Amit's Planet

November 29, 2018

Official Google Blog

Google Open Source team

The Google Code-in contest is now open! Students ages 13 to 17 gain real-world software development experience by building open source software with the support of mentors.

by Mary Radomile at November 29, 2018 01:00 AM

November 02, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

har ek nazar idhar udhar... ik nayaa taraanaa

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

har ek nazar idhar udhar hai beqaraar mere li_e
mahafil kaa dil dha.Dak rahaa hai baar-baar mere li_e

huu.N mai.n 
ik nayaa taraanaa ik nayaa fasaanaa ik na_ii kahaanii huu.N mai.n
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ek mast jawaanii huu.N mai.n

ruup kii raanii naam hai meraa dil ta.Dapaanaa kaam hai meraa
ko_ii kahe matavaalii koi kahe bholii bhaalii ko_ii kahe diiwaanii huu.N mai.n 
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ...

merii adaa_e.N mere bahaane ko_ii na samajhe ko_ii na jaane
ik pavan jhakolaa ek u.Dan khaTolaa ek yaad khaanii huu.N mai.n
ek ra.ng ra.Ngiilii ek chhail chhabiilii ...

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:35 PM

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo a.Nkhiyaa.N do chaar kar lo
suno ye raat nahii.n hai ek tiin chaar kii
suno ye raat hai bas do dilo.n ke pyaar kii

dil hai diiwaanaa samaa suhaanaa 
uff ye jawaanii uff ye zamaanaa
jab tak hai.n jhuum sako jhuumate jaanaa haay re jhuumate jaanaa
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 

ra.ngii.n fizaaye.n mast hawaaye.n
kal kaun jaane aaye na aaye
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 

ulfat ke pyaale pii le pilaa le
kar de ye duniyaa dil ke hawaale
jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo 







Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:18 PM

ek raat kii ye priit

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

ek raat kii ye priit ek raat kaa hai giit
kahii.n to.D ke ye sapane ye raat na jaa_e biit

ai chaa.Nd na jaanaa so ai taaro na jaanaa kho
jo bhii ho so ho jag me.n ek bhor kabhii na ho

ye uu.Nchaa aasamaa.N ik baar jo kah de ho
to ye raat maa.Ng luu.N de ke dono.n jahaa.N



Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:06 PM

dil churaa luu.N

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

dil churaa luu.N churaa luu.N dil me.n chhupii baat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii rah jaa_e.N malate haath

subah kii a.Nga.Daa_ii huu.N mai.n raat kaa huu.N mai.n Kvaab
duniyaa kii mahafil me.n huu.N mai.n apanaa aap jawaab
mukh dekhe to, dekhe to chandaa khaa_e maat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

muskuraake jidhar dekhuu.N khilane lage phuul
aane jaane waale raahii rastaa jaa_e.N bhuul
mai.n chaahuu.N to, chaahuu.N to din ko karuu.N raat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

bhole-bhaale suurat waale matavaale diladaar
bachake rahanaa phir na kahanaa kiyaa na Khabaradaar
ba.Dii hai zaalim, hai zaalim in naino.n kii ghaat
ba.De-ba.De dil waale bhii ...

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 12:57 PM

October 06, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii

Album: Navrang

naa raajaa rahegaa naa raanii rahegii
ye duniyaa hai faanii aur faanii rahegii

na jab ek bhii zi.ndagaanii rahegii
to maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

dikhaayegii raaNaa ke raN kii nishaanii
kahegii shivaajii ke praN kii kahaanii
bataaegii muGhalo.n kii baate.n ajaanii
us Gaddaar jayacha.nd kii zi.ndagaanii
ye aapas kii sab badGumaanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

jo the desh dushman Ghulaamii ke raahii
lage pherane is vatan par siyaahii
videsho.n kii karane lage vaah-vaahii
gayaa desh haatho.n se aayii tabaahii
ye bhar-bhar ke aa.Nkho.n me.n paanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

fir swaata.ntra kaa aisaa sa.ngraam aayaa
ki har aadamii desh ke kaam aayaa
la.Dii viir jhaa.Nsii kii raanii bhavaanii
hazaaro.n ne laakho.n ne Jauhar jalaayaa
ye kurbaaniyaa.N Khud zubaanii kahegii
ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2

swaata.ntra kaa sa.ngraam nahii.n vo baGaavat thii,  yahii itihaas kahataa hai

(jalaa do)-2 ye itihaas jhooThe tumhaare
yahaa.n zarre-zarre pe sach hai likhaa re
zulam vo tumhaare sitam vo tumhaare
karo yaad uf kaaranaame vo kaare
ki patthar se aa.Nsuu kii dhaaraa bahegii

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
ye maaTii hai tab se ki jab tum naa aaye
ye maaTii rahegii na jab tum rahoge
is maaTii ke niiche dabii hai.n kathaaye.n
jo Khud hii kahegii re tum kyaa kahoge
zamii.n aasamaa.N tharatharaa ke rahegii

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
 

Contributed by Saket Jain

October 06, 2017 12:37 PM

August 17, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain

Album: Parichay

mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain 
mitawaa mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain 
saaware kajaraare nain mitawaa bole miiThe bain 

aaj soye tuu saa.Njh bulaaye 
jaage tuu bhor kare saa.Nse.n lete nain
mitawaa tere nain mitawaa bole miiThe bain 

pyaasaa hai aaj bhii tarase pyaasaa hai aaj bhii tarase 
o baraso saawan barase chhalake tere nain 
mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain 
mitawaa mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain 
saaware kajaraare nain saaware kajaraare nain
mitawaa bole miiThe bain


Contributed by Rajeeva Karandikar

August 17, 2017 06:51 PM

May 25, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N

Album: Jab Andhera Hota Hai

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N
basegaa dil kaa jahaa.N
koii na ham ho.n jahaa.N
chalo chale.n ham wahaa.N

yahii hai dil kii sadaa
raho nazar me.n sadaa
ab ek pal bhii sanam
kabhii na ho.nge judaa

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N
basegaa dil kaa jahaa.N
koii na ham ho.n jahaa.N
chalo chale.n ham wahaa.N

dulhan banuu.Ngii sajan
chaluu.Ngii mai.n ban-Than
bhar do maa.Ng merii
khilegaa dil kaa chaman

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N
basegaa dil kaa jahaa.N
koii na ham ho.n jahaa.N
chalo chale.n ham wahaa.N

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N
basegaa dil kaa jahaa.N
koii na ham ho.n jahaa.N
chalo chale.n ham wahaa.N

Contributed by Asif Alvi

May 25, 2017 03:05 AM

April 17, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

zindagii ham tere haal par

Album: Wohi Baat

zindagii ham tere haal par muskuraa_e.N ke royaa kare.n
dard kii dhuup Dhalatii nahii.n kaise raaho.n me.n saayaa kare.n

bhar ke daaman me.n rusavaa_iyaa.N ham pe ha.Nsatii hai.n tanhaaiyaa.N
haay re aalam-e-bebasii tuu hii kah de ke ham kyaa kare.n

raat Gam kii hai Thaharii hu_ii ham hai.n baa.Nho.n me.n tuufaan kii
ko_ii shamaa jale kis tarah dil me.n kaise ujaalaa kare.n


Contributed by Anonymous

April 17, 2017 09:34 PM

April 06, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii

Album: Chhupa Rustam

chhuo na
( mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii
mai.n huu.N chhuii muii
aa.Nkho.n se dekho lekin chhuo na ) - 2
mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii

khilate baaGo.n kii mai.n
komal Daalii thii
ghar me.n laakar rakhaa tumane
chaahaa dil se
phir bhii murajhaauu.N
mar jaauu.N

mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii
mai.n huu.N chhuii muii
aa.Nkho.n se dekho lekin chhuo na
mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii

madiraa kii huu.N pyaalii
lekin chhoTii sii
pyaase ho tum kue.N jaise
thar thar kaa.Npuu.N
mai.n Dar jaauu.N
mar jaauu.N

mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii
mai.n huu.N chhuii muii
aa.Nkho.n se dekho lekin chhuo na
mar jaauu.N sharmaake uii
mai.n huu.N chhuii muii
aa.Nkho.n se dekho lekin chhuo na

Contributed by Asif Alvi

April 06, 2017 04:06 AM

January 23, 2017

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Must-Read: Talking Points!

Michael Klein, Edward Schumacher-Matos, and Miriam Wasserman: Econofact: About: "EconoFact is... to bring key facts and incisive analysis to the national debate on economic and social policies...

...It is written by leading academic economists from across the country who belong to the EconoFact Network, and published by the Edward R. Murrow Center for a Digital World at The Fletcher School at Tufts University.... Our mission at EconoFact is to provide data, analysis and historical experience in a dispassionate manner. The presentation is in short memo form and written in everyday language, free of jargon, and where appropriate, accompanied by visuals illustrating the main point. We are committed to presenting even complex economic analysis in a way that is accessible to all. Our guiding ethos is a belief that well meaning people emphasizing different values can arrive at different policy conclusions. However, if in the debate we as a society can’t agree on the relevant facts, then the nation itself loses a common base for constructive debate and policy will suffer...

by J. Bradford DeLong at January 23, 2017 01:43 PM

datameet Google Group

Calling software engineers interested in Indian political data

Hello everyone, The Trivedi Center for Political Data at Ashoka University near Delhi is a research center that gathers, cleans and disseminates data about Indian political processes. For example, we are building high-quality datasets on Indian elections, the careers of bureaucrats, etc. Our

by Sudheendra Hangal at January 23, 2017 01:41 PM

swissmiss

Pocket Manfriend

This made me laugh out loud. Who doesn’t need a pocket manfriend? We all do!

Also available: Pocket Girlfriend.

(via artistic moods)

by swissmiss at January 23, 2017 01:33 PM

Chickens In Sweaters

What better way to start out this Monday morning than with pictures of chickens in sweaters.

by swissmiss at January 23, 2017 01:31 PM

Planet Python

Mike Driscoll: PyDev of the Week: Mark Haase

This week we welcome Mark Haase as our PyDev of the Week. Mark is the author of PEP 505 – None-aware operators. You can check out what projects Mark is interested in over on Github. He also has a programming blog that covers various programming topics. Let’s take some time getting to know Mark better!

Can you tell us a little about yourself (hobbies, education, etc):

As a child, I always loved building things, like Legos. I sketched designs for other projects that I daydreamed about building — a hang glider! — but as a kid I was obviously limited in terms of skills, tools, and resources. Nobody was going to hand me an arc-welder, after all.

I started programming when I was about 12 or 13. I learned BASIC first, then Java a couple years later. Programming didn’t have the same limitations as physical things. I didn’t need a whole workshop with tools and materials, just a computer and a compiler. I minored in Comp Sci in college (a mistake, in retrospect, I should have majored in it!) and managed to find a job as a programmer when I graduated it. It’s been my career for 10 years now.

Why did you start using Python?

I started working with a roommate on a pet project and he encouraged me to try Python. After several years working with some other, not-to-be-named web development languages, Python was a relief. It felt sensible. It felt like it had been carefully designed. It felt productive — ideas could be turned into code easily. Python made programming fun again!

I switched jobs soon after that and had several new coworkers who liked Python, and Python has been a major part of my work ever since. As I learned more and more about Python, I became totally fascinated with the design and features of the language and — equally important — the culture and mindset that surrounds it.

What other programming languages do you know and which is your favorite?

Languages that I know well enough to do real work in? Perl, PHP, JavaScript, Dart, and Python. Python is my clear favorite, but using Dart as a JavaScript replacement has also been enjoyable and refreshing.

What projects are you working on now?

I work with a company called Hyperion Gray on a DARPA (a progenitor of the internet) research & development contract. We have a wide range of research, but my personal focus is combining web crawling and machine learning: building crawlers that are more intelligent about what links to follow, more resilient in the face of errors (crawling loops, soft 404s, etc.), and extracting the important content on each page. We love working with DARPA, and we are able to open source the majority of our work.

Which Python libraries are your favorite (core or 3rd party)?

Flask is the first major package I started using. I shopped around a bit and settled on Flask because it wasn’t monolithic and the documentation was fantastic. I’ve never regretted the choice: the more I learned about Flask, the more I enjoyed it. I’ve continued to use it on new projects over the last 5 years and it still feels like a “just right” tool.

Requests is another phenomenal library, because it wraps a chaotic and difficult core API with one of the most brilliant APIs I’ve ever seen: simple enough to memorize the basics but powerful enough to not limit what you can do with it.

There is also a cluster of numerical and scientific computing packages (NumPy, SciPy, etc.) that are making Python an important language to know for a wide range of data science applications. I can combine the productivity of working in a high-level language like Python with the performance characteristics of low-level, highly tuned code.

Where do you see Python going as a programming language?

I’ve always thought of Python as a glue language. In the web development world, performance critical code is handled by databases, web servers, message queues, etc. You can write your business logic in Python and pass data back and forth between those highly optimized, highly tuned components. I wouldn’t write a database server in Python, and I wouldn’t write my business logic in C++. Those are different tools that complement, not compete.

That same approach is taking Python into new areas. High performance machine learning and deep learning are going to be hugely important in the future of computing, and Python — a notoriously “slow” language — is a reasonable language for building deep learning systems. Why? Because the performance critical code is optimized, vectorized, and tuned in low level libraries like NumPy and Theano. A small amount of Python code can produce simple and amazing machine learning systems. This is a great example: http://neuralnetworksanddeeplearning.com/

I personally don’t feel a need to learn specialized, domain-specific programming languages, like Octave for linear algebra, or R for statistics. Python can do all these things. At work, we even create presentations in IPython notebooks!

What is your take on the current market for Python programmers?

I don’t know! The last time I applied for a job was about 5 years ago, which is also roughly the time when I started learning Python. Anecdotally, it seems like job listings are always dominated by whatever flavor-of-the-month technology is hot at the time. If I was looking for a job, I would feel more confident applying to any job with my 5 years of Python experience than with 6 months of . Python is so versatile (see my previous answer) that I assume Python will continue to be highly relevant in the coming years.

Thanks so much for doing the interview!

January 23, 2017 01:30 PM

swissmiss

♥ / Squarespace

Big thanks for Squarespace for sponsoring my blog and RSS feed continously. Over the years, they have become a loyal and supportive partner in my labor of love. So much gratitude!

Back in 1998 when I worked on my first portfolio website, I had to learn to code and design it myself. Fast forward to 2016, anyone can have a stunningly designed website, without any coding skills, thanks to Squarespace.

Squarespace’s templates are professionally designed and come with an easy-to-use, intuitive interface. I wish they would have been around when I started out. Try Squarespace free. When you decide to subscribe, use offer code SWISSMISS to get 10% off.


(Interested in sponsoring a week of my RSS feed, learn more here.)

by swissmiss at January 23, 2017 01:30 PM

Yummy Fresh grain feed!

Gizem Vural

Gizem Vural

Brimming with puffy clouds and the familiar textures of colored pencils, Gizem Vural’s illustrations are deceptively simple. With a balance of sophistication and naiveté, she tackles serious issues such as education standards, carbon emissions, and mental health. This can be seen in the juxtaposition between colors and textures. Employing black and white wiry lines and loose squiggles, she conveys forms of negativity and loneliness. These chaotic strokes often provide a contrast against her robust and colorful characters. Her work has earned her recognition by the Society of Illustrators and a feature in American Illustration 35.

Gizem Vural

Gizem Vural

Gizem Vural

Gizem Vural

Gizem Vural

——————–

Also worth viewing:

Ray Oranges
Joeseph Veazey
Exquisite Corpse

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——————–

Thanks to this week's Sponsor // Foto Sushi






by Sandy at January 23, 2017 01:30 PM

Zero Hedge

Executive Orders, Meetings, Cabinet Votes: A Look At Trump's Schedule On His First Monday In Office

As Donald Trump himself tweeted on Monday morning...

... the president's first official day on the job will include a meeting with congressional leaders and a separate meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan.

According to the WSJ, Trump is also expected to sign various executive orders around 10:30am, which as previewed yesterday will include such topics as trade, immigration, government hiring, Obamacare and a lobbying ban.

According to the White House, which released daily guidance for the president on Sunday evening, Trump's Monday will include a “breakfast and listening session with key business leaders” and a similar afternoon session with union leaders and “American Workers.”

Among this week's key meetings, Trump is scheduled to with meet "top executives" at 9 a.m. today to discuss manufacturing, and British PM Theresa May on Friday.

He’ll have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence at noon. At 5 p.m., Trump is scheduled to hold a leadership reception with congressional leaders from both parties, followed by a private meeting with House Speaker Paul Ryan an hour later.

But the media will likely be fascinating by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who will deliver an on-camera briefing at 1 p.m. that’s sure to be a focus of the day, given the weekend focus on the Trump administrations reaction to media coverage of the crowd sizes at the inauguration.

Also expect a series of cabinet votes: Mike Pompeo, the new head of the CIA, should get a vote today. White House officials expect at least three more Cabinet nominees, Ben Carson, Nikki Haley and Rick Perry, to be voted on by the end of the week, per the WSJ. And while Tillerson may not get a vote this week, Graham and McCain are now on board.

Clearing Mr. Trump’s nominees is a top priority because he is starting his presidency with a much thinner cabinet than his predecessor. On Barack Obama’s first day in office in 2009, the Senate approved six members of his cabinet. A seventh, Defense Secretary Bob Gates, was a holdover from the George W. Bush administration. The Senate that day confirmed an eighth nominee, Peter Orszag, to lead the Office of Management and Budget.

Cited by the WSJ, Trump is optimistic about the beginning of his presidency despite a rocky first weekend that saw mass anti-Trump protests across the nation and world and his representatives’ repeated falsehoods about media reporting of verifiable events.

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 01:22 PM

Planet Python

PyTennessee: PyTN Profiles: Derik Pell and Meeple Mountain


Speaker Profile: Derik Pell (@_gignosko_)

Derik got his Masters in Computer Science from The University of Illinois at Springfield where he was lucky enough to get to study data from many different angles. That work started him on a love affair with picking apart data while writing the best code he can.

He is happy to have lived through Java so he can now enjoy writing Python at Emma in Nashville, TN, where he lives with his partner, his son, and the head of the household, a chihuahua named Kala.

Derik will be presenting “It’s time for Functional Programming! Maybe.” at 1:00PM Sunday (2/5) in Room 100.  Functional programming is arguably the biggest buzzword in programming these days and with good reason since it can reduce lines of code while adding safety and efficiency. In this talk, we’ll get an understanding of the foundations of FP, look at what python does and does not have to help us out, and try to decide if and when it’s a good idea to use these FP concepts in a pythonic environment.

Sponsor Profile: Meeple Mountain (@meeplemountain)

Meeple Mountain delivers board game reviews, board game news, editorial content and other articles relating to tabletop board games that are fun for adults and children alike. We also host a monthly board game night in Nashville with nearly 80 attendees. They are the driving force behind the PyTN TableTop Gaming After Party. Register here.

January 23, 2017 01:22 PM

Boy Genius Report

Hugo Barra leaves Xiaomi, says China has ‘taken a huge toll on my life’

Hugo Barra Quits Xiaomi

Smartphone startup Xiaomi began life as a peculiar beast. From within the safety of China, the company did all it could to copy every last detail of Apple's devices and marketing strategy, knowing there was precious little Apple could do to stop it. When Apple's portfolio was exhausted, Xiaomi moved on to Samsung, copying a large portion of its device lineup as well. But then, the company realized that it could only go so far selling phones in China and a handful of other markets. As growth was on track to slow substantially, Xiaomi knew that it had to work its way into other top-tier markets around the world. And so Xiaomi Global was born.

