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

When Soviet troops stationed nearby refused to help, Putin pulled out a pistol and warned the trespassers in German that he would open fire if they came closer. The crowd dispersed, but Putin recounted in his memoir that he viewed the USSR’s demise as a personal humiliation. “The whole country no longer existed,” he lamented. “It disappeared.” A quarter-century later, that experience goes some way toward explaining Putin’s decision to launch a military adventure

Power Delusions: U.S., Russia Face Off Over Ukraine – Businessweek

It may sound like a plot from “The Twilight Zone,” but a psychology graduate student at the University of Ottawa says she can voluntarily enter an out-of-body experience. This was a lucky break for scientists, who were able to scan her brain during the episode.

Brain During An Out Of Body Experience – Business Insider

America’s Electric Power Research Institute last month produced a paper highlighting the dangers of an unplanned move to distributed generation, using Germany as an example. The dash for renewables there has strained the power network and made life hard for utilities. This week one of the country’s largest, RWE, announced that it made a net loss of €2.8 billion ($3.8 billion) in 2013, its first annual loss in more than 60 years, as the rising supply of electricity from (subsidised) renewable sources undercut its prices.

Distributed generation: Devolving power | The Economist

SolarCity, the country’s biggest solar PV installer, and Tesla Motors, the country’s biggest electric vehicle maker (and soon to be the country’s biggest advanced battery manufacturer), could be the utility industry’s worst nightmare.

SolarCity and Tesla: A Utility’s Worst Nightmare? : Greentech Media

AES Energy Storage is already a leader in battery-based grid storage, with 174 megawatts of systems deployed, and a potential 1,000 megawatts more in development. But in the six years since it initiated its first large-scale grid storage project, the company has refined the way it ties together batteries, inverters, grid electronics and the software that manages their interaction with the grid, according to AES president Chris Shelton.

AES Launches Modular Grid Battery Alternative to Peaker Plants : Greentech Media

75 percent of foreign investments in Russia come from the E.U. “The E.U. economy is so interconnected with Russia’s, it means any economic sanctions will also hurt the E.U. That’s the reason that countries like Germany and the Nertherlands are withholding support for sanctions and instead pushing for a diplomatic solution

11 Essential Questions About Crimea, Answered | New Republic

In Ideology in America, Christopher Ellis and James Stimson describe a striking disjuncture. When identifying themselves in a word, Americans choose “conservative” far more than “liberal.” In fact they have done so for 70 years, and increasingly so since the early 1960s. But when it comes to saying what the government should actually do, the public appears more liberal than conservative.

Why most conservatives are secretly liberals

That means each share of Tesla’s common stock represents $3 of hard net worth and $241 of hopes and dreams, encumbered by $24 in hard debt that must be paid come hell or high water. Tesla’s stock price is 98.75% air, resulting in a BS to book ratio of 80. The only way to fix the problem and give Tesla a sensible and rational capital structure is to raise a billion or two in new equity by selling shares of common stock, lots of shares.

Tesla Motors Inc (TSLA) news: 3 Billion Reasons Why Tesla’s Gigafactory Will Be A Bloodbath – Seeking Alpha

One reason for the under-utilization is that First Solar solar panels are not as efficient as Chinese solar companies. The average conversion efficiency for First Solar modules in fourth quarter was 13.4%. This is lower than the average module conversion efficiency of Chinese tier-1 solar companies of 16% and significantly lower than industry-leading SunPower’s (NASDAQ: SPWR ) X-Series panels, which have a conversion efficiency of 21.5%.

The relative inefficiency of First Solar’s modules is keeping the company away from the current hot area in solar, distributed energy. Distributed energy is currently growing at a very fast rate and investors are bidding up distributed energy companies like SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY ) and SunPower for their future growth and potential.

Many investors view distributed energy businesses as superior to traditional solar panel makers because distributed energy companies will see their margins increase as solar costs come down. Distributed energy is also insulated from solar panel oversupply, as those companies realize their cash flows from the long-term contracts rather than one-time orders from utility companies.

How Can First Solar Inc Reignite Its Stock?

In string theory, all particles are vibrations on a tiny rubber band; physics is the harmonies on the string; chemistry is the melodies we play on vibrating strings; the universe is a symphony of strings, and the ‘Mind of God’ is cosmic music resonating in 11 dimensional hyperspace.

Michio Kaku Talks About Coming Breakthroughs – Business Insider

within the coming decades, we will understand dark matter, perhaps test string theory, find planets which can harbor life, and maybe have Brain 2.0, i.e. our consciousness on a disk which will survive even after we die.

Michio Kaku Talks About Coming Breakthroughs – Business Insider

Investors were not in a wait-and-see mood. Spooked by the news, they went on a selling spree, sending the benchmark MICEX stock index down almost 11 percent in one day and the ruble down 2 percent to a record low of 36.50 against the US dollar. In a bid to stabilize the currency, the central bank sold $11.3 billion of reserves, and unexpectedly raised its main interest rate 150 basis points to 7 percent last Monday in an attempt to quell capital flight. The loss of faith arguably could not have come at a worse time for Russia’s markets. The country’s economy is already struggling with stagnant growth, high inflation and a weakening currency.

