Author Archive for ilene

Food waste: using sustainable innovation to cut down what we throw away


Food waste: using sustainable innovation to cut down what we throw away


Courtesy of Mehrnaz Tajmir, University of Bath and Baris Yalabik, University of Bath

Our appetite for food is a serious problem. The huge amount of energy, land and water used to fill our supermarket shelves mean that modern overproduction and excessive consumerism are rapidly depleting resources and damaging the planet.

Yet still, more than one-third of the world’s food produce goes to waste every single year. This adds up to a staggering 1.3 billion tonnes of food, more than seven million tonnes of which is produced in the UK.

Now more than ever the survival of our food production is hinged on sustainable innovation. Here are some current ideas which attempt to effectively (or not so effectively) deal with food waste in the supply chain. We have given each type a “sustainability score” out of 20, based on five separate factors, including economic and environmental efficiency.

Food waste revolution start-ups

More than half of food waste in manufacturing and farming is classed as “avoidable” and accounts for £1.4 billion of losses in the UK. This has inspired a range of small businesses which use this waste to make new products.

London-based former chef Tom Fletcher, for example, founded Rejuce, in 2012 and since then has turned over 250 tonnes of ugly wonky fruit and veg into juices and smoothies. A network of suppliers provides the company with local and low cost ingredients, eliminating their own disposal costs in the process.

Rejuce has been able to grow – now selling more than 100,000 bottles a year – by saving edible food from going to waste and turning it into nutritious products.

Meanwhile Toast Ale, is a non-profit organisation which makes alcoholic drinks, including pale ales and craft lagers, from waste bread. It sources around 13,000 slices of bread discarded daily by sandwich manufacturers.

The byproduct of brewing is then processed and given to local farms for use as a highly nutritious animal feed. Selling online and through major British supermarkets Tesco and Waitrose, Toast Ale donates all its profits to Feedback,…
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Recession Rumbles


Recession Rumbles

Courtesy of John Mauldin, Thoughts from the Frontline 

I’m often asked if recession is coming, and for quite different reasons. Some people worry about their investments. Others are worried about their employment or their kids. Political types wonder if and how recession could affect the next election.

To all those people, for quite some time now, my answer has been: “Yes, but not just yet.” That’s still what I think today, but more of the early warning signals I have used in the past are beginning to flash again.

Looking at the data, I see some good news but also some leading indicators weakening. I see smart people like Dave Rosenberg argue we may already be in recession today. And I see Wall Street not really caring either way, so long as it gets enough rate cuts to prop up asset prices. None of that is comforting.

Today we’ll look around and see what is happening. Because I try to be aware of my own biases, we’ll consider some more optimistic views, too. They may not be convincing, but it’s important to confront them.

As you’ll see, the storm clouds are gathering. Someone is likely to get hit. It might be you.

Longer and Weaker

Source: Lance Roberts

Let’s begin by reviewing where we are. I think we all agree this recovery cycle has been both longer and weaker than in the past. Any growth is good, of course, and certainly better than the alternative. But the last decade wasn’t a “boom” except in stock and real estate prices.

(Quickly, let’s put to rest the myth that the longer a recovery goes, the greater the likelihood of a recession. That’s a tautology. Recoveries don’t stop because of length. Back to the main point…)

I like this Lance Roberts chart because it shows long-term (5-year) rates of change, over a long period (since 1973) in three key indicators: Productivity, wage growth, and GDP growth. You can see all three are now tepid at best compared to their historical averages.

These measures have been generally declining since the early 2000s, suggesting that whatever caused our

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Five countries in the eastern Mediterranean are shaking up Europe’s energy map


Five countries in the eastern Mediterranean are shaking up Europe's energy map

A rig off the coast of Cyprus explores the region’s gas potential. Shutterstock

Courtesy of Khaled Kesseba, Sheffield Hallam University and Konstantinos Lagos, Sheffield Hallam University

Discoveries of natural gas reserves in the Mediterranean Sea around Egypt, Cyprus, Israel and Greece are shaking up Europe’s energy politics. Traditionally, Russia has been Europe’s main supplier of gas, giving it significant influence over Europe. But this influence is under threat from various gas discoveries in the eastern Mediterranean and a tussle is taking place to control the region’s resources. Here are the key players:

1. Egypt

Egypt was an importer of natural gas as recently as 2016. But a massive discovery of gas in 2015, in the Zohr field off Egypt’s coast by Italian energy firm Eni, could make Egypt the region’s most important gas exporter and hub. Zohr is the Mediterranean’s largest gas field and has since been developed, with production starting in January 2018.

