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What We Read Today 18 April 2014

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

  • Obama Is Frustrated With States That Chose Not To Expand Medicaid Out Of 'Political Spite' (AP, Huffington Post) The president claims that there are 5 million people who have been left out of expanded Medicaid coverage because of Republican political positioning. Obama's remarks came at a time when the enrollment for ACA insurance (not Medicaid) increased to 8 million with 25% 35 and under. The younger demographic had lagged badly until a surge at the very end of open enrollment. Substantial enrollments from this healthier age group was a necessary ingredient for financially successful implementation of the program.

  • NASA Finds Most Earth-Like Planet Yet (Brian Resnick, National Journal) There are hundreds of potential earth-like planets discovered so far (perhaps millions or even more likely exist) but none are more likely to be similar to earth than Kepler-186f. From the NASA press release:
"Being in the habitable zone does not mean we know this planet is habitable. The temperature on the planet is strongly dependent on what kind of atmosphere the planet has," said Thomas Barclay, research scientist at the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute at Ames, and co-author of the paper. "Kepler-186f can be thought of as an Earth-cousin rather than an Earth-twin. It has many properties that resemble Earth."

See also Twin Earth May Be Better Than Earth for Life (Michael Moyer, Scientific American)


Today there are 9 articles discussed 'behind the wall'.

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  • New thinking about metaphysics (Daniel Little, Understanding Society) Hat tip to Tom Hickey. Further discussion on the philosophical and logical challenges of social sciences. Here the author wrestles with the question of just how much reality is required to complement (or to anchor metaphysical thinking. Economics more so than other social sciences (Econintersect opinion) is torn between inconsistencies between the empirically observable and the subjectively theoretical. Click below on the "Basic Formal Ontology" diagram by Barry Smith which Little includes with insufficient resolution in this article. Read background on BFO in this article and the paper available here contains material on the proposed BFO 2.0 classification of objects.

Note: This is one of several articles on the philosophical bases of social sciences, and economics in particular, which we will discuss in WWRT in the coming days (or weeks).

Click on diagram for large image.

  • Do You See a Bubble? (Barry Ritholtz, Bloomberg View) Mark Hurlburt has compared IPO activity with the previous stock bubble (2000) and finds that (1) the number of IPOs, (2) the trading volume for IPOs and (3) the post-IPO price rises are only a fraction of what was seen at the top. His conclusion: This is not a speculative bubble.
  • CHART OF THE DAY: The Stock Market Is More Expensive Than Usual (Sam Ro, Business Insider) The forward PE (price divided by expected earnings over the next 12 months) is close to that at the market top in 2007 (but much lower than 2000, not shown). If prices stay where they are PE is likely to be higher than the forward PE is projecting since earnings estimates are typically lowered ahead of each new announcement quarter.


  • A Ramble on PR (Bruce Krasting) Hat tip to TalkMarkets. The Puerto Rico bond market has collapsed. Bruce lays much of the problem to demographics - an aging and shrinking population. In 2000 there was net immigration for PR; by 2010 there was net emigration and the population of the commonwealth has actually declined between April 2010 and July 2013.


  • Three Expensive Milliseconds (Paul Krugman, The New York Times) Massive infrastructure expenditure for HFT (high frequency trading) cross-country communications but not for ordinary commerce. Krugman questions priorities.
  • Historical Market Comparisons Are Meaningless (Lance Roberts, StreetTalk Live, Advisor Perspectives Lance Roberts contributes to GEI Investing every week. Lance shows a Robert Shiller chart adapted for his post.

Click on chart for larger image at Advisor Perspectives

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