Wednesday, January 1, 2014

3 Must-See Charts & 14 Top Lists for New Year's Day 2014

It's New Year's Day. Time for a fresh start. Let's begin with important economic/market trends for the beginning of 2014 ...

1. The End of a 30-Year Cycle
For three decades, we've seen the US Federal Reserve lower the Fed Funds rate.  Unless the Fed can go below zero, that downtrend is over. How soon the next uptrend begins is anyone's guess, but you'd be wise to start preparing for the shift.

2. US reliance on foreign petroleum has fallen this year to a 27-year low of 34%

It's the shale revolution in one chart. Based on data recently released by the Energy Information Administration (EIA), US net petroleum imports have fallen to 34% this year through November, which is America’s lowest reliance on foreign sources of petroleum products since 1986, when imports supplied 33.4% of America’s petroleum

3. The Housing Market Rebound
Housing permits and starts continued to increase in 2013, rising to near 6 year highs in autumn. More good charts on economic trends HERE.

And now, on to lists you might find fun.

New Year's Day List-O-Mania

Here are 14 useful/interesting lists for the New Year. At least, I find them interesting. Your interest may vary.

1. The New Year's Resolutions Most Likely to Fail, and What to Do Instead
You know weight loss is on here, right? Click through anyway.


2. The 13 Best Movies of 2013 That No One Is Talking About
One of my favorite indie horror movies of 2013 -- an Irish film called "Grabbers" in which getting stinking drunk is the best defense against Lovecraftian space invaders -- is on this list. The rest look like they range from merely watchable to great.
3. 8 Top Horror Films of 2013
Strangely, they missed the frightmare called "Investing in Junior Miners." EEKS!


4. The Best SciFi Books of 2013 (Readers' Choice Nominees)
5. The Best SciFi Books of 2013 (Critic's Choice). Strangely little overlap. Or perhaps not so strange. I find that the system for choosing award winners in sci-fi has become deplorable.  There's a guy named Ken Lui who is winning all the awards and I find his writing to be syrupy pap clotted with obviousness; it's straight out of the Lifetime channel. Anyway, I have and B& gift certificates burning a hole in my pocket; time to put 'em to use.


6. The 10 Best Technology Advances of 2013
Bionic eyes ... super-high-def ... lab-grown meat. We'll take your word on it for the last one
7. Seven Clever 7. Ways to Use Your Phone's Camera for More Than Just Photos
Text translation, record keeping, storing information from business cards (I already do that one myself)
8. 2013's Best Apps for IPad
Organized by category, including entertainment, news, photos, games, productivity and more.
9. 2013's Best Apps for iPhone
There is some overlap, but also cool apps you can only get on your phone.
10. 2013's Best Apps for the Mac
Again, some overlap, but some interesting differences.


11. The 10 Best Board Games of 2013
I've only played one of these. How is that possible?!
12. The Best New Boardgames of 2013.
Another list, this time, 11 games.
13. 25 Beers You Need to Drink in 2014
For then you will become a beer god!

14. 55 Tax Breaks That Expired at Year's End
"It's a totally ridiculous way to run our tax system."

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