At the same time, the Egyptian government is planning on launching 11 new gas projects and positioning itself as a regional hub for international gas trading and distribution. Meanwhile, the Egyptian army has upgraded its arsenal and training programme. Its all part of the government’s plan to regain its strategic regional role that was lost due to the Arab Spring and the political crises that followed.

2. Cyprus and Greece

Cyprus has been a bright spot for exploration, with a string of giant gas discoveries in recent years. These include ExxonMobil’s Glaucus in 2019 and Eni’s Calypso fields in 2018. There’s also the more developed Aphrodite plot, which was discovered in 2011 and is projected to have a net revenue of US$9.5 billion over 18 years from selling gas through Egypt’s Idku terminal.

But Cyprus is a divided state. The Greek side, the Republic of Cyprus, is the only side that is internationally recognised and, as a result, has sovereignty over the island’s territorial waters and exclusive economic zone, which is the neighbouring sea area that a country has rights to.

The northern, Turkish side, however, lays claim…
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What Amazon’s decision to retrain a third of its employees means for the future of work


What Amazon's decision to retrain a third of its employees means for the future of work

Soon, house painters may need STEM skills as they learn to work with robots. Haye Kesteloo/

Courtesy of Scott F. Latham, University of Massachusetts Lowell

Amazon’s announcement that it will invest US$700 million to retrain 100,000 employees – a third of its U.S. workforce – in new technologies is the latest reminder that the much-heralded future of work is well underway.

Policymakers, analysts and scholars trying to discern the retailer’s motives and objectives chalked it up to a public relations move or the natural result of a tight labor market. Others deemed it standard retraining and investment.

Lost in the reaction, however, is what it means for the rest of us workers. As an expert in technology disruption, I believe the main message in Amazon’s announcement is clear and indisputable: The jobs of tomorrow will require at least some competency in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and math.

But do we want to leave it to companies like Amazon to take the lead in making sure we’re ready?

Amazon’s rationale

Amazon offered, in painstaking detail, its rationale for the retraining initiative. Drawing on its own employment data, as well as publicly available labor data, Amazon revealed the fastest-growing technical and non-technical jobs at the company over the past five years.

The technical jobs were what you might expect, such as data scientist and network development engineer. What intrigued me most, however, were the job descriptions of the supposedly non-technical positions it highlighted, such as program manager, business analyst and marketing professional. These jobs now require a breathtaking degree of fluency in STEM skills.

Ten years ago, for example, a young individual might have secured a job at an Amazon shipping facility based on physical skills alone or in human resources with a simple undergraduate degree. Today, those same jobs require understanding how to work with a robot to move around packages efficiently or use artificial intelligence to sift through resumes.

No industry is immune

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Brain-machine interfaces are getting better and better – and Neuralink’s new brain implant pushes the pace


Brain-machine interfaces are getting better and better – and Neuralink's new brain implant pushes the pace

Existing BMIs focus on restoring function for people with mobility or communication issues. UPMC/Pitt Health Sciences, CC BY-NC-ND

Courtesy of Robert Gaunt, University of Pittsburgh and Jennifer Collinger, University of Pittsburgh

Elon Musk grabbed a lot of attention with his July 16 announcement that his company Neuralink plans to implant electrodes into the brains of people with paralysis by next year. Their first goal is to create assistive technology to help people who can’t move or are unable to communicate.

If you haven’t been paying attention, brain-machine interfaces (BMIs) that allow people to control robotic arms with their thoughts might sound like science fiction. But science and engineering efforts have already turned it into reality.

In a few research labs around the world, scientists and physicians have been implanting devices into the brains of people who have lost the ability to control their arms or hands for over a decade. In our own research group at the University of Pittsburgh, we’ve enabled people with paralyzed arms and hands to control robotic arms that allow them to grasp and move objects with relative ease. They can even experience touch-like sensations from their own hand when the robot grasps objects.

