Archive for the ‘Phil’s Favorites’ Category

How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?


How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?

File 20180321 165577 sf1q0z.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

What caused this bridge to collapse? AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Courtesy of Martin Gordon, Rochester Institute of Technology

On March 15, a 950-ton partially assembled pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami suddenly collapsed onto the busy highway below, killing six people and seriously injuring nine. Forensic engineers are taking center stage in the ongoing investigation to find out what happened and why – and, crucially, to learn how to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

I’m not actively involved in this investigation, but I’ve been a forensic engineer for nearly 20 years and am the 2018 president of the National Academy of Forensic Engineers. Similar to forensic scientists, we visit scenes of disasters and crimes to determine what role engineering practices played in what happened. The first step in any forensic investigation, collecting evidence, often can’t begin until survivors are rescued and victims are recovered. Those operations displace material and can damage evidence, which means forensic engineers must study the emergency response as well, to be able to tell whether, for instance, a support column collapsed during the event or was destroyed to reach a victim in need of help. During the FIU recovery efforts rescuers used large equipment to break up massive blocks of concrete so that victims’ bodies could be recovered.

In Miami at the moment, forensic engineers and technicians from the National Transportation Safety Board are on the scene. Right now they’re collecting samples of materials from the bridge to test for their physical properties. They’re reviewing drawings and plans, and examining both industry standards and site engineers’ calculations to understand what was supposed to be built – to compare with what was actually constructed. They’ll look at photographs and videos of the collapse to identify the sequence of events and locations of key problems. Of course, they’ll also talk to witnesses to find out what workers and passersby saw and heard around the time of its collapse.

Every element holds clues to what happened – including the cracks in the concrete

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The Weekly Webinar 03-21-18


The Weekly Webinar 03-21-18

For LIVE access on Wednesday afternoons, join us at Phil's Stock World – click here

Major Topics:

00:01:52 Checking on the Markets
00:06:05 Petroleum Status Report
00:10:27 DX
00:11:50 CVS
00:25:11 Compound Rate Calculator
00:33:00 Virtual Portfolio Recap
00:38:53 Income Portfolio
00:40:50 Trade Ideas
00:44:48 Butterfly Portfolio
00:45:54 Long Term Portfolio
00:51:34 Short Term Portfollio
00:54:41 ABX
00:59:50 FOMC Meeting
01:10:55 Active Trader
01:13:12 Seeking Alpha Market News
01:16:26 Trade Ideas
01:19:25 Fed Statement Tracker
01:28:47 SBUX
01:29:13 Seeking Alpha Market News
01:34:54 Active Trader
01:45:55 CMG
01:51:12 Checking on the Markets

Phil's Weekly Trading Webinars provide a great opportunity to learn what we do at PSW. Subscribe to our YouTube channel and view past webinars, here. For LIVE access to PSW's Weekly Webinars – demonstrating trading strategies in real time – join us at PSW — click here!


New Animal Spirits – The Magic Number


New Animal Spirits – The Magic Number

Courtesy of 

Don’t miss the new episode of Mike and Ben’s podcast, topics include:

  • How the competition for entertainment impacts business television.
  • Amazon’s numbers are bonkers.
  • How sales & marketing is changing in the asset management business.
  • My pet peeve with surveys & statistics.
  • Is America really as polarized as ever?
  • The coming demographic shift that’s never occurred before.
  • The end of the DOL fiduciary rule.
  • The speaker line-up for our EBI West Conference.
  • What our magic number is for retirement & much more.

Audio embedded below or listen wherever fine podcasts are streamed.


From Ben Carlson's website:

Stories mentioned:

Eleven Million Millionaire Households – a new record


Eleven Million Millionaire Households – a new record

Courtesy of 

?Some data of interest on the state of wealth in the United States…

The number of millionaire households in the U.S. jumped by more than 700,000 last year, thanks to surging stock prices and housing values, according to a new report.

The U.S. now has more than 11 million millionaire households, according to Spectrem Group, up more than 6 percent from 2016. The number of new millionaires and the total population of millionaires set records. Spectrem defines millionaire households as those with at least $1 million in investible assets, not including primary residence.

The stock market went up 25% last year and bonds didn’t lose much value. Thanks to the President’s year-end push for a corporate tax bonanza coupled with a steady, patient central banking environment where nobody pressed particularly hard on the trigger, anywhere in the world.

Since the financial crisis, the number of millionaire households has nearly doubled…

The number of households worth $5 million to $25 million grew by 84,000, to 1.35 million households. The number of households worth more than $25 million jumped by 10 percent, increasing by 16,000 to a total of 172,000.

Meanwhile, Boomers in the US are out of the doldrums emotionally and financially – they’re buying homes in retirement communities around the country at a rapid pace.

