Archive for 2018

A Robot Is Making $6 Burgers For Broke Millennials In San Francisco

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

Creator, a culinary robotics company designed around a transparent 14-foot-long “culinary instrument” that cooks and assembles burgers to order in under 5 minutes, is set to open in San Francisco’s South of Market (SoMa) neighborhood in September.

The assembly line in the robot kitchen of Creator, San Francisco. (Source/ Creator)

San Francisco is the epicenter of start-up culture. It comes as no surprise that technology and food have been blended to create robot-made hamburgers. In the last several years, California has seen an explosion of robots entering the culinary world, as it has become apparent, new advances in tech are attempting to eliminate low skilled workers from the kitchen.

The robot consists of 20 computers, 350 sensors and 50 actuators that form a robotic assembly line. After the customer places an order with a human, the machine slices buns, tomatoes and onions, grills and grinds meat, adds condiments, sears buns and produces a gourmet hamburger in less than five minutes without any human intervention. The human staff then prepares the order for the customer, adding fries and coleslaw to the plate as they keep an eye on the robot. As shown below, the burger is sent along a conveyor belt, where it gets additional toppings that are all custom ordered.

Pickles, tomatoes, and onions are sliced by the robot kitchen of Creator, San Francisco (Source/ Creator)

From start to finish, the entire process takes less than 5 minutes and costs only $6. Maybe this is an attempt to make food affordable to the heavily indebted millennial in California.

Creator’s founder 33-year-old Alex Vardakostas, said in a city of pricey boba drinks and marked up avocado toast, the company’s mission is to enhance food quality and make it affordable. Burgers are $6. “We want everyone to be able to partake,” he said to NPR.



A Creator Burger fresh out of the robot that toasted the buns, sliced the produce, shredded the

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US Inmates Demand ‘Living Wage’ Amid Largest Prison Strike In History

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

On Tuesday, inmates across the United States began a 19-day campaign to protest the dehumanizing conditions of the American prison system, one of the potentially largest prison strikes in American history.

As Statista's Sarah Feldman notes, the organized dissent is planned to take the form of hunger strikes, sit-ins, boycotts of prison payment streams like collect calls, along with slow to no labor by the 2.3 million people currently serving time in the United States.

The prisoners have a series of demands: improve prison conditions, end to life without parole and solitary confinement, increase funding for rehabilitation services, and grant voting rights for people convicted of a felony.

One of the biggest demands for the strikers is an immediate end to compulsory and imposed labor for little to no pay.

Infographic: Little to No Pay for Prisoners in the U.S. | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Able bodied imprisoned people are put to work in correctional facilities doing cooking, cleaning, and grounds keeping along with possible labor outside of prisons, which is often dangerous, like in the case of prisoners fighting wildfires in California.

Currently around 800,000 prisoners work daily for meager wages that are often docked for court-assessed fines, family support, and discharge money.

States like Arkansas, Georgia, and Texas offer no compensation for work performed while in prison. Even for the highest paying states, the low end of compensation only outperforms states like Texas by around two quarters and a dime.

How Elon Musk Sabotaged His Own Going Private Transaction

Courtesy of Zero Hedge

The soap opera over Tesla's going private deal may be over, but the autopsy of just what happened, how and why the "deal" collapsed in well under a month from its "funding secured" announcement lingers.  And, as it turns out, Elon Musk has nobody but himself to blame for what may otherwise have been a possible deal, despite the staggering odds.

Recall that as part of Musk's "funding secured" assurance, the most widely mentioned name was that of the Saudi sovereign wealth fund (PIF): after all, few other institutions had the capacity – and eccentricity – to pull off such a feat. However, as we discussed several days after Musk's fateful Aug. 7 tweet, Saudi Arabia would likely get cold feet – in similar fashion to its withdrawal of the Aramco IPO – as the world's attention focused on its strategic planning and its dwindling finances – the fund is currently engaging in a back door funding deal involving Sabic as well as grandiose plans that include a massive new city in the desert – just days after it had already acquired a minority, 5% stake. There was also the issue of SoftBank granting the Saudi fund permission to engage in a transaction of this magnitude. 

