Starting this week, milk and dairy prices will increase in Costa Rica. Dos Pinos Cooperative, Costa Rica’s biggest dairy producer, hiked prices on most of its dairy products, as well as those from its Coronado brand.According to the company, increases in production costs forced an adjustment of 2.28 percent on average.With the increase, the price of a carton of milk jumped from ₡545 to ₡555 ($1.09-$1.11), while a bag of milk (leche en bolsa) increased from ₡280 to ₡290 ($0.56-$0.58).Flavored milk, yogurt and cheese prices will also increase. The price of milk with a longer expiration date will remain the same.Inflation on dairy products from September 2012 to February 2013 is 3.17 percent, which according to the company is “lower than the country’s inflation, which reached 3.92 percent during the same period.” Facebook Comments No related posts.
New legislation introduced by state Rep. John Bizon would hold an individual who is responsible for the care of a minor child accountable if they fail to report that child as missing or dead within 48 hours.“Protecting our most vulnerable residents is of utmost importance,” said Rep. Bizon, R-Battle Creek. “If you’re responsible for the care and well-being of a child, you must be held accountable to ensure that child isn’t endangered. These bills ensure that happens.”Under the legislation, the penalty for not reporting a child who has gone missing or died is up to four years in prison, a $5,000 fine or both. Rep. Bizon said the bills will provide a greater incentive for someone who is trusted with the care of a minor child to do the right thing or face a stiff penalty for failing to act.“These bills are about ensuring those who are trusted to care for Michigan’s children do so,” Rep. Bizon said. “Protecting our children will help our state have a brighter future for everyone.”House Bills 4688 and 4689 have been referred to the House Committee on Criminal Justice.### 09Jun Rep. Bizon introduces bill holding adults accountable for not reporting missing children Categories: Bizon News
In This Issue… * Risk assets healing is wiped out… * Euro and A$ lead currencies lower… * Gold can’t find a bid… * Chinese renminbi takes baby steps lower… And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts! A Full-On Risk Aversion Day… Good day… And a Marvelous Monday to you! Well… ding dong me, I forgot that I said I was going to write from home on Mondays, that is until I was ½ -way to work… UGH! Oh well, I’m here in the sauna, so let’s get to what’s on my mind today, no wait, you probably don’t want to know what’s on MY mind, but rather what’s going on in the world… So, here we go! On Friday, I left you with the thought that the risk assets, were attempting to heal from Thursday’s bloodletting… There was no U.S. data to swing the traders one way or the other, so, it appeared that the week would end with some healing in the risk assets… But, that appearance didn’t last long, and soon the small gains that had been booked were wiped out… But still, no major sell off like on Thursday, so at least the risk assets had that going for them! This morning, we have more selling going on… The currencies led by the euro and Aussie dollar (A$), are both down significantly, and Gold just can’t seem to find a bid these days. The S&P futures are down early this morning too… So, at this point of the day, it appears that we’ll see a down day, a day of risk aversion, and weaker values. We went into Friday, with the thought that 4 of the largest economies in the Eurozone, were going to send their leaders to a meeting in Rome to work on a plan that would be presented at the European Summit this coming weekend… Well, I don’t know if the Eurozone leaders took my suggestion of coming up with a blueprint on how they will address this debt debacle as a whole, and stop the putting out fires one at a time… I guess we won’t find that out until this next weekend… I sure hope they did, otherwise, I feel that the Eurozone and euro will be in for a world of hurt… In Germany, they did announce that German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, had agreed to underwrite the debt of Germany’s 16 states, which is a form of burden-sharing, and will be called “Deutschland Bonds”, which will give Germany two tiers of bonds… straight Gov’t. bonds, and these new “Deutschland Bonds”… So, what does that have to do with the Eurozone as a whole? Well… what’s good for the goose is also good for the gander, right? So, if Merkel will agree to sharing debt burden within Germany, then why not for the Eurozone? Well… If I were Angela Merkel, I would be very concerned about joint debt sales in the 17-nation currency union, as long as budgets are set by the national governments… In fact, German Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said it all, when he told reporters that, “as long as the national states make the decisions, they have to be liable. If you can spend money on my tab, you won’t be thrifty.” And doesn’t that make sense? Now switch gears, and come across the pond to the U.S. The U.S. Gov’t makes the budgets, and they spend our money… not theirs… which means they don’t have to be thrifty, right? But, apparently this just doesn’t occur or appear in the thought box above a trader’s head that what’s going on in the U.S. is more absurd than what’s going on in the Eurozone. Well… there are two reasons we get away with it folks… the first and biggest reason is the fact that the U.S. dollar is still the reserve currency of the world, and the second reason is that most people in the U.S. don’t give a rat’s tail about how much debt the U.S. has, or worry about how that it will get paid down, or worry about the tax burdens their kids and grandkids are going to have to deal with… Of course, that’s not you, dear readers, but think of yourself as the “minority” when it comes to awareness of this situation here in the U.S. They know all about Greece… Because the media makes a big deal out of a country which has the economy about the size of the economy of the Dallas-Ft. Worth area, and that New York City’s economy is larger than Greece’s… When I go out on the road to talk to people, you would be amazed at the number of people that 1. Don’t know the consequences of these debt burdens here in the U.S., 2. Don’t know that the dollar, even though it’s in rally mode now, has lost a major chunk of its purchasing power, and 3. Don’t know that they can do something to protect themselves from the potential further declines of the dollar… But, as I’ve said… take the Pfennig Readers, and the people I talk to while out on the road, and it’s still a small group, when compared to the U.S. population as a whole… Speaking of a country with debt… Over in Japan, they are set to pass a consumption tax hike bill… This would be a brand spanking new tax on the Japanese people… So, this illustrates what I was just talking about regarding the tax burdens on our grandkids… So, here, in the land of Debt, they will pass a new tax to help pay for Gov’t debt… But… here’s something to think about regarding Japan’s economy… The new tax, if passed this week, will go into effect in 2014… So… don’t you think that the Japanese economy could get boost from consumers rushing out to buy before this tax gets implemented? So, short-term, it could be a good thing… long-term, it’s not such a good thing… I saw a story headline on the Bloomberg this morning that caught my eye… The title: Central Banks Commit to Ease as Threat of Lost Decades Rises… So, if you’re like me, that title intrigued you, and you’ll read on… according to the Bloomberg, “Central Bankers are finding it easier to support their economies than to spur expansion as the prospect of Japanese – like lost decades looms across the developed world.” OK.. Chuck again here… Now, I’ve said that the U.S. was turning Japanese for almost a decade now… and every time the U.S. implements another form of stimulus, and keeps their interest rates near zero, they play right into the Japanese lost decades scenario… Peter Dixon, the global equities