Amit's Planet

November 29, 2018

Memes Intertwingly:

April 01, 2018

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

April Fools: John Cochrane Obtrudes Himself on My Consciousness Again...

It's time to spin the Big Wheel for April Fools' Day! Who will it be this year? Cliff Asness? Doug Henwood? Niall Ferguson? Donald Luskin? David Graeber?... No! The Big Wheel stops on... John Cochrane!

Alas! The smart Martin Sandbu has been sold a pile of horseshit by the clown John Cochrane. (No: I don't know why John Cochrane decided to become a clown in 2007, and has remained a clown without interruption since. But we describe the world as it is, not as it ought to be.)

Martin Sandbu: Free Lunch: Can the US return to high growth?: "There has been much harrumphing about Jeb Bush's pledge to target a real economic growth rate of 4 per cent... so far beyond the realm of possibility as to be irresponsible.... John Cochrane begs to differ.... From the 1950s to 1973, growth fluctuated around, yes, a 4 per cent average annual rate. For the next three decades it averaged between 3 and 3.5 per cent except for the early 1980s.... Cochrane's conclusion... "avoiding a recession and returning to pre-2000 norms gets you pretty close".

Free Lunch Can the US return to high growth FT com

The scorn that the idea has received elsewhere is no doubt a reaction to its somewhat crank pedigree. But it also reflects a certain disregard for the historical record. Mother Jones claims no president since FDR has managed to sustain a 4 per cent average growth rate throughout his presidency. But this is just false. Truman, Kennedy and Johnson all did: Notice a pattern there: the best growth spurts all happened under Democrats. In fact, with two exceptions, every postwar Democratic president has overseen faster growth than every Republican one. The first exception is the second-worst performing Democrat, Jimmy Carter, who with 3.3 per cent was pipped to the post by Ronald Reagan, the best-performing Republican with 3.5 per cent. The second exception is Barack Obama, who was elected seven weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers triggered the worst financial crisis since Harry Truman was a county court judge. This prompts two thoughts. The first is that 4 per cent may be hard, even unrealistic, but certainly not impossible. The second is that Democratic presidents - and by extension, Democratic policies - have been historically much more successful at making it a reality (Obama's record, shaped by the financial crisis, is hardly representative). And there is good reason to think this may still be true. Raising growth from its lacklustre rate means bringing output closer to its potential in the short term and raising the potential growth rate in the long run. The short-term imperative involves fiscal and monetary stimulus - ie worry less about the budget deficit and don't tie one arm behind the Federal Reserve’s back. These are positions more associated with Democrats than Republicans, to put it mildly. The long-term goal can only be achieved with contribution from all the components of GDP growth: faster productivity growth, faster population growth and greater labour force participation. That observation immediately invites more policy ideas to warm a liberal's heart: boosting public infrastructure, a more open immigration policy and copying the countries that are most successful at getting people into employment: Canada, Germany and the Scandis. Indeed getting the US employment rate to the Swedish level over 10 years would entail a 1 percentage point higher growth rate a year in that period, other things being equal. Why, then, are liberal economists and policy types so up in arms against a 4 per cent target? One possibility is the fear expressed in Carole Binder's intelligent blog: targeting the growth rate may favour short-termist stimulus to boost growth rather than a long-term measure. But that could be a whole lot better than the status quo - at least if it involves broad fiscal and monetary stimulus rather than Florida-style housing bubbles. A "high-pressure economy", which prominent centre-left economists call for, may well make longer-term structural policies easier, too. Another possibility is the fear that a Jeb Bush administration would use the 4 per cent target to push through policies, such as tax cuts for the rich, that they claim will raise growth but don't. If that's the reason, it reflects a sad lack of political confidence. A more inspiring response to Jeb Bush's growth target would be to match it and try to force the politics to be about which policies are most likely to achieve the goal. On the current state of US politics, that's a fight that the centre-left can and should win.

by J. Bradford DeLong at April 01, 2018 12:22 PM

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

August 14, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

merii nigaah ne ye kaisaa Kvaab dekhaa hai

Album: Lubna

tasavvuraat kii mahafil sajaa rahaa huu.N mai.n
vo kaun hai jise apanaa banaa rahaa huu.N mai.n
ek i.nqalaab saa zer-e-naqaab dekhaa hai

merii nigaah ne ye kaisaa Kvaab dekhaa hai
zamii.n pe chalataa huaa maahataab dekhaa hai

jhukii-jhukii-sii vo aa.Nkhe.n hasii.n kamal jaise
chhupaa-chhupaa-saa tabassum koii Gazal jaise
nazar-nazar hai chaman vo shabaab dekhaa hai
merii nigaah ne ...

ulajh rahii thii javaanii kaI savaalo.n me.n
mile jo vo to huii roshanii Kayaalo.n me.n
har-ik savaal kaa ham ne javaab dekhaa hai
merii nigaah ne...



Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

August 14, 2017 09:04 AM

khushabuu huu.N mai.n phuul nahii.n huu.N

Album: Shayad

khushabuu huu.N mai.n phuul nahii.n huu.N jo murajhaauu.Ngaa
jab jab mausam laharaayegaa, mai.n aa jaauu.Ngaa

merii suurat koii nahii.n hai, cheharaa meraa cheharaa hai
bhiigaa saavan suunaa aa.Ngan, har aaiinaa meraa hai
jab-jab kalii khilegii koii, mai.n muskaauu.Ngaa
mai.n aa jaauu.Ngaa ...

shaam kaa gaharaa sannaaTaa jab diip jalaane aayegaa
meraa pyaar tumhaarii suunii baaho.n me.n ghabaraayegaa
mai.n mamataa kaa aa.Nchal ban kar lorii gaauu.Ngaa
mai.n aa jaauu.Ngaa...

jab bhii merii yaad sataaye, phuul khilaatii rahanaa
mere giit sahaaraa de.nge inako gaatii rahanaa
mai.n anadekhaa taaraa ban kar raah dikhaauu.Ngaa
mai.n aa jaauu.Ngaa ...

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

August 14, 2017 08:42 AM

July 25, 2017

Barry's news

Linux kernel 4.11.12

I have compiled kernel 4.11.12, with two third-party patches.
Firstly, aufs, secondly realtek 8723bu wifi driver.

I also brought back the "usb-storage" patch, which is a small patch that logs some extra USB memory probing to dmesg.

Configured the kernel as before, except one change, disabled Device Drivers --> SATA --> legacy ISA PATA Support.
This was builtin, now have completely removed it. This is CONFIG_PATA_LEGACY.

The wifi driver is needed for the Alpha Litebook, and the CONFIG_PATA_LEGACY caused slow bootup.

PETs (41.7M, 1.1M, 146M):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/linux_kernel-4.11.12-aufs-xerus-amd64.pet
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/linux_headers-4.11.12.pet
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/amd64/packages/pet_packages-xerus/kernel_src-4.11.12-patched.pet

Kernel source, patches, build scripts:
http://barryk.org/sources/kernel-4.11.12-aufs/
u#se#r: p#up#py p#as#sw#d: l#in#ux

July 25, 2017 12:42 PM

SQLite Manager addon for SeaMonkey

And Firefox!

Forum member musher0 posted about SQLite-Manager, and mime-handling for sqlite3 files:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=111134

I hunted around, found that the developer of SQLite-Manager is now on github:
https://github.com/lazierthanthou/sqlite-manager

And frontpage:
http://lazierthanthou.github.io/sqlite-manager/

It has commits only 25 days ago.

I'm thinking of making it into a pet, for inclusion in next Quirky.

July 25, 2017 12:42 PM

Planning for Quirky Xerus 8.2.1

Feedback for 8.2 is continuing to pour in:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?t=106460

I am getting so much help, bug reports, fixes, improvements, it is looking like 8.2.1 is going to be much more than just a "bug fix" release.

I will have to draw the line, probably whatever appears in the forum thread tonight. Then tomorrow will implement some of the latest fixes and enhancements.

Then maybe, 8.2.1 in a couple of days.

Easy
The thing is though, I also want to work on Easy Linux, my radical fork of Quirky. The previous release of Easy was built with packages compiled in OpenEmbedded, which has the great advantage of less bloat.

However, this time I am thinking will build Easy from the same Ubuntu Xerus 16.04.2 DEBs as used in Quirky 8.2.
This is the easiest approach, as all the work done on 8.2 will carry into Easy. Just have to live with a much bigger 'q.sfs' file.

Roughly, you have to multiply the size of 'q.sfs' by 1.5, going from OE 'Pyro' to Ubuntu Xerus packages.
So, for example, 300MB would become 450MB.

July 25, 2017 12:42 PM

It's Nice That

Gucci takes us on a journey through time and space with its AW17 campaign

Gucci-glen-luchford-film-itsnicethat-list

Gucci has launched its AW17 campaign and it’s filled with vintage sci-fi motifs from the 50s and 60s, with a Star Trek-inspired film to sit alongside it.

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at July 25, 2017 12:40 PM

Wired Top Stories

Smarterware

11 Ways Tech Has Made Travel Easier and Better

Oftentimes, travelers spend a lot of time taking pictures and posting on social media. Many criticize the rampant use of the smartphone during travel as a result. However, the smartphone—and many other technological wonders—make travel much easier than ever before.

1. There are apps to improve pretty much every aspect of travel.

There are dozens of travel apps to help you find great deals and so much more. You can save money and get direction for the best experiences. Some of the best travel apps include:

  • Skyscanner
  • Citymapper
  • Kayak
  • GoogleMaps
  • Airbnb
  • Hotel Tonight
  • TripIt Hopper
  • Uber

There are even apps like Google Translate and Duolingo to help you communicate when visiting a foreign country.

2. You can book everything online without a travel agent.

With time and a few different browser tabs open, you’ll have everything you need to book your trip. There are filters on most travel sites so that you can narrow by price, location, convenience, and anything else you prefer.

3. You can research the best travel destinations for everyone in the family.

Are your travel companions elderly, disabled, or children? You can easily research destinations that will appease your group. You can choose a destination by age level, interests, historical periods, and more.

You can also locate accessible hotels and excursions for the disabled. For example, TripTripHurray can be used to find accommodations, public transport, shops, services, restaurants, and other places of interest for those with disabilities.

4. If you can’t take off work completely, take it with you.

Thanks to cell phone plans, data, and mobile hotspots, it’s possible to stay connected with work, even when you’re on vacation. You can even access the internet on planes nowadays. So, if you have a project that you need to finish, you can take it with you rather than missing out on your vacation.

5. You have entertainment at your finger tips for long car rides or flights.

Download Audible, Amazon Kindle, and Netflix and you’ll have all the entertainment you need. There are also thousands of games that can make your layover feel like just a few minutes. Some highly recommended apps for entertainment while you travel include:

  • Waze
  • Roadtrippers
  • Foursquare
  • Findery
  • TuneIn
  • Overcast
  • Automatic
  • Openbay

Each app is free and loaded with things to do during the boring parts of travel.

6. You can stay in constant communication with those on your trip and back home.

Whether you want to share photos with those at home or connect with your party for dinner, you’re just a text, phone call, video chat, email, or social media post away. Even though you don’t want to spend too much time on your phone while on vacation, you can’t deny that it’s handy to have around.

7. There are always coupons for posh travel experiences.

Check out Groupon, Expedia, Hotels.com, and more for excellent discounts and promotions on some amazing experiences. You’ll save on hotels, car rentals, excursions, and more as long as you do a little research ahead of time. Subscribe to travel coupon sites and website newsletters to find the best discounts on any travel experience.

8. You can get anywhere you want with navigation apps.

Whether you’re walking, biking, taking the bus, or driving your car, you can navigate the whole experience with Google Maps and other popular navigation apps. You can also download the apps onto your phone ahead of time – that way, if you’re trekking in an area with low connectivity, you always have your directions handy.

9. Transportation can be booked with a single tap.

The Lyft and Uber apps will connect you with a shared or private ride to most places on your journey. Oftentimes, they’re more affordable than a traditional taxi and more comfortable. There are some limitations to these apps since they can’t pick you up at every port or airport, but they’re still an excellent way to get around most of the time.

10. Find restaurants, gas stations, transportation, and more instantly.

Don’t let your stomach go empty, your gas tank run out, or your driver fall asleep at the wheel. If you download the right apps, you can instantly discover the closest accommodations and amenities on any road trip. Here are some of the best apps for your convenience:

  • AroundMe
  • iExit
  • Gas Buddy
  • Sightseeing
  • Hotel Tonight
  • Gogobot
  • TripAdvisor
  • Yelp

11. Use your phone for pictures and back them up on the cloud.

Unless you only take professional-quality photos, you can document your entire vacation with your phone’s camera. You won’t miss any candid moments because most people have their phones with them at all times. When your phone’s memory gets too full, just back them up using Google Photos or iCloud. What would we do without technology like this?

The post 11 Ways Tech Has Made Travel Easier and Better appeared first on Smarterware.

by Christine at July 25, 2017 12:25 PM

Zero Hedge

Ahead Of Senate Healthcare Vote, It's Pure Chaos

The ongoing saga to repeal Obamacare continues, and with just hours left until a critical vote, the sheer chaos has never been greater.

On Monday, Trump remained defiant warning Senate Republicans that anyone who votes not to take up debate of the bill today is saying they are “fine with the Obamacare nightmare.” Realistically,
Republicans have been struggling to find a replacement plan that can attract >50 votes in the Senate, even though the party has a 52-48 majority. Nonetheless, Senator Cornyn appears to be fighting to the end, noting yesterday that “if for some reason we aren’t able to muster the votes tomorrow…it’s not the end of it….”

Still, in what Bloomberg described as an “uncharacteristic gamble” for Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP Leadership, the Senate is set to hold a crucial procedural vote to open debate on the Republican plan to undo ObamaCare without knowing A) which plan they will be voting for B) if the vote will pass. But by insisting on a vote, Trump and the leadership are playing a game of political chicken, forcing lawmakers to either publicly proclaim their opposition to the president, incurring the wrath of his supporters and maybe even a primary challenge, or show their support.

Or maybe not: as Citi describes today's main political event, "there's some confusion on what version of the bill will be voted on. The vote is on a procedural vote i.e. to allow the Senate to proceed to debate on the House-passed healthcare bill, which would then be followed by an open amendment process. Thus its the first step of a long road for repeal and replace healthcare legislation."

As one anonymous Senate aide "clarified" to the Hill: “Sometimes you have to stand up and be counted. You have to have a clarifying vote, and McConnell has done that before.” The problem is for the GOP, some have to be counted twice.

Right now, Susan Collins of Maine is the only confirmed “no” vote against beginning debate on either of the two plans: the Senate’s latest bill to repeal-and-replace, and its plan for a straight repeal. As many as seven other Republican Senators remain undecided on one or both measures, according to the New York Times.  Meanwhile, Trump has embraced the bully pulpit, threatening holdout Republicans on Monday in a series of tweets, and a statement from the Blue Room of the White House, where the president surrounded himself with “victims of Obamacare." He reminded Republicans that they made a “promise” to repeal and replace Obamacare seven years ago, then excoriated the holdouts for “not doing their jobs.”

“So far Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare, but now they have a chance to fix what has been broken this whole time,” Trump said.

He also took a few moments to bash Democrats as “obstructionist.” Unfortunately, lawmakers who ultimately vote in favor of either measure risk incurring the wrath of an organization that some believe holds more sway with voters than the White House: The AARP.

“AARP, the powerful lobby group that represents older Americans, urged the Senate to reject the measure and said it would communicate to members in key states how their senators voted.

 

“We will report to all 38 million AARP members how their Senators vote, via ads, our print publications, social media and more,” the group said Monday night on Twitter.”

According to the Hill, a recent Associated Press–NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll found that 27% of Republicans favor immediate repeal of Obamacare, while 54% want to repeal the law once there’s agreement on replacement legislation. And many conservative grassroots groups appear to support Trump’s plan. Jenny Beth Martin, the co-founder of the grassroots group Tea Party Patriots, told Bloomberg that, while it appears McConnell doesn’t have the votes, he is pushing “really hard” and that he’s working with the president to paint holdouts as supporters of the “status quo,” according to the Hill.

“His message is senators need to be for the motion to proceed or they’re for the status quo,” said Martin, who attended the meeting. “He would not be pushing it so hard, probably, if he had the votes lined up already.”

While there’s a slim chance McConnell could pull together a last-minute deal, it’s widely expected that, even if he succeeds in marshalling enough votes to begin debate, McConnell likely won’t be able to count on that support for a final up-down vote, according to Bloomberg. Furthermore, the Senate leadership is still considering last-minute changes to win the support of certain holdouts, like Pat Roberts of Kansas.

“Roberts said his main concern is the effect of spending cuts on rural hospitals that get Medicaid funds. ‘Under the current system, they’re just not going to be able to make it,’ Roberts said. ‘We’ve just got to figure out a way to make that work better.’

 

He said he was in touch over the weekend with Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s head of Medicare and Medicaid, and that her proposal to make up some funding with non-Medicaid money has potential.

