Cover for No Agenda Show 1110: Kremlin Crush
February 7th, 2019 • 2h 49m

1110: Kremlin Crush


Every new episode of No Agenda is accompanied by a comprehensive list of shownotes curated by Adam while preparing for the show. Clips played by the hosts during the show can also be found here.

Rick Perry designated survivor
Mnuchin's tourretted is an economic indicator
Levine no drunk tattoos
Superbowl too many robots and talking tube ads
Rams need new uniforms boring brand refresh
Analyzing the Sounds of Super Bowl Spots and Which Brands Won on the Audio Front '' Page 2 '' Adweek
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 16:54
The Super Bowl is one of the very few times in the calendar year when marketers are guaranteed to have consumers' attention. Not many other events gather hundreds of millions of viewers in front of their TVs, eager to watch not only the game itself but the big ads, which have come to gather an almost cult-like following.
To make the most of their spot in the Big Game, each of these ads have been visually perfected to the last pixel. But how many have given similar thought to the other side of the sensory coin: sound?
From an audio branding perspective, we will deep-dive into the various branding strategies at play during this year's commercial breaks and reveal the other winners (besides the Patriots) who have done an exceptional job in showcasing their products and services through sound. Furthermore, they provide you tips for scoring touchdowns in your future campaigns with the right use of sound.
Use brand sound elementsOnly 12.5 percent of this year's Super Bowl spots featured an audio logo, which is very low. It is quite startling that so many brands chose to overlook such a vital branding asset when there's a multi-million audience to address. Every yard of branding bandwidth can make the difference when it comes to an advert's recall and, ultimately, its success.
An audio logo is the defensive cornerstone of the brand's audio identity. The audio logo is the Tom Brady, the attention-grabber, the game winner. The audio logo is a means of conveying your brand's values, meaning and personality in a short, simple and efficient format.
Product sounds can communicate a lot about the brand experience. From an audiophile's perspective, Michelob Ultra provided one of the most interesting Super Bowl ads in that regard. The clever use of ASMR techniques plays to our sense of hearing and turns mundane sounds like a bottle clinking and beer pouring into a sensual listening experience. This also heralds ASMR's debut in the marketers' playbook, moving out of the shadows of niche internet culture to pop phenomenon.
Showcase a variety of audio assetsAudio branding goes further than the repetition of a single audio logo or a catchy brand song. An effective audio brand creates a musical vocabulary, which can be applied consistently to any circumstance through different compositions and interpretations. The different versions of the brand theme can even be played during the same advert. This is what Avocados From Mexico did excellently in their spot.
The ad consists of two integrated audio logos as fanfares and concludes with their catchy audio logo. In the minute it takes for the ad to play, this palette introduces and teaches the company's audio identity very effectively. Moreover, Kristin Chenoweth's distinct voice helps the brand differentiate itself in the voice category.
Efficient audio branding is not based on repeating the same jingle, slogan or audio logo. Instead, it's a system of musical guidelines that carry the brand's identity into each touchpoint. Just because you have a game-winning play'--in this case, an excellent audio logo'--does not mean you should repeat the same play each and every game without tweaks and changes to make it fit each scenario.
Choose acoustic sounds for soft valuesAcoustic instrumentation and genres are great for showcasing softer values like customer-centrism, sustainability, care and relatability. Budweiser's selection of Bob Dylan's ''Blowin' in the Wind'' was used to highlight their shift to wind-powered production. There is an interesting phenomenon taking place in the use of acoustic and electronic music, which is clearly visible in this year's advert.
It was reported last year that the sales of acoustic guitars have started to outsell electric guitars. Could this be an indication of a larger pop culture phenomenon where simpler, acoustic-based music like Ed Sheeran is gaining more mass appeal than their electronic and rock focused contemporaries? Data seems to show this paradigm shift.
Overall, the sound types in this year's spots were highly polarized. The majority (55 percent) of the ads used solely acoustic soundscapes, while electronic sounds covered 23 percent and a mixture of both accounted for 22 percent. Compare this to last year where acoustic music accounted for only 28 percent of Super Bowl ads.
The dominance of acoustic sounds can also be attributed to the high amount of classical music that was used in ads. These spots aimed for a cinematic appeal, such as Bud Light did with their various spots. With so many brands using acoustic and classical music, Budweiser could have differentiated their adverts from the competition by perhaps introducing some electronic elements into their classical music usage.
Target audiences with sound design and nostalgiaToyota's spot for their new electric car Supra provides us with a perfect example of audience targeting with a design approach to both product sounds and the ad's storyline. Electric cars make very few, if any, sounds. All the engine sounds, acceleration and gear changing have to be designed by an audio branding specialist. Toyota's ad highlights this extreme focus on product sound design by making them a key feature of the ad.
Secondly, The Who's ''Pinball Wizard,'' which complemented the underlying visual theme of the spot, goes the distance in targeting customers who were teens in the '70s. Toyota is using the iconic pop culture token to appeal to today's middle-aged generation. Their aim is to hard sell the idea of an electric car, which has poor performing sales figures amongst this demographic. Knowing that the first Supra was introduced in 1978, the ad helps the newly electrified model create a strong link between the modern and vintage eras.
By using a strong product sound as a branding position (a classic move in the automotive industry) along with a timeless hit, they hope to expand their appeal to one of the industry's weakest performing target groups. Conversely, Pringles, who have built a strong product sound brand presence, have done away with their trademark can-opening ''pop'' in this year's TV spot.
Embrace audio brandingBrands who take a design approach on audio in their spots tend to see more return on investment. When you pay a premium for global visual advertising space, why leave half of the experience as an afterthought?
The effects of a strong audio brand reach beyond short-lived annual events like the Super Bowl. This year's adverts showed a large increase in the amount of licensed music, which is an intangible brand asset. Once your license runs up, you either pay to use the song again, which can become costly, or you let it go and lose all the brand efforts you put into it. We see a general shift away from library music as more brands realize this and instead invest in custom-made or licensed music.
Now that the biggest names in the marketing industry have started to root for the importance of sound for brands, as Ogilvy did in their latest trend report, advertisers will have to introduce audio strategies to elevate this often neglected marketing channel to match the importance afforded to the brands' visual channels.
When a brand's audio and visual identities work together in harmony, they form an unstoppable, winning team. They might not win you the Vince Lombardi Trophy, but you will see better engagement, recall and ultimately return on investment from your campaigns.
Pages: 1 2
Analyzing the Sounds of Super Bowl Spots and Which Brands Won on the Audio Front '' Adweek
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 16:53
The Super Bowl is one of the very few times in the calendar year when marketers are guaranteed to have consumers' attention. Not many other events gather hundreds of millions of viewers in front of their TVs, eager to watch not only the game itself but the big ads, which have come to gather an almost cult-like following.
To make the most of their spot in the Big Game, each of these ads have been visually perfected to the last pixel. But how many have given similar thought to the other side of the sensory coin: sound?
From an audio branding perspective, we will deep-dive into the various branding strategies at play during this year's commercial breaks and reveal the other winners (besides the Patriots) who have done an exceptional job in showcasing their products and services through sound. Furthermore, they provide you tips for scoring touchdowns in your future campaigns with the right use of sound.
Use brand sound elementsOnly 12.5 percent of this year's Super Bowl spots featured an audio logo, which is very low. It is quite startling that so many brands chose to overlook such a vital branding asset when there's a multi-million audience to address. Every yard of branding bandwidth can make the difference when it comes to an advert's recall and, ultimately, its success.
An audio logo is the defensive cornerstone of the brand's audio identity. The audio logo is the Tom Brady, the attention-grabber, the game winner. The audio logo is a means of conveying your brand's values, meaning and personality in a short, simple and efficient format.
Product sounds can communicate a lot about the brand experience. From an audiophile's perspective, Michelob Ultra provided one of the most interesting Super Bowl ads in that regard. The clever use of ASMR techniques plays to our sense of hearing and turns mundane sounds like a bottle clinking and beer pouring into a sensual listening experience. This also heralds ASMR's debut in the marketers' playbook, moving out of the shadows of niche internet culture to pop phenomenon.
Showcase a variety of audio assetsAudio branding goes further than the repetition of a single audio logo or a catchy brand song. An effective audio brand creates a musical vocabulary, which can be applied consistently to any circumstance through different compositions and interpretations. The different versions of the brand theme can even be played during the same advert. This is what Avocados From Mexico did excellently in their spot.
The ad consists of two integrated audio logos as fanfares and concludes with their catchy audio logo. In the minute it takes for the ad to play, this palette introduces and teaches the company's audio identity very effectively. Moreover, Kristin Chenoweth's distinct voice helps the brand differentiate itself in the voice category.
Efficient audio branding is not based on repeating the same jingle, slogan or audio logo. Instead, it's a system of musical guidelines that carry the brand's identity into each touchpoint. Just because you have a game-winning play'--in this case, an excellent audio logo'--does not mean you should repeat the same play each and every game without tweaks and changes to make it fit each scenario.
Choose acoustic sounds for soft valuesAcoustic instrumentation and genres are great for showcasing softer values like customer-centrism, sustainability, care and relatability. Budweiser's selection of Bob Dylan's ''Blowin' in the Wind'' was used to highlight their shift to wind-powered production. There is an interesting phenomenon taking place in the use of acoustic and electronic music, which is clearly visible in this year's advert.
Pages: 1 2
Super Bowl LIII drew lowest ratings in 11 years -- or did it | Media - Ad Age
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 21:08
Tom Brady of the New England Patriots during Super Bowl LIII Credit: Maddie Meyer/Getty ImagesSuper Bowl LIII exploded a lot of myths about the entertainment value to be found in hard-nosed, defensive-minded football while throwing an awful lot of cold water all over the alleged wunderkind status of Rams head coach Sean McVay. At the same time, the attempt to quantify the final ratings for Sunday's snoozer served to underscore the fact that defining audience deliveries without a unified currency is a shrieking pain in the ass.
According to Nielsen live-plus-same-day data, CBS's broadcast of the Patriots-Rams ordeal averaged 98.2 million viewers and a 41.1 household rating, making it the least-watched linear TV broadcast of a Super Bowl in 11 years, and the lowest-rated in 16 years. The network's standalone deliveries mark the first time in a decade that the Big Game has failed to average more than 100 million viewers over the course of the broadcast, and little wonder. Through no fault of CBS, the game was an endurance test.
Unless you grew up cheering on Bronko Nagurski in the leather helmet era, Sunday night's 13-3 punting exhibition was akin to watching paint dry while being clouted over the skull with now of those hammers used in carnival strongman games. Despite the heroic efforts of CBS play-by-play announcer Jim Nantz and color commentator Tony Romo, the Pats' joyless victory was at once tedious and harrowing, and the final ratings reflected America's relative discomfort.
While it's worth noting that Super Bowl LIII is all but assured of earning the bragging rights for reaching the largest single TV audience of 2019, the drop in linear impressions was a bit jarring in light of all the improvements the NFL saw throughout the season. Not only did the average number of broadcast spectators drop 5 percent compared to last year's 103.4 million viewers, but the household number slipped by two whole ratings points. After a streak in which the Super Bowl deliveries grew nine years out of 10, the NFL title tilt now finds itself in a four-year skid.
Unfortunately, in the absence of a single inclusive ratings currency, once that seamlessly combines linear TV impressions with streaming and out-of-home numbers, counting the house in any meaningful way is now a dicey proposition. For example, CBS on Monday said its overall reach actually surpassed 100.7 million viewers when those who watched the game via CBS Interactive, NFL digital properties, Verizon Media mobile properties and ESPN Deportes (TV and online) were tossed into the mix.
Leaving aside the fact that the inclusion of the undifferentiated ESPN Deportes data seems a bit odd, as the Spanish-language network is in no way associated with CBS, streaming appears to have accounted for approximately 2.6 million viewers. As such, old fashioned broadcast TV was responsible for the 97.5 percent of the Super Bowl's overall impressions, while the remaining 2.5 percent were secured via the various streaming platforms.
Thus, any comparison to recent digitally-enhanced Super Bowls must also include all ancillary impressions as well as the traditional TV numbers. So while you may see certain news outlets juxtaposing the bundled 100.7 impressions served up by CBS and its digital helpers with NBC's year-ago 103.4 million viewers, this accounting neglects the bonus eyeballs that took in Super Bowl LII on non-TV platforms. In other words, if 100.7 million viewers is the agreed-upon total for CBS, then NBC's year-ago delivery topped 106 million.
But wait, there's more. Because it takes Nielsen a couple days to process the out-of-home data for those who watch TV in bars, restaurants, gyms and their friends' homes, those additional deliveries tend to get lost to history. Add all the non-traditional viewers to NBC's Super Bowl LII ratings, and you wind up with a total audience delivery of 118.2 million viewers. Which certainly has to be some kind of record, right?
Well, not really, and it all comes back to how the disjointed ratings system makes it nearly impossible to make any sort of viable Thing-1-to-Thing-2 comparisons. In theory, NBC should be credited for the additional viewers who took in the Super Bowl LII action from out-of-home venues or via non-traditional platforms. After all, there's no empirical evidence that indicates that those who watched the game while planted atop a barstool or at a friend's Super Bowl party were any less engaged with the commercials than the vast majority who tuned in from the comfort of their own family rooms.
Unfortunately, there's no way to compare NBC's out-of-home numbers to those from previous years, as Nielsen only began measuring that subset of the TV audience in 2016. (Super Bowl LI host Fox didn't start subscribing to the out-of-home reports until four months after its big broadcast.) So that leaves anyone trying to arrive at a definitive rating on rather shaky ground.
Meanwhile, if CBS manages to sweeten its preliminary data with as many (12 million) out-of-home impressions as were recorded by NBC a year ago, then suddenly it may make a case for having served up the third- or fourth-largest Super Bowl audience in history, rather than the smallest since 2008. But as much as CBS began subscribing to Nielsen's out-of-home service in September 2017, those numbers have yet to be woven into the currency.
When calculating the cost of generating 1,000 ad impressions, most buyers don't factor in the out-of-home deliveries. Many media buying agencies continue to push back on accepting guarantees for such impressions, arguing that the cost of reaching the bar/restaurant/hotel/friend's couch crowd has always been baked into the negotiated cost-per-thousand.
That the networks don't furnish ratings guarantees for the Super Bowl only makes the ontological status of out-of-home all the knottier, but buyers suggest that those bonus impressions generally are not factored into determining the average unit cost for future Super Bowl broadcasts. In other words, CBS's Frankenstein-ed 100.7 million TV-plus-digital impressions will play a more significant role in establishing a base rate as Fox begins taking Super Bowl LIV to market.
So long story short, Super Bowl ratings will carry a Barry Bonds-esque asterisk until Nielsen at long last is able to deliver a comprehensive, standardized multi-platform ratings metric against which all sides of the sales triangle agree to transact. Given that the industry is about to enter its 12th year of negotiating against C3, the currency that was first introduced as a "provisional" "compromise" metric, it's probably safe to say that no universally agreed-upon Super Bowl ratings will be forthcoming until, say, the Cleveland Browns win their first Lombardi Trophy.
Jeff Bezos' Super Bowl Fumble - POLITICO Magazine
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 21:35
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Fourth Estate
His self-aggrandizing ad for The Washington Post was a $10 million display of bad judgment.
The last thing journalism needed in these toilsome times was a 60-second, $10.5 million Super Bowl commercial from the Washington Post extolling the virtues of a free press.
The ad, purchased by the Post's owner, richest-man-in-the-world Jeff Bezos, mashed up images from D-Day, Selma, Katrina, the moon landing, and other landmark events in contemporary American history in its sales pitch. If you didn't know beforehand you were viewing a Post ad, you could have mistaken it for a campaign spot for a middle-of-the-road political candidate. The voice-over by Tom Hanks added a Spielbergian, all-American spell to the script, which essentially said, journalists work hard, at great physical peril to themselves, to produce the information that keeps you free. Then came the final card in the Bezos deck: The Post logo and its gothic slogan, ''Democracy Dies in Darkness.''
Story Continued Below
The spot wasn't quite an advertisement, making no overt attempt to sell a specific good or service'--unlike the recent New York Times commercials, which did include a subscription solicitation. Nor was it a work of propaganda, fiddling with our deep emotions to change our minds. Stripped to its essence, the spot was a simple recitation of the civic catechisms everyone was taught in seventh grade about the value of a free press and the First Amendment.
If Bezos' ad was designed merely to get people talking about him and the Post, and to portray the paper as a courageous national player to the hundreds of millions who don't read it but do watch the Super Bowl, then you could call it a success. Donald Trump Jr. denounced it promptly in a tweet, dismissing the mainstream press as ''leftist BS.'' A Post union representative ripped the ad from the workers' point of view, calling it an ''infuriating expense'' for a company that has cheapened employee benefits. The New York Post speculated that the ad might have been produced at the last minute after Bezos yanked a $20 million commercial for his rocket company, Blue Origin, when it was disclosed that his mistress helped film it.
But was the Post ad worth it? Let's imagine Bezos had spent the $10.5 million on reporters instead. He could add 10 to the Post's staff at $100,000 a year for 10 years and still have money left over to buy several tankers filled with coffee and a semitractor loaded with donuts. Surely such a purchase of talent and snacks would have shined a brighter light on the darkness Bezos fears than a one-off Super Bowl commercial. The counterargument'--don't concern yourself with Bezos spending $10.5 million on a commercial any more than you do him buying a $65 million private jet'--doesn't cut it. I don't begrudge Bezos' wild spending on items of personal consumption. I just don't like seeing him burn cash on a PR stunt with no demonstrable payoff for journalism. It's the mark of a bad publisher to waste money that could be put to good and lasting use on hot copy!
The Bezos ad was the video equivalent of the Newseum, that ''slow-motion disaster'' of a museum built in 2008 for $450 million, which just announced that it plans to close. Like the Bezos commercial, the Newseum probably seemed like a good idea to its planners. But instead of building a sensible structure for collecting artifacts and conceiving exhibits, the Newseum's trustees wanted the bloat of spectacle and broke ground for a glass-and-steel palace adjacent to the National Mall'--some of the most expensive real estate in town. The building's extravagance had the weird effect of reducing the exhibits and knickknacks about journalism to small and worthless afterthoughts.
If Bezos genuinely wants journalism to survive'--and given his deep investment in the Washington Post that's obviously the case'--he should stop spending his pin money on commercials for himself, which is what the Super Bowl spot was, and earmark those funds for the production of quality journalism. Good journalism is the greatest advertisement for journalism there ever was.
Hey, Jeff, send your spare millions to and I'll tell you how to spend them. Disclosure: My email alerts have visited the Newseum to attend book parties and wakes. My Twitter feed wants to own the helicopter hanging in the Newseum's great hall if it needs a new home. My RSS feed was moved in its youth by Norman Mailer's book Advertisements for Myself.
Go Podcasting!
Spotify podcasts will not be ad free. And you won't be able to skip them. V4V will come around again. We will fight.
Spotify buys Gimlet and Anchor in podcast push, earmarks $500M for more deals | TechCrunch
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:57
Spotify is going after podcasts in a major way in 2019.
The music streaming service today confirmed that it has snapped up two podcast networks '-- Gimlet and Anchor '-- in undisclosed deals. But that's not all, the firm said it has plans to spend a further $400-$500 million ''on multiple acquisitions in 2019'' to get even deeper into the space.
The Gimlet deal is said to be upwards of $200 million, according to Recode '-- which broke news of the deal last week '-- but it isn't yet clear how much the company has spent on Anchor, which helps podcasters record their shows and then distribute them online.
The deals are a major push for Spotify, but the writing has been on the wall for those paying attention. We reported last month from CES that Spotify is going after podcasting this year. The company has been going after exclusive shows '-- at CES it added ''Unbothered'' from journalist Jemele Hill '-- while it is also working on specialist ad units around its podcast network.
We've heard Spotify talk a big game on 'the future of radio' before, but this time around it is putting money behind its ambitions. The big strategy, beyond catering to the growth of podcasts, is to develop a new channel for consumption of its core business as Courtney Holt, the head of Spotify Studios, told us in January.
''People who consume podcasts on Spotify are consuming more of Spotify '-- including music,'' Holt said. ''So we found that in increasing our [podcast] catalog and spending more time to make the user experience better, it wasn't taking away from music, it was enhancing the overall time spent on the platform.''
That also includes a much more personal and tailored approach to content, which is important given that Spotify offers a catalog of over 40 million tracks.
''Think about what we've done around music,'' Brian Benedik, VP and Global Head of Advertising Sales at Spotify, told TechCrunch. ''The more understanding you have around the music you stream, the more we can personalize the ad experience. Now we can take that to podcasts.''
Patreon CEO: business model is not sustainable, company seeing growth
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:43
Vasily Pindyurin | Getty Images
Crowd-funding service Patreon announced its latest benchmark Wednesday, with more than 3 million patrons supporting content creators each month through the company's platform.
Patreon allows illustrators, authors, podcasters, musicians and other independent creators to receive crowd funding directly from their audience.
The number of active patrons supporting artists on the platform in 2019 has seen significant growth, up 1 million over the last year, the company said. The company is also on track to pay out $500 million to content creators in 2019, pushing the company to surpass $1 billion in payouts since its inception in 2013.
Under the company's current business model, 90 percent of funds are paid directly to content creators. Patreon takes 5 percent, and the remaining 5 percent covers transaction fees.
Jack Conte, founder of Patreon
Patreon CEO Jack Conte said in an interview with CNBC that the platform will soon be facing the challenge of maintaining a profitable model as the company continues its growth.
"The reality is Patreon needs to build new businesses and new services and new revenue lines in order to build a sustainable business," Conte said.
The company does not currently provide contracts, which allows users to retain 100 percent ownership of their work and full control of their brand.
The company plans to provide creators with new "value services," like options for merchandising, to generate new revenue. Creators will be given the opportunity to participate in these services, and it could ultimately reduce Patreon's generous 90 percent pay-out model.
"We will have to re-examine how we charge for new services as we put them out," Conte said.
Conte said with added revenue streams the company will continue to redefine the space of creative content creation and aggregation '' currently dominated by YouTube, Spotify and other various subscription services.
He said the "feeling of support and connection with artists" along with the "transactional benefit of membership" encourages users to pay for content that they can otherwise receive for free.
Patreon is no stranger to the editorial controversies that plagued other big tech companies in 2018.
Top Patreon creator, author and podcaster Sam Harris deleted his Patreon account in December, and accused the company of political bias after several conservative accounts were removed for being associated with hate groups.
"We don't allow hate speech, which other platforms say they don't as well and Patreon really means it," Conte said. "You can't just say anything you want in the world and we don't want to build that platform."
The company also revised its content policy in 2017 to eliminate the site's use for the exchange of adult-themed photos, videos and content.
Conte said as the company grows it plans to build more enhancements, features and integrations to help every creator easily activate their membership business and focus on creating.
Spotify is spending up to $500 million on podcast startups including Gimlet, Anchor - Recode
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:17
Daniel Ek says he wants to spend up to $500 million on acquisitions this year. By Peter Kafka on February 6, 2019 6:26 am Spotify is a streaming music company that wants to become a podcast company, too.
Not only has Spotify acquired Gimlet Media, a podcast producer and network, for around $230 million '-- a deal Recode told you about last week '-- but it has also bought Anchor, a startup that makes it easier for people to record and distribute their own podcasts.
The company says it isn't done '-- it says it has other podcast acquisitions in mind and that it expects to spend up to $500 million on deals this year. Reminder: With these deals, Spotify is now fully in the content creation business, a move it has yet to make with music.
In an blog post up this morning, Spotify CEO Daniel Ek says he didn't plan on getting into podcasting when he founded the company 11 years ago, but he's in it now. He says Spotify is now the world's second-biggest podcast platform (behind Apple), and that podcast listening will eventually make up 20 percent of Spotify's usage.
Here's his explanation of the rationale behind the moves into podcasting: ''We are building a platform that provides a meaningful opportunity for creators, excites and engages our users, and builds an even more robust business model for Spotify in an industry we believe will become significantly larger when you add Internet-level monetization to it.''
And here's Spotify's explanation to investors, which is slightly more brass tacks: ''Growing podcast listening on Spotify is an important strategy for driving top-of-funnel growth, increased user engagement, lower churn, faster revenue growth, and higher margins. We intend to lean into this strategy in 2019, both to acquire exclusive content and to increase investment in the production of content in-house. The more successful we are, the more we'll lean into the strategy to accelerate our growth, in which case we would update guidance accordingly.''
