Sunday nightCap

Buying a Porsche 911? Think again..

Daily Trivia

Apodemus_sylvaticus_bosmuis

Glucose (sugar) has an opposite “handed” isomer L-glucose, that tastes identical and isn’t metabolized as sugar, also safe for diabetics. Unfortunately, L-glucose costs 50% more than gold. (source)   Read more »

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1956 clip: how they used to make cricket balls

One leg? No problem

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Easter Video of the Day

Whaleoil Backchat

Welcome to the daily Whaleoil Backchat – posted at 6:30 pm every day.

This post is like an end-of-day General Debate post.

Bottom up rebellion

Why isn’t New Zealand richer and more productive?

It is a question worth asking and thinking about

Here is a new study from the New Zealand Productivity Commission, and here is the basic puzzle:

Based on its policy settings, the authors estimate that New Zealand’s GDP per capita should be 20% above the OECD average. But it is actually over 20% below average, making New Zealand a clear outlier. The size of the gap indicates an apparent “productivity paradox” that costs more than 40 cents in every dollar of output.

Here is one problem:

The increasing importance of global value chains – where production activities are spread across countries – may have worsened the impact of New Zealand’s geographic isolation on trade in goods.  Because global value chains typically require intensive interaction and just-in-time delivery, they tend to be regionally based. For New Zealand, international transportation costs for goods are about twice as high as in Europe. This reduces access to large markets and the scope for participation in global value chains , where the transfer of advanced technologies now often occurs.

More generally, the “gravity equation” — also known as distance — makes it harder for New Zealand to trade with the rest of the world.

Read more »

Kevin Rudd vs Helen Clark for the top UN job

How entertaining. Two massive megalomaniacs fighting each other out for the top global government role.

Former foreign minister Bob Carr believes the United Nations could do with a dose of Kevin Rudd’s “legendary forcefulness”.

There has been some speculation the former prime minister covets the UN secretary general gig.

The incumbent Ban Ki-moon finishes his second term in 2016.

While spruiking his memoir at a Sydney bookstore on Saturday, Mr Carr said Mr Rudd had his support.

“He would be a very strong, credible candidate,” Mr Carr said. “It would be the most natural thing in the world for him to stand.”

The race was wide open.

“I think the forcefulness Kevin showed sometimes in selling a case might be considered by some in the UN as an advantage,” Mr Carr said.

A lot of members of the UN general assembly liked Mr Rudd’s agenda and Australia’s international personality.

Hopefully they attack each others campaigns. That will be worth a big bucket of popcorn.   Read more »