Thursday, May 31, 2012

Weak China PMI Sinks Euro, Australian Dollar

Weak China PMI Sinks Euro, Australian Dollar

Weak China PMI Sinks Euro, Australian Dollar

more in Markets »
TOKYO—The euro hit a fresh 23-month low against the dollar during Asian trading Friday as weaker-than-expected Chinese data dampened the tone of an already bearish market amid fears about an escalating euro-zone debt crisis.
Commodity currencies such as the Australian dollar also took a hit as China's May purchasing managers index fell to 50.4, down sharply from 53.3 in April and below market expectations for a reading of 51.5.
"It's now quite clear that China's economy is slowing," said Masashi Murata, senior currency strategist at Brown Brothers Harriman in Tokyo.
But with the closely watched U.S. nonfarm payrolls for May to be released later in the day, the market may be cautious about placing any big bets, he said. A Dow Jones survey of economists expects the U.S. economy to have added 155,000 jobs in the month, compared with 115,000 added in the previous month.
"If the figures are weaker than expected, and if the U.S. ISM manufacturing PMI out later is also lower, we could see the globally bearish tone continuing," he said.
A struggling U.S. labor market could increase the chances of the Federal Reserve undertaking more bond-buying, which would likely weaken the greenback.
The euro hit a fresh 23-month low of $1.2324 following the release of the Chinese data, while the Australian dollar fell to US$0.9649, its lowest since last October.
Meanwhile Japanese authorities stepped up their pressure on the yen's recent strength, with the country's finance minister strongly suggesting that he may order intervention if the currency's "excessive" and "speculation-driven" moves continue.
"If these excessive moves continue, I will have to respond decisively," Finance Minister Jun Azumi said, using language that suggested the possibility of intervention has sharply increased. "I'm saying I will take decisive measures and I mean it," he said.
But with Greece's re-election coming up on June 17, authorities may have difficulty making decisive moves on currency policy as its outcome could alter market sentiment drastically, said Masafumi Yamamoto, chief forex strategist at Barclays in Tokyo.
As of 0250 GMT, the euro was at $1.2350 from $1.2366 late New York trading Thursday, according to trading platform EBS. The common currency was at ¥96.89 from ¥96.81, while the dollar was at ¥78.44 from ¥78.30. The Australian dollar was at US$0.9690 from US$0.9732.
The ICE Dollar Index, which tracks the U.S. dollar against a basket of currencies, was at 83.163 from 83.056.
end quote from:

So, Greece is having problems as well as Spain, the U.S. looks better but not that much and China's economy is slowing. What's next?


Billions of years from now Milky way and Andromeda Galaxies become one

Milky Way Galaxy Doomed to Head-On Crash with Andromeda

Four billion years from now, the Milky Way galaxy as we know it will cease to exist.
Our Milky Way is bound for a head-on collision with the similar-sized Andromeda galaxy, researchers announced today (May 31). Over time, the huge galactic smashup will create an entirely new hybrid galaxy, one likely bearing an elliptical shape rather than the Milky Way's trademark spiral-armed disk.
"We do know of other galaxies in the local universe around us that are in the process of colliding and merging," Roeland van der Marel, of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, told reporters today. "However, what makes the future merger of the Andromeda galaxy and the Milky Way so special is that it will happen to us."
Astronomers have long known that the Milky Way and Andromeda, which is also known as M31, are barrelling toward one another at a speed of about 250,000 mph (400,000 kph). They have also long suspected that the two galaxies may slam into each other billions of years down the road. [Milky Way Slams Into Andromeda (Artist Images)]
However, such discussions of the future galactic crash have always remained somewhat speculative, because no one had managed to measure Andromeda's sideways motion —  a key component of that galaxy's path through space.
But that's no longer the case.
Van der Marel and his colleagues used NASA's Hubble space telescope to repeatedly observe select regions of Andromeda over a seven-year period. They were able to measure the galaxy's sideways (or tangential) motion, and they found that Andromeda and the Milky Way are indeed bound for a direct hit.
"The Andromeda galaxy is heading straight in our direction," van der Marel said. "The galaxies will collide, and they will merge together to form one new galaxy." He and his colleagues also created a video simulation of the Milky Way crash into Andromeda.
That merger, van der Marel added, begins in 4 billion years and will be complete by about 6 billion years from now.

