Moodys Upgrades Royal Caribbean Rating

first_imgMoody’s rating agency has upgraded Royal Caribbean Cruises’ senior unsecured rating to Baa2 from Baa3, and assigned a P-2 rating to the company’s planned USD 1.15 billion commercial paper program.The rating agency added that the company’s rating outlook is stable.“The upgrade to Baa2 reflects Moody’s expectation that Royal Caribbean will benefit from strong booking trends, increased onboard spending and the introduction of new ships which will enable the company to maintain leverage below 3.5x,” Pete Trombetta, Moody’s lead lodging and cruise analyst, said.“The upgrade also reflects the company’s improved liquidity position, including reduced outstandings under its committed revolving credit facilities,” Trombetta added.The P-2 commercial paper rating reflects RCL’s adequate liquidity, supported by its strong free cash flow generation which is sufficient to cover debt maturities over the next 24 months.Constraining the company’s liquidity profile is the large cash outflows related to new ship deliveries which cause spikes in capital expenditures throughout the year.RCL also has a USD 1.4 billion revolver due 2020 and a USD 1.2 billion revolver due in 2022; combined outstandings of about USD 700 million at March 31, 2018.The revolvers do not require a material adverse change representation at borrowing, but do contain financial covenants which are expected to maintain ample headroom, Moody’s concluded.last_img read more

NFB gets new home in Torontos Entertainment District at 145 Wellington Street

first_imgAdvertisement Recent successes from the Ontario Studio include Stories We Tell, directed by Sarah Polley, and the multi-year HIGHRISE digital project, directed by Katerina Cizek―two of the most highly acclaimed works in NFB history―as well as powerful new releases like Tiffany Hsiung’s breakthrough feature doc, The Apology. Upcoming from the studio are major releases like Charles Officer’s Unarmed Verses and Attiya Khan and Larry Jackman’s A Better Man.The Ontario Studio is also the new space for the NFB’s Canadian Francophonie Studio (Studio de la Francophonie canadienne), headed by Dominic Desjardins, which produces French-language works from Ontario and the West that serve a vital need in supporting and strengthening Canada’s French-language communities.Also moving to the new space will be members of the NFB’s education, audience development, communications and marketing teams.The Ontario Studio has been located at 150 John Street since 1991, and its move to nearby 145 Wellington Street West is intended to keep the NFB in the Toronto’s key cultural district, close to creators, co-producers and partners. Login/Register With: LEAVE A REPLY Cancel replyLog in to leave a comment Advertisement Facebook On December 12, the National Film Board of Canada’s award-winning Ontario Studio in Toronto is moving to a new home in the Entertainment District, at 145 Wellington Street West, Suite 1010. The NFB is making the move to a custom-designed space that meets its changing needs for film and interactive media creation, with six digital editing suites, a 20-seat screening room and a virtual reality lab, all designed to create world-class audiovisual works in the heart of Toronto.Headed by executive producer Anita Lee, with producers Lea Marin, David Oppenheim and Justine Pimlott, the Ontario Studio works closely with creators and partners in Toronto and across the province, the country and the world, to produce film and digital works that explore vital issues and break new ground in form and content. The NFB’s Toronto office is also the base for its new Director General of Creation and Innovation, René Bourdages, responsible for the NFB’s long-term programming vision, working with NFB studios across Canada. Twitter Advertisementlast_img read more

Hudsons Hope RCMP publishes policing report for May

first_imgHUDSON’S HOPE, B.C. — Cst. William McKenna with the Hudson’s Hope RCMP has published a policing report which says that police responded to approximately 32 calls for service over the last four weeks. During the month of April, the Hudson’s Hope RCMP issued 58 Motor Vehicle Act Warnings and Violation Tickets. One impaired driver was stopped and charged during this period.   Four check stops were conducted in an effort to combat impaired driving. Cst. McKenna said that the Hudson’s Hope Speed Watch program is progressing and expected to implemented in the next few weeks, and that the detachment is still welcoming volunteers to help with the program. The Hudson’s Hope RCMP was assisted by officers from Fort St John, Chetwynd, and North Peace Traffic Services during an enforcement campaign over the May long weekend. Extra police presence on the highway, on ATVs, and on the water was focused in historically busy areas in an effort to prevent offences and injuries to outdoor enthusiasts.The Hudson’s Hope RCMP Positive Ticketing program has begun and will continue until fall.  Several youths have been “caught in the act” being safe or acting in a positive way such as wearing a bike helmet, using a crosswalk to safely cross the road, or wearing a seatbelt. When officers witness this, the youth can be issued a free ice cream positive ticket. Cst. McKenna extended a big thank you to Belinda Karlin and the staff at Marg’s Mini Mart for partnering with the local RCMP in promoting safety and positivity in our community.  On April 24th, officers responded to a complaint of a shoplifting theft from the Sportsman Inn Liquor store. The suspect was described as a First Nations woman, approximately 20-30 years old, standing 5’5” tall, with a stocky build. She had bleached hair with an orange tint. Anyone with information can contact the RCMP locally or Crime stoppers.   On May 20th, the Hudson’s Hope RCMP were called out to a home on Twelve Mile road for a possible domestic assault. A man was arrested and lodged in cells for a few hours to sober up and was released later in the day.  The file is still being monitored.  On May 20th, the RCMP located a vehicle parked at a local business with expired insurance.  The driver eventually returned to the vehicle and was issued seven violation tickets for multiple infractions. The vehicle was also towed.  Anyone with information regarding current or past investigations can contact the Hudson’s Hope RCMP directly at 250-783-5241 or anonymously through Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477. Visit http://crimestoppersnebc.ca/  for advice on submitting tips online and to browse the area’s “most wanted” page.last_img read more

Atishi moves EC for second time seeks FIR against Gambhir

first_imgNEW DELHI: AAP’s East Delhi candidate Atishi again wrote to the Election Commission on Monday seeking registration of FIR against her BJP rival Gautam Gambhir over violation of Model Code of Conduct by distributing pamphlets without details such as printer’s name. She has also challenged Gambhir for an open debate on five points which are on the development of East Delhi.”What has BJP done for the East Delhi and they should also say their work on women safety,” said Atishi describing the first two points out of the five points. She also asked BJP to talk about their performance of the affordable housing scheme in East Delhi. “I want to ask Gambhir to please tell us why BJP did not work to stop sealing because traders were highly affected. Lastly, I want to ask him what did BJP do to stop garbage dumping at Ghazipur landfill site,” Also Read – Odd-Even: CM seeks transport dept’s views on exemption to women, two wheelers, CNG vehiclesasked Atishi. Last week, Atishi began facing diatribes allegedly involving her religion after she restored her surname Marlena in her affidavit and nomination paper to the Election Commission. She had dropped her surname last year, fearing its misuse by political adversaries. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia came to the rescue of the AAP candidate amid the latest onslaught on her by former Okhla Congress MLA Asif Khan, who, in a message on social media, has been allegedly dubbing Atishi as a Jew and asking Muslims not to vote for her. “I am sad that the BJP and Congress together are spreading lies about the religion of our East Delhi candidate,” said Manish Sisodia in a tweet. On Sunday, Atishi had written to the EC seeking a 72-hour ban on campaigning for violating the model code of conduct for holding a rally without permission. On Monday, Atishi again wrote to the EC, saying he is distributing pamphlets without details such as printer’s name which is a violation of the model code of conduct.last_img read more

