Where the World’s Unsold Cars Go To Die (pinecarr, Rector)
In the past several years, one of the topics covered in detail on these pages has been the surge in such gimmicks designed to disguise lack of demand and end customer sales, used extensively by US automotive manufacturers, better known as “channel stuffing”, of which General Motors is particularly guilty and whose inventory at dealer lots just hit a new record high. But did you know that when it comes to flat or declining sales and stagnant end demand, channel stuffing is merely the beginning?
Who Gets To Graduate? (jdargis)
There are thousands of students like Vanessa at the University of Texas, and millions like her throughout the country — high-achieving students from low-income families who want desperately to earn a four-year degree but who run into trouble along the way. Many are derailed before they ever set foot on a campus, tripped up by complicated financial-aid forms or held back by the powerful tug of family obligations. Some don’t know how to choose the right college, so they drift into a mediocre school that produces more dropouts than graduates. Many are overwhelmed by expenses or take on too many loans. And some do what Vanessa was on the verge of doing: They get to a good college and encounter what should be a minor obstacle, and they freak out. They don’t want to ask for help, or they don’t know how. Things spiral, and before they know it, they’re back at home, resentful, demoralized and in debt.
While poverty here is a relative thing for most people, given the generous social welfare system that ensures a basic standard of living, this is the third time the Swiss have been called upon in recent national referendums to decide the value of work. In March 2013, voters supported a move to give shareholders a stronger say in executive pay, but in November they opposed an outright cap on the amount executive can earn.
Obstructed Reality (jdargis)
Yet as I gazed upward and to my right, upward and to my right, to read a sentence or two at a time on the tiny screen, I found myself wishing that I could just read the article on my smartphone’s Field Trip app instead. I was no less distracted reading it on Glass, but the process was slower and less comfortable and I looked twice as silly.
As a side note, I once phoned the cable company in the town I lived in. I could look from my bedroom window at homes ¾ of a mile away which had cable. I told the cable company that I would be willing to pay the cost of laying cable to my home. The cable company looked into it and got back to me that they could not do this because there were not enough homes on my hill to pay for the monthly rental of running their cable on telephone poles.
CHART OF THE DAY: Iron Ore Prices Are Down 18% In 2014 (Arthur Robey)
Yesterday’s RBA Commodity Price index suggested that the Aussie dollar is around 10% overvalued and this report from HSBC simply reinforces that with our biggest export tanking in 2014, the RBA is probably right to be wanting the Aussie dollar lower – otherwise our export earnings might tank too.
The company provides a clear example of the faster recharge speed—they claim that a battery the size of the one used in a Nissan Leaf, which currently takes approximately four hours to charge, could be charged in just twelve minutes. As part of the announcement, reps for the company said that Power Japan will only be making the batteries for specialty applications such as medical devices or for use in satellites—they’ve already built a production facility that they say will be churning out thousands of the new batteries by the end of the year. As for batteries to be used in cars, the company says it will be licensing the technology to other companies who will in turn make the batteries for installation and use in a wide variety of vehicles.
At the end of a week in which 11 wildfires consumed nearly 20,000 acres across San Diego County, residents and officials here were just beginning to assess the damage and determine the causes, even as fire crews continued struggling to get five of the blazes under control. At least seven homes across the county were damaged, along with two commercial buildings and an apartment complex, county officials said. One body was found in Carlsbad, north of San Diego. And three people have been arrested in connection with setting small fires, the district attorney said.
Gold & Silver
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