A few things to post about. Firstly, I made a card for Andrew's dad for Father's Day. I started with a plain pearlescent gold card then added a base layer. This was coloured by using a whole range of inks swirled about on the card then I added sprays of Glitz Spritz, which dry to a wonderful coloured metallic sheen. Then on top I layered another image, a stamp which i bought up in London of an old doorway, surrounded by ancient script - this was stamped in a Distress Ink and then covered in Sepia Accents and allowed to dry before trimming and mounting. Finally, I added some organza ribbon, which I coloured using an ink pad, then tied the knot while incorporating a beautiful chipboard key, in keeping with the medieval theme.
For Basil's birthday, next week (Basil is married to Claire, Andrew's sister), I started with a deep brown square card. I layered a smaller piece of K & Co patterned brown paper, then got to work on a smaller square piece of white card. Basil is a keen bird watcher, so I used a bird/branch mask (again,bought in London recently) and then worked various soft green and amber inks in random swooshy patterns. I sprayed with Glitz Spritz then removed the masks before applying the heat gun to dry the card. Once dry, I stamped various botanical stamps across the base using assorted Distress inks - I wanted to give the effect of viewing the bird on the branch through fronds of vegetation. Finally I added a birthday greeting.
Basil and Claire's wedding anniversary is just before Basil's birthday so I made a card for them. I took an A5 card (landscape format) and applied some beautiful glittered paper from the last Docrafts goody bag, featuring roses and butterflies. Then I used my diecutter to cut some squares of co-ordinating papers and layered these on the card. Then I stamped an image of roses (the stamp courtesy of the goody bag) twice using Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink. On the base image, I cut round the stamped card and coloured in the leaves using metallic pencils, then cut the roses from the second stamped image and coloured these, before layering them up on the first image. Then I applied Sepia Accents to the roses, this strengthening the colour and transparent Glossy Accents to the leaves. Once dry, I added a small message on the left of the image - I am really pleased with this and thinks it looks lovely and hope the recipients like it.
Finally, one of Claire and Basil's sons was born on their wedding anniversary! So it's always a busy week for them with three celebrations going on. I made a card for Alex, starting with a sunny yellow square base card with an attractive zig zag edging. This was layered with an orange paper, then on a piece of white card I added a gorgeous stamped image of four adorable little hedgehogs. I coloured these using a combination of gel pens, pencils and some Stickles and edged the card with some Distress Inks. Finally I added a bow at the bottom and a birthday message. All in all, I was very pleased with the way all the cards turned out.

             

In 1984, George Orwell referred to a characteristic called Doublethink - where a person could hold two contradictory ideas but not object. I feel rather like this about Christmas. Don't get me wrong - I absolutely adore the festive season. My already tenuous hold on taste is abandoned gleefully and I enjoy going wild with decorations, gifts, crafts, cooking, entertaining and general merrymaking. However, and this is the sticker, I loathe going into shops in August and finding the shelves filling up with Christmas puddings and cards. To me Christmas should be celebrated and anticipated at the end of the year - shopping and posting should be in darkness and cold, not sunshine. Now here's the doublethink - as a crafter, you simply cannot start too early. All that merrymaking means that it is without doubt the busiest time of the year yet it is also the time when you need to create things like cards and gifts. So to sum up, I am happy to start early for my own crafting but throw a major hissy fit if I so much as sniff something festive in a shop before the end of October.
In this Orwellian spirit, I illustrate the point with two little cross-stitched designs, just completed that will be mounted into cards. They are both by Margaret Sherry who designs frequently for magazines. For the little robin, I used a blending filament along with the dark thread for the backstitch - this gives it a nice twinkle. For the hedgehog, I used a rayon thread for the star - this gives a luxurious finish. On both, I used Thread Heaven for the first time. I have often seen it advertised in magazines as an aid to using metallics, rayons and so on. Having bought some, I tried it out on these small projects and I was completely blown away. It makes using these threads a breeze - normally the air would be blue as they got knotted, tangled, wouldn't thread and so on. Instead, I glided smoothly through - if you haven't tried it, I can recommend it.
I am hoping to build up a small stash of these little Christmas designs for mounting into cards throughout the year, thus avoiding too much late panic by the end of November! Well, that's the plan, anyway. I'll keep this updated as more are added.

          Fluttering Gems of Late Summer   
Often mistaken for a Monarch, this is the Viceroy.
It is distinguishable by the arched black line that crosses the hind wing.
It's late summer and fallow fields and meadows are awash with the color of wildflowers. Likewise, roadsides and hedgerows are speckled with the brilliant hues of goldenrod, purple asters, and chicory to name a few.  

While this landscape is aesthetically pleasing to the eye and enjoyed by many, perhaps nothing appreciates those colorful wild blooms more than butterflies. The weather has been nothing short of spectacular and it stands to reason that this is perhaps the greatest time of year for watching a wide variety of butterflies as they flit and flutter from flower to flower, drawing nectar from bloom after colorful bloom. With that in mind, we thought it a great time to share with you some of our favorite butterfly photos.
This is a Pear Crescent, one of the more common smaller
 butterflies, seen here alighting on some goldenrod.
A Question Mark touches down by the side of the road at Genesee CountyPark and Forest. This species is so named for the silver marking along the base of its rear wings.
A Mourning Cloak absorbs some mid-morning sunshine. Some believe
 its named for its somber color, much like a funeral shawl worn by widows. 
Flower gardens are equally attractive to butterflies this time of year.  We especially enjoy gazing upon our butterfly bush while it's in bloom to see the variety of visitors it attracts.  

An Eastern Tiger Swallowtail is busy at work pollinating the tiny
individual blossoms of our butterfly bush.
A White Admiral also enjoys visiting our yard.
While butterflies might not be as fast or efficient as bees when it comes to pollinating, they certainly are a pleasing sight to behold.  Plus, when was the last time anyone got stung by one?

Until Next Time,
Jim & Claudia

          A Red-tailed Hawk's "Long" Lunch   
The Red-tailed Hawk is a familiar site throughout Western NY.
Not far from our home in the town of Batavia is a tract of land consisting of some large fields, hedgerows, a couple of ponds, a small creek and small woodlots. In one of the fields is a pair of aged oak trees which serve as both a perch and look-out post for the resident Red-tail hawk who calls this place home. More often than not, whenever I drive down the road that leads into the area, the Red-tail hawk takes flight as soon the tires of my pickup make contact with the gravel surface.

But this day was different. For starters the hawk wasn’t perched in either of the towering oaks. Instead, it was situated in a much smaller tree alongside the roadway, and literally within a stone’s throw from my vehicle. I stopped the truck, readied the camera and, much to my delight, the hawk stayed put. What’s more, I could see that it wasn’t paying me any mind whatsoever. It was intently staring at something on the ground, almost directly below. 
The bird clearly had something pinned beneath it.
In an instant, the bird "dropped" to the ground and pounced on it's prey. I was about 40 yards away and couldn’t make out what it was so I continued taking photos, focusing solely on the hawk.    

The raptor takes a quick look to see if the coast is clear.
Getting back to the task at hand, the hawk uses its talons to hold
 the quarry in place  and, as I would soon discover......decapitate it.
The meal in question turned out to be a snake, sans head.
My best guess of this shot is the hawk was having a harder time than
expected swallowing the snake.  Even without a head it was probably
still writhing around on it's way down the hatch.  
While I say kudos to the Red-tail, this was not the first time I’ve seen winged predators of various species and sizes make a meal of a snake. I’ve seen birds like Great Blue herons fly off with a snake dangling from its bill and the much smaller Grackle do likewise.  Has ever a creature of the wild been frowned upon with more disdain than the lowly snake?
   
Genesis 3:14 “And the Lord God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you more than all cattle, And more than every beast of the field; On your belly you shall go, And dust shall you eat all the days of your life.”

Until next time, 
Jim & Claudia    



          Global Advisors Names itBit, Gemini Trust as Custodians for Bitcoin Fund   
Digital currency hedge fund Global Advisors has named Gemini Trust Company and itBit as custodians for its flagship Global Advisors Bitcoin Investment Fund ahead of a possible listing on the Channel Islands Securities Exchange by the end of this year.
          The Cold War Kabuki   



Well, you all know what the big story was this past week. I wasn't going to post on it but enough people have asked and it seems germane to the ongoing Reality Show we're all unwitting (and unwilling) extras in. In case you've been on media blackout or a vision quest, here's a brief thumbnail sketch:
The United States launched a military strike Thursday on a Syrian government airbase in response to a chemical weapons attack that killed dozens of civilians earlier in the week. 
On President Donald Trump's orders, US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the airbase that was home to the warplanes that carried out the chemical attacks, US officials said.
As it happens, the airstrikes apparently didn't even seem to have the desired deterrent effect. The air base was up and running soon after the strikes:
Syrian warplanes took off from the air base hit by US cruise missiles yesterday to carry out bombing raids on rebel-held areas, in a defiant show of strength. 
Just hours after the al-Shayrat airfield was bombed with 59 US Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from warships in the Mediterranean, aircraft struck targets in the eastern Homs countryside, according to a monitoring group. 
The airstrikes were carried out on Khan Sheikhoun - the same town Bashar al-Assad’s regime is accused of attacking with chemicals - and seven other towns around eastern Homs, some of which controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil).
This rebound seemed to catch the War Party off guard, since CNN reported on the same story but appeared to ascribe the airstrikes to phantom warplanes. I mean, it couldn't be the Syrians or the Russians, right?:
(CNN) New airstrikes targeted a town in Syria that was hit by a chemical attack earlier this week, activists said, less than a day after the US bombarded a Syrian air base to "send a message" to the Assad regime. 
It wasn't immediately clear who conducted the strikes on Khan Sheikhoun, which was hit on Friday and Saturday, though only Russian and Syrian regime aircraft have been bombing that area of rebel-held Idlib province.
CNN, who've been hammering Trump around the clock since he humiliated their network head in a post-election tantrum, suddenly changed their tune when he started raining bombs on Syria. Sam Kriss reports:
The media was kind to Trump’s attack on Syria. Every pompous outlet that has spent the last five months screaming incessantly about the threat to democracy, the inevitable deaths and the terror of wars, had nothing but applause as soon as the wars and the deaths actually got going. 
 A fleshy and dangerous idiot, a vulgarian, an imbecile – until those first perfect screaming shots of Tomahawk missiles being fired were broadcast – that’s our guy, you show them Donny! This is when, as Fareed Zakaria put it on CNN, Trump ‘became the president.’
The same mainstream media, which has become a hornet's hive of conspiracy theorizing since the election, was quick to shoot down any conspiracy theories about the Syria Bombshow.
A volley of US cruise missiles had barely been launched into Syria before the internet filled up with fact-free theories about the real reason for the international crisis.
A popular one on the right-most fringes: the US government actually carried out the chemical weapons massacre in Syria last week - a "false flag" to trick President Donald Trump into retaliating, thus entangling himself in a foreign war. 
A slightly more convoluted strain on the left: Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia by provoking the missile strike.
Alt-left conspiracy theorists prefer the idea that Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the chemical weapons massacre to help Trump - distracting Americans from an investigation into Trump's campaign ties to Russia.
Ron Paul, whose son Rand is now a rising star in the Senate, was perhaps the most prominent public figure to cast shade on the Syria op:
“Before this episode of possible gas exposure and who did what, things were going along reasonably well for the conditions,” the former Texas congressman stated. “Trump said let the Syrians decide who should run their country, and peace talks were making out, and Al Qaeda and ISIS were on the run.” 
“It looks like, maybe, somebody didn’t like that so there had to be an episode, and the blame now is we can’t let that happen because it looks like it might benefit Assad.”
For his part, Doctor Bones speculates that the real mark for a possible elaborate sting wasn't Assad or Putin, but in fact another player altogether. The timing seems hard to argue with:
A gas attack launched by the fleeing Syrian rebels, a side quickly losing it’s CIA-sponsorship and well aware it’s continued health depends on American funds, sure has a shit-ton more to gain from wide swathes of civilians dying on camera. Even better if they die particularly gruesomely and in a way the rebels claim they couldn’t be responsible for despite being photographed with all the tech to do so. 
How does Trump’s seemingly pointless explosion-show play into this? The answer: perfectly...
Consider also that the Chinese President was in Mar-a-Largo when the strike was underway, that Trump not only told him it was going to happen but actually ate dinner with him as it went on and the event spirals into even greater significance. A show of force full of technical prowess in a contested warzone while the Russians stood back and watched sends a powerful message to a foreign leader currently dining in enemy territory.
Is this just swivel-eyed speculation? Is there any reason to believe this wasn't all some improbable coincidence, that Xi Jinping was indeed dining with Trump while the Bombshow began? Because if it's not a coincidence then it's one hell of a psyop; running a mindfuck on your most dangerous frenemy during a state visit. What's this all about then? Joseph Farrell reports:
While there have been a spate of articles recently about growing Russo-Chinese defense and security ties, matching their growing financial and economic ties, this one left me stunned, for there was a statement within it that caught my eye, and Mr. B's as well, and I'm sure the reader saw it as well. As one can imagine, this one fueled my "high octane speculation" mode to the nth degree. Here's the statement, and a bit of surrounding context:
Russia and China are tired of Washington's "defensive" military installations in their backyards — and they're already taking action. 
According to the Atlantic Council and other responsible thinkers, the Untied States reserves the right to park its missile shields anywhere it wants, whether it be in Europe, East Asia, or the dark side of the Moon.  
I guess we should have seen all this coming, no? Shortly before the Bombshow, Trump's top Praetorian removed Trump's assumed consigliere from the NSC:
President Trump on Wednesday removed controversial White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon from the National Security Council, part of a sweeping staff reshuffling that elevated military, intelligence and Cabinet officials to greater roles on the council and left Bannon less directly involved in shaping the administration’s day-to-day national security policy. 
The restructuring reflects the growing influence of national security adviser H.R. McMaster, an Army three-star general who took over the post after retired general Michael Flynn was ousted in February and who is increasingly asserting himself over the flow of national security information in the White House. 
Do yourself a favor and set a news alert for "McMaster." That's a name you're going to be hearing more of in the days ahead. Or you won't. Which is probably the more troubling scenario.

And with Bannon off the NSC there's apparently an effort to shuffle him off to some fat-salaried thinktank glue factory.  The not-news of Bannon's interest in The Fourth Coming was dragged out yet again, this time by The New York Times. But the article planted a helpful hint of why Bannon is on the elbow list and might be giving us a grim preview of the year ahead:
Bannon’s Views Can Be Traced to a Book That Warns, ‘Winter Is Coming’

WASHINGTON — Stephen K. Bannon has read the book three times. He still keeps a copy of it — one that’s creased and copiously underlined — in a library with the rest of his favorites at his father’s house in Richmond, Va. 
The book, “The Fourth Turning,” a 1997 work by two amateur historians, Neil Howe and William Strauss, lays out a theory that American history unfurls in predictable, 80-year cycles of prosperity and catastrophe. And it foresees catastrophe right around the corner. 
It also leads to unavoidable questions about war and whether Mr. Bannon, who has recommended the book to countless friends and made a film about it in 2010, is resigned to catastrophic global conflict. He says he is not. 
And he remains unconvinced that the United States can effectively intervene in overseas conflicts like the one unfolding in Syria. As one of the voices in the administration who expressed skepticism about a military strike in response to the Assad regime’s chemical attack on its own citizens, Mr. Bannon insists he is no warmonger.
Well, there you have it.

Is the Syria proxy war threatening to heat up again, or is this all just another dance in the Cold War Kabuki? Have actions like the Bombshow  become like sacrificial actions in ongoing magical actions? Or is the real war is for your mind and is playing out in thousands of manufactured headlines, blizzards of 30 second videos with deceptive text crawls and the endless babbling of overpaid talking heads?

I feel stupid even asking the question.

Just in case you're worried that this is all leading to nukes raining down on American cities,  the cognitive warriors seem to be trying to defuse any expectations of impending Armageddon: 
White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster says that while the U.S. would push for regime change in Syria, “We’re not the ones who are going to effect that change.” 
“What we’re saying is, other countries have to ask themselves some hard questions,” McMaster said in an interview on "Fox News Sunday." “Russia should ask themselves, ‘What are we doing here?’ Why are we supporting this murderous regime that is committing mass murder of its own population and using the most heinous weapons available?’”
Translation: No way in Hell we have the readiness needed for a hot war with a military superpower.

And since the mindfuck is the mother's milk of Cog-War, the careful inoculation of mixed messages into the mediafeed becomes just as vital a weapon as a cruise missile. Scratch that- much, much more so.
Trump Administration Is Contradicting Itself On Regime Change In Syria 
The Trump administration appears divided on whether the U.S. is pursuing a policy of regime change in Syria, days after the first direct American military attack against the Syrian government. 
Thursday’s strike “was related solely to the most recent horrific use of chemical weapons,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos on Sunday. The goal of the attack was to send a message to Syrian President Bashar Assad and its ally Russia that the U.S. wouldn’t tolerate the use of chemical weapons, he continued. “Other than that, there is no change to our military posture.”
But United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said there can be no peace in Syria with Assad in power. “There’s not any sort of option where a political solution is going to happen with Assad at the head of the regime,” she told CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday. “Regime change is something that we think is going to happen because all of the parties are going to see that Assad is not the leader that needs to be taking place for Syria.​”​
Though Haley stopped short of indicating the U.S. would take military action to overthrow the Syrian dictator, her comments reflect a sharp change from the administration’s previous position.
The difference here, of course, is that Tillerson sets and executes policy and Haley sits in a glorified debating society and blows smoke and fairy dust for a bunch of bored bureaucrats wishing they had their real government jobs back, the ones they enjoyed before being pushed upstairs to their present posts. The media only pays attention when bombs are falling.

It's all black magic, make no mistake about it. There are different terms and epithets for it all now,  but when you strip all the twenty-dollar words and the credentials and the technology away the intent and the effect is no different than a witch doctor's curse. 

William S. Burroughs understood this, since his uncle Ivy Lee was the creator of one of these modern strains of black magic, so-called "public relations." Burroughs considered his uncle a bonafide "evil genius." And Lee was a piker compared to the algorithm-fired masters of the dark arts striding the globe today.

Here's a story that probably won't pop up on your Facebook feed. Anyone paying attention to the Russia hacking story probably knows how incredibly weak the hacking evidence actually is,* but now Wikileaks is teasing out the Seth Rich mystery again.
‘Guccifer 2.0’ Chat With Nude Model Sparks New Conspiracy Theories About Murder of DNC’s Seth Rich 
New chat logs between alleged Democratic National Committee hacker Guccifer 2.0 and a Playboy centerfold model surfaced today via Wikileaks on Twitter, throwing more fuel on the conspiracy theories surrounding murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich. The Twitter conversation, conducted via direct messages, purports to reveal Rich as the primary leaker of the DNC e-mails that proved highly disruptive during the 2016 presidential election. 
In direct messages dated August 25, 2016, Guccifer 2.0 mentioned having a whistleblower at the DNC, and said he was looking for a “person of trust who can be a guarantee in case anything happens.”
When Young suggested trusting Julian Assange, Guccifer 2.0 called him “unsafe” and that he “may be connected with Russians” despite being his hero. 
“I’d like to find a journalist who can do an investigation and teel [sic] the real story of his life and death,” he said, and revealed that the whistleblower he was referring to was none other than a person named “Seth.” 
“I suppose u know who I’m talking about,” he said, adding that he felt sorry about the murdered DNC staffer’s parents and that he wished for journalists to uncover the truth of his murder.
  
Seth Rich, a 27-year-old mid-level DNC staffer, was shot and killed in the early morning of July 2016 in Washington DC, while he was walking home from a bar and talking with his girlfriend on his mobile phone. Rich’s killers left his watch and wallet untouched on his body. 
This wasn't floated by Alex Jones or David Icke, it popped up on Heat Street, which is owned by the Dow Jones Company and Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp. This story looks like it's going to grow some legs yet.

So are you sick of the Cog-War and the Cold War Kabuki yet? Tired of your social media hijacked by proxy warriors fighting battles for cliques within the Intelligence community? Burnt out on the whole Reality Show Presidency and its discontents altogether?

Start looking into ashrams in Sri Lanka, then. This machine is just getting warmed up. 




*Maybe some bright young spark should see if maybe the hacking an inside job by intel people who correctly judged a Trump White House would be easier to dominate than a bloated, top-heavy Clinton one. Just throwing that out there for giggles and grins.


          Comment on Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists by weed online   
Legalize and tax it!
          Los videojuegos clásicos de SEGA, ahora en tu móvil   
Ya se pueden descargar Sonic The Hedgehog, Phantasy Star II, Comix Zone, Kid Chameleon y Altered Beast 1988. SEGA anuncia más títulos próximamente.
          Stroking the Hedgehog with Ron Jeremy   

We have legendary *ahem* actor from such movies as Ghostbusters, Boondock Saints, and 21 Hump Street.

We talk with Jeremy about his illustrious film career and more.


          Comment on Weekly Kid’s Co-op: The Mitten…An Enchanting Small World Activity Inspired by an Enchanting Storybook. by lauravickers   
Have you read The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt? It is basically the same folktale but some of the animals are different. We are reading both in our preschool class and comparing the two, In his version instead of there being a mole, badger and hedgehog there is a frog, cricket, wolf and wild boar. I love the Mitten by Jan Brett and this is the 1st year I've done both. Love your activity. I've been looking for the animals as well and nope...no mole.
          slipping on my posts...   
so how about a bus stop | safle bws picture or three? All recent

triglog goch
safle bws
rooks

red valerian triglog goch by the teifi, someone has pulled a few heads off since then.
the bunting for the urdd eisteddfod - don't get me started on the scalping of the verges, backs AND hedges of the other main road in honour of this - oh except for a little clump of blodau'r gog by the Blaenffos village sign. And an amazing mass of rooks.
Bus stops - where real life happens
          The Dorsoventral Patterning of Human Forebrain Follows an Activation/Transformation Model   
<span class="paragraphSection"><div class="boxTitle">Abstract</div>The anteroposterior patterning of the central nervous system follows an activation/transformation model, which proposes that a prospective telencephalic fate will be activated by default during the neural induction stage, while this anterior fate could be transformed posteriorly according to caudalization morphogens. Although both extrinsic signals and intrinsic transcription factors have been implicated in dorsoventral (DV) specification of vertebrate telencephalon, the DV patterning model remains elusive. This is especially true in human considering its evolutionary trait and uniqueness of gene regulatory networks during neural induction. Here, we point to a model that human forebrain DV patterning also follows an activation/transformation paradigm. Human neuroectoderm (NE) will activate a forebrain dorsal fate automatically and this default anterior dorsal fate does not depend on Wnts activation or Pax6 expression. Forced expression of Pax6 in human NE hinders its ventralization even under sonic hedgehog (Shh) treatment, suggesting that the ventral fate is repressed by dorsal genes. Genetic manipulation of Nkx2.1, a key gene for forebrain ventral progenitors, shows that Nkx2.1 is neither necessary nor sufficient for Shh-driven ventralization. We thus propose that Shh represses dorsal genes of human NE and subsequently transforms the primitively activated dorsal fate ventrally in a repression release manner.</span>
          Violets Are Blue . . . Photographers-Artforum   
We had a pretty large patch of violets under our juniper hedge for several years. It seemed that every season that passed, the violet patch became smaller and smaller until it disappeared completely. I missed them.
          U.K. Suit Against BNY Mellon on Argentine Debt - NASDAQ.com   
A group of hedge funds holding EUR1.3 billion ($1.71 billion) of Argentine government bonds has filed suit against the U.S. bank charged with overseeing payments to the nation's bond investors, seeking to gain access to interest payments they are owed.
          Argentina Files Legal Action Against the US at The Hague Over Debt Default | World news | The Guardian   
Argentina has asked the international court of justice (ICJ) in The Hague to take action against the United States over an alleged breach of its sovereignty as it defaulted on its debt. Argentina defaulted last week after losing a long legal battle with hedge funds that reject …
          Red-hot Iceland Keeps Some Investors Out in the Cold   
Iceland spent nearly a decade trying to keep foreign money in the country after a financial collapse, now it is trying to keep some of it out. The economy is booming again and hedge funds and other foreign investors want exposure to a surging tourism sector, banks, property, infrastructure and the soaring krona currency. Most capital controls from the 2008 banking crisis were lifted in March, allowing money to flow in and out of the country more freely. But with over 20 financial...
          MIA - Enchanted Woods 2nd Birthday Party   

So, I have been MIA for a little while now, and here is why. An enchanted woods 2nd birthday party. Many late nights were had by me by it was well worth it to see the happiness and excitement on the birthday girl's face. Much fun was had by all. (Apologies for some of the bad lighting, that's what happens when you run around in your pj's taking photos before the party begins praying no-one arrives before you have time to get dressed!



Frog in a pond
Pinyata (I forgot to leave a hole to thread the string through, but I did finally get a chance to use the lovely dragonfly ribbon I'd had for ages)
Bubbles outside for the kiddies to play with (hard to find games that 2 year olds can understand and enjoy)

the mandatory fairy bread

more mandatory birthday food, chocolate crackles

Lolly Bags

Table Decorations

Mushroom Lollies (they were on clearance at Coles, unfortunately I don't think they will be stocking them any longer)

Hedgehog cupcakes (Tutorial at http://weelovebaking.blogspot.com/search/label/how%20to%20tutorials)

Birthday Cake (apologies for the bad lighting). Carrot cake with cream cheese frosting, decorated with mini bunting and mini toadstools.

Terrarium

Sparklers (if you do this, be careful that the shredded paper doesn't catch on fire)
Toadstool Table Decorations

Cake Ball Owls (Inspired by http://www.bakerella.com/pop-star-kelly-in-michigan)

Birds Nests

Bunting

Hope you enjoyed "sharing" the party!

Have a lovely weekend.

Mary








          Congresscritters Aren't Like The Rest Of Us   
This last few weeks, we've heard a lot about research conducted by Ziobrowski et. al. (see here and here) on the possibility of informed trading by Senators and Congressmen. Based on abnormal returns earned on their portfolios, it appears that they do use their "inside information" in ways that would be illegal for those not in government service. In case you haven't seen it, here's the 60 Minutes story that brought Ziobrowski's research into the public eye:


Now here's another fun fact - Congresscritters not only get to profit from material nonpublic information, they also get to reveal it to select parties too. It seems like a number of hedge funds regularly meet with members of congress to get fast track access to this information. Here's a video from the Wall Street Journal for your viewing pleasure.




And here I though our elected officials were pure of heart and above approach (sorry - I think I shouldn't have changed my meds without doctor's orders).

          Stem cells have "twin"   

An investigation by the National Research Council (CSIC), published today in the journal Cell Reports has analyzed the division of precursor stem cells of motor neurons of the spinal cord.

According to their results, the stem cell symmetric division to generate identical daughter with proliferative capacity is mediated by growth factor Sonic Hedgehog. This growth factor is a protein previously known for its role in embryonic development of organs.

The researcher of the Institute of Molecular Biology of Barcelona, CSIC Elisa Martí, who led the research in collaboration with the University of Barcelona researcher Javier Buceta, explains: "This information has been obtained by a quantitative mathematical model we developed and experimental data enabling us to study and predict how to control different types of stem cell division during development of the nervous system. "

The balance between the various types of stem cell division determines the balanced growth of tissues and organs. Similarly, alterations in the path of action of Sonic Hedgehog have been associated with the occurrence of tumors. Therefore, Martí emphasizes the importance of this finding that "might help to understand how this factor favors the apparition".

 

Murielle Saade, Irene Gutiérrez-Vallejo, Gwenvael Le Dréau, M. Angeles Rabadan, David G. Miguez, Javier Buceta and Elisa Martí. Sonic Hedgehog Signaling Switches the Mode of Division in the Developing Nervous System. Cell Reports. 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.06.038

Picture: Células madre neurales en división. Crédito: Murielle Saade


          Blue Apron Prices IPO At Bottom Of Deeply Discounted Range   
Blue Apron Prices IPO At Bottom Of Deeply Discounted Range Perhaps impacted by Amazon's Whole Foods' deal, *Blue Apron just priced its IPO at $10 (30 million shares)*.



Blue Apron Holdings #IPO - $APRN $IPO priced 30mm shares at a price of $10.00, and will debut tomorrow (6/29).

— IPO Boutique (@IPOBoutique) June 28, 2017



*The food-kit-delivery company slashed its marketed initial public offering price by 34% Wednesday*, cutting the range from $15 to $17 a share to $10 to $11, *the second biggest cut in five years*.

 

*Perhaps the crushing discount on the IPO is because of this...*

Via Daniel McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University,

*Good companies can acquire many customers cheaply, retain existing customers for extended periods of time, and generate a lot of revenue while those customers are alive.* Putting it simply, the litmus test of any company’s financial success is the ability to acquire many high lifetime value (LTV) customers. Being LTV-centric is at the heart of being customer centric.

*Does Blue Apron, which recently priced its IPO at a very healthy ~$3 billion implied valuation (or almost 3.5 times trailing twelve month revenues), pass the test?* In my last note on Blue Apron, which was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal, I showed that while Blue Apron disclosed nothing explicitly about its customer retention, and very little about how its customer acquisition cost (CAC) has been changing over time, it disclosed just enough to use the modeling approach that I advocated in a recent journal article to “back out” what these figures are most likely to be. The conclusion: Blue Apron doesn’t retain customers for very long, and the cost to acquire customers has been on the rise lately. These are important ingredients to the overall customer-based corporate valuation recipe. At the same time, there is a lot more that we can learn from Blue Apron’s S-1 disclosures.

I went back and built a much more complete model to leverage all the data that Blue Apron has disclosed. I explicitly model how customers are acquired, how long they remain customers before churning, how many orders they make while they are retained, and how much they spend on each of those orders. This more general model allows us to incorporate all the metrics that Blue Apron has disclosed, such as six-month cumulative revenue for annual customer cohorts. It allows us to refine answers to previous questions, such as what Blue Apron’s retention curve looks like, and answer new ones, such as how the post-acquisition profitability of customers has been changing over time, and whether younger customers generate more revenues as they age or not (e.g., that the customers who stick for a long time around reorder a substantial amount).

The results continue to suggest challenges ahead – retention is even weaker than I had originally estimated it to be, new acquisition cohorts are generating less revenues than old ones, and as customers age, they spend less and not more with the firm. In recent months, I estimate that Blue Apron is losing money on ~70% of the customers that it acquires. I dive into the model briefly next, before expanding on these conclusions.

-*The Model*-

My model for the acquisition and retention of users remains the same, using only the cost per acquired customer, historical marketing expense, and active customer data as inputs. However, I built additional models for how many orders customers make while they are alive, and how much they will spend on a particular order. I estimate parameters for each of these models so that what we expect the data to be is as consistent as possible with the disclosed data. As before, wonkish comments are provided below.

The resulting relatively simple composite model does an excellent job of fitting the observed data. As shown below, it provides a very reasonable fit to all the data – the number of active customers, total customer acquisitions, orders, revenues, and cumulative revenue per acquired customer metrics. I provide a series of charts summarizing this performance below, all of which are accessible in Excel spreadsheet form here (download), if you would like to examine the numbers yourself. On to the charts!

Quarterly total number of active customers:

*Aside: Total active customers must be larger than total subscribers, and it is unconventional for a subscription business such as Blue Apron to report the former instead of the latter.* Blue Apron defines active customers to be the total number of customers who have placed at least one order during the quarter, regardless of whether or not that customer has churned by the end of the quarter or not, from what I can tell. Active customers is a more appropriate metric for (and traditionally only disclosed by) non-subscription businesses such as social networking companies, mobile gaming companies, and e-commerce retailers (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Amazon’s e-commerce business).

Cumulative customers acquired, Q1 2014 to Q1 2017:

 

Quarterly total orders:

Quarterly total revenue:

Cumulative revenue per acquired customer for customers acquired between Q1 2014 and Q1 2017, 6 to 36 months out:

Cumulative revenue per acquired customer over next six months for customers acquired in 2014, 2015, and 2016:

 

The fact that my relatively simple model is consistent with the data along so many key dimensions at the same time provides some comfort that we can trust the results of the model. Let’s discuss those results next.

-*The Results: Anti-stickiness – Low Retention and Declining Revenue per Customer, Over Time and Across Cohorts*-

Here is a summary of what I found from the deeper dive:

*1.   The retention curve is worse than I originally had estimated it to be. *While my substantive conclusion remains the same, I estimate that *72%* of customers will churn by the time they are six months old. Because Blue Apron cannot retain customers for extended periods of time means that CAC is effectively part of cost of goods sold. CAC should go down relatively sharply over time as a percentage of sales at healthy businesses, as sales are increasingly derived from loyal customers who have been around for a while. When customers churn out very quickly, that pool of loyal customer revenue remains small, making CAC effectively variable in nature.

*2.   The revenue that Blue Apron is generating from more recently-acquired customers is less than from customers acquired in the past.* Every new acquisition cohort generates, on average, about $7 less in revenues over the next 6 months than the cohort which preceded it, which adds up quickly over time. In other words, while the cost to acquire new customers is going up, the go-forward value of those newly acquired customers is going down. Both trends are driving LTV lower over time. I suspect that this is due at least in part to the vast sums of money that Blue Apron is spending upon subscriber acquisition expenses (SAE). It is very common to see LTV go way down when SAE goes way up.

*3.   While customers are alive, the amount of revenue that Blue Apron generates from them tends to go down, not up, over time. *This makes it unlikely that long-time loyal customers will “bail out” the firm because they are also high spenders, a common trend at mobile gaming companies, for example – in fact, we infer that the opposite has been taking place. As customers get older, they place fewer orders on average, which is only slightly offset by a marginal increase in spend per order over time. Customers are not “sticky.” Moreover, at subscription-based businesses like Blue Apron, there is only so much that big spenders can spend, while there is no such upper bound at non-subscription businesses.

*4.   70% of recent Blue Apron customers will not break even.* We estimate that CAC in Q1 2017 is $147. To break even at this CAC, new customers must generate at least $565 of net revenue (i.e., gross revenue minus returns and promotional discounts), assuming Blue Apron’s variable contribution margin is equal to ~26%. The chart above shows that newer customers must remain subscribed for about 4.5 months to generate this much revenue. However, almost 70% of customers churn by this time and thus do not break even. Even though Blue Apron turns a profit on the remaining 30% of customers, the break-even point is moving farther away with every new cohort due to declining revenue and growing CAC for newer customers.

*In summary, this customer-based analysis spells trouble for Blue Apron, with important measures of customer health in decline.* Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods is likely to make it even more difficult to keep those Blue Apron subscribers coming back. I recommend that Blue Apron redouble its efforts upon activities that will make customers “sticky” in the long run. Investors are clamoring for customer metrics so that they can go beneath surface-level financial metrics to better understand Blue Apron’s underlying unit economics. I hope that this analysis takes investors a step closer to what they are looking for, and that Blue Apron will begin disclosing a few more.

A big acknowledgement goes to Valery Rastorguev. All errors and omissions are mine.

-*Wonkish Comments*-

1.   The model for the acquisition and retention of users over time is essentially unchanged from our previous analysis, except for two factors:

· I re-incorporate marketing spend into the acquisition process. More than ever, the data demanded that this covariate be included because it had a strong positive relationship with customer acquisition. While I would not read too deeply into its coefficient estimate, including it gives us a much “cleaner read” into the company’s retention trends, as well as the evolution of CAC over time. It implies acquisitions are more front-loaded than previously estimated, which as I suggested in my previous post, led to worse retention trends.
· I accounted for the aforementioned fact that Blue Apron reports active customers and not total subscribers.

2.   The total orders model assumes that customers by definition place an order the week they are acquired as customers. They will make purchases in subsequent weeks with some probability, which is a function of how tenured the customer is, and when they were acquired as a customer. The model allows for seasonal fluctuation in the order rate over time.

3.   The spend per order model assumes that the expected revenue derived from a particular customer’s order is some function of a time-invariant baseline, how tenured the customer is, and when they were acquired as a customer.

4.   The retention, order, and spend processes are assumed to be independent of one another a priori (but not a posteriori, if individual-level data were available).

5.   The variable contribution margin is assumed to be equal to Blue Apron’s most recent gross margin (31%), less 5% of sales from non-SAE operating expenses which are assumed to be effectively variable in nature. This is substantively consistent with Lee Cower’s assessment of fully loaded contribution margin. Had I optimistically assumed that no non-SAE operating expenses are effectively variable in nature, the current break-even point is closer to four months.

6.   I agree with Lee Cower’s comments regarding margin improvement over the past few years. However, I also agree with his opinion that gross margin improvement appears to have stopped and thus is unlikely to resume in the future.

7.   The proposed model’s implied six-month retention rate of approximately 30% is consistent with the retention rate estimated by business intelligence firm SecondMeasure, and implies that business intelligence firm 1010data’s 10% retention rate estimate is pessimistic. A helpful benefit of methods such as the one proposed in this note, which leverage first-party disclosures, is that they do not rely upon data from a panel of users which may not be representative of the overall customer base of the focal firm in question.

*  *  *

But apart from that we are sure BNob Pisani will see it a success tomorrow morning when it opens... Reported by Zero Hedge 16 minutes ago.
          Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia   
Putin Accuses Foreign Spy Agencies Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia In the first public accusation that "foreign spy agencies" are seeking to destabilize Russia made in recent years, during a meeting with Russia's foreign intelligence agency President Vladimir Putin said that "some foreign special services" are directly supporting extremist and terrorist groups to destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.

“In general, the growing activity of foreign special services against us and our allies is obvious,” Putin said quoted by Bloomberg during the televised speech in Moscow on Wednesday, without specifying which nations he was referring to. *“There are operations to influence the domestic political and social processes in our country.*”

Tangentially, the AP reported that according to an unclassified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, released on Wednesday, *Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, *"a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes."

"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine," the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin's government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.



Thursday's report, prepared long before Trump's election, reflects the Pentagon's view of the global security picture shifting after nearly two decades of heavy American focus on countering terrorism and fighting relatively small-scale wars across the Middle East. Russia, in particular, is now at the center of the national security debate in Congress, fed by political divisions over how to deal with Putin and whether his military buildup, perceived threats against NATO and alleged election interference call for a new U.S. approach.



According to the AP, the 116-page report portrays Russia as increasingly wary of the United States. It cites Moscow's "deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values." One almost wonders why.



"Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia's internal affairs," the report says. Titled "Russia Military Power," it is the agency's first such unclassified assessment in more than two decades.



The report also discusses recent military developments, with a focus on the middle east.



It cites the example of Moscow's 2015 military intervention in Syria. The Kremlin cast the effort as designed to combat Islamic State fighters. Washington saw Moscow largely propping up Assad by providing air support for the Syrian army's offensive against opposition forces.

 

The report says the Syria intervention is intended also to eliminate jihadist elements that originated on the former Soviet Union's territory to prevent them from returning home and threatening Russia. In any case, the report credits the intervention for having "changed the entire dynamic of the conflict, bolstering the Assad regime and ensuring that no resolution to the conflict is possible without Moscow's agreement."

 

"Nevertheless, these actions also belie a deeply entrenched sense of insecurity regarding a United States that Moscow believes is intent on undermining Russia at home and abroad," the report says.



The report harkens to Cold War days when the intelligence agency published a series of "Soviet Military Power" studies that defined the contours of the superpower rivalry. Those reports ended with the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union. Now they return, DIA's director, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, says, with an eye on the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

"*Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge," *Stewart wrote in a preface to the report. No new, global ideological struggle akin to the Cold War is forecast, but the report cautions that Moscow "intends to use its military to promote stability on its own terms."

Which is why the "deep state", the Military-Industrial Complex. the neo-cons or whatever one wants to call the permanently bellicose wing in control, will *never *allow Trump to pursue a detente with Putin. To be sure, while Trump's campaign rhetoric was widely seen as sympathetic to Russia, ties have not improved in his first six months of his presidency. In April, *Trump said U.S.-Russian relations "may be at an all-time low." *Trump is expected to meet Putin for the first time at an international summit in Germany next week.

Meanwhile, to perpetuate the anti-Russia witch hunt, on Wednesday Rep. Adam Smith, the House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, issued a "national security manifesto" on Russia. *He and a group of lawmakers writing in Time magazine cited the threat of "Putinism," which they termed "a philosophy of dictatorship" that seeks to extinguish democratic ideals such as government transparency by exploiting "discontented facets of democratic polities worldwide.*"

Which, of course, is not to be confused with CIA-ism, which is a philosophy of suberting any government around the globe with promises of globalist, credit-card driven expansion, and if that fails, with outright threats (and actions) to overthrow the existing regime by supporting its closest adversaries, both domestic and foreign.

Taking McCarthyism to the next level, at a Senate intelligence committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's ranking Democrat, said Russia is becoming more brazen.

*"Russia's goal is to sow chaos and confusion - to fuel internal disagreements and to undermine democracies whenever possible, and to cast doubt on the democratic process wherever it exists," *Warner said.

In other words, Russia is becoming just like the US... One can see why the Deep State and Democrats are so terrified. Reported by Zero Hedge 16 minutes ago.
          What I like!   

What I like!

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          Business News Roundup, June 28   
Facebook said Tuesday that it has deleted about 66,000 posts a week in the last two months as the social media giant cracks down on what it deems to be hate speech. The company said in a blog post that deleting posts can “feel like censorship,” but that it is working on explaining its process better and improving its enforcement of hate speech guidelines. Facebook defines hate speech as attacks on people based on their race, sexual orientation and other “protected characteristics.” Facebook plans to hire an additional 3,000 people in the next year to review posts. Home prices rose at a healthy clip in April, though the increase slowed a bit from the previous two months. Home prices are rising roughly twice as fast as average wages, a dynamic that may eventually stifle sales. Bidding wars among buyers competing for a limited supply of available homes are driving up costs. Low mortgage rates are also encouraging more Americans to buy homes. The Conference Board, a business research group, said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index rose to 118.9 this month from 117.6 in May. More consumers described current business conditions as good and jobs as plentiful. Market observers are watching for signals about when the central bank will start scaling back its $67 billion in monthly bond purchases, a program designed to increase inflation and growth. Two groups of offshore funds that invested in Bernard Madoff’s fraudulent securities firm agreed to pay a combined $370 million to resolve lawsuits by the court-appointed trustee raising cash for victims. Lagoon Investment and related funds will hand over about $240 million, while Thema Fund and its affiliates will pay about $130 million, trustee Irving Picard said in a statement Tuesday. Lagoon, which is based in the British Virgin Islands, and Thema, with headquarters in Bermuda, were among many feeder funds that directed cash to Madoff’s investment-advisory business, often without their customers’ knowledge. The deals with Lagoon and Thema were struck just one day after the estates of Madoff’s dead sons, Andrew and Mark, agreed to pay a total of more than $23 million to settle similar lawsuits. Martin Shkreli’s criminal fraud trial jury hasn’t been selected yet and already the brash pharmaceutical executive is trying to get the case thrown out of court and lashing out at reporters. Once in court, Shkreli’s lawyer Benjamin Brafman asked to start the trial over because news reports cited negative opinions prospective jurors had expressed about his client. More than a dozen people were dismissed from jury service Monday, including a woman who called Shkreli “an evil man,” and another who said she knew he’d been labeled “the most hated man in America.” Brafman also asked U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto in Brooklyn to dismiss the entire pool of jurors, saying they were tarnished by the bad publicity and asked to restart the trial in a few weeks. By requesting a mistrial, Brafman is free to raise the issue of a tainted jury on appeal, should Shkreli be convicted. Shkreli, the 34-year-old founder of Retrophin and Turing Pharmaceuticals, is accused of defrauding investors in two hedge funds and using $11 million of Retrophin assets to pay them off.
          Asset TV: An outlook for tax reform   
Baker Tilly's Vadim Blikshteyn discusses tax reform plans and how it will impact U.S. residents to varying degrees. Blikshteyn spoke with Asset TV at Hedge Connection's Deal Ring event in New York. Registration required. The site requires registration to view content.
          John Podesta Hauled In For Closed-Door Questioning By House Intel Committee   
Zero Hedge Looks like Johnny’s got some ‘splainin to do. Former Hillary Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta was hauled in front of the House Intelligence Committee during a closed session on Tuesday – ostensibly to answer questions about the Obama administratio’s handling of intelligence that Russia tried to hack state voting systems – and, strangely […]
          2011 HAPL Technical Workshop Presentations   

 

Due Diligence: Changing Standards Michael Cooper - Hayes & Boone, LLP
Petroleum Property Exchange James Vaughn - Porter & Hedges
Land Information Systems Discussion Panel - EAG Services
Ethics of Non-Compete and
Confidentiality Agreements
Roger A. Soape, CPL
Unleased Minerals in your Unit (Presentation) George Snell - Snell Law Firm
Unleased Minerals in your Unit (Paper) George Snell - Snell Law Firm
GIS for Landmen Bill Gardner - GIS Data Maps
Preparing a 3D Seismic Shoot Jim Harrison - Jim Harrison Land Services

          Angie's Lit Picks   
itunes pic
Watch this vodcast and learn about 4 books I've recently read (or re-read).
          IM Pre-Reading Activity   
itunes pic
Listen to this podcast and follow the directions to prepare for reading Ellison's Invisible Man.
          Apocalypse Averted   

It turns out that the doomsday predictors were wrong. Even the Mayans are probably wrong.
President Barack Obama was re-elected and the sky didn't fall. Hell did not freeze over. The dollar is still worth basically a dollar. The Dow did not go to zero. Hedge fund managers did not jump out of the windows of their boardrooms. People did not take to the streets en masse toting semi-automatic assault rifles.
President Barack Obama
The President won this election because his appeal was universal. Ironically, the only group that didn't support the President was composed of white men who for some reason still feel threatened by this President. The GOP shamelessly appealed to this group to the exclusion of everyone else and the results showed up on election night. The days when white men dominate this country are over and the GOP needs to recognize that it will not survive as a political force by only appealing to white males and white evangelicals. These two groups have a difficult time recognizing that they are now just two minority groups among so many other minority groups. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are still remnants of hostile, arrogant white males who feel entitled and resent that the rest of the country has a growing piece of the democratic pie. Most baffling of all, is the paranoia among the well-heeled, many of whom act as if they live in a banana republic where the ruler can just arbitrarily confiscate all their wealth.
Exemplifying this latter group is Donald Trump who still acts like the buffoon-in-chief. His antics ranging from his sham run for the presidency to his obsession with the president's birth certificate, college records, and other trivial matters not related to governance would be simply be fodder for comedians if it did not have serious resonance among swaths of the population. When George W. Bush was President, Trump couldn't have cared less about his college records. But he felt these issues were important when it came to the current President. Trump’s narcissism knows no bounds. Here are the comments he tweeted after the announcement of Obama's win:
“This election is a total sham and a travesty. We are not a democracy!”
Donald Trump
“More votes equals a loss...revolution!”
“Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”
“We can't let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!”
“He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!”
“House of Representatives shouldn't give anything to Obama unless he terminates Obamacare.”
“The electoral college is a disaster for a democracy.”
“Hopefully the House of Representatives can hold our country together for four more years...stay strong and never give up!”
Donald Trump is an embarrassment to himself, to the Republican Party and to the nation. The bigger point, however, is that the Republican Party has lost credibility when it allow statements of this low caliber to reflect on themselves. If the GOP is to become a relevant political force in the future it has to figure out a way of weeding out this kind of anachronistic thinking. This is not a trivial point. In order for us to succeed as a country we need the adults to take over and work together.

This is a plea for people, all people, 
especially politicians, to behave as adults, 
and not as spoiled children. 


There is no time for infantile antics à la the Tea Party. We have already witnessed what happens when the Tea Party Congressmen stamped their feet during the debt ceiling debate with the unfortunate result of our bond rating getting downgraded. For the Nation to succeed we will need the cooperation of both parties. The President has repeatedly indicated that he is willing to work with the opposition. It is really up to the responsible people in the Republican Party to accept this challenge and work constructively with the newly re-elected President.
This is not a plea to muzzle any thoughts. People are free to think as they wish in America. We have a Constitution that guarantees that. This is a plea for people, all people, especially politicians, to behave as adults, and not as spoiled children. The GOP has some serious thinking to do. Do they continue to allow clowns like Trump. Limbaugh and Bachmann  to speak for the Party with impunity? At what point does the Republican leadership disavow their messengers of intransigence?
Mitt Romney made a good concession speech in which he exhorted his party to work with the President to solve problems. In Romney's own words, “The nation, as you know, is at a critical point. At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion.” The GOP would be wise to follow Romney's advice, not only for their own survival as a Party, but for the sake of a nation that needs more solutions and less chest-thumping.
I predicted on October 31 on this blog [The Next Four Years] that President Obama's second term will be characterized by more bipartisanship and more consensus building now that the obsession with making the President a one-termer is past. I believe that the American people collectively harbor this hope and that is why they re-elected him. Let's hope we are all right.



I thought that was the logical next step




The book is published and available on Amazon and on Create Space.

For international readers it is available on Amazon Europe.

Specifically, it is available in Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, and Spain.

In Asia, the book is available in Japan.


          Trump Treasury Nominee Defends Role In Foreclosure Crisis : NPR   
Steven Mnuchin, Donald Trump's pick for treasury secretary, said the bank he ran did what it could to minimize foreclosures during the financial crisis. He also defended his use of offshore accounts for hedge fund clients, while acknowledging the need to close loopholes. Mnuchin also told lawmakers he thinks the Internal Revenue Service needs a bigger staff and better technology. http://www.npr.org/2017/01/19/510628736/trump-treasury-nominee-defends-role-in-foreclosure-crisis
          Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer Edger   
Black & Decker NST2118 12-Inch 18-Volt Ni-Cd Cordless Electric GrassHog String Trimmer/Edger






Brand Black & Decker







Product Features
* Instantly starts everytime with the pull of a trigger
* Easily converts from a trimmer to an edger
* Exclusive PowerDrive Transmission delivers more power from the motor to the cutting string so you can get the job done faster
* Great cutting results without the mess and hassles of gas
* Includes two 18-Volt batteries for double the run time


Product Description
It's powered by an 18-volt NiCad battery, and this package includes two batteries so you can keep one charged while using the other. Plus, with this cordless trimmer/edger, you won't be limited by an extension cord. The external battery charger plugs easily into any household outlet and is Energy Star-qualified for energy efficiency and saving you money on your electrical bill. It's backed by a two-year limited warranty.
It instantly starts every time with the pull of a trigger. Weighing in at just 6.4 pounds, it's a machine that is incredibly easy to handle, and you won't have to contend with the strain that repeated pull starts and heavier tools can put on your body. Other features include a telescoping pole that easily adjusts to your preferred height, flip-down edge guide, 7000 RPM motor, and 0.065 line diameter.

Product Details
# Product Dimensions: 42 x 8.5 x 7.8 inches ; 6.4 pounds
# Shipping Weight: 11 pounds

>> more details..

Reviews


The battery in this model was built in, so you didnt have the option of switching to a second charged battery. This was never a issue for me, as I was able to complete my trimming on one charge. I recycled the 12v trimmer by giving it to a friend who still uses it to this day. I then upgraded to an 18v version only because I decided I wanted a cordless blower and hedge trimmer. The cost of getting a package with all three was too good to pass up. I live in Florida, and it's hot in the summer doing yard work. When the battery runs out of energy, so do I, so it works out well for me. This product prevents heat stroke too! But in all seriousnes, it does the job needed to do well. I would recomend this highly.

After watching a couple commercials on the Worx 18v lith ion trimmer, I fully intended on trying it out. After doing a little research and reading the problems people had regarding getting any customer support, I figured why mess with success. I admit I have never been impressed with the actual styling of the BD. My old electric trimmer was nothing but a hassle to deal with; it needed a long cord, I hated bumping it to get more string, the string got tangled, etc and as a result, I had not trimmed the yard for nearly 4 years. That's a problem due to all the rock-edged beds we've put in as well as a lot of sidewalks on our nearly quarter acre.
          In Other News...   
Periodically some bit of headline news excites comment all over the talk shows and editorial pages as to how whatever just happened proves once again what a great people we are here in the U. S. of A. and how it is all onward and upward and nobody since the dawn of time was ever so - goddamn it, let's just admit it, good - as us-here Amurricans.  I recall one old news sensation years ago that received this kind of commentary when a toddler fell into a well in Texas or Kansas or some such place where folks are true Americans and love their Jesus.  The entire community rallied round and as tense hours passed and people prayed and worked round the clock, especially the newsmen, to finally successfully get the child safely out.  People stopped what they were doing; in Texas hundreds of black men were NOT dragged to death behind pick-ups for a full week as every thought was turned toward the safe extraction of the baby.  It seems in my memory that the baby's name was Jessica, although I could be confusing that baby with some in vitro kid - it seems that all babies were named Jessica at the time, just as all the young actresses famed for their hotness now seem to be named Jessica Something-or-other.  Implicit in all the coverage seemed to be the idea that if the baby had been Baby Indira in India or Baby Ingrid in Sweden, the locals would have passed heedlessly by on their way to work saying, "Hmm. baby in a well?  Good luck with that!"  But we were the wondrous, caring Americans and we, well, dammit, we CARED!

