Shared posts

18 Nov 21:36

Take A Trip Down Gin Lane

by Sara Lawrence

Gin Lane 1751 drinkmemag.com drink me

The Bloomsbury Club; a group of gin drinking veterans that have a desire to recreate an array of London Gins with historical accuracy and significance to the Victorian era. To accomplish their goal they formed a partnership with the 8th generation London distiller, Charles Maxwell of Thames Distillers in Clapham, London to create Gin Lane 1751. The gin act of 1751 banned the sale of gin in prisons, the workhouse, and everyday shops. Distillers were unable to sell gin directly and it became less readily available and more expensive to purchase. By Victorian times, gin became a prized drink of respectability.

Winston Churchill was known for his love of Old Tom Gin, finding that London Dry was too dry and that Geneva-style gin too sweet. The Gin Lane 1751 Old Tom style achieves just was Winston’s taste buds were looking for. The Old Tom style is lighter and less intense, with a touch of sweetness that is achieved from the star anise botanical with a touch of refined sugar. The eight natural botanicals used are juniper, orris root, Seville oranges, angelica, Sicilian lemon, star anise, cassia bark, and coriander. The outcome is a full-bodied, impeccably balanced gin. This is truly a drink for the gin lovers.

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17 Nov 19:37

Bitcoin Casinos Are Changing Online Gambling Forever

by Richard Darell
Bitcoin Casinos Are Changing Online Gambling Forever

Bitcoin casinos are really trending right now, and it’s something that probably won’t be a fad and continue to grow. The topic of Bitcoins has been in the news a lot in the past few years and combined with Donald Trump as president; the currency has shot back up in value as people look to diversify their investments and equity. Bitcoin certainly is an interesting alternative for using the traditional credit cards, […]

Published on Bit Rebels

15 Nov 22:48

Report warns of Asia arms race if Trump withdraws US forces

FILE - In this Nov. 8, 2016 file photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump casts his ballot, in New York. The U.S. approach to Asia faces a major overhaul when Donald Trump takes office, but what will take its place? A new report warns of a leadership vacuum and even a nuclear arms race if the U.S. withdraws from a region threatened by a provocative North Korea. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. approach to Asia faces a major overhaul when Donald Trump takes office, but what will take its place? A new report warns of a leadership vacuum and even a nuclear arms race if the U.S. withdraws from a region threatened by a provocative North Korea.


15 Nov 22:48

Hong Kong lawmakers lose legal fight over oaths, vow appeal

Newly elected Hong Kong lawmaker Yau Wai-ching leaves the high court in Hong Kong Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016. Two newly elected Hong Kong separatist lawmakers who used anti-China insults when being sworn in were disqualified from taking office in a court decision Tuesday. A Hong Kong High Court judge ruled that Sixtus Leung and Yau of the Youngspiration party violated a section of the semiautonomous Chinese city's constitution, the Basic Law, as well as laws covering oaths taken by officials. (AP Photo/Vincent Yu)HONG KONG (AP) — Two Hong Kong separatist lawmakers who were disqualified Tuesday by a judge from taking office because they altered their oaths by adding anti-China insults said they will file an appeal with the city's top court.


15 Nov 20:00

Final Vote Count 2016

by dan@snopes.com (Dan Evon)
All the ballots haven't been counted yet, but it looks like Hillary Clinton really did win the nationwide popular vote by a considerable margin.
15 Nov 19:49

Cat Ladies in the Olden Days

Back then, cat ladies were forced to wear a CL emblem on their blouses.

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: cat , old timey
15 Nov 19:46

Take Care of Your Facial Hair

beard,salon,poorly dressed

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: beard , salon , poorly dressed
15 Nov 19:45

The Eyes Are Equipped With Lenses That Sense Age

hoodie,pedobear,sweatshirt

Submitted by: Unknown

Tagged: hoodie , pedobear , sweatshirt
15 Nov 01:03

This Grid Shows You How Long It Will Take to Retire, Based on Your Spending

by Kristin Wong on Two Cents, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

Retirement is pretty far away for some of us. And it’s better to set smaller milestones for your savings now than to focus on the big, lump sum amount you’ll need to retire. However, it’s also interesting to look at the numbers, and this early retirement grid shows you how long it will take.

The grid, which comes from personal finance site Four Pillar Freedom, is pretty easy to read. It compares your salary and spending to tell you how many years it will take you to reach financial independence. If you earn $60,000 a year, for example, and you spend about $30,000 a year, you can reach financial independence in about 16 years.

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You’ll want to work with your after-tax income here, and the graph assumes an annual withdrawal rate of 4% and an investment return of 5%. It also doesn’t assume any other savings. It’s a relatively simple chart, but it’s interesting to see how your numbers vary if you adjust your spending.

For example, on a salary of $65,000, you can reach financial independence in 28 years if you spend $45,000 a year. Try to live on half your salary, though, and you can cut that down to under 15 years. This isn’t to say you should shoot for a specific amount—it’s your money, your life, and your goals. It helps to visualize your potential, though. Check out the full post at the link below.

The Early Retirement Grid | Four Pillar Freedom

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15 Nov 00:48

How Trump Might Try to Fix Bridges and Highways: QuickTake Q&A

by Laurence Arnold,Sho Chandra

It’s a potential point of agreement in a politically polarized government: U.S. highways, bridges and airports are in need of repair and rehabilitation. The current president, Democrat Barack Obama, and incoming president, Republican Donald Trump, have both said that a boost to so-called infrastructure spending would be good not just for roads and bridges but for the workers such projects would employ. Trump pledged in his victory speech to "rebuild our highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, schools, hospitals," an effort that "will put millions of our people to work." The details are still to come.

