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daily 05/02/2014

    • oldren suggested that given current population growth rates, the world would need 8 times more energy to fuel its 14 billion people by the end of the twenty-first century. Which would mean total collapse of the ecosystem, peak oil, and likely both.
    • They wanted to figure out what the ideal population size would be, if we wanted people to have access to 3 kilowatts per year, without destroying the environment.
    • The result? The Ehrlichs and Daily found that the most the planet could bear at that level of energy use would be 2 billion people, roughly the world’s population in the 1930s.
    • In Iran, during the 1980s conflict with Iraq, the Ayatollah Khomeini instituted new government regulations that encouraged women to have as many children as they could to build a “Twenty Million Man Army.” As a result, Iran’s population grew from 37 million people in 1979, to 50 million in 1986. This was, according to journalist Alan Weisman, “the highest rate of population increase the world had ever seen.”
    • The booming population was set to outstrip the country’s resources. But after a series of secret meetings with the Ayatollah, a group of demographers, budget experts, and the health minister managed to convince their leader that something needed to be done, and it had to be done fast.
    • They had one mandate, which was to offer free contraception — from condoms to sterilization procedures — to any person who wanted them.
    • By 2012, 96 percent of women in Iran could read — up from about 33 percent in 1975. And at least a third of government workers were women.
    • Even when a new government regime came to power in Iran, and tried to roll back these healthcare policies, the population numbers continued to drop down to sustainable levels.
    • o, basically, if you have an autocratic enough government followed by a lot of true believers, you can raise birthrates to levels never before seen (1980-1988) and drop them like a stone (1988-2000).
    • For a company that A) needs to spend heavily, and B) was generally losing money, these sums—interest-free loans from customers—were a godsend. (Customers ordering an electric car today must put down a $2,500 deposit for the Model S and $5,000 for the Model X.)
    • Tesla managed another sharp financing trick: It managed to get rival car manufacturers to fund its operations. I
    • There was a loophole, though. Instead of making these cars themselves, automakers could purchase credits from companies that actually produced zero-emission vehicles. And since Tesla was pretty much the only game in town, it was able to build up a business in selling such credits.
    • The key to its success—the company says it is “profitable and cash-flow positive”—has been getting its biggest customers to fund the construction of the systems, through so-called milestone payments or progress payments.
    • Rather than sell systems to homeowners, it mimicked the auto industry and offered to lease the expensive equipment to the customer.
    • We’re financing the capital costs of the system,” as Jonathan Bass, vice president of communications at SolarCity, puts it. SolarCity has to buy and install the panels upfront and then wait several years until the cash flow repays the initial investment and generates funds that it can use to buy more panels.
    • ere again, however, a Musk company has stolen a march on its competitors through financial innovation—securitization.
    • Turn $100 million in 30-year loans into $90 million in 30-year bonds, and all of a sudden you have $90 million in new money to lend.
    • “After the solar assets are fully deployed, SolarCity expects to refinance the facility in the securitization market,” the company said.
    • 6. Terms of Enlistment, by Marko Kloos
    • USATF, realizing their mistake, immediately had their grandson show them what buttons to press to remove it from circulation. But you’ll probably be able to see a copy soon enough, because of course they forgot to check the “For The Love Of God Don’t Download” box.
    • Celtic legend holds that the cave was once part of a bridge across the sea, built by giants to fight one another. (The other end of the bridge is Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, which exhibits the same blocky look.) Science says it formed from enormous masses of lava that cooled so slowly that they broke into long hexagonal pillars, like mud cracking under the hot sun.
    • That’s how you operate when you’re a minority. You look for sympathy, tolerance, and the freedom to be different. It’s what gays have been asking for all along. Now conservative Christians will learn what that’s like.
    • But you lack a sense of agency when you become reliant on others in this way. There’s something almost infantilizing about having an assistant place your little video face at the head of a gathering.
    • Less positively: When the robot accidentally grazed a co-worker’s butt as I steered it out of the room, I could hear someone off camera refer to the moment as a “possible H.R. violation.”)
    • And somehow, this visit to a place devoid of humans made me more aware of the fact that the robot was granting me a remote, corporeal representation
    • It made me yearn to log into robots in other parts of the world—Buenos Aires, Cape Town, Riyadh—and amble through the streets, roll along riverbanks, browse bustling marketplaces.
    • The Beam moves swiftly and silently—so silently that I could roll right into colleagues’ offices without them realizing I’d entered until I said “hi.” I nudged one friend’s desk chair with my wheels, prompting her to turn around and gasp in surprise when she found herself suddenly staring at my enormous video face hovering over her shoulder.
    • “The most interesting thing about this is that they repeated exactly the same pattern as last time – they’re coming to market when spreads are tight, rates are at low and just before payroll numbers,” said one banker not involved with the deal.
    • But that posturing was quietened to a large degree when Apple, exploiting the market’s strong demand technicals, initially guided investors to expect only a US$8bn-$10bn transaction in dollars, spread across seven tranches and with the 30-year tranche capped at US$1bn.
    • “With the amount of debt they now have outstanding, there is no reason to step in and buy this name (at new issue),” said one investor.
    • Years ago, I often did business with foreign nationals who adopted an “American” name. Someone named “Hirotsugu” might become “Harry” for his U.S. customers. I was amused by this, and usually tried to learn the person’s real name and use it to show respect. This new research suggests that the “Harry” strategy went beyond convenience and perhaps helped the credibility of the “renamed” individuals among their U.S. counterparts.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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