- September 2011
- December 2010
- November 2010
- July 2010
- June 2010
- May 2010
- April 2010
- March 2010
- February 2010
- January 2010
- December 2009
- November 2009
- October 2009
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- June 2009
- May 2009
- April 2009
- March 2009
- February 2009
- January 2009
- December 2008
- November 2008
- October 2008
- September 2008
- August 2008
- July 2008
- June 2008
- May 2008
- April 2008
- March 2008
Monthly Archives: December 2009
On a rather stressful day, I really enjoyed reading this article on the benefits of walking a dog. Here is a snippet on how walking a dog helped people in an assisted living home:
To the surprise of the researchers, the dog walkers showed a big improvement in fitness, while the human walkers began making excuses to skip the workout. Walking speed among the dog walkers increased by 28 percent, compared with just a 4 percent increase among the human walkers.
“What happened was nothing short of remarkable,” said Rebecca A. Johnson, a nursing professor and director of the Research Center for Human Animal Interaction at the University of Missouri’s College of Veterinary Medicine. “The improvement in walking speed means their confidence in their walking ability had increased and their balance had increased. To have a 28 percent improvement in walking speed is mind boggling.”
“IN TRUTH, men have affairs not for physical reasons but for emotional ones. They cheat not out of a sense of confidence but out of a state of brokenness. Not out of a sense of how desirable they are but out of a sense of what failures they are. And this is especially true of men like Tiger Woods and Bill Clinton who live in a hyper-competitive environments where they realize that they are only special to the extent that they keep on winning. Men like these are particularly broken, living as they do just one failure away from obscurity. They know that their value as human beings rests entirely in other people’s hands. And they live in permanent and painful insecurity. They constantly question their self-worth and they turn to women both to feel desirable and to comfort them from their pain.
Yes, I know. Men like Tiger Woods appear to the public as cool-as-a-cucumber. But beneath the calm veneer is a man who has been trained to believe that his value as a human being rests entirely on a never-ending game of human one-upmanship. Those who have made their names in sports and politics live with unimaginable insecurity. And rather than deal with these insecurities in a healthy way by having deep emotional conversations with their wives about their fears, it is easier to simply paper them over by turning to strangers who make them feel special.”
Read the rest here: Shmuley Boteach on Tiger Woods
I’m honestly stunned by this. A court in Britain issued an arrest warrant against former foriegn minister Tzipi Livni? What jurisidiction do they have? How is this possible? I am totally stunned by this.
Here is the link: Tzipi Livni Arrest Warrant
Some prescient thoughts from Andy Xie, courtesy of Barry Ritholz:
The bottom line is that, regardless of what central banks say and do, there will be a lot more money in the world after the crisis than before. After a debt bubble bursts, there are two effective ways to deleverage: (1) bankruptcy, or (2) inflation. Governments’ actions in the past year show that they cannot accept the first option. A mild form of stagflation is probably the best that one could hope for after a debt bubble.
Here is the link:Andy Xie’s thoughts
Wow. Must read editorial by Edward Chancellor on the parallels between China and Dubai. Here is the best part:
Dubai’s ambitions weren’t merely domestic. Dubai World and its subsidiaries, with their assumed government backing, went on a debt-fuelled global buying binge. Dubai’s economy expanded rapidly in the boom. But much of this growth came from construction projects of dubious economic merit. When the music stopped, property prices crashed. Knight Frank estimates the vacancy rate for Dubai office buildings is 40 per cent. Yet planned new construction is set to double the city’s office space over the next couple of years.
There is a country on the other side of Asia, whose currency is also pegged to the dollar. Although its economy is expanding rapidly, short-term interest rates are below 2 per cent and the money supply has grown by 30 per cent over the past year.
This country is experiencing a real estate boom. Reports tell of a newly constructed ghost city with dwellings for a million people. Speculators are reportedly snapping up luxury developments, which remain unoccupied long after completion. Despite a 20 per cent vacancy rate in the capital city, new skyscrapers are being planned.
This country’s economy is also state-directed. Its rulers are looking for 8 per cent annual GDP growth as they seek to diversify their economy away from exports. State-owned enterprises are borrowing and investing to meet this target. Construction and infrastructure are taking an ever greater share of GDP, even though many projects are likely to prove unremunerative. A mentality of “build and they will come” prevails.
In short, economic conditions in China have much in common with those that prevailed until recently in Dubai. The population of China is roughly a thousand times greater than the tiny emirate’s. For this reason alone, the lessons from Dubai should be heeded.
And here is the link (hat tip Paul Kedrosky): China and Dubai
‘Ms Jorgensen reckons that between her and her rivals the total number of limos in Copenhagen next week has already broken the 1,200 barrier. The French alone rang up on Thursday and ordered another 42. “We haven’t got enough limos in the country to fulfil the demand,” she says. “We’re having to drive them in hundreds of miles from Germany and Sweden.”
And the total number of electric cars or hybrids among that number? “Five,” says Ms Jorgensen. “The government has some alternative fuel cars but the rest will be petrol or diesel. We don’t have any hybrids in Denmark, unfortunately, due to the extreme taxes on those cars. It makes no sense at all, but it’s very Danish.”‘
No more comment is necessary. Here is the link: Climate Conference and Carbon Dioxide
“But social experiments always have unintended consequences. In the case of China’s One Child Policy, these consequences are now becoming evident, and are no less breathtaking in scale than the dreams entertained by the coercive visionaries in Beijing who set this scheme in motion. Inexorably—and by now inescapably—a host of new and unfamiliar demographic problems have arisen, all of which will plague China’s next generation. These problems will compromise economic development, strain social harmony and place the traditional Chinese family structure under severe pressure; in fact, they could shake Chinese civilization to its very foundations.”
The above comes from a wonderfully thought provoking article on China in the Far Eastern Economic Review by Nicholas Eberstadt. The data and the implications to China are damning. First their workforce is going to age rapidly:
“According to the UNPD’s projections, China’s 65-plus age group currently numbers around 110 million. Over the coming generation, this group is set to rise to 280 million—growing at a pace of almost 3.8% per annum. By 2035, nearly one in five Chinese will be 65 or older, constituting a staggering 280 million senior citizens.”
And the amount of 15-29 year olds as a percentage of the population is plunging:
“In 1985, 15- to 29-year-olds accounted for 47% of China’s working age population. Today that proportion is down to about 34% of the workforce. By Census Bureau projections, 20 years from now it will have fallen to just barely 26% of China’s conventionally defined labor force.”
But even worse is that the China One Child Policy has caused the Chinese to abort daughters and try as hard as possible to only have boys. This is resulting is a surge of unmarried men as the number of men dramatically outnumber women:
“Today, roughly 5% of Chinese men in their late 30s have never married. By 2020, that fraction could exceed 15%, and may reach 25% by 2040. The situation will be more extreme in the countryside, since rural men are more likely to lose out to more affluent and educated urban suitors in the national marriage race. By these same calculations, in 2020 about 20% of China’s rural men between the ages of 35 to 44 will never have taken a bride, and the proportion rises above 30% by 2040.”
And the author asks this very scary question:
“How will Chinese government and society function in the face of this rising tide of unmarriageable young men, an able-bodied but very likely disaffected cadre drawn disproportionately from the countryside and the urban poor?”
Here is the link to this must read article and hat tip to Paul Kedrosky for finding it: Demographics of China’s One Child Policy
There is a great story in the New York Times about a Montana policeman asking a rabbi for help with his Hebrew speaking police dog. Here is the link:
Below is the link to a wonderful story about two friends of mine, Abe and Leon Presser. I’m honored to know them and to have learned by following their example.