Sterling Highway Travel Not Advised Expect Delays

first_imgCheck for further information on www.kpboem.com or call the Borough Call Center at 907-262-INFO (4363) for updates. Updated 5:30pm:The fire flared up near the intersection of the Sterling Highway and the Peterson Kelly Lakes Road and is still burning to southeast towards Hidden lake. As a result, traffic on the highway is being delayed. Winds are favorable right now, but if they shift, there could be increased activity along the highway. We will continue to post updates if there are any significant closures on the highway, but as of this time drivers should just anticipate long delay times. If you do decide to travel expect delays up to an hour or longer at times. Traffic has been moving when crews can safely transport them through the active area. Be advised of heavy aviation work in the area, and crews on and near the highway. This is anticipated to be a temporary closure. Motorists should expect significant delays. Alaska State Troopers suggest motorists avoid the area if possible. In addition to the increase in fire activity along the highway there was a wind shift that transferred the smoke from the Soldotna area back to Cooper Landing so anticipate limited visibility and poor air quality. According to to the advisory air quality is poor, expect delays, be aware of emergency vehicles on the roadway and travel is not advised. Updated 5:00pm:According to the Kenai Peninsula Borough Office of Emergency Management, the Sterling Highway is still closed as of 5pm on Friday. Scooper planes are working along side the road in two areas south of the highway, dropping water on flareups. Residents may see a fairly large plume. It’s hoped that the delay is temporary but could be significant so please be prepared with water and food. When you do move, drive with headlights on and watch for fire equipment. Continued updates will be posted as they are made available. Fire managers are prepping a short stretch of dozer line running south from the highway into a wet slough. The line is about a mile east of the Kelly Lakes Petersen Road. They are trying to strengthen it to hold the fire from moving across it to the east. There is also active fire on the southern finger at the east end of Skilak lake. We are still trying to get updated information from the eastern portion of the fire, south of the highway, near Cooper Landing. Update 8:45pm:The Sterling Highway is still open at 7:45 pm.Fire Operations people are reporting a lot of activity on the Swan Lake Fire this afternoon primarily in the area north of Engineer Lake. The large pyrocumulus you can see over the fire is in that area. The western perimeter toward Sterling has not had much activity today since the winds have pushed the fire to the east.There was also activity around Jean Lake and crews made some progress to the east where the fire has crossed Jim’s Landing. We don’t have any more specific information about that eastern perimeter.A pyrocumulus cloud forms from rising air that results from intense heating of the surface by phenomena such as wildfires or volcanic eruptions. A big fire produces strong upward moving air currents that carry water vapor and ash upward Original Post 2:51pm:Both lanes of the Sterling Highway have been closed between Mileposts MP 53 to MP 75 until further notice as of 2:51pm on Friday, due to helicopter operations and for firefighter safety along the highway. Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Update Saturday 5:30am: As of 9:00 p.m. Friday, the highway was open but that may change at any time. Monitor Alaska.511.gov for updates and expect delays if you plan to travel between Cooper Landing and Sterling. For real time air quality monitoring: https://www.purpleair.com/map?#10.18/60.4725/-149.7468 Update 6:00pm: Traffic has had extended delays along the Sterling Highway since late this afternoon. According to officials with the Great Basin Management Team travel is not advised as of right now going into the weekend.last_img read more

NEW RESTAURANT ALERT Habit Burger Grill To Open Its First New England

first_imgShare this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… Related5 Things To Do In Wilmington On Friday, July 5, 2019In “5 Things To Do Today”BREAKING NEWS: What’s Going On With Michael’s Place?In “Business”The Dunkin’ Next To The RMV Holds Grand Reopening, Donates $2,000 To Wilmington Fourth of July CommitteeIn “Business” WILMINGTON, MA — Habit Burger Grill announced this week it will be opening in Wilmington — in the new retail plaza being built at 196 Ballardvale Street — across the street from Target.Never heard of this popular burger joint? The California-based Habit Burger Grill has 265 restaurants in 12 states, but none in New England… until its Wilmington location opens in the spring of 2020.Habit Burger Grill is expanding into Massachusetts and New Hampshire after inking a 7-store development agreement with Adam Quinn, Chief Operating Officer of Heidi Burgers LLC. Quinn, a Dunkin Donuts franchisee who owns six of the locations in town, has 15 years of experience in the quick service restaurant industry. Quinn has repeatedly given back to the Wilmington community, including a recent $5,000 donation to Wilmington Public Schools.Quinn will open Habit locations in Middlesex County and Essex County, with the first location planned for Wilmington.“I knew I wanted to partner with The Habit when I met the leadership team. I was impressed with their focus on operational execution, the guest experience and metrics-based decision making,” said Adam Quinn, Chief Operating Officer at Heidi Burgers in a statement. “We are excited to bring the hand-crafted-to-order quality and value of The Habit’s chargrilled burgers, sandwiches and salads to the Bay State and beyond. We know consumers will fall in love with The Habit Burger Grill in the same way my wife and I did.”“Massachusetts and New Hampshire are burger strongholds, and we are eager to see Heidi Burgers bring our chargrilled style of food and focus on customer service to this area. We’ve met few operators who have as much passion for the way we do business as Adam Quinn. We look forward to his team’s success in these communities,” added Russ Bendel, President and CEO of The Habit Restaurants.According to a press release from the company, the Habit Burger Grill — currently celebrating its 50th anniversary – is “a burger-centric, fast casual restaurant concept that specializes in preparing fresh, made-to-order chargrilled burgers and handcrafted sandwiches featuring USDA choice sirloin steak, grilled chicken, and sushi-grade ahi tuna cooked over an open flame.”The restaurant also features fresh made-to-order salads; popular sides — onion rings, sweet potato fries, french fries, and tempura green beans; and tasty shakes and malts.The restaurant was named as having the “Best Tasting Burger in America” in 2014 by Consumers Report. Just this year, the restaurant was named the winner of USA Today’s 10 Favorite Regional Fast-Food Chains.Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.last_img read more

DJIs Osmo Mobile 3 is the phone stabilizer weve been waiting for

first_img 0 DJI Osmo Mobile 3 is a smaller, lighter phone camera stabilizer 12 Photos Now playing: Watch this: Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. 2:50 Share your voice Post a comment Mobile Tags The redesigned Osmo Mobile 3 lets you fold and go.  Joshua Goldman/CNET Motorized phone camera stabilizers are great for getting smooth and steady shots from your phone — assuming you use it. For me, it’s one of those products you buy with the best intentions and then don’t use because it’s simply too large, awkward and fragile to bring with you all the time. DJI’s Osmo Mobile 3 tackles this with a unique folding design that makes it more compact and easier to toss in a bag and go. And it’s $10 less than its predecessor.Available today for $119, the redesigned gimbal unlocks and folds fast and has locks to keep it from swiveling around. You can even throw it into a standby mode so you can partially shut it down, fold it and move to a new location and then quickly unfold and immediately start shooting. The whole device is lighter and more compact than previous models, but still runs for up to 15 hours on a single charge.Note that CNET may get a commission when you buy through any of the links on our site.See it at DJIThe new design also addresses a few issues users had with the Osmo Mobile 2. The gimbal no longer blocks the ports on your phone so you can connect an external mic and charge your device off the Osmo’s battery. You also no longer need to manually rotate your phone from landscape to portrait as it can now do it with a button press and position the camera right-side up.DJI Osmo Mobile 3From left to right: DJI Osmo Mobile, Mobile 2 and the new Mobile 3. Joshua Goldman/CNET A slider on the grip’s side lets you activate your phone’s zoom and a trigger in front will automatically switch between your phone’s front and rear camera. In selfie mode you can even use hand gestures to start a self-timer for photos and video. The trigger will also do things like recenter the camera and start DJI’s ActiveTrack feature that automatically tracks a subject and keeps them centered in the frame.The Osmo Mobile 3 uses DJI’s Mimo app it introduced with the palm-sized Osmo Pocket in November 2018. Although you can use the Osmo Mobile 3 with your phone’s camera app, Mimo is what gives you all the unique features like ActiveTrack and gesture controls. Mimo also enables you to create panoramas and shoot motion time-lapse and hyper-lapse videos. There’s a Story mode as well that will take your videos and edit them into short, social-friendly clips using one of 13 templates.Though mainly known for its camera drones, DJI has spent much of the past year building out other categories. Last month it introduced a first-person view HD video transmission system for drone racing and a compact motorized gimbal for pro cameras. In June, DJI introduced a $500 RC robot rover with a mini cannon made for students. It launched its first action cam in May, the DJI Osmo Action. DJI’s Osmo Pocket is an amazingly small stabilized 4K… DJIlast_img read more

