Monday, June 30, 2008

Democrats turning record Republican deficits into record surpluses is valuable even if Republicans turn them right back again, for learning alone

With regard to Mark Thoma's excerpt of Brad DeLong's article, "The Democrat's Line in the Sand":

It's important to point out here that just because Republicans more than un-did all of the good of Clinton in turning their record deficits into record surpluses, in just 8 years, that doesn't mean that Clinton didn't do a very good thing, with lasting benefits.

He gave a stunning demonstration of how much better Democrats were in this important regard, that was glaringly obvious to almost all voters. If Obama again turns record Republican deficits into record surpluses, and a booming economy, just like Clinton did, will it all have been for nothing if a successive Republican administration just turns them right back again into record deficits? No way.

The first time that happened it severely discredited Republican brain dead economics. If it happened yet again, it would rightly devastate the credibility of Republican alchemy economics with the voting public. This learning would be very valuable to protect us in the future against the great economic inefficiency and costs of their ideology.

However, the biggest and most important thing Democrats can do is to pass universal health care. This would be like when the Democrats pushed through, over the Republicans, old age Social Security and Medicaid. The programs were enormously popular once they were enacted and people got a chance to see the truth of how good they were, rather than the Republican lies. They greatly improved our quality of life and now can (probably) never be taken away.

The same would be true of universal health care. Once it was enacted people would see just how much better, and less expensive it was, due to vast free market imperfections in this area, such as externalities, asymmetric information, great economies of scale and monopoly power, inability to patent, inability to price discriminate well (a very important market inefficiency, especially for products with a large idea/information component, that doesn't get enough attention), and more.

The Democrats gained enormous political -- and ideological -- capital after they passed the new deal and the vast majority of voters saw how much better it made their lives and the country. This moved the country, and thus by necessity, the Republican party, far in the progressive direction. The momentum lasted for decades, and some of the most important changes made are so embedded and clearly demonstrated to be of great value, like old age social security (of at least some substantial kind), that they will (probably) never be undone .

Likewise, the political capital Democrats would get from bringing universal health care to the American people, greatly increasing their security, wealth, and quality of life would be vast. It would greatly increase their ability to do good in any area. Global Warming may be the most important issue, but the best way to fight it is to pass universal health care. That would give Democrats the political capital necessary to pass far more ambitious projects to combat it, maybe even a Manhattan Project, or Moon race, to replace fossil fuels with alternative energy and nuclear.

There's nothing more important for Democrats than passing universal health care (which is not at all incompatible with running a budget surplus), and it's very doable...Stay tuned for my next post.
Any source

Octava noche tropical del año

Adivinen como terminamos el mes... si estaban pensando que con una mínima tropical... la respuesta es correcta. Y la de hoy es la octava noche tropical del año, que ha sido de 20,5ºC a las 4:28 horas.

De nuevo Torrevieja, como casi siempre, ha registrado la mínima tropical más alta de diversos observatorios meteorológicos situados en el sureste peninsular:
Torrevieja (Alicante): 23,4ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 22,4ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 22,1ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 21,9ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 21,7ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 21,7ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 21,0ºC
Novelda (Alicante): 20,9ºC
Guardamar del Segura (Alicante): 20,8ºC
Any source

BVI participates in FATF Meeting in London

Last week, an important meeting of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) took place in London, - for the first time since the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force (CFATF) received the status of the associate member of the FATF in February 2008. During this plenary, FATF reported on the new steps taken to protect the international financial system from abuse. Among them – the reaffirmation of its February 2008 public statement on money laundering and terrorist financing risks posed by Uzbekistan, Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Sao Tome and Principe and the northern part of Cyprus. The organization also discussed and adopted four mutual evaluation reports, assessing compliance with its 40 recommendations in Hong Kong, Qatar, the UAE and the Russian Federation.

Solicitor General of the British Virgin Islands, Jo-Ann Williams-Roberts, took part in this week-long plenary meeting, and the BVI was among the 5 member countries of 30 which were allowed to join the CFATF Secretariat at the meeting.

BVI Attorney General Kanthleen Quartey noted that a closer relationship between the FATF and its Caribbean counterparts would greatly benefit the CFATF, bringing issues and perspectives of the region directly to the centre stage.

The aim of the FATF which was established in 1989 is to prevent criminals from using the international financial systems. The CFATF was formed three years later as an organization of more than 30 Caribbean region states, which have united their efforts to implement common countermeasures to criminal money laundering.
Article any source

Why the market is tumbling down???

Guys, finally I m posting my personal views on this issue. Now go though the reasons and see if they satisfy you.

  1. Uncertain Governments of India and USA. USA would be going for elections in a couple of months. That’s why many of the IT and export based companies are doubtful about the renewal of their license. McCain and Obama are two different ends of the pole. Thus companies are waiting for the elections to be over. In India, until the Nuclear deal issue is solved, a lot of uncertainty is likely to prevail. Moreover until the result of Lok Sabha poll is out, market will remain gloomy.
  2. Rising Crude Oil Prices. We all know that the price of crude oil is not decided on the demand and supply factor. And I firmly believe if in future there is going to be a nuclear war, it would be for Oil. There is no denying the fact that Crude will touch $ 200/barrel and will keep haunting the global indices.
  3. Rising Inflation. Inflation is a global phenomenon now. Even though the method of calculating headline inflation varies from country to country, we all are witnessing it. This time inflation has hit hard. The raw material prices have gone high. Be it any sector, they are under tremendous pressure, even Nano is feeling the heat. Taming inflation will require improving supply-side economics.
  4. Sub-prime Mortgage. Each one of us know that bourses are the slaves of big players like Mutual Fund, Brokerage Firms and HNIs. The Sub-prime mortgage has hit all MNC banks and big players in a big manner. Trillion dollars have been lost. The big players like CITY, Hedge Funds etc are in tremendous pressure.
  5. Weakening Dollar. Dollar has weakened against majority of currencies in the world. As a result currencies like Rupee, Yen have appreciated creating the problem.
  6. Election Year. Last but not the least, since this is an election year, government lacked in making policies which are in favor of corporate. May it be ECB, Monetary policy, Exemption in IT, FDI et al. So, the result is evident.
  7. Business Cycle. Like every business, markets also follow a cycle….. this is for sure the recessionary phase….. After every night there is a fresh morning…. So guys donn loose your heart…
Any source

