Two CA Professors Say Farmers’ Markets Racist For Normalizing “Habits Of White People”

Two California Professors claim that farmers markets racist “white spaces” because they promote “gentrification” in poor neighborhoods where the “habits of white people are normalized.”
This, according to a new book by San Diego State University geography professors Pascale Joassart-Marcelli and Fernando J. Bosco entitled “Just Green Enough,” an environmental anthology focusing on urban development.
‘Farmers’ markets are often white spaces where the food consumption habits of white people are normalized,’ the SDSU professors write, according to Campus Reform.
[F]armers’ markets are ‘exclusionary’ since locals may not be able to ‘afford the food and/or feel excluded from these new spaces.’

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

New “Deep Learning” Hacking Technique Is 99.5% Effective Cracking Into Android Smart Phones

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore have developed a “deep-learning” for cracking into smart phones running the Android OS which has a “99.5 percent” effective rate after only three attempts, according to a new study reported by the Daily Mail.
The method uses an algorithm to reveal a person’s passcode using the phone’s six built-in sensors, which analyzes the unique tilt of the phone and how much light is being blocked while a person enters their four-digit pin.
Co-author of the study Dr Shivam Bhasin from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) said: ‘When you hold your phone and key in the PIN, the way the phone moves when you press 1, 5, or 9, is very different.
‘Likewise, pressing 1 with your right thumb will block more light than if you pressed 9.’ –Daily Mail
Researchers developed a custom Android application which analyzes data from a phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer, proximity sensor, barometer and ambient light sensor – in a method which can be used to guess all 10,000 possible combinations of four-digit PINs.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Fri, 12/29/2017 –.

Five Things Professors Actually Said In 2017

Via Campus Reform,
Most Americans expect college professors to be beacons of knowledge and wisdom, or at least to exercise more maturity than their teenage students.
***
Every year, however, Campus Reform comes across professors who unashamedly make outrageous, preposterous, and downright absurd remarks in their classrooms and on social media, denigrating conservatives and their viewpoints.
In 2017, President Trump’s first year in the Oval Office brought academic rage to new heights as professors frequently blasted the Commander-in-Chief and berated his voters, traditional conservatives, and anyone who does not embrace progressivism.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Wed, 12/27/2017.

The Fed Plays the Economy Like an Accordion

We talk a lot about how central banks serve as the primary force driving the business cycle. When a recession hits, central banks like the Federal Reserve drive interest rates down and launch quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. Once the recovery takes hold, the Fed tightens its monetary policy, raising interest rates and ending QE. When the recovery appears to be in full swing, the central bank shrinks its balance sheet. This sparks the next recession and the cycle repeats itself.
This is a layman’s explanation of the business cycle. But how do the maneuverings of central banks actually impact the economy? How does this work?
The Yield Curve Accordion Theory is one way to visually grasp exactly what the Fed and other central banks are doing. Westminster College assistant professor of economics Hal W. Snarr explained this theory in a recent Mises Wire article.
The yield curve (a plot of interest rates versus the maturities of securities of equal credit quality) is a handy economic and investment tool. It generally slopes upward because investors expect higher returns when their money is tied up for long periods. When the economy is growing robustly, it tends to steepen as more firms break ground on long-term investment projects. For example, firms may decide to build new factories when the economy is rosy. Since these projects take years to complete, firms issue long-term bonds to finance the construction. This increases the supply of long-term bonds along downward-sloping demand, which pushes long-term bond prices down and yields up. The black dots along the black line in the figure below gives the 2004 yield curve. It slopes upward because a robust recovery was underway.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

