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Friday, May 27, 2011

Now you can really pay as you go: Google unveils phone that can be swiped as a credit card Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1391012/Google-unveil-mobile-wallet-phone-swiped-credit-card.html#ixzz1NZAlQliE

Revelation 13:16-18 (King James Version)

 16And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
 17And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
 18Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.

This device is NOT the mark, but the basis for the integrated system of buying and selling is now ready

All-in-one: Available as an app, it will be available on phones with Google Android software, like the one shown

Google unveiled an app today that allows users to pay for goods with their mobile phones.

In future customers will be able to pay just by waving their phone's screens across a terminal reader thanks to Google Wallet, the smartphone application.

Unveiled in New York the app, which will launch this summer, signals the start of what Google calls the age of mobile and local, know simply as 'MoLo'.

It will begin being tested in New York and San Francisco this summer, with the service expected to roll out across the rest of the U.S. next year.

The project is designed in conjunction with MasterCard and Citibank, and so far the likes of Macy's, American Eagle Outfitters, Subway, Walgreens and a host of other brands have signed up to the scheme.

Using Near Field Communication technology, the app will allow users to purchase goods. The payments will then be sent to the merchants who may choose to provide shopping incentives for the consumer.

Other merchants that are MasterCard Paypass enabled - such as CVS and Jack in the Box - will also accept payments from the app.

Google wrote on its blog: 'You'll be able to store your credit cards, offers, loyalty cards and gift cards, but without the bulk.

'When you tap to pay, your phone will also automatically redeem offers and earn loyalty points for you.

'Someday, even things like boarding passes, tickets, ID and keys could be stored in Google Wallet.'

The app will initially only be available on the Nexus S 4G Sprint model, but will expand to more phones in the future.
Mail One

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1391012/Google-unveil-mobile-wallet-phone-swiped-credit-card.html#ixzz1NZAxFmho

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US lawmakers block China firms from Pentagon contracts

File image of a Chinese submarine during a fleet review

Lawmakers in the US House of Representatives have voted to bar Chinese defence firms from receiving Pentagon contracts.

The amendment was passed as part of a larger defence budget bill passed by the House in Washington on Wednesday.

It excludes all companies owned by or affiliated to the Chinese government from US defence deals.

The US Senate must also pass the bill before it can be approved by President Barack Obama.

Congresswoman Rose DeLauro, a sponsor of the amendment, said it would help guard US national security interests.

"With China making significant progress in the defence and aerospace industries, including a Chinese state-controlled company considering a bid for the contract for the next presidential helicopter, it is critical that we ensure US national security is protected and that the highly skilled jobs and associated technologies in these industries are not outsourced overseas," she said in a statement.

"This amendment will help guard American interests, not only for our national security, but also the innovation, job creation and long-term economic growth."

Media reports, including one from the Wall Street Journal, say Chinese state-owned military contractor China Aviation Industry Corp (AVIC) may be making a bid for a contract to supply the US presidential helicopter.

Last week, a top Chinese general, Chen Bingde, said in Washington that China had no intention of matching US military power.


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U.S. forces will not be prepared for a future conflict with China

Marine Corps Gen. James E. Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was passed over for a promotion to chairman by President Obama. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey is the expected replacement for outgoing Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.

The threat from Chinese advanced weapons, including new stealth fighters and ballistic missiles, dominated concerns expressed by senior military officers at a Senate hearing this week on the military impact of delays and problems with the new fifth-generation F-35 jet.

Two senior officers in charge of U.S. air power voiced increasing worries that U.S. forces will not be prepared for a future conflict with China, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services airland subcommittee on Tuesday.

Air Force Lt. Gen. Herbert J. Carlisle, deputy chief of staff for operations, said China’s rollout earlier this year of a new J-20 stealth fighter, which has made two or three test flights, is very troubling, along with another joint Russian-Indian stealth jet.

Both aircraft could be sold to Iran and affect a future U.S. intervention there against Tehran’s nuclear program.

“Those are discouraging in that they rolled out in a time that we thought there was maybe a little bit more time, although we weren’t sure of that,” Gen. Carlisle said.

The three-star general’s comments echoed earlier comments by Navy Vice Adm. David J. Dorsett, a senior intelligence official, who said of the J-20 in January that “we have been pretty consistent in underestimating the delivery of Chinese technology and weapons systems.”

U.S. military fighters will remain a pace ahead technologically of both the Chinese and Russian stealth jets. But if there are further F-35 delays, “then that pacing is in jeopardy,” Gen. Carlisle said.

