Tuesday, September 14, 2010

link round-up 9/14/10

IMF fears "social explosion" from global job losses
The study cited evidence that victims of recession in their early twenties suffer lifetime damage and lose faith in public institutions. A new twist is an apparent decline in the "employment intensity of growth" as rebounding output requires fewer extra workers. As such, it may be hard to re-absorb those laid off even if recovery gathers pace. The world must create 45m jobs a year for the next decade just to tread water.
Olivier Blanchard, the IMF's chief economist, said the percentage of workers laid off for long stints has been rising with each downturn for decades but the figures have surged this time.
"Long-term unemployment is alarmingly high: in the US, half the unemployed have been out of work for over six months, something we have not seen since the Great Depression," he said.

3D Printing? More real than you think.
A 3-D printer, which has nothing to do with paper printers, creates an object by stacking one layer of material — typically plastic or metal — on top of another, much the same way a pastry chef makes baklava with sheets of phyllo dough.
The technology has been radically transformed from its origins as a tool used by manufacturers and designers to build prototypes.
These days it is giving rise to a string of never-before-possible businesses that are selling iPhone cases, lamps, doorknobs, jewelry, handbags, perfume bottles, clothing and architectural models. And while some wonder how successfully the technology will make the transition from manufacturing applications to producing consumer goods, its use is exploding.
Black Americans hit hardest by recession and unemployment 

Iran believes oil market over-supplied, world believes Iran imports much of its oil
Last week Oil Minister Massoud Mirkazemi was reported as saying Iran had already become self-sufficient in gasoline, something traders outside Iran said they thought was unlikely. 
Conservative daily Resalat reported Monday that Iran had imported over 1.64 million tons of gasoline over the last month. 
Over the last five months it had bought more than 3 million tons from 10 different countries: the United Arab Emirates, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the Netherlands, Singapore, Oman, Saudi Arabia, India, Russia and France, it said. 
Reuters reported in August that Iran had been paying a premium of around 25 percent for its imports even before US-led sanctions took full effect. 

Minority Report has almost become real in Memphis, TN 
Using the past to predict where crimes are going to happen in the future, it's the idea behind heat-mapping, a new part of the Memphis Police Department's Blue Crush. Before the crimes happen, MPD puts officers on the streets in hot spots to try to prevent them from happening. 
Crime mapping has been around for a while, but Memphis Police are taking it's precision to a whole new level and putting it to work. So far, they say they've seen big results. 
“We're operating on the theory that the past is the best predictor of the future,” said John Harvey with the MPD’s Real Time Crime Center.

What does a "Jewish State" mean?

Then there is the question of the Law of Return. In any formulation, I believe it is absolutely crucial that Israel guarantee, in its constitution, that any Jew and all Jews who are facing discrimination as Jews should be guaranteed asylum and the right to immigrate to Israel. And there should be immigration processes and standards for everyone else, as in any country, as well as special consideration for the families of any Israeli citizen, regardless of ethnicity.
But there is no reason that any Jew should be able to automatically claim a pre-existing citizenship. This undermines Israel’s existence as a state of its citizens, and while Jews should feel Israel is their homeland and Diaspora Jews will inevitably feel a connection to the state, Israel needs to be, at this point, a state of its citizens.
By the same token, while I think any resolution to the Israel-Palestine conflict has to acknowledge Israel’s major role in creating the Palestinian refugee problem, the argument that the Jewish Law of Return implies that Palestinian refugees should return behind the Green Line doesn’t fit, and, in any case, would make a peace deal impossible.

The Venture Capitalists Influencing Obama's Energy Policy (and Spending)
The Silicon Valley venture world is still an elite club. Many times companies receive investments because, frankly, the founder has a personal relationship with the investor. Has that mentality carried over to the federal funds?
The Government Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress, recently found that the DOE has treated some companies unfairly in their bids to receive loan guarantees and risked excluding some potential applicants unnecessarily. In particular the GAO found that the DOE approved conditional awards to at least half of the first 10 winning companies before all of the project reviews had been completed.
In one case the GAO found that the DOE didn't bother to get a single report from an external reviewer about a specific (unnamed) project before fast tracking it for a loan guarantee. The DOE responded that the project in question was on the fast track because the department already had enough information that the project made solid business sense. But from the GAO's perspective, "It is unclear how the DOE could have sufficient information to negotiate commitment without such reviews."

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