Thursday, July 26, 2012
Sure, it’s cool and easy to pay for stuff with the wave of a smartphone — but why bother when you could just use your face?
Fast-evolving biometric technologies are promising to deliver the most convenient, secure connection possible between you and your bank account — using your body itself in place of all of those wallets and purses stuffed with cash, change and plastic cards.
Biometrics is the science of humans’ physiological or behaviourial characteristics and it’s being used to develop technology that recognizes and matches unique patterns in human fingerprints, faces and eyes and even sweat glands and buttock pressure. Its applications in the financial realm are a potentially huge time and effort saver, but that’s just a beginning for the technology’s usefulness.
In addition to carrying other tokens and some knowledge, like your PIN for ATMs — you are you, so why not be used to authenticate yourself?
“The basic thing is that you are the person who has to be authenticated for transactions. In addition to carrying other tokens and some knowledge, like your PIN for ATMs — you are you, so why not be used to authenticate yourself?” says IBM researcher Nalina Ratha.
As technologies advance, the use of biometrics in everyday life is shifting from traditional law enforcement and government security to a host of more consumer-friendly applications.
Touch payment technologies that employ fingerprints as an identifier are already in the works, Mr. Ratha says, and despite being hundreds of years old, fingerprinting and its uses are still developing rapidly. In fact, IBM introduced fingerprint scan pads for personal log-ins on its then-laptops (which are now produced by Lenovo Group Ltd.) back in 2004.
The next generation of fingerprinting is being developed to go beyond simple recognition to incorporate pressure sensors that can determine if a device is being touched by a live object or not, which helps with fraud detection.
“Fraud can be done if people design [fake prints] using some moulding and they can create a gummy finger and fool the biometric technology,” said Svetlana Yanushkevich, co-founder of the Biometrics Technology Lab at the University of Calgary.
A New York-based technology company says its patented sweat-gland recognition technology will help add even more security to existing biometric devices that may be susceptible to fraud.
“With most of the biometric technologies, there are ways around most of those technologies — you could lift somebody’s fingerprint and create a Latex copy, you can create a contact lens to copy somebody’s iris and so on and so forth. We think we’ll be the only technology that’s ‘spoof-proof,’ ” says Scott McNulty, president and chief executive of
BIOPTid Inc., which owns “the human barcode” technology.
SINGAPORE (Reuters) - A magnitude 5.8 earthquake struck off the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius on Thursday, the United States Geological Survey said.
The quake was centered 212 miles northeast of Rodrigues island and at a depth of 20.5 miles. TheUSGS initially put the magnitude at 6.7.
The critical question over the next decade isn’t “where will my returns be highest?” but “where will I lose the least money?”
That, according to economist and investor Marc Faber, is the scenario facing investors today.
As the author of the Gloom, Boom, and Doom Report, Marc Faber is a well-known contrarian, earning celebrity status because of his ominous predictions.
So his pessimism during a recent appearance on CNBC wasn’t surprising for a man whose nickname is “Doctor Doom.” What was surprising was the level of “wealth destruction” he sees in the not-too-distant future.
Faber stated, “I think somewhere down the line we will have a massive wealth destruction. That usually happens either through very high inflation or through social unrest or through war or credit-market collapse.”
“I would say that well-to-do people may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth.”
Faber points out that this bleak outlook for the United States has been caused by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve’s continuous printing of new money.
He says that the bailout and money printing will not create any long-lasting wealth or create healthy growth, and that the collapse will come on Bernanke’s watch.
While Faber’s prognostications are worrisome (especially for those who fall into the “well-to-do” category), they are hardly as alarming as the scenario laid out by another economist.
Without appearing on CNBC, earning celebrity status, or being known by a scary nickname, Robert Wiedemer did what Marc Faber couldn’t: He accurately predicted the economic collapse that almost sunk the United States.
In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists foresaw the coming collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, private debt, and consumer spending, and published their findings in the book America’s Bubble Economy.
But Wiedemer’s outlook for the U.S. economy today makes “Doctor Doom” sound like Mr. Rogers.
Where Faber sees a 50 percent loss of wealth for some, Wiedemer sees much more widespread economic destruction.
In a recent interview for his newest book Aftershock, Wiedemer says, “The data is clear, 50% unemployment, a 90% stock market drop, and 100% annual inflation . . . starting in 2012.”
When the host questioned such wild claims, Wiedemer unapologetically displayed shocking charts backing up his allegations, and then ended his argument with, “You see, the medicine will become the poison.”
