first_imgFacebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享Caring for the Kenai was created on the Kenai Peninsula to challenge high school students to respond to the question “what can I do, invent, create, or improve to better care for the environment of my area or improve the area’s preparedness for natural disaster?”  Caring for my Backyard will expand that challenge to high school students across the nation. Caring for the Kenai will continue on the Kenai Peninsula. Sikorski: “Our young people can make a difference, if we give them the opportunity and the motivation to do it.” Caring for the Kenai Founder and Contest Coordinator Merrill Sikorski: “It’s time that idea, which started as Caring for the Kenai, becomes about more than just the Kenai Peninsula. We’ve seen incredible results here over the past 28 years.” Caring For My Backyard will be available as a model private/public community partnership anywhere there are backyards and youth with creative ideas. Caring for the Kenai is expanding that challenge across the nation and launching Caring For My Backyard. Caring for the Kenai is administrated by the Challenger Learning Center, and distributes more than $30,000 in cash prizes each year. Story as aired: Audio PlayerJennifer-on-CFK-goes-natinowide-.mp3VmJennifer-on-CFK-goes-natinowide-.mp300:00RPd Challenger CEO Marnie Olcott:“The Challenger Mission to inspire students in the science, technology, engineering and math disciplines while connecting with the relationships and applications to real world situations creates a seamless backdrop for a program such as Caring for Kenai that was designed to have students think of creative ideas to help their local environment and prepare for natural disasters.”last_img read more

first_imgAt the advent of a new era for reading, an era integrating mobility and exploration into the standard experience, we are committed to turn this experience into tangible progress. This past week we have not only focused on restoring services, but also on reinforcing our infrastructure with more fault-tolerant, redundant servers managed in multiple co-located clusters. We are dedicated to enhancing our infrastructure to both keep up with our rapid global growth and be more resilient to all types of system-related challenges. To this end we have nearly tripled our technology team in the past few months. We know how much you have become accustomed to the addition of digital reading into your lifestyle. We also know how upsetting it is to feel helpless, not knowing the cause of problems. For that we are truly sorry. Please know customer satisfaction is our reason for existence and we take it very seriously. We hope you will give us a chance to make it right and show you how much we value you. Zinio CEO Rich Maggiotto has posted an open letter apologizing for the digital newsstand being down for several days last week and attributing the problem to “misconfigured operational scripts that took down both core and redundant servers at our datacenter.”Maggiotto says, For a number of days last week, Zinio’s web services were interrupted or offline. We believe that last week’s system failure was the result of misconfigured operational scripts that took down both core and redundant servers at our datacenter. The problem severely impaired all secondary processes and repositories. This failure was significant to say the least – it brought down our entire network. Our IT/Ops and Engineering teams worked diligently on a 24/7 basis to restore core web services and bring our stores, processes and delayed content back online. As the CEO, I hold us to the highest of standards. We failed you. And for that, I deeply apologize. Over the past ten years, many of us, myself included, have poured our souls into building our vision. We have seen rapid growth these past several months. Seeing our hard work offline was emotionally devastating for my team and me. Please know that we know this outage was unacceptable. last_img read more

first_imgDownload AudioNow it’s time for 49 voices. This week we will hear from a high school student from the western Alaska village of Scammon Bay. Tom James Greg Tomaganuk is from Scammon Bay. He was in Anchorage recently for the Academic Decathalon.last_img

first_imgChitransh JainPR HandoutChitransh Jain, a CA Drop out, is turning tables as a digital entrepreneur by providing a platform called ‘Singing Sensations’ to the unheard talents.It was the passion in Chitransh Jain which drove him to drop out of Oxford Brookes University and create a platform for the unheard, budding ‘Singing Sensations’ as he puts it!Chitransh Jain, the 24 years old founder of the leading music portal ‘Singing Sensations’ shares his roots from the land of Rajasthan. His expertise in digital marketing has helped many singers, actors and youtubers like Ashish Chanchlani, Varun Pruthi, Monali Thakur, Isha Koppikar, Gajendra Verma, to name a few.From the trails of his endeavor so far, he firmly believes that the need of the hour is to provide the budding talents in the nation, the fame that it rightly deserves and it is through his platform singing sensations; and his prospects with brands like Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, he feels all his efforts are totally worth it, if an unheard talent gets a platform.Chitransh Jain says, “No matter if today your singing voice is hidden from the real world, but tomorrow it can be published and bring it to the notice of millions. It is a well-known fact that India is full of young and talented singers with quite mesmerizing melodious voices.”Chitransh Jain adds,” But they require the right professional guidance and direction that can perfectly shape their singing talent, and also right platform to channelize their latent talents to the best across the globe.”Through Singing Sensations which is a Digital Platform for Media, Distribution and Talent Management has got the back of every artist who has the talent and grit but is still unheard, it promises to showcase an independent content all across the masses or as he quotes “every unheard talent is just a click away from becoming the ‘singing sensation!’last_img read more

first_imgA man walks past a TV broadcasting a news report on the dismantling of the Punggye-ri nuclear testing site, in Seoul, South Korea, 24 May, 2018. Photo: ReutersNorth Korea followed through on a pledge to blow up tunnels used for nuclear testing on Thursday, media reported, as part of steps that have reduced tension on the Korean peninsula and raised the possibility of a summit with the United States.North Korea has conducted all six of its nuclear tests at the Punggye-ri site, which consists of tunnels dug beneath Mount Mantap in the northeast of the country.A small group of international media selected by North Korea was on hand to witness the demolition, which Pyongyang says is proof of its commitment to end nuclear testing.The destruction of the site began at about 11am with the blowing up and collapsing of a tunnel and an observation post.After some time, it destroyed another tunnel and other facilities, then a third tunnel and another observation post.About five hours after beginning the operation, it destroyed two military barracks, South Korean media said in pool reports.The North Korean offer to scrap the test site has been seen as a major concession in months of easing tension between it, on the one hand, and South Korea and the United States on the other.But the progress appears to have been checked this month with North Korea raising doubts about an unprecedented June 12 summit in Singapore between its leader, Kim Jong Un, and US president Donald Trump.The North objects to US demands that it unilaterally give up its arsenal of nuclear bombs and ballistic missiles.Last week, Trump sought to placate North Korea after it threatened to call off the summit, saying Kim’s security would be guaranteed in any deal and his country would not suffer the fate of Muammar Gaddafi’s Libya, unless that could not be reached.But the reference to the case of Libya has angered North Korea.’DUMMY’In a statement released by North Korean media on Thursday, Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui called US vice president Mike Pence a “political dummy” for comparing North Korea – a “nuclear weapons state” – to Libya, where Gaddafi gave up his unfinished nuclear development programme, only to be later killed by NATO-backed fighters.”It is to be underlined, however, that in order not to follow in Libya’s footstep, we paid a heavy price to build up our powerful and reliable strength that can defend ourselves and safeguard peace and security in the Korean peninsula and the region,” Choe said.Choe said the fate of the summit was “entirely” up to the United States.”We will neither beg the US for dialogue nor take the trouble to persuade them if they do not want to sit together with us,” said Choe.She said she could suggest to leader Kim that North Korea reconsider the summit if the United States offended the North’s goodwill.China, North Korea’s sole main ally, said it hoped the summit between Kim and Trump could proceed smoothly, after Trump cast further doubt over whether it would go ahead.Both countries should cherish the opportunity and all parties should ensure that dialogue leads to a positive outcome, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular briefing.Trump said on Wednesday he would know next week whether the summit would take place as scheduled.White House aides are preparing to travel to Singapore this weekend for a crucial meeting with North Korean officials to discuss the agenda and logistics for the summit, said US officials in Washington, speaking on condition of anonymity.last_img read more

