Monday, May 31, 2010

Inflated what?

I try to avoid debates about TIPs, inflation adjusted treasuries. TIPs are returns on inflation adjusted government bonds, the government covers inflation for you. Returns for these bonds should closely reflect a conservative estimate of real growth.

What does the chart tell us? That expected real growth in our economy sucks, as low as 1.5%. When we have 1.5% growth, we will have few trading partners because 1.5% real growth is impossible to plan for. Inventory variance in oil supplies are likely to be greater than 1.5%. So, what's an oil trader to do? Readjust oil delivery channels and focus on emerging markets where growth is 3-5%.

What happened to cause this low growth recently? The Keynesian experiment drove up oil imports, and oil prices to nearly $87, and the economy contracted in adjustment. We never suffered a general glut, the whole idea that we undergo a depression because we have too much stuff?

Is this the feared deflation?

Bloomberg reports on real estate researcher Metrostudy:

New home sales in Phoenix and Las Vegas, two U.S. markets hardest hit by foreclosures, are set to plunge as a federal tax credit for homebuying expires, according to data from real estate researcher Metrostudy.

A sample of subdivisions in both cities showed sales contracts for new homes “pulled back sharply in May and contract cancellations spiked,” Houston-based Metrostudy said in an e-mail. Would-be buyers canceled about 40 percent of new home contracts in San Diego in May, up from 10 percent in April, the company said. Data on new signings in that city weren’t immediately available.

A reminder on stimulus theory

The basic assumption on the Keynes thing is that we over corrected, we had jumped down to a deflated state that was not warranted by the real shock. Under that assumption, government, by virtue of being fleet-of-foot, can jump in and push economic activity; gaining a better operating point for the economy.

If the basic assumption is untrue, say that we really do suffer a severe resource constraint, then all bets are out the window. We get immediate crowding out as government spending drives up resource usage.

Randal O'Toole; in the campaign for autobot

For someone writing about the often lamentable state of American transportation, Cato senior fellow Randal O'Toole spends a lot of time on the road. Between January and May, he spoke at more than 30 engagements from Anchorage to Orlando, presenting the case against high speed rail and smart growth policies and promoting the message of greater mobility found in his new book, Gridlock: Why We're Stuck in Traffic and What to Do About It.

"Congress, the administration, and others are making very important decisions about transportation that will influence how we travel, how we live, and how much we are taxed for many years to come," O'Toole said. "I want people to be aware of what is happening and help members of the public to have an influence on these decisions."

O'Toole spoke at Cato in January and at the National Conference of State Legislatures in April. His audiences ranged from populist to Ivy League. In January, he spoke at Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon, the largest independent bookstore in the world. He addressed a crowd of 250 people at the Racine Tea Party in Racine, Wisconsin, in March. A few weeks later, O'Toole took part in a special panel of the Janus Lecture series at Brown University, where he provided the libertarian perspective to counter co-panelist James Howard Kunstler, a leader in the anti-sprawl movement and author of The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America's Man-Made Landscape.

When he wasn't speaking in person to audiences across the country, O'Toole was talking to the media and writing for newspapers. In January and again in March, he was a featured guest on John Stossel's Fox Business program.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Back to the farm

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Networked autos and the killer app

When cars talk to each other , what is the big deal?

Straight to the point, I think it is vehicle swarming. The idea that like minded travelers can have their cars coordinate movements with feedback to the drivers. They can manually "convoy" their vehicles on summer vacations. Synchronizing a bit might save them 10% on mileage due to constant speed. The concept will be a must have for truckers.

Cars that talk to each other quickly gain by talking to central traffic control and buying right of way. They get another 10% off the top in the city for that. Networked cars gain from efficiency, a gain returned right back to the buyer of the little dashboard device. Early adapters gaining from pay per mile, driving congestion pricing.

Which company wins the battle of the swarming cars? The company that has the best Navigation Logic. They can show a reliable software path from the Rules of Bot Driving to implementation. Open Software has the edge here due to transparency.

The General Glut Theory

DeLong claims it exists, I claim it does not.

The economy does not have complete solutions to inventory mis-match problems, so inventory cycles remain and must be dealt with. The economy deflates, or contracts, for a period and builds up surpluses, then inflates for a period. over time we get the balance.

We entered the depression because of a severe shortage of oil. We contracted beyond that necessary to correct, because it was the closest solution we had. We will attempt to re-inflate when oil inventories build up.

A Yield Curve Index

A market that places bets on the area integral of the Treasury yield curve. It is a futures market that should satisfy the NGDP, interest rates and shape targets all at once. Each amateur monetarist picking their personal Norm.

Database update

I am releasing the 150 Essential R Lines for SQLite Integration. I swear not to inflate more.
The new release maps R dataframe column names to SQL column names and defaults to .headers on to swap names, and extract R names on table create. Our other default is to map table names to file names of their csv sources.

So, if I remember, this began as an odyssey to digest reams of government data, and it is working better. BLS data is the toughest to swallow, but FRED is a snap.
The new call: qframe(tb,db,x="",mode="w and or or c or r")
allows creation, read, and write of a SQL table to match a dataframe.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Back to the Autobots

Specifically, their license. I left it last time that basically we can write the autobot driving test in plain language, then looked and decided that autobots have to process every object within some minimum time. Spatailly, the main thing is keeping other bots and people out of the exclusion zone for the next move.

So the rule looked more like a procedure, "The robot must process all object trajectories within a meter accuracy every 128 millisecs"; may be an appropriate rule. Rules could be about emergency , safe stops.

My first list of rules:
Manual override required, Pedestrian keep out, emergency safe stop, general collision avoidance, and any other scenario specific requirements.

Financial Illusion or the Real Deal?

I mention Financial Illusion, the attribution of effects to the financial market when the causality is really reversed.

Since 2000, oil and the dollar have been correlated. Is this an oil shortage or a shortage of any other reserve currency?

The authors mentioned in this post take a stab:

The disconnect between the Baltic Dry and commodity prices is unusual. So too is the way that commodity prices have been moving in sync with each other in recent years. A recent paper by economists Ke Tang at Renmin University in China and Wei Xiong at Princeton University documents how commodity prices have become increasingly correlated with one another and with stock prices.

The reason, the economists argue, is that commodities have become increasingly “financialized” by the creation of exchange-traded funds that allow investors to easily trade in and out of them. So when investors get worried by things like what’s going on in Europe, commodity prices can fall sharply even though actual demand for commodities may be running higher.

It would seem to me, though I have not read the paper, that oil and raw commodities are financialized because they are in relative short supply; not the other way around.

Drivers licensing for robots again!

I am still working through the concept. But, the main rule seems to be, avoid collisions and don't hit pedestrians. Those two rules cover most of the exclusions, everything else boils down watching traffic lights and obeying traffic rules. So, I am beginning to see why a formal drivers license manual for robots may just be an implementation of traffic rules and collision avoidance.

However, whatever we need, one thing is for certain, we need more of this discussion to appear on web searches, and so far, none!

Illinois has a problem

Rick Mattoon explains:

How bad are things in Illinois? Current estimates suggest that Illinois’s budget gap for the upcoming fiscal year ranges from $11 billion to $14 billion and that its total indebtedness is approaching $120 billion if pension and other potential retiree liabilities are included. A recent Pew Center for the States study listed Illinois among the 10 worst states in terms of fiscal condition. The same organization also cited Illinois in a separate study for its underfunded pension liability, which it pegged at over $54 billion in 2007.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another Iceland volcano?


LONDON - A second, much larger volcano in Iceland is showing signs that it may be about to erupt, scientists have warned.

Since the start of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, which caused cancellations of thousands of flights in Europe because of a giant ash cloud, there has been much speculation about neighboring Katla.

