Lego Movie 2s Apocalypseburg set overflows with whopping 3000 pieces

first_img $155 at Google Express Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) Read the Rylo camera preview Toys and Tabletop Games TV and Movies 17 Photos Boost Mobile $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express $299 at Amazon Sarah Tew/CNET Read DJI Osmo Action preview $60 at Best Buy Read the AirPods review Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) $520 at HP Share your voice Rylo The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price. See It Sprint DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Enlarge ImageThe Lego Movie 2: Welcome to Apocalypseburg set includes over 3,000 pieces and 12 minifigures.  Lego For fans needing a challenge, the new Lego Movie 2: Welcome to Apocalypseburg Lego set could be the answer. Apocalypseburg is the apocalyptic wasteland town in the upcoming Lego Movie 2, and on Jan. 4, the Lego Group revealed a new set inspired by the film. The set consists of 3,178 pieces. When fully assembled, it stands 20 inches (50 centimeters) high, making it one of the tallest boxed Lego sets created.The finished Lego model features a 360-design that includes a section of the Statue of Liberty with a chill-out room in her head, a cafe, Scribble Cop’s office with a chair-kicking function, armory, barber’s and tattoo parlor, Lucy’s hideout, Fuse’s workshop, rooftop diner, gym, spa and lookout platforms. Sarah Tew/CNET DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) Sarah Tew/CNET An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express Once everything was awesome … now everything is bleak. 😱 #TheLEGOMovie2 https://t.co/zUJjlatsz7 @TheLEGOMovie pic.twitter.com/Ke3ll8pysp— LEGO (@LEGO_Group) January 4, 2019 Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) Sarah Tew/CNET Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) Tags Angela Lang/CNET See Star Wars Lego Millennium Falcon sets over nearly 20 years See at Turo $999 Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X $210 at Best Buy See at Amazon Turo: Save $30 on any car rental Tagscenter_img Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. See It $6 at Tidal Read Lenovo Smart Clock review Chris Monroe/CNET Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Apple iPhone XS $999 Post a comment Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) The Cheapskate Turo Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. $59 at eBay Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Best Buy CNET may get a commission from retail offers. See it Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Amazon The set also includes 12 minifigures of characters Emmet, Lucy, Batman, Scribble Cop, Harley Quinn, Green Lantern, “Where are my pants?” Guy, Larry the Barista, Chainsaw Dave, Mo-Hawk, Roxxi and Fuse. Plus, there’s a rat figure.The Lego Movie 2 set is available Jan. 16 at Lego brand retail stores and online. The set retails for $300 (around £235, AU$420).The Lego Movie 2 itself hits theaters in the US and UK on Feb. 8, and on March 28 in Australia. $999 $999 Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Read Google Home Hub review Batman Lego,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. 0 Share your voice Comments See It I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. 7 Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us).last_img read more

HAARP schedules first experiments since UAF takeover

first_imgHAARP antenna array in Gakona, AK (Photo courtesy of the US Airforce)Experiments are scheduled through the end of the month at the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program or HAARP facility. It’s the first time science is being conducted at the ionospheric research station in Gakona since the University of Alaska Fairbanks took it over from the Air Force in 2015.Listen nowThe UAF Geophysical Institute has spent the last two years overhauling generators, antenna and other equipment that’s used to stimulate the electrically charged area of the upper atmosphere. GI spokesperson Sue Mitchell highlights two of the projects that are part of the upcoming federally-funded research campaign at HAARP.“One of the projects will create an artificial aurora,” Mitchell said. “It will not be visible by the naked eye but should be able to pick it up with cameras. And then they’re testing the feasibility of using HAARP to do some over-the-horizon radar applications, take a look at the sea ice on the Arctic ocean, perhaps by bouncing transmissions off of the ionosphere.”Mitchell said HAARP is being operated on a pay-as-you-go basis, similar to the Poker Flat Rocket launch facility it runs for NASA. She said HAARP is expected to be on line for less than a day during this first run of projects because it’s costly to operate.“The rate for running HAARP runs about $5,000 an hour,” Mitchell said. “The generators are very expensive. It’d take a lot of fuel to run per hour, so that’s the main cost.”The generators energize HAARP’s 3.6 megawatt transmitter, beaming signals through 180 antenna into the ionosphere, 50 to 600 miles above the earth’s surface. Mitchell said the public can track what’s going on through HAARP’s Facebook page. It’s part of an effort to debunk lingering conspiracy theories about what happens at the former military research facility. Those theories include weather and mind control.“This is a fantastic research facility,” Mitchell said. “It is not capable of all the things that it’s been accused of, but it a really fascinating and interesting and powerful research tool.”Agencies funding this month’s HAARP research projects include the National Science Foundation, The Los Alamos National Laboratory and the Naval Research laboratory. UAF-based researchers are involved in the projects.last_img read more

Mysterious UFO spotted near Vikram Sarabhai Space Center in Kerala police launch

first_imgA UFO spotted recently in Saudi Arabia (Representational Purpose)YouTube: Mavi777A mysterious unidentified flying object (UFO) hovered multiple times in the night skies of Kovalam and Kochiveli coastal areas in Kerala. The police later clarified that a drone equipped with a camera had hovered above Vikram Sarabhai Space Center. The police and intelligence department have now started a joint investigation to unveil the mysteries surrounding this incident.It was a local police officer engaged in night patrolling who initially spotted the UFO. Police have taken this event seriously as the drone flew over one of the most secured locations in the area.Usually, movie shooting crew fly drones in these areas during day times. On the day of the incident, nobody had sought permission from the police to fly drones in the night, and this has added up to the seriousness surrounding the sighting.After the Pulwama attack, the central government had issued alerts to coastal states like Kerala stating that terrorists may use the sea as a medium to infiltrate into the country. Earlier, during the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, terrorists including Ajmal Kasab had entered the country via sea, and they carried out a brutal massacre which resulted in the deaths of 166 people.It was previously reported that Kerala is slowly emerging as one of the hubs of terrorists in India. A couple of years back, several reports had surfaced stating that a handful of youngsters from the state had fled to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).A couple of days back, the White House had warned that Pakistan’s aggression against India is not at all acceptable. It should be noted that this is one of the strongest message ever issued by the Trump administration as military tension between Pakistan and India threatens to spill over into all-out war.last_img read more

On Third Anniversary Of Josué Flores Murder Houston Police Ask Public To

first_imgAlvaro ‘Al’ Ortiz/Houston Public MediaA banner shows solidarity with Josué Flores’ family after the 11-year-old boy’s murder in Houston, in May 2016.May 17 marks the third anniversary of the murder of 11-year-old Josué Flores in Houston’s Near Northside and investigators are asking for help from the public. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said new evidence is being analyzed at a Utah lab that specializes in DNA testing.Flores’ murder shocked Houston and especially the Near Northside neighborhood because of its brutality. The killer stabbed him multiple times at the 1900 block of Fulton Street when the boy was returning to his home after leaving Marshall Middle School.“We have evidence now in Utah at a lab that is utilizing techniques to extract DNA from evidence that our lab and our state lab does not the capacity to do,” said Acevedo on Friday during a media availability that Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner and Flores’ mother also attended.The evidence is from a piece of clothing and HPD’s cold case squad is also investigating the case.Acevedo said that Andre Jackson, the homeless veteran who was charged with Flores’ murder and released in July 2017 because Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg dropped the charges, is still a person of interest for the investigators.The DA’s office said the results of DNA and blood analyses were inconclusive.Acevedo played a short video that was recorded by a surveillance camera the day of the murder near the place where it happened. The video shows an African-American man walking and wearing a distinctive jacket. Investigators are asking the public to help identify the man. According to police, he could be Jackson.HPD detectives are also asking potential witnesses of the crime who spoke to local media anonymously to come forward and help with the investigation.After the murder, Near Northside resident Stella Mireles-Walters started the Safe Walk Home program. It has trained neighbors to be vigilant, particularly when children go to school in the morning and when they leave, and alert HPD and other law enforcement agencies if they see somebody or something suspicious.Investigators and residents also thought that Flores’ murderer could have stayed at a homeless shelter the Salvation Army managed in the neighborhood. The organization closed the shelter in November.You can watch the video HPD showed and Chief Acevedo’s media availabilty here:PERSON OF INTEREST: Our homicide investigators want to speak to this man regarding the murder of Josue Flores, 11, in the 1900 block of Fulton on May 17, 2016. If you have info, call HPD Homicide 713-308-3600 or @CrimeStopHOU 713-222-TIPS. You could receive up to $5,000 reward. pic.twitter.com/B1lwgqC1d7— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 17, 2019 Sharelast_img read more

