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Weekend reading: Planetary Resources

Weekend reading

Some great reads from around the Web.

This week saw the launch of a company so grand in ambition, it might even persuade The Accumulator to turn into a stock picker and stick £100 into a Sharebuilder account to buy into the dream for himself.

I refer of course to Planetary Resources, a company that takes the idea of a ‘blue sky’ growth stock beyond the ionosphere with its plan to mine asteroids for rare metals.

Here’s a video from the launch event to whet your appetite:

Excited? Unfortunately, you can’t buy shares in Planetary Resources yet. It’s an unlisted company, backed by James Cameron and the top team from Google, among others.

These billionaires get all the luck!

Planetary Resources sounds like a bit of an April Fool’s joke, but I must admit find its sci-fi ambition exhilarating.

Long-term readers will know I’m not half so gloomy about resource limitations as most people seem to be these days. I don’t think we’re anywhere near done with the resources on Earth (including energy) let alone those within shooting distance of a rocket ship.

I am worried about environmental devastation, but that’s because I rate humanity’s sense of stewardship as far less developed than its instinct for consumption and survival.

I’d like to make jokes about Planetary Resources – they write themselves, really. But today I’m feeling less than cynical.

So hurrah for people with long-term vision.

Besides, they countered my would-be hilarious riff about what would happen to the gold price if they actually succeeded in funding a trip to bring a caravan-sized lump of it back to Earth in their FAQ. Smart cookies.

From the money and investing blogs

Book of the week: Monevator has been featured on Abnormal Returns, so it would be rude not to mention the site has spawned a book of Winning Strategies from the Frontlines of the Investment Blogosphere. The author is a good editor, and his book seems cleverer than the subtitle implies.

Mainstream media money

  • The modern cult of statistics – FT Alphaville
  • Greeks and Italians near top of plastic surgery charts – Economist
  • Swedroe: Avoid preferred stocks [US, but similar in UK]CBS
  • Forget Facebook: Why you can’t invest and probably shouldn’t – Time
  • Stop working more than 40 hours a week – Time
  • Inside Harvard’s business start-up bootcamp – CNN Money
  • What was the very first hedge fund? – Bloomberg
  • Jared Diamond: Why Japan’s pain is getting worse – Bloomberg
  • Hartford: Our growth fixation is positively baffling – FT
  • Absolute return funds fail to deliver – FT
  • The stateless super-rich next door – FT
  • Revealed: How popular is your name? [Interactive]Telegraph
  • Disposable income falls to three-year low – Telegraph
  • Half of over-50s could end up working until 77 – Independent
  • Frozen ex-pat pensioners seek redress – Guardian

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{ 10 comments… add one }
  • 1 Rob April 28, 2012, 12:01 pm

    If you’re feeling too disappointed you can still invest in space tech in the near future with this:


    No idea how it all works, but it looks clever. Not quite as exciting as bringing back a massive lump of platinum though. If you can mine deep sea oil though, you can mine asteroids, its just the next step… bit worried we’ll dig up a Balrog though.

  • 2 The Investor April 28, 2012, 12:31 pm

    @Rob — Good point about the Balrog. James Cameron worked on the second Aliens film, so hopefully he paid attention and is taking precautions.

  • 3 Salis Grano April 28, 2012, 7:06 pm

    If it ever comes off, it looks like Julian Simon will be proved right, after all, and shorting metals will be the way to go 🙂

  • 4 Alex April 28, 2012, 9:24 pm

    Thanks for another post from the “Frontlines of the Investment Blogosphere” 🙂

  • 5 The Accumulator April 29, 2012, 7:00 am

    It won’t turn me into a stock picker but perhaps it’ll turn up in my [Final] Frontier Markets ETF.

  • 6 The Investor April 29, 2012, 2:05 pm

    @Accumulator — Yes, you boldly go for it!

    @Salis — I forgot Simon’s bet, after first encountering it 6-7 years ago. Looks like it wouldn’t have come so good over the longer term, eh? Much as I think we’re ingenious creatures, I personally think all that bet proves is that markets are volatile, ten years isn’t very long, and a famous Keynesian maxim… 😉

  • 7 ermine April 29, 2012, 2:54 pm

    > Abnormal Returns Kindle edition (the cheaper one) £15.04

    Bloody hell, how much? It’s been a while since I last bought a new book, but all the same, you can’t normally get wasted, even at London prices, for the price of a book!

  • 8 The Investor April 30, 2012, 10:02 am

    @ermine — Yes, a bit steep! Hopefully it’ll come down when the book is actually released here. Timmar on the Psi-Fi blog has read it and sounds quite positive. Whether savvy readers will learn anything new is another matter, but I like to read at least one financial book a month. 😉

  • 9 Lee April 30, 2012, 6:52 pm

    If I thought too much about planetary resources I’d already be building my New New World home in a cave somewhere in the Pennines 🙁

    Thanks for the link, guys. 🙂

  • 10 Shares Coach May 1, 2012, 9:10 am

    From a technology point of view, this all sounds very exciting.

    From a commercial point of view, it all sounds very expensive!

    From an investment point of view – I’d avoid it like the plague!!!

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