Amit's Planet

November 02, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

har ek nazar idhar udhar... ik nayaa taraanaa

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:35 PM

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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







Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:18 PM

ek raat kii ye priit

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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



Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 01:06 PM

dil churaa luu.N

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2016 12:57 PM

October 29, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

raadhe tere aa.Nsuu pii ko rok na paae.Nge

Album: Sanskar

raadhe tere aa.Nsuu pii ko rok na paa_e.Nge
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur shyaam tere dau.De aa_e.Nge

itane hii dukh se man ko kar lenaa chuur nahii.n
tere gokul se mohan kii mathuraa duur nahii.n
suune aa.Ngan tere vRRindaavan ban jaa_e.Nge
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur ...

kabhii kabhii aa jaatii hai naino.n me.n tere namii
abhii pyaar me.n kamii hai tere tyaag me.n abhii kamii
kamii na ho to jaane vaale kaise jaa_e.Nge 
lagan ba.Dhaa le aur ...

Contributed by Anonymous

October 29, 2016 02:54 PM

October 23, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

koii samajhaave ye priit sakhii kyaa hai

Album: Lagan

koii samajhaave ye priit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave
dil muii kyaa hai, ye riit muii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

naar navelii nahii.n ye pahelii
buujh na paave ki priit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

bha.Nvaraa gaave kalii musakaave
koii batalaave ye riit sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

sab koii jaane mai.n nahii.n jaanuu.N 
ye man_har se le.n siikh sakhii kyaa hai
koii samajhaave

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

October 23, 2016 03:32 PM

October 20, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ek dil ka do jahaa.N se

Album: (Non-film)

ek dil kaa do jahaa.N se haath (?) uThaa sakataa huu.N mai.n
jiite jii lekin tumhe.n kyuu.N kar bhuulaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

chaa.Ndanii raato.n kii nii.nde.n zi.ndagaanii kaa sakuun
in Kazaano.n ko bhii tum bar (?) se luTaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

pyaar kii nazaro.n se mujhako tum agar dekhaa karo
chaa.Nd suuraj se bhii zyaadaa jagamagaa sakataa huu.N mai.n

Contributed by Prithviraj Dasgupta

October 20, 2016 11:14 PM

October 16, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ek din aur gayaa

Album: Door Ka Raahi

ek din aur gayaa haay roke na rukaa
chhaayaa a.Ndhiyaaraa
aaj bhii naav na aayii, aayaa na khevan_haaraa
ek din aur gayaa ...

kaalii naagin-sii ghirii rainaa kajaraarii
sahamii-sahamii-sii hai ye nagarii hamaarii
de ke aavaaz thakaa, o~ de ke aavaaz thakaa
man dukhiyaaraa, aaj bhii naav na aayii ...

phir vahii raat kaThin, chhup gay taare
abhii se bujhane lage diip hamaare
duur ba.Dii duur saveraa, duur ba.Dii duur ujaalaa
duur hai aashaao.n kaa phuul kinaaraa
aaj bhii naav na aayii, aayaa na khevan_haaraa ...

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

October 16, 2016 06:17 AM

October 06, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii

Album: Navrang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
 

Contributed by Saket Jain

October 06, 2016 12:37 PM

August 17, 2016

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain

Album: Parichay

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

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

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


Contributed by Rajeeva Karandikar

August 17, 2016 06:51 PM

May 02, 2016

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Current Links

Most-Recent Must-Reads:

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MOAR Must-Reads:

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by J. Bradford DeLong at May 02, 2016 04:21 AM

May 01, 2016

lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts

Eye Candy for Today: Van Gogh’s painted copy of Hiroshige print


Bridge in the rain: after Hiroshige, Vincent van Gogh. Zoomable image on Google Art Project; downloadable file on Wikipedia; original is in the Van Gogh Museum.

Sudden shower over Shin-Ohashi bridge and Atake, Utagawa Hiroshige; file on Wikipedia.

About mid-way through his all too short career, Vincent van Gogh, like many of the French Impressionists he came to admire and associate with, developed a fascination with the Ukiyo-e Japanese woodblock prints that were becoming widely available in Europe at the time.

Van Gogh copied two prints by Utagawa Hiroshige directly as paintings, one of a Flowering Plum Tree (see my post on Not the Usual Van Goghs), and this one of Hiroshige’s now famous Sudden shower over Shin-Ōhashi bridge and Atake.

Van Gogh’s value relationships are quite different, and his painted version is of course very different in textural qualities, but the compositional elements, which appear to be his main fascination, appear quite true to the original.

Van Gogh created a painted frame as part of the image, decorated with characters from other Japanese prints.

 
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by Charley Parker at May 01, 2016 12:39 PM

The Simple Dollar

How to Choose Investments in Your 401(k)

Your 401(k) is the first place you should look when you start investing. The account is already open, so all you have to do is fill out some paperwork to start contributing (you can ask your human resources representative how to do this). The money gets pulled from your paycheck before taxes, like magic, and you may even be eligible for some free money if your employer offers a match.

It’s one of the best and most effective ways to get started, even if you don’t have a lot of money to invest. But there’s a big question that comes up as soon as you start contributing: Which investments should you choose?

It’s confusing trying to navigate the long list of options with strange acronyms and lots of numbers next to them. So confusing that many people end up inadvertently making poor decisions.

You can do better.

In this post you’ll learn how to choose the right investments in your 401(k) so you have the best possible chance of reaching your biggest personal goals.

The Goal of Choosing Investments in Your 401(k)

Here’s one tip that will instantly make you a more sophisticated investor than almost everyone else you know: Instead of looking at your 401(k) as its own, isolated account, look at it as just one part of your overall investment plan — which includes all of your investment accounts.

That means you don’t have to perfectly or entirely match your target investment plan within your 401(k). Your real goal is to match your target investment plan once all your investments are summed up across all accounts.

Which is good news! Because your 401(k) investment options are probably limited. There are likely some good options and some not-so-good ones, and it’s unlikely that there’s a good one for each type of thing you want to invest in. For example, there may be a great U.S. stock market fund, but not a great international stock market fund.

And by viewing all your retirement accounts as one big pot, and including your spouse or partner’s retirement accounts as well, you can pick and choose the best investment options in each one so that the total across all accounts lines up with your overall plan.

Here’s how to do just that.

Step 1: Create an Overall Investment Plan

Start by laying out your overarching investment objectives:

  1. How much money will you sock away? Remember that your contribution rate is the most important investment decision you’ll make, so get this going before worrying about anything else.
  2. Which accounts will you use? Contributing to your 401(k) up to your employer match is a great start. But after that you have a number of options, and the right one depends on your specific situation. Decide which accounts you want to use and how much you’ll be contributing to each one.
  3. What is your target asset allocation? That is, which types of things will you be investing in (e.g., U.S. stocks, international stocks, bonds), and how much of your money will be invested in each type? (Click here to see some simple asset allocation suggestions.)

Step 2: Review the Investment Options in Your 401(k)

Ask your employer for a list of the investment options within your 401(k) and evaluate them on the following two factors:

  1. How does each one fit into your asset allocation? If it’s not a fit, you can ignore it. Morningstar is a good resource for looking up mutual funds to see what they invest in.
  2. How much do they cost? Cost is the single best predictor of future returns, so you should lean toward investments that cost less — meaning they have a lower expense ratio and fee structure.

It’s likely that your 401(k) offers a suite of target-date retirement funds, which are essentially mutual funds comprised of other mutual funds in a mix that varies based on your expected retirement date. For example, a 2050 fund (geared toward someone expecting to retire in 34 years) might be heavily invested in stock-based funds, while a 2020 fund (aimed at someone retiring in just four years) would likely hold more bond funds or other conservative investments.

Target-date funds can make things a lot easier on you, since you may only have to pick one fund and be done with it. Just make sure that any target-date fund you choose is both low-cost and a relatively close fit with your desired asset allocation – and be aware that its own allocation will shift (usually toward less risky investments) as time goes on.

Step 3: Rank Your 401(k) Investment Options

As you go through the list, you can cross off anything that either doesn’t fit into your plan or costs too much.

Then take the remaining options and rank them in general order of fit and cost. Those at the top are the investments you’re most likely to choose.

As you do this, I would consider giving strong preference to anything labeled as an index fund. That’s because low-cost index funds have been shown to outperform other investments 80% to 90% of the time.

Step 4: Work Through Your 401(k) Options in Order of Priority

First, go back to Step 1 where you decided on your asset allocation and determined how much money you wanted to put into each type of investment. You’ll need that information here.

Then, start with the 401(k) investment option you ranked as the best fit. Allocate your 401(k) money toward that investment until you’ve either used up your entire 401(k) or you’ve reached the limit for how much you want to invest in that particular thing.

For example, let’s say that you’re investing $10,000 a year across all your retirement accounts, and you want 50% of that, or $5,000, to go into the U.S. stock market.

If you have a good, low-cost, U.S. stock market fund in your 401(k), you can select to put up to $5,000 of your 401(k) contributions into that fund. (To find the total amount you’re putting into your 401(k) each year, just multiply your salary by your contribution rate: for example, $60,000 x 9% = $5,400.) If you’ll contribute less than $5,000 to your 401(k) per year, then the entire balance would go into that one fund.

If you have money left over in your 401(k) after Fund No. 1, do the same thing for Fund No. 2 in your priority list. Keep working your way down the list until you’ve used up your entire 401(k).

Step 5: Fill in Any Gaps to Your Investment Plan Using Other Accounts

If all of your retirement money is in your 401(k), then you’re done. Nice work!

If not, you can fill out the rest of your investment plan with your other retirement accounts, like your IRA.

The reason you save this step for last is that your 401(k) options are likely limited, while your IRA options are essentially unlimited. This way you make the most of the good options in your 401(k), and fill in the gaps elsewhere.

Remember to Revisit and Rebalance

As time passes and the markets move, the amount of money you have invested in each fund will rise and fall. Your 401(k) may also change its investment lineup from time to time.

So it’s a good idea to review your investments annually to rebalance and make any other necessary adjustments based on changes in your plan.

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

Related Articles:

The post How to Choose Investments in Your 401(k) appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by Matt Becker at May 01, 2016 12:00 PM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

3 Shortcuts for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get Profitable FAST

It hits you. You stop and readjust to your surroundings. You realize that you’ve been working diligently for 12 hours and you haven’t even make enough money to pay for your Ramen Noodle lunch/dinner.

Startup mode. The phase in business where you plant the seeds and hustle like heck for a harvest.

That may sound poetic but it can be rough knowing that you’re working for days on end and not getting paid a dime.

What this post will do is share three shortcuts to getting profitable faster. None of these are breakthroughs. But none of them are scammy either. Rather, these are tried and true techniques that have helped catapult entrepreneurs to success. Soon you’ll be able to pay for your Ramen Noodles. And maybe you’ll even be able to splurge for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese next month.

Time to get profitable FAST.

Shortcut #1: Find a Mentor

News flash: Basically everything you’re trying to do has already been done by someone else. True, you may be wanting to do something truly unique. But there are others who have also done truly unique business ventures. Some with the same raw materials to you have. Find those people. Take them to lunch. Offer to pick them up from the airport if you are attending the same conference. Do whatever it takes to get close with them.

I’ve found that most people want to share their business tips. Don’t be intimidated. Approach them. Ask them what works and what doesn’t. Everyone always talks about life hacks. But this one is HUGE. In business, it’s important to use the resources around you. The greatest resource of all is the human brain.

Shortcut #2: Stop Trying to Do Everything Yourself

First off, it’s incredibly ignorant to think you can do everything better than someone else. So it’s time to hire someone to do things better than you can. And even if they can only do it 80% as well – if you can do more important things instead – do them instead. You are the entrepreneur. Focus on the mission critical components of your business and let others handle the rest.

Does this take capital? Yes. Or at least the promise of monetary reward in the future. But if that means you can get your product/service to market months faster, it’s a great investment. To pay for this when your company is not yet profitable, make sure you have another stream of income IE: don’t quit your full-time job until your own company turns a profit.

Let’s get specific on how to fund the help. Do you truly believe your company will succeed? Then stop investing in the stock market and invest in your company instead. Stop funneling money into your retirement plans and funnel it into the business. It’s a huge moment when you put your money where your mouth is.

Shortcut #3: STOP and Think

The only thing better than doing something well is knowing what shouldn’t be done in the first place.

Before you launch into a project, know if it’s truly worthy of the time/effort/resources/capital.

A mistake some young entrepreneurs make is doing things without definiteness of purpose. Are you making those same mistakes now? Think about what you do with your resources. Do you really need to do those things? Examples include:

  • Managing many social media pages
  • Paying for an office space when everyone could work virtually
  • Paying advisers who aren’t producing tangible results
  • Going to trade shows/conferences with no goals in mind
  • Generally, just doing business-y things without knowing why

Get Profitable FAST

You need to know what is working and what is not working. Make it a goal to get profitable as fast as possible. Remember, you’re not looking to change the world in the first six months. But turning a profit sure would motivate you to grow. Once you’re profitable, you have proof of concept. What you’re doing works! YES! Beyond that, it’s a matter of growth. For most people, that’s when the fun begins.

The post 3 Shortcuts for Entrepreneurs Who Want to Get Profitable FAST appeared first on Due Blog.

by Will Lipovsky at May 01, 2016 12:00 PM

Smarterware

Revisiting the Impact of Electronic Health Records on the Industry

Ever since electronic health records technology was introduced in the late 20th century, the healthcare industry has undergone rapid progression. Currently, physicians’ use of EMR and EHR systems is at an all-time high. Let’s take this time to look back and review just how transformational this technology has been in the industry.

5 Benefits of EMR and HER

You’ll be hard pressed to find any industry that’s been more heavily influenced by the adoption and transformation of digital technology in the past 20 years. While smartphones, tablets, software, big data, and the IoT have fundamentally changed everything about society, the benefits these technologies have yielded modern healthcare are astonishing.

Let’s examine a few specific advantages:

  1. Improved Patient Care

For many large healthcare practices, there’s a lot of friction between doctors and patients. Most of this is logistical and can be fixed with the right system in place. Many EMR software solutions – such as PrognoCIS – can be totally customized to the client’s needs, which means reduced charting times, improved communications, better patient flow, fewer denials, and more custom reporting.

Ultimately, all of these benefits mean improved patient care. When less time is spent worrying about how processes work and where time is being spent, doctors can have more time to interact with and treat their patients. This makes everyone happier and healthier.

  1. Cost Savings for Practices

For most healthcare providers, electronic health records lead to increased practice efficiencies and significant cost savings. Consider the following statistics from a national survey of doctors:

  • 82 percent report electronic sending of prescriptions saves time
  • 79 percent report a direct relationship between EHR implementation and better practice efficiency
  • 75 percent report receiving lab reports faster

When it comes to cutting unnecessary expenses and saving money, electronic health records are allowing doctors and their practices to save millions of dollars per year.

  1. Increased Patient Participation

“With EHRs, providers can manage appointment schedules electronically and exchange e-mail with their patients,” HealthIT.gov reports. “Quick and easy communication between patients and providers may help providers identify symptoms earlier. And it can position providers to be more proactive by reaching out to patients.”

This increased participation between doctors and patients is something that’s reshaping the healthcare industry. In the past, patients had become conditioned to little-to-no interaction with their providers. Now, it’s as if this imaginary veil between doctor and patient has been removed.

  1. Better Security

Everyone wants to know that their health records are private and secure. With EHR, your records are more secure than ever. They are stored on virtual servers and are encrypted for maximum protection. This eliminates paper documentation that could easily become lost or stolen. While there’s still a lot of room for improvement in this area, it’s clear that the industry is headed in the right direction.

  1. Improved Diagnostics and Case Outcomes

The ultimate goal of healthcare is to help the patient reach a positive outcome. At the end of the day, electronic health records and the empowering technologies are leading to improved diagnostics and better case outcomes. Moving forward, this will be the definitive measuring stick for the industry and will determine how quickly new developments are integrated into the healthcare system.

The Future of Electronic Health Records

As technology continues to emerge, it’s clear that the future of electronic health records is bright. New technologies are on the horizon that will make it easier than ever for doctors to help patients manage and monitor chronic illnesses, for patients to transmit files from home, and for healthcare facilities to increase security and reduce delays. We’ve come a long way, but there’s still so much progress yet to come!

The post Revisiting the Impact of Electronic Health Records on the Industry appeared first on Smarterware.

by Christine at May 01, 2016 11:42 AM

Abnormal Returns

The Big Picture

10 Sunday Reads

My easy like Sunday morning reads:

• How Your $1,000 Could’ve Become $102,480: S&P Bull Market Charts (Bloomberg) see also When ‘Buy and Hold’ Works, And When It Doesn’t (The Fat Pitch)
• Geography is making America’s uneven economic recovery worse (Quartz)
• Hedge fund managers need to know when to admit defeat (Financial Times) see also What Good Are Hedge Funds? (The American Prospect)
• Stop Blaming Central Bankers (Bloomberg)
• Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders: Have You Thanked Samuel Katz? (WSJ)
• Who Will Debunk The Debunkers? (FiveThirtyEight)
• The American Middle Class Is Losing Ground (Pew Research Center)
• Why Chobani Gave Employees A Financial Stake In Company’s Future (NPR)
• The GOP’s lost generation of millennial voters (Washington Post) see also Learning to Love (Tolerate?) Big Government (Bloomberg)
• New Zealand’s ‘stunning’ $5 bill named best banknote of the year (The Guardian)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Kelly Coffey, CEO of JPM Private Bank, which manages more than $650 billion in assets.

 

 

Apple (AAPL) Revenue Breakdown by Product

Source: Fiscal Times

 

The post 10 Sunday Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at May 01, 2016 11:00 AM

Wired Top Stories

While You Were Offline: We Need to Know Who Becky Is. Right. Now.

While You Were Offline: We Need to Know Who Becky Is. Right. Now.
This week Beyoncé dropped a new visual album and Edward Snowden released a music video. Yeah, it was weird. The post While You Were Offline: We Need to Know Who Becky Is. Right. Now. appeared first on WIRED.

by Graeme McMillan at May 01, 2016 11:00 AM

Your Simple (Yes, Simple) Guide to Quantum Entanglement

Your Simple (Yes, Simple) Guide to Quantum Entanglement
Quantum entanglement is thought to be one of the trickiest concepts in science, but the core issues are simple. The post Your Simple (Yes, Simple) Guide to Quantum Entanglement appeared first on WIRED.

by Frank Wilczek at May 01, 2016 11:00 AM

naked capitalism

A Simple “Trade” Solution to Boost Workers Across the Planet

There's a progressive way to approach global trade that can help workers abroad and at home at the same time.

by Lambert Strether at May 01, 2016 09:55 AM

RubyFlow

[Screencast] WYSIWYG Editor with Summernote

Integrate Summernote WYSIWYG Editor into your application. Learn how to use AJAX callbacks to filestore your images instead of database Base64. https://www.driftingruby.com/episodes/wysiwyg-editor-with-summernote

May 01, 2016 09:46 AM

Seth's Blog

How to use a microphone

More than 10,000 people attended the Lincoln Douglas debates, and yet they debated without amplification.

It's only quite recently that we began to disassociate talking-to-many from talking loudly. Having a large and varied audience used to mean yelling, it used to be physically taxing, it would put our entire body on alert.

Now, of course, all of us have a microphone.

The instinct remains, though. When we know that hundreds or thousands of people will read our words online, we tense up. When we get on stage, we follow that pattern and tense our vocal cords.

We shout.

The problem with shouting is that it pushes people away. WHEN YOU SHOUT IN EMAIL, IT SEEMS ANGRY. Shouting creates a wall between us and the person at the other end (even though it seems like many people, sooner or later, there's one person at the other end). 

Shouting destroys intimacy, and it hurts our impact, the impact that comes from authenticity.

We feel speech and words long before we hear the words, and we hear the words long before we understand them.

The solution is simple: whisper.

Practice whispering.

Whisper when you type, whisper when you address a meeting.

Lower your voice, slow your pace, and talk more quietly.

The microphone will amplify your words. And we'll hear them. 

       

by Seth Godin at May 01, 2016 09:12 AM

zooLert Habitat Tracker

Planet Python

PyCon Australia: CFP final days - looking for proposal feedback?

The PyCon AU 2016 Call for Proposals is entering its final days. We would like to encourage anyone thinking about submitting a proposal to get their ideas submitted as soon as possible! Submissions can be edited up to the deadline, so even if you draft needs some more work, submitting it now will make sure you've thrown your hat in the ring. First time speakers are very welcome!

Discussing your proposal with other people is a great way to improve the clarity of the idea you're presenting. If you're not sure what you're proposing is clear enough, or relevant enough, or whatever enough, we highly recommend you to workshop it with some friends! The CFP team is also available to provide feedback on talk proposals. Email contact@pycon-au.org to request this.

Applications for financial assistance are also open, and we highly encourage potential speakers to make use of this.

May 01, 2016 08:04 AM

naked capitalism

Open Thread: Debacle for US Iraq Policy as Protesters Seize Parliament in Green Zone

Discussion of the Sadrist occupation of the Iraqi parliament building, and the implications thereof.

by Lambert Strether at May 01, 2016 06:55 AM

datameet Google Group

Quantifying QoS by Indian telcos

Excellent work conducted by Prof, Aaditeshwar from IIT-Delhi. He's setup his own infrastructure to measure latency and availability of 4-5 major telcos' 2G and 3G offering. He compares his findings from the telcos' self-reported numbers submitted to TRAI every quarter. http://www.cse.iitd.ac.in/

by Shashank Srikant at May 01, 2016 06:38 AM

Milliblog!

