OSU then-redshirt sophomore J.T. Barrett (16) carries the ball against Michigan on Nov. 28. OSU won, 42-13. Credit: Lantern File PhotoThe turnover of the roster from 2015 to 2016 has been the sweeping storyline in the offseason for Ohio State’s football team. Despite new faces bound to hit the field come September for coach Urban Meyer, three returning starters are receiving preseason notoriety.Redshirt junior quarterback J.T. Barrett, junior linebacker Raekwon McMillan and redshirt junior defensive lineman Tyquan Lewis were named to offensive and defensive player of the year watch lists, respectively.Barrett was named to the preseason Maxwell Award watch list. The Maxwell Award honors the nation’s player of the year and often is a predictor for the winner of the Heisman Trophy.Former Alabama running back Derrick Henry went on to win the Maxwell and the Heisman Trophy last year. Eddie George was the last Buckeye to win the award in 1995, who also won the Heisman.This is Barrett’s second nomination for the watch list in consecutive years. He was joined by former Buckeyes Ezekiel Elliott, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller on last year’s preseason watch list. Barrett was the backup quarterback behind current Buffalo Bill Cardale Jones to start the 2015 season. Following the victory over Penn State on Oct. 17, Barrett was named the starting quarterback. The 2014 National Freshman of the Year and Big Ten quarterback of the year threw for 992 yards, 11 touchdowns and four interceptions in 2015. He also ran for 682 yards on 115 attempts.McMillan and Lewis were named to the watch list for the Bednarik Award which is given to the nation’s defensive player of the year. OSU also had two players on the 2015 Bednarik watch list with former defensive end Joey Bosa and linebacker Joshua Perry. OSU has never had a Bednarik Award winner.As first-year starters last season, McMillan and Lewis both impressed along side the NFL talent on those units. McMillan will be expected to be the leader for the Scarlet and Gray linebackers in 2016 as the only returning starter from the year before. The Georgia native led the Buckeyes with 119 total tackles contributing four tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks.Lewis quietly made his presence felt on the same line as No. 3 overall pick Joey Bosa and fourth-round selection Adolphus Washington. Lewis led the defensive line with 54 total tackles, second behind Bosa with 14 tackles for loss and led with eight sacks in 2015.The Buckeyes begin the 2016 season on Sept. 3 at noon versus the Bowling Green Falcons.
For five Ohio State divers, The week of Feb. 1 through 8 was full of trials.OSU’s men and women divers competed in the 2010 USA Diving Winter Nationals and World Cup Team Trials starting Feb. 1 in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.From preliminary to semifinal to final events, the Buckeyes were constantly performing and refocusing for multiple events.USA Diving spokeswoman Jennifer Lowery said there are 10 titles at stake from the events. For the FINA World Cup Team, they will take the top two finishers from the individual 3-meter and individual 10-meter events, Lowery said.“So the winner is the national champion, and gets a spot on the World Cup Team, and second place gets an alternate,” Lowery said. “We’ll have a synchro trial in April to pick the two from those two events.”OSU senior Weston Wieser started off the week of trials in the men’s 1-meter preliminaries on Feb. 1. Wieser placed second with a 366.5.On Feb. 2, Wieser placed second in the men’s 3-meter preliminaries, but was eliminated in the quarterfinals on Feb. 4, placing 23rd.His last event, men’s 10-meter platform, started with quarterfinals Feb. 5 immediately followed by semifinals. Wieser came in fifth with a score of 418.80, just less than 15 points behind the fourth place.In the final round, Wieser’s first and final dive of the six rounds earned dive scores of 86.40. He came in fifth against competition like Olympic medalist David Boudia, who swept first place with just more than 116 points.OSU senior Ryan Jefferson also had a good showing, placing sixth in the preliminary round of men’s 3-meter springboard. The Wisconsin native placed ninth in the semifinals and finished ninth in finals with an 815.10.Feb. 4 marked the start of the week for OSU diver Katie Bell, who placed second in both women’s 10-meter platform preliminary/quarterfinals and semifinals. Bell, who won a U.S. national championship in August on the 10-meter platform, dove in two events on Feb. 6, placing third in the women’s 10-meter platform finals with an overall score of 670.85.Bell missed the spot on the FINA World Cup Team by 6.5 points, but qualifies for the U.S. Grand Prix Team that will compete May 6 through 9 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., against divers from 20 nations.In the women’s 10-meter synchro final later that day, Bell did not place among the top two qualifying spots. The synchro event is similar to the individual dive, but two divers perform the same dive together and are judged on their technique and synchronization.Joining Bell in the women’s 10-meter platform was junior Kristen Asman, who went into finals ranked sixth from her semifinal dive on Feb. 4. The Columbus native scored a 529.55 with an average score of 49.81 to take ninth place in finals.Rounding it out for the Buckeyes was third-year Bianca Alvarez.Alvarez competed in the women’s 3-meter springboard preliminary/quarterfinals, semifinals and finals. She placed seventh in the finals, just less than 78 points shy of second place after a failed first dive.The Miami, Fla., native paired up with 17-year-old Loren Figueroa. This was the first time the two have competed as a pair in 3-meter synchro event.“We don’t have a lot of our skills the same; a lot of our techniques might be a little bit different,” Alvarez said after her 3-meter synchro event Sunday. So basically that’s one thing we need to work on, just trying to get together more.”Alvarez said because her partner doesn’t live in Columbus, Figueroa will have to fly to Columbus to practice with Alvarez to prepare for future competitions together.Paired together at a synchronized diving camp attracting the top divers from across the country, Alvarez said those that run the camp make the evaluation of which two divers look best together.“They told us that we did [look the best together], so we stuck with that,” Alvarez said. “We just tried it out here at nationals.”Lowery said Sunday that the experience overall was great watching the OSU divers make it all the way to the finals.“I think Ohio State did really well. I think everyone made finals on their event. There was a really good representation: top five, top six,” Lowery said. “Katie Bell was third, Wes [Wieser] just got fifth. A really strong showing by the Buckeyes.”
Redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett (16) is carted away after suffering a right ankle fracture during the 4th quarter of a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 42-28. Credit: Chelsea Spears / Multimedia editorFor the second time in less than four months, the Ohio State football team will have to turn to its backup quarterback.Redshirt-freshman quarterback and Heisman candidate J.T. Barrett suffered a broken ankle during the second half of OSU’s 42-28 win over the Michigan Wolverines Saturday afternoon, forcing redshirt-sophomore Cardale Jones into action in The Game.Barrett is scheduled to have surgery Sunday, and will miss the remainder of the season.OSU co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said after the game he did not envision losing two possible Heisman candidates at the same position to injury in the same year.“I wouldn’t have asked for that,” he said. “This game is very crazy at times, throws you a lot of curveballs and you have to be able to adapt and adjust and I am sure we will be able to do that.”Senior tight end Jeff Heuerman, who was on the field when Barrett’s injury occurred, said, at first, he didn’t think the injury was severe.“I heard him yell, and I looked over…at first I thought he just got his bell rung (but) as soon as everyone got off of him, I just went over there and as soon as I saw his ankle…he (Barrett) didn’t realize it at first,” Heuerman said. “That is when I told him ‘you need to stay down for a second.’”With Barrett out for the season, Jones is set to make his first career start as a Buckeye next week in the Big Ten Championship Game.The Glenville High School product entered Saturday having attempted just 14 passes, eight of which were completed for 111 yards and two scores through the air.Jones finished the win over Michigan two for three on pass attempts for seven yards and added another 18 yards rushing on two carries.Herman said he was pleased with how Jones responded in such an intense atmosphere.“Great mentally. He missed the one pass to (redshirt-sophomore wide receiver Michael) Thomas, but mentally he was very in tune,” Herman said. “He keeps a headset on the entire game so he is in tuned to everything we are talking about. He is very engaged in everything that goes on in terms of in-between series adjustments, halftime adjustments, so he was ready to go.”OSU coach Urban Meyer said following the win that the Buckeyes will start preparing for the Big Ten Championship Game on Sunday, adding that the game plan won’t be adjusted that much with Jones at the helm.“We gotta go and we have a lot of confidence in the guy that’s going to be doing it, his name is Cardale Jones. He’s been here I think for 120 years,” Meyer said jokingly. “The good thing is they (Barrett and Jones) have a similar skill set and so it’s not like we’re going to have to drastically change things.”Sophomore safety Vonn Bell, who started the game with an interception on the second play from scrimmage, said the Buckeyes will continue to move forward with Barrett out.“We lost one of our soldiers today,” Bell said after the game. “Somebody has to pick up the rifle and keep on going.”Herman said after the game that although Barrett is out for the season, he does not want to discount the win over Michigan.“We are really, really happy for this team. You are happy for what we have accomplished in the regular season, you are happy to beat our rival at home and get a third pair of gold pants,” Herman said. “At the same time, your heart goes out to J.T. because he has not only meant so much to this team, but this team has meant so much to him and his growth as a young man. We will keep him involved as much as we can, and move forward.”Herman said that he believes the Buckeyes can still be successful with Jones, OSU’s third-string quarterback coming into the season.“The quarterback doesn’t have to win games for us anymore. The quarterback has to manage games, distribute the football and lead,” Herman said. “We have seen that throughout this season and so as long as he is mentally prepared…I have nothing but the utmost confidence that he (Jones) can get the job done because of what we have got around him.”One of those players will be sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott, who rushed for 121 yards and two scores against Michigan Saturday on just 17 carries.Redshirt-sophomore quarterback Cardale Jones (12) carries the ball during a game against Michigan on Nov. 29 at Ohio Stadium. Jones replaced an injured redshirt-freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett in the fourth quarter of OSU’s 42-28 win. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorElliott said after the win that he believes Jones’ experience in the off-season will help him moving forward.“He got a lot of reps in the spring, he got plenty of reps this fall, I think he is ready,” Elliott said. “I don’t think there will be a drop-off.”As another one of the offensive weapons, Heuerman said he believes Herman will be able to coach Jones to success.“Coach Herman has obviously already been through this. Offensively man, we have a lot of talented guys that have played a lot of football this year. They are going to have to step up and make up for lost ground,” Heuerman said. “Cardale is an outstanding athlete, has a super strong arm. He can make the big plays we need to get this team rolling. We are going to have to rely on him, offensively and as a team.”The Buckeyes are set to travel to Indianapolis to take on Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game Dec. 6. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m.
