While the debate over “Google: Friend or Foe” continues with magazine and online content publishers, a new service from MashLogic offers publishers a way to keep readers at their sites without having to look up related topics on Google or Bing. MashLogic has developed two semantic tools, “2Stay” and “2Go,” that identify and link to related topics and terms. “If you’re interested in a certain topic like sports or music, this would automatically identify links to those topics like players and teams or performers,” said CEO Ranjit Padmanabhan.” The service is customizable for the host site. On Goal.com, a soccer-dedicated site and early MashLogic client, a series of red dots are visible under linkable terms which take the reader to other contextually relevant articles at the site. MashLogic is currently on 14 of Goal’s international language sites and in front of approximately 10 million monthly uniques. “This offers the ability to expose the reader to additional content,” said vice president of business development John Bryan. “There is a great degree of positive churn with stories and we’re making older content relevant by bringing it in front of the user. This also reinforces the relevance of your brand to the user and can increasing page clickthrough and time on site, which leads to higher CPMs and advertiser satisfaction.” Bryan said the tool has particular appeal for publishers in three areas: fast-moving news, celebrity stories and sports. Past articles can be presented in a vertical timeline or horizontally across different categories. In a demo for the NewYorkTimes.com, the term “Meryl Streep” on the home page generated 10 related stories in the past seven days that had been on the site across blogs, movie reviews, fashion, finance and celebrity. The minimum requirement for a publisher is to have an RSS feed which they can turn over to MashLogic for indexing, as well as implementation of a few lines of java script. Publishers can also restrict certain terms (such as the name of a competitive site). “We have found MashLogic to be a valuable tool in both retaining users on Goal.com and encouraging them to return to the site for access to related content,” said Ron Elwell, president and COO of Goal.com. “We generate upwards of 60,000 articles each month, and MashLogic encourages our visitors to read and engage more with them. It also diverts users back towards Goal.com in coordination with our content, and the tool is in line with our aim of equipping each user with the functionality to seek out information.”Free To Publishers (With an Eye on Revenue Sharing) MashLogic is currently free to publishers and is looking at developing a revenue share model on product links to sites such as iTunes and Amazon, as well as product sales (such as a soccer jersey) on sites like Goal.com.
2 Earlier this month, the company said it’ll prompt European users of its Android operating system to choose their own search engine from 2020, after the European Commission’s determination last year that Google could be hampering consumer choice by demanding that its own apps and services must be the preinstalled, default options on Android phones. This saw Google getting slapped with a record 4.34 billion euro ($5 billion) antitrust fine, which it’s appealing.In the US, the Department of Justice last month said it’s opening an antitrust probe into tech giants, including Google parent company Alphabet, to examine their market power.First published at 4:11 a.m. PT.Updated at 6:45 a.m. PT: Adds EC confirmation about the letter. 1:49 Share your voice Google wants to make your job search easier Internet Services Google noted in its own emailed statement that it’s “worked with jobs providers” to improve its search function.”Any provider — from individual employers to job listing platforms — can use this feature in search, and many of them have seen a significant increase in the number of job applications they receive. Since launch, we’ve made a number of changes to address feedback in Europe,” a Google spokesperson wrote.”These changes include testing a new choice carousel at the top of the unit, which links directly to job sites, and linking directly to job offers when they only exist on a single site. Job seekers can decide which result or experience is most relevant for them.” Google’s 2-year-old job search service drew an antitrust complaint in the EU. Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Google faces another antitrust allegation in the European Union — this time focused on its job search service. A group of 23 job search websites sent a letter to EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager saying the search giant abused its dominant position at their expense, according to Reuters.The company launched the service in 2017, and later amped it up by adding information on salary and the ability to search for jobs by location.The rival companies alleged that Google’s putting a large widget for its service at the top of people’s job searches is unfair because it doesn’t have to spend any money marketing the service, while traditional job search companies do. They asked Vestager to temporarily order Google to stop doing this while she looks into its practices, Reuters reported.”We confirm we have received the letter and we will assess it,” a European Commission spokesperson wrote an emailed statement. Comments Now playing: Watch this: The wildest things Google owns (pictures) Tags 33 Photos Antitrust Google
Prime minister Sheikh HasinaPrime minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday strongly condemned the attack on renowned writer and Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) professor Muhammad Zafar Iqbal, reports BSS”Simultaneously, the prime minister directed the authorities concerned to track down the culprits involved in the attack and bring them to book,” BSS quoted PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim as saying.He added that the prime minister is enquiring regularly about Zafar Iqbal, who is undergoing treatment at Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.Zafar Iqbal was stabbed by an unidentified youth on the SUST campus in Sylhet this afternoon.Read more: Zafar Iqbal knifed on SUST campus, ‘attacker’ held
Listen Share X To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: 00:00 /00:57 Harris County Department of Public HealthThe area of Harris County that will be covered y the aerial spraying.Umair Shah is with the Harris County Department of Public Health.He says now is a critical time to fight mosquitoes after Harvey left behind the standing water they breed in.“We generally look at about a week or two after you start to see the water receding, that you start to have the mosquito activity increasing,” he says.The county normally uses trucks to spray but they can only reach certain areas and it’s time consuming.So now, the county is calling in help from the U.S Air Force Reserve.Modified cargo planes will spray 600,000 acres of Harris County with insecticide.“Areas that we can’t get with our ground trucks or areas we see an increased volume of mosquitoes that we feel that it would take to long to be able to do it through ground coverage, that’s where the aerial spraying comes in,” Shah says.He says the insecticide is safe and most people won’t notice it, but it could affect bees so they’re warning beekeepers to cover their colonies.The aerial spraying will begin Thursday evening.
