Treasuries Loss Is Biggest in 3 Years as Fed Considers Tapering; Europe Bond Investors Lose in May as End of Cheap Cash Signaled

Treasuries Loss Is Biggest in 3 Years as Fed Considers Tapering

Treasuries recorded the steepest monthly loss since 2009 amid speculation the Federal Reserve could curtail its unprecedented monetary stimulus program if recent improvement in domestic economic data is sustainable.

U.S. government debt tumbled 1.8 percent in the month through May 30, the most since December 2009, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch index data. Yields extended gains yesterday after a report showed consumer confidence rose in May to the highest level since 2007. A government report on June 7 is forecast to show the U.S. added 165,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate remained at a four-year low of 7.5 percent. Read more of this post

Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees

Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees[Hardcover]

Doug Lipp (Author)

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Publication Date: March 5, 2013

With a Foreword by Jim Cora, former Chairman of Disneyland International

“A leadership blueprint, applicable in any organization.” — Captain D. Michael Abrashoff, U.S. Navy (Ret.), and author of It’s Your Ship

“When I first arrived at The Walt Disney Company, I was surprised to find I had to go back to school–at Disney University! There, I learned the fundamentals of guest service that consistently gave Disney a tremendous advantage in the marketplace. Now, anyone can know these secrets of success thanks to Doug Lipp’s informative book. No matter what your business, the lessons taught at Disney University will prove invaluable.” — Michael Eisner, Former CEO and Chairman, The Walt Disney Company

When it comes to world-class employees, few organizations rival Disney. Famous for their friendliness, knowledge, passion, and superior customer service, Disney’s employees have been fueling the iconic brand’s wild success for more than 50 years.

How has Disney succeeded in maintaining such a powerful workforce for so many years? Why are so many corporations and executives drawn to study how Disney continues to exemplify service and leadership standards?

The Disney University, founded by Van France, trains the supporting cast that helps create the world-famous Disney Magic. Now, for the first time, the secrets of this exemplary institution are revealed. In Disney U, Doug Lipp examines how Van perpetuated Walt Disney’s timeless company values and leadership lessons, creating a training and development dynasty. It contains never-before-told stories from numerous Disney legends. These pioneers share behind-the-scenes success stories of how they helped bring Walt Disney’s dream to life.

Disney U reveals the heart of the Disney culture and describes the company’s values and operational philosophies that support the iconic brand. Doug Lipp lays out 13 timeless lessons Disney has used to drive profits and growth worldwide for more than half a century.

To this day, the Disney University continues to turn out some of the most engaged, loyal, and customer-centered employees the business world has ever seen. Using the lessons outlined in Disney U will set your organization on a path of sustained success. Read more of this post

Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization

Flat Army: Creating a Connected and Engaged Organization [Hardcover]

Dan Pontefract (Author)

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Publication Date: April 8, 2013

Arms you with powerful tools for overcoming resistance to change and creating a culture of collaboration, engagement, and employee empowerment

Your people are your most valuable asset, and if you want them to excel (and your profits to soar), you’ll need to abandon your traditional command-and-control management style and adopt a collaborative, open leadership approach—one that engages and empowers your people. While this isn’t a particularly new idea, many leaders, while they may pay lip service to it, don’t really understand what it means. And most of those who do get it lack the skills for putting it into practice. In Flat Army you’ll find powerful leadership models and tools that help you challenge yourself and overcome your personal obstacles to change, while pushing the boundaries of organizational change to create a culture of collaboration.

Develops an integrated framework incorporating collaboration, open leadership, technologies, and connected learning

Shows you how to flatten the organizational pyramid and engage with your peoples in more collaborative and productive ways—without undermining your authority

Explains how to deploy a Connected Leader mindset, a Participative Leader Framework, and a Collaborative Leader Action Model

Arms you with powerful tools for becoming a more visible leader who demonstrates the qualities and capabilities needed to become an agent of positive change Read more of this post

Bread: The Story of Greggs; How a small family business became the high street favourite

Bread: The Story of Greggs [Kindle Edition]

Ian Gregg (Author)

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Publication Date: May 9, 2013

When Ian Gregg was just a boy he joined his father at work selling pies from his van to miners’ wives around Newcastle. Now retired, he can look back on a business that began as a husband-and-wife team in the 1930s, and survived a world war and two major recessions to become our favourite bakery, beloved by everyone from children to office workers to soldiers overseas.