There’s been some movement in the rankings in the second annual Digital IQ Index study on the magazine industry from market research firm L2, which measures digital strategy execution among 80 magazine brands. TIME, which last year ranked as the number-one brand executing across digital, social and mobile platforms, was knocked off the top spot by Wired, which this year was the only brand to achieve “Genius” status. The study has traditionally measured brand competence across website, digital marketing, social media and mobile platforms. But this year, the methodology was expanded to include tablets. Each brand is given a point value based on how well content, marketing, engagement and advertising tactics are deployed within and across the five segments. Wired, for example, is lauded for its early-mover mentality on tablets and the way content is deployed and shared among different platforms. “Wired maintains a best-in-class digital edition for iPad, featuring embedded social sharing of feature articles, highly varied examples of interactive exhibits, and extensive links between app content and Web content,” says the report. “In the past year, this experience has been ported to Nook, Kindle, and Android tablets. Wired has also acquired 1.4 million followers on Google+ and 100,000 followers on Instagram.”TIME bumped down to the sixth-ranked brand, but Time Inc., Condé Nast, and Hearst dominated the top ten:1. Wired2. The New Yorker3. Entertainment Weekly and Glamour (tie) 5. Better Homes and Gardens6. Time7. Elle8. Seventeen9. Sports Illustrated10. Cosmopolitan, Forbes, People, The Economist (tie)Merely having a presence on the various digital platforms is a positive step, but the study also takes into account how well the brands, advertisers and audience are leveraged and engaged across the platforms. One finding, for example, notes that publishers and advertisers have yet to fully take advantage of mobile. According to the study, 80 percent of digital editions feature ads that link to external sites, only 17 percent of ads differ from their print counterparts. Pinterest has commanded the highest launch rate for brands since last year’s report. In 2011, there were 3 brands that counted the social platform as one of the top eight referral sources. This year, that metric has jumped to 30 brands. Meanwhile, Facebook is being underleveraged for engagement, the report concludes. While the Facebook audience for brands tends to be the largest among the platforms, engagement tactics such as fan postings, polling, contests and interactive apps are lagging. Tellingly, with all the talk and activity around integrated marketing, few brands appear to be truly executing on it, says the report. While factors not necessarily in the control of publishers may be at play here, the report does note that only 15 percent of brands are extending advertising programs across two or more digital platforms. Less than half of them promote an advertiser on any digital property beyond the website or tablet edition. “In sum, magazines are failing to deliver on a primary ask of their advertisers—integrated digital campaigns,” concludes L2 founder Scott Galloway. While Wired was the only brand out of the 80 to receive a Genius-level ranking, other rankings in the study are Gifted, Average, Challenged and Feeble, which included 28, 36, 11 and 4 brands respectively. For more on the study, click here.
Darjeeling: It was Asha’s first ever tryst with Darjeeling that she had heard about from her father and grandfather, not quite the one that she was born and brought up in. Asha, a Class 9 student of a Hill school, was used to a Darjeeling where rallies, slogan shouting and bandhs were a daily affair. The days of unrest usually paved way for agitations marred with violence. But today, the scenario is very different. On Saturday, thousands of students along with people from all walks of life, took to the street with flags and cheered, sang and danced to celebrate the spirit of Darjeeling and the teams they support for the upcoming football World Cup. The frenzy gripped the Queen of Hills that was labeled as Darjeeling — the World Cup Town 2018 by the citizens. Also Read – Heavy rain hits traffic, flightsThough the world will ring in the football World Cup on June 14, Darjeeling kick started the frenzy on June 2 with a mega event organised by Darjeeling North Point School Alumni Association (DNPSAA,) along with various other organisations, NGOs and citizens of the region.”We are celebrating the spirit of Darjeeling along with our love for the game. We want people to know that Darjeeling is peaceful and the nicest place in the world. We want people from all over the world to visit Darjeeling,” stated Ajoy Edwards, Vice-President, DNPSAA. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Merc, 2 B’deshi bystanders killedVeteran footballers, students from different Hill schools, locals and even tourists joined in the parade that went around Chowrasta and down Nehru Road to return to where it began. The marchers shouted slogans and danced to football-themed songs. The parade was led by footballer Nirmal Chettri of FC Goa.The town was decorated with separate team flags, roadside walls painted up and billboards put up giving the town which is witnessing a huge tourist onrush, a festive look. The day saw cheer-leading competitions, garage sales by Shanker Foundation; dance fiesta by Edith Wilkins Street Children’s Trust; bike and scooty rallies from Kurseong hosted by MARG; mountain bike rally; BMX stunts; cosplay, b-boying; face painting; nail art; hair do; musical performances and beat boxing. The bike rally from Darjeeling to Kurseong and back was a major attraction. Even women riding scootys, mountain bicycles were part of it. Aces — the Super Bike club from Siliguri also joined them. “I had heard from my father and grandfather that Darjeeling used to be the safest, most peaceful and cosmopolitan place in the country. It was a great place to live in. In the past, I had never seen anything to connect the town with such claims. However, today (Saturday) was different. Hope we get back all the goodness of good old Darjeeling soon,” said Asha. The award for the cheer leading competition was won by Gyanodaya Niketan School, Darjeeling. An award for best decorated area of the town (World Cup theme) was also announced. 10-year-old Pratham Thapa, an MTB rider, was also felicitated. “The event is not just about fun. It has an underlying cause. With the participation registration amount we will buy an ambulance for our project the Clinic on Wheels. This is an ambulance fitted with a mobile lab and ECG machine. The mobile clinic will visit far flung areas every week and provide medical test facilities to the marginalized at highly subsidized costs,” stated Deven Gurung, president, DNPSAA. The organisers also want to revive the golden era of football in the Hills including the famous Brigade of Gurkhas Gold Cup football tournaments.”Even back home celebrations have not yet commenced. Darjeeling has beaten us. I’m happy to see that England too has quite a fan following in Darjeeling,” stated Neil, a tourist from England.
June 29, 2001Arcosant Organics manager Adam Nordfors recently used the barn on the ranch to dry the many braids of garlic intended for sale at our own farmers’ market. [photo by Jennifer Thornton]
Over one in five US pay TV subscribers now take an online video service through their pay TV provider, up from 10% a year ago, according to research from Parks Associates.According to the research group’s report 360 View: Access and Entertainment in US Broadband Households, some 21% of US pay TV customers now take an online TV service from their provider.Overall, some 18% of US pay TV households take a subscription package from an online video service such as Sling or a traditional provider now offering an online video bundle.Brett SappingtonParks Associates calculated that pay TV subscription rates in the US dropped from 86% in 2015 to 77% late last year, with 84% of those pay TV subscribers taking a service from a traditional cable, satellite or telecom provider.“The number of ‘cord never’ households – which have never had pay-TV service – is increasing slowly, but those who have sampled pay TV are testing new alternatives,” said Brett Sappington, senior director, Parks Associates.“The percentage of those open to cancelling pay TV or minimizing their monthly spend on pay TV is also up. This ongoing shift is affecting all aspects of service design, promotion, packaging, and pricing. As a result, operators are having to reassess their technology and content investments as well as their partnerships and go-to-market strategy.”
