Ghost Dog's Journal
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Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 13,520
Hometown: Canary Islands Archipelago
Home country: Spain
Member since: Wed Apr 19, 2006, 01:59 PM
Number of posts: 13,520
(Brit gone native).
Here, there and everywhere: After decades of sending work across the world, companies are rethinking their offshoring strategies, says Tamzin Booth
Jan 19th 2013 | From the print edition: Special report http://www.economist.com/printedition/2013-01-19
... The original idea behind offshoring was that Western firms with high labour costs could make huge savings by sending work to countries where wages were much lower (see article). Offshoring means moving work and jobs outside the country where a company is based. It can also involve outsourcing, which means sending work to outside contractors. These can be either in the home country or abroad, but in offshoring they are based overseas. For several decades that strategy worked, often brilliantly. But now companies are rethinking their global footprints.
The first and most important reason is that the global labour “arbitrage” that sent companies rushing overseas is running out. Wages in China and India have been going up by 10-20% a year for the past decade, whereas manufacturing pay in America and Europe has barely budged... Second, many American firms now realise that they went too far in sending work abroad and need to bring some of it home again, a process inelegantly termed “reshoring”... Choosing the right location for producing a good or a service is an inexact science, and many companies got it wrong. Michael Porter, Harvard Business School’s guru on competitive strategy, says that just as companies pursued many unpromising mergers and acquisitions until painful experience brought greater discipline to the field, a lot of chief executives offshored too quickly and too much. In Europe there was never as much enthusiasm for offshoring as in America in the first place, and the small number of companies that did it are in no rush to return...
... Third, firms are rapidly moving away from the model of manufacturing everything in one low-cost place to supply the rest of the world. China is no longer seen as a cheap manufacturing base but as a huge new market. Increasingly, the main reason for multinationals to move production is to be close to customers in big new markets. This is not offshoring in the sense the word has been used for the past three decades; instead, it is being “onshore” in new places... Companies now want to be in, or close to, each of their biggest markets, making customised products and responding quickly to changing local demand...
...Under this logic, America and Europe, with their big domestic markets, should be able to attract plenty of new investment as companies look for a bigger local presence in places around the world. It is not just Western firms bringing some of their production home; there is also a wave of emerging-market champions such as Lenovo, or the Tata Group, which is making Range Rover cars near Liverpool, that are coming to invest in brands, capacity and workers in the West... As in manufacturing, the labour-cost arbitrage in services is rapidly eroding, leaving firms with all the drawbacks of distance and ever fewer cost savings to make up for them. There has been widespread disappointment with outsourcing information technology and the routine back-office tasks that used to be done in-house. Some activities that used to be considered peripheral to a company’s profits, such as data management, are now seen as essential, so they are less likely to be entrusted to a third-party supplier thousands of miles away...
... That offers a huge opportunity for rich countries and their workers to win back some of the industries and activities they have lost over the past few decades. Paradoxically, the narrowing wage gap increases the pressure on politicians. With labour-cost differentials narrowing rapidly, it is no longer possible to point at rock-bottom wages in emerging markets as the reason why the rich world is losing out. Developed countries will have to compete hard on factors beyond labour costs. The most important of these are world-class skills and training, along with flexibility and motivation of workers, extensive clusters of suppliers and sensible regulation...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Thu Jan 24, 2013, 09:23 AM (0 replies)
Posted by Ghost Dog | Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:25 AM (1 replies)
... The A380’s size means its fuselage and wing sections are shipped via a surface transportation network that includes specially-commissioned roll-on roll-off ships to carry these sections from production sites in France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom to the French city of Bordeaux. From there, sections are transported by barge along the Garonne River to the Toulouse final assembly line.
As for other Airbus aircraft programmes, production of the A380 takes place in different sites across Europe. Each site produces completely equipped sections, which are transported to final assembly .
