Ken Novak's Weblog
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Ken Novak's Weblog


daily link  Saturday, December 06, 2003


Austin going solar in a big way: " In a near-complete turnaround from its public position just a week ago, Austin Energy has announced plans to adopt specific, highly ambitious, and undeniably expensive goals for adding solar energy to the Austin electric and economic mix. At a town hall meeting held Tuesday night to discuss the AE plan -- also the subject of a public hearing at City Council today (Thursday) -- AE's Roger Duncan announced the utility's commitment to develop 15 megawatts of solar generating capacity by 2007, escalating to 100 megawatts by 2020. The AE plan also calls for a study of the "comprehensive value" of solar power -- putting a dollar amount on the economic and environmental benefits ..

Brewster McCracken -- the emcee of the town hall meeting -- and Mayor Will Wynn were both in attendance to reiterate their support for making Austin the "home of the international clean-energy industry" (in McCracken's words) -- a goal toward which, advocates feel, AE's solar commitment is a giant first step. ..

"We will try to meet 100 percent of new load growth" -- that is, customer demand -- "with conservation and renewables if at all possible," said Duncan. "We're trying to get off natural gas entirely." "

  11:49:22 PM  permalink  

Dirty Bomb Rockets Vanish: Long and vivid story in the Washington Post:  "In the ethnic conflicts that surrounded the collapse of the Soviet Union, fighters in several countries seized upon an unlikely new weapon: a small, thin rocket known as the Alazan. Originally built for weather experiments, the Alazan was transformed into a terror weapon, packed with explosives and lobbed into cities. Military records show that at least 38 Alazan warheads were modified to carry radioactive material, effectively creating the world's first surface-to-surface dirty bomb [with an 8-mile range]. The warheads are not known to have been used. But now, according to experts and officials, they have disappeared.

[There are] 50 cases in which the [Alazan] rockets were used in clashes, by both guerrilla fighters and government forces. In most incidents, Alazans were fired indiscriminately at civilian targets, often crowded urban centers. .. One document described an inventory of 38 "isotopic radioactive warheads of missiles of the Alazan type," including 24 that were attached to rocket. In the two other documents, the commander requested technical help in dealing with radiation exposure related to storage of the warheads. .. the last known location of the weapons was a military airfield north of Tiraspol, but what happened to them after the 1990s remains a mystery.

When the Soviet army withdrew from this corner of Eastern Europe, the weapons were deposited into an arsenal of stupefying proportions. In fortified bunkers are stored 50,000 tons of aging artillery shells, mines and rockets, enough to fill 2,500 boxcars. Conventional arms originating in Transdniester have been turning up for years in conflict zones from the Caucasus to Central Africa.. "For terrorists, this is the best market you could imagine: cheap, efficient and forgotten by the whole world," said Vladimir Orlov, founding director of the Center for Policy Studies in Moscow, a group that studies proliferation issues. . Organized crime figures and reputed terrorists flit in and out of the region ..

Moldova has pressed Russia to remove the munitions [stockpile] and the 2,800 Russian troops who guard them [600 miles from the Russian border]. But over the years, both Russia and Transdniester have used a variety of excuses to block or delay their departure." " Instances of traffic in antiaircraft missles are mentioned, inlcuding one well-documented in 1999.

"Once the industrial heartland of the Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic, Transdniester has a long history as a production center for arms and weapons, including machine guns and rockets. Today, the tradition continues in at least six sprawling factories. .. Among the weapons in production are Grad and Duga multiple-rocket launchers, antitank mines, rocket-propelled grenades and multiple lines of small arms.."