The Xiaomi subsidiary has hit a few rough patches over the course of the past three-plus years, but today may be its roughest to date. On Monday, Xiaomi Global VP Hugo Barra announced that he is leaving the company.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Galaxy Note 7’s demise explained: Bad batteries and worse decisions
  2. The oldest TV technology is getting popular again with cordcutters
  3. AT&T is losing cellphone customers, fast

by Zach Epstein at January 23, 2017 01:16 PM

Planet Python

PyTennessee: PyTN Profiles: Greg Back and TEDxNashville

image


Speaker Profile: Greg Back(@gtback)

Greg is a deep and mysterious python programmer with no bio, but don’t let his mystic fool you! He’s a wicked sharp local Python developer who is very active in our community. 

Greg will be presenting “What Time is it Anyway?” at 1:00PM Sunday (2/5) in the auditorium. This talk will provide an overview of dates, times, and timezones, and why they can cause problems in real life and in Python programs. Solutions and helpful hints will be provided that use both the standard library and third-party packages like pytz and python-dateutil.

image

Sponsor Profile: TEDxNashville (@tedxnashville)

TEDxNashville has been the non-profit that has backed PyTennessee since we started and provides countless helpful resources. Without them, we wouldn’t be able to have PyTN each year.  They just announced a stellar line-up of speakers for their 2017 event. 

January 23, 2017 01:14 PM

Zero Hedge

Peso, Loonie Drop After NAFTA Renegotiation Executive Order Headlines

Confirming his campaign rhetoric and inaugural address tone, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order as early as Monday to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico, according to NBC News' Kristen Welker.

President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order as early as Monday stating his intention to renegotiate the free trade agreement between the United States, Canada and Mexico, a White House official told NBC News.

 

Eliminating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which was crafted by former President Bill Clinton and enacted in 1994, was a frequent Trump campaign promise.

 

The deal was intended to eliminate most trade tariffs between the three nations, increase investment and tighten protection and enforcement of intellectual property.

The reaction in the Mexican Peso and Canadian Dollar is clear...

This should hardly be surprise...

Canada's ambassador to the United States said it was clear the Trump team were concerned above all about trade deficits with Mexico and China.

"I don't think Canada is the focus at all," David MacNaughton told reporters in Calgary, Alberta, ahead of a two-day government retreat focused on how to handle the new Trump administration.

Additionally, as CNN's Jake Tapper tweeted, Trump is expected to abandon TPP...

 

All of which confirms the new White House's statement:

"This strategy starts by withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership and making certain that any new trade deals are in the interests of American workers,"

 

"President Trump is committed to renegotiating NAFTA. If our partners refuse a renegotiation that gives American workers a fair deal, then the president will give notice of the United States' intent to withdraw from NAFTA."

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 01:12 PM

Gold To 2 Month High As Fiery Trump Declares New American Order

Gold price to 2 month high as fiery Trump declares New American Order

- 'Trumponomics': Politics and economic policy in 140 characters
- The ‘intelligence’ according to Trump
- Trump, Putin and Russia - the great bromance
- Trump - Bull in a China shop
- Trade and currency wars with China and other nations
- Trump - Fan of gold and golden tweets
- Conclusion - Trump may be the 'Golden Ticket'

by Jan Skoyles, Editor Mark O'Byrne

On Friday Donald J Trump became the 45
th President of the United States of America.

Gold prices were surprisingly muted on Friday but did begin to rise towards the end of trading and rose from below $1,200 to over $1,212 per ounce before closing slightly lower at $,207.60 per ounce.

Gold is looking very healthy technically and has risen for four weeks in a row and reached a two month high this morning at $1,219.43 per ounce - its highest since November 22nd.   According to Bloomberg holdings in gold-backed ETFs climbed for the fifth day in a row by 0.9 tons.

Gold is gaining on increasing investor concern about the Trump Presidency and uncertainty regarding what is set to be his radically different term in office. The dollar has continued to weaken as markets prepare for major changes to US trade, economic and foreign policies.

The British pound has hit a five week high, along with the yen and 10 year US Futures. Shares fell across most markets, the dollar fell 0.5%, which RBS Capital markets blame on “the lack of economic policy detail in President Trump’s inauguration speech coupled with concerns over his potential protectionist stance.”

“The market is now worrying about what would come out from the new administration,” Bob Takai, chief executive officer and president of Sumitomo Corp. Global Research Co., told Bloomberg. “In this kind of very unforeseeable environment, people want to buy gold,” he said, adding the biggest factor was the strength of the dollar and the outlook for interest rates.

 

 

 

 

 


More on Trump's like of gold and golden tweets below

Trump’s fiery inauguration speech was a significant step away from the more presidential-tones of his November acceptance speeches. It was full of protectionism, promises to ‘hire’ and ‘buy’ American and strident nationalism.

The weekend was not full of any shocking declarations such as currency manipulation or border taxes, however Trump did tweet yesterday that he would be sitting down with Canada and Mexico to discuss NAFTA.

Across the world, most people aren’t sure what to think. Markets seem disappointed that Trump’s inauguration speech contained few details on fiscal policy, tax cuts and infrastructure spending. For the first time following a Presidential election we are more likely to feel uncertain post inauguration than we were in the run-up to the vote.

With Trump we are facing something new and radically different. His tweets are not only emotional and reactive but the subject of them combined with his general message go against the status quo, or international order (of the West) that we have seen supported in political America for so long.

The status quo opinions on Russia, free trade, strong dollar, China and war - has long been supported throughout Western politics, regardless of party leanings since the end of World War Two.

Politicians, policy makers, markets and the general public around the world are now having to come to terms with what this might mean. And whilst they figure it out, we expect heightened uncertainty.

For gold investors this is likely good news in both the long and medium term. We expect to see severe volatility due to Trump's unexpected actions and tweets. Markets will be very nervous and wait with baited breath to see how the affected party, be it the EU, China, Russia or Congress, decide how to react.

'Trumponomics': Politics and economic policy in 140 characters

It was generally expected that we would see markets pull back in the week running up to the inauguration as confusion tends to surround anticipated policy from the new administration.

That is precisely what has happened, but it was exacerbated by both Trump’s direct comments to the press and his own tweets. Trump’s tweets and comments, clearly have an impact on sentiment. GM, Boeing and Toyota have all felt the wrath of the market following a Trump Tweet.

And, when companies thought it could not get much worse for them,  this week Trump told the Wall Street Journal that the US Dollar was too strong, breaking the unwritten rule that Presidents do not comment on the currency.

The dollar headed south following the comments. This surprised markets who were getting used to the Trump Trade that had seen equity markets and the dollar embark on a rally since the election result.

On a political note, Trumps’ comments to Bild on NATO being obsolete have put the first military alliance that combines both Second World War agreements and post-Soviet Union countries on an awkward and unstable position. Comments against NATO flies in the face of US foreign policy.

Trump reconfirmed his views, by tweeting “My statement on NATO being obsolete and disproportionately too expensive (and unfair) for the U.S. are now, finally, receiving plaudits!”

The above is just a recent reminder of the power of a Trump statement and that his favoured medium of communication, one that is un-vetted and seemingly unadvised, continues to take some getting used to.

There seems to be some thinking that once Trump takes office, the tweets will calm down.

Trump has no plans to stop, telling the Sunday Times, “…I can put out Twitter — and it’s not 140, it’s now 280 — I can go bing bing bing… and they put it on…”

Everyone is aware of how Trump is changing how Presidents will rule and make statements, Wei Li, iShares head of investment strategy EMEA, said in a recent interview with TradngFloor:

"There are some really unexpected things happening with the Trump administration and there are no doubt a lot more people paying attention to Twitter at 2am in the night…We are operating in a very different environment where markets are reacting and adapting to changes that have not been seen for a good decade or more."

The CIA’s outgoing director, John Brennan, has also warned Trump that his tweets are not only bad for markets but also for national security:
"Spontaneity is not something that protects national security interests…So therefore when he  [Trump] speaks or when he reacts, just make sure he understands that the implications and impact on the United States could be profound."

In all likelihood, Brennan’s advice will not be heeded by Trump.

The ‘intelligence’ according to Trump

John Brennan had been feeling Trump’s wrath for a long time. The new President has long criticised the intelligence services in the US, at one point suggesting Brennan was the ‘leaker of fake news’ following the Golden Shower story.

Trump had previously likened the intelligence services the Nazi regime, tweeting

"Intelligence agencies should never have allowed this fake news to "leak" into the public. One last shot at me. Are we living in Nazi Germany?"

As Zerohedge pointed out recently, no president since JF Kennedy has dared to take on America’s seemingly untouchable intelligence agency. The website writes, “If his refusal to take intelligence briefings, or follow CIA advice is serious, then serious consequences will follow. If Trump is serious about peace with Putin when they insist on war, there will be a problem.”

Trump has already announced that he will be replacing Brennan with Mike Pompeo, something which may be seen as a smart move for Trump, but whether it is so for the rest of the world, time will tell. Either way there is a changing of the guard from deep within the national security state that has, until now, been widely listened to when it comes to geopolitical, international and domestic threats.

Trump’s lack of desire to toe the status quo party line is something intelligence services around the world will seemingly have to get used to. This has become acutely apparent when it comes to matter of Russian relations, which was what triggered the most recent bout between Trump and the intelligence community.

Trump, Putin and Russia - the great bromance

Trump’s desire to improve relations with Putin and the Kremlin is the most glaring difference between his ideas and those of the status quo, and alongside his thoughts on NATO has much of the Western community nervous.

When CIA Director John Brennan responded to Trump’s comments comparing the US Intelligence Agencies to Nazi Germany he not only said that the then President-elect had crossed the line but also warned him about Russia:

"Mr. Trump has to understand that absolving Russia of various actions it has taken in the past number of years is a road that he, I think, needs to be very, very careful about moving down ...”

It wasn’t until last week that Trump admitted it was likely that Russia had been involved in cyber-attacks and hacking, having previously expressed doubts over US Intelligence Agencies assertions in this regard. 

A US Intelligence Report, seen by both outgoing President Obama and President Trump alleged that Russia had tried to sway the outcome of the 2016 election. However, there was little hard evidence and it did not state if the measures specifically had been successful.

In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Trump vowed to improve relations with Putin and Moscow. He stated that the sanctions imposed by Obama last month, may be removed in exchange for support in fighting terrorism and meeting other US goals.

He reiterated his desire to work with Russia again in an interview with the Sunday Times, claiming that he wanted both the nuclear powers of the US and Russia to be

"reduced very substantially…They have sanctions on Russia — let's see if we can make some good deals with Russia. For one thing, I think nuclear weapons should be way down and reduced very substantially, that's part of it.”

In the same interview in The Times, Trump also criticised Putin and his country, for their involvement in Syria’s war, describing it as "a very bad thing" that had led to a "terrible humanitarian situation.”

It is no secret that Poland and Finland have been preparing themselves, with some international support, for a possible attack from Russia. Whilst neither Russia nor Europe have commented directly on any potential threat, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov says “threatens our interests, our security”.

Trump’s comments on both Russia and China, and apparent planned-policies regarding them, are very different to current foreign policies stances of the U.S., the EU, the UK and NATO.

Trump - a bull in a China shop

At various points during Trump’s campaign he managed to rile China, accusing them of currency manipulation and of ‘raping American jobs'. Then, he really made sure they were paying attention and increased tensions even more when he accepted a call from Taiwan’s President, on his birthday.

For just some of Trump’s issues with China, it’s worth looking at yet more of his tweets:

January 3: China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!

December 18: We should tell China that we don't want the drone they stole back.- let them keep it!

December 17: China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters - rips it out of water and takes it to China in unprecedented act.

December 5: Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into...their country (the U.S. doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!

Anti-China and anti-free trade and globalisation rhetoric is something that is becoming louder, not just because of Trump’s victory but also because of discontent in the EU. China is likely to be one of the biggest victims of this change in trade, and a trade and currency war may be on the cards.

Prior to the election Trump signaled that he would label China a currency manipulator, whether he will do so or not is obviously unknown, but he has still drawn attention to their currency. In a recent interview Trump complained about the strong US dollar and China’s weak yuan.

“Our companies can’t compete with them [Chinese companies] now because our currency is too strong. And it’s killing us”. In the same interview Trump said that China’s currency was “dropping like a rock.”

The election of Donald Trump has seen the US Dollar climb to 13 year highs and made gains of nearly 5% in the period since November. But now, just one week ahead of the inauguration, the President has signaled that he will be dropping the strong dollar policy.

It isn’t just China’s currency that Trump is likely to have a say on, in 140 characters or perhaps more. Some pundits believe is about to upset China by not only announcing his intention to abandon the one-China policy but also to declare the move by China to build artificial islands in the South China Sea, as illegal.

China remains unimpressed, the English-language paper China Daily wrote, “"If Trump is determined to use this gambit in taking office, a period of fierce, damaging interactions will be unavoidable, as Beijing will have no choice but to take off the gloves.”

"China and the U.S. can find ways to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation," Ministry of Commerce spokesman Sun Jiwen said Thursday at a briefing in Beijing. "Bilateral trade and economic cooperation have made the two nations inseparable since relations were established more than three decades ago, and that’s reinforced every day", Sun said.

According to Jim Rickards, this anti-China rhetoric could lead to a new currency war between the US and China.

President Xi Jinping, is also aware of the risks, speaking at his first address at Davos, China’s President spoke against businesses and political elites engaging in trade wars and protectionism:

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking yourself in a dark room, which would seem to escape the wind and rain, but also block out the sunshine and air…Waging a trade war will only cause injury and loss to both sides.”

Trade and currency wars with China and other nations, a civil war with Democrats and much of civil society in the U.S.,  combined with a weakening or dismantling of NATO, all in all points to uncertainty and volatility on a grand scale.

Trump - Fan of gold and golden tweets
We know (and not just from his taste in interiors) that Trump is a fan of gold and he is aware of the role in plays in both dollar hegemony and currency wars.

Tweets over the last four to five years have shown an interest in the gold price and trade, tweeting in 2012:

“With Obama and Bernanke destroying the value of the dollar, gold and real estate should continue to rise in value.”

He is also not a fan of QE, tweeting in 2011 “The Fed continues to flood the market with US dollars. Wrong move.” and has since commented on gold purchases by China and Russia.

But what about the gold price? As we explained last week, the fundamentals supporting the gold market look good, regardless of who is about to take the US Presidency.

This year the gold price has already climbed by around 5%, fuelled by what appears to be a perfect storm coming together of Trump worries, Brexit angst and brewing tensions on trade and globalisation, generally.

Axel Merk told Bloomberg that uncertainty will support gold, “We have no idea what’s going to happen with some of Trump’s policies -- everybody is a little nervous,” said Axel Merk, San Francisco-based founder of Merk Investments LLC, pointed out that

“Gold is relatively undervalued and will push higher.”

We concur and believe that the next four years of the Trump Presidency will be good for gold. If we assume gold takes a similar journey to that it took following Obama’s inauguration, we can expect:

A similar performance in the coming month would see gold rise from $1,200/oz to $1,392/oz.

A similar performance in the coming year would see gold rise from $1,200/oz to $1,555/oz

According to Bloomberg, gold has averaged gains of almost 15% in the inauguration years since the 1970s. It has made gains in five of the last seven inaugurations, and declined only in the year of Reagan’s.

Whilst events regarding China, Russia, NATO and even potential Civil War are unknown in how they will play out, one thing we can be fairly sure of is that Donald Trump is likely to preside over a significant budget deficit.

Conclusion - Trump may be the 'Golden Ticket'

Whilst the run up to Trump’s inauguration has proven to be box office viewing, it is important to tune out the noise surrounding the short-term hype and to consider the real world consequences of his Presidency for investors and savers. We should be aware that what he says/tweets may impact and have lasting results, around the world.

 

A man who is against many of the financial, economic and foreign policies of most Western nations,  has been democratically elected to run the West’s most powerful country. Policy may now be issued via Twitter and with little consultation.

Expect some serious volatility and prepare by diversifying and owning safe haven gold which has protected investors and savers from economic and political uncertainty in recent times and throughout the ages.

Credit Card Limits Increased To 50,000 (£ $ €)

Due to ongoing requests for higher credit and debit card transactions, we have increased our maximum card transaction sizes from 5,000 to 50,000 GBP, EUR or USD.

  • You can now lock in prices online and transact immediately for up to 50,000 (GBP, EUR or USD) on your Visa and Mastercard credit cards (not American Express) for one transaction

  • We do not limit card payments to 50,000 per day but to 50,000 per individual transaction. This means that clients can do a number of transactions for 50,000 on a single day. Certain banks may have restrictions in this regard.

  • In the volatile markets of today, this added liquidity is advantageous and, to our knowledge, these are the highest credit and debit card transaction limits in the bullion market. This will be attractive to investors seeking to lock in prices without having to wait for funds to clear first.

  • Credit and debit card rates have come down significantly and are now 1.9% for credit cards and 0.45% for debit cards. Please keep in mind that this is subject to your own credit card limits.

  • More information here

 

Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Commentary

Gold Rallies as Trump Getting Feet Under Desk Spurs Angst Redux (Bloomberg.com)

Gold rises on weaker dollar, safe-haven buying after Trump inauguration (Reuters.com)

Dollar Declines, Gold Gains With Industrial Metals (Bloomberg.com)

Investors Seek Safe Havens in Treasuries, Gold as Fiery Trump Sworn In (Bloomberg.com)

Trump gives Oval Office a gold new look (TimesOfIsrael.com)

How gold tends to perform in presidential inauguration years (MarketWatch.com)

Gold Price History from 30 B.C. to Today (TheBalance.com)

Does Market Rigging in the Metals Signal a Buying Opportunity? (MillerOnTheMoney.com)

Summing up 8 years of Barack Obama (SoverignMan)

LME’s pitch for share of gold market faces bumpy ride (Reuters.com)

7RealRisksBlogBanner

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

23 Jan: USD 1,213.75, GBP 974.03 & EUR 1,130.12 per ounce
20 Jan: USD 1,199.10, GBP 974.87 & EUR 1,127.03 per ounce
19 Jan: USD 1,203.35, GBP 976.76 & EUR 1,129.34 per ounce
18 Jan: USD 1,212.50, GBP 984.91 & EUR 1,134.78 per ounce
17 Jan: USD 1,217.50, GBP 1,003.59 & EUR 1,141.65 per ounce
16 Jan: USD 1,202.75, GBP 997.56 & EUR 1,135.40 per ounce
13 Jan: USD 1,196.35, GBP 978.85 & EUR 1,123.25 per ounce
12 Jan: USD 1,206.65, GBP 984.39 & EUR 1,135.82 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

23 Jan: USD 17.14, GBP 13.78 & EUR 15.97 per ounce
20 Jan: USD 16.89, GBP 13.73 & EUR 15.87 per ounce
19 Jan: USD 16.95, GBP 13.75 & EUR 15.89 per ounce
18 Jan: USD 17.12, GBP 13.93 & EUR 16.01 per ounce
17 Jan: USD 17.00, GBP 13.91 & EUR 15.87 per ounce
16 Jan: USD 16.82, GBP 13.94 & EUR 15.87 per ounce
13 Jan: USD 16.76, GBP 13.76 & EUR 15.74 per ounce
12 Jan: USD 16.91, GBP 13.77 & EUR 15.87 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

- Gold’s Gains 15% In Inauguration Years Since 1974
- Turkey, ‘Axis of Gold’ and the End of US Dollar Hegemony
- Gold Up 5.5% YTD – Hard Brexit Cometh and Weaker Dollar Under Trump
- Bitcoin and Gold – Outlook and Safe Haven?
- Physical Gold Will ‘Trump’ Paper Gold
- Gold Lower Before Trump Presidency – Strong Gains Akin To After Obama Inauguration
- Gold Rallies To $1,207 After Trump Press Conference Shambles
- Prince Owned Land and Gold Bars Worth $800,000
- Gold Price In GBP Up 4% On Brexit and UK Risks
- 2016 Past is 2017 Prologue
- Gold Gains In All Currencies In 2016 – 9% In USD, 13% In EUR and Surges 31.5% In GBP
- Trump’s Twitter “140 Characters” To Push Gold To $1,600/oz in 2017?
- 2017 – The Year of Banana Skin

www.GoldCore.com

by GoldCore at January 23, 2017 01:07 PM

China Says It Is Ready To Assume "World Leadership", Slams Western Democracy As "Flawed"

Over the weekend China used the Trump inauguration to warn about the perils of democracy, touting the relative stability of the Communist system as President Xi Jinping heads toward a twice-a-decade reshuffle of senior leadership posts.

