Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A couple off interesting things.....

First, check out this chart of true government debt levels ad consider its' implications. It's become accepted based on the work of Reinhart and Rogoff that real problems occur once government debt exceeds 90% of GDP, based on a measure of government debt outstanding.

However, the US government has made a variety of long-term promises (mostly mortgage guarantees (Fannie & Freddie) and health care for retirees and federal employees) that dwarf the amount of outstanding debt. As you can see in the chart, the US is basically "next in line" after Greece, prompting one of my favorite authors, Niall Ferguson to predict a Greece-type crisis for America, while another writer that I admire, Martin Wolf, argues otherwise. The Ferguson-Wolf debate is summarized here.

(I think Wolf is more in the right, meaning that government will just print whatever money is necessary to cover the debt. Unfortunately, this means certain inflation.)

Other interesting things that I've read recently:

The earthquake in Chile moved the city of Concepcion 10 feet! I find this absolutely incredible. Imagine the force required to an entire city 10 feet to the west!

The phenomenon was observed all across the continent. Even Buenos Aires - 800 miles from the Quake's epicenter - moved an inch.

Last interesting fact of the day (I can't find the story online): Google (and it's businesses, like YouTube) currently accounts for 10% of all internet traffic. I'm both stunned and gratified by this number. Stunned that any companyhas so much market share in such a large space, and gratified, because this figure proves the distributed nature of the internet and that even at 10%, Google is not in any position to dominate.

No comments:

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China

With my new friends on the Great Wall of China
Click to go to my online photography

World sun clock

Uncommon Man's Creed

"I do not choose to be a common man. It is my right to be uncommon -- if I can. I seek opportunity -- not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I wish to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed. I refuse to barter incentive for a dole, I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia. I will not trade freedom for beneficence, nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master, nor bend to any threat. It is my heritage to stand erect, proud, and unafraid, to think and act for myself, to enjoy the benefit of my creations, and to face the world boldly and say, "this I have done." All this is what it means to be an American." -- Anonymous