Wednesday, April 29, 2009

WHO | Swine influenza

WHO | Swine influenza

This is the link to the WHO site that covers this potential pandemic.

With the alert level raised to 5 just now, this might be something serious, with Canada having 19 cases confirmed (none have died).

The US apparently has 91 cases and Mexico, I think they have stopped counting the original deaths are considering only active cases, with deaths involved.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can the Oil Shock Alone Explain the Financial Crisis? - The Atlantic Business Channel

Can the Oil Shock Alone Explain the Financial Crisis? - The Atlantic Business Channel

I think the way the economist James Hamilton used the "oil shock" effect on GDP, is illustrative of part of the story of what went wrong in the USA.

Is it just far too "reduced row" to accurately explain everything else, including the housing price collapses in many markets, the Bush war economy spending, and the excess credit over savings, in both personal and government accounts, including imbalances in trade, particularly with China.

Well, that is what "reduced row" models in economics do: they make a black box of the constants , the parameter estimator and error estimator.

Frankly, I would buy into the explanatory power of the oil shock (read the article!)

Now with Obama making diplomatic gestures worldwide, particularly to Venezuela, a country that used to supply the US, this type of leadership may cower oil powers elsewhere to go "hold on a second, if we keep the price up, a) we get hurt too, b) our oil will never be optimally recovered i.e. it will get replaced by a substitute and we will have nothing to sell."

Most Americans I feel would love to let the remaining oil stay in the ground, including the oil in the tar sands of Canada.

Add in "peak oil" stories that hit the summer of 2008, to play to the fear that the markets were telling us by price alone, to drive up prices further, and yes, what Hamilton and his interpreters say is more than plausible. The recession was inevitable but those stories were not plying the media as was fear itself.

Interestly, the National Bureau of Economics Research, NBER, said the US recession began in January 2008: did anyone notice? (Hamilton BTW states' Q4, 2007)

In Canada, a net oil supplying country, our effects were mitigated by a transfer of wealth and economic activity to Alberta and Saskatchewan, with the economic powerhouse of Ontario in likely the same state as the US as a whole. Now all of Canada is hurting, just as much as the US is, and our unemployment is likely to be stickier than the US for a variety of reasons. Our dollar will likely head lower too as oil does not recover as it did in the past with economic activity still projected in the US to be weakening. If it does recover, we have "stagflation" and the very risk our Central Banks are going to fight dearly against, a stagnant economy, with high unemployment and rising prices.

So, as the science so dismal might say, its far from over with the beginning of growth distant in North America, with but small seedlings planted to stop further erosion.

When will those seedlings grow? I would estimate 2011 in my own experience as the pain has yet to fully hit Main Street.

The de-industrialization of the US as well was likely not in the thought process or planning horizon of "the Interdependencia" groups that effectively globalized the world economy, under US leadership, through the late 70's to now. There does not seem to be a way of going back, and forward? What will be left of the industrial might of the US? And of course, will this lead to dangerous misperceptions?

More questions than answers.

Aussie inventor wins over Microsoft | Australian IT

Aussie inventor wins over Microsoft | Australian IT

This shows the two headed sword of patents to MS, now that MS itself has gone ga-ga over software patents.

Friday, April 03, 2009

todo mundo: Audiomaxxx boom bye-bye

This is an interesting blog post and comments to the Audiomaxxx story.

todo mundo: Audiomaxxx boom bye-bye

The thing that bothers me in this whole thing, is that DJ's should be paying performing licence fees to a collective society. The publisher and writer-composer artist get paid from that. In Canada, there is also a performing right that neighbouring rights holders, the producer and the performing artist, will receive on a reciprocal country by country basis. Canada is part of the worldwide collective networks so Jamaican artists and producers would get paid.

But its the users that "grabbed" from the site and the DJ's that sold copies of copies of the Audiomaxxx mixes that really is the copyright violation focus here.

Either way, a mess of thing for many, many fans and DJ's worldwide of Dancehall Music ... riddems!

The actual charges this guy faces are few in relation to what was originally proclaimed "52 charges under the Copyright Act in relations to 26 different victims." He should in fact set himself up again, but do it with a licensing model that works for all concerned i.e. copy protect his CD's from thieving DJ's, and pay the fee's to copy on legit basis the music for DJ's to resell and for fans without DJ's licences. If the Jamaican Music Association or whatever they call themselves, does not like that i.e. getting paid, then like others have said, they should do it themselves.

All however should remember the fan here. Fans will pay and some artists don't want to do anything initially but get the widest distribution, biggest notoriety, and then hook the fans that will pay. American Idol makes "stars" that may get big pay out of amateur performances that are widely distributed but for no pay initially. It would seem the only way for the music business to work these Internet days, is an artist centric model that the artist themselves develop, free of that artist' bitch and moan at the recording labels, that some would call "acting in a cartel," have failed to do.

Against this is a immutable law that information wants to be free and as a natural force so does music as a form of organized information.

Arguably, its something tough to fight against when it seems such a fundamental force of nature, human or otherwise (ex. animal DNA/plant RNA is "information"), where lacking predators and disease, the entropy is obvious.

But entering a hall, and hearing a performance, recorded for dancing or played live, is paid for and is licensed, to the max. That collective experience most of us desire greatly and some will pay dearly for.

Even "American Idol," when an amateur performer performs a cover song, the original artists of the song, producers, writers, composers and record companies are collecting (in the US, not the performer of the song!).

To me, its a case of "cry me a river" in spades v. understand your business and start marketing appropriately to today, not yesterday.

As far as Audiomaxxx goes, we still have a "broken mass media" on the story, and arguable some actions here in Canada that hurt more than helped the future Jamaican stars.

P2PNet hopefully will follow the case itself (they will).