Milliblog’s Top Recent Listens – April 2016

Hindi

Maula and Maths mein – Nil Battey Sannata (Rohan & Vinayak)

Bhaang ragad ke and Bawli booch – Laal Rang (Vipin Patwa and Mathias Duplessy)

Bol do na zara and Itni si baat hai – Azhar (Amaal Malik and Pritam)

Tamil

Mayam kaana varayo and Anuvai – KaLam (Prakash Nikki)
Composer Prakash Nikki made a decent enough debut in Rowthiram and puts together an equally decent enough package here in KaLam. There’s a lot of Dharan Kumar’s musical style here and Sowmya Ramani Mahadevan holds together Mayam kaana varaayo’s sweeping melody together. Anuvai is even better – a spritely tune wonderfully sung by Abhay Jodhpurkar and Swetha Mohan and lovely lines by Kabilan Vairamuthu, in particular. The 2nd interlude by Prakash is a stunner!

Yethetho – Jackson Durai (Tamil – Siddharth Vipin)
Siddharth Vipin, who did a competent job in Vallavanukku Pullum Aayudham, produces a merely functional score for Jackson Durai, with at least one high, in the form of Yethetho. The song’s spritely melody is endearing and getting Karthik and Chinmayi to croon it is a great decision. Siddharth adds a catchy hook – that ‘padapadakkara’ line that works like a banter between Karthik and Chinmayi and also has a nice ghatam layer to go with it.

Aval, Kondattam and Adho – Manithan (Santhosh Narayanan)

Yedhedho – Meendum Oru Kadhal Kathai (G V Prakash Kumar)

Kaalam un kaadhali, Naan un aruginil, Mei nigara, Aararo and Punnagaye – 24 (A R Rahman)

Kadhal kappal and Dhushta – Iraivi (Santhosh Narayanan)

Yedho maayam and Aasai kadhal – Wagah (D.Imman)

The whole soundtrack – Joker (Sean Roldan)

Othasada and Akka petha – Maruthu (D.Imman)

Telugu

Idemito – Nayaki (Raghu Kunche)
A rather impressive and clever appropriation of Rahman’s Vennila vennila from Iruvar. Well sung by Chinmayi as always.

Ko ko kodi – Eedo Rakam Aado Rakam (Sai Karthik)
Bawdy lyrics, but that unmistakable Telugu masala charm!

Kannada

Tanmaya vismaya, Paravasha – Coma (Ashic Arun)

Godemelu ninna hesara – 1/2 Mentlu (Bharath B J)

Vismithanadhe – Madha Maathu Manasi (Mano Murthy)

Raja di raja – Zoom (SS Thaman)

Nee nanagoskara, Naa ninage, Thangali and Payanadalli – Ishtakamya (Ajaneesh Loknath)

Malayalam

Mazhaye mazhaye and Nenchin novil – James and Alice (Gopi Sundar)

Marathi

The whole soundtrack – Sairat (Ajay-Atul)

International

Is She With You? – OST, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Hans Zimmer & Junkie XL)
One of the most lauded parts of the much derided film that is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the brief presence of Wonder Woman, played by Israeli actress and ex-army combat trainer, Gal Gadot. What adds to her aura as an Amazon warrior is the pulse-pounding music that Hans Zimmer and synth/electronica musician Junkie XL (real name: Tom Holkenborg) provide for her character. ‘Is She With You’ (oddly titled after her male colleagues’—Batman and Superman—banter!) booms with a goosebumps-inducing wailing electric cello that is Tom’s signature by now, but also wrapped in Zimmer’s rumbling percussion.

by Karthik at May 01, 2016 05:48 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

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May 01, 2016 04:32 AM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

Random Thoughts of a Demented Mind

Scenes from An Election

buddha-bar

If, like me, you have sat through hours of Bengali marriage videos of others (mostly uncles and aunts), you would be more than aware of the song that always plays in the background: “Laaje ranga holo kone bou go, Aaj mala bodol hobe e raate” (The new wife has gone red with shyness, Tonight the garlands will be exchanged). And if there is any picture for which that song is appropriate, it is this. Politics, they say, make strange bedfellows, and stranger still, is when they have pictures taken like the one above. The alliance between Congress and the CPM is one that is at the same time bizzarre, given their history in Bengal politics, as well as irrelevant, given that Mamata Banerjee will win. If there is any tragedy here it is that of Buddhadeb, arguably the best Chief Minister of Bengal after Bidhan Roy, being brought out of his political crypt and being made to “marry”, like some Kuleen Brahmin senile of a century ago, a man-child, perennially in his political training pants.

rupagangulyrupaganguly1rupaganguly4

For Bengali men of our generation, the second greatest Ganguly was Rupa Ganguly. (And I am not considering Kishore Kumar here) The rest of India may know her as the lady who played Draupadi in the original Mahabharata TV series or walked away after having the lie-detector buzz on her in “Sach Ka Samna” or starred in some T-series produced movies, but we have always seen her as God’s attempt to compensate us for allowing thirty-five years of CPM rule. Originally from CPM, she has now, like virtually everything in the state, been flipped, and is now BJP’s new face, and thank God for that, because we have had enough of poor man’s Kumar Sanu aka Babul Supriyo being the sole celebrity of the party. But to see her like this, breathing fire and brimstone, a far cry from “Amare dhoro kyan kolosh dhoro” from Padma Nadeer Majhi and Antarmahal, is sadly discordant, like Virat Kohli reciting a Tagore poem. A new Didi might be in the making here, because this was Didi twenty years ago, and the possibility fills me with dread.

mamatabanerjeesecular

Like the Australian cricket team of the 2000s, Didi will win, the only question is by how much. And she will do it despite “conshpeeracies” and “popaganda” and “bhandata” by Maoists, communal forces, those who claim to be raped (as she had declared the Park Street rape as a “sajano ghotona” [a set-up]), laws of Physics, and ABP. Because she has Ma Sharada on her side, and the moral highground of secularism. And as shown in the picture, even the high priests of secularism are awestruck, in a “Bhala uski kameez meri kameez se secular kaise”, crowding around her like scientists around a rare ore discovered from the bowels of the earth. If there is any tragedy here, it is that the quantum of cash used to *allegedly* bribe TMC party bigwigs (of course it is not true, it is a conspiracy by video technology) in the Narada sting, a measly five lacs, speaking volumes of the amount of money that is considered significant in Bengal. In Andhra or Maharashtra or Gujarat, even the guard at the door won’t stand back for five lacs.

For me though, amidst the inevitability of a Bengal election, the most interesting thing was the schism of the Bengali Buddhhijibis. Once united behind Didi against Nandiram, the rainbow coalition has split into two, in a kind of Marvel Civil War way–those who are satisfied with what has been handed out to them and those that are not. One went to meet the Chief Election Commissioner to protest against TMC’s strong-arm and then immediately, TMC mobilized another bunch to go to the CEC and pooh-pooh the other bunch, with Abhirup Sarkar, loyal FAN to the government, actually saying that “the kind of violence we have seen in the elections so far is really like school kids having a fight”.

From TOI

A three-and-a-half-year-old child has emerged as the face of political violence that blights Bengal. Her arms and legs bruised, she sobbed: “They came and beat me with lathis (Ora amakey lathi diye merechhe).The toddler, who has not yet started pre-school, represents all that’s wrong with Bengal’s politics, where many politicians -irrespective of their party colour -use violence and intimidation, instead of ideas and ideology, as the route to office.

The child’s family was targeted apparently because her maternal grandfather is a polling agent for CPM candidate Nirjharini Chakraborty, who is challenging TMC heavyweight Mukul Roy’s son Subhranshu. On Sunday evening, with only hours for voting, alleged TMC goons stormed into Barindra Lane of Halisahar -a traditional CPM base -to terrorise residents. Six of them barged into the child’s house and started swinging their lathis.

The child’s mother protested. The goons started beating her up without caring that she was cradling the baby. The child clung to her mother and was injured. “The goons didn’t for a moment bother to think that the child could get hurt. They just went on the rampage,” said Debasree. On the way out, the goons beat up her 16-year-old son and father as well

 

Exactly. School kids having a fight.

fishie

And finally this. From the lady with the second most famous helicopter shot. But good one though. There is nothing that Bengalis get more passionate about than saving fish, so that they can land up on their plates cooked with mustard. But not even this is going to save Bengal for more years, and most likely more decades, of “poriborton”.

Weep, my beloved state, weep.

 


by greatbong at May 01, 2016 04:06 AM

craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

Ionic Developer Needed

We need someone to help us wrap up a few bugs in an application we have built and possible come on board to help us out long term. The application is pretty unique and the concept does not exist. However, the project only pays a percentage in the ve [...]

May 01, 2016 02:30 AM

Zero Hedge

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craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

LAWYER FOR landlord and tenant issues (hillcrest)

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May 01, 2016 02:17 AM

Zero Hedge

State-Sanctioned Theft - The Failed War On Drugs And Cops' Abuse Of Civil Forfeiture

Submitted by Lorelei McFly via CopBlock.org,

One of the biggest lies our government tells us is that it wages the War on Drugs to keep us safe. More than 40 years after it was started, we know that it has been a colossally-expensive epic failure on its stated goals, was intentionally designed to further disenfranchise marginalized groups, and has become a full-fledged assault on our civil liberties.

Even with all the billions of tax dollars it spends each year, and all the flashy photo ops of seized drugs stacked on tables, the Drug Enforcement Agency only stops 1% of the illegal drug supply from being distributed in America, according to the video below. Not only is law enforcement pathetically inept at stemming the flow of drugs, they are active participants in the illicit drug trade at both the federal and local level:

That drug prohibition causes far more harm than it supposedly prevents would not even be a question of debate were it not for the fact that so many people’s livelihoods now depend on waging it. The ugly unspoken truth is that the War on Drugs is a massive jobs and funding program for law enforcement that is operated under the guise of saving people from the evils of substance abuse.

State-Sanctioned Theft

Everything we do is suspect, and everything we own is subject to seizure— take cash for an example. The saying used to be that “cash is king,’ however these days it’s “cash is criminal” since cash transactions and even withdrawing or carrying “large amounts,” basically more than a few dollars, of your own money is now considered an indication of criminal activity (see here).  Section 31 U.S.C. 5103 states, “United States coins and currency (including Federal reserve notes and circulating notes of Federal reserve banks and national banks) are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues,” so why does the government that prints that same money have such a problem with its citizens using it?

How Cash Became Criminal

Cash transactions are anonymous, so it is assumed that people who make cash transactions are trying to avoid leaving records of their activities. And if any aspect of your life is not a traceable, verifiable open book for the government, obviously you must be hiding something.  Never mind that the case is often that people simply find using cash allows them to manage their finances more responsibly without risking overdraft or interest fees, or are making a purchase that requires cash, such as buying a used car, or that they simply do not have access to bank accounts due to low income or poor credit history.

According to the FDIC, “7.7 percent (1 in 13) of households in the United States were unbanked in 2013. This proportion represented approximately 16.7 million adults.”  20.0 percent of U.S. households, approximately 50.9 million adults, were underbanked in 2013, “meaning that they had a bank account but also used alternative financial services (AFS) outside of the banking system,” such as money orders, check cashing, remittances, payday loans, refund anticipation loans, rent-to-own services, pawn shops, or auto title loans.

The FDIC report also states “In many cases, financial life events, such as job loss, significant income loss or a new job, appear to be important reasons why households leave or enter the banking system.” The documentary Spent: Looking for Change, highlights the struggles of the unbanked and underbanked using the personal stories of several individuals.

While using cash out of preference or necessity is a perfectly legal activity, it is politically expedient for law enforcement agencies to pretend otherwise because they have incentives to do so. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement agencies to take money, cars, houses, and other property that they suspect of being purchased with the proceeds from criminal activity or of being used in connection with criminal activity. The agencies then either keep or sell the property and use it or the proceeds for their own purposes. It’s such a huge cash cow for law enforcement that in 2014, the amount federal agencies netted through civil asset forfeiture, $5 billion, exceeded the amount Americans lost through burglaries, $3.5 billion. The actual amount seized is even higher than this, since this figure does not include the amounts taken by state and local law enforcement agencies.

Taking money from bad guys, sounds great, right? Oh, there’s a catch.  Cops don’t have to actually prove you committed any crime. They don’t even have to charge you with one. You, on the other hand, need to go to court and jump through whatever hoops the government requires to prove your innocence and get your property back. See How police took $53,000 from a Christian band, an orphanage and a church for a recent example of how police use civil forfeiture to knowingly steal from innocent citizens who have no involvement in the drug trade.

Cops and prosecutors also intimidate people into giving up their property by threatening to pursue criminal charges if they try get it back.From Taken, New Yorker Magazine’s investigation into one Texas town’s massively corrupt civil asset forfeiture program:

“The eye-opening event was pulling those files,” Guillory told me. One of the first cases that caught his attention was titled State of Texas vs. One Gold Crucifix. The police had confiscated a simple gold cross that a woman wore around her neck after pulling her over for a minor traffic violation. No contraband was reported, no criminal charges were filed, and no traffic ticket was issued. That’s how it went in dozens more cases involving cash, cars, and jewelry. A number of files contained slips of paper of a sort he’d never seen before. These were roadside property waivers, improvised by the district attorney, which threatened criminal charges unless drivers agreed to hand over valuables.

Law enforcement agencies say this is a vital tactic for battling drug kingpins and vast criminal enterprises, but the typical value of property seized tends to be low, victimizing citizens who usually have the least resources, and the least ability to fight back.

The Institute for Justice, an organization at the forefront of the battle against abusive forfeiture practices, “was able to obtain property-level forfeiture data for 2012 from 10 states, allowing median property values to be calculated. In those states, the median value of forfeited property ranged from $451 in Minnesota to $2,048 in Utah, not much more than an American’s average annual cell phone bill.”

Meanwhile what happens to the criminal masterminds who actually are involved in nefarious activities on a grand scale? They get a slap on the wrist. From the Rolling Stone article,Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke:

[Assistant Attorney General] Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who’s ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a“record” financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank.

 

The banks’ laundering transactions were so brazen that the NSA probably could have spotted them from space. Breuer admitted that drug dealers would sometimes come to HSBC’s Mexican branches and “deposit hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash, in a single day, into a single account, using boxes designed to fit the precise dimensions of the teller windows.”

The article continues:

Even more shocking, the Justice Department’s response to learning about all of this was to do exactly the same thing that the HSBC executives did in the first place to get themselves in trouble – they took money to look the other way.

 

And not only did they sell out to drug dealers, they sold out cheap. You’ll hear bragging this week by the Obama administration that they wrested a record penalty from HSBC, but it’s a joke. Some of the penalties involved will literally make you laugh out loud. This is from Breuer’s announcement:

 

As a result of the government’s investigation, HSBC has . . . “clawed back” deferred compensation bonuses given to some of its most senior U.S. anti-money laundering and compliance officers, and agreed to partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior officials during the five-year period of the deferred prosecution agreement.

 

Wow. So the executives who spent a decade laundering billions of dollars will have to partially defer their bonuses during the five-year deferred prosecution agreement? Are you fucking kidding me? That’s the punishment? The government’s negotiators couldn’t hold firm on forcing HSBC officials to completely wait to receive their ill-gotten bonuses? They had to settle on making them “partially” wait? Every honest prosecutor in America has to be puking his guts out at such bargaining tactics. What was the Justice Department’s opening offer – asking executives to restrict their Caribbean vacation time to nine weeks a year?

However there is some good news! Last year Montana and New Mexico passed reform measures that require a criminal conviction before assets can be stolen by state agents, and Nebraska just did, too.  Of course, several cities in New Mexico refuse to abide by the law andare now being sued by the Institute for Justice as a result, but it’s still progress, right? Also, the Department of Justice announced last year that it was drastically scaling back its equitable-sharing program, which state and local agencies have used to undermine local ordinances restricting forfeiture activities. Well, the impact wasn’t really as big as they first made it out to be, and that doesn’t matter anyway because DOJ already reinstated the program last month.

by Tyler Durden at May 01, 2016 02:00 AM

NetBhet नेटभेट

नेटभेटचा "सोशल मिडीयाचा प्रभावी वापर" हा ऑनलाईन कोर्स पुर्णपणे मोफत मिळवा !

नमस्कार मित्रहो, नेटभेटच्या सर्व वाचकांना "महाराष्ट्र दिना"च्या खुप शुभेच्छा ! मित्रांनो आपल्या या महान राज्याविषयी आणि मातृभाषेविषयी सर्वांनाच नितांत आदर आहे आणि म्हणूनच आपण "भाषा टिकविण्यासाठी /...

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by Salil Chaudhary (noreply@blogger.com) at May 01, 2016 01:43 AM

RubyFlow

Introduction to blocks in Ruby

Check out my new blog called Zen Ruby. The first post is an introduction to blocks. Your comments and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.

May 01, 2016 01:34 AM

Zero Hedge

Visualizing The Market Cycle

Is it possible to time the market cycle to capture big gains?

Like many controversial topics in investing, there is no real professional consensus on market timing. Academics claim that it’s not possible, while traders and chartists swear by the idea.

That said, as VisualCapitalist's Jeff Desjardins notes, one thing that everyone can probably agree on is that markets are cyclical and that securities do have recurring chart patterns. They aren’t predictable all of the time, but learning the fundamentals around market cycles can only help an investor in furthering their understanding of how things work.

The following infographic explains the four important phases of market trends, based on the methodology of the famous stock market authority Richard Wyckoff. The theory is: the better an investor can identify these phases of the market cycle, the more profits can be made on the ride upwards of a buying opportunity.

 

Courtesy of: Visual Capitalist

 

Here are the descriptions of each major phase of the market cycle:

Accumulation: Occurs after a drop in prices. Process of buyers gaining control from sellers which leads to markup.

 

Markup: Bullish phase of a stock’s life is defined by higher highs and higher lows. This is where you want to get long on breakouts and after short-term pullbacks. Rallies are “innocent until proven guilty”.

 

Distribution: Occurs after a prolonged price advance. Sellers gain control of prices, which leads to decline.

 

Decline: Bearish phase of a stock’s life. This is where you want to be short, so look to sell short fresh breakdowns after minor rallies have exhausted themselves. Rally attempts are “guilty until proven innocent”.

The basic strategy is to pay close attention during the accumulation and distribution phases as the market shifts from buyers to sellers, or vice versa. Then, by recognizing the markup and decline phases, an investor can be appropriately long or short to make solid returns.

Original graphic by: AlphaTrends

by Tyler Durden at May 01, 2016 01:30 AM

Planet Android

[Update: Soft Launched] Help Eddie piece his soul back together in the upcoming Iron Maiden RPG called Legacy of the Beast

Set to release this Summer, Legacy of the Beast will be a new free-to-play RPG for fans of the old school heavy metal band Iron Maiden. The band has apparently teamed up with Roadhouse Interactive (Warhammer 40K: Carnage) and 50cc Games, for the creation of this game. In Legacy of the Beast, players will assume the role of the band's mascot Eddie, and is considered to be a follow-up to Ed Hunter from back in 1999, which was a greatest hits/video game.

Update: April 30th, 2016 2:23pm PST: It finally looks as though this game is getting close to being released in full, as Roadhouse Games has soft launched Maiden" Legacy of the Beast onto Google Play in select regions for right now. If all goes well, we should see a global release happening shortly. If you can access the game, you'll be able to download it through the new link at the bottom of this article for free off of Google Play.

For the game's story, it centers around the fact that a mysterious force has shattered Eddie's soul, and these pieces of his soul need to be collected again. In Legacy of the Beast, Eddie will be used in all his various forms, with each one having an ability that is unique to that particular form from all the other ones. These will then be used to help Eddie travel through time, and visit new worlds to find the aforementioned missing soul pieces, and even do battle against other characters who are all drawn from the mythology that Iron Maiden has created over the years.

As one might expect, the game's soundtrack will also be taken from the vast catalog of songs that the band has created over the years as well, and even include live recordings that are still yet unheard and have been adapted for the game. There is no mention of whether or not IAPs are included, though being "free to play" usually denotes their inclusion. For those interested in learning more about the game, click on the link below to join their emailing list. While there are no screenshots yet, you can check out the official promo poster for the game below.

Official Website: Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast

Website Referenced: Trusted Reviews

May 01, 2016 01:23 AM

The Big Picture

Suicide Squad

A secret government agency recruits imprisoned supervillains to execute dangerous black ops missions in exchange for clemency.

 

Suicide Squad Official Trailer #1

 

Suicide Squad Official Trailer #2

 

The post Suicide Squad appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at May 01, 2016 01:00 AM

Zero Hedge

Deutsche Bank Unveils The Next Step: "QE Has Run Its Course, It's Time To Tax Wealth"

Helicopter money may be on the horizon, but if Deutsche Bank has its way, there is at least one intermediate step.

According to DB's Dominic Konstam, now that the benefits QE "have run their course", it is time for the next, and far more drastic step: "the ECB and BoJ should move more strongly toward penalizing savings via negative retail deposit rates or perhaps wealth taxes. With this stick would also come a carrot – for example, negative mortgage rates."

