In the news: Monday

The Euro Happy Planet Index: Iceland takes home the prize
 – According to the Happy Planet Index, published by The New Economics Foundation (NEF), Scandinavian countries are best at translating resources into well-being. The Index ranks European countries based on a combination of objective and subjective criteria, including: life expectancy, life satisfaction and carbon footprint. The think tank found no link between the amount of resources consumed and well-being of a country’s population. Representatives for the group point out that, “these findings question what the economy is there for. What is the point if we burn vast quantities of fossil fuels to make, buy and consume ever more stuff, without noticeably benefiting our well-being?” Iceland ranked first, while Britain placed toward the low end (21 out of 30). Though, if I spent my days lounging in the Blue Lagoon (see image) while my money market accounts earned a risk-free rate of 14-ish%, I’d probably be happier than most people in Europe. [Daily Telegraph]

Sheepmeat exports to MidEast: a new record
For those following/interested in the
Macquarie Pastoral Fund, or just the death of sheep in general, Australian mutton exports to the Middle East set a new record, increasing 42% during fiscal year 06/07. [Khaleej Times]

TV networks discover Twitter
Twitter, the social network dedicated to life’s minutiae: “making a ham and peanut butter sandwich,” “couple across the alleyway locked in a sexfest, come over ASAP,” “why can’t the universe play Buena Vista Social Club’s Veinte Anos in the background,” is increasingly being used by television networks to promote new shows. According to television producer Greg Yaitanes, who used the service to promote his Fox show “Drive,” communicating with the audience through an online medium such as Twitter is appealing because “the idea that someone from the show is coming to sit down and talk with everyone, it all of a sudden makes it feel more special.”  ABC Family, MTV and Fox have already ‘taken the Twitter plunge,’ while CBS and CW plan to toy with the site to promote new shows scheduled to air this fall. [WSJ]

Bollywood bubble: male stars see 200-300% increase in salaries
Should you find yourself attending a Bollywood film and not standing in a line, you can be certain that one of the three recognizeable Bollywood actors will not be showing his face on your screen. Since Bollywood plotlines come in three varities, the dearth of testosterone supply results in the same film being released every year under a different title and w/ a new big-eyed, leading lady. The general scarcity means that actors get away with murder (does anyone know the number of people Salman Khan has killed over the years?) while walking away with increasingly bigger paychecks. According to Sameer Nair, former CEO of Murdoch’s Star Entertainment India cable channel, “Everyone has shown up with a truckload of cash to make bigger and better movies but they have got to move on from relying on these same few movie stars.” [FT]


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