1. What does Trump say he’ll do?

To fix a system that’s "literally falling apart," Trump vowed, on his transition website, "to invest $550 billion to ensure we can export our goods and move our people faster and safer." He said during the campaign that he would take advantage of low interest rates to finance an infrastructure program, while also promising to reduce taxes and the national debt.

2. How exactly would he pull that off?

Two Trump senior policy advisers, Wilbur Ross and Peter Navarro, have spelled out what Ross called a "totally self-financing" plan that would produce up to $1 trillion worth of projects at no net cost to the government. The idea: Offer up to $137 billion in income-tax credits to lure private companies -- and their cash parked overseas -- to needed infrastructure projects. Tax the wages paid to construction workers and the profits collected by the companies. Under their estimates, the tax income balances out the revenue lost to the income-tax credits.

3. Is that realistic?

Trump and his team are hardly alone in suggesting that big public-works projects can pay for themselves in times of low interest rates. But Trump’s potential reliance on private financing is an added challenge. While some toll roads, airports and water systems can produce the revenue needed to make projects profitable, other big-ticket projects might require public dollars to get off the ground. Public-private partnerships, used by nations worldwide to finance long-term infrastructure projects, are another possible route.

4. What are the stumbling blocks?

Republican fiscal hawks in Congress shot down an economic stimulus program built on infrastructure work when Obama was the person proposing it. The tolls that might be needed to make highway work profitable are unpopular, impractical, or both in many areas of the country. And the bond market is sending reminders that America’s creditors won’t sit idly by while public spending rises. Yields are already rising, making it more expensive for the U.S. to borrow.

5. Is the U.S. really ‘falling apart’?

The American Society of Civil Engineers gave America’s infrastructure a grade of D+ on its 2013 report card and estimated that roads, highways, bridges, water systems, schools and transportation systems collectively need $3.6 trillion in investment by 2020. Though civil engineers might be seen as having a stake in painting a dire picture, the raw numbers are pretty bleak: 28 percent of major urban roads in substandard or poor condition, 240,000 water main breaks each year, 58,791 structurally deficient bridges at the start of the year. The average age of the nation’s fixed assets in 2015 was 22.8 years, the oldest in data back to 1925.

6. Doesn’t ‘infrastructure’ mean more than transportation?

Yes, though they’re often equated. The Trump transition’s "Transportation & Infrastructure" page mentions "roads, highways, bridges, tunnels, airports, and railways." But power plants, ports, water pipes (like those in Flint), sewage treatment plans, electrical grids, even parks and schools, can fit under the expansive definition of infrastructure. Trump’s campaign website promised "investments in transportation, clean water, a modern and reliable electricity grid, telecommunications, security infrastructure, and other pressing domestic infrastructure needs."

7. Why have highways and bridges been underfunded?

The U.S. collects a federal fuel tax for the Highway Trust Fund, which helps finance improvements to roads, bridges and transit systems. At its inception in 1956, the fund got all its revenue from the fuel tax. Now the tax contributes about 65 percent, with Congress usually making up the difference out of the general budget. The tax isn’t adjusted for inflation and hasn’t been raised since 1993. Making the problem worse, budget-constrained state and local governments have been reluctant to borrow and spend on infrastructure, especially in the aftermath of the last recession.

The Reference Shelf

  • A QuickTake explainer on the needs of highways worldwide.
  • A story on whether Trump’s infrastructure push would really help the economy.
  • Bond vigilantes are ready to pounce.
  • Bloomberg View columnist Conor Sen says an infrastructure program is seven years too late.
  • The full Ross-Navarro report on Trump’s self-financing infrastructure plan.
  • Trump’s promises, in his own words.
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15 Nov 00:45

Worlds Biggest Real Estate Binge Is Coming to a City Near You

by Bloomberg News

If they were anywhere else in Beijing, the five young women in cowboy hats and matching red, white, and blue costumes would look wildly out of place.

But here at the city’s biggest international property fair -- a frenetic gathering of brokers, developers and other real estate professionals all jockeying for the attention of Chinese buyers -- the quintet of wannabe Texans fits right in. As they promote Houston townhouses (“Yours for as little as $350,000!”), a Portugal contingent touts its Golden Visa program and the Australian delegation lures passersby with stuffed kangaroos.

Welcome to ground zero for the world’s largest cross-border residential property boom. Motivated by a weakening yuan, surging domestic housing costs and the desire to secure offshore footholds, Chinese citizens are snapping up overseas homes at an accelerating pace. They’re also venturing further afield than ever before, spreading beyond the likes of Sydney and Vancouver to lower-priced markets including Houston, Thailand’s Pattaya Beach and Malaysia’s Johor Bahru.

The buying spree has defied Chinese government efforts to restrict capital outflows and shows little sign of slowing after an estimated $15 billion of overseas real estate purchases in the first half. For cities in the cross-hairs, the challenge is to balance the economic benefits of Chinese demand against the risk that rising home prices spur a public backlash.

“The Chinese have managed to accumulate very large amounts of wealth, and the opportunities to deploy that capital in their own market are somewhat restricted,” said Richard Barkham, the London-based chief global economist at CBRE Group Inc., the world’s largest commercial property brokerage. “China has more than a billion people. Personally, I think we have just seen a trickle.”

While a dearth of government statistics makes it difficult to gain a comprehensive view of cross-border real estate investments, most industry projections point to a surge in Chinese purchases. Ping An Haofang, an online real estate platform owned by China’s second-largest insurer, says its $15 billion first-half estimate, derived from market data, nearly matches the figure for all of 2015.

