Remarkable indeed!

Students from Singapore and Korea are the best in the world at problem solving, according to new research published by the OECD. “Students in these countries are quick learners, highly inquisitive and able to solve unstructured problems in unfamiliar contexts,” the OECD said in a press release.

The best problem-solvers in the world are…

Evaluating the success of Abenomics has been an ongoing obsession of ours. A recent paper, part of the Brooking’s Papers on Economic Activity conference, by Joshua Hausman and Johannes Weiland argues that Abenomics has been successful in generating monetary regime change, and that this has lead to an increase in output — but much more work is left to be done. The key thing to notice here is that while the Abenomics period has shown only mildly above-average growth in GDP, it has shown stellar growth in GDP per working age adult. That is, much of the success of Abenomics has been masked by demographics.

Is Abenomics Working? | FT Alphaville

The types of “research” SAC may acquire include, but are not limited to, the following

The Real Reason(s) Why Steve Cohen Is Much, Much Richer Than You (In Steve Cohen’s Own Words) | Zero Hedge

Extreme calorie counting boosts lifespan in monkeys, according to new research. Until now, the rationale for following an ultra-low calorie diet to ward off ageing has been based on experiments in worms and mice. Studies reported in Nature Communications found primates also benefited from the regime.

BBC News – Dieting monkeys offer hope for long life

Two radical notions in the early 1970s, having a black president and permitting homosexual marriage, have pretty much come to pass – in terms of public opinion and public policy. But the idea that the government should be partly responsible for all Americans’ health care, not just care for the elderly and poor, has not.

Which radical ideas come true? « The Berkeley Blog

The World Health Organization has just released estimates that 7 million people around the world died from air pollution in 2012, which is about one in eight of all deaths in the world that year, and “confirms that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk.”

CONVERSABLE ECONOMIST: Air Pollution: World’s Biggest Health Hazard

Whether because of meddling producers, disagreeable test audiences, or apprehensive directors with second thoughts, many movies get tweaked before we ever get a chance to see them, especially in the final act.

Movies With Alternate Endings – Business Insider

Just as we were beginning to regard Netflix as a company on the verge of becoming big enough to really threaten the cable TV model — it’s got more U.S. subscribers than HBO — along comes Amazon with a new TV gadget that threatens to fence off Netflix inside a larger, Amazon-controlled TV universe.

Amazon Fire TV Threat To Netflix – Business Insider

It may seem counterintuitive to classify the latest market rally as painful but for everyone sitting on the sidelines in cash it must have hurt to watch the tape tick higher. This “pain trade” goes back to legendary trader Jesse Livermore who posited that markets will move in whatever direction hurts the largest amount of people.

The Pain Trade: Experts watch rally from the sidelines | Breakout – Yahoo Finance

After a limp start for equity markets in 2014, investment bank Goldman Sachs has revealed it is bullish for the second quarter, predicting global growth to pick up and shares to follow suit.

Goldman Sachs: It’s showtime for global growth

Asset bubbles are notoriously difficult to identify as they are happening. Often times, they only become clear in hindsight. Having said that, Goldman Sachs’ David Kostin offers an interesting stock market chart in his team’s new US Quarterly Chartbook. It shows the sector composition of the S&P 500 by market cap since 1974. As you can see, sector bubbles manifest when they suddenly explode as a percentage of the S&P 500.

CHART: Bubbles Within The S&P 500 – Business Insider

This is the second issue of the PV Grid Parity Monitor for residential consumers. Since the first issue of the residential GPM (2nd half 2012), almost every country improved its grid parity situation. This is due mainly to the reduction of the PV LCOE, as depicted in the Figure below. This has been caused by a reduction in the cost of PV systems, driven by lower equipment prices (across the board) and increased competition in emerging markets (like Brazil, Chile or Mexico).


High-frequency traders are gaming the system, reaping billions in the process and undermining investor confidence in the fairness of the markets. It’s a growing cancer and needs to be addressed. If confidence erodes further, the fuel of our free-enterprise system, capital formation, is at risk.

