Saturday, January 19, 2013

Cab Thoughts 1/19/13

When school children start paying dues, I'll start representing them.--Teachers Union Representative

The Russian psychologist Alexander R. Luria, who wrote about the man in The Mind of a Mnemonist who could remember anything and for long periods. Speeches, formulas, anything and for years. He did, however, pay for it with remarkable indecision and lack of focus. He could not make sense of stories as each word raised countless connections and associations that crowded his attention off the topic. It seems that forgetting is an art, an important act of the brain that eliminates depression, dwelling on the negative and obsessive thoughts. More, it allows you to carve out the important; it allows you to act. Reminds me of that quote by Jack Nicholas during an interview: "Actually, I don't remember ever hitting a slice."

Lincoln said "if slavery is not wrong then nothing is wrong." At the same time he felt the Constitutional requirement to return a fugitive slave could not be avoided.

Why are entrepreneurs so evangelical?

In over 110 amateur fights, Cassius Clay was only knocked out once. Kent Green  knocked him out  in the third round, a technical knockout. Green was 14 and 2 as a pro.

Maryland's Gilman High School has a successful football team with some unusual rules. One is that no Gilman student, football player or not, is allowed to eat lunch alone. This is a speech the team's coach, Bill Poggi, made as related in Jeffrey Marx' book, "The Season of Life":
"'The rest of the world will always try to separate you. That's almost a law of nature -- gonna happen no matter what, right? The rest of the world will want to separate you by race, by socioeconomic status, by education levels, by religion, by neighborhood, by what kind of car you drive, by the clothes you wear, by athletic ability. You name it -- always gonna be people who want to separate by that stuff. Well, if you let that happen now, then you'll let it happen later. Don't let it happen. If you're one of us, then you won't walk around putting people in boxes. Not now. Not ever. Because every single one of them has something to offer. Every single one of them is special."

A talented performer like Jodie Foster should be able to express herself more coherently than she did at the Golden Globes. If her concern is privacy, state it. A cute and teasing speech, hinting at her sexuality which she is apparently trying to keep private, made the entire unrewarding moment an oxymoron. She was being given an award, an award I think she deserves. The first thing to say is "thank you." If you plan to use the moment as an opportunity to raise unrelated points, you do so at your peril. At least the intrusion should be understandable.

This week is the anniversary of the end of the British retreat from Kabul in January of 1842. 4,500 troops under the leadership of the lightly regarded General William Elphinstone, along with 12,000 civilians (women and children) left for Jalalabad, 90 miles away, after the murders of the two British representatives in Kabul. They believed they had been offered safe passage through the snowbound mountain passes. During the next seven days, with various insincere offers for peace and truce, the Afghans systematically cut the unit, women and children to pieces. The final British stand was at Gandamak. On January 13, one survivor arrived at Jalalabad: Doctor Brydon, a military physician with a significant head wound.
We always recover from disasters. Somehow. Resilience is built into us.

In 2012, the average wholesale price for spot market day ahead electricity fell from 15% to 43%. Some was the price of natural gas, a bit was alternative sources but much was efficiency off the grid.

14 to 25 percent of purchased food is discarded unused.

Between 1951 and 1997 the proportion of British government expenditure on defense fell from 24% to 7%, while the proportion on health and welfare rose from 22% to 53%. Partly this was due to America's accepting the international military role but partly it was due to an inherent shift necessary for funding health care.
Is it just a given that people in Kansas should pay for damage done by a storm in New Jersey?

Bedbugs were virtually eliminated from North America after the Second World War by DDT. They reappeared around 2000.

From the late Barton Brigs' new book, "Diary of a Hedgehog:" Commodities are "not an investment. An investment by definition is either current income or a stream of future income. When you buy a commodity, you have to be assuming that you are going to be able to sell it at a higher price to someone else, because it has no income. Thus, it is not investing — it is speculating.”

It is estimated that the current remade hockey season, if each play-off goes the distance, would end in mid-June.

Golden oldie on income disparity:

China is the largest car market in the world. China's air, during Sunday and Monday, had soot readings that were close to 900 ppm per cubic meter or 36 times safe levels. 

The EIA Residential Energy Consumption Survey shows homes built from 2000 to 2009 are about 20% more efficient per square foot than homes that were built 30 years ago.

Deaths before age 50 accounted for about two-thirds of the difference in life expectancy between males in the United States and their counterparts in 16 other developed countries, and about one-third of the difference for females. The countries in the analysis included Canada, Japan, Australia, France, Germany and Spain. Gun violence, auto accidence and drug overdose led the factors.

Bullet points from a new KPMG paper on automobiles:
  • Enthusiasm over electric cars wanes, with petrol engine cars and hybrids set to dominate over next decade
  • Fuel efficiency is the number one priority for cash-conscious consumers
  • Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRICs) market share predicted to edge near 50 percent, with 4x4s the fastest growing segment
  • Car sharing or ‘pay on use’ could be the answer for growing urban areas, and an opportunity for new players
  • Emerging markets trend toward upscale vehicles; in mature markets: downsize
  • Traditional dealership model under threat as online activity grows
Who is Elizabeth Keckley?

Getting regenerative energy from braking systems is efficient in EV or hybrids because the electric motors are already there. But a traditional internal combustion engine has only a mechanical drive train. Adding electric motors for regenerative braking is a commitment to more weight, more cost and more complexity.

AAAAAAAAANNNNNDDDDdddddd.....a graph:
Chart of the Day

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