How to Bring Solar Energy to 7 Billion People

First Aired: 9/14/2009       51 minutes     UCTV

By exploiting the powers of nanotechnology and taking advantage of nontoxic, Earth-abundant materials, Berkeley Lab’s Cyrus Wadia has fabricated new solar cell devices that have the potential to be several orders of magnitude less expensive than conventional solar cells. And, by mastering the chemistry of these materials-and the economics of solar energy-he envisions bringing electricity to the 1.2 billion people now living without it.

via How to Bring Solar Energy to 7 Billion People – UCTV – University of California Television.

How to Outperform the Market

Implementing a New Research Philosophy of How to Outperform the Market

The principal goal of SED’s Advisory Service is to ensure that our clients are less wrong than the consensus for the right reasons, and can thus earn consistently higher returns. To be less wrong than the consensus when markets are supposedly “efficient”, there are three logically defensible ways:

1. Investors can identify and exploit those “structural changes” that occur over time and render forecasting so difficult (i.e., the rise of OPEC, the advent of China, the 2007 implosion of global credit markets, etc). Think of these changes as those “curve balls” that history throws at investors attempting to cope with new economic, political, and demographic regimes. Investors who understand such developments sooner and better than others will end up less wrong than the consensus, and will thus reap excess returns. [SED is the leader in identifying and exploiting structural changes on behalf of its clients.]

2. Investors can avoid making fundamental mistakes that arise because of widespread misunderstandings about the counter-intuitive behavior of how the economy and financial markets actually work, as opposed to the way in which they work in textbook models. For example, it is universally assumed that when foreign investors no longer wish to invest in the US, the result will be a lower dollar and much higher interest rates. But it turns out that this assumption is wrong in both theory and practice. Since foreign investors as a whole cannot in fact “pull their money out of the US” for reasons that are highly counter-intuitive, interest rates do not get driven up. Rather, the dollar gets driven way down. Developments between 2007 and mid-2008 offer an excellent example of this point. [SED is the leader in identifying such errors of inference.]

3. Investors can exploit what researchers at Stanford University now call “endogenous risk” (a.k.a., market misbehavior). Markets periodically misbehave in the sense that price changes become disproportionate to news about fundamentals. New research has made it possible to know when and why market misbehavior arises. We at SED have pioneered the applications of this important new research for investors trying to cope with these new realities.

Squaring this Philosophy with the Efficient Market Theory

In the past two decades, the Efficient Market Theory was extensively tested and was found to be highly deficient in its ability either to explain or to predict market behavior. Stanford University researchers have recently unearthed the fundamental reason for this deficiency: the failure to distinguish “information” (news) from the interpretation of such news.

More specifically, the Efficient Markets Theory predicted that since all investors in today’s Bloomberg age now obtain the same information at the same time, the only way for a given investor to outperform others will be to be more lucky. But this is wrong.  For in an age of ongoing structural changes (e.g., the rise of China), what matters is not the consensus. The hallmark of SED’s philosophy is to equip its clients with the theories that make superior interpretation of the news possible. In this regard, Einstein was indeed correct: “I like good theories. They work better.” So do we.

via Home – Strategic Economic Decisions.

Who started the Gaza war?

Amnesty International, in its report on the Gaza war, introduces the topic this way:

At 11.30am on 27 December 2008, without warning, Israeli forces began a devastating bombing campaign on the Gaza Strip codenamed Operation “Cast Lead”. Its stated aim was to end rocket attacks into Israel by armed groups affiliated with Hamas and other Palestinian factions.

The name of the report is “ISRAEL/GAZA: OPERATION ‘CAST LEAD’: 22 DAYS OF DEATH AND DESTRUCTION.”

This is a pretty typical description of how the war began. People know that Hamas and other groups had been sending rockets into southern Israel but the conventional wisdom is that Israel started the real war.

It just so happens that Hamas declared war a full three days before Israel did. And this little fact has all but disappeared.

via Elder of Ziyon: Who started the Gaza war?.

An Interview with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka

Mr. Trumka, who is 60, faces stark realities. The “House of Labor,” as the AFL-CIO is otherwise known, wants to reverse a decades-long drop in membership, now down to 12.4% of the American work force. That’s a third the level in the 1950s.

——————–

Mr. Trumka has soaked up the Canadian journalist Naomi Klein’s best-selling jeremiads against globalization and “neo-liberalism” and likes to engage on ideas more than most union bosses. He says America in the last 35 years would have been better off “if the wealth was shared.” While talking about market reform in post-communist Europe and Latin America, he offers that “Milton Friedman didn’t care about people’s pain.”

——————–

Sometime over the last few decades, the union movement has drifted from the mainstream. The AFL-CIO in the 1980s backed Poland’s Solidarity and stood with Ronald Reagan against the Soviets. Such a position seems impossible in today’s political climate. Detroit’s collapse created an additional image problem for the unions, whose deals over the decades helped make the Big Three uncompetitive. A shift in public opinion can be seen in a new Gallup poll. Less than half of Americans—48%—approve of labor unions, compared with 59% a year before. Mr. Trumka doesn’t buy it. “It’s probably a statistical error, a bad poll,” he says. He stands up for the United Auto Workers and their members

via An Interview with AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka – WSJ.com.