An initial research paper by the University College of London Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction said: "Analysis of the seismic energy released around Katla over the last decade or so is interpreted as providing evidence of a rising ... intrusive magma body on the western flank of the volcano."

"Earlier seismic energy release at Katla is associated with the inflation of the volcano, which indicates it is close to failure, although this does not appear to be linked to seismicity around [the other volcano] Eyjafjallajökull," it added.

The initial report of a few weeks ago hinted that the two volcanoes are connected, one causing the other to go unstable. This report says they are unconnected. Makes me curious about the theory that should be discussed by now.

Robot solves 400 piece jidsaw puzzle

Popular Science.

So, is this good enough to give robots drivers licenses?

If we have no equilibria and we suffer demand shock then

Why is it that only Keynesian economists can diagnose an economic shock that is stable and lasts for two years when socioloigists never report mass hysteria lasting that long? Most sociologists would reclassify the effect as a cultural difference after a year or two.

Here we are, two years after the crash, and Keynesians are still claiming that we are not stable, we are in a temporary shock, they say. I can see why they are in a hurry, their theory has a limited lifetime. A better diagnosis might be that the Keynesians suffer Rahm "never waste a crisis" syndrome.

Elected representatives want another housing bubble

May 27, 2010 - Legislation introduced yesterday by Reps. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) and original co-sponsors Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Joe Baca (D-Calif.) would help alleviate the severe lack of credit for acquisition, development and construction (AD&C) financing that threatens to end the budding housing recovery before it has time to take root, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“We applaud these lawmakers for taking the lead to address the housing production credit crisis that is jeopardizing the housing and economic recovery now under way,” said NAHB Chairman Bob Jones, a home builder from Bloomfield Hills, Mich.

This is plain corruption, no other word. And this:
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) has sent to the Federal Register a proposed rule to establish a framework for affordable housing goals for the 12 Federal Home Loan Banks (Banks). The proposed rule implements provisions of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 that require FHFA to establish housing goals for the Banks' purchases of mortgages consistent with the housing goals established for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, taking into account the unique mission and ownership structure of the Banks.
Congress is nuts or voters need some education.

Good Grief, New York State has run out of money


Guess how long it is before the state of New York runs out of cash? Less than a week, according to the state's comptroller.

On June 1, New York is due to send $3.8 billion in aid to local school districts, including $2.1 billion that was supposed to be paid in March but not sent for lack of funds. Yet New York is still $1 billion short. This could affect school operations, the solvency of any business that sells goods or services to the state, the paychecks of state workers, and ultimately home values.

Oil back at $75

In that range.
Our stock market is a calculator, it calculates the value of equities when oil prices are within the tolerance window. The systems works like this: Oil below $70, the US can grow on that. Buy equities, buy oil futures until oil is near $70, then wait for some crisis to appear, repeat.

Absent some jolt to get oil efficiency up, the market will simply wait. When there is no obvious alternative growth engine, then a crisis will slowly rear up during the wait period. Eventually the market may as well fix the price of oil and bet on the next crisis, skipping the intermediate step.

Did you know

That if I link my Firefox browser to a Harvard Business Review article then my ten year old, windows 2000 computer reboots? I consider it a service, not a bug.

Why should you care? Because I am definitely not ready for a reboot, and so have not read the Harvard Business Review article discussed in the Hot Air post.

Recent research at Harvard Business School began with the premise that as a state’s congressional delegation grew in stature and power in Washington, D.C., local businesses would benefit from the increased federal spending sure to come their way.

It turned out quite the opposite. In fact, professors Lauren Cohen, Joshua Coval, and Christopher Malloy discovered to their surprise that companies experienced lower sales and retrenched by cutting payroll, R&D, and other expenses. Indeed, in the years that followed a congressman’s ascendancy to the chairmanship of a powerful committee, the average firm in his state cut back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent, according to their working paper, “Do Powerful Politicians Cause Corporate Downsizing?

“It was an enormous surprise, at least to us, to learn that the average firm in the chairman’s state did not benefit at all from the unanticipated increase in spending,” Coval reports.

This surprising result does not come from a misapprehension about pork and its relation to the chairmanships of the committees. Indeed, the study shows that pork dollars flow in mighty streams from those chairs to home districts and states. It’s not just earmarks, either, but also legislative expenditures that increase:

The average state experiences a 40 to 50 percent increase in earmark spending if its senator becomes chair of one of the top-three congressional committees. In the House, the average is around 20 percent.

For broader measures of spending, such as discretionary state-level federal transfers, the increase from being represented by a powerful senator is around 10 percent.

And yet:

In the year that follows a congressman’s ascendancy, the average firm in his state cuts back capital expenditures by roughly 15 percent.

There is some evidence that firms scale back their employment and experience a decline in sales growth.

The point being that government above its equilibrium size has a multiplier lower than 1.0, all the time, every time. When that government take a bigger chunk of local economy growth slows.

Circumcision is unnecessary and disfiguring?

So claims a pediatrician in the defense of two gang bozos who tattooed an eight year old child with a big fat, ugly Bulldog tattoo:

Prosecutors charged Gorman and Gonzalez with aggravated mayhem, which is partly defined as intentionally disfiguring someone. They argue the tattoo amounts to an intentional disfigurement, and therefore, a life sentence.

But defense attorneys say it's no worse than circumcision and asked the boy's own pediatrician about the comparison.

"If you have removal of a foreskin then that looks disfigured," said Dr. Carmela Sosa.

"That's your point of view?" asked defense attorney Manuel Nieto.

"I think it's a point of view," the doctor said.

What a defense? Putting a grapefruit tattoo on a kid's butt because you are an idiot practicing medicine? Give the dad life in prison.

Presidents who grow government

There we have it, the growth rate in federal spending since 1980. Low under Clinton, higher under Reagan, and highest of all under lil Bush. Up until Obama we could say that Republicans are the Communists.

The Art of the Unsaid, or who speaks for the Inner Economist

Brian Caplan, quoting Scott Sumner, gets into the deception that occurs when economists become op ed writers:
OK, let's have some fun with this golden oldie from 2005:

And the backlash [against neoliberalism] has reached our closest neighbor. Mexico's current president, Vicente Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, is a firm believer in free markets. But his administration is widely considered a failure.

So what is Krugman saying here? You might think; "Isn't it obvious? He's saying that Fox implemented free market reforms and they failed." If so, you underestimate the subtlety of Mr. Krugman. He didn't say that Fox implemented any free market reforms at all. He said he was a firm believer in free markets. And who could dispute the proposition that mere belief in free markets, if not actually implemented, does not produce economic miracles? How dare you assume he claimed Fox implemented such policies!

...The fact is that Mr. Fox did not implement free market reforms. Why not? Because the Mexican legislature was firmly controlled by the opposition PRI, who had no interest in helping him... Think about it. If you wanted to say economic reforms failed, why not just come out and say it. Why refer to a leader who believed in market reforms, when it takes no more ink to say a leader who implemented market reforms. (OK, 'implemented' is a couple extra letters--'enacted' would do.)

Economists like Krugman have two tasks. Get the average reader to believe in something while passing the theoretical test of the economic peers who read the test.

Next up: Union Bailout

Fox Business News:

A Democratic senator is introducing legislation for a bailout of troubled union pension funds. If passed, the bill could put another $165 billion in liabilities on the shoulders of American taxpayers.

The bill, which would put the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation behind struggling pensions for union workers, is being introduced by Senator Bob Casey, (D-Pa.), who says it will save jobs and help people.

They call it Keynesian, I call it bailout.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Signs of hysteria at Obamacamp

The UK Telegraph has the story:

David Rosenberg from Gluskin Sheff said the White House appears to have reversed course just weeks after Mr Obama vowed to rein in a budget deficit of $1.5 trillion (9.4pc of GDP) this year and set up a commission to target cuts. "You truly cannot make this stuff up. The US governnment is freaked out about the prospect of a double-dip," he said.