At its core, a BMI is pretty straightforward. In your brain, microscopic cells called neurons are sending signals back and forth to each other all the time. Everything you think, do and feel as you interact with the world around you is the result of the activity of these 80 billion or so neurons.

If you implant a tiny wire very close to one of these neurons, you can record the electrical activity it generates and send it to a computer. Record enough of these signals from the right area of the brain and it becomes possible to control computers, robots or anything else you might want, simply by thinking about moving. But doing this comes with tremendous technical challenges, especially if you want to record from hundreds or thousands of neurons.

What Neuralink

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The dysfunctional debt ceiling and why we should kill it: 5 questions answered


The dysfunctional debt ceiling and why we should kill it: 5 questions answered

Treasury Secretary Mnuchin is taking ‘extraordinary measures’ to avoid busting the debt ceiling. AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Courtesy of Steven Pressman, Colorado State University

Editor’s note: The U.S. government maxed out its national credit card in March and has been moving money around ever since to avoid running out of cash. Very soon the Treasury Department will reach the limits of this financial sleight of hand, and Congress will have to either raise the debt ceiling – currently US$22 trillion – or suffer the consequences. Economist Steve Pressman explains why we have a ceiling and why it’s time to abolish it.

1. What is the debt ceiling?

Like the rest of us, governments must borrow when they spend more money than they receive. They do so by issuing bonds or IOUs that promise to repay the money and make regular interest payments. Government debt is the total sum of all this borrowed money.

The debt ceiling, which Congress established a century ago, is the maximum amount the government can borrow. It’s a limit on the national debt.

2. What’s the national debt?

Currently, U.S. government debt is $22 trillion, a little more than the value of all goods and services that will be produced in the U.S. economy this year.

Around one-third of this money the government actually owes itself. The Social Security Administration has accumulated a surplus and invests the extra money, currently $5.8 trillion in government bonds. The Federal Reserve holds about $2.1 trillion in U.S. Treasuries.

The rest is public debt. As of last May, foreign countries, companies and individuals owned $6.5 trillion of U.S. government debt. Japan and China are the largest holders with about $1.1 trillion each. The rest is owed to U.S. citizens and businesses, as well as state and local governments.

3. Why is there a borrowing limit?

Before 1917, Congress would authorize the government to borrow a fixed sum of money for a…
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Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs


Voices from an age of uncertain work – Americans miss stability and a shared sense of purpose in their jobs

Work isn’t as stable as it once was. fizkes/

Courtesy of David L. Blustein, Boston College

On the surface, the well-being of the American worker seems rosy.
Unemployment in the U.S. hovers near a 50-year low, and employers describe growing shortages of workers in a wide array of fields.

But looking beyond the numbers tells a different story. My new book, “The Importance of Work in an Age of Uncertainty,” reveals that some Americans are experiencing an erosion in the world of work that is hurting their well-being, relationships and hopes for the future.

We can’t simply blame the rise of the gig economy. It’s also a result of a growing impermanence in the U.S. economy, with more short-term jobs that lack security and decent benefits. At the same time, worker wages continue to stagnate, which underscores the breadth of the problem.

Beyond the numbers, a complex reality

The unemployment rate, which at 3.7% is about the lowest since 1969, is the usual metric economists and others use to understand the labor market and how workers are faring.

Although statistics like this suggest there’s an abundance of jobs in the American labor market, it tells us nothing about their quality and ignores a more complex reality. Moreover, it fails to account for the growing and disconcerting prevalence of what is called precarious work, or short-term or contract jobs with minimal protections for workers such as less sick time or no health insurance.

The most obvious examples are Uber drivers and TaskRabbit freelancers but also include coders, warehouse workers and many others who are on short-term contracts. According to recent estimates, this type of work now makes up about 11% of all jobs.

While the growth in precarious work is slow, more disconcerting is the fact that 94% of new jobs are short-term.

Along with wages that have barely budged for most Americans in decades, this is creating serious stress for today’s workers.


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Brexit: wisdom of crowds proves effective predictor of Britain’s chaotic EU departure


Brexit: wisdom of crowds proves effective predictor of Britain's chaotic EU departure


Courtesy of Aleks Berditchevskaia, Nesta and Kathy Peach, Nesta

Winston Churchill once described Russia as “a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma”. Many feel the same about Brexit.

