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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:15 Source

by Chris Becker As I highlighted in my Macro Morning report, it seems we might be repeating the 1997/98 currency and debt default crisis with Russia’s currency and bond markets in freefall on the back of the collapse in oil prices and the sanctions facing its invasion of Ukraine. Like Australia, Russia’s economy is welded […]

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Popular Science Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:03 Source

Star Wars is a visual experience, to be sure, filled with glowing lightsabers, strange aliens, and amazing outer space dogfights. But none of that would make quite so much of an impact if it weren't for the sound. Ben Burtt is the man responsible for creating much of the franchise's iconic audio and effects -- everything from the snap-hiss of a lightsaber to the sound of the Millennium Falcon's hyperdrive failing.

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Popular Science Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:03 Source

There are a lot of weird worlds out there. Astronomers have caught glimpses of planets that may be less dense than Styrofoam, some with two suns like Star Wars' Tatooine, and others still that are believed to be made out of diamond.

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Popular Science Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:03 Source

It's hard out there for an armored car. Overshadowed by tanks, but less friendly than a minivan, armored cars have the unenviable duty of carrying troops to the front lines of a battle quickly and safely, and hopefully without getting destroyed by a roadside bomb. Designed by Russian auto giant ZIL, a new, unnamed armored car concept tackles that challenge with a body straight out of science fiction.

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Popular Science Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:03 Source

For more than a century, elevators have gone pretty much just up and down. Ever since the first elevator was introduced in 1854, a cable-based design has pulled the elevator car along a single shaft, using steel ropes connected to a counterweight.

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Popular Science Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 09:03 Source

Have you ever wondered what tinsel is made of? Me, neither. But at one time, it was a big deal. Until 1972, many mass-produced tinsels were made using lead, Chemical & Engineering News reports. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration put a stop to that, for obvious reasons. Yet lead-based tinsel was so beloved, the FDA didn't publicize the change at first.

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:56 Source

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:48 Source

Below is an excerpt from Michale Pettis’ latest newsletter, which takes stock of China’s economic rebalancing: I was a little disappointed, but not terribly surprised, by the PBoC’s announcement two weeks ago that it would cut interest rates. The fact that rates were cut… exemplifies the challenges that Beijing will face in 2015. As China’s […]

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:34 Source

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:21 Source

I have done a piece about the chocolate shop deaths that should be up soon in Independent Australia. I will get it put up here soon after that.

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 08:06 Source

by Chris Becker The fallout from yesterdays MYEFO has been benign, with both major ratings agencies – S&P and Moody’s both confirming Australia’s AAA rating and giving a stable outlook. The main reason why, near-delusion forecasts by Treasury aside, is that the key net debt-to-GDP figure will still remain under the threshold 30% level and […]

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En Passant Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 07:23 Source

The most revealing figure in the Mid Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook is the predicted 6.5%  unemployment for this financial year and next.  This is up from the Budget prediction in May of 6.25% and the current 6.3%. Growth at 2.5% won’t be enough to change this (you need at least 3%) and in fact the unemployment figure may be an underestimate.


Mark David cartoons

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 07:20 Source

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 06:40 Source

Cross posted from Investing in Chinese Stocks: I covered November monetary data here: Lending Spikes in November November real estate investment here: November Real Estate Growth Slowest in 2014, Land Sales Growth Shrinks. Fixed asset investment was down slightly in November. Private fixed asset investment is in yellow; total fixed asset investment in blue. Private investment was […]

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MacroBusiness Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 06:30 Source

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Your Democracy Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 05:15 Source

xmas tree — Martin Place, Sydney

Picture of Martin Place message on the tree taken by Gus a day and a half before the siege... "... Sydney wishes everyone a Happy Christmas"...

 

Lindt Cafe hostage drama in Martin Place, Sydney: day two

 

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Digitopoly Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 02:27 Source

image-20141214-6036-1e6hl37Like many this past week I have found myself extremely impressed by Vi Hart and Nicky Case’s “Parable of the Polygons.” It is basically an interactive simulation that introduces students to an old game from

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New Matilda Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 00:27 Source

NSW Police have called on media and the public to refrain from sharing videos and Facebook posts from inside the Lindt Cafe siege.

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New Matilda Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 00:27 Source

NSW Police have called on media and the public to refrain from sharing videos and Facebook posts from inside the Lindt Cafe siege.

