Amit's Planet

November 29, 2018

Official Google Blog

Google Open Source team

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

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

April 01, 2018

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

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

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

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

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

Free Lunch Can the US return to high growth FT com

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

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

November 02, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

har ek nazar idhar udhar... ik nayaa taraanaa

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:35 PM

jii bhar ke pyaar kar lo

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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







Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:18 PM

ek raat kii ye priit

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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



Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 01:06 PM

dil churaa luu.N

Album: Faraar / Dev Anand In Goa

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Anonymous

November 02, 2017 12:57 PM

October 06, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii

Album: Navrang

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ye maaTii sabhii kii kahaanii kahegii-2
 

Contributed by Saket Jain

October 06, 2017 12:37 PM

August 17, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

mitawaa mitawaa bole miiThe bain

Album: Parichay

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

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

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


Contributed by Rajeeva Karandikar

August 17, 2017 06:51 PM

August 14, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

merii nigaah ne ye kaisaa Kvaab dekhaa hai

Album: Lubna

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

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

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

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



Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

August 14, 2017 09:04 AM

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

Album: Shayad

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Vijay Kumar K

August 14, 2017 08:42 AM

May 25, 2017

giitaayan - Recently posted songs

huaa yuu.N pyaar jawaa.N

Album: Jab Andhera Hota Hai

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

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

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

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

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

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

Contributed by Asif Alvi

May 25, 2017 03:05 AM

April 24, 2017

swissmiss

Zero Hedge

Chinese Stocks, Bonds, Commodities Shun Global Euphoria Amid Government Leverage Crackdown

Despite another liquidity injection and the rest of the world in 'euphoric risk-on' mode over the French election results, Chinese stock, bond, and commodity markets tumbled overnight...

On Friday, we asked "Is China Trying To (Slowly) Burst Another Stock Market Bubble?" as Chinese monetary conditions were tightening dramatically...

And, as Bloomberg reports, it seems the catalyst is further crackdowns on shadow-banking.

China’s banking regulator, which said late Friday it will focus on guarding against financial risks, has ordered local units to assess cross-guaranteed loans, according to a Caixin report.

Having gone 86 trading days without a loss of more than 1% on a closing basis, the longest stretch since the market’s infancy in 1992... Breaking below its 200-day moving-average.

 

CHINEXT (China's Nasdaq) is also getting hammered - testing its lowest levels since February 2015....

 

And Bonds were hammered too - with China bond futures price at the lowest since The Fed hiked rates in March...

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 12:28 PM

Boy Genius Report

Apple’s new W1-equipped BeatsX earbuds are discounted on Amazon for the first time ever

Beats X Amazon

Apple's AirPods are still impossible to find unless you want to pay a premium on Amazon. AirPods are cool and all, but we're not sure they're quite cool enough to warrant paying extra for. Instead of paying more than your next pair of earbuds are worth, check out Amazon's sale on the BeatsX Wireless In-Ear Headphones. These hot new W1-equipped headphones have been discounted for the first time ever since they were released, and they stay in your ears so much better than AirPods thanks to the silicone tips. If you've been debating picking up a pair, now is the time to pounce.

Here are some key details from the product page:

  • Connect via Class 1 Bluetooth with your device for wireless listening
  • Up to 8 hours of battery life for when you’re on the go
  • With Fast Fuel, a 5-minute charge gives you 2 hours of playback when battery is low
  • Take calls, control your music and activate Siri with RemoteTalk
  • What's in the Box: Beatsx earphones, eartips with four (4) size options, removable secure-fit wingtips, pocket-sized carrying case, lightning to USB-A charging cable, Quick Start Guide, warranty card

BeatsX Wireless In-Ear Headphones - White: $119.00

Trending right now:

  1. First Galaxy S9 details emerge in new report
  2. The inside story of why Tim Cook almost kicked Uber off the App Store
  3. Every Xbox One and Xbox 360 game you can download for free in May

by Maren Estrada at April 24, 2017 12:16 PM

Core77

Milan Design Week 2017: Form Follows Fiction

As the industry's biggest annual trade fair, the Salone del Mobile is certainly an occasion to reflect on the state of design today—both implicitly and explicitly as certain schools and organizations take the opportunity to critique the commercial pretense of both the Salone and the mobile. This year, two venues in particular captured a more cerebral notion of design week, though the skepticism—about making more stuff—also took various forms around Milan.

Once again, Atelier Clerici—a perennial exhibition set in the eponymous Palazzo in the heart of Milan—served as a kind of embassy for Dutch design, anchored by the Design Academy Eindhoven and a half-dozen kindred spirits. (Full disclosure: I am currently a student in the Masters Design Curating & Writing program at the DAE.) Curated by Jan Boelen, the head of the Masters in Social Design, the heady exhibition was conceived as a high-concept critique of contemporary newsmedia in the context of design weeks, Milan, and reportage in general. Set in a darkened mock TV studio, the slick production value of #TVClerici relegated artifacts to the periphery of the double-height space, such that the daily performances would literally take center stage. 

Enter a uccaption (optional)

Once again, Atelier Clerici—a perennial exhibition set in the eponymous Palazzo in the heart of Milan — served as a kind of embassy for Dutch design, anchored by the Design Academy Eindhoven and a half-dozen kindred spirits. (Full disclosure: I am currently a student in the Masters Design Curating & Writing program at the DAE.) Curated by Jan Boelen, the head of the Masters in Social Design, the heady exhibition was conceived as a high-concept critique of contemporary newsmedia in the context of design weeks, Milan, and reportage in general. Set in a darkened mock TV studio, the slick production value of #TVClerici relegated artifacts to the periphery of the double-height space, such that the daily performances would literally take center stage.

With the galleria transformed into a black-box playhouse, #TVClerici could best be described as an overambitious bit of theater, brazenly skipping ahead to meta-meta-level critique as a performance about media. In that sense, the concept soared over the heads of visitors without quite scratching the surface of the sensationalist culture it set out to expose, not so much a mirror for society but rather another spectacle among others. After all, a daily series of scheduled performances — staged, semi-scripted segments—are not fictional events but decidedly real ones.

Contrived though the "look behind the curtain" may have been, the concept stopped short of onanism, thanks largely to the pseudo-professional production (down to the trucker caps) and earnest dramaturgy (i.e. recent grad Olle Lundin). All told, #TVClerici did offer commentary on specific issues in culture —gender, identity, etc. — precisely by renouncing design and aspiring to art.

The balance of the offerings at Atelier Clerici were rather more conventional, with several notable presentations in the gilded halls of the neoclassical former residence. As a counterpoint to the void of the stage, two other exhibitors opted for a single massive plinth in the center of the room. Amsterdam-based periodical MacGuffin (pictured above) literally and figuratively examined the sink—each issue explores a single subject at length—while the Envisions collective reprised their graphically arresting mise-en-scène of models and form studies. (Other participants included Het Nieuwe Instituut, Fictional Journal, Space Caviar, Z33, and more; see more images below and find more details here.)

See more images of Finsa by Envisions here.

In any case, Boelen's boldest statement was simply to bring the Design Academy from the periphery of Milan (i.e. Ventura Lambrate) to the very heart of the city — from sideshow to main attraction. Yet it was another exhibition tucked in a relatively quiet corner of town that posed a veritable counterpoint. Isolated if not insulated from the other design week festivities, Cascina Cuccagna, a converted urban farmhouse, hosted another polemical group exhibition. 

Forgoing the knowingness of a hashtag for a pithy declaration, Capitalism Is Over was clearly billed as "a provocation or parody," its overarching message (per the title) at once blunt and pointed. Curators Raumplan commissioned editorial and documentary photography to illustrate the point, the former imagery serving as a kind of ad campaign, the latter physically and metaphorically sited at the center of the second-story space. (In the wings around the courtyard, smaller galleries offered an eclectic mix of projects in varied media, from data visualization to spoken word, to round out the exhibition.)

The spirit of the Capitalism Is Over comes in the guise of architecture photography: On one hand, "But It Used to Be So Cool" documents Olivetti's headquarters in Ivrea as a throwback to post-war prosperity; on the other hand, "Bigger Faster Cheaper" offers Gursky-esque imagery of IKEA and Amazon logistics hubs in Piacenza. The typewriter company, of course, represents the boom time between 1945–1975, Trente Glorieuses, since eclipsed by the rise of neo-liberal economic models that have resulted in the likes of IKEA and Amazon. The two series of photographs invite facile, fertile comparison—vaguely nationalist nostalgia versus unbounded robo-futurism—in the face of a so-called post-capitalist era, the "fictional framework" of the entire exhibition.

It was a sentiment that resonated not only throughout the Cascina Cuccagna—Capitalism Is Over also included a few room-sized installations and a single "stockroom" gallery with design objects (pictured above)—but also in other exhibitions in Ventura Lambrate.

While Kvadrat launched the much-publicized upcycling initiative Really., Design School Kolding took a more poetic approach to repurposing waste materials and offcuts. For Super Supermarket, the Danish academy partnered with the textile manufacturer and 13 other brands, from Fritz Hansen to Ecco to Royal Dansk, repackaging scraps of leather, metal, plastic, and even potato pulp into faux-grocery items. Thoughtfully conceived and executed, the retail setting offered a delightfully subversive twist on both consumption and upcycling, coming as close as possible to having one's cake and eating it too.

But perhaps the most compelling fiction came from yet another school. Further afield in the Lambrate district, Burg Halle staged How Do We Deal with This?, a performative investigation into the topic of borders. The easy metaphors of the barbed-wire fence and whitewashed laboratory setting underscored the legibility of the concept, vaguely alluding to more pressing problems in society, those for which design alone may not be able to offer a solution. Behind the wall, a spartan waiting room a Black Mirror-esque payoff: the remedy is literally a sugar pill — late-capitalist consumer culture encapsulated in a single-serving dose of placebo.

Ostensibly about geopolitical borders, the metaphor applies to design as well: Where do we draw the line between art and commerce? At Atelier Clerici, the DAE's transgressive presentation format was a kind of sleight of hand, eliding the distinction between the design and how it is represented. Did #TVClerici overstep the definition of design by extending it to include media writ large—i.e. conflating TV "production" with the design and manufacturing of objects? Moreover, will capitalism ever run its course?

Either way, the show must go on.

Updated on April 24 for clarity.

April 24, 2017 12:15 PM

Zero Hedge

An "Increasingly Worried" Chinese President Tells Trump To "Exercise Restraint" Over N.Korea

France, and the European "populist wave", may be fixed for now, but geopolitical concerns remain as was made clear last night when during a phone call late on Sunday between Chinese President Xi Jinping and Donald Trump, the North Korean neighbor called for all sides to "exercise restraint" as Japan conducted exercises with a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group headed for Korean waters. China, which has repeatedly called for the de-nuclearization of the Korean peninsula, is "increasingly worried" the situation could spin out of control, leading to war and a chaotic collapse of North Korea, something we cautioned over two months ago.

Xi told Trump on the phone that China resolutely opposed any actions that ran counter to U.N. Security Council resolutions, the Chinese foreign ministry said quoted by Reuters. China "hopes that all relevant sides exercise restraint, and avoid doing anything to worsen the tense situation on the peninsula", the ministry said in a statement, paraphrasing Xi. The nuclear issue could only be resolved quickly with all relevant countries pulling in the same direction, and China was willing to work with all parties, including the United States, to ensure peace, Xi said.

A potential risk catalyst is just hours away: North Korea prepares to celebrate the 85th anniversary of the foundation of its Korean People's Army on Tuesday. It has marked similar events in the past with nuclear tests or missile launches.

That said, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the call between the two presidents was the latest manifestation of their close communication, which was good for both of their countries and the world.

On Sunday, Trump also spoke by telephone with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who later described the conversation as a "thorough exchange of views".

"We agreed to strongly demand that North Korea, which is repeating its provocation, show restraint," Abe told reporters. "We will maintain close contact with the United States, keep a high level of vigilance and respond firmly," he said. Abe also said he and Trump agreed that China should play a large role in dealing with it.

According to Reuters, a Japanese official said the phone call between Trump and Abe was not prompted by any specific change in the situation. Envoys on the North Korean nuclear issue from the United States, South Korea and Japan are due to meet in Tokyo on Tuesday. The U.S. government has not specified where the carrier strike group is, but U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said on Saturday it would arrive "within days".

Meanwhile, South Korean Defence Ministry spokesman Moon Sang-gyun gave no details about the South's plan to join the approaching U.S. carrier group for exercises, apart from saying Seoul was holding discussions with the U.S. Navy. "I can say the South Korean and U.S. militaries are fully ready for North Korea's nuclear test," Moon said. South Korean and U.S. officials have feared for some time that North Korea could soon carry out its sixth nuclear test.

As reported on Friday, satellite imagery analyzed by 38 North, a Washington-based North Korea monitoring project, found some activity at North Korea's Punggye-ri nuclear test site last week. However, the group said it was unclear whether the site was in a "tactical pause" before another test or was carrying out normal operations.

Adding to the already tense situation, North Korea detained a U.S. citizen on Saturday as he attempted to leave the country. The arrest will be a topic of discussion when Trump hold a top level briefing with Senators on April 26.

As a reminder, Trump sent a carrier group for exercises in waters off the Korean peninsula as a warning, amid growing fears North Korea could conduct another nuclear test in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Angered by the approach of the USS Carl Vinson carrier group, a defiant North Korea said on Monday the deployment was "an extremely dangerous act by those who plan a nuclear war to invade". "The United States should not run amok and should consider carefully any catastrophic consequence from its foolish military provocative act," Rodong Sinmun, the official newspaper of the North's ruling Workers' Party, said in a commentary on Monday.

 

"What's only laid for aggressors is dead bodies," the newspaper said.

Two Japanese destroyers have joined the carrier group for exercises in the western Pacific, and South Korea said on Monday it was also in talks about holding joint naval exercises.

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 12:06 PM

Oblivious Investor

How Are Variable Annuities Taxed?

This is the second article in a three-part series about variable annuities. The first article discussed how variable annuities work. And the final article will discuss cases in which they do/don’t make sense as a part of a financial plan.

How a variable annuity is taxed depends on where it is held.

Variable Annuities within Retirement Accounts

If the variable annuity is held in a retirement account, the variable annuity is taxed (almost*) like anything else within that account. For instance, if one of the investment options in your 403(b) plan is a variable annuity, when you defer salary to contribute to the annuity within that plan, those deferrals will reduce your taxable income — and when you take money out of the plan it will be taxable as income.

Taxation of Nonqualified Variable Annuities

If the variable annuity is not held in a retirement account (i.e., it is a “nonqualified” annuity) it has unique tax characteristics.

First, earnings that occur within the account are not taxable while they remain in the account. That is, the account is tax-deferred much like a traditional IRA (but without the opportunity for a tax deduction when you make contributions).

This tax deferral is, generally speaking, a good thing, because it allows the account to grow more quickly. And the greater the expected return, the bigger this benefit is. (Because the greater the return, the greater the annual tax cost that you get to avoid via tax deferral.)

However, when earnings are distributed from the account they are taxable as ordinary income. If you’re using the variable annuity to invest in stocks, this is a big drawback relative to a taxable account, because it means that dividends and long-term capital gains that would have otherwise received beneficial tax treatment are instead taxed at a higher rate as ordinary income.

When your original investment is distributed from the account, it is not taxable. However, all distributions from the account are considered to come from earnings until there are no more earnings left in the account. (In other words, distributions are considered to come in the least favorable order.)

Also, earnings distributions that occur prior to age 59.5 are subject to a 10% penalty, unless you meet one of a few exceptions:

  •  You (the owner of the annuity) have died,
  • You (the owner of the annuity) are disabled,
  • The distributions are part of a “series of substantially equal periodic payments” over your life or life expectancy (or the joint lives/life expectancies of you and a joint annuitant), or
  • The distribution is allocable to your investment in the contract that occurred before August 14, 1982.

Finally, there’s no step-up in cost basis when you die.

Taxation of Nonqualified Annuities, after Annuitization

After annuitizing a nonqualified annuity (i.e., after you convert it from a liquid asset into a guaranteed stream of income, as discussed last week), payments from the annuity are taxed in the same way as payments from any other nonqualified immediate annuity. That is, part of each payment is nontaxable because it is considered to be a return of your basis (i.e., the amount that you put into the annuity), while the remaining portion of each payment is taxable as ordinary income. Eventually, if you live long enough to receive all of your basis back (i.e., the sum of the nontaxable portions of the payments eventually totals your basis), further payments will be entirely taxable.

Tax Planning Considerations

In summary, relative to investing in a retirement account, investing in a nonqualified variable annuity provides only tax disadvantages. It’s essentially the same as nondeductible traditional IRA contributions (i.e., the least desirable type of retirement account contribution) but with two big disadvantages:

  1. Distributions are considered to happen in a less favorable order, and
  2. There’s no opportunity for Roth conversions.

Relative to investing in a taxable account, investing in a nonqualified variable annuity has one tax advantage (tax deferral) and a list of tax disadvantages (distributions of earnings are taxed at ordinary income tax rates when otherwise they might be taxed at lower rates, there’s no step-up in cost basis when you die, and there’s the possibility of a 10% penalty on early distributions).

So when would a nonqualified variable annuity offer a net tax benefit relative to simply investing in a taxable account? The ideal set of circumstances would be something along the lines of:

  • You want to invest in an asset with high expected return and which does not receive very favorable tax treatment (e.g., high-yield bonds or REITs),
  • You do not have room for that asset in your retirement accounts,
  • You expect to hold the asset for a long time (such that the tax-deferral has many years to create significant value), and
  • You expect to deplete the asset during your lifetime rather than leaving it to your heirs (otherwise you’d want a taxable account so they could receive a step-up in cost basis).

Suffice to say, that situation is very uncommon. Most people have plenty of space in their retirement accounts to hold any high-return, tax-inefficient assets they want to own.

*I say “almost” here because a qualified variable annuity that has been annuitized has slightly different tax treatment than other things within a retirement account. Specifically, after reaching age 70.5, there is no need to calculate an RMD for the annuity. Instead, each year the payment from the annuity is simply considered to be the RMD amount.

What is the Best Age to Claim Social Security?

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

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

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

by Mike at April 24, 2017 12:00 PM

Wired Top Stories

An Aerospace Coder Drags a Stodgy Industry Toward Open Source

An Aerospace Coder Drags a Stodgy Industry Toward Open Source
How one software engineer at a traditional space company convinced the bigwigs to share his command and control program. The post An Aerospace Coder Drags a Stodgy Industry Toward Open Source appeared first on WIRED.

by Sarah Scoles at April 24, 2017 12:00 PM

Zero Hedge

Executive Order From Trump Will Change The US Commodity Sector

trump-infrastructure

Last week, a request from the Uranium Producers of America (‘UPA’) grabbed the headlines, as the organization was asking the US Department of Energy (DOE) to suspend the sale of (physical) uranium on the spot market. The UPA correctly described the status of the US based Uranium producers as ‘fragile’, and it’s pretty clear the DOE has been a huge ‘help’ in destroying America’s domestic uranium market.

UPA says ‘ the uranium market is oversupplied in the short term, and the DOE material continues to overwhelm the market with large quantities of price insensitive supply’, and this statement is absolutely correct. The DOE has been selling yellowcake no matter what price it was receiving for it, but by doing so, the collateral damage in the sector was (and is) huge.

Whether the DOE receives $25 per pound of uranium or $35 won’t make or break the government’s budget, but would make a huge difference for the domestic producers. Just to give you an example, in the second half of 2016, the DOE has dumped 3.4 million pounds of uranium on the open market, whilst the total uncommitted utility demand for the same period was just 0.3 million pounds. Indeed, the DOE is dumping 11 times more uranium on the market than strictly necessary to fill a demand.

The idea of selling ‘excess’ uranium has historically grown and was re-confirmed in 2015 by the Secretary of Energy under the Obama regime. According to Energy Secretary Moniz, it wouldn’t harm the market I if the USA would dump in excess of 5 million pounds of uranium on the open market in 2016, but in hindsight, this has definitely aggravated the existing issues and as you can see on the next image, most uranium producers haven’t been able to generate a profit in the past six years.

URA 1

Source: energy.gov

Whilst there’s absolutely no urgent need to sell the stockpiled uranium, the government might actually be better off by waiting another 5 years. The tipping point of the US uranium production (and demand) is expected to be reached in the early 2020’s, when a high level of uncommitted demand will go on the market to discuss offtake agreements with producers. A low uranium price won’t help anyone (and might destroy jobs as several companies are now doing the bare minimum in order to survive for a few more years), whilst there’s additional upside for the DOE as well. Any business man with the ability to think reasonable will agree that selling uranium at $40 in five years from now is a superior plan compared to selling at $25 per pound right now. And if it helps to save jobs and companies, then that’s an additional bonus.

However, fortunately for the uranium producers, the new president seems to understand that the first step to make sure the USA has a buoyant mining and commodity sector is to make sure that any government intervention does not harm the free market. And in this case, the government intervention (dumping uranium on the market definitely counts as an intervention) has had a huge negative impact on the average spot price, as you can see in the next image:

URA 2

Source: energy.gov

In the executive order, dated March 28, President Trump seems to be willing to push the domestic mining industry forward. And for the uranium market, even simple measures like not dumping excess supply on the market would already have a huge impact without incurring a negative financial impact on the government finances level.

Most people (correctly) interpreted that executive order to be a first step to resuscitate the US coal sector, but one part of the EO could also be seen as important for the uranium sector:

“President Trump’s Executive Order directs all agencies to conduct a review of existing actions that harm domestic energy production and suspend, revise, or rescind actions that are not mandated by law.

Within 180 days, agencies must finalize their plans.“

Could this mean the DOE will revise its policy to dump uranium on the open markets before the end of this year? We think that’s very likely, and this should give the entire US uranium sector more oxygen and keep all projects in good standing until the (long-term) uranium prices pick up again.

And this could be the first step to a new US-focused and US-centered resources program.

>>>  Click here to read our Guide to Gold, and protect your wealth!

Secular Investor offers a fresh look at investing. We analyze long lasting cycles, coupled with a collection of strategic investments and concrete tips for different types of assets. The methods and strategies are transformed into the Gold & Silver Report and the Commodity Report.

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by Secular Investor at April 24, 2017 12:00 PM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

A First Glance at AWS CodeStar

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to think when CodeStar was announced this year at the AWS Summit in San Francisco. It reminded me of Cloud9, which AWS purchased in July 2016, and I was sure CodeStar was going to be an online editor that would tie in with the AWS ecosystem. But that

The post A First Glance at AWS CodeStar appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Eric Johnson at April 24, 2017 12:00 PM

FlowingData

Stephen Curry for MVP, because he makes his teammates better the most

The choice for Most Valuable Player in the NBA is only minimally about the numbers, but it’s fun to look anyways. FiveThirtyEight makes the case for Stephen Curry. I particularly like the chart that shows how other players on a team fare when an MVP candidate doesn’t play.