Teenage girl raped by her fathers employer

first_imgProthom Alo illustrationA 16-year-old girl was reportedly raped by the employer of her father in Krishnapur village of Lakhsham upazila in Cumilla on Thursday night, reports UNB.Police arrested Tajul Islam Majumdar, 42, son of a certain late Abu Taher Majumdar of the village, soon after the victim’s father filed a law suit against him on Friday.The girl’s father works as a watchman at Tajul’s fish enclosure in the village and stays in a tin-shed house near it with his family, said Nazrul Islam, officer-in-charge of Laksham police station.On Thursday night, Tajul took out the girl from their house around 10:30pm while her father was out of the home and her mother was sleeping inside.Later, Tajul violated the girl there, said the OC quoting the case statement.last_img read more

Special Election For Houston City Council District K Coming May 5

first_imgNine people are running to represent District K, which stretches across southwest Houston into Fort Bend County. The candidates include Martha Castex-Tatum, who served as Green’s director of constituent services, and teacher Pat Frazier, who previously ran for the seat in 2011. Rice University political science professor Bob Stein said Castex-Tatum has the edge.“I wouldn’t rule her out winning this outright,” Stein said. “I think it would be unlikely but not a shock. With nine people on the ballot, you say, ‘Well, it’s certainly a runoff,’ but not necessarily. She is well known, in part, I think, because of her work she did with Councilman Green, and she was as much a part of that operation as, I think, he was.”If no candidate wins at least 50 percent of the vote, a runoff between the top two vote-getters will take place June 16.Larry Green was the first council member elected from District K after its creation seven years ago. He died March 6. Photo via Twitter @defendernetworkThe special election will fill the seat of the late Council Member Larry Green, who died March 6.Voters in Houston’s District K will soon choose a successor to the late Larry Green on Houston’s City Council. Early voting for the special election ends Tuesday, and Election Day is Saturday, May 5. To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:49center_img Share Listen Xlast_img read more

Embracing art

first_imgThe Nostalgia Colours in order to promote art and to bridge the gap between the need of genuine art lovers and authentic artworks by the master artists of modern India like Suhas Roy, Jogen Choudhury, Sanatan Dinda, K G Subramanian, Ramananda Bandopadhyay and others. The exhibition is called Sangbit and it will continue from March 10-15 at Open Palm Court, India Habitat Centre in the Capital.The aim of this show is reach out to the genuine art lovers and collectors, who otherwise get dependent upon the large galleries and auction houses to satisfy their artistic quench. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Nostalgia Colours is one of the youngest but finest arts promoting organizations and aiming to make these artworks available as affordable as possible to the art lovers and collectors. This is a small little step taken up by the organization to establish that the authentic artworks of the master artists are also can be made available at an affordable price.The exhibition will showcase the authentic artworks of the master artists like K G Subramanian, Suhas Roy, Ramananda Bandopadhyay,  Jogen Choudhury,  Lalu Prasad Show, Sunil Das, Manoj Mitra, Subrata Gangopadhyay, Jayashree Chakravarty, Chandra Bhattacharyya ,  Atin Basak, Sanatan Dinda and Nirjhar Bose. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixNostalgia colours displays, exhibits and stocks the finest collection of contemporary and traditional art, sourced from all over the country. Its collections are ensemble of India’s most sought after artists, credited for their artistic, aesthetic and investment value. The range of art includes serious collector’s items as well as genuinely astounding works of budding artists waiting to be discovered. When : March 10-15Where : Open Palm Court, India Habitat Centre, New Delhilast_img read more

Webel to set up 3D printing institute on behalf of ITE dept

first_imgKolkata: The state Information Technology & Electronics (IT&E) department is working on to set up an institution on 3D printing and Webel has been given the responsibility to set up this institute on behalf ofthe department. “We have already come up with a state-of-the-art animation academy and there is a 90 percent chance of employability after completing the course from this academy. We are hopeful of coming up with an institution on 3D printing. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeWe will not only train people but also provide assistance in taking up business ventures on this,” a senior official of the state IT&E department said on the sidelines of Edtech 2018 organised by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). “The state government is leaving no stone unturned to position Bengal as the centre of animation, 3D printing and emerging technologies like Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), Embedded Technology, Cyber Security etc,” said Debashis Sen, state Additional Chief Secretary of IT&E department at the inaugural session of the event. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killedThe state IT&E department will soon hold a meeting with the state School Education department and place a proposal to encourage students to learn programming from school level. “We have roped in PWC for doing a detailed research in Bengal and India in the area of emerging technologies. We have found that the way in which AI is opening up job opportunities we have to make our students learn one or two programming like C+, Python or Java right from school level. This will also help them develop logical thinking right from an early age,” Sen added. It may be mentioned that China is imparting programming lessons right from Class III for a long time and is a global leader in emerging technologies for quite some time. In order to create a buzz, the state government has been organising knowledge workshops every month. “Blockchain Congress scheduled for December 18 and 19 at Biswa Bangla Convention Centre in New Town as Kolkata is a part of this endeavour,” Sen maintained.last_img read more

Blending traditional music from South and North India

first_imgExperimenting in the field of art, The Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts (IGNCA) recently organised a mesmerising program in its auditorium where two senior artists from two different genres of Indian classical music tradition performed.Enlightening the evening in the capital were well-known flute player of the North Indian Music tradition (Hindustani style) Pandit Ronu Mazumdar and Saraswati Veena Maestro Jayenti Kumaresh, who performed a ‘jugalbandi’. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfDoing justice to the theme of the event, the artists who mastered in two different styles of music were seen engaged in absolute chemistry together. Jugalbandi which was based on the ragas from the 13th-14th century – the time when there were no such things like the Carnatic and Hindustani style in India but only the Indian classical music existedThe evening started with the North-South Ragas in which Pandit Ronu Majumdar played ‘puri’ and ‘Sohini’ Raga on his flute while Jayanti Kumaresh chanted the song of Saraswati Veena on the string of Saraswati Veena – which was composed in metaphor rhythm. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveAfter this, both of them performed Karharprariya, Kaphi , Alap, Joda, Jhala, Ragas, which were composed in aadi taal and teen taal.Jayanti Kumarasad performed aadi taal on the Veena and Ronu Majumdar presented teen taal on the flute. The program concluded with “Sri Ram Chandra Kripalu Bhajaman” Bhajan. In this Jugal Bandi the performance of Arjun Kumar, well-known tabla player and Abhijeet Banerjee on Mridangam were also appreciated.This unique event witnessed the presence of many scholars of Indian music including the famous dancer, Dr Sonal Mansingh, Dr Sachchidand Joshi, Member Secretary of Indira Gandhi National Art Center and others.last_img read more

Want to become doctor say majority of toppers

first_imgKolkata: Most of the toppers in the Madhyamik Examination expressed their desire to become doctors in order to serve people in the rural areas, while some others wanted to pursue research on various fields.Sougata Das of Mahammadpur Deshpran Vidyapith in East Midnapore, who topped the examination this year 99.98 percent marks, shared his happiness soon after the result was published. “I want to become a doctor. I thought that I would score good marks, but I never thought that I would come first in the Madhyamik Examination. It’s a great feeling. I want to serve the people after becoming a doctor,” Sougata said. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataShreyashi Paul of Falakata Girls’ High School in Alipurduar, who ranked second with 691 marks, was also amazed to see her name flashing on the television screens. She wants to become a doctor as well. “It is a great feeling for me. I was quite determined that I would score high marks but the idea of securing second position was far from my mind. My parents and elder sister have always supported and guided me. I will be pursuing science stream and want to be a doctor. I want to serve the poor people. There was no specific time for my studies. I used to study whenever I had time on my hands,” Shreyashi said. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateDebasmita Saha of Ila Devi Girls’ High School, who also secured the second position, said: “I am excited to see the result. I never thought that I would rank second. I had obtained 665 marks in my test examination. The number has gone up in the Madhyamik examination. I would give the credit to my parents and teachers. I used to study for 9-10 hours on an average basis. Listening to music, drawing and watching TV were my pastime habits. I want to become a doctor.” Camelia Roy of Raiganj Girls’ High School scored 689 and jointly stood third with two others. She said that she wants to pursue science and do research work in future. Bratin Mondal, who also stood third, is a student of Santipur Municipal High School. He said: “I did not indulge in mobile phone too much as it diverts the attention of students. I use mobile for getting information. I preferred not to indulge in social media. One should do creative things. I want to do research on physics. Both of my parents are physics teachers.”last_img read more