Here is the big picture unveiling of what is coming next from Deutsche Bank's Dominic Konstam, who is also buying the Treasury long end hand over fist:

  • The G3 central banks all stood pat, continuing the move away from the beggar-thy-neighbor paradigm. However, the adverse market reaction to the BoJ’s inaction suggests that the benefits of QE (or QQE) in its present form might have run their course.
  • It is becoming increasingly clear to us that the level of yields at which credit expansion in Europe and Japan will pick up in earnest is probably negative, and substantially so. Therefore, the ECB and BoJ should move more strongly toward penalizing savings via negative retail deposit rates or perhaps wealth taxes. With this stick would also come a carrot – for example, negative mortgage rates.
  • Until then, bank NIM compression will continue to drive elevated demand for dollar-denominated assets, which manifests itself in suppressed UST term premia and wide cross-currency bases.
  • What this means for the US is that policy rates and longer bond yields are unlikely to go up until global growth accelerates materially. Until such time, it is critical for the Fed to continue to relent, allowing real yields to keep falling while breakevens rise and nominal yields remain roughly static.
  • If the Fed were to turn hawkish, there is perhaps even less scope for long-end yields to rise as breakevens would likely collapse on policy error fears.

Some of the troubling detail:

QE as implemented in major economies since the crisis has operated through two shocks: a demand shock whereby real yields are forced lower through lower nominal yields and static – or even falling – breakevens, and a shock to inflation expectations, whereby real yields ultimately continue to fall but due to rising BEI and static to lower nominal yields. In the case of the Anglo-Saxon economies, the demand shock quickly gave way to the shock (higher) to inflation expectations and actually allowed nominal yields to rise, if fleetingly.

 

The second shock, to inflation expectations, has thus far remained stubbornly elusive in Europe and more so in Japan, and ephemeral in the Anglo-Saxon economies. That said, this dynamic appears to have re-emerged in the US post Fed relent and has been an important driver of the recovery in risk assets and, more generally, the easing of financial conditions.

 

This week’s BoJ announcement disappointed, and as a result the yen appreciated sharply. This outcome does not bode well for the future efficacy of QE, at least while that is the primary policy tool in use. Breakevens have been drifting lower and real yields have been drifting higher since last summer. In other words, financial conditions in Japan are tightening, suggesting the need for more stimulus. However, the BoJ already holds a significant proportion of the assets that would be available for purchase, and the gains from additional QE activity – higher breakevens, lower real yields, and a weaker yen – are likely on the margin to be fleeting. It appears that the markets doubt the BoJ’s willingness or ability to carry on with larger and broader asset purchases, or worse yet they do not believe that such asset purchases will have their desired stimulative effect

 

Further QE should be viewed as an experiment in real time, where the point of inquiry is the level of real or nominal yields at which credit will begin to expand more strongly with loan-to-deposit ratios increasing. What seems increasingly clear to us is that this level is likely at negative yields, and probably substantially so. If this is true, it would suggest to us that the equilibrium level of rates in the economy is probably negative. This in turn would strongly suggest a significant re-think to short-rate policy. In this case, central banks should move more strongly toward penalizing savings, rather than just the institutions that “house” those savings – the banks. This would mean allowing significantly negative retail deposit rates or perhaps even wealth taxes. With this stick would also come a carrot – one example being that while deposit rates penalize savings (the whole point), banks might also pay borrowers to buy houses via negative mortgage rates.

In short, the real central bank panic is about to be unleashed; who will suffer? Why everyone else. And should wealth taxes really be imminent, we foresee a lot of "boating incidents" in the immediate future.

by Tyler Durden at May 01, 2016 12:58 AM

Planet Python

Podcast.__init__: Episode 55 - LibCloud with Anthony Shaw

Visit our site to listen to past episodes, support the show, join our community, and sign up for our mailing list.

Summary

More and more of our applications are running in the cloud and there are increasingly more providers to choose from. The LibCloud project is a Python library to help us manage the complexity of our environments from a uniform and pleasant API. In this episode Anthony Shaw joins us to explain how LibCloud works, the community that builds and supports it, and the myriad ways in which it can be used. We also got a peek at some of the plans for the future of the project.

Brief Introduction

  • Hello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.
  • Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSS
  • Follow us on Twitter or Google+
  • Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+
  • Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.
  • I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.com
  • Linode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next project
  • The Open Data Science Conference in Boston is happening on May 21st and 22nd. If you use the code EP during registration you will save 20% off of the ticket price. If you decide to attend then let us know, we’ll see you there!
  • Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris Patti
  • Today we are interviewing Anthony Shaw about the Apache LibCloud project
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One of the frustrating things about being a developer, is dealing with errors… (sigh)

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With Rollbar’s full-stack error monitoring, you get the context, insights and control you need to find and fix bugs faster. It’s easy to get started tracking the errors and exceptions in your stack.You can start tracking production errors and deployments in 8 minutes - or less, and Rollbar works with all major languages and frameworks, including Ruby, Python, Javascript, PHP, Node, iOS, Android and more.You can integrate Rollbar into your existing workflow such as sending error alerts to Slack or Hipchat, or automatically create new issues in Github, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker etc.

We have a special offer for Podcast.__init__ listeners. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit, signup, and get the Bootstrap Plan free for 90 days. That’s 300,000 errors tracked for free.Loved by developers at awesome companies like Heroku, Twilio, Kayak, Instacart, Zendesk, Twitch and more. Help support Podcast.__init__ and give Rollbar a try a today. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit

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Interview with Anthony Shaw

  • Introductions
  • How did you get introduced to Python? - Chris
  • What is LibCloud and how did it get started? - Tobias
  • How much overhead does using libcloud impose versus native SDKs for performance sensitive APIs like block storage? - Chris
  • What are some of the design patterns and abstractions in the library that allow for supporting such a large number of cloud providers with a mostly uniform API? - Tobias
  • Given that there are such differing services provided by the different cloud platforms, do you face any difficulties in exposing those capabilities? - Tobias
  • How does LibCloud compare to similar projects such as the Fog gem in Ruby? - Tobias
  • What inspired the choice of Python as the language for creating the LibCloud project? Would you make the same choice again? - Tobias
  • Which versions of Python are supported and what challenges has that created? - Tobias
  • What is your opinion on the state of PyPI as a package maintainer? What statistics are most useful to you and what else do you wish you could track? - Tobias
  • Could you walk our listeners through the under the cover process details of instantiating a computer instance in say, Azure using libcloud? - Chris
  • Does LibCloud have any native support for parallelization, such as for the purpose of launching a large number of compute instances simultaneously? - Tobias
  • What does it mean to be an Apache project and what benefits does it provide? - Tobias
  • What are some of the most notable projects that leverage LibCloud for interacting with platform and infrastructure service providers? - Tobias
  • Could you describe how libcloud could be extended to abstract away a new type of service that’s not yet supported - e.g. a database? - Chris
  • Would you suggest that libcloud users extend libcloud to cover ‘native’ services they might use like AWS Lambda, or should they mix libcloud and ‘native’ SDKs in cases like this? - Chris
  • Could you talk a little bit about the cloud oriented network services that libcloud supports? Is it possible to create AWS VPCs, subnets, etc using libcloud? - Chris
  • Do you know if people use LibCloud for abstracting the APIs of a single cloud provider, even if they don’t have any intention of using a different platform? - Tobias
  • Do you think that people are more likely to use LibCloud for bridging across muliple public cloud platforms, or is it more commonly used in a hybrid cloud type of environment? - Tobias
  • What is on the roadmap for LibCloud that people should keep an eye out for? - Tobias

Keep In Touch

Picks

Links

The intro and outro music is from Requiem for a Fish The Freak Fandango Orchestra / CC BY-SA

Visit our site to listen to past episodes, support the show, join our community, and sign up for our mailing list.Summary More and more of our applications are running in the cloud and there are increasingly more providers to choose from. The LibCloud project is a Python library to help us manage the complexity of our environments from a uniform and pleasant API. In this episode Anthony Shaw joins us to explain how LibCloud works, the community that builds and supports it, and the myriad ways in which it can be used. We also got a peek at some of the plans for the future of the project.Brief IntroductionHello and welcome to Podcast.__init__, the podcast about Python and the people who make it great.Subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn or RSSFollow us on Twitter or Google+Give us feedback! Leave a review on iTunes, Tweet to us, send us an email or leave us a message on Google+Join our community! Visit discourse.pythonpodcast.com for your opportunity to find out about upcoming guests, suggest questions, and propose show ideas.I would like to thank everyone who has donated to the show. Your contributions help us make the show sustainable. For details on how to support the show you can visit our site at pythonpodcast.comLinode is sponsoring us this week. Check them out at linode.com/podcastinit and get a $20 credit to try out their fast and reliable Linux virtual servers for your next projectThe Open Data Science Conference in Boston is happening on May 21st and 22nd. If you use the code EP during registration you will save 20% off of the ticket price. If you decide to attend then let us know, we'll see you there!Your hosts as usual are Tobias Macey and Chris PattiToday we are interviewing Anthony Shaw about the Apache LibCloud project I’m excited to tell you about a new sponsor of the show, Rollbar. One of the frustrating things about being a developer, is dealing with errors… (sigh)Relying on users to report errorsDigging thru log files trying to debug issuesA million alerts flooding your inbox ruining your day...With Rollbar’s full-stack error monitoring, you get the context, insights and control you need to find and fix bugs faster. It's easy to get started tracking the errors and exceptions in your stack.You can start tracking production errors and deployments in 8 minutes - or less, and Rollbar works with all major languages and frameworks, including Ruby, Python, Javascript, PHP, Node, iOS, Android and more.You can integrate Rollbar into your existing workflow such as sending error alerts to Slack or Hipchat, or automatically create new issues in Github, JIRA, Pivotal Tracker etc. We have a special offer for Podcast.__init__ listeners. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit, signup, and get the Bootstrap Plan free for 90 days. That's 300,000 errors tracked for free.Loved by developers at awesome companies like Heroku, Twilio, Kayak, Instacart, Zendesk, Twitch and more. Help support Podcast.__init__ and give Rollbar a try a today. Go to rollbar.com/podcastinit Use the promo code podcastinit20 to get a $20 credit when you sign up!Interview with Anthony ShawIntroductionsHow did you get introduced to Python? - ChrisWhat is LibCloud and how did it get started? - TobiasHow much overhead does using libcloud impose versus native SDKs for performance sensitive APIs like block storage? - ChrisWhat are some of the design patterns and abstractions in the library that allow for supporting such a large number of cloud providers with a mostly uniform API? - TobiasGiven that there are such differing services provided by the different cloud platforms, do you face any difficulties in exposing those capabilities? - TobiasHow does LibCloud compare to similar projects such as the Fog gem in Ruby? - TobiasWhat inspired the choice of Python as the language for creating the LibCloud project? Would you make the same choice again? - TobiasWhich versions of Python are supported and what challenges has that created? - TobiasWhat is your opinion on the state

May 01, 2016 12:53 AM

Zero Hedge

China Takes Drastic Measures To Save The Regime

Submitted by George Friedman via MauldinEconomics.com,

Chinese President Xi Jinping recently announced that he would take command of all of China’s armed forces, including the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).

Xi is already chairman of the Central Military Commission that oversees the army. He is now taking a more direct role as head of the new Joint Operations Command Center, which puts him in operational command of the PLA in times of war.

The new title in all likelihood means little in terms of actual command, but it has tremendous political significance. Officially, the Chinese are reforming their military, which is logical (read why here). The roots of this change, however, lie in China’s economic crisis and the need to preserve the regime.

The regime no longer delivers on its promises

Mao Zedong founded China as a moral project: to create a country ruled by communism. After Mao’s death, the project was replaced by another: to modernize the Chinese economy and create prosperity. 

The leadership in the new regime rotated in an orderly fashion, and government after government oversaw the generation of increasing wealth.
Mao justified the regime as a dream (or nightmare, depending on how you view Maoism), while his successors promised prosperity, and they delivered. 

Until now…

There is occasional talk that China will somehow return to a period of rapid growth and increasing wealth. But the vast outflow of money (some in the hands of private individuals, some taken from government coffers and informally privatized) is the short explanation for why China has reached a new normal

If the rule is “follow the insiders,” the insiders are saying that getting money out of China is a priority. The story is more complex, of course. If a regime justifies itself by delivering prosperity, and it stops delivering, the regime is in trouble.

China’s problem can no longer be considered primarily economic. That train has left. The economic reality is locked in and will remain in place for a long time. 

China is now in the throes of a political challenge

The coastal region will grow at a much slower rate than before, if at all. People who came from the interior for jobs will have to return to the interior. 

The interior—a vast and impoverished region—is the population heartland of China. Over 60 percent of China’s population lives there. But the coast is the country’s economic heartland, and that dichotomy defines China’s political problem.

Xi must satisfy both regions, which won’t be easy. The interior wants money for jobs, economic development, and ultimately increased consumption. The only place to get this money from is the coastal region, which obviously does not want to make the transfer.

The coast is economically tied to the United States and Europe, not to the interior. It wants to maintain those links. But the interior is where the majority of Chinese live, and it was the foundation of the Chinese revolution and the regime. 

Xi is frightened that the interior will destabilize the regime under economic pressure and that he will lose control over the coastal region, as happened in the 19th century.

These are distant yet rational fears. Xi’s mission is to ensure that the Communist Party keeps China under control. His primary challenge is the inequality among classes and regions that the post-Mao economic surge created.

Xi must have control over the wealthy

The Communist Party came to rule China by exploiting that inequality. If the party can’t solve the problem it has created, it must at least try to control it.

The first step toward control was to impose a dictatorship on the to prevent the emergence of any organized resistance. Today, further liberalization is out of the question, and suppressing any elements that demand it is essential.

The regime also wants to assert control over private assets. Such control is essential if money will be used to quell unhappiness in the interior, and the vast anti-corruption purge is designed to achieve this.

The campaign is not so much aimed at suppressing corruption, although doing so has its uses. Rather, it is designed to intimidate all those who have accumulated wealth. This class must be brought under the control of the party to prevent it from using its wealth to control the party. 

The mission set out by Deng Xioping was to “enrich yourself.” Now the fear is that the wealthy have gone too far. The somewhat random and unpredictable purges are intended to frighten the rich. 

One result is capital flight, and that is a problem. But the goal is to make wealth subordinate to political power, not the other way around. Otherwise, the party becomes fundamentally weak.

The People’s Liberation Army is the guarantor

Wealth is part of the equation, but in the end, the People’s Liberation Army is the key. It is the ultimate guarantor of the regime in two ways. 

First, it has the power to crush opposition, as it did in Tiananmen Square. Second, the children of peasants fill its ranks, and they see enlistment as a path to upward mobility. Taken together, its makeup and power can guarantee the communist regime’s survival.

On the other hand, the PLA is also capable of undermining the regime. Its enormous size might enable it to subvert the party’s power throughout the country. 

The party and the PLA had a clear alignment in the past. Now that bond is less certain. The PLA’s officer corps has gotten deeply involved in enriching themselves. The PLA was directly involved in PLA-owned enterprises.

The enterprises have been reduced, but the PLA leadership is still intertwined with Chinese business—either directly or through relatives. The PLA’s size and influence mean that its officers’ interests are torn between the party and the wealthy, which is now under attack.

The regime, however, is reducing PLA’s massive size, which makes good military sense. It also makes political sense. This allows Xi to eliminate those involved in what is now termed corruption, to confiscate their wealth, and to intimidate others. 

This purge is similar to those going on in many institutional bureaucracies in China, except that the size and importance of the PLA outstrips all other institutions. A smaller and reconfigured PLA will pose less of a threat to the regime, even if its military efficiency increases.

This transition is dangerous for the party and for Xi. The writing is on the wall for many in the army who have accumulated wealth, but restructuring will take several years.

The PLA will have to be tightly controlled. That is why Xi set up a Discipline Inspection Commission in January specifically for the PLA, answerable directly to the Central Military Commission. 

This is also why Xi has taken direct control of military operations. He or his trusted advisors will have direct access to plans and operations. The PLA will come under Xi’s direct supervision. 

Any broad conspiracy that includes the PLA will be readily detected. You can’t hide the kinds of troop movements that would pose an existential threat to the regime.

The PLA is the center of gravity of the regime, and if Xi loses control of it, he could lose control of everything. Xi would never have appointed himself head of the Joint Operations Command Center if he hadn’t felt the move absolutely necessary. 

He moved to take control of the PLA’s operations to ensure that he could preserve the regime. He put a very different gloss on the action, positioning it as an expansion of his power… and it was. 

But it was an expansion compelled by the regime’s insecurity. At first glance, his move should succeed. But there are so many complex and competing interests involved that when Xi pushes on some, others could come loose.

by Tyler Durden at May 01, 2016 12:25 AM

lines and colors :: a blog about drawing, painting, illustration, comics, concept art and other visual arts

Bill Vrscak

Bill Vrscak, watercolor
Bill Vrscak is a watercolor painter and illustrator based in the Pittsburgh, PA area.

He has a wonderfully appealing combination of solid draftsmanship and crisp but free application of color.

I particularly enjoy his paintings that incorporate large areas of open space, which he expertly uses to guide your eye through his composition.

On his website you’ll find galleries of landscapes, streetscapes, dockside and portrait subjects, as well as a selection of illustrations.

Vrscak conducts workshops in the western Pennsylvania region.

 
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by Charley Parker at May 01, 2016 12:09 AM

April 30, 2016

Zero Hedge

What Are The Three Signs Of A "Disorderly" Currency Market: Richard Koo Explains

One of the biggest ironies in recent months has been the Bank of Japan's recurring insistence that it would promptly intervene in the FX market if the ongoing "disorderly" moves in the Yen do not stop. This was ironic because it was the BOJ's own insistence in characterizing virtually every move as disorderly that ultimately led to the most disordely move of all this week when following the BOJ's "disappointment" in failing to do anything, the Yen soared the most in years, to a level not seen since October of 2014. Now that was a truly "disorderly" move, which was only made possible by the BOJ's constant and misguided rhetoric.

 

Then just yesterday, the Treasury unveiled a brand now "monitoring list", on which it put five economies but most notably China and Japan. And once again, that word "disorderly" appeared.  This is what the Treasury said:

Economies with flexible exchange rates hold reserves in order to intervene in foreign exchange markets to prevent a disorderly depreciation of their currencies.

Not only that, but the Treasury made it clear that it would very explicitly frown on any "disorderly" currency depreciation by US trade partners going forward.

The United States has secured commitments from the G-20 member countries to move more rapidly to more market-determined exchange rates, avoid persistent exchange rate misalignments, refrain from competitive exchange rate devaluations, and not target exchange rates for competitive purposes. Through Treasury’s leadership, the G-7 member countries, including Japan, have publicly affirmed that their fiscal and monetary policies will be oriented toward domestic objectives using domestic instruments.

But if the BOJ was so perilously wrong in its characterization of what disorderly exchange rates are, then what are they? For the answer we go to Richard Koo and the following explanation.

What is meant by “orderly” exchange rate movements

 

At the press conference following the meeting of G20 finance ministers and central bank governors in Washington on 15 April, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew responded to Finance Minister Aso’s expression of “strong concern” about “one-sided” increases in the yen the previous day by saying that “despite recent yen appreciation, foreign exchange markets remain orderly.” This comment made it far more difficult for Japan to engage in currency intervention.

 

The operative term in this exchange was “orderly.” Currency authorities in the developed economies have a basic agreement to leave the determination of exchange rates up to the market. The one exception to this rule is that national authorities are allowed to intervene, even unilaterally, when markets become “disorderly.”

 

There is a proper definition for what constitutes a disorderly market. When I worked as an economist at the New York Fed’s forex desk, the definition was divided into three stages.

 

First sign of disorderly market: widening bid-offer spreads

 

The first sign that a market has grown disorderly is that forex dealers’ bid-offer spreads (the difference between the prices they are willing to buy and sell at) start to widen.

 

For instance, a normal bid-offer spread of 0.03 yen might rise to 0.05 or 0.10 yen as market conditions become turbulent. Spreads increase because exchange rate volatility forces dealers to provide themselves with a wider margin of safety.

 

Second sign: gapping

 

If the market turmoil continues, the next phenomenon witnessed is something called gapping. This happens when there is a discontinuity between the bid-offer quotes submitted by dealers.

 

For example, if one dealer says it will buy at 110.25 yen/dollar (bid) and sell at 110.30 yen/dollar (offer), the next quote will usually overlap that range. In this case, it might be 110.27–110.32 or 110.23–110.28.

 

But when even dealers are no longer sure what is going on in the market, the original quote of 110.25–110.30 might be followed by a non-overlapping quote of 110.35–110.40. Such moves are also likely to be accompanied by a widening of bid-offer spreads.

 

In extreme cases, dealers stop answering their phones

 

In the final stages of a disorderly market, when extreme turmoil leaves all participants unsure what to do next, dealers will simply stop answering their phones. By having traders connect to other internal extensions, the firm can keep all its phone lines busy and avoid taking any outside orders.

 

This is a disorderly market, and in such cases central banks are allowed to intervene in the currency market to restore order.

Now, as even Jack Lew admits, central bank intervention in a disorderly market is fine. A far bigger risk in game theoretical terms, as well as angering the global reserve currency hegemon, is when a central bank intervenes when the moves are perfectly orderly; this is precisely what the market was convinced the BOJ would do on Wednesday night... and was massively wrong.  According to Nomura's Koo, the answer is that "Japanese intervention in orderly forex market could be seen as collapse of cooperative relationship"

This sort of phenomenon has yet to be observed in the yen’s current upswing, which is why Mr. Lew went out of his way to describe forex markets as “orderly.”

 

If Japan were to unilaterally intervene to weaken the yen under such conditions, it would be doing so without US approval, which would signal a rift between the two countries.

 

Japan is, of course, a sovereign nation and is free to intervene if it so desires. The problem is how the market might react to a perceived collapse of its cooperative relationship with the US.