Here’s the Wall Street Journal:

The population of federally designated retirement destination counties rose 2% last year, almost three times the rate of national population growth, according to census county population estimates for the year that ended July 1.

Almost three-quarters of a million Americans during that period moved into one of the 442 counties that the Agriculture Department tags as retiree spots.

The figures are a fresh sign that the nation’s 74 million baby boomers—those born between 1946 to 1964—have dug out from the 2007-09 recession that locked many of them in place when home and stock values plummeted.

Also via the Journal, Millennials are having babies

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Adam Schiff: Here’s evidence of collusion House Dems found


Adam Schiff: Here's evidence of collusion House Dems found

House Republicans' continual refusal to look at evidence of collusion which is right in front of them is unconscionable. 

The World’s Largest Oil Traders Are Shifting Strategy

Courtesy of Tsvetana Paraskova,

The world’s largest independent oil trader, Vitol, is looking to secure long-term deals with some of the biggest oil-producing countries in the Middle East, in what has become a challenging wider oil-trading market.

Vitol is in discussions to seal either joint venture, or long-term offtake and supply agreements with Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, and Kuwait, Ian Taylor, who stepped down as CEO last week to become chairman at the oil trading group, told Bloomberg in an interview on the sidelines of the FT Global Commodities Summit in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“I am going to be visiting Africa and the Middle East and trying to promote Vitol and do some structural deals,” Taylor said, adding that he couldn’t be certain that any deal would be completed because they are “bloody tough to do and bloody tough to find.”

While Taylor is now chairman at Vitol, he will keep his role of managing the relationships with OPEC countries and other national oil companies that he has built during his tenure as chief executive.

Securing deals with some of the largest producers in the Middle East would secure oil volumes for Vitol, which trades more than 7 million barrels of crude oil and oil products every day.

Oil trading houses currently face tougher market conditions than at the peak of the oil oversupply a couple of years ago. The oil futures market structure flipped into backwardation last year, meaning that front-month prices are higher than those further out in time, which makes storing oil for future sales uneconomical. The biggest oil traders raked in profits during the height of the glut in 2015 when the market structure was in steep contango—the opposite of backwardation—that makes oil storage profitable.

In addition, the current lack of volatility in oil markets also cuts into profits and margins.

“And I don’t think anybody is making a lot of money,” Taylor told Bloomberg.

While pursuing long-term deals in the world’s biggest producing region, the Middle East, Vitol’s chairman recognizes that “U.S. exports are the big feature,” and that “Pipelines in the U.S. are going to be very critical.”

In December, Vitol and Harvest Pipeline Company,…
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Psychographics: the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters’ minds


Psychographics: the behavioural analysis that helped Cambridge Analytica know voters' minds

File 20180320 80618 1chynat.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1

Making connections through tracking behaviour. GarryKillian/Shutterstock

Courtesy of Michael Wade, IMD Business School

The dealings that have been revealed between Cambridge Analytica and Facebook have all the trappings of a Hollywood thriller: a Bond villain-style CEO, a reclusive billionaire, a naïve and conflicted whistle-blower, a hipster data scientist turned politico, an academic with seemingly questionable ethics, and of course a triumphant president and his influential family.

Much of the discussion has been on how Cambridge Analytica was able to obtain data on more than 50m Facebook users – and how it allegedly failed to delete this data when told to do so. But there is also the matter of what Cambridge Analytica actually did with the data. In fact the data crunching company’s approach represents a step change in how analytics can today be used as a tool to generate insights – and to exert influence.

For example, pollsters have long used segmentation to target particular groups of voters, such as through categorising audiences by gender, age, income, education and family size. Segments can also be created around political affiliation or purchase preferences. The data analytics machine that presidential candidate Hillary Clinton used in her 2016 campaign – named Ada after the 19th-century mathematician and early computing pioneer – used state-of-the-art segmentation techniques to target groups of eligible voters in the same way that Barack Obama had done four years previously.

Cambridge Analytica was contracted to the Trump campaign and provided an entirely new weapon for the election machine. While it also used demographic segments to identify groups of voters, as Clinton’s campaign had, Cambridge Analytica also segmented using psychographics. As definitions of class, education, employment, age and so on, demographics are informational. Psychographics are behavioural – a means to segment by personality.

This makes a lot of sense. It’s obvious that two people with the same demographic profile (for example, white, middle-aged, employed, married men) can have markedly different personalities and opinions. We also know that adapting a message to a person’s personality – whether they are open, introverted, argumentative, and so on – goes a long way to help getting that message across.…
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Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Kushner Was “In His Pocket”


Embed from Getty Images

Ryan Grim writes, "Big story from The Intercept this evening: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has told people close to him that Jared Kushner gave him intelligence that aided in his November crackdown, the infamous Ritz royals roundup." 