economist at Commerzbank, said, “Japan’s experience shows central banks can mitigate the worst effects of the current environment, but it’s going to be very hard for them to stimulate demand.” I think the Fed Heads are finding that to be very true… So… why meddle in the first place? If a country’s economy needs to clean out the excesses then let it! Part of our financial meltdown problem is the fact that the Fed had to meddle in recessions that we the U.S. economy was supposed to experience going back to 2001… Eventually, these problems build up and then spill out… that’s exactly what has happened… the more you meddle, the bigger the problem down the road. Just ask Japan! So… the U.S. data cupboard gets restocked this week, but, for the most part, I believe that the focus will be on the European Summit that will begin on Thursday. But, for those of you keeping score at home… Today we’ll see New Home Sales for May, which should remain about the size of April’s 343,000. Another regional manufacturing report, this time from Dallas. Tomorrow, the S&P/ CaseShiller Home Price Index, and Consumer Confidence. As we go along this week, there will be more, but no sense in talking about them now… But, keep in mind the mantra that has been taken on by the traders once again, and that is… the dollar gets rewarded for awful / weak data in the U.S. strange as it might seem, that’s what’s happening! Well.. I said above that Gold just can’t seem to find a bid lately… and that about says it all! The past few months have really been a test of convictions for Gold owners… I don’t know this to be true, it’s just my opinion, but I would have to think that given the currency debasement going on all over the world, that investors will be seeking out Gold as a store of wealth… It’s just going to take some time, as it will take some time for the sheeple to realize what their Government has been doing to the purchasing power of their currency… And China continues to allow the renminbi to weaken VS the dollar… by small amounts, yes, but still.. this has to be the longest they’ve gone in this direction since 2008… In fact the BRICS are all performing very badly these days… Something I did not foresee a few years ago… These countries had everything going for them… Then There Was This… are you ready to scream at the walls? I just returned from a trip to the wall… Here’s a story that was in the Washington Post this past weekend… enjoy… “One-hundred-thirty members of Congress or their families have traded stocks collectively worth hundreds of millions of dollars in companies lobbying on bills that came before their committees, a practice that is permitted under current ethics rules, a Washington Post analysis has found. The lawmakers bought and sold a total of between $85 million and $218 million in 323 companies registered to lobby on legislation that appeared before them, according to an examination of all 45,000 individual congressional stock transactions contained in computerized financial disclosure data from 2007 to 2010. Almost one in every eight trades — 5,531 — intersected with legislation.” Chuck again… Did you walk away for a moment to visit a wall nearby? To recap… The healing of the risk assets faded on Friday, and an all-out risk aversion is going on this morning, led by the euro and A$… The Eurozone leaders of the 4 largest economies met to hopefully lay out a blueprint to present to the Eurozone Summit attendees this coming weekend… I say hopefully, because if they don’t, The Eurozone and euro are in for a world of hurt… Currencies today 6/25/12… American Style: A$ $1.00, kiwi .7860, C$ .9715, euro 1.2480, sterling 1.5548, Swiss $1.0390, … European Style: rand 8.4565, krone 6.00, SEK 7.0610, forint 230.25, zloty 3.4150, koruna 20.6415, RUB 33.19, yen 79.85, sing 1.2835, HKD 7.7590, INR 57.07, China 6.3630, pesos 13.92, BRL 2.0650, Dollar Index 82.57, Oil $79.18, 10-year 1.63%, Silver $26.73, and Gold… $1,568.10 That’s it for today… A great weekend for my beloved Cardinals… I watched the game on Saturday and couldn’t believe all the red in the stands at the K.C. stadium! WOW! Of course, about 5 years ago, we took Alex to K.C. for a Cardinals’ game, but to see it on TV, that was impressive, Cardinals fans! Penalty kicks? You decide the winner of a game that will decide the European Champion by Penalty Kicks? I like soccer, I played a lot of soccer as a young man, as I grew up in South St. Louis, the soccer capital of the U.S. But, the sport will always lack fans in the U.S. as long as an important game is decided by Penalty Kicks… And with that… I had better stop, and get this out the door… Thank you for reading the Pfennig, and I hope you have a Marvelous Monday! Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837 www.everbank.com
In This Issue.* Eurozone GDP contracts in 4th QTR. * BOJ candidate says yen is at equilibrium. * NZ manufacturing soars! * Remember the chocolates!And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Happy Valentine’s Day!Good day. And a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday to you! I’m back, again! Yes, things keep pushing me down, but I keep coming back! I don’t really feel like crowing though, so, I’ll move along. Another trip to MD Anderson in Houston is put to bed. And Happy Valentine’s Day to all you love birds out there! My Valentine is off on a trip with Alex to visit a college, so, I’ll spend the next 4 nights in a very quiet house, alone!Well, the Big news going through the markets this morning is the GDP reports from the Eurozone. Most importantly, the GDP report from Germany. German 4th QTR GDP contracted -.6% and then the rest of the Eurozone members’ reports were just as weak. Now, we all have been tracking the recent data for Germany, and it appears now that the 4th QTR was a trough. But that didn’t stop some mental giant from making a really dumb statement. European Central Bank (ECB) Vice President, Constancio, said that, “negative interest rates are a possibility. no decision has been made.” Well, I don’t have to tell you that those kind of statements will send a currency to the woodshed in a NY Minute, and that’s exactly what his words did to the euro. But, isn’t this just a bunch of baloney? First. the data is old and already water under the bridge, and second, where did this ECB VP get this idea? For this “negative interest rates” thought was like a grenade from left field. Totally unsuspected, and for my two cents, unlikely!I want to thank Chris for taking the conn on the Pfennig for me, once again! Chris admits that he loves writing the Pfennig for short intervals. And I think he does a fantastic job of writing the Pfennig, as does Mike when he’s asked on short notice to take the conn. Well, yesterday, Chris talked about the G-20 meeting, and how the members of G-20 are very squeamish about member countries manipulating their currencies lower. And yes, the G-20 members are all for avoiding policies that lead to competitive currency devaluations, but policing this will be one mousetrap that I doubt gets built.Russia’s Finance Minister doesn’t want this idea to fade. Anton Siluanov , Russia’s FM, wants G-20 members to put it in writing, and have more specific language regarding the policing of this matter. I applaud Mr. Siluanov. for I have always held to the thought that currency policy should be based on market conditions, and fundamentals. So, Let’s quit all this beggar thy neighbor currency manipulation, and get back to allowing the markets to direct where a currency should trade, based on fundamentals. I expect to hear lots of statements coming from the G-20 meeting that begins today.I see that the currencies, for the most part, haven’t really changed much this week while I was away, being stuck, and scanned. The euro has the biggest move, and it’s downward. But still in a pretty good place, I think. And. I think that we’ll continue to see the Eurozone, namely Germany’s, economic data improve this year. But then that’s just me. I’m sure “real economists” can point out to me all the reasons I’m