Well, as we now know, after the Tesla CEO abruptly called the deal off just before Midnight Eastern Time on Friday, and just days after Goldman and Morgan Stanley were retained, Musk was "sorely mistaken" – as Bloomberg politely puts it – when he tweeted “funding secured” and later told the world “investor support is confirmed,” based on his belief that Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund was eager to back his venture.

Two things to note here:

First, following Musk's seemingly manipulative, potentially fraudulent tweet, the SEC is now investigating his tweets and blog posts, which triggered the stock gyrations throughout August. It's always why investors now must brace for another bout of volatility when trading in the stock – which really trades like an option on the credibility of the Musk narrative – opens Monday morning, "while regulators and lawyers autopsy what happened to a deal potentially valued at $82 billion and Tesla’s board is left with a brilliant but exhausted and erratic…
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NOAA Issues Geomagnetic Storm Warning: “A Crack Opened In Earth’s Magnetic Field & Plasma Started Pouring In”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

According to NOAA Space Weather forecasters, a powerful G3-class geomagnetic storm is in progress on August 26th as Earth passes through the wake of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that arrived with little notice approximately 24 hours ago. Strong magnetic fields in the CME’s wake have cracked into Earth’s magnetosphere, allowing solar wind to enter. So far auroras have been sighted in Scandinavia, Canada, and northern-tier US states such as Michigan and New York.

“The geomagnetic field is expected to be at active to G3 (Strong) geomagnetic storm levels on day one (26 Aug) due to continued influence from the 20 Aug CME. Quiet to active conditions, with a slight chance for G1 (Minor) storm conditions, are likely on day two (27 Aug) with quiet to unsettled levels likely on day three (28 Aug) as CME effects gradually wane,” said the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, NOAA, Space Weather Prediction Center.

Steven Herman, the White House bureau chief of Voice of America (VOA News), reported the strong geomagnetic storm on earlier Sunday morning. He shared a note listing the potential impacts of the storm, which included power systems, spacecraft, satellite communication networks, and even radio disruptions.

A sunspot has formed as large as the Earth and now an active warning about a geomagnetic storm.

— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) August 26, 2018

The K-index, a chart that measures the earth’s magnetic field with an integer in the range 0–9 with 1 being calm and 5 or more indicating a geomagnetic storm, hit the 4 threshold was reached at 21:43 UTC on August 25, followed by K-index of 5 (G1 Minor) at 01:54 UTC on August 26, K-index of 6 (G2 Moderate) at 02:57 and K-index of 7 (G3 Strong) at 05:59 and 07:38 UTC.

G3 Strong geomagnetic storm potential impacts:

Area of impact primarily poleward of 50 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude.

Induced Currents – Power system voltage irregularities possible, false alarms may be triggered on some protection devices.

Spacecraft –

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Show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome


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Show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome

Courtesy of 

“Show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome.”

That’s a Charlie Munger quote about how incentives drive nearly everything. I have come to accept this philosophy as one of the simplest, strongest heuristics through which to view nearly everything pertaining to human affairs. Nothing I’ve seen in my industry has ever contradicted it.

It’s why capitalism works but has periodic massive failures. It’s why socialism and communism never work, never have worked and never will work. The hedge fund manager Leon Cooperman has used his foundation to send 500 children in the Newark, NJ area to college with full scholarships. He told my partner Barry in a recent interview that he believes in “equality of opportunity, not equality of outcomes.” Lee’s a realist. He understands that leveling the playing field early on will help more than redistribution later, because an economy and a society require the right incentives.

Back in 2016, my friend Patrick O’Shaughnessy wrote about what happens when people in power demand a certain outcome and pay little heed as to how that outcome will be achieved…

In Vietnam, under French colonial rule, there was a rat problem. To solve the rat infestation, the French offered a bounty on rats, which could be collected by delivering a rat’s tail as proof of murder. Many bounties were paid out, but the rat problem didn’t improve. Officials soon noticed rats running around without tails–people were cutting off the tails and releasing the rats to breed, so as to increase the pool of potential bounty revenue for themselves.

The same thing happened in Colonial India: a bounty was offered on cobras because they were attacking people, which caused people to breed cobras for more bounties, and ultimately resulted in a higher cobra population when the bounty system was abandoned and the breeders released their now worthless snakes.

