Thursday, December 13, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 7-11 December

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ Europe clings to scorched-earth ideology as depression deepens (Of course an English newspaper, but so true)
☆☆☆☆ Politics have burst the Monti bubble (quote of choice: "But as useless and comic as Mr Berlusconi may have been during his last term in office, his diagnosis of Italy’s problems since he left has been spot-on."... Finalncial times, baby, a newspaper who hates mr. B. with a passion...)
☆☆☆☆ Capitalism and the Kids (Yes, kids have an economic cost, yes FAMILIES with kids should be hugely helped.. but that means incentivize stable FAMILIES, not single motherhood)

On the Euro Crisis:
 Competitive and external Imbalances in the Euro area (interesting paper)
State Costs of the 2008 Icelandic Financial Collapse (Technically not Euro, but an interesting case close to home)
Iceland: Coming in from the cold (“Iceland zigged when all the conventional wisdom was that it should zag”)
☆☆☆ Notes from the continent where good times are always just around the corner (and the corner is actually an infinite circle, apparently)
☆☆ She's German. He's Greek. It's Christmas. (Funny, in a sad way)
Bleeding Europe (bleeding masses, rather, not everyone...)

☆☆ Critics savage Depardieu's new role as tax exile (well, what did they expect? And I should visit this Nechin, which is probably the place with the highest earnings/population ratio on the planet by now, considering teh other residents)
In France's Welfare State Status Quo, Are We Seeing America's Future? (Not only in France, most of Europe actually and we cannot pay for it for much longer. Then what?)

Greece joins cool circle (if that's being cool...)
Greece’s two-stage default (Again... and a third one to come soon, I'd guess)

Italy Trumps Greece (and we are again in the news!)
☆☆ Why Italy Will Become the Primary Source of Angst for the Euro Crisis (Yes, probably, on th eother hand we cannot stop having elections just because the markets get nervous)
Suddenly Mario Monti Is No Longer A Hero (Well, he never was, except for banks and speculators...)
Arrivederci, Monti (and good riddance! In fact, i hope it will be a good byw rather than an au revoir)

The Netherlands
Shrinking Dutch economy in worse shape than thought (welcome to the club!)

On the US Economy:
November Employment Report: 146,000 Jobs, 7.7% Unemployment Rate (I still find ludicruous they do not consider people who aren't looking for job anymore. They should really use the prime age participation rate as a serious measure, or you risk saying things like...)
The employment emergency is over (which is downright ridicolous)
 Stanford MBA price tag hits $185K: Highest in the world (well, if one then goes on earning that or, most probably, ten times that in a year after graduating, it kinda makes sense)

World Economy and Economics in general:
The next productivity revolution: The ‘industrial internet’ (I'm a bit skeptical, truly)
Is science funding encouraging conformity? (I've always thought so, but then only private funding leads to generally useful, but with little economic return ideas being neglected)
 Join the fight against unpaid internships (All too true, richer kids have an mmense advantage if internships are unpaid... on the other hand, if paid, I'd guess there'd be much much less available on the market)
☆☆ The Most Depressing Slide I've Ever Created (Yes, having kids is important, who would had guessed?)
HSBC to Pay $1.92 Billion to Settle Charges of Money Laundering (Which is actually just about a month of profits... they got away with little)
Losing for tax purposes, a diagram (As if transfer pricing was anything new...)

Risk and Reward in High Frequency Trading (how I hate HTF traders...)

Robots and jobs (An interesting subject that started a worldwide debate this week)
☆☆☆ Robots, capital-biased technological change and inequality (A good summary of the discussion)
☆☆ Rise of the Robots
The robot economy and the new rentier class (which robots-making factory can I invest in?)
Technology and Wages, the Analytics  (where are nowadays Fords,who notoriously quipped along teh line of "of course I pay well my employees, or who would buy my cars?")

China’s wealth gap widens (isn't it always so in communist countries, see the Russian oligarchs?)
 Move Over, Michigan, China Is The World's Next Rust Belt (Maybe, which would be interesting in a country of more than a billion people)
Carson Block Goes Short Unafraid as Chinese Gangsters Chase (Gangser tactics and hopacity, great mix...)
 China’s banking Weapons of Mass Ponzi problem pops up again (...but then again, it might be the only way for them...)

☆☆ Gertler Earns Billions as Mine Deals Fail to Enrich Congo (Now, I'm no antisemite and I'm pro-Israel, but this guy isn't helping the stereotypes... he really seems, both by behaviour and looks, out of a german cartoon from the 30s...)

Germany faces multibillion-Euro grid bill (Oh, the huge waste... and who will pay the bill? And how will react the energy intensive german industries when the bill will skyrocket?)

A question of identity (How about applying it to voting?)

 Japan, bringing you recession since Q2 (question, which applies to Europe and US as well, is: who the heck should buy the products needed to get out of teh recession if middle class has been squashed all around the planet?)

The Gorbachev Anti-Alcohol Campaign and Russia's Mortality Crisis (PLEASE, stop drinking yourself to death! The world needs more Russian girls, not less!)

☆☆ Gigantic Map Reveals The Modern Pirate Hot Spots That Terrify Shippers Around The World (back to the XVIII century!)

