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 mobile.google.com 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 m.google.com 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 mobile.google.com -- 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 google.com on your BlackBerry browser and search away!

Any source

地球真實的姿態--沒有我們的世界《書刊》


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
※原文版2007年‧於2008年6月授權木馬中文化※


若不是工作過於繁重,這書讀來就不會這麼累。《沒有我們的世界》劇情引人入勝,只是整本書有像科學論述之學術性報告,我得不斷對抗突如其來的神遊太虛。不過在連續看了幾本有劇情的小說之後,本人特別喜歡來上這麼一本科普書刊,沒有情愛糾葛、無需拆解人性機關,有的僅是作者專長領域之中的見地,而艾倫魏斯曼沒有特別情緒、不帶惡意、具其童心與冷調的書寫口吻,讀來驚心動魄、趣味橫生。


如果你曾經收到一封名為「當人類從地球上消失後」的轉寄信,沒錯,這一科學狂想概念插圖便是依據《沒有我們的世界》所繪製而成(附於文章結尾處)。《沒有我們的世界》共分為四部外加總結,以「明天全部人類突然消失」為假設,來揣測這星球會因為少了人類的貢獻而變得貧乏、又或者是大大鬆了一口氣,並且一窺沒有人類的世界、地球將會演化為何等模樣。

文章描述人類被抽離這世界後,人為產物與依附人類生存的動植物將逐漸崩壞死去,不再受到人類濫砍濫伐的森林逐步取代殖地平原,森林一旦復甦,生態體系將會更加蓬勃發展,海洋六大氣流旋的垃圾場面積停止擴大(每一個垃圾場面積約莫為非洲同等大小),並逐漸演化出能夠消化垃圾的微生物,讓海洋得以淨化,地形與天侯的變化則讓人為痕跡按步就班地消失、速度甚至會比想像中還要更快,再依照現代文明產物特性,與七十萬年前人類老祖宗開天闢地以來的種種演化過程,做一回全面性的軌跡比較,什麼會消失、什麼會留下,艾倫說明新舊世界的吊詭景像與極度燙手的人類遺產,與最終,我們究竟何去何從。

按照以往慣例,再來截錄一小段文章唄。


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。

「那都是已經在地下的水,」舒伯說。

「一旦下雨,那水量……」布里法雙手一攤,做出投降狀,「根本無從估算。」

或許並不是真的無從估算,不過現在的雨量不會比興建這座城市之前少。曼哈頓曾經有二十七平方英里滲水性良好的土地,再加上樹根的虹吸作用,每年可以吸取四十七點二英吋的雨量,樹木和草地吸飽了水之後,又將其餘的水份吐到大氣之中。舉凡樹根無法吸收的水份,就成了島上的地下水,在某些地方,這些水會浮出地表,形成湖泊或沼澤,多餘的水則經由那四十幾條溪流洩入海洋,只不過這些溪流如今全都埋在水泥與瀝青底下了。

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。

除此之外,從一九三○年代沿用至今的古董級主要輸水管經常爆裂,讓情況雪上加霜。唯一讓紐約市到現在還沒被淹沒的原因,就是地鐵工作人員的警覺心和七百五十三台抽水機。讓我們想想這些抽水機。紐約的地鐵系統在一九○三年堪稱工程界的奇蹟,這個系統埋在當時已經存在而且正蓬勃發展的城市之下,由於城市地底已有下水道管線,因此唯一可以讓地鐵通行的地方就是這些水管之下。「所以,」舒伯解釋道,「我們必須把水往上抽。」在這方面,紐約倒不是獨樹一格,像倫敦、莫斯科、華盛頓等地,它們的地鐵系統都更深入地底,通常也兼具防空洞的功能,因此潛在的危機也更大。

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。

在廢棄的城市裡,就沒有像舒伯和布里法這樣的人,只要一看到降雨量超過兩英寸就立刻衝到淹水的車站裡,不巧的是最近車站淹水愈來愈頻繁,他們有時拉著水管將積水抽到地底的下水道,有時搭乘充氣艇巡視隧道。一旦城市裡沒有人,也就不會有電,這些抽水機也無法發揮任何作用。「一旦這些抽水設施停擺,」舒伯說,「只要半個小時,積水就會達到列車完全無法通行的深度。」

里法脫掉護目鏡,揉揉眼睛。「如果有一區淹水,就會把積水推擠到其他區塊。三十六小時之內,所有地區都會淹沒在水裡。」

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。

姑且稱之為水的復仇吧,誰叫人類把水趕出了都市空間。自然界裡幾乎所有化合物在結冰時體積都會收縮,唯獨氫氧結合的水分子正好相反,結冰時,水分子組成精緻的六角形結晶體,佔用的空間比液態要多出百分之九。美麗的六角形結晶體讓人想到輕飄飄的雪花,實在很難想像這種東西竟然能夠推開人行道上的大塊地磚。同樣的,我們恐怕更難想像能夠抵抗每平方吋高達七千五百磅壓力的碳鋼水管,竟會在結冰時爆裂。然而,事實確是如此。

