Wednesday, September 17, 2014

It Seems the Millennials Want Experiences over Goods

Marketers need to savvy up and start backing events instead of goods.

The Harris/Eventbrite researchers found that 78% of millennials would rather spend money on a desirable experience than buy coveted goods. Reinforcing that point, 72% of millennials said they want to increase their spending on experiences during the next year, in lieu of physical things.

The reason why they would rather have the experience rather than the good is thus:

A major reason for dashing off to all these parties, festivals, road races and taco-eating contests: the fear of missing out. With the rise of social media, Eventbrite analysts point out, skipping the big event doesn’t just mean missing an afternoon of good times; it also means being reminded on Facebook, Tumblr and the like of how much fun everyone else had.

You can see a case-in-point with things like the Spartan Race, the Ice Bucket Challenge, and (as this article points out) Burning Man. So what markets need to do is sponsor Love Festivals, and Concerts and things and the Millennials might show up in droves. For no other reason than to take a bunch of selfies for Instagram.

Change ISIS to Daesh? Sounds Like a Good Idea. Especially Because They Hate the Term

Well ISIS hates being called Daesh so lets call them that.

The Associated Press recently reported that the group were threatening to cut cut out the tongues of anyone who used the phrase publicly, and AFP have noted that the term "Daeshi" has been used a derogatory term in some parts of the Middle East. Some analysts have suggested that the dislike of the term comes from its similarity to another Arabic word, دعس, or Das. That word means to trample down or crush.

Trample down and crush sounds like what much of the world would like to do to them.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

We Spent $22 Trillion and We haven't budged on the Amount of Poor People in this Country?

I guess we lost the war on poverty because these numbers are staggering.

Since its beginning, U.S. taxpayers have spent $22 trillion on Johnson’s War on Poverty (in constant 2012 dollars). Adjusting for inflation, that’s three times more than was spent on all military wars since the American Revolution.

That is a LOT of money.

But today the Census will almost certainly proclaim that around 14 percent of Americans are still poor. The present poverty rate is almost exactly the same as it was in 1967 a few years after the War on Poverty started. Census data actually shows that poverty has gotten worse over the last 40 years.

I guess people that are categorized as in poverty has changed since 1967.

According to government surveys, the typical family that Census identifies as poor has air conditioning, cable or satellite TV, and a computer in his home. Forty percent have a wide screen HDTV and another 40 percent have internet access. Three quarters of the poor own a car and roughly a third have two or more cars. (These numbers are not the result of the current bad economy pushing middle class families into poverty; instead, they reflect a steady improvement in living conditions among the poor for many decades.)

Those are some really nice items and I think part of it is because of our tax system. That earned income tax credit allows a poor person to get a big chunk of cash at tax time. Many of these people don't bank that money for a rainy day or buy an Vanguard S&P500 Index Fund or something. Instead they put a down-payment on a new car or truck or simply blow that money on a new LCD TV instead. I wonder how these numbers would look if the government just changed that lump sum tax credit to a monthly salary instead?

This part was interesting:

The intake of protein, vitamins and minerals by poor children is virtually identical with upper middle class kids. According to surveys by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the overwhelming majority of poor people report they were not hungry even for a single day during the prior year.

This is actually a good thing in my eyes. The greatest nation in the world should not have any citizen be hungry for any period of time. We should at least make sure that every American has a full belly day after day no matter what. I guess in this one thing you can say the war on poverty has one at least one battle.

Ancient Crecent of Stone Found in Israel. The Thing is Freaking Big Too

I can't wait for archaeologists to dig up this monster.

Located about 8 miles (13 kilometers) northwest of the Sea of Galilee, the structure is massive — its volume is about 14,000 cubic meters (almost 500,000 cubic feet) and it has a length of about 150 meters (492 feet), making it longer than an American football field. Pottery excavated at the structure indicates the monument dates to between 3050 B.C. and 2650 B.C., meaning it is likely older than the pyramids of Egypt. It was also built before much of Stonehenge was constructed. 

