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January 9th, 2014 · No Comments

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

Much has been made of the hybrid laptop/tablet as a newish genre over the past year, but just as interesting is what some call the tabletop PC. That’s another genre defined by physical form that’s not exactly brand-new (early versions include Microsoft’s years-ago original Surface product), but one that has only made it’s way onto the consumer landscape recently. If anything, tabletop PCs have the potential to be even more mainstream than hybrids, as one could see these large PCs blending into living room furniture and becoming real family use devices.

Lenovo Horizon II – Desktops – CNET Reviews

“So long as you see the picture of Larry Summers going to Davos, you have to stay short U.S. Treasuries for another year. It means they (the Obama administration) don’t know what’s going on,” Taleb told MoneyNews’ Dan Weil in 2010.

Nassim Taleb Twitter – Business Insider

Want to find the restaurant serving the best steak, the clothing shop with the best-fitting jeans, or the dentist with the happiest patients? The information is all online, enabling you to see ratings, reviews, and to engage with like-minded consumers. That isn’t the case just yet in the financial industry.

5 ways social media is changing finance – Jennifer Openshaw – MarketWatch

The world’s biggest economies will need to refinance $7.43 trillion of sovereign debt in 2014 as bond yields begin to climb from record lows, threatening to raise borrowing costs while nations struggle to bring down elevated budget deficits.

Bond Tab for Biggest Economies Seen at $7.43 Trillion in ’14 – Bloomberg

New Zealand will be the “rockstar” economy of 2014, with growth set to outpace most of its developed markets peers, according to HSBC, a stark contrast with neighboring Australia, which is struggling to maintain economic momentum.

This will be the ‘rockstar’ economy of 2014

Standpoint Research Discovers Capitalism, Downgrades Apple For “Moral Reasons”

Standpoint Research Discovers Capitalism, Downgrades Apple For “Moral Reasons” | Zero Hedge

Alcoholics are being paid in beer to clean the streets of Amsterdam as part of a project partly funded by the Dutch government – the organisers think other countries should abandon “old-fashioned political correctness” and adopt the same approach.

BBC News – Amsterdam alcoholics paid in beer for collecting litter

In 2001 the world began talking about the Bric countries – Brazil, Russia, India and China – as potential powerhouses of the world economy. The term was coined by economist Jim O’Neill, who has now identified the “Mint” countries – Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey – as emerging economic giants. Here he explains why.

BBC News – The Mint countries: Next economic giants?

A further £25bn spending cuts – much of it from the welfare budget – will be needed after the next election, Chancellor George Osborne has warned. He said more austerity lay ahead, as the job was “not even half done”.

BBC News – George Osborne targets welfare as he warns of £25bn more cuts

It’s arguable that alcohol is the best thing to give up. The liver, responsible for detoxifying alcohol, is about the only organ capable of regenerating itself in weeks. A regular social drinker who goes on the wagon will lose a significant proportion of the fat that has built up on their liver within a month, says Dr Gary Murray, an expert at the US’s National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

BBC News – Is there any point giving things up for January?

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the world’s largest smartphone maker, has reignited shareholder calls for more returns after splashing out on a special employee bonus estimated at nearly $1 billion.

Samsung Electronics sparks dividend debate after big worker bonus – Yahoo Finance

China’s Cabinet imposed new controls on the multi-trillion-dollar shadow-banking industry with an order that targets off-the-books loans and shores up enforcement of current rules, three people familiar with the matter said.

China’s Cabinet Imposes New Rules in Shadow Banking Fight – Bloomberg

The Eurasia Group is out with its annual Top 10 Risks of 2014, and it seems that for the first time since 2008, geopolitical fears top economic ones.

Eurasia Group 10 Greatest Risks – Business Insider

A long time ago, the debate between monetarists and Keynesians was the debate in macro. But it was a rather limited debate: both sides generally used the same model (IS-LM), and so it was all about parameter values. It was also, dare I say, a little dull. More recently, but before the recession, that debate had largely gone away, but since then it seems to have come back. This post asks why that is.

mainly macro: Monetary versus Fiscal: an odd debate

Nassim Taleb is a vulgar bombastic windbag, and I like him a lot. His books do a good job of explaining some deep, important finance ideas for a general audience. He has helped popularize the notion of “skin in the game”. His trolling of economists is also good for some lulz (I particularly enjoyed his coinage of the term “macrobullshitters”).

However, Taleb has a tendency to indulge in a little macrobullshitting of his own. In February of 2010, he advised everyone in the world to short Treasuries:

Noahpinion: Of brains and balls: Nassim Taleb’s macro bets

A combined 2-D and 3-D camera from Intel will be built into laptops and tablets from a range of manufacturers, the company announced at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Monday. The camera allows a device to be controlled with arm, hand, and finger gestures, and is also intended to allow software to capture and understand the world around it, including people’s facial expressions.

Laptops and Tablets to Get Depth-Sensing Cameras in 2014 Thanks to Intel | MIT Technology Review

When you know what you want to buy ahead of time, down days like today are made for you, Jim Cramer said on “Mad Money” Monday after a lackluster day of Wall Street. Cramer said he’s noticed a disturbing pattern in the markets, one where the futures indicate a strong open first thing Monday morning and investors can’t seem to help themselves from piling in. But as history has proven, buying first thing Monday morning when the markets are up big is never a winning move.

