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  • 17.10.2019 | Dior apologizes after its China map gaffe sparks online fury




    French fashion powerhouse Dior has apologized for showing a map of China that was missing Taiwan, making it the latest luxury brand after Coach, Versace and Givenchy to get caught in a scandal over Chinese territorial integrity. “Dior first extends our deep apologies for the incorrect statement and misrepresentation made by a Dior staff member at a campus presentation,” the brand said on the Weibo social network on Thursday. The statement added that Dior respects ‘One China’ policy and “strictly safeguards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and promises to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future. Earlier this week, Dior held a presentation during which its showed its stores in China, but the sensitive Taiwan region was excluded from the map. The mishap was immediately noticed by someone from the audience, who asked why the island was missing. The employee explained that the picture was too small and thus Taiwan was too small to be shown. However, the vigilant student responded that Taiwan is bigger than Hainan island, China’s southernmost point, which was shown on the map. The employee then said that Taiwan and Hong Kong were only included in Dior’s presentations on “Greater China.” A video from the event which showed the map surfaced on Weibo, triggering backlash among users. Some angered netizens even called for the employee to be fired. Dior’s apology became one of the most popular topics on Weibo on Thursday, and was reportedly the second most searched for term on the platform. It is not the first time that a luxury goods company has to apologize for gaffes in order to avoid angering the customers and the government of one of the world’s largest markets. In August, US label Coach, French luxury fashion house Givenchy and Italian fashion giant Versace came under fire for listing Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao as separate countries.   FILE PHOTO: Dior boutique at the Taipei 101 Mall, China © Global Look Press / Daniel Kalker   https://quantsalus.com/faq/...

    French fashion powerhouse Dior has apologized for showing a map of China that was missing Taiwan, making it the latest luxury brand after Coach, Versace and Givenchy to get caught in a scandal over Chinese territorial integrity.

    “Dior first extends our deep apologies for the incorrect statement and misrepresentation made by a Dior staff member at a campus presentation,” the brand said on the Weibo social network on Thursday. The statement added that Dior respects ‘One China’ policy and “strictly safeguards China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” and promises to prevent such mistakes from happening in the future.

    Earlier this week, Dior held a presentation during which its showed its stores in China, but the sensitive Taiwan region was excluded from the map. The mishap was immediately noticed by someone from the audience, who asked why the island was missing.

    The employee explained that the picture was too small and thus Taiwan was too small to be shown. However, the vigilant student responded that Taiwan is bigger than Hainan island, China’s southernmost point, which was shown on the map. The employee then said that Taiwan and Hong Kong were only included in Dior’s presentations on “Greater China.”

    A video from the event which showed the map surfaced on Weibo, triggering backlash among users. Some angered netizens even called for the employee to be fired. Dior’s apology became one of the most popular topics on Weibo on Thursday, and was reportedly the second most searched for term on the platform.

    It is not the first time that a luxury goods company has to apologize for gaffes in order to avoid angering the customers and the government of one of the world’s largest markets. In August, US label Coach, French luxury fashion house Givenchy and Italian fashion giant Versace came under fire for listing Hong Kong, Taiwan and Macao as separate countries.

     

    FILE PHOTO: Dior boutique at the Taipei 101 Mall, China © Global Look Press / Daniel Kalker

     

    https://quantsalus.com/faq/


    10.10.2019 | With ‘dopamine fasting’ becoming a thing, Silicon Valley embraces its religious side




