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 41 
 on: December 15, 2014, 06:41:26 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://www.iflscience.com/technology/worms-mind-robot-body 

 42 
 on: December 15, 2014, 06:35:01 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


http://www.addictinginfo.org/2014/12/14/ted-cruzs-superhuman-stupidity-backfires-accidentally-helps-democrats-confirm-obama-nominees/ 

 43 
 on: December 15, 2014, 04:38:44 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
Oil Price: Looks Reasonable To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 12/15/2014

A former economic colleague, and mentor, used to say: “In the Bible, it says an ounce of gold will buy a fine suit of clothing.” We have read the Bible, and we haven’t found this, although there could be some high-powered math, using talents, cubits, frankincense and myrrh that make it true.

Nonetheless, the point stands – over long periods of time, relative value remains somewhat constant. Gold is trading at $1,210/oz. today and that’s about the cost of a fine suit.
There are suits that cost more, and less, but, well, you get the point.

The reason we bring this up, is that the same “relative price relationship” should hold true for other commodities over time. The gold-oil ratio (using West Texas Intermediate crude prices) has averaged 15.8 over the past 30 years – meaning one ounce of gold would buy 15.8 barrels of oil.

In 2005, the ratio reached a low of 6.7; in 1986, it hit a high of 30.1. From 1990-1999 oil prices averaged $19.70/bbl and gold prices averaged $351/oz – a ratio of 17.8. Today, oil is $57/bbl and gold is $1,210/oz., meaning an ounce of gold will buy 21.2 barrels of oil.

In other words, relative to history, either oil is cheap or gold is expensive. Looking at other commodity price relationships, like silver, shows the same thing. One interesting fact is that in the past 30 years, the CPI is up 126%, while oil is up 116%, showing that, right now, with oil prices down almost $50 from their recent peak, oil has risen about the same as a broad basket of consumer goods.

This doesn’t mean that oil prices can’t fall further. After all, markets do what markets do. What it does mean is that the recent collapse in oil prices is not a sign of broad deflation. It is result of a shift in the “oil supply curve” to the right, due to new technologies in energy – horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. Remember, the supply curve slopes upward from the lower left to the upper right. When a new technology increases supply at any price, like the invention of the tractor did with crops, the entire supply curve shifts. When this happens, output rises and prices fall, unless there is a shift in demand.

These days, two things are happening to keep a lid on demand. First, developing economies, like China and Russia are experiencing slower growth. Second, new technologies – like LED lighting, more efficient computer chips and less waste in office buildings, homes and manufacturing – are reducing energy consumption. For example, an iPad uses $1.36 of electricity every year, while a desktop computer uses $30 of electricity per year.

So, a right-ward shift in the supply curve is occurring at the same time demand is falling short of what was previously expected. In other words, the decline in oil prices is due to macro-economic forces, and those forces are mostly good, not bad. As a result, the drop in oil prices is a good sign, not one that indicates economic problems. The drop in stock prices last week, if it was based on the idea that falling oil prices are a negative thing, is temporary.

More importantly, most relative price indicators suggest the oil price decline has gone too far. Using the current price of gold, a barrel of oil is fairly valued near $77. Alternatively, comparing oil to multiple different prices, including a fine suit of clothing, oil is fairly valued somewhere between $55 and $70/bbl.

Bottom line: stocks and oil have fallen too much. Stocks should rebound soon and, barring a collapse in gold, we look for stability and then rising prices for oil in the years ahead.

 44 
 on: December 15, 2014, 11:55:34 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/15/business/energy-environment/israels-natural-gas-supply-offers-lifeline-for-peace.html?emc=edit_th_20141215&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=49641193&_r=0

 45 
 on: December 14, 2014, 02:37:14 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog


Monday Morning Outlook
________________________________________
The Myth of QE: Why Rates Are Headed Higher To view this article, Click Here
Brian S. Wesbury, Chief Economist
Robert Stein, Deputy Chief Economist
Date: 12/8/2014

It’s a myth; an abused narrative. Those who disagree are called economic heretics. What are we talking about? The idea that Quantitative Easing (QE) drives interest rates down. This myth has a fervent following even though virtually no evidence supports it. 

Yes, the Federal Reserve has done a massive amount of QE. And, yes, interest rates have been low. But, correlation does not equal causation. Just look at Europe, where the European Central Bank (ECB) has allowed its balance sheet to contract in recent years – Quantitative Tightening. Yet, interest rates are even lower than they are in the U.S. Not just German and French 10-year bond yields, but Italian and Spanish as well.

