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sick-people.png12 Major Global Risks That Seem Like Something Out Of A Movie by Steven Perlberg

Investors can envision a stock market correction this year even if they think it ultimately won’t happen.

Then there’s income disparity, unemployment, liquidity issues — these are the risks we anticipate, if not expect.

But what about the other risks out there? The lesser-known unknowns?

The World Economic Forum is out with their list of global risks for 2014, and it of course includes the usual suspects of familiar problems. But the WEF also highlights a few global risks that sound like the very stuff of science fiction or action/adventure.

Unfortunately, many of the risks — like large scale data theft or environmental catastrophes — aren’t that hard to imagine anymore.

Here are the risks that, if realized, would be truly wacky (with commentary from the report):

1. Greater incidence of natural catastrophes (e.g. earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, geomagnetic storms) 

Existing precautions and preparedness measures fail in the face of geophysical disasters such as earthquakes, volcanic activity, landslides, tsunamis or geomagnetic storms, causing widespread disruptions in interconnected supply chains and communication networks.”

2. Greater incidence of man-made environmental catastrophes (e.g. oil spills, nuclear accidents)

“Existing precautions and preparedness measures fail to prevent man-made catastrophes, causing greater harm to lives, human health, infrastructure, property, economic activity and the environment.”

3. Political collapse of a nation of geopolitical importance

“One or more systemically critical countries experience significant erosion of trust and mutual obligations between states and citizens, leading to state collapse, internal violence, regional or global instability and, potentially, military conflict.”

4. Major escalation in organized crime and illicit trade

“Highly organized and very agile global networks commit criminal offences while the illegal trafficking of goods and people spreads unchecked throughout the global economy.”

5. Large-scale terrorist attacks

Individuals or non-state groups successfully inflict large-scale human or material damage, which is particularly problematic when decentralized and widespread.”

6. Deployment of weapons of mass destruction

“The availability of nuclear, chemical, biological and radiological technologies and materials leads to major international crises.”

7. Pandemic outbreak

“Inadequate disease surveillance systems, failed international coordination and the lack of vaccine production capacity lead to the uncontrolled spread of infectious disease.”

8. Unmanageable burden of chronic disease

“Increasing burden of illness and long-term costs of treatment threaten recent societal gains in life expectancy and quality while overburdening strained economies.”

9. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria

“Growing resistance of deadly bacteria to known antibiotics inhibits the ability to control deadly diseases.”

10. Breakdown of critical information infrastructure and networks

Systemic failures of critical information infrastructure (CII) and networks negatively impact industrial production, public services and communications.”

11. Escalation in large-scale cyber attacks

State-sponsored, state-affiliated, criminal or terrorist cyber attacks increase.”

12. Massive incident of data fraud/theft

Criminal or wrongful exploitation of private data takes place on an unprecedented scale.”

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Apple Delivered A Game-Changing Innovation With The iPhone 5S And The Reviewers Are Freaking Out Over It

Jay Yarow

screen shot 2013-09-10 at 2.42.38 pm

POGUE: The Camera And The Flash On The iPhone 5S Are Great

Apple Is Going To Have A ‘Grotesquely’ Low Supply Of The New iPhone 5S On Friday

GENE MUNSTER: I Still Have A ‘High Conviction’ That Apple Announces A Television This Year

The fingerprint scanner Apple built into the iPhone 5S is a smash hit with reviewers.
It’s getting nearly universal acclaim. Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal calls it a game changer.

It sounds like a major innovation that is going to completely change how we interact with our phones. Swiping to unlock is going to be a thing of the past.

Here’s a sample of the reactions:

David Pogue at NYT: “It’s nothing like the balky, infuriating fingerprint-reader efforts of earlier cellphones. It’s genuinely awesome; the haters can go jump off a pier.”

Walt Mossberg at WSJ: “After using Touch ID, I found it annoying to go back to typing in passcodes on my older iPhone.”

John Gruber of Daring Fireball: “Touch ID is way faster than ‘fast enough’. I’d call it ‘I can’t believe it works this quickly’ fast. It’s also very accurate — only a handful of times over the past week have I had to try a second time, and each of those times, I hadn’t really squared up my finger with the sensor.”

Jim Dalrymple of Loop Insight: “The fingerprint sensor solved a problem and makes my handling of the iPhone more efficient. That’s what a feature should do.”

