home prices that quickly outstripped incomes.” 

Barbarians Inside the Gates

IQ & Education

Fiscal Stimulus & the Depression

CDS Myths & Realities

Toxic Mortgage Sales

Costs of the CRE Crash

Decline & Fall of Culture11

Wolf on Crisis


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