The 19.5 percent annualized rate of return for the S&P 500 during this bull market is already nearly double the 10 percent long-term norm going back to 1926. And even 10 percent is asking too much given where valuations are today and the long odds that there’s some magic economic growth potion that can support valuations moving a lot higher. A host of heavy-hitter investment firms, including BlackRock, GMO and AQR are on the record that over the next 10 years returns could be less than half their long-term average.
Iowa is one of 31 states where legislators have proposed creating or expanding school choice programs this year, without Washington even lifting a finger. Even if just a few of the bills pass, the number of children attending private schools with public money could greatly increase, one reason the proposals are meeting resistance.
This Article Won’t Change Your Mind (jdargis)
The theory of cognitive dissonance—the extreme discomfort of simultaneously holding two thoughts that are in conflict—was developed by the social psychologist Leon Festinger in the 1950s. In a famous study, Festinger and his colleagues embedded themselves with a doomsday prophet named Dorothy Martin and her cult of followers who believed that spacemen called the Guardians were coming to collect them in flying saucers, to save them from a coming flood. Needless to say, no spacemen (and no flood) ever came, but Martin just kept revising her predictions. Sure, the spacemen didn’t show up today, but they were sure to come tomorrow, and so on. The researchers watched with fascination as the believers kept on believing, despite all the evidence that they were wrong.
Taxes Are Your Money (Tiffany D.)
But there’s another way to fund some types of infrastructure: tax credits. The idea is that if you give a private firm a tax break for building something like an airport or a bridge, the government doesn’t have to spend any cash up front for it.
That’s what the Trump administration wants to do. And it doesn’t have a good track record.
In the US, the process of shifting from coal to natural gas is already well advanced. Coal use was down by 11 percent last year, the IEA estimates, allowing natural gas to displace it as the US’ largest single source of energy. This, along with booming renewables, allowed the US to drop its carbon emissions by three percent in 2016. That takes emissions to levels not seen since 1992, even though the economy is now 80 percent larger than it was then.
Is A Russian-Iranian Energy Pact In The Making? (Michael K.)
Yet in the long-term, Russian and Iranian interests diverge. Iran aspires to surpass the 300 Bcm per year mark by the end of this decade, surging from the current 230 Bcm, and sees Europe as one of the most desirable gas markets. Unlikely to handle the burden of constructing a new gas pipeline, Teheran will seek to join an already existing conduit, such as the TANAP-TAP and ramp up its LNG projects. This will inevitably cause tension with Gazprom that sees Europe as its domain. The Teheran-Moscow relationship is fraught with numerous difficulties in the oil sector, too. Russia has no problems whatsoever with Iran supplying crude to Mediterranean countries like France, Greece or Italy. Yet if Teheran, against the background of its raising crude exports to Europe to 800 000 barrels per day from the current 500 000 barrel-per-day level, will move out of its traditional supply region, Moscow might react angrily.
Visualizing The World’s Deepest Oil Well (Kevin J.)
Located in western Russia, this time just 10 km from the border with Norway, the Kola Superdeep Borehole was rumored to have been discontinued in 1992 because it actually reached “hell” itself. At its most extreme depth, the drill had pierced a super-hot cavity, and scientists thought they heard the screams of “damned souls”.
All folklore aside, the Kola Superdeep Borehole is super interesting in its own right. It revealed many important things about our planet, and it still holds the record today for depth below the surface.
It’s further complicated by the fact that the EWG repeatedly suggests that consumers buy organic whenever possible. Organic crops do, despite popular perception, use pesticides; there are simply different rules for which pesticides are permitted and which are not. And excessive amounts of even permitted organic pesticides can cause problems. Derivatives of copper, like copper sulfate, are perfectly acceptable as insecticides, and are pretty safe in limited doses. But, you know, it’s still a pesticide, and misuse (like using too much of it) can have environmental effects, inhibiting photosynthesis in plants and poisoning fish.
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