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 10, 2017

Wheaties for Your Wallet

How Blockchain Can Lower Holiday Theft Losses for Your Business

There are many things about the holiday season that make it a magical time of year. Pretty lights and decorations as well as the general holiday spirit in the air all contribute to the wonder of the season.

But as people hustle and bustle about making holiday purchases theft is also a concern. Shoppers may be carrying extra cash or credit cards to buy gifts making them easy prey for criminals.

Business owners must be wary as well. Thieves might target them during the holidays as well. Inexperienced help hurrying to complete transactions, long shopping lines, and more noise are just a few distractions that can play into increases in theft.

Could that be changed? Is it possible blockchain can lower holiday theft losses for your business?

What is Blockchain

Blockchain uses cryptography, or computer codes, in a digital record that is secured because of decentralization. In layman’s terms, using blockchain to buy stuff is secure because purchases are made over multiple computers rather than only one.

Why it is Secure

In order to understand how blockchain can lower holiday theft losses for your business you need to know why using it is secure.

Let’s use a credit card purchase as an example. First, a shopper presents a credit card to make a purchase. You, the retailer, run the credit card through a credit card terminal.

At this point, information flows from your business to your bank, then to the credit card agency, and on to the shopper’s bank and then reverses back to your business completing the transaction. This is all done through a computer or server at each location.

If your business is all conducted online rather than in a brick and mortar shop, everything is done on computers which makes it just as vulnerable to theft.

Unfortunately, along the way, computers can be hacked and the customer’s information stolen. Or, your business could be targeted and your business bank account could be compromised. Any of these scenarios cost you money in theft losses.

On the other hand, as I mentioned before, blockchain transactions are decentralized. This means they are not conducted on one computer at each location but in bits and pieces on multiple computers.

The use of multiple computers makes information nearly impossible to be stolen or misused. Obviously it is safer than using cash as well because thieves can steal that form of payment easier even than a credit card.

How it Can Lower Holiday Theft Losses

It makes sense to use blockchain to lower holiday theft losses for your business. Doing so can prevent losses from theft in multiple ways.

Cash can be stolen from a shopper or your business simply by a thief pocketing it. Credit cards, debit cards, and gift cards can be taken the same way. In addition, checks, cash, and credit card transactions can be forged. Plastic cards can also be hacked.

How do you buy merchandise for your business? If you use a company credit card, it could be just as likely to be stolen or misused as that of a potential customer.

Secure transactions using blockchain can lower holiday theft losses for your business, as you can see. Therefore, as blockchain becomes available in the future, you should consider adopting it in your business too.

The post How Blockchain Can Lower Holiday Theft Losses for Your Business appeared first on Due.

by Kayla Sloan at November 10, 2017 01:45 PM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

This RSS feed URL is deprecated

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

November 10, 2017 01:43 PM

The Big Picture

10 Friday AM Reads

My that was some week morning train reads: • China Spreads Propaganda to U.S. on Facebook, a Platform It Bans at Home (New York Times) see also What Reality TV Teaches Us About Russia’s Influence Campaign (New York Times) • How Jim McCann Built 1-800-Flowers Into A $1 Billion Business and Why He Thinks Alexa Is The Future (Forbes) • The new…

Read More

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

by Barry Ritholtz at November 10, 2017 01:30 PM

Zero Hedge

Podesta Group CEO Unexpectedly Quits Just Days After Tony's Departure

Less than two weeks after John Podesta's brother, Tony, quit as head of the prominent Democratic lobbying group, the Podesta Group just days after it was revealed that Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller was investigating Podesta for potentially violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act for his work involving Ukraine clients, Politico reported overnight that Podesta Group longtime CEO, Kimberley Fritts, is leaving the firm to start her own lobbying shop, according to three Podesta Group staffers.

Tony Podesta

Tony Podesta tapped Fritts as his successor when he announced he'd step down as chairman last week, hours after an indictment charging Paul Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, with violating foreign lobbying law, was unsealed. As a reminder, the widely leaked indictment accused Manafort of hiring the Podesta Group to lobby for an ostensibly independent nonprofit that “was under the ultimate direction” of the Ukrainian president, his party and the Ukrainian government.

And while Fritts had been expected to relaunch the Podesta Group - under a new name of course - in the days after Podesta stepped down, after just a week of trying to hammer out the details of what the new firm would look like, Fritts announced at a staff meeting late on Thursday that she would resign and start a new firm, "exacerbating questions about the future of the Podesta Group and its dozens of employees" as Politico politely puts it. Which, of course, is a less polite way of saying that the Podesta group is almost certain to be formally charged for the same violations that dragged down Manafort.

Fitts' was just the latest exodus from the sinking ship: last week Paul Brathwaite, a Podesta Group principal, said that he was leaving to start his own shop, Federal Street Strategies.

Politico quoted one Podesta Group staffer who described Fritts’ decision as as the next step in rebuilding the firm without Tony Podesta: “Tony Podesta’s name had become a scarlet letter,” the staffer said, speaking on condition of anonymity."

Wells Fargo and Oracle, two of the firm's highest-paying clients, cut ties with the firm, although others said last week they would stick with the Podesta Group for now.

But it's not clear how many staffers — and how many of the firm's clients — will follow Fritts to her new firm.

 

"I just don't know," said another Podesta Group staffer. "This is a really painful process, trying to navigate who can go with and who can be let go."

 

Fritts declined to comment.

While neither Tony Podesta, nor the Podesta Group has been charged publicly with crimes in the Manafort investigation, that is likely to change in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, rival lobbying firms see the implosion of the Podesta Group as a prime moment to poach the Podesta Group’s top lobbyists. At least six other firms have reached out to Podesta

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 01:25 PM

Boy Genius Report

There’s an upgraded version of the $89 sound bar everyone loves… and it only costs $99

Best Soundbar Under 100

At just $89.99, the TaoTronics Sound Bar has been a best-seller on Amazon for months now. Since it offers a sleek design and sound quality that rivals units two and three times its price, it’s not difficult to understand why. But did you know that TaoTronics also makes an upgraded version with ever better sound and an even sleeker design? The TaoTronics 40 Watt 4-Speaker Sound Bar has a full retail price of $199.99 and it’s worth every penny. But if you grab one soon, you’ll only pay $99.99!

Here’s what you need to know from the product page:

* 36 Inches of Deep Bass Audio: 2 full range and 2 mid-low frequency 10W speakers blast the bass for more immersive audio
* Control with Buttons or Remote: Operates via the in-unit buttons or included remote; LED shines in different colors matching the functions
* Dual Wired & Wireless Installations: Stream audio over Bluetooth from up to 33 ft / 10 m or connect via line in, RCA, or optical with the included cables
* More Ways to Set or Mount: Compliments your TV screen by sitting underneath or securely mounts onto the wall for a sleek installation
* Ultra Slim, Sleek Sound Bar: Elongated construction blends in perfectly with your home theater setup by matching the slim profile of your TV

Soundbar, 40 Watt 36-Inch 4 Speakers Strong Bass TaoTronics Sound Bar Wired and Wireless Blueto…: $99.99

Trending right now:

  1. When AI rules, one rogue programmer could end the human race
  2. Winter is coming: iPhone X screen might ‘freeze’ in cold weather, but Apple is fixing it
  3. GoPro bravely sacrifices itself to capture first-person view of being devoured by lava

THERE’S AN UPGRADED VERSION OF THE $89 SOUND BAR EVERYONE LOVES… AND IT ONLY COSTS $99 originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 10 Nov 2017 at 08:20:21 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Maren Estrada at November 10, 2017 01:20 PM

Zero Hedge

The Tax Cut Scam

Authored by Sven Henrich via NorthmanTrader.com,

I can’t help shake this sinking feeling: This tax cut package that is being peddled by the current administration is a scam. Why? Because the entire narrative is dishonest and predicated on false, make belief premises.

Look, I don’t like paying more taxes than I have to. Nobody does and I’m not opposed to tax cuts if they actually do something positive for society and the economy. Get Republicans and Democrats together to work something out that helps address our structural issues. I’m all for it.

But my take is that this game that is being played here is a snow job and an obvious one at that and I’ll tell you why.

Let’s start with the obvious: The very people that are pushing for it have an inherent conflict of interest. Everyone of these people stands to gain personally from the very tax cuts they are pushing:

The main narrative: It’ll stimulate economic growth. Let me simply state the obvious here: These 3 folks having larger cash positions and getting enormous refunds will not add to economic growth, it will just add wealth to them.

And it’ll add wealth to their children & families:

That’s after all what the estate tax repeal is all about. Don’t kid yourself.

Gary Cohn struggled to justify all this today in his interview on CNBC. In fact he didn’t justify anything, but rather admitted the larger point: It’s a tax cut for the top 1%.

“we see the whole trickle-down through the economy, and that’s good for the economy”

Why would it trickle down if it’s not a tax cut for the top 1%?

Well because that’s what it is:

“$1 trillion in net cuts for business, $200 billion through the estate tax, and $300 billion for individuals. So, four times as much in business tax cuts and estate tax as for individuals.”

And right here the narrative and premise dies.

First off, corporations are doing great and have more cash than ever. What do they do with most of their cash? It goes to dividends (10% of people own 90% of stocks, 50% of people don’t own any stocks) and of course buybacks. Goldman itself had already done a projection on this late last year:

“We expect tax reform legislation under the Trump administration will encourage firms to repatriate $200 billion of overseas cash next year,” David Kostin, chief U.S. equity strategist, said in a Friday note, referring to companies in the S&P 500. “A significant portion of returning funds will be directed to buybacks based on the pattern of the tax holiday in 2004.”

None of that adds to economic growth for the bottom 90% it adds to the wealth of the top 1%.

And it’s not even honest to call it the top 1%. It’s really the top 3 if you will.

Wake up to reality:

The three richest people in the US – Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Warren Buffett – own as much wealth as the bottom half of the US population, or 160 million people.

 

Analysis of the wealth of America’s richest people found that Gates, Bezos and Buffett were sitting on a combined $248.5bn (£190bn) fortune. The Institute for Policy Studies said the growing gap between rich and poor had created a “moral crisis”.

 

In a report, Billionaire Bonanza, the thinktank said Donald Trump’s tax change proposals would “exacerbate existing wealth disparities” as 80% of tax benefits would end up going to the wealthiest 1% of households.

 

“Wealth inequality is on the rise,” said Chuck Collins, an economist and co-author of the report. “Now is the time for actions that reduce inequality, not tax cuts for the very wealthy.”

 

The study found that the billionaires included in Forbes magazine’s list of the 400 richest people in the US were worth a combined $2.68tn – more than the gross domestic product (GDP) of the UK.

 

“Our wealthiest 400 now have more wealth combined than the bottom 64% of the US population, an estimated 80m households or 204 million people,” the report says. “That’s more people than the population of Canada and Mexico combined.”

 

The report says the “billionaire class” continues to “pull apart from the rest of us” at the fastest rate ever recorded. “We have not witnessed such extreme levels of concentrated wealth and power since the first gilded age a century ago.”

Wealth inequality is real and this tax cut will exacerbate it further.

But the package will create economic growth? That’s the line used to justify the package without any explanation or response to the structural challenges ahead. Remember the baby boomers are retiring and social security is a key driver in upcoming budget strains:

Cohn didn’t even bother to answer the question:

Harwood: Another thing Larry Summers told me: ‘The country wants to spend more on defense. We’ve got a whole lot of baby boomers retiring. We are going to need more money for government and not less.’ The Penn-Wharton model — run by a former Bush administration economist, not a Democrat — says that this plan by 2040 will lose $4 trillion. During that time, the number of people on Social Security is going to go from 45 million to 72 million. How in the world does that make sense?

 

Cohn: We firmly believe that we are creating a model that creates economic growth in this country.

That’s his answer.

Instead of answering the question he hides behind the talking point without offering evidence. That’s called playing tennis without the net. And worse: It shows he doesn’t want to or can’t answer the hard questions. Because he doesn’t know or care. It’s called can kicking. Just get the tax cut through and count your winnings.

And then the first of 2 key lies:

Harwood: But you know no tax cut’s ever paid for itself.

 

Cohn: The years that we increased deficit are years when our economy is slowing down.

Here’s a fact: There is no evidence that tax cuts have produced long term sustainable economic growth, but rather larger deficits are in the immediate future as tax revenues start falling short.

Here’s the history folks, a wonderful bi-partisan track record of deficit spending.:

Note the immediate deficit growth following the Bush tax cuts in 2001. What did they do? Spent trillions on wars. What are they doing now? Increasing military spending.

Remember fiscal conservatives? Me neither. It’s a slogan. They don’t exist. On either side of the isle.

But here’s the 2nd big lie, and perhaps the worst in the entire charade:

Not a single scenario that I have seen, budget or tax plan or otherwise assumes any growth downside. Ever. It’s all milk, honey and rose pebbles everywhere hence the consequences are not accounted for and the sheep are led to the cliff thinking there is no risk anymore:

This is insane.

And so I ask:

The answer is it doesn’t. There is no strategic rationale behind the tax cuts other than to personally benefit the very people that are pushing for them. It’s a marketing ploy that will eventually end up in trillion dollar deficits again and benefit cuts. The corporate sector is not hurting. It’s sitting on record cash. No sign of stress, but that’s where the tax cut focus is.

Look, THIS is the forecast of the debt consequences WITHOUT any slowdown or recession in the plan:

“The GOP’s tax bill would add $1.7 trillion to the national debt over the course of a decade, and increase the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio by 5.9 percentage points, according to the Congressional Budget Office.”

And what do these projections look like with a slowdown or recession coming and tax revenue missing? Nobody knows, because nobody has run the numbers and apparently nobody is demanding answers to such a question.

Why not? Because economic growth will just magically happen.

Please.

The economy and markets are already awash with 8 years of artificial liquidity and the loosest financial conditions in decades:

We may see a temporary bump in growth from people spending the tax cut crumbs thrown their way and adding to their credit card balances already back to 2007 levels:

But be very clear that if any of these rosy growth projections don’t pan out know who pays for it all. You, the tax payer. Cause they’ll come for your social security money to pay for it all:

Remember the guys driving all this are former Goldman Sachs bankers. Nothing has changed:

The joke may be on all of us when the next slowdown hits. And the bankers? They will have moved on and will have taken their newly found cash with them.

 

Don’t fall for it. This tax cut is a scam that will expand wealth inequality to even more absurd levels.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 01:11 PM

Core77

What Are These Perfect Circles Across The American Landscape, And How Are They Created?

Flying across America provides a bird's eye view of how we humans have decided to cut the land up. In regions where we've completely mastered the topography, you'll see completely unnatural-looking, perfect grids like this, punctuated with perfect circles:

So what the heck are those, and how/why are they created? Here's the 30-second answer:

That's a snippet from this five-minute-plus video on why certain parts of America look very different from the air, depending on which colonial master first took control of which region. It's worth a watch if you've got the time.


November 10, 2017 01:03 PM

Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: November 10

  • Trump Declares New World-Trade Order (WSJ)
  • Trump brings tough trade message in vision for Asia (Reuters)
  • Trump Offers Trade to Asian Nations But Only If They Play Fair (BBG)
  • Flynn Probed Over Alleged Plan to Send Back Turkish Cleric (WSJ)
  • GOP’s Dueling Tax Overhauls Struggle to Pass a Key Red Ink Test (BBG)
  • Trump's CNN attacks may hobble legal case to block AT&T-Time Warner deal (Reuters)
  • Bigger Than Black Friday, Alibaba’s ‘Singles Day’ Faces Fatigue in China (WSJ)
  • AT&T's Clash in D.C. Threatens Chill on Consolidation in Media (BBG)
  • Manafort Charges Renew Questions About Skadden’s Work in Ukraine (BBG)
  • McKinsey Hired Officials’ Children in Saudi Arabia (WSJ)
  • Bitcoin slides by over $1000 in less than 48 hours (Reuters)
  • GE’s $100 Billion Wipeout Heralds Reckoning for an American Icon (BBG)
  • Brexit never? Britain can still change its mind, says Article 50 author (Reuters)
  • Toshiba Looks to Raise $5.3 Billion in Share Offering (WSJ)
  • Las Vegas Massacre May Add More Than $1 Billion to Insurer Costs (BBG)
  • Snap’s Rise and Fall: How a Splashy IPO Stifled Its Doubters (WSJ)
  • EU to preserve Iran nuclear deal: Mogherini (Reuters)
  • China Bans Actress Zhao Wei From Stock Trading for Five Years (BBG)
  • Microsoft and Google Turn to AI to Catch Amazon in the Cloud (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- The acting chief of the Department of Homeland Security Elaine Duke rebuffed the wishes of the White House this week when she refused to end humanitarian protections for immigrants living in the U.S., people familiar with the deliberations said. on.wsj.com/2hpduZ1

- Musical.ly Inc, the maker of a lip-syncing app popular among teens and tweens, has agreed to be acquired by Chinese news and information site Beijing Bytedance Technology Co for as much as $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter. on.wsj.com/2hnaPyZ

- Alabama's special election for a U.S. Senate seat was rattled Thursday by allegations that Republican nominee Roy Moore initiated a sexual encounter with a 14-year-old girl several decades ago, when he was 32. on.wsj.com/2hoMTvc

- A day after disagreements between AT&T Inc and the U.S. government over the company's proposed takeover of Time Warner Inc spilled out into the open, AT&T Chief Executive Randall Stephenson said on Thursday he had no reason to believe that antitrust enforcers' examination of the deal was influenced by President Donald Trump. on.wsj.com/2hpMeJJ

- News Corp reported a 5 percent increase in revenue in the most recent quarter, with every segment of the company posting gains driven by positive currency fluctuations, acquisitions in Australia and U.K. and continued growth of its digital real-estate business. on.wsj.com/2hnVEWe

 

FT

* Britain will provide $2 billion in credit guarantees to Saudi Aramco IPO-ARMO.SE so it can buy British goods and services more easily, but denied it was part of efforts to persuade the energy giant to list its shares in London.

* The European Union is asking Britain to accept that Northern Ireland may need to remain in the European customs union after Brexit, according to an update of the negotiations seen by the Financial Times.

* British Prime Minister Theresa May is ready to increase Britain’s offer to the European Union over the Brexit divorce bill.

 

NYT

-  Senate Republicans outlined their vision on Thursday for overhauling the tax code, proposing a one-year delay in U.S. President Donald Trump's top priority of cutting the corporate tax rate while reinstating some prized tax breaks used by middle-class families. nyti.ms/2zvWNQ3

- Randall Stephenson, chief executive of telecommunications giant AT&T Inc, said selling CNN in order to push through his company's $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc has never been and will never be on the table. nyti.ms/2zwPho5

- The Walt Disney Co reported weaker-than-expected quarterly earnings on Thursday, partly because of bleak results at ABC, an animated feature film that ended up on the shelf and light "Cars 3" toy sales. nyti.ms/2zwZUr6

- Reddit Inc has banned the online community of "incels," or men who blame women for their involuntary celibacy and sometimes advocate rape, as part of a new crackdown on forums that glorify and incite violence. nyti.ms/2zx7WAd

- Chinese glassmaker Fuyao Glass America beat back a unionization bid at a plant in Ohio, winning a key victory in an important test of the way Chinese companies handle employee relations as they increase their holdings in the United States. nyti.ms/2zz1oRP

 

Britain

The Times

- Britain's economy will trail the Eurozone for each of the coming three years as its growth falls to the bottom of the European Union's 28 members, according to official forecasts from Brussels. bit.ly/2jeN24C

- Britain's Office for National Statistics is planning to ask the public how much time they spend on sharing-economy activities such as Airbnb or Uber Technologies Inc to produce a measure of GDP that is more representative of the modern world. bit.ly/2hq0ORw

The Guardian

- United Kingdom is finalising arrangements for a $2 billion loan guarantee to Saudi Arabia Oil Co IPO-ARMO.SE, but the UK government has denied the support is in any way linked to the state-owned firm's potential listing on the London Stock Exchange. bit.ly/2hogBjS

- British Finance Minister Philip Hammond is being urged to use the budget to reform universal credit to support younger voters, amid growing concerns over the governments flagship benefits programme. bit.ly/2jd4TZL

The Telegraph

- British Prime Minister Theresa May warned pro-European Tory rebels that she will not "tolerate" any attempts to undermine Brexit as she unveils plans to enshrine in law the date that Britain leaves the EU. bit.ly/2ho74tg

- British hopes of opening Brexit trade and transition talks this December were thrown into renewed doubt as it emerged that Ireland is making fresh demands over the Northern Ireland border question. bit.ly/2ho4oLR

Sky News

- Britain's energy market regulator Ofgem is to stop gas and electricity suppliers from charging as much as 900 pounds ($1,182) when they forcibly install pre-payment meters in households struggling to pay bills. bit.ly/2jewryb

- Activist investor TCI Fund Management called for a shareholder meeting to vote on removing London Stock Exchange Group Plc chairman Donald Brydon, saying the company had not explained why chief executive Xavier Rolet was leaving. bit.ly/2jc8R4S

The Independent

- John Lewis has launched a slew of products off the back of its Christmas advert, hoping to cash in on the campaign which has surged in recent years to become the UK's most hotly anticipated on the high street. ind.pn/2jfaqPB

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 01:02 PM

Calculated Risk

Prime Working-Age Population nears 2007 Peak

The prime working age population peaked in 2007, and bottomed at the end of 2012. As of October 2017, according to the BLS, there were still fewer people in the 25 to 54 age group than in 2007.

