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Monday, March 31, 2014

Jack's South America: The World Cup Will Not Have A Large Impact On Bras...

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Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: E-Money Digital Payments Sweep Africa, Head for Europe and India

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: E-Money Digital Payments Sweep Africa, Head for Europe and India:



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Sunday, March 30, 2014

So You Think That You Work Too Hard



March 30, 2014 2:22 pm

Think you work hard? Bet you don’t

The disease of overwork is partly in our minds and it has a bearing on how stressed we feel
Last week I filled in a form that asked me how many hours I worked every week. I stared at it blankly. It’s a pretty basic question, and I ought to be able to provide an answer straight off.
Yet because my work sprawls across my life and because I am not sure what counts as “work” any more, I really don’t have a clue. All I can say is that I do quite a lot of it. But as “quite a lot” wasn’t an option, in the end I wrote down 45.

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Later on, I put the same question to a group of acquaintances including a lawyer and a company director. All hummed and hawed for a bit but then said they worked more than 40. The writer said 42, the director 70 and the lawyer 65.
I now find we were all of us talking through our hats. None of us works anything like as hard as we think we do. According to studies in the US and elsewhere, people routinely overestimate their working hours by at least 10 per cent – when you compare how hard people say they work to diary entries, the two don’t tally.
In itself that isn’t terribly surprising. We are all famously useless at estimating how long we spend doing anything. Time-use studies show we wildly overestimate the amount of housework and underestimate sleep – ask an insomniac how much she slept last night, and she’ll say two hours, when it was actually closer to five.
What is unusual about the work estimates is that the longer people actually work the more they overestimate it. Those who work 37 hours estimate that they work 40. But people who work 50 hours bump up the estimate by a whacking 25 hours and claim to work 75.
The reason for this, I first thought, must be because the longer you work, the more painful each marginal hour feels. When you have already done 50 hours, the 51st feels very long indeed. Yet this doesn’t tally with the fact that the people who overestimate their work most are the people who have most reason to enjoy it.
Jonathan Gershuny from Oxford university and John Robinson of University of Maryland have done a study that breaks down the overestimation by profession.
They found that lawyers overestimate more than paralegals; doctors overestimate their hours more than nurses. Chief executives overestimate their hours far more than lowly part-time workers, who are more likely to underestimate.
Prof Gershuny thinks there are two reasons for this. The first is to do with status. The lower you are in the pecking order the lower the value you put on your own contribution. If you are CEO, you rate your own work so highly that the quantity of it becomes distorted in your own mind.
But it is also because work is a badge of honour. A man’s worth was once measured by how much leisure he had, and then by how much money. Now that it is harder to pass money down to children, your heritage is measured through your “human capital”. And the best measure of that is how hard you work.
You could say it doesn’t matter much if we tell ourselves we work longer than we do. Assuming the lawyer doesn’t bill us on the estimated hours, it should be good news that we are not as wildly overworked as we think we are.
But if the disease of overwork is at least partly in our minds, it still does matter because it has a bearing on how stressed we feel. If I believe I do a 60-hour-week, I’m going to feel more frazzled than if I think I do a 40-hour one.
Worse, the long-hours delusions of macho workers have a bad effect on the rest of us. The more they claim to work around the clock, the more inadequate everyone else feels.
To get a better idea of my own hours, last week I resolved to keep a diary – only to give up almost at once. Lying in the bath I was thinking through the arguments for this column. Was that a bath, or was it work? And what about when I was in the office vaguely emailing and vaguely doing the grocery shopping online?
So I have scrapped the diary and have simply decided to revise down the number of hours I tell myself I work. It is not 45. The quantity of real, proper work, is probably barely half that. But I am telling myself this is fine. Hours, after all, may be the only measure we have of work, but they are a pretty feeble one.
One of the finest writers I know never gives any outward sign of doing any work at all. I emailed him just now to ask how many hours a week he puts in. His answer didn’t make me feel great either – though for rather different reasons. “Five – max”.

