The Stingy News Weekly (06/20/2010)
Canada key to trade
"The Obama administration is looking to Canada to help realize its goal of doubling U.S. exports by 2015, but Canadian business leaders say that won't happen unless a number of trade irritants are dealt with first."
The coal age continues
"One way to keep perspective amid all the Beltway cogitation over how to keep a climate component in an energy bill is to pay attention to the global coal industry. Coal is the prime factor determining the pace of growth in emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide as human populations and appetites crest in the next few decades. And regardless of what happens in the United States, the industry's leaders see nothing but bright prospects ahead. We're still stuck on the coal rung of Loren Eiseley's heat ladder."
"One of the most frequently cited statements in economics is John Maynard Keynes' observation that 'Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influences, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist.' For decades after those words were written, and extending even to the present time, Keynes was that influential defunct economist."
The $600 billion challenge
"Bill Gates, Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett are asking the nation's billionaires to pledge to give at least half their net worth to charity, in their lifetimes or at death. If their campaign succeeds, it could change the face of philanthropy."
How to destroy an industry
"Mr Chavez has often threatened Lorenzo Mendoza, Polar's billionaire chairman, with expropriation. But as the rotting food shows, his government is better at destroying the existing order than at creating a viable alternative. Some 70% of Venezuela's food is now imported, which generates ample opportunities for graft. Most of the farms and food companies the president has expropriated suffer from inflated payrolls, declining productivity and rampant inefficiency. His threats against Polar are rejected by a well-paid and loyal workforce. The company is one of the biggest remaining obstacles to the installation of Cuban-style communism in Venezuela. But to seize it now might well lose Mr Chavez the legislative election. As Venezuelans say 'love, with hunger, doesn't last.'"
Don't let your sons grow up to be scientists
"The Real Science Gap: It's not insufficient schooling or a shortage of scientists. It's a lack of job opportunities. Americans need the reasonable hope that spending their youth preparing to do science will provide a satisfactory career."
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