Bill to eliminate funding for Visit Florida passes 10 – 5

first_img Share Posted by TALLAHASSEE — Tourism officials say a bill passed this week could cripple Visit Florida, to the point of wiping out the tourism board at a critical time for attracting international travellers to the state.According to the Orlando Sentinel the bill passed by a 10 – 5 vote. The bill eliminates funding for tourism marketing and other programs.Visit Florida has been beset by scandal after it partnered with Florida-born rapper Pitbull for a tourism promotion campaign. Florida Governor Rick Scott called for former Visit Florida CEO Will Seccombe to step down after Visit Florida refused to publicly disclose it paid rapper Pitbull US$1 million to promote the state. Visit Florida’s new President and CEO Ken Lawson was appointed in January.Tourism funding critics say increases in visitation to Florida don’t justify current levels of government funding.According to TravelMole, Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, who was in favour of the bill to eliminate funding, said that between 2011 and 2015, Visit Florida funding increased 112% while visitor numbers were up 22%. Travelweek Group Friday, February 10, 2017 center_img Tags: Florida Bill to eliminate funding for Visit Florida passes 10 – 5 << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Canal is using Telestreams Vantage workflow auto

first_imgCanal+ is using Telestream’s Vantage workflow automation platform running on Lightspeed Servers with Pipeline encoding appliances for deployment of a new VOD catch-up service.The opportunity to expand services at Canal+ arose in 2012 when Canal+’s two new free-to-air channels became available on the French DTT platform, with regulatory approval in September, a contract signed in October, and an on-air date before the end of the year.“We needed to generate four different H.264 outputs, plus four HLS files for Apple devices and others, and an MPEG-2 transport stream,” said Charles Lesoil, project manager at Canal+. “We needed to strip out commercial breaks for the online version, do some content replacement where needed for rights management, and we wanted to insert logos and PG ratings where required.”“This is an excellent example of the power and speed that Vantage offers,” said Paul Turner, VP of enterprise product management at Telestream. “Vantage provides a wide range of content production functionality for Canal+ such as logo insertion, trimming, and resizing as an inherent part of the transcoding processes. In addition, Canal+ utilized Vantage system intelligence to develop workflows using advanced logic based on the metadata to reduce the number of different workflows for simplicity and reliability.”Telestream is exhibiting at IBC on stand 7.C12last_img read more

Netflix continues to lead the FAANG companies in t

first_imgNetflix continues to lead the FAANG companies in terms of original content, though the Facebook, Apple and Google-owned YouTube platforms are also making “unprecedented strides” in original content production.This is according to new research by Ampere Analysis, which shines a light on both the number of originals that the FAANGs are working on and the genre skews that make up these multi-billion-dollar investment efforts.Netflix is leading on the commissioning front with more than 250 upcoming titles – a figure that will more than double its originals catalogue, according to Ampere.Apple, YouTube and Facebook have 65 upcoming original titles between them, while YouTube has promised it will have 50 originals by the end of 2019.Netflix has been maintaining its focus on comedy and sci-fi commissions – youth-skewing genres that have performed well for the company via shows like Stranger Things, Master of None and BoJack Horseman.Amazon was found to be committing a higher proportion of new commissions to drama titles at 29% of upcoming titles compared to Netflix’s 17%. Apple meanwhile is emulating Amazon and Netflix with sci-fi its top genre for commissions, as seen by shows like its forthcoming reboot of Stephen Spielberg’s Amazing Stories.YouTube and Facebook are upping their volume of scripted content, with YouTube Premium focusing on youth-orientated comedy. Reality content makes up just 6% of their new commissions compared to 32% of their current catalogue, according to the research.Across all the FAANGs, comedy was found to be the most-commissioned genre overall. “With so much new content being produced across a range of subscription services, the FAANG group are under increasing pressure to create content that not only attracts new audiences but also prevents existing consumers from churning,” said Ampere analyst Richard Cooper.“All the major players have been expanding the number of original commissions in the face of an increasingly competitive market. Netflix is set to more than double its originals catalogue, as is Apple.“What’s interesting is the different audience profile that each of the FAANGs appear to be targeting with their originals content, suggesting they’re aiming at different niches within the SVOD market.”last_img read more

