SEEING DOUBLE

first_imgNorth American river otters. (Stock photo)BALTIMORE, MD – The Maryland Zoo is excited to welcome Hudson, a one-year-old North American river otter (Lontra canadensis), to the Otter Stream habitat in the Maryland Wilderness section of the Zoo.  Hudson came to the Zoo from the Oregon Zoo in Portland, Oregon.“Hudson was somehow orphaned as an infant,” noted Mike McClure, general curator at The Maryland Zoo. “He was found in June of 2015 walking alone along Highway 58 SE in Eugene, Oregon, which runs along the Middle Fork Willamette River.”  He was taken to the Chintimini Wildlife Center for treatment and care until he was moved to the Oregon Zoo in Portland.  “The staff at the Oregon Zoo estimated him to be 2 ½ to 3- months-old at that time,” continued McClure. “He was hand-reared for a few months before he was introduced to the other otters at the zoo, and he came to us in March of this year.”  After a mandatory 30-day quarantine period, staff began to slowly introduce Hudson to Piper, the young female otter who arrived earlier this year.North American river otters can thrive in many types of water habitats including ponds, marshes, lakes and rivers as long as there is adequate food to catch.  Otters typically eat crawfish, crabs, frogs, bird eggs, and fish. River otters create dens along the waters’ edge in empty burrows and logs or abandoned beaver lodges.  In Maryland, river otters live in tidewater areas across the state.Otters are graceful swimmers with short legs, muscular and streamlined bodies, small heads, powerful tails and are very agile and acrobatic. “Piper enjoys chasing Hudson and they are really interesting to watch together,” continued McClure. “They are both exploring every aspect of the stream habitat and seem to especially like popping out of the hollow tree trunk near the first viewing window to surprise guests.”According to staff, Hudson has a broader face and more brown on his chin. Piper has a thinner, sleeker face with some grey coloration around the chin. “Piper also tends to be more active and a bit hyper, while Hudson is more relaxed in temperament,” said McClure. “But, all otters get excited if the mood hits them.”Hudson and Piper will be seen in the river stream habitat together while Mary, the Zoo’s older female river otter, will altermate with them. “Mary prefers to be on her own in the habitat, away from the antics of the younger otters,” said McClure. “So for now the young otters will be on exhibit in the mornings and Mary will take their place in the afternoons.”          About The Maryland Zoo in BaltimoreFounded in 1876, The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is the third oldest zoo in the United States and is internationally known for its contributions in conservation and research. More than 1,500 animals are represented in the Zoo’s varied natural habitat exhibits in areas including Penguin Coast, Polar Bear Watch, the Maryland Wilderness, African Journey and the award-winning Children’s Zoo. Situated in Druid Hill Park near downtown Baltimore, the Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums. For more information, visit www.marylandzoo.org.last_img read more

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Automated meter reading systems make life easy for intruders

first_img Citation: Automated meter reading systems make life easy for intruders (2012, October 20) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2012-10-automated-meter-life-easy-intruders.html An aerial view of the neighborhood where the researchers performed their eavesdropping experiments. Each blue triangle or red star represents a group of four or five meters mounted in a cluster on an exterior wall. Using an LNA and a 5 dBi omnidirectional antenna, they were able to monitor all meters in the neighborhood. Some sniffed meters may be out of the scope of this view. Credit: Ishtiaq Rouf et al. More information: Research paper: www.winlab.rutgers.edu/~grutes … ers/fp023-roufPS.pdfvia Newscientist Explore further This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (Phys.org)—Intruders of the break-in and snooping variety have their work cut out for them by just picking up wireless signals that are broadcast by utility meters, say researchers from the University of South Carolina at Columbia, IEEE and Rutgers. As with many other technological advances that bring new pathways for criminals, advances in meters have created concerns about intrusions. Millions of analogue meters to measure water, gas and electricity consumption have been replaced by automated meter reading (AMR) in the U.S. The newer method enables devices to broadcast readings by radio every 30 seconds for utility company employees to read as they walk or drive around with a receiver. Intruders can tune into the same information, however, according to Ishtiaq Rouf and his colleagues, authors of a paper that delivers a security analysis of AMR systems. More than 40 million meters in the United States have been equipped with AMR technology over the past years. The smart meters collect energy consumption data which could reveal sensitive personal information from homes, they said. Because energy usage often drops to near zero when a house is empty, the readings could be used to identify which owners are at work or traveling. Their work shows that currently deployed AMR systems are vulnerable to spoofing attacks and privacy breaches. The research was presented earlier this week at the 19th ACM Conference on Computer and Communications Security, which ran from October 16 to 18 in Raleigh, North Carolina. The AMR meters that they studied make data publicly available over unsecured wireless transmissions. “They use a basic frequency hopping wireless communication protocol and show no evidence of attempting to ensure confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity of the data,” added the research team.They picked up transmissions from AMR meters operated by companies. They said that the communication protocol can be reverse-engineered with only a few days of effort. They made use of radio equipment and information available through online tutorials. They used software radio equipment publicly available for about $1,000 (GNU Radio with the Universal Software Radio Peripheral). “We were able to both eavesdrop on messages as well as spoof messages to falsify the reading captured by a commonly used ‘walk-by’ reader,” they said. Through wireless monitoring, they harvested consumption data from 485 meters within a 300m radius region.As remedies, the authors suggested alternative schemes based on defensive jamming, which they said may be easier to deploy than upgrading meters themselves. Jamming could protect against the leakage of legacy devices and requires no modification of the deployed meters. © 2012 Phys.org Google’s PowerMeter Will Help Reduce Energy Consumption (Video)last_img read more

