Jul 312012
 

After yesterday’s post about breaking up the banks and The Newsroom’s mention of U.S. economic performance under Glass-Steagall, Ape Con Myth decided to dust off  The Tao Jones data set and take another look at the full history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, from 1896 through last Friday.

This time we’ll look at 31,490 trading days using Glass-Steagall’s tenure as the yardstick…

(click the image to enlarge)

For more exploration of the Dow, check out The Tao Jones.

Jul 302012
 

Former Citigroup CEO Sanford “Sandy” Weill has ruffled some feathers by suggesting that we should break up the big banks, separating investment banking from commercial banking as was the law under the Depression-era Glass-Steagall Act.  It’s definitely an interesting idea coming from “The Shatterer of Glass-Steagall,” particularly since he didn’t agree in 2010 when his former co-CEO at Citi, John Reed, apologized for his part in taking down the act.

Plenty of people are going to weigh in on the subject now, but how about we ask a source that hasn’t been a player in tanking the world economy?

Enter the I Ching…

The adornments must be stripped away.  Sounds a little bit like something you’d expect to hear from an ancient oracle, but that’s what it is.

The situation has been about appearances.  Bigger was thought to be better and so many banks became four.  But there is no too big to fail.  The bigger they come, the harder they fall.  That’s general policy.

Substance is more important than packaging.  If only the banks had consulted the I Ching before slicing and dicing all those mortgages.  And before they turned from stodgy suits into wild gamblers.  It took pushing us to the edge to do it, but trust in these institutions has faded.

Strip away the dead wood.  Perhaps it will be the Safe, Accountable, Fair and Efficient (SAFE) Banking Act that reigns in leverage and places a cap on how big these dead trees can be.

Rely on our own simple efforts.  Like a few other industries, trust is flowing to local alternatives where profit and expansion aren’t the primary concerns.

Or at least that’s one interpretation.  You could read more about the two hexagrams above with the Wilhelm translation to dive further into this reading or check back with the I Ching to see what it thinks today.

[I Ching reading via Psychic Science, Trust charts from the Chicago Booth | Kellogg School’s Financial Trust Index]

Jul 272012
 

Answer to the question at 3:55, among other things…

I have no point of view.
As for example now, see I couldn’t possibly have a point of view,
I’m just moving around and picking up information from many directions.
No, a point of view means a static fixed position
and you can’t have a static fixed position in the Electric Age.
It’s impossible to have a point of view in the Electric Age,
and have any meaning at all.
You’ve got to be everywhere at once, whether you like it or not.
You have to be participating in everything going on at the same time
and that is not a point of view.

For more, check out the archive at Marshall McLuhan Speaks.

Jul 242012
 

If you’re feeling full of life, it might be because on a cellular level your own cells are outnumbered 10-to-1 by microorganisms inside your body.  We know some are keeping us healthy and others are making us sick, but the initial goal of the Human Microbiome Project is to simply take attendance of all our guests.

Now prepare for some potentially unsettling truths with this New York Times’ visualization of the project’s microbe survey:

Yes, we’re all completely gross.

Jul 232012
 

Of humanity’s 40 attempts to explore Mars to date, the success rate has been a disappointing 50%, which has prompted some to wonder if there is a space monster out there with a taste for probes.

Decide for yourself with the Mars Exploration Family Portrait below and learn more about our track record, including the time the Mars Climate Orbiter (#31) made it all the way to Mars only to burn up in its atmosphere due to a mix-up between imperial and metric units.

(click to enlarge)

[Chart by Astrosaurus]

Jul 172012
 

From Philip H. Howard at Michigan State:

Consolidation has increased in the international seed industry in recent decades. The chart below depicts changes in ownership involving major seed companies and their subsidiaries, primarily occurring from 1996 to 2008. The largest firms are represented as circles, with size proportional to global commercial seed market share.

(click image to view zoom.it version)

Extra Credit: Count how many sound like food companies.