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Temporale Serale su Bergamo

Temporale forte in serata a Bergamo, verso le ore 21.30 dopo una giornata calda e afosa preceduto da un forte vento con raffiche prossime agli 80 km/h si è abbattuto su tutta la bergamasca e la pianura padana un discreto temporale, le raffiche di vento e gli scrosci di pioggia hanno interessato per circa un'ora tutta la provincia con una discreta fulminazione, fortunatamente si segnalano solo lievi danni cartelloni divelti e rami caduti, assente la grandine.Any source

A word of Caution: Beware of mushrooming financial planners

Nowadays a lot of agents, blogger, financial distributors and banks try and call themselves financial planners. They generously also use the term financial planning/wealth management as and when it pleases them. Consumers are confused about the various terminologies used and hence do not actually question what a particular designation means. A person will always go for a Certified Financial Advisor or Certified Senior Financial & Investment Specialist, 95 % of the time, for advice. Incidentally, both these certifications are fake.

First of all, how detailed and comprehensive was the data gathering interview? Did the financial planner make notes of the information that you did not have and ask you to get back with this information. Did he take in information about you , your family, your aspirations, goals , income, expenses, cashflows, assets , liabilities, insurances, investments, powers of attorneys and information that might be relevant. Did he take information about your behavior towards risks and how you react in bullish & bearish situations? Did he understand the mistakes that you have committed in the past and how were they committed?

A good financial planner should take anywhere between 3-5 hours including social chat over 1 or 2 sessions to complete this data gathering process. Secondly, look closely at how the planner discusses risks and returns with you? Does he promise the moon and tells you how good he is and that he has provided the highest returns. No good financial planner in his right mind will ever do so and this is the kind of person you should look at working with. Does he take you through a proper risk profiling exercise, and tell you that the long-term return of the stock market is around 12% and therefore one should not count too heavily on 30% returns?

Thirdly, don’t opt blindly for the brand because it is the advisor and not the bank that matters. Most of the Relationship Managers in Banks are sales people always on the lookout for selling more and more products to clients.

Fourthly, does the financial planner take you through estate planning matters, retirement planning, different offerings as might be suitable to you and any other issues? He might not deal directly in any of those things but most good planners will at least give you an overview of what you need and refer you to someone competent. Finally, the composition and presentation of financial plans can vary immensely. The groups most notorious for doing rudimentary financial planning are banks and big distributors of financial products.
Any source

Séptima noche tropical del año

Hoy día de mi santo, San Pedro, ha sido un día caluroso, de bastante bochorno que se ha acumulado en la ciudad. Evidentemente se ha registrado otra noche tropical, que se convierte en la séptima noche tropical del año, ha sido de 24,8ºC a las 5:56 horas.

Ha sido una noche muy calurosa en todo el sureste peninsular, ha sido una noche difícil para coinciliar el sueño:
Torrevieja (Alicante): 23,8ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 22,9ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 22,3ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 21,8ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 21,1ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 20,3ºC
Guardamar del Segura (Alicante): 20,0ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 20,0ºC

Hoy nos ha tocado a nosotros sufrir la noche más calurosa de algunos registros meteorológicos que se realizan en el sureste peninsular. Probablemente habrá sido por lo que he comentado al principio, el bochorno acumulado en la ciudad después de un caluroso día.

Any source

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Sexta noche tropical del año

Tras la sorpresa de ayer al no registrar mínima tropical hoy estaba claro que no nos salvábamos .Se ha registrado la sexta noche tropical del año, ha sido de 21,6ºC a las 6:12 horas.

Vamos a ver en que otros lugares cercanos a la ciudad de Orihuela se ha registrado una noche tropical:

Torrevieja (Alicante): 23,9ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 22,9ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 22,8ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 21,8ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 21,4ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 21,0ºC
Denia (Alicante): 20,9ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 20,8ºC
Novelda (Alicante): 20,6ºCAny source

Friday, June 27, 2008

The tax increases are well worth it for what you get in return, even for a family with a $300,000 income

In response to Lane Kenworthy's June 24th post, "Making Ends Meet on $300,000 a Year":

Clearly this family is living very luxuriously, $500/month for a country club, $75,000 in cars every 4 years, $9,000 per year for vacations -- ever heard of camping, driving to Six Flags and staying at the Holiday Inn. And, a $600,000 house, with commensurate maintenance, insurance, and property tax costs. I know in Orange county, this just buys a very nice middle class house in a nice suburb, but in the vast majority of the country you need less than half this much for such a house.

A key thing though is, it's not that Obama would be making them pay extra taxes for no benefit in return. Even at their income level the benefits from Obama's tax increases would be substantial. These include a great decrease in their health insurance costs, and the health insurance costs of their employers, which should eventually be passed along in higher wages.

The tax increases would increase public health and safety, substantially benefiting the quality of life of them and their children.

College would become a lot more affordable, so their children wouldn't be saddled with $150,000 in student debt like they are, and they would have to save less for their children's education.

Public recreation would be better, so maybe they could play on the public tennis courts or send their children to a free public community center. And how about neighborhood public parks that families can freely go to, instead of so many people being walled off in gated communities. These neighborhood public parks were much more common before conservative Republicans took over 28 years ago.

The list goes on and on.

Even for a family this wealthy, I would guess the benefits substantially outweigh the costs, and this is overwhelmingly true for the median family.

The main reason is that Obama's and the Democrats spending programs, by and large, recognize what the scientific academic economics community learned long ago. An intelligent government role can greatly increase efficiency, wealth, and welfare, due to problems with the pure free market like externalities, asymmetric information, inability to perfectly price discriminate, inability to patent, large economies of scale and monopoly power problems, especially with idea, knowledge products, and more.

