Saturday, November 15, 2003
An article about nuclear power graces the front page of Wednesdayís Wall Street Journal (see An Unusual Pitch From French Giant: Nukes Are Green - subscription required).
The article focuses on the French company Areva, which is currently owned by the French government, but may be going public in the next year. Areva could be an interesting investment opportunity, because there are no other publicly traded nuclear power companies.
The article points out the following about nuclear energy:
(1) Nuclear power plants donít emit greenhouse gases.
(2) Finland recently decided to build a new nuclear reactor.
(3) Itís possible that environmentalists may come around and start supporting nuclear power:
Global warming has caused some environmentalists to make peace with nuclear power. James Lovelock, the British scientist who was one of the founding fathers of the Green movement, has become actively pro-nuclear. He argues that the 45 proved deaths caused by Chernobyl pale in comparison with the estimated 30,000 Europeans who died from this summer's heat wave. He blames climate change caused by greenhouse pollution. Nuclear energy "is the only clean source of energy we have as far as the atmosphere goes," he says.
It is my viewpoint that nuclear power most certainly is the electricity source of the future. The world has vast supplies of uranium. Enough to supply power for hundreds of years. What is not mentioned in the Wall Street Journal article is the unfortunate news that oil and natural gas are resources that are being depleted and which we will be running out of. Windmills have not proven to be a cost effective way to produce electricity in large quantities. Additional hydroelectric plants cannot be built because all the good places to build such plants have already been exploited. There is only one Hoover Dam, you canít build a second.
So all new electricity has to come from either natural gas, which we are now starting to run out of in the United States, coal which is plentiful right now but very polluting, or nuclear power plants which donít emit any pollution into the atmosphere at all. The lack of alternatives will force people to come around, although it may not happen for another decade.
If hydrogen fuel cell powered automobiles ever become a reality (and this is something that I'm very skeptical about), we will have tremendous needs for new electrical plants to power the hydrogen manufacturing facilities. Everyone talks about how great hydrogen powered cars would be, but no one ever says where all the hydrogen would come from. Nuclear power will be the only way to provide all the electricity that will be needed.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Max at Lots of Co. thinks that it's likely that Zach will win Melana on the basis of the kissing in the hot tub (link).
* * *
ADM at Amy's Robot writes
After hearing almost nothing but comments about her looks for a few minutes, you begin to realize a certain irony about the men in this show: they complain about how girls are not interested in them because of their looks, but then when they meet a girl, all they can talk about is her appearance. In other words, their behavior makes them complicit with the same social mechanism that discriminates against them.
A very good observation by ADM (link).
* * *
At myprontup.com (link):
last night she makes out (not just kisses, but MAKES OUT) with Zach, the token jock gorilla on the show. Ick! It was disgusting. This is an awful, awful show.
Everyone agrees that Melana had no business making out with Zach.
Tuesday, November 11, 2003
I found the following anonymously posted on a reality TV site:
I think that Joe Average is designed to feed the male fantasy that any guy, no matter how he looks, can get a beautiful woman. Melana's behavior in Average Joe is so typical. She is sucking face with Zach, the best looking of the men, and a jerk (to the 'nerds' in the group), and is the most like the men she is probably used to dating. I don't think this show is proving anything...
In his post Flat Tax and Deductions, Michael Williams of the Master of None blog writes in support of a flat tax system with both the home mortgage interest deduction and the charitable donations deduction remaining.
I think his post shows somewhat of a lack of courage, because these are probably the two dumbest deductions that there are.
Home buying is something that people would do anyway even if the tax code didn't give it extra encouragement. This deduction unfairly discriminates against the renter (who is more likely to be younger, poorer, and single instead of married), who usually has valid reasons for prefering to rent instead of own.
And the charitable donations deduction is probably the most lied about deduction that there is. A lot of people just make up a bogus amount of money that they gave. Any deduction that so readily encourages cheating should most surely be eliminated.
The problem I have with the tax code is not that it's not flat, but that it has too many deductions and is too complicated. The multiple rates are only a very minor part of the complexity, and they don't encourage cheating or un-economic behavior like the deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable deductions.
Also, any talk of a flat tax must also consider the effect of FICA taxes where are an effective 14.2% tax on the poorest working Americans.
Sunday, November 09, 2003
Professor Bainbridge put up an excellent post about management fads.
Is it possible that rational managers would chase fads? Herd behavior, which refers to the tendency to imitate the actions of others, ignoring oneís own information and judgment with regard to the merits of the underlying decision, provides an answer. Corporate managers are scarcely immune to herd behavior; to the contrary, the faddish aspects of participatory management suggest the possibility that herd behavior is relevant to the demand side of the equation. ...
Herd behavior is partly attributable to cognitive biases, especially the conformity effect. When oneís decisions are publicly observable by peers, conformity has a positive psychic pay off, whose existence has been experimentally demonstrated.
These are brilliant observations. I might have said the exact same thing, but Professor Bainbridge beat me to it. Actually, Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, beat us both, because his cartoons have for many years made fun of the clueless pointy haired boss using the latest management fads each week.
Herd behavior influences a lot of social phenomenon, such as stock market bubbles. The stupidity of human behavior was pointed out in the 1841 book Extraordinary Popular Delusions And The Madness Of Crowds by Charles MacKay (that's a link to a free online copy of the book). Sadly, not much has changed since 1841.