Gongol.com Archives: September 2014

Brian Gongol

September 16, 2014

News If you leave me now...
The emotional tug-of-war that looms over the Scottish independence vote is pretty significant. From an economic perspective, an independent Scotland is probably going to have a tougher time -- as a smaller and less diverse economy than the UK as a whole, it's going to have wider natural swings between boom and bust, without the benefit of a highly credible central bank like the Bank of England to provide a counterweight. That doesn't mean it's set for failure -- plenty of smaller countries already exist, and Scotland has the benefit of substantial oil wealth at its disposal. That oil-related income helps give Scotland a higher per-capita GDP than the rest of the UK, but those oil riches can be severely deceiving if they're not wisely converted into durable wealth. Many a nation has fallen into the natural-resources trap: Living off a non-renewable natural resource boom without investing heavily in the things that drive growth for a future without it. Could they learn all of the right lessons from the Celtic Tiger without making the same mistakes as Ireland?

Aviation News Boeing and SpaceX will be carrying NASA's astronauts to space in 2017
There's nothing wrong with the government contracting out for services like this -- the only problem is that they waited so very long to actually get an arrangement in place, when everybody knew we were going to retire the Space Shuttle program in 2011. It would have been wise to have had a new program in place to pick up the baton without such a huge gap in between.

Business and Finance How bank capitalization rules could raise your home heating bill
RBC, for instance, sold hedges to buyer groups (including the one that serves Omaha's MUD and the Cedar Falls Utilities), and now it says it needs out to comply with Basel III

Science and Technology Material absorbs 99.96% of incoming light
That makes it the most impossibly black thing humans have made

News Adult autograph hounds ruin it for kids

Business and Finance Marriott's launching a campaign to tip the housekeeping staff
A lot of travelers don't even know it's an expectation

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