BRIEFLY NOTED: For 2021-09-10 Fr


Ever since the days of Alexander Hamilton, investors have regarded the debt of the U.S. government as a very valuable and safe asset. In all but rare and exceptional times, the only return return debt purchasers and holders have demanded from the U.S. government is that it maintain the real value of the wealth they have entrusted to it. The U.S. government should invest this wealth wisely and prudently, yes, in the highest societal-value projects, yes. But the main consideration and the bottom line is that—except in the 1870s and 1880s, and in the 1980s—the U.S. government has never faced a debt-financing constraint as long as long as its investments yield any possible positive return in the form of additional taxes collected downstream at all. Worried that this may change in the future if interest rates rise sharply? Then issue inflation-adjusted consols, and lock in real debt payments permanently:

Barry EichengreenThe Coming Public Debt Scare Should Not Spook U.S. Policymakers from Investing in Physical & Social Infrastructure: ‘[In our] In Defense of Public Debt, my co-authors and I show how governments, through the ages, have resorted to issuing public debt to meet emergencies and address pressing social needs…. My co-authors and I argue [that] expenditure restraints that limit the U.S. economy’s capacity to grow would be counterproductive from even the narrow standpoint of debt sustainability…. Do our nation’s infrastructure problems rise to the level of a national emergency? Some answer yes, on the grounds that our physical infrastructure is old, dangerously vulnerable to climate change, and inadequately green and digital. A significant minority in the U.S. Senate insists otherwise…. One way of adjudicating the dispute is to ask whether additional infrastructure investments will pay for themselves…. We really should be comparing apples with apples—real returns with real returns. Currently… any investment that yields a positive real return is effectively self-financing…

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Paul CamposThe Sociopathic Style in American Politics: ‘This is quite literally their position. People should be free to acquire and transmit to others a deadly and extremely communicable virus… even though this catastrophe could be avoided completely if people chose to take a free and safe vaccine. Furthermore, it’s morally wrong for the government to engage in even the mildest coercion to nudge people toward getting vaccinated, because such coercion interferes with individual liberty…. The sacral status of Individual Liberty requires allowing countless individual choices to wreck the ecosphere via what economists refer to primly as the failure to take into account unpriced externalities, while elementary schools are shot up by semi-automatic weapons, and millions of Americans have no income other than food stamps, even as multi-billionaires rig the tax code ever-more in the favor, because that what Freedom means, according to the Constitution or the Bible or possibly both…. You’re Not the Boss of Me is not a sustainable basis for even the most tenuous society…. The apparent contradiction between the sociopathic style and the authoritarian personality is resolved easily enough when we remember that, to those who long to make America great again, freedom means freedom for me and not for you…. Sincere engagement with the nation’s right wing in general and the Republican party in particular is about as advisable as going on a blind date with Ted Bundy. And the otherwise inexplicably bizarre reaction of these people to even the mildest vaccine mandates makes perfect sense when we remember who we are actually dealing with… 

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BBC Click: Inside The Worlds Largest Semiconductor Factory <>:

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Very Briefly Noted:

Twitter avatar for @Bob_WachterBob Wachter @Bob_Wachter
My practice: cloth-over-surgical for low-risk situations (brief shopping, or longer in indoor space where everybody's masked & most are vaxxed). Very good protection.… N95: longer &/or riskier situations (long flight) –bit better protection but less comfy.

Gordon Mohr ꧁👁👁꧂ @gojomo

@WanderingGirl10 @Bob_Wachter @nytimes @taraparkerpope 1/ he’s previously mentioned his double masking is “cloth/surgical” – 2/ cloth/surgical both pretty weak, &amp; thus 2x’ing could make sense *if* N95s not available, &amp; cloth-over-surgical has been studied as better than either cloth or surgical alone, BUT…
  • Eric TopolThis is very hard to watch. Nearly 90,000 US hospitalizations, still accruing very quickly toward the 3rd wave peak. Over 1300 deaths reported today… <

  • Bharath RamsundarA Deeper Dive into Semiconductor Foundries <

Deep into the Forest
A Deeper Dive into Semiconductor Foundries
TL;DR In last week’s issue, we learned about the core machines that populate a semiconductor foundry. In this week’s issue, we will dive deeper into the construction of a foundry and learn about the actual physical edifice itself. Semiconductor foundries are large factories that place considerable burden on the surrounding community and infrastructure. W……
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  • Bharath RamsundarAn Introduction to Semiconductor Foundries

Deep into the Forest
An Introduction to Semiconductor Foundries
Subscribe to our Premium Tier We’re grateful for all the interest that our newsletter has engendered among the community! “Deep into the Forest” is the first public product from our new firm, Deep Forest Sciences. We plan to produce a high quality free newsletter post every Friday, but are excited to announce that we plan to introduce weekly posts on Tue……
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  • Jordan NelChina, Semiconductors, & the Push for Independence <