Ancient peoples seem to be really good at moving massive stones all over the place and building huge monuments. My money is on a long-forgotten form on telekinesis but I might be wrong.

Students Protest Against Dress Code that Affects Mostly Women

It seems that the students are rebelling against a dress code that seems to target mostly women.

As if getting dressed for high school wasn’t tough enough already, for some students in Staten Island, N.Y., wearing summer’s hottest trends — crop tops, cutoff shorts, and flip-flops — could mean detention slips. But many are fighting against the policy, and nearly 200 students have already worn their favorite threads in protest and proudly served time for it, according to the New York Post.

I guess this is why some schools are implementing uniforms.You don't have to worry about crop tops when everyone is wearing the same polo shirts to school.

Monday, September 15, 2014

National Center for Science Education Blast Global Warming Teaching in Texas Textbook

It seems the settled science is the only acceptable thing to teach kids these days.

The text goes on to present students with excerpts from two articles on climate change, one written by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the other by the Heartland Institute, a conservative advocacy group. “This misleads students as to good sources of information, pitting an ideologically driven advocacy group … against a Nobel Peace Prize-winning scientific body,” the NCSE reviewers write.

Um, both of these groups are ideologically driven advocacy groups. The IPCC sometimes made mistakes when it came to global warming and are pretty clear that they are advocates of man-made climate change.

Friday, September 12, 2014

State Department Threatens Foley Family About Paying Ransom for Their Now Deceased Son

This has to rankle the family when they felt like they could have done something to save their sons life.

Diane Foley, James Foley's mother, offered a rare interview to ABC News this week in which she admitted the family considered a ransom payment to ISIS to secure her son's safe return. However, she also says White House officials told the family they would face criminal charges for supporting terrorism in the event a ransom was paid. The message came directly from a high-ranking military official on the White House National Security Council. The last threat came just days before the video of Foley's beheading surfaced. 

However, you have to understand that the US is not supposed to negotiate with terrorists. Instead the White House waited forever and then missed the hostages because of bad intel. In any case this will all go down the memory hole now that Obama is going to bomb ISIS at long last.   

Thursday, September 11, 2014

I'm Sorry Marc Faber McDonalds is No Longer a Proxy for the World Economy

This might well have been true about a decade ago.

For Faber, those results are a perfect example of the damage being done by central banks—and the harbinger of more bad news to come. 

"Nobody knows for sure" what will cause stocks to collapse, but "the earnings may disappoint. We had, essentially, very poor sales from McDonald's. Now, McDonald's is a very good indicator of the global economy. If McDonald's doesn't increase its sales, it tells you that the monetary policies have largely failed in the sense that prices are going up more than disposable income, and so people have less purchasing power." 

I think McDonalds poor sales is more of switch to healthy eating than anything else. Quite a few people are starting to shun McDonalds supposedly unhealthy food for Chipotle and other restaurants. The tasty and healthy burritos gives Chipotle revenue growth of 27% and earnings growth of 30% in 2014. No one can say that people aren't eating at Chipotle because their disposable income is in the dumper. Just anecdotally, the last time I walked by a Chipotle there was a line out the door and down the street. So the purchasing power of the proles might not be as big an issue as Faber is talking about.

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

California to Become Pre-Revolutionary France?

It seems to be slowing heading that way as the Tech Oligarchs distance themselves from the common man.

The oligarchs feel free, and even entitled, to choose the direction of society in the name of a greater good, but somehow their policies seem mostly to make the oligarchs richer and more powerful. Meanwhile, once-prosperous middle-class communities, revolving around manufacturing industries that have now moved overseas, either sink into poverty or become gentrified homes for the lower-upper class. The middle class itself, meanwhile, is increasingly, in Kotkin's words, "proletarianized," with security vanishing and jobs moving downscale.

Plus some of those same oligarchs are "disrupting" their jobs away at a record pace. This article also points out that there is a Californian First and Fourth Estates in this Pre-Revolutionary French model.

