Cyreenik Says

March 2017 issues

Some history patterns don't repeat: the 1937 crash dodged

This is revisiting a pattern I talked about a year ago.

The Great Depression began with a stock market crash in 1929 and was followed by a deep economic recession beginning in 1930. The Great Recession began with a stock market crash in 2007 and a deep economic recession beginning in 2008.

This is a pattern. But the fate of these two seems to have diverged, and in a good way for the 2010's version. In 1937 Great Depression Two began: it was another deep economic recession.

History books don't talk much about this second one, they just fold it into the misery of the first one. But it was distinctive and important. It was the despair, misery and renewed hopelessness caused by the 1937 recession that provided the emotional foundation for beginning World War Two. The, "What! AGAIN!" feeling was not good for world peace.

In our 2010's version we seem to have dodged this second recession. This is a real good thing. It is keeping us in our current days from feeling the deep desperation that intensified in people all over the world in the late 1930's, the feeling which lead to Hitler continuing his blitzkriegs which brought on World War Two.

Let's hope that the 1930's and the 2010's economic patterns continue to diverge on this trend. Diverging will keep today's world a much calmer and more peaceful place.

This 18 Mar 17 Economist article, The world economy is picking up, talks about this trend.

From the article, "It looks likely that this year, for the first time since 2010, rich-world and developing economies will put on synchronised growth spurts."

The evolution in car ownership is continuing

The evolution in car ownership is continuing. I anticipate that by the 2050's people will think about cars much like they do furniture today: most of them should just be there when you need them, but there will be a few prizes that are worth admiring and owning.

This 19 Mar 17 WSJ article, GM Tries a Subscription Plan for Cadillacs — a Netflix for Cars at $1,500 a Month Move is latest effort to test whether people favor on-demand access over ownership by Mike Colias, indicates that GM is taking another step in this direction.

From the article, "The effort is the latest experiment by a car company to test whether people are willing to treat personal transportation like a Netflix account, where temporary, on-demand access outweighs the benefits of ownership.

GM has been among the industry’s chief tinkerers with the ownership model, anticipating that the century-old arrangement of consumers buying, insuring and repairing their own vehicles eventually will lose favor."

Can change come to air travel? It would be good if it did.

Commercial air travel these days is much slower and more cumbersome than it needs to be, and it has been for decades. Two of the big impediments are long wait times in security checking lines in the airports and the anachronistic way air traffic control is conducted -- this slows down the process of getting commercial airliners from airport to airport.

Here are two articles talking about changes that would dramatically improve commercial air travel.

This first is a 16 Mar 17 WSJ article, Trump Spending Plan Calls for Stripping FAA’s Authority Over Air-Traffic Control Proposal would convert air-traffic system into an independent organization by Andy Pasztor and Susan Carey, that talks about reforming the air traffic control system by taking it out of the federal government system and making it an independent organization.

From the article, "The Trump administration’s proposed budget seeks to transform the federal air-traffic control system into an independent, nongovernmental organization, a controversial step that is backed by much of the U.S. airline industry but has been stymied over the years by stiff resistance from a host of other aviation groups." the other groups are, "including business jet operators and private pilots worried about higher fees, and leaders of airline pilot unions ambivalent about changes that could end up reducing their influence in the way the system may be funded and run."

The benefit of the transformation is allowing air traffic control systems to dramatically improve in procedures and technology. These improvements will get planes to their destinations faster and with less waste in time and fuel.

This second article is a 16 Mar 17 Economist article, My face is my passport More airports are rolling out facial recognition technology Do passengers care more about queues or privacy?, which talks about speeding up airport waiting lines by using facial recognition technology.

From the article, "One answer could be facial-recognition technology. In the past few weeks, a number of airports have begun to introduce a system that will scan faces, match them with electronic passport photos, and allow those passengers it recognises to skip lines."

Changes in these areas of commercial air travel could be the beginnings of even more dramatic changes, such as the wholesale redesigning of airports and airplanes to make the whole process as simple as getting on a bus is today. This would be a great change, I would love to see it happen.

Can Turkey fight a bloodletting war with... The Netherlands?

The Turkish Revolution which started with the failed coup last summer is still progressing and evolving. There are still lots of upset people and the government is still looking for some kind of unifying outlet for all this frustration.

A common unifying outlet is a bloodletting war. A couple examples are the Korean War bloodletting for the Chinese Communist Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War bloodletting for the Iranian Revolution.

Turkey is now looking, and this 13 Mar 17 Xinhua article, Turkey threatens Netherlands to pay price of ban on Turkish politicians, talks about the Turkish government getting very upset with The Netherlands for not letting Turkish political rallies happen there. This 12 Mar 17 WSJ article, Turkey-Netherlands Row Escalates as Dutch Deport Minister Growing discord comes ahead of critical polls by Emre Peker and Valentina Pop, also talks about this incident.

How this could transform into a bloodletting war, I don't know. But it indicates that frustration levels are still very high in Turkey, and that means that surprises are still coming. Some kind of bloodletting war could be one of them.

Good intentions are not enough to get good results. Good meshing with harsh reality is also essential.

This 4 Mar 17 WSJ article, How California Utilities Are Managing Excess Solar Power‘Virtual power plants’ would store renewable energy in batteries by day and redistribute it when demand surges after sunset by Cassandra Sweet, talks about how hard it is to get wind and solar power to mesh with market demand for electricity.

From the article, "California’s solar farms create so much power during daylight hours that they often drive real-time wholesale prices in the state to zero. Meanwhile, the need for electricity can spike after sunset, sometimes sending real-time prices as high as $1,000 a megawatt-hour."

and significantly

"Virtual power plants remain a considerably more expensive option than building a traditional power plant to meet peak demand."

This 25 Feb 17 Economist article, Clean energy’s dirty secret Wind and solar power are disrupting electricity systems, also deals with this high cost and system disruption that is happening because wind and solar power are both intermittent and so cheap. (after they are installed)

In these circumstances high expense means high waste. These are resources that could be used more efficiently elsewhere. Supporting this kind of choice is a variant on Visible Personal Sacrifice, a style of instinctive thinking. That instinctive thinking is supporting this choice is emphasized by the fact that the people supporting this wind and solar choice are not supporting nuclear as a supportive energy source -- instead these same people are also deeply in favor of closing nuclear power plants even though they also reduce carbon emissions.

In modern times feel-good instinctive thinking can support a lot of waste, and this situation is a good example of that happening.



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