December 4, 2017 Newsletter
Tangents: Full Supermoon tonight!
On this day in 1979, a band mistakenly billed as “The U2s” plays a gig for nine people at a venue in London. More people show up at their gig at a different club the next night, but the band this time is billed as “V2.”
On Dec. 4, 1945, the Senate approved U.S. participation in the United Nations.
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Is Einstein’s ‘Theory of Happiness’ as Successful as General Relativity?
By Ross Pomeroy, RealClearScience
In 1915, Albert Einstein published his General Theory of Relativity, arguing that the universe consists of a fundamental fabric: spacetime. Moreover, he said, this fabric is warped by massive objects. The resulting bending and curving explains what we perceive as gravity.
More than one hundred years later, general relativity has proven to be the most successful framework for understanding the universe, guiding scientists to black holes, time dilation, and gravitational waves, as well as countless other discoveries.
Seven years after Einstein formulated general relativity, he also proffered another theory. This one wasn’t exactly related to physics – his intellectual wheelhouse – nor was it carefully detailed in a scholarly publication. Rather, the brief musing described his recipe for happiness, and it was penned on a piece of stationery from the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan. His pockets empty, Einstein apologetically offered the note to a messenger boy in lieu of a tip, saying that it could be worth far more one day.
He was right. The note bearing Einstein’s “Theory of Happiness” sold at auction last week for $1.56 million. The seller is rumored to be the messenger boy’s nephew.
The highly publicized auction finally revealed Einstein’s wisdom on contentment to the public ninety-five years after it was written:
“A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”
It’s interesting that Einstein wrote such as thing, as much of his life was dedicated to arduous, intellectually revolutionary pursuits. Perhaps he was feeling a tad overwhelmed at the time? In October 1922, when Einstein jotted down his thoughts on happiness in that Tokyo hotel, he had just been informed that he had won the Nobel Prize in Physics. No doubt the sudden publicity and fame were physically and mentally exhausting.
So how does Einstein’s “Theory of Happiness” stand up after all these years? Happiness is infinitely more relative than general relativity, so it’s difficult for science to offer a definitive answer. Some studies show that switching from regular employment to the frenetic life of self-employment and entrepreneurship actually leads to an increase in life satisfaction, countering Einstein’s note. Another study suggested that the happiest people live a “balanced” life, working a little over seven hours per day, exercising frequently, enjoying cooked meals five times a week, and seeing their friends once per week, reinforcing Einstein’s note.
One of the most in-depth scientific explorations of happiness and success was published in 2005. Researchers reviewed 225 studies and distilled that happiness more often leads to success rather than the other way around. In sum, “happiness [leads] to behaviors that often produce further success in work, relationships and health, and these successes result in part from a person’s positive affect.”
So perhaps it was Einstein’s tranquil and reflective moments that endowed him the happiness to work so diligently and accomplish so much?
As many psychologists have observed, humans run on a “hedonistic treadmill.”
“We work very hard to reach a goal, anticipating the happiness it will bring. Unfortunately, after a brief fix we quickly slide back to our baseline, ordinary way-of-being and start chasing the next thing we believe will almost certainly – and finally – make us happy,” Frank T. McAndrew, a Professor of Psychology at Knox College, wrote.
That’s why people who have supposedly reached the apex of happiness – lottery winners, successful entrepreneurs, and celebrities – often don’t seem much happier than everybody else after growing accustomed to their situations.
At the pinnacle of scientific stardom, Einstein may have been looking down from his lofty position and feeling a tad underwhelmed. His humble “Theory of Happiness” could have been the result. So take Einstein’s sage advice into account, but don’t expect it to be a blueprint for satisfaction like general relativity has been for understanding the universe.
Originally published on RealClearScience.
PHOTOS OF THE DAY
Participants start in the 8th Edition of the Nautic SUP Paris Crossing stand up paddle competition on the river in Seine in Paris, France.
Sunset on the River Teviot at Kalemouth near Kelso in the Scottish Borders.
Candles are carried through Salisbury Cathedral during the advent procession titled From Darkness to Light, illuminating the 800-year-old medieval building as all electric and artificial lights are turned off during the service.
Market Closes for December 4th, 2017
|Bonds||% Yield||Previous % Yield|
10 Year Bond
10 Year Bond
30 Year Bond
|WTI Crude Future||57.47||58.36|
Number of the Day
Overseas buyers have pumped $66.4 billion into U.S. stocks this year through September in their biggest buying spree since 2012, according to the most recently available data compiled by Deutsche Bank.
