6. To be sure, that excitement can certainly lead to unrealistic declarations from those in the community. Some bitcoin developers and investors proclaim that within five years, all the major banks will be accepting bitcoin. That’s a stretch, acknowledges Peter Smith, COO of the bitcoin wallet Blockchain (not to be confused with the actual bitcoin block chain). “I hear a lot of predictions about how soon the whole world will be using bitcoin, and most of the time, those are unrealistic,” he says. “What we’re trying to do as an ecosystem is incredibly audacious, so it’s going to take a lot of time.”
2. The World Health Organization this year declared H1N1 a global epidemic. Fortunately, it is much less threatening than people previously believed, and newly introduced vaccines seem to have quelled lingering fears.
3. The upshot is that Chinese trade looks to have been surprisingly strong last month. We expect exports to continue to perform well in the coming months on the back of strong global demand.
4. “It comes down to answering these questions: how do you continue to iterate the platform, how do you continue to augment the team, and how do you build a tapestry of alliances with partners that will accelerate your growth?” Case said.
5. With the majority of professional advisors (myself included) preaching the benefits of global diversification to their clients, 2014 looks more like a draw than an outright victory in the harsh light of December’s low winter sun. Consider the fact that, through last week, the MSCI World Index gained just 2% on the year, with nearly 5% drops for both the MSCI Emerging Markets index and the EAFE index of developed markets outside of the United States. Ironically, the single best-performing foreign market in the world, the Shanghai Composite of mainland Chinese equities (up 45%) is the only one that U.S. investors could not actually put their money into.
2. For the students interested in comparing school options around the world, US News released the fourth edition of its annual Best Global Universities rankings.
1. The remarks by Recep Tayyip Erdogan come less than 24 hours before Dutch voters go to the polls in a national election that has been coloured by a heated debate about the role of Islam in Dutch society, spurred by anti-Islam candidate Geert Wilders. Mr Wilders’ Freedom party (PVV) is polling second in the race.
2. Economists had likewise expected year-to-date urban fixed asset investment, a rough proxy for long-term spending, to remain at September’s level of 8.2 per cent year on year growth.
Two against-the-clock tours of Los Angeles. Two celebrations of the sometimes prickly solidarity among women. Four tremendous performances, from Kitana Kiki Rodriguez, Mya Taylor, Julia Garner and the great Lily Tomlin. “Grandma” is the work of a studio veteran. “Tangerine” was shot on iPhones. Anyone prone to lamenting the death of movies needs to shut up and watch these.