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

August 01, 2016

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

July 26, 2016

I, Cringely

Is anyone at Yahoo! paying attention? Probably not.

yahoo-old-logo-v2So Verizon is buying the heart of old Yahoo! I include the exclamation point because it was always there in the Yahoo! we knew back when the Internet was young. $4.83 billion in cash is a lot of cash, but for Verizon it’s a way of buying into the future while buying what to many of us seems to be the past. So let’s get the business part out of the way: Verizon can see Yahoo! as a bargain because Yahoo! has nearly always been more profitable on a gross margin basis than Verizon, a phone company. Even Yahoo! in decline will pull Verizon up. But that’s not why I’m writing about Yahoo! I’m writing because a reader yesterday more or less suggested I do so. At the risk of my sounding like Donald Trump, the reader suggested I had been right all along about Yahoo!

“Did Yahoo just implement your recommendations?” he asked. “That would make a good article.”

I don’t know if Yahoo! listens to me or not, but for those who remember it the column the reader had in mind was published here on September 30, 2014, nearly two years ago. Titled One way (maybe the only way) Yahoo can succeed, it recommended selling the Yahoo! core business and managing Yahoo!’s Alibaba and Yahoo Japan investments as a giant venture fund roughly equivalent in size to all of Sand Hill Road, where the VCs park their Teslas.

Nothing much has changed in the intervening two years except for a whole lot of monkey motion. Sometimes I wish people would actually read this stuff I write. So here it is again because the advice is still good:

One way (maybe the only way) Yahoo can succeed

Alibaba’s IPO has come and gone and with it Yahoo has lost the role of Alibaba proxy and its shares have begun to slide. Yahoo’s Wall Street honeymoon, if there ever was one, is over, leaving the company trying almost anything it can to avoid sliding into oblivion. Having covered Yahoo continuously since its founding 20 years ago it is clear Y! has little chance of managing its way out of this latest of many crises despite all the associated cash. But — if it will — Yahoo could invest its way to even greater success.

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, thinking like Type A CEOs nearly always seem to think, wants to take some of the billions reaped from the Alibaba IPO and dramatically remake her company to compete again with Google , Microsoft , Facebook, and even Apple.

It won’t work.

Those ships have, for the most part, already sailed and can never be caught. Yahoo would have to do what it has been trying to do ever since Tim Koogle left as CEO in 2003 and regain its mojo. There is no reason to believe that more money is the answer.

It’s not that Mayer isn’t super-smart, it’s that the job she is attempting to do may be impossible. She has the temperament for it but the rest of Yahoo does not. Even if she fires everyone, Yahoo still has a funny smell.

In practical terms there are only two logical courses of action for Mayer and Yahoo. One is to wind things down and return Yahoo’s value to shareholders in the most efficient fashion, selling divisions, buying back shares, and issuing dividends until finally turning out the lights and going home. That’s an end-game. The only other possible course for Yahoo, in my view, is to turn the company into a Silicon Valley version of Berkshire Hathaway. That’s what I strongly propose.

Mayer seems to be trying to buy her way ahead of the next technology wave, but having been at this game for a couple of years so far, it isn’t going well. Lots of acqui-hires (buying tech companies for their people) and big acquisitions like Tumblr have not significantly changed the company’s downward trajectory. That’s because that trajectory is determined more by Google and Facebook and by changes in the ad market than by anything Yahoo can do. It’s simply beyond Mayer’s power because no matter how much money she has, Google and Facebook will always have more.

It’s time to try something new.

While Berkshire Hathaway owns some companies outright like Burlington Northern-Santa Fe railroad and GEICO, even those are for the most part left in the hands of managers who came with the businesses. At Coke and IBM, too, Berkshire tends to trust current management while keeping a close eye on the numbers. Yahoo should do the same but limit itself to the tech market or maybe just to Silicon Valley, keeping all investments within 50 miles of Yahoo Intergalactic HQ in Sunnyvale.

Yahoo’s current stakes in Alibaba and Yahoo Japan are worth $36 billion and $8 billion respectively and Alibaba at least appears to be on an upward trajectory. With $9 billion in cash from the Alibaba IPO Yahoo has at least $50 billion to put to work without borrowing anything. $50 billion is bigger than the biggest venture, private equity or hedge fund.

Mayer is smart, but maybe not smart enough to realize the companies in which she is interested could do better under their own names with a substantial Yahoo minority investment. That would leverage Yahoo’s money and allow a broader array of bets as a hedge, too. Mayer can pick the companies herself or — even better — just participate in every Silicon Valley B Round from now on, doing a form of dollar cost averaging that puts $15 billion to work every year. With future exits coming from acquisitions and IPOs (and possibly winding-down its own tech activities) Yahoo ought to be able to fund this level of investment indefinitely. Yahoo would literally own the future of tech.

Silicon Valley companies that make it to a B Round (the third round of funding after seed and A) have dramatically better chances of making successful exits. Yahoo wouldn’t have to pick the companies, Hell they wouldn’t even have to know the names of those companies, just their industry sectors and locations. Forty years of VC history show that with such a strategy investment success would be practically guaranteed.

As opposed to the company’s current course, which is anything but.








Digital Branding
Web Design Marketing

by Robert X. Cringely at July 26, 2016 12:44 PM

TmoNews

T-Mobile Binge On gains 16 new video services, now offers more than 100 total

Binge On is growing once again. T-Mobile today added 16 more video providers to Binge On that customers with a 3GB or higher data plan can stream without touching their high-speed data allotment. Those 16 new providers are: ABC Apple Music Big Ten Network CEEK VR DISH Anywhere Disney Channel Disney Jr. Disney XD D-PAN.TV DramaFever FOXNOW FXNOW NAT GEO TV Shalom World Sioeye Tubi TV There’s quite a mix of programming in there, with ... [read full article]

The post T-Mobile Binge On gains 16 new video services, now offers more than 100 total appeared first on TmoNews.

by Alex Wagner at July 26, 2016 12:32 PM

Boy Genius Report

The two best flash drive deals you’ll find on Amazon this week

Cheap Flash Drive

Finding a good deal on Amazon on USB flash drives can be difficult. It's not that solid bargains are hard to come by, it's that there are just so many deep discounts on memory products that sifting through them all can be tricky at best and a downright pain in the butt at worst. How about this — we'll tell you about two of the best deals this week on Amazon for USB flash drives, and you won't have to dig at all. This post covers a 32GB model and a 256GB model, so we've got you covered whether you need a small capacity drive or a huge one.

(more…)

Trending right now:

  1. 6 incredibly rare Pokemon that are currently impossible to find in Pokemon Go
  2. Pokemon Go: Google Maps hack makes it easier than ever to find Pokemon
  3. How to find Pokemon even when Pokemon Go’s nearby tracker is broken

by Maren Estrada at July 26, 2016 12:25 PM

Zero Hedge

Crude Carnage Continues: WTI Hits $42 Handle On Inventories, Dollar

With WTI now down over 17% from its mid-June highs, and energy stocks just beginning to wake up to the 2015-analog collapse, fears are rising that once again low oil prices are not 'unequivocally good' for stocks or the economy. Between record speculative long positioning in futures, the fundamental strength of the dollar and surge in gasoline inventories remain the big overhangs (along with rising storage levels at Cushing as demand begins to fade seasonally).

Sept 16 WTI is now down 17% from its recent highs...

 

Back to unchanged on the year at 3 month lows...

 

“It’s the same things that have been driving it for the past few days now, gasoline inventories haven’t declined as much as people thought they were going to,” says Michael Hewson, analyst at CMC Markets.

And Energy stocks are catching down fast...

 

Tracking last year's pump-and-dump of hope perfectly.

 

As demand is set to tumble...

 

It's not over yet. Tonight's API data will likely be the next ccatalyst one way or another.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 12:24 PM

Raoul Pal: "The Era Of Doing Nothing And Getting Paid For It Is Over"

By Chris at www.CapitalistExploits.at

Today's podcast is a little different. I speak with Raoul Pal and we cover a number of topics, running from one to another as they crop up. I hope you'll enjoy it as much as I always enjoy speaking with Raoul.

For those of you who've never heard of Raoul - he is first and foremost one of the most congenial, open minded, and thoughtful guys you could ever have the pleasure of discussing the truly mind boggling and fascinating world of global macroeconomics with.

He's also a world renowned global macro investor, an investment strategist, economic historian, traveler, rum drinker, and co-founder of Real Vision TV, together with Grant Williams who I spoke with some time ago. Here's some of the topics Raoul and I cover in the podcast:

  • The end of financialization of the economy. The era of doing nothing and get paid for it is over. Why Raoul thinks that’s a good thing (especially if you’re an entrepreneur) and he also lays out the way to profit from it.
  • Why markets around the world are so fragile today and why the investment environment is so dangerous, especially for less liquid investments.
  • Helicopter money - as Raoul said, “We’re getting there, it just depends which format we’re going to get.”
  • Why debt is like 700 beers (plus Raoul’s take on the possibility of a debt jubilee).
  • Which chart is showing one of the biggest head and shoulders tops in history.
  • How Raoul looks at Bitcoin and why he thinks Bitcoin has a huge runway (but with one important caveat)... and why - on the other side - he doesn’t see a lot more runway left in startup investing, or as Raoul calls it, “lottery ticket investing”.
  • Why venture capital is, in fact, in a "terrifying situation".
  • And much more.

Raoul Pal Podcast

Like 6 other investing superstars, Raoul is also bullish on gold. I think it's one of the easiest and safest bets in today's macro environment.

I hope you enjoy it. Please share this with all your friends and enemies alike and let me know your thoughts by leaving a comment on the site.  

- Chris

============

Liked this article? Don't miss our future articles and podcasts, and

get access to free subscriber-only content here.

============

by Capitalist Exploits at July 26, 2016 12:23 PM

Calculated Risk

Black Knight's First Look at June Mortgage Data

From Black Knight: Black Knight Financial Services’ First Look at June Mortgage Data: Foreclosure Starts Up for Second Consecutive Month; Prepays Rise on Historically Low Rates
• Despite June’s increase, first-time foreclosure starts in Q2 2016 were at their lowest level in over 16 years

• Prepayment speeds (historically a good indicator of refinance activity) jumped to a 12-month high, mirroring an overall rise in refinance activity driven by historically low interest rates

• Early-stage delinquencies saw a seasonal increase in June, while 90-day delinquencies and foreclosure inventories continued to decline
According to Black Knight's First Look report for June, the percent of loans delinquent increased 1.3% in June compared to May, and declined 10.0% year-over-year.

The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined 2.6% in June and were down 29.4% over the last year.

Black Knight reported the U.S. mortgage delinquency rate (loans 30 or more days past due, but not in foreclosure) was 4.31% in June, up from 4.25% in May.

The percent of loans in the foreclosure process declined in June to 1.10%.

The number of delinquent properties, but not in foreclosure, is down 237,000 properties year-over-year, and the number of properties in the foreclosure process is down 231,000 properties year-over-year.

Black Knight will release the complete mortgage monitor for June in early August.

Black Knight: Percent Loans Delinquent and in Foreclosure Process
  June
2016
May
2016
June
2015
June
2014
Delinquent4.31%4.25%4.79%5.71%
In Foreclosure1.10%1.13%1.56%2.00%
Number of properties:
Number of properties that are delinquent, but not in foreclosure:2,178,0002,153,0002,415,0002,876,000
Number of properties in foreclosure pre-sale inventory:558,000574,000789,0001,006,000
Total Properties2,736,0002,727,0003,204,0003,882,000

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2016 12:21 PM

Zero Hedge

Caterpiller Cuts Guidance On "Subdued Global Growth", Blames Brexit And "Turkey Turmoil"

One day after reporting another disappointing global retail sales report, posting 43 consecutive months of declining global sales...

 

... moments ago CAT reported Q2 earnings, which were modestly better than expected, with adjusted 2Q EPS of $1.09 vs est. 96c, above the highest est. of 99c on revenue of $10.34BN, also above the $10.13BN estimate.

However, the reason why the short squeeze was not triggered today is because in its earnings the company once again cut guidance, and now sees 2016 revenue of $40.0b-$40.5b, with the midpoint coming below the prior forecast of $40b-$42b, on "persistent economic risks." It also sees 2016 adj. EPS $3.55 excluding costs vs prior forecast $3.70, if still modestly above the consensus est. of $3.52. The reason, according to the company, is that "we’re not expecting an upturn in important industries like mining, oil and gas and rail to happen this year."

The company's order backlog was $11.8bn at end of 2Q, down $1.3bn from the end of 1Q with two-thirds of decrease in Construciton Industries. Finally, the company now sees 2016 restructuring costs $700m vs prior forecast $550m; as a result of even more laoffs in the second half.

Here is the company's outlook.

World economic growth remains subdued and is not sufficient to drive improvement in most of the industries and markets we serve. Commodity prices appear to have stabilized, but at low levels. Global uncertainty continues, and the recent Brexit outcome and the turmoil in Turkey add to risks, especially in Europe.

 

The outlook for 2016 that we provided with our first-quarter financial results in April expected sales and revenues in a range of $40 to $42 billion. At the midpoint of that range, profit was expected to be $3.00 per share, or $3.7 per share excluding restructuring costs. Over the past quarter, economic risks have persisted and, as a result, our current expectations for 2016 sales and revenues are closer to the bottom end of that outlook range.

 

Restructuring costs in 2016, which were expected to be about $550 million, are now forecast to be about $700 million, or about $0.80 per share. Additional workforce reductions expected in the second half of 2016 are the primary reason for the increase in restructuring costs. Sales and revenues for 2016 are expected to be in a range of $40.0 to $40.5 billion, and the profit outlook at the midpoint of the sales and revenues range is about $2.75 per share, or about $3.55 per share excluding restructuring costs. Our revised outlook for both sales and revenues and profit per share excluding restructuring costs is in line with the Thompson First Call analyst consensus.

 

“Despite a solid second quarter, we’re cautious as we enter the second half of the year. We’re not expecting an upturn in important industries like mining, oil and gas and rail to happen this year. We’re continuing significant restructuring plans, which are designed to bring our cost structure more in line with demand while maintaining our capability to quickly serve our customers when our business recovers. Once it does recover, we expect substantial incremental profit improvement, realizing the benefits of the tough actions we’re implementing now coupled with our ongoing investments in products and digital capabilities. Amidst these very challenging market conditions, our balance sheet remains strong, and our employees are delivering better performance on everything from safety, quality and cost management to machine market position. I’m inspired by our people as they’re the primary reason we’re weathering this downturn as successfully as we are,” said Oberhelman.

Still, even with the stock down we expect the BTFD hunters to emerge and to prop it quickly in the green on Oberhelmann's hopes that a "substantial incremental profit improvement" is just around the corner, and justifies the company's 22x forward P/E ratio excluding restructuring costs, and 28x if one excludes the $0.80 in forecasts 2016 addbacks.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 12:18 PM

swissmiss

Vintage Slotted Menu Board

Vintage Slotted Menu Board

I totally want one of these Vintage Slotted Menu Board to tell my kids whats on the menu this week, or to send subliminal messages to my team. But yikes, #expensive.

by swissmiss at July 26, 2016 12:12 PM

Zero Hedge

Peak Irony: Mexico Wants To Build The Wall To Stop Illegal Immigration

Submitted by Mac Slavo via SHTFPlan.com,

It turns out that Donald Trump’s proposed border wall is not such a bad idea after all. Though Mexico’s current and former Presidents have both lambasted Trump for implying that a wall would curb immigration, it turns out that Mexicans like the idea.

There is one small caveat, however. Mexicans don’t want to build the wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, but rather, they want to stem the tide of immigration into their own country  by building the wall on their southern border with central America:

One of the largest newspapers along Mexico’s border with Texas is calling for a border wall with Central America, similar to the one being promoted by Republican Presidential Candidate Donald J. Trump.

 

The editorial board of El Mañana, one of the largest newspapers in the border state of Tamaulipas,  penned a piece called “Yes to the Border Wall … but in Mexico’s South.” The piece praises the idea of border wall, not on the border with Mexico, but on the border with Central America.

 

“Along the Mexican border peace and quiet came to an end, Central Americans played a large influence,” El Mañana’s piece claimed.

 

The Mexican border newspaper provides a controversial view on the Border Wall; which is one of the main topics in Trump’s campaign.

 

“Mexico’s southeast has two borders; one with Guatemala and one with Belize, that do not provide any benefit, but on the contrary only problems are brought by these crossing points that are being used for the new invasion. The one use by Central American’s looking for a way into the United States. ” El Mañana’s editorial board wrote.

 

One of the issues mentioned in the editorial piece points not only to the hordes of Guatemalans, Salvadorans and Hondurans that flock to Reynosa in an effort to get to the U.S., but also to the large number of Central Americans that are left in Mexico after deportation.

Full report at Breitbart

Eastern European countries are expanding their border fence networks to keep middle east refugees from crossing into their countries, a strategy that has cut illegal immigration by over 90% in those nations.

President Obama made the one in front of the White House even higher and more elaborate.

Prisons tend to build them, too.

The Mexicans want one.

And now even the Democratic National Committee has decided that fences work to keep out the riff-raff. They’ve built an 8 foot high, 4 mile long fence around their convention.

It seems like these days everyone wants to build a wall.

But according to former DHS chief Janet Napolitano, walls don’t work to keep people out and are ineffective immigration policy, so we’re not sure what all the fuss is about.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 12:10 PM

FlowingData

Grid map shows shifting states

Time series grid map

You’re likely familiar with the state grid map form used these days. Instead of using geographic boundaries, you place states in a grid layout, giving an equal-sized cell to each state so that they all get the same visual weight. The Wall Street Journal combined it with a time series for each state in their field guide to shifting states.

The country is more than just red states and blue states. Some former battlegrounds have moved to the sidelines. Other once reliably Republican or Democratic states have come into play as the composition of their electorates change.

Red means more Republican than the national popular vote, and blue means more Democrat.

The slow, animated load makes the map. It reminds me of the New York Times’ “wind” map from the previous election. Life-like.

Tags: ,

by Nathan Yau at July 26, 2016 12:00 PM

Google LatLong

New Zagat iOS app: Tap into tailored, trustworthy dining recommendations -- wherever you may be

For over three decades, Zagat has been dishing out trustworthy guidance for urban foodies across the US. We thought it was time to spice up Zagat’s look and refresh its mobile iOS app in order to provide relevant restaurant recommendations for diners on the go. Looking for new watering holes in your area or wanting the top recommended dining spots for the city you’re visiting? Zagat now makes it simple and easy using its reliable recipe that looks at the wisdom of the crowds combined with hand-crafted reviews. Check out the Zagat blog for more details.

Author: Laura Slabin, Director, Local Content & Community

by Lat Long (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2016 12:00 PM

Zero Hedge

Bernie Speech Seeks To Rescue Divisive Day At DNC; Unclear If Bernie Supporters Are "With Her"

Bernie Sanders delivered the final speech at the DNC last night capping off a difficult day for the Democrats which was plagued by multiple disturbances from Bernie supporters who felt disenfranchised by their own party.  Many speakers were interrupted throughout the day with chants of "Lock Her Up" while Elizabeth Warren was loudly heckled by chants of "we trusted you." 

Still, no one took as much heat from Bernie supporters as DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who resigned on Sunday after emails revealed numerous attempts by the DNC to undermine Sanders' campaign during the primary process.

The sustained applause and sea of "Bernie" signs in the crowd as he took the stage called into question whether Hillary had any support at all among the convention goers.  Sanders spent nearly the first half of his speech thanking his supporters and touting progressive policies with the first mention of Clinton not coming until about 800 words later.  Bernie noted that his campaign had sparked a "political revolution to transform America" and closed the opening portion of his speech by thanking the 13mm Americans who voted for him and welcoming the support of the 1,846 delegates at a roll call vote for the Democratic nomination on Tuesday.

Sanders pledged to continue his “political revolution” while offering a full-throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, and warning the election’s stakes were too high for voters to sit out.

"I understand that many people here at this convention hall and around the country are disappointed about the final results of the nominating process.  I think it's fair to say that no one is more disappointed than I am."

 

"Together my friends, we have begun a political revolution to transform American, and that revolution, our revolution, continues."

 

"And let me thank the 13 million Americans who voted for the political revolution, giving us the 1,846 pledged delegates here tonight."

 

"The struggle of the people to create a government which represents all of us and not just the 1 percent – a government based on the principles of economic, social, racial and environmental justice – that struggle continues. And I look forward to being part of that
struggle with you"

When Bernie finally called for his supporters to back Hillary he was met with boos from the crowd and chants of "Bernie".  He continued on to say, “If you don’t believe this election is important, if you think you can sit it out, take a moment to think about the Supreme Court justices that Donald Trump would nominate and what that would mean to civil liberties, equal rights and the future of our country.”

Despite his calls for unification, it's unclear whether Bernie supporters are "with Her".  As The Hill points out:

The Bernie Delegates Network—which as of Monday included nearly two-thirds of Sanders delegates—was actively looking at a challenge to Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine’s vice presidential nomination.

 

Jessa Lewis, a national delegate for Sanders, said that while the Vermont senator has been fighting for the progressive wing for months when it comes to unifying around Clinton "he can't bring the delegates along with him, because that's not where they are.

After Sanders finished his speech, his campaign sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to submit their names and contribute to a new group he’s calling “Our Revolution.”  The email said the goal of the organization would be to "transform American politics to make our political and economic systems once again responsive to the needs of working families.”

Bernie's entire speech is below:

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 11:47 AM

“Could Not Invent A More Bullish Story For Gold Bullion”

Newstalk's Nick Bullman interviewed GoldCore’s Mark O’Byrne on “Down To Business” at 0643 this morning.newstalkradioThe interview on Breakfast (06:30 - 09:00) begins in the 14th minute (Part I) and can be listened to here

Topics covered were:
– Gold’s performance so far in 2016 - +25% in USD, +25% in EUR and +40% in GBP
– Gold acting as a hedge against fiat currencies
– "Could not invent a more bullish story for gold"
– Economic recoveries are tentative and leading to ultra loose monetary policies
– A lot of strong fundamentals including negative interest rates, polarisation of politics and "Clash of Civilisations"
– Short term risks with FOMC, Yellen and options expiration - may create short term risks
– Gold can rise even if dollar continues to rise
– Gold mining shares are up 80%. Are they over valued?
– Mining shares are more high risk and volatile than gold
– Allocation of 20% to gold merited given risks
– "Most of new buying from pension funds and companies"
–  Avoid ETFs and paper gold - Have absolute legal title to physical gold

The interview can be listened to here

7RealRisksBanner

 

Gold and Silver Bullion - News and Prices

Gold edges up as dollar slips ahead of Fed meet (Reuters)

Gold Gains as Dollar Dips Before Fed, Official Sees BOE Stimulus (Bloomberg)

Gold ends lower as expectations grow for interest-rate hike later this year (Marketwatch)

Top credit ratings agency declares European Union "unsustainable" (Cityam)

Wall St. declines as earnings take center stage (Reuters)

SWOT Analysis: Is There Increased Political Risk Building into the Gold Market? (Goldseek)

An ‘insane’ number of catalysts are poised to roil vulnerable markets this week (Marketwatch)

Brexit and the City (Moneyweek)

The Brexit vote is over and the UK is fine - let’s stop the negativity (Telegraph)

"Central Bankers Are Killing Capitalism" Odey Warns, Moving Politics "Fast To Extremes" (Zerohedge)

Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

26 July: USD 1,321.25, EUR 1,199.563 & GBP 1,006.396 per ounce
25 July: USD 1,315.00, EUR 1,196.913 & GBP 1,000.321 per ounce
22 July: USD 1,323.20, EUR 1,199.216 & GBP 1,005.103 per ounce
21 July: USD 1,322.00, EUR 1,199.318 & GBP 1,000.754 per ounce
20 July: USD 1,325.60, EUR 1,204.308 & GBP 1,005.865 per ounce
19 July: USD 1,332.20, EUR 1,203.376 & GBP 1,009.042 per ounce
18 July: USD 1,326.15, EUR 1,200.298 & GBP 1,000.050 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

26 July: USD 19.68, EUR 17.89 & GBP 15.00 per ounce
25 July: USD 19.41, EUR 17.66 & GBP 14.77 per ounce
22 July: USD 19.70, EUR 17.87 & GBP 15.03 per ounce
21 July: USD 19.34, EUR 17.55 & GBP 14.66 per ounce
20 July: USD 19.70, EUR 17.88 & GBP 14.95 per ounce
19 July: USD 19.99, EUR 18.07 & GBP 15.18 per ounce
18 July: USD 19.72, EUR 17.83 & GBP 14.89 per ounce


Recent Market Updates

- Gold In Bull Market – “Every Reason For It To Continue” – Frisby In Money Week
- Is Gold Set To Hit $1,500 Per Ounce?
- Why Italy’s bank crisis could be a ‘ticking time bomb’
- Gold Holds Near Two-Week Low as Risk Appetite Rises on U.S. Data
IMF Scraps Forecast for Global-Growth Pickup on Brexit Fallout
- Gold, Trump and Rates: Bank That Foresaw Rally Flags $1,500
- Gold Lower After Central Bank’s Surprise Move
- "We Are On the Cusp of an Explosion in the Silver Price" - John Embry

- Stocks Rally – Is Brexit Systemic Risks Contained?
- Britain has a new prime minister – here’s what that means for you
- Metals Caught Between Global Gloom, U.S. Job Gains as Gold Slips
- Central Bank Resumes Monthly Gold Buying in Bid to Diversify Reserves

by GoldCore at July 26, 2016 11:46 AM

Schneier on Security

Tracking the Owner of Kickass Torrents

Here's the story of how it was done. First, a fake ad on torrent listings linked the site to a Latvian bank account, an e-mail address, and a Facebook page.