    ‘Dopamine fasting’ is a craze making its way around Silicon Valley, as the technological elite cut down on smartphone usage, binge eating, and gluttonous porn consumption. But isn’t penance by another name still penance? The phrase ‘Silicon Valley’s latest trend’ should be enough to set alarm bells ringing by itself. From venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s reported interest in injecting young blood in a bid to live forever, to Mark Zuckerberg slaughtering a goat with a “laser gun” for its meat, our technological overlords partake in pastimes more deranged than yoga lessons or pottery classes The ‘dopamine fast’ is the latest such trend. Psychiatry professor Dr. Cameron Sepah coined the term in a LinkedIn post in August, and claims that he has popularized it among his mega-rich clients in Silicon Valley. Put simply, Sepah advises that we all limit our exposure to six overstimulating activities: “pleasure eating, browsing the internet or playing video games, gambling or shopping, viewing pornography or masturbating, thrill seeking and recreational drugs,” so as not to burn out our ability to feel pleasure. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that rewards us with a spike of pleasure when something good happens. In a more primordial era, this kept us motivated to seek food and reproduce, hence why eating and sex feel so great. However, our smartphones and Netflix subscriptions give us this same dopamine hit. That ‘one more page’ buzz you feel when you scroll through reddit in bed and the satisfaction of having 300 people like your latest Instagram booty-shot (we all know it’s not about fitness), that’s dopamine in action. There is a wealth of scientific research demonstrating how smartphones and social media are literally rewiring our brains, and not for the better. However, there is no research proving the effectiveness of a ‘dopamine fast’ in rebalancing brain chemistry. That hasn’t stopped California hipsters from going all in on the trend, though, with some reportedly switching to ice-cold showers and cutting conversations short to avoid the dopamine hit of a chat with friends. Among the progress-obsessed transhumanists of Silicon Valley, Sepah has earned guru status. But what he suggests is not new. From the asceticism of ancient Christianity, to the starving Buddah, to modern Muslims denying themselves pleasure during Ramadan, nearly every world religion advocates denial and sacrifice as a means of reaching enlightenment. Seneca would take long walks in the countryside to get away from the hustle and bustle of ancient Rome, “so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” In the 1980s punk scene, ‘straight edge’ artists avoided the drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex beloved by their peers. Nowadays the ‘NoFap’ community on Reddit eschews masturbation to “reboot” their brains’ pleasure centers.  Self-denial has been practiced and preached for millenia, but by wrapping his message in the cold scientific language beloved by hipsters and geeks, Sepah has brought the medieval concept of penance into the 21st century. Imagine if some Archpriest Ivanov sashayed into Menlo Park and told Facebook employees to ditch the soy lattes, give up superhero movies, leave social networks and periodically starve themselves. He’d be sent packing on the first flight back to Moscow. With the right branding and the right positioning, Sepah and the dopamine fasters sell essentially the same lifestyle, albeit repackaged for our times. All of this raises one important question too. Facebook prides itself on “connecting you to everything you care about.” Instagram encourages users to “seize the moment and share it with the whole globe.” Twitter reminds us that “if it’s happening anywhere, it’s happening on Twitter.” We may mock the dopamine fasters, but if even the committed tech evangelists of Silicon Valley are putting down their devices in the name of health, shouldn’t we take a leaf from their book? After all, crack cocaine dealers make a lot of money selling poison, but don’t get high on their own supply.   © Getty Images / Ian Gavan     https://quantsalus.com/contacts/...

    ‘Dopamine fasting’ is a craze making its way around Silicon Valley, as the technological elite cut down on smartphone usage, binge eating, and gluttonous porn consumption. But isn’t penance by another name still penance?

    The phrase ‘Silicon Valley’s latest trend’ should be enough to set alarm bells ringing by itself. From venture capitalist Peter Thiel’s reported interest in injecting young blood in a bid to live forever, to Mark Zuckerberg slaughtering a goat with a “laser gun” for its meat, our technological overlords partake in pastimes more deranged than yoga lessons or pottery classes

    The ‘dopamine fast’ is the latest such trend. Psychiatry professor Dr. Cameron Sepah coined the term in a LinkedIn post in August, and claims that he has popularized it among his mega-rich clients in Silicon Valley. Put simply, Sepah advises that we all limit our exposure to six overstimulating activities: “pleasure eating, browsing the internet or playing video games, gambling or shopping, viewing pornography or masturbating, thrill seeking and recreational drugs,” so as not to burn out our ability to feel pleasure.

    Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that rewards us with a spike of pleasure when something good happens. In a more primordial era, this kept us motivated to seek food and reproduce, hence why eating and sex feel so great. However, our smartphones and Netflix subscriptions give us this same dopamine hit. That ‘one more page’ buzz you feel when you scroll through reddit in bed and the satisfaction of having 300 people like your latest Instagram booty-shot (we all know it’s not about fitness), that’s dopamine in action.

    There is a wealth of scientific research demonstrating how smartphones and social media are literally rewiring our brains, and not for the better. However, there is no research proving the effectiveness of a ‘dopamine fast’ in rebalancing brain chemistry. That hasn’t stopped California hipsters from going all in on the trend, though, with some reportedly switching to ice-cold showers and cutting conversations short to avoid the dopamine hit of a chat with friends.

    Among the progress-obsessed transhumanists of Silicon Valley, Sepah has earned guru status. But what he suggests is not new.

    From the asceticism of ancient Christianity, to the starving Buddah, to modern Muslims denying themselves pleasure during Ramadan, nearly every world religion advocates denial and sacrifice as a means of reaching enlightenment.

    Seneca would take long walks in the countryside to get away from the hustle and bustle of ancient Rome, “so that the mind might be nourished and refreshed by the open air and deep breathing.” In the 1980s punk scene, ‘straight edge’ artists avoided the drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex beloved by their peers. Nowadays the ‘NoFap’ community on Reddit eschews masturbation to “reboot” their brains’ pleasure centers. 

    Self-denial has been practiced and preached for millenia, but by wrapping his message in the cold scientific language beloved by hipsters and geeks, Sepah has brought the medieval concept of penance into the 21st century.

    Imagine if some Archpriest Ivanov sashayed into Menlo Park and told Facebook employees to ditch the soy lattes, give up superhero movies, leave social networks and periodically starve themselves. He’d be sent packing on the first flight back to Moscow. With the right branding and the right positioning, Sepah and the dopamine fasters sell essentially the same lifestyle, albeit repackaged for our times.

    All of this raises one important question too. Facebook prides itself on “connecting you to everything you care about.” Instagram encourages users to “seize the moment and share it with the whole globe.” Twitter reminds us that “if it’s happening anywhere, it’s happening on Twitter.”

    We may mock the dopamine fasters, but if even the committed tech evangelists of Silicon Valley are putting down their devices in the name of health, shouldn’t we take a leaf from their book? After all, crack cocaine dealers make a lot of money selling poison, but don’t get high on their own supply.

     

     

     

    https://quantsalus.com/contacts/


    09.10.2019 | An energy black hole? The dirty truth about bitcoin mining




    Bitcoin and crypto miners do consume vast amounts of power, but how much power do they really use, and are they actually a big burden on the grid? For some crypto buffs, critics who squawk at the vast amounts of energy supposedly consumed by crypto mining and how it contributes to climate change are little more than churlish, pedantic party poopers.  In one camp are the PoW (Proof-of-Work) maximalists who argue that bitcoin is the “most secure public chain” as measured by hashrate, but denying that bitcoin is an energy hog. In the other camp are crypto apologists (such as CoinShare) who concede that bitcoin and crypto mining are indeed power-hungry processes, but immediately go on the defensive by claiming that most of the energy is derived from renewable sources. You probably already know where this is going. The long and short of it: bitcoin and crypto mining do consume vast amounts of power, as we shall see shortly. Securing crypto networks is costly By necessity, the most secure cryptographic networks such as bitcoin and ethereum are also the most energy intensive since they rely on heavy resource consumption to defend their networks from malicious attackers. PoW projects, like bitcoin, rely on mining to secure their blockchains and require the hashing power to continue even after every coin has been mined. Less resource-intensive networks do not employ such rigorous processes and are, consequently, almost certainly less secure. Mineable coins belong to the PoW category, of which CoinMarketCap lists a total of 581. These are the main culprits as far as energy guzzling is concerned. Non-mineable coins such as Ripple, EOS, Stellar, Tezos, NEO and NEM are more energy efficient as they don’t require tons of energy to validate transactions and secure the network as their PoW brethren. And now to the million-dollar question: how much energy does bitcoin and crypto mining suck off our power grids every year?   © Global Look Press / Oleksiy Maksymenko   https://quantsalus.com/...

