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Journalism and Technology

It’s been many, many years since reading the Unabomber’s Manifesto, but his thoughts about the impact of uncontrolled technology development are applicable today in the quandary that journalism finds itself in, as detailed last night by John Oliver.

Yes, the Unabomber was nuts, but he made a number of very good points about technology and society that are even more important to consider two decades later.

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One might get the feeling that investors are on to something with their reaction to the recent market slide, namely, that Wall Street has, in recent years, created new and different ways to crash that bypass any regulatory measures put in place since the 2008 crash.

From a Marketwatch story this morning comes the chart below showing equity fund withdrawals that, on Tuesday, reached Lehman levels.

Have a look at three other stories in the previous links post if you doubt the premise:

The Madness of Burgers and Obesity

Having just finished season two of Mad Men (missed it from the start and figured I’d record the whole series on AMC just prior to the finale a few weeks ago), it’s impossible to miss the delicious juxtaposition of the most recent obesity data from Gallup and the latest offering from one of America’s fast food chains that will no doubt be a big hit in Mississippi.

Though that generation clearly smoked too much and consumed way too much alcohol, obesity is virtually non-existent (at least on Madison Avenue). I’m guessing that 1960s era Mad Men would be a little shocked at a lot of changes that have occurred over the last 50 years, things like obesity and burgers probably being near the top of that list.

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“Smooth Exit”

I couldn’t help but get a good chuckle at the couple of paragraphs below that appeared midway through this Bloomberg story that sung the praises of Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen who is rapidly approaching her one-year anniversary as central bank chief.

Granted, the phrase “smooth exit” is not Ms. Yellen’s and it only appear in bold type above as a result of Bloomberg’s slightly annoying practice of not allowing readers to take in more than a Twitter-size chunk of small text before getting to a few simple words in big text again (in itself, kind of a sad commentary on how things are evolving).

Nonetheless,  given the history of the nation’s central bank over the last couple decades, a history that has been replete with bursting asset bubbles (and Yellen is clearly cut from the same Greenspan/Bernanke cloth), it seems a “smooth exit” is setting the bar far too high.

Perhaps “No Calamity” or “No Apocalypse” would have been better.

What Could Go Wrong?

Via Deutsche Bank and this Business Insider item comes the graphic below that is only slightly out-of-date following geopolitical developments yesterday in Ukraine and Gaza.

It appears that markets are already getting over both of these stories as prices for safe haven investments such as Treasuries and gold are tumbling while stock market futures are up, though the latest data indicate only a portion of yesterday’s decline has been reversed.

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