Misfit Vapor X adds more battery life and style for an affordable

first_img Like the Fossil Gen 5 watches that were just announced, the Vapor X comes with the Cardiogram app on board, which essentially gives you a more detailed breakdown of your heart rate metrics. Spotify also comes pre-installed too, and you can save songs to the watch itself for playing on the go.A full charge only takes a little over an hour, apparently, and the watch is currently being offered at the “introductory” price of US$200 instead of $280 (no word on how long that price is going to last for).All of which makes the Vapor X one of the most appealing mid-range smartwatches out there at the moment. The latest Wear OS software from Google is included, complete with Google Assistant, but it’s the style and the lower price that make this wearable stand out in an increasingly crowded market.Previous Vapor watches have been a little hit and miss, but with the latest components inside, and just about every feature you could want on board (except perhaps LTE connectivity and a built-in speaker), the Vapor X has a lot of promise.Product page: Misfit Vapor X How effective are zoster vaccines in older adults? Find out on Allmedx.com. Yes No We recommend Powered by I consent to the use of Google Analytics and related cookies across the TrendMD network (widget, website, blog). Learn more How effective is the zoster vaccine? Read the research on Allmedx.com. AllMedX AllMedX Privacy policy The Misfit Vapor X is available in a black case with a black strap, rose case with a white strap, gunmetal case with a green strap, stainless grey case with a navy strap (shown), and “champagne” case with a lavender strapMisfit Just a few days after updating its flagship line of Wear OS smartwatches, Fossil has unveiled a new wearable from its more affordable Misfit line as well: the Vapor X. Its key selling points, besides that less expensive price, are improved battery life and a lightweight, stylish design.As with the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches, it’s the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor keeping everything running, and enabling new power-saving modes that should be enough to extend battery life from one day to three days (if you can live without certain features). That’s paired with 512 MB of RAM and 4 GB of internal storage.On the outside, the 42 mm watch features a 1.19-in touchscreen and a lightweight aluminum alloy case that Misfit says makes this its lightest watch yet. Color options on offer are black case with a black strap, rose case with a white strap, gunmetal case with a green strap, stainless grey case with a navy strap, and “champagne” case with a lavender strap.In terms of on-board features the Vapor X ticks a lot of the usual boxes, offering a heart rate sensor, NFC for making payments on the go, and GPS. It’s also water-resistant to a depth of 30 m (nearly 100 ft), though Misfit also says the watch can only survive swimming at “shallow” depths. AllMedX AllMedX Who is most likely to get shingles? Visit Allmedx.com and learn the answer. Does the shingles vaccine prevent chicken pox? Get the facts on Allmedx.com. AllMedX Do you administer zoster vaccines? Read the latest research at Allmedx.com. Google Analytics settings Everyone older than 50 should get the shingles vaccine, Visit Allmedx.com for details. AllMedX last_img read more

Derry housemate Ashleigh Coyle Derry girl Ashleig

first_img Derry housemate Ashleigh Coyle.Derry girl Ashleigh Coyle is finding “sex talk” by her fellow Big Brother housemates “weird.”The former Oakgrove Integrated College pupil is, at 18 years old,  the youngest contestant in the “house” and following a number housemates’ conversation turning to their “pornography preferences,” the former “Miss Derry” made her feelings known, admitting she found it “weird” how often the conversation turned to sex.Meanwhile, the part-time shop assistant and model has survived the first round of eviction nominations despite two of her fellow housemates wanting her off the show. BB UPDATE: DERRY HOUSEMATE ASHLEIGH FINDS SEX TALK “WEIRD” was last modified: June 10th, 2014 by stephenstephen Tags: ShareTweet Pauline Wood (27),  who hit headlines three years ago when she claimed she  had a “threesome” with England and Manchester United star Wayne Rooney while working as a prostitute, told Big Brother she was wanted Ashleigh evicted because they did not have “much in common.”Pauline Wood: nominated Asheigh for evention.Pauline added:  “She is very reserved. I personally like other pepole who have a lot more to say. I think she is going to be the type of housemate who is going to ostracise herself from everybody and she has done that very quickly.”Ash Harrison also wanted Ashley evicted.The 26-year-old from Manchester told Big Brother: “Since I have been here everybody has been in the garden having a drink. She doesn’t have a drink and she goes to bed early and while she is trying to get to sleep we are messing about in the bedroom – you can feel that certain people are p…ed off. We are here to have fun – we have not come here just to go to bed.”center_img As for Ashleigh, she nominated Tamara Stewart-Wood for eviction.The Derry girl said the 24-year-old from London ignored her.Ashleigh said: “I just feel she doesn’t really care what I am doing or how I am.”Ashleigh also nominated Winston Showan (27), from London, because she found it difficult to have a conversation with him.The Derry housemate told Big Brother:  “I find it quite hard to talk to Winston about anything. Sometimes, I just don’t know what he is talking about. Today, he was talking about nuts and bread – i think it was supposed to be funny, I just found it a bit weird.”Meanwhile, Danielle McMahon, Jale Karaturp and Tamara Stewart-Wood picked up the most votes from their fellow housemates and will be at risk of eviction on Friday.Jale got five nominations, while Danielle and Tamara picked up four nods each. ashleighbigbrothercoylesextalkweirdlast_img read more

In This Issue   Big Ben keeps his word   Go

first_imgIn This Issue. *  Big Ben keeps his word. *  Gold soars $65 *  Euros & Aussie up 2-cents! *  Norges Bank turns hawkish. And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! No Taper, Markets Go Crazy. Good day.  And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! Well, the risk that I kept reminding you about regarding the Fed not doing anything, came to reality yesterday afternoon. Aaron Stevenson, sent me a text that read, “are you seeing this”. Well, I wasn’t seeing anything but the underside of my eyelid at that moment, but waking up from the vibrating phone in my shirt pocket, and answered, “what?”. He replied, “no taper, markets are going crazy”.  And there you have the whole story of what happened yesterday. No taper, markets are going crazy. As I told you a couple of weeks ago, “should Big Ben Bernanke follow his words, that the future of Quantitative Easing / QE, would depend on the incoming economic data, then there would be no tapering, and that would send Gold soaring”. Well, that’s exactly what happened. Big Ben decided to follow his words. Kudos to him! (I can’t believe I actually said that, but I did. ) How else can Big Ben get the markets to believe him if he doesn’t follow his own words? As I’ve chronicled here in the Pfennig, the economic data just wasn’t on a path that would give Big Ben a warm and fuzzy about tapering. For Tapering is akin to taking your foot off the gas, what happens to a car when you take your foot off the gas? It slows down. The signs were all there that he wouldn’t do anything, but I was convinced that Big Ben wanted to go out with a bang. Of course he still has 6 weeks from now to accomplish that, but right here, right now, that isn’t playing in the markets. What is playing is that the punch bowl has been brought back to the risk assets party, and so we’re going to party like it’s 1999!  (there you go Jen. a Prince song, 1st time ever, and last I might add!) Gold isn’t the only asset class that is in the conga line at the party. There’s the non-U.S. dollar currencies, and Oil, and looky there, the stock jockeys have joined the conga line!  The price of Oil shot up $2 on the no-taper news. The currencies were cooking with gas, which goes back to the last couple of days where they were well bid ahead of the FOMC meeting. The currency boys & girls seemed to have this whole thing right from the get-go. After the initial sell off of the currencies in May when the first mention of tapering was made, the currency traders just didn’t think Big Ben had the intestinal fortitude to take his foot off the gas. But in reality it wasn’t a lack of intestinal fortitude, it was simply taking a page out of the book by the Captain in Cool Hand Luke. What we have here is a failure to communicate.  