At the beginning of this year - based on demographics - it looked like the prime working age (25 to 54) would probably hit a new peak in 2017. 

However, since the end of last year, the prime working age population has declined slightly.

Changes in demographics are an important determinant of economic growth, and although most people focus on the aging of the "baby boomer" generation, the movement of younger cohorts into the prime working age is another key story. Here is a graph of the prime working age population (25 to 54 years old) from 1948 through October 2017.

Note: This is population, not work force.

Prime Working Age PopulatonClick on graph for larger image.

There was a huge surge in the prime working age population in the '70s, '80s and '90s.

The prime working age labor force grew even quicker than the population in the '70s and '80s due to the increase in participation of women. In fact, the prime working age labor force was increasing 3%+ per year in the '80s!

So when we compare economic growth to the '70s, '80, or 90's we have to remember this difference in demographics (the '60s saw solid economic growth as near-prime age groups increased sharply).

The good news is the prime working age group should start growing at 0.5% per year - and this should boost economic activity.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at November 10, 2017 01:01 PM

It's Nice That

Get to know the bold and charming work of illustrator Hannah Buckman

Hannahbuckman-indiaisnotmyhome-illustration-itsnicethat-list

When looking through publication gal-dem’s many brilliant articles, there is often an accompanying illustration that tempts you in as well as its editorial content. Lots of these illustrations are by Hannah Buckman, a Camberwell graduate who employs her unique use of linework, texture to evoke the story at hand.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at November 10, 2017 01:01 PM

siteInspire

Wired Top Stories

After Corralling AI Expertise, Facebook Now Offers to Share Some

Telecoms want to tap artificial-intelligence to plan networks. Facebook, which has AI expertise and needs telcos, offers to help.

by Klint Finley at November 10, 2017 01:00 PM

Meet Tug, the Helpful Robot Rolling Its Way Into Hospitals and Hotels Around the World

Between delivering food and drugs in hospitals to bringing towels to your hotel room, Tug is helping redefine the human-robot frontier.

by Matt Simon at November 10, 2017 01:00 PM

It's Nice That

Paul Hamlyn Foundation announces awards of £60,000 to ten UK-based artists

Paul-hamlyn-foundation-2017-art-itsnicethat-list

Every year, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation awards ten individual visual artists and composers with a sum of money to support their careers. Yesterday (9 November), musician, writer and arts appreciator, Jarvis Cocker alongside chair of the Foundation, Jane Hamlyn, announced the recipients of this year’s Awards for Artists.

Read more

by Ruby Boddington at November 10, 2017 12:48 PM

OpenBSD Journal

p2k17 Hackathon Report: Anthony J. Bentley on firmware, games and securing pkg_add runs

The next p2k17 report comes from Anthony J. Bentley (bentley@):

Back in April, Stefan Sperling (stsp@) asked if anyone was interested in using Atheros’s freely licensed sources to build firmware for athn(4) USB wireless cards. I never saw any takers on the mailing list, so when coming up with ideas to work on this hackathon I decided to give it a shot.

Read more…

November 10, 2017 12:46 PM

p2k17 Hackathon report: Sebastian Reitenbach on Puppet progress

The next p2k17 report comes from Sebastian Reitenbach (sebastian@):
As not a local Berliner, but one who lives nearby, it would be a shame to not to come to a Hackathon in Berlin. Unfortunately I only could make it the first three days.

Read more…

November 10, 2017 12:46 PM

Oblivious Investor

Investing Blog Roundup: Open Enrollment Season

It’s open enrollment season on Healthcare.gov. If you don’t have health insurance through another source (e.g., your employer, spouse, Medicare), now’s the time to start picking a plan.

Open enrollment lasts through December 15. The process can take a while though, so it’s usually a good idea to get started early. (Frankly even for those of us with financial backgrounds, it’s not usually obvious which plan is the best choice for our circumstances.)

If you do not qualify for premium subsidies or cost sharing reductions, you may also want to search for plans on ehealthinsurance.com, though it’s critical to be aware that any plans there other than those described as “major medical insurance” will cover quite a bit less than a plan that meets Affordable Care Act requirements.

Other Money-Related Articles

Thanks for reading!

What is the Best Age to Claim Social Security?

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

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

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

by Mike at November 10, 2017 12:45 PM

Boy Genius Report

Samsung quietly unveils the Galaxy S9’s main components

Galaxy S9 Specs

We’re slowly approaching the Galaxy S9 rumors season, as the phone is expected to launch a bit earlier than its predecessor. Recent reports said the upcoming flagship will have a dual lens camera on the back like the Galaxy Note 9, which is also where the fingerprint sensor will be stuck for one more year at least. A different rumor said the Galaxy S9 is supposed to enjoy a short Snapdragon 845 exclusivity, which is expected to be next year’s top Qualcomm platform for Android devices.

Samsung, meanwhile, quietly unveiled its next-gen mobile processor that’s supposed to power flagship devices, like the Galaxy S9 and Note 9 coming next year. It also introduced a new camera that will let smartphone manufacturers, Samsung included, come up with even thinner devices.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Winter is coming: iPhone X screen might ‘freeze’ in cold weather, but Apple is fixing it
  2. GoPro bravely sacrifices itself to capture first-person view of being devoured by lava
  3. This brilliant new AI will fight email scammers by wasting their time

SAMSUNG QUIETLY UNVEILS THE GALAXY S9’S MAIN COMPONENTS originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 10 Nov 2017 at 07:45:27 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Chris Smith at November 10, 2017 12:45 PM

AffordAnything.org: Yes, YOU can afford it!

How to Make Long Flights Tolerable

Here’s the funny thing: I hate flying.

Yet I’ve taken 18 flights in the last 9 months. Including one Wednesday. And my next flight is today.⠀

To be clear — I’m not afraid of flying. I just don’t enjoy it. It’s noisy. It’s cramped. I can’t sleep. I can’t concentrate. I feel drained and exhausted afterwards. ⠀

Since I’ve been on the road (um, in the air) so much this year, I realized I needed coping strategies to make long flights tolerable. Here’s how I manage the irritations of flying, and how I keep costs to a minimum:

#1: I avoid layovers whenever possible. I’ll rearrange dates and plans, if needed, to fly nonstop.⠀

#2: I avoid early-morning flights. Catching a 10 a.m. flight means leaving home by 8 a.m. Anything earlier is just cruel and unusual. (International flights are different, but there’s more flexibility with domestic itineraries.)⠀

#3: I reach the airport at least 1 hour and 15 minutes before domestic flights, even though that’s overkill. I also allow 30 minutes for the ride to the airport, even though I can usually Uber there in 20. Building these time buffers helps me relax.⠀

#4: I love TSA PreCheck; I can’t imagine flying without it. If you value your time at all, sign up for this program immediately. (More below.)

#5: I’ve made a rule for myself: No working on flights. I hold flights as special time for my favorite hobby, reading books, and I read anything I want, not necessarily business/money books. Yesterday I started reading the latest Dan Brown novel.⠀

#6: I wear noise-cancelling earmuffs to drown the engine noise. This makes a HUGE difference.⠀


#7: Although I have access to many airline lounges, which feature open bars, I don’t drink alcohol when I’m flying. It just makes me dehydrated and cranky.⠀

#8: Speaking of cranky — I always carry snacks. Although that’s a good practice for life.

How to Keep Flying Costs Low (without Losing Your Mind)

Flying is expensive — right? Nope. Here’s how I trim costs (without flying Spirit).

#1: Let’s start with ground transportation. Uber and Lyft both have a ‘carpool’ option, in which you can snag a cheaper price by sharing your ride. Since people are always heading to/from the airport, this is an easy way to save money on ground transit.

#2: Check public transit options both at home and at your destination. In Dallas, for example, I discovered that the light rail arrived immediately in front of my hotel. Goodbye, $25 Uber; hello, $2.50 rail ticket.

#3: Build airline miles by paying for everything with a rewards credit card. Paid-in-full always, duh! 🙂

#4: Redeem miles for at least 2 percent. If a flight costs $400, for example, I’ll only pay for that same flight with 20,000 or fewer miles. I’ve found the best redemption values on international flights and upgrades.

Here’s a handy chart.

Why? Simple: If I earn one mile per dollar, and I redeem those miles at two percent … well, the math is obvious. It’s like I’m saving two percent on every purchase.

If I also get a signup bonus, I’m in the 3-4 percent zone. Sweet!

Tip: Grab at least one card that gives you complimentary access to airline lounges. This is icing on the cake — or more accurately, it’s guacamole on the chip. Which leads to my next point —

#5: Devour the airport lounge snacks: hummus, cheese, olives, veggies, soups, chocolate-chip cookies. Many lounges offer a free guacamole bar, which is basically my definition of heaven. I refer to airport lounges as the Executive Soup Kitchen, and thanks to these, I haven’t bought food at an airport in years.

Tip: Eat everything in sight. (Wait, is that just me?)
Extra Tip: Send the chocolate-chip cookies through the revolving-belt toaster. They come out warm and gooey.

#6: (If you’re a U.S. citizen) —
Applying for TSA PreCheck costs $85. Applying for Global Entry, which streamlines your re-entry to the U.S. from abroad, costs $100 and includes TSA PreCheck. So for an extra $15, you get access to both programs and can jump the line.

Duh. This is a no-brainer deal. (Also, some credit cards will reimburse your application fee.)

#7: (If you’re self-employed) —
Many of my trips have a business component, which means I can write-off most of the costs. This gives me an effective 25-35 percent ‘discount,’ so to speak.

I’ll fly to Seattle for face-to-face meetings, for example, or I’ll fly to Austin for a conference. Since I’m traveling there anyway, I’ll spend an extra few days exploring the area.

To make bookkeeping easy, I pay for the trip’s business expenses with a business card, and personal expenses with a personal card. Voila, it’s automated.

#8: (Also if you’re self-employed) —
One of the coolest things about the laptop lifestyle is the blurry line between “business meeting” and “hanging out with friends who share your passion.”

For example —

I met Emma Pattee from a cold email. She asked me to speak at an event she was organizing. I said no.

She emailed again a year later. I said no.

Sounds like a great start to a friendship, doesn’t it?

But once we met, we clicked instantly, and in July we flew out to Alabama to check out rental properties together. We stayed up late every night drinking red wine and eating key lime pie. It was awesome.

I love hanging out with her. But every hangout session is also super-productive. And that leads me to perhaps the best frugal hack of all: love what you do — and whom you do it with — so much that it doesn’t feel like work. Love it so much that this is what you’d be doing anyway. And then wait for that moment of joyous surprise when you realize that the IRS doesn’t have any restrictions against liking the people that you work with.

After all, isn’t a “mastermind group” just a formalized version of having friends?

____

So … that’s how I make flights tolerable.

I shared this on Instagram and Facebook the other day, and several people offered awesome recommendations, as well — get a seat located in front of the engines, take a shower when you land, and start flying by private jet (WTF?? Huh??)

If you have any more ideas, I’m all ears. Well, muffled ears. 🙂

by Paula Pant at November 10, 2017 12:44 PM

Zero Hedge

China's Big Bang Bombshell: Beijing Opens Financial Sector To Foreign Ownership, But Why Now?

That was quick.

Trump leaves China (only to go back on the offensive about unfair trade practices in his APEC speech) and just hours later Trump's new Beijing friends announce that foreign firms will be permitted to take majority ownership in Chinese financial firms… well capped at 51% for now anyway. We doubt that this occurred out of the blue and was surely being worked on in the run-up to Trump’s visit. Furthermore, we suspect that Bloomberg’s Chief Asia Economist, Tom Orlik, had got wind of it ahead of time. In our preview of Trump’s visit (see “Will Xi Offer Trump A Small Victory On Trade As Cover For His Longer-Term Ambitions"), we noted this comment of his.

"In an optimistic scenario, Trump’s appetite for tweetable wins and China’s longer-term focus could coalesce around financial market opening -- a boon for the U.S. investment banks, and a support for China as it attempts to tame its credit boom," Orlik said.

Bloomberg is describing China’s move as “China’s Big Bang moment”, harking back to the deregulation of the London Stock Exchange in 1986, which permitted commercial and investment banks, both UK and foreign, to own brokers and dealers, all backstopped by deposits. Following today’s announcement foreign firms will be able to take a majority ownership in banks, securities brokerages (China’s term for investment banks), asset managers and life insurers. The chatter on the financial news networks this morning is beyond superlative, including comments such as “giant step”, “milestone”, “timing auspicious” and “the timing is conciliatory”.  In reality, it could be a giant headfake.

Here's Bloomberg.

China took a major step toward the long-awaited opening of its financial system, removing foreign ownership limits on its banks and asset-management companies, and allowing overseas firms to take majority stakes in local securities ventures and insurers. Regulators are drafting detailed rules, which will be released soon, Vice Finance Minister Zhu Guangyao said at a briefing in Beijing on Friday. Foreign firms will be allowed to own up to 51 percent in securities ventures and life-insurance companies, caps that will be removed gradually over time, he said.

 

China’s steps look poised to end years of frustration for foreign banks, who have long been marginal players in Asia’s largest economy. The announcement could be seen as a major win for U.S. President Donald Trump, whose first official visit to China was followed by a string of Sino-U.S. deals. On Thursday, China’s Foreign Ministry foreshadowed the latest moves, with a statement saying that entry barriers to sectors such as banking, insurance, securities and funds will be “substantially” eased. Those comments came following a meeting between Trump and his counterpart Xi Jinping.

On the surface, this is the most significant move to deregulate China’s financial system for a decade when foreign banks were allowed to set up minority-owned operations in 2007. Furthermore, the new regulations will remove the 51% cap in securities brokerages after three years. In the life insurance sector, foreign firms will be allowed to own 51% after three years with the cap being removed after 5 years.

Prior to this announcement, foreign banks had diverging China strategies. In a high-profile announcement last year, JP Morgan announced that it would sell its stake in the JPMorgan First Capital Joint Venture – a securities trader – due to poor profitability. In contrast, likes of UBS and Morgan Stanley have stated their intention to raise ownership in their joint ventures.

The South China Morning Post reported on the response to the news.

International banks doing business in China welcomed the news. “The Chinese government’s decision to allow foreign companies to take up to 51 per cent in securities joint venture represents an important step in further opening up China’s financial sector. China is a key market for UBS and...we continue to work towards increasing our stake in [joint venture] UBS Securities,” Eugene Qian, chairman of UBS’ China Strategy Board, said in a statement. Securities trading in China has been dominated by large domestic players, with the foreign banks’ joint ventures struggling to gain market share. In 2015, UBS Securities was ranked the best performing foreign joint venture among securities firms in terms of net profits, but was still 95th overall in the country, according to data from the Securities Association of China.

However, the ongoing internationalisation of China’s capital markets will provide an opportunity for the foreign players to help them overcome domestic competition. “Domestic players are already strong in areas like securities brokerages. However, with China’s capital markets opening up to foreign investors through the connect schemes, China’s securities brokerages might need more foreign strategic partners to help them better serve these new investors,” said Wang Cong, professor of finance and co-director of the centre for globalisation of Chinese companies at the China European International Business School.

The key question regarding China’s “Big Bang” moment is whether the motivation was mainly directed at placating Trump, who was always going to return to the trade issue, which had been a major part of his campaign. That was undoubtedly part of it, although Trump’s APEC speech in Vietnam in which he reverted to slamming China for its trade practices has probably caused some loss of face and irritation in Beijing.

However, what if it was more than that… and here we return again to China’s need to deflate its obscene credit bubble in an orderly fashion. No matter if we view it as a near impossibility. However, they at least need to try and outgoing PboC Governor, Zhou, has been warning of “Minsky’s moments” and “debt disguised as equity” in the last few weeks.

China’s credit bubble is far more fragile than most western investors want to acknowledge and the local authorities know this only too well. Consequently, we were impressed by these comments from Bloomberg’s Shuli Ren, who’s thinking along the same lines. Her angle, and China’s credit bubble is awash wish them, is non-performing loans and medium-sized banks.

China desperately wants to recapitalize its mid-sized joint-stock commercial banks, which it sees as posing systemic risks. Last year, the People's Bank of China said that if a mid-sized bank were to default, on average, four to five other lenders would also be affected and more than 8 per1cent of the industry's capital would be wiped out. Taking a look at 41 publicly listed Chinese banks shows that only the very largest -- Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd., China Construction Bank Corp., Bank of China Ltd. and China Merchants Bank Co. among them -- are reasonably capitalized. Plenty of lenders, from Postal Savings Bank of China Co. to Bank of Jiangsu Co., are in need of cash. Except for China's largest banks, mid-sized and regional lenders are in need of greater capital buffers.

Ren speculates where foreign firms might be able to play a role in saving some of these banks.

The one area that may be of interest to foreigners is bad-debt asset management firms. Beijing has been urging lenders to set up soured-loan managers to conduct debt-for-equity swaps and offload unmet obligations. Pricing and restructuring bad debt, however, is so technical and tiresome that even China's two most prominent specialists, China Huarong Asset Management Co. and China Cinda Asset Management Co., have been busy earning their keep in the offshore high-yield corporate bond market. But, as I wrote in August, Beijing is serious about reducing corporate debt and establishing new asset-management companies for that purpose. Authorities want the firms to have a wide range of financing options open to them, from bond issues to private placements and perhaps even tapping interbank liquidity. Although China's capital markets are getting deeper by the day, more external expertise wouldn't go amiss. So far, only about 10 percent of the announced 1 trillion yuan ($151 billion) of debt-swap deals have been funded, in part because private-sector investors aren't interested. That's where foreign financial institutions should be turning their attention. There's business here for the taking.

We wouldn’t disagree, which that's why our initial reaction to the news last night was... skeptical.

To be sure, a foreign bailout masked as investment would certainly help, however, we share the sentiment that it’s probably too late.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 12:42 PM

Saeed Naqvi

Pinned Against The Wall: Losing The Argument In Srinagar



Pinned Against The Wall: Losing The Argument In Srinagar
                                                                                   Saeed Naqvi

The arrival of Dineshwar Sharma, formerly of the Intelligence Bureau, as the Centre’s interlocutor in the troubled state, has clearly not set the Jhelum on fire. But Hari Niwas, the former Maharaja’s palace, Sharma’s headquarter, has acquired a temporary prominence with Armoured Personnel carriers, TV vans, and a gradually diminishing number of journalists outside. The approaching winter is a deterrence for assembly after sunset.