America, Israel, Gaza, the World (And yet, they helped the Muslim Brotherhood to seize Egypt and a number of thugs control of Lybia... and who's ruling Tunisia?)

Four major Al Qaeda commanders killed in Pakistani tribal areas (Good news!)

Google's Lost Social Network (never used google reader as social network, but it's still my tool of choice for RSS feeds)
Shock jocks and other media stories from Down Under (They called, the nurse committed suicide, they will never face a judge... and it was not even the first time...)
Yet another study suggests sperm numbers are falling in rich countries (I suppose we deserve to go extincted)
Giving New Life to Vultures to Restore a Human Ritual of Death (Strong stories and even stronges pictures, but very interesting)

Sunday, December 09, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 27 November - 6 December

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ The high risk of living on a low flood plain
☆☆☆☆ Moral Machines
☆☆☆☆ The problem with the return of manufacturing
☆☆☆☆ Childless couples have higher risk of dying prematurely but adopting may reduce chances of an early death

On the Euro Crisis:
Why the ESM rules OK (says the ECJ)
The Different Paths of Greece and Spain to High Unemployment
Draghi’s ready to get negative

French Socialist in Mittal Row: We're Just Doing What Obama Does

☆ Basic hygiene at risk in debt-stricken Greek hospitals
☆☆☆ You’re in selective default (again), S&P tells Greece
And the most corrupt EU state is…
A bail-out by any other name
How the official sector restructures, Greece edition
☆☆ So, who’s going to sell their Greek bonds?

☆☆☆ Portugal follows Spain’s pain
Portugal debates future of welfare state
☆ Portugal GDP shrinks 3.5% Y-O-Y

☆☆☆ How Spain ended up with 25% unemployment rate
☆ On trying to read the coming Catalan coalition

On the US Economy:
☆☆ U.S. Debt Problems: Brewing for Decades
Unionizing the Bottom of the Pay Scale
☆☆☆ The Myth of American Meritocracy
☆☆ Escalating Delinquency Rates Make Student Loans Look Like the New Subprime
☆☆☆ Obama Signs Bill to Exempt US Airlines from EU Aviation Carbon Tax
Are Prediction Markets Against the Public Interest?
☆ Death of a Prediction Market
Real House Prices, Price-to-Rent Ratio

World Economy and Economics in general:
How cancelling central banks’ holdings of government debt could be a useful thing
☆☆ Satyajit Das: L’Age d’Or, Part 1 – “A Barbarous Relic”
Climate Change Strategies (Including Mangroves)
Cost of Pennies
☆☆ Death Star II nowhere, sadly

High-Frequency Trading and High Returns
High-Speed Traders Profit at Expense of Ordinary Investors, a Study Says

The Debtor Prisoner’s Dilemma
Argentine jujutsu (and enter… Bank of New York)
Stayin’ alive, Argentina edition
All of this has happened before and will happen again, sovereign pari passu edition

Meanwhile, in Japan...
☆☆☆ Don’t kill the old! Just get them to adopt you

☆☆ Sir Rex Hunt, Symbol of British Defiance in the Windswept Falklands, Dies at 86

China not a currency manipulator, everyone back to work
China and the Rightshoring Movement

☆☆☆ Hamas Won?

Will Mario Monti's government fall?

Felipe Calderón’s Legacy in Mexico

Can the States Sabotage Obamacare?
Ross Is Right on Demography

When we can’t see the world for our phones
☆ The Sublime Sci-Fi Buildings That Communism Built
The impossibility of tablet-native journalism
The Daily’s Demise
☆☆ The 45 Most Powerful Images Of 2012
They're Galadriel you came!
☆☆☆ Killer Swarms
Chinese Architecture, Old and New

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 16-26 November

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ The Hazards of Growing Up Painlessly (Fascinating and yet somewhat sad story)
☆☆☆☆ Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore (Now I know what do to over the weekend)
☆☆☆☆ Is Siri really Apple’s future? (And considering the article above, I panic at the idea Siri -or any other system- can do what it can)
☆☆☆☆ Tell Me a State’s Fertility Rate, and I’ll Tell You How It Voted (If that is, then an even better reason to be conservative)
☆☆☆☆ Japan's ninjas heading for extinction (NOOOOOoooooo......)

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆ Eurozone fact of the day (This is actually how it should work and why the European Union was made: workers mobility within EU countries. Too bad German is such a hellish language and, in general, we do not have a common language to go with at the local level)
☆ What not to worry about in the euro crisis (I would actually worry about France, and probably about extremist political parties too)
Europe in recession (Oh, surprise!)
More and more and not enough (And with constantly shrinking GDP, all the good will be lost and more)
☆☆☆ EU budget: the trillion-euro split (and of course, they couldn't find a solution in the end)
☆☆ EU budget summit (part III): No deal, but no drama (Is there anything they can agree upon anymore?)

