Saturday, November 13, 2010

Fighting terrorism/extremism with Captialism and Markets---Why is this woman not the recipient of a Nobel Prize? Or any prize for that matter...

The world needs more capitalism and market activity, not less. According to this brave women, it is the best way to fight extremism and oppression.  I find it amazing that people like this change the world for the better and get so little recognition.  Just when I feel like I am something significant, I think of REAL life changers like this woman and feel small.  I wish I had this kind of courage...

NYTIMES: Here’s a Woman Fighting Terrorism. With Microloans.

""Roshaneh Zafar is an American- educated banker who fights extremism with microfinance. She has dedicated her life to empowering some of Pakistan’s most impoverished women and giving them the tools to run businesses of their own. The United States should learn from warriors like her.

Bullets and drones may kill terrorists, but Roshaneh creates jobs and educational opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people — draining the swamps that breed terrorists.

Charity is limited, but capitalism isn’t,” Roshaneh said. “If you want to change the world, you need market-based solutions.” That’s the point of microfinance — typically, lending very poor people small amounts of money so that they can buy a rickshaw or raw materials and start a tiny business....""

$27 light bulbs charged to "stimulus funds"--is there "too much money chasing too few contractors" in the ARRA? Just askin'...

Ritz-Carlton--Dove Mountain Az.
I wonder if the folks on the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel who are responsible for rooting out "waste, fraud and abuse" in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act AND are meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Resort in Arizona in two weeks will address this issue:

""Contractors billed New Jersey $27 for light bulbs, and ran up tens of thousands of dollars in other “unreasonable costs” on a $119 million weatherization program funded with U.S. stimulus money, the state auditor said....(source HERE)
Meeting at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel and Resort to discuss $27 light bulbs...

Perhaps I protest-eth too much...this particular bill was not paid, but I wonder how much does make it through...Seems like a case with the stimulus money that there is "too much money chasing too few contractors" and too few auditors.  Never saw THAT coming....

5 Myths about the Federal Reserve...The first one is very instructive for Monetary Policy in AP Macroeconomics

Five myths about the Federal Reserve

1. By printing money, the Fed will create runaway inflation.
The Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman issued a famous dictum nearly 50 years ago: "Inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon." His belief has become widespread over the years, to the point that even many non-economists assume that when the Fed prints money, higher prices inevitably result. But the link between money and inflation is weaker than people think. 
The Fed's current policy of "quantitative easing" essentially means it is printing money ($600 billion) to buy assets such as government bonds. The Fed isn't literally printing the $20 bills that end up in your wallet - it's doing the electronic equivalent. When it buys a $100 bond from a bank, it deposits $100 into the bank's account at the Fed. This electronic money is called reserves, and the Fed conjures it up out of thin air.

However, this money can lead to inflation only if banks lend it and consumers and businesses spend it. Banks lend when they have strong balance sheets and when credit-worthy customers demand loans. People and businesses spend when their incomes are growing and they're confident about the future. None of this has been true lately.
The Fed is trying to stimulate spending, but not by showering people with newly minted dollars. Rather, when the Fed buys bonds, it pushes their prices up and their yields down. Lower long-term interest rates will tempt some people to borrow. They will also make stocks more attractive. Higher stock prices will make consumers feel wealthier and spend more. If that spending outstrips the economy's productive capacity, inflation could result. But that's years away: The economy today is awash in idle factories and unemployed workers...(Click HERE to read the rest)

Does the early bird get the GPA worm? Study shows morning people have higher GPA's than night owls...What do you think??

Morningness Is A Predictor Of Better Grades In College
""According to the results, college students who are evening types had lower GPAs, while those who are morning types had higher GPAs.
"The finding that college students who are evening types have lower GPAs is a very important finding, sure to make its way into undergraduate psychology texts in the near future, along with the research showing that memory is improved by sleep," said Daniel J. Taylor, PhD, of the University of North Texas, Ms. Clay's faculty mentor, a co-author, and who developed the concept for this study. "Further, these results suggest that it might be possible to improve academic performance by using chronotherapy to help students entrain their biological clock to become more morning types..""

From the Dept of "Well, Duh!"---Research shows people spend half their waking hours daydreaming"--teachers could have told you that without research...

People spend 'half their waking hours daydreaming'

""People spend nearly half of their waking hours not thinking about what they are actually doing, according to a US study conducted via the iPhone....""
Seems ironic that the survey was done by way of the iPhone---the same device that is probably responsible for 99% of the problem---if not on the phone then probably thinking about being on the phone texting, talking, gaming, staring, etc. If you don't believe me, then read the article (about 6 paragraphs down) to see WHEN some of the people in the study responded to random survey questions...Yes, people do think too much with their "phones"...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Meeting to cut "waste, fraud and abuse" in the Federal Govt is going to be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Arizona...Do these people REALLY think about what they are doing?