 

‘It’s awfully difficult when people climb the tree and get out on a limb and say, ‘I’m going to vote no,’ the Kansas senator said. ‘For them to skinny back down that tree, that’s tough. And they have to have some very good reasons as to why that’s the case.’”

Even if the vote fails, there’s still some upside for McConnell, and maybe even Trump: It would demonstrate that what the Hill calls options A, B and C – the House plan, the Senate plan and straight-up repeal – aren’t viable, forcing the administration to consider a fourth option – moving on to another issue like "tax reform", although many Wall Street strategists have contended that a failure to repeal Obamacare would only make tax reform even more difficult, if not impossible.

At the end of the week, moving the agenda - any agenda - forward with or without a “1” in the points column will be McConnell’s biggest accomplishment.

As for today, here is Trump's summary tweeted out moments ago:

 

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 12:25 PM

Boy Genius Report

Amazon sale slashes $30 off the insanely popular Nest Cam

Nest Cam Amazon

They say you get what you pay for, and that’s definitely true when it comes Google’s wildly popular Nest Cam Indoor Security Camera. There are plenty of home security cameras out there that cost less money, but none of them off the quality, reliability, and top-notch user experience that you get from the Nest Cam. If you’ve been hesitant when it comes to picking one up because you didn’t want to spend quite so much cash, today is your lucky day. Amazon is slashing $30 off the Nest Cam for a limited time, so definitely grab one or two on sale while you can.

  • 24/7 live video: 130° wide-angle view and all-glass lens let you look after home in 1080p HD, day and night.
  • Alerts and snapshots: When Nest Cam detects activity, it can send a phone alert or email with a photo of the event.
  • Quick, easy setup: Plug in Nest Cam and download the Nest app to get started. No hub needed.
  • Talk & Listen: Nest Cam has a built-in speaker and microphone, and lets you talk and listen through the app. Speak up to get someone’s attention, or tell the dog to get off the couch.
  • Night vision done right: See the whole room at night — not just a limited spotlight view.
  • Comes with a free Nest Aware trial: Get intelligent alerts and continuous cloud recording. Create Activity Zones for more precise alerts. Make and share custom clips or timelapses. And more.

Nest Cam Indoor security camera, Works with Amazon Alexa: $167.99

Trending right now:

  1. Samsung’s beefier Galaxy S8 leaks in new video
  2. This massive fish species was somehow only just discovered
  3. A popular case maker just leaked new images of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8

by Maren Estrada at July 25, 2017 12:20 PM

RubyFlow

Clojure's interpose in Ruby

I wrote a post detailing how one might open up Enumerable to implement one of Clojure’s core functions. Whether one wants to open up Enumerable is left as an exercise for the reader :)

July 25, 2017 12:14 PM

Zero Hedge

Earnings Bonanza Sparks Dow Buying Panic As VIX Nears 8 Handle

Thanks to 'beats' by MCD, CAT, and UTX, The Dow is soaring in the pre-market - up over 110 points, back near record highs.

Despite GOOGL hovering near post-earnings lows (-2.8%), Nasdaq Futs are levitating along with S&P Futs...

as VIX is clubbed like a baby seal to 9.12...

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 12:13 PM

It's Nice That

Peckham Levels announces first 100 members of new co-working initiative

Peckham-levels-news-itsnicethat-4

Peckham Levels is a group led by community members and local representatives. Their goal, after a successful proposal to Southwark Council, is to transform the interior levels of Peckham’s “famous” multi-storey carpark into a new co-working initiative.

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by Ayla Angelos at July 25, 2017 12:07 PM

The Big Picture

Save the Date! Evidence Based Investment Conference NYC Nov. 2

    Exciting news! Our first Evidence-Based Investing Conference in New York City was a resounding success. We are doing it again, hosting the 2nd annual EBI conference on November 2nd in NYC (early registration now open). Last year was a full day of brilliant speakers, thoughtful panels, fireside chats and an opportunity to meet lots of…

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The post Save the Date! Evidence Based Investment Conference NYC Nov. 2 appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at July 25, 2017 12:00 PM

Wired Top Stories

Magical, Striking Scenes From ... Google Street View?

Jaqui Kenny roams the world searching for the perfect photo without ever leaving home.

by Laura Mallonee at July 25, 2017 12:00 PM

Zero Hedge

Caterpillar Hits All Time High After Raising Guidance On Chinese Construction Boom

As is customary for the heavy-industrial equipment manufacturer, Caterpillar yesterday reported its retail sales, one day ahead of earnings, and as we discussed, the number was solid with Caterpillar reporting the longest positive streak in retail sales going back 51 months.

It was also a hint as to what the Dow-member would report today for its second quarter earnings, which showed a surprisingly strong performance with CAT posting impressive Q2 Q2 EPS of $1.49, above the Est. $1.25, and revenue of $11.33Bn, also beating estimates of $10.89BN, both largely due to the ongoing Chinese construction boom as the company itself admitted.

"Our team delivered an impressive quarter. As demand increased, we continued to control costs and generated higher profit margins," said Caterpillar CEO Jim Umpleby. "While a number of our end markets remain challenged, construction in China and gas compression in North America were highlights in the quarter. Mining and oil-related activities have come off of recent lows, and we are seeing improving demand for construction in most regions."

But it was the company's aggressive upward guidance revision that has sent the stock, and the Dow, surging in the pre-market.

As the company said, "as a result of increased demand across many end markets and disciplined cost control, Caterpillar is raising its 2017 outlook" cautioning that "some risks remain in the outlook, including weakness in the Middle East and Latin America, as well as geopolitical and commodity risk."

Here is the new guidance:

  • CAT now expects FY revenue $42 billion to $44 billion, up $3 billion from the previous guidance provided in April, which was $38 billion to $41 billion, and well above the consensus estimate of $40.85BN .

Some more details from the press release:

In April 2017, Caterpillar provided an outlook range for full-year 2017 sales and revenues of $38 billion to $41 billion with a midpoint of $39.5 billion. The company is raising its full-year 2017 expectations for sales and revenues to a range of $42 billion to $44 billion with a midpoint of $43 billion.

 

For the full year of 2017, Caterpillar expects profit per share of about $3.50 at the midpoint of the sales and revenues outlook range, or adjusted profit per share of about $5.00. The previous outlook for 2017 profit was about $2.10 per share at the midpoint of the sales and revenues outlook, or adjusted profit per share of about $3.75. The company now expects to incur about $1.2 billion of restructuring costs in 2017. The outlook does not include potential mark-to-market gains or losses related to pension and other postemployment benefit (OPEB) plans.

 

"Given our performance in the first half of the year and current quotation and ordering activity, we are confident in raising our full-year 2017 outlook," continued Umpleby. "We remain focused on serving our customers, delivering strong operational performance and executing our ongoing restructuring activities. During the second half of 2017, we anticipate making targeted investments in initiatives that are important to our future competitiveness, including enhanced digital capabilities and accelerating technology updates to our products. We intend to do this without adding to the structural costs we've worked so hard to streamline. These investments will prepare us to take advantage of the growth opportunities ahead."

CAT also said it expects to make targeted investments during the second hald in initiatives that are important to "future competitiveness, including enhanced digital capabilities and accelerating technology updates" to products." But what really matters to CAT is what happens in China, and specifically the domestic housing sector, which as we showed last week, may have fizzled for Tier 1 cities, but is only getting started for Tier 2 through Tier 4.

Finally, the market is delighted with the results, and has sent the stock up over 4%, to a new all time high.

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 11:59 AM

It's Nice That

Somerset House will host season to celebrate African Art this autumn

Hassan-hajjaj-somersethouse-art-itsnicethat-list

On 5 October, Somerset House and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair are set to launch Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane.

Read more

by Bryony Stone at July 25, 2017 11:54 AM

Schneier on Security

Alternatives to Government-Mandated Encryption Backdoors

Policy essay: "Encryption Substitutes," by Andrew Keane Woods:

In this short essay, I make a few simple assumptions that bear mentioning at the outset. First, I assume that governments have good and legitimate reasons for getting access to personal data. These include things like controlling crime, fighting terrorism, and regulating territorial borders. Second, I assume that people have a right to expect privacy in their personal data. Therefore, policymakers should seek to satisfy both law enforcement and privacy concerns without unduly burdening one or the other. Of course, much of the debate over government access to data is about how to respect both of these assumptions. Different actors will make different trade-offs. My aim in this short essay is merely to show that regardless of where one draws this line -- whether one is more concerned with ensuring privacy of personal information or ensuring that the government has access to crucial evidence -- it would be shortsighted and counterproductive to draw that line with regard to one particular privacy technique and without regard to possible substitutes. The first part of the paper briefly characterizes the encryption debate two ways: first, as it is typically discussed, in stark, uncompromising terms; and second, as a subset of a broader problem. The second part summarizes several avenues available to law enforcement and intelligence agencies seeking access to data. The third part outlines the alternative avenues available to privacy-seekers. The availability of substitutes is relevant to the regulators but also to the regulated. If the encryption debate is one tool in a game of cat and mouse, the cat has other tools at his disposal to catch the mouse -- and the mouse has other tools to evade the cat. The fourth part offers some initial thoughts on implications for the privacy debate.

Blog post.

by Bruce Schneier at July 25, 2017 11:52 AM

The Big Picture

10 Tuesday AM Reads

My two -for-Tuesday morning train reads: • This one mistake can cost millennials millions (Washington Post) but see Here’s the Brutal Truth About Why Everybody Else Resents Millennials (Inc) • A Dozen Lessons on Investing from Ed Thorp (25iq) • Why Corrupt Bankers Avoid Jail (New Yorker) • The Future of Military Robotics Looks Like a Nature Documentary (War On The…

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

by Barry Ritholtz at July 25, 2017 11:49 AM

Zero Hedge

Gold Seasonal Sweet Spot – August and September – Coming

Gold Seasonal Sweet Spot – August and September – Coming

 - Gold seasonal sweet spot - August and September - is coming
- Gold's performance by month from 1979 to 2016 - must see table
- August sees average return of 1.4% and September of 2.5%
- September is best month to own gold, followed by January, November & August

 by Palisade Research

Looking back at gold’s performance since 1979, August and September are big months for the yellow metal. What is the cause? No one really knows but there are some theories that have been thrown around.

The adage “sell in May and go away” is common in the mining sector. Investors are back from vacation and ready to deploy their cash in a big way. Concurrently, the largest financial crashes have occurred in September and October, investors are also buying gold to hedge their portfolios.

Indian wedding season is huge for gold, and if you have ever been to a traditional Indian, its easy to see why India is the World’s largest consumer of gold jewelry. Throw Christmas into the mix, and you have the perfect retail storm.

Lastly, the European Central Bank and 20 other European central banks are currently governed by a Central Bank Gold Agreement, which ensures all banks operate with transparency and do not engage in large uncoordinated gold sales. The Agreement dictates the limit in sales, and resets every September, meaning the market may see less selling activity.

In the 38 years we used for the chart, August had only 14 years of negative returns, while September had 13. Regardless if these theories are true or not, its hard to ignore the decades of data that suggest the best months of gold are yet to come.

Gold’s Best Months Are Coming - Read here

GoldCore Comment
The precious metal's ‘summer doldrums’ period is coming to a close. Traditionally seasonal factors often result in weakness in gold and silver, particularly in May and June. This frequently creates an attractive buying opportunity for those seeking to allocate funds to the precious metals.

The data is compelling as seen in the Palisade table above. However, it is important to realise that the seasonal data is just another indicator and short term speculation should be avoided in favour of long term investment diversification.

It is important to focus on gold's value rather than simply its price. Gold's value is as an investment hedge and financial insurance against financial and monetary crises. There is a real of another global financial crisis in the coming months and in 2018 and hence the importance of owning physical gold and silver.

Owning physical coins and or bars in your possession and in allocated and most importantly in segregated accounts will continue to protect and grow wealth in the coming years.

Related Content

Gold Bullion Averages Biggest Seasonal Gains in September Over Past 20 Year -  Read here

Gold’s Sweet Spot – Strongest Months Are August, September, November And January - Read here

 

News and Commentary

Gold settles lower, ending 6-session streak of gains (MarketWatch.com)

Gold hits one-month high, eyes on Fed and dollar (Reuters.com)

U.S. Stocks Mixed as Dollar Stabilizes, Oil Gains (Bloomberg.com)

Gold settles lower, ending 6-session streak of gains (MarketWatch.com)

'Shrinkflation' has hit over 2,500 consumer products over the past five years (Telegraph.co.uk)

Source: US Funds

Putin's Chess Game Involves Involves Accumulating Gold, Alternative Payments and Ultimate Demise of the Dollar (DailyReckoning.com)

Too calm? Wall Street volatility collapses to lowest since 1993 – CNBC (CNBC.com)

Crash in bond markets, Fed mistake are investors’ biggest fears right now, survey finds (CNBC.com)

Where Chinese Millionaires Want to Live (Statista.com)

Greed is no longer good – bond boom comes to an end – Guardian (TheGuardian.com)

Success isn't just having lots of money - Success is fulfillment (CNBC.com)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

25 Jul: USD 1,252.00, GBP 960.78 & EUR 1,074.59 per ounce
24 Jul: USD 1,255.85, GBP 962.99 & EUR 1,077.64 per ounce
21 Jul: USD 1,247.25, GBP 958.89 & EUR 1,071.39 per ounce
20 Jul: USD 1,236.55, GBP 953.63 & EUR 1,075.06 per ounce
19 Jul: USD 1,239.85, GBP 950.84 & EUR 1,074.83 per ounce
18 Jul: USD 1,237.10, GBP 949.47 & EUR 1,071.82 per ounce
17 Jul: USD 1,229.85, GBP 940.71 & EUR 1,074.03 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

25 Jul: USD 16.31, GBP 12.52 & EUR 14.00 per ounce
24 Jul: USD 16.50, GBP 12.66 & EUR 14.17 per ounce
21 Jul: USD 16.43, GBP 12.63 & EUR 14.11 per ounce
20 Jul: USD 16.18, GBP 12.50 & EUR 14.07 per ounce
19 Jul: USD 16.23, GBP 12.44 & EUR 14.08 per ounce
18 Jul: USD 16.17, GBP 12.41 & EUR 13.99 per ounce
17 Jul: USD 16.07, GBP 12.30 & EUR 14.02 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

- Commercial Property Market In Dublin Is Inflated and May Burst Again
- Gold Hedges Against Currency Devaluation and Cost Of Fuel, Food, Beer and Housing
- Millennials Can Punt On Bitcoin, Own Gold and Silver For Long Term
- “Time To Position In Gold Is Right Now” says Jim Rickards
- Bloomberg Silver Price Survey – Median 12 Month Forecast Of $20
- “Bigger Systemic Risk” Now Than 2008 – Bank of England
- “Financial Crisis” Coming By End Of 2018 – Prepare Urgently
- Video – “Gold Should Probably Be $5000” – CME Chairman
- India Gold Imports Surge To 5 Year High – 220 Tons In May Alone
- “Silver’s Plunge Is Nearing Completion”
- China, Russia Alliance Deepens Against American Overstretch
- Silver Prices Bounce Higher After Futures Manipulated 7% Lower In Minute
- Precious Metals Are “Best Defence” Against Bail-ins In Economic Crisis


Important Guides

For your perusal, below are our most popular guides in 2017:

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Switzerland

Essential Guide To Storing Gold In Singapore

Essential Guide to Tax Free Gold Sovereigns (UK)

Please share our research with family, friends and colleagues who you think would benefit from being informed by it.

Special Offer – Gold Sovereigns at 3% Premium – London Storage

We have a very special offer on Sovereigns for London Storage today. Own one of the most popular and liquid of all bullion coins – Gold Sovereigns – at the lowest rates in the market for storage.

sovereign.png

  • Limited Gold Sovereigns (0.2354 oz) available
  • Pricing at spot + 3.0% premium
  • Allocated, segregated storage in London
  • Normally sell at spot gold plus 6.75% to 10%
  • One of most sought after bullion coins in the world
  • Mixed year, circulated bullion coins
  • Minimum order size is 20 coins

These coins are at a very low price and with limited amounts at these record low prices we expect them to sell out very fast.

Call our office today

UK +44 (0)203 086 9200
IRL +353 (0)1 632  5010
US +1 (302)635 1160

by GoldCore at July 25, 2017 11:47 AM

S Rajesh - Cricinfo magazine

A tournament of runs and sixes

While seamer Anya Shrubsole's six-for was the defining performance of the final, the rest of the tournament was largely dominated by the batsmen

July 25, 2017 11:46 AM

Boy Genius Report

Hands-on video demos more than 20 new features in Apple’s latest iOS 11 beta

iOS 11 Beta 4 Download

Apple on Monday released iOS 11 beta 4, which you can download and install on a supported iPhone, iPad Pro, or iPod touch right now, as long as you have access to a developer account or know how to trick your way into one. Apple should also release iOS 11 public beta 3 pretty soon, which is the easiest way to sign up for iOS betas if you’re not a developer.