Most A380 sections are transported to Toulouse by sea, river and road. A number of smaller components, such as the vertical fin produced in Stade or the nose section produced in Meaulte, France, are carried in Airbus’ Beluga fleet... - http://www.airbus.com/company/aircraft-manufacture/how-is-an-aircraft-built/transport-of-major-aircraft-sections/
... Starting in Hamburg-Finkenwerder on the River Elbe, the ship loads the front and rear sections of the fuselage, from where they are shipped to the United Kingdom. The wings, which are manufactured at Filton in Bristol and Broughton, Flintshire in North Wales, are transported by barge to Mostyn docks, where the ship adds them to its cargo. In Saint-Nazaire in western France, the ship trades the fuselage sections from Hamburg for larger, assembled sections, some of which include the nose. The ship unloads in Bordeaux. Afterwards, the ship picks up the belly and tail sections by Construcciones Aeronáuticas SA in Cádiz in southern Spain, and delivers them to Bordeaux. From there, the A380 parts are transported by barge to Langon, and by the oversize road convoys of the Itinéraire à Grand Gabarit from there to the assembly hall in Toulouse.
After assembly, the aircraft are flown to Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport (XFW) to be furnished and painted... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ville_de_Bordeaux
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jan 12, 2013, 06:48 AM (0 replies)
Tinariwen - Live at Womad
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jan 12, 2013, 05:19 AM (2 replies)
Rose windows are particularly characteristic of Gothic architecture and may be seen in all the major Gothic Cathedrals of Northern France. Their origins are much earlier and rose windows may be seen in various forms throughout the Medieval period. Their popularity was revived, with other medieval features, during the Gothic revival of the 19th century so that they are seen in Christian churches all over the world... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_window
Also this at Chartres: ... The north transept rose (10.5m diameter, made c.1235), like much of the sculpture in the north porch beneath it, is dedicated to the Virgin. The central oculus shows the Virgin and Child and is surrounded by 12 small petal-shaped windows, 4 with doves (the 'Four Gifts of the Spirit'), the rest with adoring angels carrying candlesticks. Beyond this is a ring of 12 diamond-shaped openings containing the Old Testament Kings of Judah, another ring of smaller lozenges containing the arms of France and Castille, and finally a ring of semicircles containing Old Testament Prophets holding scrolls. The presence of the arms of the French king (yellow fleurs-de-lis on a blue background) and of his mother, Blanche of Castile (yellow castles on a red background) are taken as a sign of royal patronage for this window... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chartres_Cathedral
Note on origin: ... The German art historian Otto von Simson considered that the origin of the rose window lay in a window with the six-lobed rosettes and octagon which adorned the external wall of the Umayyad palace Khirbat al-Mafjar built in Jordan between 740 and 750 CE. This theory suggests that crusaders brought the design of this attractive window to Europe, introducing it to churches... - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_window
Suggest accompanying music:
See also: http://www.therosewindow.com/pilot/Paris-N-Dame/table.htm
Posted by Ghost Dog | Sat Jan 12, 2013, 04:49 AM (0 replies)
of carbon market mechanisms. And they're also saying that the 'developed' countries must take immediate mitigation and adjustment measures and 'cease and desist', as it were, in their over-production, over-consumption, over-exploitation and general self-centered greed. As I understand it.
They say such carbon market mechanisms as proposed won't work, will become corrupted or simply business as usual. Perhaps, I think, they could well have a place in developed world markets, strictly applied. But I'm afraid much more authoritarian, draconian, if you like, measures will very quickly
Posted by Ghost Dog | Tue Dec 11, 2012, 11:06 AM (0 replies)
STATEMENT BY JOSE ANTONIO ZAMORA GUTIERREZ MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENT AND WATER, OF THE PLURINATIONAL STATE OF BOLIVIA IN THE UN CONFERENCE OF CLIMATE CHANGE COP18 IN QATAR (5 DEC 2012)
UNIDAD MADRE TIERRA Y AGUA / MINISTERIO DE RELACIONES EXTERIORES ESTADO PLURINACIONAL DE BOLIVIA
Source (edited): http://www.zcommunications.org/doha-climate-talks-bolivia-declares-the-climate-is-not-for-sale--by-jose-antonio-zamora
Also at - Censored News - http://www.bsnorrell.blogspot.com - http://narcosphere.narconews.com/notebook/brenda-norrell/2012/12/bolivias-defense-mother-earth-cop-18-qatar
Note from Ghost Dog: I decided that the Richard Fidler translation text needed proofreading and editing a little, which I've done in this text. Material not copyright.
