http://www.zerohedge.com/fullrss2.xml/news/italy-miss-gdp-forecast-sees-sub-1-gdp-growth/%2A%7CUNSUB%7C%2A en Another Crypto Milestone: Japanese Company Offers To Pay Employees In Bitcoin http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/another-crypto-milestone-japanese-company-offers-pay-employees-bitcoin <p>Less than a year after Japan legalized bitcoin as <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-09/will-japans-declaration-bitcoin-legal-tender-accelerate-cryptocurrency-mainstream-ad">legal tender,</a> part of the country&rsquo;s effort pioneering effort to develop a comprehensive regulatory framework for incorporating - and regulating - digital currencies, one Japanese company is offering employees the option to be paid in bitcoin.</p> <p>Because what employee wouldn&rsquo;t jump at the opportunity to see their weekly paycheck fluctuate by 30% or more. Though given the digital currency&rsquo;s staggering appreciation so far this year, we imagine most of the company&rsquo;s workers will instead see it as an opportunity to lock in a raise every week.</p> <p>The company, Internet service provider GMO Internet, <strong>plans to offer workers up to 100,000 yen (about $890) per month in the digital currency, </strong>according to<a href="https://www.rt.com/business/413298-japan-company-bitcoin-salaries/"> Russia Today.</a></p> <p>&quot;Employees can receive salaries in bitcoin if they want to. We hope to improve our own literacy of virtual currency by actually using it,&quot; company spokeswoman Harumi Ishii said.</p> <p><strong>The company said the offer would be available to nearly 4,000 of its domestically-based employees.</strong> As a further enticement, <strong>the workers will reportedly get <u>an extra 10% of their salary</u> </strong>if they choose to receive it in digital currency.</p> <p>This detail certainly piqued our interest. Bitcoin is, of course, tremendously volatile. <strong>But for the past 18 months, that trend has been mostly one-directional (which isn&rsquo;t to say there haven&rsquo;t been many significant downturns).</strong></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.15bitcoin_1.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.15bitcoin_1_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 291px;" /></a></p> <p>While the company<strong> has depicted itself as a bitcoin evangelizer, offering employees a 10% bonus</strong> - a significant sum spread across 4,000 employers - seems suspiciously generous.</p> <p>The company said it&rsquo;s interested in promoting bitcoin after joining a trading and exchange business in May and is planning to launch a new cryptocurrency mining operation next year.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will operate a next-generation mining center utilizing renewable energy and cutting-edge semiconductor chips in Northern Europe,&rdquo; a representative for GMO said, according to <a href="https://www.rt.com/business/413298-japan-company-bitcoin-salaries/">Russia Today.</a></p> <p>The firm, which is headquartered in Tokyo, operates over 60 companies in 10 countries. Given the group&rsquo;s size and financial power, the bitcoin salary initiative may potentially boost the mainstream adoption of similar practices worldwide.</p> <p>While many skeptics argued that bitcoin would never work as a currency (indeed, transactions can sometimes take hours to clear). Segwit 2x, the bitcoin software hard fork that was intended to relieve some of the strain on the bitcoin network, was proposed specifically to remedy this problem.</p> <p>Earlier this week, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-13/it-starts-miami-condo-owner-demands-be-paid-exclusively-bitcoin">we highlighted</a> a listing on real-estate site Redfin.com where the owner of a Miami condo specified that he would only accept payment for the property in bitcoin. Redfin said it was the first time it has observed such a demand on its platform, though twitter users quickly pointed out other examples dating back to 2013.</p> <p>Given the digital currency&rsquo;s performance this year, bitcoin has firmly broken into the mainstream. And with the Cboe having launched its new bitcoin futures products, firms like GMO will find it easier to hedge their positions. CME Group will launch a suite of similar products next week.</p> <p>Indeed, two years ago, the notion that a mainstream company would offer employees the option to be paid in bitcoin was almost unthinkable.</p> <p>But barring a major crash, we imagine this trend will continue.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="486" height="283" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.12.15bitcoin_0.JPG?1513369517" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/another-crypto-milestone-japanese-company-offers-pay-employees-bitcoin#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin BitPay Business CBOE Cryptocurrencies Currency Economics of bitcoin Finance GMO Internet ISP Japan Money Northern Europe SegWit semiconductor chips Twitter Twitter Virtual currency Yen Sat, 16 Dec 2017 03:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609251 at http://www.zerohedge.com Iran Joins EAEU - 45 Years Of US Foreign Policy Down The Drain http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/iran-joins-eaeu-45-years-us-foreign-policy-down-drain <p><a href="https://tomluongo.me/2017/12/15/iran-to-join-eaeu-45-years-of-foreign-policy-down-the-drain/"><em>Authored by Tom Luongo,</em></a></p> <p><strong>Iran is joining the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). </strong>By early next year, February by&nbsp;<a href="http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/12/13/545454/Iran-to-seal-deal-with-Russialed-trade-bloc-soon-" rel="nofollow noopener"><strong><em>this account</em></strong></a>, Iran will join the five founding members of the Union and open the door for Turkey to do so later in 2018.</p> <p>Between this and the end of the war in Syria, <strong>it&rsquo;s not hard to declare the Brzezinski Doctrine of U.S.-led Central Asian chaos as gasping its last breaths.</strong></p> <p>Iran finally joining the EAEU is a response to a number of factors, the most important of which is the continued belligerence by the U.S. Expanded economic sanctions on Iran and the EAEU&rsquo;s leader Russia has created the need for greater coordination of economic and foreign policy objectives between them.</p> <p><strong>And it is creating the new realities in the region that will reshape the word for the next hundred years.</strong></p> <h2><u>The Nuclear Gambit</u></h2> <p>In the dying days of the Obama administration it looked like the goal was to placate Iran to stop its pivot towards Russia and China. I believe that was the driving force behind Obama&rsquo;s negotiating the controversial nuclear deal.</p> <p>In effect, Obama tried to trade unfreezing Iran&rsquo;s hundreds of billions in assets held in Western banks for Iran to ignore our atomization of Syria and the creation of a complete mess there.</p> <p>When you stop to think about it like that how venal are we? After putting Iran under economic lockdown, having frozen its accounts, barring them from interbank communication with customers (SWIFT removal), inducing hyperinflation to sow regime change they would agree to allowing its ally, Syria, to be handed over to Wahabist animals.</p> <p>In exchange they would repudiate Russisa and be thankful for the opportunity to get their money back by signing a deal which forbade them from obtaining nuclear weapons?</p> <p><strong>Such is the &lsquo;logic&rsquo; of the mental midgets running our foreign policy under Obama.</strong></p> <p>So, now, having assisted Russia and the Syrian army in defeating ISIS Iran is making the smart move by further integrating its economy in need of diversification and investment by joining an economic union which should align all of Central Asia&rsquo;s interests along a similar path.</p> <p><strong>Chaos no longer. Zbigniew Brzezinski isn&rsquo;t just dead, his strategy is as well.</strong></p> <p>Left to the likes of Obama, Hillary Clinton, John McCain and the dimbulbs of the Bush the Lesser administration before them, these buffoons were outplayed at every turn by Vladimir Putin, Chinese Premier Xi Jinping and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.</p> <p>And the world will soon be a better place for it.</p> <h2><u>The Status Whoa!</u></h2> <p><u><em><strong>Everything about the status quo of the last thirty years is changing.</strong></em></u> Syria has made it clear to everyone that the U.S. is no longer infallible. In fact, it is close to incompetent in both military and diplomatic efficacy.</p> <p>The Russian intervention exposed the real roots of the conflict as well as the lengths to which our leadership would lie, cheat and steal to achieve its chaotic regional goals. President Trump is changing the direction of this ship of state, but it is a slow process being fought at every level by those embedded in departments up and down the bureaucracy.