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December 4th, 2013 · No Comments

Remarkable stories from the web in a new, easier format.

The way we work is massively affected by our health, a sleepless night can do a number on our productivity the next day, and niggling back and neck pains can nuisance otherwise productive behaviour. And yet, innovation is going toward increasing our dependance on these machines, not decreasing it or, favourably, making it safer.

Computers are making you ill – Jack Flanagan – The Kernel

Researchers in Los Angeles will soon launch a battery that attaches to any device, including iPhones, Fitbits, and Kindle readers, and provides seven days of run time on a single charge. If they can make this technology work — and sell it — you may never have to scramble for a public wall socket to charge your phone again.

If this startup succeeds, you’ll only need to charge your phone once a week (exclusive) | VentureBeat | Gadgets | by christinafarr

Hearing a senior Israeli military officer praise Hamas’ role in fighting terrorism is a shocking development.

Hamas Rocket Fire Into Israel Drops–a Promising Development for Peace | New Republic

When I last wrote about the Netherlands, some positive growth was expected for 2014, but the OECD’s latest forecast shows GDP flat next year. These forecasts also have consumer price inflation below 2% in 2014 and below 1% in 2015. The output gap is currently over (negative) 4%, and is expected to reach -5.5% in 2015. Unemployment, which was only 4.3% in 2011, is expected to rise to 8.1% in 2015.

mainly macro: Here we go again

The website for the Affordable Care Act was doomed by an inordinately complex setup that tried to link disparate databases in real time.

Diagnosis for Unrealistic Technology Expectations | MIT Technology Review

Experiments showed that a traumatic event could affect the DNA in sperm and alter the brains and behaviour of subsequent generations.

BBC News – ‘Memories’ pass between generations

Icap’s Chris Clark alerts us on Friday to the fact that European liquidity markets are already preparing themselves for a potential liquidity squeeze come the end of the year.

Eurozone liquidity is getting tight | FT Alphaville

Unilever (UNA) Chief Executive Officer Paul Polman said the economic slowdown in emerging markets is here to stay as many countries need to enact structural reforms to adjust to new conditions after the boom of recent years.

Unilever CEO Says Emerging Market Slowdown to Last for Years – Bloomberg

Seasonality is one of those things many investors take for granted. And right now, two of the biggest seasonal trends are bearing down on the market.  At least, in theory.

The case for rallies in December and January – Jeff Reeves’s Strength in Numbers – MarketWatch

BOJ Governor Haruhiko Kuroda’s massive burst of money-printing – almost $70 billion (42 billion pounds) a month – has driven the yen down and Tokyo stocks up. It has also spurred the strongest economic growth among G7 countries in the first half of the year, arresting a long fall in consumer prices.

But now, 12 months after Abe was elected and eight months after Kuroda announced the big-bang stimulus package, financial markets are looking for more stimulus – already dubbed “JQE2”, or Japan’s second round of quantitative easing.

Insight – After massive economic stimulus, BOJ under pressure to do more – Yahoo Finance

European shares may be the consensus pick for strong gains in 2014, but Morgan Stanley has downgraded the region’s equities to Neutral, expecting them to run out of steam.

Europe stock rally running out of steam: Morgan Stanley

Brazil’s economy fell into contraction in the third quarter, with output shrinking by more than analysts had forecast, according to official state figures.

BBC News – Brazil’s economy shrinks 0.5% in the third quarter

Goldman Sachs sees 19% gain for Chinese stocks in Hong Kong during 2014

Goldman Sachs sees 19% gain for Chinese stocks in Hong Kong during 2014 – The Tell – MarketWatch

Japan will craft an economic stimulus package this week worth about $53 billion to bolster the economy ahead of an increase in the national sales tax in April, people familiar with the process said on Tuesday.

Japan preparing $53 billion economic stimulus package this week: sources – Yahoo Finance

The Greek economic crisis, is, among other things, a crisis of confidence. Investors, worried about the country’s finances, pulled out their capital, and in doing so drove up interest rates and drove down the Greek economy to a near depression, provoking the default they so feared. Economists call this reversal of capital flows “a sudden stop.” It is a vulnerability shared by all countries that have to borrow in a foreign currency, which effectively describes the Euro from Greece’s perspective.

