The Carbon Flame War
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Arapiles .
(Arapiles) - M

Locale: Melbourne
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 07:14:24 MDT Print View

"Lol. Over here in the UK, the banks, which are private institutions, lost their shirts betting on bad gambles with bad US housing stock."

Well they WERE private institutions, now the government is their biggest shareholder - they didn't get the cash for free. Effectively the banks have been nationalised again.

And correctly speaking, institutions like Northern Rock went under because their treasury operations were too reliant on the short term money market - so when the interbank markets and securitisation markets disappeared they were left without sufficient funding to keep operating - rather than because of investments in US subprime mortgages.

By the way, none of this was a surprise: the Economist had an entire issue on the expected effect of the sub-prime problem about a year before it all hit the fan. And in 2006 my employer in London kept trying to train us in insolvency in anticipation of the crash but we were too busy doing loans ...

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 09:54:20 MDT Print View

Here in the US (and probably elsewhere too) -- some people seem to kneejerk whenver they hear about government intervention -- that it's just bad, bad, bad.

It can be bad -- there are too many examples already. But it doesn't have to be bad. There are plenty of successful examples around the world as well. Government has its place -- and it has important roles to play in national economies. When entire industries get themselves into trouble, government intervention (versus economic meltdown) may well be the lesser evil. Rescue money -- plus hopefully-intelligent laws to prevent said mishaps from happening -- can be a very good thing.

Where government can get (or have gotten) into trouble are "open ended" rescues -- such as with the various nationalized companies that dragged down the entire British nation back in the '70's. But done carefully and with discipline -- government intervention has its place in economic emergencies.

Edited by ben2world on 09/27/2010 09:55:44 MDT.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 10:54:46 MDT Print View

China and India will again be the world's largest economies as they were before Britain and then the US became the leaders from the mid 19th century until a couple more decades from now.

Spending way more than you can afford and then not addressing the issue was the demise of Britain's and will also soon be the US status. Things will be ok, but we're not going to dominate the game.

But for the Brits and Yanks, it was a good 200 year run.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 11:37:37 MDT Print View

T's a good time to be Chinese American. :)

Yes, consistently spending beyond our means is our undoing. But methinks so long as our kids can keep a step or two ahead in technology -- then we can still coast for a long time to come. But if we lose out on technology -- then hello, genteel decay...

Roger Caffin
(rcaffin) - BPL Staff - MLife

Locale: Wollemi & Kosciusko NPs, Europe
Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 15:04:24 MDT Print View

> But if we lose out on technology -- then hello, genteel decay...

There'll be nothing 'genteel' about it. It will be a lot faster and rougher and deeper then you think.

Cheers

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 15:16:37 MDT Print View

" But if we lose out on technology -- then hello, genteel decay..."

http://www.linkedin.com/groupAnswers?viewQuestionAndAnswers=&discussionID=29846083&gid=90792&trk=EML_anet_qa_ttle-cnhOon0JumNFomgJt7dBpSBA

In a nutshell:
-- according to Nobel Laureate Richard Smalley, by the end of 2010 (just months from now) 90% of the world's scientists and engineers with advanced degrees will live in Asia.
-- 80% of people being trained in the advanced physical sciences in the United States are from abroad.
-- because the opportunities are now greater abroad, we are no longer retaining them in the USA.
-- If we do not turn this trend around, we will have outsourced innovation.

And once we have outsourced innovation, our country's ability to compete will be over.

Rog Tallbloke
(tallbloke) - F

Locale: DON'T LOOK DOWN!!
Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 16:14:05 MDT Print View

As a qualified engineer, with a degree in the history of science, I see a gradual dumbing down of my fellow citizens in terms of understanding how things work.

It's worrying.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 17:07:27 MDT Print View

Some blame the internet. In a world of Google, online calculators, spell checkers, wikipedia, etc...people are using their brains less to solve problems, and no longer think for themselves to the degree that our ancestors had to. The real worry is that even with all these tools at their disposal, people seem less capable than ever of finding the answers to their questions, or at least find the 'correct' answer.

Bob Gross
(--B.G.--) - F

Locale: Silicon Valley
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 17:16:01 MDT Print View

When I went to engineering school (several wars ago), we were told that when we graduated, we would not be educated to know everything. Instead, we would be educated and armed with the skills and tools that we could solve problems.

So, there are still a few old fogies around who can derive solutions. Most people, however, are content with running with the first answer that a Google search offers.

--B.G.--

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 17:46:28 MDT Print View

A way at looking at the world's scientific history:

1. Before Newton (before late 17th century)
2. Newton (late 17th century to early 20th)
3. Quantum physics (early 20th century to present)

#1 We tried to survive the best we could. We did not understand much beyond feeding and sheltering ourselves. Unexplained things scared the hell out of us.

#2 Turned the world upside down. The concept that things obeyed laws freaked people out. After a while, we accepted the laws. We designed and built based on the laws.

#3 Again flipped out people. The concept that the laws do not apply in all cases and that basically things are really weird. We became comfortable with our advanced technological wonders. We can do almost anything.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 17:48:29 MDT Print View

What is #4 going to be?