The oligarchs are assisted in their control by what Kotkin calls the "clerisy" class — an amalgam of academics, media and government employees who play the role that medieval clergy once played in legitimizing the powerful, and in implementing their policies while quelling resistance from the masses. The clerisy isn't as rich as the oligarchs, but it does pretty well for itself and is compensated in part by status, its positions allowing even its lower-paid members to feel superior to the hoi polloi.

The article talks about these people as either teaching someone how to get a license in whatever field or are there to check the licenses. This clerisy keeps themselves in place and keep the poor man down thusly:

And as Radley Balko notes in the Washington Post, a thicket of petty regulation helps to keep the poor, poor. Traffic fines, fines for not using a city-approved garbage service, even parking tickets all provide revenue for municipal machines that support jobs for the clerisy — social workers, police, etc. — even as they make it harder for poor people to keep their heads above water, or find the kind of work that would let them rise above poverty.

This clerisy also has skin in the game if these same poor people are kept on a perpetual dole. I mean who will be regulating how much dole to give each poor person? Who will be making charts and compiling data and writing and revising regulations when it comes to this dole? Who will print the dole checks and man the dole disbursement sites? The clerisy of course. So they have a financial incentive to keep the poor poor and the oligarchs in place. Hopefully, things don't go the same way that revolutionary France did.


Monday, September 08, 2014

Jack the Ripper Revealed? It turns out it was a Polish Barber Aaron Kosminski

Hmm this makes some sense.

But after extracting DNA from a shawl recovered from the scene of one of the killings, which matched relatives of both the victim and one of the suspects, Jack the Ripper sleuth Russell Edwards claims the identity of the murderer is now beyond doubt.

He says the infamous killer is Aaron Kosminski, a Jewish emigre from Poland, who worked as a barber.
Edwards, a businessman interested in the Ripper story, bought a bloodstained Victorian shawl at auction in 
2007.

The story goes that it came from the murder scene of the Ripper's fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, on September 30, 1888.

I wonder if a barber would have enough knowledge to cut organs out of a woman like the Ripped did? He probably had the manual dexterity to do it but the anatomy knowledge is iffy. Also why did he stop after the 5th victim? The article said he entered a workhouse in 1889 and the last murder was Friday 9 November 1888. He then went from the workhouse to the insane asylum where he died in 1919. He might have never had a chance to commit future murders and stopped after 5 because of this confinement.

I Guess a Picture is Worth an Indefinite Suspension. Ray Rice Cut and Suspeded after TMZ releases Awful Knock-Out

The NFL is so full of crap when it comes to suspensions.

All the support the Baltimore Ravens gave Ray Rice this offseason as he dealt with his domestic violence incident evaporated after TMZ released video of the running back knocking out his wife.

The team cut him on Monday afternoon.

The NFL was told he knocked out his wife and dragged her out of an elevator. Did the NFL think he held up his fist and she fainted daintily onto a divan or something? He knocked her out and only got a 2 game suspension. Aldon Smith was drunk and disorderly at the airport and got an 8 game suspension. Now the NFL sees the actual video footage and suddenly they rush to suspend him indefinitely. I guess a video is worth more than the words of what actually happened.

Its a Fricken Laser! Boeing Introduces the Drone/Missile Killer Known as the HEL MD

I would like to have it called the Hell Beam.

The aerospace giant recently conducted testing on its High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) against aerial targets at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. And we’re pleased to say it works, quite well.

Effectively, the HEL MD is a giant high-energy laser outfitted atop a 500-horsepower Oshkosh 8×8 tactical vehicle. In its most recent testing, Boeing focused its 10-kilowatt laser on more than 150 airborne bogeys, which included both mortars and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Inducing a high level of heat on contact, the laser system burns the target until it either blows up – in the case of the mortars – or crashes.

They are planning on rolling out a 50-60 kilowatt laser in the future. I'm sure the IDF would like to purchase a few of these in order to deal with Hamas missile-fire. The Iron Dome now laser powered!