The Global Economy Is Partying Like It’s 2008 (blackeagle)
The Federal Reserve has already started to raise interest rates — on Wednesday it hiked the benchmark rate by a quarter of a percentage point — and has announced a schedule for reducing the mammoth amount of government securities it holds. At the same time, with the European and Japanese economic recoveries picking up pace, both the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan are hinting that they are likely to soon follow the Fed’s lead in tightening monetary policy by raising rates.
Other reasons for fearing that the bubbles might soon start bursting are the fault lines in a number of major economies. Italy has both a serious public debt problem and a shaky banking system. Brazil is experiencing political turmoil while its public finances are on a clearly unsustainable path. China has a housing and credit-market bubble that dwarfs the one in the United States at the start of this century. And both Brazil and Italy will be holding contested parliamentary elections next year.
Of all the people who crossed paths with the UN monitor, Chambers was the most dismissive of the American Dream. “People don’t realize – it’s never getting better, there’s no recovery for people like us. I’m 67, I have a heart condition, I shouldn’t be out here. I might not be too much longer.”
Millennials Are Screwed (jdargis)
The effect of all this “domestic outsourcing”—and, let’s be honest, its actual purpose—is that workers get a lot less out of their jobs than they used to. One of Batt’s papers found that employees lose up to 40 percent of their salary when they’re “re-classified” as contractors. In 2013, the city of Memphis reportedly cut wages from $15 an hour to $10 after it fired its school bus drivers and forced them to reapply through a staffing agency. Some Walmart “lumpers,” the warehouse workers who carry boxes from trucks to shelves, have to show up every morning but only get paid if there’s enough work for them that day.
“This is what’s really driving wage inequality,” says David Weil, the former head of the Wage and Hour Division of the Department of Labor and the author of The Fissured Workplace. “By shifting tasks to contractors, companies pay a price for a service rather than wages for work. That means they don’t have to think about training, career advancement or benefit provision.”
Inside the NSA's War on Internet Security (Older article, DennisC)
The Snowden documents reveal the encryption programs the NSA has succeeded in cracking, but, importantly, also the ones that are still likely to be secure. Although the documents are around two years old, experts consider it unlikely the agency's digital spies have made much progress in cracking these technologies. "Properly implemented strong crypto systems are one of the few things that you can rely on," Snowden said in June 2013, after fleeing to Hong Kong.
The Weaponization of Awkwardness (blackeagle)
It’s an extremely familiar sentiment—a very specific strain, essentially, of the bystander effect. And it’s extremely understandable, in a Relatably Awkward kind of way. No one would want to be in Foer’s position—just as, indeed, no one would want to be in Wildman’s. But here, again, in the case of the New Republic, was That Awkward Moment revealed not as a funny banality, but as a threat: Wieseltier, after Wildman’s report, stayed at the magazine (and then briefly joined The Atlantic as a contributor); Wildman, eventually, left. The awkwardness-aversion helped to insulate Wieseltier; it helped to alienate Wildman. See something, say something. Except.
The aluminum paste in the bucket, for example, which ISIS craftsmen mix with ammonium nitrate to make a potent main charge for mortars and rocket warheads: Spleeters discovered the same buckets, from the same manufacturers and chemical distributors, in Fallujah, Tikrit, and Mosul. “I like to see the same stuff” in different cities, he tells me, since these repeat sightings allow him to identify and describe different steps in ISIS’ supply chain. “It confirms my theory that this is the industrial revolution of terrorism,” he says. “And for that they need raw material in industrial quantities.”
Is Bitcoin The Answer? (RPSTemple)
Money – of a sort – arises naturally in the animal kingdom. Chimpanzees trade a variety of delayed and highly valued favours which it would be impolite to describe. South American vampire bats run a small economy which pays in blood. The little darlings have such a need for their daily dose that they lend, borrow and pay back amongst themselves rather than let a close relative go fatally bloodless for a whole night.
Blockchain communities or ‘crypto-communities’ themselves are an odd bunch because they tend to be highly illogical — illogical with their ideologies, illogical in their sense of economic realities, and even worse, illogical in how they see, or don’t see, the future. This has mostly led to half-baked utopian, or dystopian, views of a ‘crypto-world’, and terribly misguided assumptions about how, among many other things, money can be redesigned for the perceived benefit of society.
Bitcoin's Final Boss (Afridev)
Back in October 2017, former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernake said “eventually governments will take any action necessary to prevent Bitcoin.”
He wasn’t kidding. The only question is whether the distributed design of cryptos can survive the assaults to come? Only time will tell. But the efforts to reign in the decentralized money engine have already started.
My Year Of No Shopping (blackeagle)
At the end of 2016, our country had swung in the direction of gold leaf, an ecstatic celebration of unfeeling billionaire-dom that kept me up at night. I couldn’t settle down to read or write, and in my anxiety I found myself mindlessly scrolling through two particular shopping websites, numbing my fears with pictures of shoes, clothes, purses and jewelry. I was trying to distract myself, but the distraction left me feeling worse, the way a late night in a bar smoking Winstons and drinking gin leaves you feeling worse. The unspoken question of shopping is “What do I need?” What I needed was less.
But few critics predicted it would transform the Mexican diet and food ecosystem to increasingly mirror those of the United States. In 1980, 7 percent of Mexicans were obese, a figure that tripled to 20.3 percent by 2016, according to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington. Diabetes is now Mexico’s top killer, claiming 80,000 lives a year, the World Health Organization has reported.
Even in today’s climate, Harvey’s rainfall was at least a 1,000-year event, meaning there’s just a one-in-a-thousand chance it happens in any given year. But the researchers see evidence that the odds would have been even smaller a century ago. They estimate that there has been a (roughly) 18-percent increase in the intensity of extreme rain events along this stretch of the Gulf Coast since the late 1800s.
Gold & Silver
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