Gene Editing: Tailoring the Future of Biotech

Summary
Just over a year ago, Chinese laboratories published the results of a controversial experiment, one that enabled the selective editing of genomes belonging to human embryos. A flurry of ethical debates and research on the relatively new technique known as CRISPR took place in the aftermath. Scientists and policymakers alike were quick to explore the potential applications – and implications – of gene editing. Given the recent anniversary of clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and a related intellectual property battle dragging on in US courts, it is appropriate to evaluate the progress gene-editing technology has made and determine how valid our previous assessment of the technology’s potential impact was.
Analysis
The now-famous CRISPR technique traces its history back to 2012 when, during a study of bacterial immune systems, scientists demonstrated its ability to act as a gene-editing tool. The technique essentially uses a cell’s own repair mechanism to fix cuts in certain locations on a DNA strand. A particular enzyme, Cas9, is directed to a target on the strand, where it then acts like a pair of scissors and cuts the DNA. From there, the targeted portion of the strand can be removed and, if necessary, replaced with another piece of DNA. Though CRISPR was by no means the first gene-editing technique to be invented, its predecessors were more complicated, expensive and time-consuming. And few offered as many opportunities for broader application.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 05/06/2016.

California Fault Lines Are “Locked, Loaded, & Ready” For The Big One, Expert Warns

The San Andreas fault is one of California’s most dangerous. While the last big earthquake to strike the southern San Andreas was in 1857, as LA Times reports Thomas Jordan, director of the Southern California Earthquake Center, explained this week “the springs on the San Andreas system have been wound very, very tight. And the southern San Andreas fault, in particular, looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go.”
Have you noticed that the crust of the Earth is starting to become a lot more unstable?
As The End of The American dream blog’s Michael Snyder explains, over the past couple of months, major earthquakes have shaken areas all over the planet and major volcanoes have been erupting with a frequency that is more than just a little bit startling. Here in the United States, the state of Oklahoma absolutely shattered their yearly record for quakes last year, we just saw a very disturbing earthquake right along the New Madrid fault just recently, and as you will see below one scientist is telling us that the San Andreas fault in southern California ‘looks like it’s locked, loaded and ready to go’.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

Zimbabwe To Print Its Own US Dollars Amid Severe Cash Shortage

When Jim Chanos said earlier this week that days ago that sub-Saharan Africa is facing a severe cash shortage (mostly as a result of their collapsing oil export revenue) he probably did not have the economic basket case of Zimbabwe in mind, and yet this is the country which, after years of monetary and economic collapse “problems”, including the occasional bout of hyperinflation, finds itself in the most dire situation.
As News24 reports, just this past week, Zimbabweans formed long queues outside banks on Thursday as a cash shortage prompted the government to announce plans to print a local version of the US dollar and limit withdrawals.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

How Did Nate Silver (And Everyone Else) Get Trump So Wrong: The Flip-Flopping Polster

The Flip-Flopping Pollster
How poor have the election forecasters been this year? It is a topic many are discussing given the large number of upsets we’ve had during the Primaries. For example, statistician Nate Silver (who started the campaign season proclaiming Trump had <2% chance of being nominated) by March 1 predicted with 94% probability that Trump would win Alaska (he lost).
Silver then predicted on March 8 with >99% probability that Clinton would win Michigan (she lost). Silver again predicted on May 3 with 90% probability that Clinton would win Indiana (she lost). But there is another issue besides being wrong, which is how much model flip-flopping is occurring just up tothese elections.
The most proximate example is Silver stating this past Sunday that Cruz had a 65% chance to win Indiana; the next day (Monday, the eve of the election) and with little new data, he “adjusts” that to Trump having a 69% chance to win! That’s horrible! And this mistrust of forecasters going beyond Indiana, since we’ll show below that in 14 of 63 state elections so far, likely voters and have had this sort of shoddy slip-flopping to contend with. So an important question we all must have this year is given the more narrow polling margins for the general election, the degree to which these forecasters have not been able to make sense of their own models, and the large amount of flip-flopping anyway, how will we ever believe anyone’s single forecast representation of who will win in November? Whenever a forecaster repeatedly (here, here) and guardedly blames “special circumstances” for her or his deteriorating performance, that is further sign that trouble is brewing up and is being masqueraded as everything is awesome.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

