Category Archives: Money

UK Millennials Suffer Worst Fall In Income Next To Greece

By: Ben Chu of The Independent

UK millennials have suffered the second-worst falls in their incomes of any of the dozen advanced economies surveyed by a think tank over the past decade.

In a new report, the Resolution Foundation calculates that average real hourly earnings for under-30s in Britain fell 13 per cent between 2007 and 2014.

Only Greece, where real earnings slumped by 25 per cent over the same period as the eurozone country plunged into depression, saw a worst performance for this age group among the dozen advanced economies Resolution analysed in the latest research from its Intergenerational Commission.

British millennials experienced bigger income falls than other crisis-hit southern eurozone states such as Portugal and Italy, where earnings fell 12 per cent and 6 per cent respectively.

Average incomes for Spanish millennials fell by only around 2 per cent.

Resolution also found that the gap between the pay performance of UK millennials and workers aged between 50 and 59 was particularly pronounced, with older UK workers seeing their pay fall by around half the extent of the younger group.

In Italy and France the declines were roughly in line. In Germany, Spain and Italy the older group of workers saw larger pay declines than millennials.

“The pay squeeze has been deeper in the UK than in most other places, and more focused on young people in particular,” said Resolution.

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To Give Or Not To Give 50% of Earth to Wildlife

By : Robin Mckie

The orangutan is one of our planet’s most distinctive and intelligent creatures. It has been observed using primitive tools, such as the branch of a tree, to hunt food, and is capable of complex social behaviour. Orangutans also played a special role in humanity’s own intellectual history when, in the 19th century, Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, co-developers of the theory of natural selection, used observations of them to hone their ideas about evolution.

But humanity has not repaid orangutans with kindness. The numbers of these distinctive, red-maned primates are now plummeting thanks to our destruction of their habitats and illegal hunting of the species. Last week, an international study revealed that its population in Borneo, the animal’s last main stronghold, now stands at between 70,000 and 100,000, less than half of what it was in 1995. “I expected to see a fairly steep decline, but I did not anticipate it would be this large,” said one of the study’s co-authors, Serge Wich of Liverpool John Moores University.

For good measure, conservationists say numbers are likely to fall by at least another 45,000 by 2050, thanks to the expansion of palm oil plantations, which are replacing their forest homes. One of Earth’s most spectacular creatures is heading towards oblivion, along with the vaquita dolphin, the Javan rhinoceros, the western lowland gorilla, the Amur leopard and many other species whose numbers are today declining dramatically. All of these are threatened with the fate that has already befallen the Tasmanian tiger, the dodo, the ivory-billed woodpecker and the baiji dolphin – victims of humanity’s urge to kill, exploit and cultivate.

As a result, scientists warn that humanity could soon be left increasingly isolated on a planet bereft of wildlife and inhabited only by ourselves plus domesticated animals and their parasites. This grim scenario will form the background to a key conference – Safeguarding Space for Nature and Securing Our Future – to be held in London on 27-28 February.

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Muller Indicted Over A Dozen Russian Nationals For Meddling

By: CHRIS SOMMERFELDT, DENIS SLATTERY of Daily News

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office has charged more than a dozen Russian nationals with violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with the 2016 election, the Department of Justice said on Friday.

A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia indicted 13 Russians and three Russian entities and charged them with trying to sway the election in favor of President Trump, according to court documents.

“The indictment alleges that the Russian conspirators want to promote discord in the United States and undermine public confidence in democracy,” deputy attorney general Rod Rosenstein said Friday. “We must not allow them to succeed.”

The indictment was sought through Mueller, who has been tasked with investigating Moscow’s efforts to interfere in the election and any possible ties to the Trump campaign.

“Defendants’ operations included supporting the presidential campaign of then-candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaging Hillary Clinton,” according to the indictment.

Trump, despite the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community, has repeatedly cast doubt on whether Russia attempted influence on the election.

But the efforts of the foreign “organization” in the indictment date to at least 2014.

“The defendants allegedly conducted what they called information warfare against the United States with the stated goal of spreading distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” Rosenstein said.

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Russians Find Clever Way To Remove Snow From Their Yards

By: Adam Robinson of the BBC

Posts on Facebook and Twitter have received thousands of likes, after disgruntled residents took to social media, saying that they tried spray-painting “Navalny” on the city’s deep snow out of frustration at the authorities’ slowness in removing them.

One user said the move prompted immediate reaction and that council workers removed the graffiti “within hours”.