Without directly referencing the new president, China wrote that democracy has reached its limits, and deterioration is the inevitable future of capitalism, according to the People’s Daily, the flagship paper of China’s Communist Party. It devoted an entire page on Sunday to critiquing Western democracies, quoting former Chairman Mao Zedong’s 1949 poem asking people to "range far your eyes over long vistas" and saying the ultimate defeat of capitalism would enable Communism to emerge victorious.

"The emergence of capitalism’s social crisis is the most updated evidence to show the superiority of socialism and Marxism," said one of the People’s Daily articles.

"Western style democracy used to be a recognized power in history to drive social development. But now it has reached its limits," said another article on the same page. "Democracy is already kidnapped by the capitals and has become the weapon for capitalists to chase profits."

The Chinese comments came after Trump in his inauguration speech said his administration would focus on an “America first” approach to foreign policy, undermining hopes abroad that the new president would moderate his protectionist tone. His pledge to abandon a U.S.-led Pacific trade pact has enabled China to step in as the chief advocate of an alternative Asia-wide deal.

Sensing a global feeling of discontent, China was quick to appease the public and deflect US woes to the terminal decline of its democratic system. With ministries and senior officials stressing unity as a priority for China, smoothing the path for the party’s congress in the fourth quarter, state media were quick to highlight divisions within America shown by Trump’s elevation.

As Bloomberg observes, the unusual series of commentaries in the People’s Daily mirrors Soviet efforts to promote an alternative political and economic system during the Cold War. The rise of anti-establishment, protectionist politicians like Trump, amid populist winds on several continents, has sent political parties scurrying to shore up their support, helping China to portray itself as relatively steady.

Ironically, realizing a power vacuum is forming in global "governance", Xi has used recent speeches to international audiences to tout China’s economic and political values and has said that globalization, despite its flaws, should endure via the existing international system of finance and trade. That’s even as state media criticizes democracy and capitalism amid efforts to build support at home for the party. Translation: China remains largely an export-driven economy, and any threats to the global trade model could have dire consequences for social stability in China.

"China’s rising wealth has brought greater global presence, but that’s not enough," said Zhang Ming, a political science professor at Renmin University in Beijing. “The Communist leaders want that someday China will matter globally for the nature of its political system and create its own universal values.”

As a result, Trump’s policies will give China a chance to take a bigger global role, said Zhang. "China doesn’t have a better Communist system than it used to have, but the global economic and political turmoil has undermined public confidence in western democracy," he said.

Separately, in comments made by Zhang Jun, director general of the Chinese Foreign Ministry's international economics department during a briefing with foreign journalists to discuss President Xi Jinping's visit to Switzerland last week, he said that China does not want world leadership but could be forced to assume that role if others step back from that position. The senior Chinese diplomat's statement also followed Trump's pledge to put "America first" in his first speech.

Speaking days before Trump assumed the presidency, Xi also urged countries to resist isolationism, signaling Beijing's desire to play a bigger role on the global stage. Elaborating on that theme, Zhang said China had no intention of seeking global leadership.

"If anyone were to say China is playing a leadership role in the world I would say it's not China rushing to the front but rather the front runners have stepped back leaving the place to China," Zhang said.

"If China is required to play that leadership role then China will assume its responsibilities," he added.

 

"We still hope that the United States and other Western economies can continue to make an even bigger contribution to the world economic recovery. We've heard Trump announce that the United 

States will achieve four percent growth and we're very happy about that," he added.

Returning to Trump, Zhang said he thought Trump would not be able to achieve his economic growth goals if he was also fighting trade wars. "A trade war or an exchange rate war won't be advantageous to any country," Zhang added. But mostly China.

Separately, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Xi had sent a congratulatory message to Trump upon his assumption of office, but gave no other details.

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 01:01 PM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

Selling Your Business to a Competitor

When contemplating selling your business to a competitor, you should realize there are three different kinds of competitors: a direct competitor; an indirect competitor; and a near competitor.

The direct competitor is one with whom you compete head to head on product, service, and price.

The indirect competitor will compete with you on some products or services. You don’t often come across the indirect competitor competing with you on your full line of products and services.

The proximate competitor is one who could be a direct competitor but in a different territory and seldom would you run across one another in a competitive environment.

Competitors will buy a competing business for many reasons such as:

  1. To increase market share
  2. To gain access to more and/or better equipment
  3. For larger or more modern facilities
  4. To acquire better sources of supply
  5. Acquiring highly skilled and competent employees
  6. For a better return on investment (ROI)

Not all competitors are buyers. Many are simply looking for information. A competitor’s interest in a business may be a sophisticated method to acquire a competitor’s knowledge, thereby gaining a competitive advantage over the competitor who is thinking of selling his business.

It takes years of experience in the merger and acquisition field to negotiate with competitors and create a transaction that is fair and equitable to the seller.

If you are thinking of selling your business and are approached by a competitor claiming to be interested in buying your business, consider the following procedures:

  1. Say nothing until a comprehensive confidentiality agreement prepared by a competent intermediary or an experienced transaction lawyer, is executed by the inquirer containing noninterference provisions to protect your employees, customers, suppliers, and proprietary processes and procedures;
  2. Do not provide customer lists, employee names, supplier lists, or detailed financial information until a purchase agreement is in place, and you are comfortable that the buyer is sincere in completing the transaction. Then, and only then, do you allow the buyer to initiate the due diligence process, which then needs to be kept on a short leash and under firm control.
  3. Inquire as to why this competitor is interested in your business? What is their long-range business plan? How does your business fit into those plans? What about their management team? What financing do they have available? Will they provide you or your professional team an opportunity to confirm their financial capacity? Will they provide you with information about their business, including a tour?

Selling a business should be the highlight of your career and should be approached with the same diligence and care you would employ if you were looking to buy another business yourself. You need to have a strategic exit plan in place that is updated regularly. You should have a competent team of advisors in place that can provide you with legal, accounting, tax, negotiate, and valuation advice on demand. By taking the time in advance to have an up to date standby strategic exit plan in place, you will find there is less stress, less uncertainty, and less emotion to deal with. A properly planned exit strategy will result in the final transaction being the highlight of your entrepreneurial career.

The post Selling Your Business to a Competitor appeared first on Due.

by Will Lipovsky at January 23, 2017 01:00 PM

Oblivious Investor

Diversification Isn’t (Necessarily) Necessary for Fixed Income

A reader writes in, asking:

“What are your thoughts on bond diversification? Is it ok to just do something simple like a treasury bond ladder or is it necessary to diversify bonds like you do with stocks?”

No, I really don’t think that diversification is necessary for the bond portion of an investment portfolio.

Several years ago, prior to switching to a LifeStrategy fund, the bond portion of my portfolio included nothing but Treasury bonds (via a single bond fund). And that didn’t bother me at all.

The goal for the bond part of my portfolio was (and still is, for the most part) simply to act as something that is unlikely to go down (by much) during a stock market downturn. CDs or Treasury bonds (regardless of whether or not they’re held in a mutual fund, and provided they aren’t long-term bonds) achieve that goal very well without any need for additional fixed income holdings.

When Diversification *Is* Necessary for Fixed Income

Just to be clear on this point, when it comes to fixed-income investments other than FDIC-insured CDs and Treasury bonds, diversification is important. That is, if you’re putting a significant part of your portfolio into muni bonds, corporate bonds, or international bonds, yes, you definitely want to diversify those holdings.

Diversification Isn’t a Bad Idea

For many investors though, the goal of their bond holdings isn’t only to act as “something safe.” They also hope to achieve some degree of “free lunch” via diversification. The general thought process is that if something has a low enough correlation to the rest of your portfolio while providing an acceptable return, adding it to the portfolio can result in reduced risk without a correspondingly large reduction in return.

This is the argument, for instance, that Vanguard makes in favor of international bonds in their funds-of-funds.

That’s a thoroughly reasonable line of thinking. And if things go according to plan (i.e., correlations and returns behave the way you hope they will) it will improve your results.

However, it isn’t necessary. And it’s not entirely obvious that it’s a clear improvement over an all-CD or all-Treasuries fixed income portfolio, because:

  • CDs offer their own sort of free lunch sometimes, if you can find longer-term CDs (that have relatively high yields due to the long term) with low penalties for early redemption, and
  • Corporate bonds (i.e., the most likely candidate for adding to an otherwise-Treasury bond portfolio as a diversifier) often have higher correlation to stocks than Treasury bonds do, so it’s not a sure bet that they will have the desired result.

What is the Best Age to Claim Social Security?

Read the answers to this question and several other Social Security questions in my latest book:
Social Security Made Simple: Social Security Retirement Benefits and Related Planning Topics Explained in 100 Pages or Less

Disclaimer:Your subscription to this blog does not create a CPA-client or other professional services relationship between you and Mike Piper or between you and Simple Subjects, LLC. By subscribing, you explicitly agree not to hold Mike Piper or Simple Subjects, LLC liable in any way for damages arising from decisions you make based on the information available herein. Neither Mike Piper nor Simple Subjects, LLC makes any warranty as to the accuracy of any information contained in this communication. I am not a financial or investment advisor, and the information contained herein is for informational and entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. On financial matters for which assistance is needed, I strongly urge you to meet with a professional advisor who (unlike me) has a professional relationship with you and who (again, unlike me) knows the relevant details of your situation.

You may unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link at the bottom of this email (or by removing this RSS feed from your feed reader if you have subscribed via a feed reader).

by Mike at January 23, 2017 01:00 PM

Ramit-IWTYTBR

When to worry about a big purchase

Years ago, I heard an amazing concept called “The Kiss Test” from Eben Pagan.

The concept is for men who are interested in dating: “How do I know if I should kiss her?”

Most guys are looking for a secret trick — her eyes dilating, when she flips her hair, etc.

Eben’s point is: She already decided LONG AGO. It’s about your confidence, how you talk, your jokes, your clothes…everything.

Guys want to focus on the specific moment — the SYMPTOM.

But the real situation is about the CONTEXT — and the key decision was usually made long before the critical moment.

I think this is true of lots of things in life.

  • You worry about the math test…but the real work was done weeks ago, as you practiced with the homework week in and week out.
  • You’re worried about your new product launch, but the real work was done months ago when you did user research. (Click here if you’re interested in seeing how this applies to growing your business.)
  • You’re worried about your bratty 9-year-old son, but the real work was done at age 3 when you gave him anything he wanted — chicken nuggets, an iPad, chocolate — so he’d stop crying.

Hmmm….

I thought of this when a friend saw a new coat I bought — an expensive one — and asked, “Are you ever worried about how much it costs?”

No — hell no. I set my life up so I wouldn’t have to worry about micro-decisions like this. I don’t want to live a life where I’m walking around worried about random decisions like taking a taxi vs. the subway. That’s my ultimate hell. If I walk into someplace and worry about spending too much on a coat or a meal, I’ve taken a wrong turn long, long ago.

I also hate the concept of “worrying” about money. Why do we do this? Is worry really a productive emotion?

NO! So let’s stop worrying and instead change it. You can automate your money in a couple weeks. Do it and stop worrying for the rest of your life.


tweet

My dream is for you to never “worry” about micro-decisions ever again. Spend that valuable time on the things that matter — your work, your relationships, and your business.

When to worry about a big purchase is a post from: I Will Teach You To Be Rich.

by Ramit Sethi at January 23, 2017 01:00 PM

Brand New

Reviewed: New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners

Shake, Rattle and Roll

New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners

Established in 1904, the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) is the oldest symphony orchestra in London and has been the resident orchestra at the Barbican Centre in the City of London since it opened in 1982. The LSO is a self-governing collective, made up of nearly a hundred players, and performs over 120 concerts a year. For its 2017/18 season, which kicks off in September, the LSO will debut their new music director, Sir Simon Rattle, and to coincide with the announcement of the season's plans, the orchestra has introduced a new identity designed by London-based The Partners, who designed the LSO logo in 2004 (and which remains as is for this identity).

Following an extensive audit, The Partners developed an ambitious and progressive identity inspired by the LSO logo which uses the very same starting point that a concert performance would - the conductor. With Sir Simon Rattle at the very heart of the visual identity, The Partners created a visual language that both depicts the conductor's movements as he creates and shapes a musical performance, and reflects the emotional power of the performance itself through colour, texture and motion.

Using a motion capture suit and specially modified baton, the setup included twelve top-of-the-range Vicon Vantage cameras capturing movement at 120 frames per second, resulting in incredibly accurate data capture.

LSO identity explanation

New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners LSO conductor, Sir Simon Rattle, preparing for motion capture.

Projects that don't have a logo change have a little less chance to make it on Brand New because we all love logos so much so when it's only an identity change it has to be something pretty drastic, interesting, and/or a clear change in presentation. I don't know what the 2016/17 season materials looked like but I am pretty sure they did not look anything like you are about to see below nor that it employed motion capture. Sir Simon Rattle may be no Andy Serkis but he wields a mean baton that serves as the motion data captured by the University of Portsmouth and Vicon Motion Systems to hand off to Tobias Gremmler -- his Kung Fu Motion Visualization video is a must watch -- to translate into the basis of the identity.

The second stage of the process saw The Partners commissioning and working closely with digital artist Tobias Gremmler who transformed the motion data into a series of an animated films reflecting the emotional qualities of the music. Through Tobias' creative interpretation, the cacophony of the Orchestra at full force becomes an explosive maelstrom of wood, brass and strings. In quiet and smouldering moments, the LSO string section conjures towers of smoke, and the sweeping gestures of Rattle are rendered in wires reminiscent of the strings on the instruments themselves.

LSO identity explanation

New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners Translating the movements into four different styles.
From motion capture to animation. (Source: Creative Review)
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners The four different styles, stills.
The four different styles, in motion.

The four different styles in principle have no direct relation to symphonies or what we've come to expect of symphonies... they are almost as gratuitous as the late 1990s exploding polygon stuff that was all the rage except that, here, there is a music conductor literally behind it. So, while visually, it seems odd, there is a purpose and a very direct connection. Also, I would be lying if I didn't say that I saw the video and went "Whoah".

A typographic approach was developed, consisting of two techniques reflecting the movement of Sir Simon Rattle as he conducts: A fluid movement captures his grand and sweeping gestures; an angular movement captures his more intense and urgent gestures. This technique is applied sparingly to the headline font to express the movement and emotion of the music. Singular words are also split over multiple lines, to further add a sense of movement and rhythm.

LSO identity explanation

New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners Custom typography, curvy and pointy variations.

The custom typography is equally out there -- both as a custom type family for a symphony and as a custom type family, period -- with the motion of the baton slicing through the letterforms in a smooth, elegant way, almost like watching marbled paper get made.

New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners Print ads. (Source: Creative Review)
New Identity for London Symphony Orchestra by The Partners Posters.

As cool as the motion capture looks in animation it doesn't quite translate into convincing key images for the applications... They are more like one-off interpretations rather than long-term solutions. I do like the energy and explosiveness they convey, much like a symphony piece building to its climax. The custom font over the 3D graphics may be one cool thing too many put together and the overall vibe seems highly experimental which, even without being overly familiar with the LSO, doesn't strike me as being their main hook. There is also the assumption that the logo -- itself an interpretation of a conductor conducting -- can play along with this new identity but that's really not the case as the logo looks completely alien to the identity around it and vice versa. I want to like the resulting applications more than I actually do, simply because it's a complete detachment from the expectations of what a world-class symphony should look like but, in the end, I think that's just what this is, a forceful break from conventions too centered on technology and style. Still, I 100% support its daringness and commitment to do something different and perhaps others in the comments (or in the LSO's audience) will see it in a much more favorable (or at least less apprehensive) light.

Many thanks to our ADVx3 Partners

by Armin at January 23, 2017 12:57 PM

Schneier on Security

Obama's Legacy in Internet Security

NextGov has a nice article summarizing President Obama's accomplishments in Internet security: what he did, what he didn't do, and how it turned out.

by Bruce Schneier at January 23, 2017 12:55 PM

It's Nice That

New One in New York: Simón Sepúlveda's six month design diary

Noinylogo_

Simón Sepúlveda has had a diverse design career. Originally from Santiago de Chile, he has worked for a boutique design studio, completed a masters in territory and landscape design, and recently moved to New York to work at Sagmeister & Walsh. Now working on a freelance basis, Simón’s projects focus on creative industries “with a strong social and political opinion,” he explains.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at January 23, 2017 12:50 PM

Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: January 23

  • Dollar slips, shares wobbly as Trump reality sets in (Reuters)
  • Some Republicans Wary of Repealing ACA Without Replacement Plan (WSJ)
  • First days of Trump era signal America's deepening political divide (Reuters)
  • Donald Trump Embarks on His First Week With a Heavy Slate (WSJ)
  • Equatorial Guinea has applied to join OPEC: OPEC source (Reuters)
  • White House Backs ‘Alternative Facts’ (WSJ)
  • Samsung says batteries caused Note 7 fires, may delay new phone launch (Reuters)
  • Trump Makes Revised Trade Deals an Early Priority (WSJ)
  • When Their Shifts End, Uber Drivers Set Up Camp in Parking Lots Across the U.S. (BBG)
  • SEC probing Yahoo over previously disclosed cyber breach (Reuters)
  • New Delay for Japan’s First Jet Raises Concerns Over Sales (BBG)
  • Most German companies expect little to no impact from Brexit: poll (Reuters)
  • OPEC Shrugs Off Threat of U.S. Cutting Oil Imports (BBG)
  • Apple’s Legal Assault on Qualcomm Is Part of Phone Margin Grab (BBG)
  • Saudis Wrangle Over How to Have Fun (WSJ)
  • China Slams Western Democracy as Flawed (BBG)
  • Apollo’s New Guy Is a Legend in Banking But a Novice in Buyouts (BBG)
  • German police arrest man on suspicion of planning militant attack (Reuters)
  • Retail Malaise Puts Pressure on Chains to Shutter More Stores (BBG)
  • Fingerprint’s Former CEO and Board Member Taken Into Custody (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- President Trump starts his first week with a packed schedule - from pushing through his slate of cabinet nominees to a raft of executive orders and setting the direction on foreign trade. http://on.wsj.com/2kihKcr

- U.S. authorities are investigating whether Yahoo's two massive data breaches should have been reported sooner to investors. http://on.wsj.com/2kivCU5

- Counter-intelligence agents have investigated communications that President Trump's national security adviser Michael Flynn had with Russian officials. http://on.wsj.com/2kirkMx

- The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russian officials said they were making good progress on their pledges to cut back crude-oil production and raise global prices. http://on.wsj.com/2kitjAk

- United Continental Holdings Inc. had a computer issue on Sunday evening that caused it to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to put into effect a "ground stop" for its arriving and departing flights. http://on.wsj.com/2kimzCK

- A re-trial is slated to begin on Monday in a financial-fraud case brought against the firm Dewey & LeBoeuf's former executives, more than a year after an earlier attempt to place criminal blame on the one-time leaders ended in a mistrial. http://on.wsj.com/2kiuJe8

- Venezuela president Nicolas Maduro on Sunday named a long-time ruling Socialist Party lawmaker as the new head of the central bank as the oil-rich nation tries to turn around a devastating economic crisis. http://on.wsj.com/2kivvrO

 

FT

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Monday will outline a new, interventionist approach to balancing the nation's heavily service-based economy for the post-Brexit era, seeking to reinvigorate industrial production and stimulate investment in technology and R&D.

