Underscoring Goldman Sachs forecast last week of oil prices at or below $50 per...
Underscoring Goldman Sachs forecast last week of oil prices at or below $50 per bbl until at least 2020, Bloomberg News is today reporting that Iraq is preparing to unleash a flood of new oil within the next few months. This is very bad news for the price of Western Canadian Select bitumen, and Alberta oil sands producers. Saudi Arabia’s strategy, together with OPEC, to squeeze high-cost oil producers of oil sands and shale seems to be working. More pessimistic forecasts of WCS at $25 for an extended period now appear more plausible.
Let’s be frank. Finding a decent job commensurate with your new UBC degree in Management has become extremely difficult. I have blogged previously here on the discounted value of a degree, as explained by UC Berkeley economist and former Secretary of Labor, Robert Reich. For those living in the Okanagan or hoping to stay here to enjoy the sunshine, I urge you to relocate to a region with better employment prospects. BC Business recently published a ranking of BC cities for employment prospects. Kelowna ranked 17th, despite being the second largest region in B.C.. Calgary is no better option for jobs these days.
I have had sufficient time now to reflect on my unfortunate odyssey into academic politics that I can now speak about it without emotion. I came and went in academics. I now realize this was because I sorely misunderstood academic politics and that I threatened some of my colleagues with my real-life management achievements. Then the politics and backstabbing became Shakespearean. It is water under the bridge now, but that does not make my experience any less painful. I learned that I loved teaching very much. Nothing is more apt about my experience than the quote, “academic politics is so vicious because the stakes are so small,” the origins of which I explore here with tongue firmly in my cheek.
This issue has driven me absolutely nuts since I first arrived in Canada from Silicon Valley. It did not take me long to figure out that things did not work they way they did in California, and that there wasn’t much of a true entrepreneurial economy here. Since then, I have also been appointed to the Canada Foundation for Innovation grant process, providing me with insight into how R&D funding works in Canada. I have seen many issues in Canada that have impaired the nation’s ability to develop an entrepreneurial culture, among them is the inherent Canadian conservatism and short term horizon of investors unfamiliar with technology venture investment. But none has been worse than Canada’s decades-long neglect of adequate funding for research and development nationwide.
For most people, pleading guilty to a felony means they will very likely land in prison, lose their job and forfeit their right to vote.
But when five of the world’s biggest banks plead guilty to an array of antitrust and fraud charges as soon as next week, life will go on, probably without much of a hiccup.
The Justice Department is preparing to announce that Barclays, JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup and the Royal Bank of Scotland will collectively pay several billion dollars and plead guilty to criminal antitrust violations for rigging the price of foreign currencies, according to people briefed on the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Most if not all of the pleas are expected to come from the banks’ holding companies, the people said — a first for Wall Street giants that until now have had only subsidiaries or their biggest banking units plead guilty.
This opinion piece from the New York Times Sunday Review caught my eye, and after reading it I share the views of the author. In my university teaching experience, I have seen many of the same things mentioned by the author, particularly a greater focus on jobs, less emphasis on excellence in their area of focus, and the dramatic inflation in grading. When I was in university an “A” was at least 90% or above. When I started teaching I was shocked to learn that the bar for an “A” had been lowered to 80%. It seems that there are now an infinite number of variations of an “A” spanning 20 percentage points. I well remember my own experience at Oxford with “a first, upper second or second class” degree award. A “first,” a la Stephen Hawking or Alan Turing is to this day an extraordinary accomplishment.
As some may already know, Google is launching its Fi mobile phone service in the United States, and with aggressive expansion plans, hopefully, into Canada and Europe. Google has partnered with Sprint and T-Mobile in the United States. But the intriguing aspect of this new business is Google’s intent to offload phone service to WiFi wherever possible. This prospect has been looming in the wings for awhile, with the talk of true Metro-scale WiFi using VHF white space, and Google’s innovative experiments with “Loon Balloon,” (see my earlier post), and with low orbiting satellite WiFi coverage. Whether these risky and expensive experiments will materialize is another question. However, the prospect of wider area, stronger signal metro WiFi continues to move forward. Google’s hybrid approach using both mobile service frequencies and WiFi to provide full mobile voice and data service is beginning to sound very interesting.
Gordon Moore, now 86, is still spry and still given to the dry sense of humor for which he has always been known. In an Intel interview this year he said that he had Googled “Moore’s Law” and “Murphy’s Law,” and Moore’s beat Murphy’s by two to one,” demonstrating how ubiquitous is the usage of Dr. Moore’s observation. This week we are commemorating the 50th anniversary of the April 19, 1965 issue of Electronics magazine, in which Dr. Moore first described his vision of doubling the number of transistors on a chip every year or so.
The evidence of a Canadian economic train wreck just keep rolling in. This report from CNN Money mentions last week’s Bank of Canada dismal report on the Canadian economy, and goes on to add additional economic data and comment from respected investment banks around the World. The one glaring omission is any political discussion of how Canada got into this mess, and who is responsible for it.