Development and the Environment Part II

June 23rd, 2004

A reminder that solutions to our problems are not, and for the most part cannot, be global in scope. Depite being reletively underwhelmed by Mr. Bush’s environmental record, he did push the diesel legislation through in the US – and recieved very little acclaim for it. This is no small matter and the EU and US should continue to lead by example.

World Bank Plays Down Diesel Rules

June 23, 2004; Page A15

The World Bank plans to recommend that developing countries hold off on mandating a cleaner diesel fuel being adopted in the U.S. and Europe, putting the international lender at odds with U.S. environmental regulators.

The World Bank doesn’t have any official authority over a nation’s environmental rules. But because it lends money for projects throughout the developing world, its advice holds great influence there.

The World Bank’s report, scheduled to be released next week, concludes it would be too expensive for many developing countries to mandate diesel fuel that is as low in sulfur as the blend U.S. and European regulators are demanding. For now, the bank says, less-esoteric cleanup strategies will deliver more bang for the buck — moves such as inspecting vehicles periodically to make sure they are being kept in good repair.

“There are a lot of countries that, if they think this is the magic bullet and they invest in this, they’re going to be grossly disillusioned,” said Todd Johnson, a senior environmental specialist at the World Bank and one of the authors of the report. The World Bank agrees it is important for developing countries to move toward lower-sulfur fuels, but for many of those countries, going as far and as fast as the U.S. is “not really a very realistic recommendation,” he said.
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The MLA Language Map

June 21st, 2004

How many greek speakers are in Alaska? This map tells you. ” The MLA Language Map displays the locations and numbers of speakers of the thirty languages most commonly spoken in the United States. “

Joining the globe in many ways

June 21st, 2004

One aspect of freedom is openness and transparency. Iraqi linux community is slowly gaining momentum and should be fostered.

Nanotechnology Patents Surge

June 18th, 2004

OK, I’m not normally going to come out on the side of increased regulation, but this is OBVIOUSLY one area where some work needs to be done. For all the hype I’ve heard over nanotech, most of it just resides on the premise ‘When this breaks its gonna be huge!’. Not disagreeing with that, we have a situation where a flurry of papers not only can stifle innovation in the future, but leads to a situation where the technology developed is not necessarily going to be used – but is going to stake out more territory for future development. A cyclical system which is not the healthiest.

Nanotechnology Patents Surge
As Companies Vie to Stake Claim

June 18, 2004; Page A1

The new-frontier buzz around nanotechnology — the effort to develop infinitesimally small structures into futuristic products — has companies, universities and investors hustling for patents, the key to markets that the government estimates at $1 trillion by 2015.

But the intensifying race to file patent applications has sparked concern that a proliferation of patents, especially broadly defined ones, could hobble innovation and produce a thicket of conflicting legal claims that could eventually drive up costs for consumers. In addition, the combination of scant products to date and surging investor interest raises fears of another high-tech bubble.
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Development and the Environment

June 16th, 2004

With one of the worst environmental records of the world, Chinese citizens are realizing their land is worth protecting. This illustrates once again how as nations develop economically the perception of the environment changes to make it a superior good, in contrast with many NGO’s which try to protect the environment sometimes at the cost of growth.

Green Groups Move To Clean Up China
New Generation of Activists Emerges as Country Faces Strains of Economic Growth

June 14, 2004; Page A13

HEFEI, China — When Wen Bo was a college student, he put up a handmade poster on his college campus warning that the “Earth is in Crisis.” He then spent the rest of a June afternoon trying to raise environmental awareness at a local police station.

“They had never heard of Earth Day,” Mr. Wen says of the plainclothes police who detained him. The police grilled the student toting a poster with the suspicious-sounding slogan on the anniversary of the government’s June 4 Tiananmen Square crackdown, but the interrogation had an upside: “It was a great opportunity to publicize our cause,” he says.
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What I’m reading

June 15th, 2004

In Defense of Globalization by Jagdish Bhagwati
– A fair rebuttle against the left and right

The World Economy: A Millenial Perspective
by Angus Maddison – 2000 years in less than 400 pages, heavily documented and interesting

Our big fat deficit

June 14th, 2004

We love our stuff! Dollar rally reverses on ‘alarming’ deficit

Brooks on Telegraph

June 12th, 2004

David Brooks, columnist for the NYT, will be at Cody’s on Telegraph Tuesday eve. @ 7:30.


Well, I just got back from the signing. Seeing as this is Berkeley I was suprised by how placent this talk could be. None of the questions were all that challenging and we laughed at all the jokes (myself included, some were pretty damn funny). The first part is what really bothered me. One thing I truely believe it is the duty of all thinking people types to raise the level of the debate – and something which I am becoming more and more dissatisfied with. I wont try to paraphrase everything – but here are excepts:

90% of all office space built in the 90′s was in the subburb; this leads to a large class of people who are raised and mature without either an urban or rural existance. Types of subburbs: inner ring, outer ring, immigrant zones.

“America is the only place where children are expected to be different form their parents” – Margaret Mead

Modern child rearing places kids in heavy achievements environments.
In the 60′s andd 70′s kids took drugs to ‘think out of the box’ – now we give drugs (ritilin) to make them more conformist, to think inside an established framework.

An incredible busy-ness is bred into highschool kids, when they eventually reach college after the thousands of volunteer hours and president of this, secretary of that – they are bred to be professional.

One of the failings of the great protestant learning centers is there is a lack of attention to character. There are 2 great themes running through America education 1) Achievement
2) Quality
Recently all of our kids eggs have been placed in the achievement basket

The Bougoise and the Bohemian, the bougoise won. What we are seeing now is the prevalence of it, sometimes carring a bohemian patina.

In the beginning

June 11th, 2004

How to make gobs of money from as little as $100.

The outsourcing question

June 11th, 2004

Jobs lost to overseas doesn’t seem to be as bad as originally reported says a survey by the Labor Department, Highlights, of the 16,000 jobs lost to relocations 62% moved to other areas in the US and of the 240,000 jobs lost in Q1 only 4600 were relocated overseas(2%).Things to keep in mind though, the survey only tallies larger companies with layoffs of 50 or more. Smaller ones, and those with fewer layoffs, are left out of the pool.