FM newswire for May 13, interesting articles about geopolitics

Today’s links to interesting news and analysis. If you find this useful, please pass it to a friend or colleague.

  1. The Future of Coal – an interdisciplinary MIT study“, MIT, March 2007
  2. Watch other nations (esp China) race by America:  “Update of the MIT 2003 Future of Nuclear Power Study“, 2009 — If we don’t wake up, we will not have much of a future.
  3. More about the “The Rush for Rare Metals“, Asian Sentinel, 10 May 2010
  4. Fortunately we prefer to be ignorant:  “Aviation Week Grounds Top Critic of Gajillion-Dollar Jet“, Noah Shachtman, Wired, 11 May 2010
  5. Fun reading (but with a serious message):  “URSUS BOGUS“, Tim Blair, blog of The Daily Telegraph, 11 May 2010
  6. Another small step for China:  “China, Qatar ink document on energy, financial cooperation“, People’s Daily, 12 May 2010
  7. A contrarian view of Reagan:  “For the American Dream, a new face on the $50 bill“, August Kleinzahler, blog of the London Review of Books, 12 May 2010
  8. Now we’re seen as just like the KGB:  “Arrest of 13 CIA Agents Sought in Spain“, Scott Horton, blog of Harper’s, 12 May 2010
  9. Al Qaeda in Iraq: Last stand, or sign of resilience?“, Alexander Mayer, Long War Journal, 12 May 2010
  10. He’s right, we’re not.  “Are We Greece?“, Paul Krugman, blog of the New York Times, 12 May 2010
  11. The staff of The Economist explains why we are not Greece, in more detail than Krugman’s note
  12. China is by nature a potential sea power:  “China’s navy changing the game“, Japan Times, 13 May 2010
  13. Read about tomorrow’s lawsuits:  “Women, subs and nuclear radiation“, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2010 — “Women are due to start serving on nuclear subs in 2012. But have concerns about radiation exposure been adequately explored?”
  14. Results from the latest inning:  “Karzai Defeats Obama 2-1“, Juan Cole, Informed Comment, 13 May 2010

Today’s featured articles

  1. Quote of the day, an example of why we know so little about our climate
  2. You probably prefer to remain ignorant of these facts
  3. Big budget cuts in Spain and Portugal

(1)  An example of why we know so little about our climate:  “Where the !@#$% is Svalbard’s Weather Station?“, Anthony Watts, 13 May 2010 — Excerpt:

People like Jim Hansen and Gavin Schmidt who sit up at the top of the climate food chain and take data from these weather stations at face value and then use it to extrapolate to nearby grid cells because there are no other nearby stations in the Arctic really need to get out more and see what the measuring environment is like. Maybe somebody can convince them to get off their taxpayer funded butts and away from their computer screens someday and do some field work.

Of course given what they did to censure Willis at RC when he brought up the issues at Svalbard, I doubt they’d believe their own eyes if it contradicted their expectations.

(2)  You probably prefer to remain ignorant of these facts

After all, isn’t this the behavior of our forefathers that made America great?  Perhaps not.

(3)  Big budget cuts in Spain and Portugal, From today’s Eurointelligence:

Jose Luis Zapatero {Prime Minister of Spain} is trying to solve the problem through cuts in fiscal policy, totalling 0.5% this year and 1% next year. The measures include a 5% cut in civil servants pay this year to be followed by a pay freeze next year, cuts in pension payments, child payments, increases in drug prices, among a long list of savings.

Even Atletico’s Euro-Cup victory last night failed to displace Zapatero’s decision from the top slot in Spanish newspapers. El Pais’ main headline says that he flip-flopped, and cross a Rubicon he had sworn not to transgress. The measures are intended to bring the 2011 deficit down to 6%, and are design to assuage concerns among investors about Spain’s position in the euro. Zapatero is seeking to co-opt the social partners into agreement, but it appears that the country’s trade union will put up a fierce against those cuts.

Portugal also announced additional measures, and Bloomberg quotes the finance minister as saying that he is prepared to face social tensions. Bloomberg quotes Eric Nielsen of Goldman Sachs as saying that there is now a much stronger acceptance for tough fiscal measures.

(We are not enthusiastic about Zapatero’s approach. Instead of solving the real problems of the Spanish economy, which does not include excessive government spending, it is difficult to see how this package helps. Spain needs to generate an increase in potential growth if it wants to go through this crisis in tact. Fiscal consolidation without labour market reform is likely to lead to a fall in growth.)

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