I have this attention span that is akin to that of a mayfly; I get sick of just about any news story somewhere around the second time I hear it (third, if it involves nudity) and I tend to read the OTHER news when one of these stories breaks (and breaks and breaks and breaks) which leaves no columnist or newsman or talk show host so filled with non-stop self-congratulatiory bloviation.  So in my quest to find out what America is all about, I was following the OTHER news story that was going on about the time of Baby Jessica's descent into a well, where every effort was being made in Florida to keep two little boys who had tested HIV-positive from going to any school where other, more decent children might come in contact with them.  That deep faith in God's protection which Floridians are so wont to proclaim when somebody ELSE is at risk did not seem to come into play when the issue was HIV, so the good citizens of Florida felt that that do-it-yourself spirit, which is such a hallmark of the American character, must be relied on.  What these enterprising parents and their allies did was burn down the home of the the two little boys.  "If yuh don't live int this-heah district, yuh cain't send your kids to ouah schools!" was the general consensus.  And, of course, who can live in a burnt-out house?  So God's will was accomplished without God having to lift a finger.  

This habit I have of reading ALL the news came into play again this week when I could hardly get within ten feet of an opinion spewer, if he wasn't on one of the Murdoch enterprises, without hearing about the triumph of the American spirit of fairness when the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was scrapped.  Apparently there are gay people who want to die for their country and - hey - at last we are going to let them do so.   I shall leave aside the illogic of people who hate gays supporting a position which actually saves gay lives (if I felt that way, I'd FORCE them to join the military and to fight in the front lines).  At any rate, as I say, my attention wandered after just a few minutes of these chatty folks pissing all over themselves in the sheer ecstasy of America once again showing the way to such countries as hadn't already integrated their gay citizens into their armed forces without nearly such a struggle or subsequent orgy of self-congratulation.  So I looked at the other news to see where we as the greatest nation that ever lived under the special dispensation of a loving god, and lo! what did I see?  Well, for starters, just down the road from me a piece another young boy was hounded to death because he was perceived to be gay.  This boy, who was 14, had been bullied for years because he was gay.  So let's say it started when he was 10 or 11.  How gay can anyone be at that age?  

The Catholics, Ku Klux Klan, Mormons, Focus on Families and similar Christian groups seem to take the position that being gay is a decision that someone makes at some point in his or her life.  Outside of rape, having sex IS, of course, a decision, but that doesn't seem to be what I hear from these sects and organizations.  Their position seems to be that a person decides what he or she will want, not just what her or she will actually do.  One apparently decides ahead of time what will flash across one's mind when one glances at a person or object.  I was raised a pretty strict Catholic; in fact, I was a much stricter Catholic in my youth than my parents were at the same time (with my bi-polar Dad it was an off and on thing - one week a pagan hedonist, then next week sack cloth and ashes - but his median mode was slightly less all-or-nothing than mine was when it came to sin and issues of right and wrong).  So I know a bit about this type of thinking.  

The reason - I suspect the ONLY reason - I did not commit suicide when I was a teenager was because nobody seemed to know I was gay.  I had a lot of friends; and my family, on down to the cousins once-removed, liked me or so I felt at the time.  Kids who were uncontrollably and visibly effeminate had a much harder time than I did, but there were so few of them and the general awareness of homosexuals in my school was so vague and non-specific.  Now there is such awareness at such an early age, that fewer kids can skate by the issue as I once did.  My belief, when I was young, was that were I to be exposed as gay, my family and friends and everyone else, without exception, would feel nothing but repulsion and disgust.  As soon as I reached an age where I understood the concept of Judgment Day, my vision of it was of a horde of people I knew gathered in a vast arena (I visualized something like a great colosseum with people on rising tiers so they could get a good look) staring in horror at me standing alone in the middle as they saw written across the sky by celestial planes of some sort spewing the text in smoky letters like an ad for beer or suntan lotion, of a minute by minute account of what I had been thinking all my life.  Not what I had DONE, because I hadn't done anything at that time, but of what I WAS.  I recall that for some reason the faces I was always most aware of in this vision were not those of my family or fellow Catholics but of the Lomaxes, our neighbors who were a byword for probity in our town and whose five sons were popular and athletic and just such darn real men.  I found this vision almost unbearable, but like those people who are scared of everything yet can't resist renting every horror flick that comes out, I couldn't turn my inner gaze away from it.  To this day, whenever I hear a reference to Judgment Day that is the first visual that crosses my mind.  

I just can't see that poor kid in Buffalo CHOOSING to embark so unpopular a course.  And why would he?  What would possess a 10 or 11-year old to be something that didn't even promise any physical gratification anytime in his near future?  I know that if I made a choice as to preferences in my partner's gender, these preferences were in place when I was three or four years old, because I clearly remember what still feels, when I recall it, like a physical yen for certain men in my surroundings.  I liked a lot of girls, but there was never an erotic tinge to this liking; with many of the males there was that element of lust, as far back as I can remember.  I flat out KNOW, in short, that I had no choice and I am equally positive that this boy in Buffalo never had a choice either, as to who he was and what he was drawn to.  And one of my great take-aways, the great gift that I was given by this knowledge, was that those who spake in terms of certainty on this topic were either lying or were willing to to state as fact something they did not actually know anything about.  When someone tells me as fact a thing I know to be false, then I know that someone is not to be trusted in pronouncements of any sort.  Maybe other races or other nations or other beliefs are NOT inferior, maybe I do not have to be in church every seventh day, maybe there is not some guiding - let alone loving - intelligence running the show and totting up my performances for later punishment.  

It took years to work this through of course; more fear was instilled in me by Holy Mother Church than anything else before or since, and fear is the hardest thing to eradicate.  I have heard the argument that the safe course is to believe because if you are wrong you get nothing, whereas if you choose unbelief and are wrong you get the Judgment and it ain't gonna be in your favor.  Of course, this is a false hedge.  If I choose to live as a believer in the unbelievable I give up entirely the only life I have for nothing.  Maybe those beans WILL grow a giant beanstalk that reaches riches in the clouds, but this kid ain't betting his cow on that proposition.  

So I am waiting for the next chapter in the breathless tale of the specialness and gosh-darned goodness of this here America and its specially selected by God - and designed just for us! - mission.  And I'll fill the wait with all those OTHER news stories - the floods, the mothers killing their kids, the tornadoes, the coal mine disasters, the hurricanes, the fires, the droughts, the recessions.  I understand that these little bumps in the highway to our apotheosis are there because we don't believe ENOUGH and so forth, but still, I am strangely unpersuaded to send my love offering (and nothing says 'love' like a cheque, we thank you and God thanks you) to the would-be chroniclers of this destiny.  There is an urge in each of us to be lackeys, to get that autograph, get our picture standing next to someone greater than ourselves, to be told what to think, but I am holding out for something just a tetch more comforting.  And think of the special pleasure I will provide for all the godly when I am burning in the afterlife along with all those gay kids and foreigners, while they can watch and withhold their help, just as they did in this life.

It'll be just like Earth all over again for them.  Not just Earth: it'll be just like America!


          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on “lies upon lies.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Karthik Srinivasan accused Martin Shkreli (SHKREL’-ee) on Wednesday of losing investors’ money through bad trades, then […]
          december songs 15   
i am making it a goal this december to find a video a day that just says it. maybe it is bitter, hopeful, tragic, or celebratory. maybe it inspires. i do hope that some of you may also find it cathartic. let me know.. .

december songs 15 is "featherstone," by the paper kites. this is really all about the video!



Wake up to the sound of your fleeting heart
Wake up to the sound of your fleeting heart
When you go, what you leave is a work of art
On my chest, on my heart

She went out to the hay in the morning grace
She went out and got lost in a tall hedge maze
Where'd you go? Where'd you go? Why'd you leave this place?
On my heart, on my face

And my love is yours but your love's not mine
So I'll go but we know I'll see you down the line
And we'll hate what we've lost but we'll love what we find
And I'm feeling fine, we've made it to the coastline

Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh

Past all the signs of the slow decline
Live like your love wasn't meant for mine
Now you've gone, now you've gone to a different life
Til the loneliest side

Wake up to the sound of your fleeting heart
Wake up to the sound of your fleeting heart
When you go, what you leave is a work of art
On my chest, on my heart

And my love is yours but your love's not mine
So I'll go, but we know I'll see you down the line
And we'll hate what we've lost but we'll love what we find
And oh, I'm feeling fine, we've made it to the coastline

Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh ooh ooh 

          Government Versus Confidence   

AIG executives were foolish to use this loophole to "retain" employees, some of whom nearly destroyed the American financial system. But the company did not act with deception or secrecy.

AIG's November SEC filing set out its intention to provide more than $469 million in "retention payments" to employees, eliciting a smattering of congressional protest. Concerns on the broader compensation issue were serious enough to ensure unanimous Senate passage of an amendment to the stimulus bill sponsored by Sens. Olympia Snowe and Ron Wyden that penalized bailout bonuses in excess of $100,000.

But the Snowe-Wyden amendment disappeared into the misty bog of a House-Senate conference committee, only to be trumped by language that grandfathered AIG's retention bonuses. At first, this seemed to be an example of immaculate legislation -- miraculously fatherless. After explicitly denying responsibility, Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd eventually admitted including the exception under pressure from the administration. But it doesn't sound like there was much of a fight. Administration input came from unnamed staffers at the Treasury Department, not high-level officials. Dodd said he viewed these as "innocent modifications."

The lack of focus, judgment and competence on the part of Congress and the administration has explanations -- for those dealing in trillions, millions must seem like dirty pennies on the street. But the hollow outrage and blame-shifting from Congress and the administration are inexcusable.

President Obama vowed to "pursue every legal avenue to block these bonuses," when the proper "legal" avenue was to write a responsible law -- a process his own administration apparently undermined. "I'll take responsibility," says the president -- before, in the next few breaths, explaining, "We didn't grant these contracts." And, "We've got a lot on our plate." And, "It's my job to make sure that we fix these messes, even if I don't make them." So Obama seems to be saying: I'll take credit for taking the blame for something that is entirely the fault of others. Positively Clintonian.

"This is an example," thunders Rep. Barney Frank, "of people at the commanding heights of the economy misbehaving, abusing the system" -- which is completely true ... of the conference committee that reshaped the stimulus bill in secret. Sen. Charles Grassley urged AIG executives to contemplate suicide.

This combination of viciousness, shamelessness and cluelessness has consequences. It drains what little political will remains to confront the credit crisis -- an effort that may eventually require spending a trillion dollars or more to help purchase toxic debt. Thanks to AIG, Congress and the administration, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner may find his next round of necessary bailouts greeted by a revolt of left and right.

And congressional demagoguery is compromising Geithner's own approach to resolving the credit crisis. Since the direct government purchase of toxic debt would be massively expensive, Geithner has floated the idea of enticing private investors to help buy that debt. The government would give loans or subsidies to mutual funds and hedge funds if they will buy toxic securities. But few would make such a risky investment without the hope of large returns.

If those returns are realized, it is easy to imagine how hedge fund managers would be treated when hauled before Congress. "Perhaps the witness can explain to us how he justifies such windfall profits with the people's money? Have you no shame? Give us the names, addresses and phone numbers of every millionaire you enriched at public expense so we can leak them to the press."

What sane money manager would want to partner with a government that blames others for its mistakes, urges the violation of inconvenient contracts and threatens to tax benefits retroactively? One Wall Street expert told me, "Even if people trust the president, they don't trust Congress." This kind of trust and confidence is essential to the next stage of our economic recovery. It is also being actively undermined by the incompetence and hypocrisy of the government itself.


          L'enigma dei Teschi di Cristallo    

I teschi di cristallo, i misteriosi artefatti rinvenuti nel cuore delle foreste mesoamericane, sono avvolti da un alone di mistero fin dal 1924, quando l'avventuriero inglese F.A. Mitchell-Hedges scoprì il primo teschio tra le rovine di un sito religioso maya.

Da allora altri reperti sono diventati oggetto di ricerche scientifiche e di illazioni incontrollabili.

Sono le vestigia di una cultura scomparsa? Possiedono veramente energie magiche e taumaturgiche, come afferma la leggenda? E qual è il loro ruolo nell'evoluzione dell'umanità?

L'autrice, che possiede uno di tali arcani reperti, si propone in questo libro, già pubblicato come "Il potere dei teschi di cristallo", di dimostrare che generano una forza stupefacente, in grado di influenzare i campi energetici delle persone e degli oggetti.


          Pantera Capital to Raise $100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund   
A new hedge fund backed by Pantera Capital has raised $100m to invest in the open-source digital token space.

Source


          Il Potere dei Teschi di Cristallo   
I teschidi cristallo, gli enigmatici artefatti scoperti nel cuore delle forestemesoamericane, sono avvolti da un alone di mistero fin dal 1927, quandol’avventuriero inglese F.A. Mitchell-Hedges scoprì il primo teschio trale rovine di un sito religioso maya. Da allora altri reperti sonodiventati oggetto di ricerche scientifiche e di illazioniincontrollabili. Sono le vestigia di una cultura scomparsa? Possiedonoveramente energie magiche e taumaturgiche, come afferma la leggenda? Equal è il loro ruolo nell’evoluzione dell’umanità?

L’autrice, chepossiede uno di tali reperti enigmatici, dimostra che i teschi dicristallo generano una forza stupefacente, in grado di influenzare icampi energetici delle persone e degli oggetti. Istantanee realizzatecon strumenti ad alta tecnologia, quali la macchina fotograficafotonica, provano che i teschi di cristallo:

• rilasciano e assorbono energia fotonica;
• influenzano i campi di forza di siti magici quali Stonehenge e la piramide di Cheope;
• influiscono sui campi energetici degli esseri umani.

Gli esiti stupefacenti di una ricerca corredati di foto sensazionali, proposti per la prima volta al pubblico.

Inserto fotografico 16 pagg. b/n


          A little more about that 'supply' argument...   


As you will recall, in our last post we shared with you the above meme which we found in our in-box.

While it strikes a chord with your faithful scribes here at the Rainforest Roundtable, we do note a slight error in it.  The census data show 26K vacant housing units in Vancouver, not 26% of all housing.

But still... 26,000 is a lot.

The data comes from the 2016 Census which tells us that Vancouver saw a 15% increase in empty and non-resident units.

A "non resident" home is defined as either empty or occupied by a foreign or temporary resident. But most often, the units are empty. Of all the homes in the region that fall into the category, 87% are unoccupied, according to an Urban Futures report.

What agitates the locals is that a large part of the empty-home problem is speculative buying. Particularly speculative buying from foreign money - primarily Chinese money.

In Vancouver's downtown, the Coal Harbour neighbourhood is 22.2% empty or non-resident occupied, and the census tract east of it is 18.2%.

But other, less obvious Vancouver neighbourhoods also show signs of emptiness. Here is a chart showing the impact:



We have been bombarded in the last year with two major themes: the need to increase supply and increasing zoning density - particularly along transit routes.

Now if you know the Village on the Edge of the Rainforest, you are aware of Cambie Street.  Running north/south down the west side of the city, it is a very upper end part of the city.  Vancouver's latest subway, the Canada Line, was constructed underneath Cambie Street and links the Vancouver Airport with the downtown core.

Let's take a look at the south end of that area on this map, it is circled in blue here:


You will note that it has one of the highest percentage of unoccupied areas in the city, particularly the southernmost end.

Drive down Cambie Street today and you will notice oodles of for sale signs as sellers attempt to entice buyers looking to assemble parcels of land. Selling for $3-4 million per house, this is not a cheap prospect.  But once assembled, and rezoned, the financial jackpot is well worth the investment of buying up a block of houses.

Driving this, of course, is the off shore marketing of these properties to foreign speculative money (more on that in a future post).

And nothing epitomizes this speculative frenzy like the deepest red section at the bottom of the map:


This chunk of area is home to the Marine Gateway project constructed around the first Vancouver Canada Line Station as you enter coming from Richmond.  Marine Gateway was highly touted as a showcase solution to Vancouver's housing affordability crisis. Lower end units sold in the $350,000 range and were highly marketed as the new, urban solution for young buyers centred around the transit density development bandwagon.

Problem is that the 2016 Census shows that the Marine Gateway neighbourhood has a 24% non-resident rate (as does Joyce-Collingwood, another subway based urban-oriented transit hub). More significantly there are 609 empty or non-resident units in Marine Gateway Station development.

As noted in the Globe and Mail newspaper,
For many, empty or under-used homes are tangible proof of the commodification, or financialization, of housing. There are those who will argue that an increased supply is necessary to subdue the market, to remove the pressure of scarcity. However, housing markets in what Mr. Yan calls "hedge cities," such as Vancouver, are fuelled by an unprecedented wealth coming from outside. Without addressing the speculative nature of the market, how much effect will supply have?
Marine Gateway stands as a monument to... and proof that... creating extra supply will have no effect at all in dealing with scarcity.

Simply looking at the contrast pictures of downtown Vancouver at the top of this post is visual proof that increasing supply did nothing to resolve affordability by addressing scarcity.

The reality is that the 'supply' argument is a political wedge to leverage municipal politicians into rezoning neighbourhoods so developers can destroy single family homes in favour of condo stock to fuel and profit from the foreign speculative demand.

People are fed up with the pandering currently going on to an industry that only serves to destroy our community. The 'supply' argument is a red herring.  Following the money proves this point.

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

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          Clister   

This week:

Over The Hedge
Stupid Laws
Guardians Of The Galaxy
Falcon America

Music for the show provided by Reed Love.


          Low Volatility Increasing Market Tension for the S&P 500 in Week 3 of June 2017   

For a market where the S&P 500 isn't changing very much, there's a remarkable about of tension building up in it. Or more accurately, there is tension building in the halls of the big investment banks where big bets are being made, such as JPMorgan, whose top quantitative analyst is seeing great cause for concern that hasn't translated into market volatility (via ZeroHedge):

After getting virtually every market inflection point in 2015, and early 2016, so far 2017 has not been Marko Kolanovic's year, whose increasingly more bearish forecasts have so far been foiled repeatedly by the market, and the same systematic traders that he periodically warns about. As a reminder, his most recent warning came last week, when he cautioned that even a modest rebound in VIX could lead to dramatic losses for vol sellers. As a reminder, here is the punchline from his latest note:

Days like May 17th and similar events "bring substantial risk for short volatility strategies. Given the low starting point of the VIX, these strategies are at risk of catastrophic losses. For some strategies, this would happen if the VIX increases from ~10 to only ~20 (not far from the historical average level for VIX). While historically such an increase never happened, we think that this time may be different and sudden increases of that magnitude are possible. One scenario would be of e.g. VIX increasing from ~10 to ~15, followed by a collapse in liquidity given the market’s knowledge that certain structures need to cover short positions.

So in light of a market that refuses to post even the smallest of drawdowns (we are not sure if the words "selling", "correction" or "crash" have been made illegal yet), has Kolanovic thrown in the towel and declared smooth seas ahead? To the contrary: in a note released late last night, he echoes warnings made recently by both Citi and BofA, and predicts that receding monetary accommodation from ECB and BOJ will likely lead to "market turmoil, and a rise in volatility and tail risks" and just in case there is some confusion, he reiterates what he said last week, namely that the "key risk of option selling programs is market crash risk."

What Kolanovic is describing is a realistic mechanism by which stock prices might suddenly change dramatically for the worse. But is there anything to it?

That's where we have an angle on the story. Going by our dividend futures-based model, we would see that kind of potential plunge in stock prices as a sudden shift in investor focus from 2017-Q4, where our model suggests that investors are largely holding their attention at this time, to instead focus on 2017-Q3, where if such an event happened, it would likely coincide with a 300-350 point decline in the value of the S&P 500.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2017Q2 - Standard Model - Snapshot on 23 June 2017

Now, here's the catch. For that to happen, something would have to fundamentally change in the expectations that investors have about the future to compel them to focus on 2017-Q3 instead of 2017-Q4.

One entity with the power to do just that is the Federal Reserve, which can in effect "command" investors to focus on 2017-Q3 through the statements its officials make about their plans for the timing of the Fed's next change in the Federal Funds Rate, which would affect all short term interest rates in the U.S. At present, our model suggests that investors only see a 16% probability of them taking that kind of action in or by its September 2017 Federal Open Market Committee meeting, but some Fed officials have been pushing in that direction, which explains why investors are not 100% focused on 2017-Q4 as the most likely timing for the Fed's next interest rate adjustment.

Another factor that can shift the attention of investors is the changing expectations for future earnings in the companies that make up the S&P 500. For example, should oil prices fall even further than they have in the last several weeks, that could reignite the concern that the oil and gas sector of the U.S. economy is in for a new round of economic distress, which could lead investors to focus on these companies in the near term, pulling the index down along the way.

Or, oil prices could rise sharply, which would both boost the oil and gas sector of the U.S. economy while straining other sectors, which would also have the same effect. Or, they could rise just enough, contributing to the kind of inflation that would potentially prompt the Fed to pull the trigger on its next rate hike sooner than investors are expecting today.

In all this, the random onset of new information is the potential trigger for unleashing a significant change in the S&P 500, where the interactive dynamics are both very complex and periodically chaotic.

And that's just considering how changes in how far forward in time investors are focusing their attention might affect stock prices. If the expectations for future dividends themselves change, that would very directly affect stock prices, which adds a whole other level of complexity in how stock prices behave.

Speaking of which, if you want to know which scenario might apply before Kolanovic's mechanism becomes engaged, you might want to keep up on the information coming into the market....

Monday, 19 June 2017
Tuesday, 20 June 2017
Wednesday, 21 June 2017
Thursday, 22 June 2017
Friday, 23 June 2017

Elsewhere, Barry Ritholtz summarized the positives and negatives for the economy for Week 3 of June 2017.


          The Schizophrenic S&P 500 in Week 1 of June 2017   

For a week where there was a lot of potential for volatility to erupt in the U.S. stock market, the S&P 500 showed little sign of it.

The closing price of the S&P fell well within the range our dividend futures-based model anticipated for investors focused on the current quarter of 2017-Q2, which largely matches what other futures-based models indicate, at least with respect to the expected timing of the Fed's next U.S. interest rate hike.

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2017Q2 - Standard Model - Snapshot on 09 June 2017

The problem with that is that the Fed will announce its intended action during the second full week of June 2017, which also contains the third Friday for the month, which means that the window for the current quarter's dividend futures is about to close and investors will be forced to shift their attention toward other points of time in the future. What we've been describing as the ticking clock problem for the S&P 500 has now fully gestated.

And that's where we're starting to see the U.S. stock market become schizophrenic, which became noticeable on Friday, 9 June 2017, which saw the Dow Jones Industrial average (Index: DJI) hit new highs even as the Nasdaq (Index: IXIC) looked like it was going to crash after hitting an intraday high.

Google Finance: DJI, IXIC and INX on 09 June 2017

The S&P 500 (Index: INX), which overlaps both major market indices, closed just slightly lower than it started the day. What we think may going on is that investors in different parts of the market are shifting their focus to different points of time in the future, with Nasdaq investors looking ahead at 2017-Q3 and Dow Jones Industrials investors looking farther forward in time to 2017-Q4. Combined, the better expectations for 2017-Q4 offset almost all of the more negative expectations associated with 2017-Q3 where the expected changes in the year over year growth rate of the S&P 500's dividends per share are concerned.

Hopefully, this explanation answers at least one hedge fund CIO's questions!

Investors in the S&P 500's component companies showed similar behavior coming into 2017-Q2, when there was a question of when the Fed would next raise interest rates within 2017-Q2 or delay the next hike to 2017-Q3. Ultimately, as more information became known, they settled in on 2017-Q2, where the Fed will almost certainly hike interest rates this week.

It's not unusual to find investors splitting their forward-looking attention between two different points of time in the future that have very different expectations associated with them. What is unusual is that forward-looking focus appears to be so split between different sectors of the stock market. We'll find out soon in the very near term future which sector carries more weight these days!

Until then, here are the headlines that we believe capture the more relevant parts of Mr. Market's internal dialogue this past week....

Monday, 5 June 2017
Tuesday, 6 June 2017
Wednesday, 7 June 2017
Thursday, 8 June 2017
Friday, 9 June 2017

The Big Picture's Barry Ritholtz succinctly summarizes the week's positive and negative and economics news.

Finally, we would be remiss if we didn't share one of the more interesting pagan "theories" behind the Nasdaq's remarkable decline on Friday, 9 June 2017, where it has been suggested that everyone's favorite vampire squid-run investment bank was responsible for the Nasdaq's rapid swing from record highs to hard fall because its analysts introduced a new acronym (FAAMG) to describe the top tech stocks whose stock price performance has been boosting the entire stock market by calling attention to them. What have those analytical heretics wrought for us all?


          The S&P 500 in Week 5 of May 2017   

The fifth and final trading week of May 2017 was shortened by the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but one thing clearly stood out about it. Investors are tightly focused on 2017-Q2 in setting today's stock prices!

Alternative Futures - S&P 500 - 2017Q2 - Standard Model - Snapshot on 02 June 2017

The reason for that is straight forward - it has almost everything to do with the expected timing of the Fed's next rate hike in short term U.S. interest rates. But, you don't have to take our word for it - in addition to the S&P 500 tracking our dividend-based model's projections for the path that the S&P 500 would follow if investors are focused on the soon-to-end quarter of 2017-Q2, that assessment also directly correlates with what the headlines of the week revealed about the forward-looking expectations of investors....

Tuesday, 30 May 2017
Wednesday, 31 May 2017
Thursday, 1 June 2017
Friday, 2 June 2017

Elsewhere, Barry Ritholtz summarizes the week's markets and economic news into positives and negatives.

We'll close with two observations. First, the ticking clock problem that we've mentioned in recent weeks for the S&P 500 is alive and well, where investors will be shifting their attention to some other point of time in the future within the next two weeks, with the expiration of options and futures contracts on 16 June 2017 marking the longest that investors will maintain any of their attention on 2017-Q2. Second, the first week of June 2017 will contain a potential geopolitical noise event in the form of the U.K.'s snap elections and their uncertain outcome that might contribute to triggering a sudden shift in the forward-looking focus of investors.

Update: Speaking of potential geopolitical noise events with market-moving potential (at least for petro-markets), how highly did Qatar rank on anyone's forward-looking radar before this weekend?


          Incertezas criadas por Trump deixam fundos de hedge em alerta   
Medidas polarizadoras de Trump sobre imigração e a tendência do presidente a interagir de forma descomedida com potências estrangeiras e supostos aliados do Congresso levam importantes gestores a alertar investidores que nem tudo está indo tão bem quanto parece.
          Vitória de Trump leva George Soros a perder US$ 1 bilhão   
O administrador bilionário de fundos de hedge George Soros perdeu quase US$ 1 bilhão em decorrência da alta das ações causada pela surpreendente vitória de Donald Trump na eleição presidencial americana. Soros se tornou mais pessimista em suas apostas imediatamente após a eleição de Trump, de acordo com pessoas a par do assunto, o que acabou sendo um erro.
          Fundo de hedge cria algorítmo baseado na mente de funcionários   
A meta é desenvolver uma tecnologia para automatizar a maior parte da gestão da empresa. Ela seria o ápice do trabalho de Ray Dalio na transformação da Bridgewater em um templo radical de transparência — e uma companhia que pode transcender a presença de seu fundador.
          A fome insaciável de Wall Street por dados   
Fundos de hedge e investidores sofisticados dependem cada vez mais de caçadores de informações, profissionais que vivem em busca de dados que não estão disponíveis facilmente nas fontes tradicionais e que podem indicar estratégias e dicas de investimentos.
          Fundos de hedge doam muito mais para Hillary do que para Trump   
Os fundos de hedge têm desempenhado um papel muito maior nestas eleições americanas do que nas últimas - e Hillary Clinton tem sido a maior beneficiária.
          Como um fundo asiático alcançou um retorno de 40%   
Um fundo de hedge pouco conhecido de Cingapura, administrado por um ex-professor e um ex-estatístico, está discretamente alcançando alguns dos retornos mais altos do mundo, às vezes com estratégias de revirar o estômago baseadas em risco.
          Scientists, Secrets and Wall Street's Lost $4 Trillion   
Thanks to an ever growing influx of Ph.D.s from the Ivies and an insatiable demand for an algorithmic trading edge by secretive hedge funds and proprietary trading desks at the largest firms, Wall Street has become part physics lab, part casino, part black hole.
          A Sanctuary   
Cicero, On His House 41.109 (tr. N.H. Watts):
What is more sacred, what more inviolably hedged about by every kind of sanctity, than the home of every individual citizen? Within its circle are his altars, his hearths, his household gods, his religion, his observances, his ritual; it is a sanctuary so holy in the eyes of all, that it were sacrilege to tear an owner therefrom.

quid est sanctius, quid omni religione munitius quam domus unius cuiusque civium? hic arae sunt, hic foci, hic di penates, hic sacra, religiones, caerimoniae continentur; hoc perfugium est ita sanctum omnibus ut inde abripi neminem fas sit.
John Bodel, "Cicero's Minerva, Penates, and the Mother of the Lares: An Outline of Roman Domestic Religion," in Household and Family Religion in Antiquity, edd. John Bodel and Saul M. Olyan (Malden: Blackwell Publishing, 2008), pp. 248-275 (at p. 269, n. 14, with my correction):
A law code promulgated by the emperor Theodosius in 392 CE explicitly prohibited private veneration of the Lares, Penates, and the genius (of the head of the household): Codex Theodosianus 16.10.12. For earlier Christian polemic against traditional domestic worship, see, e.g., Tertullian, Apology, 13.4; Lactantius, Divine Institutes, 2.24.12–13; Jerome, Against Isiah [sic, should be Commentary on Isaiah], 16.57.7.
Clyde Pharr's translation of the edict from the Theodosian Code, followed by the Latin:
No person at all, of any class or order whatsoever of men or of dignities, whether he occupies a position of power or has completed such honors, whether he is powerful by the lot of birth or is humble in lineage, legal status and fortune, shall sacrifice an innocent victim to senseless images in any place at all or in any city. He shall not, by more secret wickedness, venerate his lar with fire, his genius with wine, his penates with fragrant odors; he shall not burn lights to them, place incense before them, or suspend wreaths for them.

Nullus omnino ex quolibet genere ordine hominum dignitatum vel in potestate positus vel honore perfunctus, sive potens sorte nascendi seu humilis genere condicione fortuna in nullo penitus loco, in nulla urbe sensu carentibus simulacris vel insontem victimam caedat vel secretiore piaculo larem igne, mero genium, penates odore veneratus accendat lumina, inponat tura, serta suspendat.

          On asking for access to data   

In between complaining about the lack of open data in biodiversity (especially taxonomy), and scraping data from various web sites to build stuff I'm interested in, I occasionally end up having interesting conversations with the people whose data I've been scraping, cleaning, cross-linking, and otherwise messing with.

Yesterday I had one of those conversations at Kew Gardens. Kew is a large institution that is adjusting to a reduced budget, a changing ditigal landscape, and a rethinking of it's science priorities. Much of Kew's data has not been easily accessible to the outside world, but this is changing. Part of the reason for this is that Defra, which part-funds Kew, is itself opening up (see Ellen Broad's fascinating post Lasers, hedgehogs and the rise of the Age of Yoghurt: reflections on #OpenDefra).

During this conversation I was asked "Why didn't you just ask for the data instead of scraping it? We would most likely have given it to you." My response to this was "well, you might have said no". In my experience saying "no" is easy because it is almost always the less risky approach. And I want a world where we don't have to ask for data, in the same way that we don't ask to get source code for open source software, and we don't ask to download genomic data from GenBank. We just do it and, hopefully, do cool things with it. Just as importantly, if things don't work out and we fail to make cool things, we haven't wasted time negotiating access for something that ultimately didn't work out. The time I lose is simply the time I've spent playing with the data, not any time negotiating access. The more obstacles you put in front of people playing with your data, the fewer innovative uses of that data you're likely to get.

But it was pointed out to me that a consequence of just going ahead and getting the data anyway is that it doesn't necessarily help people within an organisation make the case for being open. The more requests for access to data that are made, the easier it might be to say "people want this data, lets work to make it open". Put another way, by getting the data I want regardless, I sidestep the challenge of convincing people to open up their data. It solves my problem (I want the data now) but doesn't solve it for the wider community (enabling everyone to have access).

I think this is a fair point, but I'm going to try and wiggle away from it. From a purely selfish perspective, my time is limited, there are only so many things I can do, and making the political case for opening up specific data sets is not something I really want to be doing. In a sense, I'm more interested in what happens when the data is open. In other words, let's assume the battle for open has been won, what do we then? So, I'm essentially operating as if the data is already open because I'm betting that it will be at some point in time.

Without wishing to be too self-serving, I think there are ways that treating closed data as effectively open can help make the case that the data should (genuinely) open. For example, one argument for being open is that people will come along and do cool things with the data. In my case, "cool" means cross linking taxonomic names with the primary literature, eventually to original decsriptions and fundamental data about the organisms tagged with the taxonomic names (you may feel that this stretches the definitoon of "cool" somewhat). But adding value to data is hard work, and takes time (in some cases I've invested years in cleaning and linking the data). The benefits from being open may take time, especially if the data is messy, or relatively niche so that few people are prepared to invest the time necessary to do the work.

Some data, such as the examples given in Lasers, hedgehogs and the rise of the Age of Yoghurt: reflections on #OpenDefra will likely be snapped up and give rise to nice visualisations, but a lot of data won't. So, imagine that you're making the case for data to be open, and one of your arguments is "people will do cool things with it", eventually you win that argument, the data is opened up... and nothing happens. Wouldn't it be better if once the data is open, those of us who have been beavering away with "illicit" copies of the data can come out of the woodwork and say "by the way, here are some cool things we've been doing with that data"? OK, this is a fairly self-serving argument, but my point is that while internal arguments about being open are going on I have three choices:

  1. Wait until you open the data (which stops me doing the work I want to do)
  2. Help make the case for being open (which means I engage in politics, an area in which I have zero aptitude)
  3. Assume you will be open eventually, and do the work I want to do so that when you're open I can share that work with you, and everyone else
Call me selfish, but I choose option 3.


          23 giugno 1991: Esce in Europa e negli USA Sonic the Hedgehog della SEGA   
Viene rilasciato in Europa e negli USA il primo videogioco della serie Sonic the Hedgehog, che vede per la prima volta in modalità giocabile il riccio mascotte della SEGA. Il gioco, realizzato per sfruttare a pieno le potenzialità del Sega Mega Drive e del suo processore a 16bit, aveva come caratteristica principale una velocità del […]
          Q&A: Invesco CEO Martin L. Flanagan talks company growth, ESG investing, hedge fund meltdown   
On June 21, Atlanta Business Chronicle's Phil W. Hudson sat down with Atlanta-based Invesco Ltd. CEO, Director and President Martin L. Flanagan to talk about the company’s growth.

          Hedgehog had to be popped by vets after he blew up like a balloon   
He had too much air under his skin.
          Silicon Valley's ambivalence towards growth   
Last month, the latest mayor of Palo Alto explained his slow growth philosophy against both economic and housing growth. An interview with Curbed San Francisco began
Curbed SF: Everybody agrees that too many people can’t afford Palo Alto. So why is it like this?

Mayor Patrick Burt: There are a number of factors. First, we’re in a region that’s had extremely high job growth at a rate that is just not sustainable if we’re going to keep [Palo Alto] similar to what it’s been historically. Of course we know that the community is going to evolve. But we don’t want it to be a radical departure. We don’t want to turn into Manhattan.

Curbed: But there’s a pretty big margin between Palo Alto and Manhattan. What are you comfortable changing?

Burt: We're looking to increase the rate of housing growth, but decrease the rate of job growth.

Curbed: You want fewer jobs?

Burt: I know, it’s a strange idea to contend with. But this doesn’t mean we want no job growth. And it doesn’t mean we want reckless job growth. We want metered job growth and metered housing growth, in places where it will have the least impact on things like our transit infrastructure. …
The interview seemed in response to the resignation of a city planning commissioner who resigned two weeks earlier because her family could no longer afford to live in Palo Alto. It’s hard to disagree with part of Park’s argument that economic growth requires housing growth — but Burt (a medical device CEO) seems ambivalent about the latter as well.

In today's Wall Street Journal, former hedge fund manager Andy Kessler notes that the cheapest house in Palo Alto has 959 square feet, backs to the train tracks, and costs $1.35 million. (That's roughly double what a comparable house cost when we looked at moving to Palo Alto in 2002).

Kessler continued:
I wanted to ask Mayor Burt: Is stifling job creation really going to help? Or would that only boost surrounding towns? Palo Alto has already capped the annual growth of office space. It took years to approve a new $5 billion Stanford Hospital extension, which the area desperately needed. Even worse, there is a funny quirk in the zoning laws that limits what’s allowed in so-called Pedestrian and Transit Oriented Development areas (downtown). This includes restrictions on research and development, a catchall for limited manufacturing, “storage or use of hazardous materials,” and “computer software and hardware firms.”

I can tell you outright that the only hazardous materials in an office of software coders are their high-test caffeine concoctions. But the software firms are many. Amazon has its search team in Palo Alto. The big-data firm Palantir has been gobbling up buildings for its engineers. Facebook had several before moving to neighboring Menlo Park. SurveyMonkey has a huge site near the train station.

Even Palo Alto’s residential areas are filled with startups, real-life versions of Erlich Bachman’s house from HBO’s “Silicon Valley.” They’re easy to spot, having more cars parked during the day than at night. These companies offer high-paying and productive jobs that are great for society.
In the 1970s and 1980s, San Francisco was decrying “Manhattanization” but today that is a fait accompli. Meanwhile, most of the Bay Area (particularly the City and the Peninsula) is emulating the trends of excessive living costs that drove large companies and jobs out of New York City during that same period.

The explosion of housing prices in the Bay Area over the past five years is pricing ordinary workers out of the market. Yes, it is possible to commute from New Jersey (which here is called "Contra Costa County"), but such commutes strain highway and mass transit infrastructure (and push suburban and exurban housing prices up too).

Kessler notes that the solution to high housing costs is (surprise!) building more housing. I understand the importance of making available single family homes, and I think it is a strength of both California and the U.S. more broadly. Still, anyone driving along I-280 knows there are large swaths of undeveloped land in the Bay Area — that in LA would be houses but in the Bay Area are called “open space.” According to Wikipedia, the housing density of Palo Alto (2,500 residents/acre) is half that of nearby Cupertino, and less than one-fourth that of Santa Monica — another upscale, highly desirable community. (Burt’s hyperbole is demonstrated by noting that the actual housing density of Manhattan is nearly 30 times that of Palo Alto).

So will Silicon Valley voters (let alone politicians) embrace the full implications of economic growth by developing undeveloped land or increasing housing density? Or will it continue down this path of being available to well-paid tech elites, while ordinary (non VC-funded) entrepreneurs and businesses have to move elsewhere?
          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies."
          La Academia incorpora a 774 nuevos miembros   

La Academia de Hollywood ha anunciado los nombres de los 774 nuevos miembros que pasarán a formar parte de la organización. Se trata de una nueva cifra récord que supera con creces la del año pasado (683). La lista incluye a un total de 24 ganadores del Oscar y 96 nominados. Entre los actores están Riz Ahmed, Adam DriverMonica BellucciChris Evans, Gal GadotSarah Paulson o Kristen Stewart, además de todos los intérpretes nominados en la última ceremonia que aún no formaban parte de la Academia: Lucas HedgesNaomie HarrisRuth Negga y Viggo Mortensen. En cuanto a los directores, algunos de los nombres más destacados son los de Barry JenkinsGarth DavisJordan PeeleDavid Mackenzie o Tom Ford.

Entre los españoles que se incorporan a la Academia están las actrices Elena Anaya y Paz Vega, el cortometrajista Juanjo Giménez (director de 'Timecode') y dos colaboradores habituales de Pedro Almodóvar: el diseñador de producción Antxón Gómez y el director de fotografía José Luis Alcaine.

El anuncio del listado viene acompañado con unos gráficos que reflejan la mejora que suponen estas nuevas incorporaciones en términos de diversidad racial y de género dentro de la Academia.



Consulta la lista completa con los 774 nombres en la web de los Oscar.
          Forex trader training   

Forex trader training

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References


          Free Comic Book Day is this Saturday!   
Image courtesy of www.freecomicbookday.com

Hello friends.  Sorry for the lag between posts.  I guess working on a dissertation, looking for jobs and helping take care of 2 children has got the best of me.  I am going to do my best to post at least once a week from here on out.

Moving on...this Saturday is Free Comic Book Day!  Check out www.freecomicbook.com for participating retailers and previews of the books that you can get for FREE!  Henry went to his first free comic book day two years ago and it has really sparked an interest in reading for him and introduced him to some characters he has grown to love.  This year we will be going to Austin Books to enjoy their festivities in the morning and then to Half Price Books on South Lamar for the costume contest.  I am really looking forward to the day and will post pics.

This year some of the kid friendly books include Darkwing Duck, Sonic the Hedgehog, Avatar, Pep Comics Betty and Veronica,  Geronimo Stilton and the Smurfs, Kung Fu Panda, Mouse Guard Dark Crystal Flip Book, Bongo Comics Free for All, Inspector Gadget, Intrepid Escapegoat & Stuff of Legend, John Stanley's Summer Fun, Rated Free for Everyone, Sonic the Hedgehog, Mickey Mouse, Young Justice and Batman the Brave and the Bold Super Sampler and finally the Top Shelf Kids Club 2011.

I have a soft spot in my heart for the Top Shelf Kids Club as Owly and Johnny Boo have become regulars for Henry.  I think Okie Dokie Donuts will move into a regular for him, but am curious what other books he plans on choosing.  In years past he would chose one or two and read them until the covers fall off.  Good times.  Hope to see some of you at Austin Books or Half Price Books here in Austin!

For those of you in the Austin Area, FCBD starts at 8am at Austin Books and they are allowing participants 10 comics each!  In addition, Chris Roberson will be signing his FCBD Elric comic from Boom! Studios.  That's not all!  The stormtroopers from the 501st legion will be there and Austin Books will give one lucky fan a $100 gift certificate.  They are pulling out all of the stops and it should be a great event!
          Want to live in Canada and the U.S. at the same time? Here's your chance   

Check out this house: nine bedrooms, three bathrooms, only $109,000 and it comes with 24-hour security. There's just this one thing: Well, and it's kind of a big deal.

The home sits in two countries, the United States and Canada. So you'll need a passport if you want to step into the backyard, according to Macleans, a Canadian news organization.

Have you heard of this house? It drew some headlines last month, but the home straddling the border remains for sale, according to Zillow.

There are just a few more logistical issues to take into consideration: The home is a bit of a fixer upper, as it was built in 1782, the walls are made of thick granite, the decor is straight out of the 1950s and that 24-hour security we mentioned is provided by both Canada and the United States, the Associated Press reported.

A hard sell

The couple selling the home is having a hard time finding a buyer because of the location, which is on the border between Beebe Plain, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec.

But the house itself looks incredible, if you don't mind a bit of a project (which might be an understatement). The lot sits on a quarter-acre of land, the home is 3,000 square feet and it's currently cut into five vacant apartments -- although Zillow still lists the home as having nine bedrooms total and three bathrooms, so you might want to look at how the house is split up.

The AP said the home is structurally sound, but needs lots of work, adding that the estimated rebuild cost is about $600,000. The house is being sold as-is.

Perhaps this won't come as a surprise, but the aspect that seems to be tripping up most prospective buyers is definitely the location.

"In the day, it was a normal and natural thing," said Brian DuMoulin, who grew up in the house and was accustomed to life on the border at a time when no one thought twice about crossing from one country to the other. "Now it stresses everyone out."

A history lesson for you

The home, known locally as the Old Stone Store, was built by a merchant so he could sell to farmers in both Vermont and Quebec. Brian and his wife, Joan DuMoulin, inherited it about 40 years ago.

Now the couple, in their 70s, who have dual U.S. and Canadian citizenship and a home in nearby Morgan, Vermont, are hoping to sell it so they can move to Ontario to be closer to their children and grandchildren, the AP reported.

Admittedly, the times have changed since the DuMoulins inherited the house.

Ever since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, security efforts have ramped up in the area, big time.

Residential streets that used to be open are now blocked by gates. The back doors of an apartment building straddling the border nearby have been locked shut. The street next to the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, deliberately built in both countries, is blocked by flower pots, although Canadians are still allowed to walk to the library's U.S. entrance without going through a border post, the AP said.

'It's always a fine line'

The DuMoulins' house is directly across Stanstead's Rue Principale from the port of entry staffed by agents of the Canada Border Services Agency and adjacent to a U.S. Customs and Border Protection post.

Troy Rabideau, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection assistant port director for the area that includes Beebe Plain, said the agents know who live there, but keeping track can be a challenge.

"It's always a fine line," Rabideau said. "We do the best we can to keep an eye on it. We do what we have to do, security first, but we also want the support of the locals."

The DuMoulins' house has entrances from the United States and Canada. Agents have come to know the people who live in the house, currently vacant, and allow them to move back and forth freely as long as they stay in the house or the tiny front or backyard. There's a small granite border marker just outside the front door.

There is a gate hidden in a backyard hedge. DuMoulin said U.S. agents wanted to be sure the gate was wired shut. It is.

A line laid across the floor of an upstairs bedroom shows where the actual border runs, and DuMoulin pays property taxes to both countries, USA Today reported.

Showings and 'awkwardness'

Real estate agent Rosemary Lalime said in late May that the house had been shown about 10 times. There have been a dozen or so more showings or appointments booked in the past few weeks.

All but one person has come from the United States. One man called from Toronto.

"He was inquiring more about the border situation and if he bought it, what are his rights," Lalime said. "I put him in touch with the Border Patrol."

Brian DuMoulin said that usually, the agents from both countries know who they are, but he spoke of a time when a new Canadian border agent saw him, his wife and her sister standing in front of the house, "a good 18 feet into the States." He demanded they report to the Canadian border post.

"He simply didn't know," DuMoulin said, noting it took about 45 minutes to resolve the situation after the agent called his superiors.

"That's the awkwardness," he said. "If there is an awkwardness, it's that you can't just go this way or this way, you've got to go through (the ports of entry) and then back through."


          Hedgehog Handworks: Final Clearance & Closing   
Earlier this spring, I told you that one my favorite embroidery shops, Hedgehog Handworks, is closing. Joady is retiring after …
          ART HOUSE   
Published Metro magazine September 2011


Suspended high up in the atrium of the reopened Auckland City Art Gallery, a sculpture of a giant bunch of flowers welcomes visitors into the expanded space.
It’s a wonderful bouquet, but has the gallery earned it? What can we expect from this leasing art institution in the months and years ahead?

Before the main gallery closed three years ago for the rebuild, the Auckland Art Gallery was struggling.
Some artists, gallery owners, former staff and other members of the arts community believed the organisation lacked a coherent strategy.
Some artists and educators said it had become irrelevant to their needs. There was a litany of missed opportunities. A Bill Hammond retrospective was declined, and so was a show by the great German conceptualist Joseph Beuys.
The main complaints were of a failure by the gallery to engage and communicate.
It’s there in the numbers. Even before the main gallery closed, the place was averaging just 190,000 visitors a year.
In contrast, over the past year 130,000 people have trekked out to the Pah Homestead in Hillsborough to see exhibitions drawn mainly from James Wallace’s collection of New Zealand art.
The two brief showings from New York hedge fund billionaire Julian Robertson’s “promised gift” of paintings by Matisse, Picasso, Dali and other masters have been the ACAG’s biggest draws. They attracted 1000 people a day during the month in 2006 when they were first on display and 1400 a day during a one-week hang of five works in 2009.
The next best draws were the Rita Angus retrospective toured from Te Papa which drew 450 people a day, and the Colin McCahon: A Question of Faith show back in 2003, which drew 400 people a day after its return from the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam.
Both those shows were free, which highlights the problem that the gallery, and more particularly the New Gallery which is now closing, was saddled with for many other shows – a 1980s-style policy that people needed to be charged or they wouldn’t value the art.
Most shows have drawn fewer than 200 people a day, and the Walters Prize, which is supposed to be a biannual snapshot of the best in New Zealand contemporary art, gets a risible 70 people a day through the door.

A lot has changed since the scaffolding went up.
There is 50 percent more exhibition space, as well as workshop and storage areas, labs and administration offices that are planned out rather than shoved into any available space.
The heritage buildings on the site and the new construction have been integrated into three levels, rather than seven, which has meant floating the floor of the East Gallery a metre and a half above the original plate.
A tour of the collection can now be done as a series of loops, including a rooftop promenade and coffee kiosk, instead of dead-ending in spaces that didn’t lead anywhere.
And rather than director Chris Saines reporting to senior management of the old Auckland City Council, the gallery is now under Regional Facilities Auckland.
Sir Don McKinnon, chairman of the council-controlled organisation, acknowledges there may have been criticism of the gallery in the past but “we start with a clean sheet”.
“Let’s work on the basis the board is expecting the gallery management to be outward looking and outwardly engaged.
“We will give Chris Saines breathing space after the opening to clear his mind and then look at ways to actively engage.”
The gallery is opening with more than 800 works from the almost 15,000 in its collection, as well as a two-month run of all 15 works in Robertson’s promised gift.
That programme, which was planned to get around any scheduling difficulties that might have arisen by delays in the construction schedule, gives the public a chance to acquaint or reacquaint themselves with the gallery’s collections.
The future programme hasn’t been revealed, although McKinnon says the board has been asked to support hosting a large traveling show next year.
So what does this “world-class public art gallery” that will “transform the cultural heart of our city” – as the gallery describes it - look like.

The entry is impressive. Instead of the previous crabwise shuffle into the corner of the building, visitors now cross a generous space fronting on to Kitchener St.
At the top of the kauri-clad columns holding up the porch are new sculptures by Arnold Wilson, one of the original Maori modernists and still going strong in his 80s.
The ground floor galleries tell the story of New Zealand art history through its collection, from early 21st century works back to early colonial and even pre-European times.
Themes and references are picked out. Harsh light landscape paintings by Brent Wong, Don Binney and Robin White and a Lawrence Aberhart photograph hang together, Pat Hanly and Rob Ellis rub painterly shoulders, and works by Gordon Walters, Fred Graham and Theo Schoon, all derived from koru and kowhaiwhai patterning, stand side by side.
With Maori curator Ngahiraka Mason on board, the gallery has sought to build up a significant collection of Maori modernists.
It has bought early works from artists like Graham, Wilson and Para Matchitt, and is now showing them as part of the main current of New Zealand modernism rather than being off to the side where Maori artists, with the exception of Ralph Hotere, have tended to be placed.
The gallery has large holdings of work by several significant painters, including McCahon, Walters and Francis Hodgkins.
The original plan for the New Gallery was for there always to be McCahons on show, but this fell away after a few years. This is going to be fixed.
“We have the space now to ensure that artists like McCahon and Walters are not on occasional display but are constantly at the forefront of what the gallery shows,” says Saines.
There is also a permanent space for the Goldie and Lindauer paintings the gallery counts as a drawcard for international visitors.
The gallery is using the opening to rehang some of its benefactor collections, starting with most of the 53 works gifted in 1885 by former Governor and Premier Sir George Grey, including the Henry Fuseli painting that formed the start of the gallery’s internationally-important collection of the Swiss-British artist’s work.
Curator Mary Kissler has put together an exhibition showcasing the wealth of international material from the Mackelvie Trust, such as the Guido Reni Saint Sebastian.
So, from the collection, that’s the great Maori moderns, other New Zealand greats, international highlights and some of the collection’s themes, all getting a renewed commitment to their presentation.
But what about the contemporary art – the new stuff?

Upstairs in the new space opening onto Albert Park is what Saines describes as the only gallery space in the country that will be dedicated to changing exhibitions of international contemporary art.
While there are a couple of recently-done works in the first bay, around the corner is a set of 50-year old prints by Eduardo Paolozzi, an Ed Ruscha painting from the mid-1980s, a row of Jim Dine cast aluminium flowers - hardly contemporary.
“There are undoubtedly modern things that are part of the story of contemporary art,” says Saines.
“There are absolutely contemporary works and a few earlier works but let’s take some latitude here. Our collection is what it is, we do not have hundreds of contemporary international works.
“We are not a museum of contemporary art. That is not our exclusive remit.”
The Auckland Gallery holds collections that cover an incredibly broad cross-section of the history of art, from the 15th century t the 21st, as well as the country’s largest New Zealand collection. And therefore it faces one of the biggest questions for any public gallery or museum with a collection: how does it manage its collection so it doesn’t get trapped in the past and can move forward? This underlies other questions: what should the gallery show, for example, and what should it buy?
Saines can point to a number of works commissioned for the reopening that might suggest they have the matter in hand, yet it is hard to see how the gallery has really approached the complex and confusing world of contemporary art in a way that serves the people of Auckland.
Tim Walker, a former director of Lower Hutt’s Dowse Gallery, says while the Auckland gallery describes itself as “world class”, a better option may be to seek to be “globally relevant”.
In that light, he describes the new building as “looking like a really good Australian gallery … circa 1983”.
He means there’s a sense of catch-up around the rebuilding project, and playing catch-up isn’t a game Auckland can win.
The market for good modern and contemporary works is such that a New Zealand gallery will struggle to compete against much-better-heeled trophy hunters.
Barring pieces of luck, like endowments or a billionaire falling out with his New York neighbours, the gallery is not going to get the items it may be wanting.
The alternative would be to focus on what it can access, art of New Zealand and the Pacific.
That’s what being globally relevant means: identifying potential strengths or unique advantages and pursuing them.
What better place to showcase Auckland artists, New Zealand artists, Maori artists, Pacific artists, putting them in context and giving the public a chance to see the way the culture is evolving.
While Ngahiraka Mason is continuing with the project kicked off in the 1980s by Alexa Johnson of bringing the Maori modernists into the fold, the gallery is long overdue for a show cataloguing and contextualising the various strands of contemporary Maori practice. As for Pacific artists, they are even less visible.

