Coupled Human and Natural Systems

Just another WordPress.com site

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Abusing Amazon’s Elastic MapReduce Hadoop service… easily, from R

leave a comment »

Great resource for a beginner

Things I tend to forget

I built my first Hadoop cluster this week and ran my first two test MapReduce jobs. It took about 15 minutes, 2 lines of R, and cost 55 cents. And you can too with JD Long’s (very, very experimental) ‘segue’ package.

But first, you may be wondering why I use the word “abusing” in this post’s title. Well, the Apache Hadoop project, and Google’s MapReduce processing system which inspired it, is all about Big Data. Its raison d’être is the distributed processing of large data sets. Huge data sets, actually. Huge like all the web logs from Yahoo! and Facebook huge. Its HDFS file system is designed for streaming reads of large, unchanging data files; its default block size is 64MB, in case that resonates with your inner geek. HDFS expects its files to be so big that it even makes replication decisions based on its knowledge of…

View original post 733 more words

Written by shashidhungel

August 24, 2015 at 6:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Lets not make a deal – Paul Krugman

leave a comment »

This article was published on New York Times online edition on December 5, 2010.

Back in 2001, former President George W. Bush pulled a fast one. He wanted to enact an irresponsible tax cut, largely for the benefit of the wealthiest Americans. But there were Senate rules in place designed to prevent that kind of irresponsibility. So Mr. Bush evaded the rules by making the tax cut temporary, with the whole thing scheduled to expire on the last day of 2010.

The plan, of course, was to come back later and make the thing permanent, never mind the impact on the deficit. But that never happened. And so here we are, with 2010 almost over and nothing resolved.

Democrats have tried to push a compromise: let tax cuts for the wealthy expire, but extend tax cuts for the middle class. Republicans, however, are having none of it. They have been filibustering Democratic attempts to separate tax cuts that mainly benefit a tiny group of wealthy Americans from those that mainly help the middle class. It’s all or nothing, they say: all the Bush tax cuts must be extended. What should Democrats do?

The answer is that they should just say no. If G.O.P. intransigence means that taxes rise at the end of this month, so be it.

Think about the logic of the situation. Right now, the Republicans see themselves as successful blackmailers, holding a clear upper hand. President Obama, they believe, wouldn’t dare preside over a broad tax increase while the economy is depressed. And they therefore believe that he will give in to their demands.

But while raising taxes when unemployment is high is a bad thing, there are worse things. And a cold, hard look at the consequences of giving in to the G.O.P. now suggests that saying no, and letting the Bush tax cuts expire on schedule, is the lesser of two evils.

Bear in mind that Republicans want to make those tax cuts permanent. They might agree to a two- or three-year extension — but only because they believe that this would set up the conditions for a permanent extension later. And they may well be right: if tax-cut blackmail works now, why shouldn’t it work again later?

America, however, cannot afford to make those cuts permanent. We’re talking about almost $4 trillion in lost revenue just over the next decade; over the next 75 years, the revenue loss would be more than three times the entire projected Social Security shortfall. So giving in to Republican demands would mean risking a major fiscal crisis — a crisis that could be resolved only by making savage cuts in federal spending.

And we’re not talking about government programs nobody cares about: the only way to cut spending enough to pay for the Bush tax cuts in the long run would be to dismantle large parts of Social Security and Medicare.

So the potential cost of giving in to Republican demands is high. What about the costs of letting the tax cuts expire? To be sure, letting taxes rise in a depressed economy would do damage — but not as much as many people seem to think.

A few months ago, the Congressional Budget Office released a report on the impact of various tax options. A two-year extension of the Bush tax cuts, it estimated, would lower the unemployment rate next year by between 0.1 and 0.3 percentage points compared with what it would be if the tax cuts were allowed to expire; the effect would be about twice as large in 2012. Those are significant numbers, but not huge — certainly not enough to justify the apocalyptic rhetoric one often hears about what will happen if the tax cuts are allowed to end on schedule.

Oh, and what about confidence? I’ve been skeptical about claims that budget deficits hurt the economy even in the short run, because they undermine confidence in the government’s long-run solvency. Advanced countries, I’ve argued, have a lot of fiscal leeway. But anything that makes permanent extension of obviously irresponsible tax cuts more likely also sends a strong signal to investors: it says, “Hey, we aren’t really an advanced country; we’re a banana republic!” And that can’t be good for the economy.