Reactions range from total nonchalance at the Amar Singh club, to bewilderment among the intelligencia and anger among prominent members of the civil society. “Yet again, this is an insult to Kashmiris; what can an interlocutor find out that the State does not already know after 28 years of total military occupation.”

Subjects that were hush hush in the past are now part of casual conversation over cups of kahva. “Democratization of corruption” for instance. This the intelligence agencies have achieved – transferring cash in ever expanding concentric circles. This kind of money, induces dependency, not gratitude, a sort of helplessness, demoralization, which conceals simmering anger.

Householders are more liable to be implicated in such transactions. This would distance them further from the youth fired by idealism and the social media. It is this youth which is controlling the agitational mood. I must however, add in parenthesis that too much should not be extrapolated from the experience of urban centres like Srinagar.

Hardly a day passes without an encounter, a shootout, disappearances. Director General of Police S.P. Vaid’s boast that 170 militants have been killed this year disguises the hundreds of civilians and security personnel, including the Army, who have also been killed. Figures, in any case, do not reflect the scale of the tragedy.

South Asian Terrorism Portal records 11 civilians, 15 security forces and 40 militants killed in the past two months. These, again, are mere figures. They reveal little. The tragedy is in the empty streets past 9 pm. During a 30 kms ride from a friend’s house near the airport to my hotel past Dal Lake, I saw headlights of one or two cars, but no people, not even security personnel. Has this stretch been totally tranquilized? No one will ever know what fills the spaces within the heart behind those unlit windows?

One of the finer intellectuals in Srinagar tossed in a comparison with Catalonia. He was suggesting that Catalonia is more prosperous than the rest of Spain and is yet in rebellion. seeking independence. The comparison is slightly farfetched even though people in Kashmir are apparently better off than in many places in the rest of India. A study of this relative economic well being would have to be a mean minded accumulation of data. How can you point to the decorous carpet in a man’s house when you have blinded two of his sons with pellet guns?

Lifestyles are sometimes a self-deception, make belief, a cover up for a deeper want. The most spectacular arrangement of colours and motifs in women’s wear in Rajasthan, Kutch and Sind, compensate for the aridity as far as the eye can see.

People living under extreme pressure pick up nuances swiftly. When Mehbooba Mufti, Ram Madhav and Dineshwar Sharma repeat the same image, ears are cocked: “We do not want Kashmir to become another Syria”. This raises a spectre of Jabhat al Nusra, Al Qaeda, the Islamic State. Well, the US had to flatten out Raqqa on the scale of Dresden during World War II and yet allowed 375 IS to sneak out to few know where.

The very mention of Syria invites a kneejerk response. After the massive protests last year following Burhan Wani’s killing, new names are being brought into focus as militant leaders, some of them demanding Shariah law, unusual for youth rebels in their 20s.

Zakir Musa, once associated with Burhan Wani, is being projected as the new jihadist. That Musa is alive in a culture saturated with “encounters”, is interpreted here, by some groups, as the Deep State promoting ogres to justify some drastic action in the future.

In an atmosphere so charged with suspicion, no one is expecting the interlocutor to pull a rabbit out of his hat. He has diligently started visiting senior politicians who ask “what is the bottom line?” To this Sharma cannot possibly be expected to have an answer. Has he been sent to salvage accidental Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s sinking political fortunes? It has certainly given people something to watch – wearily though.

The Sharma initiative makes sense if there is a similar expedition to Pakistan. This cannot happen before the 2019 General elections because such a step would immediately bring down Hindu-Muslim temperatures, a state of affairs most deleterious to the BJP’s electoral health.

In the 70s and 80s I wrote repeatedly with such conviction:
“Indian secularism protects, among a billion others, the world’s second largest Muslim population. Any issue, including Kashmir should be addressed keeping this in mind.’

How foolish I feel when some of the best minds in Kashmir hurl the following at me: Love Jihad, Cow lynchings, Ghar Wapsi, Tipu the traitor, transformation of shrines into temples….

“You in India are a cowering minority” they mock. “We in Kashmir are in battle against occupation.”

“They disempowered you through secularism; they are disempowering us through democracy.” It is a staggering barrage. I find myself wriggling against the wall.

#          #          #          #

by Saeed Naqvi (noreply@blogger.com) at November 10, 2017 12:42 PM

FlowingData

The words used by men and women to write about love

Josh Katz, Claire Cain Miller, and Kathleen A. Flynn for The Upshot plotted words used in essays above love submitted to The New York Times, focusing on a comparison between men and women’s word usage.

When writing about love, men are more likely to write about sex, and women about marriage. Women write more about feelings, men about actions.

Even as gender roles have merged and same-sex romance has become more accepted, men and women still speak different languages when they talk about love — at least, if Modern Love essays submitted to The New York Times are any indication.

Tags: , ,

by Nathan Yau at November 10, 2017 12:35 PM

Blogical Conclusion

“Aramm”… A textured portrait of village life turns into a shrill, message-heavy (and yet, important) drama

Spoilers ahead… Read the full review on Film Companion, here: http://www.filmcompanion.in/article/aramm-movie-review The line of female District Collectors in Tamil cinema isn’t a long one, and these women are usually seen in relation to their men. Janaki (Sowcar Janaki), in Iru Kodugal, became a Collector because she was rejected by her mother-in-law (and thus, lost her […]

by brangan at November 10, 2017 12:23 PM

swissmiss

Zero Hedge

Trudeau's selfies won't cut it

Trudeau's Selfies Won't Cut It - Peter Diekmeyer

By Peter Diekmeyer 

November 6, 2017

When Justin Trudeau took office as Prime Minister two years ago, he also took on the Minister of Youth portfolio. It was a tough assignment, atop a government infrastructure designed from its core to disregard the interests of Canadian youth.

Government is about power and Canadian youth have none. Without interest group backing, it’s almost impossible for anyone, even a Prime Minister, to make meaningful change.

That said, a quick survey suggests that unless Trudeau takes concrete steps, the government apparatus will leave the country’s youth as a generation, for the first time, worse off than their parents.

It also suggest key takeaways about how younger Canadians might want to prepare for the future.

Consider:

Government hiring practices discriminate against youth

The seniority system and job security prevalent in union contracts negotiated by the Canadian government, the country’s largest employer, systematically block out youth and innovation.

In Canada, not only is it legal to discriminate against youth, Government, at all levels, paves the way.

Government funds target seniors

The Canadian government’s two largest categories of spending are pension benefits and medical benefits which almost exclusively benefit seniors. While everyone knows this about pensions, less well-known is the fact that the lion’s share of medical spending is for Canadians over the age of 50.

The net effect is a massive wealth transfer from the young to the old.

Debts left to Canadian youth

While government jobs and spending are targeted towards older Canadians, government
debts are left to the next generation. These include trillions of dollars’ worth of unfunded liabilities, none of which are officially recorded in government books, and which today’s young naturally have no clue about.

Trickle down policies transfer wealth from youth to older Canadians

The Bank of Canada’s complicated low interest rate policy and market manipulations (which
few understand, let alone Canada’s young) are designed to boost housing, stock, and bond prices.

The hope is that the holders of these assets will spend that money, generating a “wealth
effect” that will trickle down to ordinary Canadians.

But those asset holders are almost all older Canadians. The people hoping to buy them (and who get stuck paying the higher prices) are younger Canadians.

Government central planners destroying the environment

One of the oddest developments following the end of the Cold War was the discovery that
Western economies (which still had some functioning free markets back then) had better environmental records than Soviet state-planned economies.

These days (with the rise of government and central bank power), free markets are essentially
a thing of the past in G-7 nations, which are now essentially all state-run
economies.

Not surprisingly, G-7 nations’ environmental records are starting to resemble those
of the old Soviet era planned economies. G-7 nations are, for example, the world’s
highest per capita emitters of greenhouse gases.

Ironically, it is the public sector, not businesses, that is mostly at fault.

Government mandated low-interest rate policies are subsidizing high pollution capital assets
(in two of the world’s largest carbon emitting industries) that the free market would never allow.

First, low interest rates provide huge subsidies for the purchase of all automobiles and
SUVs (not just fuel-efficient ones). These make public transportation less attractive.

Second, low interest rates massively subsidize cattle production (whose methane gas is one
the biggest producers of GHGs), making meat farming more attractive than vegetable
farming.

Free market interest rates would have reversed both those trends.

Finally, free markets would have spurred several hard recessions during recent decades, and
possibly very hard depression.

Bad as that may sound, these would have squeezed as much of the rot as possible out of government and various zombie/protected industries.

More importantly for Canada’s young, they would have created job openings for youth
as well as opportunities to innovate and start new businesses.

Leveling with younger Canadians

There are two takeaways from this. The first relates to Trudeau, a former high school
teacher and father of three, who does appear to care about Canadian youth on a personal
level.

In fact, the Liberal government has made several public relations moves to appeal to
Canada’s youth. These actions (though immaterial in the overall scheme of things)
range from recently-announced funding increases for family allowances to fostering a Prime Ministerial youth advisory council.

However, governing is about more than cosmetics and selfies.

If Trudeau really wants to help Canadian youth, he needs to use his bully pulpit to
raise public awareness of the structural issues they face. Until then, Canadian
youth are on their own.

The sooner they begin to prepare themselves, the better.

by peterdiekmeyercontributor at November 10, 2017 12:16 PM

swissmiss

Friday Link Pack

– These mugs are beautiful.

Go home evolution, you’re drunk.

– These pop-up bike racks ‘disappear’ into the pavement when they’re not in use

Setu is a community-driven directory for yoga teachers.

Getting blunt with my daughters, because #metoo.

Something is wrong on the internet, an essay on YouTube, children’s videos, automation, abuse, and violence.

– The mini lumio is magical.

– I have been looking for a jewelry box. I think I found it.

– Research: For Better Brainstorming, Tell an Embarrassing Story

Kids, Would You Please Start Fighting?

This is brilliant.

– Guy films brilliant ad to auction off his girlfriend’s used car, but it worked too well.

– Some good tips in here: Time Management and Productivity Tricks

– Ashamed to work in Silicon Valley: how techies became the new bankers

– This is a decorative way to keep matches in your home.

Every Exhibition Held at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) Presented in a New Web Site: 1929 to Present

How to make individual Mac & Cheese cups

9 Simple Ways to Boost Your Home Wi-Fi Network

Hate the iPhone X notch? There’s an app for that

– Fascinating: This bike helmet is like an airbag for your head

– These pixelated tea towels would look good in my kitchen.

– “As long as you are tactful, 95% people are extremely receptive to a clear “no.” Especially if you tell them why.” Saying No with Grace

Get your veggies on!

by swissmiss at November 10, 2017 12:15 PM

Zero Hedge

"This Looks More Frightening": Global Stock, Bond Selloff Accelerates Amid Risk-Parity Rumblings

Yesterday's Japan flash-crash inspired selling continues for a second day, with global equities - and bonds - sliding early Friday on concerns U.S. tax reform - and corporate tax cuts - will be delayed after Senate Republicans unveiled a plan that differed significantly from the House of Representatives’ version. After suffering their biggest plunge in 4 months on Thursday, European stocks failed to find a bid along with Asian stocks, while U.S. index futures pointed to a lower open (ES -0.5%, or -10), the Nikkei 225 ended 0.8% lower, Treasuries yields are up 1-4bps across the curve in steepening fashion, with the 10y at 2.370%, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index declined for a third day. The VIX has jumped 6% this morning trading through 11 while WTI crude oil is little changed trading north of $57/bbl.

And here is one for the streak watchers: on Thursday the global MSCI index failed by one day to post its longest winning streak since 2003 as it fell 0.4% following 10 days straight of gains. The MSCI world index gained more than 18% so far this year and some investors believe a pullback is due. “I think there’s a feeling out there that there’s a long awaited correction, and no one wants to be caught by surprise,” said Emmanuel Cau, global equity strategist at JP Morgan.  “When the market is down a bit people tend to extrapolate. But I think it’s simply a bit of profit taking and digesting from a very strong September and October.”

Europe's benchmark Stoxx 600 reversed an early rebound, falling 0.2% on high volume;  It is on track for its worst week in three months, if it falls on Friday , its fourth drop in row. Carmakers and retailers led the index to its biggest two-day drop since August as third-quarter earnings season continues, with aerospace-electronics maker Leonardo SpA crashing 20% after cutting sales forecasts.

In Asia it was more of the same, with stocks declining after a rally that saw them touch a record high less than 48 hours earlier, as shares in Japan extended losses following abrupt swings on Thursday. Asian stocks fell, tracking weakness in U.S. equities after the U.S. Senate released a tax plan that would delay cuts to the corporate rate until 2019, defying President Donald Trump. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.4 percent to 171.18, trimming its weekly advance to 0.8%; The MSCI Asia Pacific ex-Japan index fell 0.3%, while Japan's Nikkei lost 0.8%, slipping off Thursday's 21-year high after a 16% rally in the past two months. The decline was led by Japanese equities, which extended a loss Thursday on the heels of the largest one-day swing in a year. The Asian benchmark gauge has risen for six straight weeks, posting gains in 16 of the past 18 weeks. Thursday’s close was less than half a point from a record.

“Investors are unwinding expectations on Trump’s ambitious tax reform,” Margaret Yang, a Singapore-based strategist at CMC, said by phone. “Delay in tax cuts is the perfect excuse to book profits, but long-term fundamentals remain positive for Asian equities.” While most Asian markets fell, Hong Kong stocks traded higher, and Shanghai’s benchmark index headed for its best week since August, led by brokerages.

Meanwhile, in a move that smacks of a risk-parity deleveraging unwind, instead of dipping - as a risk-haven - 10Y TSY yields rose a third day, and core European bond yields followed suit not to mention the ongoing rout in junk bonds.

Indeed, as the Stoxx 600 dropped, Germany leads the bond market lower, sending 10-year Bund yield to a two-week high. Treasuries decline in tandem with the long-end underperforming and finally steepening the 5s30s curve from the narrowest level in a decade.

The world looks, if anything, more frightening given declines in both bonds and stocks,” Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank A/S in Hellerup, Denmark, said by email. “Higher lows and lower highs following the U.S. presidential election a year ago shows a market in need of a proper spark. So far that spark remains illusive.”

In macro, majors FX pairs were trapped in familiar ranges, while bonds stole the spotlight yet again as yields ticked up steadily across traders’ screens; the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index attempted a feeble recovery after short-term accounts took profit on shorts, but the gains lacked conviction; the pound flapped about, seeking a decisive direction, ahead of a key Brexit briefing; Treasury 10-year yields were inching closer toward the key 2.40% level. WTI crude was steady above $57 a barrel.

The catalyst for the move was yesterday's tax reform fireworks, where Republican senators said they wanted to slash the corporate tax rate in 2019, later than the House’s proposed schedule of 2018, complicating a push for the biggest overhaul of U.S. tax law since the 1980s. The House was set to vote on its measure next week. But the Senate’s timetable was less clear.

“Things look fluid, including on when the tax cut deal will be reached,” said Hirokazu Kabeya, chief global strategist at Daiwa Securities.  “I would say a compromise will be reached ...But if they indeed decide to delay the tax cut by a year, there is likely to be some disappointment.”

In FX, the euro declined 0.1% to 1.1641, while sterling was 0.1% higher  at 1.3162.

In rates, the 10y TSY rose to 2.3753% , while Bund yields, as noted above, climbed to their highest level in over a week as euro zone bonds sold off across the board for a second consecutive day. The yield on Germany’s 10-year bund hit 0.40% for the first time since Oct. 27.

Among commodities, oil prices steadied on expectations of supply cuts by major exporters as well as continuing concern about political developments in Saudi Arabia. A spokesman for Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said the kingdom planned to cut crude exports by 120,000 barrels per day in December from November. Brent crude was at $64.01 per barrel, close to the 2-year high of $64.65 reached earlier this week. WTI traded at $57.17, also just shy of this week’s more than two-year high of $57.69. Concerns about the stability of Saudi Arabia, sparked after the purge of 11 princes and arrests of dozen other influential figures since last week, are intensifying. Sources told Reuters that Lebanon believes the country’s former prime minister, Saad al-Hariri, was being held in Saudi Arabia, although Saudi Arabia denied reports he was under house arrest. Saudi Arabia accused Beirut earlier this week of declaring war against the kingdom.

Bulletin Headline Summary from Ransquawk

  • Subdued Trade across European equities
  • GBP uncertainty remerges, as Brexit concerns grow
  • Looking ahead, highlights include Uni. Of Michigan and Weekly Baker Hughes Rig Count

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 2,572.70
  • STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 389.09
  • MSCI Asia down 0.4% to 171.18
  • MSCI Asia ex Japan down 0.3% to 559.89
  • Nikkei down 0.8% to 22,681.42
  • Topix down 0.7% to 1,800.44
  • Hang Seng Index down 0.05% to 29,120.92
  • Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,432.67
  • Sensex down 0.3% to 33,160.16
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 6,029.37
  • Kospi down 0.3% to 2,542.95
  • German 10Y yield rose 1.1 bps to 0.386%
  • Euro up 0.04% to $1.1647
  • Italian 10Y yield rose 6.8 bps to 1.55%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 0.8 bps to 1.525%
  • Brent futures up 0.4% to $64.20/bbl
  • Gold spot down 0.02% to $1,284.81
  • U.S. Dollar Index up 0.04% to 94.48

Top Overnight News

  • China took a major step toward the long-awaited opening of its financial system, saying it will remove foreign ownership limits on banks while allowing overseas firms to take majority stakes in local securities ventures, fund managers and insurers
  • Senate Republicans released their vision for a tax-cut plan Thursday that would cut the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, with a one-year delay to 2019, as Congress moves quickly to fulfill one of the GOP’s biggest and most long-awaited goals
  • President Donald Trump will not meet formally with Russian President Vladimir Putin at an Asia- Pacific summit in Vietnam this week due to a scheduling conflict, the White House said Friday, amid U.S. concerns that the meeting wouldn’t create genuine progress on key issues
  • Alibaba is expected to announce a USD bond mandate next week and price the transaction before Nov. 23, Reuters’s IFR says
  • As U.S. markets swim in sea of red, trading in the largest high-yield exchange-traded funds has skyrocketed to dizzying levels
  • San Francisco Fed President John Williams expects a December hike and three more in 2018 and that U.S. interest rate will return to “a normal level” of about 2.5%, BBC reports;He expects incoming Fed chair Powell to continue “making sure that we have a strong consensus around our policy decisions and strategy”
  • Australia’s central bank used its quarterly statement on monetary policy to flesh out its consistent recent view of accelerating growth and sluggish inflation, suggesting interest rates will stay at a record-low 1.5%
  • Oil heads for best weekly run in a year as political upheaval in Saudi Arabia roils markets
  • China Big Bang Moment Opens Banks, Funds to Foreign Control
  • Pacific Nations Scramble to Save Trade Pact After Trump Exit
  • China Says Foreign Firms Won’t Be Forced to Turn Over Technology
  • StanChart Unit Offers to Buy Stake in Singapore Crane Firm
  • World’s Biggest Wealth Fund Calls for Better FX Market Practices
  • Drahi Takes Back Control of Altice as CEO Quits Amid Debt Woes
  • ECB Warns of Complacency Risks in Surging Euro-Area Economy
  • GOP’s Dueling Tax Overhauls Struggle to Pass a Key Red Ink Test

Asian equities are set to close out the week in the red with risk sentiment dented by US tax doubts. Nikkei 225 (-0.8%) notably underperforms, extending on the losses seen from yesterday’s dramatic swing which had come ahead of the closely watch options settlement price, which settled at 22,531. Toshiba shares fell as much as 8% following reports that they are looking to raise around JPY 600bln worth of capital. ASX 200 (-0.3%) slightly pressured, however the 6000 level has been holding, while the biggest weight has come from mining stocks. Chinese markets pared initial declines following reports that China are to relax the limit on foreign ownership. JGBs are a touch weaker with the curve showing a flattening bias. The long end-outperforming with the 40-yr yield lower by 1.6bps.