ShareTweet POLICE VOW TO CRACKDOWN ON DRINK, DRUG AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR was last modified: September 22nd, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: THE PSNI say they plan to crackdown on young people annoying residents in Derry through various forms of anti-social behaviour.Police have issued pictures of what young people have been put to in the Sandale area.A police spokesperson said: “Ballyarnett Neighbourhood Team have received reports of young people meeting up and engaging in underage drinking, drug use and anti-social behaviour in the Sandale area. BALLYARNETT NEIGHBOURHOOD TEAMDRUG AND ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOURPOLICE VOW TO CRACKDOWN ON DRINKPSNIsandale area “This behaviour is distressing local residents.“And the young people are not taking into consideration how vulnerable they are making themselves whilst under the influence of these substances.“Police will be monitoring the area over the weekend.“So please do not let it be your child we have to return home.”
Rock & Stock StatsLastOne Month AgoOne Year Ago TSX (Toronto Stock Exchange)12,231.0611,759.9413,401.48 Gold Junior Stocks (GDXJ)26.3726.3036.45 Silver Stocks (SIL)22.1021.5023.90 Dear Readers,Mining companies are starting to release Q411 production figures, soon to be followed by earnings. It will be an interesting time. Gold is still well off its recent peak, so expectations may be realistic for a change, and that would be a good thing. On the other hand, costs – particularly royalties and taxes – are rising all over the world, and mining is always a messy, difficult business, so we’re expecting a mix of the good, the bad, and the downright ugly in the weeks ahead. This can create buying opportunities, so we’ll be keeping a sharp eye out for good bargains put on sale for the wrong reasons. Gold1,635.501,672.501,381.50 Silver29.6431.3429.22 Oil99.03100.1491.39 Gold Producers (GDX)54.0554.0456.05 TSX Venture1,536.031,458.432,289.00 Copper3.633.434.37 Meanwhile, Andrey Dashkov has followed Jeff Clark’s lead on looking at gold corrections and done similar work for silver, which already seems to us to be offering the market good opportunities.Remember, there’s more volatility ahead, so keep some powder dry – that’s the way you make volatility your friend.Sincerely,Louis JamesSenior Metals Investment StrategistCasey ResearchWhen Will Silver Make a New High?By Andrey Dashkov, Research AnalystIn last week’s Metals, Mining, and Money, Jeff Clark estimated that given the magnitude of the correction that started last September, it may take until May 2012 for gold to reach a new high. This week let’s take a look at how long it may take for silver to rebound.It’s a commonly known fact that silver is more volatile than gold. Already in this decade, silver has risen by a factor of 12 from its ten-year low ($48.70 vs. $4.07), while gold has seen about a sevenfold climb ($255.95 vs. $1,895).This volatility – as you’ll see in a minute – holds for corrections as well. On average, silver’s retreats have been deeper and longer than gold’s. The three big gold corrections we looked at last week averaged 22.8%. Take a look at the three biggest for silver, along with how long it’s taken to recover and establish new highs.(Click on image to enlarge)The three biggest silver corrections in the current bull market average to 42.1%.Our recent correction is the second biggest on record since 2001, but what really makes it stand out is the duration. The 2004 and 2006 declines took only five and four weeks respectively to reach their low points. And it was 31 weeks after the crash of 2008 that silver bottomed. Our current decline, measured from the peak reached on April 28, 2011 to its December 29, 2011 low, spans 35 weeks… quite the determined downtrend.It also takes silver longer to recover than gold: gold’s three biggest corrections required an average of 57 weeks and 6 days to regain their old highs, while it’s taken silver’s three biggest falls an average of 98 weeks and 4 days to catch up.So how long will it take to recover from the 2011 slump? We don’t know the future, of course, but the current correction is close to the average of the three in the chart, so let’s apply the average recovery time to our current situation. The average 42.1% correction took 98 weeks and 4 days to recover; using the same ratio, a 46.3% correction would take 108 weeks and 3 days. Counting from the previous peak of April 28, 2011, we wouldn’t break the $48.70 high until May 26, 2013 (based on London PM Fix prices).[Ed. Note: Last week, we inadvertently reported the recovery period from gold’s low instead of its previous high, which is how all recovery periods in both that and this chart were measured. Thanks to reader John D for catching this. The good news is that gold could hit new highs sooner than the August date we originally projected.]It shouldn’t come as a surprise that silver will take longer to return to its old high than what we found with gold in last week’s article. Why? Half of silver’s use is industrial, so a weak economy can drag down its demand. We certainly saw that in 2008.And an exact date is pure conjecture, of course, and ignores fundamental factors that directly influence the price. 2011 is not 2008. In fact, we’ve already seen an interesting shift in investment activity in both gold and silver markets. The Silver Institute pointed out in a recent market report that “investor activity” was the biggest contributing factor to both last April’s rally as well as September’s selloff. Meanwhile, demand for physical metal has not only held firm but was projected by GFMS to reach a new record high in 2011.Investment demand is rooted in the metal’s monetary characteristics. It’s not a stretch to say that we expect silver to regain its currency appeal soon, given the amount of worldwide fiat currency destruction. This will be perhaps the strongest catalyst for prices going forward. We wouldn’t want to be without any silver.Take-AwaysIf there’s anything that sticks out from this bird’s-eye view of the past ten years of data, it’s that corrections are normal. And just as obvious is the fact that corrections end.As with gold, the silver bull market is far from over, regardless of any weakness we may see in the near term. Don’t be the impatient investor who gives up too early. And trying to time the market for a short-term profit shouldn’t be the strategy in the midst of a long-term bull market. Instead, keep silver’s fundamentals in mind: its industrial uses are growing and, like gold, silver is money.That said, we believe that the window for buying silver at $30 won’t be open for too long. The profit you someday realize from silver will be made buying now, when the price is low.[Holding your assets in dollars, euros, or other paper currencies is like giving the government permission to rob you. There’s a better way to store your wealth.]Gold and Silver HEADLINESDon’t Believe In Gold? That’s Okay, Just Leave It To The Chinese (Forbes)The latest data on Chinese gold imports look very bullish for the yellow metal. A record 102.2 tonnes (3.3 million troy ounces) were imported into China in November 2011, up 20% from October and an incredible 483% over November 2010. Preparation for the Lunar New Year is the likely factor for much of this activity, but given the opaque nature of the Chinese gold market, it’s difficult to trace the buyers.Meanwhile, a representative of People’s Bank of China stated that the current weakness in price should be used to further diversify the country’s foreign exchange reserves into gold. We believe that a significant portion of the world’s gold bullion is currently undergoing a shift in ownership, from West to East.Hecla Must Shut Down Lucky Friday for Entire Year; Stock Down 20% (Mining)After an accident at its Lucky Friday mine in Idaho, Hecla Mining was forced to shut down the mine for the entire year. The accident occurred on December 14 and involved seven miners who received minor injuries. Two miners also died last year. The tragedies led to an investigation, which in turn resulted in a decision that the built-up material in the shaft should be removed, a costly and lengthy job. Lucky Friday represents about 30% of the company’s silver output. Unsurprisingly, the share price plummeted 21% on the day of the news, with some dubbing it the “Unlucky” Friday mine.We don’t follow Hecla in any of our paid newsletters, but we’ll admit the potential contrarian opportunity raised our eyebrows. That said, it’ll be 2013 before the mine is back in operation, so there’s time to see if the stock gets cheaper and offers better entry points.From Gold Bras to Gold Bars (Wall Street Journal)Jean-Paul Gaultier – a famous French fashion designer – has created a one-ounce 24-karat gold bar that’s engraved with rays, a heart, and Gaultier’s name. Would we buy it? It sells for 10% over spot – less than we thought it would, but we’ll let those with a taste for luxury and tolerance for high premiums take it. That said, it could expose gold to a customer base that hadn’t considered it before.What forms of gold do we buy? We interviewed some of the top bullion dealers in the industry in the current issue of BIG GOLD and got their recommendations on what forms of gold will someday be easiest to sell, what forms to avoid, and even which product currently has no reporting requirements when it’s sold. Get these experts’ insights along with a special discount on a Buffalo coin you can’t get anywhere else with a risk-free trial subscription to BIG GOLD.