Using basic website-tracking services, Der-Yeghiayan was able to uncover (via a reverse DNS search) the hosts of seven apparent KAT website domains: kickasstorrents.com, kat.cr, kickass.to, kat.ph, kastatic.com, thekat.tv and kickass.cr. This dug up two Chicago IP addresses, which were used as KAT name servers for more than four years. Agents were then able to legally gain a copy of the server's access logs (explaining why it was federal authorities in Chicago that eventually charged Vaulin with his alleged crimes).

Using similar tools, Homeland Security investigators also performed something called a WHOIS lookup on a domain that redirected people to the main KAT site. A WHOIS search can provide the name, address, email and phone number of a website registrant. In the case of kickasstorrents.biz, that was Artem Vaulin from Kharkiv, Ukraine.

Der-Yeghiayan was able to link the email address found in the WHOIS lookup to an Apple email address that Vaulin purportedly used to operate KAT. It's this Apple account that appears to tie all of pieces of Vaulin's alleged involvement together.

On July 31st 2015, records provided by Apple show that the me.com account was used to purchase something on iTunes. The logs show that the same IP address was used on the same day to access the KAT Facebook page. After KAT began accepting Bitcoin donations in 2012, $72,767 was moved into a Coinbase account in Vaulin's name. That Bitcoin wallet was registered with the same me.com email address.

Another article.

by Bruce Schneier at July 26, 2016 11:42 AM

Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: July 26

  • Priest killed in French church before police shoot dead hostage-takers (Reuters)
  • On raucous opening night, Democratic stars make a pitch for Clinton (Reuters)
  • Sanders Backs Clinton After Fractious Opening of Convention (BBG)
  • Some in Sanders' army seem determined to march on without him (Reuters)
  • Yen hits two-week high as Japanese stimulus expectations dialled back (Reuters)
  • Fed seen holding rates steady as inflation watch continues (Reuters)
  • Fed Readies Enforcement Action Against Goldman Sachs in Theft of Secrets (WSJ)
  • Trillion-Dollar Manager Amundi Sees Treasury Gains as Fed Delays (BBG)
  • Citigroup, HSBC Jettison Customers as Era of Global Empires Ends (BBG)
  • Pension Returns Slump, Squeezing States and Cities (WSJ)
  • How Does This Hedge-Fund Manager Make So Much Money? (BBG)
  • RBS and NatWest consider charging business clients to hold cash (FT)
  • Kerry says hopes to reveal cooperation plan with Russia on Syria in August (Reuters)
  • Barclays Cartel Trader Told ‘Life Isn’t Fair’ Before Firing (BBG)
  • China Wrestles With Wage Dilemma (WSJ)
  • Turkey asks Kosovo to punish journalist over coup comments (Reuters)
  • Brexit rewrites UK budget rules as borrowing set for first big rise since 2010 (Reuters)
  • Suicide bombers kill seven at peacekeeping base in Somalia (Reuters)
  • Templeton’s Hasenstab Is Doubling Down on Colombia as Bonds Soar (BBG)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- Bangladesh police said Tuesday they killed nine suspected extremists during a raid on a militant hideout in Dhaka. Police surrounded a five-story building in the Kalyanpur suburb of the Bangladeshi capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning following a tip-off that militants were hiding there, Asaduzzaman Miah, Dhaka's commissioner of police said. http://on.wsj.com/2a2mkmR

- First Lady Michelle Obama on Monday made the case for Democratic Party unity and delivered an impassioned endorsement of Hillary Clinton to be her husband's successor in a speech at the Democratic National Convention. http://on.wsj.com/29WgSWn

- Starbucks Corp said Monday it was reorganizing the roles of its senior leaders, a week after the coffee giant said it had a sales-target miss for the third consecutive quarter. Chief Executive Howard Schultz said he was shifting his focus to the company's long-term strategy and innovation efforts. Previously, he focused on the company's digital technology efforts. http://on.wsj.com/29Vuukr

- Apple Inc has tapped a highly regarded senior executive who helped bring to market many of Apple's signature products to oversee its fledgling automobile project, according to people familiar with the matter. http://on.wsj.com/2a62Xyd

- LVMH agreed to sell Donna Karan International Inc. to apparel company G-III Apparel Group Ltd for $650 million including debt, an unusual retreat for the French luxury giant. http://on.wsj.com/2a7usBc

- Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte declared a unilateral cease-fire with communist rebels Monday in an effort to reignite peace talks and end a decades-old insurgency that has claimed tens of thousands of lives. http://on.wsj.com/29UK0Ns

 

FT

* Ericsson has let go of its CEO Hans Vestberg after mounting pressure from shareholders unhappy with the company's results. The company has been responding to weak industry demand by cutting jobs and increasing cost cuts.

* Apple Inc has tapped Bob Mansfield, a special adviser to the company and former hardware executive, to spearhead its electric car project. The Apple veteran has worked for the company for about 17 years and has engineered a number of projects ranging from the iPad to the Apple Watch.

* The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the explosion outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany. The Syrian suicide bomber who detonated the bomb had pledged his allegiance to Isis and threatened revenge against the Germans.

* Yahoo Inc's CEO Marissa Mayer has condemned sexist reporting of her leadership at the company, as she agreed to sell the bulk of the company's assets to Verizon Communication Inc for $4.8 billion.

 

NYT

- Amazon has partnered with the British government to significantly expand drone testing, in a move that could allow the devices to deliver packages to British homes far earlier than in the United States. http://nyti.ms/2asumH4

- Two years ago, a Federal Reserve New York employee had leaked confidential government information to a banker at Goldman Sachs, which resulted in the bank paying a $50 million penalty to New York State regulators. The Fed is now preparing an enforcement action of its own against Goldman and the bank is expected to pay a financial penalty in that case as well. http://nyti.ms/2asuqXt

- Democratic Party leaders scrambled to rescue their convention from political bedlam as supporters of Senator Bernie Sanders erupted in boos, jeers and protests against Hillary Clinton after an email leak showed that party officials had sought to undermine Sanders in their race for the nomination. http://nyti.ms/2asveeM

- As energy prices start to rebound, a group of oil workers in the North Sea are gearing up for a strike, saying the industry-wide cuts have been too deep. The labor action, by unions represent about 400 maintenance workers on seven oil production platforms operated by Royal Dutch Shell. http://nyti.ms/2asvfQ3

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** Twitter Inc has struck a deal to livestream free weekly baseball and hockey games with Major League Baseball's technology arm. The deal allows the social-networking company to stream MLB and National Hockey League contests once a week. (http://bit.ly/29WBLAz)

** Real estate industry watchers applauded the government of British Columbia's surprise move to tax foreign home buyers in the Vancouver region and urged politicians in Canada's other hot housing market, Toronto, to follow suit. (http://bit.ly/2aqmXcM)

** Oil's recovery has stalled on sputtering demand, dashing hopes of a sustained rebound in energy shares and the broader economy. Since surging past $51 a barrel in early June, U.S. benchmark crude has fallen 16 percent. (http://bit.ly/2aHcnvP)

NATIONAL POST

** After a five-and-a-half month delay, NewLeaf Travel Co Inc launched its first flights on Monday amidst an ongoing court battle that still has the potential to foil the latest addition to Canada's airspace. (http://bit.ly/29WCoKE)

** Gary Fung, the Vancouver-based founder of the now-defunct BitTorrent search engine isoHunt, has settled his second and final lawsuit with the music industry. The C$66 million ($49.91 million) settlement with the record company trade association Music Canada closes a decade-long legal battle. (http://bit.ly/29WCz8M)

 

Britain

The Times

Britain's biggest bookmaker William Hill Plc said it would listen to any proposal that might be forthcoming after receiving a "highly preliminary approach" over the weekend, but cautioned: "It is not clear a combination of William Hill with 888 Holdings Plc and Rank Group Plc will enhance William Hill's strategic positioning or deliver superior value to William Hill's strategy." http://bit.ly/2aq6cQK

A huge investment programme at Arm Holdings Plc will propel Britain's largest technology company on to the same plane as Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Alibaba, its new owner, SoftBank Group Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son said. http://bit.ly/2aq7bQZ

The Guardian

The UK Financial Conduct Authority should be stripped of its powers to fine and ban individuals for wrongdoing, according to a report by MPs that calls on new chancellor Philip Hammond to commission an independent review into whether an alternative investigatory body should be set up. http://bit.ly/2aq7gUV

Philip Green has instructed lawyers to demand an immediate apology from Frank Field, one of the senior MPs who led an inquiry into the failure of British retailer BHS. The billionaire retail tycoon launched a fightback on Monday, hours after he was heavily criticised in a report by two House of Commons committees, one of which is chaired by Field. http://bit.ly/2aq8oI6

The Telegraph

Ryanair Holdings Plc will start cutting flights from the UK later this year as part of the Irish budget airline's plans to "pivot" investment away from the country following the surprise vote to leave the European Union. http://bit.ly/2aq8OOB

EDF SA is preparing to take a long-awaited final investment decision on its proposed Hinkley Point C project, which would be Britain's first new nuclear plant in a generation. http://bit.ly/2aq8OhE

Sky News

Britain's taxi-app wars will step up a gear this week when Hailo unveils a merger with MyTaxi as part of a strategic investment by Daimler AG, one of the car industry's biggest manufacturers. Sky News has learnt that Hailo will announce on Tuesday that it is to become part of the Mercedes-Benz-owner's portfolio in an effort to take on Uber, the world's most valuable taxi-hailing app. http://bit.ly/2aq8wao

The Independent

Payments from a 3 billion pounds ($3.93 billion) European development fund were suspended indefinitely by the UK government, just days after the vote to leave the EU, the Independent can reveal. In a move that exposes the almost immediate impact of Brexit on the UK economy, businesses say they have been told they will not now receive money that was due to be paid out under the European Regional Development Fund. http://ind.pn/2aq9d3y

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 11:37 AM

A VC

Hailo and MyTaxi

The news broke this morning that our portfolio company Hailo is combining forces with MyTaxi.

The combined company, which will operate under the MyTaxi brand, will be the dominant taxi hailing app in Western Europe.

Hailo is huge in the UK and Ireland and has a strong position in Spain. MyTaxi operates in Germany, Australia, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Spain, and Sweden. So this combination is a great strategic fit and the new company will benefit from a lot of synergies.

Andrew Pinnington, the current CEO of Hailo, will become the CEO of MyTaxi and the company will consolidate its operations in Hamburg Germany. The combined company will be majority owned by Daimler.

Unlike the US, the regulated taxi business in Europe got on the ridesharing bandwagon early and it is as simple and easy to hail at taxi in Europe as it is to use Uber. If you travel to Berlin frequently, you will know that ridesharing in Berlin is all about taxis.

I can’t reveal numbers, but the combined MyTaxi/Hailo business will operate at a scale that puts it in the big leagues along with Uber and a number of other emerging winners in the ridesharing business.

This is a great outcome for Hailo and I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Andrew Pinnington for his incredible leadership at Hailo over the past 18 months. Without that, none of this would have been possible.

by Fred Wilson at July 26, 2016 11:30 AM

Boy Genius Report

Pokemon Go player puts ‘The Donald’ in the White House

Pokemon Go Magikarp The Donald
The White House might be one of the most prized gyms in the US when it comes to Pokemon Go action, and a player completely mocked it to send a message. After winning a battle there, he put in a Magikarp to defend the gym... which is a hilarious inside joke for Pokemon fans. Also, he named it The Donald, probably just for laughs.

(more…)

Trending right now:

  1. 6 incredibly rare Pokemon that are currently impossible to find in Pokemon Go
  2. Pokemon Go: Google Maps hack makes it easier than ever to find Pokemon
  3. How to find Pokemon even when Pokemon Go’s nearby tracker is broken

by Chris Smith at July 26, 2016 11:30 AM

Dark Reading: Dark Reading Column

SentinelOne Offers $1 Million Guarantee To Stop Ransomware

Jeremiah Grossman continues his crusade to make security vendors take responsibility for their own gear.

by Sara Peters at July 26, 2016 11:30 AM

It's Nice That

Submit Saturdays: First impressions and Cover Pages

Advice004_list

Welcome to Submit Saturdays, a year long series of articles in partnership with Squarespace. First impressions count. When people arrive at a website, research shows that you have around 50 milliseconds to make a good impact. Cover Pages, a product developed by Squarespace, are an opportunity to make a bold statement that will encourage people to learn more about you and your work.

Read more

by Owen Pritchard at July 26, 2016 11:27 AM

Zero Hedge

Russia Foreign Minister Responds To Allegation It Is Behind DNC Hack: "I Don't Want To Use Four-Letter Words"

Secretary of State John Kerry says he raised the email hack of the Democratic National Committee with Russia's top diplomat but stopped short of making any allegation about who might be responsible.

According to CBS, Kerry told reporters Tuesday he brought the matter up with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at a meeting in Laos and explained that the FBI was investigating. He did not, however, repeat allegations or echo suspicions that Russia was responsible for the hack and said he would not draw conclusions until the probe is complete. "I raised the question and we will continue to work to see precisely what those facts are," Kerry said. He would not say if Lavrov responded

Earlier, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov responded to accusations that Russia was allegedly behind the DNC server hack, when he blasted a reporter over her question that Russia was behind the DNC email leaks. Lavrov had a concise reply, stating: "I don't want to use four-letter words."

He was speaking ahead of talks at the ASEAN summit in Laos.

This appears to be a denial of the accusations.

Cybersecurity experts and U.S. officials have said there is evidence that Russia engineered the release of the emails in order to influence the U.S. presidential election.

Earlier, the FBI said it was investigating a cyber intrusion at the DNC, adding that Russia is the leading suspect in the hack.

On Sunday, Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, claimed in an interview with CNN that “experts are telling us that Russian state actors broke into the DNC, stole these emails, and other experts are now saying that the Russians are releasing these emails for the purpose of actually helping Donald Trump.”

When asked what kind of evidence he had to back up that theory, Mook answered: "Well, we need the experts speak on this. It's been reported on in the press that the hackers that got into the DNC are very likely to be working in coordination with Russia.”

Previously Trump also slammed the theory, saying that Clinton campaigners will say anything to be able to win. I mean this is time and time again, lie after lie. You notice he [Mook] won’t say, ‘Well, I say this.’ We hear ‘experts’. His house cat at home once said this is what’s happening with the Russians. It’s disgusting. It’s so phony,” he told CNN.

Neither the Clinton campaign, the White House, nor lawmakers briefed on the hack definitively linked the leak to the Russian government on Monday.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 11:14 AM

Brand New

Reviewed: New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand

The Lion King

New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand

Established this past Friday, Ahold Delhaize is one of the world's largest food retail groups with 22 different supermarket brands that account for 6,500 grocery and specialty stores in 11 countries. The new company is the result of a merger between Netherlands-based Ahold, established in 1887, and Belgium-based Delhaize Group, established in 1867, now collectively employing more than 375,000 people worldwide. The new identity has been designed by Futurebrand.

New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Ahold Delhaize's family of brands.
"The challenge here was being respectful and celebrating the rich history of both of these strong brands. The idea of a merger of equals and better together was a key thought in our design strategy." said Dan Witchell, Executive Creative Director, FutureBrand London. "Our design style is intentionally joyful, more friendly and welcoming - this is a brand for internal employees as much as external audiences." added Witchell.

Futurebrand press release

New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Comparison of icons only, before and after.
To convey this commitment to build great local brands and bring fresh inspiration into the everyday to consumers, associates and shareholders, FutureBrand developed an iconic, modern visual identity that builds on a rich collective history while moving towards a bold future. The identity reflects and communicates 'fresh inspiration' with a vibrant and naturalistic colour palette and a logo that combines the most iconic elements of the Ahold and Delhaize Group identities into a bold new expression.

Futurebrand press release

New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Logo detail.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Icon detail.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Color variations.

Both of the old logos were pretty good and had an unshakeable European business seriousness to them that's hard to replicate with new logos. The Ahold logo was probably not as well known as Delhaize's, as the latter's lion was used in the retail logos and the former's played the corporate role to the consumer brand of Albert Heijn stores in the Netherlands. So it makes sense that the lion would become the key element of the new logo but it's quite surprising that Futurebrand found a way to literally weave it with Ahold's interlocking abstract icon with a crown.

In principle I really like the new icon, mostly because it delivers on the extremely difficult challenge of merging two very different logos into one. This is particularly beneficial for all those business-to-business people doing business with either of the two businesses for whom it will be evident where the new logo came from and that business will continue with business as usual. (Yes, it was on purpose that I wrote business far too many times.) I also like the single thickness stroke approach and all the curves are handled quite well, blending from face to crown. I even like the abstract eyes of the lion that I can see becoming a point of contention in the comments. However, there is something unsettling about the shape of the lion's head, like there is something wrong with it; I can appreciate it's not meant to be a literal representation of a lion but in abstraction it started turning into something else. Still, I do like it.

The wordmark (and main type used throughout) the identity strays one degree away from the usual by choosing Euclid Flex from Swiss Typefaces, which has a few unexpected quirks like a sunset tittle in the "i" and some funky curves in the "f" and "g". You can see them in the video below. Ultimately, though, yeah, another geometric sans serif.

New logo introduction.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Covers of some sort.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Illustration style.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Covers of some other sort, with illustration.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Annual report prototype.
New Logo and Identity for Ahold Delhaize by Futurebrand Sculpture rendering.

In application, there is a lot of green and shades of it which, now that companies have stopped trying to usurp green to signal environmental consciousness, feels fresh again and in the context of a food-fledging company, the color serves them well. There is a range of illustrations that are charming and relatively creative but still tame enough to serve on a corporate level and they do look convincing in those covers. In general the few applications shown display a desire to be on the design-ey end of the spectrum, pointing the company in the right direction instead of kicking off with a more buttoned up approach. Overall, it's a very pleasing redesign that literally marries the two companies together with a strong logo and lively identity.

Many thanks to our ADVx3 Partners

by Armin at July 26, 2016 11:14 AM

RubyFlow

Announcing PushType: A next generation content management system for Ruby on Rails

For almost two years, I’ve been quietly working on a new content management system for Ruby on Rails, called PushType. PushType is designed for developers and every design decision has been made so that the process of actually building sites is made easier. If you value creating content models and designing reusable content patterns, then this is the kind of thing PushType excels at.

July 26, 2016 11:11 AM

swissmiss

Grass Flip Flops

Grass Flip Flops

These Grass Flip Flops made me laugh. I can totally see myself laying in bed thinking “Oh no, I forgot to water my shoes!”

by swissmiss at July 26, 2016 11:07 AM

Wired Top Stories

This Graffiti’s Only an Illusion if You’re in the Right Place

This Graffiti’s Only an Illusion if You’re in the Right Place
It's the work of Felice Varini, a vantage-point painter who’s spent nearly 40 years covering buildings in very big optical illusions. The post This Graffiti’s Only an Illusion if You’re in the Right Place appeared first on WIRED.

by Margaret Rhodes at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

Understanding OpenStack Load Balancing as a Service

Rackspace recently released version 12.2 of Rackspace Private Cloud powered by OpenStack. My colleague, Walter Bentley, provided details in a series of blog post and included a post on OpenStack Neutron Load Balancing as a Service. Since LBaaS is still a relatively new offering in the OpenStack community, Walter and I want to provide more details to help users understand what LBaaS does and how it can be used in an OpenStack cloud.

Tomorrow, Walter will cover a use case for LBaaS, specifically autoscaling. Today’s post will provide a technical overview of LBaaS by answering four questions:

  1. What is load balancing and Load Balancing as a Service?
  2. How does LBaaS work in OpenStack?
  3. What does Rackspace recommend for load balancing in RPC?
  4. What may be the future of LBaaS in RPC?

What is Load Balancing and LBaaS

For those who may be new to the concept, load balancing is a technology that has been around for some time and is a foundation for delivering highly available resources over a network.

At a high level, load balancing is typically accomplished by having a load balancer or set of load balancers present a virtual server to a set of clients. This virtual server is backed by a pool of “real” servers that provide some type of resource to those clients. The role of the load balancer is to distribute client requests across the pool of servers including rerouting requests when a member of the pool fails. Clients are not aware which “real” server in the pool are servicing their requests since they are only aware of the virtual server presented by the load balancer.

By leveraging load balancers, client requests can be serviced in such a way as to mitigate against bottlenecks due to resource contention on any given server or against failed requests due to failures on any given servers. The former use case is what is often considered scaling out while the latter is about creating a fault tolerant service. The canonical example is the use of load balancers in front of a pool of web servers to serve out web pages to incoming clients via the internet.

LBaas

Historically, load balancers have been hardware devices, either general or purpose built, that balance requests across a pool of physical servers. With the advent of the cloud, we are seeing more use cases where software or virtual load balancers are used to provide services to a pool of virtual servers. Rackspace’s public cloud, for example, offers Cloud Load Balancers to our customers to use in front of Cloud Servers, which are virtual machines.

LBaas

But note that while virtual load balancers are often used with virtual servers, that is not an absolute requirement. You can in fact use hardware load balancers with virtual servers and vice versa.

There are a number of benefits to using virtual load balancers including allowing users to provision load balancers on demand and in the case of metered clouds, allowing users to pay for load balancing services on a utility basis. These two benefits are often what user think of when they talk about Load Balancing as a Service.

OpenStack and LBaaS

The OpenStack Neutron project is currently on version 2 of its LBaaS implementation. LBaaS v2 seeks to address some of the limitations in v1, including a lack of scalability and a lack of flexibility in how LBaaS could be configured. Since LBaaS v1 has been deprecated in the Liberty release and in RPC v12.2, we’ll focus on v2.

LBaas

OpenStack LBaaS leverages agents that control the HAProxy configuration and manage the HAProxy daemon. HAProxy is a popular open source software that provides TCP/HTTP load balancing and is the default load balancing engine for OpenStack Load balancers. These HAProxy based load balancers have network access to clients and to the member servers which answer client requests by requesting and receiving Neutron networks ports and IP Addresses.

A significant change in LBaaS v2 is the addition of Listeners. A Listener is mapped to and listens for requests made to a given network port. In LBaaS v1, a load balancer could only have one listener per load balancer. With v2, uses can create multiple Listeners for a load balancer, allowing requests to come in via multiple network ports.

Another significant change is the additional option of using an alternate implementation of LBaaS called Octavia. Octavia is fully integrated with Neutron and LBaaS v2 and provides additional capabilities such as allowing users to deploy redundant load balancer instances.

The Present and Future of LBaaS in Rackspace Private Cloud

So why is OpenStack LBaaS, even with v2, only in technical preview in RPC v12.2? As I iterated when v12.2 became generally available, we don’t currently view LBaaS as production ready, either in its default implementation or in its new reference implementation with Octavia.

The reason for this determination is that the default implementation of LBaaS has certain scalability limits and does not support redundant load balancers. While Octavia does address some of this by allowing redundant load balancer instances to be provisioned, Rackspace engineers determined that Octavia was not quite mature enough to provide the level of service RPC customers demand.