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen understood this back in December 2008, when she said, “As Japan found during its quantitative easing program, increasing the size of the monetary base above levels needed to provide ample liquidity to the banking system had no discernible economic effects aside from those associated with communicating the Bank of Japan’s commitment to the zero interest rate policy.”

In other words, by ending QE, the Fed is implicitly ending its commitment to low rates. As a result, the 2-year Treasury yield has jumped from 0.31% in mid-October to 0.64%. Not because of tapering, but because rate hikes are now expected.

There is no mystery here. QE signals a low interest rate policy. In Europe, the ECB keeps threatening to start QE again, which is the same thing as saying don’t expect rate hikes.

It’s the promise to hold interest rates low that matters, not the actual bond buying. When the Fed (or any central bank) indicates it will hold overnight rates at zero for one year, then 1-year yields will be close to zero. The same holds true if the promise is for two years.

In other words, QE is just another version of “forward guidance.” As that guidance shifts, interest rates will rise. That’s happening in the U.S. right now.

Since mid-October, the Fed has increased its holdings of bonds with 1 to 5-year maturities by $58 billion. At the same time it has decreased its holdings of Treasury bonds with maturities five years and longer by $52 billion.

Nonetheless, the 2-year Treasury bond yield is soaring, while the 10-year Treasury bond yield has remained stubbornly stable. The yield curve is flattening – exactly the opposite result that supporters of QE have claimed would happen.

It’s a magic elixir. In Europe, by not doing enough QE, the ECB is supposedly causing deflation, which, in turn, holds bond yields down. In the U.S., QE itself was supposedly holding interest rates down. In Japan, interest rates were already low, and QE was supposed to boost growth, but instead a renewed recession is underway. It’s the Wizard of Oz. Please don’t look behind the curtain.

What does all this mean? Well, first it means QE isn’t magical. We do not believe QE boosted economic activity or equity values in the US, nor did it keep interest rates down. All it did was boost bank holdings of excess reserves.

This is why tapering has not hurt the U.S. economy or equities. Job growth has accelerated, GDP, too, and the stock market has reached record highs.

What’s missing from just about every conversation about central banks is their inability to offset the damage done by excessive taxes, government spending, or regulation. Europe and Japan will continue to underperform the U.S. as long as their governments spend more as a share of GDP.

The bottom line: The U.S. has turned the corner. Government policy is headed in a better direction, growth is picking up and interest rates are now headed higher, probably for quite some time. But, it’s not because QE is over, it’s because the Fed can no longer justify a zero percent overnight interest rate. “Forward guidance” is kaput. That means higher interest rates are on their way.

 46 
 on: December 14, 2014, 09:21:48 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/breaking-congress-secretly-okd-nsa-spying-domestic-criminal-cases-focused-torture/

 47 
 on: December 13, 2014, 07:46:29 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Russ
It is not the role of the public or the press to determine whether an officer involved shooting was justified. That investigation is done by the State's/ District Attorney/ or Grand Jury in some states.. Also, "an officer's evil intentions will not make a Fourth Amendment violation out of an objectively reasonable use of force; nor will an officer's good intentions make an objectively unreasonable use of force constitutional." (Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 396, 397 (1989)). That means that the purpose of the original stop, the circumstances of the encounter, and the intentions of the officer are irrelevant as to whether a shooting is justified or not. The only relevant factors are related to whether the officer on the scene believed that his life, or the life of another was in danger. For example, did the suspect attempt to grab the officers gun, or did he attack the officer? You are considered armed if you are attempting to grab an officer's gun. Once these factors are examined through a proper investigation, then the public and the press will know that information. Also, if it is determined that a shooting is justified, that does not prohibit legal action for claims of civil rights violations, or other civil legal action against the officer.

Here is the Constitutional standard for use of deadly force by the police:

“[T]he reasonableness of a particular use of force must be viewed from the perspective of a reasonable officer at the scene, rather than with 20/20 vision of hindsight….”

Moreover, “allowance must be made for the fact that officers are often forced to make split-second judgments in circumstances that are tense, uncertain, and rapidly evolving about the amount of force that is necessary in a particular situation.”