In unusually candid comments on China’s growing military power, Gen. Carlisle said: “You need only look across the Pacific and see what [China] is doing, not just their air force capability, but their surface-to-air [missile] capability, their ballistic missile capability, their anti-ship ballistic missiles,” and new missiles that can reach U.S. bases in Guam and Japan.

“All of those things are incredibly disturbing to us for the future,” Gen. Carlisle said. “And again, … we not only have to be able to defeat those, we have to hold those targets at risk, and that’s where these fifth-generation aircraft come in.”
Washington Times


Unseen for 4,500 years: Pyramid finally reveals its hidden secrets as robot captures images of ancient markings

Mystery markings: A close up view of the red figures on the floor behind the first blocking stone in the tomb

The last great mystery of the pyramids could be closer to being found thanks to a robot built in Leeds.

Images captured by a new 'micro snake' camera travelling deep within the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt reveal small hieroglyphs written in red paint on the floor of a small, hidden chamber.

Egyptologists believe that if deciphered the markings could unlock the secrets of why tunnels, doors and secret chambers were built within pyramids such as this one.

The pyramid is the last of the seven wonders of the ancient world still standing, and is thought to have been built as a tomb for Pharoah Khufu, who ruled in the Fourth Egyptian Dynasty and died in 2566 BC.

Khufu had the Great Pyramid of Giza built as a monumental tomb, inside of which are tomb chambers, ante-rooms, chambers, ventilation shafts and access tunnels.

There are three main chambers: The King's Chamber, the Queen's Chamber and the Grand Gallery.

The King's Chamber has two shafts connected to outside, but two tunnels from the Queen's Chamber deep inside the widest part of the pyramid have two stone doors.

It is not the first time robots have been used within the pyramid to gather evidence about the intricate workings of the structure.

In 1993 a robot discovered a small door set with metal pins, the first time any metal had been found inside the pyramid, igniting speculation that the pins were keys or door handles.

In 2002 a different robot filmed a small chamber blocked by a stone after managing to drill through the first stone block.

The latest robot, built by engineer Rob Richardson from the University of Leeds, has a bendy camera that can see around corners, reports the New Scientist.

The images revealed could be numbers or graffiti which were common in Giza at the time of the pyramid's construction. Egyptologists believe the marks could be the work of stone masons or work gangs, and could denote names, numbers or dates.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1390843/Pyramid-finally-reveals-hidden-secrets-robot-captures-images-ancient-markings.html#ixzz1NYzoj0t7

Fukushima melt-down worse than Chernobyl

The situation at the quake-hit Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan appears to have fit into the worst predicted scenario. Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO), which operates Fukushima, has officially admitted that fuel rods at the Fukushima reactors have partially melted, with a melt-down registered at one of the reactors. Remarkably, the announcement came on Tuesday when IAEA delegations arrived in Japan to inspect the power plant. More from Artyom Ananyan…

IAEA experts arrived in Japan on Tuesday to find out how the plant had been managed before the disaster and what measures were taken by the authorities to do the cleanup.

Fukushima-1 was seriously damaged by the 9.0-magnitude earthquake and tsunami that hit the north-western Japan on the 11th of March. The quake cut off power, while the massive tsunami sent the cooling system at the reactors into crisis. Radiation leaks were registered at the Fukushima, causing evacuations of homes inside the 30-km exclusion zone. Increased levels of radioactive iodine and cesium were found in sea water and in air nearby.

TEPCO promised that the situation would improve within 6-9 months, while radiation levels would drop to normal in three months. However, in late April Japan`s Nuclear Safety Commission raised the nuclear threat level at Fukushima up to the highest seventh level. This level previously only applied to the 1986 Chernobyl disaster. This month TEPCO officials started revealing all data about the crippled Fukushima power plant.

Certainly, in the first hours after the tragedy happened the operators were too shocked to unveil any details to the public. However, things did not get clearer with time. Deputy Director at the Russian Institute for Nuclear Engineering, Chernobyl clean-up worker Igor Ostretsov commented on the situation in an interview with the VOR…

"The Fukushima disaster has proved that nuclear industry should be controlled only by the state and not by private companies. The outcome of this tragedy has turned even worse than it was in Chernobyl. Graphite which was part of the reactor`s core, burnt out and vanished in the atmosphere. But at Fukushima the reactor`s core melted."