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Whatever Happened To The Kids Whose Lead L

first_img by NPR News Susan Brink 8.29.19 12:28pm In January 2016, Goats & Soda reported on lead levels in the soil of neighborhoods near an abandoned smelter in Kabwe, Zambia — and in the blood of the children. For nearly 100 years, smoke from the smelter, which closed in 1994, had been releasing heavy metals, including lead, in the form of dust. Children have grown up playing in that dust, inhaling it — and being poisoned by it. How are the people of Kabwe faring 2 1/2 years later?To date, little has changed for the 76,000 people living in the most contaminated areas of Kabwe.In 2016, there was reason to hope for improvement. The World Bank lent the Zambian government $65.5 million for a five-year project to clean up lead-contaminated areas and treat the people affected by lead poisoning,But the title of a report from Human Rights Watch, released this month, is decidedly pessimistic: “We Have to be Worried: The Impact of Lead Contamination on Children’s Rights in Kabwe, Zambia.””It’s not getting any better,” agrees Richard Fuller, president of Pure Earth, an organization that identifies environmental toxins in poor communities and helps with cleanup. “I’ve been working on this town for 18 years. And when we looked at the place again recently, nothing has happened. It’s really upsetting.” Fuller is co-author of a book with a chapter focusing on Kabwe, The Brown Agenda: My Mission to Clean Up the World’s Most Life-Threatening Pollution.Past studies of Kabwe offered sobering statistics. To identify children with abnormally high lead levels, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention uses a reference level of 5 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. A deciliter is a metric measure equal to about one-tenth of a quart. The lowest blood level in the children measured in Kabwe was 13.6 micrograms per deciliter; the average was 48.3; and the highest couldn’t be measured because more than 25% of the children had levels higher than the 65 micrograms per deciliter the instruments could measure.Affected children can have short attention spans, behavioral problems and a host of health problems.A 2018 report in the journal Environmental Research re-analyzed data from three existing studies and estimated that more than 95% of children in those areas have elevated blood lead levels; about half of those children have levels high enough to require medical intervention.In November 2018 and April 2019, Human Rights Watch visited lead- contaminated areas to see if any progress had been made. They interviewed officials, teachers and community members, both adults and children.They found almost no encouraging signs. “A loan from the World Bank, launched in 2016 — and still no visible results on the ground,” says Joanna Naples-Mitchell, research fellow in the Children’s Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.Testing of blood levels in some children of Kabwe was done until 2016 when test kits ran out, according to the Human Rights Watch report. It also found that medicines for children with extremely high levels of lead have run out as well, so those children go untreated. Cleanup efforts of homes, schools, yards and fields are small and inconsistent, the report noted.The Human Rights Watch report found that the Kabwe cleanup and treatment project was still in the planning stages. In a June 2019 status report, the World Bank rated the Kabwe project “Moderately Unsatisfactory.” The Zambian government has responded by saying that it intends to begin cleanup of contaminated soil as well as testing and treatment of affected people before the end of 2019.There’s no clear-cut plan yet, but past pilot projects to address the problem consisted of cleaning up soil outside homes, schools and public areas, as well as ridding individual homes of dust using special vacuum cleaners, Fuller says.Dirt roads present a special challenge. In previous efforts to address lead contamination in other parts of the world, Pure Earth has found that existing dirt roads should be paved or tarred so that passing traffic doesn’t kick up contaminated dust. “But the government has said they don’t have enough money to do the roads,” says Naples-Mitchell. “If a home is cleaned but the road next to it is not, it’s only a matter of time before everything is recontaminated.”The World Bank loan is also intended to pay for diagnosis and treatment of children with lead poisoning. Naples-Mitchell says she hopes that efforts will be coordinated, or they will fail. For example, when a child is treated for lead poisoning — with nutrition or, in severe cases, with medical therapy — the child must go home to a lead-free environment or else could be recontaminated.Lead cleanup can work. “A success story is in Dong Mei in Vietnam,” says Jack Caravanos, a consultant on Pure Earth’s effort in this village of 3,000. The main industry was the informal recycling of lead acid batteries, Caravanos says. The result was highly contaminated soil — and children with blood lead levels five to 13 times higher than the CDC’s levels of concern, according to a case study by Pure Earth. During the year of the project, blood lead levels in 206 tested children dropped by 75%, according to Pure Earth’s summary of the project.But the lead contamination in Kabwe is even worse than in Dong Mei. “This is really a public health emergency that has never been treated with the urgency it deserves,” says Naples-Mitchell. “I’m hopeful that, given the attention to Kabwe right now from the World Bank project and this report, that we’ll see real change.”Fuller is not so much hopeful as just plain determined. “This is a massive human rights violation and disaster,” he says. “It has to get fixed. We have to keep pushing. We’ll find a way.”Susan Brink is a freelance writer who covers health and medicine. She is the author of The Fourth Trimester, and co-author of A Change of Heart.Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit NPR. Whatever Happened To … The Kids Whose Lead Levels Were… last_img read more

