Jim Rogers: “Nobody Gets Out Of This Situation Until There’s A Crisis”; new book Street Smarts is the best book written by Jim Rogers

Jim Rogers: “Nobody Gets Out Of This Situation Until There’s A Crisis”

Tyler Durden on 05/30/2013 22:48 -0400

The following is GoldMoney contributing author Felix Moreno’s interview with famed investor Jim Rogers. We hope you enjoy it.

Félix Moreno: Please tell us about your new book, Street Smarts. What was your motivation for writing it?

Jim Rogers: To my surprise people tell me it’s my best book. I never would have expected this reaction. I’ve written a few books about specific things, but my publisher said, “look, you’ve never sort of pulled it together: how did you get from the backwoods of Alabama to Singapore” – among a few things. I had a few setbacks along the way, and a couple of successes. So I sat down to put it all together in the book, how it all worked and everything seemed to be worth it. Some people seem to enjoy it, to my delight. Read more of this post

Is This China’s ‘Minsky Moment’?

Is This China’s ‘Minsky Moment’?

Tyler Durden on 05/30/2013 22:18 -0400

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China’s credit growth has been outstripping economic growth for five quarters with the corporate debt bubble looking increasingly precarious (as we explained here and here). This raises one key question: where has the money gone? As SocGen notes, although such divergence is not unprecedented, it potentially suggests a trend that gives greater cause for concern – China is approaching a Minsky moment. At the micro level, SocGen points out that a non-negligible share of the corporate sector and local government financial vehicles are struggling to cover their financial expense. At the macro level, they estimate that China’s debt servicing costs have significantly exceeded underlying economic growth. As a result, the debt snowball is getting bigger and bigger, without contributing to real activity (see CCFDs for a very big example).This is probably where most of China’s missing money went. Read more of this post

Zuckerberg’s Step Into Politics Pushes Tech Friends Away

Zuckerberg’s Step Into Politics Pushes Tech Friends Away

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s bipartisan political organization is losing friends.

The group backed by technology millionaires and billionaires, called FWD.us, began advocating in April for changes to U.S. immigration law. Within weeks, FWD.us surprised some of its members by setting up partisan offshoots and airing ads promoting Democratic Senator Mark Begich’s support for oil drilling and Republican Senator Lindsey Graham’s backing of the Keystone XL pipeline.

It’s a strategy intended to give political cover to some senators who may support an immigration bill by reminding uneasy voters of the lawmakers’ other policy priorities. Yet the tactic angered some pro-environment donors and sparked a social-media campaign against Zuckerberg. Read more of this post

Halsey Minor, the CNET Networks founder who sold the company for $1.8 billion five years ago, filed for bankruptcy to liquidate his assets and pay his creditors

CNET Founder Minor Files for Bankruptcy After Selling Art

Halsey Minor, the CNET Networks Inc. (3549162Q) founder who sold the company for $1.8 billion five years ago, filed for bankruptcy to liquidate his assets and pay his creditors.

The Chapter 7 petition filed May 24 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles listed assets of as much as $50 million and debt of as much as $100 million. In Chapter 7, a U.S. Trustee, or sometimes a judge, appoints an impartial trustee to administer the case and sell assets such as automobiles.

Minor, 47, sold CNET to CBS Corp. (CBS) in 2008. His Minor Ventures invested in early-stage technology startups including GrandCentral Communications Inc., which Google Inc. (GOOG) bought in 2007 for about $65 million and renamed Google Voice. Read more of this post

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Puts Canberra House Up for Sale for A2.25m; bought in Sep 2010 at A$2.175m

Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd Puts House Up for Sale

Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has put his five-bedroom house in Canberra up for sale with an asking price of A$2.25 million ($2.18 million) after abandoning any aspirations to again lead the country.

The 465-square-meter (5,005-square-foot) house in the suburb of Yarralumla, a five-minute drive from Australia’s Parliament House, was listed for sale on May 29, said Shane Killalea, an agent at broker Peter Blackshaw Canberra, who is marketing the property. Rudd and his wife Therese bought the house in 2010. They moved out at the end of 2011 after their son Marcus completed his schooling in Canberra, Rudd’s office said in an e-mailed statement.