The White House request is a tacit admission that the economy is already losing thrust and may stall later this year as stimulus from the original $800bn package starts to fade.

Recent data have been mixed. Durable goods orders jumped 2.9pc in April but house prices have been falling for several months and mortgage applications have dropped to a 13-year low. The ECRI leading index of US economic activity has been sliding continuously since its peak in October, suffering the steepest one-week drop ever recorded in mid-May.

Mr Summers acknowledged in a speech this week that the eurozone crisis had shone a spotlight on the dangers of spiralling public debt. He said deficit spending delays the day of reckoning and leaves the US at the mercy of foreign creditors. Ultimately, "failure begets failure" in fiscal policy as the logic of compound interest does its worst.

We, the household, is supposed to have the mass hysteria. But it is always the elites, the Keynesians and the bankers, who have suffered the condition lately.

Yes we did suffer a bit of the double dip last month, and as we restructure the behemoth of a government, we will suffer more dips now and then.

The Treasury curve is lifting a bit today

have we reached a temporary bottom in the current contraction?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

How do transportation bots think?

In the formulation in these pages, bots simply execute a query on the known objects in its database, selecting the object suitable for its next move. The should should be a roadway zone, excluding any pedestrian ad collision zones, and including a zone along the destination path. So, its query of the world is a cross between its driving rules, along the inheritance tree, and the destination rule.

We, humans control the scenario rules.

You are staring at the crowding out

right there is your post.
Markets were actually closed that day; but on May 1, the interest rate on 10-year bonds was 3.17 percent.

As of right now, the rate is 3.14 percent. Just saying.

Corporate yields drop because of central government's continuing, current purchases of essential resources, that is, crowding out. Corporations had the opportunity of accumulating inventories of the essentials. That opportunity evaporated with the Keynesian experiment.

Silicon Valley and Autobots

In October, San Jose will host an international pod car conference, a bid it won after acting Transportation Director Hans Larsen appeared as a guest speaker in Sweden as part of the international climate conference in Copenhagen last December.

One glaring error:

A pod-car system running from long-term parking and the terminals to the Caltrain station west of the airport could be built for about $200 million. In comparison, an automated people mover would require tunneling under the runways and cost around $600 million.

Wrong. The system is already built, all it needs is rules of the road for the pod cars. We can get you the rules and solutions for $50 million, send me e mail.

Source: Mercury news.
So let us set up the trade. On one side we have $200 million of concrete guideways. On the other we have $50 million of profit, lane markings, strategic fencing, and a common autobot driver rule set. You know Silicon Valley will win this trade. They will win it around the San Jose airport, and they will win it at the Oakland Connector. Silicon beats Concrete.

We have a compilable rule set. In the case of the San Jose Airport, we can compile it into a paper based rule explanation for airport workers, and compile it into a set of testable rules for auto taxis and auto buses. We can add lane markings for pedestrians and bots to watch. Invest in a protective iron rail here and there. But what makes it work is the software link, the software route from uniformly defined rules to deployment of Navigation Logic.

In the process of deployment, the existing asphalt roads gain in efficiency by translating asynchronous traffic to synchronous. That is a gain in value, equivalent to recovering energy by conservation. Hence the San Jose Airport authorities need to consider revenue collection from that kind of road intelligence, make the cost pay for itself.

Autobot Driver's License and Software Science, II

Let us see what software science brings to the table wen we define rules of the road for robots. I define rule number one here:

Scenario one: When humans are milling about, sit still.

OK, what form can I extract? It is a region excluded over time under a given scenario.

There we almost have it, the compilable form of the robot driving rule. What is missing is inheritability, this rule one must be inherited by all other rules. So we add the priority definition to the rule and we have it.
Exclusion zones, inclusion zones and conclusion zones define the second field, the zone modifier. It is the can go, can't go and must go definitions of what the robot must do.
Scenario ends up being the dumping ground, the text string, for what we cannot compile.

The software consortium that makes this work at least narrows down the problem to defined scenario rules, or scenario undefined. We could expect hundreds of city driving scenario rules, left turn at a signal, four way stop, merge left, etc; all of these scenarios will inherit scenario one. They are likely to inherit other special scenarios, like avoidance of parked cars.

But inheritibility implies method override. So, though the bus inherits scenario one, the bus depot scenario may explicitly modify the rule by allowing bus movement away from the curb at a bus stop. The modified exception, via completion, must appear in the rule set.

Developers of Navigation Logic now have a game to solve, moving the bot through town, using the defined rule set. Insurance companies will see gains through rule definitions and increased safety. New oportunities for control buy wire automation will follow the rule format, finding better niches in private factory settings to public streets. The entire technology industry would be rejuvinated, we would have the new Open Source market driver.

Let's try and dig out some more basic scenario rules, like avoid colliding with inanimate objects. That rule is an exclusion rule, like Scenario 1, and is also a must inherit rule.

Zones can be defined, in basic form, as a sequence of vertices enclosing a geometric surface, relative to the bot. But Zones rules can be inclusive, defining available zones for the bot to move into over some period in the future. Conclusive zones are those zones where the bot must go, we have rules that confine them to certain lanes in some scenarios.

So, zones look just like the zones drawn in the DMV handbook.

Doesn't this mean money created?

USA talking:

Paychecks from private business shrank to their smallest share of personal income in U.S. history during the first quarter of this year, a USA TODAY analysis of government data finds.

At the same time, government-provided benefits — from Social Security, unemployment insurance, food stamps and other programs — rose to a record high during the first three months of 2010.

Those records reflect a long-term trend accelerated by the recession and the federal stimulus program to counteract the downturn. The result is a major shift in the source of personal income from private wages to government programs.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Transportation and software science

I am still on this kick about driver's licensing software. Namely, what is the standard driving test for the average bot? Start with the California writers and driving tests, call that a rule book. We can allow translation of these tests into some text language, compilable by software, in the sense of executing actions within the rules. The categories of software defied rules corresponding to section and chapter from the book. The rules can grow, quite extensively, as long as their compilation remains defined, and there are scenario cases against which to run.

Simulation objects used to test the Navigation Logic might be a frame sequence from real video, rapidly changing dedicated short range wireless, on board sensor detections. Open software consortia can openly discuss to, object about, an agree upon the adequacy of the scenario tests. It would move the industry much further along.

The rule book is much easier learned with embedded wireless in the roadways, accurate maps, and location beeping between cars. Deficiencies and cost strategies would become apparent with a good rule design.

Any software consortium that could construct a usable rule set would bring strong interest from insurance companies, in term of money and employment.

Make one false move

And we've had it, Howard Schneider and Neil Irwin Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, May 24, 2010
I will read it, but I think it is about an outbreak of mass hysteria among the elite.
Yes, I did read it. We are in "knife edge" psychlogy, the herd might stampede.

The herd goes backwards a little faster than they went out, cause they are going home!. Herds don't stampede that often, but they will go home with some insistence.

Has oil found a new bottom?

Oil's looking for a smooth landing at $70. We just took step down the ladder, we we see from the recent yield curve collapse.

The yield is a bit flatter, and worse, the yield is getting closer to uncertainty. When the consumer approaches uncertainty, the politicians leave office.

Oy, not quite an agreement on Macro

We did debate this paper, by Eggerston using a "continuum of goods" and got stuck on the contiuum in a constrained environment. Krugman would like the matter settled.

A recession is likely caused by the separating of a constrained set of input relative to other inputs on the distribution of elasticities. The shock should be modeled as a shock on the constrained goods, and the consumer has dropped demand down to an equilibrium below which the constraint is removed. Under this assumption, fiscal expansion must use the constrained good with greater efficiency, providing the consumer partial relief from the constraint. So, you see, government stimulus, like any stimulus, must effect the relative channel of distribution, creating an alternative equilibrium.

