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Diário de um bombeiro: ‘voltarei a atender acidentes graves com reformas de Bolsonaro no Código de Trânsito’

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 1:03pm in

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Entrei no CBMERJ em 1997. Eu tinha 18 anos e vi que o concurso estava aberto. Como havia morado perto do quartel de Realengo, zona oeste do Rio de Janeiro, e meu avô havia servido nos bombeiros, eu já conhecia um pouco da profissão. Nunca quis ser militar, pensava em fazer outro concurso logo, mas acabei me apaixonando pelo trabalho. Hoje, sou 1º sargento e recém completei 22 anos de corporação.

Parece meio clichê, mas nesse tempo aprendi que ser bombeiro é se importar com o outro, e não tem como seguir na profissão sem amor ao próximo. Nós juramos salvar vidas alheias mesmo com o sacrifício da nossa própria vida. Então, ao passar por tudo o que a gente passa, nós aprendemos a amar o outro, e saber da história das pessoas faz parte disso.

Quando vou fazer meu serviço e vejo uma mãe chorando, uma criança que ficou órfã, um pai de família que segura minha mão e pede para voltar vivo para casa, é impossível não se esforçar mais, não se emocionar com essa dor. E, ao longo dos anos, alguns dos salvamentos que mais me marcaram foram justamente no trânsito.

Ingressei nos bombeiros na época da promulgação do atual Código de Trânsito Brasileiro, quando o número de acidentes era bem maior. Essa lei rendeu muitas reclamações, mas as ocorrências foram ficando menos graves ao longo do tempo. Por exemplo, lembro que a obrigatoriedade do cinto diminuiu muito o número de vítimas ejetadas de veículos ou com traumas graves no tórax e na face.

Se até com a lei punindo há negligência, aliviar para quem comete infrações só piora.

Se depender da proposta de reforma no Código de Trânsito feita pelo governo Bolsonaro, acredito que muitos acidentes graves vão voltar a acontecer. Principalmente com a ideia de eliminar a multa para quem anda sem cadeirinha infantil ou que motoristas “não têm que cursar autoescola”. As pessoas preferem o arrependimento à prevenção. Se até com a lei punindo já há negligência, aliviar para quem comete infrações só vai piorar a situação – mesmo porque a lei ainda não é respeitada mais de 20 anos após sua promulgação.

Lembro de um caso recente que me marcou muito: uma família vinha de uma festa, um casal e quatro crianças (entre 2 e 13 anos), quando o carro deles colidiu de frente com um caminhão. O casal morreu nas ferragens, enquanto as crianças estavam soltas no carro. A filha maior, que estava com o cinto folgado e passado pelo pescoço, foi decapitada. A menor, sem cadeirinha, morreu. Por sorte, os outros dois sobreviveram, mas testemunharam a morte dos pais e irmãos. Um deles, de mais ou menos 11 anos e com as pernas quebradas, chorava e pedia para que tirássemos o cadáver de um dos irmãos de cima dele.

O uso adequado dos cintos e cadeirinhas poderia ter evitado a situação – mas não só a isso se resumem as negligências. Ano passado, por exemplo, um rapaz vinha de uma noitada bêbado e preferiu fugir da blitz a ser parado e multado. Foi perseguido até bater em outro carro – a sorte é que ninguém se feriu gravemente. É normal também socorrermos motoqueiros que levam o capacete no braço apenas para passar pela fiscalização, mas que depois caem e batem a cabeça.

Em outro caso que atendi, um casal com dois filhos viajava em um domingo de Páscoa. Apesar das crianças estarem nas cadeiras, uma delas começou a chorar. A mãe então a tirou dali e a pôs no colo, no banco da frente. Nesse intervalo, houve uma colisão e ambas estavam soltas, sem cinto. As duas morreram, enquanto o motorista e a outra nenê saíram ilesos.

Não se tinha o hábito de pensar na segurança até começarem a multar. Se não doer no bolso, ninguém se preocupa.

Ninguém se preocupa com acidentes até se envolver em um. Muita gente que conheço só usa cinto, cadeirinha e dirige na velocidade máxima da via para não ser multado. É sempre um “poxa, saí rapidinho, tão perto”, “moro logo ali, não imaginei que fosse acontecer”, “meu filho não fica na cadeirinha” etc.