The interview has become a wake-up call for those unprepared (or unwilling) to acknowledge an ugly truth: The country’s financial “rescue” devised in Washington has failed miserably.
The blame lies squarely on those whose job it was to avoid the exact situation we find ourselves in, including Bernanke and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, tasked with preventing financial meltdowns and keeping the nation’s economy strong through monetary and credit policies.
At one point, Wiedemer even calls out Bernanke, saying that his “money from heaven will be the path to hell.”
But it’s not just the grim predictions that are causing the sensation; rather, it’s the comprehensive blueprint for economic survival that’s really commanding global attention.
The interview offers realistic, step-by-step solutions that the average hard-working American can easily follow.
The overwhelming amount of feedback to publicize the interview, initially screened for a private audience, came with consequences as various online networks repeatedly shut it down and affiliates refused to house the content.
Bernanke and Greenspan were not about to support Wiedemer publicly, nor were the mainstream media.
“People were sitting up and taking notice, and they begged us to make the interview public so they could easily share it,” said Newsmax Financial Publisher Aaron DeHoog, “but unfortunately, it kept getting pulled.”
“Our real concern,” DeHoog added, “is what if only half of Faber and Wiedemer’s predictions come true?
Take a look to the songs of the olympics an judge for yourself how weird are the lyrics and the names...
The London Olympics won't get underway until this weekend, but numerous songs from these pop-heavy games have already been released. As part of its "Rock the Games" music program, the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games commissioned five songs.
The first to appear was Muse's "Survival," and the last will be Dizzee Rascal's "Scream," which will be released midway through the games on Aug. 6.
Race, life is race
And I am gonna win
Yes, I am gonna win
I’ll light the fuse
And I’ll never lose
And I choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won’t pull ahead
I’ll keep up the pace
And I will reveal my strength to the whole human race
Yes, I am prepared to stay alive
I won’t forgive
Vengeance is mine,
And I wont give in because I choose to thrive
And I am going to win
Race, it’s a race
And I’m gonna win, Yes I am gonna win
And I will light the fuse
And I’ll never lose
And I choose to survive
Whatever it takes
You won’t pull ahead
Because I’ll keep up the pace
And I will reveal my strength to the whole human race
Yes I am going to win.
Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!
Win! Win! Win! Win!
YES I’M GOING TO WIN.
The complete lis is this:
Captain Algernon Drummond, William Johnson Cory - Eton Boating Song
Elgar, AC Benson - Land of Hope and Glory
The Jam - Going Underground
Muse - Map of the Problematique
Big Ben Chimes
Sex Pistols - God Save the Queen
The Clash - London Calling
Simon May - EastEnders Theme
The Shipping Forecast
Sir Hubert Parry, William Blake - Jerusalem
Elgar - Nimrod
Handel - Arrival of the Queen of Sheba
Eric Coates - Dambusters March
Handel - Music for the Royal Fireworks
Monty Norman - James Bond Theme
Mike Oldfield - Tubular Bells
Mike Oldfield - In Dulci Jubilo
Vangelis - Chariots of Fire
BBC News 1954
Arthur Wood - The Archers Theme
Winifred Atwell - Black and White Rag
Sugababes - Push the Button
OMD - Enola Gay
David Rose - The Stripper
Lionel Bart - Food Glorious Food
Irwin Kostal, Richard Sherman, Robert Sherman - Bedknobs and Broomsticks
Rizzle Kicks - When I Was a Youngster
Eric Clapton - Wonderful Tonight
Colin Tully - Gregorys Girl Theme
William Pitt - City Lights
The Who - My Generation
The Rolling Stones - Satisfaction
Millie Small - My Boy Lollipop
The Kinks - All Day and All of the Night
The Beatles - She Loves You
Mud - Tiger Feet
Led Zeppelin - Trampled Under Foot
The Specials - A Message to You Rudy
David Bowie - Starman
Queen - Bohemian Rhapsody
Sex Pistols - Pretty Vacant
Duran Duran - The Reflex
New Order - Blue Monday
Frankie Goes to Hollywood - Relax
Soul II Soul - Back To Life
Happy Mondays - Step On
Eurythmics - Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)
The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony
Prodigy - Firestarter
Underworld - Born Slippy
Jaan Kenbrovin, John William Kellette - Im Forever Blowing Bubbles
Blur - Song 2
Dizzee Rascal - Bonkers
Tigerstyle - Nacnha Onda Nei (contains Michael Jackson - Billie Jean, Queen & David Bowie - Under Pressure and Ilaiyaraaja - Naanthaan Ungappanda)
Arctic Monkeys - I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor
Mark Ronson & Amy Winehouse - Valerie
Radiohead - Creep
Muse - Uprising
Kano & Mikey J - Random Antics
Tinie Tempah - Pass Out
MIA - Paper Planes
Coldplay - Viva La Vida