Jim Cramer’s ‘Mad Money’ Recap: Profiting From Down Days – TheStreet

“I miss my home and the way we lived. Life was easy, there were lots of fruits, animals and there were no bars and no beer. Now we are lost,” says Goiotseone. They have been to visit a number of times since they were evicted but are not allowed to stay there any more.

BBC News – Botswana Bushmen: Modern life is destroying us

Although thermal power dominates Mexico’s current energy mix, “Mexico is poised to be the hotbed for solar deployment in Latin America,” said Adam James, author of GTM Research’s Latin America PV Playbook. He suggests that Mexico is the “bellwether” for an unsubsidized global solar future.

Mexico as Bellwether for an Unsubsidized Solar Future : Greentech Media

Federal investigators are probing whether a number of Wall Street banks cheated clients in the years following the financial crisis by deliberately mispricing a type of mortgage bond that was central to the economic turmoil, according to people close to the inquiry.

Federal Probe Targets Banks Over Bonds – Yahoo Finance

Spain’s 10-year yield dropped to the lowest since December 2009 as a separate report showed German factory orders climbed more in November than analysts predicted, while similar-maturity Portuguese bonds advanced for a fifth day. European securities extended gains from yesterday when they rallied as Ireland raised 3.75 billion euros ($5.1 billion) as it returned to debt markets after exiting an international bailout.

Spanish Bonds Gain With Portugal’s as European Retail Sales Jump – Bloomberg

Ireland has been rewarded for sticking to the plan set down by its international creditors with new waves of foreign investment – but this may not be enough to restore it to health.

Why foreign investors are buying in to Ireland

Divergent market moves and concerns about higher interest rates ahead are two of the factors that have propelled some financial advisers to tweak their clients’ portfolios in recent months.

How financial advisers are investing for 2014 – MarketWatch

Vizio has launched its new 4K TV P Series line-up, with prices starting at $999.99 for a 50-inch display.

Vizio launches 50-inch 4K TV for $999 – News – Trusted Reviews

Beyond the glitz of the International Consumer Electronics Show, the wireless industry faces a fundamental problem: more features and faster data transmission are draining phones’ batteries faster than ever.

Fortunately, there’s room for improvement inside the devices, in parts known as power amplifiers that turn electricity into radio energy. In phones, they typically consumer more power than any other component but waste half of it along the way

Beyond CES Hype Lies a Big Battery Problem. Here’s How the Wireless Industry Is Racing to Fix It. | MIT Technology Review

The “deepest ever” image of a group of galaxies – “Pandora’s Cluster” – has been captured by the Hubble Space Telescope.

BBC News – Deepest galaxy cluster ever pictured by Hubble

the transition from mostly China-based manufacturers to mostly U.S.-based project businesses — still has legs if investors are selective, Goldman said… Rooftop solar offers “the highest margin and least policy risk,” the analysts said.

Goldman Sachs upgrades SolarCity, calls for ‘solar 2.5’ trade in 2014 – Energy Ticker – MarketWatch

China’s second-largest maker of solar photovoltaic panels will develop a huge 1,000 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted solar power plant complex in a remote Chinese desert, which the company announced Monday — a move that some say is a sign of big things to come for the global solar industry in 2014.

1,000 MW Chinese Solar Project Marks Significant Market Shift | CleanTechnica

The cost of solar panels and the accompanying installation has fallen by 70 per cent over the past two years. It is estimated that by 2020, four million UK households will have solar power capabilities and that the solar energy industry will employee 360,000 people.

The Future of Photovoltaic Energy – Business 2 Community

If you abandoned the American solar story after the Solyndra debacle, you’ve missed one of the greatest growth stories in the country. Since 2011, solar generation has skyrocketed more than 2,300%. For the first time ever, last year the U.S. added more solar capacity than wind.

Analysts Bullish On Solar Industry – Business Insider

Utilities would love to be able to store the power that wind farms generate at night—when no one wants it—and use it when demand is high during the day.

Battery Advance Could Help Solve Renewable Energy Intermittency | MIT Technology Review

The P2815Q is a PC monitor that sports as its main feature a 28-inch 3840 x 2160 pixel display. But arguably even more interesting than that Ultra HD resolution is the fact that the Dell P2815Q will only cost $699.

Dell P2815Q affordable 4K monitor unveiled at CES – News – Trusted Reviews

Stock valuations haven’t risen enough to make the Federal Reserve fret just yet. But they have jumped just enough to warrant a discussion at the Fed’s latest policy meeting. Here’s how the conversation unfolded

Fed Isn’t Overly Concerned About Rising Stock Valuations, At Least Not Yet – MoneyBeat – WSJ

Everyone in Norway became a theoretical crown millionaire on Wednesday in a milestone for the world’s biggest sovereign wealth fund that has ballooned thanks to high oil and gas prices.

All Norwegians become millionaires as oil fund balloons

The market horizon may be relatively sunny, but Goldman Sachs sees five key reasons to remain a worrywart.

Five things that keep Goldman Sachs up at night

Tags: Remarkable · Technology