first_imgIn this 11 July 2018 photo, Japanese organizational expert Marie Kondo introduces her new line of storage boxes during a media event in New York. Kondo is launching the product line, a six-piece set of colorful and sturdy paper boxes, for $89. Photo : APPeople often ask Japanese tidying queen Marie Kondo what containers they need to achieve her brand of organizational success. They expect her to “reveal some hitherto secret storage weapon, ” she explains in her popular book.Instead, she advised when “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” was first published in Japanese in 2011, “You can solve your storage problems with things you already have in the house.”But Kondo’s thinking has evolved as she’s leveraged her massive, global fan base to expand her empire. She’s now got an upcoming Netflix show, a fledgling corps of consultants working around the world to help her fans declutter their homes, and, on Tuesday, she’s launched her first product line: six-piece sets of beautiful, sturdy paper boxes for $89 a pop.In a recent appearance in Manhattan to announce the show and merchandise line, Kondo said she thinks lovely storage options will spark the life-changing joy she wrote about in her book, which has sold more than 10 million copies in 40-plus countries. She also hopes the boxes will motivate more people to actually complete all the steps in her laborious KonMari Method of sorting, tossing and putting things away in their right and righteous locations.The new storage sets are the shape and size of shoe boxes. (Her book had recommended using real shoe boxes for organizing.) Smaller boxes in the set are akin to iPhone boxes (another reuse hack she recommends). All are intended to be of service on shelves or in drawers (the sets are called Hikidashi, which means “drawer” in Japanese) to hold such things as sunglasses, handbags, papers, socks, undergarments and T-shirts, the latter three lovingly folded in the flat, KonMari-sanctioned way so they stand upright.”I’m probably the only person in the world who makes such an official occasion to introduce empty boxes,” the soft-spoken mother of two recently told a small gathering of journalists through a translator as she unveiled the containers. “These are meant to enhance your experience of the KonMari Method.”The boxes will also enhance her bottom line. Since Kondo unleashed the best-selling “Life-Changing Magic,” including an English translation in 2014, she’s published three other books, earned a spot on Time magazine’s 2015 list of 100 most influential people and given birth to two girls, now 3 and nearly 2.She has given birth to a new business as well: consultants certified by her and sent forth into homes in 23 countries, from Europe and the Americas to Australia and the Middle East. As for her new show, Netflix ordered an initial eight episodes of her series of home consultations but will say little else on the record.For now, it’s all about the boxes, in pale pink, soft gray, taupe and purple watercolor designs. The sets are dubbed Wonder, Harmony, Clarity and Balance. Customers ordering the containers, for delivery in mid-September from her website, konmari.com , will receive a series of emails and other help online to guide them through the tidying process.Perhaps more importantly, she hopes to connect devotees to one another online via her take on social networking.”I often hear that it is very difficult to sustain your motivation to tidy when you’re doing it all by yourself, so I very much feel that having this community is very important,” Kondo said.She has adorned just the interiors of the boxes. One set has a purple tree branch with white buds inside. Others are done in abstract swirls. The idea, Kondo said, is to “make the things that you store inside happy,” rather than merely hide belongings away. Their plain exterior design also makes the boxes easier to blend with just about any decor.Two additional sets of boxes in smaller sizes and different color schemes are planned for the holiday season later this year.Kondo, who is based in Tokyo, told The Associated Press in an interview after the crowd cleared out that she’s not done writing books quite yet. Her next one will focus on workplace organizing.She is traveling less now and no longer does regular home consultations, a business she began building as a 19-year-old college student studying sociology. Working one-on-one again in homes for Netflix was a highlight of Kondo’s year.”It was a very exciting, very enjoyable experience for me,” she said. “I’ve been engaged so much in giving lectures, doing media appearances and so on.”She has also been engaged in motherhood, not a small thing when your passion since age 5 has been tidying. The unflappable Kondo still lives a tidy life, of course, but young kids have been a challenge.”I try to teach them how to fold clothes. Children are very close observers so I try to make it so they can watch me folding clothes,” Kondo said. “From time to time I do feel anxious. It’s not 100 percent. It’s not perfect.”last_img read more

first_imgPeople shout slogans during a protest against what they say is the draft list of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in the northeastern state of Assam, in Kolkata, India, 30 August 2018. Photo: ReutersNimai Hajong remembers almost nothing of the hills of eastern Bangladesh where he was born more than half a century ago, having fled as a small child to India where he has lived as a refugee ever since.The 58-year-old has been declared a foreigner — one of four million people effectively stripped of citizenship by the government of the northeastern state of Assam.Their names have been left off a draft list of citizens published late July that rights groups say threatens to render millions stateless if they cannot prove they are Indian.The controversial registry includes only those able to show they were in Assam before 1971, when millions fled to the state to escape Bangladesh’s war of independence, and their descendants.However, many whose families arrived before 1971 say authorities have rejected their papers and left them off the list.Critics say it is the latest move by the right-wing government of prime minister Narendra Modi to bolster India’s Hindu majority at the expense of minorities. India will hold a national election next year.Many of those left off the list are Muslims, but those of other minorities and faiths — including Hindus — have also missed out.Assam, where one third of the population is Muslim, has for decades been wracked by tensions over migrants and is the only Indian state to compile such a register.Just over four million of the total Assam population of more than 30 million people who applied to be on the list were excluded from the draft, according to the registrar general of India.State officials say no “genuine” Indians need to worry about being left off the list, and there are avenues for appeal.But for Nimai — who fled persecution in Bangladesh as a five-year-old on his mother’s back — his world has been upended once more.- ‘Where do we go now?’ -His family are Hajong, a Hindu indigenous people from the Chittagong Hill Tracts bordering India and Myanmar, a region wracked by decades of ethnic conflict.They were shocked to discover their names left off after submitting the same paperwork to authorities that had allowed them to remain in India for more than 50 years.”What do we do now? We have accepted this land as our home since 1964, and we have nowhere to go,” Hajong told AFP in the small settlement of Bamunigaon, roughly 30 kilometres (19 miles) from Assam’s capital Guwahati.”We have lived here all these years as refugees, but I want to die an Indian.”The list will not be finalised until December, and state and federal governments have sought to allay concerns about the process.But that has done little to ease the anxiety of those excluded from the draft, who fear a life of limbo — or even deportation to Bangladesh.”I was told there was a massacre there, forcing my parents to flee with others from their village,” said Gunamoni Dalu, a Hajong woman whose family fled Bangladesh half a century ago to India.She was born in India in 1968, but was left off the list.”Since the death of my father, I have lived alone here,” she said, fretting about her future.News of the draft register sparked opposition protests in the national parliament and outrage in Assam, where the state government brought in 25,000 extra security forces in case of trouble.Assam, known for its lush tea estates and cool hill climate, has witnessed terrible violence between indigenous tribes and settlers.About 2,000 suspected migrants were butchered in a single day in Nellie in 1983. Nearly all were Muslim, and many were children.- Local tensions -Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party won control of Assam in 2016 after promising to expel illegal immigrants and protect the rights of indigenous groups.Millions fled Bangladesh during its 1971 war of independence from Pakistan, but waves of refugees including the Hajong and the Buddhist Chakma had also escaped persecution to come to India before that.Many settled in Assam, which shares a long border with Bangladesh.Migrants have since been accused of illegally entering the state and taking land and jobs, causing tensions with locals.Rights groups have compared deletion from the citizenship list to Myanmar’s removal of rights and protections for its Rohingya community in 1982.Robin Koch had hoped the process “would have sealed our Indian identity once and for all”.”Instead, I don’t know what went wrong. I can’t eat and sleep at night,” said the 55-year-old Hajong man, whose family crossed the border in 1964.”After our parents escaped… we lost all links with our clan. We have no one there now.”last_img read more