Just what are cash and cash options Some of u

first_imgJust what are “cash” and “cash options?” Some of us take those terms for granted, but after a recent article on sector allocation, one of our subscribers wrote in asking for clarification. Money Forever recommends holding approximately one-third of your portfolio in cash or cash options, but what does that really mean? To clear up any confusion, “cash options” are not publicly traded options. “Cash alternative” is probably a more appropriate phrase. I had a pleasant surprise over the holidays, as my own baby-boomer children struck up several kitchen-table discussions. They are wrestling with how to fund their children’s college followed by their own sprint to the retirement finish line. My daughter Dawn said it best: “Dad, this time it feels different. In the past the government would sell Treasuries, and people would lend us money to pay our bills. Now the government is just creating money out of thin air. Isn’t that eventually going to cause the dollar to collapse?” Of course, that was followed by a discussion of how we can protect ourselves. They understand the gray cloud looming on the horizon very well. We no longer have a safe, good, interest-bearing account to park our cash in. We need to find safe alternatives, including ways to diversify outside of the US dollar. Finding cash alternatives is one of the most important issues affecting us as investors. To help this make sense, let me begin at the beginning… the good old days of 2007, when most of us kept our cash in brokerage “sweeps” accounts. Sweeps accounts automatically “swept” a portion of our brokerage account into an interest-bearing account so that our idle cash would provide some income. At that time, my Schwab sweeps account was paying 4% interest. To keep the math simple, imagine a person with a $150,000 portfolio who wanted to earn 10% overall – that’s $15,000. If one-third of that portfolio ($50,000) were in cash, earning 4% interest, that’s $2,000. That means that the other two-thirds of the portfolio has to earn $13,000, or 13%, on the remaining $100,000. That wasn’t so outrageous in 2007. Many conservative portfolios would take a portion of that remaining $100,000 and invest it in fixed-income instruments paying 6% or more. Even then, the remaining balance could be invested wisely to make for a 10% overall return with only a portion of the capital at any real risk. Now fast forward to 2012. Today my sweeps account pays exactly 1/100th of 1%. That same $50,000 only earns $5.00 in interest annually. That means that the other two-thirds of the portfolio has to earn close to 15% to reach the same target of 10% overall… in a down economy. That’s a tall order. I want to really emphasize this point for all of our readers. In 2007, it took $50,000 to earn $2,000 in interest in our normal cash account. To earn the same $2,000 today, we would need $20 million in our sweeps account. In addition, back in the “good old days” part of the remaining two-thirds of a conservative portfolio would have been invested in CDs or top-quality bonds. What’s happened to that portion? The best rate I can currently find for a five-year CD is 1.2%. Not only has the one-third cash allocation taken a huge hit, so has the portion that would have been safely invested in CDs and high-quality bonds.Betty B., Defensive Solider in the War on Seniors and Savers I received a very interesting letter from a subscriber, Betty B., who wrote in after reading Straight Talk About Working in Your Golden Years. She has kindly allowed me to quote from her letter. She writes: “If I were able I could have written the today’s straight-talk message. I am an 80-year-old widow. When my husband died in 2000 he left me quite comfortable. I invested [a certain amount] in bank certificates of deposit paying good monthly interest. I also purchased a large Georgia Power bond paying 6% each month. Also I had some other utility bonds paying monthly.“Well, today I do not have one CD, and all of my bonds have been called as of this year. So I have had to do exactly what you wrote about and start managing my own money. I must say I have lost some and am now depending on dividends mostly and I have had to start living off my principal. I just hope now that my money will last as long as I live. I once lived very well, but I now am trying to be frugal. I worry about older people who did not have anything to fall back on except Social Security, which for the first time I have to admit I look forward to my Social Security check.” In essence, the Federal Reserve is keeping interest rates artificially low to support banks that made poor business decisions. They are doing so at the expense of the public; seniors and savers are often the hardest hit. A few months ago, I wrote that I felt like the federal government had declared war on seniors and savers. Much to my surprise, some folks took issue with that remark. Today my response to those folks is, “Talk to Betty B.” Or perhaps they should ask all the retired people who have unretired and found a job to help pay the bills how they feel. We must make up for the difference in yield somewhere; that is the reality retirees face today. There are no cash instruments that will make up that difference with the same safety that was available in 2007.Investors – particularly those who are retired or getting close to it – have to come to grips with the fact the investing paradigm has changed, and it will likely continue to change. Today, investing cash the same way we did in 2007 will provide only a small fraction of the yield. The current challenge with the cash portion of your portfolio is to find safe, somewhat liquid investments that provide some sort of yield, hopefully enough to keep you even or ahead of inflation. Sad to say, even a 1% return is 100 times greater than what you’d earn on a current sweeps account. And you have to earn double that just to try to stay even with the government reported inflation. (Take a peek at Paul Revere, The Fearmonger if you have the sneaking suspicion that the figure isn’t quite right.) The reality today is that same $50,000 in your cash account will earn $5 in interest and lose $1,000 in buying power due to inflation during the year.Building a Hedge with Cash Alternatives In the September issue of our premium publication, I interviewed Chuck Butler of EverBank, who knows more about this issue than anyone I know. One hedge against inflation is foreign currencies. If you can find one that’s paying interest, even better.EverBank has 90-day, FDIC insured CDs that are denominated in foreign currencies. One particular currency that Chuck outlined is currently paying 1.63% while appreciating against the US dollar. Would you rather tie up your money for five years to earn a meager 1.2%, or commit to 90 days and earn 1.63% while adding inflation protection against the declining value of the dollar? I sure know my answer to that question. My wife Jo and I currently have a portion of our personal cash in three EverBank 90-day CDs, with one maturing each month. They’re liquid enough for our comfort level, and they earn us much more than any long-term US-dollar-denominated CDs would. Exchange-traded funds are another avenue for accessing the benefits of foreign currencies. Vedran Vuk, our senior research analyst, did a terrific analysis of some liquid, short-term bond funds in The Cash Book. Sure, the yields are not like they used to be, but they’re certainly better than 1/100th of 1%. It’s 2013, and good old days of 2007 are long gone. No one can afford to keep one-third of their portfolio in a US-dollar-dominated cash, totally liquid, interest-bearing account. The yield isn’t there anymore; it fact, it’s virtually nil. That’s why finding cash alternatives becomes so critical. Our team here at Money Forever still believes that one-third of your portfolio should be in cash or cash alternatives. It just shouldn’t all be in US dollars, nor all in a cash account. There are other options out there, and investors need to consider them, at least for a portion of their cash. It needs to be safe, predominately liquid, and providing some yield to take the pressure of the other two-thirds of your portfolio. Particularly for seniors and savers, trying to earn unrealistic gains in the market means putting too much capital into speculative investments, at too huge of a risk. But the thought of letting $50,000 in cash sit idly, earning a measly $5 annually is truly detestable. It’s like trying to invest your life savings with one hand tied behind your back. What this really means for seniors and savers is simple. Wake up and smell the coffee! The Federal Reserve has made it quite clear that it is not going to change its interest-rate policy anytime soon. As I realized at our kitchen table this week, the situation is not one exclusive to seniors; baby boomers trying to accumulate wealth are facing the same challenges. Those who are close to either side of the cusp of retirement have worked hard and saved money, and likely made retirement projections based on the old rulebook. Now those rules have changed… for good. As a young Marine, I learned that with a bit of training and good practice, it’s not that difficult to hit a moving target. Investing today is not a whole lot different. It may seem impossible, but with a little practice you can learn to hit your target. Our premium subscription includes three special reports which dig deeper into these issues and recommend potential cash alternatives for safety-conscious investors: The Cash Book, The Yield Book, and our most recent release, Money Every Month. Our team has put in hundreds of hours looking at various ways to help our subscribers invest cash wisely. Folks who’ve to saved up a nest egg are not afraid of hard work. It takes ingenuity, intelligence, and common sense to build up a nice retirement – the same attributes that will keep you ahead of the crowd. We are here to help you make that hard-earned nest egg work for you. If you have not taken advantage of our premium subscription, I urge you to take advantage of our 90-day guarantee. Sign up and get your copy of my book Retirement Reboot, all of our monthly reports and special reports – including The Annuity Guide and Income-Producing Stocks, and check out what we have to offer. If you don’t like what you see, you can cancel your subscription within the first 90 days and receive a 100% refund (and keep the material as a thank-you from me to you for looking us over).On the Lighter Side Congratulations to the NFL teams that survived the season and made it to the playoffs.  It seems “Black Monday” lived up to its name with several coaches and general managers were handed their walking papers. We scrambled to get the tree down in order to motor over to Jacksonville, FL to watch Northwestern win their first bowl game since 1949 – when I was 8 years old.  It wan cool watching the entire team after the game thanking their fans and those who have supported them for many years. And finally… Over the holidays we had many cute moments with the little ones – there is so much humor in having young grandchildren. I received this timely message from a friend that warmed my heart: “Our four-year-old grandson came home from the doctor with a prescription for some pills. When Grandma reminded him, ‘It’s time to take your pill,’ he was allowed to swallow it with a cup of root beer to turn it into a treat. “Our grandson struggled and could not open the bottle. He finally handed it to Grandma, who promptly opened it and took out the pill. The little boy asked, ‘Grandma, how come it was easy for you to open the bottle, but I couldn’t?’ “Grandma responded with, ‘The bottle has a childproof cap.’ “That was followed with a puzzled look on the little guy’s face as he said, ‘How does it know I am a kid?’” Until next week…last_img read more

