February 6, 2013

Posted by orrinj at 8:56 PM


Indonesia says EU-U.S. trade deal could revive global talks (Robin Emmott, Feb 5, 2013, Reuters) 

Efforts to agree a U.S.-EU trade pact could spur the rest of the world to revive global talks for fear of being sidelined in the emerging shape of global commerce, Indonesia's candidate to head the World Trade Organisation said.

The United States and the European Union are expected to launch negotiations this year towards a free-trade deal that would encompass a third of global trade. That would give Washington and Brussels the potential to set rules on issues ranging from investment to the environment when countries do business.

"The U.S.-EU deal will be a catalyst," Mari Pangestu told Reuters in an interview in Brussels this week. "Others will see the momentum and they won't want to be overtaken by events," she said during a European tour to rally support for her bid to succeed WTO chief Pascal Lamy, who steps down in August.

Posted by orrinj at 8:52 PM


Why Stay-At-Home Moms Should Earn A $115,000 Salary (Jenna Goudreau, 5/02/11, Forbes)
Think you can't put a price on motherhood? According to a new survey by Salary.com, a division of human resources consultant Kenexa, moms should be charging $115,000 per year for their work.

In the tenth annual Mom Salary Survey, researchers examined 6,616 mothers and attempted to value their work by breaking down motherly duties into 10 separate titles: Day Care Center Teacher, CEO, Psychologist, Cook, Housekeeper, Laundry Machine Operator, Computer Operator, Facilities Manager, Janitor and Van Driver.

Posted by orrinj at 8:47 PM


CBO: Deficit Shrinking At Fastest Pace Since WWII As GDP Sputters (Jed Graham, 02/05/2013, IBD)

After a burst of stimulus and financial rescue outlays in 2009, the fiscal retrenchment over the past three years was arguably steeper than at any time since World War II (see chart). Now, with stimulus and bailouts no longer clouding the picture, there's no question that the deficit is shrinking faster than it has in more than 60 years. Based on existing policies, CBO projects the deficit will shrink to 5.3% of GDP in fiscal 2013, down 3.7 percentage points since 2010.

Even during the '90s economic boom, the deficit never fell by more than 3 percentage points over any three-year period...

Posted by orrinj at 8:44 PM


Secondhand designer clothing at discount prices is in fashion (Dawn C. Chmielewski, 2/05/13, Los Angeles Times)

"I dreamt of a site that catered to secondhand luxury, a site where one could find women all over the country that were just like them aesthetically in order to have the experience of shopping one another's wardrobe," Shanfeld, 29, said.

The online store re-creates the airy shopping experience of an upscale boutique, with fashions from such designers as Alexander Wang, Hermes, Manolo Blahnik, Tom Ford and Zac Posen. Shanfeld and co-founders Jenna Stahl and Thanh Khuu added an element of social networking to help women browse the virtual closets.

First-time users furnish a profile picture and their measurements to ensure that women of similar size can fit in the items purchased from the seller's digital closets. Then, they select their favorites from among 20 designers. The sizing and fashion preferences help the site recommend "style soul mates," women whose tastes and dimensions most closely match the shopper's own.

When an item is purchased, the seller receives an e-mail alert and has three days to ship the item to Shop-Hers. Upon receipt, the site inspects the item for authenticity and verifies that its condition is as depicted on the site. If it meets expectations, Shop-Hers ships the item to the buyer and sends a follow-up notification to the seller, indicating that the sale is complete and payment is on the way. Shop-Hers keeps an 18% transaction fee.

"I love the site," said Diane Nagler, a publicist who owns her own firm in Denver and was among the site's earliest users. "My first purchase was this amazing, emerald green patent leather Max Mara clutch. I got it for $70 but it retailed for $600 to $800."

Secondhand shops once carried the taint of the declasse, said Adele Meyer, executive director of the National Assn. of Resale Professionals. But now the resale industry accounts for annual revenue of about $13 billion, according to First Research. Online, EBay alone enabled $7.9 billion worth of sales last year of new and used clothing and accessories.

Posted by orrinj at 8:35 PM


Owl vs. Owl : Should the government shoot the spotted owl's new enemy, the barred owl? (Charles Bergman, Feb. 5, 2013, Slate)

The new threat comes from the barred owl, which has moved into the Pacific Northwest and become a neighborhood bully. The species was once found only in the East, but over the past several decades, barred owls made their way across the prairies. The first barred owl was reported in Washington in 1965. In Oregon, 1974. In California, 1981. No one is really sure why they came. They may have crossed the prairie by using human-altered landscapes--managed forests, suburbs--as stepping stones across once-inhospitable grassland. Once they arrived in the West, some research suggests that they first took hold in logged areas and then spread to other habitats.

Though they are members of the same genus of owl--Strix--the two species are very different, like spots and stripes. The spotted owl is friendly, slow to reproduce, and tragically limited to a narrow ecological niche of old-growth forests.

The barred owl is a supremely adaptable generalist. It's also a feisty breeding machine. Barred owls have been seen chasing spotted owls out of their territories, even attacking them. Then they take over.

...means that they aren't even different species after all.

Posted by orrinj at 8:30 PM


Canada stops distribution of penny coin (BBC, 2/04/13)

The Canadian penny is being withdrawn from circulation because production costs have exceeded its monetary value.

Posted by orrinj at 8:25 PM