Top Asian News

  • Singapore’s Stocks Haven’t Lured This Much Cash in a Decade
  • Noble Group Needs More Funds as Default Risk Persists, S&P Warns
  • Kobe Steel Blames Lax Controls, Focus on Profits for Scandal
  • State Bank of India Surges as Margins, Bad-Loan Ratio Improve
  • Brewer Sabeco to Sell Stake of at Least $2.9 Billion in 2017
  • China Fintech IPO Fever Wanes as Regulators Weigh Crackdown
  • Jewelers Say Haven’t Smiled in the Year Since India Cash Ban

Once again, European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%) have seen little in the way of noteworthy price action in what has been a week void of substantial European-specific macro events. In terms of sector-wide moves, financial names were granted some modest support at the open in the wake of earnings from Allianz (+1.2%) with material names also higher given the latest trading update from steel heavy-weight ArcelorMittal. To the downside, utility names in the UK have seen some pressure in the wake of reports that Ofgem is to stop gas and electricity suppliers from charging as much as GBP 900 when they forcibly install pre-payment meters in households struggling to pay bills. Bonds have continued to retreat, initially in corrective trade, but then as more sell-stops were triggered on a break of technical support levels. However, some respite amidst dip-buying has helped Bunds and Gilts  recoup losses. 10 year benchmark yields have flirted with sensitive if not particularly key cash markers – UK through 1.25% and up to 1.30%, Germany resisting 0.4%. The overall trend remains bearish and curves are retracing broad flattening patterns in thinner trading conditions.

Top European News

  • Catalan Speaker’s Bail Set as Rajoy Seeks Release of Separatists
  • Germany Could Escape Carbon Hole at Home by Investing Abroad
  • U.K. Industrial Output Jumps, Construction Shrinks in September
  • Richemont Finalizes Management Revamp by Promoting Lambert
  • Telecom Italia Earnings Decline Amid Tough Wireless Competition

In FX, GBP has been a key focus for FX markets once again with a slew of potentially negative Brexit reports overnight, including a potential curve ball from Ireland regarding the Northern Ireland border as well as pressure from UK and European business bodies. It was also reported, that May could up her Brexit bill offer, which would be an increased cost to the UK but potentially a positive step in terms of getting the ball rolling in negotiations. Thereafter, GBP then took the lead from the main UK data releases of the week which saw manufacturing and industrial numbers exceed expectations and sent GBP/USD back into positive territory before later paring a bulk of the move. Elsewhere, AUD remains under pressure after the RBA’s SOMP (Statement On Monetary Policy) saw the central bank cut their inflation outlook, while they also saw underlying inflation not reaching their 2% target until 2019. USD remains steady after seeing a bid early doors which saw the DXY bounce off worse levels ahead of 94.40 (Last week’s low). The RBA's Quarterly Statement On Monetary Policy (SOMP) lowered inflation forecasts, while underlying inflation is not expected to reach 2% until 2019. i) Forecasts CPI at 2% to June 2018, then 2.25% to December 2019. ii) Forecasts GDP 2.5% to December 2017 and 3.25% for December 2018/19. iii) Further rise in AUD would slow pick-up in economic growth and inflation.

In commodities, WTI and Brent crude futures continue to remain firm and are on course to log their fifth straight week of gains, on hopes of supply cuts by major exporters as well as continuing concern about political developments in Saudi Arabia. This morning has also seen comments from the UAE energy minister who stated that he is optimistic about 2018 and does not expect any big challenges against OPEC's decision to extend the output cut deal. Dalian iron ore futures slipped up for a third session overnight amid concerns over a reduction in consumption as Chinese producers slash production over winter. Analysts also note that iron ore prices could drift even lower over the coming months as cuts to steel output and other industrial activity could last until mid-March.

Looking at the day ahead, a fairly quiet end to the week with September industrial production data in France and the flash November University of Michigan consumer sentiment print and October monthly budget statement in the US due. With it being Veterans Day in the US, bond markets will be closed however stock markets remain open. The ECB’s Mersch is slated to make comments while President Trump will take part in the APEC summit

US Event Calendar:

  • 10am: U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 100.9, prior 100.7; Current Conditions, est. 116.3, prior 116.5; Expectations, est. 91, prior 90.5

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

In a low vol world, yesterday was fascinating and a small shock to the system. Equities, bonds and spreads were all weaker which can happen when everything is expensive but perhaps markets had given up on the short-term possibility of it. Since the ECB’s dovish taper two weeks ago, the general perception was that one of the last chances to see vol in 2017 outside of the US tax plan had gone. As such we’ve seen carry trades get yet another lease of life with the assumption that they’ll be low risk into year end. However this week has seen some flies in the ointment. The US YC had hit the flattest for 10 years, there has been more widespread expectation that US tax reform may get pushed back, the Saudi anti-corruption drive has unsettled some, the oil price rise is starting to influence carry expectations, EMFX has been  weak, a couple of high profile US HY ETFs have fallen to 8-months lows with heavy volumes yesterday, Japanese equities saw a 3.6% swing yesterday (largest for a year) and European bond yields rose unexpectedly.

The Japan swing was the talk of the town yesterday with lots happening late in the session after we went to print. Some suggested it was due to profit taking after a strong run to a 25 year high, others pointed to position adjustments ahead of Friday’s special quotation of some futures and options. This morning in Asia, markets have followed the negative leads from US and are trading lower. The Nikkei is down -0.85%, led by losses from telco and utilities stocks but is trading close to where it opened so no real acceleration of selling has occurred so far. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.35%) and ASX 200 (-0.3%) are down slightly while Hang Seng is up 0.11% as we type. Chinese stocks are slightly higher and this morning, China’s Vice Finance minister Zhu has confirmed that foreign firms will be allowed to own controlling stakes (up to 51%) in local Chinese securities joint ventures. This is another step towards liberalisation of the economy.

Before all this late in the US session last night, the Senate has released their version of the draft tax bill which does not stray too much from prior press reports but is still quite different to the House’s bill. In the details, the plans
included: i) corporate tax cuts to 20% delayed by one year (vs. Jan. 2018 as per the House’s tax bill), ii) existing mortgage interest deduction for home purchases up to $1m will be retained (vs. a cut to $0.5m) , iii) state and local tax deductions for individuals will be entirely repealed (vs. mostly repealed), iv) seven individual tax brackets will be retained with the top tax bracket reduced 0.9ppt to 38.5% (vs. consolidate to 4 tax brackets and unchanged top tax rate of 39.6%), while v) the standard deductions for individuals ($12k and $24k couples) are the same. Elsewhere, in the mark up of the House tax bill, the House Ways Committee is reportedly considering lifting the one-time tax rate on US companies’ accumulated offshore earnings, from 12% to 14% if the income was held as cash (vs. 10% as per the Senate tax plan). Looking ahead, the two versions of the tax bill will be further debated, negotiated and then somehow reconciled before final voting, which was expected to be before Thanksgivings (23 November). The market is having a lot of doubts about this timetable.

Over in government bonds, UST 10y yields rose modestly (+0.7bp) yesterday before moving slightly higher this morning after the Senate tax plans were formally released. However, European bonds experienced a mini-sell off from nowhere yesterday with core 10y yields up 4-5bp (Bunds +5bp; OATs +5.3bp; Gilts +3.7bp) – the biggest moves in three weeks. Peripherals also rose 4-7bp, led by Italian bonds. We are scratching our heads a little on this, perhaps it was driven by a combination of the following; marginally higher inflation forecasts by the European Commission, more hawkish ECB talk and profit taking after the stronger bonds performance post the October ECB meeting.

Following on from this, the European Commission raised its GDP and inflation forecasts for the Euro area yesterday. GDP growth in 2017 is now expected to be the highest in a decade at 2.2% (+0.5ppt) and 2.1% (+0.3ppt) in  2018, with Germany and Spain expected to perform strongly, while forecasts for the UK have been lowered to 1.3% next year (vs. DB estimate of 1%). Elsewhere, the inflation forecasts for 2018 was marginally increased (+0.1ppt) to 1.4% in 2018 and 1.6% in 2019. The Bank of France Governor Villeroy noted “Euro area growth will be sustained in the next two years thanks to strong investment and thanks to increased convergence among countries”.

Moving onto central bankers’ commentaries. ECB’s Governing council member Lane sounded a bit hawkish, noting “there are some signs that inflation is snapping back” and that “inflation does not have to reach our goal before we discuss changing our policy”. Further “if we have enough signals, we can get active and move on” as “our monetary policy does not always have to follow such a gradual and incremental approach”. On QE tapering, he noted that as we approach the time when net bond purchases end, we will “develop a clearer communication strategy on what ECB means by well past” in its guidance on interest rates.

Elsewhere, commentary by others on the economy were fairly upbeat too. ECB’s executive board member Coeure noted “we’re now at a stage in the economic cycle where the recovery is strong….in terms of robustness and balance….probably (the strongest) in almost 20 years”. The ECB VP Constancio also noted ‘we’re encouraged by the way the economy continues to grow” and that “all the new indicators…mostly so far…indicate that growth could be indeed stronger”. On QE, he noted we should not expect “very dramatic change or development” on CSPP size in any case.

Moving to geopolitics, the official Saudi Press Agency has advised its nationals to leave Lebanon due to the “situation” without elaborating more. With the ongoing tensions regarding Iran and Saudi’s own internal anti-corruption drive heating up, we watch and see how this situation will evolve.

Now recapping the rest of market performance from yesterday. US bourses pared back early losses to close modestly weaker, in part following the Senate tax plan. The S&P traded down around -1% intraday before ending the day -0.38%. The Dow (-0.43%) and Nasdaq (-0.58%) also fell modestly. Within the S&P, losses were led by the industrials (-1.28%) and materials sector, with partial offset from energy and telco stocks. European market were all lower, with the Stoxx 600 (-1.11%) and DAX (-1.49%) down the most since 21st July, with losses driven by industrials and tech stocks. The FTSE was actually the relative outperformer, only down 0.61%. After five consecutive days of <10, the VIX jumped 7% to 10.50. Away from the markets the ECB’s head of banking supervision Ms Nouy signaled a willingness to adjust plans which could have led to higher provisions for existing non-performing loans. She noted “it is a consultation (process) and everything can be changed if we are convinced we have done something not as adequate as it should have been”. Her reassuring comments partly boosted some Italian banks, with BPER Banca SpA share price up c10% (vs. FTSE MIB -0.8%).

Over to Brexit, the current round of talks remain at a stalemate. However, the FT has reported that the UK side may be working on different scenarios to “considerably increase” the divorce settlement bill from the current EUR20bn offer (vs. EU’s reported demand of EUR60bn) with the possibility that a revised financial pledge will be tied to an agreement in principle on a transitional deal that may be announced in the December summit. Elsewhere, Brexit Secretary Davis will propose an amendment in Parliament next week, making “crystal clear” that Brexit will take place at 11pm GMT on 29 March 2019.

Back to Catalonia, the El Pais newspaper noted that Spain’s Supreme Court may take over the case and free the Catalan officials who face up to 30 years in jail for charges of sedition. Elsewhere, Bloomberg suggested that sources close to PM Rajoy noted the PM wants ousted Catalan President Puidgemont to be released if he returns to Spain and participate in the 21 December election, in part as he is confident that the pro-independence side will not secured enough votes for a majority win.

Finally, in the APEC summit at Vietnam, the 11 nations have yet to decide how to salvage the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) trade deal after President Trump withdrew the US from it last year. The Australian trade minister Mr Ciobo is “hopeful of securing a deal” in the next two days, but the Canadian counter party noted “it’s far more important to get the right deal than a fast deal”.

Before we take a look at today’s calendar, we wrap up with other data releases from yesterday. In the US, the final reading of the September wholesale trade was unrevised at 0.3% mom. The wholesale sales rose 1.3% mom in  September, which meant the inventory-shipments ratio fell to 1.27 - the lowest level since December 2014. Elsewhere, the weekly initial jobless claims (239k vs. 232k expected) and continuing claims (1,901k vs. 1,885k expected) were broadly in line.

In Europe, Germany’s September trade surplus was above expectations at $24.1bln (vs. $22.3bln). Both exports (7.7% yoy) and imports (7.5% yoy) were well up on a year earlier. In France, the industrial sentiment for October was slightly higher at 106 (vs. 105 expected) – a fresh six year high. In the UK the RICS housing survey weakened in October, with just net 1% of surveyors reporting rising prices and a net 11% of surveyors expecting price declines over the next three months.

Looking at the day ahead, a fairly quiet end to the week with September industrial production data in France and the flash November University of Michigan consumer sentiment print and October monthly budget statement in the US due. With it being Veterans Day in the US, bond markets will be closed however stock markets remain open. The ECB’s Mersch is slated to make comments while President Trump will take part in the APEC summit.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 12:12 PM

Trump Will Not Meet Putin In Vietnam, White House Says

Two days after the Kremlin said there was a “strong possibility” that Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin will meet on the sidelines of the upcoming Asia-Pacific summit in Vietnam, the Trump White House has seemingly caved to outside pressure and confirmed that there are currently no plans for a formal meeting between Putin and Trump on the sidelines of the summit.

The Kremlin had announced that both sides were working on a suitable time and format for a meeting when both men are in Vietnam starting Friday. But US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had downplayed the possibility in an interview on his flight from China to Vietnam. He said if there wasn’t the likelihood of progress on a number of issues, there was no point to a meeting. The White House communications department later confirmed Tillerson’s assessment.

As Bloomberg points out, any Putin-Trump meeting would be fraught with complications given the recent indictments of Paul Manafort and Rick Gates in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. Furthermore, the revelation that former foreign policy aide George Papadopoulos agreed to cooperate with the probe over the summer – and may even have worn a wire in meetings with Trump associates – has created tension among Trump's inner circle.

“Are they going to bump into each other and say hello? Certainly possible and likely,” Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters. “But in terms of a scheduled, formal meeting, there’s not one on the calendar and we don’t anticipate that there will be one.”

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesman, said Friday it was "hard to overestimate the importance and significance of any contact between the president of Russia and the United States for all international matters."

As Strategic Culture Foundation's Andrei Akulov notes, President Donald Trump told Fox News last week that he may meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He said it was very important to meet the Russian leader. The US president expressed hope that Russia would help solve the North Korea problem. "It's hard to overestimate the importance and significance for all international matters of any contact between the presidents of Russia and the United States," said Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

Putin and Trump first met at the G20 summit in Hamburg in July when they discussed allegations of Russian meddling in the US presidential election. Back then, the leaders agreed to focus on better ties. However, the relations have soured further since that time as the diplomatic scandal broke out. In August, the president signed new sanctions against Russia. During the election campaign, Donald Trump pitched himself as a leader who would normalize the relationship. The American voters backed this stance. But the promised improvement has not materialized.

Today, the relations between Russia and the US are on a downward spiral of sanctions and accusations. It’s true that the Russian-American relations are struggling through their most difficult period since the end of the Cold War.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 12:10 PM

swissmiss

Progress

“No one is going to stand up and hand you a plate of progress in life. You must make progress by your own sheer will, discipline, and efforts every day.”
– Brendon Burchard

by swissmiss at November 10, 2017 12:06 PM

Schneier on Security

New Research in Invisible Inks

It's a lot more chemistry than I understand:

Invisible inks based on "smart" fluorescent materials have been shining brightly (if only you could see them) in the data-encryption/decryption arena lately.... But some of the materials are costly or difficult to prepare, and many of these inks remain somewhat visible when illuminated with ambient or ultraviolet light. Liang Li and coworkers at Shanghai Jiao Tong University may have come up with a way to get around those problems. The team prepared a colorless solution of an inexpensive lead-based metal-organic framework (MOF) compound and used it in an ink-jet printer to create completely invisible patterns on paper. Then they exposed the paper to a methylammonium bromide decryption solution...revealing the pattern.... They rendered the pattern invisible again by briefly treating the paper with a polar solvent....

Full paper.

by Bruce Schneier at November 10, 2017 12:06 PM

swissmiss

♥ / Mondaine

Big thanks to Mondaine for sponsoring my blog and RSS feed this week.

Mondaine launches the first wristwatch created using natural castor oil. SBB essence, a collection that combines the brand’s classic minimalist appeal with modern eco-friendly design, also comes with a natural rubber strap and a reusable carrying case made from recycled PET bottles. Perfect to hold a phone or sunglasses.

This Swiss-made watch comes at a very giftable price and is sure to make a statement about your style.

Swiss Miss readers can preorder here before it launches to the public on November 15th.


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

by swissmiss at November 10, 2017 12:05 PM

Wired Top Stories

Twitter's Authentication Policy Is a Verified Mess

Twitter suspends its process for awarding blue check marks and its CEO calls the policy 'broken' amid criticism for verifying the account of a white supremacist.

by Nitasha Tiku at November 10, 2017 12:00 PM

How the Darpa Grand Challenges Created the Self-Driving Car Industry

The inside story of how three autonomous vehicle races brought together the community now leading the way toward a world of robotic chauffeurs.

by Alex Davies at November 10, 2017 12:00 PM

Yuri Milner's Breakthrough Initiatives and Silicon Valley's Science Influencers

The Russian billionaire is deeply invested in the science of his Breakthrough Initiatives and Prizes. So are many Silicon Valley elites.

by Sarah Scoles at November 10, 2017 12:00 PM

Department of Defense's 'Hack the Pentagon' Bug Bounty Program Helps Fix Thousands of Bugs

The Department of Defense's bug bounty program was a smashing success. And other government agencies have taken notice.

by Lily Hay Newman at November 10, 2017 12:00 PM

naked capitalism

Boy Genius Report

Winter is coming: iPhone X screen might ‘freeze’ in cold weather, but Apple is fixing it

iPhone X Screen

The iPhone X has been in use around the world for one week, which means regular mortals have now had plenty of time to try out all the new features. What’s remarkable about the brand new phone is that it hasn't had any “gate” issues, which are typically expected alongside new iPhone launches.

So far, the only iPhone X problems that we are aware of are potential OLED burn-in, which Apple has already warned users about, and now screen issues when the phone is used in cold weather. One user just discovered that the screen can become unresponsive in cold weather, but Apple was quick to respond and say that it’ll fix the issue via a software update.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. GoPro bravely sacrifices itself to capture first-person view of being devoured by lava
  2. This brilliant new AI will fight email scammers by wasting their time
  3. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart

WINTER IS COMING: IPHONE X SCREEN MIGHT ‘FREEZE’ IN COLD WEATHER, BUT APPLE IS FIXING IT originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 10 Nov 2017 at 06:50:40 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Chris Smith at November 10, 2017 11:50 AM

O'Reilly Radar

naked capitalism

FlowingData

Importance of form and survey design to gain an accurate picture

Lena Groeger, writing for Source, shifts attention upstream from analysis to the design of forms in the data collection process.

Whether you’re filling out a form or building it yourself, you should be aware that decisions about how to design a form have all kinds of hidden consequences. How you ask a question, the order of questions, the wording and format of the questions, even whether a question is included at all—all affect the final result. Let’s take a look at how.

Census surveys, election ballots, and racial profiling. Oh my.

Tags: ,

by Nathan Yau at November 10, 2017 11:26 AM

Zero Hedge

Uber UK Ops In Peril After Losing Appeal Of Employment-Tribunal Ruling

This certainly doesn’t bode well for Uber’s prospects in the UK, it’s largest European market.

The ride-share giant suffered its latest serious setback, when its appeal of an unfavorable employment tribunal ruling was thrown out on Friday, increasing the possibility that Uber might be forced to pay its drivers in holiday pay and the minimum wage, expenses that Uber says would require it to make major changes in its business model.