In plain English, that means: Spotify thinks podcasting can help it find new users, keep the ones it has, generate more money, and increase its profit margins, because it's cheaper to make or license podcasts than songs from big labels and hit artists. Look for more podcasts to run exclusively on Spotify.
That won't happen overnight, Spotify CFO Barry McCarthy said in an interview this morning, prior to the company's earnings' call. While Spotify has paid for a handful of high-profile podcasting exclusives from the likes of Amy Schumer and Gimlet, it assumes most of the podcasts it distributes will be non-exclusive for now, he said.
Eventually, McCarthy said, Spotify would like to have the ability to generate high-profile podcasts of its own which it would keep for itself. But even then, ''I think the majority of the podcasts will not be exclusive to the platform.''
In other words: If video is an exclusive business '-- you need HBO to watch Game of Thrones and Netflix to watch Stranger Things and music is (almost entirely) a commodity business '-- and you can listen to Post Malone on Spotify, Apple Music, or Google Play, then Spotify imagines that podcasting will be somewhere in between.
Context: Spotify's newfound appreciation for podcasts comes after it has made halting and ultimately unsuccessful attempts to push into video. At one point, Spotify considered moving into streaming TV and eventually made a less ambitious move into streaming clips, which you likely don't remember.
Video posed two big problems for Spotify: Paying for the top-tier shows and networks is very expensive, and most people rightfully don't think of Spotify has an app they want to look at '-- it's one they listen to. But don't rule out a video move in the future; particularly one that leverages Spotify's large customer base, which currently includes 96 million paying customers and a total of 207 million users.
Spotify. It's Not Just for Music Anymore. - The New York Times
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:17
Image Daniel Ek, Spotify's chief executive, predicted that around 20 percent of all Spotify listening would eventually involve something other than music. Credit Credit Drew Angerer/Getty Images When Spotify began more than 10 years ago, it had a simple goal: to establish itself as a force in the music business by making millions of songs instantly available to listeners worldwide. But with its announcement on Wednesday that it had acquired two podcast companies, the streaming service sent a strong signal that it has broader ambitions.
No longer does it aim to be a go-to destination for just music fans. It now sees itself as a provider of online audio, period.
The company's chief executive, Daniel Ek, emphasized the shift in direction in a blog post on Wednesday. ''I'm proud of what we've accomplished, but what I didn't know when we launched to consumers in 2008 was that audio '-- not just music '-- would be the future of Spotify,'' he wrote.
In announcing its fourth-quarter earnings, the Stockholm company said it had acquired Gimlet Media, the studio behind the popular podcasts ''Crimetown,'' ''Reply All'' and ''StartUp,'' and Anchor, which makes tools for recording and distributing podcasts. Financial terms of the transactions were not disclosed.
With the acquisitions, Spotify becomes the latest player to invest in a medium once considered a low-stakes sandbox in the larger media environment. Now that podcasts have become part of the listening routine for millions of people, major companies have recognized them as an important '-- but still relatively cheap '-- source of content.
In September, the radio giant iHeartMedia bought Stuff Media, another influential producer, and recently Hollywood has begun buying up rights to popular podcasts. ''Homecoming,'' an Amazon series starring Julia Roberts, is based on a fictional podcast from Gimlet.
''I don't think Spotify woke up one day and realized that audio storytelling has some incredible emotional place in the life of their brand,'' said Owen Grover, the chief executive of Pocket Casts, a podcast app. ''Strategically, if they can get their users to listen to podcasts in place of music, it improves their margins.''
Gimlet's shows will expand Spotify's podcasting slate, which includes thousands of shows widely available on other platforms, as well as high-profile exclusive productions from the comedian Amy Schumer, the journalist Jemele Hill, the rapper Joe Budden and others.
''We are still at the dawn of the second golden age of audio, and we know Spotify is a perfect partner and platform to take Gimlet '-- and podcasting at large '-- to a new level,'' Alex Blumberg and Matthew Lieber, the public radio veterans who founded Gimlet in 2014, said in a statement.
Podcasts also offer a financial advantage, helping Spotify improve profit margin and reduce its dependence on the major record companies, whose licensing deals are by far its largest expense.
While podcasts are hardly a new invention '-- they became part of Apple's iTunes in 2005 '-- their popularity has surged in recent years. By some estimates, more than 600,000 podcasts are available through Apple, a number that does not include shows that are exclusive to other providers, like Spotify.
But while it may seem as if every other person on earth is either a podcast listener or a podcast host, the money thrown off by the boomlet has been relatively modest. According to a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau and PwC, the podcast industry as a whole generated $314 million in 2017, though that survey also predicts that by 2020 the number will more than double, to $659 million.
Spotify, which went public in April, announced on Wednesday that it ended 2018 with 207 million active users around the world, 96 million of whom paid for monthly subscriptions. Its revenue for the year was 5.3 billion euros, about $6 billion, an increase of 29 percent from 2017.
And while in 2018 the company lost '‚¬78 million, about $89 million, it had a net income of '‚¬442 million, or about $502 million, in its fourth quarter. Spotify's gross profit margin also grew in that quarter, to 26.7 percent, from 25.3 percent in the previous three months.
Despite Spotify's dominance among music listeners (its chief rival, Apple Music, has 50 million paying subscribers), Mr. Ek, the company's chief executive, predicted that ''over time,'' about 20 percent of all Spotify listening would involve something other than music.
''Ultimately, if we are successful, we will begin competing more broadly for time against all forms of entertainment and informational services, and not just music streaming services,'' Mr. Ek wrote in his blog post.
For the music industry, which has become increasingly reliant on streaming revenue '-- yet has regularly tussled with Spotify over money '-- that may be seen as a signal that Spotify sees podcasts as a cheaper way to satisfy its customers. Barry McCarthy, Spotify's chief financial officer, has frequently pointed to podcasts as a way to increase the company's margins.
''Even though music rights holders think Spotify is underpaying for their music, Spotify has struggled thus far to make the economics work,'' Mark Mulligan, a digital media analyst at Midia Research, said. ''But Spotify cannot wait to play the long game, so it sees podcasts as a nearer-term way of populating its service with higher-margin content.''
For some observers, the Spotify deal also suggests an end to the Wild West era of podcasting, in which Apple played the role of disinterested host to numerous shows from all kinds of independent producers.
''This is the end of the open era,'' said Nick Quah, the writer of HotPod, a popular newsletter about podcasts. ''Apple never picked winners and losers. A guy or a lady in the grandma's basement had the same position as 'This American Life,' and they battled it out for listeners.''
''In the new balance of power,'' he added, ''winners and losers might not be made in the same way.''
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NBC News, to Claim Russia Supports Tulsi Gabbard, Relies on Firm Just Caught Fabricating Russia Data for the Democratic Party
Sun, 03 Feb 2019 20:51
NBC News published a predictably viral story Friday, claiming that ''experts who track websites and social media linked to Russia have seen stirrings of a possible campaign of support for Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard.''
But the whole story was a sham: the only ''experts'' cited by NBC in support of its key claim was the firm, New Knowledge, that just got caught by the New York Times fabricating Russian troll accounts on behalf of the Democratic Party in the Alabama Senate race to manufacture false accusations that the Kremlin was interfering in that election.
To justify its claim that Tulsi Gabbard is the Kremlin's candidate, NBC stated: ''analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they've spotted 'chatter' related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns.''
What NBC '' amazingly '' concealed is a fact that reveals its article to be a journalistic fraud: that same firm, New Knowledge, was caught just six weeks ago engaging in a massive scam to create fictitious Russian troll accounts on Facebook and Twitter in order to claim that the Kremlin was working to defeat Democratic Senate nominee Doug Jones in Alabama. The New York Times, when exposing the scam, quoted a New Knowledge report that boasted of its fabrications: ''We orchestrated an elaborate 'false flag' operation that planted the idea that the [Roy] Moore campaign was amplified on social media by a Russian botnet.'''
That fraud was overseen by New Research's CEO, Jonathon Morgan. At the same time Morgan was fabricating Russian troll accounts and using them to create a fraudulent appearance that Putin was trying to defeat the Democratic Senate candidate, he was exploiting his social media ''expertise'' to claim that Russians were interfering in the Alabama Senate election. In other words, Morgan used his own fake Russian accounts to lie to the public and deceive the national media into believing that Kremlin-linked accounts were trying to defeat the Democratic Senate candidate when, in fact, the accounts he was citing were ones he himself had fabricated and controlled.
Even worse, Morgan's firm is behind one of the recent Senate reports on Russian social media election interference as well as the creation of ''Hamilton 68,'' the pseudo-data-driven dashboard constantly used by U.S. media outlets to claim that its enemies are supported by the Kremlin (that tool has so been abused that even some of its designers urged the media to stop exaggerating its meaning). During the Alabama race, Morgan '' in a tweet he deleted once his fraud was exposed '' cited the #Hamilton68 data that he himself manipulated with his fake Russian accounts to claim that Russia was interfering in the Alabama Senate race:
In response to this scam being revealed, Facebook closed the accounts of five Americans who were responsible for this fraud, including Morgan himself, the ''prominent social media researcher'' who is the CEO of New Knowledge. He also touts himself as a ''State Dept. advisor, computational propaganda researcher for DARPA, Brookings Institution.''
Beyond Morgan's Facebook suspension, the billionaire funder and LinkedIn founder who provided the money for the New Knowledge project, Reid Hoffman, apologized and claimed he had no knowledge of the fraud. The victorious Democratic Senate candidate who won the Alabama Senate race and who repeatedly cited New Knowledge's fake Russian accounts during the election to claim he was being attacked by Russian bots, Doug Jones, insisted he had no knowledge of the scheme and has now called for a federal investigation into New Knowledge.
This is the group of ''experts'' on which NBC News principally relied to spread its inflammatory, sensationalistic, McCarthyite storyline that Gabbard's candidacy is supported by the Kremlin.
While NBC cited a slew of former FBI and other security state agents to speculate about why the Kremlin would like Gabbard, its claim that ''experts'' have detected the ''stirrings'' of such support came from this discredited, disgraced firm, one that just proved it specializes in issuing fictitious accusations against enemies of the Democratic Party that they are linked to Russia. Just marvel at how heavily NBC News relies on the disgraced New Knowledge to smear Gabbard as a favorite of Moscow:
Experts who track inauthentic social media accounts, however, have already found some extolling Gabbard's positions since she declared.
Within a few days of Gabbard announcing her presidential bid, DisInfo 2018, part of the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, found that three of the top 15 URLs shared by the 800 social media accounts affiliated with known and suspected Russian propaganda operations directed at U.S. citizens were about Gabbard.
Analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they've spotted ''chatter'' related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns. The chatter discussed Gabbard's usefulness.
''A few of our analysts saw some chatter on 8chan saying she was a good 'divider' candidate to amplify,'' said New Knowledge's director of research Renee DiResta, director of research at New Knowledge.
What's particularly unethical about the NBC report is that it tries to bolster the credentials of this group by touting it as ''the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election,'' while concealing from its audience the fraud that this firm's CEO just got caught perpetrating on the public on behalf of the Democratic Party.
The only other so-called ''expert'' cited by NBC in support of its claim that Russian accounts are supporting Gabbard is someone named ''Josh Russell,'' who NBC identified as ''Josh Russel.'' Russell, or Russel, is touted by NBC as ''a researcher and 'troll hunter' known for identifying fake accounts.'' In reality, ''Russel'' is someone CNN last year touted as an ''Indiana dad'' and ''amateur troll hunter'' with a full-time job unrelated to Russia (he works as programmer at a college) and whose ''hobby'' is tracing online Russian accounts.
So beyond the firm that just got caught in a major fraudulent scam fabricating Russian support to help the Democratic Party, that's NBC's only other vaunted expert for its claim that the Kremlin is promoting Gabbard: someone CNN just last year called an ''amateur'' who traces Russian accounts as a ''hobby.'' And even there, NBC could only cite Russel (sic) as saying that ''he recently spotted a few clusters of suspicious accounts that retweeted the same exact text about Gabbard, mostly neutral or slightly positive headlines.''
NBC also purported to rely on its own highly sophisticated analysis by counting the number of times Gabbard was mentioned by RT, Sputnik and Russia Insider, and then noting what it seems to regard as the highly incriminating fact that ''Gabbard was mentioned on the three sites about twice as often as two of the best known Democratic possibilities for 2020, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, each with 10 stories.''
But in contrast to Gabbard, who announced her intent to run for President almost a month ago, neither Biden nor Sanders has done so. Perhaps that fact, rather than '' as one of the NBC reporters adolescently gushed: ''The Kremlin already has a crush on Tulsi Gabbard'' '' is what explains the greater amount of coverage?
In any event, NBC News, to smear Gabbard as a Kremlin favorite, relied on a group that it heralded as ''experts'' without telling its audience about the major fraud which this firm just got caught perpetrating in order '' on behalf of the Democratic Party '' to fabricate claims of Kremlin interference in the Alabama Senate race.
That's because the playbook used by the axis of the Democratic Party, NBC/MSNBC, neocons and the intelligence community has been, is and will continue to be a very simple one: to smear any adversary of the establishment wing of the Democratic Party '' whether on the left or the right '' as a stooge or asset of the Kremlin (a key target will undoubtedly be, indeed already is, Bernie Sanders).
To accomplish this McCarthyite goal, this Democratic Party coalition of neocons, intelligence operatives and NBC stars will deceive, smear and even engage in outright journalistic deception, as NBC (once again) just proved with this report.
Russia's propaganda machine discovers 2020 Democratic candidate Tulsi Gabbard
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:16
Breaking News EmailsGet breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
Feb. 2, 2019, 12:03 PM GMT
By Robert Windrem and Ben Popken
The Russian propaganda machine that tried to influence the 2016 U.S. election is now promoting the presidential aspirations of a controversial Hawaii Democrat who earlier this month declared her intention to run for president in 2020.
An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is set to make her formal announcement Saturday, has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016.
Several experts who track websites and social media linked to the Kremlin have also seen what they believe may be the first stirrings of an upcoming Russian campaign of support for Gabbard.
Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line. The CIA has called RT and Sputnik part of "Russia's state-run propaganda machine."
All three sites celebrated Gabbard's announcement, defended her positions on Russia and her 2017 meeting with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, and attacked those who have suggested she is a pawn for Moscow. The coverage devoted to Gabbard, both in news and commentary, exceeds that afforded to any of the declared or rumored Democratic candidates despite Gabbard's lack of voter recognition.
Gabbard was mentioned on the three sites about twice as often as two of the best known Democratic possibilities for 2020, Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, each with 10 stories. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren had fewer. In each case, the other contenders were treated more critically than Gabbard, with headlines like "'Don't Run': Vermont Paper Begs Bernie Sanders Not to Seek US Presidency in 2020" and "Sexist much? Biden blames 'conservative blonde woman' for shutdown, 'forgets' Ann Coulter's name."
"Her promulgation of positions compatible with Russian geo strategic interests can help them mainstream such discussion in the [Democratic] party," said Alex Stamos, former chief security officer at Facebook and now an NBC News analyst. Gabbard, said Stamos, helps them with all their "lines of attack."
"Will Tulsi Gabbard Shake Up the 2020 Democratic Primary?" by Sputnik News. Sputnik NewsA major in the Hawaii Army National Guard who served two tours in Iraq, Gabbard was first elected to Congress in 2012 and represents the out islands and northern Oahu. She attracted attention as a maverick when she resigned as Democratic National Committee vice chair in early 2016 and endorsed Bernie Sanders. She gave his nominating speech at that summer's party convention.
While some of her stances appeal to the left, she has also angered the party's liberal base with her past positions on same sex marriage, abortion and guns. Just weeks after Donald Trump's upset victory over Hillary Clinton, she met with the president-elect at Trump Tower.
But Gabbard's most controversial position and the one where she's most in line with Russian interests is on Syria. She's accused the U.S. of pushing a policy of "regime change" wars and in January 2017, she met with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad in Syria on what she called a "fact-finding mission."
RT began defending Gabbard as soon as she announced. A behavioral science expert who studies social media tweeted out a vow on Jan. 11 to start a GoFundMe campaign to finance a reporting trip to Gabbard's Hawaii district. Reporters for RT's television network pounced, calling it "an investigative vacation" and a "beachside investigation" by an "establishment Democrat."
Tulsi Gabbard announced today that she intends to run for president in 2020 -- so @AltUSPressSec & I announced today that we intend to figure out how a Rep. from Hawaii turned into Assad's biggest cheerleader (and so much more).Consider helping if you can! Thanks, all :)
'-- Caroline Orr (@RVAwonk) January 12, 2019On Jan. 12, the day after Gabbard announced, RT headlined her decision this way: "'Putin puppet' vs 'Assad shill': Dems & Reps unite in panic over Gabbard challenging Trump in 2020."
The unsigned article claimed, "With Representative Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) entering the 2020 presidential fray, establishment figures on both Right and Left are scrambling to smear the anti-war congresswoman with impeccable identity-politics bona fides. Ever since her 2017 visit to Syria, Gabbard has been condemned for daring to seek firsthand accounts rather than blindly trusting the MSM narrative, so on Friday the pundits were again off to the races, with fresh accusations of Assad-sympathizing."
On Jan. 16, Lee Stranahan, one of the co-hosts on "Fault Line," a Washington-based program on Sputnik News, admitted that the debates should be the focus for Gabbard.
"The significant thing about her being in the race is because one of her main issues is peace and specifically on Syria, where she is telling the truth on Syria," said Stranahan, who joined Sputnik after stints at Breitbart News, the right-wing news site. "I think she is going to change the debate. If she can get through the first few months, and make it to actual debates, is there a big millionaire or billionaire that will support Tulsi Gabbard."
"Not-so-warm Welcome" by RT. RT via YouTubeThe same day, conservative writer Hunter Derensis noted on Russia Insider, "In line with her thinking on Syria, she lacks the anti-Russian stance of other Democratic politicians. 'How does going to war with Russia over Syria serve the interest of the American people?' she mentioned in a tweet. Gabbard has also supported Trump's diplomatic summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in one of her multiple appearances with Tucker Carlson."
That story was headlined, "Heroic Tulsi Gabbard Will Run on Her Sensible Foreign Policy. Expect Democrats, Faux Progressives to Squeal."
In articles on the Russian sites, Gabbard is described as a "rebel," who is "straight-talking" and a "heroic" candidate who will "shake up" the establishment.
Coverage of other Democratic presidential hopefuls in pro-Kremlin media has been for the most part perfunctory, limited to candidates' announcements or summaries of their relative prospects. In recent weeks, Sputnik has poked fun at Elizabeth Warren's beer commercial and a widely circulated photo of Beto O'Rourke's in a dentist chair.
Erika Tsuji, a spokeswoman for Gabbard, said it as "ridiculous" to suggest the Russians supported her candidacy.
"Russia would never overtly support a candidate they wanted to help, because it would just hurt their candidacy," said Tsuji. "It's common sense."
Tsuji also said that "From the start, Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has denounced Russia's attempts to muddle (sic) in our elections and will continue to do so." She noted that Gabbard had cosponsored legislation calling for an independent investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election, cosponsored a bill prohibiting foreign influence in the election process, and sponsored a bill to protect election infrastructure from hackers.
The race for 2020Experts in Russian on-line propaganda say Gabbard appeals to pro-Russian sites because her positions '--and her appeal as an outsider in her own party '-- can be used to create division among Democrats.
Former FBI agent Clint Watts, author of "Messing with the Enemy: Surviving in a Social Media World of Hackers, Terrorists, Russians, and Fake News," said Gabbard has past or present positions on several issues that would be attractive to the Russian propaganda machine, and she is already popular with the U.S. "alt-left." Besides her views on Syria, she responded to reports of Russian interference in the 2016 election by saying the U.S. had interfered in foreign elections too.
The language used to laud Gabbard is reminiscent of Russian media promotion of Jill Stein, the U.S. Green Party candidate for president in 2012 and 2016. Stein received favorable coverage from the same outlets and also benefited from Russian troll accounts.
Jill Stein at the National Press Club in Washington on June 23, 2015. Drew Angerer / Getty Images fileWatts notes the difference between Stein and Gabbard is that Gabbard is member of Congress and part of the Democratic Party while Stein is more of a fringe figure. Watts and Stamos think the Russians may be gravitating to Gabbard not because they think she can win, but because her positions, often in line with those of the Kremlin, will become part of the Democratic primary debates.
"They probably just spotted her and figured this is someone to promote," said Watts, who is also an NBC News analyst. "You can just see it coming. They're telegraphing what coming the next two years, which is playing in the left."
"They want someone like Gabbard to voice a Russian position. They are not telling her what to say but they want her pro-Russian positions play into the debate."
Stamos agrees that Gabbard could be used to inject pro-Russian positions into the Democratic Party's discussions and debates during primary season.
"We should expect the Russian intel services and troll farms to be active in the Democratic primary process," said Stamos, "as this provides them with the best opportunity to create the most division in American society in 2020."
The first Democratic primary is a year away, and the Russian disinformation machine has not yet initiated a full 2016-style campaign of support for any of the 2020 aspirants. In 2016, negative coverage and fabricated stories about Hillary Clinton were amplified by a huge network of fake social media accounts and bots.
Experts who track inauthentic social media accounts, however, have already found some extolling Gabbard's positions since she declared.
Within a few days of Gabbard announcing her presidential bid, DisInfo 2018, part of the cybersecurity firm New Knowledge, found that three of the top 15 URLs shared by the 800 social media accounts affiliated with known and suspected Russian propaganda operations directed at U.S. citizens were about Gabbard.
Analysts at New Knowledge, the company the Senate Intelligence Committee used to track Russian activities in the 2016 election, told NBC News they've spotted "chatter" related to Gabbard in anonymous online message boards, including those known for fomenting right-wing troll campaigns. The chatter discussed Gabbard's usefulness.
"'Putin puppet' vs 'Assad shill': Dems & Reps unite in panic over Gabbard challenging Trump in 2020" by RT. RT"A few of our analysts saw some chatter on 8chan saying she was a good 'divider' candidate to amplify," said Renee DiResta, director of research at New Knowledge.
Josh Russell, a researcher and "troll hunter" known for identifying fake accounts, similarly told NBC News he recently spotted a few clusters of suspicious accounts that retweeted the same exact text about Gabbard, mostly neutral or slightly positive headlines.
"They usually spam links to websites, but also retweet specific tweets or accounts in an effort to boost a website or accounts search results," he said.
Gabbard is expected to make the formal announcement of her candidacy on Saturday in Hawaii. On Tuesday, however, Politico reported that her campaign manager is already set to leave. Tsuji subsequently denied to the Daily Mail that the campaign is in turmoil, and said Gabbard will make her announcement on Saturday as planned.
Gabbard may also have to fight to keep her House seat in heavily Democratic Hawaii. A state senator has announced he will challenge her in the primary, and a prominent liberal group has endorsed him.
Robert Windrem Robert Windrem is an investigative reporter/producer with NBC News, specializing in international security.
Ben Popken Ben Popken is an NBC News Senior Business reporter.
David Duke Just Endorsed a 2020 Candidate, Media Silent
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 13:36
KKK Grand Dragon and leader David Duke has just endorsed a candidate for president in 2020, and unlike when he endorsed Donald Trump, this time the media is silent.
Maybe that's because he's backing Tulsi Gabbard, who is a Democrat.
Tulsi Gabbard in 2020. Finally a candidate for President who will really put America First?
'-- David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) February 4, 2019
He even made his Twitter stream all about Tulsi:
Does this automatically mean that Tulsi Gabbard and all of her voters are KKK supporters and white nationalists as the media claimed about President Trump during the 2016 campaign?
Get ready for the media to claim his endorsement means nothing, and in no way tarnishes Gabbard's reputation.
Seems David Duke has endorsed Tulsi Gabbard before and she declined the endorsement rather forcefully:
U didn't know I'm Polynesian/Cauc? Dad couldn't use ''whites only'' water fountain. No thanks. Ur white nationalism is pure evil
'-- Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) November 27, 2016
Lets see how long it takes the mainstream media to jump all over this endorsement to try and destroy Gabbard.
My guess is it will be a long time. You can absolutely count on the mainstream media largely staying silent, or trying to explain away, anything that might potentially hurt a Democrat.
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Elizabeth Warren Identified Herself As "American Indian" On 1986 State Bar Registration | Zero Hedge
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:00
"Fauxcahontas" is never going to live this one down.
In a report published Tuesday night, just before President Trump started his State of the Union, the Washington Post revealed that it had discovered a document where 2020 Democratic presidential contender Elizabeth Warren, who was exposed by a DNA test that backfired late last year for having a negligible amount of Native American heritage, listed her race as "American Indian" on a registration card for the Texas State Bar in the mid-1980s.