Achieving Brexit is a fiendishly complex task. And when the process is led by a government with a tiny majority, blocked by a divided parliament and confronted with a split country, the path out of the EU looks far from certain. With more potential endings than a Bandersnatch-style plot line, it’s no wonder that the one thing commentators and experts seem to agree on is that Brexit is unpredictable.

In these times of radical uncertainty, accurately forecasting what will happen becomes more difficult – as statistical models built on historical data often don’t work. It also becomes more necessary as individuals and organisations attempt to navigate their way through the unknown. Anyone who chartered ferries or stockpiled toilet roll before March 31, when the UK was originally scheduled to leave, could attest to this.

So what to do when statistical models can’t help?

Ask the crowd

Crowd forecasting is a relatively new approach to predicting the future. It’s getting serious attention, because as the world becomes more complex and uncertain, it’s unlikely that any single person will have enough information to build a complete picture.

When individuals make a prediction, partial information and personal experience can lead to errors. These individual errors, however, tend to be cancelled out when predictions from a group of people are aggregated. Companies, such as the car manufacturer Ford, have cottoned on and have used one type of crowd forecasting called a Prediction Market to forecast vehicle sales. This has been found to be more accurate than traditional forecasting methods.

This harnessing of collective human intelligence is sometimes called the “wisdom of crowds”, a term popularised by James Surowiecki. He argued that when a diverse group of people come up with an answer it is likely to be better than that of the smartest person in that group, or even a…
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US House condemns Donald Trump’s racist tweets – why his language is so dangerous


US House condemns Donald Trump's racist tweets – why his language is so dangerous

Courtesy of Natasha Lindstaedt, University of Essex

President Donald Trump has been denounced by the US House of Representatives for tweets attacking four Democratic Congresswomen of colour calling on them to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came”. The resolution, which passed by 240 to 187 votes on July 16, condemned the “racist comments that have legitimised fear and hatred of New Americans and people of colour”.

In response to Trump’s threat, the four Democratic Congresswomen, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, who have come to be known as “the squad”, made clear that they would not be marginalised or silenced.

Trump responded to the House vote, by tweeting: “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.” But the House clearly felt otherwise.

The vote was historic, and constitutes the first time the House has voted to rebuke a president in more than 100 years. Mindful of the message that Trump’s statements send to American citizens and the global community, House representatives made clear that the US has no room for “racism, sexism, antisemitism, xenophobia and hate”.

Since his election, Trump has tapped into the latent and overtly racist feelings of some of his supporters, and legitimised their bigotry. Fringe groups such as neo-Nazis, white supremacists, and skinheads marked Trump’s victory in 2016 with a Nazi salute. No longer on the fringe, these groups saw Trump’s election as their coming out party.

Instead of unequivocally condemning these groups, he has pandered to them, leading to dangerous consequences. A recent study reported that every extremist murder in the US in 2018 had links to far-right ideology, making it one of the deadliest years in recent history.

While Trump sees no link between his behaviour and the rise of right-wing white nationalism, Democrats disagree. US Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi recently asserted that what Trump means by “making American great again” is to “make America white again”. Trump hit back by claiming that Pelosi was the racist.

Driving division

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Americans focus on responding to earthquake damage, not preventing it, because they’re unaware of their risk


Americans focus on responding to earthquake damage, not preventing it, because they're unaware of their risk

Heavily built-up areas can experience more disastrous damage in an earthquake. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Courtesy of Matt Motta, Oklahoma State University

On July 4 and 5, two major earthquakes, followed by several thousand smaller ones, struck Southern California. Their size and the damage they caused captured attention around the country.

What tends to get much less notice from the public is what can be done to prevent catastrophic damage from big quakes.

Had the epicenter of these latest large California earthquakes been closer to downtown Los Angeles, tens of thousands of apartment buildings could have been damaged or collapsed. Consequently, structural engineers are calling on legislators to prepare for and prevent earthquake damage by crafting new and improved building codes. Restricting where developers can put up new skyscrapers, or requiring that new residential buildings be designed to withstand high-magnitude earthquakes, could ultimately save structures and lives.

For the most part, though, there’s just not that much general demand for preventative policies. Why?

Might low awareness about earthquake risks help explain why the public doesn’t demand policies aimed at mitigating the loss of life and property in the event of a major earthquake? Andrew Rohrman, a civil engineer, and I, a political scientist, teamed up to investigate this question.

