In This Issue   Bias to buy dollars weakens a

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Bias to buy dollars weakens a bit. *  Chinese PMI at strongest level in 2 years! *  UK PMI slips and pound gets whacked! *  Canadian GDP prints at expectations. And Now. Today’s A Pfennig For Your Thoughts. It’s A Jobs Jamboree Friday! Good Day! .  And a Happy Friday to one and all! WOW! Did you see all those trades that were made in Baseball yesterday?  I find it to be amusing that these teams know for over a year when the trade deadline is, and they wait until the final hour to pull off trades. Sure, I know that many of them need to wait-n-see if their team is in the running for a playoff spot, but they all knew that two weeks ago! My Beloved Cardinals made another trade, for another pitcher. ???  We traded a guy that is an everyday player for a pitcher that will only play every 5th day. Hmmm. I remember my dad telling me that when the Cardinals made the historic trade for Lou Brock back in 1964, that they had taken advantage of the Cubs, trading a pitcher for an everyday player. Lou Brock went on to become a Hall of Famer, and my dad was proven to be correct!  Oh well, you came to the letter today, to see what’s going on in currencies, economies and dolts, not about historic baseball trades, so let’s get going! Well, the risk sentiment that had a bias to buy dollars that was firmly placed in the markets after the 2nd QTR GDP report on Wednesday morning, is still in place, but.  Seems to be weakening. I see that in the euro this morning, as the single unit inches toward 1.34 again.  Yes, the high yielders are still getting whacked by the dollar, on the rate hike assumptions in the U.S. but seriously, what they heck are these guys thinking?  It’s all about the here and now, right? And here and now, the rate differentials are way in the favor of the high yielding currencies, like: Aussie, kiwi, reals, rubles, rands, and a couple others. As I called it earlier this week, it’s nothing more than counting your eggs before they’re hatched. The British pound sterling (pound)  is finally getting what I thought it would get a couple of months ago. And that is. drum roll please. treated like a currency that has too many skeletons in its closet. But those skeletons were pushed way to the back of the closet as the pound kept rising, which was all based on rate hike expectations. You know, counting their eggs before they’re hatched!  I told you months ago that I couldn’t get my arms around the pound rally, for they still had debt up to their eyeballs, and a Bank of England (BOE) Gov. (Carney) that was not going to hike rates as the markets expected him to do.  Well, this morning, the pound is getting whacked as their latest report on manufacturing printed at the slowest pace in a year in July. OUCH!  June’s manufacturing index number was 57.2, and July’s number slipped to 55.4. The rate hike campers have all scattered and run to cover, for this report points to no chance of a rate hike now. I would like to say “see I told you so”, but I’m not that kind of guy! HA! I do believe that we’ll be going through the same motions here in the U.S. soon enough. For the pattern has been what happens in the U.K. usually is seen here within 6 months. I tried yesterday to point out the problem with the GDP report and questioned the ability of today’s economists and traders to see the problem with a huge buildup of inventories. And eventually something will happen, a data print will go sour or something like that, and someone will say, “I wonder how that happened?”  Dolts. all of them!  Oh well, I had my good friend, Dennis Miller, send me a note from John Williams yesterday, where John Williams put the seal of approval of my pointing out the problem with the buildup of inventories, and saying that we’ll see downward revisions in the future. I think John Williams won’t be too mad if I steal a quote from him here, “Each of those areas likely will see revisions in the next two months that will move the headline second quarter 2014 GDP much closer to flat-to-minus activity, and eventually into a headline contraction.”   I sent a note to Dennis and said, “Isn’t it amazing how people like myself, and John Williams can see the blowup in inventories in the data, but no one else does?  Actually, what is probably going on here is that these guys see the inventories accumulating but have no idea what that means!   They probably didn’t learn that in their prestigious school!  Or if they did, and didn’t retain the info, they weren’t marked down for their lack of retain-ability, for that would hurt their feelings!” OK. Man, when I go off on a tangent on something, I can really go off on it!  I have other things to talk about here, so I need to get off this discussion about GDP!  Well, in China overnight, the Chinese Gov’t printed a stronger than expected PMI (manufacturing index) of 51.7, which is the highest level since April 2012! It beat the expectations of 51.4 and Junes’ PMI of 51.  We previously saw the HSBC/ Markit PMI print stronger too, so, both of these confirm that China is coming out of their slowdown. (recall I told you some time ago that I thought China’s economy troughed in the 2nd QTR.)   But the reaction in the Asian and Emerging Market currencies was muted, which surprised me, given that as China goes, so goes Asia and the Emerging Markets! Speaking of the Emerging Markets. I was having a good discussion with a friend of mine last night, and he asked me about the BRICS Development Bank, and wanted to know if this was going to be a good thing.  Boy, he wasn’t ready for the answer he got from me, for you know me, I was loaded for bear for that question!  To make a long story short here, I told him that the BRICS Development Bank was HUGE, for not only the BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia, India, China and S. Africa) but also the Emerging Markets, for they will get to go to the new bank for loans and not subject themselves to the IMF’s rules, etc.  So, yes, it’s a good thing. The Eurozone PMI’s all printed overnight, and while some member countries like Italy and Spain saw a little slippage in their index numbers, as a whole the Eurozone remained basically stable on manufacturing in July.  And that has given the euro a chance to book some small gains VS the dollar this morning. I was talking to the Big Boss, Frank Trotter, the other day about the dollar rally, and he said, “The euro is down, which for us is big, but in the overall scheme of things, it’s not really down by much.”  I walked out of his office, and sat down, and thought long and hard about that, and then came to the agreement, that while we have seen the euro much stronger, we’ve also seen it much weaker. So, I lowered the white flag on my desk. Canadian May GDP printed at expectations yesterday at .4% and annualized at 2.3%, so at first the Canadian dollar / loonie rallied a bit in the face of the U.S. dollar strength, but eventually it succumbed to the pressure from the green/peachback. I was expected some better things from the Canadian economy, but then May was 3 months ago, I guess I need to be patient and wait for the reports from June and July! U.S. stocks got whacked yesterday. No I’m not going to turn into a stock commentator. Just pointing out that the rate hike talk as taken its toll on stocks too. And Treasury yields have risen too. I was talking to a trader friend of mine yesterday, and she told me that her research team said that if the 10-year held above 2.57% that it was a big deal. Well, the 10-year at that time of the discussion was 2.59%, and as I look at the screen this morning, it’s 2.57%, so it DID hold 2.57%…  What’s next? A return to 3%? That would certainly take more of the stuffing out of the housing recovery. So, I’ve gone this far this morning, and haven’t even mentioned that today is the Jobs Jamboree Day! That’s because I’ve grown tired of this babble about jobs, we dance now! Yes, that was my attempt at humor using Dieter’s line from Sprockets. HAHAHAHAHA! Now that’s funny! Do you remember that SNL skit with Mike Meyers? FUNNY!   OK, stop having fun Chuck, it’s time to get back to talking about the Jobs Jamboree. Ahhh, yes, job creation in the U.S. the fine art of adding jobs that don’t really exist to the number to make them look better. Makes sense to me as to why we put so much emphasis on this report. NOT!  But the markets do, so that means I have to do so also. Right now, the experts are expecting 230,000 jobs to have been created in July. with the Unemployment Rate remaining at 6.1%…  I won’t even venture a guess as to what I think the number will be. I would, IF, I knew what the BLS added number of jobs was going to be! HA! I’ve told you for years now that I really don’t get into the number of jobs, for that total doesn’t really tell you what kind of jobs were created. Could be minimum wage jobs, which is fine, but doesn’t really give you a warm and fuzzy about future disposable income does it?  Instead, I’ve always focused on the Avg. Hourly Earnings and Avg. Weekly Work Hours, and the Work Force Participation Rate.   The U.S. Data Cupboard will also have two of my fave reports this morning, Personal Income and Spending, but this data will be for June, which basically makes it a non-market moving event. The risk in the markets today is that the Jobs report doesn’t meet the expectations of 230,000 new jobs. But as I explained yesterday, it is an election year, do you really think that the Gov’t is going to show slow job growth? Not that they cook the books or anything like that, it’s just a way of saying that things seem to go that way in election years. I’m just saying. OK, back to our regularly scheduled programming. The New Zealand dollar/kiwi is getting whacked again this morning. Makes no sense to me given the rate increase last week, and rate differential that kiwi now enjoys. But I did tell you earlier this week that there were rumors that the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ), who never misses an opportunity to diss kiwi, was going to sell (intervene) kiwi to weaken it, as they were not happy with kiwi’s strength. So, maybe the RBNZ is “piling on” here. I say, batten down the hatches, and if anything look to buy on dips! I also told my trader friend I was talking to yesterday, that I thought we were going to see dollar strength for a couple of months here, as we work through this rate hike talk. same thing I told you dear Pfennig readers earlier this week, but wanted to repeat if for those that missed class that day.  When we see these periods of dollar strength, and Lord knows we’ve seen plenty of them the past 12 years, we need to batten down the hatches and look to buy on dips. For eventually the dollar will return to its underling weak trend. Gold got whacked again yesterday, but is up a couple of bucks this morning.  I will remind everyone that $1,285 is a far, far, far way from $750. And while the price of Oil has slipped below $100, $97 is still a far, far, far way from $40. I’m just saying. For What It’s Worth. OK. I’ve got a treat for you today. Have you ever heard of Richard Timberlake? I have to say that I hadn’t, and I should have long ago! I don’t know how this gem of an economist slipped by me all these years! Mr. Timberlake is 91 years old and studied under the great economist: Milton Friedman. He’s written books on things like exploring the influences over key policymakers and lawmakers who have shaped U.S. Monetary Policy.   Yesterday, a long time dear reader, sent me the link to an interview with Mr. Timberlake that was done in February 2014 (just 6 months ago) and while the interview is quite long, it was very enlightening to me. I especially liked this quote from him.  He’s talking about the Financial Crisis of 2007-08. “The Fed was never a lender of last resort, and it wasn’t this time either. The Fed should never point its finger at a particular sector and construct a policy that might help that sector, such as agriculture or employment, and say, “We’re going to act until this particular problem is corrected.” That goes back to the fact that the Fed has no rights, responsibilities, or abilities to do anything at all about the real sector. It has to deal with the monetary sector alone and not try to extend itself into the real sector. But when it’s called upon to counteract “bubbles,” it is being given a role that it cannot fulfill. If it tries, it ruins any price level stabilization policies it might have. ” – Richard Timberlake Chuck again. Basically, Mr. Timberlake contends that “the Fed was created solely to be a lender of last resort under the law of the gold standard. It was supposed to be similar to the Bank of England.” And he doesn’t feel like there is a need for the Fed to be a lender of last resort, preferring to allow “private institutions to furnish lender of last resort services if markets are free to operate and if there are no government policies in place that cause destabilization.”      Great stuff, folks. especially for someone like me, that soaks up Fed history, and policy like I do. To recap. The dollar bias has weakened by a small amount this morning, as the euro climbs back to 1.34. The high yielders like Brazil, Aussie, Kiwi, rubles, and rands are still getting whacked on the reduction of yield differential talk. It’s all counting eggs before they’re hatched, but that’s not stopping them now. China’s PMI prints at the strongest level since April 2012 in July, and the Eurozone’s PMI was basically the same as the previous month’s level. Chuck talks about the BRICS Development Bank and how it will help the Emerging Markets, and Gold gets whacked again yesterday. But so did stocks and Treasuries! Currencies today 8/1/14. American Style: A$ .9280, kiwi .8475, C$ .9145, euro 1.3395, sterling 1.6835, Swiss $1.1015, . European Style: rand 10.7390, krone 6.2995, SEK 6.8760, forint 235.05, zloty 3.1275, koruna 20.6250, RUB 35.75, yen 102.95, sing 1.2485, HKD 7.7500, INR 61.10, China 6.1681, pesos 13.25, BRL 2.2625, Dollar Index 81.48, Oil $97.55, 10-year 2.57%, Silver $20.33, Platinum $1,457.50, Palladium $868.90, and Gold. $1,284.00  And since everyone is getting all lathered up about an economic recovery here in the U.S. I thought I would remind them of the debt that hangs over us like the Sword of Damocles, and you can see that debt by clicking here and looking at the Unfunded Liabilities number. http://www.usdebtclock.org/index.html That’s it for today. It was a tough week for me, given I was returning from a shortened vacation, and a week in Vancouver. But all in all, I felt pretty decent most of the week. Tomorrow we will host a birthday party at our house for Delaney Grace, who turns 7 on Monday. WOW! My little granddaughter, is turning 7!  Delaney was born right after my two major cancer surgeries in 2007, so every year she grows older, I get further away from that awful time in my life, that was only brightened by the birth of that little girl! Did you hear that they have uncovered 4 lost Dr. Seuss books? That’s great news!  My beloved Cardinals finally remembered what those bats in their hands are used for yesterday, and now come home for 6 games. NFL training camps are going, and the sports pages here are full of stories about the Rams. That’s right, get the fans all fired up for another woeful year. I don’t want to sound like a negative Nellie here, but the Rams play in a division with the 49er’s and the Seahawks. I doubt they have much chance to win their division. But then, maybe I’ll be surprised! OK. time to go. Thank you for reading the Pfennig, and I hope you have a Fantastico Friday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Marketslast_img read more

