Opinion

Felix Salmon

Back on the grid

By Felix Salmon
August 10, 2010

So I’m back from holiday — what did I miss? I even caught a fish, although it wasn’t a very big one; I can certainly recommend Arctic Wild and the Lodge at Black Rapids if you’re headed to Alaska any time soon.

I know I missed the dreadful jobs report on Friday. What else? Is the WSJ flash crash investigation as good as it looks at first glance? I did read Economics of Contempt on the Lehman report on the plane back to New York, it’s truly first-rate stuff. Romer’s leaving the White House, which is a loss, but the bench is deep. The Televisa/JP Morgan saga resurfaced, with much more press this time around, none of it redounding to Morgan’s benefit. The NYT started mooting pricing schemes where print-newspaper subscribers might find themselves outside the paywall, but I still reckon they’ll stick to their initial promise that all print subscriptions will have full web access included. Stephanie Clifford became the latest journalist to parrot dreadful counterfeiting statistics, and in my absence Mike Masnick did a good job of calling her on it. And the FT launched a blog by Gavyn Davies called Econoclast, but it seems to have disappeared entirely already.* Wonder what happened there. More transparency would be a good thing: all the old blog entries have been deleted, which is something no news organization should do lightly.

Apparently “banking sectors with high regulatory capital ratios entered the crisis with more leverage and took far greater losses than those with supposedly worse capital positions”. Fannie and Freddie seem to be enabling some extremely sleazy lawyers in their quest to make millions from others’ misery. Baruch is still bullish on equities. And my sister, sailing across the Pacific, calculates her carbon emissions while sailing to be about 1 ton per year, compared to 24 tons for the average American. She also notes a simple substitution which she uses instead of carbon:

I use time to learn to cook (in the absence of take-aways), wash clothes by hand (in the absence of washing machines), and collect water from rain (in the absence of a tap). Time to make or fix things instead of buying new. Time to row instead of using an outboard motor. Time to sail rather than fly, walk rather than drive.

I’ve just realised something… for many activities we’re using time instead of oil.

If people started using less oil and more time, what would that do to GDP, I wonder? The best thing about dropping off the grid for a couple of weeks is that it really helped to put my hectic NYC schedule into perspective. I do love it, but I suspect it’ll be a few days before I’m back up to my usual velocity.

Update: It didn’t disappear, it just moved, with no redirect. It’s now here.

Comments
4 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

Welcome back. Also, some people think P =? NP was solved, but at least one person is betting $200k (against nothing!) that it wasn’t. Not really your sphere, but quite exciting.

Posted by absinthe | Report as abusive
 

Here’s the link to the posting on Scott Aaronson’s blog, wherein he speaks for himself on P != NP.

Posted by MattF | Report as abusive
 

Good to have you back, felix. Should’ve made you catch some king crab while you were out there!

==Bob

Posted by REDruin | Report as abusive
 

And the near future looks golden for David Stern. “When people say, ‘Oh, my god, the economy is bad,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, my god, it’s great.’ I hate to hear people are losing homes, and credit isn’t available, and people’s credit is such that they can’t [refinance],” he told his audience. “But if you are in our niche, it’s what we want to do, and it’s what we want to see.”

Ain’t fat Cat Capitalism a great thing? Methinks someone needs to put a spike in the well oiled machine.

I really liked what your sis had to say about using time to her, and the environment’s, advantage!

(and welcome back)

Posted by hsvkitty | Report as abusive
 

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