</p> <p><strong>That said, Iran&rsquo;s entry into the EAEU as a full member will break open the floodgates of new members into it. Russia has been courting everyone around the region as the EAEU members work on the rules and build the organization.</strong></p> <p>Adding Iran should see the union grow quickly and help facilitate China&rsquo;s Belt and Road Initiative projects get completed.</p> <p>Taking that one-step further, the bigger picture comes into focus with the establishment of the New Development Bank to challenge the U.S.-led Asian Development Bank, to fund infrastructure projects.</p> <p>With the flurry of big projects announced recently, including the new version of the IPI &ndash; Iran/Pakistan/India &ndash; gas pipeline this announcement isn&rsquo;t so much a diplomatic coup for Putin and Russia but rather a fait accompli.</p> <p><em><strong>It was always a matter of when not if Iran would join the EAEU. And with it on board, countries like India, Pakistan and Turkey can join and know that they have a level playing field on which to trade which will dampen down animosities and lingering disputes.</strong></em></p> <h2><u>Peak U.S.</u></h2> <p>As Federico Pieraccini points out this morning at&nbsp;<a href="https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/12/13/trump-netanyahu-mohammad-bin-salman-destroyers-neoliberal-world-order.html" rel="nofollow noopener"><strong><em>Strategic Culture Foundation</em></strong></a>, even the tensions between India and China have calmed down as it becomes obvious to all and sundry that the <strong>U.S. is simply neither willing under Trump nor able to maintain its dominance over central Asia anymore.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In this sense, the lack of interest from the Trump administration in certain areas of the globe is emblematic. While the chemistry between Trump and Modi appears to be good, the tensions between India and China, heightened by border disputes, seems to have nevertheless dissolved. Following on from the failure of the neocons to divide Russia and China, even the border tensions between India and China seem to be now dissipating. In addition, in Ukraine, even the decision to send lethal weapons to Kiev has been downplayed, and the country now faces a counter-coup led by Saakashvili (yes, him again). Ukraine is a country in a mess, experiencing first-hand the consequences of an evil Atlanticist posture with its vicious anti-Russia policies.</p> </blockquote> <p>Pieraccini&rsquo;s argument is the Trump is a mix of ineptitude and pragmatism when it comes to foreign policy. And that mix has led to the current state of affairs, where the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia are flailing about trying to remain relevant.</p> <p>I won&rsquo;t go nearly that far, as those countries all still have a powerful hand of cards to play, if only to stabilize most of what they currently have. And they will play those cards to the hilt in the creation of something approaching peace.</p> <p><strong>But, Iran is charting a new path, turning away from the open wounds in the West and towards the opportunities that lie all about them in every other direction. </strong>As I&rsquo;ve been saying recently, the framework for a Grand Bargain in the Middle East is possible. And Iran joining the EAEU is a strong indicator that it wants to join the larger world economy as a trustworthy actor.</p> <p>Putin has become the de facto negotiator for those allied against Israel and Trump is stepping up to do so for Israel. <strong>Once that deal is in place and Trump agrees to remove U.S. military presence in most of the region, then we&rsquo;ll begin to see what the world can look like without manufactured conflict.</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="339" height="191" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171215_wsj.jpg?1513364405" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/iran-joins-eaeu-45-years-us-foreign-policy-down-drain#comments Asian Development Bank Central Asia China Donald Trump Economic integration Economy Economy of Armenia Eurasian Economic Union Eurasian Economic Union Foreign relations of Iran Hyperinflation India International relations Iran Israel John McCain Lesser administration Middle East Middle East Neocons Obama Administration Obama administration Politics Politics Presidency of Barack Obama Presidency of Donald Trump Saudi Arabia Strategic Culture Foundation SWIFT Syrian army Trump Administration Turkey Ukraine Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin Zbigniew Brzezinski Sat, 16 Dec 2017 03:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609245 at http://www.zerohedge.com Uber Cuts Ambulance Usage And Health Care Costs Across 766 US Cities http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/uber-cuts-ambulance-usage-and-health-care-costs-across-766-us-cities <p>In recent months, it seems like there&rsquo;s been nothing but bad news for Uber, like having its operating licence <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-09-22/london-unexpectedly-revokes-ubers-operating-license">revoked</a> in London (&ldquo;not fit and proper&rdquo;), concealing a <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-21/uber-admits-it-hid-57-million-users-hacked-paid-keep-quiet">massive cyber-attack</a>, <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-12/uber-price-gouges-millennial-passenger-over-14000-5-mile-ride">price gauging</a> a passenger $14,000 for a 5-mile ride and <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-29/uber-reports-massive-15-billion-3q-loss-two-investors-drop-out-new-financing-round">reporting</a> a quarterly loss of $1.5 billion. Indeed, the company is becoming almost synonymous with problems. A Bloomberg story three days ago about Airbnb began &ldquo;With Uber&#39;s problems grabbing all the headlines, it&#39;s easy to overlook the fact that the other great &quot;sharing economy&quot; company, Airbnb, is also having issues caused by an overaggressive expansion and a tendency to ignore rules&rdquo;.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/12/15/uber.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/12/15/uber_0.png" /></a></p> <p>For once, a slightly more positive story about Uber has emerged, although there is even an &ldquo;Uber&rdquo; downside to this. In brief, researchers have found that when Uber is launched in a city, ambulance usage declines significantly. From <a href="http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/12/13/uber-reduces-ambulance-useage-in-major-u-s-cities-study-says/">The Mercury News</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>In what is believed to be the first study to measure the impact of Uber and other ride-booking services on the U.S. ambulance business, two researchers have concluded that ambulance usage is dropping across the country. A research paper released Wednesday examined ambulance usage rates in 766 U.S. cities in 43 states as Uber entered their markets from 2013 to 2015.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Co-authors David Slusky, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Kansas, and Dr. Leon Moskatel, an internist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego, said they believe their study is the first to explain a trend that until now has only been discussed anecdotally. Comparing ambulance volumes before and after Uber became available in each city, the two men found that the ambulance usage rate dipped significantly. Slusky said after using different methodologies to obtain the &ldquo;most conservative&rdquo; decline in ambulance usage, the researchers calculated the drop to be &ldquo;at least&rdquo; 7 percent. &ldquo;My guess is it will go up a little bit and stabilize at 10 to 15 percent as Uber continues to expand as an alternative for people,&rsquo;&rsquo; Moskatel said.</p> </blockquote> <p>Slusky and Moskatel are submitting their paper to academic journals for peer review. The research was completed independently of Uber. The authors used the company&rsquo;s public statements to discover when the company entered each market and obtained ambulance usage from the National Emergency Medical Services Information System, or NEMSIS, a national repository for emergency medical services data.</p> <p>The reason behind the &ldquo;Uber-effect&rdquo; is economics. In the US, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the price of an ambulance ride to hospital is typically between $600-$1,000. As the <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4383990/Rise-passengers-using-Uber-ambulance.html">Daily Mail</a> noted in &ldquo;The rise of the Uber ambulance&rdquo; in April 2017.