Patrick Mahomes And The Chiefs Are RedHot For Once They Might Stay

2Tom Brady20113471.694010.271510 5Phil Simms19842966.059410.270477 CLE1.91.4NYJ22.48.09.41378 NYJ61NYJ61MIA 20, NYJ 12-1.2– HOU7.63.6NYG4.52.86.41386 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality The best two-game QB starts to a season since 1970Most yards above backup quarterback (YABQ) for passers in the first two games of an NFL season, 1970-2018 KC85.05.1SF28.37.112.21542 DAL41.912.3SEA25.810.222.51523 LAR74LAR82LAR 34, ARI 0+1.9– PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS MIN60MIN56GB 29, MIN 29+0.0 QuarterbackYEARAgeComp%Pass YDSNet Y/ATDIntYABQ IND17.44.7PHI75.05.810.41522 Age is as of Dec. 31 of the season in question.Source: Pro-Football-Reference.com GB30.411.5WSH20.78.620.21473 ARI8.44.5CHI23.810.014.51445 CIN50BAL55CIN 34, BAL 23-7.7– DEN63DEN63DEN 20, OAK 19-2.2– OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION And unlike the names above him on the list, each of whom were seasoned veterans, Mahomes is just 23 this season1And his first two games came before he actually turned 23 on Sept. 17. — and he had just one game started under his belt before this season. Although he probably won’t stay on this record-breaking pace all season, Mahomes’s early career performance doesn’t look like a fluke. Since 1970, only two QBs (Hall of Famer Kurt Warner and Pro Bowler Jeff Blake) had more YABQ through their first three NFL games as a primary passer2Meaning he led the team in dropbacks — i.e., pass attempts plus sacks — in a game. than Mahomes. Of course, not every hot three-game start presaged a path to Canton; for every Warner or Dan Marino near the top of the list, there’s also Eric Hipple, Scott Mitchell and Ty Detmer. But even if Mahomes’s career develops more like that of, say, Daunte Culpepper — whose stats at the same age are strikingly similar to Mahomes’s 16-game pace over his career to date — it would surely validate the Chiefs’ decision to jettison successful longtime starter Alex Smith in favor of his rifle-armed young successor.We can already see how the Chiefs’ offense has changed with Mahomes at the helm. According to ESPN’s Stats & Info Group, his air yards per pass — which measures the distance the ball traveled downfield before being caught (or hitting the ground) — is 11.5 this season, which ranks first among all qualified passers. Smith’s number last season was 7.4, which ranked 23rd. Mahomes has faced more blitzes (and more pressure in general) than Smith, but he’s handled the heat much more capably — his Raw Total Quarterback Rating against pressure has been 74.0 (the league average is about 50 on all passes and 20 versus pressure), compared with Smith’s 31.3 mark last year. And for a team that went an entire season without a TD pass to a wide receiver a few years ago, Kansas City now ranks third in touchdown passes to receivers and eighth in passing yards to wideouts, with Tyreek Hill on track to surpass his 1,183 receiving yards from a year ago.Kansas City is hoping this newfound offensive attack can prevent another midseason letdown like the one the team suffered last year. The 2017 Chiefs also got off to a blazing start, winning their first five games behind a dominating offense. Then they promptly lost six of seven at midseason to bring their record to 6-6, requiring a four-game end-of-season winning streak just to make the playoffs. That wasn’t exactly rare for K.C. under Andy Reid: The Chiefs finished the 2014 season on a 2-4 stretch after starting 7-3, and they went 2-5 down the stretch in 2013 after a 9-0 start. So Chiefs fans would be forgiven for tempering their optimism at the moment. But the versatility of this year’s attack — made possible in part by Mahomes’s unique arm strength and comfort level in a spread system — might be the missing ingredient that makes this hot start more sustainable than the ones that fizzled in years past.In light of all this Mahomes mania, the 49ers are an especially interesting foil for the Chiefs this weekend. Niners starter Jimmy Garoppolo captured the NFL’s attention late last season with a five-game run that rivaled what Mahomes has done thus far. (Jimmy G. averaged 131.4 YABQ per game in his best two starts of that stretch, compared with Mahomes’s 243.9 per game this season.) But Garoppolo’s 2018 also illustrates the reversion that is sure to come for Mahomes sooner or later: San Francisco’s highly paid QB has seen his QBR drop from 82.7 in 2017 to 22.7 this season. He’ll almost certainly improve on that in the near future — perhaps substantially so against a K.C. defense that currently ranks a distant last in the NFL in defensive expected points added. But Mahomes can learn from his counterpart how quickly a QB can go from acclaim to adversity once opposing defenses study enough of his tape.Until then, though, Mahomes and the Chiefs are riding high, with the league’s best projected record and playoff chances according to our model, plus a status as co-Super Bowl favorites (with the Eagles). It’s hard to imagine a better way for a young QB to begin his career as an NFL starter.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersIn addition to our NFL Elo prediction interactive, which updates after every game to help you keep tabs on how your team stacks up, we’re also running a prediction game in which you make picks against our model (and your fellow readers). After the dust settles each week, we like to look at where Elo made its best — and worst — picks against the field. Here’s how it did in Week 2: The Chiefs have certainly seen a boost in our ratings with this hot start. Before the season, they ranked seventh in the league, and it wasn’t clear that K.C. was even the best team in its own division. But since the start of the season, Kansas City has risen to third in Elo, adding the third-most rating points of any team in the league (behind only the Buccaneers and Bengals).Mahomes has been leading the Chiefs’ charge. Going into the season, we noted that he would have a ton of weapons to work with in the Chief offense, and that his starting career could get off the ground quickly if he reined in his occasional “gunslinger” tendencies. Two weeks in, it’s worked out almost perfectly. Mahomes is making great decisions with the ball and has thrown plenty of absolute darts downfield. Since the 1970 AFL merger, only three QBs — Peyton Manning in 2013, Tom Brady in 2011 and, yes, Ryan Fitzpatrick this season — have produced more yards above backup QB (YABQ) through the first two games of a season than Mahomes has so far this year: BUF11.54.5MIN73.77.311.91525 3Peyton Manning20133767.17698.590501 Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are officially the toast of the 2018 NFL season so far, after K.C.’s young quarterback threw an incredible six touchdown passes against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday, bringing his season tally to 10 — and the Chiefs’ record to 2-0.It’s only been two weeks, but the reviews for Mahomes have been nothing short of breathless. The latest opponent that will have to weather the Kansas City onslaught will be the San Francisco 49ers, who travel to Arrowhead on Sunday afternoon. Although the game doesn’t figure to alter the playoff odds too much — according to our NFL Elo predictions — it’s an intriguing showdown that ranks fourth-best of Week 3 in terms of our measure of matchup quality (which uses the harmonic mean of the two teams’ Elo ratings): 10Dan Fouts19813074.064612.541414 DAL76DAL58DAL 20, NYG 13-15.1– PIT58PIT51KC 42, PIT 37+4.9– ATL62ATL58ATL 31, CAR 24-5.2– LAC47.010.6LAR68.19.219.81561 9Steve Young19983760.36667.961415 PHI63PHI67TB 27, PHI 21-7.6– MIA48.411.3OAK8.05.216.51463 JAX75.311.6TEN30.512.323.91529 CAR42.610.9CIN56.610.721.61538 1Ryan Fitzpatrick20183678.7%81912.981585 SF58SF62SF 30, DET 27+1.2– DET12.35.7NE72.09.415.01539 BUF53%LAC69%LAC 31, BUF 20+15.7– 8Lynn Dickey19833480.462310.681423 4Patrick Mahomes20182369.158210.1100488 WSH75WSH68IND 21, WSH 9+8.4– The best matchups of Week 3Week 3 games with the highest average Elo rating, using the harmonic mean, plus the total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions 6Joe Namath19722947.660913.472466 ATL62.6%+/-13.8NO29.8%+/-12.526.31578 Playoff %Playoff % NE56NE58JAX 31, NE 20-5.1– 7Drew Bledsoe19972564.16079.280428 NO85NO81NO 21, CLE 18-4.0– PIT39.911.7TB52.011.823.51548 BAL44.111.7DEN32.410.722.41503 Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. SEA54CHI52CHI 24, SEA 17+3.9– Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup.*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com TEN70HOU51TEN 20, HOU 17-20.1– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 2Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 2 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game After a successful Week 1 performance against FiveThirtyEight readers, I expected Elo to tail off a bit in Week 2. But instead, it did even better! On average, Elo beat the typical reader by 32.2 total points in our game this past week, bringing its overall lead up to 60.5 points on the season. The readers cleaned up in the Bills-Chargers game, taking advantage of Elo’s reluctance to acknowledge that Buffalo is a pit of despair this season. But that was offset by Elo’s confidence in the Cowboys at home against the Giants, and the fact that its seemingly misguided faith in the Titans — who were starting Blaine Gabbert, one of the worst QBs in NFL history, instead of the injured Marcus Mariota — paid off.We’ll see if Elo’s run of luck continues next week. Either way, congrats to reader Alexandre Augusto da Rocha, who led all (identified) users in points for Week 2 — and as a result leads for the season as well. And thanks to everyone who played last week. If you didn’t play, remember that it’s not too late to get in on the game, even if you missed the first couple weeks of the season. Make your picks now!Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