Toshiba Corp is angling for UK government investment in a multibillion-pound British nuclear power project. The Japanese conglomerate faces pressure to keep the Cumbrian project afloat as struggles with mounting financial difficulties.

Saudi Basic Industries Corp says it has signed an agreement to acquire the 50 percent of its petrochemical venture with Shell Arabia, a unit of Royal Dutch Shell Plc, that it does not already own for $820 million.

 

NYT

- Samsung Electronics Co Ltd, the South Korean conglomerate, blamed battery manufacturing problems and design flaws for the embarrassing and costly failure of its Galaxy Note 7 smartphone. http://nyti.ms/2jHjIjG

- After President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal and replace the health law, about 27 percent of people under 65 are thought to have some sort of pre-existing condition that will most likely leave them without individual insurance if the law is repealed, according to a recent study. http://nyti.ms/2jHe5C0

- Jeh Johnson, who has stepped down as secretary of Homeland Security, is rejoining the New York law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he formerly worked. http://nyti.ms/2jH8trk

- Long Island Power Authority has reached an agreement with Deepwater Wind to drop a much larger farm - 15 turbines capable of running 50,000 average homes - into the ocean about 35 miles from Montauk. If approved by the utility board on Wednesday, the $1 billion installation could become the first of several in a 256-square-mile parcel, with room for as many as 200 turbines. http://nyti.ms/2jHaovX

- At least 14 activists and workers have been detained since labor unrest began last month in Bangladesh, source of much of the world's clothing. Protests over low wages had erupted at dozens of garment factories in Bangladesh, one of the top suppliers of clothing for global brands like H&M AB and Gap Inc. http://nyti.ms/2jHhkJN

- The news media world found itself in a state of shock on Sunday, a day after President Donald Trump declared himself in "a running war with the media" and the president's press secretary, Sean Spicer, used his first appearance on the White House podium to deliver a fiery jeremiad against the press. http://nyti.ms/2jHiogL

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Winning new automotive investment requires financial incentives from taxpayers, strong marketing by governments and enthusiastic local champions who can sell an automaker's head office on Canada as a good place to build vehicles, says a new study that examines why Toyota Motor Corp chose Canada for a new assembly plant. https://tgam.ca/2iUB13C

** Sentry Investments, one of Bay Street's best-known asset managers, replaced its chief executive officer, following an investigation into its mutual fund sales practices, the company has admitted. https://tgam.ca/2iUGs2c

** The acquisition of ITF Technologies of Montreal by Hong Kong-based O-Net Communications Ltd is the focus of a growing controversy after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's government reversed a Harper cabinet order that sought to unwind this foreign purchase. https://tgam.ca/2iUCdUA

** Sources familiar with the Trudeau government's plans say Canadian officials are worried that mass protests would disrupt President Trump's visit to Canada, and that view has been shared with his team. https://tgam.ca/2iUHMlU

** British Columbia Premier Christy Clark is being accused of trying to distract from concerns about the lack of political-fundraising limits in the province with her decision to forgo a party stipend and a commitment to enact real-time donation reporting through legislation. https://tgam.ca/2iUGIhX

NATIONAL POST

** Mogo Finance Technology Inc has taken a step into the world of mortgages, registering as a broker in three provinces and launching an online and mobile interface where users can compare rates, apply for a mortgage and track their payment progress. http://bit.ly/2iUE9wj

** The proposal to build a major transmission line that would be buried beneath the floor of Lake Erie in order to transmit electricity between Canada and the United States reached a major regulatory milestone Friday. http://bit.ly/2iUMmR8

 

Britain

The Times

Financiers are losing confidence in the economy and one of the country's most closely watched forecasting panels has predicted a three-year grind of slow growth. http://bit.ly/2jGpzFM

Schroder Investment Management's Andy Brough, One of the City's most influential fund managers, is trying to put Bovis Homes Group Plc in play after calling for Berkeley Group Holdings Plc to consider an all-paper merger with its troubled rival. http://bit.ly/2jGFFiR

The Guardian

Deloitte, the accountancy firm behind the leaked memo that claimed the government had no Brexit strategy, had been working in Whitehall helping to set up David Davis's Brexit department. http://bit.ly/2jGBRy6

British Prime Minister Theresa May is under pressure to come clean in the House of Commons about the failure of a Trident missile test after MPs accused her of covering up the truth before a crucial parliamentary vote on renewing the nuclear deterrent. http://bit.ly/2jGA23W

The Telegraph

Stamp duty is making UK's housing crisis worse by distorting the market and harming long-term development, Christian Ulbrich, global chief executive of Jones Lang LaSalle, has warned. http://bit.ly/2jQFuUt

One of the bidders for the Government-owned Green Investment Bank, Sustainable Development Capital, has backed fresh plans to float the lender rather than complete a controversial sale to the Australian investment bank Macquarie Group Ltd.

Sky News

Agent Provocateur Chief Executive Fabrizio Malverdi is in talks about his future with the lingerie retailer as it progresses an urgent plan to inject new funds into the struggling business. http://bit.ly/2jQzRG0

The Independent

The UK government has been accused of trying to bury a major report about the potential dangers of global warming to Britain - including the doubling of the deaths during heatwaves, a "significant risk" to supplies of food and the prospect of infrastructure damage from flooding. http://ind.pn/2jQCWpf

 

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 12:46 PM

The Django community aggregator

Boy Genius Report

Samsung’s making sure the Galaxy S8 and Galaxy Note 8 won’t explode

Galaxy S8 vs. Galaxy Note 8

Samsung on Monday announced the results of its Galaxy Note 7 investigation. The South Korean giant blamed the phone’s batteries, saying that two independent battery issues caused overheating and explosions before and after the first recall. The subliminal messages were pretty clear, though. Samsung did not take appropriate steps to ensure the batteries would not become a safety threat. The company acknowledged that it’s taking “responsibility for our failure to ultimately identify and verify the issues for battery design before launch of the Note 7.”

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Galaxy Note 7’s demise explained: Bad batteries and worse decisions
  2. The oldest TV technology is getting popular again with cordcutters
  3. AT&T is losing cellphone customers, fast

by Chris Smith at January 23, 2017 12:45 PM

Planet Python

Reuven Lerner: Data science + machine learning + Python course in Shanghai

Reuven teaching in ChinaData science is changing our lives in dramatic ways, and just about every company out there wants to take advantage of the insights that we can gain from analyzing our data — and then making predictions based on that analysis.

Python is a leading language (and some would say the leading language) for data scientists. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that in addition to teaching intro and advanced Python courses around the world, I’m increasingly also teaching courses in how to use Python for data science and machine learning.  (Within the next few weeks, I expect to release a free e-mail course on how to use Pandas, an amazing Python library for manipulating data.   I’ve already discussed it on my mailing list, with more discussion of the subject to come in the future.)

Next month (i.e., February 2017), I’ll be teaching a three-day course in the subject in Shanghai, China.  The course will be in English (since my Chinese is not nearly good enough for giving lectures at this point), and will involve a lot of hands-on exercises, as well as lecture and discussion.  And lots of bad jokes, of course.

Here’s the advertisement (in Chinese); if you’re interested in attending, contact me or the marketing folks at Trig, the company bringing me to China:

http://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/kNwRpwEdhwqjL22e4TdgLA

Can’t make it to Shanghai? That’s OK; maybe I can come to your city/country to teach!  Just contact me at reuven@lerner.co.il, and we can chat about it in greater depth.

The post Data science + machine learning + Python course in Shanghai appeared first on Lerner Consulting Blog.

January 23, 2017 12:33 PM

Zero Hedge

JPM: "It Remains A Mystery Why So Many Continue To Anticipate A Change In Trump's Behavior"

As traders sit at their desks on Monday, here are the key drivers of risk on what will be a relatively quiet Monday according to JPM's Adam Crisafulli:

Market update – it was a relatively slow weekend w/the exception of a slew of Trump-linked headlines. Cutting through all the Trump noise, the most incremental news concerned ObamaCare as an (albeit vague) Executive Order could allow for the attenuation of the ACA’s individual mandate. While the “tone” of media reports following the new White House’s first weekend weren’t great (the “alternative facts” comment was a popular point of focus), investors at this point should be inured to Trump and it remains a mystery why so many people continue to anticipate a change in behavior.

And a quick look at today's calendar:

Calendar for Mon Jan 23 – earnings are the only major events on Mon (HAL, MCD pre-open and ATI, SIMO, YHOO, and ZION after the close) although a few Washington catalysts will be in focus including Trump’s meetings w/Congressional leaders (there will likely be a slew of headlines coming out of this gathering w/regards to the Congressional agenda over the coming weeks and months) and Tillerson’s vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (Rubio’s vote is being watched closely although he will likely vote in favor).

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 12:33 PM

Smashing Magazine Feed

A Case Study: Is App Indexing For Google Worth The Effort?


   

Will the resources spent implementing app indexing for Google search be a boon or a bust for your app’s traffic? In this article, I’ll take you through a case study for app indexing at our company, the results of which may surprise you.

A Case Study: Is App Indexing For Google Worth The Effort?

App indexing is one of the hottest topics in SEO right now, and in some sense for good reason. Google has only been indexing apps for everyone for a little more than two years, and with only 30% of apps being indexed there is huge potential for websites to draw additional search traffic to their apps.

The post A Case Study: Is App Indexing For Google Worth The Effort? appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

by Bryson Meunier at January 23, 2017 12:31 PM

The Big Picture

10 Monday AM Reads

Ready for the next 4 years? If not, try get up to speed with our morning train reads: • Sixty-Seven Numbers That Define the Obama Era (Pacific Standard) see also Day One for Donald Trump’s Economy, in Charts (Real Time Economics) • How Hedge Funds Get Rich (Hint: It’s Not Their Returns) (Of Dollars and Data) • Inside Pandora’s…

Read More

The post 10 Monday AM Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at January 23, 2017 12:30 PM

A Fresh Cup

Double Shot #1795

by Mike Gunderloy at January 23, 2017 12:28 PM

Zero Hedge

Germany's Anti-Establishment AfD To Discipline Leader For Controversial Holocaust Memorial Speech

Germany's anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party announced it would discipline one of its state leaders for remarks he made criticizing Berlin's Holocaust Memorial, the party's co-leader said on Monday.

According to Reuters, Bjoern Hoecke, AfD head in eastern Thuringia state, triggered anger across Germany with a comment about the memorial when he told party members in a speech in Dresden last week that "Germans are the only people in the world who plant a monument of shame in the heart of the capital."

As a result, AfD co-leader Frauke Petry told German broadcaster MDR on Monday that its executive committee had concluded Hoecke's statements harmed the reputation of the party. She added that the party considered it necessary to take disciplinary action, without giving further details.

The AfD's anti-immigrant rhetoric has won support among Germans worried about the influx of more than a million migrants in the last two years. With polls putting it on 12-15 percent, the AfD is tipped to win seats in the federal parliament for the first time in September's national election.

Hoecke said his remarks were misrepresented by the media and his speech was intended to reflect on how Germans looked at their history.

The Holocaust Memorial, located near the Brandenburg Gate in the heart of Berlin, comprises a large number of grey granite slabs of varying heights, arranged in a grid pattern.

Today's move may be an indication the AfD is seeking to take on a more centrist position, in hopes of gaining further support as Merkel's own support in the polls has declined in recent months following a series of deadly terrorist attacks on German soil. 

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 12:22 PM

FlowingData

Counting large crowds

So the inauguration was on Friday, and there’s been some disagreement about how many people showed up to the event. It turns out, as one might expect, counting thousands of people moving in and out of a space without some kind of counting mechanism like turnstiles is tricky. The New York Times provides a bit of background.

Tags: ,

by Nathan Yau at January 23, 2017 12:13 PM

It's Nice That

Photographer Joshua Gordon's “loose diary” of work (NSFW)

List

“I suppose I don’t really focus on one subject or story, I’d rather just shoot as much different, varied stuff as possible and then arrange it to create my own narrative” London-based Irish photographer Joshua Gordon tells us. “It’s a combination of personal projects and character studies enchained to create a story, one that’s ever changing and developing as the project continues. I’ll stop shooting and release them in a publication this year. I suppose it’s a loose diary of sorts.”

Read more

by Bryony Stone at January 23, 2017 12:12 PM

RubyFlow

Elixir for Rubyists

On the surface, Elixir and Ruby share a similar syntax. This familiarity may at first hide the striking differences between the two languages. Read my gentle introduction for Ruby developers intrigued to learn more about Elixir. Discover the language, created by José Valim, that took the Erlang virtual machine (BEAM) and put a sensible face on it.

January 23, 2017 12:10 PM

Wired Top Stories

The Military May Soon Buy the Same Drones You Do

The Military May Soon Buy the Same Drones You Do
The Pentagon may find a glimpse of future scout drones in commercial off-the-shelf technologies. The post The Military May Soon Buy the Same Drones You Do appeared first on WIRED.

by Jeremy Hsu at January 23, 2017 12:07 PM

O'Reilly Radar

Wired Top Stories

Become Your Very Own Coach With These 5 Athletic Gadgets

Become Your Very Own Coach With These 5 Athletic Gadgets
Athletes can employ a variety of wearable body sensors to get useful coaching advice. The post Become Your Very Own Coach With These 5 Athletic Gadgets appeared first on WIRED.

by Bob Parks at January 23, 2017 12:00 PM

So, What the Hell Was That Twist at the End of Split?

So, What the Hell Was That Twist at the End of Split?
Look, we've come to expect twists from M. Night Shyamalan, but that was nuts. The post So, What the Hell Was That Twist at the End of Split? appeared first on WIRED.

by Wired Staff at January 23, 2017 12:00 PM

Asteroid Mining Sounds Hard, Right? You Don’t Know the Half of It

Asteroid Mining Sounds Hard, Right? You Don’t Know the Half of It
Until asteroid mining companies can actually mine asteroids, they're staying solvent by playing in Earth's orbit. The post Asteroid Mining Sounds Hard, Right? You Don’t Know the Half of It appeared first on WIRED.

by Sarah Scoles at January 23, 2017 12:00 PM

naked capitalism

RubyFlow

Small steps to DRYer RSpec

The blog post shows several tricks/code snippets for making your specs more DRY (and preferrably one-line). It mostly takes approaches of rspec/its gem a bit further.

January 23, 2017 11:55 AM

Ajay Shah's blog

TRAI's consultation towards a net neutrality framework in India

by Amba Kak, Mayank Mishra and Smriti Parsheera.

The context

The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has issued a Consultation Paper (CP) on Net Neutrality seeking inputs for the formulation of final views on the subject. This comes almost a year after TRAI's regulation prohibiting discriminatory tariffs for data services based on content, framed using its power to determine the rates at which telecommunication services are to be provided. The present exercise covers a broader canvas of trying to identify the acceptable limits of interference in the provision of Internet access services. This includes practices like blocking, degradation or prioritisation of specific traffic, which often form the focus of the net neutrality debate. In TRAI's words, it is an attempt to "rethink the first principles of traffic management by telecom service providers (TSPs)".

While issuing the discriminatory tariff regulation, TRAI had highlighted the importance of "keeping the Internet open and non-discriminatory". This idea also flows through the CP and the pre-consultation paper that preceded it in May, 2016. In fact, TRAI acknowledges in the CP that the term "net neutrality" is being used in its commonly understood sense of equal or nondiscriminatory treatment of content while providing access to the Internet. The word "equal", however, does not appear in the ultimate question posed by TRAI on what should be the "principles for ensuring nondiscriminatory access to content". The CP does not clearly spell out the reason for this. It could be due to the difficulties of monitoring equality in a best efforts delivery system; or perhaps because the term non-discriminatory already captures the concept of equality.

Key issues raised by TRAI

The CP is reasonably comprehensive in its coverage of all major aspects that countries have considered while formulating their positions on net neutrality. Several of these, like reasonable traffic management, scope of prohibited activities and need for transparency were also discussed by TRAI at the pre-consultation stage. The difference, however, is that this CP takes a deeper dive into those issues, identifying the different approaches that could be considered and, in some cases, also weighing their pros and cons. On some issues, TRAI explores new areas, not covered in its earlier papers on the subject. The following are some key points discussed in the CP.

  • First, TRAI notes that each country's approach on net neutrality is defined by its local context. Accordingly, it refers to some India-specific factors that may influence its approach. These include, the predominantly wireless character of access services -- 97 percent of Internet subscribers are on wireless networks. The CP later explains that traffic management on wireless networks may pose certain unique challenges due to spectrum constraints and variable usage patterns. It also refers to India's circle-wise licensing regime which often results in the usage of third party networks outside one's home service area. TRAI queries, who will be responsible for any neutrality violations in such situations?
  • Second, the CP raises pertinent questions about the appropriate footprint of regulation, in terms of the services that are covered and the persons rendering them. In particular, it refers to the potential exclusion of "specialised services", which could be defined in several different ways. The manner in which India eventually chooses to answer this question will have far reaching effects on the adoption of future technologies in the country, particularly in the context of the Internet of Things revolution.
  • Third, beyond trying to identify the reasonable limits of traffic management, this CP gets into more practical aspects of detection and monitoring of violations. It also suggests a collaborative approach for implementing the operational aspects of net neutrality, which, if adopted, would be a novel approach for the Indian telecom sector.
  • Fourth, TRAI discusses the role of disclosures and transparency in guarding against discriminatory traffic management practices, an issue that was also raised in earlier consultation papers. However, in this case, it goes on to suggest two approaches on how this can be achieved -- a "direct approach" that would require a TSP to make specific disclosures only its own users; and an "indirect" one would also involve transparency towards third parties like content providers, consumers groups, research organisations and users of other TSPs.

Scope of acceptable traffic management

The chapter on "Traffic Management" in the CP sets out the crux of the net neutrality policy debate. First, it explains why traffic management is an integral function of access providers -- to address congestion, security and the integrity of the network. Next, it notes that while such motivations for traffic management practices (TMPs) could be considered "reasonable", others might be "non-reasonable" due to their potentially discriminatory and anti-competitive effects. As such, it explains why regulating traffic management is being considered as a policy option and then mulls over the varied regulatory approaches that could be adopted.

Congestion management, which is explained in terms of the variability of demand or "peak-load", particularly on wireless networks, is explained to be one of the reasons for which access providers might legitimately engage in TMPs. TRAI recognises that the real solution to such issues lies in enhancing the overall network capacity but goes on to note that "even in a situation of enhanced capacity, some degree of scarcity might persist", hence creating a role for traffic management. The key takeaway from this discussion is that "differences in network architecture and technology" will play a role in assessing the reasonableness of any TMPs.

Next, the CP highlights that the same commercial considerations that prompt the use of traffic management tools to improve network performance could also become the cause of exclusionary or discriminatory practices. It notes that there have been global examples of TSP interference in networks for patently anti-competitive purposes, namely "service blocking, prioritising affiliated content provider services or throttling competing ones". While this explains the calls for regulation, traffic interference driven by commercial arrangements is not the whole scope of TRAI's enquiry. Instead, the CP provides two conceptual frames that might be used for such regulation -- the "broad approach" and the "narrow approach".

