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  • Wall Street Breakfast: ECB Pledges To Boost Bond Buying [View article]
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    Good point, Tony! I'll bet that DNA research will reveal a lot about the movements of humans across time."

    For some really interesting information, private personal and otherwise, join "23AndMe" and maybe "" [One family member in each of them for 'diversification' ??] [These are paid memberships. I have no connection. My family did both as suggested.]
    May 19, 2015. 01:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Eurozone Growth Forecast Gets Big Boost [View article]
    Is college, some college at least, important for the work force because the curriculum (the parts bad-mouthed by the famous rich) extend the awareness and maybe the interests of the population beyond the accomplishments of the high-school football team? Things like being able to actually write in English, to acquire some capability of reading comprehension and to know a little about music and art? The ability (even if the knowledge post-dates their college time, developed by the individuals to explain what went wrong during college) to organize their time and efforts and apportion it to meet goals? To 'think' in an organized manner.

    My experience and impression is that in the grade and high schools, it is quite possible to listen in class or do passable homework and get decent grades. Those who do neither are usually taken care of by the permissive social agendas and get a diploma anyway.

    You may be aware of the idea that "Half of the new Freshmen on Day One of the first semester will not be there on Day One of the second semester. And half of those completing Semester 2 will not be there for Semester 3. Thereafter, half of the students for the first day of year 2 and 3 will vanish by the start of the following year." That works out to about 5% of those new Freshmen obtaining degrees. But all the rest do learn a lot about themselves and improve their capabilities to some extent. Which gives them some edge over the high-school-only's.

    Perhaps a larger percentage of college freshmen obtain degrees now? Social Agenda stuff? It has been a long time since I was handed that college diploma; I am well aware that although I chose to go into blue-collar work, my paychecks were similar to the white-collar folk with similar college class-standing because I followed a strategy which derived from my college experience.
    May 6, 2015. 12:16 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Eurozone Growth Forecast Gets Big Boost [View article]
    I did maintenance on electronically controlled machinery. Was told often that the reason Y2K was a dud was because all the techs worldwide worked very intensely for several years from about when the possibility of a disaster was identified up to midnight (in some cases) on that fateful New Year's Eve replacing parts and reworking software so the problem never happened. Where something did happen because the management would not believe/spend money, the consequences were kept unspoken/unpublished.
    May 6, 2015. 11:37 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Bloodbath In The Bond Market [View article]
    Written language goes back at least to Babylon (Iran/Persia), 5000 years or more. Other written language survives in ancient ruins in India that predate Babylon. (Whether or not we can now read/interpret it.)

    The Pharaohs Ramses and Tut were about 3000 years ago and the writing was fully formed and plentiful. Much of that written information survives. Rosetta Stone was about then? Written message that was contemporary to that time and the one in a written form that was becoming outdated and one that was much, much older? Not gonna look it up to check on myself.

    The archeologists say they can trace human society during the warm inter-glacial before this one and possibly the one before that. Not details, but migration and basic culture of group sizes and the shelters they created for themselves.

    Among humans, war seems to be the most durable standard. Graveyards of ancient peoples with graves & remains that can be dated over time spans of hundreds of years, positioned many thousands of years in our current past, some in the previous warm interglacial. With cause of death in many cases to be trauma from weapons like spears and arrows. [Ref: "The Complete Ice Age" ISBN 978-0-500-05161-0; And other articles on the Internet. Also, it has been awhile since I read the book.] Language of some sort would have been necessary. Largest problem back then was the dearth of sentient humans (Total populations were tiny by current comparisons). The mutation that is sentience was the source of the story of Eve and the apple. The non-sentient peoples did not survive the glacial onsets. Not popular ideas, as you said, Tony, but probably true.

    Sentient groups told stories and transmitted history with excellent accuracy. The Indian tribes in North America have been studied to research story-telling and the story tellers of Africa are legendary. Story telling and then writing down the stories as written languages were developed is another characteristic of sentient humanity.

    If there was a time machine, perhaps it would be interesting to send it forward a couple of warm-interglacial periods to see what was known of us by then.

    Relevance to SA and investing: Information gathering/data storage and the companies that enable that should be excellent durable places to put money for a yield. Also, the Military-Industrial complex should be a 'forever' place for investing.
    May 6, 2015. 11:09 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Eurozone Growth Forecast Gets Big Boost [View article]

    I can't "listen" very well. Bad ears and poor speakers for the computer; worse speakers that are built into the (late model HD) TV. At least the TV usually has subtitles that are easy to read.

    Is that speech by Gen Hyten available in transcript anywhere?
    May 5, 2015. 01:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Tesla Moves Into Energy Storage [View article]
    Those who buy solar systems -- the panels-- but not the batteries have another approach to what they want out of the systems. Not independence from the grid; not survivability in some improbable disaster like a solar storm or an EMP bomb from some enemy nation. They want the air conditioner to be partly fed by the solar array and reduce the routine electric bill. If it is night and the building or house has good insulation the power consumption for cool air is tolerable. If there is a power blackout it is going to be for a short length of time and the situation is manageable.