The Saints Big Three Cant Be Stopped

SF0.20.1NYG0.10.10.21377 BAL54PIT52PIT 23, BAL 16+4.3– Elo’s dumbest (and smartest) picks of Week 9Average difference between points won by readers and by Elo in Week 9 matchups in FiveThirtyEight’s NFL prediction game 201311531125 WSH43.014.5TB5.94.118.61470 MIN68MIN69MIN 24, DET 9-0.9– 21976ColtsJones22Mitchell23Carr1820.8 The best matchups of Week 10Week 10 games by the highest average Elo rating (using the harmonic mean) plus the total potential swing for the two teams’ playoff chances, according to FiveThirtyEight’s NFL predictions 82000VikingsCulpepper21Smith18Moss1718.5 PICKWIN PROB.PICKWIN PROB.ResultREADERS’ NET PTS YearTeamPasserRusherReceiverTriplet Score 191995CowboysAikman15Smith20Irvin1917.7 DEN54HOU54HOU 19, DEN 17+6.0– 91982ChargersFouts22Muncie14Chandler2218.5 51961OilersBlanda22Cannon16Hennigan2119.3 KC84KC87KC 37, CLE 21-0.5– CHI54.715.4DET8.97.723.11507 14199349ersYoung23Watters14Rice2018.2 Game quality is the harmonic mean of the Elo ratings for the two teams in a given matchup.*Average change is weighted by the likelihood of a win or loss. (Ties are excluded.)Source: ESPN.com 31999ColtsManning18James21Harrison2019.6 122000RamsWarner15Faulk22Holt1918.2 152006ChargersRivers18Tomlinson26Gates1418.1 DAL66DAL64TEN 28, DAL 14+0.7– 162014PackersRodgers21Lacy16Nelson1818.1 20200049ersGarcia20Garner17Owens1617.5 The New Orleans Saints already looked like Super Bowl contenders at various times in the first half of this season. But after their 45-35 victory over the previously undefeated Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, the Saints have landed themselves squarely in the conversation of potential championship favorites. Certainly, no team is hotter as we survey the NFL at midseason: New Orleans has won seven straight, including triumphs over the Vikings, Falcons and Ravens. And for better or for worse, they’re doing it in classic Saints style — piling up a ton of points (and taking the occasional end-zone phone call) while simply hoping for the best on defense. Although this method might not ultimately result in the franchise’s second-ever Super Bowl title, it’s going to be damn entertaining to watch New Orleans try to score its way to the top of the NFL heap once again.Leading the way in the Saints’ offensive showcase is, of course, quarterback Drew Brees. Much has been said about how well Patriots QB Tom Brady has continued to play into his 40s, but Brees is only 17 months younger than Brady and has been just as good as ol’ Touchdown Tom was at the same age. Brees currently leads the NFL in passer rating and ranks fourth in Yards Above Backup QB (trailing only Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes, the Rams’ Jared Goff and Philip Rivers of the Chargers). All this without the benefit of drinking up to 38 glasses of water a day and sleeping in his own brand of recovery pajamas.Some of the pinpoint throws Brees made Sunday against L.A. demonstrated once again how little touch he has lost — if any — since ESPN’s “Sport Science” scrutinized the mechanical perfection behind his superhuman passing accuracy nearly 10 years ago. Led by that star-powered triumvirate, the Saints’ offense currently ranks seventh in the league in yards per game, second in points per game and second in offensive expected points added (EPA) per contest. (And it’s anybody’s guess how much higher it will soar with new WR pickup Dez Bryant on board.) But the Saints’ undoing might be their backslide on defense, where they’ve fallen from a surprising 16th in defensive EPA last season to 29th this year. In that regard, the 2018 Saints are like too many versions that had come before last season — great on offense but prone to making opposing offenses look great, too. MIA21.210.3GB12.46.116.41457 For Brees’s excellence this season, my ESPN colleague Bill Barnwell made the case that New Orleans’s QB — not Kansas City’s — should be the MVP front-runner at the midpoint of the schedule. But Brees isn’t doing it all alone. In fact, the Saints’ resurgence in recent seasons has been as much about quickly re-assembling elite talent around Brees as it has been about Brees defying Father Time.New Orleans rolled out one of the league’s all-time great rookie classes last year, headlined by running back Alvin Kamara. Sharing touches with veteran ball carrier Mark Ingram in a historic RB tandem, Kamara was tabbed for the Pro Bowl while racking up 1,554 yards from scrimmage and 13 total touchdowns. And with Ingram suspended for the Saints’ first four games this season, Kamara has been even better in an expanded role. His touches per game are up 61 percent, and he’s on track to generate more than 1,800 scrimmage yards with 24 total TDs. Not bad for a player in his first real season as an NFL feature back.1Upon returning, Ingram initially ate a bit into Kamara’s workload, but over the past three weeks, Kamara is averaging 20.7 touches per game. That’s actually higher than his seasonlong average (which includes a 31-touch outing against the Falcons in Week 3).Kamara has provided the kind of monster performance New Orleans needed to build on last season’s explosive offensive output. But Brees also has a mega-productive target at wide receiver who keeps getting better every year: Michael Thomas. Thomas cracked 1,100 yards through the air in each of his first two NFL seasons, scoring 14 total touchdowns — and this year he has reached an entirely new level of statistical achievement. Averaging an astounding 110.0 receiving yards per game, Thomas would rank 15th all-time in the category if he somehow kept it up over the season’s second half.(We should also mention that Thomas’s outrageous catch rate of 88.6 percent is currently the best ever in a season2Since 1992, the first year for the statistic in Pro-Football-Reference.com’s data. among players with at least 750 receiving yards, more than 11 percentage points higher than the next-best season. It’s a friendly reminder that Thomas is having one of the most impressive WR seasons ever.)If we crunch the numbers for the Saints’ Big Three in terms of Approximate Value (Pro-Football-Reference.com’s cross-position measure of single-season player value), we find that Brees is on pace for 20 AV, with Thomas also at 20 and Kamara at 18. Together, the harmonic mean3A special kind of average designed to amplify combinations in which all individual values are high — and penalize ones in which they aren’t. of those AV numbers — a metric I’ll call the “Triplet Score” — is 19.3, which would rank New Orleans’s group fourth-best among QB/RB/WR trios since 1960: SeasonWinsLossesOffenseDefensespecial Teams SF62SF55SF 34, OAK 3-7.3– WSH55WSH52ATL 38, WSH 14+1.5– 172000ColtsManning18James21Harrison1618.1 NYJ1.00.6BUF0.20.20.91388 Even though New Orleans has that shiny 7-1 record, its defensive deficiency is probably something coordinator Dennis Allen will have to iron out if the Saints are truly going to vie for the Super Bowl. Although several other contenders — most notably Kansas City — are in a similar all-offense/no-defense spot at midseason, it’s rare to see such a poor defensive squad hoist the Lombardi Trophy. Since 2006, only one champion (the 2006 Indianapolis Colts) ranked 29th or worse in defensive EPA per game.4The 2011 New York Giants were close: They ranked 24th in defensive EPA. Aside from those two, no other champ since 2006 ranked worse than 13th on defense. But with an average of 62.1 total points being scored in their games thus far, the Saints have certainly been involved in their share of popcorn-worthy shootouts.They’ll take that brand of high-scoring football to Cincinnati on Sunday to face the Bengals. And although the Saints have all but locked up their postseason fortunes, this still counts as one of the best games of the week by our combination of matchup quality (i.e., the harmonic mean of the teams’ Elo ratings in each game) and game importance (how likely it is to swing either team’s odds of making the playoffs). That’s mainly because the Bengals, sitting on the precipice of the postseason picture with a 54 percent chance of getting in, have more than a dozen points of probability to lose or gain, depending on the game’s outcome. 18199249ersYoung22Watters16Rice1718.0 OUR PREDICTION (ELO)READERS’ PREDICTION PIT81.2%+/-10.5CAR75.2%+/-10.120.51618 CAR76CAR73CAR 42, TB 28-3.4– 20167953022 Team ACurrentAvg. Chg*Team BCurrentAvg. Chg*Total ChangeGame Quality KC99.80.2ARI0.20.10.41520 PHI60.013.3DAL10.59.322.61548 MIA62MIA59MIA 13, NYJ 6-4.2– NO59LAR52NO 45, LAR 35-12.4– Home teams are in bold.The scoring system is nonlinear, so readers’ average points don’t necessarily match the number of points that would be given to the average reader prediction. JAX9.16.6IND10.56.212.81456 201711521615 Playoff %Playoff % Saints’ NFL Rank in … 42018SaintsBrees20Kamara18Thomas2019.3 ATL43.78.9CLE0.10.19.01434 LAC86.86.9OAK0.00.07.01454 2018712293 The Saints’ defense is reverting to (poor) formYearly record and NFL rank in expected points added (EPA) for the New Orleans Saints since 2013 131964BrownsRyan17Brown23Warfield1618.2 As for the Saints, we’ll keep a close eye on how far their high-octane offensive attack can take them in the season’s second half. Our model gives them a 16 percent chance of winning the Super Bowl, which is tied with New England for second-best in the NFL (behind K.C. at 18 percent). And with Brees, Kamara and Thomas lighting up opposing defenses, New Orleans might lead the league in excitement either way, win or lose.FiveThirtyEight vs. the readersBe sure to check out FiveThirtyEight’s Elo ratings using our NFL prediction interactive, which simulates the rest of the season 100,000 times and tracks how often each team should make the playoffs and win the Super Bowl. And did you know you can also pick against the Elo algorithm in our prediction game? Maybe you can also climb up our giant leaderboard (or, if you’re like me, fall down it with each passing week).Here are the games in which Elo made its best — and worst — predictions against the reader picks last week: 20147953223 The Saints’ 2018 trio is on a historic paceTop QB/RB/WR trios ranked by their “Triplet Score” — the harmonic mean of each player’s Approximate Value (AV) — 1960-2018 20157923223 CHI54%CHI69%CHI 41, BUF 9+9.7– SEA61SEA51LAC 25, SEA 17+9.0– 101999RamsWarner19Faulk25Bruce1418.3 1199449ersYoung23Watters19Rice2120.9 2018 AV is pro-rated to a 16-game schedule.Source: pro-Football-reference.com Source: ESPN Stats & Information Group SEA33.713.4LAR98.32.215.61592 111992CowboysAikman17Smith20Irvin1818.3 72004ColtsManning21James21Wayne1518.5 62001RamsWarner20Faulk22Holt1619.0 CIN54.013.0NO94.14.017.01583 NE81NE71NE 31, GB 17-7.6– TEN40.513.7NE97.82.015.71590 Team Leaders and their Approx. value Readers kept it relatively close against Elo this week, losing by an average of just 5.1 points across all of Week 9’s games — their second-best showing of the season, behind Week 7. Of course, that tells you what kind of year it’s been picking against the algorithm: Elo has beaten the average reader in eight of nine weeks in 2018 so far. This time around, the readers’ bet against Nathan Peterman paid off (big surprise…) and they also picked up points with the Chargers’ victory at Elo’s longtime team-crush, the Seattle Seahawks. But the Saints’ win over the Rams hurt readers’ average score — perhaps they didn’t read that L.A. is good but not necessarily historically great.Anyway, congrats to the mysteriously named _ACN_, who led identified users in Week 9 with 204.0 points, and to Brian Hake, who pulled into the No. 1 slot for the entire season with 764.5 points. Thanks to everyone who has been playing — and if you haven’t, be sure to get in on the action! You can make picks now and still try your luck against Elo, even if you haven’t played yet.Check out our latest NFL predictions. read more

