Fact-Checking the Apocalypse

We should fact-check the apocalypse more often:

On ABC’s “This Week,” the Rev. Franklin Graham was wrong when he said that earthquakes, wars and famines are occurring “with more frequency and more intensity.”

The preacher, who is the son of the Rev. Billy Graham and president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, discussed the prophecy of Armageddon with host Christiane Amanpour during a special Easter edition of the Sunday talk show.

Graham, April 24: I believe we are in the latter days of this age. When I say “latter days,” could it be the last hundred years or the last thousand years or the last six months? I don’t know.

But the Bible, the things that the Bible predicts, earthquakes and famines, nation rising against nation, we see this happening with more frequency and more intensity.

On all three counts, the preacher is wrong. Today’s famines and armed conflicts are fewer and relatively smaller than those in the last century, and the frequency of major earthquakes has remained about the same.

Read on.


Skier Outjumps Avalanche

Posted this earlier over on Posterous, but here it is again: Skier outjumps avalanche.

Field Notes: IPOs, Aliens, GDP, Entrepreneurs, Degrees, Vancouver, etc.

  • Global World Product Will Not Grow at 4%+ for Five Years (Source)
  • Mississippi river flood status (Source)
  • SETI to stop its alien-seeking radio dishes (Source)
  • WEF report on entrepreneurship (Source)
  • Foreign buyers buoy Vancouver housing (Source)
  • More Working Women Than Men Have College Degrees, Census Bureau Reports (Source)
  • Google will modify its Rio maps and downplay favelas (Source)
  • The Netherlands Ranks #1 Worldwide in Penetration for Twitter and LinkedIn (Source)
  • Mississippi River Cresting Near Record; 2002 as Parallel (Source)
  • IPO filing activity surges; more than 30 companies file with SEC in April ((Source)

Grantham: Days of Unlimited Resources and Falling Prices are Over

In his latest quarterly comment, Jeremy Grantham nails it. By way of personal context, here is a link to the overview of a related talk I gave at TED 2010. Sadly, the actual talk has never been posted online

GMO April

Fineberg on Neo-Evolution

This wasn’t quite dystopian enough for me, Harvey Fineberg on neo-evolution at this year’s TED was still interesting:

Field Notes: Cat Bonds, Playboy Disease, Rail, Oil, Liquidity, Hitchens, etc.

  • The Trouble with Catastrophe Bonds(Source)
  • Bacterium that causes Legionnaires disease linked to mystery illness at Playboy Mansion (Source)
  • “This Is the Renaissance of Rail.” (Source)
  • Imagining a world without oil (Source)
  • Liquidity as an Investment Style (Source)
  • US reserve rates soar as costs fall on new technologies (Source)
  • Amis on Hitchens: ‘He’s one of the most terrifying rhetoricians the world has seen'(Source)
  • “Reject Greenspan’s Bleak Vision” (Source)

Ian Morris on Why the West Rules

Ian Morris, author of one of my favorite books of 2010 — Why the West Rules, For Now — gave a seminar on the subject recently as part of the Long Now series. Highly worthy listening.

The Double-Rainbow of Powder-Skiing

You know that crazy-effusive double-rainbow video that went viral? Here, hands down, is the powder-skiing version. It’s serious embarra-stoke.

Field Notes: Yuan, Education, Cleantech, Housing, etc.

  • Educational Tech Gets a look from early-stage investors (Source)
  • Silicon Valley Cashes Out Selling Private Shares (Source)
  • Fastest China Appreciation in Five Months ahead (Source)
  • For VC’s, No More Chasing Magic Batteries (Source)
  • Where the housing bubble lives on (Source)

Vancouver Bubble Watch: 25-Person Bidding War

I was sent this by someone today on the latest madness in the Vancouver real estate market. It sort of blew my mind — 25 bidders, $655,000 premium, and 34% over the asking price for a house on 50×125 lot.

Kitsilano house goes for $655,000 over asking

Kitsilano, B.C.

Published Thursday, Apr. 21, 2011 6:02PM EDT


ASKING PRICE $1,895,000

SELLING PRICE $2.55-million



THE ACTION: This contemporary West Coast residence in Kitsilano was listed for $1.895-million on a Friday, but the first showings were held a week later. This tactic, combined with its attractive price point, helped retain the interest of so many buyers that 25 made an offer. The one accepted presented $655,000 more than the asking price.