In This Issue… * Greeks decide to keep euro… * U.S. posts Monthly Budget Surplus! * JP Morgan throws a spanner… * Eric Sprott talks about manipulation… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! Mini-Rally Is Reversed… Good day… And a Happy Friday to one and all! What a quick week! We have a Happy Hour planned tonight, so I can tell right from the starters blocks this morning that it’s going to be a Fantastico Friday! Next week I’ll be in Las Vegas… not my kind of city, but it is what it is, and I’ll be there to speak on two different days, so if you’re in the area, drop by, the MoneyShow is free! Well… that little mini-rally that a handful of currencies saw yesterday, faded overnight, and that handful of currencies are all back to the levels of Wednesday… UGH! The handful, in case you were wondering, included: Aussie dollar (A$), euro, Brazilian real, Norwegian krone, Swedish krona, Singapore dollar (S$), and a couple of others… Yesterday, we saw the U.S. Trade Deficit widen from $45.4 Billion in March to $51.88 Billion in April… It’s not all with China folks… the majority is with OPEC… remember, the price of Oil in April was well over $100 all month! We also saw the Initial Weekly Jobless Claims, which was flat VS the previous week at 367,000… The Continuing Claims remain a problem, folks… I know I talked yesterday about jobs, etc. and I received a few emails from very disgruntled folks, that have been looking for jobs, and don’t believe there are any out there to be found… That brings me to the thing that I’ve said since 2008… that a lot of the jobs that were lost were not going to come back… and the jobs that did open up, were going to be completely different, than what the unemployed person was trained to do… I’m not insensitive to this, folks… I just tried to get it out there a few years ago, so that people could begin to make changes… OK… so, did you see that the Monthly Budget Statement, which had been a deficit each and every month for so long that I had begun to call it the Monthly Budget Deficit, actually stopped the bleeding in April? The Gov’t posted a $59.1 Billion surplus in April… WOW! OK… hold on a minute there, Tim… Isn’t April the month that all taxes owed are collected? (for the most part any way) the key here is to see where this balance goes the next couple of months… My bet is that it will go right back to the monster deficits that were seen every month prior to April… Today, we’ll see wholesale inflation (PPI) for April, and the U of Michigan Confidence index… Overnight, we heard that the Greeks were having second thoughts about electing an anti-euro government, and now it appears that the government that will be elected will keep the euro, no questions asked… That’s nice of them! Obviously, calmer, smarter heads prevailed here, because I don’t believe that the Greeks want to see what life is like for them outside of the euro! Euro traders are kind of lost between two lovers here. They just can’t figure out whether they want Greece to leave a stay… Should I stay or should I go now, If I go there will be trouble, and if I stay it will be double… The Aussie dollar (A$) had climbed back above $1.01 yesterday, but is right back to Wednesday’s level of $1.0050 this morning… losing ½-cent overnight… The other day, I talked about the forecast Aussie Budget Surplus for next year… Well, while that would be great for them should they achieve that surplus, it won’t really be known if that’s going to be a reality until September… I also told you a couple of weeks ago, that I thought it was bond buyers of Aussie Gov’t Bonds (ACGB’s) were behind the resiliency of the A$ in the face of a rate cut… Of course back then, I thought that the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) was only going to cut 25 basis points, and the surprised the markets with a 50 basis point rate cut… That severely inhibited the resiliency of the A$… And I talked about how it is believed that if Australia does achieve a Budget Surplus that the supply of ACGB’s would drop by a large margin… So, if that’s true, that underpinning that the A$ enjoyed from bond buyers, would be damaged… But, as I told a small group the other day… “Even if the A$ falls to 95-cents, it’s still a strong currency, just 10 years ago it was trading around 50-cents…” As far as today’s prospects for a Risk On Day go… I think the chance are slim and none, and Slim left town… All the overnight bourses are down, and U.S. stock futures are down… Everyone is running for the hills after a story in the Wall Street Journal hit the streets last night… According to the WSJ report, “J.P. Morgan Chase has taken $2 billion in trading losses in the past six weeks and could face an additional $1 billion in second-quarter losses due to market volatility” – WSJ Most of you all know how I would have reacted to this report in “the old days”… So, this is your chance to “be like Chuck”… and give me your version of what Chuck would have said in the old days… (you don’t really have to send it to me, unless you think you have really nailed it!) I think I’ll talk about Silver now (wink, wink)… Did you see that China had introduced Silver Futures Contracts that will trade in renminbi / yuan, on the Shanghai Futures Exchange? The contracts will not be allowed to fluctuate more than 7% per day… I have to wonder how the Chinese are going to take seeing the price of Silver brought down in after hours trading… And did you know that China is now the world’s leading producer of Silver? No, it’s not Mexico, and no it’s not Peru… It’s China… And that’s good, because China is the world’s second leading consumer of Silver behind the U.S. Have you been following the news on Scotland contemplating leaving the U.K.? That would be a HUGE blow to the U.K., not only prestige wise, but monetarily… Scotland’s economy is second in contribution to the U.K. economy, coming behind the Southeast part of England… The pound sterling, which has defied gravity recently, is beginning to feel the weight of doing a double dip in the recession pool, and everything else that’s going on badly there… like this morning they reported that March Construction output was very disappointing, which points to a downward revision to 1st QTR GDP, that already showed that the U.K. economy was going for a double dip… Gold enjoyed a day in the sun yesterday, but it’s raining on the shiny metal again this morning… It seems that we’ve returned to the days around 2008 and early 2009, where the dollar is rewarded with bad data… Dollar Bugs will tell you that this is how it should be, as the only true safe haven is the U.S. dollar, and Treasuries. I want to hit these dollar bugs over the head with a Gold Bar! Maybe then they would find the true safe haven! Speaking of Gold… I did some math about a year ago and ran it here, and with all the talk about the U.S. paying off its debts by selling its Gold holdings, I thought it best to pull this back out…There are 5,046 tons of gold at Fort KnoxThere are 7,716 tons of gold at Fed NY Total = 12,762 tons… there are 32,000 ounces in a ton, 12,762 tons x 32,000 = 408,384,000 x $1,590 (price of Gold) = $649,330,560,000 Sorry… but $650 Billion doesn’t even pay for the stimulus that was thrown at us a couple of years ago! But… if the price of Gold were to be pushed up to, let’s say, $5,000… Then we would be talking about making some inroads to the debt! And if the price were pushed to $10,000, then we’re getting somewhere, but… we would still be left with a very large national debt… You see that’s the problem with deficit spending… at some point, the numbers become so HUGE that you can’t make a difference in total unless you come in with both guns blazing! And then keep those guns blazing! Doing one-off corrections, are only chinks in the armor… For long time readers… do you remember a few years ago, when I tried to show the knuckleheads at CNBC that the markets were being manipulated in the afterhours trading, and they laughed and told me to take the story to Hollywood? Well… CNBC has come a long way, I guess, for they allowed Eric Sprott to talk freely about manipulation the other day… Of course maybe not that long a way, as I wanted to include the link to the video here, but it’s not working… and the folks at CNBC did attempt to ridicule him…. But he would have none of it! Maybe CNBC will have it fixed later, just Google Eric Sprott at CNBC, and look for the most recent video.. Anyway, Eric Sprott, Ted Butler, and others, including me, have done our best to inform the public of what’s going on… Maybe one day, We The People will get the message… and exercise our right to contact our representatives and discuss this with them… Then There Was This… I saw this on Reuters… “Financial advisers increasingly warn that U.S. Treasury bonds are close to a bubble and suggest that clients look elsewhere for stable and safe returns. Alternatives recommended include investment-grade corporate and emerging-market bonds, master limited partnerships and preferred stocks.” Chuck again… Hmmm… I liked that they had finally come around to noticing the Treasury bubble, but nowhere on their list of alternatives did I see Gold? To recap… the mini-rally in a handful of currencies yesterday, was wiped out in the overnight markets, and the currencies and Gold are back to Wednesday’s levels. The Greeks agree to elect a government that keeps Greece in the euro. The U.S. posted a monthly surplus for the first time a very long time in April, but then tax collections are made in April, one would think that if they can’t book a surplus in April, when could they? And JP Morgan has really thrown a spanner in the works for a Risk On Day, with their aftermarket announcement yesterday…Currencies today 5/11/12… American Style: A$ $1.0040, kiwi .7845, C$ .9950, euro 1.2935, sterling 1.6110, Swiss $ 1.0770, … European Style: rand 8.1150, krone 5.8650, SEK 6.9550, forint 224.20, zloty 3.2815, koruna 19.52, RUB 30.15, yen 80, sing 1.2520, HKD 7.7650, INR 52.64, China 6.31, pesos 13.54, BRL 1.9530, Dollar Index 80.25, Oil $96, 10-year 1.85%, Silver $28.66, and Gold… $1,582.70That’s it for today… Well… Let’s see… today we will celebrate two birthdays on the trading desk, Lori/ Gidget and Aaron will see their birthdays this Sunday… So Happy Birthday Gidget & Aaron! Sunday, of course, is Mother’s Day… This is a day when I truly miss my mom… and not the mom that was devastated by MS later in life… the mom that would come downstairs and listen to me play the guitar. She loved it when the band got together to play in the basement, and most of all, she was always there for me, and sometimes I didn’t deserve to be “there for”, but that didn’t stop her… So, if your mom is around, give her a great big bear hug, and tell her you love her! OK… time to get this out the door… you’ve been a lovely audience, thank you for reading the Pfennig… I was here all week, I hope you tried the veal! Talk to you next week from Las Vegas… now go out and have a Fantastico Friday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
