Daily Archives: February 24, 2016

It’s the 15th Century All Over Again

By Justin Fox – Oxford University historian Peter Frankopan is writing about the 15th-century dislocation that is now most often referred to as the “great bullion famine,” which makes it sound like they ran out of soup. It has also been called the “the economic depression of the Renaissance” and “the Great Depression of the late middle ages.”

In any case, it was bad. In Frankopan’s telling, money ran short, economies shrank, some Europeans became convinced that the world was coming to an end. And in the world’s largest economy, a bubble burst … more> http://goo.gl/3SrBxg

Updates from Chicago Booth

Does air pollution lead to violent crime?
By Brian Wallheimer – An increase in air pollution could contribute to violent crime in urban areas, according to research by Evan Herrnstadt of Harvard University and Erich Muehlegger of the University of California, Davis.

Comparing more than 2 million crimes reported to the Chicago Police Department between 2001 and 2012 with pollution data, the researchers find no correlation between air quality and property crimes such as burglary, robbery, larceny, arson, and grand theft auto.

However, violent crimes, including homicide, forcible rape, assault, and battery, rose 2.2 percent in areas dealing with local air pollution temporarily increased by environmental conditions.

“This discrepancy across crime types may suggest that the primary mechanism is physiological; that is, the pollution might make people more irritable and impulsive, thus leading to more violent crime,” the researchers write. more> http://goo.gl/lexFo8


Updates from GE

The Electron’s Digital Journey: Do You Know Where Your Power Comes From?
By Tomas Kellner – The electrons that brew your first cup of coffee in the morning have many different parents. Some were born on a wind farm, while others came from a gas-fired power plant or a water turbine buried deep inside a massive dam. Some even took a brief vacation in a battery.

As different as their sources are, they are starting to get connected to a giant virtual power reservoir that will always keep your home supplied with the right amount of the cheapest electricity generated in the most efficient manner.

The idea of such “intelligent” energy is sorely needed.

Today, there are wind farms that must shut down their turbines when it is windy because the grid is too full to take their power, as well as power plants that sit idle and only crank up their turbines to meet peak demand during summer heat waves. There are more efficient, cost-effective, and sustainable ways to run the energy system. more> http://goo.gl/r03UfS

Liberals and Conservatives Can Agree On

By David Brin – At some point in the summer and autumn debates, Donald Trump is almost certain to say: “Of course the rich pay too little tax!”

Let’s go back to that earlier point and restate what is blatantly obvious, yet utterly ignored by mavens of the right. The worst destructive force that ruined flat-fair-open-creative markets and suppressed equality of opportunity across 60 centuries was inherited oligarchy and feudal overlordship. That was the normal system in most large-scale human societies. Feudal inherited oligarchy was the system of cheating despised by Adam Smith.

If we fail to enhance opportunity, we’re guaranteed to regret the outcome. more> http://goo.gl/hWmWNa