Go back to the original comment by Big Ben. He said that “the Fed was thinking about tapering QE”. I recall me going bananas the next morning, about how he DIDN’T SAY HE WAS GOING TO TAPER! And I didn’t understand why the currencies and metals were getting sold based on what Big Ben had said.. But the markets heard differently, and so we’ve been on this path toward yesterday’s FOMC meeting. In other words. All This Talk About Tapering, Should Have Never Taken Place! I’m sure Big Ben was doing a “Whoops, did I say that out loud?” song and dance when he got back to his office after that initial tapering talk. Yes, I got dragged into the trap. In my heart of hearts, I didn’t see how Big Ben could taper, given the economy, which I continually said that the Fed was being too optimistic about. But now. I can see clearly now, the rain is gone. So, for those of you not wanting to wait until you get to the currency roundup below, the euro is trading at 1.3550, more than 2 full cents higher than yesterday morning. Add 2 full cents to the Aussie dollar / A$ too. and so on down the line. The punch bowl has been brought back to the risk assets party (I know I already said that, but I said it again for emphasis!) and now the currencies get to party. So, yesterday, when I woke up from the vibrating phone in my shirt pocket, I turned on the TV to a financial news station to get their take, which I always, salivate ahead of time, because I know I’ll get to make fun of something they say. Well, I won’t make fun of this, but I will question it, as I’m known to do. A talking head on one of the stations said, “Well, no taper this time, but eventually this will all have to come to an end”. And I replied to the TV, of which my granddaughter, Delaney Grace, always tells me, “they can’t hear you, General”. but I do it anyway. I said to the guy on TV. “And you know this because? You know that it will have to end? What gives you that “expert knowledge” to say that? Maybe, just maybe, this will go on forever!” I mean, ask the Japanese about how long an economic malaise can last!  And ask them how they feel about those initial stimulus and bond buying programs that began 20 years ago, now. Once you start these programs, they become like a drug that you can’t just go cold turkey on. So. as you know, I said that Fed Heads would begin tapering only to find out they shouldn’t have done so, and start it (bond buying / QE) up again. Well, they took out the beginning tapering, and just kept the bond buying / QE going. and going. like the Energizer Bunny. OK. Let’s talk about something other than the Fed. Big Ben. and Tapering. Well, I told you yesterday that the Norges Bank in Norway was going to meet today, and with the recent bump up to the top side of the inflation target (2.5%), that we could very well see / hear the Norges Bank Gov. Olsen, remove the easing bias, and begin to talk about rate hikes. And guess what happened? Exactly how thought it would happen! In fact the Norges Bank delivered a very hawkish statement, and now it appears that by June of next year, interest rates in Norway could be higher, if not sooner, given the performance of inflation recently. All that, is good for the krone, folks, which has been in need of some good news. And the Emerging Markets Currencies, which had also been in need of warm and fuzzy news, took the no taper news and ran with it all the way to the bank. I told you all about how the IMF’s head had sent messages to Big Ben asking him to think about the rest of the world, before taking his foot off the gas. The rest of the world here, were the Emerging Markets. As I said above, Gold soared on the news yesterday, up $65. I sure hope the price manipulators got caught short and it hurt them so bad that they are thinking of giving up the ghost on their shorts positions!  So, that brings me to this question that everyone should be asking. Can we expect for yesterday’s price action to continue in the risk assets?  Certainly not. These moves were exceptional, and don’t come along every day. But what it does, in my opinion, and I could be wrong, is form a higher base from which future moves can be made. I think that the metals and currencies can bet their sweet bippie that from here on out, their fortunes every day will be tied to the economic data here in the U.S.  Because if Big Ben did anything yesterday, he enforced his words, and showed the markets he’s a man of his word. So, we can go back to the initial statement from Big Ben. “the future of Quantitative Easing depends on economic data”. This week I’ve highlighted some of the stuff that I said in the Review & Focus letters from 2002. The reason I did this, was to highlight that not much has changed in 11 years, the numbers just keep getting bigger and bigger.  So, in this light, I thought one more from December 2002 played well here in talking about the U.S. economy. Here’s what I had to say in December 2002.  “There are a number of questions hanging over the U.S. economy right now, and even though there are just as many hanging over the German economy, the market seems to hold the U.S. economy to a higher standard. Most of the bad news from the German economy seems to be discounted, and any bad news coming from the U.S. economy seems to get highlighted, which the dollar acting as the markets’ piñata!” – Chuck December 2002 The U.S. data cupboard has a few things for us today to go through. The Weekly Initial Jobless Claims, which you may recall I pointed out last week that 2 states, (California and Nevada) had failed to file claims the week before, so this week’s data should be caught up. Existing Home Sales for August, and the Leading Index data.  And this will be it for data this week, as the data cupboard gets emptied out, and cleaned up before being restocked for next week. And before I head to the Big Finish. Did you see where Gold began to jump higher minutes before the official announcement of no tapering yesterday? So, who got leaked the news? Doesn’t this stuff just get under your skin? It does mine! I don’t like it when someone knows “ahead of time” something that will move markets. It just ticks me off! For What It’s Worth. A long time reader sent this story to me from the NY Times. It’s title is: Congressional Budget Office Predicts Unsustainable Debt.  OK, I’ll take the bait on that! Of course you knew I would! So, let’s listen in to the CBO. “As the White House and Congress careen toward another fiscal showdown, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office warned on Tuesday that President Obama and lawmakers have been cutting the wrong kind of federal spending as they try to avoid the unsustainable buildup of debt that is projected in the coming decades. Annual federal deficits will continue to fall in the short term, the budget office reported in its yearly long-term outlook, because of the recent spending cuts in military and domestic programs and rising tax collections in a recovering economy. The report projected the deficit in 2015 to be equal to 2.1 percent of the economy’s output, or just one-fifth of the peak shortfall at the height of the recession in 2009. But starting in 2016, deficits are projected to rise again as more baby boomers begin drawing from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security – the fast-growing entitlement programs, which Democrats and Republicans cannot agree on how to rein in.” Chuck again. Yes, those darn Unfunded Liabilities that I point out at every presentation that I make are scary folks. And they’ll just keep getting scarier and scarier. As baby boomers like me, begin to get close to retirement age. To recap. No Taper, Markets Go Crazy.  That’s describes what happened yesterday in a nutshell. Chuck thinks that Big Ben had to show the markets that he was a man of his words, and that’s why he didn’t begin to taper QE yesterday.. Gold soared $65 on the news, and the usual suspects in currencies are stronger by 2-full cents. Norges Bank sounds hawkish, changing their easing bias, and all the risk assets have joined the conga line at the party. Currencies today 9/19/13. American Style: A$ .9515, kiwi .8420, C$ .9805, euro 1.3555, sterling 1.6090, Swiss $1.0995, . European Style: rand 9.6305, krone 5.7730, SEK 6.3120, forint 218.05, zloty 3.0845, koruna 18.9920, RUB 31.60, yen 98.85, sing 1.2440, HKD 7.7535, INR 61.91, China 6.15570, pesos 12.59, BRL 2.1845, Dollar Index 80.12, Oil $108.93, 10-year 2.71% (the bond bubble avoids another pin in the room!) Silver $22.97, Platinum $1,470.42, Palladium $720.80, and Gold. $1,367.01 That’s it for today. I’m really dragging the line this morning, not that you could tell that when I was writing this morning, as it seemed I was going in all directions! UGH! So, thanks for sticking through it. I’m ready to put my head down on the desk and sleep! But, that’s not going to happen, so forgetaboutit Chuck! Little Braden Charles was at the house yesterday, and does love for me to put music on the stereo so he can “dance”. So darn cute, and funny! Everett isn’t so much a “dancer” but Delaney Grace is. Cardinals need to send a thank you card to the San Diego Padres for beating the Pirates!  Had to stop and sing along with Chicago.. Hard Habit To Break. one of my fave Chicago songs. Now go out and have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday like Gold and the currencies are enjoying! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Even the most steadfast bears are throwing in the