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Meanwhile, charges for ride-hailing apps charge rarely hit three figures - and customers know the approximate price when they request their ride. Ambulances, by contrast, send bills long after they are used, and often the final amount is unknown until the bill is received.</p> </blockquote> <p>This chart is from <a href="https://www.healthcare.com/blog/ambulance-er/">HealthCare.com</a>.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/12/15/uber2.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/2017/12/15/uber2_0.png" style="width: 500px; height: 240px;" /></a></p> <p>With health care costs having risen so much in recent years, even when people think they need emergency treatment, they increasingly have to weigh-up cost factors before phoning an ambulance. As Slusky told The Mercury News.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;If we want to reduce (health care) spending, we have to find ways to do things cheaper &mdash; and that&rsquo;s in all kinds of situations where you don&rsquo;t need the most expensive resource. We don&rsquo;t all need to fly first-class all the time.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite the obvious revenue benefit to Uber, the company was, not surprisingly, keen to distance itself from the idea that calling an Uber driver is a substitute for calling an ambulance.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re grateful our service has helped people get to where they&rsquo;re going when they need it the most,&rdquo; said company spokesman Andrew Hasbun. &ldquo;However, it&rsquo;s important to note that Uber is not a substitute for law enforcement or medical professionals. In the event of any medical emergency, we always encourage people to call 911.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>While we have some sympathy with Moskatel&rsquo;s contention that most patients are &ldquo;pretty good&rdquo; at assessing how sick they are and how quickly they need to get to hospital. However, there is obviously a risk for patients who suddenly need medical treatment on their way to hospital. Not surprisingly, The Mercury News was able to find an emergency room physician who was strongly against substituting ambulances with Uber rides.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Paul Kivela, president of the 37,000-member American College of Emergency Physicians, said he believes that for those low-risk patients who can&rsquo;t drive themselves to the emergency room, Uber is a good service. But many people, he said, may not be able to differentiate between a life-threatening emergency and an innocuous medical issue. So, he said, calling 911 is always the safest bet. &ldquo;A paramedic has the training and the ability to deliver life-saving care en route,&rdquo; Kivela said. &ldquo;Where I really have a hard time is believing an Uber driver is going to attend to you.&rdquo;</p> </blockquote> <p>Despite the risks, even officialdom sees benefits from the rise of &ldquo;Uber ambulances&rdquo;. In April, <a href="https://www.statnews.com/2017/04/05/uber-lyft-emergency-room-ride/">STAT</a>, a health and medicine news site reported.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Last summer, Washington, D.C., city officials began studying the use of ride-hailing to respond to what they describe as &ldquo;non-emergency, low-acuity&rdquo; calls, which accounted for nearly half the city&rsquo;s 911 calls in 2015, according to a report released in February. &ldquo;In our research, we found that many of these calls did not require an ambulance,&rdquo; said District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department spokesperson Doug Buchanan. In fact, he added, it would be better if more people used ride-hailing services instead of an ambulance. &ldquo;We would love our residents to take that initiative,&rdquo; he said.</p> </blockquote> <p>The question of whether to transport someone who is ill to the hospital is a frequent source of debate amongst Uber drivers on forums like uberpeople.net. Many Uber drivers are firmly against it, citing issues like insurance cover, the risk that the person gets worse during the journey, or <a href="https://uberpeople.net/threads/uber-to-the-emergency-room.92593/">this</a>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>No way in hell..I am not a medical professional and do not play one on TV<br />&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="296" height="169" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user235761/imageroot/uber1.png?1513362869" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/uber-cuts-ambulance-usage-and-health-care-costs-across-766-us-cities#comments Ambulance American College of Emergency Physicians Business Business models Commuting Department of Health and Human Services Economy Emergency medical services headlines Health Location-based software Scripps Mercy Hospital in San Diego Sharing economy Social networks Transport Uber Uber protests and legal actions University of Kansas Washington D.C. Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609240 at http://www.zerohedge.com F.B.I. http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/fbi <p><a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/expd/39050131732/in/dateposted-public/" title="DONKEY POOP"><img src="https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4562/39050131732_993b4c9038_b.jpg" alt="DONKEY POOP" width="998" height="948" /></a></p> <script src="//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js"></script> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/fbi#comments B+ Baseball Hall of Fame balloting Education Politics Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:38:22 +0000 williambanzai7 609268 at http://www.zerohedge.com It's Time To Rethink Education – Part 3 (The Future Of College) http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/its-time-rethink-education-%E2%80%93-part-3-future-college <p><a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/12/15/its-time-to-rethink-education-part-3-the-future-of-college/"><em>Authored by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,</em></a></p> <p>Over the next ten years, I suspect the<strong> concept of a college education will be questioned</strong> to such an extent, and by so many people, <strong>that all assumptions we currently hold dear will be discarded.</strong> The spark for this momentous shift will start, as is so often the case, with <u><strong>simple economics</strong></u>.</p> <p>Too many young people have taken on too much debt to get jobs that didn&rsquo;t require this education they were told they needed.<strong><em> We quite literally have an entire generation that understands this intimately, and this understanding will shape the way they see college, and education in general, as they raise kids of their own.</em></strong></p> <p><img class="alignnone wp-image-49613" height="384" src="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Screen-Shot-2017-12-15-at-11.32.07-AM.jpg" width="383" /></p> <p>As I write this, I&rsquo;m excited to say we live in one of the most extraordinary times in human history. <strong>The old way of doing things in virtually every aspect of human civilization has either broken down, or is breaking down as I write this. </strong>Communications, media, finance, money itself, etc. The list is seemingly endless, and education is no exception. In fact, I think education is an example of extremely low-hanging fruit and will be disrupted and decentralized in unimaginable ways in the years ahead.</p> <p><strong>If it was just a function of student debt, the changes in how human education functions going forward wouldn&rsquo;t be as extreme as I expect.</strong> As I mentioned earlier, the problem of widespread debt serfdom is merely a catalyst for the paradigm level change I foresee. As younger generations who grew up with the internet start to question how schooling works, from kindergarten to grad school, it&rsquo;ll become very apparent how archaic and stifling our current methods really are. I already highlighted many examples of this in <a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/12/12/its-time-to-rethink-education-part-1-indoctrination/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Parts 1</a> and <a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/12/14/its-time-to-rethink-education-part-2-unschooling/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">2</a>, so I&rsquo;m not going to repeat myself. Today&rsquo;s post will center around the concept of college, and whether or not people will perceive it as a useful experience in the decades to come. I suspect not.</p> <p><u><strong>As it stands today, there are two main reasons everyone thinks you need to go to college</strong></u>.