Not only do virtually all of his teammates (10 of 11 players with at least 30 shots, representing over 1,700 shots taken without him3) shoot worse without Curry on the court to draw attention, they shoot dramatically worse. Overall, Curry’s teammates shoot 7.3 percentage points worse with Curry off the court, with his average teammate4 shooting 8.3 points worse. Among our MVP candidates, LeBron has the next-highest impact on average teammate shooting (3.9 points), followed by Westbrook (2.5 points). When it comes to opening up a team’s offense, Curry has no equal.

Full player breakdowns.

Tags: , ,

by Nathan Yau at April 24, 2017 12:00 PM

It's Nice That

Lad Bible rebrand by UFO sees lad culture as a “positive force”

Lad_bible_rebrand_ufo_its_nice_that1

London design agency UFO has rebranded Lad Bible, one of the largest media outlets in the UK. The strategy behind the complete visual identity redesign is based on “typical audience types and their aspirations,” says the design team, and is rooted in “lad culture being a positive force”.

Read more

by Jenny Brewer at April 24, 2017 11:56 AM

naked capitalism

Newspaper Owned By Fracking Billionaire Leaks Memo Calling Pipeline Opponents Potential “Terrorists”

States such as Oklahoma and North Dakota lead the way in repressing protest over pipeline and fracking activities.

by Jerri-Lynn Scofield at April 24, 2017 11:55 AM

Zero Hedge

Frontrunning: April 24

  • French election relief sends Europe soaring (Reuters)
  • Gloves off as Le Pen and Macron pitch for final battle (Reuters)
  • French Runoff Creates Fresh Political Divisions (WSJ)
  • U.S. Government Shutdown May Hinge on Trump’s Demand for Mexico Wall (BBG)
  • Congress returns as Trump pressures Democrats ahead of funding deadline (Reuters)
  • The Rich Are Living Longer and Taking More From Taxpayers (BBG)
  • Mattis Pays Surprise Visit to Kabul (WSJ)
  • Bomb attack hits U.S. base in eastern Afghanistan (Reuters)
  • The Electric Car Revolution Now Faces Its Biggest Test (BBG)
  • States Seek to Blunt Insurers’ Costs in Bid to Shore Up Health Exchanges (WSJ)
  • Top Iron Ore Forecaster Says Prices Will Sink Back Below $50 (BBG)
  • Billionaire Doctor’s $11,000 Cancer Test Has Few Takers So Far (BBG)
  • ‘Apartheid Without the Racism’: How China Keeps Rural Folks Down (WSJ)
  • German Business Confidence Climbs to Highest Since July 2011 (BBG)
  • Goldman Got Burned by These Debts in Rare Trading Miss (BBG)
  • How a $1.4 Billion ETF Gold Rush Rattled Mining Stocks Around the World (WSJ)
  • PPG Again Raises Bid For Akzo Nobel (WSJ)
  • Akzo to Consider PPG's Sweetened $29 Billion Takeover Offer (BBG)
  • IBM Says CEO Pay Is $33 Million. Others Say It Is Far Higher (BBG)
  • U.S., Philippines scale back next month's military drills, no more 'war games' (Reuters)
  • Samsung to Issue Galaxy S8 Software Updates After Complaints (WSJ)
  • Local, global security firms in race along China's 'Silk Road' (Reuters)
  • China clamps down on excess steel as Japan decries Trump 'protectionism' (Reuters)

 

Overnight Media Digest

WSJ

- Becton Dickinson and Co said Sunday that it would acquire C R Bard Inc for $24 billion, the latest merger of medical-supplies manufacturers. http://on.wsj.com/2pVpNyl

- State investment funds in Abu Dhabi and Malaysia struck an agreement to avoid potentially embarrassing arbitration proceedings related to billions of dollars that were allegedly misappropriated by a conspiracy of former executives and advisers to both funds, according to people with direct knowledge of the deal. http://on.wsj.com/2pVIBNT

- North Korea has arrested a U.S. citizen in Pyongyang, people familiar with the matter said, adding another potential flashpoint with the U.S. at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric. http://on.wsj.com/2pVGIki

- The battle over Wells Fargo & Co board is going down to the last possible moment, with uncertainty hanging over the re-election prospects of several directors at Tuesday's annual shareholder meeting, according to people familiar with the matter. http://on.wsj.com/2pVAVLG

 

FT

LafargeHolcim Ltd Chief Executive Eric Olsen is set to step down on Monday following an internal investigation into activities at a plant the cement maker operated in Syria until September 2014.

Becton Dickinson and Co would acquire C R Bard Inc in a $24 billion cash-and-stock deal that would give Bard shareholders about 15 percent of the combined entity, the two U.S. medical technology companies said on Sunday.

Credit Suisse Group AG is braced for executive pay revolt from a shareholder this week, despite the board agreeing to a voluntary bonus cut by 40 percent.

 

NYT

- Tucker Carlson will assume Fox News's 8 p.m. time slot on Monday, the first time in nearly two decades that Bill O'Reilly will not be kicking off Fox News's prime-time lineup. http://nyti.ms/2p7So0C

- Fox News faced new sexual harassment allegations on Sunday as Alisyn Camerota, a former anchor, accused the former Fox News chief Roger Ailes of saying "grossly inappropriate" things to her and once inviting her to a hotel room when she asked for new opportunities at work. http://nyti.ms/2p7OrZG

- American Airlines Group Inc suspended a flight attendant after an altercation on Friday in which the attendant took a stroller from a woman traveling with two young children and then argued with other passengers. http://nyti.ms/2p7Mxbv

- Kristina Johnson, an engineer who developed technology critical to 3-D movies and served as under secretary in the United States Energy Department before founding a hydroelectric company, will be appointed chancellor of the State University of New York. http://nyti.ms/2p7PcSw

 

Canada

THE GLOBE AND MAIL

** The collegial race to lead the federal NDP received an injection of drama this week with the announcement that former veterans ombudsman Pat Stogran is now a candidate. https://tgam.ca/2psehuq

** The New Democratic Party in British Columbia has dismissed the critique of the party platform's financial sustainability. A five-page document commissioned by the BC Liberal Party found the NDP platform to be fiscally prudent, but neither transparent nor sustainable. https://tgam.ca/2ps7K2P

NATIONAL POST

** Bubbling beneath the surface of the BC campaign trail is a bitumen brawl between this province's New Democrats and Alberta's. And while neither political party seems willing to speak openly about the issue, the internal rift threatens unity at a time when the Orange Crush is poised to spill across BC, upending the 16-year dynasty of the Liberals. http://bit.ly/2pscoxT

** Dow Chemical Co. is in line to collect the largest patent infringement damage award in Canadian history following a courtroom victory against Nova Chemicals Corp. http://bit.ly/2ps8BAz (Compiled by Vishal Sridhar)

 

Britain

The Times

Jaguar Land Rover has struck a deal to slash thousands of workers' pensions by severing the link to final salaries and switching to career average pay. http://bit.ly/2paUMpo

Jupiter Asset Management had quietly canvassed investors in recent weeks about a 50 percent rise for its boss Maarten Slendebroek. However, it pulled the pay deal after objections from a number of institutions. Two of its top 10 investors told The Sunday Times that the 50 percent hike was unacceptable in light of the government's focus on reining in rewards. http://bit.ly/2oAh28X

The Guardian

Rachel Reeves, a Labour MP who sits on the Treasury select committee, will outline plans on Tuesday for regulators at the Financial Conduct Authority to cap the maximum amount that banks can charge customers for unauthorised overdrafts, similar to the limit imposed on charges on payday loans of 24 pound a month. http://bit.ly/2oAi9FJ

The Telegraph

The upmarket burger chain Five Guys is in talks with its U.S. parent to expand in Europe beyond the five countries it currently operates in. Five Guys' UK chief executive, John Eckbert, said the company had growth plans for the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal, where it already has sites, but saw scope for the chain to thrive in other European nations. http://bit.ly/2pUuKr3

One of the co-founders of Moneysupermarket.com is returning to the business world after a 10-year absence to launch a financial advice service he claims has the same disruptive potential. Duncan Cameron's jointly-owned eVestor service aims to cut the cost of full-service financial advice by 80pc. He says it will deliver sophisticated advice to investors "whether they have 1 pound or 1 million pounds". http://bit.ly/2oAezeL

Sky News

Former Barclays and Santander executive Stephen Jones will be named as the inaugural chief executive of UK Finance on Monday, a new trade association that is poised to become one of Britain's most powerful lobbying groups. http://bit.ly/2p7dVXj

The upmarket cycling-wear brand Rapha has moved its sale preparations up a gear by hiring advisers to carry out a review of the company's options. Rapha's board has appointed William Blair, an investment bank, to undertake an exercise that is likely to lead to a sale. http://bit.ly/2oWfhWo

Three Mobile has apologised after customers were not able to send texts or make phone calls. The company said it experienced a "temporary works issue" which affected its service during Saturday afternoon and evening. It said that although calls have been restored they are working to restore a full service. http://bit.ly/2p6SaHe

 

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 11:48 AM

Boy Genius Report

The inside story of why Tim Cook almost kicked Uber off the App Store

Apple Uber

Uber's willingness to openly disregard Apple's App Store guidelines almost prompted Tim Cook to kick the popular ridesharing app off the App Store altogether, according to a new report from The New York Times. In a fascinating profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, a controversial figure to say the least, we learn that Kalanick in late 2014 instructed his software engineers to develop a way for the company to identify specific iPhones even when individuals deleted the Uber app from their devices.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Every Xbox One and Xbox 360 game you can download for free in May
  2. First Galaxy S9 details emerge in new report
  3. The iPhone 8 should be the biggest phone launch ever, thanks to Apple’s user base

by Yoni Heisler at April 24, 2017 11:45 AM

RubyFlow

[Screencast] Cropping Images with JCrop

Extend your image upload functionality with JCrop. Learn to redirect the user to a crop page once they have uploaded their image and save versions of the cropped images. https://www.driftingruby.com/episodes/cropping-images-with-jcrop

April 24, 2017 11:45 AM

The Big Picture

10 Monday AM Reads

Our Pro-Science morning train reads: • ‘Silicon Valley’ Is Still the Outrageous, Tech Industry-Skewering Show That We Deserve (Daily Beast) • Grab Your Pitchforks, America, Your 401(K) May Need Defending from Congress (Moneybeat) • Is this the end of venture capital as we know it? (VentureBeat) • Trump condos worth $250 million pose potential conflict (USA Today) • Richard…

Read More

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

by Barry Ritholtz at April 24, 2017 11:44 AM

Devdutt

The Immortals

Published on 23rd April, 2016, in Mid-day

In Hindu mythology, whenever an asura asks for immortality, Brahma tells them that they can have whatever they wish except that. The clever asura then asks for a boon that will render him immortal for all practical purposes. But, embedded in the boon is a loophole, a vulnerability that the devas take advantage of, to kill him. Thus, we are reminded that no one is immortal in the world.

However, this concept is countered by the concept of ‘Chiranjivi’ or the immortals of Hindu mythology. These are male characters from various stories in the Ramayana, Mahabharata and Puranas who live forever. Some are cursed. Others blessed. Some are denied death. Some are burdened with life.

Traditionally, there are seven immortals. They are:

1. Bali, the asura-king, vanquished by Vishnu in his dwarf avatar
2. Parashurama, the priest-warrior avatar of Vishnu
3. Hanuman, the wise and mighty monkey who serves Ram
4. Vibhishana, who is Ravana’s brother
5. Vyasa, organiser of Veda and composer of the Mahabharata
6. Kripa, the brother-in-law of Drona, and teacher of the Pandavas
7. Ashwatthama, the son of Drona

The eternal Bali returns to Kerala every year during Onam festival as he embodies prosperity. Hanuman, Vibhishan, Vyasa, and Kripa have been given immortality to remember Ram and Krishna. Parashurama is immortal to defend the earth as he killed all the warriors himself. Ashwatthama is the most famous immortal. He is immortal as punishment for daring to kill an unborn child and for the audacity of releasing, despite not having knowledge to control it, the Brahmastra, a terrible missile that could destroy the world.

Sometimes, the sage Markandeya is added to this list, making it eight immortals. It is he who tells the Ramayana to the Pandavas and informs everyone of how pralaya will eventually destroy the world. It reminds us of the concept of eight immortals found in Taoist mythology. While in Chinese mythology, one of the eight immortals is a woman and another is androgynous or sexually ambiguous, in Hindu mythology, all eight are male.

There are other characters who are immortal in Hindu mythology but who do not make it to the list. For example, Muchukunda, the son of Mandhata, who slept so long in a cave after a war, that when he opened his eyes, his first glance was so fiery that it set aflame the man who had rudely interrupted his sleep. There is Kalyavana, destroyer of Mathura, enemy of Krishna. Or Jambavan, the bear who served in Ram’s army and helped in the rescue of Sita. Or Banasura, the father of Usha, who was defeated by Krishna, but blessed by Shiva. And Udal, brother of Alha, whose Rajput saga from medieval times is popular in the Bundelkhand region.

Besides humans, there are immortal plants and animals, like Akshaya-vat, or the banyan tree which will survive pralaya or the great deluge; Kaka Bhusandi, or the immortal crow, who narrates the Ramayana to Narada; Akupara, or the immortal turtle, who holds the earth on his back; and, Sesha, the immortal serpent, who binds the oceans in his coils. For a culture that grappled with impermanence in the world, these characters reveal a deep hidden yearning for permanence and immortality.

by HS at April 24, 2017 11:41 AM

Brand New

Reviewed: New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People

<h1>“Getting in Shape”</h1> <a href="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/new_logo_and_identity_for_sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_by_for_the_people.php"><img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_logo_new.gif" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" class="webfeedsFeaturedVisual" /></a> <p>Established in 2016, <a href="http://sse.edu.au/" target="_blank">Sydney School of Entrepreneurship</a> (SSE) is a new partnership between twelve tertiary institutions -- eleven of them universities and one, TAFE NSW, a vocational school -- in the Australian state of New South Wales. Funded by the NSW government and modeled after the <a href="http://www.sses.se/" target="_blank">Stockholm School of Entrepreneurship</a> in Sweden, the SSE aims to attract 1,000 students each year to its program that will be part of existing undergraduate degrees at each partner university with the mission "to establish new generations of entrepreneurs with a wider world view". The identity for SSE has been designed by Sydney-based <a href="http://forthepeople.agency/" target="_blank">For The People</a>.</p> <blockquote>Driven by data streams from students, the school and the NSW economy, the new SSE brand expresses the personality of the students, the activity within the school and the economic success stories SSE creates. The brand visually reflects the performance of the school in real time, creating a unique logo on a daily basis. It forms both a visual record of the school's impact, as well as the opportunity to visualise what future successes might look like.<br /><br />A dynamic generator allows students to create their own personal logo, based upon character traits prevalent in successful entrepreneurs. This is aggregated into the SSE brand, along with data drawing from the physical activity within the campus and the constantly changing economic data of NSW.</blockquote><h3><a href="http://forthepeople.agency/sse.html" target="_blank">For The People project page</a></h3> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_logo.gif" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Logo.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"><div class="video-container"><video controls><source src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_generator.mp4" type="video/mp4">Your browser does not support the video tag.</video></div> <figcaption>Logo generator.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_shapes.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Where the shapes are derived from.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_logo_variations.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Logo variations.</figcaption> </figure> <p>The inputs that drive the logo -- "students", "school activity", and "economy" -- are far from scientifically rigorous and highly subjective (other than whether school is in session or not) so they really are just fancy excuses for making a flexible logo system which, to be honest, works for me. I like the results generated by the logo app, revolving around a minimal geometric SSE skeleton that uses shapes from the building where the SSE will be headquartered. The logos also manage to capture the broadness of the notion of entrepreneurship through a set of logos that look "busy" and kind of exciting but you don't exactly know why or how, just like the hype around entrepreneurship (i.e., I could call UnderConsideration an entrepreneurial venture but, no, we are just out here busting our asses trying to make a living on our own in unconventional ways and don't try to package it as entrepreneurship, but I digress).</p> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_business_cards.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Business cards.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_website.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Website.</figcaption> </figure> <p>The generative icons lend themselves really well for applications, establishing a bold and vibrant aesthetic that stretches equally well from business cards to website.</p> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_generator_type_01.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <hr /> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_generator_type_02.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Type generator.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_outdoor_ad.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Outdoor ad.</figcaption> </figure> <p>Apart from the logo generator, there is a type generator for headlines and other elements of the application. The inputs get a little more douchey -- settings like "cognitive" and "micro"/"macro" make my skin crawl -- but, again, the results are engaging and cool-looking. More importantly and less relevantly than my own personal sentiments, this literally speaks the language of entrepreneurship in a way that will be empowering for the administration behind the school and the two generator tools are perfect for helping them create materials they can stand behind.</p> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_posters.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <hr /> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_poster_02.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Posters.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_invitation.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Invitations.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_pins.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Pins.</figcaption> </figure> <figure class="full"> <img src="http://www.underconsideration.com/brandnew/archives/sydney_school_of_entrepreneurship_totes.jpg" alt="New Logo and Identity for Sydney School of Entrepreneurship by For The People" /> <figcaption>Totes.</figcaption> </figure> <p class="end">The whole identity uses <a href="https://www.optimo.ch/typefaces_Px-Grotesk.html" target="_blank">Px Grotesk</a>, a cool, techie-looking font that makes it clear SSE isn't your typical university course; I'm not a huge fan of the font but it does have a killer "a". Further in application there is the inclusion of colorful geometric shapes that are bigger versions of the shapes used in the logos and type. These literally add another dimension to the application that looks cool but maybe starts to get too frenetic. Overall, this has a contemporary, visually exciting aesthetic that may not have a huge lifespan -- five years before it changes? -- but has the right bombastic-ness for launching this program.</p><img src="http://feeds.feedburner.com/~r/ucllc/brandnew/~4/_BZHgMuwrJY" height="1" width="1" alt=""/>

April 24, 2017 11:40 AM

Zero Hedge

Pence Cuts Asia Trip Short; Returns Early To Focus On Critical Week For Trump

Vice President Mike Pence has cut short the final leg of his Asia trip to return back to Washington, where the Trump administration faces a critical week on tax reform and a funding plan to keep the government running, Reuters reported overnight. Pence, who has been traveling in Asia to reassure allies and partners about President Donald Trump's commitment to the region, had originally planned to spend two nights in Honoluluat the end of a trip that took him to South Korea, Japan, Indonesia and Australia.

An aide to the vice president said Pence is cutting his trip short because of a series of issues in Washington this week. He pointed to topics including healthcare, tax reform and government funding. The vice president will no longer visit the USS Arizona memorial because of the shortened trip and will instead leave Hawaii on Monday.

According to Reuters, Pence will now spend one night in Hawaii and is slated to be back in Washington on Tuesday morning, an aide told reporters before Air Force Two landed at Pago Pago in American Samoa for refueling. While he spoke with business leaders in each country, Pence's trip was overshadowed by rising tensions in North Korea, where it is feared another nuclear test could be conducted soon in defiance of United Nations sanctions.

Trump has a busy week ahead. Funding appropriated by Congress to run the government runs out on Friday, so he and lawmakers must agree on new legislation or the government will shut down on Saturday. Saturday is also Trump's 100th day in office, a benchmark used by pundits to assess the initial accomplishments and shortfalls of his young presidency.

Trump plans to outline principles for tax reform onWednesday, a top brief for Pence.

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 11:28 AM

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April 24, 2017 11:12 AM

Allisstatus

Let’s get real again

Critics of gold-standard money pint to the fiasco that occurred between 1926 and 1931 when the pound was re-established after the War (1914-1918). It certainly was a fiasco. As a result, this country — leading the way — and 40 others – excluding America — went off the gold standard for good. The fiasco was … Continue reading Let’s get real again

by Keith Hudson at April 24, 2017 11:09 AM

Zero Hedge

A Delighted Wall Street Reacts To The French Election

With European stocks on fire, and US futures moving fast to recoup recent all time highs, it is no surprise that Wall Street is feeling particularly bullish this morning.

As noted previously, the market moves suggest that traders were positioned for French pollsters to be wrong again, and yet unlike Brexit and Trump, this time the polls were spot on. The snapshot result: the French CAC 40 is up as much as 4.6%, DAX up as much as 2.9% to record high; euro-zone Stoxx banking sector index up as much as 6.9%; VStoxx volatility index down as much as 31%; France- Germany bond yield spread narrows to lowest since January; euro gains as much as 2%. Meanwhile, looking at the runoff round, polls now see Macron defeating Le Pen with a sizable margin, somewhere in the 62%-38% area.

Below is a sample of slleside analyst reaction to Sunday's outcome.

