Friday, August 5, 2011

S&P downgrades America's credit rating

Regarding the S&P downgrade of America's credit rating...

Understandable: blame the politicians
Predictable: blame the republicans
Adolescent: blame the messanger (S&P)
Ultimately: blame ourselves

Are we looking at the failure of democracy, where we vote ourselves unsustainable largesse until the system crashes?

Quoting FT Alphaville...

Indeed, the Federal Reserve announced late on Friday that risk weightings would not be affected. Not much surprise there.

It’s all about the collateral, and the deposit crisis, remember.

The US is still, of course, rated AAA by Fitch and Moody’s — the good and the bad to S&P’s ugly. A split rating should mean fewer knock-on impacts. And as Martin Wolf always tells us — and anyone within earshot — credit rating agencies provide absolutely zero new information about US treasuries. It’s the linkages and the contagion (the horror! the horror!) that matter.

Therefore, we guarantee some European-style political bloviation, especially given the palaver over the maths, but the tangible impact remains unclear.

Still, feels like a big deal, no?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Link: Drones, and the future of war

Link: The DIY Terminator: Private Robot Armies And The Algorithm-Run Future Of War

[...] as the tech becomes more democratized and more deadly, what happens when anyone can assemble an army of killing machines?

Text, in an emergency

Headline: Durham 911 now accepting text messages

That's great news. I've long thought that emergency officials, Red Cross and other disaster responders should educate people to text rather than voice call, in emergencies. Whenever an emergency strikes, the first thing everybody does is overload the phone lines and cel towers with traffic; a disaster in NYC means the entire world places a call to NYC at the same time.

Make reliable short messaging a priority, when voice traffic far exceeds capacity, and far more people will be able to contact emergency services or loved ones, during a crisis.