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What we're reading: Space nerds and America’s secret drinking habit
Lifestyle
<p>A selection of articles and columns from across the world.</p> <p>Can Silicon Valley take us into space? In days gone by the space race was defined as a massive ideological struggle, a clash of nations, as the U.S. and its Soviet rivals struggled for space supremacy. Today, it has been reduced down to a twitter squabble been billionaire geeks Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. Maybe that’s not a bad thing. The Financial Times</p> <p>Black and white, and red all over. The consumption of children’s literature in China has soared in recent years. While this may be a sign enlightened times, Chinese publishers are still painfully conservative and politics still lurk between the pages. The Economist</p> <p>One nation under the influence. What if the past 350-odd years of U.S. history has just been one long boozy bender? It may help explain some of the mistakes made along the way. The hidden influence of alcohol on the country is more significant than you think. LA Times</p> <p>Where the wind blows on climate debate. Too busy focusing on the storm clouds of war and the rough seas of finance, it seems the world has forgotten about climate change of late. For those in need of an update, here is a reminder of the main issues ahead of next week’s change conference in Paris. Wall Street Journal (paywall)</p> <p>A small peace of recognition. Everyone knows the peace sign first made famous by anti-nuclear protesters. It is now ubiquitous at most peace rallies and was recently used in the wake of the Paris attacks, but where does it come from? The Guardian’s Ian Jack argues that Gerald Holton, the symbol’s designer, should be commemorated. After all he did create the work for nothing.  The Guardian.</p> <p>The women who keep on truckin’. A truck driver may not be the most conventional job for a woman, but there are those who both do the job and enjoy it. And why not? As part of its 100 Women series, the BBC offers an intimate look at the women around the world who have chosen life on the open road. BBC<br /> Photo: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center</p>
Global Workforce Happiness Index reveals which nations and industries professionals are most content
Lifestyle
<p>The biggest study to date of happiness at work — the Global Workforce Happiness Index — was released this week by Universum, an international employer branding consultant. </p> <p>The Global Workforce Happiness Index measures three factors: employee satisfaction, an employee’s willingness to recommend their current employer and their likelihood of switching jobs in the near future. Altogether, says Universum, it is a measure of a worker’s happiness in their job and career.</p> <p>The survey was conducted among more than 250,000 working professionals in 55 markets, and the results include rankings by country and by industry.</p> <p>The top 10 countries in terms of employee happiness were Belgium, with a score of 33.41, Norway, Costa Rica, Denmark, South Africa, Austria, Switzerland, Greece, Czech Republic and Russia, coming in tenth with a score of 29.93.</p> <p>In its report, Universum pointed out that when considering the top countries for worker happiness, it’s important to remember that the research targets intellectuals with work experience, who are not as likely to be affected by economic downturns.</p> <p>“Struggling economies (like Greece) also create fewer career opportunities, which results in higher loyalty scores,” the report said.</p> <p>When ranked by industry, the happiest professionals were those in legal services, followed by those working in aerospace and defence, educational and scientific institutions, insurance and, in fifth place, employees of technology, hardware and equipment firms.</p> <p>The least happy industry was healthcare services, followed by media and advertising, tourism, engineering and manufacturing, and retail.</p> <p>The survey aims to establish benchmarks for employee happiness and help companies to plan improvements accordingly.</p> <p>“Tracking employee happiness is a barometer of your organisation’s overall health — as important to forecasting future innovation and growth as traditional financial metrics,” Universum says in its introduction to the report.</p> <p>The report cites Josh Bersin, a principal at Deloitte Consulting, as saying: “More and more companies are deploying analytics solutions to help predict retention and correlate factors such as compensation, travel schedule, manager and demographics to understand why certain people are less engaged than others.”</p> <p>Universum advocates an individual approach to retaining staff and warns there is no blanket solution.</p> <p>“Only when an organisation has honed in on the challenges facing a particular segment (whether defined by region, gender, role, or some other subset/combination), can it apply a prescription that will impact performance,” the report says. “This type of meticulous analysis and optimisation is critical as a business tool — and it’s a function of viewing talent management as a strategic business asset rather than as an HR function.”</p> <p>The report therefore recommends that employers look not at the overall trends such as country or industry happiness, but at how their own employees compare to others in that profession and in that country in order to assess the company’s ability to remain competitive.</p> <p>“Measuring the happiness gap of your employees, country-by-country, serves as an early warning system for your organisation; use it to drill down and understand the variables that cause your employees to feel differently from their peers inside other organisations and what your company can do to close that gap,” the report’s authors advise.<br /> Photo: J E Theriot</p>
Kim and Kanye ask for $20M for their Bel Air pad - gold toilets and all
Lifestyle
&nbsp; American socialite Kim Kardashian and her rap star husband Kanye West are putting their Bel Air mansion on the market for $20 million, just two years after paying $10.57 million. Forbes reports that the 9000-square-foot Tuscan-style estate has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms (which include four Louis the XIV-style gold-plated toilets!), a great room, an elevator, an outdoor pool, and
