Wheres the space Time is running out for late December bookings

first_img Travelweek Group Posted by Tags: Holiday, Vacation Where’s the space? Time is running out for late December bookings This story originally ran in the Dec 6, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.TORONTO — A quick check with several of the major ITC tour operators confirms that space is getting tight for the ever-popular Christmas break, but there are still good pockets of availability in several top sun destinations.Agents making all of these bookings might be ready for a break themselves, especially if they’re in Atlantic Canada, where a recent winter storm left 300,000 without electricity. Add to that the extended cold snap in the western Prairies and an early taste of winter weather in Ontario and Quebec complete with grey skies, wind chill and snow, and most Canadians are already weary of winter, and it hasn’t even officially started it.The long-range outlook for the 2018-2019 winter season across Canada divides the country into thirds: above-average temperatures for Alberta and B.C., normal temps for Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario, and – sorry – below-average temps for southwestern Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada.Meanwhile the short-range outlook, for last-minute late December winter Sun bookings at least, is hot and getting hotter. “The availability for popular dates and hotels is starting to be limited,” says Air Canada Vacations spokesperson Barbara Mengue Mbo. “In destinations like Saint Lucia, Antigua, Grenada, Jamaica, Cancun, Punta Cana, Puerto Vallarta, inventories are getting tight. We recommend not to wait and book now before it is gone.”There are still good rates and availability for Cuba destinations in late December, she adds, for any clients looking for deep pockets of inventory where they can expect a good choice of room categories.Clients planning the ‘perfect’ holiday season getaway often have high expectations but as agents know, the later they book, the narrower the options get. Transat spokesperson Debbie Cabana says for last-minute getaways, clients “need to be flexible on mostly everything: arrival and departure dates, hotel and destination.”She adds: “What we always recommend for the peak periods of the year, like the Christmas break, is that clients who have a very specific idea of where they want to go should book quickly, because it’s a very popular period for South getaways, specifically around the New Year. And because of the great demand, hotel prices are usually at their highest during that time, so the whole idea of last-minute getaways can sometimes be tricky.”Transat’s daily flights to Punta Cana make for a lot of choice and flexibility in one of the D.R.’s most popular destinations. Cabana also notes that Cuba “is making a strong comeback after a more difficult season last year due to hurricanes”, and is always a great choice. “Finally, travellers shouldn’t forget about South and Central America, which are a favourite among our clients visiting friends and families. These destinations, which are getting more and more popular, are often great options to escape, because they’re a little further down South. This almost guarantees very warm weather during the Christmas break.”Bookings have been getting closer and closer in over the years, not just for the holidays but year-round, even with all the EBBs out there to incentive earlier bookings. The growing popularity of Black Friday promotions in Canada gave bookings for this winter and further out a much-needed kick start. Air Canada Vacations saw its highest-ever one-day sales volume on Nov. 23 – Black Friday – with a 300%+ increase over a typical day. Black Friday 2018 represented the highest single-day sales in the company’s 38-year history. Bookings came in for everything from beach destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico, to city breaks in Canada, the U.S. and Europe.Meanwhile Sunwing is expanding its flight network to keep up with demand from southwestern Ontario, with the launch of new service from Detroit, Michigan for the first time ever.Starting Jan. 20, 2019 and running until April 22, 2019 inclusive from Detroit Metropolitan Airport, the new flights will operate on Sundays to Punta Cana, and twice-weekly on Mondays and Fridays to Montego Bay. Travellers can book select vacation packages to both Sun destinations.“We are excited to be offering Canadians more convenient ways to travel south this winter with the addition of the new departure airport in Detroit, Michigan. This route is a great addition to the current weekly flight service out of London and Windsor and offers travellers in Southwestern Ontario a wider selection of vacation options,” says Andrew Dawson, President of Tour Operations for Sunwing Travel Group. For agents looking for space for clients for late December getaways, Sunwing is recommending both Punta Cana and Cancun. Suggested resorts include Royalton Riviera Cancun Resort and Spa, Royalton Blue Waters in Jamaica, Royalton White Sands Montego Bay, Royalton Negril Resort and Spa and Grand Memories Splash in the D.R. center_img Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Share << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Top Stories

first_img Top Stories Comments   Share   Nevada officials reach out to D-backs on potential relocation Cardinals expect improving Murphy to contribute right away I have a question for Cardinals fans: What did Kevin Kolbdo deserve getting booed Wednesday night? We’re nottalking about a game, and we’re not even really talkingabout a practice. We’re talking about a minicamp workoutat Fan Fest! Kolb probably thought he was back at LincolnFinancial Field instead of University of Phoenix Stadium.Besides, when did you turn into Philly fan?Of course last season was a disappointment. Kolb would bethe first to tell you he should’ve thrown more than ninetouchdowns and fewer than eight interceptions in only ninestarts. He’d also tell you he should’ve made more thannine starts. I’m guessing he didn’t overly enjoy battlingturf toe and head injuries last season. I’m going to alsoassume Kolb didn’t enjoy feeling like a sitting duck inthe pocket because his left tackle didn’t/couldn’t blockfor him. Sure he had happy feet, but wouldn’t you? D-backs president Derrick Hall: Franchise ‘still focused on Arizona’ Kolb would’ve also benefitted from offseason workoutsafter being acquired from Philly last season. Save your“Cam Newton did just fine without OTA’s and Minicamp, andhe was a rookie” comments. Kolb is not Newton. Not evenclose. Newton has a legitimate chance to be a Hall ofFame quarterback. If he stays healthy, I believe Kolb willbecome a solid NFL starter (think along the lines of RichGannon) that can help a team win games, but will probablynever carry a team. It’s not like Kolb came to Arizona with a sense ofentitlement. Sure he got a nice contract, but he also knewthe Cards were somewhat desperate for someone who couldgive them a chance to win games. He didn’t demandoutrageous money. He came in, said the right things andput in the work to try and hastily learn a brand newsystem.Even Larry Fitzgerald commented during training camp howimpressed he was with Kolb’s work ethic. Of course youwant that to translate to the field, but things don’talways work out that way.I know the fans who booed Kolb in June are the same oneswho’ll be sporting No. 4 jerseys in November if he’shelping the Cards rack up wins. They also might be thesame people who demand patience when they’re struggling ina particular area of their life, but aren’t as forgivingtoward others. Assuming Kolb begins the season as the starter (and Ibelieve he should), he needs a strong start. This is afranchise that has high expectations and it should. IfKolb comes out and struggles, then feel free to expressyour frustration. But to lob jeers at a guy in his firsttrue offseason when he’s coming off a head injury is a bitmuch. Don’t be lame, Cards fan. – / 33 What an MLB source said about the D-backs’ trade haul for Greinkelast_img read more

TiVos European business helped the DVR technology

first_imgTiVo’s European business helped the DVR technology specialist grow its total subscriber base by 524,000 to 2.5 million in the 12 months ending April 30.The company has seen strong growth at UK cable operator Virgin Media. “Virgin Media continues to be a wonderful example of how strategically important our product has been in bolstering pay TV offerings,” said Tom Rogers, CEO and president of TiVo. “Virgin Media recently reported it added another 242,000 TiVo subscribers, bringing the total to 677,000, or 18% of its entire base in just over a year’s time. Virgin Media is growing its pay TV subscriber base faster than its key competitors, which is a significant reversal in trends and remarkable given the tough economy in the United Kingdom. We believe this is evidence that TiVo is fuelling a substantially improved competitive position for Virgin Media.”TiVo also delivers its service via Spanish cable operator Ono, which doubled the number of TiVo customers since the previous quarter.At last week’s Cable Show, TiVo announced a deal with Pace to devlop the TiVo-Pace XG1 set-top box, a six tuner gateway. Rogers said the device would enable operators to use TiVo’s whole-home solutions, including support for traditional and IP services. “We feel this will be a real potential accelerant for deployment of TiVo,” he said.TiVo posted first quarter service and technology revenues of US$54.5 million (€43.8 million), up 40% per year. A one-off payment relating to a Dish Network settlement meant TiVo reported a net loss of US$20.8 million for the quarter.last_img read more

Swedish cable operator Com Hem has said that it wi

first_imgSwedish cable operator Com Hem has said that it will raise gross proceeds of up to SEK6.237 billion (€688 million) through its IPO, with the offering valuing the equity of the firm at SEK10.637 billion to SEK12.437 billion.In the prospectus for its stock market floatation, Com Hem said that it expects to set the price for the offering at between SEK44 and SEK62 per share and sell between 91.4 and 128.9 million newly issued shares.The application period for the offer to the Swedish public is expected to start on June 4, 2014 and close on June 13, 2014. Private placements to institutional investors, including a private placement in the US to qualified institutional buyers will start on June 4 and end June 16.Com Hem is expected to begin trading on the NASDAQ OMX Stockholm on June 17, 2014 under the trading ‘COMH’.“Significant investments have been made in order to strengthen our business and I am convinced we have a compelling value proposition to customers,” said Com Hem CEO, Anders Nilsson.“Together with the management team and all our employees we are ready to embark on this exciting journey. We have created a solid platform, now it’s about execution. We welcome new shareholders to take part in Com Hem’s future as a listed company.”Com Hem said that after years of private ownership the IPO will help support the firm’s “future growth and operational strategy” and provide financial flexibility and improved access to public capital markets.Com Hem is offering shares that will raise gross proceeds of SEK5.67 million. However, it has also granted its joint global coordinators an ‘over-allotment option’ to purchase an additional 10%-worth of new shares. Assuming that this option is exercised in full, the offering will amount to SEK6.237 billion.Com Hem first announced its intention to launch an IPO on May 23, 2014.last_img read more

