Snowflake Economics

By |2019-01-18T07:29:36+00:00January 18th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Does winter make economic activity more difficult? Photo: Aaron Burden. Source: Unsplash. We hear it every time a storm hits: “Winter storm ‘Wilma’ cost the US economy X billion dollars.” But is this true? Yes, I may be late getting into work because I was shoveling out my driveway and brushing off my cars. And yes, people drive more slowly on the highway and the airports are jammed. But in our information economy where folks can work from home and malls are closing because [...]

Corrosion and Corruption

By |2019-01-17T07:14:43+00:00January 17th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is corrosion just part of life? Photo: Mark Buckawiki. Source: Public Domain Project. I’ve bought a couple older cars. When I check out a used car, one of the things I look for is corrosion on the battery. There’s blueish copper salt that forms on a battery’s positive terminal, or there’s a white powder that grows on the negative terminal. Both are signs that there can be problems with the electrical system. If left to itself, corrosion grows, eventually making it hard or even [...]

Learning from Ourselves

By |2019-01-16T06:09:45+00:00January 16th, 2019|Global Market Update|

What the most common money errors? Illustration: Opensource. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 People often make six common mistakes when they deal with their money. They tend to be risk-seekers, hoarders, retail-therapists, cash-splashers, controllers, or avoiders. Each of these mistakes is avoidable – and they typically stem from personal issues that have little or nothing to do with money. Instead, we try to compensate for other personal needs. Risk seekers just want to do something. Given a choice between waiting and doing, they almost always choose [...]

Feeding Time?

By |2019-01-15T09:54:25+00:00January 15th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are we addicted to our smart phones? Checking messages by the North Sea. Photo: Tommy Andreassen. Source: Pixabay. People check their phones in the strangest places: on a chairlift, at the beach, even walking in a snowstorm. It’s typical to see skiers or runners or commuters plugged in, headphones dangling from their ears. Our own family has tried to have a no-phones-at-the-table rule around dinner, with varying levels of success. There’s even a technical term for the fear of being out of cell phone [...]

One-Armed Investing?

By |2019-01-14T06:56:21+00:00January 14th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is investing just gambling? Slot machines at Las Vegas airport. Photo: Yamaguchi. Source: Wikimedia. They sure seem to have a lot in common. When folks have paid for all the goods and services they need, they may use what’s left over to express their opinion. In the investing world, they buy stocks or bonds or a derivative, like ETFs or mutual funds. In the gambling world, they go to a casino or buy a ticket at the racetrack or take a position on a [...]

Preparing to Stay Dry

By |2019-01-11T07:47:49+00:00January 11th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Do you carry an umbrella with you? Photo: Clem Onojeghuo. Source: Life of Pix. I do. It’s a kind of insurance. I keep a small, compact umbrella folded up in a corner of my briefcase. That way, if I’m caught up in an unexpected downpour, I have something to fend off the worst of the weather. A couple times every year I’m thankful I have something that helps me get where I want to go without getting soaked. The idea of carrying emergency supplies [...]

Dump Run

By |2019-01-10T07:07:21+00:00January 10th, 2019|Global Market Update|

What do we do with outdated technology? Old desktop computer parts. Photo: Igor Ovsyannykov. Source: Fancycrave. When things wear out or become obsolete we usually just throw them away. That works fine with old clothes and papers, stuff that decomposes and decays and rusts away. Rust never sleeps. But what about our old electronics. Our economy may be driven by software, now, but software has to run on hardware. And Moore’s Law means new hardware is always getting faster and more capable, so old [...]

Bridges and Rivers

By |2019-01-09T06:49:55+00:00January 9th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Did you like to play with blocks or stare at anthills? Public Domain. Source: I used to do both. I could watch the ants toiling away for hours. I’d put a bread crumb nearby and see how the worked together to transport it down into their colony. I wondered where they would store it, and how they knew how to find it again. But blocks are fascinating, too, with all their potential. My brothers and I used to see who could build the [...]

Living Sustainably

By |2019-01-08T07:33:42+00:00January 8th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Do we need to be more efficient? Gansu Wind Farm. Photo: Popolon Source: Wikipedia Everyone wants more: more time with loved ones, more work done, more money, more progress on personal goals. But we never seem to have enough time for all the things we want to do. We run out of clock before we run out of items on our to-do list. What’s the solution? Efficiency? Productivity? Multitasking? There’s an entire efficiency industry devoted helping to do more stuff in less time. We [...]

Don’t Do Stupid Stuff

By |2019-01-06T22:12:32+00:00January 6th, 2019|Global Market Update|

How do we avoid doing stupid things? Tourist taking selfie near riot. Photo: Matthew Roth. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 We’ve all done them: rushed off to the airport and forgot our driver’s license. Gotten off a train or plane and left a critical item behind: a wallet, a cellphone, the car keys. We take a wrong turn on the way home – a route we’ve driven hundreds of times – and suddenly we’re in a bad neighborhood, or we’re going the wrong way on the [...]