first_imgEven the most steadfast bears are throwing in the towel.In November, two famous and successful contrarian money managers—Jeremy Grantham and Hugh Hendry—capitulated. Both admitted that while soaring stock prices make no fundamental sense, betting against them is unwise.They hopped on an already-overcrowded bandwagon: depending on which survey you consult, bullish sentiment is either at multiyear or all-time highs.You don’t need me to tell you that such universal bullishness is a classic signal of a market top. When everyone’s a bull, there’s no one left to buy. Bullish sentiment last peaked in 2007, and before that in 2000, which tells you all you need to know about bullishness as an indicator.John Hussman is also a successful contrarian fund manager, one of the few who haven’t capitulated. And he won’t. Not because he’s a permabear: John was a bull in the early 1990s and in 2003, and captured the stellar stock market gains of those eras.It’s just that today, his firm’s proprietary models—which have predicted past stock market inflection points quite accurately—indicate zero justification for sky-high stock prices.What’s worse, John believes we’re setting up for another crash. Of today’s stock market, he says:“We are observing overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes that are uniquely associated with peaks that preceded the worst market losses in history (including 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000 and 2007).”Read on to find out exactly why John Hussman is still bearish, what would make him change his mind, and which group of investors is in the most danger if stocks do disappoint over the next several years.You can learn more about John Hussman and the Hussman funds here.Dan SteinhartManaging Editor of The Casey ReportThe Elephant in the RoomBy John P. Hussman, Ph.D.“Being wrong on your own, as Keynes described so eloquently in Chapter 12 of the General Theory, is the cardinal crime of an investment manager. The management of career risk results in very destructive herding. Investors should be aware that the U.S. market is already badly overpriced—indeed, we believe it is priced to deliver negative real returns over seven years [GMO estimates fair value for the S&P 500 at 1100]. Be prudent and you’ll probably forgo gains. Be risky and you’ll probably make some more money, but you may be bushwhacked and if you are, your excuses will look thin. My personal view is that the path of least resistance for the market will be up.”—Value investor Jeremy Grantham, GMO, November 18, 2013“I cannot look at myself in the mirror; everything I have believed in I have had to reject. This environment only makes sense through the prism of trends. You have got to be in things that are trending. Crashing is the least of my concerns. I can deal with that, but I cannot risk my reputation because we are in this virtuous loop where the market is trending. I may be providing a public utility here, as the last bear to capitulate.”—Hedge fund manager Hugh Hendry, Eclectica, November 22, 2013“I am out of justification to fight the uptrend. Up until now, I have had what I thought was compelling evidence to believe in the bearish case, but it has now been revealed to have been insufficient for the task. I am without ammunition to bet on the bears. I don’t like it, because I see the market as overly dependent upon the Fed’s largesse for its upward continuation. I see this as a bubble, but a bubble that is continuing higher even though it should not. I plan to ride the bubble for a while, and will hope to be able to succeed in reading the right [exit] signs.”—Market technician Tom McClellan, November 26, 2013In a classic case of not only locking the barn door after the horse is loose, but removing its best opportunity to return home, we’re seeing a capitulation by investment managers across every discipline, from technical, to value-conscious, to global macro. Historically extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions were in place even ten months ago, and my impression is that every further extension worsens the payback that will inexorably follow.Investors Intelligence reported last week that the percentage of advisory bears has plunged to 14.4%, lower than at the 2000, 2007, and 1987 peaks, and every point in between. I’ll spare a full review of the overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes we observe here (see A Textbook Pre-Crash Bubble)—it’s clear that over the past year, even the most extreme variants of these conditions haven’t “worked,” having already appeared in February and May of this year to absolutely no effect.I have no question—at all—that the market has simply climbed a higher cliff from which to plunge, but I learned in 2000 and 2007 that there’s no hope of convincing many investors of this sort of thing—despite the fact that these reckless speculative peaks seem so “obvious” after the market collapses. Even when investors listen, at least some of the tears they would have shed after the plunge are substituted for tears they have to endure while missing the final advance.We’re faced with a speculative advance that seems unstoppable, despite the absence of any reliable mechanistic link between quantitative easing and stock prices—only a combination of superstition and yield-seeking that has repeatedly ended badly. What’s driving capitulation here is not evidence, or even the faint memory of cycles as recent as 2000 and 2007—but pain, impatience, career risk, and the demand that all discomfort must arise from conventional behavior.As John Maynard Keynes wrote in the General Theory:“Human nature desires quick results, there is a peculiar zest in making money quickly, and remoter gains are discounted by the average man at a very high rate… It is the long-term investor, he who most promotes the public interest, who will in practice come in for most criticism, wherever investment funds are managed by committees or boards or banks. For it is in the essence of his behavior that he should be eccentric, unconventional and rash in the eyes of average opinion. If he is successful, that will only confirm the general belief in his rashness; and if in the short run he is unsuccessful, which is very likely, he will not receive much mercy. Worldly wisdom teaches that it is better for reputation to fail conventionally than to succeed unconventionally.”Keep in mind how investment bubbles work. A bubble always starts with some real factor that takes on increasingly exaggerated importance in the eyes of investors. The bubble expands not on facts but on untethered imagination. People imagine that X will result in ever-increasing prices, and assume that an endless crowd of buyers is still behind them—dot-com stocks, technology, housing, “tronics” stocks in the ’60s, the Nifty Fifty in the ’70s, quantitative easing, tulip bulbs.Regardless of whether the mechanism underlying that concept is fictional, and regardless of how tenuously it is linked to reality, a bubble advances as long as the adherents it gains are more eager than those it loses. What stops the bubble is not the concept itself hitting a brick wall, but the pool of new adherents being exhausted. Once everyone is in, who’s left to buy from all those holders with their fingers hovering over the sell button? The question, once the moment arrives, is always the same: Sell to whom? And that’s why markets crash.With the percentage of advisory bears at the lowest level in a quarter-century, the following bit from mid-2007 is a useful reminder of how all of this works.“The U.S. stock market now stands at its highest level ever. By most measures, it is as pricey as ’29, or ’68, or 2000. Upon this sea of easy cash and credit, practically every stock market on the face of the planet floats higher and higher.Even some of the greatest and most experienced market observers … have finally given up fighting ’em. They’ve decided that this really is a New Era of New Capitalism and that this is the time to join ’em. This worldwide bubble is more worldly and more bubbly than any in history, they say. It may get much, much bigger. And they have good reasons to think so… all those trillions of new money. How can they help but blow this bubble up even bigger—so big even the moon will have to get out of the way.But wait … isn’t there an old market adage: The bull market is over when the last bear throws in the towel? Are there more bears still out there? We don’t know. But there can’t be many of them.”—Bill Bonner, The Daily Reckoning, June 25, 2007On that subject, for anyone waiting for me to capitulate, it’s important to understand that my views shift when the data shifts. Capitulation is the luxury of those who invest by the seat of their pants. To the extent that I have any latitude to capitulate, the most that one can expect already happened months ago, when we allowed for a “blowoff” in response to the Fed’s decision not to taper—a decision that many of the Federal Reserve’s own members have openly described as a close call, a borderline decision, a missed opportunity, and a threat to the Fed’s credibility.We continue to allow (though not rely on) the potential for a further blowoff in the S&P 500. My opinion about this isn’t driven by the preponderance of historical evidence, which is already strikingly negative, but by the characteristic log-periodic behavior we’re observing in prices (see A Textbook Pre-Crash Bubble).The associated “singularity” may yet be a few weeks away. As Didier Sornette has observed, numerous past bubbles in financial markets and commodities have featured this signature, which I’ve described in terms of increasingly immediate impulses to buy the dip. The pattern was already extreme enough back in April/May of this year, and pushing that singularity further has required the price advance to become even steeper and corrections even shallower and more frequent. The pattern that pushes out to January is the most extreme variant we can fit, but more recent price behavior is more consistent with a mid-December singularity (see last week’s comment).Frankly, I don’t think we can rely on markets following math, but the fidelity to these patterns is creepy, and consistent with what Sornette described in Why Markets Crash.In any event, I don’t actually expect investors to retain any of these potential gains even a couple of months from now, nor would I encourage any meaningful exposure to market risk. Still, modest exposures in index call options can have a useful contingent profile since strike prices can be raised even in the event an advance is purely temporary.The Elephant in the RoomOur focus has always been on outperforming the market over complete market cycles (combining both bull and bear markets), with smaller periodic losses than a passive investment approach. In pursuit of that objective, we’ve always been willing to accept periods where we don’t track the market. By 2009, it was easy to demonstrate the success of that discipline.I was a fully leveraged raging bull in the early 1990s; was defensive well before the 2000 bubble peak, and was more than absolved by prospering during a market plunge in 2000-2002 that wiped out every bit of total return in the S&P 500, in excess of Treasury bills, all the way back to May 1996; shifted to a constructive outlook in early 2003 as a new bull market took hold; warned loudly about an oncoming credit crisis and severe market losses in 2007; and navigated the crisis well in the 2007-2009 plunge as the S&P 500 lost 55% of its value, again wiping out every bit of total return in the S&P 500, in excess of Treasury bills, all the way back to June 1995.I’ve been as comfortable being an aggressive bull as I am being a raging bear today. I can hardly wait for the opportunity to change species when the evidence presents itself. But it is purely a function of the data that I’ve been generally defensive in a period where stocks have been so overpriced that the S&P 500 has scarcely achieved a 3% nominal annual total return in over 13 years, and even then only because valuations have again been driven above every pre-bubble extreme except 1929.What obscures perspective and shakes confidence is the elephant in the room—our disappointing “miss” since 2009. My sense is that many investors are inclined to ignore the objective warnings from a century of evidence because our own subjective experience since 2009 has been disappointing. Before investors dispense with evidence that may very well define their investment future over the next several years, or even the next decade, they may be well served to understand that most of that miss had little to do with the overvaluation and extremely overbought, overbullish conditions that concern us at present.As in 2000 and 2007, my concern is deepest for investors who have relatively short horizons until their funds are needed, who don’t have a great number of years ahead in which they’ll be adding to their investments, and who have allocations to stocks that don’t recognize that equities have a duration of 50 years here (so an investor who needs the funds in 5 years should really have no more than 10% of assets in stocks, particularly at present valuations).We presently estimate a nominal annual total return for the S&P 500 over the coming decade somewhere between zero and 2.2%. We are observing overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes that are uniquely associated with peaks that preceded the worst market losses in history (including 1929, 1972, 1987, 2000, and 2007). Speculators are now leveraged to the greatest extent in history, with NYSE margin debt surging last month to a record high in dollar terms, and 2.5% of GDP in relative terms (a level previously observed only at the 2000 and 2007 extremes). Our challenges of the past few years—most of which trace to a single decision—should not encourage investors to ignore evidence that is specific to the markets.I believe that more than half, and perhaps closer to all, of the market’s gains since 2009 will be surrendered over the completion of this cycle. Investors will do themselves terrible harm if they ignore the objective warnings of history based on our subjective experience in this unfinished half-cycle. That subjective experience is far more closely related to my 2009 stress-testing decision than many investors recognize.The “stress-testing” problem was to develop an alternative way of estimating return and risk that was robust to complete market cycles across history, including not only post-war data, but also Depression-era data, as well as holdout data that was not used as part of the research process. It’s very easy to simply “back fit” a model to historical data. The actual requirements of validating against holdout data are much more challenging, but until we were certain we could distinguish market conditions in the most extreme circumstances, we worked to solve what I called our “two data sets problem.”Even after we had addressed that problem in mid-2010, there was a smaller issue still to be addressed. The subtlety is that valuations have a very strong effect on long-term returns, but since the long term is just a sequence of short terms, valuations still feature heavily in estimates of expected market return/risk over shorter horizons, even when market action and other factors are included.One cannot simply ignore an overvalued market when trend-sensitive measures are favorable. While favorable market trend-following measures do result in further market advances for a while, this tends to continue only until an advance becomes so extended that a syndrome of “overvalued, overbought, overbullish” conditions emerges. At that point, prices are typically so elevated, relative to any threshold that might provide a reasonable exit, that a great deal of ground is typically lost in one fell swoop at the very end. The key to overvalued markets is to embrace favorable market internals only until those overextended syndromes emerge, but no longer. Greed really is punished over time.By April 2012, we addressed that subtlety by incorporating further criteria to limit our defensiveness, even when our return/risk estimates are negative, provided that our measures of market internals are favorable and overvalued, overbought, overbullish syndromes are absent. While this modification is not actually required over the complete market cycle, it does have the effect of improving the capture of returns in markets that are already substantially overvalued.What our investment discipline has not done is to encourage us to speculate in the face of the unprecedented and uncorrected overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions driven by investor faith in QEternity during the past year. Investors who wish to rest their financial security on quantitative easing are entirely free to roll those dice on their own.That said, hardly a week goes by that we don’t look into some factor that might convince us to take a more constructive approach toward QE or the associated advance. My belief that the present situation will end very badly is driven by the lessons from a century of evidence, and the absence of a single testable monetary, economic or technical factor—aside from blind faith in QE—that would have helped to capture gains during the past year without worsening the results of our discipline in past market cycles throughout history.Given that our approach spans a century of available data, I have no expectation of reliving such stress testing in any future market cycle, and every reason to expect the resulting approach to outperform our pre-2009 methods in future cycles, not to mention the completion of the present one. Both our 2009-early 2010 miss, and the missed post-correction advances in late 2010 and late 2011 are unfortunately casualties of the credit crisis and the resulting stress testing.I’d like to have a better answer to the past year of QE-induced gains other than noting their resemblance to the confidence in dot-com stocks. The fact is that every strategy we’ve tested that might have embraced these gains also fails spectacularly in historical data, largely because some of the worst market losses in history emerged from overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes that were less extreme than what we observe today. There’s no denying that the present overvalued, overbought, overbullish extremes have endured longer than they have historically, but I’m not inclined to believe that the end result will be sweeter.I’ve got a very uncomfortable sense that some investors are disregarding objective evidence here, and assuming that extreme overvalued, overbought, overbullish conditions can easily be ignored, on the argument that we’ve had a difficult time of things since 2009.As investors place all of their valuation hopes on the “Fed Model,” comparing the market’s value on “forward earnings” with the 10-year bond yield and resting their financial security on the confidence that the Federal Reserve provides a “put option” to protect them against loss, I’ll end with a reminder from the last time the same beliefs carried such weight, just before the stock market lost more over half its value:“I’ve done my best to warn loudly, I’ve put the data out there, and have analyzed this thing to pieces. The Fed Model has no theoretical validity as a discounting model, is a statistical artifact, would never have been materially negative except in 1987 and the late 1990s (even in 1929 or 1972), yet views the generational 1982 lows as about “fairly valued,” is garbage in data prior to 1980, and vastly underperforms proper discounted cash flow models and normalized P/E ratios. If investors still wish to follow the Fed Model, my conscience is clear, and my hands are clean.“There is no evidence that historically reliable valuation measures have lost their validity. Speculators hoping for a ‘Bernanke put’ to save their assets are likely to discover—too late—that the strike price is way out of the money.”—Hussman Funds Weekly Market Comment, August 27, 2007, Knowing What Ain’t Truelast_img read more