So what’s new in iOS 11 beta 4? In addition to stability improvements and bug fixes, there are more than 20 new features in the latest beta release, as seen in the following video.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Samsung’s beefier Galaxy S8 leaks in new video
  2. A popular case maker just leaked new images of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8
  3. This massive fish species was somehow only just discovered

by Chris Smith at July 25, 2017 11:45 AM

swissmiss

Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: July 25

  • Dollar slumps to 13-month lows before Fed; euro up (Reuters)
  • Overwhelming approval likely for Russia bill (Reuters)
  • Trump to study tougher Russia sanctions bill: White House (Reuters)
  • Unrest bubbles among Trump's key foreign policy aides (Reuters)
  • Abe Overtaken by Rival as Top Choice for Japan Premier in Poll (BBG)
  • More U.S. Cars Are Made in Mexico (WSJ)
  • The Chipotle Corporate Sabotage Theory Returns (BBG)
  • McCain to return for pivotal Senate vote on healthcare (Reuters)
  • Kushner Faces Hostile Questioning by Dems on House Panel (BBG)
  • Chinese says interception of U.S. plane 'necessary' (Reuters)
  • Record-Low ECB Rates Are a €1 Trillion Government Windfall (BBG)
  • Dead Bodies Start Piling Up as Fuel Theft Booms in Mexico (BBG)
  • Uber ties up with AXA for drivers' accident cover in France (Reuters)
  • Can John Cryan Save Deutsche Bank From Itself? (BBG)
  • Oil extends gains as Saudi pledges export curbs (Reuters)
  • Australia to accept first Central American refugees under U.S. deal (Reuters)
  • U.S. judge halts deportation of more than 1,400 Iraqi nationals (Reuters)
  • Angry Lawmaker Singles Out ‘Female Senators’ Over Health Vote (BBG)
  • Israel removes Jerusalem metal detectors, Palestinians reject new measures (Reuters)
  • Saudi Dairy Farm May Use Cow Dung to Meet Power Needs (BBG)

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- President Donald Trump made a last-minute pitch to GOP senators urging them to vote Tuesday to begin debate on the health-care law, an exhortation that added to the pressures facing congressional Republicans. on.wsj.com/2uRDgK6

- Alphabet Inc said clicks on its ads surged 52 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier and Google Inc's revenue per click fell 23 percent in the quarter. The growth in the number of clicks helped boost second-quarter revenue 21 percent to $26.01 billion over a year prior. on.wsj.com/2uRS37G

- South Korea's Samsung conglomerate, best known for its smartphones and televisions, will make available in the U.S. its lower-price copy of Johnson & Johnson's blockbuster arthritis drug Remicade. on.wsj.com/2uS9QeT

- Saudi Arabia's Energy minister Khalid al-Falih said Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter, announced it would go further than cutting its production and would also limit its exports at 6.6 million barrels a day in August. on.wsj.com/2uRSBdK

- China has been bolstering defenses along its 880-mile frontier with North Korea and realigning forces in surrounding regions to prepare for a potential crisis across their border, including the possibility of a U.S. military strike. on.wsj.com/2uSw14J

- Mercedes-Benz parent Daimler AG is investing in a Chinese self-driving startup, in another instance of a Western auto maker seeking out a Chinese partner to get a foothold in a challenging market. on.wsj.com/2uRE3e2

- Barnes & Noble Inc is being pushed to sell itself by Sandell Asset Management, which says the beleaguered bookseller could benefit from fresh investment. on.wsj.com/2uRpgQI

- One of China's most acquisitive conglomerates, privately owned HNA Group, has unveiled a new ownership structure in a bid to eliminate doubt over who ultimately controls the group. on.wsj.com/2uSaUPV

 

FT

Alphabet Inc profits fell by more than a quarter after it was hit by a $2.7 billion fine by the European Commission, triggering the biggest decline in the internet group's net income since 2008.

Flavio Cattaneo, who stepped down as chief executive of Telecom Italia SpA over the weekend amid reports of a clash with majority shareholder Vivendi SA, will receive a 25 million euro payout, the company said on Monday.

The UK's Serious Fraud Office has launched an investigation into a 2011 payment made by Rio Tinto Plc to a consultant working on a controversial iron ore deposit in Guinea.

A restructuring by acquisitive Chinese conglomerate HNA has moved the ownership of a 29.5 per cent stake from a mysterious Chinese investor to a New York-registered non-profit, adding to the questions surrounding the governance of the company.

 

NYT

- Martin Shkreli said in court Monday that he would not testify in his own defense in his fraud trial, a turnaround from last week, when his lawyers told a judge that he had "insisted" on testifying. nyti.ms/2gYSmrw

- Fact-checking website Snope is locked in a legal battle saying it has drained the money it needs to survive. The site, which gets all of its revenue from advertising, created a crowdfunding page seeking $500,000 from readers to remain operational indefinitely. nyti.ms/2vUBHrv

- HNA Group said its largest shareholder Guan Jun, a private businessman in China, recently donated his 30 percent stake in the company to HNA's Hainan Cihang Charity Foundation. Combined with the 22.8 percent stake held by HNA's sister charity in China, HNA says it is now 52 percent owned by the Cihang foundations. nyti.ms/2tVlwZN

- Internet Brands, a KKR portfolio company, agreed to buy WebMD Health Corp for about $2.8 billion. Separately, KKR also said it would acquire a majority stake in Nature's Bounty from private equity rival Carlyle Group for an undisclosed amount. nyti.ms/2gYCwgm

 

Canada

The Globe and Mail

** Canada government is prepared to walk away from NAFTA negotiations if the Trump administration insists that dispute-settlement panels be removed from the accord, according to a senior official. Canada, the United States and Mexico will sit down on Aug. 16 for the first round of talks aimed at rewriting the North American free-trade agreement. tgam.ca/2uw7SON

** British Columbia Premier John Horgan will meet with the U.S. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross when he heads to Washington this week to make a case for a deal to resolve the softwood-lumber dispute, which threatens the province's single-largest export to the United States. tgam.ca/2usP44k

** Underwriters had little trouble selling Hydro One Ltd's C$1.4 billion ($1.12 billion) bought deal, which was announced last week with the utility's C$4.4 billion ($3.52 billion) acquisition of U.S.-based Avista Corp. The entire allocation of convertible debentures was sold within a day, say sources familiar with the financing. tgam.ca/2tG5yaJ

National Post

** Creative groups representing media producers, writers, directors and actors published a letter on Monday imploring Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Jolyare to overrule a decision by Canada's broadcast regulator that they argue will cut investments in made-in-Canada television programming by hundreds of millions of dollars. bit.ly/2uSYlnn

** The International Monetary Fund now expects Canada's gross domestic product to grow 2.5 percent this year, leading G7 growth, according to its latest World Economic Outlook. This is up from the prior forecast of 1.9 percent released in April. bit.ly/2vCuZXP

 

Britian

The Times

Banks are guilty of a "spiral of complacency" as lenders from credit card providers to car financiers have eased their lending standards and allowed borrowers to "rack up more and more debt", one of the Bank of England's leading officials has warned. bit.ly/2eJ4Zq3

Fraud investigators have opened an inquiry into possible corruption by Rio Tinto Plc in Guinea, nearly nine months after the miner reported itself to authorities in three countries over suspect payments. bit.ly/2eJdcdF

The Guardian

EasyJet Plc has announced the largest cabin crew intake in its 21-year history, with plans to hire more than 1,000 staff. bit.ly/2eJdpgX

The Telegraph

Convenience chain McColl's Retail Group Plc has confirmed it is retendering its 2 billion pounds ($2.60 billion) supply deal with retailer Nisa, in a potential blow to J Sainsbury Plc's planned 130 million pounds takeover of Nisa. bit.ly/2eJouih

A raft of top European companies will be forced to pull out of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project with Russia or face crippling sanctions under legislation racing through the U.S. Congress. bit.ly/2eJckWv

Sky News

More than 2,500 products have shrunk in size over the past five years, but are being sold for the same price, official figures show. It is not just chocolate bars that are affected by the so-called "shrinkflation" phenomenon, according to the Office for National Statistics. bit.ly/2eINiXA

The first phase of a four-year 246 million pounds government investment into battery technology has been launched in a move that could help bring down household electricity bills. bit.ly/2eJs6jZ

The Independent

Tesco Plc is rolling out its same-day grocery delivery service across the country as it aims to counter the threat posed by Amazon.com Inc. ind.pn/2eJdwJj

 

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 11:36 AM

Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

Regulators Question Wells Fargo Regarding Data Breach

Scrutiny a result of a lawyer's unauthorized release of sensitive information on tens of thousands of wealthy Well Fargo customers.

by Dark Reading Staff at July 25, 2017 11:30 AM

O'Reilly Radar

Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

Custom Source Code Accounts for 93% of App Vulnerabilities

A new study finds that third-party libraries account for 79% of the code found in apps, but only 7% of the vulnerabilities found in the software.

by Dark Reading Staff at July 25, 2017 11:13 AM

swissmiss

It's Nice That

Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer: the Stein sisters’ heart-warming film on child ballroom stars

Emily-and-alice-stein-hold-me-closer-tiny-dancer-film-itsnicethat-list

Filmmaking sister duo Emily and Alice Stein have returned to Emily’s photo series on young ballroom dancers, extrapolating on the subject with a heart-warming short film. Hold Me Closer Tiny Dancer focuses on one Neopolitan pair, Francesco Cesario and Chiara Morgese. It shows them in action, poised and immaculate, as well as giving glimpses to Chiara’s normal life. Shining a light on details such as her lace socks and Disney wallpaper, the film subtly contrasts the two sides of its subjects in a charming way.

Read more

by Jenny Brewer at July 25, 2017 11:07 AM

Zero Hedge

In Early Tweetstorm, Trump Lashes Out At Sessions For Ignoring "Hillary Crimes"

The feud between Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions started early on Tuesday, when President Trump, in an early tweetstorm lashed out at the attorney general whom he accused of taking a "VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes.”

“Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!” Trump tweeted.

Trump also asked the A.G. where is the investigation into "Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign... quietly working to boost Clinton."

In a follow up tweet, Trump also slammed the acting director of the FBI, Andrew McCabe, whom he implicitly accused of corruption for getting $700,000 from Hillary for his wife (which incidentally is accurate, as the WSJ described last October, in "Clinton Ally Aided Campaign of FBI Official’s Wife")

“Problem is that the acting head of the FBI & the person in charge of the Hillary investigation, Andrew McCabe, got $700,000 from H for wife!” he said on Twitter.

Today's animosity between Trump and Sessions was first unveiled in an interview with The New York Times last week, when Trump said he would have never hired his attorney general if he knew he would recuse himself from the probe into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia. Trump in a tweet Monday morning also asked why the "beleaguered A.G." wasn’t investigating ties between Clinton and Russia.

Overnight, the WaPo reported that Trump has floated possible replacements for Sessions including Sen. Ted Cruz and former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, although subsequently Giuliani said on Monday, however, that he’s not being considered for the position.

In addition to slamming Sessions, Trump also focused on today's big item, the latest Senate vote on the GOP Healthcare vote, which however remains in chaos as nobody knows what will be voted on just hours ahead of the actual vote. After berating Republicans for failing to repeal and replace Obamacare on Monday, Trump tweeted "Big day for HealthCare. After 7 years of talking, we will soon see whether or not Republicans are willing to step up to the plate! ObamaCare is torturing the American People.The Democrats have fooled the people long enough. Repeal or Repeal & Replace! I have pen in hand."

Today's Trump tweets followed a late night barrage against the WaPo/Amazon/Jeff Bezos (who is now about $2 billion away from becoming the world's richest man), in which Trump said "So many stories about me in the @washingtonpost are Fake News. They are as bad as ratings challenged @CNN. Lobbyist for Amazon and taxes?" and "Is Fake News Washington Post being used as a lobbyist weapon against Congress to keep Politicians from looking into Amazon no-tax monopoly?", prompting many to ask if Trump's much anticipated crackdown against Bezos has officially begun.

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 11:06 AM

Wired Top Stories

The Rise of AI Is Forcing Google and Microsoft to Become Chipmakers

The race to build up artificial intelligence is driving software companies to roll their own silicon.

by Tom Simonite at July 25, 2017 11:00 AM

At Comic-Con This Year, the Biggest Stars Were the Moderators

With Reggie Watts, Terry Crews, and Damon Lindelof descending on Hall H, the era of prestige panel moderation may be upon us.

by Angela Watercutter at July 25, 2017 11:00 AM

'Dunkirk' Ambushed Genre Movies at the Box Office–And Won

So much for our assumption that genre movies and comedies have an unshakeable stranglehold on the summer!

by Brian Raftery at July 25, 2017 11:00 AM

O'Reilly Radar

A lesson in prescriptive modeling

Simulate new business models and practices with open source code.

Continue reading A lesson in prescriptive modeling.

by Jerry Overton at July 25, 2017 11:00 AM

naked capitalism

Brand New

Reviewed: New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food

<h1>“I’m too Saxa for my Salt”</h1> <a href="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_packaging_for_saxa_by_robot_food.php"><img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_logo_before_after.png" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual" /></a> <p>First sold in 1907, Saxa is a brand of salt in the UK, considered to be one of its heritage brands by being a staple in the kitchen for more than 100 years. In 2007, it was purchased by food conglomerate <a href="http://www.premierfoods.co.uk/our-brands/brands-people-love" target="_blank">Premier Foods</a>. There is also <a href="http://www.saxa.com.au/" target="_blank">Saxa in Australia</a> but that's under separate ownership. Saxa -- UK -- recently introduced a new logo and packaging designed by Leeds, UK-based <a href="http://www.robot-food.com/" target="_blank">Robot Food</a>.</p> <blockquote>To many UK households, Saxa <em>is</em> salt. Saxa has been around since 1907 and is one of the UK's better known heritage brands. Premier Foods asked Robot Food to reinvigorate this trusted brand with a stronger, fresher purpose, contemporary appeal and to give it pride of place again in UK kitchens.<br /><br />The previous serif logo font was refined and the holding device was simplified. A contemporary sans serif was introduced for the variant name and descriptor, while 'Est. 1907' reinforces the heritage.</blockquote><h3>Robot Food provided text</h3> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_logo.png" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Full logo.</figcaption> </figure> <p>I wasn't familiar with Saxa before but without reading about it and just looking at the packaging and logo you can tell this is one of those brands you take for granted and that you buy because you need it, not because you want it. Resisting to do a complete overhaul and introduce a geometric sans serif, the logo is a simple but elegant update to the slab serif typography that, lacking any cleverness or visual excitement, is simply meant to convey, "Here is your salt; you're welcome", without trying to allude to any backstory about salt being shepherded from the Himalayas by those goats that can go on the side of cliffs or whatever. I like that they were able to even salvage the awkward holding shape and how they took out the old swooshes in it (as seen in the old packaging below) and left a tilted holding shape.</p> <blockquote>The team uncovered a wealth of relevant themes and ideas, including how Saxa empowers 'intuitive home cooks' with choice and inspiration to make flavour come alive in every home. Armed with a clear design strategy, Robot Food took a thoroughly modern, upbeat and focused approach, leveraging Saxa's rich heritage by simplifying key brand assets and amplifying the most relevant equities.</blockquote><h3>Robot Food provided text</h3> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_before.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Product range, before.</figcaption> </figure> <p>The old packaging looked cheap, even for a cheap product. Especially the main fine salt tube with the grid of food photos that, on a scale from cardboard to 10, ranked near the bottom in terms of being appetizing. The other ones were not so bad, except for the exaggerated steam coming out of the food and, well, yeah, the typography on all those was pretty coarse.</p> <blockquote>The result is bold and expressive. Strikingly simple abstract cues represent the type of salt and communicate the flair Saxa brings to cooking. Taking inspiration from the sea, the sea salt products' dashes and swirls evoke freedom of culinary expression and the invigorating experience of ocean waves. The coarse rock salt product is differentiated with a blocky design that evokes the texture of the natural rocks from which the salt is mined. As the original pack format was a key asset, the team stayed loyal, choosing to use the iconic drum shape to strengthen Saxa's well-established brand recognition.</blockquote><h3>Robot Food provided text</h3> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_before_after.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Packaging, before and after.</figcaption> </figure> <blockquote>Matte packaging gives a tactile, premium feel, and the result is a great-looking, clearly united, complementary salt range for the intuitive or creative home cook.</blockquote><h3>Robot Food provided text</h3> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_new_all.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Product range, after.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_new_hero.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <hr /> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_new_hero_.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Hero salt shots.</figcaption> </figure> <p>The new, main fine salt packaging kinda kicks ass. It's red. And I love that that's it. It's red, it has the logo, and it tells you what it is. It's not fuzzy, it's not fancy, it's just salt. Clear and efficient.</p> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_sea_salt_01.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <hr /> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_sea_salt_02.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Sea salt.</figcaption> </figure> <p>The more "specialty" variations are also kept nicely in check without going overboard and introducing two, very simple background illustrations, one that looks sea-ish, the other that looks rock-ish, both nicely complementing the red of the logo. The typography throughout is simple and utilitarian, keeping things very straightforward.</p> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_rock_salt_01.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <hr /> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/saxa_packaging_rock_salt_02.jpg" alt="New Logo and Packaging for Saxa by Robot Food" /> <figcaption>Rock salt.</figcaption> </figure> <p class="end">Overall, this seems like a limited, almost basic redesign but it improves on the heritage of the brand in every way and it keeps the design reigned in so that -- just as the 100 years before -- this is the basic salt you need in your kitchen and it has not been turned into an artisanal something or other, it's just plain, accessible, no-fuss salt.</p> <p class="red">Please read the title of this post to <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vziUC1IT0wo" target="_blank">this tune</a>.<p><p class="red">PS. I'm sorry.</p><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ucllc/brandnew/~4/ndG8HHVopmE" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

July 25, 2017 10:54 AM

Boy Genius Report

We finally have a launch date for Nokia’s first ‘iPhone killer’

Nokia 8 Release Date

More than 10 years have passed since the first iPhone hit stores, but Nokia was never able to come up with a decent iPhone rival. An undisputed leader in the mobile business when the iPhone arrived, Nokia had to die a slow and painful death before it embraced Android. Fast forward to today, and we already have there Nokia-branded Android handsets in stores. Furthermore, HMD Global, the company making these handsets, is about to launch the first flagship phone that does two critical things: It runs the latest Android version, and it displays a Nokia logo.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Samsung’s beefier Galaxy S8 leaks in new video
  2. Apple is working on a major change for future iPhones, and Samsung is in trouble
  3. A popular case maker just leaked new images of Samsung’s Galaxy Note 8

by Chris Smith at July 25, 2017 10:50 AM

Zero Hedge

S&P Futures Bounce As VIX Hammered, Europe "Euphoric"

After sliding to 3 month lows on "car cartel" concerns yesterday, European stocks have rebounded after three days of declines, while oil extended gains after Saudi export cuts, with Brent rising above $49 and WTI just shy of $47. Asian stocks fell while S&P futures rose 0.2% to 2,473, putting yesterday's GOOGL drop on plunging Costs-Per-Click in the rearview mirror.