It happened once before under Eisuke "Mr Yen" Sakakibara., when the Japanese finance minister intervened in 1999 against US wishes. This is what happened then.

Problems [in Japan's relationshbip with the US] surfaced late in June 1999, when then-Vice Minister of Finance Eisuke Sakakibara, perhaps seeking to celebrate his impending retirement, declared his intention to push the yen down to 122 versus the dollar from the existing level of 117 and implemented an intervention totaling several trillion yen.

 

This action, which was not only unilateral but was against the wishes of the US, seriously upset US Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, who was already jittery over the trade frictions between the two nations. Mr. Summers quickly distanced himself from Japan’s intervention in no uncertain terms.

 

The markets took this official exchange as evidence of a breakdown in the cooperative relationship between Japan and the US that had been in place ever since the Louvre Accord in 1987. Helped by the fact that Japan was running a large trade surplus at the time, the yen strengthened and USD/JPY, instead of heading towards 122, plummeted to 102.

 

Not only did Japan experience heavy foreign exchange losses, but the economy now had to deal with a sharply higher yen. The Assistant Treasury Secretary for International Affairs at the time, Timothy Geithner, is reported to have shouted at a Japanese counterpart, “Didn’t anyone try to stop him [Sakakibara]?”

Perhaps the BOJ's January NIRP announcement was also a unilateral decision without prior approval from the US, which explains why the USDJPY instead of soaring, has tumbled to nearly 2 year lows.

One thing is increasingly certain: the US has finally put its foot down, not surprisingly at a time when the USD is rapidly sliding. Maybe the period of strong dollar generosity for the rest of the world, has come and gone, and from this point on it is time for the US to reap the benefits of a rapidly depreciation currency especially since the threat of any rate hikes is virtually gone. That said, we won't know for sure until Goldman finally capitulates on its dollar call which has been "long and wrong" for the past six months. Only when Robin Brooks finally throws in the towel, will it be safe to once again go long the USD.

by Tyler Durden at April 30, 2016 11:48 PM

The Casual Optimist

Jason Booher Interviewed at The Perch

Last Magazine design Jason Booher

Forgetting to be Afraid design Jason Booher Is Fat Bob Dead Yet design Jason Booher Sound Man design Jason Booher

Jason Booher, designer and art director of Blue Rider Press and Plume, talks to Penguin Random House blog The Perch about the book cover design process:

A design can be thought of as a set of constraints or parameters. In book design, these consist of things like the conceptual literary content of the book, what makes the book unique in the context of other similar books or all books, how the author is (or is not) known, the expectations of the book from the point of view of the author/editor/sales force/readers, the context of book jacket in the contemporary moment, the context of book jackets in the last 10 (or even 20) years, visual pop culture. Or something that is obvious and not obvious is working with type is very difficult. And it perhaps the most specialized thing that graphic designers bring to that general problem solving into form.

Jason also describes how he approaches a book cover:

There’s a combination of reading the manuscript, and listening to the editor talk about the book. As an art director, I have to dip into almost all the of the books to see what they are like before deciding to whom to give each title. As a designer (if I’m working on that title’s jacket) it’s always different with every book. But as a general process I will read the book, and think and sketch, and sketch, and reread, work though a number of ideas, throw most of them out, stay with others, reread, take a walk (much harder when you are also the art director), try to come up with something new. Those are the first steps.

And how he works with other designers:

When I work with a freelancer (as well as with my in-house designers), I like to see what they come up with without any input from me. Not only are you more likely to get something special and surprising, something you couldn’t have thought of yourself (which is why art directors work with a variety of freelancers in addition to their in-house staff), but you are sending a signal of trust. If a designer knows what “kind” of design they are expected to deliver, they might not push very far or hard. But if they take ownership of being the first arbiters of what the package of the book might be, there is more of a chance for something brilliant. I’m just trying to maximize the talent I have working with me.

With my in house staff, it is similar but there might also be a concept that is floating that we will work with. Or occasionally I’ll work with one designer or my whole team to come up with  ideas together. That’s an exception though, and cover design is generally a sole enterprise in the initial stages. Then it becomes a collaboration when I see comps, and goes from there.

Read the whole interview here.

by Dan at April 30, 2016 11:32 PM

Planet Android

Classic Russian adventure game Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy Reloaded is now out on Google Play

After a short soft launch, BUKA Development has released an updated version of the classic Russian adventure game Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy onto Android devices. For those of you not familiar with this game, Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy was originally released for PC back in 1998 and was a pretty big hit in Russia, while the rest of the world also saw the game doing fairly well for itself.

This new release of Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy is labeled as being a reloaded edition. According to the developers, this version retains the original graphics and content, but the entire coding for the game has been redone in Unity 3D, making it much more optimized for mobile devices and support widescreen resolutions. This also means the UI for Red Comrades was designed specifically for phones and tablets. The original voice acting has also been saved and brought back for this version as well.

The storyline is also the same, which you can check out below:

Russia is in a midst of Civil War. Both the front line and Ural River splits the village Backwoods in two. One part of the village is somehow controlled by the brave Red Army division headed by Chapaev. Remnants of the cowardly Whites are still comfortably stationed on the other side. Vasily Ivanovich Chapaev and his fellow aide Petka wake up to find themselves in a bad hangover and in a worse mood. They realize that someone has stolen the Red banner from the HQ. Our heroes are totally depressed with such a misfortune, just like every decent Red army fighters should be. This unbearable offense leaves them no choice but to sneak into the enemy territory and to retrieve the precious banner. Although it's not the end of the story yet! Somewhere on the moon, legions of alien invaders prepare to conquer Earth. But could such a little thing really give a scare to the Red Army heroes?

Red Comrades Features:

• Incredibly lush new high-res hand-painted graphics.
• Achievements.
• The beginning of the epic and captivate adventures of beloved characters.
• Breathtaking story.
• Enormous amount of puzzles to solve.
• Hilarious gags.

Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy is actually the first installment in the franchise, so with this release this should mean that BUKA Development is already working on future installments for Android. The storyline is full of vodka drinking, plenty of humor, and pretty much everything else you would think of being Russian. However, the game plays out like your standard point-and-click adventure game in terms of mechanics, with plenty of puzzles to solve along the way.

If you're interested in snapping up a copy of Red Comrades: Save The Galaxy for your Android device of choice, you can do so off of Google Play for $1.51. When we learn more about future installments, we will post an update. You can check out the game's trailer below ahead of buying your copy to see some of the gameplay.

April 30, 2016 11:26 PM

Zero Hedge

Taking The 'Petro' Out Of The Dollar

Submitted by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

Saudi Arabia has been in the news recently for several interconnected reasons. Underlying it all is a spendthrift country that is rapidly becoming insolvent.

While the House of Saud remains strongly resistant to change, a mixture of reality and power-play is likely to dominate domestic politics in the coming years, following the ascendency of King Salman to the Saudi throne. This has important implications for the dollar, given its historic role in the region.

Last year’s collapse in the oil price has forced financial reality upon the House of Saud. The young deputy crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, possibly inspired by a McKinsey report, aims to diversify the state rapidly from oil dependency into a mixture of industries, healthcare and tourism. The McKinsey report looks like a wish-list, rather than reality, particularly when it comes to tourism. The religious police are unlikely to take kindly to bikinis on the Red Sea’s beeches, or to foreign women in mini-shorts wandering around Jeddah.

It is hard to imagine Saudi Arabia, culturally stuck in the middle ages, embracing the changes recommended by McKinsey, without fundamentally reforming the House of Saud, or even without a full-scale revolution. Nearly all properties and businesses are personally owned or controlled by members of the extended royal family, not the state, nor by lesser mortals. The principal exception is Aramco, estimated to be worth $2 trillion.

The state is subservient to the House of Saud. It is therefore hard to see how, as McKinsey recommends, the country can “shift from its current government-led economic model to a more market-based approach”. The country is barely government led: a puppet of the Saudis is more like it. But the state’s lack of funds is making it increasingly desperate.

It was for this reason the Kingdom recently placed a $10bn five-year syndicated loan, the first time it has entered capital markets since Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait. It proposes to raise a further $100bn by selling a 5% stake in Aramco. The financial plan appears to be a combination of this short-term money-raising, contributions from oil revenue, and sales of US Treasuries (thought to total as much as $750bn). The government has, according to informed sources, been secretly selling gold, mainly to Asian central banks and sovereign wealth funds. Will it see the Kingdom through this sticky patch?

Maybe. Much more likely, buying time is a substitute for ducking fundamental reform. But one can see how stories coming out of Washington, implicating Saudi interests in the 9/11 twin-towers tragedy, could easily have pulled the trigger on all those Treasuries.

Whatever else was discussed, it seems likely that this topic will have been addressed at the two special FOMC meetings “under expedited measures” at the Fed earlier this month, and then at Janet Yellen’s meeting with the President at the White House. This week’s holding pattern on interest rates would lend support to this theory.

The White House’s involvement certainly points towards a matter involving foreign affairs, rather than just interest rates. If the Saudis had decided to dump their Treasuries on the market, it would risk collapsing US bond markets and the dollar. Through financial transmission, euro-denominated sovereign bonds and Japanese government bonds, all of which are wildly overpriced, would also enter into free-fall, setting off the global financial crisis that central banks have been trying to avoid.

Perhaps this is reading too much into Saudi Arabia’s financial difficulties, but the possibility of the sale of Treasuries certainly got wide media coverage. These reports generally omitted to mention the Saudi’s underlying financial difficulties, which could equally have contributed to their desire to sell.

While the Arab countries floated themselves on oceans of petro-dollars forty years ago, they have little need for them now. So we must now turn our attention to China, which is well positioned to act as white knight to Saudi Arabia. China’s SAFE sovereign wealth fund could easily swallow the Aramco stake, and there are good strategic reasons why it should. A quick deal would help stabilise a desperate financial and political situation on the edges of China’s rapidly growing Asian interests, and keep Saudi Arabia onside as an energy supplier. China has dollars to dispose, and a mutual arrangement would herald a new era of tangible cooperation. The US can only stand and stare as China teases Saudi Arabia away from America’s sphere of influence.

In truth, trade matters much more than just talk, which is why a highly-indebted America finds herself on the back foot all the time in every financial skirmish with China. Saudi Arabia has little option but to kow-tow to China, and her commercial interests are moving her into China’s camp anyway. It seems logical that the Saudi riyal will eventually be de-pegged from the US dollar and managed in line with a basket of her oil customers’ currencies, dominated by the yuan.

Future currency policies pursued by both China and Saudi Arabia and their interaction will affect the dollar. China wants to use her own currency for trade deals, but must not flood the markets with yuan, lest she loses control over her currency. The internationalisation of the yuan must therefore be a gradual process, supply only being expanded when permanent demand for yuan requires it. Meanwhile, western analysts expect the riyal to be devalued against the dollar, unless there is a significant and lasting increase in the price of oil, which is not generally expected. But a devaluation requires a deliberate act by the state, which is not in the personal interests of the individual members of the House of Saud, so is a last resort.

It is clear that both Saudi Arabia and China have enormous quantities of surplus dollars to dispose in the next few years. As already stated, China could easily use $100bn of her stockpile to buy the 5% Aramco stake, dollars which the Saudis would simply sell in the foreign exchange markets as they are spent domestically. China could make further dollar loans to Saudi Arabia, secured against future oil sales and repayable in yuan, perhaps at a predetermined exchange rate. The Saudis would get dollars to spend, and China could balance future supply and demand for yuan.

It would therefore appear that a large part of the petro-dollar mountain is going to be unwound over time. There is now no point in the Saudis also hanging onto their US Treasury bonds, so we can expect them to be liquidated, but not as a fire-sale. On this point, it has been suggested that the US Government could simply block sales by China and Saudi Arabia, but there would be no quicker way of undermining the dollar’s international credibility. More likely, the Americans would have to accept an orderly unwinding of foreign holdings.

The US has exploited the dollar’s reserve currency status to the full since WW2, leading to massive quantities of dollars in foreign ownership. The pressure for dollars to return to America, when the Vietnam war was wound down, was behind the first dollar crisis, leading to the failure of the London gold pool in the late sixties. After the Nixon Shock in 1971, the cycle of printing money and credit for export resumed.

In the seventies, higher oil prices were paid for by printing dollars and by expanding dollar bank credit, in turn kept offshore by lending these exported dollars to Latin American dictators. That culminated in the Latin American debt crisis. From the eighties onwards, the internationalisation of business was all done on the back of yet more exported dollars, and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan echoed the earlier wars of Korea and Vietnam.

Many of these factors have now either disappeared or diminished. For the last eighteen months, the dollar had a last-gasp rally, as commodity and oil prices collapsed. The contraction in global trade since mid-2014 had signalled a swing in preferences from commodities and energy towards the money they are priced in, which is dollars. The concomitant liquidation of malinvestments in the commodity-exporting countries has been contained for now by aggressive monetary policies from China, Japan and the Eurozone. The tide is now swinging the other way: preferences are swinging out of the dollar towards oversold commodities again, exposing the dollar to a second version of the gold pool crisis. This time, China, Saudi Arabia and the BRICS will be returning their dollars from whence they came.

In essence, this is the market argument in favour of gold. Over time, the price of commodities and their manufactured derivatives measured in grams of gold is relatively stable. It is the price measured in fiat currencies that is volatile, with an upward bias. The price of a barrel of oil in 1966, fifty years ago, was 2.75 grams of gold. Today it is 1.0 gram of gold, so the purchasing power of gold measured in barrels of oil has risen nearly three-fold. In dollars, the prices were $3.10 and $40 respectively, so the purchasing power of the dollar measured in barrels of oil has fallen by 92%. Expect these trends to resume.

This is also the difference between sound money and dollars, which has worked to the detriment of nearly all energy and commodity-producing countries. With a track-record like that, who needs dollars?

It is hard to see how the purchasing power of dollars will not fall over the rest of the year. The liquidation of malinvestments denominated in external dollars has passed. Instead, the liquidation of financial investments carry-traded out of euros and yen is strengthening those currencies. That too will pass, but it won’t rescue the dollar.

by Tyler Durden at April 30, 2016 11:15 PM

OpenBSD Journal

p2k16 Hackathon Report: espie@ on proot

Our very first p2k16 hackathon report comes from none other than Marc Espie, who writes:

Lots of thanks to Gilles Chehade, Epitech Nantes, and Aymeric Fouchault for the organization. It was top-notch. The only complaint I might have is that the food was so good that I might have eaten too much.
Read more...

April 30, 2016 11:06 PM

Zero Hedge

It's A Trap!

We (the people) love the smell of 'free stuff' in the morning...

 

 

Source: TheBurningPlatform.com

by Tyler Durden at April 30, 2016 10:45 PM

ongoing

Specifying JSON

I find myself tasked with polishing and publishing a little custom JSON-encoded language. It’s harder than it ought to be.

This didn’t start with the language, it started with prototype software this guy wrote, that did something old and familiar in a new and dramatically better way. He replaced a bunch of gnarly old code with a few JSON templates to save time. Now, in the rearview, the JSON looks like an important part of an important product.

And there’s a lesson in that: All the good markup vocabularies are discovered by coders trying to get shit done, not cooked up in committee rooms in advance of software. For example, TimBL just needed to tag his hypertexts. Not that this is that big.

Q: Why JSON?

If it looks like a document, use XML. If it looks like an object, use JSON. It’s that simple. The essential difference isn’t simplicity/complexity or compact/verbose or typed/text, it’s ordered-by-default or not.

This particular thing I’m working on is a lot like objects and not at all like documents. Case closed.

By the way, it’s amusing that this century hasn’t yet offered a plausible new markup alternative to the last one’s mouldy leftovers. Also pleasing to one who has left fingerprints on both leftovers.

Q: How to author?

With pain. By default, I write things in Emacs, which unaccountably doesn’t have a JSON mode that knows where to put the fucking commas.

I’ve also tried editing JSON in IntelliJ and it’s not terrible but not remotely good enough. I’m writing what you’re now reading in XML in an Emacs mode that’s a fantastically-productive finely-tuned machine, so the thing should be possible.

There’s another solution: make JSON easier. Hjson (“the Human JSON”) addresses this problem and looks quite cleanly thought out. There’s also JSON5 (“JSON for the ES5 era”), but I stopped reading at “Unicode characters and escape sequences aren’t yet supported”.

Meh. Fewer markup languages are better; fix the editors, I say. Maybe Amazon would be OK with me dropping all this cloud stuff and working on JSON authoring tools for a few months? Not holding my breath.

Q: How to specify?

If you want to ship your own language, you need to specify it. The most important part of any language spec is the human-readable prose that describes the constructs, says what they mean, and offers advice on how to use them.

Next most important is examples; lots of ’em, well-chosen, and downloadable from somewhere.

(Actually, if you ever find yourself tasked with specifying something, go read Mark Pilgrim’s Why specs matter, which clarifies your task: Turning morons into experts.)

Next most important, an open-source validator, so people can check their efforts; it should have helpful error messages which include line and column numbers.

Now, to write the validator, a schema will help, and you should write one anyhow; if you’re like most people, writing down the formalisms will probably shake out some bugs and sloppy thinking in your mental model of your language.

Having a schema is a lousy way to explain a language, and it only solves part of the validation problem, because any nontrivial language will have semantic constraints that you can’t capture declaratively.

But like I said, you should write one anyhow. Which means that if your language is JSON-based, it sucks to be you, because JSON Schema is a big fat pool of pain.

JSON Schema, sigh

If you find yourself needing to use it, run don’t walk over to Understanding JSON Schema, which has lots of examples and reasonably human-readable narrative; a nice piece of work.

In its first paragraph, it says “learning to use [JSON Schema] by reading its specification is like learning to drive a car by looking at its blueprints.” They’re being tactful; the JSON Schema spec is really not very good at all. I don’t think this is a controversial thing to say, but let me offer some evidence anyhow.

Most obvious: There are multiple pieces of software out there that claim to implement JSON Schema, and their behavior is really inconsistent, in my experience.

One area where I observe inconsistencies is in the handling of the “$ref” construct. Irritated, I decided to go check the official spec. “$ref” is not defined (but is used) in JSON Schema Core. Same for JSSON Schema Validation. Same for JSON Hyper-Schema. Same for the Core/Validation Meta-Schema and the Hyper Meta-Schema

Actually, I could be wrong; the spec is really hard to read; and I say that as one with much more experience in spec-reading and schemas than most.

When I’m defining a language, I need to work on the schema and the validator and the examples all together, iteratively, validating things multiple times per minute, so I need a tool that I can run from the command line that is:

  1. Fast,

  2. consistent,

  3. complete, and

  4. reports errors with line and column numbers.

So far, I haven’t found one. JSONLint (npm) isn’t up to date with the latest schema spec draft. json-schema and json_schema (ruby; see, hyphen vs underscore, isn’t that quaint?) are inconsistent, particularly in their handling of “$ref”, and neither of them reports line/column, and neither of them respond sanely to JSON-level rather than schema-level errors.

Then there’s json-schema-validator, but that’s in Java, which means it’s probably too slow for command-line use, and also I’m not smart enough to run Java from the command line without hand-holding from an IDE or a really good build system that knows dependencies.

Feaugh.

What I’m actually doing

First, I’m keeping my schema in one great big file; cross-file “$ref” handling is irremediably broken, near as I can tell.

Second, I’m using “json-schema” (hyphen not underbar) in a little ruby script, which first of all runs “jsonlint” to check for basic JSON sanity. “jsonlint” at least does line numbers, yay. ♫ Ruby and Node, sittin’ in a tree…

Because I distrust the tools I’m building a Java testbed in IntelliJ that will let me double-check with “json-schema-validator” from time to time.

JSON specification future?

I notice that the most recent JSON-Schema IETF draft expired in 2013, and that a couple of the tools have “looking for maintainer” signs posted on them.

Now that I’ve mostly figured out JSON Schema, I neither love it nor hate it. So far, I’ve been able to make it do what I wanted. But it sure feels lame compared to RELAX NG, in terms of polish, documentation, and tooling.

This is a space that could use some work.

April 30, 2016 10:33 PM

Zero Hedge

Nothing Is Real: "It's All Being Played To Keep People Believing The System Is Working"

Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,

The stock market may be hovering near all-time highs, but according to Greg Mannarino of Traders Choice that doesn’t mean the valuations are actually real:

We exist, beyond any shadow of any doubt, in an environment of absolute fakery where nothing is real… from the prices of assets to what’s occurring here with regard to the big Wall Street banks, the Federal Reserve, interest rates and everything in between.

 

…All of this is being played in a way to keep people believing, once again, that the system is working and will continue to work.

Full Interview with USA Watchdog:

 

 

President Obama has suggested that people like Greg Mannarino who are exposing the fraud for what it is are just peddling fiction. And just this week the President argued that he saved the world from a great depression and that the closing credits of the 2008 crash movie “The Big Short” were inaccurate when they claimed that nothing has been done to fundamentally curb the fraud and fix the system under his administration. But as Mannarino notes, the President and his central bank cohorts are making these statements because the system is so fragile that if the public senses even the smallest problem it could derail the entire thing:

Let’s just look at the stock market… there’s no possible way at this time that these multiples can be justified with regard to what’s occurring here with the price action of the overall market… meanwhile, the market continues to rise.

 

 

Nothing is real. I can’t stress this enough… and we’re going to continue to see more fakery… and manipulation and twisting of this entire system…  We now exist in an environment where the financial system as a whole has been flipped upside down just to make it function… and that’s very scary.