Rudd, 55, became prime minister when the Labor party won power in the November 2007 election. The former diplomat, who represents the seat of Griffith in Brisbane where he lives, was ousted in a late-night coup that installed current Prime Minister Julia Gillard in June 2010. Read more of this post

Growth Not Missile Threat Tops President Park’s South Korea Agenda; “If there are more people like you, we will be able to create the world we dream of,” Park, 61, told the smiling Gates

Growth Not Missile Threat Tops Park’s South Korea Agenda

With North Korea escalating its threats to test a ballistic missile, South Korean President Park Geun Hye was conferring with Bill Gates on another pressing matter. Seated across from Microsoft Corp.’s billionaire co-founder on April 22 at a formal dining table in the Blue House, her official residence, Park picked the tech mogul’s brain about how to nurture entrepreneurs to keep the world’s 15th-largest economy humming.

“If there are more people like you, we will be able to create the world we dream of,” Park, 61, told the smiling Gates.

By most measures, South Korea has already implanted itself among the globe’s economic success stories, Bloomberg Markets magazine will report in its July issue. The one-time agrarian backwater has emerged as an icon of manufacturing, technology — and cool. Read more of this post

Taiwan Capital Gains Tax Revisions Delayed by Opposition Party; Lawmakers are weighing a tax cut after stock trading volume declined by as much as 30 percent in the first four months of the year

Taiwan Capital Gains Tax Revisions Delayed by Opposition Party

Taiwanese opposition lawmakers today delayed cutting a controversial capital gains tax on share sales of more than NT$1 billion ($33.3 million) and removing an index price threshold that depressed shares.

Tsai Chi-chang, a Democratic Progressive Party lawmaker, said his party doesn’t support the ruling Kuomintang’s proposals and favors its own plan for a flat tax on all capital gains, which “fits the idea of fairness and justice and increasing government revenue.” The benchmark Taiex index rose 0.5 percent to 8,281.42 as of 11:21 a.m. local time.

Lawmakers are weighing a tax cut after stock trading volume declined by as much as 30 percent in the first four months of the year, according to Credit Suisse Group AG. President Ma Ying-jeou’s administration and legislators argued over about 10 versions of the tax last year, prompting then-Finance Minister Christina Liu to step down. The Taiex lost 13 percent during the period. Read more of this post

How Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring has shaped 100 years of music; From start to finish The Rite of Spring exalts in a new and explosive sense of musical movement

How Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring has shaped 100 years of music

Piece first performed in Paris exactly 100 years ago emblematic of era of great scientific, artistic and intellectual ferment

George Benjamin, The Guardian, Wednesday 29 May 2013

Stravinsky in 1914Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring

Stravinsky in 1914. Photograph: Lebrecht Music & Arts Photo Library; A section of a facsimile of Stravinsky’s manuscript for Rite of Spring, which was published this year to mark the centenary

The Rite of Spring was a revolutionary work for a revolutionary time. Its first performance in Paris, exactly 100 years ago on Wednesday, was a key moment in cultural history – a tumultuous scandal.

Written on the eve of the first world war and the Russian revolution, the piece is the emblem of an era of great scientific, artistic and intellectual ferment. No composer since can avoid the shadow of this great icon of the 20th century, and score after score by modern masters would be unthinkable without its model. Read more of this post

China’s shadow banks: The credit kulaks

China’s shadow banks: The credit kulaks

The growth in wealth-management products reflects deeper financial distortions

Jun 1st 2013 | HONG KONG |From the print edition

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AS THE grandson of a “rich farmer”, a stigmatised class in communist China, Joe Zhang grew up on the wrong side of the ideological tracks. At school he envied the town-kids who could look forward to a cushy job minding grain-stores or writing propaganda. But after winning a spot at university, he eventually escaped into central banking in Beijing and, later, investment banking in Hong Kong. By pleading, petitioning and playing a lot of ping pong (a sport he hates) he was even admitted into the Communist Party in 1985.

Then, in 2011, his social climb suffered an abrupt reversal. He took on a role that remains stigmatised and discriminated against in today’s China: he became a shadow banker. His new book, “Inside China’s Shadow Banking: the Next Subprime Crisis?”, recounts his trials as the head of a microlender in Guangdong. Elsewhere in the world, microcredit is a respectable, even canonised, endeavour. In China, Mr Zhang complains in his book, it is “only slightly more respectable than perhaps massage parlours or nightclubs.”