In August 1914, Europe’s major powers threw themselves into war with gleeful abandon. Germany, a rising power with vast aspirations, plowed across Belgium, seeking to checkmate France quickly before Russia could mobilize, thereby averting the prospect of a two-front war. Thousands of young Germans, anticipating a six-week conflict, boarded troop trains singing the optimistic refrain: ‘Ausflug nach Paris. Auf Widersehen auf dem Boulevard.’ (‘Excursion to Paris. See you again on the Boulevard.’)
The French were eager to avenge the loss of Alsace and Lorraine to Germany in 1870. The British government, leery of Germany’s growing power, mobilized hundreds of thousands of young men to ‘teach the Hun a lesson.’ Across the continent, writes British historian Simon Rees, ‘millions of servicemen, reservists and volunteers … rushed enthusiastically to the banners of war…. The atmosphere was one of holiday rather than conflict.’
Each side expected to be victorious by Christmas. But as December dawned, the antagonists found themselves mired along the Western Front – a static line of trenches running for hundreds of miles through France and Belgium. At some points along the Front, combatants were separated by less than 100 feet. Their crude redoubts were little more than large ditches scooped out of miry, whitish-gray soil. Ill-equipped for winter, soldiers slogged through brackish water that was too cold for human comfort, but too warm to freeze.
The unclaimed territory designated No Man’s Land was littered with the awful residue of war – expended ammunition and the lifeless bodies of those on whom the ammunition had been spent. The mortal remains of many slain soldiers could be found grotesquely woven into barbed wire fences. Villages and homes lay in ruins. Abandoned churches had been appropriated for use as military bases.

This post was published at Mises Canada on DECEMBER 27, 2017.

Feminist Professors Slam Selfies For “Perpetuating Classic Gender Roles”

A group of feminist professors recently discovered that Instagram selfies taken by women in college can reinforce ‘traditional gender roles.’
In a study led by Mardi Schmeichel, a University of Georgia (UGA) professor specializing in ‘feminist theory,’ a team of professors analyzed 233 selfies that were posted in 2013 within 24 hours of the first UGA football home game of the semester.
Schmeichel and her team analyzed these selfies to see if they represented ‘the idealized symbol of the southern lady,’ which they note is an aesthetic trope that ‘has had significant and enduring consequences on notions of femininity in the South.’
This symbol of the southern lady, they argue, is typified by students’ formal wear, soft and flowy dresses, a significant amount of jewelry, and clothes that emphasize ‘feminine curves without revealing what might be considered ‘too much’ skin.’
Bright red lipstick and white teeth are also considered emblematic of this southern aesthetic, Schmeichel argues.
After analyzing selfies posted in the time surrounding the first 2013 UGA home game, Schmeichel found that 25 percent of women who posted photos embody this harmful aesthetic.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Consolidating Walter Block’s Scattered Legacy

The all-time record for the publication of peer-reviewed scholarly economics articles was held by the late Harry Johnson, who died in 1977. He published 526 articles, in addition to 41 books and pamphlets. He died at age 53. I doubt that this record will ever be broken by somebody age 53.
My friend Walter Block, age 76, has now beaten Johnson’s record: 528. He publishes something in the range of 25 articles a year. You can read about him on Wikipedia.
He now faces a major career decision. I have been reminding him of this for several years. His enormous legacy is scattered across academia. There are a lot of economics journals, most of them obscure, and he has at least one article in most of the obscure ones. The articles are not all online.
Every once in a while, like maybe every two days, he answers a letter submitted by one of his acolytes. They are published in Lew Rockwell.com’s blog section. Following the tradition of fans of the Grateful Dead, who were known as Deadheads, these acolytes have become known as Blockheads. They are pretty sharp students. They want him to comment on this or that topic. He comments on each topic by listing at least a dozen articles that he has written on the topic. There is no way that anybody else could have found all of these articles.
A CLEARING HOUSE SITE
He needs to create a site that gives people access to all of these articles. He needs to get permission from all of the publishers to allow him to provide a PDF of his articles that were published in their specific journals. I think most publishers would grant this permission. It would increase traffic to their websites. It would be to their advantage to do this. Since they are in the field of economics, they understand economic advantage.
The site must have a search engine that lets people search for a term or phrase to pull up all the articles relating to this term or phrase. I have such a search engine on my website.