Fang Holdings Ltd., the country’s most popular property website, predicts overseas buying on its system will increase 130 percent this year, while transactions through September at Shenzhen World Union Properties Consultancy Inc., China’s largest broker for new-home sales, were already 50 percent above last year’s level. The country overtook Canada as the largest source of residential purchases in America last year after an estimated $93 billion of buying from 2010 to 2015, according to a May report by the Asia Society and Rosen Consulting Group.

It adds up to the world’s biggest-ever wave of overseas residential property investment, according to Susan Wachter, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School who specializes in real estate markets. While Japan had a similar boom in the 1980s, it was mainly focused on commercial buildings, Wachter said.

Read more: China’s growing influence in the West

Today’s Chinese buyers have a long list of reasons to flock overseas. The yuan’s slump is eroding their purchasing power, while returns on local financial assets -- including stocks, bonds and wealth-management products -- are shrinking as the $11 trillion economy slows.

Chinese real estate, meanwhile, has grown increasingly out of reach after a speculative boom sent domestic home prices to all-time highs. Residential property values in Shenzhen, Beijing and Shanghai all jumped more than 30 percent in the year through September, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

“Properties in Shanghai are ridiculously expensive,” Chen Feng, 38, said as he evaluated prospects at a property fair in Shanghai in September, lured by television commercials for the event the night before. “With the amount of money it takes to buy a small apartment here, I can buy a building of apartments in many places in the world.”

That line of reasoning is nothing new, of course. Sydney, Vancouver, Hong Kong, London and a handful of other cities have long been popular destinations for Chinese buyers.

The difference now is that those traditional hotspots are starting to lose their appeal, due to soaring prices and new measures to deter an influx of overseas money. In Hong Kong, the government enacted a 30 percent tax on foreign property owners this month after Chinese demand pushed home values toward record highs.

The risk of similar measures in other cities can’t be ruled out as politicians including Donald Trump, the U.S. president-elect, tap into local discontent over rising living costs, according to CBRE Group’s Barkham.

Ocean Views

Chinese buyers have responded by branching out to cheaper cities. In the U.S., they’re increasingly searching for properties in Houston, Orlando and Seattle, which displaced San Francisco in the first quarter as the third-most viewed U.S. market on Juwai.com, a Chinese search engine for offshore real estate.

At the national level, countries in Southeast Asia have grown more popular. Juwai.com’s queries on Thailand are surging at a 72 percent annual rate, helping it surpass Britain as one of the top five most-targeted destinations worldwide earlier this year.

In Pattaya Beach, Chinese investors have snapped up 20 percent of the luxury condos on offer from Kingdom Property Co. over the past year. The properties offer Gulf of Thailand views for as little as $120,000, or less than a quarter of what buyers would pay for a typical apartment in central Shanghai, according to Han Bing, a 30-year-old anchor in Chinese television shows who doubles as a sales agent for the Bangkok-based developer.

“It’s a cool bargain for a retirement plan,” Han said.

Capital Controls

In the Malaysian state of Johor, across the Northern border of Singapore, major Chinese builders including Country Garden Holdings Co., Greenland Holdings Corp. and Guangzhou R&F Properties Co. are all developing new projects. Country Garden agents handed out fliers for the firm’s $37 billion Forest City development at the Beijing property fair in September, advertising permanent property rights, zero inheritance taxes, long-term residence visas and high-quality hospitals.

One challenge for Chinese investors is getting money out of a country that caps individuals’ foreign-currency purchases at $50,000 a year. While that limit hasn’t always been strictly enforced, the yuan’s slump is prompting policy makers to clamp down. This year, they’ve banned the use of friends’ currency quotas, curbed on the cross-border activities of underground banks and asked lenders to reduce foreign-exchange sales.

Still, alternative routes abound. Many business owners finance their homes through offshore trading companies, while some Chinese developers allow clients to pay for overseas units in yuan. Foreign-currency mortgages also play a role, helping to fund more than 80 percent of China’s international property purchases, according to an estimate by Fang Holdings based on user searches and surveys.

Planning Ahead

“Where there’s a will, there’s a way,” said David Ley, a professor at the University of British Columbia who wrote a book on the flood of wealthy migrants from east Asia in the 1980s and 1990s.

This year’s purchases could be just be the tip of the iceberg. Chinese holdings of global real estate, including commercial properties, will probably swell to $220 billion by 2020 from $80 billion in 2015, according to Juwai.com.

As the first generation born after China’s opening in the late 1970s approaches middle age, many of them want an overseas base for family members to travel, study and work. Chinese parents with children at foreign schools have been a major source of demand, accounting for an estimated 45 percent of cross-border buying, according to Fang Holdings.

Zha Liangliang, a 31-year-old owner of commercial wheat farms in China’s eastern Jiangsu province, said he purchased a $587,000 apartment in Sydney in August and plans to add five more before sending his children to high school in Australia. He’s flying to the country this month to view homes and farmland, hoping to buy before the yuan weakens any further.

For some investors, it’s never too early to pull the trigger. Richard Baumert, a partner at Millennium Partners Boston, tells the story of a 33-year-old Chinese man who purchased a luxury home for his future children in August, convinced they’re destined to attend one of the city’s prestigious universities.

The buyer shelled out $2.4 million for the property, Baumert said, unfazed by the fact that he’s single and it could be two decades before he has kids old enough for college.

— With assistance by Sree Vidya Bhaktavatsalam, and Dingmin Zhang

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15 Nov 00:24

Yes, your beer pong cup is teeming with bacteria

by Alexandra Ossola

PopSci asked the hard questions and got answers. But you’re not going to like them.