    Bitcoin and crypto miners do consume vast amounts of power, but how much power do they really use, and are they actually a big burden on the grid?

    For some crypto buffs, critics who squawk at the vast amounts of energy supposedly consumed by crypto mining and how it contributes to climate change are little more than churlish, pedantic party poopers. 

    In one camp are the PoW (Proof-of-Work) maximalists who argue that bitcoin is the “most secure public chain” as measured by hashrate, but denying that bitcoin is an energy hog.

    In the other camp are crypto apologists (such as CoinShare) who concede that bitcoin and crypto mining are indeed power-hungry processes, but immediately go on the defensive by claiming that most of the energy is derived from renewable sources.

    You probably already know where this is going. The long and short of it: bitcoin and crypto mining do consume vast amounts of power, as we shall see shortly.

    Securing crypto networks is costly

    By necessity, the most secure cryptographic networks such as bitcoin and ethereum are also the most energy intensive since they rely on heavy resource consumption to defend their networks from malicious attackers. PoW projects, like bitcoin, rely on mining to secure their blockchains and require the hashing power to continue even after every coin has been mined. Less resource-intensive networks do not employ such rigorous processes and are, consequently, almost certainly less secure.

    Mineable coins belong to the PoW category, of which CoinMarketCap lists a total of 581. These are the main culprits as far as energy guzzling is concerned. Non-mineable coins such as Ripple, EOS, Stellar, Tezos, NEO and NEM are more energy efficient as they don’t require tons of energy to validate transactions and secure the network as their PoW brethren.

    And now to the million-dollar question: how much energy does bitcoin and crypto mining suck off our power grids every year?

     

    © Global Look Press / Oleksiy Maksymenko

     

    https://quantsalus.com/


    08.10.2019 | Russia & Saudi Arabia to talk oil & strike major deals during Putin’s upcoming visit




    Moscow and Riyadh are not interested in high oil prices, the Kremlin’s spokesman told the press ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the kingdom in October. “Together with Saudi Arabia, we are interested in ensuring that the price [of oil] does not rise above a reasonable level,” Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 on Tuesday, during the ongoing Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow. Moscow and Riyadh are not interested in high oil prices, the Kremlin’s spokesman told the press ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the kingdom in October. “Together with Saudi Arabia, we are interested in ensuring that the price [of oil] does not rise above a reasonable level,” Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 on Tuesday, during the ongoing Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow. “Saudi Arabia recently announced it was removing bans on Russian agricultural products, wheat specifically, and we will be signing a big agreement with the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Company (Salic) during the visit,” he stated, adding that the $2.7 billion investments recently made with Saudi partners are “already producing good returns.” “Now we expect to begin investing in Saudi projects, in tourism, petrochemicals and other areas,” Dmitriev said. The Russia Saudi Investment Fund, which was set up in 2017, has a total committed capital of $6 billion. It has invested in a range of infrastructure and energy projects, both in Russia and in Saudi Arabia.   General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. File photo © Reuters / Ahmed Jadalla   https://quantsalus.com/about/...

    Moscow and Riyadh are not interested in high oil prices, the Kremlin’s spokesman told the press ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the kingdom in October.

    Together with Saudi Arabia, we are interested in ensuring that the price [of oil] does not rise above a reasonable level,” Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 on Tuesday, during the ongoing Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow.

