Montessori management: The backlash against running firms like progressive schools has begun

Montessori management: The backlash against running firms like progressive schools has begun

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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“THE INTERNSHIP”, a film about two middle-aged no-hopers who land work experience at Google, is a dire offering even by the standards of Hollywood summer comedies. But it does get one thing right: that it is rather absurd for a technology firm to provide slides for staff to play on, and to let them wear silly propeller-hats. Google is not alone in its juvenile tastes. Box, a Silicon Valley company, has installed swings in its headquarters. Red Bull, an energy-drinks firm, has a reception desk in the shape of a giant skateboard in its London office. Businesses of all types have moved towards sitting workers in groups in open-plan rooms, just like at nursery school. Time was when firms modelled themselves on the armed forces, with officers (who thought about strategy) and chains of command. Now many model themselves on learning-through-play “Montessori” schools. Read more of this post

The Lewis Model Explains Every Culture In The World

The Lewis Model Explains Every Culture In The World

GUS LUBIN 7 MINUTES AGO 0

A world traveler who speaks ten languages, British linguist Richard Lewis decided he was qualified to plot the world’s cultures on a chart.  Many people think he nailed it, as his book “When Cultures Collide,” now in its third edition, has sold more than one million copies since it was first published in 1996 and was called “an authoritative roadmap to navigating the world’s economy,” by the Wall Street Journal. Lewis plots countries in relation to three categories:

Linear-actives — those who plan, schedule, organize, pursue action chains, do one thing at a time. Germans and Swiss are in this group.

Multi-actives — those lively, loquacious peoples who do many things at once, planning their priorities not according to a time schedule, but according to the relative thrill or importance that each appointment brings with it. Italians, Latin Americans and Arabs are members of this group.

Reactives — those cultures that prioritize courtesy and respect, listening quietly and calmly to their interlocutors and reacting carefully to the other side’s proposals. Chinese, Japanese and Finns are in this group.

He says that this categorization of national norms does not change significantly over time:

The behavior of people of different cultures is not something willy-nilly. There exist clear trends, sequences and traditions. Reactions of Americans, Europeans, and Asians alike can be forecasted, usually justified and in the majority of cases managed. Even in countries where political and economic change is currently rapid or sweeping (Russia, China, Hungary, Poland, Korea, Malaysia, etc.) deeply rooted attitudes and beliefs will resist a sudden transformation of values when pressured by reformists, governments or multinational conglomerates.

Here’s the chart that explains the world:

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The Internet Is Having A Field Day With This Gigantic Billboard Of Angela Merkel’s Hands

The Internet Is Having A Field Day With This Gigantic Billboard Of Angela Merkel’s Hands

MICHAEL KELLEY SEP. 6, 2013, 7:24 AM 1,942 2

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A giant mosaic showing the hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen on September 5, 2013.

Eyeing re-election, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Christian Democratic Union (CDU) leader put up a new billboard next to Berlin’s main train station. It immediately became a meme. The giant mosaic shows Merkel’s hands composed of smaller photographs of hands. The orange banner on the left reads “Germany’s future is in good hands.” The tumblr Merkel-Raute or “Merkel Hash,” has been compiling them under the tag “The hands of the Merkel – Germany’s future is in good hands” in German.

Here are a few:

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The Fatal Human Flaw That Keeps Us From An Economy Based On Happiness