Now that TEPCO is going to allow IAEA experts access to all information concerning the disaster, the agency`s commission might decide on what should be done to boost nuclear safety standards not only in Japan but worldwide. IAEA is expected to present its report in June. Meanwhile, nuclear safety will be high on agenda at the G8 summit in Deauville, France, on 26-27 May. According to the Russian presidential aide Arkady Dvorkovich, the G8 leaders won`t come up with a separate declaration on the Fukushima disaster but will discuss the issue in every detail.
Voice of Russia

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U.S. at Risk of Default as Cost to Insure U.S. “Ponzi Scheme” Against Default Rises Sharply

Gold and silver are lower today with profit taking, Chinese bond buying and increased risk appetite being cited for the price falls. Gold is marginally lower in all currencies and is 0.2% lower in U.S. dollar terms despite the dollar coming under selling pressure again this morning. Risky assets have recovered somewhat from recent losses with Asian and European equities and commodities receiving a bid.

Reports of China buying Eurozone government debt may have led to a rise in the euro and equities. However, the scale of sovereign debt risk internationally is such that even significant and ongoing Chinese buying would be unlikely to contain the crisis.

Sovereign debt risks in Europe and internationally continue to threaten the increasingly fragile economic recovery.

While most of the focus has been on Greece and Eurozone sovereign debt issues, the not insignificant risk posed by a U.S. sovereign debt crisis increases by the day. The risk of a US default continues to rise which can be seen in the sharply increased cost to insure U.S. sovereign debt.

Risk of a U.S. default can be seen in the credit default swap (CDS) market. 1 year U.S. CDS has risen from 23 to 37 or by 60% in the last six trading days (see chart below). According to this measure, the U.S. is now more likely to default than Slovenia and Indonesia in the next year.

In the more liquid 5 year U.S. CDS, the cost to insure has risen by some 50% in the last week. The U.S. is considered more likely to default in 5 years time than South Africa, Malaysia, Panama, Brazil and Colombia.

Credit default swaps on U.S. debt saw a flutter of activity in the past week with investors placing 135 trades in U.S. CDS in the week ended May 20, far above previous weeks, when in some cases only one contract trade was seen.

This compares to 360 CDS trades in the week on Spain's sovereign debt, 191 on Greece, 142 on Portugal and 136 on Italy.

Volumes in U.S. CDS have been ticking up, though at about $4 billion they remain significantly lower than the $9 trillion in outstanding U.S. Treasuries.

The squabbling between Democrats and Republicans last week as the U.S. debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion was being reached did not help sentiment towards U.S. debt.

Gold Seek

China Drought Ignites Global Grain Supply Concerns

Severe Drought Hits China's Shandong Province

A prolonged drought in China could hit grains output in key growing regions, further squeezing global supplies and putting upward pressure on prices, but plentiful domestic wheat stocks will act as a cushion and keep import volumes low.

Analysts are closely watching the weather in China, warning any further supply shocks in the grain markets would fuel a further rally in U.S. corn and wheat futures, already stoked by harsh crop weather in the United States and Europe.

"Parts of China have been too dry and if we did see crop failures in that part of the world they are going to look to the global market for supplies," said Luke Mathews, a commodity strategist with Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney.

"They are going to be looking to North America and Europe and there is significant amount of concern whether those particular countries will be able to satisfy those needs."

Chicago Board of Trade corn has climbed 80 percent since the start of May last year, while wheat has risen around 50 percent. Last week alone corn and wheat jumped more than 10 percent on expectations of a global squeeze in supplies.


The U.S. Postal Service Nears Collapse


Delivery of first-class mail is falling at a staggering rate. Facing insolvency, can the USPS reinvent itself like European services have—or will it implode?

Phillip Herr looks like many of the men who toil deep within the federal government. He wears blue suits. He keeps his graying hair and mustache neatly trimmed. He has an inoffensively earnest manner. He also has heavy bags under his eyes, which testify to the long hours he spends scrutinizing federal spending for the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the congressional watchdog agency where he is Director of Physical Infrastructure Issues. As his title suggests, Herr devotes much of his time to highway programs. But for the past three years he has been diagnosing what ails the U.S. Postal Service.

It's a lonely calling. "Washington is full of Carnegie and Brookings Institutes with people who can tell you every option we have in Egypt or Pakistan," laments Herr, who has a PhD in anthropology from Columbia University. "Try and find someone who does that on the postal service. There aren't many."

Yet Herr finds the USPS fascinating: ubiquitous, relied on, and headed off a cliff. Its trucks are everywhere; few give it a second thought. "It's one of those things that the public just takes for granted," he says. "The mailman shows up, drops off the mail, and that's it."

He is struck by how many USPS executives started out as letter carriers or clerks. He finds them so consumed with delivering mail that they have been slow to grasp how swiftly the service's financial condition is deteriorating. "We said, 'What's your 10-year plan?' " Herr recalls. "They didn't have one."