    Moscow and Riyadh are not interested in high oil prices, the Kremlin’s spokesman told the press ahead of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to the kingdom in October.

    Together with Saudi Arabia, we are interested in ensuring that the price [of oil] does not rise above a reasonable level,” Dmitry Peskov said in an interview with Rossiya 24 on Tuesday, during the ongoing Russian Energy Week forum in Moscow.

    Saudi Arabia recently announced it was removing bans on Russian agricultural products, wheat specifically, and we will be signing a big agreement with the Saudi Agricultural Investment and Livestock Company (Salic) during the visit,” he stated, adding that the $2.7 billion investments recently made with Saudi partners are “already producing good returns.”

    “Now we expect to begin investing in Saudi projects, in tourism, petrochemicals and other areas,” Dmitriev said.

    The Russia Saudi Investment Fund, which was set up in 2017, has a total committed capital of $6 billion. It has invested in a range of infrastructure and energy projects, both in Russia and in Saudi Arabia.

     

    General view of Saudi Aramco's Ras Tanura oil refinery and oil terminal in Saudi Arabia May 21, 2018. File photo © Reuters / Ahmed Jadalla

     

    https://quantsalus.com/about/


    08.10.2019 | ‘No longer in the area’: US troops will neither help nor hamper Turkey’s cross-border operation in S




    The US will neither support nor otherwise be involved in the looming Turkish military operation in northern Syria, nor will it interfere, as American troops will no longer be in the “immediate area,” the White House has announced. The US has apparently achieved its immediate goal in the region – no less than single-handedly defeating the Islamic State terrorist group and capturing hundreds of their fighters, obviously – and will now generously allow Turkey to take over, Donald Trump’s spokesperson announced following the US leader’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday. “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years… The US will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” the two-paragraph statement said, for the second time reminding Americans that it was the US and only the US that defeated the spooky ‘caliphate.’ Nothing was said about the fate of Syrian Kurds, who are considered to be the US' closest allies on the ground, ever since the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ turned out to be a PR disaster. Turkey sees these Kurdish militias as a national security threat that needs to be ‘tackled.’ Kurdish protesters rallied in front of US-occupied military outposts over the weekend, pleading for protection from Turkey’s looming occupation. If anyone bothered to ask Damascus, though, it would probably say that both occupational forces are equally illegal and in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.     FILE PHOTO: American soldiers stand near military trucks, at al-Omar oil field in Deir Al Zor, Syria, March 23, 2019 ©  Reuters / Rodi Said https://quantsalus.com/rules/ ...

    The US will neither support nor otherwise be involved in the looming Turkish military operation in northern Syria, nor will it interfere, as American troops will no longer be in the “immediate area,” the White House has announced.

    The US has apparently achieved its immediate goal in the region – no less than single-handedly defeating the Islamic State terrorist group and capturing hundreds of their fighters, obviously – and will now generously allow Turkey to take over, Donald Trump’s spokesperson announced following the US leader’s call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday.

    “Turkey will now be responsible for all ISIS fighters in the area captured over the past two years… The US will not hold them for what could be many years and great cost to the United States taxpayer,” the two-paragraph statement said, for the second time reminding Americans that it was the US and only the US that defeated the spooky ‘caliphate.’

    Nothing was said about the fate of Syrian Kurds, who are considered to be the US' closest allies on the ground, ever since the so-called ‘moderate rebels’ turned out to be a PR disaster. Turkey sees these Kurdish militias as a national security threat that needs to be ‘tackled.’

