Showing posts from July, 2011

The Pursuit of Happiness

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." - The Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1776Historians note that the original wording in early drafts of the Declaration was "...Life, Liberty, and Property." It was changed by Jefferson, at Benjamin Franklin's advice, to the more compelling "pursuit of Happiness" primarily out of concern for the issue of slaves as property. And while it made for a better motto to fire the spirit of the American Revolution, by the time Congress thought out the Bill of Rights in 1789, the phrase had evolved back into the more enforceable

"No person shall be...deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law..." - Fifth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States
In those distant years, the issue was slavery...some consider…

Bouncing along the bottom in housing

Who to believe? One expert says the housing sector is about to turn around...

Beginning of the end of the entire crisis?

...because foreclosure rates, and new default filings are both on the decline.

The National Association of Home Builders seems to agree with this outlook...the graph below shows that they think the upturn is right on the brink (the red line denotes the current month).

So the NAHB is forecasting that the first story is correct. Let's hope so...but the NAHB has been forecasting (wishing?) for that upturn for a couple of years now.

Meanwhile, at least one expert says that the worst is still ahead...

Plunging home prices to spark 2012 recession

...because housing prices will fall another 20%, causing the number of folks that are "underwater" in their mortgages to rise from 23% to 40% of American homeowners.

While the first scenario is not exactly a reason to celebrate, the second scenario is terrible to contemplate. 40% of Americans owing more on their h…

The Elms of Penn State

Back in forestry school we learned about the history of a tree that is slowly but surely vanishing from the American landscape - The American elm (ulmus americana). The tree has been fighting the attacks of the Dutch elm disease and elm yellows for more than a century, and the battle seems to be nearly lost. The graceful towering figure that all American children east of the Mississippi once recognized instantly is now rarely seen at all by most Americans.

The stand of elms on the Penn State campus at University Park is thought to be the largest remaining stand in America. Winnepeg, Canada, holds the largest remaining stand anywhere in the world...over 170,000 elms that are under constant care.
"Veritably the standard against which the merits of other shade trees were measured, the American elm provided the ultimate in stateliness and beauty, making it the single most popular shade tree for lawns and city streets in the eastern United States, and earning it distinction as the stat…

The Future of Energy (2)

" of these days, you might buy biofuels for your car. You’re not going to buy them from Biofuels, Inc. You’re going to buy them from Shell and Exxon and Chevron, the usual suspects. They’re already doing that." - Byron King, DailyReckoning.comFor us to understand the possibilities of wood energy, we really have to keep our eye on developments in emerging energy trends in the other technologies. I ran across this nice little interview today that covers some interesting possibilities, and is worth a couple of minutes to read...

The Future of Energy - The Daily Reckoning

Technology Marches On

While researching a logistics topic for a client, I ran across this interesting video of robotic pods that move items around in a logistics warehouse. We've witnessed the evolution of "lean production", but the real advances in our society seem to be in logistics.

Twenty years ago, how many of you could envision the ability to order a book, or a table, or even a couch, on a hand-held device today and have it delivered to your home tomorrow? I recently found a phone ap from Home Depot that gives one the ability to browse thousands of stock items from that retailer, order it and have it delivered. It may seem limited in application today, as I enjoy the browsing experience offered by an hour or two in the Big Box...but I used to enjoy browsing in the book store, too.

Business is changing fast, and technology will not be denied. Even the wood industry will be different ten, twenty years from now than it is today. Can you envision those changes?

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