Headline Management – Or, How to Influence the Media, Investors, and the Public

Two newspaper carriers for "The Monitor" newspaper in Montreal, 1943

(warning: cynicism and mini-rant ahead) These headlines found their way into my email inbox this morning, courtesy of Google Alerts. I have several news alerts going, one of which is themed on the continuing saga of the Fukushima nuclear disaster. Reuters - "Japan to Lift Entry Ban on Some Fukushima Cities" Huffington Post - "Japan Fukushima Nuclear Zone Partly Opened for First Time" Wall Street Journal Asia - "Japan Adds to Citizens Allowed to go Home" (The WSJ article is locked away behind a subscription wall. So screw 'em, no link love) Bloomberg BusinessWeek - "Japan Opens Three Evacuated Towns After TEPCO's Disaster" Atlanta Journal-Constitution - "Japan Eases Limits in Nuke No-go Zone for First Time" (Similar … [Read more...]

A Labor Shortage? Surely You Can’t be Serious…

Notice anything about this fellow?  I'll give you a hint: gray hair.  Retirement looms. "Worker finishes the neck on a Martin guitar at the Martin Guitar factory in Nazareth, PA. - Oct 2008"  (photo by dtaw2001 - released into the public domain - thanks, dtaw2001!)

China running short of people?  But they've got a billion and a half people over there. Labor shortage? Surely you can't be serious... I am serious, and don't call me Shirley. And I'm going to prove my point with headlines and comments, because I'm feeling a little pressed for time this morning. This from the UPI, dateline about a month ago: Labor Shortage Hits China's Export Base BEIJING, Feb. 29 (UPI) -- A labor shortage in Guangdong province, China's main production and export center, has hit its labor- and service-intensive industries, officials said Wednesday. The province, bordering Hong Kong, is facing a shortage of about 800,000 workers, said a spokesman with the province's department of human resources and social … [Read more...]

The Changing Face of Wealth Management

Canary Wharf, UK (photo credit by WiN

The following is a guest post from Sungard APT The face of the wealth management industry is transforming in response to the challenges of volatile markets, greater expectations for transparency and a shifting client base. This is leading to new opportunities for financial institutions - and new complexities and challenges as well. Innovative wealth managers are looking for new ways to serve their customers, to differentiate themselves from their competitors and so to grow their businesses. What are the main factors driving this change and who are these new clients, and what characterizes the changing face of wealth management? The dynamic investment landscape Today’s environment sees investment options rapidly increasing, against … [Read more...]

Caffe’ Break: Gardening, Planning, Procrastinating

Wonderful glorious espresso (Image by Mark Prince, CoffeeGeek.com, 2006 - released into public domain for Wikipedia))

Another short blog post on topics I can write about in between longer, better-researched and more satisfying articles.  On this coffee break, did you know that some maintain that the Italian word for coffee (caffe') originated from the name of the Ethiopian or Abyssinian region of Kaffa, where coffee consumption first came to be widely practiced --- based on the apocryphal goat herder noticing his goats prancing about after munching on coffee beans.  More likely, it is derived from the Arabic word for coffee "Qahwa" or Gahwa",  and then filtered down into European languages.  Both the Ethiopian and Arabic coffee ceremonies are pretty cool (subjects for future blog posts)  In any event, espresso sure is wonderful.  Other examples of … [Read more...]

Rounding Out The Week – Cereal Killers

I was going to lead off with a sentence like "apologies for the lack of posting", but as I recently read in an internet forum, this is the internet. Nobody really cares if you go off for a week, you're not that special. On the other hand, as blog traffic experts know, slack off on posting good content on a regular basis, and watch your stats plunge deeper than Lady Gaga neckline. Busy, busy, busy week... painting the inside of the well house a bright orange out at the hacienda (don't ask me, that's the Mrs. 101 color wheel at work), getting quotes on roof repairs and new siding (getting ready for those before/after pictures), making new raised beds in the garden, and generally leading the country squire life. NOT SO GOOD EATS A … [Read more...]