The card lists Warren's name, gender and the address for the University of Texas law school in Austin, where she was working at the time. On the line for "race," Warren wrote: "American Indian." Meanwhile, lines for "National Origin" and "Physical handicap" were left blank.
As WaPo explains, "the card is significant" because, for the first time, it shows that Warren "directly claimed the identity."
One spokeswoman said Warren was sorry for "not more mindful of this" (presumably referring to the risks that this would all blow up in her face later in life), when she was younger, and for falsely identifying as a Native American for more than two decades.
"I can't go back," Warren told WaPo.
According to WaPo, the card, dated April 1986, is the first document to surface showing Warren claiming Native American heritage in her own handwriting. Her office didn't deny the authenticity of the document.
WaPo explained that it found the card through an open-records request.
Using an open records request during a general inquiry, for example, The Post obtained Warren's registration card for the State Bar of Texas, providing a previously undisclosed example of Warren identifying as an "American Indian."
The card was filled out by Warren after she was admitted to the Texas bar. Her reasons for joining the bar are unclear: Though, at the time, she was doing legal work on the side, the work wasn't anything that required her to be admitted to the bar. The date on the card coincided with her fist self-identified listing as a "minority" by the Association of American Law Schools, where she reported herself as a minority in the directory every year beginning in 1986 (the year the Association started listing minority law professors). Her name dropped off that list in 1995.
Warren also famously had her ethnicity changed to Native American from "White" in December, 1989 while working at UPenn, two years after she was hired. She also listed her ethnicity as Native American when she started working at Harvard Law School in 1995.
In a sign that Warren's listing herself as Native American may have been more an act of self-delusion than an attempt to give herself a leg up in the world of academia, the card explicitly states that "the following information is for statistical purposes only and will not be disclosed to any person or organization without the express written consent of the attorney."
Back in October, Warren's decision to release her DNA test results revealed that she had a negligible level of Native American heritage (possibly as little as 1/1,024 Native) while the stunt - which backfired spectacularly - angered leaders of the Cherokee nation, who, as WaPo explained, typically exercise tight control over the process of connecting individuals with the tribe. Warren's apology for that incident hasn't been uniformly accepted, and there are still some who want to see a more thorough apology from Warren.
Whether this is enough to sink her primary bid remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure: We imagine President Trump will be weighing in with some more prospective campaign materials.
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2019
Agenda 2030
2018 was 4th hottest year on record for the globe | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:07
Earth's long-term warming trend continued in 2018 as persistent warmth across large swaths of land and ocean resulted in the globe's fourth hottest year in NOAA's 139-year climate record. The year ranks just behind 2016 (warmest), 2015 (second warmest) and 2017 (third warmest).
In separate analyses of global temperatures, scientists from NASA, the United Kingdom Met Office and the World Meteorological Organization offsite link also reached the same heat ranking.
Here are a few highlights from NOAA's findings:
2018 global temperaturesThe average global temperature during 2018 was 1.42 degrees F above the 20th-century average. This marks the 42nd consecutive year (since 1977) with an above-average global temperature. Nine of the 10 warmest years have occurred since 2005, with the last five years comprising the five hottest.
The globally averaged sea surface temperature was 1.19 degrees F above average, while the land surface temperature was 2.02 degrees above average, both the fourth highest on record.
Much of Europe, New Zealand and parts of the Middle East and Russia had record high land temperatures. Parts of the southern Pacific Ocean and parts of the north and south Atlantic Ocean also tallied record-high sea-surface temperatures.
The United States experienced 14 billion-dollar weather disasters in 2018, which resulted in the deaths of at least 247 people and approximately $91 billion in damage. (NOAA NCEI)
2018 U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disastersIn 2018, the U.S. experienced 14 weather and climate disasters, each with losses exceeding $1 billion and all totaling around $91 billion in damages. Both the number of events and their cumulative cost ranked fourth highest since records began in 1980.
Topping the list were Hurricane Michael, which caused $25 billion in damages, followed by the western U.S. wildfires and Hurricane Florence, which each caused $24 billion in damages.
Most important was the human toll: At least 247 people died and many more were injured by the 14 disasters.
2018 U.S. climate highlightsIn the U.S., last year's weather story was more about wetness than heat. Precipitation for the contiguous U.S. averaged 34.63 inches (4.69 inches above average), the third wettest year in the 124-year record.
Much-above-average precipitation to record-high precipitation fell across much of the contiguous U.S. east of the Rockies.
The average temperature for the contiguous U.S. was 53.5 degrees F (1.5 degrees above average), making 2018 the 14th warmest year on record. This was the 22nd consecutive warmer-than-average year for the U.S.
Much of the contiguous U.S. was warmer than average, particularly west of the Rockies and across the coastal Southeast. Most of the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest experienced near-normal temperatures.
More > Access NOAA's full reports on the 2018 global climate analysis and the U.S. billion-dollar weather and climate disasters.
School Play
My daughter, 9, is in the school play this semester. She
says to me, dad, wait until I show you the script, they changed the story, it
doesn't make any sense! How can Elsas powers stop global warming? Arendelle
isn't even a real place. This is just, just, pandering!
PDF attached, see bottom of the first page and beginning of
the second.
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:35
Example of projetcsVocational and Education Training "Energy Efficiency and Community Development Mobility Project" The project supported work placements for students and apprentices with employers in Spain and Italy that provide energy assessments covering a range of energy efficiency measures and renewable energy technologies. European Solidarity Corps '-- V¤n¶ V¤nner ProjectSolidarity Corps participants from Italy were hosted in Finland by V¤n¶ V¤nner, an organisation which promotes sustainability and environmentally friendly solutions in the Turku Archipelago area, supporting cultural landscaping on the islands according to biosph\ere area regulations.REACH '' Reduce Energy Use and Change HabitsThis project addresses energy poverty through energy efficiency by training teachers and students in vocational education institutes to become energy advisors to\ poor households in need of energy savings.1.6 European Youth for Climate ActionEurope's future will be built by young people. This is why they need to be empowered to develop the capacities and skills to help tackle climate change. One third of the EU population is under the age of 30. The future of our continent will be shaped and experienced by these 170 million young Europeans. The European Commission's Youth for Climate Action Initiative will empower young people to seize on the spirit of renewal and regeneration that is encapsulated\ in the Paris Agreement, and to shape their future together, across borders. The European Union has dedicated youth programmes which create a perfect framework for projects dedicated to climate action. The objective of the European Youth for Climate Action is to further scale up these initiatives, and to use them to help young people take action for the climate and for their communities. What will the European Commission do next?The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative which creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad that benefit communities and people around Europe. The European Commission has proposed to equip the European Solidarity Corps with a budget of mor\e than '‚¬340 millionfor 2018-2020, covering a broad range of activities. Within this overall budget, the European Solidarity Corps could dedicate over '‚¬40 million to creating volunteering opportunities in the areas of environment and climate action by 2020. An important focus will be on getting the right skills and competences for the labour market of the future, especially in the growing sector of green jobs. Erasmus+ has already given 160,000 people the chance to join training and field projects on environment, energy and climate change. New projects under the European \Youth for Climate Action can cover a wide range of activities, from training youth workers to reuse and recycle materials, motivating youngsters to use smartph\one applications to save energy, stimulating the spirit of green entrepreneurship, to developing skills\ in sustainable agriculture (e.g. short food supply chain sustainable forest management), sustainable industry (waste cycle, innovative technologies, digitalisation) or the tertiary sector (green tourism marketing, education). Additional funding transferred from other EU programmes to Erasmus+ could create additional opportunities.The European Commission is therefore calling for the following actions:1Young people to get engaged and benefit from the opportunities offered by European programmes;2Non-governmental organisations to offer more projects in which young people can participate;3 Member States to increase co-financing for relevant initiatives at national level.
The Energy 202: Ocasio-Cortez, Markey unveil Green New Deal with backing of four presidential candidates - The Washington Post
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:43
For months, the term Green New Deal has been bandied about by Democrats in Congress and on the campaign trail for president as their catchall phrase for a sweeping effort to halt runaway climate change.
On Thursday, the slogan got some meat on its bones as Sen. Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) prepared to introduce a framework outlining the goals of a sweeping climate pact going forward '-- and stop other Democrats from defining the Green New Deal however they wanted.
Their measure already has the backing of four Democratic senators who have launched bids for the 2020 presidential nomination. But it is already being lampooned by Republicans '-- though embraced by progressives '-- for its broad aims on things unrelated to climate, including increased access to housing, health care and education for lower-income communities.
''This is really about providing justice for communities and just transitions for communities,'' Ocasio-Cortez told NPR in an interview Thursday morning. ''So really the heart of the Green New Deal is about social justice.''
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey form a notable pairing: The former leveraged her political stardom to galvanize progressives around a demand for a comprehensive climate plan while the latter brings gravitas to the proposal as one of the original sponsors of Barack Obama's ultimately unsuccessful cap-and-trade plan
The proposal is a nonbinding resolution, but its aims are ambitious. The Democratic resolution calls for the United States to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions within ten years by ''dramatically expanding and upgrading renewable power sources.'' It stands as a stark counterpoint to the Trump administration's downplaying of the scientific consensus behind climate change, as it has rolled back rules designed to contain global warming and withdrawn from the Paris climate accord aimed at reducing global pollution.
The five-page resolution is not confined to climate change, however. It promotes a plethora of progressive ideals '-- like housing, health care, education, unions and indigenous rights, which are only indirectly related to Democratic climate desires.
''The resolution is clear: We need to move to renewable energy as fast as possible,'' said Stephen O'Hanlon, co-founder of the Sunrise Movement that has agitated for such a strategy.
That youth climate advocacy organization brought the idea of a Green New Deal to the fore in Washington by staging sit-in protests in the offices of a number of high-ranking Democrats, including then-Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Sunrise, which endorsed Ocasio-Cortez before her victory over then-Rep. Joe Crowley (D) in the New York primary last summer, worked with both the congresswoman's and Markey's offices to craft the resolution.
''If we're moving to 100 percent clean and renewable energy in 10 years,'' O'Hanlon added, ''there won't be the incentive to build new coal or fossil fuel infrastructure.''
At least four Senate Democrats currently running for president '-- Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Kamala Harris of California and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts '-- will co-sponsor the plan, spokespeople for the senators confirmed.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), who is considering another run for president, is also backing the plan. All five senators had previously endorsed the concept of the Green New Deal.
In addition, at least 20 House Democrats will co-sponsor the measure, including congressional Progressive Caucus leaders Mark Pocan (Wis.) and Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), as well as Ocasio-Cortez allies Ro Khanna (Calif.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), and Joe Neguse (Colo.).
Markey and Ocasio-Cortez are expected to formally introduce their resolution on Thursday afternoon with ''dozens'' of supporters among congressional Democrats, according to a source with knowledge of the rollout who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.
Their proposal stipulates that any infrastructure deal struck with President Trump and other Republicans must address climate change, such as by building resilience to extreme weather events. It gives progressives something many of them have been itching for: The promise of a guaranteed high-paying job for every American. Among its demands are new trade rules to ''stop the transfer of jobs and pollution overseas.''
The proposal also calls for a sweeping overhaul of the transportation sector ''as much as is technologically possible,'' with investments in zero-emissions vehicles along with high-speed rail and other public transit.
''We have something very ambitious in mind, something akin to what we undertook in the Second World War,'' said Robert Hockett, a professor at Cornell University who provided input on the plan. ''It gives us a document around which to galvanize planning and action, and gives political figures running for office something they can sign onto or repudiate. There won't be room anymore for just supporting 'the concept.' ''
But one crucial thing the proposal does not spell out: How the federal government is expected to pay for or achieve these broad aims.
The Green New Deal would be paid for ''the same way we paid for the original New Deal, World War II, the bank bailouts, tax cuts for the rich and decades of war '-- with public money appropriated by Congress,'' Ocasio-Cortez said, according to the Associated Press.
That gave Republicans on Capitol Hill an opening to attack the plan as an ill-conceived wishlist '-- even before it was formally unveiled.
''Wealth transfer schemes suggested in the radical policies like the Green New Deal may not be the best path to community prosperity,'' said Rep. John Shimkus (Ill.), the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on climate change and other environmental issues.
That House panel was one of two '-- along with the Natural Resources Committee '-- to hold hearings on climate change on Wednesday.
After two years out of power in Congress and the White House, Democrat are sending a message that the planet's warming will finally once again be a priority in Washington by scheduling that pair of hearings as among the first held in the new Congress.
''Today we turn the page on this committee from climate change denial to climate action,'' Natural Resources Chairman Raºl Grijalva (D-Ariz) said.
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's proposal does not include an outright ban on fossil fuels, which some close to the bill see as a concession to moderates and labor groups. Some environmental activists defended that decision, saying the investments in green energy would make the ban unnecessary.
The plan also does not explicitly exclude some major forms of low-emissions electricity '-- mainly, nuclear energy and hydropower '-- as some observers worried it would.
While environmentalists have previously protested both forms of power over concerns like the risk of meltdown or the fragmentation of river habitat, climate analysts '-- including those with the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) '-- say both are necessary today to reduce emissions enough to stave off the worst effects of climate change.
An IPCC report in October describing how the world has just over a decade to hold global warming to moderate levels proved to be a big motivating factor in the recent wave of climate activism. Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's resolution cites those findings.
You are reading The Energy 202, our must-read tipsheet on energy and the environment. Not a regular subscriber? THERMOMETER
Paradise, Calif. after the wildfire. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
'-- The toll extreme weather takes: Last year's disastrous series of hurricanes, wildfires and extreme weather events killed at least 247 people and cost the nation about $91 billion. Of the 14 separate events noted in the data released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, $73 billion of the damage was attributed to Hurricanes Michael and Florence and the spate of wildfires in the West, The Post's Brady Dennis and Chris Mooney report. While 2018 did not eclipse the $306 billion in damage caused by devastating natural catastrophes in 2017, ''the most recent numbers continue what some experts call an alarming trend toward an increasing number of billion-dollar disasters, fueled, at least in part, by the warming climate.''
Put in perspective: ''Since 1980, the United States has experienced 241 weather and climate disasters where the overall damage reached or exceeded $1 billion, when adjusted for inflation,'' Dennis and Mooney write. ''Between 1980 and 2013, according to NOAA, the nation averaged roughly half a dozen such disasters a year. Over the most recent five years, that number has jumped to more than 12.'' Deke Arndt, chief of the monitoring branch at NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information, told reporters the nation had ''about twice the number of billion dollar disasters than we have in an average year over the last 40 years or so.''
Man, it's a hot one: To boot, NASA and NOAA scientists made a separate announcement Wednesday that the Earth's average surface temperature last year was officially the fourth highest in nearly 140 years of data. The past four years have been the warmest on record, according to the data, and nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2005. And in most or all of those years, the temperature on Earth was at least 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit above the average 19th century temperature. Gavin Schmidt, director of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies at NASA, said it was ''quite clearly the fourth-warmest year in our record, which goes back to 1880, and probably was warmer than many hundreds of years before that.''
Glaciers and ice caps on Baffin Island in Arctic Canada. (Gifford Miller, University of Colorado Boulder/INSTAAR)
'-- Earth is looking a lot like it did during an ancient warming period: The planet is paralleling some of the conditions from the most recent major warm period 115,000 years ago. One clue for researchers was the discovery of ancient plants that emerged from retreating mountain glaciers in northeastern Canada, The Post's Chris Mooney reports. The plants they found were ''very old indeed, and had probably last grown in these spots some 115,000 years ago,'' he writes. ''That's the last time the areas were actually not covered by ice, the scientists believe.''
But there's a major (and troubling) discrepancy between current and ancient conditions: Sea levels were 20 to 30 feet higher back then. ''Scientists are now intensely debating precisely which processes could have played out then '-- and how soon they'll play out again. After all, West Antarctica has already been shown, once again, to be beginning a retreat.''
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
'-- Senate Democrat trolls Chamber of Commerce: Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) entered a tongue-in-cheek submission in a $25,000-prize contest being held by the business lobbying group for the "best, most viable ideas for a long-term sustainable funding source for infrastructure." The liberal senator recommended eliminating fossil-fuel subsidies and placing a price on carbon. "One would expect a business organization whose members can't grow or thrive in the absence of an expanding economy or reliable infrastructure to be on the front lines of this fight. Unfortunately," he wrote, "the U.S. Chamber of Commerce not supported climate action."
Not the first time he has taken aim at the chamber: Whitehouse recently challenged claims made by the trade group in support of the oil indsutry in a friend-of-the-court brief filed in a lawsuit between four California local governments and major oil companies.
Volunteers prepare to clean a restroom at Joshua Tree National Park on Jan. 4. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
'-- Park Service won't use visitor fees for park operations: The National Park Service has reportedly decided to use congressionally appropriated funds to pay for maintenance and staffing during the partial government shutdown, reversing an earlier move to use park visitor entrance fees, the Hill reports, citing an internal Park Service memo. ''We have confirmed with the [White House] Office of Management and Budget that the NPS can move obligations made during the appropriations lapse from the FLREA fee account and apply those obligations to the National Park Service annual operating account,'' NPS deputy director Dan Smith said in the memo, per the report.
Meanwhile: Rep. Betty McCollum (D-Minn.), the chairwoman of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the ark Service, called for an investigation of the Trump administration's initial move to use entrance fees. ''It is evident that NPS and DOI allowed national parks sites to remain open without adequate staff and services to protect the parks and their visitors,'' she wrote in a letter to the Government Accountability Office.
During a hearing Wednesday, McCollum said she's ''more than convinced, sadly, that the administration has ignored the law and the policies that the agencies have had in place for years to protect our citizens and our public lands,'' per the Hill.
Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
'-- Schumer recommends FERC replacement: Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has recommended energy lawyer Allison Clements to replace Cheryl LaFleur on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, E&E News reports. LaFleur announced last week that she would not seek a third term and plans to stay on the commission until her term expires on June 30. ''Clements, currently the director of clean energy markets at the Energy Foundation, has a long history of providing clarity to clean energy groups and the public on complicated policies and rulemakings at FERC,'' per the report. In a memo, Capital Alpha suggested Clements could succeed FERC Chairman Neil Chatterjee if a Democratic president takes the White House in 2020. Though it is tradition for the president to defer to Senate leaders on picks for the commission, Trump is not required to accept Schumer's recommendation.
The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee holds a hearing on the status and outlook of energy innovation. EXTRA MILEAGE
'-- A mammoth snow pile on the Golden State: More than 10 feet of snow clobbered California's mountains over the past week, The Post's Ian Livingston writes, and even brought snow to nearby coastal regions.
Got snow?! This is a webcam image courtesy of HPWREN out of Blue Ridge (elevation 8500 FT) in the San Bernardinos! #cawx
'-- NWS San Diego (@NWSSanDiego) February 5, 2019
Tesla Model 3 owners are griping about frozen door handles '-- Quartz
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:00
The Tesla Model 3 was named ''vehicle of the year'' by the Detroit News in December. Edmunds ranked it the best-selling luxury vehicle in America in the fourth quarter. Clearly, it's winning people over.
But the electric car isn't without flaws, especially when a polar vortex comes along. This winter, Model 3 owners have taken to social media to gripe about the vehicle's door handles getting stuck in icy conditions. Normally, you push one side of the handle, and the other side pops out. But when they're partially covered in ice, they can become stuck.
Some owners have recommended hitting a frozen handle with a bare hand to fix the problem, using a circular motion. Others suggest preconditioning the handles with silicone.
More blunt advice comes from a Canadian user: ''Give it smack and stop complaining.''
Users can also heat the car interior from the app, but some have reported difficulties even then.
Model 3 owners have encountered various other problems in cold weather, including decreased range. Tesla CEO Elon Musk tweeted last week that ''many cold weather improvements'' were on the way.
How those will apply to frozen door handles remains to be seen.
An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated the Model 3 door handles pop out as you approach the door. That is true of the Model S handles.
Electric Cars Really Do Hate the Winter, Says AAA Study | Fortune
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 14:44
Not too hot and definitely not too cold''that's when electric car batteries work best.
''Batteries are like humans,'' Anna Stefanopoulou, director of the University of Michigan's Energy Institute told Wired: they do best at temperatures between 40°F and 115°F.
In results that are unlikely to shock the many frustrated EV owners who vented on social media during the polar vortex, Stefanopoulou's claim is backed up by the results of a new AAA study, which says that electric car batteries lose as much as 41% of their potential driving range when the outside temperature is 20°F (and when the heater is turned on).
The AAA study used five sample cars, each from a different manufacturer, with a minimum 100-mile range and wide availability in the U.S. It compared performance at three temperatures: 20°F, 75°F, and 95°F, per the SAE International standard, used in the automotive industry.
At 20°F, the cars lost an average of 12% of their range, relative to the baseline temperature of 75°F, whereas they lost only 4% in the warmer 95°F scenario.
Firing up the heater or air conditioner took things to a whole new level: in the cold, with their heaters on, cars lost 41% of their range and in the heat, with the air conditioning on, they lost 17%.
As a result, electric cars cost more to operate in the cold than in moderate temperatures. AAA calculates that running the heater in the cold adds about 2.5 cents per mile in their test sample of electric cars.
Despite this, the average energy costs of an electric car are still less than half those of gasoline-powered cars, the association estimates '-- although the precise amount depends on local electricity and gasoline costs.
Drivers can also improve their electric car's range by pre-heating or cooling the cabin while charging so that the climate control doesn't drain the battery as much. Parking in a garage can help too.
''It's something all automakers are going to have to deal with as they push for further EV deployment because it's something that could surprise consumers,'' AAA director of automotive engineering Greg Brandon told CNBC.
Engineers, meanwhile, are exploring alternative materials to power fuel cells that might be less affected by the cold.
Freezing Cold Means Love-Hate Relationships With Electric Cars - Bloomberg
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 16:09
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Tesla to buy energy tech company Maxwell Technologies for about $218 million
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 16:09
Tesla plans to acquire energy technology company Maxwell Technologies for about $218 million, the company said Monday.
Tesla will buy the company's 45.9 million shares for $4.75 a share in an all-stock transaction. The deal represents a 55 percent premium over Maxwell's closing stock price of $3.07 a share Friday and would value the company at around $218 million.
"We are always looking for potential acquisitions that make sense for the business and support Tesla's mission to accelerate the world's transition to sustainable energy," said Tesla in a statement sent to CNBC.
Maxwell makes ultracapacitors, devices that can store and rapidly deliver surges of energy. Tesla CEO Elon Musk is a fan of the technology for electric cars. Musk has said in the past that the technology could be a more likely source of a breakthrough in electric vehicle technology than batteries. Musk even once said on Twitter that he had planned to conduct research on them at Stanford University.
MuskMaxwell also has a process for making electric battery components that is significantly more efficient than those typically used in the industry. This process could significantly reduce the cost of producing electric vehicles, even when compared with the best battery manufacturing methods available today, Oppenheimer analyst Colin Rusch said in a note sent Monday.
"As TSLA works toward lowering EV prices to expand its addressable market while maintaining [gross margins], we view battery cost, weight, and performance as the key drivers," Rusch said in the note. Maxwell's intellectual property in manufacturing "plus applications for its ultracapacitor technology seem likely to be integral in evolving TSLA's pack design and performance, particularly in heavier vehicles that rely on regenerative braking for system economics."
Fake Traffic on ALL websites
Hey Adam,
If you choose to read this on air use a cool hacker name for
me, let’s say “1000”.
I’ve been working as a freelance video editor in New York
City since 2014 and it has become painfully clear that digital media companies
(and traditional ones like Viacom) are buying fake views for their online
videos when they don’t meet a certain number.
Someone at Comedy Central told me they were doing that a
year ago and ever since I have been asking people at various companies if they
buy views and so far everyone I’ve asked has said yes. This leads me to believe
ALL of the media companies are doing this on for their YouTube, Facebook,
Instagram, etc.
I wouldn’t be surprised if these companies are buying
followers as well.
All of this is being done to lie to their advertisers of
course, exaggerating numbers to secure ad buys.
I’m convinced that most digital media companies are being
propped up by bought views and Trump hate clicks and if Trump isn’t re-elected
in 2020 we will see a shocking collapse of your Voxes and your HuffPos and your
BuzzFeeds, etc. once the Trump fuel dries up and it becomes clear these sites
do not have healthy audiences.
I really believe the constant lay offs we’ve been seeing are
just the waters receding before the tsunami really hits and all hell breaks
Keep up the amazing work!
1000 😉
Where is RBG?