Congress gave him until the end of 2011 to report on the USPS's woes. But Herr and his team concluded that the postal service's business model was so badly broken that collapse was imminent. Abandoning a long tradition of overdue reports, they felt they had to deliver theirs 18 months early in April 2010 to the various House and Senate committees and subcommittees that watch over the USPS. A year later, the situation is even grimmer. With the rise of e-mail and the decline of letters, mail volume is falling at a staggering rate, and the postal service's survival plan isn't reassuring. Elsewhere in the world, postal services are grappling with the same dilemma—only most of them, in humbling contrast, are thriving.


The real economy is already seeing a contraction

Today's GDP numbers have confirmed our previous forecast of a real continued contraction in the economy and second wave in this downturn. First off, any numbers reported by the government should always be taken with heavy skepticism. Let's remember the government applies hedonics and an artificially low inflation rate to this number, so what could look like growth is often time price inflation. We should also note that there is a lot of economic activity from people not paying their mortgages from strategic defaults. Obviously, if you don't have a mortgage payment, you will have a little more spending money to go out to eat, shop, and enjoy the finer things in life.

Low interest rates and government spending also has a lot to do with our current positive GDP. With that said, let's look at the components of the latest official number announced this morning. Three components caught our eyes, 1. Personal expenditures were 21% below expectations, a 2.8% number was forecast and it officially printed at 2.2%. 2. Fixed Investmentsfell from 0.93% to just 0.26% and 3. a build up of inventories which added 1.19% to growth, which was actually revised up from 0.09%. This build up in inventory means that growth was actually less than 1%. If you account for all the fraud in the way they calculate the number, plus the easy money going into the economy from additional fraud, the real economy is already seeing a contraction. As far as the official number, GDP increased at an annual rate of 1.8% in the first quarter of 2011. The last official GDP number from the last quarter of 2010 was 3.1%.

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20 Questions To Ask Anyone Foolish Enough To Believe The Economic Crisis Is Over

If you know someone that is foolish enough to believe that the economic crisis is over and that our economic problems are behind us, just ask that person the following questions....

#1 During the 23 months of the "Obama recovery", an average of about23,000 jobs a month have been created. It takes somewhere in the neighborhood of 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. So shouldn't we hold off a bit before we declare the economic crisis to be over?

#2 During the "recession", somewhere between 6.3 million and 7.5 million jobs were lost. During the "Obama recovery", approximately 535,000 jobs have been added. When will the rest of the jobs finally come back?

#3 Of the 535,000 jobs that have been created during the "Obama recovery",only about 35,000 of them are permanent full-time jobs. Today, "low income jobs" account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States. If our economy is recovering, then why can't it produce large numbers of good jobs that will enable people to provide for their families?

#4 Agricultural commodities have been absolutely soaring this decade. The combined price of cotton, wheat, gasoline and hogs is now more than 3 times higher than it was back in 2002. So how in the world can the Federal Reserve claim that inflation has been at minimal levels all this time?

#5 Back in 2008, banks had a total of 27 billion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed. Today, banks have a total of approximately 1.5 trillion dollars in excess reserves at the Fed. So what is going to happen when all of this money eventually hits the economy?....
#6 If the U.S. economy is recovering, then why are shipments by U.S. factories still substantially below 2008 levels?

#7 Why are imports of goods from overseas growing much more rapidlythan shipments of goods from U.S. factories?

#8 According to Zillow, the average price of a home in the U.S. is about 8 percent lower than it was a year ago and that it continues to fall about 1 percent a month. During the first quarter of 2011, home values declined at the fastest rate since late 2008. So can we really talk about a "recovery" when the real estate crisis continues to get worse?

#9 According to a shocking new survey, 54 percent of Americans believe that a housing recovery is "unlikely" until at least 2014. So how is the housing industry supposed to improve if so many people are convinced that it will not?

#10 The latest GDP numbers out of Japan are a complete and total disaster. During the first quarter GDP declined by a stunning 3.7 percent. Of course I have been saying for months that the Japanese economy is collapsing, but most mainstream economists were absolutely stunned by the latest figures. So will the rest of the world be able to avoid slipping into a recession as well?

#11 Next week, Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to allow a vote on raising the debt ceiling. Everyone knows that this is an opportunity for Republican lawmakers to "look tough" to their constituents (the vast majority of which do not want the debt ceiling raised). Everyone also knows that eventually the

Republicans are almost certainly going to cave on the debt ceiling after minimal concessions by the Democrats. The truth is that neither "establishment Republicans" nor "establishment Democrats" are actually serious about significantly cutting government debt. So why do we need all of this political theater?