Vi de perto as mudanças de comportamento quando passou a vigorar o Código de Trânsito de 1997, e não se tinha o hábito de pensar na segurança até começarem a multar. Se não doer no bolso, ninguém se preocupa. Mesmo envolvidas em acidentes com seus filhos ou parentes, as pessoas ainda dizem que vão comprar cadeirinha “por que agora estão multando, né?” Apesar disso, ainda tem jeito: segundo o Datafolha, a maioria dos brasileiros acredita que a reforma de Bolsonaro não vai deixar o trânsito mais seguro. 41% pensam que ela pode até causar mais acidentes.

Bombeiros cariocas resgatam vítimas de acidente de trânsito. Em 2013, um ônibus caiu de uma ponte de 15 metros.

Bombeiros cariocas resgatam vítimas de acidente de trânsito. Em 2013, um ônibus caiu de uma ponte de 15 metros.

Foto: Luiz Carlos/AFP/Getty Images

No começo, o bombeiro sente muito esse contato com o desastre e a dor do outro. Ao longo do tempo, a gente se acostuma a lidar com isso, fica frio, mas é porque absorvemos muita coisa. Hoje eu tenho o sono pior, memórias que gostaria de esquecer me assombram e vivo ansioso. Às vezes sonho com atendimentos e vítimas ou não consigo dormir. Problemas de saúde são normais entre bombeiros.

Mas ainda assim é uma carreira gratificante. Aprendi muito sobre união porque, na hora do resgate, eu dependo do companheiro do meu lado. Poucas coisas na vida são recompensadoras como um obrigado sincero, um abraço ou um aperto de mão de alguém, no momento mais difícil da vida daquela pessoa.

The post Diário de um bombeiro: ‘voltarei a atender acidentes graves com reformas de Bolsonaro no Código de Trânsito’ appeared first on The Intercept.

Non-normal normality

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 7:18am in

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from Lars Syll Asset price distributions are of great practical significance for portfolio managers. Standard finance theory assumes that asset price changes follow a normal distribution—the well-known bell curve. That this assumption is roughly accurate most of the time allows analysts to use very robust probability statistics. For example, for a sample that follows a […]

About this blog

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 3:39am in

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I am not posting to this blog as regularly as I would like.

This is largely because I am a bit bogged down with consultancy work (primarily working with UCU branches on their institution’s finances and strategy). Although that sometimes generates things to post on here, I generally agree to treat that work as confidential.

I will use the next month or so to consider how best to continue on here, but it’s likely to mutate away from the journalism to more of an advice repository. Other suggestions are welcome!

If you want to talk to me about working with you, please use the email at the bottom of the About page. I offer discounted rates for union branches.

Japanese Scientist Obtains Permission for Animal-Human Hybrids

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 2:49am in

This is very ominous. A Japanese scientist has been granted permission to create animal-human hybrids, according to yesterday’s I. The man intends to use them in research for the possible creation of organs in animals, that could be used for transplantation into humans. There are limits to his research, however. He states that at the moment he will not keep them alive for longer than 15 and a half days, so it isn’t like he’s going to produce complete animal-human hybrids, like the chimpanzee-human creature developed by rogue scientists as a new slave animal in the 1990s ITV SF thriller, Chimera. But it is a step in that direction.

The article, ‘Human-animal hybrid research is approved’, by Colin Drury, on page 22, runs

Human-animal hybrids are to be developed in embryo form in Japan after the government approved controversial stem-cell research.

Human cells will be grown in rat and mouse embryos, then brought to term in a surrogate animal, as part of experiments to be carried out at the University of Tokyo.

Supporters say the work – led by the renowned geneticist Hiromitsu Nakauchi – could be a vital first step towards eventually growing organs that can then be transplanted into people in need.

But opponents have raised concerns that scientists are playing God. Critics worry the human cells could stray beyond the targeted organs into other areas of the animal, creating a creature that is part animal, part person.

For that reason, such prolonged experimentation has been banned or not been financed across the world in recent years.

In Japan, scientists were forbidden from going beyond a 14-day growth period. But those laws were relaxed in March when the country’s education and science ministry issued new guidelines saying such creations could now be brought to term.

Now, Dr. Nakauchi’s application to experiment is the first to be approved under that new framework.

Human-animal hybrid embryos have been made in countries such as the United States, but were never brought to term. The US National Institutes of Health has had a moratorium on funding such work since 2015.

“We don’t expect to create human organs immediately, but this allows us to advance our research based upon the know-how we have gained up to this point,” Dr. Nakauchi told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.