From Producer Seth
Dear Adam,
I've been listening to NA for
several years now, have donated (though probably not enough), and treasure No
Agenda more than any other news source I have.
I know you're probably getting flooded with "RBG IS DEAD" emails left
and right, so i don't blame you for potentially ignoring this one. I doubt this
"deconstruction" of mine will even be helpful for the show, since
most of it is entirely visual. Nonetheless, I thought you (and John as well)
might find it interesting.
So this all started when AP put out a story that RBG had
attended a performance of a concert performance of a work dedicated to RBG's
life and deeds. The concert supposedly happened yesterday, Monday, February
4th. Here's the link to that AP article.
Notice that the article says that this was RBG's "first
public appearance since cancer surgery." Interestingly, of course, the AP
article does not have a photo of RBG at the concert, but uses an old photo of
her instead.
In the WaPo article on the concert, WaPo reports that "Ginsburg did not speak,
and many in the crowd did not know she was there. She sat in the back, and most
saw her only as they left the performance. Michaels did not announce her
Here's the link to the WaPo article:
In addition, TIME reports that "The
National Constitution Center, which sponsored the concert, did not permit
photography." Link:
Enter Jacob Wohl. You know him - he's the rabidly pro-Trump weirdo that is
always battling it out with the Krassenstein brothers in Donald Trump's
mentions on Twitter. He posted a link to "exclusive photos" of the
concert. Link:
Wohl notes that there are no photographs of RBG attending the concert. Indeed,
in a room full of smartphones and "yass queening" RBG fans, there are
no pics of the Notorious RBG having attended the concert, even if it was just a
picture of the back of her wheel chair as she trundles out of the concert hall
at the end. True, TIME reported that there was no photography allowed at the
concert - but what about after the concert? Nope, none that I can
find, having scoured twitter and instagram. If there are any pictures, they are
buried pretty deep. I would assume that the RBG camp would want visual proof of
RBG to be disseminated (to put down conspiracy theories), so it seems unlikely
that any such photographic proof would fail to go viral.
Anyways, all of this has been covered before. What's kind of
spooky to me, however, is that this concert, despite it being such a presumably
"big deal" for the RBG-loving crowd, is how it was advertised. Or,
rather, how it wasn't advertised.
Jacob Wohl later posted a link to the supposed live-stream of this concert,
found on the event's sponsor's website. The sponsoring organization is the
National Constitution Center. (
As Wohl points out, the video is categorized as "Unlisted." As you
know, this means that the Youtube video is not on the Youtube channel's
Here's the video:
Here's the channel :
Here's a pic showing that it was "Unlisted" and, according to the
Youtube video, live streamed yesterday:
T he channel that streamed the "live" program is
run by Articulate. I don't know anything about Articulate, besides that it is a
TV show that appears on PBS. It seems odd to me, however, that a PBS program
would not promote an event extolling the virtues of a beloved individual like
In addition, from what I can tell, the concert was not even being promoted as
an upcoming event, as of January 30th, on the National Constitution Center's
In addition, there is no evidence that the National Constitution Center was
even selling tickets to this event, or even promoting an upcoming livestream of
the event. If you look at the livestream page on their website, they show links
to upcoming livestream events, and they livestream their events from their own
NCC channel. Not so with the February 4th RBG event, which, again, was
livestreamed by the Articulate channel. There are no other livestream videos on
the NCC website, as far as I can see, that were livestreamed by
The concert was also sponsored by the Berenstein Family Foundation. Link:
The Foundation's twitter handle retweeted this:
- more proof-less claims regarding RBG's attendance. Interestingly, Nina
Totenberg is an NPR correspondent...
The event center for this concert, called the National Museum of Women in the
Arts (NMWA), did not promote the event. It can't be found on their twitter
handle, their website, their event calendar, or their list of past
Past events:
NMWA Twitter handle:
Again, how odd is it that an institution that is deeply invested in promoting
women in the arts, would fail to promote or advertise an event dedicated to one
of the most beloved American women of the past several decades?
Finally, we come to the concert itself. As some have already observed, the
video of the concert does not give any indication that RBG was at the concert.
That is not surprising, however, if one takes the news stories at their word
that RBG sat in the back, in the dark, and left immediately after the
What is strange, however, is that RBG's own daughter in law was the primary
performer at this concert. Her name is Patrice Michaels, and she is married to
RBG's son, James Steven Ginsburg. Her twitter handle is protected. ( Patrice
Michaels's website, just like the NMWA's website, does not promote the February
4th concert, or even mention it at all.
So, not even the performer at this concert, who is related
by marriage to the subject of the concert, is promoting this concert prior to
or after the performance.
One would think that if RBG was to be in attendance, Michaels was probably
pretty likely to know this, given her proximity to RBG. Near the end of the
performance, however, Michaels does look out into the crowd after acknowledging
all of the People of Note in the event center.
Granted, she might have been
looking for anyone. Indeed, if she were trying to keep RBG's attendance a
secret, it seems weird that she would be drawing attention to the back of the
audience like this. I acknowledge that she may have just been looking out into
the audience for anyone, but, again, this seems like an odd move for someone who
probably knew RBG was there, and was aware that RBG would want to keep a low
Again, this is all assuming that RBG was there at all.
To recap: we have a concert that was seemingly not promoted by the concert's
sponsor prior to the event, it was not promoted by the venue, and it was not
promoted by primary performer (who also happens to be RBG's daughter in law).
The audience, made up of people who almost certainly all have smartphones, was
supposedly able to see RBG at the end of the concert, but no one even tried to
snap a photo of her. We have no visual proof that RBG was ever, and only have
the word of AP, who ran the story without any citations.
All of which is to say, this whole "first public appearance of RBG"
thing is extremely fishy. I won't go as so far as to say that it was a false
flag, but there really is no proof that RBG attended this event, and it's even
more unclear when the event happened, or if the event even happened at all. The
lack of promotion by all parties involved, the lack of social media coverage by
attendees, and the absence of hard proof that RBG attended makes for a very
weird situation. I almost get the feeling like the concert was cooked up and
"performed" by actors, and promoted by PBS and NPR associates. The
audience may have been "planted" with the idea that RBG was there by
those associates, leading people to believe that she was, indeed, there. Such
claims, as they appeared, were vague and never included photographic evidence.
As John would say: IT'S A SCAM.
Anyways, hope my ramblings were
somewhat coherent and of use to you. Please feel free to share this. I just
prefer you don't use my last name.
All best,
Ruth Bader Ginsburg makes first public appearance since cancer surgery - The Washington Post
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 18:05
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday night made her first public appearance since undergoing cancer surgery in December, attending a celebration of her life presented in song.
The 85-year-old justice attended a production of ''Notorious RBG in Song'' at the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington. The program about Ginsburg's life in the law was created and performed by Ginsburg's daughter-in-law, the soprano Patrice Michaels, and presented for high school students by the National Constitution Center.
Ginsburg did not speak, and many in the crowd did not know she was there. She sat in the back, and most saw her only as they left the performance. Michaels did not announce her presence.
Ginsburg had not made public appearances since undergoing a pulmonary lobectomy Dec. 21 after doctors discovered cancerous nodules in her left lung. Recovery from such surgery typically takes six to eight weeks, according to medical specialists, and Ginsburg, for the first time since joining the court in 1993, missed a round of oral arguments in ­January.
Some on the extreme political right had insisted that the justice's ailments were graver than the Supreme Court acknowledged, suggesting it would be an ominous sign if she skipped President Trump's State of the Union address Tuesday night.
Actually, it would be more like par for the course. Ginsburg did not attend either of Trump's previous speeches to Congress.
The court has said that although Ginsburg missed oral arguments last month, she will vote in the cases based on briefs and transcripts, and that she has participated from home in deciding which cases the court has accepted or rejected for its docket, as well as in some emergency decisions.
[Ginsburg misses Supreme Court arguments for first time]
The court's last statement on her health, released Jan. 11, said: ''Her recovery from surgery is on track. Post-surgery evaluation indicates no evidence of remaining disease, and no further treatment is required.''
Ginsburg has spoken with the filmmakers who on Jan. 22 were nominated for an Academy Award for their documentary ''RBG.'' Her son James, who was at Monday night 's performance, said Ginsburg walks a mile a day and is working with her trainer again.
The court will meet next in public session Feb. 19.
Despite her appearance Monday night, it is unlikely that Ginsburg will go to the Capitol on Tuesday. Few things are mandatory for a Supreme Court justice, and attending the State of the Union address is not one of them.
[Ginsburg has surgery for malignant nodules in lung]
Justice Clarence Thomas has not been since 2009. Justice Antonin Scalia was in the midst of a two-decade hiatus when he died in 2016. Justice Stephen G. Breyer has an almost perfect attendance record, but when he contracted the flu, it meant that not a single member of the court showed for President Bill Clinton's January 2000 address.
Ginsburg has attended past State of the Union addresses '-- television cameras have caught her napping at several. But Ginsburg, who created controversy when Trump was a candidate by calling him a ''faker'' and expressing distress about the possibility of his election, has not attended Trump's events. She skipped his first speech to Congress in February 2017 and was out of town at a speaking appearance last year, an engagement she accepted before the date was announced.
She has attended White House events for her two newest colleagues nominated by Trump '-- Justices Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh '-- and the president tweeted his well wishes after her surgery.
Ginsburg, who was chosen for the court by Clinton, appears to have a more partisan attendance record than most justices.
She did not show for any State of the Union address given by President George W. Bush, whose election was secured by the court's decision in Bush v. Gore. The Bush years in general were the low point for Supreme Court attendance; sometimes, Breyer was the lone attendee.
On the other hand, Ginsburg made all of President Barack Obama's speeches. She attended only some of those by Clinton.
In 2009, Ginsburg said she had attended that year's presidential address for a specific reason. She had just undergone surgery for early-stage pancreatic cancer, and Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.) had told an audience that she might not be around much longer.
''First, I wanted people to see that the Supreme Court isn't all male,'' Ginsburg, then the only female justice, told USA Today. ''I also wanted them to see I was alive and well, contrary to that senator who said I'd be dead within nine months.''
Bunning, who apologized for his remarks, died in 2017.
Ginsburg's absence from the public spotlight has been noticeable, in part because she is among the court's most visible members. The Supreme Court is on its regularly scheduled winter break, and Ginsburg has canceled scheduled speaking events.
There's a Twitter hashtag '-- #WheresRuth '-- and some on the right have demanded that she present herself.
''Still no sign,'' former White House adviser Sebastian Gorka wrote on Twitter last week. ''6 days left until Ruth Bader Ginsberg has to make her official appearance at @realDonald­Trump's State of the Union.'' Gorka misspelled the justice's last name.
Even those justices who regularly attend the speeches '-- Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Elena Kagan have perfect records '-- acknowledge the awkwardness of the event, where they are supposed to remain stoic while all around them members of Congress cheer and jeer.
''To the extent the State of the Union has degenerated into a political pep rally, I'm not sure why we are there,'' Roberts once said.
Thomas explained his absence in 2010. ''It's very uncomfortable for a judge to sit there,'' he said during a question-and-answer session at Stetson University College of Law:
''There's a lot that you don't hear on TV '-- the catcalls, the whooping and hollering and under-the-breath comments. One of the consequences is now the court becomes part of the conversation, if you want to call it that, in the speeches. It's just an example of why I don't go.''
Ginsburg makes 1st public appearance since cancer surgery
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 18:03
WASHINGTON (AP) '-- Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is making her first public appearance since undergoing lung cancer surgery in December.
The 85-year-old Ginsburg is attending a concert at a museum a few blocks from the White House that is being given by her daughter-in-law and other musicians. Patrice Michaels is married to Ginsburg's son, James. Michaels is a soprano and composer.
The concert is dedicated to Ginsburg's life in the law.
Ginsburg had surgery in New York on Dec. 21. She missed arguments at the court in January, her first illness-related absence in more than 25 years as a justice.
She has been recuperating at her home in Washington since late December.
Ginsburg had two previous bouts with cancer. She had colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer in 2009.
The justice sat in the back of the darkened auditorium at the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
The National Constitution Center, which sponsored the concert, did not permit photography.
James Ginsburg said before the concert that his mother is walking a mile a day and meeting with her personal trainer twice a week.
The performance concluded with a song set to Ginsburg's answers to questions.
In introducing the last song, Michaels said, ''bring our show to a close, but not the epic and notorious story of RBG.''
Build The Wall
The Technology 202: Trump wants a border wall. One of his biggest supporters in tech is expanding a virtual one. - The Washington Post
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 14:07
Ctrl + N
The border fence between Mexico and the United States in Nogales, Ariz., on Jan. 17. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
President Trump's plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border is held up in a political stalemate with congressional Democrats. But one of Trump's most prominent supporters in the tech industry tells me virtual border security is already here '-- and rapidly expanding.
Palmer Luckey's company, Anduril Industries, is deploying a security system along the border designed to detect illegal crossings, using towers equipped with radar sensors and cameras, as well as artificial intelligence to spot abnormalities human eyes might miss. His company is expanding its systems in California this month under a contract with U.S. Customs and Border Protection.
The focus here in Washington is on Trump's call for a physical wall '-- especially as the president considers declaring a national emergency to build it. After the longest government shutdown in U.S. history did not yield a breakthrough in border security negotiations, Democrats who are resistant to building a physical wall have said they are open to funding for a ''smart wall,'' or some other alternative to secure the border using technology.
As Trump is expected to amp up his calls for a wall in tonight's State of the Union address, Luckey says technology such as Anduril's system, known as Lattice, could be something that ultimately garners bipartisan support. He wants lawmakers to know that this kind of technology is not a ''pie- in-the-sky'' fantasy.
''We're not a concept, we're not a white paper, we're a real system that's actually deployed in multiple sites on the U.S. border,'' Luckey tells me. ''We just signed a large expansion of our technology on the border, and we're going to be putting more of it out there.''
Luckey is loudly touting his border wall technology '-- in stark contrast from many technology titans who have grappled with internal pushback for their work with the Trump administration on immigration. Last year, employees protested Salesforce's software contracts with CBP and Amazon employees called on the company to cut ties with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, especially after reports that the e-commerce giant was selling facial recognition technology to government agencies. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos owns The Washington Post.)
After facing backlash for his own political beliefs in Silicon Valley, Luckey says he is trying to position Anduril as a company where employees across the political spectrum can be open and proud about doing work for the government. ''This is not a place where you come to fight about politics, this is a place you come to work on important national security technology,'' Luckey said. ''The people who are scared of an environment like that and only want to work in an environment that caters to their particular ideology are probably not the people who would fit in very well.''
Luckey said the need to recruit employees willing to do government work contributed to his decision to headquarter the company in Orange County, Calif., rather than the Bay Area. Luckey says many conservatives, in the minority in Silicon Valley, are silent about their political views for fear of the consequences it could have on their careers down the line. ''Most conservatives in Silicon Valley are not being ostracized in any way,'' Luckey said. ''Because nobody knows they're a conservative because they dare not tell anyone.''
Luckey couldn't keep his own personal politics hidden at this point if he wanted to. The 26-year-old who already made a fortune through the sale of his previous company Oculus to Facebook for $2 billion in 2014 was at the center of one of Silicon Valley's most high-profile political controversies. During the 2016 election he contributed $10,000 to Nimble America, an anti-Hillary Clinton group that promoted far-right memes. He was subsequently fired from Facebook and according to the Wall Street Journal, he has told people the social network's decision was due to his support for Donald Trump.
After co-founding Anduril in 2017, Luckey is trying to temper that image with a push for bipartisan pragmatism at the border. If the parties could reach a consensus on border tech, Luckey certainly stands to benefit.
''We should understand what's happening on the border, no matter what we believe the policies should be,'' Luckey told me. ''Republicans and Democrats both support this.''
Amid the border security negotiations, Rep. James E. Clyburn, the third-ranking House Democrat, has proposed funding for border security technology that would involve drones, scanners, and sensors ''to create a technological barrier too high to climb over, too wide to go around, and too deep to burrow under,'' according to McClatchy.
But it's unlikely that Trump would accept a tech-based alternative to his long-held promises for a physical barrier at the Southern border. He has previously railed against such suggestions on Twitter:
The Democrats are trying to belittle the concept of a Wall, calling it old fashioned. The fact is there is nothing else's that will work, and that has been true for thousands of years. It's like the wheel, there is nothing better. I know tech better than anyone, & technology.....
'-- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 21, 2018 Luckey, for his part, says the country needs both. Anduril currently has a system deployed with U.S. Customs and Border Protection near San Diego, and it will be expanding its systems in California this month under a new contract. It also has a test deployment set up in West Texas.
''There are areas where we need physical infrastructure, but I don't think we need it across the entire border,'' Luckey said. ''What you do want is the ability to know what's happening along the entire border.''
You are reading The Technology 202 , our guide to the intersection of technology and politics. Not a regular subscriber? BITS, NIBBLES AND BYTES
Amazon founder and chief executive Jeffrey P. Bezos in Washington on Sept. 13, 2018. (Cliff Owen/AP)
BITS: Bezos has repeatedly drawn criticism and threats from Trump but nobody has made more money than the Amazon chief executive since the 2016 election, Bloomberg News's Justin Sink reported. In fact, Bezos has become the world's richest person since Trump was elected president: His net worth has increased by $66.2 billion through Friday since the 2016 election. ''Bezos's wealth was valued at $134.8 billion, making his fortune a third bigger than Bill Gates's, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index,'' Sink reported.
Trump has threatened Amazon with antitrust enforcement, higher taxes and higher shipping fees but the threats haven't materialized so far, Bloomberg News reported. And the government maintains a relationship with Amazon. The company has pitched its facial recognition technology to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement while Amazon Web Services is competing for a Defense Department's cloud computing contract '-- competitors in the bidding have said the Pentagon's approach to the contract gives an unfair advantage to Amazon.
People ride Lime electric scooters on Aug. 13, 2018, in Los Angeles. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)
NIBBLES: Some electric scooter and bike companies are issuing punitive fees on some users to curb practices such as parking in an unauthorized area or hoarding equipment, according to the Wall Street Journal's Yuliya Chernova. For instance, the electric scooter rental firm Lime, which is experimenting with penalties in some cities, said the fines aim to abide by local rules and put an end to unwanted practices by riders. In theory, Lime's fines can range from $5 to $2,000 but the company said the highest fee it has imposed is $100, according to the Journal.
Yet some customers have criticized the penalties and the way the companies impose them. ''I felt like they put me in a position that was really unfair,'' Ben Terrell, who faced a $100 penalty from Lime for allegedly hoarding a scooter after using Lime three times in November last year in Los Angeles, told the Journal. ''I did what they told me to do, and even though I followed the rules, I was still being punished.'' Terrell said that he was reimbursed following a complaint.
Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg in Washington on Sept. 5, 2018. (Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images)
BYTES: The Washington Post's Geoffrey A. Fowler and others have suggested Facebook consider a paid version of its services as the company grapples with privacy scandals. On its 15th birthday, the Information's Reed Albergotti reported that's long been a consideration at the company. Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in 2012 asked colleagues whether the social network should consider a subscription-based version of its service, but Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg disagreed with the idea and her position prevailed. Sandberg and others at Facebook who shared her position considered that if Facebook launched a subscription version, the free version of the platform would become less attractive for advertisers.
The problem of whether and how to police content on Facebook also emerged in the years preceding Facebook's 2012 initial public offering as some employees worried about abuse on the platform, but the company didn't not move to massively hire content moderators at the time, the Information reported. ''On several occasions, when confronted about the problems with content on the platform, such as hate speech, bullying and disinformation, Ms. Sandberg dismissed the issue entirely, repeating the mantra that the platform 'polices itself,' because users could report bad behavior by other users,'' Albergotti wrote.
Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg in San Francisco on April 12, 2016. (Eric Risberg/AP)
'-- Zuckerberg wrote in a Facebook post to mark the company's 15 years that the coming years ''will require finding the right balance between the freedoms and responsibilities of a connected world.'' Several reporters, experts and former Facebook employees also weighed in online on Facebook's legacy so far.
From the New York Times's Sheera Frenkel:
Facebook is now making critical decisions on issues ranging from content moderation to what qualifies as disinformation. I know they've formed outside councils and partnered with fact checkers, but ultimately, this is a company controlled by one person.
'-- Sheera Frenkel (@sheeraf) February 4, 2019 From Bloomberg News's Sarah Frier:
Zuckerberg is talking about Facebook like it's 2011 and the Arab Spring just happened. Since then, powerful institutions/governments (like Russia) have figured out how to use social media against people. And FB has become a powerful institution itself.
'-- Sarah Frier (@sarahfrier) February 4, 2019 From BuzzFeed News's Ryan Mac:
Zuckerberg also continues a talking point that we've seen in speeches from Sheryl Sandberg that "some people" resisting change will "overly emphasize the negative."This is... wild. Dismissing valid criticisms (i.e. Myanmar) as noise from people resistant to change is gross.
'-- Ryan Mac (@RMac18) February 4, 2019 From Wired's Antonio Garc­a Mart­nez, who also is a former Facebook employee:
On the 15th anniversary of Facebook's founding, my rumination on whether the company has been net good or bad for society.From here (and appearing alongside some distinguished company):
'-- Antonio Garc­a Mart­nez (@antoniogm) February 4, 2019 From Peter W. Singer, author of ''LikeWar: The Weaponization of Social Media'':
Facebook turned 15 years old today:Has it been force for good or evil? answer lies in the mirror#likewar
'-- Peter W. Singer (@peterwsinger) February 4, 2019 From Alex Stamos, former chief information security officer at Facebook who now teaches at Stanford University:
The big question now is: What responsibility is it of platforms (like Facebook, but realistically many more now and in the future) to shape the actions of individuals and whole societies, and are we willing to cede that power to these corporations?
'-- Alex Stamos (@alexstamos) February 4, 2019 From The Post's Hamza Shaban:
It's like the 10-year challenge on Facebook but instead of an old picture of yourself it's comparing Mark Zuckerberg's Internet posts from 2003 and today
'-- Hamza Shaban (@hshaban) February 4, 2019 PRIVATE CLOUD
A street sign for Wall Street outside the New York Stock Exchange on Dec. 28, 2016. (Andrew Kelly/Reuters)
'-- The workplace messaging firm Slack Technologies confidentially filed paperwork for a direct listing on the stock market, the Wall Street Journal's Maureen Farrell reported. The filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission didn't mention pricing information. ''In a direct listing, the stock goes on a public market without the company raising any money for itself, unlike a typical IPO,'' the Journal noted. ''The approach can save companies hefty underwriting fees associated with traditional offerings and avoid restrictions on when insiders can sell shares.''
'-- Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said the company will work to better protect users from self-harm imagery following the death of British teenager Molly Russell, the Guardian's Alex Hern reported. Mosseri said the company will use ''sensitivity screens'' to blur self-harm images until users indicate they want to see the content. The parents of the teenager think she took her life after seeing self-harm and suicide imagery on Instagram and Pinterest, the Guardian reported.
''We are not yet where we need to be on the issues of suicide and self-harm,'' Mosseri wrote in an op-ed for the Telegraph. ''We need to do everything we can to keep the most vulnerable people who use our platform safe. To be very clear, we do not allow posts that promote or encourage suicide or self-harm.''
'-- More technology news from the private sector:
Alphabet posted sustained revenue growth in the fourth quarter, the latest indication of strong financial results in the technology world despite mounting public pressures.
The Wall Street Journal
Mignon Clyburn, a former Democratic commissioner on the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), is advising T-Mobile and Sprint on their proposed $26 billion merger as the two companies seek regulatory approval from her former agency.
The Hill
Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) on Capitol Hill on Oct. 24, 2013. (Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post)
'-- House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Frank Pallone Jr. (D-N.J.) reintroduced a bill aiming to give the Federal Communications Commission power to curb ''abusive'' robo-call practices, according to a news release from the committee. ''Americans are fed up with robocalls,'' Pallone said in a statement. ''It is incredibly annoying to repeatedly get unwanted calls from people you don't know and don't want to talk to.'' The committee's news release also cited reporting from The Post indicating that about 26.3 billion robo-calls were placed to U.S. phone numbers in 2018.
'-- Lawmakers, companies and labor groups in California are set to debate whether to restrict or codify a court ruling limiting companies' ability to classify workers as independent contractors, the San Francisco Chronicle's Carolyn Said reported. The ruling, which California's Supreme Court issued in April in a case involving a company called Dynamex, could have broad implications for gig economy firms as well as other traditional areas of the economy. ''Unions want Dynamex to be enshrined as state law; companies do not,'' according to the Chronicle. ''So far Dynamex has not resulted in any large-scale reclassification, although it has been cited as precedent in a few legal cases.''
