Saturday, September 24, 2011

Rising out of the dust of Creative Destruction: The resurgence of Vinyl Records. See the numbers...

Back to black:  Oddly, the hunger for records is widespread
ONE common trend in many Western countries, regardless of the health of their recorded-music markets, is clear: vinyl is back. Sales of LPs were up in both Britain and Germany last year. In America vinyl sales are running 39% above last year’s level (see chart). In Spain sales have risen from 16,000 in 2005 to 104,000 in 2010. That is an increase from a tiny base, but any rise in media sales in Spain’s ravaged market is noteworthy.
This is a second revival for vinyl. The first, in the late 1990s, was driven largely by dance music. Teenagers bought Technics turntables and dreamed of becoming disc jockeys in Ibiza. But being a DJ is difficult and involves lugging heavy crates. Many have now gone over to laptops and memory
These days the most fervent vinyl enthusiasts are mostly after rock music. Chris Muratore of Nielsen, a research firm, says a little over half the top-selling vinyl albums in America this year have been releases by indie bands such as Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes. Last year’s bestselling new vinyl album was “The Suburbs” by Arcade Fire. Most of the other records sold are reissues of classic albums. Those idiosyncratic baby-boomers who were persuaded to trade in their LPs for CDs 20 years ago are now being told to buy records once again.

What is going on? Oliver Goss of Record Pressing, a San Francisco vinyl factory, says it is a mixture of convenience and beauty. Many vinyl records come with codes for downloading the album from the internet, making them more convenient than CDs. And fans like having something large and heavy to hold in their hands. Some think that half the records sold are not actually played.
Vinyl has a distinction factor, too. “It is just cooler than a download,” explains Steve Redmond, a spokesman for Britain’s annual Record Store Day. People used to buy bootleg CDs and Japanese imports containing music that none of their friends could get hold of. Now that almost every track is available free on music-streaming services like Spotify or on a pirate website, music fans need something else to boast about. That limited-edition 12-inch in translucent blue vinyl will do nicely.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Best research EVER: Students yawn not because they are bored, but because their brains are ON FIRE with my lectures! That may be an overstatement, but the research conclusion is interesting...

Yawning is body's "thermostat"
""Yawning is not just a sign of tiredness or boredom – it is the body's method of keeping our brain cool, scientists have found.
When the head begins to heat up, yawning acts as a natural "thermostat" by allowing cool air to rush in and bring the brain back down to a healthy temperature, research suggests.
Brain temperature is influenced by the amount of processing the brain is having to do, the temperature of the blood and the rate at which it flows to the brain. ""

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Is the US dollar a "safe-haven" currency anymore? King Dollar may be demoted to Prince in the future...

This article in the WSJ today emphasizes one of the determinants that cause an increase in the demand for a particular currency: A currency as a "safe-haven" against loss or depreciation. 

If a holder of a particular currency is unsure of its immediate or future value, they may elect to exchange it for a currency they believe will, at the minimun, maintain its value.

According to the article, there is not a firm consensus as to which currency is a dependable safe-haven. The dollar historically has played this role, but not so much today. 

Investors Show a Yen for the Dollar

""There may be no lack of investors seeking safety, but there is a shortage of safe havens in the currency market.

That was in evidence during Thursday's global rout in financial markets, when just about the only islands of strength were the U.S. dollar and the yen.

It isn't lost on investors that both the U.S. and Japan have significant fiscal and economic woes. But when markets turn scary, the ease of trading in both countries' currencies and in their deep underlying bond markets overwhelms those longer-term concerns.

The Swiss franc, long a traditional safe haven, has been largely taken out of the equation by the Swiss National Bank's efforts to cap the currency's rise, and it declined about 1% against the dollar Thursday. Even gold fell 3.7% on Thursday, as investors cut back on positions after the metal's long march higher. Currencies recently touted as safe havens, such as the Norwegian krone and Swedish krona, both lost about 2% against the dollar.

In times of trouble, "at the end of the day you just buy dollars," says Gravelle Pierre, founder of Iron Harbor Capital Management. ""

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Amazing Graphic: Mark Zuckerburg wins in the Photo Storage game...The proportion is staggering! See here...

""...this year people will upload over 70 billion photos to Facebook, suggesting around 20% of all photos this year will end up there[7]. Already Facebook’s photo collection has a staggering 140 billion photos, that’s over 10,000 times larger than the Library of Congress..."

Source: HERE
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