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Summer grabs me by the throat once again

Last year I deviated from my standard summer routine by holidaying in Sydney rather than in Ulladulla NSW where I have enjoyed my holidays for most of the past 20 years. But I am reverting to form and heading off to Ulladulla tomorrow for a minimalist summer vac – two weeks. I stay in […]

Refusing to consult foxes on welfare of chickens

160 countries have refused to admit cancer producers into discussions on limiting the global spread of cigarettes.  The countries argued there is a fundamental conflict between the interests of public health and those of cigarette producers.  That is obviously true.

Meanwhile, the Lancet reports that, at current smoking rates, 100 million Chinese men will die as a consequence […]

Violent, racist Islamists kill innocents in Mumbai

The reports of the overnight killings in Mumbai are horrifying. The image of religiously-motivated young men searching for totally innocent civilians with American or British passports and then killing them because they originate from these particular countries makes all civilised humanity recoil.  Pure evil.

Sympathies for the 100+ dead innocents and for the 280+ injured and something […]

Resurrecting the mammoth & science fiction

$10 million to resurrect the mammoth? It is better to concentrate conservation resources in attempting to limit current species extinctions than to engage in resurrectionist science that has almost no chance of success.  There will not be a mammoth coming to a zoo near you soon. 

BHP-Billiton – Rio Tinto deal is off

On July 14 2007 I tipped a possible takeover bid for Rio by BHP-Billiton. On November 8 that year it happened. I got it wrong however in suggesting it likely that eventually some sort of deal would be done. In dramatic news yesterday the 3.4 BHP-Billiton shares for 1 Rio Tinto shares bid was abandoned. […]

Climate change – Obama’s problems and the Garnaut prescription

Over at the East Asia Forum blog two useful articles on climate change:

Frank Jotzo looks at Barack Obama’s climate change problems.  He argues that the double bottom line argument for US pursuing an active mitigation stance (improving global climate, reducing US dependence on imported oil) has become a triple bottom line case given the […]

Indonesia & climate change

Indonesia is the third-largest greenhouse gas emitter on the planet – after China and the United States. The vast bulk of its emissions are caused by deforestation of its tropical rainforests – particularly in central Samatra.  Deforestation emissions in Indonesia are about half the total emissions of China.

 Australia has an interest in reducing these emissions if […]

Car industry woes

Chapter 11 is the best outcome for GM since it will permit the types of restructurings that are currently impossible given union demands for taxpayers to pay their member’s salaries and state resistance to plant closures. The US autoworkers were big financial supporters of Obama’s election campaign and for good reason. An aid package from […]

George Soros: The crisis & what to do about it.

Always of interest to read Soros’ views – here.  Can also look at him at MIT discussing his new paradigm for financial markets – here.

Viral fads

On the real estate crash.

Which is a pale imitation of a memorable previous post here on slow rates of acceptance for a sixtieth birthday party.

In fact, the same clip has been exploited many times. It has become a viral internet fad!

[…]

Now for the really bad news

The Dow Jones last night fell another 5% to end up below 8,000 – its lowest level for 5 years.  Banking stocks were again savaged as were auto producers – a large slab of the US auto industry faces the prospects of collapse. In addition the US is experiencing deflation – the US CPI dropped 1% in October. […]

Finanskrisen

Thanks Sir Henry

Sense & stupidity in America

Most academics believe that US universities are among the best in the world – of the top 20 fully 17 are supposed to be in the US. Yet in many respects American society is ignorant. It is a paradox that presumably reflects a divide.

In late 2006 fully 55% of Americans believed in Creationism. Of […]

Barack Obama the great black hope

I said that Barack Obama would be the US President when it was unpopular to say so.  This video interview with CBS confirms my belief that Obama may well be a great US President. Apart from letting his necktie dangle a bit this interview suggests that real inspiration lies in this man.  It is a big ask […]

Case for a migration policy discriminating against entrants with above-average health costs

The recent case where parents with a child having Down’s Syndrome were excluded from migrating permanently to Australia has aroused much emotion.  It is widely seen as discrimination against disabled people. It is nothing of the sort. It is discrimination against immigration applicants who may not provide net economic benefits to Australia if they are awarded migrant status. […]

Using sensible heuristics in adapting to climate change.

My paper Classical Decision Rules and Adaptation to Climate Change suggests ways of thinking about adaptation decisions in practical climate change settings where probability information is poor.

The idea is to identify the net benefits from climate change when policies are applied and they work in averting catastrophic outcomes,  when climate change does not produce catastrophic […]

Clearing the fog

This is a guest post by Rabee Tourky, Professor of Economics at the University of Queensland

In a previous post on this blog I began describing how to my mind the market failure associated with the financial crisis has to do with market incompleteness. That is, we found ourselves in a situation in which one […]

Rudd the grub

It is obvious that our grubby little ear-wax-munching Prime Minister Rudd has damaged Australia by betraying the embellished form of a conversation he had with President George Bush. The story was embellished in an attempt to make the US President appear stupid (What is the G20?) and our own PM appear smart. The effect of Rudd’s […]

Lunch at Chateau Harry

1 dozen fresh oysters with lemon and a side salad of tomato, lettuce, sliced kiwi fruit and orange.2 dozen lightly-grilled, skewered prawns spiced sparingly with mixed herbs.More than 1 glass of Yalumba Viognier 2007.

The sun outside, beating down, defeats any vague thoughts of mowing the unkempt lawn.  Golf if it cools a bit.

The upside […]

Foolish views on climate change being promoted at Quadrant

Recent issues of Quadrant contain a number of ‘denialist’ views on climate change issues that will leave those concerned with the implications of climate change troubled. Quadrant could analogously act as an outlet for the flat earth society and the outcome of supporting such a similar sustained attack on scientific logic would make no more sense than supporting climate […]