Ian Gregg led the family firm as it grew, employing generations of families from around Newcastle and then becoming a public company with bakeries in Scotland and across the North, and now with shops on every high street. This is a story of extraordinary success, but it is also a triumphant tale of how doing right by your people makes for great business. Bucking every trend, Greggs have always put their customers, employees and local communities before quick profits for directors and shareholders. Their astounding record of charitable works includes hardship grants, an environment fund, sponsorship of the North East Children’s Cancer run and over £1 million raised annually for Children in Need.

Ian Gregg will donate all of his royalties and Greggs plc will donate all its profits from the sale of this book to the Greggs Foundation to help fund more Breakfast Clubs for children. Read more of this post

Bringing home the bread for 50 years: Ian Gregg helped take the bakery chain from a single shop to a £416m company with 1,600 branches and more than 20,000 staff

May 31, 2013 6:13 pm

Bringing home the bread for 50 years

By Natalie Graham

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Ian Gregg, 74, led the eponymous family business from a single shop in 1964 on Tyneside into a public company in 1984 with several regional bakeries and 300 shops. Today, Greggs is a £416m company with 1,600 branches and more than 20,000 staff. The son of founder John Robson Gregg, he was just a boy when he first joined his father at work, selling pies from a van to miners’ wives in Newcastle. The company is currently the subject of Sky 1 documentary Greggs: More than Meats the Pie. Recently published is Bread, The Story of Greggs, in which Gregg records the company’s 80-year history. Read more of this post

George Washington, politician: The virtues of the pragmatic founding father are much missed nowadays

George Washington, politician: The virtues of the pragmatic founding father are much missed nowadays

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

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A SPECIAL rogues’ gallery at Mount Vernon, George Washington’s Virginia estate, displays portraits of three revolutionary leaders who went astray. Julius Caesar, Oliver Cromwell and Napoleon are portrayed as heroes with clay feet who toppled tyrannies only to grab absolute power for themselves. Washington was different, it is asserted. In guides’ commentaries and schoolboy-friendly action films (featuring artificial snow flurries and seats that throb with cannon fire) Mount Vernon rams home the message that America’s revolutionary commander-in-chief and first president had a genius for well-timed exits. A display depicts him resigning his military commission after biffing the British. The chair in which he decided to retire as president is pointed out as a national treasure. Washington’s supreme virtue, it is suggested—greater even than martial derring-do—was knowing when to leave, ensuring his country’s future as a civilian republic. Read more of this post

Your mega summer reading list: 200 books recommended by TEDsters

Your mega summer reading list: 200 books recommended by TEDsters

Posted by: Kate Torgovnick
May 31, 2013 at 2:00 pm EDT

Books can entertain, sucking you like a tornado into incredible new worlds. Books can teach, giving you a richer understanding of time periods, people and ideas you’ve never been exposed to. But books can do so much more.

In today’s talk, TED’s own Lisa Bu introduces us to the concept of “comparative reading,” the practice of reading books in pairs, to give deeper context and reveal new insights. Comparative reading not only helped Bu adjust to American culture after moving here from China for graduate school — it also helped her re-imagine her life and find new directions after her dream failed to come true. This personal, moving talk about the magic of books and resilience of the human spirit is a must-watch »

Every year at TED, we set up a bookstore filled with books recommended by TEDsters of note. Today, as you prepare for a summer filled with reading, we are releasing this incredible library of recommendations from this spring’s TED2013 bookstore. We’ll begin, of course, with Lisa Bu’s must-reads, followed by book recommendations from Rainn WilsonSarah KayBaratunde ThurstonMaria PopovaGuy RazChip KiddCindy GallopKeith YamashitaBill T. JonesSafwat SaleemRaney AronsonRaghava KKTiffany DufuChris KluweKaren Wickre and Colleen Keegan. Click the name to hop straight to their list. Let’s get started… Read more of this post

Spanish has more native speakers than any language other than Mandarin. Yet its success could not have been foreseen

Spanish has more native speakers than any language other than Mandarin. Yet its success could not have been foreseen

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

The Story of Spanish. By Jean-Benoît Nadeau and Julie Barlow. St Martin’s Press; 496 pages; $27.99. Buy from Amazon.com

THE Iberian peninsula was conquered and settled many times, but only one of those conquests was a long-term linguistic success. The languages of the Celts and the Iberians left little mark on Spain. The Phoenicians were no more successful, although they bequeathed a memorable nickname to posterity: I-shepan-ha, “land of hyraxes” (more familiar as Hispania). The Romans had better luck. Their soldiers’ and settlers’ vulgar Latin (always distinct from the written, classical kind) spread to the masses.