Friday, March 28, 2014

IMF predicts challenging year for Zim economy

IMF predicts challenging year for Zim economy:



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Offshoring American Health Care: Higher Quality At Lower Costs? - Forbes

Offshoring American Health Care: Higher Quality At Lower Costs? - Forbes:



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Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia - NYTimes.com

Military Cuts Render NATO Less Formidable as Deterrent to Russia - NYTimes.com:



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Ukraine: Russia Has Options if It Chooses to Invade | Stratfor

Ukraine: Russia Has Options if It Chooses to Invade | Stratfor:



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Is Student Loan Debt Killing the American Dream? | LinkedIn

Is Student Loan Debt Killing the American Dream? | LinkedIn:



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Ukraine crisis: Old constraints spike Kremlin’s firepower - FT.com

Ukraine crisis: Old constraints spike Kremlin’s firepower - FT.com:



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Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Turkey Plans Military Intervention in Syria, Bans YouTube for Leaked Reporting

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Turkey Plans Military Intervention in Syria, Bans YouTube for Leaked Reporting:



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California State Senator Leland Yee And A Notorious Russian Arms Dealer

I'm in deep shock over the senator Leland Yee scandal. It goes far beyond a normal political corruption case. It sounds more like that Russian arms dealer Victor Blount who is now doing 25 years in a US prison. This man was plotting to sell all sorts of advanced weapons to terrorists. The same can be said for Yee. If convicted he's guaranteed to get 25 years in prison. That will be a life sentence for him. If he still has his Chinese passport...well use your imagination.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thoughts On One's Own Death

One's own death is not a pleasant subject to think about. I always tell Elena that the best way to die is to make beautiful love with someone that you care deeply for. Then you fall into a peaceful sleep where you never awaken again. Elena does not agree with me on this point.
Yesterday I was watching the new Cosmos series. They were talking about the famous British mathematician and astronomer from the 1600's Edmond Halley. Halley's comet is named after him. In his final moments of life, he drank a large glass of red wine. He then fell off into eternal sleep. Now that's another great way to leave this life!

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Lithuania pleads to US Senate for Gas Exports, Complains of "Political Price" of Dependency on Russia

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: Lithuania pleads to US Senate for Gas Exports, Complains of "Political Price" of Dependency on Russia:



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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Each Day Of Life Is A Wonderful Gift!!

Elena got the sad news that a dear doctor friend in Argentina is sick with leukemia. As one gets older sad news like this comes more often. Each day is a gift and every morning that we get up, especially if we are healthy, is really special!!!!
When I was a young man growing up in Houston I was friends with a lady named Betty Gluckman. Her mother and father had both been inmates at the notorious Auschwitz death camp. They were both humble and modest people. They never had any hate in their heart for the Nazis. They never felt that life had been unfair to them. They never suffered from what we now called post traumatic stress disorder. To them each day of life was a wonderful gift to be treasured. We can all learn something from the Gluckman's wonderful story.

A Major Polish Investor Is Bullish On Africa




March 26, 2014 9:40 am

Kulczyk looks to Africa for new frontier in transformation

Poland is forecast to have one of the EU’s strongest economic recoveries but growth of 2.9 per cent this year and 3.1 per cent in 2015 is not enough to excite Jan Kulczyk, the country’s wealthiest businessman.
Instead, Mr Kulczyk – worth about $3.7bn according to Forbes magazine – is looking to Africa, a fast-growing market where he feels that Polish companies can benefit from the country’s quarter-century of experience with economic transformation.

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Mr Kulczyk’s investment firm is looking for gas off the east and west coasts of Africa through Ophir Energy, in which his Kulczyk Investments holds a 9.6 per cent stake.
In all he has invested $1.1bn in Africa, also buying a gold mine in Namibia, a coal mine in Mozambique, fertiliser production in Nigeria, iron ore in Congo-Brazzaville and gasfields in Tanzania. Kulczyk Investments says the African investments are profitable, but will not reveal figures.
“It’s not going to be easy, but the greatest successes are where the challenges are the greatest and where a lot of work is to be done,” he says. “That’s where you can dream of double-digit returns, while today the European economy is only growing at about 1 per cent.”
Sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow by 6.1 per cent this year and by 5.8 per cent in 2015, according to the IMF.
Mr Kulczyk has roped several other Polish tycoons into an initiative aimed at boosting Poland’s presence in Africa which, aside from Mr Kulczyk, is marginal. Trade between Poland and the whole continent came to only 1 per cent of Poland’s trade turnover, although it did grow at a 16 per cent pace in 2012.
Mr Kulczyk made the bulk of his fortune by acting as an intermediary in some of the largest privatisations of Polish state-owned companies in the early 1990s.
However, he ran into controversy in the early part of the last decade. First he was called as a witness before a parliamentary investigation into management practices at PKN Orlen, the state-controlled refiner. He then fell out of favour with the rightwing Law and Justice government in 2005-2007, which remains suspicious of powerful businessmen.
Mr Kulczyk retreated to his London offices, and now plays a significantly smaller role in the Polish economy. The majority of his wealth is tied to his 3 per cent stake in UK brewer SABMiller, worth $2.3bn.
He is looking beyond central Europe, hoping to leverage Poland’s experience in building a modern economy on the ruins of communism by supplying Africa with investment and knowhow.
His early business in Poland included setting up one of the country’s first mobile telephone networks, investing in banking and insurance, power infrastructure and highway construction.
“This is experience in areas that they really need there. This is broadly understood infrastructure, energy sector and telecoms. These are things I have done in Poland,” he says, adding that Poland’s swift rise from poverty to middle income status can serve as a model for Africa. When Poland broke from communism, average wages were only $20 a month, less than the $60 a month now earned in many African countries.
For now, Mr Kulczyk remains largely alone in his enthusiasm for Africa. The Polish foreign ministry does have a programme aimed at increasing interest in the continent, and there have been some small investments by Polish firms, but most Polish companies large enough to look beyond their national market focus on the nearby and very lucrative EU, not on Africa.
That is a mistake, says Mr Kulczyk. “Africa is a continent of poor people and rich countries which have enormous wealth locked up under the ground thanks to a lack of infrastructure,” he says. “But in Europe we have poor countries [with few natural resources] and rich people . . . it’s a win-win.”
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Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: IRS Clarifies Bitcoin as Property Not a Currency; What are the Implications?

Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis: IRS Clarifies Bitcoin as Property Not a Currency; What are the Implications?:



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Monday, March 24, 2014

Star Trek Poll Says Trek Actor You Most Want To Meet Is...

Star Trek Poll Says Trek Actor You Most Want To Meet Is...:



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Elena's Email Account Got Hacked!!!!!

Elena awoke to a shock yesterday. There were a massive number of emails in her inbox and things were not right. Her email service provider warned her that her password had been compromised. Elena and I took immediate remedial action to change her passwords. We located the source of the "hack." Elena noted that she had used her email password for a website that she considered safe. Never give out your email password to anyone else!!!!

China And Australia Aircraft Spot Debris In Indian Ocean




Last updated: March 24, 2014 12:16 pm

China and Australia aircraft spot debris in Indian Ocean

Photo taken on March 22, 2014. Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Warrant Officer Michal Mikeska operating the radar station onboard an AP-3C Orion on route to RAAF Base Pearce in Western Australia after searching the southern Indian Ocean as part of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority-led search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Aircraft from several nations swarmed over the southern Indian Ocean on March 24 as the once-cold trail for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 warmed with mounting evidence of floating objects suspected to be linked to the ill-fated plane. AFP PHOTO©AFP
Onboard the Australian air force P3 Orion searching the Indian Ocean
Australian and Chinese aircraft have spotted several objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean where international teams are searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is co-ordinating the search in the area, said the crew on board an Australian air force P3 Orion had seen a grey or green circular object and an orange rectangular object. HMAS Success was “on the scene and is attempting to locate [them]”, it added.

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Flight Lieutenant Josh Williams, the pilot of the Australian P3 Orion, told journalists later that several objects had been spotted.
“The first object was rectangular in shape and slightly below the ocean,” Reuters quoted him as saying. “The second object was circular, also slightly below the ocean. We came across a long cylindrical object that was possibly two metres long, 20cm across.”
Hours earlier a Chinese aircraft crew combing the area had seen “two relatively big floating objects with many white smaller ones scattered within a radius of several kilometres”, according to Xinhua, the Chinese news agency.
Amsa said the two sightings were separate but within Monday’s search area for the Boeing 777 which disappeared 16 days ago with 239 people on board. A US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to find “the objects reported by the Chinese aircraft but was unable to do so”, the agency added.
The last aircraft left the area shortly after 11pm AEDT (12pm GMT) without any further sightings, Amsa tweeted.
Tony Abbott, who revealed the Australian aircraft’s discovery in parliament, said: “I caution again . . . that we don’t know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam, nevertheless we are hopeful we can recover these objects soon and that will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery.”
The latest visual sightings and three sets of satellite images – from US, Chinese and French sources – have narrowed the search in recent days to a section of a roughly 60,000 square kilometre area 2,500km southwest of Perth.
While Australia is leading the search in the area, China has bolstered its presence there and now has 10 Chinese ships in the southern corridor, as well as aircraft.
Ten aircraft were deployed on Monday to the search zone. In addition to the two Chinese transport aeroplanes, they include sophisticated US, Japanese and Australian surveillance aircraft and three long-range jets.
Meanwhile, Malaysia said its police had interviewed more than a hundred people, including families of both the pilot and co-pilot, as part of a probe that has included all 239 people on board the airliner when it went missing on March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Hishammuddin Hussein, defence and acting transport minister, said a “technical committee” of the investigation was considering releasing a transcript of the last communications between the cockpit and ground control.
He also confirmed that flight MH370 was carrying wooden pallets. “However, there is as yet no evidence that these are related to the wooden pallets reportedly sighted in the Australian search area,” Mr Hussein said, referring to an earlier sighting.
On Sunday, French satellite radar information raised hopes of progress in the search for the missing aeroplane, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian authorities said the satellite detected “potential objects” near the search area.
The largest search for a missing airliner in aviation history shifted from the South China Sea to the southern Indian Ocean last week after Australia said images it had received from a US satellite company were a “credible” lead.
A British navy ship equipped with advanced underwater sensors is on its way to the search area from the Gulf.
Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing in the early hours of March 8 and disappeared from radar within an hour. Satellite data indicated that it had flown along one of two arcs – a northern corridor that stretches to Kazakhstan and a southern corridor that runs into the Indian Ocean.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