'-- More technology news from the public sector:
The Senate has tapped a vocal critic of Amazon, State Senator Michael Gianaris of Queens, to sit on a state board that could kill the deal.
The New York Times
Tech companies including Facebook, Google and Twitter remove 72 percent of illegal hate speech on their platforms, the European Commission said Monday.
The family of the woman killed by an self-driving Uber car last year contends the city created a dangerous situation by the way it paved the median.
USA Today
The logo of Amazon in Boves, France, on Aug. 8, 2018. (Pascal Rossignol/Reuters)
'-- Amazon has named Rosalind Brewer, a prominent black female executive, to the company's all-white board of directors as businesses face more pressure to diversify their boards, USA Today's Jessica Guynn reported. Brewer is chief operating officer and director of Starbucks. ''Amazon previously had one black board member: Myrtle Potter, former president and COO of Genentech, who was appointed in 2004 and stepped down in 2009,'' according to USA Today.
'-- More news about tech workforce and culture:
Elpha wants to create a (highly networked and extremely valuable) online community of women in tech.
Bloomberg News
Hired through an online gig economy platform, workers unknowingly helped Google improve its artificial intelligence military-targeting software.
The Intercept
'-- Tech news generating buzz around the Web:
It superimposes computer-generated images onto real-world imagery.
Peter Holley
Michele Thompson says a high-level Apple executive flew into Tucson, Arizona, on Friday to meet with her teenage son.
'-- Today in funding news:
Amazon's annual 10-K filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission confirmed the high prices the e-commerce giant paid for its two biggest M&A deals last year.
One of Microsoft's oldest and biggest verticals for its Azure cloud business has been education, and today it announced an acquisition that it hopes will help it deepen its reach: it has acquired DataSense '-- a data management platform that can be used to collect, integrate and report information from across a range of online education applications and services '-- from an educational technology company called BrightBytes, to integrate the functionality into Azure.
The Center for Strategic and International Studies holds an event titled ''China's Digital Silk Road.'' The New America think tank holds a discussion on ''the future of spectrum auctions and 5G.'' CompTIA DC Fly-In technology conference in Washington through tomorrow. Coming soon:
Senate Commerce Committee hearing on 5G and technology innovation tomorrow. House Energy and Commerce subcommittee on communications and technology hearing on the consequences of the repeal of net neutrality rules on Thursday. The Brookings Institution holds a panel discussion titled ''Smart cities and artificial intelligence'' on Feb. 11. WIRED IN
Does it matter if the wall is called a ''wangdoodle'' or a fence?
The Trump administration's ''wait-in-Mexico'' policy for asylum seekers, explained:
Congress and the Justice Dept. are fixed for a fight over the Mueller report:
'Mary Poppins,' and a Nanny's Shameful Flirting With Blackface - The New York Times
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 12:58
Image Julie Andrews's soot-covered face in the 1964 film ''Mary Poppins'' stems from racial caricatures in books. Credit Credit Disney By Daniel Pollack-Pelzner
Jan. 28, 2019''Mary Poppins Returns,'' which picked up four Oscar nominations last week, is an enjoyably derivative film that seeks to inspire our nostalgia for the innocent fantasies of childhood, as well as the jolly holidays that the first ''Mary Poppins'' film conjured for many adult viewers.
Part of the new film's nostalgia, however, is bound up in a blackface performance tradition that persists throughout the Mary Poppins canon, from P. L. Travers's books to Disney's 1964 adaptation, with disturbing echoes in the studio's newest take on the material, ''Mary Poppins Returns.''
One of the more indelible images from the 1964 film is of Mary Poppins blacking up. When the magical nanny (played by Julie Andrews) accompanies her young charges, Michael and Jane Banks, up their chimney, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker. Then she leads the children on a dancing exploration of London rooftops with Dick Van Dyke's sooty chimney sweep, Bert.
This might seem like an innocuous comic scene if Travers's novels didn't associate chimney sweeps' blackened faces with racial caricature. ''Don't touch me, you black heathen,'' a housemaid screams in ''Mary Poppins Opens the Door'' (1943), as a sweep reaches out his darkened hand. When he tries to approach the cook, she threatens to quit: ''If that Hottentot goes into the chimney, I shall go out the door,'' she says, using an archaic slur for black South Africans that recurs on page and screen.
The 1964 film replays this racial panic in a farcical key. When the dark figures of the chimney sweeps step in time on a roof, a naval buffoon, Admiral Boom, shouts, ''We're being attacked by Hottentots!'' and orders his cannon to be fired at the ''cheeky devils.'' We're in on the joke, such as it is: These aren't really black Africans; they're grinning white dancers in blackface. It's a parody of black menace; it's even posted on a white nationalist website as evidence of the film's racial hierarchy. And it's not only fools like the Admiral who invoke this language. In the 1952 novel ''Mary Poppins in the Park,'' the nanny herself tells an upset young Michael, ''I understand that you're behaving like a Hottentot.''
''Mary Poppins Returns,'' set in the 1930s, seems to offer a more racially inclusive vision of the Banks's London (at least among the working classes). But a key sequence of the film plays into a much more fraught history from a suppressed part of Mary Poppins's past.
[Read our review of ''Mary Poppins Returns.'']
In Travers's first ''Mary Poppins'' novel, published in 1934, a magic compass transports the children around the world, including a stop where they meet a scantily clad ''negro lady,'' dandling ''a tiny black pickaninny with nothing on at all.'' (''Pickaninny'' has long been seen as an offensive term for a black child.) She addresses Mary Poppins in minstrel dialect and invokes the convention of blacking up: ''My, but dem's very white babies. You wan' use a li'l bit black boot polish on dem.''
This episode proved so controversial that the book was banned by the San Francisco Public Library, prompting Travers to drop the racialized dialogue and change the offending caricature to an animal. (A number of British authors built on the tradition of turning American minstrelsy into animal fables: Beatrix Potter and A. A. Milne both cited Uncle Remus dialect stories, including ''Br'er Rabbit'' tales, as inspiration.)
In Travers's 1981 revision, the ''negro lady'' became a hyacinth macaw who speaks genteel English. Travers, who was born in Australia to Anglo-Irish parents, claimed that black children loved reading the ''pickaninny dialect'' in her book, but that she made the change because she didn't wish to see ''Mary Poppins tucked away in a closet'' by meddlesome adults.
I was surprised to see that hyacinth macaw pop up in ''Mary Poppins Returns.'' In the middle of a fantasy sequence, Emily Blunt's nanny bounds onstage at a music hall to join Lin-Manuel Miranda's lamplighter for a saucy Cockney number, ''A Cover Is Not the Book,'' which retells stories from Travers's novels. One of these verses refers to a wealthy widow called Hyacinth Macaw, and the kicker is that she's naked: Blunt sings that ''she only wore a smile,'' and Miranda chimes in, ''plus two feathers and a leaf.''
In the 1981 revision of ''Mary Poppins,'' there's no mention of her attire; you'd have to go back to the 1934 original to find the ''negro lady'' with ''a very few clothes on,'' sitting under a palm tree with a ''crown of feathers.'' There's even a straw hut behind Blunt and Miranda that replicates Mary Shepard's 1934 illustration. (The hut was removed in the 1981 revision.)
The lesson of this music hall number is that ''a king may be a crook,'' a clue that Colin Firth's kindly banker in the film might be more nefarious. As Eric Lott and other cultural historians have documented, there was an important connection between blackface performance and American and British working-class audiences; minstrelsy offered both a chance to define their whiteness in opposition to black caricature and to thumb their noses at employers through the minstrels' antics.
When T.D. Rice, a popular white minstrel performer, crossed the Atlantic in the 1830s, his manager recalled that he inspired chimney sweeps and apprentices, who ''wheeled about and turned about and jumped Jim Crow, from morning until night, to the annoyance of their masters, but the great delight of the cockneys.''
These chimney sweeps with minstrel dances were only a step in time away from Dick Van Dyke's soot-faced Bert, needling the admiral on the rooftop, or Miranda's lamplighter in ''Mary Poppins Returns,'' who worked for Bert as a child. The minstrel stage convention of the ''pickaninny'' rendered black slave children as cheery performers who, the historian Robin Bernstein argues, were ''comically impervious to pain'' inflicted by their labor. Similarly, the dark-lit grins and unflappable footwork of the lamplighters turn their dangerous labor into comic play; ''smile and smirk,'' they sing, is Cockney rhyming slang for ''work.''
That minstrel history runs not only through Travers's books; it's also a mainstay of Disney musicals, including the jiving blackbird credited as Jim Crow in the 1941 ''Dumbo'' (''I be done seen 'bout ev'ything when I see an elephant fly'').
Blackface minstrelsy, in fact, could be said to be part of Disney's origin story. In an early Mickey Mouse short, a 1933 parody of the antislavery novel ''Uncle Tom's Cabin'' called ''Mickey's Mellerdrammer,'' Mickey blacks his face with dynamite to play Topsy, a crazy-haired, raggedy-dressed, comically unruly black child from the book whose name had become synonymous with the pickaninny stereotype.
Image Mickey Mouse as Topsy in a 1933 short. Credit Disney Image Meryl Streep as a different character called Topsy, opposite, from left, Pixie Davies, Nathanael Saleh and Emily Blunt in ''Mary Poppins Returns.'' Credit Jay Maidment/Disney Pictures In ''Mary Poppins Returns,'' the name of the crazy-haired, raggedy-dressed, comically unruly character (played by Meryl Streep) is also Topsy. She's a variation on a Mr. Turvy in the novel ''Mary Poppins Comes Back'' (1935), whose workshop flips upside-down.
Even if these characters' shared name is accidental, it speaks to a larger point: Disney has long evoked minstrelsy for its topsy-turvy entertainments '-- a nanny blacking up, chimney sweeps mocking the upper classes, grinning lamplighters turning work into song.
In this latest version, Mary Poppins might be serenading Disney genres, outdated but strangely recurring, in the Oscar-nominated song ''The Place Where Lost Things Go,'' when she reminds us that ''Nothing's gone forever, only out of place.''
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Is Mary Poppins a Racist Movie? Critical Op-Ed Sparks Heated Debate |
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 12:57
The author of the op-ed also calls out moments from Mary Poppins Returns, starring Emily Blunt
An op-ed from The New York Times is challenging readers to see one of the most beloved scenes from 1964's Mary Poppins in an entirely new light '-- but not everyone's buying it.
The essay by Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, an English professor at Linfield college, argues that the original book written by P. L. Travers has a history of racism, which is carried through in the first movie and also subtly in 2018's sequel, starring Emily Blunt.
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''One of the more indelible images from the 1964 film is of Mary Poppins blacking up,'' Pollack-Pelzner writes in The Times. ''When the magical nanny accompanies her young charges, Michael and Jane Banks, up their chimney, her face gets covered in soot, but instead of wiping it off, she gamely powders her nose and cheeks even blacker. Then she leads the children on a dancing exploration of London rooftops with Dick Van Dyke's sooty chimney sweep, Bert.''
RELATED: Bradley Cooper Snubbed by Oscars for Best Director '-- And More Nomination Shockers
The writer claims that Travers' novels ''associate chimney sweeps' blackened faces with racial caricature.''
Emily Blunt as Mary Poppins
Courtesy Disney
RELATED: Mary Poppins Returns Review: Up, Up and Away with a Flawless Emily Blunt
He also calls out Lin Manuel-Miranda's character in the film for working for Van Dyke's Bert, whose approach to cleaning chimneys, the author says, echoed minstrelsy. And he mentions that Meryl Streep's character in Mary Poppins Returns shares a name, Topsy, with a black child that Mickey Mouse dresses up as in a short film from 1933.
Many of the reactions on Twitter said Pollack-Pelzner's point of view was a reach.
''Mary Poppins wasn't flirting with black face! It was soot in their faces from being a chimney!!! Stopped spreading racism claims on non racist things like this!!!'' wrote one user.
''Mary Poppins racist?!'' wrote another user in disbelief. ''Whatever next!!''
''End of the world when Hollywood thinks Mary Poppins is racist,'' added a third.
Others, however, asserted that learning the history of Mary Poppins was important.
''This doesn't mean you have to hate Mary Poppins. It doesn't mean Mary Poppins is canceled,'' journalist and author Mark Harris wrote. ''It doesn't mean you're a racist if you like 'Chim-Chim-Cheree.' Can we at least agree that learning new things about a movie and its history is not a threat?''
RELATED VIDEO: Emily Blunt Keeps Quiet About 'A Quiet Place' 2 & What Sandra Oh's SAG Award Means to Her
For the upcoming 2019 Academy Awards, Mary Poppins Returns was nominated for Best Original Song, ''The Place Where Lost Things Go,'' as well as Best Original Score, Best Costume Design and Production Design.
Blunt was nominated for a Golden Globe and Screen Actors Guild Award for her performance.
Mary Poppins Returns is playing in theaters now.
The pinching hand emoji will only be used for small dicks
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 21:28
The pinching hand emoji will be an argument killer. By Johnny Lieu 2019-02-06 02:00:33 UTCA new year means new emoji... to make dick jokes with.
Unicode, the organisation responsible for approving emoji, has just released a list of 230 symbols which will make it to your devices in 2019.
SEE ALSO: The joy of the double exclamation point
Among the pile includes a sloth, a yawning face, and a falafel, to name a few. But already receiving plenty of attention is the pinching hand emoji, because well, it totally symbolises a small penis.
While you've probably thrown around (or received) the very phallic eggplant emoji for awhile, the pinching hand perhaps has the opposite effect, and is sure to be a devastating addition to one's arsenal of emoji insults.
According to Emojipedia, Unicode will release the pinching hand as well as the other new emoji on Mar. 5, but it'll take a few months before you'll see these on your devices.
You'll likely spot them in an Android beta come August, or on iOS in October or November through a software update.
And when the pinching hand emoji does come, use it wisely.
Somebody send you the pinching hand emoji back and you just gotta throw your whole phone away.
'-- KITH Sweat (@MF_DAD) February 5, 2019
Kimmel, Fallon avoid Ralph Northam controversy in late-night monologues; both have histories using blackface in skits | Fox News
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:10
Despite the controversy surrounding Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam dominating the news cycle for days, late-night hosts Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon avoided the subject in their monologues on Monday night.
On Friday, Northam's yearbook page from the East Virginia Medical school in 1984 went viral because it included an image of someone in blackface and another in a KKK robe. After apologizing and taking responsibility that night, Northam changed course the following morning, claiming he wasn't either of the two people in the photo. He did, however, admit to wearing blackface when entering a dance competition as Michael Jackson that same year.
While Northam's racist yearbook page and bizarre press conference led national news and were mocked by several late-night hosts, they were left unmentioned by Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon, both of whom have worn blackface on comedy skits.
Kimmel wore blackface on numerous occasions, impersonating NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone as well as former daytime talk show host Oprah Winfrey in his Comedy Central series ''The Man Show.''
Fallon also appeared in blackface during his days on ''Saturday Night Live,'' impersonating Chris Rock in a sketch. (The sketch was not available on the "SNL" site but some snippets have been used in various related parody sketches like the one below.)
Both Kimmel and Fallon focused much of their monologues on Sunday's lackluster Super Bowl and squeezed in mockery of President Donald Trump.
The other comedians, however, had lots of fun at Northam's expense.
''Daily Show'' host Trevor Noah referred to the Democratic governor as a ''legend'' for knowing for certain he didn't do blackface in the photo because he did blackface another time. He also called Northam a ''blackface connoisseur'' for his expertise regarding how difficult it is to remove shoe polish off your face.
''I can't believe this guy was about to do the moonwalk in the middle of his blackface apology,'' Noah reacted. ''That is the wrong time for dance moves!'' (The Associated Press)
''Late Show'' host Stephen Colbert hit the Virginia politician for saying he ''finally had a chance'' to sit down and look at the photo from the yearbook.
''I'm guessing that wearing blackface is one of those things you would remember doing, like skydiving or your first time,'' Colbert told his audience.
''You hold onto that good woman," Colbert said of Northram. "Between the two of you, you've got one brain.'' (AP)
''Late Night'' host Seth Meyers poked fun at Northam for not identifying whether he was the one in blackface or in the KKK hood, calling it a ''real lose-lose.''
''That's like being asked whether you're Erik or Lyle Menendez,'' Meyers quipped. ''I'm not a professor of political science, but it's not good when you have to specify whether you're the one in blackface or the one in the KKK robe. There's no good option here. Even the curtain in the background of that photo had to hold a press conference to apologize.''
All three of them slammed the governor for almost doing the moonwalk at his press conference, which was prevented by his wife. Meyers declared the exchange as ''one of the more cringe-worthy moments in recent political history.''
''Late Night'' host Seth Meyers poked fun at Northam for not identifying whether he was the one in blackface or in the KKK hood, calling it a ''real lose-lose.'' (Getty Images)
''I can't believe this guy was about to do the moonwalk in the middle of his blackface apology,'' Noah reacted. ''That is the wrong time for dance moves!''
''Look at his face! He actually thought about doing it! That is a face looking to see if he has room to moonwalk,'' Meyers exclaimed. ''I can't believe anyone has to say this, but you can't moonwalk your way out of this one.''
Colbert had a simple message for Northam.
''You hold onto that good woman," Colbert said. "Between the two of you, you've got one brain.''
Georgetown students may pay reparations for slavery with new student fee - The College Fix
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 14:51
'We recognize the great privileges we have been given, and wish to at least partially repay our debts'
Georgetown University students will soon vote on whether they want to tax themselves to benefit the descendants of slaves sold by the university in the 1830s.
Its student government recently authorized a campuswide student referendum on whether to establish a fund for the families of the 272 men, women and children sold by Georgetown in 1838.
If approved, the semesterly fee would begin to be collected in the fall of 2020 and start at $27.20 per student ''in honor of the 272 people sold by Georgetown,'' states the student government resolution approving the referendum, a copy of which was obtained Wednesday by The College Fix.
''The proceeds of the GU272 Reconciliation Contributions will be allocated for charitable purposes directly benefiting the descendants of the GU272 and other persons once enslaved by the Maryland Jesuits '-- with special consideration given to causes and proposals directly benefiting those descendants still residing in proud and underprivileged communities,'' the resolution stated.
The student government resolution approving the campuswide referendum was passed Feb. 3 by a vote of 20 in favor and 4 against, and with that the student body vote will occur in April alongside the annual student government elections, according to the resolution.
Over the past few years, Georgetown has undertaken a plan to reckon with the legacy of slavery at the private Catholic institution. In 1838, the university sold 272 slaves to pay off its debts. It officially apologized for the sale in April 2017.
In seeking to make amends, campus officials have also renamed two buildings on campus named after the Jesuits who were involved in the sale of the slaves and created an African American Studies Department and a working group on the establishment of an Institute for the Study of Racial Justice. The university has also agreed to ''offer an admissions edge to descendants of slaves as part of a comprehensive atonement'' for the school's past actions.
But the student government resolution stated that's not enough.
''In the fall of 2016, the Georgetown University Working Group on Slavery, Memory, and Reconciliation published its report and recommendations for how the University should address this shameful history. To date, Georgetown has implemented only some of them,'' the student government resolution stated. ''Among the recommendations left unfulfilled are the establishment of financial aid for the descendant community, the creation of public memorials to the enslaved persons, and the continuation of the 'Freedom and Remembrance' Grant Program.''
''As students at an elite institution, we recognize the great privileges we have been given, and wish to at least partially repay our debts to those families whose involuntary sacrifices made these privileges possible.''
Students receiving financial aid from the university would not have to pay the fee, according to The Hoya student news outlet. And both The Hoya and the Georgetown Voice reported that proponents of the measure now plan to launch an education campaign in support of the referendum's passage.
Among the four student senators who voted against putting forth the referendum, the campus news outlets report their reasons ranged from the argument that most of the school's some 7,500 undergrads will not support it to that the university had an obligation to create the fund, not students.
Campus spokesman Matt Hill provided a university statement to The College Fix on Wednesday regarding the matter.
''The Descendant Community, the Society of Jesus, and Georgetown are engaged in a facilitated dialogue with the goal of reconciliation and transformation regarding the legacy of slavery. The process is anchored in the practice of trust-building, truth-telling, racial healing, and transformation. This dialogue will guide our long term work together, which will include creating a memorial and implementing other recommendations from the Working Group as well as new ideas emanating from the dialogue in collaboration with Descendants,'' the statement said.
''We appreciate the engagement and support of students and GUSA and will continue to consult with students and other members of the university community as we work in partnership with Descendants on a process that recognizes the terrible legacy of slavery and promotes racial justice in southern Louisiana, southern Maryland and throughout the nation,'' it added.
Editor's note: The article was updated to include a statement from Georgetown University.
MORE: Georgetown U. to give admissions boost to descendants of slaves
IMAGE: Georgetown University
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Ikea will soon offer furniture rentals - Vox
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 18:33
Ikea, the world's largest furniture seller, is trying out a new business model: renting.
In an interview with the Financial Times, Ikea's Torbjorn Loof, who is charge of the company's brand and concept arm, Inter Ikea, said the company would soon be starting to experiment with furniture rentals.
The program will first be deployed in Sweden as early as February, with desks and chairs available to rent. Ikea plans to eventually roll out ''scalable subscription services'' for renting furniture in other markets. The company hasn't shared pricing options yet.
''We will work together with partners so you can actually lease your furniture,'' said Loof. ''When that leasing period is over, you hand it back and you might lease something else. And instead of throwing those away, we refurbish them a little and we could sell them, prolonging the life cycle of the products.''
Renting will be a big pivot for Ikea. Imagine renting those Billy bookcases or that Hemnes bed, only to hand them back once you're on to the next apartment instead of figuring out how to sell or dissemble them during the move.
While the global furniture market is huge, earning roughly $472 billion every year, Ikea has been a go-to for customers specifically because its products are typically affordable.
But Ikea has been looking to change its business model over the last few years in order to adapt to the times. It's also been looking to move its stores to more centralized locations within cities, instead of the outskirts-of-town destinations most stores are currently located in, as it serves more customers without cars. Its first city store will open in Manhattan later this week. And as customers have been turning away from the big-box store concept Ikea is known for, the company has been experimenting with smaller store formats.
Ikea, which has 313 stores in 38 countries, is starting to offer furniture rentals.VCG/ Getty Images Ikea sees rentals as part of a three-year plan to help its business and to make the company more environmentally sustainable. Ikea has 313 stores in 38 countries and makes $4 billion annually. That a company of this size will soon allow shoppers to rent its products speaks to the growth of the sharing economy '-- that is, the rise of businesses allowing shoppers to pay smaller amounts of money to borrow products instead of owning them. Ikea's latest moves prove that renting will likely become a pervasive shopping trend fairly soon.
The sharing economy has changed so much of how we move through the world '-- from Uber and Lyft disrupting transportation to Airbnb changing the way we vacation. Experts believe the space will hit $40.2 billion by 2022, but it's not just revenue that a company like Ikea is after. The company, per Loof, is looking to rentals as another way to keep up with shopping trends.
Blame it on Instagram, but customers in the home decor space want to be able to change their tastes quickly and cheaply. Ikea, he said, will be applying this idea by letting customers eventually rent different pieces of kitchen merch, like cabinets.
''It's interesting if you as a consumer say, 'I can change and adapt and modernize my kitchen,' if that's a subscription model,'' he said.
Businesses believe the sharing economy is one way to grab shoppers' dollars because of the so-called ''end of ownership,'' an idea authors Aaron Perzanowski and Jason Schultz coined to describe how shoppers have been eschewing personal property in the digital era.
Shoppers are inundated with a never-ending array of choices, so there's freedom in noncommittal spending where they can use something for a bit and then trade it in for something else. There's also the fact that consumers today are riddled with debt, are extremely debt-conscious, and concerned about spending in general. There's some research that points out that even though ownership might make sense in the long run, there's a certain psychology that makes it seem as though it's better to spend a small amount of money to borrow something instead.
While companies like Uber, Lyft, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit have become giants in the sharing economy, Ikea is not the only non-startup to be jumping into the space. On the heels of the success of Rent the Runway, for example, mall brands like Ann Taylor, Express, and Jones New York have been letting customers rent clothes instead of buying them.
But unlike the clothing rentals, which can easily be fixed and professionally cleaned, Ikea will definitely face some challenges once it starts renting its products. The company does not have a reputation for particularly high-quality furniture, and as Curbed puts it, ''not all of the store's flat-pack offerings are shown to stand the test of time. The store can get a bad rap for pieces that fall apart after a move or lose their shine at the first instance of wear and tear.''
