Saturday, September 1, 2018



The Shoes on the Danube Bank:

About 300 metres from the Hungarian Parliament building in Budapest, on the embankment of the Danube River, are sixty pairs of rusted old-fashioned shoes cast out of iron.  They are attached to the stone embankment, the memorial being known as The Shoes on the Danube Bank.  In March 1944, the German Wehrmacht invaded Hungary and installed Ferenc Szálasi and his fascist and violently anti-Semitic Arrow Cross Party into power. During his brief rule, Szálasi's men murdered 10,000–15,000 Jews and plundered Jeiwsh homes and businesses.  Frequently, entire groups were lined up on the banks of the Danube facing the river, ordered to take off their shoes, and were shot at the edge of the water so that their bodies fell into the river and were carried away. Shoes, being a valuable commodity during World War II, were ordered to leave behind so that they could be collected and traded on the black market.  The Shoes on the Danube Bank memorial remembers the 3,500 people, 800 of them Jews, who were shot into the Danube during the time of the Arrow Cross terror.


EIRE Signs:

 The recent heat wave in the UK generated a wildfire at Bray Head, on the Irish coast, near Dublin, which revealed a World War Two-era landmark that had disappeared under thick undergrowth.  The sign, made by arranging rocks and boulders to spell out the word “EIRE” (pictured above), is one of more than eighty such signs dotted across Ireland’s coast during the Second World War as navigational messages to inform both Allied and German pilots that they were flying over a neutral country.

Another EIRE sign at Malin Head. This sign was later restored.

The Hemline Index:

The Hemline Index is the oft stated proposition that, according to sociologists, the worse the economy, the longer the women's skirts are and the better economy, the shorter the skirt.  In good economies, we get such results as miniskirts (as seen in the 1920s and the 1960s), or in poor economic times, as shown by the 1929 Wall Street Crash, hems can drop almost overnight. Non-peer-reviewed research in 2010 supported the correlation, suggesting that "the economic cycle leads the hemline with about three years".  But is it accurate?

The following is an article from Septenber 25 2016 at: 

Hemline Index Actually Works! Just Not the Way You Thought
Yifan Yu, Business and Economics Reporter @ NYU

The New York Fashion Week recently wrapped up its fall-winter 2016 runway shows. Plenty are talking are about the new fashion trends brought by Fashion Week, but few pay attention to the hemline. It makes sense: we are not in 1920s anymore, no one cares whether the dress is long or short.

It seems like another disproof to the famous “hemline index theory” presented by economist George Taylor in 1926, a theory that draws an anecdotal connection between economic prosperity and shorter skirt lengths. Attention: the economic cycle predicts the hemline, not vice versa.

Believe it or not, the hemline index actually works: it just doesn’t work the way most people think. You can’t blame George Taylor if you fail to predict the economy based on skirt hems, which is not what the hemline index is about in the first place.

In 2010, Marjolein van Baardwijk and Philip Hans Franses conducted a quantitative analysis on monthly hemline data from 1921 to 2009. Their research verified that the economic cycle leads hemline by about three or four years, which proved “the poor economic times make the hemlines to decrease, and that prosperity is correlated with a reduced hemline (more miniskirts).”

That might explain why the great recession of 2008 didn’t stop the trend of shorter skirt immediately. According to an analysis conducted by Business Insider in 2012, New York designers showed shorter skirts and dresses for fall 2012, compared with those they showed for fall 2011. But later on in 2013, the hemline started to plunge and the mid-length skirt became the new hemline. So don’t panic if the fashion industry still shows favor to the ankle length dress, it might just be a slow reaction to the economy’s recovery.

Bernard Baumohl, the chief global economist of the Economic Outlook Group, was not surprised by the correlation between hemlines and the macro-economy. “When the economy goes down, people will have less discretionary income to spend on unnecessary cloth. More women have to go back to work and need to look more professional in the office so they tend to buy dresses with longer hemline,” Baumohl said.

The hemline index has been proven to hold true by research, but Baumohl doesn’t find it as relevant as back in 1920s due to the fact that manufacturing is no longer a big portion of U.S. economy, and designers today generally don’t set standard hemlines anymore. “People keep talking about hemline index because it’s quirky, unorthodox and understandable for ordinary people, which makes it a good choice for pub conversations,” Baumohl said.

There are plenty of other more important and relevant economic indicators to talk about though. “I would recommend real dispensable personal income index, employment indicator and consumer confidence as three leading indicators you can look at,” Baumohl added.

Although the correlation between the economy and the hemline has been verified, it wouldn’t be a great idea to presume the same relationship between the stock market and the hemline.

Michael Sincere, author of the best-selling book All About Market Indicators and a long-term trader, thinks the hemline indicator is a joke. If you want to invest in the fashion industry, he suggests, instead of relying on the hemline index, it’s better to watch shoppers or analyze clothing prices, or just acquire a fashion company’s revenue record.

“I will not base any of my investment decision on hemline index anyway,” Sincere concluded.

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