Original source used in Spanish: http://www.albared.org/node/1398
Previous DU post of Fidler's translation by Judi Lynn: http://www.democraticunderground.com/112730455
5 December 2012, DOHA, Qatar -- Mr. President of the COP, distinguished Heads of State of countries of the world, Ministers, Officials, delegates and representatives of social organizations, indigenous peoples and communities and farmers of the world, receive a greeting from the Plurinational State of Bolivia and our President Evo Morales Ayma.
The planet and humanity are in serious danger of extinction. The forests are in danger, biodiversity is in danger, the rivers and the oceans are in danger, the earth is in danger. This beautiful human community inhabiting our Mother Earth is in danger due to the climate crisis.
The causes of the climate crisis are directly related to the accumulation and concentration of wealth in a few countries and in small social groups; excessive and wasteful mass consumption under the belief that having more is living better; production of pollution and throwaway goods to enrich capital while increasing the ecological footprint, as well as the excessive and unsustainable use of renewable and non-renewable natural resources at a high environmental cost for extractive activities for production. A wasteful, consumerist, exclusionary, greedy civilization generating wealth in few hands and poverty everywhere has produced pollution and climate crisis.
We did not come here to negotiate climate. We did not come here to turn the climate into a business, or to protect the businesses of those who want to continue aggravating the climate crisis, destroying Mother Earth. We have come with concrete solutions. THE CLIMATE IS NOT FOR SALE, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!
Mr. President, The withdrawal of some developed countries from the Kyoto protocol and their avoidance of their commitments is an attack on Mother Earth and on life itself. The problem of climate crisis will not be solved with political declarations, but with specific commitments.
We will not pay the climate debt of developed countries to developing countries. They, developed countries, must fulfill their responsibility.
While some developed countries do their best to avoid their commitments to solve the climate crisis, developing countries are making greater efforts to reduce emissions, and paying the price of a climate crisis that everyday leaves droughts, floods, hurricanes, typhoons, etc. The climate crisis leaves us poorer, deprives us of food, destroys our economy, creates insecurity, and forces migration.
Climate change will make the poor poorer. Poor and developing countries have a great challenge: the eradication of poverty. And we'll have to face a climate crisis for which we are not guilty. In addition to adapting to climate change we must ensure security, education, health, energy for the population, provision of water and sanitation services, deliver communication and infrastructure services, job creation, provision of housing, reconstruction due to loss and damage caused by extreme weather events, adaptation actions, among others.
Mr. President, We denounce to the whole world the pressure from some countries for the approval of new carbon market mechanisms, although these have been shown to be ineffective in the fight against climate change, and merely represent business opportunities.
This is a climate change conference, not a conference for carbon business. We did not come here to do business with the death of Mother Earth by betting on the power of markets as a solution.
We are here to protect our Mother Earth, we came here to protect the future of humanity.
Yesterday forests were turned into carbon market businesses, and the same was done with the land. They tried to do the same with oceans and, worse, agriculture. Agriculture is food security, employment, life, and culture. Agriculture is, along with the land, mountains and forests, the house and the food of our indigenous and peasant communities. WE WILL NOT ALLOW THE REPLACEMENT OF THE OBLIGATIONS OF DEVELOPED COUNTRIES WITH CARBON MARKETS. THE PLANET IS NOT FOR SALE, NOR IS OUR LIFE.
It is essential that developed countries take the lead with mitigation actions with concrete results and high ambitions and that developing countries do their part within their respective capabilities, and with the requisite financial and technological transfers, solving problems of poverty.
Mr. President, in Bolivia we have the vision of Living Well as a new approach for civilization and a cultural alternative to capitalism, and in this context we focus our efforts on creating a balance and harmony between society and nature.
