UK-based tech innovation company Centre for Process Innovation‘s Windowless Fuselage concept replaces windows on commercial planes with high-definition, flexible panels that can display breathtaking views of the world around the aircraft as it soars across the sky. The proposed plane, which could be realized within the next 10 years, would reduce weight and fuel costs of the plane.

2014 Content Power Index

The data is from Jan to Nov 2014, and both of Jong Suk’s dramas are on the top 10 list. It is quite remarkable for Pinocchio as it just started airing in Nov.

Pinocchio 241.2 (Rank #5)

Dr. Stranger 233.0 (Rank #9)

The rest of the list

1. The One who Came from Stars

2. Misaeng

3. It’s Okay It’s Love

4. God’s gift- 14 days

5. Pinocchio

6. Three Days

7. Empress Gi

8. Infinite Challenge

9. Dr. Stranger

10. Discovery of Love

(Source: Star)

The Cost Of Living In Every Part Of The World In One Infographic (IMAGE)

The Cost Of Living In Every Part Of The World In One Infographic (IMAGE)

Have you ever dreamed of moving to another part of the world, just to get away from it all? Well before you pack your bags and buy the next plane ticket to Switzerland, you should know they have the highest cost of living in the world. This information comes from an infographic made by the people over at the moving website, Movoto. They used data from Numbeo, the world’s largest database of…

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I don’t usually promote anything on this account, but I think there is so little circulating on this and it’s actually a really useful event. 

  • Meet College Coaches of and learn about some of the most prominent riding schools
  • Learn how the college riding system works and the options and opportunities available. 
  • Allow college coaches to see your riding in the format that you will have to ride in for most college competitions. And experience a similar format of college competition.
  • Meet people around the country that have similar interests and goals as you. 
  • And have the opportunity to visit WEF. 

Really it’s a valuable experience and something I think any equestrian considering going into riding on college teams should do this. 

Most recent economic data spells normalization sooner rather than later

Markets have received have received some very welcome economic news this week. Virtually all of it speaks to improving consumer demand and improving inflation metrics – two critically important themes relative to Federal Reserve monetary policy and interest rates.

According to the Commerce Department, new single home sales for February came in at an annualized rate of 539,000. Impressively, that figure is significantly above consensus expectations that were calling for 462,000 units. It is also nearly 25% higher than  a year ago and the highest rate of sales since February of 2008.

In another nod to potentially improving consumer demand, February’s Consumer Price Index (CPI) registered a gain of 0.2%. Though still negative for the year at -0.1%, February does break a string of negative monthly readings for the CPI. Core CPI also showed a gain of 0.2% for the period. A principle concern for Fed officials and for economists has been the degree to which demand may have tapered off in recent months. Yesterday’s CPI data stilled those concerns – at least briefly. 

U.S. manufacturing activity in March, as measured by Markit’s flash PMI, rose to 55.3 from February’s 54.3. Defying those sounding the clarion bell of deflation and weak demand, new orders rose at the fastest pace in nearly half a year despite the headwind provided by a stronger dollar.

As if to underscore the concern that some have as to interest rates being too low given our ongoing economic expansion, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard in a speech yesterday went so far as to say that the Fed’s current interest rates of near zero are “no longer appropriate.”  

The U.S. economic expansion appears to be reasserting itself if recent data is truly reflective of the emergence of a trend. We will have several to find out. In that case, Mr. Bullard’s assessment of the current interest rate picture will become fairly obvious and the talk of normalization will become action.  That action will trigger extreme volatility.  

The Magic Of CPI: Watch How Economists Transform A 400% Price Increase Into A 7.1% Decline

Suppose that a TV manufacturer retires a product and replaces it with a newer, better, and much more expensive one. If the new TV costs 5 times more than the old one, how can we manipulate the hell out of massage the price of the old TV to make it look like the price fell? By using the dark arts of econometrics, my son!

If you believe the public comments made by the world’s central bankers, the prices that consumers pay for items are not rising fast enough; in some places like Europe they worry that prices might actually fall (a tragedy for the possessing classes, as their manic one-way long bets might not work then). Central bankers are terrified of this outcome. Setting aside for a second the apparent insanity of this logic for your average consumer, who experiences price rises on a near continuous basis, let’s examine in detail one of the jokes gauges economists use for measuring prices: the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Ostensibly, the CPI is a linear combination of the “prices” of things/stuff consumers could actually purchase weighted by a percentage that the “ideal consumer” spends on any particular stuff/thing in his “ideal” basket. The main problem here is that the “prices” used are not the prices a consumer would actually pay; instead the real price for an item is scaled by what the BLS calls a “Hedonic Quality Adjustment (HQA)”. The HQA was designed to solve a real world problem economists face: the market keeps pumping out new and better devices. In practice the HQA is used to artificially depress the prices used in the calculation of the CPI.

Intuitively, the HQA scales prices by their “perceived” quality. We’re not talking about human perception here, but that of a kitchen sink regression model created by BLS economists. Essentially it throws every quality an item might possess into a linear model and performs a regression of these qualities against the prices found in the market for a given product. The prices that feed into the CPI can be intuitively modeled as:

This means that as far as the CPI is concerned, prices can “decrease” for three reasons:

  • The price actually decreases, holding quality constant
  • The “quality” as measured by the Hedonic Quality Regression (HQR) could go up, holding price constant
  • The “quality” goes up by more than prices go up (<<<<<< WE’RE HERE RIGHT NOW)

In a time of rapid technological development, the quality as measured by HQR will increase by orders of magnitude more than prices. Consider Moore’s Law, which correctly postulated that the number of transistors on computer chips would double every two years; prices can’t possibly keep up with that kind of quality increase (save for hyperinflation, more on that later).

