Related Posts A group of scholars from Germany, Austria, and the U.K. recently put together a case study about the tweeting habits of conference attendees. Entitled “How People are using Twitter during Conferences,” this research report (available here on Scribd.com), reveals some interesting, although not altogether shocking, insights into the role the microblogging service plays during major events. Most notable of their findings is the number of individuals who actively use the service during conferences – a figure showing high participation levels among attendees. According to the report, the researchers were motivated to find out if using Twitter could actually help improve the interactions among the learners and enhance their learning experience when attending presentations in large groups. They looked into the motives of Twitter users, contents of tweets, and how this impacted the user’s network. The researchers found that the majority of conference attendees already had a Twitter account (95.1%) and many of those who did actively used it to tweet during the conference (67.5%). 74.1% of the attendees send between 11 and 20 messages per day and 51.2% discussed topics via @ replies and DMs. The Dos and Don’ts of Brand Awareness Videos sarah perez As to what the conference goers shared, it was discovered that nearly half the tweets were simple plain text messages while tweets with links to web sites only accounted for 10% of the messages. In other words, the Twitterers were using the medium to share the information they were learning at the present moment as opposed to posting links to information already available on the web. The participants were also asked open-ended questions like “Why do you think Twitter encouraged the discussion about topics?” and what the added value of Twitter at conferences was. In response, the survey participants answered that Twitter gave conference goers a greater sense of community and encouraged discussion in the backchannel, often allowing them to discuss things in more detail than the “guys on the stage.” Other participants noted that Twitter helps you connect with people who have similar interests, provides networking potential, and allows those who could not attend to gain value from your experience. Unfortunately, the data collected comes from only five conferences and forty-one different attendees, so the sample size isn’t what we would consider to be large enough to draw any definite conclusions. However, based on these initial findings, it does seem to show that a good majority of conference goers today use Twitter to share information and interact with their network when attending these sorts of events. Facebook is Becoming Less Personal and More Pro… Guide to Performing Bulk Email Verification Tags:#Trends#twitter#web A Comprehensive Guide to a Content Audit
It’s official: the cloud is boring. While some of you already felt like cloud was BOA (boring on arrival), the reality is that it’s been causing all sorts of headaches within the enterprise. Until now.As Forrester analyst James Staten suggests, new product announcements from both OpenStack and Microsoft Azure got a muted yawn this past week, which is a Very Good Thing, as he explains:“[H]o-hum releases like these are signs of maturity that signal to enterprises that it’s now okay to invest. Let’s face it. Most enterprises are conservative. We don’t like to be first with any new, risky technology. That’s why we wait for the 2.1 release before trying something new… We’d like other companies to work all the kinks out of the system, live through all the stability issues and fix all the bugs so we can get a solid release to work with.” As much as people have tried to hype the cloud over the years, hype is precisely the opposite of what was needed to make cloud mainstream. As such, it’s arguably a great sign that cloud is about to surrender the hype crown to Big Data, at least as measured by Google searches (as pointed out by Timo Elliott): Serverless Backups: Viable Data Protection for … Matt Asay How Intelligent Data Addresses the Chasm in Cloud In sum, for years we’ve known that cloud computing would be big. But that’s not what CIOs needed to hear. They needed to know that it could also be boring. We have arrived! It’s about time. As a Unisphere survey (PDF) of Oracle users indicates, cloud is becoming strategic within the enterprise, and much more pervasive. As the survey reveals, 37% of enterprise managers are running or piloting private clouds, which is a jump from 29% two years ago. More significantly, an additional 26% use public cloud services for enterprise applications, a big boost from 14%. This jibes with a new Barclays survey of 100 CIOs, which found them piling into the cloud. Indeed, cloud, second only to Big Data, topped the list of IT spending drivers: Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hosting Tags:#Azure#CIO#cloud#enterprise IT#Forrester#James Staten#Microsoft#OpenStack Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… Related Posts
Uttar Pradesh will have civic polls in three phases from November 22, making it the first electoral test for the ruling BJP which stormed to power in the Assembly elections with a massive mandate earlier this year.“As per the schedule, 24 districts will go to polls on November 22, 25 districts on November 26, and 26 districts on November 29,” State Election Commissioner SK Agarwal told reporters here. He said no central para-military force would be used for exercise, which will be conducted by the state police alone.“Counting of votes polled for 16 nagar nigam, 118 nagar palika parishad and 438 nagar panchyat will be done December one,” he said. Mr. Agarwal said 3.32 crore voters will be eligible to cast their ballots at 36,269 polling booths and 11,389 polling stations. Giving phase-wise details, he said the first phase will cover 24 districts in which 230 local bodies, spread over 4,095 wards, will got to polls. For this phase, there will be 3,731 polling centres and 11,683 polling booths with total over 1.09 crore voters. The second phase will cover 25 districts having 189 local bodies covering 3,601 wards. The polls will be held at 13,776 polling booths to be set up for 1.29 crore voters, he said. In the third and last phases, 26 districts will go to polls in which there are 233 local bodies spread over 4,299 wards. For this phase, there will be 10,810 polling booths for over 94 lakh voters. These polls will mark the first test for the Yogi Adityanath government which came to power in March, with the BJP getting a landslide victory.
