Category Archives: Technology

Germany: Full Censorship Now Official Courts Rewrite History, by Judith Bergman

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“No Devilishly Effective Plot” – Clinton Chief Strategist Admits “You Can’t Buy The Presidency For $100,000”, by Mark Penn

Even the Democrats are admitting Russiagate is bunk. From Mark Penn (former chief strategist on Bill Clinton’s 1996 presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton’s 2000 Senate campaign, and Mrs. Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign), via The Wall Street Journal via zerohedge.com:

Russia didn’t win Trump the White House any more than China re-elected Bill Clinton in 1996.

The fake news about fake news is practically endless. Americans worried about Russia’s influence in the 2016 election have seized on a handful of Facebook ads—as though there weren’t also three 90-minute debates, two televised party conventions, and $2.4 billion spent on last year’s campaign. The danger is that bending facts to fit the Russia story line may nudge Washington into needlessly and recklessly regulating the internet and curtailing basic freedoms.

After an extensive review, Facebook has identified $100,000 of ads that came from accounts associated with Russia. Assume for the sake of argument that Vladimir Putin personally authorized this expenditure. Given its divisive nature, the campaign could be dubbed “From Russia, With Hate”—except it would make for a disappointing James Bond movie.

Analyzing the pattern of expenditures, and doing some back-of-the-envelope math, it’s clear this was no devilishly effective plot. Facebook says 56% of the ads ran after the election, reducing the tally that could have influenced the result to about $44,000. It also turns out the ads were not confined to swing states but also shown in places like New York, California and Texas. Supposing half the ads went to swing states brings the total down to $22,000.

Facebook also counted ads as early as June 2015. Assuming they were evenly spread and we want only those that ran the year of the election, that knocks it down to $13,000. Most of the ads did not solicit support for a candidate and carried messages on issues like racism, immigration and guns. The actual electioneering then amounts to about $6,500.

To continue reading: “No Devilishly Effective Plot” – Clinton Chief Strategist Admits “You Can’t Buy The Presidency For $100,000

Tesla Shareholders: Are You Drunk On Elon Musk’s Kool-Aid? by Michael Lewitt

A Tesla short excoriates the longs. From Michael Lewitt at forbes.com:

Tesla shareholders (and bullish Wall Street analysts) are either geniuses or delusional and I am betting on the latter. Typical of the lack of gray matter being applied to this investment is a recent post on Seeking Alpha, often a place where amateurs go to pump stocks they own.

Someone calling himself “Silicon Valley Insights” issued an ungrammatical “Strong Buy” recommendation on October 11 based on the following syllogism: (1) “Tesla CEO Elon Musk has stated very firmly that they can and will reach his goal of producing 5,000 cars per week by the end of this year.” (2) “Musk has a history of setting aggressive targets (more for his staff than investors) [Editors’s Note: That is a lie.] and then missing them on initial timing but reaching them later. [Editor’s Notes: That is another lie–Musk has NEVER reached a production target.] (3) “Reaching anything [sic] significant portion of that 5K target (say 1-2K) by the end of December could drive TSLA shares significantly higher.” This genius then suggests that investors stay focused on the Model 3 ramp as the key price driver over the coming weeks and months and argues that the announcement that only 260 Model 3s were produced in the third quarter leaves “much of the risk…now in the stock price.” He is correct– there is a great deal of risk embedded in a stock trading at infinity-times earnings with no prospect of profitability , a track record of breaking promises, a reluctance to sell equity to fund itself even at price levels above the targets of most analysts, and a market cap larger than rivals that are pouring tens of billions of dollars into putting it out of business.

Undeterred, he offers two investment strategies. The first he terms a “reasonable and conservative” one that waits to invest in TSLA shares until the early November third quarter earnings call. In my world, a reasonable and conservative strategy would be to run for the hills or short the stock (as I am doing). A “more aggressive and risky strategy” (compared to skydiving or bungee jumping) would be “to buy shares before that third quarter report and call on the bet that the Model 3 production update will be taken positively.”

To continue reading: Tesla Shareholders: Are You Drunk On Elon Musk’s Kool-Aid?