The Chemical Brothers - Galvanize
Franz Ferdinand - Take Me Out
Kaiser Chiefs - I Predict a Riot
Roll Deep - Shake a Leg
Adele - Rolling in the Deep
Oasis - The Hindu Times
Oasis - Wonderwall
Emeli Sande - Heaven
William Monk/Henry Francis - Abide With Me
Pink Floyd - Eclipse
The Beatles - The End
The Beatles - Hey Jude
David Bowie - Heroes
Eric Spear - Coronation Street Theme
Ron Grainer - Doctor Who Theme
John Philip Sousa - Monty Python Theme/The Liberty Bell
David Bowie - Absolute Beginners
Where have we seen this before? Bond yields soar above the 7 percent danger level. Check. The stock market crashes to new lows. Check. Industrial activity plummets like a rock and the economy contracts. Check. The unemployment rate skyrockets to more than 20 percent. Check. The bursting of a massive real estate bubble pushes the banking system to the brink of implosion. Check. Broke local governments beg the broke national government for bailouts. Check. The international community pressures the national government to implement deep austerity measures which will slow down the economy even more and hordes of violent protesters take to the streets. Check. All of this happened in Greece, it is happening right now in Spain, and mark my words it will eventually happen in the United States. Every debt bubble eventually bursts, and right now Spain is experiencing a level of economic pain that very, very few people saw coming. The recession in Spain is rapidly becoming a full-blown economic depression, and at this point there is no hope and no light at the end of the tunnel.
The bad news for the global economy is that Spain is much larger than Greece. According to the United Nations, the Greek economy is the 32nd largest economy in the world. The Spanish economy, on the other hand, is the 4th largest economy in the eurozone and the 12th largest economy on the entire planet. It is nearly five times the size of the Greek economy.
Financial markets all over the globe are very nervous right now because if the Spanish government ends up asking for a full-blown bailout it could spell the end for the eurozone. There simply is not enough money to do the same kind of thing for Spain that is being done for Greece.
Of course European officials are going to do their best to keep the eurozone from collapsing, but what they have completely failed to do is to keep these countries from falling into depression.
As I have written about previously, Greece has already been in an economic depression for some time.
I warned that Spain, Italy, Portugal and a bunch of other European nations were going down the exact same path.
Now we are watching a virtual replay of what happened in Greece take place in Spain.
Unfortunately, the global financial system may not be able to handle a complete implosion of the Spanish economy.
The following are 12 signs that Spain is shifting gears from recession to depression....
#1 At one point on Monday, the IBEX stock market index fell to 5,905, which was the lowest level in nearly ten years. When it hit 5,905 that represented a drop of about 12 percent over just two trading days. If that happened in the United States, it would be the equivalent of the Dow falling by about 1500 points in 48 hours.
#2 So far this year, the Spanish stock market is down more than 25 percent. Back in 2008, the IBEX 35 was well over 15,000. Today it is sitting just above 6,000.
#3 Spain has banned many forms of short selling for 3 months.
#4 The yield on 10 year Spanish bonds is now well above the 7 percent "danger level".
#5 Thanks to the problems in Spain, the euro continues to fall like a rock. On Monday it hit a new two year low against the U.S. dollar, and it is near a twelve year low against the Japanese yen.
#6 During the first quarter of 2012, the Spanish economy contracted by 0.3 percent. During the second quarter of 2012, the Spanish economy contracted by 0.4 percent.
#7 Local governments all over Spain are flat broke and need to be bailed out by the broke national government. The following is from a recent CNBC article....
Adding to Madrid's woes, media reports suggested another half a dozen of Spain's 17 regional authorities, facing an undeclared funding crisis, were ready to follow Valencia in seeking aid from the central government.
#8 The percentage of bad loans on the books of Spanish banks has reached an 18 year high. European officials have already promised a 100 billion euro bailout for Spain's troubled banking system, but most analysts agree that 100 billion euros will not be nearly enough.
#9 Spanish industrial output declined for the ninth month in a row in May.
#10 The unemployment rate in Spain is up to an astounding 24.6 percent. The unemployment rate in Spain is already higher than it was in the United States at the peak of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
#11 The youth unemployment rate in Spain is now over 52 percent.
