The wind of change is blowing, but for once, that change might be affecting the wind.
Wind, often championed as a viable alternative-energy source in the United Kingdom, might not be as energy efficient as it was once thought to be. Independent reports of the wind-energy efforts in the UK “have consistently revealed an industry plagued by high construction and maintenance costs, highly volatile reliability and a voracious appetite for taxpayer subsidies.” read more »
Consider the tax credits for alternative fuels such as ethanol and biomass that were rolled into the 2005 Transportation Law to encourage energy independence. At the same time, re-consider the law of unintended consequences, enshrined in Adam Smith’s notion that the unregulated behavior of capitalists gives rise to an invisible hand “to promote an end which was no part of their intention.”
The tax law included a fifty-cent-a-gallon credit for the use of fuel mixtures that combined "alternative fuel" with a "taxable fuel" such as diesel or gasoline. read more »
Here's some great maps of our annual Best Cities Rankings created by Robert Morton at Tableau Software. Robert used their software tool to plot a color coded point for each city in the rankings by size group, and immediate geographic patterns emerge: read more »
Austin fared very well on this year's Best Cities Rankings, and here's another interesting indicator of the difference in migration between Austin and San Francisco:
"When comparing California with Texas, U-Haul says it all. To rent a 26-foot truck oneway from San Francisco to Austin, the charge is $3,236, and yet the one-way charge for that same truck from Austin to San Francisco is just $399. Clearly what is happening is that far more people want to move from San Francisco to Austin than vice versa, so U-Haul has to pay its own employees to drive the empty trucks back from Texas." read more »
In the weeks leading up to the tepid re-election of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa last month, Bill Bratton, the statistics-driven chief of the Los Angeles Police Department, appeared on TV in a political advertisement paid for by the Villaraigosa campaign. He cited a seemingly amazing figure about this city’s livability.
“Crime is down to levels of the 1950s,” said a confident-looking Bratton, who wore a black jacket and dark tie as he sat in an office conference room with downtown views. read more »
If you are going to San Francisco, be sure to say hello to mom, dad, and maybe your best friend from third grade.
California has traditionally been a land of migrants from around the country and around the world, but for the first time in the state’s history, the majority of California residents are native-born. read more »
Billionaire investor, Warren Buffett, is hosting the Berkshire Hathaway shareholder meeting “Capitalist Woodstock” in Omaha this weekend. Every news truck this side of Kansas City has been moved into town to cover the event. read more »
Jo Becker and Gretchen Morgenson (she reported on the lack of mortgages behind mortgage-backed securities) did a long piece on Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner in the New York Times. read more »