Share Photo: Chambers County Sheriff’s OfficeJohn Stewart Beasley, a Baytown police officer who disappeared last week, was found dead from an apparent suicide on Tuesday, August 8, 2018, in Cove.A Baytown police officer who disappeared last week was found dead from an apparent suicide on Tuesday in Cove, the Houston Chronicle reported.John Stewart Beasley, who had worked as a police officer 23 years, went missing on Thursday afternoon.Searchers in a helicopter spotted a body along FM 565, less than a mile from Beasley’s home. According to investigators, he died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Get out your dancing shoes and wear your masks. It’s time to raise money for scholarships for students attending our great Mississippi HBCUs. On April 8, from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. at Martin’s Crosswinds, 7400 Greenway Center Drive Greenbelt, Md. 20770, a fundraiser will be held to provide scholarships to students from four Mississippi HBCUs: Tougaloo College, Jackson State University, Alcorn State University and Mississippi Valley State University. For more information go to gwdcjsualum.wixsite.com/tjam2017.
August 8, 2013 After acquiring mobile-game developer OMGPOP last year for $200 million, Zynga is now pulling the plug.”Our goal at Zynga is to give players the opportunity to play the most fun and social games on mobile and the web,” the company stated in a Monday blog post. “With this goal in mind, we have decided to close OMGPOP.com to make way for new and exciting gaming opportunities.”So for the approximate 30,000 users that have wasted countless hours playing OMGPOP games Cupcake Corner, Gem Rush, Pool World Champ and Snoops games, they will have to find another time-sucking app.Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Mobile App DeveloperWhile Zynga does plan to hold onto OMGPOP’s most popular game Draw Something and its offspring Draw Something 2 and Draw My Thing, only time will tell how long they’ll last. The monthly active users, or MAU, from OMGPOP’s blockbuster Draw Something has seen a 89.7 percent drop in users from April 21, 2012 to August 7, 2013, according to a graph provided to Young Entrepreneur by application analytics company AppData. 2 min read It’s hard to blame Zynga for trying to move forward with a leaner model – especially as other games also saw similar drops in users. But, why not sell OMGPOP back to its original owners?Various OMGPOP employees reportedly approached Zynga in the hopes of buying back any assets including: the site, games and intellectual property. Many team members even offered to work for free if the buy-back occurred. Zynga flat out said no, citing the hassle of legal work and time. The company laid off OMGPOP employees instead.Related: The New Cool Kids: Teenage-App DevelopersNow cast as the big bad wolf that stomped out the dreams of a startup, Zynga faces a two potential headwinds: one) possible pushback from customers who actually liked the games Zynga is shutting down and two) future acquisition targets may not look too kindly on a buyout offer from Zynga in the future.Still, from a business perspective, it would seem that Zynga did what it had to do. If the game-maker returned OMGPOP to its original owners, it might have ended up with a new competitor. Yet with all of OMG’s former workers now unemployed, maybe they still will?Think Zynga was wrong or right for shuttering OMGPOP? Let us know with a comment. Free Workshop | August 28: Get Better Engagement and Build Trust With Customers Now This hands-on workshop will give you the tools to authentically connect with an increasingly skeptical online audience. Enroll Now for Free
Tags: Oceania Cruises Share MIAMI — Oceania Cruises is offering a flight upgrade special as part of its signature ‘OLife Choice’ package.Starting at US$149 extra, the upgrade offer allows guests to secure premium economy seats for over 100 prime European sailings in 2018.When booking a cruise, guests can choose to strictly pay the price for the sailing or purchase the ‘OLife Choice’ package, which includes free unlimited Internet, airfare (where applicable), bonus savings and the choice of one of the following: free shore excursions, free house beverage package, or shipboard credit.The flight upgrade promotion is offered to guests in all stateroom categories, from economical inside staterooms to the lavish Owner’s Suites, and carriers include (but are not limited to) British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, Air France, Scandinavian Airlines, Air Canada, and Icelandair. Pending the airline, travelers can take advantage of priority boarding, extra luggage allowance, spacious seats with abundant legroom, full meal and bar service, and personal entertainment systems.More news: Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at seaTo reserve the special, bookings must be made by June 30, and capacity is limited. Additionally, the carrier and routing are at the discretion of Oceania Cruises. Oceania announces flight upgrade special until June 30 Posted by Travelweek Group Thursday, June 1, 2017 << Previous PostNext Post >>
State Rep. Joel Johnson, R-Clare, welcomed Doug Pummell, Clare/Gladwin RESD tech center director, to Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address in the House chamber Tuesday evening. Johnson said the priorities the governor laid out in his speech are important for making Michigan better. “Focusing on Michigan’s workforce and talent development is very important for the future of our state,” Johnson said. “The new House committee I am leading to develop education and training pathways goes along with what the governor has said about making Michigan number one in the nation for skilled trades workers. It is all about matching people to jobs, so we can get to a level where employers look to Michigan as the place to be.” Categories: Johnson News,Johnson Photos 20Jan Pummell, Johnson attend governor’s State of the State speech
Warner Bros. has acquired DramaFever, the US-based SVO service that specialises in South Korean TV and movie content.It is the second ownership change for DramaFever in recent times, after SoftBank bought it in late 2014 for US$100 million. The Japanese telco has now offloaded the SVOD service to Warner Bros. for an undisclosed.DramaFever started out in 2009 with a package of content from Korean free-TV broadcaster MBC. It has since added content from other Korean channels, and has also started moving into original programming.Warner Bros.’ parent company Time Warner now has a stable of SVOD services that includes HBO Now and iStreamPlanet.The US media giant said that Buying DramaFever gives it access to “critical expertise, which will be vital to Warner Bros. as it explores various OTT scenarios and establishes more direct connections with its audiences”.DramaFever’s experience in creating and running SVOD services targeted at niche audiences, including for third-parties, brings critical expertise, which will be vital to Warner Bros. as it explores various OTT scenarios and establishes more direct connections with its audiences.DramaFever’s co-founders Seung Bak and Suk Park will stay with the company and report to Craig Hunegs, president, business and strategy, Warner Bros. Television Group.“With Warner Bros.’ resources, we will rapidly enhance and grow the DramaFever channel,” Hunegs said. “As importantly, we are bringing to Warner Bros. a great and talented team, led by Seung Bak and Suk Park, that will move quickly with our own distribution and creative teams to create and build more OTT services.”Seung Bak added:. “Combining our deep media sensibilities and experience in developing online video destinations with Warner’s vast library and production expertise will provide an unlimited number of opportunities to create the next generation of OTT services and Internet TV brands.”