The "broad approach" appears to be a principles-based approach to identifying which practices would be considered reasonable. Drawing from the European Union's regulations, it refers to guiding principles like proportionality, non-discrimination, transparency and absence of commercial considerations that can be used to define the bounds of reasonableness. Practices like application-specific discrimination, throttling encrypted content, deep packet inspections, etc. can then be tested against these standards.

In contrast, the "narrow approach" will confine itself to formulating a "negative list" of practices that will not be permitted, without going into the contours of reasonableness. TRAI leaves the content of the negative list open for discussion, but gives the specific example of practices motivated by commercial/strategic partnerships with content companies as a potentially proscribed activity.

The distinction between the two approaches does not appear to be one of mere semantics. The paper acknowledges that a negative list is, by nature, likely to be restricted to situations that we are aware of today -- "This may motivate providers to develop other types of business practices that are not explicitly covered in the narrow restrictions although they may have similar harmful effects". It also notes that there could be difficulties in establishing a commercial motive. One way to address this could be to treat the lack of any objective/ technical reasoning for a traffic shaping practice as being indicative of "commercial motive", even where this may not be explicit.

By weighing these different approaches, TRAI seems to acknowledge that regulating TMPs is a tricky exercise, with high likelihood of false positives and negatives. Narrowly defined ex-ante rules may therefore be an uneasy fit with the complex and technical nature of traffic management. The controversy over AT&T restricting Apple's FaceTime application, its high-quality video-calling service, on its cellular network, presents an interesting example. In 2012, when Apple first launched FaceTime for use on mobile networks, AT&T declared that the service would be available only on select pricing plans. On the face of it, this constitutes an application-specific discrimination that violates net neutrality principles, as pointed out by many neutrality advocates. The case, however, also throws up several complex issues, which were discussed in the case study prepared by a Working Group of FCC's Open Internet Advisory Committee.

First, pre-loaded applications, like Facetime, are likely to enjoy more large-scale adoption, thus more likelihood of creating pressure on the network -- only about 10 percent iPhone users voluntarily downloaded Skype, while all had Facetime preloaded on their phones. Second, high-bandwidth video calling applications put a particular strain on mobile data networks, in both the upstream and downstream direction. FaceTime, in particular, was found to consume "on average 2-4 times more bandwidth than a similar Skype video call" at that point of time. Third, limited trial deployment of a new application, for instance, by limiting it to particular pricing plans, could be useful for gathering measurement data to assist in developing better TMPs. Fourth, application management can take place on the device, as was happening in this case, or on the network -- "whether it matters where an application-management decision is enforced, and which organization decides on it". TRAI has also touched upon some of these aspects in the CP by raising questions on "application-specific discrimination", "duty-bearers" in a net neutrality regime and impact of traffic management at the level of the device or operating system being used by a person.

Conclusion

The public discourse that preceded the discriminatory tariff regulation took place in the shadow of Facebook's Free Basics offering. It led to heated debates and sharply polarised views, many of which were focused on the specifics of Free Basics. In contrast, this current consultation is taking place in a relatively less charged environment, with no poster child violation. This presents an opportunity for the regulator and stakeholders to proactively engage with one another for developing a suitable framework for India that can be tested against a range of potential practices. The real test will be to ensure that whatever principles India chooses to adopt at this stage convey a strong regulatory message on non-discrimination, but also have the flexibility to adapt to the dynamic environment of this industry.

The authors are researchers at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy.

by Anurodh (noreply@blogger.com) at January 23, 2017 11:54 AM

Zero Hedge

"China's Carl Icahn" Hedge Fund Billionaire Sentenced To Five And A Half Years In Prison

Back in late 2015, when the Chinese stock bubble had violently burst and was suffering daily moves of 10% in either direction as retail traders scrambled to get out of what until recently was a "sure thing", Beijing did what it does best, and found a convenient scapegoat on which to blame the market crash - which was function of the country's relentless debt bubble and lack of trading regulations - in late 2015 it arrested one of the most prominent hedge fund traders, Xu Xiang, also known as “hedge fund brother No. 1” and "China's Carl Icahn" for his phenomenal, and rigged, winning record in the stock market, who ran the Shanghai-based Zexi Investment.

Which is not to say that Xu wasn't engaged in shady activites: while the country’s stock prices plummeted in 2015, Zexi’s investments earned an average 218%, far more than the second-most profitable player, Shen Zhou Mu Fund, which reported a 94% yield, according to market analysis website Licai.com.

Xu was detained by police in November 2015 on the highway between Shanghai and Ningbo, in an arrest that was captured in photographs and widely circulated on social media. Police later froze over $1 billion of shares in listed companies with connections to Xu’s investments, according to exchange filings by those firms. Xu, born in 1976, started investing at high school in the eastern city of Ningbo, according to the official People’s Daily. Skipping university, he instead became a professional investor, accumulating over 4 billion yuan in personal wealth and managing tens of billions of yuan, the People’s Daily reported in 2015.

Fast forward to today, when China sentenced the former billionaire hedge fund manager to five and a half years in prison for stock-price manipulation, in one of the country’s most high-profile cases following the 2015 market rout. Xu Xiang, founder of Shanghai-based asset management firm Zexi Investment, and two associates were convicted of driving up share prices, the Qingdao Intermediate People's Court in Shandong province said on Monday. Xu was also fined 11 billion yuan ($1.6 billion), sources who attended the court hearing said. It is the highest-ever fine for an individual committing a financial crime in China.

Wang Wei, owner of three asset-management companies, received a three-year prison term and was slapped with a 1 billion yuan fine. And Zhu Yong, the third defendant, was sentenced to two years behind bars with a three-year reprieve. He was told to pay 50 million yuan in penalties. The three men shared insider tips and connections to high-ranking executives, people with knowledge of the matter told Caixin.

Demonstrating he has learned from the most successful US hedge funds, Xu and the two investment firm managers were accused of colluding with senior executives of 13 listed companies from 2010 to 2015 to issue positive news about companies and even purchasing stocks in large quantities — all in a bid to boost prices and lure retail investors. The fund managers and executives then dumped their stock at the higher prices.

Between 2010 and 2015, Xu - either alone or with Wang and Zhu - colluded with the chairmen or the “actual controlling shareholders” of 13 listed companies to trade on insider information on topics such as dividends, according to the statement seen by Bloomberg. Xu controlled almost 100 trading accounts opened by his relatives, employees and employees’ relatives, the court said last year. The executives and owners have been charged separately.

The money involved and illicit gains from their manipulation was “especially huge, and the circumstances specially serious,” the court said without disclosing the amounts. They won’t appeal their sentences, according to the court.

The Chinese government has stepped up its crackdown on market irregularities after the stock market meltdown in the summer of 2015, in which the Shanghai index plunged more than 40% from mid-June to September. The sentence may have been prompted by China's desire to refocus the local population's attention on stock investing yet again, now that China's housing bubble has burst again.

Sources told Caixin that the three defendants poured 40 billion yuan raised through their wealth management operations to prop up stock prices. Considering the huge amount of money involved in the illicit trading, the sentence was lenient, said a criminal defense lawyer who spoke on the condition of anonymity. According to the country’s Criminal Law, a conviction for stock manipulation could result in a prison term of up to 10 years and a fine up to five times as much as the illegal proceeds.

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 11:53 AM

Boy Genius Report

Galaxy Note 7’s demise explained: Bad batteries and worse decisions

Galaxy Note 7 Battery Investigation

Samsung on Monday finally explained what went wrong with the batteries that went inside the Galaxy Note 7, turning the hugely popular phone into a fire hazard that had to be pulled merely two months after it was unveiled. A report last week said Samsung would blame the two distinct batteries it used in the phone, and that’s what the company did. As strange as it may sound, two independent major battery issues were discovered with two distinct suppliers.

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Trending right now:

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by BGR Store at January 23, 2017 11:41 AM

Advaita Vision

Tattvabodha – Part 23

Part 23 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

The commentary is based upon those by several other authors, together with the audio lectures of Swami Paramarthananda. It includes word-by-word breakdown of the Sanskrit shloka-s so should be of interest to everyone, from complete beginners to advanced students.

Part 23 continues the enquiry into the statement ‘you are That’ (tat tvam asi) and looks at the meaning of ‘you’ and ‘That’.

There is a hyperlinked Contents List, which is updated as each new part is published.

by Dennis at January 23, 2017 11:40 AM

Zero Hedge

Futures, Dollar Slide; European Stocks At 3-Week Lows As "Trump Reality Sets In"

While US stocks closed near session, and all time highs on Friday, the first green close on inauguration day in over 50 years, Monday has seen a modest case of buyer's remorse, with European stocks sliding, Asian shares mixed and U.S. futures lower as the dollar weakened for the 3rd consecutive day to a six-week low, dropping as much as 1% against the Yen, as anxious investors awaited more details of Donald Trump’s policies, or - as Reuters put it - the "Trump reality set in." While European shares and US equity futures sold off in early trading, tracking the USDJPY, the now traditional buying levitation wave has emerged, pushing US futures close to unchanged on the session.

The modest risk off session,  which comes after world stocks hit multi-year highs earlier this month on expectations Trump would boost growth and inflation with extraordinary fiscal spending measures, has seen shares in developed markets fall with the dollar, while lifting metals and Treasuries after Donald Trump offered little more on plans to boost growth while stirring concerns over protectionism in his first days in office. Europe's Stoxx 600 Index dropped to its lowest level this year, while U.S. futures slid and the dollar fell against all major peers. The weaker currency pushed aluminum to the highest in more than a year, while ten-year Treasury yields fell a second day.

"The focus this morning is on the protectionist rhetoric and the lack of detail on economic stimulus, so it's a nervous start (to the presidency)," said Investec economist Victoria Clarke. "The other concern is how the Fed interprets Trump's stance, the worry being the less he does on fiscal stimulus the more nervous they may get on pushing the rate hikes through."

While the U.S. President’s campaign-trail promises to boost growth and spending helped drive a post-election rally in equities and the dollar, by Monday, investors were calling into question how words would be translated into actions. So far, Trump has focused on a feud with the press over attendance at his inauguration rather than offer concrete plans, leaving investors in limbo. As the chart below shows, while stock dispersion may have risen in recent weeks, cross-asset correlation remains as high as ever, with most asset classes trading largely as a continuation of the Trump trade.

"The markets and a lot of international investors, whilst they’re nervous about Trump’s geopolitical and trade aspirations, have wanted to believe the reflation trade,” Neil Dwane, a chief investment officer at Allianz Global Investors Capital LLC told Bloomberg Television. “We’re seeing now is that it is going to be hard. The optimism was always way ahead of what Trump would be able to deliver and now you’re seeing some profit-taking."

Rabobank analyst Michael Avery said a more protectionist United States could lead to a U.S. dollar liquidity squeeze, with Mexico and Asia likely the most badly hit. "We would see outright confusion over what currency to invoice, trade, and borrow in: a 19th century world of competing reserve currencies in different geographic zones, but without the underpinning of gold," Avery said in a note. The problem would be exacerbated if China tightens capital controls further, he said.

Across global equities, the Stoxx 600 benchmark index fell to its lowest level since December. Generali jumped as much as 7.1 percent on speculation of a takeover bid for the Italian insurer. Spanish lender Banco de Sabadell dropped after disclosing that the maximum amount it might have to repay to clients in the mortgage-floors ruling exceeds the last two quarters of profit. Other Spanish banks also dropped as clients prepare to claim back interest payments. European stocks fell 0.7 percent and the broader Euro STOXX 600 fell 0.6 percent in early trades on Monday, both hitting their lowest level this year so far.

Japan's Nikkei dropped 1.1% while shares in Australia dropped 0.8 percent after Trump's administration also declared its intention to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a 12-nation trade pact that Japan and Australia have both signed. Other Asian shares were more resilient, however, in part due to the dollar's weakness, and MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.3 percent.

The U.S. Federal Reserve, which has indicated that it expects to raise its benchmark interest rate three times this year, is due to hold its next meeting on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.

S&P 500 futures dropped 0.2 percent, while the main gauge closed 0.3 percent higher Friday.

The nervous start on Monday saw safe haven assets in demand. The yield on Germany's 10-year government bond, the benchmark for the region, led most euro zone bonds lower, dropping 4 basis points to 0.32 percent in early trade. This followed 10-year U.S. Treasuries yields, which fell to 2.43 percent, after having risen briefly on Friday to 2.513 percent, its highest since Jan. 3. Spot gold prices, meanwhile, rose on Monday to their highest in two months.

Money managers will be dissecting earnings from some of the world’s largest companies this week with Alphabet Inc., Samsung Electronics Co. and Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. all reporting results.

* * *

Bulletin Headline Summary From RanSquawk

  • European equities have kicked the week off on the backfoot with underperformance in financials and macro newsflow relatively light
  • FX markets have seen cautious trade in the lead USD pairings, led by the USD/JPY pullback below 114.00
  • Looking ahead, highlights include potential comments from ECB's Draghi and Praet

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 2262
  • Stoxx 600 down 0.3% to 362
  • FTSE 100 down 0.6% to 7152
  • DAX down 0.4% to 11581
  • German 10Yr yield down 2bps to 0.4%
  • Italian 10Yr yield up less than 1bp to 2.03%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield down less than 1bp to 1.5%
  • S&P GSCI Index down 0.2% to 398.8
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.2% to 140
  • U.S. 10-yr yield down less than 1bp to 2.46%
  • Dollar Index down 0.35% to 100.39
  • WTI Crude futures down 0.8% to $52.81
  • Brent Futures down 0.5% to $55.24
  • Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,213
  • Silver spot up 0.2% to $17.13

Top News

  • Dollar Drops as Trump’s ‘America First’ Speech Unnerves Traders
  • Trump’s Vow to Break From OPEC Oil Imports Echoes Old Refrain
  • OPEC and Friends Agree on Way to Monitor Oil Cut to End Glut
  • United Air Lifts Halt After Computer Failure Grounded Flights
  • List of U.S.-China Tension Losers May Include Nike to Lenovo
  • Apple-Supplier Foxconn Weighs $7 Billion U.S. Display Plant
  • Yahoo Faces SEC Probe Over Multiple Data Breaches, Journal Says
  • Canada Signals Possible U.S. Trade Deal That Excludes Mexico
  • Beware the Hedge-Fund Wipeout in Treasuries as Bearish Bets Soar
  • Amazon Said to Sign Contracts With Auto Parts Makers: NYP
  • GM, Mastercard Want Your Car to Pick Up the Tab for That Latte

Asia equity markets traded mixed despite last Friday's positive US close where stocks gained during Inauguration Day for the first time in over 50 years. 5 out of 11 sectors gain in the MSCI Asia Pacific Index with infotech and health care, consumer discretionary underperforming. Nikkei 225 (-1.3%) underperformed as exporter names suffered from a firmer JPY, although Toshiba shares outperformed and rose over 9% after reports Japan's largest banks could invest in a possible spinoff of the Co.'s chip business. ASX 200 (-0.8%) was also lower with weakness in industrials after Brambles (-15.6%) decreased its profit forecast. Conversely, Hang Seng (+0.1%) was flat while Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) traded positive as strength in the services sector kept sentiment upbeat after the NBS stated that the services industry grew 7.8% in 2016 and accounted for 51.6% of GDP. 10yr JGBs were higher amid the risk averse tone in Japan and with the BoJ also in the market under its bond-buying programme for JPY 420b1n in 5-10yr bonds, while the curve flattened amid outperformance in the long end.

Top Asian News

  • Yuan Trades Near Two-Month High on Stronger Fixing, Dollar Drop
  • Asia Currency Strength to Fade as Focus Returns to U.S. Stimulus
  • China Slams Western Democracy as Xi Seeks to Build Party Support
  • Hedge Fund Renaissance Picks Winner in Hot Japan Tech Stock
  • Modi Budget May Put Consumers Before Taxes to Spur India Demand
  • Samsung Probe Shows Battery Design, Assembly Behind Note 7 Fires
  • LG Display Said to Reach LCD Panel Supply Pact With Samsung

European bourses sold off this morning after markets had the weekend to digest Trump's inauguration speech. 10 out of 19 Stoxx 600 sectors decline with banks and telcosunderperforming and basic materials, construction outperforming. 72% of Stoxx 600 members decline, 26% gain. With all the major indices down around 0.4%, the financial sector has been hit the hardest after Credit Agricole booked EUR 491 min writedown on their French retail unit and SocGen admitted they were at fault regarding fraudulently concealing the quality of residential mortgage backed securities. Fixed income markets have benefitted from the risk off sentiment observed in markets with morning with Bund prices gapping higher at the open. European fixed income markets picked up as a whole in the aftermath of Trump taking office, 10 YR BTP yield's eye a sustained break below the 2% level with technical support at 1.95% lower down, this came after comments this weekend from the Italian PM who stated the government's relationship with the EU is starting to improve.

Top European News

  • Theresa May Gets Another Brexit Headache Amid Brussels Upheaval
  • Brexit Good for Terra Firma, Bad for Most People, Guy Hands Says
  • Trump Era May Force Europe Into Deciding What Role It Wants
  • Supreme Court Brexit Ruling Unlikely to End May’s Legal Battles
  • May Industrial Strategy Seeks to Pick Winning Areas for U.K.
  • UBS Wealth Sees Too Much Political Risk Baked Into Europe Stocks
  • JPMorgan May Move 2,500 Jobs to Central Europe on Brexit: Puls
  • Starwood Said Planning Sale of London Tower Project on Brexit
  • Generali Climbs Amid Reports of Interest by Intesa, Allianz
  • Euro-Area Debt Falls to Lowest Since 2012 as Prospects Brighten

In commodities, aluminum for delivery in three months increased 0.9 percent on the London Metal Exchange to the highest since May 2015. Copper, lead, nickel and zinc all rose more than 1 percent. Gold rose 0.2 percent to $1,212.28 an ounce. The metal has increased in 10 of the past 11 sessions. West-Texas Intermediate crude oil was down 1.4 percent at $52.50 a barrel after the amount of drilling rigs in the U.S. increased. The key drivers in the commodity markets at the moment are China's economic prospects as much as anything else, giving base metals the support we are seeing at present. We have had the added boost of infra structure spending plans in the US but this has somewhat waned in recent weeks, leading to the largely sideways price action seen outside of the specific drivers. Copper saw a brief dip under USD2.60 last week, with Oil prices also falling, though there was little correlation to highlight here, with WTI and Brent seeing some erratic trade over the past week, but the former looking comfortable on a USD50.00 handle for now. Gold has recovered some ground over the weekend over USD softening, but we may see some added support coming in from a risk perspective with equities looking a little vulnerable this morning.

In currencies, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slid 0.6 percent as of 10:51 a.m. in London. It has fallen for four straight weeks, its longest retreat since February. The dollar lost 0.7 percent against the South African rand and 1 percent versus the Mexican peso.  The euro climbed 0.4 percent to $1.0740. The yen rose 1 percent to 113.47 per dollar. Cautious trade in the lead USD pairings, led by the USD/JPY pullback below 114.00. USD longs have favoured this pair specifically as the 'path of least resistance' and hence remains ever vulnerable to position trimming/profit taking if Trump rhetoric transfers into fresh nervousness in the market. Notable has been the lack of volatility in the USD/CHF rate which is now below parity, but last week we saw 1.0100 reclaimed by with very little conviction. GBP looks to have weathered an uncomfortable period, heightened by the expectations of PM May's speech last week, but with the market left in no doubt that the UK will leave the EU in in entirety, we now have a clear view on an albeit rocky road ahead, but with the backdrop of parliamentary vote on the final Brexit deal (when) reached. EUR/GBP is now pressing the recent lows ahead of .8600, but given president Trump's early request to see PM May, the strong US-UK alliance looks to be assisting some of the gains seen in Cable, though pre 1.2500 will draw in fresh offers.

