This Is Your Brain on Writing: For the first time, researchers have used fMRI scanners to track the brain activity of writers as they created fiction. The results have drawn strong reactions from other scientists

This Is Your Brain on Writing

JUNE 20, 2014

Carl Zimmer

A novelist scrawling away in a notebook in seclusion may not seem to have much in common with an NBA player doing a reverse layup on a basketball court before a screaming crowd. But if you could peer inside their heads, you might see some striking similarities in how their brains were churning.

That’s one of the implications of new research on the neuroscience of creative writing. For the first time, neuroscientists have used fMRI scanners to track the brain activity of both experienced and novice writers as they sat down — or, in this case, lay down — to turn out a piece of fiction. Read more of this post

Our Moral Tongue: Moral Judgments Depend on What Language We’re Speaking

Our Moral Tongue: Moral Judgments Depend on What Language We’re Speaking

JUNE 20, 2014

By BOAZ KEYSAR and ALBERT COSTA

ON June 20, 2003, employees of the Union Pacific Railroad faced a difficult decision as a runaway train headed toward downtown Los Angeles: Should they divert the train to a side track, knowing it would derail and hit homes in the less populated city of Commerce, Calif.? Did the moral imperative to minimize overall harm outweigh the moral imperative not to intentionally harm an innocent suburb? Read more of this post

Mahathir Thwarts Sultan’s Power Grab

Mahathir Thwarts Sultan’s Power Grab

Written by Our Correspondent

SAT,14 JUNE 2014

Intervention saves PM Najib’s political standing

Malaysia’s aging former Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad had to act earlier this week to save Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak from embarrassing legislation that would have given the Sultan of Johor executive powers to run the housing authority of the country’s second biggest state. Read more of this post

Content remains a giant mystery, but that hasn’t slowed the flood of VC cash

Content remains a giant mystery, but that hasn’t slowed the flood of VC cash

BY JAMES ROBINSON 
ON JUNE 20, 2014

Content marketers might actually have no idea which metrics translate into actual business results, but content marketing companies are seeing a huge uptick in venture financing, anyway.

Out this week from CB Insights is a report that content marketing startups raised $292 million dollars across 44 deals in the 12 months spanning the Q2 2013 to Q1 2014. This was a 47 percent bump in deal activity over the year prior, but a 125 percent spike in dollars, as latter-stage companies like Percolate, NewsCred and Contently rolled out big funding rounds. Read more of this post

With Efforts to Buy Shire, AbbVie Tries to Join Rush to Go Abroad

With Efforts to Buy Shire, AbbVie Tries to Join Rush to Go Abroad

By DAVID GELLES and CHAD BRAY

JUNE 20, 2014 5:43 AM Comment

Updated, 7:08 p.m. | At first it was a trickle. A few relatively unknown pharmaceutical companies acquired international competitors, and moved their headquarters abroad.

Then the pace picked up. Bigger health care companies, including Pfizer andMedtronic, also sought to relocate overseas, claiming that doing so would lower their tax rate and allow them to access trapped cash. Competitors felt pressure to match those financial advantages and began looking for deals of their own. Read more of this post

How big can BlackRock get? With more than US$4.4-trillion in assets under management, BlackRock is the largest money manager in the world by a wide margin

How big can BlackRock get?

Jonathan Ratner | June 19, 2014 7:50 AM ET
With more than US$4.4-trillion in assets under management, BlackRock Inc. is the largest money manager in the world by a wide margin, but that has some investors worried that its growth will inevitably slow down.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Eric Berg, however, is confident BlackRock is being very disciplined in launching new products that can help increase AUM over time and is targeting market leadership in key markets to help boost overall growth. Read more of this post

China’s Real-Estate Wrongs

YAO YANG

Yao Yang is Dean of the National School of Development and Director of the China Center for Economic Research at Peking University.

