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NEWS PAPER OR MEDIA ARTICLES, ANYTHING INTERESTING
triage
post Posted: Today, 09:26 AM
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In Reply To: nipper's post @ Oct 20 2014, 07:54 AM

Here's some more on the ebola epidemic, from a bunch of wonks with a computer and a mathematical model, and keep in mind these projections are just for one of the worst areas in one of the worst affected countries, Liberia:

QUOTE
The model developed by Galvani and colleagues projects as many as 170,996 total reported and unreported cases of the disease, representing 12% of the overall population [in the Montserrado region of Liberia] of some 1.38 million people, and 90,122 deaths in Montserrado alone by Dec. 15. Of these, the authors estimate 42,669 cases and 27,175 deaths will have been reported by that time. Much of this suffering -- some 97,940 cases of the disease -- could be averted if the international community steps up control measures immediately, starting Oct. 31, the model predicts. This would require additional Ebola treatment center beds, a fivefold increase in the speed with which cases are detected, and allocation of protective kits to households of patients awaiting treatment center admission. The study predicts that, at best, just over half as many cases (53,957) can be averted if the interventions are delayed to Nov. 15. Had all of these measures been in place by Oct. 15, the model calculates that 137,432 cases in Montserrado could have been avoided.


http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/...41023193539.htm

I have no doubt that there are many brave and generous people in Australia who would put their hands up to help out - of the ilk of our very own Mick who previously gave of his time in Africa - and I have no doubt that we can provide technical (doctors and the like) and logistical (military folk skilled at rapid deployment of infrastructure) grunt that would help save tens of thousands of Africans.

Meanwhile Tony Abbott continues to talk tough about a few home-grown idealogues and nutcases and how he stands shoulder to shouler with his almost-a-brother Canadian counterpart when loose security allowed a crazyman access to their parliament buildings . The extremists need to be sorted out for sure but even in the worst case scenario I cannot see them killing tens of thousands of innocent people in the next couple of months. My guess is when the fire-fight with ebola is all but over Mr Abbott will announce some belated grand gesture to make out that Australia was front and centre. The fact is many nations are already responding: the yanks are sending 3,000 troops into Liberia, China has sent hundreds of medical staff and Cuba is also organising a major relief effort. The fact also is that the US, the UK, Liberia amongst others have requested that Australia pitch in. But whilst Mr Abbott is more than happy to jump at any request from the US to deploy weapons to kill extremists from a distance he is hanging back regarding the many requests for the Australian government to help with regards ebola.

It seems that Mr Abbott has been weighed, he's been measured and he's been found wanting. From his running and hiding from the ebola challenge I can only conclude that the bloke is cowardly.

It would seem that a mix of newly developed vaccines (one estimate I've seen is that 250k doses of an effectivtive vaccine should be available early next year which should at least give protection to front-line medical staff and assistance to go into the worst hit areas), transmission control methodologies, possible use of blood products from ebola survivors, and newly installed infrastructure may see the epidemic slowed from exponential expansion rates.

And regarding nipper's point about how Nigeria appears to have managed a successful low-budget response to ebola here is an article that attempts to explain that success.

http://www.latimes.com/world/africa/la-fg-...1022-story.html



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"The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." John Maynard Keynes

"The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought." Rudiger Dornbush

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle
 
wren
post Posted: Oct 20 2014, 01:16 PM
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Here is some quite scary stuff from a very smart guy.

http://blog.mpettis.com/2014/10/how-to-lin...-marine-le-pen/


Said 'Thanks' for this post: nipper  alonso  triage  Mork  
 
nipper
post Posted: Oct 20 2014, 07:54 AM
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In Reply To: triage's post @ Oct 20 2014, 07:29 AM

I am quite drawn to the implicit assumptions, that somehow only developed world, high tech response can succeed.

Meantime in the real world, Senegal has been declared free of new cases (42 day wait) and Nigeria will soon meet that mark.

Back in the ol' USA, hysteria seems to be winning. (for example: US media reported on overzealous action taken by some worried communities, including a group of Mississippi parents who pulled their kids from school because the principal had recently travelled to Zambia — a southern African country far from the Ebola crisis in west Africa.)



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time."
- Dr John Hussman
 
triage
post Posted: Oct 20 2014, 07:29 AM
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Another good piece from The Economist: this time it is a summing up of where we currently are regarding ebola: a (hopefully (?)) high-side estimate of 1.4m infected in west africa in the next three months with a virus with a kill rate of 40%-50%. As the arcticle notes, in past outbreaks the infection rate quickly fell away from being exponential but this current plague is keeping to an exponential clip so any modelling is difficult.

http://www.economist.com/news/internationa...n-and-could-yet

I see Aussie Aussie Aussie gets an unfavourable mention:

QUOTE
Last month [Médecins Sans Frontières] rejected a pledge of $2.5m from the Australian government, demanding Australian doctors instead. Australia demurred.