Bill Gates is still the daddy in Silicon Valley
Lifestyle
<p>Bill Gates may have long since stepped down from the helm at Microsoft but the company’s 60-year-old co-founder still ranks as the most powerful figure in tech, according to Business Insider.</p> <p>The billionaire philanthropist came out top in a list of tech’s 20 most powerful figures. The list was judged on four criteria: economic power, command, newsworthiness, and impact.</p> <p>Amazon’s Jeff Bezos took the second spot, unsurprising considering the brouhaha he inspired this week with a single tweet, which managed to thoroughly rile Tesla and Space X founder Elon Musk (#6). Third place was handed to Google’s Larry Page.</p> <p>The list is relatively youthful. Bill Gates is the most senior figure to make the list while 31-year-old Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (#4) is the most junior, followed by 39-year-old Uber founder Travis Kalanick (#15). Unfortunately, the list is almost exclusively male but for Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman (#14) and IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (#12).</p> <p>The only non-Americans to crack to list are Robin Li (#11), Jack Ma (#6), and Ma Huateng (#13), founders of China’s BATs (Baidu, Alibaba, Tencent), respectively.</p>
Elites party in Florida for Art Basel
Lifestyle
<p>The cream of the art world, as well as the art-wannabes, are in Miami this week for Art Basel.</p> <p>The trendy art event runs next Thursday through Sunday with celebrities parties kicking off the art fair this weekend, reports the New York Post.</p> <p>Top parties include Tuesday night's DuJour magazine event, hosted by Hilary Swank and photographer Bruce Weber. Eva Longoria and Ricky Martin will honor Related Group's Jorge Perez during the Global Gift Initiative event.</p> <p>Lacking a plane ticket? Blade, which typically offers helicopter services from Manhattan to the Hamptons and Nantucket, will have a private jet service between New York and Miami for just $2,200 one-way, reports Vanity Fair.</p> <p>One of the hottest art pieces up for grabs next week will be a 1982 Willem de Kooning expected to go for about $10 million. Damian Loeb prints are up for $15,000 each, and Loeb paintings for $150,000, reports Art News.</p> <p>&nbsp;<br /> Photo: See-ming Lee<br /> &nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Singapore loosens apron strings
Lifestyle
<p>Is this a sign that Singapore is lightening up since Lee Kwan Yew's death earlier this year -- or a slippery slope?</p> <p>"Residents of one of the world’s most tightly restricted societies will now be able to enjoy 18th-century erotica and anti-colonial doctrines after Singapore’s media watchdog lifted a ban on 240 titles," reports the Financial Times. (paywall)</p> <p>"The country has a long history of banning films, books and songs deemed 'undesirable' -- including Katy Perry’s hit single “I Kissed a Girl” due to its reference to homosexuality, while “Puff The Magic Dragon” by folk trio Peter, Paul and Mary was blacklisted in 1963 after being suspected of containing references to the smoking of marijuana."</p> <p>"The country’s press freedom is among the worst in the developed world, ranking alongside the likes of Iraq and Russia," notes the FT.<br /> Photo: Kevin Oliver</p>
The future of cannabis: five things investors need to know [INFOGRAPHIC]
Lifestyle
<p>The Future Of Cannabis: Five Things Investors Need To Know</p> <p>Presented by: Equities.com and Viridian Capital Advisors</p> <p>This story first appeared in ValueWalk.<br /> Photo: Brett Levin</p>
Zuckerberg to take two month paternity leave
Lifestyle
<p>Mark Zuckerberg is taking full advantage of Facebook's generous parental leave policy.</p> <p>Companies from Amazon to Netflix have spent 2015 talking up their parental leave policies. Facebook has always offered 17 weeks of paid leave for new dads, ranking it second on Fatherly's list of 50 best places for new dads to work, reports Fast Company. Zuckerberg announced on his own Facebook page that when his first child is born in a few months he will take off a full two months of work.</p> <p>Zuckerberg called his leave a "very personal decision," saying that the outcome is better for children and families when working parents take time with their newborns.</p> <p>Studies show that even when companies offer paid parental leave, few employees actually take it. A 2012 study showed that only 12% of tenured professors offered paid paternity leave took it. But if the head of a $302 billion company can take off a full two months to spend time with his new daughter, perhaps more men will feel comfortable doing the same.<br /> Photo: Oleg Sidorenko<br /> &nbsp;</p>
Video: If you are still angry about the 2008 market collapse, then watch this trailer
Lifestyle
<p>Remember all those bankers that went to jail for launching one of the worst financial collapses of the last 100 years? Neither do we. If you feel the way we do about that then you will probably love the movie "The Big Short,"  based on the Michael Lewis bestseller. Get in line now to get tickets -- it opens on Christmas. What a present.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>
Uber said to pick up Goldman Sachs bankers
Lifestyle
<p>This may be the moment we will look back and say: Wall Street is so over.</p> <p>Reuters is reporting exclusively that two mid-level Goldman Sachs bankers have hopped a one-way ride to Uber, the most valuable unicorn in the startup universe.</p> <p>Startups are luring talent from the top schools and have even nabbed some c-suite folks. Most notably, former Morgan Stanley CFO Ruth Porat joined Alphabet, the company once known as Google. Porat is making more money -- but not necessarily the rank-and-file.</p> <p>According to Reuters, a vice president in banking might earn $500,000, including bonus, while a similar level worker at a startup would earn less than half -- about $200,000.</p> <p>But the $500,000 package doesn't come with a lottery ticket -- stock options. Goldman recently announced a kinder, gentler workplace to help with its recruiting efforts. But it's hard to compete with the cachet that goes with a startup promising popcorn, ping pong, and prosperity.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p>