Search This Blog

November 21, 2012

Key Global Events

Interesting chart with all major incoming events for the next 5 years.

Election Events...

and the next 12 months events:

Source: SocGen

The tallest building in the world in 90 days

China is trying not only to establish a new world record when it comes to empty buildings but now even with construction time, the tallest building in the world in 90 days.
Just wondering how long it will take to fill it up after construction.

Gizmodo reports China Will Build the Tallest Building In the World in Just 90 Days.
According to its engineers, this will be the tallest skyscraper in the world by the end of March of 2013. Its name is Sky City, and its 2,749 feet (838 meters) distributed in 220 floors will grow in just 90 days in Changsha city, by the Xiangjiang river. Ninety days!

It's not a joke. According to the construction company, the skyscraper will be built in just 90 days at the unbelievable rate of five floors per day.

Pre-Fab Magic

They will be able to achieve this impossibly fast construction rate by using a prefabricated modular technology developed by Broad Sustainable Building, a company that has built 20 tall structures in China so far, including the a 30-story hotel [constructed in 360 hours - see link for time-lapse video].

Record numbers

Unlike the Burj Khalifa, the tower will be mostly habitable. Its final height will be 2,749 feet high (838 meters). Compared that to the Burj's 2,719 feet (829 meters), which include the spire at the top resulting in a total of 163 floors.

Sky City will use an astonishing 220,000 tons of steel. The structure will be able to house 31,400 people of both "high and low income communities". The company says that the residential area will use 83-percent of the building, while the rest will be offices, schools, hospitals, shops and restaurants. People will move up and down using 104 high speed elevators.

The record figures don't stop there: in addition to the 90-day construction time—as opposed to the 210 days initially reported by the Chinese media—the company claims it will cost $1,500 per square meter as opposed to the Burj's $15,000 per square meter, all thanks to the prefab technology.

They also claim it will be able to sustain earthquakes of a 9.0 magnitude and be resistant to fire for "up to three hours," as well as be extremely energy efficient thanks to thermal insulation, four-panned windows and different air conditioning techniques that were already used in their previous constructions.
Artist's Rendition

November 14, 2012

Troika's Forecasts

For those who still believe in forecasts!

Trust and productivity

Relatively recent academic evidence explains how productivity works in places with underdeveloped legal institutions and cultural norms.
In 2009, Hsieh Chang-Tai and Peter Klenow found that a big part of the reason why China and India are so much poorer than the United States is that wildly unproductive firms are more likely to survive in those countries than in America.
After running a novel experiment, Nicholas Bloom, of Stanford University concluded that these firms were so unproductive because they were horribly managed (as opposed to having worse workers or inferior equipment). He speculated that the unproductive firms were able to survive because better-managed businesses were limited in their ability to expand thanks to uncooperative capital markets and, intriguingly, a dearth of trustworthy managers.

The problem is not the absence of people who know how to run businesses but the society at large.

In another paper, Mr Bloom and his colleagues argued that entrepreneurs in poorer countries are reluctant to trust people who are not directly related to them to manage any part of their enterprises. They are afraid that people from outside the family will steal from them and that the judicial system will not protect them. This (not unjustified) fear limits the ability of good firms to expand. Once you run out of siblings and cousins, you can't open more factories. The result is that bad firms are not driven out of business. Conversely, countries with higher levels of "social capital," i.e., trust, generally have higher productivity and are therefore richer, precisely because good firms have more resources available to drive out the bad ones and increase the standard of living through creative destruction.

This was the inspiration behind Paul Romer's ill-fated Charter Cities project, which ran aground in Honduras. The goal was to import the values and institutions of societies with high levels of "social capital" to poor countries in the hope that it would allow them to become richer and more productive. Ironically, the Honduran mission failed precisely because the agency that was supposed to ensure transparency refused to allow outsiders to audit agreements made between the government and private firms.

Global Economic Indicators

Congratulations to Italy for scoring the worst GDP growth and worst unemployment, bets are open won how soon Russia and India will leave Italy behind.


November 11, 2012

Heather Brooke: My battle to expose government corruption

Our leaders need to be held accountable, says journalist Heather Brooke. And she should know: Brooke uncovered the British Parliamentary financial expenses that led to a major political scandal in 2009. She urges us to ask our leaders questions through platforms like Freedom of Information requests -- and to finally get some answers.
Worth listening carefully!

Spain considering eviction moratorium

El Pais (via Google translate) reports Government will give a two-year moratorium to end evictions.
Social pressure, political and, above all, the shock of facts so overwhelming as two suicides in recent weeks, the second on Friday, has led the government and the PSOE to move faster. Both contacts for accelerated progress towards an agreement to halt evictions more extreme than in any case, will not materialize until next week. That agreement, however, will not be retroactive and would apply to mortgages signed, but not those that are in foreclosure. It would not serve to cases like EgaƱa Amaya, the woman who committed suicide in Barakaldo.

The Prime Minister, Mariano Rajoy, solemnized the idea during an election rally in Lleida: "These days we see terrible things, inhuman situations, a person committed suicide when she would be evicted. It is a difficult subject, you have to take it with all seriousness and humanity. The government is talking to many people, we talked this morning with the PSOE. I hope we can talk on Monday of the temporary cessation of evictions affecting the most vulnerable families. And the threshold of exclusion, to better implement the code of good practice, so you can renegotiate the debt and remain in housing. It is a difficult subject, I hope we can give good news to the whole of the Spanish."

The problem with an eviction moratorium is obvious. People will have no incentive to pay their mortgages for the next two years. This will bring further stress the Spanish banking sector and in turn to the Spanish government.

November 8, 2012

Greek brothels booming ads adventures

This is what social collapse and degradation looks like, a local brothel became the head sponsor of a minor-league soccer club from Larissa. Now, the same brothel which appears to have seen a substantial return on its advertising spend, has decided to branch out... straight into a local elementary school. That's right: a whorehouse is advertising its "services" to children in an elementary school. In exchange for what? Money to purchase a Xerox machine and a library.
From Kathimerini:
After sponsoring a soccer team in Larissa, central Greece, brothel owner Soula Alevridou is now extending her financial support to a school in Patra, in the Peloponnese.

Following an open invitation for sponsorship launched by a Patra elementary school parents association, Alevridou pledged to donate 3,000 euros to the educational facility in order to cover for a series of operational costs, a daily Peloponnesian newspaper reported. According to reports, the funds would be used to purchase a photocopier and a library for the school.

Alevridou recently agreed to sponsor the Voukefalas team in Larissa, central Greece, paying more than 1,000 euros for the team’s players to wear jerseys carrying the “Soula's House of History” logo, AP reported.

Another brothel, Villa Erotica, had also agreed to sponsor the Larissa team.