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Watch out for the Bikers

first_imgToday, Delhi’s men are doing something that nobody thought of, they are asking women to take charge of their lives. How?Realising that their women are yet not safe in the Capital, a Delhi based biker group Bikers for Good are organising a ride cum rally from South Extension till Kingdom of Dreams on Sunday morning. The ride is called I’m Power- Delhi Bikers Empower Women.This ride also marks the second anniversary of the group. The ride has been planned by the founder of the group Mohit Ahuja. ‘It is practically impossible to be with our women all the time, to protect them. The government doesn’t seem to show interest towards taking serious action. Looking at the recent cases I feel all that has happened in the name of women empowerment till date has gone waste as it is mere education given to the men,’ he said. The ride has been gaining a considerable amount of support from the people looking forward to attend it and most of these are men. All the bikers are invited with their female friends. However, going against stereotypes of Men being ‘Bikers’, the ride consist of both men and women riding together for the common cause. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’With this ride, Bikers for Good is raising many issues like female sexual abuse, their safety and also they are asking the government for more practical solutions regarding women safety. Talking about the same Ahuja says, ‘There is only one solution to this problem, arm the women! If every woman has the power to protect themselves, then we don’t need women empowerment. If the government can distribute free condoms, medicines and vaccines in government hospitals and dispensaries, then why not pepper sprays?’Never before have Delhi’s men given the baton in the hands of the women and asked them to be their own saviours. Bikers for Good looks at distributing free pepper sprays to these women, highlighting the fact that they can take responsibility for themselves rather than depending on anybody else.last_img read more

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Ramayana miniatures go on show in Canberra

first_imgAn exhibition of 101 vintage miniature paintings that string together a grand narrative of the ancient Indian epic ‘Ramayana’ opened at the National Gallery of Australia (NGA) here, said a statement.Titled “The story of Rama: Indian Miniatures from the National Museum, New Delhi”, the three-month show features paintings done between the 17th and 19th centuries. And it is the first major initiative under a recently-inked agreement on culture between India and Australia. NGA director Gerard Vaughan said the exhibition of “vibrant and exquisite Indian miniature paintings is important” for the gallery. Also Read – Need to understand why law graduate’s natural choice is not legal profession: CJI“It forms part of our commitment to share the art and rich cultural heritage of India with all Australians,” he said.The exhibition began on Wednesday and is open till August 23, 2015. In November 2014 a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation in the field of arts and culture between Australia and India was inked during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the continent-country. The agreement demonstrates India’s readiness to partner with countries and celebrate the arts, pointed out India’s High Commissioner Navdeep Suri.last_img read more

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Holland Americas Explore4 deal includes up to US2000 in EBBs

