What sets these self-driving vehicles really apart is the lack of controls that have been part of every car produced since the dawn of the horseless carriage

Self-driving cars

Handless carriage

Jun 2nd 2014, 11:28 by P.E. | DETROIT

IT HAS long been the stuff of science fiction, but autonomous driving is about to steer a lot closer to reality when Google begins testing a fleet of self-driving cars later this year. The move positions Google as one of the leaders in the field, but virtually every big car maker is now working on similar technology. Last year, for instance, Nissan announced it wants to put its first fully autonomous vehicle into production by 2020. Yet most of the incumbents take a more incremental approach than Google. Read more of this post

An international liquefied natural gas market is developing. Buyers will gain more than sellers

An international gas market is developing. Buyers will gain more than sellers

May 31st 2014 | From the print edition

SQUEEZING and cooling gas until it becomes a liquid, and then shipping it by tanker, is inherently costlier than sending it down a pipeline. But 50 years since the first shipment left Algeria, liquefied natural gas (LNG) is no longer exotic, complicated or marginal. For the past two years the global LNG trade has been in a flat spot, with little new supply. But on May 25th Exxon Mobil said it had shipped its first cargo from a $19 billion project in Papua New Guinea (pictured on the next page), the first in a wave of new LNG supplies that are about to come to market. Read more of this post

25 Books Billionaire Charlie Munger Thinks Everyone Should Read

25 Books Billionaire Charlie Munger Thinks Everyone Should Read

FARNAM STREET STRATEGY  JUN. 3, 2014, 12:46 AM

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people (over a broad subject matter area) who didn’t read all the time — none. Zero. You’d be amazed at how much Warren reads — and how much I read. My children laugh at me. They think I’m a book with a couple of legs sticking out.”

That comment is what really kickstarted my own reading habits. While my 161 books last year pales in comparison to the quality of Munger’s reading habits, it’s a start. Read more of this post

High-dividend-paying stocks tend to outperform all other equities during long time horizons, but they are the worst performers when interest rates increase

Dividends Great for Long Term, but Beware Rising Rates

High-dividend-paying stocks tend to outperform all other equities during long time horizons, but they are the worst performers when interest rates increase.

By Timothy Strauts | 05-29-2014 10:00 AM

Tim Strauts: Today we’re going to look at how dividend stocks have performed in different interest-rate periods. In this chart, you can see we’ve broken up the equity universe into four buckets. The highest 30% bucket is the 30% of stocks with the highest dividend yield, going all the way down to the no-dividend bucket of companies that pay no dividends. Read more of this post

Scientists Have Discovered A Planet They Thought Was Impossible

Scientists Have Discovered A Planet They Thought Was Impossible

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LESLIE BAEHR SCIENCE  JUN. 3, 2014, 9:04 AM

The “Godzilla of Earths!” is in the foreground. Behind it is the smaller ‘lava world’. Their sun, in the back, appears to have been created only 3 billion years after the Big Bang.

Based on what we know about how solar systems form, researchers thought that a giant rocky planet could not exist. But they just found one that’s 17 times Earth’s mass. They’ve dubbed it the “Mega-Earth.” Read more of this post

Indonesia: A True Tiger?

Indonesia: A True Tiger?

CONTRIBUTOR YOUR SAY  JUN. 3, 2014, 10:40 AM

The complexity of Indonesia’s culture is perhaps only outmatched by its economic and political workings.  This is a country and people with a history of battling colonialism, erupting in constant turmoil and political unrest.  Its democracy is a fairly young 15 years.  While Indonesia portrays itself to have a stable democracy, the tenseness surrounding the presidential elections this year tells a widely different story.  Political and economic “games” erupt, for which corruption is the most common explanation.  Corruption almost seems to be a way of life here in Jakarta, as it is acknowledged constantly in conflicts, with heads nodding in understanding and then dismissal, as “that is just the way it is.” Read more of this post

Malcolm Gladwell Explains What Everyone Gets Wrong About His Famous ‘10,000 Hour Rule’; natural ability requires a huge investment of time in order to be made manifest

Malcolm Gladwell Explains What Everyone Gets Wrong About His Famous ’10,000 Hour Rule’

DRAKE BAER STRATEGY  JUN. 3, 2014, 1:00 PM

In his 2008 book “Outliers,” Malcolm Gladwell wrote that “ten thousand hours is the magic number of greatness.”