Public art galleries have an important role to play in an artist’s career, serving to establish or validate their place in the wider culture through a hierarchy of opportunities – acquisitions, inclusion in themed shows, installation invitations, surveys, retrospectives, posthumous retrospectives.
There’s a high degree of subjectivity involved, and it’s never without controversy. After all, status and money are at stake. But it’s part of a gallery’s function that Auckland hasn’t been doing well in recent years.
In the past decade there have been only 10 large single-artist shows of living New Zealand artists and four of dead ones – and several of those were curated elsewhere.
Saines believes the gallery does connect with New Zealand contemporary art and artists. “Among the gallery stakeholders are contemporary artists themselves and we do work very closely with the contemporary art community,” he says.
“We are a museum that dedicates and commits itself to the acquisition and programming of contemporary New Zealand art, and we do it in the context of international practice through the agency of things like the triennial (a three-yearly survey of contemporary art), we do it through the agency of the Walters Prize, we do it through the very strong commitment we make to purchasing New Zealand art and overwhelmingly what we buy is contemporary New Zealand art.”
But artists are more than stakeholders. They’re the people who create what will be in the gallery in future, who feed off what’s on its walls, who live and breathe art, and who can be expected to have an awareness of what’s going on and what’s important.
While the Auckland Art Gallery doesn’t have as strong a record with contemporary artists as it might, it does appear to know how to look after benefactors. Galleries have been renamed, so today’s big spenders like Alan and Dame Jenny Gibbs, Trevor Farmer and Michael Friedlander get equal billing with Sir George Grey and James Tannock McKelvie.
Still, the largest contribution to the $121 million rebuild was $56.1 million from Auckland City Council ratepayers, with $30 million coming from the government.
That should give Aucklanders a sense of ownership of the new space and some high expectations.
There’s all that wall space, not to mention the loading dock and jumbo sized lift, just waiting for action.
Now we need a programme worthy of the expense.


GREAT BUILDING, SHAME ABOUT THE WALK UP

The new entrance to the Auckland City Art Gallery is impressive, but step back too far and you’ll fall down Khartoum Place.
That’s because, rather than a broad Spanish Steps-type approach rising up from Lorne St – or even through the arcade to Queen Street - the architects were barred from touching the tile mural bisecting the cramped alley.
That mural, ostensibly marking the centenary of women’s suffrage, was thrown up without consultation in 1993.
Council officers, who had been lobbied to take the project by tile maker Jan Morrison, sought to mollify the gallery and the architects designing the adjoining New Gallery by saying it was temporary.
But any attempt to remove the eyesore and create an elegant working public space integrated with the gallery access is now decried as an attack on feminism.
          Jumping Hedges by Philip Davison Directed by Cathal Black Drama on One   
Justin and Florrie need Larry's help - but it all hinges on a conversation in a hot-air balloon
          By: Lyn LeJeune   
Here is an excerpt from the supernatural novel, The Beatitudes, by Lyn LeJeune, now available at amazon.com and all booksellers around the world. Lyn is donating ALL royalties to the New Orleans Public Library Foundation to help rebuild the public libraries of New Orleans. If you like what you read here, order the book, enjoy, and help NEW ORLEANS. (blog is www.beatitudesinneworleans.blogspot.com- come and join The Beatitudes Network – Rebuilding the Public Libraries of New Orleans) “BUY A BOOK, BUILD A LIBRARY,” AS QUOTED AT FREAKONOMICS, NEW YORK TIMES, 8/14/07. Again the dream: Pinch smiling, her skin glistening, her smile solemn. The pliant light of dusk folds over her body. A deep purple cloak spreads white, colors like a kaleidoscope ripples at its heart, red, blue and pale white. A hand moves out of it’s chest and swiftly, before I can wake, before I can scream, she is run through with an instrument that flares gold, blood bubbles and a whiff of vapor coils across the scene. A voice that is me but not me calls out a truth that I have known for too long: that when I wake to the soft shadows of dawn, she will be no more. They say that cops routinely dream about their partner’s death. So why should it be different for social workers? This is my dream of Pinch’s murder. It is as clear as I see myself in my bathroom mirror, in the soap and grease-encrusted mirror at work, and in the mirror that is Pinch’s eyes. I had told her about it, about how sometimes what I saw in my mind came true, how other times I just couldn’t know because it happened in places far away. She said she understood. Her grandmother had practiced voodoo. “Perhaps you’re a Gran Met. A voodoo guide or something,” she had laughed. It wasn’t until a week later that I remembered to look up the term in a history of voodoo in New Orleans. Gran Met: intermediary between the living and the dead. A priestess. Mildly shaken, I had gone to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and watched as tourists with cameras hanging from their necks scratched three Xs on Marie Laveau’s crumbling tomb. Mold and soot attached themselves to the stucco encasement no matter how often it was cleaned. Admirers and sycophants had cluttered the area with tokens, most of them trinkets that symbolized appeals for a better life. And then I heard children laughing, a sonorous but faraway tinkling, like a bewitched wind chime. There are times when we scoff at what we perceive as the irrational, brushing away stentorian alarms; and we pay dearly for that foolish action. I had done that most of my life, hushing the voices that begged for validation, closing my eyes to the pulsating shapes that followed me. As I surveyed the gaggle of tourists on that now far away day, I saw no children. Gran Met with two souls, one the gros bon ange which gives her the will to live and survive and connects her to the living and should she wish, if good works are done, she may return, I guess be reincarnated, for a better life. Soul number two: our personality, the face we see in the mirror, our earthly essence: ti bon ange. I walked away shaking my head and thinking perhaps it was time I paid another visit to the department’s psychiatrist. I had watched my mother sit at our kitchen table talking to people who were not there, soothing their fears, understanding their pain. The year before she died, she stared at me as though I had become air; the night she died, I was but a ghost in her life. My mother died a madwoman and that was something I never wanted to tell Pinch. Better a voodoo princess than the madwoman of New Orleans. I woke on the first morning of my suspension just as the sun crested the rim of the world. City noises reverberated and called the people to work. But I would not answer the call today. I dressed quickly, washed, pulled on my boots and headed out for coffee and a big breakfast. I stumbled along Royal Street, sensing rather than seeing my trilling reflection in the show windows. Antiques, shadow, paintings, shadow, an undulating form sparkling. I stopped abruptly, turned, and looked at the glass. I hadn’t realized that I had dressed in complete black. A black turtle neck sweater, black jeans, black leather boats with steel toes. My face was devoid of makeup; my skin was pallid, as though a vampire had taken my substance during the night. I turned sideways; I had become almost stick-like except for my protruding breasts. A very tall form moved into the picture, an older man some two heads above me with a mane of white hair. Some doll, uh? He asked. I turned, fully expecting to have it out with him, but there was no one there. I finally made it to Café du Monde and sat as far away from others that I could get, against a wall that hedged on an embankment. Beyond the embankment was the Mississippi River; already horns from freighters split and cracked the air, gulls circled overhead in search of garbage. In front of me, I could see St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square amassed with tourists, vendors and natives heading for work. A young man approached me and I bought a Times-Picayune, knowing my face would be spread across the front page. I waited for my espresso and beignets before opening the paper, before confronting the fact that I had been made a fall guy in the press.
          PERSPECTIVES: News, views and findings relevant to the emerging hedge fund community   
Goldman starts covering bitcoin following hedge funds' demands It's official: not only has bitcoin officially made its way to Wall Street, but confirming rumors that emerged over the weekend, &quot;hedge&quot; funds - starved of volatility in virtually all other asset classes - are...
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          EUREKAHEDGE: 10 best performing emerging hedge funds, 2017 key trends in Latin American hedge funds   
...
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          LAUNCHES   
Total number of hedge funds now 9,733 after 189 launches and 259 liquidations in Q1 New hedge fund launches in 1Q 2017 increased for the first time since the first quarter of 2016 as both hedge funds and equity markets gained through the first part of the year, and measures of financial market vo...
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          Editorial   
Dear Opalesque Reader, Welcome to the June 2017 issue of New Managers (enclosed)! This month in Profiles, we speak to managers that invests in robotics and in distressed credit. Hedge fund data provider Eurekahedge provides a list of this month's top ten performing emerging funds and infographi...
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          Activist hedge fund Third Point calls for Nestle to change   
CNBC's Gemma Acton breaks down how activist investor Third Point wants Nestle to develop its business, including improving operations and reorganizing its portfolio.
          'Quant:' the buzzword hedge fund workers can no longer afford to ignore   
Fund managers are embracing one of the hottest facets of finance
          John Paulson joins Valeant's board after his firm took a nearly $2 billion hit on its stock   
Hedge fund billionaire John Paulson has joined the board of Valeant Pharmaceuticals.
          Living with cryptocurrencies    
Olaf Carlson-Wee, Polychain Capital CEO, discusses his cryptocurrency hedge fund as well as the growing popularity and knowledge about bitcoin and etherium.
          Viking Global to return $8B to investors   
CNBC's Leslie Picker reports that hedge fund Viking Global plans to return $8B to investors as its CIO Daniel Sundheim leaves the firm.
          Approaching Priesthood: Its Legalism and Generosity   

Fewer topics trouble, challenge and galvanize my soul more than exclusive priesthood authority. In mainstream religion priesthood authority is bedrock. All religions claim divine legitimacy. All profess their laws, rites, rituals and commands to hold heavenly authorization above the next, making it clear that only those duly ordained to their specific church can…

  1. Have genuine contact with the divine
  2. Claim real spiritual power
  3. Qualify for salvation

Priesthood authority in general has inherent tensions that are created by the traditions that surround it. These tensions raise formidable questions that are not altogether easy to answer. What exactly is priesthood? How is it related to church? To ritual? To salvation? To spirituality and spiritual gifts? What can be done with priesthood that cannot be done without it? In Mormonism, these questions are no less difficult to answer than in other religions. Sunday school, for example, might make it easy enough to state that priesthood is nothing more than an exclusive right to act for Christ and to perform certain functions in His name, transmitted by outward ordinances such as the laying on of hands and the temple endowment. But the church’s own historical record and scriptural canon concerning priesthood has been nothing short of revelatory, not to mention complex and richly nuanced.

Significant changes have grown out of distinctive views on priesthood since the early churches — who can wield divine power and such — suggesting that the narratives framed around “priesthood” have not always been uniformly consistent but instead finite, fallible and subject to revision in light of continuing revelation. The early nineteenth-century church, for example, first emphasized charisma and spiritual gifts as evidence of priestly power, only later to stress the necessity of office and ordination. It was Joseph Smith who taught, on the one hand, that we might as well baptize a “bag of sand” if we lack inner spiritual commitment, which seemed to downplay the significance of ordination.[i] And yet it was equally Joseph, on the other hand, who said that through the ordinances “the power of godliness is manifest.”[ii] The interconnection points to a paradox: For Joseph priesthood was both inward spiritual power — and — outward ritual orordinance. One was the key that unlocked the door; the other was the power that enabled you to walk through the door.

This paradox lies at the heart of Joseph Smith’s teachings and is something I’ve fiercely wrestled with for a long time. How could Joseph’s theology on priesthood allow for both a generous dispersal of divine power/authority extending beyond the Saints (reflected in his desire for all people to become prophets, to speak with the Holy Ghost) while at the same time place legalistic bounds and borders upon its usage (shown by his lack of sympathy for those possessed by disorderly, extravagant spirits at the camps)?

In reexamining our priesthood doctrines, we can turn to church history to unpack this paradox of simultaneous legalism and generosity. We can explore the unique qualifiers and discrepancies between what Joseph, the Book of Mormon and Doctrine and Covenants each teach about priesthood — and — what some Mormons now believe about priesthood. We will begin by unpacking our previous questions: What exactly is priesthood? How does it relate to ritual? To salvation? To spirituality and spiritual gifts? To the exclusive claim, “only true and living church”?

The priesthood, as Joseph Smith explained, is “the channel through which the Almighty commenced revealing His glory at the…creation of this earth, and through which He has continued to reveal Himself to the children of men to the present time, and through which He will make known His purposes to the end of time.”[iii] Priesthood, in other words, is a passage or conduit through which the divine is made manifest to us. It is the great eternal power and authority of God delegated to humans, authorizing them to preach the divine news, administer the sacraments, establish the heavens on earth, and heal and bless human families.

Foreshadows of “priesthood” in the early nineteenth-century “church” at first existed without being linked to the need for ritual or ordination. The 1828 revelation in the Doctrine and Covenants expressly stated in non-institutional terms what was required of people to not only enjoy divine presence and approval, but to be carriers of divine power and influence. Section 10:67 reads: “Behold, this is my doctrine — whosever repenteth and cometh unto me, the same is of my church.” To further confirm that baptism and other rituals were not required for divine sanction, the revelation immediately followed up: “Whosoever declareth more or less than this, the same is not of me, but is against me; therefore he is not of my church.” For early Mormons, it was not ecclesiastical ritual that qualified someone for the Lord’s work. Instead, requirements centered on light-of-Christ righteousness: “Faith, hope, charity and love, with an eye single to the glory of God, qualify him for the work” (D&C 4:5). “Therefore,” the Lord says, “if ye have desires to serve God ye are called to the work” (D&C 4:3).

The essence of the “priesthood” in the early church, even when it hadn’t yet been articulated or hierarchically structured as such, was predominantly spiritual (less ritualistic) in nature. Joseph would later reveal that the “rights of the priesthood are inseparably connected with the powers of heaven” (D&C 121:36). Divine authority, in other words, is like the biblical wind. It “bloweth where it listeth,” gives breeze to those who “work according to the faith and diligence and heed” of its direction” (John 3:8; 1Nephi 16:28). One reading of Section 121 might imply that priesthood power is not strictly limited within the confines of the Mormon Church itself. For it “cannot be controlled nor handled only upon the principles of righteousness,” and when pride, ambition, or coercion is used to dismiss other true and good traditions, rituals, and beliefs, “in any degree of unrighteousness, behold, the heavens withdraw themselves; the Spirit of the Lord is grieved; and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the priesthood or authority of that man” (D&C 121:36–37).

The priesthood, or any responsibility within it, cannot be purchased or commanded. The use of the priesthood cannot be compelled by position, office, or ordination status, nor monopolized by an institution by mere membership alone. It is a spiritual power that operates by heavenly law, granted to those who live righteously regardless of race, creed, or custom. We may very well then belong to the Mormon Church, or the Catholic Church, or the Muslim or Evangelical Church, and still not belong to the true church of the Lamb of God if our full-bodied desires — including our heart, mind, and might — are not in the right place. Divine power, and the ability to speak and act authoritatively, is contingent upon personal strivings, or light-of-Christ righteousness. In these teachings, as Paul and Margaret Toscano point out, “Joseph reflected to a certain extent Martin Luther’s notion of a priesthood of all believers.”[iv]

Such an egalitarian view of “priesthood,” however, is not quite sufficient to explain the legalistic framework that Joseph would eventually hedge around this sacred power. Historically, the fledgling scaffold that soon developed, defined and anchored this power would best be understood retrospectively from the ecclesiastical threats that took place during the summer of 1830.

Hiram Page, one of the Eight Witnesses of the Book of Mormon, used a seer stone to dictate revelations that many prominent church members were taken in by, but which Joseph believed “were entirely at variance with the order of Gods house, as laid down by the New Testament, as well as in our late revelations.”[v] Joseph sensed the danger of competing revelations, even though “up to that time none of [his] revelations prohibited other Saints from declaring God’s will for the church.”[vi] In fact, the concept of “prophet, seer, and revelator” among the early Saints was viewed as non-exclusive. All were encouraged to voice scripture and speak with the tongues of angels. Joseph wanted everyone to see and experience God as he did. But the Page incident, as Richard Bushman has rightly pointed out, demonstrated that “acknowledging every visionary outburst could splinter the church.”[vii] D. Michael Quinn put it in similar terms, stating how “non-hierarchical charisma could fragment an institution.”[viii]

Joseph was sensitive to rival revelations after Hiram Page, and soon saw it necessary to establish procedures and leadership structures that would prevent his little church from spinning wildly out of control. It wasn’t much later that he dictated another revelation in 1830: “No one shall be appointed to receive commandments and revelations in this Church excepting my servant Joseph, Jun., for he receiveth them even as Moses” (D&C 28:2). Joseph used his priestly gifts to subordinate what he believed were ungrounded expressions of human charisma, binding them within institutional forms. Another revelation firmly announced that “there is none other appointed unto you to receive commandments and revelations until [Joseph] be taken, if he abide in me … none else shall be appointed unto this gift except it be through him: for if it be taken from him he shall not have power except to appoint another in his stead” (D&C 43:3–4).

As sole revelator for the church, Joseph was slowly unveiling that “priesthood” was more than just a generous dispersal of spiritual power. It was also an authorized method of church governance infused with legalistic functions, rights and keys to perform certain services in Christ’s name. “There is no salvation,” Joseph declared, “without a legal administrator.”[ix]The rights and authority of the priesthood therefore — not to be conflated with its powers — became transmitted by specific rituals, such as baptism, the laying on of hands and participation in temple ordinances. The emphasis on the necessity of these rituals were, in Joseph’s teachings, meant to provide continuity and order to our relationship with the divine. They were meant to facilitate genuine spiritual transformation.

Paradoxically, the ritualistic introduction of transmitting priesthood found Joseph caught up in, and yet resisting, certain shifting impulses of revelation. For example, that particular rules, rituals and performances were meant to be obeyed in Joseph’s theology appeared conflicting with his earlier desire to be “untrammeled” by “creeds [that] set up stakes,” and that otherwise constrained divine influence.[x] Upon closer examination, however, Joseph’s legalism might better be understood as his recognition of the stakes and dangers pertaining to cheapened universalism. Terryl Givens has insightfully noted that Joseph’s adherence to law and order should be seen “as a gesture in the direction of putting on the brakes of excessive [freedom]… What at times could appear [to be] legalism, might in a broader context be seen as his resistance to the well intentioned but disastrous illusion of an ungrounded human autonomy.”[xi] Certainly, Joseph was weary of little Hiram Page’s running amok, and so was torn between the impulse to obliterate the creeds yet sanction them within a legalistic vocabulary. He understood that transcending both would require a balance of both generosity and law.

What I find most interesting about Joseph’s generous liberalism on the one hand, including its “untrammeled freedom,” and his uncompromising legalism, with its laws and ordinances on the other, is how replete the scriptures are with examples of those who received the priesthood both with and without the intercession of any human agency. In other words, there exists both inner (charismatic) and outer (institutional) forms of priesthood that have been transmitted to various prophets throughout the ages, and some of those transmissions, as far as we know, have been transferred charismatically without ordination.

The New Testament, for example, mentions no physical ordination for the apostle Paul. Rather, he received an unmediated calling to the apostleship when Jesus Christ appeared to him on the road to Damascus. In the Book of Mormon, Alma the Younger similarly did not wait to be ordained by human authority. The text mentions nothing about his ordination, only his dramatic-angelic vision that led him “from this time forward to teach the people…preaching the word of God” (Mos. 27:32).[xii] Alma the Elder is another example, who, without any mention of ordination, was commissioned to baptize others (Mos. 18:12–14). BYU religion instructor Lyndon W. Cook has observed: “these apostles had received their callings charismatically [through vision] rather than institutionally [through ordination to office].”[xiii] The Toscano’s poignantly add: “We must assume that [an] unmediated calling of God is sufficient to transform a false priesthood into a true one.”[xiv] Put differently, a person with no ordination can still be called by God to perform certain services in His name, barring not even outsiders as “partners” unaware in the work of theosis.”[xv]

The existence of a charismatic priesthood authority transmitted directly to individuals by God without mediation has important implications for good, honest, divine-seeking people outside of Mormonism, who culturally have been determined within as having no legitimate priesthood due to their lack of institutional mediation and ordination. This posture is somewhat ironic, not only because there are scriptural examples (like above) that teach the opposite, but because it misses the mark of what specific Mormon rituals have always pointed towards, namely, a genuine spiritual transformation.

Elder David A. Bednar, for example, has significantly instructed that the transmission of divine, priesthood power “does not become operative in our lives merely because hands are placed upon our heads.”[xvi] Outward ordination does not guarantee inward spiritual power, however necessary it might be — “For what doth it profit a man if a gift is bestowed upon him, and he receive not the gift?” (D&C 88:33). Although those powers might be conferred upon us, if we neglect the “sacred and ongoing responsibility to desire, to seek, to work, and to so live” for that gift we confuse the performance of outer, perfunctory rituals for inner, genuine discipleship.[xvii] We equivocate our membership in a church for equal membership in the true church of the Lamb of God, which is misguided.

The Toscano’s have rightfully expanded upon this point: “Failure to live the gospel and retain the spirit separates the rights of the priesthood from the powers of heaven so that the priesthood no longer has any spiritual authority.”[xviii] For without the power of the priesthood — the Holy Ghost — the legalistic function of the ordinances are dead, good for nothing. Or, as Joseph taught, we might as well baptize a “bag of sand.”

None of this is to suggest that institutional priesthood is not important, albeit necessary for protecting the church from internal chaos. The Book of Mormon verily teaches that the priesthood is dual-natured, both charismatic and institutional, and that both should operate together. This is suggested through continual examples of prophets being called directly by God, getting ordained with a holy ordinance, and hence establishing a church for members to flourish (Mos. 11–17; Al. 31–35; He. 13–15). However, on occasion prophets with unmediated callings are presented as not waiting for ordination before embarking on their missions; they seem to have been spiritually reborn without the need for outward ordination, though at some point they may need to receive this priesthood as Christ did, having no need of it, in order to “fulfill all righteousness” (Matt. 3:15).

From my personal experience, many members of the Mormon faith seem to conflate priesthood with this outward institutional ordination, and only this kind of ordination. Someone who has received institutional authority (outward priesthood) but lacks spiritual gifts (inward priesthood) can be a common circumstance, if one reason being we don’t typically view priesthood in terms of inward spirituality. This might be due to the fact that admitting that there are many chosen people, many lost tribes, and many promised lands and divinely-inspired records outside our faith contradicts the need for our particular brand of ordination. Or that it opens the door to a kind of cheapened universalism.

While there may be some legitimacy here, we seem to confuse our claim for divine authority with the claim that no spiritual authority or power whatsoever can exist in any other organization. We seem to forget our own history, that the priesthood was restored and established before our church was even organized and can exist independently without an official structure in place. Admitting that other religious and secular traditions can possess inward priesthood is no different from claiming that God bestows spiritual gifts and callings upon all cultures and people.

In consideration of such priestly gifts, the 1978 First Presidency under the direction of Spencer Kimball, Eldon Tanner, and Marion Romney, announced the divine role that outsiders will play in the work of theosis. Here their official, worldwide, multicultural declaration states:

“The great religious leaders of the world such as Mohammed, Confucius, and the Reformers, as well as philosophers including Socrates, Plato, and others, received a portion of God’s light. Moral truths were given to them by God to enlighten whole nations and to bring a higher level of understanding to individuals.”[xix]

Orson Whitney would go even further to support the notion that outsiders can possess a certain kind of inward priesthood. Here he tells us that other faith and secular tribes are our “partners” in the work of salvation:

“God, the Father of us all, uses the men of the earth, especially good men, to accomplish his purposes…They are among the church’s auxiliaries, and can do more good for the cause where the Lord has placed them, than anywhere else…God is using more than one people for the accomplishment of His great and marvelous work. The Latter-day Saints cannot do it all. It is too vast, too arduous for any one people…We have no quarrel with the Gentiles. They are our partners in a certain sense.”[xx]

It should be clear from our reading of the Book of Mormon, most notably 2Nephi 29, that though Christ is our great Savior and Redeemer, he is not our God alone. He is the God of “all men, both in the east and in the west, and in the north, and in the south, and in the islands of the sea” (2Nephi 29:11). He has, as Jacob 5 instructs, many trees in his vineyard. Such powerful declarations are no cause for arrogance or complacency. We are taught that being in possession of distinctive and sacred priesthoods by no means invalidates the spirituality, vitality, and priestly callings of others. After all, we can hardly validate institutionally the authority of those called by God directly without knowing their fruits. And mere ordination alone does not presuppose good fruit. The Doctrine & Covenants 12:8 expressly states that no one will be barred from being carriers of divine influence, granted they are “humble and full of love, having faith, hope, and charity, being temperate in all things.”

The Toscano’s elaborate further: “We ought to be compassionate and humble enough to admit that God will not require others to accept the truth he has given to us without requiring us to accept the truth he has given to them. We cannot simply export our religion but must also import from others.”[xxi] President Gordon B. Hinckley has expressed this same truth in different terms: “Bring with you all that you have of good and truth which you have received from whatever source, and come and let us see if we may add to it.”[xxii]

Joseph Smith’s priesthood was truly expansive as it was narrowly lawful, granted in piecemeal to those who would walk the divine walk. In one sermon he went as far as to say that “all who would follow the precepts of the Bible, whether Mormon or not, would assuredly be saved.”[xxiii] He later would add: “God hath made a provision that every spirit can be ferreted out in that world that has not sinned the unpardonable sin.”[xxiv]Whether this means all people will need to receive at some point a Mormon baptism, or a Mormon temple endowment, I am currently agnostic about.

Initiation rites are much less interesting and important to me than genuine spiritual development. Rituals seem hollow and unnecessary if they do not encourage inward, existential transformation. Of course, rituals can lead a person to spiritually-motivated acts, but I have read about and met far too many good, honest, divine-seeking people who seem to have already experienced this spiritual rebirth, without our institutional trappings. From a Christian standpoint, however, the need for some kind of ordination seems imperative given Jesus Christ’s baptism. That Buddha, Gandhi, Muhammad or Aristotle would eventually need to be baptized, let alone receive a Mormon baptism, would, from my estimation, have to come from Christ’s power and influence alone, not from the tumult of noise of those who vie for His authority.

In closing, it is my current belief that Joseph’s priesthood is a divine power that is incredibly flexible, generous and tolerant, while at the same time guarded by ecclesiastical structures that maintain and protect against its false and dangerous uses. This paradox of simultaneous legalism and generosity requires careful and ponderous and solemn thoughts to fathom its mystery. I readily admit I have only begun to scratch the surface. It is a power, above all, that cannot be used for personal gain, but must be used to serve and uplift others. As President Dieter F. Uchtdorf has challenged, “In order to exercise His power, we must strive to be like the Savior.”[xxv] And my approach here has been merely that — to approach, to reach, to strive slowly towards His truly marvelous, sensitive power, one degree at a time.

Footnotes

[i] TPJS, p. 314

[ii] D&C 84:19–20

[iii] TPJS, p. 108–9.

[iv] Toscano, Paul & Margaret. Strangers in Paradox. US: Signature Books, 1990. 144

[v] Bushman, Richard. Rough Stone Rolling. New York: Vintage Books, 2005. 121.

[vi] Quinn, Michael. The Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power. US: Signature Books, 1994. 8.

[vii] Bushman, 120.

[viii] Quinn, 9.

[ix] James Burgess Notebook, 23 July 1843, in Andrew F. Ehat and Lyndon W. Cook, The Words of Joseph Smith (Orem, Utah: Grandin, 1991), 235.

[x] TPJS, p. 261–70

[xi] Givens, Terryl. Joseph Smith, Romanticism, and Tragic Creation. Richard Bushman Mormon Studies Symposium. 14.

[xii] Alma the Younger was eventually ordained by his father, but his holy calling and ministry came before this ordination (Alma 5:3)

[xiii] Cook, Lyndon. “Joseph Smith and the High Priesthood.” Sunstone Theological Symposium. 1987, SLC.

[xiv] Toscano, 157.

[xv] Whitney, Orson. “People Outside Faith Can Promote Lord’s Cause.”http://www.ldschurchnewsarchive.com/articles/30459/People-outside-faith-can-promote-Lords-cause.html

[xvi] Bednar, David. “Receive the Holy Ghost” General Conference talk.https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2010/10/receive-the-holy-ghost?lang=eng

[xvii] Bednar, ibid.

[xviii] Toscano, 146.

[xix] First Presidency statement, Feb. 15, 1978.

[xx] Whitney, Ibid

[xxi] Toscano, 149.

[xxii] Hinckley, Gordon. “The Marvelous Foundation of Our Faith.”https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2002/10/the-marvelous-foundation-of-our-faith?lang=eng

[xxiii] Matthew L. Davis, MS History of the Church, C-1, 194.

[xxiv] William Clayton Report, 7 April 1844, Ehat and Cook, Words, 360.

[xxv] Uchtdorf, Deiter. “The Joy of the Priesthood” General Conference talk. https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2012/10/the-joy-of-the-priesthood?lang=eng#5-10491_000_34uchtdorf


          Neuberger Berman's Dyal buys minority stake in hedge fund Atalaya   
BOSTON (Reuters) - Dyal Capital Partners, the Neuberger Berman Group unit that buys minority stakes in hedge and private equity fund firms, has bought a piece of private credit and special...

          Feds Arrest Martin Shkreli On Fraud Charges   
Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit Transcript DAVID GREENE, HOST: A young man who caused a huge controversy by trying to jack up the price of a life-saving drug is back in the news. Martin Shkreli was arrested this morning and will reportedly be charged with securities and wire fraud. The charges stem from his time as CEO of a biotechnology company called Retrophin. An outside counsel to the company has also been charged. And let's talk about this with NPR's Jim Zarroli, who's on the line. And Jim, if you could, just start out with who Martin Shkreli is and how he got here. JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Martin Shkreli is the man people love to hate. He was a former hedge fund manager who heads a company called Turing Pharmaceuticals. In September, it was revealed that Turing had bought the rights to a drug called Daraprim. Daraprim is used to treat parasitic infections, used a lot of - by a lot of AIDS patients also, less often by malaria patients. Turing bought the drug and raised the
          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies."
          5 Feng Shui Tips That Will Help Get Your Home Sold Quickly   
Feng Shui is particularly useful in presenting effective and practical ways of making home-for-sales irresistible and marketable. Not only did it make helped many realty agents make the properties on their list appealing to their buyers, it also enabled them to make their fastest and most profitable sales possible. If you are planning to put up your home for sale, follow this article to get an introduction to the 5 Feng Shui tips that will help get your home sold quickly.





What exactly is Feng Shui?


The practice of Feng Shui, which literally means wind (feng) and water (shui), originated in China 6,000 years ago. Often referred as the geo-mancy or "Earth wisdom", its disciplines are comprise with ancient methods of constructing residences, making use of the patterns and arrangements of elements to promote happiness, abundance and harmony into the home. Today, the observance of Feng Shui has expanded into modern architecture, urban planning, interior design, garden and outdoor home structure designs and framework as well as in the selection of colors and materials to be used in finishing a room. Surely, our 5 Feng Shui tips that will help get your home sold quickly.





How does Feng Shui work?


Feng shui is all about maintaining harmony with the environment to promote positive change. For home for sales, here is the 5 Feng Shui tips that will help get your home sold quickly.





1. Attracting positive energy. When putting up your home for sale, consider paying attention to the smaller details. For instance, make sure that the address of your property which you placed on the ads is clearly marked and visible. Place your "for-sale" signage at the curb and on the house. Just as feng shui attracts the right energy in home arrangements, it also advises you to make sure that you clearly state the directions of going to your home so buyers can easily locate your home.





2. Clearing and opening up. Making sure that all the entrance portions of your home is clean, polished and clear is very much like attracting great opportunities. Making sure that windows are thoroughly cleaned with the front door and the hallway thoroughly polished, you welcome your home's potential buyers with an open space and an impression of well-maintained home.





3. Create a positive flow of energy. No one can resist a bright and welcoming home. With that, it is important to clean, buff and polish your home's entry ways as it is the portion of the house that will ultimately leave an impression to its potential buyers. You can cozy up that portion of your home a bit by adding knickknacks which will enhance its aesthetic value.





4. Keeping positive energy. In prepping up your home for sale, take time to fix all loose knobs, broken tiles, peeling paints, cracked and chipped cabinet handles and all the things that are broken. Also, make sure that you lawn and hedges is trimmed and your garden at its best. Fix all your home's minor issues to make tweak its energy levels as well as to avoid driving away home buyers.





5. Apply the Bagua. You can do this by setting aside a room near the front door to entertain clients. Make sure that in that spot, flyers about your home as well as the business cards of your real estate agent are available. Who knows, one of those curious visitors could be the perfect buyer for your home.


If you're ever looking to sell a home in Louisville CO, be sure to look up Automated Homefinder.

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Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


          TV show horror artists in S.A. for fan meet   
SAN ANTONIO – Two contestants from the current season of TV’s special effects competition hit, “Face Off,” are in San Antonio to meet with fans and train artists who work at a local haunted house. Evan Hedges, who made it all the way to next week’s finale of the Syfy show, and his partner, Kevon
          Forsythia Time, And the Garden is Needy   
Well, tree budding seems to be about two weeks earlier than average. More specifically: The Forsythia are blooming – and this is perhaps the most useful harbinger of spring, and of several spring chores.

When the Forsythia are blooming it is time to:

1) Spread pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn, if you do it at all.

2) Divide Hostas and most other perennials.

3) Fertilize your bushes, if you do it at all.

4) Prune your bushes, which you really ought to do if it has been more than a couple years.

1) Lawn Work
If, unlike me, you care about having a green, uniform grass lawn, you may choose to spread pre-emergent herbicide on your lawn. Such chemicals kill the sprouting seeds which annual weeds rely upon to regenerate, but do not kill lawn grass or other perennials. Still, they are potentially toxic chemicals. Except for corn gluten. Regular corn gluten is an effective pre-emergent herbicide, which also provides Nitrogen and Phosphorus (NPK of 9-1-0). It is sold in garden centers, but not, the last time I looked, in places like Home Depot. If you are to use corn gluten or any pre-emergent herbicide, you really should do it this weekend, before most of the weeds have sprouted.

2) Divide Hostas
Most Hostas are an inch or two tall as of today. It’s easy to see where they are, and even which ones are variegated, dark blue, etc. Now is the time to cut a chunk out of a Hosta, and plant it somewhere else, preferably with half-sun or less, in rich and humusy earth. (A week ago was fine too, but the job becomes much more destructive of the plants once they are all up and flopping about.) Fill the hole up with rich soil, or soil mixed with composted cow manure, water immediately, and water every couple days in dry weather (which we have been having).

Most other perennials can be similarly treated. There are perennials which don’t like to be disturbed, but all those which spread, and/or form “donut” shapes by expanding while their middle goes into decline, are suitable for propagation by shovel, and most even benefit from the shovel and subsequent soil enrichment. (Throw out the dead middle of any donut-shaped plant.)

3) Fertilize Bushes
This is most important with sheared plants such as hedges and most foundation plantings of yew, because shearing removes a lot of nutrients over time. But most shrubs in most locations would benefit from some fertilizer, be it a top-dressing of composted cow manure, some other rich compost, or a granular product (ideally, with at least some leaf compost or peat moss or a natural bark mulch which can break down and add organic material to the soil). If you have Rhododendrons (that includes azaleas), Pieris/andromeda, Kalmia/mountain laurel, Vaccinium (e.g., blueberry) and Erica & Calluna/heath & heather (apart from variegate Euonymous, most broad-leaved evergreens are in this family, the Ericaceae), then I recommend the Holly-Tone acidifying fertilizer, especially if you garden in a limestone area, such as most sites in the Northern Berkshires. Read the instructions. Don’t apply more than recommended. Instead, apply that amount, or half as much. You may repeat such treatment in early summer, but for most plants this second treatment should not be delayed past mid-July, lest you encourage lush growth which will fail to harden before an early frost. Note that many shrubs, notably Rhododendrons, have very shallow roots, so you should not try to dig fertilizers in.

4) Prune Bushes – Especially Hydrangeas
Pruning bushes is especially important for those with a tendency to build up congested and dead wood, such as most Hydrangeas. But almost any shrub needs pruning if it hasn’t gotten it in the last 2 or 3 years.

Pruning is needed for a number of overlapping reasons:
To remove dead, diseased or damaged wood
Remove rubbing or crossed branches
Open up the center to air and light
Make physical space for new buds to grow
Increase flowering or fruiting
Remove non-variegated reversions
Make the shrub more compact or a certain shape, to fit a spot or allow views out a window.
Make the shrub more compact, to look less scraggly
Deal with a fungal, bacterial or insect problem

Don’t Fear Radical Pruning
Even more so than with carpentry, there are several tools for removing wood, none for putting it back. But shrubs are far more forgiving than trees. You don’t have to worry about making multiple cuts so the branch won’t tear out of the trunk. You don’t have to worry about killing yourself. And you don’t have nearly as much reason to worry even about killing the plant. Shrubs aren’t just smaller than trees, they also tend to have multiple stems, and the ability to readily sprout new stems from the ground or close to the ground.

It is very hard to kill a shrub or permanently make one ugly due to pruning. Cutting a shrub all the way to the ground could kill it if hot dry weather ensues and you don’t water it daily, or if the shrub has no dormant buds near its base. But any shrub without such buds would be short-lived anyway, as it would not be able to replace old or damaged stems (e.g., lavender and some other woody herbs, and brooms, quick-growing plants most of which aren’t reliably hardy here anyway.)

There are a few rules to follow, but usually there’s no need to commit to a particular course of action when you start pruning. You first cut out the dead wood, clean out any refuse, and remove any intruders (weeds, seedlings, aggressive neighbors). With the lines of the shrub’s living wood revealed, you may now see that it’s a hideous misshapen mess. In that case, you may go straight to “radical pruning” – to cutting the plant to within an inch of the ground, or to a foot or so of trunk for those with a single trunk at their base (Rhodies, again). More likely, you’ll be merciful to the plant, because a hideous bunch of stems in April can still become a beautiful shrub once it’s leafed out and made new growth. But you will likely see that the remaining plant could still be reduced by a third (or perhaps even two-thirds). So you will remove some of the oldest stems (thicker, or with rougher bark), and you will remove stems with ugly scars or possible signs of disease or infestations.

If the plant is in leaf, and has leaves which are variegated or in colors other than green, you should remove any reversions to solid green. Most variegated cultivars will show such reversions over time. Even if you like the striking combination of areas of green contrasting with areas of a finer two-tone look, it is often best to remove the sold-green leaves since they will likely out-compete the rest of the plant.

For shrubs, like most Hydrangeas, with branches sprouting from the ground, almost all of your cuts will be to the ground. Easy, apart from the possible difficulty of reaching your clippers into the space. For other shrubs, with one or a few trunks which divide as they go up, you will be cutting higher up. Just remember not to cut a branch to some random point along its length, or to where you think that will make the shrub the right overall size. Instead, cut to where the branch sprouts from a larger branch, to just outside any branch collar (the swelling around the base of a branch).


          No New Post Today   
OK, well that title is not entirely true as what you are reading now is, in fact, a post. What I mean is that I didn't finish typing up Part 12 of the reread, so there is no reread post today. Sorry!

I think I have a semi-good reason for missing a day. The anthology WARRIORS was finally released in paperback yesterday, which meant that I finally had the chance to read The Mystery Knight - the third Dunk and Egg short story. Or is it a novella? I never remember the difference.

I love the first two Dunk and Egg stories, and I'm only about a third of the way through Mystery Knight but I'm enjoying it as well. It's interesting seeing what Westeros was like 80 or so years ago, and how the Targaryens were as rulers. It is also enjoyable to see the land through the eyes of a lowborn Hedge Knight, as all the other characters we "see through the eyes of" are Lords and Ladies (or close enough).

Once again, sorry for the 'skip day' and we will be back with Arya and Daenerys tomorrow!
          Re: Hedging currency risk   
Valuethinker wrote:
Liveware Problem wrote:I am located in Norway.

I recently transferred the remains of my pension investments under my control to a similar allocation as before, but now currency hedged. So that should be OK.

However, looking over my investments in taxable I realize I have substantially larger currency risk than I originally thought. In particular I worry about the exchange rate of NOK to USD when seen over a 10 year period. It has been as low as 1USD = 5 NOK, and about 1USD = 6 NOK just 3 years ago, whereas now it is about 1USD = 8.5 NOK. I have 20% bonds, half of which is Norwegian bonds, and the other half is currency hedged global bonds, so that should be ok. I also have a small allocation to Norwegian mutual funds.

But the remaining index funds, about 75% is not currency hedged. Of this US exposure is about 30%, European exposure about 35% with tilt to Nordic countries and 30% Asia, 5% other.

Should I worry about this, and more importantly, should I take some action to reduce this risk?


I would not.

If NOK falls (more NOK to buy 1 USD or EUR) then your non Norwegian funds are worth more. Same thing happened to me this year with the Brexit vote. GBP fell roughly 15% against USD and EUR. My cost of holidays and imports has gone up (things in shops more expensive) but my portfolio is worth more in GBP.

Now if NOK rises (fewer NOK to buy 1 USD/ EUR) then that hurts your investments. But, conversely, your salary is worth more (good for imports and trips abroad) and your home equity (which is in NOK) is also worth more.

If Brexit turns out to be a brilliant success ( ;-)) why then the GBP will rise, and my UK salary, state pension and home equity will be worth more in other currencies. Offsetting losses on equity portfolio.

I have paid off house and a cash reserve in NOK about the same size as the investments.


So you have a big bet on NOK in your cash reserves (and as long as within the bank deposit insurance limits (I believe 85k EUR in the EU, it is GBP 75k in UK, not sure in Norway), that's OK), and also your home equity is a bet on NOK (you sell the house, you will get paid in NOK).

Now if you are within 5-10 years of retirement then it might be worth thinking about currency hedging more of your portfolio. Your pension from the Norwegian government and any employer pension will also be in NOK. So in that sense again holding non NOK assets is a good idea. If you contemplate spending a lot of time in retirement outside Norway, you might want to make investments in that currency e.g. EUR if you might spend a lot of time in south of France or Spain.

Generally as you get closer to retirement volatility is a bad thing. But the rest of the time, it's probably best just to "let it ride".


I am inclined to let it ride now, I'm still 20 years from retirement and am hoping that the cash reserve and the house equity will compensate for any strengthening of the NOK. Got a bit spooked when I looked at the actual graphs, but who can tell what the future holds. Bank insurance deposit is a bit more than twice that of EU, but I think they are looking at aligning with EU in a couple years time. It's just a matter of using multiple banks anyway. Thanks for the detailed answer, feeling much better about this now.
          Re: Italian Investor (Ireland Based) - Lazy Portfolio   
theBaffo wrote:Hello Bogleheads,

I'm a 26 years old who's start considering building portfolio, starting with 10k.

Emergency funds: Yes
Debt: None
Tax Filing Status: Single
Age: 26
Desired Asset allocation: 70% stocks / 30% bonds

I created a simple portfolio, what do you think about it?

63% iShares Core MSCI World UCITS ETF
07% iShares MSCI Emerging Markets UCITS ETF
30% iShares Euro Inflation Linked Government Bond UCITS ETF

I chose these 3 because they are Accumulating ETFs, and they're Ireland-domiciled. Also, all these ETFs are available as commission-free ETFs on Degiro (which is the broker that I was thinking of using).

So, I guess the main questions are:
- Any suggestions about how to improve the portfolio? (And keep it simple, of course :happy )
- Is DEGIRO a proper choice for my portfolio? Any other suggestion?

Thanks in advance!


Given your age, it won't matter much. All that matters is the bond/ equity split, and that the equities are as widely diversified as possible. Over your investing lifetim e there will be new products, new themes, new truths. This will head you in the right direction at the beginning.

30% in bonds is reasonable. I think it is a good rule of thumb one should never be less than 25% in stocks, and never more than 75% (Ben Graham's old advice).

However inflation linked bonds tend to be volatile (they respond to shifts in real, not nominal, interest rates, and that tends to be volatile).

If you can stand the additional complexity, I'd split it 15% to that fund, 15% to an equivalent nominal bond fund. If you can find an appropriate global developed government bond index fund (investment grade - that's important) then I would consider it. The yield would be very low, so it won't create much tax for you to pay.

My thoughts are you would be diversifying credit risk even further*, plus you would have some protection against deflation risk (at the cost of less protection against inflation risk). If the fund is currency hedged back into EUR (which would give you much less volatility) then your main concern in the long run would be a risk in global inflation, because if say US or Japanese inflation rose against EUR Eurozone inflation, over time the Eurozone currencies would tend to rise (this is Purchasing Power Parity, and it only works in the long run).

If the fund is not currency hedged you should probably stick to a Eurozone government bond fund-- currency risk in nominal bonds is problematic, because it makes the funds so volatile.

If I am totally honest, given your age, this is not a must do.

* how far do we take this? Spain has perhaps turned a corner. Greece won't be in the fund (it's not investment grade). I'd have to check if Portugal is IG-- but it is not in good shape (although a tiny portion of world bond markets). The Eurozone nightmare (which would lead to the currency breaking up) would be some kind of Italian government default. Now in truth I think that is impossible (world's 4-5th largest bond market, most bonds held by Italian households directly or via insurance companies, etc.) but if that sort of crisis loomed, Eurozone would have to break up (maybe Germany would leave the Euro as the easiest way).
          Gold Bug Hedge Fund Manager: Owning Gold Mining Equities Is Insanity   
Hugh Hendry, CIO of Eclectica Asset Management, is bullish on gold, but not on its miners. He's not so hot on China, either.
          Franklin Templeton Acquires World's 7th Largest Hedge Fund Of Funds   
Today’s acquisition of K2 Associates isn’t a huge amount of cash, but represents another step toward alternative investments by a big traditional asset manager.
          Decked up   
From the moment I get into a taxi and pull out of the Beijing Airport, all the signs are there. From the red flags fluttering on poles along the expressway, welcoming participating teams, to the five rings painted on the main lane, restricting it for Olympic vehicles only. Beijing is clearly a city gearing up to host the 2008 Olympic Games.

Olympic flags line the streets

The main lane is retricted for Olympic cars only.
Most people follow the rule

All construction in this fast-growing city is at a standstill for the Games, the sites cordoned off with neat facades. Like a soldier dressed in a new uniform, the creases neatly in place, the city too is decked up – manicured lawns line the roads, hedges are pruned just so. Fully-grown trees have been transplanted from nurseries to the sides of roads, propped up by tripod-like supports. And it seems like all the flowers in Beijing have conspired to bloom just now, to wow the crowd of visitors here for the Games.

What size tree you want?

Tasteful flowers everywhere

There’s no sign of the dreaded traffic I’ve heard about. On even dates, only cars with even number plates ply on the roads, odd numbers on odd dates. The off days of working people across the city have been staggered across the week, so that on any given day, there are fewer people on the roads. And in offices across the city, employees have been encouraged to take their annual vacations during the Games. A couple I met at the airport, practising Buddhists, were on their way to India, on a pilgrimage to Varanasi and Bodh Gaya. They could stay a week or a month; their office was okay with both.

Posing with the Fuwa
The Fuwa, the five cheery mascots of the Games, are everywhere. In the foyers of malls and shopping centres, with little children posing next to life sized figures. And on keychains and bags and scarves and any kind of souvenir that you could possibly want at the many Olympic Flagship Stores in the city. There are even miniature working models of the Torch to be had, but they cost a pretty penny. Looking for a bargain, I wander off a branch of the bustling Wangfujing Walk Street and find myself a Fuwa t-shirt for just 20 RMB.
The sheer variety of Olympic souvenirs is overwhelming


At Tiananmen Square, last minute preparations are still on. I watch wonderstruck as a large crane gingerly lifts a single flowerpot at a time, placing it in its rightful place in the Olympic logo taking shape right before my eyes. Next to it is a replica of the Nest, the impressive Olympic Stadium.
I was impressed by the precision of the exercise

the nestplica!

As I look around, a policeman walks up to me, warning me to hold my bag closer in the crowded Square. He points out the police booth, where I can go if I need assistance. And he’s not the only one willing to help out. There are volunteers everywhere; only some speak English, but all are ready to engage in a game of dumb charades and lend a hand if they can.

When the sun sets, the faint smog hanging over the city glows lightly orange. The lights come on, and I spot the clock outside the National Museum, counting down the hours to the 2008 Olympic Games in bright yellow numbers.


A version of this was published in the Hindustan Times today.

             
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Tru Thoughts
          Thompson Reuters launches instant messaging hub. HedgeFunds Review. Feb. 3, 2009.   

Thompson Reuters recently launched their Reuters Messaging (RM) Interchange. This allows users to “connect and communicate with over 130,000 end-users in 5,000 companies”. Thompson Reuters claims this is the “world’s first global instant messaging clearing house”. Interesting move.


          Hooting Yard: On The Bad Vicarage   
It was late on a winter’s evening when I turned on to the lane leading to the Bad Vicarage. There was ice in the puddles and the thorn bushes glittered in the moonlight. On the other side of a filbert hedge a peasant person was worrying the ground with an agricultural tool. “Good evening, peasant!” […]
          Comment on Why Is Our Kitchen Not Done? by Samantha Armel   
Liz you have a true gift in sharing your heart and home. Whenever I stop by to read a blog you somehow manage to make it seem as though I'm sitting across from you on the porch listening to you share your heart and home. For that reason, I really must disagree with the idea that you would be struggling with such major decisions for any reason other than what this home represents to you and Jose. A forever home is a special place and decisions should be made with love and care. Which I have no doubt you are capable of doing! I also imagine that given the recent struggles you've shared with us these decisions would be a little harder to come by. I have struggled with major depression and anxiety since I was a child, both stem from my own battle with chronic illness. Big decisions can be even harder when facing those feelings. One thing I've done in the past in my own home is write out scripture that God lays on my heart under the flooring or walls (before we paint). This is something that my mother passed down to me and it really does help. Claiming the space as the Lord's to do with as He sees fit is a powerful thing. It may bring some peace and certainly can help to hedge your home in protection during this hectic time. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us today. Never doubt that what God is using you for is anything less. You inspire so many of us with your story and with your genuine heart and kindness. I'll be praying God's best for you this week sweetie!
          THE NEWS WRAP: Snapchat raises more than $700 million   

Snapchat has raised an additional $US537 million in funding from investors, according to The Wall Street Journal.   The round was led by Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding and two hedge funds.   The latest capital injection values Snapchat at $US16 billion, up from $US10 billion in December. Apple buys German augmented reality software […]

The post THE NEWS WRAP: Snapchat raises more than $700 million appeared first on SmartCompany.


          Comment on Poodle Trump Runs With Dogs of War by Finian Cunningham + Chris Hedges: MSM ‘Kneejerk Cheerleading’ After Syria Strike Nothing New by U.S. War Justification Is in the Eye of the Beholder by David Swanson – Dandelion Salad   
[…] Poodle Trump Runs With Dogs of War by Finian Cunningham + Chris Hedges: MSM ‘Kneejerk Cheerleading… […]
          6/28/2017: LONDON LIFE: Co-op Bank set to grab £700m lifeline from US   
THE Co-op Bank was today expected to secure a £700 million lifeline from a group of US hedge funds. That deal should ensure it doesn’t need assistance from the Bank of England. The Co-op Bank said on Monday it had ditched plans to seek a buyer to focus...
          6/28/2017: BUSINESS: Financial services know what’s wanted but refuse to deliver   

IT was towards the end of June 2007 — exactly 10 years ago — that the US investment bank Bear Stearns announced that two of its hedge funds were close to collapse. The next step, at the beginning of August, was for the French bank Paribas to suspend...
          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies."
          FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 APK   
Descargar FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 APK

Nombre: FarmVille Tropic Escape
Plataforma: Android
Requiere: 4.1
Tipo: Juego
Versión: 1.10.800
FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 apk para android, full apk FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800, descargar el juego FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800, bajar FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 apk, descargar FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 gratis para android, descargar FarmVille Tropic Escape v1.10.800 apk gratis. ¡Tome una fuga tropical para su propia isla de ensueño en este nuevo juego de simulación de construcción free-to-play de los creadores del juego de cultivo más popular del mundo - FarmVille! 

Descubrir los secretos de su isla como su exploración y expansión desde las suaves playas de arena blanca a la montaña expansiva. 

Los huéspedes de bienvenida a su propio lado de la playa inn mientras se relajan y disfrutar de las delicias hechas de las culturas tropicales que usted cosecha como la piña, el coco y la caña de azúcar!





          Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 APK   
Descargar Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 APK

Nombre: Yalghaar 
Plataforma: Android
Requiere: 4.1
Tipo: Juego
Versión: 1.0.2
Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 apk para android, full apk Yalghaar v1.0.2, descargar el juego Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2, bajar Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 apk, descargar Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 gratis para android, descargar Yalghaar The Game v1.0.2 apk gratis. El destino de las operaciones futuras depende de la operación militar superior. 

Usted tendrá la oportunidad de resgatar reféns, bombas difusas y minas, eliminar terroristas suicidas inimigas y franco-atiradores. 