Youre Invited to Join Casey Platinum… Now is the

first_img You’re Invited to Join Casey Platinum… Now is the best time to join Casey Platinum, our elite membership where you can get everything we publish at Casey Research for pennies on the dollar compared to what others pay. Over the years, our recommendations could have turned $10,000 into $68,000… $84,900… even an extraordinary $126,000. And now, we’re slashing the price of this membership—which includes EVERYTHING we publish—by up to 95%.Click here to learn more. But hurry. You must act by midnight, January 28th to be grandfathered in before the price hike. — • These kinds of investing opportunities are extremely rare… They only come along once every decade or so. When they do present themselves, you must take advantage of them. Sadly, most investors won’t. That’s because they know nothing about the marijuana market. They don’t know what kind of marijuana business models work… and which are doomed to fail. They don’t know where, geographically, to invest. Worst of all, they can’t tell the difference between a world-class marijuana business and a scam. That’s where I can help…• I’ve been researching the marijuana market around the clock since last June… But I haven’t just read other people’s research like most so-called marijuana experts. I’ve gone to the front lines of this boom. Last year, I spent all of July in Vancouver, Canada. I lived in San Francisco for most of August. And I made Denver my “home” during September. Living in these cities has given me an intimate understanding of the industry. It’s also helped me spot incredible opportunities in the space. For example, one of the marijuana stocks I identified has handed Crisis Investing readers a 140% return since June. Another one is up 84% since July. And a third is up 290% since November. These are the kinds of returns that investors dream about. And that’s exactly why I went back to Colorado last week.• Denver is ground zero of the U.S. marijuana boom… That’s because Colorado legalized medical marijuana way back in 2000. In 2012, they legalized marijuana outright, making it the first U.S. state to do so. Colorado’s progressive stance on pot has given it a huge head start on the rest of the country. That’s why it’s home to some of the country’s top marijuana businesses. Over the weekend, I got to see some of those companies up close. — Recommended Link Recommended Link How to turn a small stake into a multi-million dollar fortune with micro penny cryptos… In fact, you could’ve turned a small stake into a $3.2 million fortune in 3 easy steps. Today, I’m going to show you precisely how that can happen with the right micro penny crypto plays. You just need to act before January 31… • On Saturday, I toured Seed & Smith… This is one of Denver’s top “vertically integrated” marijuana companies. It grows, processes, and sells its own marijuana… all in-house. See for yourself. Here’s one of the company’s grow rooms:Here’s some of the company’s product after it’s been harvested:Finally, we have the finished product:• You can see that Seed & Smith is doing serious business… It has a state-of-the-art facility, a world-class product, and an award-winning packing process. And it must have all these things to stay competitive. That’s because massive profits are on the line. And unlike most billion-dollar industries, the marijuana market is still wide open. The Marlboros and Budweisers of the marijuana world don’t exist yet. But they’re being born before our eyes. And early investors who back these projects will make fortunes. Think of it as buying Apple in 1980 or Amazon in 1997. That’s the kind of opportunity we’re talking about. But don’t worry.• You don’t need to be plugged into the industry like I am to cash in on this boom… Anyone can get rich off legal marijuana. You just need to buy marijuana stocks. Many of these trade on U.S. exchanges. They’re as easy to buy as a share of McDonald’s. Just remember that the industry’s still in its early days. Because of this, many of today’s marijuana stocks won’t be around a year or two from now. So, do your homework before diving in. Analyze the company’s business model. Get to know their team. Do as much research as you can. Investors who take these steps will set themselves up for huge returns in the coming years. Regards, Justin Spittler Tulum, Mexico January 24, 2018 P.S. My colleague, Casey Report editor E.B. Tucker, recently recommended three cannabis companies set to thrive in the years ahead. And now is the time to bet on them… before it’s too late. Our team just put the finishing touches on a brand-new video presentation that reveals more details about the coming boom… and what you need to do today to take advantage of it… Click here to watch it now. By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily Dispatch“I’m from Lithuania.” A man told me this over dinner on Friday. We were dining at an exclusive steakhouse in Denver, Colorado. “I came here because I’m interested in cannabis,” he said. I told him I was there for the same reason. But I flew up from Tulum, Mexico. Funny enough, the family sitting next to me made a similar journey. They were from Juárez, Mexico. It was an eclectic bunch. And that was just the folks sitting at my table. I also met an engineer from India and a venture capitalist from San Francisco while I was in town.• We all came to Denver for the same reason… We were invited to a private investor meeting where the focus was—you guessed it—cannabis. We were there because the legal marijuana market is exploding. Last year, the North American marijuana market grew 33%. That makes it one of the fastest-growing industries on the planet. And this boom has just begun. By 2026, analysts expect the North American marijuana market to be worth $50 billion. That’s five times bigger than it is today. We haven’t seen a consumer industry grow this rapidly since broadband internet in the early 2000s. 5-Day Window Ends January 28th For the next few days you have a rare opportunity to get all our money making research… Every single alert, issue and recommendation… plus much more for 95% off. Only 0.1% of our readers will likely act on this unique opportunity and it goes offline on Sunday, January 28th. Get all the details before it’s gone. Reader Mailbag We’ve been covering the crypto boom over the last few months. But not everyone agrees with our thesis… Tulip Mania… Have a good time helping your readers lose all their money, especially when they borrow or leverage to buy bitcoins that are really worth nothing at all. – Harry Are you investing in cryptos or marijuana stocks? Let us know how it’s going right here.last_img read more