After A Hard Day At Work Elena Cooked An Incredible Dinner

Yesterday Elena worked at the hospital from ten until almost five. She came in and went to work in the kitchen. She cooked all of us an incredible vegetarian dish from the home of her ancestors in Northern Italy. Elena well done!!

French Satellite Data Raises Hope In Search For Missing Jet



March 23, 2014 1:31 pm

French satellite data raise hopes in search for missing jet

China's People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft joins the search for Malaysia Airlines fight MH370©AFP
Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft have joined the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
French satellite images of debris in the southern Indian Ocean have raised hopes that the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet is getting closer to discovering the fate of the flight which disappeared two weeks ago en route to Beijing.
Malaysian authorities said images from a French satellite showed “potential objects” near the search area southwest of Perth, Australia.

MH370 debris map

MH370 debris map

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They are the third set of satellite images of the area. The largest search for a missing airliner in aviation history shifted from the South China Sea to the southern Indian Ocean last week after Australia said images it had received from a US satellite company were a “credible” lead.
Tony Abbott, the Australian prime minister, said Chinese satellite images released on Saturday had created “increasing hope” that the search for flight MH370 was on a path towards discovering what happened to the aircraft. The Chinese images show a large piece of debris floating in the sea.
The French foreign ministry said France was deploying further satellite surveillance following the spotting of the so-far unidentified debris, which it said was detected by radar echo about 2,300km from Perth.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa), which is co-ordinating the search, said eight aircraft were combing a 59,000 square kilometre (22,800 square miles) area about 2,500km southwest of Perth.
Searchers spotted a wooden cargo pallet, along with belts or straps, on Saturday.
Mike Barton, operations co-ordinator at Amsa, said: “Part of the description was a wooden pallet and a number of other items which were nondescript around it, and some belts of some different colours around it as well, strapping belts of different lengths.” But a New Zealand aircraft failed to find the pallet again on Sunday.
China’s role in the search is set to widen after the arrival in Perth on Sunday of two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft. Beijing is sending two more ships to join five of its vessels already searching for the missing airliner, which was carrying 153 Chinese nationals. Two Japanese P3 Orions left Malaysia for Perth to join the search, Amsa said.
“This is a challenging search operation and [Amsa] continues to hold grave fears for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight,” the Australian authority said.
An approaching cyclone could complicate the effort to locate the objects in what are some of the world’s most treacherous water. A cyclone warning had been declared for tropical cyclone Gillian, which is located in the southern corridor.
A British navy ship equipped with advanced underwater search sensors is on its way to the search area from the Gulf.
Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing in the early hours of March 8 and disappeared from radar within an hour. Satellite data indicated that it had flown along one of two arcs – a northern corridor that stretches to Kazakhstan and a southern corridor that runs into the Indian Ocean.
The search teams face several challenges in locating the objects detected from the satellite data. Not only are the waters some of the roughest in the world, but days have passed since the first satellite images were taken, which means the debris could have drifted, or sunk.
That part of the ocean varies between 1,150 metres and 7,000 metres in depth, which is deeper than the sea into which Air France Flight 447 plunged in 2009.
Ron Bishop, a former US air force flight engineer who has taken part in dozens of search operations, said it was important to locate the debris within the next 17 to 18 days while the flight recorder was likely to be emitting a signal.
“The flight recorder probably only has 17-18 days left of power when it will still be emitting an emergency signal that would really help the search operation to locate it under the water,” said Mr Bishop, who is head of aviation at Central Queensland University.
Additional reporting by Hugh Carnegy in Paris