first_img Share Evan Vucci/APPresident Donald Trump argues that his power to pardon would include even himself — but says he doesn’t need to use it because he’s done nothing wrongPresident Donald Trump rocked the region with the stunning announcement Tuesday that he was halting annual U.S.-South Korean military drills — and wants to remove the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in the South as a deterrent against North Korea.Trump’s surprise, almost offhand comments, made during a news conference after his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, seemingly upended decades of the U.S. defense posture on the Korean Peninsula.The remarks contradicted countless previous declarations by U.S. political and military officials over the years that the drills are routine, defensive and absolutely critical.Trump has now essentially adopted the standard North Korean line, calling the military exercises a “provocative” drain of money and announcing they would stop while he continues talks with Kim, whom he repeatedly praised as a solid negotiating partner.His statement was quickly portrayed by critics as a major, unreciprocated concession to a country that only last year was threatening Seoul and Washington with nuclear war.It also seemed to leave officials completely off guard in South Korea, where the presence of U.S. troops has long been described as necessary to maintaining peace on the peninsula.Seoul’s presidential office told The Associated Press that it was trying to parse Trump’s comments. The South Korean military seemed similarly surprised.“At this current point, there is a need to discern the exact meaning and intent of President Trump’s comments,” Seoul’s Defense Ministry said, adding that there have been no discussions yet with Washington on modifying drills set for August.U.S. forces in South Korea said it has “received no updated guidance on the execution or cessation of training exercises” and will continue to coordinate with South Korean partners and maintain the current posture until it receives an updated guidance from the Department of Defense or the Indo-Pacific Command.Trump’s comments will be questioned by many in South Korea and beyond, with some seeing in them an effort by North Korea to drive a wedge between Seoul and Washington.North Korea regularly calls the military exercises provocative preparations for a northward invasion, and many of the scariest standoffs in recent years on the Korean Peninsula have happened when the drills were being staged. Outside analysts believe the North objects to the drills because it must spend precious resources on its own war games and troop movements. North Korea also insists that the U.S. troop presence in the South, as well as its nuclear “umbrella” over allies Seoul and Tokyo, are part of America’s “hostile” policy toward the North.“I want to bring our soldiers back home,” Trump said, although he added that it’s “not part of the equation right now.” Then he said: “We will be stopping the war games, which will save us a tremendous amount of money unless and until we see the future negotiation is not going along like it should. But we’ll be saving a tremendous amount of money. Plus, I think it’s very provocative.”The comments could fundamentally change the way the United States, whose alliance with Seoul was forged after a 1950 surprise attack by the North started the Korean War, operates in South Korea.Trump’s announcement that the U.S. would stop military exercises, his description of those drills as “provocative” and his suggestion that he wants to pull U.S. troops out at some point are “all things that Trump is putting on the table as concessions, all in exchange for some vague promises by the North Koreans,” said Paul Haenle, a former China director at the White House National Security Council in the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations.Annual military drills between Washington and Seoul have been a major source of contention between the Koreas for years, and analysts have wondered whether their continuation would hurt the inter-Korean detente that, since an outreach by Kim in January, has replaced last year’s insults and threats of war. North Korea last month broke off a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea’s participation in a two-week military exercise with the United States.North Korea’s state media, referring to the drills, recently demanded that Washington “stop the acts of threatening its dialogue partner by force.”Since the 1970s, the United States and South Korea have held a major summertime exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian that involves tens of thousands of troops. There are also annual springtime drills. Drills called Team Spirit, one of the largest annual military maneuvers in the world at the time, were held from 1976 until 1993, when, after North Korea agreed to dismantle its existing nuclear facilities, the exercises were canceled and have not been held since.Moon Seong Mook, a former South Korean military official, said Trump’s comments on the drills confirmed what many in South Korea had feared all along — that North Korea would attempt to drive a wedge between Washington and Seoul and gain substantial concessions from an unconventional U.S. president who thinks much less of the traditional alliance than his predecessors.“The core of the U.S.-South Korea alliance is the U.S. troops stationed in South Korea and the joint U.S.-South Korea military drills, but the American military presence in South Korea wouldn’t mean much if the militaries don’t practice through joint drills,” said Moon, now a senior analyst for the Seoul-based Korea Research Institute for National Strategy. “I am concerned that the summit between Trump and Kim will prove to be a setback in the global efforts to denuclearize North Korea and also introduce instability in the alliance between Seoul and Washington.”last_img read more

first_imgFacts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are clear: African Americans make up 44 percent of new HIV/AIDS infections in a country in which only 12 percent of the population is Black. Of the approximately 8,000 new infections among women in 2014, six in 10 were Black women.Organizations and agencies nationwide are now targeting African American women for daily regimens of pre-exposure prophylaxis, also known as PrEP and distributed under the trade name Truvada. The drug was approved by the FDA in 2012, and studies have shown that taking PrEP before engaging in risky sexual behavior can cut the possibility of transmission of HIV/AIDS by more than 90 percent.“Historically, we’ve been focusing on men who have sex with men. No one focused on women- and certainly not Black women,” said Linda Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative. “We can absolutely prevent HIV. The message to women is that PrEP is available! No one has to know. You can take the pill and take control of your own sexual health to protect yourself and your families.”Blount’s group seeks to impact public policy and access to care for Black women through advocacy efforts and research across the country. Blount said the issues surrounding new HIV/AIDS infections reach well beyond access to PrEP, which is available through various private, public, and community health insurance agencies.“There are zip codes in Baltimore and Atlanta where roughly 40 percent of the men are incarcerated,” Blount told the AFRO. “When you subtract 30-40 percent of men from a population, you have a group of heterosexual women with fewer heterosexual partners. If you’re a low income Black woman, you’re really going to stay in your community. If HIV is present, [the risk of] contracting the virus increases dramatically as you are exposed and re-exposed to the same social risk.”Organizations such as The MAC AIDS Fund are now funding programs specifically aimed at getting more PrEP information and prescriptions in the hands of Black women before they engage in unprotected sex.According to Gilead Sciences, Inc., the company that developed Truvada, the drug is a combination of two antiretroviral drugs that keep HIV-1 from replicating in new cells. The drug has long been used in HIV-positive patients, but in recent years health authorities have stressed the benefits of Truvada when taken prior to exposure to HIV-infected blood, breast milk, or semen.last_img read more

first_img © 2011 PhysOrg.com iRobot planning an Android-based robot 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. Citation: Brainlink controller smartens dust-collecting robots: Let’s Roomba (2011, December 16) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2011-12-brainlink-smartens-dust-collecting-robots-roomba.html More information: news.cs.cmu.edu/article.php?a=2876www.brainlinksystem.com/ Observing the dozens of cheap robots on the market with no desirable interfaces for students, the company wanted firmware inside Brainlink to be open source and hackable. “Though it’s possible to use the pre-made apps to use Brainlink, to, for example, control most toy robots from an Android phone, we think that those who will fully enjoy Brainlink are hackers with an intermediate level of programming experience,” according to the company’s site. “If you’ve taken one high school or college CS class, you should have no trouble with it.”CMU’s CREATE Lab also had a hand in the product. CREATE stands for Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment. The software for Brainlink was developed by Christopher Bartley, principal research programmer in the CREATE Lab and Huaishu Peng, a student in the School of Architecture’s Tangible Interaction Design program. Explore furthercenter_img (PhysOrg.com) — A Carnegie Mellon spinoff has introduced a triangle shaped connector that can make simple little robots behave in a more sophisticated way and can otherwise transform an Android smartphone into a TV and gadget remote. The device is called Brainlink and it talks to Android phones or laptops via Bluetooth. The controller has a Bluetooth range of 30 feet. Basically, Brainlink can deliver new capabilities to toy robots and other gadgets operated with infrared (IR) remote controls. The device enables programming and wireless control of whatever it is attached to. Brainlink users can write programs for robots that have limited “brains” to start with and thereby expand their capabilities and can also control items such as VCRs with IR remotes. According to the company, the device can decode, visualize, and replicate the signals of most infrared remotes. The unit is powered by a rechargeable battery. Three built-in sensors include an Axis Accelerometer to help detect orientation, shaking, and tapping; a Photodiode, to read the amount of light reaching the sensor and Battery Voltage. to allow host programs to detect low battery states (less than 3.5V). BirdBrain Technologies is pricing Brainlink at $125. The company’s target audience is both home hackers and educators. Ordering a robot to fetch beer may not seem conducive to learning environments, but the product is a result of a team mission to produce a more intuitive interface for educational robots. Brainlink uses the Bluetooth RN-42 module to communicate between its microcontroller and the smartphone or laptop.Users who write their Android apps for the Brainlink write them in Java and then can test them out on any Bluetooth equipped Android device. End uses suggested by BirdBrain have no doubt encouraged the numerous enthused reviews, including: “Create an Android App that uses object recognition and voice analysis to find you a beer – you’ll probably need to place your phone on the robot to make this work well.” Other end uses are using voice commands to control a TV, and, back to the robots, using a toy robot to add light or sound. The company, BirdBrain Technologies, announced the product in a release dated December 14 and since then gadget-focused bloggers have been enthusing over a home robotics future. The device can make a Roomba more adept at moving around without bumping into walls and the device can be used to train a simple robot to fetch the user something.last_img read more