“HFT Is A Growing Cancer” Says Mom And Pop’s Favorite Retail Broker Charles Schwab | Zero Hedge

Morell, a now-retired career intelligence official who served under six presidents and was with George W. Bush in Florida on the day of the 2001 terrorist attacks, has the credibility to validate the conspiracy theories Republicans have been floating about Benghazi. But instead, he used the rare public session to rebut the accusations.

Dana Milbank: Latest Benghazi hearing is another Republican flop – The Washington Post

The ACA is doing exactly what its supporters said it would do. It is getting health insurance to millions who didn’t have it before. (The Los Angeles Times pegged the number at 9.5 million at the beginning of the week.) And it’s working especially well in places such as Kentucky, where state officials threw themselves fully and competently behind the cause of signing up the uninsured. Those who want to repeal the law will have to admit that they are willing to deprive these people, or some large percentage of them, of insurance.

E.J. Dionne: The GOP must admit it was wrong on Obamacare – The Washington Post

Piketty’s chief conclusion is that, in most nations in most times, the interest on capital — income from investments and ownership — accumulates at a higher rate than that at which the overall economy is growing.

Harold Meyerson: How capitalism enriches only the few – The Washington Post

Prices have been falling at a pace of 6.5pc in Greece, 5.6pc in Italy, 4.7pc in Spain, 4pc in Portugal, 3pc in Slovenia and nearly 2pc in Holland since September, based on my rough calculations (annualised) of Eurostat monthly data.. “The biggest threat to public debt dynamics is weaker-than-expected inflation. Merely lower than expected inflation, not even deflation, would lead to a significant deterioration in countries’ public finances,” they said. The bank said lingering “lowflation” would cause debt ratios to surge by 2018, rising 10 percentage points in France to 105pc of GDP, 15 points in Italy to 148pc and 24 points to 118pc in Spain.

ECBs deflation paralysis drives Italy, France and Spain into debt traps – Telegraph

How software and networking can enlist home heaters for ultra-cheap grid storage and energy arbitrage

VCharge Is Turning ‘Hot Bricks’ Into Grid Batteries : Greentech Media

Interactive Brokers announced Thursday that it will offer retail trading customers the first direct connection to the new trading platform IEX. IEX bills itself as a platform designed to resist the techniques of high-frequency traders, building in extra cable lengths to slow down some transactions and limiting the number of complex order types.

Interactive Brokers to offer direct routing to ‘Flash Boys’ dark pool IEX

It’s possible to successfully pick stocks, says Nobel Prize winner and Yale economist Robert Shiller in a new interview, but like any game, it’s competitive and hard — and best left alone by most.

Robert Shiller warns stock pickers to be ‘realistic’ – MarketWatch

Peak power substitution involves the use of storage to replace simple cycle gas-fired “peaker” plants. In March 2014, AES Energy Storage launched a new modular energy storage solution capable of cost-effectively replacing some peak power plants. Called Advancion, AES’ solution uses lithium-ion batteries.

AES Energy Storage Targets $30B Peak Power Substitution Market : Greentech Media

When the yen was high during much of the 2000s, Japanese manufacturers honed the groundbreaking lean-production practices that first brought Japan to economic prominence in the 1970s through the 1990s. Now many of those firms are poised not only to be more competitive globally, thanks to the lower yen, but also to export the hard-won, innovative lean processes to emerging markets, which are eager to create similarly efficient industries at home, says Takahiro Fujimoto, an economics professor at Tokyo University. As in the past, others may find lessons in the Japanese manufacturing models.

Yen’s Shifting Value Helps Japanese Carmakers Meet New Challenges: K@W

“Graphene has one hundred times greater electron mobility than silicon, the most widely used material in semiconductors today. It is more durable than steel and has high heat conductibility as well as flexibility, which makes it the perfect material for use in flexible displays, wearables and other next generation electronic devices.” Thanks to SAIT’s manufacturing method breakthroughs, the company believes it has taken the first step to displace the electronic industry’s reliance on silicon.