How's my database?

Right now I have added a utility to create an Sqlite table in the exact image of an R Stat data frame, matching columns names. So variable names are consistent across.
This code creates an R based data frame from the 12 table of the database db;

> y <- qrl(tb[12],db,mode="h")
> y
idx Year Value
1 1 1971.44 37.9
2 2 1971.52 38.1
3 3 1971.61 38.3

I have a small utility.r file which contains an insertTable function that creates an SQL table t match an R based data frame.

So my general strategy is to reading data to R, make sure the headers look of, edit as needed, then insert the dataf rame into a table.
My 100 Essentials have been update on the right of the web page.

Open Source software and Automobile Safety

We want the first to insure the second. We need the open software implementations of Navigation Logic that passes a standard American Driving test. The software that actually had been tested against the standard rule set. Such a software would be of great benefit to the economy.

In the software of automobiles, my triad is the location based, anonymous link layer and the Sqlite style object database. I would posit a database manager that sorts through object information would be the Navigation Logic. So, I have narrowed down the semantics, so to speak, making it easier to publish software solving the puzzle.

Open software needs to define an object observation, with specificity. A software definition bringing together the scenario generators, solution providers, sensor and communications providers all working about similar semantics. The market presentation to consumers, traffic planners truckers, and drivers begins to make sense, where testing matches development and deployment.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Sarah said what?

"I don't know why the question isn't asked by the mainstream media and by others if there's any connection with the contributions made to president Obama and his administration and the support by the oil companies to the administration," she told Fox News Sunday.

The Haliburton/Alaskan choice for VP?

More success stories in transportation technology.

Steve Higashide has the story from Mobilizing the Region .

Last week, the New York State Thruway Authority opened highway-speed tolling lanes at its Woodbury toll plaza in Orange County, the first Thruway plaza to offer open-road toll lanes for both personal and commercial travelers.

Also last week, the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission opened two high-speed E-ZPass lanes at a toll plaza on I-78, just west of the I-78 bridge connecting New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

The new lanes will improve driver safety by reducing the need to decelerate, accelerate, and merge at toll plazas. Reduced idling at the plazas will also result in fewer emissions.

The Woodbury toll plaza is the second Thruway plaza to be upgraded to highway-speed; the first was a commercial-vehicle-only toll barrier in Spring Valley that opened in 2007. The I-78 plaza is the first use of open-road tolls by the DRJTBC, which plans to install more open-road toll lanes at its I-80 toll facility near the Delaware Water Gap.

Kling vs Cowen

Straight from the Kling:

Tyler Cowen writes,

This is the era of the rude economic awakening, and Greece is simply an extreme manifestation. The new European bailout plan is a denial of this truth rather than recognition of the new reality that a lot of countries, most of all Greece, aren't as rich as we used to think.

He has been riding this horse for quite some time. It is the sort of statement that resonates with non-economists' natural pessimism. That is, after a crash it is very tempting for people to believe that the previous prosperity was false. However, there is a good economic case for presuming that it is a recession that is an aberration, not prosperity. For example, a graph of long-term GDP growth shows a steady upward trend, to which we return even after severe recessions.


My response, taking Cowen's side. Since the mid 70s, the value of the American economy was high as observed by our trading partners, the developing nations. They, seeing how the American economy worked, via the information revolution (world satellite), began trading into the American economy.

Global trade has equilibriated quite a bit, since then. Developing nations climbed the value ladder. If one looks at the spread of tradable goods, it has gotten more varied, spread out as time progressed and developing nations advanced. Hence, the observed relative value between developing and developed has equalized, a change accelerated by even newer, cheaper information technology.

Conservatives do love Big Central government

Save this link.

We live in an atmosphere of deception among economists, the Conservatives want to avoid taxes, yet have big central government. The liberals want big central government with high taxes.

The Conservatives have it right, the only way the Sean Hannitys can get the massive government they want is by tax reduction:

Can the Beast Be Starved?

Milton Friedman was wrong: “Starve the beast” doesn’t work. So says researcher Michael New in the latest issue of Cato Journal.

The real burden of government, of course, is not how much it taxes, but how much it spends. However, proponents of the “starve the beast” strategy have long held that tax cuts can help limit the fiscal burden of government: If politicians have less tax revenue, they will spend less, so the theory goes. But what sounds right in theory isn’t necessarily true. In 2006, Cato scholar William Niskanen performed a regression analysis that found statistically significant evidence that revenue reductions actually stimulate the growth of federal spending.

New has now expanded on Niskanen’s analysis to determine if “starve the beast” can be an effective strategy for that part of the federal budget that would likely be most sensitive to revenue limits: non-defense discretionary spending. In six different regression models, however, New found a statistically significant negative correlation between revenues as a percentage of gross domestic product and changes in federal spending. In other words, revenue reductions appear to promote more spending.

A better link
HT to RW onDelong's site.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Has England become Greece?

Mish think so as he posts about the 300,000 jobs to be slashed, minimum in England:

Times Online:
AT least 300,000 Whitehall and other public sector workers may lose their jobs as the coalition government sets to work cutting the £156 billion budget deficit.

As George Osborne, the chancellor, prepares to unveil the first £6 billion of cuts tomorrow, the full scale of the job losses that will follow has begun to emerg

Evidently the cuts will include about 70,000 from the department of health.

But, I guess to be truly Greece, England would have to get a German bailout.

Denmark getting smart with traffic sensors

Traffic Technology Today:

Something revolutionary is happening in the kingdom of Denmark. Similar to the rest of Europe, the Scandinavian nation has traditionally relied on loops for real-time traffic detection; in fact, loops have been so effective, many European transportation agencies are reluctant to even consider other technologies. But now, after extensive testing, the Danish National Road Administration (Vejdirektoratet) is discovering the benefits of radar, and the high-resolution accuracy of SmartSensor HD.

Currently, the Danish National Road Administration is using SmartSensor HD in place of loops for traffic management and queue warning detection on arterial roads. Wavetronix is represented in Denmark by Olsen Engineering A/S, an authorized Wavetronix distributor. Olsen Engineering has established a strong presence throughout Scandinavia and the Baltic region, and according to Hanneke Spijkers Arlgade, has earned a reputation for excellence in many areas of road traffic management, particularly in the integration of technologies and services that increase mobility and improve the environment. “We provide system solutions for traffic regulation, traffic guidance technologies, enforcement, road safety and parking,” explains Arlgade, a marketing consultant at Olsen Engineering.

Nonsense from the EU

Bloomberg quoting European officials about EU monetary rules:
Instead, the EU stuck to the view, voiced by European commissioner Joaquin Almunia in a Jan. 29 Bloomberg Television interview, that “in the euro area, default does not exist,”
Yes, defaults do happen. Economies unexpectedly go bad, and as long as this kind of bullshit comes from the money managers, then defaults will be traumatic rather than planned. One cannot plan economically by outlawing negative numbers.

Heterdox and Orthodox?

Economists are on the Nick Rowe thingy:
I think we are witnessing the biggest silent shift in macroeconomic thought since the Second World War. For 70 years we have taught, and believed, that we would never again need to suffer a persistent shortage of demand. We promised ourselves the 1930's were behind us. We knew how to increase demand, and would do it if we needed to.
Scott Sumner is on this issue, as is Arnold Kling.

The short answer is that we can keep demand up to nominal, we just lose our precision in doing so during a Recalculation. How does the economy find the best adjustment to a technology change? It first contracts, reducing the stages of production, then searches from there. The lesser stages of production make for imprecise solutions, but a faster search. As the rest of the economy fits in with the newly discovered constrained supply chain, we "snap back" to the number of stages of production that meets out biological constant of uncertainty.