The precious metal mining companies fully aware o

first_imgThe precious metal mining companies, fully aware of what’s happening, do nothing As as has been the case for a while, all four precious metals got sold down in early Far East trading on their Monday morning. Gold was no exception—and it hit its low price tick shortly after 1 p.m. Hong Kong time.  The subsequent rally lasted until around 11:30 in New York—and that was pretty much it for the day, as it got sold down a few dollars going into the 5:15 p.m. EST electronic close. The CME Group recorded the low and high ticks as $1,318.70 and $1,339.20 in the April contract. Gold closed the Monday session at $1,336.60 spot, up $10.50 from Friday’s close.  Volume, net of February and March, was pretty decent at 143,000 contracts. Freegold Ventures Limited is a North American gold exploration company with three gold projects in Alaska. Current projects include Golden Summit, Vinasale and Rob. Both Vinasale and Golden Summit host NI 43-101 Compliant Resource Calculations. An updated NI 43-101 resource was calculated on Golden Summit in October 2012 and using 0.3 g/t cutoff  the current resource is 73,580,000 tonnes grading 0.67 g/t Au for total of 1,576,000 contained ounces in the indicated category, and 223,300,000 tonnes grading 0.62 g/t Au for a total of 4,437,000 contained ounces in the inferred category. In addition to the Golden Summit Project the Vinasale also hosts a NI 43-101 resource calculation which was updated in March 2013. Indicated resources are 3.41 million tonnes averaging 1.48 g/t Au for 162,000 ounces, and Inferred resources are 53.25 million tonnes averaging 1.05 g/t Au for 1,799,000 ounces of gold utilizing a cutoff value of 0.5 grams/tonne (g/t) as a possible open pit cutoff. Please send us an email for more information, ir@freegoldventures.com The gold stocks opened in positive territory—and then chopped and flopped sideways for the rest of the day.  The HUI finished up 0.35%.  I was underwhelmed. The dollar index closed at 80.27 on Friday afternoon in New York—and traded in a 15 basis point range on either side of that number for the entire Monday session.  The dollar index closed 80.22—down 5 basis points on the day. Sponsor Advertisement Platinum and palladium both got sold down in morning trading in the Far East.  From those lows, they rallied right up until almost the 1:30 p.m. EST Comex close—and then both got sold down into the 5:15 p.m. close of electronic trading.  Both finished up a few dollars on the day.  Here are the charts. I was even more underwhelmed by the performance of the silver shares.  They were up about 1.5% until shortly after 1 p.m. EST—and then down they went, closing in the red—and on their absolute low of the day.  Nick Laird’s Silver Sentiment Index closed down 0.08%. Silver really got hit pretty hard in early Far East trading on Monday, with the low tick coming shortly afternoon Hong Kong time.  From that point, the silver price rallied back to unchanged by the London a.m. gold fix at 10:30 a.m. GMT—and then it really took off to the upside, and appeared to go ‘no ask’ shortly after 11 a.m. GMT. That state of affairs wasn’t allowed to last long—and once that spike was beaten down, the rally assumed a more leisurely pace, with the high in New York coming at the same 11:30 a.m. EST that gold did.  From that point, the silver price ran into selling pressure—and by the 5:15 p.m. electronic close, the price was safely back under the $22 spot price once again. The low and high ticks were recorded as $21.59 and $22.18 in the March contract, an intraday move of almost 3%. Silver finished the Monday trading session at $21.965 spot, which was up 11.5 cents from Friday’s close.  Net volume was pretty chunky at 37,500 contracts.  We are in the final days of the roll-over out of the March delivery month in silver, so volumes will be quite high for the next three trading days.  First Day Notice numbers will be posted on the CME’s website late on Thursday evening EST—and I’ll have all that for you on Friday. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report for Monday showed that 9 gold and 1 silver contract were posted for delivery tomorrow within the Comex-approved depositories.  Checking the CME’s website  I note that there are still several hundred gold contracts are open in the February delivery month—and it remains to be seen how many will stand for delivery between now and Thursday. There were deposits in both GLD and SLV yesterday.  In GLD an authorized participant added a decent 106,025 troy ounces—and in SLV there were 384,740 troy ounces deposited. The U.S. Mint had a sales report on Monday.  They sold a chunky 825,500 silver eagles—and that was it. There was only a small movement in gold over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday.  They reported receiving 5,144 troy ounces—and that was all.  All of it went into Scotia Mocatta’s vault. The link to that activity is here. There was a big deposit in silver on Friday as well—and all 1,566,700 troy ounces ended up in Scotia Mocatta’s vault, too.  It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if this silver wasn’t being brought in to cover their short position in the Comex futures market.  As I’ve said on many occasions, it’s my opinion that outside of JPMorgan Chase and two other U.S. bullion banks, Canada’s Bank of Nova Scotia is the only bank that holds a material short position in that metal.  The link to that ‘action’ from Friday is here. It was a very eventful weekend—and I have the most stories that I can ever remember posting—and I’ll happily leave the final edit up to you. After buying back short silver contracts in the prior two reporting weeks (as well as adding long gold contracts), JPMorgan returned to the sell side in silver with a vengeance, accounting for the entire big 4 short increase or more than 43%  of the commercial silver selling this [past] week. While there’s no doubt in my mind that the raptors behave conclusively with JPMorgan in playing the technical funds, it must be noted that the raptors were selling existing long positions, not adding to shorts. In the reporting week, JPMorgan increased its short COMEX silver position to 17,500 contracts, or to a 15% net market share (minus spread positions). From what I can tell, JPMorgan was the only commercial increasing short positions in the reporting week, something that has recurred on previous silver price rallies. Please think about that for a moment. JPMorgan was the sole short seller in COMEX silver and the largest seller in COMEX gold, accounting for 43% and 52% of all the commercial selling in each market this week. How could such large shares of net weekly trading not be manipulative to the price of silver and gold? And why is the nation’s largest bank also allowed to be its largest precious metals speculator? – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 22 February 2014 Precious metal prices yesterday followed a pattern similar to what they did most of last week, which was down in Far East trading—and then a rally back from there.  There were a couple of times during the Monday trading session, one in London and the other in New York, where  it appeared that a not-for-profit seller showed up and touched the brakes on these rallies in gold.  Once just after 11 a.m. in London—and the other at 11:30 a.m. in New York.  If these sellers hadn’t put in an appearance, the closing price in gold would have been materially different. And if that was true for gold, it was beyond blatantly obvious in silver, as the price appeared to go ‘no ask’ shortly after 11 a.m. GMT in London—and JPMorgan et al hammered that spike flat in short order.  And as I mentioned at the top of this column, they also closed silver back below the $22 spot price once again. The price action of the precious metal shares didn’t impress me, either. So despite the rallies in all the precious metal since the New Year began, it’s obvious that their rallies are being managed, as JPMorgan et al are letting the technical funds shorts off the hook easily, without ripping out a pound of flesh by demanding much higher prices.  If “da boyz” stood back and did nothing, there would be a disorderly rally in hours, or maybe minutes—which is the last thing that the powers that be want. As Ted said on the phone yesterday, these rallies could go on for months—but whatever length of time they last [or are allowed to last] the ending will be the same; an engineered price decline where JPMorgan et al ring the cash register one more time.  It was ever thus. Of course the precious metal mining companies, fully aware of what’s happening, do nothing. In Far East trading on their Tuesday, all four precious metals got sold down just a bit.  The exception was silver, which got sold down over a percent going into the London open, an event that occurred about 10 minutes ago as I write this paragraph.  Gold volume is already sky high at 33,000 contracts—and all of it is of the HFT variety.  Silver’s volume isn’t exactly light, either—although a goodly chunk of it is roll-overs out of the March contract and into May, which is the next front month.  The dollar index has rolled over a bit and is down 9 basis points at this time. And as I send this off to Stowe in Vermont two hours later at 5:15 a.m. EST, the precious metal prices aren’t doing much—and with the exception of platinum [at least for the moment] the other precious metals are all down from Monday’s close in New York.  Gold volume is over 40,000 contracts—and all of it of the HFT variety.  Silver’s volume, even net of roll-overs is way up there as well.  Based on these volumes, it’s a good bet that JPMorgan et al are selling up a storm in order to prevent prices from rising.  The dollar index, which dipped dangerously close to the 80.00 mark in late Far East trading, is now rallying a bit, as it appears that someone was there to catch that proverbial falling knife once again. I have no idea what’s in store for prices during the New York trading session, but the big volumes at this time of day—considering the tepid price action—doesn’t make my heart go pitter patter, if you get my drift.  But, in this market, you just never know. That’s more than enough for today—too much, actually—and I’ll see you here tomorrow.last_img read more