The Army faced an embarrassing moment in Budgam on Saturday when a winning cricket team’s supporters raised slogans supporting Pakistan and alleged Al-Qaeda supporter Zakir Musa, besides unfurling a Pakistani flag.Eyewitnesses said the match between local teams was part of the Army-sponsored Kashmir Premier League, aimed at striking a chord with the local cricketing talent and wean them away from militancy.However, pro-Pakistan and pro-Musa slogans, were heard immediately after the match was over and the officials were preparing for an award ceremony. National Conference leader Aga Syed Ruhullah, an influential Shia leader, was present. A police official confirmed to The Hindu about the sloganeering. However, the official said the crowd was “jubilant after winning the match and dispersed peacefully”.
Ben Mbala. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/ INQUIRER.netFor all of Ateneo’s brilliance in the elimination round and gutsy performance in the Final Four against Far Eastern U, one player still casts a huge shadow over the UAAP Season 80 Finals starting this Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.La Salle’s Ben Mbala, who is set to pick up a second straight Most Valuable Player trophy, looms as the biggest stumbling block to the Blue Eagles’ bid for a first title since 2012 when the fierce rivals collide in another blockbuster series.ADVERTISEMENT “Mbala” was the first word uttered by Ateneo assistant coach Sandy Arespacochaga when asked on his thoughts of facing the Green Archers in the Finals just moments after the Eagles survived the Tamaraws, 88-84, in overtime on Wednesday.“That’s the first name we got to handle. We have to find a way to stay out of foul trouble against Mbala,” Arespacochaga added.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSWATCH: Drones light up sky in final leg of SEA Games torch runSPORTSSEA Games: Philippines picks up 1st win in men’s water poloSPORTSMalditas save PH from shutoutIsaac Go and Chiz Ikeh took turns in guarding Mbala, but the strong and athletic forward still got away with 28 points and 19 rebounds in La Salle’s 79-76 second-round win over Ateneo last Nov. 12. Mbala also added six steals and six blocks in another dominant performance.Although his rebounding is down from 16 boards to 13.1 per game this season, the hulking Cameroonian has turned into an even lethal scorer, averaging 26 points in 12 games, up from 20.6 points an outing in the previous season. Typhoon Kammuri accelerates, gains strength en route to PH Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Kris Aquino ‘pretty chill about becoming irrelevant’ Read Next Japan ex-PM Nakasone who boosted ties with US dies at 101 QC cops nab robbery gang leader, cohort But the Eagles will also have to deal with the likes of Ricci Rivero, Aljun Melecio and Santi Santillan in the Finals.Rivero in particular has become a key contributor, filling the void left by Jeron Teng as the secondary scorer with 14.1 points per game in the elimination round—a marked improvement from his 5.5 points an outing average from Season 79.“We’re saying that La Salle’s not a one-man team,” said Arespacochaga. “They’re a good team. There’s a reason why they’re in the Finals, why they’re waiting in the Finals, they’re the defending champs. So we have no illusions that it’s gonna be an easy game for us (in the Finals).”ADVERTISEMENT Olsen looks at next season with hope-tinted glasses Brace for potentially devastating typhoon approaching PH – NDRRMC LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles00:50Trending Articles01:29Police teams find crossbows, bows in HK university01:35Panelo suggests discounted SEA Games tickets for students02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City CPP denies ‘Ka Diego’ arrest caused ‘mass panic’ among S. Tagalog NPA Kammuri turning to super typhoon less likely but possible — Pagasa Stronger peso trims PH debt value to P7.9 trillion MOST READ View comments
Agent: Southampton will regret losing Gabbiadiniby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveManolo Gabbadini’s agent says Southampton will regret losing the Italy striker.Samp have agreed to re-sign Gabbiadini on loan with a €12m obligation to buy from Southampton.“He felt good at Sampdoria and wanted to go back home,” Silvio Pagliari told Sky Sport Italia from Milan Linate airport, where he was waiting for the 27-year-old.“We wouldn’t have gone anywhere on loan. It was his will to cut the cord with Southampton, although he had a great time there.“He also discussed tactics with Sampdoria and I’m sure he’ll carve out a place in the team.“He’s a good player and, in my opinion, one of the best strikers in Italy.” TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say
About the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your say Tottenham midfielder Eriksen: Media creating something that isn’t thereby Paul Vegas10 days agoSend to a friendShare the loveTottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen insists local criticism isn’t affecting Denmark’s players.There’s been claims the national team’s players are fed up with the reporting.But Eriksen says: “There is no frustration on our part. We are the ones who have to play football. In the end, what can be written and said. We are the ones who have to go in and play on the field, so people can relate to it all around and what other people’s opinions are.”Of course, you guys are writing the articles. It is your opinion that is being passed on. If you asked everyone on the team, then I think we had a very shared opinion on how we saw things and how we felt the game had been played.”I understand that it’s not funny to write that we play a draw a couple of times and win 1-0. It’s not as fun to write about as so many other things. Therefore, I think that something is created that is not there.”