Have fun together. Every week, and sometimes it seems every day, there are all sorts of opportunities to have fun together. Hikes, horseback riding, golf, dinners out, wine tastings, local festivals, the weekly craft group, special events… there are nearly endless opportunities to reach out and engage with other members of the community in fun and interesting ways that help cement relationships and promote goodwill.There’s more, but those seem to me to be the basics.I have come to the conclusion that pretty much every community is the same – and that they are all living, breathing organisms. That organism can be healthy and happy, it can have good days and bad, it can become dysfunctional and even dangerous (the disturbing article I recently reprinted on the war in Bosnia provides a good example of the latter).The difference in the mindset of the community will depend on a number of the factors, most wrapped up in the complexities of human nature. While those complexities make it close to impossible to guess what will happen next, from my personal observations, for a community to thrive, it requires real commitment from its members.That has probably been the biggest revelation in all of this. That a community needs everyone – or at least a solid core – to work together in good faith to keep it moving in a positive direction.This awakening to the idea of being a part of a community of people has caused me to reflect on how the same dynamic operates on a bigger population.The Government of the People Is Just PeopleMany people, myself included, like to refer to the “government” as if it was a separate entity (typically made up of some sort of lower life form). In reality, it’s just a group of people. Sure, many in that group may have an aberrant psychology that draws them into a career of professional meddling, but they are people just the same.In essence, the individuals making up the government of a nation-state are comparable to the board of directors of a homeowners’ association. If operating properly, then that HOA board listens to the concerns of the broader community and implements constructive solutions that do no harm in the process.On the other hand, when the people in a government become collectively dysfunctional – when, for instance, they overstep their authority to meddle in the economy for philosophical reasons, or to favor a certain constituency without regard to the unintended consequences – it will inevitably lead to an economic train wreck and otherwise cause havoc within the community.Imagine, if you will, a community of 100 people where a small cadre of, say, five people held complete power – even over life and death – and who became unhesitant in abusing it for personal or philosophical purposes. In such a set-up, the possible outcomes are as varied as they are worrying.Well, in countries around the globe, that very set-up, but on a larger scale, now exists. Thus you can have a European Union where rules are passed requiring Portuguese fishermen to burn their boats, or an American president decides it is acceptable to use drones to regularly assassinate people on the other side of the world, collateral damage be damned.In the case of the latter, Obama is just another human with his own particular subset of the same good and bad character traits found across the human spectrum. The only difference is that those character traits are amplified by the amount of power he has been given.Importantly, there is one character trait – self-interest – that invariably informs every human action.It’s easy to understand why self-interest trumps everything else: Over the millennia humans lacking a healthy sense of self-interest were soon deleted from the gene pool.In a smaller, well-functioning community, self-interest might be expressed by people complaining about workers leaving garbage by the side of the road, which, in addition to being unsightly, may reduce property values. As the people in charge of the homeowners’ association share that interest, and furthermore don’t want to be subjected to complaints down at the clubhouse, they will take steps to fix the problem.In a dysfunctional nation-state, however, self-interest among the population often leads to demands for an extra measure of slop from the public trough, or for concessions and regulations so that a business may gain a leg up on would-be competitors. (In the latter category, I love the long licensing process and rigorous testing demanded of want-to-be hair dressers in most US states.)Attuned to every opportunity to suck up to the voters, and attract or retain contributors, it is entirely to be expected that the politicians will respond to these requests from the community, even to the extent of printing up hundreds of billions of currency units to spread around, whatever the consequences may be.Furthermore, when squeezed to take some sort of action to curb the money printing/spend-a-thon, it is entirely natural that they will firmly resist, trotting out all manner of threatening or heartrending worst-case scenarios for why the cuts shouldn’t be made.And so it is that the logical and pressing need to address a fundamental problem facing the world – excessive government debt being made worse with each passing day by historically unprecedented levels of deficit spending – is set aside in favor of political expediency.By ignoring the consequences, the leadership dooms the community to an epic failure.Some ConclusionsIn the case of a small community, the leadership has to face the community members on a daily basis. That results in a certain social restraint against really bad decisions.In the nation-state, however, the leadership is so far removed – isolated even – from the community that it feels no personal inconvenience from bad decision-making. Of course, a democracy is designed to incorporate a mechanism – the voting booth – for punishing bad decisions.In reality, however, this aspect of the system has been entirely gamed thanks to the money printing just mentioned. Carrying the vote is as simple as deploying those currency units to serve the self-interests of a sufficient number of people come election day.Importantly, however, the money printing can’t void fundamental reality. And the fundamental reality is that the money printing is just making the truly dangerous fiscal and monetary situation much worse. As a consequence, the failure of what has become a deeply dysfunctional community is inevitable.Earlier I mentioned that for the first time in my life, I feel invested in my community. That’s because as the Argentines like to say, I have come to the conclusion that this is “Mi lugar” – my place. Simply, it has everything I feel is essential to living an extremely high quality of life, far outweighing the negatives of life in a rural town far from anywhere (which I tend to find amusing, as opposed to the US, where the negatives seem increasingly dangerous to me).That said, with my newfound appreciation of community, I understand that many Americans feel the larger community they belong to is worth trying to save. And so they diligently show up every voting day and in between attend rallies for a return to some sort of fiscal, political, military sanity.Unfortunately, they are in the minority compared to those who view the government as a near-magical organization able to suspend fundamental reality and solve every problem by passing yet more legislation and by printing up pallets of fresh currency units – all for the purpose of providing the community with a life unfettered with financial worries.Making matters worse, this mindless majority is unwilling to roll up its sleeves and actually do the hard work necessary for a healthy community to persist. Instead, it looks to the productive few to keep their shoulders hard against the grindstone, then turn over the bulk of the fruits of their labor to the state to redistribute.This is not a formula for success but for failure. And, unless something dramatic changes, fail it will.Personally, I am more convinced than ever that the decision to move to this small town, and to be part of this community, was the best possible move I could have made for me and my family. I know this place, or off-the-beaten-track places like it, won’t suit everyone. Regardless, I think it’s important to pause for a moment to assess the health of your community. If it is failing, and you are powerless to stop that from happening, spending time casting about for more vigorous climes might not be such a bad idea.And the money printing is only one way in which the dysfunctional leaders undermine their communities. Another is manipulating interest rates.On that front, Casey Research Chief Economist Bud Conrad has been watching the credit markets and provided this update on interest rates that makes for a good background for the more detailed analysis he provides in this month’s edition of The Casey Report.The Bond Bubble Is About to BurstBy Bud ConradIt is my contention that the 70-year debt supercycle has come to an end.To put the current financial situation in perspective, here’s a long-term history of the debt-to-GDP ratio, which reached a record high at the beginning of the current crisis. It was a dramatic change in 2009, unlike anything since the aftermath of the Great Depression.(Click on image to enlarge)The highest the debt-to-GDP ratio had previously been for the United States was 301% at the bottom of the depression in 1933 when GDP collapsed and debt was high. The level became unsustainable in 2009, despite low interest rates. Weak borrowers were signing up to finance houses that they thought would increase in price forever. The point of the chart is that this downturn is different from all the recessions since World War II.Total market debt includes debt of the federal government, state governments, households, business, financial institutions, and to foreigners. The components of the above total debt are shown below, so you can see which ones are stabilizing and which may be approaching unsustainable levels.Looking forward, the most important problem is that the federal government has inserted itself into the economy with huge deficits to try to combat the slowing of the private sector. As you can see, private-sector borrowing has not increased, even as federal government deficits have ballooned to unprecedented levels. In essence, we are building our recovery on government debt.(Click on image to enlarge)The clear driver of this extreme expansion of government debt that I call a “Bond Bubble” is the Federal Reserve’s flooding of markets with liquidity to drive rates to zero. The chart below shows a projection what will happen to the Fed’s balance sheet as it continues to distort the rate to zero by extending its monthly purchases of $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and $45 billion of Treasuries out to 2016:(Click on image to enlarge)It is my contention that the actions of the Fed, which were started to counter the credit crisis of 2008 with four programs of quantitative easing, have brought us the incredibly low interest rates (aka, the Bond Bubble) we have today. By purchasing so many credit assets, the Fed is driving the price of bonds higher, and thus interest rates much lower, than they would otherwise be.The black line in the chart above is the 10-year Treasury rate – you can see that it drops with each of the big balance sheet expansions. The resulting asset bubbles in stocks and housing are a direct result of the monetary creation by the Fed.The growth in Fed purchases will likely continue so that the low rates of the Bond Bubble don’t collapse. But the effects of the Fed’s economic stimulus decline with each new injection of money.There will come a time when the Fed announces a new program of balance sheet expansion by asset purchases that will cause the interest rate to rise because of fears of inflation from money creation, rather than fall as the Fed desires. At that point, we’ll know the Fed’s power to manipulate the economy has dissipated.Just How Low Can Interest Rates Go?The chart of 10-year Treasuries below shows that the current level of 2% is lower than it has ever been, except for a brief low of 1.5% last fall (blue line). It is the lowest in 240 years. This is happening in spite of government deficits expanding at a trillion dollars per year as far as the eye can see. We are at the bottom of a 32-year bull market in bonds (drop in rate).To get a view of how extreme today’s rate is, I added the red line, which is 100 divided by the interest rate. It shows a rise as rates fall and makes the bubble of low rates more obvious – which is currently higher than ever.