We believe, however, there is value for customers to have access to LBaaS as a technical preview in certain test/dev environments, and so that they can become familiar with the LBaaS APIs. In a future release, we will provide full support for LBaaS, when it is ready, using the same APIs that are available as part of the technical preview. We are also continually evaluating Octavia to see when it will reach a level of maturity where we can use it as the RPC implementation of LBaaS.

In the interim, RPC customers have another option for load balancing in their OpenStack clouds. Rackspace has a long standing partnership with F5, a company that specializes in making purpose built hardware load balancers. We use F5 appliances throughout the Rackspace data centers and they are part of the RPC reference architecture which uses these appliances to load balance API request to OpenStack control planes. Given that history, we are very comfortable recommending that customers use F5 to provide load balancing for and fault tolerance to their networked applications.

Hopefully, we have piqued your interest in trying out Load Balancing as a Service, even as a technical preview in RPC v12.2. Stay tuned for upcoming resources that will walk you through how to setup LBaaS and the relevant use cases for enabling this service in your OpenStack cloud.

The post Understanding OpenStack Load Balancing as a Service appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Kenneth Hui at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

Wired Top Stories

Plastic Bags Are Horrible. But They Sure Can Be Beautiful

Plastic Bags Are Horrible. But They Sure Can Be Beautiful
Vilde Rolfsen collects plastic sacks and transforms them into stunning mountains, canyons, and rivers. The post Plastic Bags Are Horrible. But They Sure Can Be Beautiful appeared first on WIRED.

by Laura Mallonee at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

Song Exploder: The Story Behind Band of Horses’ Killer Song ‘Solemn Oath’

Song Exploder: The Story Behind Band of Horses’ Killer Song ‘Solemn Oath’
In the latest 'Song Exploder' podcast, the band's frontman Ben Bridwell talks about the tough time he had writing the track from Band of Horses' new record. The post Song Exploder: The Story Behind Band of Horses' Killer Song 'Solemn Oath' appeared first on WIRED.

by K.M. McFarland at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

How Queer Scientists Are Shaping Their Future With a Survey

How Queer Scientists Are Shaping Their Future With a Survey
Why are there so few openly queer people in STEM? And what are LGBTQ scientists and their experiences actually like? The post How Queer Scientists Are Shaping Their Future With a Survey appeared first on WIRED.

by Sarah Scoles at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

O'Reilly Radar

Creating meaningful metrics that get your users to do the things you want

Buddy Brewer, Steve Souders, and Mark Zeman illustrate how identifying and focusing deeply on a few meaningful metrics facilitates far better decision-making.

Continue reading Creating meaningful metrics that get your users to do the things you want.

by Buddy Brewer,Steve SoudersMark Zeman at July 26, 2016 11:00 AM

naked capitalism

Blogical Conclusion

“Madaari”… An unremarkable vigilante drama, with some Irrfan moments

Spoilers ahead… Madaari is about the catastrophic aftermath of a bridge collapse, but director Nishikant Kamath wants us to know that the film is about so much more. He gives us split-second visuals of the Uttarakhand floods, about farmer suicides, about train collisions, about petrol/diesel price hikes. Within five minutes, he wants to stir up […]

by brangan at July 26, 2016 10:47 AM

Wired Top Stories

Your Scientific Guide to Eating Like a Good Human in 2016

Your Scientific Guide to Eating Like a Good Human in 2016
If you care about health, sustainability, and food that actually tastes good, we’re here to help. So relax, pick up your fork, and chow down. The post Your Scientific Guide to Eating Like a Good Human in 2016 appeared first on WIRED.

by Wired Staff at July 26, 2016 10:45 AM

Allisstatus

The big lie about Tibet

One of the greatest lies ever sprung by Western politicians on their credulous electorates — and still widely believed — is that the Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 was an illegal and brutal effort. How legal or illegal the Chinese occupation was, who can say? International law is a very elastic thing, and, as […]

by Keith Hudson at July 26, 2016 10:42 AM

Zero Hedge

USDJPY Plunges On Japan Stimulus Concerns; US Futures Flat With As Fed Begins Meeting

In a turbulent session for FX, the Yen soared as much as 1.4%, the most in three weeks, after Finance Minister Aso says the government will "leave actual policy measures to BOJ", sending the Nikkei lower by 1.4%. European stocks and U.S. equity index futures are little changed despite the slide in the key carry pair as the Fed starts its two day meeting.

The GBP/USD sold off in early trading following an FT report that BOE’s
Weale favors immediate stimulus, however sterling rebound and erased all
losses in subsequent trading.

The Yen surged started following early press reports, subsequently confirmed by Japan's finance minister that the government has yet to decide on a fiscal stimulus package, spurring traders to temper expectations. This takes place after aggressive jawboning in recent weeks that Japan may be on the cusp of unleashing helicopter money, with Aso effectively pouring cold water on expectations of a massive fiscal stimulus funded by the BOJ. The result was a plungein the Yen, which dropped to the lowest levels since the dramatic buying spree in the aftermath of Bernanke's visit to Japan.

While economists predict the Bank of Japan will ease policy this week, Aso's comments cast doubt over coordinated efforts by Japanese officials.

“Reports in the local media (Nikkei) and Aso’s comments suggest the Japanese fiscal stimulus package may fall well short of expectations, further dampening hopes of an aggressive, coordinated approach to easing in the near term,” says Sue Trinh, head of Asia FX strategy at RBC Capital Markets.

Bernard Aw, a strategist at IG Asia Pte, reiterated the concern: “Expectations of additional monetary and fiscal stimulus might have been tempered, especially when much was riding on Abe’s stimulus plan. We could also see the Fed trying to strike a balance between sounding upbeat about U.S. economic outlook and curbing exuberance about rate-hike hopes in September.”

“The market is cautious due to risk of policy disappointment,” said Neil Jones, head of hedge fund sales at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in London. “The BOJ may do nothing and the Fed may take on a more dovish angle.”

The Stoxx 600 dropped 0.2% in early trading, with volumes 31% below the 30-day average. BP lost 2.7%, down from a one-month high, led by energy shares after BP Plc reported profit that missed estimates.  Lenders declined with Commerzbank AG down 6.1 percent after saying a key measure of financial strength dropped in the second quarter. Italian banks fell, taking the national FTSE MIB Index to the biggest slide among western-European markets, before regulators publish their latest health check on the region’s largest banks on July 29. “We’ve pushed equities up an awful long way over the last few weeks, more than most people had expected,” said Peter Dixon, global equities economist at Commerzbank AG in London. “We are hanging around waiting for something to give us a lift.”

In the U.S., traders have boosted bets the Federal Reserve will raise
rates this year, even though they are likely to keep them on hold
Wednesday.  S&P 500 futures were basically unchanged, down 0.1% after falling Monday
from last week’s record-high close. Gilead Sciences Inc. fell 4.4
percent in early New York trading after cutting its annual product sales forecast and reporting lower-than-expected sales in the second quarter for its hepatitis C drugs.

Yields on 10-year Treasury notes fell for the first time in three days, sliding three basis points, or 0.03 percentage point, to 1.55 percent. In Germany, yields on similar-maturity debt fell for a fourth day, dropping one basis point to minus 0.05 percent. U.K. gilts also rose, with the 10-year yield falling three basis points to 0.78 percent.

In commodities, the story remained one of oil weakness as crude fell to a three-month low in New York as supplies were considered to be plentiful even as stockpiles were seen deepening a record pullback in the U.S., the biggest fuel consumer. West Texas Intermediate fell 0.6 percent to $42.87 a barrel and Brent slid 0.3 percent to $44.61. While U.S. crude inventories probably slid by 2.25 million barrels, gasoline supplies are seen increasing by 600,000 barrels, swelling stockpiles that are also at the highest in decades, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday.

Verizon
Communications Inc., McDonald’s Corp. and Apple Inc. are among 45
companies in the S&P 500 reporting earnings on Tuesday. Profits and
sales have broadly topped projections so far this season, and analysts
have eased their estimates for declines in net income, expecting a 4.5
percent slide for the second quarter for S&P 500 members.

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down less than 0.1% to 2162
  • Stoxx 600 down less than 0.1% to 341
  • FTSE 100 up 0.3% to 6729
  • DAX up 0.1% to 10213
  • German 10Yr yield down less than 1bp to -0.05%
  • Italian 10Yr yield up less than 1bp to 1.24%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield unchanged at 1.11%
  • S&P GSCI Index down 0.3% to 344
  • MSCI Asia Pacific up 0.4% to 135
  • Nikkei 225 down 1.4% to 16383
  • Hang Seng up 0.6% to 22130
  • Shanghai Composite up 1.1% to 3050
  • S&P/ASX 200 up less than 0.1% to 5537
  • U.S. 10-yr yield down 3bps to 1.54%
  • Dollar Index down 0.35% to 96.95
  • WTI Crude futures down 0.7% to $42.84
  • Brent Futures down 0.4% to $44.55
  • Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,322
  • Silver spot up 0.7% to $19.69

Top Global News

  • BP Profit Sinks as Lower Oil, Weak Refining Strain Industry: refining margins were lowest for 2Q since 2010; 3Q oil and gas output will fall amid maintenance
  • AB InBev Sweetens Its Offer for SABMiller to $103b: cash bid for British brewer raised to GBP45/share
  • Gilead Lowers 2016 Net Product Sales Forecast; Shares Slide: cut net product sales forecast for 2016 to $29.5b-$30.5b, vs previous forecast of $30b-$31b
  • Celgene Sinks as Drug Doesn’t Extend Life in Blood Cancer Type: co. said Phase 3 “Remarc” study doesn’t show survival benefit
  • Sanders Backs Clinton After Fractious Opening of Convention
  • Fed Said Preparing Action vs Goldman on Leak Case, N.Y. Times says: Goldman expected to pay a financial penalty to settle the case, NYT says, citing people familiar
  • Nidec Said to Be Frontrunner for Emerson’s $1b Motor Unit: Broad Ocean, Wolong Electric had also expressed interest
  • Texas Instruments Earnings, Forecasts Beat Views on Auto Demand: 3Q net income seen 81c-91c/share
  • Amazon Partners With U.K. Government to Test Delivery by Drone: trial to test beyond line-of-sight, and obstacle avoidance

* * *

Looking at regional markets, Asian stocks traded with mixed following the weak lead from Wall Street, where energy declines dampened sentiment, with participants also cautious ahead of the looming FOMC. ASX 200 (-0.1%) was led lower by energy names after WTI crude futures fell over a buck to test the USD 43/bbl level to the downside, while Nikkei 225 (-1.4%) underperformed on a firmer JPY in which USD/JPY fell below the 105.00 handle. Elsewhere, Chinese markets led the region with the Shanghai Comp (+1.1 %) positive following another firm liquidity injection by the PBoC. 10yr JGBs traded higher amid risk averse sentiment in Japan, with further support seen following the 40yr JGB auction which despite printing a lower bid/cover, the lowest accepted price was higher and the portion of allotted bids at the lowest price was less than previous. Japan is to double planned spending in their stimulus package, with direct fiscal outlays now planned at JPY 6tln over the next few years, although this number is shy of the JPY 20tln speculated in the past few days. Japan Finance Minister Aso stated they still have to determine the size of the economic stimulus package.

Top Asian News

  • Japan Fiscal Plan Calls for Continued Cooperation With BOJ: Finance chief urges BOJ to keep doing its utmost on inflation
  • Yen Rallies as Optimism on Stimulus Wanes, Undercutting Dollar: Global risk aversion seen boosting yen versus all major peers
  • Singapore Banks Facing Earnings Stumble as Bad Loans, Sibor Bite: Largest lenders may boost provisions for nonperforming loans
  • Hyundai Posts 10th Consecutive Profit Decline on China Discounts: Domestic plant exports slump on Africa, Middle East markets
  • Casino Tycoon Adelson Sees Signs of Macau Gaming Turnaround: Mass-market monthly revenue rises for first time since 2014
  • HSBC Bullish on India as a Third of World’s Bond Yields Negative: Expect inflation to come off going forward, Rodrigues writes

The latest state of play across European equities (Euro Stoxx: -0.2%) has been dictated by the downside across the oil complex in which WTI crude has slipped past USD 43.00 with Brent at the lowest since May 10, subsequently adding to the risk off sentiment. As such, energy names are among the worst performers today, exacerbated by BP's earnings (-2.7%). In terms of sectors, weakness has been seen in financials with Commerzbank (-5.8%) prelim Q2 results coming in weaker than expected. The softness in equities contributed to upside in fixed income markets, while notable outperformance has been observed in Gilts relative to its German and US counterparts in the wake of reports from BoE's Weale who urged the need of immediate stimulus after last week's poor Brexit exposed PMI figures.

Top European News

  • Commerzbank Says Capital Ratio Falls on Operational Risk: banks see litigation risk increasing capital requirements
  • BOE’s Weale Says Stimulus More Likely After Slowdown Signs Mount: Weale tells FT that weak PMI are ‘very material’ for decision
  • Michelin’s Cost-Cut Plan Helps Push 1H Profit Up 11%: Chinese market will probably remain “buoyant,” Michelin says
  • Vivendi Backs Out of Deal to Buy Berlusconi’s Pay-TV Business: Vivendi wants 20% of Mediaset Premium instead of full control
    Orange Earnings Cushioned by Broadband Sales Amid Mobile Rivalry
  • Raiffeisen Owner to Sell Insurer Stake Amid Capital Revamp
  • Man Group Assets Shrink in Second Quarter on Investment Losses

In FX, the yen strengthened 1.4 percent to 104.33 per dollar, extending a 0.3 percent climb from last session. The rebound comes after the currency weakened to a one-month low of 107.49 on July 21. “The yen’s recent weakness against the dollar has been based on the idea that both the government and the BOJ would come up with measures to stimulate the economy,” said Takuya Iwasaki, executive general manager of foreign-exchange sales at Bank of America in Tokyo. “What Aso said may have reduced expectations for action from the BOJ a bit.”  The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slid 0.4 percent, falling from the highest close since May. The Aussie and kiwi rose at least 0.7 percent versus the U.S. currency, while the euro added 0.1 percent. Sterling fell 0.3 percent to 83.96 pence per euro and 0.2 percent to $1.3120. Martin Weale, an independent member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee, told the Financial Times that Brexit has rattled the economy more than he anticipated and indicated he now favors immediate stimulus.

In Commodities, oil fell to a three-month low in New York as supplies were considered to be plentiful even as stockpiles were seen deepening a record pullback in the U.S., the biggest fuel consumer. West Texas Intermediate fell 0.6 percent to $42.87 a barrel and Brent slid 0.3 percent to $44.61. While U.S. crude inventories probably slid by 2.25 million barrels, gasoline supplies are seen increasing by 600,000 barrels, swelling stockpiles that are also at the highest in decades, according to a Bloomberg survey before an Energy Information Administration report Wednesday. Gold climbed as investors scaled back expectations for extra stimulus from Japan’s government, boosting the yen and weakening the dollar. Bullion for immediate delivery rose 0.5 percent to $1.3222.55 an ounce, after losing 1.2 percent in two days. Copper fell 0.5 percent as Chinese smelters expanded production amid improving margins, exacerbating global oversupply. Nickel lost 1.9 percent and zinc dropped 1.3 percent.

* * *

Bulletin Headline Summary From RanSquawk and Bloomberg

  • JPY briefly tests the 104.00 level with sentiment dampened by the decline across the energy complex.
  • GBP sees some reprieve with the currency initially pressured by dovish comments from BoE's Weale.
  • Highlights include US Services PMI, New Home Sales, API Crude Inventory and earnings updates from Apple, McDonald's, and Verizon.
  • Treasuries higher in overnight trading as global equities mixed; Treasury auctions continue with sale of $34b 5Y notes, WI 1.14%; last sold at 1.218% in June, lowest 5Y auction stop since 1.169% in February.
  • Most private economists anticipate that Japan will implement a double dose of stimulus, with an acceleration in monetary expansion by Governor Haruhiko Kuroda and his colleagues on July 29, and the much-discussed government package that could be enacted by parliament in October
  • Decent risk-off trade overnight in Tokyo was led by reports of weaker stimulus package of ¥6t rather than the ¥30t rumored last week, according to Tom di Galoma, managing director of government trading and strategy at Seaport Global
  • Yield-starved investors from around the world are starting to pile up at the doors of Wall Street’s corporate-debt underwriters as bonds sold by blue-chip U.S. companies are among the few offering decent returns
  • With the recession putting a dent into tax receipts, Argentina is reviving a bond market rocked by data-rigging allegations more than a decade ago and sold 8.2 billion pesos ($548 million) of inflation-linked notes
  • Bank of England policy maker Martin Weale said Brexit has rattled the economy more than he anticipated and indicated he now favors immediate stimulus after saying last week he needed to see more evidence of a deterioration
  • Venezuela’s gold reserves are shrinking and fell again in May, sliding to 6.24 million ounces from 6.63 million ounces in April to post a fourth consecutive drop. Over the past year, the country’s hoard has shrunk 36%, and since February 2015 it’s nearly halved

US Event Calendar

  • 8:55am: Redbook weekly sales
  • 9am: S&P/Case-Shiller US HPI M/m, May (prior 0.07%)
  • 9:45am: Markit US Services PMI, July P, est. 52.0 (prior 51.4)
  • 10am: Consumer Confidence Index, July, est. 96 (prior 98)
  • 10am: Richmond Fed Mfg Index, July, est. -5 (prior -7)
  • 10am: New Home Sales, June, est. 560k (prior 551k)
  • 4:30pm: API weekly oil inventories

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Ahead of a packed, albeit back-loaded calendar of events this week which includes the BoJ and Fed meetings, European bank stress tests, a slew of corporate earnings and US Q2 GDP, the last 24 hours or so in markets has been pretty quiet with yesterday’s session feeling like investors were for the most part keeping the powder dry. Wall Street did start the week on a bit of a cautious note although that was largely to do with the decent leg down for Oil which generally dominated what was otherwise a real lull in newsflow. Indeed WTI finished -2.40% lower yesterday at $43.13/bbl and at one stage briefly traded with a $42/bbl handle. It’s flown under the radar a bit but yesterday was actually the lowest closing level for WTI since April 25th. In fact after making YTD highs back in early June at just shy of $52/bbl, Oil has now fallen some 16% since with a decent amount of that coming in the last three weeks or so. Some of the commentary pointed towards the latest rig count data which came out on Friday showing that the number of active rigs rose for the fourth consecutive week. The fallout in recent weeks however appears to be a reflection of the rising gasoline stockpiles which is weighing on the wider energy complex.

Unsurprisingly then it was energy stocks which were hit hardest and resulted in the S&P 500 (-0.30%) and Dow (-0.42%) retreating from their respective record levels. In fact despite intraday moves being pretty modest of late, the S&P 500 has now reversed direction day-to-day for the last eight sessions and it seems that the big post-Brexit rally has run out of steam for now. Prior to this in Europe the Stoxx 600 (+0.18%) actually edged up a little although peripheral bourses and the FTSE MIB (-0.52%) in particular closed in the red with Italian banks under pressure once again following reports in the Italian press over the weekend that Monte Paschi is ‘most at risk’ ahead of Friday’s stress test results – although this didn’t feel like any great surprise.

Meanwhile credit markets were also under pressure yesterday, most notably in the US given the greater energy exposure with CDX IG ending the day nearly 3bps wider and so making it the weakest day this month. Staying with credit, yesterday the ECB released its latest CSPP holdings data which showed total holdings of €11.85bn at 22nd July. This implies net purchases settled last week of €1.42bn or an average daily run rate over the five days of €284m. The average daily run rate since the CSPP started is €382m so this is the first bit of evidence we’ve seen of a slowdown in the numbers as markets and the ECB move into wind-down mode for the summer.

As you’ll see at the end in the day ahead there should be a bit more for markets to feed on today. Most notable is the bumper day for corporate earnings releases with 48 S&P 500 companies due to report. As a barometer of global growth it’s worth keeping an eye on the Caterpillar numbers prior to the US open. Verizon and McDonald’s earnings will also be out early and then after the bell it’ll be all eyes on Apple where the market consensus for Q3 EPS is $1.39 which has been roughly unchanged over the last couple of months but is down from as high as $1.77 back in April.

Before we get there, this morning in Asia it’s been another fairly mixed start to trading. Losses are being led out of Japan where the Nikkei and Topix are currently -1.55% and -1.54% respectively. A rally for the Yen (+0.9%) seemingly is weighing on those bourses. Meanwhile our Japan economists noted this morning that the Nikkei newspaper has reported that the size of the forthcoming second supplementary budget for FY2016 was said to be around ¥2tn, lower than their current view of ¥3-4tn. The newspaper is also reporting that another ¥4tn is likely to be added to the initial budgets for FY2017 onward, in addition to the aforementioned ¥2tn for the FY2016 supplementary budget. Our colleagues are not sure if these expenditures worth ¥4tn are a true addition relative to the initial FY2016 budget or if they are being brought into the package to simply inflate its size – they guess the latter. The newspaper is still talking about the total size of the stimulus package, which could be announced as soon as August 2nd, as exceeding ¥20tn.

Elsewhere in Asia this morning, bourses in China are firmer with the Shanghai Comp currently +0.49%. The Hang Seng is also +0.86% while the Kospi is +0.40%. The ASX (-0.23%) is in the red however. US equity index futures are modestly higher currently and oil markets are a touch firmer.

Moving on. There was a little bit of data out yesterday for us to digest and most notable of that was the Germany IFO survey which, in line with Friday’s PMI’s, showed a similar level of post-Brexit resilience. The headline reading of 108.3 was down 0.4pts from June, although came in a reasonable way ahead of the 107.5 expected by the market. Meanwhile the current assessment reading actually rose 0.1pts to 114.7 (vs. 114.0 expected) which is the best reading since August last year, while the expectations component was down 0.9pts to 102.2 (although still ahead of expectations of 101.6). This data contrasts which the latest CBI business optimism reading in the UK which was released yesterday. The July print tumbled 42pts to -47 (vs. -15 expected) and therefore the lowest reading since January 2009 (when it got to -64).

Across the pond the only data yesterday came in the form of the Dallas Fed manufacturing survey which rose 17pts to -1.3 (vs. -10.0 expected) and the highest level since December 2014. New orders, production and employment components all rose encouragingly. It’s worth noting that the two main US economic surprise indices are now back to the highest level since December 2014 following a huge spike in positive data surprises this month. Benchmark 10y Treasuries didn’t react too much to the data yesterday and eventually finished little changed around 1.574%, although the shorter end of the curve was under pressure with 2y yields closing 3bps higher at 0.735%. This appeared to be more of a reflection of the weak 2y auction yesterday though where the bid-to-cover ratio was the weakest since December 2008 at a 2y offering.

Looking at today’s calendar it’s a pretty quiet start in Europe this morning with no real notable data to highlight. This afternoon in the US there’s a number of releases due out. The most notable of those will likely be the July consumer confidence print which the market is expecting to decline 2pts to 96. Also due out will be the remaining flash PMI’s for this month (services and composite), the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey, new home sales for June and the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index. The first day of the two-day FOMC meeting of course also starts today. As mentioned it’s a bumper day for earnings which should provide most of the excitement. Before the opening bell we’ll get quarterly reports from the likes of Caterpillar, Verizon, McDonald’s and 3M and then after the closing bell rings it’ll be all eyes on those Apple numbers. In total we’ll get 48 S&P 500 company earnings reports. Over in Europe BP highlights the earnings calendar.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 10:41 AM

Planet Python

Graham Dumpleton: Installing mod_wsgi on MacOS X with native operating system tools.

Operating systems inevitably change over time, and because writing documentation is often an after thought or developers have no time, the existing instructions on how to install a piece of software can suffer bit rot and stop working. This has been the case for a while with various parts of the documentation for mod_wsgi. This post is a first step at least in getting the documentation for

July 26, 2016 10:37 AM

Across the Curve

FX

Via Marc Chandler at Brown Brothers Harriman:

Yen Soars Amid Stimulus Confusion and Doubts

  • The strength of the Japanese yen is the main development in the foreign exchange market today
  • Sterling has managed to recover from the initial slide driven by dovish signals from MPC member Weale
  • The North American session features S&P Case-Shiller house prices for May the June new home sales reports
  • Fitch downgraded South Africa’s local currency rating by one notch to BBB- with a stable outlook
  • Brazil’s COPOM releases its minutes; Hungary’s central bank is expected to keep rates steady at 0.90%

The dollar is mostly weaker against the majors.  The yen and the Antipodeans are outperforming while sterling and the Norwegian krone are underperforming.  EM currencies are mostly firmer.  SGD and KRW are outperforming while RUB and IDR are underperforming.  MSCI Asia Pacific was up 0.4%, even with the Nikkei falling 1.4%.  MSCI EM is up 0.1%, with Chinese markets up 1.2%.  Euro Stoxx 600 is down 0.2% near midday, while S&P futures are pointing to a lower open.  The 10-year UST yield is down 3 bp at 1.54%.  Commodity prices are mostly lower, with oil down 1%, copper down nearly 1%, and gold up 0.5%.  