Equipar-se con el estado de las armas militares de arte y llevar su exército del Paquistão para una gloria. Sugerir como traducción de "chief inimigo" Combate contra los militantes y los terroristas en los gráficos incrustados 3D.

Características
1. Estado de las armas poderosas de arte para elegir, incluyendo metralhadoras, sub-metralhadoras, espingardas, pistolas y pistolas.
2 mapas shooter tático definido en un ambiente 3D realista.
3. Ganar medallas y actualizar sus armas. Identificar inimigas pontos fracos.
4. Variedad de enemigos para combater con discresión, artilheiros, franco-atiradores y hombres-bomba.
5. competir contra el líder de bordo y torná-lo ao topo, entre otros jugadores de alto calibre.





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735) putlocker.com
736) hyves.nl
737) babycenter.com
738) bodybuilding.com
739) radikal.ru
740) cmbchina.com
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744) adult-empire.com
745) eluniversal.com.mx
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749) kompas.com
750) dyndns.org
751) telegraaf.nl
752) ca.gov
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756) break.com
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758) slickdeals.net
759) skysports.com
760) sfgate.com
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762) nhk.or.jp
763) klout.com
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765) 1und1.de
766) southwest.com
767) sfr.fr
768) ctrip.com
769) iminent.com
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772) onlinedown.net
773) ft.com
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775) howstuffworks.com
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777) nk.pl
778) traidnt.net
779) orbitz.com
780) masrawy.com
781) freeones.com
782) myfreecams.com
783) google.co.nz
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785) dict.cc
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790) marktplaats.nl
791) pixnet.net
792) td.com
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796) trulia.com
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817) noaa.gov
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825) logmein.com
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830) google.com.kw
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896) m-w.com
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930) allabout.co.jp
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1014) warriorplus.com
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1017) gamer.com.tw
1018) aibang.com
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1098) mylife.com
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1100) groupon.it
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1123) shinobi.jp
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1125) ew.com
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1128) mamba.ru
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1177) lanacion.com.ar
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1199) ip-adress.com
1200) seekingalpha.com
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1234) dl4all.com
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1267) instructables.com
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1327) template-help.com
1328) fanfiction.net
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261
          Spread Ibex-DAX   
En varias ocasiones os hemos acercado artículos que hacían referencias a las estrategias utilizadas por hedge fund, pero lo cierto es que los estudios sobre estas técnicas son escasos en inglés y nulos en castellano. Las referencias que podemos encontrar en cuanto a sus métodos de inversión son superficiales ya que el objetivo no es […]
          Flores do Pó [1941] - DVD-R [ACERVO]   
Up By Aboechat
 

Esta cinebiografia conta a história de Edna Kahly (Greer Garson). Ela casa com o texano Sam Gladney (Walter Pidgeon), operador de um moinho de trigo. Eles têm um filho, que morre ainda muito jovem. Edna descobre, por acaso, como a lei trata de crianças sem pais e decide fazer algo a respeito. Ela abre um lar para crianças abandonadas e órfãos e encontra para elas bons lares adotivos, apesar da oposição dos conservadores, que desprezam filhos ilegítimos por terem nascido fora do casamento. Enfrentando adversidades e dramas pessoais, Edna lidera uma luta na Assembleia Legislativa texana para remover o estigma da ilegitimidade dos registros de nascimento, tornando-se uma advogada em defesa das crianças enjeitadas.


Greer Garson ... Edna Gladney
Walter Pidgeon ... Sam Gladney
Felix Bressart ... Dr. Max Breslar
Marsha Hunt ... Charlotte
Fay Holden ... Mrs. Kahly
Samuel S. Hinds ... Mr. Kahly
Kathleen Howard ... Mrs. Keats
George Lessey ... Mr. Keats
William Henry ... Allan Keats
Henry O'Neill ... Judge
John Eldredge ... Damon
Clinton Rosemond ... Zeke
Theresa Harris ... Cleo
Charles Arnt ... G. Harrington Hedger
Cecil Cunningham ... Mrs. Gilworth
Ann Morriss ... Mrs. Loring
Richard Nichols ... Sammy
Patricia Barker ... Tony
Mary Taylor ... Helen
Marc Lawrence ... La Verne
Ernie Alexander ... Mr. Jason (uncredited)
Harry Allen ... Gus, Kahly's Servant (uncredited)
Sam Ash ... Bidder (uncredited)
Joan Barclay ... Guest at First Party (uncredited)
Paul Barrett ... Guest at First Party (uncredited)
Charles Bates ... (uncredited)
Arthur Belasco ... Bidder (uncredited)
Art Berry Sr. ... Mill Worker (uncredited)
Margaret Bert ... Helen (uncredited)
Henry Blair ... Child (uncredited)


Release: Valesca

Título Original

Blossoms in the Dust

Gênero: Biografia / Drama / Romance
Ano do Filme: 1941
Oscar©: 1 Premiação
Áudio: Inglês
Legendas: Português e Inglês
Duração: 99 minutos
Tamanho: 4.15 Gb
Extensão: RAR / ISO



          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
NEW YORK (AP) — A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies."
          Hedge fund DE Shaw joins call for removal of Petropavlovsk's Hambro - Financial Times   

Investing.com UK

Hedge fund DE Shaw joins call for removal of Petropavlovsk's Hambro
Financial Times
Hedge fund DE Shaw has joined two other major shareholders of gold miner Petropavlovsk in calling for the chairman Peter Hambro to step down from the company he co-founded. The hedge fund, which owns 7.7 per cent of Petropavlovsk, has teamed up ...
Shareholders DE Shaw, M&G, Sothic say Petropavlovsk needs changeReuters

all 4 news articles »

          DE Shaw sells down James River stake - Trading Risk (subscription)   

DE Shaw sells down James River stake
Trading Risk (subscription)
DE Shaw has sold down part of its stake in Bermuda specialty reinsurer James River, netting $167.5mn. The transaction reduced the hedge fund's stake in James River to 21.5 percent from 36.0 percent. The shares had been held by various DE Shaw funds, ...


          Old-Schooling the World of Darkness   

First off, I'll be repping White Wolf games tomorrow at the E3 game convention in LA at the Indiecade Showcase so if you're in town, come say hi. I might sign something if you're nice. Now, here's a decapitated body and a blog entry....



So somebody on my AskFM was like:

Ok, so, tips for making New World of Darkness more like Lamentations of the Flame Princess...:

1. Make sure they're fighting things that can kill them in like 2 hits

This is the most important thing. Fear of death keeps you paying attention, fear of death is the mother of invention.

Use fire, use silver, use magic, use bigger vampires, use whatever you have to use to make sure the players know if they mess this up there will be a consequence and that consequence will not be personally pleasant for the player. They will lose that character they spent all that time making. If they think that making a few tactical mistakes just leads to failing forward in a fascinating twist that extends the story then they have no real personal motive to try to figure out the right thing to do.

When Mario misses his jump, he dies. And starting over sucks, and that fear of the sucking makes it exciting.


2. Make sure they are weak, hunted and isolated, but have a chance to tear it all down

World of Darkness, of necessity, emphasizes whole shadow-civilizations of supernatural entities that have internal intrigue and culture, who have rules to help them get along with each other, who are more powerful than ordinary humans and know things the humans don't.

This can lapse into a situation where everything is fairly comfortable. It's like your real modern life, only better and you're a stylish predator.

Instead, try to think of ways to weaponize the entire contemporary environment against the PCs. Modern life should be an obstacle course of sunlight, video cameras, paranoia and, most of all, total failure to integrate with the existing spook-o-structure. If there's a Prince, that Prince wants you dead. They can have a clan, but there needs to be an overarching problem that cuts them off from easily relying on the rest of the clan.

On the other hand, don't go along with the default assumption that elders are impossible for thinbloods to kill. Just because you can't kill the dragon with your bare hands, doesn't mean there's no way to fuck the dragon up. You just have to be smarter and more resourceful.


3. Don't use the words

World of Darkness is full of words: The Hedge, Toreador, Sabbat. These contribute to the feeling that the dark places you are going are mapped and knowable and have been seen before and follow rules and aren't that big. Use as few as possible: if there's a wolf you don't want players going "Ah must be a gangrel!" just let them worry about the fact there's a fucking wolf trying to eat them and its drool burns like acid for some reason.

The worst part of any horror movie is all the parts after they explain where all the nightmare images are coming from--so skip that part. The young monsters won't want to use the same language as the old monsters anyway.


4. Making preying on humans hard

Maybe the humans are tough? Maybe the other monsters claim the humans? Maybe only certain humans will do? Maybe the right ones are hard to find?

Ordinary people shouldn't just be rations--or just background noise--they're treasure. Horrible, cursed treasure that you need to stay alive. Each attempt to establish a feeding ground or even to just escape their notice should in itself be an adventure.

And White Wolf's now-canonical "You are what you eat"-concept (the idea that powers come specifically from the kind and mental state of human you feed on) should help.


5. The story is that it's hard

You might think all this skulking and desperation might interfere with the story--but it won't, because the skulking and desperation is the story.

The characters can have all the nightclub orgies and velvet waiscoats they want--it's just they're going to have to fight for them this time. And get good at it.


6. Use historical and occult stuff

A big appeal of the World of Darkness is there's a dense mythology of hidden lore to uncover--a problem is that it can, again, familiarize that which, by nature, should be mysterious. 

The easy (or at least fun) fix for this is that there's an even denser and more hidden mythology of creepiness in the real world. 99% of human history involved people believing and acting on things on like they thought the sun was a god at war with the moon that was in turn a woman who hated babies. Here's a place to start down the click hole.


7. Actually be scary

While a vampire can drift toward people playing a game about being part of an idealized sexy ubermensch mafia family that accepts them even though they have anxiety attacks, if you want to do it DIY RPG style remember, it's a horror game. It's not just dark as in aesthetically, it's horror.

Like: horrifying things happen. The imagery and consequences of actions are horrible. Attempt to contemplate the truly unpleasant and then communicate it. This won't be the same for everyone, and hopefully you know your players better than I do.

There are some horror tips here.


8. PS There is actually a version of Vornheim re-written specifically for Vampire

A fan made it, it's here.
Support the game stuff here by giving to the Demon City Patreon here


          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
NEW YORK, N.Y. – A federal prosecutor has told jurors in opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO that he built a bogus hedge fund empire on “lies upon lies.” Assistant U.S. Attorney Karthik Srinivasan accused Martin Shkreli (SHKREL’-ee) on Wednesday of losing investors’ money through bad trades, then […]
          The Hamptons: The place that seems to attract people like bees to a hive!   
Okay... I'm guilty... I stole the quote from the back of a Tate's cookie package from the Hamptons. But, something about the imagery reflects my attitude about the Hamptons. The place is sweet, rich, and magnetic. A few weeks ago, when I found out that my family and I might go, I felt like someone was telling me that I was going to the moon. I just never thought the possibility existed. I grew up in northern New Jersey and now live in a small city in Virginia. And, I know it's shallow, but I couldn't wait to tell people that we were going!

Coming from the South, getting to the Hamptons was a haul. We followed our "Garmin girl" like cult members and ended up taking an extensive tour of Brooklyn. Then, before reaching Montauk Hwy, we spent miles of traffic lights on Sunrise Highway. We were ecstatic to reach our destination (and would definitely be taking an alternate route back)!

We were meeting up with our extended family. The Southampton house was spacious, grand and "homey" with eight bedrooms, a modern kitchen, vaulted-ceiling family room, and a library. The backyard included a pool, tennis and basketball court. This beautiful space would be our home for the next few days.

Some might disagree, but the area where we stayed reminded me of my hometown--Upper Saddle River (but at the beach). The roads were windy. The lots were wooded. And the houses were impressive. As you approached downtown, some of the land became lush pastures. Once you reached the quaint downtown of Southhampton near the ocean, the roads became grid-like. It was like a "quilt" of estates, surrounded by majestic borders of hedges.

The Southampton beach was spectacular and unspoiled. Because it was April, I wrapped myself in a cozy towel to ward off the chill. But, my husband and twin daughters, didn't seem to notice and merrily collected sea shells. So, this is what we did:

Tuesday: Southampton Beach and lunch at "The Golden Pear"
Wednesday: Duck Walk Winery, Munn Point, "Tate's Bakery" and North Sea Harbor
Thursday: East Hampton, Montauk, and dinner at "World Pie"
Friday: Southampton Beach, lunch at "Townline BBQ", Wolffer Winery

In the words of my daughters: "It was the BEST Spring Break ever!" And, I'll put it like this: The Hamptons set the stage, but it was the company that we kept that made the experience special. Probably my lasting memories will linger around the homecooked meals shared around the long Tuscan table at the Southampton house, conversations on the front porch, and fireworks on the tennis court.


  
          Hedge Funds Look to Machine Learning, Crowdsourcing for Competitive Advantage   
Hedge funds are testing new quantitative strategies that could supplant traditional fund managers Photo: Quantopian At Boston-based financial startup Quantopian, a team of analysts and engineers create tools that allow anyone to write investment algorithms...
          Building Unity Farm Sanctuary - First Week of May 2017   
We continue to work on the forests and trails surrounding the Unity property to create a community resource.

 The map below shows the current status of the land (water is in blue) - 18 trails, 10 bridges, 3 ponds, and 5 streams.   We’re clearing invasive non-native plants, removing decades of scrap metal/pottery/plastic midden piles, and taken down unstable dead trees that are a safety issue.  With every passing week, the land becomes more and more accessible.  Every time I go to the rural foundation meadow, I find it filled with wild turkeys, deer, raptors, coyotes, and rabbits.   Our goal is to protect the local natural ecosystems while also offering educational opportunities to the community.   The cattail loop and brook path are the new trails we built this week.   All the remains to be done is spreading wood chips on all the new trails, which we’ll do over the next few months.  Well,  I do have to clear one fallen oak tree on the brook path that's 8 feet in circumference (pictured below).   I need a bigger chain saw!




On Saturday, with town permission,  I cleared all the fallen trees and overgrowth from the Sherborn portion of the Bay Circuit Trail (the complete trail runs from Newburyport to Duxbury - 200 miles).   The portion of trail I have volunteered to maintain is the 4 miles between Perry Street and Route 27.   This seldomly used trail is just a few minutes from the Unity trails and has a great wilderness feel to it.   After a few hours with chainsaw and hedge trimmers, the trail is in great shape.

The warmth of spring has brought an early crop of flies and we’ve implemented our usual prevention measures - organic/pesticide-free fly traps,  fly tapes in the barn, and 20000 fly predator wasps (they don’t sting).   We have fly masks for the horses if needed, but thus far we’re keeping the fly problem at bay.

The produce from the farm this time of year includes asparagus, mushrooms, and eggs.  The longer days mean that all hens are laying and I delivered 22 dozen eggs to Tilly and Salvy’s farmstand last night.   I’m picking daily fresh asparagus and just harvested 20 pounds of Shiitake mushrooms.    Soon, our spring greens will be ready in the hoophouse and they’ll be replaced with cucumber, tomato, and pepper transplants, which are growing in the greenhouse now.

The weekend ahead includes the usual farm and sanctuary related tasks - animal care, repairs, planting, wood cutting, and trail mulching.   As stewards of 150 animals and 60 acres, the joyful work is never done.


          Wyoming's Wildest Animal Breeders: The Lil Hedgehogs Farm   
Ranchers in Wyoming have been breeding some of the best cattle in the country for over a century. There's also few breeders here in the Cowboy State who raise dogs and other domestic animals. But there's only place in Wyoming that specializes in African Pigmy Hedgehogs... Continue reading…
          'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens - Washington Post   

Washington Post

'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens
Washington Post
NEW YORK — Martin Shkreli is odd, his attorney told a federal court on Wednesday. The former hedge fund manager's investors and colleagues made fun of him behind his back and wondered whether he was autistic. Some questioned his sexuality, the jury ...
'Pharma Bro' trial hits speed bump: Finding jurors who don't already dislike himChicago Tribune
Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial startsUSA TODAY
Martin Shkreli Built Hedge Fund Empire on 'Lies,' Prosecutor Says at Trial StartNBCNews.com
Financial Times -SFGate -Fortune -myCentralOregon.com
all 54 news articles »

          Top 12 Transportation Stories of 2012   

The start of the new year provides a great opportunity to look back at the major transportation stories of the past year. 2012 was an active year in transportation. Below are the top 12 stories of 2012 in order of importance. 

1) Passage of MAP-21 Surface Transportation Bill: The U.S. had been operating on the tenth extension of SAFETEA-LU--the last multi-year transportation bill that expired in 2009. Most observers believed that a new transportation bill would have to wait until 2014 since transportation was not a big priority for decision makers. In addition Congress lacked the financial resources and the House instituted a moratorium on earmarks. However, many failed to realize how hard Senator Barbara Boxer and Congressman John Mica would work for a bill. The new bill had several noteworthy aspects. It did not include a major increase in funding. In fact in order to keep the same funding levels, the 2-year bill borrowed against the next 10 years of revenue. Still, holding the line on funding increases is a big deal--especially in Washington D.C. The bill also expanded the TIFIA program from $150 million in funding to $1 billion. In addition, the bill slightly expanded the tolling provisions. 

2) Passage of a new Federal Aviation Administration Bill: Often overshadowed by the new surface transportation bill, the U.S. had been operating under the 23rd extension of the last FAA bill that expired in 2007. The new bill creates a framework for the needed Next-Generation radar system. But without much funding, implementation of the system will be slow. The bill also forced TSA to resume accepting applications that want to opt-out of federal screening. This option was written into the original post 9/11 TSA bill. However, clarification was needed after TSA Administrator John Pistole refused to allow any additional airports to opt out of federal screening. The new bill also creates rules for future drone flights. 

3) Hurricane Sandy, Natural Disasters and Transportation: Hurricane Sandy demonstrated the vulnerability of much of the East Coast to major storms. A Senate bill to provide $60 billion in aid died in the House leaving the region in limbo. House Republicans refused to pass the Senate bill for two reasons. First, because of the size of the bill, most of the Sandy revenue came from the general fund not the transportation fund. Second, much of the $60 billion in funding had little to do with emergency relief. While the logical long-term fix would be for the government to stop backing mortgages to residents who live in flood plains, this country seldom does logical. Since future disasters are inevitable and the Northeast’s run of good luck may be over, the U.S. should provide a realistic level of emergency funding, fund infrastructure directly affected by the storm only, and decide how best to distribute such funding. More info is available here. 

4) Managed Lanes Momentum: The concept of adding priced capacity continues to gain momentum. Transportation Planners know that widening highways in fast-growing metro areas can be a frustrating exercise. While mobility is enhanced in the short-term, growth and the resulting additional trips return the highways to its congested state in approximately 2-5 years. Priced lanes offer a long-term congestion reduction strategy and in some cases help fund new improvements. The biggest opening was the I-495 lanes in Virginia from I-95 to the Dulles Toll Road. These lanes provide much needed new capacity for one of the busiest interstates in the country. Virginia is also converting the I-95 HOV lanes from Dumfries to I-495 to Managed Lanes and extending the lanes south to Stafford. Texas added Managed Lanes on the North Tarrant Express in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. California is in the process of converting many of its HOV lanes to HOT lanes. While political challenges remain, managed lanes continue to be the most realistic way to add capacity in urban and suburban areas.

5) Failure of Georgia Transportation Investment Act in 9 of 12 regions: While 2/3 of local transportation ballot measures pass, some fail and some that fail do so in spectacular fashion. The latter describes what happened in the metro Atlanta region. While the poor state of the economy and the state’s conservative electorate were factors, the entire process was a mess. The Georgia legislature, which could have increased funding by itself, punted the issue to local governments. These governments made political decisions, not transportation decisions on which projects to add. The MPOs attempted to create the best list of projects but were told by politicians which projects to choose and how much those projects would cost. The top-down campaign antagonized the tea party, the Sierra Club, and the NAACP. The advertising campaign was a failure; the more times citizens saw the pro-tax adds, the less likely they were to vote for the tax. While most experts expected the tax to fail, the 37%-63% margin was surprising. What are the takeaways? The defeat is not necessarily transferrable to other areas. But other metros should ensure that any proposed tax actually funds merit-based transportation projects. Funding economic development through a transportation tax was not popular in metro Atlanta. And the Atlanta community needs to find a better way to explain and promote transportation.

6) San Juan Airport Privatization: Most airports in the United States are publicly owned and operated. Most cities resist privatization of their airports at all costs. This is unfortunate since running an airport is a specialized skill in which most public entities do not excel. However Governor Fortuno of Puerto Rico approached the situation differently. Fortuno led the process by approving a concession agreement with American Airlines and a request for proposals in 2011. In 2012, the Commonwealth accepted bids. While the deal has not yet reached financial close, its new Governor Padilla, from a different political party, supports the privatization and is trying to finalize the transaction. This bipartisan effort may lead more cities to consider airport privatization in 2013. Privatizing airports may be especially intriguing to struggling cities, which can make a lot of money from leasing or selling their airport. These cities can use those funds to support education, public works or unfunded pension programs. 

7) High-Speed Rail--The Saga Continues: High-speed-rail remains in the news both domestically and internationally. California continues to be the biggest U.S. story. Legislators approved Governor Brown’s request to begin selling $4.5 billion in voter approved bonds including $2.6 billion that will fund the central valley line. This occurred after the CA HSR Authority approved another new business plan that allows its high-speed rail trains to share the track with local commuter rail trains in San Francisco and Los Angeles. This reduces the total price tag from $98 billion to $68 billion. But that plan still relies on billions from the federal government, revenue from an untested cap and trade plan that is intended for environmental uses and a private partner that would fund this money-losing venture. The circuitous route from Los Angeles to San Francisco is another major flaw. The most logical HSR route in the United States is the northeast corridor. While construction on this route would be expensive, its density may justify its high costs. Yet President Obama seems to have little interest in this corridor. Fortunately other countries seem to be a little more logical. Portugal has abandoned its high-speed rail plans. Spain has halted construction on most new lines. China may be the biggest country to watch. While the country halted construction as a result of its latest HSR crash, it appears to be building HSR again with a lower top speed of 186 miles per hour. Most average Chinese cannot afford the train and remain opposed to the construction. China’s central government does not concern itself with whether its citizens approve of its spending but the $640 billion debt from building HSR might cause China to slow down future construction.

8) Growth of BRT over Rail: While intercity HSR continues to be popular, intracity Bus-Rapid-Transit continues to gain popularity over new rail. BRT is often less than a tenth the cost of rail. And BRT comes in many different forms. Expressway BRT makes use of managed lanes, either HOT or HOV, to offer a reliable travel time on highways. Arterial BRT makes use of queue jumpers and special lanes to move faster than the regular traffic on busy arterials. And a new concept called managed arterials would allow buses to use arterials with tolled grade separations to provide a faster, more reliable travel speed. Such a BRT network can be coupled with a robust local bus network to create a comprehensive transit system. Over the past five years, the implementation of new BRT lines has been increasing while the implementation of new light-rail lines has been decreasing. 

9) Obama White House MIA in Transportation: Discussing the White House’s lack of involvement in transportation is like beating a dead horse but the lack of realistic ideas from Pennsylvania Avenue remain a major problem. The White House has proposed stimulus style spending and infrastructure bank grants. But neither of these ideas helps transportation. Stimulus spending is bad economic policy but it is especially foolish for transportation. Most of the needed transportation projects are long and take multiple years. Short term spending only funds repavings and minor repairs. In order to make such spending effective, state DOT’s and MPO’s have to move money around, a convoluted approach for sure. The President’s infrastructure grant program chooses projects on a political basis. If the selection criteria were merit based that might help, but most transportation watchers are not interested in another TIGER based stimulus grant program. The President’s lack of interest in transportation has had negative consequences for fellow Democrats. The White House’s failure to pass a new bill in 2009 helped lead to the defeat of many moderate democrats in 2010; this year the President had to accept a much less urban-friendly bill. Replacing Ray LaHood with someone with both a background and passion for transportation would help. 

10) Tidewater Tunnels: It was a busy year for transportation in the Commonwealth. VDOT reached a deal with Elizabeth River Crossings to begin construction on the new Midtown tunnel. The deal doubles capacity of the Tunnel and improves both the quality and quantity of bus and ferry transit service between Portsmouth and Norfolk. While the tunnel will have a toll between $1.59-$1.84, this is 40% lower than the initial estimate. The project also makes substantial upgrades to the Downtown Tunnel and extends the Martin Luther King Expressway from London Blvd to I-264. Both projects will help relieve traffic congestion on the area’s bridges. And the user-pays user-benefits nature of tolling is fairer for taxpayers. Virginia advanced two lesser projects in the I-95 reconstruction and the new expressway between Petersburg and Norfolk. I-95 tolling for reconstruction is a promising idea but the current plan to have one tollbooth near the North Carolina border needs to be reworked. Building an unneeded expressway with money the state does not have is a bad idea and should be abandoned. 

11) Chicago Infrastructure Bank: In contrast to his former boss, former White House Chief of Staff and current Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel is heavily involved in transportation. In April, Emanuel and the city council approved a new infrastructure bank to increase private investment. The Infrastructure Trust would review projects that generate revenue and projects such as a BRT system could be funded by the private sector. Many investors have already put up more than $2 billion for the Infrastructure Trust. The Infrastructure bank provides access to funds the city could not otherwise obtain and is also a hedge against risk. The city can offload risk to private investors for projects with uncertain benefits. At the same time, Chicago has to create well-structured deals. Chicago undervalued its parking meters in 2008. As a result the city negotiated a poor deal for itself. True infrastructure banks are an excellent way to increase funding without raising taxes. In today’s economy more cities may look at Chicago’s example. 

12) TSA In the News: The Transportation Security Administration is like a bad song on Top 40 radio. Every time it makes news it annoys and yet nobody can find a way to get rid of it. TSA screeners steal personal items and abuse thier power. But more significantly the agency has failed to improve security. Why? The TSA concentrates on screening passengers at the front of the airport but leaves the back door wide open. There is no protection from intruders entering the secure side of an airport through a fence or waterway as happened earlier this year at Kennedy International Airport. In Newark a knife-wielding intruder got onto the tarmac by scaling an eight-foot fence. In Dallas a group bypassed all security and posted a video of themselves on YouTube. These problems could be remedied if airports and not TSA oversaw screening on their property. Currently, TSA has dual purposes—conducting the screening and overseeing the screening process. Having airports run security screening and allowing TSA to focus on overseeing screening would end this conflict.


          Biaya Dana   


Dilihat dari gambar diatas bahwa di sisi Assets merupakan penyalur dana (pengguna dana) sedangkan pada sisi Liabilities adalah penghimpun dana (sumber dana), artinya sumber dana dari masyarakat untuk keuntungan bank. Jika bank dapat menyalurkan seluruh dana yang dihimpun, maka akan menguntungkn bank itu, begitu juga sebaliknya. Seluruh dana bank yang ada memiliki nilai dan harga yang dicerminkan dengan tingkat suku bunga. Misal pada deposito ada tingkat suku bunga yang harus dibayar oleh bank ke pinjaman-pinjaman berupa obligasi seperti call money. Namun pada Capital terdapat dua profit yaitu ada yang ditahan untuk kegiatan operasional (modal) dan ada yang dibagikan untuk share/deviden.

Besar biaya yang dikeluarkan terhadap simpanan masyarakat disebut biaya dana. Dari sumber dana yang paling besar adalah deposit, kemudian capital dan terakhir securities. Deposit menjadi tolok ukur karena memiliki dana yang paling besar, itu berarti dana ini harus ditutupi dari kegiatan operasi.  Kegiatan operasi selanjutnya yang memberikan keuntungan paling besar adalah loan, kemudian other assets lalu securities disusul oleh cash reserves. Cash reserve sangat kecil, sebab cash reeserve akan memberi keuntungan jika bank dapat memberikan call money. Namun Loan danSecurities lebih menguntungkan lewat obligasi dan stock (pasar modal) jika menang vendor. Atau keuntungan dari pasar uang lewat valas atau forex. Misalkan : bank memiliki kurs jual dan kurs beli, kurs jual $9.850 dan kurs beli $9.350, artinya bank beli seharga $9.350 dan ketika ada yang mau membeli harga menjadi $9.850 memiliki selisih $500 yang disebut Increassing Wallet Shares.

Increassing Wallet Shares yaitu terapan untuk menggali dana dari masyarakat, baik masyarakat yang menyimpan uang maupun yang meminjam uang. Untuk dapan menerapkan Increassing Wallet Shares , loan dan deposit harus dibesarkan, karena semakin banyak nasabah maka akan semain baik, misalkan saja,  bank lebih suka meminjamkan Rp1.000 ke 100 nasabah dibandingkan bank meminjamkan Rp100.000 ke 1 nasabah, ini disebut Legal Lending Limited (aturan loan).

Deposito dan loan sangat berpengaruh bagi pemerintah, makanya pemerintah mengaatur ketat mengenai loan. Bank tidak boleh banyak beroperasi di securities sebab ekonomi nantinya bisa mandek karena kegiatan di pasar modal dan pasar uang bukan bank dan pasar industri. Sehingga bank harus lebih banyak beraktivitas di sektor loan. Maka muncullah aturan-aturan loan seperti LDR, KUK, LLL dan kolektibilitas kredit. Kolektibilitas kredit adalah kemampuan bank untuk menghimpun kreditnya (menghitung kredit macet), dan harus dihitung proporsinya jika semua orang meminjam uang otomatis kreditnya tidak lancar. Jika macet, loan tidak bisa menutupi keuntungannya di deposit maka bank harus mencari keuntungan lain di Securities (pasar modal dan pasar uang).


Ketika ada masyarakat surplus dan masyarakat minus melewati bank, berarti masyarakat menyimpan uang dan bank meminjamkan uang ke masyarakat. Jika langsung lewat pasar modal melalui stock dan obligasi, lewat pasar modal bisa mendapatkan lebih banyak keuntungan, karena dari stock bisa dapat deviden dan capital gain.

Contoh pada grafik pasar modal di bawah. 1 slot  saham  harganya 10.890 jam 10.30 tgl 5 juni, kemudian harganya menjadi 12.890 jam 14.10 tgl 5 juni. Terdapat selisiih 2000, jika dijual disebut dengan capital gain. Jika belum dijual itu disebut potensial gain.
Pada grafik Istilah Bearish adalah penurunan sedangkan Bullish adalah kenaikan. Jika disaat 12.890 berharap nilainya bisa naik lagi, maka ditahan (hedge) dititik itu agar tidka dijual. Namun kenyataannya nilainya terus menurun, maka dia mengalami potensial loss. Syarat untuk menahan (hedging) harus memiliki cukup modal karena sudah mengalami rugi 7000. Proses ini jarang terjadi di pasar modal, biasanya ini terjadi di pasar uang, karena ini hitungannya masih jam, kalo di pasar uang hitungannya sudah detik dan menit.

Kalau di pasar modal belinya saham, tapi kalau di pasar uang yang dibeli adalah indeks/nilai. Di Pasar Modal juga ada, namanya beli index. Index-index yang sering dibeli ini diambil dari saham-saham Blue Chip (saham yang paling aktif di Pasar Modal), yaitu Dou Joes index dan hang seng index. Ukuran aktif itu adalah sahamnya memberikan prospek yang lebih baik.

Pada grafik Istilah Bearish adalah penurunan sedangkan Bullish adalah kenaikan. Jika disaat 12.890 berharap nilainya bisa naik lagi, maka ditahan (hedge) dititik itu agar tidka dijual. Namun kenyataannya nilainya terus menurun, maka dia mengalami potensial loss. Syarat untuk menahan (hedging) harus memiliki cukup modal karena sudah mengalami rugi 7000. Proses ini jarang terjadi di pasar modal, biasanya ini terjadi di pasar uang, karena ini hitungannya masih jam, kalo di pasar uang hitungannya sudah detik dan menit.

Kalau di pasar modal belinya saham, tapi kalau di pasar uang yang dibeli adalah indeks/nilai. Di Pasar Modal juga ada, namanya beli index. Index-index yang sering dibeli ini diambil dari saham-saham Blue Chip (saham yang paling aktif di Pasar Modal), yaitu Dou Joes index dan hang seng index. Ukuran aktif itu adalah sahamnya memberikan prospek yang lebih baik.

Jika di pasar uang, dapat keluar masuk pasar dari mana saja, isi terjadi di valas/forex. Seperti pada grafik, bisa di 12.890 beli atau di 7.890 atau 10.890. artinya lembaga keuangan punya fleksibilitas tinggi karea bisa main di sisi securities tetapi hars memenuhi LDR juga.
Besar loan yang disalurkan membuat LDR semakin besar, begitu juga sebaliknya. Ekspansi kredit untuk meningkatkan loan, bank harus berusaha menjual produknya hingga mendapatkan loan yang besar. Seperti gambar di atas, bank A lebih besar ekspansinya dari bank B, berdaasarkan tolok ukur presentase LDR. Jika ada bank melakukan ekspansi kredit diharapkan loan ditingatkan (LDR juga meningkat), kalo rekapitulasi berarti capital bertambah dan mungkin menurunkan LDR, tetapi kalau loan nya juga tidak signifikan. Ada pengaruh antara rekapitalisasi terhadap profit. Sebelum ke profit, masuknya ke LDR dulu, melihat bagaimana posisi LDR nya.  Sehingga munculah Net Interest Margin (NIM) mengenai interest spreadyaitu kegiatan operasional, melihat margin dari interestnya. Margin interest nya ini dari volume loan dan volume deposit beserta tingkat bunganya. Dua hal yang berpengaruhi dalam penentuan profit dalam operasional bank yaitu volume deposit & volume loan dan tingkat bunganya.


          2007 Stonehedge Winery Reserve Merlot   
The 2007 Stonehedge Napa Valley Merlot is produced exclusively from mountian top hillsides of Napa Valley. Grown in desolate rocky soil in high altitudes, the vines are naturally stressed into yielding a very limited amount of grapes with intense flavor concentration. Elegant and smooth, yet boldly packed with layer upon layer of ripe cherry berry plummy flavors and a finish that never quits. Built to last. This wine can be enjoyed now or develop further complexities by addional cellaring.
          2008 Hedgeline Vineyards Merlot   
A tribute to a diverse landscape of lush mountainus highlands and arid desert lowland, the vines of the Pacific Northwest are unique in character and nature. The vineyards rooted here are bordered by a tapestry of hedges dotted with colorful flowers and leaves of every texture, intertwining to form the Hedgeline. This esteemed Merlot brings aromas of ripe plum and toasty oak notes to the nose, integrated with bright flavors of black cherry and a hint of espresso.
          2008 Hedgeline Vineyards Pinot Gris   
A tribute to a diverse landscape of lush mountainous highlands and arid desert lowlands, the vines of the Pacific Northwest are uniquie in character and nature. The vineyards rooted here are bordered by a tapestry of hedges, dotted with colorful flowers and leaves of every texture, intertwining to form the Hedgeline. This esteemed Pinot Gris brings crisp aromas of lychee and citrus to the nose, integrated with flavors of green apple and a touch of honey.
          2008 Hedgeline Vineyards Riesling   
Clean and gentle, this riesling has notes of lees and pear to complement its modestly rich texture. The flavors are fresh, leaning toward apple, with a straightforward purity that is classic Washington.
          Why does wildlife need protecting?   
im doing a geography project on protecting wildlife. How to protect it. Why it needs protecting and what charities do protect it. Thanks for your answers it would be great for websites to thanks.Why does wildlife need protecting?
Why does wildlife need protecting? It must be protected or it will be hunted to extinction. Or pollution will kill it off.Why does wildlife need protecting?
Wow you are doing a great project.And the topic is a very noble one that of protecting wildlife!!


Wildlife includes all non-domesticated plants, animals, and other organisms. Domesticating wild plant and animal species for human benefit has occurred many times all over the planet, and has a major impact on the environment, both positive and negative.





Wildlife can be found in all ecosystems, Deserts, rain forests, plains, and other areas鈥攊ncluding the most developed urban sites鈥攁ll have distinct forms of wildlife. While the term in popular culture usually refers to animals that are untouched by human factors, most scientists agree that wildlife around the world is impacted by human activities.





Humans have historically tended to separate civilization from wildlife in a number of ways including the legal, social, and moral sense. This has been a reason for debate throughout recorded history. Religions have often declared certain animals to be sacred, and in modern times concern for the natural environment has provoked activists to protest the exploitation of wildlife for human benefit or entertainment. There is another term that of wildlife management that is closely related with protection of wildlife....Wildlife management is a general term for the process of keeping wild species at desirable levels which are determined by the wildlife managers. Wildlife management can include game keeping, wildlife conservation and pest control.





Wildlife management has become an integrated science using disciplines such as mathematics, chemistry, biology, ecology, climatology and geography to gain the best results.





Wildlife conservation aims to halt the loss in the earths biodiversity by taking into consideration ecological principles such as carrying capacity, disturbance and succession and environmental conditions such as physical geography, pedology and hydrology with the aim of balancing the needs of wildlife with the needs of people.Most wildlife is concerned with the preservation and improvement of habitats though increasingly reinstatement is being used. Techniques can include reforestation, pest control, nitrification and denitrification, irrigation, coppicing and hedge laying.





Game keeping is the management or control of wildlife for the wellbeing of game birds may include killing other animals which share the same niche or predators to maintain a high population of the more profitable species, such as pheasants introduced into woodland.





Pest control is the control of real or perceived pests and can be for the benefit of wildlife, farmers, game keepers or safety reasons.





In the United States, wildlife management practices are often implemented by a governmental agency to uphold a law, such as the Endangered Species Act of 1973. Many wildlife managers are employed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and by state governments.





In the United Kingdom, wildlife management undertaken by several organizations including government bodies such as the Forestry Commission, Charities such as the RSPB and The Wildlife Trusts and privately hired gamekeepers and contractors. Legislation has also been passed to protect wildlife such as the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. The UK government also give farmers subsidies through the Countryside Stewardship Scheme to improve the conservation value of there farms.





Hope these facts are useful.ALL THE BEST!!!
The most practical reason is that all living things, from grass, to pikas, to humans, are connected. Removing one species from the food web can mess up the delicate balance. For instance, Einstein is thought to have said that if bees went extinct, humans would follow four years later.





From an evolutionary perspective, each species has taken thousands or even millions of years to become what it is now. Yet we manage to wipe out all those years of adaptation in such a short time.





Or one could say that every animal was specifically created by God, and is therefore worthy of our protection.





Then of course, many people appreciate wildlife for aesthetic reasons, and simply do not want to see beautiful creatures disappear.








Some groups that advocate protecting wildlife are World Wildlife Fund, National Audubon Society, Defenders of Wildlife Action Fund, and National Wildlife Federation. And there are many others.
Wildlife, in my opinion, needs to be protected but controlled as well. The ecosystem in every place makes life possible. Scientists have studied the chain of events which directly or indirectly affects our survival as well. My answer is an attempt to emphasize the importance of wildlife instead of narrowing down to pure entertainment. I am not fond of the skunks walking around in flocks. I have no idea how they benefit the ecosystem but I assume they play a role in it. If only we could control their reproduction so there were enough but not too many.....
the need to save the wildlife are that they are also as important as the trees. to save the wildlife we should build more wildlife sanctuaries,zoos,national parks etc........and not only wild animals if we even see a dog near our houses that is the street dog in any kind of problem we should do our part of helping it if it is in our hands.........GOOD LUCK FOR YOUR PROJECT DUDE!!!!!!!


AISHWARYA..............
Wildlife is protected by a selfless, group of people that want to save the wildlife so one day others will be able to enjoy it. It dosn't need to be protected but people want to.
Because many people have nothing better to do, and some get paid large salaries to act like they are protecting it.
          CATORCE LINGOTAZOS DE MR. SALOMAN Y SUS BEVIS FROND   
No es la primera vez, ni será la última seguramente, que Nick Saloman y sus Bevis Frond asomen por este lugar. Quintaesencia de lo reivindicable desde el rock de las islands en las últimas tres décadas, paladín protector de la psicodelia añeja por montera, acaparador de una retahíla de discos que en cantidad y regularidad no tiene parangón en su zona horaria, así como, entre muchas otras cosas -y para resumir lo indecible-, uno de los casos de ninguneo más abyectos e incomprensibles que se puedan recordar en el transcurrir histórico del  medio nos ocupa... Cosa rara, además, dada la tendencia natural de los "media" british a la hora de ensalzar hasta el cinturón de orión, y beyond, la más mínima e inane hez que acaban de expulsar desde sus queridas lands. Y, atención, me consta no soy objetivo porque si bien me confieso defensor a ultranza de muchas y variadas cosas que asolaron las islas durante los 80, ya en los 90 y hasta hoy... Bueno, con las señaladas excepciones siempre habidas (que las hay, claro), pues póngamos que no. 




Nick, el "Rey Saloman" (como me gusta llamarle por ser uno así de cretino -se siente, pero es lo que hay-), suena genuino y auténtico como bien pocas cosas. Un músico fuera de tiempo, según cómo. Hablamos de alguien que se curtió de bien jovenzuelo, del segundo lustro sesentero en adelante, en cover bands de blues rock británico tipo Cream, Ten Years After, Yardbirds y demás, lo que sumado a una querencia indisimulable por el ya mentado elemento sicodélico (con o sin el "folk" en danza de por medio además -pero si es "con" y con los guitarrazos desbocados que suele marcarse sumando, pues casi mejor, al menos para mi, oiga-) de la época y, con ello, el ir puliendo su discurso en base al rock de "el otro lado del charco" (mucho Byrds lo mismo que mucho Young, Stills y demás que hay también en su discurso y de evidente manera) acabó por cristalizar en un estilo propio y entrañablemente particular. Un estilo que entiende el rock como algo pura y netamente "orgánico", que no rehuye sino que acepta e incluso enarbola las imperfecciones propias con orgullo y que se abraza a lo silvestre de la Incredible String Band lo mismo que a los trances eléctricos de Crazy Horse o la melodía sin edulcorantes de gran urbe del mismísimo Drake (se insiste que, por mucha "bronca" genere a veces, el poso folk es clave en su sonido). Siendo, precisamente y en efecto, ese sacrificar la perfección de un "sonido tipo" en estudio en pos de una personalidad agreste y vitalista y, sobretodo, auténtica lo que, a muchos más de los que pareciera (atención ahí), nos hace su obra y proceder algo tan y muy  plenamente apreciable. Es decir: este tio es de verdad. Sin cartones que valgan y aún menos trampas. 


Para no liarla más de la cuenta, aprovecho hoy lo tan funcional de su página bevisfrond.bandcamp para seguir propagando la obra y arte de tan suculento artista ("el Mascis europeo", para mi -y, ojo, esa es otra... Nick es un admirador a ultranza de platos tan del gusto propio como Guided by Voices, Pavement, Sebadoh, largo etc.-), y me marco cual epítome de la pradera un top 14 particular (linkeos mediante -CLICKEEN UDS EL TÍTULO DE LA CANCIÓN, vaya y sin más-) de su inacabable cancionero que alcanza ya las tres décadas de vida (y como una veintena de álbumes aprox., ya puestos). Antes de empezar, eso sí y que no se lo voy a ahorrar a nadie, dejo constancia de la pleitesía total por mi tripleta elegida en cuanto a sus elepés compuesta por "Triptych", "Valedictory songs" y "Hit squad" a los que, que es de justicia, conviene sumar el doble "New river head" que resultaría algo así como el vademecum definitivo a fin de adentrarse cuanto antes en el particular universo de banda y músico.

01. "Let Them Beautify You" (2000). Cuarto cortazo del descomunal "Valedictory songs". Directo a yugulares y sin permiso a pedir. Esas guitarras cruzadas por encima y debajo de la melodía es, como poco, una inmejorable manera de empezar el pupurrí de las narices... Qué cojones, si con esto no se queda todo dios atrapado de primeras que se dedique a la polka o a los cassetes del padre Abraham y los pitufos. Dicho he.


02. "Termination Station Grey" (1987). Del segundo disco, "Inner Marshland", del mismo año que el estreno. ¿Alguien habló de psicodelia?. Melodía clásica youngera, fuzzeos por doquier y un bridge que parece robado a los mismos Wilson... Mercury Rev y Flaming Lips, por ejemplos, se mueren de la envidia forever. Y es que "prometía" el chaval, si...

03. "Lights Are Changing" (1988). La tercera del tercero: "Triptych", y "la mia" (solo con permiso de "And then") en definitiva de BF. Si no se conoce, si se es honesto y por supuesto, además, gusta esto de las guitarritas estás perdido. Te has metido de lleno en la trampa del Saloman King y ya no saldrás jamás.

04. "You Saw Me Coming" (1996). Del disco "Son of Walter" y cosa bonita por todos lados sin debate a colar. Quien con esta y a éstas alturas no caiga rendid@ no tiene entrañas, corazón ni nada. Y qué difícil siempre lo que parece fácil en esto de la música... la buena, la que cuenta. Otro diez y sigamos.

05. "Hole Song No. 2" (1997). Segunda pieza de "North circular", la más evidentemente youngera del lote hasta momento presente y con su riff circense-circular que abre abismos de infiernos y/o locuras por bandera. Y esa parte final que es el tocamiento para todo fan de Mascis que se quiera y respete un mínimo. Noise melódico a la enésima. 

06. "New river head" (1991). Del colosal doble album que lleva su nombre... Y, claramente, una de las mejores cinco piezas de tan cojonuda formación/carrera. Guitarra rugiente, guitarra melódica, un estribillo que deshace todo lo deshacible (y lo que no también) y con ese reverso folkie ya apuntando surgiendo de sorpresa en el mismo. Majestuoso temarral en el que rebozarse sin medida y hasta el fin. 

07. "Waving" (1991). Y justo antes que la anterior y en el mismo disco, atención, teniamos esta otra preciosura que a ver quién coño la paga... Folk, ya a cara descubierta, mínimo con acústica y violines de puro babero. Ésta ya, directamente, es como para buscarse uno una ermita apañá y que te busquen... 

08. "Through the Hedge" (2004). Del más que respetable "Hit squad" llegan estos nueve minutazos de contienda guitarra vs. hammond que crece y crece y... Catártica como ella sola la cabrona, de esas canciones que molan de escuchar en la superfície pero que, en realidad, es en la maraña de fondo donde se fragua la batalla y de donde a uno le costará salirse. 

09. "And then ?" (1993). La "otra mia". El tema de cierre de "It just is" es uno/otro de los ganchos más obvios y putámicos para agarrarse cuanto antes a la saga "salomanera". Qué melodía, qué bonita y saltarina la jodía... Y qué breve la muy hija de puta. "And then we die"... no hay derecho, hombre.

10. "Nursery Rhyme" (2002). Del disco "What Did for the Dinosaurs" tenemos esta adictiva guitarra-reloj  de ida y vuelta con su dinámico marchamo vencedor de entre medias... Y lo mejor es que uno ya no sabe ni le importa si es que no tiene estribillo o es que lo és todo el rato. 

11. "Everyday sunshine" (1993). También en "It just is"  tenemos esta hermana, por arrojo y vitalidad, del primer corte propuesto en el listado... Y de nuevo la virtud de Nick y asociados para entrelazar electricidad  y melodía a nivel ninja, si. Que no se la infravalore nunca por estar en tan ilustres compañias aquí, al tanto y ni qué decir con eso.  

12. "Heavy hand" (2011). Antepenúltimo y guitarrero tema del todavía relativamente reciente  "The leaving of London". De las favoritísmas de "las rápidas" de Bevis, desde luego. Y por si lo redondo de la melódica e incesante calbagata fuera poco el tio se marca una guitarra que no por breve deja de resultar la mar de vacilona para separar partes y que después se ve desbordada por el volcado/vuelta del asunto (y es que esos apenas seis o siete  segundos de "regreso" sobre el 1'54" me vale a mi por tantas canciones enteras que ni lo intento explicar). 

13. "Old man blank" (1988). De regreso al "tríptico" para esta sufrida tonada "folkadélica" más hippie que todas las palomas de Woodstock tocando la flauta de pan al unísono. Y más teclados añejos sosteniendo aquí y cediendo, para la ocasión, solo parte de su implacable protagonismo  a una ocasional guitarra intrusa que resulta aún más hippie que todo el resto de esta sufrida tonada "folkadélica" más hippie a su vez que todas las palomas de... Y, coñas al margen, ojo con ese órgano que no se lo quita el demonio  de la cabeza ni con agua hirviendo... Avisados quedan.

14. "You got to unwind" (1988). No nos movemos de disco desde la anterior y, más concretamente, nos recogemos ahora en el tema que lo cierra. Triunfo popero total e inmediato que, sin escamotear la innegociable guitarra-guía que conviene esperar,  recuerda lo mismo a los Fleetwood Mac 75-79 en espíritu que a los primeros REM  en ejecución. Magnífico broche, ni qué decir. Aunque, bueno, ya puestos... 



Bonus trackaza. "The garden feature" (2013). De su penúltimo trabajo, "White numbers" y con uno de esos estribillos que a veces te clava el puñetero para quedarse ya para siempre contigo. Y la garra que tiene toda ella, a pesar (o precisamente en contraste con ello) de esos "and she's gone" que se marca. Formidable, o sinónimo favorito a elegir. Y sin más, y ahora ya si: Fin... Escuchen (o escuchen más incluso en caso de ya hacerlo) a Nick Saloman y sus Bevis Frond por todo lo sagrado (y lo que no también), todo lo más que añadiría. 

(Pd. Breve reseña del cuajanésimo "Triptych" sito en este lugar desde otoño/2015)


          What to Do If You Are Caught Up in Layoffs, Job Loss, and Reduced Hours   
Ok so you've decided you want to build a website and perhaps use it to make some extra income during this time of economic uncertainty. If your looking to hedge your bet against possible job loss, layoffs or reduced work hours your could have decided on a worse idea. Making money online using a website or blog is one of the most common forms of small businesses that are being created today.
          Pantera Capital to Raise $100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund   

The $600m market for initial coin offerings may soon be set to expand. Announced today, investment firm Pantera Capital is launching a new hedge fund focused on investments solely in tokens that power public blockchain protocols. Called Pantera ICO Fund LP, the fund intends to raise $100m, with $35m already raised in support from the […]

The post Pantera Capital to Raise $100 Million in Investment for ICO Hedge Fund appeared first on The Bitcoin News - Decentralised Bitcoin and Crypto News.


          Hard love   

What love is this that beckons us into these burned hills, where matchstick spruce crouch away from a subarctic wind? How do we love these capricious trails, even after miles of clumped sugar snow swallows our momentum like an endless runaway truck ramp? How can we adore every steep climb? Every thirteen-hour slog just to reach a place to sleep? Or the ice particles stuck to our faces at twenty below? What is this love?

It was inevitable that Beat and I would end up in the White Mountains. With Beat fresh off his Iditarod effort and me wanting "easy as possible" to best manage my thyroid symptoms, we looked into available cabins. March is a popular month in this recreation area. Even during the mid-week, we only found openings at the cabin furthest from the road system (Windy Gap) and another off route up a mile-long wall (Eleazar's). It would amount to 80 miles of hilly trails, with Beat pulling a sled and me riding a bike. We'd already heard recent reports of slow trail conditions, so I figured the bike would allow me to travel 1.5 times Beat's speed, at best. But that was enough time for longer rests. Beat justified the 80-mile hike by reasoning that he was already back in training. He recently secured a spot in the White Mountains 100, which is happening in two weeks.


The weather was forecasted to warm up on Wednesday, but temperatures plummeted again on Tuesday night. We hedged our bets with a later start on the 40-mile day. Our car's thermometer registered 36 below as we drove past the low-lying Chatanika River. The hilltop trailhead was -8, but the warmth was relatively short-lived. After six miles of rolling along a broad ridge, the route plummets into another low-lying area, Wickersham Creek, where temps were still in the -20s. Descending the "Wickersham Wall" at these temperatures feels like plunging into a glacier lake, ice-cream headache and all. My body was all over the map with thermoregulation. I would sweat while wearing minimal layers, then suddenly feel a chill and continue to shiver after I bundled up. Then the heat would suddenly return. After a few costume changes I decided that as long as my feet and hands felt warm, I'd just ignore the chills and go with the lighter option. 

Running hot and cold should have been an early indicator that this wasn't going to be a great day for me. I've had plenty of "bad" days this winter that I attributed to allergy shots, altitude, or mild illness. But as I learn more about Graves Disease, I think I do have days when my hormones are more out of whack than others. This wasn't a good day to be off balance. I had dozens of miles to travel, and the sugary trail wasn't giving up a millimeter of momentum. Riding felt like churning through wet cement. My heart pumped as though my blood was full of sludge. My breathing worsened, so I took more breaks. A few times I leaned the bike against a tree and sat directly in the snow until my butt went numb. I thought about taking a beta blocker pill to shut down the adrenaline and calm my heart, but worried that I wouldn't be able to continue riding afterward. I wanted to ease up the effort, but it seemed impossible to move any more slowly.


All of these solutions were overcompensating, of course. It's not like I was having a heart attack. But I was overdoing it. I know that. I do well with two-to-four-hour efforts. Even my endocrinologist said exercising shouldn't be an issue as long as I take care not to push myself, and as long as I avoid stressors. A few seconds of road rage would be worse for me than days of pleasant biking. But these long efforts — especially the kind that are challenging no matter what I do — need to be deferred until I'm healthy. 