Helping today's episode of global, pervasive complacency is the VIX which was hammered early by 3% in early Tuesday trading, down to 9.17. As previewed on Monday, the dollar rebounded after dropping to its lowest since August as investors await Wednesday’s U.S. interest rate decision; the greenback strength sent Gold lower for the first time in four days.

US TSYs sell-off in relatively heavy volume after a large futures block trade in London hours and Bunds decline as strong German IFO data weighs. The dollar rallied from overnight low against G-10 and UST move helps USD/JPY trade through yesterday’s high.

Most European industry sectors rose as the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 0.5%, with banks leading the way as German 2s10s curve steepens and ahead of bank earnings later this week, helping the DAX regain some of the recently lost ground, although as the chart below shows it has a way to go before catching up with the MSCI World Stocks index which remains just shy of all time highs.

Emerging-market equities fell after gaining in 10 of the past 11 days, on the back The greenback strengthened with the euro, which flirted once again with its highest level in two years after German business confidence data beat expectations. Saudi Arabia’s promise to further cut crude exports pushed Brent to under $1 of $50. Overnight, the Euro got a boost after ECB's Mersch stated monetary accommodation is still needed and ongoing expansion in the euro area offers confidence but stated that "risks to the euro area growth may be to the upside" and that headline inflation is dampened by weak energy prices, but added that underlying inflation is to rise gradually.

The Euro got a boost as German business morale hit new high, with firms "euphoric" according to the Munich based Ifo economic institute that compiles the data from 7,000 of them in Europe's largest economy. "Hardly anything seems to be able to hit the German economy," Ifo economist Klaus Wohlrabe added, saying German business was experienced in managing the impact of exchange rate moves following the euro's sharp rise.

The Australian dollar rose less than 0.1 percent after erasing an earlier decline. Attention turns to two key events on Wednesday: June quarterly inflation data and a speech on the labor market and monetary policy from Reserve Bank of Australia Governor Philip Lowe. Japan’s Topix index lost 0.3 percent. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index added 0.7 percent. South Korea’s Kospi index retreated 0.5 percent.  The Hang Seng Index was little changed while the Shanghai Composite Index slipped 0.2 percent. Strong rally in base metals, led by copper with most noting potential demand growth from China; U.K. mining stocks supported through the equity open.

The Fed starts a two-day meeting later in the day to discuss its monetary stance and the timing of its long-awaited balance sheet reduction, a plan most likely to be detailed in September. “Any major policy announcement is more likely when Chair Janet Yellen faces the press following the September meeting,” J&E Davy Holdings Ltd. analyst David McNamara wrote in a note. “For now the Fed remain on track for a couple more rate hikes at least this year, with most members believing the recent softness in inflation to be temporary.”

The political troubles of President Donald Trump’s White House continue to mount, with investigations into his pre-election links to Russia deepening. There is also growing anxiety about the United States hitting another debt ceiling in October with few moves to potentially offset that.

"We may seem some consolidation here from the dollar but fundamentally our bearish view on it remains," UniCredit Global Head of FX Strategy Vasileios Gkionakis told Reuters. "What the Fed says tomorrow is the million dollar question... but the risk is that they sound a bit more cautious after the fourth consecutive downside surprise in inflation."

Greek government borrowing costs meanwhile hovered near their lowest level since 2010, as the country sought to sell its first longer-dated bond in three years. Some five years since European Central Bank Mario Draghi pledged to do "whatever it takes" to preserve the euro, the debt sale by the euro zone's weakest economy is the clearest sign yet of the bloc's recovery from a crippling debt crisis.

Elsewhere in rates, the yield on 10-year Treasuries increased two basis points to 2.27 percent, the highest in more than a week. Germany’s 10-year yield rose one basis point to 0.52 percent. Britain’s 10-year yield also added one basis point to 1.194 percent. France’s 10-year yield climbed one basis point to 0.763 percent, the first advance in more than a week. The gap between Italian and German 10-year bond yields narrowed to its smallest since December 2016 at 153 basis points.

Companies scheduled to report earnings include AT&T, Amgen and 3M. Economic data include conference board consumer confidence.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 2,470.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 381.00
  • MSCI Asia Pacific down 0.2% to 159.17
  • MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan down 0.09% to 526.11
  • Nikkei down 0.1% to 19,955.20
  • Topix down 0.3% to 1,617.07
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.02% to 26,852.05
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,243.69
  • Sensex up 0.03% to 32,257.09
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 5,726.60
  • Kospi down 0.5% to 2,439.90
  • German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to 0.514%
  • Euro up 0.09% to 1.1653 per US$
  • Brent Futures up 1% to $49.06/bbl
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 1.7 bps to 1.763%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.2 bps to 1.483%
  • Brent futures up 1% to $49.06/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,252.28
  • U.S. dollar Index unchanged at 93.98

Top Overnight News

  • McCain Returns to D.C. for Health Fight; Alphabet Falls on Rising Traffic Costs; Copper Jumps, Leading Industrial Metals
  • Senate Republican leaders and President Donald Trump appear determined to begin a floor debate Tuesday on repealing Obamacare in a highly unorthodox way -- without lawmakers knowing what they’ll be voting on or where it might end up
  • The U.S. House is poised to vote on a bill to strengthen sanctions against Russia and prevent President Donald Trump from unilaterally lifting penalties, after the measure was delayed by procedural concerns and objections from energy companies
  • Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. agreed to buy Jimmy Choo Plc for about 896 million pounds ($1.2 billion), as the maker of handbags popular with the commuter set seeks to restore lost luster by adding “Sex and the City” stilettos
  • Greece has fired the starting gun on its first issue of new bonds since 2014, testing whether investors will back its recovery from a debt crisis that forced it to seek multiple international bailouts
  • Carlyle Group LP is seeking $15 billion for its next U.S. fund for what could be the largest pool ever focused on buyouts in the region
  • Hedge funds are still holding large bearish bets against oil and OPEC, yet out in the real world traders and refiners buying and selling actual barrels say it’s starting to look somewhat more bullish
  • German business climate improved for a sixth month, hitting a record high in July
  • House Poised to Add Russia Sanctions With Curbs on Trump’s Power
  • Alphabet Falls on Concern About Rising Google Traffic Costs
  • Michael Kors to Buy Jimmy Choo for About $1.2 Billion
  • German Business Climate Hits Record as Economy Proves Robust
  • Saudi Alliance Says Qatar’s Action Not Enough to End Crisis
  • Elon Musk Says Zuckerberg’s Understanding of AI Is ‘Limited’
  • EU Asks Google, Facebook, Twitter to Make More Changes to Terms
  • Copper Heads for Highest Close Since ‘15 as Rally Picks Up Steam
  • Nasdaq Agrees to Acquire Sybentix to Beef Up Trade Surveillance
  • Wal-Mart and JD Deepen Chinese Logistics, Customer Integration
  • Beximco Pharma Gets FDA Approval for Methocarbamol
  • Quants Unlock Iron Ore’s Secrets as BNP Says Yuan Is the Key
  • Government Shutdown Odds Grow With GOP Border Wall Funding Bill

Asian markets maintained the mixed tone seen on Wall Street where earnings remained in focus and tech outperformed, which pushed the Nasdaq to fresh record highs before a continued drop in Alphabet's cost-per¬clicks resulted to an after-market pullback in futures. ASX 200 (+0.9%) outperformed as broad-based gains buoyed the index, while Nikkei 225 (-0.1%) traded indecisive and at the mercy of JPY price action. Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) and Hang Seng (Unch.) were choppy as concerns of tighter regulatory scrutiny persisted, and although the PBoC reduced its liquidity operation by more than half, this was still a respectable CNY 140bln injection. 10yr JGBs were flat amid an inconclusive risk tone in the region, while today's 40yr auction also failed to spur demand despite the b/c at its highest since February 2015, as this was also accompanied by a decline in lowest accepted prices. BoJ meeting minutes for June 15th - 16th meeting state that members agreed policy needs to be keep easy as price target is still distant. Highlights:

  • Financial conditions were highly accommodative
  • Inflation expectations remain in a weakening phase
  • Overseas economies continue to grow at a moderate pace overall
  • Japan's economy has been turning towards a moderate expansion
  • One member said BoJ should set asset purchases as target

ECB's Mersch stated monetary accommodation is still needed and ongoing expansion in the euro area offers confidence. Mersch also stated that risks to the euro area growth may be to the upside and that headline inflation is dampened by weak energy prices, but added that underlying inflation is to rise gradually.

Top Asia News

  • Ishiba Overtakes Abe as Top Choice for Japan Premier in Poll
  • Indonesia Flags Risk of Forest Fires That Triggered 2015 Haze
  • SoftBank Is Said to Mull Buying Stake in Bharti Airtel: CNBC
  • HNA Is Said to Have Parked Shareholdings With Mystery Investor

European bourses trade green across the board, financials out-perform, likely a carry on to a strong Q2 earnings start for the banking stocks. German Ifo was the key piece of data for the morning, where beats were seen across the report. Despite earnings, stock specific news has largely been dictated by takeover talk, with Jimmy Choo confirming an offer from Michael Kors, being followed by reports that Shell and Softbank are among potential suitors considering bidding for renewable energy firm Equis for potentially USD 5bn. Fixed income markets were led by German paper in early trade, as a large sell order was followed by the aforementioned strong German Ifo data. BTP's have outperformed, after hitting a new high at 137.17, with the Italian yields still managing to hold above 2.00%.

Top European News

  • Ifo July German Business Confidence Index at 116.0, Est. 114.9
  • UPM Falls, Pulling Down Stora Enso; DNB Sees Softness in Paper
  • Kumba Resumes Dividend as Earnings Jump After Iron Ore Recovery
  • Intertrust Shares Slump as Company Cuts Full-Year Margin Target

In currencies, EUR/USD saw a slight bid following the Ifo beat, marginally so, continuing to trade in the day's range, with similar price action seen in EUR/GBP, with the pair quickly retracing the move. The Kiwi saw some brief, rare selling pressure, amid news that New Zealand Officials stated that a contagious disease has been found in 14 cattle. With New Zealand being one of the top five largest exporters of beef, this weighed on the Kiwi dollar. The volatility in NZD led into early European trade, and despite NZD/USD bouncing ahead of 0.74, a Kiwi recovery was not seen in AUD/NZD, trading though overnight highs in the European session. A 1.07 test in AUD/NZD is possible, as the week's high is set to act as intra-day resistance. The Japanese risk event overnight was the BoJ meeting minutes for June 15th — 16th meeting; the highlight stating that members agreed policy needs to be keep easy as price target is still distant. Despite a modest uptick following the release, and some buying following, the 11.30/50 area continues to act as intraday resistance, and following the rejection of this level once again, the market has been pushed to look to test 110.60 lows.

In commodities, energy traders will await the API report following the wall street closing bell this evening, with Oil markets trading subdued following the OPEC led volatility yesterday. The precious metals trade marginally lower, as mild money flow into equities has been clear, further weighed upon by strong numbers out of Germany. Gold does trade at the top of a July uptrend however, slowing down around the 1257.50 area (23 June High).

Taking a look now at the day ahead, we will see house price data for May in the form of the FHFA House Price Index (+0.5% mom expected) and the S&P House Price indices. We will also get the July readings for the conference board consumer confidence indicator (116.5 expected; 118.9 previous) and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (7 expected; 7 previous. Away from the data, the US secretary of Commerce will address the economic club of Washington and BOE Haldane speaks. Notable US companies reporting include: AMD, McDonalds, 3M, Texas instruments, Caterpillar, AT&T and GM.

US Event Calendar

  • 9am: FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.7%
  • 9am: S&P CoreLogic CS 20-City MoM SA, est. 0.3%, prior 0.28%; CS 20-City YoY NSA, est. 5.75%, prior 5.67%
  • 10am: Conf. Board Consumer Confidence, est. 116.5, prior 118.9; Present Situation, prior 146.3; Expectations, prior 100.6
  • 10am: Richmond Fed Manufact. Index, est. 7, prior 7

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

There wasn't much heat in markets yesterday and we saw a day of mixed sentiment across broader European and US equity markets although the VIX did hit an intra day low of 9.26 (closed at 9.43) in late trading which would have been the all time low. The NASDAQ (+0.4%) hit fresh all time highs. If there was a story to keep on your radar it's that yesterday saw the US T-bill curve invert after a weak 3m auction. There's chatter that autumnal debt ceiling fears are creating some worries.

Back to equities, in Europe the STOXX dipped by -0.2% on the day which can be traced to some weaker PMI data out yesterday (discussed further below). However the market dynamics were more uneven across regions: the DAX (-0.3%) and FTSE (-1.0%) both posted losses while the CAC (+0.2%) and FTSE MIB (+0.6%) rose on the day. To be fair the lows of the day were early in the European session and the rest of the day was spent slowly recovering. Most sectors posted a loss though with the Automobile sector as the worst performer at -1.2%, while the STOXX Banks index was the top performer as it gained +0.8% on the day ahead of a number reporting this week. Over in the US the S&P 500 (-0.1%) and Dow (-0.3%) were both down. Nearly all S&P 500 sectors were in the red although financials were the best performer and rose by +0.3% on the day, followed by IT (+0.25%).

This morning in Asia, markets have been quiet and slightly on the softer side with the Nikkei (-0.1%), Kospi (-0.1%), Hang Seng (flat) and the 3 Chinese bourses down around 0.2-0.3%. Alphabet shares fell as much as -3.5% after hours last night after a disappointing earnings report.

On the US political links with Russia, during a 2.5 hours Q&A with Senate investigators, White House advisor Kushner denied he “…colluded with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so..”. That said, he also confirmed 4 contacts with Russians during the presidential campaign, but the “encounters were unmemorable”.

The ongoing saga to repeal Obamacare also continues. Trump remains defiant, warning Senate Republicans that anyone who votes not to take up debate of the bill today is saying they are “fine with the Obamacare nightmare.” Realistically, Republicans have been struggling to find a replacement plan that can attract >50 votes in the Senate, even though the party has a 52-48 majority. Nonetheless, Senator Cornyn appears to be fighting to the end, noting yesterday that “if for some reason we aren’t able to muster the votes tomorrow…it’s not the end of it….” For now, we wait and watch.

Back to yesterday and over in government bond markets, we saw the German Bund curve unchanged to slightly lower across all maturity points (2Y: -2bps; 10Y: unch). OATs (2Y: -1bp; 10Y: unch) and BTPs (10Y:  -2bps) also saw yields broadly flat to slightly lower across maturities, while Gilts saw yields rise across all points of the curve (2Y: +1bp; 10Y: +1bp). Over in the US Treasury yields were higher across all maturity points (2Y: +2bps; 10Y: +2bp).

Over in FX markets, the US dollar index posted a rare recent gain (+0.2%) following two weeks where it has cumulatively dropped by over -2%. Sterling was also up on the day by +0.2%, while the Euro saw its rally pause for breath as it dropped by -0.2% on the day. Over in commodity markets crude oil was up on the day (WTI +1.4%) although other segments of the energy sector posted some losses. Oil was helped by Saudi Arabia pledging big export cuts and also Halliburton suggesting the shale boom was slowing. The metals sector saw precious metals flat to marginally lower (Gold: +0.0%; Silver -0.1%) while industrial metals were a mixed bag with copper gaining (+0.8%) while aluminium was lower (-0.1%).