A future cosmic crash
Such a dramatic event has never occurred in the long history of our Milky Way, which likely began taking shape about 13.5 billion years ago.
"The Milky Way has had, probably, quite a lot of small, minor mergers," said Rosemary Wyse of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, who was not affiliated with the new study. "But this major merger will be unprecedented."
The merger poses no real danger of destroying Earth or our solar system, researchers said. The stretches of empty space separating the stars in the two galaxies will remain vast, making any collisions or serious perturbations unlikely.
However, our solar system will likely get booted out to a different position in the new galaxy, which some astronomers have dubbed the "Milkomeda galaxy." Simulations show that we'll probably occupy a spot much farther from the galactic core than we do today, researchers said.
A new night sky
And the collision will change our night sky dramatically. If any humans are still around 3.75 billion years from now, they'll see Andromeda fill their field of view as it sidles up next to our own Milky Way. For the next few billion years after that, stargazers will be spellbound by the merger, which will trigger intense bouts of star formation.
Finally, by about 7 billion years from now, the bright core of the elliptical Milkomeda galaxy will dominate the night sky, researchers said. (The odds of viewing this sight, at least from Earth, are pretty slim, since the sun is predicted to bloat into a huge red giant 5 or 6 billion years from now.)
In its 22-year history, Hubble has revolutionized the way humanity views the cosmos. The new finding is another step in that process, researchers said.
"What's really exciting about the current measurements is, it's not about historical astronomy; it's not about looking back in time, understanding the expansion of the universe," said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate and a former astronaut who flew on three space shuttle missions that repaired Hubble .
"It's looking forward in time, which is another very human story," Grunsfeld added. "We like to know about our past — where did we come from? We very much like to know where we're going."
You can follow senior writer Mike Wall on Twitter: @michaeldwall. Follow for the latest in space science and exploration news on Twitter @Spacedotcom  

Iran now in Proxy War to keep Assad in Power

Iran engaged in "malignant behavior" in Syria: White House

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House on Thursday accused Iran of "malignant behavior" for propping up Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and warned anew that the country's conflict could explode into a wider proxy war unless Assad steps down.
In sharp comments toward Tehran, White House press secretary Jay Carney said that Iran was exploiting the violence in Syria to entrench its regional sway.
"That fact further highlights Iran's continued effort to expand its nefarious influence in the region, and underscores Iran's fear of a Syria without the Assad regime," he told reporters at the White House.
European and U.S. security officials say Iran has offered Assad extensive support, including weapons and ammunition, to shore up a vital ally.
Carney's comments came amid growing concern in some world capitals that the Syrian bloodshed could devolve further into a proxy war - with Iran being only one of the outside players.
The Gulf state of Qatar, a close friend of Washington, has provided weapons to the Syrian opposition, according to Western officials, and there have been hints Saudi Arabia has done likewise. Some U.S. politicians want President Barack Obama to arm the opposition, with pressure hardening after a weekend massacre blamed on Assad.
Also, human rights groups and Western officials told Reuters on Thursday that a Russian cargo ship heavily laden with weapons docked at the Syrian port of Tartus last weekend.
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on Wednesday laid out a worst-case scenario in which Syria, a mainly Sunni Muslim country whose Alawite leader is allied to Shi'ite Iran, could become a proxy conflict, prompting world powers to take unilateral action.
Carney, claiming that Iran was engaged in "malignant behavior" in Syria, said the international community must up pressure for Assad to leave to stop the conflict from widening.
He said Washington was working with the Russians, who together with China have previously vetoed tougher UN Security Council action against Assad, to persuade them of the "horrific" risks of allowing the conflict to escalate.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has given no sign that he will drop Moscow's opposition to tougher sanctions or related action against Syria.
"The consequences of not taking that firm action are more violence, violence that spills over Syria's borders, violence that results in even greater participation in this by Iran...and others, to the point that it becomes a proxy war," Carney said.
Washington is separately pushing, along with European allies, for Tehran to curb its nuclear program, which the West says is secretly pursuing an atomic bomb but Iran insists is purely for peaceful purposes.
(Reporting By Alister Bull, Mark Hosenball and Louis Charbonneau; Editing by Warren Strobel and Cynthia Osterman)
end quote from:

The real problem is that Iran and possibly Russia too could be considered to be waging a proxy war to keep Assad in Power. Iran is supplying both Iranian soldiers and weapons inside of Syria to Assad and Russia is sending ships full of weapons to keep Assad in power mostly because they want to keep their sea port in Syria. However, because of all the ongoing massacres of Sunni civilians many middle eastern countries are going to be sending more weapons to the Syrian Rebels. In addition to this, there are now 12,000 coalition troops training in Jordan to go into Syria before it explodes throughout Lebanon(which is has been a problem already) and into Iraq, Jordan, Israel and into other nations in the middle east. This whole thing is beginning to spin out of the control of any one group, alliance or faction. This isn't good for anyone at present, especially not for Assad.