  11:00:37 PM  permalink  

There They Go Again: Dean's many weaknesses as a nominee.  "If the Democrats are serious about governing, they should remember the words of one of their nominees, Adlai Stevenson. After one of his typically brilliant campaign speeches, someone shouted out to Stevenson from the crowd that he had the votes of all thinking Americans. Stevenson shouted back, saying that wasn't enough: "I need a majority!" "  7:06:24 AM  permalink  

Clean Edge solar report: "What will it take to transform solar energy from a niche resource into a competitive, mainstream technology - and beyond, to serve society with solar's full promise? This Solar Opportunities Assessment Report, or SOAR, attempts to answer that simple but complex question and offer some possible pathways forward. It focuses on three pathways for solar's future over the next quarter-century: Current Growth, Accelerated Growth, and Hypergrowth, and describes the challenges and opportunities within each. ..  We propose one potential vision, which we've dubbed the SHINE -- Solar High-Impact National Energy -- Project. The SHINE Project calls for 290 gigawatts of cumulative installed PV in the U.S. by 2025, providing 10% of total U.S. electricity consumption."  6:53:31 AM  permalink  

E7 Renewables reports: "The e7, an organization of nine leading electricity companies, has released two new reports that share the companies knowledge in understanding and helping to remove barriers to the diffusion of renewable energy technologies and the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). The first report, Renewable Energy Technology Diffusion, .. presents guidelines to help individual stakeholders execute the focused, committed actions necessary to address microbarriers, and recommendations to guide the broad, coordinated initiatives that are appropriate to address macrobarriers.

The second publication is The e7 Guide to Implementing Projects Under the Clean Development Mechanism. .. Since its formation in 1992, the e7 has assembled a wealth of experience related to electricity sector projects in developing countries. This experience underlies the new e7 CDM Guide. "

  6:39:38 AM  permalink  

Imagine Islands Entirely Powered by Renewable Energy: "Software company Artificial Life has unveiled its first educational online game called Eco Champ which specifically aims to educate and entertain with renewable energy as the focus. .. The company said they are targeting young Asian students aged between 12 and 18 years and secondary schools in Greater China and Asia. .. A player has to maintain the power level of a virtual island by installing renewable energy sources of six different kinds: wind, solar, wave and tidal, hydro, geothermal and biogas in the appropriate locations by taking into account the most relevant factors for the efficient use of these resources in the corresponding locations such as wind, temperature patterns and elevation level. "EcoChamp Home PageScreen-Shots

  6:35:24 AM  permalink  

Socialtext -- Enterprise Social Software: "The service runs on Socialtext's own Kwiki implementation of the wiki standard. Each Socialtext account gets 1GB of storage per member and has no bandwidth limit... You can assign one or more categories to each page and view all the pages in a category as a blog. Members can e-mail new pages to the wiki, optionally specifying categories. By the time you read this, each Socialtext account should able to launch as many different wikis as needed and invite the appropriate team members. " $30/mo per user.  6:27:26 AM  permalink  

The End Of The Laptop?: "Home servers and smartphones will eventually replace notebook computers for most users." Ends with nice summary of Treo tools, noting they still require too much user customization.  12:40:28 AM  permalink  


daily link  Friday, December 05, 2003


The Human Footprint: Neat maps of the spread of human actiivty.  4:33:55 PM  permalink  

WaveCrest: Technology: Adaptive Motor  A company that makes smart motors:  with microprocessor, DSP, single brushless moving part, and internally redundant design, it claims to deliver optimium power at every speed, regenerative breaking, and with only one moving part.  Applications planned in smaller devices (electric bikes for the military and police, wheelchairs, industrial generators and motors), building towards cars and mass transit.  "In addition to acceleration, the motor can provide system functions such as braking and steering, thus eliminating many heavy and complex mechanical components. Because of the motor's tremendous low-speed torque and high response time, it can be used to replace costly advanced vehicle systems such as anti-lock braking, traction control and vehicle stability systems. Merging all these functions can lead to a smaller, lighter and less expensive vehicle."  Wesley Clark is on the board of directors.

  4:32:50 PM  permalink  

Wesley Clark position papers:  The current collection, including a good enviro piece (thanks to DS).  10:56:08 AM  permalink  

Cringely on software failures: "Software development projects fail all the time, no matter what their size. The Standish Group, an IT-research firm in West Yarmouth, Mass., has been keeping track of this phenomenon since 1994, and the good news is that we are doing much better at completing projects than we used to. The bad news is that in 2000, only 28 percent of software projects could be classed as complete successes (meaning they were executed on time and on budget), while 23 percent failed outright (meaning that they were abandoned). Those numbers are improvements over a 16 percent success rate and a 31 percent failure rate when the first study was done in 1994. ..