He added that he planned to proceed slowly, and will not attempt to bring any hybrid embryos to term for several years, rather growing the hybrid mouse embhryos to 14.5 days, when the animal’s organs are mostly formed, and the hybrid rat embryo’s to 15.5 days.

Such caution was welcomed by bioethicists in the country.

There was also a little capsule, containing the comment that

Some bioethicists are concerned about the possibility that human cells might stray, travelling to the developing animal’s brain and potentially altering its cognition.

Which seems to be a concern that this research could unintentionally also result in animals acquiring some form of human intelligence accidentally.

The British philosopher Mary Midgley attacked that part of the biotech industry and those scientists, who looked forward to bioengineers being able to redesign whole new forms of humans in her book, The Myths We Live By (London: Routledge 2004). She writes

That ideology is what really disturbs me, and I think it is what disturbs the public. This proposed new way of looking at nature is not scientific. It is not something that biology has shown to be necessary. Far from that, it is scientifically muddled. It rests on bad genetics and dubious evolutionary biology. Though it uses science, it is not itself a piece of science but a powerful myth expressing a determination to put ourselves  in a relation of control to the non-human world around us, to be in the driving seat at all costs rather than attending to that world and trying to understand how it works. It is a myth that repeats, in a grotesquely simple sense, Marx’s rather rash suggestion that the important thing is not to understand the world, but to change it. Its imagery is a Brocken spectre, a huge shadow projected on to a cloudy background by the shape of a few recent technological achievements.

The debate then is not between Feeling, in the blue corner, objecting to the new developments, and Reason in the red corner, defending them. Rhetoric such as that of Stock and Sinsheimer and Eisner is not addressed to Reason. It is itself an exuberant power fantasy, very much like the songs sung in the 1950s during the brief period of belief in an atomic free lunch, and also like those in the early days of artificial intelligence. The euphoria is the same. It is, of course, also motivated by the same hope of attracting grant money, just as the earlier alchemists needed to persuade powerful persons tthat they were going to produce real, coinable gold. (p. 166).

She goes on to argue that such scientific hubris comes from the gradual advance of atheism with the victory of the mechanistic model of the universe introduced by Newton in the 17th century. As God receded, scientists have stepped in to take His place.

On the clockwork model the world thus became amazingly intelligible. God, however, gradually withdrew from the scene, leaving a rather unsettling imaginative vacuum. The imagery of machinery survived. But where there is no designer the whole idea of mechanism begins to grow incoherent. Natural Selection is supposed to fill the gap, but it is a thin idea, not very satisfying to the imagination.

That is how the gap that hopeful biotechnicians now elect themselves to fill arose. They see that mechanistic thinking calls for a designer, and they feel well qualified to volunteer for that vacant position. Their confidence about this stands out clearly from the words I have emphasised in Sinsheimer’s proposal that ‘the horizons of the new eugenics are in principle boundless – for we should have the potential to create new genes and new qualities yet undreamed of … For the first time in all time a living creature understands its origin and can undertake to design its future.’

Which living creature? It cannot be human beings in general, they wouldn’t know how to do it. It has to be the elite, the biotechnologists who are the only people able to make these changes. So it emerges that members of the public who complain that biotechnological projects involve playing God have in fact understood this claim correctly. That phrase, which defenders of the projects dismiss as mere mumbo jumbo, is actually a quite exact term for the sort of claim to omniscience and omnipotence on these matters that is being put forward.

One of the most profound artistic comments I have found about the implications of this new biotechnology is the sculpture ‘The Young Family’ by the Australian artist Patricia Piccinini. This shows a hybrid mother creature, bred for organ transplantation, surrounded by her young. Curled up like an animal, her human eyes peer back plaintively at the spectator. It’s a deeply disturbing work, although Piccinini states she is not opposed but optimistic about scientific progress. She says

In terms of the real world, these are some of the key issues that I am trying to question and discuss with my work. I’m not pessimistic about developments in biotechnology. We are living in a great time with a lot of opportunities, but opportunities don’t always turn out for the best. I just think we should discuss the full implications of these opportunities.

So if we look at The Young Family we see a mother creature with her babies. Her facial expression is very thoughtful. I imagine this creature to be bred for organ transplants. At the moment we are trying to do such a thing with pigs, so I gave her some pig-like features. That is the purpose humanity has chosen for her. Yet she has children of her own that she nurtures and loves. That is a side-effect beyond our control, as there will always be.