Bolivia presented here concrete proposals to strengthen the global climate system. We have proposed the creation of the Joint Mechanism for Mitigation and Adaptation for integrated and sustainable management of forests, not based on markets, to strengthen community, indigenous and peasant management of our forests, which can promote climate mitigation actions without transferring the responsibilities of developed countries to developing countries. Also, we promote consistently the creation of an international mechanism to address loss and damage resulting from natural causes and impacts of climate change in developing countries.
Our country will not promote carbon market mechanisms such as REDD, and will respect and strengthen community management of forests.
Mr. President, We will not allow the people of the world to pay the bill for irresponsibility and greed. It's time to give concrete answers to humanity and Mother Earth.
Let's be careful of the intentions of some developed parties to make us feel resigned in the face of this terrible reality, and recognise the inertia and inaction of those countries that are historically responsible for global warming, sending us a message that it is better to have a "pragmatic" attitude, which of course will condemn us to a cooked planet and the extinction of humanity.
Mr. President, brothers and sisters of the world, take these words as a commitment to life and Mother Earth. With this conviction we will be guided to meet the challenge we face at this conference, the challenge of saving the planet, and not to negotiate our climate. Thank you Mr. President.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Tue Dec 11, 2012, 07:40 AM (5 replies)
An Internet marketing system named Narwhal, used by President Barack Obama to help gain re-election, may be turned loose to help shape the public debate...
... The super-smart database system is credited with helping change the math of how modern elections are run, by greatly aiding the Democrats’ get-out-the-vote effort.
And it looks like Narwhal hasn’t sailed into the sunset just yet...
(Slate, Feb. 15, 2012)... (A)s part of a project code-named Narwhal, Obama’s team is working to link once completely separate repositories of information so that every fact gathered about a voter is available to every arm of the campaign...
... This year’s looming innovations in campaign mechanics will be imperceptible to the electorate, and the engineers at Obama’s Chicago headquarters racing to complete Narwhal in time for the fall election season may be at work at one of the most important. If successful, Narwhal would fuse the multiple identities of the engaged citizen—the online activist, the offline voter, the donor, the volunteer—into a single, unified political profile.
Traditionally, even the campaigns most intent on gathering varied types of data have had little strategy for getting all the information to work together... By the time campaign officials realized that they were agglomerating unprecedented volumes of political information—and that it would all become more valuable as it was allowed to mingle across categories—it was too late to rebuild their systems to make that sort of data-sharing easy. Even as the outside world marveled at their technical prowess, Obama campaign staffers were exasperated at what seemed like a basic system failure: They had records on 170 million potential voters, 13 million online supporters, 3 million campaign donors and at least as many volunteers—but no way of knowing who among them were the same people...
In a campaign that has grown obsessed with code-naming its initiatives, the integration project is known as Narwhal, after the tusked Arctic whale whose image (via a decal) adorns a wall adjacent to the campaign’s engineering department, as first reported by Newsweek. Narwhal remains a work-in-progress... Like much of what changes politics this year, Narwhal will remain below the surface, invisible to the outside world.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Fri Dec 7, 2012, 01:57 PM (1 replies)
that would be quite recognisable to those of "ancient times" who experienced the utter absence of rule of law or any kind of attempt at social justice, only amplified due to the degree of unpredictability and the pace of change.
In other words: hell for many, hopelessness for most, sheer paradise for the technologically-enabled, financially-manipulative, deeply corrupt robber-class parasite few.
Until they too fall, having killed the host.
But then, as is the case with so many other such predicted phenomena, methane outgassing for example, we are seeing this happening already.
Much sooner, faster than hitherto predicted.
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon Dec 3, 2012, 01:34 PM (0 replies)
... We have five times as much oil and coal and gas on the books as climate scientists think is safe to burn. We'd have to keep 80 percent of those reserves locked away underground to avoid that fate. Before we knew those numbers, our fate had been likely. Now, barring some massive intervention, it seems certain.