According to the Standish Group, more than $275 billion will be spent on software development this year, covering about 250,000 projects. That means that if the recent success and failure percentages apply, $63 billion in development costs will go down the toilet in 2003 alone."  Cringely applies this to touch screen voting after 2000: who wouldn't expect it to fail?

  8:37:49 AM  permalink  


daily link  Thursday, December 04, 2003


If Geology Is Destiny, Then Russia Is in Trouble: The problems of "petrostates" summarized:  political underdevelopment, overvalued currencies, economic swings from erratic oil prices, low employment, polarized distribution of wealth.   9:37:29 PM  permalink  

Head Out (Wirelessly) on the Highway: Hundreds of truckstops are offering WiFi for truckers.  Key value is ease of access, and privacy, when using a laptop in the truck cab without even going out.  Business uses include checking road and weather conditions, and sending photos: "Mr. Tindall, a Persian Gulf war veteran from Edwards, Mo., also travels with a digital camcorder for shooting pictures and movies that he views, edits and e-mails from his laptop computer. In the event of an accident, he can easily transfer photos of the damage to the laptop and e-mail them to the company "so they can see the damage right away and decide where to get you fixed," he said.

Martin Fisher, a 39-year-old Canadian trucker who sometimes works as a photographer, recently picked up a load of damaged goods, but he did not have to worry much about lost time or disputed claims. "I was able to take pictures and send it to my dispatcher right away," Mr. Fisher said. "

  9:33:01 PM  permalink  


daily link  Wednesday, December 03, 2003


What Strategists Can Learn from Sartre: Echoes of the Forum, from a GBN founder. "Five Principles of Existential Strategy:

  1. Finitude. You can’t be all things to all people. If you’re not saying “no” to some possibilities, then you’re not acting strategically.
  2. Being-Toward-Death. No one is too big to fail, to die, to go bankrupt. Gliding on momentum can lead to a crash.
  3. Care. Define your interests more precisely than ROI or return to shareholders. If you don’t know where you stand, you’ll fall for anything.
  4. Thrownness. You have a past; you have experiences and core competencies. Know them, use them, and don’t forget them.
  5. Authenticity. Don’t be bound by your past. Feel free to reinvent yourself and your company for an uncertain future. "
  9:21:39 AM  permalink  


daily link  Tuesday, December 02, 2003


Sun Power wins contract for Oroville solar power project: "San Rafael-based Sun Power & Geothermal Energy Inc. said Monday it won an $8.4 million contract to design and build a one-megawatt solar photovoltaic system for the Butte County Center [administration building and 2 jails] in Oroville. .. Four solar arrays made of more than 9,000 185-watt modules will generate all power for the buildings. Funding for the system will be matched 50 percent by a renewable energy rebate from Pacific Gas & Electric Co." Projected operation: June 2004 (8 months install). $8.40/watt total system cost.  By my calcuations, that's a simple payback period of 30-40 years.  Total system installed cost would have to drop by 4x to compete without subsidy with the PGE grid.  11:32:05 PM  permalink  

5 Commandments:  Annotated history of laws from Moore, Metcalfe, and 3 others.  11:14:30 PM  permalink  

Stacking chips without wires and solder: "Everybody complains about the long wires on circuit boards that limit the speed of inter-chip communication. But, now engineers at Sun Microsystems [have] eliminated the need for them entirely.

Sun’s solution is to put the chips close enough to one another so that they can communicate directly, without using wires at all. Called proximity communication, the technique is the brainchild of Sun vice president Ivan E. Sutherland, best known for cofounding Evans and Sutherland, a groundbreaking computer graphics company, back in the late 1960s.  The technique, explains Robert Drost, a principal investigator on the project, relies on capacitive coupling. "When two conducting structures are close to one another, an electrical signal on one of them causes an electrical signal to appear on the other," he says.