first_imgPool revenue using the Selfsh-Mine strategy for different propagation factors, compared to the honest Bitcoin protocol. Simulation matches the theoretical analysis, and both show that Selfsh-Mine results in higher revenues than the honest protocol above a threshold. Credit: arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR] . Explore further (Phys.org) —Bitcoin is a digital currency that has, well, gained currency, as a medium of exchange. Now two computer science researchers from Cornell find that this extensive ecosystem can be undermined and they outline how in a paper that they have posted on arXiv. More information: Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable, arXiv:1311.0243 [cs.CR]: arxiv.org/abs/1311.0243hackingdistributed.com/2013/11 … /faq-selfish-mining/www.newscientist.com/article/d … irtual-currency.html New fund launched for bitcoin investors The paper, “Majority is not Enough: Bitcoin Mining is Vulnerable,” is by Ittay Eyal, a postdoc member of the Computer Sciences department at Cornell and Emin Gun Sirer, associate professor at Cornell. According to the two researchers, “Empirical evidence shows that Bitcoin miners behave strategically and form pools. Specifically, because rewards are distributed at infrequent, random intervals miners form mining pools in order to decrease the variance of their income rate. Within such pools, all members contribute to the solution of each cryptopuzzle, and share the rewards proportionally to their contributions. To the best of our knowledge, so far such pools have been benign and followed the protocol.” Nonetheless, they describe a strategy that could be used by a minority pool to obtain more revenue than the pool’s fair share, that is, more than its ratio of the total mining power. “The key idea behind this strategy, called Selfish Mining, is for a pool to keep its discovered blocks private, thereby intentionally forking the chain,” they wrote. This selfishness can come out of people getting together to siphon off more money than a fair share for mining activities.The authors wrote that central to Bitcoin operations is a public log called the blockchain where all transactions are recorded. The security of the blockchain is established by a chain of cryptographic puzzles solved by a loosely organized network of participants called miners. The two researchers present an attack with which colluding miners obtain a revenue larger than their fair share. “This attack can have significant consequences for Bitcoin,” they warned, where rational miners join selfish miners and the colluding group increases increase in size until it becomes a majority. At this point, they said, the Bitcoin system ceases to be a decentralized currency. A Scientific American report on their findings further explained how damage might occur: Instead of releasing solutions to solved cryptopuzzles. The selfish crew can mine a branch in secret, hiding it from honest miners. The group would then get a higher share of coins than is fair for the resources they have contributed because they have forced other miners to waste computing power on the original chain. The problem gets worse as the selfish group recruits extra members.Elsewhere, the two were asked if they were trying to take Bitcoin down with their sober warning. “We’re Bitcoin supporters,” they blogged, ” and are working to make the currency stronger against a broader set of possible misbehaviors than what has been considered so far.” They proposed in their paper a practical modification to the Bitcoin protocol that protects against selfish mining pools. Can Bitcoin remain a viable currency? Sirer said, “Probably. We have shown that as long as selfish miners are below a certain threshold, they will not succeed.” Citation: Cornell researchers teach Bitcoin attack lesson in selfish mining (2013, November 6) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2013-11-cornell-bitcoin-lesson-selfish.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. © 2013 Phys.orglast_img read more

first_imgSo what are you doing this Diwali? Staying at home and bursting crackers? Spending some ‘me’ time? Or going out with friends? How about enjoying Diwali in a mall and winning some goodies too? This mall in west Delhi is being decked up to resemble the city of Ayodhya to complete the festive look. There will be contests and workshops for visitors to enjoy some fun-filled moments.  Ek Minute Dhamaal has games like Building the Ram Setu, The Great Epic Quiz and more. Workshops includes activities like magic card tricks, Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’rangoli, storytelling and mehendi art. Children can be kept busy with Stick Mask making, diya decorations, card making, lantern making and paduka making. ‘Apart from the activities, we will also be introducing an exciting raffle draw where visitors stand to win many interesting gifts,’ said Abhishek Bansal, managing director, Pacific Mall. So get crackling.DETAILAt: Pacific Mall, Najafgarh Road On Till: 18 NovemberTimings: 10 am to 10 pmlast_img read more

first_imgTell us a bit about yourself. Right from childhood to eventually painting posters and now canvases.I started off as a billboard painter. Always wanted to draw, so I attached myself with local painters as an assistant so that I could earn for materials that I wanted to work with and have access to large scale surfaces so I can practice without any financial hindrances. It was in 2000 when I got admitted in National College of Arts that I started academically being introduced to art and its many facets. Miniatures held a lot of appeal to me because at the time it was easily affordable. Later the technique held so much appeal that I decided to play with it a little further. I enjoyed adding sculptural elements into my wasli, making cut outs, perforations and then playing around with images that would go in conjunction with it. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Do you believe in this high art  – low art distinction? Because according to the definitions – you have dabbled in both.For me art enjoys a very abject position in our perceptions, no one can decipher or pin point when an artist is going to make a master piece, not even the artist him/herself. It just happens. Of course how the art is being looked at, what platform it is being exposed on, who is patronizing it, all these ingredients involve to create this abjectness. If I approach this question with a personalised view I would have to say that while enjoying the position of a cinema board painter because at that time it satisfied my need to buy art materials, no one saw what I was making, but I was making art. Today I may be using the same genre images and they are being shown at various public spaces and suddenly everyone is focusing on ‘what’ and ‘why’ I am making them. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixHow difficult or easy was it to move from pop art to a newer strain of creativity? Pop art is still a very inherent part of my imagery and I guess it shall always be there, lurking in the background coming forward whenever it can because it is part of my basic training. Perceptions about art did change because before I had a very limited experience about ‘painting’ I thought I was coming to Lahore to understand how I can better my skills although I knew that I had learnt from the best because my ‘ustaad’ was the best. It was hard keeping a very open mind to what I was coming across during class. The need to excel allowed me to understand that while I was very good with my skills, the creativity part left a lot of be desired. It was then that I allowed myself to look at a certain painting in another light, the ‘isms’ that I had been introduced in the academia came forward and I realized that marrying skill with creativity can lead to much more. What would you consider your major influences?Travelling. My first visit to India and then to London was a life changing experience for me. I had never travelled abroad. The first experience of entering the boarding lounge, sitting in the aeroplane, the excitement of the take off and landing, it was just… I really have no idea how I can explain that. I feel my work is a better illustration of how breathtaking those days were for me to this date. In India no one recognized me as a foreigner, I easily gelled in, became a part of the society. I could talk in their language as well. That was an awesome experience.Is there a lot of difference in the art cultures of India and Pakistan?Not really. I think we are of the same culture at least the northern and central India and Pakistan, because geographically we were once connected. Our daily lives are same, we identify with each other and coexisted quite well for a long time. Of course, with Hindus and Sikhs still have a presence here we get to see and celebrate Diwali and other festivals. As a Pakistani artist displaying his work in India, how have you been perceived, approached and treated?Very well. It is always a pleasure to exhibit my work in India where ever and which ever city it happens to be in. My works and myself, receives a warm welcome. I have many friends who are close to my heart now in India.Do you think art can be a peace bridge? Have you ever faced any criticism that is not art related?I have never faced criticism from India regarding my practice or images. It has always been welcomed. As artists we can try to build connections and spread a more positive and softer side to our relations and we are doing that all the time. A non related art criticism I face…my appearance and how I dress. I don’t follow dress codes! For this reason I have been kicked out of many clubs. Even my marriage lunch I couldn’t attend because I wasn’t wearing the right shoes. It is a point of confusion for me because as artists we are encouraged to think and view things differently. How has the Delhi art circle treated you? Delhi art circle as always been an exciting host. The energy is so positive and the feedback and response is great. One thing I enjoy the most is the readiness of the audience to discuss and tell me what they think about my work. They don’t limit their reactions, which is very fresh. Most of the discussions are friendly heated debates and quite exhilarating. Delhi reminds me of Lahore. There is so much familiarity of spaces and places and people and yet I am a foreigner. That is what I like about the whole experience. As for a dislike- Delhi being so close to my heart because it was my first international exit as an artist, my parents being from here, it holds a lot attraction and unexplored bonds. All this pull to the beautiful city and I cant come as often and as easily as I would like to.last_img read more

first_imgKOLKATA: Some BJP supporters clashed with civic volunteers and later chased them away after police refused them to hold a public meeting at their preferred venue. The police on Wednesday did not allow the BJP supporters to hold a meeting at the site and suggested an alternative spot. However, they refused to move and told police they would hold the programme at the announced site. On Thursday morning, the police deployed civic volunteers at the venue to stop the BJP supporters from entering. They clashed with the civic volunteers and later chased them away and took possession of the land. When Mukul Roy had come he was taken to a make shift dais from where he addressed the gathering. The local BJP leaders said the police cancelled on the venue at the eleventh hour when it was impossible for the party to shift to an alternative venue. They alleged that police did not give allotment of an alternative site in writing and apprehended they could have stopped the supporters from entering the venue and holding the meeting.last_img read more

