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Daily Digest 7/26 - The Insecure World Of Freelancing, Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness

Sunday, July 26, 2015, 9:57 AM


Thirteen Cities Where Single-Family Rents Are Skyrocketing (jdargis)

It’s more evidence that rising rents have affected a broad scope of Americans. Sixty percent of low-income renters spend more than 50 percent of their income on rent, according to a report in May from New York University’s Furman Center. High rents have also stretched the budgets of middle-class workers and made it harder for young professionals to launch careers and start families.

Proposed Raise for Fast-Food Employees Divides Low-Wage Workers (jdargis)

Advocates for workers across the country cheered last week when New York became the first state to recommend a $15-an-hour minimum wage specifically for fast-food workers. But in New York City, the decision has created a stark new divide between low-wage workers who will receive the boost in their paychecks and those who will not.

Map: How geography affects the value of the minimum wage (jdargis)

Take Hawaii, New Jersey, New York and Maryland, all of which recently raised the minimum wage. All but Hawaii rank among the top third of states. But each falls to the bottom 10 when that minimum wage is adjusted for its purchasing power. (To their credit, Hawaii, New York and Maryland have future scheduled increases.)

The Insecure World of Freelancing (jdargis)

Thirty-nine-year-old Xavier Fan is in this vanguard of unionized freelancers. Fan went independent, by choice, roughly nine years ago, working as both a technology consultant and an actor from his home in Brooklyn. Originally, he joined the Freelancers Union to buy health insurance as well as liability insurance, to protect against lawsuits, purchased through one of the union's designated vendors. He has also attended union-sponsored events on topics such as taxes, branding, and the logistics of getting paid. As a freelancer who typically works from home, Fan says, “some of the socialization aspect of working full-time in an office isn't there,” and the union's gatherings give him a chance to mingle. He also appreciates the union's lobbying on behalf of its members.

Ebola created a public health emergency—and we weren’t ready for it (jdargis)

During a public health crisis, the WHO typically coordinates key actors and governments. For the Ebola outbreak, the WHO should have played a key role in coordinating surveillance, but there were long delays in WHO involvement. The report states that the WHO has extensive experience with outbreaks, health promotion, and social mobilization, which makes it especially surprising that it took until August/September 2014 for the organization to realize that traditional approaches to containment would not be sufficient for this outbreak—Ebola transmission would only be brought under control if surveillance, community mobilization, and delivery of appropriate health care were executed in tandem.

The Breakdown Of 2015 Is Now A Fact (Taki T.)

Part of the problem resides in China. As the next chart shows, the correlation between the price of copper and the Chinese Manufacturing Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) has been very high. In particular, the copper price has a track record of anticipating the direction of the PMI index. The latest PMI reading earlier this week came in at 48.2 this week, still below the critical 50 level. It indicates that purchasing managers believe economic contraction is prevailing at this point.

Aging Infrastructure Plagues Nation’s Busiest Rail Corridor (jdargis)

These troubles have become all too common on the Northeast Corridor, the nation’s busiest rail sector, which stretches from Washington to Boston and carries about 750,000 riders each day on Amtrak and several commuter rail lines. The corridor’s ridership has doubled in the last 30 years even as its old and overloaded infrastructure of tracks, power lines, bridges and tunnels has begun to wear out. And with Amtrak and local transit agencies struggling to secure funding, many fear the disruptions will continue to worsen in the years ahead.

Meaning Is Healthier Than Happiness (jdargis)

"Happiness without meaning characterizes a relatively shallow, self-absorbed or even selfish life, in which things go well, needs and desire are easily satisfied, and difficult or taxing entanglements are avoided," the authors of the study wrote. "If anything, pure happiness is linked to not helping others in need.” While being happy is about feeling good, meaning is derived from contributing to others or to society in a bigger way. As Roy Baumeister, one of the researchers, told me, "Partly what we do as human beings is to take care of others and contribute to others. This makes life meaningful but it does not necessarily make us happy.”

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 7/24/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."


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Earth-Like Planets ...

NASA estimates 1 billion ‘Earths’ in our galaxy alone

We probably have neighbors.

NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered a bunch of new planets, including one, Kepler 452b, that scientists described as the most Earth-like planet ever found outside our solar system. .... it’s probably rocky, and it's in the habitable zone of its parent star, which is like our own sun, a G-type “yellow dwarf” star. The parent star is 6 billion years old...

It is estimated that there are 1 billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone.

Why NASA’s top scientist is sure that we’ll find signs of alien life in the next decade

Is there anyone out there? The answer is almost certainly yes, a top NASA scientist said this week.

The search for alien life has long since shifted from a question of whether it exists to a question of when we'll find it.


"I believe we are going to have strong indications of life beyond Earth in the next decade and definitive evidence in the next 10 to 20 years," NASA's chief scientist Ellen Stofan said at a panel on Tuesday.

The search has taken a number of forms, but one of the most important facets has been the task of searching the universe for signs of liquid water...

So far, scientists have found plenty of evidence that water is, simply put, everywhere.


There is evidence to suggest that vast oceans could well be sloshing around under the surface of moons and dwarf planets within our own solar system. ... billions of stars are capable of having orbiting planets that hold the building blocks of life...