The Fatal Human Flaw That Keeps Us From An Economy Based On Happiness

In theory, happiness is a better indicator of prosperity in a country than traditional economic measurements. But human psychology has a tendency to get in the way. Measuring and comparing the overall happiness of societies has become a pop discipline that we’ve covered more than a few times (see here and here). Bhutan, with its “gross national happiness” indicator, helped kicked off the trend. But what if a country like Costa Rica (number six on this list of the world’s happiest countries) suddenly got competitive and wanted to raise its overall happiness? You’d think it would make sense for the government to start implementing policies–whether in education, taxes, or crime–that maximize the total happiness in society. What portion of ‘happiness’ can be attributed to living in the smog of Los Angeles versus the pristine air of Honolulu? In fact, this is exactly what a growing number of “happiness” economists think about. Traditionally, economists assist policymakers in deciding how to make tough policy tradeoffs by trying to put a monetary value on people’s preferences: how much taxpayer money they should spend to, say, make the air a bit cleaner or the crime rate lower. Happiness economists are taking a slightly different approach. They ask a large number of people about their overall happiness, and by comparing the answers, tease out what portion of “happiness” can be attributed to living in the smog of Los Angeles versus the pristine air of Honolulu versus, say, getting a lower tax rate or a raise at work. The tactic can be used to help answer policy questions like: How much parkland should a city provide? Or, is it worth investing public resources in sports teams? Do the benefits of increased police patrols outweigh the costs? One of the first studies to use this kind of happiness analysis found that, for people living near an airport in Amsterdam, a 50% increase in noise reduces well-being by “as much as a 2.2% drop in income.” If you ask people about their long-term outlook on life on sunny days, you’ll get happier answers. A new paper by Georgetown University economist Arik Levinson points out some major problems with using “happiness” as a way to answer these questions. The two biggest are the flip side of the same coin, and have to do with underlying aspects of human psychology: Read more of this post

Stagecoach in America: How one British company helped persuade Americans to ride buses again

Stagecoach in America: How one British company helped persuade Americans to ride buses again

Sep 7th 2013 | PERTH |From the print edition

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FEW people like long bus journeys. For many, they involve cramped seats, tiresome fellow passengers and hanging around empty stations in the early hours of the morning. Unsurprisingly, then, in America the number of bus services has been falling for many years. But this is starting to change. And a British company is helping to lead the way. Stagecoach Group is currently the largest bus operator in Britain. Based in Perth, a city in Scotland, its revenue was £2.8 billion ($4.4 billion) up to April this year. Each year 980m passengers are carried around on its British bus network. The company also owns 49% of Virgin Rail, one of the largest train operators, and runs the South West Trains service, a busy commuter franchise in south-west England. Read more of this post

Interstate pollution: How much should upwind states care if their filth blows next door?

Interstate pollution: How much should upwind states care if their filth blows next door?

Sep 7th 2013 | WASHINGTON, DC |From the print edition

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“ON SOME days even if we shut down the entire state, we would be in violation of some health standards because of pollution coming over from other states.” Thus the late Senator Frank Lautenberg griped about foul air blowing into New Jersey. For years, upwind states could dump part of the cost of pollution onto their neighbours, while reaping all the benefits of the factories that caused it. Though banned by the Clean Air Act, such smother-my-neighbour policies persist. Read more of this post

To Reform or Not Reform?—Echoes of the Late Qing Dynasty

To Reform or Not Reform?—Echoes of the Late Qing Dynasty

A ChinaFile Conversation

ORVILLE SCHELL, JOHN DELURY, JEFFREY WASSERSTROM, PETER C. PERDUE, JOSEPH W. ESHERICK, ROBERT KAPP

Orville Schell:

It is true that China is no longer beset by threats of foreign incursion nor is it a laggard in the world of economic development and trade. But being there and being steeped in an atmosphere of seemingly endless political and economic tension where questions of how far the leadership is willing (able?) to go in making reforms does make one think back to the end of the Qing, China’s last dynasty, during its waning years at the end of the 19th century. While the analogy is not perfect, one is left to ponder whether Party General Secretary Xi Jinping might end up being the Empress Dowager Cixi of the Communist era, a victim of the same wager: Fail to reform rapidly enough and risk stasis. Reform too rapidly and risk instability and even upheaval. Read more of this post

Robotics: A new breed of robots is being designed to collaborate with humans, working alongside them to make them more productive

Robotics: A new breed of robots is being designed to collaborate with humans, working alongside them to make them more productive

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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AS GIANT welding robots go about their business in a modern car factory, the scene looks like a cyberpunk vision of Dante’s “Inferno”. Amid showers of sparks, articulated mechanical arms nearly the size of telephone poles move sections of partially built vehicles so “scarily fast” that anyone who accidentally ends up in the wrong place is as good as dead, says Rodney Brooks, the boss of Rethink Robotics, a robot-maker based in Boston. For this reason, industrial robots operate in cages or behind security fences. But by segregating robots from humans, such safety measures greatly limit the tasks that robots can perform. In car factories, for example, most of the final assembly is done, expensively, by hand. Read more of this post