(Interviewed by Louis James, Editor, International Speculator)L: Doug, we’ve had a lot of questions from readers about the apparent push governments are making to go to paperless currency – all electronic, no cash. Do you think that’s likely, and what would be the implications?Doug: I think it’s probably inevitable. It’s not just cash, but the whole world is becoming increasingly digital. Credit cards already work very well all around the world, and everyone in the world, it seems, will soon have a smartphone – or at least everyone who might have any cash.But it’s not just a question of evolving technology. Governments hate cash for lots of reasons, starting with the fact it costs a couple of cents to print a piece of paper currency, and they have to be replaced quite often. As the US has destroyed the value of the dollar, they’ve had to take the copper out of pennies, and soon they’ll take the nickel out of nickels. Furthermore, with modern technology, counterfeiters – including unfriendly foreign governments – can turn out US currency that’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing. And the stuff takes up a lot of space if it’s enough to be of value. So sure, governments would like to get rid of tangible currency. They’d like to see all money kept in banks, which are today no more than arms of the state. But it’s not so simple: increasing numbers of people trust neither banks – most of which are insolvent – or currencies – most of which are on their way to their intrinsic values.L: Hm. On the technology front, when I was in central Africa a few weeks ago, plastic money was accepted happily everywhere I went – Rwanda, Burundi, the DRC, and Kenya – though not by street vendors yet. And I had access to the Internet everywhere I went, even in the middle of the jungle…Doug: Yes, the move towards digital currencies is already happening, and not just as a result of government efforts. Remember Bitcoin. And, as you know, I’m a big fan of Goldmoney.com, which is leading the way to a sound digital currency. Although Goldmoney.com has bowed to government pressure and has suspended its service allowing customers to transfer funds among one another, it’s another sign of the times…L: Yes, and Goldmoney.com is not the first attempt, nor will it be the last. We should mention to new readers that you are an investor in Goldmoney.com.Doug: The world’s going to digital currencies is in part a good thing, because it’s convenient. But it’s definitely a double-edged sword, because of government involvement in the field. If it were a strictly market phenomenon, I’d have no problem with it. It’d be just another choice. But if the state runs it, it would reduce people’s choices – and privacy. But that’s entirely apart from the fact that government – and I know this assertion will be shocking to most readers – has no business creating currency or minting money. Money, of all things, should be a purely market phenomenon. Government, as an institution, inevitably and necessarily corrupts everything it touches. Money is far too important to be left to the tender mercies of the state.L: Sure. A completely digital currency would be an unlimited license to print and spend. Need to give people more welfare? Just tap a few keys, and it appears in their bank accounts. Need to buy more missiles? Just a few more taps on the keyboard… But the privacy issue is even scarier: digital money would seem like Big Brother‘s dream come true. They wouldn’t even have to send their minions out to go through people’s trash. They could see everything anyone ever spent money on and where they were physically when they did it, search for activity nearby, and much more, just by having computers report the details of people’s accounts.Doug: Exactly. They would justify it with a host of phony excuses ranging from the so-called War on Terrorism to the so-called War on Drugs. Maybe they’ll tie it in to their disastrously failed War on Poverty. As the War on Islam heats up, one front will be an attack on the excellent Muslim hawala system, which allows cheap and reliable transfer of money between countries; that system, which is kind of a private SWIFT network, is excellent for evading FX controls. Ironically, Islamic countries are some of the very worst perpetrators of currency controls.L: Maybe that’s why the informal network exists in the first place? But yes, they gotta stop those evil money launderers from washing their money and hanging it out to dry…Doug: Don’t get me started on “money laundering.” It’s a completely artificial crime. It wasn’t even heard of 20 years ago, because the “crime” didn’t exist. Now, everyone speaks of it as though it were a real crime, like murder. It’s ridiculous, and further proof of the totally degraded state of the average person worldwide, absolutely including US citizens – what we used to call Americans. The government proclaims something as a law, and “sheeple” robotically assume it’s part of the cosmic firmament. If an official tells them to do or not to do something, they roll over on their backs like whipped dogs and wet themselves out of fear. The War on Drugs may be where “money