The overrunning of Spain by Germanic-speaking Goths failed to root out that rustic Latin. Nor did the long-term Muslim conquest of “al-Andalus”, beginning in 711 and continuing until the fall of Granada to Christian monarchs in 1492. Arabic gave many words to the local Castilian, but never replaced it. Nor was it ever obvious that Castilian would one day become Spanish. Of the kingdoms that reconquered Spain for Christianity, Castile was one of the least important. Neighbouring Asturias and Navarre were originally much bigger. But Castile’s place astride the pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela helped it grow richer and more important, and after its merger with Léon it leapfrogged the others to lead the reconquest. Read more of this post

Boomerang bosses: When retired chiefs make a comeback their return is often less than triumphant

Boomerang bosses: When retired chiefs make a comeback their return is often less than triumphant

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

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IT SOMETIMES seems as if there is nothing but second acts in American lives. Bill Clinton has had more comebacks than Elvis, most recently as a global statesman. Mark Sanford has just got himself elected as a Republican congressman for South Carolina even though his governorship of the same state was consumed in a fireball of adultery and divorce. Donald Rumsfeld is resuming his career as a management guru, with a new edition of “Rumsfeld’s Rules”, having previously put in two innings at the Pentagon. And it is not just in American life. Shinzo Abe is having his second go at being prime minister of Japan, and Nawaz Sharif his third in Pakistan. José Mourinho is set to return to manage Chelsea football club after a six-year absence.

And two prominent second acts began recently in the American corporate boardroom. On April 8th J.C. Penney, a department-store chain, sacked its chief executive, Ron Johnson, after just 17 months and brought back his predecessor, Myron “Mike” Ullman. Then on May 23rd Procter & Gamble, the world’s biggest maker of household products, sacked its boss, Bob McDonald, replacing him with his predecessor, A.G. Lafley. This sort of thing is surprisingly common: in “The Market for Comeback CEOs”, Rüdiger Fahlenbrach, then at Ohio State University, studied 275 publicly traded American firms whose CEOs had stayed on the board after retirement and were still around when the company again needed a new CEO. About a quarter rehired the old one instead. Read more of this post

Muslim consumers are looking beyond the traditional religious stipulations on meat and finance. Time to have fun

Halal business

Consuming passions

Muslim consumers are looking beyond the traditional religious stipulations on meat and finance. Time to have fun

May 25th 2013 | BEIRUT |From the print edition

“EVEN in Mecca and Medina people have intercourse,” says Abdelaziz Aouragh, a Dutch Muslim who runs a “sensuality shop” (not a “sex shop”, he insists) for his co-religionists, under the slogan “Feel admired. Feel loved. Feel sensual”. El-Asira, which means “society” in Arabic, sells online and at Amsterdam airport. Bestselling items include massage oils and lingerie. Turnover this year is predicted to be €1m ($1.29m).

That is only the tiniest sliver of the sales to the world’s 1.8 billion Muslim shoppers, a market likely to grow by 35% by 2030. But stereotypes of joyless zealotry are as misleading as the idea that the Muslim market involves only interest-free finance and hand-slaughtered meat. Sharia law forbids meat such as pork and birds of prey, plus blood and carrion. But views on what else is prohibited differ. Inglot, for example, is a nail varnish made in Poland which markets itself as Muslim-friendly because the lacquer is permeable, so it does not need to be removed before Islamic washing rituals. The Koran is silent on such issues; sceptics doubt they matter. Read more of this post

Beware of your inner self; Investors’ decision making is distorted by all sorts of in-built biases and prejudices

May 31, 2013 7:37 pm

Beware of your inner self

By Norma Cohen, Demography Correspondent

On a visit to the London School of Economics in 2008, the Queen asked the assembled professors why nobody had seen the financial crisis coming.

Her Majesty’s question was a pertinent one. Part of the answer is that there’s a big problem with conventional economic and financial theory. Many of the big ideas that underpin it – from Eugene Fama’s efficient market hypothesis to Harry Markowitz’s modern portfolio theory – are based on the assumption that, when it comes to investing, the human mind is rational.

