URLs du Jour

2021-02-12

[Amazon Link]

With respect to our Amazon Product du Jour, I hasten to point out that I'm actually a pretty good speller. But also, unfortunately, a poor tpyist.

  • GeekPress recalls a good old Newsweek story from 2017, not that long ago: Bitcoin Mining on Track to Consume All of the World's Energy by 2020

    A network that underpins the virtual currency bitcoin is projected to require all of the world's current energy production in order to support itself within three years, according to estimates.

    Oh no!

    So take this Slashdot story with a grain of (Himalayan Pink) salt: Bitcoin Consumes 'More Electricity Than Argentina'.

    Bitcoin uses more electricity annually than the whole of Argentina, analysis by Cambridge University suggests. 'Mining' for the cryptocurrency is power-hungry, involving heavy computer calculations to verify transactions. Cambridge researchers say it consumes around 121.36 terawatt-hours (TWh) a year -- and is unlikely to fall unless the value of the currency slumps. Critics say electric-car firm Tesla's decision to invest heavily in Bitcoin undermines its environmental image.

    Well, that's kind of a comedown from "all the world's energy" to "well, more than Argentina, anyway."

    Fortunately, all those electrons are completely recyclable.


  • But speaking of science, Bjorn Lomborg notes a (totally unsurprising) problem with President Wheezy's climate fix: Biden's climate 'fix' is fantastically expensive and perfectly useless.

    Across the world, politicians are going out of their way to promise fantastically expensive climate policies. President Biden has promised to spend $500 billion each year on climate — about 13 percent of the entire federal revenue. The European Union will spend 25 percent of its budget on climate.

    Most rich countries now promise to go carbon-neutral by mid-century. Shockingly, only one country has made a serious, independent estimate of the cost: New Zealand found it would optimistically cost 16 percent of its GDP by then, equivalent to the entire current New Zealand budget.

    The equivalent cost for the US and the EU would be more than $5 trillion. Each and every year. That is more than the entire US federal budget, or more than the EU governments spend across all budgets for education, recreation, housing, environment, economic affairs, police, courts, defense and health.

    It's difficult to believe Joe and Josephine Voter will put up with this, once it becomes obvious what the bill is. Ah, if only the GOP hadn't destroyed itself.


  • Our local conspiracy theorists noted the recent story in Time magazine, and said "See? We told you! Stolen Election!!". Dan McLaughlin is (as usual) a voice of sanity: Time Magazine 2020 Election Story Needlessly Provocative and Unsupported.

    Writing a column in Time magazine entitled, “The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election,” Molly Ball would like to convince you that, if you’re worried about a conspiracy run by a wealthy, invisible cabal to rig the election against Donald Trump, you’re right. But the facts in her own story don’t entirely support her own breathless rhetoric. Are she and her editors at Time withholding more evidence? Letting overeager sources hang themselves in their headlong rush to burnish their reputations and fundraising lists? Or just being completely reckless and irresponsible in feeding the conspiracy-theory machine for clicks? Ball’s article raises some legitimate concerns, but it is written in a needlessly provocative style.

    Time magazine is barely more credible than QAnon. But it appeals to the right people, so quote it on Twitter and Facebook if you want, you won't get censored by the "fact checkers".


  • Veronique de Rugy outlines The Trouble With Mitt Romney’s Family Security Act.

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R–Utah) recently introduced a universal child allowance in an effort to reform federal welfare programs. That goal is worthy, but his means would be counterproductive.

    For all intents and purposes, he's proposing a kid-centric version of entrepreneur and aspiring politician Andrew Yang's "basic income." According to Romney's summary of his own plan, "The Family Security Act would provide a monthly cash benefit for families, amounting to $350 a month for each young child, and $250 a month for each school-aged child."

    To his credit, the senator's new proposed entitlement wouldn't be unfunded. Romney would "pay for" the new child allowance plan by eliminating the state and local tax deduction, a tax break that mostly benefits higher-income taxpayers. He would also get rid of the head-of-household filing status and eliminate the Dependent Care Tax Credit, along with the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program. Additionally, Romney's plan would reform the Earned Income Tax Credit and reduce that program's spending from $71 billion to $24.5 billion. The EITC has mixed incentives on work, suffers from large improper payments, and is mainly a spending program, thus financed by taxes on other people.

    It's a bit of "conservative" social engineering, trying to tilt the playing field toward having kids, paid for on net by people without kids. How about getting government out of that habit entirely?


  • Goodness knows I was no Trump fan, but I got real tired of the Bulwark and (especially) the Lincoln Project. Twitchy notes that the latter may be in a heap of trouble, boy. Because: Glenn Greenwald turns his attention to the Lincoln Project. Local poster girl Jennifer Horn makes an appearance:

    Malfeasers used to swoon when 60 Minutes came calling. That's been over for years, but Greenwald has stepped up.