He describes the variety of institutions and instruments that operate and innovate in the shadow of China’s mammoth banks, where they are hard for the authorities to see. They include the informal lenders, kerbside capitalists and back-alley bankers for which China is famous. But the most important institutions are China’s 67 trust companies, lightly regulated finance firms that make loans and other investments but cannot collect deposits. And the most significant instruments are the uncountable wealth-management products (WMPs), which raise money from better-off investors, in large increments (at least 50,000 yuan, about $8,160) and for short periods (typically less than six months, sometimes much less). Read more of this post

Export Champions: How I sell tea to China; Alex Probyn, founder of Kent-based business Blends for Friends, on the trials and triumphs of selling tea to China

Export Champions: How I sell tea to China

Alex Probyn, founder of Kent-based business Blends for Friends, on the trials and triumphs of selling tea to China.

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Alex Probyn founded Blends for Friends, which exports tea around the globe. He expects the company to increase its exports from 10pc of turnover to 30pc within two years

By James Hurley

7:45PM BST 30 May 2013

How does a small company from Kent go about exporting tea to China? By selling the “quintessential English experience” first, says Alex Probyn, founder of Blends for Friends, a tea maker that is enjoying a brisk trade with the world’s second-largest economy.

Mr Probyn, a former master tea blender at Tetley, said his six-year-old business is benefiting from the growing Chinese middle class.

“It’s hilarious from our point of view because, although we’re exporting good quality tea, it’s stuff the average Chinese person on the street wouldn’t dream of drinking. But in cities they want afternoon tea with cakes and sandwiches – really, they’re buying that experience as much as the tea.” Read more of this post

Bre-X, Canada’s largest mining fraud in history, class action settlement approved after 16 years since its claim of a major gold discovery in Indonesia proved to be a fake; investors get tiny fraction of losses

Bre-X class action settlement approved; investors get fraction of losses

Hugh McKenna, Canadian Press | 13/05/30 7:17 PM ET

David Walsh, mapA1.27MAY.JOHN.TA

National Post filesBre-X became known as the largest mining fraud in Canadian history back in 1997 when its claim of a major gold discovery in Indonesia proved to be a fake.

TORONTO — The lengthy battle by Bre-X investors to recover billions in Canada’s largest mining fraud appears to be over in what one of the original plaintiff lawyers in the case called a “sad day” for accountability in Canada. Under a settlement approved Thursday by the Alberta Court of Queens Bench, the remaining class-action suits were dismissed against the main defendants in the case, the estate of Bre-X’s late founder and CEO, David Walsh, and chief geologist John Felderhof. The Calgary court made the ruling at the request of bankruptcy trustee Deloitte and Touche, which said there was no realistic prospect of realizing any significant recovery through the litigation and that the costs of proceeding were prohibitive. As a result, all parties agreed to a payment of $5.2-million to be divided among investors who apply for a settlement. Read more of this post

A photo from the Mars Curiosity Rover reveals what appears to be a small animal or lizard on Mars

Curiosity photo shows lizard on Mars

2013-05-31 00:00:35 GMT2013-05-31 08:00:35(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

A photo from the Mars Curiosity Rover reveals what appears to be a small animal or lizard on Mars. The photo was taken on February 20, 2013 by Curiosity’s MASTCAM and a high resolution copy is available on NASA’s JPL/Caltech website. The image was originally discovered by a Japanese researcher in March and uploaded to Youtube on May 14. (Source: xxcb.com.cn)

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Meet the $200m bushy, Tom Brinkworth; You won’t find this controversial pastoralist in the social pages nor in the saddling enclosure on Melbourne Cup day. Rather, you will find him sleeping rough as he traverses his vast estate in South Australia

Meet the $200m bushy, Tom Brinkworth

PUBLISHED: 13 HOURS 46 MINUTES AGO | UPDATE: 2 HOURS 36 MINUTES AGO

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Brinkworth in a trophy room bearing the results of the family’s passion for hunting. Photo by Nic Walker

TONY WALKER

Tom Brinkworth is presiding in what he calls his home office – a farmer’s kitchen – with its skillets and meat hooks, cleavers and boning knives, venison chunks and homilies about life and work, and shelves crowded with sauce bottles and condiments. On a refrigerator door, a fridge magnet bears the Churchillian words: Never, Never, Never Give Up. Whatever else friends and detractors – and there are plenty of the latter – might say about the enigmatic 76-year-old, no-one would ever accuse him of giving up, certainly when it comes to accumulating land.