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>First, many employers (ridiculously) require a college degree to get a job.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Second, it&rsquo;s become a societal norm and rite of passage.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>There&rsquo;s tremendous peer pressure to go to college so you&rsquo;re not the person who gets condescending looks at the party when you sheepishly confess that you didn&rsquo;t. </strong>In other words, we&rsquo;ve created an irrational expectation for a college degree driven by the desire to attain specific employment and social opportunities. As such, all it will really take to end this ritual of going to college is a society wide mindset shift. These sorts of things can happen, and I fully expect this one will.</p> <p>One contemporary example of how this sort of thing can take root can be seen in the burgeoning Bitcoin and crypto asset economy. This has been the most lucrative and dynamic spaces to work in over the past couple of years, and no one in it really cares what college you went to, or if you went at all. What matters at the end of the day is talent, and if you&rsquo;re a talented programer you&rsquo;ll find your spot. After all, we don&rsquo;t even know who Satoshi Nakamoto is and it doesn&rsquo;t matter. What matters is the code and it&rsquo;s ability to fundamentally change the world. I think this the mindset of the future, where dominator hierarchies are replaced by merit based hierarchies (holarchies).</p> <p>As Ken Wilber described (this will sound like gibberish unless you&rsquo;ve read my work around&nbsp;<a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/?s=spiral+dynamics" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Spiral Dynamics</a>):</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>That lessening of green&rsquo;s pervasive hostility and vindictiveness toward all previous stages of development is what we identied as &ldquo;step one&rdquo; in the requisite self-healing of green. There is at least a decent likelihood that this will&mdash;and to some degree already has&mdash;begun to happen.</em> <strong><em>On the other hand, &ldquo;step two&rdquo;&mdash;the realization that growth holarchies provide the actual basis of the value judgments that green is already making, and that these growth holarchies also are the only truly effective means to displace the dominator hierarchies that green correctly ranks on the bottom of the list of social desirables&mdash;is a bit less likely to occur at the green level itself, but will most likely depend upon the transformation to integral 2nd tier. </em></strong><em>My strong suspicion, therefore, is that green will perform a good deal of step one on its own, and that this will have a very positive effect on culture at large. (And conversely, to the extent that at least this first step is not taken, then the self-corrective drive of evolution will continue to push, and push, and push into existing affairs, driving more Trump-like &ldquo;disasters&rdquo; as evolution redoubles its efforts to force its way through these recalcitrant obstructions.)</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Many people reading this will say that what&rsquo;s happening with Bitcoin and crypto assets is just an exception. Others will proclaim that it&rsquo;s all just a tulip bubble anyway, and things will go back to the way they were after it pops. I completely disagree. Whether Bitcoin conquers the world or not time will tell, but the ethos it represents about the world (decentralization) isn&rsquo;t going anywhere.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">What was the right choice for an extremely bright young person over the last 5 years.<br />Go to college or work on Bitcoin?<br />This will be increasingly common going forward.</p> <p>&mdash; Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) <a href="https://twitter.com/LibertyBlitz/status/941736983054839808?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 15, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Moreover, as I explained in <a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2017/12/14/its-time-to-rethink-education-part-2-unschooling/" rel="noopener" target="_blank">yesterday&rsquo;s post</a>, my wife and I are seriously considering unschooling. I&rsquo;m not just blowing smoke on this, I&rsquo;m looking at potentially putting my money where my mouth is.</p> <p>Not only that, but it&rsquo;s increasingly clear to me that the college experience is in many ways making people dumber. To prove this point, I highly recommend everyone read an extremely important article written by two former professors at Evergreen college, Bret Weinstein and his wife Heather Heying, titled: <a href="http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/bonfire-of-the-academies-two-professors-on-how-leftist-intolerance-is-killing-higher-education/article/2642973" rel="noopener" target="_blank">Bonfire of the Academies: Two Professors on How Leftist Intolerance is Killing Higher Education</a>.</p> <p>Here are few excerpts:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><em>At colleges and universities all over the country, students are protesting in increasingly virulent and sometimes violent ways. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings, shouting down those with whom they disagree. It has become rote for outsiders to claim that the inmates are running the asylum; that this is analogous to Mao&rsquo;s Red Guard, Germany&rsquo;s brown shirts, the French Revolution&rsquo;s Jacobins; and, when those being attacked are politically &ldquo;left&rdquo; themselves, that the Left is eating its own. These stories seem to validate every fantasy the Right ever had about the Left.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>As two professors who recently resigned from positions at a college we loved, and who have always been on the progressive-left end of the political spectrum, we can say that, while none of those characterizations is exactly right, there is truth in each of them&hellip;</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>In 2015, Evergreen hired a new president. Trained as a sociologist, George Bridges did two things upon arrival. First, he hired an old friend to talk one-on-one to members of our community &mdash; faculty, staff, and students. We talked about our values and our visions for the college. But the benefit of hindsight suggests that he was looking for something else. He was mapping us, assessing our differences, our blind spots, and the social tensions that ran beneath the surface. Second, Bridges fired the provost, Michael Zimmerman. The provost, usually synonymous with the vice president for academics, is the chief academic officer at an institution of higher education. Zimmerman would have disapproved of what Bridges had in mind and would have had some power to stop it. But he was replaced by a timid (though well-liked) insider who became a pawn due to his compromised interim status and his desire not to make waves.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Having mapped the faculty and fired the provost, Bridges began reworking the college in earnest. Surprise announcements became the norm as opportunities for discussion dwindled.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>The president took aim at what made Evergreen unique, such as full-time programs. He fattened the administration, creating expensive vice president positions at an unprecedented rate, while budgets tightened elsewhere due to drops in student enrollment and disappearing state dollars. He went after Evergreen&rsquo;s unparalleled faculty autonomy, which was essential to the unique teaching done by the best professors.</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><em>All of this should have been alarming to a faculty in which professors have traditionally viewed administrative interference in academic matters with great suspicion. But Bridges was strategic and forged an alliance with factions known to be obsessed with race. He draped the &ldquo;equity&rdquo; banner around everything he did. Advocating that Evergreen embrace itself as a &ldquo;College of Social Justice,&rdquo; he argued that faculty autonomy unjustly puts the focus on teachers rather than students, and that the new VP for Equity and Inclusion would help us serve our underserved populations. But no discussion was allowed of students who did not meet the narrow criteria of being &ldquo;underserved.&rdquo; Because of the wrapping, concerns about policy changes were dismissed as &ldquo;anti-equity.&rdquo; What was in the nicely wrapped box turned out to be something else entirely.</em></p> </blockquote> <p>Imagine being a parent who spent years of savings to send their child to Evergreen. Irate wouldn&rsquo;t even begin to describe it.