Wall Street closes dire month with a whimper

Chart for ^DJI
S&P 500
10-Year Bond
GCM12.CMXend quote from Yahoo business: I have never seen everything going down like this. This is a very unusual configuration when Oil, Gold, S&P, Stock Market, Euro, are all going down. What is really strange is that usually when oil is going down Gold is going up. So, to have all these things go down in value at the same time means we are in very strange territory indeed. Because investors are always looking for save havens. On this page there are NO safe havens and this is very unusual.
Begin quote from Yahoo Business.
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A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange at the end of the trading day, in New York

Wall Street closes dire month with a whimper

ReutersStocks fell modestly on Thursday to close out the worst month since September as investor sentiment sank on Europe's deepening credit problems. The broad S&P 500 index fell 6.3 percent in May, its largest ... More »

Thu, May 31, 2012, 10:58pm EDT - US Markets are closed

Wall Street closes dire month with a whimper


By Rodrigo Campos
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Stocks fell modestly on Thursday to close out the worst month since September as investor sentiment sank on Europe's deepening credit problems.
The broad S&P 500 index fell 6.3 percent in May, its largest percentage drop since September. The Dow's 6.2 percent drop and Nasdaq's 7.2 percent loss are their largest monthly declines in two years.
Spain was at the center of the latest European developments as markets judged Madrid's government would sooner or later have to ask for outside help for its banks. A report, later denied, of possible plans to assist Spain with its troubled banks helped Wall Street nearly erase losses of 1 percent in the afternoon.
Market participants cited month-end rebalancing as also supporting stocks due to money managers buying more shares to make up for the declining value of equities during May.
However, the continuing worry over Europe and a batch of disappointing U.S. economic figures weighed on the market. Jobless claims rose for the seventh week in eight, putting investors on edge before Friday's U.S. monthly payrolls report.
"Europe is the main issue, no question about it, but you have a supporting cast from the U.S. data," said Paul Zemsky, head of asset allocation at ING Investment Management in New York.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 26.41 points, or 0.21 percent, to 12,393.45. The S&P 500 Index fell 2.99 points, or 0.23 percent, to 1,310.33. The Nasdaq Composite lost 10.02 points, or 0.35 percent, to 2,827.34.
Shares of U.S. Steel dropped 5.1 percent to $20.30 and Cliffs Natural Resources fell 6.1 percent to $47.78 as energy and materials company shares led declines on the S&P 500.
Commodity prices fell with the euro at 23-month lows against the U.S. dollar. The greenback weakened sharply versus the yen, a sign that investors were moving money into perceived safe havens.
Private payroll growth accelerated only slightly last month and claims for jobless benefits rose last week, suggesting the labor market recovery was stalling.
A disappointing number in Friday's report would further damp market sentiment, but it could also bring back talk of further stimulus by the U.S. Federal Reserve.
Shares of TJX Cos rose 2.7 percent to $42.46 after the low-price retailer was among those to report sales at stores open at least a year that beat Wall Street forecasts.
Ciena Corp climbed 14.1 percent to $13.55 after the network equipment company posted a surprise second-quarter adjusted profit.
Joy Global Inc slumped 5.1 percent to $55.86 after the mining equipment maker cut forecasts.
Facebook Inc shares hit a fresh intraday low of $26.83 before bouncing back to close up 5 percent at $29.60. The social networking company has fallen in six of its nine trading sessions.
In other data, the Commerce Department said first-quarter economic growth in the United States was slightly slower than initially thought and the Institute for Supply Management-Chicago business barometer fell in April to its lowest level since September 2009.
Almost 8 billion shares changed hands on the New York Stock Exchange, the Nasdaq and Amex, sharply above the daily average of 6.83 billion so far this year.
Declining issues beat advancing issues on the NYSE by 1552 to 1430 while on the Nasdaq 13 issues fell for every 12 that rose.
(Reporting by Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Kenneth Barry) end quote from:
To make all this an even stranger summer someone was telling me in passing that the same astrological configuration that happened when the stock market crashed in 1929 happens for only the second time in around 100 years this summer in June or July on one day. I don't give much credence to this kind of thing, however. But I bet there are likely some who do. 

John Edwards found not Guilty: Mistrial for the rest

John Edwards unlikely to be retried after jury deadlocks

Rise and fall of John Edwards
A look at the meteoric rise of Edwards, a lawyer turned senator and presidential hopeful, and hard fall amid a scandal the prosecutors claimed Edwards broke laws to try to cover up.



John and Elizabeth Edwards are married. That same year, Edwards receives a law degree from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. The couple is seen here on their wedding day.
Edwards family via AP

John Edwards unlikely to be retried after jury deadlocks

Former North Carolina senator John Edwards was acquitted of one count of corruption and a U.S. District Court judge declared a mistrial on five other counts after the jury deadlocked in the sensational case against a onetime rising political star — and it is unlikely he will be tried again on the charges.
  • By Sara D. Davis, Getty Images
    "There is no one else responsible for my sins": John Edwards struck a tone of contrition as he addressed the news media alongside his daughter Cate, left, and parents, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards.
"There is no one else responsible for my sins": John Edwards struck a tone of contrition as he addressed the news media alongside his daughter Cate, left, and parents, Wallace and Bobbie Edwards.