Myriam Joire Engadget: “And it is indeed fast: the scanner was able to pick up all of our fingers in fractions of a second and from any angle. It’s so natural, in fact, that we almost forgot that passwords and unlock screens even existed on the 5s; on countless occasions we tried to unlock the iPhone 5 and 5c with the scanner before realizing that we had to use the “old-fashioned” slide-to-unlock method.”

Scott Stein, CNET: “A few previous smartphones have added fingerprint sensors before, like the Motorola Atrix, but those were more awkward bars that needed finger-swiping. The Touch ID-enabled home button feels invisible; it works with a tap, can recognize your finger from many angles, and feels like it has less of a fail rate than fingerprint sensors I’ve used on laptops. It’s impressive tech. It worked on all my fingers, and even my toe (I was curious).”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-fingerprint-scanner-reviewed-2013-9#ixzz2fFqOSZxD

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If You Already Have An iPhone 5, Do Not Buy One Of Apple’s New iPhones This Year by Kevin Smith

gold-iphone-5s-4

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Apple Announces New iPhone 5S That’s Twice As Fast And Has A Fingerprint Sensor

By now you’ve heard that Apple unveiled its newest iPhones yesterday, the 5S and 5C.
The 5S is a faster version of the iPhone 5, which is being discontinued in favor of the colorful iPhone 5C.

If you already have an iPhone 5, you’re probably not considering an upgrade to the 5C. The 5C is essentially the same phone as the iPhone 5, but wrapped in a plastic shell.

I’ve had every iPhone that’s been released since the iPhone 3G, so my first instinct is to automatically want the 5S.

But is it worth it for most people to upgrade every year like I did?

In short, the answer is no.

Physically, the 5S looks exactly like the iPhone 5. The 5S has the same display, nearly identical design, and same screen size as the iPhone 5.

The 5S only separates itself from the 5 with a new gold color, a fingerprint sensor, a faster processor, and a better camera.

The best thing going for the 5S is its new fingerprint sensor, or “Touch ID” as Apple calls it. This new technology lets you use your fingerprint instead of a passcode to unlock your device.

Megapixel-wise the iPhone 5S’s camera is the same as the iPhone 5: 8MP. The difference is that the 5S’s has a better sensor that lets in more light. The flash also has two tones so it will give you more accurate image colors.

Sure, the new camera’s slow-motion feature sounds cool, but there are a ton of apps —Slowpro, for example— that will give you this same ability.

If you have an iPhone 5, you can still update your software to iOS 7, which will give your phone the same look as the 5S along with a ton of the new software features.

For most people, all those new features in the iPhone 5S won’t be enough to justify shelling out the cash for the upgrade. Plus, most carriers only let you upgrade your smartphone at the subsidized price every two years. That means if you have an iPhone 5 but still really want the iPhone 5S, you won’t be able to get it for $199. You’ll likely have to buy it unlocked for at least $650.

Basically, if you are an iPhone 5 owner, it really doesn’t make sense to upgrade unless you are the type of person who always has to have the latest and greatest. You should only upgrade if you have an iPhone 4S or earlier iPhone model.

Plus, there’s a lot to look forward to next year. If Apple follows its pattern, it will introduce a new iPhone with a new design in 2014. And there’s already chatter that next year’s iPhone could have a larger screen.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/iphone-5-vs-iphone-5s-2013-9#ixzz2ecgLuUIf

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Tech More: Apple iWatch Steve Wozniak
Here’s The New-Product Wishlist Apple’s Wozniak Is Begging CEO Tim Cook To Make
Julie Bort

steve-wozniak-1.png

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak has a wish list of stuff he’d like Apple to make.
When Reuters’ Sareena Dayaram asked during a video interview what advice Woz would give to CEO Tim Cook, Woz smiled and said, “I wouldn’t dare because I have a feeling the comeback would be more like a fight. And I’m really a non-conflict type of person.”

But, he said, “I can talk about what I want.”

He grabbed his wrist and said, “I want my wearable devices that are basically as complete as my iPhone in their functionality.”

He also wants larger screens on iPhones and other features that iPhone competitors have that are “better” than what the iPhone offers (though he didn’t name those features).

Most importantly, he wants Apple “dreamers” thinking up products that change the world “with some new product you wouldn’t even call a phone.” (The Apple iGlass perhaps?)

