Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Weather Stray Tidbits Plus Robots & Oligarchical Empire, Paul Krugman-Style

CORRECTED 817PM 12/28/2012: See below.
Updated 930AM 12/11/2012: See below.

Embassy of Kazakhstan at 1401 16th Street NW, Washington, D.C., 2:42PM, December 7, 2012.

No, the picture has nothing to do with this entry -- I just wanted to post it.

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I brought the computer home tonight and so I can post a (not so quick) entry. After this posting, I will probably not update the blog with a regular entry until Thursday night or even possibly over the weekend, though of course I plan to post my usual Friday night musical interlude.

My Monday started out in a deep and deeply tired depressive state, and I felt dreadful en route to work on the Metro and when I first got there.

Worse still, one of the two fluorescent "U-bend" lamps -- sorta like the ones pictures here -- in the recessed fixture directly over my cubicle that has been blessedly out for months had been REPLACED in the 6 minutes or so that it took me to go to the little deli downstairs to get an egg-and-cheese on toasted plain bagle.

I got back and it was all doubly glaring bright.

YOU B!TCH!

Considering some of the work I do, it is quite IRONICAL that these Sylvania U-bend lamps above my cubicle are made in Canada.

But the day actually went well, or at least quickly and quietly, and I finished (more or less) editing that giant report on the proceedings of a conference on surveying and modeling wildlife species in areas that could some day be locations for large offshore breaking wind farms.

BTW, the phrase "waters of the United States" is such an incredibly legally loaded term -- especially onshore.

As for tonight, I went to the YMCA and spent about 3 hours there -- elliptical, treadmill, hour with my personal trainer on various weight equipment, and then into the pool.

Alas, while I am 20 pounds lower than in mid-June, I am still somewhat flabby in a bad-jiggly way. Thus, I won't be shirtless up on a box at Town anytime soon.

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Green LED lights in the 1800 block of T Street NW, Washington, D.C., 10:20PM, Dec. 9, 2012.

I think they were blue along this spot last year.

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A few other items ...

A cold front crossing the region tonight sort of washed out, or rather, the dynamics of it did and the rainfall just disappeared as it moved east of the Appalachians and there was really no appreciable rainfall this Monday. However, the wind has suddenly picked up at the 1AM hour now that the front is through.

Sterling LWX radar in enhanced base mode reflectivity, 12:24AM EST, Dec. 11, 2012 showing pretty much nothing.

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Sunday's final rainfall stats at the three regional airport climate stations were: 0.14" at KDCA, 0.19" at KBWI, and 0.16" at KIAD. On Monday, KDCA added another 0.01" but both KBWI and KIAD had nothing measurable. So the year-to-date stats through Dec. 10th, 2012 are:

KDCA: 29.64"
-8.13" (37.77")

KBWI: 34.55"
-5.14" (39.69")

KIAD: 32.94"
-6.73" (39.67")

UPDATED 930AM 12/11/2012: It actually managed to rain between 2AM and 4AM across the region.

KBWI had another 0.09" while KDCA had 0.07" and KIAD just 0.01". The fact we had any additional rain surprises me.

Temperature-wise, the month is OF COURSE globally-warmed WAY above normal.

UDPATED through Monday, Dec. 10th, 2012 we have:

KDCA: +7.6F at 50.1F
KBWI: +8.1F at 47.6F
KIAD: +8.6F at 48.0F (CORRECTED)

CORRECTED 8:17PM 12/28/2012 for warmest December on record in Washington, D.C.

For reference later this month, the warmest entire December on record at KDCA was 45.6F and it occurred in 1984.45.5F and it occurred on three separate occasions: 1971, 1982 and 2001. Thus, all three are records at the same airport recording station. See here.

More seasonable weather is forecasted tomorrow but no precip. until at least the weekend -- and NO real cold air in sight.

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Robots and Oligarchical Empire, Krugman-Style

Lastly, I want to return to the topic that Paul Krugman wrote about in his recent blog entries that I mentioned in my previous entry.

Krugman used his twice-weekly regular New York Times print edition column on Monday with the (intentionally) Asimovian-sounding headline "Robots and Robber Barons" -- available online here -- and a same day follow-up blog entry to discuss the whole issue of whether technological automation or predatory robber baron capitalism (i.e., excessive monopoly power by corporations) is undermining the American working class.


Here is a key curve from the blog entry showing output versus employment as a function of original and new technologies. Technology A is less capital-biased than Technology B.  

The key point he writes:

"What we've just seen, then, is that the effect of technological progress on wages depends on the bias of the progress; if it's capital-biased (Technology B), workers won't share fully in productivity gains, and if it's strongly enough capital-biased, they can actually be made worse off."

Krugman writes that at this point, we just don't know which effect  is paramount in explaining a situation of a swiftly declining labor share of gross domestic income vis-a-vis capital's rapidly rising profits even as interest rates are at the lower zero bound (negative real rates).

It may be Bain Capital style vulture capitalism or perhaps capital-biased technology -- or some combination.

Concerning the technology -- i.e., the "robot" -- side, he writes in his op-ed:

"For example, one of the reasons some high-technology manufacturing has lately been moving back to the United States is that these days the most valuable piece of a computer, the mother- board, is basically made by robots, so cheap Asian labor is no longer a reason to produce them abroad."

Oh, yes, and check out Krugman's blog entry on Mary Matalin following her hissy fit at him on This Week on Sunday.

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OK, that's all for now. My next planned regular update will not be until either Thursday or Friday night.

--Regulus

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