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 17:59:56 MDT Print View

If our kids or grandkids should fall behind in technology -- I don't think it will be due to technology or google. Most everybody else in the world who's involved in higher education rely increasingly on technology, googling and such.

What I worry about more is the "sense of entitlement" -- kids who feel bored and expect to be entertained to keep interested. Obviously I am generalizing here -- but kids in much of the developing world have a lot less -- and thus they take things for granted a lot less as well.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 18:06:20 MDT Print View

"What is #4 going to be?"

To judge by how much superstition, fear and ignorance there still is in the world, I think we're heading for a #1 kind of future. Concepts like evolution will be axed from teaching curricula and the 'fact' of creation will be compulsory education...we will be lucky if we can manage to feed ourselves or build adequate shelter. Contraception will be illegal so we can try again to over-populate the planet. Concepts like hygiene will be scoffed at, so there will be plenty of scourges (sent by a diety to punish us) to at least keep population in check a little.

Lynn Tramper
(retropump) - F

Locale: The Antipodes of La Coruna
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 18:11:38 MDT Print View

" I don't think it will be due to technology or google. Most everybody else in the world who's involved in higher education rely increasingly on technology, googling and such."

That's a best-case scenario. Having been through a recent disaster where we lost all power, water, sewage, internet and cell phones for a period of time, I can assure you there are some things that Google can't help with. I was shocked by the number of folks who didn't have the first inkling of what to do in this situation. They didn't even begin to know how to plan for the immediate future without someone else in 'authority' telling them what to do.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:05:40 MDT Print View

Difficult to blame the kids without mentioning their parents.

A bad situation was exacerbated as parents put too much focus on making money and too little attention paid to their kids. Just doesn't make sense. Why have a child and then let others spend more time than either of the parents with that child?

Maybe it's the generational cycle going through a necessary portion of its turning.

George Matthews
(gmatthews) - MLife
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:09:45 MDT Print View

Just curious:

Who does not have cable TV?

Me, no. Internet yes, but no cable TV. I read that 88% of US households have cable. Many want to sever the cord, but don't know how.

It can be done.

Say NO to cable TV.

Nick Gatel
(ngatel) - MLife

Locale: Southern California
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:16:45 MDT Print View

It is socialism in the US and UK. The govenment or someone will take care of us.

India and China are allowing limited capitalism, and the people are grasping the concept.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:17:18 MDT Print View

Cable TV -- nope.
Cell phone -- finally caved and got one a few months ago. :)

I think having "tools" around is fine. Almost anything can be used wisely -- or misused.

I don't watch TV much at all -- but hey, for those who have cable -- programs like the History Channel or Science Channel or Nat Geo aren't bad at all...

Craig W.
(xnomanx) - F - M
Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:18:43 MDT Print View

If the position of U.S. culture/economics/technology is slipping, it's all too easy to blame it on the "kids these days" and their Ipods, technology, and subsequent sense of entitlement and apathy....

I see those same kids everyday and have been for over 12 years now. Before that, I was pretty much one of them. I talk with them, I hear their concerns and frustrations, and I work with those that are highly troubled. I also have the honor of working with the best and the brightest "kids these days" that our country has to offer.

Sorry, but I don't think we can blame this one on the kids, as bad as they may appear to all of you.

They can't vote.
They didn't write their school curriculum or approve the state budget.
They didn't create the media network that keeps them constantly bombarded with messages and products carefully designed (by psychologists even!) to target and shape their sense of identity and self worth.

Who created the world that the "kids these days" live in?

I speak with graduating seniors on a daily basis. Keep in mind that despite stellar grades and true desire to succeed, they are staring at college tuition rates 3-5 times higher than what any of us paid, crowded classes, and the ultimate prospect of trying to enter one of the worst labor markets in decades with $60,000 of college debt. Government loans have dried up and grants are few and far between. These days you go to Chase or BofA or Wells to finance your education...at a nice interest rate of course.

And all of this is not to mention the damage that 12 years public education might or might not have already done.
"Johnny, you can be an astronaut if you work hard enough!"
....Yet Johnny goes to an inner-city school with a substandard science program without an updated textbook...

The kids I teach have seen this country in a perpetual state of war for their entire conscious lives. Over fifty percent of them come from broken homes and many of them now have at least one parent out of work.

Who created this world for them?
Who pushes the Ipods and cell phones at them?
Who slashes their education budgets?
Who gave them the gift of the 24 hour TV cycle and internet access to some of the darkest and most depraved things humans can come up with?

And if at the end of all of this they do come out F-ed, whose fault is it?

Edited by xnomanx on 09/27/2010 19:25:12 MDT.

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Re. The Carbon Flame War on 09/27/2010 19:22:30 MDT Print View

Since I mentioned kids... it should be obvious that it's the parents who are doing the "molding"!!

Easy for me to suggest since I am blissfully single -- but I always wonder why parents with spoiled kids don't just send them to India for a month of volunteer work? I bet it will do wonders!! :)

Edited by ben2world on 09/27/2010 19:26:10 MDT.