    If the sky is clear in winter and there is no snow piled on the solar arrays, then maybe some electric heat is possible. That's gravy.

    For blackouts the thing is to buy an electric generator and have enough gasoline or diesel in (5 gallon ??) storage cans to last a couple of days. Run the generator a few hours on and a few hours off to keep the freezer and fridge OK and for electric light for a couple of hours at night. What else??

    I personally have not been able to make myself justify a generator. I would sign up if the local electric company wanted to put a solar array on my roof with the assurance that my electric bill would be less. Even a little less. And that the electric company would maintain that solar system. That is quite different than buying something on (your) own hook.
    May 1, 2015. 09:19 AM | 4 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Markets Prepare For Week Of Central Bank Decisions [View article]
    The artificial sweetener and GMO arguments are so much about nothing ever changes.

    A few centuries ago it was realized that humans need iodine. Iodine was nearly completely absent in the foods of Europe. The "Church" bypassed much of the argumentative stages by instituting "Fish on Friday." That gave the North Sea fishing industry a big market and fixed all the medical problems from the lack of iodine. Win-Win. Maybe too easy and I know I have never heard the gory details of all that. (Politics of the North Sea countries and personal gain by powerful figures in the Church, yes. But how nasty it all was ???)

    Then the (British) Navy instituted vitamins for its sailors (~Fresh limes) and cured the rampant vitamin-deficiency "diseases" of sailors. I have never heard about the arguments associated with that but have no doubt they would sound familiar.

    In the late 1800's (?) the disease was Pellagra. Very nasty. Much discussion and beliefs. Arguments ongoing about a cure as simple as assuring a 'B' vitamin (Niacin?) in the diet. Sounded just like the current arguments about GMO's.

    As far as GMO's: is it better to starve a significant percentage of the Earth population by staying with "Natural" foods or go with GMO's and everybody can eat adequately? In a couple of generations, a 100 years, GMO's will be another "No Brainer."

    Corn is also a primary food for much of the world. It is needed for food. Not for making sweeteners. Not for making fuel for Internal combustion engines. Maybe for helping cleaner exhausts in hot weather in hot weather zones; but not for 'everywhere.' The cost of sugar (old fashioned table sugar) is a result of politics, not supply or demand.

    Soda is mostly salts-- I have read. The artificial sweeteners are essentially salts. (???). The real track record of corn sweeteners in soda and every other food is clear: The obesity epidemic started when corn sweeteners were introduced. The makers have a big vested interest. Maybe the general public is realizing this link between corn sweeteners and being or becoming overweight and is slowly reacting. Sales of soda are very slowly sinking in the long term. As in decades; not within the time frames watched on Wall Street. But the big soda companies are very aware and frightened.

    The cure for much weight control for individuals is simple: drink only water. Or black coffee. Or tea-- straight. Flavor the water or tea with a little fresh lemon juice if you want. Only lemon (maybe lime juice but it is not as good nutritionally) juice.

    Everything changes and at the same time stays the same. :-)
    Apr 27, 2015. 01:19 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: China Shares Extend Bull Run [View article]
    When "extreme long-term" means "by Friday noon" a mortgage is forever. Values of renting vs mortgage are in a different set of parameters, or even a different paradigm (?), when "Long-Term" means "the entire rest of the life" of an individual. For those who do pay off their mortgage and then continue to reside in that house 'forever,' there is a very big payoff. There is no "rent" when money is increasingly in short supply in old age when the title to one's "shelter" is in one's own Safe Deposit Box. Costs of 'taxes' and 'maintenance' are trick accounting when discussed by those advocating renting. The typical mature American knows this and behaves accordingly when it can be managed. The whiz kids with (it was once slide rules; now it is maybe accounting programs on the computers in their lower-Manhattan offices?) the numbers have no clue about the realities of life in that 'unknown' space between the city limits of New York city and San Francisco.
    Apr 22, 2015. 09:18 AM | 5 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Weak China Trade Data Adds To Growth Concerns [View article]
    American foreign policy is a victim of "Mirror Syndrome." "Mirror Syndrome" is thinking that someone else has the same values and ideas, etc., as yourself. Expecting them to react, respond, behave as you would.

    "Let them eat cake." was a result of Mirror Syndrome. That girl probably did not know/realize that wheat flour is used for both bread and cake. Or even how bread and cake and other foods were actually created. She was actually trying to help by suggesting an alternative food. The reaction by the peasants was also Mirror Syndrome because for them it was so well known about where foods came from that they saw the statement as a clear insult and could not/would not recognize the abysmal ignorance of the person who said the phrase.