The initial ruling, which was handed down in October 2016, will stand for now, but Uber still has an opportunity to appeal it again to the UK’s Court of Appeals, and then possibly one final time to the UK Supreme Court, the Financial Times reported. According to Bloomberg, the GMB union brought the claims on behalf of 25 of its members to the Central London Employment Tribunal in July 2016 and it decided that Uber drivers are entitled to receive holiday pay, a guaranteed minimum wage and an entitlement to breaks.

The decision by the employment tribunal appeal in London is a major blow to Uber, which has been embroiled in several battles in the UK, including its appeal of a decision by London’s taxi regulator to bar Uber from operating in London.

As the FT points out, "the ultimate outcome of the case is critical for Uber: if it was forced to treat its 40,000 UK drivers as “workers”, it would have to guarantee them minimum wage and holiday pay, and would also lead to the company paying a significantly higher tax bill. Uber says this would probably mean it would have to schedule drivers for shifts rather than allowing them to “log on” to work when they wanted to."

Taken together, these factors could seriously threaten Uber’s ability to remain profitable, or even competitive in the UK. But there are also wider implications for the so-called gig economy.

The Uber case is the most high-profile test in the UK of the notion that people who work on “gig” apps are independent and not employed by anyone. The original tribunal found in October last year that Uber drivers were its “workers” because the company exerted too much control over their work to class them as independent. But Dinah Rose QC, the barrister who acted for Uber in the appeal hearing this September, had argued the gig company was not doing anything unusual by treating drivers as independent contractors. She said many traditional minicab companies also acted as the intermediary connecting self-employed drivers to customers.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 11:25 AM

swissmiss

Giant Marble Run


Loop, built in a gallery on a mountainside in the South Korean capital, uses 400 metres of track and 100,000 marbles. I would love to see this in person, with my kids.

(via)

by swissmiss at November 10, 2017 11:24 AM

A VC

Funding Friday: Reflex

I just backed this project and I thought I’d share it with all of you:



USV TEAM POSTS:

Bethany Marz Crystal — November 9, 2017
Leveraging Company Engagement Across the USV Network

Albert Wenger — November 8, 2017
Uncertainty Wednesday: Sample Mean under Fat Tails

Andy Weissman — November 8, 2017
Quantitative Investing in Shampoo

by Fred Wilson at November 10, 2017 11:24 AM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

Music Behind the Tech: Zarek Munoz

Music and tech make a perfect pair — coding, troubleshooting and focusing on projects are often accompanied by a soundtrack for many in the IT industry. Whether it’s getting into that “flow state” or simply dialing in on a complex problem, listening to music seems to be the method of choice for IT employees looking […]

The post Music Behind the Tech: Zarek Munoz appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Garrett Heath at November 10, 2017 11:15 AM

Zero Hedge

In APEC Speech, Trump Slams China, WTO And TPP For Holding Back His "Indo-Pacific Dream"

Trump may have sensed that he appeared too conciliatory towards President Xi and China during his visit to Beijing, and so shortly after doubling down on his parting message to China by tweeting that "I don’t blame China, I blame the incompetence of past Admins for allowing China to take advantage of the U.S. on trade leading up to a point where the U.S. is losing $100's of billions. How can you blame China for taking advantage of people that had no clue? I would've done same!"...

... which prompted countless snarky comments from the blue-check gallery, Trump arrived in Vietnam where he immediately spoke at the APEC (Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit; here the US president went back to his  "roots" of harshly criticizing China, its state-owned enterprises, all manner of anti-competitive practices by the Middle Kingdom, the WTO and the TPP. Trump also added that the United States will no longer tolerate the abuses and, while previous administrations have done nothing about them, he will.

In summary, Trump:

  • Slammed China for the unacceptable trade deficit, lack of market access, government-run industrial planning, currency manipulation and other abuses for gaining economic advantage;
  • Slammed China’s subsidised state-owned enterprises which carry out the government’s predatory industrial policy and put private competitors out of business;
  • Slammed China for forcing companies to surrender technology to the state and forcing them into joint ventures to gain market access;
  • Slammed the WTO for unfairly treating the US and allowing countries, notably China, to break the rules;
  • Slammed the TPP (without naming it directly) which would tie America’s hands, remove its sovereignty and prevent the enforcement of WTO rules;
  • Will make bilateral trade agreements with Indo-Pacific nations; and
  • Stated that economic security is national security.

While Trump’s speech was greeted with a standing ovation, we suspect it was less well received by his new “friends” in Beijing.

Here is the key part of Trump’s speech regarding trade.

We seek robust trade relationships rooted in principles of fairness and reciprocity. When the US enters into trade relationships, from now on we will expect our partners will faithfully follow the rules just like we do. We expect that markets will be open to an equal degree on both sides and private industry, not government planners, will direct investment. It’s been unfair for too long and in too many places. The US systematically opened our economy with few conditions. We lowered or ended tariffs, reduced trade barriers and allowed foreign goods to flow freely into our country. But while we lowered market barriers, other countries didn’t open their markets to us. Countries were embraced by the WTO even if they didn’t abide by its stated principles. Simply put, we have not been treated fairly by the WTO. Organisations like the WTO can only function properly when all countries follow the rules and respect the sovereign rights of every member. We cannot achieve open markets if we do not ensure fair market access. In the end, unfair trade undermines us all.

 

The US promoted private enterprise, innovation and industry. Other countries use government-run industrial planning and state-owned enterprises. We adhere to WTO in protecting intellectual property and ensuring fair and equal market access. They engaged in product dumping, subsidised goods, currency manipulation and predatory industrial policies. They ignored the rules to gain advantages over those who followed the rules, causing enormous distortions in commerce and threatening the foundations of international trade itself. Such practices, along with our collective failure to respond to them, hurt many people in our country and also in other countries. Jobs, factories and industries were stripped out of the United States and out of many countries in addition.

 

We can no longer tolerate the abuses and we will not tolerate them. Despite years of broken promises, we were told someday soon everyone will behave fairly and responsibly. People throughout America and the Indo-Pacific region have waited for that day to come, but it never has and that is why I am here today. To speak frankly about the challenges and work towards a brighter future for all of us. I recently had an excellent trip to China where I spoke openly and directly to President Xi about China’s unfair trade practices and the enormous trade deficits they have produced with the United States. I expressed our strong desire to work with China to achieve a trading relationship that is conducted on a truly fair and equal basis. The current trade imbalance is not acceptable. I do not blame China or any other country for taking advantage of the United States on trade. If their representatives are able to get away with it, they are just doing their jobs. I wish previous administrations in my country saw what was happening and did something about it. They did not, but I will.

 

From this day forward, will compete on a fair and equal basis. We are not going to let the United States be taken advantage of any more. I am always going to put America first, the same way I expect all of you in this room to put your countries first. The US is prepared to work with each of the leaders in this room today to achieve mutually beneficial commerce that is in the interest of both your countries and mine. That is the message I am here to deliver. I will make bilateral agreements with any Indo-Pacific nation that wants to be our partner and will abide by the principles of free and reciprocal trade. What we will no longer do is enter into large agreements that will tie our hands, surrender our sovereignty and make meaningful enforcement practically impossible. Instead we will deal on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit. We will respect your independence and sovereignty, we want you to strong prosperous and self-reliant, rooted in your history and branching out towards the future. That is how we will grow together, in partnerships of real and lasting value. 

 

But for this, and I call it the Indo-Pacific dream, if it’s going to be realised, we must ensure that all play by the rules, which they do not right now. Those who do will be our closest partners, those who do not can be certain that the United States will no longer turn a blind eye to violations, cheating or economic aggression. Those days are over. We will no longer tolerate the audacious theft of intellectual property. We will confront the destructive practices of forcing businesses to surrender their technology to the state and forcing them into joint ventures in exchange for market access. We will address the massive subsiding of industries through colossal state-owned enterprises that put private competitors out of businesses.  We will not remain silent as American companies are targeted by state-affiliated actors for economic gain, whether through cyber-attack, corporate espionage or other anti-competitive practice…The US has been reminded time and time again in recent years that economic security is not related to national security. Economic security is national security. It is vital to our national security.

He concluded with…

“God bless the Pacific region, God bless the United States of America.

… which the locals seemed to particularly enjoy.

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 11:13 AM

It's Nice That

Mr Bingo on crowdsourcing then drawing 24 dancing, naked models for his 2017 advent calendar

Mr_bingo_advent_calendar_illustration_its_nice_that_8

Christmas is upon us. The John Lewis advert is here and artist Mr Bingo has created his second advent calendar. Far removed from the images of candles, wreaths, shepherds and stables, his calendar is a scratch off celebration of bodies, dancing and music. Available now from his online shop, the process saw the artist crowdsource his models online and spend an intense period photographing, and then drawing, each participant.

Read more

by Owen Pritchard at November 10, 2017 11:11 AM

Britain’s most iconic postmodern buildings are a riot of colour and anti-function

Postmodern-buildings-in-britain-architecture-publication-itsnicethat-list-2

Postmodernist architecture will always be a divisive genre, which is precisely what makes those who love it, love it more. Beginning in the late 1970s as a reaction to modernist principles of form follows function, postmodernism in buildings manifested as a riot of tropical colours and the fusing of contemporary and classical decoration. Geraint Franklin and Elain Harwood, authors of new book Post-modern Buildings in Britain, call the eclectic results, at their best “individual and adventurous”.

Read more

by Jenny Brewer at November 10, 2017 11:07 AM

4 Signs You&apos;re On Track for Retirement

4 Signs You're On Track for RetirementAre you taking the right steps to make and follow a good retirement plan?


November 10, 2017 11:03 AM

3 Top Energy Stocks to Buy in November

3 Top Energy Stocks to Buy in NovemberHere are two huge infrastructure companies and an offshore driller. All three look cheap and are probably safer investments than you think.


November 10, 2017 11:02 AM

Brand New

Reviewed: Friday Likes 226: From Block Club, Eggplant Factory, and LOCO Studio

“From Block Club, Eggplant Factory, and LOCO Studio”

Friday Likes 226

Some simple but convincing and enjoyable projects this week, with work from Hamburg (NY), Seoul, and Moscow.

The Grange Community Kitchen by Block Club

The Grange Community Kitchen by Block Club

The Grange Community Kitchen is a resturant in Hamburg, NY, that focuses on "responsible farming, ingredient-driven cooking, and flavorful food", which is hard to argue with, and they are housed in a chic 1892 building that has been beautifully restored inside. The identity by Buffalo, NY-based Block Club won't win any points for originality or boundary-breaking but it perfectly captures the homey, rustic vibe of the restaurant and its food with a lovely wordmark and an even lovelier "G" shorthand version. The gold foil applications from restaurant exterior to business cards give everything a luxurious look but all the ornaments and pretty type stop it from becoming pretentious. See full project

Nuca by Eggplant Factory

Nuca by Eggplant Factory

Nuca is a cosmetics company in Seoul, South Korea, and that's as much information as I can extract, since not only is their site in Korean, many of their descriptions are image files, so Google Translate doesn't work. Regardless! Their packaging system by local firm Eggplant Factory has a lovely simplicity and a fantastic primary color palette of lavender and pink -- with gray, white, and black as secondary colors -- that, along with a basic sans serif wordmark, look great on the stubby little containers. Like Grange above, nothing groundbreaking, just a set of simple ingredients very nicely calibrated throughout various applications. See full project

Private Lomonosov School by LOCO Studio

Private Lomonosov School by LOCO Studio

Private Lomonosov School is a private school in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia, offering an international baccalaureate program from (I think) elementary to high school years. The school's identity and materials -- in keeping with this week's theme of non-groundbreaking-but-still-very-pretty projects -- by Moscow, Russia-based LOCO Studio are academically elegant with a rich purple color accented with gold for a decidedly royal aesthetic that would probably start to make up for whatever the cost of tuition is. The only complaint is that the gold crest on purple paper should have a negative version so that the gold acts as the white/highlights of the drawing, but it looks pretty sharp on white. (As a side note in how the gold accents in The Grange project don't look pretentious, this is the opposite, where the gold accents makes it look pretentious but for a private school with a crest of a bear and a deer and a graduation cap it makes sense for it to be that way.) See full project

November 10, 2017 11:00 AM

The Big Picture

1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing

The wing door coupe (W 198 I) is one of the most iconic Mercedes of all time. It was made from August 1954 to May 1957 in a quantity of only 1,400 copies. I have always find the design to be both exotic and gorgeous. But given that its more than half a century old,…

Read More

The post 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at November 10, 2017 11:00 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

Battling e-mail phishing, (Fri, Nov 10th)

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of phishing exercises – by looking at last couple of years I would say that we can finally see some increased awareness. Unfortunately, this increased awareness is mainly between the IT security folks: the phishing (or social engineering) campaigns usually have very devastating results.

When conducing a social engineering attack through e-mail, I normally try to mimic the bad guys, to make the attack as realistic as possible. I tend to group them as below:

  • Phishing e-mails where the victim is being enticed to click on a link (and potentially later enter her/his credentials to a phishing web site),
  • Phishing e-mails with an executable in the attachment (either directly, or in an encrypted archive). The goal is to get the victim to unpack and execute the binary. For engagements, I normally use a benign executable that typically enumerate the local machine and exfiltrates that data to me (through DNS, for example),
  • Phishing e-mails with an office document in the attachment, that has been weaponized (i.e. a macro in Word, Excel or PowerPoint). The weaponization is normally similar to the previous bullet, where, for the engagement purposes, we normally want to know how many users opened the attachment.

Of course, any phisher worth his weight will always try to make the phishing e-mail look as legitimate as possible. Besides nicely creating the e-mail in HTML, probably the most important field (for the victim) is the sender.
As I’m sure most of our readers know, with SMTP there are two places where the sender is being defined: the envelope from field (use during SMTP) and the body from field, which is normally displayed in MUA’s (mail user agents) such as Outlook, Thunderbird and similar.

The issue here, that I’ve been consistently seeing when conducting such phishing engagements, is that the majority of servers verify only the envelope from field and ignore the body from field (or just use it for anti-spam detection). And of course, there are even those that do not check the envelope from field and simply allow anything to be set there.

This will result in an attacker being able to send e-mails such as the one below:

$ nc mail.server 25
Trying 10.10.10.10...
Connected to mail.server (10.10.10.10).
Escape character is '^]'.
220 mail.server ESMTP Postfix
EHLO server
250-mail.server
250-PIPELINING
250-SIZE 52428800
250-STARTTLS
250-ENHANCEDSTATUSCODES
250-8BITMIME
250 DSN
MAIL FROM: notreallyimportant@phisher.com
250 2.1.0 Ok
RCPT TO: bojan.zdrnja@infigo.hr
250 2.1.5 Ok
DATA
354 End data with <CR><LF>.<CR><LF>
From: "Recruitment" <recruitment@sans.org>
Subject: Your job application
To: Bojan Zdrnja <bojan.zdrnja@infigo.hr>

.
250 2.0.0 Ok: queued as C811CC0EB0E7

As you can see above, the e-mail was happily accepted by the SMTP server and delivered to the (potential) victim. The envelope from field was here set as notreallyimportant@phisher.com – generally it is important that this domain exists. While SPF can protect against attackers forging the sending domain, in most cases attackers will not care: they can simply register a new domain and set correct SPF records for it.

The issue is in the way the e-mail is shown in clients. Here is what the e-mail above will look like in Outlook:

Phishing e-mail in Outlook

This is probably game over for a typical victim. The only way for the victim to verify where the e-mail came from would be to check the message headers, which is probably something virtually none of the recipients will do (and, by the way, getting to message headers in Outlook is waaay to complex for an average user).

Gmail displays this a bit better, here is the same e-mail sent from my server:

We can see that Gmail added some extra information next to the sender’s name – the domain of the envelope sender (which passed SPF). When I picked a domain without SPF records, this is what the e-mail looked like in Gmail:

No domain in extra information now, but there is an icon with a question mark, indicating that Google was not able to verify the sender. I wonder how many users will see this ?
In each of the cases above, as we can see, the attacker simply needs to be a bit creative on forging the e-mail. Of course, many systems will detect (or will try to detect) the phishing e-mail by examining the body – but we know that this can be always circumvented.

So, what can we do here? One might think that we can start blocking e-mails if the body from field does not match the envelope from field. Or, we might block body from field if the e-mail originates from the Internet, but the body from is set to our organization? Unfortunately, this might break a lot of things such as mailing lists which will have the body from field set to the sender typically.

There does not seem to be a silver bullet currently. I normally recommend that organizations set their SPF and DKIM records, but the real issue is with the e-mail clients - so I believe we need to push organizations such as Microsoft to add more information to the displayed e-mail. Google seem to be on a right path here with Gmail, but even there the display could be improved.

How are you battling such e-mails? Share your experience with us here.

--
Bojan
@bojanz
INFIGO IS

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

November 10, 2017 10:56 AM

It's Nice That

Ewen Spencer’s new editorial for Arena Homme + is a “semi autobiographical” voyage through time

Ewen-arena-photography-itsnicethat-list

Newcastle-born photographer Ewen Spencer needs very little by way of introduction. With a career that started at The Face and Sleazenation, Ewen has transported subculture from sticky walled basement clubs across the UK into the grasp of the wider world via editorials spanning books, magazine pages and films, and shaped the face of British subcultures for the last 20 years in the process.

Read more

by Bryony Stone at November 10, 2017 10:50 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

naked capitalism

It's Nice That

Friday Mixtape: Protomartyr’s Joe Casey on his striking and poignant DIY artwork

Fm_42

This week’s Friday Mixtape is curated by Protomartyr’s vocalist, Joe Casey. Over the course of their four album releases, the Detroit natives have gathered a cult following, which has also given Joe the opportunity to create all the album artwork and flyers too.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at November 10, 2017 10:43 AM

Zero Hedge

"This Is Crazy" - Antarctic Supervolcano Is Melting The Ice-Caps From Within

As we’ve pointed out, the supervolcano phenomenon is hardly unique to Yellowstone National Park, where a long dormant volcano with the potential to cause a devastating eruption has been rumbling since mid-summer, making some scientists uneasy.

Surprisingly active supervolcanos have been documented in Italy, North Korea and, now, Antarctica after scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have found new evidence to support a theory that the breakup of Antarctic ice may be caused in part by a massive geothermal heat source, with output close to the scale of Yellowstone National Park.

Of course, if accurate, this theory would help rebut the notion that man-made climate change is in part responsible for the melting ice, Russia Today reports.

A geothermal heat source called a mantle plume, a hot stream of subterranean molten rock that rises through the Earth's crust, may explain the breathing effect visible on Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land and elsewhere along the massive ice sheet.

While the mantle plume is not a new discovery, the recent research indicates it may explain why the ice sheet collapsed in a previous era of rapid climate change 11,000 years ago, and why the sheet is breaking up so quickly now.

"I thought it was crazy. I didn't see how we could have that amount of heat and still have ice on top of it," said Hélène Seroussi of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Seroussi and Erik Ivins of JPL used the Ice Sheet System Model (ISSM), a mathematical depiction of the physics of ice sheets developed by scientists at JPL and the University of California, Irvine. Seroussi then tweaked the ISSM to hunt for natural heat sources as well as meltwater deposits.

This warm water lubricates the ice sheet from below, allowing glaciers to slide off into the sea. Studying meltwater in western Antarctica may allow scientists to estimate how much ice will be lost in future.

During their initial work, Seroussi and Ivins created simulations using higher heat flows than 150 milliwatts per square meter, which did not align with their space-based readings, except for one area: The Ross Sea.

 

 

Their calculations showed that, in certain sections of the sea, a heat flow of at least 150-180 milliwatts was required to create sufficient meltwater flows that matched with observations. They now believe the mantle plume is responsible for these higher-than-average readings.

The Marie Byrd Land mantle plume formed 50 to 110 million years ago, predating the Western Antarctic ice sheet. The mantle plume theory was initially proposed 30 years ago, but it’s not the only theory. Another posits that the sheer weight of the ice sheets causes melting deep below the surface.
 

by Tyler Durden at November 10, 2017 10:35 AM

datameet Google Group

Dr. Seema Iyer deals with research and data everyday to solve Urban Issues. And you could meet her!