Justins note If you havent heard yet Strategic

first_imgJustin’s note: If you haven’t heard yet, Strategic Investor editor E.B. Tucker’s working on a new venture. He plans to share all the details about this product at the end of this month. Leading up to that big announcement, we’re featuring his best insights and money-making opportunities.But you should first get to know E.B., if you don’t already. He’s one of the best big picture thinkers in our business. And his track record shows it. Just look at some of the big calls he’s nailed… E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. I recently released an important video describing everything you need to know about “America’s Third Power Shift.”In short, the biggest power shift in the last 100 years is happening now. And it’s creating a tipping point in the next generation of energy metals. If you know where to put your money ahead of time, you could see once-in-a-lifetime gains. We’re set up to profit from this megatrend in my Strategic Investor newsletter… and you can join.Check out my presentation here…Reader MailbagAre you bullish on new energy sources? How about the metals that will profit? Let us know at feedback@caseyresearch.com.E.B. Tucker’s Latest Venture Profiting from America’s third power shift is just one of the many big ideas E.B. has to help you make a fortune in today’s markets.The idea he’s most excited about right now is a little-known strategy you can use to generate gains 10x bigger than options. It’s a specific type of investment that Doug Casey uses too…E.B. and Doug are ready to share the details on this strategy later this month in what’s sure to be one of the most important events in Casey Research’s history.We’ll let you know more details over the coming weeks.Stay tuned… Recommended Link The blockchain wave – E.B. was able to exploit this massive trend and made 15,000% in profits on a blockchain mining deal. Click here to watch this clip The Bitcoin bubble – On December 14, 2017, E.B. pleaded with his readers who owned bitcoin to sell enough of their coins to recoup their initial investment. That was four days before bitcoin reached its all-time high of $19,783. Folks thought he was crazy. Bitcoin’s at $3,370 today. Strange Investment Trick Can Pay Five Times MORE MONEY than Social SecurityI know that’s hard to believe… But this is 100% based on actual reports from people just like you. Just see for yourself… watch this 1-minute clip before Friday at 3pm. Learn how readers like Steve from Michigan made $7,500 just the other weekend. But hurry! This only works if you take one simple action before Friday at 3pm. A New EraLast century was the oil era. From Ibn Saud, Rockefeller, Getty, and even shale oil tycoons like billionaire Harold Hamm of Continental Resources, the oil business created trillions of dollars’ worth of wealth.Those days are over.Now, I’m not saying major oil companies are down for the count… they’re not. I’m also not saying billionaires like the Saudi royals are in trouble… they’re not.What I’m saying is that over the decades to come, those families, those billionaires, and those major companies we know today will not see their fortunes swell. They’ll chug along. They’ll also be surprised as new energy barons leap past them on the Forbes list.You see, oil goes in about every product we use today. From the tube of toothpaste to the lid on a Starbucks cup, it’s hard to get away from oil. This chart shows how much petroleum the world uses on a daily basis.I’m sure the first thing you think when you see this chart is that the oil business must be great.It is for the most entrenched players. Oftentimes, this means governments. After all, as much as 75% of the world’s oil production comes from state-owned oil companies, according to The Wall Street Journal.What I hope you’ll see is that the oil business isn’t getting much better. For starters, climate change warriors are out to attack the business at any chance they can get. I attended a raucous anti-oil protest in Portland, Oregon back in 2016 for research purposes. I attended a Dakota Access Pipeline protest in Portland, Oregon in November 2016Then, take taxes into consideration. Every gallon of gasoline sold in the U.S. has a $0.184 federal levy placed on it… and some states, like Pennsylvania (the highest case), pile on as much as $0.582 per gallon on top of that. States need that money to fund their bloated budgets.Oil is under attack from every angle.Meanwhile, alternative power gets the opposite treatment. In some states, you can actually make money driving an electric car or bolting solar panels onto your home.Just to be clear, we don’t have an opinion about which energy source is better. In my newsletter Strategic Investor, we separate our ideology from our investing.With this in mind, we see the oil trade as old, tired, and predictably stale. We see alternative energy as inevitable. Electric vehicles will be cheaper than those with combustion engines. Estimates say that 4.5 million new electric vehicles will be sold every year in China alone by 2020. Recommended Link You see, new battery technology is cutting costs in half… while increasing storage capacity.And that’s why the mass production and adoption of the electric car is no longer a pipe dream. It’s a reality.Right on the Cusp of a SurgeEarlier, we showed you a chart of oil usage. While it’s a big number, it’s not growing very fast. At least, not compared to this chart…Oil’s 1.5% annual demand growth over the last two decades is nothing compared to surging demand for battery capacity.The chart above measures battery demand in gigawatt hours (GWh). To put things into perspective, in 2016, all consumer products with lithium-ion batteries added up to 45 GWh, according to The Economist. That means every cordless drill, smartphone, and even e-cigarette combined. Electric car batteries produced that year added another 25 GWh.By 2030, management consulting firm McKinsey & Company expects demand for battery capacity to surge more than 36-fold to 2,900 GWh per year.And that, in turn, will create a massive spike in demand for a handful of new energy metals required to make all these batteries.In fact, The Wall Street Journal says, “The world is about to experience its biggest shift in commodities demand since the 19th century.”There’s no comparison. New energy sources will leap over oil’s tepid growth in the coming years. With clean energy economic incentives in place, no protesters, and technology on its side, a new energy source is set to power the future.Regards, Simply Put, Batteries Will Be the Oil of the Next CenturyAnd the metals that make up these batteries are creating a new “gold rush.”Why now?Because these more advanced batteries will hand forward-thinking investors the opportunity of a lifetime – and make two things a reality: Solar and wind power will be even cheaper and – more importantly – be available on-demand, 24/7 (think streaming), thanks to the energy storage capabilities of high-tech batteries. This will lead to the rise of micro-grids and independent home energy. — Click here for the full story In short, it pays to listen to E.B… especially when he’s pounding the table on a big idea. And that’s what today’s essay is all about.Below, E.B. explains why we’re entering “the biggest energy shift of our time.” A new type of energy is taking over. And that’s opened the door to a huge money-making opportunity…Regards,Justin Spittler Florianópolis, Brazil February 6, 2019By E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic InvestorA society is only as strong as its access to supplies of reliable energy. While the source of that energy changes over time, one thing doesn’t: Controlling the supply of that energy is as close to printing money as you’ll ever get.Throughout time, the richest barons in history sold society its energy.Last century, oil fueled society. Barons like Jean Paul Getty made so much money supplying society with oil, the wealth became a burden. From the Rockefellers to the Saudi royals, the story is the same. Controlling the supply of energy is equivalent to a levy on the entire economy.Before oil, it was coal. Coal created scores of 19th-century fortunes. Even Andrew Mellon, who later became Secretary of the Treasury and the third-largest taxpayer in the 1920s (behind Rockefeller and Ford), got his start in the coal business.The same trend stretches all the way back to medieval days, when wood provided heat, a cooking flame, and lit rooms. The lords who owned the forest set the price for warmth, hot food, and light.Today, we’re on the dawn of a new era in energy. Stock Market Bulls Are Preparing for February 13Some of the most famous stock market bulls in the world are preparing for a massive event in February. — The renter trend – E.B. sold his largest stock at the peak in 2008. That gave him the “dry powder” to buy six rental properties. A decade later, he still has a passive income stream that yields around 20% per year.last_img read more

