Money Matters - Simplified


The Pessimist's Guide to 2011

I'm a long-term optimist. You should be, too. But even when you're an optimist, a healthy amount of skepticism -- maybe even pessimism -- can do you good. It makes you a more stable optimist.

Black Swan Hunting for 2011

This article has been adapted from our sister site across the pond, Fool U.K.

The entire point of author Nassim Taleb's ironically now ubiquitous "Black Swan" metaphor was that nobody in the white swan-strewn Old World foresaw the black version of the bird until they encountered Australia, where millions of black swans were waddling about their business.

Google and Verizon: Two Lone Gunmen for Justice

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) wrote another little piece of history yesterday. It's not the first time the two technology giants from different sides of the tracks make a joint statement about the future of the Internet, and it won't be the last. And it's critically important that they continue to step into the breach, as the rest of the stakeholders in the digital future of America are waffling around and getting nothing done.

Europe warms to post-cold war Russia

Brussels -- Opening Russian archives concerning a 1940 mass murder of Poles is a big step toward improved international relations, a European Union official said.

EU Commissioner of Neighborhood Policy Stefan Fuele in Warsaw said, "We need to recognize that the psychological process of reconciliation following the Cold War has run its course. Recent Polish-Russian efforts in this respect are of crucial relevance here."

Monday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, also in Poland, said Russia would open archives concerning the massacre of 22,000 Poles in the Katyn Forest under the Stalin regime, the EUobserver reported Tuesday.

Google says no to data import; primarily targets Facebook

Google Inc. on Friday announced that it will no longer allow social networking giant Facebook or any other outside service to have access to users’ information on Gmail.

Woodpecker could alter Calif. logging laws

Sacramento -- California's logging policy may hang on the fate of the black-backed woodpecker if environmental advocates have their way, a petition says.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the John Muir Project of the Earth Island Institute recently filed a petition to protect the woodpecker under the state Endangered Species Act, the Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported.

They say salvage logging, the practice of harvesting burned trees, threatens the bird's survival because it depends on a habitat of burned forests. The woodpecker prefers to nest in burned trees, and feeds on insects that attack trees after a fire. It also is part of a whole ecosystem that is essential to the life cycle of California forests.

Prison inmate spots county's math error

Bremerton, Wash. -- Officials in a Washington county say they are rewriting their policy for awarding "good time" to prison inmates after a prisoner discovered a math error.

Robert "Doug" Pierce, 48, who was jailed in December for possession of methamphetamine and earned his GED behind bars, said he wound up serving 10 extra days in jail because Kitsap County did not correctly take his time served into account when calculating his good time, the time taken off his sentence for good behavior, the Kitsap Sun in Bremerton reported Wednesday.

House votes for strict measures against China's currency policy

It has been years now but the contentious issue of china’s undervalued currency has remained unresolved. Not many dispute the fact that Chinese currency is undervalued. This has adversely affected U.S. businesses.

Car Insurance Myths Busted: Separating Facts from Fiction

With so many different types of policy available, not to mention the hundreds of insurance companies competing for your business, car insurance can be confusing enough at the best of times.

Call for European ocean health 'network'

Brussels -- Scientists and policy makers in Europe say they want an integrated network of marine observatories to monitor the health of the area's seas and oceans.

The aim is reliable, long-term data to underpin science and policy decision regarding the use of seas for fisheries, aquaculture, energy and shipping, as well as tourism and recreation, a European Science Foundation release said Thursday.

"We should not take for granted the wealth and well-being provided by the seas and oceans" Lars Horn of the Research Council of Norway and chair of the Marine Board said. "This call needs to be heard by national and European decision makers and budget holders.