So, in place of the conventional output pads to which wires would be bonded, the engineers built an array of small metal plates, 50 nm on a side, above the top wiring layer of a chip, covering the entire chip with a micrometer-thick protective layer called a scratch coating. [When] two chips face to face so that the metal plates lined up, allowing the plates to communicate with their counterparts capacitively through two thicknesses of the scratch coating. To use this approach in a system with many chips an upper array of chips, spaced slightly less than a chip-width apart, would overlay a bottom array. The two arrays would be offset so that each corner of a chip in the upper array overlaps a corner of four chips in the lower array .. "That allows you to build a two-dimensional system of arbitrary size," Drost explains."

Advantages: higher data rates, lower power, and replacement of faulty chips without soldering. 

"No plans are yet in place to commercialize the technology. Sun is developing the technique under a contract with the U.S. DARPA.  .. More than one company is seeking ways to speed up interchip communications. In August 2002 Infineon Technologies AG announced a new method of connecting stacked ICs in 3-D packages .. The Infineon approach uses small copper pads on the tops of the chips and puts them face to face in the package .. with a thin layer of solder, making a direct electrical connection ..The first wafers to use this technology are being processed now with the first products expected in 2004."

  11:00:06 PM  permalink  

New wireless mouse doesn't need a pad: "The sensing element within the mouse is a vibrating metal beam that resembles a tiny tuning fork. Gyration says that when the device is rotated around either of the two axes, the vibrating beam reacts to the change in angular momentum. The severity of any reaction is measured and reported as a voltage change relative to a reference voltage. These fluctuations in voltage are, in turn, digitized and delivered as data that a computer can use to track the device's motion.

A rechargeable nickel-metal hydride battery can run the mouse for about 40 hours between charges. A charging cradle with a 120-V ac adapter and software for making it easier to control various popular PC programs are included. Ultra GT Keyboard Suite. Price: US $99.95 with keyboard; $79.95 for just the mouse and RF receiver http://www.gyration.com"

  10:50:26 PM  permalink  

Wireless Networks Gain Spectrum: Controversy over its usefulness over long distance: "The Federal Communications Commission set aside a new slice of airwaves yesterday for wireless Internet users, a move the agency said was designed to encourage the spread of high-speed data access in rural and other underserved areas. ..

Some public interest groups criticized the FCC's decision yesterday, saying the particular slice of airwaves targeted by the agency is not well suited for delivering a robust, high-speed data stream to a wide area. They argued that the 255 new frequencies can't carry a data stream capable of penetrating walls or even passing through leafy trees. .. But FCC officials said several start-up companies have already demonstrated that the new frequencies can deliver data over relatively long distances. "I have no idea where they get their information, but they [the signals] can go five miles," said Edmond Thomas, FCC chief of engineering and technology."

  10:45:08 PM  permalink  

US moves - quietly - toward a flat tax: Bush cuts and state tax increases almost eliminate the last bit of progressivity.  And a useful stat: "Between 1979 and 2000, the richest 1 percent enjoyed a 201 percent improvement in their average after-tax income. That compares with 15 percent for those in the middle 20 percent of the income spectrum and 9 percent for those in the bottom 20 percent."  10:30:01 PM  permalink  

Information Patterns - Toucan Navigate: "Toucan Navigate delivers maps and core GIS functionality to members of Groove shared spaces including: 1) Co-browsing or the ability to have entire teams seeing the same map concurrently regardless of their physical location. Zoom changes, panning or layer visibility are propagated to all space members. 2) Co-editing of map features and attributes, or the ability each member has to add, edit and delete map objects in a decentralized manner."  3:56:01 PM  permalink  

Informational Design - Dr. Sam Savage: Stanford author of a book and an Excel plug in for modelling.  Nice philosophy:

