The Energy Election

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Blessed by Pope Francis, the drive to wipe out fossil fuels, notes activist Bill McKibben, now has “the wind in its sails.” Setting aside the bizarre alliance of the Roman Catholic Church with secularists such as McKibben, who favor severe limits of family size as an environmental imperative, this  read more »

Providing Electricity to Africa by 2050

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How many Africans will have access to electricity by 2050?

According to the World Bank’s latest figures, 64.6% of the population of sub-Saharan Africa lacked access to electricity in 2012, or a total of 572 million people. Across the world, 1.09 billion have no access to electricity. So, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for more than half the total.  read more »

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New Report: Putting People First

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This is the abstract from a new report “Putting People First: An Alternative Perspective with an Evaluation of the NCE Cities ‘Trillion Dollar’ Report,” authored by Wendell Cox and published by the Center for Opportunity Urbanism. Download the full report (pdf) here.

A fundamental function of domestic policy is to facilitate better standards of living and minimize poverty. Yet favored urban planning policies, called "urban containment" or "smart growth," have been shown to drive the price of housing up, significantly reducing discretionary incomes, which necessarily reduces the standard of living and increases poverty.  read more »

China’s Planned City Bubble Is About to Pop—and Even You’ll Feel It

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Seven years after the last housing debacle devastated the world economy, we may be on the verge of another, albeit different, bubble. If the last real estate collapse was created due to insanely easy lending policies aimed at the middle and working classes, the current one has its roots largely in a regime of cheap money married to policies of planners who believe that they can shape the urban future from above.  read more »

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Recent Growth and Decline of Children in Major Metropolitan Areas

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That America has an aging population is well known. Estimates data released this summer by the Census Bureau illustrate this transition in progress – and paint a picture of an actual shrinking number of children in many major American metro areas.  read more »

China Catches Cold: What That Means For The Rest Of Us

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For the last century, one enduring cliché has been that when America sneezes, the world catches a cold. But now the big power with the sniffles is China.

China’s rise has been the most profound development of the past half century, turning a moribund, rural country into a highly urbanized economic superpower. Hundreds of millions have been lifted out of poverty, and markets around the world reshaped. China alone accounted for a whopping 24.1% of global economic growth from 2003 to 2013. according to the IMF.  read more »

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Race, Ancestry, and Genetic Composition of the U.S.

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Race and ancestry, or countries/peoples of origin, are popular topics, with large amounts of data attempting to help us understand the ethnic nature of the country. In this paper I attempt a summary description of the intersections of race, ancestry, and genome, at the state level, but I hasten to emphasize that the “findings” are tentative, highly uncertain, and based on astoundingly unreliable data. I hope some readers may point the way to better data or safer interpretations.  read more »

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500 Years of GDP: A Tale of Two Countries

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Last year (2014), China overtook the United States in gross domestic product adjusted for purchasing power (GDP-PPP, see point 4 for explanation), according to both the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank (Note 1).  read more »

Becoming America the Not-So-Beautiful

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“They don’t know history, but they are making it. But what are they making?”

– Victor Serge, “The Conquered City,” 1932

In contrast to the physical sciences, and even other social sciences, the study of history is, by nature, subjective. There is no real mathematical formula to assess the past. It is more an art, or artifice, than a science.  read more »

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Low Hanging Fruit

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As a San Franciscan I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I mention that I recently bought property in Cincinnati. “Huh?” Then I walk them through it. Here’s the mom and pop business district along Hamilton Avenue in the Northside neighborhood during a recent Summer Streets event. This is a classic 1890’s Norman Rockwell Main Street with a hardware store, a Carnegie library, barbers, cafes, bars, funky little shops, and seriously good architectural bones.  read more »