Tuesday, September 30, 2014

How Much Caffeine Is in Tea?

Español: Closeup of leaves of tea plant Camell...
Español: Closeup of leaves of tea plant Camellia sinensis (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
How Much Caffeine Is in Tea?
True tea is made from the leaves of an Asian evergreen known as Camellia sinensis. White tea, green tea, oolong tea, and black tea all come from this plant, and all contain caffeine. Our herb teas are made from other, unrelated plants and do not have any caffeine. One exception is Yerba Maté, an herb tea that does contain caffeine.
Researchers believe that in plants, caffeine works as a natural defense system to deter insects and other herbivores with the compound's bitter taste and stimulating qualities. And, not so surprisingly, it's the vulnerable, growing buds and young leaves of tea plants that manufacture the highest amounts of caffeine.
Many factors influence how much caffeine is present in plucked tea leaves. These include the growing region, plant varietal, plant age, leaf age, length of the growing season, field conditions, soil nutrients, rainfall, and stress by pests. Final caffeine content may be further affected during production of the leaves into the finished “style” (white, green, etc.).
How the tea is actually prepared plays an important role in how much caffeine makes it into your cup. Everything, from the amount of tea used to water temperature and brewing time to whether the leaves are steeped loose, in a tea bag, or strainer, becomes a factor. In general, though, more tea, hotter water, and longer steeping all contribute to more caffeine per cup.
Given all of these variables, it really is difficult to answer the question, “How much caffeine is in this tea?” Because we know that caffeine is a concern, we offer these general ranges based on some of our products. Please keep in mind that these numbers reflect varying steeping times and amounts of tea leaves per cup.
Beverage Caffeine Per 8 oz Cup
White Tea 30-55 mg
Green Tea 35-70 mg
Oolong Tea 50-75 mg
Black Tea 60-90 mg
Coffee 150-200 mg
Our decaffeination process uses carbon dioxide naturally present in the air around us to remove most of the caffeine from the tea leaves. It's important to keep in mind that decaffeinated tea is not caffeine-free, and a trace amount of 2-4 mg per cup remains. For those who must avoid caffeine all together, we recommend our herb teas (except Yerba Maté).
A Thought About Serving Sizes
Caffeine levels are often reported in terms of mg per 8 oz cup, but people seldom drink only 8 oz of tea or coffee. Trying to relate reported caffeine to actual personal consumption doesn't always give an accurate comparison. Why?
Consider this:
If an 8 oz cup of brewed coffee contains 150 mg of caffeine, a 16 oz cup of coffee will have 300 mg.
Similarly, when you drink an 8 oz cup of tea served from a brewed pot of tea, doubling the serving size to 16 oz results in double the caffeine.
But steeping tea in a mug is different.
If you were to brew a mug of tea using 8 oz of water and one tea bag, the total caffeine could be around 40 mg. If you were to brew a larger mug of tea using 16 oz water and one tea bag, the total caffeine would not double. It would still be only around 40 mg!

Monday, September 29, 2014

most IPOs in the last year have flopped

New York Stock Exchange
New York Stock Exchange (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
If history is any guide, investors who miss out on getting a slice of Alibaba's massive initial public offering may want to think twice about jumping into the stock once it hits the New York Stock Exchange.
A Reuters analysis of the previous 15 largest IPOs of all time shows that beyond a first-day pop, the first year's performance for most of these mega deals was a major flop.
Alibaba Holding Ltd could seize the mantle from Agricultural Bank of China Ltd as the largest IPO in history when it closes the deal on Thursday to raise some $22 billion.
China's largest e-commerce player, which reported net income tripling to nearly $2 billion in its most recent quarter, has already boosted the IPO's pricing range, and it is clear that not everyone who wants in on the deal will be able to get shares before they hit the market.
As a result, like so many past IPOs, it would not be surprising to see a hefty jump in Alibaba's shares on their debut on Friday. Still, IPO experts say it could be hard for the stock to maintain that momentum and outperform afterward.
"I think there is roughly a two-thirds chance that Alibaba will underperform in the next three years," said Jay Ritter, a finance professor at the University of Florida in Gainesville, who tracks IPOs.
Eight of the 15 biggest IPOs gained in the year after their first day's close, but their average increase of about 17 percent was skewed by two massive gains: China's ICBC and Japan's NTT Docomo, which more than doubled. The median performance of the group was a far more modest 4.1 percent.
Moreover, 11 of these titans, all of which raised at least $10 billion in their IPOs, lagged their local stock market, most of them by double-digit margins.
Their massive size alone may be a hindrance, according to Ritter.
For instance, Alibaba could have a market capitalization approaching $170 billion if it prices at the top of its projected range. In order for the shares to double, Alibaba would have to become the second-largest company on the NYSE by market cap, behind Exxon Mobil Corp and above Johnson & Johnson.
"So the possibility of doing more than a couple hundred percent is much more limited than when a smaller and younger company goes public," Ritter said.
Even the 140 percent surge in ICBC, the Chinese bank and second largest IPO with $21.97 billion raised in October 2006, failed to keep pace with that year's meteoric showing by the Shanghai SE Composite Index. The index rose more than 207 percent in the same stretch.
Another risk may be Alibaba's consumer focus, and consumer-oriented stocks have fallen out of favor this year. The S&P 500 Consumer Discretionary index, which includes a bevy of U.S. e-commerce names such as Amazon.com Inc, is the poorest performer of the S&P 500's 10 industry sectors this year.

