What We Read Today 14 February 2014

February 14th, 2014
in econ_news, syndication

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number accepted.

  • Giant Laser Complex Makes Fusion Advance, Finally (Kenneth Chang and William J. Broad, The New York Times) Successful control of a nuclear fusion reaction could effectively end the energy limitations of the planet earth.

    Follow up:

    It may sound like a perpetual motion machine, but it is theoretically possible to get more energy out of a thermonuclear fusion reaction than is put in to start it. That is because "trapped energy" within two hydrogen atoms is released when they fuse to produce a new helium atom. This is the enormous energy which has been demonstrated for the last 60 years in enormously destructive hydrogen bombs. The NYT article reports on a paper in Nature with 22 authors from the Lawrence Livermore (CA) and Los Alamos (NM) National Laboratories. The team has obtained more energy from a laser powered hydrogen fusion reaction than was put in, apparently establishing the first controlled thermonuclear fusion. There is still a long way to go for practicality, however. They got more power from the reaction than reached the hydrogen atoms involved, but only 1% of the laser's energy actually got to the reaction site, leaving a needed improvement of a factor of 100 before a useful energy production process is realized.
  • The Empathy of Self-Interest (Wendy McElroy, The Daily Bell) Hat tip to John O'Donnell. Wendy McElroy argues (correctly in Econintersect's opinion) that progress comes from the pursuit of self-interest. But she also argues (incorrectly in our opinion) that "any attempt to impose central planning runs counter to social harmony". This would appear to rule out the coordination of the commons and to deny the possibility of return on coordination, where the total of a community is greater than the sum of the individual parts. And another point: For McElroy's narrow definition, which depends on the "Theory of Moral Sentiments" and the "Social Nature of Man", to produce a maximization of progress shows naivite in our our opinion. We have read that 1-2% of humans are sociopaths and as many as 10% in high positions in finance suffer from that character flaw. Such people do not seem to be included in McElroy's view of the human population. How many sociopaths does it take to destroy the harmony of a village?

There are eleven more articles listed and discussed below 'behind the wall' for subscribers only.  Please support Global Economic Intersection efforts to bring you more than 150 news, analysis and opinion articles for free every week with a subscription for an additional 70-80 articles summarized and discussed in our premium content for only $25 a year.

The rest of the post is for our premium content subscribers - Click here to continue reading.


Make a Comment

Econintersect wants your comments, data and opinion on the articles posted.  As the internet is a "war zone" of trolls, hackers and spammers - Econintersect must balance its defences against ease of commenting.  We have joined with Livefyre to manage our comment streams.

To comment, just click the "Sign In" button at the top-left corner of the comment box below. You can create a commenting account using your favorite social network such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn or Open ID - or open a Livefyre account using your email address.

 navigate econintersect.com


Analysis Blog
News Blog
Investing Blog
Opinion Blog
Precious Metals Blog
Markets Blog
Video of the Day


Asia / Pacific
Middle East / Africa
USA Government

RSS Feeds / Social Media

Combined Econintersect Feed

Free Newsletter

Marketplace - Books & More

Economic Forecast

Content Contribution



  Top Economics Site

Investing.com Contributor TalkMarkets Contributor Finance Blogs Free PageRank Checker Active Search Results Google+

This Web Page by Steven Hansen ---- Copyright 2010 - 2016 Econintersect LLC - all rights reserved