The strength of the Japanese yen is the main development in the foreign exchange market today.  It has gained nearly 1.5% as short-term participants grow skeptical of the kind of stimulus that had driven the yen around 7.5% lower between July 8 and July 21’s six-week high in dollar/yen.  The pendulum of market sentiment has swung wildly.

One set of estimates had risen from JPY10 trillion to JPY30 trillion over that period.  There was also the fascination with a version of helicopter money in which the Japanese government would issue non-marketable, perpetual zero coupon bonds that the BOJ would buy through newly created credits.  Despite the illegality of such a policy, some observers seemed too hasty to shrug off Kuroda’s assessment because it was made in the middle of June.  

In our discussions of the fiscal stimulus, we have emphasized the distinction between the inflated headline figure, puffed up by rolling up other programs and commitments, and the fresh water figure, which is the stripped down new news.  We read yesterday’s report that the stimulus that was going to be JPY6 trillion instead of JPY3 trillion to be referring to the fresh water.  Today’s comment by Finance Minister Aso that the size of the package, expected as early as next week, as not been decided yet only adds to the uncertainty and confusion.  

The market seems less sure of what the BOJ will do at the end of this week.  And even if one knew what the BOJ was going to do, there is not much confidence in anticipating the yen’s direction.  We had thought there was room for disappointment with the BOJ.  Of the three dimensions of its current policy, the quantity of assets being purchases, the quality of those assets, and interest rates, we had thought that increasing ETF purchases and perhaps some other risk assets might be the likely course.  

The dollar fell to JPY104 in late-Asia before stabilizing.  The 20-day moving average is found just below there, and the JPY103.75 corresponds to a 50% retracement of the bounce from JPY100 to JPY107.50.  The 61.8% retracement is found near JPY102.85.  Initial resistance is seen near JPY105 now.  

Another feature of today’s foreign exchange market is the strength of the Antipodean currencies.  The New Zealand dollar is up almost as much as the yen (~1.2%) and the Australian dollar (0.8%).  The strength of the move is surprising given the fundamental outlook (both central banks are likely to cut interest rates next month) and positioning (speculators in the futures are long, especially the Australian dollar).  First thing tomorrow in Sydney, Australia’s Q2 CPI will be reported.  Barring a surprise, the report is seen as the last hurdle to a rate cut next week.  And the market is even more convinced of an RBNZ cut later in the month.  

The Australian dollar has been finding support near $0.7450 for the last several sessions, which is also at the intersection of a three-month uptrend.  Its recent peak was about $0.7675 on July 15.  The $0.7530 area that is probing in the European morning corresponds to a 38.2% retracement of that decline.  The 50% mark is $0.7560.    

In the heavier US dollar context, sterling has managed to recover from the initial slide to $1.3060.  That slide was driven by news that MPC member Weale, who last week voiced some opposition to the dovish signals from Carney (and the minutes), said the flash PMIs convinced him of the need for immediate monetary support.  Initial resistance is seen near $1.3160 and then $1.3220.  

Tomorrow’s first estimate of UK Q2 GDP may only be interesting in passing.  Despite some claims that the referendum was already having an impact in Q2, the economy may have actually accelerated a touch.  More important may be Thursday’s house prices and business survey.  Reports suggest prices of residential real estate in the London area have fallen sharply over the past month.  

The euro is firm today after testing the $1.0950 area yesterday, which was the first session since early-March that the euro did not trade north of $1.10.  Today it is, but not by much.  It appeared to stall near the lower end of a band of resistance that extends from $1.1030 to $1.1060.  The news stream is light, and the market is awaiting the stress test results at the end of the week.  

The North American session features S&P Case-Shiller house prices for May, which are expected to have ticked up slightly and the June new home sales reports, where a small increase is anticipated after a 6% fall in May.  The first estimate of Q2 GDP is out on July 29.  The Bloomberg median of 2.6% is a little above the NY and Atlanta Feds’ GDP tracking models.  

Barring a shocking Fed hike tomorrow, Q3 data is more important from a policy point of view than Q2 data.  The Richmond July manufacturing survey hardly has heft, though we note that much stronger than expected recovery in the Dallas Fed manufacturing index yesterday plays on ideas that the US belt is basing for recovery.  Markit’s preliminary service PMI for July is also on tap, along with the Conference Board’s measure of July‘s consumer confidence.

Fitch downgraded South Africa’s local currency rating by one notch to BBB- with a stable outlook.  This moves it into line with its foreign currency rating.  Fitch said it was part of a review applying new criteria.  Last week, Fitch downgraded Colombia’s local currency rating under the new criteria as well.  We have always felt that the local and foreign currency ratings should in general match up for every country, and welcome this move.  In addition, this move is a clear reminder that sub-investment grade ratings are likely to be seen this year from at least one agency.

Brazil’s COPOM releases its minutes.  At last week’s meeting, COPOM kept rates steady and maintained a very hawkish tone.  Brazil also reports June current account data today.  July IGP-M wholesale inflation and June central government budget data will be reported Thursday.   June manufacturing PPI and June consolidated budget data will be reported Friday.  This data should confirm the need for COPOM to remain cautious about cutting rates too early.

Hungary’s central bank is expected to keep rates steady at 0.90%.  It has signaled that rates are on hold for now, but that further easing could be seen with unconventional measures.  Deflation risks persist, and so we cannot rule out resumption in rate cuts too later this year.

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 10:29 AM

swissmiss

Power Generating iPhone Case

Power Generating iPhone Case

I saw this Power Generating iPhone Case and all I can think is that we need to bring boatloads of these to all of the world’s refugees trying to stay connected and getting information. Did you see this video?

by swissmiss at July 26, 2016 10:08 AM

It's Nice That

Yayoi Kusama illustrates Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid

Yayaoilistimage

Yayoi Kusama has illustrated a contemporary version of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid for the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Copenhagen. This follows an astonishing retrospective at the Danish museum, which finished earlier this year.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at July 26, 2016 10:08 AM

Across the Curve

Yen Surge

Via Japan Today:

Yen gains as Japanese stimulus expectations dialled back

LONDON —

The yen rose more than 1 percent against the dollar and the euro on Tuesday, as traders dialled back expectations of how much new stimulus Japanese authorities will inject into an ailing economy.

The Bank of Japan is expected to announce expanded asset purchases and a rate cut further into negative territory at the end of its policy meeting on Friday.

Meanwhile the government is compiling a spending package that some sources have estimated could be worth up to 20 trillion yen. But a Nikkei report on Tuesday said direct fiscal stimulus into the economy would amount to around 6 trillion yen over the next few years.

“There is some position unwinding going on with investors toning down expectations of how much fiscal stimulus will be provided,” said Yujiro Goto, currency strategist at Nomura.

“We are also seeing not much pressure from the Japanese government on the BOJ to ease. All this is helping the yen.”

The dollar slid 1.5 percent against the yen to 104.21, while the euro skidded 1.3 percent to 114.77 yen.

The yen has dropped in the past few weeks on growing expectations that Japanese authorities would provide both fiscal and monetary stimulus to kick-start inflation.

Some had been hoping for helicopter money, whereby the central bank would underwrite government debt, though policymakers have denied this is part of their plans.

Japanese Finance Minister Taro Aso said on Tuesday he expected the BOJ to continue doing its utmost to meet its 2 percent inflation target and left it to the BOJ to decide on specific steps.

Most economists surveyed by Reuters expect the BOJ to take some form of easing steps at its two-day meeting that ends on Friday.

Sterling dropped nearly 2 percent against the yen and hit a 12-day low against the euro after Bank of England policymaker Martin Weale said he had dropped his opposition to policy easing and now favoured immediate stimulus.

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 10:07 AM

English Ease

Via Bloomberg:
Weale Says BOE Stimulus More Likely as Slowdown Signs Mount
Fergal O’Brien
fergalob
July 26, 2016 — 2:46 AM EDT

Bank of England policy maker Martin Weale said Brexit has rattled the economy more than he anticipated and indicated he now favors immediate stimulus.

After saying last week he needed to see more evidence of a deterioration, his shift follows the publication of Markit’s Purchasing Managers Indexes, which showed business activity plunged to the weakest in seven years after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union. Markit said there had been a “dramatic deterioration” since the referendum.

The readings were “a lot worse than I had thought” and showed “expectations have worsened sharply,” Weale said in interview with the Financial Times published on Tuesday. “They are the best short-term indicator we have at the moment.”

The surveys are “very material for the decision we’ll be taking next week” and quantitative easing can still be an effective tool, he said. The Aug. 4 announcement will be Weale’s last before he leaves the Monetary Policy Committee.
Rate Bets

The pound was little changed at $1.3140 as of 10:25 a.m. in London, after dropping as much as 0.6 percent after Weale’s comments. Investors now see a 95 percent chance that the central bank will cut its key interest rate from 0.5 percent on Aug. 4, up from 85 percent on Monday.

Governor Mark Carney said after the Brexit vote that the economy would probably need some stimulus and economists expect a rate cut and other measures to be announced next month. While just one of the nine member Monetary Policy Committee, Gertjan Vlieghe, voted to cut rates at the July meeting, Chief Economist Andy Haldane has also indicated he’ll back stimulus at the August gathering.

With Weale now appearing to lean toward that view, that potentially leaves Kristin Forbes as one of the only dissenters. Prior to the publication of the PMI, she said she may choose to wait until there was more “hard data.”

Last week, Markit Economics said its gauge of the private-sector economy plunged to 47.7 from 52.4, after the referendum, below the 50 level that divides expansion from contraction.

“I see things rather differently from what I would have done had we not had those numbers and the material point is that they were collected after July 12, so after the initial shock of the referendum,” Weale said of the PMI. “Although you can’t say there’s a clear signal, if you spend all the time waiting for a clear signal, it never comes.”

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 10:04 AM

Some Early Corporate Bond Stuff

Via Bloomberg:

IG CREDIT: WFC 5Y, MS 10Y Led Secondary Trading Session
2016-07-26 09:36:31.570 GMT

By Robert Elson
(Bloomberg) — Secondary IG trading ended with a Trace
count of $14.7b vs $11.5b Friday, $14.8b last Monday. 10-DMA
$16.3b; 10-Monday moving avg $13.2b.

* 144a trading added $1.7b of IG volume vs $1.4b Friday, $1.9b
last Monday

* Most active issues:
* WFC 2.10% 2021 was 1st with client and affiliate flows
accounting for 85% of volume
* MS 3.125% 2026 was next with client buying 1.7x selling
* LYB 5.00% 2019 was 3rd with near even client flows
taking 100% of volume
* WDC 7.375% 2023 was most active 144a issue with client flows
taking 98% of volume

* Bloomberg US IG Corporate Bond Index OAS at 146.7 vs 147.3
* 2016 high/low: 220.8, a new wide since Jan. 2012/150.8
* 2015 high/low: 182.1/129.6
* 2014 high/low: 144.7/102.3

* BofAML IG Master Index at +146 vs +147
* 2016 high/low: +221, the widest level since June
2012/+152
* 2015 high/low: +180/+129
* 2014 high/low: +151/+106, tightest spread since July
2007

* Standard & Poor’s Global Fixed Income Research IG Index at
+194 vs +195
* +262, the new wide going back to 2013, was seen
2/11/2016
* The widest spread recorded was +578 in Dec. 2008

* S&P HY spread at +595 vs +600; +947 seen Feb. 11 was the
widest spread since Oct. 2011
* All-time wide was +1,754 in Dec. 2008

* Markit CDX.IG.26 5Y Index at 73.4 vs 70.5
* 73.0, its lowest level since August, was seen April 20
* 124.7, a new wide since June 2012 was seen Feb. 11
* 2014 high/low was 76.1/55.0, the low for 2014 and the
lowest level since Oct 2007

* Current market levels vs early Monday, Friday levels:
* 2Y 0.742% vs 0.719% vs 0.694%
* 10Y 1.546% vs 1.580% vs 1.565%
* Dow futures -3 vs +4 vs +40
* Oil $42.80 vs $43.85 vs $44.68
* ¥en 104.37 vs 106.31 vs 106.24

* U.S. IG BONDWRAP: $7.1b to Price in Front-Loaded Week
* July totals $99.745b, YTD $997.09b

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 10:01 AM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

Winning Over Boomers Online

Millennials comprise the most rapidly growing demographic in the U.S. today, and they rightfully command a huge share of marketers’ attention. But while everyone is scrambling to win the attention of the 18 to 34 set, let’s not forget about marketers’ former darling generation.

With roughly 76 million members aged 48 to 66, Boomers comprise about a quarter of the U.S. population, roughly the same proportion as the 76.6 million Millennials.

But market size aside, these populations couldn’t be more different. Millennials are racially and ethnically diverse, highly educated, and tend to be westward-bound urban dwellers. Boomers, on the other hand, tend to be less diverse and are more likely to remain tied to the suburbs.

While the Boomer market isn’t growing, it’s managed to weather the recent financial storm: Despite years of recession and the housing crisis, Boomers as a generation are still fairly wealthy, with an average household net worth of $140,000. The average Millennial’s net worth is about half that.

Given all the cash on the table, savvy marketers aren’t giving up on Boomers just yet.

So, how do you get the attention of Boomers on the web, considering their (undeserved) reputation as Luddites unwilling to spend money? We spoke to several marketing pros who are doing just that, in a variety of industries, and got them to share their tips and tricks for reaching this sizeable and lucrative demographic online.

Make it easy for Boomers to research your products 

The recession was particularly tough on Boomers who had poured their savings into real estate that rapidly devalued. It’s taken them longer than most to reopen their wallets—but that’s starting, cautiously, says Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

“Boomers are more likely to research companies before they buy,” Sweeney says. “Reputation management is absolutely vital for any business targeting boomers – that means you need to claim as many local marketing presences as you possibly can. Google, Yahoo, Bing and Yelp are good places to start. Then start soliciting and aggregating reviews. These don’t have to come from Boomers, they just have to be honest and well-written.”

Direct offline marketing to online channels

Boomers are tech-savvy, but they are also still quite active with traditional media. In fact, a DMN3 study found that television is still the most effective way to reach Boomers.

Isaac Oommen is the Internet marketing manager for McGregor Hardware Distribution. He takes a two-step process to lead Boomer customers from offline marketing and traditional media to his website, saying, “We talked up the Facebook page and website at the recent golf tournament, and we digitize the company’s marketing newsletter into something that is clickable, so each product description will lead the reader directly to that page on the website.”

In other words, if you’re targeting Boomers, don’t abandon traditional advertising, but ensure any offline marketing you engage in leads customers to your digital presence in as seamless a way as possible.

Play up necessity and value for the long term

Boomers are often enticed by appeals to their frugality, says Sweeney. Her company leverages that sentiment by “portraying our service as a necessary expense that, in the long term, pays off.” It’s a tough time to market luxury goods and expensive vacations to Boomers, while industries like home maintenance have seen a real upswing. Sweeney says, “It’s easy to see a trend towards long-term planning. If you make the mistake of marketing to boomers like they are at the end of their lives and should spend all their money while they can, they will see your company’s product or service as frivolous. Effective marketing should reflect this trend, and show how a business’s product or service benefits Boomers in the long-run, rather than right now.”

Remember: Boomers truly believe sentiments like “60 is the new 40” as they see a long road ahead for themselves. If you can position your company’s offerings as a good investment for the future — think double-pane windows or high-end furnishings —Boomers are likely to respond. Products should be touted as well made and constructed for the long haul.

Dismiss the idea that Boomers aren’t open to new brands

Boomers have a reputation for being “stuck in their ways,” but a Ketchum study says that sentiment is rapidly changing, as Boomers cite “evolving priorities” driven by divorce, separations and other increasingly common changes in dynamics of their relationships with significant others.

It’s less midlife crisis than it is an increasing openness to making other changes in their lives, namely investing in products they didn’t previously know well. The Ketchum study found that only 26 percent of Americans over 50 were loyal to any travel or packaged goods brand and only 13 percent had loyalty to any fashion brand.

The takeaway: don’t be afraid to attack the status quo out of fear that Boomers are resistant to new things. Boomers expect life to keep getting better. So if your product can be positioned as a catalyst for that improvement, you might find success. Consider, for example, the success of the Fitbit and other fitness trackers with this generation to see how Boomers are engaging with a new brand that promises to make life even better.

ecommerce digital

The post Winning Over Boomers Online appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Rack Blogger at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

3 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant

There may come a time in your freelancing career when you wake up one morning, check your overflowing inbox, and think, “Oh gosh, I really need some help!”

This is usually good news. It means there’s probably a lot going on in your business and it’s time to level up. The downside is you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed.

This is just one of the signs that it may be time to hire a virtual assistant, and it’s the number one reason I knew I needed to hire help. However, you don’t need to be knee deep in the overwhelm of success in order to feel like you need to hire a virtual assistant. The reality is there are multiple instances in which you may need some help.

You’re wasting your time on things that don’t make money.

One surefire sign that it’s time to hire a virtual assistant is when you notice you’re spending a lot of time on tasks that don’t necessarily make any money. For example, you’re spending a lot of time in your inbox responding to emails, you’re trying your hand at scheduling clients, writing your own invoices, messing around on social media and tinkering with your website. In fact, you’re spending more time on these small tasks than actually prospecting clients or working on projects.

I’m being frank here when I say I’ve called out many coaching clients for doing just this. Instead of hiring out the things that don’t make them money, and then spending their newfound time finding ways to bring in more revenue, they insist on doing it all themselves. The problem is you end up wasting a lot of your own time – time you could be dedicating to revenue generating activities. The end result is you’re actually leaving money on the table.

It may take a little convincing on my part to explain this to them, but once they start crunching the numbers and realizing how much money they’re losing by not hiring a virtual assistant, the decision becomes a no-brainer.

You’re wasting your time on tasks you hate doing.

I love numbers, but I hate writing my own invoices. I don’t even like logging into my accounting software because I’d rather spend time writing or creating a new offering. When I noticed that I was spending a lot of time on this one task I really couldn’t stand, I realized it was time for me to hire a virtual assistant so at the very least they could handle invoicing for me.

Take a look at your business and take inventory of what you’re spending your time on. How many of those tasks can you personally live without doing yourself? I bet there are quite a few. If you see yourself spending a lot of time on these particular tasks, it may be time to start looking for a virtual assistant.

You don’t want to be tied to your business 24/7.

If you’re at a stage in your business where you feel like you’re working 24/7 it may be time to hire a virtual assistant. In the beginning of this post I mentioned how I knew I needed to hire a virtual assistant when I began to feel overwhelmed. Part of the overwhelm was because I literally felt like I couldn’t take any time off for myself.

While I love what I do for a living, we could all use a break. In fact, taking breaks is essential when you’re creative for a living. In order for me to take those breaks, I needed to start layering in support in the form of a virtual assistant.

Have you hired a virtual assistant? When did you realize you needed one? Share in the comments below and let us know!

The post 3 Signs It’s Time to Hire a Virtual Assistant appeared first on Due Payments Blog.

by Amanda Abella at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

The Simple Dollar

You Can Improve This Part of Your Credit Score Almost Immediately

Last week, we discussed how the way you pay (or don’t pay) your bills has the single biggest impact on your FICO and VantageScore credit scores. A close second, however, is how well or poorly you manage your debt.

What’s more, the metrics that make up the “debt” category of your credit scores are much more actionable — meaning you can control how well you perform in this category, as long as you follow some basic rules.

How Much Does What You Owe Matter?

“Debt burden” accounts for roughly a third of the points in the credit score metrics used by FICO and VantageScore, making it the second most influential factor in your credit score. In fact, it’s almost as important as whether or not you’re making payments on time.

As a result, even if you make every single payment on time and have no negative information on your credit reports, your credit scores will never be truly great if you’re carrying too much credit card debt.

Exactly Which Information Is Relevant?

The primary metrics within the debt burden category are as follows:

  • How much do you owe on each account?
  • How many of your accounts have balances?
  • How much of each credit card limit is being used in the form of a balance?

The most influential of all of the debt-related measurements is what’s formally referred to as revolving utilization, which is a fancy way of saying how much you owe on your credit cards relative to the credit limits.

The utilization ratio is calculated by dividing the balances on your credit cards by the credit limits on your credit cards. So if you have two credit cards, one with a $2,000 limit and another with an $8,000 limit, and your combined balance between the two cards is $2,500, your utilization ratio is 25%.

How Much Will a High Utilization Ratio Hurt Your Credit Score?

Credit scoring models consider many factors in addition to your utilization rate. However, all things remaining constant, a higher ratio will always result in a lower credit score.

How much lower depends on a variety of factors, including just how high your credit card balances are and how many of the accounts on your credit report have a balance. In extreme cases, a high utilization ratio can lower your score by dozens of points.

How Long Will a High Utilization Ratio Hurt You Credit Score?

Currently neither the FICO nor VantageScore credit scoring models have a “memory” when it comes to your utilization ratios — meaning just because your cards were maxed out last month or last year, doesn’t mean it will hurt your scores if you’ve since paid down off your balances.

Scoring systems only consider what’s on your credit report as of the next time a company pulls it – and, with it, a new credit score. If you apply for a loan today, then the lender is going to pull a credit report and a credit score today.

This is good news for you — because if you’ve been able to pay down or pay off your credit card debt, then your scores will reflect that information and you won’t be penalized simply because you used to have high balances at some time in the past.

So, the answer to the question “How long it will hurt your score?” is this: As long as it takes you to pay down your debts.

If it takes you years to pay down your credit card debt, then it will take years for your scores to recover from the higher balances. But if you’re able to write a big check and pay off your credit cards in one day, then your scores will recover just as soon as your credit card issuers update your credit reports accordingly.

What Should I Do to Improve My Credit Score?

If you’re able to pay down your credit cards while eliminating some balances entirely, then your credit scores will begin to improve almost immediately.

Choose accounts that have lower balances, sometimes referred to as “nuisance” balances, and pay them off first, as this will help improve your credit scores immediately.

The next step is working down the larger balances, which is likely to take some time. That’s the bad news.

The good news is, even if it takes you a while to pay down those larger debts, your revolving utilization ratio will go down as you do. A utilization ratio of 50% is still better than 75%, and 25% is better than 50%. The lower, the better.

Related Articles

The post You Can Improve This Part of Your Credit Score Almost Immediately appeared first on The Simple Dollar.

by John Ulzheimer at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

O'Reilly Radar

Maintaining highly available applications

Learn the steps you can take to improve availability when it slips.

Your application is operational and online. Your systems are in place, and your team is operating efficiently. Everything seems to be going well. Your traffic is steadily increasing and your sales organization is very happy. All is well.

Then there’s a bit of a slip. Your system suffers an unanticipated outage. But that’s OK; your availability has been fantastic until now. A little outage is no big deal. Your traffic is still increasing. Everyone shrugs it off—it was just “one of those things.”

Then it happens again—another outage. Oops. Well, OK. Overall, we’re still doing well. No need to panic; it was just another “one of those things.”

Then another outage...

Now your CEO is a bit concerned. Customers are beginning to ask what’s going on. Your sales team is starting to worry.

Then another outage...

Suddenly, your once stable and operational system is becoming less and less stable; your outages are getting more and more attention.

Now you’ve got real problems.

What happened? Keeping your system highly available is a daunting task. What do you do if availability begins to slip? What do you do if your application availability has fallen or begins to fall, and you need to improve it to keep your customers satisfied?

Knowing what you can do when your availability begins to slip will help you to avoid falling into a vicious cycle of problems. The following sections outline some steps you can take when your availability begins to falter.

Measure and track your current availability

To understand what is happening to your availability, you must first measure what your current availability is. (See Chapter 3 for a refresher on how to measure availability.) Tracking when your application is available and when it isn’t gives you an availability percentage that can show how you are performing over a specific period of time. You can use this to determine if your availability is improving or faltering.

You should continuously monitor your availability percentage and report the results on a regular basis. On top of this, overlay key events in your application, such as when you performed system changes and improvements. This way you can see whether there is a correlation over time between system events and availability issues. This can help you to identify risks to your availability.