BofAML equity strategists including Ronan Carr, James Barty

  • Political uncertainty has been a headwind to global investors re-allocating to Europe; BofAML sees significant potential for European fund flows to recover further
  • Focus can shift to solid fundamentals in Europe
  • Solid macro backdrop, strong operating leverage evident in European corporates point to upside risks to BofA’s 11% EPS forecast for Stoxx 600; earnings momentum is strong with 84% of sectors enjoying upgrades

Citi strategists including Jonathan Stubbs

  • European banking sector likely to benefit from lower political risk premium and narrower sovereign spreads following “risk-on” outcome in first round of French election
  • Says French banks could outperform by ~10% in short term, broader sector likely to be key leadership group in market
  • Lower political risk could “release handbrake” across policy makers, CEOs, investors and individuals; expects international investors, particularly U.S., to return to European equities

Credit Agricole strategist Valentin Marinov

  • “Very hard” to find a euro-negative factor; risk is clearly pointing to more euro upside from here
  • Now with political risks abating, investors’ attention may turn to the certainly attractive assets denominated in euros, like euro area stocks

Natixis strategist Sylvain Goyon

  • Expects a relief rally, CAC 40 could outperform DAX by 3%-4% within a few days given French market discount
  • Among sectors which could benefit the most from relief rally: insurance, banks, financial services, autos, tech, real estate

AXA IM economist Laurent Clavel

  • What really was priced was the possibility of a very market unfriendly result; For the French economy just yet the economic policy uncertainty is not lifted
  • “The membership of France in the euro zone and in the EU, that risk, which was really the focus of markets, is almost gone”

Goldman Sachs equity strategist Peter Oppenheimer

  • Equity market has already largely priced the outcome; concerns about the vote have not prevented European equities and CAC 40 from performing well on an absolute basis in 2017
  • Expect the results to generate some relief for FTSE MIB, French and Italian banks, and a very minor relief for CAC 40
  • French domestic stocks and CAC 40 have not underperformed significantly as of late; Goldman doesn’t expect them to rally materially now, or after second round

BlackRock strategists including Richard Turnill

  • Result is positive surprise for risk assets in near term
  • Business-friendly and pro-European Macron, who has maintained large winning margin in head-to-head polls with Le Pen, can now build on his momentum
  • Result should lead to material reduction in perceived political risk in Europe; some risk premium should linger until legislative elections in June
  • If Macron becomes France’s next president, may struggle to implement his agenda without stable parliamentary majority
  • Expects Italy to be the next focus of European political risk

Credit Suisse equity strategist Pierre Bose

  • Markets are likely to react positively to the news, with the risk of an adverse presidency for the French economy and European integration now markedly lower
  • Continues to prefer European equities backed by cheap valuation and positive growth momentum; European banking stocks should also benefit in next few days; CS continues to prefer them to their U.S. counterparts

JPMorgan AM fund manager Stephen Macklow-Smith

  • Assuming Macron does win the presidency, investors will no longer have an excuse not to allocate to European equities. We hadn’t taken that much risk off the table as we were expecting a market-friendly outcome, but will marginally add cyclical exposure. In short-term sees French financials catching up with the rest of the market

Runestone Capital Fund founder and portfolio manager Rune Madsen

  • Result reduces some short-term risk. Potential negative did not transpire, there will most likely be less demand for protection
  • Still, with previous events like Brexit or U.S. election, initial reaction was not what transpired one day or a few weeks later; important to keep that in mind

Bankhaus Lampe equity strategist Ralf Zimmermann

  • Vote could mean that global stock investors are more willing to trade future positive macro surprises in Europe
  • Bigger picture is unchanged: fundamental upside for stocks is now limited, valuations have expanded notably, particularly in U.S., but also in Europe, which means that stock prices have outpaced earnings estimates

Societe Generale analysts

  • With risk of populism fading, investors should start focusing on the banks’ strong fundamentals; highlights credit and deposit growth is strong, GDP estimates have gone up and number of companies expected to be loss- making has remained flat

Kepler Cheuvreux analysts

  • Despite a number of open questions, notably whether the new president will find a governing majority, still there, French elections will reassure investors, trigger fresh capital flows into the region
  • Expects higher risk premium for pure European assets seen since Brexit vote to soften somewhat; says risky European domestic exposure should outperform over the next few months

TD Securities macro strategist Jacqui Douglas

  • Results for top candidates almost exactly in line with what polling had predicted, TD confident investors can look to a big Macron win in second round, as polls have him wining by nearly a 2:1 ratio
  • Given renewed trust in polls, markets unlikely to wait until May 7 before pricing out the risk of Frexit, and we look for a risk-on trading environment to start the week

Investec Wealth & Investment strategist John Wyn-Evans

  • Had said for a while that Europe looked attractive as an investment destination, but had been holding back from further investment owing to political concerns
  • Europe has the potential for further recovery that has already taken place in, for example, the U.S. and the U.K.
  • Europe’s stock market is calculated to be one of the most operationally geared into continued recovery and on the long view has a lot of catching up to do

Makor Capital Markets strategist Stephane Barbier de la Serre

  • Le Pen comes a close second, however the math of vote redistribution will simply not work for her and therefore expect Macron to win the run-off with a wide margin
  • It does dispel at once the risk of any kind of “Frexit” in the foreseeable future, which should lead to much reduced risk premia on French stocks and bonds and therefore boost prices of all European risk assets in the next few weeks

Source: Bloomberg

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 11:09 AM

Key Events In The Coming Busy Week: US GDP; ECB & BOJ Meetings, And Lots Of Earnings

The key economic releases this week are the durable goods report on Thursday and Q1 GDP on Friday.  It iweek is the busiest week of earnings season, with 40%  of S&P 500 equity cap reporting. In addition, there are a few scheduled speaking engagements by Fed officials this week. 

Further, as SocGen notes, this week, markets will digest the French election results, with data releases focusing on the strength of the euro area recovery. The ECB may signal upside risks to near-term growth ahead of higher core inflation on Friday. EU leaders will meet to adopt Brexit negotiation guidelines. In the US, softer 1Q GDP data will be scrutinized, while rising inflation in the UK may have a longer term impact on growth. In Asia, GDP data should be boosted by net exports while the BoJ may upgrade it economic assessment.

United States: Q1 GDP likely to show weak growth

This week, consensus expects broadly unchanged new home sales as well as subdued business investment (ex aircraft orders). Most of the focus will be on Friday’s Q1 GDP where the Atlanta Fed expects growth to tumble to just 0.5%. Still, the Fed (and markets) is used to softness in Q1 growth that at least in the past has snapped back in the second half. Lastly, a one- or two-week bill looks likely to keep the government open past the Friday deadline, giving Congress a bit more time to work on a longer-term deal.

Euro area: ECB to acknowledge upside risks to near-term growth.

While markets will digest the French election results, the ECB will likely acknowledge upside risks to growth in 1H on Thursday while remaining on hold. Both headline and core inflation should recover by two-tenths on Friday, while the first 1Q GDP estimates for France (0.2% qoq) and Spain (0.7%) will give an early indication for the euro area (next Wednesday). Both the EC confidence indicators and the German Ifo will probably moderate but are expected to remain high. A special summit of EU-27 leaders (Saturday) will set the guidelines for the EU in the upcoming negotiations with the UK.

Asia Pacific: Solid 1Q GDP gains in Korea and Taiwan; BoJ may upgrade assessment

First quarter GDP data from South Korea and Taiwan are likely to have been boosted by net trade, as suggested by the strong external trade recovery across the region. The BoJ is widely expected to maintain its current policy stance and make no meaningful changes to its economic forecasts, but may upgrade its assessment of the economy. In Australia, annual rates of headline and core inflation are likely to have moved up, but not quite into target.

JPM lays out the Calendar of events to watch for in the week of Mon Apr 24

  • The big focus this week will be on earnings (the week of 4/24 is the peak of the CQ1 season), central banks (decisions from the BOJ and ECB), Eurozone eco data (Eurozone Arp CPI on Friday 4/28), US eco data (Q1 US GDP and ECI both hit Fri 4/28), and US gov’t funding (legislation to fund the gov’t expires on Apr 28 – a shutdown is considered unlikely).
  • Calendar for Mon Apr 24 – the main focus on Mon will be earnings (HAL, HAS, ITW KMB, LII, and TCB pre-open and AA, AMP, CCI, CDNS, CR, ESRX, NEM, RE, RMBS, RRC, SANM, TMUS, UDR, WHR, WNC, WRB, and ZION after the close). 
  • Calendar for Tues Apr 25 – the main focus will be on US FHFA/Case-Shiller home prices for Feb (9amET), US new home sales for Mar (10amET), US conf. board confidence figures for Apr (10amET), and earnings (AKS, AN, BHI, BIIB, CAT, CIT, CNC, DD, Ericsson, FCX, FITB, GLW, KO, LH, LLY, LMT, MAS, MCD, MMM, NLSN, Novartis, NTRS, OI, PCAR, PHM, PNR, R, SAP, SPGI, ST, TROW, TRU, TUP, VLO, WAT, WSO, and XRX pre-open and ARNC, BHP, BXP, CB, CENX, CHRW, CMG, COF, CREE, DFS, EQR, EW, ILMN, JNPR, SYK, T, TSS, TXN, UHS, and ULTI after the close).
  • Calendar for Wed Apr 26 – the main focus will be on earnings (ALK, ANTM, APH, AVY, BA, BAX, Credit Suisse, Daimler, DPS, GD, HES, HSY, IR, NDAQ, NSC, PEP, PG, ROK, Santander, Standard Chartered, STT, STX, TEL, TWTR, UTX, X, WRK, and WYN pre-open and AMGN, AVB, CAVM, EQIX, FFIV, FISV, KIM, MAA, NOW, NTGR, ORLY, PYPL, SAM, UNM, VAR, XL, and XLNX after the close).
  • Calendar for Thurs Apr 27 – the main focus will be on central banks (BOJ, Riksbank, and ECB decisions), China industrial profits for Mar (Wed night/Thurs morning), US advanced goods trade balance for Mar and durable goods for Mar (8:30amET), US pending home sales for Mar (10amET), the expiration of the FCC anti-collusion rules (related to the recent spectrum auction), Trump’s press conf., and earnings (ABBV, Airbus, ALLE, ALLY, AMT, APD, BASF, BMY, BSX, CBG, CELG, CMCSA, CME, Deutsche Bank, DOW, F, IP, IVZ, JCI, LAZ, LLL, LUV, MMC, MPC, Nokia, NOV, POT, PX, Roche, RS, SIRI, SPG, STM, UAA, UNP, UPS, USG, VC, WCC, and ZBH pre-open and AFL, AIV, AMZN, BIDU, CERN, ESS, EXPE, FLEX, FTNT, GOOGL, GPRO, HIG, INTC, KLAC, LPLA, MHK, MSFT, PFG, Samsung Electronics, SBUX, SWKS, SYNA, VRSN, VRTX, and WDC after the close).
  • Calendar for Fri Apr 28 – the main focus will be on Eurozone eco data (including Eurozone Apr CPI at 5amET), US Q1 GDP and ECI (8:30amET), US Chicago PMI for Apr (9:45amET), Michigan Sentiment for Apr (10amET), and earnings (CL, CVX, GM, GT, HST, LYB, PSX, SYF, VFC, WY, and XOM pre-open).

Global Economics Calendar: Week of Mon April 24th, also via JPM

  • Monday, April 24th: US (Chicago./Dallas Fed Indices); Eurozone (Germany IFO Current Assessment, UK CBI Business Optimism); Other (Taiwan Unemployment Rate, Japan Leading/Coincident Index, Taiwan Industrial production, Taiwan Money Supply, China Conference Board China March Leading Economic Index, Japan PPI Services)
  • Tuesday, April 25th: US (FHFA House Price Index, S&P/CoreLogic 20-City HPI, New Home Sales, Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index, Richmond Fed); Eurozone (France Business Confidence, Spain PPI, ECB Bank Lending Survey, UK Public Finances, Euro Area Fourth Quarter Government Debt); Other (Hong Kong Trade Balance)
  • Wednesday, April 26th: US (MBA Mortgage Applications); Eurozone (France Consumer Confidence, Spain Total Mortgage Lending, France Jobseekers); Other (Japan All Industry Activity Index, Japan Machine Tool Orders, Japan Buying/Selling Foreign Stocks/Bonds, China Swift Global Payments, China Industrial Profits, BOJ 10-Yr Yield Target, BOJ Policy Balance Rate)
  • Thursday, April 27th: US (Advance Goods Trade Balance, Wholesale/Retail Inventories, Durable Goods Orders, Jobless Claims, Pending Home Sales, Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Activity Index); Eurozone (Germany GfK Consumer Confidence, Spain Unemployment Rate, Spain CPI, Germany CPI, Italy Economic Sentiment, Eurozone Economic Confidence, ECB Main Refinancing Rate, ECB Asset Purchase Target, UK GfK Consumer Confidence, Spain Budget Balance); Other (Taiwan Monitoring Indicator, Taiwan Bounced Check Ratio, Japan Jobless Rate, Japan National CPI, Japan Industrial Production, Japan Retail Sales)
  • Friday, April 28th: US (Employment Cost Index, GDP Annualized, Core PCE, Chicago PMI, University of Michigan Survey); Eurozone (France GDP, France CPI, Eurozone M3 Money Supply, Spain GDP, Spain Retail Sales, UK GDP, Eurozone CPI, Italy PPI, , UK Nationwide House Prices); Other (Japan Vehicle Production, Japan Housing Starts)

A look at the upcoming busiest week of Q1 earning season:

The CQ1 season isn’t even half over although several important companies posted numbers over the last 1.5 weeks.  As is the case with any given earnings period, the most “important” sectors from the perspective of the macro narrative are banks, semis, capital goods, and credit cards.  The US bank season is nearly over and numbers were pretty healthy, esp. relative to reduced expectations.  Loan growth wasn’t as bad as the weekly Fed data suggested, NII/NIM was inline-to-better, expenses and credit remain under control (there were some pockets of credit deterioration but nothing that suggests a broader systemic problem), and trading was healthy (the one notable exception was GS which badly lagged its peers in FICC; GS mgmt. didn’t sound concerned and cited the latter two letters, i.e. currencies and commodities, for the shortfall).  At the moment for bank stocks the direction of TSY yields (and the shape of the curve) is having a greater influence than earnings.  In semis only a handful of companies reported but the early results are solid, esp. semi equipment (ASML and LRCX).  MXIM’s report Thurs night was more controversial – the headline income statement figures were solid for Mar actuals and June guide but mgmt. on the call acknowledged some softness in the US auto market (although MXIM really wasn’t outright negative on autos and while SAAR is drifting lower the amount of silicon per unit continues to experience strong growth).  The initial indications from the capital goods companies w/DOV, GE, and HON all posting healthy organic growth (both revs and orders) while Eurozone reports were decent too (Schneider, ABB, etc.).  GE was controversial as very strong orders and income statement numbers were offset by very weak cash flow.  GWW was the one notable disappointment within the industrial space although the problem was competition/pricing (and not necessarily end-market demand).  The best sector for assessing the health of “the consumer” isn’t retail but instead the credit cards (the key is the amount of card swipes, not where those swipes are occurring) and numbers out of that group so far in CQ1 have been positive (w/upside reports out of AXP and V/Visa).  Other earnings highlights over the last week include CSX (solid Q and Hunter Harrison provided positive guidance), IBM (pretty weak all around w/soft revs and margin downside), EBAY (decent Q1 but weaker Q2 guide), NFLX (some noise w/Q1 subs light and better Q2 guide but the H1 numbers in aggregate were about inline), and VZ (the big focus was the very weak subscriber metrics; the sub results would have been even worse had VZ not unveiled its unlimited data plans in the middle of the Q).

* * *

Finally, a focus just on US events in the coming week, together with consensus and Goldman estimates

Monday, April 24

  • 10:30 AM Dallas Fed manufacturing index, April (consensus +17.0, last +16.9)
  • 11:30 AM Minneapolis Fed President Kashkari (FOMC voter) speaks: Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari will give the keynote speech at the 6th Annual Fink Investing Conference at UCLA in California. Audience Q&A is expected.
  • 03:15 PM Minneapolis Fed President Neel Kashkari (FOMC voter) speaks: Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari will participate in a moderated discussion at Claremont McKenna College in Claremont. Audience Q&A is expected.

Tuesday, April 25

  • 09:00 AM S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index, February (GS +1.1%, consensus +0.7%, last +0.9%): We expect the S&P/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index to rise 1.1% in the February report following a 0.9% increase in the prior month. The measure still appears to be influenced by seasonal adjustment challenges, and we place more weight on the year-over-year increase, which rose to 5.7% from 5.5% in January.
  • 09:00 AM FHFA house price index, February (consensus +0.4%, last flat): Consensus expects the FHFA house price index to rise 0.4% (mom sa) in February, after a flat reading in January. The FHFA house price index has a wider geographic coverage than the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index, but is based only on properties financed with conforming mortgages. On a year-over-year basis, FHFA home prices rose 5.7% in January, down from 6.2% in December.
  • 10:00 AM New home sales, March (GS -2.0%, consensus -1.4%, last +6.1%): We expect new home sales to fall 2.0% in March, retracing some of its 6.1% February increase, as we expect the negative impact of Winter Storm Stella in the Midwest and Northeast to be partially offset by a favorable fundamental backdrop and an elevated level of single-family building permits.
  • 10:00 AM Conference Board consumer confidence, April (GS 121.0, consensus 123.0, last 125.6): We forecast that consumer confidence declined 4.6pt to 121.0 in April from the cycle high in March. Our forecast reflects some sequential deterioration in consumer surveys in late March and early April, as well as recent stock market weakness.
  • 10:00 AM Richmond Fed manufacturing index, March (consensus +16, last +22)

Wednesday, April 26

  • There are no major data releases.

Thursday, April 27

  • 08:30 AM U.S. Census Bureau Advance Economic Indicators Report: Advance goods trade balance, March preliminary (GS -$65.9bn, consensus -$65.4bn, last -$63.9bn); We estimate the goods trade deficit widened $2.0bn to $65.9bn in March, following February’s sharp narrowing that we believe reflected a pronounced impact from the relatively early Chinese New Year, which likely shifted the timing of imports from February to January. Based on our expectation of a partial reversal of these effects as well as a (likely related) sharp rebound in March inbound container traffic, we expect renewed deterioration in the trade balance. At the same time, lower March oil prices should reduce the nominal petroleum deficit, providing a partial offset.
  • 08:30 AM Wholesale inventories, March preliminary (consensus +0.3%, last +0.4%); 08:30 AM Durable goods orders, March preliminary (GS +2.1%, consensus +1.3%, last +1.8%) ; Durable goods orders ex-transportation, March preliminary (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.5%); Core capital goods orders, March preliminary (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.5%, last -0.1%); Core capital goods shipments, March preliminary (GS -0.1%, consensus +0.2%, last +1.0%): We estimate durable goods orders rose 2.1% in March, driven by higher non-defense aircraft orders indicated by stronger company-reported data. We believe the details of the report are likely to be mixed. Manufacturing production was soft in March, exhibiting a 0.2% pullback in ex-auto manufacturing and a 0.4% drop in the capex-sensitive business equipment category. Chinese New Year effects may also weigh on core capital goods shipments growth, to the extent that they boosted the February level. At the same time, capital goods company results and commentary have been encouraging, with mounting evidence of accelerating growth in the industrial economy. Accordingly, we estimate softer shipments, but firmer orders in March, with month-to-month growth rates of -0.1% and +0.5%, respectively. We estimate durable goods orders ex-transportation rose 0.4%.
  • 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended April 22 (GS 245k, consensus 243k, last 244k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended April 15 (consensus 2,010k, last 1,979k): We estimate initial jobless claims edged up 1k to 245k. Claims have returned to normal levels following two weeks of temporary elevation in mid-to-late March that likely reflected the impact of Winter Storm Stella. Continuing claims – the number of persons receiving benefits through standard programs – have continued to trend down in recent months, suggestive of additional labor market improvement that we expect to continue.
  • 10:00 AM Pending home sales, March (GS +0.5%, consensus -1.0%, last +5.5%): Regional housing data released so far suggest the improvement in February contract signings continued into March, despite unseasonably cold temperatures and above-average snowfall. We expect a 0.5% increase in the pending homes sales index, adding to the 5.5% increase in the prior month. Stable-to-higher March pending homes sales would be particularly encouraging in the context of higher mortgage rates, which incidentally have declined so far in April after reaching a two-year high in mid-March. We have found pending home sales to be a useful leading indicator of existing home sales with a one- to two-month lag.
  • 11:00 AM Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, April (consensus +16, last +20)

Friday, April 28

  • 08:30 AM GDP (advance), Q1 (GS +1.4%, consensus +1.1%, last +2.1%); Personal consumption, Q4 (GS +1.3%, consensus +0.9%, last +3.5%): We expect a +1.4% increase in the first vintage of Q1 GDP (qoq saar), driven by a double-digit increase in residential investment (+12.6%) and a robust pace of growth in business fixed investment (+6.9%), partially offset by a negative growth contribution from inventory investment (-0.7pp) and net exports (-0.1pp). Accordingly, our growth estimate for the domestic final sales component is somewhat firmer at +2.1%. We look for real personal consumption to rise 1.3%, aided by a late-quarter boost to utilities consumption that reflects the impact of unseasonably cold weather in March.
  • 08:30 AM Employment cost index, Q1 (GS +0.7%, consensus +0.6%, last +0.5%); We estimate that growth in the Employment Cost Index (ECI) accelerated to 0.7% in Q1 (qoq sa) from 0.5% in Q4, with the year-over-year pace rising to 2.3% (from 2.2%). Our forecast mainly reflects firming wage growth in an economy at or near full employment. The ECI rose a softer-than-expected 0.5% in the fourth quarter, and the headline measure appears to have overshot to the downside relative to underlying wage growth in the ECI sample. Wages and salaries excluding incentive-paid occupations actually firmed last quarter, rising 2.5% year over year vs. 2.4% in Q3. This suggests some scope for the gap to close (or overshoot in the other direction) in Q1. Relatedly, we see scope for improving wage growth in sales and related occupations and in the administrative and support services industries, where wages and salaries exhibited rare outright declines last quarter.  Wage growth data has generally been stable-to-higher so far in 2017, most notably the Atlanta Fed wage tracker, which rose to 3.4% year over year in March. Our broader Q1 wage tracker rose 2.9% year over year in Q1, up from 2.8% in Q4 and compared to the Q4 ECI of +2.2% (yoy). Taken together, our base case expectation is that growth in the Employment Cost Index will round up to +0.7%.
  • 09:45 AM Chicago PMI, April (GS 57.0, consensus 56.5, last 57.7): We expect the Chicago PMI to decrease to 57.0 in April after the index edged up to 57.7 in March. Despite expected sequential softness, the index is likely to remain at a level consistent with growth in the manufacturing sector, in line with the reports of other regional manufacturing surveys in April.
  • 10:00 AM University of Michigan consumer sentiment, April final (GS 97.5, consensus 98.0, last 98.0): We expect the University of Michigan consumer sentiment index to pull back 0.5pt to 97.5 in the April final estimate, reflecting some sequential deterioration in April consumer surveys. The preliminary report’s measure of 5- to 10-year ahead inflation expectations was unchanged at 2.4%. With gas prices rebounding in April, the related technical drag on reported inflation expectations should be limited.
  • 01:15 PM Fed Governor Brainard (FOMC voter) speaks: Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard will give a speech on “Fintech and the Future of Finance” at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University in Illinois. Audience Q&A is expected.
  • 02:30 Philadelphia Fed President Harker (FOMC voter) speaks: Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker will give a speech on “How STEM Can Get You Anywhere” at the X-STEM Symposium in Washington D.C. Audience Q&A is expected.

Source: JPM, Goldman, SocGen

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 11:03 AM

Wired Top Stories

The 10-Year Quest to Make Your Phone Do Everything

The 10-Year Quest to Make Your Phone Do Everything
What if you could turn every screen, keyboard, and surface into exactly the gadget you need, for exactly as long as you need it? The post The 10-Year Quest to Make Your Phone Do Everything appeared first on WIRED.

by David Pierce at April 24, 2017 11:00 AM

The Volunteer Dentists On the Front Lines of Ukraine’s War

The Volunteer Dentists On the Front Lines of Ukraine’s War
Ukrop Dental looks like an ordinary dentist's office. Except for the bullet holes in the walls. The post The Volunteer Dentists On the Front Lines of Ukraine's War appeared first on WIRED.

by Laura Mallonee at April 24, 2017 11:00 AM

Rackspace Cloud Computing & Hosting

Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud v14: Platform for New Innovations

Building great software is an ongoing process — and even more so with open source software. As the co-inventor of OpenStack, Rackspace has been working with the open source community since 2010 to create a mature enterprise-ready cloud platform. After 15 community releases, our imprint on the project is evident: we’ve contributed the most lines of code

The post Rackspace OpenStack Private Cloud v14: Platform for New Innovations appeared first on The Official Rackspace Blog.

by Kenneth Hui at April 24, 2017 11:00 AM

Calculated Risk

Black Knight: House Price Index up 0.8% in February, Up 5.7% year-over-year

Note: I follow several house price indexes (Case-Shiller, CoreLogic, Black Knight, Zillow, FHFA, FNC and more). Note: Black Knight uses the current month closings only (not a three month average like Case-Shiller or a weighted average like CoreLogic), excludes short sales and REOs, and is not seasonally adjusted.