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)L: So Doug, you’re off to FreedomFest 2012 shortly, where people will be able to hear your latest thoughts on many subjects. Maybe you can give us a sneak preview on whatever is uppermost on your mind today.Doug: FreedomFest should be especially outrageous, since I’ll be tag-teaming with my friend Jeff Berwick of the Dollar Vigilante for a featured lunch. I’m not sure exactly what topics we’re going to discuss, but I hope we aren’t prosecuted for breaking too many federal, state, and local statutes at one sitting.Anyway, lately I’ve been thinking about the EU’s rising tide of troubles. We talked about this last January, when I said it was coming, but it seems to me that at this point it’s rapidly coming to a head. A major financial and economic catastrophe in Europe is unavoidable. From there, it’s likely to spread out to the whole world.L: I fear you’re right, but the latest headlines have it that the EU bigwigs are taking measures to make it easier for Greece’s new pro-bailout government to honor its austerity obligations. Doesn’t that mean the EU has dodged the bullet for now?Doug: As far as I can tell, they’re doing absolutely nothing except print up more currency, in hope that will move the problem further into the future, when a deus ex machina device will magically appear.I haven’t seen any hard numbers published as to exactly what Greece has to cut to meet its EU-imposed austerity obligations, nor how that fits into Greek budgetary realities. But, as usual with popular reporting, the terms used are inaccurate, which makes clear thinking impossible. These idiots aren’t even capable of framing the problem, much less solving it.First of all, it’s not “Greece” we’re talking about, but the Greek government. It’s the Greek government that’s made the laws that got people used to pensions for retirement at age 55. It’s the Greek government that’s built up a giant and highly paid bureaucracy that just sits around when it’s not actively gumming up the economy. It’s the Greek government that’s saddled the country with onerous taxes and regulations that make most business more trouble than it’s worth. It’s the Greek government that borrowed billions that the citizens are arguably responsible for. It’s the Greek government that’s set the legal and moral tone for the pickle the place is in.Second, the term “austerity” is used very loosely by the talking heads on TV. It sounds bad, even though it just means living within one’s means… or, for Europeans, not too insanely above them. But who knows what’s actually included or excluded from what the EU leaders think of as austerity? Take the Greek pension funds, for example: exactly how are they funded? I’d expect that private companies make payments to a state fund, as Americans do via the Social Security program. I suspect there’s no money in the coffers; it’s all been frittered on high living and socialist boondoggles. Tough luck for pensioners. Maybe they can convince the Chinese to give them money to keep living high off the hog…L: Social Security. Now there’s a misnomer. No one I know my age or younger actually expects to ever get a penny of that money back.Doug: Yes, my generation, the Boomers, will have totally looted what little viability is left in it by the time you never get your check. Sorry, Lobo. It was our supposed “Greatest Generation,” however – who are mostly gone now – who really got a cushy ride. But the point at the moment is that just because the Greeks voted – basically to stay in the EU in hopes of economic benefits outweighing the pain of whatever the austerity requirements are – that doesn’t mean they’ll actually be able to deliver. Once the new half-measures begin to bite, I expect to see more angry mobs back out on the streets. These people have become so corrupt that they think the government is some kind of a magic cornucopia, when first and foremost it’s really just a vehicle for institutionalized theft.And it’s not just austerity, and it’s not just Greece, nor even Spain, which has formally asked for a bailout. All of these European economies are rigidly regulated: first, by their national governments; and then, even worse, by this extra layer of unbelievably oppressive regulation from Brussels. I understand there are some 30,000 people working for the EU, making new rules and regulations like an army of spiders, spinning their webs, sucking the life out of their victims. None of these rules are constructive. They’re a waste of time at best, and most are actively destructive – like for instance, the EU rules telling the French how to make cheese.I was reading in David Galland’s report from Portugal last Friday that the EU forced the Portuguese to destroy half of their fishing fleet. Not because there was anything bad, dangerous, or wrong with the boats, but because they were too good and the Portuguese were too successful as competitors; it’s life imitating Atlas Shrugged. He also said that most of the oranges grown in Portugal are either thrown in the trash or trucked to Spain, where they can’t be eaten but must be made into marmalade, which is then sent back to be sold to the Portuguese. Apparently about half of the chickens in Portugal are about to be executed – just killed, not eaten – because they were raised in conditions the EU doesn’t consider appropriate. The list goes on and on, and the madness is happening all over Europe.The proposed austerity measures will change absolutely nothing important; at best they’ll just lengthen the economic agony. Instead of austerity programs, cutting back marginally on the salaries of public employees and national pensions, all these hordes of Eurocrats should be summarily fired, and their agencies totally abolished. The markets should be liberated.And individuals should plan for their own retirements. They should behave like adults, not children who spend today with no thought for tomorrow, as state-sponsored retirement benefits encourage them to do.L: Excessive regulation and disincentives to production created by government intervention in the economy. Can you give us some examples of this happening and what the consequences are?Doug: The classic example is the Roman Empire after it passed through its time of troubles in the third century. After 50 years of utter chaos, constant crisis, and recurring civil wars, Diocletian gripped it in a stranglehold, regulating everything from top to bottom. I suppose, given a choice between chaotic violence and a police state, people will opt for the latter – as if there are no other alternatives. He instituted all manner of price controls and “people controls,” including forcing sons to take up their father’s occupations. The ultimate collapse of Rome and the success of the barbarian invasions wasn’t due to superior barbarian military technology or tactics, but Roman economic collapse. Romans were actually deserting the empire to live among the so-called “barbarians,” where they could both be free and prosperous. History is repeating itself.L: That’s pretty dramatic, Doug. You think Europe is in a similar death spiral now?Doug: Yes. Those governments are all bankrupt. But much more serious than financial bankruptcy is their total moral and intellectual bankruptcy. At this