Wednesday, April 25

Things are looking up

The stock market hit a new high today when it went above 13,000 for the first time. This is good news for the Bourgeois us. Just kidding. The economy is doing pretty well and has been for the recent past, though the news hasn't talked about it much. I can remember back to my childhood when they talked about how great the economy was all the time. That was in the mid-90's.

So, being the curious person I am, I looked back in history for some perspective. In December 1986, the month in which I was born, the stock market had a low of 1880.48 and a high of 1963.30. On January 20th, 1981, the day Reagan started, the stock market closed at 950. When the stock market crashed in 1929, it went from around 400 to 100.

Also in the news, as an engineer nothing titillates me more, except something about space, than hearing this:

Undersea project would link Alaska, Russia

Now die-hard supporters are renewing their push for the audacious plan -- a $65 billion highway project that would link two of the world's most inhospitable regions by burrowing under a stretch of water connecting the Pacific with the Arctic Ocean.

The proposed 68-mile tunnel would be the longest in the world. It would also be the linchpin for a 3,700-mile railroad line stretching from Yakutsk -- the capital of a gold- and mineral-rich Siberian region roughly the size of India -- through extreme northeastern Russia, in waters up to 180 feet deep and into the western coast of Alaska. Winter temperatures there routinely hit minus 94 F.

Lobbyists claimed the project is guaranteed to turn a profit after 30 years.

Eventually, 3 percent of the world's cargo could move along the route, organizers hope.

That would be amazing to be able to run trains from Alaska to Russia. It would then be possible to take a train from anywhere to anywhere else except Australia and Japan. Trains are a much better, more efficient and cleaner, transport than airplanes.

The downside is that it would cost a ton of money for the tunnel. Nevermind the 5,000 miles of frozen, empty land on either side through which new rail would have to be run to connect to anything. That is likely the biggest deterrent keeping it from being built.

Perhaps both of these are good news the Russian media can now report. In case you missed it:

from now on, they said, at least 50 percent of the reports about Russia must be "positive."

In addition, opposition leaders could not be mentioned on the air and the United States was to be portrayed as an enemy, journalists employed by the network, Russian News Service, say they were told by the new managers, who are allies of the Kremlin.

What's up with that? I thought we were friends, Russia. I thought you were supposed to be trying democracy. Perhaps there's just something about Russia. Dare I say, 'France Syndrome'?

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