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North Coast Voices Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 00:16 Source

On 12 December 2014 the Australian Press Council released its findings in Adjudication 1627: Complainant/The Daily Telegraph:The Council considers that the headline and other material on the front page collectively imply that a high proportion of DSP recipients are “slackers” and should not be receiving DSP. This implication is due partly to the fact that the comparison in the words prominently super-imposed on the two photographs, and in the article on the front page, was between the full number of war-wounded people and the full number of DSP recipients.

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North Coast Voices Tuesday, December 16, 2014 - 00:15 Source

This is Prime Minister Abbott's strange perspective on religion and society as seen through the lens of his imperfect understanding of Church history, theology and sociology:The survival of faith, the flourishing of faith and the survival and the flourishing of the nations that are sustained by it – what a marvellous story.“Here in this splendid church I should acknowledge the part that faith has played in our culture, in our public life, in the culture and public life of civilised countries,” he said.“Our democracy is inspired by the gospel insight that every human being is born with equal rights and dignity in the eyes of God, and justic

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John Quiggin Monday, December 15, 2014 - 22:25 Source

The title of a piece in Inside Story on nuclear power in Australia. Readers won’t be surprised to learn that I don’t think it’s feasible in any relevant time frame (say, before 2040). I don’t expect nuclear devotees to be convinced by this (I can’t think of any evidence that would have this effect), but I’d be interested to see someone lay out a plausible timetable to get nuclear built here sooner than my suggested date.

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Your Democracy Monday, December 15, 2014 - 19:14 Source

Saw a social media post which posed something along the lines that those who are uninformed shouldn't be discussing what's happened today as such discussions were promoting the spread of racism. It's a well-meant train of thought, but I have a couple of disagreements in that

(a) The racism was always there- such events make it feel socially permissable for those folks to spout it, and I for one am happy to see them "out themselves"

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The Australian Independent Media Network Monday, December 15, 2014 - 19:06 Source

My first thought on hearing the news of the hostage situation in Sydney’s Martin Place this morning was ‘those poor, terrified people and their anxious families. What a horrible thing to happen!’ and then slightly irrationally (because fear can be irrational), I thought ‘and just before Christmas too’ as if this made the horribleness of the situation more horrible.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Monday, December 15, 2014 - 18:42 Source

Abbott spent half a billion dollars on terrorism prevention in November, and found himself in December facing, to his dismay, a single terrorist who was ruining Sydney’s economy. Tourists, in hundreds of thousands, would leave that city soon, and, in millions, wouldn’t come to Australia hereinafter. Tens of thousands of Christmas shoppers would never come to the CBD again. After ten hours, ASIO still didn’t know who he was, who his detainees were, how many there were, what he wanted, or what the fuck was going on.

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WixxyLeaks Monday, December 15, 2014 - 18:34 Source

Today in Melbourne Craig Thomson faced the court for what he hoped would be the final verdict in his long, dramatic, and extremely expensive fight against charges of fraud that amounted to less than $25,000

Meanwhile Kathy Jackson the woman who claims to have blown the whistle on his spending that is in question has been dragging out her court case where she faces civil action for approximately $1.4 Million.

Alarmingly Victoria Police have yet to lay charges against Jackson but have spent countless hundreds of thousands of dollars pursuing Thomson to this point.

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Table Talk: Bob Ellis on Film and Theatre Monday, December 15, 2014 - 18:21 Source

There were five Prime Ministers at Whitlam’s funeral, and no security. When it comes to terrorism, Baird and Abbott don’t know what they’re doing.

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North Coast Voices Monday, December 15, 2014 - 17:55 Source

What has the implementation of the Abbott Government's ideologically-driven economic policy left Australian families and businesses facing for the rest of its term in office?

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Cheeseburger Gothic Monday, December 15, 2014 - 17:53 Source

I'll be filing Blunty late tonight. I want to write about The Siege, of course, but I can only write about what's actually known and at this point that's not much.

One hostage taker.

An unknown number of hostages. Not all of them under the complete control of the gunman. Five escapees.

Unknown motivations. The Shahada flag is a prop, not a coherent manifesto.

Unknown demands, or no demands. (Except maybe for a new flag. Rolls eyes).

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Croakey Monday, December 15, 2014 - 17:12 Source

Australia’s leading international aid organisations have responded with dismay to another round of drastic cuts to foreign aid announced in the Federal Government’s Mid-year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), which also contains news of more...

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