Lecturas 01.05.2014

What If We Never Run Out of Oil? By Charles Mann.

For a long time, companies collected oil and discarded the methane that burbled up with it, often by burning the gas in a cinematic flare atop special derricks, or even simply dumping it into the atmosphere. People did use natural gas for energy—gaslights have existed since the days of Jane Austen—but transporting it was costly. Unlike liquid oil, which could be poured into containers and carried on a railroad network that had already been built and paid for by somebody else, gaseous methane had to be pumped through sealed tubes to its destination, which required energy firms and utilities to lay thousands upon thousands of miles of pipeline. Not until the Second World War and war-production advances in welding did this effort gather speed. (Methane can be cooled into a liquid and transported in pressurized tanks that are loaded and unloaded in special facilities, but this is also expensive.) Oil from wells in Texas is readily dispatched via tanker to Europe or Asia, but even today, natural gas from the same wells is often effectively limited to use in the United States.

If People Could Immigrate Anywhere, Would Poverty Be Eliminated? Some economists are pushing for "open borders". By Shaun Raviv.

"Open borders will become a reality when the public stops believing that immigrants are a threat," sociologist Fabio Rojas recently wrote, comparing the open borders movement to the gay rights movement. "Even if a pro-immigration referendum fails to pass, it will still serve the function of forcing the issue onto the public stage. These actions won't ­­change the minds of those strongly committed to anti-immigration policy. Instead, they will make immigration seem 'normal' to a later generation of people."

La primera autopista de Kenia: Nairobi-Thika, por Eugenio Rodríguez.

Las inversiones en infraestructuras en el continente africano siguen creciendo aun ritmo constante, y uno de los ejemplos más recientes lo tenemos con la nueva autopista de 8 carriles de 50 kilómetros que une Nairobi y Thika, inaugurada en noviembre de 2012. El proyecto vial de un presupuesto de 280 millones de euros, se espera que ofrezca un fuerte impulso en la economía de la zona del África Oriental, siendo la primera autopista de su tipo construida en Kenia, que ayudará al país en el cumplimiento de su objetivo de alcanzar la condición de país de ingresos medios en 2030.

Un limbo para Caracas, por Raúl Rivero.

Los expertos coinciden en que la única forma de salir de la crisis general que padece la nación es mediante la unidad de todas las fuerzas y de los diversos sectores de la sociedad más dividida hoy que nunca en dos mitades perfectamente identificables después de los resultados de las elecciones. Pero Maduro mantiene el tono que aprendió de Chávez y de sus jefes cubanos que es el de manejarse con sus adversarios como una pandilla en un bar del puerto.

Chart of the day: In 2012, the US had the most energy efficient economy in history. By Mark J. Perry.


The EIA released new energy data this week showing that the U.S. had the most energy-efficient economy in history last year, based on the amount of energy consumed to produce each real dollar of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2012, it required only 6,990 BTUs of energy (petroleum, natural gas, nuclear and renewables) to produce each real dollar of GDP, an all-time record low. Even though the US produced 2.2% more real output last year compared to 2011, the total energy consumed in 2012 was actually 2.45% lower than the previous year, which led to a 4.6% reduction in the total energy consumed to produce each dollar of GDP in 2012.

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