The Republicans of the last three decades have a hostility towards science, and thinking in general, when it interferes with their ideology, and their simple-minded, pure free market is always the best and magic, slogan economics, has cost us greatly.

One other thing, which is huge, is the prestige externalities, prominently researched and written about by Cornell economist Robert Frank.

The taxes would be paid by everyone in one's peer group, by and large, so if you ended up spending $5,000 less on your car, on average, so would your peers, so you wouldn't lose any prestige. As typically, the utility of a luxury car, versus an average one, may be at least 90% prestige, the utility cost of that $5,000 less in spending may by more like $500, but the whole $5,000 in taxes would go to health care, education, public safety, cancer research, etc. (inconspicuous consumption as Frank would call it).

The same goes for spending on clothing and accessories and country club, and even vacation hotels are highly context related in their utility.

Furthermore, if their income goes down X%, so does their peers who bid against them for homes, so there will be a savings in home prices. It's not a complete free lunch, because, for example, older couples moving from a larger home to a smaller one will on average pocket less of a difference, but there will be far more gainers from this than losers.

Any source

The New Google Mobile Community

If you've been following this blog at all, it's probably pretty clear that we're passionate about mobile technology. And if you have really been following this blog, it probably means that you are passionate about mobile technology too. Well, we've created a place for you to connect with other mobile enthusiasts: the new Google Mobile Community.

We envision this community as being a place where you can discuss the world of mobile in general -- like cool new applications you've discovered or what you wish your phone could do. Or maybe you're looking to buy a new phone, and you're not sure which one to pick. Ask the group.

We also want the community to be a place where you can tell us what you think about our very own products. Sometimes we'll throw out a question about our products that only you have the answers to, such as why you use (or don't use) a certain feature. So keep an eye out for posts where we're asking for your feedback -- like this one. But also feel free to give us unsolicited feedback. What do you like about our mobile products? What don't you like? Are there features or products you would like to see? Be honest. We can take it.

There's really no limit to the discussion, with one small caveat: if you are trying to troubleshoot a specific technical issue with a particular Google product, check out our general Google Mobile Help Group or our more specific Maps and Gmail for mobile groups -- those are the places to ask technical questions. Search the group or post questions to find answers from other users about Google mobile products.

So come join the community... We're excited to hear from you!Any source

Nos salvamos "por los pelos" de otra noche tropical

Nos hemos salvado por los pelos de otra noche tropical. Ayer anuncié que esto iba a ser una rutina, que noche tras noche iba a ser tropical y hoy el Tiempo me ha dejado mal en el sentido de que hoy no se ha registrado temperatura mínima tropical en Orihuela, ya que ha sido de 19,9ºC a las 6:36 horas.

Como podeís ver a continuación, Orihuela ha sido la única ciudad de la zona que se ha salvado de una mínima tropical, excepto Elda y Novelda que han disfrutado de una noche bastante fresca para la fecha en la que estamos:
Torrevieja (Alicante): 22,9ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 21,9ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 21,3ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 21,3ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 21,2ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 21,1ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 20,3ºC
Elda (Alicante): 19,1ºC
Novelda (Alicante): 18,7ºCAny source

A nice ET Article!!!!

This is one of the articles published in Economic Times. The reason why I m putting it here is coz not only the article is interesting and relevant. In order to understand the views of Analyst and Advisors, one needs to understand the product. I can proudly say that my blog has explained majority of the financial products in laymen language.

Where to invest in times of inflation?

In a period of high inflation the big question is: Where could you park your funds, which are both safe and offer productive returns? With the two popular avenues of investment usually used to beat inflation - equity and realty - not doing well, it's no wonder then if the retail investor is at a loss as to where to park his/her funds.

While the Indian stock markets are plummeting, there is a lull in the real estate market too. Obviously, anyone with a little market sense would advice against real estate at the moment. Moreover, it also calls for huge sums. So, where should you invest?

Experts also aver that the stock markets also may not give positive returns in the next 12-15 months owing to two factors. One, the current political situation and two, the high oil prices.

"As long as the oil price does not stabilise, the markets cannot give much positive returns," points out Kancheti Surendra, director, SK Wealth Creators Pvt Ltd, a wealth management advisory.

"Don’t put all your assets in any one basket, as none is the best in these times. Spread your assets," is the advice most experts gave.

Investing in systematic investment plans (SIPs) of mutual funds, whereby you invest a certain quantum every month, is a good idea, according to many investment counsellors. "The SIP products help you average your investment against the vagaries of the market conditions and inflation," says C Parthasarathy, chairman of Karvy Stock broking Ltd.

If you have Rs 100 to invest, put in Rs 70 in balance fund schemes of mutual funds, which balance investments in equity and debt, through the SIP route. The rest, divide Rs 15 each in gold and realty, he advises. Concurs Surendra. "Actually, SIPs of mutual funds are diversified largecap funds and according to me this is the best instrument in an uncertain market," he adds.

"Buy Gold" or gold funds is the advice most investment counsellors are giving their clients, to protect the value of their hard-earned money, though one has been witnessing some dip in gold prices recently after an earlier rise.

According to Quantum Asset Management Company Private Limited, gold has historically been a good hedge against both falling stock markets and rising inflation and continues to give that “double hedge advantage” even today.

"Equity is still the best instrument to tackle inflation and saving the value of your money from depreciating," said a senior official of a leading private bank’s investment advisory division. However, you have to stay invested in stock markets or buy fresh equity with a longterm view, at least for two years, to get good returns, he said. According to him, your Rs 100 should be allocated 40 per cent to debt instruments with fixed maturity plans (FMPs), 30 per cent in equity, 20 per cent to real estate and 10 per cent to gold.

While it may be a good idea to increase allocation to real assets like gold and commodities, as against financial assets, it must be remembered that it is still a speculative activity and may fall with inflation, said Parthasarathy. Interestingly, this is also a good time to pick up stocks.