point the Europeans are so craven and degraded they deserve to be indentured servants of the Chinese, which they will be. The debt they are using to finance their bulging bureaucracies, bloated welfare rolls, giant pensions, and so forth is largely coming from the banks. But the banks are all bankrupt too, partly because they’ve lent so much capital to bankrupt governments. So you’ve got two sets of bankrupt institutions trading debt back and forth between themselves. It doesn’t help to say that it’s the PIIGS that are in the worst shape, because it’s the banks in the supposedly wealthier countries that own the PIIGS’s debt. They are all tied together.It’s much worse, on a global scale, because Europe is China’s largest trading partner. When the EU really goes into reverse and suffers a major economic collapse, the Chinese are going to lose their main customers – and end up owning a lot of chateaux. That also means the Chinese will stop buying the raw materials – commodities – they use to make what they sell to the Europeans. That will hammer the Australian, Brazilian, Canadian, and other resource-driven economies.And the problems with Japan are even worse, though somewhat different, than the ones in Europe. Chronically corrupt and now depopulating Russia is headed for a fall; its economy produces nothing but raw materials and weapons. The problem is truly global. The headlines keep pointing at Europe right now, but the EU is just the tip of the iceberg the global economy is aimed at.L: In this context, it’s not encouraging that the French have not only elected a socialist president, but a socialist parliament. I’d be fighting severe nausea right now if I were a French taxpayer.Doug: And France is not one of the PIIGS on the periphery, but one of the two big countries at the core of the EU. I don’t understand how anyone can conduct a profitable business in France today. It seems heroic to me, if anyone can do it, but it’s getting just about impossible. And now France is going to slide a couple standard deviations further to the left. If I were a Frenchman with any money, I would get my money and myself out of France – tomorrow morning.L: I read somewhere that Cameron in the UK announced that French people with money were welcome in the UK.Doug: I heard that too. But if I were a Brit, I’d also liquidate my assets and get out; there’s no reason to believe the situation is any better in Britain. It’s just not currently in the news. These governments are completely out of control, forces unto themselves, and they view their populations as milk cows. Governments all over the world are following Diocletian’s example.L: If it’s happening all over the world, what’s the point of packing up and leaving?Doug: Well, there really is almost no place you can run, no one place where it’s reasonably safe to be a citizen these days. We’re heading toward a time like in the book, Atlas Shrugged, when the productive people in society are just going to stop producing. Why should anyone work hard to create value when a substantial portion of that value will get diverted into fighting off regulators and other government goons, only to have half of what you do make seized to pay for those very same thugs?L: Are you telling all the Atlases out there that it’s time to shrug?Doug: I think so, on a moral basis. I’m sick and tired of supporting my oppressors. It makes me feel like dissipating my capital on high living, simply because that will deny it to the state. It’s perverse, how they’ve structured society with incentives to be a consumer, not a producer. Why save, when it’s likely your savings will be stolen?L: Well… I guess that explains why you’re building a house in a beautiful but rural corner of Argentina. You’re on strike, no longer wanting to be your brother’s financial keeper. But Argentina’s government is just as scary as any other.Doug: Yes, but that’s why I’m an Uruguayan resident, have my bank accounts in various jurisdictions other than Argentina – or the US, for that matter – and I’m also working on becoming a Paraguayan taxpayer.L: But Paraguay doesn’t have a personal income tax…Doug: Exactly. And this is my message to the Hank Reardens of the world: become a “permanent tourist.” There’s no such thing as a real tax haven anymore – even Swiss bank accounts, if you can get one, are not what they used to be. You ask what the point is of leaving when all governments look at their subjects as milk cows? Well, a tourist is an honored guest who spends money in the local economy; he’s welcome and largely left alone. No one place is perfect – certainly not Argentina – but if you distribute your life across various jurisdictions, none of them consider you to be their cow. I simply prefer Argentina as a place to spend most of my time. Other countries are to be used for different things for different reasons.L: So where’s the least-bad place to have your corporate office these days?Doug: I think you’ve got to look at Singapore. Hong Kong is still very good. Dubai offers some advantages in that part of the world. Other than that, you’ve got to go to a place where the government is small and incompetent.L: Hence your interest in Paraguay.Doug: Exactly. But that’s not a place I’d actually want to live; it’s a backwater, with little more than farms and a capital that’s like a small Midwestern city with colonial architecture in the center. The weather is unbearably hot during the summer. I also have to caution readers that the OECD is pressuring Paraguay to adopt a personal income tax – though none has yet been implemented, and it’s currently a good place to be a taxpayer.L: The US is still an economic powerhouse and a place where a lot of people make a lot of money…Doug: Yes, it’s shocking to me, though, how the US has gone downhill. In past decades, if anyone wanted to set up a business, the US would almost certainly have been the best place to do so. But it has become less and less so over the years. Now it’s just asking for trouble. But everything is relative. I’d advise anyone with capital to deploy it elsewhere, not in the US, because it has just become too dangerous, financially and morally. But if I had nothing, if I were a landless serf struggling to live in Nigeria or Burma or Venezuela, sure, I’d try to make it to the US. Bad as it’s getting, it’s vastly better than where they come from – and will likely be for years.The fact that there are some 50 million people relying on food stamps these days – about one in six US citizens gets money for food – just goes to show how bad things are getting. And worse, government agencies are trying to get more people on to these programs, instead of helping them to stand on their own two feet. According to a Wall Street Journal article I was reading the other day, Republicans and Democrats alike have blocked reform of the food stamp program, even minimal and sensible reforms like means testing. The program is projected to spend more than $700 billion over the next ten years.L: Gee, Doug: doom and gloom and dark despair. But that’s not a new tune for you. Let’s suppose that your analysis is essentially correct; what makes you think that the pot’s about to boil over? How can we know that this is not just more grumbling from a permabear?Doug: Well, it’s true: “inevitable” is not the same thing as “imminent.” When people see that something is inevitable – and I’m guilty of this mistake myself – they tend to believe those things are also imminent, even when that’s not so. But the inevitable is inevitable, and that means it must happen. We usually can’t predict exactly when – and such things often take far longer to arrive than we imagine they possibly can – but once things to start unravel, they tend to accelerate quickly. The crisis seems far off for a long period of time, and then suddenly it’s upon us.It’s much like the ground rush effect when you’re sky diving. When you first exit the plane, typically at around 7,500 feet for a 30-second free-fall, it seems like you could fall forever. That’s partly because it takes 5 or 10 seconds to reach terminal velocity and partly because of the way geometry plays with your visual perception. At around 2,500 feet, though, you can see the ride is coming to an end. By 2,000 feet, you don’t need to look at your altimeter to figure when to pull, because you’re feeling urgent ground rush. Europe is under 1,000 feet, and even if they do pull the ripcord, they’ll find there’s no chute… just a bunch of dirty laundry their economists packed as a joke. It’s pointless to talk about anything but a very, very hard landing. Unfortunately, when we’re talking about the economy, the analogy breaks down a bit. That’s because you actually don’t need a parachute to go sky diving. You only need one to go sky diving twice.L: [Laughs]Doug: Let me change the metaphor. Europe is in hot water. One of the things that has me thinking the water in the pot might hit its boiling point this summer is that people generally prefer to riot in the summer… for all kinds of reasons. Feeling ripped off by “the system” is a really big one. Take the bank runs in Greece – to the tune of a billion dollars a day. If I were a resident of any European country, I’d definitely run to the bank and get cash. Sure, it’s just paper, but that’s better than nothing if the bank fails and governments don’t bail it out quickly enough.Even the US has seen many bank failures since 2008, but the FDIC and the Fed always paper it over. And yet, more and more people are recognizing that the system rests on nothing more than confidence. More and more people are going to physical cash in their physical possession all over the world. Most people don’t have a lot of financial sophistication, but they read enough and see enough, and have enough sense to be scared. When that’s the case, they’d rather have more cash in their pockets or mattresses than they would normally. That’s because money left in banks can become suddenly inaccessible if there’s a problem with the banking system, or if the government declares a bank holiday, or if the government just takes it, alleging tax evasion or money “laundering”…Note to those living in the US: this can happen to you, too. I’d definitely recommend building up a stash of twenties and hundreds, enough for several months’ living expenses, in case banks suddenly don’t have cash on hand. Better yet, put it in gold and silver, because you never know what the banks will give you when push comes to shove – or if anyone will accept what the banks give you in exchange for goods and services you need … especially if Bernanke dumps too many hundred-dollar bills from helicopters. All these paper currencies are rapidly headed for their intrinsic values. And when they reach them, billions of people all over the world are going to feel very, very pissed off – and basically at the same time.During the last Argentine crisis, some people thought they were being smart, keeping their savings in dollars in banks. Well, the government declared a bank holiday, and when the banks opened, their dollars were converted to pesos – and devalued by about 75% to boot. Essentially the same thing happened in the US when Roosevelt devalued the dollar.L: So… the short version would be that what’s inevitable may or may not be that imminent, but on such matters, it’s better to be a year early than a day late?Doug: That’s exactly right. And I really do think we’re getting close to the edge of the precipice.You know, people can read this and just view it as entertainment, or dismiss it as just another opinion. But it’s like the old oak that was there for a hundred years and looked like it would last another hundred years, but fell suddenly in a storm. Only then did we see that it was hollow and had long been close to collapse. That’s where the world’s financial situation is: it’s rotten to the core because of fractional reserve banking and fiat currencies, and totally corrupt because of state intervention in the marketplace.L: I remember how we – people who understood market economics – all knew the Soviet Union had to collapse from its internal contradictions and economically self-destructive policies. But we didn’t know how long it could last, and sometimes it seemed like it would be forever. But then when it came unglued, it fell apart with breathtaking speed.Doug: Just so. But when the Soviet bloc collapsed, at least the West was there to help them out. Who’s going to bail out the West? A giant reset button will get pushed, with unpredictable results. Personally, I am buying more gold every month. I anticipate a genuine world-class and world-spanning crisis. And it wouldn’t just be financial and economic; everything will be in turmoil – society, the military, culture, education, art, science – everything. Really interesting times are coming up here. But on the bright side, I have a low threshold of boredom. I admit I’m something of both an adrenalin and an entertainment junkie.L: Right. But for those of us still working to amass the kind of capital it takes to be able to regard a global calamity as an adrenalin rush, it should be noted that this crisis will bring loads of opportunities to those who see it coming and prepare.Doug: Word to the wise. More on that in future conversations.L: And our newsletters, of course.Doug: Of course. The markets are going to be full of great speculations for the next few years. And, eventually, some great investments as well. I trust that by now our readers know the difference.Without fail, governmental meddling in the market creates economic dislocation ripe for exploitation. Get in on the right play ahead of the curve – like betting against Fannie Mae before the real estate market collapsed in 2008 or buying gold in the early 2000s – and you can make a fortune.The trick, of course, is to anticipate such moves before they happen. In hindsight, the action that precipitated the aforementioned opportunities – governmental incentives to banks to lend to those who couldn’t afford to buy homes (which led to the real estate collapse), and escalating sovereign debt worldwide (which helped spur the 21st-century gold rush) – is clear now.Equally clear to us is the fact that there are now many budding profit opportunities for speculators. One of the best is waiting to reward those who look beneath the surface of the gold market. Energy, technology, and foreign markets are also creating outsized opportunities for gains… but only for those who take the time to dig beneath mainstream economic news.It would be well worth your time to do so.