Read the rest here


These charts are undeniably beautiful, but they violate Tufte principles 1, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12.

Charts can look great but E Tufte says we should let the data do the talking, rather than the design. Adding some sparkle to the data is “wrong” or at least, Tufte-wrong, for data-graphics.

Here it seems like the talented artist has tried to “add some sparkle and theme” to “boring numbers” – rather than accentuating what’s exciting about the numbers themselves. To my way of thinking, if the message the numbers are telling you is interesting, then that makes the numbers worth looking at.

  • Did you say I could get a 25% raise?!
  • Did you say people are 30% taller than they were 250 years ago?
  • Did you say a 19% chance of rain on our wedding today? Or 90%?
  • Did you say the cost of electricity is one-one-hundredth of what it was 90 years ago?
  • Did you say my heating bill is double what it needs to be if I insulated better?
  • A man and a mouse are only one order of magnitude apart?
  • I could commute across America on a bike if I were two orders of magnitude faster?
  • Did you say that 99% of the people own 1% of the wealth? Or was it 99.999% of the people owning .000001% of the wealth? Or both? Wait, these numbers are actually crucial to the story!

Of course it’s no surprise that most people think cifras son aburridas – since their main memory of figures is through boring maths class, rather than as integral elements of a story.

What it’s talking about:

As in the wieners I drew, it’s not easy to make the logically beautiful look visually beautiful.

Chair Yellen, tell us something we don't already know

Equity markets were left unmoved and unfazed by the FOMC and by Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s press conference yesterday. The Dow Industrials, S&P 500 and NASDAQ all posted incremental gains on the session. Volume expanded on both the NYSE and NASDAQ. Frankly the entire event was a bit of a letdown for those looking for some Fed-centric excitement.

We were treated to commentary and insights that were hardly novel. Hardly ground swelling. The economy is expanding – we know that. The labor market has continued to show improvement – we know that. Inflation is expected to rise gradually to 2% - we know that. The rise in rates orchestrated by the Fed will be gradual and shallow – we know that. If one of the Fed’s objectives is to remove Fed-centric volatility from the market, they appear to be achieving their goal. The session was downright anti-climactic.

One topic I found interesting, if not surprising, however was that of Greece. Chair Yellen did discuss the potential negative impact of a “Grexit” on the EU economy and on the global interest rate paradigm. Clearly the prospect of a meltdown in the EU financial markets as a result of failed Greek negotiations would keep pressure on the Fed to hold off on rates until the dust settles. To a large extent, that is the relevance of the Greek crisis to the global economic narrative; fear of an oversized and negative impact  on credit markets, the ECB, the fragile EU economy and any spill over as a result. 

The only data point that was not assured of heading into yesterday’s trade was that the Fed lowered full-year growth projections for the economy. Given the results we have received for Q1, that hardly comes as a surprise either. Effectively, investors and markets received confirmation - not news yesterday and they responded accordingly.

With the exception of energy and health care all major market sectors rose yesterday. Utilities, consumer staples and industrials led winners. Internals on both the NYSE and NASDAQ were modestly positive as well.

There is plenty on the calendar today to focus on. Clearly CPI is king this morning but that said, Jobless Claims and Leading Indicators have the potential to provide plenty in the way of excitement – particularly if they come in hotter than expected.

As drought worsens, congress and senate fail to agree on farm relief

Food and fuel prices too high? Blame Obama. His senate voted down farmer/drought relief bill then go on 5-week vacation. This time you can blame the Obama administration for not getting their shit together.

The rival parties fail to pass even a scaled-down stopgap measure before the August recess.

Even as the drought worsened in the Midwest and Great Plains, Congress proved unable to provide relief for farmers and ranchers before leaving for a month of campaigning.

The House on Thursday approved a scaled-down $383-million package primarily to help ranchers whose livestock losses and feed costs are mounting as arid conditions make land unusable for grazing. But the Senate declined to consider the bill before recessing, preferring a broader bipartisan measure that it passed overwhelmingly last month.

The vote in the House was 223 to 197, with 35 mostly farm-state Democrats joining Republicans in support. Most Democrats held out for the broader bill.

“This House should not go home while literally hanging our ranchers out to dry without a safety net to get through this drought,” said freshman Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), who is from a ranching family.

Democrats, who control the Senate, prefer the broader farm bill, which would provide more robust drought relief to other agricultural sectors. Democrats also object to the GOP’s plan to offset the costs by cutting conservation funds.

“It’s deeply troubling that the House would leave farmers and small businesses in the lurch,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), chairwoman of the Senate Agriculture Committee. “House leadership is doing what Congress always does — kicking the can down the road instead of coming together to solve problems.”

The National Drought Mitigation Center said Thursday that arid conditions continued to intensify in Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced new aid for farmers and ranchers earlier this week. More than half the nation’s counties have federal disaster designations, largely because of drought.

“It’s hard to believe that it’s getting worse, but it is, even with some rain in the region,” said Brian Fuchs, a climatologist with the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.