Two seemingly perennial challenges concerning the UK are; the urgent need (and legal obligation) to reduce the country’s carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050; and the supply and affordability of homes. Part of the work we do at the British Research Establishment (BRE) is trying to come up with solutions and we think we may have found one that combats both issues at the same time. The underlying principle is simple – low energy homes have lower fuel bills. However, current mortgage affordability assessments have no way of predicting…
Elon Musk is either privy to some really disturbing technology that the rest of us can’t even begin to fathom or he is desperately crying out for help by advertising his recurring nervous meltdowns over social media.
In his latest frightening/entertaining (depending on one’s viewpoint) tweet storm, Elon predicts that artificial intelligence will be the “most likely cause of WW3” and that robots may actually initiate the outbreak of a global war if they decide that a “prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory.”
“China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo. May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI’s, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory.”
China, Russia, soon all countries w strong computer science. Competition for AI superiority at national level most likely cause of WW3 imo.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
May be initiated not by the country leaders, but one of the AI’s, if it decides that a prepemptive strike is most probable path to victory
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Meanwhile, Elon would like to reassure you that North Korea should be “low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk” and that the greater focus should be on governments robbing companies of their AI intellectual property at gunpoint.
“NK launching a nuclear missile would be suicide for their leadership, as SK, US and China wd invade and end the regime immediately.”
“Should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential
risk. NK has no entangling alliances that wd polarize world into war.”
“Govts don’t need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary.”
NK launching a nuclear missile would be suicide for their leadership, as SK, US and China wd invade and end the regime immediately
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Govts don’t need to follow normal laws. They will obtain AI developed by companies at gunpoint, if necessary.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Should be low on our list of concerns for civilizational existential risk. NK has no entangling alliances that wd polarize world into war.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 4, 2017
Then again, maybe Elon just thinks he’s the only guy in the world who has seen the Terminator movies and that he can blatantly rip off their storyline without the rest of noticing?
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Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo researchers found the use of ethanol in vehicles reduces pollution by significantly lowering the number of nanoparticles emitted. Levels of ultrafine particulate matter in São Paulo City, Brazil, increased by up to 30 percent at times when ethanol prices rose and its consumption fell. When ethanol prices at the pump rise for whatever reason, it becomes economically advantageous for drivers of dual-fuel vehicles to fill up with gasoline. However,…
The economy is essentially the same as it was under President Obama. The big difference is how President Trump is spinning it.
During a recent interview, Joe Rogan interspersed Peter Schiff’s comments with clips of Trump before and after the election. The resulting video vividly illustrates the difference between Trump the candidate and Trump the president. Peter said candidate Trump was telling the truth.
That’s what’s really bothering me about Trump is the hypocrisy, because when Trump was a candidate and he got elected because by and large he told the truth about the phony nature of the recovery. Obama was out there talking about how great things were, and Trump was like BS, it’s not that great.”
Peter first focuses on jobs, pointing out how Trump rightly questioned low unemployment rates and positive jobs growth on the campaign trail.
Obama got credit for all those extra jobs, right? As we were destroying full-time jobs and replacing them with two part-time jobs, we got all these jobs. So, Trump was honest as a candidate … When you look at the labor force participation rate, which he would talk about – – you know where labor force participation rate is collapsing is with young people. People in their 20s and 30s can’t get jobs. Meanwhile, 70 and 80-year-olds are working in record percentages because they can’t afford to retire, and their grandkids can’t get a job … So, Trump was telling the truth about how bad the economy really was, and that resonated a lot. A lot of blue-collar guys, a lot of Democrats in the Midwest voted for Trump because he got it.”
Then Peter turned to the stock market, which started its meteoric rise under Obama.
When Trump was a candidate, he talked about the stock market, because, oh, the stock market was going up when Obama was president. And Trump said, ‘Well it’s a bubble. Who cares about the stock market. This is a big, fat ugly bubble. Wait till it pops.’”
Rogan underscored Peter’s point by playing a clip of Trump speaking during one of the presidential debates.
Believe me. We’re in a bubble right now. And the only thing that looks good is the stock market, but if you raise interest rates even a little bit, that’s going to come crashing down. We are in a big, fat, ugly bubble.”
As Peter points out, Trump was absolutely right. The stock market is a giant bubble. Mainstream analysts have started to express concern about stock market valuations. Even some of the world’s big bankers are worried. But now that he’s president, Trump is taking credit for the surging market.
Now he’s president. What is he saying?
Every time I see him. ‘The stock market is a new record high! This is fantastic! You know, it’s all because of me. This is great!’
And when the job numbers come out … ‘Look how low the unemployment rate is! This is the lowest it’s been in 15 years. I’m doing a great job.’”
In fact, the president is essentially doing victory laps, bragging about how great the economy is. Rogan played a clip in which Trump basically claimed to be the best early-term president ever.
We have made incredible progress. I don’t think there’s ever been a president elected, who in this short period of time has done what we’ve done.”
As Peter points out, despite the post-election rhetoric flip-flop, nothing has changed.
This is the exact same economy he inherited. It’s the same crappy jobs. It’s the same stock market bubble. The only difference is he’s not a candidate any more.
He’s the president and now he’s trying to market the same crappy economy that Obama had and pretending everything is good.
And I wish he would stay true to the candidate and admit, you know what? The economy is still disaster, because nothing has changed, right? He was going to drain the swamp. Instead, he just poured more water in the same swamp.”
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NEW YORK, Sept 4 (Reuters) – U.S. crude oil prices edged higher on Monday while gasoline prices slumped to pre-Hurricane Harvey levels, as oil …The post US <b>crude</b> edges higher, gasoline tumbles after Harvey appeared first on cr…
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YANGON: The BBC’s Burmese language service on Monday said it was pulling a broadcasting deal with a popular Myanmar television channel citing “censorship” as the two partners clashed over coverage of the Muslim Rohingya minority.
The announcement is the latest blow to struggling press freedoms in the country and a remarkable turnaround for a news organization that famously kept Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi up to date during her long years of house arrest under junta rule.
Since April 2014, BBC Burmese broadcast a daily news program on MNTV with 3.7 million daily viewers.
On Monday the BBC said it was ending the deal after MNTV pulled multiple programs since March this year.
“The BBC cannot accept interference or censorship of BBC programs by joint-venture TV broadcasters as that violates the trust between the BBC and its audience,” a report on the BBC’s Burmese website said.
The BBC statement did not detail what content was censored.
But in a statement MNTV, a joint venture between private and state media, said it began pulling reports to comply with government orders over “restricted” words.
“The BBC Burmese program sent news that included wordings that are restricted by the state government,” the statement said.
A station official said the problematic word was “Rohingya.”
“That’s why we cannot broadcast their service,” the employee said, asking not to be named.
The Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority in Myanmar’s western Rakhine who face severe state-sanctioned persecution and have fled in droves in recent years.
Most international media call them Rohingya because the community has long self-identified that way.
But Myanmar’s government — and most local media — call them Bengalis, portraying them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh despite many living in the country for generations.
Last week Suu Kyi’s government called on media to only refer to militants as “extremist terrorists.”
While local media have largely complied, the order was reminiscent of the years under the junta when the press was ordered what to write.
Hopes had been high that the new government of democracy icon Suu Kyi would usher in an era of free speech when they took power last year after half a century of military rule.
Suu Kyi was confined for years to a lakeside Yangon house under the junta but used to listen to the World Service and its Burmese language offshoot on her radio.
Yet since coming to power in landslide elections, her civilian-led government has frequently clashed with the media over their coverage.
Defamation prosecutions have also soared, increasingly targeting social media satirists, activists and journalists.
A major bone of contention with foreign media is coverage of Rakhine state, which has been under an army crackdown since a small group of Rohingya militants attacked police border posts last October.
Tens of thousands of Rohingya have fled into Bangladesh while smaller numbers of Buddhist refugees have headed in the opposite direction.
The UN believes the military’s response to the militant attacks in Rakhine may amount to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya.
Suu Kyi’s government have denied reports of atrocities, refusing visas to UN officials charged with investigating the allegations.
They have frequently condemned international media coverage and blocked press access to much of the war-torn region.
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RBOB Gasoline futures tumbled to their lowest level in almost a week overnnight as several US Gulf Coast refineries reported their plans to restart operations after the devastation of Hurricane Harvey forced them to shutdown.
While about one-fifth of U.S. refining capacity is halted, according to data compiled by Bloomberg, some plants including those operated by Citgo Petroleum Corp. and Marathon Petroleum Corp. are preparing to restart.
The Oct ’17 contract was down as much as 4% earlier before a modest bounce.