But the caveat according to Surendra is, "Only when one is well educated. That is, when they understand the underlying risk, this period of one year will give an opportunity to pick up quality stocks. So identify some quality stocks and buy them on panic days when the markets fall by 500-600 points."

According to Renu Challu, managing director of State Bank of Hyderabad (SBH), it still makes sense to spread part of the investment to fixed deposits, in the interest of easy liquidity and guaranteed returns. “We are also examining increasing our interest rates on fixed deposits by 25-50 basis points shortly,” she said.

While real estate market is not inching up, one may buy if the prices soften as it is likely to yield good returns in the future, said a personal finance expert.

Structured Products

In case you have surplus funds above Rs 25 lakh, structured products in equity-linked debentures make sense, as you get your capital back even when the markets go down and when they go up, you get multiplied returns, said a financial advisor.

Any source

The blame for high gas prices rests on simple-minded Republican ideology not speculators

In Paul Krugman's June 27th column he writes:

"Why are politicians so eager to pin the blame for oil prices on speculators? Because it lets them believe that we don’t have to adapt to a world of expensive gas."

A perhaps even bigger reason why Republicans want to blame speculators for sky high gas costs is that they don't want the public to put the blame where it's really due – on them.

For decades Republicans have constantly blocked Democratic attempts to increase fuel mileage and many other efficiency and conservation measures. They've also constantly blocked or cut spending on alternative energy, all the while mindlessly chanting "Free market". The economics community had proven long ago that there are many situations and ways where a government role can add greatly to efficiency, wealth, and welfare, but this is a party that long ago refused to think beyond slogans. They acted as though not being simple-minded was a vice, liberal and un-American, when in fact, thinking, and believing in science, evidence, and logic is one of the things that made this country great, and the richest and strongest in the world.

Now we're paying a big price for Republican ideology in energy and so many other things. Had the Democrats not been outvoted, filibustered, and vetoed from enacting their "big government" mileage, conservation, research, and other energy measures over the last almost three decades, gasoline might be less than half its price today, and mileage more than twice as high, making the gas cost per mile less than a quarter of what it is now.

And, of course, it wouldn't hurt that this would have starved the terrorists,and some of the worst authoritarian regimes in the world of money, and greatly decreased the momentous risks of global warming, trivial benefits that aren't taken into account by the magical free markets. By the way, such things are called externalities by serious academic economists...There they go again, those elitist, liberal, academic economists and scientists with their fancy book learnin'.
Any source

Thursday, June 26, 2008

An easier way to get started with Google Mobile

As we've added more and more products to the Google Mobile lineup, our users have asked for an easier way to learn how to get started with Google on their phones. We've listened closely to the feedback and are happy to announce the launch of the new site -- the place to discover what you can do with Google on your phone.

When you go to the site, just select a phone from the list of popular devices and you'll get to see the Google products that are available. You can click on a product to get more information and watch a short video.

When you're ready to get started, just enter your mobile number and we'll send a link directly to your phone so you don't have to type the address. You can also go straight to from your phone's browser to find out what products are available for your phone and to get started.

If you're in the US, try out the new site at -- you'll be able to get the best from Google on your phone, with less effort than ever. Be sure to visit the new Google Mobile Community group to share feedback and discuss with fellow mobile enthusiasts.Any source

New Google search results pages for BlackBerry users

Two weeks ago we updated our mobile homepage in the US so that it would load more quickly. Today, we're releasing in the US a number of improvements to our mobile search results pages for BlackBerry browsers. These new improvements are designed to help you find the information you want more easily.
  • Improved comprehensiveness: Our mobile search now incorporates results from Product Search, Blog Search, News archives search, and more.
  • Blended results: Instead of showing you web, image, local and news results in separate sections, we now combine them to improve relevance. We've also made it easier for you to focus your search on any one of these categories -- notice how the links are now placed at the top of the results page.
  • Longer snippets: Web results include longer snippets so that your answer may be right on the results page.
  • Related searches: At the bottom of the search results page, you'll find a list of related searches to help you refine a query.
You may notice that many of these improvements mirror our desktop search capabilities. We have taken desktop elements that have tested well on mobile and further optimized them for the mobile use case. Improving mobile search is a continuous process and we hope you find the releases this past month to move the needle on what we care most about: quality, speed and ease of use.

To watch a demo of our new mobile search results pages, take a peek at the video below. Or better yet, test drive our new search results page yourself. It's simple. Go to on your BlackBerry browser and search away!

Any source


書刊名:沒有我們的世界(The World Without Us)
作者名:艾倫‧魏斯曼(Alan Weisman)
譯 者:劉泗翰





在紐約交通局工作的保羅‧舒伯(Paul Schuber)和彼特‧布里法(Peter Briffa)最清楚箇中源由。他們分別是水力處的督察長以及水力突發事件應變小組的一級維修主管,每天的工作就是阻止一千三百萬加侖的水淹沒紐約地鐵的隧道。




因為都市裡已經沒有什麼土壤可以吸收雨水,也沒有什麼植物可以散發水蒸氣,再加上建築物阻擋陽光蒸發雨水,因此雨水都在地面上積成水潭或跟著地心引力流進下水道,或者流進地下鐵的通風管,讓地下水量增多。比方說,在一三一街與雷諾克斯大道(Lenox Avenue)底下,日益上升的地下河流水位正逐漸侵蝕地鐵A、B、C、D四條路線的地基,因此跟舒伯與布里法一樣穿著反光背心與牛仔工作服的工人,經常要在城市地底爬來爬去,處理紐約市地下水位上升的問題。

只要豪雨一來,下水道就會被暴雨留下來的垃圾堵塞,在世界各個城市漂流的垃圾塑膠袋可能就真的無從估算了。一定得找到出路的水,只好沿著地下鐵的階梯傾瀉而下,再加上從東北方的大西洋湧進來的海浪,導致紐約市的地下水位節節上升。於是在曼哈頓下城的水街(Water Street)和布朗克斯的洋基球場等地區,無處宣洩的水湧入地鐵隧道,所有交通因此中斷,直到積水退卻為止。如果海洋持續暖化,海平面上升的速度超過了目前每十年一英吋,那麼總有一天,積水將永遠不退,舒伯和布里法完全無法想像屆時會發生什麼事情。


