Showing posts from May 10, 2014

Most People in the World Have No Idea How to Manage Their Money

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["Many couldn't pass a simple finance quiz. Can you?" Brought to my attention by my friend Harry. These are astonishingly easy questions - I despair... *RON*]
By Moises Naim, The Atlantic, May 7 2014 Do you understand money? Let’s see how well you do with the following questions.

1. Suppose you had $100 in a savings account and the interest rate was 2 percent per year. After five years, how much do you think you would have in the account if you left the money to grow? A) more than $102; B) exactly $102; C) less than $102; D) do not know; refuse to answer.

2. Imagine that the interest rate on your savings account is 1 percent per year and inflation is 2 percent per year. After one year, would you be able to buy A) more than, B) exactly the same as, or C) less than today with the money in this account?; D) do not know; refuse to answer.

3. Do you think that the following statement is true or false? “Buying a single company stock usual…

Quote of the Day: Billionaires Insist that Billionaire-Friendly Policies Don't Actually Benefit Billionaires

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[No comment required. *RON*]

—By Kevin Drum, Mother Jones, May 9, 2014

Americans for Prosperity, the Koch-fueled super-PAC, is doubling down this year after its failure to move the needle much in 2012. Politico's Kenneth Vogel got hold of an internal strategy memo that outlines what they think went wrong in the last election:
To remedy the messaging disadvantage, AFP developed “a sophisticated new media message-testing strategy to target specific demographics in specific locations we need to move on our issues,” according to the memo....“If the presidential election told us anything, it’s that Americans place a great importance on taking care of those in need and avoiding harm to the weak,” reads the AFP memo....“We consistently see that Americans in general are concerned that free-market policy — and its advocates — benefit the rich and powerful more than the most vulnerable of society....We must correct this misconception.” And what better …

‘We Kill People Based on Metadata’

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[In case you thought there was nothing very serious about collecting metadata. *RON*]
David Cole, New York Review of Books, May 10, 2014 Supporters of the National Security Agency inevitably defend its sweeping collection of phone and Internet records on the ground that it is only collecting so-called “metadata”—who you call, when you call, how long you talk. Since this does not include the actual content of the communications, the threat to privacy is said to be negligible. That argument is profoundly misleading. Of course knowing the content of a call can be crucial to establishing a particular threat. But Metadata alone can provide an extremely detailed picture of a person’s most intimate associations and interests, and it’s actually much easier as a technological matter to search huge amounts of metadata than to listen to millions of phone calls. As NSA General Counsel Stewart Baker has said, “metadata absolutely tells you everything about so…

Pesticides wipe out honey bee hives, study shows

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[The manufacturers continue to deny this connection (first pointed out five years ago), blaming the problem on a mite which existed long before there was any evidence of colony collapse disorder (CCD), whereas CCD first appeared when neonicotinoid pesticides began to be used. Monsanto does not manufacture neonicotinoids, but it sprays them on its seeds, and its publicity department is at the forefront of the media battle to deny the connection with CCD. *RON*]
by SHÂN ROSS, The Scotsman, 10 May 2014

A COMMONLY used insecticide is responsible for destroying honey bee colonies in the wintertime, a study shows.

Researchers say they have found a link between hive health and dietary exposure to clothianidin, one of the developed world’s most popular pesticides.

Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a disease affecting bees which results in them abandoning their hives and eventually dying.

The phenomenon has been on the increase since 2006, leading to a huge …

Canada's 665,000 Missing Jobs

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["Less than a tenth of the damage done to the employment rate in the recession has been repaired.... the Harper government’s clam that Canada has more jobs today than it did before the recession is misleading — it ignores the fact Canada’s working-age population has 2 million more people today than it did before the recession, and job creation hasn't kept up." *RON*]
By Daniel Tencer, Huffington Post, 05/09/2014

If the percentage of Canadians with a job today were the same as it was before the last recession, Canada would have 665,000 more working people, according to economist Jim Stanford.

Canada lost 28,900 jobs in April, StatsCan reported, surprising economists who had been looking for the economy to add about 12,000 jobs.

But Canada’s unemployment rate didn’t budge, sitting at 6.9 per cent. That’s because about 26,000 Canadians simply stopped looking for work, and therefore stopped being counted among the unemployed.

Canada’s emplo…