May 2017

Business

A top Federal Reserve official is downplaying the risks of financial bubbles in the current US economy

lael brainardAlex Wong/Getty Images

A top Federal Reserve official downplayed the risks of financial bubbles to the current US economy Tuesday, instead pointing to low inflation as a cause for concern to the central bank.

“Risks to the US financial system do not appear to be flashing red in the way they did in the run-up to previous downturns,” Fed Governor Lael Brainard said Tuesday in a speech in New York City.

Brainard did highlight two areas that she said required vigilance from regulators: High corporate borrowing and “quite lax” underwriting on auto loans. Yet she also said that big banks are more resilient, housing prices are aligned with rents, and stock markets are not near the “dizzying heights” reached in the dot-com bubble.

Instead, she identified low inflation as a “source of concern.”

In recent months, inflation has fallen, moving further away from the Fed’s 2% target. Price gains have eased even as the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.4%. Generally, the Fed would expect to see inflation rising with unemployment falling that low.

Although Brainard indicated that an increase in the Fed’s interest rate target is still in order at the upcoming June meeting, she suggested that future rate hikes might depend on inflation rising again.

Fed members have projected that two quarter-percentage-point rate increases might be in order for this year, and suggested that they might begin shrinking the central bank’s swollen $4.5 trillion balance sheet. Both those actions would put upward pressure on interest rates throughout the economy, on instruments such as credit cards, mortgages, and business loans, slowing spending.

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Travel

Build it tiny: create your own cabin on a short break in Wales

Take one clueless writer keen to join the tiny house movement, add in an eco-friendly course at Machynlleth’s Centre for Alternative technology and the results are … something solid to build on

‘Everything you know about building a fire …” wood-burning stove expert Finn Finlay slowly looked around his small group of listeners, “… is wrong.”

I confess that when I signed up for a Build a Tiny House course, I didn’t expect to discover that the way I’d been making fires – the tried and trusted method I’d learned in the Cubs, for goodness’ sake – was completely upside-down.

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Tech

With one misspelled word, President Trump gifts Twitter the #covfefe meme

 Covfefe: sometimes it takes something special to make you step back and realize the state of the world you live in. That’s what happened this Tuesday evening in the U.S. when President Trump gifted the internet a very unexpected present: the covfefe meme. Within an hour of the misspelled a word going out in a tweet to his 31 million followers, Covfefe had become Twitter’s number… Read More

Lifestyle

Android creator explains why his new Essential Phone looks so weird

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Earlier today, Android founder Andy Rubin finally unveiled the new smartphone he’s been teasing for months.

The phone, the first product from Rubin’s new company Essential, is so big that its nearly bezel-less display wraps almost all the way around the handset’s front-facing camera. Now Rubin has offered an explanation for the odd design choice, which raised more than a few eyebrows. 

Speaking at Recode’s Code conference, Rubin said there was no other good place to put the selfie cam while maintaining the edge-to-edge display that makes it possible to squeeze a phablet-sized screen in the form factor of a normal phone. Read more…

More about Tech, Mobile, Android, Smartphones, and Andy Rubin

Lifestyle

Other People’s Opinions Do Not Matter, It Is Only Yours That Counts

When you face terrible people, whether it is in school, or in university, or at work, I want you to remind yourself that you are worth more, and you are not to be tarnished by their iron like assessment of your golden heart. You are not to allow them to touch your angel made soul. You cannot, under any circumstances, allow them to damage everything that makes you good, and kind, and most importantly you.