Free Markets Do Not Need Negative Interest Rates

Martin Wolf, associate editor and chief economics commentator at the Financial Times, seems to have forgotten the nature of interest rates and their coordinating role. According to him, central banks are not to blame in the persistence of low or negative interest rates. He writes: ‘We must regard ultralow rates as symptoms of our disease, not its cause.’
Wolf then goes on to claim that ‘negative interest rates are not the fault of central banks.’ It’s difficult to see how Wolf can justify this claim. Never under the gold standard, never under free banking systems, and never in a free market economy have interest rates been negative. Indeed, the interest rate on the unhampered market reflects the social rate of time preference, it is the ‘price of time.’ And as it is a universal law of human action that time preference must always be positive, interest rates cannot possibly be negative on the free market.
An almost line-by-line critique of this article would be necessary, for the arguments in it are so ill-conceived and fallacious that it is hard to ignore them. I will, however, criticize only several points.
In particular, I’ll address: (1) the idea that central banks have nothing to do with negative interest rates, (2) the idea that a savings glut/investment dearth does exist, and (3) that the idea of low interest rates is a consequence of low productivity growth.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on May 6, 2016.

Obama Is Dancing As Fast As He Can As The Economy Collapses – Episode 964a

The following video was published by X22Report on May 6, 2016
95% of the bailout money in Greece went to Banks and only 5% went to the people. Payrolls miss as Obama dances as fast as he can ad tries to explain why the economy is not doing well.562,000 people drop out of the labor force. The US added more bartenders and waiters. Most of the jobs added were low paying low quality jobs. Baltic Dry Index declines again. Corporate tax receipts is an indicator of an economic slowdown. Class 8 trucking declines. More US citizens renounce their citizenship. US commercial bankruptcies skyrocket.

RNC Tells Staff To Resign By “End Of Week” If Unable To Support Trump

Some staff at the RNC were told Wed if they were unable to get behind Trump they shoulld leave by end of the week — Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) May 5, 2016

Spawning a hurricane of controversy on Wednesday, the New York Times claimed, all emphasis added, ‘the question of whether to embrace Mr. Trump is not merely an intellectual exercise. Some staff members at the Republican National Committee were told Wednesday that if they were unable to get behind the nominee, they should leave by the end of the week.’
This claim was then parroted by Republican strategist and political pundit, Cheri Jacobus, who tweeted theTimes article prefaced with the aforementioned allegation.
But the RNC quickly shot down the claim, with Communications Director and Chief Strategist Sean Spicer responding on Twitter, simply, ‘100% not true.’
Reiterating the RNC’s position in an attempt to fend off any damaging repercussions, Spicer told Townhall,’100% untrue, and the New York Times knows.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

Ohio Teen Excited About His Older Unemployed Brother’s Return Home After College

Fact or Fiction?
GAHANNA, OH – Talking about how fun it will be to ‘hang out like old times,’ local 13-year-old Joey Watkins expressed excitement Thursday upon learning his older brother, who in the current job market has found no prospects for employment, has no choice but to move back home after college.
he eighth-grader was reportedly overjoyed by the news that his 22-year-old brother, Derek, will return to live in his parents’ house after his graduation from Ohio State University, where he has spent much of his senior year researching companies and applying for jobs and internships, but to no avail.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

Jeb Bush: “I Will Not Vote For Trump Or Hillary”

In case there is still confusion if there remains bad blood between the man who many said was the assured GOP nominee last summer and Donald Trump, the following Facebook entry by Jeb Bush, posted moments ago, should put any confusion to rest.
* * *
From Jeb Bush’s Facebook page:
I congratulate Donald Trump on securing his place as the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee. There is no doubt that he successfully tapped into the deep sense of anger and frustration so many Americans around the country rightfully feel today.
The tremendous anger of the current U. S. electorate – whether Republican, Democrat or independent – is a result of people fearful about the future, concerned with the direction of our country and tremendously frustrated by the abject failure and inability of leaders in Washington, D. C. to make anything better.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

Wall Street Is Falling Off A Cliff, And The Bottom Is A Long Way Down

For the past 50 or so years, the quickest way for a sharp young sociopath to get rich has been to join an investment bank or hedge fund. The former were riding a ‘regulatory capture’ gravy train that became ever-more-lucrative as new government agencies morphed into subsidiaries of Wall Street. Hedge funds, meanwhile, were surfing the wave of easy money that inevitably results from putting banks in charge of interest rates and government spending.
Said another way, when financial assets are being artificially inflated by excessive liquidity, it’s easy to make money by shuffling this ever-appreciating inventory back and forth, and to look very smart while doing so.
But those days are ending with a bang. Consider:
Mega-bank profits are collapsing
Virtually every major bank in every major country reported Q1 earnings ranging from disappointing to catastrophic. To take just one representative example, Deutsche Bank’s profit fell by 58%, and it is now shedding 35,000 workers in 10 countries while eliminating half its investment banking customers.
It’s like that everywhere. Even Goldman Sachs, whose former (and future) execs hold decision-making roles in virtually every Treasury and central bank, is hurting:

This post was published at DollarCollapse on MAY 6, 2016.