舒伯用白色安全帽遮著眼睛,低頭看著布魯克林區凡辛克蘭大道(Van Siclen Avenue)車站底下的一個方洞,每分鐘有六百五十加侖的地下水從岩床湧出,然後從這個方洞冒出來。在奔騰水流的怒吼之中,他指出四具可以放進水裡的鑄鐵抽水機,輪流上陣對抗地心引力,全力爭先。這種抽水機完全仰賴電力,一旦停電,情況會立刻變得很棘手。於是在世貿中心遭到攻擊之後,他們引進了一輛緊急抽水列車,車上備有一台巨無霸型攜帶式柴油發電機,它能抽出的水量是席亞球場(Shea Stadium)的二十七倍。然而,如果連接紐約地鐵與新澤西的捷運河底隧道爆裂(有一次真的差點就發生了),哈德遜河水大量湧入隧道,那麼這輛抽水列車和紐約市大部分,恐怕都將不保。



即使沒有下雨,他們估計,只要地鐵抽水機停止不動,地鐵隧道不到兩天就會完全淹沒。在這種情況下,水會沖刷掉人行道底下的土壤,不久,街道開始出現坑洞,再加上沒人清理下水道,地面上會出現新的渠道。另外,隨著積水的地鐵隧道頂坍塌,也會有其他的新興渠道出現。二十年之內,原本在東城支撐著四、五、六號線三條地鐵隧道及地表路面的鋼樑,也會因為泡在水裡太久而被侵蝕,於是路面坍陷,一旦雷克辛頓大道(Lexington Avenue)完全坍塌,街道就變成河流了。

然而,全城的人行道可能在此之前早就問題叢生。紐約柯伯學院(Cooper Union)土木工程系主任賈米爾‧阿曼德博士(Jameel Ahamd)說,一旦人類撤離曼哈頓,城裡的一切在第一個三月來臨時就開始敗壞。每年三月,氣溫在攝氏零度左右徘徊,來回次數高達四十次(以目前的氣候變化來看,這個時間可能推前至二月),重覆結冰、解凍的過程會導致瀝青與水泥出現裂縫。當積雪開始融化,雪水就會滲入這些新出現的縫隙,如果滲入縫隙的水份再次結冰,就會進一步擴大路面的裂痕。



這些先驅物種甚至不必等到人行道完全遭到破壞才能成長。從排水溝裡的污泥堆積起,紐約市防護嚴密的水泥柏油外殼上開始出現一層土壤,各種樹苗也就在此萌芽。只不過,除了風吹來的灰塵和都市煤煙之外,並沒什麼有機物質堪用。位在曼哈頓西區、紐約中央鐵路廢棄的高架鐵軌就是這種情況。從一九八○年火車停駛以來,這裡除了無所不在的臭椿樹之外,還有厚厚的一層鱗莖臭草與毛茸茸的羊耳石蠶,最引人矚目的則是叢生的麒麟草。在某些地方,鐵軌從過去行經的工廠二樓冒出來,駛入架高的花草巷,兩側有番紅花、鳶尾草、月見草、紫苑草、野胡蘿蔔的夾道歡迎,許多紐約客從雀爾西藝術區的樓上窗口往下望,看到這一片無心插柳卻茂盛繁榮的綠色緞帶,都大受感動,於是非常有遠見地當機立斷,將城市裡這一片已經死亡的市景保存下來,命名為「高線」(High Line),並且正式指定為公園用地。














五十億年後:奄奄一息的太陽開始膨脹並吞噬了太陽系所有內行星(inner planets,即水星和金星),地球也隨之蒸發殆盡。

一萬億年後:儘管微弱且斷斷續續,《迷離境界(Twilight Zone)》和其他電視節目的廣播信號依舊在宇宙空間中傳播。
HomeAny source


集 數:兩集未完
譯 者:茹茂華







HomeAny source

Quinta noche tropical del año

Bueno esto parece que va a ser ya una rutina, noche tras noche será tropical salvo alguna noche con motivo extraordinario. Por tanto hoy se ha registrado la quinta noche tropical del año, ha sido de 20,8ºC a las 5:56 horas. De nuevo el maldito viento de poniente constante ha hecho una conciliación del sueño difícil.

De nuevo Torrevieja, como otras muchas noches, ha sido la ciudad más calurosa de la zona cercana a Orihuela:

Torrevieja (Alicante): 23,3ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 22,1ºC
Murcia - Malecón (Murcia):
Cartagena (Murcia): 21,9ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 21,4ºC
Denia (Alicante): 20,9ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 20,6ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 20,6ºC
Muchamiel (Alicante): 20,4ºCAny source

Giornata verde in casa Google

Pochi giorni fa i googlers di tutto il mondo si sono cimentati in una nuova, piccola sfida a sostegno delle comunità locali e dell'ambiente. Tra i principali progetti di green service abbiamo piantato alberi, pulito parchi e spiagge.

Noi Googlers italiani ci siamo dati appuntamento al Boscoincittà e al parco delle Cave, due parchi pubblici che si trovano in una zona periferica e problematica della città di Milano.

Con l'aiuto dell'associazione
Italia Nostra abbiamo lavorato a diversi progetti, coinvolgendo realtà locali come la cooperativa La strada e l'associazione via Quarti.

Una giornata di lavoro per sistemare un sentiero in legno, pulire boschi e vivai, ripristinare le reti intorno alla cava Ongari, riverniciare le porte da calcio dove giocano i ragazzi di via Quarti e con orgoglio restituirgliele.

Certo sono davvero piccole azioni ma l'impatto è stato immediato. Prova in fin dei conti che non occorrono grandi mezzi per fare qualcosa di buono, solo un po' di volontà ;)

Any source

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Calor, Xafogor i ruixats estiuencs.