From Black Knight: Black Knight Home Price Index Report: U.S. Home Prices Hit New Peak in February, Rising 0.8 Percent for the Month, Up 5.7 Percent Year-Over-Year
• Nationally, home prices rose 0.8% for the month and gained 5.7% on a year-over-year basis

• U.S. home prices hit a new, post-crisis high in February, with the national HPI hitting $268K, surpassing the previous peak set in June 2006

• February marked 58 consecutive months of annual national home price appreciation

• Home prices in six of the nation’s 20 largest states and 14 of the 40 largest metros hit new peaks in February
The year-over-year increase in this index has been about the same for the last year.

Note that house prices are just above the bubble peak in nominal terms, but not in real terms (adjusted for inflation).  Case-Shiller for February will be released tomorrow.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at April 24, 2017 11:00 AM

Wired Top Stories

The Race To Build An AI Chip For Everything Just Got Real

The Race To Build An AI Chip For Everything Just Got Real
A quarter-century ago, Facebook's director of artificial intelligence made an AI chip. He was 25 years ahead of his time. The post The Race To Build An AI Chip For Everything Just Got Real appeared first on WIRED.

by Cade Metz at April 24, 2017 11:00 AM

CreativeApplications.Net

Sonic Pendulum – AI soundspace of tranquility

Created by Yuri Suzuki Design Studio and presented at the recent Milan Design Week, Sonic Pendulum is a sound installation in which articial intelligence imagines and materialises an endless soundscape.

by Filip Visnjic at April 24, 2017 10:57 AM

naked capitalism

It's Nice That

Typeface released to honour LGBT activist, artist and rainbow flag creator Gilbert Baker

Type-with-pride-gilbert-ogilvy-list-typewithpride-01

NYC Pride and NewFest have worked with Ogilvy & Mather’s design team and foundry Fontself to create a typeface inspired by the artist and LGBT activist Gilbert Baker, who recently passed away aged 66. Gilbert was known as creator of the rainbow flag in 1978, as well as many protest banners over his life, so the typeface both emulates his work and allows it to be continued through its application to posters.

Read more

by Jenny Brewer at April 24, 2017 10:53 AM

Boy Genius Report

First Galaxy S9 details emerge in new report

Galaxy S9 Rumors Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Chip

The Galaxy S8 is probably the best Android smartphone you can buy right now. It’s got a fantastic all-screen design and offers a variety of exciting features. Also impressive is the fact that the phone isn’t as expensive as we’d have expected it to be. Unsurprisingly, however, Samsung is already developing its next Galaxy S model. A new report from Korea makes the first mention of the Galaxy S9’s Qualcomm processor.

Continue reading...

Trending right now:

  1. Every Xbox One and Xbox 360 game you can download for free in May
  2. The iPhone 8 should be the biggest phone launch ever, thanks to Apple’s user base
  3. Bill Gates didn’t let his kids use cell phones until they turned 14

by Chris Smith at April 24, 2017 10:50 AM

O'Reilly Radar

Zero Hedge

Euphoria Returns: European Stocks Soar, Dax Hits Record; S&P Futs Surge In "French Relief Rally"

Risk is definitely on this morning as European shares soar, led by French stocks and a new record high in Germany's Dax, after a "French relief rally" in which the first round of the country’s presidential elections prompted investors to bet that establishment candidate Emmanuel Macron will win a runoff vote next month, and who is seen as a 61% to 39% favorite to defeat Le Pen according to the latest just released Opinionway poll.

For those who may have missed yesterday's events, here is a quick recap from DB:

The fact that Macron and Le Pen have made it through to the second round was in line with the most likely scenario for the last several weeks and is a big market positive given their head-to-head polling numbers but make no mistake viewed over a longer-term horizon its another political shockwave as the two mainstream party's candidates have been eliminated in the first round for the first time under the 5th Republic.

 

A reminder that the polls have suggested that in a run-off Macron has consistently been 20-30% ahead of Marine Le Pen. It would take a numerical shock perhaps 5-10 times larger than Brexit or Trump for Le Pen to win. It does seem that the prefirst round polls have been relatively accurate so Macron should rightly be red hot favourite now. The fact that many of the losing candidates (not Melenchon) have been throwing their support behind Macron helps reinforce this.

 

So this was a big anti-establishment vote but a tame one for now due to the fact that a market friendly candidate made it through and is very much expected to win. The first round polls were close enough that you couldn't have ruled out a very market unfriendly Le Pen/Melenchon run-off but now that risk has been eliminated the second round is perhaps more straight forward. The latest numbers with 97% counted are Macron 23.9%, Le Pen 21.4%, with Fillon and Melenchon with just over 19% each.

Asian stocks also surged, expect for China, which suffered its biggest drop of the year, down 1.4%, ending the streak of losses no greater than 1% going back to December. The dollar has tumbled against the euro, while crude oil rises. In the US, S&P futures surged 1.2% to 2,374.5, again approaching an all time high, on the heels of the favorable France vote and as Trump vowed to announce tax reforms this week.

Back to Europe where French stocks led gains in European equities as traders speculated that candidate Emmanuel Macron will win the country’s presidential election after he made it through to the second round. Led by gains in French banks, the CAC 40 Index surged 4.4% at 11 a.m. in Paris, poised for its best advance since June 2012, while the Euro Stoxx 50 Index jumped 3.2 percent and the broader Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2 percent, both heading for their highest levels since August 2015. Banks were the biggest winners among Stoxx 600 groups. The Euro Stoxx Banks Index surged 6.7 percent, heading for its highest level since December 2015.

As shown in the chart below, the CAC 40 is poised to close at its highest level in more than nine years. It could outperform Germany’s DAX Index by 3 percent to 4 percent within a few days, Natixis strategist Sylvian Goyon told Bloomberg. The French benchmark had advanced less than the DAX in the year through Friday’s close, before outperforming on Monday.

Commenting on the move, Andrea Tueni, a trader at Saxo Bank, said that “the result will bring some relief to the market. This confirms the ‘central scenario’ that was mostly priced in already, so I don’t expect euphoria on the markets. Banking stocks could outperform after their recent weakness.” And yet euphoria is precisely what has been unleashed looking at not only the CAC but also Germany's Dax, which is trading at record highs this morning.

Germany’s DAX Index rallied in sympathy to a new all time high.

More on the "unexpcted" euphoria: every industry group in the Europe 600 Index rose, volatility fell the most since 2005, and the cost of insuring against losses on French banks’ junior debt fell by the most in almost seven years. The VStoxx Index of euro-area volatility slumped 30% , poised for a record decline. France’s VCAC Index tumbled 36%. Gold was on course for its biggest drop in seven weeks and the yen was the worst performer among major currencies. Hinting that early euphoria may have been overdone, the euro scaled back gains after it’s best open on record.

“Macron will not only help stabilize the European Union, but also help build stronger support mechanisms,” Azad Zangana, senior economist for Europe at Schroders Plc in London, wrote in a note to clients. “The contest is not over yet, but investors are likely to take comfort and to begin to think about the more attractive valuations that European equities offer."

The spread between German and French 10Y yields, aka "le spread" plunged by over17 bps, and has dropped to under 50 bps as fears of a French shock evaporate. The spread was just under 80bps in February when fears of a Le Pen win peaked, and has since narrowed to the lowest level since late 2016.

While Europe and the rest of the world soared, China tumbled, and a selloff in Chinese stocks deepened after the Shanghai Composite plunged 1.4%, the most in four months, amid the previously noted concern authorities will step up measures to crack down on leveraged trading. The Composite suffered its biggest one-day loss since Dec. 12, as industrial companies and material producers led losses. The ChiNext small-cap gauge slipped 1.6 percent to 1,809.91, its lowest closing level since September 2015.

China’s authorities are taking advantage of a strengthening economy to reduce financial-system risk by tightening the screws on leverage. The banking regulator said late Friday it will strengthen a crackdown on irregularities in the financial sector, echoing comments by the securities watchdog just days earlier, while the top insurance official is being investigated on suspicion of “severe” disciplinary violations. The Shanghai Composite has slumped almost 5 percent since closing at a 15-month high on April 11, the biggest loss among global gauges.

"Market sentiment has been damped by recent tightening supervision on all fronts such as the banking commission, insurance commission, securities regulator," said Ben Kwong, executive director of KGI Asia Ltd. in Hong Kong. "They expressed concern about bubbles and credit defaults. The deleveraging process is still in progress."

 

The declines dented optimism in Hong Kong, where the Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 percent, paring an earlier gain of as much as 0.7 percent that had come amid global risk appetite on bets that pro-growth centrist Emmanuel Macron will be France’s next president. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index climbed 0.6 percent at the close, trimming an advance of 1.1%.

However, China's potential tightening was not enough to dent today's global euphoria which spilled out from equities and across all risk assets, including most currencies even as the dollar dropped as safe haven trades were unwound, dragging Treasurys lower.

With France in the rearview mirror, there will be some focus on potential other big events this week. As we ended last week the market mood was improved with reports of both a renewed push for Trump tax reform and also talk of another healthcare vote occurring sooner rather than later. Trump used his media on choice - twitter - to proclaim on Saturday that "Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday". The capitals are his emphasis and he is not turning the dial down much from his "phenomenal" tax plan comment on February 9th. However that one he promised within 2-3 weeks. The consistent certainty and hyperbole make it a nightmare for markets as how do you analyse how realistic delivery is? It would be hard for credibility if this week brings nothing of note but this is a way of doing things that is unique to Mr Trump's presidency and with it the uncertainty level is high. Over the weekend Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget suggested that Wednesday will bring the administration's "principles" and "some of the ideas that we like, some of the ideas we don't like" and intimated that the full plan won't be released until June. So we'll have to wait and see.

Meanwhile, the euro climbed 1.3 percent to $1.0863 as of 10:18 a.m. in London. It soared as much as 2 percent earlier. Other European currencies rallied, with the Swedish krona and the Norwegian krone each increasing at least 1.8 percent. The yen fell 0.9 percent to 110.06 per dollar, after capping the first weekly loss in three on Friday. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped 0.7 percent, trading at the lowest level since the U.S. election in November.

In rates, French 10-year notes dropped 11 basis points to 0.84 percent. Portuguese and Spanish bonds also rallied. Meanwhile, Europe's "safe" German benchmark yields climbed 10 basis points and those in the U.K. added eight basis points. In the US, Treasury 10-year yields rose six basis points to 2.31%, rising back over the key support leve of 2.30%. 

In commodities, WTI climbed back over $50, rising 1% to 50.10 as gold slipped 1% to $1,271.92, its biggest drop since Mar. 2.

Economic data Monday includes Chicago Fed Nat Activity. Alcoa, Halliburton are among companies scheduled to publish results.

Global Markets Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures up 1.2%2 to 2,374.50
  • STOXX Europe 600 up 2% to 385.57, highest since Decembr 2015
  • France’s CAC 40 up 4.3% 
  • Germany’s DAX up 2.8%
  • U.K.’s FTSE 100 up 1.9%
  • MXAP up 0.4% to 147.57
  • MXAPJ up 0.6% to 481.24
  • Nikkei up 1.4% to 18,875.88
  • Topix up 1% to 1,503.19
  • Hang Seng Index up 0.4% to 24,139.48
  • Shanghai Composite down 1.4% to 3,129.53
  • Sensex up 1% to 29,646.34
  • Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 5,871.78
  • Kospi up 0.4% to 2,173.74
  • Brent Futures up 0.8% to $52.37/bbl
  • Gold spot down 1% to $1,271.73
  • U.S. Dollar Index down 1% to 99.03
  • German 10Y yield rose 9.4 bps to 0.347%
  • Euro up 1.3% to 1.0863 per US$
  • Italian 10Y yield fell 0.6 bps to 1.968%
  • Spanish 10Y yield fell 8.2 bps to 1.613%

Top overnight news from Bloomberg

  • French Establishment in Disarray as Le Pen, Macron in Runoff
  • Euro Rises to Five-Month High as Macron, Le Pen Win French Vote
  • Freeport to Start Concentrate Exports From No. 2 Copper Mine
  • Actelion Says J&J Deal on Track to Close Toward End of 2Q 2017
  • Trump Plans Top-Level Briefing With Senators on North Korea
  • Jimmy Choo Puts Itself Up for Sale as JAB Shifts From Luxury
  • LafargeHolcim CEO Olsen Resigns Amid Probe on Syria Dealings
  • India Top Court Issues Notice to Google on Antitrust Body Plea
  • Top Iron Ore Forecaster Says Prices Will Sink Back Below $50
  • Creditors Lose Bankruptcy Lawsuit Over Lyondelbasell Merger
  • L&T Tech, Microsoft Win Multi-Million Dollar Project in Israel
  • Blackstone, RWE Won’t Start New German Plants Before 2021: BDEW

Asian equities traded mostly higher amid heightened risk sentiment across asset classes following the French Presidential election 1st round. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was led by financials although underperformance in gold miners limited gains, while Nikkei 225 (+1.4%) outperformed on JPY weakness. Shanghai Comp (-1.4%) and Hang Seng (+0.4%) underperformed with heavy losses in the mainland after the PBoC reduced its liquidity injection and amid regulatory concerns after the CIRC warned of key risks and called for prudent investment plans. T-notes dropped 20 ticks and 10yr JGBs were also weighed as safe-havens suffered from the French election, while slight pressure was also seen following the BoJ Rinban announcement where it reduced its buying in 3yr-5yr maturities. PBoC injected CNY 10bIn in 7-day reverse repos, CNY 10bIn in 14-day reverse repos and CNY 10bIn in 28-day reverse repos. PBoC set CNY mid-point at 6.8673 (Prey. 6.8823). China's CIRC warned on risks facing the insurance industry and stated that companies must guard against liquidity risks with regular cash flow tests and called for a prudent investment scheme to be established to strengthen asset and liability management. Furthermore, there were separate reports that China is expected to implement further deleveraging measures.

Top Asian News

  • Shandong to Continue Work on Barrick Mine Bid, Australian Says
  • Consortium Will Allow Further Dividend Payments to Tatts Holders
  • Jack Ma Sees Decades of Pain as Internet Upends Older Economy
  • Massacre of Soldiers by Taliban Spurs Afghan Minister to Resign
  • China Bonds Extend Drop as 10-Year Yield Rises to 20-Month High
  • PLDT in Talks for Manila Electric Stake, May Close Deal in 1H
  • Nikon Sues ASML and Carl Zeiss Over Semiconductor Patents

European equities started off the week by surging notable outperformance in the CAC 40 (+4.0%) amid the fallout of last night's French Presidential election 1st round. Given that Macron has made it into the second round on Sunday May 7th and is widely touted to defeat Le Pen, this has spurred risk on sentiment with the financial sector the main beneficiary as French banks opened higher by 8-10%. This positive sentiment has spilled into other European financials with Commerzbank (+9.1%) and Deutsche Bank (+6.0%) supported as markets keep half an eye on the ramifications of upcoming domestic elections later this year. Fixed income markets have followed a similar vain to equities with French paper a key focus for markets with the GE-FR spread narrowing to circa 45bps as investors re-enter French bonds amid an unwind of political concerns. Conversely, USTs, Bunds and Gilts trade lower in more of a risk-play while peripheral markets have tightened against their core counterparts. Interestingly, Jun'17 BTPs have printed fresh contract highs despite Friday's downgrade by Fitch.

Top European News

  • German Business Confidence Climbs to Highest Since July 2011
  • Draghi Seen Choosing Faster Exit Once French Hurdle Cleared
  • Top Kazakh Bank on the Block for Under $1 May Need $738 Million
  • Europe Banks in Biggest Relief Rally as Electoral Clouds Clear
  • Romania Is Considering Policy Tightening, Central Banker Says

In currencies, it's been a quiet morning with the EUR gap contracting slightly, but all pairs still significantly higher from late Friday. Emmanuel Macron is now expected to win the second round vote, as his marginal lead over Le Pen will be enhanced to some degree by the backing from Fillon and Hamon first and foremost. EUR/USD looks comfortable in the mid 1.0800's for now, as does EUR/GBP in the mid 0.8400's, but EUR/JPY is now 1 big figure off its best levels. German IFO was supportive based on the business climate and current conditions. Risk sentiment will remain heavy on the weekend developments surrounding North Korea, who continue to sound off warnings to all and sundry in response to the US presence in the region. USD/JPY gapped to just under 110.00 before an eventual and brief look above 110.50, but the pair is looking heavy at these levels despite the pick up in US Treasury yields — 10yr is 2.30%+ this morning.  The commodity currencies are all moving higher in tandem as the risk element supports all in equal measure. Marginal outperformance in the CAD as WTI moves above USD50.00 again, with the USD rate having tested through 1.3500 at the end of last week in the wake of the softer Canadian inflation read. Strong resistance seen through here, and we are now looking on a move on 1.3400. AUD/USD is hitting highs around 0.7580 this morning, but we note strong selling interest from 0.7600 higher up. NZD/USD trade extremely tight but gains now testing resistance just above 0.7050, more seen ahead of 0.7100.

In commodities, outside of the risk events affecting all markets at the present time, it is the usual mix of supply issues which have been impacting on metals and Oil. Gold is naturally lower in the wake of the Macron win, with favourable conditions for the second round vote conspiring to send the yellow metal back under USD1270, but we have since recovered back above there as the USD index softens a little. Silver suffered the bulk of losses last week, but remains firmly camped below USD18.00. Oil prices have slipped on inventory levels again, with the DoE report instrumental in pushing WTI below USD50.00. USD45-55.00 is now the range the market looks comfortable with ahead of any proposed extension to the production cuts. Base metals higher with the equity market lift, but Copper lagging as Grasberg output set to resume. Iranian oil minister Zanganeh said that OPEC & non-OPEC producers have sent positive signals regarding an extension of production cuts. Zanganeh added that Iran would second any decision made unanimously by OPEC. members and commented that one shouldn't be hopeful about oil prices beyond USD 60/bbl for the time being.

Looking at today's calendar, it’s a fairly quiet start to the week today with the only data in Europe this morning being the April IFO survey in Germany and CBI total orders data in the UK. In the US we have the April Dallas Fed manufacturing activity survey.

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.5, prior 0.3
  • 10:30am: Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 17, prior 16.9
  • 11:30am: Fed’s Kashkari Speaks at UCLA in Los Angeles
  • 3:15pm: Fed’s Kashkari Participates in Q&A at Claremont McKenna

DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Straight to France this morning. The fact that Macron and Le Pen have made it through to the second round was in line with the most likely scenario for the last several weeks and is a big market positive given their head-to-head polling numbers but make no mistake viewed over a longer-term horizon its another political shockwave as the two mainstream party's candidates have been eliminated in the first round for the first time under the 5th Republic. A reminder that the polls have suggested that in a run-off Macron has consistently been 20-30% ahead of Marine Le Pen. It would take a numerical shock perhaps 5-10 times larger than Brexit or Trump for Le Pen to win. It does seem that the prefirst round polls have been relatively accurate so Macron should rightly be red hot favourite now. The fact that many of the losing candidates (not Melenchon) have been throwing their support behind Macron helps reinforce this. So this was a big anti-establishment vote but a tame one for now due to the fact that a market friendly candidate made it through and is very much expected to win. The first round polls were close enough that you couldn't have ruled out a very market unfriendly Le Pen/Melenchon run-off but now that risk has been eliminated the second round is perhaps more straight forward. The latest numbers with 97% counted are Macron 23.9%, Le Pen 21.4%, with Fillon and Melenchon with just over 19% each. The Euro was the biggest early beneficiary, rising around 2% as soon as the exit polls were released and trading at around 5 month highs but as we go to print is now +1.1% at 1.0847 vs. the USD.

Equity markets are firm outside of China without being euphoric. The Nikkei is 1.3% higher with US futures +0.8% higher. China is beating to its own drum and off over a percent following on from losses last week on market regulation worries. Treasury yields are 6bps higher. In credit Main, Senior Financials and Crossover are 5.75, 10.25 and 19bps tighter in overnight trading.

To be fair markets hadn't aggressively priced in the alternative high risk scenario so there will likely be a limit to the inevitable risk-on from this first round result. Perhaps VSTOXX (vol on EU equities) has been as big a mover as any pre-election and may therefore be the main beneficiary. Expect Bunds to sell-off notably today (5-10bps??), OATs to out-perform, and Euro risk to perform well. The risk-on will be limited by the fact that as we discussed there hadn't been a huge amount of risk-off ahead of the event and also because a lot of the recent global softness was more due to recent US political and data disappointments.

On that, with the first round of the French election out the way, there will be some focus on potential other big events this week. As we ended last week the market mood was improved with reports of both a renewed push for Trump tax reform and also talk of another healthcare vote occurring sooner rather than later. Mr Trump used his media on choice - namely twitter - to proclaim on Saturday that "Big TAX REFORM AND TAX REDUCTION will be announced next Wednesday". The capitals are his emphasis and he is not turning the dial down much from his "phenomenal" tax plan comment on February 9th. However that one he promised within 2-3 weeks. The consistent certainty and hyperbole make it a nightmare for markets as how do you analyse how realistic delivery is? It would be hard for credibility if this week brings nothing of note but this is a way of doing things that is unique to Mr Trump's presidency and with it the uncertainty level is high. Over the weekend Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget suggested that Wednesday will bring the administration's "principles" and "some of the ideas that we like, some of the ideas we don't like" and intimated that the full plan won't be released until June. So we'll have to wait and see.

We should also note that Friday marks the deadline to avoid a government shutdown and agree a new spending plan, and Saturday marks Trump's first 100 days in office. Ryan was bullish on avoiding the shutdown over the weekend and things will heat up on all things US governmental from tomorrow after House members return from a two week recess. So a very busy week ahead in Washington.

The ECB will also get a lot of focus given their meeting on Thursday. As DB's Mark Wall has recently discussed, senior ECB Council members have for now shut down the debate on an early deposit rate hike with the normalization of inflation as yet unconvincing. However assuming France avoids a political shock, Mark expects the market to refocus on euro area reflation risks this summer but this meeting is too early for there to be too much change in language or emphasis outside of acknowledgment of an improving outlook, especially during the French campaign where Le Pen remains a runner. If Macron wins in 2 weeks, Mark thinks that with their inflation models and leading indicators consistent with underlying inflation rising in H2 we'll see more hawkish ECB behaviour from June onwards. They are keeping their baseline expectation for ECB exit largely intact. Based on their forecasts for growth and inflation, they expect forward guidance to be adjusted in June, tapering to be pre-announced in September and a oneoff deposit rate hike in December; the probably of the latter has declined but it remains our baseline. They expect tapering in H1 2018 and the first refi hike around the end of 2018.