Chinese Characteristics
China, Semiconductors, and the Push for Independence - Part 1
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Jeet HeerCivil War Games: ‘Michael Anton… now speculating on the possibility of a new Civil War… California and Texas…. “If the Lone Star way of life is to survive, Texans must fight for it. Then we shall see whether California’s long experiment with postmodern deracination and anti-masculinity can stand up to Texas’s more robust embrace of the old virtues. I’m not a betting man, but were that conflict to erupt, my money would be on Texas.”… In Texas, Joe Biden got 46 per cent of the vote as against 52 per cent for Trump. That’s hardly a state in a position to unify and attack California.  The civil strife America has to worry about is persistent terrorism from so-called “lone wolves” radicalized by the extremist ideology that the Antons of the world promote. The return of conflicts modeled on the massed armies of the 19th century is virtually impossible…. The term “deracination” should set off alarm bells…. In… The Battle Cry of Freedom (1988)… James McPherson delineated this thinking…. “Southerners invented a genealogy that portrayed Yankees as descendants of the medieval Anglo-Saxons and southerners as descendants of their Norman conquerors…. Puritans who settled New England and… Cavaliers who colonized Virginia… If matters came to a fight, therefore, one Norman southerner could doubtless lick ten of those menial Saxon Yankees.” These ideas… did not fare well… 


The Time of Monsters
Civil War Games
Michael Anton is no ordinary crank. His 2016 essay “The Flight 93 Election” was singularly influential in solidifying right-wing support for Donald Trump. He was rewarded by being named Deputy Assistant to the President for Strategic Communications on the…
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EconomistWhat Tech Does China Want?: ‘The vision is becoming clear. In a decade or so China will, if the Communist Party has its way, become a techno-utopia with Chinese characteristics, replete with “deep tech” such as cloud-computing, artificial intelligence (ai), self-driving cars and home-made cutting-edge chips. Incumbent technology giants such as Alibaba in e-commerce or Tencent in payments and entertainment will be around but less overweening—and less lucrative. Policies to curb their market power will redistribute some of their profits to smaller merchants and app developers, and to their workers. Second-tier cities will boast their own tech industries with localised services, competing with the less-mighty titans. Data will pulse through the system, available to firms of all sizes, under the watchful eye of the government in Beijing. China’s internet will strengthen its authoritarian design. Clearer, too, is the way in which President Xi Jinping wants to make this vision a reality. Besides talking up deep tech, this involves taking the shallower sort down a peg…. Many politicians in America and Europe would love to fashion their tech industry into something like Mr Xi’s vision: less social media and other “spiritual opium”, as Chinese state news outlets recently dubbed video-gaming; more strategic development of the techno-infrastructure of the 21st century. This includes computer chips, clean energy and much besides…. The policies behind the techlash are born of sweeping goals for society from the highest reaches of central government, an echelon of engineers and economists who lack expertise in most of the sectors being targeted…. Apparently without irony, Chinese media have likened the government’s push to spur domestic chipmaking to the Great Leap Forward… 

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Douglas LondonAfghanistan Not An Intelligence Failure—Something Much Worse: ‘In grading their own homework, the U.S. defense establishment only exacerbated the problem. While it’s little surprise the Department of Defense was unwilling to objectively evaluate the resolve and capacity of those they trained, equipped, and advised to resist a forthcoming Taliban offensive, their rose-colored depictions of achievement over 20 years flew in the face of reality, and was consistently challenged by the CIA’s more gloomy, albeit realistic projections… 

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Rachel RapsUC Berkeley Community Expresses Concerns Over No Hybrid Classes: ’The Chancellor’s Office announced Aug. 12 it will not ask professors to offer hybrid learning platforms, leaving students questioning the consequences of such a policy…. Oliver O’Reilly, the interim vice provost for undergraduate education, in an email. “Simultaneously delivering an in-person lecture and a remote option is very challenging and not ideal for many courses”… 

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Dan Davies (2012): Too Big To Fail: The First 5000 Years: ‘[David] Graeber wins the battle against the “Myth of Barter”… he loses the war…. Anyone… is going to end up sympathising with the people in the economics department who say that you really can’t organise a modern industrial society on the basis of organising a wife-swapping party every time you want to buy a blanket…. ore or less every urban society in the world has ended up inventing an equivalent phrase… [with] the social function of asserting between parties to a commercial transaction that the transaction itself does not embed them in any deeper social relation…. The only real attempt I can think of to organise industrial production on any other basis from the debt relation is Soviet Communism, and while Soviet production quotas weren’t debts, they seem to me to have had all the aspects of debts which Graeber finds to be pernicious and quite a few more besides…. I’ve repeated myself to a boring extent in the past on the subject of the science of economics being basically a branch of control engineering… which went rogue… and got caught up in a whole load of moral and political philosophy that didn’t belong there… 

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