Russia’s Crimea Standoff Ominous For Markets – Business Insider

Hedge fund manager William Ackman, who is betting $1.16 billion that Herbalife is a fraud, spent $264,000 last year on lobbyists to press his case against the company, according to government documents filed in recent weeks. That amount is dwarfed by the nearly $2 million Herbalife spent in 2013 on federal lobbying as the nutrition and weight loss company fought the billionaire investor’s claims it runs a pyramid scheme.

Ackman outspent by Herbalife in lobbying battle

In a post credit bubble delevering phase, wages will continue to be the foremost driver of consumer spending growth. In fact the correlation between real wage growth and consumption this cycle has been a stunningly high 95% compared to a historical relationship closer to 60% (and just 12% last cycle).

We knew this day would co… wait never mind the day hasn’t come yet | FT Alphaville

Markets are not perfectly efficient. More or less everyone agrees to this in the wake of the financial crisis. And while asset bubbles have recurred from time to time throughout history, bubble production has accelerated sharply.

Why are markets inefficient and what can be done about it? –

The first essential is to demystify GDP. Think of an island with no foreign trade. Its inhabitants will still produce something, which can be valued. The things they produce will be bought by other inhabitants, which in turn will generate incomes that will be spent. Thus output generates income which in turn generates expenditure. This is a three-way process that you can enter through any doorway you like, none of which is more fundamental than others. This is all that GDP is.

‘GDP’, by Diane Coyle –

“I’m enormously impressed with Apple CEO Tim Cook for his strong words on climate change deniers, and demanding business should have benefits for people and the planet, beyond just profit,” Branson stated in a blog post.

Richard Branson Sides With Apple’s Cook About Sustainability Programs

A leading German institute has called for full-blown quantitative easing by the European Central Bank (ECB) to head off a deflation spiral, marking a radical shift in thinking among the German policy elites. Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, demanded €60bn (£50bn) of bond purchases each month to halt the contraction of credit and avert a Japanese-style trap.

Top German body calls for QE blitz to avert deflation trap in Europe – Telegraph

A simple typing error nearly cost one Telegraph reader £25,000, after he transposed two digits in an account number when making an online payment.

‘Bank account typo lost my £25,000’ – Telegraph

A motivational tool for managers, it made its appearance in the late ’90s at an executive conference at Las Vegas’s MGM Grand Hotel, where the future subprime leader hooked up a powerful fan to a plastic tent. Inside, exuberant branch managers jumped around amid a cascade of cash, allowed to keep as many swirling bills as they could grab.

The Big Lie That Haunts the Post-Crash Economy | New Republic

Batteries allow customers with solar panels to store energy during the day and then tap the excess overnight when the sun goes down. The widespread use of electric vehicles could reshape the development of cities, and applying the same battery storage technology to transform the U.S. energy system has “huge potential,” Moniz said.

Batteries May Vie With U.S. Oil Boom as Energy Changer – Bloomberg

Flying over open ocean, relaying even a simple message can be a multi-step process transmitted through FMS datalink or over high frequency radio. In an emergency, communicating with the ground is secondary to dealing with the problems at hand. As the old adage goes: you aviate, navigate, and communicate — in that order. And so, the fact that no messages or distress signals were sent by the crew is not especially surprising or an indicator of anything specific.

Pilot: No Mayday Call Not Surprising – Business Insider

For Samsung, there are two huge competitive factors lurking behind Tizen

Apple And Samsung’s New Tizen Strategy – Business Insider

Russia has a surface area of 17 million km2, compared with 16.6 million km2 for Pluto.

17 Mind-Blowing Facts About Russia – Business Insider

In a new note, economist Vincent Reinhart estimates that the economy’s potential growth rate is now around 2% (down from 2.5%) and that 6% is probably what represents “full employment.” The Fed will have to acknowledge there’s less “slack” in the system than they thought.

Morgan Stanley: Economy’s Growth Potential Is Now 2 percent – Business Insider

Former Heinz chief executive William Johnson received $110.5m (£66.1m) for the final eight months of 2013, the food firm disclosed in a filing to US regulators. Current boss Bernardo Hees, who joined the firm in June, received $9.2m. Mr Hees has cut more than 3,400 positions and closed factories in an effort to boost profits.

BBC News – Former Heinz boss in $110m payday as layoffs continue

A 2.2% loss year-to-date. An even bigger 3.6% decline so far in March and only a 2.9% advance over the past three months. The previously solid German DAX 30 index DX:DAX has been underperforming its European counterparts lately and the benchmark is at risk of falling even further.

This chart shows why the DAX may continue to underperform – The Tell – MarketWatch

China’s first corporate debt default in at least 17 years has sparked fear that the country’s ‘Lehman moment’ is fast approaching, and Lombard Street Research says this is just the tip of the iceberg.

Is China’s bond default the tip of the iceberg?