Where’s Ralph? by Eric Peters

Both the automotive press and the general press have been slow to point out electric vehicles many flaws. From Eric Peters at theburningplatform.com:

Ralph Nader made his name “exposing” the design defects (as he styled them) of the Chevy Corvair.

Leaving aside the fact that what he styled a “defect” was really more a difference – the Corvair was rear-engined and nose-light and so handled differently than the overwhelmingly front-engined and ass-light American cars that drivers of the time were used to, especially when tire pressure recommendations were not adhered to – the relevant thing is that he was cheered – deified – for “exposing” a supposed problem with the car.

Ditto all the other “consumer advocates” who followed in his slimy wake.

Well, where are they now – and why are they all silent?

About electric cars, that is.

 Somehow – for some reason – EVs have earned an exemption from the ordinary rules. Almost no car journalist ever writes or talks about their design differences. Much less their very significant defects.

Doesn’t the “public” – Nader, et al’s fetish object – have a right to know?

Apparently not.

Instead, a concerted campaign to fluff up the supposed virtues of the electric car – among them that they are  – allegedly – “zero” emissions (they’re actually not, it’s just that their emissions are emitted elsewhere).

Meanwhile, the EV’s numerous design deficits (if not defects) are simply not mentioned.

Examples?

One often reads that electric cars cost less to maintain than cars with gas or diesel engines because you’ll never have to change oil and filters or belts or coolant or replace a water pump or hoses. All perfectly true.

But why no mention of the electric car’s battery pack?

Eventually – just like the battery in your laptop and every other battery ever made – it will be less able to accept and store a charge. The cycle of discharge and recharge depletes a battery over time.

To continue reading: Where’s Ralph?

Report: Renewable Energy Is Bigger ‘Scam’ than Bernie Madoff and Enron, by Thomas D. Williams

People are wising up to the fact that paying $2 dollars for $1 dollar’s worth of energy doesn’t make any sense. From Thomas D. Williams at breitbart.com:

The greatest scam being perpetrated against taxpayers and consumers is renewable energy, according to a new analysis published by the Australian, greater even than Ponzi, Madoff and Enron.

While sinking enormous financial resources into propping up renewable energy prospectors, national governments are providing no perceptible benefits to their citizens, writes Judith Sloan, a renowned Australian economist who has served on the Australian government’s Productivity Commission.

“With very few exceptions, governments all over the world have fallen into the trap of paying renewable energy scammers on the basis that it is necessary, at least politically, to be seen to be doing something about climate change,” Sloan writes, before providing readers with an avalanche of economic data to back up her assertion.

In Australia, more than 2 billion taxpayer dollars a year are funneled to renewable energy handlers by virtue of the operation of the renewable energy target and the associated renewable energy certificates, Sloan observes.

At the same time, the Australian Renewable Energy Agency “shovels out hundreds of millions of dollars annually to subsidise renewable energy companies, many of which are overseas-owned,” she states, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation was given $10 billion in equity by the Gillard Labor government “to lend or grant money to renewable energy companies.”

Despite this enormous taxpayer “investment,” so-called renewable energy has yet to pay any dividends or to suggest it will be economically viable for the foreseeable future.

Sloan’s grim analysis of the state of renewable energy as a financial sinkhole in Australia is mirrored by other countries such as the United States.

According to Forbes, on a total dollar basis, wind and solar together get more from the federal government than all other energy sources combined, despite the fact that neither is anywhere close to self-supporting. Wind has received the greatest amount of federal subsidies. Solar is second.

Based on production (subsidies per kWh of electricity produced), however, solar energy “has gotten over ten times the subsidies of all other forms of energy sources combined, including wind,” writes energy expert and planetary geologist Dr. James Conca.

To continue reading: Report: Renewable Energy Is Bigger ‘Scam’ than Bernie Madoff and Enron

The ‘Real’ Peak Complacency, by John Rubino

Perhaps people should worry more about cyber-risk than financial risk. From John Rubino at dollarcollapse.com:

Stocks are at record highs while volatility is at a record low. Which is another way of saying that investors aren’t as worried as they probably should be about the coming year.

That’s okay. Price corrections (with their attendant volatility spikes) are normal and natural ways for markets to teach overconfident investors a little humility. Think of them as the financial word’s forest fires, clearing out the underbrush of misconception, malinvestment, and hubris.

