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Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Explained for Investors in Mexico

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Greetings again Macro Man readers! Those that remember my work here will know that I couldn't let the Mexican election pass without some sort of commentary. I decided it would be a little passe to write up 800 words on my opinion. Instead I decided to let a talking rabbit do the work for me. Enjoy!


Shawn
@EMInflationista
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Letter from an Infantryman

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armydad

I found this among my father’s papers. He wrote it as a 20-year old infantryman who had been in combat for about six months.

I am struck by the eloquence, and doubly struck that he managed to be eloquent in the medium of pen-and-ink, with no copy/paste/delete and not even any crossouts:

Monday, Jan. 8 (1945)

Dear Mother and Dad:

Well, the new year has arrived and with it, sadly enough, have come no great changes. The war is still being fought, I and millions of other boys are still several thousands of miles away from home and our loved ones, and it almost seems as if there will never be an end to this useless, heart-breaking, killing war.

Whether a man is German, American, or French, he looks just the same when he is wounded, dying or dead. The battlefield bullet is a great leveler; it can make the biggest man very small or the weakest man a hero, but in this war most of the heroes are dead.

We who are actively engaged in defeating the enemy would not hesitate to lay down our arms and surrender if we thought that the people who make the peace will fail to make it permanent. The mere thought that our comrades may have died for nothing, that we may have a brief pause from this war so that we can raise sons to fight another war would cause us many sleepless nights. The last thing one dying soldier said to me was that he was dying on the battlefield so that his son would not.

I may sound very bitter and full of resentment and frankly I am. This war should have been averted in 1918 and the ensuing years, but instead of preventing war, the American people actually encouraged it by ignoring everything that was going on around them. For the sake of all the men who have gone through this hell, we must not let this happen again. We must not have allowed so many of our boys to have died in vain.

I can’t possibly express the resentment these boys feel when they hear about these “Victory in Europe Celebrations”, and when they hear about the lotteries that are held to determine the date of the European victory. Here their own sons are being killed, maimed and crippled for life, and they trouble themselves with such trivial tripe. What is the matter with the American public? Is it entirely aloof to this war?

Perhaps I don’t sound like a twenty-year-old kid anymore, but I’ve seen things that I shall never forget, ghastly things that I shudder to think about. I think that a just punishment for any of these “Victory in Europe Celebration” planners would be to pick up a soldier’s boot on a battlefield and find the foot still in it, or sweat out just one artillery barrage. If they could just realize what is going on they would spend all their spare time praying for the safety of their boys and thanking God that America has been spared everything but an army.

Aside from being a little angry, I’m feeling fine. I’ve received several of your packages and everything is swell. I know that God has been answering your prayers, and he will continue to watch over me.

Love, Norman

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Immigration in the United States visualized as rings of tree trunk

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Pedro M. Cruz, John Wihbey, Avni Ghael and Felipe Shibuya from Northeastern University used a tree metaphor to represent a couple centuries of immigration in the United States:

Like countries, trees can be hundreds, even thousands, of years old. Cells grow slowly, and the pattern of growth influences the shape of the trunk. Just as these cells leave an informational mark in the tree, so too do incoming immigrants contribute to the country’s shape.

Feels real.

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1 public comment
jsled
11 days ago
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This is an interesting visualization.

1/ But, I wonder how it compares to a stacked area chart, in terms of understandability.

2/ I wonder what it would look like in population-adjusted terms ("100 immigrants" in 1830's-population-US is different than today).

3/ Goes to show how large the Asian immigrant fraction is.

4/ It does demonstrate well just how relatively *little* immigration we have in the last ~20 years.
South Burlington, Vermont
shockingpuppies
11 days ago
Not sure it actually shows #4. Comparing immigration in the 2000s to the 1850s means visually comparing a thin but wide ring to a wide but narrow ring. I'm guessing very few people could accurately estimate the difference between those two.

How people interpret probability through words

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In the early 1990s, the CIA published internal survey results for how people within the organization interpreted probabilistic words such as “probable” and “little chance”. Participants were asked to attach a probability percentage to the words. Andrew Mauboussin and Michael J. Mauboussinran ran a public survey more recently to see how people interpret the words now.

The main point, like in the CIA poll, was that words matter. Some words like “usually” and “probably” are vague, whereas “always” and “never” are more certain.

I wonder what results would look like if instead of showing a word and asking probability, you flipped it around. Show probability and then ask people for a word to describe. I’d like to see that spectrum.

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The 10 Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time

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The 10 Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time

The 10 Most Impressive Civil Engineering Projects of All Time

With every day that passes, thousands of new civil engineering projects are completed around the globe. They might be as simple as building the foundation for a house or as complex as designing a suspension bridge that spans an entire river.

Once in a while, however, a very special type of civil engineering marvel gets finished that is earmarked to forever exist in a league of its own.

Civil Engineering Feats

Today’s infographic comes to us from Norwich University, and it counts down the 10 most impressive civil engineering projects ever completed by humanity.