 

 

We’ve never seen anything like this in the history of the world… The Federal Reserve has never been in a situation like this… we are completely in uncharted territory where the world’s central banks have gone negative interest rates… it’s all an illusion to keep the stock market booming.

 

 

Every single asset now… I don’t care what asset… you want to look at currency, debt, housing, metals, the stock market… pick an asset… there’s no price discovery mechanism behind it whatsoever… it’s all fake… it’s all being distorted.

 

 

The system is built upon on one premise and that is confidence that it will work… if that confidence is rattled the whole thing will implode… our policy makers are well aware of this… there is collusion between central banks and their respective governments… and it will not stop until it implodes… and what I mean by implode is, correct to fair value.

And when that confidence is finally lost and the fraud exposed – and it will be as has always been the case throughout history – the destruction to follow will be one for the history books.

In a previous interview Mannarino warned that things could get so serious after the bursting of such a massive bubble that millions of people will die on a world-wide scale:

It’s created a population boom… a population boom has risen in tandem with the debt. It’s incredible.

 

So, when the debt bubble bursts we’re going to get a correction in population. It’s a mathematical certainty.

 

Millions upon millions of people are going to die on a world-wide scale when the debt bubble bursts. And I’m saying when not if…

 

 

When resources become more and more scarce we’re going to see countries at war with each other. People will be scrambling… in a worst case scenario… doing everything that they can to survive… to provide for their family and for themselves.

 

There’s no way out of it.

And that may be why governments around the world are preparing for nothing short of Armageddon that will see rioting in the streets, violence, civil war and regime change. In the United States, the Federal government and Pentagon have been war-gaming large scale economic collapse scenarios and those preparations began in earnest shortly after the collapse of 2008.

Nationally syndicated talk radio host Mark Levin explains:

I’m going to tell you what I think is going on.

 

I don’t think domestic insurrection. Law enforcement and national security agencies, they play out multiple scenarios. They simulate multiple scenarios.

 

I’ll tell you what I think they’re simulating.

 

The collapse of our financial system, the collapse of our society and the potential for widespread violence, looting, killing in the streets, because that’s what happens when an economy collapses.

I’m not talking about a recession. I’m talking about a collapse, when people are desperate, when they can’t get food or clothing, when they have no way of going from place to place, when they can’t protect themselves.

 

There aren’t enough police officers on the face of the earth to adequately handle a situation like that.

 

I suspect, that just in case our fiscal situation collapses, our monetary situation collapses, and following it the civil society collapses – that is the rule of law – that they want to be prepared.

 

There is no other explanation for this.

The entire system is built upon a fraud. The losses have been hidden and papered over with trillion dollar cash infusions by governments and central banks around the world.

It is only a matter of time. That we can be sure of.

If you’re reading this and haven’t yet done so, it’s time to prepare for a collapse of a magnitude never before witnessed.

The elite are feverishly building bunkers for a reason, just as the government is spending billions of dollars on food stockpiles, assault weapons, and hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition.

Why? Because they know.

by Tyler Durden at April 30, 2016 10:10 PM

UPS Braces For $3.8 Billion Charge As Treasury's Pension Benefit Decision Looms

As we covered previously, in an effort to remain solvent the Central States Pension Fund has submitted an application to the Treasury for approval to cut member benefits.  While some plan participants could see pension incomes cut in half, the fund projects that it will become insolvent by 2025 if nothing is done.

Treasury is set to decide on the matter by May 7th, and as it turns out, the decision impacts more than just current plan participants...

During its Q1 earnings call, UPS told investors that if Treasury approves the CSPF plan to cut benefits, the company would have to take a charge of approximately $3.2 to $3.8 billion.

 

As part of a collective bargaining agreement with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters when UPS withdrew from the fund in 2007,  the company agreed to provide supplemental benefits to any remaining members in the event that certain benefits were lawfully reduced.

While any income statement impact will be adjusted out by analysts, it will be a significant drain on UPS' cash flow (UPS generated $5 billion in free cash flow in fiscal 2015) as it funds the benefit gap over time.

UPS is just the latest example of what lies ahead and forces the government's hand to provide yet another bailout (and encourage yet more moral hazard over-promising).

As we concluded previously, "This is going to be a national crisis for hundreds of thousands, and eventually millions, of retirees and their families. It's going to open the floodgates for other cuts." said Karen Friedman, executive president of the Pension Rights Center.

 

We can't help but wonder that as more pension funds become insolvent, and more and more participants are forced to take reductions in benefits, whether helicopter money won't soon become a reality for the United States, even before it becomes one in Japan. Especially if it is spun by some opportunistic politicans as the "only hope" for America's workers to preserve some of their retirement savings.

by Tyler Durden at April 30, 2016 09:45 PM

Sr Bachchan

DAY 2952

Jalsa, Mumbai                   Apr-May 30/1,  2016                   Sat/Sun  1:14 am   



Birthday - EF - Anat Magen

Sunday, May 1, 2016

To Anat all our wishes for a wonderful birthday .. filled with all the love she gives us and added with all ours .. you seem to have gone off the communication -Blog Twitter .. I do hope and pray all is well with you .. we are all anxious .. but we wish you the very best always .. love form the Ef



There is always an anxiety to get back home to face this blank screen and to begin the communication with our Ef .. and today even though it is late the anxiety still persists .. its actually 2:30 am now !! But what the heck .. so what .. yes so what .. which ought to be the mantra for most situations and occasions .. ‘SO WHAT’

Yaaaa .. SO WHAT …?

Dr Dharamveer Bharti , poet writer editor and a true friend of the family .. a litterateur of eminence .. a student of my Father at the Allahabad .. later a close association with family and today after 18 years of his passing, his dear wife invites me to the inauguration of a street corner in Bandra where he lived, in his name .. the Dharamveer Bharti Chowk ..

It was to have been done by my parents but it took long .. my parents passed away and Pushpa ji his wife wished that I do the honours to day .. an honour and a privilege ..

He and a few of the student community at Allahabad had formed a literary group called ‘PARIMAL’ … they used to come over to our home in Allahabad at midnight to have poetic symposiums and discussions and recitations .. it was when I was about 8-9 years of age but those visuals remain .. Bharti ji was one among them tall thin and wore dark glasses even in the night .. a distinct observation .. later he settled in Mumbai and was the editor of ‘Dharmyug’ a vert popular Hindi Magazine brought out by the TOI group …after his passing the magazine stopped too ..

I spoke today at the inauguration on our association and the many events of days gone by .. Bharti ji visiting our home his admiration for my Mother’s rose garden which won the first prize each year at the Flower Exhibition, at that luscious and large spaced garden spread over acres of land in the heart of the city - Alfred Park .. now named Shaheed Chandrashekhar ‘Azad’, the revolutionary and iconic freedom fighter who single handedly engaged the British at this Park, firing and eliminating many opponents before succumbing to his own bullet, when he had run out of ammunition … that tree behind which he hid and sacrificed his life exists in the Park ..

Sunday evenings a band would play at a canopied area in the middle of the Park .. English evening tunes as an entertainment .. on one side of this massive area was the museum with rare entities .. and on another were the beautiful maintained tennis courts where a lot of the greats used to come for their International games, attended by my Mother and me .. I still remember ..

But the high event at these gardens was the Annual Flower Show and the pride with which we would watch Ma winning all the prizes for her garden and particularly for the roses she nurtured and grew in her lawn at our home .. !!

Bharti ji’s famous novel ‘Gunahon ka Devta’ was a most popular book during those times and I had read it and wondered at that young age how it would be if I would get an opportunity to act a role in the book  .. fate willed it .. during the early years of my entrance into the film firmament, I was offered to work in the film version of ‘GKD’ and the character the main of Chander .. and the female lead was to be done by Jaya .. we were not married then ..

We travelled to my home town Allahabad in the deadly summer in May of the city and shot many portions of the film .. worked hard at it for 8-9 reels when for some reason the film stopped and was never made or completed ..

The title was ‘Chander aur Sudha’,named after the two main characters in the film .. the main and original title was taken by Jeetendra for another film of his, not the same story though .. a pity that the film could never be made .. the story and the book are a classic till date ..


It was interesting to be in the company of litterateurs and those fond of writers and poetry in the afternoon .. and to be getting the honour of the chief guest for this unique evening .. its not always films one is associated with .. and Maharashtra has a great following and leaning towards literature and the classics ..

And then a sharp change within hours to the wedding of Bipasha and Karan .. a quick wish and back to be with you all .. happy for Bipasha, a happy girl full of beans ..

Many happenings too tomorrow May 1st .. May Day, Maharashtra Day ,, Gujarat Day I believe too .. Happy Easter and the anniversary of Dada Saheb Phalke, the founder of the Indian film Industry …

Good night ..


Amitabh Bachchan 

April 30, 2016 09:33 PM

S Rajesh - Cricinfo magazine

The fizz in Mustafizur

In a little over 12 months, he has firmly established himself as a top-notch bowler, and the captain's go-to man in the toughest situations

April 30, 2016 09:06 PM

Econbrowser

Identities, Parameters and Regressions

A reader comments:

Your final jab in this post regresses the state output gap on the fiscal gap. You then conclude that there is a positive relation between the two and that this somehow implies that a reduction in gov’t spending is a drag on the economy. I’ll just point out that …. that gov’t spending is a component of GSP. Of course they’re positively related.

I think this comment reflects a commonplace confusion between identities, functional relationships, and reduced form coefficients.

For instance, consider that at the industry level for a state, such as in data reported by BEA here, total private (agriculture, mining, through manufacturing through other services) and government has to sum to total gross state product (in current lexicon state GDP). So, one would think that regressing total output on government output has to yield a positive coefficient. Run the regression over the 2005Q1-15Q3 period (the entire available sample) for Wisconsin:

GDPWI,t = 18829.71 – 0.215GOVWI,t + ut

Adj-R2 = -0.02. Bold denotes significance at 10% msl using HAC robust standard errors.

Lest you think this proves higher government spending causes less output, well, consider the same regression for Kansas.

GDPKS,t = 262893.4 + 5.895GOVKS,t + ut

Adj-R2 = 0.34. Bold denotes significance at 10% msl using HAC robust standard errors.

This is a lesson I learned as an undergraduate — do not appeal to an accounting identity for information about a coefficient.

Let’s turn to an example that is more familiar. We all know the expenditure side definition of GDP from macro:

Y ≡ C + I + G + EX – IM

I stress in my undergraduate courses that one cannot use identities to explain how the world works, or more concretely, when G changes, how does Y. For that, one needs a model.

So, the hapless regression-runner might regress Y on G, asserting one must get a positive coefficient since G is by construction a component of Y. But in fact different theories yield different implied coefficients.

Suppose aggregate supply is given by Y = Yn = ΦF(K,N), and aggregate demand is given by Y = fn(G, T, M/P), where K, N are given. Then the correlation between Y and G is … zero!

Suppose P is predetermined within a period, and aggregate demand takes the same form as above. Then the correlation between Y and G is positive, but not necessarily one (it’ll depend on the marginal propensity to consume, interest sensitivity of investment, interest sensitivity of money demand, etc.).

Suppose P depends positively on the output gap (i.e., a Phillips Curve holds), such that P = Pe + θ(Y-Yn). Then the correlation is positive, but (holding all else constant) smaller than that in the previous example.

Suppose P depends positively on the output gap, and the fiscal authorities rely on a “fiscal rule” that achieves counter-cyclical stabilization, e.g., G = φ(Y-Yn), φ < 0. Then the implied correlation between Y and G is now negative.

One could in principle estimate the reduced form coefficient in the first three cases (after accounting for omitted variables, etc.); the parameters (e.g., θ) would require determining an appropriate instrumental variable. The correlation can always be calculated; whether it’s meaningful is another question.

Bottom Line: Identities do not tell you about behavior. Inferring causality is hard, but if one wants to tell a story, one has to try to deal with the data in an intelligent way.

by Menzie Chinn at April 30, 2016 08:33 PM

Officially Lucky feed. by Clint Ecker.

caninos-brancos: “By Nivanh Chanthara #empireoffuture...



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April 30, 2016 08:11 PM

Columnists: tavleensingh

AgustaWestland deal: Bribery and hope

If the Prime Minister is serious about fighting corruption, then this defence scandal gives him a real chance to go deeper into the causes of the rot.

April 30, 2016 06:31 PM

The Big Picture

Drivers of Equity Returns in the Past 50 Years

This is from the McKinsey report I referenced yesterday — I have to take a closer look at it, as it strikes me as an odd structure for driving equity . . .

 

 


Source: McKinsey

The post Drivers of Equity Returns in the Past 50 Years appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Admin Tim at April 30, 2016 06:30 PM

swissmiss

Wire & Twine

Enjoy this beautiful dayPlaid T Shirt

The fine folks over at Wire & Twine are running a Spring sale. Good people. Fun designs.

by swissmiss at April 30, 2016 06:11 PM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

Potential Bitcoin Adoption As A Currency in Japan

Laws and regulations involving the use of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin vary from country to country. In Bangladesh, virtual currencies are outlawed. Germany considers it private money. In the U.S., virtual currency is classified as a commodity with each state having their laws and regulations.

Japan, however, is an interesting case.

As Kevin Cruz explains in Bitcoin Magazine, “In March of 2014, the Japanese government made a cabinet decision on the legal treatment of Bitcoin.” Cruz adds, “The decision did not rule bitcoin as currency nor as a bond; this prohibited banks and securities companies from dealing with bitcoins.” In the end, it was decided “that it is not necessary to regulate sales, purchases, and/or exchanges of bitcoins.” Japan also launched a self-regulatory authority known as the Japan Authority of Digital Assets (JADA).

In late 2015, it was reported that Japan was also drafting its first ever set of cryptocurrency regulations that would require “bitcoin exchanges and those dealing with virtual currencies must register with the government to fall under a regulatory framework.”

These actions were a response to the bankruptcy of Mt Gox in February 2014. At the time Mt Gox was the most widely used Bitcoin exchange in the world. Its bankruptcy resulted in the loss of approximately 850,000 bitcoins. Because bitcoins weren’t considered real property, those who lost money couldn’t seek compensation.

Since then, Japan has continued to examine the potential virtual money and the need for regulations. This has finally lead to Japan’s Financial Services Agency (FSA) actually considering bitcoin, and other alternatives, as a currency.

According to a report by Nikkei, the FSA is considering whether or not to make revisions to current legislation that would classify digital currencies as “fulfilling the functions of currency.”

The report adds, “They are now recognized as objects but are not treated on a par with their more established counterparts,” as well as;

“Under the FSA’s proposed definition, virtual currencies must serve as a medium of exchange, meaning that they can be used to purchase goods and services. They must also be exchangeable for legal tender through purchases or trades with an unspecified partner.”

As Samburaj Das says in CCN, “If the legislative revisions and the newly proposed definition by the FSA were to go through, digital currency exchanges and other services such as wallet providers who deal in virtual currencies would be required to register with the FSA.”

By doing so, this would prevent a scenario similar to the Mt Gox debacle. However, Daniel Cooper says in Engadget that “At this point, it’s not clear exactly how the legalized system will work” and “who will take the role of making that exchange.” Cooper believes that it will ultimately resemble the regulations that the U.S. has in place involving Bitcoin exchanges, such as bitcoins being insured.

Yuzo Kano, CEO of Japan-based bitcoin exchange BitFlyer, informed CoinDesk, that “the law will now pass to the lower and upper houses of the legislature for review.” And, if the proposal is passed, “exchanges would need to separate client and company assets, regularly audit their finances and satisfy anti-money laundering (AML) and know-your-customer (KYC) regulations.”

The current session of the Diet, Japan’s legislature, runs from January 4 to June 1, but it’s anticipated that these changes will appear in May.

The post Potential Bitcoin Adoption As A Currency in Japan appeared first on Due Blog.

by Chalmers Brown at April 30, 2016 06:00 PM

Planet Android

Physical Versus Virtual Buttons — it’s More than Just Placement

The beginning of the trend

Up until late 2011, hardware buttons were the widely-accepted norm for buttons on a handheld device, with Android’s hardware partners taking advantage of the free rein given to them, going on to flirt with a variety of functions, icons and positions in a somewhat-wayward manner. In November that year, Google took charge of the playing field with the launch of the Galaxy Nexus, the device that pioneered Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and with it, the first legitimate implementation of softkeys on Android. As has been the case with numerous such niches, Google taking a step caused most of the OEMs to fall in line over the years, and softkeys became prevalent on a wide number of device lineups.

The Impact on OEMS

keys_005

Following the release of the Galaxy Nexus, things didn’t go exactly as planned, as most OEMs resisted the change, citing Google’s fondness for experimentation. However, year after year, Google continued down this route, and one-by-one, most device manufacturers responded in kind. Samsung for one, actively opposed the change, and for a while it seemed that the South Korean OEM was fighting an uphill battle, as HTC gave in with the One M8, Sony with the Xperia Z, LG with the G2 and Motorola with the Droid Razr Maxx, but a twist in the tale took place with the launch of fingerprint sensors.

As biometric authentication became increasingly popular, the hardware design teams at each camp were left with the mammoth question of placement. Where did fingerprint sensors belong? Samsung was quick to respond with an obvious solution, its home button, but others were left wondering, and the years 2014-15 saw various takes on the problem, but most notable was the tendency to resort to Samsung’s implementation, which saw large OEMs like HTC, OnePlus and Xiaomi go the home-button route, consequently causing each of them to give in to hardware buttons. Google and LG sport the sensor at the back, with Sony using the power button to house it, and while the world awaits Motorola’s take, two clear camps have arisen in the playing field, with powerhouses on both sides refusing to give up any ground.

A Deep Dive into Both Camps

With the market offering a variety of devices with both options to choose from, one might opine that it doesn’t make much of a difference, and while that might hold true for the average consumer, power users tend to carefully weigh the pros and cons of each device feature, so let’s take a look at the factors that constitute the gargantuan rift between the two manifestations.

Real Estate

The placement of softkeys on the lower edge of the screen causes a 48dp loss in screen real estate, blocking apps from availing the complete height of the screen. Some users think nothing of it, but hardware button enthusiasts vehemently argue that that space can be used by the system instead. Phones are getting larger, and the inability to experience the complete glory of a large, high-resolution screen is enough to send some over the edge. However, Google has been consistently working on making the best of the situation, deploying APIs that developers can use to hide the system bars and thereby provide a temporary fix.

Ease of access

Apps that hide softkeys, and the subsequent swipe-up gesture to show them is a notch against them given the mild inconvenience caused, but overall, hardware buttons prove to be much less friendly towards ease-of-access than softkeys. Their inability to adapt to device orientation hinders the user experience and the effort required to press them is considerably more than that required to press softkeys.

Lifetime

Hardware buttons are mechanical (or capacitive) in nature, with actual components making up their underlying structure. As such, their lifetime and durability are questionable, and have several variables such as intensity and frequency of usage, overall care of the device, et al, whereas softkeys are mere image renders tied to system-wide method calls, and are insusceptible to any such hindrances.

Adaptability and Modification

Perhaps the most significant advantage of softkeys is their ability to adapt as the situation calls for. Their virtual nature allows for the embodiment of Google’s “Design for the user and all else will follow” philosophy and there are a number of ways they carry this out:

Orientation

keys_003
While hardware keys remain locked to portrait orientation even when the device rotates, softkeys adapt and reflect the change in orientation, with the icons rotating to match the device on phones, and entire navigation bar changing the edge its anchored to on tablets. The result? A seamless user experience that sheds the learning curve and initial incompatibility when one attempts to use portrait-oriented keys in any way but that.

Customization

keys_002

With custom ROMs allowing users to modify close to every inch of the system, the navigation bar is, without a doubt, an active and salient member of the array of customization options. From custom icon sets and manual height settings to modified order and user-defined functionality, softkeys allow for a level of personalization that remains near-impossible for hardware buttons, yet under-exploited in practice.

Mutation

keys_001

Mutation of softkeys is a new and unfamiliar topic, one that has been discussed from time to time on social media, and is just beginning to unfold in the Xposed community. Softkey mutation, should it come to fruition, would modify the navigation bar in a contextually-aware manner, allowing it to react and adapt to situation changes and thus providing a delightful and powerful user experience. While it might never see the light of day in the AOSP repository, community solutions such as Xtended Navbar give a glimpse of the potential held in the small black bar that so many oppose.

Conclusion

With all the facts laid out, it’s pretty clear that both sides have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. However, softkeys have infinitely more potential, and more importantly, the weight of Mountain View’s support. Like them or not, they’re here to stay for the foreseeable future. Which side do you root for? Does it affect your choice when buying a new phone? Let us know in the comments section below!

by Faiz Malkani at April 30, 2016 05:48 PM

Paul Krugman

Philip Greenspun's Weblog

Are Americans fundamentally dishonest?

“The Voyeur’s Motel” is a New Yorker story mostly about sex. But the subject of this blog posting is a section buried in the middle:

[The voyeur, who ran a motel in Colorado,] also got bored with cataloguing his guests’ dishonesty. They sometimes tried to cheat him out of the room rent, and hardly a week passed without his witnessing instances of chicanery. One working-class couple asked him for a few days’ grace period to pay their bill. Foos spied on them the next day and heard the husband tell the wife, “The dumb guy in the office thinks I have a check coming in from Chicago, and we will fool him the same way we did the motel in Omaha.” Foos locked the people out of their room and kept their possessions until they paid him.

Diary excerpt: “Conclusion: Thousands of unhappy, discontented people are moving to Colorado in order to fulfill that deep yearning in their soul, hoping to improve their way of life, and arrive here without any money and discover only despair. . . . Society has taught us to lie, steal, and cheat, and deception is the paramount prerequisite in man’s makeup. . . . As my observation of people approaches the fifth year, I am beginning to become pessimistic as to the direction our society is heading, and feel myself becoming more depressed as I determine the futility of it all.”