This post was published at Gary North on December 26, 2017.

A Natural Experiment For Philadelphia’s Soda Tax

The city of Philadelphia’s controversial soda tax is providing a lot of material for serious scientists to evaluate the effects of arbitrarily imposing a tax on the distribution of a range of naturally and artificially-sweetened beverages. Since we’re near the end of the tax’s first year of being in effect, we thought we’d focus upon one of the more interesting findings to date.
Consumers are primarily the ones paying the tax
Thanks to the quirks of geography and development, some parts of the terminals at Philadephia’s international airport fall within Philadelphia’s city limits while other parts do not, which means that Philadelphia’s Beverage Tax is imposed in some parts of the airport while not in others. Cornell University’s John Cawley recognized that situation would make for a natural experiment for assessing some of the impact of the tax, where they collected data for soda sales at the airport in the period of December 2016 through February 2017, which provides a window into how both prices and sales changed as the tax went into effect on 1 Janaury 2017. Here’s a summary of the research’s findings:
The research, co-written with Barton Willage, a doctoral candidate in economics, and David Frisvold of the University of Iowa, appeared Oct. 25 in JAMA: The Journal of the American Medical Association.
Philadelphia’s tax of 1.5 cents per ounce on sugar-sweetened beverages is one of several passed by cities throughout the United States. The goal is to increase prices and dissuade people from drinking soda to benefit their health. These taxes have been controversial; Cook County, Illinois, recently repealed its tax, which had only been in place a few months.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 26, 2017.

Millennials & Marxism

Authored by Robert Gore via Straight Line Logic blog,
Children Learn What They’re Taught Many millennials embrace Marxism. So do their parents and grandparents…
***
From the millennials’ abilities will supposedly flow the wherewithal to fund ‘needs’: their elders’ entitlements, debt, and ever-expanding blob of a government. Horror of horrors, polls and studies indicate that many millennials are embracing Marxism: they want somebody to fund their ‘needs’! Where did they learn this nonsense?
It must be those left-wing, snowflake sanctuary, social justice warrior haven, gender-bending colleges and their washed up Marxist professors.

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 21, 2017.

Expand Tax Breaks to Expand Education

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is working its way through both chambers in an attempt to make it onto President Trump’s desk before Christmas. One amendment added by Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) has some advocates of the school choice movement very enthusiastic while critics say it’s a symbolic gesture unlikely to have much of an impact.
The amendment will expand the use of 529 plans that currently allow families to save money using after tax dollars without having to pay taxes on the accumulated amount (principal and interest) when the savings are used to pay for qualified higher education expenses. Specifically, 529s allow savers and investors to save for education purposes because income gained through these accounts are subject to less taxation. Specifically, 529’s help investors better avoid dividend and capital gains taxes which can be as high as 28 percent. The plans also help taxpayers avoid income taxes on interest earned through the accounts.
So far, 529s have only been legal for use in higher education expenses. Cruz’s amendment, however, would expand the accounts to include k-12 expenses such as private and religious schools, homeschooling materials, online education courses, as well as tutoring for students with developmental disabilities for amounts up to $10,000 per year.
In addition to expanding the use of the savings account, the amendment also includes language allowing families to open the 529 plans at the moment of the child’s conception as opposed to their birth, thus expanding the time during which funds can be accumulated.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on December 21, 2017.

How That $1.4 Trillion In Repatriated Cash Might Result In U.S. Job Losses, Not Gains

Moody’s estimates that there is roughly $1.4 trillion dollars belonging to U. S. corporations that has been building up in foreign bank accounts for years now to avoid the 35% corporate tax that would be levied on them if they were brought back to the U. S. Of course, getting that $1.4 trillion back to the U. S. has been a critical component of the Trump administration’s tax reform bill as Gary Cohn and Steve Mnuchin have repeatedly argued that the money would be put to good use building factories and creating jobs for American workers.
That said, if history, math and logic are any guide, then the overwhelming majority of that money would be promptly returned to shareholders via stock buybacks and dividends immediately upon hitting U. S. shores. In fact, as University of Chicago law professor Dhammika Dharmapala told the Wall Street Journal, when a similar tax holiday was enacted in 2004 roughly $0.94 of every $1.00 was spent on buyback and dividends…something Gary Cohn apparently found out for the first time via a recent impromptu survey that yielded some ‘surprising’ results, if only to him…

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Dec 19, 2017.

