Archive for August, 2008

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Texas schools get funding from natural resources

August 27, 2008

The Texas General Land Office is that state’s oldest agency, and originally responsible for giving out land titles.  But today it continues to manage 20.3 million acres of land and mineral rights.  (That’s 466 square miles, just a tiny piece of the state.)  Revenue, about $800 million annually, goes into the School Fund, supplementing the $22 billion already there, the income from which goes to public schools.

While this demonstrates that land rent can be used to fund schools statewide, the GLO is hardly a pure implementation of Georgist theory.  It continues to sell (and buy) land, and gets involved in developments which might not make economic sense but benefit insiders.

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Auction of landing slots could at least help pay for infrastructure

August 24, 2008

Articles from the New York Sun indicate that there’s serious interest in auctioning landing slots at the New York area airports. Mayor Bloomberg and the Bush Administration are in favor, Port Authority less enthused. No mention of what they’d be worth, but a US DOT official said

[T]he whole point of the auctions was to generate the proceeds necessary to build out an upgraded infrastructure at participating airports.

which implies that they’re not expecting to even cover the full cost of existing infrastructure, let alone the rent (that is, what the site and the right to operate an airport would be worth if the airport didn’t exist). The earlier article notes that it would incentivize carriers to operate larger aircraft, presumably providing more capacity.

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Pedestrian directions now available on Google maps

August 6, 2008

So, for instance, suppose I want to get some of that free land in Marquette, Kansas, but I don’t have a car or bicycle.  Google will provide directions, a total of 314 segments for the 766-mile trip.  Google estimates it’ll take me 10 days and 10 hours, which works out to just over 3 miles per hour.  I guess they assume I sleepwalk, but take breaks occasionally. I don’t imagine their database worries about whether there are sidewalks, but they do say “Walking directions are in beta. Use caution when walking in unfamiliar areas.”

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Open source approach to reducing CO2

August 5, 2008
  • First, you heat limestone to a very high temperature, until it breaks down into lime and carbon dioxide.
  • Then you put the lime into the sea, where it reacts with carbon dioxide dissolved in the seawater.
  • The second step absorbs twice as much CO2 as the first releases,  the released CO2 has industrial uses, and the heating can be done with “free” energy.

So says Cquestrate founder Tim Kruger. He says it works in theory,  but needs to be demonstrated as practical. Most intriguing, he’s doing it as open source, so it will be free of patents and anyone can try it.

According to the site, Kruger is a management consultant, so it’s not hard to see how he could benefit from this innovation even without IP “rights.”

Thanks to the Undercover Economist.

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