</p> <p><strong>In the decades to come, the people who will increasingly shape our world probably won&rsquo;t have a college degree at all &mdash; and that&rsquo;s probably a good thing.</strong></p> <p>*&nbsp; *&nbsp; *</p> <p><em><strong>If you liked this article and enjoy my work, consider becoming a&nbsp;monthly&nbsp;<a href="https://www.patreon.com/michaelkrieger" rel="noopener" target="_blank"><span style="color: #ff6600;">Patron</span></a>,&nbsp;or visit our&nbsp;<a href="https://libertyblitzkrieg.com/support-liberty-blitzkrieg/" rel="noopener noreferrer" target="_blank">Support&nbsp;Page</a>&nbsp;to show your appreciation for&nbsp;independent content creators.</strong></em></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="421" height="229" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171215_edu.jpg?1513372910" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/its-time-rethink-education-%E2%80%93-part-3-future-college#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin College of Social Justice Cryptocurrencies Education Education ETC Germany None The Evergreen State College Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609255 at http://www.zerohedge.com Man Says "Russian Mind Control" Forced Him To Kill His Mother http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/man-says-russian-mind-control-forced-him-kill-his-mother <p><strong>Russian President Vladimir Putin has been blamed for a lot of nefarious actions lately. </strong></p> <p>From <a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-02-23/why-everything-being-blamed-putin">swaying the US election in Donald Trump&rsquo;s favor </a>to orchestrating<a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-11-15/was-brexit-putins-also-putins-fault"> the UK&rsquo;s withdrawal from the European Union, </a>paranoid Democrats have apparently convinced themselves that there&rsquo;s no geopolitical disaster that Putin didn&rsquo;t have a hand in.</p> <p><strong>And now, one deranged Bakersfield, Calif. man is blaming &ldquo;Russian Mind Control&rdquo; for driving him to murder his own mother.</strong></p> <p>That&rsquo;s right: We can add matricide to the list of misdeeds that have been attributed to the Russian leader.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.15mindcontrol.JPG"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017/12/04/2017.12.15mindcontrol_0.JPG" style="width: 500px; height: 222px;" /></a></p> <p>Suspected murderer Matthew Jensen reportedly tried to kill himself with a small pocket knife after being stopped by police on Oct. 24.</p> <p>Here&rsquo;s the local <a href="https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/man-stabbed-his-own-mom-42-times-claims-he-was-under-russian-mind-control?page=2">ABC </a>affiliate with more details about the grisly act:</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>Court documents detail the moments before, during and after a man allegedly stabbed his own mother to death in Tehachapi in October.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Documents detail Matthew Jensen&#39;s mental state, the number of times he stabbed his mother Barbara Jensen Teague, his claims as to his possible reasoning and that he had been released from a hospital for mental evaluation the day before her death.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On October 24, J<strong>ensen was pulled over in Kingman, Arizona. At the time he was pulled over, documents show that Jensen attempted to kill himself using a small pocket knife.</strong> Jensen apparently slit both his wrists and stabbed himself in the chest. He was taken to Kingman Regional Medical Center where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>It was during that stop that the welfare of Jensen&#39;s mother became a priority for law enforcement.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Kern County Sheriff&#39;s officials went to the home in Tehachapi where the two lived together. <strong>After not getting an answer at the door, officials made their way into the home. That&#39;s where they found the body of Barbara Jensen Teague, covered in blood.</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>According to the coroner&rsquo;s report, Teague was stabbed 42 times: &quot;17 to her right flank, 13 to the right side of her trunk, five to the back of her right arm, three to her right thigh, two to her back, one behind her right ear, and one inside of her left thumb. As a result of those stab wounds had three stab wounds to her right lung, five stab wounds to her liver, and multiple sta wounds to her small and large bowels.&quot;</p> <p>Documents showed that Jensen said he was &quot;incredibly happy&quot; while living with Teague. He claims to have entered her room while she was sleeping where he found her in the fetal position, and began stabbing her with a small knife.</p> <p>Documents show that Jensen said his mom &quot;thrashed and struggled&quot; and cried&nbsp; &quot;stop, stop&quot; as he stabbed her repeatedly.</p> <p><strong><em>Twenty minutes later, while his mother lay bleeding in her bed, Jensen loaded his dog into his mother&rsquo;s car and started driving east.</em></strong></p> <p>According to <a href="https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/man-stabbed-his-own-mom-42-times-claims-he-was-under-russian-mind-control?page=2">ABC</a>, Jensen said &quot;the pain and the guilt of killing his mother caused him to cut both of his wrists with a Leatherman style tool, located in the car. Jensen said he also stabbed himself twice in the chest in attempt to commit suicide.&quot;</p> <p>But it wasn&rsquo;t until he had been transported to a holding cell and interrogated that he professed his motive for the attack.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>While being interviewed, Jensen said he was &quot;under Russian mind control&quot; and that he was hearing voices. He said &quot;the voices had told him to kill his mother. ... <strong>&#39;I did what they told me, I killed my own mother&#39;&quot;.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>After allegedly killing his mom, documents state that Jensen didn&#39;t remember anything. He said he remembered feeling compelled to kill himself, but instead killed her.</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Jensen said he remembered looking &quot;in her bedroom and she been stabbed to death. He stated &#39;Oh my God&#39;, no one could have done that but me&quot;.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Court documents also show that Jensen had been taken to Adventist Health hospital in Tehachapi on October 23, the day before his mother was found dead.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>His mom had said he was acting strangely the days leading to his being evaluated for a 5150 mental health evaluation.</p> </blockquote> <p>According to <a href="https://www.turnto23.com/news/local-news/man-stabbed-his-own-mom-42-times-claims-he-was-under-russian-mind-control?page=2">ABC</a>, <strong>police said Jensen &quot;was calm and polite&quot;.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p>The police report recommendation stated, &quot;No further action needed, based on my interviews with (redacted) and (redacted) it appeared Jensen did suffer from some type of unknown mental health disorder. Jensen, however, at this time did not appear to be a danger to himself or others, nor did he appear to be gravely disabled to the point he could not care for himself, thus a 5150 mental health hold was not placed on him.&quot;</p> </blockquote> <p>Jensen was initially being held in Mohave, Arizona before he was extradited to Kern County.</p> <p><strong>He&#39;s since pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.</strong> His next court date is Jan. 17.<br />&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="537" height="238" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user245717/imageroot/2017.12.15mindcontrol.JPG?1513376630" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/man-says-russian-mind-control-forced-him-kill-his-mother#comments Adventist Health hospital Donald Trump European Union European Union Jensen Jensen Motors Law Regional Medical Center Vladimir Putin Sat, 16 Dec 2017 02:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609263 at http://www.zerohedge.com Meet The "Armani of Armor" Behind America's Growing Bulletproof Clothing Industry http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/meet-armani-armor-behind-americas-growing-bulletproof-clothing-industry <p>In the early 1990s, Colombia was locked in a brutal drug war, led by Pablo Escobar, that saw homicide rates in Medellin surge over 8x in a matter of just a few years...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15%20-%20Medellin.