Just a week until Christmas and that timing means

first_imgJust a week until Christmas, and that timing means this is our last missive of the year. Fret not, though; if you truly miss me, you can tune into this new Bitcoin video from our good friends at Mauldin Economics, where I play the skeptic as usual. Maybe you’ll want to pick up some virtual currency for a stocking stuffer. You’ll have some more time on December 25 anyway, since hackers got what they wanted: Sony canceled the release of The Interview after the five largest theaters bailed on the film under vague threats. See below for more details, but this thing is about to turn into something far more serious as the US government throws its weight into accusations of nation-state espionage.Us? We’re spending that extra time keeping our eyes on the small-cap selloff for bargains instead. In today’s brand-spanking-new issue of Extraordinary Technology, we just unwrapped a profitable young digital advertising platform Wall Street hasn’t really caught on to yet. With 63% growth last quarter, you can bet they will soon. Pick up your copy here, along with a risk-free peek at the whole portfolio.Now, on to the news moving the market…Rape, Stalking, and Intimidation Ripe from Silicon ValleyI held up this issue just as we go to press because there is some breaking news I feel I must comment on. Like so many in the tech media we’ve been following the roller-coaster ride that is Uber. After months of seemingly bad news for the once-untouchable startup, Uber’s troubles just escalated big time.What was once easy to write off as an isolated incident—the driver in India accused of rape—now looks systemic. Four people in Boston have complained about being sexually assaulted in the last month by Uber drivers, including a rape allegation. This, on top of the company’s internal suggestions of casing an annoying female journalist and lax attitude to cyberstalking by employees, shows a company probably growing too darn fast. In the race to stay ahead, the company seems to have gotten lax on security for its systems and its drivers, putting customers in harm’s way. It’s announced new technology to better screen drivers—with a two-day turnaround, the company was either already working hard on this tough problem or they are masters of bullshit. The more bad stuff that comes out about the company, the more it looks like the latter.To top it all off, it’s not just Tampa and Portland banning Uber. India did it last week. Now all of France has bowed to a protest from taxi drivers, banning UberPop (the EU offering from the same company). Then the company’s “surge pricing” backfired again, this time in the Sydney hostage crisis. That price algorithm is going to get it in real trouble someday soon, running afoul of anti-price-gouging laws in effect in many cities like New York.But Uber’s problems aren’t necessarily its own fault. After all, taxi drivers have always had a dark streak. Rape, robbery, and assault are just a few of the things that occur with some regularity in the profession. It’s no surprise then that Uber would face the same challenges—especially when its drivers aren’t going through secondary background checks from the government and don’t have the financial bonding issues of a taxi medallion hanging over their heads. (Maybe Uber might consider selling bonds of its own, letting people sponsor drivers and risk their capital for a share of good performance? It would distribute the incentive for safety in a way the company can’t do now. Or maybe they should only hire women drivers? Though then you’d find stories about employee safety… taxi driving is a rough gig.)Regardless, the company has a serious PR problem. Unless it gets out in front of it in a big way, the company could end up being remembered only for the crimes of its staff and drivers.Windows May Live for Another Day, Market Data SayBack in July, we called your attention to the fact that after eight consecutive quarters of decline, the PC market had stabilized at about 315 million annual units. That good news caught many industry experts by surprise, as they had expected annual demand, which peaked at 365 million units in 2011, to continue to plunge until it was well below the 300 million mark.The free-fall in PC demand was halted by two main factors:The ending of support by Microsoft (MSFT) for its Windows XP operating system, which is motivating XP users to buy new computers with supported systems; and The slowing of the cannibalization of the PC market by tablets, whose meteoric sales plateaued.Now, another catalyst for PC sales has appeared on the horizon. Windows 10 was announced by Microsoft in September and is expected to be released next fall. That could spark a big upgrade cycle for PCs even though, or especially since, its predecessor flopped.Pacific Crest analyst Brendan Barnicle maintains that many PC owners have delayed replacement of their old units because of their dislike for Windows 8, which was released in October 2012 to reviews which ranged from blasé to complete bashings.“Microsoft (MSFT) saw relatively weak adoption of Windows 8, but early reviews are encouraging for Windows 10,” Barnicle said. He went on to say that Intel has sized up the opportunity by suggesting that as many as 600 million PCs might upgrade to Windows 10.The investment implications are immense. However, picking the right stock(s)… those that will experience significant benefits from the trend but don’t have those benefits already built into their share price… will, as usual, be the trick. In the September issue of BIG TECH, we recommended such a stock. It’s already started to drift higher as Wall Street’s unfounded fears that the PC era ended have abated like a soccer mom’s concern over the last “food that will kill you” from the evening news. But it’s still a bargain. In fact, we see the stock returning 50% in the next 12-18 months, regardless of what happens to the broader market. For access to this recommendation, sign up for a risk-free trial of BIG TECH.Apple Pay Sees Massive Corporate Adoption… Actual Users Remain to Be SeenApple Pay appears to be gaining traction in the electronic payments arena, succeeding where tech giants such as Google, Verizon, and AT&T have floundered. In recent weeks, Apple (AAPL) has signed up dozens of banks and retail stores—and posted many a press release about it. The company claims that Apple Pay supports the cards used for 90% of purchase volume in the US. “Retailers and payment companies see Apple Pay as the implementation that has the best chance at mass consumer adoption, which has eluded prior attempts,” says industry expert Patrick Moorhead.Our take: no company will turn down the opportunity to put its name next to Apple, the most valuable brand (and stock) in the world. Supporting Apple Pay is not technically complex for a bank, and it requires almost nothing of most retailers who have had NFC-capable terminals (the tech behind Apple Pay) for years. For them to say they are on board is nothing but a PR exercise.But Apple phones only comprise about 25% of the US-installed base, so even if it could get 50% of users to ditch tried and true credit cards, they’d still only support less than 10% of purchasing power at most. And getting to that 50% level is an enormous undertaking that would costs billions in marketing and promotions—old habits die hard, especially when the replacement is more complicated to use and adds no value. As it is right now, the limited data say most people just aren’t using it, not even the decidedly tech-forward panel that InfoScout put together:Even if Apple succeeds in capturing a significant share of the electronic payments market, the resulting profit probably won’t be enough to move Apple’s share-price needle much in the intermediate term. Carl Icahn estimates that by 2017, Apple Pay could generate $2.5 billion in annual revenue, which by our estimation, would increase earnings per share by only about $0.32.But here’s the bigger picture: Apple Pay is one more element in a growing ecosystem of lifestyle products and services that, in Icahn’s words, differentiate Apple from a simple hardware company. Not only that, but a few solid base hits with products such as Apple Pay and Apple Watch could, when taken together, turn out to add up for shareholders. Still, at recent prices driven by the massive shift from small- to large-cap stocks, Apple stock’s too rich for our blood now.3D-Printing Stocks Collapse Back to Industry RealityIn general, it’s been a good year for tech stocks. But the same can’t be said for 3D printing, with the industry’s main players getting massacred.What gives? For starters, enthusiasm has waned and multiples have rapidly contracted, which always eventually happens with emerging technologies. At that point, only companies that can actually deliver sales and earnings growth will bounce back. Also, investors are concerned over increasing competition from the likes of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), which is making an aggressive push into the space.Nevertheless, Canaccord Genuity is bullish on the incumbents, calling for a much better performance in 2015, especially for 3D Systems (DDD) and Stratasys (SSYS), which the firm expects to appreciate 66% and 62% respectively.We’ve seen and won similar rises before in the 3D-printing space, but we wouldn’t bet on that big a comeback this time around. We’re still high on the technology, but we’ll wait until our evaluation turns up more companies that can meet our 9 Ps criteria.Solar Investors Get a Bad BurnSolar stocks are taking a beating, with Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) shedding 25% over the last three months. The drop in solar almost mirrors the drop in oil prices, which has bewildered both analysts and solar execs alike, according to an Investor’s Business Daily article. The cause of the confusion: oil isn’t used to create much electricity, so falling oil prices should have no direct effect on solar demand. But of course, the market probably realizes that, so there’s likely something else at work, like a rotation out of all energy stocks.At any rate, the pullback in solar will be short-lived, according to Merrill Lynch, which expects the industry to bounce back in 2015, thanks to soaring installations. The firm cites SunEdison (SUNE), SunPower (SPWR), SolarCity (SCTY), and Vivint Solar (VSLR) as top picks. SunEdison looks especially interesting, since the firm boasts a deep roster of accomplished investors, including Greenlight Capital’s David Einhorn, who recently gave an informative and entertaining presentation on why he’s investing in the company.We’re not ready to wade in just yet. Government manipulation in the solar markets has been on the wane, and it remains to be seen if the biggest benefactors, Europe and China, have the steam to keep pouring good money after bad on an energy source that costs more than market rate. Or does it? If these kinds of economics end up scaling, solar energy could finally see a bright future.Bits & BytesThe hot field of financial technology had a big week, with the market debut of LendingClub (LC), which was the largest IPO for a US-based tech company this year. LendingClub’s highly successful IPO marks the beginning of a revolution in which a host of startups will upend the financial industry, according to an interesting article published on TechCrunch. If there was ever an industry that needed a good whooping from tech, it’s banking. Oh, wait… LendingClub’s biggest investor was actually Wells Fargo.IPOs for New Relic and Hortonworks each opened up by a big margin as well. But questions are already starting to emerge on whether the companies, especially Hortonworks with its massive losses, can sustain those prices very long. (Just who’s buying all those open market shares at huge premiums as IPO participants jump ship on day one anyway? Could it be the banks themselves?)Free stock trades? There’s an app for that, courtesy of Silicon Valley startup Robinhood. In addition, the trading platform doesn’t require an account minimum. Early signs point to the app being a big hit, with over half a million users already signed up. Fidelity, an incumbent brokerage, has certainly taken notice, running an ad campaign in an attempt to keep customers from fleeing its trading site. In the end, how the site will make money is still a secret—I’d guess by selling your financial info like Mint.com does.Gartner is out with its Q3 smartphone numbers, and the market is still booming. A total of 301 million smartphones sold in the quarter, up 20% from a year ago. But not all handset makers fared well. Samsung saw unit sales decline from 80 million in Q3 2013 to 73 million in Q3 2014. On the flip side, Xiaomi had a remarkable quarter, with sales jumping from 3.6 million in Q3 2013 to 15.7 million in Q3 2014. Xiaomi is gaining significant traction with its low-cost handsets in China, which is one of the fastest-growing smartphone markets, as well as India for now (but not for rival OnePlus).BlackBerry has officially launched a new handset too: the Classic. It comes equipped with a full QWERTY physical keyboard, physical navigation keys, and a nearly indistinguishable design from BlackBerry smartphones from yesteryear. The company says the phone will appeal to those looking for the traditional BlackBerry experience… all two of them.The Edge Consulting Group is known for making accurate calls, such as the eBay and Symantec breakups. And now the London-based firm is back with another prediction, calling for a spinoff of Amazon’s Web Services business next year. With Amazon’s quarterly losses and low-margin retail business irking investors, spinning off AWS would trigger a re-rating of Amazon’s overall business at a more favorable valuation, according to The Edge Consulting Group. The firm estimated that an AWS spinoff would raise the total valuation of Amazon’s two businesses to a combined value of $195 billion, a 36% increase from today’s market cap… unless Microsoft’s big gains start to cost it some share:The feds are going after emails held by Microsoft as part of a drug-related investigation. But Microsoft refuses to comply on the grounds that the emails are stored in a data center in Ireland, which is outside the US government’s jurisdiction. Tech giants such as Verizon, Amazon, Cisco, and HP are backing Microsoft. The decision is up to the courts, with a ruling expected in the coming months.Google has released its top searches for the year. Robin Williams, World Cup, Ebola, MH370, ALS, and Flappy Bird headed up the list. No Apple products, though, which hasn’t happened in a few years. Alas, even Tom Cook’s coming-out distraction couldn’t rekindle the magic of Steve Jobs.Turns out Google has a virtual reality headset. And it’s made of cardboard and a smartphone. It started as a jab at Facebook for paying a whopping $2 billion for Oculus VR, a virtual reality company. But evidently, it’s starting to catch on, with over 50,000 Google Cardboard copycat units delivered from real companies capitalizing on the joke.Google is expressing greater interest in the healthcare space. Its venture capital arm, Google Ventures, allocated more than one-third of its investment dollars this year toward healthcare and life-sciences companies, up from 9% each of the prior two years. Google sees some major opportunities in health care, but also said valuations in the sector are much more reasonable than others sectors, such as Consumer Internet.Tinder has company in the mobile dating space. Meet Hinge, a mobile dating app that has positioned itself as the thinking man’s/woman’s Tinder. Whereas Tinder just shows you anyone in your age range, Hinge only matches you with friends of friends that its romance-graph algorithm thinks you’ll get along with. In other words, it’s more of a matchmaking service than a meat market. Now we get to see what daters really want from their app.As is too often the case, it emerges that the hack attack on Sony exploited a vulnerability the company knew about already. The unfortunate reality is there are just far too many security holes in most systems to ever patch. Until entirely new methods of securing applications emerge, I just don’t see the constant string of hackings slowing down at all. Don’t forget to teach your kids encryption this holiday break…The hacking has also shone a light on some pretty unsavory tactics from Sony and its allies in combatting Google’s power, as well as a questionable plan to battle piracy. And that Malcolm Gladwell is a real gossip.It appears that Facebook is changing its relationship status from “Married to Bing” back to single, as the company dumped the Microsoft search engine.Yahoo, meanwhile, empowered by its new Firefox search takeover, is urging Chrome users to “upgrade” their browsers.Tech headlines love to poke fun at Microsoft. But this interesting read from The Verge shows just how tough the battle is to get enterprises to adopt new tech, even when you pay them huge amounts to do so.Your tax dollars at work: an app to guess your blood alcohol level from playing games.Tired of fading into irrelevance, UK telecom BT is buying back into mobile after exiting nearly a decade ago.Is the Net neutral if you cannot open the HBO Go app when you’re on Comcast’s network? Frightening precedent for outright censorship of what cable providers see as threats.Is PowerPoint going bye-bye? Sway looks like a subtle way to try out a whole new way to build presentations without scaring off meeting kings in the meantime.Apparently Apple DRM didn’t hurt anyone, proving caveat emptor and common sense hold up after all.Lastly, you’ll never believe what travelers are trying to sneak past the TSA. Snakes, chain saw blades, and even a samurai sword. Don’t believe it? See for yourself.last_img read more