first_img PUERTO VALLARTA — Mexico’s Velas Resorts has expanded its incentive bonus program for travel agents, giving them more opportunities to earn rewards and different levels of certification.The Velas Resorts Experts program allows agents to become experts on Velas Resorts properties by completing video lessons and quizzes about each resort. As each quiz is passed, the agent becomes more qualified and moves up in the different levels of certification: Velas Expert, Master Agent, and Elite Agent.Agents are rewarded with generous bonuses and access to special amenities, complimentary nights, suite upgrades and VIP amenities for their clients, as well as a 50% extra bonus for all reservations and qualified bookings made during the first month of their Velas Expert registration. This bonus is in addition to any commissions made.A referral program is also valid where, in addition to the above benefits, agents are also awarded for referring teammates to the Velas Experts program. Payment of bonuses take place within 30 days after the customers have left the hotel.More news:  AMResorts has a new Sr. Dir. of Cdn. Sales & Consortia Rel’nsTo achieve ‘Velas Expert’, agents must book 1-29 room nights and become a certified expert in at least one hotel to earn 1,000 welcome points, an anniversary gift, day pass and other perks.A Master agent must reserve 50 room nights and be certified in all five Velas Resorts. This will earn 2,000 additional points, bonus payouts with prepaid Visa card, access to specialized segment certifications (weddings, groups and conventions), and a checkbook with special amenities for clients.Finally, Elite Agents must book at least 75 room nights, as well as maintain their expert certification in all five Velas Resorts to earn 3,500 additional points, plus the most exclusive guest amenities for clients. The multiple benefits are accumulative and increase as agents progress through the curriculum. Points can be used towards stays at any of the resorts or at an online store with spa & beauty salon services, insuite amenities and more.Agents can easily register at velasexperts.com and complete the video lessons and quizzes to obtain an expert certification for each property. Velas Resorts comprises four luxury all-inclusive properties in Vallarta-Nayarit and Riviera Maya, with a fifth opening on Dec. 20 in Los Cabos.More news:  Le Boat has EBBs along with its new 2020 brochureGo to velasresorts.com for more details. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tags: Mexico, Velas Resorts Posted by Sharecenter_img Travelweek Group Friday, November 18, 2016 Become an expert & earn rewards with Velas’ expanded agent programlast_img read more

first_imgAndrus AnsipNew European Commission vice-president Andrus Ansip has backed “solid” and “clearly defined” net neutrality and called for geo-blocking restrictions in Europe to be scrapped.In a speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg Ansip – who is one of three European commissioners who has taken over from recently retired digital policy chief Neelie Kroes – said that geo-blocking based on location or residence “goes against the core principles of Europe’s single market.”He also said that building trust and confidence in the online world is vital if a digital single market is to exist in Europe and function properly.“Our citizens want the best the internet can offer, they want an internet that is safe and accessible to everybody. This is not a reality in Europe today,” said Ansip.“There is even more work to do to achieve a truly connected digital single market. A market where every consumer is able to enjoy digital content and services – wherever they are in the EU, including government services.“It means every company should be able to share and sell its wares to a market of 500 million, using seamless online channels.”In terms of geo-blocking restrictions, Ansip said that work should centre around reforming and modernising copyright rules and “getting rid of unjustified curbs on transfer and access to digital assets.”In 2015 the European Commission will present its strategy for a digital single market and prepare measures based on its assessment of “the most urgent obstacles to be removed.”“The benefits of a digital single market are €260 billion a year, potentially more. Imagine ending those barriers, making this a benefit to Europe, not the cost of non-Europe. This is the jolt that our economy needs and the opportunity our citizens want,” said Ansip.The comments came as the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) yesterday called on EU member states to launch negotiations as soon as possible with the European Parliament on net neutrality provisions.In an open letter co-signed by the EBU last month, the union said that legislation on net neutrality “would provide certainty for providers of innovative online content, applications and services, enhance transparency for end-users and boost consumers trust in the internet”.Neelie Kroes stepped down earlier this month, with her role divided up and three European Commissioners succeeding her: Ansip, vice president-designate for the Digital Single Market; Günther Oettinger, commissioner-designate for the Digital Economy and Society; and Jyrki Katainen, vice president-designate for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness.last_img read more

