Monday, October 25, 2010

A Dream Come True!

Have you every fantasized about shooting a potato out of a giant air cannon?  I know I have!  This weekend I punched one off my bucket list, and nailed an old 27 inch TV in the process. 

Friday, October 22, 2010

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Backtrackin' with Deng Xiaoping

A quick refresh on the precepts of Chinese State Capitalism for anyone really taken aback by China's interest rate move today:

Economic planning is not tantamount to socialism, because economic planning is also practiced in capitalist countries

The market economy is not tantamount to capitalism, because a socialist country can also have a market economy.

Both economic planning and the market economy are economic means.

The essence of socialism is to emancipate and develop the productive forces, destroy exploitation, eliminate polarization, and attain common prosperity in the end.

Deng Xiaoping, 1987

Friday, October 15, 2010

Burger View of the Currency War

I have had burgers on my mind since watching Adam envelop some kind of juicy, spice bomb burger at Super Pan this afternoon.  A perfect day for the latest installment of The Economist's Big Mac Index.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

James Fallows on the RMB

After the Obama Administration avoided declaring China a "currency manipulator" this spring, the Chinese government let the RMB start appreciating again. This was assumed to be a pre-greased understanding: as long as the Chinese government wasn't forced to "knuckle under" to foreign pressure, it could start moving in the right direction. Then, after a very short time, the appreciation stopped -- this chart shows the movement over the past year:

What we're seeing here: the essentially frozen exchange rate until June of this year, then the brief strengthening of the RMB's value through June and until early July -- and then the reverse trend, through much of the summer, of the RMB weakening again against the dollar. Finally, starting about a month ago, the Chinese government let the RMB's value starting rising once more.

On the RMB

Friday, October 08, 2010

Liu Xiaobo and The Prize

The calculus of China politics being what it is, the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to imprisoned dissident Liu Xiaobo is most likely a set back for reformists within the PRC.  Look for lots of spicy reaction from China over the weekend. 

China's willingness to allow the RMB to appreciated 2% this year, regardless of U.S. election-year rhetoric to the contrary, is impressive, if not pragmatic.  Power in China is political, not macroeconomic.  State Capitalism has driven China to explosive growth over the past thirty years, but I am not sure how personal liberty fits into the balance.

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Taiwanese Shaved Ice Hits Inman Park!

During my time in Taiwan, my sweet tooth quickly drew me to Baobing, the Taiwanese take on a snow cone. The versions I enjoyed in the Taipei night market were usually scrapped ice smothered with red beans or fruity syrups.

Sno-Flake, just opened in Inman Park (on Highland Avenue across from the Mead Development), offers a modern take on Taiwanese shaved ice.  Check their technique for molding flavors into ice blocks before spinning the blocks on custom built electric scrappers.  The results are delicious!

Pay a visit after your next power meal at Sotto Sotto for a healthy alternative to that chocolate soup!

Here is video of the more traditional version from Gem, my favorite all time video blogger.