Klopp provides an injury update on Trent AlexanderArnold

first_imgLiverpool manager Jurgen Klopp revealed they are taking assessing Trent Alexander-Arnold’s fitness on a daily basis ahead of Sunday’s showdown with Manchester UnitedThe English full-back was forced to withdraw in the closing stages of Liverpool’s decisive Champions League victory against Napoli at Anfield on Tuesday night.Arnold remains a doubt for this weekend’s clash against United at Anfield with Joel Matip and Joe Gomez definitely out.“With Trent, it’s not as serious as it is with the other two boys, but of course it is absolutely not top-class news, that’s clear,” said Klopp on the club website.Victor Wanyama, Tottenham Hotspur, Premier LeaguePochettino admits Wanyama remains in his Spurs plans Manuel R. Medina – September 14, 2019 Kenyan international, Victor Wanyama, was the protagonist of a summer transfer saga, but in the end, he is set to stay at Tottenham Hotspur.“It was unlucky as well, especially with Joel; the last second of the game. When you asked me in the press conference I had no idea about it because I had to go doing different stuff pretty much immediately and I didn’t see him on the pitch because I spoke to Carlo [Ancelotti].“The rehab has already started pretty much, the same for Joe.“Trent, we have to see. For him, it is day by day how we judge it. It’s not cool but as long as we still have enough players, it is our job to always find a solution for it – and we will have a solution for the weekend, but of course, it is not perfect.”The German added that full-back Nathaniel Clyne has been back in training for the last four days and is set to return from injury.last_img read more

AGDC Selects Two Possible Reroutes For The Kenai Spur Highway

first_imgThe AGDC in April 2017 provided the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) with a site map of the LNG plant in Nikiski, showing locations for the three liquefaction trains, two LNG storage tanks, material offloading facility and north and south plant entrances. Story as aired:  Facebook0TwitterEmailPrintFriendly分享The Alaska Gasline Development Corporation has said they’ll need to move the Kenai Spur Highway around the natural gas liquefaction and export terminal that the state plans to build in Nikiski. Download ADGC’s Spur Highway reroute filing Both of these options run roughly a quarter mile east of Bernice Lake and route back to the Kenai Spur Highway around Mile 25. The Alaska Department of Transportation and Kenai Peninsula Borough have been engaged in the process and both are on hand as well to speak with the community.center_img The AGDC is planning to schedule a public meeting in Nikiski around February to give additional details to the community. Would veer from the existing highway around Mile 19 and pass through the inside of Miller Loop RoadWould leave the highway intact around Mile 18 and run outside Miller Loop to the east. Following the site map, the AGDC filed a map of eight possible alternatives for relocating the Kenai Spur Highway around the LNG plant site to FERC. In December, the AGDC narrowed those possibilities down to the final two. Audio PlayerJennifer-on-AGDC-road-plans.mp3VmJennifer-on-AGDC-road-plans.mp300:00RPdlast_img read more

EXCLUSIVE PEOPLE Opens Most Beautiful Issue to Reader Submissions

first_imgIn late April, PEOPLE’s 23rd annual “World’s Most Beautiful” special double issue will debut on newsstands. While the initial product is familiar, the magazine has added a new twist to the content to boost engagement: the “PEOPLE’s Search For Real Beauty at Every Age” campaign.The magazine will begin accepting nominees from real women ages 20-59, some of whom will grace the pages of PEOPLE magazine. This campaign is a fully integrated contest across tablets, online and through print promotions. Reader audiences can visit PEOPLE.com and nominate themselves or someone they know from March 5-18 to win the chance to be included among the celebrity winners in the “World’s Most Beautiful” print issue. This content strategy, editors say, is designed to increase engagement and drive purchases across platforms.“Now, for the first time, we’ve created a plan from the ground up for a fully integrated program from both the print and online sides—from editorial down, through advertising and publishing,” says Janice Morris, managing editor of PEOPLE Digital. “We brainstormed to create this ‘Real Beauty Program’ and, for the first time, we’re promoting across the tablet, print edition and the online edition to encourage real readers to submit to this program.”In an effort to integrate interactivity, the magazine will encourage PEOPLE readers to submit their own photos to PEOPLE.com. In addition to having its own landing page, the campaign will roll out photo galleries that will be hosted on the website. Individuals can “like” the photos of the real women, 40 of whom (one for each age) will be featured in the actual pages of the “World’s Most Beautiful” issue. To add another layer of incentive and engagement, 4 winners will be selected and flown to New York City for a photo-shoot, makeover and glamorous trip. “Users can upload their own photo from their desktop or Facebook,” says Morris. “Once they upload the image, they will see their photo on PEOPLE.com and have a chance to share it out. This campaign is integrated with Twitter, Facebook and Google+—we definitely wanted to hit all of those social platforms. We’re also running banner ads and we’ll have posts in our news section as well.”Morris adds that the goal of the campaign, in addition to highlighting beauty’s many forms, is to lock in a consumer’s committed financial interest. When a reader uploads a photo for this campaign, a banner advertisement comes up, promoting the “World’s Most Beautiful” issue and giving individuals an opportunity to subscribe. “We’ve got one audience on Twitter, one on Facebook and another starting on Google+, in addition to our regular readers coming to the website four or five times a day to check-in on the news,” says Morris. “We’re hoping to engage them and get them to think, ‘Wow—I could be in the print edition of PEOPLE.’ It’s almost like we’re the machine getting it rolling, and eventually they’ll get that final product. We want them to start thinking about our ‘World’s Most Beautiful’ issue now.”last_img read more

Festive demand for gold slumps despite jewellers promising good deals

first_imgFestive demand for gold in India got off to a tepid start, with local prices still at a heavy discount to the global benchmark, a bad sign for a period when buying is typically strong.Though sales picked up this week with the onset of the festival season, demand was lower than usual, retailers said, even as jewellers splashed newspapers across the country with ads promising good deals and discounts.Following the nine-day Hindu festival of Navratri, India celebrates Dussehra on Thursday, when buying of gold jewellery, coins or bars is considered auspicious.The fourth quarter is typically a strong period for gold purchases in India, the world’s second biggest bullion consumer, due to festivals and weddings.”This year fewer customers are visiting our showrooms compared to last year,” said Tanya Rastogi, a director at Lala Jugal Kishore Jewellers in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.”For the last two to three years, gold has been giving negative returns. It has badly affected investment demand,” Rastogi said.Still, next month India will celebrate Dhanteras and Diwali, when demand could improve, she added.Global gold prices are on track to post their third straight annual loss this year, already down nearly 40 percent since hitting a record high in 2011.Dealers in India were offering a discount of $8 to $12 an ounce this week, compared to $7 to $11 last week.Demand from rural areas has been hit particularly hard as farmers suffer from the first back-to-back drought in India in three decades.Two-thirds of gold demand in India comes from farmers and residents of small villages who see jewellery as way to store wealth. But lower-than-normal monsoon rainfall this year due to El Nino weather pattern has eroded rural incomes.”Demand from rural areas has moderated due to drought. Jewellers from the countryside made thin purchases in the last few weeks,” said a Mumbai-based dealer with a private bank.Elsewhere in Asia, demand remained lacklustre. In top consumer China, prices on the Shanghai Gold Exchange ticked up to a premium from a small discount late last week, though dealers at bullion banks said physical buying wasn’t strong.”Demand is very sluggish,” said Ronald Leung, chief dealer at Lee Cheong Gold Dealers Ltd in Hong Kong, adding that a strong dollar and a recent price rally was hurting demand.In Hong Kong this week, premiums dropped to 80 to 90 cents an ounce, from $1.20-$1.30 last week.last_img read more

Cardinals Fall to No 5 Tennessee in NIT Season TipOff 9281

first_imgStory Links ESPN2 NEW YORK (AP) – Grant Williams scored 24 points and No. 5 Tennessee had five players In double figures to beat Louisville 92-81 in the first semifinal of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Wednesday night.Admiral Schofield added 20 points for the Vols (4-0), who shot 54 percent from the field. The win was the 664th of Tennessee coach Rick Barnes’ career. It moved him past John Wooden on the all-time Division I wins list.Trailing 77-70 with 6:51 left, Louisville coach Chris Mack got called for a technical foul when he didn’t like an over-the-back call on Dwayne Sutton. The Cardinals could never recover.Jordan Nwora had 23 points and 10 assists to lead Louisville (3-1).The second game of the doubleheader was No. 2 Kansas against Marquette.Print Friendly Version Next Game: vs. Marquette 11/23/2018 | 7 p.m. ET PDF Box Score Listen Live Full Schedule Roster Preview Buy Tickets Matchup Historylast_img read more

