Economic shift to the east revealed in global night light patterns

Night lights

How is light distribution of light across the planet changing over time?  Light produced by a society is closely correlated with its economic status.  Rich developed countries tend to be brighter at night than poor developing ones.

 

 

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US Gov wants to spread the wealth with open competition for $200M in early stage investment

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The Obama Administration’s plan to spread the country’s wealth around has made its way to struggling technology entrepreneurs. This past Tuesday, the Small Business Administration (SBA) began accepting applications for the $200 Million “Early Stage Innovation Fund.” The new fund will allow venture funds to augment privately raised capitol with a grant up to a 1-to-1 match, to be used for early stage investments (around the $1-to-$4 million range).

The program is an extension of the Administration’s StartUp America campaign to catalyze job growth through the engine of small business entrepreneurs. Most importantly, according to Sean Greene, a Special Advisor for Innovation at the SBA, the new fund will inject much-needed capitol in to what the Administration feels are underfunded areas outside of the typical startup zones (i.e. California and Massachusetts)…

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Who are the Real Victims of the Financial Crisis?

By most accounts, those in or near retirement took the biggest hit from the bear market in 2008 and early 2009. When you take a step back, though, younger investors are in much greater danger of failing to reach their financial goals — and their prospects for the future are anything but certain.
A lifetime of investing
You’d expect that when comparing the impact of falling financial markets on various groups of investors, those who owned the most assets would have seen the worst results. Younger investors, most of whom haven’t been on the job long enough to accumulate a lot of wealth, didn’t have much to lose during the bear market. In contrast, retirees have all the money they’ll ever have saved up in their nest eggs, but they tend to invest more conservatively — a practice that protected them from the worst of the damage.
Those stuck in the middle, though — investors close to retirement, but not yet there — seem like the natural target. They have plenty of assets to lose, yet many still invest fairly aggressively in an effort to make that last push toward retirement.
As it turns out, those suspicions are correct, at least on their face. The Center for Retirement Research at Boston College recently examined the experiences of investors of different ages. In raw dollar losses, no group of investors did worse than those about to retire. In particular, the study found that those aged 55-64 lost roughly $1 trillion in the market meltdown, when you consider both IRAs and employer 401(k) accounts.
Those numbers reflect how things looked in March 2009. Since then, the recovery in stocks has boosted many of those accounts well back toward their former levels.
Charmed lives?
What’s more interesting, though, is the overall experience that various investors have had throughout the course of their lives. The study takes a look at the internal rates of return that investors of various ages have earned, based on the timing and amounts they invested. Although the oldest members of the baby boom generation got hurt the most over the past two years, they’ve actually enjoyed relatively strong returns on their lifetime investments — about 9% annually.
In contrast, younger investors haven’t done nearly as well. “Late” boomers — those born around 1960 — have only earned between 5% and 7%, depending on their mix of investments. Generation X investors who had all of their money in stocks have just barely broken even.
When you consider all the bull markets that older investors have seen during their lives, those return disparities make sense. During the 1980s, the stock market boomed out of a long recession, with stocks like IBM (NYSE: IBM), Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG), and ExxonMobil (NYSE: XOM) all posting multibagger gains despite the short-lived effects of the 1987 stock market crash.
Then, by the 1990s, many of today’s near-retirees had more than enough money set aside to take full advantage of the bull market in tech stocks. Returns of 5,000% or more from stocks including Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT), Dell (Nasdaq: DELL), and Intel (Nasdaq: INTC) were more than enough to offset losses from investing in riskier ventures.
Meanwhile, those who came along later arrived just in time to see those trends reverse themselves. Many tech stocks flamed out, and although growth leaders like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) put up impressive numbers during the past decade, the bull market from 2003 to 2007 merely gave most investors a chance to buy high in advance of the most recent collapse.
What’s to come
In order to make up for lost time, younger investors have to hope that future returns are high enough to bring them the results they want. Yet many are warning investors not to expect the returns that the past several decades have brought to today’s near-retirees. Although the terrible performance over the past 10 years has many believing that the worst is over for the market, you can’t count on stocks reverting to the mean with a decade of strong outperformance.
As unfair as it may seem, there’s nothing that says that you’re entitled to those historical 10% returns on stocks going forward. The best financial plans make allowances for the possibility that future returns will be more modest than what we’ve seen in the past. If things turn out brighter than that, it can then be merely a pleasant surprise, rather than something you’re counting on. That’s the best way for younger investors to avoid becoming ongoing victims of 1998’s market meltdown.

7 Victims of the Financial Crisis 366

Those in or near retirement took the biggest hit

By most accounts, those in or near retirement took the biggest hit from the bear market in 2008 and early 2009. When you take a step back, though, younger investors are in much greater danger of failing to reach their financial goals — and their prospects for the future are anything but certain.

Continue reading… “Who are the Real Victims of the Financial Crisis?”

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‘No Toilet, No Bride’ Campaign – New Seat Of Power For Women In India

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“Show your loo before you woo”

An ideal groom in this dusty farming village is a vegetarian, does not drink, has good prospects for a stable job and promises his bride-to-be an amenity in high demand: a toilet.  In rural India, many young women are refusing to marry unless the suitor furnishes their future home with a bathroom, freeing them from the inconvenience and embarrassment of using community toilets or squatting in fields.

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Are Future Generations On A Path To Downward Mobility?

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Health spending could threaten future living standards

Every generation of Americans should live better than its predecessor. That’s Americans’ core definition of economic “progress.”  But for today’s young, it may be a mirage. Higher health spending, increasing energy prices and stretched governments at all levels may squeeze future disposable incomes — what people have to spend — and public services. Are we condemning our children to downward mobility?

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Are Local And State Governments In The U.S. Getting Too Big?

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Local and state governments in the U.S. may be restricting individual rights

“Big Government” has been characterized by those on various sides of the political spectrum as an ever-expanding bureaucracy interfering with individual rights and limiting economic freedoms. Some also believe that small government may pose a similar threat. They charge that state and local governments are guilty of intervening too much in private citizen affairs.

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3-Generation Households Enhance Economic Well-Being Of Children

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For struggling single moms, 3-generation households are better than 2

Living in a three-generation household can significantly enhance the economic well-being of children, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Southern California and the University of Massachusetts, Boston.

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Some Products Flying Off Shelves Despite The Recession

Products That Are Bucking The Recession

Products bucking the recession

It’s not all doom and gloom in the U.S. economy. Some products are bucking the recession and flying off store shelves.

Sales of chocolate and running shoes are up. Wine drinkers haven’t stopped sipping; they just seem to be choosing cheaper vintages.

Gold coins are selling like hot cakes. So are gardening seeds. Tanning products are piling up in shopping carts; maybe more people are finding color in a bottle than from sun-worshipping on a faraway beach.

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Money May Not Buy Happiness But It Does Get You A Longer, Healthier Life

Money May Not Buy Happiness But It Get You A Longer, Healthier Life

The moneyed and those who retire early are likely to live longer, happier lives 

It may not guarantee happiness, but money, it seems, is the key to a long and healthy old age. 

Those who are poorer and less well educated die earlier and develop illness sooner than the better off and well-qualified, a Government-backed study said yesterday.

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