Author Archive | majestic

Multiple Banker Deaths Rattle Banking Industry

Canary Wharf 200810We’ve been reporting on the multiple suicides by bankers around the world for a while now, and the rash of seemingly unrelated deaths has the banking industry asking “why?” The bankers’ ubiquitous news service Bloomberg reports:

Coroners in London are preparing to investigate two apparent suicides as unexpected deaths by finance workers around the world have raised concerns about mental health and stress levels in the industry.

The inquest into the death of William Broeksmit, 58, a retired Deutsche Bank AG (DBK) risk executive found dead in his London home in January, will start tomorrow. The inquest for Gabriel Magee, a 39-year-old vice president in technology operations at JPMorgan Chase (JPM) & Co., who died after falling from the firm’s 33-story London headquarters, is scheduled for late May.

The suicides were followed by others around the world, including at JPMorgan in Hong Kong, as well as Mike Dueker, the chief economist at Seattle-based Russell Investment Management Co.

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‘How to Poo on a Date’ Wins Oddest Book Title of the Year

poo datePersonally I’m wondering how this topic could take up an entire book. From Reuters:

A tongue-in-cheek book that purports to deal with an awkward but critical issue, “How to Poo on a Date“, scooped an award for the Oddest Book Title of the Year on Friday.

The winner of the Diagram Prize, awarded annually since 1978 and based on a public vote since 2000, beat out other titles including “Are Trout South African?” and “Working-Class Cats: The Bodega Cats of New York City”.

The prize, which carries no cash award, is run by The Bookseller, a British-based business magazine and website for the book industry…

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Federal Government Finally Funds Research that Explores Positive Uses of Marijuana

marijuanaThe unstoppable marijuana train rolls on, thanks to Rick Doblin and MAPS. From AllGov:

For those conducting studies of the harmful effects of marijuana, the federal government has usually been willing to share from its stash, which comes from the only federally sanctioned pot farm in the country. But those looking to find positive uses for the drug have always found Uncle Sam to be bogarting his joint.

Until now. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has finally approved the sale of federally grown marijuana for a study that would research whether pot could help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The Food and Drug Administration approved the study back in 2011, but University of Arizona Professor Suzanne Sisley, who will conduct the study, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which is funding it, were unable to get marijuana.

“MAPS has been working for over 22 years to start marijuana drug development research, and this is the first time we’ve been granted permission to purchase marijuana from [the National Institute on Drug Abuse],” the group said in a statement.

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The American Meat Industry Does Some Very Impressive and Terrifying Things

MeatDo you eat meat every day? Then you’re part of the problem. Cyrus Nemati explains at the Chicago Sun Times:

In the past 60 years, the United States has fallen deeply in love with meat. What was once a treat is now expected at every meal to the point where we can get it in a tube. The demand for meat has increased dramatically, and the largest meat companies have found ways to fulfill that demand cheaply. It’s not a surprise that the path to the six cent Chicken McNugget was built at the expense of not only the chickens themselves, but farmers and smaller meat plants. The quest for cheap meat has resulted in a ruthless market that has left 85 percent of supply in the hands of five companies.

This oligopoly has driven the meat industry to do some very impressive and terrifying things. We raise nine billion animals for the slaughter a year.

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Scientists Create Mugshots From Perps’ DNA

Elvis_mugshotThis is some next level CSI! New Scientist reports on the DNA-generated mugshots:

A murder has been committed, and all the cops have to go on is a trace of DNA left at the scene. It doesn’t match any profile in databases of known criminals, and the trail goes cold. But what if the police could issue a wanted poster based on a realistic “photofit” likeness built from that DNA?

Not if, but when, claim researchers who have developed a method for determining how our genes influence facial shape. One day, the technique may even allow us to gaze into the faces of extinct human-like species that interbred with our own ancestors.

It’s already possible to make some inferences about the appearance of crime suspects from their DNA alone, including their racial ancestry and some shades of hair colour. And in 2012, a team led by Manfred Kayser of Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, identified five genetic variants with detectable effects on facial shape.

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Federal Reserve President: ‘QE Was A Massive Gift Intended To Boost Wealth’

So sayeth Richard W. Fisher, President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, according to Tyler Durnden writing at Zero Hedge:

With Bernanke gone, the remaining Fed members knowing full well they will be crucified, metaphorically of course (if not literally) when it all inevitably comes crashing down, are finally at liberty with their words… and the truth is bleeding out courtesy of the president of the Dallas Fed, via Bloomberg.

FISHER SAYS QE WAS A MASSIVE GIFT INTENDED TO BOOST WEALTH
Which incidentally coincides with Bernanke’s heartfelt “admission” that “my natural inclinations, even if it weren’t for the legal mandate, would be to try to help the average person.” As long as helped to boost the wealth of the non-average billionaire., all is forgiven. “The result was there are still many people after the crisis who still feel that it was unfair that some companies got helped and small banks and small business and average families didn’t get direct help,” Bernanke said.

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What Americans Spend on Illegal Drugs

Number of Chronic Users of Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth (based on NSDUH) (RAND/ONDCP)

Number of Chronic Users of Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth (based on NSDUH) (RAND/ONDCP)

The RAND Corporation has prepared a facts and figures filled report for the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) entitled “What America’s Users Spend on Illegal Drugs: 2000-2010.” Make of it what you will (RAND and ONDCP aren’t exactly the most trusted institutions), but there’s plenty of interesting and thought-provoking information. You can find a PDF with the entire report here; this excerpt is from the executive summary:

A sense of scale is a prerequisite to thinking sensibly about illicit drug markets. For example, knowing whether a country consumes tens, hundreds, or thousands of metric tons (MTs) of a prohibited substance is critical for understanding the impact of a three-MT seizure at a border crossing. But decisionmakers need more than a sense of scale; they also need figures with enough precision to be able to determine whether the markets have become larger or smaller over time.

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OWS Founder Calls on Obama to Appoint Google’s Eric Schmidt ‘CEO of America’

Eric SchmidtOK, so who can sort this one out: the founder of Occupy Wall Street wants the President of the United States to resign and appoint her boss, Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt, to a new post, CEO of America. The Guardian reports but let’s hear from you in the comments if any of it makes sense:

One of the co-founders of the Occupy Wall Street movement has called on Barack Obama to resign as president, and “appoint Eric Schmidt CEO of America”.

Justine Tunney, a self-styled “champagne tranarchist”, is now a software engineer at Google, but remains involved with Occupy Wall Street, through the occupywallst.org website, which she created.

In the petition, which currently has two signatures (a far cry from the 195,000 who follow the Occupy Wall Street twitter account Tunney started in 2011), she calls on Obama to arrange a national referendum to:

  1. Retire all government employees with full pensions.

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