Can acquisition of land become an obsession, I ask? “No, it’s a habit,” Brinkworth laughs. He recounts a friend’s observation that: “Brinkworth would buy out the whole of Australia if the price was right.” Queensland is his next frontier beyond holdings in South Australia and NSW, judging by coloured-in sections of a map of southern Queensland on a long refectory table in a crowded “trophy room” adjoining the kitchen. Brinkworth’s hunting exploits are captured in the mounted heads and antlers of seven species of deer, wild boar and various species of duck. The latter reflects his passion for game-shooting on his wetlands properties.

Tom Brinkworth of Watervalley station, 50 kilometres west as the crow flies from Kingston in South Australia, controls, at last count, 1 million hectares of agricultural land spread across 99 properties in his home state and NSW. By the time this article appears, he may well have brought up his century, such is his appetite for additional land, provided the price is right. Read more of this post

Canadian VCs urge young entrepreneurs to break ‘unrealistic’ expectations

Canadian VCs urge young entrepreneurs to break ‘unrealistic’ expectations

Matthew Braga | 13/05/30 | Last Updated: 13/05/30 2:37 PM ET
Young Canadian entrepreneurs tend to suffer from an “unrealistic expectation of values,” according to WIND Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera, who spoke on a panel of Canadian venture capitalists Wednesday afternoon.

The group gathered to discuss the gap in understanding that exists between those with ideas and those with funding.

Mr. Lacavera stressed a need for better education of young entrepreneurs – but also a need to “break through that culture of risk aversion” that plagues Canadian VCs, who don’t act nearly as fast or aggressively as those in the U.S. Read more of this post

In Big Companies, Lean Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle; before you use lean to build the next product that could go on to change the world, make sure you’ve established a solid foundation for intrapreneurial success inside your own company

In Big Companies, Lean Is Only One Piece of the Puzzle

by Maxwell Wessel and James Allworth  |  11:00 AM May 30, 2013

In 2010, one of us was sitting in a room at the Harvard Business School with Eric Ries and a number of budding entrepreneurs. They were pitching their ideas and plans to Eric and their peers; once the pitch was complete, the group would then brainstorm. One of these young entrepreneurs in particular stood out. He was not your standard internet entrepreneur — the student presenting was pitching a project to increase sub-Saharan farm income, by helping farmers shift from traditional crops to rubber trees. He had developed an extensive plan, and had the promise of grant money behind him. The problem with the effort, of course, was that building both the necessary African infrastructure and the logistics network needed to transport the non-indigenous crops was going to be a very expensive proposition indeed.

Eric sat patiently and listened, jotting down a handful of notes. After some reflection, he jumped in with a set of questions. Each question focused on an underlying assumption of the business plan. Because the model relied on providing long-term loans, Eric asked questions about repayment and cultural bias. He asked how significant the education costs would be to sign up additional farmers. He asked exactly how big the income increases would be for the farmers who opted into the program. The student presenter acknowledged the risks and simply stated, “Well, we won’t know any of that for a long time… rubber trees take years to mature.” Read more of this post

Wan Long: Former factory worker who rose to lead Shuanghui as chairman to take over US pork producer Smithfield

Last updated: May 30, 2013 1:47 pm

Wan Long: Former factory worker who rose to lead Shuanghui

By Paul J Davies in Hong Kong

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For Wan Long, the $4.7bn deal to take over US pork producer Smithfield is a long way from the Shuanghui International chairman’s simple beginnings. “What I do is kill pigs and sell meat,” he told a local paper last year. A native of Luohe in Henan province, home to the group’s headquarters, he joined Shuanghui as an ordinary factory worker in 1968 after a stint in the army. It was a single money-losing plant, ranked ninth out of 10 state-owned meat processing companies in Henan, according to the Chinese magazine Caixin. Mr Wan, now in his early seventies, was elected plant manager in 1985. That year it reported profits of Rmb5m, the magazine said. He now runs a business that turned a net profit of Rmb2.9bn last year. As China’s biggest meat producer, it produces 2.7m tonnes of meat annually from 30m pigs. It also gets through 300,000 heads of cattle, 600,000 tonnes of chicken, 50,000 tonnes of eggs and 50,000 tonnes of soy protein in processing pork into an array of cooked, fresh and frozen products. “Our goal is to achieve sales revenue of Rmb100bn within the period of the 12th five-year plan [ending in 2015], then I’ll retire,” Mr Wan told Caixin in an interview two years ago. Shuanghui is forecast to hit Rmb50bn ($8.2bn) in sales this year, according to Bloomberg data, whileSmithfield should generate $13bn – so this deal will help Mr Wan hit his target two years early. It is by far the largest takeover ever pursued by a Chinese company overseas in the food and beverage sector, according to Dealogic. Given China’s population and its growing appetite for a higher protein diet as it becomes wealthier, bankers expect to see many more deals for meat, fish and dairy producers. The past decade was about China’s hunt for energy and metals, but the next could well be about its need to secure safe food supplies. “This deal looks like a wonderful opportunity for two complementary companies to come together and for Shuanghui to access the technology it needs to take its food safety and productivity to a higher level,” says a Beijing based agri-industry expert. The homespun charm of the companies’ two executives appear to complement each other as well, with Mr Wan’s simple take on the pig industry chiming with words from Larry Pope, Smithfield’s chief executive. “We’re not exporting tanks and guns and cyber security,” he said on Wednesday in assessing concerns about US regulatory intervention. “These are pork chops.” Read more of this post

