Global discussion and concern about climate change has amplified in the past few years, as more research has been conducted and more world leaders have voiced their opinions on the issue. The most recent world leader to do so was Pope Francis, leader of almost 70 million Catholics worldwide, who declared global warming to be a threat to life on the planet and called for a reduction of the usage of fossil fuels. As this movement garners further support, more and more nations are turning to clean and renewable alternative energy sources to supplement, and eventually replace, their fossil fuel driven energy sources. Of these renewable alternatives, solar power is one of the most popular worldwide.
With a new development by an engineer at Michigan State University, soon a sky scraper could generate enough energy from its windows to supply all of the energy it needs. Researcher Richard Lunt, of Michigan State University, has been able to do what many have tried in the past, making a fully transparent solar concentrator. This new technology, within the next couple of years, could change the face of solar energy and global business. This new technique could change the windows in any building or the glass face on a mobile device into a solar power harvesting application.
Tonight at some point before 8:00 PM Eastern Time, the world will experience what is known as a "leap second". There will be a minute of time that is 61 seconds long. Today, June 30, will be approximately one second longer than usual, and official atomic timekeeping will factor in this second before turning over to July 1. This strange concept has a fascinating history and explanation; however, it is also a cause of concern for market traders around the world, who fear that this extra second will disrupt global operations.
The leap second phenomenon occurs as a result of two factors: universal atomic timekeeping and the Earth's rotation. 1967 was the first year that official timekeeping was based on an atomic clock, becoming the standard for timing worldwide. This atomic timing is known as UTC, or Coordinated Universal Timing. UTC is kept on a consistent basis; the Earth's rotation, however, does not quite match with it. In fact, the Earth's rotation is gradually slowing down. As a result, actual time drifts off of atomic time by fractions of a second every year. These discrepancies keep adding up year after year, and the scientists who manage UTC make up for this difference by adding a second to the official time every few years. These adjustments usually happen on either December 31 or June 30. The first year a leap second ever occurred was 1972 and there have been twenty-five more since then.
Although they used to occur on a regular basis, there have not been as many leap seconds in the 21st century. When they do happen, it has caused unprecedented problems. Computer systems use NTP, known as Network Time Protocol. NTP has to stay consistent with UTC, and with the addition of an extra second, it is not easy for NTP to stay in sync. When computer systems fail to account for this extra second, glitches occur. The last leap second, which transpired on June 30, 2012, caused the crashes of websites such as Reddit, LinkedIn, Mozilla, and even Qantas Airways, an Australian aircraft carrier. However, these websites were able to soon recover, and there were no other major problems.
This impending leap second spells a more drastic story. It will fall on the normal opening time of many Asian markets and the operating times of other international markets. Now that the majority of markets operate using e-commerce, companies and market analysts are fearful that the leap second will cause a disruption in their trading systems. To avoid this, several markets are planning on either running and shutting down operations before 8:00 PM or starting a little bit after that time. Other websites and operators are seeking a different solution by spreading out the second by additions of milliseconds throughout the day. It is unknown how well these solutions will do to avoid the impact of a leap second, but it is hoped that they will work. If the leap second does end up crashing the computer systems used to manage e-commerce trading, it could prove disastrous for these markets and could seriously disturb important trade and business operations.
A necessary adjustment for the sake of timekeeping has the potential to upend the Internet and international e-commerce. How do you plan on spending your extra second today?
From the free silver policy issue of the 1800s to the Bretton Woods agreement of 1944, America has always had differing views on how the dollar should be valued and leveraged, as well its role in the global currency exchange. Ever since the eve of World War II, the U.S. dollar has had notable domination in the international marketplace. In nearly all transactions made using more than one currency in the past three years, the dollar was required as a conversion factor to complete trades. The U.S. dollar, for quite some time now, has been the world’s reserve currency. In Currencies After the Crash, Sara Eisen explores the impact of the world’s strongest currencies, the possible ramifications of highly leveraged monies, and the perilous yet profitable realm that is the foreign exchange market.
In her novel The Travels of a T-Shirt in the Global Economy, author and Georgetown University professor of international economics Pietra Rivoli researches and follows the lifespan of a simple commodity - a t-shirt - across the world, while examining the insights it provides into the markets, power, and politics of an increasingly interconnected global economy. Beginning with a street peddler selling shirts intended for tourists in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Rivoli investigates the roots and destinations of her t-shirt in an epic that spans the U.S. cotton industry's historical versatility and dominance of international markets, textile production facilities in China, market demands for affordable commodities in the United States and Europe, and ending its journey in used clothing markets in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the past few years, globalization has become more apparent in its role in the global economy, where more people, countries, and economies are becoming interconnected with one other. In the book The Lexus and the Olive Tree, Thomas Friedman attempts to break down the role that globalization has played and how it can be considered as a new sort of international system for the future.
Globalization often gets a bad rap and serves as the punching bag for many international issues. Because of this harsh under appreciation of the increasingly influential force that connects the world, global trade also comes under fire. The reliance of superpower nations on multinational corporations is perceived more frequently as a weakness due to inescapable interdependence. In A Splendid Exchange, William Bernstein manages to provide the reader with insight on key economic concepts found in trade since the origin of the first silk passages. Refreshingly honest, Bernstein accounts the major events and development of the global market, theorizing that trade is the single common denominator through past eras. Often villianized in terms of the global marketplace, trade is something that has shaped the world we so comfortably inhabit in the present.
The globalEDGE team has added another new section to its recent developments. The Insights by Economic Classification section has now been published and can be accessed via the Global Insights menu! Currently the new section has two groups of countries defined: emerging markets and frontier markets. This new section highlights where the emerging and frontier markets stand in comparison to the least and most developed markets in the world. Furthermore, the statistics page of the new section provides information on a selection of indicators, which visually helps to compare group countries with one another. A risk comparator is also available, where two group countries’ economies and credit risk assessments can be compared. The new section also lists resources related to emerging and frontier markets. Make sure to check out our new section today!
For the first time, Saudi Arabia has opened its markets to foreign investors in hopes that in can attract more international investments in the country. Saudi Arabia has experienced solid growth over the last decade due to hundreds of billions of dollars in revenue from the sale of oil and is attempting to maintain its local spending plan after crude prices have tumbled. The opening of the stock exchange can play a role in reducing its dependence on oil as a driver in its economy and also aid in its future economic growth.
Throughout the past ten years, the music industry has increasingly embraced digital media formats for music distribution. The adaptability of business models to the digital format, however, has been volatile at best. When methods of distribution for music were primarily physical—vinyls, tapes, and CDs—record labels had more control over their product and how it would be consumed by the masses. As the music industry becomes more decentralized and more streaming services are popping up, a power struggle is occurring between record and indie labels, recording artists, and consumers over the value of music in this day and age.