"Because Alibaba is already creating net income they're likely to perform better, but those earnings are likely to be cyclical," said Diane Garnick, chief executive of asset management firm Clear Alternatives LLC. "As consumers buy more, Alibaba will be one of the most consumer sensitive or economically sensitive companies out there."

Sunday, September 28, 2014

regular unleaded, now at $3.38 a gallon

The national average price of regular unleaded, now at $3.38 a gallon, is down 8 percent from the end of June. Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at GasBuddy.com, thinks this year will bring the cheapest autumn gasoline prices since 2010. Last year drivers spent $40 billion at the pump in September, and Kloza thinks that bill will be at least $2 billion lower in 2014. The savings at the pump should help stimulate consumer spending in other parts of the economy.
Gas prices are cheapest in the South and highest in the Northwest. Shale oil being produced in North Dakota and Texas has had an easier time traveling south and east, while fewer trains have headed west, across the Rockies and into Washington and Oregon (though that is starting to change). Still, it’s a big difference. The average gasoline price outside Little Rock, Ark., is $3.05; near Seattle, it’s $3.87.
GasBuddy.comHeat map of gasoline prices
This all starts with the price of oil, which makes up 66 percent of the cost of a gallon of regular gasoline. International crude prices have fallen 16 percent since the end of June, and U.S. prices have dropped more than 11 percent. Different parts of the country use different sources of oil to make gasoline. Most imported blends of light, sweet crude no longer come into the U.S. Gulf Coast, by far the biggest refinery base in the U.S.
Refiners are also getting ready to switch to the winter blend of gasoline, which is cheaper to produce but fetches lower prices. Over the last three years, the price of gasoline from September to November has fallen by an average of more than 30¢ a gallon. If that trend continues in 2014, it could put prices in some parts of the country below $3.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom introduced today to assist his electoral efforts in New Zealand.

The US government whistleblower, Edward Snowden, and the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, were two of the foreign guests that internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom introduced today to assist his electoral efforts in New Zealand.

Mr Snowden appeared at an Auckland public meeting via video link from Russia, while Mr Assange spoke from the Ecuadorean embassy in London as part of the election campaign by Mr Dotcom’s Internet Mana party.
Mr Dotcom has been drawing large, enthusiastic crowds on the campaign trail, even as he fights extradition attempts by the US on racketeering charges over his now-closed file-sharing site Megaupload. He cannot run for office because he is not a New Zealand citizen, but he has poured more than £1m into a small party that is on target to win two or three of the 120 seats in Parliament when the nation goes to the polls on Saturday.
He promised a theatrical finale: an exposé of New Zealand’s spying activities, the truthfulness of Prime Minister John Key and “the sordid workings of Hollywood”.
But while Mr Dotcom, a German-Finnish entrepreneur, said he would produce proof that Mr Key had misled the public about his case, he did not mention anything about that at today’s rally. Mr Key has said that Mr Dotcom’s political aspirations are a cynical attempt to thwart the justice system and avoid extradition. A political appointee, the Justice Minister, is required to give final approval to any extradition proceedings.
The Internet Mana party is attracting younger voters by promising to deliver free higher education, cut the price of internet access, fight mass surveillance, decriminalise marijuana and protect native dolphins. But Mr Dotcom may fall short of one of his main goals: getting the centre-right Mr Key voted out of office. Polls indicate that Mr Key remains popular and is likely to win a third three-year term, although that would be in jeopardy if opposition parties such as Mr Dotcom’s gained more than half of the parliamentary seats and formed a coalition.
Edward Snowden appeared at the public meeting via video link from Russia (AP)
Megaupload was a popular file-hosting site before the US government shut it down in 2012. Mr Dotcom, who spent a month in jail in New Zealand before being released on bail, has since created another service, called Mega.
US prosecutors accuse the 40-year-old of facilitating the widespread piracy of music and movies. Mr Dotcom, born Kim Schmitz in Germany, argues that he cannot be held responsible for the activity of those who used his site to illegally download material.
He says he has not become politically active for his own sake but in response to the New Zealanders who have supported him since his dramatic 2012 arrest, in which dozens of armed officers stormed his mansion. He told a rally in Wellington rally last month: “Since I’m here anyway and I can’t go anywhere, I might as well use this for something to give back.”