On today's calendar, it’s a pretty quiet start to the week for data today with the only releases of note being the Euro area consumer confidence reading this afternoon and China’s leading economic index.

US Event Calendar

  • No major economic reports expected

Government

  • 1:30pm: White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer holds daily briefing with reporters
  • 3:30pm: Illinois Republican Rep. Peter Roskam, chairman of House Ways and Means Tax Policy subcmte, to give speech on tax system overhaul
  • 4:30pm: Senate Foreign Relations Cmte scheduled to vote on Rex Tillerson’s nomination for secretary of State
  • 5pm: House Rules Cmte to discuss rules guiding votes tied to H.R. 7, legislation that would amend Affordable Care Act to ban using certain tax credits for insurance plans that cover abortion

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

The photo leading the way in the weekend press was that of new US President Donald Trump. As we start the first business day of his new administration I must admit to having high uncertainty about the year ahead. The range of outcomes seem very wide to me which, for someone that’s supposed to be followed for having strong views, leaves me feeling pretty uncomfortable. Of course I do have a central view which can be broadly summed up by better growth than I thought back in October but higher yields, higher volatility and mildly wider credit spreads over the course of 2017 as the technicals of low yields and  extreme QE wear off. One of the reasons I think vol will be high is that Trump's victory is a break from the old more predictable policy of the establishment. How big a break and whether it works or not we won't know for sometime and the market will have plenty of opportunity to second guess the outcomes from both sides of the ledger.

I really have no idea what Donald Trump's administration is going to want to 'actually' do in economic policy terms or be able to do. I think fiscal stimulus is going to be relatively large but I'm guessing (hopefully an educated one) on this front. I am slightly less convinced of this than I was straight after his victory though. His inauguration speech on Friday was high on rhetoric, light on specifics but pretty combative with phrases like "American carnage stops right now" and "America first" grabbing the headlines.

This week will continue to be largely focused on all things President Trump related. White House spokesman Sean Spicer confirmed that Trump will meet with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau “in the coming days” with the renegotiating of NAFTA likely to be front and centre. However there’s likely to be more attention on this Friday’s meeting in Washington between the President and UK PM Theresa May. The PM said in a BBC interview yesterday that “we’ll have an opportunity to talk about our possible future trading relationship” and that “I’m going to be talking about how we can build on that special relationship”. As we already know, Trump has previously said that that the US could strike a trade deal with the UK “very quickly” so it’ll be interesting to see what comes out of the meeting. In addition to this the Brexit talk will come to the forefront tomorrow when we get the Supreme Court verdict on whether Parliament needs to vote prior to the government triggering Article 50. Should there be no change from the High Court ruling then May will be forced to rush a brief bill through both Houses in order to prevent any delay from the self-imposed late March deadline. All eyes on that outcome.

Aside from the obvious Trump-related news this weekend, yesterday in France we had the first round of results in the Socialist primary. They revealed that former education minister Benoit Hamon came out on top with 36.1% of the votes, compared to 31.2% for former PM Manuel Valls. Former Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg came third with 17.9% and endorsed Hamon. Hamon and Valls will now face a run-off next Sunday to be the Socialist Party candidate. According to  the FT, polls have suggested that whoever winds up as the Socialist candidate would likely come fifth in the first round of the presidential election on April 23rd with less than 10% of the voting. So it’s likely to be a fairly uphill task regardless.

Over to markets now and quickly checking in on how Asia is opening the week. Once again it’s been another fairly mixed start with the Hang Seng (+0.10%), Shanghai Comp (+0.60%) and Kospi (+0.10%) all up but the Nikkei (-1.22%) and ASX (-0.57%) in the red. Markets in Japan are however being weighed down by a near 1% gain for the Yen this morning, while other safe haven assets have continued to make strides include Gold (+0.68%) and Treasuries. There’s been some focus on the morning press in China too with Bloomberg reporting that the People’s Daily has a page dedicated to critiquing Western democracies, albeit without directly referencing Trump.

The moves this morning come after equity markets in the US closed out on a mildly more positive note on Friday following the conclusion of Trump’s speech. The S&P 500 finished +0.34% with sector gains  relatively broadly based while the Dow closed +0.48% and so taking it back into positive territory for the year again. The Stoxx 600 had earlier closed -0.07% in Europe and as a result closed with the first negative return week of the New Year. Away from that rates didn’t appear to be particularly excited by Trump’s comments with 10y Treasury yields ending the day little changed around 2.467% - although in fairness there was a decent fade into the close from the early day highs and that’s continued this morning where they are now at 2.428%. That was the same for the US Dollar after the USD index touched an intraday high of a little over +0.30% before paring all of that move and more into the closing bell to end -0.41%. It also means that the Greenback has now fallen for two weeks in a row. Meanwhile WTI Oil (+2.11%) ended up back above $53/bbl and continues to hover in this $51 to $55 range it’s been in since the end of 2016. It’s up a little bit more this morning too after Saudi’s energy minister confirmed that compliance with the agreed OPEC cut between members has so far been “great” and that “it’s been one of the best agreements we’ve had for some time”.

Elsewhere on Friday we also heard some more comments out of the Fed. San Francisco Fed President, John Williams, said that he doesn’t expect any disruption when the Fed begins to let the balance sheet roll off. Philadelphia Fed President, Patrick Harker, warned that since the US is already at full employment, “any large stimulus to the economy may run the risk of inflation growing faster than we hope” and that “if we had a significant trade war, say with China, the lower 10% of the income distribution would lose 50% of their purchasing power”. Harker also highlighted that the Fed “should consider stopping reinvestment” once the Fed funds rate is above 100bps and that “we are actively discussing and researching the question of what is the appropriate size in the long run”.

Away from that chatter there was little in the way of data out of the US although we did see the NY Fed revise up their Q4 GDP forecast to 2.1% from 1.9% and raise their Q1 2017 GDP forecast to 2.7% from 2.1% with positive news including industrial production and capacity utilization data last week. The Atlanta Fed is at 2.8% for Q4. Meanwhile over in the UK the December retail sales numbers were a bit disappointing with ex-fuel sales in the month down -2.0% mom (vs. -0.4% expected) and so which has had the effect of lowering the YoY rate from +6.4% to +4.9%.

Moving now to this week’s calendar. It’s a pretty quiet start to the week for data today with the only releases of note being the Euro area consumer confidence reading this afternoon and China’s leading economic index. Things pick up on Tuesday however when we’ll get the various flash January PMI’s in Europe. As well as that we’ll also get the latest public sector net borrowing data in the UK. In the US the data due out includes the flash manufacturing PMI, existing home sales and Richmond Fed manufacturing survey. Wednesday kicks off in Japan where the December trade numbers will be due. During the European session we’ll get various confidence indicators in France along with the IFO survey in Germany and CBI trends orders data in the UK. The only data due in the US on Wednesday is the FHFA house price index. In Asia on Thursday we’ll get some data out of China with the December industrial profits numbers. During the European session we’ll get consumer confidence in Germany and the advanced Q4 GDP reading in the UK. The US calendar finally picks up on Thursday with the advance goods trade balance, wholesale inventories, initial jobless claims, flash services and composite PMI’s, new home sales, leading index and Kansas Fed manufacturing survey all due. We close the week out in Asia on Friday with CPI in Japan. During the European session we’ll get M3 money supply for the Euro area and consumer confidence in France. Over in the US it’s all eyes on the advance Q4 GDP print in the US. We’ll also get a first look at durable and capital goods orders during December as well as the final University of Michigan consumer sentiment reading.

Away from the data there’s no Fedspeak this week with the Fed entering the blackout period. However we will hear from the ECB’s Praet, Weidmann and Lautenschlaeger at various points this week. BoE Governor Carney will also speak on Wednesday. Meanwhile earnings season will also start to ramp up with 107 S&P 500 companies set to report, accounting for about 29% of the index market cap. The notable reporters include Yahoo and McDonald’s today, Verizon and Johnson & Johnson on Tuesday, AT&T, eBay and Boeing on Wednesday, Caterpillar, Ford, Intel, Alphabet and Microsoft on Thursday followed by Chevron on Friday. The other key event for markets will of course be the UK Supreme Court decision tomorrow, before PM May meets with President Trump on Friday.

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 11:32 AM

It's Nice That

Eloïse Rossetti’s narrative and research-driven graphic design

Eloiselist

Eloïse Rossetti is a Swiss graphic designer from Neuchâtel. A graduate of the prestigious design school ECAL, she has additionally studied at the Gerrit Rietvald Academie in Amsterdam.

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by Lucy Bourton at January 23, 2017 11:12 AM

The comic book influences of illustrator Stefanie Leinhos

Stephanie_leinhos

Leipzig-based illustrator Stefanie Leinhos can make even the simplest of drawings appear transcendent. Her technique is a combination of clean, crisp, often only two-colour illustrations, multiplied so you get the full effect of their craft.

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by Lucy Bourton at January 23, 2017 11:08 AM

India Real Time

Two Die at Indian Bull-Taming Event, Protesters Clash With Police

Fans of the Indian sport of bull taming clashed with police in Chennai, capital of the southern state of Tamil Nadu Monday, a day after two men were killed by a bull at an event in the state.

by Karan Deep Singh at January 23, 2017 11:07 AM

It's Nice That

The Saatchi Gallery launches search for the most creative selfies from around the world

Saatchi_selfie_its_nice_that_3

The Saatchi gallery in London has launched a competition to offer artists, photographers, and enthusiasts the chance to have their most creative selfies exhibited as part of the #saatchiselfie competition.

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by Owen Pritchard at January 23, 2017 11:01 AM

The Big Picture

How Significant is the Trump Bounce ?

Salil Mehta is a two-time Administration executive, leading Treasury/TARP’s analytics team, as well as PBGC’s policy, research, and analysis, including their first risk analysis function. Salil is the creator of the popular free statistics blogs, Statistical Ideas. ~~~ President-elect Trump convened at his New York home, a group of America’s most illustrious technology-company CEOs (including Tim Cook,…

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The post How Significant is the Trump Bounce ? appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Guest Author at January 23, 2017 11:00 AM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

Implementing Chargeback and Showback with Red Hat CloudForms

This guest post was written by Jeff Ekstrom, a cloud evangelist for Red Hat’s Certified Cloud and Service Provider program. Jeff has extensive experience with cloud strategy and architecture, with industry experience in telecommunications, federal government and insurance. His cloud strategy focus includes both open source technologies and hybrid cloud enablement.  Last October, Red Hat and

The post Implementing Chargeback and Showback with Red Hat CloudForms appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Rack Blogger at January 23, 2017 11:00 AM

naked capitalism

Trading Off a ’Soft’ and ‘Hard’ Brexit

A ‘harder’ Brexit may have a stronger negative impact on the UK’s services trade and supply chain integration,

by Lambert Strether at January 23, 2017 10:55 AM

It's Nice That

Illustrator Cécile Dormeau captures the humorous nuances of adult life

Cecile-dormeau-int-list

French illustrator Cécile Dormeau consistently depicts the tribulations of adult life in one neat, nuanced illustration. The Paris-based illustrator addresses a wide range of issues using her sharp wit to create work that is relatable and thought provoking.

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at January 23, 2017 10:55 AM

FormFiftyFive - Design inspiration from around the world

Vanguard: All news articles

Top investing news from Vanguard

A quick summary of our top news articles and blog posts.

January 23, 2017 10:35 AM

The Art of Non-Conformity » 3×5

9 Life Lessons from Starting a Daily Podcast

So hey—I started a podcast! Yes, it’s true: I’m catching up to the technological age of 2005.

And let me tell you: I’m having so much fun. I feel purposeful.

Readers—many of whom are now listeners—are really enjoying it. And best of all, I truly believe it’s going to be helpful to people.

So that’s great! There really is no downside. I’m glad I did this.

But what have I learned? That’s what this 6,500 word post is about. I’ll share my own lessons and observations, as well as my early advice for anyone thinking of starting their own podcast.

clock
1. First, it takes a *LOT* of time to make a daily 10-minute show.

On average I’d say each episode takes me 3 hours from my side to script and record each draft of the show. Then it goes to a production team in Brooklyn, and they do the audio editing and add the awesome music (thank you, DJ Jayson). They ask for recuts of certain parts, then we go back and forth on the files for a bit.

But that’s just the production! In addition to the most obvious part of making a podcast, I’ve easily spent at least another 2-3 hours a day working on the show since it’s started. That’s 7 days a week, regardless of what else is happening, and whether I’m at home in Portland or flying around the world like I am now while writing these notes.

We also built a website, meaning that I said “Hey, let’s build a website” and then people much smarter than me went to work. Even though I’m just the manager in this process, AKA the least-skilled person, there’s still a lot of ongoing maintenance and active attention required from me.

SHS Homepage

SHS Episodes Page

Ep. 8 – Cruise Vacation Turns Into Highly-Profitable Hustle

Ep. 8 – Cruise Vacation Turns Into Highly-Profitable Hustle

We have show notes for every episode (and we’re working on improving them), a daily email that goes out, a community forum in the works, a traveling workshop series that starts very soon, and … well, much more. I won’t bore you with a list because the work really should speak for itself.

When I think about the past three weeks, pretty much all I remember is waking up to work on something related to the show, then eventually going to sleep at night.

To be clear, I’m not complaining. I love doing this; I’d spend my time no other way and I’m happy to go all-in. I’m just saying: it takes a LOT of time.


Audience
2. Gretchen was right, Part 1: A podcast really does reach an all-new group of people!

This lesson comes from Gretchen Rubin, a longtime friend who also happens to be the head of Panoply’s new Onward imprint, which Side Hustle School is part of.

First, a quick side note: Gretchen is my hero! I’ve been following her since the blogging dinosaur age when I started The Art of Non-Conformity. Her site, along with one from another friend, J.D. Roth, were early inspirations for me. She is also the only author to have blurbed (written an endorsement for) all four of my books. The fact that I get to work regularly with her now makes me, well, happy.

As for the lesson, when she and I first began talking about the show back in summer 2016, she told me how starting her podcast had brought her a whole-new audience. People had told her that it would, but she was skeptical.

When she told me this story, she was very modest about it, so I’ll translate: her books have done extremely well. The Happiness Project, which I’m proud to own an original advance copy of, has sold millions of copies all over the world. It’s appeared in movies, celebrities regularly share photos of it, and it was on the New York Times list for a ridiculous number of weeks.

Then, she had another runaway bestseller with Better than Before, and she’s gearing up for another big book this fall based on her (also very popular) Four Tendencies quiz. According to the quiz, and to Gretchen herself, I’m a rebel. Shocking, I know! She and I talked about it in this episode of Happier.

Gretchen being interviewed by Oprah Winfrey on her show

The point is that Gretchen had very high name recognition before beginning her show, yet the show brought her another highly-committed and engaged audience. It had a magnifying effect that has allowed her to continue to stay at the top despite great saturation in a field she was a big part of pioneering.

So now back to me: except for the part about very high name recognition—since no one can spell or pronounce my name—and except for those millions of copies sold (I’m approaching my first million, but she will always be ahead…), I’m seeing very much the same effect.

Upwards of 150 people a day are joining the daily email list for the show. I notice a lot of social media comments from people I don’t recognize. I’m hearing from passive readers who are now active listeners. My requests for media quotes and commentary are way up.

All of that to say: if you’re thinking about starting a podcast, it really is a medium entirely of its own. And as a result, if you do it right, it really will attract a very different group of people.

Gretchen Rubin
3. Gretchen was right, Part 2: “A strong voice repels as well as attracts.” 

In my early days with The Art of Non-Conformity, and then with The $100 Startup as well, I received a lot of criticism. I used to regularly get hateful emails from people who didn’t like what I had to say about one subject or another.

But in recent years, the criticism I’ve received has lessened in intensity and volume. Isn’t that great? Well, it’s good for the psyche, I suppose. Whoever said that criticism doesn’t bother them was definitely not a writer or artist.

But it also means that my message became a bit more mainstream over time, and that has pros and cons. The risk is that you have the potential of becoming irrelevant or even obscure, which is probably the worst thing that can happen if you’re trying to put forth a message.

With this show, I’m definitely drawing in a lot more people and a lot more commitment from at least some of those people. And I’m also drawing a lot more active dismissal and criticism than I’ve seen in a while.

And you know what? I think that’s great! Well, at least objectively speaking I think it’s great. I’ll always be a sensitive soul, but that’s where Gretchen’s comment comes in, via her podcasting manifesto: “A strong voice repels as well as attracts.”

When it comes to Side Hustle School, I wholeheartedly believe in the mission, both in terms of intent and approach. If someone hates it or just thinks it’s a waste of time (and there are already plenty of people who do), I’m honestly not that concerned about them.

Please don’t misunderstand: I’m not saying I’m right and they’re wrong.

I’m saying: I know where I’m going with this, and I know who it’s for.

It will be good for some people and not for others, and that’s okay with me. I am 100% committed to the show’s format, the daily practice, and the long-term vision.

4. If You Want to Start a Podcast, Take the Time to Prepare

First: is it worth it? Yes, as long as you have a plan.

It took me about five months of preparation, but not all of that time was active work. Some of it was thinking things through, researching different aspects of the endeavor, working with the partner who handles distribution and advertising, etc.

I probably worked at least two months full-time on it before the debut, but beyond that I’m not sure because as long as I’m working on things I believe in, I don’t really keep up with how I spend my time.

Here are a few things I did:

-Talked with John Lee Dumas and watched his “Podcasting Lessons” series

First of all: super awesome guy! He regularly spoke with me on Skype and texted me advice and ideas.

Much of the podcast series I watched covered topics that were somewhat familiar to me, since I’ve been working online for all eternity more than twenty years. However, it was still very helpful in allowing me to reframe my thinking and approach to a new medium. It also confirmed to me that I was on the right track with what I was planning.

Note: Accomplish your #1 goal in 100 days with John’s Mastery Journal. The Kickstarter starts TODAY and I am making a pledge!

-Experimented in writing draft episodes four months in advance. 

I scripted out at least five episodes and recorded them using various equipment (full list later on). I hired someone on Fiverr.com to create DRAFT intro and exit music. This cost a whopping $25 and is most definitely not something I’d do for the real thing, but as an experiment, it was very helpful.

Those first drafts sucked, of course. So did the second. Around the fourth or fifth attempt, maybe three or four weeks into the experimentation phase, I began to notice some potential for finding the right format and voice.

I wrote in a few different environments: Evernote, Google Docs, and Scrivener, the same software I use for writing books. I finally settled on Scrivener because it’s easy to work in multiple sections and move things around.

Like most of my other work, the files sync directly to Dropbox so I can work from any computer.

Sneak peak of my scripts in Scrivener!

Sneak peak of my scripts in Scrivener

Sneak peak of my system!

-Began recruiting stories. 

Since I knew I’d be teaching through storytelling, and since I wanted to do the show DAILY, I knew I’d need to work as far ahead as possible. I put the word out saying that I was looking for interesting candidates.

I did this directly on my site (the form now lives over here—please use that one if submitting) and also through HARO, a longstanding directory that connects journalists with sources. I only use that service once or twice a year, but whenever I do, I’ve been happy with the results.

Julie Wilder

Ep. 6 – Single Mom Makes $15,000 from Astrology Calendar

Over time I began to see what kinds of stories would be good for the show. Quirky? Absolutely. Inspirational? Maybe, but not in a fluffy way—I wanted lots of details and specifics.

I also wanted a range of stories. First and foremost, I wanted them to be relatable. As I say often on the show, when you’ve never made money on your own before, it’s a Very Big Deal to start getting an extra $500-$1,000 a month that doesn’t come from your job.