Here’s the full interview. Skip ahead to 3:50 to hear his Apple wish list.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/apple-cofounder-steve-wozniak-begs-apple-for-the-iwatch-2013-8#ixzz2dJBJnkbQ

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We May Be In The Early Stages Of The Next Global Economic Crisis

stephen roach

Mark Lennihan / AP

NEW HAVEN – The global economy could be in the early stages of another crisis. Once again, the US Federal Reserve is in the eye of the storm.As the Fed attempts to exit from so-called quantitative easing (QE) – its unprecedented policy of massive purchases of long-term assets – many high-flying emerging economies suddenly find themselves in a vise. Currency and stock markets in India and Indonesia are plunging, with collateral damage evident in Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey.

The Fed insists that it is blameless – the same absurd position that it took in the aftermath of the Great Crisis of 2008-2009, when it maintained that its excessive monetary accommodation had nothing to do with the property and credit bubbles that nearly pushed the world into the abyss. It remains steeped in denial: Were it not for the interest-rate suppression that QE has imposed on developed countries since 2009, the search for yield would not have flooded emerging economies with short-term “hot” money.

As in the mid-2000’s, there is plenty of blame to go around this time as well. The Fed is hardly alone in embracing unconventional monetary easing. Moreover, the aforementioned developing economies all have one thing in common: large current-account deficits.

According to the International Monetary Fund, India’s external deficit, for example, is likely to average 5% of GDP in 2012-2013, compared to 2.8% in 2008-2011. Similarly, Indonesia’s current-account deficit, at 3% of GDP in 2012-2013, represents an even sharper deterioration from surpluses that averaged 0.7% of GDP in 2008-2011. Comparable patterns are evident in Brazil, South Africa, and Turkey.

A large current-account deficit is a classic symptom of a pre-crisis economy living beyond its means – in effect, investing more than it is saving. The only way to sustain economic growth in the face of such an imbalance is to borrow surplus savings from abroad.

That is where QE came into play. It provided a surplus of yield-seeking capital from investors in developed countries, thereby allowing emerging economies to remain on high-growth trajectories. IMF research puts emerging markets’ cumulative capital inflows at close to $4 trillion since the onset of QE in 2009. Enticed by the siren song of a shortcut to rapid economic growth, these inflows lulled emerging-market countries into believing that their imbalances were sustainable, enabling them to avoid the discipline needed to put their economies on more stable and viable paths.

This is an endemic feature of the modern global economy. Rather than owning up to the economic slowdown that current-account deficits signal – accepting a little less growth today for more sustainable growth in the future – politicians and policymakers opt for risky growth gambits that ultimately backfire.

That has been the case in developing Asia, not just in India and Indonesia today, but also in the 1990’s, when sharply widening current-account deficits were a harbinger of the wrenching financial crisis of 1997-1998. But it has been equally true of the developed world.

America’s gaping current-account deficit of the mid-2000’s was, in fact, a glaring warning of the distortions created by a shift to asset-dependent saving at a time when dangerous bubbles were forming in asset and credit markets. Europe’s sovereign-debt crisis is an outgrowth of sharp disparities between the peripheral economies with outsize current-account deficits – especially Greece, Portugal, and Spain – and core countries like Germany, with large surpluses.

Central bankers have done everything in their power to finesse these problems. Under the leadership of Ben Bernanke and his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, the Fed condoned asset and credit bubbles, treating them as new sources of economic growth. Bernanke has gone even further, arguing that the growth windfall from QE would be more than sufficient to compensate for any destabilizing hot-money flows in and out of emerging economies. Yet the absence of any such growth windfall in a still-sluggish US economy has unmasked QE as little more than a yield-seeking liquidity foil.

The QE exit strategy, if the Fed ever summons the courage to pull it off, would do little more than redirect surplus liquidity from higher-yielding developing markets back to home markets. At present, with the Fed hinting at the first phase of the exit – the so-called QE taper – financial markets are already responding to expectations of reduced money creation and eventual increases in interest rates in the developed world.

Never mind the Fed’s promises that any such moves will be glacial – that it is unlikely to trigger any meaningful increases in policy rates until 2014 or 2015. As the more than 1.1 percentage-point increase in 10-year Treasury yields over the past year indicates, markets have an uncanny knack for discounting glacial events in a short period of time.