一旦人行道地磚出現裂縫,從中央公園吹來的雜草種子,如芥子、酢漿草、牛筋草等,就會趁機鑽進去,進一步擴大縫隙。在目前的世界裡,這些雜草還沒長到不可收拾的地步,市政府的維護工人就會出現,拔掉雜草,填補縫隙。然而,在後人類的世界裡,再也沒有人修補紐約市的破洞了。跟著雜草而來的,是這個城市裡最多產的外來物種,中國臭椿。即使周圍有八百萬人,中國臭椿仍然毫不留情地侵佔這座城市,它還有另一個聽起來純潔無邪的名字,「天堂樹」。它在地鐵隧道裡的小裂縫扎根,開枝散葉,直到它們的樹葉從人行道的縫隙中撐開小傘,才會有人注意到它們的存在。如果沒有人拔除這些小樹苗,在短短五年之內,力大無窮的臭椿樹根就會把人行道整個掀翻,破壞下水道系統。此時,所有的塑膠袋和無人清理的舊報紙紙漿,已經把下水道壓得喘不過氣,原本壓在人行道下的土壤終於能接觸到陽光和雨水,其他物種紛紛落地生根,不久之後,樹葉就會加入愈來愈多的垃圾行列,一起堵塞下水道的柵口。

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。

最初幾年在失去熱能的寒冷城市裡,水管會全部爆裂,結冰、解凍的循環也移到室內進行,情況嚴重惡化。由於內部熱漲冷縮,建築物開始呻吟,牆壁與屋頂之間的接合也開始分家,雨水從此處滲入,鐵釘生鏽,牆面剝落,露出牆內的隔熱層。如果這座城市到現在還沒有燒燬的話,此其時也。整體而言,紐約市的建築物不像某些城市那麼易燃,例如舊金山有成排的維多利亞式木造建築,幾乎是遇火即燃。但是,不再有消防隊滅火,只要一個閃電點燃了十年間在中央公園裡堆積的枯枝乾葉,就會引發大火,沿著街道延燒全市。二十年內,避雷針已經生鏽折毀,屋頂上的火源會從一棟建築跳到另外一棟建築,燒進貼滿飾板的辦公室,而裡面的紙張更會助長火勢。這時候,一陣火舌舔舐到瓦斯管線,轟然巨響震碎了所有的玻璃窗,雨水和雪花從破窗口吹進屋內,積水的混凝土地板也開始結冰、解凍,不久後彎曲碎裂。燒焦的隔熱板和碳化的木材,替曼哈頓愈來愈厚的土壤層提供了豐富的養分,本土的維吉尼亞爬山虎和毒長春藤爬上了長滿地衣的牆壁,這些地衣因為沒有空氣污染,長得格外濃密。紅尾鵟與遊隼則在日漸變成骷髏的高樓大廈頂樓築巢。【以上截錄自P.29~P.34】

我們所謂的世界觀,其實裡頭僅有的是人與類人的姿態;而不幸也正常的是,這地球、這世界、這生態正按照它千億年來的常規程序崩潰瓦解中,到此,生命演化論道盡了絕望與希望,或許我們也能以更豁達的態度來看待生命的緣起與緣滅,以及所有一切苦難與殘缺,其中包括了人類共業之苦。


【書背文案】
如果人類突然從地球上消失,我們的世界會變成什麼模樣?
誰會是地球下一個主人呢?藉由這種大膽創新的假設,可以審視人類對環境的影響!

作者以說故事的方式,述說如果人類消失後,
城市會迅速癱瘓,高樓大廈倒塌,核電廠大量輻射物流散。
博物館中豐富的藝術品、銀行裡成堆的鈔票、美酒佳餚、
錦衣華服統統會浸在積水、塵埃、黴菌裡漸漸消失。
農業田地將回復到野生型態;成千上萬的鳥兒繁衍存活下來;
冷冰冰的城市中,隨著人類消失,蟑螂也將絕跡。
最後遺留下來的,或許是人類早期興建的那些紀念性建築物,
還有,塑膠、青銅雕塑、無線電波以及一些人造物,
將會是我們留給整個宇宙最後的贈禮。

沒有了我們,地球依然會繼續存在下去,依然會水草豐美、生命繁盛;
可是沒有了地球的我們呢?會面臨什麼樣的境況?
《沒有我們的世界》深刻地指出地球上受到人類各項活動的影響,
以及它天生具有的復原能力。
作者以別開生面的方式,來讓讀者對環保這個已經司空見慣的議題有全新的認識,
藉由人類消失給世界帶來的變化,呈現人類為地球所帶來無法抹滅的慘狀。
正如作者所說的,人類的活動正在傷害我們自身所處的環境,
這種損害其實必將導致人類最終的滅亡。
作者最終提出一個基本又有說服力、
而且不需人類滅亡便可留住地球的解決方式。



