Yearly Archives: 2017

U.S. New-Home Sales Surged in November to Highest Since 2007

Sho Chandra

U.S. purchases of new homes unexpectedly surged in November to the highest level since before the last recession, indicating resilient demand, according to government data Friday.

Highlights of New-Home Sales (November)

  • Single-family home sales jumped 17.5% m/m to 733k annualized pace (est. 655k), fastest since July 2007, from 624k rate (revised from 685k)
  • Monthly percentage increase biggest since January 1992
  • Purchases in the West and South rose to the fastest rates since 2007
  • Median sales price increased 1.2% y/y to $318,700

Key Takeaways

The report showed that residential construction will increase in coming months and provide fuel for the economy. In another sign builders will stay busy, the number of properties sold in which construction hadn’t yet started increased almost 43 percent to 258,000 in November, the most since December 2006.

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James Harden and Chris Paul Are Staggering. So Are The Rockets.

Houston hasn’t played a single meaningful possession without one of its two star point guards over this 9-0 winning streak that has given the Rockets the NBA’s best record

The Houston Rockets have staggered the playing time for James Harden and Chris Paul. PHOTO: ANDREW D. BERNSTEIN/NBAE/GETTY IMAGES

By Ben Cohen

The Houston Rockets made a bold decision this summer to build around two players who more or less play the same position. It already looks brilliant.

The results of their latest basketball experiment were delayed when Chris Paul was injured and the Rockets only had James Harden. But for the last nine games, they’ve had the incredible luxury of both All-Star point guards, and this is where the rest of the league might want to stop reading. Because the Rockets were 9-0 in those nine games. They had the No. 1 offense and the No. 1 defense in the league.

And it’s not only because of how Paul and Harden are playing together. It’s also because of how—and how much—Paul and Harden are playing apart.

It was always going to be interesting to see two great point guards on the same team at the same time. But there was something else intriguing about the counterintuitive union of Harden and Paul: It meant that one of them could always be on the court. As long as Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni managed their minutes with that in mind, Houston could have a Hall-of-Famer running its explosive offense for every minute of every game. That’s exactly what he’s done.

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Using Business Intelligence to Fine-Tune Operating Room Utilization

Business intelligence tools can give healthcare organizations more insight into complex operational problems like allocating OR time.

Source: Thinkstock

By Jennifer Bresnick

December 06, 2017 – Surgical space is a finite resource for hospitals and health systems, and it is also one of the most important. Long wait times for an operating room are simply unacceptable for most physicians and their patients, especially when emergency situations arise.

Even worse is an OR that has booked for a provider but consistently remains empty during the scheduled hours, says Yi-An Huang, Director of Operations at Boston Medical Center (BMC) – especially when the mismatch could be avoided through better big data analytics and the use of business intelligence tools.

“It’s not a very good look when you have physicians complaining that their patients can’t get into the OR fast enough, but when you go to check on the situation, the room is empty because it was blocked off for someone who didn’t end up using it.”

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Why Epic Comebacks Are Becoming Routine in the NBA

NBA teams are playing faster and raining 3-pointers. Now there’s no such thing as a safe lead.

The Golden State Warriors used a 47-13 run in the third quarter to beat the Sixers on Nov. 18. Photo: bill streicher/Reuters

By Ben Cohen

To understand the way today’s NBA works, it usually helps to study the Golden State Warriors.

Let’s start with a game last month against the Boston Celtics that was closely scrutinized around the league as a potential Finals preview. Golden State took a 17-point lead in the second half. Boston won by ripping off 19 straight points in response.

The exact opposite happened the next time the Warriors took the court. Philadelphia was up 24 points. Golden State roared back with a 47-13 run in what turned out to be the best third quarter in NBA history.

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Baseballs Are Getting Smarter

Robo-balls give pitchers and coaches an instant readout on a ball’s speed and rotation


Takashi Mochizuki

TOKYO—It looks and feels like a regular baseball. But the inside is packed with the same technology used in smartphones, which gives pitchers and coaches an instant readout on the ball’s speed and rotation.

If you thought the diamond was already drenched in data, get ready for the robo-balls coming out of Japan.

Tokyo-based smartphone app maker Acrodea Inc. started selling its “Technical Pitch” ball in September in Japan. And sporting goods maker Mizuno Corp., with help from a Toyota Motor Corp. group company, is preparing a similar product, called MAQ, for next spring. Both are going on sale in Japan first, with plans to expand later to other regions including the U.S., South Korea and Taiwan.

Read the full article here.

Senators Support Rollback of Bank Oversight

Bipartisan deal raises threshold dictating which banks would face heightened oversight from the Federal Reserve

Sen. Michael Crapo, head of the Senate Banking Committee PHOTO: BILL CLARK/ZUMA PRESS By Andrew Ackerman

Dozens of banks received the biggest signal yet that they may soon be freed from some of the most onerous rules put in place after the financial crisis, as lawmakers from both parties agreed to a plan that would enact sweeping changes to current law.

The bipartisan Senate agreement released Monday would relieve small and regional lenders from a number of restrictions meant to limit the damage firms could cause to the economy in the event of another crisis.

In what would be the biggest step to ease the financial rule book since Republicans took control of Washington, the proposal could cut to 12 from 38 the number of banks subject to heightened Federal Reserve oversight by raising a key regulatory threshold to $250 billion in assets from $50 billion. The legislation also would ease red tape affecting credit unions and community banks, allowing them to lend more, supporters said.

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AGA Numbers Suggest Tribal Gaming Is A $100 Billion Industry

By Martin Derbyshire

The American Gaming Association (AGA) recently released a study indicating the economic impact of Native American casinos across the United States is approaching $100 billion.

>The report is titled The Economic Impact of Tribal Gaming: A First-Ever State-by-State Analysis. It debuted at a round table discussion with gaming leaders in Oklahoma City this week. The roundtable discussion was a part of AGA’s Get to Know Gaming campaign. 


As the name indicates, the report is said to be the first-ever state-by-state analysis of the impact of Native American gambling operations on the US economy. The report found that Tribal gaming supports as many as 635,000 jobs that generate over $33 billion in employee wages.

Also, it indicated Tribal casinos have an economic impact of nearly $97 billion. Moreover, they generate close to $16 billion in taxes and direct payments to federal, state and local governments.

Read the full article here.

Why are Amazon, PayPal meeting with bank regulators?

Asked whether Amazon, which is run by CEO Jeff Bezos, should be allowed to own a bank, a former top regulator replied, “It’s a tough decision that we are going to have to make one of these days.”


WASHINGTON — Technology giants like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple are showing an increasing interest in engaging with federal banking regulators, a move that underscores Silicon Valley’s growing involvement in the financial services arena.

In recent years, such firms have formed a lobbying group, Financial Innovation Now, that is staking out their view on various hot-button topics. But some firms are also meeting individually with government agencies.

For example, Amazon lobbyists met with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency starting in the second quarter of 2016, and again this year to discuss “issues related to mobile payments and payment processing, financial innovation, and technology,” according to publicly available lobbying disclosures.

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