We also got a look at the latest CSPP numbers out yesterday. Net CSPP purchases averaged €145mn/day last week, well below the €361mn average since the program started. This was a very slow CSPP week, even  by last summer's standards (only the Christmas break lull is comparable). With PSPP purchases at €12.1bn, the weekly CSPP/PSPP flow ratio dropped to 6% which is less than half of the historical average. However much of this may be noise due to the summer lull and it remains difficult to conclude much from these dynamics. Staying with credit, Michal Jezek on my team published a note yesterday on his views on credit curves in Europe. The piece notes that while credit curves are expectedly steep given the current macro environment and sound corporate fundamentals, future changes will depend on how good a macro outlook is being priced in already and what the contribution of ECB QE technicals has been. Given our views about the likely combination of macro fundamentals and market technicals going forward, we maintain a flattening bias. We also highlight key curve trade strategies around these views.

Taking a look at yesterday’s calendar, the key numbers in Europe were the manufacturing, services and composite PMIs for France, Germany and the Eurozone. The Euro Area composite PMI disappointed as it pulled back more than expected (55.8 vs. 56.2 expected; 56.3 previous). As the services PMI reading was steady on the month as expected (55.4 vs. 55.4 expected; 55.4 previous), the fall in the composite can be largely attributed to the unexpectedly large drop in the manufacturing PMI (56.8 vs. 57.2 expected; 57.4 previous). France and Germany also saw their composite PMIs disappoint after dropping to 55.7 (vs. 56.4 expected; 56.6 previous) and 55.1 (vs. 56.3 expected; 56.4 previous) respectively. However France actually saw its manufacturing PMI unexpectedly rise to 55.4 (vs. 54.6 expected; 54.8 previous) while the drop in the composite was largely due to the fall in the services PMI (55.9 vs. 56.7 expected; 56.9 previous). Germany on the other hand saw both its manufacturing (58.3 vs. 59.2 expected; 59.6 previous) and services (53.5 vs. 54.3 expected; 54.0 previous) disappoint.

Over in the US we also got the Markit PMI numbers, where the composite ticked up to 54.2 (53.0 previous) primarily off an unexpectedly large gain in the manufacturing PMI to 53.2 (vs. 52.3 expected; 52.0 previous) as services remained steady (as expected) on the month at 54.2. Away from PMIs the US also saw existing home sales data for June that came fell more than expected to 5.52m (vs. 5.57m expected; 5.62m previous).

Taking a look now at the day ahead. In Europe we will open with various July confidence indicators out of France, which will be followed by the July IFO business climate (114.9 expected) and expectations (106.5 expected) readings for Germany. Over in the US we will see house price data for May in the form of the FHFA House Price Index (+0.5% mom expected) and the S&P House Price indices. Thereafter we will also get the July readings for the conference board consumer confidence indicator (116.5 expected; 118.9 previous) and the Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index (7 expected; 7 previous).

Away from the data, the US secretary of Commerce will address the economic club of Washington and BOE Haldane speaks. Notable US companies reporting include: AMD, McDonalds, 3M, Texas instruments, Caterpillar, AT&T and GM.

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 10:49 AM

swissmiss

Forwards Always

Forwards Always is a collection of poems to be read aloud. According to the author the book is a toy, a script, a game and a puzzle. And the poems are activated through performance and play. How you choose to make sense of them is up to you and your audience. Apparently there is a good one about melons.

Made me smile.

by swissmiss at July 25, 2017 10:47 AM

It's Nice That

Three female art directors on collaboration, competition and confidence

Alexandravoicu_alienation_7-mastered-itsnicethat-list

The art direction of a project can make or break it. In fashion it requires the management and balance of both the artistic and design elements to create something that both the client and audience can engage with. It’s a competitive job that thrives on meeting people and creating opportunities, and also requires an unshakeable passion.

Read more

by Sponsored Content at July 25, 2017 10:32 AM

(Jai Arjun) Jabberwock

The music man and his treasure bag: songs in Aashirwad

[My song-sequences series for Mint Lounge, continued]
--------------------------------

When I heard of the passing of Sumita Sanyal last week, my first memory was of an elegant young woman, restrained in expression and movement, lip-synching to three songs in Hrishikesh Mukherjee films. The best known of those is “Na Jeeya Laage Na” from Anand; the other two are from the 1968 Aashirwad, in which Sanyal plays Neena, the daughter of the film’s lovable protagonist Jogi Thakur (Ashok Kumar).

If I were to make a best-of list based on only fragments or passages of films, Aashirwad would occupy a very high spot on it. This movie has a dual personality. Much of it, especially the formulaic second half, follows the template of the 1960s social drama-tearjerker. The plot is busy and familiar: a good-hearted man is imprisoned because of the machinations of others; a village is destroyed by a fire started by unscrupulous land-owners; the hero doesn’t get to see his child grow up; years later, there is a tearful reunion.


Yet there is another, more dynamic, formally experimental Aashirwad below this safe surface. Watching parts of the film, it feels like a group of friends had decided to record their informal addas for posterity, to share their love for classical music with the world. The main members of this group would be Mukherjee (who was a proficient sitar-player himself), music director Vasant Desai, the wonderfully impish Harindranath Chattopadhyay (who plays Jogi Thakur’s friend and music-teacher Baiju), the young Gulzar (who wrote the lyrics that had not already been penned by Chattopadhyay) – and of course, Ashok Kumar, who rarely had such a grand old time in a film as he does here.

Kumar, one of Hindi cinema’s giants, had a long career that encompassed both the bashful leading man of the 1930s – one of our first male stars – and the jolly dadaji (grandfather) figure of the 1980s. In the decades between those poles, he spent much of his time as a sombre character actor watching while younger stars did the fun stuff. For instance, he could seem so staid compared to his madcap younger brother Kishore (an indelible image from Chalti ka Naam Gaadi: the three brothers standing side by side, Kishore and Anoop wisecracking away while “serious” Ashok stands stoically in the middle, just about tolerating their tomfoolery). Or watch him all stiff and embarrassed, a fish out of the Hooghly, while Madhubala sings “Dekh ke Teri Nazar” in Howrah Bridge – he looks very far from someone who might wholeheartedly participate in a song sequence.

That’s misleading, though: he was trained in music, and Aashirwad – made more than thirty years after he chirped “Main Bann ki Chidiya” in Achhut Kannya – is the rare film of its era that fully tapped this side of him. The results are often magical.

We use terms like “suspension of disbelief” for most Hindi-film song sequences where the characters (who are not musical performers within the narrative) sing to each other. But a different sort of tension can come into play when the characters are artistes, and Aashirwad’s most inventive scenes involve Jogi Thakur as singer, storyteller and creator of worlds. The best-known song is probably the children’s rhyme “Rail Gaadi”, written by Chattopadhyay years earlier and sung by Kumar – for a group of children – in the rapid-fire style that saw it labeled India’s first rap number. But there are other terrific musical interludes. Consider “Kaanon ki ek Nagri Dekhi” and “Jhingaapur Takur Takur”, in which two men (Jogi Thakur and Baiju) carry on an intense yet playful jugalbandhi, exchanging banter as they create new “bol”, including nonsense rhymes, on the spot. Even when the camera only cuts between their faces (occasionally providing close-ups of Baiju’s hands playing his dholak), the effect is anything but static. In scenes like these, it feels like the film has done away with such perfunctory things as narrative, and entered a vibrant new realm.

Of course, it isn’t that simple. All these scenes do contribute to our understanding of Jogi Thakur, who believes that music and stories have an equalizing power. The nine-minute-long song “Saaf Karo Insaaf Karo”, in which Jogi Thakur and Baiju play a game of riddles with Lavani dancers, provides the film’s finest demonstration of how differences between groups – men and women, upper class and lower class, performers and audience – can temporarily be erased by a shared love for art and performance.


Another of my favourite sequences is “Neena ki Nani ki Naav”, in which Jogi Thakur uses a bioscope, and a song, to tell children the story of a “naav” (boat) that contains apparently limitless treasures. The sound of water fills the soundtrack; we see crayon drawings and cut-outs of the many items and creatures – “tokri mein ek billi ka bacha” (a kitten in a basket) – in the boat. And then he describes a crocodile stealthily coming up, stealing everything and dragging it away.

This scene works as an entertaining interlude for kids – the sort that we innocently loved when it played on Chitrahaar in the old days – but it is also a dark foreshadowing. With hindsight, the naav can be likened to the bagful of stories and songs that Jogi Thakur carries around with him, to spread joy. And soon, all this will be taken away by sharp-fanged predators. It is a fine example of a musical sequence that manages to be whimsical, apparently standalone, but is also essential to the film’s purpose, and to our sympathy for the main character.
---------------------------------

[Earlier Mint Lounge columns here. And here's an earlier piece about the Aashirwad song "Saaf Karo Insaaf Karo"]

by Jabberwock (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2017 10:29 AM

Nvidia gave away its newest AI chips for free — and that's part of the reason why it's dominating the competition

Nvidia gave away its newest AI chips for free — and that's part of the reason why it's dominating the competitionOne wouldn't think that giving away your best product is a winning business strategy, but for...


July 25, 2017 10:23 AM

Zero Hedge

Did The Dutch Central Bank Lie About Its Gold Bar List?

Submitted by Koos Jansen, BullionStar.com

Head of the Financial Markets Division of the Dutch central bank, Aerdt Houben, stated in an interview for newspaper Het Financieele Dagblad published in October 2016 that releasing a bar list of the Dutch official gold reserves “would cost hundreds of thousands of euros”. In this post we’ll expose this is virtually impossible - the costs to publish the bar list should be close to zero - and speculate about the far reaching implications of this falsehood. 

Recap

This story started a couple of years ago. As I am Dutch and concerned not only about my own financial wellbeing but of my country as well, I commenced inquiring my national central bank about the whereabouts and safety of our gold reserves in late 2013. One of my first actions was submitting the local equivalent of a Freedom Of Information Act - in Dutch WOB - to De Nederlandsche Bank (DNB) in order to obtain all written communication of the past decades between DNB and the Federal Reserve Bank Of New York (FRBNY). In 2013 I knew a large share of the Dutch gold was stored at the FRBNY, which I deemed to be an unnecessary risk. In a crisis situation, for example, the US government would be able to confiscate Dutch gold stored on American soil. Unfortunately, DNB responded it’s exempt from certain WOB requests under the banking law from 1998, article 3. (I thought the WOB hit a dead end, though recent developments have changed my mind regarding the legitimacy of the rejection. In a forthcoming post more on my WOB from 2013.)

Subsequently, on 21 November 2014 DNB shocked the financial world by announcing it had covertly repatriated 123 tonnes of gold from the FRBNY vaults. Did DNB question the trustworthiness of the FRBNY like myself? Most likely, as I see few other reasons for repatriating, next to losing trust in the international monetary system itself. The gold wasn’t sold in the Netherlands, as our gold reserves have remained unchanged at 612 tonnes since 2008. Apparently DNB felt safer having less gold stored at the FRBNY. Note, the FRBNY offers institutional clients to store gold free of charge, yet DNB favored to ship it home. From the FRBNY website:

The New York Fed charges account holders a handling fee for gold transactions, including when gold enters or leaves the vault or ownership transfers (moves between compartments), but otherwise does not charge fees for gold storage.

In the press release DNB stated repatriating gold “may have a positive effect on public confidence”. Suggesting the Dutch public - or central bank or government - does not have full faith in the FRBNY as a custodian.

The-Netherlands-Official-Gold-Reserves-Locations2

Exhibit 1. Locations Dutch gold before and after 21 November 2014.

My focus on the Dutch gold, in a way partially mine as our official gold reserves are not owned but merely managed by DNB, was sharpened in 2015. On 26 September of that year I visited the Reinvent Money conference in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. One of the speakers was Jacob De Haan from DNB’s Economics and Research Division. In his presentation, De Haan repeatedly emphasized the importance of transparency in central banking.

De Haan DNB 2015

Exhibit 2. Slide by Jacob De Haan DNB, Reinvent Money conference 26 September 2015. Red frame added by Koos Jansen.

Through my WOB experience, however, DNB appeared to be not transparent at all. Thereby, if DNB wants to be transparent and boost public confidence, why doesn’t it publish a gold bar list? The publication of this list would provide one of the most important checks on the existence of the Dutch official gold reserves, as the list can then be cross checked with the inventory lists of gold ETFs and alike, possibly exposing multiple titles of ownership on single gold bars. And this act of transparency could be accomplished within minutes by uploading an excel sheet to the DNB website. When I approached De Haan after the conference and asked why DNB doesn't put out a gold bar list, he offered me he would look into it. He gave me his email address and we agreed to stay in touch.

Jan de Haan dnb

Exhibit 3. 26 September 2015 at the Reinvent Money conference. On the left Jacob De Haan, on the right in the orange sweater Koos Jansen.

Many months pasted, but after countless emails and phone calls DNB finally notified me it would not publish any gold bar list. So much for transparency! The following is what DNB wrote me on 11 August 2016 as the reason not to publish:

…we do not intend to publish a gold bar list. This serves no additional monetary purpose to our aforementioned transparency policy, however it would incur administrative costs.

Administrative costs? There hardly could be administrative costs as this list should be readily available in one or more spreadsheets, I reckoned. When confronting DNB with my logic they replied on 15 August 2016:

DNB has internal gold bar lists, however the conversion of internal lists to documents for publication would create too many administrative burdens.

DNB claims to have “internal lists”, but creating “documents for publication” would create too many administrative burdens. I couldn't believe it. The only way this excuse would hold was if DNB’s internal lists are non-digital, which then need to be either physically copied or manually inserted in spreadsheet software. However, it’s highly unlikely DNB doesn’t have a digital gold bar list in this day and age. Computers have been widely used since the eighties; that's more than thirty years ago. One the first applications that computers supported were spreadsheet programs designed for accounting. Roughly 65 % of the international reserves of the Netherlands are held in gold. Would DNB still keep their precious gold records on pieces of paper?

In my professional opinion the Dutch gold must be meticulously recorded in digital documents and thus publishing a bar list should cost nothing. But showing proof will strengthen my perspective. Up till now this post has been more or less a summary of my previous writings. Down below we'll zoom in on this material, and reveal why it's virtually impossible for DNB to gain any administrative burdens for publishing a gold bar list.

The Dutch Gold Is Fully Allocated

Let us establish the Dutch gold is fully allocated. According to the London Bullion Market Association (LBMA), which sets the global gold wholesale standards, gold held in allocated accounts is [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

Allocated Accounts: These are accounts held by dealers [/custodians] in clients’ names on which are maintained balances of uniquely identifiable bars of metal ‘allocated’ to a specific customer and segregated from other metal held in the vault. The client has full title to this metal with the dealer holding it on the client’s behalf as custodian.

Clients’ holdings will be identified in a weight list of bars showing the unique bar number, gross weight, the assay or fineness of each bar and its fine weight. 

Clearly, allocated accounts contain uniquely identifiable gold bars owned by one specific client.

DNB discloses the Dutch official gold reserves position according to the International Monetary Fund’s Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual version 6 (BPM6). From DNB [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

De Nederlandsche Bank [DNB] publishes the balance of payments statistics according to the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) since October 2014.

More from DNB:

The figures for the Netherlands have been adjusted for the period since 2008.

BPM6 forces national authorities to distinguish between gold bullion and unallocated accounts, of which gold bullion can be held in allocated accounts. The German central bank wrote in June 2014 on adopting BPM6  [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

The new rules are binding for the EU member states [which includes the Netherlands] by virtue of a Council regulation amended by the European Commission.

With regard to reserve assets, gold transactions and positions will in future be subdivided into [1] gold bullion, which includes gold bars and allocated gold accounts, and [2] gold receivables, to which no specific gold holdings are assigned [unallocated accounts].

In the next chart we can see the ratio between gold bullion and unallocated accounts of all the Eurosystem's national central banks. The data has been sourced from the German central bank, as the BundesBank's website has the most user friendly interface. The Netherlands is said to hold 100 % in gold bullion.

Official Gold Reserves Eurosystem May 2017

Exhibit 4. The Eurosystem's official gold reserves. The exact accounting structure of BPM6 on unallocated accounts is beyond the scope of this post.

When asked directly, DNB replied all the Dutch official gold is indeed fully allocated. Accordingly, there should be lists from all custodians that show the uniquely identifiable gold bars owned by the Dutch state, as stipulated by LBMA guidelines.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 3.25.15 PM

Exhibit 5. In red it sates, “I can inform you the Dutch gold is in physical form, ‘gold bullion’ and thus allocated. In the data you can clearly see the Dutch have no gold swaps or receivables, as this would be unallocated.” Jan Nieuwenhuijs and Koos Jansen are one and the same.

Displayed above in exhibit 1, the Dutch gold is mainly stored abroad. Since November 2014 the breakdown by location is as follows: 31 % in Amsterdam at DNB headquarters, 31 % in New York at the FRBNY, 20 % in Ottawa at the Bank Of Canada (BOC) and 18 % in London at the Bank Of England (BOE).