JUN 20, 2014

China’s Real-Estate Wrongs

BEIJING – China’s real-estate sector has been a source of serious concern for several years, with soaring property prices raising fears of overheating in the housing market. But, with price growth easing, it seems that the government’s campaign to rein in property risk is finally taking hold. The danger now is that the housing market will collapse – bringing China’s economic prospects down with it. Read more of this post

How ancient parasite wormed its way into human life

How ancient parasite wormed its way into human life

AP, AFP-JIJI

JUN 20, 2014

LONDON/PARIS – In a skeleton more than 6,200 years old, scientists have found the earliest known evidence of infection by a parasitic flatworm, revealing how human advancement enabled a creature resembling a tiny slug to spread. Today it afflicts more than 200 million people.

Archaeologists discovered the egg of the parasite near the pelvis of a child’s skeleton in northern Syria and say it dates back to a time when ancient societies first used irrigation systems to grow crops. Read more of this post

Hi, I’m a Tablet. I’ll Be Your Waiter Tonight.; Chains Like Panera Bread and Chili’s are using apps and tablets to improve food preparation, ordering and payment, and to entertain customers

Hi, Im a Tablet. Ill Be Your Waiter Tonight.

Panera and Chilis Turn to Tablets to Streamline Service

By STEPHANIE STROMJUNE 20, 2014

BRAINTREE, Mass.  An idea came to Ronald M. Shaich, the chief executive of Panera Bread, as he was driving his children to school about four years ago: What if everyone could order lunch the way he did?

The Shaich households morning routine included a call to the manager of the nearest Panera location to order lunch for Mr. Shaichs son (Asian sesame chicken salad with half the normal amount of chicken and twice the won ton strips) and daughter (various salads but with dressing on the side). Read more of this post

A Love-Hate Relationship: Why Guangdong’s Financial Health Is So Tied to Property

Jun 20, 2014

A Love-Hate Relationship: Why Guangdong’s Financial Health Is So Tied to Property

China’s southern province of Guangdong was the first beneficiary of Beijing’s policy of opening up the economy to the outside world, becoming an export powerhouse and a magnet for foreign investment. It was also among the first local governments given a chance to issue bonds on its own – without Beijing holding its hand – as part of the central government’s plan to expand the financing channels of better-managed provinces and cities. Read more of this post

Family, Corruption and Sage Words From a News Agency; The Chinese language is revealingly rich in mordant sayings about the nexus of family, officialdom and corruption

Family, Corruption and Sage Words From a News Agency

By CHRIS BUCKLEY

June 20, 2014

The Chinese language is revealingly rich in mordant sayings about the nexus of family, officialdom and corruption. When a man becomes an official, one saying goes, even his “chickens and dogs become immortals.” And a commentary by the state news agency Xinhua that appeared Friday, laced with similar phrases, was likely to be worrisome reading for Ling Jihua, once the powerful gatekeeper to the Communist Party’s leadership. Read more of this post

Qvod, the Chinese Video Service with a Special Business Model, was Pulled down, Thanks to Lawsuit Filed by Tencent

Qvod, the Chinese Video Service with a Special Business Model, was Pulled down, Thanks to Lawsuit Filed by Tencent

by Tracey Xiang – Jun 20, 2014

Qvod, or Kuaibo in Chinese, was recently sued for video rights infringement and is required to pay RMB260 million (roughly US$42mn) fine. What’s interesting is it turns out the lawsuit was filed by companies led by Tencent, the Chinese Internet giant based in the same city with Kuaibo, Shenzhen. Tencent is joined by Youku, LeTV and state-backed movie site m1905.com. Read more of this post

Nest co-founder Tony Fadell, a former acolyte of Steve Jobs, explains how he invented a new thermostat and how his role changed after leaving One Infinite Loop

Tony Fadell: In his own words

Adam Lashinsky

JUNE 20, 2014, 10:30 AM EDT

Nest co-founder Tony Fadell, a former acolyte of Steve Jobs, explains how he invented a new thermostat and how his role changed after leaving One Infinite Loop.