Today we have the great pleasure to introduce you

first_imgToday we have the great pleasure to introduce you to James Turk, a well-known investment guru, international investor, and co-founder of the increasingly popular GoldMoney.com.In this interview, James will talk about:His past and the lessons of relevance to all those who want to live an international life.Current trends and what people can do to protect themselves during these volatile times.His GoldMoney service, one which we receive quite a few questions about here at International Man every month.So, without further ado, let’s begin…International Man: For those who aren’t familiar with you or your work, can you tell us a bit about yourself?James Turk: I have over 40 years of experience in international banking, finance and investments. I began my career with Chase Manhattan Bank, now JPMorgan Chase, which is one of the big New York banks. I then worked with one of the world’s top commodity traders, before moving to Abu Dhabi where I managed the commodity department for its sovereign wealth fund. It was one of the seven countries in which I have lived, but I now live in Europe.I have written extensively over the last 25 years about money and investments. Many of my articles are posted on the Internet, but I am particularly proud of a book I co-authored with my friend, John Rubino, The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit from It. It was first published in 2004 and correctly laid out the reason for owning gold and why banks and other financial companies like Fannie Mae were heading for trouble. We also explained why the bubble then prevailing in the housing market was ready to burst.In the late 1990s I formed GoldMoney with my oldest son, Geoffrey, who is now its CEO. Since its launch in 2001 GoldMoney has become a leading provider for buying gold, silver, platinum and palladium online to buyers worldwide. It is presently storing in vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong over US$2.2 billion of precious metals owned by customers located in more than 100 countries.Lastly, I am also a director of the GoldMoney Foundation, a not-for-profit educational organization dedicated to providing information on the role of gold and silver as money and currency and their importance to society. I am a firm believer that gold’s use as money is inextricably interlinked with human liberty. The Foundation promulgates this key point through published material, videos and conferences.IM: When did you personally start living and investing overseas?JT: I always wanted to live abroad and travel, which is one reason I joined Chase. They promised an overseas assignment when I completed my training program in New York City, and in 1971 I moved to Thailand. I spent most of that decade living and working in Asia. It was a great experience and provided a strong base on which to build my business career.It was the early 1970s when I first began international investing for my personal portfolio. I don’t remember the year, but I remember the event well. I tried to invest in a fund managed by Robeco, a big Dutch asset management company. They didn’t accept my application because I used my US address, and the fund was not registered with the SEC.That irritated me, being self-reliant and believing that I did not need any government agency watching over my shoulder when I made an investment. It also made clear to me the nanny-state environment in which we lived back then, which in my view has become even more onerous and oppressive today. But that event from 40 years ago had a useful outcome. It set me on a path to learn the ins-and-outs of international investing and the arcane rules governments imposed.IM: What motivated you to look outside your home country for fortune and opportunity in the first place?JT: Though I was born and raised in the States, I had an international perspective as long as I can remember, probably because my father was born in Europe. As Shakespeare so wisely advised, the “world is your oyster”. In this regard, I have always believed that you can do or achieve anything you want in life. It just takes planning and a lot of hard work.Everyone has the freedom to do so, but not everyone has the same motivations. Nor does everyone have the goal to view the whole world as an opportunity to improve their situation in life and to make sure their children have a better standard of living than they did as children. This objective was important to my parents. So maybe I learned it from them, but then again, maybe it is just human nature because I have seen that motivation time and again in many countries and many different cultures.IM: What steps have you taken personally to plant flags overseas?JT: There are many. I live in Europe and have travelled to over 50 countries. The company I founded is European-based, but has a global customer base. My wife and youngest son are British. I could go on, but those are the ones that immediately come to mind.IM: In a previous conversation, it was mentioned to me that Doug Casey’s book, The International Man, was an important influence on your way of thinking. Can you elaborate on that?JT: Yes, it was one of the sources of good information that I read back in the 1970s. There was not a lot of material back then on how to internationalize your life, which was my objective. So I bought a copy and learned a lot from it. There are two ways to gain useful experience – “reading” and “doing”. Both are invaluable.TrendsIM: In a recent article, you mention the “Last Plane Account“, which basically suggested setting up structures overseas so that if all domestic assets were seized, one would have a nest-egg available to still live a comfortable life. When did you first realize such a plan was needed for US citizens?JT: The name “last plane account” was an informal one that we used in Chase to refer to a marketing program that explained the necessity for southeast Asian businessmen to have bank deposits outside their home countries. The idea was that if turmoil wracked the country where you lived, you and your family could get on the “last plane” and live somewhere else in the same manner to which you were accustomed, even if you needed to leave behind many assets – like a house and your company’s factory.Remember, the domino theory still prevailed back in the 1970s, and everyone wondered and worried about what country in that part of the world would be the next to fall to communism. If it did, you clearly would want some of your wealth invested globally so that you and your family could live comfortably if forced to flee your home country, or just because you simply chose to do so. The idea was that you could then return to your home country once a sane political climate was restored with a rule of law that protected property rights.At first I didn’t realize that everyone needs a “last plane account” – even Americans. But my thinking began to change not long after moving to Thailand. I became friends with a wealthy Thai businessman whose family lost a fortune in real estate when the Chinese Red Army under Mao took control of that country. They left China only with their suitcases, which fortunately for them carried some gold and jade. After fleeing China, they settled in Thailand and through hard work re-built their fortune with the capital they were able to bring with them. It was actually a story that I eventually heard many times over the years I was in Asia.Then in late 1974, I agreed to move to Beirut, Lebanon, which back then was a plum assignment in the bank. However, the civil war there began before I could pack my bags, and because I had a family, the assignment was cancelled with mutual consent. It was a wake-up call for me. Like the experience related to me by my Chinese friend, it opened my eyes, and I began to really recognize that there are a lot of unsafe places in the world. More to the point, over the years I’ve seen dozens of countries change from good to bad, while some changed from bad to good.Sometimes the change occurs rapidly, as it did in Lebanon. Sometimes the change occurs slowly, which is what happens in most countries. The change can be so slow as to be imperceptible to most people living there, which is one of the reasons I recommend that people live for a time in different countries. It gives you a different perspective.When I look at the States, Thailand and the other countries where I have lived, from outside, I see things that I missed when I lived there. I think this perspective is important to understand that we live in a world that is constantly changing. So regardless of which country you were born, I recommend that everyone travel and live abroad, at least for a time, to gain some useful and unique experiences. When you do, I think you will better understand the reasons for a “last plane account” and appreciate the need to prepare for an uncertain future.IM: Can you tell us what such an account would consist of?JT: Clearly, I would not recommend today what we at Chase were offering back then, namely, bank deposits. These do not make sense in today’s topsy-turvy world.I would put into the account the same thing that you would put in any portfolio. There would be undervalued assets as well as safe assets in a mix that would enable you to sleep well at night knowing you were prepared to live comfortably somewhere in the world if you left your home country.The safe assets would of course be gold and a home for shelter. The undervalued assets would primarily be stocks, particularly a globally diversified portfolio and one that paid reasonable dividends to provide income. I don’t recommend commercial real estate, but other real estate – like an apartment building, farmland or timberland – could also be a safe asset in the right jurisdiction.Remember though, there is a fundamental difference between visible wealth and wealth that cannot easily be seen. Visible wealth is always a potential target for governments around the world looking for assets to tax or even confiscate, and one must factor in that risk. In fact, this risk is one of the reasons for diversifying globally. Diversification always mitigates risk.IM: With all this money printing in the world do you see hyperinflation in the US dollar and hence the world?JT: Sadly, yes, I do expect hyperinflation, and we are getting very close. Hyperinflation manifests itself in two ways, depending on the nature of the currency. In Weimar Germany in the 1920s and Zimbabwe more recently, very few people had bank accounts. Nearly all commerce was conducted with cash-currency. In contrast, in Argentina in 1991 nearly everyone had a bank account, with the result that nearly all commerce was conducted with deposit-currency. In other words, payment for goods and services was conducted through the banking system with checks, wire transfers, plastic cards and the like. All three countries experienced hyperinflation, which always has the same cause, regardless how it manifests itself. It boils down to a simple chain of events.A government spends too much, forcing it to borrow. Because governments have difficulties cutting back on spending when they have unlimited access to their central bank and no external discipline or constraints imposed on politicians’ aspirations to spend, eventually these borrowings become bigger than the market has the capacity or willingness to lend. The central bank then steps in to create the currency the government wants to spend, whether it is running a printing press in Zimbabwe or the computer in Argentina.Both examples are generally referred to as “printing money”, but now it is usually called “quantitative easing”. Maybe governments think that by giving it a name change, the process somehow becomes acceptable. Call it what you will, but it is the same thing and if not stopped, inevitably leads to hyperinflation. Given that the president and Congress don’t seem willing to change direction, and given their plans for more spending and more deficits, the US dollar is clearly on the path toward hyperinflation.IM: If so, what will the end of the US Dollar look like for the man on the street?JT: It will look like the Continental, America’s first currency, or the currencies of dozens of other countries that followed the same path. The dollar will be worth nothing. This outcome is particularly tragic because we failed to learn from the framers of the American Constitution. One of the reasons they aimed to create “a more perfect Union” was because of the economic hardships and dislocations caused by the collapse of the Continental. They purposefully created with the Constitution a common market and common currency. Their intent was made clear by one of the first acts of the new Congress, The Coinage Act, which George Washington signed into law in 1792. It was the law of the land until being ignored in the 20th century by politicians wanting to expand the scope of the federal government. To achieve that aim, they needed to spend money. But they could not do that with the dollar being tied to gold and silver.Precious metals cannot be created “out of thin air”, so they provide the necessary discipline on government spending. The US, and indeed, the entire world has abandoned that discipline and money is now created capriciously by central bankers.IM: For those who have followed the gold and silver commentaries for the last number of years, they will already know that you are exceptionally bullish on precious metals right now. However, in your mind, could something happen where the trend towards higher prices stalls for a while or potentially even reverses?JT: I assume you are asking about a major price reversal, and not just some temporary setback. In my view, only one thing would cause that. There would have to be a massive reduction in the quantity of dollars, and I don’t see any prospect for that. The Federal Reserve doesn’t seem intent on doing that given it has said it is committed to preventing deflation.Of course, at any moment in time the price of gold or silver can have a setback. That is the nature of bull markets. But don’t let these periodic corrections shake you out of the market. The key to successful investing is to accumulate assets when they are undervalued, and continue to hold them through periodic corrections. Only sell them when they become overvalued. It sounds easy, but can be hard to do in practice because people often get emotionally attached to assets, be it a house, a stock or gold.To eliminate the emotion, I always rely upon objective measures of value. Two that I use most frequently for gold and often write about are my Fear Index and my Gold Money Index. Both of these indicate that gold remains undervalued. But aside from these objective measures, I think there is also a good anecdotal one. I expect all fiat currencies to collapse. Consequently, you will not sell your gold when it becomes overvalued; you will spend it. In other words, gold will once again become currency, which is one of the goals we are working toward at GoldMoney. At that future time when gold becomes overvalued, you will take the gold you are now accumulating and spend it to invest in assets that are undervalued or spend it buying consumer goods. We are still far away from that moment.IM: What are your thoughts on possible confiscation from government or forced buy back of gold from its citizens, and is there some safety by owning precious metals with a service like GoldMoney?JT: The future of course cannot be predicted, but we nevertheless know that respect for private property is declining in many parts of the world. In the 20th century gold was confiscated by Lenin in Russia, Hitler in Germany, Mussolini in Italy and Franklin Roosevelt in the US. So don’t assume that confiscations can’t happen in the 21st century. I always say to prepare for the worst, while hoping for the best. In this way you will still get by, even if by an unfortunate turn of events the worst possible outcome happens.Because the future is unknowable, it is impossible to determine the perfect strategy to take advantage of future events. The best we can do is to protect ourselves from wealth destroying future events, like confiscation. I believe the best way to do that is through diversification. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket, and GoldMoney can be helpful in diversifying your precious metals.When you buy physical gold and silver – and I only recommend physical metal, not any of the paper products purporting to offer physical metal – there are only two ways to do it. Buy it and store it yourself, or buy it and have someone store it for you, which is what GoldMoney offers.Each alternative has advantages and disadvantages. If you store gold yourself, you have it at hand, but run the risk of theft. Also, if you need to sell, it can be a bother to take your coins or bars to a dealer, who may then require them to be refined, which adds cost.With GoldMoney, you do not have your gold at hand, but it is stored for you in specialized vaults in London, Zurich and/or Hong Kong at your choice and is insured. You also have nearly instant liquidity. You can easily sell your metal back to GoldMoney. The proceeds are immediately wired to your bank account, which, depending on the time zone in which you live, may mean you receive the proceeds the same day. It is also convenient because all transactions are done online 24/7.GoldMoney BasicsInternational Man: You’ve referenced it a few times already, but, for those of our readers not yet familiar with GoldMoney.com, can you give us a really brief overview? James Turk: GoldMoney allows customers in 105 different countries to buy gold, silver, platinum and palladium online, and store these metals at secure vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong. Customers can conduct transactions in nine major currencies and also take physical delivery of their gold in the form of 100 gram and 1kg gold bars. Our governance procedures and regular audits provide assurances of integrity to our customers that their precious metals are being stored safely with us. IM: What prompted you to start GoldMoney in the first place? JT: The idea for GoldMoney came to me in 1979. I had been reading extensively, including many great works like Howard Buffett’s brilliant 1948 speech and dozens of books on money, particularly those of Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian school of economics. I re-read Atlas Shrugged and some of Ayn Rand’s other works. Another influential book from back then that comes to mind is The Market for Liberty. From these and other works I began to understand the importance of re-establishing gold’s role as currency. It was clear to me that human liberty and gold were inextricably interlinked because gold money controls government spending. When this spending has limits, so do government depredations. I wanted to live in a world where property rights were respected and the rule of law was followed, and naturally assumed other people shared that same aim, which meant that my idea for creating a technologically advanced gold money offered a profit opportunity. Of course the technology to make my vision possible was not available back then, nor did I think the technology would become available in my lifetime. Fortunately, the rapid advances in communications and computers over the next twenty years eventually made GoldMoney possible. My son and I formed GoldMoney in the late 1990s, which we launched in early 2001. I have not lost sight of my original vision and the important outcome that can be achieved by enabling gold to circulate once again as currency. IM: What makes GoldMoney different from some of the other options out there? JT: Buying allocated physical bullion, as facilitated by GoldMoney, guarantees you hold and own the metal in your name. Our stringent governance procedures and regular audits provide our customers with assurances that their metals are safe and that they are the undisputed owners. The freedom and ease of accessing the global precious metals markets online, 24 hours a day, and the variety of metals, storage facilities and accepted currencies offer a high level of comfort and diversification. This makes GoldMoney a uniquely secure and convenient precious metals provider. IM: Can you briefly take us through the process of signing up for an account? JT: People with residency in the US, Canada and 42 other countries are eligible for fast tracking – meaning they can sign up for what we call a Basic Holding quickly and easily online by clicking on the “Free Sign Up” button on our website GoldMoney.com. The entire process takes only a few minutes and customers can start funding their Holding in order to purchase metals immediately. Customers can upgrade to a Full Holding free of charge at any time. IM: In your mind, what is the single greatest reason someone signs up for a GoldMoney account – for speculating on the price of the metal, for savings, as a way to internationalize, something else? JT: People may of course have different reasons for opening a Holding. But I always say that precious metals should be thought of as your savings rather than as something that you “invest” in or speculate on. After all, an ounce of gold today is exactly the same as an ounce of gold 50 years ago. Like a quart, ton or meter, it is a consistent measuring stick. What changes is the value of currency in relation to that ounce of gold. Over time, the purchasing power of gold is preserved – in contrast to fiat currencies, where your purchasing power declines. More and more people are realizing this, and come to the conclusion that it makes sense to hold gold and other precious metals rather than national currencies, particularly now because one hardly earns any interest income with today’s artificially low interest rates. As precious metals regain mass acceptance as a medium of exchange and store of value, those who have been steadily accumulating them will recognise the benefits.Gold Money ChallengesIM: What are the challenges with running a company like GoldMoney? JT: There are of course many, just like there are in any company. But as we face and overcome these challenges, we always have one objective in mind, which is to serve our customers’ best interests. One of the many things I learned from Von Mises is that the “Customer is King”, which is a guiding principle always foremost in our minds and actions. In short, companies are built by serving their customers’ best interests efficiently and continuously. IM: Over the past year, I’ve heard some of the announcements that GoldMoney has had to suspend or even shut down operations in various jurisdictions such as the Netherlands. Is this something you feel can be rectified so that you can enter such markets again? If so, how? JT: This is unique to the Netherlands, owing to the unusual burdens placed on us by the Dutch regulators, the Netherlands Authority for the Financial Markets (AFM). The AFM has the view that precious metals are included within the concept of “investment objects” which are to be regulated by the AFM. We are of the opinion that Netherlands’ regulation is not applicable to GoldMoney because we operate in Jersey, British Channel Islands, rather than within the Netherlands – but we have been unsuccessful in changing the AFM’s view. As we do not want to subject ourselves, and by extension our customers, to unnecessary and unpredictable regulatory requirements, we reached the difficult conclusion that the only way to resolve this situation was to cease all business with individuals resident in the Netherlands. We do have every intention of accepting business from Dutch residents again in the future should the regulatory environment there change. IM: I have an associate who has a GoldMoney account and his wife has another. For a while, he would regularly transfer goldgrams to her without issue. As of the beginning of the year, that particular function has been suspended. Can you tell us why that happened and whether that particular benefit of your service will be implemented again? JT: Our decision to turn off the facility to transfer metals between GoldMoney customers in all countries except Jersey is based on lack of customer demand and increasing regulatory burdens. It is our intention to offer this service again in the future, which will depend on customer feedback and regulatory changes. IM: If a company like GoldMoney can’t use gold as money because of legislative and regulatory burdens, what does this say about any other competing currency? JT: Governments today seem to think that they should enjoy monopoly control of money and currency, even though both are products of the market just like any other good or service. Consequently, all free-market currencies will have a difficult time in gaining a foothold against national currencies. But because national currencies are losing purchasing power rapidly, it is inevitable that gold will once again return to its traditional and rightful role at the center of global commerce. After all, gold has been money for 5000 years, and it still preserves purchasing power better than any national currency, which for 40 years now have been backed by nothing. But the growing financial and monetary problems today make clear that this 40-year experiment with fiat currency is going badly. This result is inevitable, as proven by the dozens of other attempts throughout history to make fiat currency work through central planning and control. Eventually gold returns to center stage as the dominant money and currency in global commerce, and I suspect that this time will be no different given that the future of fiat currency is looking increasingly doubtful.Protecting GoldMoney ClientsIM: What safeguards has GoldMoney established to ensure that the person who buys physical metal is protected if the business happens to fail? Would they lose their assets? JT: Although this is an extreme unlikely scenario, customers will receive their physical metal in any of the gold, silver, platinum and palladium bars we offer, provided they have a balance greater than one bar. This includes the London Good Delivery Bars, as well as the 100 gram and 1 kilogram gold bars. Alternatively, customers can receive the equivalent value of their metals in one of the 9 national currencies we offer. A court appointed liquidator would complete this winding-up process. IM: How does GoldMoney ensure that the goldgram amount is actually in the client’s account? Couldn’t it all be just a game of numbers? JT: The quantity of metals allocated to customers’ Holdings that is recorded in GoldMoney’s database is equal to the amount of metal that is being stored in the vaults at all times. This one-to-one ratio is always maintained and forms a key part of our governance model. 100% customer ownership is assured by top-quality independent third-party reports and audits from the vault operators, Inspectorate – a commodity testing and inspection firm – and by regular audits by a big-4 accounting firm. GoldMoney is simply a guardian of its customers’ assets. IM: When someone buys metal from GoldMoney, are they officially an owner of their holdings or simply another creditor to the company itself? JT: Customers who own precious metals with GoldMoney own it in the form of allocated physical metal. This means that they are direct owners of their metals, and that GoldMoney does not have any claim on its customers’ assets. Customers’ metals do not appear on GoldMoney’s balance sheet, meaning that our customers do not have any counterparty risk.Common QuestionsInternational Man: What are some of the more common reasons people say they don’t want to use GoldMoney? James Turk: Some people prefer to have their gold and silver in their hands. They want to be able to touch and feel it. Given all that’s gone in the financial world over the last few years, and with the MF Global debacle still fresh in people’s minds, this is understandable. But there are real risks to storing large quantities of metal at home. It is therefore natural that people would look to store their metal in other ways and other countries, and this is where GoldMoney can help. GoldMoney’s governance and audit procedures are rigorous and stringent and the Certificates & Reports are available for review on our website. With regards to storing metals at home or some other private location, GoldMoney can help customers by supplying physical metal, as we deliver 100-gram and 1-kilo gold bars produced by Baird & Co. of London to our customers’ home address. The main risk of storing metals at home is burglary, and liquidity and geographical diversification are limited. IM: What would you say to someone who would be a bit nervous buying “paper” / “promise to pay” gold through GoldMoney? JT: GoldMoney does not sell any “paper gold“. It only sells physical metal, which is always what I recommend owning. “Paper gold” offers exposure to the gold price, but that is all. The buyer does not own gold, but rather a claim to gold. Futures, options, ETFs and gold certificates are examples of paper-gold products, and they all have counterparty risk. None of these items give you the guaranteed 100% ownership of allocated gold that you have when transacting with GoldMoney. Because all customers’ metals within GoldMoney are stored in vaults, and because we deal exclusively in the physical bullion markets with a variety of dealers, there will always be bidders for customers who wish to sell, and sellers for those customers eager to buy. Bringing supply and demand into equilibrium is what the price discovery process is all about. Therefore, GoldMoney will always be able to honor your sell or buy order in a prompt manner.Logistical QuestionsIM: What are the options available to customers for taking delivery of their gold? JT: Customers can take physical delivery of their gold at any time in the form of 100 gram and 1 kilogram bars. These bars, which have a purity of 99.99%, are refined by Baird & Co. Ltd. in London and shipped to our customers’ home address by insured mail. The customer places the delivery order online through their Holding, and we will automatically process it. We can also arrange the delivery of 400oz Good Delivery Bars. If you wish to diversify your metals and move your metal balance in your Holding partly or entirely for storage in a different country, you also have the option to do that when logged into your Holding. IM: Where are the holdings stored? JT: Customers can store their gold and silver at VIA MAT vaults in London, Zurich and Hong Kong. You can also store gold and silver at a G4S vault in Hong Kong. Platinum is stored by VIA MAT in Zurich and Hong Kong, and the same company also stores palladium in Hong Kong. IM: Which are the most popular of these companies to store holdings? JT: The largest holdings are at VIA MATs gold and silver vaults in London and Zurich.MiscellaneousIM: Do you have any merchants that currently allow you to purchase items with GoldMoney? JT: Currently there are no merchants that accept GoldMoney because we have turned-off the payment capability to customers in all countries except Jersey, where we are based. IM: What is currently the breakdown among your client base in terms of allocations between gold, silver, platinum and palladium? What metal the most popular? JT: With the launch of GoldMoney in 2001 we offered gold only and introduced silver in 2006. Platinum followed in 2009 and Palladium in January 2011. Given gold’s long established bona fides as money, you probably won’t be surprised to learn that most of our customers’ metals in terms of US dollars are held in gold. However, silver is a close second to gold in terms of total USD value. Platinum and palladium holdings with us are smaller, though the popularity of these metals is likely to grow. The amount of metals and currencies held on behalf of our customers are disclosed in the monthly report on our website. IM: What is the average size of account in GoldMoney? JT: It has been growing since inception, and is presently $103,000. However, the median account size is only about $10,000. There is no minimum or maximum amount you can purchase and hold, so we have a wide range of customers from small to large. IM: For those who want to find out more, what’s the best way? JT: Our website www.goldmoney.com offers detailed information about our services and governance procedures. We also have a Research section that provides background information on the precious metal markets. The Frequently Asked Questions section offers guidance for new and prospective customers and our customer support team is always happy to answer any questions – by phone, email or through our secure internal message system. IM: Sir, it was a pleasure. Thank you.JT: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you as well.[To interact with other international men and women all around the world, consider joining the International Man Network. It’s completely free to join, plus you’ll have access to a private forum of thousands of like-minded individuals who are sharing their “boots on the ground” tactics and experience on how to internationalize one’s life and wealth. Sign up here.]About the Author: Inspired by the work of best-selling author and renowned speculator Doug Casey, International Man is a global network of freedom-seekers, investors, adventurers, speculators and expatriates looking to live an international lifestyle – be it asset, income, personal diversification or any combination of the three. Learn more at www.internationalman.com.last_img read more