It's difficult not to be greedy, though — to long for the limestone spires that rise above Fossil Creek, which you can only see if you're willing to venture thirty-plus miles away from the nearest road, which itself stands alone in an expansive and often inhospitable wilderness.

It's difficult not to be greedy for that sensation when, after 12-plus hours of slogging until a crushing darkness arrives, you arrive at a cabin. It's small and simple, but it's a place where you can spread your sleeping bag across a wooden bench, lie down, and breathe the rhythm of satisfaction and relief.

It's difficult not to be greedy about ice cream cones, carried for twelve hours and deep-frozen by the air outside. I barely had time to start a fire and hang up my gear before Beat arrived at Windy Gap, about 40 minutes after me. He put in a hard effort, and looked ragged. We barely got the ice cream down before we both passed out.

Ice cream, Mountain House, Fireball hot chocolate, and a full night of sleep did wonders. The following day, I felt a lot better. Just like that. The weather had turned gloomy, and flurries of snow fell through a thick haze. Since we established that my riding pace was about the same as Beat's walking pace, we agreed to meet up after 15 miles to drink hot chocolate in the brisk wind.

Although I felt markedly better, I didn't want to push my luck. So I walked the hills and otherwise puttered along at an enjoyable pace. Sucker holes revealed hints of blue, and a "sundog" rainbow arced through the sky.

A calmer heart and better breathing made a world of difference. I felt relaxed and full of joy. There was no place in the world I'd rather be. Friends have suggested that it would be better for healing if I'd spent this month lying on a beach. They're probably not wrong. But if it was a crowded beach, I'd become stressed. If it was warm, I'd be sweaty and miserable. We all have the places we go to feel alive. Places where the air tastes like cinnamon and mountains stretch beyond the horizon. I love the White Mountains. I know they do not love me back, that I'm surrounded by a thousand things that could kill me, and that my body isn't well enough for this place. But a life without White Mountains is not a life I want. So what do I do?

The final mile to Eleazar's was a grunt, ascending 600 feet on soft trail. My meditative joy had faded, and I was ready to be done. Just like that. My shoulders burned as I pushed the bike, and I invented games to avoid staring at my GPS the entire time. My iPod was playing, so I vowed that after one song, I could look at the distance. One-tenth of a mile. Damn it. Another song finished, and only another tenth had passed. After three-tenths of a mile, I tried to focus on being more present. Spruce trees looked like little dogs begging for treats. Hare tracks mottled the snow. The last hints of daylight turned the sky violet and gold. "I even love this climb," I told myself.


Eleazar's was a nice cabin — stocked with firewood, matches, and propane for a brand-new lantern. The cabin sits on a bluff high above Wickersham Creek, but sadly it was still too cloudy for aurora viewing. I started a fire, moved armfuls of firewood inside, gathered fresh snow for melting, arranged my meager belongings, and waited for Beat to arrive. After a day mostly traveling alone, it was a spirited reunion — Beat ranted about the crappy trail. I quietly insisted that if a hiker thinks it's bad, imagine how a biker feels. Beat lamented his poor training. I lamented my crappy body. Beat asked me if I saw the sundog. I asked him if he saw the 7-year-old girl driving a snowmachine. We shared kisses and ice cream cones, then fell asleep on hard benches. I'm definitely not of the school that believes all good adventures need to be shared, but I was grateful Beat came back from the Iditarod Trail early this year. 

By morning the sky had cleared, and it was warm — 8 above. I wanted to stay at Eleazar's all week, doing all those mundane tasks again and again. But it was time to return to Fairbanks.

We only had 12 miles to travel, and though it took four hours, time went by quickly. Physically I felt good and the weather was beautiful, yet I was still a little melancholy. I didn't know why. Disappointment about my limitations? Guilt about taking this trip? Wistfulness about leaving? Lately my emotions haven't made as much sense as they used to, so I cling to what I know. I love the White Mountains. And I'm grateful for every chance to come back. 

          Landscaping maintenance and outdoor home services (pressure wash)   
Yard maintenance available That includes - - - - Lawn maintenance & Hedge cutting - Dog waste removal - - Gardening - Pressure ... 
Used  >  Services  >  Lawn Services

          O DILEMA   
Dois porcos-espinhos namorando
Existe uma teoria interessante sobre relacionamentos, "The hedgehog dilemma" (o dilema do porco espinho), que tenta explicar o motivo pelo qual muitos de nós entramos em relacionamentos com tanta cautela, cheios de dedos, em estado de alerta, aguardando o momento em que o outro nos fará sofrer.

A explicação seria mais ou menos assim: um grupo de porcos-espinhos  buscam a proximidade uns com os outros para aquecerem-se durante o frio. No entanto, eles precisam manter uma certa distância para que os espinhos  não machuquem uns aos outros. Ou seja, apesar do desejo de se aproximarem o máximo possível, esse desejo acaba por não se concretizar por motivos que eles mesmos não podem evitar.

Schopenhauer e Freud analisaram essa teoria para descrever a dificuldade do ser humano em criar intimidade, apesar da boa vontade e do desejo para tanto. 
Estaremos fadados a criar relações pautadas por um  comportamento cauteloso e superficial? 

Confesso que eu, escorpiana típica, incontáveis vezes joguei-me de cabeça em relacionamentos amorosos intensos, daqueles que mudam sua vida de um dia para o outro. Quando o meu coração comandou essas decisões, invariavelmente eu vivi situações maravilhosas, algumas tiveram um alto custo emocional, posteriormente.
Meu segundo casamento foi assim, em menos de um mês eu me apaixonei, separei-me do meu então marido e juntei os trapinhos com o novo amor. As chances de algo assim dar certo é muito remota, no entanto, vivemos juntos 12 anos e fui muito, muito feliz durante boa parte desse tempo.
Acabou sem traições, sem drama "operesco", mas deixou o pesado fardo de eu não mais acreditar no amor. Afinal, esse relacionamento trouxe tudo aquilo que eu sonhava, não há nada que eu quisesse ter vivido dentro de uma relação que não tenha experimentado no meu segundo casamento. E ainda assim, acabou. Perdeu a graça, perdeu o encanto, mudei, mudamos, sei lá.

Mesmo não tendo sido "espetada" pelos espinhos do ex-maridão, criei uma resistência a novos amores. Eu quero vive-los, eu sou feita de emoções intensas e preciso me apaixonar, amar... 
Aí aparece um pretendente e tudo o que eu faço é ficar procurando "espinhos" no infeliz: ahhh não vai dar certo porque ele mora longe, porque ele não é carinhoso o suficiente, ou é carinhoso demais, ou é muito novo, blábláblá...

Eu já não estou me reconhecendo, será que isso é amadurecer? Quero, não! Quero ser arrebatada, novamente. Quero que esse dilema vá para o inferno, quero um porquinho-espinho me espetando todinha. Nada que uma pomadinha hipoglós não cure. 

Minha decisão para o próximo ano, é viver um grande amor. Mais um, diferente, não menos intenso e tão transformador quanto os grandes amores podem ser.

          'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens - Washington Post   

Washington Post

'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens
Washington Post
NEW YORK — Martin Shkreli is odd, his attorney told a federal court on Wednesday. The former hedge fund manager's investors and colleagues made fun of him behind his back and wondered whether he was autistic. Some questioned his sexuality, the jury ...
'Pharma Bro' trial hits speed bump: Finding jurors who don't already dislike himChicago Tribune
Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial startsUSA TODAY
Martin Shkreli Built Hedge Fund Empire on 'Lies,' Prosecutor Says at Trial StartNBCNews.com
CNBC -Times of India -SFGate -Fortune
all 58 news articles »

          Hedge fund star Dan Loeb bets $3.5 billion on Nestle   
Read full story for latest details.

          What you need to know on Wall Street today   

warren buffettLucas Jackson/Reuters

Welcome to Finance Insider, Business Insider's summary of the top stories of the past 24 hours. 

If stock traders truly believed the Federal Reserve's assertion that the economy is strong enough to withstand higher interest rates, they would be fleeing from stocks offering high yields. It's doing the opposite.

In other words, the stock market is sending a crucial message to Janet Yellen

Elsewhere in markets news, ETFs are being unfairly blamed for one of the market's biggest problems. The tech stock Illuminati are getting too much credit. And there are "cracks emerging" in the calmest market in years.

Things could get messy if oil drops below $40, according to UBS. And US Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said that she does not believe that there will be a run on the banking system at least as long as she lives.

In Wall Street news, the hedge funder who had long hoped to work for Trump finally got a job. An activist investor called out 50 stocks, and then most of them tanked. Britain's financial regulator hits the "nuclear button" in its crackdown on the £7 trillion asset management industry.

And potential jurors in Martin Shkreli's trial have called him "evil" and a "snake" — and it's becoming a problem

In deal news, Blue Apron slashed its IPO range. The deal is supposed to price tonight, and start trading on Thursday. 

In healthcare news:

And in tech news:

Lastly, the new king of New York power lunching has arrived — here's what it's like to eat there.

NOW WATCH: Barclays strategist: You can expect a major department store to fail in the next 18 months


          Buffoonery and recklessness   
"Elsa".  They can see where you've gone.

"Petya ransomware variant attacks computers worldwide".  Well, at least somebody's getting some value out of the insecurely stored NSA malware.

"Trump Blasts Obama On Russia: "He Didn't 'Choke'...He Expected Clinton To Win So He Colluded Or Obstructed"".  Trump nails it.  Nobody assumed Trump had a chance (this is the yuge all-pervasive fact in recent American politics), so the Brennan lies weren't needed as anti-Trump propaganda.  I assume Barry knew they were lies, and thus releasing the lies might have helped Trump who could have turned Brennan's operation around by stating that the crooked IC was working for Killary.

"CNN Journalists Resign: Latest Example of Media Recklessness on the Russia Threat" (Greenwald).  Fine summary marred by the curious omission of what some spooked-up media outlet/IC honeypot did to the reality of a winner.  'Recklessness'.  The comments don't miss the issue.

"CNN Exposed In Undercover Sting - Producer Admits Russia Story Fake News Pushed For Ratings".  "President Trump Bashes CNN as Video Surfaces of Producer Criticizing Russia Coverage".  "John Bonifield: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know".  When O'Keefe wins the Pulitzer the universe will immediately explode.

"Bellingcat Buffoonery on Khan Sheikyoun by Publius Tacitus".  This is what you get if somebody is paid by the word for a particular answer, and if anything that somebody posts will be accepted without question by the mainstream media.

They flew the latest Assad chemical weapon attack lie up the flagpole, and everybody laughed, so will the Khazars order for it to proceed anyway?

Very important, and part of a pattern:  "Israeli victory in ’67 was manufactured in western Europe, not by ‘Jewish geniuses’ — Guy Laron at Wilson Center".  It appears the French angle was that they wanted the Israelis to test the plan to be used against the Soviets.

Dinh is shockingly woke:  "Die Lügenpresse und der Lauschangriff im Mutterland".  'Voided'.

"How Israel Manages Its Message" (Giraldi) and its comments, on hasbara.

Intersectionality, dykes and mass murdering land thieves:  "Anti-Semitism Again Rises In LGBTQ Chicago" and "Chicago Dyke March accuser A Wider Bridge has record of fabrications"!  We anxiously await the rainbow flag with a swastika.

"After US-Backed Bombing Sparks Famine in Yemen, WaPo Editor Insists ‘US Not the Problem’".



          Bludgeonings   
"Russia Hacking Allegations Driven By a Serial Liar".  The latest spin of the Clintonista story, the one involving Barry's supposed tribulations about what to do, what to do, with all this information - leading to the obvious question of why keeping silent ended up being the answer - was all driven by Brennan.  The further they go in trying to find some nuance that will resonate with Americans, the more they reveal their hand.

"CNN Executive Editor Demands To Review All Future Russia-Related Stories..."No Exceptions"".

"Sketchy firm behind Trump dossier is stalling investigators".  The deep mystery of which 'donor' funded the nonsense.

"Assange Outlines The Six Reasons "Why The Democratic Party Is Doomed"".  As long as the 'donor' model is intact, who cares about ever winning anything again.  Shekels are the only winning they need.

"Locked Into Al-Tanf U.S. Military Concedes It Lost The Race To Occupy South-East Syria".  I wouldn't call it a loss - the American patriots in the Pentagon won out over the treasonous neocons.  That is the only plausible explanation for the bizarre American stalling.

"Fighting intensifies in Syrian Golan Heights".  Khonquest khontinues.  In its way, this is a good sign, indicating that the habitual thieves have resigned themselves to a post-Yinon Syria where their khleptomania has to be satisfied with another small piece.

"June Notes Week Four" (West).

"Nick Turse: The Special Ops Fallacy – Throwing Elite Resources at “Winless Wars”".  Ah, the great mystery of all the losing, part of the greater mystery of why American now always lose.

"Why The Transformers Movies Are Really Stories Of Jewish Resilience and Adaptability".  #3:
"Public showings of this movie, all 148 intolerable minutes of it, should be referred to as bludgeonings . . ."

Heavy virtue signalling using identity politics covers up a multitude of sins: "Justin Trudeau’s Liberals: Objectively pro-fascist?".  Also, pipelines.
          Barbarians   
"Trump‘s Red Line" (Hersh)!  As good as you might expect, but it bears the signs of American IC spin, making the IC look better than it should (and putting all the blame on Trump, consistent with IC attitudes towards him).  That isn't a bad thing, as it betrays an awareness that the whole Khan Sheikhoun conspiracy was a big American IC fuckup.  Added, for comic relief (Higgins must get paid extra for such a rush job!):  "Will Get Fooled Again – Seymour Hersh, Welt, and the Khan Sheikhoun Chemical Attack".

"Angry Dems Turn On Obama, Pelosi, Schumer: "Talk Less About Russia"".  It should be completely clear by now that they intend to go down with the ship (of 'donors').  Whining about Russia provides an excuse for the Killary loss (keeping Clinton 'viable' for 2020), prevents the entrenched apparatchiks from being removed, preserves the lovely, shekel-y 'donor' model, and takes up all the rhetorical space that might have to be used to preserve health care and any other mildly progressive possibilities.  What's not to like?

"Our Grand American Delusion by Publius Tacitus".

"CNN Deletes 'Fake News' Story About Russian Investment Ties To Trump".  This kind of thing, if it existed (and it may), would be the Holy Grail, but making up shit doesn't help.

"Policing ‘Truth’ to Restore ‘Trust’" (Parry).  To be read with "The Blathering Superego at the End of History".  The idea is that politics should consist of a credentialed priesthood who deliver the tablets containing the empirical facts of what must be done to the lowly populace.  It is immoral/blasphemous for any deplorable to resist.  There is a very strong element of religious mysticism in this.

"Democrats in the Dead Zone" (St. Clair).  Inauthenticity.  The Dems doubled down on every single one of their standard mistakes in an almost robotic way.

"18 Israeli Fighter Jets Landed in Saudi Arabia to Prevent Coup".  Sounds very fake, but if there is some Jew/Crypto-Jew conspiracy going on - and there are signs - this is the kind of thing that a nervous Salman might request.  It would also explain why the other royals have accepted this massive shift in power, and makes it, yes, a Khoup d'etat.

"Tensions Mount as the New Saudi Prince Takes Charge" (Margolis).  "Crises over Qatar Reaches New Levels: Assessing Implications".  You could choose to see Salman's foolishness as a very, very good thing, forcing the Turks to choose sides, putting the whole dispute over the Muslim Brotherhood on the table, and, as with all the other 'strategic' moves of the Khazars, strengthening Iran.

Salman has too much credibility invested in the slaughter of Yemen for it to be over before Salman is over.  He made the most basic mistake of statesmanship - starting a war with no defined outcome that could be declared a win followed by the end of the war.  The Americans make the same mistake in fighting Wars For The Jews - because there is no American national interest in fighting these wars, they never end, as no politician can plausibly declare that an American national interest has been met and the war can be concluded.  Witness the laughter over Bush's 'Mission Accomplished', and the current situation in Afghanistan.

"Israel's Fire Support For Its Al-Qaeda Mercenaries Started Three Years Ago".  The one thing about kleptomaniacs - or rather, Khleptomaniacs - is that you can be ready for them.  Surveillance, security guards, ink tags on the merch, S-300s, you know.  "State Fair’s ‘Swindler’ Sandwich Renamed After Being Called Anti-Semitic".

"GRENFELL TOWER: Boris Johnson Gives Millions to Fake White Helmets in Syria, Makes Savage Cuts to London Fire Service".  "VICTORIOUS SYRIA: The Axis of Resistance Confounds the Forces of Empire" (both Beeley).

"Twelfth of July Orange walk to be televised live on BBC One in Northern Ireland".  The spoils of holding the balance of power.  What could possibly go wrong?

"Athens versus Jerusalem":
"Inside of 70 years, Jerusalemites, with feverish dedication have successfully installed their peculiar brand of anarchy through the aggressive spread of divisive Identitarian Politics, tyrannical Political Correctness, ruinous Predatory Economics, vampirical Controlled Opposition, as well as a most lethal form of warmongering Jewish Power – all simultaneously and insidiously injected into Western societies.  Jerusalem has evidently delivered us nothing but endless warfare overseas and palpable instability and dystopia in our Western societies.  It has brought us a non-humanistic world.  It has given us a lowering of citizen morale and an increase in barbaric immorality where might over right is normalized.  Jerusalem has steeped us in an absurd environment where decadent perversions are permitted, but freedom of speech is curtailed.  A world where freedom of thought is punished instead of promoted."

          I'm in tears   
"Wall Street Journal fires correspondent over ethics conflict".  The documents are alleged to have been discovered by a hack, and the enterprises involved 'ex-CIA' types, and plans for "a $725 million air-operations, surveillance and reconnaissance support contract with the United Arab Emirates that would allow planes to spy on activity inside nearby Iran", and an attempt to replace the Kuwaiti government with "a dissident member of the Kuwaiti royal family".

"Israeli Spyware Firm Embroiled in Mexico Mobile Hacking Scandal. Flynn Was Its Adviser".  An 'everything' bagel of a story.

Another country for Khazar ruination:  "Jerusalem, Nicosia and WW3" (Atxmon).

"CIA contractors busted for stealing snacks from vending machine".  This degree of expertise should have got them Contractor of the Year awards.

"Oversight Report Shows NSA Failed To Secure Its Systems Following The Snowden Leaks".  All the renting of garments over Snowden was just for show.

"Democrats, Stop With The Poll Rigging...It's Getting Embarrassing".  These are all bullshit push polls, meant to affect the result, but problems arise, as we've seen remarkably with Killary, when you believe your own lies.

"We Are Inches From A New World War, And Clintonists Are To Blame".

"The Blathering Superego at the End of History".  Another take on liberalism.

"Even Top Liberal Pundits Still Don’t Understand the Division in the Democratic Party".

You can't help but be reminded of philosophical debates over the paradoxes of utilitarianism.

"After a Dark Political Winter, Summer Is Finally Arriving" (Shamir).

"Watergate And The Downing Of Nixon, Part 2".  Dick's getting some sympathy in the era of Don.  There are obvious parallels in the IC attacks against each President.

"Vladimir Putin and Oliver Stone: The Neocons Are Dangerous to the United States" (Alexis).  The exact same unnameable perps are behind the odd behavior of the Americans in Syria, and certainly are trying to start WWIII.  As usual, they get to do this because nobody of importance dares call them out on it.

Timing:  "Iran 1953: State Department Finally Releases Updated Official History of Mosaddeq Coup".

"Macklemore & Ryan Lewis Cancel Israel Show Over 'Unexpected Change of Schedule'".  Shekelhead is still on.  The Jew-controlled media is noticeably piling on the general praise for Shekelhead.

"CNN Caught Faking News Again: Qatar Says News Agency Hacking Linked To Middle East, Not Russia".

BuzzFeed has now brought the self-sports-bagged spy into its all-encompassing Putin crime theory:  "The Secrets Of The Spy In The Bag".

BuzzFeed isn't entirely a joke.  This is something you don't see everyday (or ever) in the mainstream media:  "These Are The Civilian Victims Of The US-Led Campaign Against ISIS".

American weird unsolved crime classic:  "Half-century later, murder evidence still under wraps".

"Secret Service relaxes marijuana policy in bid to swell ranks".  Bonus:  bullet dodgers dodge even fewer bullets when they are high as a kite.  Harder to code, though.

Tweet (Gregg Carlstrom) (Jared's taking a few hours off from being investigated for high treason to solve the Israel-Palestinian crisis):
"An AP cameraman filming Kushner's arrival in Jerusalem was forced to delete the images on his memory card."

Heightism.
          Schizophrenocracy   
Saudis double down on pure insanity:  "In Historic Shakeup Saudi King Removes Crown Prince, Names Son As First Heir".  What is the over-under in months before their heads are all on pikes (as they should be)?

"Thoughts on the Disappointing Result Out of Georgia 6."  Ha! Note the early, and utterly insane, victory lap! The Clintonistas picked a pure neoliberal asshole, and threw away an inconceivably large amount of money at getting him elected (of course, as we all know, no money was lost, as the shekels flow from 'donor' pockets to 'donor'-owned media companies, and thus, in the great Khazar Circle of Life, back to 'donor' pockets, with a small amount falling to the professional political hacks), all with the intent to prove that they, and not Bernie supporters, were on the winning track.  Do you think this telling set-back will cause them to change their ways?  No.  How can they be expected to afford multi-million dollar homes without the 'donor' model of financing elections?  The insane lack of connection to reality is based firmly in the greatest and most inspiring love of all, the love of shekels.

"Cristina Fernández de Kirchner".  Another peasant revolt in the offing.

This is funny:  "FOIA Request On Susan Rice's Unmaskings Rejected Because "Records Were Moved To Obama Library"".  It reminds me of how real terrorist groups can now disappear simply with a name change.  Form over substance.

"John Helmer: Chrystia Freeland’s Family Lie Grows Bigger And Blacker– Michael Chomiak Volunteered For Hitler Before Ukraine Was Invaded and Was Hunted by the Polish Police Until the 1980s".  Note the first paragraph of the introduction.  "How, when and where can Canada's digital spies hack? Government makes some suggestions in CSE Act" (the silly new wallpaper over the IC dictatorship:  "The roses and the thorns of Canada’s new national security bill").

"U of O Holocaust scholar says he's a target of Polish 'hate' campaign".  The fact he has utterly misdescribed the 'attack' on him - a letter! - should probably raise flags about his 'scholarship'.  Which isn't to say that some Poles weren't enthusiastic about the general dekhazarization project, for simply baffling reasons.

"Where is Israel’s anti-Palestinian dark money going?"  It looks like they've arranged some system where the 'donors' fund the skulduggery directly.

"Spoiling for a Wider War in Syria".  Wars For The Jews, yet again.  Signals from the American government are decidedly mixed.  Trump's hands-off approach means individual factions of warmongers can cause mischief.  We end up with a bizarre situation where the highest reaches of the US government have to create a complicated framework to get around and manage what parts of the American military/IC are doing to Russia, all within the constraints of the Clintonista Russia phobia:  "Tillerson has a new Russia plan: Less support to neighbors, work with Russia on cybersecurity".  Schizophrenocracy.

"Self-Defense Is No Defense for US Acts of War in Syria" (Cunningham).  As Americans do dirty work for the Khazars, it is no surprise they borrow Khazar rhetorical flourishes.

"Oliver Stone: Shocked at How the CIA is Treating Trump".

"Video: Expert Breaks Down As He Tells Of Warning Of ‘Totally Avoidable’ #Grenfell Fire".  It is a straightforward, obvious, and easily prosecutable case of manslaughter up to the highest levels of government.

"Photographer Khadija Saye Dies in London Grenfell Tower Fire".

"Awful Truth About Laurie Luhn and Roger Ailes" (Alexis).  "Roger Ailes and Rachel Maddow: A Friendship Made in Heaven?" (Strether).

"Why Bernie Sanders is an Imperialist Pig" (Ford).  To be fair, he's a Khazar, and thus can't help himself.

Oh fuck, we're screwed:  "Who serves as Trump-whisperer to Justin Trudeau? Brian Mulroney, of course!".

"Canada Passes Law Criminalizing Use Of Wrong Gender Pronouns".  The new normal of insisting that others bow down and worship the crazy notions in your head now has legal protection.  I regard it as the legal sanctioning of snowflake rudeness (the general snowflake belief is that they can insist on themselves, like five-year olds), and we're seeing it everywhere (and, of course, all this started with holocaust stuff, the template for the criminalization of thought crimes).  I await compulsory veganism and the death penalty for microaggressions and, of course, 'cultural appropriation' (the current fad in Canada, ironically, the ultimate 'white people problem', with 'white' almost always referring to a Khazar-fuelled issue).
          Warm beer   
"Israel Has Been Secretly Funding Syrian Rebels For Years".

"Invincible folly? - US policy and mass delusion".  I've started thinking that the confusion in just what the Americans are up to is a direct result of Trump's abdication of any civilian leadership for the Pentagon, which is now running around like a chicken with its head cut off.  The only remaining plan is to build more bases.  On balance, given the horribly Jewed-up state of American politics, no civilian leadership is a bonus.

"Stunning Footage Of American's Crumbling Infrastructure" (why you can't be truly progressive unless you are a committed 'anti-Semite'):
"Even Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba Group says, “the US wasted trillions on warfare instead of investing in infrastructure”."
"America’s Real Loss of Prestige and Leadership Abroad".  You can see why WikiLeaks in unpopular in some high American circles.

You can skip over the Canadian stuff if you want.

"Report calls for revamping of whistleblower law".

The usual bribe cheques from big telecom to the most comically corrupt of Canadian regulators - well, maybe second to the pipeline regulators - must have bounced this month:  "CRTC bans locked phones and carrier unlocking fees".

"How rival parties got their act together on pharmacare: Cohn".

"Liberals’ massive increase in defence spending is a budgetary coup".  Canada's new neo-Nazi leadership.  It's supposed to show fealty to Trump to help with NAFTA negotiations.  The good thing is that almost none of this 'spending' will ever make it to a budget.

"Finsbury Park Cover-up? PM May says ‘Lone Wolf’ – But 4 separate witnesses say THREE men were in attack van".

They are building quite the elaborate back-story in order to cover up the Israeli spying:  tweet (Alex Griswold) (secret society initiation stunt!):
"Larry Wilmore: "It’s just tough for me to have much sympathy for this guy and his crocodile tears.""

Tweet (Red T Raccoon):
"Don't call #FinsburyPark a 'revenge' terrorist attack. It insinuates the victims were involved in a previous attack.

It's just terrorism."

"Four ministers were warned about tower block fire risks".  Looks like some lowly bureaucrats on the council will have to go to jail to distract from those who should also go to jail.

Tweet (Fatima) (missing victims?):
"She's speaking the truth #GrenfellTowerFire"

Tweet (John Band):
"Oh, this is quite good."

This sounds like a big 'narrative' problem:  "Hillary Clinton Told FBI's Mueller To Deliver Uranium To Russians In 2009 "Secret Plane-Side Tarmac Meeting"".  See also:  "George Washington: Special Prosecutor Mueller Is a Political Hack".  Mueller is not an 'above the fray' legal saint, as the Clintonistas now describe him.
          Mork & Mindy   
"The “revolution” is being televised – & we should ask why".  "The Goyim Know" (Atzmon).  The Khazars have this 'comedy' bit involving an alien trying to pass as a human being (Mork & Mindy, etc., etc., etc.).  They find it hilarious, but it is a little too much on the money in a world where the Great Khazar Supreme Beings try to pass as lowly human beings, empathetic solely to general human plight.  Believe me, they don't give a shit about effects of austerity and other class warfare on the goy 99%, and their Kholumnists have just spent months calling Corbyn an unelectable devil Jew-hater, based mostly on his supposed 'anti-Semitism'.  They go so far over the top - due to their bizarre inability to pass as human beings or even to understand what they would have to do to be able to pass - that from time to time we have to enter a period of revisionism.  Despite reams of evidence to the contrary freely available with a quick web search, nobody ever wrote anything bad about that excellent fellow Corbyn, and austerity is (suddenly) really bad, isn't it?  (But just to be safe, let's just take a look at that anti-Semitism in the Labour Party.)

"New Democratic Bill to Establish a 'National Russian Threat Response Center', Thrusting America Deeper into Russophobia".  "Trump Cornered: White House Pushing To Weaken Russia Sanctions Bill".  If somebody had told you a year ago that the big political issue in Washington today would be evidence-less - utterly evidence-less - Russian tempering with American elections, and perhaps the human rights of a few thousand ethnic Ukrainians in Crimea, up to the point of infuriating Europe, would you have believed them?  Seriously?  It would sound like a mass attack of dementia, or perhaps mad cow disease.  The only explanation for all of this is ZOG.
          Delegation   
"Syrian Army Boxing in US Forces in Southern Syria Came as a Shock — Defense Secretary Mattis".  Part of a pattern that has been building for some time of excuses made to the Zionist minders of the American government to explain the delays in creating Sunnistan.  The Americans have been patiently waiting for the Syrian army to reach the border.

There is, however, this: "Syria: From ‘no boots on the ground’ to (not so secret) forward operating bases".

It is as if the Americans have decided to give up on Sunnistan (based on complaints by non-Israeli neighbors), but still leave an American military presence through more bases (and, of course, whatever the Kurds manage to get).

Another pattern is that these decisions are not made by Trump, but by the Pentagon.  Trump appears to have decided that these big political decisions are actually technical decisions on how to fight wars.  He thus avoids having to deal with any Bannon-Kushner fights (btw, where's Jared?).  The upshot is an improvement in the actual decisions, as they are de-Zionized (at the expense of lack of political control, and the building of Pentagon strength through Baseworld).  "Trump gives away his most consequential decision to the Pentagon".  "Has Trump Lost Control Of The Pentagon?".

"Dylan, Homer, and Cliff".  When the acceptance speech finally came out, the fans all lauded it as further proof of Dylan's genius.  "Is Bob Dylan a Phony?"  "Bob Dylan’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ Revealed".

"From Russia With Blood".  A simpler, non-Clintonista, explanation is that gangsters tend to kill each other and die violently.  After all the froth over Litvinenko, not to mention the boot licking way they tend to try to anticipate American orders, the very idea that the Brits are covering up for Putin is simply hilarious.

Mixed signals.  "US envoy to Qatar to leave her position this month".  "Pentagon Agrees To Sell $12 Billion In F-15s To Qatar".  Another Pentagon decision?  Congress had approved it, but the timing is more than curious.

Two wise tweets by Trump.  The Clintonista hopes of Trump destruction went from the Comey testimony, which backfired, to Sessions - nothing there - and now rest entirely on what Mueller is said to be up to.  "Jared Kushner's family criticised for touting cash-for-visas scheme in China".  "Why Is Robert Mueller Probing Jared Kushner's Finances?".  They have to look to Russia (that's the 'donor' story, involving Putin's interference with Yinon), when the outrageous influence peddling to China will go unnoticed.  Mueller is the drunk looking for his wallet under the street lamp because the light is better there.

Bozo is an ass.

Tweet (Ben Norton):
"Despicable. Clintonites keep on implying that Black Lives Matter and Standing Rock protests are a Russian plot"
Tweet (Captain Kidd):
"There is so much going on here.

The name, the crimes, the mugshot."


          Deals and trade-offs   
Grim days. Lots of death.

"The Sessions hearing: Another anti-Russian diversion while the social counterrevolution in America deepens" (Martin):
"The former senator from Alabama came of age in the Deep South of the 1960s, where he was taught that the civil rights movement was a “communist conspiracy” directed by Moscow to promote “race-mixing.” The notion that this diehard reactionary has been seduced by the blandishments of Vladimir Putin would be laughable if it were not being promoted for such filthy political ends.
Democrat after Democrat sought to pin the Putin label on Sessions or his boss, President Trump, seeking to make Tuesday’s hearing the next step, following last week’s testimony by fired FBI Director James Comey, in a Watergate-style exposure of the Trump White House.
Unlike Watergate, however, there is no issue of democratic rights involved in the anti-Russia campaign. Two reactionary factions of big-business politicians and “deep state” operatives are fighting out issues of imperialist foreign policy—whether the US should continue the anti-Russian line adopted during Obama’s second term, confronting Russia over Syria, Ukraine, the Baltics and other issues, or whether the immediate focus of US military-diplomatic aggression should be China and its ally North Korea."
Or, carbonites versus non-carbonites, with the usual pervasive stinky overlay of ZOG.

"How Rich Neighbors May Have Factored Into London's Deadly Tower Fire".  This is some solid class warfare, cheaping out on the cladding that was intended to hide the slum from the tender eyes of the rich.  There are also suspicions that the convenient removal of this building will allow for the building of luxury condos more in line with the neighborhood.

"Video Emerges Of US Allowing ISIS Fighters To Escape Safely In Syria".  There is an enormous amount of American rationalizations/justifications/lies about how they allowed bin Laden to escape at Tora Bora, but the bottom line is that they always allow their assets to escape, whether it be in Syria or Afghanistan.

"A lousy article in the Guardian about the Wonder Woman movie: I don't recognize the Guardian anymore".  The finest Jewish minds of our generation have finally cracked the greatest problem facing humanity - how to get a Jewish actress who was in the IDF and a vicious supremacist monster into a starring role in a big money-making Hollywood movie.  A female superhero gives you the requisite intersectionality.

"Ann Coulter: The “Resistance” Goes Live-Fire".

"How Did Reality Winner Know To Look For The Russian Hack Document?".  She found the needle in the haystack.  Somebody told her where to look.  Then a 'journalist' at The Intercept with form for this sort of thing instantly managed to effectively turn her in.  Feels like a . . . conspiracy.  Comment from Bob in Portland:
"More propaganda to reinforce the Russian hack scam.

I also see a propaganda move to paint Sanders revolutionary red. The baseball shooting is at least the second incident of a “Sanders supporter” using deadly force. Right-wingers linked the Nazi throat-slasher in Portland to Sanders. It seems to be a happening thing."
Speaking of the Russian scam, the Democrats have decided to let the Koch-sucking Republicans un-insure millions of Americans in return for more Russian sanctions!  People will die in the United States - victims of some form of lack of access to health care -   because of the weirdly extended effects - through Putin, and Syria, and Yinon, and 'donors', and Hillary's psychological inability to deal with her loss - of Jewish imperialism.
          Poison   
"Emails Expose How Saudi Arabia And UAE Work The U.S. Media To Push For War".  I thought everyone just assumed that Ignatius and his ilk were on the Saudi payroll.

"Poison in the System".  Part of the endless series of anti-Russian drivel.  The very idea that the British government is suppressing a proper investigation in order to protect Putin as it is "anxious not to inflame diplomatic tensions with Russia" (!) is fall-down-dead-with-laughter ridiculous.  Note that Perepilichnyy falls into the usual pattern of a crook who flees justified prosecution and then attempts to curry favor with the new host country by trying to rat out his former associates as part of the general anti-Putin PR campaign.  The only striking thing about this particular crook - sit down, it is really, really, really shocking - is that he appears not to have been Jewish.  Amazing!

In order to get around the major problem of revelations about  Israel's oddly close connections to ISIS involving research in terrorist technology conducted at the Islamic State/Israeli Advanced Terrorism Research Institute at the University of Mosul - ok, I just made that name, if not the reality, up - an entirely new computer hacking mythology has just been created.  It's all great, Israel isn't working with ISIS after all, and you can forget all that Jewish whining about how Trump accidentally outed Israeli spies and risked their lives.  It is tough trying to keep all the lies straight.

"Iran Claims Proof Of 'Direct US Support" For ISIS Days After Congressman Dana Rohrabacher Floats The Idea".  Send ISIS in, and then send unsolicited help to fight ISIS!:  "Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte 'not aware' of US forces joining battle in besieged city of Marawi".

"Trump's Darling".  "Hiding the Ugly Business of Torture".

Change your name, and poof, you just disappear.  "The US takes Syria’s Al-Qaeda off Terror Watch-lists".  "Al-Nusra’s Name has been Removed from Terror List after Rebranding".  The chemistry of the War On Terror is that if you combine a terrorist group with a terrorist group armed by the Americans, and the new group continues to commit terror, it is no longer a 'terrorist' group as long as the new group renames itself.  Experts keeping the world safe!

More odd Kinzer at the Boston Globe:  "Saudi Arabia is destabilizing the world".  They seem to have decided that one morsel of truth every year or so won't be noticed.  Having said that, we also have to remember that there is still a strong current of anti-Saudi feeling - butt hurt about old pro-Palestinian rhetoric from some Saudi princes - amongst BigJew, possibly explaining the massive anomaly of truth appearing in a mainstream media source.

"Hillary Clinton Explains The Way To Stop Terrorism Is To "Understand" Other Cultures & Their Food".  "Twitter mocks Saudi editor over #Qataristomach remarks".


          Carbonite   
"Is Trump Launching a New World Order?"  This fits a lot of the facts, but why would you take the carbonite side when you have to know it is bound to lose?  It is already losing, so this strictly carbon partisan approach seems foolish when you could hedge your bets.  It is as if the 0.1% has decided to throw all caution to the winds in extracting the last possible maximized rents from a resource which will lose much of its value with new technology.  Trump's an old guy, and not personally an oil baron, so what's his angle in this?
          Fibs & Fables    
lowres.wheel

Oh hi.  When I began work on my Fibs and Fables collection last winter, I remember thinking that by the time the fabrics are in hand, so much will have changed in my work & home life.  And while that is all true, returning to this blog to write about my design work feels comfortable and almost nostalgic.  I have been writing about my work here for just about exactly 9 years, which is hard to believe. I am so thankful for the personal history and correspondence that exists here and love being able to deepen it when time allows.  So today.  Fibs & Fables.  Here is the official inspiration statement:

"Fibs & Fables was inspired by my interest in and love for vintage fairytale illustrations and I have never had more fun doing research.  The notion of storytelling, in a sense, is a system of make-believe with various motives: to teach a lesson, to entertain or to perpetuate a culture's belief system.  And perhaps in a more cynical sense, stories are just fibs- but when set to beautiful images....they are welcome lies.  Exploring old German, Danish, British and American illustrations revealed all of the beloved book scenery that I got lost in as a child.  Many of those artists were themselves influenced by ancient artwork, ancient stories and Greek Mythology.  What entranced and inspired my color directions was the element of fear and tragedy combined with joyful resolutions.  The balance of the two, as well as the good and evil that is such a common theme helped me to cast a moody palette on the fabric's color ways. The prints themselves are a not so literal in telling any specific fib, fable or fairytale, but rather bring to light the elements that exist in so many of our favorite stories.  The collection is as fun for children's quilts, decor and clothing as it is unexpected for women's fashion."

I will further say that for someone who is not so much a novelty print designer, I found the fairytale theme a unique challenge.  And I can't say that I was inspired by any one fairytale or set of characters as much as I was inspired by the art that has told those stories over centuries.  I therefore sometimes shifted my focus to present imagery in a less literal way, but still include elements that act as the building blocks that can tell many stories at once.

So shall we have a look at the prints?

minutes

"Minutes"
A described above, I was as interested in peripheral imagery, and I suppose you can say that rather than having a print portrayal of a clock striking twelve, I have the above gem.

escape

"Escape"
Church windows, castle windows, tower windows, yes this is much more literal.  But my focus here is on the possibility of escape from dark to light, as seen through the windows.  You just have to figure out which one you fit through.

helios

"Helios"
I of course had to give a nod to Greek mythology.... but I was really only inspired to do so in this collection when I found so many illustrators over the past two centuries doing the same in their work.  Helios was imagined to be the god of the sun and he lit up the sky each night with four winged, fire-breathing horses.  And who wouldn't want to draw that?  Drawing horses is such a connection to my childhood that it was a welcome theme.  This one will also come in three colors of Rayon Challis.

dressmaker

"Dressmaker"
So many of my favorite stories as a child had an element of making- the spinning wheel in Sleeping Beauty, the humble dress made by little creatures in Cinderella, the invisible garment in the Emperor's New Clothes.... so I paired those ideas with the culture of dressmaking and tailoring that and set them to a seemingly magic wand of a needle doing the work without hands.

cottage

"Cottage"
This one is a sweet representation of folk art styles found in many German and Dutch fairytale illustrations and to me it feels reminiscent of cozy interior spaces and kettles and dishes.

plaited

"Plaited"
I was obsessed with drawing characters with braids when I was a girl.  I loved having to re-figure out how to do it every time.  I really enjoy how equally weird and normal this print can be.  Only weird when you imagine it to be hair, but more normal if you have baskets on the mind.

starry.eyed

"Starry Eyed"
I suppose you could call this my wish upon a star print.  Eyes, tears, stars.  It is a tiny little print and this one will be in Rayon Challis as well.

labyrinth

"Labyrinth"
And if a fairytale is a depiction of struggle from start to resolution, I loved the idea of including some sort of a maze-like print.  I had originally thought of hedge mazes, but that was less interesting to me visually, so I was messing around with meandering designs.  Then when researching ancient Greek art to develop the Helios print, the Greek key design was waving at me.  It was saying DUH.

enchanted

"Enchanted"
Well OF COURSE I had to do a landscape.  What good fairytale book was without some sort of landscape?  Aside from that, I have always been intrigued (terrified) of developing a landscape image into a repeat.  I presents a very unique set of challenges that other prints do not.  I've shown what an almost fat quarter looks like above so that you can see how it all comes together.  I will admit this one took me FOREVER.  Resolving how elements came together on all sides proved quite tricky (lots of walking away) and but then extremely rewarding once I let go of reality.  Stars become flowers.  Roadways lead to clouds.  Clouds become water.  Sky becomes ground.  And weeping willows grow tears instead of leaves.  And the whole of it is guarded by a flight of swallows (how could I not pay homage to Thumbelina?)  If you follow me on Instagram you might remember that when I was first sketching this print (in my bedroom mind you) that a bird practically landed on my shoulder who must have gotten in the house and was hiding under my bed.  Yep.

colorway.1

Fanciful colorway~

colorway.3.low

Noble colorway~

colorway.2.low

And Gallant colorway~

lowres.sidestack

There are a total of 27 pieces in the quilting cotton collection, and I have been working on some very fun sewing for the upcoming fall Quilt Market which I'll be sharing in the coming weeks.  As mentioned above there will also be 6 Rayon Challis pieces, that I have already been making clothes out of!

20150925_091741

Beginning on Monday of next week, my online shop will be pre-selling full collection stacks of Fibs & Fables which should ship out the first week in November!!!  And to celebrate the launch, anyone who pre-orders a full collection stack from my shop will receive a free limited run fine art print of Helios, shown above measuring 8.5x11".  Perks, people!

We will send out a note with a shop link along with some other studio news on Monday morning, so be sure you are on my mailing list!

I hope you love this collection as much as I loved creating it for you!
be well, xxooAnnaMaria
          "We have 85 percent of our fuel bill hedged at $26 a barrel. Because we were able to purchase insurance against those high prices, we're paying a lower average per gallon than the rest of the industry." - Beth Harbin   
"We have 85 percent of our fuel bill hedged at $26 a barrel. Because we were able to purchase insurance against those high prices, we're paying a lower average per gallon than the rest of the industry." - Beth Harbin
          Steven Cohen Barred From Commodities Trading Until 2018   
The billionaire hedge-fund manager agreed in a settlement involving insider-trading charges not to engage in activities overseen by the C.F.T.C. through the end of next year....
          The Other Side of an Infamous Hamptons House Party   
A hedge fund manager who hosted a rowdy fund-raiser says the party was no worse than others, but attracted undue media because of a dispute with the owner....
          Evesham Ultra and plans for the year   
A couple of weeks ago I ran the Evesham Ultra. I wasn’t meant to. I mean, it wasn’t part of my plans this year.

My plan for this year was thus:

1)      Tackle the Oldham Way – this is my own Ultra-in-the-making. It was to be my first step up from 50k to 40 miles with plans already made to run it on June 22nd with a band of merry men;
2)      The main event of the summer was to be the Lakeland 50 at the end of July; my first step up from 40 miles to 50 miles!
3)      Then finally, I’d finish the year with High Peak 40. That, I thought, would do me for this year… 100k and 100 mile-races can wait until next year!

The spanner in the works came when I went to enter Lakeland 50 only to find that it had sold out! I didn’t think ultrarunning was so popular! So what should I do? I looked around for an alternative event of a similar distance at around the same time, but nothing was fitting the bill. I then came across the Evesham Ultra, which I’d heard a friend on Twitter, Matt (m8dkn), was doing. Great, I thought. 45 miles was a similar distance and it seemed to have plenty of hills. It was an opportunity to check out The Cotswolds and an opportunity to run with Matt too. The only problem was it was in April – 3 months earlier than I was training for!!

Bugger it, I entered. Then injuries struck. First Matt, who has suffered a lot with an Achilles problem, had to pull out. Then just as I thought I was doing OK, I picked up a calf problem, which lingered for a few weeks, but I recovered in time to run Blackpool Half at the beginning of April. I then went on a short holiday with little opportunity to run (Rowena was training on the Ironman course in Mallorca and I was entertaining my son, so I could only manage a couple of short runs). When I got back it was only a week until the race.

So how was it? Hard! I had a pacing strategy, but as always I set off a bit too quick. Then I realised that I would have to continue that early pace and keep up with the leaders otherwise I’d get lost. The reason for this is that it soon became apparent that some arsehole(s) had been messing with the way markers, so everybody started getting lost. Luckily a few runners had the route programmed into their GPS watches and so they soon became everyone’s best friend.

Thankfully after the first  5 or 10 miles it stopped being an issue and not long after I started to feel pretty good. It didn’t last long though. By around mile 18, having already done 3 or 4 big hills, I started to feel tired. Tired legs mainly. My quads especially could no longer cope with the downhill running and so I had to slow considerably. As for the up hills, I had to start walking more and more. No shame in that – those around me were doing the same. It’s a long way and you need to save your strength, but I was really feeling it.

I struggled on for a long time. I kept waiting to find my second wind, but it didn’t come until around 15 miles later with 10 to 15 miles to go, when I started feeling strong again. I finished the race battling it out with the first two ladies. Towards the end, the leading lady got me out of a few binds as I went the wrong way and got shouted back. I was then running alongside her and fell down a rabbit hole. Smooth!

I finished in 18th place, which was a top half finish and I was pleased with my time of 8:45.

Approaching the finishing line back in Evesham having done a 45-mile circuit of the Cotswolds


My highlights

1)      Early in the race I stopped to water the hedge and two stags came darting out of the bushes at high speed. They were massive powerful creatures and came very close to where I was standing (could have been messy!). An amazing sight!
2)      Meeting, chatting with different people. The good thing about doing a race on your own is you do mingle, which I enjoyed
3)      The Cotswolds. Very pretty. For me they lack the rugged awesomeness of The Lakes and The Peaks, but they were still very beautiful and I can’t think of a better way to see an area of outstanding beauty!

What did I learn?

Actually, quite a lot!

1)      My pacing was good. I had a plan A (aspirational target) and a plan B (realistic target) and this worked well for me
2)      Fuel – I experimented with more savoury food. Taking my inspiration from Scott Durek’s new book Eat and Run, I made tortilla wraps with houmous and chopped olives and they went down a treat. Sweet stuff like flapjacks are always available at CPs, so no need to worry too much about them
3)      Hydration – again, I experimented. I took the bladder out of my Camelbak and took two small 250ml grip bottles instead. I usually had one in my hand and I filled them both up at CPs. 
4)      I hadn’t trained enough. I need to do more back-to-back long runs 

I’m also thinking about looking into training using a heart rate monitor, but I need to do my research on that one.

So, it’s back to my own project, the Oldham Ultra, now.  Starting yesterday afternoon and continuing this morning, I completed a full circuit of The Oldham Way in the same 24hr period - 44.16 miles of running in total across the two runs & 4,648 ft of that was vertical climbing!

I’m also off to Mallorca again this week to support Rowena with her Half Ironman quest on Sat 11th May. You can follow the action on twitter where I'll be providing updates using the hashtag: #IronRo

Then we’ll be travelling for a week in the mountain range that runs across the north of the island – the Serra De Tramuntana - spectacular trail running having tasted it last month. Can’t wait!

Thanks for reading.



          BeefCast 0505 - Agriculture Amid Global Economic Uncertainty   
BeefCast 0505 Show Notes:
  • In this conversation with Jim Kielkopf, economist for AgriBank, we look at how economic uncertainty has impacted producer decisions and what role speculators and hedge fund industry play in agriculture along with the global increase in commodity prices. 

          Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship   

Authored by Aaron Mackey, Corynne McSherry, and Vera Ranieri via The Electronic Frontier Foundation,

A country has the right to prevent the world’s Internet users from accessing information, Canada’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

In a decision that has troubling implications for free expression online, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a company’s effort to force Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its search index, effectively making them invisible to everyone using Google’s search engine

The case, Google v. Equustek, began when British Columbia-based Equustek Solutions accused Morgan Jack and others, known as the Datalink defendants, of selling counterfeit Equustek routers online. It claimed California-based Google facilitated access to the defendants’ sites. The defendants never appeared in court to challenge the claim, allowing default judgment against them, which meant Equustek effectively won without the court ever considering whether the claim was valid.

Although Google was not named in the lawsuit, it voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to the defendants’ products and ads under the local (Canadian) Google.ca domains. But Equustek wanted more, and the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delete the entire domain from its search results, including from all other domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada decision followed the analysis of those courts.

EFF intervened in the case, explaining [.pdf] that such an injunction ran directly contrary to both the U.S. Constitution and statutory speech protections. Issuing an order that would cut off access to information for U.S. users would set a dangerous precedent for online speech.  In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country. That, we warned, is likely to result in a race to the bottom, as well-resourced individuals engage in international forum-shopping to impose the one country’s restrictive laws regarding free expression on the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court of Canada ignored those concerns. It ruled that because Google was subject to the jurisdiction of Canadian courts by virtue of its operations in Canada, courts in Canada had the authority to order Google to delete search results worldwide. The court further held that there was no inconvenience to Google in removing search results, and Google had not shown the injunction would offend any rights abroad.

Perhaps even worse, the court ruled that before Google can modify the order, it has to prove that the injunction violates the laws of another nation thus shifting the burdent of proof from the plaintiff to a non-party. An innocent third party to a lawsuit shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden or proving whether an injunction violates the laws of another country. Although companies like Google may be able to afford such costs, many others will not, meaning many overbroad and unlawful orders may go unchallenged. Instead, once the issue has been raised at all, it should be the job of the party seeking the benefit of an order, such as Equustek, to establish that there is no such conflict. Moreover, numerous intervenors, including EFF, provided ample evidence of that conflicts in this case.

Beyond the flaws of the ruling itself, the court’s decision will likely embolden other countries to try to enforce their own speech-restricting laws on the Internet, to the detriment of all users. As others have pointed out, it’s not difficult to see repressive regimes such as China or Iran use the ruling to order Google to de-index sites they object to, creating a worldwide heckler’s veto.

The ruling largely sidesteps the question of whether such a global order would violate foreign law or intrude on Internet users’ free speech rights. Instead, the court focused on whether or not Google, as a private actor, could legally choose to take down speech and whether that would violate foreign law. This framing results in Google being ordered to remove speech under Canadian law even if no court in the United States could issue a similar order.

The Equustek decision is part of a troubling trend around the world of courts and other governmental bodies ordering that content be removed from the entirety of the Internet, not just in that country's locale. On the same day the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision issued, a court in Europe heard arguments as to whether to expand the right-to-be-forgotten worldwide.

EFF was represented at the Supreme Court of Canada and the British Columbia Court of Appeal by David Wotherspoon of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman and Daniel Byma of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.


          SCOTUS Travel Ban Decision Summarized In 1 Cartoon   

Scales of justice...

 

Source: MichaelPRamirez.com


          Lacy Hunt: The Fed Has Undermined The Economy's Ability To Grow   

Authored by Stephen McBride via MauldinEconomics.com,

The Fed’s hope was that quantitative easing would stimulate economic growth. But a former senior economist for the Fed believes it has done the exact opposite.

Speaking at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference, Dr. Lacy Hunt, the executive vice president of Hosington Investment Management and former senior economist for the Dallas Fed, said that quantitative easing has created “significant unintended consequences.”

The Worst Expansion in US History

“What the Fed did was, they said to the world we are undertaking quantitative easing so we can boost the stock market… and the stock market will then produce a wealth effect and invigorate the economy.”

While the Fed has increased its balance sheet by $3.57 trillion since 2008, and the S&P 500 is up 255% since 2009, Hunt says, “this is the worst expansion in US history.”

Source: BCA Research

As just half of Americans own stocks, it’s no wonder the wealth effect hasn’t percolated through the economy.

The Fed’s massive experiment has also created huge distortions in the private sector, which has severe consequences.

Business Leverage at Record Highs

“Quantitative easing has created a lot of negatives, one of the most glaring is this liquidity which has fueled record leverage of the business balance sheet.”

Total business debt is now up 71% since 2008—twice the long-term growth rate. Worse yet, Hunt says much of this debt has been used unproductively:

“Quantitative easing encouraged a shift from real investment to financial investment. The Fed’s backing your play, engage in financial engineering… buyback shares, raise dividends. The business managers think they can reverse [these actions].’’

Although total business debt is at a record high, real investment—expenditures on property, plant, and equipment—is falling.

Hunt goes on to say,

“It’s the investment, the real investment which grows the economy. The Fed has created very significant unintended consequences, which have undermined the US [economy’s] ability to grow and lift the standard of living.”