His examples included:

Bill Gates, who was able to start coding as a teen since he attended a progressive Seattle high school

the Beatles, who played eight-hour gigs in German clubs long before they invaded America Read more of this post

São Paulo-based MCassab Group is the face of today’s prosperous, entrepreneurial Brazil. An 86-year-old Brazilian family-run conglomerate with interests spanning Lego distribution to fish farming, its revenues are expected to double to $1 billion b

FROM CHEMICALS TO COSMETICS (AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN)

ARTICLE | 2 JUNE, 2014 10:07 AM | BY PETER SHAW-SMITH

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Two miles north-west of the famous Interlagos Formula One racing circuit stands a group of offices, laboratories and warehouses that is the centre for one of the most successful family-run, and yet relatively unknown, conglomerates in Latin America’s biggest economy – MCassab Group. 

Outside the turnstile at the entrance to the complex, scores of afternoon-shift employees and delivery workers jostle to gain admittance, a process that takes at least 10 minutes. Security at every major Brazilian office is extremely tight. Behind a one-way screen, an invisible woman briskly repeats and confirms appointments via intercom, and the queue inches forward. It is a rare chance to step inside MCassab’s headquarters and to meet the company’s chief executive Fábio Cutait and his son-in-law, Alexandre Vasto.  Read more of this post

Whole Foods is suffering from an identity crisis

Whole Foods is suffering from an identity crisis

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By John McDuling @jmcduling June 2, 2014

As of right now, Whole Foods is the worst-performing stock in the S&P 500 this year. Its shares are down about 35% in 2014, worse than the 31% fall the similarly besieged electronics retailer Best Buy has suffered, and below a 3.8% gain for the broader index. Read more of this post

McDonald’s has been eating Burger King’s lunch for more than a decade

McDonald’s has been eating Burger King’s lunch for more than a decade

By Matt Phillips @MatthewPhillips June 2, 2014

It’s been a tough decade for Burger King.

The long-time rival to McDonald’s has seen its share of the US fast-food burger market erode steadily since 2000, when it controlled nearly 19% of market. Last year, Burger King’s share had dwindled to 11.2%, according to data from market research firm Technomic, which was cited in a recent note from analysts at Morgan Stanley. Burger King’s market share loss amounted to gains for virtually every other fast-food burger joint, especially McDonald’s, which dominates the US burger market. McDonald’s controlled 47.3% of the market last year.

image001-4 Read more of this post

A View Inside Corporate Risk Management

A View Inside Corporate Risk Management

Gordon M. Bodnar 

Johns Hopkins University – Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)

Erasmo Giambona 

University of Amsterdam – Finance Group; Tinbergen Institute – Tinbergen Institute Amsterdam (TIA)

John R. Graham 

Duke University; NBER

Campbell R. Harvey 

Duke University – Fuqua School of Business; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)
May 16, 2014

Abstract: 
A number of theories have been proposed to explain why firms hedge. Unfortunately, these theories are hard to test: While we might observe the hedges, it is hard to answer the question of “why” hedging occurs. Our paper attacks the “why” by directly questioning the managers that make the risk management decisions. Our results present a fresh, inside view of corporate risk management. Rather than hedging being conducted solely by “firms”, our results suggest that personal risk aversion in combination with other executive traits plays a key role in whether a company hedges. As such, our results suggest an important deficiency in many modern theories of risk management which ignore the role of the individual manager.

Apple’s iOS updates were mostly evolutionary-tuck-in improvements and features “borrowed” from other companies, such as Snapchat-like self-destructing messages

Apple’s biggest news today is in the plumbing

By Dan Frommer @fromedome 10 hours ago

Apple didn’t announce any new, must-buy gadgets today at its Worldwide Developers Conference. And from a user’s perspective, the iOS updates it revealed were mostly evolutionary—tuck-in improvements and features “borrowed” from other companies, such as Snapchat-like self-destructing messages.