Samsung graphene breakthrough promises truly flexible smartphones soon – News – Trusted Reviews

African Christians will be killed if the Church of England accepts gay marriage, the archbishop of Canterbury has suggested. Speaking on an LBC phone in, Justin Welby said he had stood by a mass grave in Nigeria of 330 Christians who had been massacred by neighbours who had justified the atrocity by saying: “If we leave a Christian community here we will all be made to become homosexual and so we will kill all the Christians.”

African Christians will be killed if C of E accepts gay marriage, says Justin Welby | UK news |

Until the pending insulin pill reaches the market we may not see another drug that has such a massive and disruptive impact on the insurance and medical industry. According to The Wall Street Journal American insurance companies may see their earnings cut by 18 percent due to the incredible cost of the drug.

DailyTech – Hepatitis C “Miracle Drug” Will Cost Americans $84K, Egyptians Only $900

Check out S&P’s Global Luxury Index, which consists of 80 large publicly traded companies “engaged in the production or distribution of luxury goods or the provision of luxury services.” Names include Daimler, Diageo, Nike, LVMH-Moet, Richemont, BMW, Las Vegas Sands, and Pernod-Ricard.

Global Luxury Index Stock Returns – Business Insider

I have watched as my job requirements swung away from a focus on the children, their individual learning styles, emotional needs, and their individual families, interests and strengths to a focus on testing, assessing, and scoring young children, thereby ramping up the academic demands and pressures on them.

Susan Sluyter’s Resignation Letter Sums Up Common Core Concerns – Business Insider

The most astonishing – and shortest – miss in major championship history came at the 2012 Kraft Nabisco at Mission Hills, California, and illustrates perfectly the psychedelic headswirls that engulf world-class golfers when attempting to close things out on the final green. In the four decades before IK Kim stepped up with a view to landing her first major by tapping in from one foot – 30 centimetres, the length of your ruler at school – the textbook example of the Lost Major was written by Doug Sanders at the 1970 Open. But we’ll have to put him to one side for a minute, for Sanders was usurped as Kim somehow set her ball away far enough to the right for it to horseshoe round the back of the cup and stay out. The ball hadn’t stopped on its ludicrously short return journey towards Kim before the stunned 23-year-old was holding her startled face in her hands.

The Joy of Six: missed putts | Scott Murray | Sport |

TECHNOLOGY that transforms industries or consumers’ lives is an important investing theme these days. The managers of three mutual funds — Fidelity OTC Portfolio, Lord Abbett Micro Cap Growth and Driehaus Micro Cap Growth — have all focused on it, and their approach put them among the performance leaders in the first quarter.

Technology That Transforms Life (and Mutual Funds’ Returns) –

After their worst week in several years, high-flying stocks that defied gravity throughout 2013 look like they’re in for more punishment. The reason: Despite the plunge, they still look overvalued.

Momentum names may see more pain – Yahoo Finance

Innovation, he maintains, will not be enough to offset the headwinds that will buffet Western industrialized economies in the next half-century—aging populations, declining educational achievement, and rising inequality. And he is not alone in this dismal view. In The End of Science, published in 1996, journalist John Horgan declared that “the modern era of rapid scientific and technological progress appears to be not a permanent feature of reality, but an aberration, a fluke

The Next Age of Invention by Joel Mokyr, City Journal Winter 2014

ll these cycles were fueled by Moore’s Law and the linear growth trend it predicted. With the advent of new technologies in areas ranging from artificial intelligence & robotics to nanotechnology, biotechnology & bioinformatics, medicine & neuroscience, networks & computing systems and energy & environmental systems we see this model being replaced by the Law of Accelerating Returns: Growth is not linear anymore but exponential.