But I also wanted them to be aspirational. Many hustles have the potential to make far more than $500 a month, and I regularly hear $100,000+ success stories.

So I decided to go with a mix: some would be about people making $500-1,000 a month in their hustle. Others would be about people making six-figures a year or more with their hustle. My hope was that the show could become both relatable and aspirational.

I also set some parameters about what a side hustle is. This phrase and concept is in the culture more and more these days, so I wanted to be specific about what I mean when I use it:

  • It’s not your full-time gig
  • You may want to turn your hustle into your full-time gig, but just as often, you may not want to
  • It’s not a part-time job; it’s something you have ownership over
Homemade Gin Kit

Ep. 16 – Homemade Gin Kit Sells 75,000 Units

Side note: Despite what their ads will tell you, DRIVING FOR UBER IS NOT A SIDE HUSTLE. We’ll save that rant for later because it deserves an editorial space of its own.

Oh, and one more thing: I wanted to avoid any sort of spammy or circular examples, where there isn’t any real value in what the hustler is making or doing. With that in mind, there are very few (if any) stories of people making money showing other people how to make money. Instead, there are stories of:

Each story is intended to be interesting and educational. With a few exceptions, I’m trying to focus on classic lessons reframed in unusual case studies.


 -Controversial opinion ahead! I did *NOT* listen to other podcasts while developing my own.

I’ll be honest about something that I’m sure some people will disagree with. There’s something NOT on this list that you’d probably expect there to be: I did not “listen to a lot of podcasts before beginning.”

Why not? Well, I’m sure there are best practices I can learn from, but I really did want to create something unique. And the more I worked on it, the clearer my vision became, and the less I felt like I wanted to draw on anyone else’s work, at least directly.

Here’s how I thought about it: as a nonfiction author, I mostly read fiction. I do read some non-fiction as well, but it’s very rare for me to read a modern “Business & Careers” book like Born for This or The $100 Startup. I want to write original books with my own voice, and therefore I’m careful of letting other, potentially similar voices into my writing head.

I’d also note that I’m very familiar with the other side of podcasts, having been a guest on hundreds of them over the years. So it’s not that I knew nothing at all about the concept of podcasting. It’s just that as I set out to create my own, I wanted to find my own way.


microphone-audio-computer-sound-recording-55800
5. Good equipment is inexpensive, but there’s more to the process than just buying stuff. 

I sometimes go to a local studio for call-in interviews, but I didn’t want to attempt that with this project. There’s just way too much recording to be done!

My work style is to draft multiple versions of each episode while I’m recording the episode. It’s a messy process that works for me because I know what I want, but it would be frustrating (for both me and an engineer) to do it that way in a recording booth. I’m also an introvert, and I needed space of my own to figure out this new medium without the pressure of other people listening in real-time.

Therefore, I set out to create a DIY solution for the recording side. My home recording setup cost less than $1,000, and here’s what I bought:

Jonathan Fields - 1

Shoutout to my dear friend Jonathan Fields, who talked me through this list and made recommendations along the way. Check out his wildly popular show, Good Life Project!

But here’s the thing: just because you can spend less than $1,000 (and probably less than $500, actually—part of my expenses involved trying different things before I found what worked best for me), that doesn’t mean that’s all you need.

There’s also the production side. This is no small thing!

Panoply

For that, I’m grateful to Panoply, a large podcasting network and now my distribution and advertising partner. I began talking with their team last summer following an introduction from Gretchen, who was creating the Onward imprint that launched on January 1. It’s a business arrangement with revenue share on the advertising, which will hopefully be sustainable enough for multiple people to work on the show throughout the year.

Why did I work with a network? Well, for me it was a lot like publishing books. Sure, I could publish books on my own, but they wouldn’t be as good. Even as a non-conformist, I’m somewhat a traditionalist when it comes to books. Without a doubt, I know that my work has been made better through a detailed editorial and production process.

So too with podcasting: I was a complete beginner in this world, and I’m still actively learning every day. I didn’t assume that I knew everything, and I thought I could benefit from detailed knowledge and assistance from experts.

Panoply is clear that they’re in to win it, and they expect their shows to have minimum downloads of at least 20,000 per episode. Presumably many of their shows do much more than that. In joining their team I felt like I was playing above my level, and I liked that.

Remember this lesson for both podcasting and life: you never want to be the proverbial big fish in a small pond. It may feel good for a while, but you’ll always wonder what might have happened if you’d tried harder. Step up!


6. Don’t start a “Tell Me About Your Life” show. No really, don’t do it! 

If you want to go down the well-trodden, life of quiet desperation, abandon-all-hope-ye-who-enter-here podcast path, start a show in which you interview people about their life and career. For best results, invite the same people that appear on everyone else’s shows, then ask the same generic questions of them.

Here are some kiss-of-death starter questions for your script:

  • What inspires you?
  • How did you get started?
  • What’s your biggest failure?
  • How do you handle fear?
  • What advice would you give your younger self?

I assure you, anyone who’s ever given an interview will be very familiar with these questions.

OK, so really—don’t do this. Don’t start a generic “let’s talk about life” show. Step away from the ledge!

If you want to have interviews on your show, that’s totally fine, but design a framework for them that is at least somewhat unique. (Note: “How you became an entrepreneur” or “Interview authors about their new books” is not somewhat unique.) You will stand out so much more with a focused topic, and your guests will enjoy it more too.

If you think I’m complaining… well, OK, I actually am complaining a bit about this. Over the years I’ve done literally hundreds of podcast interviews where people ask me the same questions, starting with “So tell us a little about yourself.”

Here’s the thing: I try to give a good interview, but my life story isn’t going to change from podcast to podcast. As a result, I end up saying the same things and telling the same stories over and over. After a while it can have the effect of phoning it in—which is terrible, of course, and listeners deserve better—but again, the basic narrative of my life doesn’t evolve from any given Tuesday to Wednesday.

Therefore, if you want to ask interesting questions on your podcast… ask anything other than the usual ones!

Hat tip: of all the podcast interviews I’ve done, The Art of Charm requires the most intense preparatory work by far, and it makes for a show that stands tall above many competitors. When they invited me as a guest, they also sent more than a dozen detailed essay questions that I had to answer before we did the interview. Respect!


Chatty Chris
7. Have a CLEAR and SPECIFIC audience in mind.

Think about who is NOT part of the audience as much as who is. For my show, I am deliberately excluding people like me. If you’re “self-employed for life,” as I sometimes describe myself (or “unemployable,” another term I use), you’re not who I’m thinking of every day as I work on the show.

This doesn’t mean those people aren’t welcome—I’ve already had a bunch of notes from listeners who are like me but still like the show.

Francine Jay

No, I just mean that as you make the show, you create the content and direct your attention to that audience. Everyone’s welcome, but you focus on your CLEAR and SPECIFIC audience.

For me I wanted to direct my attention toward employees who don’t want to quit their jobs but do want extra income. 

This is an important distinction, because with Side Hustle School, I’m not teaching people to “be entrepreneurs.” I don’t think everyone should be an entrepreneur, but I do think everyone should learn to think entrepreneurially.

In many conversations with people over the past year, especially on my Born for This book tour, I began to realize what an interesting and largely untapped market this is. There are many resources for aspirational entrepreneurs who want to build a company. But there are surprisingly few for people who just want to create more security for themselves without rewriting the pattern of their entire life.

Audience 1

In Philidelphia, PA for the Born For This Tour

In some ways, I think some people with jobs even feel judged or shamed for not wanting to quit—which is of course ridiculous! For example, my parents are aerospace engineers who’ve spent most of their careers supporting NASA missions. I’m not entirely sure how these things work, but I’m assuming that if you want to be an astronaut, you can’t do that on a freelance basis.

The same holds true for people working in numerous noble professions: teaching, medicine, journalism, social work, etc. And even leaving aside the question of whether some work is more beneficial to society than others, the reality is that a lot of people thrive in more collaborative networks that only exist in companies and organizations.

So yeah, it turns out that not everyone should go straight out and quit their job to backpack in Thailand. Maybe in some ways I feel partially responsible for creating this dynamic, so now I’m partially responsible for correcting it. Who knows! I’ll ask my therapist about this sometime.

In any case, these are my people, the ones I thought about over and over when creating the show: You’re out there and you want to create something for yourself. You’re smart and can work hard. But you’re also busy, and you need some guidance so you don’t waste your time.

100% of my focus is on people who fit that description.


8. Have a hook! Make your show EASY to understand and explain.

The hook is not just for the sake of marketing—though it helps there too—but also for your own sake. Or at least, that’s how it is for me. I love the specificity of it.

My hook was:

  • Side Hustle School will be short-format, with most episodes less than 10-minutes long. My intended audience doesn’t have time to listen to 45-minute conversations
  • I will be the host and there are NO interviews (see above)
  • It will be actionable and interesting (you’ll learn something in each episode, and it won’t be boring)
  • Oh, and … the show will be DAILY

That’s right, every single day in 2017, bitches!

Please note that not everyone thought this was a great idea. (I wasn’t sure it was either.)

When I did the first call with the Panoply execs, one of them said something like: “Wow, a daily show. Five times a week is very ambitious.”

And I was like, “What, only five? Last I checked, there are seven days in a week!”

As I said, I went back and forth about the idea myself. In the end I guess it just came down to my answer to this question:

“Do I want to really go for it? Is this just another project, or do I want to try to give it my all?”

Producing a DAILY episode with no breaks sounded like going to every country in the world, or self-organizing a 63-city book tour to every state and province. The more I thought about it, the more I thought… Hell yeah! Let’s do this!

That’s my only “secret” to a lot of things, by the way. I might not be the first person to think of any particular idea, but when I find something I believe in, I will work very hard for it. This isn’t a groundbreaking secret, but since so few people follow its wisdom, you’re welcome to borrow it for yourself.

Find something you believe in, then give it all you have!


9. What Else? Oh, right: tactics, not strategy

A number of people have asked about this note from my announcement post:

Short version of why I made the show: this is something that people are looking for that I’m qualified to provide. (Also: forget strategy; tactics are the future.)

Listen up: I am no futurist, but tactics really are the future. Watch and see. People are tired of self-appointed thought leaders who opine about everything. They don’t want to be inspired. They want substance! And this is the substance they want: specific, actionable—and even polarizing—instruction, guidance, or case-study driven stories they can learn from.

Yes, of course the world still needs stories; that never changes. It’s just that you can’t coast on inspirational quotes anymore. You can’t leave out the critical “how did they really do it” details. So step it up! If you’ve been trying to get your message out and are struggling to be heard, this is a path that is worth following.

I don’t think I’ll turn out to be wrong about this, but even if I am, will you be any worse off than when people weren’t reading your tweets?

Go make something that has the potential to change lives. That, in the end, is all that matters.

***

And That’s a Wrap! Only 339 Episodes to Go…

So I started a podcast, and I love it. I’m so glad I spent several months working through the creative, editorial, and logistical issues before the January 1 debut. It made it much better than it would have been otherwise.

We hit the 20,000+ downloads per episode goal right out of the gate, and it’s already much higher than that. Whether that trajectory will continue or not is at least partly out of my control, so I’m focusing on the work itself.

And of course, I still have much to learn, and it will continue to get better. I’m committed!

I’m also so glad that listeners (maybe even you?) have found it. As I’ve said on the show multiple times: If you commit to listening every day, rest assured that I’ll be there every day. I will see this through.

Now if you’ll excuse me… I’ve got another 339 episodes to record.

Huzzah! The best is yet to come. 

CG out.

Special thanks: Gretchen Rubin, Panoply team (esp. Laura, Jayson, Sarah, and A.C.), my assistant Whitney who works on the show almost as much as me, Jonathan Fields, John Lee Dumas, everyone who has rated or reviewed the show in iTunes (thank you!), everyone who has shared the show (you are the best!), Taylor Swift, Taylor’s ex-man with the new girlfriend, and side hustlers everywhere.

###

January 23, 2017 10:29 AM

Zero Hedge

A Preview Of Trump's Seven Imminent Executive Orders

Having already signed a (mostly symbolic) executive order on Obamacare on Friday night, urging US agencies to "waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation" of provisions deemed to impose fiscal burdens on states, companies or individuals, Trump is preparing to unload a volley of many more executive orders. Courtesy of Axios, which quotes "one of the best-wired Republican lobbyists in town", here is a preview of the initial round of Trump executive actions, some of which may hit as soon as Sunday afternoon:

  • Look for a possible hiring freeze at executive branch
  • 5-year lobbying ban on transition and administration officials
  • Mexico City policy, which prevents foreign NGOs from getting U.S. family planning money if they provide abortions with non-U.S. funds. (It's already illegal to use U.S dollars on abortions.)
  • Task the Defense Secretary and joint chiefs to come up with plan to eviscerate ISIS
  • Report on readiness, and something cyber security related
  • Border/immigration: Something on sanctuary cities, expand E-Verify, an extreme vetting proposal
  • Trade: Withdraw from TPP and a thorough review of NAFTA

Axios also notes that "the Mexico City executive order could come as soon as today."

Furthermore, watch for dozens of EPA executive orders coming down the pike. "Says a Trump source: "EPA has clean water-related and some 30,000 foot regulatory ones lined up [immediately]...We have dozens for the EPA...Starting Monday through the month of February. We have to roll them out gradually."

As we laid out before, here is a brief summary of what Trump can (and can not do) on day one. Exhibit 3 lists the President’s “Contract with Voters”, which includes several items that can be accomplished through executive action but involves significant legislative activity as well.

Next a table breaking down the upcoming Budget process:

The “budget reconciliation” process allows the majority party to instruct various committees to pass legislation to achieve certain fiscal targets, for example to reduce the deficit by a certain amount over the next ten years. These instructions, along with spending and revenue targets, are included in the annual budget resolution that Congress is supposed to pass by April of each year. Legislation passed pursuant to these instructions enjoys procedural protections in the House and Senate; most importantly, it is immune to filibuster in the Senate and thus needs only 51 votes to pass. The budget resolution can provide instructions to pass as many as three reconciliation bills, one dealing with tax or revenue changes, one dealing with spending changes, and one dealing with the debt limit. This year, tax reform is likely to be addressed through reconciliation, as are changes to the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). It is possible that congressional leaders might also consider using this process to address infrastructure funding, certain entitlement program reforms, or the debt limit increase that appear to be necessary by Q3.

A Multi-Step Budget Process :

Finally, here again are the main differences between the House tax plan and that of the president.

by Tyler Durden at January 23, 2017 10:26 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

The Simple Dollar

What a Good Financial Planner Does (and Doesn’t Do)

When just about anyone can call themselves a financial planner, it’s understandably hard for consumers to know whom to trust for financial advice.

See, unlike doctors and lawyers who have to meet certain standards in order to hold themselves out as certified professionals, there are virtually no requirements you have to meet in order to use the title “financial planner” or “financial advisor.”

As a result, there are many different kinds of people who call themselves financial planners, many of whom do very different things and provide very different kinds of services.

Which means that you, as someone looking for help with your financial situation, are left with the difficult task of separating the real from the fake with very little guidance as to who can actually provide good, objective advice, who is worth the fees they charge, and who is ripping you off.

So today I’d like to shed a little light on this topic and explain what, in my opinion, a good financial planner does and doesn’t do. Hopefully this will help you find someone who can help you make real progress, regardless of your current financial situation.

What a Good Financial Planner DOESN’T Do

1. Push Products

This is probably the biggest point of confusion around this topic.

See, things like mutual funds and life insurance policies can obviously be helpful parts of your financial plan. But they’re also products created by companies who want to make money, and those companies hire salespeople to sell those products for them.

And unfortunately, these salespeople often hold themselves out as financial planners or financial advisors, making it seem like they’re on your side – when their primary allegiance is to the companies paying them to sell their products.

So, how can you tell whether a particular “financial planner” is really just a salesperson? One way is to ask them how they get paid. If they’re fee-only, it means their only compensation comes from you, their client. If not, then they’re paid at least in part by the companies whose products they recommend.

Another way is to simply pay attention to the advice they’re giving. If they’re either advertising or aggressively pushing a particular product (cough, whole life insurance, cough), you can be pretty sure that their job is primarily to sell that product, not to give you objective advice. Or if they’re only recommending investments or insurance from a particular company, that’s probably because they’re paid by that company to make those recommendations.

The bottom line is that a good financial planner should be beholden to you, the client, rather than a particular product or financial company.

2. Claim They Can Beat the Market

If a financial planner is selling you on their ability to beat the stock market and provide superior investment returns, they’re missing the mark in two big ways:

  1. They almost certainly can’t deliver on their promise.
  2. Beating the market is never the goal anyways. The whole purpose of financial planning is to use your money to create a life you enjoy. A focus on beating the market is a distraction from what really matters and will likely lead to poor financial decisions.

What a Good Financial Planner DOES Do

1. Holds Themselves to a Higher Standard

While there are very few requirements in order to hold yourself out as a financial planner, there are plenty of ways for professionals to set their own bar higher and put themselves in a better position to serve their clients.

The CFP® certification is perhaps the most comprehensive and well known. In order to earn the CFP® mark you have to complete an approved financial planning curriculum, pass an exam, work as a financial planner for a certain number of years, adhere to an ethics code, and complete ongoing continuing education. It’s not perfect, but it’s the closest thing we have to a professional designation indicating a certain level of training and experience.

And there are plenty of other ways for financial planners to advance their expertise as well, from becoming an Accredited Financial Coach, to becoming an Enrolled Agent, to becoming a CFA, and more.

A good financial planner genuinely cares about being able to give you the best advice possible and seeks out training and education to help her do so.

2. Listens to You

A good financial planner cares primarily about YOU.

Instead of going on and on about all of the things he can do for you and all of the reasons you should work with him, he’ll ask questions designed to help him learn more about things like:

  • Who you are
  • What you care about
  • What makes you happy
  • Where you are now, both personally and financially
  • Where you would like to be, both now and in the future

A good financial planner will spend most of his first meeting with you asking questions and listening. After all, YOU’RE the one who matters here, and it’s impossible to give you good, personal financial advice without first understanding who you are and what’s important to you.

3. Makes Recommendations That Are in YOUR Best Interest

This probably sounds obvious, but most people who hold themselves out as financial planners are not required to do this, at least not all the time.

At the very least, you should seek out someone who is a fiduciary, meaning they have a legal requirement to act in your best interest. But even that’s not really enough, because some financial advisors are allowed to be fiduciaries sometimes… but not all the time.

For example, many people who sell mutual funds or insurance are “fiduciaries” when crafting advice, but not when selling a product. So they may give good advice, but then sell you a product that costs more or is less efficient than the alternatives, simply because they’re paid a commission to do so.

In other cases, you may find someone who has an inordinate focus on one part of your finances. For example, many financial planners are heavily focused on investments and may not be equipped to give you well-rounded financial advice.

In contrast, a good financial planner has no agenda or pre-set list of recommendations. She simply listens to you and uses her expertise to help you prioritize and choose the right tools for your needs.

If you need life insurance, she’ll help you find the best coverage at the lowest price. If you need to pay off debt, she’ll help you make a plan. If you need to invest, she’ll help you choose the best accounts and best funds, regardless of which company provides them.

In other words, a good financial planner makes the recommendations that YOU need based on your specific goals and situation, without regard for any other factors.

You Can Find a Good Financial Planner

There are all kinds of financial planners out there. There are planners who focus on wealthy retirees. There are planners who focus on new college graduates. There are planners who focus on helping doctors, or parents, or widowers, or LGBTQ couples.

There’s good financial advice to be found, no matter where you are in life. Hopefully the guidelines above will help you find it.

