"Economists are pessimists: they've predicted 8 of the last 3 depressions."
--Barry Asmus

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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This Is The First Day Of The Rest of Your Fiscal Life, And Here Is The World News!

  • Bomb-disposal teams have surrounded a house in Sydney.  Reports are that an 18-year-old woman is inside, with a bomb and a ransom note strapped to her.  Police have not confirmed the details, but have said they are treating the device as live until it can be proven otherwise.
  • Parliament has approved a plan to help TEPCO compensate individuals affected by the Fukushima Daiichi power station disaster.  The government will put an initial 2 trillion yen (about $26 billion) into the compensation pool.  TEPCO will then restructure, and then the restructured company and other nuclear power companies will make annual contributions (in an unannounced amount) to the pool.  Most analysts assume that, rather than shouldering the financial burden, the cost of the contributions will simply be passed along to consumers.
  • Japan's annual defense report is warning of increased Chinese naval activity in the East and South China Seas, and expressed concerns that this could lead to a potential conflict.
United Kingdom
  • In "behold the oncoming Singularity" news, a 40-year-old man dying of heart failure has been released from Papworth Hospital in Cambridgeshire after having an artificial heart implanted - the first man ever discharged with an entirely mechanical heart.  This is still considered a stopgap until a real heart can be acquired for transplant, and it does require a 13.5 pound backpack motor, but still.  Suddenly, it feels like I'm living in the future.
  • Using a particular method of examining variations in the cosmic background radiation, cosmologists at University College London believe they have found the signature of four other universes created near our own..These other universes would have collided with ours early in the formation of the early universe, and are most likely absolutely inaccessible now due to the expansion of space-time.
United States
  • In "And that's when the Duke boys knew they should consider an IPO" news, the Dark Corner Distillery is taking advantage of new micro-distillery laws in South Carolina to sell moonshine.  Legally.
  • Weighing in with Fitch, Moody's has reiterated its Aaa rating for US sovereign debt.  For the moment.  There is still a negative outlook on the US, meaning a downgrade is still possible in the next 12 to 18 months.  Now everyone is just waiting to see what Standard & Poor's will do.
  • The computer security McAfee has discovered the largest and most comprehensive series of cyber attacks known to date.  The attacks date back to 2006, and the 72 affected organizations include the US, Taiwan, India, South Korea, Vietnam, Canada, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, the International Olympic Committee, the World Anti-Doping Agency, and the United Nations.  In most cases, the hackers (not named publically by McAffee, but said to be China) obtained access and simply used it to review secure information.
  • A meter wide spherical tank from the space shuttle Columbia - the one that burned up in re-entry in 2003 - has been found in a drought-strcken lake near nacogdoches, Texas.
  • Researchers with the Herschel Oxygen Project have found free molecular oxygen - the type of oxygen we breathe - in a star-forming nebula in the constellation of Orion.  This represents the first discovery of molecular oxygen in space - something that had been hypothesized but never verified before.

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