8 Fascinating Reads

Good reads, short quotes.

Apr 25, 2014 at 12:00AM


There are more good news articles on the Web every week than anyone could read in a month. Here are eight fascinating pieces I read this week.


I'm of the belief that nobody has much clue what's going on with most things. Reports like this confirm that view: 

A reporter for the Ottawa Citizen wrote a plagiarized, completely incoherent paper about soils, cancer treatment, and Mars.

And eight scientific journals want to publish it.

Tom Spears' paper (the full title: "Acidity and aridity: Soil inorganic carbon storage exhibits complex relationship with low-pH soils and myeloablation followed by autologous PBSC infusion") was written as part of a sting operation to expose predatory science journals.

How not to invest

This chart, by StockTwits, is just brilliant: 


Fall from grace

America is no longer the richest middle-class country in the world: 

While the wealthiest Americans are outpacing many of their global peers, a New York Times analysis shows that across the lower- and middle-income tiers, citizens of other advanced countries have received considerably larger raises over the last three decades.

After-tax middle-class incomes in Canada — substantially behind in 2000 — now appear to be higher than in the United States. The poor in much of Europe earn more than poor Americans.

Life and death

This chart, via economist Justin Wolfers, is pretty shocking:



Japan has become the global equivalent of Boca Raton, Florida:

Japan's population slid for a third year with the proportion of people over the age of 65 at a global record, underscoring the challenge the world's most-indebted economy faces in financing its aging society.

The population declined by 0.17 percent to 127.3 million as of Oct. 1, as the country maintains one of the world's lowest birth rates. People age 65 or older made up one fourth of the total, the highest-ever percentage, as postwar baby boomers head into retirement, the Internal Affairs Ministry said on its website yesterday. That's the highest of any country in the world, according to the Population Reference Bureau.

Beyond room service

The luxury hotel industry just went into a whole new dimension:

Four Seasons has a new weapon in the luxury travel wars: its own Boeing 757.

The Toronto-based luxury resort company said Wednesday that it's launching the first Four Seasons-branded private jet. The plane will come with many of the amenities of a Four Seasons suite—from puffy duvets and chef-prepared meals—and will ferry passengers to Four Seasons resorts around the world on tours that cost more $100,000 per person.

Even playing field

David Einhorn sums up the problem with high-frequency trading, pointing to Michael Lewis's new book Flash Boys:

"These problems fall into the classic dilemma of concentrated benefit and diffuse harm ... Lots of investors lose pennies and as a result don't care too much about market structure; the firms who have based their business around picking up those pennies care a lot about shaping the structure. To overcome this imbalance of interests, the issue needs attention and discussion so that the many who are losing pennies can organize a response. In this regard, Flash Boys has provided a great service.


Jeff Bezos shows how Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) keeps good employees around: 

Pay to Quit is pretty simple. Once a year, we offer to pay our associates to quit. The first year the offer is made, it's for $2,000. Then it goes up one thousand dollars a year until it reaches $5,000. The headline on the offer is "Please Don't Take This Offer." We hope they don't take the offer; we want them to stay. Why do we make this offer? The goal is to encourage folks to take a moment and think about what they really want. In the long-run, an employee staying somewhere they don't want to be isn't healthy for the employee or the company. 

Enjoy your weekend. 

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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