Teeka Tiwari Editor Palm Beach Letter PS The

first_img Teeka Tiwari Editor, Palm Beach Letter P.S. The bitcoin mania isn’t over… It’s just getting started. And an event set to occur as early as April 2 is set to launch a second, massive run-up. Bitcoin’s price could soar 20 times higher. And I’ve found three plays that could soar even higher than bitcoin. I’m talking about making 50, 100, even 200 times your money. You can get the details right here. Reader Mailbag Today, readers respond to Doug’s take on the political correctness movement: Please look up the origin of PC. Educate your audience. I refuse to acknowledge those two words—it’s a term Stalin popularized. We can thank the “New” out of control educational system! College is a breeding ground. Sad, very sad.—Craig More Scrutiny Is Not a Bad Thing China wants nothing to do with cryptocurrencies. And banks are banning the use of credit cards to purchase them. (That’s actually good news. As I’ve said before, you should never borrow money to fund a crypto investment.) This week, two federal agencies—the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)—are preparing to send reports to Congress about crypto assets. Even the G20 (a group of 19 major national economies and the European Union) is threatening to take cryptos more seriously. All of this scrutiny has people scared that we’ll see a coordinated global effort to snuff out bitcoin and crypto assets. I believe this fear is overblown. Global governments have much bigger problems than bitcoin. The idea that they’ll all join hands and put their differences aside in the relentless pursuit of crushing bitcoin appears farfetched to me. Instead, we’re seeing the maturing of the crypto asset class. None of this is inherently bad. For cryptos to make the leap to a multitrillion-dollar asset class… some form of regulatory framework must be in place. I think it’s an overreaction to assume that all governments want to destroy the crypto asset market. Even if they wanted to, the decentralized nature of bitcoin and other crypto assets makes it impossible for governments to eliminate them (just ask China). Governments can certainly make things more difficult by shutting down the exchanges. But as we’ve already seen, even when the most important market in the space—China—decided to shut down its exchanges, other countries such as Japan welcomed the Chinese exchange operators with open arms. The Crypto Genie Is Out of the Bottle Governments can wail and gnash all they want… but nothing will remove cryptos from the market. The asset class is here to stay. And I think U.S. regulatory bodies understand this reality. That’s why I think the CFTC and SEC hearings will be more concerned with curtailing initial coin offering (ICO) fraud than trying to kill all things crypto-related. The CFTC approved bitcoin futures this past December. It would hardly make sense for it to greenlight futures and then expend resources to destroy the asset class. That’s why I think the current regulatory fears washing through the crypto markets are overblown. Just like they were during the many scary periods I went through with cryptos in 2017. Then, like now, I offered the same advice: Make sure you have rational position sizes. Stop checking prices. Don’t worry about how long this sell-off will last. No one can answer that question with anything more than a guess. (That said, I’m currently working on an essay that will offer my best guess.) I’ll leave you with this… The biggest mistake I made in the decades of the late 1980s and ’90s was to underestimate just how powerful an impact technology would have on the future. I under-owned—and sold too quickly—some of the biggest winners of the past 25 years. I’m not going to make that mistake twice. The blockchain and crypto assets are a new breed of technology that will have as much (if not more) of an impact on the world as the tech companies of the 1980s and 1990s have today. Let the Game Come to You! Buy These Three Cryptos Before April 2nd Nobody’s talking about it, but an estimated $846 billion mountain of money is expected to hit cryptocurrencies as early as April 2nd. That’s more money than the value of every single cryptocurrency on the market—combined. Three small cryptos in particular are expected to see the biggest portions of that cash… Details here. Identity REVEALED: The man who beat Buffett by 2-to-1 He’s called the “Billionaire Beater” because his research outperformed some of America’s most famous billionaires several times over. One he beat by more than 2-to-1 over a recent ten year period. He also crushed three legendary hedge fund billionaires over that same time frame. He’s a humble guy, though, and keeps to himself, but here’s how you can get elite-level access to his stock research… For example, in 2013, the Chinese government banned its banks from dealing with bitcoin. This was at a time when 90% of all bitcoin mining and the majority of bitcoin activity took place in China. On top of that, hackers broke into the world’s largest bitcoin exchange at the time (Mt. Gox) and stole nearly 850,000 bitcoins. Bitcoin dropped 80%… But it still refused to die. When I finally became convinced to buy bitcoin in early 2016, it was at $450 and had a $6.6 billion market cap. I knew that any asset class that could survive so much negativity had to have long-term value. Since then, of course, bitcoin has been as high as $20,000. Now that bitcoin has dropped as low as $7,000, does that mean the party is over? Technology Has a History of Fits and Starts I’ve been fortunate enough to meet many bitcoin millionaires—some now billionaires—who lived through bitcoin’s 80% drop in 2013. I asked what kept them in bitcoin through the negativity. After all, they had made fortunes from bitcoin… So why stick around? What separated them from the hordes of “investors” who sold was their unswerving belief that the world needed a practical alternative to fiat currency. Bitcoin is the first currency that can’t be devalued by a government. It’s the first asset that we’ve had complete ownership over. It’s the most difficult asset to seize in the world. Barring torture, there isn’t a government in the world that can take your bitcoin from you (assuming you’ve stored it securely). That makes bitcoin—and crypto assets overall—unique. In my opinion, bitcoin’s unique qualities will continue to create value for its holders. But it won’t move in a straight line. No asset ever moves in one direction. Even the biggest stock winners of the last two decades—Microsoft, Apple, Google, and Facebook—had long periods of price drops, price consolidations, and fears about their long-term viability as businesses. In the 1990s, the government tried to break up Microsoft. Apple traded for barely the cash on its balance sheet in 2003 as people failed to see the significance of the iPod. In 2007, Google dropped 70% as investors thought it couldn’t survive the Great Recession. And Facebook dropped 50% right out of the gate when it went public. Just like those tech giants, bitcoin and crypto assets are now under a global microscope. All of this PC correctness nonsense is in the Marxist Progressivist line, which Obama-lite democrats are THE PROPONENTS of. Dumb down and numb down the masses, give them a bag of “goodies” to make them dependent on government and you have met your goal = gain the power. Eliminate/smear everybody with different views and you have made it! It’s like from Marx’s Manifesto. We must stay alert and not let the USA become the united socialist states of America!—Vera —center_img Recommended Link Recommended Link Justin’s note: Over the last few months, we’ve shared many essays on the big opportunity in cryptocurrencies. With the recent sell-off, I wanted to get this new essay from Palm Beach Letter editor Teeka Tiwari out to you as soon as possible. Teeka knows more about the crypto market than anyone I know, and he explains below what you should be doing today… By Teeka Tiwari, editor, The Palm Beach Letter I’m sure you’re aware of the vicious sell-off currently going on in the cryptocurrency market. But what you might not know is that this type of volatility isn’t new. Even as recently as last March and September, we dealt with similar market meltdowns. What was especially tough for us was that our most important positions actually ended up dropping far lower than the general market. At certain periods last year, we saw peak-to-valley drops of 67%, 73%, and 78% in some of my recommendations. It was a bloodbath. Hackers attacked Ethereum—my most important position… and the one I had staked my reputation on—every day. I can’t count how many times Ethereum forked its code to deal with various attacks. Aside from the normal angry emails we receive when prices are tanking, I received many mocking emails from “friends” reveling in my perceived “misery.” More than one asked, “How are your ‘tulip bulbs’ doing?” Then, like now, I knew the slings and arrows of the market would ultimately strengthen the entire crypto asset ecosystem. Whether it was hackers trying to destabilize the Ethereum network or the Chinese government trying to ban exchanges, I’ve always known that the decentralized nature of crypto assets makes them very resilient to external threats. That resiliency is what attracted me to bitcoin in the first place. — Mr. Casey forgets to mention that his fellow multi-millionaires support the PC movement. Warren Buffett and Lloyd Blankfein fund candidates that support all this PC nonsense but have no idea why—they flail around for an explanation. There is an answer but it cannot be found in secularism.—KostaIf you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.last_img read more

