Friday Special X-mas

by mendoza | Friday, December 25, 2009
  | 0 comments | | Friday Special X-mas @bluematterblogtwitter

Driving is better than walking for the environment

If you walk 1.5 miles, Mr. Goodall calculates, and replace those calories by drinking about a cup of milk, the greenhouse emissions connected with that milk (like methane from the dairy farm and carbon dioxide from the delivery truck) are just about equal to the emissions from a typical car making the same trip. And if there were two of you making the trip, then the car would definitely be the more planet-friendly way to go.

Mr. Goodall is a member of the Green Party in Britain and a devout environmentalist — he says he has ceased air travel because of its emissions. But he also questions how much good is being done by eliminating short trips by car.

Elizabeth didn't believe me when I mentioned this a few months ago, so I'm finally getting around to posting the details and my sources: TierneyLab via Freakonomics, almost a year ago. I'm also wondering whether Mr. Goodall actually underestimates the amount of CO2 emmitted by humans: he only takes emmissions during food production and transportation into account. But we are not that dissimilar to a car: we burn fuel (food) and emit C02 as we breathe - the more active we are, the more burning of calories, and the more CO2 we emit via breathing. And legs - unlike wheels - are not built for maximum fuel efficiency when moving from A to B.

Beth doesn't have a car, but she's going one better by cycling lots and never consuming any animal products. You can listen to her beautiful music, and you can see a video of a live performance at the legendary Jazz Cafe in London. She also blogs and tweets.

Explaining Bernanke's answer

In case you missed it, here is the question, answer and various links. So, what's going on?

Bernanke, the preeminent economist, has turned banker. (Or, to be more precise, he is acting banker because this is what is expected of him. I read his answer as 'I know better, but I operate within constraints'. Time man of the year or whatever, Bernanke does not single-handedly set monetary policy - far from it.)

The distinction is simple. The economist wants to return the economy to trend growth and reduce unemployment. Inflation is important, but it's no holy grail.

The banker, on the other hand, just wants inflation to be low so that the real value of debt does not fall. And that's basically it.

The Fed is completely captured by bankers. Forget about bonuses, bankers are screwing the economy by controlling the intellectual climate and policy apparatus so that inflation stays low - too low.

And by the way, a very similar question was put to the Governor of the Bank of England about a month ago - scroll down to question 49.

CNN everywhere

At the Taj Palace in Delhi.

by datacharmer | Sunday, December 20, 2009
  , | 0 comments | | CNN everywhere @bluematterblogtwitter

Off to India

Flying out to India in a few hours for a friend's wedding, so little or no blogging over here in the next 10 days. See you all then.

Justin and Jacqueline - sorry, haven't had a chance to reply to you yet, but will be doing so when I'm back.

by datacharmer | Friday, December 04, 2009
  , | 1 comments | | Off to India @bluematterblogtwitter