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As he left the courtroom Thursday in Greensboro, N.C., Edwards thanked the jurors for "their diligence" and spoke with apparent contrition.
"I want to make sure that everyone hears from me and from my voice that while I do not believe I did anything illegal or ever thought I was doing something illegal, I did an awful, awful lot that is wrong," he said, standing next to his mother, father and oldest daughter. "And there is no one else responsible for my sins."
The Justice Department declined to comment on the outcome and whether prosecutors would seek to retry Edwards. But a source familiar with the case who wasn't authorized to speak on the record said another prosecution was unlikely.
Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor, agreed.
"The facts aren't going to change; the law isn't going to change," he said. "Why should the outcome change?"
The seven-week-long trial — which included testimony about Edwards using money and subterfuge to hide his relationship with a campaign videographer — ended with an afternoon of confusion. The jury first returned to the courtroom with a decision, prompting reporters to spill out of the courthouse and sending cable news networks into overdrive.
The jury foreman then informed the judge that the panel had reached a unanimous verdict on just one count. U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles ordered the eight men and four women back to the jury room to continue deliberations. Soon afterward, when they sent a note saying they were deadlocked, she declared a mistrial on the other five counts.
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Edwards: Responsible for own 'sins'
Edwards' attorney, Abbe Lowell, had urged a mistrial, noting that the deliberations had lasted almost as long as the prosecution took to present its case.
Edwards, who twice sought the Democratic presidential nod and was nominated for vice president in 2004, had faced six felony charges that carried prison terms of up to five years each.
Prosecutors argued he oversaw a conspiracy to use nearly $1 million from two rich supporters to hide his pregnant mistress, Rielle Hunter, during the 2008 campaign. The government said that violated the $4,600 limit on what individuals could donate to a federal candidate in that election.
The defense responded that the money amounted to personal gifts not covered by campaign-finance law, and it said Edwards was trying to keep his ailing wife, Elizabeth, from discovering his infidelity. She died of cancer in 2010.
The jury voted unanimously to acquit Edwards on the charge of taking illegal campaign contributions in 2008 from Rachel "Bunny" Mellon. Their failure to reach accord on other charges, even after nine days of deliberations, underscored the difficulty of the government's case.
"Trying to win a criminal conviction on complex FEC reporting matters is inherently difficult and generally not appropriate for criminal prosecution," Michael Toner, a former chairman of the Federal Election Commission, said afterward.
"The entire case depends on determining his intent," McRae said of Edwards. "Was his intent to influence the outcome of an election or was it to conceal an affair from his wife? When you have to get into mind-reading, that's a hard case to make."
Edwards' notoriety also may have helped him.
"In general, it is difficult to prosecute people of some celebrity," said Robert Bittman, who served as a deputy independent counsel in the investigation of President Clinton. "Frequently, you are faced with jurors who are willing to give a person like that the benefit of the doubt even when that person is the subject of some very negative information, as Edwards was in this case."
He added, "Unlike a theft, robbery or murder, people don't have a visceral reaction to wrongdoing in a case like this."
When the decision came, Edwards closed his eyes and rubbed his face, according to WNCN of Raleigh, N.C., which had a reporter in the courtroom. He hugged his daughter, Cate, and his parents and whispered, "I told you this would be OK."
At stake in the case was not only Edwards' future but also the Justice Department's reputation in the wake of its botched 2008 corruption case against then-Alaska senator Ted Stevens. The Stevens case collapsed when it was disclosed that prosecutors withheld key information from defense lawyers.
The case prompted rebukes from a federal judge and new leadership in a unit that handles some of the government's most sensitive prosecutions. Last week, two Stevens prosecutors were recommended for suspensions related to misconduct.
There were no accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in the Edwards trial. end quote from:

Most prosecutors and judges wouldn't have taken or tried this case. However, I think an example had to be made of John Edwards because he was dancing around the edge of the law on this one. However, the charges could not be effectively proven which is why most prosecutors and judges would not have taken this case. Especially because his assistant took some of the money and built a green house with it in his back yard it was going to be impossible to convict John Edwards. And I don't think one could convict his assistant either for sort of being his "Bag Man" in regard to the cash. Likely the extremely rich people who donated 700,000 dollars to the mother of his out of wedlock child and the child also said that they were not making a donation to his campaign. So, there really was no way to find him guilty but only to make an example of him so other politicians don't do what he did. And if you are any politician on earth, you might think twice about doing what John Edwards did because of the damage to your family and reputation ongoing.


The Customer is Always right

This is how I always ran my businesses in my life. Most of the time I didn't even need to advertise much because people always beat a path to my door because I always gave customers what they wanted and went the extra mile to get them what they wanted even if I only broke even on what I did for them sometimes. This always creates more customers and you get a reputation of being someone everyone wants to do business with because they always can depend upon you.

However, for me, there is the flip side of this. If someone does right by me I have no problem telling all my friends about it and even blogging about it. However, if someone rips me off or leaves me unsatisfied as a customer it is also easy for me to never patronize them again in person or online. So, I have no problem at all in not doing business with people who don't do right by their customers, namely me. Because if a business doesn't do right by me likely they don't do right by others. So, they don't deserve my business and they don't deserve me blogging about them unless I really feel maligned and ripped off by that business.

