- I Don’t See How This Can Continue – Tim Duy’s Fed Watch
Perhaps France and Italy can hang on while relative wage deflation increases competitiveness with Germany, but conditions in the periphery look downright dire. And note that years of austerity have done little to help Greece and Ireland. I don’t see the same medicine working in Spain or Portugal either. It is no wonder that Greece is looking for very substantial reductions in its debt, and it seems inevitable that Portugal will come to the same conclusion sooner or later. The great disparity in unemployment rates is another factor that leaves me pessimistic on the ultimate outcome of the Euro experiment. We need real fiscal transfers, and soon. More carrot with stick.
- How Actively Watching Movies Helped Me Learn Spanish – Lifehacker
Watch it until you can pretty much say the lines along with the actors, even if you have to read along with the subtitles. Watch it until you say to yourself "Man, I don’t even need subtitles!" Turn the subtitles off. You should now be able to watch the movie and understand it without subtitles and for the most part, understand exactly what they are saying.
- One Year at My Standing Desk – Lifehacker
Last January I took apart my computer desk and rebuilt it at standing height. I’ve been standing at my desk every workday since. Just in my 2011 travels, I’ve seen standing desks everywhere from the offices of San Francisco startups to the White House.
- French Court Fines Google $660,000 Because Google Maps Is Free
According to The Economic Times, the French commercial court "upheld an unfair competition complaint lodged by Bottin Cartographes against Google France and its parent company Google Inc. for providing free web mapping services to some businesses."
- Facebook’s Risk Factors: Mobile, Gov, Slowed Growth, Google+ | TechCrunch
Facebook’s $5 billion S-1 IPO filing includes a detailed assessment of business risks. These include: its lack of mobile monetization and the fact that it doesn’t own a mobile platform, government censorship and privacy scrutiny, inability to maintain its growth rate, and competition from Google+ as well as Twitter and Microsoft.
- Facebook Still Growing Everywhere, Europe Leads At 229M, Asia Catching Up With 212M | TechCrunch
As of the end of 2011, here’s how its 845 million monthly active users broke down
- Coronary Capitalism – Kenneth Rogoff – Project Syndicate
Of course, the balance between consumer sovereignty and paternalism is always delicate. But we could certainly begin to strike a healthier balance than the one we have by giving the public far better information across a range of platforms, so that people could begin to make more informed consumption choices and political decisions.
- Blanchflower: a second recession is around the corner – Citywire Money
He points to the UK government’s austerity policy which he says has failed to stimulate growth. Instead, the job cuts and fiscal tightening will be among the causes of an impending double dip recession. ‘We’re now at the deepest slump comparable to the 30s. We’re 44 months in and there’s no sign whatsoever that this crisis will be over. It looks like this is the worst slump in a century with no prospects of actually getting out of it’, he said.
- Duck/Rabbit Illusion Provides a Simple Test of Creativity – PsyBlog
The well-known known illusion above can be seen in two ways: as both a duck and a rabbit. Which do you see first? And if you see one, can you also see the other? Most people see the duck first and can flip between the two representations, but the question is: how easy is it for you to flip between them? Does it require real mental strain, or can you do it at will?
- Mark Gongloff: Credit Suisse Bond Trader Prosecutions Don’t Even Aim for the Heart of the Crisis
Four years ago, Barack Obama was not yet even the Democratic nominee for president. Today he’s running for reelection, and his Justice Department is expected to bring criminal charges against some former Credit Suisse traders for fraud they allegedly committed four years ago.
- How Fred Goodwin became a lightning rod for public anger over bank excess | Business | The Guardian
the action against Goodwin has the whiff of a politically motivated act designed to distract from the other RBS story: the £1m bonus, now waived, for chief executive Stephen Hester and the government’s inability to contain the public fury.
- BBC News – Spain’s economy contracts by 0.3%
Spain’s economy shrank by 0.3% in the last quarter of 2011 from the previous three months, official figure indicate.
- BBC News – Eurozone unemployment hits new record
Unemployment in the eurozone hit a record high at the end of last year, the Eurostat agency has said.
- BBC News – American Airlines announces 13,000 job cuts
The parent company of American Airlines (AA) says it will shed 13,000 jobs – around 15% of its workforce.
- French parents: Non, non and non | The Economist
It all sounds too good to be true. And in a way it is. Ms Druckerman’s France is a particularly narrow slice of bourgeois Paris. Try enforcing the greeting, "Bonjour Madame", in the tough banlieue housing estates that ring the city. She also underplays the more troubling counterpart to tough French parenting: tough French teaching, that overstresses failure and under-rewards success. But a self-deprecating tone rescues the book from taking itself too seriously. It does not promise to make a pint-size terror restaurant-friendly. But it does help to explain all those disdainful looks from French diners the moment an English-speaking family walks through the door of the brasserie with toddlers in tow.
- Bundesbank sinks deeper into debt saving Europe – Telegraph
Germany’s Bundesbank has entirely exhausted its stock of private assets and run up a quarter of a trillion euros in liabilities propping up the eurozone system, testing the political limits of EMU solidarity in Germany.
- SPIEGEL Interview with Francis Fukuyama: ‘Where Is the Uprising from the Left?’ – SPIEGEL ONLINE – News – International
Political scientist Francis Fukuyama was once the darling of American neo-conservatives. In a SPIEGEL interview, the author of "The End of History" explains why he now believes that the excesses of capitalism are a threat to democracy and asks why there is no "Tea Party on the left."
- Guilty Pleas in Bond Case Hit the ‘Mark’ – WSJ.com
Federal prosecutors unveiled criminal charges against three former Credit Suisse Group AG employees, providing a window into the way traders allegedly invented inflated values for mortgage bonds during the financial crisis. Two of the three men pleaded guilty to criminal charges of conspiracy, admitting they attempted to conceal the scheme from managers in a bid to boost their bonuses.
- Ohio Tries to Escape Fate as a Dumping Ground for Fracking Fluid – Businessweek
The millions of gallons of chemical- laced wastewater that fracking produces must flow somewhere, and Ohio is trying not to be that place.