wrong. But then these would be the same “real economists” that called for the collapse of the euro, and a break-up of the Eurozone and said it would happen in 2012. I’m just pointing that out, because I’m a smart-alec.Well. the Japanese yen, which is the focus of the G-7 and now G-20 meetings, continues to be the currency everyone wants to short. Last night though, yen gained some ground, when the Bank of Japan (BOJ) upgraded their assessment of the economy. Then possible BOJ Gov. candidate (the current BOJ Gov. only has one more meeting under his control), said that yen in the 90-100 range had reached its equilibrium. That’s better than the previous ranges that were far above/ weaker than that! So, yen gets some love on Valentine’s Day.Chris included some thoughts I had sent him on the cover story in last week’s Economist, regarding the Nordic countries of Norway, Sweden, Denmark and even Finland. These countries certainly should be looked to as examples of how you can go from a horrible banking crisis in the 90’s to sound fiscal positions today. A couple of years ago, when I was writing for the Sovereign Society’s “Currency Capitalist”, I highlighted the way the Nordic countries handled their banking crisis, which was completely different from the way we did it here. Therefore, I don’t expect us to come out of our banking crisis so secure, and fiscally sound.In China. it’s the same-o, same-o. The Economist had a great article in it regarding China’s willingness to widen the distribution of their currency. Banks in Hong Kong and now Taiwan now offer deposit accounts in renminbi/ yuan. I’ve told you about how the surge in Dim-Sum bonds being issued, just adds to the methods that China’s using to promote the use of its currency beyond its borders. So, none of this is new to you dear reader. but, for those that are new to class, these moves by the Chinese to gain a wider distribution of their currency, may be new to them.In New Zealand last night, their manufacturing Index (PMI) increased to 55.2 in January, VS 50.4 in December. That’s a HUGE increase folks, add to that impressive data print, an increase in Consumer Confidence this month, and you have the ingredients for a strong move in the New Zealand dollar / kiwi! At one point overnight kiwi was trading over 85-cents! It has seen some profit taking since then, but still has had a very impressive night! Kiwi is also gaining VS the Aussie dollar (A$), as the A$ feels the pinch of rate cut talks..Well. I’m glad that our President is thinking that bridge repairs are needed in this country. our infrastructure is getting old. And I also liked that he vowed to not add one dime to the deficit. I’m going to leave that right there. I’m afraid I might get on my soapbox and begin to preach. but then, I would probably be just preaching to the choir, eh?Then There Was This. from King World. and it’s a little long, but it plays well with the currency wars theme that we have going right now. This is a snippet of an article I found, written by Robert Fitzwilson, founder of The Portola Group. talking about how we need to follow the bouncing ball again, that is oil, precious metals and tangible assets.“Talk of currency wars continues to dominate the financial news. Ghosts of the ’30s and the “beggar thy neighbor” policies have been resurrected. This is not about beggaring a neighbor this time around. This is not about nationalistic policies to provide markets for goods and employment for citizens. In the Western bloc countries, this time around it is about allowing citizens to remain unemployed. It is about maintaining banking systems at all costs. It is really a policy of “beggaring thy citizens”, not thy neighbor. It is about power. It is about China wanting to regain what they consider their historic role as the economic powerhouse. Russia and China both know that gold is sovereignty and power.Gold, oil and the success or failure of the yuan as a reserve currency are the only bouncing balls that matter in this game of Titans. As investors, we can only step out of the fiat currency arena and acquire what the powerful desire, primarily oil and precious metals. Tangible assets should also be accumulated, not for their role in global supremacy, but their intrinsic value for whatever comes next.The devaluation of fiat currency is on a non-linear trajectory. The dollar deteriorated relatively slowly for 90 years. It deteriorated rapidly in the next 10 years. The final destruction will take only a few years. It could virtually happen overnight as we saw with Venezuela and North Korea.”Chuck again. remember. what I keep telling you, folks..The dollar leads the pack for the currencies in their downward moves. And will remain the leader.To recap. Eurozone 4th QTR GDP contracted, but from the looks of the latest German economic data, this might have been the trough. But it was enough to push the euro down overnight. Japanese yen saw some love on V.D. as a BOJ hopeful called yen’s current range its equilibrium. And Kiwi was the best performer overnight, after a very impressive PMI report.Currencies today 2/14/13. American Style: A$ $1.0340, kiwi .8480, C$ .9985, euro 1.3340, sterling 1.5515, Swiss $1.0840, . European Style: rand 8.9015, krone 5.5170, SEK 6.3345, forint 219, zloty 3.1325, koruna 19.0280, RUB 30.12, yen 93.35, sing 1.2375, HKD 7.7550, INR 53.92, China 6.2316, pesos 12.72, BRL 1.9665, Dollar Index 80.52, Oil $96.93, 10-year 2.03%, Silver $31.01, and Gold. $1,647.57That’s it for today. Well. What did you get your sweetheart? I read a very funny article the other day written by a woman regarding what women want for Valentine’s Day. Here’s a hint. They may tell you they are on a diet, but it doesn’t mean they’re on one today! And here I always thought it was flowers! This will be the first VD that I’ve been away from my sweetheart, since we first met in 1972. Whoa! That’s a long time ago! I wasn’t here to wish you all a Shrove Tuesday earlier this week. My Irish heritage, comes out big time this time of year! The Mardi Gras celebration here in St. Louis, looked like fun was had by all. But now it’s time to reflect. and with that, I hope you have a Tub Thumpin’ Thursday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837
The primary unit of time measurement for high-frequency traders might be the microsecond, but for normal retail traders, it’s vital to know the best months, days, and even half-hours of the day to make market transactions. Consider Black Friday, the most active shopping day of the year. Let’s say a 60”, 1080p plasma HDTV normally goes for around $900 but on Black Friday is discounted to $500. That’s a 44 percent savings. If you had a desire to own this TV and were somehow guaranteed a way to bypass the rabid mobs, you’d be careless to spend $900 on it the day before. Likewise, you’d be at a disadvantage to buy or sell a security without first conducting some level of research to determine the optimal time, statistically speaking, to make a transaction. At the very least, you should know when not to make a transaction. Fortunately, much of this research has already been conducted. My friend Jeffrey Hirsch, following in the footsteps of his late father Yale Hirsch, has for years edited the invaluable Stock Trader’s Almanac, which is updated annually. The book is notable for finding reliable patterns in market trends and behavior, on both the macro and micro scale. It also gave birth to such well-known investing adages as “Sell in May and Go Away” and the “January Barometer.” 