Researchers design sixstate magnetic memory

first_imgThe main advantage of having six states is that it would increase the memory density while avoiding the problems inherent in miniaturization. Currently the primary strategy for increasing memory density is to miniaturize each memory element so that more of them can fit on a chip. However, at these small scales, the memory elements are so close together that they begin to interfere with each other’s states. The new design can avoid this problem, and also offers other advantages.”Going from two to six states would triple the density under certain conditions (for example, maintaining the lateral scale of the bit),” Klein said. “In addition, other advantages are also expected. The cost of the memory would probably decrease significantly, and when such bits are incorporated in a magnetic memory array, we may witness other benefits such as increased reading speeds.”The researchers expect that it may be possible to design patterns with even more magnetic states. For example, their simulations show that a pattern of four crossing ellipses would yield a memory element with eight magnetic memory states. “We intend to further increase the number of magnetic states and explore the limits of such an extrapolation,” Klein said. “In addition, we would like to progress towards fabricating a prototype that will help us convince the magnetic memory industry to make a shift towards multi-level magnetic memory.” Realizing the six-state magnetic element does not require any significant increase in complexity, such as adding layers, but rather involves simply structuring one of the magnetic layers differently—specifically, arranging the magnetic film into a pattern of three crossing ellipses. In the middle region where all three ellipses overlap, the researchers found that there are six different stable magnetic orientations. The orientations are parallel to the long axis of each ellipse, and can run in two opposite directions. If such a pattern with six magnetic orientations can be controlled and incorporated in a magnetic memory element, then the number of memory states can be increased from two to six. The researchers showed that such control is possible by using a technique called spin-orbit torque switching, which uses spin-polarized electric current to switch between magnetic states. This demonstration shows that the spin-orbit torques can write data onto the magnetic structure, showing the potential for using the structure as a memory element. The researchers, Yevgeniy Telepinsky et al., from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and New York University in the US, have published a paper on the new magnetic structure in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.This isn’t the first time that researchers have designed memory cells with more than two states, or bits. The best-known example is multi-level flash memory cells, which can store up to four bits per cell. While multi-level flash cells have advantages such as a higher density and lower cost, they also suffer intrinsic drawbacks such as lower writing speeds and higher power consumption.The new six-state memory element presented here is different because it is magnetic, whereas flash memory is electronic. Although electronic memories are currently the most commonly used type of memory, various types of magnetic random access memory (MRAM) are being actively researched due to advantages in low power consumption, fast operation, and long lifetime.”Our proposal paves the way for enjoying the benefits of multi-level cells in MRAM, making it even more attractive for applications,” Lior Klein, a physics professor at Bar-Ilan University and one of the study’s lead authors, told Phys.org. “Furthermore, since MRAM is different in its nature from flash, there is no reason that it should suffer from the drawbacks of multi-level-cell flash memory.” By arranging magnetic film into a pattern of three crossing ellipses, researchers demonstrated six magnetic configurations are possible in the overlapping region. Credit: Telepinsky et al. ©2016 AIP Publishing More information: Yevgeniy Telepinsky et al. “Towards a six-state magnetic memory element.” Applied Physics Letters. DOI: 10.1063/1.4948455 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Six magnetic configurations generated by simulations. Credit: Telepinsky et al. ©2016 AIP Publishing (Phys.org)—Computers are often described with “ones and zeros,” referring to their binary nature: each memory element stores data in two states. But there is no fundamental reason why there should be just two. In a new study, researchers have designed a magnetic element that has six stable magnetic states, which paves the way toward realizing a six-state magnetic memory element. Journal information: Applied Physics Letters New technology reduces 30 percent chip area of STT-MRAM while increasing memory bit yield by 70 percent © 2016 Phys.org Explore further Citation: Researchers design six-state magnetic memory (2016, May 18) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2016-05-six-state-magnetic-memory.htmllast_img read more

From a movement to a political party

first_imgWouldn’t it be nice to know more about the journey of the Chief Minister from an IIT student to a political leader and youth icon that led to the birth of a new political party? Bloomsbury India launched the book ‘Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi Party: An Inside Look’ in the presence of the author, Pran Kurup, and the Chief Minister of New Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal at the national Capital recently. The event was also presided over by Deputy CM, Manish Sisodia who unveiled the book. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The book provides a fresh and unique perspective on Arvind Kejriwal and the Aam Aadmi party (AAP) through keen observations and first-hand insights of an active AAP volunteer and close personal friend of Kejriwal from his undergraduate days at IIT Kharagpur. The book ultimately looks at the aftermath of AAP’s most recent power struggle, and the road ahead for AAP and its role in Indian politics.At the event, Arvind Kejriwal, said, “I am very happy to be at the launch of this book. Pran is a dear friend and a steadfast believer in AAP and my work over the years. I am happy to be here in the presence of my supporters and well-wishers at the launch of this book which is an excellent chronicle of AAP’s journey to bring politics back to our people. A keen observer of events with impressive analytical abilities Pran has been able to look at AAP’s journey through a lens of objectivity, providing his own perspective and suggestions for improvement at the same time. I wish him the very best.” Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixPran Kurup, author, added, “This is a book for people across the world hungering to know more about Arvind Kejriwal, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), and their meteoric rise in Indian politics. My book shows the true nature of Arvind and AAP, which is to have faith and inspire people into believing that they can do whatever they set their sights on, which is reflective of the young start-up culture our country is witnessing today. Startups are about faith and belief. Arvind has managed over the years to instill this belief and faith in scores of young men and women who play a critical role in both the party and in governance” Rajiv Beri, Managing Director, Bloomsbury India, said, “This book is one of the first few titles we have published in our strategic push towards bringing political and contemporary books to the market.”The launch also included a panel discussion between Pran Kurup, Raghav Chadha, Spokesperson and Treasurer of Delhi Unit of AAP; Ashutosh, journalist-turned-politician and spokesperson of AAP; and Dilip Pandey, Convenor of the Delhi Unit of AAP that gave the audience insights into the past, present and future of the Aam Aadmi Party. The discussion touched upon a variety of topics including the act of writing a book about a friend, the importance of objectivity while doing so and the turn of events in 2014. The session was moderated by Abhinandan Sekhri, Co-founder and CEO, Newslaundry.last_img read more

7 Comments  

first_img 7 Comments   Share   Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Arizona Cardinals offensive lineman Jared Veldheer (68) works on technique as Mike Iupati (76) looks on during an NFL football organized team activity Monday, June 1, 2015, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin) pic.twitter.com/e00IAYHzHs— Jared Veldheer (@Veldheer68) March 28, 2018The Cardinals signed Veldheer to a five-year, $35 million deal in 2014 in order to protect the blindside for quarterback Carson Palmer. Veldheer held that position before a right triceps injury put him on injured reserve midway through the 2016 season. Top Stories center_img Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Coming off the injury and after briefly contemplating retirement last offseason, Veldheer returned in 2017 as Arizona’s starting right tackle, sliding over as the Cardinals’ 2015 first-round pick, D.J. Humphries, moved to left tackle.Related LinksArizona Cardinals trade Jared Veldheer to BroncosCardinals’ O-Line joins forces with Arizona Wilderness for great causeVeldheer played 13 games last season before an ankle injury put him on injured reserve in mid-December.Off the field, Veldheer was active in the community. A homebrewer, he collaborated with local breweries and tied some of those beer-making experiences to charitable causes, raising money to support recovery efforts for the Sonoma wildfires and, more recently, the Pat Tillman Foundation.Arizona’s trade of Veldheer for a 2018 sixth-round pick came after the team signed free agent tackle Andre Smith to a two-year, $8 million deal that could approach $10.2 million with bonuses. Departed Cardinals tackle Jared Veldheer thanked the state of Arizona, the NFL franchise and its fans on Wednesday, five days after being traded to the Denver Broncos.last_img read more