The Wikileaks founder spoke via a link-up from the Ecuadorean embassy in London (Getty)
Mr Dotcom founded the Internet Party, which in May joined forces with the Mana Movement, a party rooted in giving indigenous Maori a political voice. The merger appeared odd to many but from a purely pragmatic viewpoint it made sense: Mr Dotcom had the money to bankroll a big campaign, while Mana had the support to win seats in Parliament, thanks to the popularity of its leader, Hone Harawira.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Talk about awkward. Sears secured a $400 million loan this week from a hedge fund whose sole shareholder is the struggling retailer's chairman, CEO and leading investor.

The unusual agreement -- and what it signals about the overall health of Sears (SHLD) -- spooked Wall Street. Shares of the retailer plunged another 9% on Tuesday to the lowest level sine February.

"It's shady because there is clearly a conflict of interest here," said Brian Sozzi, who closely tracks the retail industry as CEO of Belus Capital Advisors.
Devil's in the details: Sears, which lost $1 billion during the first half of the year, revealed the loan in a vaguely-worded regulatory filing late Monday.
Related: Sears more 'irrelevant by the day'
The company said the the short-term loan is being provided by entities tied to ESL Investments, whose sole stockholder and CEO is Sears head Eddie Lampert.
ESL Investments controls 24.8% of Sears's outstanding shares, making it the No. 1 stockholder. Lampert himself is listed as owning 23.7% of the company's outstanding stock.
Related: America's largest pension fund dumps hedge funds
The filing said the loan, which carries an annual base interest of 5% plus upfront fees of 1.75%, is being secured by 25 unspecified properties. Presumably that means some of the company's hundreds of Sears and Kmart stores.
Collateral damage: The fact that Sears didn't disclose which properties are being used as collateral is raising eyebrows. The loan even gives the lender (Lampert) the opportunity to swap out certain stores with other ones.
Related: Half the Nasdaq stuck in a bear market
As pointed out by Yahoo Finance, the $400 million loan values each store at just $16 million. That's a steep discount to the $20 million to $50 million Sears has typically been selling its stores for to other retailers and investors. It also seems cheap given the $5 billion of real-estate assets listed on the Sears balance sheet.
"We don't even know all the deal terms. Are shareholders getting a raw deal here? Did Lampert undervalue the stores?" said Sozzi.
For its part, Sears said in a statement to CNNMoney that the deal does not create a conflict of interest and is in the "best interest of the company."
Even if the deal terms are fair for Sears shareholders, the fact the loan is needed doesn't bode well for the company's sales metrics, especially as it heads into the critical holiday period.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Adobe Systems Inc's (ADBE.O) forecast disappointing revenue

Logo of Adobe Systems Incorporated
Logo of Adobe Systems Incorporated (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Photoshop maker Adobe Systems Inc's (ADBE.O) forecast disappointing revenue for this quarter and reported lower quarterly sales at its digital media business, which includes the Creative Cloud software suite.
Adobe shares fell nearly 5 percent in extended trading.
The company said it expected adjusted profit of 26-32 cents per share on revenue of $1.03 billion-$1.08 billion for the quarter ending November. (adobe.ly/1wonw8I)
Analysts on average were expecting an adjusted profit of 31 share on revenue of $1.09 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
"I think the market has come to expect perfection from this company and today was not perfect," Edward Jones technology analyst Josh Olson told Reuters.
Revenue from Adobe's digital media business, which includes the Creative Cloud and document services, fell about 2.4 percent to $621.4 million in the third quarter ended Aug. 29.
Adobe has been switching to web-based subscription for its Creative Suite 6 from traditional box licenses to attract more predictable recurring revenue.
Online subscriptions let customers access the latest versions of a host of software for a monthly payment.
The number of paid subscribers for Creative Cloud — including Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign software — rose by 502,000 to 2.81 million.
"We have been accustomed to 35 percent positive surprises in terms of the subscription gains and this was really in line with expectations," Olson said.
He added that Adobe had achieved a lot of the "low-hanging fruit" in shifting its existing customer base to the cloud, but the challenge now was to convince the more "resistant" customers, such as small businesses and individuals.
Revenue from Adobe's digital marketing business, which offers marketing campaign management and analytics tools, increased 8 percent to $336.6 million.
Total revenue rose 1 percent to $1.01 billion, while analysts had expected $1.02 billion.

