Tag Archives | Economics

Ouija Boards Become A Christmas ‘Must Buy’: Church Warns ‘Don’t Let This Darkness Into Your Lives’

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Dave Winer (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via The Inquistr:

It would appear that Ouija boards are fast becoming one of the “coolest” and “must-have” Christmas gifts of 2014, but the church has fiercely criticized the trend calling it “absolutely appalling,” and strongly warned people to “not let this darkness” into their lives.

Google reports that sales of Ouija boards are up to 300 percent, and are flying off the shelves quicker than you can say, “Oh no, it looks like poltergeist activity’.

The reason for the resurgence in sales is a new low-budget horror film called Ouija.

The film, which tells the time-honored story of kids meddling with powers they do not comprehend and then wondering why all of a sudden everything’s gone to hell, was slated by the critics, but cinema-going teens adored it.

Cue the current demand for Ouija boards. Interestingly, toy manufacturer Hasbro, who are one of the companies currently selling Ouija boards to ghost-seeking teens, helped finance the making of Ouija.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Pentagon wants your advice on tech for the year 2030 time frame

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

via Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence:

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is asking for ideas from the private sector on breakthrough technologies to guide military investment for the next decade and beyond, according to an article by futurist Patrick Tucker Wednesday in Defense One newsletter.

“On Wednesday, Defense Department officials issued a request for information calling on interested parties ‘to identify current and emerging technologies … that could provide significant military advantage to the United States and its partners and allies in the 2030 time frame,’” Tucker said.

It’s part of the Pentagon’s “ambitious plan to develop technology to put the United States decades ahead of rival nations like China and Russia in short period of time.”

The problem: predicting the tech future isn’t as simple as it used to be. “New breakthroughs are copied, innovated against and rendered obsolete as quickly as the Internet spreads to new portions of the globe.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

It’s going to be hard for the DOJ to prosecute the cop who killed Eric Garner

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. -- Protesters at the "We Will Not Go Back" march and rally called by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to demand justice for the family of Eric Garner whose death was declared a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner. Garner died on July 17, 2014 while being arrested by police. The ME ruled the cause of death was an illegal chokehold (applied by P.O. Daniel Pantaleo) and "chest compression" - prompting civil rights advocates to organize this very large protest (approximately 4000 demonstrators).

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Protesters at the “We Will Not Go Back” march and rally called by Al Sharpton and the National Action Network to demand justice for the family of Eric Garner whose death was declared a homicide by the NYC Medical Examiner. Garner died on July 17, 2014 while being arrested by police. The ME ruled the cause of death was an illegal chokehold (applied by P.O. Daniel Pantaleo) and “chest compression” – prompting civil rights advocates to organize this very large protest (approximately 4000 demonstrators).

via Vox:

After calls from New York Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Attorney General Eric Holder and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a federal investigation into the death of Eric Garner.

Demanding a federal investigation is a good way for politicians like de Blasio, Schumer and Gillibrand to show their concern about police violence. Unfortunately it’s not likely to bring justice for Garner.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Administration’s Review Of Pentagon’s 1033 Program Finds It Has No Rules, No Transparency And No Oversight

640px-US-WhiteHouse-Logo.svg

via Tech Dirt:

No sooner had I chastised the executive branch for its half-assery in all things 1033-related than it delivers its findings on the much-criticized program [pdf link]. A little over a week ago, I wrote this.

Others — including President Obama — promised to look into the program. Obama ordered the first top-level review of the Pentagon’s 1033 program in over 20 years, but weeks later, there’s been nothing reported.

The administration is now forcing me to eat my words, having responded fairly quickly to my caustic single-sentence editorial. The pithily-titled “Review: Federal Support for Law Enforcement Equipment Acquisition” has been released, detailing the review’s findings and concerns about the Pentagon’s “An MRAP in every PD” program.

The opening “Background” plays up a few talking points:

Particularly in the years since September 11, 2001, Congress and the Executive Branch have steadily increased spending and support for these programs, in light of legitimate concerns about the growing threat of terrorism, shrinking local budgets, and the relative ease with which some criminals are able to obtain high-powered weapons.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Scorched Earth Economics

John (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Activist Post:

Could rapidly falling oil prices trigger a nightmare scenario for the commodity derivatives market?

The big Wall Street banks did not expect plunging home prices to cause a mortgage-backed securities implosion back in 2008, and their models did not anticipate a decline in the price of oil by more than 40 dollars in less than six months this time either.  If the price of oil stays at this level or goes down even more, someone out there is going to have to absorb some absolutely massive losses.  In some cases, the losses will be absorbed by oil producers, but many of the big players in the industry have already locked in high prices for their oil next year through derivatives contracts.