Seema D. Iyer PhD is associate director and research assistant professor for the Jacob France Institute in the University of Baltimore’s Merrick School of Business and has overseen the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance since 2011. Dr. Iyer holds a Ph.D. in urban and regional planning

by Sandeep Anirudhan at November 10, 2017 10:32 AM

It's Nice That

Jamie Wolfe’s waxy characters star in an animated teaser for King Krule

Jamie-wolfe-king-krule-animation-itsnicethat-list

Jamie Wolfe has directed an “animated response to a slice of a song” from King Krule AKA Archy Marshall. The track Vidual is from King Krule’s new album The OOZ and Jamie collaborated with the artist to create the extended teaser.

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at November 10, 2017 10:25 AM

Michel Gondry’s John Lewis Christmas advert – Moz the Monster – is unveiled

John-lewis-michel-gondry-christmas-advert-2017-itsnicethat-advertising

Christmas is definitely upon us. Where once the Coca-Cola advert was once the sign that festivities were imminent, the cultural signifier, in the UK, at least, is the now annual John Lewis advert. Airing tonight at 9.30pm, Moz the Monster is directed by Michel Gondry and was created by agency adam&eveDDB.

Read more

by Owen Pritchard at November 10, 2017 09:43 AM

Seth's Blog

Everyone else is irrational

Everyone else makes bad decisions, is shortsighted, prejudiced, subject to whims, temper tantrums, outbursts and short-term thinking.

Once you see it that way, it's easier to remember...

that we're everyone too.

       

by Seth Godin at November 10, 2017 09:23 AM

Mint.com - Personal Finance Blog, Online Money Management, Budget Planner and Financial Planning

How To Talk To Family & Friends About A Less Stuff-Centric Holiday [Video]

How To Talk To Family & Friends About A Less Stuff-Centric Holiday
Featured Video Play Icon

If you’re working to maintain a budget this year or you’re simply focused on removing physical clutter from your life, the holidays can be a particularly stressful time. Especially in the busyness of modern life, it might feel like all of the preparations are barely worth the little time we actually get to spend with the people we care about.

While it is wonderful to have people in your life that want to exchange gifts, something definitely worth being grateful for, it also adds more stuff to your home that you don’t really get to choose, and might not want or need. In addition to that, it’s really hard to let go of things that someone else has given you because of the sentimental aspect of your relationship with that person.

There are still a ton of ways you can embrace the holidays without the marathon shopping sprees and stress of getting just the right thing for everyone on your list. Here’s what you can do now to get started on making that happen.

1. Start Talking About This As Early As Possible

It’s super important to start talking to people in your life about this as early as you can. If you wait until the day before the celebration, you’ll only be met by resistance and most likely, frustration. At that point, people have already purchased whatever gifts they were already planning and it’ll be too late to change the tradition.

If you bring up the idea of doing the holidays a little differently this year sooner rather than later, you’re more likely to have a warm reception than be met with mild annoyance. Keep in mind, especially if your friends and family have been exchanging gifts for years, it might take some time for everyone to embrace a more minimalist holiday.

2. Make Fun Suggestions For Activities To Do Together

This will vary depending on whether you’re talking to a group of friends or your family, but try making some suggestions for ways to have fun together without the gift exchange. It definitely helps to bring these things up with a lead-in like, “Hey! Wouldn’t it be awesome if…”, or “How cool would it be to…” so that it starts off the conversation in a positive light.

It doesn’t matter what the activity is, it could be playing board games, watching a football game or two, or getting the group together to volunteer at a local nonprofit and give back to your local community. Position it well and it’ll help encourage the switch in activities.

3. Make It About Quality Time Together

As I mentioned above, it really is about how you position the discussion with family and friends that can make all the difference. It sure would be hard to argue with someone wanting to spend more quality time with you, wouldn’t it? Especially for friends and relatives that you only get to see once or twice per year, why not make every moment count while you’re together?

You can make this even more effective by asking what kinds of things they might like to do this year instead of exchanging gifts. That way, it tells them what you’re interested while asking them what they’d like to do instead. A total win-win!

If you have a longstanding tradition of gift giving with friends and family, it doesn’t necessarily have to end. But you can have a conversation about exchanging fewer gifts and doing more stuff together that will help keep your budget on track and reduce stress during the holidays. That way, you can focus on doing more of what matters most and enjoy your time to the fullest.

by Anthony Ongaro at November 10, 2017 09:00 AM

Android Developers Blog

Google and Ideas United announce Infinite Deviation: Games winners

Posted by Kate Brennan and Mathilde Cohen Solal, Google Play and Daraiha Greene, CS in Media

Google Play is committed to empowering new and existing voices in gaming. Earlier this year, we hosted the Indie Games Festival and sponsored the Girls Make Games summer camp. We also announced a collaboration between Infinite Deviation and Google Play.

Infinite Deviation is an initiative created by Google Computer Science (CS) in Media and Ideas United in order to tackle issues of representation in computer science. The collaboration between Google Play and Ideas United brought the Infinite Deviation program to gaming, called Infinite Deviation: Games. The program invited game designers from all backgrounds to pitch an original mobile game concept that resonates with underrepresented audiences.

Today we are excited to announce the three teams selected for the Infinite Deviation: Games development program.

A select panel of industry experts reviewed applications and chose the top three ideas. The judging panel included Colleen Macklin (Founder and Co-Director, PETLab), Jeremy Vanhoozer (Senior Creative Director, Plants vs Zombies), Molly Proffitt (CEO, Ker-Chunk Games), Shirin Laor-Raz Salemnia (Founder and CEO, PlayWerks), and Sarah Thomson (Global BD Lead, Indies, Google). These judges scored and delivered personal feedback for each submission, with the three highest scoring games moving into further development.

Here's a closer look at the three games we'll be funding and supporting development over the next six months:

Historic Gay Bar Tycoon

Mo Cohen & Maria Del Castillo Infantas - Queermo Games

Historic Gay Bar Tycoon (name pending) starts you off with a brand new queer bar in the 1920s. This game explores the role bars played in LGBT history. Will your bar survive revolutions, epidemics, and the rise of dating apps?

Queermo Games is pretty much what it sounds like: a scrappy and small indie game developing team just trying to make more LGBT games. Conveniently, they are also next door neighbors. Maria is a queer Latina who handles the art and the music, and Mo is a non-binary Jewish queer who tackles the programming and writing. Together, they also work on another longer-term project called Queer Quest with their buddy Hagen.

Burn Ban

Harrison Barton & Morgan Rowe - Pride Interactive

Burn Ban is an interactive visual novel in which you assume the role of Twig, a mentally ill queer girl. After showing destructive tendencies to cope with the death of a close friend, she is sent to Camp Sisquoc, a summer retreat for misguided students. After attending the camp for a few days, her dead friend's online social media page mysteriously starts posting again, and Twig and friends are set with determining the mystery behind the posts.

Pride Interactive is currently made up of two developers, Harrison Barton and Morgan Rowe. Pride Interactive was started as a student game team, and is now continuing on to develop independent projects. Pride Interactive endeavors to further their mission of creating a more diverse environment in the industry through games that deal with serious themes, and diverse character driven narratives.

Ghost in the Graveyard

Adnan Agha, Vivian Allum, and Armand Silvani - Ghost Stories

Ghost in the Graveyard is a story-driven mobile mystery game where you snoop through your missing brother's old phone to try and find him. "Can you find a missing person when all you have is their phone?"

Ghost Stories is a three member team from NYC with a mission to create genuine and unique experiences that connect with players. The team consists of Vivian, the lead designer and programmer, Armand, the artist and writer, and Adnan, the programmer and resident ghost. They've previously published a school project to the Xbox One and are thrilled to be able to work with Infinite Deviation to publish to Google Play.

You can find more information about the program at InfiniteDeviation.com/Games. Congratulations to the three winners and thanks to all the people who have entered the competition for their continuous work to push the boundaries of gaming design and providing a unique voice to the industry.

by Android Developers (noreply@blogger.com) at November 10, 2017 08:58 AM

Boy Genius Report

This brilliant new AI will fight email scammers by wasting their time

Email scams

Netsafe, a New Zealand-based non-profit online safety group, introduced an AI email bot this week that will fight back against phishing scams by wasting their time. As Netsafe explained in a on Tuesday, the bot replies to scams "with a never-ending series of questions and anecdotes so that scammers have less time to pursue real people."

All you have to do to retaliate against a scammer is forward the email to me@rescam.org. From there, the Re:scam AI will take over and start a dialogue with the scammer, leading them on and wasting their time. When the scammer stops responding, Netsafe will even send you a summary of the conversation.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. GoPro bravely sacrifices itself to capture first-person view of being devoured by lava
  2. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  3. Best Buy Black Friday 2017 ad: iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, killer TV deals and much more

THIS BRILLIANT NEW AI WILL FIGHT EMAIL SCAMMERS BY WASTING THEIR TIME originally appeared on BGR.com on Fri, 10 Nov 2017 at 01:01:19 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Jacob Siegal at November 10, 2017 06:01 AM

naked capitalism

Kingdom Of Fear: Saudi Arabia On Lockdown

Saudi Arabia is in the midst of a political and informational crackdown.

by Yves Smith at November 10, 2017 05:47 AM

TmoNews

T-Mobile BYOD Check App will tell you if your phone supports Extended Range LTE and VoLTE

T-Mobile has long encouraged customers to bring their own device to its network, and today it continued that effort with the release of a new Android app. The BYOD Check App is now available on for Android and iOS. With it, you can determine if your phone is compatible with T-Mobile’s Extended Range LTE coverage and its Voice over LTE service. To perform the check, you can use your phone’s camera to scan for ... [read full article]

The post T-Mobile BYOD Check App will tell you if your phone supports Extended Range LTE and VoLTE appeared first on TmoNews.

by Alex Wagner at November 10, 2017 05:01 AM

Boy Genius Report

GoPro bravely sacrifices itself to capture first-person view of being devoured by lava

gopro lava

Not many people have been swallowed up by lava and survived — in fact, the number has to be somewhere around zero, if I had to guess — and the same is likely true for consumer electronics. One brave GoPro action cam managed to beat those odds (and the intense heat) to capture what might be the best first-person view of what it would be like to be slowly covered with flowing molten rock.

What's perhaps even more amazing about this footage is that it wasn't planned. No, the GoPro's steamy ordeal was actually the result of forgetfulness, but it managed to not only survive the trial by fire, but actually still works even after being pulled from its smoldering coffin. And no, this isn't a viral marketing stunt for GoPro.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. Scientists implanted rodents with lab-grown human ‘mini brains,’ and that’s not even the scary part
  3. This is the kind of dirty trick Comcast tries to keep its monopoly

GOPRO BRAVELY SACRIFICES ITSELF TO CAPTURE FIRST-PERSON VIEW OF BEING DEVOURED BY LAVA originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 23:31:50 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Mike Wehner at November 10, 2017 04:31 AM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

Tips for Creating a Task List When Returning from a Conference

For many people, it can be hard to get back into a routine after attending a conference. You have to unpack, do laundry, catch up with what happened while you were away in addition to trying to incorporate what you just learned.

Here are some tips to make it easier to get back on track with regular work responsibilities using a task list.

1. Treat items on your list like triage

Create two lists. Write down what needs to be handled right away on one. Then make a separate list of everything that you need to accomplish in the coming weeks or later down the road.

Even jot down any new ideas that are swimming around in your head that you want to capture before you forget. For example, maybe you’re hoping to take a stab at Facebook Live, sign up for a new invoicing software or just clean up your LinkedIn profile. Gather up all of these ideas.

Once more pressing items are handled from the first task list, look over the second task list and try to estimate when you can realistically attend to the tasks by writing a month next to each item. Then start to devote effort to the most important items in the current month.

2. Take the Steven Covey approach to handling correspondence

You might have received many messages via text, email, social media, etc. Look through them strategically and decide who to get back to right away. It might be tempting to answer whichever message you find first. Hold off answering until you determine what a top priority is.

In the book the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, the author emphasized prioritizing task management by importance and urgency. He came up with four categories to provide a decision-making framework. It aids in quickly deciding what to take care of right away, what can wait and what you can potentially avoid altogether.

Start by tackling the first category that he labeled urgent and important. Then move on to the next one that he called important but not urgent items.

Urgent and important items are fast approaching deadlines or anything that has to be handled right away. This could be handling a bill, a message from a boss or any information you might need to submit by a particular day. They might also be potential revenue generating tasks such as a prospective client contacting you. You’ll want to follow up quickly.

Important but not urgent items can easily be pushed to the side but are just as important. This might be cleaning out your inbox in general, setting up your new invoicing software or improving your public relations strategy. These are items you know you have to do but might put off because it’s not an emergency.

Add the people you need to reach to your list as well as any emails that require action on your part before you respond. Also, avoid attending to anything that’s urgent but not important and items that are not important or urgent. Doing this will just waste your time or hold you back from staying focused.

3. Push back deadlines

Unfortunately, when you’re backlogged something has to give. Reschedule any deadlines, appointments or projects that can wait. If people reach out to you with requests that you can’t handle right now, ask the person to get back to you at a later date. It can take any additional tasks or responsibilities off of your plate and leave it up to the other person to circle back.

The Bottom Line
Being strategic with what you do first can make a big difference in how well you recover after returning from a business conference. Follow the tips mentioned to handle what needs immediate attention and what can wait. It will help you ease back into your workflow while making sure things don’t fall apart.

The post Tips for Creating a Task List When Returning from a Conference appeared first on Due.

by Karen Cordaway at November 10, 2017 03:30 AM

China, US sign more business deals during Trump visit

China, US sign more business deals during Trump visitChina have signed a series of multibillion-dollar business agreements during President Donald Trump's visit in a tradition aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing's trade policies. Commerce Minister Zhong ...


November 10, 2017 03:03 AM

NYT > Economy

News Analysis: A Middle-Class Tax Cut? It Depends Who and Where You Are

With details evolving, uncertainty remains, but House and Senate Republican proposals are unfavorable to those in high-cost states that are Democratic bastions.

by BEN CASSELMAN and TARA SIEGEL BERNARD at November 10, 2017 02:44 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

ISC Stormcast For Friday, November 10th 2017 https://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=5750, (Fri, Nov 10th)

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

November 10, 2017 02:10 AM

Boy Genius Report

HP’s leaked Black Friday ad features great deals on laptops, desktops and monitors

Black Friday 2017 HP

Many of the big retailers, including Best Buy, Target and Walmart, have all released their Black Friday 2017 ads by now, but there are still plenty of stores and companies that we've yet to hear from. For example, late last night, the Black Friday ad for HP leaked online, revealing a host of solid deals on computers, monitors and more.

As you might expect from an HP sale, a vast majority of the deals are for laptop and desktop computers. They range from small, affordable notebooks to massive, pricey gaming rigs -- if you're in the market for an HP computer, you're sure to find something that's right for you. The sale will begin at midnight on Thanksgiving Day.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. This is the kind of dirty trick Comcast tries to keep its monopoly
  3. Best Buy Black Friday 2017 ad: iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, killer TV deals and much more

HP’S LEAKED BLACK FRIDAY AD FEATURES GREAT DEALS ON LAPTOPS, DESKTOPS AND MONITORS originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 21:01:52 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Jacob Siegal at November 10, 2017 02:01 AM

The Big Picture

Neutron Star Collision

Neutron star collision heralds arrival of a new era of astronomy Source: Christian Science Monitor

The post Neutron Star Collision appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Admin Tim at November 10, 2017 02:00 AM

Krebs on Security

DDoS-for-Hire Service Launches Mobile App

In May 2013 KrebsOnSecurity wrote about Ragebooter, a service that paying customers can use to launch powerful distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks capable of knocking individuals and Web sites offline. The owner of Ragebooter subsequently was convicted in 2016 of possessing child pornography, but his business somehow lived on while he was in prison. Now just weeks after Poland made probation, a mobile version of the attack-for-hire service has gone up for sale on the Google Play store.

In the story Ragebooter: ‘Legit’ DDoS Service, or Fed Backdoor, I profiled then 19-year-old Justin D. Poland from Memphis — who admitted to installing code on his Ragebooter service that allowed FBI investigators to snoop on his customers.

Last February, Poland was convicted of one felony count of possession of child pornography, after investigators reportedly found 2,600 child pornography images on one of his computers. Before his trial was over, Poland skipped town but his bondsman later located him at his mother’s house. He was sentenced to two years in jail.

Poland did not respond to multiple requests for comment, but on his Facebook account Poland said the images belonged to his former roommate — David Starliper — who’d allegedly used Poland’s computer. Starliper also was convicted of possessing child pornography and sentenced to two years in prison.

In September 2017, Poland began posting on his Facebook account that he had made parole and was getting ready to be released from prison. On Oct. 6, the first version of the Android edition of Ragebooter was put on sale at Google’s Play Store.

The mobile version of Ragebooter.

Poland’s Facebook page says he is the owner of ragebooter[dot]com, ragebooter[dot]net, and another site called vmdeploy[net]. The advertisement for Ragebooter’s new mobile app on Google Play says the developer’s email address is contact@rageservices[dot]net. The registration details for rageservices[dot]net are hidden, but the Web site lists some useful contact details.

One of them is a phone number registered in Memphis — 901-219-3644 — that is tied to a Facebook account for an Alex Slovak in Memphis. The other domain Poland mentions on his Facebook page — vmdeploy[dot]net — was registered to an Alex Czech from Memphis. It seems likely that Alex has been running Ragebooter while Poland was in prison. Mr. Slovak/Czech did not respond to requests for comment, but it is clear from his Facebook page that he is friends with Poland’s family.

Rageservices[dot]net advertises itself as a store for custom programming and Web site development. Its content is identical to a site called QuantumServices. A small purchase through the rageservices[dot]net site for a simple program generated a response from Quantum Services and an email from quantumservicesweb@gmail.com. The person responding at that email address declined to give his or her name, but said they were not Justin Poland.

Figures posted to the home page of ragebooter[dot]net claim the service has been used to conduct more than 310,000 DDoS attacks. Memberships are sold in packages ranging from $3 per day to $300 a year for an “enterprise” plan. Ragebooter[dot]net includes a notice at the top of the site indicating that rageservices[dot]net is indeed affiliated with Ragebooter.

If Poland still is running Ragebooter, he may well be violating the terms of his parole. According to the FBI, the use of DDoS-for-hire services like Ragebooter is illegal.

In October the FBI released an advisory warning that the use of booter services — also called “stressers” — is punishable under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, and may result in arrest and criminal prosecution.

“Booter and stresser services are a form of DDoS-for-hire— advertised in forum communications and available on Dark Web marketplaces— offering malicious actors the ability to anonymously attack any Internet-connected target. These services are obtained through a monetary transaction, usually in the form of online payment services and virtual currency. Criminal actors running booter and stresser services sell access to DDoS botnets, a network of malware-infected computers exploited to make a victim server or network resource unavailable by overloading the device with massive amounts of fake or illegitimate traffic.”

by BrianKrebs at November 10, 2017 01:55 AM

Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

Cybersecurity Staffing Shortage Tied to Cyberattacks, Data Breaches

Short-staffed cybersecurity teams contribute to data breaches and cyberattacks levied against their organizations, a survey finds.

by Dawn Kawamoto Associate Editor, Dark Reading at November 10, 2017 01:50 AM

Boy Genius Report

Jony Ive says the iPhone X in 12 months ‘will be able to do things that it can’t now’

iPhone X Jony Ive

In a wide-ranging and intriguing interview with Wallpaper, Apple Chief Design Officer Jony Ive talked at length about the significance of the iPhone X, the company's gargantuan new spaceship campus, and much more. Though Ive is primarily seen as the design guru who steers the ship when it comes to Apple's line of consumer products, Ive actually played an interesting role in the overall design of Apple's new headquarters as well. Apple executives are notoriously tight-lipped, and Ive in particular doesn't tend to sit down for extensive interviews, a fact which makes his interview here all the more fascinating.

