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January 31st, 2014 · No Comments

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

Last year brought record-breaking solar installations in China. But how much is actually connected to the grid?

China May Have Deployed More Solar in 2013 Alone Than America Has Installed Altogether : Greentech Media

SolarCity stock is up 500 percent from its IPO price. There’s a solar recovery happening that is not only lifting the industry’s dealers and installers — the stocks of the leading panel manufacturers such as First Solar, SunPower and Yingli are also up 300 percent on the year. Deutsche Bank reported that by the end of 2013, two-thirds of the world’s markets could economically use solar without government subsidies. And this growth will likely continue for decades.

Today’s Solar Manufacturing Paradox: Profitless Prosperity : Greentech Media

The president is one of many politicians of both parties as well as pundits who think manufacturing deserves special treatment. But this factory obsession is based on flawed economics. As the Brookings Institute economist Justin Wolfers asked recently, “What’s with the political fetish for manufacturing? Are factories really so awesome?”

Manufacturing Jobs May Not Be Cure for Unemployment, Inequality – Businessweek

Manchester United’s signing of Chelsea midfielder Juan Mata may have brightened the mood at OId Trafford, but Deutsche Bank has taken a dim view of the Spaniard’s £37 million ($61 million) arrival and downgraded its target price for the soccer team.

Deutsche Bank’s Manchester United warning: Mind over Mata

For the past three years, the World Economic Forum, a champion of capitalism, has identified income disparity as the biggest risk to the global economy.

Inequality is putting democracy at risk: Greece’s ex-PM

Following Apple’s disappointing earnings report, a debate is heating up over where the consumer electronics giant’s share price is headed, with one analyst calling for a near 40 percent fall in the stock.

This is how bad it could get for Apple stock

Which is a shame, because it’s a critical debate to have. Wages for the middle class have stagnated. The gap between rich and poor is widening, generational mobility has stalled, and a larger share of income is accruing to owners of capital rather than labor.

Tom Perkins’s Unhinged Nazi Rant – Bloomberg

“Capital controls to avoid excessive inflows have had limited success,” Ricardo Hausmann, a former planning minister in Venezuela who now teaches economics at Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, said in an e-mail. “Capital controls to prevent outflows often postpone and amplify rather than moderate the need for adjustment.

Argentina’s Lying Prices Show Capital Control Limits: Currencies – Bloomberg

Economists are split on why inequality has been rising, with the dividing line mainly between those who believe technology and globalization are the key factors that account for the rise in incomes at the very top, and others citing factors such as the decline in unionization and the decline in tax rates at the top as the wealthy have captured the political process and successfully eroded union support, lowered their tax burdens and so on.

How do we know income inequality is getting worse? – CBS News

The durable goods report dovetails with a spate of other disappointing economic data releases. A lot of that disappointment has been blamed on really cold weather, and market observers seem mixed on whether this string of poor economic figures is a one-off cold front or an endemic problem.

We’ve Now Had A String Of Weak Data – Business Insider

In September 2012, shortly after the Fed announced a fresh expansion of its stimulus campaign, Mr. Kocherlakota returned to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to announce that he had changed his mind. Contrary to his prediction, inflation was slowing. That meant the Fed had the opportunity and responsibility to do more.

A Fed Policy Maker, Changing His Mind, Urges More Stimulus – NYTimes.com

This is not a general case of an ‘innocent bystander’ economy getting hurt by the same strong dollar that everyone else is also confronting,” Nomura said in a report. “It is more a specific case of an extremely badly managed economy losing the faith of not merely foreign investors but with domestics also now justifiably trying to take flight.

Why you don’t need to cry over Argentina

It is true that the Dow’s down days are far from a record. So is the percentage drop-off. However, it comes after a nervous start to the new year, which follows a rather impressive gain in 2013. It also follows a number of warnings many market followers have issued since the end of last September.

The bulls are getting nervous – Irwin Kellner – MarketWatch

Back in early December the government of Argentina raised taxes on credit card purchases in foreign currency to 35% from 20%. Online Christmas shopping abroad became increasingly expensive. However, dollars continued to flow out of the country even with this high levy, pressuring foreign reserves.

Sober Look: Argentina’s devaluation backfires

China’s investment/GDP ratio soars to a totally unsustainable 54.4%. Be afraid.

China’s investment/GDP ratio soars to a totally unsustainable 54.4%. Be afraid. | Bond Vigilantes

Tweet Ramez Naam, author of The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, recently explained that lithium-ion batteries have a fifteen year history of exponential price reduction. Between 1991 and 2005, the capacity that could be bought with $100 went up by a factor of 11. The trend continues through to the present day.

