Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Links

"What can be added to the happiness of a man who is in health, out of debt, and has a clear conscience?” -- Adam Smith
Great title; probably true: "The dumbest guys in the room: Is Cheniere Energy a contrarian indicator for natural gas?"

College professor thinks bloated, inefficient college signaling mechanism is immune from competition. "The normativity of conventional education isn't a passing phase. College attendance is a central tenet of our society's secular religion. A student who scoffs at all these expectations probably has a serious problem with authority. Would-be employers treat him accordingly."

NYT on 'Taxmageddon': As a result of income tax increases, "inflation-adjusted, after-tax income for the median household could fall next year to its 1998 level, in spite of the continuing economic recovery."

Selections from an interview with John McPhee, one of the greatest living writers. "I believe that so-called writer’s block is something that any writer is going to experience every day, but in a minor way. You break through some kind of membrane, and then you go into another world. Time really goes fast in there, but it is hard as can be to get there, and it frightens me."

WSJ: "The plunge in natural-gas prices over the past few months has had a surprising side effect: Investors love trading the plummeting commodity."

Important NYT article from 1986: "The directors of the New York Stock Exchange voted yesterday to abandon a decades-old rule that gave all of a public corporation's shareholders equal voting rights. Instead, companies traded on the exchange will have the right to issue classes of common stock with unequal voting rights."

I've been meaning to talk about Kickstarter on the blog. Meanwhile, check out an example project "Launch the Griffin", a project to launch an Irish pub in South Pasadena, CA.

Here's something about the financial literacy of college students. Sadly hilarious - and Tyler Cowen (aka cheap chalupas) thinks that U.S. colleges are the most competitive sector: "seventy percent of American college students have credit cards, five of every six of those students do not know their cards' interest rates [...] It gets worse. Nearly all of the 725 students who took the survey in fall 2009 were business majors"

No kidding: "Investors might be surprised to see how highly correlated their emerging market stocks are to the S&P 500." An interesting paper about correlations. They note that hedge funds provide little diversification benefit in a portfolio. This is true of funds that don't do any original work, or who are so big that they are closet index funds by necessity.

Pair trade idea: "XLU:SPY is very close to as cheap as its ever gotten since 2007. With 2.12% div carry, this is an attractive hedge"

Targeted advertising on Facebook: "if you want to reach the 100 people on Facebook who live in California, are between 18 and 36 years old, like "space" and work at Apple or Google, you can."

Read the Barron's article on student loan debt. "The 30-to-39 age group owes more than any other age decile, with a per-borrower debt load of $28,500." Unbelievable, to still be paying off student loans at that age, and later.

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