Sunday, December 24, 2006
Friday, December 22, 2006
Blood/Oil Perspective from Matt
Blood for Oil
The Iraqi state's oil revenue is about $20 billion per year, which is a lot of money, but only a small fraction of the annual cost of occupying the country. Looked at another way, Iraq produces about 2.25 million barrels per day of oil and crude sells for around $62 a barrel. 62 times 2.25 million times 365 is a large number -- about $51 billion -- but still way less than the annual cost of the war.
Or, for yet another perspective, American consumers use about 20 million barrels a day of black gold -- good for 7.3 billion barrels in a year. Now suppose you think that withdrawing military forces from the region would lead to widespread chaos and $100 a barrel oil. That means higher energy prices for consumers. But if US consumers could just pocket the cash that's instead being spent on military operations in the area, they'd still have much more post-oil money on hand even if consumption didn't drop at all in response to the price hike.
When will we ever get smart about this stuff?
Saturday, December 09, 2006
The Blackberry Crutch
via the Wall Street Journal:
The growing use of email gadgets is spawning a generation of resentful children. A look at furtive thumb-typers, the signs of compulsive use and how kids are fighting back.
By KATHERINE ROSMAN
December 8, 2006; Page W1
In Austin, Texas, Hohlt Pecore, 7, and his sister, Elsa, 4, have complicated relationships with their mother's BlackBerry. "I feel very annoyed," says Hohlt. "She's always concentrating on that blasted thing." (Hohlt says he picked up the word "blasted" from the film "Pirates of the Caribbean.")
Elsa has hidden the BlackBerry on occasion -- Hohlt says she tried to flush it down the toilet last year. Their mother, Elizabeth Pecore, who co-owns a specialty grocery store, denies the incident. But Elsa also seems to recognize that it brings her mom comfort, not unlike a pacifier or security blanket. Recently, seeing her mom slumped on the couch after work, Elsa fished the BlackBerry from her mother's purse and brought it to her. "Mommy," she asked, "will this make you feel better?"
Emma Colonna wishes her parents would behave, at least when they're out in public. The ninth-grade student in Port Washington, N.Y., says she has caught her parents typing emails on their Treos during her eighth-grade awards ceremony, at dinner and in darkened movie theaters. "During my dance recital, I'm 99% sure they were emailing except while I was on stage," she says. "I think that's kind of rude."
Emma, 14, also identifies with adults who wish their kids spent less time playing videogames. "At my student orientation for high school, my mom was playing solitaire," she says. "She has a bad attention span." Her mother, Barbara Chang, the chief executive of a nonprofit group, says, "It's become this crutch."
We need to learn again how to walk without crutches.