Carpe Diem

Inconvenient Weather: A Year of Global Cooling

“Al Gore says global warming is a planetary emergency. It is difficult to see how this can be so when record low temperatures are being set all over the world. In 2007, hundreds of people died, not from global warming, but from cold weather hazards,” says David Deming, geophysicist and associate professor of Arts and Sciences at the University of Oklahoma, in today’s Washington Times. Consider these inconvenient weather facts:

Unexpected bitter cold swept the entire Southern Hemisphere in 2007.

  • Johannesburg, South Africa, had the first significant snowfall in 26 years.
  • Australia experienced the coldest June ever; in northeastern Australia, the city of Townsville underwent the longest period of continuously cold weather since 1941.
  • In New Zealand, the weather turned so cold that vineyards were endangered.
In the United States:
  • In April, a killing freeze destroyed 95% of South Carolina’s peach crop, and 90% of North Carolina’s apple harvest.
  • At Charlotte, N.C., a record low temperature of 21 degrees Fahrenheit on April 8 was the coldest ever recorded for April, breaking a record set in 1923.
  • On June 8, Denver recorded a new low of 31 degrees Fahrenheit; Denver’s temperature records extend back to 1872.
  • On Dec. 7, St. Cloud, Minn., set a new record low of minus 15 degrees Fahrenheit.
Further:
  • On Dec. 4, in Seoul, Korea, the temperature was a record minus 5 degrees Celsius.
  • The Canadian government warns that this winter is likely to be the coldest in 15 years.
(HT: NCPA)

Carpe Diem

Academic Slums: Schools of Education?

American education will never be improved until we address one of the problems seen as too delicate to discuss. That problem is the overall quality of people teaching our children. Students who have chosen education as their major have the lowest SAT scores of any other major. Students who have graduated with an education degree earn lower scores than any other major on graduate school admissions tests such as the GRE, MCAT or LSAT. Schools of education, either graduate or undergraduate, represent the academic slums of most any university. As such, they are home to the least able students and professors with the lowest academic respect. Were we serious about efforts to improve public education, one of the first things we would do is eliminate schools of education.

~George Mason economist Walter Williams writing in his most recent nationally syndicated column

Carpe Diem

Overwhelming Evidence V: Good Old Days Are Now

Another post on the theme “The good old days are now.” The standard of living for the average American just keeps getting better and better over time. One reason we don’t appreciate it, is that the improvements, though persistent and relentless, happen gradually year after year, so we end up taking it for granted. If the average home size increased from 983 sq. ft. to 2,349 sq. ft. overnight, we would treat it as a modern miracle. When it happens 25 sq. ft. per year for a half century, we don’t even notice it.

(HT: FancyPlaidPants, via NPR)
Carpe Diem

There’s Hope For the US Dollar: Comeback Ahead?

Using mid-December exchange-rate data from FT.com, the chart above shows the one-year forward discount or premium for the US dollar vs. the Euro and British Pound in 2005, 2006, and 2007.

Note that two years ago, the USD was trading at a one-year forward discount vs. both the Euro (-2.0%) and the BP (-0.20%). In recent trading, the USD is now trading at a one-year forward premium vs. both the Euro (+0.20%) and the BP (+1.20%).

Bottom Line: There’s hope for the USD! Its value has stabilized, and it has actually appreciated by more than 2% vs. the Euro in the last week, and by 1.5% vs. the British Pound. And since late November, the USD has been trading at a one-year forward premium vs. the Euro for the first time in at least three years, and I don’t think that has received any media attention.
Carpe Diem

Tata: Maker of World’s Most, Least Expensive Cars?

NY TIMES–The luxury brand Jaguar is poised to join Tata Motors, a widely diverse Indian auto company that makes tractor-trailers, full-size SUVs and the world’s cheapest car. A final signed deal, which is expected to be worth about $2 billion, will not be announced until early next year.

When Tata is done buying a company, it should look the same as before, “except now it’s owned by someone in India,” said Ratan Tata, chairman of the Tata Group.
Carpe Diem

Crass Commercialism vs. Crass Politics

Even more predictable than the post-Thanksgiving appearance of shopping-mall Santas is the inability of pundits at this time of year to say or to write “commercialism” without prefixing to it the word “crass.”

I challenge this notion. Commerce is peaceful. It involves sellers working hard and taking risks to bring to market goods and services that consumers want to buy. No one forces anyone to do anything; all is voluntary.

What truly is crass is politics. Far more enlightened and ethical behavior is on display during any one day in a shopping mall than the most intrepid observer will find in a century on Pennsylvania Avenue.

~George Mason Economist and Cafe Hayek blogger Don Boudreaux

Carpe Diem

More On Why Inflation Will NOT Be A Problem

Exhibit A: See graph below (click to enlarge) of the Adjusted Monetary Base, from the St. Louis Federal Reserve, from 2002-2007. Notice the decline in growth from 10% to 2%, suggesting a deflationary trend in high-powered money.

Exhibit B: See graph below of the Adjusted Monetary Base vs. M1 Money Supply, from 2002-2007. Notice that as the growth in high-powered money growth, controlled by the Fed, has come down from 10% in 2002 to 2% in 2007, the M1 Money Supply has stablized at about $1.36 trillion.