Rural medical clinics that are struggling to respo

first_imgRural medical clinics that are struggling to respond to an epidemic of a fatal lung disease plaguing coal miners received a 40 percent boost in federal funding with the passage of the omnibus spending bill last week.As NPR first reported in 2016, hundreds of coal miners have been diagnosed with Progressive Massive Fibrosis in the last five years. This advanced stage of the disease known as “black lung” is incurable and often leads to gruesome deaths in which miners gradually lose lung function and suffocate.The funding for 28 black lung clinics in 15 coal mining states will jump $2.7 million to $10 million, which is the first time in at least 20 years that Congress and the White House have agreed to provide the maximum funding authorized by federal law in 1977.A bipartisan group of congressmen sought the additional funding and cited the sudden epidemic of the disease in seeking White House approval.”More funding for clinics is important. They need more resources to cope with the increase in PMF cases,” said Rep. H. Morgan Griffith, R-Va. “Coal miners are proud of the work they do, but should they develop black lung, they also want to be taken care of, and I agree.”Griffith worked with Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Va., the ranking member of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce. Scott said the additional funds “will assist these clinics to better serve disabled coal miners with black lung disease.”Scott also wants the clinics to work with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health to “identify and track cases of progressive massive fibrosis which is afflicting miners at rates not seen in the past 40 years.”Last year, Scott, Griffith and other members of Congress wrote President Trump, noting that “the clinics have faced a substantial increase in demands from coal miners for screening, diagnosis, and pulmonary rehabilitation.””Some clinics are so underfunded that they are operating with obsolete and inefficient diagnostic equipment, which is needlessly increasing miners’ radiation dose when they receive a chest X-ray,” the lawmakers added.NPR’s investigation also identified the largest cluster of PMF cases ever documented, a finding confirmed last month by NIOSH. That cluster was reported by three black lung clinics operated by Stone Mountain Health Services in southwestern Virginia.The additional funding “will definitely give us the tools that we need to screen, diagnose and treat the coal miners,” said Ron Carson, who directs the Stone Mountain black lung program.”We have seen a lot more miners coming into our clinics and instead of having to schedule them two and three months out, we can actually have that miner seen that particular day,” Carson added.Since 2013, the Stone Mountain clinics have diagnosed more than 600 cases of advanced black lung, which is six times the number of cases federal researchers had reported nationwide for the same period. The miners streaming into Stone Mountain worked in the coalfields of southwestern Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southern West Virginia.NIOSH studies and NPR reporting show that the epidemic is striking younger miners, including some in their 30s and 40s, who are also suffering rapid progression to more severe stages of disease.NPR’s ongoing survey of black lung clinics, independent medical clinics and law firms specializing in black lung benefits claims has identified more than 2,200 cases of PMF or complicated black lung since 2010.The pace of disease continues with some clinics reporting a doubling of cases in the past year.Carson is also active in the National Coalition of Black Lung and Respiratory Disease Clinics and said he hopes the additional funding will be used to help clinics convert to digital X-rays and medical records. That will improve diagnoses, he said, and make it possible to track the extent of disease more quickly and accurately.In a statement, the coalition said the growing number of miners seeking diagnosis at clinics “often have more advanced and complex illnesses.”Last year, the clinics served more than 13,000 working, laid-off and retired coal miners. Funding is channeled through the Health Resources and Services Administration, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.Carson hopes the additional funds will help the clinics reach out to miners who may not know they have black lung.Federal and independent researchers say the spike in advanced disease is due to longer working hours for miners and increased exposure to silica dust, which results when mining machines cut sandstone. Silica is far more toxic than coal dust alone. Large underground coal seams have generally played out in Appalachia. The thinner seams that remain are embedded in sandstone. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.last_img read more

A debate is brewing over changes to the State Heal

first_imgA debate is brewing over changes to the State Health Plan. Some say a new proposal would benefit state workers while putting the future of rural hospitals in jeopardy.State Treasurer Dale Folwell believes hospitals are overcharging the roughly 700,000 people who have medical insurance through the State Health Plan.Folwell spoke at a contentious legislative committee meeting on Tuesday. He told attendees that his proposed changes to how health care providers are paid could save taxpayers more than $700 million a year, with additional savings in out-of-pocket expenses for state employees.The News and Observer reports that the North Carolina Healthcare Association opposes Folwell’s plan, which is scheduled to take effect in January.NCHA officials say those changes would amount to a 15 percent average cut to hospital budgets, and could force some rural hospitals to close, or leave the State Health Plan altogether.Despite their differences, many at the meeting agreed that the current system might soon become unsustainable, and urged compromise between the treasurer’s office and hospital representatives.last_img read more

Activists hope a new nonpartisan online campaign

first_imgActivists hope a new non-partisan online campaign – based on a successful US user-led movement – could finally enable disabled people to become a political force in the UK, and play a significant role in deciding June’s general election.The hope is that the #CripTheVoteUK campaign will allow the millions of disabled people in the UK to use their weight of numbers to affect the election’s outcome.The campaign will not support any particular political party, but will encourage disabled people to register to vote and use social media such as Twitter and Facebook to discuss discrimination, oppression and inequality and the policies and practices that most affect them.Its first major action will be a #CripTheVoteUK Twitter discussion on the Department for Work and Pensions and benefit cuts, on Sunday (30 April) from 7-8pm, hosted by the disabled political journalist Dr Frances Ryan.Other Twitter chats are likely to include independent living, inclusive education, and the threats to disabled people’s rights of a “hard Brexit”.#CripTheVote was launched by three US disabled activists who were frustrated at the failure of the 2016 presidential candidates to talk about disability issues.The trio – Gregg Beratan, Alice Wong and Andrew Pulrang – are now supporting the UK extension of their movement, after being approached by Canadian disabled activist Alex Haagaard, who had asked if they were planning any work around the snap UK election called by prime minister Theresa May earlier this month.They put Haagaard in touch with disabled activist Eleanor Lisney in the UK, and the two of them have recruited other experienced disability activists, including Rick Burgess and Dennis Queen, to organise and lead #CripTheVoteUK.Lisney said: “We want to make enough noise [so that politicians] realise that disabled people are a big proportion of the population and that they cannot disregard our voting power.“We are an important voice.”She said it was crucial that #CripTheVote and #CripTheVoteUK were both “intersectional”, acknowledging that disabled people also face discrimination because of other characteristics such as their race, sexuality and gender.Lisney said the attacks on disabled people’s rights were so serious that the new campaign could save lives.She added: “I think disabled people all over the world are realising what is happening globally, that we are taking a step backwards.”Haagaard said she had become involved after spending a year in the UK, and joining an online narcolepsy support group.She said: “Since returning [to Canada] I have continued to watch member after member struggle with cuts to their benefits, assertions that they’re fit to work despite doctors’ letters to the contrary, and draconian reassessment cycles that leave them in a constant state of stress (which in turn severely exacerbates many of their symptoms).“It’s been horrifying to witness this, and having participated in the discussions of the #CripTheVote movement during the US election cycle, it seemed clear to me that these sorts of conversations needed to be made a key issue of the next UK election.”She said she accepted that “the fact this is a snap election with a very compressed timeline puts us at a disadvantage as an awareness campaign”, but she said she hoped that social media could play “a major role in changing the mainstream conversation” on the election.She said: “It’s a big goal, but I hope #CripTheVoteUK can contribute to making disability rights in the UK a viral topic.”Burgess said he hoped the six weeks leading to the election would be just a “starting point” for what would be a long-term campaign, but the immediate priority was “getting people to make sure they are registered to vote and getting them enthused so they will vote”.He said it would “take effort” for the campaign to remain non-partisan, but he said: “I think we will be direct about facts and policy but we will not be saying ‘…and therefore we think ‘X party’ is really great.’“We have to be realistic about the position we are in and critical of policy, regardless of who it’s implemented by.“As happened in America, you don’t want to be partisan and aligned to a party, but you do need to talk about policies, principles and rights, because if you don’t, something like Trump could happen.”Burgess said he and others had started thinking about the idea of a more organised disabled people’s “voting block” following the successful WOW petition, which he helped organise and led to a House of Commons debate in 2014 on the impact of welfare cuts and reforms on disabled people.He said: “There are 13 million disabled people. If that was more organised and engaged we would be a serious electoral force that parties would have to listen to.“In the long-term, disabled people have to be more of an organised block of voters in the same way people talk about the grey lobby.“Politicians need to be a little bit afraid of offending us. At the moment, they don’t appear remotely worried about what they do.”Burgess said he hoped that #CripTheVoteUK would see disabled people taking on some of the influence currently wielded by the big disability charities.He said: “It is about fertilising and organising the grassroots. Power should come from the bottom, from the real people.“What disabled people want is not the same thing as what a corporate charity that represents disabled people may want.“If you look at disability rights history, often we have felt very betrayed by charities.”Beratan, who himself lived in the UK for 15 years, said #CripTheVote was “geared towards both engaging the disability community in discussing the policies and politics that will most impact our lives but also to use our collective power to amplify the community’s voice on these issues”.And he said that “shrewed” politicians would use #CripTheVoteUK to engage with disabled voters.He said he and his colleagues had been more than happy to advise on setting up #CripTheVoteUK but “have been clear that #CripTheVoteUK needs to develop into whatever the UK disability community needs it to be.“As we saw in the US, #CripTheVote took off because the disability community took ownership of it.”Although he did not want to speak for the UK organisers, he said it had been “very important” in the US to keep #CripTheVote “nonpartisan”.He said: “Most of the evidence out there shows that the disability community breaks all across the political spectrum, but as we’ve seen many times, with the issues that affect our community most, partisan allegiances fall away.“We do tend to make it clear though that nonpartisan does not mean non critical. We’ve always been highly critical of policies that harm disabled people.”And he said he saw a lot of similarities between the two communities.He said: “We’ve both been largely ignored by the mainstream political discourse, and are both more likely to be scapegoated than engaged with.“So ideally I’d love to see them force disability into the conversation in this election.”last_img read more