☆☆☆ Moody’s cuts France’s Aaa rating (And there it goes)

Eurozone finance ministers fail to agree Greece bailout (There's no money and lots of political fatigue, methinks)
Greece is a model of economic mismanagement (Internal and external, I'd say)
Those ‘technical’ issues that broke up last night’s Eurogroup meeting (No Money and political fatugue, as said)
Price of milk makes Greeks' blood boil ("Skordas said cattle breeders feared - unnecessarily, in his opinion - that this would open the door to increased competition from imported milk."... and that says it all)

Ireland lifts eurozone debt crisis gloom (Tiny step)

☆☆☆ Is Catalonia backing away from independence? (I wouldn't say... the openly separatist parties have more than 50% of seats, they just moved more to the left and fragmented and...)
☆☆ Catalans maybe like this independence idea (... in fact)

On the US Economy:
Changing the Conventional Wisdom on Wall Street (I'm for the second view espoused)
☆ Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims increased sharply to 439,000 (Nah, really, unemployment statistics going up -and the back ones being revised up- after the elections? Shocking!)
☆☆ Why it matters that one of Goldman’s new partners is said to have paid £500k to attract his wife (Seriously, if you have to buy a wife, you can get much better for much less and quite reasonably not a former prostitute)
America’s Mid-20th-Century Infrastructure (The open-air utilities cables are particularly incredible)
Washington must stop the creeping rust  (Indeed)
American manufacturing is coming back. Manufacturing jobs aren’t. (and in any case, the human work that needs to be done can be done for a cup of rice in China)
How technology opens the door for personalised pricing (Bad bad bad)

World Economy and Economics in general:
Free-riding economists, revisited (Study economics and become more selfish and troublesome for teh economy as a whole? Interesting concept)
Occupy Art (Bah, for centuries art was exactly that, ego and money... the Italian Reinessance was all about that, in fact)
☆☆☆ How raising wage would benefit workers, the industry and the overall economy (Specifically Retail, but would apply across the board. Old story, Ford used to say he paid his workers well or who would had bought his autos? Pity the lesson got lost)
Soros Buying Gold as Record Prices Seen on Stimulus (ohhh, Shiny!)
☆ Which Bond Villain Plan Would Have Worked (and Which Not)? (I disagree, number 2 could had worked, heroin addicts wont' go for other drugs)
☆☆ Inequality is Killing Capitalism (credible)

☆☆ Friends…don’t let friends leave the Republic of Argentina to litigate the sovereign debt trial of the century (Just PAY THEM ALREADY!!!)
Argentina unmoved on debt ‘holdouts’ (ditto)
☆☆ Why we might soon see another Argentine default (Maybe too late...)
☆☆ Poker with Judge Griesa, part one
☆☆ Poker with Judge Griesa, part two
☆☆☆ The consequences of Elliott vs Argentina

BP gets record US criminal fine over Deepwater disaster (Ouch, but deserved)

Social Media Companies Have Absolutely No Idea How to Handle the Gaza Conflict (and they should learn quickly, this is just the beginning)

☆☆☆ The new Chinese leadership: A guide to China’s Men in Black (Ah, the princelings. Funny how Communist countries tend to fall in an aristocratic pattern over time)

☆☆☆ Egypt's President Mursi assumes sweeping powers (Surprise! The Muslim Brotherhood's president giving himself more powers that Mubarak had... who could had figured? Ah, the wonders of Arab spring...)
☆☆ Egypt: President Mursi's political gamble (protecting the revolution? Temporary? Ah ah ah)

Scotland’s debate lacks seriousness (Yet it would be romantically cool to have an independent Scotland again)

☆☆☆ The Iranian Nuclear Program: Timelines, Data, and Estimates (Bad, bad, bad... and with Israel having been forced to use his political point in Gaza and Obama re-elected, i do not see anything stopping Iran)

Google vs. Samsung (Well, my next personal phone is probably going to be a Samsung as well)
The Law and Order Database: All 20 Seasons (People can have way too much time in their hands... but quite an analysis anyway)
Why Coke Cost A Nickel For 70 Years (Had no idea and quite a story)
You Can’t Say That on the Internet (and that makes you wonder what the search engines won't show you...)
What I Really Think About Facebook (Pretty close to my feelings too)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 12-15 November

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ World’s First 3D Printing Photo Booth to Open in Japan (I WANT this! When are they pening these in Europe?)
☆☆☆☆ How I learned a language in 22 hours (And there I have something I must most definitely try)
☆☆☆☆ Why Are So Many Single-Parent Families in Poverty? (that's a rhetorical question, one would think, and yet apparently is not. And what would the underlying problem be? That the government hasn't kept track of "change in family structure"... so the solution is subsidizing single parent families, not incentivizing the creation of traditional families... BULLSHIT. And apparently ☆☆☆ I'm not the only one thinking this)
☆☆☆☆ 99 life hacks to make your life easier (GENIUS at work)

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆ Slow but steady? External adjustment within the Eurozone starts working (and figure 5 is taken as good news... a 10% drop in labor cost, meaning wages...)
Time for euro zone to revisit debt default option (on the other hand, heavily indebted euro countries would become even more indebted if the debts they are backing thro bailouts would default, possibly triggering another, larger, problem)
☆☆☆ Violent clashes as austerity protests grip EU cities (In Rome, they were particularly bad, it seems)

Leaked Greek troika report: devil in the details (Ah ah ah... the critically indebted  -except Germany obviously- European"big ones" to find another 50 billion euros for Greece and Greece to enforce another -only?- 4 billions of cuts.. financial sci-fi!)
Battle of the (third) bailout (Ditto)
Greece: continuing the disastrous ‘squeeze and hope’ strategy (Ditto)
☆☆☆ On Greek elephants (oh, ok, it's actually even worse)