PopSci, along with scientists from Rockefeller University, took samples of the bacteria transmitted during the game of beer pong to find out if the college staple can…
15 Nov 00:04

Airliner's near miss with drone injures two crew members

by Jon Fingas

The threat of drone collisions near airports isn't just scary -- it can lead to very real injuries, even if there's no accident. Canada's Transportation Safety Board is investigating an incident where a Porter Airlines flight bound for Toronto took evasive maneuvers in an attempt to avoid a reported drone, injuring two crew members. The exact circumstances (including the nature of the injuries) isn't clear, but it took place near Billy Bishop Airport, an island hub right near Toronto's downtown core. It wouldn't have been hard for someone on the mainland to fly a drone into the path of a low-flying aircraft.

This certainly isn't the first time there have been reports of near collisions with drones, and it's possible that something else may have prompted the emergency change of course. However, the injuries could easily amplify calls for drone-finding systems at airports, not to mention anti-drone defenses. While the chance of a serious collision is slim, it's clear that even a close call can be exceptionally dangerous.

Via: CBC News

Source: Transportation Safety Board

15 Nov 00:04

2016 is going to be the hottest year on record

by Michael Koziol

Stop me if you've heard this one before...

2016 is on pace to become the hottest year on record. Not that it should come as any sort of surprise.
14 Nov 22:48

Dodge Truck Owners Accuse Chrysler of VW-Like Cheating

by Kartikay Mehrotra

Allegations of cheating pollution standards have reached U.S. automakers as Chrysler was sued by consumers who said engines in some Dodge trucks were rigged to hide that emissions were as much as 14 times higher than permitted by law.

The Michigan-based unit of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV is the first U.S. carmaker to be sued by consumers. Similar claims were made against German carmakers. Volkswagen AG admitted that it installed devices designed to fool emission testing in 11 million cars worldwide in a scandal that may cost it 18.2 billion euros ($19.5 billion). Claims of rigging vehicles have also been made against Mercedes, which has denied the allegations.

Chrysler and its diesel technology partner Cummins Inc. hid from consumers that pollutants that were supposed to have been broken down inside the diesel engines instead had a tendency to escape, almost doubling the emissions and reducing the vehicle’s fuel efficiency, according to the lawsuit. The companies are accused of fraud, false advertising and racketeering in the complaint, filed Monday in Detroit federal court on behalf of the owners of almost 500,000 Dodge Ram model trucks.

The lawsuit against Fiat Chrysler -- created in 2014 through the merger of Chrysler and Fiat -- further calls into question the credibility of clean-diesel technology. Excessive emissions from the vehicles exposed the general public to noxious levels of smog, according to the consumer complaint.

The claims involving Dodge Ram pickups from 2007 and 2012 predate the first known sales of emissions-cheating vehicles by Volkswagen by two years.

Regulatory Shift

The alleged fraud was prompted by a regulatory shift in 2001, according to the filing. Companies saw an opportunity for growth after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced stringent new emissions standards for heavy-duty diesel engines effective 2010. Chrysler and Cummins bet they could leapfrog the industry and produce a vehicle to meet those standards three years ahead of schedule, according to the complaint.

Cummins increased its research and development budget by 60 percent from 2002 to 2007 to $321 million, about a quarter of which was dedicated to meeting the new standards. The outcome, though, was a flawed engine with limited capacity for trapping excess emissions, according to the complaint.

Diesel engines, while more fuel-efficient, produce greater volumes of nitrogen oxide pollutants, or NOx. Cummins’s engines had limited capacity to store or dispose of the NOx. Instead of NOx being broken down in a process called regeneration, the pollutant had a tendency to escape from the vehicle, sometimes nearly doubling emissions and reducing the vehicle’s fuel efficiency as much as 4 percent, according to the complaint.

The process concealed the true emissions output and wore down the car’s catalytic converter, which could cost as much as $5,000 to replace.

Reimbursement Sought

The companies failed to disclose the engines’ shortcomings, which would have prompted drivers to reconsider Chrysler’s marketing and ultimately the value of the vehicles, according to the complaint. The suit seeks reimbursement and damages for truck owners.

Rushing to the market to beat competitors was only part of the reason for the fraudulent design, according to the complaint. Cummins also sought to “bank emissions credits to spend on other, dirtier engines,” according to the complaint.

VW resolved a major chunk of its dispute in the U.S. in October when a San Francisco federal judge approved a $14.7 billion settlement with drivers intended to get 480,000 cars with polluting 2.0-liter diesel engines off the road by June 2019. The company is still trying to reach a settlement covering about 80,000 VW and Audi models with 3.0-liter diesel engines. This month, the company was accused in a lawsuit of installing defeat devices on more than 100,000 vehicles with 3.0-liter gasoline engines.

The German carmaker’s technology partner Robert Bosch GmbH is also accused in the lawsuits of playing a key role in the development of VW’s emission-cheating technology.

The case is Bledsoe v. FCA USA LLC, 16-cv-14024, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan (Detroit).

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14 Nov 21:51

Ringleader Of Canada’s Multimillion-Dollar Maple Syrup Heist Found Guilty

by Mary Beth Quirk

It’s been four years since our neighbors to the north were rocked by the theft of millions of dollars worth of maple syrup from Canada’s global strategic maple syrup reserve. Authorities recovered the stuff pretty quickly, but it’s taken some time to bring those responsible to justice. Things are one step closer to wrapping up, however, after one of the heist’s reputed ringleaders was recently found guilty.

A jury in Trois-Rivières, Quebec found the man guilty of theft, fraud, and trafficking stolen goods, CBC News reports. During his trial, he admitted to filling Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers barrels with water so no one would notice the syrup was missing.