Next, you must understand how your application can be expected to perform from an availability standpoint. A tool that you can use to help manage your application availability is service tiers. These are simply labels associated with services that indicate how critical a service is to the operation of your business. This allows you and your teams to distinguish between mission-critical services and those that are valuable but not essential. I’ll discuss service tiers in more depth in Chapter 16.

Finally, create and maintain a risk matrix. With this tool, you can gain visibility into the technical debt and associated risk present in your application. Risk matrices are covered more fully in Chapter 7 and risk in general is discussed in Chapters 5 and 6.

Now that you have a way to track your availability and a way of identifying and managing your risk, you will want to review your risk management plans on a regular basis.

Additionally, you should create and implement mitigation plans to reduce your application risks. This will give you a concrete set of tasks you and your development teams can implement to tackle the riskiest parts of your application. This is discussed in detail in Chapter 8.

Automate your manual processes

To maintain high availability, you need to remove unknowns and variables. Performing manual operations is a common way to insert variable results and/or unknown results into your system.

You should never perform a manual operation on a production system.

When you make a change to your system, the change might improve or it might compromise your system. Using only repeatable tasks gives you the following:

  • The ability to test a task before implementing it. Testing what happens when you make a specific change is critical to avoiding mistakes that cause outages.
  • The ability to tweak the task to perform exactly what you want the task to do. This lets you implement improvements to the change you are about to make, before you make them.
  • The ability to have the task reviewed by a third party. This increases the likelihood that the task will not have unexpected side effects.
  • The ability to put the task under version control. Version control systems allow you to determine when the task is changed, by who, and for what reasons.
  • The ability to apply the task to related resources. Making a change to a single server that improves how that server works is great. Being able to apply the same change to every affected server in a consistent way makes the task even more useful.
  • The ability to have all related resources act consistently. If you continuously make “one off” changes to resources such as servers, the servers will begin to drift and act differently from one another. This makes it difficult to diagnose problematic servers because there will be no baseline of operational expectation that you can use for comparison.
  • The ability to implement repeatable tasks. Repeatable tasks are auditable tasks. Auditable tasks are tasks that you can analyze later for their impact, positive or negative, on the system as a whole.

There are many systems for which no one has access to the production environment. Period. The only access to production is through automated processes and procedures. The owners of these systems lock down their environments like this specifically for the aforementioned reasons.

In summary, if you can’t repeat a task, it isn’t a useful task. There are many places where adding repeatability to changes will help keep your system and application stable. This includes server configuration changes, performance tuning tweaks and adjustments, restarting servers, restarting jobs and tasks, changing routing rules, and upgrading and deploying software packages.

Automated deploys

By automating deploys, you guarantee changes are applied consistently throughout your system, and that you can apply similar changes later with known results. Additionally, rollbacks to known good states become more reliable with automated deployment systems.

Configuration management

Rather than “tweaking a configuration variable” in the kernel of a server, use a process to apply the change in an automated manner. For example, write a script that will make the change, and then check that script into your software change management system. This enables you to make the same change to all servers in your system uniformly. Additionally, when you need to add new servers to your system or replace old ones, having a known configuration that can be applied improves the likelihood that you can add the new server to your system safely, with minimal impact. Tools like Puppet and Chef can help make this process easier to manage.

The same applies to all infrastructure components, not just servers. This includes switches, routers, network components, and monitoring applications and systems.

For configuration management to be useful, it must be used for all system changes, all the time. It is never acceptable to bypass the configuration management system to make a change under any circumstances. Ever.

Don’t worry, I fixed it

You would be surprised the number of times I have received an operational update email that said something like: “We had a problem with one of our servers last night. We hit a limit to the maximum number of open files the server could handle. So I tweaked the kernel variable and increased the maximum number of open files, and the server is operational again.”

That is, it is operating correctly until someone accidentally overwrites the change because there was no documentation of the change. Or, until one of the other servers running the application has the same problem, but did not have this change applied.

Consistency, repeatability, and unfaltering attention to detail is critical to make a configuration management process work. And a standard and repeatable configuration management process such as I describe here is critical to keeping your scaled system highly available.

Continue reading Maintaining highly available applications.

by Lee Atchison at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

Injecting security into Continuous Delivery

How to build security in as an essential part of your workflow.

Before you can begin adding security checks and controls, you need to understand the workflows and tools that the engineering teams are using:

  • What happens before and when a change is checked in?
  • Where are the repositories? Who has access to them?
  • How do changes transition from check-in to build to Continuous Integration and unit testing, to functional and integration testing, and to staging and then finally to production?
  • What tests are run? Where are the results logged?
  • What tools are used? How do they work?
  • What manual checks or reviews are performed and when?

And how can you take advantage of all of this for security and compliance purposes?

Let’s map out the steps involved from taking a change from check-in to production and identify where we can insert security checks and controls. See the figure below for a model that explains how and where to add security checks into a Continuous Delivery workflow.

Figure 1. Security checks and controls in engineering workflows

Precommit

These are the steps before and until a change to software or configuration is checked in to the source code repo. Additional security checks and controls to be added here include the following:

  • Lightweight, iterative threat modeling and risk assessments.
  • Static analysis (SAST) checking in the engineer’s IDE.
  • Peer code reviews (for defensive coding and security vulnerabilities).

Commit stage (Continuous Integration)

This is automatically triggered by a check in. In this stage, you build and perform basic automated testing of the system. These steps return fast feedback to developers: did this change “break the build”? This stage needs to complete in at most a few minutes. Here are the security checks that you should include in this stage:

  • Compile and build checks, ensuring that these steps are clean, and that there are no errors or warnings.
  • Software Component Analysis in build, identifying risk in third-party components.
  • Incremental static analysis scanning for bugs and security vulnerabilities.
  • Alerting on high-risk code changes through static analysis checks or tests.
  • Automated unit testing of security functions, with code coverage analysis.
  • Digitally signing binary artifacts and storing them in secure repositories.[1]

Acceptance stage

This stage is triggered by a successful commit. The latest good commit build is picked up and deployed to an acceptance test environment. Automated acceptance (functional, integration, performance, and security) tests are executed. To minimize the time required, these tests are often fanned out to different test servers and executed in parallel. Following a “fail fast” approach, the more expensive and time-consuming tests are left until as late as possible in the test cycle, so that they are only executed if other tests have already passed.

Security controls and tests in this stage include the following:

  • Secure, automated configuration management and provisioning of the runtime environment (using tools like Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Salt, and/or Docker). Ensure that the test environment is clean and configured to match production as closely as possible.
  • Automatically deploy the latest good build from the binary artifact repository.
  • Smoke tests (including security tests) designed to catch mistakes in configuration or deployment.
  • Targeted dynamic scanning (DAST).
  • Automated functional and integration testing of security features.
  • Automated security attacks, using Gauntlt or other security tools.
  • Deep static analysis scanning (can be done out of band).
  • Fuzzing (of APIs, files). This can be done out of band.
  • Manual pen testing (out of band).

Production deployment and post-deployment

If all of the previous steps and tests pass, the change is ready to be deployed to production, pending manual review/approvals and scheduling (in Continuous Delivery) or automatically (in Continuous Deployment). Additional security checks and controls are needed in production deployment and post-deployment:

  • Secure, automated configuration management and provisioning of the runtime environment.
  • Automated deployment and release orchestration (authorized, repeatable, and auditable).
  • Post-deployment smoke tests.
  • Automated runtime asserts and compliance checks (monkeys).
  • Production monitoring/feedback.
  • Runtime defense.
  • Red Teaming.
  • Bug bounties.
  • Blameless postmortems (learning from failure).

Depending on the risk profile of your organization and systems, you will need to implement at least some of these practices and controls. Leaders in this space already do most of them.


Continue reading Injecting security into Continuous Delivery.

by Jim Bird at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

Design, build, release, run

Including design in every iteration of your cloud-native app development.

In Beyond the Twelve-Factor App, I present a new set of guidelines that builds on Heroku’s original 12 factors and reflects today’s best practices for building cloud-native applications. I have changed the order of some to indicate a deliberate sense of priority, and added factors such as telemetry, security, and the concept of “API first” that should be considerations for any application that will be running in the cloud. These new 15-factor guidelines are:

  1. One codebase, one application
  2. API first
  3. Dependency management
  4. Design, build, release, and run
  5. Configuration, credentials, and code
  6. Logs
  7. Disposability
  8. Backing services
  9. Environment parity
  10. Administrative processes
  11. Port binding
  12. Stateless processes
  13. Concurrency
  14. Telemetry
  15. Authentication and authorization

Build, release, run, of the original 12 factors, calls for the strict separation of the build and run stages of development. This is excellent advice, and failing to adhere to this guideline can set you up for future difficulties. In addition to the twelve-factor build, release, run trio, the discrete design step is crucial.

In the figure below, you can see an illustration of the flow from design to run. Note that this is not a waterfall diagram: the cycle from design through code and to run is an iterative one and can happen in as small or large a period of time as your team can handle. In cases where teams have a mature CI/CD pipeline, it could take a matter of minutes to go from design to running in production.

Figure 1. The design, build, release, run cycle.

A single codebase is taken through the build process to produce a compiled artifact. This artifact is then merged with configuration information that is external to the application to produce an immutable release. The immutable release is then delivered to a cloud environment (development, QA, production, etc.) and run. The key takeaway is that each of the following deployment stages is isolated and occurs separately.

Design

In the world of waterfall application development, we spend an inordinate amount of time designing an application before a single line of code is written. This type of software development life cycle is not well suited to the demands of modern applications that need to be released as frequently as possible.

However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t design at all. Instead, it means we design small features that get released, and we have a high-level design that is used to inform everything we do; but we also know that designs change, and small amounts of design are part of every iteration rather than being done entirely up front.

The application developer best understands the application dependencies, and it is during the design phase that arrangements are made to declare dependencies as well as the means by which those dependencies are vendored, or bundled, with the application. In other words, the developer decides what libraries the application is going to use, and how those libraries are eventually going to be bundled into an immutable release.

Build

The build stage is where a code repository is converted into a versioned, binary artifact. It is during this stage that the dependencies declared during the design phase are fetched and bundled into the build artifact (often just simply called a “build”). In the Java world, a build might be a WAR[1] or a JAR file, or it could be a ZIP file or a binary executable for other languages and frameworks.

Builds are ideally created by a Continuous Integration server, and there is a 1:many relationship between builds and deployments. A single build should be able to be released or deployed to any number of environments, and each of those unmodified builds should work as expected. The immutability of this artifact and adherence to the other factors (especially environment parity) give you confidence that your app will work in production if it worked in QA.

If you ever find yourself troubleshooting “works on my machine” problems, that is a clear sign that the four stages of this process are likely not as separate as they should be. Forcing your team to use a CI server may often seem like a lot of upfront work, but once running, you’ll see that the “one build, many deploys” pattern works.

Once you have confidence that your codebase will work anywhere it should, and you no longer fear production releases, you will start to see some of the truly amazing benefits of adopting the cloud-native philosophy, like continuous deployment and releases that happen hours after a checkin rather than months.

Release

In the cloud-native world, the release is typically done by pushing to your cloud environment. The output of the build stage is combined with environment- and app-specific configuration information to produce another immutable artifact, a release.

Releases need to be unique, and every release should ideally be tagged with some kind of unique ID, such as a timestamp or an auto-incrementing number. Thinking back to the 1:many relationship between builds and releases, it makes sense that releases should not be tagged with the build ID.

Let’s say that your CI system has just built your application and labeled that artifact build-1234. The CI system might then release that application to the dev, staging, and production environments. The scheme is up to you, but each of those releases should be unique because each one combined the original build with environment-specific configuration settings.

If something goes wrong, you want the ability to audit what you have released to a given environment and, if necessary, to roll back to the previous release. This is another key reason for keeping releases both immutable and uniquely identified.

There are a million different types of problems that arise from an organization’s inability to reproduce a release as it appeared at one point in the past. By having separate build and release phases, and storing those artifacts, rollback and historical auditing is a piece of cake.

Run

The run phase is also typically done by the cloud provider (although developers need to be able to run applications locally). The details vary among providers, but the general pattern is that your application is placed within some kind of container (Docker, Garden, Warden, etc.), and then a process is started to launch your application.

It’s worth noting that ensuring that a developer can run an application locally on her workstation while still allowing it to be deployed to multiple clouds via CD pipeline is often a difficult problem to solve. It is worth solving, however, because developers need to feel unhindered while working on cloud-native applications.

When an application is running, the cloud runtime is then responsible for keeping it alive, monitoring its health, and aggregating its logs, as well as a mountain of other administrative tasks like dynamic scaling and fault tolerance.

Ultimately, the goal of this guidance is to maximize your delivery speed while keeping high confidence through automated testing and deployment. We get some agility and speed benefits out of the box when working on the cloud; but if we follow the design, build, release, run guidelines, we can squeeze every ounce of speed and agility out of our product release pipeline without sacrificing our confidence in our application’s ability to do its job.


Continue reading Design, build, release, run.

by Kevin Hoffman at July 26, 2016 10:00 AM

Across the Curve

Credit Pipeline

Via Bloomberg:

IG CREDIT PIPELINE: NIB to Price as List Grows Longer
2016-07-26 09:29:47.939 GMT

By Robert Elson
(Bloomberg) — Expected to price today:

* Nordic Investment Bank (NIB) Aaa/AAA, to price $1b Global 5Y
at MS +17, via managers BAML/C/HSBC/RBC

LATEST UPDATES

* Adani Transmission (ADTIN) Baa3/BBB-, mandates
Barc/DBS/NBD/MUFG/Nom/SG/SCB for debut $bench 144a/Reg-S 10Y
* Visa (V) A1/A+; CFO says will issue $2b debt for buybacks by
yr end (July 21); last seen in Dec.
* Nike (NKE) A1/AA-; automatic debt shelf (July 21); has
followed filing with issuance in the past
* American Express (AXP) A3/BBB+; reported earnings July 20
* Said in April that it plans to issue ~$3b-$7b term debt
* Has $2.2b maturing next week; $2.3b in Sept.
* American Express Credit sold $1.75b 5Y notes in May
* The Government of Trinidad & Tobago (TRITOB) Baa3/ A-, has
mandated Deutsche Bank and First Citizens Bank to arrange
investor meetings July 25-27; 144a/Reg-S 10Y offering may
follow
* Empresa Nacional de Petroleo (ENAPCL) Baa3/BBB-, hires C/JPM
to arrange investor meetings July 25-Aug.; 144a/Reg-S USD
10Y may follow
* Export-Import Bank of India (EXIMBK) Baa3/BBB-, has mandated
BAML/Barc/C/JPM/SCB to arrange investor update meetings July
21-27; 144a/Reg-S senior notes offering may follow
* Microsoft (MSFT) Aaa/AAA; exited blackout Tuesday; last
issued in Oct.
* MSFT is acquiring LinkedIn (LNKD) for $26.2b
* Bayer (BAYNGR) A3/A-; “disappointed” $125/shr bid for
Monsanto (MON) A3/BBB+ rejected (July 19)
* $63b financing said secured w/ $20b-$30b bonds seen
* Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (SAUDI), said to have hired 6 banks
to lead first intl bond sale; mtg later this month
* Managers will work with Citi, HSBC, JPM who were said to
be global coordinators for at least $10b of bonds,
divided into 5y, 10y, 30y tranches, similar to Qatar’s
recent sale
* Sumitomo Life (SUMILF) A3/BBB+; investor mtg July 19 via
BofAML; focus to be on hybrid capital
* Last priced a USD deal in 2013
* Woori Bank (WOORIB) A2/A-, mandates BAML/C/Cmz/CA/HSBC/Nom
for investor meeting July 11-20

MANDATES/MEETINGS

* National Grid (NGGLN) Baa1/–; investor mtgs June 1-3

M&A-RELATED

* Danone (BNFP) Baa1/BBB+; ~$12.1b WhiteWave (WWAV) Ba2/BB
* Co. Says deal 100% debt-financed, expects to keep IG
profile (July 7)
* Thermo Fisher (TMO) Baa3/BBB; ~$4.07b FEI acq
* $6.5b loans, including $2b bridge (July 4)
* Zimmer Biomet (ZBH) Baa3/BBB; ~$1b LDR acq
* Plans $750m issuance post-completion (June 7)
* Air Liquide (AIFP) A3/A-; ~$13.2b Airgas acq
* Plans to refi $12b loan backing acq via USD/EUR debt
(June 3)
* Great Plains Energy (GXP) Baa2/BBB+; ~$12.1b Westar acq
* $8b committed debt secured for deal (May 31)
* Abbott (ABT) A2/A+; ~$5.7b St. Jude buy, ~$3.1b Alere buy
* $17.2b bridge loan commitment (April 28)
* Sherwin-Williams (SHW) A2/A; ~$9.3b Valspar buy
* $8.3b debt financing expected (March 20)
* Shire (SHPLN) Baa3/BBB-; ~$35.5b Baxalta buy
* Closed $18b Baxalta acq loan (Feb 11)

SHELF FILINGS

* Potash Corp (POT) A3/BBB+; debt shelf; last issued March
2015 (June 29)
* Tesla Motors (TSLA); automatic debt, common stk shelf (May
18)
* Debt may convert to common stk
* Reynolds American (RAI) Baa3/BBB filed automatic debt shelf;
sold $9b last June (May 13)
* Statoil (STLNO) Aa3/A+; debt shelf; last issued USD Nov.
2014 (May 9)
* Corporate Office (OFC) Baa3/BBB-; debt shelf (April 12)
* Rogers (RCICN) Baa1/BBB+; $4b debt shelf (March 4)

OTHER

* Investment Corp of Dubai (INVCOR); weighs bond sale (July 4)
* Alcoa (AA) Ba1/BBB-; upstream entity to borrow $1b (June 29)
* GE (GE) A3/AA-; may issue despite no deals this yr (June 1)
* Discovery Communications (DISCA) Baa3/BBB-; may revisit bond
market this yr, BI says (May 18)

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 09:59 AM

Smashing Magazine Feed

The Illusion Of Life: An SVG Animation Case Study


  

With flat design becoming the ever visible trend of 2016, it’s clear why there’s been a resurgence in SVG usage. The benefits are many: resolution-independence, cross-browser compatibility and accessible DOM nodes. In this article, we’ll take a look at how we can use SVGs to create seemingly complex animations from simple illustrations.

The Illusion Of Life: An SVG Animation Case Study

This project began as a simple thought experiment: How far can we push SVG animation? At the time, designer Chris Halaska and I were colleagues working on an illustration-heavy campaign website. While aesthetically pleasing, the designs lacked the required “oomph” that all creatives search for.

The post The Illusion Of Life: An SVG Animation Case Study appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

by Michael Ngo at July 26, 2016 09:57 AM

Across the Curve

Early FX

Via Kit Juckes at Socgen:

<http://www.sgmarkets.com/r/?id=h1104315d,17c8a49d,17c8a49e&p1=136122&p2=0dd9675814f53a915b3cebd38ba7833c>

I thought (still think) there are more Yen longs than shorts out there, but shorts were squeezed by doubts about the extent of upcoming fiscal easing, and pre BOJ meeting nerves. It’s been a pretty swift correction in USD/JPY, which has spent two weeks crawling up from 100 to 107.5. As soon as relative real yields stopped dragging it higher, it dropped back to earth. 103.50 need to hold to keep the bounce looking intact but we still think that the BOJ will deliver easing and this time, it should affect the market.

TIIPS correction stopped, USD/JPY fell…

[http://email.sgresearch.com/Content/PublicationPicture/229628/1]

The yen might have been the pick of the bunch overnight but the dollar was down pretty much across the board after softer oil prices took US equities down yesterday evening, dragging Treasury yields lower. There’s a lot of positioning ahead of central bank meetings and the market seems happy to cut back dollar longs ahead of the FOMC. It’s also cutting back AUD shorts ahead of Australian Q2 CPI data tonight. The market expects these to be soft, with the annual inflation rate falling to 1.1% from 1.3% and the trimmed mean to 1.5% from 1.7%. That would add to the expectation of an RBA cut next Tuesday but before we get there, positions are being cut back.

The big loser – the only currency to be down even against the dollar – was sterling. Martin Weale attends his last MPC meeting next week and has indicated to the FT that he is now in favour of immediate easing, citing last Friday’s awful PMI as a prime reason to act. He was attended 71 MPC meetings so far (if my maths is right) and has voted to leave rates unchanged 59 times and to hike 12 times. The MPC has never moved rates over that period but perhaps this time, he’ll be a bellwether. Clearly there is a debate within the MPC about how and when to start easing in response to the referendum result, but no real argument about the fact that the economic impact will be negative, significant,. and will require easier policy. To my mind, easier fiscal policy would be a better response but we’re going to get lower rates and more asset purchases and, albeit choppily, a weaker pound too.

Oil prices have dropped USD 8/bbl since June 8. Since then, the Norwegian Krone has yet again been the biggest faller among petro-currencies, losing 5.5%. the Canadian dollar’s dropped 3.9%, the Mexican Peso 3.4% as it focuses on US politics every bit as much as the oil price, and the Rouble has fallen by 2.8%. RUB resilience against the petro-currencies isn’t preventing it from weakening against the ZAR, and CAD relative resilience compared with NOK hasn’t prevented USD/CAD breaking its recent range. Nor is it helping our short SGD/CAD trade. The oil price move itself still looks like noise as oil demand and supply get back into balance, but the wider market impact is increased by the summer trading conditions.

Finally, the impact on the front end of the US Libor curve and short-dated swoop rates from US money market fund reform are beginning to pose questions in the FX market. As money market funds switch into government assets, wider spreads to Libor are inevitable. That may make controlling the cost of money harder for the Fed but otherwise, is it more than a technical move? Spikes in swap and ted spread shave historically coincided with higher FX volatility and generally, with risk aversion. Surely not this time….but worth keeping an eye on anyway…

Wider Ted and swap spreads – technical move or canary?

[http://email.sgresearch.com/Content/PublicationPicture/229628/5]

Today’s calendar sees US consumer confidence and new home sales. But oil and commodities and positioning will be much more important.

by John Jansen at July 26, 2016 09:57 AM

Allisstatus

Pot calling the kettle black

How ironic it is that, after years of Western politicians — mainly Americans, but with British not far behind — telling Chinese politicians how to run their affairs, we find that government after government in the advanced countries are being told by intelligent observers in academia and the media that their governments are “broken”. “Broken” […]

by Keith Hudson at July 26, 2016 09:56 AM

It's Nice That

Camelot’s typefaces bring both the contemporary and historical to the table

Camelottype-port-12-int

Independent foundry Camelot designs typefaces inspired by history – both canonical and vernacular – and informed by contemporary life, and technology. Founded by Maurice Göldner, Katharina Köhler and Wolfgang Schwärzler; the Leipzig-based foundry instantly fell into favour with its fellow designers, having been used by the likes of OK-RM, Fabian Bremer and in Ortner Schinko’s identity for Sigrid Stöckl.

Read more

by Billie Muraben at July 26, 2016 09:54 AM

Zero Hedge

2 Islamic State Hostage Takers Killed After Slitting Priest's Throat In Assault On French Church

In what appears to be the latest European terrorist attack which took place early on Tuesday morning, two men claiming allegiance to Islamic State killed a priest by slitting his throat and gravely injured another person during morning Mass at a church in a northern French town.  Investigators are treating the assault as a terror attack, the Paris prosecutor’s office said in a statement. French President François Hollande said that the attackers had claimed allegiance to the extremist group.

Men wielding knives entered the church in the small town of Saint Etienne du Rouvray in Normandy and took five hostages, including the priest, who was found with his throat cut, police said. Another person was left “between life and death,” a spokesman for the Interior Ministry said.

As the WSJ reports, a spokesman for the French Bishops Conference identified the priest as Jacques Hamel, the parish’s auxiliary priest. Police surrounded the church and shot the two men as they exited the building, said a spokesman for the Interior Ministry.

Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi branded the attack in Normandy a “barbarous killing” that “unfortunately has been added to the series of violence in recent days that has upset us.”

Pope Francis “is informed and shares the pain and horror of this absurd violence,” Father Lombardi said. Mr. Hollande and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve were on their way to the town, government officials said.

he Normandy attack came 12 days after a 31-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel plowed his heavy goods truck into a crowd of revelers in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people. Islamic State claimed that attack. 

"Horror. Everything is being done to trigger a war of religions," tweeted Jean-Pierre Raffarin, a former conservative prime minister who now heads the Senate's foreign affairs committee.