laundering” originated as a crime, but today it has a lot more to do with something infinitely more important to the state: the War on Tax Evasion.Incidentally, not that a US citizen can open an account with a Swiss bank anyway any longer – except with at least seven figures and loads of paperwork – but now the policy in Switzerland is to insist that clients prove that their funds are all tax paid. The situation is out of control. And the world’s governments are increasingly working together to make sure no one slips through the net.L: Gotta keep the cattle in line.Doug: That’s right; the US has sent swarms of agents all around the world to bully and cajole bureaucrats in other countries into giving them access to bank account information and to impose income taxes in places that didn’t have them. In Uruguay, where I was last week, for example, there was no income tax two years ago. Now there is. And they’re trying to do the same thing in Paraguay. That’s about the last personal-income-tax holdout among the larger countries of the world.L: When I was in Paraguay last, they had passed an income-tax law, but it was being blocked from implementation by the legislature itself, on procedural grounds. I was told that since all of the legislators are deeply corrupted, none of them want to have to account for their income, and that’s why the measure will never be implemented. “Never” seems a bit optimistic, but it reminds me of your call to make corruption your friend. At any rate, why would the US government care if other countries have income taxes – so they can have tax treaties with them?Doug: I’m sure that’s part of it. A bigger part may be that countries with high tax burdens want so-called tax harmonization, so it’s less tempting to businesses and individuals to leave their borders and go where they can benefit from a lower tax burden – or pay no taxes at all. Governments all around the world, in spite of their differences, share a concern about their income streams – especially since most of them are absolutely bankrupt now – and their bureaucracies work together closely when it suits them. For example, the reason why you get asked if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash on you when you board an international flight these days, even in a tiny African or South American country, is that it’s an OECD standard that’s been… enthusiastically encouraged. When it first started, it was only $3,000, but that generated too much work for them, so they raised it to $10,000. But all the bad ideas in the world now seem to be coming out of the US.You know, up until the Bank Secrecy Act of 1971, Americans didn’t have to report foreign bank accounts or brokerage accounts. Reporting income generated by such accounts was required, but the existence of the accounts themselves was not required. The rules and reporting requirements have now become so draconian that most foreign banks don’t even want to see a US taxpayer darken their door, let alone open an account for one. It’s a cancer, spreading out from the US.L: So, is this trend inevitable? At some point will Big Brother know everything about all transactions?Doug: Yes. And if they can’t get everything they want from you off your cell phone, which will probably also become your wallet with a digital credit-card app at some point in the near future, they will be able to monitor everything physically via the swarms of tiny spy drones they will flood the skies with. The technology will soon make this cheap as dirt, and computational power is increasing rapidly to the point where it will be possible to process all the images.L: Only if the people don’t divulge everything they are doing and whom they are doing it with on Facebook and Twitter.Doug: [Laughs] Ah, yes, Facebook, the CIA’s most successful covert op. I idiotically opened a Facebook account some years back because someone convinced me it would be a good way to keep in touch with old school friends I’d lost touch with. Now I get scores of people who want to friend me every month, and I know very, very few of them. It will be one-stop shopping for Homeland Security to round up the usual suspects when they feel the time is right. I hate Facebook and never use it for anything. I wonder how many of my Facebook friends are actually government stooges out looking for somebody to railroad…L: A sobering thought.Doug: I have to say that the prognosis for privacy is very grim. The only possible saving grace I can see is that the snoops may end up with information overload, most of it worthless or irrelevant. That’s what seriously impeded the East German and Romanian secret police. But with computer technology getting better and better, there’s not much reason to believe Homeland Security will be buried the way the Stasi was with its primitive technology.I really see no way to stop this trend, nor hide from it – at least in the US or Europe. There’s one thing, however, we can hope for: the coming collapse of the modern nation-state. This will happen, sooner or later, in Europe and North America, at least. This is a possible bright side of the building worldwide financial collapse; it might bring down Big