An Ominous Sign for the US Economy

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mauldin Economics, Hunt also addressed the Federal Reserve’s current monetary tightening cycle: “Whether they [raise rates] is immaterial because already they have engineered a contraction in [credit]… all major categories of bank lending are slowing.”

“Since 1915, of the 18 recessions, all of them, bar one, were preceded by monetary tightening… the Fed is on very thin ice.”

Where Do Bond Yields Go from Here?

For Dr. Lacy Hunt’s thoughts on the future of the US economy, where bond yields are headed, the Fed’s next move, and more—watch the full interview below.


          Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution    

After refusing to discuss the FBI investigation into whether his wife submitted a fraudulent loan application during her time as president of the now-defunct Burlington College, Sen. Bernie Sanders has chosen to say a few choice words on the matter during an interview with noted fake news purveyor CNN.

When CNN’s Erin Burnett repeatedly pressed Sanders to confirm the probe, the Senator demurred, but then decided he’d like to say a few words about the investigation. Echoing remarks made to a local reporter in May – before the existence of a federal investigation was known to the public – Senators launched into a diatribe about how the investigation is nothing more than a political attack perpetrated by Republicans.

“My wife is about the most honest person I know. When she came to that college it was failing financially and academically when she left it, it was in the best shape it’d ever been. Five years later, coincidentally no doubt, when I am a candidate for president of United States Donald Trump’s campaign manager – vice chairman of the Republican party of Vermont – launched this investigation.

"It is a sad state of affairs in America. Not only do we have politicians being destroyed – when there are attacks against elected officials – but when they go after your wife? That’s pretty pathetic. And that's where we are right now, and that’s all I’m going to say."

“When people are involved in public life, it’s not only that they get attacked, but their wives and families get attacked as well.”

When repeatedly asked if he could confirm if his wife is under investigation, Sanders demurred.

“That’s all I’m going to say.”

* * *

Of course, the notion that Jane Sanders left Burlington in “the best shape it’d ever been in” is ridiculous: The school of course closed last year after more than 45 years of operation thanks to the crushing debt burden accumulated during Sanders’ reign.

And what about the allegations that Sanders’ office improperly leaned on People’s United Bank to grant the $10 million loan? Those allegations were conveniently glossed over.

As we reported over the weekend, Sanders and his wife Jane have hired lawyers to defend themselves amid an FBI investigation into a loan obtained to expand Burlington College while she was its president. Burlington College, a small Vermont private school once led by the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, closed last year, citing "the crushing weight" of debt incurred during the presidency of Jane Sanders who was in charge of the college until 2011.

The college, which enrolled 224 students as of fall 2014, said it faced financial troubles connected to its 2010 purchase of 32 acres of lakefront property from the Archdiocese of Burlington. The college said it had sold property to reduce its debt to a manageable level, but it was placed on probation in 2014 by its accrediting agency and it faced cash flow problems due to the imminent loss of a line of credit.

The reason for the small liberal school's terminal financial trouble is that to fund the property purchase from the Catholic diocese, Sanders took out $10 million in loans.  As HeatStreet reported last year, the college almost immediately fell short on its financial obligations as fundraising pledges and commitments Ms. Sanders cited in the loan agreements never materialized. Less than a year after leading Burlington College into massive debt, Ms. Sanders resigned, taking with her a $200,000 severance package. By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency.

Jane Sanders was president of the college from 2004 to 2011. Her husband, Bernie Sanders, a former mayor of Burlington, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007 and since then has represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate.

A Sanders ally said the couple has sought legal protection over federal agents' allegations from a January 2016 complaint accusing then-President of Burlington College, Ms. Sanders, of distorting donor levels in a 2010 loan application for $10 million from People's United Bank to purchase 33 acres of land for the institution.

* * *

Poor Bernie. He dedicates his entire life advocating on behalf of America’s disenfranchised, and how does this country repay him? By electing him mayor, Congressman, Senator…the essential unfairness of the situation is staggering.

And who knows? Maybe if it weren’t for blatant collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, Bernie would’ve won the Democratic nomination, and maybe he’d be sitting in the Oval Office right now instead of Trump.

We wonder how media outlets like CNN – not to mention special counsel Robert Mueller and the Congressional investigators – would’ve treated the investigation then? 


          "Rogue" Policeman Who Attempted "Venezuela Coup" Is A "James Bond-Cum-Rambo" Action Film Star   

When we reported on last night's alleged "terrorist coup" attempt by a "rogue police officer" who stole a helicopter and single-handedly attacked the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court in Venezuela, we had one tangential observation: the attempted "coup" may have been no more a coup than the one which took place last June in Turkey:

this is where the comparisons emerge with the "failed Turkish coup" to "remove" Erdogan last summer, which most admit was a staged attempt meant to further entrench the despotic president.  While Venezuela opposition leaders have long been calling on Venezuela's security forces to stop obeying Maduro, following yesterday's event, there was speculation among opposition supporters on social media that the attack could have been staged to justify repression or cover up drama at Venezuela's National Assembly, where two dozen lawmakers said they were being besieged by pro-government gangs.

One day later, even more questions about the legitimacy of the attempted coup have emerged, because as Reuters reports the "rogue police officer" behind the so-called helicopter attack on Venezuelan government buildings is an action film star who paints himself as a James Bond-cum-Rambo figure on social media.

Oscar Perez

As a reminder, President Maduro said Oscar Perez, a strapping pilot, diver and parachutist, was responsible for firing shots and lobbing grenades on the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court after hijacking the helicopter.  In a social media video, Perez said he was fighting a tyrannical, vile government.

It turns out he may have been also going for the IMDB movie rating: Perez, 36, directed and starred in a 2015 Venezuelan action movie called "Suspended Death" about the rescue of a kidnapped businessman, which includes scenes of him firing a rifle from a helicopter and emerging from water in scuba gear. And, as Reuters adds, he has an unusually public profile for the usually tight-lipped and secretive investigative police.

Perez has given interviews about his film and maintained a colorful Instagram feed with images of him riding horseback in combat gear, scuba-diving with rifles and pistols, and jumping out of a helicopter with a dog.

 

"I'm a man who goes out into the streets without knowing whether I'll return home," Perez told a local television network in an interview about the film in 2015.

 

The movie glorifies Venezuela's investigative police as they stage a complex and action-packed rescue using improbably futuristic technology. Asked what inspired him to make the movie, he said a conversation with a young delinquent led him to believe that movies could help change minds.

 

"(I asked myself) what can we do to create a positive idea, to be a weapon against delinquency? That's how 'Suspended Death' came to be," said Perez in another TV interview.

Though he supposedly claimed to be representing a coalition of disaffected security and civilian officials, there was no immediate evidence that he had further backing. In a 2016 video on Perez's Instagram feed, he stands with his back to a mannequin target and successfully shoots it with the help of a small makeup mirror for aim.

He also appeared in several public service videos including one in which a police officer takes a bribe from a driver he has pulled over, only for the driver to later kill the officer's son. Perez at the end of video looks into the camera and says "Corruption affects all of us. Denounce it."

On Tuesday evening, Perez unfurled a banner from the helicopter with the word, "Freedom!" It was not immediately clear who was paying for this particular movie.

Needless to say, Perez' acting experience and his theatrical photos spurred opposition criticism that Tuesday's incident, which did not include any reports of injuries or deaths, was staged by Maduro as an excuse to clamp down on adversaries.

In retrospect, perhaps Turkey's Erdogan should consult on how to make fake staged coups at least appear realistic.


           Gold as an inflation hedge?    
Ghosh, Dipak and Levin, Eric J. and MacMillan, Peter and Wright, Robert E. (2004) Gold as an inflation hedge? Studies in Economics and Finance , 22 (1). pp. 1-25. ISSN 1086-7376
          Maples and Calder Lawyer Recognised Among Leading Women in Hedge Funds   
none
          Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy   

Subtitle

Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society welcome author Cathy O'Neil

Teaser

Please join us for a timely discussion of the role of data science in public life. All are welcome at this free event open to the public!

Event Date

Jul 11 2017 12:00pm to Jul 11 2017 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective​
New England Research and Development Center
1 Memorial Drive
1st Floor/Horace Mann
Cambridge, MA 02142​

More information and REGISTER HERE
Arrive early for a seat/grab lunch, served at 11:30AM​

Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society welcome author Cathy O'Neil to NERD. O'Neil will read from her award-winning book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016). The reading will be followed by an informal mixer for MSR, NERD, Garage and BKC interns.

Please join us for a timely discussion of the role of data science in public life. All are welcome at this free event open to the public!

About Cathy O'Neil

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

About Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective

Over the last decade, social media has become a vital tool for our engagement with the people who matter to us, the work we do, and with the wider public world. From email to Facebook, mobile phones to Twitter, people now use a vast array of social technologies as part of their everyday lives and practices. Our primary purpose is to provide a rich contextual understanding of the social and cultural dynamics that underpin these social media technologies.

Our research collective brings together social scientists and humanists from anthropology, communication, economics, information, law, media studies, women’s studies, science & technology studies, and sociology. Through a variety of methodological and theoretical lenses, we provide insight into how social media is reconfiguring sociality, labor, ethics, and the public realm. Much of our work centers on emergent Web 2.0 technologies, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. but we also look to situate these new forms in the longer history of information and communication.

 


          Pessimistic Hong Kong Real Estate Forecast   
The financial crisis from which the entire world has to suffer, didn???t give the Hong Kong real estate market a break. At the real estate agencies around the city, prices have dropped 20 percent in November 2008 and this will continue in 2009 furthermore. Growing public expectations of a repeat of a 2003 slump, when the outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (also known as SARS), ravaged the entire Hong Kong economy, prompted Sun Hung Kai Properties to predict last week that prices would rebound 5 percent in 2009. Lee Shau-kee, the chairman of the Henderson Land has a different opinion as he stated that the bad times have past for the Hong Kong real estate market and he also added that the worst of the world economic slowdown was yet to come. On the contrary, Stephen Riady who is the president of Lippo Group stated: ??oeI think Hong Kong will probably go down much more. It's a very volatile market. It'll go down more than Singapore???.




At the end of November 2008, a Reuter???s poll of analysts showed that the apartment prices in Hong Kong will go down 20% by the beginning of 2010 just like the prices from Singapore will go down by 21%. Even worse than that, a brokerage house specializing in derivatives called GFI Colliers stated the Hong Kong real estate prices will hit rock bottom in December 2009 when the prices will be -25% in comparison with the present prices. The vice-president stated that many landlords (starting from small to big ones) wanted to switch to cash but the prices continued to go down because they couldn???t find any buyers for their homes and banks were requesting down payments between 30%-40% compared to only 10% which was in the prior crisis period.




Beek said that: ??oeSome are off-loading at 30 percent discounts, but struggling to sell??? and ??oeMany buyers think they might as well wait another four or five months for prices to come down more???. The Hong Kong real estate transactions reached a 17-year low in November 2008 ??" down almost 87% in value from 2007. The entire territory is in recession, not just only the real estate domain; exports reached unprecedented minimums due to the continuous weakening global demand. Fully dependent on the financial industry, many people are facing large-scale job cuts at hedge funds and investment banks.




Another punch taken by the real estate market was when the mortgage rates were increased by the Bank of China Hong Kong and HSBC. An analyst at CLSA by the name of Nicole Wong affirmed that she expects that the residential prices will go down by 15% in 2009. She also stated that real estate outperformed the Hang Seng index when home prices slid in 1998 and 2001, and said that Sun Hung Kai, Henderson and Sino Land had value.




All things considered, the situation isn???t very good for the Hong Kong real estate market but hopefully in 2010 the situation will get back on a normal track not only for Hong Kong but for the entire world because the crisis affects each and everyone.


Ralph W. is the manager of www.bindoa.com where visitors can get information about Hong Kong real estate.

current child abuse charts: current child abuse charts

current child abuse charts: current child abuse charts

Article Source: www.articlesnatch.com


          Hedgesville, West Virginia Addiction and Rehabilitation Resources   
Browse Hedgesville, West Virginia Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Programs, Addiction Treatment Centers, Counseling and Detox locations in WV
          'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens - Washington Post   

Washington Post

'He was born this way': Martin Shkreli's attorney offers defense as securities fraud trial opens
Washington Post
NEW YORK — Martin Shkreli is odd, his attorney told a federal court on Wednesday. The former hedge fund manager's investors and colleagues made fun of him behind his back and wondered whether he was autistic. Some questioned his sexuality, the jury ...
Lawyer for 'Pharma Bro' Shkreli Paints Ex-CEO as Misunderstood GeniusNew York Times
'Pharma Bro' trial hits speed bump: Finding jurors who don't already dislike himChicago Tribune
Martin Shkreli called 'genius' and 'liar' as trial startsUSA TODAY
NBCNews.com -TheStreet.com -Financial Times -Business Insider
all 63 news articles »

          Adorable Hedgehog Sterling Silver Earrings by JanPalomboDesign   

26.00 USD

These adorable earrings are made of Sterling Silver and measure 10mm in diameter.


          Après les hedge funds, les investigative funds ?   
 

          By: Elizabeth Ossian   
You have a lot of great information on your blog! Does Camilla have any cute hedgehog clothes? I bet she is a "sharp" dresser. (I couldn't resist.) Thanks for having such a good resource here.
          ConSequential Podcast Episode 34: Smut   

Or pornographic comics, if you're nasty. We take a broad overview of smutty books, try not to say anything too awful about Sonic The Hedgehog fan art, and rate various pornoglyphs on "wankability". Or Roger does. He's very forward.

Goes without saying that there are some bad swears in this one.


          7 Reasons Why Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut is Completely NutsDonald...   


7 Reasons Why Trump’s Corporate Tax Cut is Completely Nuts

Donald Trump wants to cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 percent to 15 percent, in order to “make the United States more competitive.”

This is nonsense, for 7 reasons:

1. Profitable U.S. corporations already pay on average of only 14% according to the Government Accountability Office. That’s less than a lot of middle-class families pay. (And that’s less than half the official 35% corporate tax rate.) What’s more, some giant corporations pay little (if any) U.S. taxes because of loopholes or because they shift their profits offshore to tax havens.

2. Trump’s corporate tax cut will bust the federal budget. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center projects it will reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over 10 years. This will either require huge cuts in services for all of us, or additional taxes paid by us to pick up the corporate tab.

3. It’s based on supply-side, trickle-down nonsense. The White House says the tax cuts will create a jump in economic growth that will generate enough new revenue to wipe out any increase in the budget deficit. Rubbish. Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush both cut taxes mostly for the rich, and both ended their presidencies with huge budget deficits.

4. It will create a new special loophole for hedge fund managers, big law firms and real estate moguls like Donald Trump. They could slash the  tax rate they pay on their business income from 40 percent to 15 percent. 15 percent is what a middle-class person pays. Do you think people like Trump should pay a tax rate that someone making $60,000 a year pays?

5. It creates an international race-to-the-bottom on corporate tax rates that the U.S. cannot possibly win. One of its supposed attractions is it makes U.S. corporate taxes more “competitive” internationally. But we can’t match the rates in tax havens, which are often ZERO. And other countries will just lower their taxes in response. That’s what happened after 1986, the last time the U.S. cut corporate tax rates.

6. American corporations don’t need a tax cut to be competitive. They’re already hugely competitive as measured by their profits – which are near record highs– while the share of taxes they pay are at record lows. Corporations should be doing more to pay their fair share, not getting a giant tax cut!

7. Corporations won’t use the extra profits they get from the tax cut to invest in more capacity and jobs. That’s the White House line, but it’s baloney.  Corporations are now using a large portion of their profits to pay their CEOs’ hefty pay packages and to buy other companies in order to raise their stock prices. There’s no reason to suppose they’ll do any different even with more profits.

So don’t fall for Trump’s corporate tax plan. It will be a huge windfall for corporations and billionaires – like many of Trump’s own cabinet members, family members, and likely even Trump himself (although because he won’t release his taxes, we can’t tell how much he’ll enrich himself from his own tax plan).

We do know who will lose out: The rest of us.


          Poets and Paid Work   

Most poets’ lives take shape in tension between devotion to their art and the need to make a living, and every poet must find his/her own way to juggle these things or weave them together. Some poets choose day jobs that are undemanding, or at least demanding talents and skills very different from those they apply to making poetry, “saving” themselves for a separate life as a poet. Regan Good’s 2006 essay in New York Observer, “Arbitragedy: A Hedge-Fund Poet’s Bittersweet Ballad,” is a poignant exploration of the dimensions of this choice, ending in a declaration that “poets have the best job” and backing up this faith with W.B. Yeats’ poem, “Adam’s Curse”:

...to articulate sweet sounds together
Is to work harder than all these, and yet
Be thought an idler by the noisy set
Of bankers, schoolmasters and clergymen
The martyrs call the world.
Other poets devote themselves to making a living as poets—teaching, touring, selling books, opening poetry cafes, making poetry films, and always trying to make poetry pay. For this path, we can recommend no better guide than Gary Mex Glazner’s How To Make a Living as a Poet (Soft Skull, 2005, ). It’s chock-full of goodies from the practical to the sublime, wryly comic and fully committed to the art, including outlines of poetry projects, interviews with poets and poetry impresarios, and nuts-and-bolts chapters on how to give readings, plan a tour, get published... all firmly based on Glazner’s years of experience creating a career for himself as a poet. If you want to be a professional poet, you must read this book.

More on Poets and Work:
Poets’ Work, Poets’ Jobs
Readers Respond: How Do We Make a Living?—Tell us how you survive.
The Barbaric Yawp,” How to give a good reading of your poems, adapted from Glazner’s book.

Poets and Paid Work originally appeared on About.com Poetry on Thursday, May 1st, 2014 at 00:01:16.

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          Un plan de long terme pour réguler la finance mondiale ([PSE]   

Long Term plan for Euro-zone stability means getting tough on Hedge Fund Speculators on both sides of the Atlantic

PES President calls on EU Finance Ministers to ‘look speculators in the eye and say: your unprincipled buck stops here’

The 16 March meeting of EU Finance Ministers (ECOFIN) represents a ‘showdown’ between EU Finance Ministers and Hedge Fund Managers, according to Party of European Socialist (PES) President, Poul Nyrup Rasmussen. The Finance Ministers are due to consider the Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers (AIFM), which will have a direct impact on Hedge Funds. “The economic crisis has exposed the fallacies of the ‘light-touch’ regulatory approach, stated Mr. Rasmussen, “It is now clearly established that hedge funds activities have been one of the major cause of the financial crisis. The 16 March ECOFIN must mark a definitive step in the effort to limit their destructive impact on both sides of the Atlantic’.

Mr. Rasmussen made his comments as fellow Socialist leader, George Papandreou (Prime Minister of Greece) prepared to meet US President Barrack Obama to urge him to also take tough action on the Hedge Fund Speculators.  Mr. Papandreou called the speculators “unprincipled” for betting against Greece, and warned that draconian austerity measures in his country run the risk of being nullified by market attacks.

The Party of European Socialists has been at the forefront of efforts to stabilize the Euro-zone, having launched a ‘European Mechanism for Financial Stability’. The plan, the first agreed at European level <http://www.pes.org/en/news/pes-prime-ministers-meeting-agreed-find-long-term-solutions-within-eurozone> , is a more balanced approach than the European Monetary Fund (EMF) concept backed by German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäeuble. The PES have stated that the EMF plan is too focused on the monetary side, rather than looking at the best way we can promote growth and jobs, as well as combat financial speculators.

Mr. Rasmussen added that; “for the PES, our mechanism to ensure Euro-zone stability and curbing the actions of market speculators go hand in hand. On the 16 March EU Finance Ministers must look speculators in the eye and say: your unprincipled buck stops here”.

Background : There have been a number of Press reports dealing with the activity of Hedge Fund Managers before and during the Greek Crisis.

Goldman Sachs, recently exposed as one of the advisers to the previous, conservative Greek Government, on how best to present, some would say hide, its debt, led a delegation of Hedge Fund Managers to Greece, for a ‘fact-finding tour’ which included high-level government meetings. Based on information gleaned on this tour, the same actors have been involved in heavy trading against Greece. The PES <http://www.pes.org/>  brings together 33 socialist, social democratic, labour and progressive parties in the European Union and Norway, a parliamentary group in the European Parliament (184 MEPs) and in the Committee of the Regions (247 members) – plus observer and associate parties and organizations from all over Europe. ECOSY <http://www.ecosy.org/>  and PES Women <http://www.pes.org/en/about-pes/how-does-pes-work/pes-women> are respectively the Youth and the Women’s organizations of the PES. PES Communications


          Building a Hedge   
Job 1: 6-12 & Matthew 21: 33-46
          10 Hewan-hewan Terimut di Dunia   
1. Pipefish

Ikan kurus ini berada pada family yang sama dengan kuda laut dan sea dragon, tapi ikan ini jauh lebih imut. Sebagian besar dari mereka hidup di perairan asin, dan sebagian kecil di perairan tawar. Sama halnya seperti kuda laut, ikan jantan membawa2 telur sang betina selama beberapa waktu.


Fakta lucu: kehidupan cinta dari ikan ini sangat bervariasi. Beberapa spesies menikah untuk seumur hidup, dan beberapa betina dari beberapa spesies menikah dengan beberapa jantan pada waktu yang sama.
2. European Mole

Insektivora kecil ini ditutupi dengan bulu2 yg menyembunyikan sebagian besar bentuknya, yang membuat mereka sangat menarik. European mole menghabiskan sebagian besar hidupnya di bawah tanah, menggali terowongan, dan memakan serangga. Mereka diketahui memiliki penglihatan yang minim, yang tidak terlalu diperlukan di bawah tanah. Mereka mungkin imut, tapi mereka dapat menyebabkan kerusakan pada tanaman.

Fakta lucu: Anda tidak dapat membunuh tikus2 mondok di Jerman tanpa izin.
3. Kiwi

Bukan buah kiwi yang gua maksud, tapi burung kiwi! Burung ini berasal dari Selandia Baru dan merupakan burung berbulu tergemuk! Sayap burung ini telah tereduksi, membuat mereka tak dapat terbang, namun mereka memiliki indera penciuman yang sangat tajam. Mereka memakan serangga, cacing, dedaunan, dan buah2an. Ada lima spesies yang telah diketahui, dan kelimanya adalah spesies yang sudah langka...

Fakta lucu: telur Kiwi bisa mencapai 20% dari berat badan sang induk. Itu sama seperti seorang wanita berberat badan 150 pound yang melahirkan seorang bayi dg berat 30 pound.
4. Angora Rabbit

Pertama kali, mungkin Anda berpikir hewan ini adalah sebuah bola raksasa, namun di dalamnya benar2 ada seekor kelinci. Kelinci besar ini dikembangbiakkan secara khusus untuk diambil bulunya. Ada 4 keturunan yang telah diketahui.
5. Puffer Fish

Keluarga ikan ini dapat menelan air (bahkan udara) dengan cepat, sangat cepat, sehingga mereka dapat menjadi bebentuk bola dan menakut2i predator. Cara ini seringkali menyelamatkan hidup mereka, dan beberapa puffer fish beracun.

Fakta lucu: Puffer fish memiliki genom terkecil di dunia vertebrata.
6. African Pygmy Hedgehog

Mamalia ini adalah mamalia yang paling rupawan di family Erinaceidae. Mereka dapat menggulung badannya untuk melindungi diri. Landak ini telah dijinakkan, jadi Anda dapat memilikinya untuk dipelihara tanpa banyak masalah.

Fakta lucu: Cek dahulu hukum lokal di negara Anda sebelum membeli landak. Beberapa tempat membutuhkan ijin, sementara beberapa benar2 melarang mereka untuk dipelihara.
7. Dwarf Hamster

Hewan pengerat kecil ini lebih rupawan dibanding sepupu mereka yang lebih besar. Ada 3 spesies, tetapi favorit saya adalah Campbell’s dwarf hamster. Hewan ini datang dari China dan Russia. Mereka dijual sebagai hewan peliharaan di hampir semua pet store. Chinese hamster juga rupawan dan kadang dipanggil dwarf hamster, walaupun mereka tidak berada pada genus yang sama.
8. Manatee

Sapi laut ini sangat gemuk, tapi sangat imut. Saking imutnya, Anda pasti akan ingin sekali memeluknya. Tidak seperti ikan paus dan lumba2, manatee adalah hewan herbivora. Mereka juga memiliki kekerabatan dengan gajah dan mereka tergolong spesies yang langka karena terus diburu.

Fakta lucu: Manatee memiliki kuku kaki yang tidak berguna pada siripnya.
9. Woolly Bear Caterpillar

Sebagian besar ulat itu menjijikkan, kecuali ulat yang ini. Ulat imut ini adalah bentuk larva dari Isabella tiger moth. Mereka memakan tanaman yang bervariasi.

10. Silky Anteater

Hewan ini adalah anggota satu2nya dari family Cyclopedidae. Nama latin untuk hewan ini adalah Cyclopes didactylus. Mereka hidup di pepohonan dan memiliki ekor yang dapat memegang, serta cakar yang tajam. Awas dicakar!
          WOW!! Proud Mum Cuts Her Bush Into Shape Of Son’s Face (Photos)   

An artist has taken her obsession with heads and portraits to her garden shaping one of her hedges into her son’s face. Art graduate Michelle Foley, 48, has trimmed two of her garden hedges into 12ft tall heads into family members, one like son Brennan, the other like partner, Andrew. Michelle who saw the need […]

The post WOW!! Proud Mum Cuts Her Bush Into Shape Of Son’s Face (Photos) appeared first on How Trend News.


          TSN 690: Melnick in the Afternoon - Jen Hedger and Nabil Karim, Aug 14   
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          "TodaysGuest" Fab-5 Radio with The G-Man.   
Goals are what I am all about. Finding easy and simple tips and methods are what I get a kick out of doing for anyone who has a dream. Get ready, strap yourself in. I'm about to take you on a journey that will change your life. Welcome to the Hedgehog concept by Jim Collins of Good to Great.
          Winter Fantasy Items-Snowy hedge   

Snowy Hedge
Snowy hedge
Note: Unreleased items have no release day.

          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
"Pharma Bro" Martin Shkreli is either a con man who scammed hedge fund investors of millions or a nerdy genius who made them even richer. The conflicting portraits were offered … Click to Continue »
          FarmVille Limited Edition Winter Fantasy Decorations: Icy Blue Phoenix, Frozen Carriage, & Snowy Hedge   

FarmVille Leaks Icy Blue PhoenixFarmVille leaks Frozen Carriage
Icy Blue Phoenix | Frozen Carriage

  • FarmVille Icy Blue Phoenix – 18 Farm Cash
  • FarmVille Frozen Carriage – 14 Farm Cash
  • FarmVille Snowy Hedge – 7,000 Farm Coins


          Adventure in Broadland   


It Takes Wistfulness and skill to sail the fluky waters between the bungalows of the River Thurne at Potter Heigham in Norfolk. The river and dyke sailing on the inland Broads is a close match to the ‘short board’ creek sailing around the Kent, Essex and Suffolk coastal marshes that I partake in. In that respect my skills for this type of smooth water sailing were already honed. But I admit to never feeling completely comfortable with trailering a boat. And yet I’ve only ever owned small trailer sailors for one of the handful of main reasons that they have ability to trail to new waters as and when it suits. This is, perhaps, the Joker in the small boat sailor’s hand and I played this card when I began the 2014 sailing season by trailering Shoal Waters up to the north Norfolk Broads for an extended period based at Hickling Broad.

   I launched the boat on Saturday with the help of yard staff at Whispering Reeds. She slipped into the quaint little dyke where I tied her to the staithe and prepared her for sailing. To save time I had rigged her back at the club the previous week but she still took a few hours to load all the gear. The yard was a fantastic help in accommodating us, and found room for her to sit when I returned so I could leave her up in Norfolk for as long as I wanted to. For the trailer-sailor owner planning a visit here the yard is well placed with all the amenities either on hand or close by and in such a wonderful setting. They have ample parking, toilets and a shower if needed, and will do all they can to fit you in or find you a space to moor. They even hire their own fleet of day boats, some of them classic wooden half-deckers that would appeal to the most discerning sailors. Three of these are very special old-timers indeed and undergo a program of restoration. There’s ‘Silver Tip’, ‘Cigarette’ and the 106 year old ‘Marigold’. There are lugsail dinghies too, and the more usual motor launches.


  Hickling Broad is a reed-fringed nature reserve and at a mile long is the largest of the Broads. It is shallow throughout with an average depth in the main channel, which is marked by wooden port and starboard posts, of 5 feet.  Anywhere above Potter Heigham Bridge, the lowest bridge in Broadland, sees less traffic from the flybridge-decked all-mod-cons motor cruisers that proliferate the southern waters.  Mainly because these type of vessels are too large to fit under the old bridge at Potter.
  I had put aside seven days for this first cruise and had three main objectives to aim for. The 1st was to get up to Horsey Mere and Dyke, moor at Horsey Wind Pump, and walk the short distance across the marshes to climb the sand-dunes at the seashore.
Now, Hickling has its gems, Catfield Dyke with its resident kingfishers and Mrs Myhill’s Marsh being just a few of them, but the one and a quarter mile long sail through Meadow Dyke, which meanders in a north-easterly direction, to reach Horsey, with a southerly wind and a fading sun was absolute bliss. Every sailor who comes to sample inland Norfolk should experience tackling this charmed stretch of reed-lined water...

Meadow Dyke - a charmed stretch of reed-lined water
  I had hoped to pop into the Nelson Head pub and grab a refreshing pint but it was almost dark by the time I had finished quanting to the top of Horsey Dyke. Instead I made the walk through glistening sedge at 04.45 and witnessed a glorious sunrise and herds of wild deer galloping through the misty marshes.
  On my return from the seashore I poled us out to the mere; past silent cruisers moored in their dyke haven, and enjoyed a lone dawn sail on the broad flanks of Horsey Mere. I anchored by the reeds for breakfast and then headed over to an aperture in the north-west corner of the mere where trees waved beside the entrance to my 2nd cruise objective; Waxham New Cut. The aim was to reach the limit of navigation in the cut. Rarely does a wide-beamed or lengthy Broads motor cruiser enter the confined water of this cut as it narrows down to around 10 feet in a couple of places with overhanging trees and bushes adding more obstacles to negotiate and no suitable turning place to get out again. For the small sailing boat this is a peaceful and safe cut to explore and positively a challenge in anything other than a favorable wind.
 The wind had backed to north-east and disappeared completely between the covering trees. I resorted to quanting into the cut and round a couple of delightful bends to where the trees thinned out and swaying reeds began to whisper as they brushed together in the warm breeze. I stood up on the lazarette and steered with my foot while quanting. With a joint effort of the quant and staysail driving her Shoal Waters slipped upstream quite happily and I found I could peer over the 6 foot high reeds and across the marshes to the sandy Marram Hills that buffered the coast, about half a mile away, from Winterton to Sea Palling.
Brograve Mill in Waxham New Cut
   It was a gloriously sunny day and the sky a canopy of deep blue.  I was enjoying some of the most charming cruising that is to be had in a small boat. This tiny cut was simply stunning. It even had its own wind mill, albeit the crumbling ruins of Brograve Drainage Mill, which made an impressive image as I approached. I made a stop here to look over the site, before sailing the remaining straight line up to a picturesque setting by the bridge at Waxham. There are half a dozen small motor boats moored here, and a few in a small area beyond the bridge, in what is a hidden gem of a place in the quieter backwaters of the Norfolk Broads. When the time came to leave the wind had veered to the south again which meant a hard slog on the quant pole to get back down to Brograve Mill but a turn in the cut here allowed me to hoist the mains’l and harness the afternoon sea breeze that came in over the marsh and charge down the remainder of the tight waterway, which was barely wider than the boat itself, under sail with Shoal Waterson her beam ends and with the close bushes and overhanging branches clipping the terylene material of the mains’l as we scraped past.
On the way out of the cut I met with a chap cruising in his West Wight Potter Roamer. I pulled over for a chat and was delighted to learn he knew of Shoal Waters and he was overjoyed to meet up with her again with her new owner. We eventually sailed in company down to Candle Dyke where both boats moored for the night against a neatly carpentered quay heading. I was beginning to enjoy this novelty of pulling alongside a staithe and stepping cleanly out of the boat. Everything seemed to be laid on to make the cruising easy and pleasant. Quite a contrast to the mud ooze I was accustomed to on the East Coast!
  I slipped away at 06.00, about 20 minutes before high water, and began the drop downriver for my 3rd and final objective of this cruise which was to reach the disused North Walsham and Dilham Canal. This was the first time on this cruise I had to make any real allowance for the tide as it begins to make itself felt the further south you go from Hickling. The tide times on the Broads are worked from Gorleston and are given at low water as this is what is more important for passing under bridges but the skipper of a sailing boat will still want the predicted high water times for passage planning.
The new day found Shoal Waters mast going up and down like a well-oiled yo-yo to clear bridges. I left the paddle to hand just in case she failed to tack while sailing in close-quarters with the bungalows on the River Thurne. I exchanged compliments with some of the chalet owners who were sat watching as the world floated by and received a couple of comments like “I like your boat” and in return I gave them marks out of 10 for the quirkiness of their chalets as most of them are unique little structures.
River Thurne chalet
 I passed the entrance to Womack Water, home to the Wherry Trusts Albion and then felt the true grip of the tide for the first time on this cruise. I had to concentrate as we carefully made way south down to Thurne Mouth and took a turn starboard headed west along the River Bure, past the ancient ruins of St Bennets Abbey and starboard again this time heading north up the River Ant.  By the time we were under the Ant’s Ludham Bridge I had the whole procedure of dropping the mast down to an average of 5 minutes, and if I could find a space near enough on the other side of the bridge, there are designated Mast Lowering Only Moorings near bridges, I would be sailing on barely 15 minutes after I had begun the whole process.
Ludham Bridge dedicated mooring space for sailing vessels
The last time I sailed up the River Ant was with my family and we had hired the 28 footer Lustre, one of the Hunter Fleet of engine-less, gaff rig, classic Broads cruisers. We had ventured up to Ludham Bridge but never went further. This time I was alone and in my own boat and would be sailing all the way up. After Ludham I pulled into Howe Hill Staithe, at the free moorings, to speak to a local reed and sedge cutter. One of the joys of this area is to be able to see people practising the old ways of the marsh - that of cutting and gathering Norfolk Reed. At certain times of year you can see the ancient sight that is bunches of reed stacked beside the river on Turf Fen or Reedham Marsh, among other places, where it was cut, or stacked up on the staithe beside the moorings.
Reed cutter at Howe Hill staithe
There are around 20 reed cutters in the Broads area and each has his own patch, or area. The reed is cut every two years and most , if not all, Norfolk Reed stays in the county as there is only so much that can be cut and demand for it is high. Sedge is another matter as not much of this is used by the thatchers. I was told me he only cuts reed in dry weather as mould growth can take hold on a wet thatch. I had a lovely evening at Howe Hill chatting to and watching the reed cutter come and go with his boat load of thatch before piling it upon the staithe and taking off again to collect more.
The Barometer fell that evening and as I lay in the bunk watching the bright stars twinkle over Howe Hill through the porthole in the forward hatch. I reflected on the sailing I had done up the Ant earlier and how picturesque Toad Hall and Turf Fen Mill were while coming up, and soon dozed off to sleep. Church bells chimed on the hour throughout the night and, while untying the mooring rope the following morning, I watched a muntjack dear slipped through a nearby hedge literally 20 feet away. I was away early again, at 04.45. There was no wind and the Ant was a mirror image of the patterned sky. An hour later I was still paddling through Irstead - past some very pretty thatched residences and one of the prettiest village staithes in the whole of Norfolk. At 06.00 Barton Broad opened up and we were swarmed by swans. I hoisted the mains’l and ghosted across the magical landscape. A breeze eventually picked up and we sailed further on; up the glorious Ant...
Turf Fen Mill, and Toad Hall at Howe Hill, River Ant
  Above Howe Hill, mature trees, taller than Shoal Waters mast, curtain the banks and curtail any hope of a driving wind. I resorted to the odd paddle stroke and grabbed whatever ‘lift’ of favorable wind would come our way. One soon gets used to the frustration of four winds coming at him at once, a trait of Broads river sailing, and somehow we reached Wayford Bridge. I downed the mast and was under the bridge and gently ambling along the disused canal by 11.30. The overhanging branches and choked water put paid to sailing in the traditional manner between Wayford Bridge and Tonnage Bridge but Shoal Waterscarries just the sail for these conditions: a bridgesail in the form of our topsail which I set low from the tabernacle and pole out the clew with a sounding cane attached to the sheet. The Norfolk Wherry once used this canal to transport goods all the way to North Walsham and though the canal is overgrown there is a consistent depth of four feet and there is talk of clearing it and opening it up to marine traffic again. At present only small craft like canoes are able to access the waterway but I revelled in the jungle-like terrain and enjoyed every moment of our slow African Queen style amble. Our cruising pace of 1knot per hour was sedate to say the least but I wouldn’t dare go any quicker. This is a part of the journey I wanted to last forever.  It was worth the effort to reach this canal as it was as wild and as peaceful as I had hoped - another of north Broadland’s secret gems.
The delightfully wild North Walsham and Dilham Canal



Thinking of visiting the Broads?
  • Pubs: Hickling Broad: Pleasure Boat Inn, and a pub I really liked, The Greyhound - a ten minute walk away.
  • Horsey Mere: The Nelson Head
  • Top of River Ant: Wayford Bridge.
  • Supplies can be got at Lathams in Potter Higham and the Pleasure Boat Inn has begun selling basics.
  • For a small fee water can be obtained from most boatyards.
  • Nature reserves like you to use the Free Moorings provided in most areas.
  • On rivers like the Ant many cruisers find a gap in the trees and go ‘wild mooring’
  • For Sailing vessels there are designated Mast Lowering Only Moorings near bridges.
  • Recommend taking a Ordnance Survey map of The Norfolk Broads
  • In local stores pick up a free 'What To Do on the Broads' users guide - a newspaper which has basic river maps and things to do.
  • Broads Authority tide tables.
  • Learn your boat's 'air height' for going under bridges, which have height markers placed either side.

Wildlife is everywhere on the North Broads. Deer can be seen in the marshes around Horsey and rare birds such as the Bittern in Hickling, Horsey Sound and Martham Broad. Kingfishers were notable in Catfield Dyke marshes.
Three Rivers Races takes place in May and is when the whole place is taken over by sailing boats. Best bet is either join in or plan your cruise around this weekend.

Last, but no means least, have a fantastic trip, Tony

          Làm sao để tránh “Được mùa mất giá”   

Trong thời gian qua, có nhiều bài viết giới thiệu về phương pháp phòng ngừa rủi ro trong mua bán cà phê, cũng như các công cụ làm sao để Nông dân tránh điệp khúc “được mùa mất giá” qua các bài viết của nhiều tác giả.

Tuy nhiên có lẽ cách trình bày mang tính chuyên môn thuật ngữ nhiều quá và làm sao để đưa kiến thức đó vào thực tế thì hầu như chưa có biện pháp một cách rộng khắp cho nên sự ứng dụng không được phổ biến. Hôm nay BBT xin giới thiệu đến bạn đọc bài viết của anh Kinh Vu chia sẻ với các bạn về vấn đề này.

Nguồn gốc mua-bán phòng ngừa rủi ro

Như trong các bài viết trước trong chuyên mục kiến thức về thị trường cà phê, chúng tôi đã giới thiệu, nguồn gốc thị trường trên mạng ngày hôm nay là do chính người nông dân lập nên, vì thế mà một số thuật ngữ cũng mang nguồn gốc của Nông dân, như từ “Hedge” có nghĩa là hàng rào, bờ dậu được tạo ra để ngăn cản những đợt phá hoại không lường trước được từ thú rừng hay thú nuôi của những trang trại khác phá phách mùa màng của mình.

Sau này khi ứng dụng vào thị trường người ta cũng mượn từ ngữ Hedge (phòng ngừa rủi ro) để  mang một ý nghĩa tương tự, cũng nhằm mục đích bảo vệ cái thành quả lao động của mình (chính là sản phẩm) bị mất đi giá trị bởi những biến cố tiêu cực trên thị trường chẳng hạn như được mùa mất giá, đến thời vụ thu hoạch thì mất giá hơn so với khi giáp hạt v.v…

Tư duy về sự rủi ro:

Để dễ hiểu hơn về phương pháp phòng ngừa rủi ro, đã có người cho là nên dùng hình ảnh bảo hiểm để mà ví dụ. Mỗi khi người ta quyết định phòng ngừa rủi ro trên thị trường thì cũng tương tự như đi mua bảo hiểm để tự bảo vệ mình trước những sự kiện ngoài ý muốn xảy đến, bản thân việc mua bảo hiểm không ngăn cản được sự kiện xấu có thể xảy ra, nhưng nếu nó xảy ra thì mình đã được bảo vệ và tác động xấu của nó có thể được giảm thiểu, ứng dụng vào thị trường cà phê, người nông dân có thể tránh được cơn biến động giá sụt quá sâu khi mình cần  bán sản phẩm thực vào bất kỳ lúc nào mình muốn ngay cả khi chưa có sản phẩm.

Đây cũng là tư duy rất khác nhau giữa một công ty có hàng trăm năm lịch sử trong ngành mua bán cà phê mà vẫn còn tồn tại và phát triển so với một công ty chỉ mua hay bán một chiều, đầu cơ thắng lớn, nhưng thực chất cũng chỉ là “mèo mù vớ được cán rán” có thể vớ được rất nhiều lần, nhưng chỉ vài lần vớ hụt là mất cả vốn lẫn lời.

Một phương pháp dùng thị trường kỳ hạn để phòng ngừa rủi ro cho cà phê thực có thể bị hạ giá khi  thu vào những tháng thu hoạch là điều mà nông dân trên thế giới người ta đã làm hàng trăm năm trước, từ cái thời mà những nhà môi giới trên thị trường phải huơ tay, ra dấu, la hét (cry market) để thông báo giá mua bán cho người nhập lệnh mà họ vẫn làm được, nông dân chúng ta hiện nay đang trong thời đại @ thì điều cần thay đổi chỉ là nếp nghĩ mà thôi.

Nông dân phòng ngừa rủi ro thế nào?

Giả sử một người nông dân đang ở vào thời điểm hiện nay là tháng 3/2014, nhận thấy giá đang giao dịch tháng 11/2014 đang là 2010USD, anh ta suy nghĩ, giá ấy hiện nay chỉ để nhìn mà chơi cho vui, chứ đến tháng 11/2014 khi mùa màng thu đã rộ lên thì có lẽ không còn giá đó nữa, anh ta cũng tính toán rằng với mức 2010USD là quá tốt và rồi anh ta ước gì đến tháng 11/2014 cũng còn cái giá đó để cho anh bán cà phê của mình.

Hoặc thêm một ví dụ khác, từ khoảng giữa tháng 7 trở đi Brazil sẽ đi vào mùa đông, thời tiết năm nay rất trắc trở, trong khi Bắc bán cầu thì qua tháng 3 vẫn còn tuyết rơi, Nam bán cầu đất nước Brazil thì đang hạn hán, không lấy gì bảo đảm thời tiết mùa đông Brazil năm nay yên ổn, một cơn lạnh trong tháng 7 có thể khiến cho lượng tồn kho thấp hiện nay lên cơn sốt giá, tuy đang đứng ở tháng 7, ước gì có thể bán được giá như tháng 11 lúc đó.

Với sự thay đổi tư duy, với một chút tìm hiểu, chúng tôi tin nông dân cà phê Việt nam sẽ tránh được nạn phải bán dồn dập hàng thực khi giá thị trường tăng để rồi bị ép giá, thay vào đó, những nông dân lớn Việt nam sẽ bán hàng ảo để bảo vệ cái hàng thực của mình bằng phương pháp rào vườn, rào dậu để chúng ta không còn phải nói câu “ước gì”.

Phương pháp rào vườn

Hàng thực vụ 2014/2015 Thị trường kỳ hạn Kết quả thu được
Hiện đang th. 3/2014 chưa có cà phê; Sản lượng  dự kiến thu 10 tấn tháng 10 tới, nhưng muốn bán giá hiện  nay của tháng 11/2014 đang giao  dịch  là 2010$. Hiện đang đứng ở tháng 3/2014. Ra lệnh bán 10 tấn kỳ hạn tháng 11/2014 giá 2010$ (giá mong muốn đang có)  
Đến tháng 10 hàng thực sẵn sàng; giả sử giá sụt còn 1610$, vẫn bán bình thường. Hiện đang đứng tháng 10/2014 ra lệnh mua vào 10t giá 1610$ tháng 11/2014 Lãi hàng kỳ hạn 2010 – 1610 = 400$/t bù trừ cho sự bán thấp hàng thực
Đến tháng 10 hàng thực sẵn sàng giả sử giá tăng 2410$, vẫn bán bình thường. Hiện đang đứng tháng 10/2014 ra lệnh mua vào 10t giá 2410$ Lỗ hàng kỳ hạn 2010 – 2410 = -400$/t nhưng hàng thực bán giá cao tương đương.

Qua bản trình bày trên, dĩ nhiên chúng ta thấy phương pháp rào dậu không phải là để làm ra thêm tiền, mà chỉ để bảo vệ thành quả những gì chúng ta đã mong ước ở thời điểm chúng ta chưa có hàng để bán. Đối với người không sử dụng phương pháp này, thì anh ta vẫn bán được hàng thực giá 2410$ (nếu giá tăng) mà không phải trả giá, tuy nhiên nếu giá bị sụt giảm xuống 1610$ thì không ai cho anh ấy 400$/tấn để bù cho sự thiệt thòi, bởi kỳ thực là chúng ta đã bán giá 2010$ từ trước.

Thêm vào đó, người nông dân có một khoảng thời gian rất rộng kéo dài cả một niên vụ để chọn thời điểm nào bán là có lợi nhất, trong khi người không thực hiện rào dậu thì chỉ có thể bán ra sau khi đã có thu hoạch, rõ ràng khi mọi người ai cũng tập trung bán cùng trong một thời điểm thì rủi ro bị ép giá càng cao.

Đối với những Đại lý, nhà kinh doanh cà phê với vai trò như bà đỡ cho người nông dân tại địa phương, ứng tiền, vật tư nông nghiệp trước và quy ra số lượng cà phê giao khi thu hoạch thì phương pháp này sẽ rất hữu hiệu để đối phó với rủi ro giảm giá vào thời điểm cuối năm.

Có thể bài này chưa thiết thực đối với những bà con có diện tích hay sản lượng quá nhỏ, nhưng qua khảo sát, chúng tôi nhận thấy có rất nhiều gia đình nông dân có diện tích trồng khoảng 5ha trở lên cũng khá lớn, chưa tính những HTX có hình thức tổ chức tốt vẫn có thể tham gia vào thị trường kỳ hạn.

Thông qua một số tổ chức Ngân hàng hiện nay đang có sàn giao dịch trực tuyến có khả năng đưa dịch vụ đặt lệnh đến tận máy tính của người dùng thì phương pháp trên chỉ là một trong những công cụ đơn giản nhất mà người nông dân có thể sử dụng.

Về những thủ tục tham gia, luật thị trường những kiến thức cơ bản, chúng tôi xin được đề cập trong những bài viết tới.

Theo Giacaphe.com


          Comment on Day 15:: Disobey by hedge   
I was looking at some of your blog posts on this site and I believe this site is really instructive! Continue putting up.
          REVISION: Tail Risk in Hedge Funds: A Unique View from Portfolio Holdings   
We develop a new systematic tail risk measure for equity-oriented hedge funds to examine the impact of tail risk on fund performance and to identify the sources of tail risk. We find that tail risk affects the cross-sectional variation in fund returns, and investments in both, tail-sensitive stocks as well as options, drive tail risk. Moreover, leverage and exposure to funding liquidity shocks are important determinants of tail risk. We find evidence of some funds being able to time tail risk exposure prior to the recent financial crisis.
          Cramer: The perfect hedge for when the market hits dangerous highs   
Jim Cramer explains important role cash plays in a portfolio, and how he outperformed the market as a money manager.
          Cramer's perfect hedge for dangerously high markets   
Jim Cramer explains important role cash plays in a portfolio, and how he outperformed the market as a money manager.
          Booooo :(   

My sewing machine is on strike. I'm not quite sure what happened but it won't sew more than 3-4 stitches before tangling itself up into horrendous knots and snapping the thread several times :(
I'm hoping my sewing saviour will visit soon and have a quick look for me (please mum?)
In the meantime I am amusing myself by sewing any large scraps into hexagons for a quilt. Small scraps are turning into diamonds for quilting and teeny tiny leftovers are popped into an envelope for cutting and sticking with the children. 

I've just been offered a very sweet toddler quilt cover by a dear friend. It has the cutest hedgehog print on it! I need my machine back. Stat!

X x x


          The Overnightscape #61 (5/20/04)   
Tonight's subjects include: Sonic the Hedgehog, abortion, Sesame Street, time travel, rednecks, vaudeville hats, Scott the Whistler, Aaron Fechter, Showbiz Pizza Place, plasma screens, Jack White, business speak, RuPaul's flawed logic, the deteriorating caption situation, Usher, corny intersections, third rail issues, Fortune Magazine, and the end of Bluffcosm. Hosted by Frank Edward Nora. (1 hour)
          The Overnightscape #86 (10/17/04)   
Tonight's subjects include: The mysterious pussy willow, podcasting, the voice over class, crappy words from the past, failed naps, the new logo and shop, rice bugs, geography, liquor review ("Johnnie Walker Red Label Blended Scotch"), Oakley sunglasses, synchronicity ("Will's Website"), hazardous subway dancers, Adam Curry, Sonic the Hedgehog, Musical Mysteries ("Mon Cherie", "Everything Counts", "Vertigo", "Steve Polychronopolous", "American Patrol"), The Boston Red Sox, phone call ("Frank's sister Julie talks about meeting Duran Duran"), listener email ("Magician J. C. Sum from Singapore", "Joel Trussell", "Simon from Nevada"), street error messages, Fuzzy Daupner: The Lost Songs ("Ridiculous Fortune"), Blufftoon Time ("Umbrella"), sci-fi nerd fashion, Sunflower Slow Drag 2, and The Legend of the Stackwhacker. Hosted by Frank Edward Nora. (2 hours)
          5 Alasan Mengapa 2012 Tidak Akan menjadi Sebuah Replica Dari 2011,paling tidak Untuk Eropa   
Dengan berharap 2012 menjadi replika tahun 2011, setidaknya untuk saham AS yang non-konsensus permabull ,tetapi melihat penutupan tahun ini sebagian besar tidak berubah untuk tahun kedua berturut-turut.Satu pertanyaan terbuka apakah ini juga akan berlaku ke Eropa?. Sebagai pengingat, EURUSD dibuka tahun ini di dekat posisi terendah 52 minggu, hanya untuk naik beberapa ribu pips karena kekhawatiran tentang harapan politisi di Eropa "di bawah kontrol" dan kembali ke posisi terendah EURUSD yang baru-baru ini. Tapi apakah pola yang sama berlaku untuk awal 2012, di mana seperti yang telah kita catat, sebagian besar karena penerbitan utang kotor yang berlangsung, khususnya di bulan Januari?...
Berikut adalah 5 UBS,alasan utama lain mengapa kebangkitan Eropa (singkat) yang dialami pada awal tahun ini tidak akan tercipta kembali di tahun baru .

Dari UBS:

Jadi bagaimana kita berharap krisis zona euro untuk berkembang di awal 2012 dan bagaimana itu mempengaruhi euro? Tahun lalu, sebagian besar pengamat mengharapkan Q1 2012 untuk membawa eskalasi krisis, terutama di pasar obligasi perifer. Sebaliknya, pinggiran akan menguat dan begitu pula euro, dari sekitar 1,30, hanya di mana kita hari ini, hampir 1,50. Mungkinkah hal yang sama terjadi di awal tahun depan? Kami tidak berpikir begitu karena alasan berikut:




1) ECB

Pada awal 2011, ECB sounded hawkish dan kemudian melanjutkan untuk menaikkan suku pada bulan April dan Juli, seperti The Fed siap untuk memulai QE2. 2012 bisa dibilang akan sangat berbeda seperti ECB kemungkinan akan memangkas suku ke terendah dalam sejarah baru 0,50% dan mungkin juga kemudian memulai QE langsung. Pada suatu waktu ketika Fed terlihat sebagian besar dilakukan dengan upaya QE, ini bisa memukul EURUSD keras dan bagi kami adalah alasan paling penting untuk secara struktural bearish euro pada tahun 2012.



2) Yunani
Sekarang ada batas waktu yang tidak dapat dinegosiasikan untuk PSI Yunani, yang merupakan penebusan obligasi pada tanggal 20 Maret. Negosiasi untuk program troika baru terus mengasumsikan 'sukarela' PSI menghasilkan haircut sebesar 50% dan pengurangan utang terhadap GDP sebesar 120% pada tahun 2020. Namun, kekurangan pendapatan akibat resesi yang lebih dalam-thanforecast tampak mengatur untuk menghasilkan kebutuhan pembiayaan tambahan, yang dalam ketiadaan uang resmi baru bisa berarti potongan rambut yang lebih besar dan karenanya restrukturisasi koersif.