However, there are some really good businesses out there, so whenever I discover a new one I always try to blog about it so others can have hopefully as good an experience with that business that I did.

Shatter your IPod Face?

My wife and I recently bought a new Ipod touch so my daughter can skype with us when she is traveling and can also use it as a camera for taking pictures. However, when she went jogging with my son it fell out of her pocket (even though it had a plastic case protecting the back) it fell face forward on the cement or pavement and shattered the face within 5 hours after we bought it for her. So, my son went online and searched for repair places since warranties don't cover this kind of damage. So, he found one called that replaced the face for about $125 dollars so it is now as good as new. Since we bought the IPod a week ago, we spent 50 dollars to Fedex it to over night. However, 3 days from the day we sent it it returned to us today as good as new. In fact, my son says in some ways it is even better than before. So, if you shatter the face of your IPod just remember there are places like that can repair it so you don't just have to throw away a 400 dollar new Ipod. So, with shipping it cost us approximately 200 dollars to get it done quickly. However, if you have more time you might do it for under 150 if you can wait for it to come by slower post.

a coalition of nations may be forced to take action In Syria

New Killings in Syria; US Hints at Bypassing UN

By Mark Snowiss, Carla Babb
Jordanians and Syrian refugees protest the killing of at least 108 people in the Syrian town of Houla last Friday, outside the Syrian embassy in Amman, Jordan, May 30, 2012.
United Nations observers in Syria have raised new allegations of execution-style killings with the discovery of 13 bound corpses as the United States hinted that continued slaughter in the violence-torn country could prompt outside military intervention.

The latest atrocity took place in northeastern Deir el-Zour province, where the bodies were found late Tuesday blindfolded with their hands tied behind their backs. A statement by the U.N. mission said some of the dead appeared to have been shot in the head from close range.

U.N. observer chief Robert Mood said he is "deeply disturbed by this appalling and inexcusable act."

Speaking after news of the executions had broken, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations described the most likely scenario if international envoy Kofi Annan's peace plan completely collapses and total civil war ensues. Susan Rice said a coalition of nations may be forced to take action "outside of the Annan plan and the authority of [the Security] Council," a clear hint of military intervention.

Thus far, Washington and its allies have rejected the use of force and said they would not arm anti-government fighters.

International Community Outraged

International outrage about developments in Syria has mounted since more than 100 civilians - nearly half of them children - were massacred in the Syrian town of Houla last week, prompting the U.S. and other western nations to expel Syrian diplomats in protest.

Japan and Turkey Wednesday joined nine nations that announced the expulsions of Syrian envoys the day before: the U.S., Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain.

Russia's U.N. ambassador to Syria on Wednesday called the moves a "bilateral matter," but warned they could be "misinterpreted by those who want to see foreign military intervention and fighting in Syria."

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesman Liu Weimin said China opposes regime change by force in Syria. He also said he is not aware of any Chinese move to expel or disrupt the work of Syrian diplomats in the country.

Diplomats in Geneva said the U.N. Human Rights Council plans to hold an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss the Houla massacre. They said the United States, Turkey and Qatar led the push for the special session.

Also Wednesday, Germany's ambassador to the U.N., Peter Wittig, urged the Council to consider a resolution that would punish "spoilers" of the Annan plan in what would be the first global sanctions applied in Syria.

The British and French envoys also spoke of the need to intensify pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government.

In Washington, the U.S. Treasury announced Wednesday it will freeze the assets of the Syrian International Islamic Bank to tighten economic pressure on the Syrian government.

But Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin said Moscow, which holds a veto on the Security Council, opposes the idea of ratcheting up pressure on Damascus in the form of U.N. sanctions. He said he agreed the Syrian crisis is deteriorating but blamed all antagonists, saying "we are not one-sided."

Mr. Annan left Syria Wednesday for talks with Jordanian officials. A U.N. official said the international envoy did not secure any major steps from the Syrian government to implement his faltering peace plan.

'Annan Plan a Real Failure'

Annan's blueprint calls on the Syrian government to withdraw heavy weapons from civilian areas and abide by a truce with rebels. But attacks by both sides have continued.

Syrian activists said fighting between government and rebel forces on Wednesday killed at least nine people, five of them in the Damascus suburb of Douma. They said government troops shelled Douma and the central city of Homs, which also is an opposition stronghold. The casualties could not be independently confirmed.

Abu Orouba, a media liaison for the opposition Local Coordination Committees of Syria, told VOA the situation across the country is dire.

"Annan’s plan is a real failure. As a Syrian citizen, I see that it failed to produce any result - actually none of its articles were implemented. Even the cease-fire requirement was not met," Orouba said. "If Annan’s plan is still on the table and the U.N. observers are still on the ground, why did this massacre ((Houla)) take place? Why is there no cease-fire?"