It isn’t the first time a church has been targeted in France. In April of last year, French police detained Sid Ahmed Ghlam, an Algerian suspected of having links with Islamic State and receiving instructions to attack a church.

The French government has strengthened security services since attacks in January and November last year and handed police special powers to conduct raids and detain suspects in their homes under a state of emergency, but has been unable to stop terrorist attacks. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned that the country will have to live with the threat.

* * *

According to Hollande, the two terrorists were claimed by ISIS.


Summary:

  • Two knifemen took several hostages during mass
  • They killed the 84-year-old priest, Jacques Hamel, with unconfirmed reports saying his throat was cut; they were then shot dead by police
  • Three churchgoers were also injured, one of them seriously
  • President François Hollande is heading to scene; Counter terror judges have been called in to investigate
  • Police searching church for explosives

Both attackers have been killed by police, an interior ministry spokesman confirmed to Reuters. The Paris anti-terrorist prosecutor is launching an investigation into the church attack and hostage-taking situation, the spokesman added

According to France 24, the attackers were armed with guns, and opened fire at the police while shouting "Allah Akbar"

 

Subsequent reports suggest that one of the suspects tried to travel to Syria last year.

The killed priest has been identified as 84 year old Jacques Hamel.

One resident was walking to church as the horror broke out. He told French newspaper MetroNews: "I was going to go out and do my shopping when the police started shouting me to go straight home and barricade myself.

"There is a lot of agitation, the police are bulletproof vest and armed."

While the motives of the hostage taking are still unclear it comes at a time when France is on high alert after a spate of recent terror attacks. 

Firefighters, along with SWAT and anti-terror units, came to the scene, and said that there were several people wounded in the attack, RTL France media outlet said.

 

The Vatican has condemned the "barbaric killing" of the priest in the attack, saying it was made even more heinous by the fact that it happened in a sacred place.

French President Francois Hollande is on his way to the site of the attack, according to an official statement from Elysee Palace. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve is also headed to the scene of the hostage-taking, the ministry said.

by Tyler Durden at July 26, 2016 09:52 AM

craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

Intern Engineer/Developer

We are looking for an individual to come and join our engineering team! We are a team of 10 engineers and athletes creating software and hardware for competitive athletes and professionals using AR. If you are interested in gaining some awesome exper [...]

July 26, 2016 09:43 AM

India Real Time

Could India Become a Cashless Economy?

Cash is set to lose currency in India, as an explosion in smartphone usage drives a digital payments boom, according to a new report.

by Shefali Anand at July 26, 2016 09:36 AM

Gurcharan Das

மனிதவள மேம்பாட்டு துறையில் இருந்து ஸ்மிருதி இரானியை நீக்கியது வரலாற்று நிகழ்வு?

‘பிளஸ் 2 பொதுத் தேர்வை மாணவர்கள் திருப்தியாக ஏன் எழுதவில்லை. விளக்கம் கொடுங்கள்’ என்று கேட்டு, 240 பள்ளி முதல்வர்களுக்கு கேந்திரிய வித்யாலயா சங்காத்தன் உத்தரவிட்டுள்ளது. நமது பள்ளிகளின் செயல்பாடுகள், மாணவர்களின் கற்றல் திறன் குறித்து பிரதமர் மோடி கவலை கொண்டுள்ளார். ஒருமுறை பேசும்போது, ‘‘மாணவர்கள் என்ன எதிர்பார்க் கிறார்களோ அதை வகுப்பறைகள் பிரதிபலிக்க வேண்டும். பெற்றோர்களும் தங்கள் குழந்தை களுக்கு எங்கு உதவி வேண்டும் என்பதை தெரிந்து வைத்திருக்க வேண்டும்’’ என்று பேசினார்.

இந்த விஷயமே ஸ்மிருதி இரானியை மனித வள மேம்பாட்டுத் துறை அமைச்சர் பதவியில் இருந்து நீக்கியதற்கு காரணமாக இருக்கலாம். இது இந்திய வரலாற்றில் மிக முக்கியமான நிகழ்வாக இருக்கும்.

பள்ளி அளவில் கல்வியின் தரம் குறித்து இந்திய அரசியல்வாதிகள் அக்கறை செலுத்துவது வழக்கத்துக்கு மாறானது. கல்வி என்பது மாநில அரசு சம்பந்தப்பட்டது என்றாலும், செயல்பாடுகளின் அடிப்படையில் மத்திய அமைச்சரை மாற்றியது, பல மாநிலங்களில் தூங்கிக் கொண்டிருக்கும் கல்வித் துறை அமைச்சகத்தை தட்டியெழுப்பி உள்ளது.

மிகப்பெரிய மாற்றம் என்பது ஸ்மிருதிக்குப் பதில் பிரகாஷ் ஜவடேகரை மனிதவள மேம்பாட்டுத் துறை அமைச்சராக நியமித்ததுதான். இந்தியாவை பொறுத்தவரை கல்வி அமைச்சகத்துக்கு திறமை யில்லாத அமைச்சர்கள் இருந்து வருவது துரதிருஷ்டவசமானது. அந்த வகையில் ஸ்மிருதியும் தவறான தேர்வுதான்.

தற்போது ஜவுளித் துறை அமைச்சராக ஸ்மிருதி நியமிக்கப்பட்டுள்ளார். மற்றவர்கள் நினைப்பது போல் இந்த மாற்றம் ஸ்மிருதிக்கு பதவி இறக்கம் அல்ல. இந்தியாவில் வேலைவாய்ப்பு களை அதிக எண்ணிக்கையில் உருவாக்க கூடிய மிகப்பெரிய வாய்ப்பு ஜவுளித் துறையில் உள்ளது. எனவே, புதிய கொள்கைகளை திறம்பட அமல்படுத்தினால், லட்சக்கணக்கான வேலைவாய்ப்புகளை ஸ்மிருதி யால் உருவாக்க முடியும். அதன்மூலம் மனிதவள மேம்பாட்டுத் துறையில் இழந்த அல்லது அவர் செய்த தவறுகளில் இருந்து மீண்டு பெயர் எடுக்கலாம்.

மனிதவள மேம்பாட்டுத் துறை ஜூனியர் அமைச்சர் பதவியில் இருந்து ராம் சங்கர் கத்தாரியாவும் நீக்கப்பட்டுள்ளார். இதுவும் சரியான நடவடிக்கைததான். கல்வியை காவிமயமாக்கும் முனைப்புடன் அவர் செயல்பட்டார். அத்துடன் முஸ்லிம்களுக்கு எதிராக சர்ச்சைக்குரிய கருத்துகளை அவ்வப்போது வெளியிட்டு வந்தார்.

அமைச்சரவை மாற்றத்தில் மிகப்பெரிய இழப்பு, ஜெயந்த் சின்காவை நிதியமைச்சகத்தில் இருந்து சிவில் விமானப் போக்குவரத்துத் துறைக்கு மாற்றியதுதான். முதலீட்டாளர்களிடம் நம்பிக் கையை ஏற்படுத்தினார். ரிசர்வ் வங்கியில் இருந்து ரகுராம் ராஜன் விலகியதன் மூலம், நம்பிக்கைக் குரிய 2 பேரை இப்போது இந்தியா இழந்துவிட்டது.

எனினும், அதிர்ஷ்டவசமாக உள்கட்டமைப்பு விஷயத்தில் செயல்திறன்மிக்க 3 பேரை மோடி வைத்திருக்கிறார். சாலை, நெடுஞ்சாலை, துறைமுகத் துறை அமைச்சர் நிதின் கட்கரி, நிலக்கரி, எரிசக்தி, சுரங்கத் துறை அமைச்சர் பியூஷ் கோயல் மற்றும் ரயில்வேயில் சுரேஷ் பிரபு ஆகிய 3 பேர் இருக்கின்றனர்.

சில ஆண்டுகளுக்கு முன்பு அமெரிக்க அதிபர் ஒபாமா தொலைக்காட்சியில் பேசும்போது, ‘‘சிறந்த ஆசிரியர்களுக்கும் சிறப்பில்லாத ஆசிரியர்களுக் கும் வேறுபாடு உள்ளது’’ என்றார். அமெரிக்காவில் மாணவர்கள் கற்றல் குறைபாட்டுடன் இருப்பதற்கு ஆசிரியர்கள்தான் காரணம் என்றார். அதுபோல் நாமும் சிறந்த ஆசிரியர்களை அங்கீகரிக்கவும், சிறப்பில்லாத ஆசிரியர்களை தண்டிக்கவும் வழிவகை காண வேண்டும்.

பள்ளிக் கல்வியில் உள்ள சிக்கல்களை பிரகாஷ் ஜவடேகர் கண்டறிந்துள்ளார். சர்வதேச மாணவர் மதிப்பீடு திட்டத்தின் கீழ் (பிஐஎஸ்ஏ) கடந்த 2011-ம் ஆண்டு வாசித்தல், அறிவியல் மற்றும் கணிதத்தில் நடத்தப்பட்ட தேர்வில் 74 பேரில் இந்திய குழந்தைகள் 73-வது இடத்தையே பிடித்துள்ளனர். இந்த அவல நிலையை கல்வி நிலையின் ஆண்டு அறிக்கை (ஏஎஸ்இஆர்) தொடர்ந்து உறுதிப்படுத்தி வருகிறது.

ஐந்தாம் வகுப்பு படிக்கும் மாணவர்களில் பாதிக்கும் குறைவானோர்தான் 2-ம் வகுப்பு புத்தகத்தில் இருந்து வாசிக்கும் திறனுடன் உள்ளனர் அல்லது சாதாரண சிறிய கணக்கை செய்கின்றனர் என்று அந்த அறிக்கை தெரிவித்துள்ளது. மேலும், இந்திய ஆசிரியர்களில் வெறும் 4 சதவீதம் பேர்தான் ஆசிரியர் தகுதி தேர்வில் (டெட்) வெற்றி பெற்றுள்ளனர் என்கிறது. உ.பி., பிஹார் போன்ற மாநிலங்களில் உள்ள ஆசிரியர்களில் 4-ல் 3 பேரால் 5-ம் வகுப்பு சதவீதத்தை கணக்கிடக் கூட செய்ய முடிவதில்லை.

இந்நிலையில், ஆசிரியர் குடும்பத்தில் இருந்து வந்துள்ளார் ஜவடேகர். இந்திய பெற்றோர் தங்கள் குழந்தைகளை அரசு பள்ளிகளில் சேர்க்காமல் தனியார் பள்ளிகளில் ஏன் சேர்க்கின்றனர் என்பதை ஜவடேகர் நன்கு புரிந்து வைத்துள்ளார்.

பள்ளிகளில் இலவச கல்வி கிடைத்தும், தாங்கள் கஷ்டப்பட்டு சம்பாதிக்கும் பணத்தை தனியார் பள்ளிகளுக்கு பெற்றோர் வழங்கும் நிலை ஏன்? இதற்கு நேர்மையாக பதில் அளிக்க வேண்டு மானால், 4 அரசு பள்ளி ஆசிரியர்களில் ஒருவர் சட்டவிரோதமாக, பள்ளிக்கு வருவதில்லை. பள்ளிக்கு வரும் இருவரில் ஒருவர் பாடம் நடத்து வதில்லை. அரசு பள்ளிகளை கைவிடுவதற்கு நீங்கள் பெற்றோர்களை குறை சொல்ல முடியுமா? தனியார் பள்ளிகள் பெரும்பாலானவை சிறப்பானதாகவும் இல்லை. ஆனால், குறைந்தப்பட்சம் ஆசிரியர்கள் இருக்கிறார்கள்.

கோடிக்கணக்கில் தொடக்கக் கல்விக்கு அரசு பணம் கொட்டப்படுகிறது. ஆனாலும் கல்வியின் தரம் உயரவில்லை. இது இந்தியாவில் உள்ள கல்வி அமைப்புகள் மீது கூறப்படும் மிகப்பெரிய குற்றச்சாட்டு. கல்வி அடிப்படை உரிமை சட்டத்தால் (ஆர்டிஇ) எந்த பலனும் ஏற்படவில்லை. அதற்கான காரணம் தெரிந்ததுதான். இந்தச் சட்டம் உள்ளீடுகளில் மட்டுமே கவனம் செலுத்துகிறது. பலனை பார்ப்பதில்லை.

வகுப்பறை அளவு, கழிவறைகள், விளையாட்டு மைதானங்களின் அளவு போன்ற உள்கட்டமைப்பு விஷயங்கள் மட்டுமே கவனத்தில் எடுத்துக் கொள்ளப்படுகின்றன. மாணவர்கள் என்ன கற்கின்றனர், கற்பித்தல் தரம் எப்படி இருக்கின்றது என்பதை பற்றி எல்லாம் அளவிட மாநிலங்களை இந்தச் சட்டம் அனுமதிப்பதில்லை.

கற்றல் தரத்தை நீங்கள் அளவிட முடியாத போது, ஆசிரியர்களை எப்படி பொறுப்பாளியாக்க முடியும்? உலகில் சிறந்த பள்ளிக் கல்வியை வழங்கும் நாடுகள் இதை உணர்ந்திருக்கின்றன. அதனால் ஆசிரியர்கள்தான் எல்லாமும் என்கின்றன. அதற்காக தேசிய அளவில் ஆசிரியர்களுக்கு மதிப்பீடுகளும் கடுமையான பயிற்சி திட்டங்களையும் செயல்படுத்துகின்றன.

‘சிறந்த ஆசிரியர்களாக இருப்பவர்கள் பிறவியிலேயே அப்படிப்பட்டவர்கள்’ என்று நம்புவதுதான் நமது தவறு. உண்மையில் போதிய பயிற்சியின் மூலம் யார் வேண்டுமானாலும் சிறந்த ஆசிரியர்களாக உருவாக முடியும். ஆனால், அந்த பயிற்சி தொடர்ந்து இருக்க வேண்டும், கடுமையாக இருக்க வேண்டும், ஆசிரியர் பணி காலம் முழுவதும் இருக்க வேண்டும்.

ஸ்மிருதியிடம் காணப்பட்ட குறைபாடுகள் ஜவடேகரிடம் இல்லை. பிரதமர் அலுவலகம், நிதி ஆயோக், டிஎஸ்ஆர் சுப்பிரமணியம் குழுவுடன் இணைந்து செயல்படுகிறார். இவர்கள் எல்லாம் சிறந்த யோசனைகளை அளிப்பவர்கள். எனினும் வரும் 3 ஆண்டுகளுக்குள் ஜவடேகர் ஏதாவது சாதிக்க வேண்டும் என்று நினைத்தால், மாணவர்களின் கற்றல் திறனை அளவிட்டு, அதை மேம்படுத்தும் விஷயம் ஒன்றில் மட்டும் அதிக கவனம் செலுத்த வேண்டும். அதைவிட ஜவடேகருக்கு மிக முக்கியமான இலக்காக எது இருக்க வேண்டும்? வரும் 2019-ம் ஆண்டுக்குள் 3-ம் வகுப்பிலேயே மாணவர்கள் நன்கு எழுதவும் படிக்கவும் கூடிய திறனுடன் இருக்கும் வகையில் மாற்றத்தை கொண்டு வரமுடியுமா?

இதைக் கேட்பதற்கு பகல் கனவாக தோன்றுகிறதா? அரசு தன்னார்வ தொண்டு நிறுவனம் ‘பிரதம்’ இந்த இலக்கை ஒரே ஆண்டில் ஏற்படுத்த முடியும் என்பதை 2 மாநிலங்களில் செய்து காட்டி இருக்கிறது!

by gurcharan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2016 09:25 AM

Planet Python

David MacIver: It might be worth learning an ML-family language

It’s long been a popular opinion that learning Haskell or another similar language will make you a better programmer. I think this is probably true, but I think it’s an overly specific claim because learning almost anything will make you a better programmer, and I’ve not been convinced that Haskell is a much better choice than many other things in terms of reshaping your thinking.

But… I’ve been noticing something recently when teaching Python programmers to use Hypothesis that has made me reconsider somewhat. Not so much a fundamental reshaping of the way you think as a highly useful microskill that people seem to struggle to learn in dynamically typed languages.

That skill is this: Keeping track of what the type of the value in a variable is.

That may not seem like an important skill in a dynamic language, but it really is: Although functions will tend to be more lenient about what type of value they accept (is it a list or a tuple? Who cares!), they will tend to go wrong in interesting and confusing ways when you get it too wrong, and you then waste valuable debugging time trying to figure out what you did wrong. A good development workflow will typically let you find the problem, but it will still take significantly longer than just not making the mistake in the first place.

In particular this seems to come up when the types are related but distinct. Hypothesis has a notion of a “strategy”, which is essentially a data generator, and people routinely seem to get confused as to whether something is a value of a type, a strategy for producing values of that type, or a function that returns a strategy for producing the type.

It might be that I’ve just created a really confusing API, but I don’t think that’s it – people generally seem to really like the API and this is by far the second most common basic usage error people make with it (the first most common is confusing the functions one_of and sampled_from, which do similar but distinct things. I’m still trying to figure out better names for them).

It took me a while to notice this because I just don’t think of it as a difficult thing to keep track of, but it’s definitely a common pattern. It also appears to be almost entirely absent from people who have used Haskell (and presumably other ML-family languages – any statically typed language with type-inference and a bias towards functional programming really) but I don’t know of anyone who has tried to use Hypothesis knowing an ML-family language without also knowing Haskell).

I think the reason for this is that in an ML family language, where the types are static but inferred, you are constantly playing a learning game with the compiler as your teacher: Whenever you get this wrong, the compiler tells you immediately that you’ve done so and localises it to the place where you’ve made the mistake. The error messages aren’t always that easy to understand, but it’s a lot easier to figure out where you’ve made the mistake than when the error message is instead “AttributeError: ‘int’ object has no attribute ‘kittens'” in some function unrelated to where you made the actual error.

This is probably a game worth playing. If people are making this error when using Hypothesis, they I’d expect them to be making it in many other places too. I don’t expect many of these errors are making it through to production (especially if your code is well tested), but they’re certainly wasting time while developing.

In terms of which ML-family language to choose for this, I’m not sure. I haven’t actually used it myself yet (I don’t really have anything I want to write in the space that it targets), but I suspect Elm is probably the best choice. They’ve done some really good work on making type errors clear and easy to understand, which is likely exactly what you need for this sort of learning exercise.

 

July 26, 2016 09:23 AM

Sr Bachchan

DAY 3039

Jalsa, Mumbai                July 26,  2016                Tue 2:01 pm



Each incident that occurs in our system of existence, we discover the exceptional qualities of one element - the brain. As we live our lives encountering the whims and fancies that life brings with it, our admiration and exalted positioning of the brain stands above the many illusioned skyscrapers, that we build within us, or without.

The complexities of this brain, this cerebrum, this encephalon, astonishes us all .. and after re reading what was posted last night on this very page, leaves me in anger, yes, but also in some bewilderment. That a fatigued brain can conjure up terminology that leaves any kind of sense or logic, millions of light years away, is of equal if not greater wonder than any of the material wonders of the Earth ; including theories of the manufacture of this planet we inhabit !


So, much like many other occasions, when there is regret and apology mentioned by the writer to the Ef, I express all of that again and hasten to correct if possible, the atrocious content of DAY 3038.

I shall not give menial excuses - the world is filled with many such each day - but merely accept the fault and try to fill this effort towards the removal of past error.




There was much to be said when requests flew in about several films’ connect, its history, its making and on .. which I have been promising I shall soon enough .. but soon enough is not enough .. and as posts and DAYS fly past, the requests remain in the mind, but do not find verbage on Blog ..

I do find, in this world of speed and rapid declarations of time, that if thoughts were not to be recorded at the time of the thought, they tend to disappear in our memory. We open Twitter to express an opinion, a remark, or just an announcement, and invariably begin to read the remarks of others that fall below your response column .. and before long each remark or tweet becomes so engrossing that it wipes away the reason for you coming on the platform itself ! So you switch to another platform, or busy yourself with what has been expressed by others .. and time goes by .. and that original thought of yours has been lost .. perhaps not entirely, but its language or its construct has been mutilated !!

And so I wonder if what I had wished to say last night could well have been the syndrome just explained. A saturated, over informed brain needs time and rest to assimilate. When it does not get this through nature’s normal custom, it fights oppression, and sends out strong signals of what it desires .. and it sends AB to bed .. heehaa ..

And so now rested and rebooted - heehahaa , I just love the way technicalities and their synonyms have found their way into our writings - I hope to rebound back into your hearts.  


Films to talk of and their history as mentioned earlier shall be done of course, but they shall need more time and space .. so I request patience .. that done, shall allow me to gather up what memory demands I shall have to execute .. hmm .. will try .. but not now .. 

Now its just .. love and later  ..

Amitabh Bachchan

July 26, 2016 09:20 AM

CreativeApplications.Net

Reaction-Diffusion experiment by Nobutaka Kitahara

Reaction-DiffusionReaction-Diffusion experiment created by Nobutaka Kitahara uses real-time generation that reacts to sound in TouchDesigner. Music by Sk’p – Astravel facebook.com/nobutaka.kitahara twitter.com/no2ta

by Filip Visnjic at July 26, 2016 09:18 AM

It's Nice That

Ed Ruscha and Stella McCartney collaborate on typographical ad campaign

Ed_ruscha_for_stella_mccartney_stellacares_fashion_editorial_harley_weir_winter_2016_amber_valetta_list_image

American visual artist Ed Ruscha has conferred his characteristic style to Stella McCartney’s winter 2016 campaign, #Stellacares, collaborating with the ethically-minded fashion designer on a series of images which overlay editorial photography with declarative typography.

Read more

by Jamie Green at July 26, 2016 09:18 AM

Gurcharan Das

क्या शिक्षा के लिए यह ऐतिहासिक पल है?