Battling French decline (and here it comes another recessionary austerity spiral)

Portugal shut out of OMT in order to keep Greece out (logic, in fact, has been severely lacking when it comes to actions to address sovereign debt)
Portugal’s growing discontent (and how very unsurprising it is, cosnidering Portugal is made to suffer even more for the "sins" of others, as cleared above)

Is Rajoy considering an IMF-only bail-out? (I don't think the IMF would require any less austerity than it would the EU)

On the US Economy:
‘The Queen of Versailles’: the best film on the Great Recession (Kind of interesting, but I must see if I can get to see the documentary mentioned in the comments)
U.S. Oil Output to Overtake Saudi Arabia’s by 2020 (Which on the long term would be auspicious, meaning having to accommodate less the arab countries.)
Merry Christmas and a recessionary new year (Optimism!)

World Economy and Economics in general:
☆☆ To Slow Warming, Tax Carbon  ("As the price of energy has increased using current renewables, energy-intensive industries are being driven offshore, only for their products to be imported back into the European Union." and that, really, says it all. Consider that those are job intensive industries too)
Corruption Threatens to Bring Down China and Russia  (Brazil and India are pretty bad too...ah, the BRICs...)
Introducing the ‘youth sacrifice ratio’ (Ok, I'm not in the youth section anymore, regrettably, but in any case it's sad)
Google Has Officially Eaten the Newspaper Industry (The interesting question is: once the industry dies, where will Google get the contents? Blogs?)
☆☆ How Economists Got Income Inequality Wrong (Several interesting points raised)
☆☆☆ Manufacturing Fetishism (Sorry, i disagree, I hardly would call fetishism the fact that there are more jobs in manufacturing than in designing something. Ideally, one country would like to do both as much as possible.)

Pari Passu Endgames (I don't know, but together with HFT, this is currently fascinating to me)

Impending Bad Debt Headache Likely Bigger Than Expected (Massive currency reserves should be enough to erase the debt, in the worst case)

Starbucks, Amazon and Google to face MPs over tax (perhaps it is time to do something about tax avoidance of multinationals, indeed)
☆☆☆ Starbucks Commitment to the UK (the comment section is a must read)


☆☆ Who’s Who in China’s New Communist Party Leadership Lineup (Average age,, compared to politicians in my country)

☆☆☆ Extremist calls for destruction of Egyptian antiquities (Oh, what a surprise... Arab spring everyone! Democracy!)

☆ Israel Takes Out Top Terrorist (Nice shot!)

☆☆ The Uncertain Future for Universities (For an example of how the system could not work, see Italy, where mass enrollment started in the 60s and produced some among the worst university in the western world)
☆☆ What does equilibrium look like for the book business? (Quite possibly true. But houses without real books will look so empty and sad)
Dirty Money Spends Faster (Always thought that small notes are spent faster than large ones)
☆☆☆ Making Cents (Interesting insight in the world of music today)

Monday, November 12, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 8-11 November

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ Ducking Google in search engines (And I say, good luck to him! I've just added it to my browser, in the meanwhile, to test drive)
☆☆☆☆ Beating the recruitment machines (Very good suggestions for online job applications)
☆☆☆☆ When quants tell stories (that's pretty horrifying, if you think about it... how do you feel about this mass of information being collected and used for political ends?)
☆☆☆☆ Fiscal multipliers and growth guesstimates (The table is really horrific... and the graphs too... and the discourse that can't but be built on them too)
☆☆☆☆ The Election and the Right (Many good concepts, in particular in defining what a party actually should be)

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆☆ Brussels’ fiscal management ‘is not yet up to standard’ (Sad to see the European Commission going the United Nations way when it comes to budget and accounting...)
☆☆ European Commission on fiscal multipliers (in short "Really, fiscal contraction and austerity cause recessions and are counterproductive? No way, says the EC".. nevermind the Baltics, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Spain...)
A comment on the European Commission’s Box 1.5 (interesting comment on the previous subject)
☆☆ Europe Back In The Spotlight (So, Greece is a lost case after all -I wonder if the sudden introduction of euro banknotes right now is purely coincidental- and Spain should follow suit?)
From measures of inflation to the failure of European governance (And salaries keep growing under inflation, and taxes keep rising...)

Athens Erupts in Riots During Key Austerity Vote (and more to come, but I think it's the first time I read anything like this: "Dozens of workers in Greece's parliament walked off the job, interrupting a heated debate")
☆☆☆ In Greece, Antonis Sisyphus took another painful step forward ( ("There is little sign of vested interest groups accepting the need for fundamental change, which will make it harder for the Troika to provide a constructive report on Greece."... substitute Italy for Greece and it would be just the same)
☆☆ Missing the Bigger Picture in Greece (all too true)
A €5bn Greek bond imminently falling due? Did we mention we have deckchairs by this abyss? (No comment needed... austerity for another decade? They think it's sustainable?)

☆☆☆ Spain’s fantastical deficit forecasts (Just too much bought on an immense real estate bubble, and you charge it on the State's treasury Ireland style, what can you do about it?)
Spain's Iberia Announces Massive Job Cuts (25% cuts... ouch... i wonder how much the ETS weighted on it)

☆☆ London to lose title of world's finance capital, study warns (maybe a nation cannot make its living only by administering other people's money?