Gold Stocks Too Far Too Fast?

The gold-mining stocks have skyrocketed this year, radically outperforming every other sector. Smart contrarians who bought them low late last year and in January have seen their capital doubled, tripled, and even quadrupled! But such blistering gains raise the ominous specter of crippling overboughtness, conditions preceding major toppings. Have gold stocks come too far too fast to continue their epic run?
The magnitude of recent months’ gold-stock surge is simply stunning. Between mid-January and the end of April, this sector’s flagship HUI NYSE Arca Gold BUGS Index blasted 131.8% higher in merely 3.3 months! This was largely mirrored by the leading gold-stock ETF, the GDX VanEck Vectors Gold Miners ETF. GDX saw stupendous gains of 107.1% over this same span. Gold stocks have been on fire!
But naturally such fast gains have left this sector severely overbought by nearly every measure. That includes the moving-average convergence-divergence indicator, the distance of gold-stock prices above their 50-day moving averages, these same 50dmas’ gap over gold stocks’ 200dmas, and the lofty heights of gold-stock prices relative to their 200dmas. All these indicators also apply to gold-stock indexes and ETFs.
Any technician could easily make the case that gold stocks are positioned for an imminent collapse in light of their extremely-overbought technicals. In fact, that’s the only rational interpretation for analysts focusing exclusively on this sector’s current situation. But as always in the markets, broader context is absolutely essential. Making trading decisions without considering the bigger picture usually ends poorly.

This post was published at ZEAL LLC on May 6, 201.

Misreading the CoTs, Again

Nearly two months ago I published a video in which I discussed conventional CoT analysis and the mistake many investors might make assuming Gold and gold stocks would undergo a big correction. The fact is a bull market that follows a nasty bear usually stays very overbought throughout its first year and therefore sentiment indicators remain in bullish territory. As a result of the primary trend change, conventional CoT analysis fails and requires an adjustment. Today we look at the Gold and Silver CoT’s while harping on a few of the mistakes people are making.
The first mistake people are making (and I’ve seen this quite a bit recently) is painting the commercial traders as smart money. This completely mischaracterizes that group. Commercial hedgers are the users, producers or consumers of the commodity. They are using the futures market to hedge in some way. As Steve Saville writes in his explanation of the CoTs, the commercials usually do not bet on price direction. Generally speaking they tend to fade the trend while speculators drive or follow the trend. Risk certainly rises for bulls when speculators increase long positions aggressively and we should be aware of that. However, we should look beyond nominal figures to get a better reading of the degree of speculation.
The second mistake is looking at the CoT’s in only nominal terms and not as a percentage of open interest. The nominal net speculative position in Silver is at an all time high, which sounds scary. However, as a percentage of open interest the net speculative position is nowhere close to an all time high.

This post was published at GoldSeek on 6 May 2016.

Americans Unleash Epic Debt-Fuelled Spending Spree As Credit Card Debt Jumps Most On Record

While one of the recurring complaints about the US consumer has been the willingness to dig into their savings which recent matched the highest level since 2012, something unexpected was revealed today when the March Consumer Credit data showed that not only did total consumer credit soar by $29.7 billion, or almost double the $16 billion expected, and the highest in series history…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

MAY6/COMEX GOLD AND SILVER COMEX OI RISE TO MULTI YEAR HIGHS: GOLD:569,492/SILVER AT 202,893/ GOLD AND SILVER EXPLODE HIGHER ON WEAKER JOBS REPORT/HILLARY TO FACE FBI INTERVIEW IN TWO WEEKS: CBS

