"Enrique Martinez didn't like chocolate, but he was eating as many as 10 pieces a day, drinking chocolate protein shakes and rubbing a chocolate-based skin cream on his face. It was expensive chocolate, too. Martinez and his wife, Michelle, were going through $2,000 in chocolate a month."
The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States
); press coverage
) - "The signature effects of human-induced climate change
—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts
of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation's current assets and ongoing economic activity. [The report] uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences
for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path..." [more inside]
In 2014, Bitcoin (BTC) has become established as increasingly "real" money with government regulatory interest
, law enforcement
, and growing acceptance
, but also as the reserve cryptocurrency for hundreds of "altcoins,"
making them also convertible to legacy money. Foremost among these is Litecoin (LTC),
which introduced the scrypt hashing algorithm to cryptocurrency, democratizing coin mining by being best suited to common GPUs rather than Bitcoin's dedicated mining equipment. Recently donated LTC paid for a forest
in Madagascar. Peercoin (PPC),
next in prominence, introduces "proof of stake" where less energy is spent mining and existing coins pay interest. Dogecoin (DOGE),
a fork of Litecoin (previously
covered on Metafilter
), continues heading to the moon
, with more transactions than all other coins combined
, thriving markets in digital goods
, an upcoming party in NYC's Bitcoin Center on Wall Street
, much charity
, and the recent announcement
that new Dogecoins will be generated indefinitely. A selection of other foremost and interesting cryptocurrencies is within. [more inside]
The Prophet: Meet Dave Ramsey, the most important personal finance guru in America. There's probably no better way to learn about the financial lives of individual Americans than to spend a few hours listening to The Dave Ramsey Show, which airs in every major media market in the United States...Listen long enough and you realize you are hearing the raw, unfiltered tragedy of the economic plagues facing 21st-century America. [via]
The problem is that cinema, as I define it and as something that inspired me, is under assault by the studios and, from what I can tell, with the full support of the audience. The reasons for this, in my opinion, are more economic than philosophical, but when you add an ample amount of fear and lack of vision and a lack of leadership you’ve got a trajectory that is pretty difficult to reverse.
- "Retired" director Steven Soderbergh
speaks to the San Francisco International Film Festival about the state of cinema
, full audio at bottom of page 2
The African King With A Multi-Billion Dollar Empire RBH functions as a communitybased investment company whose primary investment aim is to generate the income required for the funding of sustainable projects. Income generated from RBH’s commercial interests is invested in infrastructural development, as well as in the members of the Nation itself. Over the past decade, more than R4 billion ($475 million) has been spent on roads, utilities, schools, clinics and other public amenities. This has benefited not only the Bafokeng, but other people living in the North West Province of South Africa, the area which the RBN calls home.
"We have little trouble recognizing that a chess grandmaster’s victory over a novice is skill, as well as assuming that Paul the octopus’s ability to predict World Cup games is due to chance. But what about everything else?" [Luck and Skill Untangled: The Science of Success
The iEconomy: Apple and Technology Manufacturing.
Since January, the New York Times has been running a series of articles "examining the challenges posed by increasingly globalized high-tech industries," with a focus on Apple's business practices. The seventh article in the series was published today: In Technology Wars, Using the Patent as a Sword
. Related: For Software, Cracks in the Patent System
and Fighters in the Patent War
. [more inside]
Kevin Roose of Nymag.com posted about a brand new North Carolinian hedge fund
that seemed less than impressive. The fund then started to use a sarcastic quote from Kevin's post as a kind of ringing endorsement on their website. Uh oh
My Faith-Based Retirement
. NYT business journalist Joe Nocera discusses being financially unable to retire.
The Incentive Bubble
) - "The fraying of the compact of American capitalism by rising income inequality and repeated governance crises is disturbing. But misallocations of financial, real, and human capital arising from the financial-incentive bubble are much more worrisome to those concerned with the competitiveness of the American economy." [more inside]
Economics blog VoxEU debates Why do we need a financial sector
? Serious, important and very dull articles discuss the trade-offs
and myths of innovation
, and whether the sector is overrated
or a contributor
to the wider economy.
