Rural counties across middle America are turning paved roads back into gravel. The WSJ article is from 2010, and I wonder to what extent this trend has continued. I can’t say that it seems like much of a loss. I suspect that much of the rural pavement was laid down without a good understanding of how much O&M it was committing the local governments to paying for. As state and federal budgets shrink, and counties are left to pay for their own infrastructure, they realize that maybe cheaper gravel and lower speeds are actually a better value proposition.
The Network of Global Corporate Control, as revealed by a research group at ETH Zurich (kind of the Swiss MIT). Their core finding: a densely connected “super entity” of 147 corporations, about 75% of which are financial intermediaries, has an amount of control which is ~10 times as great as their economic scale would suggest. They are all majority owned by by other members of the super entity, and so have co-incident interests, and are likely to act as a bloc to protect themselves and each other, and to be subject to simultaneous group failure when under duress. Not like this is a huge surprise or anything, but it’s nice to see it described in a quantitative framework.
Matt Taibbi blows his stack at a fellow commentator who accuses the OWS protestors of simply being envious of the rich. He gives a litany of examples of how, in fact, the Wall St. illuminati have gotten to where they are by cheating and gaming the system, or at the very best, by being lucky. Not through hard work or supernatural skill. Being pissed off about that isn’t being jealous of someone else’s success. At what point do the “deviant” and “legitimate” financial sectors simply merge, with little to nothing in the way of externally imposed rules governing what’s acceptable, and what’s not?
- Fight against terror 'spells end of privacy' – Admiral Poindexter's Total Information Awareness is alive and well, and living in the front bedroom. Privacy is dead. Long live privacy! Transparency is our only hope. (tagged: transparency privacy surveillance police terrorism )
- FairShare — Watch how your work spreads. Understand how it is used. – A system for tracking how your content is re-published across the web, and potentially monetizing that re-use, or just making sure that people are abiding by your creative commons license. (tagged: copyright creativecommons technology openaccess )
- Dmitry Orlov: Social Collapse Best Practices – I'm sure I won't agree with Orlov on a lot of things, but I want to watch this just to see what the Dark Side is talking about. And he's reportedly funny too. (tagged: collapse economy crisis bailout longnow )
- Designing a Zero-Waste City: A Visit to the San Francisco Dump – San Francisco has a stated goal of zero waste to landfill by 2020. They currently divert 70% of their municipal waste stream, composting yard and food waste, taking in construction materials, sending usable furniture, clothes, plants, etc to thrift stores. The dump even has a coveted "Artist in Residence" program. (tagged: green urban design landfill compost waste sustainability sanfrancisco )
- Highway to hell revisited – A conservative commentator railing against… highways? Barring the political crap at either end of the article, I think he's got a pretty good critique of our national obsession with massive roads projects. Too bad we're just dumping a ton more cash into them. (tagged: transportation policy stimulus highways cars )
- This Old House – Conservative columnist David Brooks (from late last year) talking about how one might reasonably go about using the stimulus to re-invest intelligently, instead of just gushing cash at the construction industry. Sadly, his fears appear to have been largely realized. (tagged: transportation policy stimulus infrastructure obama urban nytimes )
Trying to keep track of all the shenanigans innovation going on at the Federal Reserve is difficult. Econbrowser and Interfluidity among others have been trying to help… but every time I read about how our money system works, I find my head spinning in incredulity. And that’s just when I’m reading about how it’s “supposed” to work. It’s been getting more confusing lately.
The US road to recovery runs through Beijing says Asia Times Online, and Thomas Barnett emphatically agrees. Everyone is talking about how to reorganize the global economy, but mostly the discussion is about how to most efficiently export our recently collapsed model of growth to the developing world. Better this time around for sure, we say, but not fundamentally different in any way. The Chinese need (and want, it turns out) more domestic consumption and consumer debt.