In North Carolina the opioid epidemic claims the

first_imgIn North Carolina, the opioid epidemic claims the lives of, on average, more than 3 people a day, and it shows little sign of slowing down. That’s just one of the issues that the state agency in charge of behavioral health is facing, which includes everything from substance abuse to mental health, developmental disabilities and more. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services recently released a 90-page strategic plan on how it aims to improve services in the state.WFDD’s Bethany Chafin spoke with Deputy Secretary for Health Services Mark Benton about what went into the plan and what it says about behavioral health in North Carolina.Interview Highlights On gathering feedback for the report: One of the things that we knew as we developed this plan was that we were also in the midst of a devastating opioid crisis…a big portion of that crisis points back to the fact that there are a lot of individuals who are suffering who do not have access to health coverage. And we also know that we have pockets in our state where we don’t have enough behavioral health providers, particularly substance use counselors. And so part of [it is] our recognizing that we need to increase access to health care, that’s both physical health and behavioral health. We also need to address the fact that we don’t have an adequate workforce, and we need to be able to look and hopefully better leverage the use of telemedicine to be able to bring care into communities where people are suffering. And you know, I guess in other words, the opioid crisis is in some ways is sort of a reflection of the fact that we have much more work to do in improving our behavioral health system. On the challenges facing North Carolina’s behavioral health system: The planning and the input for the behavioral health plan was really about a year-long process. We held 6 community meetings or community forums around the state. We talked with countless numbers of stakeholders…and some of the key pieces of feedback that we got consistently through all of those different venues were concerns around the timeliness and the affordability of behavioral healthcare, and that sort of addressed a number of subpoints. One [was] about whether we have an adequate behavioral health workforce and are we providing an adequate amount of services? And then generally, the ability for folks to be able to access those services – those with insurance and those without insurance. There was also another key theme that addressed the need to treat the entire person, the whole person. We refer to that as integrating both behavioral health and physical health. And then lastly were just general observations around the need to sort of improve the quality of behavioral health care that’s provided across our state. So those were sort of the three main buckets of feedback that we’ve received in this year-long process.center_img The major challenges come back to lack of funding and access to health insurance. We still have a large segment of our population that are working, are perhaps individuals with no children and have no means of accessing healthcare. We know generally there’s not enough money to cover the services that are needed. We also know that we still live in a day where there’s a stigma associated with having a mental illness or a substance use diagnosis. And we also know one of the other challenges is that our current system is fragmented and this is sort of a lead back to the need to integrate behavioral health and physical health. And so right now the two systems are very much separate. And we believe that needs to be addressed going forward. On how this addresses the opioid epidemic:last_img read more

This week a federal appeals court addressed the r

first_imgThis week, a federal appeals court addressed the right to treatment for an inmate who suffers from opioid addiction, a move that legal advocates say could have wide repercussions. The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston ruled that a rural Maine jail must provide Brenda Smith with medication for her opioid use disorder. One of her attorneys, Emma Bond, a staff attorney with the ACLU of Maine, says the new ruling has the potential to create a “big signal” for jails across the country and combat the social barriers preventing incarcerated people from receiving treatment.”This is the first federal appeals court in the country to address the right to treatment for opioid addiction in jail,” says Bond. “It represents a huge step forward in the fight against the opioid crisis and for our client who will get her medication in jail.”Brenda Smith, a resident of Madawaska, Maine, was sentenced in 2018 to 40 days in the Aroostook County Jail for theft at an area Walmart, according to statements in an earlier court decision. Smith currently receives a twice-daily dose of buprenorphine — more commonly known by the brand name Suboxone. This medication helps people with opioid addiction control cravings and maintain recovery. Smith has been in stable recovery for five years on the medication.Jail officials told her lawyer they were going to interrupt that treatment during her sentence, according to this week’s ruling, forcing her to undergo withdrawal in jail. They argued the drug is contraband in the jail and could hinder rehabilitation and become a source of trafficking. Smith and the ACLU of Maine challenged that position in court, arguing that withholding treatment would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act and the 8th Amendment of the constitution.Susan Friedman of the Legal Action Council in New York has worked on the intersection of the Americans with Disabilities Act and access to medication-assisted treatment for the better part of a decade and she agrees with Bonds’ assessment. Friedman says not only is the ruling binding for courts and jails in the First Circuit, courts around the country will pay attention to this affirmation that denying inmates in jail medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder violates the ADA – and is illegal. Under the ADA, it’s illegal to discriminate on the basis of disability, and this includes people who have gone through or are going through drug rehabilitation.”That sends a really important message to jails and prisons around the country as well as to policy makers who are grappling with these issues,” said Friedman.Friedman said some jails and prisons will likely start trying to provide access to medications for opioid use disorder to avoid being the subject of a similar lawsuit or because administrators recognize it’s the right thing to do. Research has shown that providing medication treatment in jail and prison can prevent relapse and reduce risk of overdose upon release. A number of jails and prisons around the country are starting to offer medication treatment with buprenorphine or methadone — but many refuse to, citing concerns that the drugs will be diverted and abused. Smith’s won her Maine-based case this week when a three-judge appellate panel upheld an earlier ruling by federal judge Nancy Torresen in U.S. district court for Maine. Last month, Torresen ordered the jail “to provide the Plaintiff with her prescribed buprenorphine during her sentence at the Aroostook County Jail in whatever way the Defendants deem most appropriate in light of the Aroostook County Jail’s security needs.”The new ruling comes while county jails around the country struggle to meet the needs of patients struggling with opioid use disorder and addiction. According to The National Sheriffs’ Association more than half of the country’s jail population struggles with drug use and dependence. Like Aroostook County, other jail administrators in the U.S. have expressed concern with jail-based medication-assisted treatment’s cost and effectiveness. Friedman says many of these concerns don’t hold up to scrutiny. The drug can be monitored like any other controlled substance deployed in jails. Additionally, she says, the medication is not prohibitively expensive nor do jails make the same arguments when it comes to other treatments needed for health concerns like diabetes or heart conditions.”This is no different — this is a medical condition that kills over 100 people every day,” said Friedman.The ruling closely follows two recent suits in Massachusetts and Washington State which also addressed access to medication-assisted treatment. Yet Brenda Smith’s case solicited a decision by the highest court yet to rule on this particular issue. Smith’s lawyer Bond says this week’s ruling could do more than ensure people are receiving addiction treatment while in jail. She says the ruling could influence how people perceive addiction stigma. “This decision is a big step forward in fighting that stigma and fighting that discrimination and so it will be a big step forward in fighting the opioid crisis itself,” says Bond. Bond says Smith is grateful to receive the treatment many doctors say is medically necessary for dealing with opioid use disorder. Copyright 2019 Maine Public. To see more, visit Maine Public.last_img read more

MacOS High Sierras Root Bug Makes Hacking it Easy

first_img The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Apply Now » The bug appears to only affect High Sierra (MacOS 10.13.1), and Apple is working on a fix. Guest Writer Next Article November 29, 2017 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List MacOS High Sierra’s ‘Root’ Bug Makes Hacking it Easy Add to Queue Reporter 3 min read Michael Kan –shares This story originally appeared on PCMag Mac computers with High Sierra (MacOS 10.13.1 or higher) have a serious bug that can let anyone gain root access to the system without a password.The hack is easy to pull off. It can be triggered through the Mac’s System Preferences application when “Users &; Groups” is selected, and the lock icon on the window is clicked. After that, a new login window will appear. Anyone who types “root” as the username, leaves the password field empty, and clicks unlock (once or twice) is on their way to a new account that has system admin privileges to the computer.With those privileges, the account can be used to modify the rest of the Mac and look up passwords on the keychain access. Even after a reboot, the root account remains.There are also reports the bug can be triggered at the Mac login screen, but not everyone was able to produce the same findings.The problem made headlines when security researcher Lemi Orhan Ergin tweeted about on Tuesday.????? pic.twitter.com/4TBh5NetIS— patrick wardle (@patrickwardle) November 28, 2017Amit Serper, a security researcher with Cybereason, replicated the result and said the bug “is as serious as it gets.”Hackers are always crafting malware that can gain greater system privileges into a computer. Now they have a new way, which can also be triggered via a Mac’s command line function. Imagine a piece of malicious code designed to attack Macs using the same flaw. Users wouldn’t even know they were compromised, Serper said.Shortly after the bug was made public, Apple issued the following statement:”We are working on a software update to address this issue. In the meantime, setting a root password prevents unauthorized access to your Mac. To enable the Root User and set a password, please follow the instructions here. If a Root User is already enabled, to ensure a blank password is not set, please follow the instructions from the ‘Change the root password’ section.”Security experts are still going over the bug, but it can be remotely exploitable, if for instance, screen sharing is enabled on the Mac.If certain sharing services enabled on target – this attack appears to work ? remote ??? (the login attempt enables/creates the root account with blank pw) Oh Apple ???? pic.twitter.com/lbhzWZLk4v— patrick wardle (@patrickwardle) November 28, 2017It does not appear Apple was made aware of the bug before it was publicized on Twitter, something the security community generally frowns upon. “This kind of public disclosure can put users at risk,” said Keith Hoodlet, a security engineer with Bugcrowd, which does crowdsourced security testing.He recommends users refrain from trying out the bug on their High Sierra-installed Macs. Doing so creates an account with super privileges, which can open it up to remote attack. To mitigate the risk, users who’ve decided to test the bug should create a password for the new root account, which can be done by following the temporary fix Apple provided. Apple Image credit: pisaphotography | Shutterstocklast_img read more