In This Issue BLS reports 171000 new jobs Bi

first_imgIn This Issue.*BLS reports 171,000 new jobs. *Bias to buy dollars intensifies. *RBA to announce a rate cut this afternoon. *Euro falls though 200-Day moving avg.And, Now, Today’s Pfennig For Your Thoughts!Who Is The BLS Attempting To Fool?Good day.  And a Marvelous Monday to you! The last day before the Big Election Day here in the U.S. I hope you all enjoyed the Big Boss, Frank Trotter’s, analysis of the election, in the Sunday Pfennig & Pfriends. On top of all the other things that Frank does better than most people, he also writes! He will be able to fall back on that when he retires one day. And he’ll be better than anyone else doing it at that time!Now, you may think I’m just trying to build up some brownie points with the Big Boss. But I’ve told him this to his face for years now, and have invited him to participate in the Pfennig, whenever he feels like it. Besides, at my age, I’ve learned that those brownie points don’t really matter when the rubber meets the road!OK. On Friday, I told you that the bias to buy dollars was strong, and that traders were pricing in a disappointing Jobs Jamboree. However, a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. Instead of a disappointing Jobs number for October, the number was questionable once again. Yes, I’ll just throw that out there, and get it on the discussion board, Front & Center this morning.  Oh! And traders changed horses in the middle of the stream, and decided that the number of jobs created was worth switching their reason to buy dollars.So. The Bureau of Labor Statistic (BLS) said that the economy added 171,000 jobs in October.  Here’s what questionable. of the 171,000, 90,000 were added by the BLS for the birth/ death adjustment.  Now, why do I say that 90,000 jobs added out of thin air, is questionable?  Well, long time readers know that the Birth / Death Model, tries to account for new businesses that open up and aren’t online with reporting jobs yet. (they also are supposed to subtract for businesses that close). And just last week I reported to you that CEO’s had reported that they were laying off and firing large numbers of workers. So, if little old me came across that story, they had to have at least “heard about it” at the BLS, right?  So, then, why would they add 90,000 jobs knowing all too well that more jobs are being lost right now?So, here’s how my mind works.  171,000 minus 90,000 and you get 81,000, which is much closer to the 111,000 I called for on Friday, and. would be considered disappointing, right?  And then to just muddy up the picture even more. The BLS tells us 171,000 jobs were added but the Unemployment Rate increased to 7.9% from 7.8%…  (remember last month, the BLS said we added 114,000 jobs and the unemployment rate fell from 8.1% to 7.8%?)  is your mind spinning around and performing carnival tricks in an attempt to make sense of this Unemployment Rate? Mine is. and that’s why I say the BLS just throws a dart at numbers on the wall to get the rate!OK. if only I could hold to my thought from a month ago that I was not going to let any economic data report that printed before the election carry any weight. Unfortunately, the markets were all over this BLS Jobs data like a cheap suit. So. since I write about the markets, I have to spend time on this. I don’t buy the number. You can’t make me! HA!So. like I said above, currency and metals traders decided to change horses in the middle of the stream, and switched back to the trading pattern that rewards the dollar for strong U.S. economic data.   I think that the overnight markets that were gone for the weekend when the Jobs number printed on Friday, saw this data last night when they returned to their desks, they laughed. The chuckled and probably fell out of their chairs. But, then, they pulled themselves back up, and decided to keep the bias to buy dollars in place.Then in the morning sessions of Europe, the traders there kept the bias to buy dollars in place. The euro has really taken it on the chin in the past week. And there really hasn’t been any news from the Eurozone to make the euro lose 2-cents in the past week. Greece’s Gov’t will present a new austerity package to the Greek Parliament today, with a vote announcement expected on Wednesday. I look for this new package to pass. Look, Greece really has no choice, except to drop out of the euro and default.  So, the Greeks might not like being told that these austerity measures are coming, but there’s not much they can do about, except burn down the library.Tonight, the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) will meet. and even though I’ve been telling you how the aggressive calls to cut rates in 2013, have been getting pared back, that doesn’t change what the markets had already priced in. and that is one final cut for 2012. And I believe we’ll see that tonight. The markets are probably thinking the rate cut will come in December, as they are marking up the Aussie dollar (A$) (one of the few currencies in the black this morning) this morning. But. I believe it will come this afternoon. so look for that. but remember, this cut is already priced in. so the actual pain to the A$ will be muted. at least that’s my opinion, and I could be wrong.Well. I really don’t believe that much that happens today and tomorrow, data wise, is going to garner much attention, as all eyes are on the U.S. election tomorrow. I was watching some football yesterday, and the announcers for the Washington Redskins and Carolina Panthers game, said that since 1940, the outcome of the Redskins’ game prior to the election had been the indicator of who wins 17 of 18 times. So. if the Redskins won, the incumbent won, if the Redskins lost the challenger won. Well. if that means anything to you. the Redskins lost yesterday.Funny little indicators always intrigue me, I have no idea why. I guess it plays well with my loving a good conspiracy theory!  I just know that I’ll be so happy to not see election ads on the TV going forward.So, I already told you about the RBA meeting tonight, but that’s not all for this week! We’ll also see the Central banks of the Eurozone (ECB) and the U.K. (BOE) meet this week. I really don’t believe the ECB will have any rabbits up their sleeve, but the BOE could very well, add to their current total of Quantitative Easing (QE).  The outcomes for the euro and the pound sterling won’t be driven by the Central Bank meetings this week though.  But there’s always that “chance”, eh?I’ve watched the price of Gold go from down $1 to up $2.75 this morning, not much movement, not like the further taking down of the shiny metal last week. Did you see the story that appeared late last week that Gold is in short supply in Nepal, and that bullion traders had stopped sales of Gold bars and coins due to a failure by the commercial banks to deliver supply.  Hmmm. and price of Gold fell?  Supply & demand.  What don’t the price manipulators understand?  This is a crying shame that this gets to continue on and on and on, like the Energizer Bunny.The price of Gold is still above the 200-day moving avg, so the shiny metal has that going for it! But, you have to wonder if the price manipulators (PM’s) have the goal of taking down the price of Gold below that 200-day moving avg?  Hey! If you’re not going to get your wrists slapped for doing the deed, then you just continue doing the deed, eh? You betcha!  And like I’ve said before the PM’s would get their due if we could muster up enough demand for physical Gold & Silver. It’s got to be physical, not ETF’s. Folks, those ETF’s are not Physical Gold. and you can’t get physical Gold out of them!The euro fell below its 200-day moving avg overnight (1.2830) to trade in the 1.27 handle.  It’s not been a good year for the euro, as it spent the first 8 months of the year below the moving avg, and then things looked brighter, and the last two months it traded above the moving avg.  This move lower could be the beginning of another period of euro weakness folks. I would watch carefully for that. for this is what normally happens when a currency recovers, and then can’t add to that recovery, it eventually goes for a ride on the slippery slope.Then There Was This. I have a good friend that goes back to my days at Mark Twain Bank. her name is Ellie, and she has an excellent mind for investments (and other things!) she has written a couple of books on investing through the years.. Well, when Ellie sees something that makes a lot of sense, she sends it to me.. As so it was on Saturday, when I received an email from Ellie.  It was my friend John Mauldin’s outside the box article. Here’s a snippet from investment analyst guru, Charles Gave. “So the solution to our current malaise is very simple: We have to stop now. Reduce government spending, stop manipulating money, let market pricing return – or the result will be a vicious cycle of low growth and rising debt, or certain depression.The choice is just as simple for investors: Stick with countries that have avoided the worst of the bad policies, like Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Poland, Switzerland, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Hong Kong or even Korea. All of these countries either kept fiscal balances and taxes low (or started reducing them), and/or regulated their financial systems to prevent casino madness.Consider certain countries that are improving on the margin. This includes the UK. It also includes China, which is opening its capital account and liberalizing its financial system. “Chuck again. Thanks to Ellie for sending this to me, and thanks to Charles Gave for his thoughts on what needs to happen here in the U.S. and then some choices as alternatives should the U.S. continue down this vicious cycle.To recap. The bias to dollars that existed Friday, was given a boost as the Jobs Jamboree as reported by the BLS showed a rise of 171,000 jobs in October. I say hogwash! But it is what it is.  The RBA meets tonight, and Chuck expects to see a rate cut tonight. The BOE and ECB also meet this week, with only more QE to be announced by the BOE. Greece presented a new austerity package to the Parliament for a vote Wednesday. And Gold gets taken down again.Currencies today 11/5/12. American Style: A$ $1.0360, kiwi .8240, C$ $1.0035, euro 1.2780, sterling 1.5980, Swiss $1.0590, . European Style: rand 8.7365, krone 5.7495, SEK 6.7060, forint 221.05, zloty 3.2265, koruna 19.7405, RUB 31.70, yen 80.25, sing 1.2255, HKD 7.75, INR 54.60, China 6.2447, pesos 13.06, BRL 2.0335, Dollar Index 80.83, Oil $84.87, 10-year 1.69%, Silver $31.07, and Gold. $1,682.40That’s it for today. Happy Birthday Rachel! Ugly steel gray days with raw temperatures, are back for us all to enjoy (NOT!) Typical November. My poor Missouri Tigers outplayed Florida throughout their game last Saturday, but managed to lose it anyway. UGH! Next up is Tennessee this week. Still no hockey. I got out my Blues baseball cap in hopes it will be good luck for a settlement!  Fat chance, eh?  Well. time to go. last day before the election. Like I said I’ll be glad to see it over with! Hopefully we won’t having any hanging chads or any other nonsense with voting fraud. I hope you have a Marvelous Monday!Chuck Butler President EverBank World Markets 1-800-926-4922 www.everbank.comlast_img read more