Net income fell to $44.7 million, or 9 cents per share, from $83 million, or 16 cents per share, a year earlier.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

79 million obese adults in the U.S. should be a marketing dream

The 79 million obese adults in the U.S. should be a marketing dream for the makers of anti-obesity drugs, and now Contrave, the latest treatment to receive approval from the Food and Drug Administration, will try to win over a population in which more than 1 in 3 adults are obese. Yet sales have been weak for the prescription drugs already available, Qsymia and Belviq, both approved in 2012. Why has it been so difficult to pitch pharmaceutical weight loss to an overweight nation?
Much of the resistance to the weight-loss medications stems from the disastrous safety record of diet drugs pulled from the market in the 1990s. And, perhaps more important, a large number of health insurance plans won’t pay for the drugs, which often lead to only modest weight loss. In clinical trials, for example, nondiabetic patients taking Contrave lost only 4.1 percent more weight than those taking placebos.
Orexigen Therapeutics (OREX), the maker of Contrave, sees a U.S. market in which only 2 million of about 100 million potential customers are currently treated with medication. Mark Booth, the company’s chief commercial officer, described the U.S. as a “large, rapidly growing, and a vastly underserved market” during a conference call last week.
The drugmaker intends to solve the riddle of American reluctance to anti-obesity pills with sales outreach to doctors, as well as the eventual rollout of print and online ads encouraging patients to ask their doctors about the treatment. Contrave enters the U.S. with one clear advantage over its rivals: Orexigen is enlisting the 900-person U.S. sales force of Japanese pharmaceutical giant Takeda (4502:JP) to market its treatment. That gives the drug far larger sales muscle than can be mustered by the small companies behind Qsymia and Belviq.
The Contrave push will court primary care doctors and specialists such as endocrinologists who often treat obese patients. “Primary care physicians love samples,” Booth said on the call. “So sampling is a part of the tactical plan.” Takeda is also preparing print and online ads directed at patients, says Katie Andino, director of obesity marketing for Takeda USA. She wouldn’t discuss the possibility of TV ads.
Eisai, the maker of rival drug Belviq, has been running national television ads since the spring. The two-minute spot follows a familiar drug ad script: Ominous music plays as a cast of characters think out loud about their problems. “It’s late, and I’m still hungry,” one woman peering into a fridge in a darkened kitchen says. A reassuring female narrator says, “Weight loss is not just about willpower.” The music turns jaunty as the narrator suggests, “Maybe it’s time to try Belviq.”

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Apple customers will have to wait until next month for new iPhones

English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Appl...
English: The logo for Apple Computer, now Apple Inc.. The design of the logo started in 1977 designed by Rob Janoff with the rainbow color theme used until 1999 when Apple stopped using the rainbow color theme and used a few different color themes for the same design. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Apple Inc said many customers will need to wait until next month for their new iPhones after a record 4 million first-day pre-orders were logged, double the number for the iPhone 5 two years ago.
The company said demand had outstripped supply of the new iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, which feature larger screens and longer battery life. Deliveries of pre-orders will begin on Friday and will continue through October.
Bumper first-day pre-orders point to first-weekend sales of up to 10 million units, analysts estimated.
"Assuming preorders are similar to the 40 percent of first weekend sales for the iPhone 5, this would imply iPhone 6/6Plus first weekend sales could be around 10 million," Wells Fargo Securities analysts wrote in a note.
About 2 million pre-orders were received for the iPhone 5 in the first 24 hours after it went on sale in September 2012. Apple sold 5 million of these phones in the first weekend.
Apple sold 9 million iPhone 5Ss and 5Cs, which were launched last year, in the first three days in stores. The company did not reveal pre-order numbers for these phones.
Raymond James analysts said they expect sales of iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus to top 9 million in the first weekend.
"Apple will be selling every iPhone it can make, at least through October. Because of this, the first weekend sales are typically more indicative of supply than demand," they said.
The company routinely grapples with iPhone supply constraints, particularly in years that involve a smartphone re-design.
Apple's website showed last week that the larger 5.5-inch "Plus" models displayed a wait time of up to a month. The 4.7-inch version was available for delivery on Sept. 19.
Janney Capital Markets analysts said the large number of pre-orders was due to "pent-up demand" for bigger iPhone screens.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Microsoft to acquire Minecraft