Confidence, and What Comes With It

There is a strong positive feedback mechanism involving consumer sentiment and the economy. As conditions get better, people get more confident, which causes them to spend more, so companies hire more, which makes people more confident….
That all works until it doesn’t, and then the positive feedback goes the other way, making people get less confident as they see the economy slowing, making them spend less money, which causes layoffs, which makes people less confident….
The University of Michigan’ Survey of Consumers Index of Consumer Sentiment hit 100.7 in October 2017, its highest reading since January 2004. It has backed off just a little bit since that October reading, but is still at a very high level, showing that consumers are feeling pretty confident.
This week’s chart shows the relationship of that University of Michigan number and the U-3 unemployment rate. There is an interesting lag in the unemployment numbers, and that is highlighted with the 10-month time offset employed in the chart above. I want to emphasize that the consumer sentiment data plot is inverted in that chart so that we can better see the correlation to unemployment.

This post was published at FinancialSense on 12/15/2017.

Fun on Friday: Kids These Days

The University of Kentucky plans to blow up part of my youth.
Earlier this week, the UK Board of Trustees approved a plan to demolish the Kirwan Blanding dorm complex, including two 23-story residential towers. Apparently, kids aren’t willing to live two to a cell and share communal showers anymore. According to a story in the Lexington Herald-Leader, ‘those icons can no longer provide the housing spaces that students desire, so they are being demolished.’
They are icons. The towers are some 50 years old. They are campus landmarks. But like the students who lived there in ages gone by, they are old.
I went to UK. I never lived in the dorms, but I spent a lot of time there. It makes me sad that future generations will no longer experience the joys of cramming 10 people into a space no bigger than a cracker box, will never know the pleasure of pennying your buddy’s door shut, will never know dorm life as it was.
Kids these days want to live in luxury.
‘Ninety-three percent of our freshman have never shared a room, so the demand just isn’t there,’ UK’s housing project implementation director Penny Cox told the Herald. ‘There are very few students who want to live in those kinds of buildings (at Kirwan Blanding).’
And what the kids want, by-God the kids get.

This post was published at Schiffgold on DECEMBER 15, 2017.

A Word of Thanks, Lew

Many Mises.org readers know that Lew Rockwell, founder of the Mises Institute and quiet benefactor to countless individuals in libertarian circles over the decades, continues to recover from a recent back injury. While the episode has not quelled his enthusiasm for liberty, recovery is no picnic.
Apparently medicine remains in the Dark Ages when it comes to backs, especially lower backs. Some treatments are sketchy and unreliable, cortisone injections provide only fleeting benefit, pain management is fraught with nausea and other nasty side effects, and surgical options portend Armageddon. All that said, Lew is in great hands with innovators at Emory University (yes, xenophobes, we have wonderful doctors down South) and feeling much better. A procedure performed earlier this week appears to have yielded tremendous benefit, and we expect Lew back at 100% very soon.
My point in writing this is twofold: first, to update friends and supporters of the Institute on Lew’s progress, and second to remind all of us of the tremendous debt of gratitude we owe him.
Let me risk Lew’s wrath by sharing a few personal details about him.
Few people know that his much older brother was killed as a young pilot during World War II – by friendly fire. The family never fully recovered, of course, and the event instilled a deep antiwar sentiment in Lew as a boy even though he could not fully grasp the depth of the tragedy and his parents’ grief. And while he grew up as a Taft and later a Goldwater conservative, Lew soured on the GOP during the Nixon era and dismissed it as a hopeless and even malevolent force.

This post was published at Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12/14/2017.