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Investing for Income

Income trusts as an investment vehicle have become the darling of the business news media. In some ways they look like high yield bonds with no expiry date and a potential for capital appreciation and growing distributions. What could possibly be wrong with that? The problem is income trusts are as risky as equity investments and worse yet their published reports of business performance are often misleading.

If you are still interested in income trusts you can read Sooty's cautionary lecture on this investment vehicle and review Sooty's daily updated picks for trusts that have sensible yields at bargain prices. Read the whole article on income trusts.

You should also read Sooty's newer adventures with shipping companies and foreign stocks on US exchanges.

If you want even more edgy investing take a look at Black Swan Investing and a prediction that would allow you to try out those strategies when the US Dollar collapses.

Business Capex Spending and IT Employment

Once upon a time computers were expensive and programmers were cheap so the purchase of new automated equipment included the hiring of IT staff to keep it current, secure and operational. Memory was expensive so a few bytes were saved from all the date records by skipping the century digits. When Y2K loomed and 99 rolled over to 00 the IT folks saw a wonderful opportunity to get paid a lot of money and do a lot of exciting projects. After Y2K passed the projects went away, the money went away, and the IT world entered a nuclear winter that lasted for 3 years.

When Y2K shadow ended the world had changed. The old link between capex and IT employment was broken. When manufacturing moved to lower cost countries so did the programming jobs. Programmers were no longer cheap so technical support was also outsourced to lower cost locations. The result is a drop in capex results in a drop in IT jobs but a growth in capex only slows the decline. It is time to tell your children there is no future in training for an IT job? Read the whole article here.

What is Delaying the Adoption of EPIC Computers Like Itanium?

The first computers were nothing more than a few hundred gates so all they could implement was a "reduced instruction set". As technology improved the instruction sets grew and we entered an era of CISC "Complex Instruction Set Computers". The problem with CICS is they need a lot of circuitry to decode their instructions so designers went back to basics and built modern "Reduced Instruction Set Computers" or RISC. Ten years ago the battle between CICS and RISC was supposed to end and the winner was supposed to be EPIC computers like the Intel Itanium. Read the whole article here.

Economic Implications of an Indefinite Human LifeSpan

Forget penicillin, birth control, designer drugs, and all the marvelous medical milestones - there is convergence of medical technologies that are working to extend human lifespan indefinitely. What these technologies do is keep our bodies forever in a state of being in our mid-twenties when there is a perfect balance between repair processes and damage processes. The economic implications of an indefinite human lifespan are enormous. It will certainly be nice to live forever but can you make any money on it? Read the whole article here.

Why Genetic Engineering is a Computer Hacker's Problem

Imagine you are given an alien computer and you have to figure out how it works. This is not Star Trek where you can program alien computers after staring at their console for 60 seconds. There are no manuals, no source code, but you have lots of working machine code to examine. If you write a test program it usually does nothing, but be careful, it is possible your test program will kill you. Of course the programming language is DNA and its machine code runs all life on this planet. Read the whole article here.