  • The Industrial Revolution .. involved harnessing the power of physics. To grasp the power of physics with our hands often requires an industrial designer to develop an appropriate handle. Some important handles include the steering wheel, the light switch and the typewriter keyboard.
  • [In the] Information Revolution, the power we are harnessing this time is not physical, but abstract and mathematical. The field of Informational Design is evolving to help us to grasp this power not with our hands but with our minds. Thus the goal of the informational designer is to develop a mindle. Some important recent mindles are:
    • Spreadsheet models, which allow us to grasp the results of different investment strategies 
    • Radar screens, which allow air traffic controllers to grasp the locations of aircraft 
    • Medical Imaging, which allows doctors to grasp what's going on inside our bodies 
  10:28:01 AM  permalink  


daily link  Monday, December 01, 2003


Bloglines:  A service for browser-based RSS aggregators.  6:32:55 PM  permalink  

Scientists Speed Up Tree Growth in N.C.: "Scientists say they have found a way to boost tree growth but so far there they haven't found a practical use for the fast-growing plants.  A tree species at N.C. State's Upper Piedmont Research Station in Reidsville grew up to 20 feet in a single year, about double its usual rate. A typical tree in the area grows about 18 inches in a good year. The experiment uses paulownias, a naturally rapid-growing tree from China whose thin stalks are covered in purple blossoms during the spring.

Researchers bred seven varieties of the trees, the quickest of which can grow about 18 to 20 feet in a year, said Ben Bergmann, who was in charge of the project. Bergmann now is the head of the Tropical Research Studies Department at Duke University. The unusual growth was discovered during experiments to lessen animal waste in groundwater and soil, he said. Because of the trees' rapid growth, their roots absorb nutrients and prevent ground and surface water contamination.  The trees produce a light weight wood that can be used for furniture and musical instruments, Bergmann said."  I wonder how fast they absorb CO2.

  6:29:59 PM  permalink  

Summary of VOIP limitations: 

  • no 911
  • no guarantees of service
  • no constraints on junk call: solicitations and junk fax: Don't expect to have a "do not call" or "can spam" list enforced.
  • no assurance that identification and its release are in accordance with end-user's expectations
    • You can't assume that the 'caller ID' data presented to you is accurate
    • At this point, there's no mandated assurance that you can initiate VoIP calls that will suppress disclosure of your identity, IP number, etc.  -- that is, no 'private call' assurance
  • The legal and regulatory levels of privacy afforded to conventional telephony may not apply: If you want privacy, you'll need to put in place your own solutions (as will those with whom you communicate) and hope that your measures are "good enough."
  6:21:45 PM  permalink  

Ready to make a great leap forward: Nice review of Boston-area innovators in energy, sensors, RFID, 3d displays, RNAi, and implanted medical devices.  6:16:24 PM  permalink  

What Makes Some Startups Succeed? Interesting results from survey of 450 storage startups:

  • Companies raising the most capital don't have the strongest chance to succeed. There was no direct correlation. In fact, the amount of capital invested in storage startups that reached successful exits was in a tight range of $33 to $40 million — which some would say is a surprisingly small amount of capital in the world of high-flying IT startups. In fact, the research report states, "there is a negative trend in the number of (successful) exits as funding exceeds the average range." Over-funding actually allows companies to follow a flawed strategy for too long, the report points out.
  • A fully staffed executive team is not necessarily a requirement for success. The study found that, based on historical precedent, building the team sequentially can be more capital efficient, with greater emphasis placed on development of the technology for the first 12 to 18 months. The ideal founding team pedigree, says Crescendo, is a successful product development track record.
  • Most successful storage startups fail to meet all the criteria for being a truly "disruptive innovation." Although the report admits this is largely a qualitative assessment, new waves of technology disruption are not obvious at the outset. Neither did the majority of successful firms "cross the chasm" — that is, move from the low-end, unwanted customer to disrupt the core business of a veteran company before they experienced a successful exit.
  • In 93 percent of the cases, the strategy that a company emerges with (at exit) is completely different from the strategy it set out to implement.
  6:10:09 PM  permalink  

