Economist Digest, May 23, 2020

I’m doing it.  I’m publishing a semi-regular digest of The Economist, as least during quar and semi-quar times.  This is a public service I can provide with joy.  So rare to find those opportunities, we must seize them.

Truly, only about one in four issues of The Economist really sinks in with me.  More than that, well, it’s just too much information!  The problem of our times.  I don’t know how editor Zaddy Bellowes does it!  Can she really read this whole thing, every week?  And truly comprehend it?

Copyright by World Economic Forum Monika Flueckiger. This was taken at Davos, duh.

Same Q for David Remnick of The New Yorker.  What a run!  A pretty good magazine, every single week!

From this week we learn:

  • Mexico’s President, AMLO, truly loves PEMEX, the state oil company.

Instead, he finds beauty in oil wells.  He is openly nostalgic for the days when Pemex, the state oil company, was the engine of Mexico’s prosperity… he has promised $15 billion worth of aid to the company.

Worth noting that an oil company like Exxon Mobil is competing with the force of entire nations.  $15 billion extra to PEMEX, how much is that by comparison?  Well Exxon spends about $240 billion in a year.  So not a drop in the bucket, exactly, but not nothing.

  • How about this?

“He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be president.”

Joe Biden?  No, FDR, to whom Lexington compares the former VP in their column.  That description from an unnamed contemporary commentator.

“It’s striking how much time Joe is devoting to governing,” says Senator Chris Coons of Delaware, a Biden confident.

Really?  What does that even mean?  I saw Joe Biden on a fundraising Zoom the other day, he was chilling out in what looked like his living room.  The Economist seems bullish on Joe, who’s having a good pandemic.


  • from a piece about increased efficiency in solar panels (buy desert real estate, people!)

The amount of energy in artificial lighting is vastly less than that in sunshine. Nevertheless, dr. Brown and Dr. Fahlteich have found, according to a paper they published this month in Cell Reports Physical Science, that their cells can achieve a conversion efficiency of up to 22.6%, thereby producing enough juice to run small, low-power devices like wireless sensors and remote-control units, which would otherwise require batteries.

Though it may seem odd to turn artificial, indoor lighting into electrify, given that it has been created from electricity in the first place, the truth is that all such light which does not end up entering a human eye is wasted.

  • Israel.  I’ve saved a lot of time in my life by just staying out of arguments about Israel.  What could I possibly offer?  Look at the complexity of this map:

Consider the size of what we’re looking at here when compared to, say, LA:

  • and finally, from an obituary for Little Richard:

“Goog Golly Miss Molly” was something is old toothless Aunt Lulu said when they put marijuana in her tobacco pipe