3) Penularan
Jika Yunani dipaksa untuk memaksakan sebuah restrukturisasi paksa pada investor, pasar dengan cepat akan pindah ke Portugal atau bahkan lebih banyak lagi. Para pemimpin zona euro telah panik bekerja di 'firewall' bagi negara-negara di luar Yunani dalam kasus default terjadi. Sejauh ini mereka telah memiliki keberhasilan terbatas selain dari meningkatkan lebih banyak uang untuk IMF dan memajukan Mekanisme Stabilitas Eropa (ESM) sampai pertengahan-2012. Namun, instrumen ini bisa dibilang belum cukup kuat untuk berurusan dengan sebuah negara seperti Spanyol atau Italia kehilangan akses pasar.



4) CDS
Skenario Yunani atas akan menghasilkan sebuah acara kredit yang dinyatakan dan credit default swap (CDS) yang dipicu. Banyak pengamat seperti mungkin menyambut suatu peristiwa sebagai default yang tepat akan berarti bahwa Yunani akhirnya dinyatakan 'bangkrut' dan tidak mampu membayar kewajibannya, yang sebagian besar akan berpendapat mungkin lebih baik untuk kesehatan jangka panjang dari sistem daripada berpura-pura sebaliknya. Namun, tidak ada yang tahu bagaimana sistem keuangan akan menangani pembayaran CDS lebih dari € 80bn (gross). Setidaknya sebagai reaksi awal, pasar mungkin akan sangat tertekan.



5) Politik
Uni Eropa memiliki track record mengesankan dalam mendorong melalui proyek-proyek bahkan melawan perlawanan dari negara-negara individu dan dengan dukungan eksplisit atau implisit minimal dari pemilih. Namun, mungkin ada datang suatu titik di mana populasi mulai memberontak, mungkin ketika mereka secara bersamaan dihadapkan dengan pemotongan yang lebih dalam pelayanan publik dan pajak yang lebih tinggi. Sebuah masalah yang relatif jinak mungkin resistensi terhadap ratifikasi ESM di beberapa negara, tapi kerusuhan sosial yang lebih serius dapat terjadi baik debitur serta negara-negara kreditur.

Source:zonahedge.com

          Scalping   
Scalping, setidaknya dalam trading, adalah istilah yang digunakan untuk menunjukkan "skimming" keuntungan kecil secara teratur, oleh masuk dan keluar dari posisi beberapa kali per hari. Scalping ini tidak berbeda dengan trading day di mana seorang trader akan membuka posisi dan kemudian tutup lagi selama sesi trading saat ini, dengan kata lain tidak pernah membawa posisi ke lain periode trading atau memegang posisi dalam satu malam. Sedangkan sehari trader mungkin terlihat untuk mengambil posisi sekali atau dua kali, atau bahkan beberapa kali sehari, scalper jauh lebih ingar-bingar dan mencoba untuk skim benar-benar keuntungan kecil beberapa kali dalam satu sesi. Dan sedangkan trader day mungkin tradeoff M5 dan  M30, scalper sering akan tradeoff tick chart dan grafik M1. Secara khusus, beberapa scalper ingin mencoba dan menangkap bergerak kecepatan tinggi yang terjadi sekitar waktu dari rilis data ekonomi dan peristiwa lainnya berita penting, seperti pelepasan statistik kerja atau rilis PDB jika itu adalah apa yang tinggi pada agenda ekonomi.


Mengapa scalp?
scalper ingin mencoba dan scalp antara lima dan 10 pips dari setiap trading yang mereka buat dan mengulangi proses ini berulang-ulang sepanjang hari. Dengan menggunakan leverage yang tinggi dan perdagangan membuat hanya dengan keuntungan beberapa pips pada suatu waktu dapat menambah, terutama jika trading anda  menguntungkan dan dapat diulang berkali-kali selama sehari. Ingat, dengan satu standard lot, nilai rata-rata pip adalah sekitar $ 10. Jadi, untuk setiap lima pips hasil yang dibuat, pedagang bisa menghasilkan $ 50 pada satu waktu. Sepuluh kali sehari, ini akan sama dengan $ 500.

The scalpers personality
Scalping, meskipun, adalah tidak untuk semua orang, dan satu hal yang pasti: Anda harus memiliki temperamen untuk menjadi scalper. scalper perlu "cinta" duduk di depan komputer  untuk seluruh sesi, dan mereka perlu menikmati konsentrasi intens yang dibutuhkan untuk scalp.Anda tidak dapat berhenti melihat ketika Anda mencoba untuk scalp pada pergerakan kecil, seperti lima pips pada suatu waktu. Bahkan jika Anda berpikir Anda memiliki kebiasaan untuk duduk di depan komputer sepanjang hari, atau sepanjang malam jika anda insomnia, Anda harus menjadi tipe orang yang dapat bereaksi dengan sangat cepat tanpa menganalisis setiap langkah Anda. Tidak ada waktu untuk berpikir. Mampu "menarik pelatuk" adalah kualitas kunci yang diperlukan untuk scalper. Hal ini terutama berlaku dalam rangka untuk memotong posisi jika posisi anda harus bergerak berbalik arah satu  pips bahkan dua atau tiga.

Perbedaan market maker dan Scalping
Scalping agak mirip dengan apa yang dilakukan para pelaku pasar yang trading arroud spread. Ketika seorang market maker posisi buy dia segera berusaha offset posisi itu dan menangkap spread. Meskipun dua jenis investor melayani tujuan yang berbeda.Ini tidak mengacu kepada mereka pedagang bank yang mengambil posisi eksklusif untuk bank.

Perbedaan antara pembuat pasar dan scalper, meskipun, adalah sangat penting untuk memahami. Seorang market maker menghasilkan menyebar, sementara scalper membayar spread. Jadi, ketika scalper membeli pada bertanya dan menjual pada tawaran tersebut, ia harus menunggu pasar bergerak cukup untuk menutup penyebaran dia baru saja dibayar. Di sebaliknya, pembuat pasar menjual pada bertanya dan membeli pada tawaran, sehingga segera mendapatkan sebuah pip atau dua sebagai keuntungan untuk membuat pasar. Dengan demikian, risiko pembuat pasar dibandingkan dengan scalper, meskipun mereka berdua berusaha untuk masuk dan keluar dari posisi yang sangat cepat dan sangat sering, adalah jauh lebih baik bagi pengambil pasar dari scalper tersebut. berarti bahwa semakin banyak scalper dunia  semakin banyak pula pelaku pasar akan mendapatkan pips satu atau dua dari spread. (Cari tahu bagaimana alat ini memperbesar baik keuntungan dan kerugian Check out Leverage Forex:.. Sebuah pedang bermata dua)

The Difference Between Market Making and Scalping
Scalping harus sangat cepat bergerak. Jika Anda menyukai tindakan dan suka fokus pada grafik satu atau dua menit, maka scalping mungkin tepat untuk Anda. Jika Anda memiliki temperamen untuk bereaksi dengan cepat, dan tidak menyesal dalam mengambil kerugian yang sangat cepat, tidak lebih dari dua atau tiga pips, maka scalping mungkin tepat untuk Anda.

Tetapi jika Anda ingin menganalisis dan memikirkan setiap keputusan yang Anda buat, mungkin Anda tidak cocok untuk scalp

Bagaimana Set Up untuk Scalping
Menyiapkan untuk menjadi scalper sudah sangat bagus, akses yang dapat diandalkan untuk para pelaku pasar dengan platform yang memungkinkan untuk sangat cepat membeli atau menjual. Biasanya platform akan memiliki tombol beli dan tombol menjual untuk masing-masing pasangan mata uang, sehingga semua pedagang harus lakukan adalah menekan tombol yang sesuai baik untuk masuk atau keluar posisi. Di pasar cair, eksekusi dapat terjadi dalam sepersekian detik.

Memilih Broker
Ingat bahwa pasar forex adalah pasar internasional dan sebagian besar tidak diatur undang undang, meskipun upaya yang dilakukan oleh pemerintah dan industri untuk memperkenalkan undang-undang yang akan mengatur "over the counter" forex trading ke tingkat tertentu.

Sebagai trader, itu terserah kepada anda untuk riset dan memahami perjanjian broker dan hanya apa saja tanggung jawab Anda akan dan hanya apa saja yang menjadi tanggung jawab broker. Anda harus memperhatikan berapa margin yang dibutuhkan dan apa yang akan dilakukan broker  jika posisi anda melanggar kebijakan broker, yang bahkan mungkin berarti melakukan likuidasi otomatis dari account Anda jika  terlalu tinggi leverage . Ajukan pertanyaan untuk wakil broker dan pastikan Anda memegang dokumen perjanjian terutama dengan gaya scalping ini.

Broker Platform
Sebagai scalper, Anda harus menjadi sangat akrab dengan platform perdagangan yang ditawarkan broker Anda.broker yang berbeda mungkin menawarkan platform yang berbeda, karena itu Anda harus selalu membuka rekening praktek dan praktek dengan platform sampai Anda benar-benar nyaman menggunakannya. Karena Anda berniat untuk scalp pasar, sama sekali tidak ada ruang untuk kesalahan dalam menggunakan platform Anda. Jika Anda salah menekan tombol sell, padahal  Anda bermaksud menekan tombol buy, Anda bisa beruntung jika pasar segera berbalik sehingga akan mendapat keuntungan dari kesalahan Anda, tetapi jika Anda tidak begitu beruntung Anda akan baru saja memasuki berlawanan dengan apa yang Anda inginkan posisikan. Kesalahan seperti ini bisa sangat mahal. Platform kesalahan dan kecerobohan dapat dan akan menyebabkan kerugian. Praktek menggunakan platform sebelum Anda komit uang riil untuk perdagangan. (Pelajari cara menetapkan setiap jenis stop dan limit ketika perdagangan mata uang. (Lihat Cara Order Tempat Dengan Seorang Broker Forex.)

Likuiditas
Sebagai calo, Anda hanya ingin perdagangan pasar yang paling likuid. Pasar-pasar ini biasanya dalam pasangan mata uang utama, seperti EUR / USD atau USD / JPY. Selain itu, tergantung pada pasangan mata uang, sesi tertentu mungkin jauh lebih likuid daripada yang lain. Meskipun pasar forex trading selama 24 jam sehari, volume tidak sama setiap saat sepanjang hari. Biasanya, ketika London terbuka di sekitar 03:00 EST, volume mengambil sebagai London merupakan pusat perdagangan utama untuk trading forex. Pada 8:00 EST, New York membuka dan menambah volume yang diperdagangkan. Jadi ketika dua pusat utama forex trading ini biasanya merupakan waktu terbaik untuk likuiditas. Pasar Sydney dan Tokyo merupakan penggerak utama volume lainnya.

Guaranteed Executions
Scalper perlu memastikan bahwa trading mereka akan dijalankan pada tingkat yang mereka inginkan. Oleh karena itu, pastikan untuk memahami syarat trading dari broker anda Beberapa broker mungkin membatasi eksekusi yaitu jaminan untuk saat-saat ketika pasar tidak bergerak cepat. Orang lain mungkin tidak memberikan bentuk jaminan eksekusi sama sekali. Menempatkan order pada tingkat tertentu dan setelah itu mendapat banyak pips dari tempat yang Anda inginkan, disebut "slippage." Sebagai scalper Anda tidak mampu slippage  menyebar di samping, sehingga Anda harus memastikan qrder Anda bisa dan akan dilaksanakan pada tingkat perintah Anda.

Redundansi
Redundansi adalah praktek mengasuransikan diri Anda dari bencana. Dengan redundansi dalam jargon trading, maksud saya memiliki kemampuan untuk masuk dan keluar trading lebih dari satu cara. Pastikan koneksi internet Anda secepat mungkin. Tahu apa yang akan Anda lakukan jika internet turun. Apakah Anda memiliki nomor telepon langsung ke meja yang berurusan dan seberapa cepat bisa Anda dapatkan melalui dan mengidentifikasikan diri Anda? Semua faktor ini menjadi sangat penting ketika Anda berada pada posisi dan harus keluar dengan cepat atau membuat perubahan.

Memilih Charting Time Frame
Dalam melaksanakan trading lagi dan lagi, Anda akan perlu memiliki sistem yang bisa Anda ikuti hampir secara otomatis. Karena scalping tidak memberikan Anda waktu dalam analisis mendalam, anda harus memiliki sistem yang dapat Anda gunakan berulang kali dengan level kepercayaan yang wajar . Sebagai scalper, Anda akan memerlukan chart untuk jangka pendek, seperti chart tik, atau chart M1 atau M2 dan mungkin Chart M5

  Untuk mendapatkan siap scalp

1. Dapatkan rasa arah
Itu selalu membantu untuk trading menggunakan  tren itu, setidaknya jika Anda seorang scalper pemula. Untuk mengetahui tren, melihat chart  waktu harian atau mingguan dan menyisipkan baris tren, fibonacci pada rata rata tingkat pergerakan. Ini adalah  "garis di pasir", dan akan mewakili daerah support &ressistance. Jika grafik Anda menunjukkan kecenderungan untuk berada dalam bias ke atas (harga yang miring dari kiri bawah tabel Anda ke kanan atas), maka Anda akan ingin buy di semua tingkat support mereka harus tercapai. Di sisi lain, jika harga miring dari kiri atas ke kanan bawah tabel Anda, kemudian melihat setiap kali menjual harga sampai ke tingkat perlawanan. Tergantung pada frekuensi perdagangan Anda, berbagai jenis grafik dan rata-rata bergerak dapat dimanfaatkan untuk membantu Anda menentukan arah.
Gambar 1 - EUR / USD Chart harian
Sumber: Brothers Wordon
Gambar 2: EUR / USD Bagan Mingguan
Sumber: Brothers Wordon

Dalam contoh di atas, grafik mingguan menunjukkan bias ke atas kuat EUR / USD. Harganya bisa kembali ke target 1,4280, tinggi sebelumnya pada 4 November 2010.

Daily chart menunjukkan harga telah mencapai 127,6 ekstensi fibonacci, sekitar 1,3975. Jelas ada kemungkinan mundurnya ke garis tren di suatu tempat di sekitar 1,3850. Sebagai scalper, Anda dapat mengambil sisi pendek trading ini secepat chart jangka pendek  dalam mengkonfirmasi sinyal masuk.

2. Siapkan grafikTrading
Mengatur 10-menit dan chart M1. Gunakan grafik 10 menit untuk mendapatkan rasa dimana market adalah trading saat ini, dan menggunakan chart M1 untuk benar-benar masuk dan keluar dalam trading Anda. Pastikan untuk mengatur platform Anda sehingga Anda dapat beralih antara timeframe.

Trading system
Dalam sistem yang ditampilkan di sini, dan ada sistem lain yang bisa anda gunakan untuk trading yang  menguntungkan, kami telah menyertakan RSI tiga periode dengan panduan plot set ke 90% dan 10%. perdagangan Hanya pada sisi pendek sekali RSI menyilang panduan plot 90%, dan sisi panjang sekali RSI mencapai di bawah petunjuk plot 10%, dimasukkan. Untuk nuansa sinyal, sebaiknya menunggu 2 menyeberang ke salah satu dari dua zona (hanya trading jika RSI masuk ke zona - baik 10% untuk longing atau 90% untuk shorts - pada usaha kedua berturut-turut.

Gambar 3

Harapan - Pengujian Sistem untuk Keandalan
Sekarang, sebelum Anda mengikuti sistem di atas, mengujinya menggunakan account demo dan menyimpan catatan dari semua trading yang berhasil Anda buat dan semua trading yang hilang. Paling sering itu adalah cara  pengelolaan trading  yang akan menguntungkan  seorang trader, daripada mekanis bergantung pada sistem itu sendiri. Dengan kata lain berhenti dalam kerugian anda dan dengan cepat dan mengambil keuntungan  bila Anda telah mendapat tujuh hingga 10 pips. Ini adalah metode scalping dan tidak dimaksudkan untuk memegang posisi melalui pullbacks. Jika Anda menemukan bahwa Anda dapat mengelola sistem dan  memiliki kemampuan untuk mengambil keputusan dengan cepat, Anda mungkin dapat mengulangi proses berkali-kali dalam satu sesi trading dan mendapatkan keuntungan yang layak.

Ingat bahwa analisis terlalu banyak akan menyebabkan kelumpuhan. Oleh karena itu, anda praktek metodologi sampai bisa otomatis, dan bahkan membosankan karena menjadi begitu berulang-ulang. Anda akan berada pada bisnis scalping, bukan untuk meningkatkan adrenalin Anda atau merasa seperti anda sedang bermain di kasino. Profesional trader bukan penjudi, mereka adalah spekulator yang tahu bagaimana menghitung risiko, menunggu peluang untuk support mereka dan mengelola emosi mereka.

Kapan Scalp
Ingat, scalping adalah trading kecepatan tinggi dan karena itu memerlukan banyak likuiditas untuk menjamin pelaksanaan transaksi cepat. Hanya perdagangan mata uang utama di mana likuiditas tertinggi, dan hanya jika volume sangat tinggi, seperti saat London dan New York sedang jam trading. (Aspek unik dari forex trading adalah bahwa investor individu dapat bersaing dengan hedge fund besar dan bank - mereka hanya perlu mengatur account.

Ketika Tidak Scalp
Jangan  Scalp jika Anda tidak merasa terfokus karena alasan apapun. Akhir malam, pilek dan gejala flu dan sebagainya, sering akan membawa kerugian dari permainan Anda. Hentikan trading jika Anda medapati banyak kerugian . Jangan mencoba untuk membalas dendam dengan pasar. Scalping bisa menyenangkan dan menantang, tetapi juga bisa stress dan melelahkan. Anda harus yakin bahwa Anda memiliki kepribadian untuk menikmati trading berkecepatan tinggi. Anda akan belajar banyak dari scalping, dan kemudian dengan memperlambat Anda mungkin menemukan bahwa Anda bahkan bisa menjadi day trader atau swing trader karena kepercayaan dan praktek yang mungkin Anda dapatkan dari scalping. Ingat juga, scalping bukan untuk semua orang.

Selalu menyimpan catatan dari trading anda. Gunakan screen capture untuk merekam trading dan kemudian mencetaknya  untuk jurnal Anda. Ini akan mengajarkan Anda banyak tentang trading dan bahkan lebih banyak tentang diri Anda sebagai seorang trader.

          The Overnightscape #486 (6/26/06)   
Tonight's subjects include: Pink pen fading away, conspiracies of the untalented, Green Hill Zone, defeatist attitudes, video art, coffee maker review ("Primula Aluminum Espresso Coffee Maker Supreme" - Part 1), a visit to the Museum of Modern Art in NYC, dead toy monkey, Dada, Starry Night, show notes, Happy 15th Birthday to Sonic the Hedgehog!, mental blackout, pagoda, "Fountain" by Marcel Duchamp (a urinal), Ford LTD, movie review ("Cars" (Pixar, 2006)), finding the damn melting clocks, Benny the Cab, and vague memories of a percolater in Reading, Pennsylvania. Hosted by Frank Edward Nora. (30 minutes)
          Valentine's Day Recap   
Did you have a good weekend? I know it's Tuesday but since I had President's day off, today is my Monday. But it's better than a Monday because it's really Tuesday! #captainobvious

Anywho, I had a really great three-day weekend. I think it helped that Valentine's Day was on Saturday and we were able to do some fun things with the kids. We weren't able to secure a sitter for an adult night out, apparently all the grandparents have lives of their own with adult plans of there own. Can you believe it?!?! Of course it was not a big deal at all and we spent the national day of love at home with our sweeties. 

I purchased the kids some simple little gifts which they loved. I hit up Target and was able to get everything for about $20 total! The red fox and cute little hedgehog were the big winners. I love how my kids are still at the age where a simple stuffed animal makes them smile! Plus, Little Miss keeps referring to her hedgehog as a "porcupine" which is all kinds of adorable. 


I made heart-shaped pancakes for breakfast then we headed off to the park to meet up with some friends. We spent a solid three hours playing outside which made for two worn out kids ready for solid naps. Hubs and I watched House of Cards (we're almost done with season 2) and were able to rest ourselves. 


Then we capped things off with heart-shaped pizzas to keep up with our food theme of the day.


Dinner was followed by a family movie (The Croods) and strawberry milkshakes! It truly was an awesome little day. I genuinely love getting the kids little surprises as well as taking the time to make the heart-shaped food. It wasn't necessary in the slightest but it is something as a Mommy that makes me incredibly happy to do. 

Did you have a good Valentine's Day? A good weekend? Do you enjoy the fun little details for holidays with your kids? 

          "I Am Second"   


You may have seen billboards for a ministry that uses the title, “I Am Second.” It’s a sort of collection of personal testimonies, and we’re to presume, I gather, that the meaning is that God is first. I’m certainly not here to disagree with the general thrust of that sentiment, but I will be borrowing that ministry’s catchphrase to celebrate, with a certain amount of humble trepidation, a milestone that I never expected to happen when I first sat down at a computer to debate Skeptics on AOL debate forums in 1996.

By 1998, many of you may remember, I was part of another online ministry called the Christian Apologetics Bookshelf. Somewhere in that time period, someone suggested to me that I might try submitting an article to the Christian Research Journal (CRJ), the leading apologetics magazine. My memory is somewhat dim on the chronic details; I seem to recall that by then I had already been approached by Dr. Jonathan Sarfati of Creation Ministries International to write something for their journal. 

(By the way, Dr. Sarfati has remained a good friend ever since; we’ve even had him over for dinner, and once took him to Outback Steakhouse, where we had a ball passing him off as a sort of ambassadorial inspector who was visiting from Australia to make sure that the chain was “properly representing” his home nation. The look on the server’s face when Dr. Sarfati whipped out his Australian drivers’ license was priceless.)

I had some hesitation about submitting something to CRJ, and hedged for a bit. The stellar names who wrote for that august publication were an imposing lot, and I had very little thought that I would pass their rigorous standards for publication. Still, I was encouraged by various parties to give it a try, and I did so. The result was an article titled, “Celsus Strikes Again,” which was all about how the ancient pagan critic Celsus made the same arguments that modern critics of Christianity do. I packaged it up, sent it off, and waited.

I didn’t hear back. 

Naturally, I assumed that my work simply hadn’t passed editorial muster, and I moved on to other things, including more work for CMI.

Then, sometime I think in early 2000, I got a phone call. On the other end was Elliot Miller, the editor of the Journal. I remember very little of the exact words of our conversation, but what it amounted to was, they had found my article in a file somewhere, and wanted to publish it. The few exact words I do remember were me saying, “I can’t believe this is happening” – more than once. And in turn, Elliot Miller replying: “It’s happening.” And indeed it did.

After that it was a sort of snowball effect. Bob Passantino, who was then associated with CRI, called me about a year later after reading my analysis of Dennis MacDonald’s Homeric Epics and the Gospel of Mark. He wanted me to create a condensed version for the Journal. That was the first time someone there called me to write something for them. 

The next two articles were my own submissions: A look at popular Mormon apologetics works (like those of Barry Bickmore) and a discussion of how evangelism in the book of Acts was actually a form of apologetics. One assignment shortly after that was a particularly sad one. Bob Passantino called me again, asking me to do an article on The DaVinci Code. He passed away soon thereafter, and as far as I know, I’m the last person he called to give a writing assignment.

From there it went on with an eclectic mix of submissions and assignments: Several book reviews, a few “departmental” articles, and several “feature-length” articles. My memory of most of them, at this later date, is fairly dim, such that I can re-read them today and not even recall writing them. Tekton readers will recognize some of the topics as related to favorite themes of mine: E.g., an article on how to deal with people who suffered from “the Dunning effect”; on the question of Hitler’s religious beliefs; a review of Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes; an article on how “inerrancy” is to be defined, and a review of the Zeitgeist movie.

(That last one is the butt of a special joke among friends of mine. I had pledged, at one time, to never watch the Zeitgeist movie, and Nick Peters, my junior ministry partner, along with his friend David Sorrell, started a running gag asking when I would review the Zeitgeist movie. When I finally did watch it, in order to write the article for CRJ, the terms of the joke changed, but the joke itself didn’t.)

CRI also made use of my knowledge in other, more specialized areas. In 2005, knowing that I had worked for many years in the Florida prison system, they asked me to do an article on religious movements in prisons. In 2011, I used my background in library science to compose an article which in many ways I consider my favorite and most technical: it was about how the Internet affects the human brain, and how this relates to the performance of apologetics. Also in 2011, I submitted an article that was all about how to create online videos.

It was about that time, in 2011, that something first occurred to me. I had been averaging between 2-3 articles for CRI each year, and it made me curious as to whether anyone else had kept that kind of pace with them. So I started with the contents of the magazine from 1978 (when it was still called “Forward” magazine), counting the number of articles attributed to each author, excluding anyone who was an editor.

Much to my surprise, I was on pace to become CRI’s second-most prolific non-editorial writer within a few years. And now, with the publication of an article in the latest issue, titled “Jephthah’s Bloodless Sacrifice,” that is exactly what has happened. Formally, I have now authored enough articles for CRI to pass James White and say, of this category, and with the same humility that puts God in first place: “I am second.”

I say this, again, with a certain amount of humble trepidation, much like those on that personal testimony website.  It was an unexpected privilege to find myself in this position, and I will forever be grateful to Elliot Miller, as well as Melanie Cogdill (the managing editor at the Journal) and Hank Hanegraaff for making this possible. I never expected to get that first article published; and even after it was published, I certainly never expected to receive any more assignments. To be at this stage, now, is a surprise of such magnitude that I find myself repeating that same phrase I pronounced to Elliot Miller: “I can’t believe this is happening.” It is. But I still can’t believe it even as I have that milestone issue lying on the desk beside me.

Elliot in particular has been a special blessing to my wife and I, and you’ll note that I refer to him by his first name, as though to a friend. That is exactly what he and his wife Corinne are to us. A few years back, they moved to the southern part of Florida, and proposed a get-together in person. Much to our delight, we found in them a couple of kindred spirits who appreciated many of the same things we do: Nature walks, museums, and zoos, for example; and naturally, we talk shop about apologetics. We now have an established biannual ritual where we visit one another in our respective hometowns: They come see us in May, we go see them in December. The friendship of the Millers has been, in many ways, the most treasured reward that has come of my work with CRI, and I look forward to many more years of serving that publication and visiting with our special brother and sister in faith. 

And so this post is offered to memorialize this happy occasion, which I never in my wildest dreams expected to happen. At the same time I’m celebrating this milestone, though, there’s also a crueler and darker mechanism at work which it is time I said a great deal more about, though I alluded to it back in February. Someone has outright made it his purpose to destroy all that Tekton has worked for, and he’s not in the least ashamed of his tactics. I’ll save that, though, for another posting; and that one posting, when I make it, will be the only one to be made on the Ticker in coming weeks until I get certain matters resolved.

In close…I guess you’re wondering, if I’m second, who’s first, and when will I catch up to them? If you’re interested, I’ll tell you by email who’s first; regardless, I won’t ever catch up to him, nor have I made it my goal to do so. The man in first place has been writing for CRI for ten years longer than I have, and he’s got more the double the writing credits with them. I won’t even try to catch up to him, and I actually prefer to be “second” behind a far more august name like his.   

After all, my original expectation, back in that yesteryear of 1998, was that I’d never be on that list at all – and who am I to ask for more than this great blessing that I now have?







          Airlines Fear "Chaos" As Trump Unveils Enhanced Security Protocols For Every Inbound US Flight   

Airlines Fear "Chaos" As Trump Unveils Enhanced Security Protocols For Every Inbound US Flight


Jun 28, 2017 4:28 PM Zero Hedge

Instead of instituting a widespread laptop ban on every US-inbound flight, the Trump administration will require nearly 200 airlines (and implicitly almost 300 airports) around the world to meet new heightened security protocols, or be barred from entry.

As The Hill reports, the U.S. is rolling out new aviation security measures for all international flights coming into the country instead of imposing a laptop ban, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Wednesday.

Passengers on U.S.-bound flights can expect to go through a more “extensive screening process” beginning as soon as this summer in some areas, according to senior officials. The enhanced procedures will impact 105 countries, 180 airlines and an average of 2,000 daily flights.

 

“It is time that we raise the global baseline of aviation security. We cannot play international whack-a-mole with each new threat,” DHS Secretary John Kelly said during a security conference on Wednesday.

 

“Instead, we must put in place new measures across the board to keep the traveling public safe and make it harder for terrorists to succeed.”

 

The administration's announcement comes after weeks of negotiations between the U.S. and Europe over whether to restrict large electronics on all U.S.-bound flights — a policy that currently only applies to 10 overseas airports.

read more:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-28/airlines-fear-chaos-trump-unveils-enhanced-security-protocols-every-inbound-us-fligh




          Illinois Is Venezuela & The Solution Is Cryptocurrency   

Illinois Is Venezuela & The Solution Is Cryptocurrency

Tyler Durdens picture
Jun 28, 2017 12:23 PM

Authored op-ed by Ken Kurson via The Observer,

The reason I’m so much fun at parties is that my idea of a good time is to lecture everyone on cryptocurrency. I can pretty much talk bitcoin and blockchain with Hamiltonian fervor all night.

Ever since I began writing about cryptocurrency in general in 2013—I believe this story I wrote for Esquire in fall of that year was the first ever mainstream media mention of Ripple (on whose board I now sit)— I have been making one point to anyone who will endure my “what is cryptocurrency” lecture. People are all wrong about the difference between cryptocurrency and “real money.”

By real money, people invariably mean fiat currency issued by a government. To counter the argument that “real money” is somehow safer than crypto I’ve pointed to Argentina’s 40 percent inflation rate, or the Weimar Republic, and its famous wheelbarrows full of money to buy a loaf of bread (which was arguably intentional as Germany sought to repay Treaty of Versailles debt with devalued deutsche marks).

And of course the world has watched in horror as Venezuela has devalued the bolivar to the point of meaninglessness.

These are not hypothetical examples. If you think this is all futurist theoretical BS, read up on the devastating effect hyperinflation is having as it transforms what was once South America’s most promising economy into a hellish nightmare in which people are eating their pets. Governments constantly, reliably, invariably and maddeningly ruin their own currencies by giving in to the temptation to overprint it. The beauty of bitcoin is that, like gold, the entire supply of it that will ever exist on earth (21 million coins), is known about, finite, and will never increase.

Still, as powerful as these examples are - some from recent second-world countries and others from past first-world countries - they do not vividly resonate with Americans. That makes perfect sense. The U.S. dollar, after all, has been so reliable that the very countries I am criticizing, like Argentina and Venezuela, turn to the greenback and use it as a shadow currency to store value as their own money fails.

Even when we see American commodities change dramatically in price, like we witnessed with gasoline in 2008 when it reached $4.11 in July and fell to $1.84 in January, people don’t readily seem to connect that it’s not just gasoline fluctuating but American money fluctuating. If my $10 bought 4 gallons of gas on October 1 and two gallons of gas on November 1, gas doubled in price just as the buying power of the American dollar was cut in half. It’s the same thing. (Not precisely the same, actually, but close enough for the point I’m making.)

So what I’ve been searching for in these years of evangelizing and explaining the revolutionary power of cryptocurrency—including bitcoin, ethereum, ripple, litecoin, this new one BAT that I’m interested in and others—to transform basically everything, are examples that will resonate without sounding like I’m talking about 1930s Germany or the struggles of the second world.

These last few weeks, I think I’ve got what I need. And it comes heartbreakingly from my home state.

Illinois faces financial distress that’s unprecedented for any American state. Without a budget for two years and sitting on top of over $15 billion in unpaid bills, the state is, to use a phrase that State Comptroller Susana Mendoza borrowed from Bonfire, “hemorrhaging money as the state’s spending obligations have exceeded receipts by an average of over $600 million per month over the past year.”

read more:

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-28/illinois-venezuela-solution-cryptocurrency




          New Device Allows Cops To Download All Of Your Smartphone Activity In Seconds   

New Device Allows Cops To Download All Of Your Smartphone Activity In Seconds


Jun 28, 2017 9:44 AM Zero Hedge

Via TheAntiMedia.org,

“Any person who operates a motor vehicle in the state shall be deemed to have given consent to field testing of his or her mobile telephone and/or personal electronic device for the purpose of determining the use thereof while operating a motor vehicle, provided that such testing is conducted by or at the direction of a police officer.”

That’s language from the text of a bill currently working its way through the New York state legislature. The legislation would allow cops to search through drivers’ cell phones following traffic incidents — even minor fender-benders — to determine if the person was using their phone while behind the wheel.

Most states have laws banning the use of mobile devices while driving, though such laws are rarely enforced. This is largely because it’s nearly impossible to catch someone in the act. What person would admit to an officer that they broke the law, the argument goes, particularly when it’s after the fact? After all, cops don’t show up until after the accident occurs.

Now, technology exists that would give police the power to plug drivers’ phones into tablet-like devices — being called “textalyzers” in the media — that tell officers exactly what they were doing on their phone and exactly when they were doing it. And if the readout shows a driver was texting while driving, for instance, the legal system will have an additional way to fine them.

read more:
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-06-27/new-device-allows-cops-download-all-your-smartphone-activity-seconds


          Hedge Funds for Everyone? Don’t Hold Your Breath    
Last year was a difficult year for the hedge fund industry, with returns down 6.4 percent, but the drop hasn’t stopped experienced professionals from moving away from big investment banks to set up their own firms.
          Digging Into Farmland   
World-class investing gurus such as  commodities kingpin Jim Rogers and hedge fund-luminary George Soros have been fueling demand, repeatedly citing rising demand and shrinking supply.
          How To Build A Poor Man's Hedge Fund   
Forget the high fees. Given the explosion of ETFs and other financial products, it's possible to create a low-budget, limited hedge fund, providing an alternative to your traditional porfolio mix.
          CNN Proclaims Trump's War On Media "Is Physically Endangering Reporters"   

It's been a tough week for CNN, so they needed a distraction, and what better way to try and gain back some credibility - from a worldwide audience now likely questioning every word out of the 'news' network's mouth - than to proclaim "we are going to see a reporter face physical harm because" of President Trump's "declaration of war on the media."

As RealClear Politics reports, CNN's Clarissa Ward, a foreign correspondent serving as guest co-host on Wednesday's broadcast of CNN's News Day, fretted "people" in war zones have been "emboldened" by President Trump's "declaration of war on the media." Ward, expressing concern for members of the media in dangerous areas of the world, said to guest Chris Cillizza, "I can only imagine what a person like you is dealing with. At what point does this become reckless or irresponsible?"

Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem - who is now infamous for his whiney exchange with White House deputy spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Tuesday's press briefing - replied that Ward is "absolutely right" and talked about the trial and tribulations of reporters who have been jailed and even killed.

"Our newspapers after Donald Trump's election, we've gotten threats from both the far left and the far right," Karem said. "They are emboldened, it is dangerous, and the fact of the matter is, it is insulting to the memory of the people who have given their lives for the cause for providing information to the public to then be told you are fake media, you do not matter, and what you're doing is false."

 

Karem went as far to predict "we are going to see a reporter face physical harm because" of Trump.

 

"And quite frankly, every one of us should stand up against that because it is undermining the First Amendment. It is dangerous, making it dangerous for reporters. You're absolutely right, there is going to come a time, and it's not going to be too far off I surmise when we're going to see a reporter is going to face physical harm because of this," he said.

We suggest readers put down all sharp objects before embarking on the following four minutes of utter farce as each personality seems to want to one-up the last in their grandstanding of just how threatened they are by Trump's words...

We leave with our favorite lines...

"We can debate collusion. They're right, there's no evidence of that...

 

...the fact of the matter is... we are not fake news."

Indeed.


          Top Canadian Court Permits Worldwide Internet Censorship   

Authored by Aaron Mackey, Corynne McSherry, and Vera Ranieri via The Electronic Frontier Foundation,

A country has the right to prevent the world’s Internet users from accessing information, Canada’s highest court ruled on Wednesday.

In a decision that has troubling implications for free expression online, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld a company’s effort to force Google to de-list entire domains and websites from its search index, effectively making them invisible to everyone using Google’s search engine

The case, Google v. Equustek, began when British Columbia-based Equustek Solutions accused Morgan Jack and others, known as the Datalink defendants, of selling counterfeit Equustek routers online. It claimed California-based Google facilitated access to the defendants’ sites. The defendants never appeared in court to challenge the claim, allowing default judgment against them, which meant Equustek effectively won without the court ever considering whether the claim was valid.

Although Google was not named in the lawsuit, it voluntarily took down specific URLs that directed users to the defendants’ products and ads under the local (Canadian) Google.ca domains. But Equustek wanted more, and the British Columbia Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delete the entire domain from its search results, including from all other domains such Google.com and Google.go.uk. The British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld the decision, and the Supreme Court of Canada decision followed the analysis of those courts.

EFF intervened in the case, explaining [.pdf] that such an injunction ran directly contrary to both the U.S. Constitution and statutory speech protections. Issuing an order that would cut off access to information for U.S. users would set a dangerous precedent for online speech.  In essence, it would expand the power of any court in the world to edit the entire Internet, whether or not the targeted material or site is lawful in another country. That, we warned, is likely to result in a race to the bottom, as well-resourced individuals engage in international forum-shopping to impose the one country’s restrictive laws regarding free expression on the rest of the world.

The Supreme Court of Canada ignored those concerns. It ruled that because Google was subject to the jurisdiction of Canadian courts by virtue of its operations in Canada, courts in Canada had the authority to order Google to delete search results worldwide. The court further held that there was no inconvenience to Google in removing search results, and Google had not shown the injunction would offend any rights abroad.

Perhaps even worse, the court ruled that before Google can modify the order, it has to prove that the injunction violates the laws of another nation thus shifting the burdent of proof from the plaintiff to a non-party. An innocent third party to a lawsuit shouldn’t have to shoulder the burden or proving whether an injunction violates the laws of another country. Although companies like Google may be able to afford such costs, many others will not, meaning many overbroad and unlawful orders may go unchallenged. Instead, once the issue has been raised at all, it should be the job of the party seeking the benefit of an order, such as Equustek, to establish that there is no such conflict. Moreover, numerous intervenors, including EFF, provided ample evidence of that conflicts in this case.

Beyond the flaws of the ruling itself, the court’s decision will likely embolden other countries to try to enforce their own speech-restricting laws on the Internet, to the detriment of all users. As others have pointed out, it’s not difficult to see repressive regimes such as China or Iran use the ruling to order Google to de-index sites they object to, creating a worldwide heckler’s veto.

The ruling largely sidesteps the question of whether such a global order would violate foreign law or intrude on Internet users’ free speech rights. Instead, the court focused on whether or not Google, as a private actor, could legally choose to take down speech and whether that would violate foreign law. This framing results in Google being ordered to remove speech under Canadian law even if no court in the United States could issue a similar order.

The Equustek decision is part of a troubling trend around the world of courts and other governmental bodies ordering that content be removed from the entirety of the Internet, not just in that country's locale. On the same day the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision issued, a court in Europe heard arguments as to whether to expand the right-to-be-forgotten worldwide.

EFF was represented at the Supreme Court of Canada and the British Columbia Court of Appeal by David Wotherspoon of MacPherson Leslie & Tyerman and Daniel Byma of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin.


          SCOTUS Travel Ban Decision Summarized In 1 Cartoon   

Scales of justice...

 

Source: MichaelPRamirez.com


          Lacy Hunt: The Fed Has Undermined The Economy's Ability To Grow   

Authored by Stephen McBride via MauldinEconomics.com,

The Fed’s hope was that quantitative easing would stimulate economic growth. But a former senior economist for the Fed believes it has done the exact opposite.

Speaking at the Mauldin Economics Strategic Investment Conference, Dr. Lacy Hunt, the executive vice president of Hosington Investment Management and former senior economist for the Dallas Fed, said that quantitative easing has created “significant unintended consequences.”

The Worst Expansion in US History

“What the Fed did was, they said to the world we are undertaking quantitative easing so we can boost the stock market… and the stock market will then produce a wealth effect and invigorate the economy.”

While the Fed has increased its balance sheet by $3.57 trillion since 2008, and the S&P 500 is up 255% since 2009, Hunt says, “this is the worst expansion in US history.”

Source: BCA Research

As just half of Americans own stocks, it’s no wonder the wealth effect hasn’t percolated through the economy.

The Fed’s massive experiment has also created huge distortions in the private sector, which has severe consequences.

Business Leverage at Record Highs

“Quantitative easing has created a lot of negatives, one of the most glaring is this liquidity which has fueled record leverage of the business balance sheet.”

Total business debt is now up 71% since 2008—twice the long-term growth rate. Worse yet, Hunt says much of this debt has been used unproductively:

“Quantitative easing encouraged a shift from real investment to financial investment. The Fed’s backing your play, engage in financial engineering… buyback shares, raise dividends. The business managers think they can reverse [these actions].’’

Although total business debt is at a record high, real investment—expenditures on property, plant, and equipment—is falling.

Hunt goes on to say,

“It’s the investment, the real investment which grows the economy. The Fed has created very significant unintended consequences, which have undermined the US [economy’s] ability to grow and lift the standard of living.”

An Ominous Sign for the US Economy

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Mauldin Economics, Hunt also addressed the Federal Reserve’s current monetary tightening cycle: “Whether they [raise rates] is immaterial because already they have engineered a contraction in [credit]… all major categories of bank lending are slowing.”

“Since 1915, of the 18 recessions, all of them, bar one, were preceded by monetary tightening… the Fed is on very thin ice.”

Where Do Bond Yields Go from Here?

For Dr. Lacy Hunt’s thoughts on the future of the US economy, where bond yields are headed, the Fed’s next move, and more—watch the full interview below.


          Bernie Sanders Says FBI Probe Is "Pathetic" Attempt At Political Retribution    

After refusing to discuss the FBI investigation into whether his wife submitted a fraudulent loan application during her time as president of the now-defunct Burlington College, Sen. Bernie Sanders has chosen to say a few choice words on the matter during an interview with noted fake news purveyor CNN.

When CNN’s Erin Burnett repeatedly pressed Sanders to confirm the probe, the Senator demurred, but then decided he’d like to say a few words about the investigation. Echoing remarks made to a local reporter in May – before the existence of a federal investigation was known to the public – Senators launched into a diatribe about how the investigation is nothing more than a political attack perpetrated by Republicans.

“My wife is about the most honest person I know. When she came to that college it was failing financially and academically when she left it, it was in the best shape it’d ever been. Five years later, coincidentally no doubt, when I am a candidate for president of United States Donald Trump’s campaign manager – vice chairman of the Republican party of Vermont – launched this investigation.

"It is a sad state of affairs in America. Not only do we have politicians being destroyed – when there are attacks against elected officials – but when they go after your wife? That’s pretty pathetic. And that's where we are right now, and that’s all I’m going to say."

“When people are involved in public life, it’s not only that they get attacked, but their wives and families get attacked as well.”

When repeatedly asked if he could confirm if his wife is under investigation, Sanders demurred.

“That’s all I’m going to say.”

* * *

Of course, the notion that Jane Sanders left Burlington in “the best shape it’d ever been in” is ridiculous: The school of course closed last year after more than 45 years of operation thanks to the crushing debt burden accumulated during Sanders’ reign.

And what about the allegations that Sanders’ office improperly leaned on People’s United Bank to grant the $10 million loan? Those allegations were conveniently glossed over.

As we reported over the weekend, Sanders and his wife Jane have hired lawyers to defend themselves amid an FBI investigation into a loan obtained to expand Burlington College while she was its president. Burlington College, a small Vermont private school once led by the wife of Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, closed last year, citing "the crushing weight" of debt incurred during the presidency of Jane Sanders who was in charge of the college until 2011.

The college, which enrolled 224 students as of fall 2014, said it faced financial troubles connected to its 2010 purchase of 32 acres of lakefront property from the Archdiocese of Burlington. The college said it had sold property to reduce its debt to a manageable level, but it was placed on probation in 2014 by its accrediting agency and it faced cash flow problems due to the imminent loss of a line of credit.

The reason for the small liberal school's terminal financial trouble is that to fund the property purchase from the Catholic diocese, Sanders took out $10 million in loans.  As HeatStreet reported last year, the college almost immediately fell short on its financial obligations as fundraising pledges and commitments Ms. Sanders cited in the loan agreements never materialized. Less than a year after leading Burlington College into massive debt, Ms. Sanders resigned, taking with her a $200,000 severance package. By 2014, because of its shaky finances and running deficits, Burlington College found itself placed on probation for two years by the regional accreditation agency.

Jane Sanders was president of the college from 2004 to 2011. Her husband, Bernie Sanders, a former mayor of Burlington, served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2007 and since then has represented Vermont in the U.S. Senate.

A Sanders ally said the couple has sought legal protection over federal agents' allegations from a January 2016 complaint accusing then-President of Burlington College, Ms. Sanders, of distorting donor levels in a 2010 loan application for $10 million from People's United Bank to purchase 33 acres of land for the institution.

* * *

Poor Bernie. He dedicates his entire life advocating on behalf of America’s disenfranchised, and how does this country repay him? By electing him mayor, Congressman, Senator…the essential unfairness of the situation is staggering.

And who knows? Maybe if it weren’t for blatant collusion between the Clinton campaign and the DNC, Bernie would’ve won the Democratic nomination, and maybe he’d be sitting in the Oval Office right now instead of Trump.

We wonder how media outlets like CNN – not to mention special counsel Robert Mueller and the Congressional investigators – would’ve treated the investigation then? 


          Blue Apron Prices IPO At Bottom Of Deeply Discounted Range   

Perhaps impacted by Amazon's Whole Foods' deal, Blue Apron just priced its IPO at $10 (30 million shares).

The food-kit-delivery company slashed its marketed initial public offering price by 34% Wednesday, cutting the range from $15 to $17 a share to $10 to $11, the second biggest cut in five years.

 

Perhaps the crushing discount on the IPO is because of this...

Via Daniel McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Marketing at Emory University,

Good companies can acquire many customers cheaply, retain existing customers for extended periods of time, and generate a lot of revenue while those customers are alive. Putting it simply, the litmus test of any company’s financial success is the ability to acquire many high lifetime value (LTV) customers. Being LTV-centric is at the heart of being customer centric.

Does Blue Apron, which recently priced its IPO at a very healthy ~$3 billion implied valuation (or almost 3.5 times trailing twelve month revenues), pass the test? In my last note on Blue Apron, which was recently cited in the Wall Street Journal, I showed that while Blue Apron disclosed nothing explicitly about its customer retention, and very little about how its customer acquisition cost (CAC) has been changing over time, it disclosed just enough to use the modeling approach that I advocated in a recent journal article to “back out” what these figures are most likely to be. The conclusion: Blue Apron doesn’t retain customers for very long, and the cost to acquire customers has been on the rise lately. These are important ingredients to the overall customer-based corporate valuation recipe. At the same time, there is a lot more that we can learn from Blue Apron’s S-1 disclosures.

I went back and built a much more complete model to leverage all the data that Blue Apron has disclosed. I explicitly model how customers are acquired, how long they remain customers before churning, how many orders they make while they are retained, and how much they spend on each of those orders. This more general model allows us to incorporate all the metrics that Blue Apron has disclosed, such as six-month cumulative revenue for annual customer cohorts. It allows us to refine answers to previous questions, such as what Blue Apron’s retention curve looks like, and answer new ones, such as how the post-acquisition profitability of customers has been changing over time, and whether younger customers generate more revenues as they age or not (e.g., that the customers who stick for a long time around reorder a substantial amount).

The results continue to suggest challenges ahead – retention is even weaker than I had originally estimated it to be, new acquisition cohorts are generating less revenues than old ones, and as customers age, they spend less and not more with the firm. In recent months, I estimate that Blue Apron is losing money on ~70% of the customers that it acquires. I dive into the model briefly next, before expanding on these conclusions.

The Model

My model for the acquisition and retention of users remains the same, using only the cost per acquired customer, historical marketing expense, and active customer data as inputs. However, I built additional models for how many orders customers make while they are alive, and how much they will spend on a particular order. I estimate parameters for each of these models so that what we expect the data to be is as consistent as possible with the disclosed data. As before, wonkish comments are provided below.

The resulting relatively simple composite model does an excellent job of fitting the observed data. As shown below, it provides a very reasonable fit to all the data – the number of active customers, total customer acquisitions, orders, revenues, and cumulative revenue per acquired customer metrics. I provide a series of charts summarizing this performance below, all of which are accessible in Excel spreadsheet form here (download), if you would like to examine the numbers yourself. On to the charts!

Quarterly total number of active customers:

Aside: Total active customers must be larger than total subscribers, and it is unconventional for a subscription business such as Blue Apron to report the former instead of the latter. Blue Apron defines active customers to be the total number of customers who have placed at least one order during the quarter, regardless of whether or not that customer has churned by the end of the quarter or not, from what I can tell. Active customers is a more appropriate metric for (and traditionally only disclosed by) non-subscription businesses such as social networking companies, mobile gaming companies, and e-commerce retailers (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Zynga, and Amazon’s e-commerce business).

Cumulative customers acquired, Q1 2014 to Q1 2017:

 

Quarterly total orders:

Quarterly total revenue:

Cumulative revenue per acquired customer for customers acquired between Q1 2014 and Q1 2017, 6 to 36 months out:

Cumulative revenue per acquired customer over next six months for customers acquired in 2014, 2015, and 2016:

 

The fact that my relatively simple model is consistent with the data along so many key dimensions at the same time provides some comfort that we can trust the results of the model. Let’s discuss those results next.

The Results: Anti-stickiness – Low Retention and Declining Revenue per Customer, Over Time and Across Cohorts

Here is a summary of what I found from the deeper dive:

1.   The retention curve is worse than I originally had estimated it to be. While my substantive conclusion remains the same, I estimate that 72% of customers will churn by the time they are six months old. Because Blue Apron cannot retain customers for extended periods of time means that CAC is effectively part of cost of goods sold. CAC should go down relatively sharply over time as a percentage of sales at healthy businesses, as sales are increasingly derived from loyal customers who have been around for a while. When customers churn out very quickly, that pool of loyal customer revenue remains small, making CAC effectively variable in nature.

2.   The revenue that Blue Apron is generating from more recently-acquired customers is less than from customers acquired in the past. Every new acquisition cohort generates, on average, about $7 less in revenues over the next 6 months than the cohort which preceded it, which adds up quickly over time. In other words, while the cost to acquire new customers is going up, the go-forward value of those newly acquired customers is going down. Both trends are driving LTV lower over time. I suspect that this is due at least in part to the vast sums of money that Blue Apron is spending upon subscriber acquisition expenses (SAE). It is very common to see LTV go way down when SAE goes way up.

3.   While customers are alive, the amount of revenue that Blue Apron generates from them tends to go down, not up, over time. This makes it unlikely that long-time loyal customers will “bail out” the firm because they are also high spenders, a common trend at mobile gaming companies, for example – in fact, we infer that the opposite has been taking place. As customers get older, they place fewer orders on average, which is only slightly offset by a marginal increase in spend per order over time. Customers are not “sticky.” Moreover, at subscription-based businesses like Blue Apron, there is only so much that big spenders can spend, while there is no such upper bound at non-subscription businesses.

4.   70% of recent Blue Apron customers will not break even. We estimate that CAC in Q1 2017 is $147. To break even at this CAC, new customers must generate at least $565 of net revenue (i.e., gross revenue minus returns and promotional discounts), assuming Blue Apron’s variable contribution margin is equal to ~26%. The chart above shows that newer customers must remain subscribed for about 4.5 months to generate this much revenue. However, almost 70% of customers churn by this time and thus do not break even. Even though Blue Apron turns a profit on the remaining 30% of customers, the break-even point is moving farther away with every new cohort due to declining revenue and growing CAC for newer customers.

In summary, this customer-based analysis spells trouble for Blue Apron, with important measures of customer health in decline. Amazon’s recent acquisition of Whole Foods is likely to make it even more difficult to keep those Blue Apron subscribers coming back. I recommend that Blue Apron redouble its efforts upon activities that will make customers “sticky” in the long run. Investors are clamoring for customer metrics so that they can go beneath surface-level financial metrics to better understand Blue Apron’s underlying unit economics. I hope that this analysis takes investors a step closer to what they are looking for, and that Blue Apron will begin disclosing a few more.

A big acknowledgement goes to Valery Rastorguev. All errors and omissions are mine.

Wonkish Comments

1.   The model for the acquisition and retention of users over time is essentially unchanged from our previous analysis, except for two factors:

  • I re-incorporate marketing spend into the acquisition process. More than ever, the data demanded that this covariate be included because it had a strong positive relationship with customer acquisition. While I would not read too deeply into its coefficient estimate, including it gives us a much “cleaner read” into the company’s retention trends, as well as the evolution of CAC over time. It implies acquisitions are more front-loaded than previously estimated, which as I suggested in my previous post, led to worse retention trends.
  • I accounted for the aforementioned fact that Blue Apron reports active customers and not total subscribers.

2.   The total orders model assumes that customers by definition place an order the week they are acquired as customers. They will make purchases in subsequent weeks with some probability, which is a function of how tenured the customer is, and when they were acquired as a customer. The model allows for seasonal fluctuation in the order rate over time.

3.   The spend per order model assumes that the expected revenue derived from a particular customer’s order is some function of a time-invariant baseline, how tenured the customer is, and when they were acquired as a customer.

