Friday, October 28, 2011

Too bad our leaders don't know how to bluff

In the end, it was Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Nicolas Sarkozy of France against the European banking establishment — and the bankers blinked......
For hours, negotiators had been trying to persuade the banks to accede to a “voluntary” 50 percent loss in the face value of their Greek bond holdings. The banks, which had already agreed to a 21 percent write-down, had dug in their heels.

They knew how badly the European leaders needed a deal, and how much financial experts feared a disorderly, involuntary default. That could set off a “credit event,” throwing world financial markets into turmoil, much as the collapse of Lehman Brothers did in the fall of 2008.

But Mrs. Merkel called the bankers’ bluff, said officials present at the discussions. Accept the 50 percent write-down, she told the bankers, or bear the consequences of default. In effect, she was willing to risk a credit event, and to place the blame for any fallout on them.

Pretty much the opposite of what happened here, during the 2008 financial crisis. Instead, US banks and financial institutions got massive bailouts and paid almost no price for their excessive risk taking and idiotic decisions. And taxpayers paid the price while the financial industry booms. But god forbid we have writdowns on underwater mortgages, student debt forgivemness or expanded social services support for the poor and unemployed. That's socialism/moral hazard/class warfare. All hail the JOB CREATORS!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The future is now, and its wierd

So 3-d printers are getting more and more affordable and user friendly it seems, to the point where lots of unexpected projects are popping up. The latest interesting one I've seen (via slashdot) is a campaign to make thousands of hermit crab shells because:

Hermit crabs don’t make their own shells. They scavenge their homes. And now,
hermit crabs are facing a housing shortage as the worldwide shell supply is
decreasing. With a shell shortage, hermit crabs around the world are being
forced to stick their butts into bottles, shotgun shells, and anything else they
can find. This is not acceptable. As a community, we can reach out to this
vulnerable species and offer our digital design skills and 3D printing
capabilities and give hermit crabs another option: 3D printed shells.

It will be interesting to see if this works.