I am assuming the taxpayer is picking up the tab for this...Is public relations a dead art or do they simply not care how this looks to the public I assume they believe they are representing?

Obama panel probes stimulus waste -- at Ritz Carlton

""Members of a key panel created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus bill, have scheduled a meeting on November 22 to consider ways to prevent "fraud, waste, and abuse of Recovery Act funds." The meeting will be held at the super-luxe Ritz Carlton Hotel in Phoenix, Arizona....""

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Job Interview tips when applying for Info Tech jobs, but this advice is also good for just about every job interview

Top 10 Job Interview Mistakes

1. Late to the interview means late on projects and deadlines

You'd think in this day and age that something as simple as showing up to the right place on time would be a no-brainer, and yet, hiring managers said that candidates arrive tardy all the time.

Brian Gabrielson, national practice director for Robert Half Technology, a provider of IT professional services in Mountain View, Calif., said that interviewees sometimes forget that when the competition is tough, it often comes down to the little things like punctuality.

"All things being equal, I'm going to pick the person who showed up on time, looked me in the eye and had manners," said Gabrielson.

Showing up on time is more than the icing on the cake, however. It conveys to potential employers that you will be equally punctual with deadlines, and that you will be organized enough to keep projects in line.

2. Lack of enthusiasm means you don't care about your work

One of the most aggravating interview gaffes noted by IT recruiters was a lack of enthusiasm for the job.

"One of them actually said, 'I don't want to work with people. I just want to be left alone to do my job,'" Gabrielson told eWEEK. "Can you imagine the impression that left?"

This lack of interest in the job also applies to individuals too eager to move up the ladder; even if a company has high hopes for you, they still need you to start with the task at hand.
Heather Galler, CEO of JobKite, a Land O' Lakes, Fla., national job site said: "A client told me about someone interviewing for a help desk position, and when asked what kind of work they wanted to do, he said 'I sure don't want to get stuck answering phones all day!'"

While Galler attributed this comment to the risk that sometimes comes when a more senior person says that they are willing to do simpler work, needless to say, this individual's chance at getting the job was immediately nixed.

I am guessin' there is a problem with people drinking urinal water---Here's your sign...

HT: Coyote Blog

Rules in Chandler restrooms: don't drink from toilets

""Chandler's new City Hall comes with some features that have municipal workers and visitors scratching their heads. Like the restroom signs that tell people not to drink out of the urinals and toilets...A few employees have been cracking jokes and speculating about what it would take to make them slurp from potties when water fountains and sinks are a few feet away...""

Iran NOT granted a seat on the UN Committee for Women...One fox is out of the henhouse, but I am thinking the chickens are not comforted by it...

Meet the new members of the United Nations Women's Committee. They are charged with:

1. To support inter-governmental bodies, such as the Commission on the Status of Women, in their formulation of policies, global standards and norms
2. To help Member States to implement these standards, standing ready to provide suitable technical and financial support to those countries that request it and to forge effective partnerships with civil society.
3. To hold the UN system accountable for its own commitments on gender equality, including regular monitoring of system-wide progressAfrica: Angola, Cape Verde, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Lesotho, Libya, Nigeria and Tanzania

Look at the list and think and ask yourself if the most vulnerable women of the world are more safe or less so---The good news is Iran was kept off the committee, although they wanted to be a part of it...gee whiz, anyone else see the insanity here, or is it just me?

Asia: Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Japan, Malaysia, Pakistan, Republic of Korea and Timor-Leste

Eastern Europe: Estonia, Hungary, Russia, and Ukraine

Latin America and the Caribbean: Argentina, Brazil, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada and Peru

Western Europe: Denmark, France, Italy, Luxembourg and Sweden
Contributing Countries: Mexico, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, United Kingdom and United States

Why do we pick on China so much for making stuff we like to buy? The anger is misdirected--"We have met the enemy, and he is us"

When we import MORE than we export we create a trade deficit.  There is much debate about whether this is "good or bad". Trade with the rest of the world has become a political issue, which is typical in a recession.  Lately much of the criticism is aimed at China. However, perhaps we are looking at the wrong target.  The graph below charts monthly changes (not a yearly aggregation) in the trade deficit over time.  The total monthly trade deficit in ALL goods and services is represented by the blue line. The blue line includes the oil we import from foreign sources.  The red line shows the monthly trade deficit WITHOUT oil included. In other words, the difference between the blue line and the red line is the market value of the oil we import.  The monthly  trade deficit (the very tip of the blue line to the right--September) was -$44 billion and the trade deficit WITHOUT oil (the very tip of the red line to the right) was -$22 billion.  Oil imports represented HALF of our trade deficit.  WHO is the elephant in the room?  Notice the separation of the blue line from the red line from 1998.  Seems we are more dependent on foreign sources of oil as time goes by. Is this "good or bad"?  Extra credit for good responses and perhaps a solution...