Political scientist Alexei Malashenko of the Carnegie Center in Moscow says the situation in Syria is so dead-locked that a solely diplomatic solution is becoming impossible.

“[President Assad] is a nervous man, and, it seems, is so confident in himself that he has gone over the top in his actions,” Malashenko said. “The massacre in Houla is only the beginning; it will continue to get worse.”
end quote from:

I think things are getting to the point where they were in the 1990s in the Balkins in regard to the atrocities then which forced President Clinton to begin to intervene there. Since the outrage is worldwide over the binding of women and children and stabbing and then shooting them execution style in the head and since this appears to be continuing it is likely only a matter of time before coalition troops enter Syria to create Martial law and order there much like in Serbia and Croatia and Bosnia during the 1990s.

Being a Custodian of Wealth

What I'm talking about here is people that are desperately needed right now and always will be. Usually, someone to become a Custodian of Wealth usually has to be 35 to 40 years of age to be successful at this. Because what this usually means is being the head of a non-profit or the head of a trust.

Often young people only want wealth to spend it. But what happens after you just spend it all? You have nothing usually. There is a saying, "It takes money to make money" and in some ways this is true.
Because once you spend all your money you usually have nothing.

So, people who become custodians of wealth usually have enough life experience and are at least 35 to 40 years of age and are able to wear enough hats (so to speak) to run almost any business. So, they tend to be people who can also manage wealth especially in the non-profit sector.

The largest trust that I know of is the Gates Trust set up by Bill Gates and his wife and also funded by Buffet and many others. This trust has set an example for the rest of the world. Because of the type of world we now are living in where jobs may become fewer and fewer, non-profits and trusts will become more and more important to civilization worldwide. So, without benevolent non-profits and trusts it might become difficult to find grants for students to keep society moving forward worldwide.

As student loans become more and more impractical because of the lack of jobs, it still becomes more and more important that enough young people develop their talents in a variety of ways to keep society moving forward with or without jobs.

To understand the long term affects of joblessness one has to study the damage done to young people during the Great Depression and World War II. It was only during the 1950s and 1960s that society recovered fully from the damage done to it nationwide and worldwide during the 1930s and 1940s.

Though it is unlikely that we will have another world war during this present Depression, it is still imperative that enough people learn to manage their money and money in non-profits and trusts so society can move forwards without just making middle class and poor kids go bankrupt trying to pay off student loans with non-existent jobs.

The basis of being a custodian of Wealth is to understand that one cannot spend principal without harming the future. So, though one can give grants from interest and dividends one must always keep the principal intact so that it can be the "Gift that always keeps giving" sort of like the goose that lays golden eggs.

So, in order to create a better future like the one we had in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s once again, enough people need to learn to be custodians of Wealth and to know that only by garnering and saving and then spending only interest and dividends through grants can the future be found. Once one spends principal the future is gone. There is nothing left to give ongoing into the future.

So, the necessary discipline of a custodian of wealth is one of the right mindful discipline of compassion and realizing that the only way to be able to keep giving is to only tap interest and dividends to give as grants from a non-profit or trust.

So, in praying or preparing to become a custodian of wealth allows the future to come about. Without wise compassionate people doing this civilization will soon come to an end. But by thinking in this way one seeds the future which will always create a better future for everyone.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Virgin Galactic spaceship cleared for test flights by US FAA

Virgin Galactic spaceship cleared for test flights by US FAA

Virgin Galactic spaceship cleared for test flights by US FAA

Commercial spacecraft SpaceShipTwo can begin rocket-powered suborbital test flights, the company has said
Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo
The Virgin Galactic SpaceShipTwo is released from the mothership, WhiteKnight2, over Mojave, California, in 2010. Photograph: Mark Greenberg/AP
The US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared SpaceShipTwo, a commercial six-passenger spacecraft owned by Virgin Galactic, to begin rocket-powered suborbital test flights, the company said on Wednesday.
SpaceShipTwo manufacturer Scaled Composites of Mojave, California, received a one-year experimental launch permit on 23 May for test flights beyond the atmosphere, FAA spokesman Hank Price said.
The six-passenger, two-pilot spacecraft is based on the prototype SpaceShipOne, also built by Scaled, which clinched the $10m Ansari X Prize in 2004 for the first privately funded human spaceflights.
SpaceShipOne made three suborbital hops beyond the atmosphere, each with a solo pilot aboard, ultimately reaching an altitude of nearly 70 miles above Earth. SpaceShipOne is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space museum in Washington.
Virgin Galactic is owned by British billionaire Richard Branson's Virgin Group and Aabar Investments PJS. Branson hired SpaceShipOne designer Burt Rutan, who has since retired from Scaled, to create a fleet of spaceships for commercial use. Virgin Galactic has taken deposits from more than 500 people for rides, which cost $200,000.
Participants will experience a few minutes of weightlessness and see the curve of Earth set against the black sky of space. NASA's first two manned spaceflights in 1961, by Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard and Virgil "Gus" Grissom were suborbital flights.
Like SpaceShipOne, Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo will be flown into the air beneath a carrier jet and released. Once separated, the spaceship's rocket engine will fire to blast it into the sky. SpaceShipTwo has completed 16 free flight tests.
The FAA permit will enable Scaled, now wholly owned by Northrop Grumman, to move on to rocket-powered flights, the first of which is expected toward the end of the year, Virgin Galactic said in a statement.
Company President George Whitesides called the permit an important milestone "that positions the company a major step closer to bringing our customers to space".
In addition to flying wealthy tourists, Scaled has signed contracts to fly researchers and science experiments.
The experimental permit allows Scaled to fly only its own test pilots, not passengers, Price said.
A date for the start of Virgin Galactic's commercial spaceflights has not yet been set.
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Beyond Stuxnet

