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Ask Slashdot: What Is Your View On UFO Sightings?

Slashdot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 03:00
dryriver writes: UFOs sightings have been reported in the tens of thousands over the last decades. In the past, some have seen flying cigar-shaped craft (blimps?), some flying triangles, some more rounded-looking flying saucers. Often the apparent spacecraft does something improbable like standing completely still in the sky and then shooting off to somewhere at an incredible speed. Some sightings are just lights or light formations flying around or dancing around in the night sky -- which could be military aircraft like helicopters and F16s training at night. There seem to be people who genuinely see stuff that is hard to explain, people who fake UFO sightings, photos and videos for profit to keep the "UFO industry" of websites, radio shows and magazines afloat, and yet others that think a regular airplane flying at night with its lights on is a UFO. What is your view on all this? Are we being visited from outer space? Is it prototype aircraft that look like UFOs to the untrained eye? Was some 190 IQ inventor-prankster having fun with quadcopter drones with colored lights four decades before quadcopters became a thing (hey, tons of people have created fake crop-circles in the past)? Where do all these supposed UFO sightings and reports come from? Did events like the famous "Battle Of Los Angeles" actually happen? And do you find any UFO reports credible at all?

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Categories: Misc

Your Smartphone Is the Latest Excuse for Low Inflation

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:43

Here’s the latest bizarre excuse for low inflation:

Holiday shoppers with smartphones can retrieve instant price comparisons that make bargain hunting easier—and the Federal Reserve’s job tougher….Most Fed policy makers agree they should keep gradually raising short-term rates in the months ahead to prevent the buoyant U.S. economy from overheating. But some are hesitant because inflation remains puzzlingly weak, running below 2% for most of this year. Moving too quickly could stall growth.

….In a nod to the growing practice, Ms. Yellen said in September that increased competition created by online retailers “may have reduced price margins and restrained the ability of firms to raise prices in response to rising demand.” She said in October that online shopping “could be helping to hold down inflation in a persistent way in many countries.”

For most of the 20th century, inflation was low. Then, starting in the late 60s, it climbed steeply for about 15 years, peaking around 1980. Then it spent the next 15 years declining to its old rate. Here’s what it’s looked like since then:

Core inflation—the Fed’s preferred bellwether—has been dead flat for 20 years. It hasn’t been very noisy, either, staying tightly within a band of 1-2.5 percent. It’s maintained this level through recessions and expansions, through war and peace, and even during the tight labor market of the late 90s. For a while, it was globalization that was supposedly to blame. But even after the China shock had mostly passed, inflation stayed low. So then it was because of retiring boomers. Or maybe the Great Crash of 2008. Then came the subsequent expansion, and inflation still remained quiet. So then it was because even though unemployment was low, the labor market was too loose. But now the labor market is starting to genuinely tighten, and inflation is going nowhere. So we’re adding web-based comparison shopping to the list.

Come on. If web shopping has constrained the ability of companies to raise prices, you’d expect corporate profit margins to be down. But they aren’t:

Granted, this shows profit margins for all corporations, and web shopping only affects a subset of consumer products. Still, you’d expect to see something. Instead, starting around the time smartphones took off, what we see is higher margins. They’re now at their highest point in 50 years.

I’m not smart enough to know what’s going on. But when inflation has stayed flat so widely and for so long, it’s hardly credible that it’s the result of a bunch of factors that have coincidentally followed one after the other. There’s something more fundamental going on. And this something has been at work for at least 20 years, and probably more like 30.

I’ll toss out one possibility that I think gets too little attention in general. The late 60s and 70s, when the world truly left the gold standard and opened up financial markets, represented a massive financial sea change that neither governments nor central banks were prepared to deal with. Add in a couple of oil shocks and the global economy became unmoored. It took years for financial rules to adapt and for the major central banks to learn from experience what they had known only academically before. But then they learned. They’re nowhere near perfect, but ever since the late 80s they’ve been surprisingly good at dealing with recessions and expansions—and just generally keeping the economy on an even keel. The result is that inflation is roughly as quiet as it was for most of the 20th century until the mid-60s.

Feel free to leave your own guesses in comments.

Categories: Politics

AGR Manet is DOWN, 1513059786

AGR Manet - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:33
Categories: Misc

Late Night Side-Eye Open Thread — Trump to NASA: “To the MOON, Alice!”

