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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

PARTIAL STATE OF THE WORLD AT THE BEGINNING OF 2010

Part B of "Santa Claus versus God" will appear later this week...maybe even tomorrow. For today, I felt like providing a few interesting facts and developments in the spirit of my books. But first, I should mention that The Huffington Post today published an updated version of my January 2 posting on "There is Something About Thorium."



1. China Requires Utilities to Buy All the Electricity Generated By Renewable Energy Companies. That drawing of a blue dragon came from the article. I'm a dragon and I collect blue dragons. Anyway, wouldn't it be something if the USA passes this type of legislation?

2. The above from The Economist shows that Europe is not working, an apt pun (the right side gets cut off, so, to be more complete: Hungary--10.5%, Britain--10%, Italy--9.4%, Netherlands--6.2%). The U.S. unemployment rate is at 10%, but is still expected to edge up until mid-year. Yet, we're not doing too badly compared to the Continent.


3. On the other hand, our stock market (+19% for the Dow Jones Industrials) did not increase as much in 2009 as many others around the world. In 2008, the DJI fell 49%.


4.Why is President Obama and the U.S. Congress plunging into an flawed health plan hated by a majority of Americans? Well, the above comparative bar graph from The Economist shows one big reason. All the countries above, save for the USA, have a national health plan. The bill the President will sign is imperfect, but will hopefully improve over time. Both Social Security and Medicare were not particularly popular when enacted, were improved over time, and now, we can't live without them.


5. To the right is a box for gasoline prices. When you click on the line following "Enter a State," you find that the U.S. average today is $2.95/gallon for premium gas.

This is a line chart showing the weekly retail premium motor gasoline  prices, including taxes, for the last 13 months in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, United Kingdom, and United States. The data for this chart are included in the html and spreadsheet files available by clicking on html or xls & No directly below the chart.

Those lines are hard to decipher, but the average for Europe is about $7/gallon. HOWEVER, TIME MAGAZINE ON 7DECEMBER09 REPORTED THAT, COUNTING CURRENT WAR COSTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST, THE PRICE OF A GALLON OF GAS SHOULD REALLY BE $45/GALLON.

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The Dow Jones Industrials dropped 15 to 10,569, while world markets were mostly up. Gold fell $2/toz to $1120 and crude oil is just under $82/barrel.

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