The companies enter into these derivatives contracts for a couple of reasons.  Number one, many lenders do not want to give them any money unless they can show that they have locked in a price for their oil that is higher than the cost of production.  Secondly, derivatives contracts protect the profits of oil producers from dramatic swings in the marketplace.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

25 People and Industries That Profit From Fear

Image: Roland/Flickr

Image: Roland/Flickr

via Business Pundit:

Are you worried about the economy tumbling into oblivion? Scared that some stranger will break into your home? Paranoid about losing your youthful good looks?

Don’t worry. You can buy your peace of mind. Whether it’s a pill, a locking system, or legislation, someone has the perfect solution. Just make sure you pay up to get it.

25. The Security Industry

24. The Beauty Industry

23. The Pet Care Industry

22. The Anti-Germ Industry

21. Stock Market Experts

20. The Weight Loss Industry

19. Banks

18. Consultants

17. Doctors

16. The Children’s Products Industry

Read More: http://www.businesspundit.com/25-people-and-industries-that-profit-from-fear/

Read the rest

Continue Reading

Asteroid Day: A global day of awareness slated for June 30, 2015

AsteroidDay

via Astronomy.com:

Astrophysicist Brian May, founding member and lead guitarist of the rock band Queen, joined Lord Martin Rees, the UK Royal Astronomer, at the London Science Museum today to host a press conference to announce Asteroid Day, a global awareness campaign to educate the world about asteroids. The event was linked to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where Ryan Wyatt, director of the Morrison Planetarium and Science Visualization, hosted astronauts Tom Jones, Ed Lu, and Apollo 9 Astronaut Rusty Schweickart. Bill Nye, the Science Guy and CEO of The Planetary Society, joined via video from New York.

A central focus of the event was the release of a 100x Declaration, calling for the hundredfold increase in the detection and monitoring of asteroids. Lord Rees read the declaration, which resolves to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future.”

The declaration calls for three key actions:

  • Employ the available technology to detect and track near-Earth asteroids that threaten human populations
  • A rapid hundredfold (100x) acceleration of the discovery and tracking of near-Earth objects
  • Global adoption of Asteroid Day on June 30, 2015, to heighten awareness of the asteroid hazard and efforts to prevent future impacts.
Read the rest
Continue Reading

The Day You’ll Prefer Robots to Humans

via The Singularity Hub:

Peter Diamandis on Dec 01, 2014

Finally, the robot revolution is arriving.

There’s a Cambrian explosion in robotics, with species of all sizes, shapes and modes of mobility crawling out of the muck of the lab and onto the terra firma of the marketplace, about to enter your home and your shopping experience.

Here’s why…

4 Converging (Enabling) Technologies

Four converging tech areas enable the revolution. I write about this in detail (both the technologies and business opportunities) in my next book BOLD (coming out February 2015). See if this makes sense…

  1. Sensors: The sensors that cost you $10 today would have been military secrets costing you tens of thousands of dollars 20 years ago. Sensors that listen, look, feel and navigate are plummeting in cost, size, weight and power consumption, thanks to the smartphone revolution.

Read More: http://singularityhub.com/2014/12/01/the-day-youll-prefer-robots-to-humans/

Read the rest

Continue Reading

American cultural imperialism has a new name: GAFA

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

Duncan Hull (CC BY 2.0)

via Quartz:

In France, there’s a new word: GAFA. It’s an acronym, and it has become a shorthand term for some of the most powerful companies in the world—all American, all tech giants. GAFA stands for Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon.

The phrase is used by newspapers, blogs, and talking heads on TV—see here and here and here (all links in French). It even appears in the local version of “The Internet for Dummies.” Le Monde’s economics editor, Alexis Delcambre, tells Quartz that GAFA first appeared in his newspaper in December 2012. “GAFA is not used very often, but when used, it is almost always on critical topics, including taxes or personal data,” he says.

In the US, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon are generally praised as examples of innovation. In the French press, and for much of the rest of Europe, their innovation is often seen in a less positive light—the ugly Americans coming over with innovative approaches to invading personal privacy or new ways to avoid paying their fair share.

Read the rest
Continue Reading

Asimov’s Three Laws Are Not an International Treaty

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

Lima Pix (CC BY 2.0)

via Slate:

Recently, Elon Musk voiced his concern (again) that developing artificial intelligence is “summoning the demon.” If you read his comments, though, you saw he wasn’t warning that the operating system from Hercould do more than break Joaquin Phoenix’s heart. Musk was specifically discussingdefense contractors and autonomous weapons. That’s consistent with his recent “Terminator” warnings (and that sentence fulfills my obligation to mentionTerminator in an article about artificial intelligence). It also echoes the legal position advocated by the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots (which has as unambiguous a name as you’re likely to find) that autonomous weapons “appear to be incapable of abiding by the key principles of international humanitarian law.” Opposition to killer robots seems as uncontroversial as opposition to the Killer Clown and support for “Killer Queen.” However, if you look closely at international law, it doesn’t have anything to say about artificial intelligence and autonomous weapons.

Read the rest
Continue Reading