first_img Michael Smith Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> Holland America’s Explore4 deal includes up to US$2,000 in EBBs Tags: Holland America Linecenter_img Thursday, July 28, 2016 SEATTLE — Holland America Line has brought back Explore4 with four promotions on select January 2017 – April 2018 sailings.Clients looking to book a cruise or Land+Sea Journey for 2017 and beyond can take advantage of complimentary beverages and specialty dining aboard ship, as well as deposits reduced by 50% and fares for friends and family. Suite bookings feature an Internet credit and prepaid gratuities.The Explore4 promotion for guests booking any category stateroom includes a Signature Beverage Package valued at up to US$1,400, dinner in the Pinnacle Grill, reduced cruise fares for friends and kids in the same stateroom and 50% reduced deposits. Bookings must be made by Nov. 18, 2016.Clients who book a cruise in a suite category stateroom will receive the above four offers plus an additional $200 Internet credit per stateroom ($100 per person) and prepaid gratuities (valued at $13.50 per guest, per day).“Cruisers are early planners, and our popular Explore4 promotion encourages our guests to book their vacation now while rewarding them with some exceptional bonuses,” said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. “By making their reservations during Explore4 guests have more itinerary and stateroom options for next year, and the value of a cruise vacation increases even more.”More news:  ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthPassengers who book any category stateroom receive a Signature Beverage Package valued at up to $1,400 per stateroom ($700 per person) that includes wine, beer, spirits, cocktails, sodas and coffee. The beverage offer is only applicable on the cruise portion of Alaska Land+Sea Journeys and the package value is based on a 14-day cruise and increases based on days if a longer cruise is booked.Explore4 offers also include a free dinner at the Pinnacle Grill. Plus there are reduced cruise fares on select sailings for friends and kids sharing a stateroom with two other guests.In the Caribbean, fares for seven-day cruises start from $799 for the first and second guests in an oceanview stateroom and reduced fares apply for the third and fourth guests. A seven-day European cruise starts at $999 for an oceanview stateroom for the first and second guests, with reduced fares for third and fourth guests.Explore4 covers select itineraries to nearly all of Holland America Line’s global destinations, including Alaska and Alaska/Yukon Land+Sea Journeys, Asia, Australia/New Zealand, Baltic, Bermuda, Canada/New England, Caribbean, Europe, Hawaii, Mediterranean, Mexico, Panama Canal and South America. Sharelast_img read more

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UK public broadcaster the BBC has agreed to fix it

first_imgUK public broadcaster the BBC has agreed to fix its level of funding of Welsh counterpart S4C until 2022.A letter sent this week by BBC Trust chairman Rona Fairhead to S4C Authority chairman Huw Jones confirms the BBC will provide S4C with £74.5 million (US$99.5 million) each year until the current licence fee agreement ends.The existing agreement with S4C was due to end in 2017, though the BBC Trust, which currently governs the BBC, had previous agreed an extension until 2018 in order to provide stability to the under-threat Welsh pubcaster.“I see this as the right thing to do in recognition of the important role played by S4C for Welsh speaking licence fee payers in particular and as a solid basis on which the S4C Authority and the new BBC Board can work together and maintain the very positive relationship which the BBC Trust has enjoyed with you and your colleagues,” wrote Fairhead in the letter.The BBC said the funding level was “some way above the average projected ‘read across’, which was agreed by the BBC with the [UK] Chancellor and Secretary of State as part of the licence fee agreement in July 2015”.The UK Conservative government earlier this year announced a “comprehensive review” of S4C’s remit, governance and funding, news that followed the revelation government investment in the service would be reduced from £6.7 million to £5 million by 2020.The BBC’s Welsh arm, BBC Cymru, is also bound to provide S4C with 10 hours of programming per week.In June, S4C hired the founder of factual indie TiFiNi, Amanda Rees, as its new director of content.last_img read more