07/09/2010 5.28% 10/03/2008 -4.84% What’s interesting here is that, even though September is historically the worst month in which to trade, it had three of the best weeks and only one of the worst weeks. Conversely, December, one of the best months in which to trade, had only two of the best weeks. No week in December fell in the “worst” category, however. Days: Which day is the best to buy? Which day is the best to sell? That depends on whether we’re talking about days of the week, days of the month, or days preceding or following holidays—there are innumerable contexts and implications to consider, all of which have already been carefully studied and scrutinized by Yale and Jeffrey Hirsch. According to Hirsch, the best day to trade was once the last trading day of the month, followed by the first four trading days of the next month. Front-runners who noticed and took advantage of this trend, however, changed that, and a shift occurred in 1982. Since then, the strongest days tend to fall on the ninth, tenth, and eleventh trading days of the month. In the chart below, you can see what Hirsch’s research says are the days of the week when the greatest likelihood that performance will rise in the Dow will occur. Between 2008 and 2014, Mondays have been the weakest, rising less than 50 percent of the time—the only trading day to fall more than it rises, in fact. 06/30/2011 4.02% 01/18/2008 -4.02% 06/08/2012 3.59% 01/04/2008 -3.50% 03/13/2009 9.01% 01/24/2014 -3.52% 09/03/2010 4.33% 08/19/2011 -4.01% 11/28/2008 9.73% 08/05/2011 -5.75% Source: Stock Traders Almanac 2014, U.S. Global Investors 08/26/2011 4.32% 06/27/2008 -4.19% Again, these charts are imperfect and show only probability. Trading activity can fluctuate widely, especially prior to and after earnings and economic announcements. And there will always be the unforeseen event—a workers’ strike, a CEO’s termination or resignation, civil unrest—that shakes up the market. Now compare the TSX Venture and Market Vectors Junior Gold Miners ETF, both of which have their own DNAs of volatility, to the NASDAQ 100 ETF, which tracks the 100 largest and most active non-financial and international companies listed on the greater NASDAQ—in other words, blue-chip stocks. 10/14/2011 4.88% 11/25/2011 -4.78% 11/30/2011 7.25% 9/23/2011 -6.41% 09/16/2011 4.70% 07/29/2011 -4.24% 10/31/2008 11.29% 10/10/2008 -18.15% 03/27/2009 6.84% 05/23/2008 -3.91% What this shows is that, in August, September, and October, it’s time to “nibble” on stocks, as prices are dropping. In March, April, and May, it’s time to “trim.” As I said, the Dow has been improving slightly in September over the last few years. Its 20-year return has risen to -0.51 percent from its 50-year return of -0.77 percent. Theoretically, investing from November 1 through April 30 and then switching to fixed-income products for the rest of the year seems to be a safe and effective strategy. If you back-test this to 1950 with an initial $10,000 investment, you would have gained an estimated 6,740 percent. Investing the same $10,000 from May through October would have cost you $1,024. What a difference six months makes. I must stress, however, that this chart, and those that follow, shows only probability. Like a basketball bouncing down a rocky mountainside, nothing is certain, and actual behavior varies. Macro events such as presidential elections, midterm elections and changes in fiscal and monetary policy have a dramatic effect on the outcome of the market. For further data, check out the Almanac’s best and worst S&P 500 entry and exit dates, separated into the five best months (November through April, excluding February) and seven worst months (May through October, including February). Weeks: Below you can see the best and worst weeks of the Dow, ranging from 2008 to 2012. 12/20/2013 2.96% 02/20/2009 -6.17% 09/13/2013 3.04% 10/24/2008 -5.35% As a special case study, let’s focus just on the three days before and after a holiday, specifically Labor Day, which Americans recently celebrated. Historically, how does the market react to this particular day? The following chart tracks the historical 33-year performance of four major indexes three trading days before and after Labor Day. As you can see, investors tend to be bullish on the Friday preceding the weekend (-1) and bearish starting Tuesday, the first trading day of the week (+1). The NASDAQ does slightly better than the other three both before and after the holiday, leading into the rest of September. 10/28/2011 3.58% 11/21/2008 -5.31% 07/17/2009 7.33% 05/07/2010 -5.71% 01/31/2008 3.63% 06/20/2008 -3.78% There’s plenty more research on the best days on which to trade—and which to avoid—in The Stock Trader’s Almanac. Hours and Half-Hours: Canada is the largest natural resource market in the world. The TSX Venture Exchange, with a market capitalization of over $37 billion, represents approximately 2,250 small-cap companies, many of them in the mining and metals space. 11/23/2012 3.35% 11/14/2008 -4.99% Best 20 Weeks Worst 20 Weeks 12/23/2011 3.60% 05/18/2012 -3.52% With the TSX Venture, it’s generally smarter to sell rather than buy in the morning. Over the last two and a half years, this is when prices tend to be high. There’s heavy volatility as the market is reacting to what might have happened since the previous trading day’s closing bell. Unless you really know what you’re doing in this particular market, if you buy in the morning, you can often expect to see your shares sink as the day unfolds. The “safest” time to buy would be in the late afternoon. The market has cooled somewhat and traders are gauging where things might be headed. The challenge during this time, however, is that volume has dipped and, as a result, spreads have widened. A similar pattern emerges, a little like the shape of a waterslide, if you chart the intraday performance of the Market Vector Junior Gold Miners ETF, which gives investors exposure to small and intermediate gold and silver companies. Prices are highest in the morning, decrease throughout the afternoon, and then get a final boost starting around 3:00. Making a trade at 9:30, then, will have a vastly different outcome than making one at 1:30. Thirty-five years ago when I was just getting started in the investment business, I asked Yale how he managed to arrive at his findings. He told me that his background in music composition enabled him to “hear” melodies, if you will, in four-year presidential cycles, seasonal cycles, weekly cycles, and more. This interdisciplinary approach of combining music and finance should inspire all investors to leverage their own unique skills, talents, and backgrounds to seek patterns in the market that others might overlook. If you don’t already own a copy of the Stock Trader’s Almanac, I urge you to make a special trip to the bookstore. You can also visit the book’s website and sign up for a free seven-day trial. The site provides a wealth of helpful and fascinating information for investors to peruse. The Best Times to Trade Previously I discussed market patterns in four-year presidential cycles and seasonal cycles. But now let’s look at months and work our way down to half-hours of the trading day. Months: “Sell in May and Go Away” is more than a clever expression. The Stock Trader’s Almanac has over six decades’ worth of data to support the reliability of this strategy. Based on the S&P 500 Index’s monthly closing prices, November, December, and January are the best months for trading volume. Conversely, the worst-performing months of the year fall between May and October. Even though the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up four of the past five Septembers, the ninth month has still been the worst-performing since 1950 for all of the major indexes and exchanges, including the Dow, S&P 500, NASDAQ, and Russell 1000 Index. 04/18/2008 4.25% 02/08/2008 -4.40% Week Ending % Change Week Ending % Change Best and Worst Weeks for the Dow Jones Industrial Average 2008 through 2014 Over the same timeframe as the previous indexes, the pattern here has almost reversed. Relative lows in the morning. Modest improvement throughout the trading day. You could, in this market, reasonably buy in the morning and sell in the afternoon. You don’t have to be as obsessed and intuitive with statistics and patterns as Yale or his son Jeffrey Hirsch, but it pays to participate. If there’s one thing I want to leave you with, it’s that research must be conducted on the market you’re planning to trade in before you enter. Click here for more info on Frank Holmes and U.S. Global Funds.
