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Showing posts from June 25, 2017

Today's Trumpery

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The World’s Largest Coal Mining Company Is Closing 37 Sites

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[Further to the hopeless idiocy of Trump's energy 'policies': coal is dying a natural death globally. *RON*]

Ankita Rao, Motherboard Vice, 23 June 2017

As solar energy becomes cheaper than coal, India’s growth will depend on renewables.

Coal India—a government-back coal company–is reportedly closing 37 of its "unviable" mines in the next year to cut back on losses.

India is primed for an energy revolution. The country's ongoing economic growth has been powered by fossil fuels in the past, making it one of the top five largest energy consumers in the world. But it has also invested heavily in renewables, and the cost of solar power is now cheaper than ever. In some instances, villages in India have avoided coal-powered electricity altogether, and "leapfrogged" straight to solar power.

Partly because of this shift, Coal India, which produced 554.13 million tonnes of coal in the 2016-2017 fiscal year (for compari…

Why “SciStarter is excellent for citizen science.”

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[A terrific way of 'crowd sourcing' science, and an actually beneficial form of private-public partnership - read about it! *RON*]
Darlene Cavalier, Discover Magazine, 24 June 2017

Well thank you for the kind words, Pietro Michelucci (founder of EyesOnALZ, a crowdsourcing platform designed to accelerate Alzheimer’s research). Pietro is one of 15 project and platform partners we’ve been working with to test and deploy a suite of new citizen science tools.

For the past two years, thanks to support from the National Science Foundation, the SciStarter team has been hard at work building tools, partnerships, and methodologies to help connect millions of citizen scientists to thousands of projects in need of their help and, at the same time, break down barriers currently preventing participants from reaching their full potential.

SciStarter is a National Science Foundation-supported, project agnostic platform supporting recruitment and retention …

Why being wrong can be right: Magical warfare technologies and the persistence of false beliefs

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[Recent research into magical beliefs in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with obvious application to political beliefs in general. Why, despite the evidence of their own eyes, do fighters insist that amulets can protect them from from bullets? Because this is a winning strategy at the group level. It makes more members of the group more willing to fight more boldly, and so win. "The 'right' amount of 'wrong' beliefs can achieve the socially efficient outcome." *RON*]

Nathan Nunn & Raul Sanchez de la Sierra, VOX CEPR Policy Portal, 25 June 2017

Beliefs about origins, life after death, and rituals that activate supernatural processes to help people navigate life, despite being almost certainly incorrect, are common in developing countries. This column examines the role of ‘magical’ beliefs in warfare in the context of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Belief in a spell that offers protection from bullets helpe…

Technological change and the future of financial intermediation

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[An excellent description of the activities of modern banks: job cutters who fail to create value, except for themselves and shareholders. A presentation made to the 44th Economics Conference of the Austrian central bank (ONB). *RON*]

John Kay, John Kay's blog, 24 June 2017


In London I am often asked to give talks about developments in the finance sector to a general audience. One question which routinely comes up is “what do people who work in the finance sector, in those large office blocks and in the City of London and Canary Wharf, actually do?” And the answer I give is that, to an extent that almost defies belief, what they do is trade with each other.

World trade in goods and services has expanded greatly since the Second World War. But today the volume of global trading in foreign exchange is a hundred times the volume of global trade in goods and services.[1] The total value of exposures under derivative contracts amounts to between…

Trump’s Lies

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[Worth posting separately from Today's Trumpery... "Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office." *RON*]

David Leonhardt & Stuart A Thompson,  New York Times, 23 June 2017

JAN. 21 “I wasn't a fan of Iraq. I didn't want to go into Iraq.” (He was for an invasion before he was against it.) JAN. 21 “A reporter for Time magazine — and I have been on their cover 14 or 15 times. I think we have the all-time record in the history of Time magazine.” (Trump was on the cover 11 times and Nixon appeared 55 times.) JAN. 23 “Between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused me to lose the popular vote.” (There's no evidence of illegal voting.) JAN. 25 “Now, the audience was the biggest ever. But this crowd was ma…