The financial crisis, and the fact that it came as a complete surprise to the vast majority of investors, has blown a hole in the whole notion of rationality. No longer is it assumed that froth and bubbles will be smoothed out by “smart money” that knows enough to sell an overvalued asset. Read more of this post

The 100% Stock Solution

May 31, 2013, 5:43 p.m. ET

The 100% Stock Solution

By LIAM PLEVEN

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Most investors hold a mix of stocks and bonds, hoping for both growth and safety. Then there are people like Daniel White.

The 36-year-old Chicago lawyer keeps all his investments in the stock market. His 401(k) plan is invested in equities, and so is his wife’s. The college-savings accounts for their four young children also are in stocks. His separate brokerage accounts are, too. The total sum at risk is in the high six figures, he says.

“I’m not an adrenaline junkie,” says Mr. White, who sees the stock-market wagers as part of a broader personal portfolio that includes his job, enough cash to cover the family’s living expenses for an extended period and a house that is fully paid for. Read more of this post

China’s Fifth-Richest Man Wei Jianjun of Great Wall Motor Targets to Sell More SUVs Than GM’s Jeep

China’s Fifth-Richest Man Targets to Sell More SUVs Than Jeep

Chinese billionaire Wei Jianjun has set a target for Great Wall Motor Co. (2333)’s Haval marque to surpass Chrysler Group LLC’s Jeep and become the world’s best selling SUV brand in three to four years. As part of the plan, Great Wall’s chairman has started construction of a new research center the size of 35 soccer fields in the city of Baoding, about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from Beijing. He plans to increase the number of engineers by at least 40 percent to more than 10,000.“We want Haval to have the highest value for money,” Wei, who is China’s fifth-richest man with an estimated net worth of $6.6 billion according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, told reporters today at the company’s factory in northern Hebei province. “We want to surprise our customers by that instead of just satisfying them.” Read more of this post

What China Can Learn From America’s Hot Dogs

May 31, 2013, 7:02 p.m. ET

What China Can Learn From America’s Hot Dogs

By DAVID KESMODELJULIE JARGON and LAURIE BURKITT

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Behind the planned takeover of Smithfield Foods Inc. SFD +0.61% by China’s biggest meat processor is an intensifying push by the Asian nation to industrialize its archaic food-production system to address rampant health problems and feed an increasingly wealthy population.

In addition to Smithfield’s enormous distribution network and market share in the U.S., owning the American company would enable Shuanghui International Holdings Ltd. to borrow from Smithfield’s playbook to speed the development of hog farms and processing plants in China that mirror the U.S. system. Read more of this post

Korea’s financial watchdog will launch an audit into Woori Bank because it is suspected of holding hundreds of “borrowed name” accounts for CJ Group, the subject of ongoing investigations into tax evasion and slush fund creation

2013-05-31 16:57

Regulator to look into Woori for CJ accounts

By Kim Tae-jong

The nation’s financial watchdog will launch an audit into Woori Bank because it is suspected of holding hundreds of “borrowed name” accounts for CJ Group, the subject of ongoing investigations into tax evasion and slush fund creation.

The bank is suspected of abetting the group’s wrongdoings, if proven to be true, this will be another setback, coming right after the Board of Audit and Inspection (BAI) blamed it for having poor management practices. Read more of this post

Chinatrust’s fomer vice chairman Jeffrey Koo Jr given lengthy prison sentence for financial scam

Chinatrust’s Koo Jr given lengthy prison sentence for scam

CNA 2013-06-01

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The former vice chairman of Chinatrust Financial Holding Co was sentenced Friday to nine years and eight months in prison and fined NT$150 million (US$5 million) for his role in a financial scandal.

The Taiwan High Court found Jeffrey Koo Jr guilty of violating the Securities and Exchange Act and the Banking Act with regard to irregularities in transactions of structured notes linked to Mega Financial Holdings during the period 2005-2006. Read more of this post

Huge debts of US$434 billion could see China Railway Corp hit the buffers

Huge debts could see China Railway Corp hit the buffers

Staff Reporter

2013-05-31

With debts of 2.66 trillion yuan (US$434 billion) and its staff yet to be finalized, uncertainties remain at the newly established China Railway Corp, which is now the country’s largest state-owned company, Guangzhou’s Time Weekly reports.