Brother… although it’s more likely, I’m afraid, that he’ll redouble his efforts to control everything. Unfortunately, the immediate aftermath of that collapse is likely to be very unpleasant, especially for those in the most developed and powerful countries.The best way to insulate yourself from this, therefore, is to live in a country whose government doesn’t have the power, financial resources, or technical ability to do these things. As per our last conversation, Africa might be a good place to get out of harm’s way, but it’s a bit too far off the beaten path for my taste and has way too many problems. That’s why I like Latin America.L: What about the hope that if people get pushed too far, they may rebel? Everyone has things they don’t want made public, even those with absolutely nothing nefarious about them. A total lack of privacy would seem intolerable, after some – probably short – period of time. As Princess Leia told Governor Tarkin in the original Star Wars movie: the tighter they squeeze their fist, the more people will slip through their fingers. Or maybe not. It is, frankly, very dismaying to me that the Big Brother concept has been turned into a “reality” TV show.Doug: People may think it’s funny now, or even an egalitarian ideal to live in a society in which no one has any secrets, but that won’t last. If only in relation to currency controls – what we started out talking about – I think there’s something to your Star Wars quote. The more total the monitoring and control the state achieves over the legal economy, the more it will push people into the black market. We saw that in Soviet times. Stringent and very intrusive state monitoring, compulsion, and punishment only made the informal market flourish all the more. I’m sure this will happen. Even North Korea has an active black market. But I don’t like that term. What’s called “the black market” is really the free market; it’s heroic. The legal market – with all its taxes and regulations – is actually the one in need of either radical reform or abolition.L: But the monitoring beyond finance – your drone swarms – might make noncompliance too risky for most people to try.Doug: True. And maybe the US will get not just 10% of the population hooked on stuff like Prozac, but 20% or 50%. As Aldous Huxley pointed out in Brave New World, it’s much easier to control zombies. That’s another reason why I think that hope for the future rests in what are today derided as corrupt Third-World countries. If you’re going to have a ridiculous number of impossible laws, corruption is a good thing. Increasingly, what matters is not the number or even nature of laws on the books in the place you live, but the amount of actual control the state has over private individuals. Corruption subverts idiotic laws; it’s the next best thing to abolishing them.L: I’ve often said that on paper, the US is freer than Mexico, but in fact, Mexico has become much freer than the US, in spite of its legally powerful socialist government. The average Mexican considers tax evasion to be a universal given, but US taxpayers fear their government – a letter from the IRS can cause instant weight loss.Doug: It’s certainly true that in Argentina, where I’m building a new home, people don’t fear their government. Well, not in the police-state sense, anyway; they see it as more of a nuisance. It’s probably more accurate to say they are resigned to their government destroying the economy periodically than to say they actively fear it. If I get pulled over for speeding in Argentina – which itself would be highly unusual – I feel that I have nothing to fear at all, whereas back in the US, I could end up getting tased, have my car taken, and do jail time for saying or doing the wrong thing, even without harming anyone. Any contact with the police in the US brings an increasing risk of a lethal outcome these days. I understand that there are about 40,000 SWAT raids on real and imagined targets every year, and the number is growing fast.Another contrast: in Argentina, most people despise the police and military, whereas in the US, they are apotheosized. This tells you a lot about the psychological states of these populations – it’s a very bad trend in the US.L: On the subject of Argentina, perhaps we should mention that readers who’d like to meet you could head down there for the upcoming harvest celebration.Doug: Well, I’m in the middle of one right now, but another is coming up next week, and there’s still time to sign up for that one. Sure – we have a lot of readers, and I’ve enjoyed meeting many, but it would be nice to get to know more of them. And it’s a nice time to get away from the dying days of winter in the northern hemisphere and come to a place where the weather is pleasant and the wines are fantastic. And I’m really tickled with our world-class gym, spa, and all the rest of it.L: Very well. Investment implications?Doug: Well, this highlights the importance of owning gold, but not for investment purposes or even for the financial prudence we’ve spoken of before, but for a different kind of prudence: privacy – and even freedom.One thing that has changed since we started