Game of Networks

By |2019-05-20T14:48:31+00:00May 20th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Connections matter. Illustration: Gerd Altman. Source: Pixabay. CC0 We’re a networking species. There’s a part of our brains that’s devoted to making connections with other people. All mammals have this lobe, the “limbic lobe.” It supports long-term memory, emotions, motivation, and our sense of smell. The structure of our limbic system may be one reason why some scented candles can have a soothing effect. But the most important effect of our limbic system is how it facilitates social interactions. A recent experiment with rhesus [...]

Bird’s Eye View

By |2019-05-16T06:00:23+00:00May 16th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Privacy is over. Source: Pixabay. CC0 That’s what I thought when I read about Orbital Insight. They’re a software company that analyzes images from satellites that tell us something, anything about the world we live in – how much oil is in storage tanks in China, how many cars are parked in Walmart parking lots, or what’s the health of the crops planted in North Dakota. By using public and private imagery and sophisticated AI software, the company can evaluate what’s happening on the [...]

IP – Oh, No!

By |2019-05-15T05:57:57+00:00May 15th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is Uber the next Facebook? Photo: Quotecatalog. Source: Flikr. CC BY 2.0 Uber went public on Friday, to celebration and consternation. The $70 billion initial public offering is one of the biggest ever. And the shares promptly dropped 6% on their first day of trading, and even more over the next few days. The company has been growing their revenues by around 50% per year, but unlike many hot growth companies, their expenses have been growing just as fast. As a result, they don’t [...]

Getting Booked

By |2019-05-14T05:58:57+00:00May 14th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Why do we love old books? Photo: Dean Moriarty. Source: Pixabay There’s something romantic to “old book smell.” It’s a kind of earthy, musty aroma of old leather and paper. Maybe the smell invokes trips to the library when you were a child. It’s quite attractive to many people. There are even high-end perfumes that try to mimic it. Old paper releases distinctive odors as it breaks down, notably lignin, which produces a vanilla scent when it decomposes. Different presses use different sources of [...]

Ready, Set, What?

By |2019-05-13T05:30:13+00:00May 13th, 2019|Global Market Update|

How can we be ready for what comes next? Photo: Russographer. Source: CC BY-SA-2.0 “Be prepared” is the Boy Scout motto, and it’s good advice if we’re headed into the mountains. We need to be physically ready for challenge of the peaks – core body strength, cardio-vascular endurance, and mental focus. We need to have adequate clothing and emergency supplies, like a headlamp and compass. And we need to know the terrain and trails we’re headed into. Maps, guides, and experienced friends help [...]

Chinese Fortunes

By |2019-05-08T05:43:00+00:00May 8th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Is China a major market? Photo: Kalligan. Source: Wikimedia. CC BY-SA 3.0 The short answer is, duh. China’s economy is huge. They’re the world’s second largest, at $12 trillion, more than half the size of the US. They’re a big player in trade, manufacturing, consumer goods, and mega construction projects. Their Belt-Road Initiative has the potential to re-draw global trade relationships. But their equity market isn’t nearly as significant. At $4 trillion, they’re a small fraction of the world’s equity markets, and less than [...]

News, Newsfeeds, and Bankrupt Businesses

By |2019-05-07T05:44:29+00:00May 7th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Are newspapers doomed? Source: Max Pixel. CC0 Ever since the first story appeared on the web, the traditional newspaper business model – local business ads, subscriptions, and classifieds – was threatened. Just a few decades ago, newspapers were filled with non-news items: real-estate listings, grocery store coupons, want-ads. These money-making inserts were bundled with a journalistic product that focused on a limited geographic area. Distribution was limited by the cost of physically carrying a bundle of paper. Eventually, each major paper developed its own [...]

Nesting Season

By |2019-05-06T05:52:55+00:00May 6th, 2019|Global Market Update|

Have you seen the birds nesting? Photo: Tom Koerner/USFS. Source: Flikr. CC-BY-2.0 This is the time of year for laying plans, gathering resources, and starting on projects. It’s a busy time, for people and for other creatures. We see birds gathering what they need to build their nests, safe places to lay their eggs and incubate them until they hatch. Ducks scope out bodies of water and shorelines, siting their nests in tall grasses or shrubs to provide cover. The female builds the nest [...]

In Our Stars?

By |2019-05-03T05:37:13+00:00May 3rd, 2019|Global Market Update|

“The fault lies not in our stars, but in ourselves.” Photo: NASA. Source: Flikr. That’s a line from one of Shakespeare’s plays, when a character tells another that it’s their own responsibility for what’s happening in the world. That’s not a bad perspective to have. It’s easy to blame others. Some say the world economy is unbalanced because China exports too much. But China exports so much because we in the US buy their stuff. And we need the Chinese to finance our deficit [...]

History Traps?

By |2019-05-02T05:56:13+00:00May 2nd, 2019|Global Market Update|

Who was Thucydides? Source: US Army, Wikipedia Thucydides was an ancient Athenian general who wrote about the Peloponnesian War between Sparta and Athens. Sparta had been the dominant power in Greece. They had a harsh military culture built around their seemingly invincible army. Athens was a rising power, commercially and at sea. They had built the most powerful navy in the Mediterranean Sea. War between the two city-states was inevitable, according to Thucydides, because Athens’ growth challenged Sparta’s dominance. An irresistible force met an [...]