Mr Navalny is Russia’s best-known critic of President Vladimir Putin, and state media never mention him by name. President Putin famously refuses to call Mr Navalny by his name, usually referring to him as “that person” when asked about him.

Moscow has seen huge snowdrifts pile this year, and has experienced some of the

heaviest snowfall in decades.

Tatyana Grigoryeva – a member of a local residents’ group in the city’s Nagorny district – says she was inspired by journalist Mikhail Kozyrev’s suggestion that residents write “Navalny” on unwanted snow if they could not get municipal workers to remove them.

She posted four pictures of Navalny’s name painted on snow, and later took video of two street cleaners scraping away one of the markings from a pavement. Her video has been viewed more than 47,000 times.

In some areas of the city, the snow was not removed, but Ms Grigoryeva said council workers were witnessed merely mixing up the snow to obscure Navalny’s name.

In a post on Facebook she said: “They’ve managed to just mix it up with their shovels. I’ll have to write it again.”

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Anonymous Website Targeting City Broadband Secretly Operated Bt Telecom

By: Kieren McCarthy of The Register

Cable biz Fidelity Communications has been forced to admit it was behind an astroturfing campaign against a city-run fiber network in America’s Midwest.

The campaign, titled Stop City-Funded Internet, started last month with a website and accompanying social media handles, and has been a persistent critic of efforts by West Plains, Missouri, to expand its homegrown broadband network to include more businesses and even residential customers.

Who exactly is behind the campaign has been the subject of intense interest with the campaign’s main website revealing only that it was funded by “a collection of fiscally conservative Missourians.”

However one enterprising local – videographer Isaac Protiva – was able to uncover the truth: cable company Fidelity Communications, which offers internet access in five states including Missouri, and boasts 115,000 customers. The ISP had paid a marketing outfit based in Arizona to carry out the campaign.

How did he figure it out? The marketing company screwed up when it named materials on stopcityfundedinternet.com. Specifically, two images on the site were spotted revealing Fidelity as a client. Incredibly, one was the site’s main header image, called Fidelity_SCFI_Website_V2.jpg. The second image was on a privacy page, and was hosted on a server called fidelity.dmwebtest.com. Talk about a smoking gun.

The server domain revealed the company behind the campaign was DM Web Dev Group, based in Scottsdale, Arizona, and owned by marketing veterans Martin Lakin and David Ammerman.

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Falcon Heavy Makes History

By: The BBC

The mammoth vehicle – the most powerful since the shuttle system – lifted clear of its pad without incident to soar high over the Atlantic Ocean.

It was billed as a risky test flight in advance of the lift-off.

The SpaceX CEO said the challenges of developing the new rocket meant the chances of a successful first outing might be only 50-50.

“I had this image of just a giant explosion on the pad, a wheel bouncing down the road. But fortunately that’s not what happened,” he told reporters after the event.

With this debut, the Falcon Heavy aims to become the most capable launch vehicle available.

It is designed to deliver a maximum payload to low-Earth orbit of 64 tonnes – the equivalent of putting five London double-decker buses in space.

Such performance is slightly more than double that of the world’s next most powerful rocket, the Delta IV Heavy – but at one third of the cost, says Mr Musk.

For this experimental and uncertain mission, however, he decided on a much smaller and whimsical payload – his old cherry-red Tesla sports car.

A space-suited mannequin was strapped in the driver’s seat, and the radio set to play David Bowie’s classic hit Space Oddity on a loop.

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Positive Perspective Of The Stock Market Tumble

By: Jay Zagorski of The Conversation

Stocks, which only recently were practically hitting a new record every other day, suddenly seem to be in free fall.

Global stock markets plunged on Feb. 5, continuing the already precipitous decline from the week before. The Dow Jones industrial average, one of the most widely followed indexes, fell by almost 1,200 points, a 4.6 percent loss and the biggest point decline on record. Put another way, the world’s 500 richest people lost about US$114 billion in a single day.

Since the Dow’s record peak of 26,617 on Jan. 26, the index has fallen almost 9 percent. This brings it close to what is known as a “correction,” which is often described as a fall of 10 percent. Corrections are simply a large enough fall in stock prices to get some people to believe the market’s upward trajectory has stopped. We’ll be in a “bear” market if losses reach 20 percent.

What does this mean for investors and the rest of us? In my view, there are three important ideas to keep in mind as we assess the impact of a plunging stock market on the economy and our wallets.

