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50 Numbers From 2014 That Sound Fake But That Are Actually Real

2014 was quite a bizarre year. The past 12 months brought us MH370, Ebola, civil war in Ukraine, civil unrest in Ferguson, the rise of ISIS and the fall of the Democrats in the midterm elections. Our world is becoming crazier and more unstable with each passing day, and we have a feeling that things are going to accelerate greatly in 2015... despite record-er-est US stock prices.



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The Christmas Hope: A To-Do List for a Better World

"I’ve seen enough of the world in my 68 years to know that wishing is not enough. We need to be doing. It’s not possible to solve all of the world’s problems right away. For most people, putting an end to world hunger, poverty, disease and the police state may seem too insurmountable a task to even tackle. But, there are practical steps each of us can take to hopefully get things moving in the right direction..."



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Fukushima Children Thyroid Cancer Rate Continues To Rise

Fukushima prefecture has been conducting regular checkups of over 360,000 people who were in Fukushima in March 2011 and were age 18 or under when the nuclear crisis struck. As WSJ reported in August, a study by researchers in Fukushima prefecture found 57 minors in the prefecture have been diagnosed with thyroid cancer so far and another 46 are showing symptoms that suggest they may also have the disease. Today, as The Japan Times reports, four more children are suspected of suffering from thyroid cancer in the latest survey bringing the total to 107 out of 385,000 now surveyed. This is dramatically higher than the normal "between 5 to 11 cases per million people," that Okayama University professor Toshihide Tsuda cites for national statistics between 1975 and 2008.



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We Live In A New World And The Saudis Are The First To Get It

We live in a new world, and the Saudis are either the only or the first ones to understand that. Because they are so early to notice, and adapt, I would expect them to come out relatively well. But I would fear for many of the others. And that includes a real fear of pretty extreme reactions, and violence, in quite a few oil-producing nations that have kept a lid on their potential domestic unrest to date. It would also include a lot of ugliness in the US shale patch, with a great loss of jobs (something it will have in common with North Sea oil, among others), but perhaps even more with profound mayhem for many investors in US energy. And then we’re right back to your pension plans.



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Make No Mistake, The Oil Slump Is Going To Hurt The US Too

If you only paid attention to the mainstream media, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the US is going to get away from the collapse in oil prices scot free. It’s a crying shame. The US has come so close to becoming energy independent. But it’s going to have to get its head around the idea that it could become a big oil importer again. In the end, the US energy boom may add up to nothing more than an illusion dependent upon the artificially cheap debt environment created by the Federal Reserve’s easy money policy.



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The Last-Minute Christmas Shopping Tip List

Battling the mob of moar-buyers in the mall? Here are some crucial tips...



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The Dangerous Economics of Shale Oil

For years, we've been warning that the economics of the US 'shale revolution' were suspect. Namely, that they've only been made possible by the new era of 'expensive' oil (an average oil price of between $80-$100 per barrel). We've argued that many players in the shale industry simply wouldn't be able to operate profitably at lower prices. Well, with oil prices now suddenly sub-$60 per barrel, we're about to find out. Using the traditional corporate income statement, it is difficult to determine if shale drilling companies make money. There are a lot of moving parts, some deliberate obfuscation at some companies, and the massive decline rates make analysis difficult – since so much of reported profitability depends on assumptions made regarding depreciation and depletion. So, can shale oil be profitable? If so, at what price? And under what conditions?



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Chinese Gold Diggers Drop Their Shovels As Gold Miner Bankruptcies Begin

For those wondering where US shale exploration and production companies will be in about 2-3 years, look no further than the gold miners, where the disconnect between undaunted physical demand and relentless paper supply (after rebounding above 0%, GOFO is once again negative through the 3 month mark), and where high production costs and low selling prices, after two years of balance sheet pain, is finally leading many over the cliff. Case in point, Canadian gold-miner San Gold, which had a capitalization of over $1 billion in 2010 just filed for bankruptcy protection. It isn't the first gold-miner to wave the white flag, and it certainly won't be the last.



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The Keynesian Desperation Regarding 1920-21 Is Now Embarrassing

It is truly amazing to see the contortions into which some analysts twist themselves, trying to make the historical facts fit their economic models.



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Thank You Fed

America's wealth gap - between middle-income and upper-income families - is at its widest on record. Guess when it started to surge...



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Why Everyone Is About To Rush Into Subprime Mortgage Debt (Again)

If there is one thing the investing public has 'learned' in the last few years, it is 'no matter how bad the fundamentals, if it's been working, buy moar of it'. And so, it is with almost certain confidence that we should expect a resurgent flood of yield-chasing muppetry into no more egregious idiocy than the subprime-mortgage-debt market. As Bloomberg reports, the subprime-slime-backed securities that were created in the years before the financial crisis in 2008, which marked the last time they were issued, have gained almost 12% this year, or six times more than junk-rated corporate debt, according to Barclays. As one money 'manager' proclaims, "a lot of the uncertainty around the asset class has been taken away." Indeed, home prices will never go down ever again, right? (Just ignore this and this)



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The High Yield Energy Trader Theme Song: "I Will Survive"

Wells Fargo Director/Senior Analyst James Spicer re-imagines Gloria Gaynor's Disco anthem for the High Yield E&P market... "At first I was afraid, I was petrified, When OPEC didn't cut and oil prices began to slide. But then I spent so many nights thinking how the Saudis did us wrong; And I grew strong - and I learned how to scrape along..."



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US Yield Curve Collapses To 6.5 Year Lows

As yields across the Treasury complex continue to rise this week - amid desks complaining of no liquidity at all (and following yesterday's weak auction) - the yield curve (5s30s) has collapsed to 108bps, its flattest since June 2008. 2s30s continues to slide also (at 212bps) almost eerily perfectly tracking the plunge in the curve of the early 2000s...



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St. Louis County Police Releases CCTV Clip Detailing Events Of Last Night's Shooting

In a modification of the infamous Greedo scene from Star Wars, tonight's latest fatal shooting at a gas station in Berkeley, MO boils down to one thing: who threatened to shoot whom first. As a reminder, the local police department said that "the man had pointed a handgun at an officer who approached him and another man outside a gas station where the officer was conducting a routine business check in the suburb of Berkeley. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him." Moments ago, in order to quell further speculation, the St. Louis County Police just released a CCTV clip (shown below), highlighting the moments just before the fatal shooting which, indeed, appears to show the victim pointing a gun at the officer first, in which case this is nothing than a case of an officer engaging in self-defense.



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Global Investors Rush To BTFRD

If you have been watching (or reading) mainstream financial media, you would be entirely unaware of the fact that global investors have surged to Buy-The-F##king-Russian-Dip. Withe the plunge in US equities last week predicated on Russian instability, it appears the critical need to maintain the Santa Claus rally has pushed Russian stocks up a stunning 41% in the last 6 days (as the Ruble strengthened over 30%)...



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