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What We Read Today 29 May 2016

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 (and sometimes longer ones) 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.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


Every day most of this column ("What We Read Today") is available only to GEI members.

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The rest of this post is available only the GEI Members.  Membership is FREE -  click here

Topics today include:

  • How Close is 100% Clean Energy?

  • How Can Solar Deliver Electricity 24/7/365?

  • Can Stocks Go Up from Here?

  • Did You Know There is a Global Stock Rally?

  • Romanian Cave has been Sealed from the Outside world For 5 Million Years

  • Could the New Record Global Temperature Records be a Modeling Anomaly?

  • Libertarians Boo Gary Johnson, Then Nominate Him

  • Emails Show Mega Banks Guiding Hand Behind TPP

  • Is Donald Trump on the Right Track for Foreign Policy?

  • The Fastest Growing Jobs in America

  • Portugal Runs on Renewable Energy for More than 4 Consecutive Days

  • Chile's Deadly Red Tide - Possibly Aggravated by Salmon Farming

  • And More

Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Scientists Uncover Array of Strange Animals in Cave That Has Been Sealed Off for 5.5 Million Years (Eco Watch)  Scientists have found a whole new world hidden inside a cave that has been sealed for about 5.5 million years. The cave and its residents could provide scientists with answers to questions about global warming and the formation of life on Earth.  These interesting creatures call the Movile Cave in Romania their home. It was sealed when a sheet of limestone collapsed onto the opening. The cave wasn’t discovered until 1986 when Romanian workers were testing the surrounding ground as a potential power plant site.

  • Record "changes" in climate change (Salil Mehta, Statistical Ideas)  SM has contributed to GEI.  The mainstream headline is this: SEVEN straight months of record-high global temperatures.  But Dr. Mehta says that this coincides with the change of the reporting model used and the records may or may not be real.  Read the article to get all the details.  The graphics below tell Salil's story.  The first graphic is the one widely reported in the media.  The second one shows the two different model outputs (color coded).


  • Gary Johnson wins Libertarian nomination (The Hill)  Johnson was a favorite entering the convention in Orlando, but voting was forced to a second round when he fell five votes short of the majority on the first ballot.  On the second ballot, former New Mexico governor Johnson garnered 55.8% of the vote, according to ABC News.  Johnson, who was the 2012 Libertarian presidential candidate, received 49.5% of the vote on the first ballot, followed by consultant Austin Petersen, who had 21.3% of the vote.  Final second ballot results: Gary Johnson 518,  Austin Petersen 203,  John McAfee 131, Darryl Perry 52 and Marc Allen Feldman 18.  Johnson has asked the Libertarian convention to nominate former Massachusetts governor Willam Weld as his VP running mate.  How that will turn out is uncertain, because Libertarians are, well, libertarian.  See also next article about loud opposition to Johnson when he addressed the convention the night before the nomination vote.

  • Johnson faces tough crowd at Libertarian debate (The Hill) Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, 2012’s Libertarian nominee and a favorite for this year, faced a tough crowd at a Saturday debate against four other candidates.  He faced strong negative reactions from his debate opponents and from the audience for his moderate stances and statements supporting drivers licenses, market forces diminishing use of coal and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

  • Emails Show TPP ‘Collusion’ Between Mega-Banks & Obama Administration (Raging Bullshit)  Hat tips to Tom Hickey and Roger Erickson)  Emails obtained through Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show U.S. Trade Rep. Michael Froman discussing TPP with Goldman Sachs lobbyists.  An email from a managing director at Goldman Sachs to U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman urges him to push for “robust commitments” on Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) provisions—which allow private corporations to sue governments for perceived loss of profits—to be included in the divisive trade deal. 

  • Donald Trump on US Foreign Policy: A Needed Reset? (Elliott Morss, Morss Global Finance)  EM is a regular contributor to GEI.  This is a thought provoking article.  Dr. Morss thinks that, when it comes to foreign policy, Crazy Donald may be quite sane:

It is certainly true that during the campaign, Trump has said many over-the-top things on a wide range of policy subjects. It is also true that predictions in this election cycle have mostly been wrong. But with a bit of wishful thinking, I can see Trump’s views evolving into a consistent and needed update to the role of the US in the world.

  1. Wind Turbine Technicians  ($49k)

  2. Occupational Therapist Assistant  ($57k)

  3. Physical Therapist Assistant  ($54k)

  4. Physical Therapist Aides  (25k)

  5. Home Health Aides  ($21k)


  • Portugal Sets Record for Running Four Consecutive Days on Renewables (Triple Pundit)  The past few years were tough for Portugal with its debt crisis, high unemployment and struggles staying within the Euro Zone. But one success within this nation of 10.5 million people is its ability to harness its abundant wind and hydro resources. In fact, from the morning of Saturday, May 7, until late afternoon on Wednesday, May 11, Portugal ran entirely on renewables such as hydro and wind power.