Dissabte 21 va entrar l’estiu astronòmic però ja portàvem un parell de dies que es feien notar arreu del país. A la comunitat andalusa i extremenya, per exemple, les temperatures ja han arribat al llindar dels 40ºC. A Tossa de Mar, s’han apropat als 30ºC i la nit de dimarts a dimecres va representar la primera nit tropical amb 22,1ºC de mínima, recordar que les nits tropicals és quan la temperatura mínima és superior als 20ºC.
Si observem la taula següent de les màximes i les mínimes d’aquests darrers dies, podem veure com l’estiu ha arribat i de forma ben marcada. Sembla que durant els propers dies la calor ha de ser la tònica del dia a dia.

No obstant, i degut aquesta calorades i al pas de petites àrees d’inestabilitat, a la zona pirenaica es podrien produir ruixats localitzats, que de cara a divendres es podrien estendre en punts del nord-est, en principi no sembla que hagin d’arribar a Tossa tot i que si hi haurien intervals de núvols a partir del migdia.

Un altre element meteorològic que notem aquest dies, és la xafogor. La xafogor, és la temperatura subjectiva que sent el nostre cos, aquesta temperatura és l’acció conjunta de la temperatura ambient (calor) i la humitat relativa de l’aire.
L’èsser humà transmet calor (transpiració del cos), quan la humitat de l’aire, conjuntament amb la temperatura ambient, és elevada, dificulta la transpiració del cos i és aquí, quan notem la sensació de xafogor. La suor, per exemple, és degut a la saturació de la transpiració corporal. A la taula següent, podem veure la temperatura de xafogor amb unes condicions determinades temperatura i humitat.
Any source

You Don't Mess with the Krughan

In response to Arnold Kling's June 24th post:

Arnold, you're not wrong in saying that your misinterpretation of a Krugman quote is wrong. The problem is that Krugman never meant what you think he meant.

Here's the quote you refer to:

"Well, a futures contract is a bet about the future price. It has no, zero, nada direct effect on the spot price"

You're interpreting it as though Krugman said it has no effect on the spot price. He didn't say that. He said it has no direct effect on the spot price. And just two sentences later he goes on to say, "Any effect on the spot market has to be indirect...".

What did Krugman mean by all of this?

The Futures market and price is clearly related to the spot price, and can clearly affect it. You don't have to get all flowery and philosophical to see the key direct way, which is through arbitrage. The futures price cannot get too much higher than the spot price or else there will be arbitrage opportunities that are easy to see and will be jumped all over, bidding the futures price down and the spot price up.

For example, suppose the futures price of oil in one month were $140, and the spot (today) price were $130. An investor with good credit and access to funds could sign a futures contract to sell 100 million barrels in one month. Then, he could borrow $130 million and use it to buy 100 million barrels of He would store the oil for one month, and then sell it at the price guaranteed in the futures contract, $140/barrel. With no risk, he would guarantee himself a profit of millions because interest costs on the $100 million he borrowed for one month, and the storage costs of the oil for one month, will be less than the $10 million difference between 100 million barrels bought at $130, and sold at $140.

Arbitrageurs will jump all over this and keep buying at spot and selling at futures until the futures and spot prices get close enough that the difference between them won't be big enough to pay the interest and storage costs. So, the futures price can never get too much higher than the spot price. And when the futures price is bid up – perhaps by speculators, this will pull up the spot price with it – but notice how; through arbitrage, through speculators buying on spot and holding in storage – hoarding! Just like Krugman said.

Speculation is only going to boost the spot price if there is some hoarding.

But an important issue, still, is how much hoarding is necessary. I discussed this in my June 17th post, and Columbia economist Guillermo Calvo eluded to it as well in a June 20th post; the amount of hoarding necessary to push up the price a lot depends on how inelastic the supply and demand curves are in the short run, or very short run.

If you look at Krugman's graph in his May 13th post , he has the supply and demand curves drawn pretty diagonally, indicating a lot of elasticity in both the supply and demand. The empirical reality in the very short run might, however, be that those lines are very inelastic, very close to straight vertical lines. In that case, when you boost the price, the gap between them that develops is very narrow, indicating that not that much has to be hoarded.

So, if supply and demand in the short run, or very short run, are inelastic enough, then perhaps a small enough amount would have to be hoarded that it could go undetected by the oil inventory records. Theoretically, this is possible, but I'm just not expert in oil inventory recording and the empirics of oil elasticity, so I can't really say how likely this is in the real world.

In any case, Krugman is right that speculators can only hurt us if they're hoarding. That's the only way they can affect the price, and this is true for anything. Speculators helped bubble up housing because they bought homes and held them for like a year or more. They held them, hoping the price would keep going up. They didn't sell them the next day, and when they did start selling them that really helped deflate the bubble. Speculators helped bubble up tech stocks in the late 90s because they bought them and held them for like a year or more, hoping the price would keep shooting up. If they sold them the next day, they would not have contributed to that bubble.

Any source

Cuarta noche tropical del año

De noche en tropical en noche tropical y tiro porque me toca...Hoy se ha registrado la cuarta noche tropical del año, ha sido de 21,4ºC a las 6:16 horas. De nuevo el maldito viento de poniente constante ha hecho una conciliación del sueño difícil.

Vamos a ver que localidad cercana a Orihuela ha sufrido la noche más calurosa en el día de hoy:

Santomera (Murcia):
Aeropuerto El Altet (Alicante): 23,2ºC
Torrevieja (Alicante): 22,8ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 23,1ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 20,9ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 21,8ºC
Denia (Alicante): 21,8ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 22,0ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 20,8ºC
Novelda (Alicante): 21,0ºC

Parece ser que la pasada noche en Santomera, a escasos 15 kilómetros de Orihuela, se ha dado un efecto foehn o se ha acumulado el calor en la ciudad de una forma extraordinaria.Any source

Comienza el Descenso Veraniego de las Reserva Hídricas

Después de una Primavera tan lluviosa, el calor veraniego a llegado. Y por primera vez en este año, las Reservas Hídricas comienzan a descender. Este descenso, es del todo Normal, y en nuestra zona, suele durar unos 3/4 meses de media, para volver a empezar con su aumento a partir de Septiembre u Octubre.