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15%20-%20Medellin_0.JPG" alt="Medellin" width="600" height="374" /></a></p> <p>...and it was that surging violence that first prompted <strong>Miguel Caballero to start his line of bulletproof clothing some 25 years ago.</strong>&nbsp; </p> <p>Now, as <a href="https://www.racked.com/2017/12/14/16738162/bulletproof-clothing">Racked </a>points out today, with violent crime in Colombia back to levels not seen since at least the 70s, <strong>Caballero is looking to bring his bulletproof fashions to the United States</strong> where he's hoping that growing fears of gun violence, combined with an eager American consumer that is always willing to part with his/her hard-earned cash in pursuit of the next fad, will be a boon for his business.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>That was then. Homicides in Colombia have since declined, and Caballero — sometimes called the “Armored Armani” — turned his savvy eye to another country besieged by gun violence and grasping for a sense of security: the United States. Earlier this year, he opened a <strong>distribution center in Miami </strong>to sell his clothing line to wary Americans. His bulletproof apparel includes all levels of protection as standardized by the U.S. National Institute of Justice (NIJ): IIA, II, IIIA, III, and IV. (More on what those levels mean in a minute.)</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Within this industry is a small but growing sector of manufacturers and retailers that, like Caballero, are proffering upscale bulletproof apparel that’s light-years beyond the standard bulletproof vest, both sartorially and functionally. From bespoke suits to safari jackets, the new breed of bulletproof clothing is comfortable and undetectable.</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15 - BP 1.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15%20-%20BP%201_0.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 397px;" /></a></p> <p>And, lest you think this nothing but a clever gimmick, the Colombian designer has literally shot some 230 people since starting his company in the early 90s to prove the efficacy of his clothing line...<strong>including the following demonstration in which he shot his own wife at point blank range...for the 2nd time.</strong></p> <p><iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_DvxTk4JXMw" width="600" height="337" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Of course, Caballero is not alone in his efforts to capitalize on the <strong>growing body armor manufacturing industry that is estimated to be worth some $465 million in sales in the U.S. and $5.7 billion globally.</strong></p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"> <div></div> </div> <div class="quote_end"> <div></div> </div> <p>Abbas Haider, CEO and president of <strong>Aspetto Inc. in Fredericksburg, Virginia,</strong> claims to have been the first US purveyor of high-end bulletproof fashion. While Aspetto offers normal apparel and accessories, its best-seller is the bespoke Ballistic Suit Level IIIA ($5,000), comprising lightweight bullet-resistant panels. It can stop a bullet at point-blank range from most handguns and meets testing standards by the NIJ, DEA, and FBI.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Haider started his custom clothing brand in 2008 as a college freshman. As seniors, he and fellow student Robert Davis, now Aspetto’s chief operating officer, teamed up to create high-end bulletproof fashion as part of an international marketing class. The duo met with a ballistics producer and built a prototype suit. “Before we could even present our project to the class, we were already talking to some ‘three-letter’ agencies [e.g., CIA, FBI, NSA, etc.] who were interested in what we had developed,” he says. “After receiving an A on the project, Robert and I decided that we wanted to turn this into a real business and continue expanding on it. The typical body armor user is tired of not seeing any innovation in the industry for years.”</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Yet another bulletproof apparel manufacturer and retailer, BulletBlocker, was born as a direct result of violence.</strong> After the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, Massachusetts resident Joe Curran feared that a similar tragedy might strike closer to home. “The safety of my two school-aged children motivated the creation of the bulletproof backpacks,” says the former Army ranger, deputy sheriff, and firearms instructor. He founded the company that same year and soon expanded to selling bulletproof clothing, such as the NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Leather Jacket ($875) and NIJ IIIA Bulletproof Classic Two Piece Suit ($1,200).</p> </blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15 - BP 2.JPG"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15%20-%20BP%202.JPG" style="width: 680px; height: 466px;" /></a></p> <p>Of course, the luxury of being able to attend your lavish suburban dinner parties with the psychological reassurance that you're absolutely safe in the event your neighbor randomly pulls out his 9mm to bust a cap in your ass, doesn't come cheap.&nbsp; As an example, the following stylish blazer from <a href="http://miguelcaballerofashion.com/baeza-blazer">Caballero </a>will set you back about $5,000 USD...</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15 - Sport Coat.jpg"><img src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017/12/15/2017.12.15%20-%20Sport%20Coat_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 318px;" /></a></p> <p>...that said, you can't put a price on peace of mind...<strong>might we suggest Chicago or Baltimore for the first flagship store?</strong></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="1121" height="742" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user230519/imageroot/2017.12.15%20-%20BP%201.JPG?1513367689" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/meet-armani-armor-behind-americas-growing-bulletproof-clothing-industry#comments Body armor Bulletproof Bulletproof vest Caballero Central Intelligence Agency Clothing Cops Culture DEA ETC Fashion FBI Federal Bureau of Investigation Miguel Caballero Personal armour Tailor U.S. National Institute of Justice Virginia Tech Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609259 at http://www.zerohedge.com The Death Of Europe's Coal Industry http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/death-europes-coal-industry <p><a href="https://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/The-Death-Of-Europes-Coal-Industry.html"><em>Authored by Nick Cunningham via OilPrice.com,</em></a></p> <p>More than half of Europe&rsquo;s coal plants are already bleeding cash, but by 2030,<em><strong> the percentage of coal plants in Europe that report negative cash flow could explode to an estimated 97 percent.</strong></em></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_coal.jpg"><em><strong><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_coal.jpg" style="width: 525px; height: 270px;" /></strong></em></a></p> <p>Those findings come from a <a href="https://www.carbontracker.org/reports/lignite-living-dead/">new report</a> by the Carbon Tracker Initiative, which<strong> paints a dire picture for the economics of coal after surveying 600 power plants in Europe.</strong></p> <p>To be sure, coal has been hit hard over the past half-decade or so due to a variety of forces &ndash; falling costs for renewables, air quality and climate regulations, as well as the policy shift in Germany away from nuclear following the 2011 Fukushima meltdown.</p> <p>However, coal has held onto its grip in the power sector, even if its position has weakened. <strong>Germany still generates about 40 percent of its electricity from coal.</strong></p> <p>But Carbon Tracker argues that some European utilities are making imprudent decisions by keeping some coal plants operating, and the number of planned coal plant retirements vastly understates the problems within the industry.</p> <p>For instance, 54 percent of European coal plants are cash flow negative <em>today</em>. By 2030, there will be almost nothing left that brings in positive cash flow &ndash; 97 percent of coal-fired power plants in Europe will be cashflow negative by then, Carbon Tracker says.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;The changing economics.&thinsp;.&thinsp;.&thinsp;has put EU coal power in a death spiral,&rdquo;</strong> said Matt Gray, Carbon Tracker analyst and co-author of the report, according to <a href="https://www.ft.com/content/f32c3caa-daf3-11e7-a039-c64b1c09b482">the FT</a>.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>&ldquo;Utilities can&rsquo;t do much to stop this other than drop coal or lobby governments to hope they will bail them out.