人類消失之後,高樓林立的紐約將逐漸變成枝繁葉茂的森林。


人類消失後的第二天:沒有了持續工作的抽水系統,紐約市的地鐵已完全浸沒在水中。


七天後:由於水冷系統失效,核反應堆已毀於大火和高溫。一年後,水的凍融效應使得街道上布滿了斑斑裂痕。二到四年後在紐約和其他城市,斑駁的街道已爲雜草所占據,而後行道樹的根部向上生長隆出地表,向下生長則再一次蹂躏著已毀損殆盡的下水系統。


四年後:沒有了供暖系統,住宅和辦公大樓成了凍融循環的犧牲品,開始了走向崩塌的第一步。五年後,紐約的大部分地區都已被焚毀。中央公園那些無人收撿的枯枝敗葉一旦被閃電擊中,很容易引發一場災難性的大火。


二十年後:曼哈頓水流縱橫,泥淖遍地。毀損的街道已然浸沒於水中。一百年後大多數房屋的屋頂都已塌落,這加速了這些建築的結構性損壞。三百年後紐約市的吊橋已經倒塌,那些鐵路拱橋或可維持數百年之久。


五百年後:紐約市的核心區已爲森林所覆蓋。5000年後核彈頭的外殼被腐蝕,導致放射性鈽239泄露至環境中。1.5萬餘年後隨著新的冰河時代到來,曼哈頓石質建築最後的遺迹被冰川覆蓋。


五萬年後:20世紀的汽車釋放至土壤中的金屬鉛直到這時才完全消散。10萬年後大氣中二氧化碳的濃度降至工業化之前的水平。1000萬年後作爲人類時代殘存的遺跡,許多青銅雕塑仍可保持其原有外形。


十億餘年後:太陽更亮了,地球也變得酷熱無比,但仍有可能存在適應了新環境的昆蟲和其他動物。


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。
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歡樂動漫魂--妖怪交涉人《漫畫》


漫畫名:妖怪交涉人(もののけもの)
漫畫家:御壺X龍侍(ゴツボ×リュウジ)
集 數:兩集未完
譯 者:茹茂華
※原文版2007年起~‧於2008年6月起由日本角川授權長鴻中文化※


一看到漫畫封面,當下直覺很想哇啦哇啦地鬼叫著:「御壺你這小子根本就是眼鏡控嘛!問題是,身為男性漫畫家的你,為什麼眼鏡都載在男主角身上,你腦袋裡的構造是什麼我很想知道啊啊啊--!!」

《妖怪交涉人》其實是套很KUSO很宅很動漫很軟性很同人誌的歡樂作品,而御壺X龍侍這人還挺好懂的(笑),完全是個動漫魂火力全開的人類啊!而經由這套漫畫,總算明瞭日本的「脫力」是意指「無心之舉、不花力氣便能完成任務」之形容詞,御壺X龍侍便是其創作理念的箇中翹楚,同樣的,讀者也不用花什麼力氣,就能從中得到一段爆笑的歡樂時光。

「那一天,我,被選上了!」最喜歡的外婆與世長辭,定居東京的長孫物部伊吹與父親一同回到久違的故鄉奔喪,迎接他的除了兒時玩伴與一如往昔的家鄉景色外,居然還有「第126代‧妖怪交涉人」之神劍管理者天職,絲毫不想擔負起此任務的伊吹,但父親卻把他丟在家鄉、自個兒跑去海外單身赴任,無可奈何的伊吹開始了手法雖粗暴卻也次次皆有解決任務的學生兼妖怪交涉人之脫力生涯。

是東京嗎?
是東京搞的鬼嗎?!

是東京的水泥叢林把你變成這種無情漢嗎?!

唔唔!可惡的東京!
【截錄自「第一怪」大天狗之對白】


基本上,這類漫畫除了主角之外,其他出場人物的腦袋,大多都違反社會正常規範認知,也因為兩者的衝突,笑點的產生自然水到渠成。不過,要吐槽就得先有偏見,不論這偏見酸甜苦辣,因而實中帶虛、若有若無的刺到心砍裡,漫畫看似很搞笑,卻呼應每個人的人生中,有著充滿數不盡的可悲可笑可嘆與可憐,噴笑之餘,難免迸出饒富趣味的心酸感,也因為這樣,我對御壺X龍侍的好感度正向上提昇,即使他的作品多半會有後繼無力的問題,但仍是一位很值得追書的漫畫家!
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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):
22,0ºC
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 ;)

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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.
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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 oil.today. 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.

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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):
24,9ºC
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.
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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.
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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!



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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.
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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 www.google.com/gmm on the desktop or your mobile phone to get the latest release of Google Maps for mobile.

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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.
VIÑEDOS
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
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