‘The Crisis’ and Art in Greece (and NY) | David Adler

Online sales are already up 20 percent over last year, and the pace will only accelerate.Target and many other bricks-and-mortar outlets plan to spend more on technology next year than on building and upgrading new stores.

The True Price of Great Holiday Deals | Robert Reich

A recent interview with Archbishop Konrad Krajewski, the “Almoner of His Holiness,” raised speculation that the Pope joins him on his nightly trips into Rome to give alms to the poor, and it turns out that the rumors are probably true.

Is Pope Francis Leaving Vatican At Night To Minister To Homeless?

A Wisconsin man who, for one minute, took part in an Anonymous-sponsored effort to overwhelm the website of Koch Industries has been sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay the company $183,000.

Loading Koch Industries Website Too Many Times In 1 Minute Just Cost This Truck Driver $183,000

Portugal exchanged 6.64 billion euros ($9 billion) of bonds to reduce debt repayments due in the next two years as it tries to exit its 78 billion-euro international bailout without needing another rescue.

Portugal Prepares for End of Bailout as Swap Eases Debt Load – Bloomberg

A rebounding U.S. is giving less support to global growth than in the past. Homegrown demand and production are more important drivers of the world’s biggest economy than they were a decade ago.

America’s Role as Consumer of Last Resort Goes Missing – Bloomberg

China’s yuan overtook the euro to become the second-most used currency in global trade finance in 2013, according to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

Yuan Passes Euro as 2nd-Most Used Trade-Finance Currency – Bloomberg

The commodity slump that spurred bear markets in everything from gold to corn to sugar this year will deepen by the end of December as prices head for their first annual loss since 2008, if history is any guide.

Worst Raw-Material Slump Since ’08 Seen Deepening – Bloomberg

Struggling to pay rent and tuition on her salary as a waitress in Almaty, the Kazakh commercial capital, Samal says she’d drop her boyfriend in a heartbeat if a wealthy older man offered to make her his second wife.

Rich Kazakhs Revive Polygamy as Women Seek Poverty Escape – Bloomberg

A British company has demonstrated a prototype device capable of stopping cars and other vehicles using a blast of electromagnetic waves.

BBC News – RF Safe-Stop shuts down car engines with radio pulse

A “potentially revolutionary” device to help women during difficult births has come from an unlikely source – a car mechanic from Argentina, who based the idea on a party trick.

BBC News – Odon childbirth device: Car mechanic uncorks a revolution

First – and arguably foremost – there is virtually no difference among upper, middle and lower classes in Iceland. And with that, tension between economic classes is non-existent, a rare occurrence for any country.

BBC News – Why violent crime is so rare in Iceland

The fatal flaw in so-called private label mortgage-backed securities is “everybody in the chain – from the broker to the primary lender to the securitizer to the rating agency – all of whom could make money off loans that never got paid back,” Howard says. “Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were not financing ‘no-doc’ loans…because we were a risk-taker. If we mis-estimated risk on loans, we lost money and the investor got paid.”

Fannie Mae Didn’t Cause the Housing Crisis, Free-Market Ideologues Did, Former CFO Says | Daily Ticker – Yahoo Finance

The European Central Bank says it stands ready to do more, if needed, to boost a weak recovery. But each possible step faces significant drawbacks or even political opposition.

European Central Bank faces tough choices – Yahoo Finance

Our sixth Top Trade recommendation for 2014 is a long position in large-cap bank indices in the US, Europe and Japan, implemented via equal parts of the BKX, SX7E and TPNBNK indices.

Goldman Reveals “Top Trade” Reco #6 For 2014: Buy US, Japanese And European Banks | Zero Hedge

personal-computer shipments are projected to fall 10.1% this year, by far the biggest annual decline on record.

PC Shipments Collapse At Fastest Pace On Record | Zero Hedge

Once again, another report attempts to take stock of the pharmaceutical industry and the return on its many investments. And the latest finding suggests drug makers are struggling, despite doing reasonably well at bringing new medicines to the marketplace, according to a study by Deloitte and Thomson Reuters, which analyzed the 12 largest life sciences companies based on their R&D expenditures.

Pharma Stocks: R&D Spend and Returns

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