6 September 2018 FT — Articles to Read

6 September 2018


List-Serve Comment (w/ permission): I am around this golden age of 40 and I cannot adequately describe the impact numbers 8, 9, and 17 have had on my life and well being.  I’ve spent many hours (and dollars) in therapy battling anxiety and self-loathing.  It is a never ending battle, but right now I’m winning it.  If you don’t mind, please remind your readers that asking for help does not imply weakness.  Rather, doing so is a sign of maturity and self love.


(Prof Note: We all have demons and darkness.  If I can assist anyone, I am here.  There is always room at the table for another plate(s).  All are welcome at the house and I do not need to know specifics.  If I can assist, I will assist.  If you do not want to be alone, just like motel 6, I’ll keep the light on for you!)


Question: According to MSN, what 10 essential steps should one take prior to connecting to public Wi-Fi?


Investors shed emerging market stocks on fears of deeper crisis – Pg. 1

–          The emerging market sell-off sparked by Turkey and Argentina’s twin currency crises worsened yesterday…

–          Indonesia’s rupiah traded close to its weakest level since the 1998 Asian financial crisis, while South African rand slipped to a record low after data on Tuesday showed that the country’s economy had contracted for the first time since 2009

–          The rise of the US dollar since April has exacerbated troubles in several emerging economies, where the amount of dollar-denominated debt has more than doubled to $3.7tn over the past decade, …

–          Climbing US interest rates and the Federal Reserve slowly trimming its balance sheet of bonds acquired after the financial crisis has supported the dollar and increased pressures on emerging markets…


The story of a house – Pg. 7

–          Pension funds in California, Maine, Nevada, Vermont and Washington State all sued the new owner of countrywide, claiming that its sales documents were insufficienctly forthcoming about the risks.  Bank of America, which bought Countrywide in January 2008 for $4bn, has paid more than $20bn to settle these and other Countrywide-related cases (Prof Note: For the record, at the time, I made a prediction here that BoA would NOT complete the Countrywide purchase.  If only they had thought as I thought!)

–          As a result of losses on credit default swaps, AIG was forced to accept a US government bailout and taxpayers’ money immediately flowed through the banks

–          …7.8m families who have lost their homes since the beginning of the financial crisis

–          …company called Invitation Homes that floated on the stock market last year.  Today it is worth $21.6bn including debt.  It owns 12,000 homes in Atlanta alone


US social media face new line of attack – Pg. 12

–          The US justice department has signaled that it intends to pursue technology companies over competition and free speech issues,…

–          …Facebook and Twitter pushed back against a suggestion that they should be legally liable if illegal drug dealers showed off their wares on their websites.  The two companies currently are not liable for almost all user-generated content, under section 230 of the US Communications Decency Act

–          Congress passed legislation last year removing the exemption for content that promoted sex-trafficking…


US banks feel stifling effect of high house prices – Pg. 14

–          Wells Fargo decided to lay off 638 workers from its home mortgage division last month

–          “House price appreciation has been running at four times the long-term average for several years” (Prof Note: So at least I am not the only one noticing this!)

–          The Case-Shiller 20-City Home price index surpassed its housing bubble peak in January, and has continued to rise since

–          The number of existing home sales in July fell 1.5% from the prior year, the fifth month in a row showing a decline…

–          Consumer confidence is at an 18-year high, growth is strong and unemployment is low

–          Applications for new mortgages, excluding refinancing, have been flat for the past year and three years of steady increases, and have declined sharply in the past month…

–          Basic economics suggests that high house prices would encourage more supply, something that could free up the market and revive banks’ fortunes.  Paradoxically, however, a short-term effect of the strong economy has been lower supply.  Seeing few affordable properties to move to, potential sellers are not putting their own homes on the market

–          Homebuilders are struggling to find staff and manage higher costs

–          …total home sales will fall this year, and grow only slightly in 2019, while prices continue to rise at a mid-single digit rate


Answer: (1) Choose a secure network; (2) HTTPS is best; (3) Ask before you connect; (4) Hide your passwords; (5) Inoculate your devices; (6) Put up a digital security fence (Prof Note: I cannot recommend this enough.  I use a secure server and never sign on to public wifi, instead using my phone hot spot.  If I do sign on to public wifi, e.g. Netflix downloads, I do NOT sign into my server but doing everything on the “dummy” machine, i.e. laptop); (7) Beware of your phone’s auto settings; (8) Vet your apps; (9) Surf with care (Prof Note: I would NEVER sign into my emails over a public Wi-Fi.  Also, and GWU can attest, I do not even sign into the school computers with my user name.  I request a one-day log-in.  GWU has the login the same as email.  Compliment: GWU’s IT department has always graciously provided me a one-day login); (10) Make your own hotspot (Prof Note: YES)