  • Chile’s ‘Worst Ever’ Red Tide Kills 20 Million Fish, Prompts Investigation of Salmon Farms (Eco Watch)  The unprecedented red tide in Chile’s coastal waters—which has killed more than 20 million fish—has triggered protests and a public health crisis in Chile.  The virulent algal bloom turns waters red and seafood poisonous.  It is believed to be exacerbated by material running-offs from agricultural lands, such as animal wastes and fertilizers.   Chile's salmon farming industry is among those hard hit by the conditions and are now being investigated as one of the possible sources of the red tide, from the dumping of dead and rotten fish and byproducts into the ocean.

Other Scientific, Health, Political, Economics and Business Items of Note - plus Miscellanea

  • 100% Clean Energy Economy Is Much Closer Than You Think (Eco Watch)  The clean energy economy is poorly distributed, in part, because of the political stalemate in Washington, DC, where climate change remains a highly polarized issue. But outside of DC, local leaders from across the political spectrum are preparing for a low-carbon future. Businesses are also joining the effort. Hyper-efficient, clean energy technologies are attracting major investment—at least $310 billion globally in investor capital in 2014, a fivefold increase from a decade earlier—evidence that you don’t have to be an environmentalist to believe that the greening of the U.S. is a profitable business opportunity.  Green energy may become ubiquitous by 2050, not because of continuing government incentives or environmental altruism, but because of simple economics - it will be cheaper than burning fossil fuels or building fusion nuclear reactors based on uranium fuels.  Econintersect:  As we keep repeating, the key to this transformation is the development of energy storage technology.  One example of that would be the pairing of photovoltaic and thermal energy collection by solar farms to create 24/7 generation on demand for the grid.  See next article.

  • Technology Roadmap:  Solar Thermal Energy, 2014 Edition (International Energy Agency)  This reports mentions the feasibility of hybrid PV (photovoltaic) and STE (solar thermal energy) co-generation plants for 24/7/365 electricity generation.  Econintersect:  As we discussed yesterday fossil fuels will have much more value as chemical process starting materials for a variety of organic compound synthesis reactions (biochemicals, polymers and plastics, etc.) than they will as combustible materials.  Future generations will come to look at the fossil fuel age as foolishness, like keeping warm by burning money for heat.


  • Equity Market Headwinds Positioned To Subside (HORAN Capital Advisors)  Hat tip to Jeff Miller. The market has essentially traded sideways for nearly two years. During this two year period, this sideways chop has included sharp pullbacks, one in late 2014, two in 2015 and the latest in February of this year. For long term investors this can be disconcerting for sure, so what headwinds are influencing the equity markets and will they subside any time soon?  This article is a good discussion of what may succeed this extended sideways period for the markets.  One interesting graph (first below) projects that the two-year decline in earnings growth (and the one-year period of earnings contraction) are about to end.  The second graphic below shows how the slope of the yield curve and stock prices have varied over time.  A different look at the data specifically examines the correlation between S&P 500 returns and the 10-year treasury yield (third graphic below).  The first glance reveals that correlation between yields and stock returns are positive below 5% and negative above.  Econintersect:  We have added two annotations showing that the correlation behavior is really quite constant (with fairly large data scatter) below 4% (average correlation flat at a positive value) and above 6% (average correlation is flat with a negative value).  Caution:  The relationships in the third graphic are only of very general value:  (1)  The correlations are very poor (R-squared value for the averages are only 0.16 and 0.12, or nearly negligible); and (2) the data scatter is quite extreme making the occurrence of an average value event very rare.  So don't use this data to try to develop a trading strategy.


  • World Markets Weekend Update: The Global Rally Accelerates (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives)  DS is a regular contributor to GEI.  Seven of the eight indexes on this world watch list posted gains over the past week, up from five the week before, and the average of the eight was an impressive 2.60%. India's SENSEX was the outstanding out performer with a 5.34% surge, and three indexes, France's CAC 40, the Hong Kong's Hang Seng and Germany's DAXK closed the week with gains in the mid-three percents. China's Shanghai was the sole loser with its fractional 0.16% decline. Japan's Nikkei had the second worse performance with a modest gain of 0.59%. Incidentally, the Nikkei about 4% below its late January close when the Bank of Japan adopted its negative interest rate policy.

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