When asked about Apple's new iPhone X, a device which represents the biggest redesign to the iPhone form factor in years, Ive explained that the device's edgeless display is brimming with untapped potential. When asked if he misses traditional tactile inputs such as the old school iPhone home button or the even older clickwheel on the iPod, Ive effectively answers that the potential offered up by the iPhone X design easily outweighs any nostalgic feelings he may have for Apple's iconic products of old.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. Scientists implanted rodents with lab-grown human ‘mini brains,’ and that’s not even the scary part
  3. This is the kind of dirty trick Comcast tries to keep its monopoly

JONY IVE SAYS THE IPHONE X IN 12 MONTHS ‘WILL BE ABLE TO DO THINGS THAT IT CAN’T NOW’ originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 20:30:05 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Yoni Heisler at November 10, 2017 01:30 AM

Arun Shourie - Google News

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to move beyond Nehru with books on PMs - Times of India


Nehru Memorial Museum and Library to move beyond Nehru with books on PMs
Times of India
... M J Akbar, collections on Indira Gandhi by Kushwant Singh, Catherine Frank, Jairam Ramesh and Sagarika Ghosh, works by former journalist M Chalapathi Rao, Nayantara Sehgal, Sharada Prasad, Manishankar Aiyar, Arun Shourie and Janardan Thakur.

November 10, 2017 01:29 AM

Daring Fireball

TripAdvisor Removed Warnings About Rapes and Injuries at Mexico Resorts

Raquel Rutledge and Andrew Mollica, reporting for The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Seven years ago, TripAdvisor repeatedly removed a post written by Kristie Love, a 35-year-old mother of two from Dallas. Love told how she had been raped by a security guard at a highly rated all-inclusive Mexican resort owned by the global chain, Iberostar, based in Spain.

She wrote how, after an evening with friends, she had returned to her room to find the electronic key card no longer opened her door at the Iberostar Paraiso near Playa del Carmen. She headed to the lobby of the sprawling resort to get her card reactivated and stopped to ask a uniformed guard whether she was walking in the right direction.

He motioned her to follow him, then overpowered her, dragged her into some bushes and raped her. When she reached the lobby in tears, hotel staff refused to call police.

A TripAdvisor moderator spotted the post soon after it had published and deemed it in violation of the company’s “family friendly” guidelines.

The following year, another young woman, 19 and on vacation with her family, reported to hotel officials in the same resort complex that a security guard had raped her in the bathroom.

And in 2015, still another woman, Jamie Valeri, 34, a mother of six from Wisconsin, was sexually assaulted at the same resort after she and her husband simultaneously blacked out in the middle of the day, barely into their third drink.

It’s positively sickening that as a matter of TripAdvisor policy, actual rapes, sexual assaults, and druggings are OK, but reports about these crimes on their forums are not. TripAdvisor should get sued out of existence.

by John Gruber at November 10, 2017 01:26 AM

Boy Genius Report

The fastest cities in the US for LTE have been revealed, and it’s not where you think

Fastest LTE network in US 2017

When you think of the places in the US with the best cell service, you're probably thinking bustling high-tech metropolises or the downtown of the nation's biggest cities. But according to a new report from OpenSignal, anyone wanting the highest-speed LTE the country can offer should head to Minneapolis, which took the crown for fastest average speed this time around.

OpenSignal uses an app on hundreds of thousands of users' devices to take millions of speed tests across the country. It can parse the data by device, location, time of day, and network -- which is how it produces reports crowning the fastest wireless network every few months.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. Scientists implanted rodents with lab-grown human ‘mini brains,’ and that’s not even the scary part
  3. This is the kind of dirty trick Comcast tries to keep its monopoly

THE FASTEST CITIES IN THE US FOR LTE HAVE BEEN REVEALED, AND IT’S NOT WHERE YOU THINK originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 20:00:40 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Chris Mills at November 10, 2017 01:00 AM

Study Hacks

Sean Parker on Facebook’s Brain Hacking

A Conscientious Objection 

Sean Parker, the founding president of Facebook, was interviewed onstage yesterday at an event held by Axios at the Constitution Center in Philadelphia. The topic was cancer innovation, but the conversation turned at some point to Parker’s time at Facebook during its early years.

Perhaps emboldened by social media’s recent PR problems, Parker, who told Axios co-founder Mike Allen backstage that he had become a “conscientious objector on social media,” was unusually candid.

Here are some of his remarks (as reported this morning by Allen):

  • “The thought process that went into building these applications, Facebook being the first of them, … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?'”
  • “And that means that we need to sort of give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.”
  • “It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.”
  • “The inventors, creators — it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”

As Parker left the stage, he joked that Mark Zuckerberg was going to block his Facebook account. Perhaps it’s just wistful thinking on my part, but it seems to me that it’s Zuckerberg who should be worried that more and more people might start carrying out this blocking all on their own.

#####

(Hat tip to Pawel and Nwokedi)

by Study Hacks at November 10, 2017 12:47 AM

Nvidia CEO See ‘Great Loss’ For Rival AMD After Intel Hires Exec

Nvidia CEO See ‘Great Loss’ For Rival AMD After Intel Hires ExecIt doesn&apost sound too worried about Intel&aposs new graphics effort, either.


November 10, 2017 12:46 AM

Daring Fireball

Most-Used OS in the World?

Andrew Tanenbaum, creator of the MINIX operating system, in an open letter to Intel CEO Brian Krzanich:

Thanks for putting a version of MINIX 3 inside the ME-11 management engine chip used on almost all recent desktop and laptop computers in the world. I guess that makes MINIX the most widely used computer operating system in the world, even more than Windows, Linux, or MacOS. And I didn’t even know until I read a press report about it. Also here and here and here and here and here (in Dutch), and a bunch of other places.

It’s an interesting development, having a full-blown operating system running inside a CPU. And it’s a nice feather in the cap for MINIX, which heretofore had best been known as a teaching OS for computer science students. But it can’t be the most-used OS in the world. Android is. (Or, if you only want to count the kernel-level operating system, Linux, which runs at the heart of Android.)

MINIX is now almost certainly the most widely-used OS on Intel-based computers, but Intel-based computers are now far outnumbered by ARM-based ones.

by John Gruber at November 10, 2017 12:38 AM

Forking the iPhone

Jean-Louis Gassée:

What we see is Apple is doing what they do best: Taking chances. They made a risky bet with the iPhone X and covered it with the iPhone 8. The new and improved perception of Apple might come from the realization that both bets are winning, and that the iPhone X is a radically new, as opposed to a merely improved, breed of smartphone — and probably is the start of a new succession of carefully incremented future models.

A fork is exactly right: the iterative, familiar iPhone 8 and 8 Plus on one side of the fork, and the novel, back-to-the-drawing board iPhone X on the other.

by John Gruber at November 10, 2017 12:35 AM

Boy Genius Report

Report: iPhone 7 outsold iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus combined last quarter

iPhone 8 vs. iPhone 7

About a month ago, a survey conducted by KeyBanc Capital Markets analyst John Vinh suggested that the iPhone 8 was being outsold by the iPhone 7, which would obviously be a rare occurrence following the launch of a new iPhone. But this week, a report from research firm Canalys backed up that assertion with new shipment data.

According to Canalys, Apple's iPhone 7 was the best-shipping smartphone in the world in the third quarter of 2017, shipping 13 million units. 2016's iPhone 6s came in second, Samsung's Galxay J2 Prime came in third and Oppo rounded out the top five with each of the final two spots. The iPhone 8 didn't crack the top 5.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. Scientists implanted rodents with lab-grown human ‘mini brains,’ and that’s not even the scary part
  3. Best Buy Black Friday 2017 ad: iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, killer TV deals and much more

REPORT: IPHONE 7 OUTSOLD IPHONE 8 AND IPHONE 8 PLUS COMBINED LAST QUARTER originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 19:32:35 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Jacob Siegal at November 10, 2017 12:32 AM

DreamHost Blog

Edit Your Website Photos Like a Pro with These 8 Tips

Photo Editing.jpg

First impressions are made in as little as seven seconds. But on your website, it’s even quicker.

Like, six seconds quicker.

So what makes for a good first impression in the blink of an eye? Compelling, professional-looking images. The presence and quality of your website’s photos determine, in large part, who engages with your brand and puts cash behind their clicks.

In fact, if you clean up your images, you could see increased growth. Content with compelling images averages 94 percent more total views than blah, text-only competitors!

And best of all? You don’t have to be a professional photog or a Photoshop whiz to make your site’s images look polished and attractive. With these eight DIY, beginner-friendly photo editing tips — and a great website builder — you can put your best (virtual) foot forward.

1. Prioritize Quality

Even if you ignore the science — that 65 percent of the population consists of visual learners, that 90 percent of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and that attention spans have now shortened to fleeting glances — you have to accept the reality that high-quality photos will make or break your site. In fact, 67 percent of people say that a site’s image quality was “very important” to selecting and buying products.

Cadillac Quality.png

Cadillac’s site showcases high-quality photos that boast the professional feel of the brand.

This may not seem like a “photo editing” tip per se, but take it from us: images that complement your site’s content contribute to a positive and persuasive user experience. Plus, they boost SEO. Google rewards your site’s rankings based on the relevancy and quality of your images, so don’t underestimate the power of winning photos.

If your budget doesn’t allow for your business to hire a professional photographer, take your own or invest in quality stock images (some, like picjumbo, Pixabay, and Pexels are free).

And DreamHost users, you have a leg up!

Remixer, our website builder, has a new photo editing tool. With in-screen access to Pixabay, you can add and edit appealing stock photos (royalty free!) directly to your Remixer website. Easy peasy!

You can access the gallery of stock images directly within Remixer.

Learn how to use all of the features that Remixerʼs Image Editor has to offer.

2. Follow the Rule of Thirds

It’s okay if you don’t have an extensive photography background (spoiler: I don’t either). Let’s learn together, starting with the fundamentals of a good photo. A photo’s composition refers to the way elements in a photo are arranged within the frame. Composition helps guide viewers’ eyes through the photo and increases the impact of an image.

An example of this is the Rule of Thirds: the key parts of your photos (the interesting stuff) should be at the intersections of the lines dividing your photo into thirds.

Rule of Thirds Example.jpeg

See how the women in this photo — who inexplicably chose a dry, weedy field for a game of telephone — are roughly lined up with the intersections of the lines? This is the essence of the Rule of Thirds.

You can even do it with a single object in a photo.

Girl Ocean Rule of Thirds.jpeg

If your photos aren’t following the Rule of Thirds, you can choose a new photo (or frame yours better — some cameras even have settings for that), or you can edit your current photos to better adhere to the Rule of Thirds. Utilize the cropping tool (see No. 5 below) to realign the photo’s elements.

Like turning this:

Man at Computer Rule of Thirds.jpeg

Into this:

Man at Computer Rule of Thirds.jpeg

See? The guy still looks like a Bond villain, but the image has a better composition.

Nike Rule of Thirds.png

Nike aces the Rule of Thirds in its product images.

While there is always an occasion to rule break in photography, complying with the Rule of Thirds is a simple way to edit your photos for increased appeal and composition.

3. Focus on the Details

Believe it or not, there are a lot of less flashy elements to photos (pun intended) that matter for your website. Paying attention to these little details makes for quick, easy fixes that will enhance your site and boost your SEO.

First, let’s cover a few of the must-dos.

Know the Right File Type to Use

Public Service Announcement: PNG and JPG photo files are not the same.

Knowing how each work works can help you make wise web choices with your photos — and increase your site speed (Google agrees!). The goal is maintaining a reasonable file size while not compromising the image quality.

Let’s start with PNG files. PNG files generally work better with crisp images with a limited number of colors because when compressed, this type of file still contains more of the information than a JPG. PNG files produce higher-quality images and, therefore, come at a higher cost — a bigger image size. They’re also the choice of designers who plan to do more fancy editing footwork, like effects with transparency.

The verdict? Use sparingly for the elements that absolutely require the highest resolution so you don’t put the brakes on your site speed.

Next, let’s talk about JPGs. JPGs are typically the choice for web images with lots of colors, because their smaller file size allows for road-runner load times (DYK? Photos take up a huge chunk of a site’s weight). However, with compression, some information is lost, meaning that photo quality is decreased — but you can still usually get a good balance between the two.

Photo File Name.png

Exporting your photo allows you to change the image file type.

While identifying which file type works best for your site images is a balance, it’s worth the effort to ensure that your site is optimized for speed and provides an engaging visual experience for your users.

Name Your Image File Correctly

I get it. With all of the day-to-day minutiae of running your website, you don’t need another to-do list task. Time is $$$, right?

While it may be tempting, in haste, to name your photos “akjfdakd.jpeg” or “photo1.png,” it’s important to give your photos a file name that relates to the image’s content. We’re not just being nitpicky — proper file names (like, hint: with your keywords) help Google know what your photo is about.

Use Captions and Alternative Text

Going the extra mile — even with seemingly-tedious tasks — aids in getting your site get found, and improves your images and user experience. One of those must-dos is providing alt text for your images — the descriptive copy that details what the image is showing if, for some reason, it cannot be displayed.

West Elm Blog Alternative Text.png

Rolling over the images on West Elm’s blog brings up alt text —  a useful descriptor provided in case photos are not displayed.

Next up: captions. Good web images have accompanying captions (look, Ma, we did it too!) that help optimize your images for search engines.

Yet another important reason to caption your photos? Captions are crucial for engagement. Captions are read about 300 percent more on average than the body copy of an article, so if you don’t have them, you’re losing out on readers. Web users are busy people. Give them snackable bites of text (like your captions) to grab their attention.

Food 52 Captions.png

Food 52’s got it down. Photo captions aid SEO and user experience.

4. Flaunt an Authentic Style

Step back and consider all the images on your site. Together, do they match the unique je ne sais quoi of your site? Do they all align with your brand identity?

Consider the feel of your site. Is it clean and minimal? Artsy and boho? Whatever product or service your company brings to the table, ensure that the visual content you offer is true to your one-of-a-kind style and matches your brand.

Artifact Uprising Quality 3.png

Artifact Uprising’s quality photos are consistent in style, which builds brand awareness.

Here are a few photo editing hacks to help you achieve that noteworthy look.

Utilize Filters

Filters aren’t just for Snapchat or Insta Stories. While they must be used with discretion (no teeny-bopper overlays, please), filters can help enhance photos by furnishing them with a specific feel. Used consistently across your site, filtered photos help you develop a brand style your users will recognize.

Filters.jpeg

In addition to being high impact, this image’s filter gives it a distinct character.

If you’re a Remixer user, you’ll be excited about this: we also added filters to the Image Editor! That means you can apply filters — think smoky hues, golden tints, rainbow vibes, and much more — directly to the photos you are editing for your website.

That’s right. Creating beautiful website images is now as easy as sharing a snap on Instagram.

Play with Temperatures

You can also lean into the tone, mood, and aesthetic of your site by tweaking your image’s thermostat, so to speak. Allow me to jog your memory back to your elementary school art class: warm colors (red, yellow, and orange) are stimulating and vibrant, while cool colors (purple, blue, and green) are said to invoke calmness and serenity.

Whatever you’re going for on your site, adjust colors to match your style. Different emotions can be communicated by playing with color balance, hue, or saturation settings in your photo editor.

Temperature.jpeg

The warmer colors of this photo give it a hint of adventure.

Temperatures 2.jpeg

You can almost feel the chill thanks to the image’s cool tone.

5. Crop It Like It’s Hot

Never underestimate the power of a good crop. No, we’re not talking denim here, but rather trimming your images.

Whether you’re resizing an image to fit specific dimensions or cutting out extraneous image details, cropping helps you eliminate clutter and better frame your images for clarity, appeal, and impact.

And no, you don’t need expensive software to get croppin’. There are many web apps that allow you to crop (and do a myriad of other editing tasks). You can sometimes even crop directly from your site’s CMS.

6. Sharpen

Think of sharpening your images like upgrading your contact lenses Rx. When you do, things are just clearer. The same goes for your web photos. You want those images to be as crisp a fresh Gala apple.

Sharpening photos can be done easily using Photoshop, Pixlr, or PicMonkey. However, a word of warning. Don’t go too overboard with your sharpen tool. You don’t want the dreaded image “noise” (AKA: graininess).

Pixlr Sharpen Effect.png

Pixlr’s sharpening tool.

Hint: it helps to sharpen your image first as a PNG file and then convert it to JPG.

6. Embrace White Space

Any Full House fans here? Well, as Uncle Joey would say: Cut. It. Out. But really, when it comes to your photos, white space can make for visually appealing images.

In other words: don’t fear the blank space. It’s a powerful design element that can provide visual relief for the eyes and draw big attention.

Take Apple, for example. They are literally known for their clean, appealing, and visually strong image design.

Apple Quality 2.png

Apple is the king of cut-out product photos.

Cut-out images take a little editing know-how, but with practice, you can get the hang of it. Again, Photoshop is a good tool, as is Pixlr, Clipping Magic, and BeFunky.

7. Correct Your Colors

Whether your photo’s colors are a little off, or you just want to adjust them to achieve a different vibe, altering colors isn’t beyond a beginner’s editing reach.

Most photo editing programs do the heavy lifting for you with color-adjusting presets, but it doesn’t hurt to know a thing or two about what options are available. Experiment with levels (adjust how light and dark your image is), contrast, and saturation to determine which alterations help you best produce powerful images.

Adjust the colors and exposure to turn this:

PicMonkey Colors.png

Into this:

PicMonkey Colors 3.png

Need a mobile tool? The Adobe Photoshop Express app (it’s free!) can help you make one-touch color adjustments and corrections on the go. Gimp is another great free tool.

8. Banish Blemishes

Even beautiful photography has hiccups sometimes (or, at least the occasional photobomber). But don’t fret, a dark spot does not an image ruin.

Fotor can help you remove unwanted objects with its easy-to-use clone tools (and a blemish remover!). Photoshop, of course, is the master software for cleaning up photos (consider it a virtual facial) with its healing and cloning tools.

Want to see it in action?

Heal Example 1.jpeg

Want to soften freckles or erase blemishes?

Heal Tool Example Edited.png

Use Fotor’s easy clone tool to make changes.

Camera Ready

It’s true: sites with images get more views, build better brand awareness, boost  SEO, and have more engagement. Want to reap those impressive benefits? Outfit your site with quality photos and see growth — no photography degree needed. Implement these DIY photo editing tips and see results.

Edit your photos in a flash with Remixer — DreamHost’s in-house website builder.

Then, tell us: how have photos improved your site? Have these tips helped you upgrade your images for a better user experience? Let’s talk visuals in the comments below.

Reporting by Kasee Bailey

The post Edit Your Website Photos Like a Pro with These 8 Tips appeared first on DreamHost.blog.

by ellice at November 10, 2017 12:06 AM

Android Developers Blog

Making Pixel better for Drivers

Posted by Marc Stogaitis and Tajinder Gadh, Software Engineers

Driving is an essential part of our daily activities. So at Google we spend a lot of time thinking how we can make Android devices better and safer for our users. How we can prevent distracted driving and together build an open ecosystem to enable safety first smartphone experiences.

Recently we launched Driving Do-Not-Disturb on the newly announced Pixel 2 generation of devices. Once enabled, Driving Do-Not-Disturb automatically puts your device into a do not disturb mode while driving. During this mode any incoming messages and notifications are silenced while you can still receive incoming calls, navigation directions and voice interactions using a connected Car bluetooth. The product is designed to limit distractions during driving while at the same time not getting in the way so users can continue to use navigation or other similar apps with minimal friction.

Behind the scenes, it uses AI powered on-device Activity Recognition that detects when a person is driving using low power signals from multiple sensors, bluetooth and WiFi. Activity Recognition uses the Android Sensor Hub to ensure low latency, low power and accurate driving detection.