The rising level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere means that crops are becoming less nutritious, and that change could lead to higher rates of malnutrition that predispose people to various diseases.That conclusion comes from an analysis published Tuesday in the journal PLOS Medicine, which also examined how the risk could be alleviated. In the end, cutting emissions, and not public health initiatives, may be the best response, according to the paper’s authors.Research has already shown that crops like wheat and rice produce lower levels of essential nutrients when exposed to higher levels of carbon dioxide, thanks to experiments that artificially increased CO2 concentrations in agricultural fields. While plants grew bigger, they also had lower concentrations of minerals like iron and zinc.Fewer nutrients in crops means fewer nutrients in food. People who don’t get enough of the right nutrients are more likely to get sick. For instance, kids who don’t get enough zinc are more likely to contract diseases like malaria, pneumonia and diarrhea.A multidisciplinary research team from Stanford put the puzzle pieces together and saw a potentially disturbing chain of events.”We expect nutrient deficiencies to really increase dramatically from higher carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” says Dr. Sanjay Basu, assistant professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and one of the study’s authors. “In the long run, I think it’s likely to cause some chronic problems we haven’t prepared for.” But how many more people would get sick, and what could be done to keep that from happening?To answer this question, the researchers took the data we already know about carbon dioxide and crop nutrients and extended it to future CO2 concentrations. Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are expected to rise from 400 parts per million to 550 ppm by 2050.Assuming people keep eating the same things, the researchers were able to predict how many more people would become nutrient-deficient as a result of their less nutritious diets. From there, the researchers then inferred changes in disease rates.The results suggest that rising CO2 will cost the world roughly 125 million disability-adjusted life years – which are roughly equivalent to a year of healthy life – because of higher rates of disease between now and 2050.That number can be hard to wrap your head around, but Dr. Samuel Myers, senior research scientist at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, says that it’s in line with previous estimates of “somewhere between 100-200 million people being pushed into risk of deficiency.” Myers has authored several papers on the effect of CO2 on crop nutrition but wasn’t involved in this study.Most of the people affected would be in areas prone to malnutrition in Southeast Asia and Africa. Developed regions, such as Europe and North America, are unlikely to be heavily affected.Next, the researchers simulated what would happen if countries took steps to mitigate the threat, such as reducing CO2 emissions in line with the Paris Agreement on climate, or passing out zinc pills to affected populations.The researchers found that roughly half of the added disease burden could be avoided if CO2 levels were cut to levels stipulated by the Paris Agreement—480 ppm. But public health initiatives, like iron distribution or malaria mitigation, would only reduce the problem by a 20 percent.”Some of the climate change mitigation policies might be even more effective than public health measures to help avert this problem,” states Basu.Mathematical biologist Irakli Loladze, an associate professor at the Bryan College of Health Sciences in Lincoln, Neb., says that this is the study’s most important finding.”The novel part is their estimate for the effects of various interventions,” Loladze explains. “What’s interesting is that interventions such as zinc or iron supplementation actually have little effect.”Although it’s tempting to believe that nutrient deficiencies are easily solved, Loladze points out it’s often difficult. “Many will often say, ‘Hey, let’s just do supplementation. Everybody will take a pill.’ Which of course is very naive thinking,” Loladze says.He cites iodine as an example. Iodine deficiency has been effectively treated in many places by adding iodine to food staples like salt. Still, hundreds of millions of people remain iodine deficient because their governments lack the money to implement such large-scale health programs.Other warn against taking the authors’ estimates of disease burden too literally. Predictive models are only as good as the numbers they use, and some of the estimates plugged into the model are murkier than others.”We don’t have highly accurate information about what everyone in the world is eating,” says Harvard’s Myers.Myers also highlights the difficulty of linking diet to nutrient deficiency, since the absorption of many nutrients – especially iron – is influenced by a variety of factors such as personal health and whether food contains iron-binding compounds that inhibit absorption. Still, Myers emphasizes that the numbers used in the study are the best we’ve got.A few things could happen to keep the predictions from coming true. Carbon dioxide emissions could be cut, and global diets could shift. Diets have changed dramatically in places like China, where more people are eating meat, a better source of iron than most plant-based foods. Additionally, Myers notes that some crop varieties appear resistant to the CO2-associated decrease in nutrition, and those varieties could provide the foundation for agricultural production in an increasingly CO2-rich atmosphere.The burden of addressing nutrient deficiency is not likely to fall on the people most responsible for the change. In the end, the study highlights how the habits of affluent countries trickle down to affect the world’s poor.”It’s the wealthy people in the world who are emitting lots of carbon dioxide,” Myers says. “Wealthy consumption patterns are putting the poorest, most vulnerable people in harm’s way.” Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.
The airline aims to make travel safer for female passengers after two incidents of assault this winter. January 19, 2017 –shares Apply Now » Next Article Staff Writer. Covers leadership, media, technology and culture. Air India, the country’s national airline, announced this week that it will soon set aside two rows on every flight for women passengers who are traveling solo in an effort to combat harassment and sexual assault. The six seats located at the front of the planes will be offered for no additional fees.The move from the airline comes after two incidents this winter. In December, a male passenger groped a woman seated next to him on a flight from Mumbai to Newark. In January, a flight attendant reported a male passenger who exhibited similar inappropriate behavior towards her. Both men were arrested.Related: The Most and Least Reliable Airports and Airlines“We feel, as national carriers, it is our responsibility to enhance comfort level to female passengers. There are a lot of female passengers who travel alone with us and we will be blocking a few seats for them,” Air India general manager Meenakshi Malik told The Hindu.The airline is following the lead of other transportation providers in India, such as buses and trains that have created female-only spaces.In recent years, there have also been a proliferation of Indian startup ride services by and for women.In 2013, SheTaxi, a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week taxi service for women was launched in Kerala. At the beginning of last year, nearly 550 women in Mumbai got permits to be drivers of pink auto rickshaws made to safely transport female passengers. As of this fall, pink rickshaws were also available in Noida, a city about 16 miles from New Delhi. The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Nina Zipkin Air India Creates Women-Only Space to Prevent Harassment 2 min read Add to Queue Image credit: Bloomberg | Getty Images Entrepreneur Staff Airlines