केंद्रीय विद्यालय संगठन ने अपने 240 स्कूलों से 12वीं की परीक्षा में बच्चों के असंतोषजनक प्रदर्शन पर स्पष्टीकरण मांगा है। प्रधानमंत्री कुछ समय से हमारे स्कूलों के नतीजों से चिंतित हैं और अपने एक भाषण में उन्होंने यहां तक कहा है कि हर कक्षा में यह प्रदर्शित होना चाहिए कि वहां बच्चे से क्या सीखने की अपेक्षा है, ताकि पालकों को मालूम हो कि बच्चे को मदद की कहां जरूरत है। यह शायद स्मृति ईरानी को मानव संसाधन विकास मंत्रालय से हटाने का निर्णायक कारण रहा हो। वे खासतौर पर प्रधानमंत्री कार्यालय द्वारा पूछे गए प्रश्नों के प्रति अनुत्तरदायी रही हैं और इसकी कीमत उन्होंने चुकाई है। भारतीय इतिहास में यह ऐतिहासिक क्षण हो सकता है। स्कूलों में शिक्षा की गुणवत्ता के लिए चिंता भारतीय राजनेताओं में असामान्य बात है। चाहे शिक्षा राज्यों का विषय हो, लेकिन प्रदर्शन के आधार पर मंत्री के बदले जाने से कई राज्यों के उनींदे और लापरवाह मंत्रीगण अचानक सक्रिय हो गए हैं।

जिसे मंत्रिमंडल का आम फेरबदल समझा जा रहा था वह चौकाने वाला साहसी कदम साबित हुआ। बड़े बदलाव के तहत मानव संसाधन विकास मंत्रालय में लड़ाकू ईरानी की जगह प्रकाश जावड़ेकर ने ली। भारत खराब गुणवत्ता वाले शिक्षा मंत्रियों के मामले में बदकिस्मत रहा है। ईरानी का चयन गलत था और हर किसी से झगड़ा मोल लेकर उन्होंने स्थिति सुधारने में कोई मदद नहीं की। उन्हें कपड़ा मंत्रालय भेजा गया है, जो कोई पदावनति नहीं है, जैसा हर कोई सोच रहा है। यह मंत्रालय रोजगार निर्मित करने का अकेला सबसे बड़ा अवसर है और यदि ईरानी तीन सप्ताह पहले घोषित महत्वाकांक्षी योजना लागू करती हैं तो वे लाखों नौकरियां पैदा कर अपनी प्रतिष्ठा को पुन: चमका सकती हैं, जो वे शिक्षा मंत्रालय में हर गलत चीज पर ध्यान केंद्रित कर गंवा बैठी हैं।

राज्यमंत्री रामशंकर कठेरिया को भी मानव संसाधन मंत्रालय से उचित ही हटाया गया है। वे खुलेआम शिक्षा के भगवाकरण की बातें करते थे और कई बार मुस्लिमों के खिलाफ भड़काऊ भाषण दे चुके थे। फेरबदल में बड़ा नुकसान तो वित्त मंत्रालय से नागरीक उड्‌डयन मंत्रालय में जयंत सिन्हा का तबादला है। वे मंत्रालय में असाधरण पेशेवर अंदाज लाए और निवेशकों के लिए भरोसा पैदा किया था। राजन रिजर्व बैंक से विदा ले ही रहे हैं, इसके साथ भारत ने दो भरोसेमंद आवाजें खो दी हैं। सौभाग्य से मोदी के पास उच्च प्रदर्शन करने वाले वाले तीन मंत्री अब भी हैं- सड़क, राजमार्ग व बंदरगाहों के प्रभारी नितिन गडकरी, कोयला, उर्जा और खनन के प्रभारी पीयूष गोयल तथा रेलवे के सुरेश प्रभु। उन्होंने अपने मंत्रालय में दुर्लभ ऊर्जा पैदा की है। नौकरियां पैदा करने, ‘अच्छे दिन’ लाने में वे भारत की सबसे बड़ी उम्मीदें हैं।

कुछ साल पहले अमेरिका में एेसा ही नाटकीय क्षण आया था, जब राष्ट्रपति ओबामा ने ख्यात टीवी उद्‌बोधन में कहा था कि अच्छे और बुरे शिक्षकों में फर्क है। इस वक्तव्य के साथ उन्होंने शिक्षक संघों के खिलाफ युद्ध छेड़ दिया था, जो अच्छे और बुरे शिक्षकों के बीच फर्क करने को तैयार नहीं थे। इस तरह वे कुछ कमजोर क्षेत्रों में अमेरिकी छात्रों के खराब स्तर के लिए आंशिक रूप से जिम्मेदार थे। राष्ट्रपति ने जो बात स्पष्ट रूप से सामने नहीं रखी, लेकिन वह सभी को साफ हो गई थी कि हमें अच्छे शिक्षकों को पुरस्कृत करने और खराब शिक्षकों को दंडित करने के तरीके खोजने होंगे।

अपने पद के कुछ हफ्तों में जावड़ेकर ने पता लगा लिया है कि भारतीय स्कूल संकट में हैं। भारतीय स्कूली बच्चे एक प्रतिष्ठित अंतरराष्ट्रीय टेस्ट में सिर्फ किर्गिजस्तान से ऊपर नीचे से दूसरे क्रम पर क्यों आए? 15 साल के किशोर 2011 में हुए पढ़ने, विज्ञान और जोड़-घटाव के प्रोग्राम फॉर इंटरनेशनल स्टुडेंट्स असेसमेंट (पिसा) नामक टेस्ट में 74 में से 73 वें स्थान पर रहे। यूपीए सरकार ने भारत में पिसा पर प्रतिबंध लगाकर इसका जवाब दिया, जो बहुत ही धक्कादायक था। किंतु एनुअल स्टेटस ऑफ एजुकेशन रिपोर्ट (एसर) के जरिये इस निराशाजनक स्थिति की हर साल पुष्टि होती है। यह बताती है कि 5वी कक्षा के आधे से कम बच्चे दूसरी कक्षा की किताब पढ़ पाते हैं या साधारण जोड़-घटाव कर पाते हैं। सिर्फ चार फीसदी शिक्षक टीचर्स एलिजिबिलिटी टेस्ट (टीईटी) पास कर पाएं। उप्र और बिहार के हर चार में से तीन शिक्षक पांचवीं कक्षा के प्रतिशत के सवाल नहीं कर पाते।

त्रासदी यह है कि प्राथमिक शिक्षा पर हजारों करोड़ रुपए खर्च करने के बाद भी शिक्षा की गुणवत्ता सुधर नहीं रही है। यह भारत के शिक्षा प्रतिष्ठान पर बहुत बड़ा दाग है। शिक्षा के अधिकार (आरटीई) की बड़ी सराहना हुई, लेकिन उसका कोई असर नहीं पड़ा है। कारण स्पष्ट है। आरटीई कानून को सिर्फ इनपुट की चिंता है, नतीजे की नहीं। यह आधारभूत ढांचे से ग्रसित है- कक्षा का आकार, टॉयलेट, खेल के मैदान का आकार, आदि। यह शासन को सुविधा नहीं देता कि वह बच्चे की शिक्षा व शिक्षक के पढ़ाने की गुणवत्ता का आकलन कर सके। यदि पढ़ाई का आकलन नहीं होगा तो शिक्षक जवाबदेह कैसे होंगे? दुनिया के श्रेष्ठतम शिक्षा संस्थानों ने माना है कि शिक्षा में शिक्षक ही सबकुछ है। उन्होंने राष्ट्रीय आकलन और शिक्षकों के प्रशिक्षण के सघन कार्यक्रम स्थापित किए हैं। हमने माना कि अच्छे शिक्षक पैदा होते हैं, जबकि सच तो यह है कि वे तैयार किए जाते हैं। पर्याप्त प्रशिक्षण के साथ कोई भी शिक्षक बन सकता है। किंतु प्रशिक्षण सतत, सघन और शिक्षक के पूरे कॅरिअर में चलते रहना चाहिए।

जावड़ेकर में ईरानी की खामियां नहीं हैं। वे अच्छे श्रोता हैं और पीएमओ, नीति आयोग व टीएसआर सुब्रह्मण्यम समिति के साथ मिलकर काम करेंगे। इन तीनों के पास कुछ अच्छे आइडिया हैं। लेकिन सरकार के शेष तीन वर्षों में उन्हें कुछ करके दिखाना है तो उन्हें बच्चों के सीखने का आकलन और उसे सुधारने पर पूरा ध्यान केंद्रित करना होगा। एक अच्छा नेता बहुत थोड़े महत्वाकांक्षी लक्ष्य निर्धारित करता है। वह उन पर रोज ध्यान देता है, निकट से प्रगति पर निगाह रखता है और उन्हें हासिल करने का रोमांच अनुभव करता है। श्रीमान जावड़ेकर, इससे अच्छा लक्ष्य क्या होगा कि 2019 तक तीसरी कक्षा तक हर भारतीय बच्चा पढ़ना-लिखना सीख जाए? यह दिवास्वप्न लगता है, लेकिन गैर-सरकारी संगठन ‘प्रथम’ ने दो राज्यों में दिखाया है कि यह दो साल में किया जा सकता है।

by gurcharan (noreply@blogger.com) at July 26, 2016 09:10 AM

The Big Picture

NYT > Economy

Economic Scene: Why Dropping the Trans-Pacific Partnership May Be a Bad Idea

The pact has few friends left in Washington, but America’s Asian allies may see backing off as a betrayal of Washington’s commitment to the region.

by EDUARDO PORTER at July 26, 2016 09:00 AM

FormFiftyFive - Design inspiration from around the world

Seth's Blog

In search of palliatives

A palliative is a treatment that soothes even if it can't cure the illness.

By all means, whenever you can, fix the problem, go to the root cause, come up with a better design...

But when you can't (and that's most of the time, because the straightforward problems have already been solved), the effort you put into providing a palliative will not go unnoticed or unappreciated.

       

by Seth Godin at July 26, 2016 08:43 AM

Scott Hanselman

Exploring a minimal WebAPI with ASP.NET Core

They are still working on the "dotnet new" templates, but you can also get cool templates from "yo aspnet" usingn Yeoman. The generator-aspnet package for Yeoman includes an empty web app, a console app, a few web app flavors, test projects, and a very simple Web API application that returns JSON and generally tries to be RESTful.

yo aspnet

The startup.cs is pretty typical and basic. The Startup constructor sets up the Configuration with an appsettings.json file and add a basic Console logger. Then by calling "UseMvc()" we get to use all ASP.NET Core which includes both centralized routing and attribute routing. ASP.NET Core's controllers are unified now, so there isn't a "Controller" and "ApiController" base class. It's just Controller. Controllers that return JSON or those that return Views with HTML are the same so they get to share routes and lots of functionality.

public class Startup

{
public Startup(IHostingEnvironment env)
{
var builder = new ConfigurationBuilder()
.SetBasePath(env.ContentRootPath)
.AddJsonFile("appsettings.json", optional: true, reloadOnChange: true)
.AddJsonFile($"appsettings.{env.EnvironmentName}.json", optional: true)
.AddEnvironmentVariables();
Configuration = builder.Build();
}

public IConfigurationRoot Configuration { get; }

// This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to add services to the container.
public void ConfigureServices(IServiceCollection services)
{
// Add framework services.
services.AddMvc();
}

// This method gets called by the runtime. Use this method to configure the HTTP request pipeline.
public void Configure(IApplicationBuilder app, IHostingEnvironment env, ILoggerFactory loggerFactory)
{
loggerFactory.AddConsole(Configuration.GetSection("Logging"));
loggerFactory.AddDebug();

app.UseMvc();
}
}

Then you can make a basic controller and use Attribute Routing to do whatever makes you happy. Just by putting [HttpGet] on a method makes that method the /api/Values default for a simple GET.

using System;

using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Threading.Tasks;
using Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc;

namespace tinywebapi.Controllers
{
[Route("api/[controller]")]
public class ValuesController : Controller
{
// GET api/values
[HttpGet]
public IEnumerable<string> Get()
{
return new string[] { "value1", "value2" };
}

// GET api/values/5
[HttpGet("{id}")]
public string Get(int id)
{
return "value";
}

// POST api/values
[HttpPost]
public void Post([FromBody]string value)
{
}

// PUT api/values/5
[HttpPut("{id}")]
public void Put(int id, [FromBody]string value)
{
}

// DELETE api/values/5
[HttpDelete("{id}")]
public void Delete(int id)
{
}
}
}

If we run this with "dotnet run" and call/curl/whatever to http://localhost:5000/api/Values we'd get a JSON array of two values by default. How would we (gasp!) add XML as a formatting/serialization option that would respond to a request with an Accept: application/xml header set?

I'll add "Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.Formatters.Xml" to project.json and then add one method to ConfigureServices():

services.AddMvc()
        .AddXmlSerializerFormatters();

Now when I go into Postman (or curl, etc) and do a GET with Accept: application/xml as a header, I'll get the same object expressed as XML. If I ask for JSON, I'll get JSON.

 Postman is a great way to explore WebAPIs

If I like, I can create my own custom formatters and return whatever makes me happy. PDFs, vCards, even images.

Next post I'm going to explore the open source NancyFx framework and how to make minimal WebAPI using Nancy under .NET Core.


Sponsor: Thanks to Aspose for sponsoring the feed this week! Aspose makes programming APIs for working with files, like: DOC, XLS, PPT, PDF and countless more.  Developers can use their products to create, convert, modify, or manage files in almost any way. Aspose is a good company and they offer solid products. Check them out, and download a free evaluation!



© 2016 Scott Hanselman. All rights reserved.
     

by Scott Hanselman at July 26, 2016 08:34 AM

zooLert Habitat Tracker

Econbrowser

Guest Contribution: “Trump Jr.’s Pants-on-Fire Allegation of Manipulated Jobs Numbers”

Today, we present a guest post written by Jeffrey Frankel, Harpel Professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and formerly a member of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.


When interviewed about the unemployment numbers, which have fallen steadily since 2010, Donald Trump Jr., replied “These are artificial numbers. These are numbers that are massaged to make the existing economy look good, to make this administration look good when, in fact, it’s a total disaster.” PolitiFact asked a variety of experts about the quote. Their bottom line: the quote from the younger Trump was a “Pants on Fire” lie. The truth is that presidents don’t and can’t manipulate the jobs numbers. No White House has even tried — at least not since Richard Nixon made a heavy-handed attempt in 1971 to interfere with BLS staffing. After that, extra firewalls were put in place.

Here is my own full response to PolitiFact’s question regarding the Trump claim:

The statement is 100% false. The employment numbers come from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (part of the Labor Department). In this administration, like every administration, those who produce the employment statistics are long-time nonpolitical professionals. The Secretary of Labor does not even know what the numbers are going to be when they are announced every month (the morning of the first Friday of the month).

Allegations that the official government numbers understate unemployment are sometimes based on a claim that some higher measure (which, for example, includes discouraged workers who have given up looking for a job, or part-time workers), should be used in place of the ones that get the most attention in the press. But these other measures are also made publicly available by the BLS and the press is free to write about them as much as they want.

The important thing, of course, is to be consistent across time in which measure you use. It wouldn’t be right to switch from looking at the conventional rate to a measure that includes discouraged workers just because you don’t like the incumbent president and want to make things look bad for him.

by Menzie Chinn at July 26, 2016 08:29 AM

UK Yield Curve Flattening: “Nothing to do with Brexit”?

In response to this post, a reader asserts:

“[UK] Yield curve has been on a slide since 2010. Nothing to do with Brexit.

Check out global yield curve, looks similar to UK in that it has been on the slide for years as well.

It’s true yield curves have been flattening (as noted in this post). However, it is an empirical question whether the UK yield curve flattened more than others, upon the Brexit vote. Figure 1 compares the change in 10 year-3 month spreads from 18 June (before the vote) to today (July 25).

change_in_spreads_25jul

Figure 1: Change in the ten year-three month term spread (blue bars), from 18 June to 25 July 2016. China observation is Five year-three month term spread. Euro ten year rate is for Germany. Source: Economist, and author’s calculations.

If it’s not obvious, the UK experiences a bigger flattening than any other country in the sample, save Brazil. I don’t think it’s implausible it has something to do with Brexit.

by Menzie Chinn at July 26, 2016 08:22 AM

It's Nice That

The big cover up: Mathieu Thibault's translations of graffiti

Listimage

Graffiti is one area of art and design that seems to divide opinion the most. The argument of ‘Is it art?’ is one we’ve all heard or been involved with, but artist Mathieu Thibault has thankfully created a new spin on its everyday form. Across France, Germany and the Netherlands he has laboriously covered up the indecipherable graffiti we see on the shutters of shops, car parks and train tracks, into words we can actually read and understand.

Read more

by Lucy Bourton at July 26, 2016 08:18 AM

Emiliano Granado’s new zine puts a fresh spin on Tour de France fandom

Emiliano_granado_oui_c'est_tout_int_list2

The Tour de France came to an end last weekend and Brooklyn-based photographer Emiliano Granado celebrates every aspect of the cycling competition in his new zine, Oui C’est Tout. The project came from another project Emiliano works on called Manual for Speed, an online platform about road cycling. In this side project, the photographer wanted to step away from the typical atmospheric images of cyclists grafting with sweat dripping all over them. “I wanted to capture the spectacle of the Tour de France. I’m only minimally interested in the race results – the real attraction is much more anthropological.” 
 
Believing the Tour de France is “a window into humanity,” Emiliano captures a range of scenes within the series providing a wonderful interpretation of the month-long race. The more human and humorous moments are what takes this series away from traditional sports photography and highlights how it’s the crowds who rock up to these events that really make them. Included in the 20-page, four-coloured zine are shots of athletes’ legs rippling with muscle and sun damage, eager fans wearing the cycling hats of their heroes (including a sweet potato-like woman) and landscape images of cascading hills and mountain tops that remind us how tough the race is for cyclists but also those tracking the event.

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at July 26, 2016 08:04 AM

Monevator

Am I saving enough for retirement?

The Greybeard is exploring post-retirement money in modern Britain.

I am sure we’ve all (at least around these rarefied parts) at some time asked ourselves: “Am I saving enough for retirement?”

For years, it’s been a boringly predictable question that has been used to frighten people into upping the amount that they put into their pensions.

Towards the end of every tax year, for instance, the usual scare-story projections are trotted out by lazy journalists looking to file a feature on SIPPs or Additional Voluntary Contributions.

IFAs – those fine, upstanding members of the community – are also keen advocates of the ‘are you saving enough for retirement’ question.

(You’re not? Well, they have just the product for you.)

Most Monevator readers, I’d guess, will have long since learned to switch off when they see the words. Broadly speaking, we will have decided years ago what level of saving was appropriate for our circumstances, and proceeded accordingly.

The savings vehicle of choice might have differed – one man’s SIPP is another woman’s ISA, and all that – but there would be no denying the commitment to serious saving and investing.

Miserly returns

Up until recently, I’d have put myself very firmly in that camp, too.

Now, I’m not so sure.

Take a look at the UK’s latest historic equity returns, as published in the prestigious Barclays Equity Gilt Study 2016, released in March.

Continuously published since 1956, the Barclays study tracks the real (after inflation) returns on cash, equities, and bonds, all the way back to 1899.

Here are the real returns (% per annum) for UK equities, gilts, and cash:

2015 10 years 20 years 50 years 116 years
Equities (shares) -0.1 2.3 3.7 5.6 5.0
Government bonds (gilts) -0.6 3.0 4.3 2.9 1.3
Cash -0.7 -1.1 0.9 1.4 0.8

Source: Barclays Capital Equity Gilt Study 2016.

No surprises there, perhaps. 2015 was a dud, and real returns from equities over the past ten years were just 2.3% a year. Only over the past 20 and 50 years do we see serious returns being achieved.

The only consolation is that cash and bonds didn’t do much better, either, although gilts have fractionally outperformed equities over ten and 20 years.

So much for the risk premium, Mr Ross Goobey1.

Rear view vision

Now let’s turn the clock back ten years, and look at the 2006 edition of the Barclays Equity Gilt Study.

UK equity real returns (% per annum) as per a decade ago:

2005 10 years 20 years 50 years 106 years
Equities 18.9 5.0 7.4 6.6 5.2

Source: Barclays Capital Equity Gilt Study 2005.

You don’t need to have made a recent visit to Specsavers to see the difference.

Ten years ago, the expectations of equity returns, based on past returns, were very different from those of today – and much, much, higher.

And that, what’s more, was in 2006 – in other words, a time when the UK’s stock markets were well into the post-dotcom ‘lost decade’.

Take the equity returns you’d have been looking at in 2005 as having been accrued over the previous 20 years, for instance: 7.4% a year. Incredibly, that’s twice the return of 3.7% seen in our latest figures.

The past ten years? 5.0% a year in 2005 – just over twice the return seen in the latest figures.

Flawed assumption?

All of which matters – at least to many Monevator readers – because the mid-2000s was when many of us were formulating our retirement plans.

Looking back at my own spreadsheets, for instance, I see that I was pumping £530 a month into various retirement-related investment vehicles, by way of regular monthly savings.

That’s net of any tax relief, and also excludes any end-of-year lump sum investments made for tax purposes.

Small beer to some, perhaps. But, totaling it all up, I was probably putting aside £9,000-£10,000 a year.

Again, small beer to some. But significant enough at the time, and especially so given my own circumstances, with one child still in primary school, and one just started in secondary school.

Save more! Save more!

The point is this: doing those same sort of calculations today, and looking at today’s expected investing returns, those Barclays Equity Gilt Study figures suggest that I would need to be putting aside considerably more.

And I’m not at all sure that would be possible, for someone at a similar stage of life, and with similar financial circumstances.

Heck, even though I’m in the fortunate position of being able to invest considerably more these days, it’s still a pinch at times – even though one child has left home, and the other is at university.

What to make of it all?

For me, the bottom line is that even though I was aware – on an intellectual level – that returns over the past few years had been lower, I was unprepared for how much lower they appear to have been.

Or that even though 2015 saw the FTSE 100 finally surpass its dotcom peak – some 15 years afterwards – the intervening years were so dismal as to still halve the long-term returns compared to 2006.

Am I saving enough for retirement? Possibly so. Just.

But I bet many others aren’t, even though they thought that they were.

Note: You might want to all Greybeard’s previous posts about deaccumulation and retirement.

  1. George Ross Goobey was the fund manager who in the late 1940s and 1950s famously persuaded pension funds to invest in equities, not just gilts.

by The Greybeard at July 26, 2016 08:00 AM

O'Reilly Radar

Building artificial connectomes

Artificial connectomes have the potential to teach behavior into a system without the need to remove behavior from established animal connectomes.

I have emulated the C elegans connectome (i.e. how a nervous system is wired) in robotics and shown that the connectome with a simple neuron model displays behaviors similar to the animal itself. With further emulations of other animal connectomes (e.g., Zebra fish), I have discovered certain rules and paradigms that govern connectomic engineering and that animal behavior is highly integrated into the connectomic structure. This means that least at this time, it's virtually impossible to remove unwanted behaviors.

Using animal connectome emulation, unwanted behaviors such as defensive mechanisms, will make it difficult to create robots and applications that are conducive to our desires and needs. For example, one would not want to create a robotic puppy for their child that bites. We would probably more want the robotic puppy to simply shut down and stop playing rather than chew on our children. This has led me to create artificial connectomes with the hope that we can teach behavior into the system and not have to try and remove behavior from existing and established animal connectomes. This product is what I label connectomic artificial intelligence.

Connectomic Rules

There are certain rules to connectomic engineering that allow the emulation of sensory to cortical to motor output behaviors. These are the rules that I have observed, and many have been noted by other connectomic scientists. Some observations may be obvious and simple, but these rules set connectomic AI apart from other traditional artificial intelligence paradigms such as deep learning and Hierarchical Temporary Memory (HTM), and I believe is the best opportunity for humans to recreate our own intelligence in a computer system or network.

Here are connectomic observations and rules in no particular order. Please note that these are purely connectomic properties and do not place emphasis on the intracellular activity of individual neurons:

  1. The connectome is always on. Our nervous systems never shut down; they are always active. Having emulated animal connectomes, I once ran a test of an emulated connectome with some initial sensory input that started the cortical processing; and after 24 hours, I turned it off since it was obvious that the neuron-to-neuron activity would never end. This creates computing issues as well as network issues.
  2. The connectome is highly recursive, and in many cases, it is exponentially recursive. If we start with a cortical neuron and map out the connections to other neurons, we see that there are a few of those postsynaptic neurons that connect back to the originating neuron. This set of neurons connects to another set of neurons, and from that next set, many connect back to the originating neuron. This goes out to more layers and sets; and at each level, there are a number of connections back to the originating neuron. From my data analysis, in many cases, we see that this recursive connectivity grows exponentially back to the originating neuron. I believe this is why the connectome is always on. Further work with high-level organisms has shown that the recursive nature of the connectome is more so in local regions of nervous systems and present, but not as connected, between regions of cortex.
  3. There are two basic temporal aspects in any nervous system:
    1. The polarization timing where if a neuron, real or simulated, is left alone or not stimulated over a certain timespan, it polarizes or goes to a negative (or zero) value as an internal function of time; i.e. the all or none response.
    2. The network topology of the connectome is a function of time as well. If certain neurons fire before others, a set of behaviors will occur; but if a set of those same neurons fire in a different sequence, we often see other behaviors as an external, network timing.
  4. There is a dampening effect displayed on muscle output. When we apply connectomes, animal or artificial, to robotics, we observe a lot of neural muscular activity where values are being sent to the motors (muscles) continuously and rapidly, but we do not see motors react in a jerky or erratic manner. We observe the motor activity as smooth and continuous. I speculate that our cerebellum plays a role in this smoothing of motor output, along with the coordination of cortex-to-motor response.
  5. There is a left-to-right component to all (or most) nervous systems. This is obvious but rarely employed, if ever, when creating artificial intelligence, and there is an impact on how these Left-Right edges are configured. From data analysis and further emulation of artificial connectomes, we find that connectivity between Right-Right or Left-Left neurons is about two-thirds more than Left-Right or Right-Left connectivity. These hemispheric connections are very important in perceptual direction as well as in sequencing motor output.

Building Artificial Connectomes

Using these observations, I wanted to develop a connectome from scratch that could learn and adapt to whatever sensory input I wanted it to consume. I did some backward data analysis on motor-neuron-to-sensory-neuron pathways using animal connectomes and realized some patterns emerging. I could see the way in which neurons were connected was much like the concept purported by the Watts-Strogatz small world algorithm. I created a program that allowed me to construct a connectome using different parameters in the Watts-Strogatz algorithm and ran a simple classification test with each model created.

Running approximately 100 trials using different configurations, I found that there is a fine line between too much connectivity and too little connectivity. Too much would result in a model that would run continuously once stimulated but would output to all motor neurons/muscles simultaneously and constantly without any discrimination; for example, all muscles were active all the time. Too little connectivity would result in the connectome taking a very long time to activate any muscle activity, if any in some cases, and the system would cease to self-stimulate once any sensory stimulation was stopped. The mean degree matched against the rewiring probability was very narrow in nature, with a resulting connectome that would self-simulate once it had a short amount of sensory input, and the motor neuron to muscle output was discriminatory determined by the sensory input.

