Thursday, January 24, 2008

By the Shadow of our Hand

A chilling but essential read for all who harbour Pollyanna thoughts about the Long War. Belmont Club has always turned out excellent analysis, and the comments thread is simply breathtaking. Especially Zenster. Plus there's a link to dear Steven Den Beste, on Triage.

Compare this thread with the pathetic namecalling on, say, DPF's comments threads. Pick almost any one. Sigh.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Some GDP perspective

I've always been a sucker for maps, and this one (ht: Gods of Copybook Headings) is a bewdy. Yup, we're about the size of the US of A's District of Columbia. Oz, OTOH, is Ohio.

Friday, January 18, 2008

The VooDoo Bucket - Level 3 assets under FAS-157

It all sounds very technical, but it is quite important.

Find out (if you're a shareholder in a bank, financial instituion or even a pension fund of any description, and with KiwiSaver, that's most of us) what value of institutions' assets are in the Voodoo bucket.

There's a most useful primer here, and a bearish article from Asia Times online here.

Because until we know (a) where the financial bodies are buried and (b) that they're really dead, and cannot rise up and, like zombies, cause further mayhem (recall that all these toxic products are highly leveraged, so the risk of chain or domino effects is very real), the uncertainty and the negative sentiments will persist.

Capitalism is nothing if not sentimental, y'know.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

That good old stuff

Stewart Brand should need no introduction: Whole Earth Catalog, and a personal favourite: How Buildings Learn.

Edge mag invited a whole bunch of folks to say what they changed their mind about in 2007. Guess what our Stewart came out with? Good Old Stuff Sucks. The obligatory quote:

"The Precautionary Principle tells me I should worry about everything new because it might have hidden dangers. The handwringers should worry more about the old stuff. It's mostly crap."