backstream jan 2012
First an update on the Baltic Dry Index, the measure of international shipping demand I mentioned in the last post. It hit a 25 year low last week, breaking down past a mark reached in the wake of the 2008 economic debacle.
There are varies reasons given to explain this but one I found particularly interesting is that, "shipping companies have also been deliberately slowing down their journeys to save fuel, with trips from China to the US going now taking around 50% longer than they were early in 2011" source.
There has been plenty of talk in the past about peak oil meaning "the end" of globalization and international shipping. Of course some goods were shipped around the world even before petroleum was harnessed as a transportation fuel and will likely continue to be shipped well into the future. My point here is that the way this plays out in the short term is scenarios like this, slower transport to save fuel, not complete and sudden collapse of the international shipping system.
This article is just one of several recently published that point towards the increased likelihood of an Israeli/Iranian war that could drag the US into another armed conflict in the Middle East. But wait, aren't we already at war with Iran? Stuart Staniford puts it this way.
And the series of explosions and assassinations in Iran has been getting longer and more blatant. At some point, the pretense that this is not a war becomes unsustainable, and once people stop feeling the need to pretend, things could worsen quickly. more
And the fact that this is a US presidential election year complicates the matter.
Speaking of which is anyone else thinking of voting for Mitt just so we can continue to be treated to high level gaffs like his recent comment that he doesn't care about the poor? The US could suffer under his leadership but think about the entertainment value of Saturday Night Live under a Romney regime. And no moon colonies as the 51st state!
I've decide to make fun of a few groups of people in 2012 partly as a way of testing whether or not shame still works as a motivator in the US. And partly because it helps me to continue to feel sane.
The first group I'm targeting is people that park cars on sidewalks. No longer content with domination of the asphalt, recently people in my community have take to mounting (more on that term as it relates to this issue coming soon) the curb and parking their vehicles on that 4 foot strip of concrete formerly used only by pedestrians to try and avoid getting run over. I think this phenomenon says a lot about the current mental state of people in my community and maybe throughout our nation.
What I need from you good and loyal readers are name suggestions for my new blog featuring pictures I take of sidewalk parking. Please leave suggestions in the comments section below. Winner gets a T Shirt of course.
Here's a teaser. I took this last week. It is a code enforcement officer working for my local police department who stopped to investigate a food truck set up in a vacant lot. No doubt the officer thought the truck was operating without proper papers. He is seen here on his cell phone, gun on hip. Hours later however the food truck was still serving hotdogs and so I assume it was in fact a legal operation and the officer went away discouraged.
Notice that it wasn't enough for the cop to merely pull over to the side of the road and investigate. He had to get all CHiPs and drive up onto the sidewalk, completely blocking it. Turns out he was the only person violating the law at this particular time and place.
More once I get a snazzy name for the new blog.