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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 10:10 Source

By Leith van Onselen The ANZ-Roy Morgan Research (RMR) consumer confidence index has tanked, slumping 2.6 points to 109.7 in the week ended 5 April to be tracking well below the long-run average of 113. It was the lowest reading for 8 months (see next chart).     The sharp fall in confidence was driven

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 10:00 Source

The first time Popular Science wrote about stilbene, nuclear weapons were decades away from existing.

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xkcd.com Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 10:00 Source

At the boundary between each zone, stories blend together. Somewhere in the New Mexico desert, the Roadrunner is pursued by a tireless Anton Chigurh.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

Having the right amount of body fat can be healthy, but most Americans have too much of it. A team of researchers led by a biologist at the University of California San Francisco has been investigating the cellular composition of this fat in order to engineer fat-burning drugs in the future that might help curb the obesity epidemic. The study was published recently in Nature Medicine.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

When it comes to dinosaurs, the Tyrannosaurus rex and velociraptor motorcycle gangs might get all the attention--with good reason. They look awesome:

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

Generally when you think of solar power, the sun beating down on a dry, dusty desert might come to mind. But in Brazil, a new project will see solar panels installed on a much wetter surface: the surface of a reservoir.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

After the disaster comes the accountants. Major tornadoes, earthquakes, tsunamis, and the like do dollar amounts of damage, sometimes in the billions. That number comes from the nitty-gritty of insurance valuations and payouts, a wholly human assessment of the ruins from natural forces. Now, thanks to FAA approval, robots may start to get in on the action.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

I love poached eggs. Love 'em. Can I make them? Not so well. But technology may soon come to my rescue in the form of the Meld, a smart kitchen gadget that promises to make careful, precise cooking accessible to the culinarily inept like me. The project, currently funding on Kickstarter, is expected to ship this October.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

When it comes to self-driving cars, the possibilities are seemingly limitless.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

Almost all of the electronic devices that we carry around with us all day now rely on one key, but increasingly antiquated, technology: the lithium-ion battery. A mainstay of rechargeable power for the last couple decades, this battery technology has gotten only minor refinements. But a substantial improvement in stored power may be in the offing, thanks to researchers at Stanford University, who have developed a new battery technology based on aluminum.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

America's Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Agency is filled with a bunch of nerds. At the very least, they've got a Lord of the Rings fan in their acronym-making department. Their latest project, open for solicitations last week, is called the “Standoff ILluminator for Measuring Absorbance and Reflectance Infrared Light Signatures,” or SILMARILS.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:59 Source

From The Australian, cracks appear in the sell side iron ore fan club: “Should prices continue to deteriorate across the board, we believe BHP’s progressive dividend may need to be either re-based, or temporarily paused. RIO’s dividend appears to be safe, although additional capital management would be unlikely to continue in 2016.” While it keeps

The post JPM warns on big iron ore earnings appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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The Australian Independent Media Network Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:54 Source

As someone not of a religious bent, Edward Eastwood spent the Easter break compiling a list of a few of his least favourite things.

Reality T.V. cooking programs where smarmy overdressed and overfed ‘judges’ humiliate greedy aspirationals in front of a nationwide audience. These same overfed and overdressed epicureans are usually the ones who scream loudest and longest about the need to pay their staff penalty rates.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:48 Source

From the AFR, it’s good to have friends in high places: Western Australia would receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional GST revenue under a proposed revamp of the distribution system being modelled at the instruction of Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey. The methodology, which would strip out the commodity boom years from calculations and

The post Hockey prepares Comrade Colin bailout appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:40 Source

Cities, with their dense populations and public transit systems are often seen as hotbeds of green innovation--places where bicycles, subways, and light rail are transforming how we get around. But new research shows that fast-growing cities are some of the worst culprits when it comes to CO2 emissions from cars.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:40 Source

Knowing where you are--or where your stuff is--is sometimes a challenge. iTraq wants to help fix that by providing a tag about the size of a credit card that can report its location anywhere in the world.