"NASA science activities have provided a wave of amazing findings related to water in recent years that inspire us to continue investigating our origins and the fascinating possibilities for other worlds, and life, in the universe."

"We are not talking about little green men," Stofan said. "We are talking about little microbes."

For the first time, scientists find complex organic molecules in an infant star system

In a new study published Wednesday in Nature, astronomers found the first signs of the complex, carbon-based molecules that make life possible on Earth in a protoplanetary disk; the region where cosmic building blocks gather to create planets in a brand-new star system. The cyanides found there are essential to life as we know it: without them, there would be no proteins.

The discovery of microbes in a subglacial lake on Antarctica ... suggests that extraterrestrial life might exist in places once thought uninhabitable.


Daniel Sheehan, in the video posted a couple of weeks ago by InfiniteSelf33, predicted that our "leaders" will guide us ("the masses") inch-by-inch toward Disclosure in simple gradual steps such as these.  (See 1:45:30)



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Arthur Robey
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Ooh! This is going to cause embarrassment. 

The more people think they know about a topic, the more likely they are to claim that totally made-up facts are true, psychologists have found.
In the study, 100 people were given a general knowledge quiz about personal finance.
They were also shown a list of financial terms which were mostly real.
Mostly. But not all.
In fact, three terms were made up: ‘pre-rated stocks’, ‘fixed-rate deduction’ and ‘annualized credit’.
- See more at: http://www.spring.org.uk/2015/07/feeling-like-an-expert-has-an-ironic-effect-on-your-actual-knowledge.php?omhide=true&utm_source=PsyBlog&utm_campaign=830455e126-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_MAILCHIMP&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_10ef814328-830455e126-207902737#sthash.fJIgdm1s.dpuf
(Just a cautionary note. Not aimed at any one in particular, Oh great Poopchick of the Cosmos.)
poopchick= Russian colloquial for belly button. 
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Earth Like Planets?

1 billion Earth like planets?  Possibly, given the broad definition currently being used.  Basically, if it's a rocky planet in the Goldilocks zone, they call it Earth like.  Venus falls in that category and yet we can't design a lander rugged enough to last in Venus' corrosive, violent atmosphere for more than a few brief minutes.

i believe the planet you refer to is estimated to have a mass 1.6 times Earths.  All else being equal, that's not a gravity field I would want to vacation in.

But, it's not just about planets.  Check out the Drake equations.  I find the assumptions to be very generous and yet the number of coexisting intelligent races projected by the equations is frighteningly small.

If a lot of intelligent species do evolve in the Milky Way, I wonder what percentage of them go extinct due to failure to control exponential growth before they develop the capability to expand off planet?

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China June industrial profits fall 0.3 percent year on year


  1. China June industrial profits fall 0.3 percent year on year
  2. Slowed growth for China's software and IT industry in H1
  3. Japan’s Economy Shrank Last Quarter, Top Forecaster Says
  4. China's economy is getting sick. Will it infect America?
  5. Bank of Japan deputy governor Hiroshi Nakaso warns of impact on exports from China slowdown
  6. Oil Heading for Fall as Diesel’s Engine Sputters (China)



"But there is also a credibility gap. Many prices are going up now simply because Brazilians expect them to. The inflation rate has exceeded the target for years, leading workers to demand raises and merchants to raise prices in a vicious circle that fuels more inflation."


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Fitch: US Public Pension Contributions May Rise as Returns Lag

More headlines:

  1. Fitch: US Public Pension Contributions May Rise as Returns Lag
  2. CalPERS looks to lower return expectations
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Opinion: Market manipulation goes global (Posted at Marketwatch)

"China only the latest to try to prop up a collapsing bubble, says Stephen Roach"

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Have a Fitch or a Rash?

Is there a cream for that?  The battles continue:


The pension heads are seeking billions of dollars in damages.

...in the fight for pension funding in which Gov. Chris Christie had already declared victory following a state Supreme Court ruling last month that the state couldn't be forced to make the payments into the retirement system promised under a 2011 pension law...

...Those labor unions and the trustees of the big three pension funds — the Public Employees' Retirement System, the Teachers' Pension and Annuity Fund and the Police and Firemen's Retirement System —  filed suits after Christie slashed billions of dollars from planned pension contributions...

Well, ya got trouble, my friend, right here,
I say, trouble right here in River City...

...But just as I say,
It takes judgement, brains, and maturity to score
In a baulk line game,
I say that any boob kin take
And shove a ball in a pocket.
And they call that sloth.
The first big step on the road
To the depths of deg-ra-Day--
I say, first, medicinal wine from a teaspoon,
Then beer from a bottle.
An' the next thing ya know,
Your son is playin' for money
In a pinch-back suit... (Music Man - Ya Got Trouble)

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Re: Ya got trouble...

Time2help's picture
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Ya got moar trouble...

IMF paints dim picture for Europe, suggests more money printing may be needed (Yahoo Finance)

Wow, can't recall ever seeing an MSM article calling it "money printing" directly.  "Quantitative Easing" rolls off the tongue a lot easier...meh.

Print, you bastards! PRINT!!!

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