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:06

I was too young for the Honeymooners, but I’ve read that in 1956, young Donald Trump was trying to buy friends with the lure of his parents’ still-novel rec-room television. So, yeah, hurrah for a new Space Age, but given Trump’s hostility to science in general, my first thought was of Trump shouting out Ralph Kramden’s (futile, bootless) threat… which is still enough of a popular catchphrase to have its own entry in the Urban Dictionary…

President Donald Trump signed Space Policy Directive 1 on Monday, directing NASA to return Americans to the surface of the moon and onward to Mars.

The order declares NASA must lead U.S. astronauts in “an innovative space exploration program.” The announcement continues the White House push to end dependence on Russia for manned launches, which began when the space shuttle program retired six years ago.

“It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use,” Trump said during the signing. “This time we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint. We will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars and, perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”

It has been 45 years to the day since Apollo 17 landed, the most recent mission to the moon…

Video of Trump’s full speech here:

“We are the leader and we’re going to stay the leader, and we’re going to increase it many fold,” Trump said in signing “Space Policy Directive 1” that establishes a foundation for a mission to the moon with an eye on going to Mars.

“This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars,” Trump said. “And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond.”

Back in June, China’s space official said the country was making “preliminary” preparations to send a man to the moon, the latest goal in China’s ambitious lunar exploration program.

Trump’s signing ceremony for the directive included former lunar astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Harrison Schmitt and current astronaut Peggy Whitson, whose 665 days in orbit is more time in space than any other American and any other woman worldwide…

“And space has so much to do with so many other applications, including a military application,” he said without elaboration.

In approving the new policy, Trump abandoned what had been a goal of his predecessor, Democrat Barack Obama, who in 2010 backed a plan to send humans to a near-earth asteroid.

NASA said initial funding for the new policy would be included in its budget request for fiscal year 2019…

Funding yesterday and funding tomorrow, but never funding today.

On the ‘job creation’ side, maybe O.J. Simpson can reprise his role

Categories: Politics

Buddha

Love quote of the day - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:03
"You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."
Categories: Misc

AeroGarden Bounty Elite Wi-Fi Kit

Woot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:00

All the fun of gardening, with none of that horrible outdoor stuff.

Take your love of plants and add it with your love of computers. Now multiply that by how often you walk into a room and immediately forget what you're doing there. Subtract your crippling fear of bees. Add your fondness for fresh herbs. What does all this equal? The AeroGarden Bounty Elite Wi-Fi with Gourmet Herb Seed Pod Kit, duh.
Categories: Misc

$5 Shipping Tuesday, December 12

Woot - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 02:00
DECEMBER 12th, PAY $5 ONCE FOR ALL YOUR SHIPPING NEEDS

Here's the deal:

1. You pay your $5 shipping once for your first purchase on December 12th, 2017.

2. All your shipping is FREE through the end of the day on December 12th. That's free standard shipping after your first order for anything except Wine.Woot and international Shirt.Woot orders through 11:59pm CST on Tuesday, December 12th, 2017. No matter how many times you buy. So come back multiple times a day, or multiple times per second.

3. Rejoice!

Categories: Misc

20171208

Baker-Watts - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:33
Categories: Misc

20171207

Baker-Watts - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:33
Categories: Misc

20171206

Baker-Watts - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:33
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20171205

Baker-Watts - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:33
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20171201

Baker-Watts - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 01:33
Categories: Misc

Fink is stellar as Blue Devils beat Explorers

Medina Gazette - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:36

HUDSON — Angela Fink drove to the hoop, grabbed rebounds in traffic and made fancy passes in half-court sets in the finest performance of her three-year varsity career.

Categories: Misc

Fink is stellar as Blue Devils beat Explorers

Medina Gazette - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:36
Brian Dulik
Categories: Misc

Fink is stellar as Blue Devils beat Explorers

Medina Gazette - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:36
Brian Dulik
Categories: Misc

Fink is stellar as Blue Devils beat Explorers

Medina Gazette - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:36
Brian Dulik
Categories: Misc

AGR Manet is DOWN, 1513052586

AGR Manet - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:33
Categories: Misc

Open Thread - Cartoon Of The Day

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:30
Open Thread - Cartoon Of The Day

Open thread below...


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Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With The Gap Band

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/12/2017 - 00:00

Without fail, every Monday morning I wake up and this song is stuck in my head.

What are you listening to tonight?


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Categories: Politics

Bank documentation suggests Apple Pay launch in Brazil is near

9to5Mac - Mon, 12/11/2017 - 23:50

Rumors of Apple Pay’s launch in Brazil have been circulating for the last year, but it looks as if we might be nearing a launch. iHelp BR reports that some Itaú Unibanco customers have started seeing early signs of the services launch in the country…

more…

Categories: Misc