Happy Friday! Here are eight great things I read this week. 

Desperate times

Networks are cutting the length of TV shows to squeeze in more ads, writes The Wall Street Journal: 

As they contend with steep ratings declines, many top cable networks are jamming more ads into programming to meet audience guarantees made to advertisers and prop up revenue despite falling ad prices.

Tinkering with shows to squeeze more advertising dollars out of them has been done before. Cable networks have long made room for ads by shortening the opening credits. Reruns of "Law & Order" on TNT have a 24-second opening, in contrast to the original 1 minute, 45-second opening when it aired on NBC.


The President can actually text everyone in America at the same time:

It was born of President Bush's frustration with the Federal Emergency Management Agency's response during Hurricane Katrina, and has morphed since. If you've ever received one of these alerts, it was probably about a missing child Amber alert or a severe weather warning.

But buried in the documents describing its function is this fact: President Obama can use the system to send messages on a special channel to anyone in a given geographic area, or even the whole U.S.


The differences in wealth between races are huge:

The typical white family had accumulated more than $134,200 in wealth in 2013, while black families scraped together a little more than $11,000 and Hispanic families $13,700, according to a new Urban Institute report.


Nobel-prize winner Robert Shiller may get out of U.S. stocks:

The Yale University professor said on "Squawk Box" he has about half his portfolio in stocks. "I'm thinking about getting out of the United States somewhat. Europe is so much cheaper."

Citing moves he's already made, Shiller said, "What I have done is I've invested in Italy indexes, Spain index."


I love this story about John Bogle:

"If you want people to trust you, you have to trust them. If you want people to be loyal to you, you have to be loyal to them," Bogle said. "You give people responsible jobs and help them do them the best way you can."

One example from Vanguard: The company has a partnership plan that calculates bonuses for employees based on how much less Vanguard's expense ratio is than its competitors' and how much its funds outperform. During Bogle's tenure as CEO, annual bonuses could amount to as much as 30 percent of an employees' pay.


Here's how the composition of the global stock market shifted over the last 115 years:


If you're not rich by 45, the odds are stacked against you:

For the rich and poor alike, the economists found that "the bulk of earnings growth" happens in the first 10 years of work, typically between the ages of 25 and 35. During the next decade of their career, men can expect smaller raises overall.

After 45, those in the bottom 90 percent of lifetime earners see their earnings decline as a group, in part because people often start cutting back their hours around that time, especially if they do manual labor for a living. Meanwhile, even 1 percenters only see relatively minor pay bumps after middle age.


Josh Brown writes about why so many active funds are underperforming:

One of the more interesting ideas he has is that the exodus into passive strategies – which is usually cited as a reason for active outperformance going forward – is actually a major negative. This is because, with all the unskilled investors departing, pros will be left to square off against only other pros. The lack of retail punters and their harvestable mistakes cuts off one of the most reliable historical sources of alpha for sharp-eyed managers.

Have a good weekend.