The company, which was set up in March after the dissolution of the Ministry of Railways, is struggling with massive debts, which has led to delays in making arrangements for the 903 staff members of the now defunct ministry, a source close to the company told the newspaper. Read more of this post

China Penalizes (Only) Two Brokerages in Crackdown on IPO Fraud

China Penalizes Two Brokerages in Crackdown on IPO Fraud

China’s securities regulator punished two brokerages for violating the country’s securities rules and banned four bankers from the industry for life as it steps up a crackdown on fraud in initial public offerings.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission plans to fine Minsheng Securities Co. 2 million yuan ($326,024) for failed due diligence in Shanxi Tianneng Technology Co.’s bid to list shares in 2011 and confiscate the 1 million yuan fee it earned from the deal, the agency said on its website today. Nanjing Securities Co. will be given a warning for a similar offense committed when it advised Guangdong Xindadi Biotechnology Co. in 2012, the CSRC said. The agency said both IPOs were pulled after reports of fraud were published by unidentified media. Read more of this post

Shenzhen banks suspend financing amid dodgy trade figures

Shenzhen banks suspend financing amid dodgy trade figures

Staff Reporter

2013-06-01

An unusual amount of speculative capital has flooded into Shenzhen of late, with speculators using false trade to conduct heavy cross-border arbitrages, thus forcing the renminbi to repeatedly hit new highs against the dollar and confounding the true figures of China’s imports and exports. The Shenzhen city government has therefore announced a new policy to suspend trade financing by partial banks, our affiliate Commercial Times reports.

The move has triggered plenty of complaints, however, especially from banks and foreign traders who say suspending financing will cause genuine import/export businesses to find it difficult to secure credit. Read more of this post

Artificial kidneys are getting closer to becoming a clinical reality, thanks to a range of advances

Medical technology: Artificial kidneys are getting closer to becoming a clinical reality, thanks to a range of advances

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

AN ARTIFICIAL kidney these days still means a refrigerator-sized dialysis machine. Such devices mimic the way real kidneys cleanse blood and eject impurities and surplus water as urine. But they are nothing like as efficient, and can cause bleeding, clotting and infection—not to mention inconvenience for patients, who typically need to be hooked up to one three times a week for hours at a time. Still, for 2m people around the world who suffer from chronic kidney failure, dialysis is the best option—unless they qualify for one of the 76,000 or so kidney transplants performed each year. Even those lucky few endure a lifetime on drugs to stop their bodies rejecting the foreign tissue.

A world in which new kidneys are grown using a patient’s own cells remains some way off. In the meantime, human patients are likely to be offered tiny versions of the dialysis machine. None is available yet, but last year America’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) picked a couple of candidates to participate in a fast-track process called Innovation Pathway 2.0, which aims to bring promising medical gizmos to market more promptly. Read more of this post

A new technique aims to prevent blood loss and save lives by using a rapidly expanding foam

A new technique aims to prevent blood loss and save lives by using a rapidly expanding foam

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

ON OBSERVING that most injured soldiers died before receiving medical attention, Dominique-Jean Larrey, a young surgeon in Napoleon’s army, proposed installing surgical teams near the front lines. Horse-drawn carriages would whisk the wounded from the battlefield to the closest field hospital, dramatically reducing casualties. Today the whisking is done by helicopter or ambulance and the treatment on arrival is incomparably better.

But whereas clever bandages help deal with external injuries, little progress has been made in helping soldiers with innards ravaged by bullets or shrapnel survive the trip to the operating table. Upma Sharma and her colleagues at Arsenal Medical, a start-up based in Massachusetts, hope to change that. They are developing a way to help a field medic stanch blood loss from punctured organs. Read more of this post

Zapping mosquitoes, and corruption: Technology and government: How the clever use of mobile phones is helping to improve government services in Pakistan

Zapping mosquitoes, and corruption: Technology and government: How the clever use of mobile phones is helping to improve government services in Pakistan

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

LIVE in a crowded South Asian city and a host of problems—smog, contagious disease, corruption—may plague you. Each winter, the air grows foul. The monsoon season brings mosquitoes, bloodsuckers capable of carrying nasties such as dengue and malaria. As cities expand and people are packed closer, they are more likely to pass on infections. Overwhelmed municipalities, especially if weakened by corruption, offer a weak response. In Lahore, Pakistan’s second-most populous city, there were 21,292 confirmed dengue patients in 2011, a particularly dire year. At least 350 of them died, victims of associated haemorrhages or shock.