Courtesy of that discounting mechanism, the risk-adjusted yield arbitrage has now started to move against emerging-market securities. Not surprisingly, those economies with current-account deficits are feeling the heat first. Suddenly, their saving-investment imbalances are harder to fund in a post-QE regime, an outcome that has taken a wrenching toll on currencies in India, Indonesia, Brazil, and Turkey.

As a result, these countries have been left ensnared in policy traps: Orthodox defense strategies for plunging currencies usually entail higher interest rates – an unpalatable option for emerging economies that are also experiencing downward pressure on economic growth.

Where this stops, nobody knows. That was the case in Asia in the late 1990’s, as well as in the US in 2009. But, with more than a dozen major crises hitting the world economy since the early 1980’s, there is no mistaking the message: imbalances are not sustainable, regardless of how hard central banks try to duck the consequences.

Developing economies are now feeling the full force of the Fed’s moment of reckoning. They are guilty of failing to face up to their own rebalancing during the heady days of the QE sugar high. And the Fed is just as guilty, if not more so, for orchestrating this failed policy experiment in the first place.

This article was originally published by Project Syndicate. For more from Project Syndicate, visit their new Web site, and follow them on Twitter orFacebook.

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MICROSOFT INSIDER: ‘It’s A Total Shocker… Something Big Must Have Changed’

steve ballmer

As everyone outside of Microsoft tries to figure out what just happened at the top of the company, Microsoft insiders are having the same conversation.One former senior executive who has been in touch with other senior executives at the company this morning had this to say:

It’s a total shocker. To me and to friends inside the company. The reorg lined everything up behind Steve and people felt he would stay on to see it through.

Something big must have changed, obviously.

I asked what the change might be. The former exec didn’t know, but he speculated:

I really don’t know. It’s a huge surprise.  The people I’ve spoken to don’t know what caused the bit to flip either.

There is a massive technology shift happening, the world of cloud and devices, and whoever leads the company next needs to paint an inspiring vision of the future for Microsoft.  There are amazingly talented people at the company, who will respond to great leadership.

Perhaps Bill [Gates] and the board have come to believe the company should be split into two, consumer and enterprise? I’m not sure anyone could do a better job than Steve under current circumstances. The problem is beyond hard, it may be intractable. Not sure how anyone can manage both an enterprise business and a consumer business when both are changing so fast.

The last sentiment–that the problem is “beyond hard” and “may be intractable”–is one that other long-time Microsoft observers share.

The technology wave that Microsoft surfed almost perfectly for three decades has run its course, and it has been replaced by new waves that Microsoft no longer dominates.

The transformation that Steve Ballmer was trying to oversee, of a packaged software company to a “devices and services company” is as radical as any corporate transformation ever attempted.

The former executive added that he considers Steve Ballmer an “amazing man” and that Microsoft’s next CEO will not likely be hired with the aim of doing what Ballmer is doing but better. Rather, the former exec says, there will likely be “big, big changes ahead.”

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More Entrepreneurs Should Be Eating Magic Mushrooms, This Startup Founder Says

As cofounder of a local-social network startup called Circle, Evan Reas is no stranger to finding novel solutions to unusual problems.

When you find yourself positively stumped by a creative obstacle, there are the conventional methods of attack – dream something up by yourself, or maybe hire a professional to take care of the problem from beginning to end.

And then there are the more unique, off-the-beaten-path approaches.

Like taking magic mushrooms.

“It completely changes how you think,” Reas told us. “About your problems, about yourself, everything. It forced me to ask, ‘Is what I’m doing important?'”

With 4.5 million people using Circle so far, it would certainly seem so. This iOS and Android app aims to be your local network, showing you who and what is nearby. It can sort your friends by their various Facebook networks (high school, college, workplace) and lets you send them messages.

Reas isn’t alone in his endorsement of the psychedelic experience. The list of public figures affected by mushrooms and similar drugs runs long and varied, featuring a set of names that includes literary heavyweight Aldous Huxley, musical icon Jerry Garcia, and even Francis Crick, who discovered the double helix structure of DNA.

We’re not endorsing this approach, of course. Magic mushrooms are illegal in most states.

Circle and its 10 employees have made the app available for free on iOS and on Android.

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