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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Biohackers

Biohackers: The Next Computer Revolution, or Global Catastrophe in the Making?


 
   
 







It's become a commonplace to bemoan the fact that technological development has been proceeding at such a rapid clip that humans, still burdened with their Neolithic brains, cannot even comprehend what's happening. Many would say we're incapable of making wise decisions about how to handle our vast new powers.
So far, our dilemmas have mostly revolved around our increasingly efficient methods of taking life. Now, however, we can also make it. And the ability to do so is no longer solely invested in white-jacketed cadres of latter-day Drs. Frankenstein. It's within reach of anyone with a few bucks for the proper tools, some free time, and Internet access.
Welcome to the Next Big Thing: biohacking (or "DIYbiology," as it's sometimes called).

Friday, May 03, 2013

Is this the end of globalization?


Evidence of the end of globalization is building up. According to Satyajit Das, growth in trade and cross border investment, which has underpinned prosperity and development, is being reversed in a major historical shift.

The European Central Bank cut its main interest rate to a new low of 0.50% in an attempt to drag the euro zone out of the longest recession in its history.
For many nations, following the global financial crisis, the advantages of greater economic and monetary integration are now less obvious.

By closing their economies and focusing domestically, some nations believe that they can capture a greater share of available growth and deliver greater prosperity for their citizens.

The financial crisis revealed that integration reduces the effectiveness of a nation’s economic policies, unless other nations take coordinated action.
Governments reacted to the global financial crisis by initiating large spending programs to support the economy. In many cases, there was significant financial leakage, with spending boosting imports rather than promoting domestic demand, employment, income and investment. 

Various breakdowns — restrictions on trade, currency manipulation, capital controls and predatory regulations — now signal the retrenchment of globalization and return to autarky.

 The motivation is protection of national industries, iconic businesses, employment, incomes and competitive advantage.

 Direct intervention, artificially low interest rates and quantitative easing are deliberate policies to manipulate currencies. Devaluation makes exports more competitive assisting individual countries to capture a greater share of global trade, boosting growth. Devaluation is also used to reduce real debt levels by reducing the purchasing power of foreign investors holding a nation’s debt.
Free movement of capital has become increasingly restricted. Since 2008, the growth in cross border capital flows has slowed, with global financial assets increasing by just 1.9% annually — well below the 7.9% average growth from 1990 to 2007.
In addition, nations with high levels of government debt that face financing difficulties seek to limit capital outflows.
Low interest rates and weak currencies in developed economies have led capital to flow into emerging nations, with higher rates and stronger growth prospects. Brazil, South Korea and Switzerland have implemented controls on capital inflows.
Closed economies is a natural way to deal with these pressures, reasserting sovereign control. As one nation adopts such policies, it compels other countries to pursue similar strategies — with far-reaching consequences. 

Satyajit Das is a former banker and author of Extreme Money and Traders Guns & Money 

Monday, April 29, 2013

Wall Street Criminality and Pathological Greed

Jeffrey Sachs Calls Out Wall Street Criminality and Pathological Greed

One of the things that Matt Stoller has stressed that the possibility of reform is remote until breaks within the elites take place.
Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia professor and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia, is a controversial figure for his neoliberal stance on macroeconomics and his role in promoting the use of “shock therapy” in emerging economies. But it is also important to recognize that criticism from a connected, respected insider has more significance than that of someone like Bill Black, who has made a career of taking on bank fraud but has never reached a top policy-making level.
This talk is blistering at several points. It was recorded at a conference “Fixing the Banking System for Good” on April 17 (hat tip Jesse). If you have trouble with the embedded version, try YouTube.
[NC's anonymous transcriber made a complete transcript of Sachs' statement, so I'm going to replace the partial transcript previously posted with what follows. --lambert]

Transcript
Professor Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

10 immutable laws of mistakes


Mistakes are inevitable.
But as Allan Norton explains, certain laws govern how we deal with them, learn from them, conceal them, and even profit from them.

For something so certain, so common, and so potentially destructive, mistakes remain a mystery. Why do we make them?
Why do we repeat them?



These 10 laws will give you a better understanding of what mistakes are and how to best deal with them.

Monday, March 18, 2013

4G: What does it mean for business?

As mobile operators worldwide roll out 4G networks that promise speeds several times faster than 3G TechRepublic looks at the potential benefits of 4G for business and what firms should know before getting on board.

As the PC is joined in the workplace by the smartphone and tablet, workers will increasingly expect a mobile network that makes it easier to work on the move.
Enter 4G, a collective term for next generation of wireless technologies offering download and upload speeds several times faster than 3G.
The most commonly used 4G technologies are LTE - Long-Term Evolution - and WiMax - although LTE dominates in the UK and increasingly in the US too.
Speeds of LTE services vary but are generally sold as being five to 10 times faster than 3G services. TechRepublic sister site CNET benchmarked speeds of between 23 and 40Mbps using the 4G EE LTE network recently launched in the UK - although obviously real world performance will vary.
But why should businesses care about 4G, and what are the potential pitfalls when buying 4G-compatible hardware?

Sunday, March 17, 2013

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