    This is what our leaders are in. They expect their own ideas and actions and reactions to be mirrored by all international leaders. The international leaders either consider it insulting or recognize what is happening and are contemptuous. Most of those leaders and the societies/cultures they lead have vastly different values and ideas and beliefs that must be addressed properly. Which is not happening at all.
    Apr 13, 2015. 02:09 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Nikkei Retreats From 15-Year High [View article]
    California has so many problems because they put laws about environment into place that make it impossible to do any infrastructure. No reservoirs or power lines or power plants or anything else. They shot themselves in the foot and now are crying because they are both bleeding and can't walk. But won't and can't do anything to fix it. What is really happening is that California is getting left behind by the world. And their 'fix' is to put everybody else (in the US) into the same morass. If they can.
    Apr 10, 2015. 11:47 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Shell Agrees To Buy BG Group For $69.6B [View article]
    Dallas' Talented & Gifted is in place in several schools in the suburbs, too. One of my grandchildren is in the program. Nose to the grindstone before sunrise to long after dark and often on weekends. Not a lot of children will keep that up. This child has been in the Magnets and advanced programs since kindergarten; solid A's; which is all required to be considered for the Advanced Program.
    Apr 8, 2015. 12:56 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Shell Agrees To Buy BG Group For $69.6B [View article]
    High property taxes are one thing. What about State Income Taxes in the same states?

    In Texas the property taxes sub for income tax. Non-property owners pay as part of rent but many rental tax rates are reduced. It is possible to slip through some loopholes and pay no property tax at all. Property tax and then school tax. Counties where the loopholes are heavily used have poor county services and very poor schools.
    Apr 8, 2015. 12:44 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Euro Heads For Biggest Quarterly Fall On Record [View article]
    The problem I see with Drone Package Delivery is weather. Snow and ice, obviously. What about wind? Wind is always there. Swirling turbulence around buildings more often than not. Rain. Package delivery could come to a complete halt very often for days at a time until weather clears and the wind speeds drop. A man in a truck (UPS; FedEx; USPS) mostly does not have that kind of problem.

    Putting a package into a tiny space is an interesting problem from my perspective. Fly into the location and not hit trees, power lines, whatever else? Model airplane flying contests are about speed and maneuvers. There are no "precision landing" events (that I have heard about) except for occasional fun because the planes do not have the capability, for the most part. Full-size airplanes or model airplanes. Almost all landing areas (runways) are big open spaces with some significant margin for error.

    It would be interesting to read about how the delivery systems are being developed to cope with the winds and trees and all the other myriad obstructions for a Drone approaching a residential address. Not to even mention an apartment address?

    For fun about "precision landings" look up some Caribbean Island airports with impossible runways on YouTube. Also, to the best of my recollection, FAA limits flight to higher than 500 feet almost everywhere and higher than 1000 to 2000 feet above most cities. Except of course for the landing patterns. Duh.
    Mar 31, 2015. 12:25 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Wall Street Breakfast: Markets Await Fed Policy Decision [View article]
    I have two Citi cards. Both free. One gives back 2% cash, which has become my primary card, and the other has "Rewards." The Rewards are small discounts on mostly women's clothing, make-up, jewelry. Sometimes a 'free' soda with a paid sandwich at a fast food-- a useless option IMO.

    I have stopped using the various cards I have except the Citi 2% cash return card. I use the others just enough to keep them active, which isn't much.

    The Citi card that offers "Rewards" is feeling the pain of the other card and I am participating in a "special offer" which is supposed to return 5% cash for a few weeks.

    Citi has stopped cold several attempts at identity theft for me in recent years before those attempts could get off the ground.
    Mar 18, 2015. 12:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A No-Brainer Dividend Growth Investment [View article]
    @Coolbluelake: When most of us think of MCD we think of burgers. We also think "Big Mac." The thing to buy is the McDouble. A lot of folks with less than top-end incomes are well aware that the McDouble is really a cheap "Big Mac" and includes very little of the high fat & high calorie ingredients.

    For all of us who are older (I am well into my 70's) the thing to buy is Mickey D's chicken offerings. The much-maligned McNuggets are made to match real chicken. If a person sits down to dinner and eats a home-cooked 'fryer,' skin & most of what is scraped off the bones, then that is the same as a dinner of McNuggets. Really. For a better meal, try a McChicken sandwich with 'no mayo.' Take it home and try some salsa (from a jar bought at a grocery store) to juice it up. Mayonnaise is actually one of the worst things we all commonly consume. Even better, throw away the top half of the bun (white bread is actually 'toxic'). Or, now, Mickey D is offering chicken strips again. Eat them instead with some of that salsa.

    The bottom line is that Mickey D is the biggest and the best known and catches all the flack. There are other chains with significantly more unhealthy offerings that are invisible in the media. Some of those are regional. Apparently if a food chain does not have a store in Lower Manhattan or downtown San Francisco, they are exempt from criticism. The other part is that the food at MCD is essentially identical to, or better than, the food everywhere else, whether it be 'fast food' or most restaurants.

    My only regret is not having bought many more shares when MCD was really cheap.
    Mar 15, 2015. 08:46 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment