January 30, 2012
By Katie Drummond
“What would you do with the power of invisibility? Do you think you could resist being bad?” –KTRN
After five years of steady progress, scientists are now edging closer and closer to mastering real-world invisibility.
Sure, researchers have already made marked strides toward making objects unseeable. But much of the work was more like mimicry: Meta-materials that bent light around an object to conceal it, but only worked in two dimensions. Or a device that played tricks on the eye, by harnessing the mirage effect to make objects behind it “disappear.”
Now, a team of researchers have taken an incredible leap forward. They’ve successfully made a 3-D object disappear.
A group of scientists at the University of Texas at Austin have figured out how to “cloak a three-dimensional object standing in free space.” That means the object is invisible, from any angle of observation.
“This object’s invisibility is independent of where the observer is,” Professor Andrea Alu, the study’s co-author, tells Danger Room. “So you’d walk right around it, and never see it.”
Of course, the Pentagon’s been hot on the invisibility trail for years, and for obvious reasons. Invisibility would make plenty of covert operations way easier to execute, not to mention safer for U.S. personnel and deadlier for their foes.
Already, scientists have taken impressive steps forward, and at a freakily fast pace. Researchers in the U.K. have harnessed the mirage effect to mask objects placed behind a device, and Army-backed research is making impressive strides using meta-materials to bend light around objects. Just a few weeks ago, the world’s mind was collectively blown when Pentagon-funded scientists managed to cloak an actual event.
The latest research, published this week in the New Journal of Physics, uses “plasmonic meta-materials” to make an 18-inch cylindrical tube invisible. Put simply: An everyday object is visible because light rays bound off it, hitting our eyes and allowing our brains to process the info. Different cloaking techniques take different approaches to messing with those light rays.
January 30, 2012
Gold Investing News
By Dave Brown
Canadian fund manager Eric Sprott shared a bullish gold outlook for the next 12 months, expecting gold to reach an all time high over $2,000 per troy ounce some time this year, with silver also climbing to a high above $50. This strengthening of spot market prices would imply growth rates of around 20 percent and 64 percent from Wednesday’s valuations when gold traded at $1,658.90 per troy ounce with silver at $30.52.
Steven Butler, Managing Director, Senior Gold Analyst, Canaccord Genuity indicates his optimistic thesis, specifically for gold producers, “we have definitely seen a steady decline in multiples which is the first thing to highlight. Higher commodity prices means lower multiples which is across the board no matter if it is copper, base metals, gold or silver. We do predict lower multiples than we had historically predicted for the gold stocks; however, we still predict some re-rating for the group at large. That is driven by cash flow per share expansion this year which may come with even higher gold prices than we are seeing as well as dividend increases and reserve increases that may come with these higher prices.”
Owen Hegarty, Director at the AusIMM Minerals Institute, explained his outlook for gold as an asset class based on investment attributes “our view is very clear that gold has all the very strong demand attributes: currency, commodity, store of value, safe haven and none of those have stopped.” Under those conditions, “you have strong demand and subdued supply, there is only one thing that can happen to [gold] prices it is going to be under tension.” For a price target on gold, “in the next year or so in terms of forecasting we would not be surprised to see it hit $2,000.”
India looking to improve revenue by increasing gold duty
On Tuesday India increased import taxes on gold by 90 percent and doubled them for silver which initially showed a demonstrative impact on futures prices. The policy transition raises duty on gold to 2 percent of import value from the earlier flat 300 rupees per 10 grams and that of silver to 6 percent of value from 1,500 rupees per kilogram.
A similar tax increase of 67 percent in February of 2010 appeared to have a minimal impact on Indian gold consumption. The most recent increase in duty is likely to be passed through to consumers effectively through jewellery purchases. Chirag Mehta, Fund Manager of the Quantum Gold Fund, added this “is not likely to impact demand in any meaningful way; we did not see any meaningful decline in demand last time, and hence may not affect demand this time around as well.”
January 30, 2012
The Economic Times
With near-zero interest rates likely to persist for two more years, some investors are bullish on gold and high-yielding stocks, while shares of some solid companies out of favor with the market are still relatively cheap, Barron’s reported Sunday.
In the third installment covering the magazine’s 2012 investors roundtable, T. Rowe Price Chairman and investment chief Brian Rogers said he seeks companies that have performed well but are ignored, including JPMorgan Chase & Co, Emerson Electric Co, Ingersoll-Rand, Microsoft Corp, Juniper Networks and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
Abby Joseph Cohen, head of Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Institute, says investors should look for companies paying dividends and buying back stack, which boosts effective yields to 7 percent or 8 percent. She also forecasts a good but not great year for the U.S. economy, while global growth will slip as Europe retrenches and China slows.
Her top picks included Exxon Mobil Corp, Boeing Co , Brazil’s Embraer SA, American Express Co and Edwards Lifesciences Corp. Delphi Management founder Scott Black projects growth, not recession this year in the United States.
He touted four stocks he believes can sustain their earnings and revenue growth yet saddled with low multiples — Apache Corp , CBS Corp, FedEx Corp, Deere & Co — and two high yielding REITs, BioMed Realty Trust and Digital Realty Trust.
January 30, 2012
By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
A report for the Kiel Institute for the World Economy said Portugal would have to run a primary budget surplus of over 11pc of GDP a year to prevent debt dynamics spiralling out of control, even in a benign scenario of 2pc annual growth.
“Portugal’s debt is unsustainable. That is the only possible conclusion,” said David Bencek, the co-author, warning that no country can achieve a primary budget surplus above 5pc for long.
“We won’t know what the trigger will be but once there is a decision on Greece people are going to start looking closely and realise that Portugal is the same position as Greece was a year ago.”
Yields on Portugal’s five-year bonds surged on Thursday to a record 18.9pc, reflecting fears that the country will need a second rescue from the EU-ECB-IMF Troika. Three-year yields hit 21pc.
Antonio Saraiva, head of the Confederation of Portuguese Industry, said the first loan package of €78bn (£65bn) did not acknowledge the vast liabilities of public companies, which have been shut out of global capital markets.
“What is lacking is €30bn. I think we will need a mix of more funds and longer terms to be negotiated with the Troika,” he told Reuters.
As Portugal nears the brink, a chorus of voices exhorted Europe to stop bickering over ideology and grasp the nettle at long last. “It is necessary to bring out the bazooka immediately, before the gunpowder gets wet,” said Mexican president Felipe Calderon.
Mr Calderon said the G20 bloc will have to chip in to ensure that the crisis does not engulf Italy and Spain. “The failure of a containment strategy will mean not only the potential implosion of the euro, but an economic crisis with devastating consequences for the rest of the world. This is a task for all of us in the G-20,” he said.
Olli Rehn, the EU’s economics commissioner, said EU bodies may have to absorb some losses on Greek bonds if Greece’s debt is to stay below the target level of 120pc of GDP by 2020. “There is likely to be some increased need of official sector funding, but not anything dramatic,” he said.
January 30, 2012
Los Angeles Times
By Matt Stevens
“Solution: Buy organic or locally grown oranges. Then juice.” –KTRN
Nearly 14% of orange juice imported to the U.S. since early this month has been seized by the Food and Drug Administration because it contained trace amounts of a fungicide, carbendazim, according to the agency.
FDA officials said the juice was safe to drink but that carbendazim, used to combat a fungus that leaves black spots on tree leaves, was not allowed in the U.S.
“We don’t feel that this is a safety problem,” FDA spokeswoman Siobhan DeLancey said. “This is more of a regulatory issue.
“We don’t have any plans to call for a wholesale recall of orange juice.”
The FDA has also been testing domestically produced orange juice products. DeLancey said results of those tests would be released next week.
The agency began testing imported orange juice in liquid and concentrate form Jan. 4. Beverage giant Coca-Cola Co., which distributes orange juice under the Minute Maid and Simply Orange brands, said it had found the fungicide in its juice and rival juices, and reported the findings to the agency.
Coca-Cola spokesman Dan Schafer declined to comment Friday except to say, “All our products are safe and wholesome, and consumers can enjoy them with confidence.”
The FDA has collected samples from 80 shipments of juice and concentrate since testing began. Six of the seized shipments were from Canada and five from Brazil, DeLancey said. She said she did not know the volume of product in those shipments.
The U.S. imported $438 million worth of orange juice in 2010, according WiserTrade, a Massachusetts-based research organization.
Juice Product Assn. spokeswoman Stephanie Meyering said it was too soon to know how the FDA’s action might affect orange juice sales or prices in the U.S.
The FDA said it would hold on to the seized orange juice products for up to 90 days. The shippers can take the products back during that time or destroy them under agency supervision, DeLancey said.
January 30, 2012
By Mike Barrett
“Exercise is the only pill you will ever need.” –KTRN
The number of benefits from exercising seem to just never cease. Recent research, which can actually be linked back to research conducted many decades ago, shows exercise can be utilized as a powerful tool in reducing the risk of breast cancer. It is estimated that nearly 12 percent, or about 1 in 8 women in the United States will develop invasive breast cancer over the course of their lifetime. This 12 percent can easily be lowered dramatically if every woman were to realize and utilize the power of exercise.
Exercise is a Powerful Tool in Reducing Cancer Risk
It isn’t yet widely accepted that exercise could be a preventative tool for avoiding cancer, but numerous studies show that activity really can be a pre-solution. One paper reviewed over 100 epidemiologic studies on the connection between exercise and cancer prevention, and the results have been more than positive. The paper stated:
“The data are clear in showing that physically active men and women have about a 30-40% reduction in the risk of developing colon cancer, compared with inactive persons … With regard to breast cancer, there is reasonably clear evidence that physically active women have about a 20-30% reduction in risk, compared with inactive women. It also appears that 30-60 min·d-1 of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity is needed to decrease the risk of breast cancer, and that there is likely a dose-response relation.”
Other studies evaluating the exercise-cancer connection found that women who are simply more active at home have a 38 percent reduced risk of invasive breast cancer compared to those living a sedentary lifestyle. This also opens the window of the weight and breast cancer relationship. Studies show that if people are carrying around extra weight, then their chances of getting breast cancer are augmented significantly. Even if the cancer is cured, odds of surviving even 10 years after the treatment are not promising. Furthermore, people who survive breast cancer who are overweight have a greater risk of developing cancer later in life.
January 30, 2012
By Anthony Gucciardi
“Here are two more examples of natural anti-cancer substances.” –KTRN
Turmeric and curcumin have been highlighted as powerful anti-cancer substances in the past, but research has now shed even more light on the amazing ability of both turmeric and curcumin to actually block cancer growth. This is due to the unique ability of a main component in turmeric that is actually able to block an enzyme that promotes the spread of head and neck cancer.
Researchers at UCLA found that curcumin — the primary component in turmeric also responsible for its color — exhibited these cancer-blocking properties during a study involving 21 participants suffering from head and neck cancers. The subjects were given two chewable curcumin tablets containing 1,000 miligrams of the substance each. After administering the chewable curcumin tablets, an independent lab in Maryland was in charge of evaluating the results.
What the lab found was that the enzymes in the patients’ mouths responsible for promoting cancer spread and growth were inhibited by the curcumin supplementation. As a result, the curcumin intake halted the spread of the malignant cells. Curcumin has previously been found to reduce tumors by 81% in similarly shocking research, which also gives credence to the natural anti-cancer benefits of turmeric and curcumin intake.
January 30, 2012
By Ellen Connolly
“Remember when American used to be seen as the land of the free?” –KTRN
Sweeping protests around the world made it an extremely difficult year for the media, and tested journalists as never before, the annual report into press freedom reveals.
The annual report by Reporters Without Borders has been released, showing the United States fell 27 points on the list due to the many arrests of journalists covering Occupy Wall Street protests.
The slide in the United States places it just behind Comoros and Taiwan in a group with Argentina and Romania.
Reporters Without Borders said the heightened unrest around the world resulted in a significant shake-up of the group’s annual Press Freedom Index, which assesses governments’ commitment to protecting media freedoms.
The Paris-based non-governmental Reporters Without Borders has named “crackdown” the word of 2011 in an assessment of global media freedom during a year in which journalists covering sweeping protests were tested as never before.
The non-governmental organisation seeks to defend journalists’ freedom to work and combat censorship internationally.
January 30, 2012
By Jakob Nielsen
“Here is proof that Gingrich was indeed acting as a lobbyist – something Ron Paul would never consider doing.” –KTRN
Novo Nordisk viewed Republican presidential hopeful New Gingrich as a lobbyist in Washington, according to the Danish company’s 2009 annual report in which Novo’s membership of Gingrich’s Center for Health Transformation is listed as “costs for lobbyism”.
Gingrich has come under attack as he insists that he has never worked as a lobbyist, but has only offered strategic consultancy.
The issue is a controversial one because Gingrich portrays himself as a politician who is not involved with what he calls ‘the Washingon elite’.
Gingrich’s claim that he has not been a lobbyist is in sharp contrast to Novo’s annual report from 2009 in which the following “Costs for lobbyism” are listed.
“The total lobby expenditure for 2009 was USD 1,725,000. The number includes staff time in-house lobbying (staff time, expenses), fees for lobbying firms and law firms, membership fees to e.g. industry organisations”.
A link leads directly to the organisations that Novo pays to be a member of, among which is the Center for Health Transformation, which Gingrich founded in 2003 and ran until he became candidate for the presidency.
Novo has told Politiken that the company paid DK 1.1 million in annual subscriptions to be a member of Gingrich’s company.
Politiken has asked the Novo Nordisk spokesman in the United States whether his company viewed Newt Gingrich as a lobbyist, but the company has not answered.
In an annual report from 2005, Novo Nordisk explains how it sees lobbyism:
“Novo Nordisk considers lobbying to be a business-critical activity. Given the declining public trust in standards of corporate conduct, it is important to counter the examples of those who abuse the system. The company therefore supports the trend towards greater accountability and transparency in lobbying, which is necessary to maintain and build trust, and the company will play its part in demonstrating the value of lobbying and advocacy when conducted responsibly.”
The report also lists the Center for Health Transformation and Newt Gingrich by name.
January 30, 2012
By Brandon Turbeville
In a world where national sovereignty is rapidly becoming a thing of the past, announcements that the United Nations will be taking the lead on any variety of topics is no longer shocking. Indeed, there is a real push across the world to view the United Nations as the ultimate authority on virtually every issue, from human rights to nutritional content in food.
Through decades of propagandizing, the United Nations has developed an undeserved reputation for humanitarianism and democracy. As a result, the vast majority see the United Nations as a benevolent organization which they can call on to defend human rights in their home countries. Unfortunately, national sovereignty rarely enters into the equation anymore, as the average citizen tends to look straight to the United Nations to address their concerns, bypassing their own governments.
As case in point, a recent report by AFP, entitled, “Experts urge U.N. to address mental health,” discusses how a recent article in PLoS Medicine, a reputable medical journal, has called for the United Nations General Assembly to develop a plan to tackle mental, neurological, and substance-abuse disorders (MNS).
The article was authored by Vikram Patel of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Judith Bass from Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the United States, among other contributors. They write, “The time has come for recognition at the highest levels of global development, namely the U.N. General Assembly, of the urgent need for a global strategy to address the global burden of MNS disorders.”
They also state that investment is needed in three different, but key, areas – “expanding knowledge about mental health disorders, better access to evidence-based programs of care and treatment, and protection of human rights.”
Although the further understanding of mental health disorders and their treatment is a laudable goal, it is also one in which both the Psychiatric/Psychological complex and the United Nations have a horrible track record.
Indeed, even within individual national boundaries, the Psychiatric/Psychological complex has vastly more authority that it needs or deserves. When one multiplies that oppressive authority with the global jurisdiction of the United Nations, as well as the U.N’s tendency to introduce tyrannical guidelines in its own right, we can see a clear recipe for disaster.