This is a next step in our journey, but we are far from done. Early next year we are introducing the Activity Recognition Transition Api, which is the same Api used by Driving Do Not Disturb to build distraction-free driving experiences.

We appreciate the feedback, and will continue to listen to your feedback as the product evolves.

If you have questions about setting up the Driving Do-Not-Disturb, check out our Help Center.

by Android Developers (noreply@blogger.com) at November 10, 2017 12:04 AM

Boy Genius Report

The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs almost didn’t

asteroid dinosaurs

If you think the emergence of man was an inevitability, think again. The massive asteroid that struck Earth and triggered the mass extinction of the dinosaurs is the reason we're all here today, and if a new report on the impact is correct, it managing to actually wipe so many species from the planet was incredibly unlikely.

The study, which was published in the journal Scientific Reports, focused on the location and severity of the asteroid strike to gauge how the scenario would have played out differently if the rock had landed anywhere other than where it did. The results point to a roughly 1-in-10 chance that the asteroid would usher in a large-scale extinction, and that means that there was something like a 90% chance that dinosaurs would have survived the strike if things had played out only slightly differently.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Here’s the full 36-page Black Friday 2017 ad from Walmart
  2. Best Buy Black Friday 2017 ad: iPhone 8, Galaxy Note 8, killer TV deals and much more
  3. Scientists implanted rodents with lab-grown human ‘mini brains,’ and that’s not even the scary part

THE ASTEROID THAT KILLED THE DINOSAURS ALMOST DIDN’T originally appeared on BGR.com on Thu, 9 Nov 2017 at 19:01:15 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

by Mike Wehner at November 10, 2017 12:01 AM

xkcd.com

November 09, 2017

Russian Lawyer in Trump Meeting Looms—Silently—Over Hearing

Russian Lawyer in Trump Meeting Looms—Silently—Over HearingNatalia Veselnitskaya, the lawyer at the center of a U.S. investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential vote, loomed over a New York court hearing late Thursday much the same way she has ...


November 09, 2017 11:40 PM

The Django community aggregator

A Django custom command to write model fields on an Excel file

Suppose you need to write down your model fields on an Excel file, for example to complement the documentation of your code.

Django has built in functions to introspect models and fields of an app, and you can leverage this API to have the information you need.

You can use the following Django custom command:

The option –exclude-models can be used to specify a text file with models to exclude from Excel file (one per line).

The option –include-reverse-relations (default false) can be used to include also reverse relations of your models, that are fields that are not part of the models itself, but are reverse fields from other models that have for instance a ForeignKey to the model.

The command depends on the XlsxWriter package to create the Excel file.


by Random notes from Zena at November 09, 2017 11:36 PM

NYT > Economy

Trump, Aiming to Coax Xi Jinping, Bets on Flattery

President Trump projected an air of deference to China that was almost unheard-of for a visiting American leader.

by MARK LANDLER, JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS and JANE PERLEZ at November 09, 2017 11:26 PM

Google Code Blog

Migrating to the new Play Games Services APIs

In 11.6.0 of the Google Play Services SDK, we are introducing a major change to how the APIs are structured. We've deprecated the GoogleApiClient class, and introduced a decoupled collection of feature-specific API clients. This reduces the amount of boilerplate code required to access the Play Games Services APIs.

The change in the APIs is meant to make the APIs easier to use, thread-safe, and more memory efficient. The new API model also makes use of the Task model to give better separation of the concerns between your activity and handling the asynchronous results of the APIs. This programming model first appeared in Firebase and was well received. To dive in deeper into the wonderful world of Tasks, check out the blog series on tasks and the Tasks API developer guide.

As always, the developer documentationis a reliable source of information on these APIs, as well as all the other Google resources for developers. TheAndroid Basic Samples project, and Client Server Skeleton project have both been updated to use the Play Services API clients so you can see them in action. These sample projects are also the best place to add issues or problems you encounter using these APIs.

These changes seem big, but fear not! Using the Play Services API clients is very simple and will result in much less clutter in your code. There are three parts to using the API clients:

  1. Authentication is now explicitly done using the Google Sign-In client. This makes it more clear how to control the authentication process and the difference between a Google Sign-In identity and the Play Games Services identity.
  2. Convert all the Games.category static method calls to use the corresponding API client methods. This also includes converting PendingResult usages to use the Task class. The Task model helps greatly with separation of concerns in your code, and reduces the amount of multi-threaded complexity since tasks listeners are called back on the UI thread.
  3. Handling multi-player invitations is done explicitly through the turn-based and real-time multiplayer API clients. Since GoogleApiClient is no longer used, there is no access to the "connection hint" object which contains multi-player invitations. The invitation is now accessed through an explicit method call.

Authentication

The details of the authentication process are found on the Google Developers website.

The most common use case for authentication is to use the DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN option. This option enables your game to use the games profile for the user. Since a user's games profile only contains a gamer tag that your game can display like a name, and an avatar for a image, the actual identity of the user is protected. This eliminates the need for the user to consent to sharing any additional personal information reducing the friction between the user and your game.

Note: The only Google sign-in option that can be requested which only uses games profile is requestServerAuthCode(). All others, such as requestIDToken()require the user to consent to additional information being shared. This also has the effect of preventing users from having a zero-tap sign-in experience.

One more note: if you are using the Snapshots API to save game data,you need to add the Drive.SCOPE_APPFOLDER scope when building the sign-in options:

private  GoogleSignInClient signInClient;

@Override
protected void onCreate(Bundle savedInstanceState) {
super.onCreate(savedInstanceState);

// other code here

GoogleSignInOptions signInOption = new GoogleSignInOptions.Builder(
GoogleSignInOptions.DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN)
// If you are using Snapshots add the Drive scope.
.requestScopes(Drive.SCOPE_APPFOLDER)
// If you need a server side auth code, request it here.
.requestServerAuthCode(webClientId)
.build();
signInClient = GoogleSignIn.getClient(context, signInOption);
}

Since there can only be one user account signed in at a time, it's good practice to attempt a silent sign-in when the activity is resuming. This will have the effect of automatically signing in the user if it is valid to do so. It will also update or invalidate the signed-in account if there have been any changes, such as the user signing out from another activity.

private void signInSilently() {
GoogleSignInOptions signInOption =
new GoogleSignInOptions.Builder(GoogleSignInOptions.DEFAULT_GAMES_SIGN_IN)
.build();
GoogleSignInClient signInClient = GoogleSignIn.getClient(this, signInOption);
signInClient.silentSignIn().addOnCompleteListener(this,
new OnCompleteListener<GoogleSignInAccount>() {
@Override
public void onComplete(@NonNull Task<GoogleSignInAccount> task) {
// Handle UI updates based on being signed in or not.
enableUIButtons(task.isSuccessful());
// It is OK to cache the account for later use.
mSignInAccount = task.getResult();
}
});
}
    @Override
protected void onResume() {
super.onResume();
signInSilently();
}

Signing in interactively is done by launching a separate intent. This is great! No more checking to see if errors have resolution and then trying to call the right APIs to resolve them. Just simply start the activity, and get the result in onActivityResult().

  Intent intent = signInClient.getSignInIntent();
startActivityForResult(intent, RC_SIGN_IN);
    @Override
protected void onActivityResult(int requestCode, int resultCode, Intent intent) {
super.onActivityResult(requestCode, resultCode, intent);
if (requestCode == RC_SIGN_IN) {
// The Task returned from this call is always completed, no need to attach
// a listener.
Task<GoogleSignInAccount> task =
GoogleSignIn.getSignedInAccountFromIntent(intent);

try {
GoogleSignInAccount account = task.getResult(ApiException.class);
// Signed in successfully, show authenticated UI.
enableUIButtons(true);
} catch (ApiException apiException) {
// The ApiException status code indicates the
// detailed failure reason.
// Please refer to the GoogleSignInStatusCodes class reference
// for more information.
Log.w(TAG, "signInResult:failed code= " +
apiException.getStatusCode());
new AlertDialog.Builder(MainActivity.this)
.setMessage("Signin Failed")
.setNeutralButton(android.R.string.ok, null)
.show();
}
}
}

To determine if a user is signed in, you can call the GoogleSignIn.getLastSignedInAccount() method. This returns the GoogleSignInAccount for the user that is signed in, or null if no user is signed in.

if (GoogleSignIn.getLastSignedInAccount(/*context*/ this) != null) {
// There is a user signed in, handle updating the UI.
enableUIButtons(true);
} else {
// Not signed in; update the UI.
enableUIButtons(false);
}

Signing out is done by calling GoogleSignInClient.signOut(). There is no longer a Games specific sign-out.

signInClient.signOut().addOnCompleteListener(MainActivity.this,
new OnCompleteListener<Void>() {
@Override
public void onComplete(@NonNull Task<Void> task) {
enableUIButtons(false);
}
});
);

Using Games Services API clients

In previous versions of Play Games Services, the general pattern of calling an API was something like this:

    PendingResult<Stats.LoadPlayerStatsResult> result =
Games.Stats.loadPlayerStats(
mGoogleApiClient, false /* forceReload */);
result.setResultCallback(new
ResultCallback<Stats.LoadPlayerStatsResult>() {
public void onResult(Stats.LoadPlayerStatsResult result) {
Status status = result.getStatus();
if (status.isSuccess()) {
PlayerStats stats = result.getPlayerStats();
if (stats != null) {
Log.d(TAG, "Player stats loaded");
if (stats.getDaysSinceLastPlayed() > 7) {
Log.d(TAG, "It's been longer than a week");
}
if (stats.getNumberOfSessions() > 1000) {
Log.d(TAG, "Veteran player");
}
if (stats.getChurnProbability() == 1) {
Log.d(TAG, "Player is at high risk of churn");
}
}
} else {
Log.d(TAG, "Failed to fetch Stats Data status: "
+ status.getStatusMessage());
}
}
});

The API was accessed from a static field on the Games class, the API returned a PendingResult, which you added a listener to in order to get the result.

Now things have changed slightly. There is a static method to get the API client from the Games class, and the Task class has replaced the PendingResult class.

As a result, the new code looks like this:

GoogleSignInAccount mSignInAccount = null;
Games.getPlayerStatsClient(this, mSignInAccount).loadPlayerStats(true)
.addOnCompleteListener(
new OnCompleteListener<AnnotatedData<PlayerStats>>() {
@Override
public void onComplete(Task<AnnotatedData<PlayerStats>> task) {
try {
AnnotatedData<PlayerStats> statsData =
task.getResult(ApiException.class);
if (statsData.isStale()) {
Log.d(TAG,"using cached data");
}
PlayerStats stats = statsData.get();
if (stats != null) {
Log.d(TAG, "Player stats loaded");
if (stats.getDaysSinceLastPlayed() > 7) {
Log.d(TAG, "It's been longer than a week");
}
if (stats.getNumberOfSessions() > 1000) {
Log.d(TAG, "Veteran player");
}
if (stats.getChurnProbability() == 1) {
Log.d(TAG, "Player is at high risk of churn");
}
}
} catch (ApiException apiException) {
int status = apiException.getStatusCode();
Log.d(TAG, "Failed to fetch Stats Data status: "
+ status + ": " + task.getException());
}
}
});

So, as you can see, the change is not too big, but you will gain all the goodness of the Task API, and not have to worry about the GoogleApiClient lifecycle management.

The pattern of changes is the same for all the APIs. If you need more information, you can consult the Developer website. For example if you used Games.Achievements, you now need to use Games.getAchievementClient().

The last major change to the Play Games Services APIs is the introduction of a new API class, GamesClient. This class handles support methods such as setGravityForPopups(), getSettingsIntent(), and also provides access to the multiplayer invitation object when your game is launched from a notification.

Previously the onConnected() method was called with a connection hint. This hint was a Bundle object that could contain the invitation that was passed to the activity when starting.

Now using the GamesClient API, if there is an invitation, your game should call signInSilently(); this call will succeed since the user is known from the invitation. Then retrieve the activation hint and process the invitation if present by calling GamesClient.getActivationHint():

Games.getGamesClient(MainActivity.this,  mSignInAccount)
.getActivationHint().addOnCompleteListener(
new OnCompleteListener<Bundle>() {
@Override
public void onComplete(@NonNull Task<Bundle> task) {
try {
Bundle hint = task.getResult(ApiException.class);
if (hint != null) {
Invitation inv =
hint.getParcelable(Multiplayer.EXTRA_INVITATION);
if (inv != null && inv.getInvitationId() != null) {
// retrieve and cache the invitation ID
acceptInviteToRoom(inv.getInvitationId());
return;
}
}
} catch (ApiException apiException) {
Log.w(TAG, "getActivationHint failed: " +
apiException.getMessage());
}
}
});

Handling failure

When a method call fails, the Task.isSuccessful()will be false and information about the failure is accessed by calling Task.getException(). In some cases the exception is simply a non-success return value from the API call. You can check for this by casting to an ApiException:

if (task.getException() instanceof ApiException) {
ApiException apiException = (ApiException) task.getException();
status = apiException.getStatusCode();
}

In other cases, a MatchApiException can be returned and contains updated match data structure. It can be retrieved in a similar manner:

if (task.getException() instanceof MatchApiException) {
MatchApiException matchApiException =
(MatchApiException) task.getException();
status = matchApiException.getStatusCode();
match = matchApiException.getMatch();
} else if (task.getException() instanceof ApiException) {
ApiException apiException = (ApiException) task.getException();
status = apiException.getStatusCode();
}

If the status code is SIGN_IN_REQUIRED, this indicates that the player needs to be re-authenticated. To do this, call GoogleSignInClient.getSignInIntent()to sign in the player interactively.

Summary

The change from the GoogleApiClient usage to a more loosely coupled API clients usage will provide benefits of less boilerplate code, more clear usage patterns, and thread safety. As you migrate your current game to API clients, refer to these resources:

Sign-In Best practices for Games:

https://developers.google.com/games/services/checklist

Play Games Services Samples:

Android Basic Samples

Client Server Skeleton

StackOverflow:

https://stackoverflow.com/questions/tagged/google-play-games

by Google Devs (noreply@blogger.com) at November 09, 2017 11:23 PM

Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

AV Vendors Have Immunity for Malware-Blocking Decisions, Court Says

Enigma Software Group had sued Malwarebytes for characterizing its anti-malware software as unsafe, but its case was dismissed.

by Jai Vijayan Freelance writer at November 09, 2017 11:10 PM

Freakonomics

What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)

(Photo: Quinn Dombrowski/Flickr)

Season 7, Episode 10

This week on Freakonomics Radio: What would be the best universal language? Stephen J. Dubner explores votes for English, Indonesian, and … Esperanto! The search for a common language goes back millennia, but so much still gets lost in translation. Will technology finally solve that?

To find out more, check out the podcasts from which this hour was drawn: “What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series)” and “Why Learn Esperanto? (Special Feature).”

You can subscribe to the Freakonomics Radio podcast at Apple Podcasts or elsewhere, or get the RSS feed.

 

The post What Would Be the Best Universal Language? (Earth 2.0 Series) appeared first on Freakonomics.

by Freakonomics at November 09, 2017 11:00 PM

Daring Fireball

Horace Dediu: Apple Watch Will Soon Generate More Revenue Than iPod at Peak

Bookmark this for the next time you see someone claim Apple Watch is a flop.

 ★ 

by John Gruber at November 09, 2017 10:55 PM

Merriman, Inc

The Importance of Integrating Your Retirement Plans into a Household-Wide Allocation

For many households, their workplace retirement plan(s) are a large and important part of their retirement nest egg. These retirement plans represent anywhere from 10% to 100% of one’s retirement savings. Since for many families it represents greater than 50% of their retirement savings, how your retirement plan is invested has a big impact on your ability to reach your financial goals.

If, for example, your retirement plan is invested too conservatively in bonds and stable value mutual funds, you may not be exposed to the fluctuations of the stock market. However, you’re at a greater risk of not growing your account to meet your inflation-adjusted spending needs in retirement. Similarly, if invested too aggressively in, say, all small company stocks, your investments may be exposed to more stock market risk than your retirement spending plan requires. Often households invest their workplace retirement plans in a generic mix of stock and bond mutual funds or default into the target date retirement fund that most closely matches the year they turn age 65.

When creating a retirement spending plan, whether on your own or with an advisor, the asset allocation (mix of stocks and bonds) required to meet your goals is something you can control, which has been proven to have the greatest impact on your results. If you have investments outside of your employer retirement plan, such as an individual retirement account (IRA) and/or a taxable investment account, these accounts should be coordinated with your employer retirement plan.

By incorporating your retirement plans into your overall allocation, you can pick the best investment options available in your retirement plan and manage your wealth like it’s one portfolio, instead of viewing accounts separately.

Benefits of viewing all your accounts as one portfolio can include:

  • Proper alignment of portfolio with your retirement spending plan – Your retirement spending plan may require that you have 60% stocks overall; however, you are currently weighted at 50% stocks due to a retirement plan being invested in a conservative (heavily in bonds) allocation. By managing them as one account, you can either overweight stocks elsewhere to match the 60% stock target, or rebalance the retirement plan.
  • Greater diversification and reduction in concentrated stock positions – Rather than having identical portfolios (cookie cutter approach) that have a lot of overlap, which dampens the benefits of broad diversification, have the proper amount of each asset class in the most optimal account type. Also, many investors still own a considerable amount of their employer’s stock in their retirement plan. This means that they have their human capital (employment) and a considerable amount of their financial capital tied up with their employer’s prospects.
  • Closing the behavior gap (reduced performance chasing) – When managing your wealth as one overall portfolio, there’s less likelihood of performance chasing and poor decision making because you aren’t managing each account differently and/or toward a different objective.
  • Rebalancing between all your accounts – In many cases, most people choose an allocation for their retirement plan and don’t rebalance the account for years. Over time, this can lead to investments being overweight and underweight related to their targets. By viewing your accounts as one, you can reduce rebalancing across your entire portfolio to the target allocation.
  • Reduce investment expense ratios in retirement plan – Many employer retirement plans are full of actively managed mutual funds that carry higher expense ratios. By viewing your accounts as one portfolio, you can pick the lowest cost options in your 401(k), such as the index funds that match what your asset allocation needs. This reduces your overall investment expenses.
  • Reduced trading costs – By operating all your accounts as one, you end up significantly reducing the number of positions you hold in each account. Since you have fewer holdings because you are viewing all your accounts as one to reach your target allocation, you’ll end up requiring fewer transactions when rebalancing.
  • Increased tax efficiency – This allows you to prioritize placement of investments that are not tax efficient, such as real estate (REITs), into retirement accounts and tax-efficient investments like municipal bonds in non-retirement taxable accounts. Also, international stocks can be prioritized in taxable accounts to allow you to deduct foreign income taxes paid on dividends received.
  • Better exposure to international small stocks and emerging markets stocks – It’s unusual for employer retirement plans to have very good international small stocks and/or emerging markets stock funds available. Since these asset classes have benefited returns over time, they can be over weighted in other accounts, such as your taxable investment account, to receive the foreign tax credit.
  • Ability to overweight value, small and profitable stocks elsewhere – Even if your retirement plan doesn’t have good options, by having the account invested in, say, a large cap index fund, it allows you to overweight other accounts where you have more flexibility in investment options to parts of the market such as value, small and profitable stocks that have been proven to provide excess return over the long term.
  • Performance reporting in one place – By integrating your retirement plan into your overall asset allocation, there are services that combine reporting for all your accounts so you can easily monitor and track your overall asset allocation and performance in one place.

Here at Merriman, we integrate employer retirement plans into clients’ overall allocation. We believe this will enhance their overall return, increase diversification and properly align their investments with their retirement goals.

We suggest speaking with your advisor about how to incorporate your employer retirement plans into your overall investment allocation.

by Geoffrey Curran at November 09, 2017 10:52 PM