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What We Read Today 01 April 2014

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 included.

  • stumbles twice on deadline day (Amy Goldstein, The Washington Post) It may not have been as bad as opening day, but kept a consistency at the end day with the opening days: It didn't work as designed. First, it closed for "software problems" for three hours early in the am due and was down again at midday due to "large numbers of customers".

MtGox latest revelations follows an analysis of the block chain by researchers at the University of Zurich that failed to identify such mass theft of bitcoins by means of transaction malleability where the estimate is put at less than 500 rather than the 800,000 suggested by MtGox and therefore as I have alluded to several times since the MtGox debacle began that most of the 'lost' bitcoins or their fiat currency conversion remain with those behind MtGox rather than to have been stolen by outside hackers.

Today there are 13 articles discussed 'beyond the wall'.


  • Exxon: Climate Regulations Don't Threaten the Value of its Reserves (Daniel Gilbert, The Wall Street Journal) Hat tip to Roger Erickson. See also reports from MobilExxon here and here, as well as from Reuters: Exxon sees little climate change risk to assets (Anna Driver). Exxon says that even effective greenhouse gas emission control efforts will still allow consumption of gas and oil to grow for the next 30 years before leveling off. But what is being missed here is the high value of petroleum based resources as raw materials rather than fuel. Could the value of reserves rise even more for chemical manufacturing than for burning? Of course the rate of monetization (sale) of resources will decline as the time of usage is stretched out.


  • Student claims college instructor spent months teaching class the 'wrong' course (Courtney Zubowski, Some formerly 4.0 students complain that instead of "Intro to Chemistry" the instructor taught "General Chemistry". They all flunked. Admittedly they should have been in the correct course and weren't. Any instructor worth a penny will know when students are struggling early in a course and find out why. This instructor apparently did not. But even more disturbing is that none of the 4.0 students could pass general chemistry. That says something about grade values for all the other courses (or content values).


  • Why The Most Popular Chart In The Profit Margins Debate Is A Complete Disaster (Sam Ro, Business Insider) John Hussman produced the following graph which infers a stock market disaster is coming, bigger than either 2001 or 2008. The problem is that he gets that peak by dividing U.S. corporate profits (almost 75% earned overseas) by U.S. GDP (entirely domestic). RO calls the graph a disaster; it might just as well be called a hoax.


"I don't think it means anything. ... I think they're cooking the books on this. What kind of insurance will those people actually have? Will they be able to keep the doctor that they want? How much more is it going to cost them? We know that some of the best cancer hospitals in the country want very little to do with people that actually buy this insurance on the Obamacare exchanges."

From HHS (Health and Human Services) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the following video response:

  • Obamacare has led to health coverage for millions more people (Noam N. Levey, Los Angeles Times) At least 9.5 million previously uninsured people have gotten health insurance since Obamacare started, surveys and reports show. This is the total that have obtained new insurance through Obamacare (at least 1.7 million previously uninsured), expanded Medicaid coverage (4.5 million previously uninsured), children under 26 returning to their parent's policies (3 million) and new (non-Obamacare) private insurance policies. According to an unpublished survey by the Rand Corp., fewer than 1 million who had insurance in 2013 remain uninsured because of policy cancellations. This article contradicts opponents of Obamacare who have stated that Obamacare has resulted in a net reduction of the number of people with health insurance coverage.

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