The sound of silence: Technology and society: Designers are paying more attention to devising products that make less noise, which can save energy and boost sales

The sound of silence: Technology and society: Designers are paying more attention to devising products that make less noise, which can save energy and boost sales

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

EFFORTS to regulate the nuisance of distracting noise date back at least as far as the 6th century BC, when the Greek colony of Sybaris decreed that, along with roosters, tinsmiths and potters had to live outside the city because of the noise they made. Some 25 centuries later Charles Babbage, an English mathematician who is remembered as one of the forefathers of computing, waged a series of campaigns against organ grinders and other forms of street music. Both would surely approve of the way in which designers have lately started paying more attention to devising products that make less noise. Read more of this post

The rebirth of the diesel engine: Automotive technology: Electric and hybrid cars are being given a run for their money by an unlikely competitor: a range of advanced diesel engines that set new standards in performance and fuel economy

The rebirth of the diesel engine: Automotive technology: Electric and hybrid cars are being given a run for their money by an unlikely competitor: a range of advanced diesel engines that set new standards in performance and fuel economy

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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TESLA MOTORS has had great success with its Model S luxury electric car, which has outsold its petrol-powered equivalents since being launched in America last year. Even so, the prospects for battery-powered vehicles generally may never shine quite as bright again. Having had their day in the sun, they may soon be eclipsed by, wait for it, the diesel engine. American readers will find this idea particularly hard to swallow. Surely not that dirty, noisy, smelly, lumbering lump of a motor that was hard to start in winter? Certainly not. A whole new generation of sprightly diesels—developed over the past few years—bear no resemblance to the clattering Oldsmobile 4.3-litre diesel of the late 1970s, which single-handedly destroyed diesel’s reputation in America for decades. Read more of this post

The big mobile-phone reset

The big mobile-phone reset

This week’s two telecoms deals will be followed by others, as the industry undergoes a big rationalisation

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

ONE was a long-expected divorce, the other a much-predicted wedding. On September 2nd America’s Verizon Communications bought Britain’s Vodafone out of Verizon Wireless, the biggest mobile operator in the United States. It will pay a staggering $130 billion in cash, shares and bonds for Vodafone’s 45% stake. The next day Microsoft bought Nokia’s mobile-phone business for €3.8 billion ($5 billion). The American software company will also pay the Finnish firm €1.7 billion to license its patents, and lend it €1.5 billion. Read more of this post

High-tech fabrics: Advances in seemingly mundane textile technologies promise to make the world a safer place—using a variety of tricks

High-tech fabrics: Advances in seemingly mundane textile technologies promise to make the world a safer place—using a variety of tricks

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

ON APRIL 29th a Boeing 747 cargo jet crashed just after take-off at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan, killing all seven crew members. During the ascent, it seems, some heavy cargo broke free from its constraints and slid backwards, lifting the nose of the aircraft and making it stall. Such accidents have happened before. In 1997 a cargo plane leaving Miami crashed after pallets of denim shifted; all four of the crew and a motorist on the ground were killed. Accordingly, there is much interest in brawnier nets that can ensure air cargo stays put. Japan’s Nippon Cargo Airlines, TAP Portugal, and, as of this summer, Air France-KLM are using netting fabric that is much stronger than the polyester netting in wide use today. Read more of this post

Digital manufacturing: There is a lot of hype around 3D printing. But it is fast becoming integrated with mainstream manufacturing

3D printing scales up

Digital manufacturing: There is a lot of hype around 3D printing. But it is fast becoming integrated with mainstream manufacturing

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

PEEK through the inspection windows of the nearly 100 three-dimensional (3D) printers quietly making things at RedEye, a company based in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, and you can catch a glimpse of how factories will work in the future. It is not simply that the machines, some as big as delivery vans, run day and night attended by just a handful of technicians. Instead it is what they are making that shows how this revolutionary production process is entering the manufacturing mainstream. Read more of this post

Biomedicine: Smart antiseptic dispensers promise to save lives by subtly encouraging medical staff to wash their hands more often

Biomedicine: Smart antiseptic dispensers promise to save lives by subtly encouraging medical staff to wash their hands more often