Microsoft Corp (MSFT.O) has agreed to acquire the Stockholm-based developer of the wildly popular Minecraft video game for $2.5 billion, as it tries to lure a new and mostly young audience into its mobile world.
Minecraft - a construction game in which players can build nearly anything imaginable, block by block, in a digital, Lego-like world - has spread like wildfire since its full release by developer Mojang in 2011.
Minecraft is the top paid-for app both on Apple Inc's (AAPL.O) iOS and Google Inc's (GOOGL.O) Android systems and helped Mojang, which employs just 40 people, bring in 2.05 billion crowns ($287 million) in revenue in 2013, giving it an 896 million crown ($126 million) operating profit for the year.
Director of website Gamesbrief Nicholas Lovell described Minecraft as a hugely successful product which has "captured the imagination of pretty much everybody under the age of 15", saying the game could help Microsoft broaden its appeal.
While the Mojang team will join Microsoft studios behind global franchises such as "Halo" and "Fable", its three co-founders, who have been chased by the likes of Napster co-founder and early Facebook Inc (FB.O) investor Sean Parker, will be leaving to start new projects.
As if to erase any doubts about the importance of gaming, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said it was a "top activity" spanning devices from PCs and consoles to tablets and mobiles, with billions of hours devoted to it each year.
"Minecraft is more than a great game franchise – it is an open world platform, driven by a vibrant community we care deeply about, and rich with new opportunities for that community and for Microsoft," Nadella said on Monday.
Microsoft has spent lavishly in the Nordic region in recent years, buying the handset business of Nokia for $7.2 billion in a deal which closed this year. In 2011, it spent $8.5 billion on Skype, which has its roots in Scandinavia and the Baltics.
Some analysts were positive about the acquisition.
"The news robustly dismisses the idea that games are no longer at the core of Microsoft's strategic direction and also underlines the growing importance of independent titles alongside big-budget games," Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at IHS Technology, wrote in a note.
FBR Capital Markets said the deal gave Nadella "the right product at the right time," as Microsoft invests in its Xbox strategy and moves into the intensely competitive mobile phone sector with Nokia under its hood.
Just five years old, Mojang was co-founded by Markus Persson, who developed the hit Minecraft game after previously working at Sweden's King Digital Entertainment Plc (KING.N), maker of the Candy Crush Saga game.
Related articles

Sunday, September 21, 2014

The Mayo is getting its own version of Watson

Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Clinical trials provide patients with access to new and emerging treatments, but matching patients with trials is one of the more difficult parts of clinical research.
This is a huge task that until now has typically been carried out manually by thousands of people processing records around the world. Now the clinic is to get some help from IBM’s Watson supercomputer, wwhich will use its cognitive computing capability to sift through thousands of pages of information available about Mayo clinical trials in a fraction of the time.
"With shorter times from initiation to completion of trials, our research teams will have the capacity for deeper, more complete investigations," said Nicholas LaRusso, a gastroenterologist at the Mayo and the project lead. "Coupled with increased accuracy, we will be able to develop, refine and improve new and better techniques in medicine at a higher level."
The Mayo is getting its own version of Watson that has been especially designed for the clinic's purposes. According to the clinic, as the machine goes through its tasks it will mature and learn and become better at matching patients and trials. The researchers are hoping that in due course, Watson will be able to find patients for hard-to-fill trials such as those involving rare diseases and conditions.

As the centre points out, many clinical trials at the Mayo and elsewhere are not completed because of a lack of sufficient numbers of people to enrol in trials. Even the publicity around the involvement of Watson in the process could help, the clinic hopes. At the Mayo Clinic, just five percent of patients take part in studies and nationally, the rate is even lower, at three percent, a spokesperson for the clinic said.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

former portfolio manager Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LP hedge fund, sentenced on to nine years in prison