(Click on image to enlarge)The point is that these extremely low rates are unprecedented, even when looking back to the last Great Depression. They could spring back a long way.The low rates induced by the Fed are transmitted to many other market rates, as shown in the following charts. These charts need little comment, except that all of them confirm the simultaneous movement to many-decade lows.(Click on image to enlarge)During the credit crisis, junk bonds were the worst performers as investors feared they would lose their money in default. Rates rose on BBB corporate debt as well. At the same time, government debt became the safe haven, and as people moved to the safe haven, they drove the price of Treasuries up and their interest rate down. The premium has gone out of the lower-rated markets, with rates even lower than before this crisis started. It’s not that risk has disappeared: I think it is more likely that the flood of excess money is chasing any kind of return it can find, and that is driving rates to record-low levels.(Click on image to enlarge)Inflation spiked dramatically in the 1973 and 1979 oil crises. More recently, official government numbers haven’t shown wild inflation. Prices for energy, food and domestic services – like medical care and education – have had big jumps. But thanks to cheap foreign manufacturing, we are able to import goods at attractive prices, so overall inflation doesn’t reflect the extreme money creation by the Fed. Wage growth is nonexistent, largely due to foreign competition and high unemployment from offshoring manufacturing.The forces of inflation can easily overcome a weak economy to destroy a currency: this has happened in countries like Zimbabwe, Argentina or Yugoslavia. Once things get out of hand, it is hard to say whether it is the weak economy that causes the government spending and further deficit destruction of the currency, or the reverse. But that doesn’t matter once people lose confidence in the government and its paper issuance.The chart below shows government numbers for inflation that seem awfully low compared to what most people experience. The erratic behavior of commodities is likely to continue, so I think prices will continue to rise.(Click on image to enlarge)But even using these conservative government numbers, when we subtract the inflation from the interest rate to show the real return to an investor, we get negative numbers. This, too, is unsustainable.A Look at Interest Rates WorldwideI’ve written extensively in previous articles about central bank expansion, but it’s worth reminding ourselves that excessive money creation is not just a US phenomenon but a worldwide experiment. Once this feeds back on itself as ordinary people recognize the destruction of the fiat currency systems, we can expect inflation on a worldwide basis. The similar decline in interest rates in Germany and Japan is the result of their central bank interventions to support their economies by driving rates lower.(Click on image to enlarge)The chart below, which shows the interest rates of 187 countries, has some underlying patterns. At first blush it just looks like spaghetti, but if you step back, you can see that rates were rising into 1980. Then many fell until the recent crisis, after which new deviations appear. In Europe, rates went both ways: up for the PIIGS and down for the safe havens like Germany.(Click on image to enlarge)And here is a simplification of the above by just averaging the numbers to a single line in which you can see an imprecise confirmation that, despite wide variability, there is an underlying pattern in world markets.(Click on image to enlarge)The above six charts confirm that rates of all kinds are at 50-year record lows.Debt and Interest Rates Suggest Higher Rates Are PossibleThe chart below shows the comparison of Greece’s growing debt (in blue) and the resulting rise in interest rate. You can see that as Greece’s debt to GDP rose above 100%, the interest rate rose toward 20%. Lenders lost confidence in the ability of the Greek government to actually pay back its debt.(Click on image to enlarge)In contrast, the stronger countries have been able to accommodate their government debt increase and still maintain moderate interest rates. The United States is shown in the following chart. Central banks have aided the government in managing to keep rates low despite big deficits, by buying the debt. Balance sheets of the world’s central banks are growing rapidly to support government deficits while forcing rates to low levels. It is a bubble.(Click on image to enlarge)When you buy Treasury bonds, you are putting your fate in the hands of the government, expecting it to give back your purchasing power and a reasonable amount of interest to you, in return for the use of your money. Should you trust these authorities with your money? I believe we are headed for a serious loss of confidence in the value of the dollar, which will be accompanied by a burst of the Bond Bubble.This Ponzi scheme is getting ready to explode.Read More in My Article in The Casey ReportThere are few more important aspects of today’s economic situation than just the popping of the interest rate bubble. In the current edition of The Casey Report, I present my latest proprietary research, including nine charts that every investor should see.You can take a three-month trial of The Casey Report, which also allows you to view the complete archives featuring in-depth reports on the best ways to invest in the current markets. It comes with a 100% money-back guarantee – if you are not thoroughly impressed, simply cancel for a full refund. Click here for details and to sign up for your risk-free trial today.Friday FunniesFinancial PlanningDan was a single guy living at home with his father and working in the family business.When he found out he was going to inherit a fortune when his sickly father died, he decided he needed to find a wife with whom to share his fortune.One evening, at an investment meeting, he spotted the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her natural beauty took his breath away.“I may look like just an ordinary guy,” he said to her, “but in just a few years, my father will die and I will inherit $200 million.”Impressed, the woman asked for his business card and three days later, she became his stepmother.Women are so much better at financial planning than men.Sex Survey – the Results Are In!It has been determined that the most frequently used sexual position for older married couples is the doggie position.The husband sits up and begs.The wife rolls over and plays dead.And Finally…Yesterday, four days after the Serenata, sitting at my desk overlooking the street in town, I glanced up to see a truck slowly driving by… followed by a large trailer with open bars containing five full-grown Bengal tigers. And that was followed immediately by another truck pulling a cage full of African lions.Talk about unexpected scenes! Guess the circus is coming to town.And with that, I will sign off for the week by thanking you for reading and for being a subscriber to a Casey Research service.David GallandManaging DirectorCasey Research Be yourself. Don’t try to impress others or to shape your views so you’ll fit in. Communities are made richer by including interesting people who march to their own drummer… provided you don’t drum outside their doors into the wee hours. (Unless you are an Argentine, who don’t seem to be discomfited by loud banging noises at any hour of the day.) Be tolerant. Not everyone is going to see things the same way as you. Be respectful of the views of others. It’s not always necessary to prove that your point of view is more correct than that of others (even if it is!). Listen. We have started having community meetings every two weeks so that any of the issues that inevitably arise in a community can be aired and the appropriate actions taken. The meetings have quickly evolved into what I view as upbeat and positive working sessions. Dear Reader,When I last wrote, I concluded with a comment on the high level of activity and energy here in my adopted hometown of Cafayate.And never is it busier than during the annual Serenata, a festival celebrating the folkloric music of the region. While the estimates vary depending on whom you speak to, about 20,000 additional people stream into town from all over the region, approximately tripling the town’s usual head count.Bursting to the seams, almost literally, the pueblo’s simple streets become a continuous parade of festival-goers, more often than not packed seven to eight to a car with happy songs pouring out of all windows. Likewise, buses chug by with full bands assembled in the aisles, enthusiastically singing and playing a variety of instruments, including large drums.Large families, old gauchos, hippies (or at least that’s what they used to be called), and sundry teens and twenty-somethings all come together for three nights of lively music and good times.And, boy, do they have a good time. The music goes on all night, with the whole affair ending in a crescendo at 8:00 am on a Sunday morning. Even though the house we are currently staying at in town is located on the opposite side of town from the walled-in festival grounds, and the walls of the house are thick, as the sun rose Sunday, we could hear what sounded like every person in town singing in harmony at the top of their lungs. Because, give or take a few, that’s pretty much what was going on.