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September 19th, 2013 · No Comments

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

This landlocked country in Sub-Saharan Africa isn’t a failed state in the traditional sense: There’s no dictator, no child soldiers. But most of its 14 million people live on less than $1 per day. How did things get this way, and can they ever get better?

Why Is Zambia So Poor? And Will Things Ever Get Better?

There is a great deal of unlovely jargon within the federal government. The product of an activity is called “the deliverable.” A task that follows a meeting is called a “do-out.” A request for action is described as “the ask.” If someone needs to continue a discussion with a colleague, he will promise to “circle back.” If a project must be abandoned or put on hold because of competing demands on people’s time and attention, the problem is one of “bandwidth.”

It Captures Your Mind by Cass R. Sunstein | The New York Review of Books

Nearly every girl I met talked of the social pressure: the demand to be constantly in touch; the problems of “unfriending”; being in the gaze of people they have barely met; the anxieties about their image; and the horror of looking in while being left out

We have abandoned our children to the internet | Beeban Kidron | Comment is free | The Guardian

What unites these names is the ability to write code. If you want to be very wealthy, be listed as one of the most influential Americans and do good in the world by promoting connectivity or enabling something momentous to happen with greater ease or reduced cost, you can’t begin unless you write code.

In California, I saw the virtues – and vices – of the new economy | Will Hutton | Comment is free | The Observer

In Bristol, Molly the robot helps the elderly; in Lyon, iCub plays children’s games. And, globally, some extraordinary developments are under way in artificial intelligence that could have a profound effect on the way we live

Meet the new generation of robots. They’re almost human… | Technology | The Observer

Ben Gunn was just 14 when he murdered a friend. He spent the next 32 years in jail, in the process gaining two degrees, a girlfriend, and a reputation as a trouble maker. Then he was released and life became even more frightening.

Ben Gunn: murder, love and life after prison | Society | The Observer

Up to a third of the population will suffer from an anxiety disorder or panic attacks at some point in their life. But what are we all so afraid of?

Living with anxiety: Britain’s silent epidemic | Society | The Observer

A team of researchers in Germany has identified an endocrine-disrupting chemical (EDC) found in samples taken from commercial bottled water.

Researchers identify endocrine-disrupting chemical in bottled water

Will we be uncomfortable, psychologically, ordering human-appearing figures around, forcing them to work and pleasure us unceasingly, without giving them anything in return, not even a name or a thank you?

Robots and Slavery – what do humans want when we are “Masters”?

It might look like an iPhone 5, but there are stacks of improvements: it’s the smartest, most powerful iPhone that Apple has ever made. Here are the seven things that you’re going to absolutely love about it.

7 things you’ll love about the iPhone 5S | News | TechRadar

We think that will drive still much better returns inequities than fixed income, either government bonds or credit, moving forward

Goldman Sachs: Reasons to stay bullish on stocks

Ireland’s economy may have been improving since the end of June, but the Celtic tiger is not out of the woods yet, Cormac Leech, bank equity researcher at Liberum Capital, told CNBC.

Irish Economy Risks Downward Spiral: Expert

So when Greece (bottom left dot) cut government consumption by 17%, they expected private spending to increase by at least the same amount. But it did not happen, private spending also fell and GDP has fallen by almost 25% during that period.

Antonio Fatas on the Global Economy: The only uncertainty is why some cannot see facts.

Gates is $9.8 billion richer since the start of 2013, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index. Plus, at the start of 2013, he was $7 billion richer than he was at the start of 2012.

Bill Gates Richest In U.S. – Business Insider

Citi’s Tobias Levkovich examined 73 years worth of next-12-month returns for the S&P 500 based on various levels of the the P/E. He found that based on this measure, the best times to buy stocks were when the P/E was below 8. Interestingly, the next best time to buy stocks were when the P/E was at 14 to 16. The average 12-month return at this level is 12.6%. These returns are better than when the P/E is between 10 and 14.

CHART: Citi’s P/E Bull’s Eye – Business Insider

The structural reason for the exit from these markets has been pushed aside in the past few weeks with a return of capital inflows seeking undervalued risky assets in the chase for yield

Emerging market rout? That was so 3 weeks ago

The biggest threat we are facing might be economic growth

Why a US recovery may send Treasurys, dollar crashing

As the FT’s Jonathan Soble noted last week, part of what appears to have persuaded Abe to press ahead raising the sales tax to 8 per cent from 5 per cent next April was the “the risk that delaying would scare investors by making the government appear unwilling or unable to tackle the debt”.

On the other side is the contractionary effects of the sales tax itself, which the Japanese government reportedly plans to offset with a stimulus of up to Y5tn.

Abe, still between a rock and a hard place on sales tax | FT Alphaville

Chinese authorities are continuing their efforts to finish mopping up the bad debts left from the big bank bailout of 1999-2000, in what some believe is an attempt to address — or, head off — another financial crisis.

Another mechanism for China’s bad bank debt: AIG-style preferred shares | FT Alphaville

Going on a health kick reverses ageing at the cellular level, researchers say. The University of California team says it has found the first evidence a strict regime of exercise, diet and meditation can have such an effect.

BBC News – Health kick ‘reverses cell ageing’

“Cars don’t kill people; bad drivers kill people,” could have been the slogan of the auto industry when it resisted safety regulation in the 1960s. The garment industry could have argued: “Flammable pajamas don’t kill children; careless smokers kill children.” And so on.

Let’s Not Wait to Talk About Gun Control – The Daily Beast

According to the study, while reverse merger companies are speculative in nature and are prone to bankruptcy, Chinese firms tend to be more mature and less speculative than their U.S. peers.

Chinese reverse mergers are not toxic

Oxford researchers say that 45 percent of America’s occupations will be automated within the next 20 years.

Report Suggests Nearly Half of U.S. Jobs Are Vulnerable to Computerization | MIT Technology Review

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