Rounding off last week, global markets were largely muted and remained cautious on Friday ahead of the French elections. Both the S&P 500 reversed some of its gains from Thursday (-0.3%) while the STOXX  (+0.02%) was broadly flat on the day, with the indices ending the week up +0.8% and down -0.65% respectively. The CAC (-0.37%) ended the day slightly lower, having dipped on the open by about 1% but recovering thereafter later in the day. French OAT 10Y yields at were also little changed at 0.94% (+1bp) in line with the bund move 10yr USTs were 1.5bps higher. Gold rose a touch to end the week nearly flat but Oil fell over 2% on Friday and fell from around $53 to $49.62 over the course of the week closing below $50 for the first in April. FX markets were also fairly quiet on Friday: the Euro (-0.4%) and Sterling (-0.1%) were lower on the day while the dollar ticked up by +0.1%. Over in commodity markets.

Taking a look at data out of Europe on Friday, we saw flash PMI numbers for April for France, Germany and the Eurozone. The Eurozone numbers as a whole were positive with manufacturing and services rising to 56.8 (vs. 56.0 expected) and 56.2 (vs. 55.9 expected) respectively. Numbers out of France beat expectations across both manufacturing (55.1 vs. 53.1 expected) and services (57.7 vs. 57 expected). Nevertheless markets seemed reluctant to respond immediately as the weekend election risks took centre stage. Over in Germany the data was a little more mixed with manufacturing PMIs roughly in line with expectations (58.2 vs. 58.0 expected) while services fell (54.7 vs. 55.5 expected). Away from PMIs, we also saw UK retail sales data for March which recorded its largest monthly decline since 2010, falling -1.8% mom (vs. -0.5% expected; +1.7% previous). Over in the US we also saw Markit Flash PMI numbers for April, with both manufacturing (52.8 vs. 53.8 expected; 53.3 previous) and service PMIs (52.5 vs. 53.2 expected; 52.8 previous) falling on the month. Existing home sales data for March was however positive (5.71m vs. 5.60m expected).

Looking at this week’s calendar, it’s a fairly quiet start to the week today with the only data in Europe this morning being the April IFO survey in Germany and CBI total orders data in the UK. In the US we’ll get the April Dallas Fed manufacturing activity survey. Kicking Tuesday off will be France where we get the April confidence indicators. Shortly after that its worth keeping an eye on the ECB’s bank lending survey before we then get public sector net borrowing data in the UK. Over in the US tomorrow we get the S&P/Case-Shiller house price index, FHFA house price index, new home sales in March, conference board consumer confidence for April and the Richmond Fed manufacturing survey for April. Turning to Wednesday, it look set to be a pretty quiet day with Japan machine tool orders, French consumer confidence and US retail sales revisions the only prints of note. In China on Thursday we get March industrial profits data. The main focus in the Asia session though will be the BoJ policy meeting outcome. During the European session we’ll get Germany CPI in April, Euro area consumer confidence and of course the ECB rate decision around midday with Draghi due to speak after. It looks set to be a busy session in the US  on Thursday too with March durable and capital goods orders data, wholesale inventories,  advance goods trade balance, pending home sales, initial jobless claims and Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing survey. We close the week out in Japan on Friday with a bumper day of data including CPI, retail sales, jobless rate and industrial production. In Europe we’ll get CPI, PPI and Q1 GDP in France, along with Q1 GDP for the UK and CPI and money and credit aggregates data for the Euro area. We finish with a bumper afternoon of data in the US on Friday including Q1 GDP, core PCE, Chicago PMI and University of Michigan consumer sentiment.

Away from the data, the Fedspeak this week consists of just Kashkari today and Harker on Friday. Away from that, Russia is due to hold talks with the US and UN today to discuss the Syrian peace process. UK PM Theresa May hosts EC President Juncker and EU’s Brexit negotiator Michal Barnier on Wednesday. President Trump also hosts Argentina President Mauricio Macri on Thursday. Earnings will be the other big focus this week with 194 S&P 500 companies due.

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 10:46 AM

It's Nice That

Artist Esther Watson reimagines the flying saucers her dad created as a child

Esther_watson_itsnicethat_list

Los Angeles-based artist Esther Watson’s work is inspired by her dad and the giant flying saucers he used to make when she was a child. The artist incorporates those memories into painted and mixed media pieces that are full of charm and nostalgia. “My dad built five large car-sized flying saucers in our front yard when I was growing up in Texas. He thought of them as the future of transportation,” explains Esther. “I thought of them as art when I came across Douglas Curran’s book, In Advance of the Landing. Curran’s photographs documented all shapes and sizes of metal ships and their builders like my dad.”

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by Rebecca Fulleylove at April 24, 2017 10:40 AM

naked capitalism

Democrat Disunity: Hypocritical Media Attacks on Sanders

The Democrats so can't stand Sanders' refusal to change his policies that they are undermining their own "Unity Tour" with press attacks.

by Yves Smith at April 24, 2017 10:32 AM

The Big Picture

Bloomberg Weed Index

The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Cannabis Competitive Peers Index—an equally weighted index of 54 stocks with significant exposure to cannabis-related operations—tripled since the start of 2015 Here is Bloomberg: “Cannabis continues to light up Main Street in both the U.S. and Canada. Twenty-eight U.S. states and the District of Columbia now have approved medical marijuana programs; eight—Alaska,…

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The post Bloomberg Weed Index appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at April 24, 2017 10:30 AM

A VC

Starting Is Easy, Finishing Is Hard

Starting a company has gotten much easier over the past decade.

The capital requirements to get started have come way down in both software and hardware businesses.

The supply of seed and venture capital has increased dramatically as well.

And there are all sorts of programs aimed at helping entrepreneurs get started.

All of this has caused a rapid expansion of entrepreneurship, startups, and innovation.

This is all great.

The one thing that has not gotten appreciably easier in the last decade is finishing.

Finishing can be anything that ends a startup project.

It can be an M&A exit, becoming a sustainable business, becoming a public company, or it could also be failing and shutting down.

None of those have gotten easier in the last decade.

There was a period where the “acquihire” was a thing and many companies that could not figure out how to become a business got bought for their talent.

But it feels like that wave has come and gone.

And so entrepreneurs and the investors who support them are back to grinding it out, trying to get to the finish line.

And, for many, that finish line feels like it is moving farther and farther away every step you take.

Startups are not for the faint of heart, both on the founder and investor side.

It takes great tenacity to see things through. And I think that may be truer today than ever.

by Fred Wilson at April 24, 2017 10:22 AM

Zero Hedge

Violent Antifa Assault On Jack Posobiec Captured On Camera - Along With Probation Violating Ping Pong Plotter Luke Kuhn!

Sunday afternoon at a protest in Washington DC, a violent member of Antifa assaulted Rebel Media's Washington Bureau Chief Jack Posobiec, as he attempted to give the alt-left a platform to speak their mind. The assailant was quickly arrested by George Washington University police, and Posobiec is filing charges.

Posobiec described what happened here:

Upon closer inspection of the video, however was clear footage of Antifa organizer Paul 'Luke' Kuhn - who was busted by Project Veritas plotting Butyric acid (stink bomb) attacks at a DC Trump inauguration party. The undercover sting, filmed at the iconic and reputable Comet Ping Pong pizzeria, resulted in the arrest of Kuhn along with two others. As part of his 'deferred sentencing' / probation, Kuhn agreed not to attend future Antifa events - and it looks like he just violated that arrangement...

Want to know a little more about Luke?

As soon as the Veritas video hit, nimble navigators on Reddit and 4chan found solid evidence suggesting DisruptJ20 organizer Luke Kuhn is a strange man. As Disobedient Media also reported, Kuhn made several pedophilic posts to usenet internet groups. One is a defense of sex with young boys "Yes, I did post a few articles to Boychat," and in the other post, Kuhn envisions a child raping Ronald McDonald as a more effective deterrent than E-coli in dissuading children from eating McDonald's.

And it seems that in 1998, the "Utopian Anarchist Party" which Kuhn was a big part of began to distance themselves after Kuhn's posts in "chickie-hawk/kid-porn scene" forums. Apparently even liberal anarchists have boundaries.

"DC Indymedia editor Luke Kuhn and Bill White were partners in the UAP from 1996 to 2000. Both were identified as "occasional neo-Nazis" in 1998 for their tactics which included encouraging people to bomb public schools, supporting school shootings, publishing the phone numbers and addresses of private citizens to harass them (which is still a favored Luke Kuhn tactic), and their persistent appeals to young children to run away with them, while Luke Kuhn was advocating that it should be legal for adults to have sex with children."

And from Redditor talmichael:

His full name is Paul Luke Kuhn:

Here are 1998 Archive.org links to Kuhn's "Runaway Railroad," his outreach to children who wish to run away from home. Not sure if he is still doing this. He includes all kinds of terrifying tips for minors so that no one finds them, including: Disguise: Cut it short or shave it -- better to grow long, but hard to do Dye your hair -- natural colors; not obviously dyed Grow a beard or shave -- confounds verbal descriptions Change clothing style/appearance -- easiest big change. This quote from a 1995 Washington Post article indicates Kuhn's first name is actually Paul, and that he lived in Rockville at that time. Kuhn was known for going shirtless so I assume it's the same person: Across the city, the curfew sparked a variety of reactions from the citizenry. When the clock atop the Riggs Bank in Georgetown struck midnight, Paul "Luke" Kuhn was parading down M Street, wearing brown shorts with no shirt and carrying a yellow placard that read "{Expletive} the curfew." Kuhn, 29, of Rockville, called the curfew "the number one assault on our civil rights. This curfew is Pearl Harbor." He said he and other opponents planned further demonstrations against the curfew. "The cops don't like it. It's ridiculous," he said. "They're being asked to hunt curfew violators when they could be hunting murderers." In any event, few underage teenagers were in evidence on the streets of Georgetown after midnight. "We don't have a lot of problems with teens in this area," said Lt. Emmojean Simpson-Jones, shift supervisor in Georgetown. http://archive.is/4S8sy

In closing, Antifa terrorist Paul 'Luke' Kuhn is a very strage man, and he was just caught on film at an Antifa event apparently violating probation.

Content originally generated at iBankCoin.com * Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow

by ZeroPointNow at April 24, 2017 10:19 AM

One Trader Is Surprised At Market Euphoria From A "Result That Was Everybody's Base Case"

The risk of a Eurozone breakdown now appears to be taken off the table after a French election that has led to a dramatic repricing in European risk assets. And yet the outcome - which was largely expected - has prompted Bloomberg's Richard Bresow to muse just how much was truly priced in:

"I guess it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. It truly unnerved the commentariat that the unpredictable seemed to be unpredictable. The second vote is apparently now knowable with certainty. Europe is saved. Populism is about to be vanquished. A strong euro is a good thing for the economy. And ECB President Draghi can begin normalizing rates. Presto chango. Not bad for a result that was everybody’s base case."

And yet, as Breslow adds, the wholesale reaction leaves something to be desired:

Gold is interesting. I’d have expected it to leak more than it did. It may require Treasury yields to push higher. As we speak, they left a nasty gap and sit right where the bulls were hoping they wouldn’t have to see anytime soon. This may be the most interesting asset of all.

 

Equities are happy. Think of all that hard-earned wealth creation. And they get to ignore the Shanghai meltdown and potential U.S. government shutdown. Make tax cuts, not war. Another one-half percent higher in the E-mini and dreams of new all-time highs will be dancing in traders’ heads.

For now, however, it is "springtime in Paris", and all other concerns can be put on the backburner, if only for the next few days.

The full note from Richard Breslow, a former FX trader and fund manager who writes for Bloomberg

* * *

It’s Morning Time for Springtime in Paris

 

And they get to ignore the Shanghai meltdown and potential U.S. government shutdown. Make tax cuts, not war. Another one-half percent higher in the E-mini and dreams of new all-time highs will be dancing in traders’ heads.

 

It’s Morning Time for Springtime in Paris

 

The pollsters won the first round of the French presidential election. In other news, Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen have advanced to the next phase. There were times last night when there seemed to be as much relief from the forecasts being accurate as the diminished likelihood that one of the extremists will win the ultimate prize. Despite the far-right representative coming second and ahead of either of the main party candidates. 

 

I guess it shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. It truly unnerved the commentariat that the unpredictable seemed to be unpredictable. The second vote is apparently now knowable with certainty. Europe is saved. Populism is about to be vanquished. A strong euro is a good thing for the economy. And ECB President Draghi can begin normalizing rates. Presto chango. Not bad for a result that was everybody’s base case.

 

Some of the other big winners include SNB President Thomas Jordan as EUR/CHF made a new high on the year. This is a good one to keep an eye on as 1.0850, where it peaked, is where heavy technical resistance begins. If the “everything is right with the world” meme is to hold, the cross needs to show it. Game theory would suggest it wouldn’t be a bad time for him to give it a little nudge.

 

The BOJ has to be feeling a bit better. And will feel a whole lot more sanguine if EUR/JPY can stick above the really pivotal 120 level. It was just last Monday that 115 was under threat. The U.S. can’t really fault the Japanese for this yen weakness, as they will be referred to the French ministry.

 

Gold is interesting. I’d have expected it to leak more than it did. It may require Treasury yields to push higher. As we speak, they left a nasty gap and sit right where the bulls were hoping they wouldn’t have to see anytime soon. This may be the most interesting asset of all.

 

Equities are happy. Think of all that hard-earned wealth creation. And they get to ignore the Shanghai meltdown and potential U.S. government shutdown. Make tax cuts, not war. Another one-half percent higher in the E-mini and dreams of new all-time highs will be dancing in traders’ heads.

 

Springtime in Paris can indeed be very enchanting.

by Tyler Durden at April 24, 2017 10:00 AM

It's Nice That

“Non-league football is our punk rock” – Alex Brown’s work for Eastbourne Town FC

Alex_brown_etfc_its_nice_that_14

“My involvement with the club started 2 or 3 years ago when a small group of friends wanted to support a local team they could afford to watch every week,” says graphic designer Alex Brown. “Eastbourne is my hometown and I was asked by the group to produce a few designs for stickers and badges for their supporters club (The Beachy Head Ultras or Pier Pressure).” From there, Alex has gone on to design posters, the match day programme and promotional materials for the club that please in the ninth tier of the English football league, using the town’s crest and club colours to provide some of the most stylish merchandise of any football club in the country.

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by Owen Pritchard at April 24, 2017 09:57 AM

Blogical Conclusion

5 Filmmaking Tropes of Bala

We’re beginning a new column in Film Companion, on important Tamil filmmakers. The author is Ram Chander, who comments on this blog. The first installment is about Bala. Read the full piece on Film Companion, here: https://www.filmcompanion.in/article/5-filmmaking-tropes-of-bala During a rare television interview, while Bala shifted in his seat, the interviewer noticed some strange beads around his […]

by brangan at April 24, 2017 09:45 AM

RubyFlow

fluxbox_apps_menu 1.4.0 is out!

fluxbox_apps_menu the CLI Ruby app which builds the application menu for the popular Fluxbox window manager, has been improved with this version. More info about this project in the wiki.

April 24, 2017 09:38 AM

It's Nice That

Soon-to-be Wieden+Kennedy resident maker, artist Gutless Wonder

Gutlesswonder_skull_v03list

Gutless Wonder is waiting in line to occupy up the window-front spot at Wieden+Kennedy’s Brick Lane branch. Over the last few months, the ad agency has been hosting a Makers’ Residency. Curated by the inimitable Maisie Willoughby, Wieden+Kennedy has invited a stellar list creatives to take up short-term residencies on the ground floor of their London office, culminating in a string of exhibitions in the space. So far, Makers include Daniel David Freeman, who exhibited customised kimonos and military wear, and Kyle Platts, who expanded on the Xerox posters he started in Australia earlier this year. Next, there’s tattoo artist Martha Smith, hatter Curro Coronel, and mixed media artist Gutless Wonder. “Gutless wonder felt like a contemporary addition to the curation given her use of modern technique,” Maisie told us. “She is the optima of modern craft, exactly what Wieden+Kennedy hope to celebrate through Makers’ Residency.”

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by Bryony Stone at April 24, 2017 09:38 AM

Clara von Zweigbergk talks us through her art direction for Danish brand Hay

Hay_catalogs_all

Swedish graphic designer and art director Clara von Zweigbergk has an elegant creative approach to art direction. Each of her works, whether it be graphic design or sets, is clean and contemporary using simplicity to let the product at hand shine. Clara’s work you may recognise from campaigns of the Danish label Hay, which balances functional and alluring design in it’s home and work products.
h3. What was your introduction to art direction?

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by Lucy Bourton at April 24, 2017 09:32 AM

The Psy-Fi Blog

Putting Pro-Innovation Bias on the Blockchain

Blockchain Bias

Over the past couple of years I've spent a lot of time listening to people wittering on about "the blockchain". They've claimed it can solve a plethora of society's ills - everything from the elimination of poverty to the overthrow of fiat currencies and the nation state.

Being charitable this is evidence of pro-innovation bias in all its perverse glory. Being cynical it's evidence of people trying to scam investment funds by capitalizing on the halo effect. The blockchain is a brilliant piece of innovation, which will one day - probably - lead to significant economic benefits, but in the end it's just another piece of technology.

Ledgers, Everywhere

Blockchain is most commonly associated with Bitcoin but is, in fact, a separate innovation upon which the world's least efficient payment system is built. Technically, blockchain itself is a single example of a broader class of systems known as Distributed Ledger Technology or DLT. 

A ledger is technology that's been around for a thousand years (see: In the Beginning Were the Accountants) - it records transactions so that you know who owns the various assets it records (including money). A distributed ledger simply means that the same ledger is copied to all of the people who use it - so imagine every bank in the world using a copy of the same database. 

The key idea here is that the entities using a network underpinnined by DLT don't need to trust each other, but can still trust the information on the ledger. This is, obviously, counter-intuitive, but it's a revolutionary idea.

Byzantine

The genius of the technology is in something called a consensus protocol, which is the mechanism that allows the users of the ledger agree to put a new record on it without trusting each other. In Bitcoin consensus is achieved through "data mining", which is a solution to a problem in Game Theory (see: Games People Play) known as The Byzantine General's Problem, originally described by Leslie Lamport, Robert Shostak and Marshall Pease.

In the problem a bunch of generals are surrounding a city and must decide whether to attack or retreat. Their challenge is how to come to a consensus on what to do when they only have remote communication and some of them may defect and start lying. Data mining via proof-of-work is the Bitcoin solution, but that's just one example of a DLT consensus protocol.

Owning Assets in the Interweb

What DLT does is allow us to know who owns any digital asset. For example a Bitcoin is just some ones and noughts. So you could copy it, use it to buy something from Amazon and then use the same Bitcoin to buy something from eBay. But the ledger records who really owns it, so eBay checks the ledger before they send you your pink tutu and finds that you've already transferred it to Amazon in return for a sparkly tiara. So no tutu for you you. Boo hoo.

However, there are a couple of things that DLT is self-evidently not much use for. Firstly there's rarely any point using a distributed ledger across a single organisation. They're expensive to run and synchronize and also pointless if you can just have a single bloody great database that you can control access to. Secondly they don't allow you to really track physical assets. You can put a representation of the contents of a shipping container on a ledger, for sure, but you still only know what's really in the container by having someone trusted look inside it.

Hype, Over, Case of

Despite the limitations this hasn't stopped the floating of mad ideas for use of the technology. One of my favourites was this: "Blockchain technology trialled to tackle slavery in the fishing industry".  I mean no, just no.

The willingness of entrepreneurs, technologists and hopeful fund raisers everywhere to push DLT onto every imaginable use case is a case of pro-innovation bias. The concept arose out of research into the diffusion of innovation by Everett Rodgers, who describes it thus in Diffusion of Innovations:
"The pro-innovation bias is the implication of most diffusion research that an innovation should be diffused and adopted by all members of a social system, that it should be diffused more rapidly, and that the innovation should be neither re-invented nor rejected."
Basically it's the tendency of people to over-hype the use of a particular technology while ignoring its weaknesses: innovation is good, we should adopt it. Blockchain is simply the latest example, but anyone who can remember the late 1990's will recall that the Internet was similarly hyped. Before that the great hope was nuclear power and at the beginning of the 20th century it was radiation.

As you can imagine, not all of these innovations turned out to be unalloyed successes when deployed unilaterally.

Diffusion Theory

Rodgers' diffusion theory is a way of explaining how and why innovative ideas spread through society. It's where the memetic ideas of early adopters, laggards and the others originates from and it draws on ideas from multiple disciplines - in particular it's a social mediated system, dependent on communication channels and opinion formers. This is similar to the concept of self-enhanced transmission bias that we looked at in Facebook Friends Can Make You Poor.

Tom Nicholas, in Does Innovation Cause Market Crashes? has suggested that bursts of pro-innovation bias can trigger the stockmarket surges that predate market crashes. His analysis indicates that innovation was at least a partial driver of the market run-up prior to the crash of 1929. 

Saints and Sinners

There is another possible explanation for the proliferation of stupid DLT use cases: enterprising individuals looking to raise investment funds on the back of the halo effect (see: The Halo Effect: What's In a Company Name?). This is the same behavioral bias that advertisers capitalize on when they use celebrity endorsements, recognizing that a popular celebrity associating themselves with a brand can cause the fans of said celebrity to rush out and purchase the product. Although the chances of a famous model actually using a consumer brand cosmetic must be quite low, I'd have thought ...

In truth these biases likely have a positive impact on overall human technological development. All nascent technologies take far more time and money to develop than anyone ever appreciates - to the extent that if we did realise this to start we'd never actually start doing the research. All of the money wasted on dotcom technology and fibre cable in the late 1990s eventually turned into the online world today. But the winners and losers weren't evident at the time, and only became clear much, much later.

Innovation is not straightforward, and it's often not clear until afterwards whether any particular innovation will turn out to be useful or not, let alone whether it will revolutionize life. The idea behind the blockchain, that we can establish trust in transactions carried out in a network populated by entities that don't trust each other, is more than clever technology, it's a new way of thinking about the problem.

And, in the end, that may well be the most important innovation of all.


Pro-innovation bias added to the Big List of Behavioral Biases

Related Posts
    

by timarr (noreply@blogger.com) at April 24, 2017 09:30 AM

It's Nice That

John Molesworth illustrates the hustle and bustle of Record Store Day 2017

Record_store_day_john_mlesworth_its_nice_that_02_list

Once a year, a Saturday is reserved for record collectors and music lovers around the world. Although the day is often recognised for people elbowing others out of the way for a limited reissue or remix, it is also a day where enthusiasts finally get hold of a record they’ve always loved, line-ups are curated to celebrate live music, and conversations between strangers begin over mutual favourite albums. Record Store Day is also an important day financially for independent record shops globally, allowing and encouraging them to keep on selling alternative bands from the innovative record labels that keep the industry churning.