Prospect Generators in Mining — The Global Outsourcing Trend Continues

Screen Shot 2012-03-20 at 5.05.07 AM

American Airlines is looking for partner airlines to manage flight route out of the U.S. Oil and Gas refining companies outsource their engineering, procurement and construction. Automobile companies have gone from vertically integrated manufacturers to mere assembly plants.  Maybe they build the engine, maybe they don't.  Most components from seats to batteries are outsourced. The mining industry seems to be no different with regards to exploration.   Major mining companies used to have exploration divisions, staffed by competent geologists who scoured the planet for mining resources.  Nowadays, the flavor of the month (along with rare earth elements) seems to be companies who follow the "prospect generators" model. This … [Read more...]

Random Links and Notes – May 18, 2012 – Plumber Butt, Qihoo 360 and Passive Income Lies

Not that kind of crack spread

Coming to you live this weekend from the USA Financial Service country hacienda, at an undisclosed location in eastern Oklahoma. Spring break is coming up next week. Spring is indeed in the air. Wildflowers and fruit trees are blooming, and the pasture is greening up. Time to dig and plant and sow and mulch. Look for more gardening posts in the near future, as experimentation and success and failures accrete in this blog's knowledge base. The hukelcultur raised bed is coming along nicely, but I can see there's a great deal more wood that needs to be cut for it. No problem, fire up the chainsaw, and rack up those man points. Fraud on the Nasdaq - Who Cares? Citron Research delivers a great piece on some iffy stock on the Nasdaq. I did a … [Read more...]

Ideas and Discoveries Magazine: Dead on Arrival?

Printing Press, Munich Museum, Germany, 1811

Why do so many magazines fail? That's not just me asking the question. That's an oft-quoted query in the magazine publishing world. And yet, examples abound of start-ups in the old media. Catchy titles and glossy graphics can be all that's needed for success in today's multimedia environment. ( "10 Commandments for Custom Magazine Failure" ) The latest example to run across my eyeballs is Ideas and Discoveries magazine. I bought this on a whim from while on recent business trip. As I said, awesome graphics and catchy subject matter. How food cooks.  The deteriorating mental condition of historical figures. Brain neuro-parasites.  Entertaining and educating enough to keep throughout the whole trip and bring home to the … [Read more...]

A Fistful of Links … Or, I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Factory Workers stamping out discs in an HJ Heinz can factory, 1909.  This photograph has pride of place in Hon Sen John Kerry's mansion

When traveling on business, there is little time to do anything for oneself. On the blogging side, I managed to squeeze out a couple of posts, more travel journal than anything, but that was about it.  I certainly didn't catch up on any PF blogs.  So, the selection criteria for today's roundup is entirely selfish.  A link is the function of having come by and supported this blog's readership by leaving a comment (as well as having posted some quality content - gotta have some standards!).  Thanks! No Good Deed Goes Unpunished Provide great products that the market loves, and get pilloried in the media. It happened to Nike, it happened to Microsoft, and now Apple.  Darwin's Money points out that Apple isn't getting any love in the … [Read more...]

Why Being A Hoarder Will Cost You

Gustave Doré's illustration to Dante's Inferno (1857). Plate XXII: Canto VII: The hoarders and wasters. "Not all the gold that is beneath the moon / Or ever hath been, or these toil-worn souls / Might ever purchase rest for one" (Cary's translation)

  Most of us try to streamline our lives as much as possible. Sometimes this means removing some of the unnecessary things that can complicate life, including possessions. Having too many things can be not only expensive, but unhealthy as well. The Hazards of Hoarding The more things you have in your home, the more things you have to worry about when it comes to insurance. While renters insurance and homeowners insurance both cover a certain amount, this amount may not be enough if you're a dedicated hoarder or collector. The replacement values of even the everyday necessities of your life can add up to a lot of money. Just think about it for a moment. Do you own furniture? How about a TV, desktop computer, laptop … [Read more...]