Ministers on the Isle of Man are to scrap their ve

first_imgMinisters on the Isle of Man are to scrap their version of the UK government’s much-criticised “fitness for work” test, prompting calls by disabled activists for the UK government to follow their lead.The decision, announced to members of Tynwald, the Isle of Man* parliament (pictured), follows years of criticism of the assessment on the island, mirroring concerns raised repeatedly and publicly in the UK.The statement by Treasury minister Alfred Cannan followed a report by Tynwald members into what is known on the island as the personal capability assessment (PCA), which is based on the UK’s work capability assessment (WCA).In the UK, there has been nearly a decade of evidence that the WCA is unsafe, inaccurate, unfair, and lacking in empathy, while it has been repeatedly linked with the deaths of claimants.In November 2015, public health experts from the Universities of Liverpool and Oxford showed in a study that, across England, the process of reassessing incapacity benefit claimants through the WCA between 2010 to 2013 was “associated with” an extra 590 suicides, 279,000 additional cases of self-reported mental health problems, and the prescribing of a further 725,000 anti-depressants.Concerns arose on the Isle of Man after a new scheme was introduced to reassess most of the island’s 2,000 long-term claimants of incapacity benefits through a face-to-face PCA, firstly through a pilot programme in 2012-13 carried out by Atos, the outsourcing giant which was itself being heavily criticised at the time for its role in the assessment process across the UK.The Isle of Man reassessment scheme was then taken on by another company, Dependability Ltd, which eventually had its contract terminated after it emerged that some of the assessments were not being carried out by registered healthcare professionals.Just as in the UK, there were criticisms of the “tick box” nature of the assessment process, the failure to deal fairly with claimants with fluctuating conditions such as ME and multiple sclerosis, and the use of unqualified and unsympathetic assessors.An independent review of the PCA, published in December 2016, reported “widespread” criticism, with concerns about the qualifications of assessors, and an “oversimplified” assessment which was unsuitable for those with more complex impairments.The review added: “Many people believed that they had been treated with a lack of respect and that the system lacked compassion.”It recommended the replacement of the PCA by a new “holistic multidisciplinary assessment” that would be “supportive” of the claimant and “based on trust and compassion underpinned by clear, open and honest communication”, with claimants “fully involved in developing a realistic return to work plan”.A report by a committee of members of Tynwald that supported the recommendations of the independent review was approved by the parliament last November.Cannan has now told the parliament that ministers are “minded to implement” the “complete removal of the existing personal capability assessment process” and replace it with a new “holistic approach”.Any decision to change the relevant regulations will need to be approved by members of Tynwald later this year.A spokesman for the Scottish-based, user-led grassroots network Black Triangle praised the Isle of Man government for taking the decision to scrap the PCA.He said: “We warmly congratulate them. They have done what any humane government would have done and it is now absolutely essential that the UK government follows suit.”A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman declined to comment on the Isle of Man government’s decision.But she said in a statement: “We are committed to ensuring that people with health conditions get the right support that they need, and work capability assessments ensure that everyone gets the benefits they are entitled to.“If a claimant’s condition changes then we will consider any new evidence presented by the claimant’s GP or medical professional.“Anyone who disagrees with the outcome of their assessment can appeal the decision.”*The Isle of Man is not part of the UK or European Union, but is a crown dependency with its own parliament and government, although under the supervision of the UK governmentlast_img read more

Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400000 By 2021 Study Projects

first_img Easy Search. Quality Finds. Your partner and digital portal for the cannabis community. Cannabis Industry Likely to Employ More Than 400,000 By 2021, Study Projects Next Article Guest Writer Cannabis The federal government shows few signs it will legalize one of the biggest job producers in the country. dispensaries.com Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Listen Now Image credit: Heath Korvola | Getty Images Green Entrepreneur Podcast –shares When it comes to projections, no sector of the economy currently has a rosier outlook than the marijuana industry.The latest report from ArcView Market Research demonstrates how big the numbers are getting. The name of the report neatly sums up the optimism of its findings: “U.S. Legal Cannabis: Driving $40 Billion Economic Output.”No one is questioning the potential for growth in the industry. Entrepreneurs have flocked to cannabis because of that potential. But there are headwinds, mostly involving an anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general, a White House administration that has largely stayed quiet on the issue and difficulties getting marijuana markets set up in some places even where voters have approved it.Still, in a release on the new report, ArcView CEO Troy Drayton said the economic potential of legal cannabis “is no longer just theory. Due to the giant impact adult-use legalization is already having in the United States, it’s vital for key stakeholders to understand the full impact of legalization, beyond just retail sales numbers.”So, what did the report find that impact would be?Related: Despite Being Illegal Under Federal Law, Cannabis Has Grown Into a $9 Billion Industry In States Where It Is Legal.California ImpactThe report was done against this backdrop: More than half of all U.S. states have approved a legal medical marijuana market, with adult-use marijuana sales are in place in Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.California also started adult-use sales in January. Massachusetts is expected to start later this year. Lawmakers in Maine are still trying to work out a deal to get their adult-use market up and running, while New Jersey’s new Democrat governor has pledged to legalize marijuana in the Garden State.But California is the driver behind many positive projections. The biggest state in the union, California is expected to add billions to the marijuana market in the U.S.ArcView, which did the study with cannabis business intelligence company BDS Analytics, projects the marijuana industry in the U.S. will account for $39.6 billion in economic output by 2021. About 60 percent of that will come from just six states: California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.The Golden State also is projected as a huge factor in another area: cannabis jobs.Related: Study Suggests Legal Pot Would Make Border Safer Than a Massive WallCannabis WorkersThe report projects that the California cannabis industry will add 99,000 jobs by 2021, about a third of all the cannabis-related jobs in the U.S.  Indirect jobs related to the cannabis industry will total about 146,000 in the state.Other projections and findings from the report:The cannabis industry will create 414,000 jobs across the country by 2021, either directly in the cannabis industry or in a related job.State and local governments are projected to reap $4 billion in total tax receipts from the marijuana industry by 2021.The report argues that the legal recreational marijuana industry in Colorado may have led to the state having one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country.The total amount of taxes taken in by states where cannabis is legal reached $1 billion in 2016, including wholesale, excise and cannabis-specific sales taxes.Clearly, those numbers are a business person’s dream (government officials, too). The growing economic power of the legal marijuana industry might be the one thing that keeps it from coming under attack by the current administration in Washington.To stay up to date on the latest marijuana related news make sure to like dispensaries.com on Facebook February 15, 2018 3 min read Each week hear inspiring stories of business owners who have taken the cannabis challenge and are now navigating the exciting but unpredictable Green Rush. Add to Queuelast_img read more