On the US Economy:
The Scariest Jobs Chart, Private-Sector Edition (And looking at that, remember that welfare is relatively minimal in US)
☆☆☆ Goldman Didn't Make Me A Partner & My Career Was Over (Pretty terrifying stuff, and you wonder why people in finance will get on immense risk, when they have to be this kind of competitive?)
Boeing Announces Big Layoffs in Defense Division (interesting they did the day AFTER the election, isn't it?)
Keystone pipeline pushed to forefront (My guess? Not going to happen)
McDonald's sales drops for first time since 2003 (bad economic signal, but maybe good for health?)
The People’s Bailout (Of course, if the operation gains momentum, starting to involve a more than infinitesimal amount of the outstanding obligations, the banks will focus on it thinking they can make money out of bad debt, they will ask more for the redemption and eventually, possibly very quickly, the operation will freeze. But OWS will have had its media exposure for a while, I guess. And who decides what debt will be bought and forgiven?)
☆☆ The Obamacare Layoffs Begin . . . (The comment section is quite interesting)

World Economy and Economics in general:
☆☆ Women, education, and earnings ("The more highly educated women are less likely to be married" be expected, I guess, but sad nevertheless)
What kind of inequality matters most? The case for unfairness (Fact is, at some point inequality, assuming everyone else still goes up, still captures too many resources in the hands of people who cannot make them go around again)
☆ Growth or bust (true, but the problem is when your market doesn't quickly reabsorb the unemployment that the busts do create, which is what brings legislators to avoiding bankruptcy when possible) 
Asia’s great moderation (and of course, the fact that there simply are not enough natural resources for all is overlooked...)

Argentina, holdouts, and finding a formula (in case I didn't mention it in the past... Just pay them already!)

☆☆ Iran inflation soars to 24.9 percent (Finally some good news, but I doubt that will stop the Iranian government running towards producing nuclear weapons, or that the people will revolt)

☆☆☆ Bluffer’s guide to China’s regime change (Write me in for status quo with added aggressive foreign policy to distract people at home)
China submarines to soon carry nukes, draft U.S. report says (did I mention added aggressive foreign policy?)

Muslim Brotherhood: Obama Needs To ‘Accept The Will Of The Arab People’ (Ah, the Arab spring and the democracy triumphing... with sharia law, women's segregation and probably another war for Israel)

☆☆☆ Fill your sandbags (wise to do also for Japan, Georgia, Taiwan and just about any country leaning on the US for their international security and/or internal stability...assuming for the latter there was still anyone, after Egypt, Tunisia and the like)

☆☆ Five ways the mainstream media tipped the scales in favor of Obama (I know, I know, it's Foxnews... yet it rings somewhat true and not all that much dissimilar to Italy)
☆☆ Secret to Romney’s Defeat: Not Enough ‘Angry White Guys’? (True. If Republicans don't open to hispanics appealing to their catholic ethics while dropping the immigration barricades, they are probably history)
☆☆☆ Is Demography Destiny? (same as above)

'Super-Earth' exoplanet spotted 42 light-years away (Not too far away? Just about anything is too far away and likely will ever be, sadly)
Tomb of Ancient Egyptian Princess Discovered in Unusual Spot (Not to worry, within 50 years it will blown up to pieces as Egypt will follow the enlightened example set out in Afghanistan, Mali...)

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 3-7 November

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ Empire of the In-Between (and this is awfully, terribly, completely sad...)
☆☆☆☆ Political Europe, with rockets (really, really fascinating)
☆☆☆☆ British have invaded nine out of ten countries - so look out Luxembourg (Funny fact.. or not)
☆☆☆☆ Why we can't solve big problems (I don't think I will ever see a colony on mars, much less visit it, as I dreamed 3 decades ago watching Star Trek...)
☆☆☆☆ An Alternative to Democracy? (Interesting, but I still would go for the one person one vote system with the restriction of allowing to vote only individuals who pay at least 5.000 euros in taxes per year -no matter how much you get back in subsidies-. No representation without taxation!)

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆☆ The Eurozone breakup debate: Uncertainty still reigns (interesting, mostly for the bibliography really)
Angela Merkel: Euro Crisis Will Last Another 5 Years (I'd bet on popular uprisings...)
What Caused the Eurozone Crisis, & Does it Matter? (Quote to keep "The current impasse bears comparison to the ’sinners should pay’ response to WW 1"... agree or disagree, it's true.)

☆☆☆ The peripheral threat to France (All fine and well, but if the EU would get out of the WTO and raise anti-dumping levies on Chinese good, it would be easier...)

Athens grinds to a halt ( here, for now relatively subdued, but...)

