If only we could make productivity growth perpetual
Labor productivity grew at an annualized rate of 8.1% in the 3rd quarter of this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Fewer hours were worked, and lots more was done during those hours. If we could indefinitely keep up an 8% rate of increase in productivity, virtually all of today's economic problems and many of the pending ones (like the massive Federal debt and ongoing obligations like Medicare that wait like a time bomb) could be wiped away amid the productivity gains. Alas, the chances of that are quite slim.
Google confirms it's moving into the energy business
It's been obvious since at least November 2007 that Google was going to start shifting some of its cash into the energy business, since it's one of the company's main expenses (besides computers and people). Moreover, Google is undoubtedly reaching the stage where it can no longer expect to expand its gains in Internet businesses indefinitely. There's only so much advertising money to be milked from the Internet, and if the company is going to keep on growing, it's going to have to put some of that money to use in different industries. Energy production may simply be the first of those new industries.
DARPA plans to test social networking
They're offering a contest to see just how well-networked Americans are, using hidden balloons all over the country.
GM board chair fires CEO, hires himself
Things aren't looking good for General Motors in the long term. But to have the board kick out the sitting CEO and replace him with the sitting board chair doesn't really live up to expectations that a board should act as an independent body with the responsibility to review and supervise the work of management. When the interests of senior management and the board are too much alike (or, in this case, identical), the board really can't do its job as the representative body for the shareholders. And since the shareholders in GM are the American taxpayers, the situation really has gone sour. Related: Mitt Romney is undoubtedly planning another run for the White House in 2012. If he decides to run as the free-market business conservative that he should have been in 2008 instead of the guy who tried to win the favor of the social conservatives who weren't going to back him anyway because of his religion, then he might very well have a shot.
Britain's re-thinking rules for listing criminal details on websites
In part, the government there wants to expand the online publication of convictions -- but they seem quite unsure how to keep those records from staying up forever. Of course, it's obvious that once anything lands on the Internet and is picked up by a robot search (like what Google uses to search the Web), it's quite likely already been preserved for posterity -- no matter what the rules on expunging the official record may be.
Some criticisms of vertical farming
The idea that farms could be built inside urban skyscrapers -- like a huge stack of Aerogardens -- is simultaneously far-fetched and surprisingly close to becoming a reality. But there's also a case to be made for simply growing more food in urban and suburban gardens at a deep discount to the cost of building a skyscraper for tomatoes.
A rotating kitchen. But not around the expected axis.