Don’t panic

First, the stock market often makes very dramatic moves in a short period of time, and extreme volatility like Monday’s occasionally occurs. One of the most famous market plunges occurred in 1929, at the start of the Great Depression.

On Oct. 25 1929, a Friday, the Dow Jones industrial average closed at 301. The following Monday, dubbed “Black Monday” in trading lore, the Dow closed at 260, a drop of 13.5 percent. Then the next day, called “Black Tuesday,” the Dow fell to 230 points, a loss of 11.7 percent.

People were in a panic after only two days of steep losses. On Wednesday, which has no moniker, the Dow reversed course and rose up to 259. This rise almost entirely wiped out the previous day’s fall.

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Thwarting Climate Change Denial Will Require More Involvement From The People

By: Dana Nuccitelli of The Guardian

Climate myths are often contradictory – it’s not warming, though it’s warming because of the sun, and really it’s all just an ocean cycle – but they all seem to share one thing in common: logical fallacies and reasoning errors.

John Cook, Peter Ellerton, and David Kinkead have just published a paper in Environmental Research Letters in which they examined 42 common climate myths and found that every single one demonstrates fallacious reasoning. For example, the authors made a video breaking down the logical flaws in the myth ‘climate changed naturally in the past so current climate change is natural.’

Beating myths with critical thinking

Cook has previously published research on using ‘misconception-based learning’ to dislodge climate myths from peoples’ brains and replace them with facts, and beating denial by inoculating people against misinformers’ tricks. The idea is that when people are faced with a myth and a competing fact, the fact will more easily win out if the fallacy underpinning the myth is revealed. In fact, these concepts of misconception-based learning and inoculation against myths were the basis of the free online Denial101x course developed by Cook and colleagues.

The new paper published today suggests an even more proactive approach to defeating myths. If people can learn to implement a simple six-step critical thinking process, they’ll be able to evaluate whether climate-related claims are valid.

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Ever Wanted To Pay Someone To Live Your Life, Heard of ‘ Human Uber / Chameleon Mask’

By: Andrew Griffin

A new “human Uber” could let you pay someone to live your life for you.

Japanese researcher Jun Rekimoto has developed a special screen that can be strapped to a person’s face and allow them to live on your behalf. By dressing up as you and having your face shown where theirs usually is, you’ll be able to pay someone to go about your life instead.

The technology is aimed at allowing someone – a “surrogate” – to live your life for you, wearing your clothes and behaving on your instruction. You, on the other hand, would be able to lounge at home, watching events through your laptop and using its camera to communicate with people your surrogate meets.

“To do this, a surrogate user wears a mask-shaped display that shows a remote user’s live face, and a voice channel transmits a remote user’s voice,” a page describing the tool, known as ChameleonMask, reads. “A surrogate user mimics a remote user by following the remote user’s directions.

“This design is based on our hypothesis assuming physical and social telepresence can be embodied by such a surrogate human who imitates the remote user.”

“This design is based on our hypothesis assuming physical and social telepresence can be embodied by such a surrogate human who imitates the remote user.”

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Scientist Figure Solar Panel Problem Winning Another Battle Over Coal

By: CleanTechnica

Remember back when plastic was a new and exciting thing? That’s more or less where we are with that other p-word, perovskites. Legions of scientists around the world have been trying to tease a durable solar cell out of this optically-promising but fussy material, and it looks like a team from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory has put its finger on the solution.

Did we mention that perovskites are cheap and could be manufactured at high volume, too? Until recently natural gas was the main driver pushing coal out of the power generation business, but renewable energy is also becoming a force to be reckoned with, and its influence will grow stronger as the cost of photovoltaic modules continues to drop.

Another Perovskite Solar Cell Breakthrough

Perovskite is a natural occurring mineral with good optical properties, and its crystalline structure can be replicated with relative ease. NREL, for one, is a huge fan of synthetic perovskites for the low cost solar cells of the future, but the problem is that they deteriorate quickly when exposed to ambient air.

That’s quite an Achilles heel, right?

In the latest perovskite development, the NREL team seems to have solved that little thing about air. Here’s the teaser from the lab:

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) created an environmentally stable, high-efficiency perovskite solar cell, bringing the emerging technology a step closer to commercial deployment.

Do tell! The research team successfully tested a perovskite solar cell in ambient conditions without protection for 1,000 hours, and it retained 94% of its conversion efficiency.

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