Beyond Stuxnet: massively complex Flame malware ups ante for cyberwar

Stuxnet move over. Cybersecurity researchers on Monday announced the discovery of Flame, a piece of malicious software that one firm has called "arguably ... the most complex malware ever found."
At this early stage of analysis, only a few of Flame's functions are understood, reports Kaspersky Lab, the Moscow-based cybersecurity company that uncovered it. Because of Flame's size and complexity, it could take years to unpack completely what the program can — and has — done, experts add. [Editor's note: The original version of this story misstated where Kaspersky Lab is based.]
From what is known now, however, Flame can spread via a USB drive, a Bluetooth device, or other machines on a network. In affected machines, it can wait for certain software programs of interest to run, then take screenshots, turn on the internal microphone to record conversations, and intercept e-mail, chats, or other network traffic. It can package these data, encrypt them, and send them off to designated command-and-control computers worldwide.
"It pretty much redefines the notion of cyberwar and cyberespionage," writes Alexander Gostev, head Kaspersky's Global Research and Analysis Team, in his blog.
Kaspersky found that Flame has been snaking through computer networks — predominantly in the Middle East — for at least the past two years, but possibly longer. The way it works and what it does suggests that Flame was made by a nation-state, experts say, and only four candidates have the technical know-how to create such software: the US, Russia, China, and Israel.
"Flame can easily be described as one of the most complex threats ever discovered," writes Mr. Gostev. "It’s big and incredibly sophisticated."
In fact, at 20 megabytes, Flame is about 20 times bigger than the Stuxnet digital weapon that wreaked havoc on Iran's nuclear centrifuge fuel-enrichment program around 2009.
Like Stuxnet, Flame has been deposited — nobody knows just how — on a few thousand computers across the Mideast, meaning that it is highly targeted. Stuxnet's key flaw was that it spread far too broadly — to an estimated 100,000 machines around the world and blew its cover as a result. Flame's creators — apparently some government with a keen interest in Iran, the Palestinian West Bank, Hungary, and Lebanon — may have tried to learn from that misstep.
While Flame's internal structure allows it to spread via a USB drive, Bluetooth device, or network, it is programmed to prevent spreading indiscriminately.
"While its features are different [from Stuxnet], the geography and careful targeting of attacks coupled with the usage of specific software vulnerabilities seems to put it alongside those familiar ‘super-weapons’ currently deployed in the Middle East by unknown perpetrators," Gostev writes.
Another cybersecurity company, Symantec, reported Flame popping up in Austria, Russia, Hong Kong, and the United Arab Emirates, too. Its researchers cited the "modular nature of this malware suggests that a group of developers have created it with the goal of maintaining the project over a long period of time; very likely along with a different set of individuals using the malware."
In tech-speak, Flame acts like a "worm," meaning it spreads by itself without the need for human intervention, opening up clandestine channels for moving stolen data out of the network back to its handlers and receiving updates and new spy modules that will help keep it effective for years.
Symantec reported that Flame's software allows its authors to "change functionality and behavior within one component without having to rework or even know about the other modules being used by the malware controllers."
Flame was only discovered by experts at Kaspersky Labs when they were called in by the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) to look into another still unknown, destructive malware program that had deleted data on computers in Western Asia. Kaspersky then discovered previously unrecognized Flame files, which had been sitting in Kaspersky's own databases for years.
Kaspersky says there's little doubt a nation-state built Flame. Not only is it enormously complex, but its focus is on espionage instead of the quick payoff typical of operations by cybercriminals.
One of the ITU partners in the investigation agrees with that assessment. CrySyS Lab, based at Budapest University of Technology and Economics in Hungary, released its own analysis of Flame, which it calls "sKyWIper."
"The results of our technical analysis support the hypotheses that sKyWIper was developed by a government agency of a nation state with significant budget and effort, and it may be related to cyber warfare activities," CrySys concludes. It is "certainly the most sophisticated malware we encountered during our practice; arguably, it is the most complex malware ever found."
Flame may, in fact, be related to Stuxnet and another famous malware program known as Duqu, which experts say were probably developed by the same government team, although they say that's only a guess based on a couple of superficial technical similarities among Flame and others.
“We would position Flame as a project running parallel to Stuxnet and DuQu,” Kaspersky Labs said in its blog post Monday, suggesting that Flame would be a fallback in case Duqu was ever found.
For now, researchers acknowledge that much of Flame remains a mystery — as do parts of Stuxnet. Buried inside Stuxnet, for example, the file name Myrtus continues to provoke speculation.
Likewise, buried deep in Flame's code are file names that include: Boost, flame, flask, Jimmy, munch, snack, spotter, transport, euphoria, headache. Add to that list an entire barnyard of other cryptic file names buried even deeper: Gator, goat, frog, microbe, weasel, and Beetlejuice.
"We cannot conclude at this early stage that this thing [Flame] is designed strictly for espionage," says John Bumgarner, research director for the US Cyber Consequences Unit, a nonprofit security think tank that advises government and industry. "There's a likelihood it has other components to it that might have been designed to conduct sabotage. We just don't know yet what it can do."
end quote from: You can work anywhere