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

GIVING birth was a dangerous endeavour in the 1800s; many women died soon after doing so. Ignaz Semmelweis, an obstetrician working at the time at Vienna General Hospital observed that by washing his hands with bleach before he touched his patients he could reduce their mortality rate by 90%. This was before Louis Pasteur established the germ theory of disease, and Semmelweis could not explain the correlation. After he published his findings, though, many of his colleagues were offended at the suggestion that they did not have clean hands. After all, doctors were gentlemen and as Charles Meigs, another obstetrician, put it, “a gentleman’s hands are clean”. Discouraged, Semmelweis slipped into depression and was eventually committed to a lunatic asylum. He died 14 days later, after being brutally beaten by the guards. Read more of this post

Alipay and UnionPay Battle over How Payments Are Processed; State-owned firm wants bankcard transactions routed through its system, a move experts say counters efforts to open market

09.06.2013 18:29

Alipay and UnionPay Battle over How Payments Are Processed

State-owned firm wants bankcard transactions routed through its system, a move experts say counters efforts to open market

By staff reporters Wen Xiu and Zhang Yuzhe

(Beijing) – A clash between two titans in the country’s payment industry has shed light on the worsening tension between challengers and a monopoly defending its privileges. The conflict surfaced when Alipay, the third-party payment arm of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group, said on August 27 that it will stop its offline point-of-sales (POS) service for “obvious reasons.” Read more of this post

‘Most Expensive Bed in the World’ Now Sold in Beijing; You’re bound to get a good night’s sleep on this 1.2 million RMB bed, unless you’re footing the bill

‘Most Expensive Bed in the World’ Now Sold in Beijing

09-05 16:27 Caijing

You’re bound to get a good night’s sleep on this 1.2 million RMB bed, unless you’re footing the bill

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Ever heard the saying ‘you’re better off putting your money under your mattress’? Well, this probably isn’t exactly what they meant. Still, with China’s luxury product market booming – and, if this launch is anything to go by, bigger than ever – who needs to be frugal? The headline-grabbing ‘Royal State Bed’, priced at 125,000 GBP (1,186,600 RMB), is the latest in a series of models being introduced to the Chinese market by esteemed British brand Savoir Beds. Originally exclusive bed makers for London’s prestigious Savoy Hotel, Savoir has over a century of experience giving its customers a sound night’s sleep. Read more of this post

The capital-freeze index: Which emerging markets are most vulnerable to a freeze in capital inflows?

The capital-freeze index: Which emerging markets are most vulnerable to a freeze in capital inflows?

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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*Based on current-account balance, credit growth, short-term gross external debt and external debt payments as % of reserves, and financial openness

THE risk of an abrupt end to capital inflows is now a worry for much of the emerging world. Some places are more vulnerable than others. A large current-account gap implies lots of net borrowing from abroad, which could presage a credit crunch if funding dries up. A high level of short-term external debt relative to a government’s stock of reserves means an economy lacks the means to tide borrowers through temporary difficulties. Rapid credit growth often signals overstretched firms and overvalued asset prices. A more open financial system may boost growth in the long run, but it also makes it easy for capital to flood out fast. Read more of this post

Farming as rocket science: Why American agriculture is different from the European variety

Farming as rocket science: Why American agriculture is different from the European variety

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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BEFORE growing up to become farmers, a startling number of America’s rural kids are taught how to build rockets. Every year rural skies fill with mini-missiles built by children. The largest fly hundreds of feet, carrying altimeters, parachutes and payloads of eggs. Baseball diamonds are popular launch sites, as are alfalfa fields: the latter tend to be large and, compared with other crops, alfalfa tolerates a fair bit of trampling. All this tinkering and swooshing explains a lot about American farms. Read more of this post

What happened to biofuels? Energy technology: Making large amounts of fuel from organic matter has proved to be more difficult and costly than expected

What happened to biofuels? Energy technology: Making large amounts of fuel from organic matter has proved to be more difficult and costly than expected

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

SCIENTISTS have long known how to convert various kinds of organic material into liquid fuel. Trees, shrubs, grasses, seeds, fungi, seaweed, algae and animal fats have all been turned into biofuels to power cars, ships and even planes. As well as being available to countries without tar sands, shale fields or gushers, biofuels can help reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by providing an alternative to releasing fossil-fuel carbon into the atmosphere. Frustratingly, however, making biofuels in large quantities has always been more expensive and less convenient than simply drilling a little deeper for oil. Read more of this post