We Didnt Put a Woman in the White House But What About

first_img Add to Queue For her new book, ‘Earning It,’ a WSJ journalist talked to 50-plus female corporate trailblazers about the experiences they had on their way up. Next Article We Didn’t Put a Woman in the White House. But What About Women in the Workplace? Image credit: Harper Collins Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. –shares Women Leaders Joann S. Lublincenter_img November 9, 2016 9 min read Editor’s Note: On this day following the presidential election of 2016, many Americans are just starting to parse the pro and con messages about women that emerged from the two campaigns: One, the glass ceiling didn’t get broken, after all. And, two, how are women (and their men supporters) to think about the misogynistic talk that occurred in this election?Related: Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In 2.0 and Corporate Gender BiasGiven that reality, it’s perhaps especially appropriate today to feature an excerpt from the new book Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World, by Joann S. Lublin, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and management news editor for The Wall Street Journal. Among the first female reporters at The Journal, Lublin faced uphill battles in her career, to become deputy bureau chief of the newspaper’s important London bureau, the first time it had been run by a woman. For her book, Lublin interviewed more than 50 women who had reached the highest rungs of the corporate ladder — across a diversity of industries, including retail, manufacturing, finance, high technology, publishing, advertising, automotive and pharmaceutical.Here is an excerpt from the chapter “Male Mentors Mean Business,” applicable to women in all workplaces, large or small . . .Countless women have seen their careers soar, thanks to help from a powerful senior executive. But some women paid a price for their close relationship with a male mentor. One such woman was Melissa Dyrdahl, the [former] chief executive of Ella Health, a health care start-up for women. She saw her career take off after Bruce R. Chizen, a former boss, hired her in 1994 to join Adobe Systems, the software maker, as a senior marketing manager. The two had developed a strong rapport at Claris, their former employer, and Dyrdahl assisted him in running a small new division of Adobe.“He knew exactly what he was getting from an employee standpoint,” Dyrdahl remembered. Chizen became her unofficial career coach at Adobe, offering insights about ways to excel in the male-dominated technology industry. Having a boss as a mentor helped Dyrdahl to get the respect she felt that she deserved, she said when we spoke. She saw that when professional challenges arose, Chizen and other senior Adobe men “always came in with an answer.”Because the two knew each other so well, “I’m brutally honest with her,” Chizen said in a Wall Street Journal article that I wrote about executive mentors. He also acted as Dyrdahl’s sponsor, an influential individual who opens the door of a promotion elevator and pushes a protégé through. During his climb to top management at Adobe, he brought along Dyrdahl and other valued mem-bers of his team. “I had someone who was highly respected, a more senior leader, making sure my name got put on the table,” Dyrdahl told me. With Chizen’s support, Adobe appointed her global vice president of marketing in 1998 and then advanced her to a senior vice presidency before elevating Chizen from president to CEO in late 2000. Once they both had reached the executive suite, Chizen and Dyrdahl occasionally drove to and from Adobe headquarters in San Jose together because they and their spouses lived near each other in suburban Los Altos. “We socialized together,” Dyrdahl recalled. “I know his kids. My husband has remodeled their house.” But as a result of these ties, the two high-profile executives encountered unexpected repercussions. One day, a human resources staffer at Adobe who was friends with Chizen and Dyrdahl strode into her office. “I just need to tell you, because nobody is going to tell you,” she said. “There’s people who think there’s something going on with you and Bruce.”The office gossip shocked Dyrdahl. Her jaw dropped, and “I was reeling,” she recollected. It suddenly dawned on her that she and Chizen now occupied a much more visible stage at the office. She quickly assured the human resources staffer that their relation-ship was purely professional. “I don’t want people to think I slept my way to the top,” Dyrdahl told her HR colleague.Driving home with Chizen soon after, Dyrdahl told him that coworkers wrongly perceived him as being something more than her supervisor and mentor. “They are only going to think badly of me,” she said. “Lots of things that we take for granted and we don’t think twice about, I can’t do anymore.”Chizen understood and accepted dramatic adjustments. They stopped driving together or going out for drinks unless a third person was present. “[I] never sat next to him in a meeting again,” Dyrdahl said. “I told him, ‘Unless there is no other chair, do not sit next to me.’”Even today, suspicions about an illicit affair sometimes arise when a male executive mentors or sponsors a female subordi-nate. For this reason, most senior-level men hesitate “to have one-on-one contact with a potential protégé who happened to be a younger woman,” said Sylvia Ann Hewlett in her 2013 book, (Forget a Mentor) Find a Sponsor: The New Way to Fast-Track Your Career. Her observations reflected research by the Center for Talent Innovation, a New York think tank that she heads and that studies issues in the workplace.This reluctance, Hewlett wrote, explains “why men are so much more likely to sponsor other men, inadvertently perpetuating the old boys’ club.” A 2010 study by her think tank found that men are 46 percent more likely to have sponsors than women. “Up-and-coming females tend to conclude that sponsorship, sexually fraught as it might be, is something they don’t actually need,” she said in her book.Hewlett considers that a dangerous assumption. Mentors build a woman’s self-esteem and serve as an empathetic sounding board, but sponsors expend valuable chips on a woman’s behalf and provide air cover so she can take risks. “Sponsors, not mentors, put you on the path to power and influence by affecting three things: pay raises, high-profile assignments, and promotions,” she wrote.Other researchers support Hewlett’s argument. More than half of senior executive women said having a higher-level sponsor is extremely important, yet women have less access to senior male staffers who could assist with their careers, concluded a 2015 study by LeanIn.Org, founded by Sheryl Sandberg, and McKinsey. The research tracked women’s progress at 118 North American companies. A handful of corporate programs designate workplace advocates for managerial women. At least nine big businesses have set up sponsorship initiatives that match promising female leaders with sponsors or teach such women how to attract a sponsor, I wrote in an advice column on careers published on WSJ.com in 2011. American Express Co., for example, launched its “Pathways to Sponsorship” program that year for twenty-one female senior vice presidents at the major financial services company. By the end of 2014, 25 percent of those initial participants had been promoted and 45 percent had made strategic lateral moves, an American Express spokeswoman told me. The company has also expanded its sponsorship effort to cover a wider range of managerial levels.Yet formal mentoring and sponsorship programs remain far out of reach for most professional women. Only 30 percent of all American professionals have access to such programs, and there is a smaller proportion of women than men within that group, according to a 2014 survey of 1,005 adults by Edward Jones, a financial services firm. Just 18 percent of the women allowed to participate in these programs actually do, the poll showed, compared with 21 percent of the men.Men on Women’s SideMale mentors and sponsors played crucial parts in the careers of numerous corporate executives I interviewed. “At the end of the day, men still hold most of the power,” suggested Sandra “Sandi” Peterson, the group worldwide chairman of Johnson & Johnson. “So you better have male mentors.”But as is evident from Dyrdahl’s experience, women must make sure that their relationships with higher-level men don’t raise eyebrows among coworkers. To further refute false rumors about any romantic entanglement with Chizen, she stopped her habit of flying alone with him on commercial flights for business travel.In Dyrdahl’s view, things haven’t improved for women since she left Adobe in late 2006. These days, she encourages women to take steps that clarify their ties with a male mentor so the relationship cannot be misconstrued by colleagues. “You give up your power when you wittingly or unwittingly put yourself in situations where people perceive you as having an affair and getting something because of your sex,” she pointed out. “I felt I had to work twice as hard because I was blond and attractive.”Related: For Women in Tech, Bias Runs Deeper Than Most Think Management News Editor, The Wall Street Journal Free Webinar | Sept 5: Tips and Tools for Making Progress Toward Important Goals Attend this free webinar and learn how you can maximize efficiency while getting the most critical things done right. 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Determining how hearts develop to better understand congenital heart defects