But Apple did show off several new, important behind-the-scenes technologies today—let’s call it app plumbing. These include:

Extensibility, so apps can talk to each other and borrow each others’ features. Read more of this post

Forget artisan bread and A2 Milk: Woolworths’ latest assault on ¬Australia’s wealthiest shoppers includes walk-in cheese rooms, a ¬gourmet pizza bar and resident chefs ready to dole out tips on their favourite recipes

Samantha Hutchinson Reporter

Woolworths Double Bay: it’s Woolies for the Prada set

Published 02 June 2014 10:03, Updated 03 June 2014 09:26

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Woolworths state manager Danny Baldwin at the new Double Bay store. Photo: Louise Kennerley

Forget artisan bread and A2 Milk: Woolworths’ latest assault on ­Australia’s wealthiest shoppers includes walk-in cheese rooms, a ­gourmet pizza bar and resident chefs ready to dole out tips on their favourite recipes. Read more of this post

Jump in shareholder activism to hit Australian companies

Jump in shareholder activism to hit Australian companies

Published 29 May 2014 14:49, Updated 30 May 2014 11:17

Joyce Moullakis

Australian boards should brace for an uptick in shareholder activism, as lawyers and bankers urge preparedness and engagement with activists and proxy firms to navigate a typically disruptive process. Read more of this post

Australia’s Beach Burrito is surfing the Mexican trend without franchisees

Caitlin Fitzsimmons Online editor

Beach Burrito is surfing the Mexican trend without franchisees

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Published 03 June 2014 00:05, Updated 03 June 2014 14:18

Blake Reed founder of Beach Burrito at his Bondi Beach store, Sydney. Photo: Sasha Woolley

When Blake Read founded Beach Burrito in 2006, he didn’t know he would be riding a wave of Mexican casual dining set to hit Australia. Read more of this post

Five reasons franchisees fail, and how to avoid the pitfalls; Being motivated by the misconception that running a franchise will be easy and highly profitable

Five reasons franchisees fail, and how to avoid the pitfalls

Published 03 June 2014 14:11, Updated 03 June 2014 14:55

Steven Clare

Franchising is big business. In Australia, the franchise sector contributes $153 billion to the national economy. At present, there are an estimated 1200 individual franchise systems operating in Australia, and we have the highest number of franchises per head of population anywhere in the world.

It’s obvious Australians are keen to invest in franchises, but there are pitfalls for new franchisees. Read more of this post

Bus tour in Alishan offers chance to taste tea, coffee

ASM Taiwan Dec 2015…

 

 

Bus tour in Alishan offers chance to taste tea, coffee

Monday, June 2, 2014
The China Post news staff

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Lion Travel Service Co. (雄師旅遊) and the Chiayi County Government have teamed up to provide a NT$999 bus tour, giving the public a unique opportunity to taste quality coffee and tea on Alishan.

Alishan, located in Chiayi County, has optimal temperatures and moisture levels for tea and coffee growing. With the assistance of the Council of Agriculture, locally produced coffee beans have won the nation’s championship title as well as recognition from the Coffee Review.

Internet minnows struggle in China’s cramped smartphone market

Internet minnows struggle in China’s cramped smartphone market

Staff Reporter

2014-06-03

Encouraged by the extraordinary success of Chinese budget smartphone maker Xiaomi, a number of internet firms in the country muscled into the market in the first half this year only to find themselves stuck without room to grow, reports Guanzgzhou’s 21st Century Business Herald. Read more of this post

Realty brokers in China may step up promotions amid slump

Realty brokers in China may step up promotions amid slump

Staff Reporter

2014-06-03

The prices of newly built houses in 100 Chinese cities averaged 10,978 yuan (US$1,757) per square meter in May this year, according to a report published by the China Index Academy, a major property research institute in China.

The figure represented a drop of 0.32% from the previous month, and the first drop in 23 months after June 2012. The report also indicated that among the 100 cities, prices in 37 rose from the previous month, while they dropped in 62. The prices only remained stable in one city. Read more of this post

Why do China’s biggest internet firms go public in the US? In the VIE structure, if the company goes bankrupt foreign investors can’t access the company’s assets in China

Why do China’s biggest internet firms go public in the US?

Staff Reporter

2014-06-03

Shopping website Jingdong Mall (JD.com) has become China’s third-largest internet firm to do go public on the Nasdaq in the United States after Tencent Holdings and Baidu amid a wave of listings by Chinese internet companies in the US, the People’s Daily Overseas Edition reports. Read more of this post

Asustek unveils world’s first 5-in-1 laptop at Taipei Computex

Asustek unveils world’s first 5-in-1 laptop at Taipei Computex

CNA and Staff Reporter

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2014-06-03

Taiwan-based PC maker Asustek unveiled Monday a line of new products at this year’s Computex Taipei computer trade show, with a converged notebook that enables five modes across the Windows and Android platforms given pride of place.