What would happen if an earthquake like the one that hit San Francisco in 1906 struck the city today? ASSOCIATED PRESS

Politicians give people what they want

For an example of inconsistent and inadequate earthquake preparedness regulations, look at San Francisco. While the city has strict laws on the books to prevent damage to hospitals and schools, regulations regarding its 160 skyscrapers are significantly more lax. A 50-story tower in downtown San Francisco has the same building strength requirements as a structure with only five stories.

Although scientists can’t precisely predict when and where earthquakes will strike, a 2014 U.S. Geological Survey report suggested there’s a 72% chance
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Zero Hedge

Has E.T. Gone Home?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

UFO sightings have been making headlines again lately, notably with The New York Times running an interesting article about several U.S. Navy fighter pilots encountering mysterious objects near the southeastern coast of the United States.

That high-profile story remains unexplained and so do plenty of other UFO sightings reported by members of the public every year like strange lights crossing the night sky or orange disks hovering in the distance.

However, as Sta...

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Phil's Favorites

Food waste: using sustainable innovation to cut down what we throw away


Food waste: using sustainable innovation to cut down what we throw away


Courtesy of Mehrnaz Tajmir, University of Bath and Baris Yalabik, University of Bath

Our appetite for food is a serious problem. The huge amount of energy, land and water used to fill our supermarket shelves mean that modern overproduction and excessive consumerism are rapidly depleting resources and damaging the planet.

Yet still, more than one-third of the world’s food...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Doc Copper Is Pushing Higher Off 18-Year Rising Support, Says Joe Friday

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Gold & Silver have been hot of late! Is Doc Copper about to do the same? Possible says Joe Friday.

This chart looks at Copper Futures over the past 27-years. Copper has spent the majority of that time inside of rising channel (1).

The decline over the past year has Doc Copper testing 18-year rising support and lows of the past 8-months at (2).

Joe Friday Just The Facts Ma’am- Copper is attempting to rally off of long-term support at (3). As Copper is testing the bottom of this support channel, smart money hedgers are making a bi...

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Insider Scoop

Benzinga's Top Upgrades, Downgrades For July 19, 2019

Courtesy of Benzinga.

  • For American International Group Inc (NYSE: AIG), William Blair upgraded the previous rating of Market Perform to the current rating Outperform. American International Gr earned $1.58 in the first quarter, compared to $1.04 in the year-ago quarter. American International Gr's market-cap stands at $48,358,299,270. At the moment, the stock has a 52-week-high of $56.49 and a 52-week-low of $36.16. American International Gr c... more from Insider

Chart School

RTT Plus Chart Book (Sneak Peak)

Courtesy of Read the Ticker.

The magic of support and resistance channel lines and how they direct price. Here are some chart disclosed to members via the RTT Plus service. All charts are a few weeks old. 

XAU bound by parallel channel lines.

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Newmont Mining support from Gann Angles.

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US Dollar index (DXY) dominate cycle ...

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Digital Currencies

Cryptos Suddenly Panic-Bid, Bitcoin Back Above $10k

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Following further selling pressure overnight, someone (or more than one) has decided to buy-the-dip in cryptos this morning, sending Bitcoin (and most of the altcoins) soaring...

A sea of green...

Source: Coin360

Bitcoin surged back above $10,000...

Ethereum bounced off suppo...

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DNA testing companies offer telomere testing - but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

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


DNA testing companies offer telomere testing – but what does it tell you about aging and disease risk?

A telomere age test kit from Telomere Diagnostics Inc. and saliva. collection kit from 23andMe. Anna Hoychuk/

Courtesy of Patricia Opresko, University of Pittsburgh and Elise Fouquerel, ...

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Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing


Professor Shubha Ghosh On The Current State Of Gene Editing

Courtesy of Jacob Wolinsky, ValueWalk

ValueWalk’s Q&A session with Professor Shubha Ghosh, a professor of law and the director of the Syracuse Intellectual Property Law Institute. In this interview, Professor Ghosh discusses his background, the Human Genome Project, the current state of gene editing, 3D printing for organ operations, and gene editing regulation.


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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...

Learn more About Phil >>

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About Ilene:

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.

Market Shadows >>