The BOE And FRBNY Provide Clients A Gold Bar List In Digital Format

I've inquired at the BOE if they furnish clients digital gold bar lists that comply with LBMA standards (more specific, with Annex H of the LBMA's Specifications for Good Delivery Bars and Application Procedures for Listing), and if clients are allowed to physically audit their precious metals at the BOE vaults. Brendan Manning of the Public Enquiries Group responded:

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 11.59.37 AM

Exhibit 6.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 12.00.11 PM

Exhibit 7.

We can read the BOE claims to provide clients a digital gold bar list that complies with Annex H of the LBMA’s Specifications for Good Delivery Bars and Application Procedures for Listing, and clients are permitted to inspect their gold at the BOE.

When approached with the same questions, the custodian bank in New York replied it couldn't comment on this subject. However, there is a bar list of gold stored at the FRBNY in the public domain. For the Gold Reserve Transparency Act (2011, not enacted) the US Treasury published two gold bar lists. The first list in excel sheet format covers the US official gold stored at Fort Knox, Denver and West-Point, which aggregates to 7,715 tonnes (click to download the list). The second list in PDF format covers the US gold stored at the FRBNY, which accounts for 418 tonnes (click to download the list starting on page 128). Below is a screenshot of the FRBNY list:

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 9.39.58 AM

Exhibit 8. Screenshot of the US gold bar list from the FRBNY.

As shown the FRBNY list fully complies with LBMA standards: included is refinery brand, unique serial/melt number, gross weight, fineness, fine weight and year of manufacturing. At the bottom of exhibit 8 we read the original document name is "FRBNY Schedule of Inventory of Gold Held.xlsx". The extension of the document name ".xlsx" means the file was created by Microsoft Excel software, which is the most commonly used spreadsheet application. So, either, the FRBNY keeps its bar lists in excel sheets, or is capable of converting their data to excel format. Kindly remember the US official gold reserves are owned by the US Treasury, not by the FRBNY. We may conclude the FRBNY is able to provides its clients, such as the US Treasury, gold bar lists in electronic format. There should be no problem whatsoever if DNB would ask the FRBNY for the Dutch gold bar list in excel format.

The Bank of Canada didn't reply to my inquiries, but it doesn't matter at this point. It should be clear gold custodians keep their books electronically and fully comply with LBMA standards. I did find a hint of how the BOC operates. In 1997 Professor Duncan McDowall and his team investigated all gold dealings by the BOC from 1935 until 1956 to evaluate if some of the gold stored in Ottawa had ever been intertwined with Nazi gold. McDowall's investigation is titled "Due Diligence: A report on the Bank of Canada's handling of foreign gold during World War II". One of the professor's observations with respect to the BOC's historical documents reads [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

Fiduciary obligation is similarly represented in the Bank's [BOC] written dealings with its clients: the entitlement of any client to have a written confirmation of the disposition of the assets they have placed in the care of a bank. A good example of such an obligation in the context of this report would be the regular production of account statements that provided foreign central banks [i.e. DNB] with precise month-end and year-end reckonings of their earmarked gold holdings [allocated accounts] in Ottawa. ... Currency Division's reports on the arrival and departure of gold to and from these accounts therefore provided a meticulous record of foreign clients' dealings with the Bank.

Even the BOC's gold books from before the war appeared to be impeccable. I assume the BOC's current custodial gold bookkeeping is as precise and meticulous now as it was then.

DNB Is Likely To Maintain A Gold Bar List in Digital Format

Which leaves us to speculate if DNB itself, as the fourth custodian, holds a digital bar list of the 190 tonnes stored in Amsterdam. Allow me to share why I think they do.

The fact DNB repatriated 123 tonnes in November 2014 from New York, shows they've revived their affinity with gold. Few central banks have brought their gold home in recent years, which clearly makes DNB a physical gold advocate. No matter how you look at it, this can't be denied.

While repatriating DNB took the opportunity to upgrade its vault room at the Frederiksplein in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Have a look at the DNB gold vault shelving system prior to November 2014 in the picture below:

DNB gold 2013

Exhibit 11. DNB gold vault prior to November 2014.

Now have a look at the new shelving system at the Frederiksplein. This next picture was taken after November 2014:

DNB gold vault

Exhibit 12. DNB gold vault after November 2014.

Obviously, DNB made the structures more robust by switching from wooden shelves to what looks to be iron. DNB consulted the BOE for a new shelving system as the BOE has an identical system since many years prior to 2014. Have a look at a photo from the BOE's gold vault below:

BOE gold vault

Exhibit 13. BOE gold vault prior to November 2014.

Compressed:

  • DNB repatriated 123 tonnes, worth roughly 22 billion euros, from the FRBNY somewhere in the months prior to November 2014, exposing a deep and renewed affinity with gold.
  • DNB must have received a digital list from New York with the bars transported, as we know the FRBNY keeps its records in an electronic configuration.
  • While repatriating DNB consulted with the BOE for a robust shelving system in order to upgrade the vault room in Amsterdam, which reaffirms DNB's careful attention for the gold they store.

Judging from the actions above I dare to say DNB had meticulously, and thus electronically, inventoried the 67 tonnes already stored in Amsterdam before November 2014, or registered this metal when the batch from New York arrived. So very likely all gold stored in Amsterdam is properly recorded in digital format.

A summary of the previous three chapters before we continue:

  1. All the Dutch official gold reserves are held in allocated accounts and thus there are bar lists available, which comply with LBMA standards, from all custodians.
  2. We may conclude all custodians save and distribute their bar lists electronically.

 

Het Financieele Dagblad

Meanwhile, I was interviewed by Het Fiancieele Dagblad, the Dutch version of the Financial Times, on 27 September 2016 for a weekend special on gold. In the interview I told two FD journalists about my views on gold and my curious encounters with DNB. The next day one of the journalists wrote me he would interview Aerdt Houben, Head of DNB's Financial Markets Division, for the same gold special and invited me to share what I would ask Houben in his seat. I wrote back I would inquire about the gold bar list and if DNB had ever physically audited all the Dutch gold, among other topics.

In Het Financieele Dagblad (FD) from 28 October 2016 the interview with Houben reads:

FD: Some people are worried the Dutch gold might be gone.

Houben: To a certain degree the people should have trust in us. We are transparent about how much gold we hold and the locations.

FD: Are there any reports and bar lists on this, if so: why aren’t those public?

Houben: The content of the reports is also being checked by our accountants for our annual report. But the gold bar lists that would costs hundreds of thousands of euros. Because many people would have to check the contents and the many updates that are required.

In part Houben said the same as DNB mailed me months before, while specifying the administrative burdens would be several hundreds of thousands of euros. By now we know this is a fallacy.

Regarding the “reports” as mentioned in the FD: according to Houben these “reports” (whatever they are) are checked by DNB’s accountants for the annual report and presumably should proof the existence of the Dutch gold. However, in DNB’s annual report 2016 there is no mentioning of such gold related “reports”, or any gold auditing for that matter. What are these “reports”? And in case these are audit reports, why aren't those public?

Let’s address the arguments for DNB's excuse in the FD: "because many people would have to check the contents and the many updates that are required" . This is nonsense. For a proper audit, indeed, the bar lists would have to be checked against the physical inventory at the BOE, FRBNY, BOC and DNB. But, if the Dutch gold is audited by now, what additional checks would have to be done for publishing the bar list? Neither are any "updates" required as everything has been allocated since 2008. All DNB's justifications have fallen apart.

I asked DNB in November 2016 by email, what exactly are the “reports” mentioned in the FD special, and why can’t DNB publish the gold bar list as provided by the BOE (the one custodian openly stating to provide clients a bar list)? DNB replied [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

Screen Shot 2017-07-21 at 8.53.48 PM

Exhibit 14.

In the red frame it reads:

In response to your messages I can inform you DNB has internal overviews of her gold possessions. These are being checked by external accountants [presumably this means the Dutch gold is audited]. As stated previously, DNB considers publishing a gold bar list to serve no monetary purpose. Thereby, creating a bar list for publication would be costly regarding the different formats delivered by our custodians. This means we will not respect your request for obtaining the gold bar list.

I presume DNB tries to communicate the gold has been audited, but how does one audit gold without a gold bar list that complies with LBMA standards? Only when cross checking bars with an inventory list that discloses all physical characteristics of the bars can audits be performed competently. Bar lists that comply with LBMA standards are indispensable for a physical audit.

Relying on audit documents ("reports"?) drafted by custodians is forgery. A physical audit has to be executed by a third party (not the owner and not the custodian). Common practise in the gold industry is to count 100 % and weigh 2 % of all bars at least once a year for an audit (source Bureau Veritas).

I don't believe it would take DNB any effort to convert the different list formats by its custodians. It's all digital and can be converted into one file within seconds. (Though publishing the bar list in different formats is fine too.)

By and by, publishing a gold bar list does serve a monetary purpose as it confirms how much monetary gold as nation truly holds. Without public bar lists countries can more easily create false data.

Sadly, in the email dated 5 January 2017 (exhibit 14) DNB told me it won't reply to me anymore with respect to their bar list.

In the Tweet above it reads in Dutch:

Secrets. In the past a central bank was proud of it. Nobody was allowed to know how much gold we had and where it was stored. But the age of central banks cherishing their image of a closed fortress is long gone. Openness is our new policy.

Conclusion

The question is, who's not telling the truth here? That would be DNB, for sure, and possibly also the BOE and FRBNY.

Just to be clear, the amount of gold leased out by DNB is nil. In 2012 the Dutch Minister Of Finance, De Jager, declared in congress DNB had ceased all gold leasing activities by 2008. Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 11.20.22 AM

Exhibit 15. Kamervragen 2012. In red, De Jager states, "No. DNB has notified me it ceased lending gold in 2008."

Gold Bullion vs Unallocated Accounts The Netherlands

Exhibit 16. Gold bullion vs unallocated accounts for the Netherlands. Since January 2013 the Dutch state holds solely gold bullion.

Again, all the Dutch gold is allocated, and yet DNB declared in a newspaper the bar list can't be published because it would cost "hundreds of thousands of euros" - this has appeared to be an embarrassing statement and truly blows DNB's credibility. If DNB doesn't wish to disclose its bar list, for whatever reason, it would have done wise not to comment at all on this issue.

But why all the nonsense? Time to speculate. We'll run through a few scenarios:  

Scenario 1) Publishing a bar list might limit DNB's future flexibility to intervene in financial markets. Currently, DNB hasn't got any gold leased out. But if the bar list would be published, my central bank would be obstructed in future covert leasing activities.

Suppose, the gold price spikes in five months from now. DNB, or multiple central banks in concert, decide to lease out monetary gold in order to calm the physical market. When the leases would be undone several years later, surely the bars returned will not be the ones lend out. Following this scenario, when a bar list is published now it would be inaccurate in a few years time; showing bars that are long gone, and can show up on private gold ETF inventory lists.

If readers question wether central bankers are capable of 'not telling the truth', consider what DNB's Governor said in an interview early 2012 when asked if he would repatriate any gold from the FRBNY. His answer was firm: "No". However, shortly after, DNB started to prepare repatriating by reinforcing its headquarters. A new security barrier was constructed around the compound. DNB confirmed to me this was done to prevent any trucks from crashing the building. Likely, the Governor 'did not tell the truth' in the interview for strategic reasons.

Scenario 2) It's possible the BOE claims to provide its clients gold bar lists and auditing rights, but in reality it doesn't. Meaning, DNB doesn't have a bar list from the BOE that complies with LBMA standards, which forces them to come up with excuses whenever confronted. This scenario could mean custodial gold at the BOE (and FRBNY) has been embezzled.

In 2016 economist Guillermo Barba pressured the Banco de México to publish a gold bar list of the Mexican gold stored at the BOE. In February 2017 Banco de México delivered Barba a list, but it didn't satisfy LBMA standards by far. Surely this was done on purpose, because how the list was distributed can never have been how the BOE keeps it. So prior to distribution parts of the list were edited. Barba pressured Banxico once more and received a new list in March 2017 (click here to download the list). But neither did the new list satisfy LBMA standards! The column in the list that reads "serial number", doesn't disclose the serial numbers physically inscribed on the bars, which makes them uniquely identifiable, but shows the BOE's internal numbering. In my opinion Barba was fooled twice by Banxico. Or Banxico was fooled twice by the BOE.

In July 2014 the Australian central bank (RBA) published its bar list of gold stored at the BOE due to intense efforts by gold blogger Bullion Baron. But alas, the RBA gold bar list does not disclose unique serial numbers (click here to download).

My colleague Ronan Manly tried to obtain a gold bar list from the Irish central bank (CBI); gold stored at the BOE. The CBI's first response was:

The record concerned does not exist or cannot be found after all reasonable steps to ascertain its whereabouts have been taken, ...

Your request was referred to two divisions within the Central Bank of Ireland, ... Both divisions have confirmed that they do not hold any such records which fall within the scope of this part of your request. Accordingly, this part of your request is refused.

Eventually, after the BOE tried to block the request from CBI, Manly was duped with this file. All it really contains is a bar total and the total in fine ounces:

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 1.31.01 PM

Exhibit 17. Central bank of Ireland's gold account at the BOE.

As far as I know, there has never been a serial number of a gold bar stored at the BOE released in the public domain. It can be the BOE is routinely deceiving its clients by distributing incomplete bar lists.

In the past, the central bank of Austria (OeNB) has failed to audit its gold at the BOE. The Austrian Court of Audit (Der Rechnungshof) wrote in a report in 2015 [brackets added by Koos Jansen]:

... the gold depository contract with the depository in England [BOE] contained deficiencies. With respect to the gold reserves stored abroad, internal auditing measures were lacking.

The OeNB had no appropriate concept to perform audits of its gold reserves. …

Was the OeNB blocked entrance from BOE vaults in 2015?

There is proof FRBNY clients have not been able to audit their gold in New York, at least not in 2007. The German Bundes Rechnungshof released a report in 2012 on the safety of the German gold abroad. Although the report is heavily redacted, on page 10 we read German auditors were not allowed entrance in the FRBNY gold vault to inspect their precious metals, nor were any other clients:

A possibility for the owners to physically record the holdings of their gold is not provided in the terms and conditions. According to the FRBNY, it's a long-term practice not to allow the owners to inspect their assets in the interest of a safe working and control process. It has confirmed to the Bundesbank that these conditions for gold custody also apply to all other clients that store gold at the FRBNY.

In response to repeated requests from the internal auditors of the Bundesbank, their representatives were given the opportunity to enter the vault system in June 2007 to get an impression of the safety precautions. However, the employees were not given access to the vault compartments, but only to an entrance hall. An examination of gold was therefore not possible.

[Four redacted paragraphs follow]

Clearly the Germans were blocked from auditing their metal, and for decades all FRBNY clients had suffered the same fate. Not surprisingly, after the developments between the OeNB, BOE, Bundesbank and FRBNY both European central banks decided to repatriate significant shares of their gold stored overseas. And both repatriate over the course of multiple years, which accentuates the friction between the custodians and their clients.

gold-storage-overview-oenb-2015-2020

Exhibit 18. Why OeNB hasn't repatriated 140 tonnes of gold from the UK within a few months is a mystery.

Maybe DNB has experienced the same obstructions in New York as the Germans and hence decided to repatriate.

Scenario 3) DNB just doesn't feel like publishing a gold bar list.

Who's to say what the truth is? If readers can think of an additional scenario please comment below.

My final conclusion is that DNB is lying about its gold bar list, which is worrisome as it shouldn't be necessary, or things behind the scenes are more convoluted and DNB is being lied to by its custodians, which is even more worrisome.

In short, producing a bar list that complies with LBMA standards should be child's play. And only proper lists can grant us the safety of all the official gold reserves stored at the BOE and FRBNY. As of March 2017 the BOE and FRBNY stored an aggregated 10,821 tonnes of gold, of which the majority is monetary gold.

The Bundesbank, OeNB and DNB all claim their gold is audited by now, but none of them has ever released an audit report. The German central bank wrote me it doesn't publish its audit reports "since Deutsche Bundesbank and its partners have agreed to maintain confidentiality with regard to the audits". More secrecy and central bank collusion, no surprises there.

Screen Shot 2017-07-22 at 12.14.48 PM

Exhibit 19. Email by BuBa's press division.

Until central bankers are fully transparent about their gold dealings we can have but mere distrust in them.

by BullionStar at July 25, 2017 10:18 AM

swissmiss

Insecurity

“It is a sign of great inner insecurity to be hostile to the unfamiliar.”
― Anaïs Nin

by swissmiss at July 25, 2017 10:10 AM

It's Nice That

Pooneh Ghana’s ambient crowd and artist portraits from Pitchfork Music Festival make you wish you were there

Poonehghana-pitchforkfestival-atmos-photography-list

A couple of weekends ago we enviously watched the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago from across the pond. The curation of the line-up from the music publication is always second to none, with a diverse mix of bands that could be your new ultimate favourites, alongside trusted acts such as A Tribe Called Quest and LCD Soundsystem. 