(Note that the photo shown here is taken not as the sun begins to set, but just after sunrise.)I attended the Friday night performances as part of a small group guided by a local coca-chewing, cigar-chomping cardiologist friend of mine and ended up dragging myself home around 4 am. As a consequence of my uncharacteristically late-night adventure, I was finally able to answer a question I have wondered about ever since I’ve started to come down here.Namely, why do the Argentines party all night at every opportunity… doesn’t it get boring in the wee hours? Well, I can now report that they do it because it’s a lot of fun, and no, it doesn’t get boring in the wee hours – it just gets more fun!In our case, we parked ourselves in a small café set up inside the festival grounds and talked, laughed, drank too much, ate costillas de cerdo, snapped pictures and soaked in the energy of the crowd. And, of course, enjoyed the music on a world-class sound system with a new group every 30 minutes – the best of the genre, as far as I can tell.One of the noticeable things about the crowd, and about Argentina in general, is that despite the wide range of ages and life stages, the crowd is almost completely homogenous, the result of the Argentine immigrants of yesteryear making a concerted effort at wiping out the natives and, for the most part, succeeding. In addition, unlike Brazil, the country never adopted slavery (other than around the fringes).Now, some may take this comment as politically incorrect, but in my view, the rush to embrace multiculturalism in so many countries over the last century has a decidedly negative side that is absent here in the Argentine.That’s not to say that there aren’t a lot of cultures represented in the mix, quite the opposite. Rather, it is that the Argentine immigrants – Italians, Germans, English, Irish, French, Basques, etc. – wholeheartedly embraced and integrated into the local culture. Naturally, there are still remnants of their heritage visible in the architecture, the food, the (Italian-style) politics – but there are few places in the world where the concept of a cultural melting pot has been more successful.Thus, even though the surprisingly well-organized festival was crowded with merry-makers and, as the night progressed, drunk merry-makers, there was zero friction within the members of the crowd.Quite the opposite: the festival-goers in their multitude positively radiate goodwill to mankind, hugging, joining arms and singing to the heavens (when not tossing flour and some sort of powdered coloring in each other’s hair).It’s the concept of community at its best.And that, dear reader, brings me in a circuitous manner to my actual topic for the day…Comments on CommunityMoving to a small wine-producing town in the Argentine has resulted in any number of positive changes in my life.For starters, my stress level has plummeted. Whereas before the move I periodically found myself getting unnecessarily agitated by relatively mundane things, nowadays almost nothing bothers me. That this reduction of stress has occurred against the backdrop of finishing the building of our house – a hassle anywhere in the world – is no small thing.And there’s no question I’m happier. In fact, hardly a day goes by that I don’t have to restrain myself from giving a happy little skip while walking down the street (and sometimes I even give in to the urge).I’ve lost ten pounds, improved my golf game and have a much more active social life. In addition, despite all the activity hereabouts, I have found time to work on short stories, a genre of writing that I particularly enjoy.I eat better, exercise more and drink fine wine for a fraction of the cost I’d pay back in the States. Importantly, I also pay next to no attention to the latest “big news” pumped out by the Western media. It just doesn’t matter.One result of living here that was entirely unexpected was a personal awakening to the nature and importance of community.In Vermont, I was largely disconnected from the community – in no small part thanks to my preference for next to no government interference in my life, a preference that runs contrary to the prevailing philosophy of most folks thereabouts who believe in the notion that the more government, the better.Somewhat paradoxically, in the Argentine outback, there is next to no debate about the role of the government. The paradox arises because the Argentine government is a paradigm of misguided policies. But because everyone knows it is inept and its actions counterproductive, unlike in the US, there’s no one to rise to the government’s defense.While back in the States, Obama, Biden, et al. enjoy a lofty role in the media, here no one pays any more attention to officialdom than is absolutely necessary. They are universally viewed as the clowns down in Buenos Aires whose every dictate and mandate is, like in a game, a minor annoyance to be dodged at every turn.Underscoring the point, the other day I made a passing comment on the government’s latest blunder to my good friend Pelado, the owner of the café next door. To which he smiled and remarked, “David, is the sun not shining? Is the food or wine not good? Is life not tranquilo? So, what’s the problem?”Hard to argue the point, not that I’d want to.But I drift from my main theme, namely my awakening to the idea of being part of a larger community.You see, living in a community that broadly shares similar views – in other words, a community that lacks the cultural and political friction that so dominates American life – has encouraged me to interact with my fellow community members on a far more nuanced and interesting level.That’s not to say every interaction has been entirely pleasant – how could they be when dealing with the complexities inherent in human nature?Naturally, the Argentines are completely in sync with the local culture, and so our interactions are free to revolve entirely around living the vida bueno. And I can say without reservation that the Argentines have been universally pleasant, helpful and otherwise warmly welcoming.The challenges, and where much of my personal growth has come from over the last four months or so, come from my interactions with certain members of the fast-growing international community in La Estancia de Cafayate where our new house is just today being completed.In my view, it is not a matter of people being right or wrong, but rather how well certain people are able to adapt to a different culture. Having lived in Argentina before – and gone through some of the inevitable frustrations in transitioning into a new culture – my wife and I knew exactly what to expect on moving here.As a result, when the bureaucrat down at the local government office charged with handing out license plates tells me they will be ready on Monday, then on Monday tells me it will be Thursday, then on Thursday tells me it will be next Tuesday, I smile and thank them for their time, secure in the knowledge that one of these days, the license plates will actually appear.In the interim, it’s all to the good that no one hassles me in the slightest for driving around town in a truck with no license plates, a trick you couldn’t pull off in the US for more than about 100 yards before being pulled over.It is understandable, however, that someone without previous experience with living in a laid-back culture such as this, a culture where time is almost entirely relative, can find the transition frustrating. Also understandable is that certain personality types, on becoming frustrated, will complain at what seems to be every opportunity.At first, I found myself getting annoyed at the handful of negative apples in the community. But that was before coming to accept as entirely normal and natural that, confronted with the same scenario, people within any community will respond differently, but in ways entirely within the range of possible human reactions. Some will laugh, some will cry, some will tend to anger.The point I am slowly grinding towards is that for the first time in years, maybe ever, I have become completely invested in a community. In this case, a group of individuals living within the same geographical proximity and each of us with our individual character traits, some strong, some weak.In contrast to Vermont, where I increasingly isolated myself from my socialist neighbors, here I am actually engaged and excited about working in concert to keep this community strong and moving forward.This revelation was like waking up one morning in a completely different world, a world with different rules of engagement that need to be learned in order to survive and thrive. While I am still learning the baby steps of being part of a community, in my mind, the lessons learned so far include…Be positive. No one likes to be around negative people. Rather than constantly complain about things, try to find constructive solutions. Be helpful. The members of the community are very good with this point, bringing each other vegetables from their gardens, picking up things for others when traveling to the big city, lending furniture if someone needs some, etc.
Although I’ve very happy to see these rallies materialize after such a long period of price declines, I’ve been around the precious metal market with my eyes [and mind] wide open long enough to know that there’s still no hint in the price action that JPMorgan et al are giving up control. As Ted Butler has mentioned at length recently, the signs in other areas point in that direction, but until they decide, or get the ‘word’, I’m not expecting these rallies to go far. Of course I’d love to be proven wrong—but at the moment it looks like the same old, same old. The only unknown is the price points they will ‘fail’ at. There was some decent price action in three of the four precious metals in Far East trading on their Tuesday morning, but that all ended at 11 a.m. Hong Kong time—and as I write this paragraph about 10 minutes before the London open, silver is now down from Monday’s close in New York—and platinum and gold have given up some of the gains they had. Volumes are pretty heavy as well—and virtually all of it is of the HFT variety, as the not-for-profit sellers had to throw a fair amount of Comex paper at these metals to get them to behave. And as I hit the send button on today’s efforts at 5:20 a.m. EST I note that prices in all four precious metals are chopping sideways—and any and all rally attempts are being capped. Gold and silver volumes are a third higher than normal for this time of day, so lots of paper is still being used to keep prices in check. The dollar index isn’t doing much. Today, at the close of Comex trading, is the cut-off for this Friday’s Commitment of Traders Report, so I’ll be more than interested in what the price action is like when I power up my computer later this morning. That’s all I have for today. I’m off to bed—and I’ll see you here tomorrow. It was almost the same price pattern in silver as it was in gold—at least up until the 8:20 a.m. EST Comex open. Then the not-for-profit sellers emerged—and that was it for the day. The CME recorded the low and high tick as $19.96 and $20.275 in the March contract. Silver finished on Monday at $20.075 spot, up 7.5 cents from Friday. Volume, net of roll-overs out of the March contract, was on the lighter side at 29,500 contracts. As you can tell by yesterday’s price action, “da boyz” haven’t gone away. The gold price didn’t do a whole heck of a lot during Far East trading on Monday, although the price jumped up about five bucks or so around 2 p.m. Hong Kong time. From there it crawled a few dollar higher going into the Comex open, but the tiny rally that began at the noon silver fix in London got capped the moment that trading began in New York. After that, it traded basically flat for the rest of the day. The low and high ticks are hardly worth mentioning, but here they are anyway. The CME Group recorded them as $1,264.70 and $1,277.80 in the April contract. Gold closed in New York at $1,275.00 spot, up $7.90 from Friday. Volume was not overly heavy at around 98,000 contracts net of February and March. A third of that volume was recorded before the 10:30 a.m. GMT London a.m. gold fix. The CME’s Daily Delivery Report was very interesting. There were 512 gold and zero silver contracts posted for delivery within the Comex-approved depositories on Wednesday. The biggest short/issuer by far was Deutsche Bank with 449 contracts. The two largest long/stoppers were HSBC USA and Barclays with 315 and 137 contracts respectively. Yesterday’s Issuers and Stoppers Report is worth a quick look—and the link is here. There were no reported changes in GLD yesterday—and as of 10:04 p.m. EST yesterday evening, there were no reported changes in SLV, either. But considering the strong price action in the shares on Monday—and last Friday—it’s a good bet that both these ETFs are owed a decent amount of metal. Will JPMorgan and the other authorized participants deposit metal as required, or will they short the shares in lieu of? That especially applies to silver. The U.S. Mint had a