But there’s another area of Peak Complacency that is neither natural nor benign. And that’s cyberspace. Americans – and Europeans and Japanese – have moved most of their financial lives online just as hackers and other cyber-enemies get the upper hand. Recently:

  • Credit rating agency Equifax – apparently through its own incompetence – allowed hackers to access and presumably copy and sell “sensitive personal information” of 146 million Americans.
  • Online portal Yahoo upped the number of accounts that were hacked in 2013 to – get this — 3 billion.
  • The National Security Agency admitted that its state-of-the-art hacking tools were stolen by hackers and are now available for sale on the dark web.
  • The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) suffered more than 50 data breachesbetween January 2015 and December 2016, exposing “personally identifiable information (PII) of U.S. citizens.”
  • The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission EDGAR database of corporate documents was hacked, leading to illegal insider trading that the SEC is still trying to unravel.

And then there’s bitcoin, where online exchanges are being hacked with apparent impunity and zero recourse for victims:

Cryptocurrencies: How hackers and fraudsters are causing chaos in the world of digital financial transactions

(Independent) – There have been at least three dozen heists of cryptocurrency exchanges since 2011 and more than 980,000 bitcoins stolen, worth about $4 billion.Dan Wasyluk discovered the hard way that trading cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin happens in an online Wild West where sheriffs are largely absent.

Mr Wasyluk and his colleagues raised bitcoins for a new tech venture and lodged them in escrow at a company running a cryptocurrency exchange called Moolah. Just months later the exchange collapsed; the man behind it is now awaiting trial in Britain on fraud and money-laundering charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

Mr Wasyluk’s project lost 750 bitcoins, currently worth about $3m, and he believes he stands little chance of recovering any money.

To continue reading: The ‘Real’ Peak Complacency

 

Wells Fargo’s Artificial Intelligence Defies Analysts, Slaps “Sell” on Google and Facebook, by Wolf Richter

SLL’s bet is on the artificial, rather than the human, intelligence. From Wolf Richter at wolfstreet.com:

Google, which makes almost all of its money on ads and internet user data, is undertaking herculean efforts to get a grip on artificial intelligence (AI). It’s trying to develop software that allows machines to think and learn like humans. It’s spending enormous resources on it. This includes the $525 million acquisition in 2014 of DeepMind, which is said to have lost an additional $162 million in 2016. Google is trying to load smartphones with AI and come up with AI smart speakers and other gadgets, and ultimately AI systems that control self-driving cars.

Facebook, which also makes most of its money on ads and user data, is on a similar trajectory, but spreading into other directions, including a “creepy” run-in with two of its bots that were supposed to negotiate with each other but ended up drifting off human language and invented their own languagethat humans couldn’t understand.

And here comes an AI bot developed by stock analysts at Wells Fargo Securities. The human analysts have an “outperform” rating on Google’s parent Alphabet and on Facebook. They worked with a data scientist at Amazon’s Alexa project to create the AI bot. And after six months of work, the AI bot was allowed to do its job. According to their note to clients on Friday, reported by Bloomberg, the AI bot promptly slapped a “sell” rating on Google and Facebook.

Human analysts on Wall Street are famous for their incessantly optimistic ratings and outlooks. They generally only put a “sell” on a stock after it has already plunged. They’re part of Wall Street’s human hype machine. Their job is to help inflate stock prices and make CEOs feel good so that they will do business with the analysts’ firms and send fees their way. But Wells Fargo’s AI bot hasn’t gotten the memo.

Last month, a group led by Ken Sena, head of Global Internet Analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, introduced this “artificially intelligent equity research analyst” or AIERA. Its “primary purpose is to track stocks and formulate a daily, weekly, and overall view on whether the stocks tracked will go up or down,” Sena, said at the time.

So “she” did Big Data analysis of Alphabet, Facebook, and some other stocks, and after seeing what’s there, averted her eyes in disgust and slapped a “sell” recommendation on both stocks and a “hold” recommendation on 11 other cherished stocks.

To continue reading; Wells Fargo’s Artificial Intelligence Defies Analysts, Slaps “Sell” on Google and Facebook