Tony Fadell, a former Apple  AAPL -1.03%  executive who went on to co-found Nest (which recently sold to Google  GOOG 0.26%  for $3.2 billion), has been likened to Steve Jobs and Larry Page for his innovative thinking and disruptive technology. Read more of this post

Google’s Chromecast may pose threat to smart TVs

Updated : 2014-06-20 19:27

Chromecast may pose threat to smart TVs

By Bahk Eun-ji

Google Chromecast, which made its debut here last month, is gaining popularity and favorable customer reviews.
Chromecast is an adapter ― about the size of a USB stick ― that plugs into a television and allows users to mirror content such as videos, music, photos and apps from a computer, tablet or smartphone onto a TV screen.
Google sold 2.7 million Chromecasts in the U.S. last year and about 200,000 in Korea over the last month. Amid its growing popularity, some experts believe Chromecast could threaten smart TVs because of additional functions they do not offer.  Read more of this post

Doubts about Amazon’s future overshadow Fire Phone launch

Doubts about Amazon’s future overshadow Fire Phone launch

As it unveils the latest in its line of smart devices, the tech company faces a growing number of challengers

Juliette Garside

The Guardian, Friday 20 June 2014 19.17 BST

The list of household names – Blackberry, Nokia, HTC, Motorola – that have almost bankrupted themselves trying to make a hit smartphone is long, but this week Amazon became the latest tech company to take on the challenge.

Jeff Bezos stepped on stage in Seattle on Wednesday to unveil his Fire Phone. With his mother in the audience, he presented the latest in a line-up of smart devices that already includes the Kindle Fire tablet and a Fire TV box. With a 3D screen, a scanner that will recognise – and try to sell you – anything from cereal bars to songs, and unlimited cloud storage for photos, Amazon’s smartphone is a technology light year away from its first black and white e-reader. However, few expect it to take sales away from the two brands that now dominate mobile: Apple and Samsung. Read more of this post

China quietly launches probe of foreign non-government outfits: media

China quietly launches probe of foreign non-government outfits: media

6:18am EDT

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has quietly begun a probe into the operations of foreign non-government bodies in the country, to prepare for tighter regulations in future, as part of a security drive ordered by a new national panel headed by President Xi Jinping.

Non-government organizations have mushroomed in China in recent years, and can have a confrontational relationship with the government, especially if they work with sensitive groups, such as sex workers or drug addicts. Read more of this post

Instinct Can Beat Analytical Thinking

Instinct Can Beat Analytical Thinking

by Justin Fox  |   1:00 PM June 20, 2014

Researchers have confronted us in recent years with example after example of how we humans get things wrong when it comes to making decisions. We misunderstand probability, we’re myopic, wepay attention to the wrong things, and we just generally mess up. This popular triumph of the “heuristics and biases” literature pioneered by psychologists Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tverskyhas made us aware of flaws that economics long glossed over, and led to interesting innovations inretirement planning and government policy.

It is not, however, the only lens through which to view decision-making. Psychologist Gerd Gigerenzer has spent his career focusing on the ways in which we get things right, or could at least learn to. In Gigerenzer’s view, using heuristics, rules of thumb, and other shortcuts often leads to better decisions than the models of “rational” decision-making developed by mathematicians and statisticians. At times this belief has led the managing director of the Max Planck Institute for Human Development in Berlin into pretty fierce debates with his intellectual opponents. It has also led to a growing body of fascinating research, and a growing library of books for lay readers, the latest of which, Risk Savvy: How to Make Good Decisions, is just out. Read more of this post

Apple’s Foe Is Margin Risk, Not Fire Phone

Apple’s Foe Is Margin Risk, Not Fire Phone

Amazon’s phone is limited to maintaining and expanding the Prime user base.

June 20, 2014 11:00 a.m. ET

Credit Suisse

Amazon.com launched a new smartphone, which they named the Fire Phone.

