Green Lantern?

December 30, 2006

So I’m just as much Supergirl as Green Lantern, with an even mix of Spidey (yay!) and Superman as well. Hmm.

Your results:
You are Green Lantern

Green Lantern
Wonder Woman
The Flash
Iron Man
Hot-headed. You have strong
will power and a good imagination.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Quiz

Green Links

December 26, 2006

SunCube Solar Appliance

Molectra Tyre Recycling

Eve – electric car conversion no.2

Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and best of the season to everybody … may next year be greener than ever.

The best investment advice you’ll never get

December 19, 2006

From the Big Picture comes ‘The best investment advice you’ll never get’ :

[…] who’d grown up listening to stories of tech stocks going through the roof and were eager to test their own ability to outpace the averages, the discouraging message came as a surprise. Still, they listened and pondered as they waited for the following week’s lesson […]

This is boring investment advice. The funny thing is, successful investing isn’t glamorous, sexy, exciting or much fun (except in hindsight.)

The short version is this : for most people, most of the time, index funds are the best investment because you track ‘the market’ and make your profits with the lowest possible fees paid out, thus enhancing your returns compared to a trading strategy (either by yourself or a professional funds manager.)

Do I do this myself? No, not yet.

Are my results better than everyone elses? No, not yet.

Time to get some index fund investing underway.

The (minor) perils of GPS navigation

December 17, 2006

Just after seeing off the brother-in-law (who’d taken the kids to be fitted for new bike helmets) something rather ironic happened. Ironic because said brother-in-law is involved in the navigation industry (for a competitor’s product).

A family pulls up in front of our house asking for help – their TomTom in-car navigation unit couldn’t find Courallie Avenue, Homebush West. They were in the general area, but hoplessly lost and on the wrong side of a major arterial road that meant they would never have stumbled upon their destination by themselves.

This is notable for a few reasons – apparently they felt no need for a backup of their navigation system. You know, the old paper version called a street directory. Do you have a backup for your navigation? The street they are looking for is definately not a new one, so it is a pretty serious omission from the maps.

Finally I find the whole thing interesting because I immediately went inside and printed off a map from the online directory – which had no trouble locating the street for them. At least, I hope it was the correct street 🙂

Debnam’s headline grab – ‘sell the lotteries’

December 11, 2006

So the state opposition leader really needs to get in the headlines – see this story :

Debnam govt would sell off lotteries – Yahoo!7 News

We are told that Debnam would consider selling a $381 million a year (2005/06) cash cow (the state lotteries) for $800 million to put towards the billion dollar drought proofing water fund.

That would be completely insane – instead we could sell $800 million in treasury bonds to raise the money and have those fully paid off by lotteries earnings in three years!

While I completely agree with the usage, selling the golden goose when the eggs would pay off a loan for the amount in three years is clearly a silly idea at best, negligent at worst.

Our state government is paying the princely rate of 5.5% interest on bonds at the moment, and has been doing so at least since July.

So – borrow $800 million for three years, paying the going rate of  5.5 percent interest each year, for a total payback of 800 + 44 + 44 + 44 = $932 million.

Let’s also reduce the lotteries earnings by 5% each year, to give us a worst case scenario (perhaps everyone in NSW develops a sudden fear of lottery tickets – can you imagine that?) Bear in mind 2005/06 was up 1.3% on 04/05, and that sales and profits have been steadily climbing since 2000.

So our pessimistic projected 2006/07 earnings are $361.95m, 2007/08 are $343.85m and 2008/09 $326.65 million. That’s pessimistic earnings of $1,032.45 million over three years.

By my calculations that still leaves the government up $100 million in the deal over those three years and still owning the lotteries!

What if interest rates rise? Well let’s up the bond rate by a full percent (which would be a very big deal and mean there would be no shortage of buyers…) This now means we’re paying out $52 million a year in interest payments, or an extra $24 million overall. Still leaving us $75 million in front.

Drought proofing doesn’t sound that expensive now, and we can dismiss this nonsense of selling cash cows when there are other options easily available.

Please chip in and tell me if my proposal has some weird hole that I cannot see
 – because if it was this simple I don’t see how anyone could ever think about the selling off the lotteries when the cashflow is so strong as to present much simpler options.