Monday, August 26, 2019

Notes From All Over, Part 2 -- August 26, 2019

The staggering Bakken: a 22-fold jump in production -- at no cost. Link here

5G? Apparently a lot of pushback from some cities and some states in the US. Not Texas: all in.

China: I remember mentioning that once Chinese bankers starting jumping out windows, the trade war would be over. Now, in the last couple of weeks:
  • Chinese bankers are now jumping out of windows (metaphorically speaking only, as far as I know) 
  • Xi taking Trump's threats of arming Taiwan literally and seriously
  • Hong Kong imploding
2020: if the most recent headline regarding the trade war is not another false step, the 2020 campaign has officially begun.

Winter: more accurate and less political than NOAA.

The Literary Page 
The New Yorker

"Driven," Nathan Heller, for a century, we've loved our cars -- but did we ever really need them? July 29, 2019

"The Invention of Money," John Lanchester, how the heresies of two bankers becaem the basis of our modern economy, August 5 & 12, 2019

"Skin Deep," Peter Schjeldahl, Renoir's nudes, August 26, 2019

"State of the Unions," Caleb Crain, what happened to America's labor movement? August 26, 2019

"The Secretary of Trump," Susan B. Glasser, how Mike Pompeo became a heartland evangelical -- and the President's most loyal soldier, August 26, 2019

Nathan Heller


Worth a read.

Brings back memories.

Warped understanding of .... almost everything.

It begins:
The summer I was eighteen ... I got behind the wheel for what I hoped would be the first rite of my adulthood ... test-taking at he Department of Motor Vehicles in San Francisco.....

.... failed

... never took a second test ....

For years, I counted this inability to drive as one of many personal failures.
Wow. Gave up after one try.

Tells me all I need to know about this writer.

Moving on.

The Invention of Money 
John Lanchester

From the essay:
The modern system for dealing with [how to pay for waging war], this problem arose in England during the reign of King William, the Protestant Dutch royal who had been imported to the throne of England in 1689, to replace the unacceptably Catholic King James II.

William was a competent ruler, but he had serious baggage -- a long-running dispute with King Louis XIV of France. Before long, England and France were involved in a new phase of his dispute, which now seems part of a centuries-long conflict between the two countries but at the time was variously called the Nine-Years's War or King William's War. This war presented the usual problem: how could the nation afford it?
I doubt the war at the time was called the  Nine-Year's War. Moving on.
King William's administration came up with a novel answer: borrow a huge sum of money, and use taxes to pay back the interest over time. In 1694, the English government borrowed 1.2 million pounds at a rate of eight per cent, paid for by taxes on ships' cargoes, beer, and spirits. In return, the lenders were allowed to incorporate themselves a s new company, the Bank of England.
Wow, in that once paragraph, look at the all "stuff" that needs to be explored, explained, enjoyed:
  • the idea of "borrowing"
  • the idea of "taxes"
  • the idea of "interest"
  • how they arrived at a rate of eight percent?
  • how eight percent remains the standard when selling whole life insurance policies
  • how the Brits spell per cent and how we spell percent
  • how it was decided to separate out beer and spirits from other cargo
  • how it was decided to separate out beer and spirits from other domestic products
  • this was before tobacco had been introduced to England from the colonies
  • the idea of "incorporation"
  • the concept of "company"
  • the concept of a bank 
  • the concept of "national bank"
All in one paragraph. 

State of the Unions
Caleb Crain

Worth a read.

Writer laments that the loss of influence by unions cost Hillary Clinton the election.

Why would one lament over that?

Skin Deep: Renoir's Nudes
Peter Schjeldahl 

"Renoir: The Body, the Senses," at the Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Williamstown, MA:
three hours west of Boston, MA
one hour east of Albany NY

This Week's Book

Wolf: The Lives of Jack London, James L. Haley, c. 2010.

I finished Chasing the Moon over the weekend; returned it to the library today. Considering buying my own copy; it was that good.

This Season's Fingernail Polish

The most commonly seen fingernail polish -- hue, not brand -- at Starbucks, north Texas, this season.

Link here.

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