Rafe’s Roundup 6 August

International politics. Look out for the Tartars! Remember the old saying, scratch a Russian and you find a tartar!

Culture. Spectator Culture House. New York Review of Books.

Climate. Roundup from the Global Warming Policy Forum. Adjusting the temperature records.

Even though the satellites of RSS and UAH are watching, all three of the terrestrial record-keepers have tampered with their datasets to nudge the apparent warming rate upward yet again. There have now been so many adjustments with so little justification – nearly all of them calculated to steepen the apparent rate of warming – that between a third and a fifth of the entire warming of the 20th century arises solely from the adjustments, which ought to have been in the opposite direction because, as McKitrick & Michaels showed in a still-unchallenged 2007 paper, the overland warming in the datasets over recent decades is twice what actually occurred.

Economics. Trouble in the Chinese paradise. Ghost cities and an interesting account of “land revenue” financing by regional governments.

By 2010, local governments were responsible for 82.2 % of fiscal expenditures, while the central state took in just over half of all 13 government revenue (DRCSC 2012, 6). In order to remedy the imbalance between increasing expenditures and shrinking funds, local governments came to rely excessively on land-generated finances as a main revenue stream…Urban governance and management has thus been transformed steadily into a form of “urban business management”… in which the state appropriates farm land at relatively low compensation prices, sells that land to developers for a much higher price, and gains access to additional revenue through taxing the process (DRCSC 2012, 7). Indeed, “local government’s financial structure excessively depends on land revenue” (DRCSC 2012, 8) – in 2010, local governments’ income from land-transfer fees was 2.911 Trillion RMB, equivalent to 71.7% of their general budget revenue.

Tartar special. Volga Tatars. Tartaric acid. HMS Tartar. Tartar sauce, not to be confused with cream of tartar or Tardar sauce. Tartar Island in the Antarctic is a designated Important Bird Area (IBA) by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 18,000 pairs of chinstrap penguins. Guided missile control system. Tartar, Switzerland; “has an area of 0.62 sq miles with 51.9% used for agricultural purposes, 38% is forested, 8.2% is settled (buildings or roads) and 1.9% is non-productive rivers, glaciers or mountains” (I think they mean “and mountains”).

For nerds. Melvyn Bragg’s radio program. Stephen Hicks, always interesting for nerds. See his series of interviews with entrepreneurs.

The electrical engineering world. Cute machine laying railway lines.

The Lighthouse.

Robert Higgs and the Economic Case against GDP
Why Clinton and Krugman Are Wrong on Wage Policy
Obamacare’s Chief Legal Advocate: John Roberts
Prop 13: Defending Property Owners from Onerous Tax Hikes
New Blog Posts
Selected News Alerts

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3 Responses to Rafe’s Roundup 6 August

  1. JakartaJaap

    ‘…we’ve caught a bloody Tartar, At every kind of bastardry, this bastard is a starter…’ said the Captain of the Push.

  2. Rafe

    A bit more about the Captain of the Push. A Henry Lawson poem that was not printable at the time.

  3. Jim Rose

    thanks for the links

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