Climate change could pose threat to male fertility

first_img Source:http://www.uea.ac.uk/about/-/climate-change-damaging-male-fertility Reviewed by Alina Shrourou, B.Sc. (Editor)Nov 13 2018Climate change could pose a threat to male fertility – according to new research from the University of East Anglia.New findings published today in the journal Nature Communications reveal that heatwaves damage sperm in insects – with negative impacts for fertility across generations.The research team say that male infertility during heatwaves could help to explain why climate change is having such an impact on species populations, including climate-related extinctions in recent years.Research group leader Prof Matt Gage said: “We know that biodiversity is suffering under climate change, but the specific causes and sensitivities are hard to pin down.”We’ve shown in this work that sperm function is an especially sensitive trait when the environment heats up, and in a model system representing a huge amount of global biodiversity.”Since sperm function is essential for reproduction and population viability, these findings could provide one explanation for why biodiversity is suffering under climate change.”A warmer atmosphere will be more volatile and hazardous, with extreme events like heatwaves becoming increasingly frequent, intense and widespread.”Heatwaves are particularly damaging extreme weather events. Local extinctions are known to occur when temperature changes become too intense. We wanted to know why this happens. And one answer could be related to sperm.”The research team investigated the red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum) to explore the effects of simulated heatwaves on male reproduction.The beetles were exposed to either standard control conditions or five-day heatwave temperatures, which were 5°C to 7°C above their thermal optimum.Afterwards, a variety of experiments assessed the potential damage to reproductive success, sperm function and offspring quality.Heatwaves killed spermThe team found that heatwaves halved the amount of offspring males could produce, and a second heatwave almost sterilized males.Females, by contrast, were unaffected by heatwave conditions. However, female reproduction was affected indirectly because experiments showed that heatwaves damaged inseminated sperm within female reproductive tracts.Related StoriesExposure to EDCs can affect sexual development and reproduction of future generationsTesticular tissue cryopreservation offers hope for young men at risk of infertilityBlastocyst transfer linked to higher risk of preterm birth, large-for-gestational-age ratesFollowing experimental heatwaves, males reduced sperm production by three-quarters, and any sperm produced then struggled to migrate into the female tract and were more likely to die before fertilization.Kirs Sales, a postgraduate researcher who led the research, said: “Our research shows that heatwaves halve male reproductive fitness, and it was surprising how consistent the effect was.”The group also explored the underlying causes of male vulnerability. Heatwaves caused some impact on male sexual behavior – with males mating half as frequently as controls.Heatwaves caused damage across generations”Two concerning results were the impact of successive heatwaves on males, and the impacts of heatwaves on future generations,” said Sales.”When males were exposed to two heatwave events 10 days apart, their offspring production was less than 1 per cent of the control group. Insects in nature are likely to experience multiple heatwave events, which could become a problem for population productivity if male reproduction cannot adapt or recover.”The research also shows that offspring sired by heatwaved dads – or their sperm – live shorter lives – by a couple of months.And the reproductive performance of sons produced by dads – or sperm – exposed to heatwave conditions was also impacted. Sons were found to be less able to fertilize a series of potential mates, and produced less offspring.The researchers warn that this could add extra pressure to populations already suffering through climate change over time.”Beetles are thought to constitute a quarter of biodiversity, so these results are very important for understanding how species react to climate change. Research has also shown that heat shock can damage male reproduction in warm blooded animals too, and past work has shown that this leads to infertility in mammals,” added Sales.The researchers hope that the effects can be incorporated into models predicting species vulnerability, and ultimately help inform societal understanding and conservation actions.last_img read more

Stand Up to Cancer supports potential approach to more efficiently target pancreatic

first_img Source:https://www.mdanderson.org/newsroom/2018/11/stand-up-to-cancer-funds-innovative-approach-to-pancreatic-cancer.html Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 21 2018Research on a new way of deploying the immune system against pancreatic cancer, an exceptionally lethal cancer that has so far resisted new immunotherapies, will receive $1 million in initial funding from Stand Up to Cancer.The project led by researchers from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Baylor College of Medicine will collect T cells – the immune system’s targeted warriors — from tumors, expand their number by the billions and then customize them to resist being shut down by a common substance that’s abundantly produced in tumor tissue.Stand Up to Cancer, a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation to encourage cancer research collaboration, and the American Association for Cancer Research on Tuesday announced funding of seven projects, the first under its Pancreatic Cancer Collective, a collaboration with the Lustgarten Foundation to accelerate research and improve patient outcomes for pancreatic cancer. Only about 8 percent of pancreatic cancer patients survive to five years, according to the National Cancer Institute.”We’re encouraged by Stand Up to Cancer’s support for this potential approach to more efficiently target and overwhelm solid tumors with an immune response,” said project leader Patrick Hwu, M.D., head of MD Anderson’s Division of Cancer Medicine and chair of Melanoma Medical Oncology.Immune checkpoint blockade drugs that unleash T cells to attack cancer have demonstrated some success in more than a dozen cancers, but have not worked against pancreatic cancer. Hwu is a pioneer in the field of adoptive cell therapy using tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) – a process of capturing T cells that have attacked a patient’s tumor, expanding them in the lab, and then re-infusing them in the patient by the billions.Billions of T cells, genetically fortified”We know pancreatic cancer is immunosuppressive and that very few T cells penetrate the tumor, so we hypothesize that checkpoint blockade doesn’t work because there are too few T cells,” said team co-leader Chantale Bernatchez, Ph.D., assistant professor of Melanoma Medical Oncology at MD Anderson.The team’s answer to this problem combines MD Anderson capabilities to massively expand the relatively few T cells found in pancreatic tumors with Baylor College of Medicine technology to insert a defective receptor for Transforming Growth Factor-Beta (TGF-Beta) on those T cells, allowing them to resist being deactivated by TGF-Beta secreted by the tumor and surrounding cells.Related StoriesSugary drinks linked to cancer finds studyCancer killing capability of lesser-known immune cells identifiedStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryCo-leader Cliona M. Rooney, Ph.D., Baylor College of Medicine, professor of Hematology-Oncology and Cell and Gene Therapy, has developed the approach to insert a gene that expresses a truncated “decoy” receptor on the T cells that allows TGF-Beta to bind to the receptor, but not deactivate the T cell.Rooney, Hwu and Bernatchez have collaborated for several years to optimize this gene modification on TILs used to treat melanoma. The anti-tumor efficacy of these genetically modified T cells is currently tested in a clinical trial to treat metastatic melanoma patients whose disease resists checkpoint blockade, a patient population with poor prognosis.A durable response in a subset of these patients suggests that this strategy may work in tumor types not responsive to current immunotherapies, Bernatchez said.The SU2C funding will support preclinical proof-of-concept studies testing this approach to treat human pancreatic cancer in mouse models. Stand Up to Cancer, 14 months from now, will select several of the original seven projects to fund clinical trials of the most promising approaches.Bernatchez and her team demonstrated earlier this year that they could find enough T cells in human pancreatic tumors to cultivate them in a medium that includes interleukin-2 and two antibodies that stimulate T cell growth, creating the billions of T cells necessary to treat patients.”We found we could grow enough T cells to infuse back into patients 90 percent of the time,” Bernatchez said.MD Anderson has joined with Iovance Biotherapeutics to open a clinical trial of these first-generation, unmodified TILs for patients with pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer or osteosarcoma.TILs have been used in a longstanding clinical trial for advanced melanoma, with MD Anderson reporting that 42 percent of 74 patients in the clinical trial had their tumors shrink, and 20 percent have durable responses. While checkpoint blockade drugs have superseded TILs in melanoma, researchers believe TILs might work in other tumor types, such as pancreatic cancer, that resist checkpoint blockade.last_img read more