If Ikea wants to become a household name for furniture rentals the way it is for affordable home goods, it will likely have to work on quality and materials, too.
The pricing for the rentals also has to be worth it, too, of course. While shoppers might reasonably pay high fees to avoid assembling Ikea furniture '-- an experience that is humbling, emotional, and frustrating AF '-- the cost isn't all that high to begin with. If the price isn't right, shoppers are likely to just dump their sad, beat-up Lack tables by the curb on moving day.
Trump Preparing Plan to Boost AI, 5G Technology - WSJ
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:52
WASHINGTON'--President Trump is preparing an ambitious plan to ramp up the government's role in speeding next-generation technologies such as 5G wireless and artificial intelligence, two key areas of competition with China.
In his State of the Union speech, Mr. Trump said he would work with lawmakers on an infrastructure package, one that would include ''investments in the cutting-edge industries of the future.''
''This is not an option. This is a necessity,'' the president said.
While the reference in Tuesday's speech was brief, administration officials say it foreshadows a larger effort. They say the president is preparing to issue a series of executive orders soon aimed at boosting the U.S. strength in advanced technology.
Those could include more ways of leveraging the sprawling federal government's resources to advance artificial intelligence, these people say. The U.S. also is looking to encourage new corporate competitors into the 5G race, fearful that Chinese competitors could gain an insurmountable global lead in the years to come.
Mr. Trump's commitment ''will ensure '... that the American innovation ecosystem remains the envy of the world for generations to come,'' Michael Kratsios, a top White House technology policy aide, said in a statement.
Other administration ambitions likely will require action by Congress, including for workforce-training modernization, new research and development spending, and greater use of some of the government's vast reservoirs of data for use in artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence, or AI, is software that enables computers to emulate human intelligence, handling tasks such as recognizing and processing images or language in a range of applications, including autonomous vehicles, and requires large amounts of data to be effective.
Next-generation 5G wireless promises to bring far faster speeds and greater capacity to wireless networks, and is expected to become the backbone for revolutionary applications such as autonomous vehicles.
Both AI and 5G are potentially huge global growth areas for U.S. tech businesses. But the U.S. faces increasingly tough competition from China, which has invoked industrial policies aimed at making it a leader in advanced technology.
That has spawned concerns that U.S. dominance in technology is vulnerable.
''The U.S. won the first 25 years of the mass-market consumer internet,'' said Alec Ross, an innovation adviser to Hillary Clinton when she was U.S. secretary of state. ''It's an open question whether we can win the next 15 '... in a couple of fields, particularly AI, we risk losing ground if we don't raise our game.''
On 5G, U.S. officials are focused on ensuring a secure supply chain. The fear is that if Chinese firms such as Huawei Technologies Co. come to dominate equipment manufacturing, that could leave the West with no competitive suppliers. That has led to talk of encouraging new domestic entrants and also boosting potential suppliers from Japan and Korea.
For AI, administration officials have explored making more use of the technology inside the government, turning Washington into a kind of incubator. The administration also is looking at ways to liberate more of the government's data for use in AI, although it must be careful not to run afoul of privacy concerns.
The administration also must worry about some of the domestic fallout from the new industries of the future, particularly for current workers. AI in particular is expected to have dramatic workforce impacts on sectors such as transportation.
Ivanka Trump, special adviser to Mr. Trump, has been particularly focused on workforce development and preparing workers for the jobs of the future. She said in a statement on Tuesday that the administration is ''committed to ensuring that America is positioned for dominance in the industries of the future.''
Write to John D. McKinnon at
San Francisco Launches App To Track Homeless People | Zero Hedge
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:11
The homelessness problem in San Francisco has been one of the most well documented and written-about problems in the United States of late, likely due to the paradoxical nature of how much the state spends to help get these people off the street and how it doesn't seem to have any impact.
According to Bloomberg, the city approved a measure last year to raise an additional $300 million to tackle the issue by taxing local companies. By estimates, there's about 7500 homeless people in the city that are a result of higher rent, substance-abuse and other health concerns, including mental illness.
Now, one company is betting that streamlining this information could be the answer to the issue.
Officials in the city have spent a couple of years building a digital program called ONE System that can track and monitor every homeless person in San Francisco. The goal is to collect and sort information about these people more effectively in order to determine who is in need and assess risk factors. So far, after five months of the system being in place, it has helped get 70 people off the streets.
One of the main reasons it hasn't worked better? It's difficult to persuade the homeless to sign into a program that, to them, feels like big brother.
The program was designed by BitFocus to collect data from state and city agencies. Homeless participants are asked 17 questions in order to help evaluate their time spent on the street, health and vulnerability. That information is then used to create a database, which acts as a digital profile; in may ways it is similar to China's recently unveiled app which warns users if they are walking near someone in debt.
Jeff Kositsky, the director of the city's department of homelessness and supportive housing, told Bloomberg:
"We're trying to build what I think of as an air traffic control system", only instead of airplanes, the system tracks homeless people.
The program kicked off in August and the 50 employee, $5 million effort was trying to assess more than 2000 people over 90 days. The company has already spoken to double the amount of people it anticipated, which gave them "a pretty good baseline of who's the most vulnerable in order to determine housing,'' according to Chris Block, the director of coordinated entry for Episcopal Community Services of San Francisco.
But the obstacles continue to pile up.
City employees must gain the trust of the homeless person, learn their information and persuade them to join the monitoring system, which many don't want to. For permanent housing, some members need to pass a background check, which can take 45 days and requires an ID - which many people on the street don't have.
And the fact of the matter is that there isn't only one answer for homelessness, due to the fact that people wind up on the street for a multitude of reasons. Other questions have also been raised: what happens if authorities find drug users or violent crime in the tracking system? While now nobody claims that they want to use the system for law-enforcement purposes, privacy concerns continue to grow.
Block said:
"There's a lot of privacy concerns. So far those issues haven't been significant, but that doesn't mean they won't come up in the future."
The system will be fully rolled out over the next few months and already almost half of the city's homeless are part of it. As of January, 20 people have been placed in permanent housing and 50 more have been helped off the streets. The task in front of the city and the ONE System, despite the small wins, is still massive. The goal is to try and halve the city's homeless population by 2022.
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:41
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ONE System Wants to Track Every Homeless Person in San Francisco - Bloomberg
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:11
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e-Radio Looks for Its Big Break - Radio World
Mon, 04 Feb 2019 19:52
An e-Radio module in action atop a water heater.
Up to $55 billion annually. That's the estimate of value that could be created if U.S. FM stations were to add electrical appliance control messages to their data feeds. Revenue would come from utility companies remotely managing consumer power consumption via radio and be divided among various stakeholders, including the radio owners involved.
Such connectivity would allow a utility to reduce power consumption during peak periods, or instruct heaters and air conditioners to boost their usage during off-peak periods to ''bank'' this energy against the next high demand period.
The projection is a breathtaking one, given that the current revenue of the U.S. commercial radio industry is generally estimated to be anywhere from $13 billion to $21 billion. But it is the contention of Jackson Wang, founder and CEO of e-Radio Inc., that stations could have a big piece of that pie.
Radio World has reported about this ''smart grid'' company several times in the past decade and recently checked back in.
The Toronto-based firm is owner of a patented communications solution and operates wireless communications networks. Its FM receiver modules can be integrated into a variety of smart grid devices for residential, commercial and small industrial applications '-- water heaters, HVAC equipment and so on '-- using FM broadcasting as its communications platform.
An e-Radio module up close
A growing number of such appliances are capable of being remotely addressed now, thanks to their built-in ''internet of things'' data reception architecture; however, the e-Radio platform does not rely on the internet, but on those FM signals.
The company operates in the United States and Canada; it is also a member of the global RDS Forum and hopes to build a footprint in other markets. It has about a dozen full- and part-time employees and is privately held; Jackson Wang is majority owner.
The firm's energy management approach '-- which Wang said has been proven feasible in field tests with radio stations and power utilities '-- is to send the appliance device instructions via one-way FM RDS signals as required. According to the company, its Utility Message Channel via RDS on FM can reach over 300 million people and their devices in about two seconds. This allows utilities to reduce or boost electricity usage on a near-immediate basis.
''FM RDS provides a reliable, economical and easy-to-provision one-way path to these IoT appliances,'' said Wang.
Jackson Wang, founder and CEO of e-Radio, was an aerospace engineering officer in the Canadian military; he then worked as a systems engineer with Litton Guidance and Control Systems on the U.S. Tomahawk Cruise Missile program and at the Ontario Ministry of Transport as a senior project manager specializing in public/private partnerships. He co-chairs the U.S. National Radio Systems Committee's Digital Radio Broadcasting subcommittee. According to his bio, he also leads the Broadcast subcommittee of the Home to Grid (H2G) Domain Expert Working Group of the U.S. Smart Grid Interoperability Panel. He was a founding committee chairman of Advanced Traveler Information Systems of the Society of Automotive Engineers and past chair of International Organization for Standardization TC/204 WG10.1 subcommittee on advanced traveler services integration. He's the principle author of numerous U.S. and international patents in the field of broadcast-based datacasting.
''Appliances equipped with our small P2D 2045 FM receivers work immediately once activated, and generally do not require maintenance over time. In contrast, IoT-enabled appliances that rely on the internet have inherent privacy issues, are more vulnerable and failure-prone and could be disconnected any time the homeowner replaces their router.''
The company is now conducting field testing with HD Radio as well.
What Wang has been telling broadcasters for some time is that all this represents an unrealized revenue opportunity for FM broadcasters.
For many stations, the data infrastructure that transmits station info such as identification and artist/song names has not produced revenue, whether we're talking about analog RDS or digital HD Radio.
Glynn Walden knows a lot about e-Radio. In his former role as CBS Radio senior VP of engineering and now as a consultant to its successor Entercom, Walden has worked with e-Radio to coordinate demo projects. He and Wang co-chair the National Radio Systems Committee's DRB Subcommittee, and Walden hopes to be an ''active participant'' in a rollout of the system on HD Radio.
He said that the problem dogging FM data is its one-way, one-to-many data transmission model.
''Every time we came up with a one-way data application that worked over HD Radio, someone came up with a solution that was deployable over a two-way channel like the internet,'' he said. ''It made it pretty hard to monetize HD data and earn revenue from this data channel as a result. With IoT, there could be billions of devices only in need of one-way data.''
Walden is convinced that Wang has found a way to make RDS earn money for radio broadcasters.
''Many IoT devices do not need two-way data communications to be successfully remotely-controlled,'' he said. ''In many instances, FM data is the most efficient, economical and reliable way to send information to these devices. The proof that the messages were received and acted upon will be evident to the utilities when their power consumption falls or rises a few seconds later.''
Broadcaster Alpha Media explained the concept on its website. ''If you think FM radio and water heaters sounds like a funny pairing, you're not alone, but let us tell you more about this innovative technology and how you can help.''
Making money from RDS/HD by adding appliance control messages to their feeds is obviously attractive to broadcasters. What problems might it cause for stations who add these messages to their RDS feeds?
Ownership group Alpha Media in 2017 worked with e-Radio to test the appliance control messaging system via FM RDS.
''We ran pilot programs in Portland, Ore., over KINK(FM) and Wenatchee, Wash., over KKRV(FM),'' said Mike Everhart, Alpha Media's director of engineering. ''e-Radio came to us wanting to lease unused data capacity on our existing RDS carriers, to test remotely-controlling loads for the electric utilities. We were happy to help facilitate that for them.''
Under the program, e-Radio provided both stations with UMC data feeds to insert into their RDS streams. Providing this service ''was very low impact in terms of our operations,'' said Everhart. ''We were able to provide them with secured access into our broadcast IT network to use certain data blocks on the RDS encoders, and it was just very, very easy to do. It took minimal involvement by our IT people to enable this.''
As for the profit potential for radio broadcasters? ''e-Radio paid us a reasonable sum for carrying their service within our RDS data,'' replied Everhart. ''If that was extrapolated across the country, it could be a significant revenue boost for our industry.''
Despite a decade of working to grow e-Radio and lobbying for awareness among broadcasters and utilities, Wang believes there is dramatic potential upside. ''Utilities are an extremely conservative industry '-- read: glacial pace of change,'' he said. ''However, just like glaciers, once momentum is finally gained, it can be unstoppable.''
He points to a recently published BPA report as a key development; he feels it provides detailed technical and financial proof that the concept is sound and will put e-Radio onto the path of commercialization.
According to the announcement, this study '-- which involved e-Radio and eight utilities, such as Bonneville Power Authority and Portland General Electric '-- ''demonstrates that smart water heaters can eliminate a major barrier to alternative energy growth while reducing the need for the majority of inefficient (mostly dormant) peaker plants at a cost a fraction of electrical storage devices '... The multi-year study further showed that e-Radio's patented technology can help U.S. (West Coast) utilities satisfy their customers' overwhelming support for renewable energy as a source they expect utilities to provide.''
How would the business work? In its current model, e-Radio would act as a ''one-stop shop'' for the utilities. ''However, for full-scale commercial deployments, we are looking at other possible structures that are commensurate with additional contributions and investments from partners,'' Wang said.
Over two decades, the company has done test installations in approximately 30 markets. ''All of them can be switched to be full-time Utility Message Channel stations on short notice as we commercialize.'' He said e-Radio has agreements with major private and public networks, some listed under the News tab on its website.
''The networks we've done agreements with over the years can cover the majority of the population in the North American continent. As many of them are part of a network of stations, more can be added quickly via our relations with their corporate management teams.''
On the station end, the equipment needs would vary based on a broadcaster's existing equipment. ''We have over the years accumulated many more tools to adapt each to be a live UMC station,'' Wang said. ''It can range from no hardware at all, just network access security settings, to full encoder/servers etc.''
And how much might a given station earn? Wang didn't give specific numbers to Radio World. ''The lower part of the range is in line with existing market rates for the bandwidth required. However, some broadcasters are considering more of a partnership arrangement, which can be significantly more interesting than just being a bandwidth provider.''
The company believes it has proven the viability of its FM RDS model in numerous field tests. It won a 2015 CES Innovations Awards for its P2D 2045 FM radio module in the Tech For A Better World product category.
Still, the radio industry cannot profit from e-Radio's technology until it is widely deployed by utility companies nationwide; without that deployment, e-Radio will not be leasing RDS capacity on a major scale. No major deployment means no $55 billion a year to the radio industry. Wang hopes broadcasters can be partners in spreading the word.
''We need radio broadcasters to help us get the news out about our appliance-messaging technology, and to help us begin full commercial deployments with utilities across the United States, Canada and the rest of the world,'' he said.
As an example, Wang points to an information web page posted by Alpha Media at, which provides visitors with information about the pilot program and its possible future benefits. Alpha also ran public service announcements on air and on its website.
''We would love to work with broadcasters to do community outreach and to work with them to engage corresponding local utilities as potential customers for our services,'' Wang added. ''Radio and utilities are both local [and] market-focused, and have special opportunities to connect.
''We have proven that e-Radio works, and that it serves the public in a new way, saving utilities money while generating revenues for ourselves and radio broadcasters,'' he concluded. ''All we need now is a widespread commercial deployment, to deliver substantial benefits for everyone.''
Apple retail chief Angela Ahrendts is leaving in April - The Verge
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 04:36
Apple's retail leader, Angela Ahrendts, will leave the company in April, Apple announced this afternoon. Ahrendts joined Apple in spring 2014, coming over from her position as CEO of Burberry to serve as head of retail.
Apple's current human resources leader, Deirdre O'Brien, will take over the company's retail and online store operations. O'Brien will continue to lead Apple's HR team as well. She's been at the company for three decades.
Interestingly, Apple has already added O'Brien to its executive leadership page as the company's head of retail '-- suggesting that Ahrendts may be stepping down immediately. Apple's press release can be interpreted that way as well.
Ahrendts was a surprise choice when she joined Apple five years ago, having stepped down as the leader of a top fashion company to take the position. At the time, Apple was moving toward the release of the Apple Watch, which it had initially wanted to pitch as something akin to a luxury watch. That approach quickly failed, and the company resumed its broad consumer-focused approach.
During her time at Apple, Ahrendts has also overseen a revamp of the Apple store, bringing trees into the stores and attempting to turn them into ''town squares.'' Apple says she will depart for ''new personal and professional pursuits.''
''The most important hire Tim Cook has ever made!''
Apple already has few women on its executive team, and Ahrendts' departure removes one of the company's most valuable leaders '-- someone with experience running a major company. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff wrote after Ahrendts joined Apple that she was the ''most important hire Tim Cook has ever made'' and likely next in line to be CEO.
In a recent profile, Ahrendts hinted that she may be interested in turning back to fashion once again. ''There are things about the fashion industry that I miss,'' Ahrendts told Vogue, saying that she grew up in the industry and knew ''everything there is to know.''
Update, 9:02 PM ET: Added that Apple has updated its leadership page to add O'Brien as SVP of Retail + People.
The Purge
Kayleigh McEnany on Twitter: "I have been warned by @instagram and cannot operate my account because I posted an image of Elizabeth Warren's Bar of Texas registration form via @washingtonpost. I'm warned that I am ''harassing,'' ''bullying,'' and
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 21:38
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Russian Navy gets new weapon to induce 'hallucinations' and 'blind' the enemy '-- RT Russia News
Mon, 04 Feb 2019 03:47
A new weapon installed on Russian warships can make enemy soldiers miss targets by blinding them, while also causing hallucinations and making them want to vomit.
Two Russian frigates were fitted with the new non-lethal dazzler-type weapon, the 5P-42 Filin (eagle-owl), the manufacturer's representative told RIA Novosti. The weapon is designed to temporarily blind the enemy.
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It creates a strobe-like effect that disrupts eyesight, seriously hampering the soldier's ability to aim at night, Ruselectronics (which produces the weapon) stated.
During testing, volunteers used assault rifles, sniper rifles, and machine guns to shoot targets placed up to 2km away and protected by the device. They all had trouble aiming because they ''couldn't see the target.''
Forty-five percent of the volunteers reported feeling dizzy, nauseous, and disoriented. Twenty percent are said to have experienced hallucinations, described as ''a ball of light moving in front of [our] eyes.'' The company didn't specify how many people participated in the tests.
Filin is also capable of ''effectively suppressing'' night vision tech, laser distance sensors, and even pointing systems for anti-tank missiles from a range of up to 5km, according to the manufacturer.
The ships equipped with the new high-tech stations are the state-of-the-art frigates Admiral Gorshkov and Admiral Kasatonov, both of Russia's Northern Sea Fleet. Each has two stations. Two more frigates, currently under construction, are also expected to be fitted with the device.
The company first unveiled the blinding weapon in December as a tool for law enforcement. The design team said that it can be used during raids against terrorists and other criminals.
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Russia threatens US with nuclear doomsday device after INF failure - Business Insider
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 04:32
Russia's military and state-sponsored media have reacted with a fire and fury of their own to the news that the US will exit the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF Treaty), one of the last barriers preventing a full-on Cold War-like arms race in Europe '-- and there's already talk of a nuclear doomsday device visiting the US.
The INF Treaty banned land-based nuclear-capable missiles with a range between 300 and 3,200 miles in 1987 when Russia and the US had populated much of Europe with intermediate-range nuclear missiles. The ban eliminated this entire class of missiles and went down as one of the most successful acts of arms control ever.
The US and NATO concluded recently that Russia had spent years developing a banned nuclear-capable weapon, thereby making the treaty meaningless. The US responded by saying it would withdraw and design its own treaty-busting missiles. Russia said it would do the same, though many suspect they have already built the missiles.
Read more: France fires nuclear-capable missile in a rare show as Russia and US feud over arms treaty
But Russia's response to the US didn't stop there.
A BBC review of Russian newspapers, some state-owned and all adhering to state narratives or censored by the Kremlin, revealed some truly apocalyptic ideas.
"If the Americans deploy their new missiles near Russia's borders, and in response we deploy ours, then of course, the risk of [nuclear] conflict rises sharply," an arms-control expert told one paper.
"If US missiles are deployed in Poland or the Baltic states, they'll be able to reach Russia in minutes. In such an event, the way Russia currently conceives using nuclear weapons, as a retaliatory strike, becomes impossible, since there won't be time to work out which missiles have been launched against Russia, what their trajectory and their targets are," he continued. "This is why there is now a temptation for both us and for them to adopt the doctrine of a preemptive strike."
The expert said the INF Treaty's demise means both the US and Russia now have to consider nuking the other at the first sign of conflict because missile attacks won't be as predictable as longer-range salvos from the continental US and Russia's mainland.
But the expert neglects to mention that US and Russian nuclear submarines can already fire from almost anywhere at sea, already confusing targets and trajectories and taking minutes to reach Russian forces.
Read more: In a fiery warning to rivals, Putin says any country that nukes Russia will 'drop dead'
Finally, Russian media turned to what's quickly becoming a propaganda crutch in communicating Moscow's might: the doomsday device.
Russia recently said it built one of the most devastating nuclear weapons of all time in the form of an undersea torpedo with a 100-megaton nuclear warhead that's designed to be unstoppable against all missile defenses and create tsunami-size waves, and a radioactive hellstorm that stomps out life on earth for thousands of square miles for decades.
Read more: Russia just showed off a potentially world-ending nuclear 'doomsday' torpedo that the US can't stop
Since they announced the weapon, they've already used it to threaten Europe. But now with the INF Treaty in tatters, a military expert told a Russian paper that the doomsday device could see use.
"It cannot be excluded that one of the Poseidon with a 100 megaton nuclear warhead will lay low off the US coast, becoming 'the doomsday weapon.' Thus an attack on Russia, will become a suicidal misadventure," the paper said.
The paper also declined to mention that the US and Russia's nuclear posture already guarantees any mutual nuclear exchanges would lead to the total destruction of both countries.
Read more: A new Russian video may show a 'doomsday machine' able to trigger 300-foot tsunamis '-- but nuclear weapons experts question why you'd ever build one
Russia's Poseidon doomsday device doesn't change the mutually assured destruction dynamic between Washington and Moscow. It provides only a way to destroy more natural life in the process.
Russia's media may swerve into bombast, but Russia's actual military has already announced plans to build more weapons and extend the range of weapons to counter the US in what experts peg as the next great nuclear standoff.
Big Nic
Texas man killed by exploding vape pen
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 04:01
A 24-year-old man was killed in Texas last week when his vape pen exploded '-- slicing open his carotid artery and leaving his grandmother's car covered in blood.
William Brown died after his left internal carotid artery was severed due to trauma from the exploding vape pen he just bought from Smoke & Vape DZ in Keller, a town just north of Fort Worth, his distraught grandmother told WFAA.
''He popped it and it exploded, and that's when it shot across his mouth,'' Alice Brown told the station.
Brown claimed the device's battery malfunctioned, melting bits of plastic from her car to the vape pen '-- which launched the charred debris into her grandson's face and neck, leaving her car soaked in blood. Brown died at John Peter Smith Hospital two days later, she said.
''When they X-rayed him, they found the stem, the metal embedded to where the blood flows up to the brain,'' Brown continued. ''I miss him already, and knowing he won't open that door and come through it ever again is the hardest part.''
FacebookFuneral services for Brown, a licensed electrician, are scheduled for later this week, his grandmother said.
Brown, who wasn't a regular smoker, purchased the device on Jan. 27 while on the way to the bank, the grandmother told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. He suffered from asthma and was told that a specialized vape pen might help improve his breathing, she told the newspaper.
After the blast, William Brown managed to crawl out of the car and toward the trunk, where he collapsed on the pavement. A nearby witness called an ambulance, she said, and a medical examiner later ruled that his cause of death was penetrating trauma from an exploding vaporizer pen, making him at least the second person in the United States to be killed by an exploding e-cigarette, according to the newspaper.
Brown, a high school graduate who loved fixing up his Mazda RX8, was preparing to celebrate his birthday in just two weeks, his grandmother said.
''It just hurts so bad,'' she told the Star-Telegram. ''Now he'll never see that birthday. It's a waste of the thing he could have accomplished.''
She continued: ''It just all seems so unreal. He was running around doing his thing at 24 and now he's gone.''
FacebookBrown said an investigator in the case told her the device's battery caused the deadly explosion. She told the newspaper she searched her vehicle and found a piece of the battery with its serial number.
''That's the important part,'' she told the newspaper. ''That's what the investigator said he needed '... I just hope, if anything, I hope it stops someone from [smoking electronic cigarettes]. I don't know how many more people will have to die.''
A store employee who witnessed the incident, meanwhile, told the Dallas Morning News that the vaporizer was not purchased at the location. Authorities told the employee not to discuss details of Brown's death.
