West Australia: a cautionary tale for Canada and beyond

After the debt-fueled commodity boom: cash flows recede, asset values drop, only the debts remain.

Property prices in WA have fallen while unemployment and cost of living expenses are high. It’s a perfect storm for those who invested at the height of the mining boom.Here is a direct video link.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on West Australia: a cautionary tale for Canada and beyond

Canada: under-saved, undiversified and unprepared for mean reversion

Canada enjoyed elevated cash flow during the late, great, global commodity boom 2002-2011.  That was then.  Cash flow is cyclical, and that cycle is over.  Unfortunately, Canada is unprepared for the secular mean reversion that follows secular booms.  Thanks to over-confidence and malinvestment in highly inefficient assets like the Alberta tar-sands, egregiously priced real estate and non-productive consumer goods, Canada has now earned an extended rough patch in the payback period.

This chart since 2009 of Canada’s largest mortgage lender Home Capital Inc tells the story.  Home Capital shares ballooned with the household debt bubble into 2014 and have since lost 86% on revelations of widespread fraud and management cover ups.  This darling of the Canadian housing boom, may well be a canary in the coal mine, reminding of what happens when excess leverage and reckless risk-taking becomes a national obsession.

Dangerously undiversified, the bloated financial sector today makes up 34% of the Canadian TSX Index, while energy and materials make up another 33%. Healthcare is just 0.5% and technology 2.9%.

The chief strategist for Canada at BlackRock Inc., the world’s largest money manager, admits that he doesn’t see a single attractive sector in the Canadian stock market because oil prices will stay low and the rest of our economy is over-levered and floundering.  See:  World’s biggest fund sees nothing to like in Canada stocks.

We agree.  It will take significant price declines across Canadian stocks and many realty markets, before Canadian assets are attractive investments once more.  Fortunately for those who are prepared, those opportunities are coming.  Unfortunately, most Canadians are oblivious and will not be able to take advantage of better prices when they present.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on Canada: under-saved, undiversified and unprepared for mean reversion

Oil cos forced to admit: electric vehicles are new normal

Remember the adage: “It’s hard to get a person to admit facts when their pay cheque depends on denying it”?

Electric vehicles powered by renewable power makes so much more sense on every measure than old school ‘ICE’, that the evolution is unstoppable. Even oil companies are finally starting to publicly acknowledge these facts with projections that 35-47% of new cars will be EV within 23 years–likely a gross underestimation of the adoption pace now unfolding.

Electric cars are coming fast — and that’s not just the opinion of carmakers anymore. Total SA, one of the world’s biggest oil producers, is now saying EVs may constitute almost a third of new-car sales by the end of the next decade.

The surge in battery powered vehicles will cause demand for oil-based fuels to peak in the 2030s, Total Chief Energy Economist Joel Couse said at Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s conference in New York on Tuesday. EVs will make up 15 percent to 30 percent of new vehicles by 2030, after which fuel “demand will flatten out,” Couse said. “Maybe even decline.” Here is a direct video link.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on Oil cos forced to admit: electric vehicles are new normal

AZ weather woman working around denial and apathy to spread climate facts

Amber Sullins gets a minute or two to tell up to two million people about some extremely complicated science, using the tools of her trade: a pleasant voice, a green screen, and small icons denoting sun, clouds, rain, and wind. She is the chief meteorologist at ABC15 News in Phoenix, so her forecasts mostly call for sunshine. Within this brief window, however, Sullins sometimes manages to go beyond the next five days. Far beyond. Here is a direct video link.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on AZ weather woman working around denial and apathy to spread climate facts

Must watch on Netflix: Bill Nye Saves the World

A few years ago, I wrote to Home and Garden Television and proposed a new show that featured green renovations. Instead of all the old tech, dinosaur drivel, let’s show viewers all the incredibly smart innovations pouring onto the market all around the world to make homes emission-free, net energy producers rather than net drag, cash flow guzzlers.  I am still waiting on that show, but in the meantime Netflix has launched an important new Bill Nye show on these topics.

Watch this series with your kids and grand kids.  Today more than ever, people need information, hope, leadership and proactive steps forward.  This show is about all the solutions.   I also recommend Nye’s latest best-selling book  Unstoppable: harnessing science to change the world.  Naysayers double down on defeatist nonsense as an excuse to do nothing, thinking people have to learn and lead.

Bill Nye – science guy, educator, mechanical engineer, and curator of curiosity – returns with a new show. Each episode of Bill Nye Saves the World tackles a specific topic or concept through lively panel discussions, wide-ranging correspondent reports from a crackerjack team, and Bill’s very special blend of lab procedure and sly personality.  Bill Nye Saves The World is now streaming, only on Netflix.  Here is a direct link to the trailer.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on Must watch on Netflix: Bill Nye Saves the World

Soothing sounds and deep sleeps

A year ago we downloaded a free app that plays nature soundtracks on a timed loop.  The one I use is called White Noise. It changed my life.  I used to have difficulty falling asleep and would wake several times a night.  Now I go down with ocean waves for 8 hours straight, and look forward to a spa like rejuvenation every time.  (Your spouse has to like it too of course).  It turns out, it may also be good for an aging memory. Bonus!  See,  Pink noise synced to brain waves deepens sleep and boosts memory in older adults:

Gentle sound stimulation—such as the rush of a waterfall—synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves significantly enhanced deep sleep in older adults and improved their ability to recall words, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.

Deep sleep is critical for memory consolidation. But beginning in middle age, decreases substantially, which scientists believe contributes to memory loss in aging.

The sound stimulation significantly enhanced deep sleep in participants and their scores on a memory test.

“This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health,” said senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist. “This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.”

The study was published March 8 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Posted in Main Page | Comments Off on Soothing sounds and deep sleeps