The hopes, fears and worries of Europe’s quest for renewable energy

The hopes, fears and worries of Europe’s quest for renewable energy

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

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SUNDAY June 16th this year was a Goldilocks sort of day across Germany, not too hot but not too cool, with bright sunshine and a reasonable offshore breeze. Just right for Germany’s solar panels and wind turbines to produce, at their peak, a record 60% of Germany’s electricity on a slow weekend. But France and Belgium also had lots of nuclear power that could not easily be cranked down. So for several hours, generating companies had to pay customers to take their surplus power. Read more of this post

This land is whose land? A new law may do little to break India’s land-acquisition logjam

This land is whose land? A new law may do little to break India’s land-acquisition logjam

Sep 7th 2013 |From the print edition

UNDER a bodhi tree, their brightly coloured saris draped over their heads, some 500 women brave the midday heat just outside the pretty and rather prosperous village of Dhinkia. Just a few hundred metres of rolling sand dunes from the sea, Dhinkia, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha (formerly Orissa) is a hub of protest. The women, one from every village family, are staging the village’s daily dharna, a sit-in. Sisir Mohapatra, a former sarpanch or village head, makes a rousing speech. He seems respected, though his police record would suggest he is a mafia don: he says he faces 35 criminal charges, and of his 60-strong extended family in Dhinkia, 40 are also wanted by the law. They claim that the charges are all trumped up. Their real crime is to oppose the biggest single foreign-investment project India has ever attracted. Read more of this post

Faith In Humanity: 10 Studies To Restore Your Hope For The Future

SEPTEMBER 5, 2013 by ERIC BARKER

Faith In Humanity: 10 Studies To Restore Your Hope For The Future

Reading a lot about the science of human behavior can make you cynical, sometimes deservedly so, but cynical nonetheless. On this blog I try to be accurate and useful and, as I have posted, research shows there is great power in optimism and hopeSo I want to take a second to step back from brass tacks and take a look at some studies that can renew a faith in humanity. The world is not always fair. The bad are not always punished and the good do not always prevail. But there are plenty of reasons, scientifically tested, to have hope and be positive about the future.

1) You Bounce Back Better From Tougher Problems

From a study by Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness: People rationalize divorces, demotions, and diseases, but not slow elevators and uninspired burgundies. The paradoxical consequence is that people may sometimes recover more quickly from truly distressing experiences than from slightly distressing ones (Aronson & Mills, 1958; Gerard & Mathewson, 1966; Zimbardo, 1966)… Read more of this post

China’s banks are hogging the country’s market earnings, and that spells trouble; A stronger service sector is crucial to “rebalancing” the economy away from investment-fueled growth, but not if it’s driven by bad lending.

China’s banks are hogging the country’s market earnings, and that spells trouble

By Gwynn Guilford @sinoceros September 5, 2013

Considering China’s massive debt problem, investors might be wary of the country’s banking sector. But relax: Chinese banks are doing just peachy. In fact, as David Cui, China strategist at BofA Merrill Lynch, flags in a note today, “banks alone accounted for 56% of total market earnings” of mainland-listed companies. Here’s a look at that:

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​Cui doesn’t necessarily think this is a good thing. “This large and rising share is unhealthy,” he and the BofA Merrill Lynch China strategy team wrote in a related note. More evidence of China’s engorged banking sector came out a few days ago, when the China Enterprise Confederation, an advocacy group for Chinese enterprises, reported that, of China’s top 500 service-sector companies, the country’s 39 leading banks generated 68% of profits so far in 2013. The surge in banking profits helped China’s service sector eclipse that of the top 500 manufacturers for the first time in the history of CEC’s analysis. The profits of the 268 manufacturing companies among China’s top 500 companies fell nearly 18% in 2013, hitting 438 billion yuan ($71 billion) (link in Chinese) in H1 2013. That compares with the 39 top banks’ 1.04 trillion yuan in profits. A stronger service sector is crucial to “rebalancing” the economy away from investment-fueled growth, but not if it’s driven by bad lending. The CEC’s vice president, Li Jianming, considers the trend a bad omen. He compares China’s ballooning banking sector to that of the US; America’s financial industry accounts for something like 30% of operating profits. Read more of this post