Matt Becker is a fee-only financial planner and the founder of Mom and Dad Money, where he helps new parents take control of their money so they can take care of their families. His free book, The New Family Financial Road Map, guides parents through the all most important financial decisions that come with starting a family.

Related Articles:

The post What a Good Financial Planner Does (and Doesn’t Do) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by Matt Becker at January 23, 2017 10:00 AM

The Big Picture

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

Priyanka Gandhi Will Flop Like Brother Rahul, Says Subramanian Swamy - News18


News18

Priyanka Gandhi Will Flop Like Brother Rahul, Says Subramanian Swamy
News18
New Delhi: Priyanka Gandhi will flop like her brother Rahul, BJP MP Subramanian Swamy said on Monday, a day after the Congress acknowledged the role of party chief Sonia Gandhi's role in clinching a pre-poll alliance with the Samajwadi Party in Uttar ...

and more »

January 23, 2017 09:46 AM

Subramanian Swamy supporting Jallikatu, says Why not ban halal meat - Oneindia


Subramanian Swamy supporting Jallikatu, says Why not ban halal meat
Oneindia
Speaking about the ongoing Jallikattu protests, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader Subramanian Swamy said he welcomes the protests. According to Swamy, no cruelty is caused to the bull in the sport, and these stories are manufactured by the media.

January 23, 2017 09:43 AM

Seth's Blog

Almost no one

We may dream of the mass market, but the mass market doesn't dream of us.

Almost no one visits your restaurant, almost no one buys your bestselling book, almost no one watches the Tonight Show.

Rare indeed is a market where everyone is active.

We think we're designing and selling to everyone, but that doesn't match reality. It makes no sense at all to dumb down your best work to appeal to the longtime bystander, because the bystander isn't interested. And it certainly makes no sense to try to convert your biggest critics, because they've got a lot at stake in their role of being your critic.

Growth comes from person-to-person communication, from the powerful standards of 'people like us'. And it comes from activating people who are ready to be activated.

The most recent Presidential election makes this clear: It's the non-voting bystanders who are in the majority:

Who didnt vote

       

by Seth Godin at January 23, 2017 09:26 AM

O'Reilly Radar

It's Nice That

Designer Ted Hyunak Yoon creates a visual analysis of dictators’ statues in history

Ted_hyunhak_yoon_int_list

In Seoul-based designer Ted Hyunhak Yoon’s project Decoding Dictators he presents a “visual analysis” of the different forms of communication dictators have developed through their statues. “The idea came up when I saw an article about Korean dictator, Chung-hee Park, who seized his power from the 60s to 70s. The dictator sent workers like miners and nurses to Berlin to make the foreign currency and some of the workers became the dictator’s followers,” says Ted. “The article spoke about his followers in Germany trying to erect a statue of the dictator in Berlin and how a lot of Korean people went against his followers’ plans.”

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at January 23, 2017 08:58 AM

datameet Google Group

Re: Assembly constituency KML and JSON, from the Election Commission

UPDATE: I changed the structure of the directories a little bit. Here's shapes for states and UTs: https://github.com/HindustanTimesLabs/shapefiles/tree/master/state_ut. More to come...

by Harry Stevens at January 23, 2017 08:27 AM

Re: [datameet] Library to read tables in scanned PDFs

Hi Mohit, You'll have to use OCR on the pdf before any other method can be applied. This obviously makes it more complicated, but still manageable. You could use the Tesseract, a popular OCR package ( https://github.com/tesseract-ocr/tesseract) and then try using tabula or the other packages

by Amanbir Singh at January 23, 2017 08:20 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

ISC Stormcast For Monday, January 23rd 2017 https://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=5341, (Mon, Jan 23rd)

(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. https://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.

January 23, 2017 08:05 AM

Matthew Garrett

Android permissions and hypocrisy

I wrote a piece a few days ago about how the Meitu app asked for a bunch of permissions in ways that might concern people, but which were not actually any worse than many other apps. The fact that Android makes it so easy for apps to obtain data that's personally identifiable is of concern, but in the absence of another stable device identifier this is the sort of thing that capitalism is inherently going to end up making use of. Fundamentally, this is Google's problem to fix.

Around the same time, Kaspersky, the Russian anti-virus company, wrote a blog post that warned people about this specific app. It was framed somewhat misleadingly - "reading, deleting and modifying the data in your phone's memory" would probably be interpreted by most people as something other than "the ability to modify data on your phone's external storage", although it ends with some reasonable advice that users should ask why an app requires some permissions.

So, to that end, here are the permissions that Kaspersky request on Android:
  • android.permission.READ_CONTACTS
  • android.permission.WRITE_CONTACTS
  • android.permission.READ_SMS
  • android.permission.WRITE_SMS
  • android.permission.READ_PHONE_STATE
  • android.permission.CALL_PHONE
  • android.permission.SEND_SMS
  • android.permission.RECEIVE_SMS
  • android.permission.RECEIVE_BOOT_COMPLETED
  • android.permission.WAKE_LOCK
  • android.permission.WRITE_EXTERNAL_STORAGE
  • android.permission.SUBSCRIBED_FEEDS_READ
  • android.permission.READ_SYNC_SETTINGS
  • android.permission.WRITE_SYNC_SETTINGS
  • android.permission.WRITE_SETTINGS
  • android.permission.INTERNET
  • android.permission.ACCESS_COARSE_LOCATION
  • android.permission.ACCESS_FINE_LOCATION
  • android.permission.READ_CALL_LOG
  • android.permission.WRITE_CALL_LOG
  • android.permission.RECORD_AUDIO
  • android.permission.SET_PREFERRED_APPLICATIONS
  • android.permission.WRITE_APN_SETTINGS
  • android.permission.READ_CALENDAR
  • android.permission.WRITE_CALENDAR
  • android.permission.KILL_BACKGROUND_PROCESSES
  • android.permission.RESTART_PACKAGES
  • android.permission.MANAGE_ACCOUNTS
  • android.permission.GET_ACCOUNTS
  • android.permission.MODIFY_PHONE_STATE
  • android.permission.CHANGE_NETWORK_STATE
  • android.permission.ACCESS_NETWORK_STATE
  • android.permission.ACCESS_LOCATION_EXTRA_COMMANDS
  • android.permission.ACCESS_WIFI_STATE
  • android.permission.CHANGE_WIFI_STATE
  • android.permission.VIBRATE
  • android.permission.READ_LOGS
  • android.permission.GET_TASKS
  • android.permission.EXPAND_STATUS_BAR
  • com.android.browser.permission.READ_HISTORY_BOOKMARKS
  • com.android.browser.permission.WRITE_HISTORY_BOOKMARKS
  • android.permission.CAMERA
  • com.android.vending.BILLING
  • android.permission.SYSTEM_ALERT_WINDOW
  • android.permission.BATTERY_STATS
  • android.permission.MODIFY_AUDIO_SETTINGS
  • com.kms.free.permission.C2D_MESSAGE
  • com.google.android.c2dm.permission.RECEIVE

Every single permission that Kaspersky mention Meitu having? They require it as well. And a lot more. Why does Kaspersky want the ability to record audio? Why does it want to be able to send SMSes? Why does it want to read my contacts? Why does it need my fine-grained location? Why is it able to modify my settings?

There's no reason to assume that they're being malicious here. The reasons that these permissions exist at all is that there are legitimate reasons to use them, and Kaspersky may well have good reason to request them. But they don't explain that, and they do literally everything that their blog post criticises (including explicitly requesting the phone's IMEI). Why should we trust a Russian company more than a Chinese one?

The moral here isn't that Kaspersky are evil or that Meitu are virtuous. It's that talking about application permissions is difficult and we don't have the language to explain to users what our apps are doing and why they're doing it, and Google are still falling far short of where they should be in terms of making this transparent to users. But the other moral is that you shouldn't complain about the permissions an app requires when you're asking for even more of them because it just makes you look stupid and bad at your job.

comment count unavailable comments

January 23, 2017 07:58 AM

Planet Python

Kushal Das: Developing Command Line Interpreters using python-cmd2

Many of you already know that I love command line applications. Let it be a simple command line tool, or something more complex with a full command line interface/interpreter (CLI) attached to it. Back in college days, I tried to write a few small applications in Java with broken implementations of CLI. Later when I started working with Python, I wanted to implement CLI(s) for various projects. Python already has a few great modules in the standard library, but, I am going to talk about one external library which I prefer to use a lot. Sometimes even for fun :)

Welcome to python-cmd2

python-cmd2 is a Python module which is written on top of the cmd module of the standard library. It can be used as a drop-in replacement. Through out this tutorial, we will learn how to use it for simple applications.

Installation

You can install it using pip, or standard package managers.

$ pip install cmd2
$ sudo dnf install python3-cmd2

First application

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from cmd2 import Cmd


class REPL(Cmd):

    def __init__(self):
        Cmd.__init__(self)


if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = REPL()
    app.cmdloop()

We created a class called REPL, and later called the cmdloop method from an object of the same class. This will give us a minimal CLI. We can type ! and then any bash command to execute. Below, I called the ls command. You can also start the Python interpreter by using py command.

$ python3 mycli.py 
(Cmd) 
(Cmd) !ls
a_test.png  badge.png  main.py	mycli.py
(Cmd) py
Python 3.5.2 (default, Sep 14 2016, 11:28:32) 
[GCC 6.2.1 20160901 (Red Hat 6.2.1-1)] on linux
Type "help", "copyright", "credits" or "license" for more information.
(REPL)

        py <command>: Executes a Python command.
        py: Enters interactive Python mode.
        End with ``Ctrl-D`` (Unix) / ``Ctrl-Z`` (Windows), ``quit()``, '`exit()``.
        Non-python commands can be issued with ``cmd("your command")``.
        Run python code from external files with ``run("filename.py")``
        
>>> 
(Cmd) 

You can press Ctrl+d to quit or use quit/exit commands.

Let us add some commands

But, before that, we should add a better prompt. We can have a different prompt by changing the prompt variable of the Cmd class. We can also add some banner by adding text to the intro variable.

#!/usr/bin/env python3
from cmd2 import Cmd

class REPL(Cmd):
    prompt = "life> "
    intro = "Welcome to the real world!"

    def __init__(self):
        Cmd.__init__(self)


if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = REPL()
    app.cmdloop()
$ python3 mycli.py 
Welcome to the real world!
life> 

Any method inside our REPL class which starts with do_ will become a command in our tool. For example, we will add a loadaverage command to show the load average of our system. We will read /proc/loadavg file in our Linux computers to find this value.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

from cmd2 import Cmd


class REPL(Cmd):
    prompt = "life> "
    intro = "Welcome to the real world!"

    def __init__(self):
        Cmd.__init__(self)

    def do_loadaverage(self, line):
        with open('/proc/loadavg') as fobj:
            data = fobj.read()
        print(data)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = REPL()
    app.cmdloop()

The output looks like:

$ python3 mycli.py 
Welcome to the real world!
life> loadaverage
0.42 0.23 0.24 1/1024 16516

life> loadaverage
0.39 0.23 0.24 1/1025 16517

life> loadaverage
0.39 0.23 0.24 1/1025 16517

If you do not know about the values in this file, the first three values indicate the CPU/IO utilization of the last one, five and ten minutes back. Then we have the number of currently running processes and the total number of processes. The final column shows the last process ID used. You can also see that TAB will autocomplete the command in our shell. We can go back to the past commands by pressing the arrow keys. We can also press Ctrl+r to do a reverse search like the standard bash shell. This feature comes from the readline module. We can use that more, and add a history file to our tool.

import os
import atexit
import readline
from cmd2 import Cmd

history_file = os.path.expanduser('~/.mycli_history')
if not os.path.exists(history_file):
    with open(history_file, "w") as fobj:
        fobj.write("")
readline.read_history_file(history_file)
atexit.register(readline.write_history_file, history_file)



class REPL(Cmd):
    prompt = "life> "
    intro = "Welcome to the real world!"

    def __init__(self):
        Cmd.__init__(self)

    def do_loadaverage(self, line):
        with open('/proc/loadavg') as fobj:
            data = fobj.read()
        print(data)

if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = REPL()
    app.cmdloop()

Taking input in the commands

We can use the positional argument in our do_ methods to have arguments in our commands. Whatever input you are passing to the command, comes to the line variable in our example. We can use the same to do anything. For example, we can take any URL as input, and then check the status. We will use requests module for this example. We also used the Cmd.colorize method to add colors to our output text. I have added one extra command to make the tool more useful.

#!/usr/bin/env python3

import os
import atexit
import readline
import requests
from cmd2 import Cmd

history_file = os.path.expanduser('~/.mycli_history')
if not os.path.exists(history_file):
    with open(history_file, "w") as fobj:
        fobj.write("")
readline.read_history_file(history_file)
atexit.register(readline.write_history_file, history_file)



class REPL(Cmd):
    prompt = "life> "
    intro = "Welcome to the real world!"

    def __init__(self):
        Cmd.__init__(self)

    def do_loadaverage(self, line):
        with open('/proc/loadavg') as fobj:
            data = fobj.read()
        print(data)

    def do_status(self, line):
        if line:
            resp = requests.get(line)
            if resp.status_code == 200:
                print(self.colorize("200", "green"))
            else:
                print(self.colorize(str(resp.status_code), "red"))

	def do_alternativefacts(self, line):
    		print(self.colorize("Lies! Pure lies, and more lies.", "red"))

if __name__ == '__main__':
    app = REPL()
    app.cmdloop()

Building these little shells can be a lot of fun. The documentation has all the details, but, you should start reading from the standard lib cmd documentation. There is also the video from PyCon 2010.

January 23, 2017 07:09 AM

ongoing

The Women’s March

Just like everyone else I have a theory about What It Means, but I also have a story and a cool picture to illustrate.

Vancouver’s Roots ‘N’ Wings choir performing on Jan 21, 2017

We go to a few choir concerts, since my wife sings in one and is part of that social network. On January 21st in a two-choir show, the second half featured Roots ‘N’ Wings, an all-women ensemble. They opened with just a few singers on stage, then the rest came up the aisles, singing Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around (one of the Freedom Songs), some with the hats, some with signs.

The crowd came alive, on their feet, clapping and yelling, singing along. The choir fed on it and five minutes of pretty pure ecstasy ensued. My heart was instantly full.

Earlier that day, my wife and daughter were in the local march; I was proud of them. I didn’t go because I wanted to be part of those powerful sea-of-women’s-faces visuals by not being in it; anyhow someone had to clean up and make dinner.

What the march meant

I think it’s obvious. A bunch of reasonable people, led by women, needed to shout out and reassure each other that they weren’t crazy because they were horrified at a nouveau regime that’s crude, threatening, ignorant, oligarchic, reactionary, childish, corrupt, bigoted, thin-skinned, offensive, and oozes appallingly bad taste.

That’s about all the marchers had in common; the hardass rhetoric coming off the main stage was interesting and had its moments, but I bet very few of the marchers have even heard the word “intersectional”. Likely nobody will remember the rhetoric, but everyone will remember the clever signage, massed pink, glowing faces, and astonishing absence of violence or vandalism.

Hall of shame

  • The new management of the Executive Branch of the United States Government.

  • Twitter, for studding the #WomensMarch stream with deplorable hate-spewing trolls; they’re still there now. I mean, really, Fuck Twitter.

  • Those trolls. My quip: They were grumpy because their Mom was off marching and couldn’t fix a sandwich for them and bring it down to the basement.

Thanks!

For that much-needed reassurance that it’s perfectly OK to have strong negative feelings over behavior which is crude, threatening, ignorant, oligarchic, reactionary, childish, corrupt, bigoted, thin-skinned, offensive, and oozes appallingly bad taste.

What next?

I dunno. Nor does anyone else. In the United States, the forces of decency and sanity suffer from a leadership vacuum. You can get along without a coherent ideology, but you need someone to rally around and vote for, and I don’t see who.

For the next few years, resisting the the hamfisted guttersnipes of the GOP will be useful and reasonably rewarding — the evidence suggests they lack the competence to get much done. But America needs an alternative.

Anyhow, thank you to the Women’s Marchers; I know I needed the reassurance. You’re not crazy. I’m not crazy.

January 23, 2017 07:00 AM

naked capitalism

re: F@ck Work?

Why the Job Guarantee versus Universal Basic Income is not about work, but about governance.

by Yves Smith at January 23, 2017 06:50 AM

Three Theories Behind the Global Productivity Slowdown

A discussion of mainstream views on productivity growth slippage, plus a pet theory from Yves.

by Yves Smith at January 23, 2017 06:43 AM

Sr Bachchan

DAY 3222

Jalsa, Mumbai                      Jan 23,  2017                     Mon  11:18 am




It is odd to be here at this time of the hour .. it is odd to be contemplating what should be the text or thoughts this time of the morn .. it is odd ..


BUT .. ( i am beginning to make use of this word rather often .. hmm .. )

What really is of interest to me is the promise of return ; a return in the morning after having assured all in the post gone by !

There are times in all honesty, when an erratic night, does compel me to get out of the duvet and communicate with the Ef. And there have been many such days when I have wished that I could write immediately while the sun still shines. Many such. But - damn, brought that word out again - I reckon any time is a good time to communicate with the Ef .. and now is as good a time as any !


So to continue with the sentiments of the night before .. India lost the last ODI by a mere 5 runs in the last over of the game .. however we have already won the ODI series .. the Test has already been won, and now this. What follows soon is the T20 and those results shall be coming after the play gets over ..


Commentating on events and occasions must be a most educational and knowledged occupation. The intricacies of the moment, the study of the personnel involved, the information meted out and the interest of the listening or present audience being prime in the vocation. Do they psychologically prepare the listener of what could be expected ? Could they be conveying to them that cannot listen, their opinion or reactions ? Can a bias be stimulated to take a popular stance for the employer or nation or team or corporate ?

When you have millions and millions of those that rely on the words of the informer, a certain degree of penetration must perforce be taking place in the influence bracket. Influence, a most widely used term and perhaps most often used in general parlance. I may listen, read or see to be in a vital position of influence. I may listen, read or see and be in a vital position of not being influenced at all .. this percentage could well be negligible and insignificant, but still have the capacity to change the minds of some if not all .. that ‘some’ or those ‘some’ could be right or completely wrong, but they would be cast in a spell of that which is right, or not right at all, or vice versa .. the dilemma really is the influence factor ! Could my ‘influence’ be strong enough to bear an onslaught of the reverse. The reverse shall be present of course. Life always has them all the time. Most occasions, in unknown sudden forms. Are we then prepared for it. Or conversely should we at all times be not prepared for it. Not being prepared brings surprises of some pleasant nature - provided the news is worthy and attractive. If not, it has other not too pleasant effects.

What then should we be in a state to accommodate all !?

And in the end it all boils down to those very multi used expressions, done to death by the ‘pundits’ of advice givers : OPTIMISTIC & PESSIMISTIC !!

Both of them drive me to umbrella myself in what to me “reeks of garlic from every pore” .. the ALTERNATIVE. The alternative shall prevail in optimism if it fails, and in pessimism if that does too.

To me then the ALTERNATIVE is more reliable .. if an alternative pervades my thinking do I succumb to the oft repeated O’s and P’s of ‘mism’ .. ?

I wonder .. I wonder often .. at times painfully .. for others and most prominently for myself ..

My eternal love ..

Amitabh Bachchan

January 23, 2017 06:38 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

India Real Time

Trump Inauguration: Why One of India’s Top Female CEOs Took Out an Ad to Congratulate the President

When Donald Trump was inaugurated this weekend, people tuned in from across the world to watch. In India, Devita Saraf, CEO of Vu Televisions celebrated the inauguration with a full-page advertisement.

by Eric Bellman at January 23, 2017 06:29 AM