On the US Economy:
☆☆ The Forgotten Long-Term Unemployed (and if you think it's only an US problem, think twice...)
Inequality and the US election: The elephant in the room (possibly happening at a faster and faster rate in Europe as well)
Going over the fiscal cliff (And yet, for how bad it looks and probably will be, it will probably happen)
☆☆☆ Million-Dollar Traders Replaced With Machines Amid Cuts (There something both gratifying and horrifying in seeing people who helped a big deal in causing the huge financial crash substituted...but by programs potentially even more pernicious)

World Economy and Economics in general:
Sticker shock: Why are glasses so expensive? (and they are NOT prescription lenses we are talking about)
Academic Research Destroys Stock Values (More correctly, destroy stock investment strategies' value.. big difference.. arguably, they in fact bring the stocks in line with real market value rather than speculative one.)
Is Facebook “broken on purpose” to sell promoted posts? (A rhetorical question if I've seen one....)
☆☆☆ It's the Machines, Stupid (And that applies to all advanced economies)

Rating Agencies
☆☆☆ AAA ratings, alternative universes, and hindsight (And here, FINALLY, S&P starts getting a beating...)
☆☆☆ Hero of the day, CPDO edition (...and rightly so And note that we are having our whole countries financial situations on the lines these people write down. Personally, I think the rating Agencies heads of the last 10 years should be summarily executed by firing squads)

China Diabetes Triples Creating $3.2 Billion Drug Market (I guess, better economic conditions too quickly have their downsides...)

How not to criticize Japan (And once again... China...)

The global e-voting disaster: Why the US and the world shouldn’t try to make elections too high tech (true... keep it on paper and please, a photo ID check while you are at it. And vote on a saturday, when people don't have to go to work)

Italian politics: All roads lead to Monti? (A good summary of Italian politics nowadays...however, I should perhaps add that Monti represents the first non democratically elected - not even in the parliament, to which Mussolini was - leader of Italy and that he's killing the country's economy and middle class.. but I suppose that is nothing of importance, is it?)

☆ The Scapegoats of Racism and Immigration (Interesting for the comments section)
Pundit accountability: The official 2012 election prediction thread (And by now we know... still, it's interesting to keep note of who was wrong and who was right)
America Has Already Lost Tuesday's Election (Maybe a bit overboard, but not by much)
☆☆☆ Want to fix Congress? Let's institute pay for performance (might not be a bad idea in Italy as well...)

Goggles that let you read emails as you ski down the slopes (And hopefully, when they crash and die, the users of this won't hurt anyone else)
☆☆ Alien Life May Require Rare 'Just-Right' Asteroid Belts (And yet, despite the lower and lower probabilities of life, and intelligent one at that, coming up on a planet... there was no God involved, right?)
Colonial conquests: who reached Australia first? (Ok, I admit I didn't know about the Portuguese angle)
Netherlands Highways Will Glow in the Dark Starting Mid-2013 (Pretty interesting concept indeed)
☆ Internal Time: The Science of Chronotypes, Social Jet Lag, and Why You’re So Tired (I must try this)

Friday, November 02, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 29 October - 2 November

Random articles I've found interesting over the last days or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! Stars indicate articles I found more interesting than the average.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ Obama’s Deficit Spending Dwarfs WWII’s (No comment needed excepted... what for?)
☆☆☆☆ Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4.05 Billion—Star Wars Episode 7 Slated for 2015 (the horror! The HORROR! Hopefully there will be no Indiana Jones prequels/sequels)
☆☆☆☆ Driverless Cars (I'm skeptical... driverless cars make sense only if all cars are automated, given that a single human can screw the pattern of driving for everyone and the chance that all cars will be automated in the next 50 years seems low. Still it would be neat).

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆ Requirements for solvency (Definitely a Solvency crisis for Ireland and Greece, not so sure about Spain and Italy)
Euro zone ponders best path to "GEMU" (Seriously, the acronym madness must end at some point)
An EU budget for the fifties not the future (Good lord, agricultural subsidies untouched and cuts in research and infrastructures. REALLY!?)
☆☆☆ Eurozone unemployment hits new high (And it's likely to get higher due...)
Self-defeating austerity? (...this)

☆ Greek editor held over publishing names (Name and shame them, or privacy for people to be considered innocent until proven otherwise? Nice call...)
☆☆ Putting a new drachma in historical perspective (For a country with essentially no raw materials except.. well.. milk? and with no real industry to speak of that would be pretty, pretty bad. Except for tourism, of course)
Greek government gets more backing on reforms (Desperation makes for unlikely bedfellows, I guess)
Coalition troubles in Athens (Or maybe not...)
☆☆ Greek government acquires more realistic crystal ball (Ouch)

☆☆☆ Andreu Mas-Collel calls for Catalonian secession (I think people are keeping underestimating this...)

On the US Economy:
Early estimates of Sandy’s economic impact (And will there be any political effects, coming election day?)
Why US GDP is growing: housing and government have kicked in but business has dropped out (Housing, again?)
☆☆ The End of Men, Revisited (The fact that the employer will think 10 years ahead and weight the chance the female applicant might have to take a leave or two for kids and maybe not return at all might maybe have something to do with it? And is it really a bad thing?)
How Retirement Age Tracks Social Security's Rules (I think it has more to do with the risk propensity of the people entitled to the benefit, truly)
☆☆☆ What's happening to American prosperity? (and he's complaining... check lower to see where Italy stands...)
Barclays faces huge fine and charges of rudeness (Question: who are the fines paid to? And what are they used for?)

World Economy and Economics in general:
Everything Will Be Too Big to Fail (And here I'm hoping I will one day be able to retire in a wonderful sparsely inhabited countryside...oh, and no cloud computing for me, thanks)
☆☆☆ The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index (where we are the only country in western Europe not to be in the high category...)

Around the world in Argentine bond payments? (Just pay them already!)
Argentina, padlocks and vultures (No, don't pay them already! Gee...)