The newspaper also cited US Fire Administration statistics from 2017 showing that 133 acute injuries from e-cigarettes, vaporizers and other similar devices were reported between 2009 and 2016. Most of the fires and explosions occurred while the device was being used or stored in a pocket and none had resulted in death, according to the report.
But a Florida man named Tallmadge D'Elia, 38, suffered multiple injuries to his face when he was killed by an exploding e-cigarette last May. A medical examiner's report listed his cause of death as a ''projectile wound of the head,'' leaving him with burns on about 80 percent of his body, the Star-Telegram reports.
One of the pieces removed from D'Elia's head featured the logo of Smok-E Mountain Mech Works, a company based in the Philippines, according to the New York Times.
Hawaii may increase legal smoking age to 100 - BBC News
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:05
Image copyright Getty Images Image caption If the bill passes, people in Hawaii will need to wait for their 100th birthday if they want to smoke Hawaii could raise the legal smoking age to 100, effectively banning cigarettes for the vast majority of people in the state.
In a new bill, proposed by Democrat Richard Creagan, the smoking age would increase rapidly between 2020 and 2024.
It will need to pass through the state legislature and weather a potentially strong backlash from tobacco companies in order to become state law.
E-cigarettes, chewing tobacco and cigars are not included in the bill.
Dr Creagan, who was an emergency room physician before he was elected as state representative in 2014, calls the cigarette "the deadliest artefact in human history" in the bill.
In January 2017, Hawaii became the first US state to raise its smoking age to 21. In other US states the legal age is usually 18 or 19.
The new bill, HB 1509, suggests that the smoking age should go up to 30 in 2020, 40 in 2021, 50 in 2022, and 60 in 2023 - until finally, in 2024, people would need to be 100 years old to buy cigarettes.
He told the Hawaii Tribune-Herald that a "ridiculously bad industry" had designed the cigarette to be "highly addictive, knowing that it is highly lethal".
"We don't allow people free access to opioids, for instance, or any prescription drugs," he said.
E-cigarettes and cigars are left out of the bill because Dr Creagan believes they are significantly safer for smokers than regular cigarettes - although the National Cancer Institute warns that "all tobacco products are harmful and cause cancer".
"Regular cigar smokers and cigarette smokers have similar levels of risk for oral cavity and oesophageal cancers," it adds on its website.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US say that cigarette smoking is the top cause of preventable disease and death in the country.
About half a million people in the US die every year from smoking-related conditions.
Germany recognizes Guaido as Venezuela's interim president
Mon, 04 Feb 2019 13:28
BERLIN, February 4. /TASS/. The German government recognizes Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido as the republic's interim president, government spokeswoman Martina Fietz said on Monday.
"We recognize Juan Guaido as the interim president of Venezuela and he faces the task of launching political transition and leading the country along the path of holding free, transparent and trustworthy elections," she said.
As the spokeswoman said, the German authorities earlier announced an eight-day deadline for Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to call early elections.
"Maduro did not fulfil this demand," Fietz claimed.
On his part, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Rainer Broil noted that the German authorities lamented Maduro's decision.
"We, like the EU, constantly demanded free access to international humanitarian aid but to no avail up to now," he said.
As the spokesman said, Germany "allocated 5 million euros as humanitarian aid to Venezuela," which will be placed at Venezuela's disposal as soon as the situation in the country permitted for that."
As the German Foreign Ministry spokesman said, the EU made a decision to set up an international contact group that should help launch a peaceful and democratic process for the purpose of holding new elections.
Juan Guaido, Venezuelan opposition leader and parliament speaker, whose appointment to that position had been cancelled by the country's Supreme Court, declared himself interim president at a rally in the country's capital of Caracas on January 23.
Several countries, including the United States, Lima Group members (excluding Mexico), Australia, Albania, Georgia and Israel, as well as the Organization of American States, recognized him as president. Subsequently, Venezuela's incumbent President Nicolas Maduro blasted these actions as an attempted coup and said he was cutting diplomatic ties with the United States.
Defying European pressure, Maduro shrugged off an ultimatum by EU states demanding early elections. France, Spain, Sweden and the UK announced Monday that they were recognizing opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president after an eight-day deadline for Maduro to call elections had not been met. Furthermore, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stated that Guaido had the ability and the legitimacy to organize new presidential elections.
In contrast, Russia, Belarus, Bolivia, Iran, Cuba, Nicaragua, El Salvador and Turkey voiced support for Maduro, while China called for resolving all differences peacefully and warned against foreign interference. The United Nations secretary general, in turn, called for dialogue to resolve the crisis.
On January 29, Washington slapped sanctions on the Venezuelan oil producer PDVSA and later transferred control of some of Venezuela's assets in US banks to Guaido.
Venezuelan troops blockade bridge to stop aid from Colombia | World news | The Guardian
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:04
Venezuelan troops have barricaded a bridge on the country's western border with Colombia in an apparent attempt to prevent the entry of humanitarian aid sent by opposition leaders trying to force Nicols Maduro from power.
On Wednesday at lunchtime, a fuel tanker and two shipping containers blocked the Tienditas international bridge, which connects the two countries and has become a staging ground for the planned relief effort. Members of Venezuela's Bolivarian national guard could also be seen at the bridge.
A convoy carrying the aid, which was donated by the US, left Bogot at 11am on Wednesday and was making its way along winding mountain rounds to Cºcuta, a Colombian government official said. The earliest it will reach the border is Thursday morning.
Maduro has repeatedly denied his economically devastated country is facing a humanitarian crisis, apparently fearing such an acceptance could be used to justify foreign military intervention. ''We are not beggars,'' he said in a speech to troops this week.
Why is Venezuela in crisis? '' video explainerThe attempt by his political rival, Juan Guaid", to push aid in through Venezuela's borders with Colombia and Brazil represents the latest attempt to weaken Maduro's embattled regime by forcing members of the military to disobey his orders and allow the aid to pass.
''The main goal now is to look to break the military '' and the humanitarian aid is basically the Trojan horse to try to do that,'' said Maryhen Jim(C)nez Morales, an Oxford University specialist in Venezuelan politics.
Guaid" urged Venezuela's border troops not to stand in the way of humanitarian aid that was intended to help ''your family, your sister, your mum, your wife '' who surely need these supplies''.
Juan Andr(C)s Mej­a, a lawmaker from Guaid"'s party, Voluntad Popular (People's Will), told the Guardian that trying to deliver aid across Venezuela's borders was a double challenge to Maduro's regime '' as well as an effort to alleviate a humanitarian crisis that has seen millions of Venezuelans flee abroad.
''The government has a dilemma '... Either they let it in [and look weak] or they refuse it, which I don't think they will because they are not so stupid, and they will also lose. So it is a win-win situation for us '' and for the people.''
Mej­a denied that the opposition hoped to provoke a military incident which some fear could be used to justify international intervention to unseat Maduro. ''That's not our goal. That is not what we are looking for. Basically, the strategy '... is to show people that humanitarian aid is real, [that] it is not only a discourse '... and it is close and it can be here soon.''
Mej­a added: ''We are a non-violent movement. We do not have weapons and we do not want to have them. We are absolutely certain that violence benefits the government and we cannot win a violent struggle against the government.''
The United Nations warned against using aid as a political tool. ''Humanitarian action needs to be independent of political, military or other objectives,'' said a spokesman, St(C)phane Dujarric. ''When we see the present standoff it becomes even more clear that serious political negotiations between the parties are necessary to find a solution leading to lasting peace for the people of Venezuela.''
A congressman from Cºcuta, Juan Capacho, told the Guardian the blockade was a ''tyrannical irresponsibility that we will get over'', and that the aid would ''help give Venezuela liberty''.
Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, tweeted: ''The Venezuelan people desperately need humanitarian aid. The U.S. & other countries are trying to help, but #Venezuela's military under Maduro's orders is blocking aid with trucks and shipping tankers. The Maduro regime must LET THE AID REACH THE STARVING PEOPLE.''
However, Maduro and members of his inner circle have remained publicly adamant that the aid will not be allowed in.
''With this show of humanitarian aid they are trying to send a message: 'Venezuela has to go begging to the world!' And Venezuela will not beg for anything from anyone in this world,'' Maduro said on Monday.
On Tuesday, Diosdado Cabello, another top Chavista, depicted the aid effort as part of a hostile foreign military intervention that would be rebuffed.
''Our territory must be respected. As our brother President Nicols Maduro has said: any military unit that tries to penetrate our territory will be repelled and our Bolivarian national armed forces will defend our territory. There should be no doubt about it.''
Additional reporting by Patricia Torres
AP Interview: Venezuela's Guaido vows to defy ban on aid
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 12:05
CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) '-- Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said he will defy a government ban on humanitarian aid by sending large convoys of medicine into the country with the help of neighboring nations.
In an interview Thursday, Guaido told The Associated Press that the move will be a ''new test'' for Venezuela's military, whose top brass has sided with socialist President Nicolas Maduro since protests against his rule broke out last week.
''In a few weeks they will have to choose if they let much needed aid into the country . or if they side with Nicolas Maduro,'' said Guaido, who recently offered an amnesty to members of the military in another effort to encourage them to defect from the Maduro administration.
Guaido explained that aid for Venezuela will include life-saving medicines that are scarce in Venezuela and will be transported by vehicles arriving at several border points, after it is shipped into ''friendly ports'' in neighboring countries.
''We are not just taking aid from the United States,'' Guaido said. ''But in the next few days we will announce a global coalition to send aid to Venezuela.''
The 35-year-old president of Venezuela's Congress declared himself to be Venezuela's legitimate leader last week and set up a transitional government that has been backed by the United States, Canada and most South American countries.
Guaido argues that Maduro was re-elected in a sham election last year, and is invoking two articles of Venezuela's constitution that he says allow him as the leader of the national assembly to assume the presidency and call elections when the current president is holding power illegitimately.
Maduro has described Guaido's challenge as a ''vile'' coup attempt and still has control of most of the Venezuelan government, including its cash cow, the state owned oil company.
Earlier this week, the United States announced sanctions that will bar Venezuelan oil imports and could cost the Maduro administration up to $11 billion over the next year.
Guaido backed the sanctions on Thursday and described them as a means to stop Venezuela's wealth from being looted by the Maduro government which he described as a corrupt ''dictatorship.''
''It's not just the United States doing this,'' Guaido said. ''Our parliament and acting presidency asked for the protection of our country's assets.''
Guaido's claim to the Venezuelan presidency has been backed by protests in which at least 35 people have been killed and more than 900 have been arrested, according to human rights groups.
Guaido said that he is still sees transparent elections as the best way out of Venezuela's spiraling political crisis, but realizes that Maduro will not easily grant them unless he is pressured to do so by economic sanctions, street protests and Venezuela's military.
''We have to erode the pillars that support this dictatorship,'' he said.
But he added that the opposition will have to continue to apply pressure mechanisms until Maduro's ''usurpation of power has ceased.''
Roe v Wade
Virginia Del. Kathy Tran Submitted Bill To Save Caterpillars On Same Day As Late-Stage Abortion Bill | The Daily Caller
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 16:11
12:53 AM 01/31/2019 | PoliticsWilliam Davis | Contributor
The Democratic Virginia delegate who has recently come under fire for sponsoring a bill in the Virginia House of Delegates that would allow the termination of a pregnancy up to 40 weeks old, is also the chief patron of a bill that would protect the lives of ''fall cankerworms'' during certain months.
Democratic Virginia Del. Kathy Tran introduced ''House Bill No. 2495 '' Fall cankerworm; spraying prohibited during certain months'' on Jan. 9, the same day as ''House Bill No. 2491 '-- Abortion; eliminate certain requirements.''
Tran came under fire Tuesday for her support of legislation that would allow an abortion to be performed just moments before the birth of a child. (RELATED: VA Considering Bill Legalizing Abortion Until 40 Weeks In Pregnancy)
Virginia House Democrats propose legislation to allow abortions up until the moment of birth
Todd Gilbert (R): Where it's obvious a woman is about to give birth'...would that be a point at which she could still request an abortion?
Kathy Tran (D): My bill would allow that, yes
'-- Ryan Saavedra (@RealSaavedra) January 29, 2019
''Where it's obvious a woman is about to give birth'...would that be a point at which she could still request an abortion?'' Republican Del. Todd Gilbert asked Tran. (RELATED: Trump Rips Virginia Democrats On Abortion Comments)
''My bill would allow that, yes,'' she confirmed.
Tran's other piece of legislation aims to protect insects such as ''gypsy moths'' and ''cankerworms.''
According to Virginia's Legislative Information System, House Bill No. 2495 is:
A BILL to amend and reenact § 15.2-2403 of the Code of Virginia and to amend the Code of Virginia by adding in Article 1 of Chapter 9 of Title 15.2 a section numbered 15.2-926.4, relating to cankerworms; eradication; prohibition on spraying during certain months.
Tran apparently deleted all of her social media following backlash to her abortion bill.
What do an unborn baby in the third trimester and Delegate Kathy Tran's Twitter account have in common?
Neither can defend themselves on Twitter.
'-- Virginia GOP (RPV) (@VA_GOP) January 30, 2019
Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam attempted to defend Tran's bill in a radio appearance Wednesday morning, but created a firestorm when he implied that he supported born-alive abortions. (RELATED: OPINION: 'Gosnell' Is A Sobering Depiction Of Evil Hidden In Plain Sight)
''If a mother is in labor, I can tell you exactly what would happen. The infant would be delivered. The infant would be kept comfortable. The infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother,'' Northam said.
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Crypto Exchange Says It Can't Repay $190 Million to Clients After Founder Dies With Only Password
Mon, 04 Feb 2019 13:01
A metal token representing a bitcoin. File photo.Photo: Rick Bowmer (AP)Canadian crypto exchange QuadrigaCX says it cannot repay most of $190 million in client holdings after its 30-year-old founder Gerald Cotten, the only person who knew the passwords to its ''cold storage,'' unexpectedly died in India in December 2018, Coindesk reported on Friday.
In a sworn affidavit with the Nova Scotia Supreme Court, widow Jennifer Robertson said that QuadrigaCX owes its customers some $190 million in both cryptocurrency and fiat money. QuadrigaCX has filed for creditor protection because it says it cannot access the funds stored in ''cold storage,'' just the comparatively smaller amount in a ''hot wallet'' used for transfers, CoinDesk wrote:
The exchange holds roughly 26,500 bitcoin ($92.3 million USD), 11,000 bitcoin cash ($1.3 million), 11,000 bitcoin cash SV ($707,000), 35,000 bitcoin gold ($352,000), nearly 200,000 litecoin ($6.5 million) and about 430,000 ether ($46 million), totaling $147 million, according to the affidavit.
It was not clear what portion of the exchange's crypto holding were kept in cold storage, versus its hot wallet. In the affidavit, Robertson explained that ''only a minimal amount of coins'' were stored in the hot wallet, but specifics were not provided.
Robertson also said that Cotten held ''sole responsibility for handling the funds and coins'' and no other members of the team could access the stored funds. QuadrigaCX announced Cotten's death in mid-January, saying he had died ''due to complications with Crohn's disease on December 9, 2018 while travelling in India, where he was opening an orphanage to provide a home and safe refuge for children in need.''
While Robertson has Cotten's laptop in her possession, CoinDesk wrote, she says she does not know the password, and a technical expert recruited by the firm has been unable to bypass its encryption. She also says Cotten left behind no business records.
Some other reporting has suggested it is possible some of the funds in question moved after the case was publicized, and though the evidence was not definitive, it and the strange circumstances of Cotten's death spurred accusations that his demise was either faked or the pretext for an exit scam by other parties with access to the holdings, according to CCN. However, Robertson included a death certificate in the filings, CoinDesk wrote.
According to CBC, the government confirmed a Canadian had died in India, but could not offer more details due to privacy laws.
As CBC noted, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce froze $26 millions worth of QuadrigaCX's assets in January 2018 ''after finding irregularities with payment processing,'' and a document from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 2018 concluded that ''$67-million worth of transactions ended up improperly transferred into the personal account of Costodian Inc, the payment processor.'' The issue was resolved, though according to CoinDesk, QuadrigaCX says the legal fight as well as ongoing issues with payment processors has ''severely compromised'' their ability to access tens of millions of dollars' worth of holdings held by the processors.
A 2017 Wall Street Journal article noted that unlike stock exchanges, which only facilitate transactions, crypto exchanges are uniquely vulnerable because they store cryptocurrencies for their customers. However, typically the threats associated with this practice are hackers and other cybercriminals, rather than lost passwords.
In the filings, Robertson wrote that the exchange ''urgently needs a stay of proceedings which will allow Quadriga and its contractors additional time to find whatever stores of cryptocurrency may be available and also to negotiate the bank drafts available to Quadriga,'' CoinDesk wrote.
''This is a tough lesson learned,'' Calgary customer Elvis Cavalic told CBC, adding that he had been unable to withdraw $15,000 in holdings in October 2018.
''I would probably avoid [cryptocurrency] in the future,'' Cavalic said. ''They've left us completely in the dark. I'm kind of preparing for the worst.''
[CoinDesk/CBC via the Verge]
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Engages in Bitcoin Lightning Network 'Torch' Experiment
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 16:25
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey Engages in Bitcoin Lightning Network 'Torch' Experiment
Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey is one of Silicon Valley's biggest bitcoin bulls. | Source: REUTERS / Anushree Fadnavis / File Photo
Jack Dorsey has taken part in a ceremonial usage of Lightning Network ''for the laughs.'' The idea mimics the Olympic torch. Participants pass microscopic amounts of Bitcoin around the Lightning Network, using Lightning-enabled wallets to generate and pay invoices.
Dubbed the #LNTrustChain, the experiment demonstrates that Ligthning Network can send tiny amounts of Bitcoin. Each participant receives the full amount of the torch and adds 10 Satoshi to it. They then pick another person and the ''trust chain'' gets longer. The experiment even has a website.
The first transaction was for 100 Satoshi. By the time it got to Dorsey, the torch was 2860 Satoshi, which rounds up to 10 cents at press time.
Cool example of #BitcoinTwitter experimenting on the Lightning Network.
ðŸ--¥'š¸Torch received, now passing along to @starkness! #LNtrustchain
'-- jack (@jack) February 5, 2019
The process is simple enough. Twitter is used for the entire thing. The sender tags the person, who generates an invoice. The sender then creates the transaction, and the recipient posts confirmation, like this one:
Received! #LNtrustchain
Who's next? ðŸ¤--
'-- elizabeth stark (@starkness) February 6, 2019
Non-Lightning wallets can't participate. The experiment would not be possible without the Lightning Network '' it's the reason the fees are low enough. Ordinarily transactions this small would not make sense on the Bitcoin main chain.
'Nah' to AltcoinsDorsey recently spoke of cryptocurrency on the Joe Rogan podcast. He said, ''I believe the Internet will have a native currency and I don't know if it's Bitcoin.''
All the same, when a Twitter user asked for the Cash app to offer other cryptos besides Bitcoin, Dorsey was decidedly uninterested:
'-- jack (@jack) February 5, 2019
Elon Musk: The Next Frontier?In an attempt to up the ante, Samson Mow is attempting to involve Tesla CEO Elon Musk.
@elonmusk you have until noon tomorrow to confirm, else the #LNTrustChain torch goes to me. ðŸ--¥ @Grimezsz text your bf.
'-- Samson Mow (@Excellion) February 6, 2019
However, the billionaire is probably a bit too busy at this point. He recently oversaw testing of SpaceX's next-generation rocket.
A Global ChainThe chain has so far stretched into every major country and continent.
The Torch has now been to 37 countries.
Lightning Labs co-founder Elizabeth Stark was the last person to take the torch at time of writing. Jack Dorsey passed it to her.
Phew, @jack takes the Lightning Torch, sends it to me, tweets a bunch about #bitcoin, agrees to do a podcast on the spot with @stephanlivera and me. Pretty sure #LightningTwitter is now officially a thing!'š¸
'-- elizabeth stark (@starkness) February 6, 2019
The Lightning Network is both Bitcoin Core's preferred scaling solution and its answer to the question of microtransactions, one of the primary arguments for the establishment of Bitcoin Cash.
Lightning has been functional for months, but mass adoption by merchants and users is still in progress. One could speculate that this is why some developers are discussing making Bitcoin blocks smaller, in an attempt to stimulate usage of the cheaper alternative.
About The AuthorP. H. MadoreP. H. Madore has written for CCN since 2014. He is receptive to feedback on his work.
Top 10 Countries With The Largest Gold Reserves
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:24
Beginning in 2010, central banks around the world turned from being net sellers of gold to net buyers of gold. Last year they collectively added 483 tonnes'--the second largest annual total since the end of the gold standard'--with Russia and China accounting for most of the activity. The second half of 2015 saw the most robust purchasing on record, according to the World Gold Council (WGC).
Not every top bank is a net buyer. The Bank of Canada has liquidated close to all of its gold, mainly in coin sales, while Venezuela is in the process of doing the same to pay off its debts, but most of the world's central banks right now are accumulating, holding and/or repatriating the precious metal. As of this month, they reportedly owned 32,754 tonnes, or about 17.8 percent of the total amount of gold ever mined, according to the WGC.
It's worth noting that this global gold-buying spree coincides perfectly with the rise of unconventional monetary policies following the financial crisis'--massive bond-buying programs, rapid money-printing schemes and near-zero or, in some cases, negative interest rates. The jury's still out on whether these measures have been a success or not, but for now, it appears as if banks are hedging against their own policies. Investors would be wise to do the same. Confidence in central banks' ability to stem further economic deterioration continues to deflate.
Below are the top 10 countries with the largest gold holdings, beginning with India.
10. IndiaTonnes: 557.7
Percent of foreign reserves: 6.3 percent
It's no surprise that the Bank of India has one of the largest stores of gold in the world. The South Asian country, home to 1.25 billion people, is the number one or number two largest consumer of the precious metal, depending on who you ask, and is one of the most reliable drivers of global demand. India's festival and wedding season, which runs from October to December, has historically been a huge boon to gold's Love Trade.
9. NetherlandsTonnes: 612.5
Percent of foreign reserves: 61.2 percent
The Dutch Central Bank is currently seeking a suitable place to store its gold while it renovates its vaults. As many others have pointed out, this seems odd, given that the bank fairly recently repatriated a large amount of its gold from the U.S.
8. JapanTonnes: 765.2
Percent of foreign reserves: 2.4 percent
Japan, the world's third largest economy, is also the eighth largest hoarder of the yellow metal. Its central bank has been one of the most aggressive practitioners of quantitative easing'--in January, it lowered interest rates below zero'--which has helped fuel demand in gold around the world.
7. SwitzerlandTonnes: 1,040
Percent of foreign reserves: 6.7 percent
In seventh place is Switzerland, which actually has the world's largest reserves of gold per capita. During World War II, the neutral country became the center of the gold trade in Europe, making transactions with both the Allies and Axis powers. Today, much of its gold trading is done with Hong Kong and China. Just last quarter, the Swiss National Bank posted a $5.9 billion profit, largely a result of its sizable gold holdings.
6. RussiaTonnes: 1,460.4
Percent of foreign reserves: 15 percent
Russia has steadily been rebuilding its gold reserves in the last several years. In 2015, it was the top buyer, adding a record 206 tonnes in its effort to diversify away from the U.S. dollar, as its relationship with the West has grown chilly since the annexation of the Crimean Peninsula in mid-2014. To raise the cash for these purchases, Russia sold a huge percentage of its U.S. Treasuries.
5. ChinaTonnes: 1,797.5
Percent of foreign reserves: 2.2 percent
In the summer of 2015, the People's Bank of China began sharing its gold purchasing activity on a monthly basis for the first time since 2009. In December, the renminbi joined the dollar, euro, yen and pound as one of the International Monetary Fund's reserve currencies, an expected move that required the Asian country to beef up its gold holdings. (The precious metal represents only 2.2 percent of its foreign reserves, so it's probably safe to expect more heavy buying going forward.) And in April, China, the world's largest gold producer, introduced a new renminbi-denominated gold fix in its quest for greater pricing power.
4. FranceTonnes: 2,435.7
Percent of foreign reserves: 62.9 percent
France's central bank has sold little of its gold over the past several years, and there are calls to halt it altogether. Marine Le Pen, president of the country's far-right National Front party, has led the charge not only to put a freeze on selling the nation's gold but also to repatriate the entire amount from foreign vaults.