Indeed, the theft of about 3,300 tons was only discovered after a routine inventory check in July 2012 revealed an empty barrel that was supposed to contain syrup, and officials realized there was something funny going on.

He was one of 26 people arrested in connection to the heist, testifying that he didn’t want to steal from the federation but was forced to by a man with a gun. Other witnesses, however, testified that he was one of the guys in charge of the operation.

Another accused of being involved was found guilty of fraud and trafficking stolen goods, while a third man was found guilty of possession of stolen goods and of fraud with the intention to traffic. A fourth person was acquitted on charges of possession of stolen goods and fraud with intention to traffic.

“The Crown is very satisfied with the verdicts, given the amount and force of the evidence against the accused,” the lead Crown prosecutor for the case told CBC News.

There are five others accused of participating in the heist that will stand trial in January.

Reputed ringleader in $18.7M maple syrup heist found guilty [CBC News]

14 Nov 20:41

Spike in murders seen after Florida self-defense law: study

Florida's 24 percent rise in homicide from 2005 to 2014 stood in sharp contrast to nationwide homicide rates, which have been declining since the 1990s, according to researchFlorida saw a significant spike in murders after enacting a "Stand Your Ground" law allowing people to use lethal force in self-defense in public or on private property, international researchers said Monday. The southern state's 24 percent rise in homicide from 2005 to 2014 stood in sharp contrast to nationwide homicide rates, which have been declining since the 1990s, according to research published in a special issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine. "This study highlights how Stand Your Ground is likely to be a cause of the rise in Florida murders, and provides crucial information which may influence future decision-making that affects wellbeing in the US and abroad," said co-author Antonio Gasparrini of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.


14 Nov 20:40

Why IMDb May Soon Have To Delete Actors’ Ages From Website

by Chris Morran

The Internet Movie Database has long been the public’s go-to site for generally accurate information about movies, TV shows, and the people who make them. Many celebrity profiles have their ages and dates of birth listed on IMDb, but that may soon come to an end if a new California law is allowed to stand.

In September, Gov. Jerry Brown signed off on AB 1687, a law that doesn’t outright IMDb from posting all actors’ ages on the site, but gives the thespians a way to proactively bar the site from publishing that data.

Given the entertainment industry’s obsession with youth and beauty, some actors have worried that having their age publicly available on IMDb — where most of the data is crowdsourced from users — could result in discrimination.

To that end, AB 1687 aims “to ensure that information obtained on an Internet Web site regarding an individual’s age will not be used in furtherance of employment or age discrimination.” More accurately, it forbids any website that provides “employment services” from sharing age information about its users.

Most people are blissfully unaware of this, but IMDb does indeed have a rather large employment service tier, IMDbPro, that allows casting agents and other professionals to make more direct contact with actors, and also gives those actors more control over the information that appears on their profile. That control includes correcting or removing age information from their Pro profiles.

AB 1687 takes things further by prohibiting age-related data of all Pro users from being published publicly on IMDb. So even if an actor is fine with their age or date of birth being known, if they are a Pro user, that information would be blocked. Acting is a nasty business, and paying $20/month (or $150/year) to keep your age from being on the public side of IMDb might seem a worthwhile investment.

Amazon-owned IMDb believes this law goes too far, to the point of violating the First Amendment. Last week, the website sued the state of California in federal court, seeking to stop AB 1687 from being enforced.

In the complaint [PDF], IMDb argues that — rather than go after actual discriminatory behavior — the law is targeting information that is widely available outside of IMDb.

According to IMDb, AB 1687 “does not prohibit the discriminatory use of information, but instead forces the removal of factual information from the public domain. That ‘enforced silence’ is unquestionably censorship in plain violation of the U.S. Constitution.”

IMDb, which acknowledges the good intentions of the law, contends that it is being unfairly targeted by AB 1687, especially since the information IMDb will be prohibited from publishing could be easily found on Wikipedia, Google, or by simply asking your smartphone.

If the government is allowed to bar publication of factual biographical data to a public forum, IMDb says it will set a “dangerous and unconstitutional precedent for other general purpose websites and news sources, and should be deeply troubling to all who care about free speech.”

The lawsuit also argues that the California law is violating the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by involving itself in business relationships between Washington state-based IMDb with users from all across the nation.

If IMDb is unsuccessful in blocking AB 1687 from being enforced, it will take effect in January.

(In case you’re wondering about the photo at the top: No, we didn’t pick Gene Hackman’s profile for any particular reason; we were looking him up anyway.)

14 Nov 20:37

Fidelitys $100 Billion Manager Says Rate Spike May Be Overdone

by Charles Stein

Ford O’Neil, who oversees about $100 billion in bonds for Fidelity Investments, says the sharp run-up in yields since the election of Donald Trump may not be justified. 

O’Neil said he’s skeptical about the assumptions that a Trump agenda of increased government spending and tax cuts will be fully enacted and lead to faster growth, higher inflation and bigger budget deficits.

“It is all based on speculation,” he said in an interview Friday in Fidelity’s Boston offices. “The market has glommed on to the good news about growth, but not how challenging it would be to enact such a program or negatives like restrictions on trade.”

Yields on U.S. Treasuries have surged the most since the “taper tantrum” in 2013 as traders assess the implications of some of the president-elect’s campaign promises. Trump has pledged to reduce personal taxes across the board, cut corporate taxes to 15 percent from 35 percent and spend from about $500 billion to $1 trillion to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. Based on the lower end of that range, his plans would boost the nation’s debt by $5.3 trillion, according to an estimate by the non-partisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

Reining In Rates

O’Neil, one of the managers of the $26 billion Fidelity Total Bond Fund, said rising bond yields could be reined in by at least three forces: Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s commitment to a very gradual program of rate hikes, the traditional aversion to budget deficits by the Republican-controlled Congress, and buying by overseas investors who may use the recent jump in rates to snap up more Treasuries.