Figure 1-1. A simple artificial connectome compared against the C. elegans connectome. Squares around the circumference are nodes, and lines between are edges that connect the nodes.

Theoretical Artificial Nervous Systems

Each artificial connectome as shown in Figure 1-1 can be connected to other connectomes; and I can create multiple regions, each highly recurrent, with a large degree of interconnectivity between the regions making recurrent interconnections. Therefore, in theory, we can expand our model of a simple artificial connectome to create an artificial brain as shown in Figure 1-2.

Figure 1-2. A theoretical artificial brain. Sensor data is encoded and sent to sensory processing units (SPU) which connect to cortical processing units (CPU) which connect to motor processing units (MPU) that stimulate muscles or appropriate actions. Each region of SPUs and CPUs are interconnected and send pathways forward and back. Each processing unit region is an artificial connectome in and of itself.

After experimenting with an artificial brain concept, I was reminded of efforts I developed about 10 years ago utilizing the six-layer concept of a cortical column of the human cortex. Using the concept of the interconnectivity of these cortical columns, I created three cortical regions, each containing several hundred cortical columns, and interconnected between the layers in a rudimentary fashion as defined by the functions of each layer. I then added sensory neurons that connected directly to the first region of cortical columns and left-right motor neurons that connected to sets of left-right muscles, as shown in Figure 1-3. The six-layer approach worked very well with simple classification tests using a 10 × 10 grid of pixels representing numeric values.

Figure 1-3. A simple schematic of an artificial connectome using a six-layer cortical column approach where each neuron or node in a particular layer interconnects to other layers; and layers 2 and 3 connect to layer 4 of other regions, layer 6 connects back to previous regions and layer 5 connects to motor output.

Computational Methods

In each phase of the research, I use adjacency matrices, where each row represents a connectivity (edge) vector that can be used to increase weighted values as individual neurons are fired. In addition to an adjacency matrix to contain the connections and weights between those connections, there are five other arrays where each cell of the array represents a specific neuron. Those five arrays are:

  • An array to contain the accumulation of weights
  • An array to contain a timestamp of the last time a neuron was stimulated
  • An array containing the threshold of a particular neuron
  • An array containing a “learning” accumulator
  • An array containing a “growth” accumulator (note that the learning and growth accumulators trigger plasticity in the system)

As with my early experiments in emulating animal connectomes, I use an internal temporal aspect of each neuron so that if a neuron has not been stimulated in a few microseconds, all accumulators (i.e., weight, learning, and growth) are set to zero and the threshold is set to a default value. For a neuron to fire (to reach its action potential), the weight accumulation must exceed the threshold. Any time a neuron fires, its weight accumulation is set to zero (I have also experimented with negative numbers, but the outcome is pretty much the same). The weight vector of the adjacency matrix is added to the accumulation array each time a neuron fires, and the weights are accumulated. A timer function constantly runs to check when accumulation is greater than the threshold and fires each of the neurons that meets this criteria.

To simulate synaptic fatigue, each time a neuron fires, the threshold for that neuron is incremented by a small amount so that a constant activation of a neuron gets a little harder to exceed the threshold. As mentioned, the threshold is reset to a default value if a neuron does not fire within a set time frame.

Plasticity is formed in two ways: learning and growth. A “learning” array is incremented when a neuron fires; and if that learning accumulation exceeds a learning threshold, weight is increased on the adjacency matrix so where a connection between neuron A to B may have a weight of one (1), it could be increased by one so now it would be two (2). This simulates connectivity strength. A “growth” array is incremented when the learning accumulation exceeds the learning threshold. When the growth accumulation exceeds a growth threshold, I add a synaptic connection to a nearby neuron, which simulates synaptic growth. As mentioned, if a specified time has passed since a neuron was stimulated, both the learning and growth accumulators are set to zero; that is to say, all accumulation is a function of time.

Conclusion

This technology can be used for unsupervised learning in domain-agnostic environments. The real goal is real-time, streaming information that allows the AI to organize, optimize, and make predictions, then test outcomes against these hypotheses for its own reinforcement. There is still much research to do; but having a framework, and having successfully completed simple tests, my goal is to apply this technology to develop reaction to more complex input both from an application perspective and a robotic perspective. On the application side, there are many mundane tasks that can be automated with intelligence and with a system that can learn while unsupervised. Good examples are functions that invoke business continuity and active auditing. On the robot side, I am working to create an open system with many sensors to be able to navigate through hostile environments without human intervention where the robot can operate on its own to carry out primary objectives while avoiding harm. This technology can be used for many mundane, robotic tasks, including weed removal, picking fruit and vegetables to maintaining your lawn. Imagine a robot lawn mower or trimmer that senses a sprinkler head and knows not to run over it, not because you have programmed it to not run over sprinkler heads, but because the robot can sense there is an unidentified object that it has no reason or purpose to run over.

For us to advance AI beyond the current status quo, we need to explore new ways to give machines intelligence beyond programming rules and beyond current artificial neural networks. I believe connectomic AI holds a key to making this happen.

Continue reading Building artificial connectomes.

by Timothy Busbice at July 26, 2016 08:00 AM

The Django community aggregator

uWSGI Basic Django Setup

Here are two basic examples of almost the same uWSGI configuration to run a Django project; one is configured via an ini configuration file and the other is configured via a command line argument.

This does not represent a production-ready example, but can be used as a starting point for the configuration.

Setup for this example:
# create dir for virtualenv and activate
mkdir envs/
virtualenv envs/runrun/
. ./envs/runrun/bin/activate

# create dir for project codebase
mkdir proj/

# install some django deps
pip install django uwsgi whitenose

# create a new django project
cd proj/
django-admin startproject runrun
cd runrun/

# Add to or modify django settings.py to setup static file serving with Whitenoise.
# Note: for prod environments, staticfiles can be served via Nginx.
# settings.py 
MIDDLEWARE_CLASSES = [
    ....
    'whitenoise.middleware.WhiteNoiseMiddleware',

]

STATIC_ROOT = os.path.join(BASE_DIR, 'staticfiles')
STATICFILES_STORAGE = 'whitenoise.storage.CompressedManifestStaticFilesStorage'


Create the config file
$ cat run.ini
[uwsgi]
module = runrun.wsgi:application
virtualenv = ../../envs/runrun/
env = DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=runrun.settings 
env = PYTHONPATH="$PYTHONPATH:./runrun/" 
master = true
processes = 5
enable-threads = true
max-requests = 5000
harakiri = 20
vacuum = true
http = :7777
stats = 127.0.0.1:9191

Execute config
uwsgi --ini run.ini

Or create a shell script

$ cat run.sh
uwsgi --module=runrun.wsgi:application \
      -H ../../envs/runrun/ \
      --env DJANGO_SETTINGS_MODULE=runrun.settings \
      --env PYTHONPATH="$PYTHONPATH:./runrun/" \
      --master \
      --processes=5 \
      --max-requests=5000 \
      --harakiri=20 \
      --vacuum \
      --http=127.0.0.1:7777 \
      --stats 127.0.0.1:9191 

Execute the shell script:

./run.sh
Command line reference
--env = set environment variable
--max-requests = reload workers after the specified amount of managed requests
--https2 = http2.0
--http = run in http mode
--socket = use in place of http if using an Nginx reverse proxy
--vacuum = clear environment on exit; try to remove all of the generated file/sockets
--uid = setuid to the specified user/uid
--gid = setgid to the specified group/gid
--stats = run a stats server
--H, --virtualenv = virtualenv dir
--processes = num of worker processes
--module = python module entry point

by Django Current at July 26, 2016 07:44 AM

swissmiss

DreamHost Status

Emergency Network Maintenance on Sub5 Mail Cluster – July 26th, 1PM PDT (4 hours)

This Tuesday July 26th, our network engineering team will be performing an emergency maintenance on a switch in our Sub5 mail cluster in order to restore optimal performance. This is a 4 hour maintenance, and will require approximately 1 to 2 minutes of downtime in order to complete. Any mail sent during this maintenance window will not be affected, however there is a small chance of mail bouncing if you send or receive any emails during the uplink transition from the old to new switch. All mail sent throughout the rest of the maintenance will be delivered, but there may be delays. To determine if your mail is handled on the above sub-cluster, please click on the Data Centers page in your DreamHost web panel. We will update this post with new information as it becomes available.

If you have any issues unrelated to this maitenance please contact support from your web panel.

 

by Brandon at July 26, 2016 06:46 AM

Wired Top Stories

This Insane DNC Is the Convention the Internet Made

This Insane DNC Is the Convention the Internet Made
If you didn't see the convention outcry among Sanders supporters coming, you haven't been online this election season. The post This Insane DNC Is the Convention the Internet Made appeared first on WIRED.

by Issie Lapowsky at July 26, 2016 06:43 AM

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July 26, 2016 06:31 AM

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

(Late) Monday Smackdown/Tuesday Hoisted Idiocy: Embarrassingly Poor Legal Reasoning from Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler

Hoisted from Four Years Ago: What passes for Republican think-tannery these days. Judge Paul Friedman's smackdown should have ended this then--rather than later, at the Supreme Court, 6-3, with John Roberts writing:

Congress passed the Affordable Care Act to improve health insurance markets, not to destroy them. If at all possible we must interpret the Act in a way that is consistent with the former, and avoids the latter...

The idiocy, from Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler:

Michael Cannon and Jonathan Adler: The Illegal IRS Rule To Expand Tax Credits Under The PPACA: A Response To Timothy Jost:

The Act provides that taxpayers are eligible for tax credits if they purchase a health plan through “an Exchange established by the State under section 1311.”... There is nothing in the statute that conflicts with the plain meaning of that language. Indeed, the rest of the statute supports that plain meaning.... Even though some members of Congress and the President might have preferred a law that authorized tax credits in federal Exchanges, they nevertheless enacted a law that did not...

Judge Paul Friedman:

Plaintiffs and defendants agree that 42 U.S.C. § 18031 does not mean what it literally says; states are not actually required to “establish” their own Exchanges. Pls.’ SJ Opp. 14 (“All agree that states are free not to establish Exchanges.”). This is because Section 1321 of the ACA provides that a state may “elect” to establish an Exchange and implement federal requirements for that Exchange. ACA § 1321, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 18041. If a state (i) is not an “electing State,” (ii) fails to have “a required Exchange operational by January 1, 2014,” or (iii) has not taken the actions necessary to establish an operational Exchange consistent with federal requirements, “the Secretary shall... establish and operate such Exchange within the State and the Secretary shall take such actions as are necessary to implement such other requirements.” 42 U.S.C. § 18041(c) (emphasis added). In other words, if a state will not or cannot establish its own Exchange, the ACA directs the Secretary of HHS to step in and create “such Exchange”--that is, by definition under the statute, “an American Health Benefit Exchange established under [Section 18031].” 42 U.S.C. § 18041(c); 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-91(d)(21).

Looking only at the language of 26 U.S.C. § 36B(b)-(c), isolated from the cross-referenced text of 42 U.S.C. § 18031, 42 U.S.C. § 18041, and 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-91(d)(21), the plaintiffs’ argument may seem the more intuitive one. Why would Congress have inserted the phrase “established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031]” if it intended to refer to Exchanges created by a state or by HHS? But defendants provide a plausible and persuasive answer: Because the ACA takes a state-established Exchange as a given and directs the Secretary of HHS to establish such Exchange and bring it into operation if the state does not do so. See 42 U.S.C. §§ 18031(b)-(d), 18041(c). In other words, even where a state does not actually establish an Exchange, the federal government can create “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031]” on behalf of that state....

Plaintiffs’ construction would render superfluous other portions of the ACA, such as the advance payment reporting requirements under Section 36B(f). See infra at 30-31. Thus the canon against surplusage is of no use here. The canon “is not an absolute rule,” and “assists only where a competing interpretation gives effect to every clause and word of a statute.” Marx v. Gen. Revenue Corp., 133 S. Ct. 1166, 1177 (2013).

The defendants point to various provisions of the ACA that appear to reflect an intent by Congress to make tax credits available to taxpayers purchasing insurance from the federally-facilitated Exchanges; they also cite provisions that, if construed consistently with plaintiffs’ proposed definition, would create numerous anomalies within the statute that Congress could not have intended. See 26 U.S.C. § 36B(f)(3) (requiring reporting by federally-run Exchanges of advance payments of tax credits); 42 U.S.C. § 18032(f)(1)(A)(ii) (restricting any Exchange-based purchase of health insurance to residents of “the State that established the Exchange”); 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(gg) (providing that a state must maintain certain standards in its Medicaid program until “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031] is fully operational”); 42 U.S.C. § 1397ee(d)(3)(B) (requiring HHS to determine, for each state, whether health plans offered through “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031]” provide benefits for children comparable to those offered in the state’s CHIP plan).

The Court finds the defendants’ arguments compelling and the plaintiffs’ counter-arguments unpersuasive. The Court need not discuss each of the many such provisions highlighted by defendants. It is sufficient to illustrate the persuasiveness of their arguments to focus on two provisions in the ACA: the reporting requirements for state and federal Exchanges, and the eligibility requirements for individuals purchasing insurance through the Exchanges.

a) The Advance Payment Reporting Requirements Under 26 U.S.C. § 36B(f)(3) Subsection (f) of Section 36B – titled “Reconciliation of credit and advance credit” and located in the same section as the disputed statutory phrase – provides that the premium tax credit that a taxpayer receives at the end of the year must be reduced by the amount of any advance payment of such credit. 26 U.S.C. § 36B(f)(1). In order for the IRS to track these advance payments, the statute mandates that “[e]ach Exchange (or any person carrying out 1 or more responsibilities of an Exchange under [42 U.S.C. § 18031] or [42 U.S.C. § 18041])” provide certain information to the Secretary of the Treasury and to the taxpayer “with respect to any health plan provided through the Exchange.” 26 U.S.C. § 36B(f)(3) (emphasis added). The provision requires the reporting of information on the level of coverage provided to each taxpayer, the price of the insurance premium, and the amount of the advance payment.

By invoking both Section 18031 and Section 18041, this advance payment provision is expressly directed at every Exchange, regardless of whether the Exchange is state- or federally-run. Section 36B(f) would serve no purpose with respect to the federally-facilitated Exchanges, and the language referencing 42 U.S.C. § 18041 would be superfluous, if federal Exchanges were not authorized to deliver tax credits. Section 36B(f) thus indicates that Congress assumed that premium tax credits would be available on any Exchange, regardless of whether it is operated by a state under 42 U.S.C. § 18031 or by HHS under 42 U.S.C. § 18041.

b) Qualified Individuals Under 42 U.S.C. § 18032 Section 1312 of the ACA, codified at 42 U.S.C. § 18032, sets forth provisions regarding which individuals may purchase insurance from the Exchanges. This section provides that only “qualified individuals” may purchase health plans in the individual markets offered through the Exchanges, and requires that a “qualified individual” be a person who “resides in the State that established the Exchange.” 42 U.S.C. § 18032(f)(1)(A)(ii). There is no separate provision defining “qualified individual” for purposes of the federally-facilitated Exchanges.

If this provision were read literally, no “qualified individuals” would exist in the thirty-four states with federally-facilitated Exchanges, as none of these states is a “State that established [an] Exchange.” The federal Exchanges would have no customers, and no purpose. Such a construction must be avoided, if at all possible. See Fund for Animals, Inc. v. Kempthorne, 472 F.3d 872, 877 (D.C. Cir. 2006) (“[C]ourts presume that Congress has used its scarce legislative time to enact statutes that have some legal consequence.”). And this absurd construction can be avoided, say defendants, by viewing 42 U.S.C. § 18041 – the provision which grants states flexibility in the operation of Exchanges and permits the Secretary to establish and operate an Exchange when a state declines to do so – as authorizing the federal government to “stand[] in the shoes of the state” for purposes of Section 18032’s residency requirement. See Defs.’ Reply 13.

Plaintiffs concede that the federally-run Exchanges must be able to offer insurance, and suggest that the Court should not interpret the residency requirement literally. According to plaintiffs, the residency provision “assumes that a state created the Exchange; so it can quite readily be construed as not prohibiting eligibility [to apply for insurance] where that assumption proves false.” Pls.’ SJ Opp. 15; see also Dec. 3, 2013 Tr. 24-25. But plaintiffs’ concession only proves the defendants’ point. Various provisions of the ACA besides the residency provision reflect an assumption that a state-established Exchange exists in each state. See, e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 18032(f)(1)(A)(ii); 42 U.S.C. § 1396a(gg) (requiring state compliance with certain Medicaid standards until “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031] is fully operational”); 42 U.S.C. § 1397ee(d)(3)(B) (directing HHS to assess compliance of certain benefits of health plans offered through “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031]”); see also 42 U.S.C. § 18031(d)(1) (“An Exchange shall be a governmental agency or nonprofit entity that is established by a State.”) (emphasis added). If construed literally, these provisions would be nullified when applied to states without state-run Exchanges, leading to strange or absurd results. These provisions make far more sense when construed consistently with defendants’ interpretation of the Act – i.e., viewing 42 U.S.C. § 18041 as authorizing the federal government to create “an Exchange established by the State under [42 U.S.C. § 18031]” on behalf of a state that declines to establish its own Exchange.

by J. Bradford DeLong at July 26, 2016 06:25 AM

T The Wayback Machine: From Ten Years Ago: July 20-July 26, 2006

Peabody and sherman original Google Search

  • The Invisible College http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/07/the_invisible_c.html 2016-07-25: I would like a larger college, an invisible college, of more people to talk to, pointing me to more interesting things. People whose views and opinions I can react to, and who will react to my reasoned and well-thought-out opinions, and to my unreasoned and off-the-cuff ones as well. It would be really nice to have Paul Krugman three doors down.... The political scientists are too far away to run into by accident — somebody like Dan Drezner would be nice to have around (even if he does get incidence wrong sometimes). Over the past three years, with the arrival of Web logging, I have been able to add such people to those I bump into — in a virtual sense — every week. My invisible college is paradise squared, for an academic at least...
  • More Sheets of the Birdcage Liner that Is the Washington Post http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/07/more_sheets_of_.html 2006-07-24: The Bartender at the Whiskey Bar provides more servings of the Orwellian prose of the Washington Post's Tom Ricks.... "Here's Tom Ricks writing about the 4th Infantry Division in July 2006: 'In the late summer of 2003... the 4th Infantry was known for aggressive tactics that... alienated large parts of the population.... Its indiscriminate detention of Iraqis filled Abu Ghraib prison, swamped the U.S. interrogation system and overwhelmed the U.S. soldiers guarding the prison.' Washington Post 'It Looked Weird and Felt Wrong' July 24, 2006.... Tom Ricks writing about the 4th Infantry Division in January 2004.... 'Speaking to reporters at the Pentagon by a video connection from Tikrit on Thursday, Army Maj. Gen. Raymond Odierno, commander of the 4th Infantry Division... said that insurgents had been "brought to their knees" and reduced to a "fractured, sporadic threat".' Washington Post 'A Measure of Success in Iraq' January 23, 2004 Keep up the good work, Tom." Why oh why can't we have a better press corps?...

  • The Snarky Little Professor http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/07/the_snarky_litt.html 2006-07-26: Very well done: "The Little Professor: How to Write a CoHE "First Person" Essay: A Handy Multiple-Choice Guide: While the CoHE has printed its share of worthy essays in the 'First Person' section, there is nevertheless a certain type of essay--melancholy, sulky, or otherwise gloomy--that frequently elicits strong reactions of a not altogether positive nature. This evening, while on a break from executing Anne Boleyn, it occurred to me that we could save future writers for the CoHE considerable time and effort by supplying an easy-to-follow guide..."

  • Department of "Huh?" http://www.bradford-delong.com/2006/07/department_of_h.html 2006-07-21: Greg Mankiw writes.... "I am always surprised when I see economists compare wages and productivity using wage measures that exclude fringe benefits. Theory says that productivity should determine total compensation, not cash earnings." As a presumed target, I have to ask "why?".... I... thought that everybody knew that (except at the very top end) differences between growth rates of wages and salaries and growth rates of real compensation were relatively small. We have pretty good data on short-run and medium-run movements in average hourly wages and median usual weekly earnings. We have pretty bad data on benefits. We know that average total compensation grows about 0.4% per year faster than average wages and salaries, and that the gap is smaller--0.2%?--at the median. Yes, it would be very nice, it would be better to have median weekly real compensation. But we don't. So why not use what we have got?...

by J. Bradford DeLong at July 26, 2016 06:18 AM

naked capitalism

California Treasurer John Chiang’s Peculiar Letter to the New York Times on His Sham Private Equity Transparency Bill

Treasurer John Chiang tries to defend his bill, AB 2833, against an article by Gretchen Morgenson, but only digs his hole deeper.

by Yves Smith at July 26, 2016 06:11 AM

Meet CalPERS Board Member Bill Slaton, Who Puts Kow-Towing to Private Equity Over Beneficiaries and California Taxpayers

CalPERS Investment Committee vice chairman Bill Slaton exemplifies many of the pathologies of the board.

by Yves Smith at July 26, 2016 06:05 AM

craigslist | computer gigs in san diego

Need help programming Raspberry Pi, Arduino, LED's (Carlsbad)

My son and I are working on programming a "Gemma" chip and "Fade Candy" made by Adafruit and we are lost in programming and installing libraries. Looking for someone with experience working with these chips and installing the libraries and drivers ne [...]

July 26, 2016 05:02 AM

The Django community aggregator

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Live from the Gamma Quadrant: The Star Trek movie reboot series strips the utopian core out of Star Trek--and continues the process of turning it into a third-rate "Guardians of the Galaxy" knockoff...

A.X.S.: “Star Trek: Beyond” strips politics from the universe:

The television series and some of the films studiously explored the big moral questions facing a bloc as diverse as the Federation, from the limits on cultural integration right through to how a peace-loving organisation should tackle imperial forces.

The three most recent “Star Trek” films strip out these moral and global questions, and instead focus on how to stop bad guys who want to kill a lot of people. 

From Nero in the 2009 film, Khan and Marcus in “Star Trek: Into Darkness” and all the way through to “Beyond”’s villain, these men are maniacs motivated by vengeance and an infantile appetite for military force.

Unlike real and powerful terrorists on Earth, they do not have ideologies. If “Star Trek” were still doing its job on television today, it would be asking questions about how a federation of planets can stick together when one powerful member becomes cautious of integration and votes to quit (with echoes of Brexit). Or how to tackle groups that, like Islamic State, use religion to justify an ultra-conservative social agenda—and abhorrent violence to impose it. 

At the core of “Beyond” is a vague fight against the political concept of unity. In the 24th century, Vulcans, humans and countless other species live and love side by side. Two men can be together and raise a daughter. We see everyone getting along fine on the multicultural, pluralist starbase Yorktown—a kind of utopia that could be a cleaner, man-made planet version of New York City.

But Krall, the villain of the piece, hates the sight of different peoples being friends. He wants to go to war. “Without struggle you will never know who you truly are,” he booms, in his deep, evil voice. Yet Krall’s distaste for unity lacks an explanation of why he finds racial and cultural harmony so distressing and, therefore, a vision of his own ideology (which would presumably be racist or homophobic or with some other backward flavour). Krall is upset at the sight of the different species getting along—but unlike the real world’s anti-integration ideologues, he doesn’t use words to drive divisions between people. The film misses an opportunity to probe interesting questions and test the idea of liberalism. The film misses an opportunity to do what “Star Trek” does best. 

Those hopeful letter writers from the 1980s may be happy to see their calls for inclusion answered, but they would surely prefer it to be done in a way that keeps alive “Trek”’s tradition of exploring today’s issues. America and the West, like the Federation, are based on liberalism and pluralism—but some people still want to break it and cause havoc. As the attacks on the Orlando nightclub in June showed, the spread of same-sex marriage does not mean that sexual minorities can rest easy. We are badly needing an analysis of how Orlando came to happen, and how the killer came to be. We turn to fiction to explain these motivations to us, and we should certainly expect “Trek” to follow the tradition of science fiction in exploring such a moral maze. In “Beyond”, Krall is one such villain, but it is a shame that he is not allowed to go into such specifics. Instead, he just wants to kill everyone. He’s nothing but a nutter with a nuke. This is “Star Trek”: beyond politics.

by J. Bradford DeLong at July 26, 2016 04:57 AM