Así, Barcena registro un descenso importante, con -10 hm3 menos que la semana pasada (-2,93%).
Prada también registró un descenso significativo, con -2 hm3 menos que la semana pasada (-1,64%).
En el resto de los embalses , San Martín continua al 90% y Peñarrubia se mantiene al 84,62% de su capacidad total. La Cuenca de Ourense también se nota una elevada perdida, y desciende -36 Hm3 hasta el 72,93% ( 1.169 Hm3 ) de su capacidad total.
Any source

Senior Management Changes in BVI FSC

BVI FSC published two press releases in June, the first one concerning completion of two five-year employee contracts with the Commission, and the second one announcing new appointments to Senior Management posts. Press release published on June 12, 2008 included information on Michael Oliver and Christopher Hill demitting the office during this month.

Mr. Oliver has served as director of insurance industry in BVI since 2003, and during his being in the post, the BVI has become the 4th largest jurisdiction for Captive Insurance. It is mentioned in the press release that in this post he established a number of Insurance Regulatory Training Initiatives not only for FSC but also for Insurance Regulators in the region. Mr. Oliver also played great role in the promotion of the BVI's new Insurance Act passed in the beginning of the year.

Mr. Hill was recruited as the BVI's first director of Insolvency Services, having the specific task of setting up the FSC's insolvency regime and implementing the provisions of Insolvency Act, 2003 – including recruitment and training of staff, designing systems and controls, advising on legislation and regulations and providing licenses to Insolvency Practitioners.

On June 19, 2008, the new appointments were announced: Mr. David Abednego was named as the new Acting Director of Insolvency services, while Mr. Elton Lettsome became the Acting Director of Insurance sector. Mr. Abednego is an attorney who was admitted to practice law in the BVI in 1998; in 2004 he started to work in the FSC, was assigned to the Insolvency Services Division in the role of Deputy Director, Insolvency Services and Deputy Official Receiver, and was the principal assistant to Mr. Hill. Now, in the role of Acting Director, Insolvency Services/Official Receiver, Mr. Abednego will lead the Commission's Insolvency Services Division and serve as the Territory's Official Receiver.

Mr. Elton Lettsome became associated with Insurance regulation in 1992, when he was recruited by the Ministry of Finance of BVI as an Assistant Regulator. Mr. Lettsome who holds a Bachelors of Science Degree in Finance from the University of Florida, has represented the Commission at various international insurance seminars, conferences and workshops.
Article any source

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Nueva Máxima Anual: 36,9ºC

Día muy caluroso el que hemos tenido hoy en Orihuela, hemos alcanzado los 36,9ºC a las 16:08 horas. De esta manera, dicha temperatura se convierte en la nueva máxima anual.

Curiosamente Orihuela no ha sido la ciudad más calurosa del sureste, y es que por ejemplo en Murcia capital la temperatura ha sido muy cercana a los 40,0ºC. Veamos que otros valores de temperaturas máximas se han registrado cerca de Orihuela:
Murcia (Murcia): 38,0ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 37,7ºC
Murcia - Zarandona (Murcia): 37,4ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 37,0ºC
Abarán (Murcia): 37,0ºC
Catral (Alicante): 36,9ºC
Orihuela (Alicante): 36,9ºC
Murcia - La Alberca (Murcia): 36,2ºC
Crevillente (Alicante): 36,1ºC
Almoradí (Alicante): 34,6ºC
Pilar de la Horadada (Alicante): 33,1ºC
Aeropuerto El Altet (Alicante): 33,0ºC
Villena (Alicante): 32,1ºC

Hoy se ha vuelto a repetir la historia y los interiores peninsulares han sido evidentemente más perjudicados en los registros térmicos máximos que la costa.

Seguramente esta noche sea de nuevo tropical.Any source

Introducing Mobile Tricks, our new YouTube channel for cell phone enthusiasts

Mobile phones are awesome. I use mine all the time, from using it as a flashlight to find my keys, to a calendar to see just how late I am for an appointment. But people do much more interesting things than that with phones nowadays. And so the Google mobile team poses the question to you: what can you do with your phone?

Upload your best tip or trick to YouTube on our brand new Mobile Tricks channel. We'll post all the ones we like to our playlists for the world to see in one centralized space, and will be blogging about our favorites here every so often. Be it a useful tip on how to use your phone to get internet access on your computer or a fun trick like juggling a phone and two rubber chickens, we want to see what you've got!

To get you started, our friend Dave Stone at the Advertising Program at Art Center saves us from aliens and our friends at Blendtec do what they do best. More great videos next week!

Any source

Sigue subiendo levemente la Reserva Hídrica

El Embalse de la Pedrera ha sufrido una pequeñísima subida de 1hm3. Actualmente el agua embalsada es de 85hm3 con un porcentaje de 34,55%. Podriamos decir que afrontamos el verano medianamente bien teniendo acumulada dicha Reserva Hídrica, pero las previsiones dicen que este verano en el apartado de precipitaciones, estas se mantendrán en la media o con ligera tendencia a la baja. Any source

Invasión de Polvo Sahariano sobre Orihuela

Desde ayer y durante la jornada de hoy, seguro que muchos oriolanos y oriolanas están viendo como el cielo de nuestro ciudad muestra un color azul bastante pálido e incluso en algunos momentos blanquecino. Se trata de una pequeña invasión polvo procedente del desierto del Sahara, en las capas altas de la atmósfera. A lo largo del día de hoy irá remitiendo y el cielo volverá recobrar su color azul veraniego que no suele ser tan azul como en el invierno, por las partículas sólidas que son arrancadas por las corrientes de aire caliente desde nuestra superficie, con el calentamiento del Sol.
Concentraciones de Polvo sahariano en la atmósfera a una altitud de 3000 metros.