That’s from When Measures Become Targets and there’s a great lesson in there for anyone trying to set up good incentives for their…
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More Evidence The Economy Is Deteriorating

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Dave Kranzler via Investment Research Dynamics,

“Financial-market and economic prospects remain far shy of the hype and headlines, amidst tanking consumer optimism and negative revisions to recent reporting.” – John Williams,

The economy may seem like it’s doing well if you are part of the upper 10% demographic. Though, in reality, for most of the upper 10%, doing “well” has been a function of having easy access to credit. NASA Federal Credit Union is offering 0% down, 0% mortgage insurance for mortgages up to $2.5 million.

Someone I know suggested the tax cut stimulus had run its course. But the narrative that the tax cuts would stimulate economic activity was pure propaganda. The tax cuts stimulated $1 trillion in expected share buybacks and put more money in the pockets of corporate insiders and billionaires. The average middle class household spent its tax cut money on more expensive gasoline and food. Since the tax cut took effect, auto sales and home sales have declined. Retail sales have been mixed. However, it’s difficult to distinguish between statistical manipulation and inflation. I would argue that, net of real inflation and Census Bureau statistical games, real retail sales have been declining.

As an example, last week Black Box Intelligence released July restaurant sales. While comparable store sales were up 0.54% over July 2017, comparable restaurant traffic was down 1.8%. On a rolling three months, comp sales are up 0.46% but comparable traffic is down nearly 2%. With traffic declining, especially a faster rate relative to the small increase in sales, it means the sales “growth” is entirely a function of price inflation. If Black Box Intelligence could control it’s data for price increases, it would show that there is no question that real sales are declining. I have been loathe to recommend shorting restaurant stocks because, for some reason, the hedge funds love them.

On Wednesday last week, the Government reported July retail sales, which were “up” 0.5% vs June. However, June’s 0.5% “gain” was revised sharply lower to 0.2%. Revising the previous month lower to make the headline number for the reported month appear higher is a mathematical gimmick that the Government uses
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BIS Warns Of “Perfect Storm” For Global Economy

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

To those hoping for a quick resolution to the US-China trade war, Axios had some bad news earlier today, reporting that the trade feud is "likely to last much longer than originally thought — extending well into the second half of next year and perhaps beyond, experts say." According to Axios, the main reason for the protracted conflict is that neither side is prepared to appear politically weak at home, and both are ready to absorb economic pain.

With few probable winners, the biggest losers would be farmers, users of steel, and consumers in the US, manufacturers of all types will see business leave to neighbors like Vietnam and Malaysia in China, while dampening economic growth in both nations and around the globe.

However, as the general manager of the Bank of International Settlements, Agustin Carstens warned, the greater risk is not how many points of GDP the rising tariffs will subtract from the US and China, but the growing danger to globalization itself, and on Saturday, Karstens delivered a scathing critique of rising protectionism, a not-so-subtle rebuke to Trump’s use of tariffs and trade talks to wring concessions from China, Mexico and many other countries.

Reversing globalization “could increase prices, raise unemployment and crimp growth,” Carstens, the former head of Mexico’s central bank, told fellow central bankers at the Jackson Hole annual economic symposium. Additionally, higher tariffs could (actually, just say would) drive up U.S. inflation and force the Fed to raise rates, driving up the dollar and hurting both U.S. exporters and emerging market economies in the process, Carstens said.

Protectionism also threatens “to unsettle financial markets and put a drag on firms’ capital spending, as investors take fright and financial conditions tighten,” he said.

"These real and financial risks could amplify each other, creating a perfect storm and exacting an even higher price", the rotund central banker warned.


Bank for International Settlements General Manager Agustin Carstens

Alongside Carstens’ speech, the BIS released a research paper titled "Global market structures and the high price of protectionism" which that estimated that revoking NAFTA would mean…
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Gold Price Framework: The Energy Side Of The Equation Suggests “Explosive Upside Correction”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Authored by Stefan Wieler via,

In the third part of this report we are putting our gold price framework to use. Having identified longer-dated energy prices and real-interest rate expectations as the main drivers for gold prices, we conclude that both drivers are near the bottom of their respective cycles, implying little downside risk to gold while the outlook for prices is increasingly skewed to the upside. On one hand, longer-dated energy prices have finally broken out of their range and we believe there is a further 30% upside from here. On the other hand, it is becoming increasingly clear that Fed rate hikes are having very little impact on real-interest rate expectations, as most of them are already priced in. This explains why gold has been trending up since the hikes started. The recent sell-off in gold prices on the back of the strengthening dollar is not supported by fundamentals in our view and could result in an explosive upside correction going forward.