The new number crunchers; One of the world’s first data scientists turned his geeky love of maths into a lucrative career

May 30, 2013 5:12 pm

The new number crunchers

By Emma Jacobs

When Jeff Hammerbacher lies in bed at night trying to sleep, he meditates on a maths problem. “I find it peaceful,” he says. Reflecting on “timeless entities in your brain allows you to get to the objective truth. It makes me calm inside my head”. Relaxation can be a problem for Mr Hammerbacher, who was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder. “I do have a lot of thoughts in my head, metaphysical dilemmas.”

Meditating on numbers is more than a cure for insomnia. It drives the 30 year old professionally. He is a “data scientist”, the hottest job title in Silicon Valley. Harvard Business Review ran an article co-authored by data scientist D.J. Patil, calling it “the sexiest job of the 21st century”. Mr Hammerbacher actually coined the term in 2008 with Mr Patil, who was the head of data and analytics at LinkedIn when he was leading Facebook’s team.

Mr Hammerbacher calls good data scientists “data rats”. Athletes are often considered “gym rats” if they spend a lot of time in the gym, so Mr Hammerbacher believes “data rats” need to spend a lot of time with data. So, when he has downtime he tries to get in some data science. Read more of this post

An Economy of Microserfs: Your Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter witticisms are making tech companies super-rich. Shouldn’t you get a cut?

May 30, 2013, 4:44 p.m. ET

An Economy of Microserfs

Your Facebook ‘likes’ and Twitter witticisms are making tech companies super-rich. Shouldn’t you get a cut? Steven Levy reviews Jaron Lanier’s “Who Owns the Future.”

By STEVEN LEVY

Critics of technology abound, but none cuts as deeply as a Geek Apostate. During the 1990s that role was held by a Berkeley astronomer named Clifford Stoll, who outsmarted a destructive hacker and wrote a book about it. Not satisfied with one best seller, Mr. Stoll staked out ground as a professional tech skeptic. He zeroed in on what he considered the ludicrously optimistic predictions of Internet enthusiasts. He failed to notice that such predictions were not fantasies but understatements. His 1995 essay in Newsweek—in which he mocked the idea that people would ever buy a book, make a restaurant reservation or look up a historical fact online—periodically goes viral on the social networks that Mr. Stoll insisted would never take off.

Jaron Lanier, our current alpha Geek Apostate, is on firmer ground. His tech credentials are impressive: At an early age he found himself in MIT artificial-intelligence guru Marvin Minsky’s circle. After a stint as a dreadlocked and dreamy game designer, he rose to prominence in the early 1990s as the father of virtual reality. (I wrote a profile of him for Rolling Stone in that period.) But something snapped. Now, despite holding a day job at Microsoft‘s MSFT +0.43% research division, he blasts the tech world he helped create. Read more of this post

Microsoft Invented A Tablet A Decade Before Apple And Totally Blew It

Microsoft Invented A Tablet A Decade Before Apple And Totally Blew It

Julie Bort | May 30, 2013, 1:38 PM | 7,181 | 34

Apple’s iPad is a revolutionary product that is cratering the PC industry. But it wasn’t Steve Jobs’ idea. A full decade before Jobs launched the iPad in 2010, Bill Gates launched Microsoft’s touch input tablet computer. Here it is:

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Bill Gates with a Microsoft tablet in 2000

Two years later, Gates showed up with an improved model, a color tablet. It used the Windows XP Tablet operating system.