China’s Yunnan Province ‘Busted’ For Fake Data; Exaggerated 2013 Output By Over 150%

Chinese Province ‘Busted’ For Fake Data; Exaggerated 2013 Output By Over 150%

Tyler Durden on 09/05/2013 09:39 -0400

Still believe that China’s PMI is above 50 and suggesting a global growth expansion? Still believe in Santa and the Tooth Fairy? Well, none other than China’s own National Bureau of Statistics has been forced to admit that at least one of its major provinces has dramatically overstated industrial output. As Sina reports, according to a NBS report, the government in China’s Yunnan province had coerced local companies to report inflated industrial output value, resulting in artificially high economic figures. With government leadership promotions driven by the performance of economic numbers in each province, it should hardly be surprising but the scale of the fraud is remarkable. In 2012, one county in Yunnan province reported CNY6.34 billion in output while audits showed only CNY 2.82 billion and in the first half of 2013, Yunnan published CNY 2.75 billion in output while audits showed a mere CNY1.06 billion! The province was also found to have faked investment data.

Chinese county’s fake economic data exposed

2013-09-05 11:54:36 GMT2013-09-05 19:54:36(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

BEIJING, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) — China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Thursday announced it had uncovered a serious case involving the faking of economic data by a county government in southwest China’s Yunnan Province. According to the NBS’s publicized report, the government of Luliang had coerced local companies to report inflated industrial output value, resulting in artificially high economic figures. Twenty-eight sampled local companies reported a total of 6.34 billion yuan (1.03 billion U.S. dollars) in industrial output value in 2012; however, the actual value was only 2.82 billion yuan, based on initial calculation, according to the report. Similarly, 25 sampled local companies reported 2.74 billion yuan of industrial output value in the first half of 2013, but the NBS initially verified the actual value to be only 1.06 billion yuan. Meanwhile, the county was also found to have faked investment data. Companies complained that if they did not fraudulently report higher data, their reports would be returned by local government departments. They also said that fake reports would ensure they would enjoy favorable policies such as securing bank loans. The NBS said that the misconduct has seriously affected the authenticity and independence of company data. The NBS did not specify the reasons behind the county’s faking of data but it is a well-known fact that local government leaders are assessed for their performances based on economic data. Nice-looking data sheets mean promotion opportunities. In February 2012, the NBS launched a unified data collection system through which companies can send their data directly to the government’s statistics center or authorized provincial branches, in an effort to ensure the authenticity of official economic data and dispel discrepancies in this field. The scheme covers a total of 700,000 major enterprises, which contribute about 80 percent of the country’s GDP. However, many other small and medium-sized companies as well as individual businesses are not included.

China’s Regulators Wary of Interbank Lending to transfer loans off their balance sheet

Updated September 5, 2013, 8:07 a.m. ET

China’s Regulators Wary of Interbank Lending

RICHARD SILK

China’s regulators are on the lookout for risks posed by the rapid growth of interbank lending, a vice governor of the central bank said Thursday. The interbank market all but seized up and interest rates rose to almost 30% in late June, after capital outflows exacerbated a seasonal spike in liquidity demand. The People’s Bank of China proved reluctant to supply cash to the market, surprising an industry that had gotten used to regular liquidity support. “The rapidly expanding interbank market has brought new challenges for implementing monetary policy and avoiding financial risks,” said Hu Xiaolian at a conference in Beijing. “For example, some banks have been using the interbank market to transfer loans off their balance sheet.” Read more of this post

Great entrepreneurs do not know their audiences; “the fun part is launching a great product, making it better, and finding your audience along the journey”

Great entrepreneurs do not know their audiences

BY BRYAN GOLDBERG 
ON SEPTEMBER 5, 2013

There’s nothing like a trip to Kansas to remind you. I happened to be here for a wedding this weekend, and I slept during my flight from LaGuardia to KCIA. It takes me a few minutes to really wake up from a great nap, and so my first cogent memory was of hopping into the cab. The taxi driver asked me where I was going, and then he moved onto the more important question at hand…

“You cool with the Christian Rock station?”