The Fire Phone has a rubberized frame, Gorilla Glass, and a 13 megapixel (MP) rear-facing camera. It also has a 4.7 inch liquid crystal display high-definition (LCD HD) display, a Qualcomm (ticker: QCOM ) Snapdragon chipset, and 2 gigabytes (GB) of RAM. Read more of this post

Google’s Nest to buy home-monitoring camera startup Dropcam for $555 million: Report

Google’s Nest to buy home-monitoring camera startup Dropcam for $555 million: Report

Reuters
Jun 21, 2014 at 08:23am IST

Dropcam, the home-monitoring camera startup, will be bought by Google’s Nest Labs for about $555 million in cash, a technology news website reported on Friday.

The deal was signed on Friday and is yet to close, according to the report by Recode.net.

Nest confirmed the acquisition in a blog post on Friday, but did not specify the price tag. Neither Google nor Dropcam were immediately available for comment.t confirmed the acquisition in a blog post on Friday, but did not specify the price tag.

Dropcam plans to move from San Francisco to Nest’s offices in Palo Alto, California, Recode wrote.

Nest makes smart thermostat and smoke alarms and was bought by Google earlier this year for $3.2 billion.

 

Google and Microsoft plan to join Apple in offering theft-deterring “kill switches” in their smartphone operating systems, as part of an agreement with mayors and police agencies

Google, Microsoft to add smartphone ‘kill’ switches

Friday, June 20, 2014 – 21:46

AFP

WASHINGTON – Google and Microsoft plan to join Apple in offering theft-deterring “kill switches” in their smartphone operating systems, as part of an agreement with mayors and police agencies.

The announcement came in a report Thursday by the “Secure Our Smartphones Initiative” led by the New York state attorney general with officials from San Francisco and London. Read more of this post

Westports sets world record for container productivity

Updated: Friday June 20, 2014 MYT 5:35:57 PM

Westports sets world record for container productivity

KUALA LUMPUR: Westports Malaysia Sdn Bhd container operations team has scored another first when set a new world record for container terminal productivity, notching an impressive 793 moves in one hour.

This feat was achieved over the China Shipping container vessel, CSCL Le Havre (9572 TEU vessel), which operated on the AEX7 East service in the network linking Asia and Europe.  Read more of this post

THE booming presence of developers from China in Johor has not only ruffled feathers among local developers but also sparked concerns of the Singapore government due to the massive land reclamation works

Updated: Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 6:55:54 AM

Stormy property landscape

BY NG BEI SHAN

THE booming presence of developers from China in Johor has not only ruffled feathers among local developers but also sparked concerns of the Singapore government due to the massive land reclamation works.

Following the high-profile entrance of Guangzhou-based Country Garden Holdings Co Ltd, which launched 9,000 units in Danga Bay at one-go in 2013, all eyes are now on other developers from China who are expected to adopt carpet bombing kind of development. Read more of this post

Palm oil industry needs to invest more in downstream activities

Updated: Saturday June 21, 2014 MYT 7:08:59 AM

Palm oil industry needs to invest more in downstream activities

BY DANIEL KHOO

Money to be made: Pemandu is pushing for the palm oil industry to capture the full potential of downstream activities, especially in the finished segments that generate high value income such as oleo-derivatives.

THE local palm oil sector which has been driven by the upstream segment in the past decades is set to change its course through increased contribution from the downstream segment in the coming years, according to the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu), and Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB). Read more of this post

Closer Look: Xi’s Leadership of Top Economic Group Follows Pattern

06.20.2014 18:22

Closer Look: Xi’s Leadership of Top Economic Group Follows Pattern

While Xinhua set a precedent by naming the members of the key party body, the fact it is led by the general secretary is unsurprising

By staff reporter Wu Peng

(Beijing) – Communist Party general secretary Xi Jinping’s chairmanship of a top economic decision-making group has generated discussion about his expanding power and role in China’s reforms. Read more of this post

World War I: The War That Changed Everything; World War I began 100 years ago this month, and in many ways, it remains the defining conflict of the modern era

World War I: The War That Changed Everything

World War I began 100 years ago this month, and in many ways, writes historian Margaret MacMillan, it remains the defining conflict of the modern era.