#12 Why are so many of our once great manufacturing cities being transformed into hellholes? In the city of Detroit today, there are over 33,000 abandoned houses, 70 schools are being permanently closed down, the mayor wants to bulldoze one-fourth of the city and you can literally buy a house forone dollar in the worst areas.

#13 According to one new survey, about half of all Baby Boomers fear that when they retire they are going to end up living in poverty. So who is going to take care of them all when the money runs out?

#14 According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, an average of about 5 million Americans were being hired every single month during 2006. Today, an average of about 3.5 million Americans are being hired every single month. So why are our politicians talking about "economic recovery" instead of "the collapse of the economy" when hiring remains about 50 percent below normal?

#15 Since August, 2 million more Americans have left the labor force. But the entire period from August to today was supposed to have been a time of economic growth and recovery. So why are so many Americans giving up on looking for a job?

#16 According to Gallup, 41 percent of Americans believed that the economy was "getting better" at this time last year. Today, that number is at just 27 percent. Are Americans losing faith in the U.S. economy?

#17 According to the U.S. Census, the number of children living in poverty has gone up by about 2 million in just the past 2 years, and one out of every four American children is currently on food stamps. During this same time period, Barack Obama and Ben Bernanke have told us over and over that the U.S. economy has been getting better. So what is the truth?

#18 America has become absolutely addicted to government money. 59 percent of all Americans now receive money from the federal government in one form or another. U.S. households are now receiving more income from the U.S. government than they are paying to the government in taxes. Americans hate having their taxes raised and they hate having their government benefits cut. So is there any hope that this will ever be turned around before disaster strikes?

#19 The combined debt of the major GSEs (Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Sallie Mae) has increased from 3.2 trillion in 2008 to 6.4 trillion in 2011. How in the world is the U.S. government going to be able to afford to guarantee all of that debt on top of everything else?

#20 If the U.S. national debt (more than 14 trillion dollars) was reduced to a stack of 5 dollar bills, it would reach three quarters of the way to the moon. The U.S. government borrows about 168 million dollars every single hour. If Bill Gates gave every penny of his fortune to the U.S. government, it would only cover the U.S. budget deficit for 15 days. So how in the world can our politicians tell us that everything is going to be okay?

The Economic collapse

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Obama: We're Working on Gun Control 'Under the Radar'

On March 30, the 30th anniversary of the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan, Jim Brady, who sustained a debilitating head wound in the attack, and his wife, Sarah, came to Capitol Hill to push for a ban on the controversial "large magazines." Brady, for whom the law requiring background checks on handgun purchasers is named, then met with White House press secretary Jay Carney. During the meeting, President Obama dropped in and, according to Sarah Brady, brought up the issue of gun control, "to fill us in that it was very much on his agenda," she said.

"I just want you to know that we are working on it," Brady recalled the president telling them. "We have to go through a few processes, but under the radar."

Read more: http://nation.foxnews.com/guns/2011/05/25/obama-were-working-gun-control-under-radar#ixzz1NV0ktohA

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US Economy Damaged More Than Thought by Japan Quake

The Japanese earthquake and tsunami in March appears to have damaged the US economy much more than expected and could set back hopes for a robust recovery.

A series of analysts have recently cut their second-quarter gross domestic product projections, based in large part on impact that the Japan disaster is having on the automotive industry.

Factory shutdowns and ensuing problems with getting parts have slowed vehicle production, a move likely to drive up prices, increase unemployment and slow consumer spending, according to recent projections from economists at Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank.

Japan is having an impact across a swath of the economy, but is being felt most acutely on vulnerable Detroit automakers, whose business was just beginning to recover when the disaster hit March 11.

"As expected, the hardest-hit sector of the economy appears to be motor vehicle production," Goldman Sachs economist Andrew Tilton wrote in a research note for clients. "Shortages in supply of the key components—notably auto microcontrollers—have led to production shutdowns at US facilities, particularly those owned by Japanese manufacturers."

Consequently, Goldman has cut its second-quarter GDP estimates to 3.0 percent—growth for sure, but below trend and off hopes that the consensus had as the year progressed.

An economic report Wednesday from the US Commerce Department reflected how deep the damage was running.

Orders for durable goods—long-lasting items such as cars and appliances—tumbled 3.6 percent in April, much worse than the 2.2 percent consensus forecast and indicative of how much slowdown effects from Japan are hampering the US recovery.

New orders for transportation equipment plunged 9.5 percent, while shipments for transportation equipment fell 3 percent.


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