In This Issue A sticky question… Budget negoti

first_imgIn This Issue.*A sticky question… *Budget negotiations stall… *BOJ to announce more stimulus… *Gold and Silver reverse…And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Is all debt bad???Good day. I was met with the above question as I walked through the door last night.  As I came home from work my 14 year old asked me the answer to the question ‘Is all debt bad?’.  My daughter, Lauren, is in the middle of exams and she was upset that she had missed this question on a civics exam.  She occasionally reads the Pfennig, and has listened in on enough of our dinner conversations to realize that much of the world is currently in a debt crisis.  So when she was presented with a true false question regarding debt, she answered True – all debt is bad. From reading your comments about yesterday’s Pfennig, many of you would have given Lauren extra credit, but unfortunately I had to let her know that her answer is technically wrong.  As I explained to Lauren, not all debt is bad.  There are times when a country, company, or individual needs to borrow money.  Debt can be used to fund all sorts of very good projects, and keeps economies rolling through slowdowns.  But debt is meant to eventually be paid off, not accumulated in a never ending cycle. So yes, Lauren missed that question on her civics exam; but in a way I am glad she missed it as I don’t think it is a bad thing that my daughter is a bit scared of debt.  I just wish some of our leaders in Washington would match my daughter’s concern over debt accumulation. But enough of my dinner table economics lecture, let’s get to the currency markets.It was a ‘risk off’ day in the currency markets, but the moves were dampened by the holiday thinned trading desks.  The yen finally reversed its recent sell off, and the dollar also climbed a bit as US lawmakers moved further apart on a budget deal.  President Obama told business leaders that budget talks have regressed and accused Republicans of wasting a lot of time with political posturing (perhaps a bit of the pot calling the kettle black). Today we have an absolute plethora of data which will be released here in the US.  We start off the morning with GDP projections for the 3rd quarter which are expected to show the US economy grew just under 3% compared to previous estimates of 2.7% growth.  It is Thursday, so we will also get the weekly jobs numbers which are projected to show another 360k workers filed for jobless claims last week.  Continuing claims are predicted to have increased to 3200k in another indication the labor market will be very slow to recover.  This employment data will be followed up with existing home sales and leading indicators.  Yesterday’s data showed a drop in Housing starts (down 3% MOM) but an increase in building permits (3.6%MOM).  Definitely some conflicting data, so the existing home sales may help give investors a better picture of the housing recovery.  Finally, the leading indicators are expected to show a decrease of .2% during November following an increase of the same amount in the previous month.The yen had dropped for three straight days as investors worried the new Prime Minister would successfully push for more aggressive rounds of stimulus.  The BOJ ends their two day meeting today, and are expected to announce additional stimulus moves. Adding to the worries regarding the yen was a Japanese government report released yesterday which showed the trade deficit widened in November. Traditionally Japan has run a trade surplus, and the deficits have caused investors to re evaluate their demand expectations for the yen.  A country which runs a trade surplus creates demand for their currency, while trade deficits will typically drive the demand for (and value of) a currency lower. The yen has bounced back a bit this morning as some investors apparently believe the three day selloff was overdone.The euro continued to climb through most of the morning yesterday, moving just above $1.33 for a short period.  But the renewed worries out of Washington caused it to give back some of these gains and it is now holding in the $1.32 handle.  I had a reader scold me for not writing more on the Swiss Franc and its recent rise.  I haven’t mentioned the Swiss franc simply because of its peg to the Euro.  So as the euro moves, so will the Swiss franc.  The 3.44% increase in the euro over the past month has been matched with a 3.36% increase in the Swiss franc vs. the US$.  As long as the Swiss National Bank defends the peg to the euro, there is really no need to talk about the Swiss as it is tied to the euro.  Now it will certainly be interesting if/when the peg is relaxed, and you can bet Chuck or I will inform all of you when we start hearing any indications of that.  Until then, readers can simply watch the euro.Several readers asked me to comment on the big drop in gold prices over the past couple of days.  Many of you pointed me toward various manipulation theories, but I think there are two possible explanations for the recent drop in prices.  First, there was improved confidence that a compromise would be reached between the two parties over the fiscal cliff.  As we approached the year end, demand for gold climbed as investors looked for an asset they could hide in if/when our leaders in D.C. took us over the cliff.  A second possible explanation is year-end selling due to the probable increase in tax rates.  Silver has had a nice 12 percent rise this year, and gold is up 6.72% so investors could just be taking these gains off the table before 2013.  By the way, this will be the 12th consecutive year of gains in the price of gold. No matter what caused the selloff, both metals rebounded yesterday as concerns over the fiscal cliff agreement returned.  Negotiations in Washington have deteriorated, so my first theory on what caused the recent sell-off has been flipped and gold is now climbing again.  Most of the gold refineries are also going into a end of year / holiday shutdown, so additional supply will be limited over the next couple of weeks.On a longer term basis, I am confident that demand for precious metals will be increasing.  The fiscal problems facing many of the Western nations will shake global investor confidence in ‘fiat’ currencies.  And my thoughts on the ‘rise of the Chinese consumer’ also support higher metals prices.  As consumers in both China and India see even a slight increase in disposable income, a percentage of that income will likely be invested into the precious metals markets.  Gold and Silver are much more accepted as forms of wealth storage in the Asian cultures, so any increase in disposable incomes should lead toward an increase in demand.  Just another reason I think precious metals should be a part of every investors diversified portfolio.And then there was this. The Fed’s holding of interest rates at record low levels have had a very different impact on two separate classes of investors.  A story I spotted on Bloomberg this morning pointed out the dramatic divergence between savers and professional investors.  The story, written by Bob Ivry starts out with this line “Deepak Narula’s mortgage-bond fund is up 39 percent this year.  George Sanchez’s monthly annuity payout is down 41 percent.”  Ivry goes on to explain some of the unintended consequences of the FOMC’s interest rate policies. “The near-zero interest rate the Federal Reserve charges financial firms, as well as securities purchases that will balloon the central bank’s balance sheet to almost $4 trillion next year, have made it easier for Narula’s $1.6 billion fund to thrive and more difficult for Sanchez, a former college library director, to enjoy retirement.”The story includes an excellent quote by Nobel Prize-winning Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz: “Monetary policy has been indirectly, surreptitiously helping the top and hurting the bottom.”  Stiglitz blames the Fed policies for starving money-savers of income and boosting certain asset prices, widening the gap between the rich and the rest of the country.  Bob Ivry has written some excellent pieces on the Fed, and I always enjoy reading his take on things. To recap. Debt is not always bad, but the constant accumulation of debt is! Budget negotiations hit a snag, sending investors back toward safe havens.  Today will be a big day for data here in the US markets, but holiday thinned trading desks should keep volatility down. The BOJ is expected to announce more stimulus, but the yen has already been adjusted for the expected increase in supply. Gold reversed its recent sell off, and started moving back up on worries on the budget negotiations. And the FOMC’s zero rate policies have caused a divergence in returns for savers vs. professionals.Currencies today 12/20/12. American Style: A$ $1.0493, kiwi .8343, C$ $1.0113, euro 1.3255, sterling 1.6262, Swiss $1.0974. European Style: rand 8.5159, krone 5.5498, SEK 6.5114, forint 216.0, zloty 3.0708, koruna 19.0335, RUB 30.6835, JPY 84.10, SGD 1.2184, HKD 7.7501, INR 54.8544, China 6.2306, pesos 12.7715, BRL 2.0619, Dollar Index 79.163, Oil $89.88, 10-year 1.78%, Silver $31.22, Gold $1,670.62, and Platinum $1591.24.That’s it for today. Congratulations to Antione Lawrence as his lovely wife Brooke gave birth to a beautiful baby girl yesterday.  It is the couple’s first child, and the first of three babies on their way for the WorldMarkets desk (Both Mikes, Harrell and Meyer, are also expecting).  We anxiously awaited the news yesterday morning after Antione let us know he and Brooke were headed into the hospital.  Both baby and mom are doing fine, and I’m sure proud papa Antione is beaming!  Sounds like we could see our first snow of the year, it is currently raining but the temps are supposed to drop and the rain should turn to snow later today.  I will wrap up today’s Pfennig on that great news.  I hope everyone has a great day, and thanks for reading the Pfennig!Chris Gaffney, CFA Vice President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 1-314-647-3837last_img read more