having these conversations – back when gold was trading at about $600 per ounce – is that having approached $2,000 per ounce, and being likely to surpass that level soon, governments are going to start clamping down on gold more and more. Back when gold was under $300 an ounce, it wasn’t convenient to carry large nominal sums in gold – it was too bulky, too heavy. A roll of hundred-dollar bills was less trouble. But now you can hide $20,000 in one hand using gold. This has not gone unnoticed by the bad guys, and customs and immigrations forms of several countries have started asking not only if you are carrying more than $10,000 in cash, but specifically gold. Incidentally, to keep up with this type of thing, I urge readers to sign up at International Man, which has a great, free daily letter.L: I agree; it’s an excellent publication. That’s an interesting admission for Big Brother to make, asking people to declare cash and gold; in effect, it admits gold’s value as money… But okay, if the state achieves total monitoring and control of the legal economy, and the informal economy becomes much larger, would that not greatly increase the demand for gold? The black market is, as you say, a free – if somewhat chaotic – market, so, according to you and Aristotle, would not gold emerge as the money of choice in that market? And would that not add to the speculative reason for owning gold in addition to the reasons of prudence?Doug: Yes, and yes. Other sub-trends speculators might look for, within the overall trend of digitalization of our world, would lie in various new technologies this will make possible. Many of them would be very positive and profitable for those who deploy them commercially first. This is the sort of thing Alex Daly keeps tabs on in our Casey Extraordinary Technology letter.L: That reminds me of what you said about our phones becoming our wallets. You already don’t really need a physical card to make most revolving credit purchases, just the information on the account. Not only do we buy all sort of thing online these days with this information, but there are chips that transmit gas-card info to gas pumps so we don’t even need to get our wallets out to fill up our tanks. Who knows where that will end up, but I can imagine that as phones and computers (and what used to be TVs) all merge into one technology – which already includes payment systems – money will get folded into this technology as well.Doug: I fully expect that, even though I still don’t own a cell phone and really loathe the things. As an individual human being, I’m going to keep on paying for things in cash for as long as I can – and to me, gold is the real cash of the world. But as a speculator, I think there’s a lot of money to be made investing in the developers of these technological innovations.L: Good luck with that fight. As Locutus of Borg said, “Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated.” There are computer chips in clothing, in cars – heck, it won’t be long before they’re in our food and in the drinking water… Only to help doctors monitor our health, of course.Doug: I know, I know. The prison planet we live on could get pretty ugly before it frees up again. I fear that before things get better, they will have to get much worse, and our world will soon come to resemble a cross between Huxley’s Brave New World and Orwell’s 1984 – or maybe Soylent Green if it gets really bad.L: Another cheerful thought, Doug.Doug: You know I call ’em like I see ’em. I hope many of our current readers will look into The Casey Report as well, if only because this month has part two of a long article that I’m rather fond of, titled Evil, Stupidity, and the Decline of America, which examines the root causes of the pickle the West is now in.But the greater the invasion of privacy, the greater the need for privacy there will be – and the market will respond. I doubt you’ll need stolen eyeballs for retina scans, as in the movie Minority Report, but technologies that identify you to the monitors as a Boy Scout from Iowa (with a perfect grade-point average, totally clean driving record, and no arrests or interrogations) will certainly become available. Clean digital identities should become highly lucrative commodities, all the more so for being illegal. But, with any luck, when the revolution comes – and it will, even though it will be most unpleasant, inconvenient, and dangerous – I hope it turns out more like the revolutions in V for Vendetta or the American Revolution than the one in France under Robespierre. In any event, there’s no doubt in my mind that things will get much worse before the world reboots and gets better again.L: Well, that’s marginally better. As has been observed before, as in the times of chattel slavery, for example, when laws become unjust, just people must become outlaws.Doug: Just so. Maybe we’ll all have our chance to play Robin Hood against an evil king.L: Right then. Thanks for your thoughts… I’ll have to take a closer look at our technology picks for my own investment portfolio.Doug: You should. And you’re welcome. Talk to you soon. In the meantime, live, and be wellL: Until next time.
