Friday, November 30, 2012

Links 11/30/2012

- Japan used to be the best at technical innovation - now they are the best at...printing money, they do it all the time! But much longer will it last? Japan Approves Modest yet another Stimulus Package. SEE ALSO: Special report: After a bashing, BOJ weighs "big bang" war on deflation
Oh, and what about the japanese stock market?  The capitalists, especially the bankers, are of course loving this new round of QE, because they will get a new bailout package, disguised as "a stimulus package to help solve the unemployment crisis" - hence the big move upwards in Japan's stock market after these news... 

- BOE (the Central Bank of England) has just found a new multi-billion "black hole" in the British banking system. So, another round of QE is to be expected soon, and then another, and another, etc..Money printing from here to eternity then, at least until the rest of the world decides that it will no longer accept payment in currencies that are continually being debased...

- China Moves Forward in Opening Gold Market: No surprise really, they are simply getting ready for the day of reckoning for western currencies.

- China’s Oil Quest Comes to Iraq: Let the Americans fiht it out, let them stent all of their money in fighting all these wars an become hated all across the globe, while a the same time China is signing one business deal after the other, in Iraq, in Africa, etc. securing the natural resources they need (energy, land, food, raw materials, etc.).

- Turkey's gold exports continued to surge in October, confirming Ankara is still using the commodity to pay for Iranian gas and circumvent sanctions as U.S. lawmakers mull a package that could specifically target the complex trade. GOLD-FOR-OIL (instead of dollars-for-oil): That is a game-changing deal worth thinking about for the future, as the oil-produsing nations are increasingly rejecting the dollar as means of payment for oil...

MUST READ, via The Economist: Not what it used to be: American universities represent declining value for money to their students
[...] there is growing anxiety in America about higher education. A degree has always been considered the key to a good job. But rising fees and increasing student debt, combined with shrinking financial and educational returns, are undermining at least the perception that university is a good investment.
 [...] Concern springs from a number of things: steep rises in fees, increases in the levels of debt of both students and universities, and the declining quality of graduates. Start with the fees. The cost of university per student has risen by almost five times the rate of inflation since 1983 (see chart 1), making it less affordable and increasing the amount of debt a student must take on. Between 2001 and 2010 the cost of a university education soared from 23% of median annual earnings to 38%; in consequence, debt per student has doubled in the past 15 years. Two-thirds of graduates now take out loans. Those who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2011 graduated with an average of $26,000 in debt, according to the Project on Student Debt, a non-profit group.
More debt means more risk, and graduation is far from certain; the chances of an American student completing a four-year degree within six years stand at only around 57%. This is poor by international standards: Australia and Britain, for instance, both do much better.

Despite so many fat years, universities have done little until recently to improve the courses they offer. University spending is driven by the need to compete in university league tables that tend to rank almost everything about a university except the (hard-to-measure) quality of the graduates it produces. Roger Geiger and Donald Heller of Pennsylvania State University say that since 1990, in both public and private colleges, expenditures on instruction have risen more slowly than in any other category of spending, even as student numbers have risen. Universities are, however, spending plenty more on administration and support services [...]
Also worth checking out: Online schools spend millions to attract students

- LOL, 7$ for a cup of coffee? If the people can't even understand this simple scum, how can they understand the far more complex scums that exist out there? Starbucks offering a $7 cup of coffee, since drinking coffee at Starbucks is about "more than just coffee", it's about "being cool", and this is why Starbucks is able to trick you into giving them 7$ for a cup of coffee. It's the same thing with Apple's overpriced iPhone, which costs way more than all the other smartphones, beacause it is not just 'better', but it is also 'cooler'. Is it a coincidence that Apple has yet to release a cheap smartphone? Apple's phone is about being "being the best", so if Apple releases a cheap version of the iPhone, then owning an iPhone will no longer being associated with "being the best". It will be like owning a Samsung phone, or an LG phone, etc - let's face it, "everyone" can afford a "regular" smartphone, so noone is really impressed when you own a Samsung or a LG (even if it is a great phone). But "everyone" is impressed when you own an iPhone, right? Anyway, I'm getting carried away here, so I'm stopping.

- TECH: Bend me, shape me: Flexible phones 'out by 2013'