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at July 25, 2017 10:09 AM

Microsoft thankfully decides that “MS Paint is here to stay”

Mspaint-saved-miscellaneous-itsnicethat-list

Microsoft is playing hard to get. Yesterday (24 June 2017), the news that Microsoft Paint may be not be available on the next Windows update caused an uproar. Designers minimised their programmes and became keyboard warriors, voicing their love for the 32 year old desktop staple, proving that sometimes you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at July 25, 2017 10:07 AM

swissmiss

Portable Watercolor Set

This portable watercolor palette with built-in water containers makes me want to break out my watercolor equipment from art school again.

by swissmiss at July 25, 2017 10:07 AM

Wired Top Stories

Inside Andy Rubin's Quest to Create an OS for Everything

The Android mastermind is on a mission to connect our devices into a single consciousness. Ambitious? Absolutely. Possible? Maybe.

by David Pierce at July 25, 2017 10:00 AM

The Simple Dollar

There Are Some Debts Even Bankruptcy Can’t Erase

Do severe financial issues have you fantasizing about a silver bullet that can make all your debts vanish? While it’s not exactly that easy, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be able to offer you some relief, and may also potentially protect you from your creditors if you’re facing serious debt problems.

There’s no question that bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to help you wipe out certain types of debt, but it’s important to understand that even bankruptcy has its limitations. For starters, bankruptcy can be very damaging to your credit, making it challenging or even downright impossible for you to secure new financing in the near term.

Additionally, there are certain debts your bankruptcy simply cannot wipe out. They aren’t what’s formally referred to as being “statutorily dischargeable.”

Debts Where Bankruptcy May Help

When you file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are a number of debts that will likely be eliminated upon the discharge of your bankruptcy. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (yes, you have to qualify), these debts may be wiped out entirely. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you’ll be required to pay a portion of these debts, but the remaining balances will likely be discharged upon the completion of your repayment plan.

Here’s a look at some types of debt that can typically be discharged in a bankruptcy:

  • Unsecured loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debts
  • Judgments
  • Utility bills
  • Evictions/unpaid rent

Debts Where Bankruptcy Probably Can’t Help

Bankruptcy does not eliminate all types of debt, however. In fact, some debts may never be discharged, others may only be discharged if the consumer can prove extraordinary circumstances, and, finally, some debts may not be eligible for discharge if a creditor argues successfully that they should not be eliminated.

Here is a list — though certainly not an all-inclusive one –to help you understand some of the debts that may not be eligible for discharge in a bankruptcy:

Debts That Are Never Discharged, Even in Bankruptcy

  • Child support and alimony
  • Unlisted creditors: Debts owed to creditors not listed in your bankruptcy generally may not be discharged (unless the creditor has knowledge of your bankruptcy).
  • Government fines and penalties
  • Court-ordered restitution
  • Debts arising from DUI-related injuries or death
  • Certain condominium and HOA fees

Debts Only Discharged Under Certain, Extraordinary Circumstances

  • Student loans
  • Income taxes

Debts Not Discharged If a Creditor Argues Successfully

  • Debts you incurred fraudulently
  • Excessive credit card charges or cash advances made shortly before filing for bankruptcy

Bankruptcy and Your Credit Scores

Bankruptcy does have the potential to offer immense relief to consumers who find themselves in desperate financial situations. However, bankruptcy is not a cure-all for your problems either. If you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to consider the impact it may have on your financial future.

Even if you’re fortunate enough to have all of your debts discharged when you complete your bankruptcy, this will not actually give you a clean slate from a credit perspective. Instead, when you file for bankruptcy, the actual filing will likely show up on your credit reports in the same amount of time it takes to boil an egg. After all, a bankruptcy is a public record.

Then, the filing will likely remain on your credit reports for up to 10 years. Additionally, each creditor whom you included in your bankruptcy filing will update their debt to show that it is subject to the bankruptcy filing. These debts can remain on your credit reports for no longer than seven years.

While bankruptcy should be your last option, it’s not necessarily the worst option. Some folks just need to hit the reset button, and bankruptcy does just that. And, in some wacky scenarios, the filing may actually improve your credit scores. If you already have very bad credit reports loaded with defaulted debts, the elimination of those debts can lead to modest improvements in your score. But, you’ll still be going from really poor credit scores to, well, really poor scores.

There just isn’t a silver bullet.

Related Articles:

The post There Are Some Debts Even Bankruptcy Can’t Erase appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by John Ulzheimer at July 25, 2017 10:00 AM

Google LatLong

Helping people in a crisis

We’re introducing SOS Alerts in Google Search and Maps to help people affected by crises around the world.

by Yossi Matias at July 25, 2017 10:00 AM

Zero Hedge

Michael Kors Buys Jimmy Choo For $1.2 Billion

Michael Kors announced it has agreed to acquire iconic shoemaker Jimmy Choo for £896 million ($1.17 billion), as the US company seeks to offset slower growth in its core handbag business. As part of the recommended all cash acquisition the entire issued and to be issued ordinary share capital of Jimmy Choo will be acquired by JAG Acquisitions (Michael Kors Bidco), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Michael Kors.

Each scheme shareholder will receive 230p in cash for each Jimmy Choo share, valuing Jimmy Choo’s existing issued and to be issued ordinary share capital at just under $1.2 billion. The offer price of 230p is final and will not be increased, except that Michael Kors Bidco reserves the right to increase the amount of offer price if there is an announcement on or after date of this announcement of an offer or possible offer for Jimmy Choo by a third party offeror or potential offeror.

In a statement, Michael Kors described itself as “the ideal partner for Jimmy Choo,” saying it would “support the growth of Jimmy Choo through retail store openings and further development of its online presence as well as through an expanded assortment of additional fashion product offerings.”

Michael Kors, like its luxury retail rivals, has struggled for years to entice American shoppers to pay full price for its handbags amid fierce price competition and an environment of heavy discounting that has pressured profits. Sales of handbags are lagging as women have traded down to smaller, less-expensive purses.

As we reported at the end of May, Michael Kors announced a turnaround program as part of which it would close 100 to 125 of its full-price retail stores and renovate existing stores. The company also cut the number of products it sends to department stores, which tend to offer deep discounts, and is trying to get more creative with its designs to get consumers to pay more. But, as the WSJ reports, pressure has mounted on Michael Kors to find new avenues for growth after Coach Inc. COH -0.39% in May agreed to buy Kate Spade & Co. for $2.4 billion, in a bid to tap younger consumers to offset slower growth in the handbag market. That market has slowed to about 2% growth from as much as 15% six years ago, according to Craig Johnson, an analyst at Customer Growth Partners.

Jimmy Choo has also struggled with the same discounting problems in U.S. department stores that Michael Kors is facing, although the brand has been helped by a stronger performance in markets like the U.K., China and Japan, where the Jimmy Choo name still carries weight. While upscale women’s shoes remain its core business, Jimmy Choo has been branching out into men’s shoes as it looks for growth. The company has about 150 directly operated stores, leaving what analysts have said is a long runway for bricks and mortar expansion.

 

Last year, the shoemaker turned £364 million in sales, up almost 15% from a year earlier.

Shares of Jimmy Choo - which was popularized by Sex and the City and whose shoes and boots sell for as much as £2,995 - were up 17% Tuesday morning, has been on the block since April, when European investment fund JAB Holding Co. said it was putting the luxury shoemaker up for sale as it looks to focus on its restaurant and coffee holdings.

Jimmy Choo directors, who have been so advised by BofA Merrill Lynch and Citi as to the financial terms of the acquisition, intend unanimously to recommend offer to Jimmy Choo shareholders. Michael Kors has received an irrevocable undertaking to vote in favor of scheme at the court Meeting and the resolutions to be proposed at the general Meeting from JAB Luxury, Jimmy Choo’s majority shareholder, in respect of 263.7m Jimmy Choo Shares representing ~67.66% of the existing ordinary share capital of Jimmy Choo in issue on July 21 2017.

Commenting on the deal, Piper Jaffray (neutral on Michael Kors) said it is all cash but won’t be accretive on a GAAP basis till FY 2020, noting that Michael Kors management wants to fuel the growth of Jimmy Choo to $1b (~2x today’s base) by leveraging its luxury positioning across regions/categories. The bank sees the potential for Jimmy Choo to be a bigger luxury brand in time with right leadership, but need to better understand the “path towards accretion.” It added that the timing of this bid comes as a bit of a surprise given Kors new 2020 plan, expected M&A to have come later given the focus to turn around the namesake brand.

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 09:58 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

Trends Over Time, (Mon, Jul 24th)

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

July 25, 2017 09:56 AM

swissmiss

It's Nice That

Pussy Riot are planning a new performance with Les Enfants Terribles

Pussyriot-art-itsnicethat-list

Russia’s most famous feminist punk group Pussy Riot have launched their first Kickstarter with a funding goal of £60,000. If the campaign is successful, the money will be put towards a new immersive theatre performance created in partnership with award-winning theatre company Les Enfants Terribles.

Read more

by Bryony Stone at July 25, 2017 09:47 AM

Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation launches benefit auction with limited edition artwork by Tracey Emin

Tracey-emin-benefit-itsnicethat-1

As part of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation benefit auction and gala taking place on Wednesday 26 July, a limited edition artwork by Tracey Emin will be auctioned and presented to a global audience for the first time. Titled Because of You I’m Here, the animated video work will be offered in a series of 250 at $500 each, exclusively made and launched through Sedition Art.

Read more

by Ayla Angelos at July 25, 2017 09:44 AM

Zero Hedge

Former CIA Director Calls For A Coup If Trump Fires Mueller

In the most vocal opposition to president Donald Trump yet, former CIA Director John Brennan said that if the White House tries to fire special counsel Robert Mueller, government officials should refuse to follow the president orders, as they would be - in his view - “inconsistent” with the duties of the executive branch.

"I think it's the obligation of some executive branch officials to refuse to carry that out. I would just hope that this is not going to be a partisan issue. That Republicans, Democrats are going to see that the future of this government is at stake and something needs to be done for the good of the future," Brennan told CNN's Wolf Blitzer at the Aspen Security Forum, effectively calling for a coup against the president should Trump give the order to fire Mueller.

The exchange is 43 minutes into the clip below:

(Full transcript here)

Brennan appeared alongside his former colleague, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and both men who served in the Obama administration, told Blitzer they have total confidence in Mueller. "Absolutely. It was an inspired choice- they don't come any better, " Brennan said adding that "If Mueller is fired, I hope our elected reps will stand up and say enough is enough." Some have responded with questions where Brennan's devotion to the Constitution was in the aftermath of the events in Benghazi.

Falling back on his neocon roots, James Clapper, who has waged a long-running vendetta with Trump, once again warned about Russian interference in US affairs. When asked about the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., Jared Kushner and Paul Manafort with a Russian lawyer and others, he responded: "I'm an old school, Cold War warrior and all that - so I have, there's truth in advertising, great suspicions about the Russians and what they do. A lot of this to me had kind of the standard textbook tradecraft long deployed by Russians. It would have been a really good idea maybe to have vetted whoever they were meeting with."

Clapper was also asked about Trump's comparison of the intelligence community to Nazi Germany. Clapper said he called the President-elect nine days before he left the Obama administration saying he "couldn't let that reference pass" and it was an insult to him, CIA Director John Brennan and the workforce. "That was a terrible, insulting affront, not just to me or John, we get paid the big bucks, but I'm talking about the rank and file, men and women, patriots and intelligence community -- that was completely inappropriate and over the top - I had to do something about it."

And so he did: on the call Clapper said Trump asked him to "to put out a statement rebutting the contents of the dossier which I couldn't and wouldn't do. It was kind of transactional" referring to a dossier that alleged ties between President Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. It was not clear if he wouldn't and couldn't do it because the contents were legitimate, in his view, or because the dossier is what started the whole "Russian collusion" narrative in the first place. Curiously, Clapper saw it as a favor to Trump not to issue a statement: Clapper was asked by Blitzer why he didn't put out a statement replying: "The whole point of the dossier by the way was we felt an obligation to warn him to alert him to the fact it was out there. That was the whole point."

It was not clear if James Comey, whose subsequent leak to the NYT led to the appointment of Mueller, would have applied the same reasoning when asked by Trump to rebut the dossier's contents.

by Tyler Durden at July 25, 2017 09:39 AM

Planet Python

PyCharm: Interview: Paul Craven on Python Gaming and Teaching

Writing games in Python is fun, so how about using it to teach computer programming? Paul Craven is both a professor and the creator of Arcade, a 2d game library for Python. He’s doing a webinar with us next week, so we talked to him about teaching Python, using Python 3 type hints, why another Python game library, and how IDEs fit into teaching.

paul_craven_splash

Thanks a bunch for doing the webinar next week. First, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I worked in the IT industry for 15 years before switching to teaching at Simpson College, a small 4-year college in Iowa. My main interest has been getting first-time programmers to realize that programming can be fun. That moment when a student cheers out loud because they finally figured out how to get sprites to move correctly on the screen? It is a beautiful thing to see.

You teach programming, and you created the Arcade game library to help. Before talking about Arcade, can you explain the motivation behind having a framework that you can teach?

Teaching is like engineering. Each semester you work to improve how you teach students. I had been using the Pygame library. But I wanted a library that I could improve on based on what I saw from students. For example:

Function and parameter names that students intuitively understand. Each year I had to teach them “set_mode” opens a window. Why not just have the function called “open_window”?
Support for functions students which ask for. In Pygame drawing ellipses with thick borders always had a moire pattern because of a bug in the library. And you can’t tilt ellipses when you draw them. Every year I have a student that wants to draw a football. And each year they were frustrated that it looked awful. I wanted a library where it just worked.
Students would download a graphic for their sprite. But it would be too large and there was no easy way to scale the image. That always resulted in hours of wasted time explaining how to do the scaling. What if the library just supported scaling?

After a while I collected such a long list of things like that, I decided to create a game library that where I wouldn’t have to teach “around” these issues.

Beyond using it for teaching, can you talk a bit about Arcade? What is it, how is it different, who might want to use it?

Arcade is great for sprite-based 2D games. It is simple and easy to get started with the library. There is no need to learn a complex framework. If you’ve wanted to create a game for fun, but Kivy, Unity, Unreal would just take more time to learn than what you’ve got, Arcade is a better choice. If you want to quickly create a scientific visualization without a lot of overhead code, Arcade can help you there too.

Arcade uses OpenGL and Pyglet. With OpenGL acceleration, it can draw a lot of sprites fast.

I use Arcade for my PyCharm tutorials and Arcade’s Python 3.6 type hinting is a big reason. Can you talk about your experience, as a library author and teacher, with type hinting?

New programmers often get confused when calling functions and methods. What data does it expect? And when the program doesn’t run, the students aren’t yet experts in reading stack traces. So they are stuck with a 500 line program that doesn’t work and they don’t know why. Frustrating.

Type hinting can sometimes tell students that they are passing unexpected data to the function. It does this before they run the program. Before they’ve even moved to writing the next line of code. It seems trivial, but it’s not. I found students able to create better, more complex programs because PyCharm and type hinting kept them from that error and allowed them to move on.

You also use PyCharm CE with your students. What’s been your experience having beginners start with an IDE?

I’ve taught students with an IDE and without an IDE. The biggest advantage is how the IDE can help students catch errors early. PyCharm’s built-in PEP-8 checking is huge. Also, built in spell-checking! Imagine trying to read program comments written without a spell-checker from today’s student. Students come up with some interesting ways to spell words.

July 25, 2017 09:38 AM

swissmiss

It's Nice That

Julian Glander explains what a blockchain system is for MIT Technology Review

Julian-glander-mit-technology-review-blockchain-explainer-animation-itsnicethat-list

Julian Glander has directed Blockchain Explainer, a short animation to help explain the concept of blockchain systems and how useful these digital databases can be in the real world. The short is the first in a new series for MIT Technology Review called Decoded, which aims to unpack seemingly complex concepts via digestible shorts. Julian was brought on to the project after speaking to Lynne Carty who art directed the animation with Jordan Awan. “Even though I told myself I was about to go on a commissioned-work sabbatical, it was too good of a project to pass up,” says Julian.

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at July 25, 2017 09:27 AM

Seth's Blog

Cultural density

In your organization, how many decisions and interactions are driven by culture first?

While it's possible to imagine an organization that has no culture, one that is merely a context-free meritocracy and game-theory driven machine, that's unlikely.

The higher your cultural density, the more important it is that you get it right.

       

by Seth Godin at July 25, 2017 09:10 AM

The Big Picture

Capital accumulation, private property, and inequality in China, 1978-2015

Capital accumulation, private property, and inequality in China, 1978-2015 Thomas Piketty, Li Yang, Gabriel Zucman VoxEU, 20 July 2017       Between 1978 and 2015, China moved being from a poor, underdeveloped country to the world’s leading emerging economy. But relatively little is known about how the distribution of income and wealth within the…

Read More

The post Capital accumulation, private property, and inequality in China, 1978-2015 appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Guest Author at July 25, 2017 09:00 AM

naked capitalism

People Voted Communist Because…

Italy had the largest communist party in Western Europe. Why did ordinary people vote communist? What did they believe in?

by Outis Philalithopoulos at July 25, 2017 08:55 AM

O'Reilly Radar

naked capitalism

Bill Black: Jamie Dimon, You Make Us Embarrassed to be Americans

If Dimon really wants to know why growth is so slow his research should begin by looking in the mirror.

by Lambert Strether at July 25, 2017 07:55 AM

Monevator

Five reasons why you’ll love index investing

When I first looked into investing, it was like staring across the Atlantic Ocean. All I could see was a vast, churning deep, full of danger that could swallow my wealth whole.

