Author Archives: uthinki

Whereto Mother Russia?

Russia is a mix of revolutionary reforms and vestiges of the past. A sprawling mass of land, it is country rich in natural resources, culture, and science. With an attractive flat tax rate of 13 percent, even for foreigners provided they’re present in the country for 183 days of the year, Russia is moving forward with economic incentives aimed at promoting business and investment in the economy.  This is in contrast to many other countries where the supposed solution has been to drop the official interest rates set by their respective central banks to near zero, and other unconventional monetary policy approaches. Yet Russia is also known for its strict political measures and the controls imposed on its citizens.  Such as banning milk with a rainbow logo on it because it’s potentially gay-related; or imprisoning citizens for exercising their opinions because freedom of speech is not a right they have. At the heart of much ...

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Kim Kardashian’s Vampire Facial

Not that whacky news out of Hollywood and news about Kim Kardashian are any strangers to one another, but now there’s apparently a truth stranger than fiction: Kim Kardashian gets vampire facials! By extracting your own blood and then reinjecting into your face, under medical supervision of course, you can apparently take on the youthful look of a vampire.  Nothing says anti-ageing quite like the undead. At least these facials are using real blood, unlike the sparkle-in-the-sun vegan ‘vampires’ of the Twilight world.  (So that explains R-Patz?) Meanwhile, as prophesised, many continue to await the birth of Kim and Kanye’s child.  If the vampire facials indicate anything, the baby will be called Blade. This has others wondering though, if it’s vampire facials today, what famous monster will be the next “in thing” when it comes to celebrity beauty techniques? Maybe it’s not a Creature from the Black Lagoon day spa, but some crazy suggestions are floating out there… ...

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Xi Jinping and a New China?

The once in a decade transition of power has occurred with Xi Jinping now the President of the People’s Republic of China. As China continues to expand its economic and political power globally, Xi Jinping will have a lot of work ahead of him. Many continue to ponder the significance of the strategic natural resources in the Senkaku (or Diaoyu) Islands.  With both China and Japan continuing to rattle their sabres over the islands.  Some have been so bold as to suggest it may lead to war between the two countries.  Most hope sense and diplomacy will instead prevail. Internally the country potentially faces a serious economic bubble in housing and with its banks’ balance sheets bloated with bad credit. For Xi Jinping, given his apparent reformist stance and dislike of cronyism, commentary falls as to whether China will move closer towards a more open and capitalist society.  It may, however, move in ...

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Keep Your Shirt On: You’d better Belieb it

Olivia Wilde incurred the wrath of the many Beliebers out there when she tweeted that Justin Bieber should keep his shirt on. The responses of over 17,000 hate-tweets were shot back at her.  Which gave her ample material to joke about!  Apart from showing she’s a good sport, if nothing else it demonstrated that the Beliebers can do two things: tweet and bite ankles. Meanwhile Justin himself is having a rough time, whether it’s showing up 2 hours late to his own concert (because he’s so rock and roll; but maybe less so than Noel Gallagher’s cat), or having rants including about how much he has achieved and he’s only 19. Some may ask whether it’s yet another child star imploding.  Especially without the close guidance of his parents anymore. Or as the lads over at South Park may suggest, it’s going to be a very good corn harvest in the ...

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A Humble New Pope?

“White smoke!  White smoke!”  They cried from across the Vatican courtyard.  A choice had been made. Granted it seemed somewhat reminiscent of a scene from The DaVinci Code-related Angels & Demons film, although the ending hopefully won’t be so formulaic with a plodding narrative. With the Argentinean Jorge Mario Bergoglio now the new Pope Francis, many – if not most – in the media have reported on the man’s humbleness and humility.  Of his taking the vow of poverty seriously.  This has been asserted with statements such as him catching the bus to work, cooking his own meals, and living in a simple apartment. Are these claims truly that impressive? Or, is it part of a strategic new direction for the Catholic Church to reassure the everyman and the everywoman, that the new Pope Francis also shares their values? What are your thoughts on the media’s reporting? Whether sheep or shepherd (or ...

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A Flying Monkey is best? Get your hands off me…

With the recent release of Oz the Great and Powerful, a film that many are describing as the Tin Man in the Emerald City – no heart and a lot of money spent – despite the fact that the original was an allegory on US monetary policy (who’d have thought), people are wondering several things. Has James Franco done it again.  Let’s leave that rhetorical question unanswered. Notwithstanding Rise of the Planet of the Apes and now the links to the flying monkey (see how far Zach Braff has come since Scrubs ended), many are also wondering when it comes to simians, if the flying monkey is the best mythical pet.  (Or minion, if you want to do evil.  Perhaps being the anti-Google.) You may know exactly what you’re thinking, that’s easy enough. Predicting what the crowd is thinking is another matter. Maybe you should discard your brain of straw for a moment ...

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Winning a Beauty Contest

In 1936 English economist John Maynard Keynes famously compared investing in the stockmarket to choosing the winner of a beauty contest. Keynes described a newspaper contest involving photographs of the faces of 100 pretty women. Readers were asked to pick six women and a prize was offered to the reader whose list of six guesses came closest to the most popular guesses of all of the other contestants. In a game like this the best strategy, Keynes said, isn’t to pick the faces that are your personal favourites. The best strategy is to select the faces you think others will think are the prettiest. Similarly in speculative markets, he said, you win not by picking the soundest investment, but by picking the investment that others, who are playing the same game, will soon bid up higher. Play uthinki Feature Image Credit: Paul Chin

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