I wasn’t sure that I had ever listened to one of those, so I told the man to go ahead and pump it up. I may be Jewish, but I’m cool with a few power ballads about Jesus.  At some point, he asked me where I was from, and he asked me what I did, and when Bleacher Report finally entered the conversation, he told me how much he liked the site. And when I got to the wedding, Bleacher Report came up a lot. Most of the guests were strangers to me, but somehow they seemed to know about my past and wanted to hear more. Read more of this post

Here’s The Elon Musk Video Showing How You Can Design Rocket Parts By Making Hand Gestures

Here’s The Elon Musk Video Showing How You Can Design Rocket Parts By Making Hand Gestures

JOE WEISENTHAL SEP. 5, 2013, 5:55 PM 2,451 4

A couple of weeks ago, Elon Musk (who is the chief at both Tesla and the private rocket company SpaceX) said he was going to post a video showing how you could develop rockets just by waving his hands in the air. Well, the video is here. Signe Brewster at GigaOm has a concise explanation of how it works: SpaceX paired a Leap Motion gesture reader with its Siemens NX computer aided design software and added 3D glasses, allowing a designer to shape the part with their hands in a 3D environment. They can’t build a design from scratch, but they can take actions like modifying the shape of an object. Musk demonstrated in the video it is also a useful way to examine a design in three dimensions. There’s more on the process posted at the Leap Motion blog.

Prices for memory chips used in smartphones and personal computers surged 19% as SK Hynix Fire Sparks Supply-Crunch Woes

Chip Prices Surge as SK Hynix Fire Sparks Supply-Crunch Woes

Prices for memory chips used in smartphones and personal computers surged 19 percent, the most in three years, as SK Hynix Inc. (000660) suspended operations in China after a factory fire. Shares of the Apple Inc. (AAPL) supplier fell. The blaze occurred Sept. 4 during the installation of equipment at a factory in Wuxi, China, that makes dynamic random-access memory chips. The fire burned for about 90 minutes before being extinguished without causing major damage, the Icheon, South Korea-based chipmaker said. One person suffered minor injuries. Read more of this post

SmartBike and SmartLock: devices that answer Vietnam’s motorbike theft culture

SmartBike and SmartLock: devices that answer Vietnam’s motorbike theft culture

September 5, 2013

by Anh-Minh Do

setechviet-sbike-motorbike-sms-315x251 iSmartBike-3-225x400

Vietnam is a motorbike nation. Surrounding countries like Thailand, the Philippines, and Indonesia, with similar populations to Vietnam, have slowly made the transition into cars. They’re full of car traffic. But Vietnam’s traffic jams areunique. And that presents a huge market for motorbike products and services. Enter Digi-Gps: SmartLock and SmartBike. Two such solutions are the SmartBike and the SmartLock, made by a team of engineers out of a company called Digi-Gps. Now, let’s imagine you have a motorbike first. And just for the sake of storytelling, your motorbike is really nice, and lots of thieves want to steal it. That’s where the SmartLock and SmartBike come in. The SmartLock, which costs 500,000 VND ($25), is a bluetooth-enabled device that basically locks your motorbike if you walk more than 10 meters away from it. 10 meters, and it automatically shuts off and locks. Within 30 meters, it will send a text message to your phone if anyone touches or tries to steal your motorbike. Beyond 30 meters, and you won’t be able to get those text messages. But basically, no one will be able to turn on your motorbike without your bluetooth activated smartphone nearby. The SmartLock is tapped into your motorbikes electrical system. Read more of this post

U.S. broadcasters succeed in temporarily shutting down streaming TV service Aereo

U.S. broadcasters succeed in temporarily shutting down streaming TV service

8:42pm EDT

By Erin Geiger Smith

(Reuters) – U.S. television broadcasters won a significant court battle on Thursday when a federal judge shut down an online television service in most parts of the country until a lawsuit on the issue is resolved. FilmOn allows users to watch live television on their computers or mobile devices by streaming local news broadcasts and national television programs. Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, Walt Disney Co’s ABC and other networks sued FilmOn in May, claiming the service pays no licensing fees and is stealing their copyrighted content. Read more of this post

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