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Investors charged £1.5bn a year for share research ‘no one even reads’
Proof has emerged of another investment industry rip-off – where savers are made to pay for research that goes unused

Investors charged £1.5bn a year for share research ‘no one even reads’ – Telegraph

In my youth, the Dutch thought of themselves as a “guide land”: a sort of advanced model for dimmer countries to follow. I thought this was absurdly smug, but now I see they were right. The Dutch invented much of the world of 2013: bicycles in cities, legal soft drugs and gay marriage. I suspect their next scheme to go global will be legal euthanasia.

How we all went Dutch –

Rembrandt, Spinoza, the East India Company and the stock exchange are patron saints of liberalism: the creed that considers individuals and their rights supreme. Then as now, Amsterdam was arguably “the world’s most liberal city”, to quote the subtitle of this well-told history by Russell Shorto, an American writer who lives in Amsterdam. Shorto argues that little Amsterdam “has influenced the modern world to a degree that perhaps no other city has”.

Amsterdam: A History of the World’s Most Liberal City, by Russell Shorto –

“Is Vladimir Putin a paleo-conservative?” right wing commentator Pat Buchanan wrote in a column for Townhall yesterday. “In the culture war for mankind’s future, is he one of us?”

Is Vladimir Putin A US-Style Conservative? – Business Insider

A bizarre scene unfolded at the Nike International Friendlies in Florida earlier this week where Brazil’s under-17 team refused to keep playing during a 4-1 loss to the United States.

Brazil U17 Team Stops Playing Against US [VIDEO] – Business Insider

And from January to December 2013, markets obeyed with prices rising over 8,000 percent. In the mist of this hype, it appeared that the Bitcoin Revolution was on its way to transforming the economy, putting central bankers out of work and minting new e-currency millionaires daily.

The Bitcoin Meltdown Has Begun – Business Insider

Since then, that awkward contraption—now more streamlined, and known as the Oculus Rift—has become the most anticipated new product in gaming since the Nintendo Wii got people off the couch. It’s a head-mounted display that promises to be a gigantic step toward what many had dismissed as an unrealizable dream: virtual reality.

Oculus Primed: Meet the Geniuses Who Finally Mastered Virtual Reality | Game|Life |

The wires that ferry electronic data across microchips are too power hungry for future microchips. But photons can now do the job instead thanks to a new generation of ultralow power optical interconnects.

1-Femtojoule Optical Interconnect Paves the Way for Low-Power, High Performance Chips | MIT Technology Review

The wealthy are also getting better access to health care, as well as better treatment. This growing gap is showing up in some surprising ways. “The inequality is really driven by the higher end,” said Thomas LaVeist, director of the Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions. “Most economically advantaged people are getting so much better care than they were even 10 years ago.”

The new inequality: health care – Yahoo Finance

The U.S. Justice Department is preparing to file civil fraud charges against Citigroup Inc and Bank of America’s Merrill Lynch unit over their sale of flawed mortgage securities ahead of the financial crisis, according to people familiar with the probes.

Civil investigators have compiled evidence that allegedly shows that investors lost tens of billions of dollars after purchasing securities Citigroup had marketed as safe even though the bank had reason to believe otherwise, one person said.

U.S. preparing civil charges against Citigroup, Merrill Lynch -sources – Yahoo Finance

China’s interbank lending rates jumped on Wednesday on worries over an impending withdrawal of liquidity, even as the central bank has held off injecting funds through open market operations.

China cash rates jump on liquidity worries

But we are looking for reasons to explain the enormous gap between the performance of stocks and highly-paid stock traders. In particular, we think there are three fundamental things that Long/Short funds should be able to do, but clearly cannot:

Three things long/short hedge funds cannot do (well) | FT Alphaville

Jim O’Sullivan, Chief US Economist at High Frequency Economics, has been the most consistently reliable economist over the last ten years, according to MarketWatch. He expects that the Federal Reserve Bank will hold off on tapering its $85 billion monthly stimulus this month but will definitely begin winding it down starting in January.

Why you need not fear the Fed taper: Top economist | Talking Numbers – Yahoo Finance

Large corporations will begin to abandon software production for desktop machines and will begin to issue new versions and updates for mobile devices only, including smart phones and tablets, says Paul Holland, General Partner at Foundation Capital.

The move to mobile-only – In Photos: Top Predictions For 2014 By VCs – Forbes

For six months, the Federal Reserve has struggled to engineer a pullback of its bond-buying program without unhinging financial markets. Yesterday, the Fed did it.

Fed Finds Elixir for Tapering QE as Markets Embrace Rate Outlook – Bloomberg

A growing industry uses surveillance and data-crunching technology to supply traders with nonpublic information.
A helicopter lifted off recently from an airfield in this remote oil town, scudded low across the flat industrial landscape and trained a heat-sensitive camera at the huge storage tanks below. Its mission: Gather intelligence for Wall Street. The grainy, infrared reconnaissance images betrayed how much oil was in each tank. That gave Genscape Inc., the company that conducts the flights, a remarkably accurate…

Traders Seek an Edge With High-Tech Snooping –

Last time it was trading faster than the speed of light in gold and stocks. This time, 50 seconds before the FOMC statement was officially released to the great unwashed, Nanex notes that the market exploded with activity reaching levels higher than during the actual FOMC news release. As they show in the charts below, approximately $106 Million of SPY and 3,700 eMini Futures contracts traded in 1 second. Gold – while less voluminous – was just as berserko in the minutes and seconds leading up the news release. What is going on here?

Who Knew What 50 Seconds Before The FOMC Release? | Zero Hedge

The best spots – like John Templeton’s shorting of tech stocks during the 1990s bubble or George Soros’s calling of the sterling crash in 1992 – make both fortunes and reputations.

How contrarians got it wrong in 2013

The assumption is that commodities diversify portfolios, hedge against inflation, and, in the case of gold, offer a safe store of value. But our research suggests these justifications for long-term bets on commodities are illusory.

Investors should abandon long-term commodity bets | FT Alphaville

London “is becoming a giant suction machine draining the life out of the rest of the country”, Business Secretary Vince Cable has warned.

BBC News – London draining life out of rest of country – Vince Cable

Oil production from North American shale fields will outpace every member of OPEC except Saudi Arabia within two years, according to Exxon Mobil Corp., the world’s biggest energy company by market value.

North American shale to pass most OPEC members in two years

Not only does student participation decline dramatically throughout the new generation of web-based courses but the involvement of teachers in online discussions makes it worse.

Data Mining Exposes Embarrassing Problems For Massive Open Online Courses | MIT Technology Review

For example, alcoholic beverages with few congeners and higher pure ethanol content (such as gin and vodka) have been shown to induce fewer hangovers than drinks with higher levels of congeners like brandy or red wine (here’s a review).

The science of hangovers | Science |