That is what we are doing now, we are going through a discovery of the best global energy distribution. As in any major restructuring, the main search effort is getting government to figure out what they are doing right or wrong.

Not quite the path they were promised

Steve Elangar reports from the NYT

PARIS — Across Western Europe, the “lifestyle superpower,” the assumptions and gains of a lifetime are suddenly in doubt. The deficit crisis that threatens the euro has also undermined the sustainability of the European standard of social welfare, built by left-leaning governments since the end of World War II.

Europeans have boasted about their social model, with its generous vacations and early retirements, its national health care systems and extensive welfare benefits, contrasting it with the comparative harshness of American capitalism.

Yada yada yada

What happened? Well to balance the benefits at any given level, the birth rate and death rate have have balance, otherwise grows at exponential rates. The exponential growth rate equal to the difference between births and deaths, which is unsustainable within a generation.

When unsustainability is reached, the economy makes an adjustment. But economies reduce dimensionality, shorten production lines, when things are smooth. So, when the adjust process comes, the economy can only make large adjustments, it has given up precision to save costs.

That is what will happen to Obamacare, large companies initially see this as low hanging fruit, allowing them to shed a good deal of their human resources budget. The resulting exponential growth rate of government health care then requires an adjustment, but the corporation have left the field, and Congress can only make imprecise changes.

The solution? Keep large corporation in the government loop so we have the precision to make adjustments, keep large corporations well taxed.

NYT has a good article on politicians and public unions

Evidently the politicians in New York are striving to push the state toward bankruptcy by colluding with union on pension padding.
Kids before cheese gets the HT

The point about state bankruptcy is that politicians are deliberately pushing for it, thinking that a federal bailout is probable. The worst of Moral Hazards. We will see a rush to Federal receivership, all at once, as if state politicians planned it all along.

Jean Ross at CallBuzz has some interesting comments on California budget issues:
There will be no happy ending to this year’s story.
Even the one she proposes:
Go back to Washington, again, hand-in-hand with governors and lawmakers from around the country to make the point that prominent economists have made: state and local budget cuts threaten to derail an already fragile economic recovery.
In other words, California is bankrupt. One of the 32 states on the edge will declare federal receivership, and all the others will jump on board. It is the way we restructure government.

Woolsey and Horwitz are correct

On the issue of money and account balancing in the micro model. Rather technical, and I am tired, go plow through it yourself.

A better explanation of Post War growth and decline

Krugman and Richrd Green get into Peter Wallison for spouting the Republican Communist ideology. Follow the link through Krugman and see his chart.

This issue is why has growth slowed considerably since the 1970s, and what was Reagan's response. The answer please!

Growth did not really slow, except in developed economies. Growth in developing economies took off because information technology gave them absolute information about how to develop their economies, an instruction manual.

Reagan's response was to start the Communist bailout process, the extend and pretend to protect the various groups from losing out to technology. Reagan's whole gambit was to use government debt as a bailout resources, a process continued by lil Bush, and only interrupted for a period by Bill Clinton.

We are in this mess because Conservatives use debt and Federal expansion to protect their Conservative institutions, Progressives do the same.

Government Motors taking steps

In a recent press release, Dr. Shai Avidan of Tel Aviv University (TAU) announced a collaboration with General Motors (GM) Research Israel to develop an advanced vehicular camera system. The goal is to develop computer vision algorithms that can recognize people and categorize moving objects "reliably and quickly". Dr. Avidan is well known in the research community, having published in leading journals including IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence. He also worked on the MobilEye smart camera system.

Milton was right

When he said:

Therefore, to break the Jim Crow cartel, there were only two options: (1) a federal law invalidating Jim Crow laws, along with a massive federal takeover of local government by the federal government to prevent violence and extralegal harassment of those who chose to integrate; or (2) a federal law banning discrimination by private parties, so that violence and harassment would generally be pointless. If, like me, you believe that it was morally essential to break the Jim Crow cartel, option 2 was the lesser of two evils. I therefore would have voted for the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

HR David Henderson at Econolog

Friday, May 21, 2010

The GM driverless car runs through its paces

The fear of deflation

I hear it a lot from economists. I guess they fear we will gain too much momentum on the downswing. Do they fear the mass bankruptcy of the states? No one is predicting the Big One, where Europe goes to war over monetary mismanagement. Dunno what the fear is, never been in a deflation. Right now CPI and PCE seem reasonably stable , from month to month. In fact, the inflationary environment seems ideal, I wish we could keep it.

PJM scores an excusive

On the Green Jobs fiasco in Spain.

An example of waste, fraud and abuse by the Senate

ABC News has the full story. These Senators pushing for the development of an unnecessary engine design for the unnecessary Joint Strike fighter:

Generally, that is true. Key figures pushing the second engine have included Sen. Carl Levin (D-Michigan), who chairs the Armed Services Committee, Sens. John F. Kerry (D) and Scott Brown (R), both of Massachusetts, Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), and Rep. Ike Skelton, (D-Mo.), who chairs the House Armed Services Committee. Congressional leaders from Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, and Massachusetts have all lobbied aggressively to make sure there was funding for the GE-Rolls-Royce engine, even as successive administrations have pushed harder and harder to kill off a project they consider duplicative.
These bozos have pumped over $3 billion into this aspect of military spending and intend to go on wasting money.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mixing the database with autobot intelligence

Back to that theme. Something about using SQLite for object storage in the 2 dimensional world of the traveling autobot. The autobot receives location ID based messages from everywhere, the cameras, other cars, the traffic lights talk to it. So the autobot needs to draw on matches with these objects, matches by location, within location intervals, and objects placed there by on board sensors, as well as object messages coming from near by street lights.

Other matches are by parameter, or shape, so the database is built in with extra match functions, some using digital signal processing. So the tables also contain precompiled images for pattern matching. Objects have class, and these classes are known apriori.

All making for a good match with SQLite.

The vision sensors in these bots return many object styles, lane markers, curb sightings, other vehicles shapes, and people like shapes. The vision systems return these object at various levels of decomposition and identification. They are mainly information preserving in cases where objects are better matched against a known data base. It is more dangerous than identification on its own data. So, SQLite search and match functions, enhanced with DSP offers a universal base against which developers can develop the protocols for object identification.

So, standards developers can combine their efforts, defining a location based link layer, motion and class message components, table based storage customs, and ready to use autobot code.

Michelle Malkin has results from Draw Muhhamed Day

I will steal a few. Good for Michelle
HT Instapundit

DeLong says the USA not Greece

More here.

Artificial Life

Here is a photo of the little fellow

BBC reports on the work of biologists. They evidently did a cut and paste of synthetic DNA.

Has the Bear market arrived?

The stock markets string together consecutive losses and the drop has crossed over the 200 moving average line. The market may have decided we face a more serious problem then some hysterical aversion to spending.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Software Update

In the 100 Essentials, 100 lines of R macros that make my my database interface . All cosmetic, but I did convert the help text into a list so the users can add to it.

And, my database is reverting back to standard time for time series, as in:

> qrl(qm(db)$V1[13],db)
V1 V2 V3
1 2010-05-19 37.9

Where I read a time series from the 13 table in database db. The result is standard Posix time form, rather than my own decimal time format.

Volcker says we are almost Greece

ay 19 (Bloomberg) -- Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, a top outside adviser to President Barack Obama, said time is “growing short” for the U.S. to address problems ranging from its budget deficit to Social Security obligations.

“We better get started,” the 82-year-old former central banker said in a speech yesterday in Stanford, California. “Today’s concerns may soon become tomorrow’s existential crises.”

Professor Kling!

Beavers engage in production lines interfaced by market exchanges.

Arnold Kling observes:
One of the reasons that I cannot picture ancient people engaging in trade in the modern manner is that I have a hard time picturing them developing the thick layer of institutions, including property rights and codes of conduct,...

How do beavers build dams without all that stuff?