Yes, this coal and gas and oil is still technically in the soil. But it's already economically aboveground – it's figured into share prices, companies are borrowing money against it, nations are basing their budgets on the presumed returns from their patrimony. It explains why the big fossil-fuel companies have fought so hard to prevent the regulation of carbon dioxide – those reserves are their primary asset, the holding that gives their companies their value. It's why they've worked so hard these past years to figure out how to unlock the oil in Canada's tar sands, or how to drill miles beneath the sea, or how to frack the Appalachians.
If you told Exxon or Lukoil that, in order to avoid wrecking the climate, they couldn't pump out their reserves, the value of their companies would plummet. John Fullerton, a former managing director at JP Morgan who now runs the Capital Institute, calculates that at today's market value, those 2,795 gigatons of carbon emissions are worth about $27 trillion. Which is to say, if you paid attention to the scientists and kept 80 percent of it underground, you'd be writing off $20 trillion in assets. The numbers aren't exact, of course, but that carbon bubble makes the housing bubble look small by comparison. It won't necessarily burst – we might well burn all that carbon, in which case investors will do fine. But if we do, the planet will crater. You can have a healthy fossil-fuel balance sheet, or a relatively healthy planet – but now that we know the numbers, it looks like you can't have both. Do the math: 2,795 is five times 565. That's how the story ends.
Three degrees alone would see increasing areas of the planet being rendered essentially uninhabitable by drought and heat. In southern Africa, a huge expanse centred on Botswana could see a remobilisation of old sand dunes, much as is projected to happen earlier in the US west. This would wipe out agriculture and drive tens of millions of climate refugees out of the area. The same situation could also occur in Australia, where most of the continent will now fall outside the belts of regular rainfall.
With extreme weather continuing to bite - hurricanes may increase in power by half a category above today's top-level Category Five - world food supplies will be critically endangered. This could mean hundreds of millions - or even billions - of refugees moving out from areas of famine and drought in the sub-tropics towards the mid-latitudes. In Pakistan, for example, food supplies will crash as the waters of the Indus decline to a trickle because of the melting of the Karakoram glaciers that form the river's source. Conflicts may erupt with neighbouring India over water use from dams on Indus tributaries that cross the border.
In northern Europe and the UK, summer drought will alternate with extreme winter flooding as torrential rainstorms sweep in from the Atlantic - perhaps bringing storm surge flooding to vulnerable low-lying coastlines as sea levels continue to rise. Those areas still able to grow crops and feed themselves, however, may become some of the most valuable real estate on the planet, besieged by millions of climate refugees from the south.
BETWEEN ONE AND TWO DEGREES OF WARMING
At this level, expected within 40 years ((now by many expected sooner - ed.)), the hot European summer of 2003 will be the annual norm. Anything that could be called a heatwave thereafter will be of Saharan intensity. Even in average years, people will die of heat stress...
...Across Europe as a whole, the heatwave is believed to have cost between 22,000 and 35,000 lives. Agriculture, too, was devastated. Farmers lost $12 billion worth of crops, and Portugal alone suffered $12 billion of forest-fire damage. The flows of the River Po in Italy, Rhine in Germany and Loire in France all shrank to historic lows. Barges ran aground, and there was not enough water for irrigation and hydroelectricity. Melt rates in the Alps, where some glaciers lost 10% of their mass, were not just a record – they doubled the previous record of 1998. According to the Hadley centre, more than half the European summers by 2040 will be hotter than this. Extreme summers will take a much heavier toll of human life, with body counts likely to reach hundreds of thousands. Crops will bake in the fields, and forests will die off and burn. Even so, the short-term effects may not be the worst:
From the beech forests of northern Europe to the evergreen oaks of the Mediterranean, plant growth across the whole landmass in 2003 slowed and then stopped. Instead of absorbing carbon dioxide, the stressed plants began to emit it. Around half a billion tonnes of carbon was added to the atmosphere from European plants, equivalent to a twelfth of global emissions from fossil fuels. This is a positive feedback of critical importance, because it suggests that, as temperatures rise, carbon emissions from forests and soils will also rise. If these land-based emissions are sustained over long periods, global warming could spiral out of control.
