No more cheap oil

There’s an article in Rolling Stone magazine about the end of cheap oil:The Long Emergency. It explains why the world will soon reach its peak production of oil. After that point, oil prices can only increase, since remaining supplies will be harder and harder to reach.

The United States passed its own oil peak — about 11 million barrels a day — in 1970, and since then production has dropped steadily. In 2004 it ran just above 5 million barrels a day (we get a tad more from natural-gas condensates). Yet we consume roughly 20 million barrels a day now. That means we have to import about two-thirds of our oil, and the ratio will continue to worsen.

On the web, nobody can know you’re a dog

A new study from the University of Chicago analyzes online dating: What Makes You Click?(pdf). They found that even online, you can never be too thin or too rich.

There was a strong Lake Wobegon effect in the data, with only 1% […] admitting to having “less than average” looks. […] The reported weights of the women were substantially less than national averages and about 30 percent were blonde.

What are people looking for? The most important variable, for both men and women, is looks. Furthermore, posting a photo is a big help: women who post photos receive about twice as many e-mail messages as those who do not, even when they report that they have “average looks.”

Having a lot of money is good for attracting e-mail messages, at least for men. Those men reporting incomes in excess of $250,000 received 156 percent more e-mail messages than those with incomes below $50,000.

IBM licences the Cell chip

IBM has licenced their Cell processor to Mercury Computer Systems for use outside of gaming consoles. IBM Makes Progress On Cell Chip Strategy: “Mercury Computer Systems will use the Cell chips in computers that it makes for the medical imaging, defense, and seismic processing markets.”

A Giant Step for IBM’s New Chip: “Analyst Rick Doherty of tech market researcher Envisioneering Group believes IBM has a chance to address at least one-third of the $3 billion market for embedded chips over time.”

How I learned to stop worrying and love the bubble

In Bubble Over Troubled Waters Daniel Gross attributes much of the recovery in the U.S. economy to a real estate bubble.

Employment in housing and related industries […] accounted for about 43% of the increase in private sector payrolls since the economic recovery began in November 2001.

But the Gross concludes that on the whole, stimulating the housing market (even to the point of creating a bubble) is not a bad way of sustaining the economy.

Almost by definition, spending on housing and housing-related goods tends to stay in-country. Even better, housing-related spending spreads riches more evenly throughout the economy than, say, investment in stocks.