Needle turns product fans into customer service reps

Needle turns product fans into customer service 

eedler Doug Fleming, left, does customer service for Astro Gaming in the Needle Mobile Contact Center, while Nick Joy does customer service for headphone maker Skullcandy, which makes headphones.

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Lynch is the founder and CEO of The Salt Lake City-based start-up is his answer to all those call centers in India and elsewhere. Lynch pays fans of products to handle customer service and sales for about 20 companies — from home, a nearby coffee shop or wherever there's a stable Internet connect. The "Needlers," as they are known, get $9 to $12 an hour for answering customer questions, plus flexible hours and opportunities to win products.
"We as shoppers want to engage with people who actually own these products and services, as opposed to someone who really doesn't," says Lynch, 40. That's where the Needlers come in.
The Needle Mobile Contact Center (otherwise known as an Airstream) parked here, started in Salt Lake recently and continued to San Francisco, Los Angeles and Las Vegas to attract new Needlers and meet with companies interested in tapping their services. Headphone company Skullcandy, clothing retailer Urban Outfitters, and athletic apparel maker Under Armour are among Needle's clients.
In business since 2010, Lynch has some 200 Needlers doing customer service for the firms, and says he has plenty more job openings. Needle finds new Needlers by cruising Facebook and Twitter and by dropping notes to customers on company pages offering a chance to make extra money by working for Needle.
Client companies like what they get. Needlers are "more familiar with our product," says Brett Barlow, Skullcandy vice president. Because they already love the brand, they are better at sales and have convinced 15% to 20% of customers to buy new products. The deal with Needle has "more than paid for itself," Barlow says.
Needlers don't talk with customers on the phone. They're engaged in online chats only.
Nick Joy, 26, lives in Salt Lake City and spends the winter months skiing. He works for Needle the rest of the time from wherever he is. Last summer, he spent a few months in Madrid, making about $40 a day chatting with Skullcandy customers in the morning and late afternoon.
Folks asked him about what kind of headphones to buy, and how various shirts fit. "I ski with the headphones daily, so I really know them in and out," he says. "I can relate."
Doug Fleming, 25, lives in San Diego, and puts in 20 hours weekly, representing Astro Gaming, which makes headphones and clothing. In two months, he has sold $15,000 worth of products. He says he could live on his Needle hours if he stuck to a budget.
subhed here
Before Needle, Lynch founded a Salt Lake City graphic arts firm, Arteis (also known as Logoworks) which he sold to Hewlett-Packard for an undisclosed sum in 2007. He got the idea for Needle when he went shopping for a triathlon wetsuit online and couldn't find what he wanted. "At the end of the day, I just wanted to click a button and talk to an expert," he says. "But that expert wasn't there for me."
That problem turned into a company. He went to venture capital firms to raise money, and in two years has amassed $4.5 million in financing from various firms, including Rembrandt Venture Partners, Lightbank and angel investors. The privately held firm is currently unprofitable, and doesn't release sales fugures.
Competitors include and, which both offer "Click to Chat" software for firms to embed on their websites. Both hire traditional freelancers, as opposed to Needle's pursuit of company fans.
Rembrandt General Partner Douglas Schrier says he thinks Needle's take on crowd-sourcing support is a unique twist on general sites, such as Dell and Apple, where fans of the products already chime in with help, for free.
"There's no question this works in all verticals," says Schrier. "It makes the sales experience so much more personal."
Gene Alvarez, a research vice president at market tracker Gartner, says the notion of leveraging the expertise of the masses for companies is a "great idea. There's some opportunity there." He says Needle has a good shot at attracting workers in a down economy. "The challenge is scaling this over time."
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I think you likely will see a lot more of this with product fans turned into customer service and sales reps who work anywhere there is an internet connection.