These experiences prodded Foos to concoct an “honesty test.” He would leave a suitcase, secured with a cheap padlock, in the closet of a motel room. When a guest checked in, he would say to Donna, in the guest’s hearing, that someone had just called to report leaving behind a suitcase with a thousand dollars inside. Foos then watched from the attic as the new guest found the suitcase and deliberated over whether to break the lock and look inside or return the suitcase to the motel office.

Out of fifteen guests who were subjected to the honesty test, including a minister, a lawyer, and an Army lieutenant colonel, only two returned the suitcase to the office with the padlock intact. The others all opened the suitcase and then tried to dispose of it in different ways. The minister pushed the suitcase out the bathroom window into the bushes.

A lot of U.S. government programs are set up with the idea that Americans are fundamentally honest. Offering enhanced payments for disability is not going to change the number of people who seek to collect SSDI (see “Book Review: The Redistribution Recession“). Certainly we wouldn’t ever expect 97 percent of retired government workers to claim disability benefits. Hardly anyone would have sex with a drunken married dentist in order to harvest the $millions in tax-free child support that a Massachusetts or Wisconsin court would hand out. Nobody would work the FMLA to get full-time benefits out of a part-time job. People aren’t going to work in cash jobs in order to remain eligible for free public housing.

Readers: What do you think? Do we trust this motel owner’s data? If the data are right, is much of the current U.S. system set up improperly?

Related:

by philg at April 30, 2016 04:47 PM

craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

I phone help (San Diego)

I have 2, I phone 5's that I need unlocked so I can return to Sprint. I dont care about loosing the data

April 30, 2016 04:36 PM

OpenBSD Journal

proot: dpb meets chroot

With the p2k16 hackathon just coming to a close, Marc Espie has revealed one of the new things he worked on.

I've been using dpb(1) chroot'd for a long time, using my own methods. This is a first try at making things "simple." Basically,

proot -B /build

should more or less do something sane, and then you can build ports in that chroot.

Read more...

April 30, 2016 04:32 PM

craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

Decent Weekly Checks Issued for Your Opinion $18.30 HR (San Diego)

Online based Research Company actively looking for consumers who would like to participate in taking short surveys in regards to common popular brands. Tide and Downy are examples just to name a few. Earn a decent weekly check & no experience is [...]

April 30, 2016 04:24 PM

Planet Android

On Affordable Smartphones: Iterative Improvements Over Time Depend on the Flagship

It’s been hard this week to look anywhere in the technosphere and not see an article proclaiming the death of the Flagship. Fueling these thoughts are years of declining profits and device sales from some of the worlds largest phone manufacturers.

The fuel seems to have been resparked when Apple not only posted a lower quarterly growth for the iPhone, but advised it will continue to decline through the next quarter. It’s hard not to get caught up in this though, mid-ranged phones have gotten really good. Just a few years ago if you wanted a phone that was not horrible and $400 or below, you would have to settle with a prior years flagship. Last year though, we saw the rise of the sub $400 capable phone with excellent devices like the Idol 3,  ZenFone 2 and the One Plus brand. There is no denying that you can get a great phone without spending over $400, but they will never replace the proper flagship, nor should they.

acerc710

The Acer C710 was a decent Chromebook, but has an awful TFT panel, physical hard disk and cheap plastic construction

When Google introduced the Chromebook Pixel it was regarded as being comically expensive for a device that can only surf the internet. You could go and get a Chromebook that delivered the Chrome OS experience without spending over $300, and in some cases less than $200. So why would Google introduce and then release a sequel device that boiled down to just being a $1,000+ web window? To answer that one only has to look at the shift in Chromebooks over the past few years. TFT displays, actual hard disks, and crappily built plastic bodies used to make up almost all Chromebooks. However, contrast that to the Chromebook market today. Chromebooks are available at almost any price point with higher resolution displays, proper desktop class processors, and better high quality plastic or metal construction. In many cases the quality device you can buy for $250 today far surpasses what you could find just a few years ago for the same price.

Likewise, Microsoft has demonstrated a similar strategy with their Surface line. By putting out premium products at a premium price the result was having OEM partners raise the quality of their devices across their various price points. Similarities can be drawn between the PC and Chromebook markets and the mobile phone space. Profits, technological advances, and process refinements made on these premium flagship models help in making mid-range ones better. It can sometimes be difficult to see thatNexus 5X the road to the betterment of mid-range devices was created by the flagships so many people are seemingly trying to bury.

I recently picked up a Nexus 5X after I cracked the AMOLED panel on my Nexus 6. In the 8+ years I have had a smartphone this is the first one I have purchased that was not a proper “flagship” tier device and I’ve learned a number of things. The 5X is a great phone, but it has its compromises, and for a device that cost $379 at launch these compromises are some that many people just don’t want, nor have to make. It’s not just the 5X that makes these compromises, devices like the One Plus Two are famous for the compromises they made to hit a specific price point. While the performance, display, camera, audio quality and battery are good, flagships like the HTC 10, Galaxy S7 or Nexus 6P do it even better, in some cases even far better. Likewise, quality dual stereo speakers, dedicated powered amps, waterproofing and modularity are all features that generally can only be found on flagships; the premium price allows OEMs to do more, whether that involves refined quality or bleeding-edge features.

However, not everyone can afford a premium smartphone, tablet or laptop and everyone loves to save money where they can. This makes these affordably priced phones appealing, especially when they are fully capable of doing almost everything a flagship can as far as the Android UX goes. So did I just make the argument that we don’t need the flagship device and the mid-range ones can reign supreme? No, in fact I am making the opposite argument.

While mid-range phones can be really good, it is only due to the refinements made by prior premium ones. The amazing quality of the screen on the Galaxy S7, the feel of its premium construction (with a degree of flawlessness that affordable flagships like the Mi5 simply can’t match), and the flawlessly fast and reliable camera are all things that no mid-tier phone can match — not yet, at least. The refinements made to screen technology, improvements in things like waterproofing techniques, and the faster, better cameras and processors will find their ways into mid-range devices making them even better. If we want the trend of outstanding affordable phones to continue, we better also hope that the flagship phone gets even more premium as well.

Saying that days of flagships are numbered or over is both short sighted and is just plain wrong. Affordably-priced phones need the premium flagship phone today, as they always have.

by Daniel Marchena at April 30, 2016 04:24 PM

The Art of Non-Conformity » 3×5

Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World: Nominations Wanted!

RemarkableLife

I tend to ask a lot of questions. Why jump off the bridge just because everyone else does? What are “the rules” and who made them?

If your life is a movie and you’re the director, why did you add this scene to it?

Today, I have a question for you that might be even easier than those: Can you introduce me to an awesome person who’s doing something really special?

Maybe this person took the long way to finding the work they were born to do. Maybe their lifestyle or philosophy inspires you. Maybe they are kicking ass and taking names in the nonprofit world, or as an entrepreneur. Maybe they just have a special, unconventional story.

Whoever they are, I want to meet them and share their story with our community. Friend, friend-of-friend, family member, or acquaintance: all relations welcome. We all know some remarkable people, and I want to feature their lessons on creating an extraordinary life. Can you help?

To nominate your awesome someone, go here.

###

Image: Anubhav

by Chris Guillebeau at April 30, 2016 04:23 PM

Boy Genius Report

How many people can the Earth actually hold?

Earth Population
Earth may only be a tiny blip on the map relative to the entire universe, but for our purposes, it's pretty darn big. Of course, the vast majority of earth - about 70% - is comprised of water. Taking that into account, the actual area of land on earth is estimated to be around 150 million square kilometers. That being the case, Life Noggin recently set out to examine how many human beings the earth is capable of holding; not in a physical sense, but more in the sense of how many people can be sustained by the Earth's finite resources. Today, the earth's population checks in at about 7 billion, but that figure will only increase in the years ahead thanks to improvements in medicine and other health-positive factors. In fact, it's estimated that the human population by the end of the century will be 10 billion strong.

(more…)

by Yoni Heisler at April 30, 2016 04:11 PM

Deposit Accounts

Ent FCU's (CO) 84-Month Certificate Offers Competitive Rate

Ent Federal Credit Union (CO) has an 84-month Certificate that earns 2.45% APY. The minimum deposit is $500, with no balance cap. Also available as an IRA.

April 30, 2016 04:09 PM

swissmiss

Tinybop | Infinite Arcade

Team Tinybop did it again. They just launched Infinite Arcade and it’s blowing my mind! It basically allows you (or your little ones, of course) to create your own Arcade games. Start out with a classic game to build on and then add building blocks like hot lava, disco bricks, crystal, trampoline tiles etc. And, the best part: you can design your own characters. I know what I am doing this weekend! Get the game!

by swissmiss at April 30, 2016 03:41 PM

Duke Riley and LED equipped Pigeons

On the weekends May 7 through June 12, Creative Time and the Brooklyn Navy Yard will present the public artwork Fly by Night by artist Duke Riley. Thousands of pigeons will be released from a converted historic boat in an orchestrated performance. Leg bands on the pigeons, used historically to carry messages, will be replaced by LED lights controlled by remote control. This will be stunning to whitness!

Hoping the pigeons aren’t suffering though. Seems though as Duke knows what he is doing as he has been raising pigeons most of his adult life and is working with pigeon experts and animal welfare groups on this.

(Did you know Duke Riley designed a Tattly for our Tattly Does Good initiative?)

by swissmiss at April 30, 2016 03:21 PM

Calculated Risk

Schedule for Week of May 1, 2016

The key report this week is the April employment report on Friday.

Other key indicators include April vehicle sales, the April ISM manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes, and the March trade deficit.

----- Monday, May 2nd -----

ISM PMI10:00 AM: ISM Manufacturing Index for April. The consensus is for the ISM to be at 51.5, down from 51.8 in March.

Here is a long term graph of the ISM manufacturing index.

The ISM manufacturing index indicated expansion at 51.8% in March. The employment index was at 48.1%, and the new orders index was at 58.3%.

10:00 AM: Construction Spending for March. The consensus is for a 0.5% increase in construction spending.

2:00 PM ET: the April 2016 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey on Bank Lending Practices from the Federal Reserve.

----- Tuesday, May 3rd -----

Vehicle SalesAll day: Light vehicle sales for April. The consensus is for light vehicle sales to increase to 17.3 million SAAR in April from 16.6 million in March (Seasonally Adjusted Annual Rate).

This graph shows light vehicle sales since the BEA started keeping data in 1967. The dashed line is the March sales rate.

----- Wednesday, May 4th -----

7:00 AM ET: The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) will release the results for the mortgage purchase applications index.

8:15 AM: The ADP Employment Report for April. This report is for private payrolls only (no government). The consensus is for 193,000 payroll jobs added in April, down from 200,000 added in March.

U.S. Trade Deficit8:30 AM: Trade Balance report for March from the Census Bureau.

This graph shows the U.S. trade deficit, with and without petroleum, through February. The blue line is the total deficit, and the black line is the petroleum deficit, and the red line is the trade deficit ex-petroleum products.

The consensus is for the U.S. trade deficit to be at $41.4 billion in March from $47.1 billion in February.

10:00 AM: the ISM non-Manufacturing Index for April. The consensus is for index to increase to 54.7 from 54.5 in March.

10:00 AM: Manufacturers' Shipments, Inventories and Orders (Factory Orders) for March. The consensus is a 0.6% increase in orders.

----- Thursday, April 5th -----

8:30 AM: The initial weekly unemployment claims report will be released.  The consensus is for 262 thousand initial claims, up from 257 thousand the previous week.

----- Friday, April 6th -----

8:30 AM: Employment Report for April. The consensus is for an increase of 200,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in April, down from the 215,000 non-farm payroll jobs added in March.

The consensus is for the unemployment rate to decline to 4.9%.

Year-over-year change employmentThis graph shows the year-over-year change in total non-farm employment since 1968.

In March, the year-over-year change was 2.80 million jobs.

A key will be the change in real wages.

3:00 PM: Consumer credit from the Federal Reserve.  The consensus is for a $15.8 billion increase in credit.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at April 30, 2016 03:21 PM

Siiimple

Boy Genius Report

Our favorite crystal clear iPhone 6s case sports an integrated metal kickstand

Clear iPhone 6s Case

A case is an absolute necessity for any iPhone, considering how slippery the aluminum that Apple uses is. And we all know that crystal clear cases are the way to go since they protect your iPhone without hiding that gorgeous design that Apple worked so hard on. What you might not know, however, is that not all clear cases are created equal — check out the OBLIQ Naked Shield Slim Fit Crystal Clear Case With Integrated Kickstand for the iPhone 6/6s or iPhone 6/6s Plus.

(more…)

by Maren Estrada at April 30, 2016 03:12 PM

Planet Python

PythonClub - A Brazilian collaborative blog about Python: Sites Estáticos com Lektor

Publicado originalmente em: humberto.io/2016/4/sites-estaticos-com-lektor

Faz pelo menos 4 anos que eu ensaio para montar um blog, e nessa brincadeira já montei alguns, mas quando chegava na hora de criar o meu eu nunca conseguia publicar.

Inicialmente com ferramentas de publicação como wordpress o problema era a dificuldade de customizar e o tanto de coisa que vinha junto que eu não ia usar mas ficava me tirando a atenção. Em seguida com o GitHub Pages eu descobri o Pelican por indicação do Magnun Leno e comecei a fazer muita coisa com ele, mas da mesma forma que eu ganhei em liberdade de customização, o processo autoral é o mesmo de desenvolvimento, e como descrito no subtitulo do blog, meu lado cientista, pythonista e curioso ficava ali me cutucando para melhorar o site ao invés de escrever conteúdo.

Eis que em uma conversa no grupo de telegram da comunidade python me citam o Lektor e aí começou a aventura.

Lektor?

Lektor é um gerenciador de conteúdo estático criado por Armin Ronacher (sim, o criador do flask) que permite a criação de websites a partir de arquivos de texto.

Porque usar?

Como descrito no próprio site ele bebeu das fontes dos CMS`s, dos frameworks e dos geradores de site estático e chegou em algo que eu considero um ponto de equilíbrio entre eles, e que nos leva as seguintes vantagens:

  • Estático: O site final é totalmente estático, o que permite sua hospedagem em qualquer lugar;
  • CMS: Uma interface de produção de conteúdo que roda localmente e tira a necessidade de entender programação para poder produzir conteúdo. (no meu caso me tira do mundo do código e me deixa focar no conteúdo);
  • Framework: Ele possuí um sistema de models em arquivos de texto e um sistema de templates que usa Jinja2 que cria um ambiente familiar para quem já desenvolveu algo em django, flask e similares;
  • Deploy: O sistema de deploy dele é reduzido á uma configuração em um arquivo, o que permite a rápida publicação sem ficar dias aprendendo técnicas de deploy quando tudo que você quer no começo é colocar seu site no ar.

Instalação

A instalação do Lektor é bem direta:

$ curl -sf https://www.getlektor.com/install.sh | sh

Este comando instala diretamente no sistema, se você prefere instalar em sua virtualenv:

$ virtualenv venv
$ . venv/bin/activate
$ pip install Lektor

Esta forma é desencorajada pelos desenvolvedores pois o lektor gerencia virtualenvs internamente para instalação de seus plugins, portanto caso seja desenvolvedor e quer ter mais controle sobre o lektor instale a versão de desenvolvimento e esteja pronto para sujar as mãos quando for preciso, e quem sabe até contribuir com o desenvolvimento do lektor:

$ git clone https://github.com/lektor/lektor
$ cd lektor
$ make build-js
$ virtualenv venv
$ . venv/bin/activate
$ pip install --editable .

Obs.: requer npm instalado para montar a interface de administração.

Criando o Site

Após a instalação para criar o seu site basta utilizar o comando de criação de projeto:

$ lektor quickstart

Ele irá te fazer algumas perguntas e criar um projeto com o nome que você informou.

Estrutura

Esta é a estrutura básica de um site gerado pelo lektor:

meusite
├── assets/
├── content/
├── templates/
├── models/
└── meusite.lektorproject
  • assets: Pasta onde ficam os arquivos .css, .js, .ico entre outros recursos estáticos;
  • content: Pasta onde ficam os arquivos que iram gerar as páginas do site, cada subpasta corresponde a uma página no site gerado;
  • templates: Pasta onde ficam os arquivos de template que definem a sua estrutura visual;
  • models: Pasta onde ficam os arquivos que definem a modelagem de dados;
  • meusite.lektorproject: Arquivo com as configurações gerais do site.

Executando localmente

Para rodar o site em sua máquina basta entrar no diretório criado e iniciar o servidor local:

$ cd meusite
$ lektor server

Com o servidor rodando acesse localhost:5000 para ver o resultado:

meusite

Acessando o Admin

Para acessar o admin clique na imagem de lápis no canto superior direito da página que você criou ou acesse localhost:5000

meusite-admin

Publicando o Site

Exitem duas maneiras de se fazer o deploy do site construído com o lektor, a manual, que é basicamente rodar o comando build e copiar manualmente os arquivos para o servidor:

$ lektor build --output-path destino

E a forma automática, que pode ser feita (neste caso para o GitHub Pages) adicionando a seguinte configuração no arquivo meusite.lektorproject:

[servers.production]
target = ghpages://usuario/repositorio

E rodando em seguida o comando:

$ lektor deploy

Obs.: O deploy faz um force push na branch master ou gh-pages dependendo do tipo de repositório, portanto, cuidado para não sobrescrever os dados de seu repositório. Mantenha o código fonte em uma branch separada, você pode dar uma conferida no meu repositório para ter uma idéia.

Para informações mais detalhadas você pode acessar a documentação do lektor e também ficar de olho nas próximas postagens.

April 30, 2016 03:00 PM

Wbrussee's Weblog

Artificial Intelligence Post Number 32

I haven’t posted for a while because it seems like we are all just watching AI being implemented in many different areas. As expected, the initial areas of implementation have been narrowly focused, but their impacts are already being felt. For example, Tesla Motors has been incorporating their autonomous drive system very rapidly, such that they feel that they can already see substantial gains. To quote their CEO, Elon Musk:

“The probability of having an accident is 50% lower if you have Autopilot on. Even with our first version. So we can see basically what’s the average number of kilometers to an accident – accident defined by airbag deployment. Even with this early version, it’s almost twice as good as a person . . . I think it’s going to be important in terms of satisfying regulators and the public to show statistically with a large amount of data – with billions of kilometers of driving – to say that the safety level is definitively better, by a meaningful margin, if it’s autonomous versus non-autonomous.”

It will be a while before Tesla can log billions of miles of data, but already Tesla drivers have recorded 47 million miles in Autopilot mode.  I recently rode in a Tesla with Autopilot, and it truly is remarkable. It not only had automatic braking in case of an obstacle ahead, but had lane maintenance ability. It was easy to see how a human driver, especially if they look away for a second or so, would be slower to respond to an issue in front or next to their car. (Note that I am one of the 400,000 people who put a $1,000 deposit on the Tesla Model 3 that will not be out for over a year.  So I may be biased.)

As I have noted in earlier posts, Elon Musk is afraid that AI could be a real risk for mankind as AI gets more and more advanced and powerful. Not everyone agrees. Zuckerberg of Facebook believes that mankind will easily be able to control AI, and he is clear that Facebook will be pushing AI to its limit, including using face recognition systems.

I have been spending some time trying to understand where AI’s strengths and weaknesses will be. AI will certainly surpass man’s ability to use existing data. Thus areas like medicine, accounting, law, investing, and teaching are at risk. And in many areas the strength of AI will come in its growing ability to do calculated guessing. A lot of the gains on vision systems used for autonomous driving come from improvements in software and chip design that enable the computer to make judgments on limited data, much as our brain does.

But AI still requires understanding, measurement, and data. Many of the unknown areas mankind is pursuing may not be enhanced by AI. For example, quantum entanglement, which can include instant communication across long distances and which Einstein called spooky, is still not understood by anyone. Even areas we thought we understood, like our universe starting with the Big Bang has been muddied by including expansion (which had to go faster than the speed of light), and the question whether the expansion happened before or after the Big Bang. Or even the size and age of our universe given all the questions related to red shift that is used in so many measurements. Is our universe expanding (at an ever increasing rate) or contracting? What is dark matter and dark energy?

Even evolution has issues related to Darwin believing everything was gradual whereas some fossils and some tests show that some evolutionary changes are apparently sudden. We are not as smart as we think we are, and in these areas AI may not be any smarter!

As promised, here is an update on Elliot Wave’s prediction that the S&P 500 will drop 41.6% this year from 1880 to 1100. I said that I didn’t believe it! The current S&P is 2065, up almost 10% since EW’s prediction early this year. Are you fans of EW still holding in there?


by wbrussee at April 30, 2016 02:55 PM

Advaita Vision

Tattvabodha – Part 14

Part 14 of the commentary by Dr. VIshnu Bapat on Shankara’s Tattvabodha.This is a key work which introduces all of the key concepts of Advaita in a systematic manner.

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

Part 14 continues to look at the metaphor of the five sheaths, from the Taittiriya Upanishad. This part explains the vital, mental and intellectual sheaths.

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

by Dennis at April 30, 2016 02:44 PM

Allisstatus

Democracy via opinion polls?

