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Official Media Misinformation

John Avlon is a CNN Contributor, which is what CNN calls the ‘pundits’ they have on their staff. He has written a ‘centrist’ op-ed: Beware the fiscal cliff deniers.

An editor included these STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • John Avlon says a combination of tax increases, budget cuts could harm economy
  • He says the fiscal cliff is being minimized by partisans on left and the right
  • Newt Gingrich, Paul Krugman among those saying a deal to avert cliff isn’t urgent
  • Avlon: This is the kind of extreme thinking that led the U.S. to lose its AAA credit rating

Avlon is not an economist. He has an MBA from Columbia, but has worked as speech writer for Rudy Giuliani and other writing jobs, not in business. His association with Giuliani is apparently enough to qualify him to have space on CNN’s front page.

There is no ‘cliff’. The changes will take months to even be felt. The return to Clinton tax rates will have minimal effect on the economy, as has been studied and shown by multiple groups, including the CBO. The budget cuts will affect the economy, and will force the US back into recession, as we already know from watching the effects of similar cuts in Europe.

It isn’t impossible for two people as politically separate Gingrinch and Krugman to agree on things, especially if what they are agreeing on is factually true. The so-called ‘cliff’ was a creature of politicians, and most of their creatures are mythological.

The level of Avlon’s knowledge is on display in his reference to the downgrading of the bond rating of the US. That action has had absolutely no effect at all. So many people want US bonds that some of them have negative interest rates, i.e. they are paying the US to take their money. Maybe we should have applied for a downgrade years ago. 😈

The problem for Avlon and other centrists is that if no deal is reached and nothing bad happens, people will figure out that they are ‘false prophets’ and should be driven from the land. Avlon doesn’t offer a plan, or even an outline of how to ‘fix’ things, he just wants a deal so that he can continue his cushy job by claiming that he was ‘right’. He shouldn’t worry, pundits never actually pay a price for being wrong.

December 4, 2012   2 Comments

The Answer To A Burning Question

The BBC magazine did to the work to find out How tall can a Lego tower get?

The average maximum force the bricks can stand is 4,240N. That’s equivalent to a mass of 432kg (950lbs). If you divide that by the mass of a single brick, which is 1.152g, then you get the grand total of bricks a single piece of Lego could support: 375,000.

So, 375,000 bricks towering 3.5km (2.17 miles) high is what it would take to break a Lego brick.

Anyone who has stepped on a Lego brick knows they don’t break easily [and hurt like hell if you aren’t wearing shoes]. That just accounts for the downward force, and any lateral pressure would topple the single stack before you needed a ladder to add bricks to the top.

I know someone who literally has a ton of Lego bricks that represent his father’s collection, and then additions by various relatives. He does create rather large structures.

December 4, 2012   34 Comments