We spend a lot of our time researching companies and trying to identify new technologies that are going to dominate their sector. I really enjoyed this piece by George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures. He writes about the history of the Erie Canal and the rise and fall of iconic companies like Eastman Kodak and Xerox. From the linked article:

I suspect that it was unimaginable to those who built the canal that it was but a temporary moment in American history, and that new technology, the railroad, would render it as obsolete as dial phones were made by cellphones. The psychology of technology glories in feeling superior to the past, yet finds it difficult to believe that all the innovations that appear so permanent will themselves pass away into a past that will be treated as an amusing irrelevancy. Their moment will end too. But then that is the strength of the United States. It is unsentimental about the past and believes that it is creating the future. It is doing so, but the creators will rarely get the glory. The Erie Canal and the technology that created it was over, and the past was neglected.

Rochester teaches more than one lesson on technology. In the 20th century, it became the capital of a transformative technology that I will call vision management. What humans had seen for all their history was something that was lost in faulty memory, or imperfectly reproduced by pen and ink. Rochester was the town where vision was tamed, captured and perfected. Three companies dominated the landscape. Eastman Kodak turned technology that had been known for decades into a consumer product by transforming the chemical nature of film and then the camera into something that became universal. Ordinary people could own what they had seen. Xerox allowed the easy mechanical reproduction of documents by capturing their image and implanting it on paper. Finally, Bausch & Lomb perfected the mass production of lenses with which to make glasses, and then contact lenses.

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The September ISM Index Drags the Market Down

by Marilou Moursund on October 1, 2019 in Economic Indicators

The September ISM index came in at 47.8, the lowest reading since March of 2009.  A reading below 50 indicates that the economy is contracting.  From the linked WSJ article: The global manufacturing slowdown worsened in September, and trade flows are set to grow this year at the weakest pace since the financial crisis as […]

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How about some good economic news

by Laura Ehrenberg-Chesler on August 22, 2019 in Earnings

A number of retail stores have reported earnings for the 2nd quarter of 2019, and they are good. This morning, Ed Yardeni explains what this means for the economy. ” Consumer spending, looked at from many different angles, still looks healthy. Consumers are spending at Walmart and at Target. They’re spending at restaurants and hotels. […]

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Capital One Data Breach

by Marilou Moursund on July 31, 2019 in Banks

Capital One just announced that 100 million customers in the U.S. and 6 million in Canada had their personal information stolen. From the linked WSJ article: In this latest massive consumer-data breach, a hacker accessed the personal information of 100 million Capital One credit-card customers and applicants in the U.S. and six million in Canada. The breach […]

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Possible Good News for China Trade Talks

by Marilou Moursund on June 12, 2019 in Foreign Markets

The New York Times is reporting that China has been beefing up its trade negotiations team. This could indicate that they are more willing to work with the U.S. to come up with a compromise trade deal. From the linked article: BEIJING — Two weeks before talks between the United States and China broke down, […]

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Good News for Veterans on D-Day

by Laura Ehrenberg-Chesler on June 6, 2019 in Healthcare

From USA Today: “Veterans will have expanded access to medical care outside Department of Veterans Affairs facilities beginning Thursday under a law signed by President Donald Trump last year and touted as a major achievement by Trump on the campaign trail. Rules established under the law and published Wednesday in the Federal Register say the VA […]

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The Market Falls Again on Trade Worries

by Marilou Moursund on May 9, 2019 in equity market

After a quiet day yesterday, the market is again falling on the possibility of a protracted trade war with China. From the linked CNBC article: Stocks steadied Wednesday after two days of brutal selling that particularly slammed companies and sectors with exposure to China, like Caterpillar and the semiconductor industry. The market lost its gains late in […]

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China’s Xi discusses Reforms

by Laura Ehrenberg-Chesler on April 26, 2019 in Foreign Markets

CNBC reported today that China’s Xi Jinping spent a good portion of his speech about global trade talking about reforming his country’s approach on this issue. “Instead of focusing solely on his signature investment initiative, Chinese President Xi Jinping spent a good portion of a speech at the Friday opening ceremony of China’s Belt and […]

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Social Security…..Americans should save more

by Laura Ehrenberg-Chesler on April 23, 2019 in lifestyle

From today’s WSJ: “The Social Security program’s costs will exceed its income in 2020 for the first time since 1982—two years later than officials projected last year—forcing the program to dip into its nearly $3 trillion trust fund to cover benefits. But by 2035, those reserves will be depleted and Social Security will no longer […]

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Mice and Aging

by Laura Ehrenberg-Chesler on March 27, 2019 in lifestyle

In today’s “Wall Street Journal” there is a fascinating article on the importance of mice to the research of aging. Grace and Blanche, two old mice who were second cousins, reached relative fame before dying within months of each other at their home in Bar Harbor, Maine. Known fondly as the Golden Girls at Jackson […]

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