Fully a half of the 200-odd countries of the world have a twin system of government. One is of politicians chosen by electorates, the other is a bureaucracy chosen by a self-selecting examination of some sort. Although the political government is the one that chooses the policies in theory it usually doesn’t have the expertise […]

by Keith Hudson at April 30, 2016 02:17 PM

Boy Genius Report

11 new movie trailers from this past week that you have to watch

New Movie Trailers Apr. 29
This week marks the debut of the highly anticipated Captain America: Civil War if you’re anywhere else other than America. That said, we’ve got a new clip from the Marvel blockbuster, as well as 10 other trailers you should check out from this past week.

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by Chris Smith at April 30, 2016 02:11 PM

The Big Picture

MiB: Kelly Coffey, CEO, JPM Private Bank

On this week’s Masters in Business radio podcast, I speak with Kelly Coffey, CEO of the $650B JPM Private Bank.

She is one of the most senior women in finance, managing one of the largest investor firms in the world.  Coffey tells how how she came out of the JPM training program and was immediately economy. She also ran the Derivatives marketing group, and was a key player in the JPM takeover of Bear Stearns during the financial crisis.

She discusses what it takes for women to advance in the world of finance, and what obstacles must be overcome.

Download the full podcast at iTunes and SoundCloud and Bloomberg. Earlier podcasts can be found on iTunesSoundcloud and at Bloombergview. Masters in Business broadcasts on Bloomberg Radio on Friday evening at 9pm, Saturday at 4am, 10am, 6pm, and 11pm, and early Sunday morn at 3am.

Next week, we speak with Jeff DeGraaf, Chief Technician and founder at Renaissance Macro.

 

 

The post MiB: Kelly Coffey, CEO, JPM Private Bank appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at April 30, 2016 02:00 PM

The Simple Dollar

12 Cheap Plant-Based Meals That Our Family Enjoys All the Time

Like every other American family with three children in the home, our family is busy. It seems like there’s something going on practically every night, which means that having a family dinner can sometimes be a struggle. We can usually find a window of opportunity where we’re all at home at the same time most nights, but finding an opportunity for someone to prepare that meal… that ends up being even more challenging.

At the same time, our family is pretty careful about our spending (for the most part). We try to avoid eating out very often, both due to the expense and due to the relative unhealthiness of the food at most restaurants.

Our solution to those problems is that we try to make quick meals at home with a plant-based focus. I am a practicing vegetarian on the advice of a dietitian who recommended it to me for health reasons, “cheating” only to eat fish about once a month. The rest of my family is omnivorous, but our meals tend to swing heavily toward fruits and vegetables with some dairy products and grains.

To aid in this, we have a roster of a few dozen meals that we eat pretty regularly. These are recipes that Sarah and I can both easily prepare almost without thinking. They also each afford a lot of room for substitution in a pinch, meaning you don’t have to have exact ingredients to pull off a pretty good meal. That gives us some flexibility in shopping for groceries.

Here are twelve of our favorites among those meals. In a given month, it’s very likely that we’ll have all of these meals at least once for our family dinner. Each of them is presented in both a vegetarian version and a version incorporating meat, save the one meal that includes fish.

Rather than just duplicating recipes, I’m going to link to recipes at other sites that are similar to what we prepare and provide some of muy specific notes on those recipes.

Hopefully, these ideas inspire you to prepare more meals at home with your family!

Pasta with Simple Marinara Sauce

This one’s so easy that I don’t really need to link to a recipe. We simply cook up a box of pasta according to the package directions, drain it, cover it with a simple marinara sauce, and serve it with some cooked vegetables on the side. We usually eat flash-frozen vegetables in the late fall, winter, and early spring and fresh vegetables from the garden during other times of the year.

Rather than using premade sauce, however, I usually just make my own while the pasta is cooking. I’ll grab a saucepan, add a bit of oil and then some diced onions and peppers and let them cook over high heat until they’re brown. If we have fresh onions and peppers, I’ll use those; otherwise, I’ll just take a handful out of a bag of flash-frozen onions and peppers from the freezer. I’ll usually add a garlic clove or three here, too.

Then, when they’re brown, I’ll drop the heat down to medium or so and add some diced tomatoes – fresh if they’re in season, a single can of diced tomatoes if they’re not – along with whatever spices I have on hand that are appropriate, such as oregano and basil, along with a few dashes of salt. I let this cook for a few minutes, stirring regularly, until it’s nice and warm, and then serve it directly over the cooked pasta.

Of course, you can always get pasta sauce from a jar, but this is less expensive (especially when the vegetables are in season) and tastes better, and I’m usually just standing around while the pasta is cooking anyway.

If you want meat in your sauce, that’s easy – just cook half a pound of ground beef or Italian sausage along with the onions and peppers and garlic. Cook until it’s brown, then add the other ingredients.

Slow Cooker Vegetarian “Chili”

I put “chili” in quotes here because different regions of the country have vastly different definitions of what constitutes “chili.” For us, chili simply means a thick soup that contains beans and chili peppers or chili powder, along with other ingredients at the person’s discretion. Others have more specific definitions.

We often make our version of chili in the slow cooker by tossing in those ingredients at the start. I’ll usually start the night before, cooking dry beans in the slow cooker overnight. In the morning, I’ll drain the beans, then add diced tomatoes (fresh in season, canned out of season), diced onions and peppers (fresh in season, flash frozen out of season), diced dried chili peppers or chili powder (depending on what’s on hand), garlic, a bit of cumin, a few dashes of salt, and whatever else I feel like at the moment.

We never make the same exact chili twice. I might add some ale one time. The next time, a handful of chocolate chips go in. The time after that, I’ll use plenty of black pepper. It’s good every time.

As always, you can make this a “meaty” chili by cooking up a pound of ground beef and adding this to the slow cooker along with the other ingredients in the morning.

Grilled “Packet Meals”

This is one of our favorite summer meals. It’s a tool we use to deal with the flood of vegetables coming from our garden.

All we do is chop up whatever vegetables are coming in right then – tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, etc. – along with some spices, some butter, and an ice cube. If you want to add meat, you can – add it uncooked.

Set out the various vegetables and meats in bowls by themselves along with some spices (we usually just have a container of spice mix), then give each person a rectangular piece of aluminum foil. They just simply add whatever ingredients they want to the center of the foil, then fold it up into a packet. You need to include some butter or an ice cube, too. I usually double up the foil, wrapping my packet in a second layer.

Then, just toss it on the grill or the fire. Let it cook for ten or fifteen minutes or so. You don’t need to be perfectly accurate here, though if there’s meat in there you want to be sure the meat is cooked.

When it’s done, open up the packet and enjoy. Some of the vegetables on the outer layer may be cooked onto the foil if you didn’t include enough butter or ice, but it’s usually a small portion and you can eat around it.

Slow Cooker Lasagna

I’ve actually discussed this recipe before, in my earlier article entitled Our Family’s Eight Favorite Slow Cooker Recipes. It’s also very straightforward – notice a theme here?

You’ll need some marinara sauce – I often make my own, as described at the start of this post, but you can use a big jar of your choice – along with some vegetables and/or cooked meat (I usually use spinach for this layer), some cheese (shredded mozzarella, ricotta, parmesan, whatever you like), and some uncooked lasagna noodles.

Just rub some olive oil all over the inside of your slow cooker in the morning, then add a quarter of your marinara sauce, then a layer of uncooked noodles, then a quarter of your vegetables and/or meat, then a quarter of your cheese. Repeat this four times, right on top of your previous layers, and you’re done. Easy enough. Turn the slow cooker on low and do your business for the day.

When you get home, turn off the slow cooker. You’re going to want this to rest without active heat for about an hour – or as close as you can to that. If you serve it immediately, it’s going to be runny; if you give it time, it cools a bit and “sets up” so that it’s easier to serve.

The house smells tremendous when you do this. There are few things better than strolling back in the house in the late afternoon when this has been slowly cooking all day.

Grilled Fish and Vegetables

My one “cheat” on my vegetarian diet is that I occasionally eat fish. This has a lot to do with the culture in which I was raised. My father was a commercial fisherman and occasionally still does it on a very small scale. He often gives us fish from his catches.

Our favorite (and very easy) way to prepare the fish is to cook fillets on the grill. I’ll just take one of the grill racks, cover it in aluminum foil, spray it with a little bit of vegetable oil, and then turn on the heat. I cook the fish right on that aluminum foil, sprinkling it with garlic, butter, salt, black pepper, and lemon juice as it cooks and flipping it to the other side. It’s done when the fish flakes effortlessly with a fork.

We’ll usually accompany that with some vegetables that we cook right on the aluminum foil alongside the fish. Usually, we’ll just cook whatever’s on sale at the grocery store or else whatever’s fresh from our garden – right now, for example, we have tons of asparagus.

Monk Bowls

A “monk bowl” is something I described in a classic Simple Dollar post. It’s a delicious, simple, and supremely flexible meal.

In the broadest sense, a “monk bowl” is simply a protein, a vegetable, a grain, and a sauce layered in a bowl, with each of those categories pretty loosely defined. For example, you might have rice, broccoli, beans, and soy sauce. Or you might have tofu, quinoa, red bell peppers, and teriyaki sauce. Or you might have chicken, broccoli, rice, and barbecue sauce. Anything goes.

A “monk bowl” is something we make whenever we have extras of a particular protein or a particular vegetable due to a store sale. We’ll cook them appropriately, set out the ingredients for everyone, and let everyone assemble their own bowl.

Believe it or not, this actually works pretty well for a picnic. Just bring the ingredients in sealed containers along with bowls and forks/spoons/chopsticks for everyone and a few extra utensils for serving and let everyone assemble their own bowls on site.

Grilled Black Bean Burgers and Vegetables

We love to have burgers on the grill when the weather is nice – both black bean burgers and beef burgers. Beef burgers are easy – just grab a pound of ground beef, shape it into patties, and grill it up!

For black bean burgers, prepackaged ones are okay, but it’s pretty easy to make your own. Just cook up some black beans in advance or else pop open two cans of black beans and strain them. Take the cooked beans and mash them with a fork until they’re mostly mush but with some partial beans. Add a cup of breadcrumbs, a raw egg, whatever spices you want, and some minced onion and mix it together. It should be really thick – if it’s not, add more breadcrumbs. You want these patties to hold together! Then just grill ‘em for a while. I usually grill them just as long as ordinary beef burgers.

Along with the burgers, we also cook a foil packet of whatever vegetables happen to be on sale that week or are fresh from the garden. We usually spray a bit of olive oil on a sheet of aluminum foil, put the vegetables on there, add a few spices, add an ice cube or a pat of butter, and wrap the whole thing up and toss it on the grill for a bit longer than the burgers.

It’s such a simple and flavorful meal that we practically overdo it during the summer months as we have this meal a couple times a week!

Slow Cooker Vegetable Soup

On the other end of the seasonal scale, this is a meal that we have a couple times a week during the winter months.

Vegetable soup is incredibly simple. You can literally make it out of any vegetables and beans and grains that you happen to have around. You can make it with rice or with quinoa or black beans. You can make it with carrots or tomatoes or squash or kale. Whatever’s available to you is perfect.

One thing we often do for our vegetable soup is to save our extra cooked vegetables from meals. We often serve very lightly seasoned vegetables as a side dish with our meals, and the remnants of that are saved in a freezer bag, along with all of the other vegetable remnants. When it’s full, we just dump the whole thing in the slow cooker, add some water and a few seasonings, and let it cook for an hour or two. (You can also make vegetable stock this way; when I do that, I let it cook for a lot of hours, then run it through a strainer to get rid of big pieces and save that liquid for future soups and stews).

Of course, you can make vegetable soup out of whatever vegetables and grains and beans happen to be on sale that week. Just chop them up, spice them a little, and toss them in the slow cooker (if you’re using dry beans, it may require a little more cooking).

What if you want meat? Add a pound of ground beef to the mix. It’ll turn out quite delicious.

Enchiladas

An enchilada is simply a corn tortilla wrapped around some ingredients and covered with a chili sauce. Although I prefer corn tortillas, we sometimes use flour tortillas as our children are not fans of corn tortillas.

Again, enchiladas are really easy. All you need is a container of enchilada sauce (I don’t try to make this on my own after several bad attempts), some tortillas, something to put in the middle (see below), a bit of cheese for a topping, and a 9″ by 13″ pan.

For the ingredients in the middle, just use what you have. Almost any beans and vegetables and rice will do. We usually just use whatever’s on sale – potatoes, tomatoes, onions, black beans, rice, and so on. Almost any kind of cooked meat will work here, too. We usually season this stuff with some hot peppers and a bit of enchilada sauce mixed right into the contents.

Just take a scoop of this mixture, put it right in the middle of a tortilla, and wrap it into an open-ended cylinder. Make a bunch of these, then pour a little bit of enchilada sauce in the pan and put the enchiladas right on top. Put a bit more enchilada sauce right on top, sprinkle a bit of cheese on that, and then bake it at 350 F for about 30 minutes. Let it sit for about 5 minutes after removing it from the oven and enjoy.

We usually have these whenever we accumulate enough ingredients from sales – tortillas and enchilada sauce, namely.

Stir Fry

Our “stir fry” is really simple, too. We just take whatever vegetables are on sale – bell peppers, onions, potatoes, tomatoes, whatever – and chop them up a bit. Then, we cook them quickly over very high heat to sear them and then serve it over cooked rice. I usually just do this in a big skillet, where I get it really hot before tossing in the vegetables.

As with the other recipes, feel free to cook your meat of choice along with this – bits of steak, chicken, shrimp, and so on on work really well here.

You can use a sauce if you’d like. It’s not necessary but it can add a distinct flavor. I generally pick up a bottle or two of sauce when they’re on sale – notice, again, that the key part to many of our meals is buying ingredients when they’re on sale.

“Breakfast for Supper”

This is a meal our children request constantly, so we have it fairly regularly. It’s another simple one, as they all are. We simply make breakfast and serve it as our evening meal.

This usually involves scrambled eggs (cooked in one big batch for the whole family, some fresh fruit (whatever fruit is on sale combined into a medley), some cooked potatoes with onions and peppers, and some toast. Sometimes we’ll have pancakes instead of the potatoes – again, this is all guided by sale prices.

Scrambling eggs is easy – just crack several eggs in a bowl, mix them thoroughly, add half a teaspoon of salt, mix that in thoroughly, and let it sit for ten minutes or so. Then add the mix to a pan that’s already been heated over medium heat with a bit of butter in it and keep turning the eggs over and over so that they don’t stick and cook. I pull them off of the heat just before they seem “done” and let them finish cooking at the table.

The potatoes are really easy – we just cook diced potatoes and diced onions and peppers all in one skillet until they taste right, tossing them regularly.

If you’d like some meat along with this, sausage and bacon are both completely appropriate here and easy to cook.

Breakfast for supper usually happens when there’s a sale on eggs coupled with fruit sales.

Taco Bar

The twelfth and final meal I want to mention is the “taco bar,” which happens when we set out a bunch of taco ingredients on the table for dinner. Usually, we prep a lot of them into little bowls in the morning, cover them, and pop them in the fridge – things like onions and lettuce and diced tomatoes and salsa and guacamole.

I usually eat black bean tacos, but you can make whatever protein you like the centerpiece of your taco. Cook up some ground beef and season it as you like, perhaps with a taco seasoning.

At the end of this meal, we usually just combine all of the remaining ingredients into one bowl for use as a “taco salad” for the next day or two, which brings me to my final point…

Bonus: Leftover Smorgasbord

Approximately twice a week, our dinner consists of a “leftover smorgasbord.” For that meal, we simply pull all of the leftovers out of the fridge and let people assemble their own meals from those items. If things need to be heated, you just make a plate with things that need heated and microwave that plate, then add cold things after that.

You can certainly end up with some strange combinations on leftover night. This is particularly true for me, since I’ll often choose last and just eat whatever’s there, resulting in scrambled eggs next to some vegetable soup next to some taco salad. It’s odd, for sure, but it’s usually fine and you sometimes end up with some interesting flavor combinations.

Not only that, this ensures that no food goes to waste, plus it makes for a really convenient and quick dinner as everyone can be eating within eight to ten minutes of walking in the door.

Final Thoughts

These meals aren’t the only things that we eat, but they do provide the backbone for a lot of meals in our home. Sarah and I can both prepare these meals almost without thinking. Most of them are pretty flexible. They also all tend to rely on ingredients that are on sale at the store, making them pretty cheap, and they’re all plant-based, making them at least somewhat healthy.

These meals are as close as we can get to the trifecta of cheap, healthy, and fast. It’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close, and that’s good for our family.

If you want to take home two ideas from this post, take home these.

First, flexible recipes that can be modified with whatever is on sale at the store are great. Most of our recipes fall into that category. We can modify them on the fly to work with whatever we happen to have, and that saves us a lot of cash.

Second, having a couple dozen meals you can cook almost without thinking in a short period of time makes family meal preparation a lot easier. It’s well worth the time to master a few simple recipes so that you can do them on autopilot.

Hopefully, these ideas inspire cheap, healthy, and quick meals for you and your family. Good luck!

The post 12 Cheap Plant-Based Meals That Our Family Enjoys All the Time appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by Trent Hamm at April 30, 2016 02:00 PM

datameet Google Group

Re: [datameet] DISE Data

Also check the work of Karnataka Learning Partnership https://klp.org.in/ Also ODC last year was on Education please see the videos from the Head of DISE and others https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOvtFzKWXzA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5rWp_gY7Gfs Sajjad and Sanjays talk on DISE https://ww

by Nisha Thompson at April 30, 2016 01:42 PM

Planet Python

Will McGugan: Capturing standard output in Python (and posting it online)

Just landed in inthing is a new and quite interesting feature.

Version 0.1.4 adds a capture method which will record all standard output, i.e. anything you print to the terminal. It works as a context manager. Here's an example:

from inthing import Stream
stream = Stream.new()
with stream.capture() as capture:
    import this

capture.browse()

Any print statement inside the with block will be captured and posted online with the block exits.

You can also do something similar from the command line, with the inthing capture subcommand, which posts anything you pipe in to it as an event.

lets say you wanted to post the version of all you installed Python packages online. You could do something like the following:

pip freeze | inthing capture -b

For more information see the Inthing docs.

Inthing is still technically in beta, but these features are quite solid. Please give them a try, and let me know how it goes!

April 30, 2016 01:40 PM

Boy Genius Report

Heart pounding first-person video takes you skydiving with Navy SEALs

Skydiving Video Navy SEAL
Have you ever wondered what it might be like to be a member of the Navy SEALs Leap Frogs jump team as they leap from an airplane high above Knoxville, Tennessee and skydive down into a football stadium below? Weird, that's very specific of you to have wondered. No matter, because one of the SEALs strapped a GoPro camera to his head, and the result is a heart pounding first-person view of the entire stunt from start to finish.

(more…)

by Zach Epstein at April 30, 2016 01:10 PM

OUseful.Info, the blog...

Bands Incorporated

A few weeks ago, as I was doodling with some Companies House director network mapping code and simple Companies House chatbot ideas, I tweeted an example of Iron Maiden’s company structure based on co-director relationships. Depending on the original search is seeded, the maps may also includes elements of band members’ own personal holdings/interests. The following map, for example, is seeded just from the Iron Maiden LLP company number:

iron_maiden

If you know anything about the band, you’ll know Bruce Dickinson’s aircraft interests make complete sense…

That graph is actually a bipartite graph – nodes are either directors or companies. We can easily generate a projection of the graph that replaces directors that link companies by edges that represent “common director” links between companies:

ireonmaiden2.png

(The edges are actually weighted, so the greater the edge weight, the more directors there are in common between the linked companies.)

In today’s Guardian, I notice they’re running a story about Radiohead’s company structure, with a parallel online piece, Radiohead’s corporate empire: inside the band’s dollars and cents which shows how to get a story out of such a map, as well as how to re-present the original raw map to provide to a bit more spatial semantic structure to it:

Radiohead_s_corporate_empire__inside_the_band_s_dollars_and_cents___Music___The_Guardian

(The story also digs into the financial reports from some of the companies.)

By way of comparison, here’s my raw map of Radiohead’s current company structure, generated from Companies House data seeded on the company number for Radiohead Trademark:

radiohead

It’s easy enough to grab the data for other bands. So how about someone like The Who? If we look in the immediate vicinity of The Who Group, we see core interests:

who1

But if we look for linkage to the next level of co-director links, we start to see other corporate groups that hold some at least one shared interest with the band members:

who2

So what other bands incorporated in the UK might be worth mapping?


by Tony Hirst at April 30, 2016 12:37 PM

Calculated Risk

April 2016: Unofficial Problem Bank list declines to 214 Institutions

This is an unofficial list of Problem Banks compiled only from public sources.

Here is the unofficial problem bank list for April 2016.

Changes and comments from surferdude808:
Update on the Unofficial Problem Bank List for April 2016. During the month, the list fell from 222 institutions to 214 after nine removals and one addition. Assets dropped by $2.2 billion to an aggregate $62.4 billion. A year ago, the list held 342 institutions with assets of $105.1 billion.

Actions have been terminated against U.S. Century Bank, Doral, FL ($910 million); Community Bank of Florida, Inc., Homestead, FL ($485 million); Florida Capital Bank, National Association, Jacksonville, FL ($341 million); Advantage Bank, Loveland, CO ($265 million); Transcapital Bank, Sunrise, FL ($169 million); Mountain Valley Bank, Dunlap, TN ($96 million); Bank of Newington, Newington, GA ($87 million); and Rocky Mountain Bank & Trust, Florence, CO ($65 million).

Trust Company Bank, Memphis, TN ($21 million) exited the list via failure becoming the second bank to fail in 2016.

