Linked and Loaded Morning

Links to what I’ve been reading.

  • Kevin Drum’s confused about the confusion surrounding new light bulb standards:

[…]Here’s what I really want to know, but can’t seem to get a firm grip on no matter how hard I try: were these new energy efficient incandescents really going to be available for mass consumption by January 1?

  • Dean Baker spits napalm (like usual) over Robert Samuelson’s goodbye to Keynes:

[…] Samuelson says it is “unclear” why, given our own debt and deficit, interest rates are still just 2 percent and investors are willing to lend us trillions of dollars. Actually it is very clear. The Federal Reserve Board stands behind the debt of the United States government and there are few good investment opportunities in the current economy.

  • Ezra Klein dips into reader comments to present the case for why Republicans, if they really wanted the Keystone XL pipeline deal to be approved, wouldn’t hold the payroll tax cut as hostage:

[…]So, we end up with two scenarios. The State Department may just say, “Fine, none of the benefits outweigh the environmental impact, and the No Build is our preferred alternative.” Effectively, that means they deny approval of the project, more or less just to spit in Republicans’ collective eyes. Or, say the State Department does approve the project, and chooses one of the build alternatives as the preferred alternative. They immediately get sued by environmental groups. The case goes to court, and takes most of the next year (at least) to get resolved. It likely gets appealed at least once, taking another 6 months or more. The State Department loses (it could easily be argued that they didn’t take the requisite ‘hard look’ at the impacts if they choose a new alternative avoiding the Sand Hills, or that they didn’t examine a ‘reasonable range of alternatives’ if they choose an existing alternative, particularly since the Administration said that they needed more time to study more alternatives)

  • The Economist explores crowd behavior:

[…]That is at odds with most people’s idea of being a pedestrian. More than any other way of getting around—such as being crushed into a train or stuck in a traffic jam—walking appears to offer freedom of choice. Reality is more complicated. Whether stepping aside to avoid a collision, following the person in front through a crowd or navigating busy streets, pedestrians are autonomous yet constrained by others. They are both highly mobile and very predictable. “These are particles with a will,” says Dirk Helbing of ETH Zurich, a technology-focused university.

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