“While there will be upward pressure on rates, we don’t expect that rates will be materially higher a year from now,” said O’Neil.
 
The 10-year Treasury note yielded 2.21 percent Monday, up from 1.86 percent on Election Day on Nov. 8.

If Trump follows through with campaign promises to take a tougher line on global trade, that could act as a brake on U.S. growth, said O’Neil. As a candidate Trump said he would renegotiate or scrap international trade deals like Nafta.

O’Neil said that he likes Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities, leveraged loans and corporate credit, both high yield and investment grade.

Fidelity Total Bond gained 6.1 percent this year, better than 88 percent of peers, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Over five years the fund topped 78 percent of rivals.

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14 Nov 20:25

A sad fate

by CommitStrip

strip-transfert-sur-cle-usb-english650-final

14 Nov 19:39

Set Beards to Stunning: Star Trek TNG Garden Gnomes

by Geeks are Sexy
vthomas

I just bought these

gnomes1

Similar to Thinkgeek’s Star Trek:TOS set of gnomes, there are five TNG gnomes to choose from in this new collection of exclusive garden gnomes. The text on each base reads:

Picard – Engage!
Riker – Set beard to stunning
Data – My neural pathways have become accustomed to your sensory input patterns
Worf – ghIqtal (To the death!)
Borg – We are the Borg, resistance is futile.

gnomes2

[Star Trek TNG Garden Gnomes]

The post Set Beards to Stunning: Star Trek TNG Garden Gnomes appeared first on Geeks are Sexy Technology News.

14 Nov 19:33

You've Gone Too Far: Pizza Flavored Lollipops

pizza-flavored-lollipop.jpg Because pizza is a way of life for some people, these are the pizza flavored lollipops available from Lolliphyle. You can get a four pack for $8. But what KIND of pizza do they taste like? Just cheese? Cheese and pepperoni? My mom likes anchovies on her pizza but I don't. What's your favorite kind of pizza? I like cheese and mushroom. What's your favorite kind of lollipop? I like the ones shaped like penises that you get at bachelorette parties. One time I was at a bar and a bachelorette party came in and were working on this list of things the bride-to-be had to do and one of them was take a body shot off the chest of a guy at the bar and they asked me but when the shot came and I lifted my shirt a couple of them puked because a half of a piece of pizza fell out from between my rolls. So...yeah. *waits for 'Brought This Article Full Circle' achievement to pop* Thanks to Ashley I, who informed me they're having a pizza party at work this Friday but failed to mention she got me a temp job for the day.
14 Nov 19:33

"Onward, My Noble Steed!"

Forest,dogs

LoL by: (via GallowBoob)

Tagged: Forest , dogs
14 Nov 19:28

'THEY'RE GOOD PEOPLE' Trump backs off vow of Clinton special prosecutor

by foxnewsonline@foxnews.com (Fox News Online)
President-elect considers keeping two key provisions of the legislation

 

President-elect Donald Trump, in his first television interview since his surprise election victory, repeated his vows to build a wall across America's southern border, deport criminal illegal aliens, and repeal and replace ObamaCare.

PRESIDENT-ELECT TRUMP WILLING TO KEEP PARTS OF OBAMACARE

But Trump also appeared to back off from commiting to build a solid wall, telling CBS' "60 Minutes" the barrier might look more like a fence in spots. 

"Certain areas, a wall is more appropriate," Trump told interviewer Lesley Stahl. "I'm very good at this, it's called construction."

Trump emphasized that securing the border is his very first immigration priority, but he also promised to deport people living in the country illegally who had committed crimes beyond their immigration offenses. 

TRUMP'S PRESIDENTIAL PEN COULD REMAKE SUPREME COURT AGENDA

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"What we are going to do is get the people that are [criminals] and have criminal records, gang members, drug dealers," Trump said. "We have a lot of these people. Probably two million, it could be even three million. We are getting them out of our country or we are going to incarcerate.

After the border is secured and after everything gets normalized," Trump added, "we're going to make a determination on [other undocumented immigrants] ... But before we make that determination ... we want to secure our border.

Early in the GOP primaries, Trump had vowed to immediately deport all 11 million people living in the country illegally. But his comments Sunday echoed House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., who told CNN that the Republican administration was "not looking for mass deportations."

"We are not going to do that," Ryan emphasized in the interview that aired earlier Sunday.

The real estate mogul also echoed remarks he made to the Wall Street Journal earlier this week, in which he said he favors keeping the prohibition against insurers denying coverage because of patients’ existing conditions, and a provision that allows parents to provide years of additional coverage for children on their insurance policies.

"It'll be just fine. We're not going to have, like, a two day period and we're not going to have-- a two-year period where there's nothing," Trump said. 

Trump also appeared to back away from his promise to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, over her use of a private email server. Trump made such a promise during the second presidential debate against Clinton during a rhetorical duel that ended with Trump saying if he was president, "you'd be in jail."

"She did some bad things, I mean she did some bad things," Trump said, to which Stahl responded, "I know, but a special prosecutor?"

"I don't want to hurt them, I don't want to hurt them," Trump said. "They’re, they’re good people. I don't want to hurt them."

Regarding another of his campaign promises, Trump vowed to nominate a Supreme Court justice that would be pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. However, the president-elect showed no interest in re-litigating last year's Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marraige, an issue of departure between him and Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

"It's irrelevant because it was already settled. It's law. It was settled in the Supreme Court. I mean it’s done," Trump said, later adding, "I'm fine with that."