Mathew Martoma, a former portfolio manager at billionaire Steven A. Cohen's SAC Capital Advisors LP hedge fund, was sentenced on Monday to nine years in prison for engaging in what authorities called the most lucrative insider trading scheme in U.S. history.
U.S. District Judge Paul Gardephe in New York said he had to account for the "enormous" $275 million gain SAC obtained as a result of illegal trades in pharmaceutical stocks. Prosecutors said the trades were based on tips Martoma received about a clinical trial for an Alzheimer's drug.
"I cannot and will not ignore that the gain is hundreds of millions of dollars more than ever seen in an insider trading prosecution," Gardephe said.
The sentence came despite appeals for leniency by Richard Strassberg, Martoma's lawyer, who cited "fragile family circumstances." Gardephe also ordered Martoma to forfeit $9.3 million, including his Boca Raton, Florida, home.
While Martoma, 40, faced up to 19-1/2 years in prison under federal sentencing guidelines, Gardephe said such punishment should be reserved for repeat offenders or criminal enterprise leaders.
But the judge said a severe sentence was nonetheless necessary, saying "there was nothing accidental about Mr. Martoma's conduct or the gain realized."
Martoma, whom a jury convicted in February of securities fraud and conspiracy, made no comment as he left the court holding his wife's hand.
The ex-trader and his family were "devastated by the outcome," said Lou Colasuonno, a spokesman for Martoma, saying an appeal is planned.
The nine-year sentence is among the longer prison terms in U.S. insider trading cases, reflecting a trend of increasingly lengthy sentences in recent years.
In 2012, corporate lawyer Matthew Kluger was sentenced in New Jersey to 12 years for trading on information from law firms about mergers. A year earlier, Galleon Group hedge fund founder Raj Rajaratnam was sentenced in New York to 11 years.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, whose office is engaged in a broad crackdown on insider trading, called the nine-year sentence "well-suited to the audacity of the illegal trading in this case."
The case against Martoma, who worked in SAC's CR Intrinsic Investors unit, stemmed from a long-running insider trading investigation of the hedge fund.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Virtually Human - The Promise and the Peril of Digital Immortality

Virtually Human - The Promise and the Peril of Digital Immortality By Martine Rothblatt, PH.D. What is your mindclone or mindfile going to be? With Quantum Computing on the edge, mindclones are now in the near future. This should be read by most of the baby boomers; an absolute must! Take a look into the future with Martine Rothblatt and see what is to come as she explores the variables they will begin to use for a mindclone. Virtually Human explores what the not-too-distant future will look like when cyber consciousness - simuuntitledlation of the human brain via software and computer technology that will become part of our daily lives. Bina48, the world's most sentient robot, commissioned by Martine Rothblatt and created by Hanson Robotics. Bina48 is a nascent Mindclone that can engage in conversation, answer questions, and even have spontaneous thoughts that are derived from multimedia data in a Mindfile created by the real Bina.Thousands of software engineers across the globe are working to create cyber consciousness based on human consciousness and the Obama administration recently announced plans to invest in a decade-long Brain Activity Map project. Virtually Human is the only book to examine the ethical issues relating to cyber consciousness and Rothblatt, with a Ph.D. in medical ethics, is uniquely qualified to lead the dialogue. Reviews "Ingenious... a thoughtful philosophical exploration of the role of virtual humans in our future" - Kirkus Reviews" Exponential technologies are driving a new dimension of human evolution. In her compelling book, Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt outlines how artificial consciousness is just around the corner, and explores the scientific and ethical ramifications. Science fiction is rapidly becoming science fact and the implications are breathtaking. Virtually Human is critical reading to anyone who plans to be around for the next couple of decades."—Peter H. Diamandis, MD, CEO, XPRIZE; Exec Chairman, Singularity University; New York Times bestselling author of Abundance: The Future is Better Than You Think" "In Virtually Human, Martine Rothblatt builds on the observation that "I think, therefore I am" in ways that Descartes could not have imagined. With the rapid evolution of artificial intelligence, Rothblatt predicts that we soon will confront cyberconsciousness comparable to—indeed, indistinguishable from—the human mind. When we cross this technological Rubicon, we will be forced to reconsider the meaning of concepts as foundational as life and death, law and liberty, love and kinship. Bringing to bear the lessons of history, philosophy, psychology, law and science, Rothblatt makes abundantly clear that these unprecedented challenges will define the humanity not just of our technological doppelgangers but of ourselves."— Rachel F. Moran, Dean and Michael J. Connell Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law, and author of Interracial Intimacy: The Regulation of Race and Romance Virtually Human - The promise and the Peril of Digital Immortality at Amazon. MARTINE ROTHBLATT, Ph.D., MBA, J.D. is a lawyer, entrepreneur, and medical ethicist. In 1990 she founded and served as Chairman and CEO of Sirius Satellite Radio (now Sirius XM). When her daughter was diagnosed with a rare disease, Martine left Sirius to search for a cure. She founded United Therapeutics in 1996 and has since served as Chairman and CEO. Martine is also a leading legal advocate for human rights and has led the IBA in presenting the UN with a draft treaty on the genome.Reviewed by R.G. Richardson in association with St. Martens Press.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Home Depot Inc (HD.N) is being tight-lipped about its possible credit card breach