In 1946, an American singer, Merle Travis, recorded a song called “Sixteen Tons.” The song told the story of a poor coal miner in Kentucky, who lived in a small coal mining town. The town’s economy revolved entirely around the mine.c The mining company owned a “company store,” which had a monopoly on the sale of provisions. It charged rates that were designed to use up the weekly paycheque of the miner, so that the miner, in effect, was a slave to the mining company. As the song states, You load sixteen tons, what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don’t you call me ’cause I can’t go I owe my soul to the company store Negative Interest Rates Let’s put the song aside for the moment and have a look at a concept that has been bandied about by the European Central Bank (ECB) for a while now. Since the collapse of the central banks would doom the world (their claim, not mine), it is essential that the banks be saved no matter what else must be sacrificed. Efforts to “save” the situation have been implemented through quantitative easing (QE) and the setting and continuation of low interest rates. Unfortunately, in spite of record profits by banks and staggering bonuses handed out to senior bank executives, somehow the QE and low interest rates have not created the prosperity desired. The economy is still in the tank. What to do? A solution being considered is to create “negative interest rates.” Sounds logical, doesn’t it? If low interest rates have kept the economy from crashing but haven’t fixed it, surely, negative interest rates can only be more positive. And what are negative interest rates? Well, it simply means that, if you keep your money in a bank, instead of the bank paying you interest, you pay the bank to hold your money. No central bank has ever done such a thing, so, not surprisingly, it sounds like a bitter pill to swallow. However, the ECB will present it as an “unfortunate necessity.” Electronic Currency Let’s once again change subjects for the moment. If the fiat currencies, such as the euro and the dollar, collapse (as I believe is all but inevitable), the EU and US are likely to immediately come up with an alternate currency (or currencies), since if an alternative is not made readily available, people will turn to whatever currency is handy in order to be able to continue to purchase goods and to trade. We are in the electronic age. We are also seeing the EU and US heading in a direction that is marked with increasing controls on the capital held by their citizens. Therefore, the ideal currency would be an electronic one. No more paper notes in the wallet, no more coins in the pocket; just a plastic debit card to take care of all purchases. All purchases. Whether the purchaser buys something as major as a car or as insignificant as a Cadbury bar, the card would be used for every monetary transaction. This, of course, is a handy solution to the fuss of dealing with what was formerly regarded as money. But there is an extra advantage—quite a major one, in fact—to the government. It now has a record of every single transaction that you make. There could be no “under the table” transactions, as only the debit card would represent currency. Of course, a bank would be needed to handle the transactions. The bank would receive your electronic paycheck directly from your employer, and you would spend what you had in your account. The bank would be the central clearing house though which all your financial transactions took place. An extra advantage to the government would be that they would no longer need to chase their citizens for taxation. Since they had a full record of every penny you earned and spent, they could advise you of the amount of your tax obligation and simply deduct it periodically. If you presently pay tax annually, the deductions could be broken up—say, monthly, or even weekly. And the tax need not be under one heading. Just as your bank now lists a host of confusing charges on your credit card, so the government may have a wide variety of confusing and even redundant taxes that it deducts on a regular basis. Just as with the bank, the rates for each tax might go up or down (but mostly up) without explanation. (The more numerous the tax categories and the greater the frequency of deductions, the more confusion and, therefore, the fewer the complaints.) How Does All This Fit Together? Let’s go back to the ECB. If a negative interest rate exists, the bank no longer pays you interest to encourage you to keep your money with them. They now control all your monetary transactions, and you cannot function without them. The servant has become the master. Therefore, it would not be possible to cease to use the bank for your transactions, should their “negative interest rates” start to climb. At this point, the government and the bank would, between them, control your money totally. You would find yourself, in effect, “owned by the company store.” It’s even possible that bank fees and tax rates could be increased as your income increased, so that you might never be able to truly save money, invest, or indeed, act independently of your “owners.” The flow of your money would have become centralised, and you could not function without them. Of course, this is all theory. Surely, this could not come to pass, because people inherently do not wish to be enslaved. And yet it happened on a wholesale basis in Kentucky and other mining areas in the US. So the question really is, “How did it become possible that people in mining towns volunteered for their own slavery?” First there was a depression. Many people lost their jobs and their incomes and were prepared to do anything in order to feed their families. So they signed up for the only game in town: the mines. It was dangerous work, there were no benefits, and the coal dust would kill a miner after a time. But as long as he lived, his family had enough to eat. He accepted the deal, because (again) it was the only game in town. So, back to the present day, where the Greater Depression will soon be on us in full force. A large percentage of jobs will be destroyed, but in addition, this time around, the currency will also be destroyed. In order to pay for goods, particularly food, people will do whatever they have to, to obtain currency. Desperate times, indeed. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! The government has chosen to eliminate bank notes and coins, as they ultimately proved to be so destructive. Never again will this be allowed to happen. The new Electronic Currency System will ensure that all money is centrally managed. The press will declare the new system brilliant, and the harder an individual has been hit by the Greater Depression, the more quickly he will jump on board. The greedy rich have all but destroyed his life, and his government, like a knight in shining armour, has come to save him. Like the miner, he will not be musing on how this will all play out over the decades; he will opt for the promise of relief for his family now. If this all plays out as described above, it will not be just Kentucky, but entire nations. Editor’s note: The day after this article was written, the ECB announced the introduction of a negative interest rate: 0.1% on deposits. As predicted, the media have already begun to the praise the measure. To see what the consequences of economic mismanagement can be, and how stealthily disaster can creep up on you, watch the 30-minute documentary, Meltdown America. Witness the harrowing tales of three ordinary people who lived through a crisis, and how their experiences warn of the turmoil that could soon reach the US. Click here to watch it now.