Trump touched on the protests that have broken out across the nation since his election, complaning that the coverage represented a "double standard."

"If Hillary had won and if my people went out and protested, everybody would say, 'Oh, that's a terrible thing,'" he said. "And it would have been a much different attitude. There is a different attitude."

However the president-elect said that he was "saddened" by reports that some of his supporters had harassed minorities since Tuesday's vote.

"And I say, 'Stop it.' ... I will say this, and I will say right to the cameras: Stop it."

Trump also told "60 Minutes" he would eschew the $400,000 annual salary for the president, taking only $1 a year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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14 Nov 19:26

NO CASH, NO PROBLEM Trump says he won’t take $400G presidential salary

by foxnewsonline@foxnews.com (Fox News Online)
James Rosen reports from Washington, D.C.

 

Donald Trump is defying tradition in more ways than one.

The most unconventional president-elect in modern times, who happens to be “really rich,” says he has no plans to take the presidential salary to which he’s entitled.

Plus, advisers reportedly say the billionaire businessman wants to continue to spend time at his penthouse apartment in downtown Manhattan when he can – and might return to Trump Tower and other locations he calls home on weekends, working from the White House during the week.  

Trump gave a direct answer when asked about the presidential salary of $400,000.

“I'm not going to take the salary. I'm not taking it,” he told CBS’ “60 Minutes.”

He said he thinks he has to take $1 by law, “so I’ll take $1 a year.”

See the Fox News 2016 battleground prediction map and make your own election projections. See Predictions Map →

Trump said he didn’t even know what the salary was, before CBS’ Lesley Stahl told him.

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports that the family is still working out the particulars of where they’ll live and work. Melania Trump is expected to move to Washington, but it’s unclear when that will happen since their young son Barron is in the middle of a school year.

Trump reportedly is talking to advisers about splitting his time between the White House and New York.

According to the report, advisers said Trump might spend most of the week at the White House, and return to Trump Tower or Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach or even his New Jersey golf course in Bedminster on the weekends.

While members of Congress often travel home on weekends, and modern presidents travel occasionally back to their home cities or states, it would be unusual for a president to routinely leave on the weekends.

As noted by Heat Street, George W. Bush often brought his staff to the “Western White House” in Crawford, Texas. But he and other presidents were still full-time Washington residents. 

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14 Nov 19:26

Over 412 million adult-website credentials hacked: security firm

Visitor takes pictures of adult film actress during Eros Show in Sofia(Reuters) - Login credentials for over 412 million users of adult websites run by California-based FriendFinder Networks Inc. were compromised last month in the largest hack of 2016, according to breach notification website LeakedSource.com. Compromised data includes nearly 340 million credentials for Adultfriendfinder.com, which bills itself as "the world's largest sex and swinger community," some 63 million records from video sex-chat site cams.com and about 7 million records from adult magazine site Penthouse.com, LeakedSource said in a blog published on Sunday. Asked if the account from LeakedSource was accurate, the company provided Reuters with a statement saying it had brought in outside experts to help review the matter.


14 Nov 19:26

Comcast Lifting Broadband Data Caps In Maine — And Only Maine — Starting Dec. 1

by Kate Cox

We often have news in November about Comcast and data caps. Most years, though, it’s a story about those caps expanding. So it’s unusual, to say the least, to suddenly find Comcast doing away with its data-cap plan for an entire state. The lucky subscribers? Folks up in Maine.

DSL Reports first pointed to Comcast’s walking back the overage plan for Maine customers.

“We’re writing to let you know that we are suspending our Terabyte Internet Data Usage Plan in the state of Maine,” Comcast has informed subscribers in the area. “We do not currently have data plans anywhere in the Northeast. As a result, we want to ensure we have clear and consistent communications to our customers as well as have our engineering and operations teams aligned around one policy.”

Comcast has been expanding its capped-data areas for years, but the northeast region has so far stayed generally exempt from Comcast’s usage-based pricing plans. The current “trial,” where Comcast started charging overage fees instead of throttling high-volume users’ connections, began in 2012 in Nashville.

After that, it expanded to reach some customers in Kentucky, Georgia, and Mississippi in 2013, including in Atlanta.

Expansion went on hold during 2014, probably due to Comcast putting all its energy into trying (and failing) to acquire Time Warner Cable. In 2015, though, the ball kept rolling.

Before the calendar rolled over, Comcast had expanded its “data thresholds” to more cities in Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, and Virginia.

In 2016 — this year — Comcast went for the midwest, bringing capped service to Chicago over the summer.

Then last month came the biggest expansion yet, to another 23 markets — including whole states.

Any Comcast customer in these 28 states (or in two cases, half-states) is currently subject to the “Internet Data Usage Plan:”

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • New Mexico
  • Western Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • South Carolina
  • Utah
  • Southwest Virginia
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

That list spans most of the nation — but leaves out the New England and mid-Atlantic states where Comcast has its largest presence by far, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, West Virginia, and the parts of Virginia nearer Washington, DC.

Comcast's internet footprint, from the National Broadband Map.

So why, exactly, is Maine suddenly off the hook?

We asked Comcast that. The company did not provide an official statement (though we will of course update if it does), but a source confirmed that the reason Maine gets to go back to being capless is because it is indeed the only member of the “Northeast Division” on the long list of covered states.

For Comcast, “northeast” runs down the coast from Maine to North Carolina, and west as far as Ohio — and none of the other states in that division are yet subject to managed data plans. (That also explains why northern Virginia and Eastern Ohio aren’t on the list.)