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by Lucy Bourton at April 24, 2017 09:15 AM

Smashing Magazine Feed

Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers


   

As a designer, you will be facing more demands and opportunities to work with digital systems that embody machine learning. To have your say about how best to use it, you need a good understanding about its applications and related design patterns.

Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers

This article illustrates the power of machine learning through the applications of detection, prediction and generation. It gives six reasons why machine learning makes products and services better and introduces four design patterns relevant to such applications. To help you get started, I have included two non-technical questions that will help with assessing whether your task is ready to be learned by a machine.

The post Applications Of Machine Learning For Designers appeared first on Smashing Magazine.

by Lassi Liikkanen at April 24, 2017 09:11 AM

The Big Picture

Monetary Policy Expectations and Surprises

Monetary Policy Expectations and Surprises Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer At the Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, New York, New York Share Watch Live I will address the topic of central bank communications, with a particular emphasis on those times when financial markets and the central bank have different expectations about what a…

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The post Monetary Policy Expectations and Surprises appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Guest Author at April 24, 2017 09:00 AM

naked capitalism

Former Workers at Elon Musk’s SolarCity Allege Employment Abuses, Improper Installations

Over 2000 former SolarCity workers allege labor violations, like denying overtime pay and bathroom breaks, as well as shoddy installations.

by Yves Smith at April 24, 2017 09:00 AM

Planet Python

EuroPython: EuroPython 2017: How you can sponsor us

Check out our brand new brochure with all details about our sponsor packages, options and lounge events, available on our website.

Sponsoring EuroPython guarantees you highly targeted visibility and the opportunity to present yourself and your company in a professional and innovative environment. 

image


With more than 1200 participants, 8 days conference program, international keynotes, more than 200 talks, training sessions for beginners, advanced and experts, EuroPython creates an excellent environment to look for new job-opportunities, recruit people, connect, share and learn. 

New Attractive Location for 2017

This year we move to the Palacongressi in Rimini, the largest convention centre in Italy, unique in its design and technology, with 11,000 m² exhibit space, in addition to 39 conference rooms. Check out EuroPython demographics, refresh your mind with our beautiful location and consult the different opportunities we have created for you. 

Available Sponsor Options

We offer 7 different sponsor packages, with different levels of engagement.

Would you rather have more flexibility? You can separately book special events and choose from a list of very prominent advertisement options: have a table in the training session or get your logo to be by the ice-cream stall; sponsor our laser-tag and party events. 

Do you have further ideas? We can help you develop a tailored sponsorship package that fits your specific targets. If you would like to engage and sponsor EuroPython 2017, please contact us by e-mail.

Don’t miss the chance to become part of the largest Python conference in Europe!

Enjoy,

EuroPython 2017 Team
http://ep2017.europython.eu/
http://www.europython-society.org/

April 24, 2017 08:54 AM

Seth's Blog

You look like you’re lying (when you’re nervous)

This is a significant bug in our culture and a glitch in our DNA.

When we're on the spot, giving a speech, or pulled over by a cop, we get nervous.

We sweat, talk too fast, constrict our throat, avoid eye contact, put on a half smile and do many of the things that people often associate with lying.

At the same time, because the con man (who might also be a politician or CEO) has figured out how to avoid these telltale signs, we give them the benefit of the doubt and they lie with impunity.

If you have good intentions, you have two options: You can either avoid getting nervous (which comes with practice) or you can work on the most obvious symptoms you display, intentionally diminishing them. Actors are better on screen than the rare famous person doing a cameo because the actors have been taught how to read their lines without all the telltale signs of lying. (Of course, reading lines is lying...)

If you're using a microphone, use it. No need to brace your body to shout. Talk more slowly. Intentionally make eye contact...

And don't lie. But you knew that part.

You shouldn't have to practice appearing to be truthful when you're being truthful. But you do. Because we're humans and we're judging you.

       

by Seth Godin at April 24, 2017 08:08 AM

It's Nice That

“The artistic process becomes a form of yoga”: artist Christopher Davison

Christopher-davison-02list

In the 11 years since New Yorker Christopher Davison graduated with an MFA from the Tyler School of Art in 2006, the artist has taken part in solo and group exhibitions across New York city and further afield, in Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Boston, LA as well as cities across America. “I was born in the woods but raised near the ocean,” he tells us. “I currently live next to the highest natural point in Manhattan.” When he’s not busy making art, Chris teaches it, taking up posts as a part-time professor of art at Philadelphia’s University of the Arts and Moore College of Art.

Read more

by Bryony Stone at April 24, 2017 08:04 AM

More vibrant, goblin-like characters from illustrator Alex Jenkins

Alex_jenkins_int_list

“As a child I was always drawing and loved getting lost in it. But I lost this imaginative innocence in secondary school (I got an E in my art A-level!) and I abandoned it until my early 20s after working in a supermarket as a trainee manager,” explains Alex Jenkins of his beginnings in illustration. “After that, I decided to take on an art foundation as creating imagery was something that had always grabbed my attention and was a process I really enjoyed. I then went on to complete an illustration degree at Camberwell.”

Read more

by Rebecca Fulleylove at April 24, 2017 08:03 AM

Arun Shourie - Google News

Infinium India Group has bagged the digital and advertising mandate of The Vox Foundation- Talk Journalism - afaqs


Infinium India Group has bagged the digital and advertising mandate of The Vox Foundation- Talk Journalism
afaqs
Over the last three editions journalists including Arun Shourie, Rajdeep Sardesai, Barkha Dutt, Shekhar Gupta, Ayaz Memon , Bhupendra Choubey, Anant Goenka , Paronjoy Guha Thakurta, Suhasini Haider have addressed this journalistic carnival. Leading ...

April 24, 2017 06:25 AM

jwz

DNA Lounge update

DNA Lounge update, wherein I don't know how to promote our Patreon.

by jwz at April 24, 2017 05:16 AM

datameet Google Group

Re: [datameet] Note: Hackpad is shutting down

Hey everyone, Instead of replying individually, you can vote here : https://strawpoll.com/1se1sdz Cheers, Hardik On Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 9:40 AM, Sridhar Gutam wrote: > Slack is good. We can go for it. We are using it for DOAJ and Open Access > India > > Sridhar > > Sridhar

by Hardik Madhu at April 24, 2017 04:41 AM

ongoing

Six-page Typography

What happened was, Lauren brought home Bringhurst’s The Elements of Typographic Style and I was instantly captivated, by the book’s beauty and also the power of its message. So I’ve got typography on my mind. Stand by for more on the subject, but it struck me immediately that I’m living a typography lesson at work, in the form of the famous Amazon six-pager.

It’s not a secret; to start with, read Brad Porter’s excellent The Beauty of Amazon’s 6-Pager (although in typo-geek mode, I have to point out that “Six-pager” reads much more nicely than “6-Pager”).

Like Brad says, we put intense work into writing these things, and then others of us put intense work into reading them. I’m at a place in the structure where I find myself doing both; neither is easier than the other.

As a guy who’s invested years into descriptive markup and structured documents and flexible presentation and so on, I ought to be horrified by six-pagers, which are fixed-format paginated word-processor output. But in fact they work great. It saves so much time when you can say “That replication setup, second para on page 3, won’t it murder write throughput?”

You know what I’m starting to see? People putting in line numbers. And that’s an even bigger time-saver, particularly if you want to raise an issue about how this on page 1 relates to that on page 5.

Oh, and we do some initial reviewing electronically, but when it matters, six-pagers are printed. Because of course.

April 24, 2017 04:34 AM

Andrew Tobias

Greatest Birthday Ever

I got a Ferrari!

All electric.

Radio controlled.

Also: a golden unicorn (head only; not real gold), a gold pocket watch (real gold!); The New York Times Essential Guide to Grilling (and a certificate for a grill!); a 1000-piece New Yorker cartoon jigsaw puzzle (beautifully wrapped and perfect for regifting, it being the thought that counts); number 11-of-40 of a limited edition Asher Levine outfit (here’s an example of his remarkable work) — “beachwear” I could not have pulled off even at 25 but will enjoy trying on for my friends to laugh at; two orchids I am determined not to kill (did I ever tell you about the astonishing giant silk orchid I inherited? that I always admired on my mom’s windowsill — it never lost a leaf — so I put it in a windowless hallway and got lots of compliments — what a beautiful orchid! — and then it died!  It hadn’t been fake after all!  I still can’t believe it!); and a dry-ice packed dinner-for-two flown up from Joe’s Stone Crabs, complete with crabs, mallet, tiny-forks, bibs, cole slaw (Joe’s cole slaw will change your life), creamed spinach (so rich it could end your life), New England clam chowder, and a key lime pie (worth dying from the spinach for, because one slice of Joe’s key lime pie and you feel, at least, as though you’ve gone to heaven).

And I got a surprise party!

Not a surprise like my 30th, when I was genuinely surprised.

(It was at the apartment of the love of my life who had swapped me out for — well, I couldn’t blame him, but it was not my idea of fun to be feted at the home of my ex and my replacement.)

And not a surprise like my 40th, when I was totally mind-blowingly surprised — brilliantly thrown off the scent by a kind of lame “fake” surprise party on my actual birthday, so that when, a few days later, I got home from a diversionary trip to find the whole house decorated and filled with friends from all over, I was completely and entirely coulda-burst-into-tears-but-managed-not-to flabbergasted.

Nor a surprise like my 50th, to which Charles had sent out beautiful misspelled invitations (“SUPRISE!”), that I got wind of early on — though it was pretty great.

Nor a surprise like my 60th — the surprise there being that there wasn’t one.  Which made more sense.

Indeed, not a surprise at all, technically speaking, because various people over the previous weeks had told me how sorry they were that they wouldn’t be able to make it.  (“Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead.”)

But even though I knew to save the night, I had no idea what or where or who it would be — and when a car arrived, I got in, kind of assuming it would take me to Brooklyn.  Right?  Or New Jersey, maybe?  Instead, it stopped at a familiar address on 17th Street. No one was downstairs but the door was unlocked and I climbed the stairs preparing to act surprised . . . a lot of stairs for a 70-year-old, but I pretend to be younger . . . and was surprised!  There was the couple who’d sent the Stone Crabs up from Miami, and there were a couple who’d texted to say happy birthday “from London,” and there were . . . well, I don’t want to brag, but it was only the nicest crowd of people ever assembled.  With videos on a giant movie screen, a sushi bar, a guy with a microphone in his lapel seemingly oblivious to the party reading a book (was he the event manager? why was he reading a book in the middle of my party?) that turned out to be my book — you couldn’t hear it above the music (maybe at first, before it filled up?), but so diligent!  He just kept his head down, slogging through for three hours, past the part where I swung at a wild pitch on a three-two count at the top of the ninth (I’ve never been great under pressure) and past . . . well, who knows? no one could hear him, but it was a great touch. As were the stacks of toilet paper purchased in bulk, with $70 wrappers around each (if you don’t know whose face is on the $70 bill, now you do).  And margaritas!  And — this was hysterical — the same photographer the DNC uses at all its fundraisers, following me around the entire night.  (Hi, Beatrice!)  It was very democratic.

How did they even find so many of my friends to invite?  WikiLeaks?

There were no camels — one of my b-school pals imported camels and acrobats to his recent 70th — but do you know what?  I don’t think even camels could have made the party any better.  Though it would have been interesting watching them attempt to climb all those stairs.

So here’s the thing about turning 70.  It’s great.  If you’re fortunate enough to have your health — which along with friends and a decent internet connection are all that matter — it’s just the best, because it’s like the first day of school.  I am now officially the youngest old guy around.  The envy of 73-year-olds, 80-year-olds, 91-year-olds, 102-year-olds.

The Sixties were an amazing decade in which to reach adulthood; but one’s own sixties?

Speaking here only in terms of branding, there’s just no way to make an age starting with the word “sixty” sound young.  But seventy?  And with a party like that to kick it off?  And three-quarters of Joe’s key lime pie still in my freezer?  And readers like you?

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

by A.T. at April 24, 2017 04:02 AM

Daring Fireball

★ On Uber’s ‘Identifying and Tagging’ of iPhones

Mike Isaac’s profile of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick for The New York Times contains an accusation that, on its face, sounds outrageous:

For months, Mr. Kalanick had pulled a fast one on Apple by directing his employees to help camouflage the ride-hailing app from Apple’s engineers. The reason? So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

But Apple was on to the deception, and when Mr. Kalanick arrived at the midafternoon meeting sporting his favorite pair of bright red sneakers and hot-pink socks, Mr. Cook was prepared. “So, I’ve heard you’ve been breaking some of our rules,” Mr. Cook said in his calm, Southern tone. Stop the trickery, Mr. Cook then demanded, or Uber’s app would be kicked out of Apple’s App Store.

For Mr. Kalanick, the moment was fraught with tension. If Uber’s app was yanked from the App Store, it would lose access to millions of iPhone customers — essentially destroying the ride-hailing company’s business. So Mr. Kalanick acceded.

“Secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased” is a rather startling accusation, because it sounds like it should be technically impossible. It’s also very much unclear what information Uber was able to glean from these “identified and tagged” iPhones other than some sort of unique device identifier. Unfortunately, the Times story is very short on details here. But note that the Times is not saying Uber was “tracking” these phones. A lot of people are jumping to the conclusion that Uber was somehow tracking the location of users even after they deleted the Uber app, but the word “track” only appears in the article in the context of Kalanick having “excelled at running track and playing football” in high school.

[Update: This explains a lot, regarding the hubbub today over this story. When first published, the Times story did use the word “tracking”, but a subsequent revision changed that word to “identifying and tagging”.]

Reading between the lines, it is possible — and my gut says quite probable — that Uber wasn’t doing anything on these iPhones other than when its app was installed and running on them. From the end of the article:

The idea of fooling Apple, the main distributor of Uber’s app, began in 2014.

At the time, Uber was dealing with widespread account fraud in places like China, where tricksters bought stolen iPhones that were erased of their memory and resold. Some Uber drivers there would then create dozens of fake email addresses to sign up for new Uber rider accounts attached to each phone, and request rides from those phones, which they would then accept. Since Uber was handing out incentives to drivers to take more rides, the drivers could earn more money this way.

To halt the activity, Uber engineers assigned a persistent identity to iPhones with a small piece of code, a practice called “fingerprinting.” Uber could then identify an iPhone and prevent itself from being fooled even after the device was erased of its contents.

There was one problem: Fingerprinting iPhones broke Apple’s rules. Mr. Cook believed that wiping an iPhone should ensure that no trace of the owner’s identity remained on the device.

What Isaac is reporting here doesn’t require any code running on an iPhone other than when the Uber app is itself installed and launched. I’m speculating here, but it could be something like this:

  1. The Uber app, while installed, fingerprints the device somehow, and reports the fingerprint home to Uber’s servers, where it is tied to the user’s Uber account. (All iPhones have a Unique Device Identifier — “UDID” — but Apple banned third-party apps from accessing it in 2012. Uber either found a way to access UDIDs surreptitiously, or created some other way of uniquely identifying devices even after they’ve been wiped. It would be good to know exactly what they did, but for the sake of my argument here it doesn’t matter.)

  2. The Uber app is deleted from the device and/or device is wiped. At this point, Uber knows the fingerprint for the device, but can’t use it to track the device in any way, and they don’t care, because until someone reinstalls the Uber app on the phone it isn’t being used to book fraudulent rides.

  3. The Uber app is reinstalled on the iPhone. When it launches, it does the fingerprint check and phones home again. Uber now knows this is the same iPhone they’ve seen before, because the fingerprint matches. This is the violation of Apple’s privacy policy.

But until step 3, when the Uber app is reinstalled, I don’t think Uber was “tracking” the phone in any way. And they didn’t care — the Times says the whole project was designed to counter fraud in China, which required the Uber app to be reinstalled on stolen iPhones.

Repeating from the opening of the article, Isaac wrote:

So Apple would not find out that Uber had been secretly identifying and tagging iPhones even after its app had been deleted and the devices erased — a fraud detection maneuver that violated Apple’s privacy guidelines.

That sounds like Uber was doing the identifying and “tagging” (whatever that is) after the app had been deleted and/or the device wiped, but I think what it might — might — actually mean is merely that the identification persisted after the app had been deleted and/or the device wiped. That’s not supposed to be technically possible — iOS APIs for things like the UDID and even the MAC address stopped reporting unique identifiers years ago, because they were being abused by privacy invasive ad trackers, analytics packages, and entitled shitbags like Uber. That’s wrong, and Apple was right to put an end to it, but it’s far less sensational than the prospect of Uber having been able to identify and “tag” an iPhone after the Uber app had been deleted. The latter scenario only seems technically possible if other third-party apps were executing surreptitious code that did this stuff through Uber’s SDK, or if the Uber app left behind malware outside the app’s sandbox. I don’t think that’s the case, if only because I don’t think Apple would have hesitated to remove Uber from the App Store if it was infecting iPhones with hidden phone-home malware.

The article does raise some questions:

  • What APIs and device info was Uber using to identify iPhones? Are these API loopholes now closed in iOS? If we don’t learn exactly what Uber was using to identify devices, we cannot know that the technique no longer works. iOS users should be able to feel confident that when they delete an app, all connections between their device and the developer of the app are disconnected, and that when they wipe a device, everything personally identifying has been removed from it.

  • What exactly did Apple know about Uber’s actions in this regard when Tim Cook called Kalanick in for the meeting? Was Apple aware that Uber was specifically keeping a database of unique iPhone identifiers? If so, how?

  • What prompted Apple to investigate Uber in this regard? And why did Uber suspect Apple was going to investigate, prompting them to geofence their fingerprinting so it wouldn’t trigger in Cupertino? (My theory: the Uber app was calling private APIs, and they used the geofence to avoid calling those private APIs while the app was in App Store review, assuming, perhaps incorrectly, that all App Store reviewers work in Cupertino. App Store review can identify apps that call private APIs.)

  • Update: Why didn’t Apple require Uber to disclose what they’d done as a condition for remaining in the store? Shouldn’t iPhone users who had Uber installed know about this?

[Update 2: Will Strafach examined a 2014 build of the Uber iOS app and found them using private APIs to use IOKit to pull the device serial number from the device registry. There might be more, but this alone is a blatant violation of App Store policy. Strafach confirms that the technique Uber was using no longer works in iOS 10.]


The article also contains this non-Apple-related tidbit:

Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft’s business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)

Slice confirmed that it sells anonymized data (meaning that customers’ names are not attached) based on ride receipts from Uber and Lyft, but declined to disclose who buys the information.

This is, needless to say, super shitty. We expect it from Uber. But Slice should be ashamed of themselves. Their Unroll.me service is billed as a tool to “Clean up your inbox” by identifying subscription emails and allowing you to unsubscribe from them in bulk. It’s “free” in the sense that you don’t pay them money, but they’re selling your personal information to companies like Uber. Supposedly that information is anonymized, but wiped iPhones are supposed to be anonymized too, and Uber found at least one route around that.

by John Gruber at April 24, 2017 03:19 AM

TED | TEDBlog

12 books to browse ahead of TED2017

TED2017 begins on Monday in Vancouver, Canada, and will explore the theme “The Future You.” If the future you is anything like the future us, you are likely curled up in a big cushy chair right now, devouring the contents of a book that flips your thinking. Below, some reading suggestions from the speaker program. Read, enjoy and stay tuned to the TED Blog for beat-by-beat coverage of the conference.

Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy by Cathy O’Neil. The decisions that affect our lives are no longer made by humans — they’re made by algorithms. This might sound like a great way around bias and discrimination, but these things are often built right into our mathematical models. When it comes to college admissions, decisions on parole, applications to jobs and the affects of a bad credit score, O’Neil explores the unintended consequences of algorithms. (Read an excerpt.)

The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer by Elizabeth Blackburn and Elissa Epel. Molecular biologist Elizabeth Blackburn received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for her discovery of telomeres, the ends of chromosomes that — like shoelace tips — keep our genetic information from fraying. Both telomeres and telomerase, an enzyme that restores worn-down telomeres, appear central to the aging process. This book looks at the research — then turns its attention to how our thoughts, bodies and social worlds affect us on the cellular level.

Not in God’s Name: Confronting Religious Violence by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks. For many around the world, religion is the core of who they are. But when strong belief flips into assumptions that other groups are wrong, violence sparks. Rabbi Jonathan Sacks seeks to detangle religion from hostility to others. He makes his case by reinterpreting the book of Genesis, key to all three Abrahamic faiths, and looking at how altruism to the other courses through this text. (Read an excerpt.)

Winter Is Coming: Why Vladimir Putin and the Enemies of the Free World Must Be Stopped by Garry Kasparov. Most know Garry Kasparov as a chess grandmaster. Not so many know that he was a leader in anti-Putin rallies in Russia and nearly ran against Putin’s party in the 2008 presidential election. Now in self-exile in New York, Kasparov examines how Putin defines Russia in opposition to the free world — and lays out what he thinks needs to be be done.

Principles: Life and Work by Ray Dalio. Bridgewater Associates began in Ray Dalio’s New York apartment, and has grown into the largest hedge fund in the world. This happened, says Dalio, based on two simple principles: “radical truth” and “radical transparency.” In this e-book, he looks at how both principles can guide decision-making, for both individuals and organizations.

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande. Several years back, the World Health Organization implemented “the biggest clinical invention in thirty years.” It was: a surgical checklist. Atul Gawande reveals how this shockingly simple technology dramatically lowers errors in medicine — and other fields too. In an unexpected ode, he shows how the checklist can be a way through the complexity of our world.

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford. Automation has deeply affected those who work in blue collar industries. But we’re not far from white-collar industries shedding jobs too. The free market depends on consumers, so what will happen when demand plummets? In this book, Martin Ford dissects the problem — and points to ways forward. They will, however, require major paradigm shifts.

The Life Project: The Extraordinary Story of 70,000 Ordinary Lives by Helen Pearson. In 1946, a group of scientists set out to interview the mother of every baby born in the UK in the first week in March. This became the longest-running study of human development. Science journalist Helen Pearson tells the study’s story, and reveals how it shaped our understanding from the world, from documenting cycles of poverty to showing the effects of breastfeeding.

Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked by Adam Alter. Does the idea of checking your smartphone elicit salivation? Ever felt compelled to check Facebook at an inopportune moment, or gone on to watch just one more episode on Netflix? Psychology professor Adam Alter looks at the addictive nature of today’s products, and traces the research that goes into making them that way.

This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism by Ashton Applewhite. We all would like to get old. After all, the alternative is … not good. Yet, the assumptions we make about those over 65 aren’t kind. We view their lives as tinged with loss — of physical ability, mental capacity, even relevance. Ashton Applewhite punches through this, with a call to think of aging as a powerful process.

The Age of Em: Work, Love, and Life when Robots Rule the Earth by Robin Hanson. Economist Robin Hanson has a fascinating vision of what the future will look like. It begins with the ability to scan a human brain, then upload it to a machine — creating “emulations” or, in shorthand, “ems.” These ems will quickly displace human labor, he says. But what will they experience? What will their cities look like? How will they travel? Retire? Sleep? Hanson answers these questions and many more.