Added this month was First Community National Bank, Cuba, MO ($207 million). Also, the FDIC issued a Prompt Corrective Action order against Proficio Bank, Cottonwood Heights, UT ($110 million), which has been on the list since March 2014.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at April 30, 2016 12:09 PM

Core77

Every Question on the Insane Ford GT Buyer Application and Will Smell Ever Come to Smartphones?

Core77's editors spend time combing through the news so you don't have to. Here's a weekly roundup of our favorite stories from the World Wide Web.

Instrumental City: The View from Hudson Yards, circa 2019

The future of New York is currently under construction in the Hudson Yards neighborhood on Manhattan's west side—spanning a mere seven blocks yet proposing to create a "model for the 21st century urban experience." In this illuminating look at the epic project, Shannon Mattern traces the people and powers who are now creating "the largest private real-estate development in United States history and the test ground for the world's most ambitious experiment in "smart city" urbanism."

—Alexandra Alexa, editorial assistant

Every Question Asked on the Ford GT Buyer Application

This week I'm reading the application to buy a new Ford GT. Not because I can afford to buy a $450,000 supercar, but because the questions asked during the vetting process to even make it onto the list are highly amusing.

—Rain Noe, senior editor

Will Smell Ever Come to Smartphones?

Do tailored 'scent messages' have the potential to be the emojis of the future or is this simply a wacky retrovision of what's to come?

?Allison Fonder, community manager

On Being Non-Binary in Female-Centric Spaces

As a writer (and a human), I spend a lot of time thinking about the words I use and the weight they can carry. A friend recently introduced me to the writings of Sam Escobar, who identifies as non-binary and has been writing on their experiences and the impact of problematic, gendered language. This piece marks just one of the great articles coming from the Femsplain channel on Medium — a worthy subscribe.

—Carly Ayres, columnist, In the Details

April 30, 2016 12:02 PM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

How to Keep an ‘Abundance’ Mentality as a Freelancer

When you’re a freelancer, you’ll eventually notice that the freelancing community for your niche is pretty small. You generally have a good idea of how much each freelancer earns, who they work for, how long they’ve been working for that client, what services they offer, etc. You just know.

With all of this information, it’s easy to get competitive. Partner that with the fact that you’re a freelancer – that probably means you’re probably competitive anyway. But fear not. I’ll make some very good points in this post which will enable you to keep an abundance mentality. You’ll be able to look at other freelancers as peers, not competitors. It’s much more fun this way!

Combined, You Set the Industry Prices

Early in my freelancing career, a fellow freelancer encouraged me to ask for raises. She said that I was writing for some pretty big names and I should be getting pretty big pay. It seemed odd to me at first. Why was she wanting me to get paid more? That would mean I’d be even more wrapped up in her freelancing niche. With more money, I definitely would be sticking around. But then she made the following point…

She said, “We set the prices people pay in this niche. If we don’t encourage fellow freelancers to raise their rates, we could sabotage our own rates. We may then all turn into starving artists. It’s important we all ask for what we deserve. The industry won’t be undervalued. What’s good for one of us is good for all of us.”

Makes sense, doesn’t it? If we’re focused on only ourselves, we’ll probably start undercutting other people’s rates. This means no freelancer wins. After you do this for long enough, you may ruin the niche!

Friends!

Once you begin meeting people, you’ll see they are honest and hard working just like yourself. When you become friends with someone, you’ll see there’s no need for you not to get along. Everyone can work to help each other out. You may clue them in on a client you have who wants additional help which you can’t take on yourself. To return the favor, they may introduce you to a virtual assistant who can help you in big ways.

They say keep your friends close and your enemies closer. But I’ve found that when you do this, everyone turns into your friends. And what’s wrong with that? As long as you’re not giving away your secret blend of herbs and spices, you’re just fine chatting it up.

What you think you’ll get is exactly what you’ll get

This is the part of the post where I get a little… new age. But bear with me. I know many successful people of all backgrounds who have done what I recommend with great success.

I believe that what you think you’ll get is what you’ll get. Imagine there’s a pie. The pie represents all the freelance income there is to be had in your niche. When all you see is one pie, you scramble towards the pie and savagely take all you can. But what if you thought differently?

Instead of visioning only one pie – imagine dozens and dozens of pies. Even imagine a bakery where fresh pies are baked each morning. Think of all the pies there are for you to devour.

Which do you prefer? One pie? Or endless pies? If you focus on endless opportunities, I believe that is what you’ll get. Your mind will be programmed to find opportunities everywhere. Say you’re a freelance clown. Clowns with a scarcity mentality (one pie) will focus on getting all the children’s birthday parties he can. The other clowns be danged! But the clown with the abundance mentality sees all the opportunities for clowns. He will get bookings for children’s parties, carnivals, company parties – you name it!

Which sounds more fun?

To boil this post down, which mindset sounds better to you – a scarcity mentality or an abundance mentality? I know which mindset will help me sleep at night.

The post How to Keep an ‘Abundance’ Mentality as a Freelancer appeared first on Due Blog.

by Will Lipovsky at April 30, 2016 12:00 PM

The Simple Dollar

Is Building a New Home a Better Deal Than Buying an Existing One?

Just the other day, a friend of mine argued that building a new home is more cost efficient than buying an existing property.

Her new home is almost finished, and will be move-in ready in about three weeks — so she’s understandably excited. Plus, she said, she’ll be saving all kinds of money because she built.

While I understood her excitement, I found that part puzzling. Was building a new home really cheaper? Please say it isn’t so.

She went on to explain that her new home came with a warranty on its construction and individual components, which would save her money if her home had any structural defects.

“Plus, I won’t have to replace a roof or an air conditioner for a decade,” she said. Since everything in her new house would be straight from the box, she felt sheltered from many of the surprise costs of home ownership we all complain about.

Why Building Usually Costs More

I wanted to dig deeper, so I reached out to an array of experts on the topic. As I suspected, there is no hard and fast rule. Just like the “rent versus buy” conundrum, the cost of building versus buying depends on a number of factors – some of which aren’t even in our control.

Still, the numbers don’t really lie. According to the National Association of Home Builders, the median price of a new home in the United States was $301,400 in February of 2016, while the median price of an existing home was $212,300.

That disparity can be explained at least partially by the idea that those who build new are often investing in larger and more luxurious homes. The median age of an existing, owner-occupied home in the U.S. is 37 years old, according to the NAHB. Back when such a house was built, around 1979, the median size of a newly constructed home was 1,645 square feet. In 2014, the median-sized new home was up to 2,453 square feet. A home that’s nearly 50% bigger is certainly going to cost more.

However, most experts concur that building new simply costs more on the front end. Here are a few reasons why:

Builder profits: Any new build is going to include some expectation for profit, which is part of the reason building a home costs more than buying an existing one, says founder of Beacon Real Estate, Stephen Maury.

“One contributing factor is the profit margin that a homebuilder will necessarily tack on to their cost of construction,” says Maury. “Sellers of older homes are less concerned with replacement costs than they are with capturing a profit on their investment,” he says. “Also, those homeowners will have benefited from value appreciation in the years since they built or purchased their home.”

More stringent energy policies or building codes: One instance where building new can cost more is when codes and rules have changed over the years, says Maury. “Depending on the age of the existing home, new homes may be required to be built to a more stringent energy code, to withstand higher winds, or at a higher elevation based on new FEMA projections for flood risks.”

Then, there are upgrades that are voluntary. One current trend is building “green,” or environmentally friendly homes, says Andrew Leff, national builder executive for Bank of America. Many newly-built homes come with energy certifications covering everything from roofs to appliance packages, while many existing homes were originally built to lower standards.

Then again, investing in an energy-friendly home could be a better long-term investment, says Leff. “While environmentally-friendly homes may cost more upfront to build, it could save you more money in the long run in terms of energy bills.”

The cost of land: When you buy an existing home, the cost of land comes with it. Buying a new home, on the other hand, generally means hunting down the perfect plot first. And that can be expensive, says Yariv Bensira of real estate firm Hyde Capital and investment management firm Lennox Companies.

“From my experience, if you’re looking to buy or build in a high demand area, the cost of purchasing land and then having to build a new home is more expensive than buying an existing home,” says Bensira. “The cost of the land [by itself] might be comparable to or near the cost of an existing home, so if you add in the building costs, permits, and time involved, you’re looking at a much more expensive proposition.”

The rising costs of materials: Where an existing home – and especially an older home – was built with materials that were purchased long ago, new homes require new materials that can be a lot more expensive.

“Building materials and building costs keep increasing,” says real estate investor Mark Ferguson of Invest Four More. “Building permits get more expensive.” While these costs can vary from home to home, increasing supply costs have a tendency to drive up prices for new homes across the board.

The Hidden Costs of Building a New Home

In addition to the many known and common costs that make building a new home an expensive proposition, a slew of hidden costs can also drive up the price of building. While some of these expenses are obvious if you really think about them, they still catch people off guard from time to time – and can send your building budget straight out the window.

What are some of these hidden costs? The experts weigh in:

  • Window coverings: “These usually come with an existing home, but can add up quickly if you have a lot of windows or if any are custom,” says real estate investor and consultant Eilene Wollslager.
  • Landscaping: “Most new builds either do not include landscaping, or only include front landscaping,” says Wollslager. “Depending on the size of your lawn and the detail of landscaping, this can add thousands of dollars.”
  • Random incidentals: There are always the unexpected costs, says Wollslager. These “extras” can include things like picture hanging supplies, decorating items (your old ones never seem to fit the style of the brand-new home), additional cable and electric outlets (they never seem to be where you thought they should go), extra keys and garage door openers. “There are always myriad small expenses that if you add them together can mount to a sizable expenditure,” she says. “Since these don’t always happen all at once, they often get overlooked as part of the expense.”
  • Furniture: If you’re building a bigger house, you might be surprised at how much more furniture you need. And whether you really need more furniture or not, you might find that your old pieces don’t work that well in your new place.
  • Upgraded finishes: “The biggest surprise cost in building a new home in a city usually appears with custom upgrades,” says Oregon realtor Kim Crieger. Add in the fact that most builders put in the least expensive paint, plumbing, and flooring at first. Whether you want to upgrade those finishes now or down the line, you’ll need to pay for them.
  • Driveways: With a country property especially, the most common unexpected expense is road and/or driveway building, says Crieger. “This usually costs far more than buyers anticipate, and is often taken for granted.”
  • Fences: If you want any expectation of privacy and have close neighbors, building a fence might be a necessity. Depending on the type and size of the fence, this can add several thousand dollars or more to the cost of building a new home.

And the list goes on and on. Depending on the size, location, and geography of your home, you could be on the hook for anything from custom sprinkler systems to alarm systems. At the end of the day, there is no limit to the “extras” you might find you need when you build a new home from scratch.

The Bottom Line

As with anything else, the difference in cost between building a new home and buying an existing one depends on a whole host of factors. The size and type of home you’re interested in will surely play a part, along with the location you hope to end up in.

To weigh the pros and cons of each option, Maury suggests sifting through some of your options and potential costs with a real estate broker. Start by searching available homes for sale. Then, once you find one you like, look for available lots where you might be able to build a similar home.

If you’re intrigued by the idea of building a home, talk to a contractor and ask about having a new home built in a similar style to the one you like. Find out the price per square foot of the construction, add in the cost of the land, and then compare the total to the cost of similar existing homes. Just make sure you’re taking into account everything that might be involved, including some of the hidden and unexpected expenses people don’t always plan for.

Either way, don’t listen to realtors, builders, or even friends who say one way is definitely cheaper than the other. With so many factors at play, it’s impossible for anyone to know with certainty. Building a cheaper starter home might be less expensive for one person, while buying an existing home and then adding custom upgrades could cause another person’s housing budget to explode.

At the end of the day, it pays to err on the side of caution and run all the numbers on your own. Whether building or buying, the best decision you can make is an informed one.

Have you ever built a home? If so, what are some surprise expenses to plan for? Which do you think is more expensive – building or buying?

Related Articles:

The post Is Building a New Home a Better Deal Than Buying an Existing One? appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by Holly Johnson at April 30, 2016 12:00 PM

datameet Google Group

update to pincodes data

Hi Came across this site a week or so ago : http://pmjdy.gov.in/g-i-s.aspx. This site, which is part of the PMJDY (jan dhan yojana), has geolocations for post offices among others. There are 1.42 lakh post office locations given in this map. I have tried to match these locations to actual

by Avinash Celestine at April 30, 2016 11:48 AM

Dan Ariely

Ask Ariely: On Allowances for Appearance, Desirable Drafts, and Too Many Tasks

Here’s my Q&A column from the WSJ this week  and if you have any questions for me, you can tweet them to @danariely with the hashtag #askariely, post a comment on my Ask Ariely Facebook page, or email them to AskAriely@wsj.com.

___________________________________________________

Dear Dan,

I’m a young woman who works at a Fortune 500 company, and I feel pressure at work to dress up. Between hair, makeup and a different, interesting outfit every day, I’d estimate that the extra effort takes about an hour a day and costs more than 10% of my income. So shouldn’t women be allowed to come to work an hour later than men and get paid 10% more?

—Maria 

You’re quite right that the different standards we have for men and women in the workplace create lots of inequalities that, as a society, we need to fix. But your modest proposal is inherently flawed. If we followed it to its next logical steps, we would give raises to people with strong body odor who need to spend more time in the shower. Would we make bald men work longer because they don’t need to spend time washing their hair? And what about women who worry less or more about their attractiveness? Would your “dressing-up allowance” of time and money be provided only to those who focus on such things? You are basically proposing that we overcome sexism with reverse discrimination, which usually creates new and sometimes more complex problems.
Still, even if we agree to disagree over whether women as a class should make more than men, I hope we can agree that equal pay for equal work would be a key step forward.

___________________________________________________

Dear Dan,

I’m a college professor, and every year, I have a few wonderful students who work and work on their papers to make them better and better. They almost always miss their deadlines and get penalized. What can I do to get them to be less perfectionistic and more punctual?

—Howard 

Perfectionists don’t have it easy. They feel so bad about submitting subpar work (and of course, nothing is ever perfect) that they are willing to pay all kinds of costs in their struggle for perfection—including being late and getting lower grades.
To overcome the perfectionists’ problem, what if you asked your students to write their papers using Google Docs and to share their drafts with you? You would then have access to their work every step of the way, and the students—including the perfectionists—would know that you’ve been exposed to various versions of their less-than-perfect paper.
Alternatively, you could ask your students to submit their first drafts by the middle of the semester. You could explain that you expect these papers to be half-baked and encourage them to keep on improving their drafts by handing you an updated version every week. This approach would also make the students submit an imperfect paper, and once they did, they might be more relaxed moving forward.

___________________________________________________

Dear Dan,

Children today are continuously exposed to multimedia on their cellphones and other devices. At a sporting event a few weeks ago, I saw some kids who were watching the live game in front of them while also playing a videogame on their phones. I’m amazed by such versatility. Are they more able to handle multiple tasks at the same time than us dinosaurs?

—Rob 

Kids these days certainly do a lot simultaneously, and they certainly think that they can handle multiple tasks—but they have the same limited attention span as the rest of us. The sad outcome of their overconfidence in their multitasking capacities is that they listen to a lecture while scrolling through Facebook, play a videogame while watching a movie and text while having a family dinner—and don’t really benefit from any of these activities.

See the original article in the Wall Street Journal here.


by mrtrower at April 30, 2016 11:30 AM

Across the Curve

Stagnant Wages

Via WSJ:

Years of solid job gains are failing to produce a breakout in wages, suppressing the spark needed for a sustained pickup in economic growth.

U.S. employers for the past four years created more than 200,000 jobs a month on average. That has driven the unemployment rate down to 5% last month from above 8% in early 2012.

But wages have shown little progress. Wages and salaries for private-sectors workers advanced 2% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the Labor Department said Friday. The measure has grown near that rate, on average, since the start of 2012.

The U.S. economy, like much of the globe, is stuck in a slow-growth rut. Turmoil overseas and still-weak commodity prices are preventing the manufacturing, trade and energy sectors from supporting growth. That leaves U.S. consumers to boost the expansion. But without accelerating wages, it’s difficult for them to step up spending.

“We continue to be on track for very slow progress,” said BNP Paribas economist Laura Rosner. “That’s reflected in the lack of wage growth.”

Economists harbor little hope for a significant economic rebound this spring, though they do expect some pickup after a disappointing winter performance when the economy expanded at a 0.5% pace. Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers projects gross domesticproduct to advance at a 2.1% pace in the second quarter. GDP figures are adjusted for price changes. Such anacceleration would only bring growth roughly back in line with the overallpace of the lackluster expansion.

Overall compensation for all workers, a figure that includes benefits, rose 1.9% from a year earlier, the Labor Department said. Federal Reserve officials watch the gauge for signs of labor-cost inflation.

The reading has been consistently stronger than overall inflation. Consumer prices rose 0.8% from a year earlier in March, a separate Commerce Department report said Friday. But the compensation growth remains small compared with the pace of increases during the previous expansion. From 2002 through 2007 compensation averaged better than 3% annual growth.

Another measure of wages, average hourly earnings for private-sector workers, shows slightly stronger gains, up 2.3% in March from a year earlier. But that, too, is little changed from recent years. Four years ago, in March 2012, the annual gain was 2.1%.

Some employers that hire low-wage workers say they are seeing increased pressures tied to minimum-wage increases in 26 states since the start of 2014. But other firms say there’s been little change.

Wage pressures are “nothing really any different than we’ve seen in the past,” Jeff Shaw, executive vice president for store operations at O’Reilly Automotive Inc., told investors Thursday. “There’s always a scramble for great people in the market. But…really no changes that we’ve seen.”

Several factors are constraining wage growth.

The unemployment rate might not fully reflect the degree of slack in the labor market. Some older workers and those displaced during the recession have returned to the workforce recently, and that makes it difficult for existing workers to demand higher pay.

And productivity growth in many service fields has been low, meaning even small wage gains can feel expensive for employers in those sectors, said BNP’s Ms. Rosner. That could partially reflect global cost pressures due to services that can more easily be provided from overseas, via the Internet and call centers, she said.

Weak wage gains are at least partially responsible for lackluster spending. Overall consumer outlays increased just 0.1% in March from February. Accounting for price increases, spending was flat for the second time in three months, Commerce Department data showed. The same report showed consumers are increasing savings at a faster rate than spending, a potential sign of shaky confidence.

The University of Michigan’s gauge of U.S. consumer sentiment, also released Friday, declined in April to its lowest level in seven months.

“Consumer mood and spending have been rather subdued recently due to volatility in the stock market and rising pump prices, despite well received employment reports,” said IHS economist Chris Christopher. But he forecasts better April spending, “so long as the stock market behaves itself, second-quarter consumer spending is likely to be significantly stronger than the first quarter.”

Write to Eric Morath at eric.morath@wsj.com

by John Jansen at April 30, 2016 11:07 AM

Wired Top Stories

Our 8 Favorite VR Experiences From the Tribeca Film Festival

Our 8 Favorite VR Experiences From the Tribeca Film Festival
VR is really finding its legs as a creative artform. Here are eight innovative virtual-reality experiences from this year's Tribeca Film Festival. The post Our 8 Favorite VR Experiences From the Tribeca Film Festival appeared first on WIRED.

by Tim Moynihan at April 30, 2016 11:00 AM

Abnormal Returns

Saturday links: doing the job itself

by abnormalreturns at April 30, 2016 11:00 AM

Wired Top Stories

Sigh: We May Have Already Reached Peak Geek

Sigh: We May Have Already Reached Peak Geek
In the new 'Geek's Guide to the Galaxy' podcast, author Rob Salkowitz discusses the possibility that even hardcore fans are tired of comics in pop culture. The post Sigh: We May Have Already Reached Peak Geek appeared first on WIRED.

by Geek's Guide to the Galaxy at April 30, 2016 11:00 AM

The Big Picture

10 Weekend Reads

The weekend is here! Pour yourself a mug of French Roast coffee, grab a comfy seat, and get ready for our longer form weekend reads:

• Uncanny Valley: I would say more, but I signed an NDA. (N+1)
• Trumpology: A Master Class. There are five people who’ve gone deeper on The Donald than anyone else alive. We brought them together for the definitive conversation about who he really is. (Politico)
• Q&A With Christine Lagarde: Finance’s Firefighter Wants to Be Its Architect (Bloomberg)
• Fixing the American Commute: We blame cars for transportation woes, but can new technology turn them into saviors? (Curbed)
• In an Age of Privilege, Not Everyone Is in the Same Boat: Companies are becoming adept at identifying wealthy customers and marketing to them, creating a money-based caste system. (NYTimes)
• A Leak Wounded This Company. Fighting the Feds Finished It Off (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
• San Francisco’s long shadow The nation’s biggest housing winners and losers live only 80 miles apart  (Washington Post)
• What Caused the Great Crime Decline in the U.S.? After decades of soaring levels of homicides and drug violence, the country’s crime rate plunged dramatically over the last 25 years. (The Atlantic)
• The Art of Larry Gagosian’s Empire (WSJ) but see also The Big Fake: Behind The Scenes Of Knoedler Gallery’s Downfall (Art News)
• Why you shouldn’t exercise to lose weight, explained with 60+ studies (Vox)

Be sure to check out our Masters in Business interview this weekend with Kelly Coffey, CEO of JPM Private Bank, which manages more than $650 billion in assets.

 

Warren Buffett’s Long Road Back Into Manufacturing
Berkshire Profit By Segment
Source: Bloomberg

 

The post 10 Weekend Reads appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at April 30, 2016 11:00 AM

Wired Top Stories