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Deficit to GDP Debt to GDP

first_imgDeficit to GDPDebt to GDP Greece28.91% Italy$107,000$552,000 -8.5% -4.2% Dear Reader,Chris Wood here, filling in for David Galland. Today’s issue is full of good stuff. Robert Ross will kick it off with an interesting look at the future and economic implications of asteroid mining. Then Adam Crawford will delve into the troubling economic situation in France. And, of course, we’ll end it all with some Friday Funnies. Let’s get started. Space Prospecting: Planetary Resources and the Future of Asteroid MiningBy Robert Ross, Junior AnalystAlthough it may sound like it was ripped from the pages of an Isaac Asimov novel, asteroid mining could be a huge step forward for mankind. The concept has been around for over a century, with Russian scientist Konstantin Tsiolkovsky first postulating the idea in 1903. At the moment, the trek into the great asteroid-laden unknown is being led by one company – Planetary Resources.One thing Mr. Tsiolkovsky didn’t have was connections, something that Planetary Resources has in droves. With a lineup of investors and board members that includes various Google executives – including founder and CEO Larry Page and former CEO Eric Schmidt – acclaimed film director James Cameron, former Microsoft executive Charles Simonyi, and Ross Perot Jr., son of former presidential candidate Ross Perot. Seed funding shouldn’t be an issue.Nor did Tsiolkovsky have the vision. Planetary Resources has a three-step plan, with an aim to mine asteroids for water and precious metals. More specifically, the company intends to create a swarm of robotic spacecraft that can use artificial intelligence to coordinate complex mining operations without a human presence.The whole thing may seem like a bunch of eccentric billionaires getting together to throw hoards of money at a project with little possibility of success. But it’s not. According to the company’s president and chief engineer Chris Lewicki, Planetary Resources is already cash-flow positive:“When we started the company, one of the first things we did was to identify the roadmap that would get us from now until we got to the asteroids. That way, we could identify who would be interested in the things we’d be developing along the way. We already have contracts with NASA, some private companies, and even a few private individuals.”That roadmap starts with the Arkyd series 100, also known as the Leo Space Telescope. By designing and selling this “low-cost” telescope, the company believes it will be able to gain the necessary experience to develop more complex models, while generating cold, hard cash in the meantime.Artist conception of an Arkyd 100-series space telescope. (Credit: Planetary Resources)The Leo Space Telescope is designed to track and analyze the size and orbital patterns of near-Earth asteroids. But, in order to generate cash in the short term, the company plans to point some of the telescopes down at Earth. The satellites will gather vast amounts of data which can then be sold to universities, businesses, and governments. Planetary Resources claims the Leo Space Telescope will be sold on private markets at a price “in the single-digit millions,” making the Leo the first private space telescope on the market.The company plans to build on what it learns during the development and launch of the Leo Telescope to get to the next phase, the Arkyd Series 200 – Interceptor. The new fleet of satellites will have added propulsion capabilities, which will be used to hitch a ride on asteroids crossing through Earth’s neighborhood.According to Planetary Resources, two or more Interceptors can work in tandem to identify, track, and “fly by” near-Earth asteroids, capturing high-resolution data in the process.The new technology will also create an opportunity for the company to update our deep-space communication network. According to Lewicki, who has experience working on the Mars rover projects, the deep-space communication network currently in use is 50 years old and is based on primitive, Earth-based antennae. To improve upon this, the company seeks to develop small, low-power optical communications technologies to couple with the Interceptor, which would offer better communications than the limited bandwidth available on NASA’s network.The third phase of the project will expand upon the Interceptor design. By augmenting it with deep space laser communication capability, the Arkyd Series 300 – Rendezvous Prospector will allow the characterization of an asteroid’s value prior to mining operations, collecting data on the asteroid’s shape, rotation, density, and surface and subsurface composition. In short, the satellite will serve as a tool to establish which asteroids hold the most valuable resources and which are the most feasible to mine.The final phase is to actually mine these asteroids. Planetary Resources claims that the initial space-resource development projects will focus on water-rich asteroids. By focusing on water – which can be used in space for hydration, breathable air, radiation shielding, and formulating rocket fuel – the company hopes to enable large-scale exploration of the solar system.The company has a few ideas on how the actual mining operations will take place. One advanced technique mentioned by Lewicki is to harness the energy generated by the heat and cold differential on an asteroid; this is generated by sunlight hitting part of the asteroid while the rest is in shadow.. In theory, this should provide the energy needed to extract the targeted resources.Apart from making science-fiction fans cheer, mining asteroids has many implications for life inside and outside our atmosphere. It could make long-term space travel more feasible, since astronauts would not have to return to Earth to resupply certain essential resources, such as water, gas, oxygen, etc.Another attractive opportunity is the plethora of rare-earth metals – such as scandium, cerium, and gadolinium – contained in certain near-Earth asteroids. It’s speculated that a relatively small, 1.6-km diameter asteroid with the right physical characteristics could contain more than $20 trillion worth of industrial and precious metals. For example, near-Earth asteroid 16 Psyche is believed to contain 1.7×1019 kg of nickel-iron, which would be enough to supply current world production requirements for several million years. Not too shabby.Basic economics informs us that doubling or tripling the supply of anything while keeping demand constant will certainly drive down its price. If a Planetary Resources fleet returned from a voyage