dispensaries.com A new study involving millions of medical records and analysis of patient outcomes has found that those who use marijuana have a better chance of surviving after being hospitalized with a heart attack.While researchers from the University of Colorado said further study is needed, they also wrote that they “would strongly suggest that marijuana use is associated with a significant decrease in in-hospital mortality” for those admitted with a heart attack.It’s yet another in a growing list of potential medical uses for cannabis that is being stymied, at least in the United States, by the continued illegal status of marijuana at the federal level and the lack of quality cannabis for research purposes.Related: Researchers Find People Who Use Cannabis Are More Motivated to ExerciseThe Impact of Heart DiseaseHow cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers. That’s because heart disease accounts for about one in every three deaths in the United States, according to findings in research funded by the American Heart Association. Other eye-opening numbers from the research include:Every day, about 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease. That’s one death every 40 seconds.To put it in perspective, more Americans die of heart diseases every year than those who die of cancer and Chronic Lower Respiratory Disease – combined.About 92.1 million American adults have some form of cardiovascular disease or are living with the after-effects of strokeThe costs associated with cardiovascular diseases and stroke are estimated at more than $316 billion, a number that considers health expenditures and lost productivity.With those kinds of numbers, it’s no surprise people take notice when a study finds that there is possibility a new treatment that can prevent death from heart attack.Related: Harvard, MIT Receive $9 Million Donation to Conduct Marijuana ResearchThe Study’s FindingsAcute Myocardial Infarctions (AMI) is the medical term used to describe a patient who has had a heart-related emergency. To understand how marijuana might impact those who experience an AMI, the University of Colorado researchers analyzed hospital records for 1,273,897 AMI patients. They then focused on the 3,854 among that group who admitted to marijuana use.They found that those who used marijuana had a decreased risk of:DeathShockHaving to have a balloon inserted into a blocked arteryOf the three, the first one obviously caught the researcher’s attention the most. “Perhaps the most striking finding of our study is that marijuana use prior to AMI was associated with decreased in-hospital mortality post AMI,” they wrote.They added that this finding actually keeps with what has been discovered in previous studies, citing a 2017 study led by researchers from the Atlanta Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Texas State University and Nassau University Medical Center in New York.The 2017 study found marijuana use did not increase the chance of mortality among those hospitalized with a heart attack. Those earlier researchers also had analyzed millions of patient hospital records.Follow dispensaries.com on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest cannabis news. Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Next Article May 21, 2019 Add to Queue Guest Writer Health How cannabis could impact heart health is a major area of study for researchers. –shares Image credit: katleho Seisa | Getty Images Free Green Entrepreneur App Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Study Finds Marijuana Users Have Better Chance of Surviving Heart Attack 3 min read Keep up with the latest trends and news in the cannabis industry with our free articles and videos, plus subscribe to the digital edition of Green Entrepreneur magazine. Download Our iOS App
Fitbit Sued by Investors Over Alleged Tracking Inaccuracies January 13, 2016 –shares Next Article Add to Queue 2019 Entrepreneur 360 List Legal Apply Now » 2 min read Image credit: Fitbit | Facebook The only list that measures privately-held company performance across multiple dimensions—not just revenue. Jeff John Roberts It’s going from bad to worse for Fitbit. Consumers last week sued the maker of fitness trackers over claimed inaccuracies in its heart rate monitor, prompting a sell-off of its shares. Now the company has a new headache.On Monday, an investor filed a class action suit against Fitbit in California over alleged “fraud on the market” and U.S. securities law violations.The lawsuit seeks compensation for anyone who purchased Fitbit shares during the company’s IPO last summer up until last week when stories about the allegedly inaccurate heart monitor hit the press. The complaint points to the stock’s fall of $1.20, or 5.8%, on January 6 to show the impact of the news.“As a result of Defendants’ false and/or misleading statements, Fitbit securities traded at inflated prices. However, after disclosure of Defendants’ false and/or misleading statements, Fitbit’s stock suffered a precipitous decline in market value, thereby causing significant losses and damages to Plaintiff and other Class members.”According to the complaint, Fitbit executives made “false and misleading” statements about the company’s heart monitor technology to the media and in regulatory filings. The technology has come under scrutiny in light of last week’s consumer complaint, which included allegations by a cardiologist that Fitbit’s heart monitor consistently posts inaccurate results.In response to questions last work from Fortune about the claimed inaccuracies, the company insisted its technology works as claimed, and vowed to fight the consumer lawsuit. As for the new investor case, a Fitbit spokesperson said:“We have reviewed the complaint and believe it is meritless. We intend to defend this case vigorously.”Such shareholder lawsuits alleging “fraud on the market” are not uncommon after companies take a public relations hit, and are typically settled quietly. You can read the complaint for yourself below.On Monday, Fitbit’s shared price dropped below its $20 IPO price for the first time since the company went public in July, hitting an all-time low of $18.50. It has since been nudging back towards $20.Fitbit Investor Class Action This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine
1 min read Microsoft to Cut 2,850 More Jobs Add to Queue Microsoft Corp. said it would cut about 2,850 more jobs over the next 12 months, taking its total planned job cuts to up to 4,700, or about 4 percent of its workforce.The company said in May it would cut 1,850 jobs in its smartphone business, most of them in Finland.Microsoft bought Finland-based handset maker Nokia in 2014 in an ill-fated attempt to take on market leaders Apple Inc. and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. Chief Executive Satya Nadella, who took the helm just two months before the deal closed, has since focused on restructuring the struggling phone business.Microsoft had about 114,000 full-time employees as of June 30.(Reporting by Rishika Sadam in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty) Reuters –shares This story originally appeared on Reuters 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. Microsoft Fireside Chat | July 25: Three Surprising Ways to Build Your Brand July 29, 2016 Next Article Enroll Now for $5 Image credit: photogearch / Shutterstock
Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Jan 17 2019Chaos in bodily regulation can optimize our immune system according to a recent discovery made by researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute. The discovery may prove to be of great significance for avoiding serious diseases such as cancer and diabetes.Wide gaps exist in our understanding of how the immune system works and how we might avoid diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Now, two researchers at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute have made a discovery that could prove to be an important piece of the puzzle. PhD Mathias Heltberg and Professor Mogens Høgh Jensen have found an entirely new mechanism in the way that bodily cells regulate themselves – through chaos.The researchers investigated how a particular protein produced within cells, NF-kB, stimulates genes. Among other things, this particular protein is vital for maintaining the body’s immune defense system and thereby, the body’s ability to combat disease. The concentration of NF-kB fluctuates over time, and these swings impact the genes and subsequently, the condition of cells.The researchers demonstrated that chaotic swings in the concentration of the protein – what in mathematics is known as chaotic dynamics – can increase the activation of a number of genes that are otherwise not activated. In other words, when in a chaotic state, the NF-kB protein is most effective at activating genes and optimally “tuning” the immune system.”The results can have a tremendous impact on our understanding of how the immune system functions and how the incidence of some of the most serious illnesses, including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s, might be avoided. For example, we know that cancer is related to a failure of signaling within the body. So, to avoid cancer, it is imperative to have the right dynamic at work in cells,” says Mogens Høgh Jensen, a professor in biocomplexity at the University of Copenhagen’s Niels Bohr Institute.Related StoriesStudy shows potential culprit behind LupusMaking Bacterial Infections a Thing of the Past for Chronic Respiratory ConditionsMathematical model helps identify determinants of persistent MRSA bacteremiaImproved knowledge can improve cancer treatmentThe researchers point out that this new knowledge can be deployed in future therapies.”These could come in the form of new medications that ensure proper protein function. Therapies could also involve the withdrawal and testing of cells from a body to gauge whether cells are in the right condition to have the correct swings. If they aren’t, it may be possible to predict and discover illnesses before they occur,” explains Mathias Heltberg, a PhD student in Biocomplexity.The research results are among the first to prove that chaos can be an important aspect of the mechanisms that steer the enormous complexity characteristic of all living things. Even the researchers were surprised by their discovery, as chaotic dynamics is often seen as something that living organisms seek to avoid. The new knowledge opens up an entirely new understanding of how genes can be regulated through varied swings in the proteins that control them.”Chaos is a mathematically well-defined dynamic, one that, for example, has previously been used to explain great changes in weather systems. With the enormous complexity that characterizes higher order living things, it is evident that chaotic dynamics will occur in different types of systems. But how chaos plays a decisive role in living cells is entirely new,” concludes Mogens Høgh Jensen. Source:https://www.science.ku.dk/english/press/news/2019/chaos-in-the-body-tunes-up-your-immune-system/
