Friday, 30 September 2011

08:09 – There was a little jap in the air this morning when I took Colin out at 0645. Autumn has arrived in Winston-Salem, with low temperatures over the weekend expected to be in the low 40’s (~ 6C), with winds of around 20 MPH (30+ KPH).

There’s a great deal of celebration over Germany’s approving the measures agreed upon at the 21 July summit. It’s difficult to understand why anyone cares. It was obvious at the time that the measures agreed then were grossly inadequate to address the crisis as it then stood, and the crisis now is orders of magnitude greater than it was then. Two months ago, it was a crisis of tens or hundreds of billions of euros; now it’s a crisis of trillions of euros.

Meanwhile, the “troika” representatives have arrived in Greece, charged with auditing the Greek government to determine if it’s complied with the terms required for the release of the final €8.5 billion tranche from the first (2010) bailout. It hasn’t, of course, and has no prospects of doing so, but one would think the Greeks would be doing everything possible to convince the troika auditors to give up the cash. Instead, the Greeks are rioting and preventing the troika representatives from doing their jobs, or even meeting with the Greek finance minister. It’s as if the Greeks want the troika to refuse to provide the final tranche, which in fact is exactly what many Greek citizens want. They perceive, correctly, that the bailout funds will not benefit ordinary Greeks. Instead, they’ll simply be used to pay off foreign bankers.

Europe now has the same problems that affected the US during the Lehman crisis and events following it. A refusal to recognize reality coupled with a refusal to allow the free market to operate. What Europe should do now is what the US should have done then: recognize the losses and allow the banks to suffer all of their accrued losses. Allow the banks to go bankrupt, in other words. Wipe out 100% of shareholder assets and as much as it takes, up to 100%, of bondholder assets. Fire all of the bank management, and allow the banks to reconstitute with all of the bad debt off their new books. Those equity and bond holders invested with the intention of making a profit; shifting their losses onto taxpayers is inexcusable.

12:32 – There was an article in the paper this morning reporting that Time-Warner Cable had increased the download speed of their standard RoadRunner broadband service from 7 Mb/s to 10 Mb/s, and their “turbo” service from 10 Mb/s to 15 Mb/s. That was a who-cares for us. We have the standard service, and were typically getting 10 to 12 Mb/s download speeds anyway. I was really hoping they’d also boosted the upload speeds, which have been typically 45 to 50 KB/s. So I rebooted our cable modem and found that indeed they had boosted the upload speed. I’m in the middle of uploading a 447 MB directory to my Dreamhost server right now, and the upload rate seems to be averaging about 115 to 130 KB/s. That’s with 125 MB already uploaded, so it isn’t the temporary speed boost they allow you for the first MB or so of any upload. It’s sustained. Still pathetically slow, but less pathetically slow than it used to be. It would be nice if it were symmetric, with upload speeds matching the 1,000 to 1,200 KB/s download speeds we typically get.