That does seem to imply, however, that the reprieve is only temporary. Comcast hasn’t brought data caps to the Northeast Division yet, but that doesn’t mean it won’t. The next time Maine has to face data caps, it seems entirely likely that millions of subscribers in surrounding states will have to come along with.

11 Nov 19:40

FCC Has “Serious Concerns” About AT&T Exempting DirecTV Video From Mobile Data Caps

by Chris Morran

In September, AT&T announced that it would not charge streaming DirecTV content against wireless customers’ monthly data caps. It’s a controversial practice known as “zero-rating” that some believe has anticompetitive effects, especially when the content company is owned by the wireless provider. It’s an issue the FCC has not yet ruled on definitively, but one that the Commission says may be cause for concern.

There are other zero-rating arrangements out there, with wireless providers not dinging customers’ accounts for accessing certain types of content, but the AT&T/DirecTV arrangement has drawn scrutiny because the two companies recently merged. Some detractors contend that DirecTV is getting an unfair advantage over other pay-TV providers whose subscribers can not enjoy this cap-exempt streaming.

Currently, this zero-rating is only available to customers of DirecTV’s satellite service, but it’s believed that the arrangement will expand to the soon-to-launch DirecTV Now standalone live-TV streaming service that will not require a separate pay-TV subscription. The few competitors in this field — most famously Dish’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue — do not have similar arrangements with AT&T.

This week, Jon Wilkins, head of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunication Bureau, sent a letter [PDF] to AT&T, to voice “serious concerns” that the DirecTV zero-rating deal “may obstruct competition and harm consumers by constraining their ability to access existing and future mobile video services not affiliated with AT&T.”

Wilkins notes that the FCC does not currently have any problems with the idea of zero-rating. In fact, last November FCC Chair Tom Wheeler stated that such arrangements between content companies and broadband providers could be “innovative” and “highly competitive.”

The letter acknowledges that AT&T has claimed that DirecTV is not getting a free ride on this zero-rating deal, and that the pay-TV company is apparently compensating AT&T’s wireless division for this data at the same rate that any other content provider would if they were to join AT&T’s Sponsored Data program.

However, Wilkins worries that AT&T “fails to take account of the notably different financial impact on unaffiliated providers.”

In other words, it’s a zero-sum game for AT&T as a whole, with the compensation merely shifting from one division to another. Whereas, if BobsStreamingVideoDeluxe.horse makes a zero-rating deal with AT&T, that money is being transferred between two completely separate companies (at least until AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson sees how awesome BobsStreamingVideoDeluxe.horse is and acquires it for $16 billion). This is a real cash cost that DirecTV does not experience, contends Wilkins.

AT&T has around one-third of the U.S. wireless market, and there are over 20 million DirecTV customers, so there are probably around 7 million DirecTV subscribers who are also AT&T wireless users. It may be higher than that, given the cross-promotion efforts the two brands have made since the merger.

DirecTV Now will be available to anyone in the U.S., including the 100 million or so AT&T wireless customers. At a reported $35/month for a wide swath of cable channels, it could attract subscribers in the way that Sling TV — with its limited content offerings — or PS Vue — with its higher price, and complicated tiers — have not.

Given the potentially huge bill for zero-rating all of these DirecTV services, and the fact that DirecTV isn’t really spending Wilkins questions whether anyone else will be able to afford a similar zero-rating deal.

“Indeed, it is not difficult to calculate usage scenarios in which an unaffiliated provider’s Sponsored Data charges alone could render infeasible any third-party competitor’s attempt to compete with the $35 per month retail price that AT&T has announced for DIRECTV Now,” he writes.

Consumers are becoming increasingly savvy about their data consumption, and the fact that one streaming service counts against your data plan while another one does not may factor into their decsion about which one to purchase. Similarly, if your favorite streaming service is exempt from data caps on a wireless provider other than the one you’re currently using, that may be reason to switch.

Federal regulations prohibit broadband providers from unreasonably interfering with or disadvantaging users’ “ability to select, access, and use broadband Internet access service or the lawful Internet content, applications, services, or devices of their choice.”

Wilkins says that AT&T may be committing the sort of anticompetitive practices that caused the FCC to create such rules.

“The Sponsored Data charges imposed on unaffiliated edge providers appear to ‘target competitors, including competitors to their own video services,'” he writes, “which the 2015 Open Internet Order characterized as being of particular concern for potentially disrupting the virtuous cycle of competition and innovation in Internet services.”

The FCC has given AT&T until Nov. 21 to respond, but in a statement emailed to Consumerist, the company defends its practices.

“While we welcome additional questions, we hope the FCC will consider the enormous value consumers find in obtaining free data or free streaming where someone else is footing the bill for their data,” reads the statement. “We welcome any video provider that wishes to sponsor its content in the same ‘data free’ way for AT&T Mobility customers and we’ll do so on equal terms at our lowest wholesale rates. Saving consumers money is something we all should support.”

In semi-related news, AT&T announced today that it will launch a free feature dubbed “Stream Saver” in Jan. 2017 that allows wireless users to choose whether they want to watch streaming video at full resolution or save on data use by opting to watch video at a quality closer to standard definition.

[h/t Ars Technica]

11 Nov 17:34

Anti-burglary advice, from burglars

by Cory Doctorow

050-056c026d-1c66-4d42-9fae-a8

KGW Portland surveyed 86 Oregon inmates serving time for burglary to see what they looked for when casing a house that is safe to break into and likely to contain valuables. One important lesson: "NRA sticker on car bumper = Lots of guns to steal." (more…)

11 Nov 17:22

Trump Victory Lifts Buffett Back to Second-Richest in the World

Warren Buffett is once again the second-richest person on the planet, and he has President-Elect Donald Trump to thank.