The World in 2035

A measure of the magnitude of the economic benefits from EU membership is given by the difference between the actual per capita GDP for each country (or labour productivity) and that of its SCM artificial control group. We find substantial benefits for the 1973, and modest benefits for the 1995 enlargement.

How rich nations benefit from EU membership | vox

In 2010, 60 cents of every dollar earned by those in the top 1 percent came from investments and businesses they owned. For the middle class, it was 6 cents.

Capitalize Workers! –

Trying to illustrate the tough job market, Federal Reserve boss Janet Yellen on Monday told a Chicago conference about two long-term unemployed Americans. Both, it turns, had prison records (And now both have jobs.) As the WaPo’s Ylan Mui points out, “workers with criminal histories are not an anomaly in the labor force” given that nearly one-third of Americans have been arrested by age 23 with 12 million to 14 million convicted.”

America’s declining incarceration rate and the job market | AEIdeas

Some former regulators and academics say so much trading is now happening away from exchanges that publicly quoted prices for stocks on exchanges may no longer properly reflect where the market is. And this problem could cost investors far more money than any shenanigans related to high frequency trading.

‘Dark Markets’ May Pose Greater Threat than High-Speed Trading

The IMF in its current World Economic Outlook essentially endorses the “secular stagnation” hypothesis, noting that the real interest rate necessary to bring about enough demand for full employment is likely to remain depressed for a substantial period. This is made manifest by the fact that inflation is well below target throughout the developed world and is likely to decline further this year.

What the world must do to kickstart growth

167,000 people globally are worth more than $30 million each. Suppose a biotech company could come up with a series of gene therapies that cost $1 million to administer but extended life on average by 10 years. The market just among the super rich will add up to about $167 billion.

FuturePundit: Early Expensive Rejuvenation Therapies To Offer High ROI

Dentists say elite athletes could stand a better chance of winning gold medals if they look after their teeth. The Oral Health and Performance in Sport conference in London heard that athletes’ oral health was often bad and could impair training and performance.

BBC News – Good teeth may help sporting success

An international team of scientists, mathematicians and philosophers at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute is investigating the biggest dangers.

And they argue in a research paper, Existential Risk as a Global Priority, that international policymakers must pay serious attention to the reality of species-obliterating risks.

BBC News – How are humans going to become extinct?

But instant still accounts for 77% of the coffee Brits buy to drink at home, according to market research specialists Mintel. In Italy it accounts for just 1%, in France 4% and 7% in the US.

BBC News – Why do Britons drink so much instant coffee?

I strongly believe that if anyone can deflate a credit bubble gently, it is China. Why? (i) The debt is all internal as China’s capital account is (relatively) closed. There are no foreign creditors that can withdraw from one minute to the next, and the domestic creditors cannot easily send their funds abroad. (ii) A large chunk of the debt is within the public sector – extended by state-controlled banks to state-owned enterprises or local public authorities. This makes it easier to “extend and pretend”. (iii) The central government is in good fiscal shape and, if needed, has access to the central banks’ printing press.

Joachim Fels On China – Business Insider

In his new U.S. Monthly Chartbook, Kostin provides a list of stocks with the most upside potential today. According to Goldman’s analysts, the 40 stocks on this list offer 21% to 41% upside relative to their recent prices.

GOLDMAN: Most Undervalued Stocks – Business Insider

The yellow sac spider is attracted to the smell of petrol, and will weave its web in engines, causing a blockage and build-up of pressure.

BBC News – Spider invasion prompts Mazda software fix

New medicines that shrink tumors and have beneficial effects lasting for months to years in some cancer patients are helping breathe new life into an old idea: using a patient’s own immune cells to attack malignant cells.

The Next Wave of Cancer Medicines Recruit Patient’s Immune Cells to the Fight | MIT Technology Review

But while I’m not too worried about stocks, I do think the housing market may take a hit. And the fallout of negative sentiment could affect other assets and consumer spending as a result.

A big narrative of our economic recovery has been a resurgent housing market. As a result, a slowdown or decline could be bad news for investors of all stripes.