#12 The Spanish government has just announced a whole bunch of new tax increases and spending cuts which will cause the Spanish economy to slow down even more. In response to these austerity measures, people are taking to the streets all over Spain. Last week, 100,000 demonstrators poured into the streets to protest in Madrid alone.
Sadly, the nightmare in Spain is just beginning.
If the yield on 10 year Spanish bonds stays above 7 percent, that is going to be a really bad sign. According to the Wall Street Journal, the 7 percent level is key as far as investor confidence is concerned....
Monday's dramatic market moves suggest Spain may be stuck in a spiral that culminates in a bailout from other euro-zone countries."The rise in the 10-year yield well beyond 7% carries a very distinct reminder of events in Greece in April 2010, Ireland in October 2010 and Portugal in February 2011," said analysts at Bank of New York Mellon. "In each case, a decisive move beyond 7% signaled the start of a collapse in investor confidence that, in each case, led to a bailout within weeks," they added.
So keep an eye on that number in the weeks ahead.
Meanwhile, the Spanish economy continues to get worse with each passing month.
So just how bad are things in Spain right now?
Just check out this excerpt from a recent article by Mark Grant....
Recently two noted Spanish economists were interviewed. One was always an optimist and one was always a pessimist. The optimist droned on and on about how bad things were in Spain, the dire situation with the regional debt, the huge problems overtaking the Spanish banks and the imminent collapse of the Spanish economy. In the end he said that the situation was so bad that the Spanish people were going to have to eat manure. The pessimist was shocked by the comments of his colleague who had never heard him speak in such a manner. When it was the pessimist’s turn to speak he said that he agreed with the optimist with one exception; the manure would soon run out.
That may make you laugh, but for those in Europe going through these horrific economic conditions it is no laughing matter.
On Sunday, Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras actually told former U.S. president Bill Clinton that Greece is already in a "Great Depression".
Like Spain, the unemployment rate in Greece is well above 20 percent and the youth unemployment rate is above 50 percent.
The only reason the Greek financial system has not totally collapsed is because of outside assistance, but now there are indications that the assistance may soon be cut off.
At this point there are persistent rumors that the IMF does not plan to give any more aid money to Greece unless Greece "shapes up".
Meanwhile, the suffering in Greece just gets worse and worse.
Sadly, most Americans pay very little attention to what is going on in Greece and Spain.
Most Americans just assume that we will always have "the greatest economy on earth" and that we can take prosperity for granted.
Unfortunately, the truth is that the United States already has more government debt per capita than either Greece or Spain does.
Just like Greece and Spain, we are also rapidly traveling down the road to economic oblivion, and depression-like conditions will arrive in this country soon enough.
So enjoy these last months of economic prosperity while you still can.
A whole lot of pain is on the horizon.
Iran's UN envoy accused Israel on Wednesday of plotting and carrying out a suicide bomb attack on a bus in Bulgaria a week ago in which five Israeli tourists were killed.
A suicide bomber blew up the bus in a car park at Burgas airport, a popular gateway for tourists visiting Bulgaria's Black Sea coast, killing himself, the Israeli tourists and the Bulgarian bus driver and wounding more than 30 people.
Israel has accused Iran and the Lebanese Islamist group Hezbollah of the bombing. Iran has denied the accusations.
"It's amazing that just a few minutes after the terrorist attack, Israeli officials announced that Iran was behind it," Iran's UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee told a UN Security Council debate on the Middle East. "We have never and will not engage in such a despicable attempt on ... innocent people."
"Such terrorist operation could only be planned and carried out by the same regime whose short history is full of state terrorism operations and assassinations aimed implicating others for narrow political gains," Khazaee said. "I could provide ... many examples showing that this regime killed its own citizens and innocent Jewish people during the last couple of decades.
Israel's UN Ambassador Haim Waxman said Iran's fingerprints were all over the bomb attack in Bulgaria, as well as dozens of other plots in recent months around the world.
"The time has come for the world to put an end to this campaign of terror, once and for all," Waxman said.
Iran will soon start manufacturing a new missile and an indigenous seaplane, Defense Minister Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said on Wednesday.
“The production line of high-precision missiles and armed flying boats (seaplanes) will be launched soon,” he was quoted by Press TV as saying.
He offered no timeline for the new products or their basic specifications.
Iran has been emphasizing its ability to attain self-sufficiency in defense and produce important weapon systems domestically, especially after Russia scrapped a 2007 contract for S-300 surface-to-air missile systems.
Tehran has claimed it can manufacture an S-300 system on its own.