The Hun's New Invasion - Brazil, Gold, Nuclear Power, and Bill Gates' Energy Vision
Here are the items that have intrigued me the past couple of days:
Small Modular Reactors: A Nuclear Game Changer
Link - Seeking Alpha
This is an excellent article on the development of small modular reactors and how this could be one of the most important innovations of the next few decades.
Bill Gates on Climate Change, Energy Costs, and Nuclear Power
Link -TED Forum (You Tube)
Bill Gates lays out the dangers of climate change and the best possible energy solutions for the problem. Leaving my summary at that, however, would short-change this presentation. Gates gives a lot of useful data about energy costs and carbon creation over the past century and lays out one of the most important economic truths --- growth and prosperity are inversely related to energy prices.
Bill Gates is absolutely right on energy policy and lays out his case in the most elegant of fashions. He has concluded that innovations in nuclear power generation make it the best solution to our climate and pollution troubles. If only we could have more innovative leaders like Gates in government --- but alas, that's why I'd prefer to balance our budget, lower taxes in the long-run, and put more money in the hands of private entrepreneurs who can really make a difference.
For Brazil, It's Finally Tomorrow
Link - Wall Street Journal
A great article analyzing Brazil's economic ascendancy and the hurdles it still must overcome to become a world power. All we hear in the Wall Street media is China, China, China, but I actually think that Brazil might be better positioned for sustainable economic growth in the next 30 years.
Government Deficit Reduction: The Ireland Model
Link - Seeking Alpha
Another article highlighting the problems that will be associated with excessive governmental debt across the world. It's examined through the lens of Ireland's deficit reduction measures and their impact.
Gold Stocks vs. Gold ETFs: A Free Cash Flow Horror Story
Link - Seeking Alpha
The author posts the Free Cash Flow figures and the Price/FCF ratio for several gold miners, suggesting that the numbers don't look good. The suggestion is that gold ETFs have performed better with time, in spite of the fact that gold bugs tend to have an irrational hatred of them. I've been saying for quite awhile that gold mining is one of the most overvalued sectors on the market. I'm less skeptical of physical gold, but the gold miners are priced as if gold prices will soon be $2000/oz and costs won't increase.
PR Firms Find Fertile Ground in World of Online Reviews
Link -Washington Post
Somewhat disturbing article about PR firms and online reviews. Some of this is to be expected (and indeed, I think most of it have suspected it a lot of places). This article particularly casts a negative light on Yelp, which seems to allow companies to chose which reviews get highlighted based on their contributions to Yelp.
US Postal Services Consider Job and Service Cuts
Link - Washington Post
To me, this is one of the most unfortunate news stories that has not attracted much attention whatsoever. Washington politicians have been throwing money around like drunken rich kids and meanwhile, we're talking about cutting 40,000 postal jobs and cutting Saturday delivery service? How on Earth does it make sense to bail out the highway fund eight gazillion times (the same highway fund that politicians have refused to raise gas taxes for so that it will be funded solely by usage fees rather than general taxes) --- but cut Saturday postal delivery service?
Look, the US govt is pretty inefficient on most things, but if there's any valuable US govt service out there, it's mail delivery. Small business owners have overwhelmingly voiced their displeasure at potential cuts in Saturday service. And private companies simply won't service more remote/rural regions of the U.S. I'm in favor of any infrastructure that creates huge value for American business owners and the USPS is one thing we've done right. So why screw up a good thing?
The only good argument against it is that it should be subject to market forces and those forces say the USPS is losing money. But ... so what? I'm about as fiscally conservative as one can get, but the loss that the taxpayers would absorb is extremely minor --- especially when you start comparing it to our entitlement program nightmare, with Social Security leading the charge to futility. If we want to save money --- start cutting excessive military spending and phase out Social Security (before it goes bankrupt). Paying for USPS Saturday service is just a few pennies from the bank in comparison.
CEO Could Reap $93 Million in Event Radio Shack is Sold
Link - NY Post
An article on the fortune Radio Shack CEO Julian Day would obtain if Radio Shack were outright sold off. There seems to be a view that Day wants to completely cash out and is trying to arrange a sale in order to do so. Is this big news? I don't know, but it does remind me of one of the most hilarious Onion articles I've ever read:
Even CEO Can't Figure Out How Radio Shack Still in Business
That's all for now.