This would be a terrible thing to say about most books but, in this case, it might actually be a compliment: I kept falling asleep reading Marina Benjamin’s Insomnia. I wasn’t so much bored as somehow soothed by her velvety ruminations on night wakefulness, which run on, unbroken by chapters, with lots of airy white space between paragraphs. Awash in the comfort of a kindred soul, I relaxed enough to be lulled into sleep. Did her Insomnia cure mine?Think how many hours are lost to night frets, which Benjamin ties to a “turbocharged … overactive brain” and I liken to a washing machine’s spin cycle. I know that my insomnia has increased since the 2016 election, and I don’t think I’m alone.Benjamin’s Insomnia follows Middlepause, her memoir about reaching 50, and indeed, insomnia often follows menopause, almost as reliably as Winter follows Fall. Her eloquent description of the inconsolability and frustration of finding oneself irremediably awake during the witching hours, “cannibalized by your own gnawing thoughts,” will certainly strike a familiar chord for many. She nails the “shotgun awakenings,” the sense of being “jet-lagged in your native time zone,” and the exasperation of being stuck chewing over all the day’s insignificant “crud,” “like waterboarding the mind with meaningless overflow, a smothering drip, drip, drip of surplus thought.”Even worse are the nocturnal worries: “In my bed, I flap and thrash like a grouper caught in the net, victim to an escalating anxiety,” she writes. “It is as if all the lights in my head had been lit at once, the whole engine coming to life, messages flying, dendrites flowering, synapses whipping snaps of electricity across my brain; and the brain itself, like some phosphorescent free-floating jellyfish of the deep, is luminescent, awake, alive.” She adds that, unable to find the off-button, “I pursue sleep so hard I become invigorated by the chase.”Benjamin’s book is more impressionistic than scientific: Don’t look here for an explanation of the chemistry or biology of nocturnal wakefulness. She pooh-poohs pharmaceutical sleep aids, and is also dismissive of a five-week course of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomniacs, which adds to her torment with its strictures about sleep hygiene and distressing, restrictive sleep diets. Meanwhile, her husband, whom she amusingly dubs “Zzz,” slumbers peacefully beside her, heightening her sense of isolation.Benjamin’s mind works like a wide-roving trawler that rakes an area repeatedly before moving on to adjacent territory. Among the live fish caught in her net: Greek mythology; Penelope weaving and unraveling Laertes’s shroud as she awaits Odysseus’ return; Sheherazade spinning nocturnal yarns to save her life; Nabokov’s dream diary; poet Charles Simic’s “The Congress of the Insomniacs”; Oliver Sacks’s Awakenings; Rene Magritte’s surreal paintings that combine day and night; and the Pre-Raphaelites Edward Burne-Jones’s and William Morris’s depictions of sleeping maidens.Her thoughts on some of these subjects are hit and miss — and sometimes soporific. But concerning Freud’s focus on the interplay between conscious and unconscious minds she writes amusingly, “It cheers me to note that because psychoanalysis works to excavate the brain’s nocturnal effusions and then drag them into the light, it is essentially an insomniac practice.” And her reflections on Robinson Crusoe lead to an unexpected discussion of slave labor and the dark side of capitalism and colonialism, in which she points out that what was being grown and imported were addictive stimulants: tobacco, coffee, sugar — “generators of mass insomnia.”Insomnia turns out to be somewhat of a celebration of sleeplessness as well as a lament. It is strongest at its most personal, and is filled with memorable images — including a Cree dream catcher that “resembled a giant dangly earring,” and Benjamin’s nocturnal canine companion’s “legs splayed like bagpipes” on the sofa beside her. Especially vivid is the “trail of evidence” she leaves behind on insomniac nights, which resembles “the scene of a crime. All that is lacking is the body shape outlined on the floor: the missing body, wakeful when it should be sleeping.”Benjamin’s book is more likely to elucidate than cure your insomnia, but it does offer a distracting brain-teaser for your next bout of sleeplessness: Try to come up with a collective noun for insomniacs. She toys with a flare, a fret, a brightness, before hitting on “a calculation of insomniacs.”I’m partial to a jitter. Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
©KaslinkFazer agrees to acquire Finland-based ‘oat expert’ KaslinkPosted By: Martin Whiteon: June 20, 2019In: Business, Dairy, Food, Health, Industries, Mergers & AcquisitionsPrintEmailFazer Group has agreed to acquire Kaslink, a Finland-based producer of premium Scandinavian food and drink products such as oat drinks.Family-owned Kaslink’s product portfolio includes a range of cooking products, drinks and snacks made from local Scandinavian ingredients, and Fazer claims that Kaslink is an “expert in oat products”.The company’s oat-based Kaslink Aito product range is popular as a dairy alternative in both the Finnish and Swedish markets, and includes oat drinks and snacks.Once the deal has been completed, Kaslink will join Fazer’s Lifestyle Foods unit, and Fazer Group claims that the increased demand for plant-based products in Europe was one of the key motivations for the acquisition, as the deal will boost Fazer’s portfolio in this fast-growing segment.According to statistics provided by Fazer, the market for non-dairy products in Western Europe is growing at a yearly rate of over 17%, and Fazer has made a number of significant investments to boost its presence in this market in the recent past. This included a commitment in January to build a new €40 million production facility in Lahti, which will exclusively manufacture plant-based products.Christoph Vitzthum, Fazer Group’s president and CEO said: “We are excited to announce this acquisition as it would be a perfect match for Fazer in executing our strategy.“Kaslink is an innovative actor with strong commercial insights, modern production facility and proficiency in production based on technological know-how.“These create a highly competitive foundation for selling, marketing and producing sustainable oat-based products on an international scale.”Raino Kukkonen, the founder of Kaslink, added: “Within the family, we had considered different options for some time already. We came to the conclusion that our ambition to grow would require more substantial resources.We found that the best solution would be to move on with a new, significantly larger partner. It is of paramount importance to us that the ownership should remain in Finland.“Fazer is a Finnish family-owned company with whom we share the wish to change how the world will eat in the future.”Share with your network: Tags: FazerFinlandKaslinkoats