first_img Gross profit (billions $) 14.7 Other 16.7 Addition of carriers. Currently, Apple has relationships with and supplies about 250 carriers in over 100 countries. However, there is significant potential for growth with telecoms that do not have relationships with Apple. China Mobile – China’s largest telecom with over 700 million subscribers – is a prominent example. We’ve concluded that adding carriers in emerging markets could provide Apple with an incremental 60 million units of iPhone sales annually. However, carrier expansion will likely be pushed out toward the back half of 2013 and into 2014. In the following calculation of gross profit for Apple’s iPhone segment for 2014, we have assumed a unit volume of 185 million. We’ve also modeled the impact that a low-cost phone will have on average sales price and gross margins. High customer satisfaction around other Apple products (iPods, iPhones, and iPads) creates a halo effect, which drives customers to Macs when they are ready to buy a PC. For these reasons, we think Apple’s Mac sales will continue to resist the overall trend, and at worst, remain flat for the next 18 months. We also foresee little change in average sales price and margins. Here’s our resulting forecast for the PC segment: Gross profit % 46 Units (millions) 18.2 The case presented above yielded earnings per share of $50.32 for fiscal year 2014. Currently, Apple’s share price multiple is about 10 times, well below the current market multiple of 18. This may seem too low; however, we think this is a good number to apply to our estimate. Multiples are usually a reflection of anticipated growth. Because Apple faces the law of large numbers, the market is apt to be perpetually nervous about its ability to grow, and therefore will continue to assign it a low earnings multiple. Nevertheless, 10 times our earnings estimate would result in a share price of $503, a return of about 25% in 18 months. This is by no means a spectacular return, but it is based on conservative projections. So it is, in our view, very achievable. What Will Move Apple Just as a stationary ball needs a push to provide it initial momentum, the undervalued stock needs a catalyst to fuel its price move. With Hewlett-Packard, a stock we recommended in the October issue of BIG TECH, one catalyst we foresaw was breakup speculation. Our thinking was that Hewlett-Packard had become so grossly undervalued, that it was only a matter of time before activist investors and Wall Street analysts began calling for a breakup of the company as a way to unlock shareholder value. That’s exactly what happened. We were also helped along by another catalyst: the Dell buyout news. When it was all said and done, our strategy yielded a 50% profit in just shy of five months. Never let it be said value investing is boring. With Apple, there are a handful of short-term catalysts that could send the stock higher. The ones that immediately come to mind are: The successful launch of a new product – such as the long-rumored smart TV and/or the iWatch – that catches fire in the marketplace. A deal to distribute iPhones with China Mobile, China’s largest mobile network provider with over 700 million subscribers. A sizable dividend hike and/or a sizable share buyback. On the flip side, a disappointing earnings report could send shares lower. But that’s probably baked into the cake. And besides, CEO Tim Cook will probably have some good news in his hip pocket (i.e., a big dividend hike) if he thinks earnings will disappoint. Of course, there’s always the possibility of a major market correction. If that happens, almost every stock will get hit. But since Apple is down big over the last few months, it will probably withstand a downturn better than most. Long story short, Apple possesses the characteristics we look for in a stock. Given its future earnings prospects, it looks undervalued, and it has multiple short-term catalysts. For these reasons, it looks like a decent buy at current levels. Bits & Bytes The Alibaba Phenomenon (The Economist) When thinking of e-commerce companies, Alibaba is probably not one of the first names that comes to mind… but that may soon change. Rumor has it that China’s e-commerce king is planning to go public, with valuation estimates ranging from $55 billion to more than $120 billion. That would make it one of the most valuable publicly traded companies in the world. Bitcoin ATMs Coming Soon (CNN Money) Bitcoins are taking a step into the real world, with an entrepreneur planning to introduce ATMs for the virtual currency. The Bitcoin ATMs will accept dollar bills and instantly convert the amount to Bitcoins and deposit the result in your account. Aereo Could Bring Down Broadcast TV (CNN Money) Aereo, an upstart online service which provides low-cost access to broadcast TV over the Internet, could be a huge step toward a future when programming options come à la carte, divorced from the expensive packages assembled by cable and satellite carriers. Tablets The tablet computer – a cross between a laptop, a smartphone, and a personal digital assistant – is not a new concept. Computer scientist Alan Kay began advancing ideas about component miniaturization, touchscreens, and WiFi technology way back in 1968. However, not until 2010 did any version of the tablet meet with meaningful commercial success. That’s the year that Apple launched the iPad. On launch day, 300,000 iPads were sold. Over the next year, more than 15 million were sold. The era of the tablet had arrived. Why did it take so long? Well, there were some attendant and powerful circumstances that prevailed in 2010 that either did not exist or were not sufficiently mature during earlier attempts to market tablets. Though inferior to the PC for content creation, the tablet is ideal for content consumption. Thanks to the advent of the Internet and WiFi and the spawning of thousands of apps, there is now a lot of content to consume. In addition, battery life has been extended from three hours on early versions of the tablet to over 12 hours on some current models, making these devices more portable and, therefore, more appealing to consumers. Those circumstances have driven astonishing adoption rates every year since 2010. In fact, the market for tablets has ramped up faster than any technology in history. 38.7 Personal Computers Much has been written in recent years about the decline in sales of personal computers (desktops and notebooks). As we all know by now, mobile computing devices are the cause. As consumers shift their time away from their PC to tablets and smartphones, they no longer see their PC as a device that they need to replace on a regular basis. According to Gartner, PC shipments peaked in 2011 at 364 million units, a 3.7% increase over the prior year. In 2012, year-over-year shipments decreased by 6.3%, and the slide is expected to continue in 2013 and 2014, with decreases of 7.6% and 4.1% respectively. However, Apple’s Mac division has experienced no such letdown; unit sales of Apple personal computers actually increased by 9% for the 2012 fiscal year. We think Apple is defying the PC trend for two main reasons: Apple serves the high end of the PC market. Because these high-end users are content creators, they are less likely to abandon the Mac for a tablet. Revenue* 108.3 Operating expenses* (Click on image to enlarge) This is not a fad. Rather, it is structural and will prevail for many years. Technology research firm IDC estimates that tablet shipments will reach 191 million units in 2013 and grow at a compounded annual rate of 16.6% for four years thereafter. Upon reinventing the tablet category in 2010, Apple dominated the market with a whopping 70% share. Since then, several formidable competitors have entered the fray, including Samsung, Amazon, and Microsoft. For the fourth quarter of 2012, Apple’s share had dropped to 46%, owing to the increased number of competitors and to Apple’s unwillingness to participate in a race to the bottom on pricing. IDC estimates that by 2017, the company’s share will drop to 43.5%. Conservatively, we have built our projections on the assumption that its share will be 40% for next fiscal year (September 2014). For fiscal year 2012, the average sale price of an iPad was about $531. However, in November 2012, Apple released the iPad Mini with a retail price of $329. Estimates are that the Mini will comprise 40% of total iPad sales. We estimate that that will lower the average sale price to about $450. Gross margin on iPads was 42.7% during fiscal year 2012, but the shift in sales mix to the Mini will put downward pressure on those margins. We estimate margins will fall to 38% for tablets in 2013 and stabilize at that level for 2014. Putting this all together, here is our projection for tablets down to the gross profit line for 2014: PCs Tablets Gross profit % 24.5 Apple units (millions units) 86 Gross profit % 38 When the market turns against a stock, watch out. Just ask Apple investors. From its peak just seven months ago, Apple is down over 40%. That’s an incredible move for a company of Apple’s size. Several factors have contributed to the decline, including: management departures, low-cost competition, and concerns that Apple’s well of innovation may have run dry with the loss of Steve Jobs. Each of these factors is cause for concern. However, healthy skepticism can quickly give way to a herd mentality, causing an overreaction in share price. Could that be what we’re seeing with Apple? To find out, we decided to take a look at the prospects for each of Apple’s major business segments. Smartphones Worldwide shipments of smartphones topped 700 million units in 2012, according to tech research firm IDC, an increase of 46% over 2011. Torrid growth is expected to continue; in 2013, IDC expects a 27% increase in smartphone shipments and another 17% in 2014, lifting sales to over 1 billion units annually. Analysts look for Apple’s smartphone growth to stay pretty much in lockstep with the market: fiscal year 2013 iPhone shipments are estimated to increase by about 25% (from 125 million to 156 million units), while a 19% increase is foreseen for FY 2014 (from 156 million to 185 million units). These estimates look very achievable and possibly even conservative. Here’s why: Introduction of a low-cost phone. In the US, Apple depends heavily upon a carrier-subsidized business model. Under this model, Verizon, AT&T, and other telecoms buy iPhones from Apple, then resell them to consumers well below their costs. In exchange for the discount received on the phone, the consumer signs a long-term contract (typically two years) with the carrier. In many regions outside the US, the subsidy model is not utilized. In order to penetrate the market in those regions, Apple needs a low-cost phone. Speculation has it that such a phone is on the way and will be introduced sometime around mid-year. In addition to driving growth internationally, an iPhone in the $300-$400 price range should help Apple capture share with non-contract (known as prepaid) US carriers. Pre-tax income* Revenue (billions $) 23.2 26.1 Units (millions) 185 Putting It All Together In the table below, we aggregate the information for the segments we discussed above. We add in the combined revenues from the iPod, iTunes, and accessories segments with the assumption that the iPod segment will decline at a 25% annual rate, while iTunes and accessories will increase at about a 12% annual rate. And finally, we assume that operating expenses and income taxes, consistent with the last two years, will be 8.5% of sales and 25% of pre-tax profits, respectively. 39.5 Income tax* Gross profit % 46.0 Refresh of iPhone 5. The iPhone 5 is due for a refresh. One is expected at mid-year, about the same time as the low-cost phone introduction. If that’s the case, it will be just in time for the upgrade cycle, as iPhone 4 customers who bought phones in the fall of 2011 will be coming off their two-year contracts and looking for new subsidized phones. It’s a safe bet that most of these customers will stick with Apple. A recent survey from Morgan Stanley and AlphaWise found that Apple leads the smartphone industry in customer retention. Among those surveyed, 83% of iPhone users said they plan to buy another iPhone. Total 63.8 Average sale price     450 23.2 Revenue (billions $) 108.3 Average sale price 585 Addressable market (millions units) 214 24.5 10.3 14.7 41.0 * Numbers in billions Gross profit (billions $) 5.7 Gross profit* 49.8 Average sale price 1,275 Net income* Revenue (billions $) 38.7 196.3 Smartphones 38.8 5.7 Apple share 40% 80.5 47.8 16.0 Gross profit (billions $) 49.8last_img read more