I needed help to sail these seas, and among the competing offers I found a trusty vessel named index investing.

The animal spirit of investing

While you can make the journey in expensive luxury liners like actively managed funds or in a one-man skiff tossed hither and thither by your own stock picking, here are five reasons why a more modest seeming vehicle – a portfolio of index funds – makes the most sense:

1. Index investing is simple

Never invest in anything you don’t understand is a mantra repeated time and again in personal finance. Like never crossing the road between parked cars, it’s excellent advice that’s all too easy to ignore.

Happily, index investing is easy to understand, even for those with little investment experience.

  • You make regular contributions to your funds and rebalance your portfolio as little as once a year (some prefer never).
  • Holiest of holies: You don’t try to time the market or pick hot stocks.

2. Index investing works

Index investors will beat the average active investor after costs and taxes, according to Nobel Prize winners like William Sharpe and legendary investors like Warren Buffett.

Study after study shows that most actively managed funds are trumped by index funds over the long-term. Why? Because index trackers are dirt cheap. Their low costs nibble away less of your pie than pricier active funds, which rarely put in the consistently stellar performance required to justify their high fees.

Index investing is not a ticket to instant riches. It doesn’t aim to beat the market, but rather to capture the returns of the market. We’re putting our money on the tortoise, not the hare.

3. Index investing is affordable

Cheap index trackers can be bought from online brokers like Hargreaves Lansdown. You can buy in small, regular chunks (as little as £50 per month) and build up your portfolio slowly over time.

With a bit of confidence and self-education you can manage it all yourself. This means you avoid paying commission or fees to a financial advisor.

4. Index investing doesn’t waste your life

Stock-picking hoovers up vast amounts of time. Index investing leaves you free to sniff the roses. There’s no need to grapple with complex methodologies, pour over company accounts or entangle yourself in charts.

5. Index investing puts you in control

Ever hire a dodgy financial advisor only to discover later you’re paying sky-high fees for mediocre funds that didn’t suit your needs? (Or was that just me?)

Knowledge of index investing strategies can help you avoid a similar fate by revealing:

  • The risks you’re taking and how to dilute those risks to a level you’re comfortable with.
  • How much you need to invest to achieve your financial goals.
  • A DIY approach that avoids rip-off merchants and saves you a bundle in the long term.
  • Good questions to ask an advisor should you still want to hire one, which will help you find one of the good guys to work with.

To get you started we’ve a huge library of passive investing articles here on Monevator.

Dive in, and happy investing!

The Accumulator

by The Accumulator at July 25, 2017 07:30 AM

Barry's news

Fontwizard improved

Fontwizard version 0.0.1 was released by 01micko in January 2013. This is a GUI app for enhancing fonts for LCD screens.

It has languished since then. I can't find where 01micko originally announced it, and there don't seem to have been any later versions.

There are some issues with fonts in Quirky Xerus 8.2, that we are discussing in the forum.

Forum member radky is the creator of some great apps that are in Quirky. The latest addition is JWMDesk, and using it has lead to the fonts discussion.

Here is a post by radky:
http://murga-linux.com/puppy/viewtopic.php?p=961712#961712

This is excellent. I have put this new script, 'fontwizard' into the PET, and updated the version from 0.0.1-1 to 0.0.2 (2KB):
http://distro.ibiblio.org/quirky/quirky6/noarch/packages/pet_packages-noarch/fontwizard-0.0.2.pet

July 25, 2017 06:42 AM

Smashing Magazine Feed

The Missing Advice I Needed When Starting My Career


   

Do you ever wish you had a time machine? I certainly do, but not for the usual reasons. I want a time machine so I can go back and have a frank conversation with my younger self. I'll let you in on a bit of a secret: My younger self was an idiot!

Look for inspiration beyond the web. Look to art, architecture and print design.

I have been working on the web for over 22 years now, and I feel like I wasted so many of those years. If only I could go back and share a few hard truths with myself at the start of my career. Unfortunately, I cannot, but I can share that advice with you.

The post The Missing Advice I Needed When Starting My Career appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

by Paul Boag at July 25, 2017 06:00 AM

FlowingData

Charting bird egg shapes, and why so many varieties

Bird eggs come in all shapes and sizes, and people didn’t really know why. After analyzing a number of variables, researchers think they found their answer.

After crunching the numbers, the scientists found the links they’d been looking for: the length of an egg correlates with bird body size. The shape of an egg—how asymmetrical or elliptical it is—relates to flying habits. And the stronger a bird’s flight, the more asymmetrical or elliptical its eggs will be.

Lots of charts and probably more information about bird eggs than you ever thought you wanted to know.

Tags: ,

by Nathan Yau at July 25, 2017 05:58 AM

RubyFlow

What skills a junior Ruby on Rails developer should have?

Skill set for a junior Ruby on Rails developer should be a mix of technical and soft skills. I wrote an article explaining what I mean https://medium.com/kkempin/what-skills-a-junior-ruby-on-rails-developer-should-have-c1589710507c

July 25, 2017 05:28 AM

Planet Python

Codementor: Going Meta: How I Used Vue.js to Build a Small Quiz About Vue.js

This post is a practical introduction to Vue.js and reactive interfaces.

July 25, 2017 04:55 AM

Andrew Tobias

My One-Star Reviews

But first — do you know jet.com?  Acquired last year by Walmart for $3 billion?

I love Amazon, but competition is important — and the glass-bottle Honest Tea varieties that are so hard to find in physical stores but that are just a click away with Amazon ($44.62 for a 12-bottle case of Moroccan Mint) are just a click away on Jet at $16.27 (for Cinnamon Sunrise or Ginger Oasis, my other two favorite varieties) — after the 15% new-customer discount on my first three orders but before the additional $4.31 they knocked off of already-free shipping for my willingness to wait a couple of days to receive it.  In all, $61.69, delivered, for 48 bottles, versus what would have been three times as much on Amazon.

Needless to say, that’s an extreme example — and I still love Amazon.  But “shop around?”


And now . . .

Okay, so this is about as self-indulgent as it gets . . . but I went over to the afore-mentioned Amazon recently to buy someone a copy of my investment guide — way easier to click for $8.51 than to actually have to put one in a jiffy bag, find stamps, and all that — and noticed a bunch of one-star reviews.

This is a little disheartening, so — being shallow and thin-skinned — I went to check them out.

My favorite, from G. Belmonte this past April 4th: “Book is great — however i received with the front cover torn….very disappointment.”  One star out of five.  (Don’t judge a book by its torn cover?) 

Then there was Matt, back in January: “Financial books shouldn’t get political. A great book whose advice is completely undone by a few sentences of rhetoric. Why? WHY?”  One star out of five.

Two people found that review “helpful.”

In fairness, not all ten of my one-star reviews call the book great.  In fact, only those two did.

Writing of an earlier edition in 2010, Chris called it “Worst book ever,” explaining: “This book was terrible. PLEASE do not waste your money on it. Anything of value in this book, you probably know already. PLEASE, in these tough economic times, find a better book to spend your money on.”

The current edition is not that much changed, so I’m afraid Chris would still hate it.

I actually challenged one guy (“What an idiotic set of advices“), who gave the book one star because it recommends that, when it comes to life insurance, most people should “buy term and invest the difference” — a point on which most consumer advocates and personal-finance experts agree.  Being a life insurance salesman (who earns a far higher commission on complex whole-life products), he calls this advice “stupid or simply irresponsible.”

We had a nice little back and forth (“It is the mark of a good salesman to believe passionately in his product, so hats off to Mr. Poletaev,” I began), and while he didn’t budge on the issue of life insurance, he agreed that maybe one star for the whole book, based on that one page, was “a little harsh.”  I like this guy.  But I’m still stuck with one star.

 

by A.T. at July 25, 2017 04:02 AM

AP sources: Trump speaks to advisers about firing Sessions

AP sources: Trump speaks to advisers about firing SessionsPresident Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia ...


July 25, 2017 04:02 AM

Boy Genius Report

New nanomaterial promises batteries that charge in seconds

better batteries

Despite often annoying us with shorter-than-ideal lifespans and the occasional explosion, modern rechargeable batteries are actually quite remarkable, especially when you consider the power they're able to hold in very small footprints. That said, they could always be better, and while capacity is always a hot topic for those building the batteries of tomorrow, researchers at Drexel's College of Engineering believe they've discovered a way to make modern batteries a whole lot better by reducing recharge times to mere seconds. 

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by Mike Wehner at July 25, 2017 03:58 AM

A new technology could change the game for Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and every smartphone user

A new technology could change the game for Amazon, Facebook, Netflix and every smartphone userA tech hedge fund that has been crushing it sees a huge opportunity for YouTube, Amazon, Netflix...


July 25, 2017 03:47 AM

Planet Python

Codementor: What I Learned from Making CoolHue and Getting 1000+ Upvotes on Product Hunt

I used to believe that knowing the latest technologies was essential to build something thousands of developers or designers can use. After building and launching CoolHue, I realized that that doesn’t have to be the case.

July 25, 2017 03:35 AM

jwz

Planet Python

Codementor: ç­†č¨˜: Migrate your Existing Express Applications to AWS Lambda

Note about how to migrate your existing express applications to AWS Lambda

July 25, 2017 03:05 AM

Boy Genius Report

MetroPCS just gave you another great reason to lose your contract

MetroPCS scam calls vs T-Mobile

There's fewer and fewer reasons for anyone to tie themselves to a postpaid monthly cell contract. It used to be that postpaid customers got all the good perks, better pricing, and higher-tier plans, but that just isn't true any more.

This week's example: MetroPCS, T-Mobile's prepaid arm, will roll out spam call identification and blocking services that T-Mobile currently offers to its postpaid customers. The features -- which, by the way, are identical to anti-spam features Verizon charges $3 for -- will be free for all MetroPCS customers starting tomorrow.

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by Chris Mills at July 25, 2017 03:03 AM

Immigrants wept, pleaded for water and pounded on the truck

Immigrants wept, pleaded for water and pounded on the truckThe tractor-trailer was pitch-black inside, crammed with maybe 90 immigrants or more, and already hot when it left the Texas border town of Laredo for the 150-mile trip north to San Antonio. It wasn't ...


July 25, 2017 03:01 AM

The Django community aggregator

Two Scoops of Django Birthday Giveaway

Coldest Spring

Today is a special day. You see, the latest fantasy book I co-authored, Coldest Spring (3rd in the Ambria series), is out AND it's my birthday. In honor of of these occasions, the first book of the series, Darkest Autumn, for 0.99 cents on Amazon. Plus, I'm doing a Python-related giveaway.

The Giveaway: There’s a python programming easter egg in the book. One of the characters mentions the elegance of Python. The first person who tells me in the comments below the name of the father and grandfather of that character gets an autographed Two Scoops of Django 1.11 book shipping anywhere in the world.

Finally, if you want to give me a truly special present for my birthday, please review any or all of my books on Amazon. Positive or negative, every review makes a difference. The positive stuff feeds my already inflated ego, and the negative stuff tells me what I need to do in order to improve.

by pydanny's blog at July 25, 2017 03:00 AM

Duterte Claims Drug War Is Boosting Economy

Duterte Claims Drug War Is Boosting EconomyJul.24 -- In his second national address, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte talked about everything from national security to protecting nature. He also insisted this controversial drug war was boosting the economy. Bloomberg's Regina Lay reports on "Bloomberg Markets: Asia."


July 25, 2017 02:54 AM

Parents railed against the Boy Scouts of America after Trump's campaign-style speech

Parents railed against the Boy Scouts of America after Trump's campaign-style speechParents are indicating their displeasure with the Boy Scouts of America after President Donald...


July 25, 2017 02:20 AM

Boy Genius Report

Google’s Pixel 2 might be the fastest smartphone released this year

Pixel 2 Rumors

Every year, flagship phones get faster. That's not a surprise any more, and devices like the Galaxy S8 and the OnePlus 5 pack mobile chips built on 10nm tech, a first for smartphones. Every high-end handset this year will have similar chip technology inside, including the iPhone 8 and the Pixel 2.

But new rumor claims that Google’s upcoming pair of phones will have a chip version that’s going to be even faster than the Galaxy S8’s Qualcomm Snapdragon 835.

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by Chris Smith at July 25, 2017 02:02 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

'Shut up and behave', Subramanian Swamy tells those who threatened Malayali author - Daily News & Analysis


Daily News & Analysis

'Shut up and behave', Subramanian Swamy tells those who threatened Malayali author
Daily News & Analysis
Warning those who issued threat letter to Malayali author KP Ramanunni, BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Monday said that if they do not shut up and behave, they will face arrest. Swamy was in Pune on Monday where he was the ...

July 25, 2017 01:55 AM

client k

Misunderstandings

There will always be
one client/customer/prospect
who misunderstands
your marketing/instructions/
comments/other communications.

On Sunday,
at an online party,
I posted a contest.

The instructions were simple.
‘For a chance to win,
comment on this post
and tell me
if you think the man in photo 1
or the man in photo 2
is sexier.’
I left a comment as an example.

One reader still misunderstood
the instructions.

If you have
plenty of misunderstandings,
yes,
look into the wording.

If you have
one or two misunderstandings,
don’t waste your time
tweaking the wording.

Someone will ALWAYS
misunderstand you.

by k at July 25, 2017 01:14 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

ISC Stormcast For Tuesday, July 25th 2017 https://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=5596, (Tue, Jul 25th)

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

July 25, 2017 01:10 AM

Boy Genius Report

Scared of driverless cars? Here’s a crewless automated container ship

crewless ship

Putting a computer completely in charge of any type of vehicle is a concept that still doesn't sit well with a lot of people. That's totally understandable, especially with so many questions of reliability and safety still unanswered, but if the idea of a driverless car cruising the streets of your fair city gives you anxiety, you should probably just stop reading this story right now. For the brave souls still here, allow me to introduce you to a colossal seafaring beast that will cruise along the coast of Norway, weighing as much as 4,500 metric tons, and completing its regular journeys without a single crew member. It's called the Yara Birkeland, and it could be the future of shipping.

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by Mike Wehner at July 25, 2017 01:01 AM

ongoing

TLS Wiretap Fear

There is a hot lengthy argument going on in the IETF’s TLS Working Group which has been making me uncomfortable. It’s being alleged that there is an attempt to weaken Web security in a deep fundamental way, which if true is obviously a Big Deal.

What’s an IETF TLS WG?

TLS is a broad term for the family of crypto and related security protocols that make the Web secure. You may have noticed that more and more web addresses begin with “https:” rather than “http:”, which is a good and important thing; TLS in action.

The standards behind this good and important thing are hammered out by the Internet Engineering Task Force’s (IETF’s) Transport Level Security (TLS) Working Group (WG). They do their work in public and you can watch them.

Recently, there has been a ferocious outburst of controversy, kicked off by a thing called Data Center use of Static Diffie-Hellman in TLS 1.3. Some people say it’s a practical extension to let people who run data centers manage their network traffic. Others say that it’s an attempt to build wiretapping into the Web.

I’ve been reluctant to write about it because I am not a crypto wizard and don’t really understand Diffie-Hellman well. Fortunately, Stephen Checkoway, who is an expert, wrote TLS 1.3 in enterprise networks, and I was pleased to discover that he saw the picture more or less the same way I do.

Clearly, this is a subject on which reasonable people can disagree in good faith. But let me throw a little fuel on the fire: I think that in fact some people and organizations do want to add wiretapping to the Web, and in a way that would be overly difficult to detect by people being wiretapped. I further think that there’s no excuse for doing this, and agree with Checkoway’s take-away: “Yes, switching to TLS 1.3 will prevent operators from doing precisely what they’re doing today; however, there is currently no need to switch. TLS 1.2 supports their usecase and TLS 1.2, when used correctly, is secure as far as we know. Of course the network operators won’t receive the benefits of mandatory forward secrecy, but that is precisely what they are asking to give up in TLS 1.3.”

So, dear IETF TLS WG: It really looks like you shouldn’t do this.

Finally (on a related but distinct subject) I’m a little worried how easy it seems to be to introduce a wiretapping capability into TLS 1.3. But that’s all I’ll say on the subject because, as already stated, I’m not a crypto nerd.

July 25, 2017 12:58 AM

Wired Top Stories

Google Fights Against Canada's Order to Change Global Search Results

The tech giant filed an injunction arguing a ruling from the Canadian Supreme Court requiring Google to remove search results globally violates US free speech laws.

by Davey Alba at July 25, 2017 12:34 AM

Derrick Rose has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Cavs that would include a $19 million pay cut

Derrick Rose has reportedly agreed to a deal with the Cavs that would include a $19 million pay cutDerrick Rose has agreed to a one-year contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to several...


July 25, 2017 12:23 AM