The real reason for economic collapse

21 12 2008

Proposition 8

Neil Patrick Harris is who I’d turn gay for.

Ur Konomee is Kboken

15 10 2008

The US Economy, A train wreck
see famous look-a-like faces

Quack Economics

13 10 2008

via Web’s Random Ideas.

Money from nothing just doesn’t solve things.

Even this scenario is better than the “bailout” that has been announced for US Wall St.

Everyone in Ducktown gets rich, so $500 bus fairs are only a problem in terms of increasing back pain (chiropracters rejoice).

But artificially inflating only the already wealthy, you create the same inflation, but not everyone gets caught up to the new price scheme. Prices will rise (or stay the same), but wages will not rise (or more likely fall, at least on an average thanks to growing unemployment). Less insanely wealthy people is a good thing, as prices will have to fall to what people can afford. As long as enough people are still willing and able to pay high prices, prices will remain high.

Ethics of pet trade

7 10 2008

Story on audio at HACK.

Animal activists are concerned that too many pets are bought from pet shops on impulse. They’re also allege many of the pets are supplied to the stores from illegal puppy breeding farms.

Hence the bill in New South Wales parliament which if passed will ban the sale of cats and dogs in pet stores. Pet store owners are up in arms saying they have animal welfare as a primary concern. They believe they are the victims of cheap political point scoring.

The original bill was to apply to all pet sales from pet stores. That bill was scrapped, and at the time of this radio story it was being redrafted just to apply to cats and dogs. Abandoned hamsters and other furries (and non-furries, like fish) are obviously not an issue…

The argument for this law does make some sense. Puppy mills are an issue, and so are abandoned animals. It’s easy to see how making everyone get new pets from a shelter could make the world a better place.

However, in reply the pet industry also makes a good point – many sales are not made through pet stores, and that is the source of puppy mill trading. Banning sales through regulated pet stores might exacerbate the problem by creating further demand for privately (and unregulatedly) bred puppies and kittens.

More sensible approaches might be further regulation of private sales, and subsidies for pet desexing and registration.

Alternative fuels at the supermarket: ranked up

1 09 2008

I have never really understood some of the TV spots highlighting cars that run on peanut or canola oil.

Have you seen the price of vegetable based oils in the supermarket?

The data shows that petrol is by far one of the most cheapest liquids commonly consumed (in any sort of sense of the word) by the people of the world on a regular basis. Even bottled water tends to push the boundaries.



Price per Gallon


Lucerne 2% Milk

Tropicana Orange Juice

Tree Top Apple Juice

Evian Water

Bud Light

Heinz Ketchup

Crisco Vegetable Oil

Tide Laundry Detergent

Windex Glass Cleaner

Aunt Jemima Maple Syrup

Starbucks Frappuccino

Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing

Red Bull Energy Drink

Pert Shampoo

Lucky Clover Honey

Pepto Bismol

A1 Steak Sauce

Listerine Mouthwash

Bertolli Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Vick’s Nyquil

Wite-Out Correction Fluid

$1.89 / 2 liters

$3.79 / 1 gal.

$3.19 / 64 fl. oz.

$3.55 / 64 fl. oz.

$1.89 / 1 liter

$1.99 / 24 fl. oz.

$4.19 / 46 fl. oz.

$5.69 / 48 fl. oz.

$14.49 / 100 fl. oz.

$3.99 / 26 fl. oz.

$4.39 / 24 fl. oz.

$7.29 / 38 fl. oz.

$3.75 / 16 fl. oz.

$1.99 / 8.3 fl. oz.

$3.49 / 13.5 fl. oz.

$4.45 / 12 fl. oz.

$5.99 / 16 fl. oz.

$7.34 / 15 fl. oz.

$3.59 / 5.8 fl. oz.

$11.49 / 17 fl. oz.

$7.49 / 10 fl. oz.

$2.19 / 0.7 fl. oz.























Just further evidence that crop-based fuel initiatives are just crazy.

Money on the fly

14 08 2008

I can just picture a discworld-esque economy burgeoning out of this little initiative:

A suburb in central China’s Henan province has set a bounty on dead flies in an attempt to promote public hygiene. The district of Xigong, which is in the city of Luoyang, paid more than 1,000 yuan (£65) for about 2,000 dead flies on 1 July, the day it launched the scheme with the aim of encouraging cleanliness in residential areas. – China Economics Blog

My Discworld quote book is back at home, so I don’t have it on me.

The story is an illustration of the industries powerhouse nature of Ankh-Morpock. During the plague, city officials announced a bounty on rats’ heads, with the hope of decimating the plague at its source. however despite paying record bounties each day, the rat problem never seemed to go away.

Then one clever official came up with a plan. “Tax the rat farms”, he says…

You can find a similar story “The Legend of the Rat Farmer“..

Nature offering a peace pipe or blowing smoke in Open-Access’ face

9 07 2008

People appear a bit divided on Nature Publishing Group’s announcement they will deposit manuscripts into open access databases (PubMed Central) if authors ask them to.

This comes hot on the heels of an alleged attack-editorial in Nature on one of the leaders in Open-Access publishing models, PLoS (Public Library of Science).

One might think this looks like Nature is offering a truce. Here is probably the leading for-profit publisher helping authors to put their articles in the public domain while still getting the attention of being in one of the most read and highly respected science resources worldwide.

But not everyone is happy. Reading the fine print we find a six-month delay between the initial publishing of the article, and Nature’s automated system depositing into the public domain at PubMed Central (PMC). For that six-month window readers would still have to hold a Nature subscription to access the content.

The purpose of this new service is to “lock in [Nature‘s] embargo,” Stevan Harnad, cognitive scientist at the University of Southampton, UK, and vocal open access supporter, told The Scientist. Nature is hoping, he added, that if given the choice, authors will choose the convenience of letting Nature deposit for them after six months, rather than take the time to do it themselves immediately.

It only takes six minutes according to Harnad to deposit the papers into PMC yourself. But I do agree, amny technophobic and time-short scientists (yes many scientists hate computers) are likely to opt for a someone-else-can-do-it model.

I think the Nature model is a reasonable truce. Nature does have a right to protect its own interests here. The internet already heavily impacts on Nature and other journals to sell print copies. If all their content is available free online through PubMed, no one would even consider purchasing online subscriptions – especially financially tight educational institutions and libraries – which I suspect are a significant market
for NPG and other publishers.

Six months is sooner than the twelve required for NIH-funded research. While I can seriously empathise with the frustration of finding the perfect paper’s abstract in PubMed only to discover your university doesn’t subscribe to that journal – I feel this is an acceptable compromise. Open Access advocates should be happy that Nature is providing some cooperation here.