The Power of Meaning: Crafting a Life That Matters by Emily Esfahani Smith. Nearly a quarter of Americans say they don’t have “a strong sense of what makes their lives meaningful.” This, says Emily Esfahani Smith, is a crisis echoed in other wealthy nations too. She turns her attention to literature, psychology and sociology for insight — and finds unique answers in travels too.


by Kate Torgovnick May at April 24, 2017 03:17 AM

Daring Fireball

‘Heartbreaking’

Unroll.me CEO and founder Jojo Hedaya, in a blog post responding to the outcry after Mike Isaac of The New York Times revealed that the company does things like sell “anonymized” Lyft receipts to Lyft arch-rival Uber:

Our users are the heart of our company and service. So it was heartbreaking to see that some of our users were upset to learn about how we monetize our free service.

And while we try our best to be open about our business model, recent customer feedback tells me we weren’t explicit enough.

Give me a fucking break. They’re not “heartbroken” because their users are upset. They’re in damage-control mode because they were operating under the radar and now they’ve been revealed, very publicly, as the shitbags that they are. If you’ve signed up for Unroll.me, delete your account. They make money by selling your purchase receipts to the highest bidder. That’s their business.

Unsubstantiated, but from a post on Hacker News:

I worked for a company that nearly acquired unroll.me. At the time, which was over three years ago, they had kept a copy of every single email of yours that you sent or received while a part of their service. Those emails were kept in a series of poorly secured S3 buckets. A large part of Slice buying unroll.me was for access to those email archives. Specifically, they wanted to look for keyword trends and for receipts from online purchases.

by John Gruber at April 24, 2017 02:23 AM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

ISC Stormcast For Monday, April 24th 2017 https://isc.sans.edu/podcastdetail.html?id=5470, (Mon, Apr 24th)

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

April 24, 2017 02:05 AM

The Django community aggregator

The luxury of a creative community

The last few months of Evennia development have mainly focused around a series of very nice pull requests from a growing cadre of contributors. I have myself mainly been working away in Evennia's 'devel' branch which will lead up to Evennia 0.7.

Contributed goodness

People have put in a lot of good work to boost Evennia, both by improving fixing existing things and by adding new features (small selection). Thanks a lot everyone!
  • Contrib: Turn-based combat system - this is a full, if intentionally bare-bones implementation of a combat system, meant as a template to put in your particular game system into.
  • Contrib: Clothing sytem - a roleplaying mechanic where a character can 'wear' items and have this show in their descriptions. Worn items can also be layered to hide that underneath. Had plenty of opportunities for extensions to a given game.
  • Contrib: An 'event' system is in the works, for allowing privileged builders to add dynamic code to objects that fires when particular events happen. The PR is not yet merged but promises the oft pondered feature of in-game coding without using softcode (and notably also without the security of softcode!). 
  • A lot of PRs, especially from one user, dealt with cleanup and adherence to PEP8 as well as fixing the 'alerts' given by LGTM on our code (LGTM is by the way a pretty nifty service, they parse the code from the github repo without actually running it. The result is cleaner code and it also found some edge-cases here and there not covered by unit tests. The joint effort has brought us down from some 600+ alerts to somewhere around 90 - the remaining ones are alerts which I don't agree with or which are not important enough to spend effort on). 
  • The help mechanics of Evennia was improved by splitting up the default help command into smaller parts, making it easier to inject some changes to your help system without completely replacing the default one. 
  • Evennia's Xterm256 implementation was not correctly including the additional greyscale colors, those were added with new tags |=a ... |=z 
  • Evennia has the ability to relay data to external services through 'bots'. An example of this is the IRC bot, which is a sort of 'player' that sits in an in-game channel and connects that to a counterpart-bot sitting in a remote IRC channel. It allows for direct game-IRC communication, something enjoyed by people in the Evennia demo for many years now. The way the bot was defined used to be pretty hard-coded though. A crafty contributor changed that though, but incorporating the bot mechanism into Evennia's normal message flow. This allows for adding new types of bots or extending existing ones without having to modify Evennia's core. There is already an alternative IRC bot out there that represents everyone in the IRC room as a room full of people in the MUD. 
  • Evennia's Attributes is a database table connected to other objects via an ForeignKey relation. This relation is cached on the object. Some users however found that for certain implementations, such as using Attributes for large coordinate systems, no-matches (that is, a failed Attribute lookup on an object) can also be cached and leads to dramatic speed increases for those particular use cases. You live and learn.
  • Another contributor helped inprove the EvEditor (Evennia's VIM-like in-game text editor) by giving it a code-mode for editing Python code in-game with auto-indents and code execution. Jump into the code mode with the command @py/edit.
  • Time scheduling is another feature that has been discussed now and then and has now been added through a PR. This means that rather than specifying 'Do this in 400 seconds' you could say 'do this at 12AM, in-game time'. The core system works with the real-world time units. If you want 10 hours to a day or four weeks to a month the same contributor also made an optional calendar contrib for that!
  • A new 'whisper' command was added to the Default cmdset. It's an in-game command for whispering to someone in the same room without other people hearing it. This is a nice thing to have considering out-of-the-box Evennia is pretty much a 'talker'.
  • Lots of bug fixes big and small!
  • Some at_* hooks were added, such as at_give(giver, getter). This allows for finer control of the give process without handling all the logics at the command level. There are others hooks in the works but those will not be added until in Evennia 0.7. 
About that Evennia 0.7 ...

So while PRs are popping up left and right in master I've been working in the devel branch towards what will be the Evennia 0.7 release. The branch is not ready for public consumption and testing yet since it's still very much in flux. But tentatively it's about halfway there as I am slowly progressing through the tickets. Most of the upcoming features were coveredin the previous blog post so I'll leave it at that.

I just want to end by saying that it's a very luxurious (and awesome) feeling for me to see master-branch Evennia expand with lots of new stuff "without me" so to speak. The power of Open Source!
  

Image from http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com, released as public domain.

by Griatch's Evennia musings (MU* creation with Django+Twisted) at April 24, 2017 01:46 AM

Daring Fireball

The New Mac Pro Needs to Be Versatile

Marco Arment, examining the wildly-varying needs of Mac Pro customers:

Or, to distill the requirements down to a single word:

Versatility.

Just as macOS’ versatility allows iOS to remain lightweight, the ability of the rest of the Mac lineup to be more aggressive, minimalist, and forward-looking depends on the Mac Pro to cover everyone whose needs don’t fit into them. The Mac Pro must be the catch-all at the high end: anytime someone says the iMac or MacBook Pro isn’t something enough for them, the solution should be the Mac Pro.

That link is to my Macworld column from 7 years ago, which reads like it was written today:

Here’s the short version of the “Mac is doomed” scenario: iOS is the future, Mac OS X is the past, and Apple is strongly inclined to abandon the past in the name of the future.

You can’t really argue with that, can you? But the premise that the end is near for the Mac presupposes quite a bit about the near-term future of iOS.

[…]

At typical companies, “legacy” technology is something you figure out how to carry forward. At Apple, legacy technology is something you figure out how to get rid of. The question isn’t whether iOS has a brighter future than the Mac. There is no doubt: it does. The question is whether the Mac has become “legacy.” Is the Mac slowing iOS down or in any way holding it back

by John Gruber at April 24, 2017 01:34 AM

Wheaties for Your Wallet

Carving out a Niche for Your Event Planning Business

Being successful in event planning can largely depend on if you focus your marketing on a unique segment of the market. Try not to make the common mistake that event and wedding planners make in trying to serve every client.

This does not mean that you will not provide your service to clients who are outside of this focus area, but rather that you will be able to refine your marketing message and aim for clients most suitable for your business.

Come up with a Detailed Wishlist

The following questions should be explored when trying to identify your niche; make an elaborate wish list of what you would like in a client.

  • Who are your ideal clients? Try to be as specific as you can.
  • What is their demographics? Identify the geographic range and the types of businesses or customers you wish to service.

Essentially, if you do not know who you would like to do business with, you will find it difficult to find these potential customers. For example, are you looking to work with high-budget luxury brides only?

Focus Your Passion

Next, you will need to identify what you would like to sell and/or what services you will be providing. Keep in mind that your niche might not necessarily be the same as the field in which you currently work. To give you an example, an event planning business is not a niche but rather a field. Your niche will and should emerge naturally from your interests, skills, and experience.

Let’s say you would like to work as a wedding planner but you are really good at strategies for diversity and inclusion, then maybe your niche market could be culturally based or focused events and weddings.

Discover Your Clientele’s Needs

Once you know what you would like to focus on in terms of your passion and who you would like to work with, you will next need to identify what your ideal clients are looking for and how you can address their needs. Try to look at purchasing decisions from the perspective of your potential client.

The best way to do this is to research your market, ask these customers directly or find pain points (areas lacking services) within your niche and fill the gap.

Evaluate Your Niche

Finally, you will need to evaluate your niche to determine if this is a viable service/product. You will, therefore, need to explore questions such as is it financially feasible? Will it contribute to your long-term goals? If the answer to these questions is yes then it is time to test it on the market. How can you do this? If you are a wedding planner, try offering a free wedding consultation meeting to assess if clients are interested in your niche service.

Listen to their questions and feedback and if they are interested in your service/product your idea can be considered proven and ready to launch.

The post Carving out a Niche for Your Event Planning Business appeared first on Due.

by William Lipovsky at April 24, 2017 01:00 AM

Freakonomics

Music: TMSIDK Episode 16

For our music episode, Dan Zanes leads his band of fact-checkers, accompanied by Stephen J. Dubner. (Photo: Lucy Sutton)

Throughout history, women composers stood in the shadows of their male counterparts. Women were not allowed to hold music positions, one of the support systems for male composers. They were expected to have a family and get married. Some young women were fortunate enough, if they lived in upper-class families, to receive lessons growing up.

But some “hidden” women composers influenced the famous men we know of today. Mozart’s older sister, Nannerl, and Mendelssohn’s sister, Fanny, were both talented musicians who were discouraged from pursuing musical careers. And in the U.S., Ruth Crawford Seeger’s classical compositions were overlooked for years, until 1986 when Matilda Guame wrote an extensive biography about her.

It’s time for Tell Me Something I Don’t Know to face the music, including bridges, healers, lumberjacks and, of course, women. Our panelists are:

David Hajdu, music critic and writer, who has suffered an occupational hazard.

Faith Salie, comedian/journalist and writer, who has a 2-1 record as a wedding singer.

Danny Goldberg, record executive and former famous-band manager, who pioneered fake news.

Our real-time fact-checker is Dan Zanes, accompanied by his live band.

The post Music: TMSIDK Episode 16 appeared first on Freakonomics.

by Stephen J. Dubner at April 24, 2017 12:00 AM

April 23, 2017

Calculated Risk

Sunday Night Futures

Weekend:
Schedule for Week of Apr 23, 2017

Monday:
• At 8:30 AM ET, Chicago Fed National Activity Index for March. This is a composite index of other data.

• At 10:30 AM, Dallas Fed Survey of Manufacturing Activity for April.

From CNBC: Pre-Market Data and Bloomberg futures: S&P futures are up 24 and DOW futures are up 187 (fair value) due to the outcome of the election in France (and early polls).

Oil prices were down over the last week with WTI futures at $49.83 per barrel and Brent at $52.27 per barrel.  A year ago, WTI was at $43, and Brent was at $44 - so oil prices are up about 15% year-over-year.

Here is a graph from Gasbuddy.com for nationwide gasoline prices. Nationally prices are at $2.42 per gallon - a year ago prices were at $2.14 per gallon - so gasoline prices are up about 28 cents a gallon year-over-year.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at April 23, 2017 11:54 PM

Brad DeLong - Grasping Reality with Both Hands

Weekend Reading: Henry Farrell: Fourteen Years of Krauthammer Days

Weekend Reading: Henry Farrell: Fourteen Years of Krauthammer Days: "Today is the fourteenth anniversary of the day when Charles Krauthammer announced to the world... http://crookedtimber.org/2017/04/22/fourteen-years-of-krauthammer-days/

...Hans Blix had five months to find weapons. He found nothing. We’ve had five weeks. Come back to me in five months. If we haven’t found any, we will have a credibility problem.

It’s now been 168 months since that confident pronouncement–or, put differently, we’ve seen 33.6 Krauthammer Credibility Intervals come, and then go, without any sign of self-assessment, let alone personal acceptance of responsibility for his prominent cheerleading for a war that led to hundreds of thousands of deaths. Still out there opining.

by J. Bradford DeLong at April 23, 2017 11:50 PM

"Subramanian Swamy" - Google News

Change name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati: Subramanian Swamy - The Indian Express


The Indian Express

Change name of Ahmedabad to Karnavati: Subramanian Swamy
The Indian Express
Recalling his connection with Ahmedabad and calling himself a “son-in-law” of Gujarat as he is married to a Parsi, senior BJP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Sunday demanded changing the name of the city to Karnavati. Swamy was in ...
Ram Mandir construction to begin in 2018: Subramanian SwamyTimes of India

all 2 news articles »

April 23, 2017 11:40 PM

The Big Picture

Bloomberg on 60 Minutes

So far, Bloomberg has given away $5B to causes that often dovetail with his political interests, like gun control and the environment. The ex-mayor of NYC would have bankrolled a 2016 presidential campaign if he thought he had a “reasonable chance” of getting elected. Who would have been his running mate? Retired Navy Adm. Mike…

Read More

The post Bloomberg on 60 Minutes appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Barry Ritholtz at April 23, 2017 11:30 PM

TED | TEDBlog

Experience the TED2017 conference in movie theaters, with other curious minds

You probably watch TED Talks on an assortment of small screens. But next week, you’re invited to experience them on the big screen.

As the TED2017 conference takes place in Vancouver, Canada, special sessions will be broadcast live in movie theaters across the United States and world. On April 24, the Opening Event will bring surprising life advice from Tim Ferriss, insights on AI from former world chess champion Garry Kasparov, an inspiring idea from Rabbi Jonathan Sacks and a thrilling performance from music video masters OK Go. On April 25, the Prize Event will include a Q&A with Serena Williams, a simple idea from Atul Gawande, a surprise guest who’ll boggle your mind and the reveal of 2017 TED Prize winner Raj Panjabi’s wish for the world.

These sessions will screen live in the US and Canada, and on time-shifted schedules internationally. Then shortly, after the conference closes, you’re invited to enjoy a Highlights Exclusive, featuring the very best talks from the week-long conference. This is truly your ticket to TED2017, so check local listings for times.

“I’m thrilled that we get to share the TED experience with a much wider audience,” said TED Curator Chris Anderson in a preview post. “Watching a full session is nothing like watching individual TED Talks. It’s dramatically more powerful, more immersive.”

This will not be the kind of movie-going experience where people stare ahead and chomp popcorn. The talks in these events will ignite your curiosity and flip your thinking. As you think through these big ideas and make connections between them, we expect conversations to spark between friends and strangers. Just as they do at the conference.

More than 100 organizers of TEDx events are hosting discussions before or after screenings. The organizers of TEDxEvansville went on a public access show last week to let people in Evansville, Indiana, know that they’re taking over a local multiplex for the Opening Event. Meanwhile, TEDxPeachtree in Atlanta, Georgia, is inviting past speakers for a meet-and-greet after the TED Prize Event screening, to keep the conversation going.

Below, see if your local TEDx chapter is hosting a cinema event near you:

Australia
TEDxBirrarungMarr in Melbourne
TEDxBrisbane
TEDxCanberra in Canberra, Australian Capital Territory
TEDxHelensvaleLibrary in Helensvale, Queensland
TEDxHunterTAFE in Newcastle, New South Wales
TEDxSydney

Belgium
TEDxAntwerp
TEDxWomenFlanders in Antwerp

Canada
TEDxCalgary
TEDxChathamKent in Chatham, Ontario
TEDxEastVan in Vancouver
TEDxMontreal
TEDxVancouver
TEDxVaughan in Vaughan, Ontario
TEDxWinnipeg
TEDxYYC in Calgary

Denmark
TEDxOdense in Odense, Syddanmark

Finland
TEDxOtaniemi in Espoo, Uusimaa

Germany
TEDxYouth@BBIS in Kleinmachnow, Brandenburg

Ireland
TEDxDrogheda in Drogheda, Louth

Netherlands
TEDxAlmere in Almere, Flevoland
TEDxAmsterdam

New Zealand
TEDxAuckland
TEDxRuakura in Hamilton, Waikato
TEDxTauranga in Tauranga, Bay of Plenty

Poland
TEDxWroclaw in Wrocław, Dolnośląskie

Romania
TEDxBucharest

United Kingdom
TEDxBrum in Birmingham
TEDxEton in Windsor
TEDxExeter in Devon
TEDxFidelityInternational in London
TEDxGoodenoughCollege in London
TEDxLondon
TEDxOxfordBrookesUniversity in Oxford
TEDxReading
TEDxUAL in London
TEDxUniverstiyofBrighton in Brighton
TEDxYouth@Manchester in Macclesfield, Cheshire East
TEDxYouth@RMS in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

United States
TEDxAustin in Austin, Texas
TEDxBalconesHeightsLive in Austin, Texas
TEDxBend in Bend, Oregon
TEDxBergenCommunityCollege in Paramus, New Jersey
TEDxBolingbrookWomen in Bolingbrook, Illinois
TEDxBrookfieldSalon in Brookfield, Connecticut
TEDxBuffalo in Buffalo, New York
TEDxBYU in Provo, Utah
TEDxCharleston in South Carolina
TEDxCincinnati in Ohio
TEDxCooperRiverWomen in Westampton, New Jersey
TEDxDeerPark in New York
TEDxDetroit in Michigan
TEDxDurham in North Carolina
TEDxEastMecklenburgHighSchool in Charlotte, North Carolina
TEDxEdgemontSchool in Scarsdale, New York
TEDxEdina in Edina, Minnesota
TEDxEvansville in Indiana
TEDxFashionInstituteofTechnology in New York City
TEDxFSCJ in Jacksonville, Florida
TEDxGatewayArch in Saint St. Louis, Missouri
TEDxGreenville in South Carolina
TEDxHiltonHead in South Carolina
TEDxHuntsville in Alabama
TEDxIntuit in Mountain View, California
TEDxKids@ElCajon in El Cajon, California
TEDxLasVegas
TEDxLehighRiver in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania
TEDxLeonardtown in Leonardtown, Maryland
TEDxLongwood in Boston, Massachusetts
TEDxLosAlSchools in Los Alamitos, California
TEDxMalibu in California
TEDxMidAtlantic in Washington, D.C.
TEDxMinneapolis in Minnesota
TEDxMobile in Alabama
TEDxMtHood in Portland, Oregon<
TEDxNaperville in Naperville, Illinois
TEDxNavesink in Asbury Park, New Jersey
TEDxOaklandUniversity in Rochester, Michigan
TEDxOaksChristianSchool in Westlake Village, California
TEDxOmaha in Nebraska
TEDxOnBoard in San Francisco, California
TEDxPeachtree in Atlanta, Georgia
TEDxPershingSq in Los Angeles, California
TEDxPittsburgh in Pennsylvania
TEDxPortland in Oregon
TEDxProvidence in Rhode Island
TEDxSalem in Oregon
TEDxSanDiego in California
TEDxSanJoseCA
TEDxSeattle in Washington
TEDxShelburneFalls in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts
TEDxSoMa in San Francisco, California
TEDxTemecula in Temecula, California
TEDxTysons in Tysons, Virginia
TEDxUniversityofNevada in Reno, Nevada
TEDxVail in Denver, Colorado
TEDxWestBrowardHigh in Pembroke Pines, Florida
TEDxWilmington in Delaware
TEDxYouth@CEHS in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
TEDxYouth@Erie in Erie, Pennsylvania
TEDxYouth@MBJH in Mountain Brook, Alabama
TEDxYouth@MSJA in Flourtown, Pennsylvania

Purchase tickets to the TED Cinema Experience »


by Kate Torgovnick May at April 23, 2017 11:11 PM

Planet Python

Evennia: The luxury of a creative community

For this blog post I want to focus on the series of very nice pull requests coming in from a growing cadre of contributors over the last few months.

Contributed goodness

People have put in a lot of good work to boost Evennia, both by improving existing things and by adding new features. Thanks a lot everyone (below is just a small selection)!
  •  Contrib: Turn-based combat system - this is a full, if intentionally bare-bones implementation of a combat system, meant as a template to put in your particular game system into.
  • Contrib: Clothing sytem - a roleplaying mechanic where a character can 'wear' items and have this show in their descriptions. Worn items can also be layered to hide that underneath. Had plenty of opportunities for extensions to a given game.
  • Contrib: An 'event' system is in the works, for allowing privileged builders to add dynamic code to objects that fires when particular events happen. The PR is not yet merged but promises the oft pondered feature of in-game coding without using softcode (and notably also without the security of softcode!). 
  • A lot of PRs, especially from one user, dealt with cleanup and adherence to PEP8 as well as fixing the 'alerts' given by LGTM on our code (LGTM is by the way a pretty nifty service, they parse the code from the github repo without actually running it and try to find problems. Abiding by their advice results is cleaner code and it also found some actual edge-case bugs here and there not covered by unit tests. The joint effort has brought us down from some 600+ alerts to somewhere around 90 - the remaining ones are alerts which I don't agree with or which are not important enough to spend effort on). 
  • The help mechanics of Evennia were improved by splitting up the default help command into smaller parts, making it easier to inject some changes to your help system without completely replacing the default one. 
  • Evennia's Xterm256 implementation was not correctly including the additional greyscale colors, those were added with new tags |=a ... |=z.
  • Evennia has the ability to relay data to external services through 'bots'. An example of this is the IRC bot, which is a sort of 'player' that sits in an in-game channel and connects that to a counterpart-bot sitting in a remote IRC channel. It allows for direct game-IRC communication, something enjoyed by people in the Evennia demo for many years now. The way the bot was defined used to be pretty hard-coded though. A crafty contributor changed that though, but incorporating the bot mechanism into Evennia's normal message flow. This allows for adding new types of bots or extending existing ones without having to modify Evennia's core. There is already an alternative IRC bot out there that represents everyone in the IRC room as a room full of people in the MUD. 
  • Evennia's Attributes is a database table connected to other objects via a ForeignKey relation. This relation is cached on the object. A user however found that for certain implementations, such as using Attributes for large coordinate systems, non-matches (that is failed Attribute lookups on the object) can also be cached and leads to dramatic speed increases for those particular use cases. A PR followed. You live and learn.
  • Another contributor helped improve the EvEditor (Evennia's VIM-like in-game text editor) by giving it a code-mode for editing Python code in-game with auto-indents and code execution. Jump into the code mode with the command @py/edit.
  • Time scheduling is another feature that has been discussed now and then and has now been added through a PR. This means that rather than specifying 'Do this in 400 seconds' you can say 'do this at 12AM, in-game time'. The core system works with the real-world time units. If you want 10 hours to a day or two weeks to a month the same contributor also made an optional calendar contrib for that!
  • A new 'whisper' command was added to the Default cmdset. It's an in-game command for whispering to someone in the same room without other people hearing it. This is a nice thing to have considering Evennia is out-of-the-box pretty much offering the features of a 'talker' type of game.
  • Lots of bug fixes big and small!
  • Some at_* hooks were added, such as at_give(giver, getter). This allows for finer control of the give process without handling all the logics at the command level. There are others hooks in the works but those will not be added until in Evennia 0.7. 
About that Evennia 0.7 ...