Source:https://www.europeanlung.org/en/ Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 11 2019A new study that directly compares new heated tobacco devices with vaping and traditional cigarettes shows that all three are toxic to human lung cells.The study published in ERJ Open Research suggests that the new device, which heats solid tobacco instead of an e-liquid, is no less toxic to the cells than ordinary cigarette smoke.Researchers say the study adds to evidence that these newer electronic nicotine delivery devices may not be a safer substitute for cigarette smoking.The study was led by Dr Pawan Sharma, a researcher at the University of Technology Sydney and the Woolcock Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia.He said: “Smoking is the leading cause of preventable death, and with the introduction of e-cigarettes in the last decade, the trend of nicotine uptake is not going to slow down in the near future. If the current trend continues, tobacco use will cause more than eight million deaths annually by 2030 around the world.”The latest addition in this emerging trend is the planned and vigorous introduction of heated tobacco devices. They are commonly called next generation or heat-not-burn products. We know very little about the health effects of these new devices, so we designed this research to compare them with cigarette smoking and vaping.”Researchers tested the effects of all three nicotine sources on two types of cells taken from the human airways: epithelial cells and smooth muscle cells. In healthy lungs, epithelial cells act as the first line of defence to any foreign particles entering the airway while smooth muscle cells maintain the structure of the airway. However, smoking can lead to difficulty in breathing primarily by hampering the normal functions of these cells.Dr Sharma and his team exposed the cells to different concentrations of cigarette smoke, e-cigarette vapour and vapour from a heated tobacco device, and measured whether this was damaging to cells and whether it affected the cells’ normal functions.The researchers found that cigarette smoke and heated tobacco vapour were highly toxic to the cells both at lower and higher concentrations while e-cigarette vapour demonstrated toxicity mainly at higher concentrations. Researchers say that these concentrations represent the levels of nicotine found in chronic smokers.Dr Sukhwinder Sohal, a researcher at the University of Tasmania, Launceston, Australia, and leading author on the study, said: “We observed different levels of cellular toxicity with all forms of exposures in human lung cells. What came out clearly was that the newer products were in no way less toxic to cells than conventional cigarettes or e-cigarette vaping.”Related StoriesStudy: Less than 50% of U.S. adults exposed to court-ordered anti-smoking advertisementsLow rates of recommended treatment for tobacco dependence in patients hospitalized with SUDsStudy reveals how habitual smoking may contribute to development of hypertensionDr Sharma added: “Our results suggest that all three are toxic to the cells of our lungs and that these new heated tobacco devices are as harmful as smoking traditional cigarettes.”It took us nearly five decades to understand the damaging effects of cigarette smoke and we don’t yet know the long-term impact of using e-cigarettes. These devices that heat solid tobacco are relatively new and it will be decades before we will fully understand their effects on human health.”What we do know is that damage to these two types of lung cells can destroy lung tissue leading to fatal diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer and pneumonia, and can increase the risk of developing asthma, so we should not assume that these devices are a safer option.”Dr Sharma hopes his results will stimulate more research on heated tobacco devices and he plans to continue this work by studying the effects of nicotine devices on more sophisticated models of lung tissue and in mice.Professor Charlotta Pisinger is Chair of the European Respiratory Society’s Tobacco Control Committee and was not involved in the research. She said: “These new heated tobacco devices are marketed as producing 95% lower levels of toxic compounds because the tobacco is heated, not burned. However, the first independent studies have shown that combustion is taking place and toxic and carcinogenic compounds are released, some in lower levels than in conventional cigarette smoke, others in higher levels. A review of the tobacco industry’s own data on these devices has shown that, in rats, there is evidence of lung inflammation, and there is no evidence of improvement in lung inflammation and function in smokers who switch to heated tobacco.”The introduction and vigorous marketing of new devices is very tempting to smokers who want to stop smoking and mistakenly believe they can switch to another harmless tobacco product. It is also opening another avenue for attracting young people to use and become addicted to nicotine. This study adds to evidence that these new devices are not the safe substitute to cigarette smoking they are promoted to be.”
By Dr. Ananya Mandal, MDMar 18 2019Around a fourth of cancer patients under the NHS have a worryingly long wait for their treatment to begin. This is a cause for significant concern say experts. The new figures from NHS England reveal that the health service has not been meeting targets of on-time health care delivery to cancer patients for over 1,000 days. Similar figures have emerged from the A&E department performance.The figures further show that after an urgent GP referral for a cancer patients, ideally the treatment should begin within 62 days. According to recommendations at least 85 percent of the patients should be seen during this time. January figures however reveal that only 76.2 percent of the patients are seen within this time frame.According to Dr Fran Woodard, executive director of policy and impact at Macmillan Cancer Support, “January 2019 marks five years since the 62-day cancer target was first missed and, despite the best efforts of hard working NHS staff, more than 127,000 people have been left waiting too long to start vital treatment throughout that time.” A spokeswoman from the NHS said in a statement, “More people than ever before are coming forward for cancer checks, with a quarter of a million more people getting checked for cancer this year and thousands more being treated within the two-month target. NHS England is investing an additional £10m this year to treat extra people and the NHS Long Term Plan sets out a range of ambitious measures to catch more cancers earlier, which will save thousands of lives every year.”Related StoriesTrends in colonoscopy rates not aligned with increase in early onset colorectal cancerStudy: Nearly a quarter of low-risk thyroid cancer patients receive more treatment than necessaryBacteria in the birth canal linked to lower risk of ovarian cancerWaiting time has not been looking good for the A&E department as well says the report. Only 84.2 percent of the patients are seen within the four hour target time. The recommended numbers of 95 percent have not been met since July 2015, says the report. An NHS spokeswoman said to this, “Despite significant increases in demand, almost a quarter of a million more people have been seen and treated within four hours in A&E this winter compared to last year. Ambulance services are responding to life threatening calls faster, with fewer ambulance handover delays at A&E, and significantly more people have got the support they needed to avoid a long stay in hospital.”The Royal College of Surgeons has issued a statement saying that 227,569 patients are kept waiting for over six months for a planned procedure. At present 4.16 million people are waiting to start on their treatment says the report. Professor Derek Alderson, president of the RCS, in a statement said, “The backlog of patients waiting to start treatment continues to grow. There are now over 100,000 more patients waiting longer than 18 weeks to start treatment when compared with the same time last year.”Labour’s shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth in a statement said, “Today’s statistics will do little to allay frontline concerns that targets will be changed not on the basis of clinical consensus, but because of political pressure from Tory ministers.” He called the situation “shameful”.