The question is whether the officers' actions are “objectively reasonable” in light of the facts and circumstances confronting them “(Graham v. Connor, 490 U.S. 396, 397 (1989)).



The cop mind is formed by unique circumstances

By DAVID BROOKS, Associated Press | Posted 2 days ago

Like a lot of people in journalism, I began my career, briefly, as a police reporter. As the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases have unfolded, I've found myself thinking back to those days. Nothing excuses specific acts of police brutality, especially in the Garner case, but not enough attention is being paid to the emotional and psychological challenges of being a cop. Early on, I learned there is an amazing variety of police officers, even compared to other professions. Most cops are conscientious, and some, especially among detectives, are brilliant.

They spend much of their time in the chaotic and depressing nether-reaches of society: busting up domestic violence disputes, dealing with drunks and drug addicts, coming upon fatal car crashes, managing conflicts large and small.

They ride an emotional and biochemical roller coaster. They experience moments of intense action and alertness, followed by emotional crashes marked by exhaustion and isolation. They become hypervigilant. Surrounded by crime all day, some come to perceive that society is more threatening than it really is.

To cope, they emotionally armor up. Many of the cops I was around developed a cynical, dehumanizing and hard-edge sense of humor that was an attempt to insulate themselves from the pain of seeing a dead child or the extinguished life of a young girl they arrived too late to save.

Many of us see cops as relatively invulnerable as they patrol the streets. The cops themselves do not perceive their situation that way. As criminologist George Kelling wrote in City Journal in 1993, "It is a common myth that police officers approach conflicts with a feeling of power — after all, they are armed, they represent the state, they are specially trained and backed by an 'army.' In reality, an officer's gun is almost always a liability ... because a suspect may grab it in a scuffle. Officers are usually at a disadvantage because they have to intervene in unfamiliar terrain, on someone else's territory. They worry that bystanders might become involved, either by helping somebody the officer has to confront or, after the fact, by second-guessing an officer's conduct."

Even though most situations are not dangerous, danger is always an out-of-the-blue possibility, often in the back of the mind.

In many places, a self-supporting and insular police culture develops: In this culture no one understands police work except fellow officers; the training in the academy is useless; to do the job you've got to bend the rules and understand the law of the jungle; the world is divided into two sorts of people — cops and a—holes.

This is a life of both boredom and stress. Life expectancy for cops is lower than for the general population. Cops suffer disproportionately from peptic ulcers, back disorders and heart disease. In one study, suicide rates were three times higher among cops than among other municipal workers. Other studies have found that somewhere between 7 percent and 19 percent of cops suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. The effect is especially harsh on those who have been involved in shootings. Two-thirds of the officers who have been involved in shootings suffer moderate or severe emotional problems. Seventy percent leave the police force within seven years of the incident.

Most cops know they walk a dangerous line, between necessary and excessive force. According to a 2000 National Institute of Justice study, more than 90 percent of the police officers surveyed said that it is wrong to respond to verbal abuse with force. Nonetheless, 15 percent of the cops surveyed were aware that officers in their own department sometimes or often did so.

And through the years, departments have worked to humanize the profession. Overall, police use of force is on the decline, along with the crime rate generally. According to the Department of Justice, the number of incidents in which force was used or threatened declined from 664,000 in 2002 to 574,000 in 2008. Community policing has helped bind police forces closer to the citizenry.

A blind spot is race. Only 1 in 20 white officers believe blacks and other minorities receive unequal treatment from the police. But 57 percent of black officers are convinced the treatment of minorities is unfair.

But at the core of the profession lies the central problem of political philosophy. How does the state preserve order through coercion? When should you use overwhelming force to master lawbreaking? When is it wiser to step back and use patience and understanding to defuse a situation? How do you make this decision instantaneously, when testosterone is flowing, when fear is in the air, when someone is disrespecting you and you feel indignation rising in the gut?

Racist police brutality has to be punished. But respect has to be paid. Police serve by walking that hazardous line where civilization meets disorder.

 48 
 on: December 13, 2014, 07:36:59 PM 
Started by Body-by-Guinness - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xyqxc_the-crimson-permanent-assurance_fun

 49 
 on: December 13, 2014, 12:25:22 PM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by Crafty_Dog
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graham_v._Connor

 50 
 on: December 13, 2014, 10:57:47 AM 
Started by Crafty_Dog - Last post by G M
http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/121214-730423-american-weakness-brings-back-russian-nuclear-aggression.htm

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