Lois Lerners emails are back from the dead—sort o

first_imgLois Lerner’s emails are back from the dead—sort of. The former IRS director’s BlackBerry, however, is still long gone. The IRS intentionally destroyed it in June 2012 (after congressional staffers interviewed Lerner about the IRS targeting conservative groups) as the Deputy Assistant Chief Counsel acknowledged in a recent sworn declaration. We’ve all met someone we just don’t trust but don’t know why. There’s often a pretty good reason to feel that way. Has someone ever made an insincere attempt to flatter you? Their words might be complimentary, but their body language, tone, and/or context let you know the compliment is phony. Does this guy really think I’m that stupid? So, up goes your trust wall. If he’ll lie about this, he’ll lie about anything. The IRS debacle is a prime example of why we build trust walls. The emails Congress requested had (supposedly) been deleted when several hard drives crashed. I asked our in-house technology guru, Alex Daley, what the probability was of that happening. Here’s what he had to say: Everyone who ever owned a computer knows that hard drives are finicky beasts. In fact, Google uses a LOT of hard drives and so they have published all kinds of research on their failure rates. The gist: there’s about a 1 in 36 chance a hard drive fails in any given month. The math says then that if the IRS was practicing good data center management practices—we have to assume, however silly it might seem, that the agency responsible for holding the most personal information on American citizens outside the NSA is following best practices—then the chance of seven hard drives failing at the same time and wiping out the data on them is about 1 in 78 billion. How rare is that? The odds of winning the Florida Lottery are roughly 1 in 23 million. So it’s 340 times more unlikely than you winning a state lottery. The odds of winning the Powerball are 1 in 175 million; for Mega Millions, the odds are 1 in 259 million. Of course, we give the IRS too much credit. The risk of hard drives failing increases with age, and we suspect the IRS, like much of the government, isn’t spending a lot of time rotating hard drives. The odds also increase if you keep all the drives in one place, using old-fashioned persistence techniques. Then a fire, flood, electrical issues, or any other number of problems could easily wipe out the whole lot at once. At one point there seemed to be only one plausible explanation for allowing so much data to disappear: negligence. Turns out, however, the data weren’t even gone. As Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton announced on Monday: Department of Justice attorneys for the Internal Revenue Service told Judicial Watch on Friday [August 22] that Lois Lerner’s emails, indeed all government computer records, are backed up by the federal government in case of a government-wide catastrophe. The Obama administration attorneys said that this back-up system would be too onerous to search. The DOJ attorneys also acknowledged that the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) is investigating this back-up system. …. There are no “missing” Lois Lerner emails—nor missing emails of any of the other top IRS or other government officials whose emails seem to be disappearing at increasingly alarming rate. All the focus on missing hard drives has been a diversion. It sure seems clear why so many Americans feel put down. Does the government really think we’re that stupid? Maybe. I look at it this way: I suppose it’s possible a dog can eat your homework. It’s still a lousy excuse that no one will believe. It’s no wonder politicians rank so low on our trust scale.Whom Can You Trust? The IRS is in our lives, period. If you live here in the US or you’re a US citizen living abroad, you can’t sever the relationship. Here’s the upside, though: for the most part you can choose to conduct your private affairs with trustworthy people. One of the most common emails I receive is from subscribers looking for a trustworthy broker or financial advisor. Most come with sad tales: they had to fire their advisor because something felt fishy. Maybe they’d been directed to overly risky investments or high-fee mutual funds. Some couldn’t pinpoint their advisor’s exact offense but just knew in their gut something was amiss. We should all expect the people we pay to help manage our money to put our interests ahead of their own. One subscriber said that paying fees to an advisor to put his money into high-fee investments made it almost impossible to end up with the growth he needed. He clearly wasn’t getting the service he deserved and had good reason to look elsewhere. I recently finished reading The Female Brain by Louann Brizendine, M.D. Dr. Brizendine shares quite a bit of scientific evidence to support the existence of female intuition. In brief, women score higher on tests for reading nonverbal communications and on average have more receptors for those cues than their male counterparts. That explains why my youngest daughter recently fired an attorney. I was quite proud. She explained, “I got tired of feeling like I was being talked down to!” When I asked her to elaborate, she felt he thought she was stupid and should blindly follow his advice without question. She was picking up on the little things that might seem trivial but cause our subconscious mind to take notice. At one point in my career, I sought advice from a top public speaker. (Maybe I wanted to be more like my daughters.) This speaker had an uncanny ability to “read, sense, and feel” his audience. He did this mostly through nonverbal clues and suggested I read Body Language by Julius Fast to help my subconscious mind tune in to nonverbal cues. I read the book and learned that much of it was based on works like ‪Kinesics and Context: ‪Essays on Body Motion Communication by ‪Ray L. Birdwhistell. So I read those books too and worked to sharpen my subconscious mind’s nonverbal recognition skills. Afterward my student critiques even went up a full point. Perhaps that also helped me picked up on the suspect explanations coming from the IRS. It’s certainly helped me trust my gut when deciding whether or not to do business with someone. An attorney, stockbroker, money manager, or certified financial planner can have a great track record and all the requisite credentials you could ask for. That’s not enough. If he or she makes you uncomfortable but you aren’t sure why, don’t ignore your instincts. Switching course and hiring someone new can be an expensive headache, but in the long run, you’ll be glad you did.On the Lighter Side Last Saturday we went to the Frog Follies in Evansville, Indiana. It’s a huge vintage car show, with almost 4,500 cars, all made before 1949. My grandson mentioned that a lot of old people really like car shows, and he’s correct. The classics remind us of our youth, and we often have stories to tell about particular models. I hope future generations preserve their history to share with their grandchildren, too. I snuck away from the grandkids last week for an interview with Kerry Lutz of the Financial Survival Network about annuities. With that in mind, I hope all of our subscribers read through our free special report, The Truth About Annuities: Three Dangers You Must Avoid When Shopping for Annuities. Download your complimentary copy here. And finally… Until next week…last_img read more

Greece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend G

first_imgGreece finally struck a deal… Over the weekend, Greece held an “emergency summit” with its creditors. Negotiations dragged on for 17 hours. At 9 a.m. Monday, the two sides finally agreed on a deal that will keep Greece in the eurozone. Greece will receive €86 billion ($95 billion) in bailout funds. In exchange, it must radically transform its socialist economy. Greece agreed to slash spending, raise taxes, and fix its bloated pension system. It will also sell government assets to pay off some of its debt. Investors are happy to avoid a “Grexit.” The Euro Stoxx 50, an index of European blue chip stocks, climbed 1.8% on the news. The German DAX rose 1.5%. No word yet on when Greek banks will reopen. We told you how the Greek government closed all Greek banks during the crisis and how it would only let people withdraw €60 ($66) per day. The Athens stock exchange is still closed too. •  The Greek debt crisis will fade from the headlines for now… But this bailout doesn’t solve the real problem. Greece owes Europe more than €300 billion it can never repay. Yesterday’s bailout just kicks the can down the road… again. Its Greece’s third bailout since 2010. Europe and the International Monetary Fund had already loaned Greece more than €240 billion since 2010, before this latest bailout. BBC reported that the European Union believes this latest bailout could help Greece pay its bills for three years. After that, Greece will likely run out of money again. So expect to hear about the Greek debt crisis again sometime in 2018. On the brighter side, Greece’s debt crisis has created screaming bargains in some Greek stocks. The Athens stock market is down 84% from its 2007 peak. Nick Giambruno plans to recommend a Greek company in the next issue of Crisis Speculator. He’s found an exceptional Greek business trading for pennies on the dollar. This company is unique because it’s the victim of not one but two crises. That’s all we can tell you for now… more on this opportunity soon. I’ve just seen a shocking file from Bill Bonner… He’s been tracking a threat so big that it could cut us off from basic things that we depend on every day: ATMs, credit cards and more. Sounds crazy, but it looks like it’s finally about to hit. Stay Safe – See It Here. Recommended Links – Until Midnight Tonight, You Can Claim 1 Free Year of Professional Speculator It normally costs $2,500… But until midnight tonight, editor Paul Mampilly is sharing one of the biggest predictions of his career and letting you claim 1 free year of his work to see his top recommendation, and why he believes it could make you an extraordinary 26 times your money over the next decade. Click here for details.  — •  In other news, Japan is close to restarting its nukes… In March 2011, a massive tsunami slammed Japan. It killed 18,000 people. It also caused a meltdown at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. It was the worst nuclear disaster since Three Mile Island. Before the tsunami hit in 2011, Japan got 27% of its power from nuclear. Japan was the third-largest generator of nuclear power on the planet. But the country shut down all its nukes after Fukushima. Now, four years later, Japan plans to restart its first nuclear reactor in mid-August. It will fire up another reactor in September. Japan currently plans to restart 15 reactors total. Japan is a tiny island with few natural resources. It has been paying vast sums to import energy to keep its lights on. Japan paid $270 billion to import fossil fuels (mostly natural gas) in 2013. That caused Japan to have a trade deficit of $112 billion… its worst trade deficit ever. Louis James, editor of International Speculator, and his analyst team recently explained how has Japan no choice but to turn its nukes back on… There’s no way Japan can meet its electricity needs without restarting its reactors. Oil and liquefied natural gas (LNG) prices will not stay low forever either. Japan’s Nuclear Regulation Authority should begin to streamline the restart application process. We then expect a faster pace of restarts in the second half of 2015 and beyond. •  This is good news for the price of uranium… Uranium is what powers a nuclear power plant… just like coal powers a coal power plant. We asked Louis if Japan’s nukes could “move the needle” in uranium prices. Here’s his reply… As it happens, I’m kicking rocks on a uranium exploration project today. There certainly is buzz among the analysts here about the restart of that Japan reactor bringing more buying to the sector. It’s happened before. I’m not so sure, with other forms of energy (like natural gas and coal) so cheap and looking to remain that way. But whether or not the market ticks up on that news, it’s a clear sign of where things are headed, for Japan to be doing this. Very bullish. Uranium is in a bear market. The price of uranium is down 72% from its all-time high of $130 per pound set in 2007. Japan restarting its reactors may or may not revive uranium prices in the short term. But there’s no question that uranium has a promising future. There are currently 437 nuclear power reactors operating worldwide. 60 more are under construction, another 165 are planned, and 331 more are proposed. The number of nuclear power plants in the world could easily double in the next couple decades. China alone plans to build 46 new ones by 2020. It will take a lot of uranium to fuel all those new plants. That means uranium prices will likely have to rise from their depressed levels. Paladin Energy, a uranium miner, reports that the cost of extraction for 60% of global production is above uranium’s market price. In other words, many uranium miners are struggling to make any money at all. Unless uranium prices rise, it’s not worth their while to produce the uranium needed to fuel all those new nuclear power plants. Louis James recently told International Speculator readers about his favorite uranium pick. He said this company is the “best-positioned producer to benefit from the coming bull market in uranium. This is true regardless of any potential weakness in uranium prices in the short term.” Louis thinks this company’s stock will eventually “go much higher” than its price before the Fukushima disaster. And right now, it’s selling for dirt-cheap. This is the company you want to own when the uranium price turns higher. You can learn about it by taking a risk-free trial to International Speculator.last_img read more