Another bad report on State pensions

From the WJS:

The budget woes facing U.S. states may not be as overwhelming as the troubles in Greece. But in a new paper, Northwestern University economist Joshua Rauh says at least seven states are heading toward crushing crises — of the magnitude that would require U.S. bailouts in the next decade — from one cause: state pension liabilities.

In some state constitutions, promised pension benefits to state and local government workers take a higher priority than general obligation bonds. Rauh, with the University of Chicago’s Robert Novy-Marx, previously estimated that state pension liabilities stood at $3 trillion at the end of 2008 compared to $1 trillion in other forms of debt.

Once the State legislatures get wind of a real bailout, they will all rush to the trough and cause mass federal receivership of the states.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Gubinator said we are Greece

He was talking about California.

Real time tracking database

That sounds great. An SQLite application used by roaming vehicles to track and locate multiple objects in motion in real time. Hmmm? Is this proprietary? I now this stuff.
Speaking of data, here is the economic time series format I use:
1 1 1971.44 37.9
2 2 1971.52 38.1
3 3 1971.61 38.3
4 4 1971.69 38.5
5 5 1971.78 38.6

The left most column is the R index, not part of data storage.
If a time series has other data, as does the BLS data, I put it into right side columns. Hence, when recovered as a data table, the volume names V1 and V2, supplied by R, will plot. My columns names in the database are Year and Value, so I can always read them in with those names also. All tabs mode.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another quick example

The lower R line obtains the first 20 lines from database db and table tb, returning the first column as standard date.


So, I use short hand names. The R functions starting with q are from the 100 Essentials. Another thing I short is tabs, they are not allowed in the working data except as column separators. Another rule, I keep file and table names exactly the same.
Normally when cruising the net and I come across a table, then I am either a save link which often works. I do that a lot, the data often landing in a form at least readable by a spreadsheet.

On time conversion,my standard unit of time is the year to two decimal places.

Generally I can get it into SQL by three, at least, methods, it eventually ends up as a tab delimited file. Once it is in the common directory, then it appears, the R funtion dir() gets that file as part of an array, from there as a table in SQLite without trouble. I use SQLite, really, as R variable storage.

I jeep all special view creation strings, query strings for specific data sets in R source code as simple constant definitions. I have a set for the BLS data, for example.

Where to from here?

Actually, I am still on this idea of SQL managed data for a robotic vision aid, especially for robotic vehicles. I know Google is to, obviously.

Learning a lesson about DOE(nergy) data

At least the energy import data I keep posting about. It is late, my energy data gets here after the GDP numbers, and FedExp numbers!

My potential Nobel Prize was disrupted by late data.

Spreads over Time Reposted


Federal Surplus

Plots of one , five, ten, 20 and 30 year Treasury yields. Missing rates for 20 yr and 30 yr have been interpolated. Debt rises when spreads are high because the Fed increases the spread during downturns, and Congress runs a deficit. Notice that this cycle is deeper as total yields go lower.

The process starts with the tech revolution in 1990. We are successively forcing the central government to deal with the new productivity, which Congress fails to do. The real economy comes up against constraints imposed ny central government, central government fails to deal with, forcing long term debt up.

The Database

Now I have most of the BLS data on hard drive. I can read data, decode its meaning, and associate description text with graph labels and titles. But so what? Good question, I think I am just having fun with SQLite.

Update: One test I did, I went to the linked web page and actually cut and pasted the 100 Essential lines of R onto my R GUI, and presto, I had a fully commanded SQL database engine running under R control. So, let me once again congratulate these two code marvels, R and SQLite.

I keep complex queries in my personal R module, as constants and as part of R functions. So I have SQL strings, my base R/SQL includes an ultra lite ten line token parser for parameter substitution and execution.100 essentials. R moves strings in and out of SQL using small to medium sized R modules. I can read the SQLite master into an array of strings, then reuse that array in SQL queries as table names. I can read in a vector of text codes, and decompose them in R with string manipulation, then post secondary queries using the the sub strings.

This snippet, cuts out part of the series id and looks up the corresponding text in SQLite.

if(prefix == "CC") {

string <- paste("select * from benefit where code = '", substr(s,5,9),"';",sep="")
result[i] <- qraw(string,db)[1,2];i <- i+1
string <-paste("select * from industryocc where code = '", substr(s,10,15),"';",sep="")
result[i] <- qraw(string,db)[1,2]; i <- i+1
string <- paste("select * from benefit where code = '", substr(s,5,9),"';",sep="")
result[i] <- qraw(string,db)[1,2]; i <- i+1

I name tables explicitly in that code, but I also have the tables in array form, obtained with:
t <- qm(db)$V1

Then I can loop on tables, and loop on substring matches.

The 100 Essential R/SQL lines allows macro substitution into forms like:
s <- "select * from @ limit @ offset @;"
I set my db local,
db <- "mydata.db"

then I can:
qraw(varsSql( "MyTable 200 400",s),db)

And so on; free hand mixing of R and SQL.

Kregel/Parenteau:and the Eurozone

OK, let's deal with this Financial Illusion

They say:

7. It is an elementary fact of accounting that the private sector as a whole can only spend less than it earns if some other sector spends more than it earns. That sector has tended to be the government, usually as automatic stabilizers kicked in while recessions deepened.

No, the sector that spends more then they earn is the sector that finds solutions to constraints. We make the recession worse when some sector spends more then they earn without solving the constraint problem.

This one:

5. Rapidly cutting fiscal deficits without considering the impact of such moves on private sector financial balances is a shortsighted,

Not if the sector cutting back is the inefficient sector, and the sector spending more is the efficient sector.

3. Ultimately, current account surpluses need to be recycled into chronic deficit nations in a sustainable fashion.

They are recycled, and they do eventually balance. What the authors fear is rebalance by war. These are European authors, and I suspect they may have a point, Europe does engage in war as a method to rebalance.

Keynesian Stimulus Theory is dead

Multipliers are going to come in at 0.5 or less from now on, for the simple reason that stimulus spending has about half the energy efficiency than the private sector for the USA in today's depression.

It was a nice try for many economists looking for the proverbial Multiplier Illusion. Stimulus theory isn't dead, but the theory has another data point:

Governments in developed economies are very inaccurate in its efforts to stimulate markets.

This is Kling's conclusion from more than a year ago. So the theory as it is currently practiced, similar Starve the Beast, is basically nonsense.

The Euro does work with inflexible wage levels

Krugman says not. But, the Euro is still there, and wages are inflexibly adjusting. Krugman bemoans the lack of a short cut, there never is, Even without the short cut, the Euro remains.

The Euro has too much utility to be abandoned because peripheral wages adjust inflexibly. Consider the pain that peripheral countries will suffer if they leave the Euro, most of them will go into a depression as they recreate all the capital markets they have lost.

Inflexible wage adjustment is OK, that is how humans operate, inflexibly.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Doctor Zero at Reason falls for Big Government

Whatever moron he is, he posts the damn speech by Marco Rubio to a group of Big Government conservatives. What was the entire thrust of the speech? We need government to intrude into personal marriage decision. And Dr. Zero calls that a diatribe against Big Government?

I don't get it. I guess one has to have an ounce of stupidity or innumeracy to support Big Government conservatives. Remember, these are the idiots who added almost all of the federal debt.

More from the Republican Communist party

Here is Rubio spouting Communist Nonsense:

"You know what the fastest growing religion in America is? Statism. The growing reliance on government," Rubio said. "Every time a problem emerges, increasingly the reaction in American society is 'Well what can government do about it?'"

America became the greatest country because of its strong society where people did not sit back and wait for government to act, he said. "They did it themselves," Rubio said.

Rubio, a lock for the GOP nomination now that Gov. Charlie Crist has decided to run as an independent, spent the day reinforcing conservative values, capped with a speech before the group that led the effort to put a gay marriage ban in the state constitution.