Saudi Crown Prince Boasted That Kushner Was “In His Pocket”

By Alex Emmons, Ryan Grim and Clayton Swisher, The Intercept

UNTIL HE WAS stripped of his top-secret security clearance in February, presidential adviser Jared Kushner was known around the White House as one of the most voracious readers of the President’s Daily Brief, a highly classified rundown of the latest intelligence intended only for the president and his closest advisers.

Kushner, who had been tasked with bringing about a deal between Israel and Palestine, was particularly engaged by information about the Middle East, according to a former White House official and a former U.S. intelligence professional.

In June, Saudi prince Mohammed bin Salman ousted his cousin, then-Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef, and took his place as next in line to the throne, upending the established line of succession. In the months that followed, the President’s Daily Brief contained information on Saudi Arabia’s evolving political situation, including a handful of names of royal family members opposed to the crown prince’s power grab, according to the former White House official and two U.S. government officials with knowledge of the report. Like many others interviewed for this story, they declined to be identified because they were not authorized to speak about sensitive matters to the press.

In late October, Jared Kushner made an unannounced trip to Riyadh, catching some intelligence officials off guard. “The two princes are said to have stayed up until nearly 4 a.m. several nights, swapping stories and planning strategy,” the Washington Post’s David Ignatius reported at the time.

What exactly Kushner and the Saudi royal talked about in Riyadh may be known only to them, but after the meeting, Crown Prince Mohammed told confidants that Kushner had discussed the names of Saudis disloyal to the crown prince, according to three sources who have been in contact with members of the Saudi and Emirati royal families since the crackdown. Kushner, through his attorney’s…
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Wall Street Is Winning By Going Dark

Courtesy of Pam Martens

Wall Street Bull Statue in Lower Manhattan

Wall Street Bull Statue in Lower Manhattan

As front page news focuses more and more on the Russia-Trump investigation, there is rarely an in-depth journalistic investigation into the dangerous risks building up on Wall Street that makes front page news. And yet, as we know from the epic financial crisis of 2008, an unreformed Wall Street presents the gravest threat to America’s long-term vitality and economic might.

Take, for example, what happened this past Monday. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) awarded a record $83 million to three whistleblowers from one of America’s largest retail brokerage firms, Merrill Lynch, part of the sprawling Bank of America. That bank holds $1.4 trillion in deposits, much of which is FDIC insured and backstopped by the U.S. taxpayer — the same taxpayer that bailed out Bank of America in 2008.

The SEC maintains the confidentiality of whistleblowers who come to it and does not name the company involved in the monetary awards to ensure that confidentiality. The public learned of the details in the case through a statement from the law firm representing the three whistleblowers, Labaton Sucharow.

The statement, also released on Monday, explained why this unprecedented amount of money was paid by the SEC. It said:

“The whistleblowers tipped the SEC to long-running misconduct at Merrill Lynch, which over numerous years, executed complex options trades that lacked economic substance and artificially reduced the required deposit of customer cash in the reserve account. Through the reckless conduct, Merrill Lynch violated the SEC’s Customer Protection Rules and put billions of dollars of customer funds at risk in order to finance its own trading activities.”

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After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection


After Tempe fatality, self-driving car developers must engage with public now or risk rejection

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An autonomous vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian on March 18. via AP

Courtesy of Andrew Maynard, Arizona State University; Jameson Wetmore, Arizona State University, and Thaddeus R. Miller, Arizona State University

On Sunday evening, March 18, an Uber SUV hit and killed a pedestrian in the Arizona city of Tempe. In a place where vehicle-related pedestrian fatalities are unfortunately a regular occurrence, this shouldn’t have stood out as particularly unusual. But what made the death of 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg different was that the vehicle that killed her was driving itself.

As faculty on Arizona State University’s Tempe campus who also study technology innovation, we’ve become used to seeing self-driving cars operated by Uber, Waymo and others on our daily commutes. We know that our neighbors and students are largely excited that our streets are being used to test self-driving technologies. And we love pointing out the cars and SUVs topped with spinning sensors to colleagues from out of town. But we also know that the people who live and work here have local knowledge and values that are being ignored by those who are designing and testing these new technologies.

In 2015, Arizona famously opened its doors to such vehicles by encouraging companies to test out their self-driving cars on public roads. And apart from a relatively minor crash in 2017, there have been few serious incidents. Yet despite this record, the lack of coordination, collaboration and transparency between industry, city government and the public – even on issues as basic as road safety – has created an environment where the future success and safe use of self-driving cars is far from certain.