The usual response is to send out fogging lorries to spray a choking mixture of insecticide (such as DDT) and kerosene to kill mosquitoes. Public officials also advise residents to drain every reservoir of water near their homes. Mosquito larvae flourish in puddles, even inside old tyres or old flower pots. But foggers sometimes spread their helpful poison too liberally, where no dengue-infected mosquitoes are present, or too rarely, perhaps neglecting poor neighbourhoods. Municipal workers skip puddle-hunting, or fail to tip chemicals into ponds to kill the larvae. Crooked workers sell their insecticides or refuse to spray without bribes from residents. Read more of this post

Desalination: A useful application may have been found for graphene: improving access to fresh water in the developing world

Desalination: A useful application may have been found for graphene: improving access to fresh water in the developing world

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

ALLOTROPES of carbon—varying forms of the element in which the atoms are stuck together in different patterns—have a mixed record of practical use. Diamonds, famously, are a girl’s best friend. Graphite makes good pencil lead. But buckminsterfullerene, in which the atoms are arranged like the geodesic domes beloved of the eponymous American architect, though hailed as a wonder material, proved largely useless.

Graphene, which looks like atomic-scale chicken-wire, may be in the useful camp. At room temperature, it is the best conductor of heat yet found. It is being developed as a photoreceptor, to convert light into electricity. And now two groups of engineers, one at Lockheed Martin, an American aerospace company, the other at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), are trying to use it to desalinate water. That could change the world. Read more of this post

Teaching old microphones new tricks with sensor technology: Microphones are designed to capture sound. But they turn out to be able to capture other sorts of information, too

Microphones as sensors

Teaching old microphones new tricks

Sensor technology: Microphones are designed to capture sound. But they turn out to be able to capture other sorts of information, too

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

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MICROPHONES exist in many shapes and sizes, and work in many different ways. In the late 19th century, early telephones relied on carbon microphones, pioneered by Thomas Edison; today’s smartphones contain tiny microphones based on micro-electro-mechanical systems, commonly called MEMS. Specialist microphones abound in recording studios; others are used by spies. But whatever the technology, these microphones all do the same thing: they convert sound waves into an electrical signal.

It turns out, however, that with the addition of suitable software, microphones can detect more than mere audio signals. They can act as versatile sensors, capable of tuning into signals from inside the body, assessing the social environment and even tracking people’s posture and gestures. Researchers have reimagined microphones as multi-talented collectors of information. And because they are built into smartphones that can be taken anywhere, and can acquire new abilities simply by downloading an app, they are being put to a range of unusual and beneficial uses. Read more of this post

Concrete, heal thyself! Civil engineering: A building material that can perform running repairs on itself, fixing small cracks and holes, is on the horizon

Concrete, heal thyself! Civil engineering: A building material that can perform running repairs on itself, fixing small cracks and holes, is on the horizon

Jun 1st 2013 |From the print edition

IT IS useful stuff, concrete, but it does have drawbacks. One of the biggest is that it is not as weatherproof as the stone it often substitutes for. Salt and ice routinely turn microscopic fractures in its fabric into gaping holes. These let water soak in. That, in time, can cause the structure to fail. The upshot is that concrete needs constant repair by teams of workmen assigned to fill in the newly formed gaps, which is tedious and expensive. It would be better if the stuff could heal such damage by itself. And that, as he reports in Applied Materials & Interfaces, is exactly what Chan-Moon Chung of Yonsei University in South Korea hopes to get it to do.

Self-healing concrete is not a new idea. In 2009 a team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands showed that it is possible to mix special bacteria, which release crack-sealing chemicals, into concrete before it is poured. These bacteria do, indeed, keep the concrete healthy—but only while they are alive. Experience shows that they last for no more than a year or so. Read more of this post

“Talent exchanges” on the web are starting to transform the world of work

Online labour exchanges

The workforce in the cloud

“Talent exchanges” on the web are starting to transform the world of work

Jun 1st 2013 | REDWOOD CITY, CALIFORNIA |From the print edition

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FOR translating a 22-minute video from English into Spanish at short notice, 7Brands Global Content, a professional-translation firm based in New York, quoted “approximately $1,500”. This fee seems in line with the local going rate for the job from a firm which boasts membership of three professional associations and clients such as Chase and Bank of America. Not so long ago, paying the local rate was the only option. Today anyone seeking to get this sort of job done is only a click away from the whole world of professionals competing to do it far cheaper. Read more of this post

For Wearable Computers, Future Looks Blurry

May 30, 2013, 7:29 p.m. ET

For Wearable Computers, Future Looks Blurry

At the D11 Confab, the Silicon Valley Elite Debate Google Glass’s Mainstream Appeal

By EVELYN M. RUSLI

RANCHO PALOS VERDES, Calif.—If you haven’t heard, the future is wearable computing. But how that future—seen through Google GOOG +0.05% Glass specs—will go mainstream is still out of focus.