He said the strongest institution in society is the family, and that children raised in stable families are privileged no matter what their income.

"We can not continue to allow this over reliance on government to replace the cornerstone institution that has made the American experience possible," he said.

Create and immortalize Big Government to subsidize the institutions they like.

I don't care if they like Big Government because they had it in the past and it is good. It is still Big Government, and this idiot and the idiots he is talking to are loving Big Government's involvement in marriage. They are a bunch of damn Communists, they have Statist religion.

Hollywood directors to form Child Molestation Club

If they can get Polanski back home. Woody Allen is on board, of course. (Woody makes crappy movies, by the way). Among the entire Child Molestation Crew, I thought Polanski did make good movies.

More Obamacare problems

Reports the Hill:

The new healthcare law will pack 32 million newly insured people into emergency rooms already crammed beyond capacity, according to experts on healthcare facilities.

A chief aim of the new healthcare law was to take the pressure off emergency rooms by mandating that people either have insurance coverage. The idea was that if people have insurance, they will go to a doctor rather than putting off care until they faced an emergency.

People who build hospitals, however, say newly insured people will still go to emergency rooms for primary care because they don’t have a doctor.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Less than a hundred

I congratulate myself. 100 lines of R code gets integrated Sql/R data management. Just operate an R session in the local Sqlite directory, load the 100 lines, and you are sqlite connected. All in a single web page of text.

The system is easy. Here is a sample R session in which I create a database,table, enter values and retrieve values.

> rm(list=ls(all=TRUE))
> dir()
[1] "r.dat" "sql.exe" "sql.r" "test.sql"
> source("C:\\R\\Work\\sql.r")
> db <- "mydata.db" > table <- "notes" > qcreate(table,db, "(n text)" )
> qm(db)
1 notes
> qinsert(table,db,"(' Some notes')")
> qrl(table,db)
1 Some notes
> rm(list=ls(all=TRUE))
> source("C:\\R\\Work\\sql.r")
> dir()
[1] "r.dat" "sql.exe" "sql.r" "test.sql"
> db <- "mydata.db" > table <- "notes" > qcreate(table,db, "(n text)" )
> qinsert(table,db,"(' Some notes')")
> qm(db)
1 notes
> qrl(table,db)
1 Some notes

The Euro works just fine as a currency zone

Economists are believing their own hype about Money Illusion and optimum currency area. Greece is part of Europe, the days of ancient Greece and Alexander the Great are over, Europe is the strict venue for Greece, Spain, and the rest. Ireland might be the odd ball here.

Greece, since Roman times, has had to adapt to the European system. Without or without a common currency the adjustment process is in totality the same. If Greece had its own currency, it would undergo periodic adjustments just the same.

Trade in Europe periodically restructures. Greece and Germany can adjust to each other less frequently but more severely, or visa versa, depending on whether they structure the relationship with common money or separate money. There are optimum currency areas, but the utility of money is great enough to accommodate the Euro.

The Keynesians and Money Illusionists simply suffer from a fear that Europe will descend back into civil war or produce another fascist uprising because they won't be able to stop the momentum of rapid and severe adjustments.

Friday, May 14, 2010

My Database interface

How did I solve the integration between the R stat package and SQLite?

I simply used file input and output between the two. Windows is good enough at file system optimization that the data exchange stays in ram, not on disk. I didn't see any advantage to compiling the two together, and I just submit standard SQL queries from R to SQLite, and read back the results. I can add parameters to the SQLite queries automatically with a few lines of R code. All total so far? About 100 lines of R code. Set up for the system? None, zero, zip, nada. Just run R in the same directory as SQLite.

Simplicity always rules in software. What does this mean to the blogosphere? Well, one can down load the hundred lines of code and a binary copy of Sqlite, and have a natural SQL interface, no more difficult then R itself. The basic R macros are below.

For example, when the web says down load file, I can do save link as, and from then on, the data goes to SQL and both Sql and the data are controlled as R objects. The primitives are short and few, but we get all the plots, and statistical analysis, as well as freedom to associate ou4r own key words to new data.

I will post the latest beta version right here, wish me luck:
# R functions for using sqlite

# marshall some values into a macro replace @ @1 @2 @3 with user supplied strings.
varsSql <- function(s,query) {
y <- strsplit(query,"")[[1]]
x <- tokenize(s)
result <- ""
nvar <- 1
nprm <- 1
#print(length(y)); print(length(x))
while(nprm <= length(y) ) {
if(y[nprm] != "@")
result <-paste(result,y[nprm],sep="")
else {
ych <-y[nprm+1];
if( (nprm < length(y)) && ((ych == "1") || (ych == "2") || (ych == "3")) ){
ivar <- as.integer(ych)
result <- paste(result,x[ivar],sep="")
nprm <- nprm+1
} else {
if(nvar <= length(x) ) {
result <- paste(result,x[nvar],sep="")
nvar <- nvar + 1
} else
result <- paste(result,"NULL",sep="")
nprm <- nprm+1

# Execute Sqlite with an input file
SQL <- function(s,d,mode) {
x <- paste(".mode tabs\n.output \"r.dat\"\n",s,sep="")
y <- paste("sql ",d," < test.sql", sep="")

# Grab the result file from an sqlite execution
if(mode != "w")

# write a tab dilimited file from data.frame, no quotes hopefully
# read from Sqlite with: read.csv("r.dat",header=FALSE,sep="\t")
writeSql <- function(x) {
k <- data.frame(x)
f <- file("sql.dat", "wb")
if(class(k) == "data.frame")
for(i in 1:dim(k)[1]) {
for(j in 1:dim(k)[2])
if(j < dim(k)[2])


helpSql <- function() {
print("qinit() get Sql constant")
print("qraw('sql text',database)")
print("qm(d) = get table names from d")
print("qrl(t,d) read 20 from table t in d")
print("qrb(t,d) read 200 from table t in d")
print("qw(x,t,d) - write x to table t to database")
print("qcreate(t,db,'createstring') inculud sql parenth, no spaces")
print("qinsert(t,db.'value string') ditto")

execSql <- function(s,d) {SQL(s,d,mode="r")}
qraw <- function(s,db) {SQL(s,db,mode = "?")}
qw <- function(x,t,db) { writeSql(x);
SQL(varsSql(t,".import sql.dat @\n"),db,mode = "w")}
qm <- function(d) {execSql(sql$master,d) }
qh <- function() {helpSql()}
qrb <- function(t,db) { execSql(varsSql(paste(t, "200"),sql$read),db) }
qrl <- function(t,db) { execSql(varsSql(paste(t, "20"),sql$read),db) }

qinsert <- function(t,db,v) {
x <- varsSql(paste(t,v),sql$insert)
SQL(x,db,mode = "w") }
qcreate <- function(t,db,s) {x <- varsSql(paste(t,s),sql$create);

# tokenize a string
tokenize <- function(s) {
j <- 0; i <- 1; y <- ""
x <- strsplit(s,"")[[1]]
while(i < length(x) && x[i] == ' ') i <- i+1
while(i <= length(x) ) {
j <- j+1; y[j] =""
xc <- x[i]
y[j] <- paste(y[j],xc,sep="");
i <- i+1
if(xc == "'" || xc == "(") {
if(xc == '(') xc = ')'
while((i <= length(x)) && (x[i] != xc))
{y[j] <- paste(y[j],x[i],sep=""); i <- i+1; }
y[j] <- paste(y[j],xc,sep="")
i <- i+1
else while(i <= length(x) && x[i] != ' ') {
y[j] <-paste(y[j],x[i],sep="")
i <- i+1
while(i <= length(x) && x[i] == ' ') i <- i+1

### The rest are a few Sql query strings that are useful.
sql <<-list(

read = "select * from @ limit @;",
master = "select name from sqlite_master;",
offset = "select * from @ limit @ offset @;",
insert = "insert into @ values @;",
create = "drop table if exists @1; create table @1 @2 ;"

California bankruptcy watch

Now begins the California bankruptcy debates:

SACRAMENTO — Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday sent lawmakers his plan to trim more than $5 billion in spending by dismantling or drastically curtailing state programs that provide Californians with healthcare, higher education, welfare, parks, AIDS treatment and counseling, prisoner rehabilitation and other services.