Moreover, compared to the squeeze in the September contract, RBOB prices have really tumbled…
Of course, this rather spoils Janet Yellen’s transitory hopes for a burst of inflation to help her case when she next raises rates and while concerns had risen that higher gas prices could derail the Trump economy, it appears those risks are overblown. As The Hill reports,
Stephen Moore, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former Trump transition energy adviser, said “the negative effect will be not pretty.”
“We’re talking about maybe knocking half a percent, or one percent, off GDP for a quarter or two, higher gas prices for sure, because Houston is the energy capital of the country. … So all those things are negative.”
Moore said he follows a rule of thumb that every penny increase in commercial gasoline prices takes $1 billion to $2 billion out of the economy from consumers.
That means that as prices rise after Harvey, the economy could be hit even harder, including from lost economic production in Houston — the country’s fourth biggest city — and the spending needed for a major federal recovery effort.
“It’s a question of how much the prices are already starting to rise,” he said. “I don’t know how fast this industry can recover … Could we see gas prices over $3? Potentially. That would be a big hit to consumer finances.”
A disrupted economy, driven in part by stout gasoline prices, could undercut one of President Trump’s most resonant messages with voters.
But with prices tumbling fast, this ‘disruption’ may merely be a storm in a teacup.
“The disruptions from Hurricane Harvey in the U.S. Gulf Coast are gradually clearing,” wrote analysts at JBC Energy GmbH. “In the broader scheme of things, it appears that so far the energy industry was spared major damages to assets and infrastructure.”
The Energy Department also approved the release of 5.3 million barrels of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, but hope for refinery reopenings has prompted modest gains in WTI also…
“We’re awaiting news of continued normalization along the Texas Gulf Coast,” says Ole Hansen, head of commodity strategy at Saxo Bank. “Refineries are starting up and the next thing is to gauge the levels in different tanks from crude to gasoline and distillate”
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YANGON: Muslim countries in Asia led a growing chorus of criticism on Monday aimed at Myanmar and its civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi over the plight of its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Nearly 90,000 Rohingya have flooded into Bangladesh in the past 10 days following an uptick in fighting between militants and Myanmar’s military in strife-torn western Rakhine state.
The impoverished region bordering Bangladesh has been a crucible of communal tensions between Muslims and Buddhists for years, with the Rohingya forced to live under apartheid-like restrictions on movement and citizenship.
The recent violence, which kicked off last October when a small Rohingya militant group ambushed border posts, is the worst Rakhine has witnessed in years with the UN saying Myanmar’s army may have committed ethnic cleansing in its response.
De facto leader Suu Kyi, a former political prisoner of Myanmar’s junta, has come under increasing fire over her perceived unwillingness to speak out against the treatment of the Rohingya or chastise the military.
The growing crisis threatens Myanmar’s diplomatic relations, particularly with Muslim-majority countries in Southeast Asia where there is profound public anger over the treatment of the Rohingya.
Indonesia’s Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi met Suu Kyi as well as Myanmar’s Army Chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing in Naypyidaw on Monday in a bid to pressure the government to do more to alleviate the crisis.
“Once again, violence, this humanitarian crisis has to stop immediately,” Indonesian President Joko Widodo told reporters on Sunday as he announced Retno’s mission there.
Hours before Widodo spoke, a petrol bomb was thrown at Myanmar’s embassy in Jakarta.
Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif added in a recent tweet: “Global silence on continuing violence against #Rohingya Muslims. Int’l action crucial to prevent further ethnic cleansing — UN must rally.”
Muslim-majority Malaysia has also seen public protests since the latest round of Rakhine violence began.
“We urge for calm and restraint,” Prime Minister Najib Razak tweeted. “The dire situation facing our Rohingya brothers and sisters must be alleviated for good of Myanmar and region.”
Despite years of persecution, the Rohingya largely eschewed violence until October’s attacks by the little-known Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.
Analysts have long warned that Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya would lead to homegrown militancy.
Since the latest fighting broke out, Al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen has called for retaliatory attacks against Myanmar while the Afghan Taliban posted a statement on Facebook calling on Muslims to “use their abilities to help Myanmar’s oppressed Muslims.”
Defenders of Suu Kyi say she is severely limited in her ability to control Myanmar’s notoriously abusive military.
The Rohingya are also widely loathed by a huge section of Myanmar’s population, dismissed as Bangladeshi interlopers despite many tracing their lineage back generations.