Will there be a Battery Singularity by 2025 ?

It is worth highlighting that there are two key rankings lists to consider in the PV industry in terms of upstream companies. One relates to ‘who made the PV cells’: the other one is ‘who shipped the finished PV modules’. These two lists are very different.

What does NPD Solarbuzz’ solar cell rankings for 2013 reveal? – PV-Tech

A new theoretical model developed by professors at the University of Houston (UH) and Université de Montréal may hold the key to methods for developing better materials for solar cells.

New theory may lead to more efficient solar cells

Stem cell researchers are heralding a “major scientific discovery”, with the potential to start a new age of personalised medicine. Scientists in Japan showed stem cells can now be made quickly just by dipping blood cells into acid. Stem cells can transform into any tissue and are already being trialled for healing the eye, heart and brain.

BBC News – Stem cell ‘major discovery’ claimed

The highest rated country in the world for food was the Netherlands, with 6.3% of the population with diabetes and a low-carb national diet.

Oxfam’s ‘Good Enough To Eat’ Countries – Business Insider

Inspired by a HostelBookers.com post by Victoria Philpott, we took a look at some classic breakfast choices from countries around the world.

Breakfast Around The World – Business Insider

The European Central Bank sees signs that lenders will stop tightening corporate credit standards this quarter after preparing their balance sheets for a comprehensive review.

ECB Says Banks Set to Stop Tightening Corporate Credit Standards – Bloomberg

Economic crashes, underground dollar exchanges, Rolling Stones cults, and a string of five Presidents in two weeks in 2001 — Argentina is a crazy place.

18 Things That Only Happen In Argentina – Business Insider

He writes: Now, working elbow to elbow with billionaires, I was a giant fireball of greed. I’d think about how my colleagues could buy Micronesia if they wanted to, or become mayor of New York City. They didn’t just have money; they had power — power beyond getting a table at Le Bernardin. Senators came to their offices. They were royalty.

This Wall Street trader was making millions by 30 and left it all behind, here’s why | Daily Ticker – Yahoo Finance

So why did executive pay start taking off in the 1980s in these two countries? Well something else happened at the same time: tax rates on top incomes were also substantially reduced. Why does reducing the tax rate on top incomes lead to a rise in those incomes pre tax? With lower tax rates, the CEO has a much greater incentive to put lots of effort into the bargaining process with the company.

mainly macro: Understanding ever increasing executive pay

So what makes the Glyph special? Avegant says it’s the headset’s image projection method, which reflects light onto each retina through a series of lenses and tiny mirrors and makes for sharper, easier-to-watch images than using a screen, as many competing products like Oculus Rift do.

Review: Glyph’s 3-D Headset May be the Future of Personal Entertainment | MIT Technology Review

Are you determined to become a better investor this year? Mastering the stock market can seem daunting, but one short cut is to learn from the masters.

The easy way to invest like the gurus – Telegraph

Billions of goods are being stolen from self service checkouts, as shoppers admit stealing on average £15 each a month through the tills

Shoppers steal billions through self service tills – Telegraph

Half the world economy is one accident away from a deflation trap. The International Monetary Fund says the probability may now be as high as 20pc.

World risks deflationary shock as BRICS puncture credit bubbles – Telegraph

Five years into the era of quantitative easing pioneered by departing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, two economists say they’ve measured how much extra stimulus the bond purchases provide when the main interest rate is already near zero.

Bernanke Secret Sauce Drops Effective Fed Rate as QE Quantified – Bloomberg

Japan’s consumer price index rose 0.4 percent in 2013, the first increase in five years, in further evidence the recovery in the world’s third-largest economy is gaining momentum.

Japan logs rises in inflation, factory output – Yahoo Finance

The brutal reality is that Italy’s human capital is still being destroyed by contractionary EMU policies. Italian industry is still being hollowed out. The hysteresis effects of skills erosion – and the failure to draw a large chunk of the next generation into the economic system at a crucial stage in their lives when they are most open to new technologies – will lower Italy’s future growth rate and do lasting damage to Italy’s economic dynamism.

Italy is wasting away month by month – Telegraph Blogs

As January comes to a close, the stock market is down about 3 percent, and it has already set the tone for a much more challenging year. As goes January, so goes the year, is the adage. It has been right in 62 of the last 85 years, or 73 percent of the time.

As goes January … so expect a volatile year

Solar-powered laptops, edible battery power, spray-on solar panels, mini windmills: This may be a game-changing year for clean technology.

10 ways alternative energy is about to change the way tech gets powered – TechRepublic

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