Here it is: Bill Gates in 2002

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Unlike today, Microsoft didn’t manufacture the tablet itself. Lenovo produced the tablet in 2000 and other partners, like Fujitsu, made the XP tablet in 2002. Here’s a closer look at the Fujitsu tablet. So if Microsoft was a decade ahead, why did Apple become the King of the Tablets? Last July, during an interview with Charlie RoseBill Gates explained that Jobs “did some things better than I did. His timing in terms of when it came out, the engineering work, just the package that was put together. The tablets we had done before, weren’t as thin, they weren’t as attractive.”

BCG Classics Revisited: The Experience Curve and its relevance to today’s business environment

BCG Classics Revisited: The Experience Curve

by Martin Reeves, George Stalk, and Filippo L. Scognamiglio Pasini

MAY 28, 2013

To mark The Boston Consulting Group’s fiftieth anniversary, BCG’s Strategy Institute is taking a fresh look at some of BCG’s classic thinking on strategy to explore its relevance to today’s business environment. This second in a planned series of articles examines the experience curve, an idea developed by BCG in the mid-1960s about the relationship between production experience and cost.

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The experience curve is one of BCG’s signature concepts and arguably one of its best known. The theory, which had its genesis in a cost analysis that BCG performed for a major semiconductor manufacturer in 1966, held that a company’s unit production costs would fall by a predictable amount—typically 20 to 30 percent in real terms—for each doubling of “experience,” or accumulated production volume. The implications of this relationship for business, argued BCG’s founder, Bruce Henderson, were significant1.  In particular, he said, it suggested that market share leadership could confer a decisive competitive edge, because a company with dominant share could more rapidly accumulate valuable experience and thus achieve a self-perpetuating cost advantage over its rivals.

The experience curve theory proved a valuable descriptor and predictor of competitive dynamics across much of the business landscape through the 1970s, providing a sound guide for investment and pricing decisions and an invaluable tool for strategists. Is the idea applicable to today’s environment? Yes, but in some industries it is no longer sufficient by itself as a blueprint for competitive advantage. In contrast to the 1960s and 1970s, when the general business environment was relatively stable and new-product introduction relatively infrequent, today’s business climate is characterized by higher volatility, less stable industry structures, and frequent product launches in response to rapidly changing technologies and tastes. Read more of this post

Closely held Seventh Generation Inc. is buying a maker of reusable filtered water bottles known as bobble, the company’s first brand acquisition outside of its namesake household cleaners and baby products

May 30, 2013, 7:43 p.m. ET

Seventh Generation Picks Up Bobble Brand

In Bid to Expand Reach, Firm to Buy Filtered Water Bottle Maker

By SERENA NG

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Seventh Generation, known for its household cleaners, is buying the bobble, the reusable filtered water bottle brand, for an undisclosed sum.

Closely held Seventh Generation Inc. is buying a maker of reusable filtered water bottles known as bobble, the company’s first brand acquisition outside of its namesake household cleaners and baby products.

The acquisition for an undisclosed sum comes as Seventh Generation is looking to expand into new product areas through acquisitions, said Chief Executive John Replogle. The Burlington, Vt., company is looking for more brands and consumer products that fit with its mission of healthy living and sustainability, he said.

Seventh Generation was founded 25 years ago as a catalog company and now makes plant-based cleaning products, diapers and baby wipes that it touts as safer for people and the environment. Retail sales of its products topped $200 million last year and grew in double-digit terms during the recession, Mr. Replogle said. Read more of this post

A Lone Voice Raises Alarms on Lucrative Diabetes Drugs; “We have all these people out there taking these drugs,” Dr. Butler said, “and the problem is: What is happening to their pancreases?”

A Lone Voice Raises Alarms on Lucrative Diabetes Drugs

Dr. Peter C. Butler heads endocrinology at U.C.L.A. and is a former editor of Diabetes, the American Diabetes Association journal.

By ANDREW POLLACK

Published: May 30, 2013 100 Comments

LOS ANGELES — Dr. Peter C. Butler initially declined a request by the drug maker Merck to test whether its new diabetes drug, Januvia, could help stave off the disease in rats. “I said, I’m not interested in your money, go away,” Dr. Butler recalled.