That makes supporting them hugely unpopular.
But detractors say Suu Kyi is one of the few people in Myanmar with the mass appeal and moral authority to swim against the tide on the issue.
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MOSCOW: Thousands gathered in Russia’s Chechnya region Monday for an officially staged rally over the plight of Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority that placed local strongman Ramzan Kadyrov at odds with the Kremlin.
A total of 87,000 mostly Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since violence erupted in neighboring Myanmar on Aug. 25, with some alleging massacres by security forces and Buddhist mobs.
Kadyrov — who rules the mainly-Muslim Chechnya region in southern Russia with an iron fist — is a fierce loyalist of President Vladimir Putin, but has also sought to present himself as influential figure for Muslims worldwide.
“Stop this bloodshed. We demand the guilty are punished and crimes against humanity are investigated,” Kadyrov told the large crowd in central Grozny in a live broadcast on local television.
“I am convinced that hundreds of millions of people around the world will hear our demand.”
The outspoken protest in Chechnya — which Kadyrov claimed drew “hundreds of thousands” of people from across the Russian Caucasus — represented a rare public divergence between the leader and the official line from Moscow.
Russia has been muted over the latest violence in Myanmar and earlier this year reportedly even blocked a UN statement expressing fears over the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
Russia and Myanmar are also allies who signed a military cooperation agreement last year, with Moscow of having exported military aviation and artillery to the country.
The country’s Foreign Ministry said Sunday that is was “closely following” the current situation and was “concerned by reports of ongoing armed clashes that have caused casualties among civilians and government security forces.”
Labor Day is supposed to honor all American workers. And every year, union Labor Day rhetoric does just that. Unfortunately, it then makes the false leap to the claim that unions advance the interests of all American working men and women, not just their members.
In fact, despite unions’ pro-worker rhetoric, the effect of most union activities and union-backed policies is to harm most American workers. Unions succeed by preventing competition from other workers who are willing to do the same work for less. Those workers either become unemployed or must go elsewhere to find jobs, increasing the supply of labor services in non-union employment, pushing down wages for all workers in such jobs as a result. The resulting union wage premium does not come out of the pockets of employers as much as from the pockets of other workers, as a result. Since less than 10 percent of the American private-sector workers are unionized, this means that more than 90 percent of private-sector workers are injured by this most basic exercise of union power.
Anti-worker effects are also vividly illustrated by the history of union violence and threats against “non-cooperative” employees. There have been thousands of attacks against such workers in recent decades, and well more than 100 deaths.
Aware that their government protection against workers who are willing to do the same job for less stops at the border, unions have also been the primary movers behind government protectionism of all stripes. But protectionism undermines the interests of all those workers who would have gained from expanded exports, as well as those who, as consumers, would have gained from access to lower cost and superior quality imports.
There are many other ways unions have sold workers’ interests short. Their opposition killed the 1996 Teamwork for Employees and Management Act, which would have raised workers’ value to employers by putting their productivity-enhancing insights to better use, because such cooperation would not be controlled by unions. They have conducted campaigns to harass and regulate non-union apprenticeship programs out of existence, keeping non-union workers from acquiring the skills to earn a better living in order to stave off future competition for union workers. They have long undermined enforcement of the Supreme Court’s 1988 Beck decision that workers can withhold support for unions’ political activities, as well as spending over $100 million to defeat “paycheck protection” initiatives. Their support for the Davis-Bacon Act has inflated government construction costs for decades, raising the tax burden on all American workers. Similarly, they have been the primary opponents of privatization and other reforms that would improve government operations from education to poverty programs, but threaten their existing chokehold on those jobs. And all this has occurred even though more than a third of union members routinely vote against the positions their union leaders fund.
Unions are also major supporters of schemes that require higher taxes (and regulatory burdens, which act as taxes), at a time when the average American already spends more to fund government than on food, clothing and shelter combined. And because taxes reduce saving and investment, they also reduce the accumulation of capital, which is the source of increased productivity, they reducing workers’ future earning power.
American workers have accomplished incredible things in our history.
There is nothing wrong with taking pride in those accomplishments this Labor Day. But there is something wrong with unions hijacking that pride by taking credit for what they did not do, especially when they claim that they represent all working men and women, when most of what they do and support injures the vast majority of workers, in order to protect their own vested interests.