Last but not least: if Democrats give in to the blackmailers now, they’ll just face more demands in the future. As long as Republicans believe that Mr. Obama will do anything to avoid short-term pain, they’ll have every incentive to keep taking hostages. If the president will endanger America’s fiscal future to avoid a tax increase, what will he give to avoid a government shutdown?

So Mr. Obama should draw a line in the sand, right here, right now. If Republicans hold out, and taxes go up, he should tell the nation the truth, and denounce the blackmail attempt for what it is.

Yes, letting taxes go up would be politically risky. But giving in would be risky, too — especially for a president whom voters are starting to write off as a man too timid to take a stand. Now is the time for him to prove them wrong.

Written by shashidhungel

December 6, 2010 at 2:39 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Following Obama through India, Indonesia and South Korea

leave a comment »

On his ten day trip to Asia, the US President Barrack Obama is encouraging the world to build more just societies. Primarily seen as an attempt to garner support from the growing economies in Asia, Obama through this commission is sending a message to the world that the next generation’s economy will be built on access to information and not on arsenals of arms. In India, the President spoke in clear terms that he supports India to be a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Even though it appears bleak (Obama is an optimist!) he has made an attempt to start negotiations on how to enlarge the UNSC to oversee its activities. Besides India, other potential UNSC candidates are Germany, Italy, Brazil and South Africa. It will be a fierce negotiation and possibly an expansion of permanent members without veto powers. Obama also emphasized the need to cut US trade deficits with India. He encouraged Indian investment in the US. Outsourcing jobs to India is helping the Indian economy to grow and president Obama suggested that India should reciprocate by investing in the US market.
In Indonesia, the president underscored his interest in amending foreign policies. His attempts to make the growing economies allies were made clear by his disapproval of Israel’s decision to build new housing units in East Jerusalem. US foreign policies have long focused on a handful of countries like Israel in the middle East, which the president is attempting to restructure. In the trip cut short by the volcanic cloud movement, Obama reiterated that an arms race is not the right way to propel economies. Obama’s leniency towards reforming foreign and security policies is worthy of applause. In the world’s largest Muslim country, Obama urged the building of a more peaceful and just world. Obama appealed to the world to build more robust and global economies. Religious choice is an individual’s choice but equity and justice is universal, Obama emphasized. The approval of new construction can be expected to slow down the brewing peace negotiation between Israelis and the Palestinians that was started in Washington DC this past September.
As Obama arrived in Seoul for the G20 Convention, his economic strongman’s (Timothy Geithner) proposal to restrict trade surplus to a factor of a nation’s gross domestic product elicited derision from the German Chancellor. Angela Merkel boldly dismissed the idea. The Obamas administration’s proposal to spend another 600 billion dollars in stimulus has been sharply criticized by other G20 members too. The proposal is not popular in the US either. As China appears not to budge from its stance on appreciating renminbi, the US economic policies have come under scrutiny. Meanwhile, the possibility of inking a new trade agreement with South Korea is not galvanizing the visit any more. More agenda’s and clauses can be expected to be tabled before a new trade accord.
As long as China’s devaluation of its currency continues and the big consumptive economies’ trade deficits increase, the global economy will not be stable. A prolonged state of global economic instability affects all countries including the most aloof ones. It is imperative that the US economy gain ground. Possibly another borrowed stimulus can be avoided but the role that the US economy plays to regulate worldwide economy must be duly acknowledged. Debt-laden stimulus, and the quantitative easing that the US is attempting though might not be the best option but is still attractive in the backdrop of Chinese authority not making any attempts to appraise renminbi. The US is still the world’s largest economy by far. China is a growing economy sustained by the consumptive behaviors of the western economies. Even though there are ample opportunities for growing economies like China and India to penetrate into the developing or underdeveloped economies it is less likely that such an approach will be beneficial in the short term and sustainable in the long.

Written by shashidhungel

November 11, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Hello world!

with one comment

I am a researcher interested in understanding how environment shapes human behaviors. Coupled Human and Natural Systems is the popular nomenclature among the social scientists who took upon economics or economists who took upon sociology and is bind by the learning from biology is my area of interest. I like systems approach to analyze situations that are complex, adaptive, resilient and dynamic. For me prioritizing systems functioning mechanisms is more important to understand its behavior than deducting reasoning from time series data.

 

Written by shashidhungel

October 26, 2010 at 11:35 pm

Posted in Uncategorized