Merck no doubt now wishes it had. When Dr. Butler finally agreed to do the study, he found worrisome changes in the pancreases of the rats that could lead to pancreatic cancer. The discovery, in early 2008, turned Dr. Butler into a crusader whose follow-up studies now threaten the future of not only Januvia but all the drugs in its class, which have sales of more than $9 billion annually and are used by hundreds of thousands of people with Type 2 diabetes. Read more of this post

The drive to develop cancer drugs that harness the immune system looks like the next big thing for Bristol-Myers, Merck and Roche

THURSDAY, MAY 30, 2013

Invest for the Cure

By JOHANNA BENNETT | MORE ARTICLES BY AUTHOR

The drive to develop cancer drugs that harness the immune system looks like the next big thing for Bristol-Myers, Merck and Roche.

Scientists have been laboring for years to develop treatments that harness the body’s immune system to destroy cancer. All that effort may finally be about to pay off for patients and drug makers, not to mention investors. The race to develop so-called immunotherapies takes center stage at this year’s meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, which begins May 31 in Chicago. Preliminary data from early-stage studies unveiled ahead of the conference have fueled convictions that these drugs are the new front in the war on cancer. It has also fueled stock prices.

Read more of this post

Writers’ platform Quill backed by Spotify investor; Quill, a former naval officer’s start-up, is attempting to build a “worldwide platform for web writers”.

Writers’ platform backed by Spotify investor

Entrepreneurs and investors behind companies including Spotify, Songkick and Mr & Mrs Smith have backed Quill, a former naval officer’s start-up which is attempting to build a “worldwide platform for web writers”.

Quill already uses 1,000 writers working in 17 countries and covers 30 languages Photo: ALAMY

By James Hurley

11:50AM BST 29 May 2013

Quill, which produces online content for large businesses, has secured £1m from a group of investors including Spotify backer Shakil Khan. Founder Ed Bussey said his business is building a network of writers around the world to produce online content in various languages for companies including retailer Shop Direct Group, insurer AXA and advertising giant WPP. Quill already uses 1,000 writers working in 17 countries and covers 30 languages, Mr Bussey said. Read more of this post

Behind the ‘Internet of Things’ Is Android—and It’s Everywhere

Behind the ‘Internet of Things’ Is Android—and It’s Everywhere

By Ashlee Vance on May 30, 2013

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Ken Oyadomari’s work space at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View, Calif., looks like a triage tent for smartphones. Parts from dozens of disassembled devices are strewn on workbenches. A small team of young engineers picks through the electronic carnage, carefully extracting playing card-size motherboards—the microprocessing heart of most computers—that will be repurposed as the brains of spacecraft no bigger than a softball. Satellites usually cost millions of dollars to build and launch. The price of Oyadomari’s nanosats, as they’ve become known, is around $15,000 and dropping. He expects them to be affordable for high school science classes, individual hobbyists, or anyone who wants to perform science experiments in space. A big reason nanosats are so small and cheap: They run on Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system, familiar to anyone who’s shopped for a smartphone or tablet. It’s the No. 1 mobile OS by a wide margin; Android handsets outsell Apple’s (AAPL) iPhones globally by about 4 to 1. Impressive as those numbers are, they actually understate Android’s prevalence, because increasingly it’s the operating system behind just about anything with a computer chip. Along with Oyadomari’s nanosats, three of which recently went into orbit, Android runs espresso makers, video game consoles, refrigerators, rifles that post video to Facebook (FB), and robotic harvesters for farms.

Android is becoming the standard operating system for the “Internet of things”—Silicon Valley’s voguish term for the expanding interconnectedness of smart devices, ranging from sensors in your shoe to jet engine monitors. As each of these devices hits the market, Google further outflanks Apple and Microsoft (MSFT) as the dominant software player in a connected world. Read more of this post

Jack Xu Talks about Failure in Copying Tumblr

Jack Xu Talks about Failure in Copying Tumblr

By Tracey Xiang on May 30, 2013

Jack Xu admitted that Diandian, a pixel-by-pixel Tumblr copy, was a failure and a painful experience at the Silicon Dragon Beijing 2013 yesterday. To be fair, Diandian is just one of the dozens of Tumblr copies in China and none of them really gained traction but hype.

As one of the first projects incubated by Innovation Works, Diandian was released in February 2011 — about half a year after Sina Weibo’s launch. After securing millions of dollars angel investment from Innovation Works, it raised more than USD10 million from Sequoia China and Ceyuan Ventures later that year. With the money Diandian launched massive marketing campaigns such as giving away movie tickets in order to have 10 million users by the end of that year and 100 million in the next two to three years.