Questioning China’s governance (I'd be curious to know how much corruption is externally directed, for instance to secure international contracts, but of course it's impossible to know)
Wary of Future, Professionals Leave China in Record Numbers (Not only having to fight competition from low-cost production, but now also hundred of thousands of high level graduates?)

Please no bonuses over 20 per cent of base pay, we’re Dutch (Not the worst of the ideas, truly. But I suspect implementation, even without a downright rise of basic pay, will be hard with things like fringe benefits and options being hard to track)

The World's First Commercial Vertical Farm Opens in Singapore (Now that looks interesting... if you have the water and the pressure, that is)

☆☆ China's leadership transition facing 'chaos' (Oh well, there will be some cases of flu, some car incident and things will go on as ever, for the next decade or so at least. Unless, of course, the next leader decides a nice external war would be good to give a direction to internal turmoil. Taiwan, anyone? Or, perhaps, ...)
☆☆☆ China raises stakes over disputed islands (...Japan?)

☆☆☆ Danish Public Schools Facing Collapse (only in Denmark?)

☆☆☆ Sicily's electoral shock (In effect, now we do have two regional governors openly homosexual, both in deep south regions, once thought to be the most homophobic... ummm... Maybe there's something to the theory that the most homophobic you are the more you are hiding something?)

People With Dark Personalities Tend to Create a Physically Attractive Veneer (Damn, I knew i should had been a psychopath...)
Apple's Siri stops directing users to prostitution services (awww... what about free market's information?)
☆☆☆ New York City’s subways could take between 21 days and several months to be restored (For a city that lives with its underground, that's absolutely catastrophic, possibly more than the hurricane itself)
Ugly Baby? Perhaps Wife Had Plastic Surgery! (Well, i see the judge's point, but seriously?)
Physics Students Make Zombie Movie Decay Deep Within the Bowels of CERN (Too much free time on their hands, eh?)

Monday, October 29, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 25-28 October

Random articles I've found interesting over the last week or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! I've added a star system to signify the articles I found more interesting than the average interesting needed to get on the page and/or articles I very much agree with.

Top Spot:
☆☆☆☆ Why Milk? (Didn't know lactose intolerant people were the norm.. another thank God for being European.. no latte macchiato in the morning would be a nightmare!)
☆☆☆☆ I’m a Mac. You’re a PC. There really are two types of people (Yes, indeed, they are)
☆☆☆☆ Inequality: Living in the Second Gilded Age (Soon to come to Europe as well, if it isn't already here)

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆ The Germans Are Coming for Their Gold (Ummm... when the only non struggling economy in Europe starts looking at its gold reserves, one has to wonder...)
☆☆ Here’s the “massive cover-up” in Europe’s ridiculously large banking sector (After all, what could go wrong when your banks are several times the countries' GDP?)
German Hypocrisy on “Strengthening Europe” (However, public investment banks to sustain depressed local regions should be allowed... just call them structural funds management agencies already!)

Spain’s funding problems are over (or, are they?)
☆☆☆ Why should Germans support poorer Spanish regions if Catalans object? (Right, in general, but I still think they are under-estimating the centrifuge forces in Catalunya...)

☆ Sir Mervyn King: no recovery until banks recapitalise (But then again, who would give money to RBS, given its track record?)

On the US Economy:
Would Inflation Help Cut Government Debt? (Reducing costs while raising inflation... no, eh?)
The Plot to Destroy America's Beer (Sadness... and something that could happen soon in Europe both for beers and wines)
☆☆☆ College Reunion (However, I suspect that applies to Italy, Spain and France as well)

World Economy and Economics in general:
☆☆☆ The Third Industrial Revolution Has Only Just Begun (I wonder if we will actually see and enjoy the results or it will fall on our kids...)
Gawd but the currency wars are boring (well, until you realize they can wipe away hundred of thousands of job in your country, i guess they can be...)
Regulation: Collateral damage (Damage? Hey, that's precisely the aim: for bank not to hyper-leverage and have some assets behind their games)
Ocean Power the Ignored Alternative (My guess is that it will join fuel cell and cold fusion, but one may always hope)
Does Taxing the Wealthy Hurt Growth? (I'd suspect, it depends on where you have the "wealthy" bar)
☆☆ Transcript of 1944 Bretton Woods Conference Found at Treasury (For the econo-historians that's seriously a gift from above, I guess)

Big Companies
The Intransparent Methods of an Internet Giant (Why is it, exactly, that people should expect a for profit company to act as a social non-profit organization?)
Why Apple doesn’t care about its competition (and that's why I haven't bought a single Apple product yet... I'm an ultra-geek, apparently)
Too Big To Handle (So true... and while you are at it, please divide commercial and investment banks once again, thank you very much)
Amazon Is a Black Hole Threatening To Devour Corporate America (Fact is, if you have immense volumes and you eliminate competitors, then you can rise prices and have those margins... it's called getting a monopoly, you know, investors might have a point)

A pari passu upset? (How speculators will end up reaping tons of money from Argentina... Also, see here)

Billions in Hidden Riches for Family of Chinese Leader (and that's surprising... why? Every dictatorial power creates immensely rich people at the top, see the Russian Oligarchs that originated from the end of the Soviet regime...)