Testing the Open Source Waters

first_imgCalc is similar in almost every way to Excel, but Calc files, unlike Excel files, can be saved directly to PDF, thus saving you the time and expense of having to use a separate program–Adobe–to turn the text document into a PDF. Apply Now » Donald Carroll Testing the Open Source Waters It was my fault–I admit it. I was cleaning my computer’s file system, trying to speed it up a bit, when poof! My computer died. I was able to bring it back to life, but I lost a lot of programs I had to reinstall. Unfortunately, at some point during a move six months earlier, I had lost my Microsoft Office disk and now was in a bit of a jam: I was working on a project for a client, the deadline was coming up quickly, and it was too late to go to the store to buy another copy.That’s when I turned to Google. On a hunch, I searched for “Alternatives to Microsoft Office” and there I found OpenOffice.org. A quick read of OpenOffice’s website revealed a program that’s intended to be similar to Microsoft Office in look and feel, and that can read and save files in the Microsoft Office format, among others.Here’s the kicker: OpenOffice is free. Regardless of how many workstations you use the program on, it’ll never cost your company a penny. Compare that to the cost of licensing Microsoft Office Professional for just five workstations: According to a sales associate at the online retailer CDW, that’ll cost you upwards of $2,000.Being convinced–and desparate–enough to give it a try, I went through the download and install procedures, which took only a few minutes using my cable modem. I was very pleased with what I found. There’s a “Word”-like program, called Write, for drafting documents. There’s also a spreadsheet program, called Calc, that’s very similar to Excel and a presentation program called Impress that’s similar to PowerPoint. There’s also a program called Draw, which is comparable to Paint.After I became more familiar with OpenOffice, I discovered many useful features that other business owners will appreciate:Write is the OpenOffice equivalent of Word. It’s highly functional, very intuitive and has utilities for saving documents directly to PDF format, which allows for easy web publishing or portability between platforms, something Word doesn’t offer. Mail merge, table maker, object manipulation, various wizards and the ability to create your own templates are also available in Write. 4 min read Add to Queue Technology July 28, 2005 Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares OpenOffice 1.2 also has a database function built in. This can be used to create bibliographies, contact lists, address books and other functions you’d expect from a relational database.Though it’s easy to learn how to use the programs–and easy on any company’s budget–OpenOffice does have some drawbacks:The database program in version 1.2 is extremely difficult to learn. I also came across compatibility issues with some of my Windows software that wouldn’t allow for the creation of databases through OpenOffice. There’s an Access-like database for OpenOffice 2.0, called Base; however, it’s still in Beta version, so some functions don’t work. And at this point, Base doesn’t have an “import” function, which many Access users find useful. Impress presentations can be saved directly as a Macromedia Flash file, for easy uploading to your company’s website. In PowerPoint, this can only be done by using a separate and expensive program for converting PowerPoint documents to Macromedia Flash format. If you don’t remember to save your Write files in a .doc format, or PDF, then non-OpenOffice users who you send your files to won’t be able to read them. Is free software really worth it? One business owner describes his first experiences with OpenOffice. Next Article Lastly, since OpenOffice was created as a group effort and built by volunteers, its how-tos and help files are sometimes difficult to find and understand.Overall, OpenOffice provides users with a versatile office suite. Many small-business owners will find that the office suite is a gateway to the larger world of open source software. For instance, when you find that OpenOffice doesn’t offer an Outlook-like e-mail service, you might soon discover Mozilla Thunderbird, another open source program that looks and acts very much like Outlook. Soon you may begin wondering why so many thousands of your business’s hard-earned dollars went to software suites, when similar software is available for free on the internet.Donald Carroll is the founder of Calvary Copywriting in Kansas City, Missouri. Specializing in the peculiarities of small to mid-sized businesses, Donald takes pride in helping the little guys fight big competition. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 Listlast_img read more

Were a Country of BingeWatchers and We Feel Pretty Good About It

first_imgTechnology Image credit: gamecocksonline.com Register Now » Guest Writer December 13, 2013 –shares Laura Entis 3 min read We’re a Country of Binge-Watchers, and We Feel Pretty Good About It Binge-viewing has become our new normal, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix.The survey found that among U.S. adults who stream a TV show at least once a week, 61 percent binge-watch regularly. And the majority of us binge-watchers don’t feel guilty about it — in fact, 73 percent said they have positive feelings about the experience.What is binge-watching, though? To me, the word (which, by the way, was a runner-up to “selfie” for Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year) conveys an intense marathon of watching – an entire TV season manically consumed in a day or two. But most people, it turns out, don’t see it this way – 73% percent of respondents defined the term in much more moderate language as “watching between two to six episodes of the TV show in one sitting.” (Which begs the question: what’s the word for watching an entire season in one sitting?)This is a very sane definition, but our habits aren’t necessarily so controlled. Netflix executives told The Wall Street Journal that they found a consistent pattern in the pace at which people binge: in general, about half the viewers studied had finished an entire season (up to 22 episodes) within one week. Not the fevered bout of five seasons of Breaking Bad in four days, but not the more restrained two episodes in one sitting, either.Related: Netflix’s ‘House of Cards’ Gets Emmy Not as TV Moves Online”Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix, in a statement.But is it always a good idea to consume multiple episodes in one sitting? Before the release of the latest season of Arrested Development, series creator Mitch Hurwitz recommended restraint. “You’ll get tired!” Hurwitz told Vulture, before recounting a story about a producer who watched too many episodes back to back, with diminishing laughs each time. “You have to take a break,” he advised. “There’s too much material.”It’s safe to say that most people probably didn’t heed Hurwitz’s warning, and binge-watched anyway (I know I did). The survey backs this up — 79 percent of respondents said “watching several episodes of their favorite shows at once actually makes the shows more enjoyable.”While Netflix hasn’t always been a huge fan of binge-watch “due to connotations of gluttonous or antisocial behavior,” the company has finally embraced the word. Binge-watching, it seems, has come out of the dark and into the daylight, so to speak.Related: Netflix Goes Where No Customer Service Has Gone Before Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Next Article Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Add to Queuelast_img read more

Facebook Announces New Policies Regarding Names Nudity and Controversial Content

first_img Enroll Now for $5 Geoff Weiss Facebook has released a new version of Community Standards regarding what kind of content is appropriate to share, clarifying its policies surrounding nudity, hate speech and the identities in which its users may traffic.“Because of the diversity of our global community,” Facebook wrote in announcing the changes, “please keep in mind that something that may be disagreeable or disturbing to you may not violate our Community Standards.”After several drag queens’ accounts were flagged last year for using names like Sister Roma and Lil Miss Hot Mess instead of their legal names, Facebook’s new terms clarify that users may now connect using “their authentic identities” — even if it isn’t a legal moniker.“There has been a lot of confusion from people who thought we were asking them to use what’s on their driver’s license,” Facebook’s head of global product policy, Monika Bickert, told Re/code. “That’s not an accurate interpretation. We want people communicating using the name they actually use in real life.”Related: Facebook Updates Its Suicide Prevention ToolsThe new guidelines, which are roughly three times as long as the previous version and were in the works for roughly a year, also specify how Facebook will handle posts containing nudity.“We remove photographs of people displaying genitals or focusing in on fully exposed buttocks,” the company writes. “We also restrict some images of female breasts if they include the nipple, but we always allow photos of women actively engaged in breastfeeding or showing breasts with post-mastectomy scarring.”Facebook also added a new section entitled Dangerous Organizations, reports the BBC, which states that, in addition to banning terrorist organizations from Facebook, the site will now prohibit praise or support for such groups — a point that hadn’t been noted before.Other clarifications include the barring of altered images intended to degrade victims, as well as the celebration of criminal activity. While hate speech is also banned, users are allowed to share examples in order to raise awareness — though this intention must be clearly indicated. Related: You Can Now Appoint Someone to Manage Your Facebook Account After You Die –shares Next Article 2 min read Former Staff Writer Facebook Announces New Policies Regarding Names, Nudity and Controversial Content Regulations Add to Queue Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand Learn from renowned serial entrepreneur David Meltzer how to find your frequency in order to stand out from your competitors and build a brand that is authentic, lasting and impactful. March 16, 2015last_img read more

Priceline Strikes Deal With Cuba to Let Americans Book Hotels

first_img Register Now » Add to Queue 3 min read Priceline Group has agreed with Cuba to make Cuban hotel rooms available to U.S. customers via subsidiary Booking.com, becoming the first U.S. online travel agency to strike a deal with the island state, a Booking.com executive said.The deal comes on the first full day of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit to Cuba and on the heels of U.S. hotel firm Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide’s agreement with the Cuban government to manage and market three Havana hotel properties.Booking.com would allow Americans traveling to Cuba to reserve and pay for rooms at a number of Cuban and foreign hotels, starting in several weeks, Booking.com Americas Managing Director Todd Dunlap told Reuters in an interview.Americans previously had to reserve Cuban hotels principally through travel agencies or tour groups.Booking.com would operate initially in Cuba only in Havana, Dunlap said. It planned to work with foreign firms already on the island, including France’s Accor and Spanish chains Meliá Hotels International SA and NH Hotel Group SA. It was also working on deals with state-run Cuban chains.The only major American lodging booking service currently available to Americans traveling to Cuba is online home-rental marketplace Airbnb, which began operating in Cuba in April last year.Priceline began working on bringing its services to Cuba shortly after President Obama announced the restoration of diplomatic ties with the island on Dec. 17, 2014.Cuban tourism infrastructure has seen significant strain since U.S. relations to the island warmed. Prices have surged for the island’s 63,000 hotel rooms, many of which are booked solid months in advance. Cuba received a record 3.52 million visitors last year, up 17.4 percent from 2014. American visits rose 77 percent to 161,000, not counting hundreds of thousands of Cuban-Americans.Tourism to Cuba is still technically illegal under the U.S. trade embargo. U.S. travelers to the island are required to do so under “general licenses,” which permit travel for religion, family visits, cultural exchange, sports, and other purposes approved by the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control. On March 17 OFAC said it would allow individual people-to-people educational exchanges, as well.Booking.com would ask travelers to certify that they fit one of the Treasury’s approved travel categories, but would not verify their status, Dunlap said. The company would keep travelers’ information on file for five years after their travel, should officials choose to check.(By Mimi Dwyer, additional reporting by Mike Stone in New York, editing by Peter Henderson and Stephen Coates) –shares Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Business Next Article Cuba Image credit: Reuters | Alexandre Meneghini Priceline Strikes Deal With Cuba to Let Americans Book Hotels This story originally appeared on Reuters Reuters Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Tourists ride in a vintage car in Havana. March 21, 2016last_img read more