But by April 2012 the number only reached 6 million — Sina Weibo announced 300 million users and $10 million in advertising revenue as of that quarter. According to some Diandian’s customers, there may be only one or two staff working on Diandian from early this year. Read more of this post

UCWeb: China’s Last Great Tech Takeover Target

UCWeb: China’s Last Great Tech Takeover Target

By Bruce Einhorn on May 30, 2013

It’s dealmaking time in Chinese cyberspace. As more mainlanders go online via smartphones and tablets, the country’s biggest Web players are gearing up for the era of mobile e-commerce. That’s one reason e-commerce giant Alibaba Group paid $586 million for 18 percent of Twitter-like service Weibo in April and $294 million in May for a 28 percent stake in mapping company AutoNavi (AMAP). Around that time, search engine Baidu (BIDU) set aside $370 million to buy the streaming video service of PPS Net TV, aiming to become the leader in mobile video.

Another potential prize is UCWeb, maker of China’s most popular mobile browser. The company hit the 300 million-user mark in March 2012 and by yearend was at 400 million, says Yu Yongfu, UCWeb’s chief executive officer. More than 60 percent of China’s Android users rely on it, according to the company. Of all the acquisition targets in China, UCWeb is “probably the last one that’s worth anything,” says Michael Clendenin, managing director of RedTech Advisors in Shanghai. In theory, buying the browser operator could help Baidu as it tries to keep up with Alibaba and Tencent (700), China’s biggest Web company by revenue. Baidu boss Robin Li and his team “need to make a big audacious, overpriced investment to get a stake in this guy,” Clendenin says. Read more of this post

Macro control, micro problems; History shows the limits of macroprudential policy in curbing dangerous risk-taking

Macro control, micro problems

History shows the limits of macroprudential policy in curbing dangerous risk-taking

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

AMERICA’S Federal Reserve faces a dilemma: to put the economy back on its feet it is keeping interest rates at zero and buying bonds; but in doing so, it worries, it is egging on dangerous risk-taking. Cue “macroprudential” policy. In theory, central banks would use regulatory and supervisory authority to stamp out excesses in specific markets while leaving monetary policy to take care of inflation and employment.

History suggests this is easier said than done. “Macroprudential” may be new jargon, but America has tried variants of it for decades, from credit controls to down-payment limits. And the record is not a ringing endorsement for macroprudential policy, according to a new working paper by Douglas Elliott of the Brookings Institution, Greg Feldberg of America’s Treasury Department and Andreas Lehnert of the Fed. They found controls were often circumvented by regulatory arbitrage. And when controls worked, political pressure sometimes led to their repeal. Read more of this post

China’s second-largest wind turbine maker Sinovel Announces It Is Under securities regulator CSRC Investigation which questions company financial data

05.30.2013 17:59

Sinovel Announces It Is Under CSRC Investigation

Wind turbine maker says it will coordinate with securities regulator, which questions company financial data

By staff reporter Cao Wenjiao

(Beijing) – Sinovel Wind Group Co. Ltd. announced on May 29 that it was being investigated by the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) over suspected violations of securities laws and regulations. Sinovel, one of the largest wind turbine manufacturers in the country, said it would coordinate with the CSRC in its investigation and disclose the required information. The CSRC’s Beijing bureau said on April 11 that some of Sinovel’s financial data was not accurate, and the profit the company reported for 2011 was inflated. On April 7, the company said there were accounting errors in its 2011 financial report, which originally gave a net profit figure of 776 million yuan. After correcting for accounting errors, the company said this figure was 168 million yuan too high. A source at the company said Sinovel would make a detailed announcement later. Sinovel listed in Shanghai in January 2011 and its issue price was 90 yuan per share. On May 29, the company’s closing share price was 5.76 yuan. Sinovel had operating revenue of 684 million yuan in the first three months of this year, down 40.98 percent compared to the same period in 2012, the company’s financial report shows. Its net profit was down 968.86 percent. Wei Wenyuan, Sinovel chairman and acting president, resigned on May 13. Company director Liu Hui resigned the same day.

Korean firms urged to overhaul business models

2013-05-30 21:59

Korean firms urged to overhaul business models

By Park Ji-won

A global IT expert has called for major Korean technology giants, such as Samsung and LG, to reinvent themselves as software-centered companies to survive an ongoing transition in the IT industry led by two key trends ― integration and convergence.

In a recent interview with The Korea Times, Wilbert Charlton Adams, former president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Standard Association (IEEE-SA), suggested Korean players overhaul their business models to become more agile. Read more of this post

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