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Showing posts from November 3, 2016

Chimp study shows how hanging out with friends makes life less stressful

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[Hang out with friends and release some oxytocin today! *RON*]

Ben Garrod, The Conversation, 1 November 2016
Whether offering us consolation after the death of a loved one or commiseration when our team loses yet again, our social relationships are invaluable for helping us lead happier, less stressful lives. And humans aren’t alone in this respect. The role of social interactions and bonds in reducing stress has been studied in many species, from rats to elephants.

But the jury is still out on how friends help us to cope with stress at a physiological level. Now new research into the role of relationships among chimpanzees suggests that friends don’t just create a “social buffer” by helping us during stressful times. They may also reduce our overall stress levels just by being present in our lives, regulating the way our bodies manage stress-indicating hormones.

How does increasing immigration affect the economy?

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[Interesting piece, indicating that the evidence shows that increased immigration has neither strongly positive nor strongly negative impacts on jobs and wages, but calling for better nuanced Canadian-based research. They make important points, e.g., "Pro-immigration statements often put too much emphasis on total GDP without showing that there is a link between increasing the total size of the economy and individual well-being;" and "Poverty is rising among immigrants at a time when poverty rates for native-born Canadians have been declining." I wonder about some of their conclusions. E.g., they state that "immigration is not a solution to demographic problems such as population ageing" without offering any supporting evidence that I could see. *RON*]
David A. GreenW. Craig RiddellChristopher Worswick, Policy Options, 2 November 2016


In recent months there has been much policy debate about whether to increase Ca…

Vancouver Home Prices Drop Noticeably For The 1st Time In 4 Years

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[That's the thing. The number of sales only matters to the extent that it affects the price. As the final graph shows, prices have gone through the roof since 2002 with just a stutter in 2008; the recent drop, though historically substantial, is still small by comparison. *RON*]
By Jesse Ferreras, Huffington Post, 2 November 2016
You did it, Vancouver.

Your benchmark home price has finally taken a noticeable fall — down to $919,300, the fourth-highest it's been in four years, according to the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver (REBGV).

That's a decrease of about 0.8 per cent from September. However, it's still a 24.8 per cent increase from the same month last year.

Canadian post-secondary students literally going hungry for an education

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[Things have certainly changed since I was a student at UBC - I had no idea that a campus Food Bank even existed. We were poor as dirt as students there but we ate, at least. *RON*]
Adam Van Der Zwan, rabble.ca, 3 November 2016

How can post-secondary students achieve their academic and professional goals if they're going hungry? A lengthy report released on October 27 by Meal Exchange, Canada's only national organization dedicated to providing students with resources to quell food access instability, suggests far more students than we realize may be struggling to feed themselves properly.

The new report, currently the nation's largest study on student food insecurity, reveals that out of over 4,000 students surveyed from five universities across Canada, a surprising 39 per cent are food insecure. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, this means that they do not have the physical or financial means to access nutritious fo…

Wolf Richter: Done in by Overcapacity, Stagnant World Trade, and China, Korean Shipbuilders Collapse on Top of Taxpayers

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[In fact, on the collapse of globalization. See the linked piece on how The Global Trade Slowdown is Both True and Non-trivial*RON*]
By Wolf Blitzer, posted on Naked Capitalism by Jerri-Lynn ScofieldNovember 3, 2016
Jerri-Lynn here: I first became aware of the consequences of Hanjin’s collapse via Lambert’s coverage in Water Cooler. The South Korean government’s bailout strategy– a version of kick the can down the road– looks worrying and unsustainable, given the ongoing slowdown in world trade, with little cause for optimism that trend will reverse anytime soon. As Richter indicates, much more pain is sure to follow.

By Wolf Richter, a San Francisco based executive, entrepreneur, start up specialist, and author, with extensive international work experience. Originally published at Wolf Street,

The ravaged shipbuilding industry in South Korea, deemed too big to fail, is getting its largest taxpayer bailout yet, totaling $9.6 billion, on top …

Liberals redirect $15B to infrastructure projects that 'generate revenue' for private investors

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[The money only goes to projects that 'generate revenue' - i.e., that cost us money to use, like toll bridges, i.e., not 'fluffy stuff' like safe drinking water for Aboriginals. Much of this money is actually being 're-announced,' i.e., it's already been promised for projects that are now being re-promised as part of the infrastructure fund. Some of the money will, no doubt, go to the private sector for projects it would have paid for itself anyhow... To make matters worse, see: Justin Trudeau Approved 860 Infrastructure Projects. Only 1 Has Broken Ground. So we won't see economic benefits any time soon. *RON*]
Press Progress, 1 November 2016
Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered his fall fiscal update Tuesday afternoon.

The good news is Morneau announced the creation of a new "Canadian Infrastructure Development Bank"that will invest billions of dollars into infrastructure.

The bad news is Morneau is …