So while PRs are popping up left and right in master I've been working in the devel branch towards what will be the Evennia 0.7 release. The branch is not ready for public consumption and testing yet But tentatively it's about halfway there as I am slowly progressing through the tickets. Most of the upcoming features were covered in the previous blog post so I'll leave it at that.

I just want to end by saying that it's a very luxurious (and awesome) feeling for me to see master-branch Evennia expand with lots of new stuff "without me" so to speak. The power of Open Source indeed!
  

Image from http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com, released as public domain.

April 23, 2017 11:10 PM

NYT > Economy

Trump Saved Carrier Jobs. These Workers Weren’t as Lucky.

At an Indiana factory operated by the same corporate parent, more than 700 blue-collar workers are being laid off as their jobs are moved to Mexico.

by NELSON D. SCHWARTZ at April 23, 2017 11:03 PM

Zed A. Shaw

Killing Magic

I’m sitting with a friend who is an accomplished musician.  Record deals, multiple albums, and you’ve probably heard her songs on a TV show or commercial or two. She tells me that she doesn’t want to teach music because she’s afraid it would lose its magic.  There’s a mystical mystery about how she makes music and she’s afraid she’ll ruin that special quality if she has to figure out how she does it.  It won’t flow the same.

My response was something that I’ve believed my whole life:  “Magic just hides something’s true beauty.  It’s a con.  A trick that makes you love the magic rather than the real thing.  Once you actually learn how it really works, sure, the magic goes away, but then you get to fall in love with the beauty of the real thing. Real things are always simpler and more beautiful than the magic hiding them.”

Or something like that.  I probably actually sounded a lot less cool than that, but that was the idea.  I’ve found that magic just obfuscates and blurs what I’m really seeing.  Whether that magic is an accident of my perception of reality–or an actual sleight of hand by someone else–doesn’t matter.  What does matter is once I strip the magic away, and find the real simple principles hidden by the wizard, I see the real thing is better.

Of course sometimes I strip the magic away and find that the real thing is an ugly turd hiding in a golden box.  A lot of programming languages and technology are like this.  There’s all this bluster and flourish pushing a magical view of their benefits.  Then I dig a little and this magic simply hides a terrible design, poor implementation, and random warts.  It seems everyone in technology aspires to nothing more than creating enough of a code mannequin to hold up an invisible emperor’s gown.

One of the reasons people resent my opinions on technology is I have an ability to crush their fantastical magical views of technology.  It’s hard to be an Apple fan when there’s a guy pointing out that they frequently allow developers to invade their customer’s privacy, stole wages from employees, and make shitty  hardware that crashes and reboots if you don’t log in fast enough.  You can’t be enamored with Python if someone points out that its APIs are constantly asymmetrical and that Python 3 has a shitty UTF-8 strings implementation.

My mission in life has been to illuminate magic to expose the ugliness or beauty it hides because I believe magic enslaves people to others.  With magic you can convince them of almost anything, and even change the magic and they’ll keep following the wizard’s edicts.  Stripping the magic away gives people the freedom to choose what their reality will be, rather than rely on someone else to define it for them.

A key element of this mission is education.  I proved with my books that there really is no magic to learning to code.  The people who could do it weren’t special geniuses. Almost anyone could learn to do it given enough time and the right learning material.  Once it was clear that programmers aren’t special, it freed others from the magical aura surrounding programming and opened the practice up to a much wider range of people.

Education then becomes the practice of breaking magic to expose reality.  I study a topic and figure out how people are really doing it.  I find all the tricks they use, strip away the things that are just bluster and showmanship, find the lies they use to puff up their personas, and then teach the simplest real version of the topic.  This then opens the topic to a much wider range of people who can now enjoy it and improve their own lives.

Many times the practitioners aren’t purposefully trying to hide what they do because they don’t even know how they do it.  Most practitioners simply cargo cult a set of random practices they’re sure are the secret sauce.  Usually these secret practices are nothing more than extraneous rituals getting in the way of the real task at hand.  This educational acetone sometimes embarrasses these practitioners since nobody wants to be seen as believing in pointless rituals and magic.  That’s fine, but really they should be happy to find another path to what they love.  One that’s not full of obfuscation and rituals that only serve to enslave them to a limited palette of skills.

 


by zedshaw at April 23, 2017 11:00 PM

Planet Python

PyBites: Code Challenge 16 - Query Your Favorite API

Hi Pythonistas, a new week, a new 'bite' of Python coding! This week we'll let you play with Web APIs. They are fun to fiddle with and great for learning and building cool things. Enjoy!

April 23, 2017 10:01 PM

The Art of Non-Conformity » 3×5

“We Run Away from Desperation:” Thoughts on Pursuing a Creative Idea

ian-schneider-42238

I recently recorded a Side Hustle School episode about Michelle D’Avella, a designer who spent several years building a blog before turning it into a full-time income. The episode comes out next week, and ever since I made the recording I’ve been thinking about something she said.

The first year she started her blog, she made $0. Last year, after experimenting with a series of virtual workshops and mentoring sessions, she made $50,000. The success isn’t just about making money, it’s also (maybe even more importantly) about finding work she believes in.

Her advice to others is to create from a place of joy.

Don’t put so much pressure on figuring it all out, but make sure what you’re doing is something you can feel good about. When we create from joy, people feel it. When we create from lack, people feel it too. Human beings are attracted to abundance. We run away from desperation. So make sure the thing you are doing is something you believe in.”

I’ve been pondering this because as I look back over the past decade, I can clearly identify the seasons in which I was “creating with joy.” I felt energized and motivated. I worked hard, often early in the morning until late at night, but with a sense of purpose. Alternatively, I can also identify seasons in which I was creating with an intention that was less-than-joyful. In my case, I’m not sure I was doing so out of desperation, but I certainly wasn’t doing so from my true self.

That’s a great way to frame your intentions: choose joy, not desperation.

Looking back, I also realize that creating from a sense of joy often begins with more of a feeling than a well-developed concept. You don’t always know where you’re going or what the end result will be. When I started writing, that’s how it was for me: I felt as though I was guided by an internal compass. Sometimes I got off track, but when I stayed with that sense of joy and delight, everything I did was easier.

What I did during those seasons of creative joy was also more successful in terms of response. These two values—creating something you believe in and creating work that elicits a positive response—are not always so closely interlinked, but it’s nice when you find the overlap.

What project are you working on—and how can you create from a sense of joy?

###

Image: Ian

April 23, 2017 09:49 PM

The Big Picture

Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe

Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe Mark Galeotti ECFR 18th April, 2017     SUMMARY Over the past 20 years, the role of Russian organised crime in Europe has shifted considerably. Today, Russian criminals operate less on the street and more in the shadows: as allies, facilitators and suppliers for local…

Read More

The post Crimintern: How the Kremlin uses Russia’s criminal networks in Europe appeared first on The Big Picture.

by Guest Author at April 23, 2017 09:00 PM

naked capitalism

The Django community aggregator

Django Framework Nedir?

Web Programçılığı Web sayfalarının giderek yaygınlaşması ve kullanıcı ile etkileşmeye ihtiyacının olması nedeniyle CGI(Common Gateway Interface) ile başladığını söyleyebiliriz. CGI yönetemi ile etkileşimli web sayfaları üretmek oldukça pahalı bir iştir. Çünkü sunucuya CGI programının yapacağı her istek geldiğinde, program çalıştırılır. Dış program derlemeli bir dil ile yazılmış veya yorumlanabilir bir dil ile yazılmış olabilir. Yazılımın...

Django Framework Nedir? yazısı ilk önce Python Türkiye üzerinde ortaya çıktı.

by Python Turkiye at April 23, 2017 08:42 PM

Brad Ideas

How to do a low bandwidth, retinal resolution video call

Not everybody loves video calls, but there are times when they are great. I like them with family, and I try to insist on them when negotiating, because body language is important. So I’ve watched as we’ve increased the quality and ease of use.

The ultimate goals would be “retinal” resolution — where the resolution surpasses your eye — along with high dynamic range, stereo, light field, telepresence mobility and VR/AR with headset image removal. Eventually we’ll be able to make a video call or telepresence experience so good it’s a little hard to tell from actually being there. This will affect how much we fly for business meetings, travel inside towns, life for bedridden and low mobility people and more.

Here’s a proposal for how to provide that very high or retinal resolution without needing hundreds of megabits of high quality bandwidth.

Many people have observed that the human eye is high resolution on in the center of attention, known as the fovea centralis. If you make a display that’s sharp where a person is looking, and blurry out at the edges, the eye won’t notice — until of course it quickly moves to another section of the image and the brain will show you the tunnel vision.

Decades ago, people designing flight simulators combined “gaze tracking,” where you spot in real time where a person is looking with the foveal concept so that the simulator only rendered the scene in high resolution where the pilot’s eyes were. In those days in particular, rendering a whole immersive scene at high resolution wasn’t possible. Even today it’s a bit expensive. The trick is you have to be fast — when the eye darts to a new location, you have to render it at high-res within milliseconds, or we notice. Of course, to an outside viewer, such a system looks crazy, and with today’s technology, it’s still challenging to make it work.

With a video call, it’s even more challenging. If a person moves their eyes (or in AR/VR their head) and you need to get a high resolution stream of the new point of attention, it can take a long time — perhaps hundreds of milliseconds — to send that signal to the remote camera, have it adjust the feed, and then get that new feed back to you. There is no way the user will not see their new target as blurry for way too long. While it would still be workable, it will not be comfortable or seem real. For VR video conferencing it’s even an issue for people turning their head. For now, to get a high resolution remote VR experience would require sending probably a half-sphere of full resolution video. The delay is probably tolerable if the person wants to turn their head enough to look behind them.

One opposite approach being taken for low bandwidth video is the use of “avatars” — animated cartoons of the other speaker which are driven by motion capture on the other end. You’ve seen characters in movies like Sméagol, the blue Na’vi of the movie Avatar and perhaps the young Jeff Bridges (acted by old Jeff Bridges) in Tron: Legacy. Cartoon avatars are preferred because of what we call the Uncanny Valley — people notice flaws in attempts at total realism and just ignore them in cartoonish renderings. But we are now able to do moderately decent realistic renderings, and this is slowly improving.

My thought is to combine foveal video with animated avatars for brief moments after saccades and then gently blend them towards the true image when it arrives. Here’s how.

  1. The remote camera will send video with increasing resolution towards the foveal attention point. It will also be scanning the entire scene and making a capture of all motion of the face and body, probably with the use of 3D scanning techniques like time-of-flight or structured light. It will also be, in background bandwidth, updating the static model of the people in the scene and the room.
  2. Upon a saccade, the viewer’s display will immediately (within milliseconds) combine the blurry image of the new target with the motion capture data, along with the face model data received, and render a generated view of the new target. It will transmit the new target to the remote.
  3. The remote, when receiving the new target, will now switch the primary video stream to a foveal density video of it.
  4. When the new video stream starts arriving, the viewer’s display will attempt to blend them, creating a plausible transition between the rendered scene and the real scene, gradually correcting any differences between them until the video is 100% real
  5. In addition, both systems will be making predictions about what the likely target of next attention is. We tend to focus our eyes on certain places, notably the mouth and eyes, so there are some places that are more likely to be looked at next. Some portion of the spare bandwidth would be allocated to also sending those at higher resolution — either full resolution if possible, or with better resolution to improve the quality of the animated rendering.

The animated rendering will, today, both be slightly wrong, and also suffer from the uncanny valley problem. My hope is that if this is short lived enough, it will be less noticeable, or not be that bothersome. It will be possible to trade off how long it takes to blend the generated video over to the real video. The longer you take, the less jarring any error correction will be, but the longer the image is “uncanny.”

While there are 100 million photoreceptors in the whole eye, but only about a million nerve fibers going out. It would still be expensive to deliver this full resolution in the attention spot and most likely next spots, but it’s much less bandwidth than sending the whole scene. Even if full resolution is not delivered, much better resolution can be offered.

Stereo and simulated 3D

You can also do this in stereo to provide 3D. Another interesting approach was done at CMU called pseudo 3D. I recommend you check out the video. This system captures the background and moves the flat head against it as the viewer moves their head. The result looks surprisingly good.  read more »

by brad at April 23, 2017 08:25 PM

SANS Internet Storm Center, InfoCON: green

Malicious Documents: A Bit Of News, (Sun, Apr 23rd)

This week I saw again a PDF containing a malicious Word document with macros (a downloader).

The PDF contains JavaScript to extract the malicious Word document and launch Word. The user is prompted before this action takes place, but if you want to mitigate this, you can disable JavaScript. If you use Adobe Reader version 15.009.20069 or later, then the extracted Word document is marked with a mark-of-web, regardless if the containing PDF document is marked as such.

I made a video of the analysis of this document.

%%cve:2017-0199%%

There has been a lot of talk about RTF documents exploiting CVE-2017-0199, making Word download and execute an HTML application without requiring any user interaction (except taking the document out of Protected View, depending on the presence of a mark-of-web). And this without VBA macros (RTF does not support VBA macros).

After applying Microsofts patch for CVE-2017-0199, a downloaded HTA is no longer executed, but it is still downloaded without user interaction. The attention that the RTF auto-update technique received (employed for delivering a CVE-2017-0199 exploit), will certainly stimulate the use of this technique for other purposes, like tracking.

Didier Stevens
Microsoft MVP Consumer Security
blog.DidierStevens.com DidierStevensLabs.com

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

April 23, 2017 08:04 PM

RubyFlow

TheOpenCMS. Weekly report #7

Hello World! I still keep you informed about my initiative. Changelog vol. 7

April 23, 2017 07:58 PM

Sr Bachchan

DAY 3313

Jalsa, Mumbai                  Apr 23/24,  2017                 Sun/Mon 12:22 am





The mirror .. the object of reflection .. the truth and honesty of its being .. the teller, the judge, the decider, the decision maker .. the silent listener ..

Al hail to thee .. thou art unique .. in presence and in existence !!


image

The invention of the mirror in its very first glory, must have been the invention of the millennium .. humans reflected themselves in the waters of the lakes and ponds and rivers before .. they were described by what the other saw in you .. that is what was believed, for you could never ever see yourself, yourself ..

Imagine the moment when the human and our predecessors, discovered this element of nature, for the very first time ..  film cinema and the still photography gave it dimension and movement and added to its fascination and wonder .. as they still do to date ..

I would not and never know what it looked like when I waved out to those that come to my gates each Sunday .. never .. now I do .. now I preserve it for posterity, for the next generation and the one after hopefully .. and of course for the generous and kind and loving Ef ..

For, I wait till the pictures arrive late in the night, even though the moment has expired by 6 in the evening .. that reflection, that mirrored memory is now recent in time .. but many other years before have been lost and missed ..

When the media banned me and I them subsequently in the 70′s, 80′s .. there was no record of any reflection, no memory, no document of events that mirrored me, no reflections of arriving at the airport, and departing from it .. no reflection on what I wore and its evaluation in their eyes .. no mirrored images of what transpired on sets of shootings .. AND certainly .. no SELFIE’s .. at all !

Let them that debate and discuss issues, comment on the merits or demerits of the exercise that lasted for several years .. for me .. all I can say is ..

THERE WAS NO REFLECTION .. !!

image
image
image

The exotic devotion and the love expressed through the efforts made by those that come would never have gained mirroring .. never ..

image
image

May debate continue .. and may they express points of view .. and discuss among them that wish discussion .. for .. 

…..   मैं तो जीवन के इस एक और पहलु से होकर निकल चला  
जीवन की आपाधापी में कब वक़्त मिला कुछ देर कहीं पर बैठ कभी ये सोच सकूँ ,
जो किया कहा माना उसमे क्या बुरा भला


Amitabh Bachchan

April 23, 2017 07:19 PM

GOOD

Science Isn’t Political, Says Silicon Valley March for Science Organizers

When it comes to fervent political activism, scientists may not pop to mind as the most likely group of folks to take a stand. However, the April 22nd March for Science in Washington, D.C.—along with more than 600 satellite marches—has revealed not only how passionate scientists are about the importance of their work, but also their exasperation at their field being continually bashed by the Trump White House. Inspired by the momentous January 21st Women’s March on Washington, which reverberated into a global movement, scientists and civilians alike turned out all over the country—even at the North Pole—on Earth Day, no less, to express outrage at the current administration’s anti-science policies, and to celebrate science in all its incarnations.

The organizers of a satellite march in Silicon Valley were driven in part by an urgent need to cross the political divide, particularly with the looming threat of climate change, the ravages of which won’t discriminate by party, and to encourage inclusivity in the sciences. Not only an infamous bastion of technology and engineering, Silicon Valley is home to a wide range of groundbreaking science-focused companies whose work ranges from biomedical research to climatology. And while it leans left on the political spectrum, the organizers wanted the march to appeal to the widest audience possible.

Stephanie and Lyne at the Silicon Valley protest. When asked why they they marched, Stephanie said, "Science matters and climate change is real." Lyne said, "Science and truth are essentials to life. The people in charge are a threat to both."

“We need to make sure we’re representing everyone in these movements, because people need to hear these important messages,” said march creator Jennie Richardson, a Ph.D. researcher working on an HIV vaccine, a co-organizer of the Silicon Valley event, along with former TV journalist Marika Krause. These messages include—beyond the aforementioned dire necessity to address and act on climate change—the need for funding for scientific research, so that accurate information will be available to influence policy decisions.

“Part of my inspiration [for the march] is that there’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what science is. It’s a process, a toolkit, not a product,” Richardson says. She doesn’t entirely blame the public for their confusion, but she does indict the 24-hour news cycle, with its emphasis on shouting heads launching partisan salvos instead of evidence, and false balance over facts. Richardson also feels that there’s a long history of anti-intellectualism in the U.S. that often causes scientists to be hesitant to speak out, lest they come across as elitist. Hopefully, she says, the marches can help to communicate “the very important role that science plays in a healthy democracy.”

(From left to right) Preschool teacher Maria Lazo

Their three goals—engage the community in celebrating science, call for evidence-based policy making, and promote inclusivity in science—were in full effect and on full display, as a diverse, all-ages group of civilians with clever signs mingled with scientists on a route beginning at San Jose City Hall, followed by a rally with speakers and exhibits.

Local resident Pamela Underwood, holding a sign that read “The science of today is the technology of tomorrow,” said, “I’m here to insure that policy is based on science, and to restore scientific data that’s been taken down from government websites.”

There was a common outcry among the march’s participants against #alternativefacts, that infamous, meme-worthy statement made by White House spokesperson Kellyanne Conway as she tried to explain away Trump’s falsehoods. Indeed, alternative facts are a perfect metaphor for the anti-science messaging of Trump’s administration, which has thumbed its nose at climate change, healthcare, and environmental protections through proposed budget cuts, greenlighting of oil pipelines, and threatening to pull out of the carbon emissions-reducing Paris Accord.

Rosanna Lee, a public school teacher, and Walter Lee, a biochemist.

“It’s a really scary time,” says Krause. “I think that’s why you’re seeing [scientists] come forward and step up; they’re feeling under attack.”

But when science is threatened, it’s not just scientists who stand to lose. “Everybody benefits on the planet when we support science,” said Jeff (who declined to give his last name), a San Jose resident who sat proudly in his wheelchair beneath a poster showing a garish, gaping cartoon Trump and the words “Denying science is fracking crazy.”

A recurring theme, whether on signs or in conversation, went something like this: Do you like your cell phone, antibiotics, (insert almost any invention or medical breakthrough here)? You can thank science for it.

Peggy Yao, a retired Silicon Valley chemist emphasized this point: “Everything we do is rooted in science.”

Despite the crowd’s palpable aggravation at Trump and the Republican party, Krause and Richardson argued that the march was not a partisan event. “I think the fact that there are more than 500 marches around the world speaks to this not being just one party [prompting] this [to] happen. This is a valid movement to say we support science, believe in the scientific process, and the important role science plays in our culture,” said Krause.

Krause hopes the momentum of this march will carry on long after the event, and that it provided people with a way to “direct their energy into positive, productive and meaningful action” that’s based on facts, not fear or falsehoods.

Ben Pederson, age 8, said, ""Science is important and you should always study science."

by Jordan E. Rosenfeld at April 23, 2017 07:00 PM

RubyFlow

Pronto v0.9.0 released!

Pronto keeps getting better at providing a quick automated code review of your changes. The big features of this releases are the two new formatters. One adds support Bitbucket Server. The other adds another way to comment on GitHub, using Review API.

April 23, 2017 06:46 PM

Boy Genius Report

Bill Gates didn’t let his kids use cell phones until they turned 14

Bill Gates Kids

While most young kids and teenagers spend hours upon hours glued to tablets and smartphones, Bill Gates' children had a markedly different experience growing up. During a recent interview with the Mirror, the former Microsoft CEO said that when his children were growing up, he limited their exposure to the addicting glow of digital screens.

"We often set a time after which there is no screen time and in their case that helps them get to sleep at a reasonable hour," Gates said. Also interesting is that Gates -- whose children currently range in age from 14 to 20 -- didn't even give his kids access to cell phones until they turned 14. And even then, using cell phones while the family was having dinner was expressly prohibited.

Continue reading...

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Planet Python

PyBites: Twitter digest 2017 week 16

Every weekend we share a curated list of 15 cool things (mostly Python) that we found / tweeted throughout the week.

April 23, 2017 06:04 PM

Calculated Risk

Vehicle Sales Forecast: Sales close to 17 Million SAAR in April

The automakers will report April vehicle sales on Tuesday, May 2nd.

Note: There were 26 selling days in April 2017, down from 27 in April 2016.

From WardsAuto: U.S. Forecast: Mild Sales, Growing Inventory
The report puts the seasonally adjusted annual rate of sales for the month at 17.1 million units, well above last month’s 16.5 million, but below year-ago’s 17.3 million.

The monthly volume will be 3.1% below last year. Beyond one fewer selling day, Easter occurred in April this year, unlike 2016, possibly delaying sales for some shoppers in the second half of the month. ...

Sluggish sales in March left inventory levels high, with LV stock of 4.15 million units at month-end.  The forecasted April inventory level sits at 4.16 million units, resulting in a fourth straight month above the 4 million mark. The only time this previously happened was in 2004, when five consecutive months surpassed that level. emphasis added
Looks like a decent month for vehicle sales, but overall sales are mostly moving sideways.

by Bill McBride (noreply@blogger.com) at April 23, 2017 05:01 PM