Calculated Risk

We know bankers are old goats, but with this bank REAL goats are the form of currency. Yes, this is the year 2010...

We started Monetary Policy in AP Macroeconomic today and talked about what money is and its functions.  Money can be in the form of commodities (gold, silver, cigarettes, etc) or fiat money (what the govt says will be used as the currency of record).  Whatever the society agrees will be the "medium of exchange" becomes the de facto currency.  Below is a case of a commodity becoming a form of money---goats! (HT: Marginal Revolution)

A bank that lends you goats
Women in remote Korawan, 70 km from Allahabad, have come up with a novel bank which exclusively deals with goats - accepting the animal as savings and lending it out as loans.
"Prema and her friends hailing from Afrozi village have establish a bank which deals exclusively in goats," development block coordinator Subedar Singh told PTI.
In tough terrains of Mirzapur district, most of the people are engaged in crushing stone to earn a living.
"Wives of these people help them in crushing stones and breed two-three goats for additional income," Singh said.
"Though the area is best suited for goat breeding, no effort was made to establish it as a full fledged business activity," he said.
"We provide goats to women having interest in taking up breeding as a full-time activity as loan. When a goat gives birth to kids, generally two to three in numbers, one of them is deposited with the bank again," Prema explained.
Goats in the bank are medically examined every week.
"In case a goat dies, then it is either replaced from the market or from the bank depending upon the availability," Prema said.

That is fine China, but can YOU make the Master Chief destroy the Halo?...I didn't think so...

China shows space skills with satellite rendezvous

""China has pulled off a tricky and uncommon feat in space flight, maneuvering one of its satellites to within about 300 yards of another while they were orbiting Earth, space analysts say.
Some analysts view the rendezvous as a potentially ominous sign of China's ability to carry out a hostile act or espionage against a rival satellite in space. Others say it could have been a test of docking skills.
China is not saying why it conducted the August maneuver, but it comes as the nation is ambitiously expanding its space program, including building a space station and conducting lunar missions. It is expected to launch the first module of its space station next year, followed by a manned spacecraft to dock with it.""

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Soccer Fans watch this video (27 seconds)---the job is never finished until it is...

If you are doing a social science paper, preparing for debate or Model UN, this interactive graphic will be VERY helpful...

A REALLY, REALLY, REALLY terrific interactive graph that illustrates rich countries contributions to the health, welfare, security, aid, etc of "developing" (poor) countries.  If you are doing some research for a paper, debate or Model UN then this will be VERY helpful to you...Worth a look...Click HERE to go to interactive

Source: Center for Global Development

Monday, November 8, 2010

Nice interactive graph on key mesurements of US economy, demographics, politics...

Nice Interactive graphic on the US from The Economist...

""AMERICA as a whole has just endured its sharpest recession since the 1930s, and the recovery is still fragile. But as our interactive map reveals, the pain has been spread very unevenly. The hardest-hit state, Nevada, has an unemployment rate more than three times as bad as that of North Dakota, the state that has done best on that measure. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, there is a close inverse correlation between growth rates and unemployment.

But what of politics? On the whole, the states with the worst unemployment levels tend to vote Democratic, and those with the best are in the Republican camp. Politicians will argue furiously about which way round the arrow of causation ought to run.
Interestingly, America's ethnic composition seems to have little consistent economic impact. States with large numbers of Hispanics (by far the fastest-growing ethnic group in America) include low-growth/high unemployment states like California and Nevada, as well as good performers like Texas and New Mexico.""

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Exports are front and center right now---who do we export to? What do we export? Some answers to those questions enclosed...

Some great, easy to read statistics on US Exports of goods, which is the focus of Pres. Obama's current trip overseas.  The first list gives the Top destinations, the second gives the countries with the fastest growth in demand for US goods, and the third gives examples of top exports.  Notice much of them are in the form of inputs that go into making finished goods that we will in turn IMPORT back to the US.  This may be the Achilles heel of trying to increase the export of FINISHED US goods.  It largely depends on the incomes of people in the countries the President is visiting.  Incomes they earn producing FINISHED goods from the inputs we EXPORT to them to make the finished goods that they...well, you get the picture...

Top 10 Countries for U.S. Exports in 2010

The following list identifies the top 20 trade partners and the value of U.S. exports consumed from January to June 2010. Also shown is the percentage increase over the first 6 months of 2009, and the percentage of overall U.S. exports consumed by each country.

These 20 countries received 78.8% of the value of all U.S. exports as of June 2010.