English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Bra...
English: Logo for The Home Depot. Category:Brands of the World (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Home Depot Inc (HD.N) is being tight-lipped about its possible credit card breach, the opposite approach to the one Target Corp (TGT.N) took nearly a year ago.
Almost a week after security blogger Brian Krebs warned that Home Depot could be the victim of a breach extending to more than 2,000 U.S. stores, the home improvement chain has not confirmed or denied that one had occurred. The company said Tuesday that it was working with authorities to investigate the matter.
By contrast, Target made initial disclosures on its breach's scope but later revised them in a series of updates that confused and angered consumers, hitting sales and contributing to Chief Executive Officer Gregg Steinhafel's departure.
In its minimalist communication strategy, Home Depot likely is drawing lessons from Target, avoiding an incremental approach that risks giving the impression that it does not have a complete grasp of the problem, crisis management experts said.
"When you have criminal behavior, you don’t know right away what all the ramifications are," said Davia Temin, head of a consultancy focused on crisis and reputation management. "It’s really hard when you are trying to overcommunicate not to misstate reality."
Target in December used its first disclosure to say 40 million credit and debit cards might have been compromised. A week later it said encrypted PIN data had been stolen. And in January, it said data on up to 70 million people might have been taken.
Target spokeswoman Molly Snyder said the company had moved quickly to inform customers as facts were uncovered during a complex investigation.
To be sure, the situations facing Target and Home Depot are not exactly the same. While Target knew it was dealing with data theft, Home Depot has held on to the possibility that no breach has occurred.
"When you are in a situation like this you have a choice," Home Depot CEO Frank Blake said at an investor conference on Thursday. "On the one hand, you can wait to communicate anything until you have the facts at hand, or you can communicate the facts as you know them. We chose the latter path."
Blake did not address Krebs' reporting, including his estimate on the scope of the possible breach. Home Depot spokeswoman Paula Drake said on Monday that the company did not have any updates on the situation.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Cisco Systems are among the OEMs that will be rolling out new systems

Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Cisco Systems are among the OEMs that will be rolling out new systems when Intel officials introduce the latest generation of its mainstream Xeon E5-2600 server chips.

Intel will be officially unveiling the new processors—which officials said will offer significant improvements in performance and power efficiency—at a press event the day before its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco. A broad range of system makers are expected to be on hand at the event in San Francisco to talk about their servers that will leverage the new chips.

At the same time, the OEMs will unveil other enhancements beyond the processor upgrade—in such areas as power and cooling management—designed to make their systems better able to address the changing demands being put on data center infrastructures by such trends as mobile computing, big data and the cloud. In addition, they want to take advantage of the optimization Intel is offering in the Xeon E5-2600 v3 "Grantley" processors in areas in the data center beyond the servers.

"They're using this as an opportunity to not only completely refresh their server systems, but also their storage and networking," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told eWEEK.


 
Can You Really Support Business Continuity Requirements?
Download NowBringing innovative technologies to the systems will be important not only as workloads change, but also as competition from white-box makers increase. Gartner analysts in a Sept. 3 report said that server original design manufacturers (ODMs) are now directly courting enterprises and organizations that run hyperscale data centers, and as a result, sales of servers by ODMs directly to customers will represent 16 percent of global x86 server shipments by 2018 and will generate $4.6 billion in revenue.
"ODM companies are rapidly changing their business model, as they are directly targeting hyperscale customers," Naveen Mishra, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "These companies are expanding their business scope to also include enterprises in the near term. These customers are willing to consider innovative [data center] infrastructure designs that can offer better scalability and can drastically reduce the total cost of ownership of servers (including power and cooling expense) compared with mainstream servers offered by traditional server OEMs."

The new Grantley chips will be based on Intel's "Haswell" architecture, and will offer such features as DDR4 memory—which will bring faster speeds, more bandwidth and greater energy efficiency—as many as 18 cores, and technologies that will improve virtualization support, power efficiency and management, increase performance, and help expand the Intel Architecture into networking and storage.

Officials with HP and Cisco already have given the industry some indication of what they are doing with the servers that will be powered by the new Intel chips. In a Webcast event Aug. 28, company executives introduced HP's upcoming ninth-generation ProLiant servers that they said will offer three times the compute capacity of previous ProLiants, greater efficiency in processing multiple workloads, infrastructure provisioning that is 66 times faster and better total cost of ownership (TCO).