Making the tools to connect isiXhosa and isiZulu to the digital age

These technologies comprise computational methods, computer programmes and electronic devices that are specialised for analysing, producing or modifying texts and speech. Engaging with a language like English is made easier thanks to the many tools to support you, such as spellcheckers in browsers and autocomplete for text messages. This is mainly because English has a relatively simple and well investigated grammar, more data that software can learn from, and substantial funding to develop tools. The situation is somewhat to very different for most language in the world.This is beginning to change. Profit driven multinationals such as Google, Facebook and Microsoft, for instance, have invested in the development of HLTs also for African languages.Researchers and scientists, myself included are also investigating and creating these technologies. It has a direct relevance for society: languages, and the identities and cultures intertwined with them, are a national resource for any country. In a country like South Africa, learning different languages can foster cohesion and inclusion. Just learning a language, however, is not enough if there’s no infrastructure to support it. For instance, what’s the point of searching the Web in, say, isiXhosa when the search engine algorithms can’t process the words properly anyway and so won’t return the results you’re looking for? Where are the spellcheckers to assist you in writing emails, school essays, or news articles? That’s why we have been laying both theoretical foundations and creating proof-of-concept tools for several South African languages. This includes spellcheckers for isiZulu and isiXhosa and the generation of text in mainly these languages from structured input. Why it’s great to learn a second language Citation: Making the tools to connect isiXhosa and isiZulu to the digital age (2018, March 13) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-tools-isixhosa-isizulu-digital-age.html Using rules of the language to develop toolsTool development for the Nguni group of languages – and isiZulu and isiXhosa in particular – wasn’t simply a case of copy-and-pasting tools from English. I had to develop novel algorithms that can handle the quite different grammar. I have also collaborated with linguists to figure out the details of each language.For instance, even just automatically generating the plural noun in isiZulu from a noun in the singular required a new approach that combined syntax – how it is written – with semantics (the meaning) of the nouns by using its characteristic noun class system. In English, merely syntax-based rules can do the job.Rule-based approaches are also preferred for morphological analysers, which split each word into its constituent parts, and for natural language generation. Natural language generation involves taking structured data, information or knowledge, such as the numbers in the columns in a spreadsheet, and creating readable text from them. A simple way of realising that is to use templates where the software slots in the values given by the data or the logical theory. This is not possible for isiZulu, because the sentence constituents are context-dependent.A grammar engine is needed to generate even the most basic sentences correctly. We have worked out the core aspects of the workflow in the engine. This is being extended with more details of the verbs. Using lots of text to develop toolsThe rules-based approach is resource intensive. This, in combination with global hype around “Big Data”, has brought data-driven approaches to the fore.The hope is that better quality tools may now be developed with less effort and that it will be easier to reuse those tools for related languages. This can work, provided one has a lot of good quality text, referred to as a corpus. Such corpora are being developed, and the recently established South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) aims to pool computational resources. We investigated the effects of a corpus on the quality of an isiZulu spellchecker, which showed that learning the statistics-driven language model on old texts like the bible does not transfer well to modern day texts such as news items from the Isolezwe newspaper, nor vice versa. The spellchecker has about 90% accuracy in single-word error detection and it seems to contribute to the intellectualisation of isiZulu. Its algorithms use trigrams and probabilities of their occurrence in the corpus to compute the probability that a word is spelled correctly, rather than a dictionary based approach that is impractical for agglutinating languages. The algorithms were reused for isiXhosa simply by feeding it a small isiXhosa corpus: it achieved about 80% accuracy already even without optimisations. Data-driven approaches are also pursued in tools for finding information online, i.e., to develop search engines alike a ‘Google for isiZulu’. Algorithms for data-driven machine translation, on the other hand, can easily be misled by out-of-domain training data from which it has to learn the patterns.Relevance for South AfricaThis sort of natural language generation could be incredibly useful in South Africa. The country has 11 official languages, with English as the language of business. That has resulted in the other 10 being sidelined, and in particular those that were already under resourced.This trend runs counter to citizens’ rights and the state’s obligations as outlined in the Constitution. These obligations go beyond just promoting language. Take, for instance, the right to have access to the public health system. One study showed that only 6% of patient-doctor consultations was held in the patient’s home language. The other 94% essentially didn’t receive the quality care they deserved because of language barriers.The sort of research I’m working on with my team can help. It could contribute to, among others, realising technologies such as automatically generating patient discharge notes in one’s own language, text-based weather forecasts, and online language learning exercises. Explore further Software tools can take multiple languages to entirely new spaces. Credit: Zubada/Shutterstock Provided by The Conversation This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article. We live in a world where around 7000 languages are spoken, and one where information and communication technologies are becoming increasingly ubiquitous. This puts increasing demands on more, and more advanced, Human Language Technologies (HLTs). This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. read more

Unclear whether digital revolution lowers prices survey

first_img Citation: Unclear whether digital revolution lowers prices – survey (2018, November 7) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-unclear-digital-revolution-lowers-prices.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Explore further © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Retailers told the European Central Bank, which carried out the survey, that e-commerce should lower prices for shoppers. But producers of goods foresaw more chances to raise prices thanks to new technologies such as 3D printing and internet-connected devices.The bank asked 74 of the biggest companies in Europe how the think new technologies are likely to affect the economy in coming years.On balance, the businesses saw digitalization having a “small negative impact” on jobs, while shifting labor needs from low-skilled to high-skill employees.The ECB probed the price issue because its mission is to keep inflation under control near its goal of just under 2 percent. Central banks and economists have struggled to understand why inflation has only responded slowly to years of stimulus like low interest rates and money injections into the economy.center_img Shoppers walk by a promotion by Alibaba’s Tmall online shopping platform for the upcoming 10th Singles Day event in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018. What begun in the 90s by Chinese college students as a version of Valentine’s Day for people without romantic partners to splurge on themselves, the day of sales promotion has grown into the world’s biggest e-commerce event. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan) Some manufacturers feeling trade war pinch: survey A new survey suggests the digital technologies sweeping through the corporate world could mean some job losses at big companies, but it’s unclear what impact they will have on consumer prices.last_img read more

Increasing skepticism against robots

first_imgCredit: CC0 Public Domain Explore further Journal information: Computers in Human Behavior More information: Timo Gnambs et al. Are robots becoming unpopular? Changes in attitudes towards autonomous robotic systems in Europe, Computers in Human Behavior (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.chb.2018.11.045 Provided by Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg Citation: Increasing skepticism against robots (2019, January 22) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2019-01-skepticism-robots.htmlcenter_img In Europe, people are more reserved regarding robots than they were five years ago. This is shown in a new study published by scientists from Linz and Würzburg. Snacks on wheels: PepsiCo tests self-driving robot delivery Robots performing surgeries, robots in automobile production, and robots in caregiving… In some areas, the machines are already well-established, in others they are on the rise. The psychologists Timo Gnambs from Johannes Kepler Universität Linz (Austria) and Markus Appel from Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg (Germany) believe that we are on the brink of a robotic era.There are more and more robots in everyday life. But how do people feel about robots? Apparently increasingly uncomfortable, as the two professors show in the journal Computers in Human Behavior. According to their cross-European data analysis, robots were evaluated more negatively in 2017 than five years before.Increasing skepticism about robots at the workplaceThe skepticism about robots at the workplace has grown in particular. This may be due to the fact that the topic of job losses due to robotic systems has been increasingly discussed in the public, the researchers say. However, the use of robots at the workplace is still rated more positively than the use in surgeries or autonomous cars.Gnambs and Appel analyzed the 2012, 2014 and 2017 Eurobarometer data. This is a representative survey on current topics; their findings are based on 80,396 citizens from 27 European countries.How interviews were conductedIn the interviews, the respondents first saw a general description of robots as machines that can assist people with everyday activities, such as cleaning robots. Or as machines that are working in environments which are too dangerous for humans, such as rescue missions. When the interviewees subsequently had to judge robots, the results were still relatively positive.Another picture emerged as soon as respondents were confronted with specific applications, such as surgeries, caretaking robots or self-driving cars. Then they evaluated robots more negatively.It seems that Europeans are relatively positive about robots as long as they have a more or less theoretical concept in mind. They are increasingly critically when the robot is specified and personal interactions appear imminent.The study gives some notable insights. It shows that men tend to see robots as positively, while women are more skeptical. Blue-collar workers have more negative attitudes towards robots than people with office jobs. And in countries with a high proportion of older people, the attitudes towards robots are more positive.Warning signal for business and politicsTaken together, the Linz and Würzburg scientists identified the trend that skepticism towards robots in Europe has grown between 2012 and 2017. This should be a warning sign for politics and business – and a motivation to counteract reasonable fears about our robotic future. Not least, negative attitudes towards new technologies may be a sign that these technologies will not be accepted later on and will not prevail on the market. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