that increased the amount of gold on Earth by 100 times, the price of gold would certainly plummet.In step, by extending the reach of potential mining operations to space, Planetary Resources could potentially alter the way we currently conceptualize scarcity. It also has the potential to ruin the company’s return on investment.But Lewicki isn’t fazed:“Of course, it’s all about supply and demand, and we’re subject to those risks as much as any other company. But if we as engineers had materials that were best for a job and could use those materials all the time without thinking of the costs, it would change the world. It’s not about scarcity, it’s about access. Fundamentally, that’s what we’re focused on. We want to take opportunities and deliver value just like any other business. Only our business will extend the economic sphere into the solar system.Although this could leave some BIG GOLD subscribers shaking in their boots, don’t expect any of this to come to fruition any time soon. The company plans on launching its first Leo Space Telescope in 18-24 months, and it will probably be decades before any actual space mining takes place.Of course, the scientific community is not without skeptics. Former NASA aerospace engineer Louis Friedman says it would take “hundreds of millions of dollars” to get started. This shouldn’t be a problem considering Planetary Resource’s wealthy stakeholders and friends, not to mention the private sector’s ability to innovate and cut costs.It’s also worth noting that upcoming NASA mission OSIRIS-Rex will be engaging in some asteroid mining of its own. The mission’s goal is to harvest two ounces of material from an asteroid and return to Earth at a cost of about $1 billion. But we all know how efficient government-funded projects are.Private versus public arguments aside, there are some other fundamental issues related to asteroid mining. Friedman states that the company would have difficulty transferring raw materials extracted from asteroids back to Earth, given the cost of going in and out of Earth’s gravity well. So hang on to your gold.There’s also some competition, although it’s taking a different approach. Moon Express, led by Intelius founder Naveen Jain, seeks to mine the moon, and he’s already secured a $10-million NASA contract. But, considering the legal wrangling that would be involved with strip-mining the moon, I would be skeptical of the company’s outlook.In my opinion, both are interesting concepts that could have far-reaching implications for us here on Mother Earth. Could this technology allow humans to travel millions of miles into space, harvesting water and other nutrients from asteroids along the way?The science-fiction fan inside of me sure hopes so. France’s Economic CrisisBy Adam J. Crawford, Junior AnalystThus far, France’s troubled economy has eluded the spotlight of the popular press. This may soon change, however, as the realization that France’s economy is as fundamentally flawed as the highly publicized PIIGS economies takes hold.France looks like PIIGSFor many years, France has been on a borrowing binge while feeding those funds to its citizens through various entitlement programs. The amount borrowed each year has accumulated over time, resulting in the dangerously high level of debt to GDP seen today. Source: Bloomberg 107.8% Italy6.04% 120.1% -5.2% So far, France has escaped the wrath of the sovereign bond market. In fact, the yield on France’s 10-year bond recently slid to an all-time low. But the smart money is beginning to question the French government’s ability to repay its debt. The evidence can be seen in credit default swaps (CDS), which have spiked nearly 35% since March. The cost to insure $10 million in French debt for five years currently stands at $213,000 per year. This number is relatively small when compared to the cost to insure the debt of other troubled nations in the Eurozone. However, it is strikingly similar to the cost to insure the sovereign debt of these same troubled nations three short years ago. Italy Ireland$220,000$679,000 -9.1% David Hinman, comanager of SW Asset Management firm, believes insurance on French debt could soon follow the PIIGS’s path into the stratosphere:“The severity of French CDS’ going from 220 to 500 is going to be very meaningful and it could very easily happen. There is too much debt with very little prospects for them being able to work it out. I am not sure how all of this plays out.”This time isn’t differentOne thing is for sure: the boneheaded economic agenda of France’s newly elected Socialist leader will only make the country’s precarious financial situation much worse. Here’s a list of President Hollande’s most memorable campaign promises:Raise taxes on the “rich”Freeze fuel pricesIncrease welfare paymentsHire 60,000 new teachers; and“Make layoffs so expensive for companies that it’s not worth it” (my personal favorite).The scary thing is, implementing these reckless reforms should be a piece of cake given that the Socialists are likely to win a majority in the Parliamentary elections. If this does happen, expect to see soaring debt and a sinking stock market in the near future (just like last time the French elected a socialist leader).France’s economic predicament is but one of myriad opportunities the world’s shaky economy is presenting to self-directed investors. Some particularly intriguing speculations can be found in our flagship publication, The Casey Report, which is helping subscribers position themselves to profit from the Volatility Index, options on a Chinese index fund, and a host of emerging trends that Wall Street is ignoring.But perhaps the biggest opportunity that awaits subscribers – indeed, all investors – lies beneath the surface of the United States’ teetering economy. Friday FunniesCongratulations, GraduatesThe Source of Our ProblemsCongressional Express – Don’t Leave Home Without It!Greek MythologyThe Modern WorldThat’s it for today. Thank you for reading and subscribing to Casey Daily Dispatch.Chris Wood Senior Analyst Casey Research, LLC 165.3% Portugal 10.67% Greece Portugal$79,000$1,070,000 Spain6.51%center_img 10-year bond yield Ireland8.21% Spain France$39,000$213,000 -3.9% Spain$98,000$600,000 Source: Eurostat 2011 data 108.2% 85.8% 2012 2009 -13.1% Portugal This reckless borrowing ends and the painful – but necessary – economic contraction begins when the market punishes heavily indebted countries with higher interest rates. This is what is happening to Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece, and Spain. France Greece$162,000$8,161,000 Source: Bloomberg 68.5% Irelandlast_img read more

