Monthly Archives: August 2015

City Century

By Michael Bloomberg – Traditionally, urban economic development has focused on retaining industries and luring new businesses with incentive packages.

But in the new century, a different and far more effective model has emerged: focusing first and foremost on creating the conditions that attract people.

As cities are increasingly demonstrating, talent attracts capital more effectively than capital attracts talent. People want to live in communities that offer healthy and family-friendly lifestyles: not only good schools and safe streets but also clean air, beautiful parks, and extensive mass transit systems.

And where people want to live, businesses want to invest. more>

NASA’s 20-Year-Old Astronaut Hiring Procedures Still Work Today

By Nate Regier – PCM (Process Communication Model) conceptualizes personality as comprising of six types, all of which exist within each of us and are arranged like the floors of a condominium, with our core or “base” type at the bottom, moving up through each floor to the least-accessed trait at the top, or attic.

Each floor has unique attributes, including a perceptual frame of reference, character strengths, communication and environmental preferences, motivational needs and highly predictable distress behaviors. more>

Updates from GE

How the Jet Engine that Supercharged Aviation Found Earthly Calling, Powering the World’s Fastest Ship
By Tomas Kellner – When the first C-5 transport plane took off in 1968, it became the world’s largest aircraft, capable of lifting 130 tons of cargo.

As tall as a six-story building and 80 yards long, the U.S. Air Force called it “a beautiful, useful giant.”

GE engineers developed a brand new jet engine, the TF39, for the airborne behemoth. The engine design, called high-bypass turbofan, allowed the plane to carry heavy cargo across the Pacific Ocean.

Later, civilian versions of the engine supercharged air travel and still power many passenger jets, including Air Force One.

But not all of the engines made things fly.

Their turbines were so sturdy, efficient and powerful that they quickly found applications for ship propulsion and electricity generation on the high seas as well as in the desert. more>

Micromanaging Cops?

By Megan McArdle – A professional is someone who does a lot of work unsupervised, and whose output is important, yet hard to measure.

Professionals tend to deal with some of the most sensitive and important issues that our society has, like treating illness and educating our children.

It’s no accident that these people generally end up being regulated by their peers — and that the rest of us are frequently unsatisfied with the results. When professional groups decide what’s good for the rest of us, it usually turns out that what they think is good for the rest of us is what’s best for them.

This problem has basically proven insoluble.

You can put the professionals in charge of regulating themselves, as we have with doctors and lawyers, in which case they are self dealing and protect each other from outsiders, even when the outsiders have been grievously wronged. more>

Everything you’ve heard about China’s stock market crash is wrong

By Gwynn Guilford – The devaluation probably had more to do with breaking the yuan’s tightly managed peg to the US dollar, an obligation that has been draining the economy of scarce liquidity as capital outflows swell.

Both moves—the government pulling back from its market bailout and the currency devaluation—stem from the same ominous problem: China’s leaders are scrambling to find the money to keep its economy running.

Growth is now slowing, making the $28 trillion in debt China racked up in the process even harder to pay off. more>


The Economic Geography of the Second Machine Age

By Jim Russell – The decentralization of manufacturing had a profound effect on the labor market.

The wealth spread and then diminished. As a percentage of the overall workforce, manufacturing (like agriculture before) is in precipitous decline.

Without a divergent geographic advantage, companies couldn’t afford the wages and benefits. Same story for the digital economy.

Narrowly defined tech jobs are going the way of narrowly defined manufacturing jobs. Less people will be needed for ever greater production.

The main difference between the first and second machine age doesn’t look great. It looks dire. more>


Updates from Boeing

777X: The Wing is the Thing

Boeing – The 777X will be the largest and most efficient twin-engine jet in the world, with 12 percent lower fuel consumption and 10 percent lower operating costs than the competition. In addition, the 777X will bring cabin innovations and improved levels of passenger comfort.

The 777X program has received orders and commitments for 320 airplanes from six customers worldwide. Production is set to begin in 2017. more>

A Tale of Two Liquidities

By Matt Levine – There are two ways for illiquidity to manifest itself: gradually, and suddenly.

The sudden form of illiquidity puts the emphasis on “without causing a change in the asset’s price”: If you want to sell your stock, and you sell it a second after you make that decision, but it’s down 20 percent from where it was two minutes ago, you could plausibly complain about illiquidity. Especially if it’s right back up again two minutes later.

We used to have patient intermediaries who would commit capital to smoothing prices, or so the story goes.

But we’ve said goodbye to all that: Now we are in a brave new world where jumpy high-frequency traders race to incorporate information into prices, which move much more quickly than they used to in response to changes in demand. more>


Economics is Dead, and Economists Killed It

By Per L. Bylund – What we have seen over the course of the last eighty years is a systematic dismantling of the contribution of economics to our understanding of the social world.

Whatever the cause, modern economics is now not much more than formal modeling using mathematics dressed up in economics-sounding lingo. In this sense, economics is dead as a science, assuming it was ever alive.

Economics in mathematical form cannot fulfill its promises and neither the scientific literature nor advanced education in the subject provide insights that are applicable to or useful in everyday life, business, or policy.

But apparently what is dead can be killed again. more>

Without Context, Environmental Images Obscure Who’s Responsible for Climate Change


Seeing Green: The Use and Abuse of American Environmental Images, Author: Finis Dunaway.

By Finis Dunaway – In addition to promoting the idea of universal vulnerability, popular images have also fixated on the idea of universal responsibility: the dubious notion that all Americans are equally to blame for causing the environmental crisis.

This emphasis on individual action ignores the role of corporations and governments in making the production decisions that result in large-scale environmental degradation. more>