Housing pain could halt stocks’ gain – Yahoo Finance

They are cash­-flow profitable. Why is this so important? It’s because many of the most exciting companies are ones that offer software by subscription, and subscription accounting is different from other forms of accounting. It requires you to recognize only one-twelfth of a chunk of it at a time. So when you sign up a client for a year and that client pays for it all at once, you can’t count it all at once for reported earnings. That’s quite different, say, from traditional recognition, in which you get to show the gain all at once. That’s why, when you hear a business is cloud-computing-based, you rarely see big earnings but often see big revenue, and you might be confused as to why this doesn’t translate to the bottom line.

Jim Cramer: This Extraordinarily Ferocious Selling – TheStreet

The blog posts and defenses of high frequency trading in the past week have come with dizzying high frequency. They have taken the form of blog postings by knowns (Larry Tabb) and unknowns (Scott Locklin). Reuters, who sells high speed data, has a very influential blogger (Felix Salmon) who criticized the book before he read it. Bloomberg, who also sells high speed data, has a blogger (Matt Levine) who defends high speed trading almost daily. Modern Markets Initiative – the HFT Lobbying Group – has been writing/tweeting a blog post per hour criticizing Flash Boys. Even Irene Aldridge has weighed in very negatively on Flash Boys – again, without even reading the book. She has even gone so far as to accuse Michael Lewis of taking a secret payoff to write an anti-HFT book.

1215095 – The Flash Boys Mystery Solved | Zero Hedge

The European Union is close to freezing plans to complete the $50bn (£30bn) South Stream gas pipeline through the Black Sea from Russia, the first serious EU action to punish the Kremlin for the seizure of Crimea.

Russia’s South Stream pipeline in deep freeze as EU tightens sanctions noose – Telegraph

Those who claim that EMU austerity policies and the boom-bust structure of monetary union (and its satellites) have done no lasting damage to Europe’s political cohesion have spoken too early.

Hungary is becoming the biggest reason why we may have to leave the EU – Telegraph Blogs

Most people sit between 5 and 12 hours a day. Depending on your job, you may be spending your days sitting more than you are sleeping. Watch how sitting is slowly killing you, and what you can do about it.

Sitting Is Bad For Your Health – Business Insider

According to Dr. Stephan Guyenet, in the year 1822 we ate the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 5 days.
Today, we’re eating the equivalent of a 12 ounce can of soda every 7 hours. On average, Americans are eating about 22 teaspoons of added sugar per day, or 355calories. This amounts to 70 pounds (32 kg) per year (4). Keep in mind that these are averages. Young males are eating about a 100 pounds of sugar per year… and many individuals are eating much, much more.

Added Sugar Is The Worst Thing About Our Diets – Business Insider

A giant huntsman was discovered in a cave in Laos in 2011 and with a leg span of up to 12 inches (30 centimeters), often described as being “the size of a dinner plate.” Only a few people in the world have seen this behemoth arachnid. This is the largest spider by diameter; the largest spider by weight is probably the goliath birdeater tarantula.

Giant Huntsman Spider: World’s Largest Spider By Leg Span | LiveScience

Health technology is advancing so rapidly that within a decade the small handheld medical reader used by Dr. Leonard McCoy in Star Trek — the tricorder — will look primitive.

Why our medicine will soon be cooler than Star Trek’s | VentureBeat | Health | by Vivek Wadhwa

A mesh network is an alternative to the Internet, based on connections that move from device to device. So for FireChat, if I download it and talk to someone in my area who also has the app, we can exchange messages without using data or going through a centralized network. Mesh networks create resilient communication channels because, like a chain of mesh, the small inter-device links create a hard-to-ruin connection.

This app could be using the future’s Internet

Levkovich says what we are seeing is “discreet parts of the market” like biotech, social media and cloud computing “start to lose what had been a small little bubble forming.”

This is not the start of a bear market: Citigroup’s Levkovich | Daily Ticker – Yahoo Finance