Las concentraciones esta vez no han sido muy importantes y apenas han sobrepasado los 1,5 gr/m2. El que esta cantidad de polvo sahariano se introdujera durante la jornada de ayer en nuestra atmósfera, tiene que ver con la llegada de una vaguada de aire frío en altura que cruzó la península. Esta dió lugar, en la tarde de ayer, a importantes tormentas en el centro de nuestro país.
Any source

My Location in your Palm

We're excited to release an update to Google Maps for mobile for Palm OS. For Palm Centro users, this update includes the My Location feature which allows you to see your location on a map without GPS. If you have a Centro, just press 0 and the map will snap to your current area. Google Maps for mobile will determine your approximate location from the cell phone tower your phone is connected to. Please note that if you have a Sprint Centro, you must first upgrade its operating system to Maintenance Release 1 for My Location to work.

Unfortunately, older Palm models such as the Treos don't have the APIs needed to get the cell tower data, so My Location is not available on these models. All Palm OS phones will be able to enjoy the other features of this release. Google Maps for mobile now supports hybrid view so you can view satellite imagery with street names layered on top. We've also improved the user interface for finding businesses, addresses, and directions. The route summary now lets you scroll through step-by-step instructions that you can copy to the clipboard. Visit on the desktop or your mobile phone to get the latest release of Google Maps for mobile.

Any source

Tercera noche tropical del año

Hoy se ha registrado la tercera noche tropical del año, ha sido de 21,3ºC a las 7:12 horas. Esta noche ha pasado todo lo contrario que la anterior, ha soplado viento de poniente que ha hecho que la temperatura no descendiera como otras noches, dejando una sensación de bochorno mayor.

Vamos a ver lo calurosa que ha sido la noche en otras localidades cercanas a Orihuela:

Elche (Alicante): 23,3ºC
Torrevieja (Alicante): 23,2ºC
Santomera (Murcia): 22,9ºC
Murcia (Murcia): 22,6ºC
Alicante (Alicante): 22,5ºC
Cartagena (Murcia): 22,4ºC
Denia (Alicante): 22,3ºC
Aeropuerto El Altet (Alicante): 22,2ºC
Molina de Segura (Murcia): 22,0ºC
San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante): 20,8ºC
Novelda (Alicante): 20,7ºCAny source

Una tormenta de granizo de sólo dos minutos provoca daños en huertas, viñedos y casas

"Granizo sobre Valdeorras"
Sucedió de madrugada rompiendo racimos de uvas y destrozando los canalones de algunos edificios

La tormenta registrada en la madrugada del lunes causó serios daños en la comarca. Afectó a huertas y viñas, rompió canalones y provocó cortes de luz. “Eran como huevos”, comentaba un vecino de A Rúa aludiendo al tamaño del granizo.
Un fuerte estruendo despertó a los valdeorreses a las cinco de la madrugada del lunes 23 de junio. Fue provocado por grandes piedras de granizo, al golpear contra coches y cubiertas. “Eran como huevos”, comentaba un rues, quien reconocía haberse levantado para comprobar que al vehículo que había estacionado en la calle no le había pasado nada.
La granizada afectó fundamentalmente al centro de la comarca, desde Larouco hasta O Barco. Aunque la piedra fue de gran tamaño -“fueron como cubitos de hielo”, explicaba un barquense-, la poca intensidad y su escasa duración -apenas superó los dos minutos-, evitó que los daños fuesen mayores.
El tamaño del granizo dejó constancia en las huertas. Una vecina de Vilela (A Rúa), Pilar Quiroga, mostraba los agujeros ocasionados en sus lechugas o calabacines. También las casas sufrieron las consecuencias del pedrisco. Sobre todo, aquellas que cuentan con canalones de PVC, en los cuales provocó numerosas roturas. Además, sobre la calle pudieron verse losas de pizarra caídas desde los tejados.
En Vilamartín, el tejado de “Talleres Núñez” -empresa dedicada a la reparación de coches y camiones-, estaba siendo reparado cuando se produjo la granizada. Ayer podían verse los agujeros ocasionados por la piedra en el falso techo, dejando ciertas zonas como coladores. Agujeros de unos cinco centímetros de diámetros permitían el paso de la luz exterior.
Mientras, en determinados puntos de O Barco, los vecinos se quejaban de los cortes de fluido eléctrico, al parecer provocados por los desperfectos ocasionados en los transformadores.
Pero quizás los más preocupados por la granizada fueron los bodegueros. Las viñas también acusaron los efectos de la piedra, aunque la baja intensidad y el acompañamiento de la lluvia aminoraron unos daños que podrían haber sido catastróficos, según explicó Ricardo Dobao, ingeniero técnico agrícola de la bodega ruesa A Coroa.
El temporal tiró por el suelo y agujereó un buen número de hojas y algún que otro racimo en zonas muy concretas de sus viñedos. En estos mismos puntos, algunas uvas mostraban el color oscuro provocado por los golpes del granizo.
La primera tarea que acometieron los técnicos de las bodegas de la Denominación de Orixe Valdeorras durante la mañana fue visitar los viñedos para comprobar los efectos del granizo. Muchos de ellos aún habrá que esperar algunas horas para que se pueda apreciar si las plantas se resienten de la piedra.
Una primavera de pérdidas
La tormenta coincidió con la valoración que Unións Agrarias realizó de los daños derivados de las lluvias y de las variaciones de temperaturas de la primavera. Las cifran en un 30 % para los cultivos hortícolas y para la patata y de un 40% para el sector vitivinícola. Según sus estimaciones, las pérdidas en Galicia suponen 26 millones, correspondiendo 13,44 millones a las denominaciones de origen.
Los técnicos atribuyen al retraso en la floración y a la proliferación de hongos las pérdidas en los viñedos.El descenso en la producción de uva en Valdeorras supondrá 582.448 euros.Este mismo dato fue cuantificado en 1.868.731 euros, en el Ribeiro; 234.671 para Monterrei y 1.998.221 en la Ribeira Sacra.
Fuente: La Region
Any source