*  *  *

In the first part of this report we reviewed the gold pricing model we introduced last year and developed it further. We highly recommend reading it here to get a better understanding of the findings presented in this report. Using econometric tools, we showed that changes in energy prices – more specifically longer-dated oil prices – are a major driver for changes in the USD/gold price (with changes in real interest rates being the other main driver).

In the second part of this report, we did a comprehensive bottom-up analysis of the true energy exposure of the gold mining industry. We found that gold miners are not just exposed to significant direct energy costs such as fuels and power; their indirect energy exposure is even larger. The bottom up analysis shows that ~50% of production costs of the average gold miner are closely linked to energy prices, which is in line with the findings of part I of our gold price framework which showed that a 1% change in longer-dated energy prices impacts gold prices by about 0.5%.

The third part of this report is putting all these findings to use in the current environment: We analyze where we stand in the cycle of the
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“The People Demand Higher Wages, Greater Equality, And They’ll Keep Voting For Change Until They Get It”

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Submitted by One River Asset Management, authored by Lindsay Politi

“The Japanese experience has given investors the incorrect impression that sustained deflation is a likely outcome when it’s instead a unique case,” I explained. We were discussing US inflation, whether it is increasing or decreasing.

Shorter-term economic and price trends are inherently volatile, so to examine inflation properly requires greater perspective.

Which had brought us to Japan.

Implicitly, Japan decided to unwind of the excessive imbalances built up in the easy-money 1980s without burning the forest. But there was a price to pay. To avoid the social disruption of large changes in existing institutions and economic structures, they had to grow poorer over many decades, succumbing to stagnation. They could make this choice because they were wealthy enough (before their great recession, Japan was earth’s wealthiest nation on a GDP per capita basis) and had the social cohesion to make it politically possible.

Few major economies have these factors. Germany is wealthy enough but not all EU countries are, and the broad EU lacks social cohesion. The US is sufficiently prosperous, but wealth inequality leaves it divided.

No large nation can reasonably make the choice that Japan made.

As a result, we see demands for change unfolding in European elections, Brexit, and with America First policies. The change transcends political personalities.

If Trump is replaced it’s unlikely to be with a moderate, but rather with a Bernie Sanders, an Ocasio-Cortez. If tariffs and nationalism don’t drive inflation higher, increased minimum wages, socialized medicine, subsidized housing, and free higher education will.

“So you ask how we’ll know if inflation is increasing or decreasing,” I said.

“But it’s no longer a question. The people are demanding higher wages, greater equality, inflation, and they’ll keep voting for change until they get it.

As a bonus, some observations from One River on cash flows and duration.


“An investment is something that generates cash flow or has the ability to generate cash flow,” the Investor explained. “Real Estate can be an investment but the house you live in is not — it is a consumption item. Gold is not an

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Zero Hedge

Auto Shares Surge As Fiat, Renault Confirm Merger Talks

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

With President Trump in Japan for a state visit and most of Europe headed to the polls to vote in the quinquennial EU Parliamentary elections, there was enough news to keep market watchers occupied during what was supposed to be a quiet holiday weekend in the US. 

But on top of these political headlines, on Saturday afternoon, the news broke that Italian-American carmaker Fiat Chrysler had approached France's Renault with a merger proposal that would leave the shareholders of each carmaker with half of the combined company, in a tie-up that would create the world's third-largest au...

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Phil's Favorites

Trump and the problem with pardons


Trump and the problem with pardons

Courtesy of Andrew Bell, Indiana University

As a veteran, I was astonished by the recent news that President Trump may be considering pardons for U.S. military members accused or convicted of war crimes. But as a scholar who studies the U.S. military and combat ethics, I understand even more clearly the harmful long-term impact such pardons can have on the military.

My researc...

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Insider Scoop

Jefferies Sees 60-Percent Upside In Aphria Shares, Says Buy The Dip

Courtesy of Benzinga.

After a red-hot start to 2019, Canadian cannabis producer Aphria Inc (NYSE: APHA) has run out of steam, tumbling more than 31 percent in the past three months.

Despite the recent weakness, one Wall Street analyst said Friday that the stock has 30-percent upside potential. 

The Analyst

Jefferies analyst ... more from Insider

Kimble Charting Solutions

DAX (Germany) About To Send A Bearish Message To The S&P 500?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Is the DAX index from Germany about to send a bearish message to stocks in Europe and the States? Sure could!

This chart looks at the DAX over the past 9-years. It’s spent the majority of the past 8-years inside of rising channel (1), creating a series of higher lows and higher highs.

It looks to have created a “Double Top” as it was kissing the underside of the rising channel last year at (2).

After creating the potential double top, the DAX index has continued to create a series of lower highs, while experiencing a bearish divergence with the S...

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Chart School

Brexit Joke - Cant be serious all the time

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

Alistair Williams comedian nails it, thank god for good humour! Prime Minister May the negotiator. Not!

Alistair Williams Comedian youtube

This is a classic! ha!

Fundamentals are important, and so is market timing, here at we believe a combination of Gann Angles, ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream - the battle is on to bring them under global control


Cryptocurrencies are finally going mainstream – the battle is on to bring them under global control

The high seas are getting lower. dianemeise

Courtesy of Iwa Salami, University of East London

The 21st-century revolutionaries who have dominated cryptocurrencies are having to move over. Mainstream financial institutions are adopting these assets and the blockchain technology that enables them, in what ...

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DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

Reminder: We are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


DNA as you've never seen it before, thanks to a new nanotechnology imaging method

A map of DNA with the double helix colored blue, the landmarks in green, and the start points for copying the molecule in red. David Gilbert/Kyle Klein, CC BY-ND

Courtesy of David M. Gilbert, Florida State University


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More Examples Of "Typical Tesla "wise-guy scamminess"

By Jacob Wolinsky. Originally published at ValueWalk.

Stanphyl Capital’s letter to investors for the month of March 2019.

rawpixel / Pixabay

Friends and Fellow Investors:

For March 2019 the fund was up approximately 5.5% net of all fees and expenses. By way of comparison, the S&P 500 was up approximately 1.9% while the Russell 2000 was down approximately 2.1%. Year-to-date 2019 the fund is up approximately 12.8% while the S&P 500 is up approximately 13.6% and the ...

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Members' Corner

Despacito - How to Make Money the Old-Fashioned Way - SLOWLY!

Are you ready to retire?  

For most people, the purpose of investing is to build up enough wealth to allow you to retire.  In general, that's usually enough money to reliably generate a year's worth of your average income, each year into your retirement so that that, plus you Social Security, should be enough to pay your bills without having to draw down on your principle.

Unfortunately, as the last decade has shown us, we can't count on bonds to pay us more than 3% and the average return from the stock market over the past 20 years has been erratic - to say the least - with 4 negative years (2000, 2001, 2002 and 2008) and 14 positives, though mostly in the 10% range on the positives.  A string of losses like we had from 2000-02 could easily wipe out a decades worth of gains.

Still, the stock market has been better over the last 10 (7%) an...

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Mapping The Market

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism

A good start from :

It's Not Capitalism, it's Crony Capitalism


The threat to America is this: we have abandoned our core philosophy. Our first principle of this nation as a meritocracy, a free-market economy, where competition drives economic decision-making. In its place, we have allowed a malignancy to fester, a virulent pus-filled bastardized form of economics so corrosive in nature, so dangerously pestilent, that it presents an extinction-level threat to America – both the actual nation and the “idea” of America.

This all-encompassing mutant corruption saps men’s souls, crushes opportunities, and destroys economic mobility. Its a Smash & Grab system of ill-gotten re...

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Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...

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Free eBook - "My Top Strategies for 2017"



Here's a free ebook for you to check out! 

Phil has a chapter in a newly-released eBook that we think you’ll enjoy.

In My Top Strategies for 2017, Phil's chapter is Secret Santa’s Inflation Hedges for 2017.

This chapter isn’t about risk or leverage. Phil present a few smart, practical ideas you can use as a hedge against inflation as well as hedging strategies designed to assist you in staying ahead of the markets.

Some other great content in this free eBook includes:


·       How 2017 Will Affect Oil, the US Dollar and the European Union


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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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