That is what makes the question of breeding animals purely for organ-transfer so difficult to answer. On one hand we need organs to help people in need, on the other hand we are looking at an animal that wants to exist for the sake of itself. I can’t help but feel an enormous empathy for this creature. And, to be very honest, if it would save the life of one of my children, I would be will to take one of these organs. I know it is probably not ethically right but sometimes honesty, emotions, empathy and ethics don’t always line up.

I am not nearly so optimistic. For me, this sculpture is a deeply moving, deeply disturbing comment on the direction this new technology can go. And I fear tht this latest advance is taking us there.

December loan sale lost £1.15billion

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 02/08/2019 - 2:34am in

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The £1.1billion figures was confirmed in the DfE accounts published last week.

Critical Education

£1.15billion was lost on the second loan sale in December according to the annual Supplementary Estimates, which itemise the additional budget given to government departments.

The sale raised just under £2billion, but this price was below the valuation of the loans sold in the Department for Education’s accounts. DfE has previously received assurances that the losses on the sale of pre-2012 income contingent loans would not impact on its budget and here we can see that it has been given additional resource AME to cover the sum.

loan lossA first sale, in December 2017, lost £900million. That means the sale programme has lost over £2billion already, with three planned sales still to go. Current national accounting conventions mean these losses are not recorded against the deficit, but that seems likely to change after Eurostat advised ONS that it’s new accounting treatment should see loan sales dealt with as “capital…

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Switzerland’s mountainous monetary base : More Swiss uniqueness on their national holiday

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 11:00pm in

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Today is the Swiss national holiday. In the past, we’ve taken this opportunity to discuss some unique (i.e., weird) feature of the Swiss economy. This time we use FRED to compare the Swiss monetary base with the U.S. monetary base. To make them comparable, we divide each by its country’s nominal GDP. We see that the general patterns are similar, with a sudden increase in 2008. While the U.S. monetary base has started to go back down (it’s lost a quarter since its high point), there’s nothing that shows any tendency to return to the long-run trend. Indeed, Switzerland is still working with extremely low (even negative) interest rates.

But let’s talk about the stark difference shown in the graph. This statistic for Switzerland is dramatically higher than it is for the U.S.: The Swiss monetary base is now worth over three years of its GDP, while the U.S. monetary base is worth only about two months of its GDP. There has always been a large difference, but it’s larger than ever now. This situation is likely fueled by the oversized banking sector in Switzerland as well as the refuge currency role of the Swiss franc. The latter is particularly true in times of uncertainty, including the uncertainty of its neighbors’ currency, the euro.

How this graph was created: Search for and select “Swiss monetary base” and click “Add to Graph.” From the “Edit Graph” panel, add a series by searching for “Switzerland GDP,” taking the quarterly series with nominal data, and applying formula a/b. Then, from the “Add Line” tab, search for and select “monetary base,” add a series by searching for “GDP” again taking the nominal series and applying formula a/b/1000. Finally, adjust the sample period to start in 1980.

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

Financial and legal barriers to the creation and operation of a National Investment Bank

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 7:33pm in

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One of the less well-publicised challenges to the UK economy from Brexit is the loss of investment funding for UK industry and infrastructure from the winding down of the European Investment Bank’s (EIB) British lending program. In 2016, the year of the referendum, the EIB lent €7 billion to 54 projects across the UK; by 2018, this had collapsed to €932 million. This casts into sharp relief Britain’s lack of a major publicly owned National Investment Bank, in contrast to most of our major industrial competitors.

In April 2019 the UK government announced an increase in the British Business Bank’s funding by £200 million, with the apparent purpose of replacing the EIB funding. But in its current form, the BBB is incapable of lending at the scale of the EIB or any of the other major NIBs. In comparison, Labour Party plans for a National Investment Bank imply around £25 billion of lending and loan guarantees every year for 10 years. Such an institution might help plug the ‘patient finance’ gap that has afflicted the British economy for decades.

In a new guest paper for IIPP we outline the extent to which a National Investment Bank would affect the public debt and be affected by EU state aid rules — two important questions which have not been considered in depth.”

Public finances

As a future National Investment Bank will be owned by the government, it will — unsurprisingly — be classified as a public sector institution by the Office for National Statistics. As a result, its net debt will count towards the total public sector net debt. Given that the Bank’s assets will be relatively illiquid, this effectively means that the Bank’s lending will add around £25 billion to the public sector net debt every year.