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From Jim Rogers… to Marc Faber… to Congressman Ron

first_imgFrom Jim Rogers… to Marc Faber… to Congressman Ron Paul, this book is sitting on the desks of some of the world’s smartest thinkers…And for good reason, too.Inside you’ll find 47 ways to protect your wealth from the declining value of the U.S. DollarDiscover FIVE of those 47 ways for free, right here. Sponsor Advertisement The northern hemisphere’s summer season is now history…and reality has returned. It sure doesn’t look good, does it?With North America shut for the Labour Day long weekend, there wasn’t much activity in the gold price yesterday…and volume was non-existent.  Gold traded a handful of dollars either side of the $1,690 spot mark…but managed to get as high as $1,697.10 spot just before Globex trading ended at 6:15 p.m. in London.  From that high it got sold off a few dollars into the close…and finished at $1,692.60 spot, up a buck from Friday.The only real signs of life were in the silver market.  After not doing much of anything up until 1:00 p.m. in London trading, the price began to develop a positive bias…and was actually up 60 cents at one point, before giving some of that back just before the 6:15 p.m. BST Globex close.Silver finished at $32.10 spot…up 36 cents from Friday.  Volume was very light as well.Of course the dollar index didn’t do much after the 6:00 p.m. Eastern time Sunday night open, either.With the U.S. shut tight, there was nothing from the CME, SLV, GLD…and the U.S Mint.However, the report from Switzerland’s Zürcher Kantonalbank for the period ending Thursday, August 30th showed that their gold ETF added 30,083 troy ounces and, if this number can be believed, they added an eye-watering 4,001,096 ounces of silver to their silver ETF during the August 22-30 reporting period.  I sent an e-mail to ZKB asking for confirmation of that silver number, but Nick Laird told me that it was correct.  That’s more than two full days of world silver production.Based on that number, one can only imagine just how much physical metal the SLV authorized participants must owe that ETF…but I would be bet that it’s quite a few orders of magnitude more than that.I’ve got a couple of charts for you today.  The first is from Australian reader Wesley Legrand.  It shows the gold price in both US$ dollar terms…the red trace…and non-US$ dollar terms…but blue trace.  As Wesley pointed out, there hardly seems to have been a correction at all when one looks at non-US currencies…more like a “sideways consolidation”.(Click on image to enlarge)The second chart is courtesy of reader Mark Childers…and shows World Gold Production for 2008.  It requires no further explanation from me.And lastly is this eye candy for silver lovers that Nick Laird sent me last night.  It’s titled “Gold/Silver Ratio: Future Potential Ratios“.  Please use the ‘click to enlarge’ feature…and then let your imagination run wild.(Click on image to enlarge)The main reason for today’s column is the long list of stories that I’ve accumulated over the weekend…and I hope you have the time to at least read the parts that I’ve cut and paste.  But, as always, the final edit is up to you.There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by the sword. The other is by debt. – John Adams, 1826Gold did virtually nothing yesterday, but it’s attempted foray to almost $1,700 the ounce got turned back shortly before the close of Globex trading in London at 6:15 p.m. BST yesterday.  Silver ran into the same seller as well.The northern hemisphere’s summer season is now history…and reality has returned. It sure doesn’t look good, does it?  There just isn’t any good news in sight…and the further the economic, financial and monetary can gets kicked down the road, the worse the disaster is going to be when it finally does blow up…or melt down…or both.There just isn’t any way out of this, except maybe the gold card…and the world’s banks and governments don’t have a “Plan B”…unless it is precisely that.  But, if they are going to play it at some point, then they’re keeping that secret awfully well.  It will be interesting to see if this new gold commission the Republicans have talked about at their national convention will amount to anything.  But one thing it will do, if it does comes to pass, is that will give even more publicity to the fact that fiat currencies always end up at their intrinsic value, which is zero.And as Alan Greenspan mentioned about a decade ago…and I’m paraphrasing here…fiat currencies, in extremis, may not be accepted as payment, whereas gold always will.It’s going to be a wild ride between now and Christmas…and there’s not much any of us can do except sit back and watch the show…all the while hoping that we’ve prepared for every eventuality as best we can.Not much happened during Far East trading on their Tuesday…although the gold price made a rather weak-kneed attempt to break above the $1,700 spot price once again, before getting sold down.  Nothing much is happening in London trading either, now that trading has been going on for a bit over two hours.  Volumes in both metals is reasonably light once again…and the dollar index is down about 10 basis points as I hit the send button at 5:15 a.m. Eastern time.See you tomorrow.last_img read more