Seized Intelligence Files Spur U.S. Investigations: "The CIA has seized an extensive cache of files from the former Iraqi Intelligence Service that is spurring U.S. investigations of weapons procurement networks and agents of influence who took money from the government of Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. officials familiar with the records.  The Iraqi files are "almost as much as the Stasi files," said a senior U.S. official, referring to the vast archives of the former East German intelligence service seized after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

The records would stretch 91/2 miles if laid end to end, the officials said. They contain not only the names of nearly every Iraqi intelligence officer, but also the names of their paid foreign agents, written agent reports, evaluations of agent credentials, and documentary evidence of payments made to buy influence in the Arab world and elsewhere, the officials said.  The officials declined to name individuals who they believe received funds or to name the home countries of the alleged recipients. One official said the recipients held high-ranking positions and worked both in Arab countries and in other regions. A second official said the payments were the subjects of "active investigations" by U.S. government agencies.

The recipients of the Iraqi funds were described by U.S. officials not as formal intelligence agents, but as prominent personalities and political figures who accepted money from Iraq as they defended Hussein publicly or pressed his causes.  "

  5:09:12 PM  permalink  

On North Korean Freighter, a Hidden Missile Factory: An Indian port siezure in 1999: "When the ship's doors were finally reopened at gunpoint, the reason for the extreme secrecy became clear. Hidden inside wooden crates marked "water refinement equipment" was an assembly line for ballistic missiles: tips of nose cones, sheet metal for rocket frames, machine tools, guidance systems and, in smaller crates, ream upon ream of engineers' drawings labeled "Scud B" and "Scud C." The intended recipient of the cargo, according to U.S. intelligence officials, was Libya. .. The latest beneficiary appears to be Libya, but other nations are known to have received similar help, including Iran, Pakistan and Syria. North Korea has also sold missiles and parts to Yemen..

In the end, a need for cash scuttled the [ship's] mission. The black-hulled, 25-year-old freighter would probably have avoided Indian customs officials had the captain not gone out of his way to earn extra money, according to documents and interviews with officials.  Just 10 days after departing North Korea's Nampo harbor on April 10, 1999, the ship made detours to two Thai ports to pick up 14,000 tons of sugar for resale along the way, records show. A deal to sell the sugar to some Algerians fell through, so the ship switched course again, to sell it to an Indian company. That meant a stop at the busy port of Kandla, in Gujarat province in northwestern India.  ..

While the ship was somewhere en route, Indian customs officials were tipped off to its possible contraband. The Kuwolsan was rumored to be carrying arms or ammunition, perhaps intended for India's neighbor and rival, Pakistan. When the North Korean freighter steamed into Kandla on June 25, port officials were waiting for it. "

  4:56:36 PM  permalink  

Smugglers Enticed by Dirty Bomb Components: Stories on black-market trafficing in commercial and ex-Soviet radiation sources, including Georgian mafia, Nigeria-to-Germany smuggling, and an Ecuador blackmail operation that still holds canisters.  A Sept 2003 report from Los Alamos National Laboratory states "With the current frequency of terrorist bombings, the publicity regarding the RDD [Radiological Dispersal Device] threat, and the widespread availability of radioactive source materials, an RDD attack somewhere in the world is overdue."  12:48:52 PM  permalink  

Are the poor getting poorer?: "Income inequality does often grow in developing nations. However, that's usually not because "the poor are getting poorer," but because either a) the poor are staying put while the rich get richer, or b) the poor are getting less poor, but they're not doing so as fast as the rich are getting richer. According to a report published in 2000 by the UN, the World Bank, the OECD, et al., the number of people on the planet who live on less than a dollar a day dropped by 100 million between 1990 and 1998. The number remained astoundingly high—1.2 billion—but bear in mind that the drop came even as the population of poor nations grew by hundreds of millions.

Of course, growing income inequality within a nation—whether or not it is caused by the poor getting poorer—may cause social strains and be regrettable for various other reasons. Enlightened national governments may choose to reduce it by income redistribution or other means. Still, it is not necessarily a bad thing when income inequality is the price paid for a rising standard of living. 