This addition to the public sector debt, however, is unlikely to pose a serious problem. There are two reasons for this. First, the ONS already publishes net debt figures including and excluding public sector banks, with the latter figure generally used as the baseline measure of public borrowing. As the National Investment Bank will almost certainly be classified as a public sector bank, its lending will therefore leave the baseline figure unaffected.

Second, an annual increment of £25 billion to the public sector net debt is actually a relatively small amount. This is illustrated in figure 1, which approximates the effect of a National Investment Bank on current OBR forecasts. The Bank’s liabilities total £125bn by the end of the 5 year forecast horizon, raising the 2023 forecast of public sector net debt from £2179bn to £2304bn — an increase of around 6%. As the OBR’s forecast for nominal GDP in 2023 is £2561bn, the 2023 forecast of public sector net debt as a percentage of GDP increases from 85% to 90%.

State
aid rules

While the effects of a National Investment Bank on the public finances are relatively straightforward, its relationship to EU state aid rules is more complicated. These rules are intended to prevent governments from providing subsidies (including grants, interest and tax relief, guarantees, government holdings, etc.) to specific companies or sectors that could distort competition and affect trade in the single market.

At the level of broad generalities, current state aid rules do leave sufficient room for the UK to establish and operate a National Investment Bank. A number of member states already have large and active NIBs, including Germany, France, Italy and Spain. In the post-crisis environment, NIBs are seen by the European Commission as key partners for its Juncker Plan (2014–20), and future InvestEu plan (2021–27), and among large member states the UK is the exception in not having a serious National Investment Bank.

EU state aid rules do, however, limit the range of activities that NIBs can undertake. Broadly speaking, state aid rules allow NIBs to conduct horizontal industrial policies which claim to provide public goods that benefit all industries equally, but not vertical or selective ones that focus on promoting or upgrading specific sectors or firms. The General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) designates a number of categories where horizontal aid is allowed, including for underdeveloped regions, SMEs, research and development and innovation, and environmental protection.

Fortunately, the distinction between horizontal and vertical industrial policies is not as problematic as it initially appears. In practice, as horizontal and vertical industrial policies are very hard to distinguish, many vertical policies can in fact be legally conducted under current horizontal state aid framework. For example, renewable energies can be promoted under the environment GBER, while advanced manufacturing sectors like aerospace can be promoted under the R&D and innovation GBER. If they do not fall under the GBERs, sector specific programs can still be compliant with state aid rules if they are notified and the EC agrees that there is a legitimate market failure.

What if a National Investment Bank does need to move beyond horizontal policy? We argue that this would be best achieved by remaining in the European Union. For example, a Labour government could call for progressive reform of state aid rules to allow for more targeted industrial policy, as well as a more flexible set of rules for less-developed member states to allow them to catch-up. Importantly, EU industrial policy itself is moving in a more openly vertical direction, with the German and French governments calling for amendments to the state subsidies and competition rules to enable them to create ‘European champions’. If the UK were to retain a special trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, it would need to abide by state aid rules in any case, but without having any influence in shaping them.

In summary, the financial and legal barriers to an ambitiously sized British NIB are not as challenging as might have been thought. Given this, whatever happens in regard to Brexit, it would seem the time is right to create such an institution to support British industry and help create a more investment-led growth model.

You can also read this post on the UCL IIPP blog here. You can read the ‘Financial and legal barriers to the creation and operation of a British national investment bank’ report at UCL IIPP here.

Photo credit: Flickr / TeaMeister.

The post Financial and legal barriers to the creation and operation of a National Investment Bank appeared first on The Progressive Economy Forum.

Number Facts & Number Fictions

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 7:47am in

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from Asad Zaman Excerpt from:  Real Statistics (3/4) Statistics as Rhetoric  {Preliminary material explains that conventional approach statistics separates theory and application — the job of ths statistician is to analyze numbers – without knowing where the come from. The job of the Field Expert is to use objective statistical analysis of numbers to get better […]

Origin of the 2 Percent Inflation Target

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 01/08/2019 - 2:29am in

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Origin of the 2 Percent Inflation Target I have made most of these comments as comments on Econbrowser and Angry Bear (an excellent post by Robert Waldman), as well as on Econbrowser in response to a serious post by Jeffrey Frankel. I note that pgl has added useful comments on this matter in the other […]

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