&rdquo;</strong></p> </blockquote> <p>The odd thing is only 27 percent of Europe&rsquo;s coal capacity is slated for retirement by 2030. If so many are hemorrhaging cash, why do they stay open? There are several reasons.</p> <p>Some utilities hope that power prices will rise, putting coal back in the money. Also, there are costs associated with clean up and dismantling old plants. Meanwhile, lobbying holds out hope of a lifeline from either the state or from broader European energy and climate policy.</p> <p><strong>But utilities are making some poor investment decisions,</strong> Carbon Tracker argues. By 2024 the operating cost of coal is expected to be higher than the levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for wind, while the same is true for solar by 2027. That bears repeating &ndash; within the next decade, it will be cheaper to build new solar and wind projects, including all of the upfront construction costs, than it would be to simply keep an <em>existing</em> coal plant online.</p> <p>And time is not on their side. More stringent air pollution standards come into force in 2021, and the cost of carbon in Europe&rsquo;s emissions trading system is expected to continue to rise. Meanwhile, the cost of renewables and energy storage continues to fall.</p> <blockquote><div class="quote_start"><div></div></div><div class="quote_end"><div></div></div><p><strong>&ldquo;Those utilities that expect to run their coal units longer than evidence suggests are putting their assets on a collision course with these mega trends,&rdquo; </strong>Carbon Tracker wrote in its report. Ultimately, the EU could save an estimated 22 billion euros if it phased out coal in line with the Paris Climate Agreement.</p> </blockquote> <p>Carbon Tracker warns investors that they risk getting burned badly if they remain in coal.</p> <p>A separate <a href="https://www.banktrack.org/coaldevelopers/">report</a> from a global NGO called BankTrack finds that even though coal appears to be on its death bed, financing for coal-fired power plants is still alive and well. According to the report, &ldquo;between January 2014 and September 2017, the global banking sector provided and mobilised financing in excess of $600 billion for the top 120 coal plant developers.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>More staggering is that nearly half of that has been provided after the Paris Climate Agreement was signed, despite the fact that such a massive volume of financed dedicated to the construction of coal plants is &ldquo;fundamentally incompatible with the objectives of this agreement.&rdquo;</strong></p> <p>But much of the coal funding is destined for projects in the rapidly-growing developing world. The conclusions of the two reports, taken together, suggest that coal may indeed be on its way out in Europe and the United States, but it is not entirely dead yet.</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="525" height="270" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171215_coal.jpg?1513355913" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/death-europes-coal-industry#comments Coal Energy Environment European Union Fossil fuel phase-out Germany Meltdown Nature Physical universe Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:25:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609231 at http://www.zerohedge.com Alibaba Launches Giant Car Vending Machines In China http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/alibaba-launches-giant-car-vending-machines-china <p>Shares of Alibaba fell on Thursday morning, despite an exciting news story involving the Chinese e-commerce juggernaut, which is rushing to shake up the way people buy cars in China. Alibaba seems to be taking a page from Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, with the continued push into physical retail. The plan outlined by Alibaba, is to open two giant car vending machines in early 2018, shaped like a futuristic tubular building with a giant cat’s head on top.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Alibaba-car-vending-machine-GIF-1.gif" width="508" height="285" class="size-full wp-image-448168" /></p> <p>Having monopolized the online world, Alibaba continues to push offline with investments in Chinese bricks and mortar retailers. </p> <p>Alibaba CEO <a href="https://techcrunch.com/2017/11/19/alibaba-sun-art/">Daniel Zhang said back in November</a>, “physical stores serve an indispensable role during the consumer journey, and should be enhanced through data-driven technology and personalized services in the digital economy.” </p> <p>“By fully integrating online and physical channels together with our partners, we look forward to delivering an original and delightful shopping experience to Chinese consumers,” he added.</p> <p>So how does this vending machine work? </p> <p>The smartphone user must open Alibaba’s Taobao app to scan a car. The app will then process the picture and let the user pick a color and other basic options.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Alibaba-car-vending-machine-GIF-2.gif" width="504" height="283" class="size-full wp-image-448169" /></p> <p>Next, the app will require the user to take a selfie to confirm their identity. Once confirmed, the app will arrange for a test-drive at a car vending machine.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Alibaba-car-vending-machine-GIF-4.gif" width="503" height="282" class="size-full wp-image-448171" /></p> <p>To retrieve the car, the customer will gain access through a facial recognition device at the staffless vending machine. According to the company, a “super member” does not need to leave a deposit to retrieve a vehicle.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Alibaba-car-vending-machine-GIF-6.gif" width="499" height="280" class="size-full wp-image-448178" /></p> <p>Once the identity is confirmed, the multi-floor vending machine will rotate cars like a ferris wheel until the car is found. The test-drive is limited to three days, after which Alibaba can arrange for the sale or the user can choose a different model.&nbsp;Alibaba members are limited to five test-drives per month, where&nbsp;Alibaba is relying&nbsp;on its financial services arm to vet members before borrowing.</p> <p><img src="https://cdn.techinasia.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/Alibaba-car-vending-machine-GIF-7.gif" width="501" height="281" class="size-full wp-image-448180" /></p> <p>Alibaba said it will open two locations starting in January 2018 (Shanghai and Nanjing), and it plans to open “dozens” more across China later in the year. The vending machine concept blended with car buying, is an attempt by the company to streamline the buying process to as quick as opening a can of soda. </p> <p>“Our thinking behind the Car Vending Machine is focused on helping users solve certain problems they face in the car-buying process. To do that, we are building a physical, experiential store that offers staffless car pickup through facial-recognition, three-day ‘deep’ test-drives, and a one-stop-shop that displays [cars from] all mainstream brands at once,” said Huan Lu, marketing director of Tmall’s automotive division.</p> <p> <iframe src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/NvJFluC3A5s?enablejsapi=1&amp;autoplay=0&amp;cc_load_policy=0&amp;iv_load_policy=1&amp;loop=0&amp;modestbranding=0&amp;rel=1&amp;showinfo=1&amp;theme=dark&amp;color=red&amp;autohide=2&amp;controls=2&amp;playsinline=0&amp;" width="480" height="270"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="727" height="399" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user5/imageroot/start%20test%20drive.jpg?1513360501" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/alibaba-launches-giant-car-vending-machines-china#comments Ali Baba Alibaba Group Business China data-driven technology E-commerce Economy facial recognition Marketing Online retailers Online shopping smartphone Taobao Technology Vending machine Sat, 16 Dec 2017 01:05:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609238 at http://www.zerohedge.com How The Crypto Market Behaves - "It's A Damn Cycle, Stupid" http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/how-crypto-market-behaves-its-damn-cycle-stupid <p><a href="https://hackernoon.com/how-crypto-market-behaves-its-a-damn-cycle-bffe47a01831"><em>Authored by Bruce Hunt via Hackernoon.com,</em></a></p> <h3><u>TL;DR</u></h3> <ul> <li><strong>Btc leads bull rally.</strong></li> <li>Top altcoins follow behind bitcoin.</li> <li><strong>Majority of altcoins rally behind bitcoin and top altcoins.</strong></li> <li>Huge corrections begins.</li> <li><strong>Btc corrects, new floor price.</strong></li> <li>Majority of altcoins follow, new floor price as well.</li> <li><strong>Drought for months to a year.</strong></li> <li>Crypto space waits for &ldquo;huge event&rdquo; to build momentum from.