3. ItalyTonnes: 2,451.8
Percent of foreign reserves: 68 percent
Italy has likewise maintained the size of its reserves over the years, and it has support from European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. The former Bank of Italy governor, when asked by a reporter in 2013 what role gold plays in a central banks portfolio, answered that the metal was "a reserve of safety," adding, it gives you a fairly good protection against fluctuations against the dollar.
2. GermanyTonnes: 3,381
Percent of foreign reserves: 68.9 percent
Like the Netherlands, Germany is in the process of repatriating its gold from foreign storage locations, including New York and Paris. Last year, the country's Bundesbank transferred 210 tonnes, and it plans to have the full 3,381 tonnes in-country by 2020.
1. United StatesTonnes: 8,133.5
Percent of foreign reserves: 74.9 percent
With the largest holding in the world, the U.S. lays claim to nearly as much gold as the next three countries combined. It also has one of the highest gold allocations as a percentage of its foreign reserves, second only to Tajikistan, where the metal accounts for more than 88 percent. Donald Trump made headlines recently, claiming ''we do not have the gold,'' but from what we know, the majority of U.S. gold is held at Fort Knox in Kentucky, with the remainder held at the Philadelphia Mint, Denver Mint, San Francisco Assay Office and West Point Bullion Depository.
San Francisco has more drug users than public high school students - Story | KTTV
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:19
SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - San Francisco has more drug users than students enrolled in its public high schools, according to a recent Health Department survey.
There are about 24,500 injection drug users in San Francisco and 16,000 students enrolled in San Francisco Unified School District, a comparison first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle.
The number of serious users has also gone up by 2,000 since 2012, although the methodology to glean those numbers is different now, according to health department spokeswoman Rachael Kagan.
''Still, we know the numbers are not going down,'' she told KTVU on Thursday.
WATCH: Drug use at Civic Station
The data came from the most recent citywide health department survey regarding Hepatitis C, and the drug usage includes people who live on the streets and who live in homes, she said.
The takeaway for the health department?
''We need to continue to do harm reduction,'' Kagan said. ''There needs to be more access to treatment.''
She pointed to the department's efforts to hand out naloxone, a drug that reverses opioid overdoses immediately and keeps people from dying, to first responders, street health teams, homeless drop-in center workers and library staffers, in an effort to reduce the death toll. Last year there were 193 drug overdose deaths, of which 112 were from opioids, the Chronicle reported.
First-of-a-kind drug program in San Francisco to treat opiod users
The health department also provides methadone on demand and buprenorphine, a medication that helps people fight opioid addiction, Kagan said.
Also of note, San Francisco handed out a record 5.8 million free syringes last year '-- about 500,000 more than in 2017. ''We picked up a lot more needles,'' she said.
The city spends $1.8 million a year on needle cleanup.
Of those half a million needles last year, Kagan said that 300,000 were dropped off at kiosks or picked up by cleanup teams and 200,000 were dropped off at city-sanctioned syringe exchange sites.
''We are really glad to see that the numbers of needles being disposed is rising, both in terms of needles being returned to syringe access sites and the numbers being thrown out in kiosks and picked up by our street teams," Kagan said. "All of these efforts are making a difference, and we hear from people that the streets are looking better.''
Outbreak Of Flea-Borne Diseases Typhus: Los Angeles Descends Into Third World Hellscape
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 14:10
Residents and officials in the city of Los Angeles, California are horrified that their city has descended into a third world hellscape of poverty and disease. The typhus outbreak raging through the city is a flea-borne disease often reserved for socialist and poverty-stricken dystopias such as Venezuela.
But that's modern Los Angeles. Typhus is spread by fleas hitching a ride on rats. While the general population struggles under the weight of the government (local, state, and federal in LA's case) and the homeless population continues to climb up, the same cannot be said for the rats that carry fleas the cause typhus. The rat population in LA is doing just fine, however, as piles of garbage dot the cityscape, making it Thanksgiving Day every day for the city's fat, happy rodents, wrote the American Thinker.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's website, Murine typhus, is also called endemic typhus or flea-borne typhus, is a disease caused by a bacteria called Rickettsia typhi and it is spread to people through contact with infected fleas. People will get sick with murine typhus when infected flea feces are rubbed into cuts or scrapes in the skin. In most areas of the world, rats are the main animal host for fleas infected with murine typhus. Murine typhus occurs in tropical and subtropical climates around the world where rats and their fleas live. Yet now, it seems that the disease is taking over and spreading, along with Hepatitis A, through Los Angeles thanks to the socialist policies that enrich the political elite and enslave and impoverish everyone else.
Los Angeles Crime Is Out Of Control: 'The Current Sheriff Is Hiding Statistics'... Murders Up 56%'... Property Crime Through The Ceiling'
The city is spinning rapidly out of control. As people struggle to make ends meet and carry the tax burden of a city, state, and federal government hellbent on overspending, the area continues to descend into a third world hellscape. Sadly, the return of a disease thought left behind in the Medieval Times such as typhus is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to problems in Los Angeles. For months, county health officials attempted to say that typhus only really affects the burgeoning homeless population. However, Deputy City Attorney Liz Greenwood, a veteran prosecutor, told NBC4 she was diagnosed with typhus in November, after experiencing high fevers and excruciating headaches.
''It felt like somebody was driving railroad stakes through my eyes and out the back of my neck,'' Greenwood told the I-Team. ''Who gets typhus? It's a medieval disease that's caused by trash.'' Everyone in LA can now apparently get typhus thanks to the very left-leaning policies they've allowed.
Responding to complaints from other city workers fearful of getting typhus, the city fumigated the Los Angeles Police Department's Central Division office, as well as parts of LAPD's main headquarters, NBC4 said. The deputy city attorney reportedly said she will not go back to work at City Hall East until they also fumigate that building, too.
Yet that's all just treating the symptoms of the problem. The city is spending money they don't have to fumigate buildings the paid for with stolen money (taxing the residents) and looking to constantly raise taxes to ''help'' get rid of typhus. But that disease will eradicate itself when people aren't forced to share living spaces with rats that carry infected fleas. This is all just a symptom of the major disease communism that's swiftly sweeping its way through big cities in the United States. No amount of taxation or theft will fix this. In fact, a lot less of that will have an immense impact.
''Government anti-poverty programs are a classic case of the therapeutic state setting out to treat disorders created by the state itself.'' ''The Foundation For Economic Education
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Former Reporter at Sweden's Aftonbladet Arrested with Massive Flash Powder Bomb in Hotel Room
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:24
Former Reporter at Sweden's Aftonbladet Arrested with Massive Flash Powder Bomb in Hotel Room by Jim Hoft February 3, 2019Guest post by Peter Imanuelsen, more commonly known as PeterSweden
A young couple were arrested this Friday by Swedish police after being found in possession of a powerful bomb at a hotel in the Stockholm area.
Police were first called to the scene after having received a call about a woman being assaulted. However things took an unexpected turn as police found a bag containing the bomb inside the hotel room.
The newspaper Expressen reports that according to a source, the explosive device was a flash powder bomb, saying ''If it had gone off, at least three nearby people would have been pulverized.''
According to the news site Document, the female suspect is 26 year old Elife Demir. She has previously worked as an intern for Aftonbladet, one of Sweden's largest newspapers and in addition she has worked for several other news publications.
She has posted on her Facebook that she lives in the Norwegian city of …lesund, but according to her Facebook page she has studied at Malm¶ university and Uppsala university in Sweden. The website Pettersons Blogg writes that she is of Kurdish origin, and she can be seen posing with the Kurdistan flag. Elife Demir has previously been fined for being in possession of cannabis.
The male suspect in this case has previously been convicted several times, including drug charges, illegally in possession of carrying a knife, and threatening police officers with a knife.
Both the male and female suspects are now arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of ''serious public destruction''. In addition the man is also in suspicion of weapons offences, and the female for drug offences. The female, Elife Demir denies any responsibility.
Police are currently investigating to find possible motives, including investigating possible terrorist links. However the security services are not involved according to Nina Odermalm Schei, communication chief at the security services.
Maleisi: 'Geen bewijs dat Rusland schuldig is aan neerhalen MH17' | Binnenland |
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 15:06
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No public details on crashed Lion Air voice recorder until final report: Indonesian official | Reuters
Thu, 07 Feb 2019 16:01
A member of Indonesia's Navy Kopaska holds a cockpit voice recorder (CVR) of a Lion Air JT610 that crashed into Tanjung Karawang sea, on the deck of Indonesia's Navy ship KRI Spica-934 at Karawang sea in West Java, Indonesia, January 14, 2019 in this photo taken by Antara Foto. Antara Foto/Aprillio Akbar/ via REUTERS
JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesian authorities do not plan to provide a public update on the contents of a cockpit voice recorder from a Lion Air jet that crashed, killing 189 people, until a final report is released in August or September, an official said on Tuesday.
The Oct. 29 crash, which killed all those on board, was the world's first of a Boeing Co 737 MAX jet and the deadliest of 2018.
The contents of the jet's second black box, which were recovered from the Java Sea north of the capital, Jakarta, on Jan. 14, could provide a detailed account of the last actions of the pilots.
The recording needs to be filtered first due to ''background sounds'' hindering the transcription, said Soerjanto Tjahjono, the chief of the transportation safety committee (KNKT).
''It might take one or two weeks because it was noisy inside (the cockpit),'' he told Reuters. The transcription would not be made public until KNKT's final report is released ''between August to September'', he said.
Under international rules, a final crash report is due within 12 months if that is possible.
Contact with flight JT610 was lost 13 minutes after it took off from Jakarta, heading north to the tin-mining town of Pangkal Pinang.
The preliminary report released by KNKT in November focused on airline maintenance and training, as well as the response of a Boeing anti-stall system and a recently replaced sensor, but did not give a cause for the crash.
Lion Air has faced scrutiny over its maintenance and training standards since the crash. Relatives of victims have filed at least three lawsuits against Boeing.
Reporting by Tabita Diela; Writing by Fanny Potkin; Editing by Jamie Freed and Paul Tait
VIDEO - CNN on Twitter: "Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren apologizes for calling herself ''American Indian'': ''There really is an important distinction of tribal citizenship. I am not a member of the tribe and I have apologized for not being more sens
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 21:37
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VIDEO - Beto O'Rourke Will Decide on a Presidential Run By End of the Month
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 18:50
During "Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations from Times Square" live event, Beto O'Rourke confirms that he will decide on a presidential run "before the end of this month." Plus, Oprah shares her own decision-making process.
Tune in to the primetime special on Saturday, February 16, at 8/7c'--only on OWN.
Plus, check out Oprah's podcast: Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations
VIDEO - NBC Asks Ocasio-Cortez: Could Socialism Be 'Winning Message' for Dems?
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 17:09
Following NBC's hostile coverage of President Trump's State of the Union address and fawning over a ''strong'' Democratic response from Stacey Abrams Tuesday night, the network decided to get reaction from the far left as it invited on socialist New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for a softball chat about her radical views.
The leftist lawmaker was treated to a gushing introduction from NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt: ''Alexandria Oasio-Cortez was elected to the House from New York last November, just weeks after her 29th birthday. She's a progressive Democrat, a favorite target of conservatives, and already so well known she can go by just her initials, AOC.''
Moments later, Today show co-host Savannah Guthrie noted how the President called out socialism during the speech:
Guthrie followed up by talking campaign strategy with the Congresswoman: ''Do you think socialism would be a winning message or a winning position in 2020 for Democrats?''
Ocasio-Cortez seized the chance to double down on her extreme views, demanding ''Medicare-for-all'' and a ''70% marginal tax rate.'' Rather than jump in to challenge any of the radical ideas, Guthrie simply wrapped up the exchange by thanking the New York representative for her time.
In addition to the official Democratic response from Abrams to Trump's speech, NBC provided viewers with the socialist response as well. The segment might as well have been a speech given the softball, open-ended questions posed by Holt and Guthrie.
Here is a full transcript of the February 5 interview during NBC's live special coverage of the State of the Union:
10:51 PM ET
LESTER HOLT: Alexandria Oasio-Cortez was elected to the House from New York last November, just weeks after her 29th birthday. She's a progressive Democrat, a favorite target of conservatives, and already so well known she can go by just her initials, AOC. And she joins us from Capitol Hill. Congresswoman, good evening. Thank you for joining us.
REP. ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ [D-NY]: Good evening, thank you so much for having me.
HOLT: The President laid out a lot there, but in the early part of his speech, he talked about governing not as two parties, but one nation. The sense of embracing compromise. Did you hear things you didn't expect to hear that might make you think there's room to work with this president and the rest of this Congress?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I will say most of the speech was pretty disappointing, but there were moments, I do think that the nod to criminal justice reform is one '' one avenue where we can really come together and advance our common '' our common cause. I also think that there is a great possibility for us to build and create jobs with mass infrastructure investments. How we make that investment, I think, is obviously up for debate and it's a major point of debate, but I think those two issues are very strong ones for us to come together on.
HOLT: He also made points about investigations and suggesting that some of the '' I think he called them ''partisan investigations'' '' get in the way of growing our economy. How did you react to that?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I thought it was, frankly, kind of bizarre. I don't think that investigations into federal misconduct have anything to do with our economy. And, I mean, the fact of the matter is, 3,000 Americans died in a dysfunctional and irresponsible response to Hurricane Maria. We have had children die in DHS custody. We have had the, you know, mass violation of human rights in separating children from their parents. And I think that the desire to not investigate that is a partisan request. In any administration, no matter what party the president is from, if such dysfunction happened, congress would have a requirement to really investigate those things. And without doing so, we'd be abdicating our responsibility.
SAVANNAH GUTHRIE: Congresswoman, before I let you go, there was a moment, a couple moments in the speech, actually, where the President talked about socialism. He started talking about what's happening, of course, in Venezuela, but then he said, ''Here in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country.'' You, of course, have identified yourself as a Democratic socialist. Do you think he was talking to you?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: I mean, I think that there's certainly a major coincidence, if not, you know, if that's not the least of it, with me and several others coming in, in this Congress, and him choosing to send that message in this State of the Union. But I think ultimately, what we see is that the vast, vast majority of Americans believe that you should be able to feed your family on 40 hours a week and we believe that health care is a right. We believe that work should be dignified and we believe that all people should be accepted regardless of their race, gender, or ethnicity.
GUTHRIE: Do you think socialism would be a winning message or a winning position in 2020 for Democrats?
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Well, I think at the end of the day, it's not about an ''ism'' and I think that that's exactly what the president is trying to do. He's trying to mischaracterize, frame, associate, because our policies are so popular. Because we advance and fight for improved and expanded Medicare-for-all, which has a 70% approval rating in the American public. It's because we believe in at least a $15 minimum wage. It's because we believe in the labor movement. We believe in the unionization of workers. We believe in '' we believe in an agenda, including a 70% marginal tax rate, which now even a very large percentage of Republicans have been approving of.
And so, I think what he's seeing is he's losing the war on the issues and so he's gonna to try to go ad hominem, try to call names, he's gonna try to distract, and we're not gonna let him do it, we're gonna stay focused on our message and our cause.
GUTHRIE: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, freshman congresswoman from New York. Thank you for your time, we really appreciate it.
OCASIO-CORTEZ: Of course, thank you so much.
VIDEO - '–¶ JCD is too loud by HiroProtagonist
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VIDEO - CBS Evening News on Twitter: "CBS NEWS POLL: 76 percent of viewers approved of what they heard in Pres. Trump's #SOTU speech; 72 percent said they approved of Pres. Trump's ideas for immigration.'..."
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 15:19
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VIDEO - This Is NOT GOOD! Trudeau Announces Plan To ''SAFEGUARD'' Election From "Fake News"! - YouTube
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 13:41
VIDEO - Ryan Saavedra on Twitter: "CNN's Van Jones on Trump's State of the Union address: "A psychotically incoherent speech mixing cookies with dog poop." This is CNN.'..."
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 04:40
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VIDEO - Patreon Is Falling Apart, Is Unsustainable Says CEO - YouTube
Wed, 06 Feb 2019 03:57
VIDEO - Can you trust anonymous sources in journalism? | Jill Abramson - YouTube
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 18:19
VIDEO - Military exercise causes scare in downtown Los Angeles
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 14:05
Monday, February 04, 2019 11:23PM
Military helicopters were seen flying in formation around downtown Los Angeles and explosions were reported in the area that were all part of an exercise.
DOWNTOWN LOS ANGELES - Military helicopters were seen flying in formation around downtown Los Angeles and explosions were reported in the area that were all part of an exercise.
The choppers and explosions caused many people to head to social media, scared about what they were seeing outside.
Many people also tweeted that they saw the exercise in Silver Lake.One helicopter even landed in the middle of Wilshire Boulevard and soldiers were seen rappelling out of the aircrafts onto rooftops.
Authorities urge there was no cause for alarm and that the Special Forces exercises will continue for the next several nights. (Copyright (C)2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.)
VIDEO - Tucker Carlson talks with Glenn Greenwald on his uncovering the NBC smear of Tulsi Gabbard - YouTube
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:51
VIDEO - Sandy Hook Lawsuit: Jim Fetzer testimony - YouTube
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:45
VIDEO - Doctor Tells Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez He Agrees With Trump's Plan - YouTube
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:34
VIDEO - Britain's First Court Case Against 5G '-- And The People Won | Humans Are Free
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:21
Mark Steele, a 5G campaigner, has been highlighting the dangers of a secret 5G rollout by Gateshead Council where residents are complaining...
Mark Steele, a 5G campaigner, has been highlighting the dangers of a secret 5G rollout by Gateshead Council where residents are complaining of increased illness and Cancer in the affected area. There's enough evidence to conclude the new smart 5G arrays on the top of new LED lampposts emit Class 1 Radiation frequencies and should be treated as a danger to the Public.
Gateshead Council ignorantly rebutted clear evidence and created false allegations on social media posts and printed leaflets stating that Mark Steele is spreading Pseudo Science and that the arrays are not dangerous or 5G:
''Please be assured that there is no scientific basis or credible evidence for any of these scare stories about street lights causing cancer and other illnesses.''
They misused Police Powers to gag Mark Steele and yesterday he left a free man and Gateshead Council to fork out £11k of taxpayers money to cover the court cost amounting to woeful ignorance.
In Court, none of the Council Officers could explain what 5G is; and their leading Government expert refused to attend the Court hearing. In conclusion, the Judge refused to gag Mark, stating:
''The public have a right to know.''
PLEASE USE THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION REQUEST TEMPLATE TO LAWFULLY CHALLENGE YOUR COUNCIL ABOUT 5G AND SMART CITIES: The secret 5G rollout issue in Gateshead is now officially of public interest and will be treated as a landmark case for other people to start using this Court's ruling to challenge their Councils.
We know Surrey, Westminster and Luton all have these toxic Microwave EMF arrays installed on their new LED streetlights. We now know even if these arrays are currently 2G, 3G or 4G they can be 5G enabled by fitting a 'lens' that 'focuses' the frequency.
The Judge declared Mark Steele as a credible expert and engineer on EMF and GSM technologies, which proves Gateshead Council are liable for corruption, misleading the public, making people ill and attempting to discredit Mark Steele and all others such as Smombie Gate fighting 5G rollouts.
Councils are struggling at the moment, over 50% are almost bankrupt because over half of their resources are being spent on the increase of Adult Social Care, so any supplier proposal with the promise of more revenue is irresistible.
Smart City companies are going into Councils with amazing futuristic presentations detailing the first step, which is to install the 5G infrastructure, i.e. the lampposts on streets and motorways.
The benefits will be 24/7 Police surveillance that sees through walls; smart road signs; 4k live streaming on the move; driverless vehicles and public transport; mobile virtual reality; mobile augmented reality; and a fast connection for Elon Musk's new brain implant called the Neuralink giving people the Internet inside their mind.
All these features are all a wet dream for Councils who will be the first ones to become Smart Counties because they will be able to increase taxes and the local economy in theory will thrive.
In reality, scientific evidence is mounting across the planet that EMF, RF, 3G, 4G, 5G, WiFI and WiGIG is causing Cancer, killing bees, driving out wildlife and lowering peoples quality of life.
All because big business says it's good for the people, and they're continuing to mislead us all of the dangers of continuous use in close proximity and on the skin, let alone what 5G really is, which is an effective battlefield weapon.
We know that Gateshead isn't the only Council who is misleading the public on the 5G rollout and it's seemingly been going on for a few years.
Luton, Surrey and Westminster are next along with all Councils that have installed these arrays that are being installed by particular companies (we'll leave you to do your own work on how you think these companies are!).
Who is paying for these 5G rollouts? Who's given consent on behalf of the People? Who has done research to prove the new infrastructure's safety?
As usual, these important issues are being rubbished by the media and beneficiaries to big business. But they'll soon see our wrath, as we now this ruling.
All Hell is going to break loose in Great Britain and we're going to take the fight to them. We will NOT be silenced, and you will not wilfully poison our bodies and our families bodies with Class 1 radiation '' WE DO NOT CONSENT.
Mark Steele of has made this a big part of his life. It's people like Mark and all of you who get involved that make a difference to our lives.
Please spread the word and get in touch with us if you want any advice in how to approach your Council. We're going to be producing a simple Template Pack you can send to your Councils very soon.
The 6 links below are enough proof to convince anyone what's going on around us without our consent.
1. See the video proof of Gateshead's toxic 5G signals:
2. 18 new scientific studies at
3. 3D mapping using WIFI and 5G at THIS LINK.
4. Midlands 5G rollout plans at THIS LINK.
5. Leaked corporate presentation about the dangers of 5G masts, ''In countries with EMF limits significantly below the international science-based ICNIRP limits the roll-out of 5G networks will be a major problem.'': HERE.
6. Elon Musk's '5G Umbrella' that's planned for Earth's atmosphere without our consent: HERE.
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VIDEO - Ben Herbstreit on Twitter: "@adamcurry @THErealDVORAK forged in intelligence you say? The truth always wants to come out!'... "
Tue, 05 Feb 2019 13:08
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VIDEO - The Wendy Williams Video That Was BLOCKED WORLDWIDE (Wendy Williams Just Joined a Secret Club) - YouTube
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VIDEO - Sen. Richard Shelby: Testimony From Border "Experts" This Week Could Get Us Off Politics And Onto To Substance | Video | RealClearPolitics
Mon, 04 Feb 2019 03:44
Sen. Richard Shelby, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee joined CNN's Jake Tapper Sunday morning to discuss the fight in Congress over border security appropriations and immigration reform. He appeared hopeful that testimony this week from border security "experts" could "move us off the dime.""I think we have got to listen to the experts," Shelby said. "We have got to listen to the people who do it every day, that know what the challenge is, because we do -- Jake, we do have problems with our borders. We have not secured our borders. The president is absolutely right there."
"It's a question, how do we get off the politics and to the substance? If we can do that, we will get the job done," he added.
SEN. RICHARD SHELBY: I think that the president is dead set on keeping his campaign promise.I support border security, a wall, a fence, a barrier, whatever it takes. I also support enhanced procedures, tech -- technology, and more manpower. We have got to have a comprehensive approach to this.
I believe that we have got a chance this week to move things. Will we? We don't know. The president could be right. We could be wasting our time.
On the other hand, we could come up to a solution. But, as long -- Jake, as long as the speaker and the president are way at odds, the chances of us reaching an agreement are slim. But it could happen.
As a matter of fact, later this week, coming up, we have asked the professionals, the people who do the work, that know something about the border, know what they need, do they need a wall? Do they need a fence? Do they need more technology? Do they need it all?
We're going to have them up before the appropriations conference committee, and we're going to find out what they want. I think it's not what I need or what the speaker needs or even the president needs. It's what we need to secure our borders.
And if we get this information from the experts, it could move us off the dime.
JAKE TAPPER: Well, what if they say that they are fine with steel slats, barriers, but that they don't need a concrete wall?
And then that's something that I -- it sounds like the conference committee could agree to, even Nancy Pelosi could agree to, the speaker of the House.
But President Trump, it really just -- it matters whether or not he finds it acceptable, if he demands a concrete wall or border. But you're saying you will defer to the Customs and Border Patrol people?
SHELBY: Well, I think it's what you call it. The president calls it a wall. Sometimes, we call it a fence, sometimes a barrier.
But the president, I think, has already spoken out and said he's not talking about a concrete wall, 1,500 miles and so forth. I think he's been talking about steel barriers and slat -- slats and stuff like that.
But I think we have got to listen to the experts. We have got to listen to the people who do it every day, that know what the challenge is, because we do -- Jake, we do have problems with our borders. We have not secured our borders. The president is absolutely right there.
It's a question, how do we get off the politics and to the substance? If we can do that, we will get the job done. That's what I'm working to do to go to yes.

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