Monday, June 20, 2011

Pirates, Libertarians, and How The Ocean Is Dying Faster Than Anyone Imagined (Link Round-Up 6/20/11)

[via Reddit]

Deglobalization
The world isn't actually getting smaller
But greater economic and political fragmentation is also, ironically, a ripple effect of globalization. As wealth and power have shifted to the emerging markets, those nations now have the money and confidence to call their own sho
ts — and their calls tend to be quite different from those we would make. Already this is reflected in company and consumer behavior. Firms like Hermès, General Motors, Levi Strauss and Coca-Cola rigorously tailor products specifically for emerging-market consumers. Pizza Hut in China is a luxury restaurant complete with white tablecloths and cutlery. For poor countries, Hewlett-Packard makes a "rural" laptop that can be set out in the dust and rain.
The Only World Map You Need
The Geopolitical Anomalies Map



North Atlantic Treaty Disorganization
Why Germany will stay out of Libya and Syria
SPIEGEL: On the eve of the first NATO airstrikes, you said on German public broadcaster ZDF: "Could the fact that we are suddenly intervening now have something to do with oil? We can't get rid of all the dictators in the world with an international military mission." Would you still say the same thing?

De Maizière: Yes. The "responsibility to protect" a country's civilian population if its government violates human rights is firmly anchored in international law. But does that mean we are allowed to intervene? Or does that mean we're actually required to? I believe that each military operation must be analyzed to determine whether its goals can be achieved with appropriate means and within an appropriate time frame as well as how one gets out at the end. Every one.

SPIEGEL: You are dodging the question. You have insinuated that Germany's NATO allies are only intervening in Libya because of oil.

De Maizière: No, I wasn't insinuating that at all. I strictly formulated that as a hypothetical.

SPIEGEL: But your formulation still implies it.
Left, Right, Wrong
Poll: Americans skewing towards Libertarianism
Whether people are as libertarian-minded in practice as they might believe themselves to be when they answer survey questions is another matter. Still, there have been visible shifts in public opinion on a number of issues, ranging from increasing tolerance for same-sex marriage and marijuana legalization on the one hand, to the skepticism over stimulus packages and the health-care overhaul on the other hand, that can be interpreted as a move toward more libertarian views.
Fallout
Fukushima radiation is worse than you think
"Fukushima has three nuclear reactors exposed and four fuel cores exposed," he said, "You probably have the equivalent of 20 nuclear reactor cores because of the fuel cores, and they are all in desperate need of being cooled, and there is no means to cool them effectively."

TEPCO has been spraying water on several of the reactors and fuel cores, but this has led to even greater problems, such as radiation being emitted into the air in steam and evaporated sea water - as well as generating hundreds of thousands of tons of highly radioactive sea water that has to be disposed of.
Deep Sea Dying
The world's oceans are worse off than previously thought
In a wider sense, ocean acidification, warming, local pollution and overfishing are acting together to increase the threat to coral reefs - so much so that three-quarters of the world's reefs are at risk of severe decline.
Digital Piracy
Chinese book consumption remains the same after 20 years
Another serious problem is the piracy market. The low-quality pirated books enjoy many readers’ favour only because their prices are half or even lower than the authorized editions. Besides, some printers sell illegal books through piracy channels with the same quality of the genuine books without mentioning to the publishers. And the e-publishers who provide online readings chapter by chapter at about RMB0.03 per click per chapter also have a good market share.
Kazakhstan can't agree on how to deal with internet piracy
This is a crucial problem and, unfortunately, no country in the world has a clear decision for it. No country is the world is able to hold back the rapid digitization of pretty much everything that is not utterly material. You cannot make old laws work in the cyberspace, where material values easily transform into immaterial, where borders get erased and legal jurisdictions of real life just don't work.
Rival Schools
Chicago vs. Austrian Economics: a brief summary
Although most economists in the 20th century and our time would disagree strongly, Mises insisted that economic theory itself was an a priori discipline. What he meant is that economists shouldn't ape the methods of physicists by coming up with hypotheses and subjecting them to empirical tests. On the contrary, Mises thought that the core body of economic theory could be logically deduced from the axiom of "human action," i.e., the insight or viewpoint that there are other conscious beings using their reason to achieve subjective goals. (For more on Mises's methodological views, see this and this.)

In contrast, the seminal Chicago School article on methodology is Milton Friedman's 1953 "The Methodology of Positive Economics." Far from deriving economic principles or laws that are necessarily true (as Mises suggests), Friedman instead advocates the development of models with false assumptions.

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