</li> <li><strong>Rinse and repeat</strong></li> </ul> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_cryopto1.jpg"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171215_cryopto1_0.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 536px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Photo by @bitcoin.day (unknown source). Contact me if this image belongs to you for proper attribution.</em></p> <p>I will always be proud of buying into Bitcoin around $100, just as I will always be proud of my ability to see past the short term and hodl. Having witnessed and participate in bitcoin leading the bull rally back in 2013 to $1,000+ per bitcoin was probably the greatest bitcoin moments of my life. It was better than sex, and even better than buying the bottom.</p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171214_btc11.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171214_btc11.png" style="width: 600px; height: 331px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Tweet by @Arjunbj on Twitter</em></p> <p>I could not even describe the stage of euphoria everyone was in. You just had to be there to truly know what it was like. It was a very different experience than today&rsquo;s new all time high and bull rally. I mean, this was the time when people were skeptical about Bitcoin and it was considered a fraud, anyone who touched bitcoin was a criminal. It was called internet money, or magic money. This was the time when CNBC and other major news outlet would not even cover Bitcoin unless it was about &ldquo;Dread Pirate Roberts&rdquo; and &ldquo;Silk_Road&rdquo; or other crime-related news associated with Bitcoin.</p> <p>This was the time when we only had the Winklevoss Twins publicly supporting Bitcoin and involuntarily becoming the face of Bitcoin. This was the time when we didn&rsquo;t have Venture Capitalists investing in it, when Wall Street didn&rsquo;t trade it, when the Silicon Valley talents were too busy working on Facebook, Snapchat, Uber, Airbnb and etc to &ldquo;disrupt&rdquo; the world we know today.</p> <p><em><strong>This was the time, when the word &ldquo;crypto&rdquo; was short for cryptography, not fucking digital currencies!</strong></em></p> <p><em><strong>And we didn&rsquo;t have #Cryptotwitter! We had a handful of exchanges with trollboxes and IRC to orchestrate our &lsquo;pump and dump&rsquo;.</strong></em></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Bitcoin &amp; blockchain have come so far:</p> <p>- Only an idea 8 years ago<br />- $15,000+ per coin now<br />- Billions in market cap<br />- VCs investing in it<br />- SEC issuing statements on it<br />- Wall St trading it<br />- CNBC can&#39;t stop covering it<br />- Silicon Valley talent flocking to it</p> <p>The future is here.</p> <p>&mdash; Pomp ???? (@APompliano) <a href="https://twitter.com/APompliano/status/940240038763401216?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 11, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Today, we have bitcoin futures for Wall Street to play with, crypto funds making accredited investors richer, venture capitalists backing and investing in ICOs, Silicon Valley projects and talents transitioning into crypto, and we have banks exploring blockchain technology and making patents in hopes to monopolize blockchain technology for rich ivy-leagued white men only.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">&quot;Bitcoin is a bubble because people other than rich white men that went to Stanford are making 100x returns and that makes no goddamn sense.&quot;</p> <p>&mdash; KP [Bitcoin $100K] (@_Kevin_Pham) <a href="https://twitter.com/_Kevin_Pham/status/940699401797869568?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 12, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Now back to my headline. I mentioned my personal experiences to let you know that I have been there, I WAS THERE, and I think I have more authority on crypto than James Altucher and Tai Lopez combined. So listen to me when I write stuff:</p> <h3><u>How I think this crypto market behaves:</u></h3> <p><u><strong>1) Bitcoin leads the bull rally.</strong></u></p> <p>FOMO (Fear of missing out) occurs, non-stop media news coverage, notable bitcoin/crypto figures on television, traditional finance experts analyzes bitcoin&rsquo;s trend, crypto twitter explodes, new mainstream investors come to stomp coinbase, coinbase loses.</p> <p><u><strong>2) Bitcoin reaches new all time high.</strong></u></p> <p>People are in stage of euphoria, more hype, more new mainstream investors pouring money into crypto, more figures being interviewed on television, and self-proclaimed bitcoin/crypto experts comes out of their shells.</p> <p><u><strong>3) Bitcoin&rsquo;s price somewhat &ldquo;stabilizes&rdquo;, this time its above $14,000+.</strong></u></p> <p>The &ldquo;I told you so&rdquo; people come out. And,</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">Niggas put 25$ into bitcoin make 8$ profit and then get on twitter like &quot;idk how y&#39;all do that 9-5 shit&quot;</p> <p>&mdash; Yama (@Yamsleezy) <a href="https://twitter.com/Yamsleezy/status/936476925782052864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 1, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p><em>Tweet by @Yamasleezy on Twitter</em></p> <p><u><strong>4) A handful of solid altcoins rally behind Bitcoin, $ETH &amp; $LTC leading the altcoins this time.</strong></u></p> <p>FOMO continues, reaching new crypto market cap ATH (all time high). Euphoria continues.</p> <p><u><strong>5) Top altcoins &ldquo;somewhat&rdquo; stabilizes, also reaching new all time high.</strong></u></p> <p>The frenzy continues.</p> <p>Newly minted millionaires and notable figures come out and preaches that blockchain technology and crypto is not about just money, that it is about just being part of the revolution:</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p dir="ltr" lang="en">6. Have fun and enjoy the greatest wealth creation event of our lifetimes and a transformative technological revolution.</p> <p>&mdash; Ari Paul (@AriDavidPaul) <a href="https://twitter.com/AriDavidPaul/status/939962143415336961?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">December 10, 2017</a></p></blockquote> <script async src="https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><p>Okay&hellip;</p> <p><u><strong>6) Majority of cryptocurrencies follow.</strong></u></p> <p>People buy the cheapest coins in hopes that they go up as well (in which they do, even the dead coins listed on small exchanges get in on the action with $100k+ volume of trading activities in 24 hours).</p> <p><u><strong>7) Majority of crypto including Bitcoin and top altcoins price stabilize.</strong></u></p> <p>People settle down, hype activities fade, crypto social media, news media shows sign of slowing down.</p> <p>Millionaires and notable crypto figures come out and warn people the &ldquo;dangers and risks&rdquo; involved when investing in cryptocurrencies because they have nothing to say.</p> <p><u><strong>8) HUGE Correction starts</strong></u></p> <p>Bitcoins and altcoins starts trending down.</p> <p>PANIC SELL!</p> <p>Continues to fluctuates for weeks to months, until finding its new floor price, it is usually nowhere near its ATH.</p> <p>Bitcoin&rsquo;s first biggest rally was $1000+, when correction started, it went down as low as $200, and finding its new floor price at $400-$600.</p> <p><u><strong>9) Crypto depression</strong></u></p> <p>Drought for months to a year.</p> <p>People start regretting not taking profits, not even 30% of their portoflio.</p> <p>People back to bitching at ICOs and teams because the price is not moving up.</p> <p>Just a lot of angry people in crypto when we are in the state of &ldquo;depression&rdquo;.</p> <p><u><strong>10) Back to step 1, rinse and repeat.</strong></u></p> <p><a href="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171214_btc12.png"><img alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2017/12/15/20171214_btc12.png" style="width: 600px; height: 395px;" /></a></p> <p><em>Photo by RyKnow on Stocktwits</em></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-image-teaser"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_image_teaser" width="977" height="652" alt="" src="http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/20171215_cryopto.jpg?1513369222" /> </div> </div> </div> http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-12-15/how-crypto-market-behaves-its-damn-cycle-stupid#comments Alternative currencies Bitcoin Bitcoin Blockchain technology Blockchains Coinbase Cryptocurrencies cryptography Currency Decentralization Digital currency Economics of bitcoin ETC Finance Legality of bitcoin by country or territory Money Stanford Twitter Twitter U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Sat, 16 Dec 2017 00:45:00 +0000 Tyler Durden 609250 at http://www.zerohedge.com