Space Archaeology Is a Thing And It Involves Lasers and Spy Satellites

first_img 7 Amazing Places to Visit with Google Street View Satellite images of the buried ancient Egyptian city Tanis revealed city walls that were invisible to archaeologists on the ground. Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Parcak Today, aerial or satellite images captured by optical lenses, thermal cameras, infrared and lidar — light detection and ranging, a type of laser system — are well-established as part of an archaeologist’s tool kit. And archaeologists need as many tools as they can get; there are thought to be millions of sites around the world that are yet to be discovered, Parcak added. But remote sensing isn’t one-size-fits-all; different terrains require different space archaeology techniques. For example, in Egypt, layers of sand blanket lost pyramids and cities. In that type of landscape, high-resolution optical satellites reveal subtle differences on the surface that may hint at structures underground. And in regions with dense vegetation, such as in Southeast Asia or Central America, lidar emits millions of pulses of light to penetrate beneath the trees and detect hidden buildings, Parcak explained. In her own work, Parcak’s analysis of satellite views led to the creation of a new map for the legendary city of Tanis in Egypt, famously featured in the movie “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” Satellite images of Tanis revealed a vast network of the city’s buildings, which had previously gone undetected even as the site was under excavation, she wrote. Image Gallery: How Technology Reveals Hidden Art Treasures Satellites analyze landscapes and use different parts of the light spectrum to uncover buried remnants of ancient civilizations. But studying archaeological sites from above had very humble (and low-tech) beginnings, Parcak told Live Science. Researchers first experimented with peering down from a great height at a historic location more than a century ago, when a member of the Corps of Royal Engineers photographed the 5,000-year-old monument Stonehenge from a hot-air balloon. “You could even see — from this very early and somewhat blurry photograph — staining in the landscape around the site, showing that there were buried features there,” Parcak said. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s, aerial photography continued to play an important role in archaeology. But when NASA launched its first satellites it opened up “a completely new world,” for archaeologists in the 1980s and 1990s, Parcak said. In fact, declassified images from the U.S. government’s Corona spy satellite program, which operated from 1959 to 1972, helped archaeologists in the 1990s to reconstruct the positions of important sites in the Middle East that had since disappeared, eradicated by urban expansion. In Photos: Ancient Egyptian Tombs Decorated with Creaturescenter_img What does it take to be a space archaeologist? No, you don’t need a rocket or a spacesuit. However, lasers are sometimes involved. And infrared cameras. And spy satellites. Welcome to Sarah Parcak’s world. Parcak, an archaeologist and a professor of anthropology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, has mapped sites around the world from space; she does so using images captured by satellites — from NASA and from private companies — orbiting high above the ground. From these lofty heights, sensitive instruments can reveal details that are invisible to scientists on the ground, marking the positions of walls or even entire cities that have been buried for millennia. Parcak unpacks how views from space are transforming the field of archaeology, in her new book “Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past” (Henry Holt and Co., 2019). [Read an excerpt from “Archaeology From Space”] Archaeology Gets a Sci-Fi Makeover, In ‘Archaeology From Space’Live Science sits down with archaeologist and author Sarah Parcak to talk about her new book, “”Archaeology From Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past” (Henry Holt and Co., 2019).Volume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Better Bug Sprays?01:33关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65924-space-archaeology-highlights.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0020:0420:04Your Recommended Playlist01:33Better Bug Sprays?04:24Sperm Whale Befriends Underwater Robot00:29Robot Jumps Like a Grasshopper, Rolls Like a Ball01:08Why Do French Fries Taste So Bad When They’re Cold?02:31Surgical Robotics00:29Video – Giggly Robot关闭  An eye inlay from a tomb dating to 4,000 years ago, in Lisht, Egypt. The expedition, co-led by Dr. Parcak, was conducted in partnership with the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities. Credit: Courtesy of Sarah Parcak If these stories of space archaeology in Parcak’s book leave readers wanting more, they’re in luck. An online platform called GlobalXplorer, launched and run by Parcak, offers users access to a library of satellite images for browsing and annotation. Aspiring “citizen-scientists” can join “campaigns” to assist in the ongoing search for lost cities and ancient structures, and to help experts identify signs of looting in vulnerable sites, according to the platform website. Since 2017, approximately 80,000 users have evaluated 14 million satellite images, mapping 700 major archaeological sites that were previously unknown, Parcak said. “Archaeology From Space” is available to buy on Amazon. Originally published on Live Science.last_img read more

Win 4 Weekend Tickets to the BlueDot Festival 2019 in the UK

first_imgDo you love music? Do you love science? Would you like to go to a festival where both are rolled up into a weekend of family fun? Well look no further, as we’re giving away four tickets (two adults plus two teens (11 to 15 years old) for a weekend of camping and festival-going at BlueDot festival, located at Jodrell Bank Observatory, Cheshire, United Kingdom. Kicking off on Thursday, July 18, this event will last through Sunday (July 21) and will be jam-packed with science, art and music in the most creative and immersive fashion. Not only will there be talks from the brightest scientists from around the globe, but there will be a selection of world-famous art on display. The main stage will sit in the foreground of the observatory’s Lovell Telescope, which has been at the forefront of scientific discovery for over half a century. Thursday will begin the long weekend of musical acts, including an opening convert from The Hallé. The kick-off will see music acts such as Hot Chip, Jon Hopkins, Kate Tempest and Ibibio Sound Machine, among many more. Saturday will welcome Kraftwerk 3-D, Jarvis Cocker, 808 State, Sons of Kemet and more. Finally, Sunday will finish with multiple award-winning New Order, John Grant, Gruff Rhys, Anna Calvi, Gogo Penguin and others.Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really LoudThis rapid strike produces a loud ‘pop’ comparable to those made by snapping shrimps, one of the most intense biological sounds measured at sea.Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Why Is It ‘Snowing’ Salt in the Dead Sea?01:53 facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65823-win-tickets-bluedot-festival.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0000:3500:35  But it’s not just the music that people travel from around the world to see, and this includes the brilliant scientists and engineers providing brilliantly informative talks about the latest in STEM subjects. Such names include Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sherman, famous science historian James Burke, French-Irish science and history presenter Liz Bonnin and other exciting names in the world of science, including Jim Al-Khalili, Dallas Campbell and the director of Jodrell Bank, Tim O’Brien. In between the music and the science, there are opportunities to visit some exciting stalls with a variety of interesting cuisines; there are comedy shows, stargazing, microbrewery, mixology, family events, a deep-space disco and so much more. *Please note that the ticket isn’t valid until 9 a.m. on July 19. To be in for the chance of winning tickets to an unforgettable weekend of science and music, all you need to do is enter here before the July 10.by Taboolaby TaboolaSponsored LinksSponsored LinksPromoted LinksPromoted LinksYou May LikeVikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedVikings: Free Online GameUndoKelley Blue Book2019 Lexus Vehicles Worth Buying for Their Resale ValueKelley Blue BookUndoAncestryThe Story Behind Your Last Name Will Surprise YouAncestryUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoClassmatesSearch For Any High School Yearbook, It’s Free.ClassmatesUndoGundry MD SupplementsTop Cardiologist: This One Thing Will Properly Flush Out Your BowelsGundry MD SupplementsUndolast_img read more

Modi govt will never misuse NIA law Amit Shah

first_img Refuting opposition claims over “misuse” of the NIA law, Home Minister Amit Shah on Monday asserted that the Modi government will never misuse it on the basis of religion but ensure that terrorism is finished off irrespective of the religion of the accused.In an intervention during a discussion in Lok Sabha on the National Investigation Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2019, Shah also targeted the Congress-led UPA government for repealing the anti-terror act POTA, saying it was not done because of its alleged misuse but to “save its vote bank”.He said terror attacks witnessed an uspurge after the Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) was repealed resulting in the same UPA government being forced to constitute NIA after the Mumbai attacks. Shah sought all-party support for the bill’s passage, saying a division in the House on the issue of strengthening the agency will send out a wrong message and boost the morale of terrorists.“Parliament should speak in one voice in giving powers to the NIA to send out a message to terrorists and the world,” he asserted. His response came as several opposition leaders criticised the bill and accused the government of using investigating agencies for “political vendetta”.Some MPs said the anti-terror law is misused at times to target members of a particular community. “Let me make it clear. The Modi government has no such intention. Its only goal is to finish off terrorism but we will also not look at the religion of the accused while taking action,” Shah said. Published on COMMENT SHARE Home Minister Amit Shahcenter_img COMMENTS SHARE SHARE EMAIL July 15, 2019last_img read more