Recommended Link

first_imgRecommended Link Why 351 Retired Congressmen Don’t Need to Collect Social Security Recommended Link On the one hand, I like the idea of speculating in Venezuela; I’ve probably been down there a half-dozen times over the years. But it’s way too early to think about it seriously. If you bought an estancia, even at a bargain price, I doubt you could even get good title. And there’s no telling how long Maduro, or a crony, could stay in office. Africa provides dozens of examples of the most wicked, incompetent, and stupid dictators imaginable staying in office for decades. And then, after they’re overthrown, either somebody worse takes over, or they have a civil war. Venezuela has a big problem with oil. All that oil in the hands of the government makes a change especially hard. And even if a new regime is installed, the oil revenue will act to corrupt them. The only way to solve the oil problem is to auction all the mineral properties to many—preferably hundreds—of private companies, and get the State completely out of that, and every other business. Also have subsurface rights devolve to the landowner, not the State. The US is one of the few countries in the world where that’s the case. Justin: Got it. So, the Venezuelan government is clearly the problem. But what if a relatively more trustworthy country like Japan, Germany, or the United States introduces their own cryptocurrency? Could that succeed? Doug: That will happen. Soon, many countries will have their own digital currencies. That’s partly because they’re all trying to do away with paper money—a very unfortunate trend. Cash gives you a lot of privacy and flexibility. Governments hate it because it facilitates tax evasion. They’d rather everyone use digital currency, where there’s zero privacy, and they have instant access to everything you own. So, yes. Government-backed digital money is coming. The question is whether any of these will be backed by gold. The answer is that there will undoubtedly be private cryptos exchangeable into gold. But it’s most unlikely there will be any government digital currencies that are. With one exception: the Chinese. And perhaps the Russians. The Chinese will likely be the first to do this. Justin’s note: Keep an eye on your inbox for tomorrow’s Dispatch, where Doug and I will dig into how China could set the stage for the new digital economy. Also, we have some exciting news. Doug’s second book in the High Ground series, Drug Lord, was just nominated for the Libertarian Futurist Society’s 2018 Prometheus Award for Best Novel. The first book, Speculator, was nominated in 2017. These books are must-reads here at our office. If you haven’t read them yet, you can order your copies right here. Reader Mailbag Today, another reader writes in about Doug’s recent interview on the coming war with China: Bush led us right into Egypt, Libya, and Syria, but left Iran alone. Hmmm. That’s a clue. Trump has agreed to meet with the North Korean leader, yet everyone seems to think Trump is arrogant. Why didn’t Mr. Humble, Nice-Guy Obama meet with him? Or everybody’s favorite guy, Clinton? Yet bombastic, arrogant Donald Trump has. But does anyone give him credit? Of course not. We attack countries without presidential meetings. President Trump is going to talk to this guy face-to-face before deciding whether to take action. He wants to see for himself what this guy is all about rather than trusting unaccountable diplomats. That’s what I call leadership. – Ken As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here. Take a look at this sensitive government document… Its official designation is SF 2801. But to high-level insiders, it’s simply an “Application for Immediate Retirement.” It grants them immediate access to an obscure yet lucrative Social Security alternative… so lucrative, one monthly benefit can be worth a year of Social Security. Click here to continue reading… —center_img If You Didn’t Buy Bitcoin at 5 Cents, Read This The $6 trillion potential in “ID Coin” technology is 13 times bigger than every other cryptocurrency in the world today put together. Yet almost no one knows about it yet, just like Bitcoin in 2010. And you can own a stake right through your brokerage account. Details here. Maduro says the offering has supposedly raised $5 billion. It’s further proof of both the man’s criminal nature—trying to scam $5 billion from foreign investors—and low intelligence, in believing the scam could possibly work. He’s so dim that he probably doesn’t realize he’s just making a spectacle of himself. There’s no reason to believe absolutely anything the Venezuelan government says. This coin, should it even come into existence, will be as worthless as the Venezuelan bolívar. The whole thing is a crazy scam. The criminals running the Venezuelan government are just trying to garner a few extra dollars. Justin: Yeah, even Venezuelan authorities have been unclear about what backs this coin. In the coin’s filings, they say that it’s backed by one barrel of oil per token “or whatever commodities the nation decides.” So I wouldn’t go near this puppy. But what if Venezuela launched a gold-backed cryptocurrency? They’ve talked about doing that. Would that be more legitimate in your eyes? Doug: No. If a government wants to introduce a gold-backed cryptocoin, it must be redeemable for a specific amount of gold. But, again, no one should trust the Venezuelan government. Frankly, you shouldn’t trust any government—for lots of reasons—but they’re among the very worst bets at the moment. The chances of this working are slim and none. And Slim is out of town. — Justin’s note: Venezuela just introduced its own cryptocurrency. That’s right… The country battling chronic food shortages, runaway inflation, and widespread violence launched the world’s first government-backed cryptocurrency. Each one of these coins is supposedly backed by one barrel of oil, so the government is calling it the “petro.” President Nicolás Maduro claims the petro will turn Venezuela into an “economic powerhouse.” Vice President Tareck El Aissami says it puts Venezuela “at the vanguard of the future.” Now, I’m long-term bullish on cryptocurrencies. But the petro has “scam” written all over it. Still, the crypto market has surprised me before. So I called Doug Casey to see what he thinks… Justin: Venezuela, of all places, just became the first country with a government-backed cryptocurrency. What do you make of this, Doug? Doug: Well, anyone who buys this coin is an idiot. It’s like buying a cryptocurrency from a Nigerian who says he’ll give you $10 million if you’ll only give him $100,000 to get the ball rolling, and cover a few transaction fees. Same type of thing.last_img read more