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Oct 29 2018Whether at work or at leisure – more and more people are feeling stressed. This makes it all the more important to learn to consciously relax in order to get stress under control. The app “Stress-Mentor”, which was developed by a team of researchers from Kaiserslautern, helps to solve this problem: Users can playfully incorporate various methods of relaxation such as meditation into their daily routine. A diary helps to better record additional triggers of stress. The app was further developed into a “pain mentor” for pain patients. At the Medica medical technology trade fair in Düsseldorf from 12 to 15 November, the researchers will present their project at the research stand (hall 7a, stand B06) of Rhineland-Palatinate.Sleep disorders, exhaustion, back pain – all of these symptoms can be signs of stress. In the long term, this is harmful to health. Although there are many relaxation methods such as yoga, meditation or muscle relaxation exercises, most people take little time for them in everyday life.Dr Corinna Faust-Christmann from the wearHEALTH junior research group at the Technische Universität Kaiserslautern (TUK) and her team have developed an app that reminds users to relax every day. “We offer a series of exercises,” says the psychologist. “These exercises last between five and 45 minutes. They can be individually integrated into daily routine.” These include meditation, movement and stretching exercises. The app “Stress-Mentor” is designed to playfully increase motivation. In this context, experts speak of “gamification.” “We have a little birdlike mythical creature in our app, the Rhineland-Palatinate Elwetritsch.” The user has to look after the animal by carrying out at least one exercise every day,” continues Faust-Christmann. “Up to three exercises a day are possible.”In addition, the app contains a diary to better observe stress in day-to-day life. “Using scales, the user can quickly assess how stressful the day was or the positive experiences they made. It takes about a minute to record such information,” says the researcher.Related StoriesOxidative stress could play key role in the spreading of aberrant proteins in Parkinson’s diseaseDogs and cats relieve academic stress and lift students’ mood, according to a new studyTransobturator sling surgery shows promise for stress urinary incontinenceThis health app is not intended for long-term use. “It is active for about three months, depending on how regularly it is used,” continues Faust-Christmann. “It’s meant to teach you how to deal with stress more consciously.” The exercises should simply be integrated into everyday life after that time. Stress-Mentor is to be launched on the market free of charge for Android devices at the end of next year.The program of the Kaiserslautern research team is not only interesting for stress management, but also for pain patients. Faust-Christmann’s team is working on this project together with Dr Katja Regenspurger from the University Hospital in Halle. In addition, more functions will be added to the app. If a pain attack occurs, it should help, for example, to plan the further course of the day more easily in order to get help. “We would also like to offer a diary in which pain days or parameters such as pain intensity can be recorded,” says Faust-Christmann.The app “Pain-Mentor” could, for example, be used as an aid for multimodal pain therapy. At the Medica, the team will present the technology.The Kaiserslautern junior research group wearHEALTH is an interdisciplinary team from the fields of computer science, mathematics, psychology, cognitive science, motion science and control engineering. They develop digital techniques that are intended to improve health preventively or, for example, in the form of rehabilitation measures. The team is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research as part of the “Interdisciplinary Competence Building in the Research Focus Human-Technology Interaction for Demographic Change” measure. Source:https://www.uni-kl.de/en/
In the future, as these potential health implications are unveiled, it may not be a bad idea to include a sense of smell test as part of your [doctor’s] visit. Incorporating a sense of smell screening in routine doctor visits might be a good idea at some point.” By Sally Robertson, B.Sc.Apr 30 2019Reviewed by Kate Anderton, B.Sc. (Editor)Researchers at Michigan State University have found that a poor sense of smell during older age may be associated with an increased likelihood of dying within the next ten years. “Poor olfaction is associated with higher long-term mortality among older adults, particularly those with excellent to good health at baseline,” writes the team.However, they can’t explain why.Deborah Lee Rossiter | ShutterstockEpidemiologist Honglei Chen says the study is the first to explore potential reasons for why a poor sense of smell, which becomes more common as people age, is associated with an increased risk for death.As reported in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine, the team used data from the National Institute on Aging’s Health ABC study to analyze almost 2,300 people (aged between 71 and 82 years) over a 13-year period.Each participant completed a test that assessed their ability to identify 12 common odors including lemon, cinnamon, and gasoline. The cohort was then divided into individuals who had a good, moderate or poor sense of smell and tracked for survival over the next 13 years.Compared with individuals who had high smell test scores, individuals who correctly identified no more than eight odors were 46% more likely to have died at ten years and 30% more likely to have died at 13 years.The authors say the results were slightly affected by factors such as lifestyle, gender and race. However, the interesting finding was that individuals who were healthier at baseline were found to account for most of the increased risk.Further analysis revealed that poorer olfaction was not associated with death caused by respiratory conditions or cancer, but was significantly associated with death caused by Parkinson’s disease and dementia. There was also a modest association between increased mortality risk and cardiovascular disease.‘We don’t have a reason’ for thisA poor sense of smell is known to be an early indicator of Parkinson’s disease and dementia. Scientists also believe that a poor sense of smell may decrease appetite, leading to weight loss and deteriorating health. However, these conditions only accounted for 28% of the deaths in this study, leaving most of the association unexplained.“Neurodegenerative diseases and weight loss explain only part of the increased mortality,” writes the team.”We don’t have a reason for more than 70% of the increased risk. We need to find out what happened to these individuals,” says Chen, who plans to investigate potential reasons in further studies.Chen points out that a poor sense of smell may be an early and even sensitive predictor for deteriorating health, but that people are often unaware that their sense of smell is worsening and it is rarely factored in during health checks by doctors.
