Pete Ware

Tech, NYC & Politics

Tag: News

Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran

Interesting article in the NY Times about how scientists in nuclear research labs in the US aided the negotiations with Iran

It was over one of those dinners in Vienna last summer that several of the experts began wondering how they might find a face-saving way for Iran to convert its deep-underground enrichment plant at Fordo, a covert site exposed by the United States five years ago, into a research center. That would enable Iran to say the site was still open, and the United States could declare it was no longer a threat.“The question was what kind of experiment you can do deep underground,” recalled a participant in the dinner.

Source: Atomic Labs Across the U.S. Race to Stop Iran – NYTimes.com

The Machines Are Coming

Machines aren’t used because they perform some tasks that much better than humans, but because, in many cases, they do a “good enough” job while also being cheaper, more predictable and easier to control than quirky, pesky humans. Technology in the workplace is as much about power and control as it is about productivity and efficiency.

Source: The Machines Are Coming – NYTimes.com

Cars and Batteries

Fascinating profile of
Shai Agassi who’s introducing replaceable batteries for the auto industry. Part of his theory is that selling the “energy” is very profitable.
>But Agassi realized he needed one more breakthrough: some way to rapidly charge a vehicle. No drivers, he knew, will tolerate a two-hour wait to recharge when they’re on a 500-mile haul. Then one day, he and an automotive engineer were chewing over an impractical method for quickly replenishing batteries. The engineer wondered aloud: Wouldn’t the fastest way to charge an electric car be to simply replace the battery?

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Stimulus and the Economy

This chart from the Fed shows how far below capacity the economy currently expressed as a percentage of total capacity.
Utilization
It’s the counter argument to the proposition that the stimulus is just going to crowd out private investment. Businesses have cut back on production because of reduced demand which further reduces demand.

Job losses and consumer spending

Is the past prelude? Here’s a comparison of job losses in all the post-WW2 recessions. Note how bad the slope is for the current recession. Be careful though, these are absolute numbers and not relative to population.
Job losses
And here is the change in consumer spending over the past 50 years smoothed to six months — meaning some bad months have gotten smoothed over with the surrounding better months. Is this really the only the second time it’s gone negative in five decades? And that first time was only barely negative.
Consumer Spending

Roubini: more bad news

  • Global, synchronized, recession.
  • Recession continues through 2009 with weak, 1%, growth in 2010.
  • Unemployment at 9% in 2010. Job losses easily at 500k/month through 2009 and may be worse. Stimulus may lower that to 200k/month.
  • $1.8 trillion loss for banks; need another $1.4 trillion for banks to recover.
  • Top 3 banks in US are technically insolvent. Nationalization only reasonable approach. Re-privatize them in 2-3 years. Otherwise, end up with zombie banks like Japan: a decade of stagnation.

  • Deficits this year: 2 trillion; next year 1.5 trillion.

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