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Popular Science Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:40 Source

NASA is certain: We're not alone in this universe.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:40 Source

By Leith van Onselen The Australian Treasury has released a new working paper examining the efficiency impacts of various taxes, and has unsurprising found that land tax comes out on top: As suggested by the theory broad based land tax has a very slight impact on factor income as seen in Chart 25. The foreign

The post Why land taxes are the best taxes appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:39 Source

From Forexlive: The RBA’s commentary on the A$ took a meaningful twist in today’s statement, when it dropped its reference to the currency ‘remaining above most estimates of its fundamental value.’ … is likely to continue to lift the AUD in the short term… The fact that the RBA today dropped the reference to being

The post Westpac wrongly wrong on strong AUD appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:28 Source

These guys are hopeless. It’s only months since they lowered their iron ore ratings benchmark to $75 and now it takes an equity suspension for them to wake up to junior downgrades. From S&P: Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said today that it had lowered its corporate credit rating on Australian iron ore miner Atlas

The post Rating agencies put boot into Atlas appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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The Tally Room Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:15 Source

Last Friday, I published a breakdown of the election result in the key seat of Lismore in the far north of New South Wales.

The seat of Ballina shares a lot of similarities with its neighbour. In both cases, the Greens outpolled Labor in 2011, but the Nationals held the seat by a large margin against either left party. In both cases, there was a large swing away from the Nationals and to both Greens and Labor, with the Greens staying in second place on primary votes.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 09:09 Source

By Chris Becker A very bullish session in Europe deflated as markets opened in the US, with the S&P500 falling 0.2% as confidence wavered before the Alcoa earnings and FOMC meeting minutes released later tonight. Recapping the Asian session, the Shanghai Comp bubble squeaked ever higher, rising 2.5% almost hitting 4000 points. This dragged the

The post Macro Morning: Fade out appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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The Melbourne Urbanist Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 08:54 Source

Are humans meant to live in high-rise towers?

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Drag0nista's Blog Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 08:52 Source

Labor party renewal is still being stymied by factional cronyism, with men being put into safer seats and higher on senate tickets rather than equally qualified or sometimes even more talented women. Weekly column for The Drum.Filed under: Politics

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 08:39 Source

It was revealed that Morrison while official guardian of thousands of children covered up the abuse of some of them and thereby colluded in it. One child was abused for seven months after he heard about it. This made him, legally, a child abuser himself and bound for years in prison. This coincided with Laurie Oakes hailing him as the next Prime Minister.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 08:36 Source

By Leith van Onselen From Fairfax’s Peter Martin this morning comes news that eight health and community organisations have written to Trade Minister, Andrew Robb, expressing “grave concerns” about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) – the US-led trade deal between 12 pacific rim nations, including Australia. According to Martin, the groups are concerned that the proposed

The post Health experts’ “grave concerns” about secretive TPP appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 08:05 Source

By Leith van Onselen Nine years ago, former Treasurer, Peter Costello, implemented what would turn out to be a great act of budget vandalism on younger Australians by greatly relaxing the assets test to qualify for the Aged Pension. Prior to this decision in 2006, the Age Pension was reduced by $3 a fornight ($78

The post Coalition to unwind Costello’s Aged Pension folly appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 05:24 Source

With the RBA set upon a bubble management and hollowing out strategy for lower interest rates, let’s check in on how we’re faring against our major competitors. First, the developed economies: AUD/USD is black, AUD/JPY is green, AUD/EUR is blue and AUD/GBP is brown. All told at least it’s not gotten worse over the past

The post Counting the RBA’s Australian dollar damage appeared first on MacroBusiness.

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Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 05:10 Source

I was woken by Arthur Laffer lecturing the Sydney Institute in a smug, effusive, comical way on Radio National. He held, with his usual jolly logic, that if taxes go down, and interest rates go up, all will be well.

Being a moron, he does not understand that taxes and interest are pretty much the same thing, a loss of income to the individual. And that loss of income through interest paid on mortgages is really big now, because house prices are the highest they’ve been in world history. And disposable income is getting to be the lowest since the Depression.

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MacroBusiness Wednesday, April 8, 2015 - 04:44 Source

From Forexlive: What is going on at the Reserve Bank of Australia? For the third month in a row, the Australian dollar moved at least 10 seconds before the official release. For the third month in a row, the RBA says it’s launching an investigation. McCrann has gone quiet on the RBA after implying he

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