By Kristine Owram
(Bloomberg) — Canadian stocks declined the most in three weeks, reversing an earlier advance as falling commodity prices weighed on the materials and energy sectors.
The S&P/TSX Composite Index slipped 0.4 percent to 15,969.03. Materials stocks fell 1.2 percent as gold prices retreated and copper prices were flat. Ivanhoe Mines Ltd. lost 3.9 percent.
Energy shares fell 0.8 percent, pressured by oil prices, which lost the most in nearly three weeks on worries that OPEC’s deal to extend production cutbacks may boost U.S. shale activity.
In other moves:
* NexGen Energy Ltd. jumped 17 percent and Cameco Corp. gained 13 percent, the most since 2008. Kazakhstan plans to cut uranium output for the next three years, sending share prices soaring
* Shopify Inc. lost 6.3 percent amid a broader selloff in technology shares
* New Flyer Industries Inc. rose 4.2 percent, the most in more than a year. Analysts said the recent acquisition of Arboc Specialty Vehicles should help boost growth
* Western Canada Select crude oil traded at a $17.50 discount to WTI, the widest gap in two years
* Aeco natural gas traded at a $1.37 discount to Henry Hub
* Gold fell 0.4 percent to $1,274.30 an ounce
* The Canadian dollar was unchanged at C$1.2686 per U.S. dollar
* The Canada 10-year government bond yield rose two basis points to 1.93 percent, the highest in two weeks
By Brendan Walsh
(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks edged lower as selling in technology shares overwhelmed an advance by companies poised to benefit from proposed cuts to corporate taxes. The dollar strengthened and oil slumped.
The S&P 500 Index reversed gains of as much as 0.9 percent and the tech-heavy Nasdaq fell as investors assessed a rally that’s propelled stocks to numerous records this year. An index of the biggest tech shares slumped to a five-week low as investors switched out of the sector. The yield on benchmark U.S. debt climbed after the Senate’s passage of the legislation early Saturday drew focus away from the investigation into connections between President Donald Trump’s aides and Russia.
As the dollar gained, the euro slipped versus most major peers. Traditional safe-haven assets fell, with gold resuming its downward path after a jump on Friday and the yen slumping. West Texas oil fell below $58 a barrel. The pound erased gains after Brexit talks ended without a deal.
The Stoxx Europe 600 rose the most in five weeks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed following a drop for Japan’s Topix and a jump for South Korea’s Kospi.
Here are some of the key events facing markets in the coming days:
* The European Commission College of Commissioners discusses Brexit on Wednesday and will likely make its recommendation on whether sufficient progress has been made to move negotiations onto the future relationship.
* The U.S. faces a partial government shutdown after money runs out on Dec. 8 if Congress can’t agree on a spending bill by then.
* U.S. employers probably hired at a robust pace in November as the unemployment rate held at an almost 17-year low. The Labor Department’s jobs report next Friday may also show a bump up in average hourly earnings.
* Countries setting monetary policy this week include Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and Poland.
These are the main moves in markets:
* The S&P 500 fell 0.1 percent as of the close of trading in New York.
* The Stoxx Europe 600 Index climbed 0.9 percent.
* Japan’s Nikkei 225 Stock Average dipped 0.5 percent.
* The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.6 percent.
* The U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index increased 0.5 percent.
* The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose 0.2 percent.
* The euro decreased 0.3 percent to $1.1855.
* The British pound slipped 0.1 percent to $1.3464.
* The Japanese yen sank 0.3 percent to 112.52 per dollar.
* The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 2.37 percent.
* Germany’s 10-year yield climbed four basis points to 0.34 percent.
* Britain’s 10-year yield increased six basis points to 1.28 percent.
* West Texas Intermediate crude decreased 1.6 percent to $57.40 a barrel.
* Gold fell 0.3 percent to $1,278.80 an ounce.
Have a wonderful evening everyone.
The spirit of democracy
is not a mechanical thing
to be adjusted by abolition of forms.
It requires change of heart.
The tendinous part of the mind….is more developed in winter; the fleshy, in summer….Winter had given the bone and sinew to literature, summer the tissues and blood. -J. Burroughs, 1837-1921
Carolann Steinhoff, B.Sc., CFP®, CIM, CIWM
Portfolio Manager &
Queensbury Securities Inc.,
St. Andrew’s Square,
Suite 340A, 730 View St.,
Victoria, B.C. V8W 3Y7
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