At the D11: All Things Digital conference here, the tech elite buzzed about the promise of microcomputers that attach onto humans. They opined not just about fitness-tracking bands, which are already becoming ubiquitous, but also about multipurpose mobile gadgets that we can strap onto our wrists, heads or other body parts.

Tim Cook, CEO of Apple Inc., AAPL -0.41% which is reported to be working on a watch-like device, said wearable computers will likely be “another key branch” of the Apple tree. But in reference to competitor Google Inc.’s Glass headgear, Mr. Cook said high-tech eyeglasses would be “difficult” to pull off as a mainstream product. On stage, he wore a Nike+ FuelBand bracelet that tracks physical activity. Read more of this post

Killer cloud: report says Amazon Web Services threatens all IT incumbents

Killer cloud: report says Amazon Web Services threatens all IT incumbents

By Barb Darrow | GigaOM.com, Published: May 31

Amazon Web Services faces growing competition from a dozen or more legacy name-brand IT giants. But instead of taking a hit, it poses a bigger-than-ever threat to the those vendors — all of which are building their own competitive clouds, according to new Morgan Stanley research.

Oh, and the researchers project that AWS will hit $24 billion in revenue by 2022. Amazon doesn’t break out AWS revenue, but most pundits figure it passed the $2 billion-a-year mark about a year ago.

The fact that AWS has a huge lead in cloud over the rest of the world is not news to anyone who’s been watching, but these projections could be a wakeup call to investors who think tech incumbents — companies like IBM, Microsoft, HP, VMware, Red Hat, as well as every telco and hosting provider — can challenge Amazon in cloud computing.

“Applying retail economics to the delivery of technology services well positions Amazon Web Services [to be] a Top 5 vendor within the $152 TAM [total addressable market], ” according to Morgan Stanley analysts Scott Devitt, Keith Weiss and team. Read more of this post

Bumi Says $201 Million Missing After Review of Berau Finances

Bumi Says $201 Million Missing After Review of Berau Finances

Bumi Plc (BUMI), the coal producer at the center of an ownership dispute between its founders, said a review of spending at one of its two Indonesian units found $201 million of outlays with “no clear business purpose.”

In addition to the $152 million determined to be missing from PT Berau Coal Energy’s finances in 2012, $49 million was identified for the 2011, Bumi said in a statement. The Berau Coal review delayed Bumi’s results by more than two months. It today reported a net loss of $2.3 billion for 2012, compared with the year-earlier loss of $337 million after booking charges of $2.2 billion on its Indonesian coal businesses.

Bumi has been at the center of a battle for control between co-founders Nathaniel Rothschild and Indonesia’s Bakrie family since the $3 billion deal that brought them together started to sour in late 2011. Trading in the stock will remain suspended while the company “continues to enhance its internal systems and controls,” it said today.

Bumi took an impairment charge of $815 million on the Berau assets. PT Bumi Resources, in which Bumi Plc holds a 29 percent stake, posted a net loss of $666.2 million for 2012 as lower coal prices hurt sales at Indonesia’s biggest coal producer. Bumi took a non-cash charge of $1.4 billion on the value of its equity stake in Bumi Resources, it said today. Read more of this post

Frustration Mounts as Brazil’s Real Tumbles

Updated May 31, 2013, 3:56 p.m. ET

Frustration Mounts as Brazil’s Real Tumbles

By PAULO WINTERSTEIN

SÃO PAULO—Brazil’s currency tumbled to a four-year low Friday, underscoring investors’ frustration with the world’s sixth-largest economy.

The real dropped as low as 2.1443 reais per dollar, its weakest since May 2009, while stocks slipped to a six-week low. Friday’s selloff capped a week that saw Brazilian markets battered by mounting evidence that a hoped-for economic recovery isn’t materializing, as well as an interest-rate increase that threatens to further reduce growth.

With the economy slowing, inflation pressures rising and the country’s fiscal situation worsening, policy makers are running out of options to steady what was once South America’s rising star. Read more of this post

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