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Tapering is “all priced-in”. *  Summers says thanks but no-thanks. *  Retail Sales disappoint in the U.S. *  Gold manipulation whistleblowers. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Dollar Gets Sold Like Funnel Cakes At A State Fair! Good day.  And a Marvelous Monday to you! What a wonderful weather-wise weekend (how about that poetic use of alliteration so early in the morning!)  for us here in St. Louis this past weekend! We had our “block party” in the subdivision that I live in, so that was a good time, and the grandkids had a “dance party” at the house Friday night, so darn cute! Well, I came in this morning, turned on the currency screens, and what to my surprise! A currency rally! 2 days before the Fed will announce tapering to boot! So, what gives? Why would the dollar be getting sold now? Ahhh grasshopper, come, sit, and listen to a tale of what they call in the markets of an event being “priced in”. Apparently, traders came to the realization last night that the Fed’s tapering, is already “priced in”, and the only thing left is for the Fed to disappoint them, with the announcement of a small amount of pull-back, or a delay. So, the dollar is getting sold like funnel cakes at a state fair this morning. The other item that’s weighing on the dollar was the announcement this weekend that Lawrence Summers has withdrawn his name from the list of those wishing to be the next Fed Chairman.  OK. there are three things here that come to mind as to why Mr. Summers decided to pull out ahead of the nomination process. 1. He could have skeletons in his closet, and the confirmation process would expose those. 2. He got a glimpse of the Fed’s balance sheet, and decided that he didn’t want to be the one who’s name was attached to that mess. or 3. He read the Pfennig last week, and got scared.  So, actually, I think he took what was behind door #2, with #3 coming in close! So, here’s the skinny on why this news is bad for the dollar. You see, Summers was thought to have been a Fed Chairman that would favor tightening at a much quicker pace, and higher interest rates in the U.S. is what a lot of traders were looking forward to. On the other hand, Janet Yellen, the other person close to the nomination is thought to be “pro-growth”, which means interest rates would remain near zero longer.  And, before we go any further, you all know that I’m just having some fun with his reasons for withdrawing his name, right? So, there you go! Two reasons for the currency rally and dollar selling this morning! Let’s review very quickly. The markets came to the realization that they had already priced-in the Fed tapering this week, too far. and 2. Summers grabs his hat from the Fed Chairman ring. On a side bar. Wouldn’t it be something if Janet Yellen also withdrew her name as a Fed Chairman possibility? Then NY Fed Head Dudley would be next, and then he said thanks, but no thanks?  I doubt that will happen, as these Fed Heads are pretty egotistic, and probably believe that they “have the plan to save the world”.  And when they announce that plan to save the world, you might want to make plans to take a long vacation. The Emerging Markets took the Summers news as a sign that they too should rally, and rally they did!  The Indian rupee surged higher, and the Turkish lira made its strongest move in 2 years!  These wild swings is one of the reasons people get squeamish when it comes to investing in the Emerging Markets, which is why it makes sense to go into them with Principal protection, like that’ s afforded to the holders of our Evolving Markets MarketSafe CD, which by the way, we’ve brought back for another round. So, if you couldn’t pull the trigger on the first one, this is your last chance saloon. The best performing currency overnight is the Aussie dollar (A$) which is up over 1-cent this morning.  Knowing that the U.S. rates will be anchored for some time to come, is good news for the currencies like the A$, kiwi, and even the Brazilian real, for those interest rate differentials are really making a comeback as a key fundamental. And that puts a smile on my face. Reminds me a dentist’s card I saw many years ago. It had printed on the card: “Smile, it improves your face value”. Gold just can’t seem to catch a bid these days, and is down $10 this morning. Did you see the report last week from Goldman Sachs, that said they see the risk of Gold going below $1,000? OK. Quick Quiz. What have I told you in the past about Big Brokerage Houses’ Calls for assets? That they very well could be trading their book, or their future needs. In this case, the brokerage firm could be short the asset, and needing to buy it back at cheaper levels, So, they issue a letter to their clients and tell them what they see, in hopes of getting everyone to sell, thus cheapening the price of the asset, and then the firm can go in a buy cover their shorts, at cheaper prices.  Now, I’m not saying this is what this firm is doing right now. I’m just saying that we need to take these calls with a grain of salt, and see them for what they could possibly be. It’s funny, I saw this news story on the Bloomberg Friday morning, and the story below this one was one from HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp.) “HSBC Lifts 2013 Gold Price Forecast on Higher Physical Demand”.  So, which one  of these stories are you going to hang your hat on? Me?  I think I’ll just keep a steady Eddie focus on owning Gold as a store of wealth, and not get caught up in forecasts! OK. The euro is much stronger to start the week at 1.3350 this morning. The German Federal Elections are next Sunday, and the only thing out there that could hurt the euro in these elections is IF the anti-euro party (AFD) wins 5% of the vote, and makes it into parliament. Right now the polls have then at 4%, which is where they will need to stay to keep the euro well bid next week. If the 5% level is achieved, I would think that the euro would take a hit. The Chinese renminbi / yuan is much stronger this morning as the Chinese Gov’t allowed a strong appreciation overnight. There was an article in the China Finance magazine that talked about how conditions in China have matured to further open Capital account. This is the stuff that I’ve been telling you was going to happen, folks. I love it when a plan comes together! But getting back to the renminbi movement. We saw these kinds of moves last spring too, when hot money flooded the Chinese markets, but then left when they got scared that China’s economy was going to shut down. When that didn’t happen, the hot money has begun to flow into China again. You see, interest rates “in China” are good, and we all know that interest rates sure aren’t good in the U.S., Japan, or Eurozone! And in Norway, the Norwegian August Trade Surplus narrowed to NK28.8 Billion from NK 35.3 in July. But this news wasn’t seen as bad for the krone. This drop in the Surplus isn’t new or surprising, as this data is very volatile. The chart on the Surplus looks like a chart for someone on a trampoline!  I think the thing to keep in mind the most here is that Norway has a Trade Surplus, and that’s something a lot of countries don’t have. And they didn’t need to weaken their currency to achieve this Surplus. Well, the data from last week was interesting, I’ll give it that! The Big Kahuna data print last Friday, the 13th I might add, was U.S. Retail Sales from August, which came in weaker than expected at +.2% (.5% was forecast). So, the Fed Heads have that on their minds as they begin to gather this week for a two-day meeting. The U. of Michigan Consumer Confidence report fell from 82.1 to 76.8. not a good thing.  Today, we get my two faves. Industrial Production, and Capacity Utilization.  Nothing that’s going to turn the dollar around today. For What It’s Worth. JMR Doug, sent me this link to the story on King World News. So thanks JMR  Doug! He said in his note to me, “Looks like the mainstream media will finally have to admit what you’ve been preaching for years Mr. Chuck.” So.. this was in King World News. Here’s the link to the whole story. And my snippet. In a stunning development, two JP Morgan whistleblowers have confessed that the bank manipulates the gold and silver markets.  This is truly a shocking admission by the courageous JP Morgan whistleblowers.  In a blockbuster King World News interview, London metals trader Andrew Maguire told KWN that the two JP Morgan employees came directly to him with hard evidence that the bank was actively manipulating the gold and silver markets.  This is a truly catastrophic event for JP Morgan, which up to now has denied manipulating these markets.  Below Maguire takes KWN readers around the world on a trip down the rabbit hole as he discusses how he led the two JP Morgan employees to turn over the evidence to a law firm which specializes in high profile whistleblowers, and also to the CFTC.  According to Maguire, the CFTC has virtually buried this information.  Is this a cover up, or the next LIBOR scandal about to be exposed? Chuck again. I like the fact that a major news outlet like King World News, ran this story. now, if the cable news stations would pick it up, we might get some traction. Other than that, this will die out again. But don’t worry, we’ll get plenty of coverage from the cable news stations on Miley Cyrus.  Speaking of her, I saw a very funny cartoon last week, it was Dr. Brown from the Back to the Future movies sitting in the DeLorean talking to Marty and the quote was: “Marty, we have to go back in time to help Billy Ray Cyrus from getting into “trouble”..  And make no mistake. I’m just reporting the story here. To recap. The dollar is getting sold like funnel cakes at a state fair this morning, as the markets realize overnight that they have already priced in the Fed’s Tapering, and the news that Lawrence Summers pulled his name from those being considered as the next Fed Chairman, thus leaving the nomination to Janet Yellen, who is a pro-growth Fed Head, and that means ZIRP remains in place longer, which is not good for the dollar. Currencies 9/16/13. American Style: A$ .9380, kiwi .8210, C$ .9710, euro 1.3355, sterling 1.5930, Swiss $1.0790, . European Style: rand 9.7570, krone 5.9090, SEK 6.5105, forint 223.75, zloty 3.1430, koruna 19.2855, RUB 32.26, yen 98.90, sing 1.2595, HKD 7.7540, INR 62.83, China 6.1554, pesos 12.91, BRL 2.2795, Dollar Index 81.14, Oil $106.64, 10-year 2.81%, Silver $21.73, Platinum $1,444.43, Palladium $704.20, and Gold. $1,311.03 That’s it for today. Lucky me! I came in this morning to find some chocolate chip cookies wrapped in foil that were left here for me from Kathy G, when she visited last week! What a sweetheart! My beloved Cardinals are hanging on, but need to get some separation from the Pirates and Reds. Markets could get pretty volatile this week with the Fed meeting, so be prepared to hunker down. Next week I’ll be in Houston for a visit to the oncologist and the other doctors at MD Anderson Cancer Clinic. It’s been a year, since my first visit there. I can’t express my gratitude enough to my beautiful bride who insisted that I apply to MD Anderson. Now, the goal is to NOT have to visit them any longer! Wouldn’t that be nice!  And with that thought, I’ll send you out to tackle this day and week. I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

