Daily Digest 11/29 - Mortgaging Our Children, 500 Hot Showers From One Pile Of Compost
What, exactly, is a reserve currency? It is an international money that is used to pay for imports from abroad and is then subsequently held in ‘reserve’ by the exporting country, as it does not have legal tender status outside of its country of issuance. In the simple case of two countries trading with one another, with one being a net importer and one a net exporter, over time these currency ‘reserves’ will accumulate in the net-exporting country. In practice, as reserves accumulate, they are invested in some way, for example, in bonds issued by the importing country. In this way the currency reserves earn some interest, rather than sit as paper scrip in a vault.
Since the middle of October the price of gold has been building some solid support above the $1700 an ounce level. However, it continually came into selling resistance at the $1720 an ounce and then again at the $1740 an ounce. All of this selling pressure can be attributed to the action of traders and especially those on Comex, meaning none of the selling was for hedging purposes and none of it had anything to do with an increase in the supply. Nevertheless, traders were able to influence prices using massive sell orders in this paper market.
Flash Crash In Gold: Whodunit? (Thomas C.)
Rising concerns about whether Democrats and Republicans can find common ground between tax increases and entitlement spend reduction remains to be seen. More importantly, the US reaches its law-enshrined debt ceiling of $16.4 trillion early to mid February 2012. That promises fireworks again as it did in August 2011 when gold hit an all time high of $1922 as the market stares into the abyss of a possible US debt default.
Michael Woodford, author of Exposure and former CEO of Olympus, talks to CNBC about the Olympus fraud and the larger challenges of working in Japanese companies.
Hong Kong’s latest investment craze – parking spots (westcoastjan)
There are “a lot of speculators in the market, especially for car parks,” said Buggle Lau, senior analyst with Midland Realty. A bubble is “definitely forming.”
Over the weekend, a developer sold about 500 parking spots at a new suburban apartment complex at prices of up to 1.3-million Hong Kong dollars (US$167,000) per space.
The rapidly evolving field of DF is doing for manufacturing what the Internet did for information-based goods and services. DF turns traditional, volume-based manufacturing economics upside down. In the conventional “subtractive” production model, the existence of scale economies means that it costs much more money to produce one unit than it does to produce say 100,000 units. When DF technologies and approaches are employed, it now becomes cost effective to manufacture much smaller batches of customized products on demand, while shortening the cycle time between design and production.
The Rise Of Mexico (westcoastjan)
The first place where Americans will notice these changes is in their shopping malls. China (with more than 60 mentions in the presidential debates) is by far the biggest source of America’s imports. But wages in Chinese factories have quintupled in the past ten years and the oil price has trebled, inducing manufacturers focused on the American market to set up closer to home. Mexico is already the world’s biggest exporter of flat-screen televisions, BlackBerrys and fridge-freezers, and is climbing up the rankings in cars, aerospace and more. On present trends, by 2018 America will import more from Mexico than from any other country. “Made in China” is giving way to “Hecho en México”.
Mortgaging Our Childrent (westcoastjan)
Current public borrowings — government bonds sold to the public — are much bigger than we typically think. Public borrowing also includes public pension liabilities, government guarantees and other forms of public commitments. Currently, total government financial liabilities net of financial assets (including assets held in the Canada Pension Plan) are over $850-billion. But still other important borrowings are not included, such as the future liabilities associated with the social security system.
California school districts face huge debt on risky bonds (Nervous Nelly)
CABs, as the bonds are known, allow schools to borrow large sums without violating state or locally imposed caps on property taxes, at least in the short term. But the lengthy delays in repayment increase interest expenses, in some cases to as much as 10 or 20 times the amount borrowed.
The practice is controversial and has been banned in at least one state. In California, prominent government officials charged with watching the public purse are warning school districts to avoid the transactions.
“The fact that we haven’t been able to address some of the proactive things that we should be doing as an agency is really hampering our efforts to address some of the crime problems,” he said. “But with that being said, what I’ve been tasked to do and asked my commanders to do is look at some of the ways for us to free up officers in order to give them time to be proactive. I’m also reducing some of the positions in certain administrative functions in the department so that we can add more staff to our street level enforcement teams.”
Space will be substantially smaller than demand in December, when Enbridge Inc. will “apportion” space on a number of its key pipelines – Line 5, Line 14, Line 6B, Line 6A/62, Line 4/67, Line 4. Kinder Morgan Inc. is apportioning space so that only 30% of producers’ hoped-for volume gets into its regularly oversubscribed TransMountain pipeline in December.
500 Showers From One Pile Of Compost! (NorthernLights)
The concept is simple: Decaying organic matter generates heat, and a lot of it. If you’ve ever stuck your arm deep into a big pile of wood chips or compost you’ll know exactly what I mean. Heat is generated, not as a result of sun exposure, but rather due to the chemical reactions and aerobic microbial activity taking place inside the compost pile itself.
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