Opening Bell: 8.25.08

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Dollar Rises on Speculation Oil Decline to Bolster U.S. Economy (Bloomberg)
A couple things: One) It's interesting that the dollar is rising on speculation. Surely we can't have something as important as our currency be bouncing around on the whims and interests of speculators. What's more, we just read the other day that oil fell due to a higher dollar. So which is it? Surely you can't have it both ways.
Farmers' Almanac Predicts Chilly Winter (AP)
Yep, this year winter is going to be winter. The Farmers' Almanac says it's going to be cold, chilly and wet, just like every other winter we've experienced in this country. They suck, they always do, and it's right around the corner. You can feel it in the frenetic urgency to "summer", to be outside, to sweat and to swim all around the city. As for the Farmers' Almanac, what kind of track record does it really have? Actually it's probably good if these are the kinds of predictions it makes.
Bond fundraising costs soar (FT)
Probably won't surprise anyone, but noteworthy nonetheless: The cost of raising money on the bond market is higher than any time since the recession of the early 90s.
Google's food perks on the chopping block (ValleyWag)
No idea if this is true, but it might say more about the economy than any yield spreads or such nonsense. Evidently Google is cutting back on its prodigious food budget, getting read of free dinners for employees. It'll still offer free breakfast and lunch and stuff, but there may be one less reason to work late in the office on your 20 percent time. We'll see if it's true, but if so, we must be near the bottom.


A Home Network Where Your TV Talks to Your Fridge
If you've been on the internet any time over the last, say, 10 years, then you've probably read some version of this article before. But here it is again: Pretty soon, your fridge will be connected to the internet. Or at least if you buy some high tech one. So will everything else, like your dishwasher or your laundry machine and of course your TV. Still not clear: What your fridge is going to do once its online. It's not a person, so it can't even set up a Facebook profile.
China's Economic Gains Give Way to Hazy Future Policies and Trends (WSJ)
We enjoyed watching the closing ceremonies last night, though we could've done without Bob Costas and the other guy explaining each bit of symbolism (like they even understood it), while making grand pronouncements about the future of China and her wonderful people. It was like walking through an art museum with a know it all. But really. Great games wasn't it? We were skeptical of having it in China at first, just cause they seemed to be so sensitive about everything, but they seemed to do a fine job of hosting it. Costas said last night they spent like $40 billion in preparation. Of course, that's just a drop in the bucket for them. And a lot probably went to usable infrastructure. Question: Bird's Nest or Aquacube? We're sorta leaning Aquacube.
The cost of gold (InfoProc)
An interesting question about the cost of China's amazing gold haul: First there's the human cost: hundreds of thousands of kids in specialized sports schools that didn't make it to the Olympics. We kept thinking about that, usually during the gymnastics. Everytime one of those 14 year old girls jumped off the mat at and came down to hug their coach, we immediatley envisioned some depressing state gymansium, where those girls had been working on the uneven bars since age 5, with minimal contact to the outside world. Then again, this could just be our prejudice and a misunderstanding of what these specialized state schools are like. InfoProc notes that the most impressive haul was probably Jamaica's, as it's a country of just 3 million people, one of whom broke three sprinting records himself.

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