Monday, March 30, 2015

Frozen Four Set

Nebraska-Omaha, making its first ever appearance in the Frozen Four will meet Providence and Boston University will play North Dakota on April 9.

NASA Photo of the Day

March 25:

Naked Eye Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2
Image Credit & Copyright: Ajay Talwar (The World at Night)
Explanation: It quickly went from obscurity to one of the brighter stars in Sagittarius -- but it's fading. Named Nova Sagittarii 2015 No. 2, the stellar explosion is the brightest nova visible from Earth in over a year. The featured image was captured four days ago from Ranikhet in the Indian Himalayas. Several stars in western Sagittarius make an asterism known as the Teapot, and the nova, indicated by the arrow, now appears like a new emblem on the side of the pot. As of last night, Nova Sag has faded from brighter than visual magnitude 5 to the edge of unaided visibility. Even so, the nova should still be easily findable with binoculars in dark skies before sunrise over the next week.

Farmers Look to Soybeans as Corn Prices Sink

Wall Street Journal:
U.S. farmers increasingly are eschewing “King Corn” in favor of planting soybeans, a dramatic shift that is shaking up futures markets and rippling through the broader agricultural economy.
Analysts predict farmers will plant record soybean acreage this spring for a second consecutive year while cutting corn plantings for the third in a row. The move comes as growers grapple with a roughly 50% decline in the price of corn, the nation’s largest crop by volume, since 2012.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Tuesday will forecast corn and soybean plantings in a key report based on farmer surveys. Analysts on average expect soybean acreage to rise 3% from last year to 85.9 million acres, while corn will fall 2% to 88.7 million acres, according to a survey by The Wall Street Journal.
Indiana farmer Del Unger and his son intend to plant nearly twice as many soybean acres this spring as last year while trimming corn seeding on the 6,500 acres they farm.
“Economics rule,” the 53-year-old Mr. Unger said. “With beans, we’ll break even or make a small profit, whereas corn will likely give us some red ink.” Mr. Unger said most growers can easily switch between planting the two crops.
In other words, expect bean prices to sink, and corn prices to stabilize.  Here on our farm, we just stick to our rotation, unless weather prevents corn planting.  That keeps things simple.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Success of Vaccines


Final March Weekend Links

Here are some stories to keep you informed and entertained this weekend:

Wrigley Field is Fucked - Deadspin.  The Ricketts are asshats.

Anatomy of an Upset - Grantland.  Inside the Providence locker room leading up to their loss to Dayton in the first round of the NCAA tournament.

North Dakota Needs a Nickname (And No, 'Fighting Sioux' Won't Do) - Wall Street Journal

Take These Broken Wings - SBNation

America's Socialist Sports League: The NFL - The Atlantic.  Don't forget the Green Bay Packers are a community-owned "non-profit."

Stick To Sports: The Communist Sportswriter and the FBI plot to ruin him - Vice Sports

California Farmers Are Selling Water To The State Instead Of Growing Crops - Modern Farmer

Iowa agriculture survives off carcass of prairie soil - Des Moines Register

Proponents of Raw Milk Are No Better Than Anti-Vaccine Advocates - Pacific Standard.  I never really understood folks opposition to pasteurization.

Heinz and Kraft: Before They Were Food Giants, They Were Men - The Salt

The Scene of the Crime - Seymour Hersh goes to My Lai 46 years after breaking the story of one of the worst chapters in U.S. Army history.

What Lies Beneath - Foreign Policy.  Did Israel steal uranium from this Pennsylvania town to build a nuclear bomb?

The Father of the Digital Synthesizer - priceonomics

The Deadly Global War For Sand - Wired

Healing Fire in Derry: The Temple Was Meant to Burn - New York Times

Japanese Robot Maker Fanuc Reveals Some Of Its Secrets - Wall Street Journal

Midwest Town Braces For More Steel Layoffs - NPR

Fleece Force: How Police And Courts Around Ferguson Bully Residents And Collect Millions - Huffington Post.  It should say "Bully Black Residents."  The municipalities in St. Louis County were created by racists to maintain segregation, so it isn't a surprise that they still are racist.
How Chicago Has Used Financial Engineering to Paper over its Massive Budget Gap - Medium

Cornfields, Trees and Water: Mapping the Rest of America - CityLab

Friday, March 27, 2015

Thursday, March 26, 2015

China Used More Cement in 3 Years than the U.S. did in 100

There is a lot of crazy data here:

So how did China use so much cement? First, the country is urbanizing at a historic rate, much faster than the U.S. did in the 20th Century. More than 20 million Chinese relocate to cities each year, which is more people than live in downtown New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago combined. This massive change has taken place in less than 50 years. In 1978, less than a fifth of China’s population lived in cities. By 2020, that proportion will be 60 percent....
More stunning than Shanghai's transformation is the growth of the Pearl River Delta, a megalopolis on the Chinese mainland across from Hong Kong. The manufacturing hub had 42 million inhabitants in 2010, according to the World Bank. If considered a single urban area – which makes sense, since the cities there all run together -- the Pearl River Delta would be the world’s largest city by both area and population.
What’s almost more impressive than China’s biggest cities is the incredible number of “small” cities that no one has ever heard of. In 2009, China had 221 cities with more than a million people in them, compared with only 35 in Europe. Even relatively minor cities like Zhengzhou and Jinan are more populous than Los Angeles or Chicago.
Beyond China's incredible urbanization, there are a few more facts that make the cement stat even more believable. As Goldman Sachs pointed out in a note, China’s population today is only about four times as large as the U.S., but it is 15 times as large as the U.S. was in the early 20th Century, and nine times the size of the U.S. in 1950.
The world also experienced a shift in building materials over the 20th Century. In 1950, the world manufactured roughly as much steel as cement; by 2010, steel production had grown by a factor of eight, but cement had gone up by a factor of 25. And where many houses in the U.S. are made of wood, China suffers from a relative lack of lumber. Unlike in the U.S., many people in China live in high- or low-rise buildings made out of cement.
The scale of everything in China is just mind-boggling to me.  I'm pretty sure China's steel industry is as large as the rest of the world's combined.  The overproduction in every industry there is astounding.

The Reinvention of Normal

THE REINVENTION OF NORMAL from Liam Saint-Pierre on Vimeo.

How Much Rain Do You Get?

Natural News, via Ritholtz:

Stay east of the 98th meridian, and out of the southwest.  Unfortunately, people flock to where it is hot.