By EB Tucker editor Strategic Investor

first_imgBy E.B. Tucker, editor, Strategic Investor E.B. Tucker Editor, Strategic InvestorP.S. I’ll be at the second annual Legacy Investment Summit in Southern California from September 23-25. I’d love to meet you and chat about investments, traveling, art, and more.I hope to see you there.If you’re interested in joining, don’t delay… Spaces are filling up fast. Click here to reserve your tickets. Regular readers know I like to share what I’m doing outside of the markets.I believe it’s the experiences away from the desk that do more for long-term success than anything you can accomplish at the office.With that, I’m excited to share details on my latest trip with you. It’s a special two-part series on art that I hope you find useful.Let’s get started…Last month, I went to Marfa, Texas. It’s an out-of-the-way place with a population of 1,800. It’s not a place you’d expect to see world-famous art.In the 1970s, artist and architect Donald Judd moved to Marfa. He had risen to a somewhat famous status in New York City but he was frustrated with the art scene.Judd wanted to be away from people. He liked the American West. He took out a map and circled rural areas that seemed like they’d suit him. Marfa won. Marfa, Texas is three hours southeast of El Paso, not far from the Mexican borderFor about 100 years prior, Marfa wasn’t much more than a dried-up town where the train used to stop. After the end of the coal-powered steam engine, the town’s status as a water refueling station didn’t mean much. Downtown MarfaMarfa also has a military history. During World War II, there were several military training areas in the region. Judd bought a small, walled complex of abandoned buildings in the town formerly used by a military quartermaster. He transformed the complex into his home and studio.The locals thought this was strange. They were right. Judd went on to buy an old 340-acre military site south of town. It housed Nazi POWs during the war. With dozens of abandoned buildings on-site, he set out to turn the base into a permanent art installation.Permanent art means it sits there forever. The idea is you look at it, ponder it, and then move on. I’ll explain why that’s an important part of art later.In the picture below, notice the large silver boxes positioned in a straight line. They’re made of aluminum. Each one weighs 2,000 pounds. Judd had each of the 100 boxes fabricated with different internal dimensions. He placed them in three perfect lines roughly 30 years ago, and they haven’t moved since.Standing in the middle of this building is a unique experience. The giant quarter-pane windows let in a lot of west Texas sunlight. The symmetrical organization of the exhibit is purposeful. Former military building at Donald Judd’s Chinati Foundation in MarfaJudd insisted people not take photos while looking at his work. He was on to something. These days, people can’t look at anything without taking a photo of it on their smartphone. Judd realized that when you stare at a device and not the art, you’re not experiencing it.The Point of ArtJudd died in 1994. He left behind several foundations to preserve his work. He was an odd guy.For instance, he had thousands of books in his library organized by the author’s birthdate. I saw his library in Marfa. He also built uncomfortable furniture for the library. He thought that while reading you shouldn’t get too comfortable, or you’d lose focus.This is all part of why I enjoy art. It’s odd. The point of it is merely to observe and enjoy. It took me decades to discover this simple pleasure.I grew up in rural eastern North Carolina. I don’t remember people talking about art. My guess is they feared being mistaken for a liberal, which was essentially a communist in their eyes.Most of the artworks I saw were dark oil paintings depicting a fox hunt, a Civil War scene, or something related to early American history. I just didn’t get it.It wasn’t that we were hayseeds – far from it. We visited all the major U.S. cities. We visited the requisite museums to see the important stuff. What I didn’t know was how to look at a piece of art and simply enjoy it.Let It Speak to YouPeople said a piece of art spoke to them. My first thought was if a painting talks to you, you’re clinically insane. All of a sudden, that phrase made sense to me. It happened one day five years ago.I was in Paris waiting for Bill Bonner. In 2014, I helped him launch The Bill Bonner Letter (now The Bonner-Denning Letter). If you keep up with Bill, you know he spends a lot of time in “out of the way” places.That summer, he was on the way to his chateau in central France. It’s a few hours south of Paris. Since the directions were complicated, he asked me to wait for his other guests in Paris before heading south.With a few days to kill in Paris, a friend from Brussels gave me a list of several lesser-known museums to visit. He’s a major player in the art world. He told me there are around 130 museums in Paris. Most people only visit the Louvre.I ended up at a small museum on the north side of Paris. It had nothing but Claude Monet paintings. I spent half the day sitting and staring at his works. I figured out why I didn’t understand the detailed oil paintings I remembered from childhood. Monet smashed that style, kicking off the Impressionist movement.I’m simplifying a big part of art history, of course. The style change of the 1870s wasn’t something we should reduce to a few sentences. However, the contrast between Monet and his predecessors is shocking. Impressionist paintings are generally bright and a little messy, and they’re begging you to find the portrayed scene within that mess.I discovered that I liked Impressionist work. I liked Monet and his contemporaries. And that’s enough to enjoy art.Back to MarfaMarfa is an art mecca. If you enjoy culture, excellent cuisine, and progressive art all situated in the middle of nowhere, you might want to visit.On the drive from El Paso, you’ll pass a seemingly random building. It’s a replica of a Prada store. The shoes and handbags are real, yet there’s no one in the store. The contrast of the haughty brand against the barren west Texas landscape is interesting. “Prada Marfa” permanent art exhibit near Valentine, TexasOf all the art I saw over several days in Marfa, I did have a favorite.When Judd bought the abandoned military base south of Marfa, he had a plan. He gave each of his artist friends one of the buildings. He asked that they each create a permanent art installation in their building.Judd’s friend Dan Flavin chose six U-shaped former barracks. He painted the walls and ceilings white. He asked viewers to enter the building at the tip of the “U,” walk to the back, then turn and view each of the six exhibits. Dan Flavin’s permanent light exhibit at the Chinati FoundationFlavin designed the exhibit before his death in 1996. Other artists took his plans and completed the work. Walking building to building looking at the six exhibits from each side is a unique experience. If you enjoy art, it’s something to see.Art Can Be an InvestmentTraveling to see obscure art is an exciting hobby. It will also keep you away from homogenous mobs of Americans flocking to see overcrowded sites like Yellowstone or Mount Rushmore.The art a person enjoys seeing says something about them. The art a person chooses to hang on his wall says everything about them.I’ve turned my art hobby into an investment. I don’t intend to make a fortune from the pieces I buy. However, I also don’t want to own things I can’t sell.There’s nothing wrong with buying a painting you like for sale on Main Street in a ritzy tourist town. Just don’t expect to ever sell that painting for more than $100. I call this consumption art. I want to own investment art.I found a way to enjoy and invest in art at the same time. I had some help discovering it. I’ll tell you all about it tomorrow in part two.Regards,last_img read more

Theres a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers

first_img Register Now » February 19, 2016 Even on eBay, men make more.That’s the new finding from a study of over a million eBay transactions across the U.S. published Friday in the journal Science Advances.How much more? Comparing sales on brand-new items, women make on average about 80 cents for every dollar a man does.With help from eBay Labs, sociologist Tamar Kricheli-Katz and economist Tali Regev peered into transaction data from 2009-2012, looking at which sellers were men, which were women, and how much each made selling identical items online.Regev says what’s interesting about studying pay disparities on a website like eBay is that unlike workforce wage gap studies, the difference in pay in an online auction can’t be explained by human factors, such as experience.“In labor markets you can always say there are differences between men and women,” Regev says. But when two people are selling the exact same brand new product on eBay? “There’s not much you can say about the differences in the product itself,” Regev adds.The pay gap on eBay mirrors what economists know about the American labor market. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that women make approximately 81 cents on the dollar, a figure that’s been widening recently. For female CEOs, the gap is worse: they make about 70 percent compared to male chief executives.Kricheli-Katz and Regev weren’t satisfied just seeing the eBay data though; they wanted to be sure online auctioning biases were real. So they set up their own experiment. They invited 116 people, both men and women, to bargain for a $100 gift card. Some study participants bought their gift card from an imaginary online vendor named “Allison,” while some placed bets on “Brad’s” $100 card. “Allison” made on average 7 percent less than “Brad” for the exact same gift card.But it’s not just women who get a raw deal hawking on eBay.In a separate study published in the Rand Journal of Economics last October, professors at Yale Law School and Harvard University found when photos of baseball cards on eBay were held in a black hand, they made 20 percent less than white-handed sellers.“The way we interact in markets is affected by our beliefs about status and the social script we have in mind,” Regev says.Regev’s colleague Kricheli-Katz says she hopes people presented with this new data will become more aware of their own biases. “Maybe if people know that, this process will become more conscious, and over time the gap will narrow,” she says.But sometimes, it does pay to be a woman on eBay.Women outsold men in certain categories, including baby products and toys for pets. Women also had higher “star” ratings, indicating better feedback from buyers. And when women sold used goods, the wage gap nearly disappeared: women earned on average 97 cents on the dollar.The researchers think there may be something about the perceived gender of a product that affects the gap. Is it possible women get more for items like handbags, but men get more for a set of golf clubs?The answer to that question … will be sold to the highest bidder. There’s a Gender Pay Gap for eBay Sellers Hilary Brueck 3 min read Add to Queue This story originally appeared on Fortune Magazine –shares Gender Gap Next Article Learn how to successfully navigate family business dynamics and build businesses that excel. Free Webinar | July 31: Secrets to Running a Successful Family Businesslast_img read more