MARGARET MACMILLAN

Updated June 20, 2014 6:43 p.m. ET

A hundred years ago next week, in the small Balkan city of Sarajevo, Serbian nationalists murdered the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary and his wife. People were shocked but not particularly worried. Sadly, there had been many political assassinations in previous years—the king of Italy, two Spanish prime ministers, the Russian czar, President William McKinley. None had led to a major crisis. Yet just as a pebble can start a landslide, this killing set off a series of events that, in five weeks, led Europe into a general war. Read more of this post

‘When People Choose, They Choose Wrong’; The author of ‘The Giver,’ a wildly popular dystopian novel, imagines a community with no war, racism or gender roles. The result: a living hell

‘When People Choose, They Choose Wrong’

The author of ‘The Giver,’ a wildly popular dystopian novel, imagines a community with no war, racism or gender roles. The result: a living hell.

SOHRAB AHMARI

June 20, 2014 6:54 p.m. ET

Bridgton, Maine

Warning: This article discusses violence, “issues of gender” and other topics unsuitable for sensitive souls.

If some activists had their way, every article, book or website that touches on anything remotely controversial would come with a disclaimer like the one above. Such “trigger warnings” aim to shield young people from those timeless features of the human experience that were once seen as the building blocks of all great art and literature, among them war, shame and differences between the sexes. Read more of this post

When a ‘Liquid-Alt’ Fund Loses Steam

Jun 20, 2014

THE INTELLIGENT INVESTOR

When a ‘Liquid-Alt’ Fund Loses Steam

JASON ZWEIG

If you trade up for a “liquid-alternative” fund, make sure you understand you also are making a trade-off.

That is the lesson that emerges from the rise and fall of the Natixis ASKN.FR -1.19%G Diversifying Strategies Fund, a pioneering portfolio that has just been put out of its misery by its manager.

Liquid-alternative funds generally offer the prospect of doing well when U.S. stocks do poorly. That hope comes at a price, however: Such funds, which tend to charge high fees, typically do poorly when U.S. stocks do well. Investors who don’t understand this link will inevitably be sorry. Read more of this post

U.S. Report Casts Doubt on Legal Structure of Alibaba, Other Chinese Firms

U.S. Report Casts Doubt on Legal Structure of Alibaba, Other Chinese Firms

Structure Used by Alibaba, Other Chinese Internet Companies Seeking U.S. Investors

CARLOS TEJADA

Updated June 20, 2014 4:49 p.m. ET

A U.S. government commission warned that investors face “major risks” if they buy shares in Chinese companies like e-commerce firm Alibaba Group Holding Ltd.

A report released this week by a commission that advises Congress on U.S.-China economic issues took aim at the legal structure underpinning Alibaba as well as a host of other Chinese Internet firms, calling it “a complex and highly risky scheme of legal arrangements.” It warned that the structure could lead to losses by shareholders in the U.S. Read more of this post

Why ‘Yo’ Is Not a Complete Joke

Jun 20, 2014

Why ‘Yo’ Is Not a Complete Joke

EVELYN M. RUSLI

When news broke this week of a $1 million investment in Yo — an app that simply lets people send “yo” to friends” – it appeared to be a bad joke.

To some, the tech scene has come to resemble a parody of itself, one even stranger than the spoofs on television. Not even Pied Piper, the fictional startup on the HBO show “Silicon Valley” was able to raise $1 million—instead, settling for $200,000 despite its sophisticated software. Yo, meanwhile, was built in eight hours by an entrepreneur who wanted to create a basic notification service for his friend. Read more of this post

Far-reaching new rules aimed at catching overseas tax cheats take effect July 1. Here’s what you need to know to avoid running afoul of the IRS

Offshore Accounts: What to Do Now

Far-reaching new rules aimed at catching overseas tax cheats take effect July 1.

LAURA SAUNDERS

Updated June 20, 2014 6:47 p.m. ET

The federal government’s campaign to track down money held by U.S. taxpayers in foreign countries shifts into high gear July 1.

That is when the main provisions of the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act, known as Fatca, come into force. Read more of this post

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