Sunday, February 19, 2012

Corporate Peace

One thing that corporations have been remarkably good at is promoting peace. While the defense industry is a huge exception to this, war just disrupts too many profits if it occurs somewhere there is business. Although there are some exceptions to Thomas Friedman's claim that no two countries with a McDonalds have ever gone to war with each other, it has generally been true.

I am reminded of this when I see that we are finally easing travel restrictions from China. It is blindingly obvious that we should do this. A huge tourist market is being blocked by draconian travel restrictions. We are hurting our own business for no reason other than silly paranoia. Not only do we stand to make a fortune off removing these restrictions, but tourism is important for national security. When people come and visit this country, it is a lot harder for their government to feed them propaganda about us. This will do a whole heck of a lot more than sending you through body scanners to keep us safe.

The only thing that helps us more than tourists, is college students. America educates the rich and powerful of the entire world. This is an absurdly good investment for us. You can go to almost any country in the world and the leader of that country has friends whose children are studying at some big name American university. Do you think they would want to go to war with us while those kids are here?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Peak oil video

One barrel of oil contains the energy equivalent of three years of human labor.

That was about the only thing this video said which I had not heard before:

Still, if I was going to leave Southern California and move to a small farm in Missouri it would be because of the problems cited in this video. There really are some real challenges we will face in the next hundred years.

Some of the advice at the end was pretty laughable though. Sure, if you take this seriously learn to make and shoot a gun or bow, learn to garden, learn some martial arts. Even consider living on a small farm in the middle of nowhere. Local currencies though? Really?

Cutting off Colleges

The big student loan crisis is schools which provide no real useful education, but still suck off government and student money. When students graduate to find no job it is too late. They can easily have tens of thousands of dollars in student loans but no real employment prospects.

Fortunately I am seeing signs that the government is cutting these schools off. A few days ago some of the worst offenders got cut off from Cal Grants. Hopefully that pushes a few out of business.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

New Nuclear

For the first time in my lifetime someone is actually building new nuclear reactors in America. Southern Company finally got their license for the Westinghouse reactors they have been trying to build.

Unfortunately, with natural gas so cheap I don't see many reactors following them for a few years. Still, if they make money off this deal I expect this to be the start of something big.

Student Debt Mills

The real problem with student debt comes not from those who went to expensive universities with a national reputation. Most of these students are bright enough that they will dig their way out of debt. The real problem is the for profit schools like culinary schools which put students into almost as much debt as those universities but do not teach them any skills likely to lead to a job which can pay the loans.

I was glad to see California finally is taking this seriously, revoking cal grants to some of these schools which hopefully will put some of them out of business.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Solar Storms

I occasionally hear apparent nut cases talk about solar storms and how they could shut down our economy. After reading this article, I think they might have a point. We have not had a really intense solar storm since our electric economy was developed. If enough high voltage transformers were destroyed during a big one we would have a heck of a time putting back together the pieces.

Paving over the desert

Someone pointed out that it is a bit over-dramatic to say that we need to pave over the desert to run this country off of solar. We probably only need to pave over an area a bit larger than Connecticut. Still, I expect that as solar becomes big business we will see a whole lot more articles like this one.

I for one would much prefer filling a mountain with radioactive waste to paving over that much desert. Whether many environmentalists will come to the same conclusion I couldn't say though.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Teenagers are boring

What do you know, video games and television have turned this generation of kids boring.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Ron does it again

The ability of Ron Paul to call Republicans on their silly ideas never ceases to amaze me. Now he is admitting that illegal aliens are scapegoats. This is obviously true. Even if illegal immigrants were such a threat, the problem has taken care of itself. Birth rates in Mexico are a third of what they were fifty years ago so there is no population boom pushing its young people across the border. At the same time there are few jobs for the immigrants here so they just aren't coming in the numbers they used to.

Also, anyone who wants to be an American so bad that they are doing something illegal to get here is exactly the sort of person I want as an American! This is a country founded on personal freedom, not adherence to silly rules.