Month: December 2009

Tuesday

Do-It-Yourself Energy Drink

Energy drinks are the younger generation’s beverage. I enjoy ’em, but they’re expensive, are packed with sugar, lead to a later crash, and (I suspect) mess with your brain by overloading it (more than once, I think my brain has operated at a deficient level a few hours after drinking an energy drink). I limit myself to two or three a week, but I still question the prudence of drinking them at all.

I now might be putting them aside altogether. During my annual jaunt to Wal-Mart to shop for Christmas presents, I ran across these: Lipton Energize Ice Tea Mix. I bought two boxes and started experimenting. After about four bottles, I think I’ve come up with a good solution: I empty the packet into an empty plastic water bottle, fill it with water, add a little honey and cinnamon (for these potential benefits), and chill it. For about 25 cents (20 cents for the packet, 5 cents worth of honey and cinnamon), I get a half-cup of coffee, vitamins, and other good stuff . . . with a little of the energy-drink stuff like ginseng. So far, I’m really digging it. … Read the rest

Monday

Return to the Gold Standard?

When it comes to a return to the gold standard, my newest favorite financial writer, Randall Forsyth, vehemently disagrees with my older favorite financial writers, like Rothbard and, to some extent, Allan Meltzer (though Meltzer says the gold standard could work for the U.S. only if the rest of the world adopted it as well). Forsyth derides the idea. I tend to side with the Rothbardians on this, but my knowledge of the matter is only a scintilla of Forsyth’s so I won’t endeavor to dispute his points.

I like reading people like Forsyth because he’s clearly a writer of honesty and goodwill . . . and he ain’t no Keynesian. If you want to see an honest account of the gold standard arguments, by a guy who then attempts to refute them, check the article.

Sloppy Science, Episode 1,009,992

One of my newest regular reads, Mangan, points out that, though he has little doubt that cigarette smoking is bad for you, the anti-smoking science is much weaker than people suppose: The Scientific Scandal of Anti-Smoking.

While the process of inhaling smoke that contains hundreds of carcinogenic chemicals, hundreds of times daily over a period of decades, seems intuitively bad for health, selection effects may account for much or most of the damaging effects of cigarettes. Simply put, smokers are presumably also those with lower IQ, greater impulsivity,

Read the rest

Bernanke in Doubt?

But he’s the Time Man Person of the Year!? Skies darken for Ben Bernanke nomination.

Six Republicans and one Democrat on the Senate Banking Committee voted Thursday against Ben Bernanke’s nomination to a second four-year term as chairman of the Federal Reserve — signaling to some Fed watchers that President Barack Obama’s pick could be in more trouble than previously thought.

Unrelated: Also worth reading from The Economist: The recession was less calamitous than many feared. Its aftermath will be more dangerous than many expect.… Read the rest

Thursday

PD*11388171Dispatches from Extreme Economics

Should we start looking for weapons of mass destruction again? “Remember all that pooh-poohing when the gulf states were talking about their own currency? About how silly that would be? That it would never happen? Yeah well, sort of looks like it might.” (Link to underlying article.)

Such a development would be terrible for the U.S. Right now, the gulf states accept the American dollar as a means of settling accounts, hence those dollars have a lot of value in the petroleum markets. If the dollar loses that exclusive status, its value in those markets drops. If it eventually loses settling value altogether, its value in those markets becomes no more valuable than any other currency.

Keep in mind: Money is psychological. It has value because people value it. Everyone knows the world is grumbling about the U.S. dollar and its preferred status as the world’s reserve currency, but no one has taken concrete steps to move away from it. If this gulf currency comes into existence, that could be the first concrete step, which could lead to a domino effect, which would mean those trillions of dollars in the world could pour back into the United States . . . in the form of redemptions. And how would they redeem those dollars? By buying our stuff: Our land (try to hunt quail in Kansas these days; you’ll learn … Read the rest