Facts: Is there really an oil shortage?

The debate on the oil situation is almost as bad as the debate on global warming and for good reason since the two are clearly linked. On the one side are the peak oil folk of whom more later. On the other side are the eternal optimists. Let’s start with them. What we know for sure is that the US is consuming about 7 billion barrels of oil a year. That is an official government statistic. So how much oil is there? Continue reading

This is part of the “Back Story” in the Newsweek Magazine of 24 & 31 May 2010:


Using the most recent U.S. data available, (here is) a list of unsettling threats and their far riskier counterparts.

Murders (2008) – 14,180
Suicides (2006) – 33,289

Children abducted by strangers (1999) – 115
Children who drown in pools (2006) – 288

Burglaries (2007 – 2.2 million
Identity thefts (2005) – 8.3 million

Shark attacks (2009) – 28
Dog bites (annual average) – 4.5 million

Americans killed by terrorist attacks around the world (2008) – 33
Americans who die from the seasonal flu (annual average) – 36,171

Deaths by allergic reaction to peanuts (annual average) – 50-100
Deaths by unintentional poisoning (2006) – 27,531

Women who die from breast cancer (2009) – 40,170
Women who die from cardiovascular disease (2006) – 432,709

Fatal airline accidents (2005) – 321
Fatal car crashes (2008) – 34,017

Americans audited by the IRS (2009) – 1.4 million
U.S. Deaths (2007) – 2.4 million

I found this quite fascinating and a good reminder of how we often worry about the unnecessary.

So, just how corrupt is America?

The stranger, a Western businessman, slipped into the chair next to me at an Asia Society lunch here in Hong Kong and asked me a question that I can honestly say I’ve never been asked before: “So, just how corrupt is America?” Thus begins a column by Thomas Friedman that ends with a line that I have repeated again and again: Which is why we don’t just need a financial bailout; we need an ethical bailout. Read the whole article. There is an eye-opening accompanying article in the NY Times outlining how Fairfield Securities fed money to Madoff Securities and how much the Noel family who ran Fairfield made and charged for, in retrospect, doing nothing. One wonders whether this is all corruption or just good, old-fashioned incompetence. Why, one wonders, would people put millions of their own money into a fund about which they knew absolutely nothing?!

Facts: Computers & computing

This is just a collection of ideas about hardware and software that came to my attention.


New on the market HP2133 with Vista that is downgradeable to XP – a LInux version exists. Already on the market is Eee PC900. Coming is the Eee PC901, Dell E and MSI Wind. (DMN 6/20/08)