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Nov 14 2018To understand cardiovascular failures, the leading cause of birth defect-related deaths in infants, UH professor of biomedical engineering Kirill Larin is teaming up with Baylor College of Medicine professor of cellular and molecular physiology Irina Larina on a chicken and egg hunt.”When the heart develops, it becomes stiffer as required for ability to contract and pump blood,” said Larin. “So the question is – does it become stiff because it’s contracting, or is it stiff to begin with because it is genetically predefined?”Surprisingly, very little is known about an embryo’s developing heart.”Defining how these mechanical factors integrate with genetic pathways and heart function is critically important for understanding congenital heart defects and heart failure,” said Larin. Such information is required to develop new strategies for therapeutic interventions of heart defects.Related StoriesCancer incidence among children and young adults with congenital heart diseaseRNA-binding protein SRSF3 appears to be key factor for proper heart contraction, survivalSmoking triples the risk of death from cardiovascular diseaseWhile multiple studies suggest that cardiac contraction, blood flow and stiffness each influence cardiovascular development of the heart, their individual roles remain unknown. The team’s project, defining the roles of cardiac contraction and flow-induced shear stress in regulating mechanical stiffness, is part of a $3 million grant from the National Institutes of Health.It is well established that biomechanical stimuli are important regulators of proper cardiovascular development. The research team will get a bird’s eye view, watching the heart develop in utero using optical coherence tomography (OCT), a noninvasive high-resolution retina imaging technology that uses light waves to take cross-section pictures. Larin is a pioneer of using OCT to image portions of the body without touching or making a cut. He describes the method as “frontier technology,” and is using it in his other work to assess if heart medicine is working and scar tissue is healing immediately following a heart attack.Larin is developing the data processing methods and the imaging tools which will deliver 3D images and will be “super-fast to catch the cardiac cycle and all the activity as the heart forms,” he said.”One out of every 100 babies in the United States has a congenital heart defect leading to death,” said Larina. “Understanding biomechanical regulation of heart development is highly important for better management of congenital heart defects.”The project fills a significant gap in the field of early mammalian cardiac development and defines the role of cardiac forces in maintaining mechanical stiffness and cell differentiation.Source: http://www.uh.edu/news-events/stories/2018/november-2018/111318-heart-defects-oct-larin.phplast_img read more

Female adolescent blood donors more likely to have iron deficiency and related

first_imgCredit: iStock Source:https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/news/newsroom/news-releases/study-adolescent-female-blood-donors-at-risk-for-iron-deficiency-and-associated-anemia Each year, an estimated 6.8 million people in the U.S. donate blood, according to the American Red Cross, which coordinates blood drives across the country. Adolescents are increasingly contributing to the donor pool due to blood drives at high schools. In 2015, adolescents ages 16-18 contributed approximately 1.5 million blood donations.Although blood donation is largely a safe procedure, adolescents are at a higher risk for acute, adverse donation-related problems, such as injuries from fainting during donation, explains study leaders Eshan Patel, M.P.H., a biostatistician in the Department of Pathology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Aaron Tobian, M.D., Ph.D., professor of pathology, medicine, oncology and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of transfusion medicine at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.Additionally, they add, blood donation may also increase the risk of iron deficiency, as each whole blood donation removes about 200-250 milligrams of iron from the blood donor. Because adolescents typically have lower blood volumes, when donating the same amount of blood, they have a relatively higher proportional loss of hemoglobin–the iron-containing protein in blood cells that transports oxygen–and consequently more iron during donation than adults. Females are even more at risk of iron deficiency than males due to blood loss during menstruation every month.Numerous studies have shown that younger age, female sex and increased frequency of blood donation are all associated with lower serum ferritin levels (a surrogate for total body iron levels) in blood donor populations. However, note Patel and Tobian, no study using nationally representative data has compared the prevalence of iron deficiency and associated anemia between blood donor and nondonor populations, specifically adolescents.Related StoriesCancer patients and those with anemia should not be denied opioids, says CDCInnovative microfluidic device simplifies study of blood cells, opens new organ-on-chip possibilitiesDon’t Miss the Blood-Brain Barrier Drug Delivery (B3DD) Summit this AugustToward this end, the researchers analyzed data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a long-running study designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the U.S. based on both physical exams and interviews conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. From 1999 to 2010, this study included collections of blood samples as well as questions about blood donation history in the past 12 months.The researchers found 9,647 female participants 16-49 years old who had provided both samples and blood donor history information. There were 2,419 adolescents ages 16-19 in this group.They report in the journal Transfusion on Feb. 19 that about 10.7 percent of the adolescents had donated blood within the past 12 months, compared with about 6.4 percent of the adults. Mean serum ferritin levels were significantly lower among blood donors than among nondonors in both the adolescent (21.2 vs. 31.4 nanograms per milliliter) and the adult (26.2 vs. 43.7 nanograms per milliliter) populations. The prevalence of iron deficiency anemia was 9.5 percent among adolescent donors and 7.9 percent among adult donors–both low numbers, but still significantly higher than that of nondonors in both age groups, which was 6.1 percent. Besides, 22.6 percent of adolescent donors and 18.3 percent of adult donors had absent iron stores.Collectively, the authors say, these findings highlight the vulnerability of adolescent blood donors to associated iron deficiency.Patel and Tobian note that some federal policies and regulations are already in place to protect donors in general from iron deficiency due to this altruistic act, such as hemoglobin screening, a minimum weight to donate and an eight-week interval between donations for repeat whole blood donation. However, more protections are necessary for adolescent donors–for example, suggesting oral iron supplementation, increasing the minimum time interval between donations or donating other blood products such as platelets or plasma rather than whole blood could help mitigate iron loss.”We’re not saying that eligible donors shouldn’t donate. There are already issues with the lack of blood supply,” Tobian says. “However, new regulations or accreditation standards could help make blood donation even safer for young donors.”center_img Reviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Feb 19 2019New public health measures could help protect this vulnerable population, authors sayFemale adolescent blood donors are more likely to have low iron stores and iron deficiency anemia than adult female blood donors and nondonors, which could have significant negative consequences on their developing brains, a new study led by Johns Hopkins researchers suggests. Based on these findings, the authors propose a variety of measures that could help this vulnerable population.last_img read more

Tropical storms likely to become more deadly under climate change research shows

first_imgReviewed by James Ives, M.Psych. (Editor)Mar 21 2019Tropical storms are likely to become more deadly under climate change, leaving people in developing countries, where there may be a lack of resources or poor infrastructure, at increased risk, new research from Oregon State University shows.Under most climate models, tropical storm-related deaths would increase up to 52 percent as the climate changes, said Todd Pugatch, an associate professor of economics in the College of Liberal Arts at OSU and the study’s author.”Tropical storms can strike quickly, leaving little opportunity to escape their path, and the impact on developing countries is significant,” Pugatch said. “Understanding the effects of these storms, and how those effects may change as the climate changes, can help governments and people better prepare in the future, and hopefully save lives.”The findings were published recently in the journal World Development.Pugatch’s research focuses on international economic development. Climate change will likely have the greatest impact on vulnerable populations in the developing world. Mortality risk is the most basic form of vulnerability to natural disasters, so Pugatch wanted to better understand how mortality and climate change might be linked.His first step was to attempt to quantify the effects of tropical storms on mortality in Mexico from 1990 to 2011. He used meteorological data to measure storm strength and death records to estimate storm-related mortality.If deaths in a Mexican state exceeded historical norms for a particular month, the model attributed those deaths to the storm. This methodology has the ability to avert the subjectivity of official death counts and get to a more authentic number, Pugatch said.He found that tropical storms killed approximately 1,600 people during the study period.”Whether a particular death is caused by a storm isn’t always obvious,” he said. “There may also be political motivations to alter counts. Officials might overstate counts to draw more aid money or understate the number of deaths to make the government appear more competent.”Related StoriesTAU’s new Translational Medical Research Center acquires MILabs’ VECTor PET/SPECT/CTChildhood abuse may cause more hot flashes, study revealsAXT enhances cellular research product portfolio with solutions from StemBioSysThe next step for his research was to simulate how the number of storm-related deaths would be impacted by climate change. He used climate modeling scenarios to see how increased weather volatility due to climate change might have impacted deaths during the study period of 1990 to 2011.In five of six scenarios modeling climate change impacts on storm frequency and windspeed, a measure of storm intensity, deaths would have increased, with the highest projection showing a 52 percent increase.However, one simulation showed a decrease of up to 10 percent, because in that scenario, the frequency of tropical storms decreases enough to reduce deaths. The other models fell within the two extremes, but death rates rose in all but one.”If the decrease in storm frequency outweighs the increase in severity, storm-related deaths could fall,” Pugatch said. “Most indications are that storms are more likely to become more deadly as the climate changes.”The findings look specifically at Mexico, but similar results are likely to be seen in other developing countries, where natural disasters can be particularly devastating because communities lack essential resources, Pugatch said.”I wouldn’t expect these results to apply to the same extent in developed countries like the U.S.,” he said. “But there is some relevance to the U.S. Hurricanes Katrina and Harvey showed that strong storms can lead to tremendous loss of life and physical damage even in the U.S.”More research is needed to understand how climate change may alter storm frequency and severity in the future, Pugatch said. Public policy may also play a role in mitigating or exacerbating the effects of tropical storms, he said.”The more we understand the mortality effects of storms, the more we can use that information to develop strategies to prepare,” Pugatch said. “Investing in strengthened response systems now could avert future deaths.” Source:https://today.oregonstate.edu/news/tropical-storms-likely-become-more-deadly-climate-changes-new-research-indicateslast_img read more

Twitter seeks help measuring health of its world

Twitter is asking for outside experts to assess the health of its platform by measuring the impact of abuse and manipulation Twitter on Thursday asked for outside help assessing the health of its world of rapid-fire commentary in the hope of finding cures for trolls, bots, echo chambers and other ills. © 2018 AFP 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. Pressure has been building on Twitter—as well as Facebook and Google—to prevent malicious uses of the online platform ranging from harassment to spreading hoaxes and manipulating elections.”We have witnessed abuse, harassment, troll armies, manipulation through bots and human-coordination, misinformation campaigns, and increasingly divisive echo chambers,” Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said in a thread of tweets Thursday.”We aren’t proud of how people have taken advantage of our service, or our inability to address it fast enough.”A Twitter statement said the social network wants “to partner with outside experts” to get a sense of the health of the Twittersphere by measuring the impact of abuse, spam and manipulation.The move is the latest by Twitter aimed at curbing disinformation, propaganda and provocation.Last month, the San Francisco-based one-to-many messaging service launched a crackdown on accounts powered by software “bots” which can artificially amplify a person or cause and which have been accused of manipulating the social network during the 2016 US election.Twitter said the move was intended to rid the service of spam-spewing automated accounts, and not aimed at people using the service according to the rules.Since the election, Twitter and others discovered how “bots” had been used to sow political divisions and spread hoaxes.While Twitter tactics have mostly involved removing content violating its terms of use, it has been accused of “apathy, censorship, political bias, and optimizing for our business and share price instead of the concerns of society,” Dorsey maintained.”This is not who we are, or who we ever want to be,” he said.Twitter is asking outside experts to pitch proposals for ways to measure the service’s health by the quality of debates, conversations, and critical thinking.”We simply can’t and don’t want to do this alone,” Dorsey said.Twitter asked proposals to be submitted by April 13, promising to fund any that are selected in a process expected to take a couple of months.”If you want to improve something, you have to be able to measure it,” Dorsey said. Citation: Twitter seeks help measuring ‘health’ of its world (2018, March 1) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-twitter-health-world.html Twitter sets crackdown on automated ‘bot’ accounts Explore further read more