Azman We dont pay too much for maintenance

first_imgParamount importance: Traffic is smooth along North-South Expressway near Ipoh. PLUS says road safety is of paramount importance. Tags / Keywords: Nation 09 Jul 2019 LGE: Proposed takeover of four highways will see motorists paying less for toll The North-South Expressway (NSE) is an undoubted jewel in corporate Malaysia. Since construction started in the 1980s, the continued expansion of the NSE has seen its reach expand, and in the process, its toll collection balloon.The highway was a centrepiece for the Renong Group, where its financial muscle was used to buffer the sustainability concerns of its then-parent. Its huge free cashflow also subjected it to takeover proposals until it was finally bought up by UEM Group Bhd and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) in 2012 in what was the largest corporate deal in Malaysia.The lucrativeness of the NSE and its parent company – PLUS Malaysia Bhd – has not stopped prying eyes envious of its cashflow, and now, there are moves to buy over the lucrative highway.But what is the attraction of PLUS? Metro News 11 Jul 2019 Flouting rules of advertising Nation 16 May 2019 11 more Awas cameras for North-South Expressway Corporate News PLUS in 2017 had a revenue of RM3.8bil and generated an operating cashflow of RM2.6bil. After paying for its operations and debt-holders, it still had RM800mil cash to distribute to shareholders.What the takeover proposals also talk about, according to reports, is the maintenance fees that PLUS spends to keep the NSE in prime condition. There have been suggestions that PLUS pays too much to keep its highways running in proper condition, but that, according to Datuk Azman Ismail (pic), PLUS Malaysia’s managing director and chief executive officer, is a fallacy.“We do benchmarking and have looked at where we are in terms of domestic peers and we found ourselves, on average, to be within the domestic peers in terms of millions per km. “We are at RM1.3mil per km and our domestic average is on that number as well,” he tells StarBizWeek in an interview.The emphasis on maintenance is also important, as road safety is of paramount importance to the highway operator. Azman says that its upkeep of the highways is to ensure that accidents among road users is kept low. “For PLUS, we have one of the lowest road accident rates per 100,000km travelled.”What Azman says is that the scope of work for PLUS is large in order to maintain the highway.PLUS Malaysia maintains about 1,170km of roads, more than 8,300 slopes, two major tunnels, 741 bridges (including the link to Singapore) and over 6,000 culverts. It does over 10,000 slope inspections on an annual basis. “That is the kind of dimension we are talking about. Some of our roads are built over swamp land and peat soil, which means in terms of pavement condition, it has to be looked at,” he says. The annual budget for pavement maintenance is RM300mil.The toll compensation is something PLUS has to deal with and it is audited. There is, however, a one-year delay before it receives compensation from the government to keep toll rates static.Toll charges have not gone up for the past 14 years since 2015 and to maintain the same toll rate continuously over the next five years is a tall order for PLUS.Its principal repayment of the Islamic sukuk is going to increase substantially in the next couple of years, while its operating and maintenance cost is constantly rising.The toll collection is substantially spent for loan repayments, operations and maintenance, and continuous upgrading and improvement of facilities at its highways.In terms of breakdown, 36% of toll collection is used for operations and maintenance, 7% for new interchanges, upgrading and widening works, and capex, 47% for loan repayments and 10% for distribution to shareholders.Streamlining toll ratesWith maintenance cost an ongoing issue when it comes to the NSE, sources say the government is looking at compelling all highway concessionaires to put up a competitive tender for the maintenance of the highways.Sources say this is part of the initiatives taken to streamline toll rates among concessionaires, as the bulk of their cost comes from maintaining the highways.According to a source, the initiative is headed by the Finance Ministry that indirectly controls PLUS Expressways, which is the biggest concessionaire in the country.PLUS is owned by UEM Group and the EPF. UEM Group, in turn, is controlled by Khazanah Nasional Bhd that is under the ambit of the Finance Ministry.Another ministry that is also looking at streamlining and reducing toll rates is the Works Ministry under Baru Bian.In respect to the toll rates, the Malaysian Highway Authority has been collecting data on the maintenance cost incurred by concessionaires for their toll highways.The cost differs between a normal highway and an elevated structure. The cost is higher for a highway that is built on an elevated structure compared with a normal highway. An elevated structure includes the cost of maintaining the pillars that the highway is constructed on.As for the normal highway, the cost is mainly on resurfacing the pavement and building and maintaining the rest areas. The more rest areas a highway has, the higher the cost will be. According to an industry player, the cost for maintaining the pavement for a normal highway is about RM600,000 per km per annum, while the amount is almost double for an elevated highway.The other cost incurred are for items such as cutting the grass and maintaining the facilities at the rest areas.“At the moment, almost all the concessionaires undertake the maintenance cost themselves. There are hardly any competitive tenders for the maintenance work. If there is better transparency in the award of the work, the toll rates can be brought down,” says the official.Dealing with concerns For Azman, he is not resting on what PLUS is doing with its highways. The company is looking at using newer and cheaper materials on maintenance while not sacrificing on quality.“We want our (cost) benchmark to go even lower than our domestic peers,” he says.“This is an efficiency cycle we are always on in terms of operation as well as maintenance.“The cost goes up and today, if you don’t find other materials, it is going to go up.”Another hurdle for PLUS is when the West Coast Expressway (WCE) opens up. It is a highway that is closer to the west coast of the peninsula but runs parallel to the NSE.PLUS feels that with the opening of WCE, road users will have more choices in terms of road networks (toll and non-toll roads) to choose from. These are complementary factors that would enhance the value proposition of a road network vs an alternative mode of transport. Azman feels that while traffic volume on PLUS will be affected by 5%, the company welcomes the WCE, as it provides Malaysians who are more inclined to travel along their coastal destinations a choice that befits their needs.The overall impact on the reduction of traffic volume is less than 5% because road users who travel by car from Kuala Kangsar to Tanjung Malim will still take the NSE.Digital transformationTraveling by road allows road users to do discretionary travel, which does not need to book flight or train tickets or are compelled to follow scheduled time journey as offered by the public transport system. From studies conducted by PLUS, there will be some loss in revenue for the company when WCE starts to be fully operational. Most notably from the heavy vehicle segment, as the WCE is built on flatter coastal land which can contribute to lesser fuel consumption for heavy vehicles. Similarly, with the present public transportation choices of the ETS, for example, those who wish not to drive can do so, says PLUS.“We also see an impact when a competing infrastructure scheme is opened to the public, such as the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and LEKAS, as well as other rail transportation systems like the ETS and MRT. When there is a parallel infrastructure development to the highway corridor, the demand will react for or against it, depending on the scheme that will give the better value of time and value of money to the people,” says PLUS.Simultaneously, PLUS says it is already taking the initiatives to compete with the emergence of new highways and fulfill today’s customer expectations by embarking on digital transformation and elevating customer’s experience.PLUS is embarking on its digital transformation via a partnership with Microsoft (Malaysia) to integrate Microsoft’s Azure cloud system into its highway toll, and leverage on Microsoft’s future-ready technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and big data analytics. The challenge is the will to invest in creating the data for better visibility of the future, says PLUS.It has also embarked on its digital transformation journey. Digitalisation is always the very first step before it can leap over to IR4.0. PLUS says it is currently leveraging on technology, especially on data and AI, to improve operational efficiency and strategic planning.Click here for related stories:PLUS turns to new technology to help its traffic controllersLeave PLUS alone!Related story:PLUS turns to new technology to help its traffic controllers Related News Related News {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more

Singapore cautions wealth managers on aggressively courting HK business

first_img Related News Tags / Keywords: Corporate News 28 May 2019 Asia’s billionaires develop taste for boutique wealth managers Related News SINGAPORE/HONG KONG: Singapore has cautioned wealth managers against aggressively marketing their services or making other efforts to woo clients to the city state by capitalising on rival Hong Kong’s political turmoil, people with knowledge of the matter said.Officials from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) made the request last month to wealth managers, including DBS and a unit of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, the people said, declining to be identified given the sensitivity of the matter.The central bank told bankers it wanted to ensure wealth managers in Singapore were sensitive to the situation in Hong Kong and did not design campaigns specifically targeting business from Hong Kong, the people said.The move comes as Hong Kong has been thrown into turmoil by a proposed extradition bill – declared dead this week by its CEO Carrie Lam – that for the first time would have allowed China to seek extraditions from the city, sparking demonstrations that attracted at least a million protesters. World 28 Jun 2019 Wealth managers head to Singapore as China concerns dim Hong Kong’s lurecenter_img Banking Business News 10 Jul 2019 Hong Kong’s penny stock enigma remains unsolved Some tycoons in the Chinese-controlled territory have moved funds, or considered doing so, given provisions in the bill that would have allowed China to potentially freeze funds or other assets in the city.The unrest has also encouraged some wealth managers to choose to set up in Singapore after also considering Hong Kong, the main offshore hubs for wealth management in Asia, Reuters has reported.When asked for a comment for this story, MAS referred to comments last month by its managing director, Ravi Menon, that there were no signs of “any significant shift of business or funds” from Hong Kong to Singapore.He had said that any upheaval in Hong Kong could actually be negative for Singapore.It was not immediately clear how many banks had received the MAS guidance. Private banks routinely and legally help clients to move and manage their assets in different parts of the world.”The message was that we shouldn’t be taking undue advantage of what’s going on in Hong Kong,” a senior banking source said on condition of anonymity.”We have to act responsibly and not launch campaigns to convince clients that this is a good time for them to move their assets,” he said, adding he was not aware of any banks making a big push to get business from Hong Kong in the current climate.”We are getting a lot of enquiries. What can we do if clients are looking to moving money here? We can’t stop the flows,” the Singapore-based banking source added.DBS and OCBC declined to comment.Offshore moveHong Kong and Singapore compete fiercely to be considered Asia’s premier financial centre. Global private banks including Credit Suisse and UBS, as well as Asian wealth managers have their regional operations in the two hubs.The riches held by Hong Kong’s tycoons have until now made the city the larger private wealth base, with 853 individuals worth more than $100 million – just over double the number in Singapore, according to a 2018 report from Credit Suisse.Singaporean banks, including DBS and OCBC, have been rapidly expanding their businesses in Hong Kong and China over the past few years, and the Greater China region accounts for a significant portion of their revenue.Like their global peers, Singaporean wealth managers also have Greater China desks in Singapore dedicated to clients in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan and help them open bank accounts and set up family offices or trusts.”The fact is that we are getting inquiries from clients in Hong Kong. They want to know how this will impact their assets and the Hong Kong markets,” an industry executive said.”If they really want to move offshore, we have to help them with that,” the executive added. – Reuters {{category}} {{time}} {{title}}last_img read more