It used to be that Australia would have been front and centre in providing gowns-on-the-ground support on such missions but apparently these days we are only up for it when we get to kill foreigners rather than when we have the chance of saving them. sadsmiley02.gif

Seeing how we are willing and able to cancel the passports of volunteers who wish to put themselves into regions of turmoil with the risk of then bringing that turmoil back here I wonder whether the government will start cancelling the passports of doctors and nurses who indicate their intention of going to west africa to volunteer. To be clear: I have no major problems with curtailing the activities of those inclined to use violence against the Australian community but I do think it is selfish and gutless for us not to be as equally forthright regarding the fight against ebola (after all, let's be frank, over the generations we have stood out more for our medical prowess than for our military achievements).



--------------------
"The market can stay irrational longer than you can stay solvent." John Maynard Keynes

"The crisis takes a much longer time coming than you think, and then it happens much faster than you would have thought." Rudiger Dornbush

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." Aristotle

Said 'Thanks' for this post: arty  
 
Alethia
post Posted: Oct 3 2014, 09:20 AM
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A copy of an article in the current edition of The Economist.

It expresses my thoughts succinctly. We are entering a post industrial, technical, digital revolution age and entering a social consumer age.
Workers not required. A few major factories in the world will be able to produce all the cars, machines, white goods, computers etc etc that we require.
So the problem for the government will be not full employment but a way of paying people who chose to stay home.

Should not be too much of a problem in Australia. The mining industry generates the wealth which allows the government to employ an obscene number of people to do a job that could be done by an handful.


http://www.economist.com/news/leaders/2162...9249e1ccab3913|

Computers that can do your job and eat your lunch
So far, the upheaval has been felt most by low- and mid-skilled workers in rich countries. The incomes of the highly educated—those with the skills to complement computers—have soared, while pay for others lower down the skill ladder has been squeezed. In half of all OECD countries real median wages have stagnated since 2000. Countries where employment is growing at a decent clip, such as Germany or Britain, are among those where wages have been squeezed most.

In the coming years the disruption will be felt by more people in more places, for three reasons. First, the rise of machine intelligence means more workers will see their jobs threatened. The effects will be felt further up the skill ladder, as auditors, radiologists and researchers of all sorts begin competing with machines. Technology will enable some doctors or professors to be much more productive, leaving others redundant.

Second, wealth creation in the digital era has so far generated little employment. Entrepreneurs can turn their ideas into firms with huge valuations and hardly any staff. Oculus VR, a maker of virtual-reality headsets with 75 employees, was bought by Facebook earlier this year for $2 billion. With fewer than 50,000 workers each, the giants of the modern tech economy such as Google and Facebook are a small fraction of the size of the 20th century’s industrial behemoths.

Third, these shifts are now evident in emerging economies. Foxconn, long the symbol of China’s manufacturing economy, at one point employed 1.5m workers to assemble electronics for Western markets. Now, as the costs of labour rise and those of automated manufacturing fall, Foxconn is swapping workers for robots. China’s future is more Alibaba than assembly line: the e-commerce company that recently made a spectacular debut on the New York Stock Exchange employs only 20,000 people.

The digital transformation seems to be undermining poor countries’ traditional route to catch-up growth. Moving the barely literate masses from fields to factories has become harder. If India, for instance, were to follow China’s development path, it would need skilled engineers and managers to build factories to employ millions of manufacturing workers. But, thanks to technological change, its educated elite is now earning high salaries selling IT services to foreigners. The digital revolution has made an industrial one uneconomic.

Bridging the gap
None of this means that the digital revolution is bad for humanity. Far from it. This newspaper believes firmly that technology is, by and large, an engine of progress. IT has transformed the lives of billions for the better, often in ways that standard income measures do not capture. Communication, knowledge and entertainment have become all but free. Few workers would want to go back to a world without the internet, the smartphone or Facebook, even for a pay increase. Technology also offers new ways to earn a living. Etsy, an online marketplace for arts and crafts, enables hobbyists to sell their wares around the world. Uber, the company that is disrupting the taxi business, allows tens of thousands of drivers to work as and when they want.

Nonetheless, the growing wedge between a skilled elite and ordinary workers is worrying. Angry voters whose wages are stagnant will seek scapegoats: witness the rise of xenophobia and protectionism in the rich world. In poor countries dashed expectations and armies of underemployed people are a recipe for extremism and unrest. Governments across the globe therefore have a huge interest in helping remove the obstacles that keep workers from wealth.