Here are the highlights:___MAPS: Google will use augmented reality to help guide you to your destination. When you pull up direction on Google Maps, you can look through the camera and get turn-by-turn directions while viewing the actual street. The app will also orient you and verify your position using local landmarks such as buildings and shops viewed through the camera. Google calls the technology VPS, or visual positioning system. The feature is expected this summer.___GOOGLE DUPLEX: Google’s digital assistant will call actual people at businesses to make restaurant reservations and hair appointments and check holiday hours. In two demonstrations, a realistic-sounding automated voice used pauses and “ums” and “mmm-hmms” to sound more human during interactions with people. Google says the technology is rolling out as “an experiment” in coming weeks. Google says it’s still figuring out how to be upfront and let businesses know that they are talking to a computer.___GMAIL: An autocomplete feature called “smart compose” uses artificial intelligence to suggest ways to finish sentences you start typing. For example, “I haven’t seen you” might be autocompleted to “I haven’t seen you in a while and I hope you’re doing well.” The feature will start rolling out this month. NEWS: Google is redesigning the News feature to present five stories you need to know, plus others that it thinks will be most relevant to you. For outlets with subscriptions, Google will allow you to subscribe directly through your Google account, without needing new passwords or credit card information. The feature should be available to everyone by next week.___ANDROID P: The version of Google’s Android phone software will infuse basic functions with AI smarts. The battery will adapt to how you use apps in order to conserve energy. “Adaptive brightness” will learn how bright you like your screen based on manual adjustments, instead of automatically adjusting based on the how bright it is. Apple’s latest system, iOS 11, has a similar feature. Owners of some Android phones—none from Samsung—can get an early test version now.___WELL-BEING: Android P also includes features to combat overuse. A “shush” mode automatically turns on the “Do Not Disturb” mode when you turn your phone face down on a table. And “Wind Down Mode” will fade the screen to greyscale at a designated bed time to help you disconnect before bed. ___LENS: Google’s visual assistant will be built into the camera. Just point the camera at a building or sign to get more information. Or copy text from images of menus, documents and other sources into another app on your phone. Samsung phones aren’t on the list of phones getting the feature starting next week. Samsung has its own version, Bixby Vision.___ © 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks about gmail features at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Google showcased its plans for the next several months as it kicked off its annual developers’ conference Tuesday. Many of the new features center on the use of artificial intelligence to help save time. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Google showcases AI advances at its big conference Citation: At a glance: How new Google features tap digital smarts (2018, May 8) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-05-glance-google-features-digital-smarts.html Google CEO Sundar Pichai speaks under a video showing singer John Legend at the Google I/O conference in Mountain View, Calif., Tuesday, May 8, 2018. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) Explore further ___PHOTOS: When Google recognizes a photo of someone who is one of your contacts, it can suggest sending the photo to that person. It can also convert photos to PDFs and automatically add color to black-and-white photos or make part of a color photo black and white. The changes are coming in the next few months.___GOOGLE ASSISTANT: Google’s digital assistant will get six new voices, including one based on that of singer John Legend, later this year. The voices aim to sound more natural and will include pauses that convey meaning. Google is also unveiling ways to let you issue multiple commands without having to say “Hey Google” each time. And it will reward kids who say “please,” similar to a feature Amazon is bringing to its Alexa voice assistant.
If you can recognize structures around you while walking down a city street, you have your eyes to thank. Humans can automatically perceive 3-D structure in the world by identifying lines, shapes, symmetries and the patterns and relationships between them in things like buildings, sidewalks and everyday objects. But can a computer be taught to do the same? Credit: CC0 Public Domain Zihan Zhou, assistant professor of information sciences and technology at Penn State, is setting out to explore that question thanks to a recent grant from the National Science Foundation.”We want a computer to see 3-D space as humans do,” said Zhou. “This particular award and project is about structure perception, which has been largely ignored in 3-D vision. This is something that has not been done before.”Structure perception is the ability of a human’s eyes to organize data or patterns and group them in certain ways. For example, a human can look at a line drawing of a building and visualize doors, windows and walls.”There are many types of these relationships in the real world, and humans make use of those relationships to sense the 3-D space,” he said. “Human eyes can easily perceive these kinds of things. The question now is: Can the computer have the ability to sense these things as a human does?”To answer that question, Zhou plans to develop a new data-driven framework for structure discovery, leveraging the availability of massive visual data and recent advances in machine learning techniques.These techniques could then be applied to a wide spectrum of real-world computer vision problems, including 3-D modeling of urban environments, virtual and augmented reality, and autonomous driving. The research could also impact cognitive sciences, by suggesting new computational mechanisms for image understanding; and human-robot interaction, by enabling robots to reason in terms of geometric shape, physics and dynamics.”If a robot recognizes something as a specific type of structure, then it knows how to interact with it,” said Zhou. “For example, if a robot is able to recognize a structure with a flat top, it would know that it could put an object like a cup on it.”Additionally, the framework may impact the work of architects, designers and engineers.”If you think of those architects, they are working with 3-D models every day,” said Zhou. “If they build something, they first create line drawings. So if a computer can understand doors and windows in the drawings, it would be very useful for architectural design and engineering.”Zhou developed an interest in this topic while a graduate intern at Adobe. In his internship, he studied the relationship between camera motion and the environment, which could help the movie industry to analyze scenes.”I tried to extract some kinds of structures from the videos and the sequence of the camera,” he said. “At that point it was to analyze camera trajectory for the movie industry, but later we realized it was more systematic.”Now, at Penn State, Zhou hopes to leverage the interdisciplinary network to advance his work.”IST has people working in diverse areas, and many of them can be impacted by this kind of work,” he said. “This has generated a lot of interest in different areas. We are looking to extend this beyond and to find applications to make this more collaborative.””About 70 percent of information we obtain is from visual cues from our eyes,” he concluded. “Obviously we have areas like natural language processing to help understand speaking and sounds, but human vision is the dominating factor in how we understand this world. To make the computer see the world as we do is one of the most exciting areas in artificial intelligence and computer science.” Explore further Provided by Pennsylvania State University Researchers use AI to add 4-D effects to movies Citation: Helping computers to see 3-D structures (2018, November 30) retrieved 17 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-11-d.html This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.