These unique and extremely bold endeavors tend to exceed all normal standards of size, complexity, and manpower required. They transcend time and bestow wonder upon new generations, showing that incredible feats are possible with the right team, ideas, and expertise at hand.

Some of these projects were also included on the 1994 list of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World, put together by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Meanwhile, the Great Pyramid is the only entry from the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World list.

Counting Down the Top 10

Here are the projects, going from #10 all the way to #1:

10. Qingdao Haiwan Bridge
This 26.4 mile (42.5 km) bridge was completed in 2011 in China, using 450,000 tons of steel and 3 million cubic yards of concrete.

9. Burj Khalifa
The world’s tallest skyscraper is one of many fascinating projects in Dubai. It reaches 2,717 ft (828 m) in height, almost a full 1,000 ft higher than One World Trade Center in New York.

8. English Channel Tunnel
This 31 mile (50 km) long tunnel is also up to 250 ft (76 m) deep, connecting England and France.

7. Golden Gate Bridge
This historic wonder connects San Francisco to the rest of the bay, and needed an incredible 600,000 rivets in its construction.

6. Hoover Dam
This dam formed the largest man-made lake in the Western Hemisphere, and it generates 4 billion kWh of energy per year.

5. Panama Canal
This 47 mile (77 km) long man-made canal was designed to connect the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to provide trade ships with passage between North and South America. It needed more than 60 million pounds of dynamite to dig.

4. Brooklyn Bridge
The first suspension bridge to use steel in its cables was also the longest in the world at the time of its construction.

3. Aqueduct of Segovia
This amazing aqueduct in Spain was made without the use of mortar, and is so well-preserved that it is still in use today.

2. Great Wall of China
What many people do not know about this enormous 5,500 mile (8,850 km) long wall is that the mortar connecting stones was made from rice flour.

1. Great Pyramid of Giza
This incredible creation is made of 2.3 million stone blocks, which required the constant labor of 30,000 people to build. It was the tallest man-made structure for more than 3,800 years.

A Final Note

The list represents the ranking as done by Norwich University’s civil engineering department, and surely there are other incredible feats that are missed by this ranking. Those would include projects like the Three Gorges Dam in China, the CN Tower, and many other worthy accomplishments.

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A Short History of U.S. Trade Wars

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A Short History of U.S. Trade Wars

Infographic: A Short History of U.S. Trade Wars

The Chart of the Week is a weekly Visual Capitalist feature on Fridays.

History is full of trade wars.

In the majority of cases, the consequences are mostly economic – trade barriers are enacted, and then retaliatory measures are used to counter. Relations can continue to escalate until an understanding can be reached by both parties.

In the minority of cases, trade wars can lead to world-changing consequences.

You may remember that the Boston Tea Party of 1773 was a bold response to an unfair trade measure imposed by a ruling power, and it proved to be a key catalyst that led to the American Revolution.

Meanwhile, the Opium Wars occurred after the Qing Dynasty (China) tried to prevent British merchants from selling opium to the Chinese in the 1830s. These trade barriers led to armed conflicts, and effectively put the nail in the coffin of the Qing Dyasty – the start of China’s infamous “century of humiliation”.

U.S. Trade Wars

Today’s chart pulls together details on some of the biggest trade conflicts in modern U.S. history.

Here are some of the more interesting U.S. trade wars, and how they compare to the current spat that is evolving with major trade partners:

1. Smoot-Hawley, 1930
Imposed during The Great Depression, the Smoot-Hawley Act is almost universally recognized by economists and economic historians as triggering a trade war that exacerbated the recovery.

2. Chicken Friction, 1963
Factory farming of chicken in the U.S. ended up catching European farmers off guard. French and German authorities responded by imposing tariffs, and the U.S. then taxed imports such as trucks and brandy.

3. Jabs at Japan, 1981
Japan’s mid-century rise led to the country becoming an export powerhouse. As Japanese cars flooded the U.S. market, intense pressure eventually led to the signing of a Voluntary Export Restraint (VER) agreement that limited sales in the United States. During this same timeframe, the two countries also squabbled about other goods like electronics, motorcycles, and semiconductors.

4. War of the Woods, 1982
The Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber dispute kicked off in 1982, but it inevitably resurfaces in the news every few years.

5. Pasta Spat, 1985
The U.S. was displeased with the level of access for citrus products in Europe, and put a tariff on pasta products. Europe retaliated by taxing walnuts and lemons from the States.

6. Battle of the Bananas, 1993
Another agricultural trade war, the Battle of the Bananas occurred after Europe slapped tariffs on the import of Latin American bananas. Many of these companies, owned by Americans, were not impressed. In response, there were eight separate complaints filed to the World Trade Organization (WTO). They weren’t resolved until 2012.

7. Steel Salvoes, 2002
These were the last major U.S. steel tariffs introduced before the more recent ones. The goal was similar: to revive the steel industry in the country. However, after a period of brief stability, jobs continued to decline. The European Union responded by taxing oranges exported from Florida.

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