The Transformer Book V is a 12.5-inch tablet combined with a detachable keyboard dock and a 5-inch smartphone. Based on different usage scenarios, the device, which supports dual operating systems, can transform into a Windows laptop, a Windows tablet, an Android laptop, an Android tablet, or an Android smartphone. Read more of this post

Samsung’s ownership transfer to speed up with IPO

Samsung’s ownership transfer to speed up with IPO

SEOUL, June 3 (Xinhua) — Ownership transfer of Samsung Group, South Korea’s largest conglomerate, is expected to speed up as plans to list its de facto holding company will help the heir apparent secure funds to take control of the group’s affiliates.

Samsung Everland, the group’s de facto holding company, held a board of directors’ meeting Tuesday, deciding to make the amusement park operator go public by the first quarter of next year. Read more of this post

China grappling with garbage woes; urban trash now encloses more than two-thirds of the nation’s cities, with a quarter of them having exhausted space for refuse landfills and dumping grounds

China grappling with garbage woes

Li Shu-liang and Staff Reporter

2014-06-03

With accelerating urbanization in China, urban trash now encloses more than two-thirds of the nation’s cities, with a quarter of them having exhausted space for refuse landfills and dumping grounds, reports the China News Service.

At present, a total of 500 million square meters of urban land in China is occupied by dumps, which results in an economic loss of 30 billion yuan (US$4.76 billion) a year. Read more of this post

Urgent need for reforming Taobao’s judicial sales; The land use rights for a piece of national land in Kunshan has gone up for a starting price of 325 million yuan (US$52 million)

Urgent need for reforming Taobao’s judicial sales

Staff Reporter

2014-06-03

On May 23, the most expensive item on Taobao — Alibaba’s biggest website for online shopping — made its debut. The land use rights for a piece of national land in Kunshan, Jiangsu province, has gone up for a starting price of 325 million yuan (US$52 million). Read more of this post

China’s top express delivery service SF Express has stirred up the e-commerce market by setting up a chain of stores, where customers can place online orders or pick up the items they purchase online

SF Express chain stores stir up China’s e-commerce market

Li Tao-cheng and Staff Reporter

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2014-06-03

China’s top express delivery service SF Express has stirred up the e-commerce market by setting up a chain of stores, where customers can place online orders or pick up the items they purchase online.

Following the launch of its first Heike store in May, the chain has already opened a total of 18 outlets in Shanghai, with a target to increase the number to 400 by the end of this year. Read more of this post

China will replace Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS with its own localized smartphone operating system within the next three to five years?

China to develop localized smartphone OS in 3-5 years: academic

Staff Reporter

2014-06-02

China will replace Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS with its own localized smartphone operating system within the next three to five years, says a Chinese academic. Read more of this post

For Chinese Online Giants, All the Web’s a Stage: Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have set sights on the entertainment industry as the Internet’s next frontier

06.02.2014 11:44

For Online Giants, All the Web’s a Stage

Baidu, Alibaba and Tencent have set sights on the entertainment industry as the Internet’s next frontier

By staff reporters Liu Ran and Qu Yunxu

When Tencent Holdings signed a contract with novelist and Nobel laureate Mo Yan in 2013, the Internet and messaging services provider raised the stakes in a race to dominate China’s online entertainment market. Read more of this post

Even monarchs don’t have job security anymore

Even monarchs don’t have job security anymore

June 3, 2014 – 4:04PM

Leonid Bershidsky

King Juan Carlos of Spain should have no regrets as he steps down from the throne: His abdication reflects the same values that have made him a great monarch. Read more of this post

Research shows heart failure affects Asians earlier in life

Research shows heart failure affects Asians earlier in life

JUNE 3, 2014

SINGAPORE, June 3 — Heart failure affects Asian patients at least 10 years earlier compared with Westerners, despite Asians having lower Body Mass Index (BMI), preliminary results from a multinational study have shown.

The BMI is a measure of body fat based on an adult’s height and weight. Past studies have linked heart problems to a higher BMI, among other things. Read more of this post

4 ways to provide value rather than sell; When you believe in what you’re offering, you are providing an opportunity for someone else to participate in something you care about. Authentic passion is infectious and attracts prospects and clients

4 ways to provide value rather than sell

Young Entrepreneur Council

In the minds of many, sales is associated with shady salesmen. Tynesia Boyea Robinson shares 4 ways to provide customer value without selling

If you’re anything like me, you hate the idea of being a salesperson. Even though my friends affectionately call me “Faceman” (after the suave and slippery character from The A-Team), I never took it as a compliment.  To me, being a salesperson always conjured images of sleazy tricksters who pressure and hustle people into buying things they neither need nor want. Read more of this post

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