Arizona death brings calls for more autonomous vehicle rules

© 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. Crash marks first death involving fully autonomous vehicle The deadly collision between an Uber autonomous vehicle and a pedestrian near Phoenix is bringing calls for tougher self-driving regulations. But advocates for a hands-off approach say big changes aren’t needed. Police in Tempe, Arizona, say the female pedestrian walked in front of the Uber SUV Sunday night. Neither the automated system nor the human backup driver stopped in time. Local authorities haven’t determined fault.Current federal regulations have few requirements specifically for self-driving vehicles, leaving it for states to handle. Many, such as Arizona, Nevada and Michigan, cede key decisions to companies.Many federal and state officials say their regulations are sufficient to keep people safe while allowing the potentially life-saving technology to grow. Citation: Arizona death brings calls for more autonomous vehicle rules (2018, March 20) retrieved 18 July 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2018-03-arizona-death-autonomous-vehicle.html A vehicle goes by the scene of Sunday’s fatality where a pedestrian was stuck by an Uber vehicle in autonomous mode, in Tempe, Ariz., Monday, March 19, 2018. A self-driving Uber SUV struck and killed the woman in suburban Phoenix in the first death involving a fully autonomous test vehicle. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson) Explore further 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. read more

Did We Mishear Neil Armstrongs Famous First Words on the Moon

first_imgOn July 20, 1969, an estimated 650 million people watched in suspense as Neil Armstrong descended a ladder towards the surface of the Moon. As he took his first steps, he uttered words that would be written into history books for generations to come: “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind.” Or at least that’s how the media reported his words.These Sharks Were Too Busy to Notice a Bigger Predator Watching ThemThe unexpected twist at the end of this feeding frenzy delighted scientists.Credit: NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Windows to the Deep 2019Your Recommended PlaylistVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9接下来播放Headbutting Tiny Worms Are Really, Really Loud00:35关闭选项Automated Captions – en-US facebook twitter 发邮件 reddit 链接https://www.livescience.com/65950-neil-armstrong-first-words-on-moon.html?jwsource=cl已复制直播00:0002:2802:28  But Armstrong insisted that he actually said, “That’s one small step for a man.” In fact, in the official transcript of the Moon landing mission, NASA transcribes the quote as “that’s one small step for (a) man.” As a linguist, I’m fascinated by mistakes between what people say and what people hear. In fact, I recently conducted a study on ambiguous speech, using Armstrong’s famous quote to try to figure out why and how we successfully understand speech most of the time, but also make the occasional mistake. Our extraordinary speech-processing abilities Despite confusion over Armstrong’s words, speakers and listeners have a remarkable ability to agree on what is said and what is heard. When we talk, we formulate a thought, retrieve words from memory and move our mouths to produce sound. We do this quickly, producing, in English, around five syllables every second. The process for listeners is equally complex and speedy. We hear sounds, which we separate into speech and non-speech information, combine the speech sounds into words, and determine the meanings of these words. Again, this happens nearly instantaneously, and errors rarely occur. These processes are even more extraordinary when you think more closely about the properties of speech. Unlike writing, speech doesn’t have spaces between words. When people speak, there are typically very few pauses within a sentence. Yet listeners have little trouble determining word boundaries in real time. This is because there are little cues — like pitch and rhythm — that indicate when one word stops and the next begins. But problems in speech perception can arise when those kinds of cues are missing, especially when pitch and rhythm are used for non-linguistic purposes, like in music. This is one reason why misheard song lyrics — called “mondegreens” — are common. When singing or rapping, a lot of the speech cues we usually use are shifted to accommodate the song’s beat, which can end up jamming our default perception process. But it’s not just lyrics that are misheard. This can happen in everyday speech, and some have wondered if this is what happened in the case of Neil Armstrong. Studying Armstrong’s mixed signals Over the years, researchers have tried to comb the audio files of Armstrong’s famous words, with mixed results. Some have suggested that Armstrong definitely produced the infamous “a,” while others maintain that it’s unlikely or too difficult to tell. But the original sound file was recorded 50 years ago, and the quality is pretty poor. So can we ever really know whether Neil Armstrong uttered that little “a”? Perhaps not. But in a recent study, my colleagues and I tried to get to the bottom of this. First, we explored how similar the speech signals are when a speaker intends to say “for” or “for a.” That is, could a production of “for” be consistent with the sound waves, or acoustics, of “for a,” and vice-versa? So we examined nearly 200 productions of “for” and 200 productions of “for a.” We found that the acoustics of the productions of each of these tokens were nearly identical. In other words, the sound waves produced by “He bought it for a school” and “He bought one for school” are strikingly similar. But this doesn’t tell us what Armstrong actually said on that July day in 1969. So we wanted to see if listeners sometimes miss little words like “a” in contexts like Armstrong’s phrase. We wondered whether “a” was always perceived by listeners, even when it was clearly produced. And we found that, in several studies, listeners often misheard short words, like “a.” This is especially true when the speaking rate was as slow as Armstrong’s. In addition, we were able to manipulate whether or not people heard these short words just by altering the rate of speech. So perhaps this was a perfect storm of conditions for listeners to misperceive the intended meaning of this famous quote. The case of the missing “a” is one example of the challenges in producing and understanding speech. Nonetheless, we typically perceive and produce speech quickly, easily and without conscious effort. A better understanding of this process can be especially useful when trying to help people with speech or hearing impairments. And it allows researchers to better understand how these skills are learned by adults trying to acquire a new language, which can, in turn, help language learners develop more efficient strategies. Fifty years ago, humanity was changed when Neil Armstrong took those first steps on the Moon. But he probably didn’t realize that his famous first words could also help us better understand how humans communicate. [Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter to get insight each day] Melissa Michaud Baese-Berk, Associate Professor of Linguistics, University of Oregon This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.last_img read more

Miffed Sidhu skips first Cabinet meet says cant be taken for granted

first_imgNavjot Singh Sidhu   –  THE HINDU SHARE SHARE EMAIL SHARE people COMMENT June 06, 2019center_img  Under fire from Chief Minister Amarinder Singh for Congress’ “poor performance” in urban areas in the Lok Sabha election, Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu, on Thursday, skipped the first Cabinet meeting after elections and asserted he could not be “taken for granted”.Amarinder had recently said he intended to change the cricketer-turned-politician’s portfolio — Local Government Department — over the party’s performance.“I cannot be taken for granted. I have been a performer throughout the 40 years of my life. Be it international cricket, or world class commentary with Geoffrey Boycott, TV shows or motivational talks,” Sidhu told reporters.He said the urban areas had played pivotal role in the party’s victory in Punjab and his department is being singled out.“My department is being singled out publicly. I always regard him as my elder and listen to him. But it hurts. Where is the collective responsibility now? He (Amarinder) could have called me and said anything he wanted to say,” Sidhu said here.In the recently held general election, Congress won eight out of the 13 seats. The SAD-BJP combine won four while the AAP managed to win just one seat. COMMENTS Published on politicslast_img read more

Meghalaya becomes first state to have water policy

first_img Next Meghalaya becomes first state to have water policyThe policy intends to achieve sustainable development, management and use of water resources with community participation, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said.advertisement Asian News International ShillongJuly 13, 2019UPDATED: July 13, 2019 18:30 IST Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma with his cabinet on Friday. (Photo: ANI)HIGHLIGHTSThe draft was passed following detailed discussions and deliberation with the ministers of the cabinetThe policy intends to achieve sustainable development: Meghalaya Deputy CM Prestone TynsongTynsong said committees will be formed at village level to address the issue of groundwaterAmid the water crisis in the country, the Meghalaya cabinet became the first state to approve a draft water policy to address water issues, conservation, and protection of water sources in the state.The draft was passed on Friday following detailed discussions and deliberation with the ministers of the cabinet.Prestone Tynsong, Deputy Chief Minister, said, “The policy intends to achieve sustainable development, management and use of water resources with community participation. This will improve health and livelihood and reduce vulnerability among the people. This will also assure of good governance for present and future generations through integrated water resources management and environmental sustainability.””Issues such as the protection of catchment areas and river pollution have also been outlined in the policy. Community participation is what we are looking for in as we want to reach to the villages with this policy,” he said.Tynsong also said that the committees will be formed at village level and the issue of groundwater will also be catered through this policy. Also, the department will also monitor the quality of the water to check if it has a high content of iron or if it’s acidic.The government will soon notify about the policy.ALSO READ | Water woes: Running out of time | India Today InsightALSO WATCH | Tamil Nadu remains on edge as state struggles to endure water crisisFor the latest World Cup news, live scores and fixtures for World Cup 2019, log on to indiatoday.in/sports. Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for World Cup news, scores and updates.Get real-time alerts and all the news on your phone with the all-new India Today app. Download from Post your comment Do You Like This Story? Awesome! Now share the story Too bad. Tell us what you didn’t like in the comments Posted bySnigdha Choudhurylast_img read more