|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Monday, November 29, 2004
: A research project at Berkeley/Intel Labs. There are slides from a July 2004 meeting. "Street Talk is a one day event to be held at Intel Research Berkeley focused on understand how the rapidly emerging fabric of mobile and wireless computing will influence, disrupt, expand, and be integrated into the social patterns existent within our public urban landscapes. Urban Computing captures a unique, synergistic moment – expanding urban populations, rapid adoption of Bluetooth mobile devices, and widespread influence of wireless technologies across our urban landscapes. The United Nations has recently reported that 48 percent of the world's population currently live in urban areas and that this number is expected to exceed the 50 percent mark by 2007, thus marking the first time in history that the world will have more urban residents than rural residents. Current studies project Bluetooth-enabled devices to reach 1.4 billion units in 2005 alone. Nearly 400 million new mobile phones are scheduled to be sold worldwide this year alone. WiFi hardware is being deployed at the astonishing rate of one every 4 seconds globally." 5:01:48 PM
Economic `Armageddon' predicted: "Stephen Roach, the chief economist at investment banking giant Morgan Stanley .. sees a 30 percent chance of a slump soon and a 60 percent chance that ``we'll muddle through for a while and delay the eventual armageddon.'' The chance we'll get through OK: one in 10. Maybe.
In a nutshell, Roach's argument is that America's record trade deficit means the dollar will keep falling. To keep foreigners buying T-bills and prevent a resulting rise in inflation, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be forced to raise interest rates further and faster than he wants. The result: U.S. consumers, who are in debt up to their eyeballs, will get pounded. ..
To finance its current account deficit with the rest of the world, he said, America has to import $2.6 billion in cash. Every working day. That is an amazing 80 percent of the entire world's net savings. Sustainable? Hardly. ..
Roach could not be reached for comment yesterday. A source who heard the presentation concluded that a ``spectacular wave of bankruptcies'' is possible. Smart people downtown agree with much of the analysis. It is undeniable that America is living in a ``debt bubble'' of record proportions. But they argue there may be an alternative scenario to Roach's. Greenspan might instead deliberately allow the dollar to slump and inflation to rise, whittling away at the value of today's consumer debts in real terms. Inflation of 7 percent a year halves ``real'' values in a decade." 2:49:25 PM
quotes Alvin Toffler: "Today, the technologies of deception are developing more rapidly than the technologies of verification. Which means we can use a television camera, plus special effects, plus computers, etc. to falsify reality so perfectly that nobody can tell the difference. And the consequences of that eventually could be a society in which nobody believes, everybody knows that seeing is not believing, and nobody believes anything. With the exception of a small minority that decides to believe one thing fanatically. And that's a dangerous social/cultural situation" 2:24:38 PM