decent sales report on Monday. They sold 4,000 troy ounces of gold eagles—2,000 one-ounce 24K gold buffaloes—and 592,000 silver eagles. Over at the Comex-approved depositories on Friday, they reported receiving 22,039 troy ounces of gold—and shipped out 20,354 troy ounces of the stuff. The link to that activity is here. In silver, 634,082 troy ounces were reported received—and 100,717 troy ounces were shipped out. All the silver reported received went into Scotia Mocatta’s warehouse. The link to that action is here. Because of the weekend, I have a lot of stories for you today—and the final edit is all yours. Thanks to a monster in-day [on Friday], turnover or movement of metal into and out from the Comex-approved silver warehouses accelerated to around 7 million oz for the week. Total inventories rose 2.4 million oz, to almost 181.8 million oz, another new 16 year high water mark. I am still fascinated with the heavy Comex silver warehouse churn, as the unusual movement is occurring for a reason. Since it represents the physical transport of large quantities of metal, necessarily involving time and expense, it persists for some non-frivolous purpose. If that purpose isn’t due to existing metal on deposit not being available and thereby requiring new metal to come in to meet demand, or overall tightness, then I confess to not having an alternative explanation. – Silver analyst Ted Butler: 08 February 2014 It wasn’t a particularly big volume day in the precious metal market on Monday, but it was obvious that the precious metals wanted to rally despite that. It was equally as obvious that JPMorgan et al put in an appearance at the 8:40 a.m. Comex open and made sure it didn’t happen. From that time, gold at least traded sideways, whereas the other three precious metals saw their nice gains vanish as the trading day wore on. I was happy to see the precious metal stocks do so well despite the tepid price action in the underling metals themselves—not only yesterday, but Friday as well. I’m cautiously optimistic, but always on the lookout for “in your ear”—because as you can tell by yesterday’s price action, “da boyz” haven’t gone away. Here are the six-month charts for all four precious metals so you can see how these budding rallies are progressing—or are being allowed to progress. The dollar index closed in New York late on Friday afternoon at 80.67—and jumped up about 15 basis points when trading began at 6 p.m. EST in New York on Sunday evening. The high tick at that point [80.77] proved to be the high of the day—and the index chopped quietly lower for the remainder of Monday everywhere on Planet Earth. The index closed almost unchanged at 80.64—down 3 basis points. The gold stocks gapped up about a percent and a half at the open—and then gained that much more by shortly after 10 a.m. EST. From there they traded sideways for the remainder of the trading day. The HUI finished up 3.12%. Sponsor Advertisement Platinum and palladium didn’t do much until 2 p.m. Hong Kong time on their Monday, but then jumped higher, just like silver—and continued to rally from there. But, just like silver, JPMorgan et al were ready to put an end to that once trading began on the Comex in New York. Here are the charts. The silver equities took until 2 p.m. EST [right on the button] to reach their highs—and then gave a bit of those gains back going into the close. However, Nick Laird’s Intraday Day Silver Sentiment Index managed to close up a decent 3.27%. 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Source:http://ruvid.org/ri-world/researchers-design-mathematic-algorithms-to-improve-the-detection-of-early-cognitive-impairment/ Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Jan 17 2019Researchers of the Pharmacy and Mathematics departments of the CEU UCH university in Valencia have collaborated in the design of two artificial intelligence algorithms that improve the screening of positive cases in the early detection of cognitive impairment in chemists. These algorithms also make it possible to identify the main risk factors of developing some type of dementia in the future. The study, published by scientific journal Frontiers of Pharmacology, lies within the framework of the research project financed with the kNOW Alzheimer grant, headed by Pharmacy Degree Vice-Dean Lucrecia Moreno in collaboration with researchers María Dolores Guerrero and Maite Climent, president of the SEFAC-CV, and professors of the Embedded Systems and Artificial Intelligence Group of the CEU UCH, Juan Pardo and Javier Muñoz.In the preliminary phase of the study, 728 people over the age of 65 were assessed in the offices of chemists through two internationally-validated tests for the detection of cognitive impairment: the Short Portable Mental State Questionnaire (SPMSQ) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE), in its Spanish version. Through these two tests, conducted in 14 Valencian chemists associated with SEFAC, the Spanish Society of Family and Community Pharmacy, a total 128 cases of possible minor cognitive impairment were detected, a 17.4% of the total, who were referred to primary health care centres so they could be diagnosed and then sent to the neurologist. Furthermore, a total 167 analysis variables were registered for early detection with these tests. Among them, factors like age, sex, the educational level, the amount of daily sleeping hours, reading habits, subjective complaints of memory loss and medication.Algorithm to minimise false negativesIn the current phase of the study, which has been published in the Frontiers in Pharmacology journal, the results obtained in the tests conducted on 728 elderly people, have been subjected to a massive screening procedure, thanks to the designing of two mathematic algorithms or decision trees. The first is a discriminating decision tree that allows the identification of false negative test results, or cases of people who could suffer minor cognitive impairment despite the results of the test, as well as ruling out false positives. This first algorithm will therefore allow for an improved screening of the assessment conducted in chemists with the tests, in order to refer to doctors the positives detected, for a clinical diagnosis. It will also help improve the monitoring of people who, even though they admit suffering from memory loss symptoms, don’t test positive.Related StoriesLiving a healthy lifestyle may help offset genetic risk of dementiaAMSBIO offers new, best-in-class CAR-T cell range for research and immunotherapyDementia patients hospitalized and involved in transitional care at higher ratesPredictive model and risk factorsThe second algorithm has been designed to define patterns and design a predictive model, detecting those of the 167 assessment variables obtained by the two tests which are the most significant for the early detection of cognitive impairment. This predictive model is the one which makes it possible to identify the most prominent risk factors in relation to minor cognitive impairment.Applied to the over 700 cases analysed, this predictive model has confirmed as risk factors for screening and, therefore, as the most significant variables for the detection of minor cognitive impairment, the following: being a woman, sleeping more than 9 hours a day, being over 79 years of age, and low amounts of reading. Furthermore, consuming psychoanaleptic, nootropic or anti-depressant medicines as well as anti-inflammatory drugs are other examples of the most relevant variables detected by the algorithm.Research teamAs professor Lucrecia Moreno highlights, “the early detection of cognitive impairment, as a preliminary phase of the development of dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease is essential in societies such as ours, where population is ageing. The offices of chemists are appropriate places for screening people with clear risk factors, especially if we provide the appropriate computer tools, such as the algorithms we have designed in this study, for the processing of the data resulting from assessing elderly people.”Doctor Lucrecia Moreno has headed the research team comprised of researchers Maite Climent, communitary pharmacist; María Dolores Guerrero, professor at the Department of Pharmacy of the CEU UCH; and professors of the Department of Mathematics, Physics and Technological Sciences of the CEU UCU, Juan Pardo Albiach, head researcher of the ESAI group, and Javier Muñoz Almaraz, member of the group.
Hundreds of taxis brought traffic to a standstill in Brussels on Tuesday to protest proposed government reforms said to favour ride-hailing competitors like Uber. © 2018 AFP Police said as many as 650 taxis taking part in the protest let off fireworks and blocked traffic on major roads in and around the Belgian capital, including outside the EU’s headquarters.Belgian authorities urged residents to swap private cars for public transport while Brussels airport suggested air travellers take the train to the terminals. The Belgian taxi federation (FeBeT) is opposed to a draft reform that would grant taxi licenses directly to drivers rather than to cab firms, as has been the case until now.Sam Bouchal, the FeBeT’s secretary general, said the reform is “a disguise to do away with wage earners,” who his union says account for 70 percent of Brussels taxi drivers.Taxi licenses are held mainly by “800 small firms which have invested large sums,” Bouchal told RTBF radio.On the other hand, Uber Belgium has defended giving licenses to drivers as a way to “improve mobility in Brussels,” plagued by some of Europe’s worst traffic jams.The FeBeT faults Pascal Smet, the socialist mobility minister, for siding with Uber’s “ideological” stance and for wanting to reform the business “whatever the cost” and without consultation.Ride-hailing services have met with similar protests—including recently in Athens and Madrid—and varying levels of resistance from authorities in cities around the world. Citation: Taxis paralyse Brussels to protest against Uber (2018, March 27) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-taxis-paralyse-brussels-protest-uber.html 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. Egyptian court rules Uber, Careem illegal; appeal expected Explore further
Tags / Keywords: “If anything, relative to earlier in the year, the conditions, the arguments for adding policy accommodation have strengthened over time, and I think that’s the way I continue to view it,” Mr. Williams told reporters after delivering a speech at the University at Albany.Mr. Williams said last year was a good year for growth even as inflation continued to fall short of the Fed’s 2% target, and at the start of this year, his read on the economy was that “the risks seemed relatively balanced.”Unlock exclusive insights, analyses, and curated news on the economy on The Star Online’s Business section with Starbiz Premium.SubscribeLog In Corporate News13 Jul 2019IJM contract termination likely due to deadline issueCorporate News13 Jul 2019Alliance Bank to undergo streamlining?Corporate News13 Jul 2019Yinson continues to draw interest More Stories Banking , Economy NEW YORK: Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said the case for lowering short-term interest rates is getting stronger, opening the door to his support for easier monetary policy at the end of this month. Property13 Jul 2019Pioneering the wellness concept for offices in MalaysiaEconomy13 Jul 2019Much to benefit from Malaysia-China tiesOil & Gas11 Jul 2019OPEC action and trade truce may give oil the lift it needs