Fantastic essay! – Linda Recommended Link For the first time ever: a guided tour of Doug’s Ranch in UruguayDoug Casey was kind enough to take our cameras on a guided tour of beautiful Uruguayan Estancia. We even captured Doug showing off a few special pieces in his art collection. Click here for a rare look inside the private life of one of the world’s most reclusive millionaires. Recommended Link By Justin Spittler, editor, Casey Daily DispatchCalifornia just made history.Last week, state regulators announced a new mandate that will require all new homes to have solar panels. The law applies to single-family homes and low-rise apartment buildings. It will go into effect in 2020. As a result, California became the first state to introduce such a mandate.And as I’ll show you in today’s Dispatch, this isn’t just big news for the people of California.It’s big news for all Americans… and it’s a massive investing opportunity.I’ll tell you why in a second. But let’s first take a closer look at the mandate… and how it will impact people living in California. — Hi guys, Tell John Hunt his article was absolutely spot-on, just brilliant.– Anthony — • The mandate is expected to add $9,500 in costs for each new home built…Now, some folks worry that this will make it even less affordable to buy homes in California. That’s the bad news.The good news is that the average Californian is expected to see $19,000 in energy savings over the next 30 years.This mandate will have serious ripple effects. In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised at all if Florida, Nevada, or even Texas eventually introduced similar legislation.If that happens, more and more Americans will need to buy solar panels. And that will obviously be good news for the solar panel companies. But here’s the thing…• The solar energy industry will flourish even if other states don’t follow California’s lead… There’s a simple reason for this.Solar energy has become very cheap. According to a recent report from asset management firm Lazard, the cost of solar power has declined 86% since 2009. That’s the biggest drop of any major energy source.As a result, one megawatt hour of solar power now costs just $50. That’s less than half of what it costs to produce one megawatt-hour of coal power ($102). And get this… solar energy currently accounts for just 2% of U.S. electricity needs. So, solar energy will become even cheaper as the industry achieves economies of scale.This will encourage even more people to adopt solar energy for their energy needs.You can see where I’m going with this. But look, I’m not the only investor bullish on solar stocks. Just look at this chart of the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN), which invests in a basket of solar stocks.You can see that TAN surged 9% following California’s big announcement. It’s now up 46% over the last year. That’s a big move. But solar stocks should climb much higher in the coming months.Check out this chart to see why. It compares the performance of TAN to the S&P 500.When this line is rising, it means that solar stocks are doing better than the S&P 500. When it’s falling, it means they’re doing worse.You can see that solar stocks have been underperforming the market for the past 10 years. This means they have a lot of catching up to do. But the trend has changed direction over the past few months… and solar stocks will continue to move higher, thanks to California’s mandate and the industry’s rapidly improving economics.So, consider investing in solar stocks if you haven’t already. You can easily do so with TAN.As I mentioned earlier, this ETF invests in a basket of solar stocks and allows you to bet on this big trend without taking on any company-specific risks.Regards, Justin Spittler Buenos Aires, Argentina May 18, 2018Reader MailbagToday, lots of great feedback on Wednesday’s Dispatch featuring an important update on Argentina and a new essay from John Hunt…Nice essay, Justin. – Peter New tool could disrupt the entire $8 trillion food industry Scientists recently discovered a new tool hidden in billion-year-old bacteria that could disrupt the entire $8 trillion global food industry… This could mean 35X growth for the industry at the center of this new technology. Click here to learn more. Beautiful. Perfect. Now I see why John Hunt and Doug Casey are writing novels together. Always nice to be reminded that I’m not completely alone in my view of government people. Thanks! – Gordon As always, if you have any questions or suggestions for the Dispatch, send them to us right here.In Case You Missed It…Doug Casey just found a crypto guru worthy of Casey Research subscribers…This bright young German has been involved with digital currencies since he invested in e-gold in the late ’90s—long before the current blockchain breakthrough.And like Doug, he’s a truly an “international man.” He made so much money from cryptos; he dropped everything and traveled the world for five years. And now, he has an important message…