The Higher Education (Debt) Bubble
- "[H]igh and increasing college costs mean students need to take out more loans, more loans mean more securities lenders can package and sell, more selling means lenders can offer more loans with the capital they raise, which means colleges can continue to raise costs. The result is over $800 billion in outstanding student debt, over 30 percent of it securitized, and the federal government directly or indirectly on the hook for almost all of it. If this sounds familiar, it probably should... [more inside]
Ken Lay & Enron. Bernie Madoff. Bernie Ebbers & WorldCom. What is it about CEOs that makes them uniquely capable of pulling off the most audacious & expensive kind of white collar crime? Control Fraud Theory
has the answer. Via the ever-enlightening Bruce Schneier
"What happened here in Jefferson County would turn out to be the perfect metaphor for the peculiar alchemy of modern oligarchical capitalism: A mob of corrupt local officials and morally absent financiers got together to build a giant device that converted human shit into billions of dollars of profit for Wall Street" - "Looting Main Street
" Matt Taibbi takes an in-depth look into how finance, deregulation, corruption, synthetic rate swaps, and greed decimated Birmingham, AL. [more inside]
was lauded for his heroics with the Mets
. After his career, Dykstra became well-known as a post-career
story. Then the truth started coming out... [more inside]
... one wonders why [Goldman Sachs] and [JP Morgan] were so eager to provide "rescue" financings to virtually the entire distressed media space: both companies knew too well that sooner or later they would end up with full equity control over essentially the most coveted industry: thousands of TV stations, radio channels, newspaper and magazines
. (via) (previously)
The Dark Knight
- On Sir Allen Stanford
I asked Nathan Myhrvold, C.E.O. of Intellectual Ventures and widely considered to be one of the smartest people in technology, if he is brilliant. "If you put yourself in that camp, you might be correct," he teased. "But then, you're also an asshole." The Brilliant Issue
profiles Porfolio's picks for best game-changers, upstarts, rebels, connectors and other influencers. [more inside]
Patriots, countrymen, help out the American economy with Operation: Change For The Better
wisely. End poverty
- the trouble with Enron
EarthShell, a small Maryland company that makes environment-friendly packaging (among
others) may wink out of existence
thanks to PIPEs
, or private investments in public equities. Who likes PIPEs? Hedge Funds
, mostly. Companies that take the pipe
, as it were, may be sealing their doom. 10 percent of PIPE deals done this year are 'death spirals'
, where the company's stock price plummets from short selling by the financiers who structured the deal in the first place. And of course it's legal if you don't
get caught shorting the stock naked and covering with the shares from the PIPE.
(BTW, http://www.earthshell.com appears to be on the margins now or I'd have linked it).
Plunging into the shadows:
"In thinly traded, lightly regulated and untransparent markets
, the bold
can make an awful lot of money—and they can lose it
on an even more extravagant scale... In today's caffeine-fuelled dealing rooms, a barely regulated private-equity group could very well borrow money from syndicates of private lenders, including hedge funds, to spend on taking public companies private. At each stage, risks can be converted into securities
, sliced up, repackaged, sold on and sliced up again. The endless opportunities to write contracts on underlying debt instruments
explains why the outstanding value of credit-derivatives contracts has rocketed
to $26 trillion—$9 trillion more than six months ago, and seven times as much as in 2003."
John T. Reed’s analysis of Robert T. Kiyosaki’s book 'Rich Dad, Poor Dad'.
has spun a business empire off his book, including follow up publications, TV appearances and columns
that make suprisingly broad statements about what's worth doing.
--doing business according to Shari'a. ...Pious Muslims are not allowed to invest in industries that have ties to tobacco, alcohol, weapons, pornography or pork products. Since the law prohibits banks from charging or paying interest, Noriba and other Islamic Financial Institutions (ifis) instead make money by using a system based on the sharing of capital gains or losses.
But even with post-Sept. 11 suspicions that Islamic banks may fund terrorist organizations, demand for the services of ifis is on the rise from the towers of Bahrain to the streets of London. Indeed, they represent one of banking's hottest sectors. ...
Socially-conscious investing of a different sort?
George Soros' blog:
hot on the heels of the early-adopter in chief, Bill Gates
, George Soros has joined the blogging community. Needless to say, the onetime scourge of British monetary policy
is not using LiveJournal but he does have a provocative position over the war in Iraq
. Warren Buffet by contrast, despite having signed on as a Kerry economic adviser
, appears to concur with the pre-emption doctrine
. Does anything about the US election make sense anymore? The capital markets seem to have agreed that the outcome point is moot
- can popular opinion (.pdf)
be far behind? Some disagree. (.pdf)
Ever wonder just who's fattening who's wallet? The Transnational Corporations
Observatory [multilingual] seems to know quite a bit.
Now if i can only figure out how the ad council
gets their money...
Qwest Finds Buyer For QwestDex The buyer is a group led by the Carlyle Group and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe.
The question is: Why does an investment firm that primarily deals in Defense Contracts want a phone directory company? Tell me I'm just being paranoid.
"Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz talks about the corporate looting spree and Bush's woeful mismanagement of the economy."
"The fiscal mismanagement of the current administration -- leading to a change in the fiscal position of the United States over the past year -- is absolutely phenomenal; going from huge surpluses to huge deficits and the deficits are probably going to be larger than people anticipated."
The wall seperating analysts and traders appears to have completely broken down in Merril Lynch.
Yesterday, NYT reported
that SEC is joining the investigation. The accounting scandal
in QWest is now one of many in the telecommunication world. There is also the well documented travails of Anderson Consulting.... This year there has been a crop of accounting scandals.
Does the financial world needs stricter regulatory mechanism or is it simply a matter of lax supervision? (more inside)
Rukeyser Out at Wall Street Week In Advance of 'Young' Format
The long-time host ever in search of 'value in today's markets' quit rather than accept a diminished role in a revamp of the show's format. Guest hosts will replace him next season until a permanent host is found.
is quietly removing references to elves from the W$W website. The new show will be a co-production with Fortune Magazine. (Ick.) Guess its Paul Kangas
CEOs Slash Jobs, but Not Their Pay
Too many cheifs and not enough indians. An article I found interesting.
One million credit card numbers stolen! News at 11!
has gone public with a rather dry account of a huge organized attack on ecommerce sites, exploiting security flaws in NT which Microsoft fixed and offered patches for nearly two years ago.