The cuts came atop other severe spending reductions in a separate $16-billion plan that the governor unveiled two weeks ago. His aides said he would propose another $3 billion in cuts by the end of the week to address a projected $24.3-billion budget shortfall.

And the usual crowd begins the pitchfork scenario.

Union members began a 48-hour vigil in the park that surrounds the statehouse, saying that their members would be driven into poverty, and the elderly and disabled deprived of care if Schwarzenegger's proposals are adopted. They also filed a lawsuit in federal court that attempts to stop some of the planned cuts.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa came to the capital along with other officials to denounce Schwarzenegger's bid to borrow $2 billion from local governments. The League of California Cities launched a website, "Save Your City," asking for videos that will show how a state "raid" of local property taxes would affect people throughout the state. "Your city is in trouble," the site flashed.

Villaraigosa want bailout money, his carreer depends on handing out government goodies.

The Gubinator has become a joke, a parody. Where is he gonna get $100 billion for a Bullet Train?

More Obamacare problems

Fortune has the results of employer planning for Obamacare, Dave Henderson gets a big hat tip for pointing this out. Notice on the Fortune link, that a large company like AT&T can save a whopping $2 billion by shifting their employee medical insurance entirely to Obamacare insurance exchanges. I pointed out that IBM was planning to shift most of their workforce to contractor status for the same reason. Kling has been all over this point also, I might add.

This is Congress, Waxman in particular, engaged in unsustainable bailouts, the very reason we are now Greece. If taxpayers want to survive, I suggest look at New Jersey governor for a presidential candidate. WHen we have both the Republican Communists and the Obama Socialists, both bailing out most of the economiy with middle class taxes, then we are Greece.

NYT explains how we became Greece

Nice graphics on the causes of the deficit.

My take away. We became Greece because we bail out the successive losers for every economic adjustment. Unfortunately, technology si driving continual re-structuring, so the only way out will be default as Congress continues the 30 year bailout tradition, starting with Reagan.

Federal Spending and Oil imports

Congressional spending and oil import. They match, so far, looking at the last quarter 2010 on the far right of the graphs. The private sector, on its own, would not have driven oil imports up so far so fast. Hence, I think, the initial government multiplier was closer to 1.0 than John Turner computes. But the economy has figured this out and the stimulus multiplier will drop rapidly toward 0.0. In other words, for each barrel of oil that Congress imports, the private sector will import one barrel less, because the private sector is looking at these same charts.

Republican Communist Party in action

From TPM
In the wake of last month’s catastrophic Gulf Coast oil spill, Sen. Lisa Murkowski blocked a bill that would have raised the maximum liability for oil companies after a spill from a paltry $75 million to $10 billion. The Republican lawmaker said the bill, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), would have unfairly hurt smaller oil companies by raising the costs of oil production. The legislation is “not where we need to be right now” she said.
The two political groups that run the nation are anti-Tea Party, both continue bailing out their friends on the back of the middle class.

HT Krugman

We are not Greece says Krugman

In his latest column.

I doubt it. It is already starting in m hometown as taxpayers run from political promises made to union workers.

Hundreds of city workers came out to protest potential layoffs in Downtown Fresno. They started at the historic Water Tower and ended at City Hall.

Mayor Ashley Swearengin is planning to privatize some city services to help cut a $30.6 million shortfall.

If approved, the city could earn $3 million a year in franchise fees. But city workers say the service will go down and prices will go up.

No decision has been made yet as city council members go through budget workshops before making a decision.

(Copyright ©2010 KFSN-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

We are Greece says Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England

From the Telegraph via Edmund Conway
Mervyn King, Governor of the Bank of England, fears that America shares many of the same fiscal problems currently haunting Europe. He also believes that European Union must become a federalised fiscal union (in other words with central power to tax and spend) if it is to survive. Just two of the nuggets from one of the most extraordinary press conferences I have been to at the Bank.

A Doom and Gloom hisorian from UCLA

John Judis reports on UCLA historian Robert Brenner from the New Republic:
Global overcapacity means that the world’s industries are capable of producing far more steel, shoes, cell phones, computer chips, and automobiles (among other things) than the world’s consumers are able and willing to consume. Companies can still sell their goods but at prices that undercut their rate of profit. In the nineteenth century, the redundant and less productive firms would have folded, and as wages fell, and profit rates went back up, the economy would start to revive. But that no longer happens. Firms have become too big and powerful to fail; and the citizens of democratic nations will justifiably no longer tolerate unemployment above 20 percent. Instead, the average rate of profit falls, private and public debt rises, and the danger of a large crash looms.

Brenner traces this problem of global overcapacity to the early 1970s when the countries decimated by World War II had rebuilt their industrial base and were capable of competing equally with the United States, and when newly industrializing countries in Asia and Latin America were beginning their ascent. At that point, global overcapacity manifested itself in declining rates of profit. In the United States, for instance, average profit rates in manufacturing fell from 24.5 percent in the 1960s to 13.4 percent in the 1970s and 11.8 percent in the 1980s. As profit rates declined, firms were less inclined to invest and expand, leading to a decline in overall growth in the economy and to higher average unemployment over a decade.

My story:

The global information surprise happened in the 1970s with world TV. Developing nations then has a mass communication device that explained exactly how to produce modern goods. The same event that happened in 1820 England with the steam powered rotary press.

Socialist astronaut continues campaign

New Scientist reports:
In a rare public appearance, moonwalker Neil Armstrong warned Congress on Wednesday that the US risks losing its leadership in space flight under President Obama's new NASA plan.

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, the first man to walk on the moon expressed worry that the US would have no means of its own to get astronauts into space for a long time to come.

HT Instapundit

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stuck on database design

The database can search through the arbitrary text about different economic time series, and select plots I like. But there is still have no formal method to put up labels and titles, no clear way to decode a time series id into the appropriate presentation text, except for the odd snippets of text the user used to acquire the id. Decode from ID to plotting text, needs to be more formal. Perhaps take the simple rout and assume there is a decoder somewhere created by the original generator of the economic series.
So ther exists a decode of the series ID that generates formal presentation text. BLS produces them, and I have implemented many in a decode query. But, I need the canonical form of series id that I understand and can use, my own. Then any more will just be a query on the proper virtual table.

So, in the end, the user can throw a table of text into the searchable table, identified by a distinct name. The the database can recover it as needed for title,subtitle and labels; from a decode of a serial data id. Then throw in the data itself. Clicking on a series ID shows up as a quick plot, complete with labels.

We are Greece, saya Orzag

From a Reuters report on the unexpectedly high budget deficit.
White House budget director Peter Orzag told Reuters Insider in an interview on Wednesday that the United States must tackle its deficits quickly to avoid the kind of debt crisis that hit Greece.

Can't see how Orzag is suddenly concerned, he is the one spending.
Here is another from Financial Times:
On Tuesday, Barack Obama, US president, called Mr Zapatero and “discussed the importance of Spain taking resolute action as part of Europe’s effort to strengthen its economy and build market confidence”, the White House said.

Speaking in parliament, Mr Zapatero explained the measures Spain would take to reduce the deficit by an extra 0.5 per cent of gross domestic product this year and 1 per cent of GDP in 2011, a total of €15bn ($19bn, £13bn).

The same Obama who just added a one trillion dollar entitlement?