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen:
Gold: $1,292.90 up $21.50 (comex closing time)
Silver 17.51 UP 21 cents
In the access market 5:15 pm
Gold $1287.50
silver: 17.42
Let us have a look at the data for today.
At the gold comex today we had a GOOD delivery day, registering 50 notices for 5,000 ounces for gold, and for silver we had 2200 notices for 1,100,000 oz for the non active April delivery month.
Several months ago the comex had 303 tonnes of total gold. Today, the total inventory rests at 226.122 tonnes for a loss of 77 tonnes over that period.
In silver, the open interest rose by 1772 contracts up to 202,893 despite the fact that the price was silver was up by only 2 cents with respect to yesterday’s trading (and gold down). In ounces, the OI is still represented by just over 1 BILLLION oz i.e. .1.014 BILLION TO BE EXACT or 145% of annual global silver production (exRussia &ex China) We are now within spitting distance of all time highs for OI with respect to silver
In silver we had 220 notices served upon for 1,100,000 oz.
In gold, the total comex gold OI ROSE BY ANOTHER 1122 CONTRACTS UP to 569,492 contracts DESPITE THE FACT THAT THE PRICE OF GOLD WAS DOWN $1.90 with YESTERDAY’S TRADING(at comex closing). i would again suggest that comex officials are facing ‘a Houston, I have a problem’ situation.
First, here is an outline of what will be discussed tonight:

This post was published at Harvey Organ Blog on May 6, 2016.

“The High Yield Bond Rally Won’t Last” BofAML’s 9 Reasons To Sell Any Strength In Junk

BofAML’s Mike Cantopoulos’ distaste for corporate fundamentals, displeasure with the efficacy of QE and easy monetary policy on spurring growth and inflation, and concerns that a further deterioration in credit conditions will create deeper economic troubles not appreciated by many have left credit markets with poor default adjusted valuations and little room to absorb a negative shock. He highlights nine key reasons below why BofAML believes this rally won’t last (and in fact may have already seen its end).
As BofAML explains, we continue to hold this bearish view in the face of a market rally that has wiped out all the widening from December through February 11th. In fact, one could go so far as to say we are not only just as bearish as ever, but perhaps more so, as earnings disappoint and economic weakness appears to be broader based than we have seen since the recession, yet the Fed, in all likelihood, will likely be compelled to hike rates despite these problems. To these points, below we highlight the 9 key reasons we believe the rally won’t last (or may have already seen its end).

This post was published at Zero Hedge on 05/06/2016.

‘Market is on Edge’: US Commercial Real Estate Bubble Pops, San Francisco Braces for Brutal Dive

‘The bottom has not entirely fallen out of demand, though.’
Commercial real estate has experienced a dizzying price boom since the Financial Crisis. It goes in cycles. Rising rents and soaring property prices along with cheap credit drive up construction, which takes years from planning to completion, and suddenly all this capacity is coming on the market just as demand begins to sag…. That’s when the cycle turns south.
On a nationwide basis, the boom has been majestic. But now, after posting ‘nearly double-digit gains for each of the past few years,’ according to Green Street’s just released Commercial Property Price Index (CPPI) report, ‘property appreciation has come to a halt.’
The index was essentially unchanged in April from March – actually microscopically down for the third month in a row, after having soared 23% past its prior crazy-bubble peak of 2007.
While there is ‘no evidence’ that prices of Class A properties have fallen, prices of Class B properties ‘are probably lower than they were at the start of this year,’ the report explained.
And this is what the boom-and-bust cycle of commercial real estate looks like, according to the CPPI, which tracks the value of ‘institutional-quality’ apartment, industrial, mall, office, and strip-retail properties. Note how there are no ‘plateaus’ in these cycles:

This post was published at Wolf Street by Wolf Richter ‘ May 6, 2016.

Donald Trump Endorses Low Interest Rates, Earns Praise From The New York Times

Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump has made headlines with comments he made to CNBC on monetary policy and the debt.
Yesterday I had written an article praising Trump for past statements on the dangers of the Fed’s current low interest rate policy. Unfortunately, The Donald then went on to make a strong endorsement of the monetary status quo, indicating that his main criticism of Fed Chairman Janet Yellen was her political party:
I have nothing against Janet Yellen whatsoever. I don’t know her. She’s a very capable person. People that I know have a very high regard for her. But she’s not a Republican….
She’s a low-interest-rate person, she’s always been a low-interest-rate person. And I must be honest, I am a low-interest-rate person. If we raise interest rates, and if the dollar starts getting too strong, we’re going to have some very major problems.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on May 6, 2016.