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Justins note Todays essay comes from my collea

first_imgJustin’s note: Today’s essay comes from my colleague Jeff Brown, editor of The Near Future Report. Jeff has been working in the tech field for over two decades. He’s always on the lookout for the next world-changing developments. Last year, Jeff recommended chipmaker Nvidia – the best-performing stock of 2016 – before it climbed 330%. Today, he explains this year’s biggest tech trend…and why it’s just getting started…By Jeff Brown, editor, The Near Future Report Autonomous driving technology is about to completely upend the global automotive industry, which shipped 73.9 million vehicles in 2015. That represents a more than $2 trillion market. And that is just the beginning. As you can see in the chart below, the $2 trillion market for vehicles is several times larger than the consumer market for televisions, personal computers, or smartphones. Now, you might think that self-driving cars won’t be here until far off in the future. I wouldn’t blame you, either. In a Wall Street Journal article I read recently, it quoted a professor from Duke University who stated, “We’re a good 15 to 20 years out from [self-driving cars]…” I’ve also heard similar comments at industry conferences that I’ve attended from executives who work for the “old school” automotive companies. But you may, in fact, be surprised to hear that the technology is actually available today, in production, and being used by tens of thousands of people. Around where I live, in Silicon Valley, I typically see one or two of these vehicles driving around every single day. Yes, cars without drivers in their front seats. Every day. These vehicles are produced by Alphabet, formerly known as Google. They are used to shuttle around the company’s employees from location to location. There is no driver at all. Just room for two or three people to sit in the back of the car. Self-Driving Cars Will Be a Reality This Year Very few understand how quickly this autonomous driving technology is advancing. It will come as quite a surprise to most to see a fully autonomous passenger car on the market in 2017. The innovation that has taken place in semiconductors, specifically graphics processing units, or GPUs (camera vision, radar, and machine learning), is responsible for enabling what is truly exponential growth in technology development. 2016 was also a record year for funding early-stage automotive technology companies primarily focused in and around autonomous vehicle technology and related systems. Eighty-seven deals took place at a value in excess of $1 billion. On top of that, the U.S. House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee gave its approval for the SELF DRIVE Act. Given the pace of the progress, it is entirely possible that the bill could get through Congress before the end of the year. Recommended Link Revealed on Live Q&A Tomorrow: The Secret to Explosive Gains With Cryptocurrencies Teeka Tiwari’s cryptocurrency recommendations have given his readers the chance to make 1,241%… 2,050%… even 14,000% – in as little as 6 months. Tomorrow, Teeka’s revealing his secrets and answering your questions in a live Q&A. Click here to attend for free, and to submit your questions in advance. — Criminal investigation at Agora Financial! A serious crime was recently committed at Agora Financial headquarters. This is security-cam footage of the break-in. At this time, Baltimore Police have no credible leads on the identity of the thieves… But their own internal investigation points to a shocking possibility. To get all the details on this crime — and how it affects you — click here. Recommended Link — The legislation is significant in that it supports the deployment of driverless vehicles (this includes trucks for logistics) and, at the same time, blocks states from preventing these deployments. Also exciting is the launch of the new Tesla Model 3. The first 30 production models were delivered as planned on July 28. Tesla announced it now has more than 500,000 pre-orders for the Model 3. The car is absolutely beautiful and affordable, and it comes with the cleanest and simplest interior that I have ever seen in any car. Just about all the controls of the car are managed directly through a tablet-like screen that sits on the dashboard. And here’s the important part. Model 3s come loaded with all of the hardware for fully autonomous driving. A simple software download can be sent to the car to enable the features when they’re ready to be released to the public. The technology for fully autonomous vehicles will be ready well before the regulations get passed, therefore the regulatory discussions will be the gating factor for mass deployment. Self-Driving Cars Will Change Everything This is such an exciting time. Every month that passes brings major improvements in autonomous technology, more data, and more proof that the technology is already several times safer than human drivers. And the impact that autonomous technology will have on our society is remarkable. Once self-driving vehicles become the new norm, it is projected that… 1.2 million lives could be saved every year due to a massive reduction in traffic accidents. Car ownership will fall dramatically, potentially to a level where there is only one car per every 12 people. Auto insurance costs will decrease by at least 60%. Less fuel will be consumed, resulting in a 90% decrease in emissions. In total, it is estimated that there will be $1.3 trillion in savings from the adoption of autonomous cars. The savings will be driven by productivity gains, fuel savings, and accident avoidance. With such a strong tailwind, it is likely that children born in the next 10 years will never need to learn to drive a car. We are now at the very beginning of this explosive trend, but the potential is enormous… The autonomous vehicle technology market is forecast to reach $87 billion by 2030. Fully self-driving cars are on the verge of mass adoption. Not 10 years from now—right now. In 2017. So get ready… The future is here. Regards, Jeff Brown Editor, The Near Future Report P.S. This is just a short rundown of the autonomous car industry. There’s far too much to cover here. That’s why I put together a special online presentation to examine all the truly incredible things that are going on in this space – not to mention how I’m helping readers find the most profitable investment opportunities… It’s not Tesla or Alphabet. Click here to watch.last_img read more

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