Monday, May 21, 2018

Are small banks in trouble?

This has happened every day for almost 100 years

Courtesy of our Florida correspondent

Another thing to worry about

A study in Pediatrics Magazine looks at the growing number of suicide attempts and suicides among young people in this country from 2008 to 2015. The results are not good; the number almost tripled. The findings show more girls than boys were suicidal and the number of incidents were highest in the spring and fall.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

I've been saying for a while that all empires fail. I believe that we are on that path, but very, very few realize that. A brief segment of Morning News on NPR confirmed for me that I have been right, even though the article was about movies. In essence the article said "China now has more cinema screens than the U.S. and is expected to overtake all of North America in box-office revenues and audience numbers by 2020." 

Young vs. Old

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Shrinking at the Supermarket

The BBC documents the shrinkage of goods we buy. Here are some excerpts from the report:
According to the UK’s Office of National Statistics, 2,529 products on supermarket shelves decreased in size or weight in the five years between 2012 and 2017.
Consumer watchdog Which? found in 2016 that some brands of toilet paper have lost up to 14% of the number of sheets per roll over two years, without any corresponding drop in price.
A study of US breakfast cereals over a three-year period by researchers at Arizona State University and Cornell University in New York found 15 products suffered a reduction in packet size, and in the majority this resulted in an increase in the relative cost for each ounce (28g) of cereal.
Research by the BBC earlier in 2018 also revealed that many popular chocolate bars have reduced in size over the past four years. A Twix, for example, has lost 13.8% of its weight since 2014, while Kit Kat Chunky bars are 16.7% lighter.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Economic Growth by Presidents in early days

The Early Economic Records of Presidents from Kennedy to Trump

President     GDP      Business Investment      Investment in Equipment
Kennedy      7.0%               8.3%                                   14.2%
Johnson        6.3%             10.7%                                  11.9%
Nixon           0.0%             -1.6%                                   -0.3%
Carter           2.7%              8.2%                                   12.2%
Reagan        -2.1%              3.0%                                   -3.0%
Bush-1          2.6%              0.5%                                  -0.2%
Clinton         3.5%              7.7%                                  13.5%
Bush-2         1.1%             -4.7%                                   -6.1%
Obama         2.2%              1.5%                                   14.7%
Trump          2.6%              5.9%                                     9.0%

Source: Bureau of Economic Analysis. These measures represent annual growth rates of real GDP, business fixed investment, and investment in equipment over the three quarters from each president’s third, fourth and fifth quarters in office.

Courtesy of Brookings Institute

What were they thinking?

Courtesy of our Florida correspondent

Recovering from a flood

Penguins in the Antarctic every summer are in danger of having their simple stone nests become flooded. So, the females go looking for fresh pebbles to shore up their house. Some get them by stealing, which often results in a fight. Others target the nests of unsuccessful males living at the edge of the colony. With no parental duties, these singletons are free to go on pebble-hunting sprees and amass veritable stone castles. They are also extremely desperate to spread their seed. And about a third of the females will help them spread it. Scientists say that the sex is a swift affair; many of the inexperienced males misfire and miss their target. The female then toddles back to her nest with a pilfered pebble in her beak. Some especially cunning females flirt but skip the sex part, and simply make off with a stone. One particularly effective hustler was recorded swiping 62 pebbles within an hour.

Pensions for our federal legislators

Dambisa Moyo has an interesting idea - link politicians’ pensions to their performance, as is the case with many high-level managers at publicly traded private companies. If these CEOs screw up, their pension is reduced.

Moyo proposes that the pension be based on many vital things, such as the quality of education, health outcomes, and economic indicators like GDP growth, inflation, unemployment, and income inequality.

21st century America?

A 21st century graduation

Monday, May 14, 2018

Do you believe in this future?

Courtesy of our Glastonbury correspondent

Climbing Mt. Everest

Amputees can also be mountain climbers. Xia Boyu, age 69, lost his feet forty years ago. This month he climbed Everest. He was the second amputee to do so and the first from the Nepalese side.

Medical spending and longer lives

A Family Outing

The above photo is of an Indonesian family a few years ago. They attended church yesterday. They went to two churches, the mother and daughters (now ages 9 and 12) to one, the father and sons (now ages 16 and 18) to another. But, they did not worship very long at these churches. They detonated bombs in both places, killing themselves and parishioners.

They do have sympathy from other parents. On Monday, two parents attacked a police station in the same city, also taking their three children along, one of whom survived.

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Number 14 Found

The number refers to the feet found on the beach of an island in British Columbia. Last week a walker on the beach found it. In previous cases running shoes have encased the foot; in the current case it was covered by a hiking shoe. Feet have been found here for more than a decade.

There are several theories as to the cause of the unattached feet: a tsunami, a human trafficker, a Mafia hit man, a deranged foot fetishist or a serial killer who had spread body parts out to sea. Others have theorized that the floating appendages could belong to people falling off a ship or killed in a plane crash. One thing that is not the cause of the disembodied feet is suicide or accident,or so the coroners say; they think it is likely that the cause was someone slipping and falling into the sea, or a swimmer being swept into the ocean by a huge wave.

Nine of the feet have been identified, two of them from the same person, according to the Coroners Service. Most of the feet were men’s. In at least three cases, the shoes were size 12.

Lovers or Enemies?