Saturday, December 12, 2009

farmdoc's blog post number 601

Here’s this week’s compendium. This week…
1. Gunns Limited’s chairman John Gay has offloaded 3.4M (i.e. 20%) of his Gunns shares [1]. Hardly a gesture of confidence when Gunns is still seeking finance for its controversial A$2.5B pulp mill project.
2. I read this joke [2]: “Johnnie.” “Yes teacher.” “If there are twenty sheep in a field, and one gets out through a hole in the fence, how many sheep are left in the field?” “None, teacher.” “Johnnie, there are still nineteen sheep left in the field. Obviously you don't know arithmetic.” “Sorry, teacher, but I do know arithmetic. Obviously you don't know sheep.” Yep.
3. the day before President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Oslo University named Iran’s Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ‘Dictator of the Year’ for his achievements in ‘inspiring hostility among nations, increasing human suffering’. There were 11 candidates; Khamenei received over 72% of the 4145 votes [3]. A worthy winner indeed.
4. I read that Israel has the highest density of tech start-ups in the world. Israel’s venture capital dollars per person are 2.5 times the US’s, 30 times Europe’s, 80 times India’s and 300 times China’s. Israel has more companies on NASDAQ than any country except US; and more than all of Europe, Japan, Korea, India, and China combined [4]. A surprise, yet not a surprise.
5. a medical journal paper titled: ‘Age-associated cognitive decline’ calls such decline ‘an important human experience which differs in extent between individuals’. And it says the determinants of the differences in age-related cognitive decline are not fully understood…(but)…There is growing appreciation that factors affecting general bodily ageing also influence cognitive functions in old age [5]. The more research done on cognitive decline and dementia, the more likely scientific breakthroughs will be.
6. the Journal of the American Medical Association published a paper concluding that among women with breast cancer, soy food was significantly associated with decreased risk of death and recurrence[6]. How fascinating.
7. the Age reported that in 2008-9, during the GFC, the profits of Australian businesses soared to record highs. Corporate profits continued to increase – up to a record 27.7% of national income [7]. Why have corporate dividends fallen, then?
8. I was lucky enough to have several Skype conversations with darling Indigo. She has such a wicked sense of humour.
Finally, I wish you, dear Farmdoc's Blog readers, a wonderful week.

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