first_imgThe toy trap: we all have friends who’ve fallen in. I received a wave of emails after publishing Debt: The Last Social Taboo?, all sharing similar sad stories. Author Dave Ramsey summed up the problem best: “We buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.” Malcolm Forbes, lover of all-things extravagant, likely originated the phrase “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Few of us could ever afford Forbes’ Fabergé egg collection or the ostentatious parties he threw, but many a retiree or near-retiree has overspent on cars, boats, homes, and a surgically enhanced trophy wife or two. My wife Jo tells me this isn’t just a “guy thing” either. She has friends with two or three closets filled with designer clothes. We have one friend who’s been retired for over a decade, yet who still makes monthly trips down Michigan Avenue in Chicago to shop, shop, shop. Her closet is full of enough fur coats to spark a PETA riot. So is there room in 2014 for a return to financial modesty—room to reject the toy trap? I say yes! Here’s our five-step guide to doing just that.#1—Someone always has a bigger, faster boat. Playing the game is futile, because no matter how much wealth you have, you can’t win. Someone will always have more. Rush Limbaugh once boasted about buying the newest, biggest, fastest Gulfstream jet, a G650. He mentioned something about flying nonstop from Raleigh to Honolulu with 20 of his best friends. I won’t begrudge a man any toy he can truly afford, but Limbaugh is in for a rude awakening. As far back as 2009, the CEO of Gulfstream’s parent company had already announced it was working on developing a plane “beyond” the G650. What will Limbaugh do then? In the meantime, some oil baron from the Middle East is looking down from his 747 with a smirk on his face. I was on a 13-hour flight from London to Miami years ago and totally bored, so I made a list of all the material things I would love to own. Yeah, I included a private jet and a yacht. Then I calculated the cost of buying and maintaining those toys and realized I’d have to win the lottery every year to afford such luxury. Time to get real! The sooner you get a handle on needs versus wants, the better off you and your family will be. Owning cool stuff is fun. Most real people, however, have to choose between the neat toys they’d like and saving enough to retire comfortably. So until those lottery wins come in, I’ll continue flying commercial with the other mere mortals. If you want to treat yourself, pay a little extra to upgrade your seat.#2—Don’t misunderstand status. In dictionary terms, status means:sta·tus rank: the relative position or standing of somebody or something in a society or other group prestige: high rank or standing, especially in a community, work force, or organization condition: a condition that is subject to change In Miller terms, there are least two different types of status. The first I call “pseudo-status.” In the article mentioned above, I wrote about my friend Tom, the poster child for spendaholics anonymous. Tom spent a good portion of his adult life trying to impress others and move up in the pecking order. Could Tom have really bought his way to the top? No. The second type of status I call “earned status.” Each major professional sport has a hall of fame. The players enshrined in them stood out among their peers and earned their status in those communities. Earned status is a laudable aspiration. A mentor of mine once said:“Real status does not come from telling people how important you are, but rather from others recognizing your achievements above the rest. Accomplish something, and they will know you are good. You won’t have to say a word.”#3—You don’t have to be a scrooge. Owning nice things can make life more enjoyable. There is nothing wrong with buying cool stuff that makes you happy. Enjoying an expensive glass of wine at dinner does not make you an alcoholic or a spendaholic. However, buying stuff you don’t need with money you don’t have will eventually affect your family, your retirement, and your health. Tom had closets crammed full of clothes, but he still made regular trips to the big city men’s store where he’d drop $10,000 or more each visit. He would leave the store carrying nothing—everything had to be monogrammed and shipped. I can’t remember the last time I saw Tom in a non-monogrammed shirt. After he died, one of his children confided that his designer jeans and socks were monogrammed too. No wonder they said he had an addiction.#4—Short-term gratification is just that: short term. Tom’s life saddens me. He had a great business, employed many people, earned a good income, and was an asset to the community. Had he focused on long-term goals rather than indulging short-term emotional needs, he would have achieved the status he so desperately wanted. Tom fell prey to his desire to constantly feel important. He seemed to think the only way he could satisfy that hunger was to constantly buy clothes and toys. Unfortunately, that addiction is what kept him from his goal. He died bankrupt, and everyone in town knew it.#5—Remember the lessons your grandparents taught you. You can’t buy real friends, nor can you maintain a friendship by constantly flaunting your wealth. True friendship has nothing to do with money. It comes from who you are and how you behave. I have a friend whom I’ve known since high school. He grew up on a farm in a single-parent home. He has built quite a business empire and has more than his share of cool and very expensive toys. Unlike Tom, however, he can actually afford to write a check for them. The friends he is most comfortable with are the ones who knew him when he was poor and are happy for his success. This friend was too busy on the farm growing up to participate in many high school activities. When the school bell rang, he rushed home to work late into the night. Tom, on the other hand, had a different childhood. His parents looked after him financially. They even started the family business that Tom eventually took over. He never learned to save. Money magically appeared when he wanted it for many decades—until it didn’t. Maybe things just came too easy for Tom. He never valued having money, only what it could buy him. I’ll leave that for the professionals to ponder. Forbes and countless T-shirts in the 1980s said, “He who dies with the most toys wins.” There was another popular T-shirt, though—one I’d be proud to wear—that said, “He who dies with the most toys still dies.” Toys are not the measure of a man. The true captain of his own ship looks after his crew and their welfare until his dying day. The folks I know who are truly happy have done just that. A man who doesn’t fixate on toys he neither needs nor can afford has a much better chance at finding lasting happiness. I am a big believer that being “rich” is a state of mind. As you cross the threshold toward retirement, the ability to maintain your lifestyle without worry can help keep you in that mindset. Retirement shouldn’t involve a lot of money worries… and it doesn’t have to. Our goal at Miller’s Money Forever is to help our subscribers become truly rich and make their golden years the best of their lives. Our portfolio is doing quite well, and we have optimal safety precautions in place. If you have not done so already, I urge you to take advantage of our 90-day risk-free offer. We are reasonably priced ($99/year). If you feel we are not for you, cancel within the first 90 days and receive 100% of your money back, no questions asked. Click here to subscribe today.On the Lighter Side I had another good chat with Chad Slagle on his television and radio program. I was in the hot seat, as they say. You can watch along here: Dennis Miller on the Chad Slagle Show. Next week is St. Patrick’s Day, and we love to go to Fountain Hills to watch the green fountain shoot up 300 feet. In Chicago they make the river green, but the fountain is a lot more fun to watch. Last week we went to a Cubs game at the new facility in Mesa, AZ. We were thrilled to see the Budweiser Clydesdale team. Such magnificent animals! I whispered to the lead horse how much I enjoyed his Super Bowl commercial and darned if he did not bob his head up and down a couple of times. Who says those animals aren’t smart? Our good friend Phil works at the Surprise, AZ spring training facility. Each year he gets tickets for our group of Chicago Cub fans in the area. This year 26 couples are going to dinner and the game. It’s always a lot of fun. And finally… Dear friend Toots sent some cute remarks about aging: You’re getting old when you don’t care where your spouse goes, just as long as you don’t have to go along. Statistics show that at the age of 70, there are five women to every man. Isn’t that an ironic time for a guy to get those odds? Old age is when you have stopped growing at both ends, and have begun to grow in the middle. Old age is having a choice of two temptations and choosing the one that will get you home earlier. A man has reached old age when he is cautioned to slow down by his doctor instead of by the police. And my favorite: You’re getting old when “getting lucky” means you find a great parking space. Until next week…last_img read more

first_img Ex-Apple exec Scott Forstall is best known as one of Steve Jobs’s most trusted lieutenants, and a co-inventor of the iPhone. Forstall told the story of how he first met Jobs — and how Microsoft went to extreme measures to win him over instead — at an event at the Computer History Museum on Tuesday night celebrating the 10th anniversary of the release of the first iPhone. Circa 1992, Forstall had just gotten his graduate degree, and lined up interviews with two big tech companies: Microsoft, where he had previously been an intern, and NeXT Computer, the computer startup that Steve Jobs had founded after his ouster from Apple. A few minutes into Forstall’s job interview at NeXT, Jobs rushed in, pulled his first scheduled interviewer aside, and took over. Jobs “peppered me with questions,” says Forstall. The two talked for 15 minutes before Jobs seemed to make up his mind. “I don’t care what anyone says the rest of the day, we’re giving you an offer. Pretend you care in the interviews, though,” Jobs told Forstall. “I’m giving you an offer, and I know you’re going to accept it.” In this April 4, 1991, file photo, Steve Jobs of NeXT Computer Inc. poses for the press with his NeXTstation color computer at the NeXT facility in Redwood City, Calif.Image credit: AP ImagesAt that time, NeXT was already struggling financially. As Forstall noted, it had amazing technology, but very few customers. Still, as a young upstart, he was intrigued by the possibility of working for Jobs and the team of experts he had assembled. And so, he did indeed take the job at NeXT, and politely turned down an offer from Microsoft. Big fishThe very next day, a package showed up on his doorstep: A “very large dead fish,” on ice, with no message, but a return address on the Microsoft campus. This caused Forstall to freak out a little bit, and he called the Microsoft recruiter with whom he had been speaking.”You know, I watched movies about the mafia,” Forstall remembers telling the recruiter. “What the hell?” It turns out there was an innocent explanation. Microsoft thought that a deeper appreciation of Seattle and Washington state, where the company is based, might get Forstall to reconsider the offer. So the recruiter went to Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market, picked out the biggest fresh fish they could find, and had it overnighted to Forstall.Seattle’s Pike Place Market.Image credit: ShutterstockIt didn’t impress Forstall: “I will clearly change my mind because there are no fish in the [San Francisco] Bay Area,” where NeXT was based, he joked. “I did barbecue it that night,” he says. The postscript here is that Apple would go on to buy NeXT for $429 million in 1997, in a move that brought Jobs back to the company he co-founded, paving the way for him to become CEO. Forstall came along for the ride, leading the user interface team for what would become Mac OS X. When the iPhone project began, it was Forstall who was chosen to lead the iOS team. That one funny interview with Jobs ended up leading to much bigger things. Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Ex-Apple exec Scott Forstall is best known as one of Steve Jobs’ most trusted lieutenants, and a co-inventor of the iPhone. This story originally appeared on Business Insider Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. 3 min read –shares Image credit: Getty Scott Forstallcenter_img iPhone Add to Queue June 23, 2017 A Co-Inventor of the iPhone Explains His Funny Job Interview With Steve Jobs and the Time Microsoft Sent Him a ‘Very Large Dead Fish’ Matt Weinberger Next Article Enroll Now for $5last_img read more