1.Canada … US$121.9 billion, up 26.8% from 2009 (19.9% of US total exports)

2.Mexico … $77.3 billion, up 31.8% (12.6%)

3.China … $41.2 billion, up 35.6% (6.7%)

4.Japan … $29.2 billion, up 18.1% (4.8%)

5.United Kingdom … $24.3 billion, up 6.4% (4%)

6.Germany … $23.2 billion, up 9.5% (3.8%)

7.South Korea … $19.2 billion, up 52.7% (3.1%)

8.Brazil … $16.4 billion, up 37.7% (2.7%)

9.Netherlands … $16.2 billion, down 1% (2.7%)

10.Singapore … $14.2 billion, up 42.4% (2.3%)

11.France … $13 billion, down 6.3% (2.1%)

12.Belgium … $12.3 billion, up 16.1% (2%)

13.Hong Kong … $12.3 billion, up 26.4% (2%)

14.Taiwan … $12.1 billion, up 59.5% (2%)

15.Australia … $10.5 billion, up 15.2% (1.7%)

16.Switzerland … $9.7 billion, up 7.6% (1.6%)

17.India … $9.2 billion, up 22.9% (1.5%)

18.Italy … $7 billion, up 14.6% (1.1%)

19.Malaysia … $6.6 billion, up 50.3% (1.1%)

20.Colombia … $5.9 billion, up 35.8% (1%).

Among these top 20 countries, 18 or 90% increased their purchases of U.S. exports during the first 6 months of 2010.
Only the Netherlands (down 1%) and France (down 6.3%) decreased their consumption of American products over that time period
Fastest-Growing Demand for U.S. Exports by Country

Led by Taiwan, Asian countries topped the list of highest percentage gains for the top 18 countries consuming more U.S. exports.

A total of 15 nations generated double-digit increases in their purchases of American exports from January to June 2010.

1.Taiwan … up 59.5% to US$12.1 billion

2.South Korea … up 52.7% to $19.2 billion

3.Malaysia … up 50.3% to $6.6 billion

4.Singapore … up 42.4% to $14.2 billion

5.Brazil … up 37.7% to $16.4 billion

6.Colombia … up 35.8% to $5.9 billion

7.China … up 35.6% to $41.2 billion

8.Mexico … up 31.8% to $77.3 billion

9.Canada … up 26.8% to $121.9 billion

10.Hong Kong … up 26.4% to $12.3 billion

11.India … up 22.9% to $9.2 billion

12.Japan … up 18.1% to $29.2 billion

13.Belgium … up 16.1% to $12.3 billion

14.Australia … up 15.2% to $10.5 billion

15.Italy … up 14.6% to $7 billion

16.Germany … up 9.5% to $23.2 billion

17.Switzerland … up 7.6% to $9.7 billion

18.United Kingdom … up 6.4% to $24.3 billion.

Not only did the United States grow its export sales by a robust 24.5%, that growth is diversified across a high percentage of the countries with which the USA does business.
America’s top trading partners continue to buy more U.S. exports. This in turn generates more cash flowing back to the United States as its economy recovers.

Top Export Products behind US Export Gains

Chemical products dominated the list of fastest-growing U.S. exports for the first 4 months of 2010, with 5 chemical products among the top 10 export categories.

In first place was the industrial chemical ethyl alcohol with U.S. export sales of $267 million, a 374.1% gain over the first 4 months of last year.

In fifth place, U.S. export sales of polycarboxylic acids gained 199.2% to $457.3 million. Polycarboxylic acids have a wide range of uses from increasing the wet strength of paper to preparing drug salts.

Prepared pigments used in ceramic, enameling and glass products posted a 172.2% rise to $223.5 million.

Used in making plastics, nylons and cosmetics, U.S. exports of phenol-alcohol were ahead 159.1% to $281.4 million.

U.S. metal exports were also among the winners. Refined copper shipments spiked 269.6% to $373.6 million, while iron ore exports climbed 223.3% to $206.6 million. Flat-rolled stainless steel products gained 148.9% to $360.6 million, while aluminum exports were ahead by 100.9% to $283.4 million.

The U.S. also exported 258.4% more flat panel manufacturing equipment parts to other countries, for a total of $3.6 billion in just 4 months.

There were some niche export products with significant gains as well. Exports of buffalo, cow and horse hides and skins were up 125.6% to $208.4 million.

Exports of U.S. soybean oil soared 120.1% to $588.1 million. Sales of articles made with precious metal improved by 149.2% to $94.7 million.

Humorous---Graphic showing how various Smartphone users view each other...Any truth to these???

This is how smartphone users see each other

Do you want a Coke? Pop? Soda? Your answer provides a clue as to where you grew up. Does this map reflect your experience?

Source HERE
What you call a "Soft Drink" gives a clue as to where you grew up...Does this map coincide with your experience?? I grew up in New England and yes, I called any brand of soft drink "soda"...

There is a discussion on american culture related to this graph HERE.  It is quite fascinating and if you are taking a sociology class it might be a good source for an extra credit assignment..
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