4.   The retention, order, and spend processes are assumed to be independent of one another a priori (but not a posteriori, if individual-level data were available).

5.   The variable contribution margin is assumed to be equal to Blue Apron’s most recent gross margin (31%), less 5% of sales from non-SAE operating expenses which are assumed to be effectively variable in nature. This is substantively consistent with Lee Cower’s assessment of fully loaded contribution margin. Had I optimistically assumed that no non-SAE operating expenses are effectively variable in nature, the current break-even point is closer to four months.

6.   I agree with Lee Cower’s comments regarding margin improvement over the past few years. However, I also agree with his opinion that gross margin improvement appears to have stopped and thus is unlikely to resume in the future.

7.   The proposed model’s implied six-month retention rate of approximately 30% is consistent with the retention rate estimated by business intelligence firm SecondMeasure, and implies that business intelligence firm 1010data’s 10% retention rate estimate is pessimistic. A helpful benefit of methods such as the one proposed in this note, which leverage first-party disclosures, is that they do not rely upon data from a panel of users which may not be representative of the overall customer base of the focal firm in question.

*  *  *

But apart from that we are sure BNob Pisani will see it a success tomorrow morning when it opens...


          Putin Accuses "Foreign Spy Agencies" Of Supporting Terrorism To Destabilize Russia   

In the first public accusation that "foreign spy agencies" are seeking to destabilize Russia made in recent years, during a meeting with Russia's foreign intelligence agency President Vladimir Putin said that "some foreign special services" are directly supporting extremist and terrorist groups to destabilize the situation near Russia’s borders, President Vladimir Putin said at a meeting with Russia’s foreign intelligence agency.

“In general, the growing activity of foreign special services against us and our allies is obvious,” Putin said quoted by Bloomberg during the televised speech in Moscow on Wednesday, without specifying which nations he was referring to. “There are operations to influence the domestic political and social processes in our country.

Tangentially, the AP reported that according to an unclassified report by the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency, released on Wednesday, Kremlin leaders are convinced America is intent on regime change in Russia, "a fear that is feeding rising tension and military competition between the former Cold War foes."

"The Kremlin is convinced the United States is laying the groundwork for regime change in Russia, a conviction further reinforced by the events in Ukraine," the report says, referencing the claims by President Vladimir Putin's government that the U.S. engineered the popular uprising that ousted Ukraine's Russia-friendly president, Viktor Yanukovich, in 2014. Russia responded by annexing Ukraine's Crimea region and supporting pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Thursday's report, prepared long before Trump's election, reflects the Pentagon's view of the global security picture shifting after nearly two decades of heavy American focus on countering terrorism and fighting relatively small-scale wars across the Middle East. Russia, in particular, is now at the center of the national security debate in Congress, fed by political divisions over how to deal with Putin and whether his military buildup, perceived threats against NATO and alleged election interference call for a new U.S. approach.

According to the AP, the 116-page report portrays Russia as increasingly wary of the United States. It cites Moscow's "deep and abiding distrust of U.S. efforts to promote democracy around the world and what it perceives as a U.S. campaign to impose a single set of global values." One almost wonders why.

"Moscow worries that U.S. attempts to dictate a set of acceptable international norms threatens the foundations of Kremlin power by giving license for foreign meddling in Russia's internal affairs," the report says. Titled "Russia Military Power," it is the agency's first such unclassified assessment in more than two decades.

The report also discusses recent military developments, with a focus on the middle east.

It cites the example of Moscow's 2015 military intervention in Syria. The Kremlin cast the effort as designed to combat Islamic State fighters. Washington saw Moscow largely propping up Assad by providing air support for the Syrian army's offensive against opposition forces.

 

The report says the Syria intervention is intended also to eliminate jihadist elements that originated on the former Soviet Union's territory to prevent them from returning home and threatening Russia. In any case, the report credits the intervention for having "changed the entire dynamic of the conflict, bolstering the Assad regime and ensuring that no resolution to the conflict is possible without Moscow's agreement."

 

"Nevertheless, these actions also belie a deeply entrenched sense of insecurity regarding a United States that Moscow believes is intent on undermining Russia at home and abroad," the report says.

The report harkens to Cold War days when the intelligence agency published a series of "Soviet Military Power" studies that defined the contours of the superpower rivalry. Those reports ended with the 1991 demise of the Soviet Union. Now they return, DIA's director, Marine Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, says, with an eye on the future of U.S.-Russian relations.

"Within the next decade, an even more confident and capable Russia could emerge," Stewart wrote in a preface to the report. No new, global ideological struggle akin to the Cold War is forecast, but the report cautions that Moscow "intends to use its military to promote stability on its own terms."

Which is why the "deep state", the Military-Industrial Complex. the neo-cons or whatever one wants to call the permanently bellicose wing in control, will never allow Trump to pursue a detente with Putin. To be sure, while Trump's campaign rhetoric was widely seen as sympathetic to Russia, ties have not improved in his first six months of his presidency. In April, Trump said U.S.-Russian relations "may be at an all-time low." Trump is expected to meet Putin for the first time at an international summit in Germany next week.

Meanwhile, to perpetuate the anti-Russia witch hunt, on Wednesday Rep. Adam Smith, the House Armed Services Committee's top Democrat, issued a "national security manifesto" on Russia. He and a group of lawmakers writing in Time magazine cited the threat of "Putinism," which they termed "a philosophy of dictatorship" that seeks to extinguish democratic ideals such as government transparency by exploiting "discontented facets of democratic polities worldwide."

Which, of course, is not to be confused with CIA-ism, which is a philosophy of suberting any government around the globe with promises of globalist, credit-card driven expansion, and if that fails, with outright threats (and actions) to overthrow the existing regime by supporting its closest adversaries, both domestic and foreign.

Taking McCarthyism to the next level, at a Senate intelligence committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the panel's ranking Democrat, said Russia is becoming more brazen.

"Russia's goal is to sow chaos and confusion - to fuel internal disagreements and to undermine democracies whenever possible, and to cast doubt on the democratic process wherever it exists," Warner said.

In other words, Russia is becoming just like the US... One can see why the Deep State and Democrats are so terrified.


          "Rogue" Policeman Who Attempted "Venezuela Coup" Is A "James Bond-Cum-Rambo" Action Film Star   

When we reported on last night's alleged "terrorist coup" attempt by a "rogue police officer" who stole a helicopter and single-handedly attacked the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court in Venezuela, we had one tangential observation: the attempted "coup" may have been no more a coup than the one which took place last June in Turkey:

this is where the comparisons emerge with the "failed Turkish coup" to "remove" Erdogan last summer, which most admit was a staged attempt meant to further entrench the despotic president.  While Venezuela opposition leaders have long been calling on Venezuela's security forces to stop obeying Maduro, following yesterday's event, there was speculation among opposition supporters on social media that the attack could have been staged to justify repression or cover up drama at Venezuela's National Assembly, where two dozen lawmakers said they were being besieged by pro-government gangs.

One day later, even more questions about the legitimacy of the attempted coup have emerged, because as Reuters reports the "rogue police officer" behind the so-called helicopter attack on Venezuelan government buildings is an action film star who paints himself as a James Bond-cum-Rambo figure on social media.

Oscar Perez

As a reminder, President Maduro said Oscar Perez, a strapping pilot, diver and parachutist, was responsible for firing shots and lobbing grenades on the Interior Ministry and the Supreme Court after hijacking the helicopter.  In a social media video, Perez said he was fighting a tyrannical, vile government.

It turns out he may have been also going for the IMDB movie rating: Perez, 36, directed and starred in a 2015 Venezuelan action movie called "Suspended Death" about the rescue of a kidnapped businessman, which includes scenes of him firing a rifle from a helicopter and emerging from water in scuba gear. And, as Reuters adds, he has an unusually public profile for the usually tight-lipped and secretive investigative police.

Perez has given interviews about his film and maintained a colorful Instagram feed with images of him riding horseback in combat gear, scuba-diving with rifles and pistols, and jumping out of a helicopter with a dog.

 

"I'm a man who goes out into the streets without knowing whether I'll return home," Perez told a local television network in an interview about the film in 2015.

 

The movie glorifies Venezuela's investigative police as they stage a complex and action-packed rescue using improbably futuristic technology. Asked what inspired him to make the movie, he said a conversation with a young delinquent led him to believe that movies could help change minds.

 

"(I asked myself) what can we do to create a positive idea, to be a weapon against delinquency? That's how 'Suspended Death' came to be," said Perez in another TV interview.

Though he supposedly claimed to be representing a coalition of disaffected security and civilian officials, there was no immediate evidence that he had further backing. In a 2016 video on Perez's Instagram feed, he stands with his back to a mannequin target and successfully shoots it with the help of a small makeup mirror for aim.

He also appeared in several public service videos including one in which a police officer takes a bribe from a driver he has pulled over, only for the driver to later kill the officer's son. Perez at the end of video looks into the camera and says "Corruption affects all of us. Denounce it."

On Tuesday evening, Perez unfurled a banner from the helicopter with the word, "Freedom!" It was not immediately clear who was paying for this particular movie.

Needless to say, Perez' acting experience and his theatrical photos spurred opposition criticism that Tuesday's incident, which did not include any reports of injuries or deaths, was staged by Maduro as an excuse to clamp down on adversaries.

In retrospect, perhaps Turkey's Erdogan should consult on how to make fake staged coups at least appear realistic.


          Shkreli lawyer's explosive argument after prosecutors call him con man    
Shkreli is accused of looting his former drug company Retrophin to pay off defrauded hedge fund investors.
          Prosecutor: Shkreli Built Hedge Fund Empire on 'Lies Upon Lies'   
In opening statements at the securities fraud trial of a former pharmaceutical company CEO, a federal prosecutor has told jurors that Martin Shkreli built a bogus hedge fund empire on "lies upon lies"
          TSN 690- Melnick in the Afternoon- Jennifer Hedger- Dec 19th   
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          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   

NEW YORK (AP) — “Pharma Bro” Martin Shkreli is either a con man who scammed hedge fund investors of millions or a nerdy genius who made them even richer. The conflicting portraits were offered Wednesday at opening statements of Shkreli’s securities fraud trial, a case colored by the ex-pharmaceutical CEO’s antics on social media that, […]
          STARHEDGE S.A.: Treść Uchwał podjętych w dniu 28 czerwca 2017 roku na Zwyczajnym Walnym Zgromadzeniu STARHEDGE S.A.   

Spis treści:1. RAPORT BIEŻĄCY2. MESSAGE (ENGLISH VERSION)3. INFORMACJE O PODMIOCIE4. PODPISY OSÓB REPREZENTUJĄCYCH SPÓŁKĘSpis załącznikĂłw:uchwalypodjete_ZWZA_Starhedge_28.06.2017.pdf  (RAPORT BIEŻĄCY) KOMISJA NADZORU FINANSOWEGO...


          June 28, 2017 – MDT Pro Tips A.M.   

While the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader focuses on investment over a one week to six-month time frame, Mad Day Trader, provided by Bill Davis, will exploit money-making opportunities over a brief ten minute to three day window. It is ideally suited for day traders, but can also be used by long-term investors to improve market timing for entry and exit points.

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          June 28, 2017   

Global Market Comments June 28, 2017 Fiat Lux Featured Trade: (BUY LAM RESEARCH (LRCX) ON THE DIP), (LRCX), (NVDA), (THE MYSTERY OF THE SAN FRANCISCO SUBLEASE), (TESTIMONIAL)

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          The Mystery of the San Francisco Sublease   

Commercial real estate agents are baffled. Economists are confused. Even Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen is focusing a great deal of attention on the issue. What the heck is going on with the San Francisco office subleasing market? The question has taken on greater urgency in the wake of last month’s abysmal nonfarm payroll report,

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          Buy Lam Research (LRCX) on the Dip   

Readers constantly beseech me to give them another recommendation like NVIDIA (NVDA), which soared by a stunning 150% after I wrote about it. Well I have one: Lam Research (LRCX). There is only one problem. Lam Research has also posted a ballistic stock performance similar to (NVDA) over the same time period. Still, if you

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          Testimonial   

I wanted to briefly thank John for the recent trade alert on Gilead Sciences (GILD). For a number of reasons I ended up not doing the vertical bull call spread that John had recommended. Instead, I decided to buy the stock outright. Since I live in Germany, I bought at XETRA on June 22, shortly

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          Quote of the Day – June 28, 2017   

“The greatest danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short, but in setting our aim too low and achieving our mark,” said Michelangelo.

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          MOT Follow-Up to Text Alerts (EWZ)(GS)(SPX) Trade June 27, 2017   

While the Global Trading Dispatch focuses on investment over a one week to six-month time frame, Mad Options Trader, provided by Matt Buckley, will focus primarily on the weekly US equity options expirations, with the goal of making profits at all times.

The post MOT Follow-Up to Text Alerts (EWZ)(GS)(SPX) Trade June 27, 2017 appeared first on Mad Hedge Fund Trader.


          June 27, 2017 – MDT Pro Tips A.M.   

While the Diary of a Mad Hedge Fund Trader focuses on investment over a one week to six-month time frame, Mad Day Trader, provided by Bill Davis, will exploit money-making opportunities over a brief ten minute to three day window. It is ideally suited for day traders, but can also be used by long-term investors to improve market timing for entry and exit points.

The post June 27, 2017 – MDT Pro Tips A.M. appeared first on Mad Hedge Fund Trader.


          June 27, 2017   

Global Market Comments June 27, 2017 Fiat Lux Featured Trade: (YET ANOTHER REASON TO BUY STOCKS), (IWM), (AMD), (HTHIY) (WHY I DON’T CARE ABOUT OIL), (USO), (UNG), (XOM) (TESTIMONIAL)  

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          As If You Needed Another Reason to Buy Stocks   

“Buy it because they’re not making it any more” Used to be a popular reason to buy gold and real estate. Now the same argument can be applied to the stock market as well. And you know what? Rising demand and falling supply can only mean one thing: Higher prices. According to the Wall Street

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          Why I Don’t Care About Oil   

Concerns are rampant that the recent plunge in the price of oil could demolish the bull market in stocks. With the price of oil closing at a low on Friday of $43.01, you’d think I might be getting a bit panicky myself. In actual fact, I could care less, am indifferent, unconcerned, and even could

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          Testimonial   

A belated thank you for the time you provided to all of us at the Las Vegas Strategy Luncheon back in May.  My apologies for not submitting a prompter response.   I am the Air Force C-17 pilot from Seattle; you graciously gave me additional time on your walk back to the room during the

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          Quote of the Day – June 27, 2017   

“If they don’t screw things up in Washington, stocks here are undervalued. If they do, then stocks are overvalued,” said hedge fund manager, David Tepper, of Appaloosa Management.

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          MOT Follow-Up to Text Alerts (SPX) Trade June 26, 2017   

While the Global Trading Dispatch focuses on investment over a one week to six-month time frame, Mad Options Trader, provided by Matt Buckley, will focus primarily on the weekly US equity options expirations, with the goal of making profits at all times.

The post MOT Follow-Up to Text Alerts (SPX) Trade June 26, 2017 appeared first on Mad Hedge Fund Trader.


          June 26, 2017   

Global Market Comments June 26, 2017 Fiat Lux Featured Trade: (THE DEATH OF THE FINANCIAL ADVISOR) (THE WAR BETWEEN THE ALGORITHMS)

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          Tractor Driving    

05-01-2017
Monday; start with equipment that behaves fine (Friday last week), and then successively sabotage it so things constantly go wrong. This would the vineyard tractor I am driving for the second time, the first day this week. Lots of controls = lots of perp sabotage, preferably multiple things going wrong at once or in immediate serial sequence. Just hilarious after 15 years of things going wrong 5x the normal rate. Their very favorite Fuckover stunt was to prevent the forward-reverse shift lever from going into gear (forward usually). Some 20 attempts at a time while sitting in the tractor was not uncommon, and this shit went on all afternoon. Every time I came to a row end I had to reverse it to go back on the same row. In fact, the supervisor seemed to set the job up so I needed to do this twice as often given the slow revelation of instructions. Had he told me all that had to be done, I could of traversed one block to the next, crossing the trail, instead of turning each time.

05-02-2017
A second day of tractor driving, using the so-called grape hoe implement, a blade on the R side that severs the weeds by the roots and lifts them up. That is the theory, but it is more like a "weed dislocator", moving them around in clods, and not out of the row as it should be. Hence a build up of weed, often grass, clumps over the time that defy said implement. Having a steel blade, some 1/4" thick, plough and flick just under the soil is a perp implement of significant proportions; they just love soil interactions, and all the better with steel implements as they see it for their human nonconsensual experimentation agenda. Don't forget I was hand digging these same vineyard weeds with the rest of the crew using shovels for three days last week.

Today, thankfully, things went better, and the insane disruption over being able to shift forward or back (separate gear lever) only lasted a half hour. Given that the assholes have been shitting me over shifting into reverse over the last two months with the new (to me) Escape (standard transmission), gifted from my perp-abetting mother, who knew the sickos would of pulled this same stunt with another vehicle, this time a tractor? Or who knew, that shifting standard gears, especially forward and reverse, was a total Fuckover event for some remote sick asses harassing the living shit out of their victim for over 15 years now? But it seems they had this one planned; given a standard transmission vehicle in 01-2017, and then harass the victim for the same thing in a tractor in 04-2017. No wonder they didn't let me drive a farm tractor since I took the viticulture course in 01-2012 when there was plenty of opportunity to help out my employers.

And why was I so unusually tired after work today? Kept too tired to do anything, but not allowed to nap. Never had this problem before, but the perps wasting my time is just too funny for them. Consequent to this 30 min. quasi-nap, I went grocery shopping with my usual gangstalking entourage. Fucking tiresome.

05-04-2017
For the second day in succession, an aerial stalker came by, totally incongruous given the circumstances. Like WTF; a Canadian government aircraft with "surveillance" on its side. I look them up, and they are all about marine traffic and pollution surveillance. Like WTF; what are they doing 600km inland for crissakes? But let us not forget the military putting on their submarine detection aircraft for 7 circuits over a former vineyard work site 3-4 years ago, spewing some kind of magnetic beams out of its stinger tail. I read another TI calling this "air stalking" and I suppose it is. But the way it seems is that the Canadian government is sending its few aircraft over to harass a TI, and is nothing short of a criminal organization, just like the police. Nothing new there. Last year it was the four engined C-117 cargo aircraft doing four passes over the vineyard I was at. It never landed, so what on earth was such an aircraft doing flying over Naramata and then departing? And the SAR was on a fly past two weeks ago, with their yellow EH 101 Cormorant, though it could be that they were out on a mission, but given my past experience with this same aircraft and owner, it is suspicious.

And for the second day in succession, I worked with the new woman employee, who "happens" to have the same first name as my daughter, though 7 years younger. A strapping lass, if not a tad overweight, and breasts the size of softballs. Yesterday, a low top, and I could not help to notice the cleavage exposure, another long standing perp put on. Today, she was in a red shirt, perhaps to sync with above mentioned red colored surveillance aircraft. Anyhow, she seems like a nice and positive person, unlike the last new woman who is so furtive and avoidant.

Yesterday I was planting vines with her and the NZ woman, so I had my close-in dose of the feminine, and the perps do love me to be planting. And then weeding in the afternoon, with the furtive one who says nothing. Today, it was all weeding with the new woman who is thankfully, someone I can talk with.

And a police vehicular gangstalking in front of me half way back to my place. I see way too many of them or their vehicles to be a coincidence, not that I believe there is any such notion in my highly orchestrated and harassed circumstances.

Two days ago after grocery shopping, the police were out doing some kind of apparent search in this small wooded area. One vehicle had its red and blue lights flashing on the opposite side of the road, with the officer pulling a black bag out of the vehicle. Then a yellowjacket (police man) coming from the woods, and around the corner, with no lights, was a second parked police vehicle. The latter one should of had his lights on as it is a no parking zone on a bend for crissakes.

I see the crew boss man is now doing the weeding on the tractor in other areas with the attached implement, more of a weed dis-locator implement. Where we are hand weeding now is where I did the same tractor work a few days ago. So it would seem this rotation goes with various tractor drivers doing "weed dislocating", and then us vineyard laborer schmo's do following hand weeding. Now with three different tractor operators, and an added new person (per above), it should be all grist for the perp non-consensual human research mill over their insane obsession over plant tending, e.g. weeding, planting, etc.

A rare good weather day today, enough for shorts and getting a tan on my legs. Rain tomorrow, so maybe I am getting an interrupted introduction to summer weather this year.

And what was the point of the perps having me "forget" to turn off the tuner (radio) this morning before leaving? I rarely have it on, and always turn it off, and lo, if some asshole didn't dither me and have me leave it on all day in my absence.

Another forced "forget" was yesterday, leaving my boots outside all night. I got screwed with this trick last year when they unloaded a rain storm on my boots that were outside. So to counter that fuckery, I put the alarm on for two hours or so, long enough so that the wet wool sock stink dissipates. And lo, if some asshole didn't defeat the alarm so that I "forgot". And again, what is the point of this insane relentless fuckery? And to note, I didn't have this wet boot smell lingering until recently. One screw-over begets another.

05-05-2017
Another day of digging big grass clumps from the vineyard. Normally we work in teams of two, but since one guy was seconded for irrigation installation, I helped two women crew members by going ahead and removing all the large chunks the tractor turned up. One was the NZ woman, the other who started two days ago. In the latter case, she put on a head band for whatever reason, as she did yesterday. She added on a ball cap today, and lo, if her whole headgear thing didn't resemble a turban in part. Anyhow, given how much the perps like to stage/stalk me with head wear, especially the ones I loathe on sight, (e.g. turbans), why was I so clueless? And of course, with all my knowledge now remotely manipulable, that too has been attended to. Talk about feeling helpless, and too, that notion gets wiped out.

Even the CBC radio gets in on the act, by describing a political party member as the "first turbaned...". Who gives a fuck? We have had E. Indians in all our political parties, and now even the federal cabinet. Now the CBC have taken it upon themselves to further distinguish (promoting??) whether they are wearing turbans or not. We don't need any more divisions that we have, and now the national radio has invented another one. And they will likely spin this into "creating national unity" or some such.

On the headband theme; I did my laundry tonight and an attractive blonde woman (though large ass) was there, and lo, she was wearing her hair up with a headband too. She looked 40-ish, and the perps made sure that I noticed she wasn't married. Like WTF: I don't care about these things any more; not only am I 62, but I have the hounds of hell on my ass, and they orchestrate every microsecond of my existence nowadays, and everyone seems to know it in advance. I don't think they always did this as they didn't have this element of control until 2006, but now it seems they do as the coincidence factor is so high. I am simply not interested in romance, and any sane woman would feel the same about me, assuming she didn't already know my circumstances beforehand, or else see a light field around me, as reported by other TI's (though not mentioned in my presence).

As it "happens", now continuing with the coincidence theme, with the laundromat proprietors engaging this woman in conversation (not me), it turns out that she is from Edmonton, and is an Edmonton Oilers hockey fan. As it "happened" the Oilers were playing on a live broadcast of the playoffs on the 50" TV screen in the laundromat. Anyhow, resulting from general banter about hockey now that the playoff season has finally begun, the laundromat owner shows me a picture on his phone of his son with an prominent Oilers player (captain), as the team was visiting here on a pre-season goodwill tour last year. Then he shows it to the attractive Edmonton woman. (Both of us getting "color calibrated" with the same LED image perhaps, though she did some oohs-and-ahhs over his cute (to her) son.) And within the minute, this same prominent Oilers hockey player scores a goal on TV. I kid you not; another tangle of coincidences over a certain hockey team and player.

Another nap attack hit after work today; the perps are bound and determined never to let me get onto my laundry any earlier than 1900h in the evenings. I could of got onto it an hour earlier, but the wave of helplessness came on and the only thing I can do is lie down and pull the blankets over.

05-06-2017
Saturday, and a small job to help the vineyard couple; not that it was vineyard work, but they needed the cedar hedges trimmed, and he arranged some scaffolding with a platform to be mounted on a trailer which he towed with his ATV. I would get up on the platform and wield the gasoline powered hedger to trim the hedge. The system worked for the most part, save where it was too far to reach, and then we used the pole pruner. Anyhow, it was 3 hours of work, and in OK weather. And nothing went wrong; imagine that. I suppose for the perps it was an exercise in plant trimming at some 6' off the ground, and we know who loves me to be plant tending, and all the better, cutting them. And we know who likes to test elevational differences from ground level.

And more dithering (two weeks now) by the fee-for-service doctor's office this week; a call to tell me that the "good doctor" needs to determine which tests I need in advance of my requested appointment. Well, it was last year, in a change to their usual practice, when they cited new medical regulations that one must see the doctor first, who then determines the tests, and all to see the same doctor again. Even if one has had prior clinical interactions that would be a basis for an obvious extension to health care delivery. And now, it isn't so, or isn't mentioned. No doubt this is more foot dragging over my demands for dopamine deficiency treatment, as the three other referrals are still in a state of non-response, and could be for 6 months or more in this current medical system. I fully expect the "good doctor" to deny me anything more than supplements, which if one has ADD as I do, are pretty lame, as ADD is by definition a development problem.

I spent two hours this afternoon viewing Ty Bollinger's astonishing research of cancer treatment and its squalid history -two hours note. Not to mention the grim future; by 2020, one half of cancer events are expected to be caused by prior medical "treatments" of cancer; chemo therapy (e.g. tamoxifen) is carcinogenic as is radio-therapy. I hadn't read any cancer material for three months, getting fed up with it, not making light that it is an atrocity of epic proportions; 600,000 victims each year in the US and Canada. And the repressive actions of the FDA are nothing short of living in Nazi Germany, just not as widespread. To be an professional and responsible alternative cancer practitioner in the US and Canada is to have a target painted on your back, as mentioned by an MD who leads a prominent alternate health care center.

05-07-2017
Sunday, and I was finally allowed to get hiking at 0930h instead of 1200h. The weather forecast was for sunshine, but at a cool 18C. Fine; I will do the hike and find out then if tanning can be attempted. As it "happened" it was cool at my usual remote tanning site, but after an hour I relocated to the lee of the wind, and was able to get tanned. I used my lightweight camp cot for the first time, and it worked out reasonably well.

Another "cattle problem" on the way back along the trail. It seems they had been released in the last week into this woodland area, and lo, if the bull wasn't standing on the trail looking at me while the herd was passing behind him, going down to this small lake for water. As twice before, retreat, and take an alternate off-trail route. Fortunately I could navigate my way through the woods by keeping a visual reference to this lake and not spend two hours back tracking along the trailed alternative.

I did get some three hours of tanning in, though it didn't seem like it as the cool wind kept finding me for a time. And just when I popped back onto the trail, why, a gangstalker came along on the trail. I say gangstalker as the timing was perp-perfect; just as I entered the woods from the open area and only two minutes into my return. Besides, the guy was such a rude ass; most hikers say hello or acknowledge each other, but not this one.

I got my usual helicopter coverage while tanning off-trail, this time more obvious. About an hour before lunch a big throbby Bell 412 came low (500' above terrain) and then circled about a kilometer away to the S, going back to where it came from seemingly. After lunch this same helicopter comes over the same flight path and then extends its flight to fly N of me and then do the same large circle to the S. Same helicopter, seemingly to add some post-lunch (favorite perp harassment timing) noise and a visual, by extending its curious flight path.

Anyhow, I later did my care duty, helping my knee cap damaged friend get some groceries at various shopping locations. The usual gangstalk fray of course.

Onto posting this for the week.
          Ex-pharmaceutical CEO accused at trial of cheating investors   
Prosecutor: Former pharmaceutical company CEO built a bogus hedge fund empire on 'lies upon lies'.
          Motif Investing – An introduction and analysis   
Motif Investing is fast becoming one of the most interesting and powerful tools for savvy investors in the market today.  Founded in 2010 by former Microsoft Executive Hardeep Walia and former Hedge Fund Analyst Tariq Hilaly and backed by serious venture capital they are rapidly becoming a player in Investing 2.0, a term I use […]

The post Motif Investing – An introduction and analysis appeared first on Financial Product Reviews.


          Wednesday Window Dressers vs the Fed as Assets Continue to Bubble   

Related imageThere's a battle going on at the top of the market.  

Four Fed speakers this week pulled out their pins and took a poke at the market bubble:  

  • Williams said "There seems to be a priced-to-perfection attitude out there.” and that the stock market rally "still seems to be running very much on fumes."  Speaking to Australian TV, Williams added that "We are seeing some reach for yield, and some, maybe, excess risk-taking in the financial system with very low rates. As we move interest rates back to more-normal, I think that that will, people will pull back on that."
  • Fischer said  "The increase in prices of risky assets in most asset markets over the past six months points to a notable uptick in risk appetites…. Measures of earnings strength, such as the return on assets, continue to approach pre-crisis levels at most banks, although with interest rates being so low, the return on assets might be expected to have declined relative to their pre-crisis levels--and that fact is also a cause for concern."  Fischer then also said that the corporate sector is "notably leveraged", that it would be foolish to think that all risks have been eliminated, and called for "close monitoring" of rising risk appetites.
  • Dudley said rates will keep rising as long as financial conditions remain loose: "When financial conditions tighten sharply, this may mean that monetary policy may need to be tightened by less or even loosened.  On the other hand, when financial conditions ease—as has been the case recently—this can provide additional impetus for the decision to continue to remove monetary policy accommodation."
  • And Chairwoman Janet Yellen said yesterday that some asset prices had become “somewhat rich" although like Fischer, she hedged that prices are fine… if one assumes record low rates in perpetuity… “Asset valuations are somewhat rich if you use some traditional metrics like price earnings ratios, but I wouldn’t try to comment on appropriate valuations, and those ratios ought to depend on long-term interest rates,” she said.  Yellen then said (already being taken out of context by bulls): "Will I say there will never, ever be another financial crisis? No, probably that would be going too far. But I do think we’re much safer and I hope that it will not be


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          TSN 1290 Winnipeg: Darren Dutychen and Jennifer Hedger on H&L   
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          TSN 690 – Melnick In the Afternoon – Darren Dutchyshen + Jen Hedger - May 28   
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          Demolishing The Myths Behind The War On Cash   

Authored by Ronald-Peter Stoferle via The Mises Institute,

The attacks on physical cash from a phalanx of economists, central bankers, commercial banks, and politicians have not diminished in recent years. On the contrary, in the face of the worldwide increase in terror attacks, particularly in Europe, and ongoing pressure on public budgets, the cash ban issue is increasingly dragged into the spotlight.

In a highly-recommended study entitled “Cash, Freedom and Crime. Use and Impact of Cash in a World Going Digital,” Deutsche Bank Research demolishes numerous popular myths surrounding cash, inter alia in the context of crime and terrorism.

Without cash there are no longer bank robberies at gun point, instead there are now electronic bank robberies. Fraud involving credit cards and ATM cards is massively increasing in Sweden, the country considered the pioneer of the cashless society.

The argument that adopting a cashless payment system would facilitate the fight against terrorism doesn't hold water either:

As regards terrorism in Europe, an analysis of 40 jihadist attacks in the past 20 years shows that most funding came from delinquents’ own funds and 75% of the attacks cost in total less than USD 10,000 to carry out — sums that will hardly raise suspicions even if paid by card.

Moreover, many terrorists, particularly if they are prepared to risk their own death, won't be deterred by prohibitions, just as stricter gun laws have no impact on people who must use unregistered weapons for their crimes. Often, they are unable to get hold of a weapon by legal means anyway if they have a criminal record. Planned terror attacks are as a rule characterized by a meticulous and careful approach. At best a cash ban might make financing of terrorism more difficult (even that is doubtful), but at the price of subjecting the law-abiding peaceful population at large to even more intrusive surveillance.

Legislators have passed additional regulations in the past 12 months which at least restrict the use of cash; bans of high-denomination banknotes (e.g., the 500 euro note) and (lower) thresholds for legal cash payments. There are however also technological developments that are significantly reducing the transaction costs of cashless payments and are therefore making cash comparatively unattractive.

In Sweden, an app called “Swish”  introduced by the country's leading banks has revolutionized cashless payments. To this point, the app has been downloaded 5.5 million times. In the Scandinavian country only 2% of all payments are settled in cash these days.

Sweden's central bank expects that this percentage will decline by another three-quarters to 0.5% by the end of the decade. 900 of the 1,600 bank branch offices in the country no longer have any cash in store.

The academic debate continues unabated. A paper that has recently triggered intense debate is the IMF working paper “The Macroeconomics of De-Cashing,” which was published in March 2017.  Its author Alexei Kireyev examines the possible macroeconomic consequences of abolishing cash. His central conclusions are:

  • A cashless payment system would make the monetary policy transmission mechanism more efficient, as there would be very little or no cash available anymore. In particular, it would become possible to implement negative interest rates on a broad front, in order to boost consumption.
  • Since a decline in cash holdings would go hand in hand with an increase in demand deposits at banks, the banking sector would be able to extend more loans. That would lower the level of interest rates and boost economic growth.
  • A sudden increase in the demand for cash is a sign of an imminently impending financial crisis. Shortly before the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008, demand for cash currency increased significantly. That was a sign that bank customers increasingly lost confidence in the solvency and liquidity of commercial banks. This warning signal would no longer be available if cash were abolished.
  • A cashless economy makes tax collection easier, as the example of Sweden illustrates.

Regardless of a superficially balanced approach in large parts of the text, the article clearly evinces an underlying bias toward supporting the abolition of cash. Several arguments in the paper are fallacious and represent little more than intellectual kowtowing to the prevailing zeitgeist. Thus a cashless economy is supposedly going to improve “financial inclusiveness” — as every citizen and economic actor would be forced to open a bank account; it would reduce illegal immigration — as employment of illegal immigrants would become more difficult; and it would help protect the environment — because the production of paper or polymers for banknotes has a greater impact on the environment than electronic money.

Whether the given objective of fighting crime and black markets can be realized by banning cash remains a highly controversial issue. Thus, Professor Friedrich Schneider, one of the most renowned experts in the areas shadow economy and tax evasion, shows that a cash ban would reduce illicit employment be a mere 10% and organized crime by less than 5%. 

The paper's conclusions ultimately read like a political manual for the abolition of cash by means of salami tactics.

In other words, to prevent the population from getting alarmed, it is to be weaned off cash in tolerable doses through a piecemeal approach. Economic incentives for cashless payments are to be put in place, i.e., specifically, fees for cash payments are supposed to be introduced or raised. In our assessment, the most important point though concerns the notion that “de-cashing” would be “critical for the efficiency” of a negative interest rate policy.

 


          CNN Proclaims Trump's War On Media "Is Physically Endangering Reporters"   

It's been a tough week for CNN, so they needed a distraction, and what better way to try and gain back some credibility - from a worldwide audience now likely questioning every word out of the 'news' network's mouth - than to proclaim "we are going to see a reporter face physical harm because" of President Trump's "declaration of war on the media."

As RealClear Politics reports, CNN's Clarissa Ward, a foreign correspondent serving as guest co-host on Wednesday's broadcast of CNN's News Day, fretted "people" in war zones have been "emboldened" by President Trump's "declaration of war on the media." Ward, expressing concern for members of the media in dangerous areas of the world, said to guest Chris Cillizza, "I can only imagine what a person like you is dealing with. At what point does this become reckless or irresponsible?"

Playboy White House correspondent Brian Karem - who is now infamous for his whiney exchange with White House deputy spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders at Tuesday's press briefing - replied that Ward is "absolutely right" and talked about the trial and tribulations of reporters who have been jailed and even killed.

"Our newspapers after Donald Trump's election, we've gotten threats from both the far left and the far right," Karem said. "They are emboldened, it is dangerous, and the fact of the matter is, it is insulting to the memory of the people who have given their lives for the cause for providing information to the public to then be told you are fake media, you do not matter, and what you're doing is false."

 

Karem went as far to predict "we are going to see a reporter face physical harm because" of Trump.

 

"And quite frankly, every one of us should stand up against that because it is undermining the First Amendment. It is dangerous, making it dangerous for reporters. You're absolutely right, there is going to come a time, and it's not going to be too far off I surmise when we're going to see a reporter is going to face physical harm because of this," he said.

We suggest readers put down all sharp objects before embarking on the following four minutes of utter farce as each personality seems to want to one-up the last in their grandstanding of just how threatened they are by Trump's words...

We leave with our favorite lines...

"We can debate collusion. They're right, there's no evidence of that...

 

...the fact of the matter is... we are not fake news."

Indeed.


          Berkman Center front page: Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy   

Subtitle

Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society welcome author Cathy O'Neil

Teaser

Please join us for a timely discussion of the role of data science in public life. All are welcome at this free event open to the public!

Event Date

Jul 11 2017 12:00pm to Jul 11 2017 12:00pm
Thumbnail Image: 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017 at 12:00 pm
Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective​
New England Research and Development Center
1 Memorial Drive
1st Floor/Horace Mann
Cambridge, MA 02142​

More information and REGISTER HERE
Arrive early for a seat/grab lunch, served at 11:30AM​

Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective and Harvard University's Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society welcome author Cathy O'Neil to NERD. O'Neil will read from her award-winning book, Weapons of Math Destruction: How Big Data Increases Inequality and Threatens Democracy (2016). The reading will be followed by an informal mixer for MSR, NERD, Garage and BKC interns.

Please join us for a timely discussion of the role of data science in public life. All are welcome at this free event open to the public!

About Cathy O'Neil

Cathy O’Neil earned a Ph.D. in math from Harvard, was a postdoc at the MIT math department, and a professor at Barnard College where she published a number of research papers in arithmetic algebraic geometry. She then switched over to the private sector, working as a quant for the hedge fund D.E. Shaw in the middle of the credit crisis, and then for RiskMetrics, a risk software company that assesses risk for the holdings of hedge funds and banks. She left finance in 2011 and started working as a data scientist in the New York start-up scene, building models that predicted people’s purchases and clicks. She wrote Doing Data Science in 2013 and launched the Lede Program in Data Journalism at Columbia in 2014. She is a regular contributor to Bloomberg View and wrote the book Weapons of Math Destruction: how big data increases inequality and threatens democracy. She recently founded ORCAA, an algorithmic auditing company.

About Microsoft Research's Social Media Collective

Over the last decade, social media has become a vital tool for our engagement with the people who matter to us, the work we do, and with the wider public world. From email to Facebook, mobile phones to Twitter, people now use a vast array of social technologies as part of their everyday lives and practices. Our primary purpose is to provide a rich contextual understanding of the social and cultural dynamics that underpin these social media technologies.

Our research collective brings together social scientists and humanists from anthropology, communication, economics, information, law, media studies, women’s studies, science & technology studies, and sociology. Through a variety of methodological and theoretical lenses, we provide insight into how social media is reconfiguring sociality, labor, ethics, and the public realm. Much of our work centers on emergent Web 2.0 technologies, including Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc. but we also look to situate these new forms in the longer history of information and communication.

 


          Awkward Hedgehogs #1   
Awkward Hedgehogs #1
there's a fable or three here
by possum

          These 5 wilderness areas have some of the clearest skies in America   
Wilderness areas are among the places with the clearest, most haze-free skies in the entire country.

When was the last time you really could see for miles on a clear day, undisturbed by smog-like pollution? If it's been a while, you might want to visit a wilderness area.

That’s because some of those places offer uniquely clean skies and clear vistas, relatively unmarred by airborne particles from cars, coal-fired power plants and other sources.

These particles--called "haze"--reduce our capacity to see distant detail and color by absorbing or scattering sunlight, effectively clogging the air and blurring faraway sights. This is especially pronounced in regions that have lots of development and high relative humidity, as in much of the eastern U.S. That’s why, even on a crisp day, you typically won’t be able to see as far into the distance on an Appalachian hike as you would while climbing the rocky gorges of Montana’s Gates of the Mountains.

Research has found that visibility is very important to wilderness area and national park visitors--so important, in fact, that the dollar value of eliminating haze in those areas could be in the billions. Fortunately, while the U.S. as a whole has grown hazier over the last few decades, many wilderness areas retain fairly high visibility. This is partly due to a provision in 1977’s Clean Air Act that mandates the reduction of regional haze and other airborne pollution for certain places, including wilderness areas larger than 5,000 acres (wilderness areas return the favor, acting as sources of clean air and water themselves). 

According to data provided by the U.S. Forest Service and an interagency pollution monitoring network on how much a scene in these and other spots is obscured by ambient pollution, the following designated wilderness areas have some of the cleanest air and clearest skies in the country, allowing visitors to take full advantage of truly breathtaking landscapes.

Wheeler Peak Wilderness (New Mexico)

The Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area's Mount Walter. Credit: 12-Foot Hedgehog Productions, flickr.

Hard against the southern end of the Sangre De Cristo mountain range, this 20,000-acre expanse of tundra and lichen-covered ridges in the Carson National Forest is home to bighorn sheep, elk, marmots, mountain lions, black bears, golden eagles and more. The mountain that lent Wheeler Peak Wilderness Area its name reaches some 13,000 feet, making it New Mexico’s highest point and a big draw for hikers and skiers. Mount Walter, pictured above, is the state's second-tallest. 

Bridger Wilderness (Wyoming)

The Mistake and Titcomb Lakes, nestled in the Wind River Mountains inside the Bridger Wilderness Area. Credit: myheimu, flickr.

This nearly 430,000-acre wilderness area was designated under the original Wilderness Act in 1964. Named after trapper and frontiersman Jim Bridger, it contains a chunk of the Wind River Mountain Range including Gannett Peak, the tallest mountain in Wyoming.  The area contains 7 of the 10 largest glaciers on earth, and its stark beauty and trout-filled deep blue lakes make it a popular destination for sportsmen.

Denali Wilderness (Alaska)

Alaska's Mount McKinley, the tallest mountain in North America. Credit: Tim Rains (NPS), flickr.

The Denali wilderness is well-known as having some of the clearest and cleanest skies in the U.S, partly owing to the lack of nearby industrial development (and, indeed, of people). At a bit more than 2 million acres, it is among the largest preserved wilderness areas in the country, accounting for about one-third of the nearly century-old Denali National Park and Preserve. The area’s signature attraction is Mount Denali (or Mount McKinley), North America’s tallest peak (20,237 feet above sea level). The mountain enjoyed such prominence in Native Alaskan cultures that linguists have identified at least eight different names for it, and it is counted by some as the world’s third-tallest mountain.

Gila Wilderness (New Mexico)

Rock outcroppings jut up into the clear skies of the Gila Wilderness Area. Credit: Nicholas Brown, flickr.

Gila enjoys distinction as the world’s first designated wilderness area, set aside at the urging of Aldo Leopold in 1924. It now lies immediately to the west of the Aldo Leopold Wilderness Area, within the Gila National Forest. Gila’s geologically-diverse breadth includes dramatic stone outcroppings, canyon streams and stretches of grassland, and its wildlife inhabitants include black bears, bobcats, cougars, pronghorn antelopes and re-introduced Mexican gray wolves.

Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness (Colorado)

The Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness. Credit: Abhishek Chinchalkar, flickr.

The White River National Forest, which contains eight different designated wilderness areas under the management of the U.S. Forest Service, has among the absolute clearest skies in America (the clearest, by some measures). Maroon Bells-Snowmass Wilderness Area, which lies within White River just west of Aspen, may be one of the most-visited places in the Rocky Mountains owing to its many challenging peaks, wildflower-covered hills and spruce and fir forests. These features made it a natural choice to be among the first places in Colorado set aside for special protection under the Wilderness Act.

Mount McKinley or Denali, within Denali Wilderness.

Credit: Tim Rains (NPS), flickr


          10 Labirin Rumit dan Menakjubkan   
"Alam adalah labirin. Bila (dalam hidup) kamu terlalu tergesa mencari jalan malah akan tersesat". Demikian kata-kata Francis Bacon, Sr. (Filsuf Inggris - 1561-1626) yang menunjukkan betapa labirin (labyrinths atau mazes; english) merupakan teka-teki paling menakjubkan, sekaligus menantang untuk bisa dipecahkan.

Dalam mitos Yunani, labirin diciptakan oleh Daedalus (dewa kerajinan) untuk memenjarakan Minotaur. Namun, labirin yang kita kenal sekarang hanyalah tempat bermain yang intinya mencari jalan keluar dengan begitu banyak tujuan menyesatkan.

Maka terciptalah berbagai wahana labirin di dunia. Diantaranya, terdapat 10 labirin paling menakjubkan yang mungkin bisa menjadi destinasi wisata bagi kita.

1. Longleat Hedge Maze (UK)
Labirin di tempat ini disebut-sebut sebagai labirin terpanjang di dunia. Dibuat oleh Greg Bright di tahun 1975, meliputi area seluas 0,6 hektar, dengan total jalur di dalamnya sepanjang 2,72 kilometer. Uniknya, di tengah-tengah terdapat jembatan sehingga kita bisa melihat bentuk labirin tersebut dari ketinggian.
2. Reignac-sur-Indre Maze (France)
Labirin Reignac-sur-Indre terletak di Touraine, mulai dibuat pada tahun 1996 dengan luas sekitar 4 hektar. Bentuknya yang melingkar mengingatkan kita pada fenomena crop-circle. Setiap tahun ada sekitar 85.000 wisatawan mengunjungi tempat ini.
3. York Maze, a Star Trek tribute (UK)
Terdiri atas 1,5 juta tanaman di atas lahan seluas 13 hektar untuk membentuk labirin di York ini. Kabarnya, rancangan labirin ini menggunakan teknologi via satelit, sehingga untuk merubah atau memindahkan jalurnya bisa seakurat mungkin. York Maze tercipta berkat kreasi Tom Pearcy guna memperingati Star Trek ke-40.

4. Ashcombe Maze (Australia)
Labirin Ashcombe ini lokasinya ada di Shoreham, bagian timur Mornington Peninsula, Victoria. Tinggi jalur labirinnya 3 meter dengan lebar jalur 2 meter. Di tempat ini juga ditanam 217 jenis bunga mawar, sehingga bisa menjadi tempat favorit pecinta mawar. Atau kamu punya rencana memberi mawar untuk orang tersayang? Silahkan ke Ashcombe dan pilih sendiri mawarmu.


5. Pineapple Garden Maze (Hawaii)
Sekarang kita ke Hawaii, tepatnya di Wahiawa. Di tempat ini ada labirin dengan jalur rumit sepanjang 3 mil, terbuat dari 14.000 jenis tumbuhan yang ada di Hawaii seperti hibiscus, croton, panax, heliconia, bahkan nanas! Tak heran, labirin ini tercatat di Guinness Book of Records 2001.

6. Snake Maze (UK)
Michael Blee (62 tahun) menghabiskan waktu beberapa bulan menciptakan 2,5 hektar bentuk labirin di Gore Farm, Upchurch, dekat Rochester, Kent. Tampaknya, Snake Maze merupakan labirin paling rumit yang pernah dibuat oleh Tuan Blee ini. Maklum, ia dikenal sebagai pencipta wahan labirin di daratan Inggris.

7. Il Labirinto (Italia)
Wow, labirin ini sudah ada sejak awal tahun 1700-an, terletak di kota Stra, dekat Venice. Tepatnya di wilayah Villa Pisani. Menurut kisah, di tahun 1807 Napoleon pernah hilang di sini.

8. Peace Maze (Irlandia)
Labirin yang resmi dibuka tahun 2001, mencakup wilayah seluas 1,1 hektar dengan panjang jalur 3.147 meter. Dibuat dengan 6000 batang pohon yew, dan ditanam oleh masyarakat di Irlandia bagian utara.

9. Hampton Court Maze (UK)
Mungkin labirin ini paling terkenal di Inggris. Tumbuhan yang ada sudah ditanam sejak jaman William of Orange antara tahun 1689 - 1695 oleh George London dan Henry Wise. Melingkupi wilayah seluas 1.350 meter persegi, dengan panjang jalur sekitar 0,8 km.

Labirin Hampton Court pernah dimuat dalam novel "Three Men in a Boat" karangan Jerome K.

10. Davis' Mega Maze (USA)
Letaknya di Massachusetts, berada di atas lahan Davis' Farmland, sebuah peternakan keluarga. Uniknya, bentuk jalur dalam labirin ini selalu berubah tiap tahun.

Adrian Fisher yang merancang bentuk labirin ini di Dorse, Inggris. Konon, setiap tahun menghabiskan waktu sebanyak 12.800 jam kerja untuk membuat bentuk jalur labirin yang baru di tempat ini.

Labirin di Indonesia

Indonesia juga punya labirin, yaitu Labirin Taman Bunga Nusantara di Cipanas. Di tempat ini ada menaranya, sehingga kalau kita tersesat bisa minta bantuan.

          Moody's Warns That Private-Label Credit Card Issuers Will Be Crushed By Retail Implosion   

We've spent a lot of time of late talking about the retail implosion currently underway in the United States courtesy of a massive oversupply of retail square footage and a simultaneous shift in demand toward more online purchases.  In fact, we recently highlighted a report from Credit Suisse which suggested that nearly 9,000 retail locations could permanently close their doors in 2017, the most since at least 2000.

According to the Swiss bank's calculations, on a unit basis, approximately 2,880 store closings were announced YTD, more than twice as many closings as the 1,153 announced during the same period last year. Historically, roughly 60% of store closure announcements occur in the first five months of the year. By extrapolating the year-to-date announcements, CS estimates that there could be more than 8,640 store closings this year, which will be higher than the historical 2008 peak of approximately 6,200 store closings, which suggests that for brick-and-mortar stores stores the current transition period is far worse than the depth of the credit crisis depression.

 

And here were those closings broken down by retailer:

 

Of course, the store closures are only part of the story as the broader economic impact of the coming retail apocalypse will be felt through a whole host of industries.  As Moody's points out today, one such space that will be hit particularly hard is the "private-label" credit card issuers with just 5 companies accounting for nearly 80% of all credit balances outstanding.  

A small number of banks dominate US private-label card issuance, with the top five accounting for 79% of balances as of early last year. The largest issuers are: Synchrony Financial Inc. (unrated); Citigroup Inc. (Baa1, stable); Alliance Data Systems Corporation (unrated) via its Comenity Bank (unrated) subsidiary, which was formerly known as World Financial Network National Bank; Capital One Financial Corporation (Baa1, stable); Wells Fargo & Company (A2, stable) and TD Group US Holdings LLC (A2, stable).

 

"As retailers close stores in an effort to improve profitability over the coming years, the trend will put upward pressure on private label charge-offs, owing to the fact that some cardholders will lose access to geographically convenient stores, even as a portion of those cardholders shift at least a portion of their spending to online channels," Jody Shenn, a Moody's Vice President says.

Meanwhile, the hardest hit names will likely be Synchrony and Alliance Data as they rely almost entirely on private-label credit cards.

Additionally, sales challenges could create incentives for retailers to push for looser underwriting standards by their card issuing partners, which would weaken the credit quality of these accounts, especially new accounts.

 

"Among the largest private-label card issuers, only Synchrony and Alliance Data rely heavily on the business," Warren Kornfeld, a Moody's Senior Vice President, says. "Private-label and cobranded cards account for almost the entire loan books of both, each with heavy retail card concentrations."

 

Citi and Capital One rely on private-label and co-branded card loans for a high single-digit percentage of their earnings, also with heavy retail concentrations. Wells Fargo and TD Bank have very modest retail private-label and co-branded credit card exposures relative to their overall loan portfolios.

While showing up on the right-hand side of this chart was probably sold to investors as a 'yugely' positive thing over the past couple of years, we suspect the messaging in future presentations will have to be "tweaked" (chart per Alliance Data investor presentation).

Credit card

 

Meanwhile, it seems that both Alliance Data...

 

...and Synchrony are already starting to show some signs of stress.

 

But we're sure it's no big deal.


          EY Lease Accounting Survey finds companies anticipate challenges to operationalize changes while acknowledging opportunity for business benefit   

Shifting Strategies: 2014 EY Global Hedge Fund and Investor Survey (PRNewsFoto/Ernst & Young LLP)NEW YORK, June 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Most companies anticipate challenges to operationalize the required changes to comply with the new lease accounting standard, which will bring onto the balance sheet operating leases for assets such as real estate and transportation, IT and...



          Have Gold, Silver, & Mining Stocks Bottomed?   

On Friday, the price action in gold caught the attention of most market participants as gold put in a monster move to the upside in light of risk assets such as the S&P 500 selling off sharply. In fact, gold futures rallied nearly $58 per troy ounce on Friday (+3.71%) while the S&P 500 Index sold off over 32 handles (-2.46%).

Monday saw some profit taking in gold and silver futures as Friday’s monster gains had to be digested. Short term traders were locking in profits, but overall the price action remains quite bullish at the moment. The gold miners remained extremely strong into the bell on Monday as buyers bid up prices in the afternoon to push them nearly 1.65% higher for the trading session.

Long time readers understand that I am a gold bull in the longer-term and have been for quite some time. Unlike some gold bugs, I will discuss the downside in precious metals from time to time even though it generally fills up my email inbox with some rather rude and hate-filled emails.

My view of gold and silver is that they are senior currencies. With that being said, I monitor the value of gold in U.S. Dollars and recognize that a stronger U.S. Dollar in the longer-term is not necessarily bullish for gold. Yes both gold and the Dollar can rally together, but mutualistic price action generally does not last for long periods of time.

Obviously I monitor the price action of the U.S. Dollar Index futures on a regul