UTHealth enrolls first US patient in novel stem cell trial to treat

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 28 2019The first U.S. patient to participate in a global study of a stem cell therapy injected directly into the brain to treat stroke disability was enrolled in the clinical trial this week at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).”At McGovern Medical School at UTHealth, we have been studying cellular therapies as a novel treatment for stroke over the past 10 years. We are very excited to partner with ReNeuron and enroll the first patient into the PISCES III study,” said Sean I. Savitz, MD, the study’s global principal investigator and professor and director of the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease at UTHealth. “This study represents an important next step in the development of novel cellular therapies for chronic stroke and, to date, is the most advanced clinical trial to determine whether neural stem cells improve recovery in patients chronically disabled by stroke.”The trial, called PISCES III, is a Phase IIb, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicenter study enrolling a total of 110 eligible ischemic stroke patients, age 35 to 75, who are experiencing persistent disability six to 12 months post-stroke. They will receive either a single dose of the ReNeuron drug called CTX0E03 DP, which is injected into the brain, or they will undergo a sham surgery. The surgeries are performed at Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, a teaching hospital of McGovern Medical School.While intravenous delivery of stem cells is being studied in clinical trials for acute stroke patients, direct delivery into the brain may have more effect for patients with chronic stroke disability, Savitz said.”Just as in a skin wound, the brain heals in different stages,” said Savitz, professer and Frank M. Yatsu, MD Chair in Neurology at McGovern Medical School. “In animal studies, direct injection in a chronic stroke setting has been shown to improve recovery and outcomes. It appears that the cells are changing the environment of the damaged area of the brain, so it is more pro-regenerative. It may be releasing factors that stimulate the repair mechanism near the area of the infarct.” An infarct is a small, localized area of dead tissue resulting from failure of blood supply.Related StoriesStudy: Megakaryocytes play an important role in cell migrationAbcam Acquire Off-The-Shelf Diploid Library of Over 2,800 Knockout Cell LinesNew method improves detection of atrial fibrillation in stroke survivorsThe study brings together an interdisciplinary team that includes Peng R. “Roc” Chen, MD, associate professor in the Vivian L. Smith Department of Neurosurgery; and Monica Verduzco-Gutierrez, MD, associate professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at McGovern Medical School. Chen is on the steering committee for the trial and is the surgical lead. Chen brings years of experience to the trial in the surgical administration of stem cells. Verduzco-Gutierrez is the rehabilitation lead who will oversee the assessments of mobility and cognitive function before and after the procedure.Like Savitz, both faculty members are part of the Institute for Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease at UTHealth, which was founded in 2017 to use the strength of UTHealth’s multidisciplinary experts to advance research and clinical practice in acute stroke treatments, stroke prevention, stroke recovery, population health, and health services.The intervention arm for PISCES III includes stereotactic surgery, which uses a three-dimensional coordinate system to precisely target the area of the brain to receive the injected therapy through a burr hole. In the placebo arm, patients will receive a tiny, partial burr hole in the skull. All patients will undergo a 12-week physical therapy program. The trial has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.The primary endpoint of the study is a comparison of the proportion of patients in the treated and placebo arms showing a clinically significant improvement on the Modified Rankin Scale, a measure of disability and dependence, at six months post-treatment compared with baseline. Top-line results from the study are expected in early 2020.Source: https://uth.edu/media/story.htm?id=26463d5d-dd6c-4cd0-8f6d-d345ad473507last_img read more

Considering patients as consumers could potentially be harmful

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 5 2019There is broad support for building health care systems that are patient centered, seen as a means of improving health outcomes and as morally worthy in itself. But the concept of patient-centered care has increasingly merged with the concept of patients as consumers, which “is conceptually confused and potentially harmful,” write Michael K. Gusmano, a Hastings Center research scholar and an associate professor at Rutgers University; Karen J. Maschke, a Hastings Center research scholar; and Hastings Center president Mildred Z. Solomon in an article in the March 2019 issue of Health Affairs.The metaphor of patients as consumers, long used by advocates of patient-centered care, has recently been co-opted by critics of government health care regulation and advocates of market solutions to health care costs. Gusmano, Maschke, and Solomon discuss why the consumer metaphor is inappropriate.Health Care is not a MarketPatients can be construed as consumers only if they are operating within a market. But there are several key differences between health care and typical commercial markets. Patients often lack the information and time to select the best health care on the basis of quality and price. Even if health care were to be made more like a conventional market–for example, by increasing the number of competitive health care choices–patients still could not act like consumers because they would often lack the time and knowledge to “shop” for different options.The High Cost of Health Care is not Due to Excessive “Consumer” DemandSome commentators believe that health care costs are high because patients overuse health care, and that one way to reduce costs is to make patients pay more out of pocket. Though requiring patients to pay more for their care has been shown to reduce overall health care spending, this tactic also reduces patient usage of appropriate or essential medical care. What does drive up health care costs, the authors write, is the common practice of compensating physicians for each service they provide and the U.S. government’s failure to sufficiently negotiate prices of hospital, physician, and other health care services.Price Transparency Won’t Lower Costs, EitherRelated StoriesScientists develop universal FACS-based approach to heterogenous cell sorting, propelling organoid researchTrump administration cracks down on fetal tissue researchTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTIn conventional markets, knowing the price of different items might help customers make informed choices about what to purchase. While it is helpful for patients to consider the costs of different treatments as part of deciding the best course of action with their provider, there is little evidence that price transparency reduces health care spending. Patients may have little time or insufficient knowledge to shop around for health care options that provide treatments at the best value.The Consumer Metaphor Could Erode Physicians’ ProfessionalismPhysicians rely on their knowledge, skill, and obligations to patients’ well-being to recommend the best course of treatment. But if “the customer is always right,” physicians might feel compelled to defer to what patients ask them to do, for example, when patients insist on unproven, ineffective, or even harmful treatments, such as cardiopulmonary resuscitation for terminally ill patients. Avoiding or devaluing physician expertise in health care decision-making would erode medical professionalism and could result in poorer patient outcomes.The concept of patients as consumers does not bolster patient-centered care but instead places undue burdens on patients to reduce health care costs and erodes medical professionalism, the authors write. “Pursuing the sensible goal of creating a patient-centered health system will be undermined if consumer metaphors prevail,” they conclude.Source: http://www.thehastingscenter.org/last_img read more

NGT directs Haryana to clear 25 lakh tonne waste at Bandhwari site

first_imgNGT directs Haryana to clear 25 lakh tonne waste at Bandhwari site in 6 monthsA bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed the state government to deposit Rs 20 crore in an escrow account for clearing the legacy waste and constituted a committee to ensure removal of waste from the site.advertisement Next Press Trust of India New DelhiJuly 17, 2019UPDATED: July 17, 2019 17:23 IST NGT said the committee may co-opt any other technical persons or agencies and after the removal of waste from the entire or part of the land. (File Photo)HIGHLIGHTSThe NGT directed Haryana government to clear about 25 lakh tonnes of legacy wasteIt also directed the state government to deposit Rs 20 crore for clearing the legacy wasteNGT had earlier directed the Haryana chief secretary to submit an action taken the reportNoting unsatisfactory state of affairs in dealing with garbage at Gurugram and Faridabad, the National Green Tribunal has directed the Haryana government to clear about 25 lakh tonnes of legacy waste at the Bandhwari landfill within six months.A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel also directed the state government to deposit Rs 20 crore in an escrow account for clearing the legacy waste and constituted a committee to ensure removal of waste from the site.”We direct the State of Haryana to transfer a sum of Rs 20 crores to an escrow account with liberty to the State to recover the said amount from the concerned stakeholders in accordance with the Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016,” the bench said in a recent order.The committee will comprise of Haryana chief secretary, Finance and Urban Local Bodies secretary, Commissioners of Municipal Corporation of Faridabad and Gurugram, CPCB representative and member secretary of Haryana state pollution control board.NGT said the committee may co-opt any other technical persons or agencies and after the removal of waste from the entire or part of the land, the state may consider using part of the recovered land for Integrated Waste Processing and Treatment Facility and also for Treatment, Storage and Disposal Facility (TSDF) for hazardous waste.”At the periphery, a bio-diversity park can be developed to improve the air quality and ambience. The committee may have the Commissioner, Municipal Corporation, Indore and Dr Syed Asad Ali Warsi, Chief Executive Officer of the Indore Municipal Corporation as special invitees,” it said, adding that the panel may meet preferably within two weeks.It said the special invitees from Indore can be incorporated in the committee as they have successfully handled removal of waste in that city.The tribunal directed that an interim report of the steps taken may be furnished to it by Urban Local Bodies secretary of Haryana within a month by e-mail, and posted the matter for hearing on September 25.NGT had earlier directed the Haryana chief secretary to submit an action taken the report and take punitive action against the officers for failing to stop leachate from the Bandhwari landfill site.The green panel had earlier directed the Gurgaon Municipal Corporation to submit a performance guarantee of Rs 25 lakh for stopping leachate from the Bandhwari landfill site.It had slammed the Haryana government and its civic bodies over the disposal of industrial waste and construction debris in the Aravalli forests along the Gurgaon-Faridabad road.The green panel was hearing a plea filed by environmentalist Vivek Kamboj and Amit Chaudhary, alleging that the municipal corporations of Gurgaon and Faridabad were disposing of industrial waste and construction debris in these forest areas.Kamboj had referred to a media report which said construction debris were found dumped in the forest and quoted a local resident as saying that several vehicles dumped waste there every Sunday morning.ALSO READ | Rs 10 crore penalty on 3 Gurgaon builders: NGT refuses to review orderALSO READ | Noida: Rs 2 lakh fine imposed on 14 builder projects for violating NGT normsALSO WATCH | 1500 evacuated as Yamuna crosses danger mark in DelhiFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted byPrakriti Sharmalast_img read more