The ProLiant Gen 9 servers will bring three times the performance-per-watt capabilities of previous generations, require 60 percent less space and lower storage acquisition costs by 80 percent, officials said. In addition, in combination with HP's storage, memory and networking capabilities, workload performance of business-critical applications will be improved by four times, according to the company. - See more at: http://www.eweek.com/servers/dell-lenovo-among-oems-launching-intel-grantley-based-servers.html#sthash.hsuB4Foz.dpuf

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tesla announces new factory in Reno

English: Flag of Reno, Nevada
English: Flag of Reno, Nevada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval looked pretty happy yesterday when he announced that Tesla Motors had chosen Reno as the site for its proposed $5 billion “Gigafactory” battery plant and its 6,500 high-tech manufacturing jobs. As well he might: While the $1.3 billion potential cost of the state’s attraction package could haunt the state, the win is clearly huge.
So what now? Nevadans have a right to gloat for, oh, maybe a day or two (or a week!)—but then get to work fully leveraging the opportunity. To do that, the state should think urgently about how to boot-strap its present good fortune into permanent, self-perpetuating and broader advantage in advanced industries. Here are three strategies:

Pile onto workforce training and education.

The first priority for Nevada has to be: Train, train, train and educate, educate, educate. By all reports, the Tesla plant is going to require thousands of “middle skill” assembly workers, operators, and maintenance technicians as well as hundreds of engineers and technical supervisors. That will be welcome to a state that was hammered during the crisis. And the great news is that many of the jobs will be accessible to the state’s high school and community college graduates. However, the numbers involved alone will challenge Nevada, as will the state’s relatively thin cadre of STEM-skilled workers. Given that, the state and its regions should use the Gigafactory’s arrival to kick-start a major workforce training and STEM education campaign aimed at turning the urgency of near-term hiring needs into a longer-term habit of preparation—not just in Reno but statewide. At the center of this push should be a statewide push to promote the importance of STEM skills-building aligned to the specific needs of the state’s industries. Such a push would do more than anything else to convert the Tesla opportunity into a lasting sea change that truly helps diversify the state economy and reduce its overreliance on the recession-hammered gaming and real estate industries.

Monday, September 15, 2014

State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) aims to raise up to $4 billion

Royal Bank of Scotland
Royal Bank of Scotland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
State-backed Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L) aims to raise up to $4 billion from the share flotation of its U.S. bank Citizens Financial Group this month, it was announced on Monday, putting it on track to be the biggest U.S. bank share offering this year.
RBS, which is 81 percent owned by the UK government after being rescued in 2008, has come under pressure from UK regulators to improve its capital base and focus on its domestic business, and the bank had already made clear it planned to sell up to a quarter of Citizens this year through an initial public offer (IPO).
RBS said on Monday it would sell 140 million shares in Citizens at between $23 and $25 each in the New York IPO, and could sell a further 21 million shares in an over-allotment option granted to the underwriters of the offer. (1.usa.gov/1tlcS0t)
Up to 29 percent of the bank will be sold, valuing Citizens at the top end of the price range at $14 billion.
RBS did not set a date for the listing, but it is slated for on or around Sept. 23, a person familiar with the matter said.
RBS said the sale would "significantly improve" its capital position and is "an important milestone" for both RBS and Citizens.
Analysts said once RBS sells at least half of Citizens, probably in the first half of next year, its core capital adequacy ratio should be boosted by 2-3 percentage points, although the initial IPO is unlikely to have much impact.
RBS has previously said it expects to fully sell out of Citizens by the end of 2016.

LONG HISTORY, SERIES OF DEALS
Citizens provides retail and commercial banking services to about 5 million customers in the United States and ranks as the country's 13th biggest retail bank holding with about $130 billion in assets.
The 186-year-old bank, headquartered in Providence, Rhode Island, was bought by RBS in 1988 and expanded with 25 acquisitions, including the 2004 purchase of Charter One.
It has 18,000 staff and 1,200 branches in 11 states across the New England, Mid-Atlantic and Midwest regions at the end of June and made a net profit of $479 million in the six months to the end of June, on revenue of $2.6 billion.
Citizens is being valued at the upper end of the $9 billion to $15 billion range estimated by analysts with the IPO offer range pricing the business at near its net tangible book value of $13.1 billion at the end of June.
That represents a premium to RBS shares, which are trading at about 0.7 times book value. U.S. banks of a similar size, such as Fifth-Third (FITB.O) and BB&T Corp. (BBT.N), on average trade at near 1.2 times book value, according to Reuters data.

Citizens intends to list on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol "CFG".