Dockless electric scooters are available for rent

first_imgDockless electric scooters are available for rent in dozens of U.S. cities. While the companies behind them are quick to extol their benefits, some health and safety experts are starting to see the challenges that come along for the ride. Scooter companies and city officials say they are aware of the issues, but solutions aren’t coming anytime soon.Stand-up electric scooters have been around since the 1980s. But the latest trend in micromobility — dockless electric scooters — launched in 2017. They arrived in the District of Columbia in 2018, and now, just over a year later, thousands of scooters are on the streets.”They sort of just popped up out of nowhere,” says Matthew Lachance, who works in fundraising for an international AIDS relief nonprofit in D.C. Lachance says he rents scooters often, even throughout the winter, because they’re fun and convenient.But not all rides are quite so fun. Some end in injuries. Fractures and head injuries most commonScooter-related injuries are a common sight at the George Washington University Hospital, says Dr. Kate Douglass. “Almost during every shift, you’ll see somebody come in with an extremity injury or a head injury or a laceration or something along those lines,” she says. Douglass says that’s partly to do with how riders actually use them. With riders in the streets, in the bike lanes and on the sidewalks, there’s a greater potential for injury.Dr. Joann Elmore sees the same things in emergency rooms in Los Angeles. Elmore was the principal investigator on a team from the University of California, Los Angeles that looked at scooter injuries over their first year as a ride-share offering in L.A. In their study, published in January, they observed the most common injuries to be fractures and head injuries — about 30 percent and 40 percent, respectively. They also discovered that, of the scooter users they observed, fewer than 5 percent were wearing helmets.”It is immensely easy to use and … given this ease, many of us underestimate the potential for public health and trauma-related issues,” she says. But even though injuries can be common, Douglass at George Washington says the injuries she’s seeing are relatively minor — broken wrists and bruised knees. Severe injuries and even fatal injuries are far less common. And most injuries are preventable.Scooter companies part of the solutionInjury prevention is also on the minds of micromobility companies. They are working to educate their users on how to ride safely through city streets. They’re also working to educate users on where to leave scooters when they’re no longer needed.Juliette Rizzo is a disability rights activist and pedestrian advocate who leads what are called “walking audits.” The goal of the audits is to assess pedestrian access. In other words, what challenges stand in the way of safely navigating a city?During a recent walking audit in downtown D.C., Rizzo brought attention to a scooter found blocking the sidewalk. This prompted a conversation with Beaudry Kock, who was along for the audit. He works for Spin, one of the five companies with licenses to operate scooters in Washington.Kock voiced his frustration about scooter placement. “There’s no excuse. There’s really no reason,” he said. Kock said the responsibility of scooter placement is just as much on the companies as it is on the users.Ultimately, most of these companies feel that the best way to address all safety concerns is to push for long-term solutions — solutions like redesigning city streets and improving traffic flow for all vehicles, including bikes and scooters. The District Department of Transportation agrees. Jonathan Rogers, a policy analyst at DDOT, says that infrastructure and building safe streets are the foundation of tackling scooter-related issues. But improving infrastructure and building safer streets make for a slow and expensive process. The same could be said for building safer sidewalks.While temporary measures like flex posts and paint can help in the short term, most of the solutions are still months, if not years, away. Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.last_img read more

STAR PREVIEW Chelsea v Maccabi TelAviv

first_img[dropcap]C[/dropcap]helsea’s problems are well documented and they could well do with a resounding victory at Stamford Bridge tonight in their first Champions League Group match of the season.Not a 1-0 and then ‘park the bus’ type victory – more of a 4-0 or 5-0 romp against Maccabi Tel-Aviv which, under normal circumstances, they should be capable of and the market points to an easy win.But surely in the current climate even the heavy hitters at long odds-on must take a deep breath before touching Chelsea at around 2/9?The Chelsea concerns set in even before the Premier League started with lacklustre pre-season form and they now look a shadow of the team that stormed to title success last season.The meltdown is pretty unfathomable. It’s pretty much the same side so it can only really be put down to complacency.After tonight’s game Chelsea have a short period to get ready for Saturday’s lunchtime showdown against London rivals Arsenal (in action themselves tonight away to Dinamo Zagreb) and a defeat for the Blues at the weekend could really accelerate pressure on Mourinho – not to mention further dent the confidence in the side.So a big win for Chelsea tonight is pretty much essential. The Israeli champions Maccabi Tel-Aviv are making their first appearance in the group stages for 11 years after beating Basel on away goals in a play-off.Chelsea will be without Radamel Falcao who has a minor injury and Asmir Begovic will deputise for Thibaut Courtois in goal.Mourinho has swung some big changes in his starting XI of: Begovic; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Cahill, Baba Rahman; Loftus-Cheek, Fabregas; Willian, Oscar, Hazard and Remy.Terry and Costa are both on the bench and Baba Rahman makes his debut.Chelsea v Maccabi Tel-AvivUEFA Champions League Group Stage19:45 BT Sport 2 / BT Sport 2 HDHEAD TO HEAD RECORD(Never played)I think, at last, we’ll see some positive play from Chelsea tonight and I’m happy to punt ‘over 3.5 goals’ around 6/4 with Star Sports.RECOMMENDED BETS (scale of 1-50 points)BACK OVER 3.5 GOALS for 10 points at 6/4 with Star SportsRETURN SINCE START OF WORLD CUP: PROFIT 195.36 POINTSWhat’s your view? CALL STAR SPORTS 08000 521 321last_img read more

Rice Experts Available to Talk about World Population

first_imgShare Contact: Philip Montgomery Phone: (713) 831-4794 Rice Experts Available to Talk about World Population The United Nations will hold the World Population Conference Sept. 5-13 in Cairo, Egypt, to develop a 20-year plan to curb population growth. Rice experts are prepared to comment on various aspects of population issues including agriculture, climate change and future effects of an increase in world population upon society. Rice experts include: Don C. Benjamin, lecturer in religious studies, (713) 527-8101, ext. 3244 or 645-9035. He specializes in biblical and ancient Near Eastern studies and is an ordained Catholic priest who can give a Catholic perspective on population issues. Frank Fisher, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, (713) 527-4917 or 527-8101, ext. 2570. He specializes in climate change, marine resources and the effect of a large human population on animal diversity. Stephen Klineberg, professor of sociology, (713) 527-8101, ext. 3484. Klineberg tracks the effects of growing populations on the natural and urban environments. Susan McIntosh, professor of anthropology, (713) 527-8101, ext. 3380. She can discuss complex societies that have overextended themselves in the past. Ron Sass, professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, (713) 527-4066. Sass is an expert on feeding world populations, green farming and rice agriculture. Rick Smith, professor of history, (713) 527-8101, ext. 2552. Smith, a China expert, specializes in traditional culture and cultural change brought on by population growth. ### FacebookTwitterPrintEmailAddThislast_img read more

Sebelius Assures Lawmakers That Insurance Marketplaces Will Open Oct 1

first_imgSebelius Assures Lawmakers That Insurance Marketplaces Will Open Oct. 1 This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription. In a Friday appearance before the House Ways and Means Committee, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius offered assurances about the readiness of 33 federally run health insurance marketplaces and answered questions about health care “navigators.”The Hill: Sebelius: Exchanges Will Be Ready On Time, No Need For Backup PlanThe Health and Human Services Department will meet its central ObamaCare deadline and does not need a backup plan for delays, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Friday. Sebelius told the House Ways and Means Committee that a federally run insurance exchange will be up and running by Oct. 1 (Baker, 4/12).CQ HealthBeat: HHS Draws $304 Million From Prevention Fund To Enroll UninsuredThe Department of Health and Human Services disclosed on one of its websites Friday that it will use $304 million from the health care law’s prevention fund to pay some expenses associated with enrolling people in insurance under the overhaul. Public health lobbyists recently warned that the Obama administration would begin tapping the fund to pay to stand up the federal exchange, which is expected to help provide coverage for a projected 30 million Americans (Reichard, 4/13).The Hill: GOP Members Question Healthcare ‘Navigators’House Republicans want more information about the Obama administration’s $54 million grants to help people navigate the new insurance marketplaces created by the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, six GOP members of the Energy and Commerce Committee wrote a letter asking Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Kathleen Sebelius seven questions about the grants, which will allow “navigators” to help consumers shop for healthcare in new insurance exchanges (Hattem, 4/12).CQ HealthBeat: House Republicans Probe HHS Rollout Of Navigator ProgramRepublicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee Friday asked the Obama administration for additional details surrounding the navigator program that will be key to helping Americans enroll in health insurance exchanges come this fall. Among their questions are how many navigators will be deployed across the country, the source of funding for the program, how navigators will be chosen, their salaries and their training (Norman, 4/12).Kaiser Health News also tracked weekend health policy headlines, including reports about Sebelius’ Friday appearance before a congressional committee (4/12).last_img read more