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Edward Hugh has a lively and enjoyable Facebook community where he publishes frequent breaking news economics links and short updates. If you would like to receive these updates on a regular basis and join the debate please invite Edward as a friend by clicking the Facebook link at the top of the right sidebar.

Thursday, June 20, 2002

[5/30/2002 7:44:52 AM | edward hugh]

This litlle piece comes from today's Yahoo:

"Canadian police have widened their investigation into allegations that improper government contracts were handed out to friends of the ruling Liberal Party... Most of the latest allegations center on a program set up to raise the federal government's profile in Chretien's home province of Quebec, which French-speaking separatists came within a whisker of taking out of Canada in a referendum in 1995....Canada's independent auditor-general, Sheila Fraser, this month referred three advertising contracts..... one of them involved a Quebec company, Lafleur Communication Marketing according to La Presse newspaper, the Public Works Department funneled C$1 million ($650,000) through Lafleur to the government's train company Via Rail to sponsor a documentary on hockey legend Maurice "Rocket" Richard. Lafleur collected C$120,000 for the service."

It turns out that the head of Lafleur is good friends with Justice Minister Martin Cauchon, who admitted Wednesday he has gone salmon fishing several times with him. Will this be another case of the Mounties to the rescue.DISCUSS CAN THE MOUNTIES GET THEIR MAN


According to the New York Times

"Two weeks ago, Jack Dongarra, an independent analyst at the University of Tennessee, who tracks the performance of computers, released data showing that the most recent Pentium 4, which runs at 2.5 gigahertz, is now the fastest processor, under a standard measure of performance known as the Linpack Benchmark. It surpassed processors from companies like NEC, Cray, I.B.M. and Fujitsu that cost many times as much.

It was the first time that an inexpensive, off-the-shelf microprocessor had outpaced specialized high-performance processors"

Does this mean that we now all can have computers at home which are faster than those of the average garden variety industrial giant. What will be the long term implications of this, and this is only the begining.


According to Paul Krugman:

"Economists who believe that the economy will turn down again are still a small minority. But we're no longer hearing the triumphalist predictions of roaring recovery that were so prevalent back in March....
How did so many business economists convince themselves, and each other, that a great boom was imminent? No doubt it was the result of wishful thinking on several levels: the investment community wants to sell stocks, and it also wants to believe that Republican administrations are good for business. But I suspect that a big factor in the premature declarations of victory was a false analogy between George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, which led people to expect that 2002 would play like 1983."

The debate about where we go from here is clearly still wide open. The only curious point is why so many economists have seemed more than willing to accept the wide eyes shut optimistic version.

[5/27/2002 7:57:12 AM | edward hugh]


Well, well well. So this week, we're gonna see the start of the big stock turnaround.

Look for investors to dip their toes back into stocks in this holiday-shortened week as bets on an improving U.S. economy pull cash out of safe-haven pools of gold and bonds.

Or so goes the mantra on this fairly stock intrade piece from Reuters I found in Yahoo. Hope does spring eternal. It seems we're back in optimism mode again. Do they really believe this, or are we just dealing with hype here, as the Spanish say, ojala!


If you want to have one of the reasons why not, you might try looking at this: Japan Retail Sales Fall Again

"Japanese nationwide retail sales dipped for the 13th straight month in April, falling 4.1 percent from a year earlier, the government said on Monday, casting a shadow over a long-awaited recovery in personal consumption."

I'm sorry folks, but I'm afraid the Japan problem just isn't going to go away. The reason why, well this topic we'll be explaining here at bonobo over the weeks and months to come. But could it just have something to do with the fact that they're the oldest country on the planet (soon to be followed by Italy and Spain), and that they haven't come round yet to the idea of accepting immigration.

[5/26/2002 7:27:08 PM | edward hugh]

Come to think of it, if it's so easy to start bloggin, wouldn't it be more logical for people to try to find reasons not to be bloggin.

I remember reading a study somewhere on internet dropouts, the generation post-internet, does anyone have any more material on that? (A bit too near to post-coital for my sensibilities, interuptus y todo. This could be a nice cue for a quick plug on Gladwell's piece on Paul Rock, has anyone developed a rhythmn method for the internet yet?

On the other hand generation post mobile phone, that's definately for me, they can even tie up my tubes permanently if they want to. Permanently be able to contact, but not be permanently locatable. This must fit somewhere into JC Herz's typology.

Could this also explain apparent web page drop outs like Steve Johnson. Just a thought.

[5/26/2002 6:27:16 PM | edward hugh]
Well, here I am again, still practicing,

Oh, you can keep on bloggin, but you can't come in (not yet anyway, since I haven't decided on an opening date, for my, presumabely non to frequent visitors. Still I might get a troll or two.

But all this leads me to my first (semi-)serious reflection. Isn't all this bloggin stuff strictly for the 24/7 boys and girls, you know the online all the time people (when I was a lad back in blighty they used to call it u and non-.u people). Cos if not it seems to be that the digitally challenged (there's a nice bit of PC jargn for you) are going to have a hard time linking to anyone but themselves.

"Seeing himself castrated and thus ineluctably "female", Eeyore bends his head between and behind his forepaws, evidently attempting an acrobatic autoerotic feat that, if successful, will not only restore his depleted narcissistic libido and give him something to chew on that's nicer than thistles but also exchange his former adult self for a polymorphous perversity whereby the oral, anal, and genital stages can merge in an endless preoedipal, nonphallic loop. In short, he is so unsure of his maleness that he now hopes to transform himself into an unborn baby woman."

Thanks to cory Doctorow for pointing me to this touching vision of self referentiality: LINK

Alternately, those of us who get too hooked might need to talk to Mr Robotics:

2010: Computers disappear
Images written directly to our retinas
Ubiquitous high bandwidth connection to the Internet at all times
Electronics so tiny it's embedded in the environment, our clothing, our eyeglasses
Full immersion visual-auditory virtual reality
Augmented real reality
Interaction with virtual personalities as a primary interface

2029: An intimate merger
$1,000 of computation = 1,000 times the human brain
Reverse engineering of the human brain completed
Computers pass the Turing test
Nonbiological intelligence combines
the subtlety and pattern recognition strength of human intelligence, with
the speed, memory, and knowledge sharing of machine intelligence
Nonbiological will continue to grow exponentially whereas biological intelligence is effectively fixed
Nanobots provide…
Neural implants that are:
Noninvasive, surgery-free
Distributed to millions or billions of points in the brain
Full-immersion virtual reality incorporating all of the senses
You can be someone else
"Experience Beamers"
Expansion of human intelligence
Multiply our 100 trillion connections many fold
Intimate connection to diverse forms of nonbiological intelligence

This is culled from the latest presentation posted on Ray Kurzweil's AI page, entitled appropriately enough: Technology in the 21st Century: an Imminent Intimate Merger

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