Field Notes: Analysts, Cities, Tornadoes, China, Commodities, etc.

The Big Lebowski comes to Blu-ray

The Big Lebowski comes to Blu-ray in Limited Edition trim August 16th

By Richard Lawler
posted May 24th 2011 1:22PM

More than four years after it came out on HD DVD The Big Lebowski is finally going to be released in a newly remastered version on Blu-ray August 16th.

More here: The Big Lebowski comes to Blu-ray in Limited Edition trim August 16th — Engadget HD

Light & Economic Growth

Using luminosity data as a proxy for economic statistics


A pervasive issue in social and environmental research has been how to improve the quality of socioeconomic data in developing countries. Given the shortcomings of standard sources, the present study examines luminosity (measures of nighttime lights visible from space) as a proxy for standard measures of output (gross domestic product). We compare output and luminosity at the country level and at the 1° latitude × 1° longitude grid-cell level for the period 1992–2008. We find that luminosity has informational value for countries with low-quality statistical systems, particularly for those countries with no recent population or economic censuses.

via Using luminosity data as a proxy for economic statistics.

The End of “Easy Oil”

Useful WSJ piece tonight on the end of “easy oil”. Mind you, it does get lost in heavy oil hopes for a while, before circling back at the end to concede the following:

An even bigger challenge is getting the two crucial elements for generating steam: water and a source of energy to boil it. Most successful steam projects are in places with easy access to relatively pure water and a cheap fuel source, usually natural gas. Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have little of either.

With no fresh-water sources in the Arabian desert, Chevron has been forced to use salt water found in the same underground reservoirs as the oil. That water is full of contaminants that must be removed before it can be boiled and injected into the ground.

Finding the energy to boil the water will be even tougher. Chevron could use oil instead of natural gas—literally burning oil to produce oil—but that would burn profits, too. So the company likely will be forced to import natural gas from overseas, an expensive process that involves chilling it to turn it into a liquid, then shipping it thousands of miles.

Some experts are shaking their heads.

“They’re in trouble,” says Robert Toronyi, a retired Chevron engineer who now serves as chief operating officer for Quantum Reservoir Impact, a Houston-based consulting firm. He says the project is so challenging that it will be hard for Chevron to turn much of a profit.

via Saudi Arabia Puts Efforts Into Tapping Heavy-Oil Deposits –

Field Notes: Lists, Opulence, Physics, Grimsvotn, Federer, Star Wars, etc.

  • Tepco admits three reactors melted down (Source)
  • 300 years of list-making (Source)
  • The Opulence Bubble (Source)
  • Fairholmes Bruce Berkowitz Is Beating Hedge Fund Managers At Their Own Game (Source)
  • Experimental Physics and The Limits Of Human Knowledge – We Are Crossing the Boundary Between Knowledge and Belief (Source)
  • Joplin, Missouri, tornado: Warnings pale in season of violent twisters – (Source)
  • Pics: Grimsvotn Volcano Erupts in Iceland (Source)
  • Keeping tabs on the Grímsvötn eruption as the ash spreads towards Europe (Source)
  • Greece, the unbearable heaviness of debt (Source)
  • Radio host says Rapture actually coming in October (Source)
  • Federer Is No Longer the Focus at the French Open (Source)
  • Extreme weather on Mt Everest (Source)
  • The most awesomely savage Stars Wars review ever (Source)

Serial Bubble-Callers R Us

We drive through capital markets using rearview mirrors. As a result, we spot the last bubble… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

Money Is and Has Always Been a Problem

Interesting and perceptive comments on money’s rise and fall from Square’s… [cont.]

[Full post at my Bloomberg blog]

Who Backs the Patent Trolls?

Who backs Intellectual Ventures? We now know:

… last week, following a ruling in a patent suit brought by programmable chipmaker Xilinx Inc. IV has filed a list of investors. As earlier reported by the blog, IV counts among its investors Adobe Systems Inc. (ADBE), NV Investment Holdings Inc., Apple Inc. (AAPL), Cisco Systems Inc. (CSCO), EBay Inc. (EBAY) and Google Inc. (GOOG) as well as universities such as Stanford University, the University of Texas, northwestern University and Brown University.


Fun With Very Large Numbers

Reminds me of when I used to sit in engineering class idly finding formulas, like 69!, that came as close as possible to exceeding the mantissa limits of my old IT calculator. Good times.

Fun With Very Large Numbers

Abstract: We give an example of a formula involving the sinc function that holds for every N = 0, 1, 2, …, up to about 10^102832732165, then fails for all larger N. We give another example that begins to fail after about N ~ exp(exp(exp(exp(exp(exp(e)))))). This number is larger than the Skewes numbers.

Jon Stewart on Ben Stein on DSK