In the two-degree world, nobody will think of taking Mediterranean holidays. The movement of people from northern Europe to the Mediterranean is likely to reverse, switching eventually into a mass scramble as Saharan heatwaves sweep across the Med. People everywhere will think twice about moving to the coast. When temperatures were last between 1 and 2C higher than they are now, 125,000 years ago, sea levels were five or six metres higher too. All this “lost” water is in the polar ice that is now melting. Forecasters predict that the “tipping point” for Greenland won’t arrive until average temperatures have risen by 2.7C. The snag is that Greenland is warming much faster than the rest of the world – 2.2 times the global average. “Divide one figure by the other,” says Lynas, “and the result should ring alarm bells across the world. Greenland will tip into irreversible melt once global temperatures rise past a mere 1.2C. The ensuing sea-level ?rise will be far more than the half-metre that ?the IPCC has predicted for the end of the century. Scientists point out that sea levels at the end of the last ice age shot up by a metre every 20 years for four centuries, and that Greenland’s ice, in the words of one glaciologist, is now thinning like mad and flowing much faster than it ought to. Its biggest outflow glacier, Jakobshavn Isbrae, has thinned by 15 metres every year since 1997, and its speed of flow has doubled. At this rate the whole Greenland ice sheet would vanish within 140 years. Miami would disappear, as would most of Manhattan. Central London would be flooded. Bangkok, Bombay and Shanghai would lose most of their area. In all, half of humanity would have to move to higher ground.
Not only coastal communities will suffer. As mountains lose their glaciers, so people will lose their water supplies. The entire Indian subcontinent will be fighting for survival. As the glaciers disappear from all but the highest peaks, their runoff will cease to power the massive rivers that deliver vital freshwater to hundreds of millions. Water shortages and famine will be the result, destabilising the entire region. And this time the epicentre of the disaster won’t be India, Nepal or Bangladesh, but nuclear-armed Pakistan.
Everywhere, ecosystems will unravel as species either migrate or fall out of synch with each other. By the time global temperatures reach two degrees of warming in 2050, more than a third of all living species will face extinction.
At four degrees another tipping point is almost certain to be crossed; indeed, it could happen much earlier. (This reinforces the determination of many environmental groups, and indeed the entire EU, to bring us in within the two degrees target.) This moment comes as the hundreds of billions of tonnes of carbon locked up in Arctic permafrost - particularly in Siberia - enter the melt zone, releasing globally warming methane and carbon dioxide in immense quantities. No one knows how rapidly this might happen, or what its effect might be on global temperatures, but this scientific uncertainty is surely cause for concern and not complacency. The whole Arctic Ocean ice cap will also disappear, leaving the North Pole as open water for the first time in at least three million years. Extinction for polar bears and other ice-dependent species will now be a certainty...
... In Europe, new deserts will be spreading in Italy, Spain, Greece and Turkey: the Sahara will have effectively leapt the Straits of Gibraltar. In Switzerland, summer temperatures may hit 48C, more reminiscent of Baghdad than Basel. The Alps will be so denuded of snow and ice that they resemble the rocky moonscapes of today's High Atlas - glaciers will only persist on the highest peaks such as Mont Blanc. The sort of climate experienced today in Marrakech will be experienced in southern England, with summer temperatures in the home counties reaching a searing 45C. Europe's population may be forced into a "great trek" north.
To find out what the planet would look like with five degrees of warming, one must largely abandon the models and venture far back into geological time, to the beginning of a period known as the Eocene. Fossils of sub-tropical species such as crocodiles and turtles have all been found in the Canadian high Arctic dating from the early Eocene, 55 million years ago, when the Earth experienced a sudden and dramatic global warming. These fossils even show that breadfruit trees were growing on the coast of Greenland, while the Arctic Ocean saw water temperatures of 20C within 200km of the North Pole itself. There was no ice at either pole; forests were probably growing in central Antarctica...
Posted by Ghost Dog | Mon Dec 3, 2012, 11:22 AM (1 replies)