The answer is not regulation or a larger state. High minimum wages will simply accelerate the replacement of workers by machines. Punitive tax rates will deter entrepreneurship and scare off the skilled on whom prosperity in the digital era depends. The best thing governments can do is to raise the productivity and employability of less-skilled workers. That means getting rid of daft rules that discourage hiring, like protections which make it difficult to sack poor performers. It means better housing policy and more investment in transport, to help people work in productive cities such as London and Mumbai. It means revamping education. Not every worker can or should complete an advanced degree, but too many people in poor countries still cannot read and too many in rich ones fail to complete secondary school. In future, education should not be just for the young: adults will need lifetime learning if they are to keep up with technological change.

Yet although governments can mitigate the problem, they cannot solve it. As technology progresses and disrupts more jobs, more workers will be employable only at lower wages. The modest earnings of the generation that technology leaves behind will need to be topped up with tax credits or wage subsidies. That need not mean imposing higher tax rates on the affluent, but it does mean closing the loopholes and cutting the giveaways from which they benefit.

In the 19th century, it took the best part of 100 years for governments to make the investment in education that enabled workers to benefit from the industrial revolution. The digital revolution demands a similarly bold, but swifter, response.



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The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.

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nipper
post Posted: Oct 2 2014, 10:02 AM
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Australia: I should be so lucky
QUOTE
The Lucky Country, the 1964 book that provided the nickname for Australia was, in fact, a critique of the nation. In the past decade of Chinese growth, it has made sense to interpret the moniker unironically.

But that luck is changing. China's growth is slowing. The demand for commodities that sucked money into Australia isn't as strong as it was. The halo effect on the rest of the economy is dimming. Interest rates have slipped, and with them the Australian dollar.

Although attached to the 10th-largest global economy, the Aussie is the fifth-most actively traded currency, according to the Bank for International Settlements. It has been punching above its weight as a proxy for Chinese growth. In many countries, a weaker currency might be good for exports. But aside from commodities, Australia has few listed exporters. A National Australia Bank survey last week showed that two-way trade in goods and services accounted for two-fifths of GDP in 2013. This trade is dominated by imports.

And despite the years of favourable exchange rates, the country's oligopolistic, cosseted industries did not take the opportunity to build their defences. Department stores such as Myer and David Jones indulged in fat margins, attracting new entrants. Meanwhile, Australia's four big banks, led by expensive favourite CBA, rode the house price boom. They now face risks from the mortgage market, according to the central bank – which has hinted at cooling measures.

Yet despite the poor backdrop, the Aussie is the best-performing currency in the G10 this year against the US dollar. The benchmark Australian index, the S&P/ASX 200 has posted a flat total return so far this year in US dollar terms against up to 5 per cent for the MSCI World index.

Given the fickleness of fortune, the reaction seems mild.

Australia is pushing its luck.

Financial Times
wonder if this will engage the chattering classes?



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"Every long-term security is nothing more than a claim on some expected future stream of cash that will be delivered into the hands of investors over time. For a given stream of expected future cash payments, the higher the price investors pay today for that stream of cash, the lower the long-term return they will achieve on their investment over time."
- Dr John Hussman
 


henrietta
post Posted: Oct 2 2014, 09:21 AM
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In Reply To: balance's post @ Oct 2 2014, 08:43 AM

I get my news from the internet, many sources, and watch some cricket and football on the telly. Maybe free to air TV is doomed, but pay TV is no better quality wise.

Cheers
J

 
balance
post Posted: Oct 2 2014, 08:43 AM
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In Reply To: Alethia's post @ Oct 2 2014, 08:41 AM

Yes, so many channels , so much $#!T.



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Day Trader: Lowest form of life in the known universe.
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Investor: Salt of the Earth.Sits to the right of God (Warren Buffet)
Share prices are only ever manipulated down.
Paper losses are not really losses.
Chat site posters always know better & know more than anyone about anything.
I'm 29.
The cheque is in the mail.
 
Alethia
post Posted: Oct 2 2014, 08:41 AM
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In Reply To: balance's post @ Oct 2 2014, 08:31 AM

Channel 7 and 9 are entertainment channels not news channels.
Like you I am ready to throw a shoe at the TV when I watch some of the drivel on "Sunrise" and "Today".
I particularly hate the segments where they trot out a panel of bimbo's to give their opinions and discuss the news.

I must admit I liked both shows years ago but they seem to have become just aimless and irrelevant these days.

Our TV seems to spend much of its time off these days.



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The caterpillar does all the work but the butterfly gets all the publicity.
 
balance
post Posted: Oct 2 2014, 08:31 AM
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Ch 9 You cannot be serious. Is the news dept so inept? "Mayor" Marie Bashir retires. wacko.gif



--------------------
Day Trader: Lowest form of life in the known universe.
Shorter: Can limbo under a day trader.
Investor: Salt of the Earth.Sits to the right of God (Warren Buffet)
Share prices are only ever manipulated down.
Paper losses are not really losses.
Chat site posters always know better & know more than anyone about anything.
I'm 29.
The cheque is in the mail.
 
 


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