A 2017 autonomous vehicle crash in Tempe didn’t kill anyone. Tempe Police Department via AP

Bearing the risks, without a voice

No matter what, 4,000 pounds of steel and plastic hurtling along at speed is dangerous, whether a computer or a person is in control. Sunday’s incident forces society to think more…
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Phil's Favorites

How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?


How do forensic engineers investigate bridge collapses, like the one in Miami?

What caused this bridge to collapse? AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee

Courtesy of Martin Gordon, Rochester Institute of Technology

On March 15, a 950-ton partially assembled pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami suddenly collapsed onto the busy highway below, killing six people and seriously injuring nine. Forensic engineers are taking cen...

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Zero Hedge

Trump Suspends Tariffs On Multiple Nations (Not China Or Japan) Until May

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

After unleashing the first shots in the global trade war, and facing some retaliation from China tonight, President Trump has decided to exclude multiple nations (and the EU) from steel and aluminum tariffs through May 1st.

This action confirms what Ambassador Lighthizer suggested earlier in the evening, which perhaps explains the negligible response to this modest retreat in the trade war.

Full White House Statement:

President Trump Approves Section 232 Tariff Modificatio...

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Chart School

Bitcoin Cycles Review

Courtesy of Read the Ticker. uses Bartel's logic to find dominant cycles in a time series.

Cycles are present in markets, as shown below the 22 and 40 day cycles on calendar days looks like the best fit. Therefore the chart below suggest we can expect a bitcoin low either now or in a few weeks.

Bitcoin has not been effected by the SP500/Dow sell off which is a very bullish sign, bitcoin may see safe haven money chasing price very soon, add to this the sister coin, litecoin, isgetting ready for wider use with the massive e-commerce payment market (litepay, litepal, atomic swamps, lightening network).

The bitcoin move is not over!


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U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross Speaks With CNBC's "Power Lunch" Today

By VW Staff. Originally published at ValueWalk.

WHEN: Today, Thursday, March 22, 2018

WHERE: CNBC’s “Power Lunch”

Following is the unofficial transcript of a FIRST ON CNBC interview with U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on CNBC’s “Power Lunch” (M-F 1PM – 3PM) today, Thursday, March 22nd. Following are links to video from the interview on

]]> Get The Timeless Reading eBook in PDF

Get the entire 10-part series on Timeless Reading in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues.


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Insider Scoop

Omeros Elevated By Medicare Reimbursement And OMS721 Progress, Says Maxim

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Related OMER 28 Stocks Moving In Thursday's Mid-Day Session Mid-Day Market Update: Dow Falls Over 350 Points; Omeros Shares Spike Higher ... more from Insider

Digital Currencies

Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Why accountants of the future will need to speak blockchain and cryptocurrency if they want your money


Courtesy of Anwar Halari, The Open University

If you haven’t already heard of Bitcoin, you either haven’t been paying attention or you’re a time traveller who just touched down in 2018. Because by now, most of us will have heard of Bitcoin and some of us have even jumped on the bandwagon, investing in cryptocurrencies.

But despite its popularity, many people still don’t understand the technology that underlines it: blockchain. In...

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Members' Corner

Cambridge Analytica and the 2016 Election: What you need to know (updated)


"If you want to fundamentally reshape society, you first have to break it." ~ Christopher Wylie

[Interview: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower: 'We spent $1m harvesting millions of Facebook profiles' – video]

"You’ve probably heard by now that Cambridge Analytica, which is backed by the borderline-psychotic Mercer family and was formerly chaired by Steve Bannon, had a decisive role in manipulating voters on a one-by-one basis – using their own personal data to push them toward voting ...

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How your brain is wired to just say 'yes' to opioids

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.


How your brain is wired to just say ‘yes’ to opioids

A Philadelphia man, who struggles with opioid addiction, in 2017. AP Photo/Matt Rourke

Courtesy of Paul R. Sanberg, University of South Florida and Samantha Portis, University of South Florida


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Mapping The Market

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

Via Jean-Luc

How propagandist beat science – they did it for the tobacco industry and now it's in favor of the energy companies:

The tricks propagandists use to beat science

The original tobacco strategy involved several lines of attack. One of these was to fund research that supported the industry and then publish only the results that fit the required narrative. “For instance, in 1954 the TIRC distributed a pamphlet entitled ‘A Scientific Perspective on the Cigarette Controversy’ to nearly 200,000 doctors, journalists, and policy-makers, in which they emphasized favorable research and questioned results supporting the contrary view,” say Weatherall and co, who call this approach biased production.

A second approach promoted independent research that happened to support ...

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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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NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!


We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...

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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.


EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...

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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

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

Click here for the full report.

To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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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 >>