Moreover, to suggest—as many have—that globalization is particularly responsible for the growth in income inequality may be the opposite of the truth. Two years ago two World Bank economists, David Dollar and Aart Kraay, released a study that looked not just at the effects of economic growth, but specifically at the effects of globalization. Tracking nations with the most open, most globalized, economies over the last several decades, they found that, as national income grew, the fraction of the economic pie going to the bottom fifth of the income scale didn't shrink. The rising tide indeed seemed to lift all boats."

  10:19:11 AM  permalink  

A Real War on Terrorism By Robert Wright: Excellent 9-part series from late 2002 on an integrated long-term approach to terrorism.  "If you look back over history, you will see enduringly disastrous phases—decades if not centuries of lethal contagious disease, of ruinous war, of societal collapse, of imperial decline. Sometimes these things "just happen," but sometimes they happen because of momentous technological and social changes whose import humankind fails to reckon with. The premise of this series is that right now we're undergoing such change, and so far we're failing to reckon with it."  The section on A regulating biotech is notable.  10:15:59 AM  permalink  

Center for Nonproliferation Studies: Good resource from the Monterey Institute of International Studies. For example, this Historical Roots of Current Terrorist Tactics and Methods paper.  9:58:36 AM  permalink  


daily link  Sunday, November 30, 2003


Public diplomacy: Council on Foreign Relations report recommending how to improve perceptions of US abroad -- the old Radio Free Europe model won' t work: "we must make clear the U.S. government’s commitment to public diplomacy as a central element in U.S. foreign policy. Significant reform is urgently needed to bring strategicplanning, focus, resources, and badly needed coordination to this effort. Specifically, ..

  • Increase customized, “two-way” dialogue, as contrasted to conventional one-way, “push-down” mass communication
  • Significantly increase private sector involvement, including greater use of credible and independent messengers, and the creation of an independent, not-forprofit “Corporation for Public Diplomacy.”
  • State Department reforms that make public diplomacy central to the work of all diplomats andambassadors, a Quadrennial Diplomacy Review, an Independent Public Diplomacy Training Institute, and a Public Diplomacy Reserve Corps. .. "
  11:42:23 PM  permalink  

Friedman quote: ""In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem.""  11:19:42 PM  permalink  

EC/US Divergence:  "around the middle of the 1980's, the U.S. and Europe started to diverge. The American work ethic shifted, so that the average American now works 350 hours a year — 9 or 10 weeks — longer than the average European.  American fertility rates bottomed out around 1985, and began rising. Native-born American women now have almost two children on average, while the European rate is 1.4 children per woman and falling.  .. The gap between American and European G.D.P. per capita has widened over the past two decades, and at the moment American productivity rates are surging roughly 5 percent a year.

The biggest difference is that over the past two decades the United States has absorbed roughly 20 million immigrants. This influx of people has led, in the short term, to widening inequality and higher welfare costs as the immigrants are absorbed, but it also means that the U.S. will be, through our lifetimes, young, ambitious and energetic.  Working off U.N. and U.S. census data, Bill Frey, the indispensable University of Michigan demographer, projects that in the year 2050 the median age in the United States will be 35. The median age in Europe will be 52."

  11:15:43 PM  permalink  

Krugman's long view on development:  "in the mid-1970's, development economics was just too depressing to pursue. Indeed, it might as well have been called non-development economics. No third world nation had made the transition to advanced-country status since 19th-century Japan. Circa 1975 it seemed that the club of nations with decent living standards was no longer accepting new members.

Now we know that the club isn't that exclusive, after all. South Korea and several smaller Asian economies have made a full transition to modernity. China is still a poor country, but it has made astonishing progress. And there are signs of an economic takeoff in at least parts of India. I'm not talking about arid economic statistics; what we've seen over the past generation is an enormous, unexpected improvement in the human condition.

How was this improvement achieved? .. every one of those development success stories was based on export-led growth. And that growth is possible only if rising economies can expand into new markets. Some critics of globalization seem to be nostalgic for the era before the big growth in third-world exports of manufactured goods. I'm not, because I remember the way that era really felt, our despair over the possibility of development."

  11:05:10 PM  permalink  

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