The researchers also noted that specific mutations in the non-coding regions could be linked to different IQs of children on the autism spectrum.The machine learning model used data from the Simons Simplex Collection from the Simons Foundation. This collection contains records of the whole genome sequences of nearly 2000 “quartets” that are associated with autism in a child and are associated with normalcy in siblings and parents.These four factors indicate mutations coming spontaneously in the child with autism with no inheritance. The team calculated the predicted effects of these mutations on the sibling that is unaffected by autism. Zhous explains, “The design of the Simons Simplex Collection is what allowed us to do this study. The unaffected siblings are a built-in control.”Co-author Christopher Park, a research scientist at CCB in a statement said, “. This is consistent with how autism most likely manifests in the brain. It’s not just the number of mutations occurring, but what kind of mutations are occurring.”The team saw that certain mutations when inserted into cells in the lab altered the way genes were expressed and this predicted the outcome of such mutations by the machine.Troyanskaya added that many diseases could be explored in those 98 percent of non-coding genes saying, “. Right now, 98 percent of the genome is usually being thrown away. Our work allows you to think about what we can do with the 98 percent.”The authors concluded the study, stating, “predictive genomics framework illuminates the role of noncoding mutations in ASD and prioritizes mutations with high impact for further study, and is broadly applicable to complex human diseases.”Sources:Simons Foundation Press Release. 27th May 2019. simonsfoundation.org.Zhou, J., et al. (2019). Whole-genome deep-learning analysis identifies contribution of noncoding mutations to autism risk. Nature Genetics. doi.org/10.1038/s41588-019-0420-0. Study co-author, Jian Zhou, said that there are many other diseases such as cancers and heart disease that could be evaluated using these techniques: “This enables a new perspective on the cause of not just autism, but many human diseases.”Only around 1 to 2 percent of the genome is made up of genes that encode proteins. These proteins regulate the various functions of cells throughout the body. Much of the remaining non-coding regions serve to regulate gene expression. The scientists noted that some had mutations in the regions that did not code for any proteins while some had mutations in regions with coding functions. Both were similarly associated with autism.Why artificial intelligence?Only around 1 to 2 percent of the genome is made up of genes that code for proteins. The proteins then regulate the various functions all over the body. The rest of the genome works by regulating the coding regions of the genes.When the mutations were seen in the coding regions of the genes, there was a 30 percent association with autism. On the other hand the other cases of autism where there was no positive family history, the connection remained unclear. This prompted them to explore the non-coding regions of the genome to see if there are any connections between the two. The team quickly realized that trying to discover mutations in non-coding DNA is comparable to looking for a needle in a haystack! There are often dozens of mutations in non-coding regions of DNA, and many of these will not cause a person to develop a particular disease. This meant that the scientists needed to look outside the box, as traditional genomics tools would fail to detect the correct mutations.Troyanskaya and her colleagues decided to use artificial intelligence technology to look for sequences that could predict the mutations in the non-coding regions of the genome. By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMay 28 2019Using artificial intelligence, scientists have discovered mutations in parts of non-coding DNA known as “Junk DNA” that can lead to autism. This is the first study of its kind to connect the dots between autism and the human genome. The study titled, “Whole-genome deep-learning analysis identifies contribution of non-coding mutations to autism risk,” was published this week in the journal Nature Genetics.Timofeev Vladimir | ShutterstockThe research was led by Olga Troyanskaya, deputy director for genomics at the Flatiron Institute’s Center for Computational Biology (CCB) in New York City and a professor of computer science at Princeton University. Troyanskaya worked alongside Robert Darnell, a Professor of Cancer Biology at Rockefeller University and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.The scientists used artificial intelligence software to scan the genome sequences of 1790 people with autism, along with their siblings and parents who did not have autism. Inherited mutations were excluded from the results.This meant that the genomes of participants with a family history of autism were only picked up on if their DNA contained spontaneous mutations, rather than mutations they could have inherited from their parents.The AI aspect of the study allowed the team to accurately connect the DNA mutations detected to the development of autism in the individuals. This is a shift in thinking about genetic studies that we’re introducing with this analysis. In addition to scientists studying shared genetic mutations across large groups of individuals, here we’re applying a set of smart, sophisticated tools that tell us what any specific mutation is going to do, even those that are rare or never observed before.”Chandra Theesfeld, Co-author This is the first clear demonstration of non-inherited, non-coding mutations causing any complex human disease or disorder.”Olga Troyanskaya, Lead Author