Judgment in Parallel (Not shocking at all, this is going on majorly in UK and France, but also in Italy and most European countries with a sufficiently high and locally dense Arab and middle-east community)

☆☆ Sanctions are pushing Iran towards nuclear talks, just not US sanctions (Are they at all? Or, at the very least, quickly enough? I seriously doubt it...)

Gazans fire mortar shell at South despite informal truce (Why, did they ever stop doing that? And would they have any restraint, now that islamists rule Egypt anyway?)

Another Pricey Watch Disappears in Russia (Amateurs... their great-fathers were able to have whole people disappear, both in pictures and for real...)

Equipment disposal a daunting job for military (What a waste, I wouldn't mind a couple of tanks, if they have no better use for it...)
Moving Further to the Left (Oh, my, what a surprise...)

☆☆ Stay Alive: Imagine Yourself Decades From Now (Maybe I should try to have an aged picture of myself to help with keeping my fitness regime...)
Rand’s Dystopian Masterpiece (Ok, I guess it is time I read Rand's books, after having postpone it for about a decade now)
Our Debt to Stalingrad (REALLY... so we are in debt to the first top mass murder in history, Stalin, to have stopped the second on the list? Interesting logics at work... I would say our debt to Normandy, if I'd have to pick one)
The Lowly Button Gets A Brilliant Upgrade (GENIUS!!!)
Paintballs may deflect an incoming asteroid (No Bruce Willis? No hyper cool shuttle dodging the debris  How uncool is that?)
Why air travel has become so expensive, annoying, and cramped (Definitely applies to Europe as well)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What I'm reading these days - 20-24 October

Random articles I've found interesting over the last week or so, posted in each section from the oldest to the newest. Mostly for my own reminder, but if you feel like commenting, I'm always up for an interesting discussion in the comments! I've added a star system to signify the articles I found more interesting than the average interesting needed to get on the page and/or articles I very much agree with.

On the Euro Crisis:
☆☆ Were Hollande and Merkel at the same summit?
☆☆☆ EU Summit: The kiss of life, or of death?
☆☆ Taking A Man At His Word
Northern European Investors Steer Clear of Needy South
Financial transaction tax for 10 EU states
The S&P downgrade ratio in Europe – 4:1
(Seemingly) Perpetually Miserable Indices

Buba still unimpressed with ECB
Germany wants Greece to hand over more budget control ( just organize a Generalgouvernement already!)

The return of the Greek buyback (boondoggle)
Greece fact of the day (Scroll down to "So Much For Subtlety")

IMF calls Lisbon’s austerity ‘imperative’

☆☆ Slovenia puts the ‘EM’ in EMU

☆☆ Foreign buyers and the OMT (Italy as well)

On the US Economy:
Black Monday, An Unforgettable Single Day
JPMorgan: If the payroll tax cut falls, so does growth
Did the financial blogosphere go away?

World Economy and Economics in general:
☆☆☆☆ Shrink Inequality to Grow the Economy?
☆☆☆ Is the Financial Sector Worth What We Pay It?
The East grows only because the West consumes. Bitch please.
Can Agricultural Productivity Keep Growing?
What would happen if investments in people succeeded?
When the Hedge Fund Industry Evolves…in a Bad Way
Gauging the multiplier: Lessons from history (Could someone notify the various governments in Europe, please?)
Jerome Kerviel loses appeal, heads to prison (Hey, 4,9 billion dollars losses by one man!)

The geopolitics of computer trading

China flash PMIs are up, but there’s a catch

Is Islam Misogynistic? (YOU DON'T SAY!)

☆☆☆ You thought the whole 'EUSSR' thing was over the top? (Seriously, who hired the designer? And who the heck is the idiot pushing this in a moment when nationalist feelings are running high? Not that I mind, but who in the EU wants to give even more ammos to Golden Dawn, the British Defence League, Flemish nationalist and the like?)
Welcome to Berlin, Europe’s new capital

Mitt Romney Speech At The Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner (FUN!)
2008 Called. It Wants to Know What Happened to Barack Obama.
Guilford Co. voters say ballot cast for Romney came up Obama on machine (The fact that machines vote automatically for Obama is not really surprising as the fact people can vote two weeks to the official election date for no real reason)

Britain has left the European Union in all but name (I'm skeptical they will really opt-out)
The Takedown of the EDL (Why I'm not surprised in the least?)

☆☆☆☆ China’s increasing military spending unnerves neighbors (Quote to look for: "We have a lot of land occupied by other countries". That'd be Taiwan, Japan , India, Buthan, South Korea, Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei... there is practically no neighbor without some land China is disputing about)

☆☆☆☆ Brains plus Brawn
2012 Japan Juggling Festival Championship
The Rise of Childless Americans (and that sadly applies even more to most European countries, Italy in particular, altho I suspect here it is more for economical reasons)
Italian scientists sent to prison for false predictions (I do not usually issue public apologizes for my country, as I stick to the "right or wrong, my country" principle, but in this case I do apologize to the World Scientific Community for our judges)
Preparing for take-off (Planes indeed waste a lot on taxing, included  huge amount of MY time)
Apple, Google, and Amazon are so profitable because they know what to lose money on
Cosmo Wenman’s Mind-Blowing Sculpture Made On A MakerBot (I WANT this!)