    Kurdish protesters rallied in front of US-occupied military outposts over the weekend, pleading for protection from Turkey’s looming occupation. If anyone bothered to ask Damascus, though, it would probably say that both occupational forces are equally illegal and in violation of Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

     

     


    06.10.2019 | EU’s largest economy, Germany is now its ‘major underperformer’ - Credit Suisse




    London-based economists at the investment banking company Credit Suisse have named Germany a “major underperformer” of the European block of countries, citing a significant decrease in the nation’s GDP and purchasing power. “The ongoing trade slump remains challenging for the German economy. Once the major outperformer of the euro-area economy, [Germany] is now the major underperformer, its huge trade imbalance a huge burden”, the experts stated, as cited by Fox Business. This valuation was issued after Credit Suisse economists reviewed the latest economic indicators. For instance, they note that the German economy grew at mere 0.4 percent year-over-year from April through June, its weakest indicators in over six years. They also noted the country’s economy showed a 0.1 percent quarter-over-quarter decrease, which signified Germany was Europe’s only major economy to shrink in the past several months. However, according to Credit Suisse economists, German hardships would not affect other European states as Germany has a “huge current account surplus” - around $276 billion. It is the largest account surplus globally, formed by large export volumes and lower imports due to small domestic demand. Credit Suisse also expects the European Central Bank to help ease the situation in case other economies in the region start struggling, for instance, by further lowering rates. “Resumption of asset purchases and new long-term refinancing operations [by ECB] should be supportive of domestic demand outside Germany,” the economists noted. They cited the situation in Italy as an example. “For example, that shift in policy […] led to a huge fall in Italian government bond yields. That more than reversed the financial tightening of last year that contributed materially to Italy's slowdown,” the economists explained. As a remedy to the current sluggishness in the German economy, Credit Suisse offered two measures: an end to the trade war between the US and China or an introduction of a German fiscal stimulus, although the latter is unlikely, as Germany is too keen on sustaining a balanced budget. Also, the latest move by the World Trade Organization (WTO) could further shatter Germany’s economy. Earlier this week, WTO ruled that Washington may impose economic sanctions on EU states after it became known that US plane-manufacturer Boeing had lost some $7.5 billion a year due to subsidies handed out by European governments to its arch-competitor, Europe’s own Airbus. Although the European aircraft manufacturer filed a similar complaint against the US Boeing, Washington had already come through with tariffs targeting, among other things, a number of German products. The tariffs will come into effect on October 18 and will make German goods like wine and coffee more expensive, setting a new hurdle in front of Germany’s already weakened economy.   File photo © Reuters / Mike Segar https://quantsalus.com/faq/...

    London-based economists at the investment banking company Credit Suisse have named Germany a “major underperformer” of the European block of countries, citing a significant decrease in the nation’s GDP and purchasing power.

    The ongoing trade slump remains challenging for the German economy. Once the major outperformer of the euro-area economy, [Germany] is now the major underperformer, its huge trade imbalance a huge burden”, the experts stated, as cited by Fox Business. This valuation was issued after Credit Suisse economists reviewed the latest economic indicators. For instance, they note that the German economy grew at mere 0.4 percent year-over-year from April through June, its weakest indicators in over six years. They also noted the country’s economy showed a 0.1 percent quarter-over-quarter decrease, which signified Germany was Europe’s only major economy to shrink in the past several months.

    However, according to Credit Suisse economists, German hardships would not affect other European states as Germany has a “huge current account surplus” - around $276 billion. It is the largest account surplus globally, formed by large export volumes and lower imports due to small domestic demand. Credit Suisse also expects the European Central Bank to help ease the situation in case other economies in the region start struggling, for instance, by further lowering rates.

    “Resumption of asset purchases and new long-term refinancing operations [by ECB] should be supportive of domestic demand outside Germany,” the economists noted. They cited the situation in Italy as an example.

    For example, that shift in policy […] led to a huge fall in Italian government bond yields. That more than reversed the financial tightening of last year that contributed materially to Italy's slowdown,” the economists explained.

    As a remedy to the current sluggishness in the German economy, Credit Suisse offered two measures: an end to the trade war between the US and China or an introduction of a German fiscal stimulus, although the latter is unlikely, as Germany is too keen on sustaining a balanced budget.

    Also, the latest move by the World Trade Organization (WTO) could further shatter Germany’s economy. Earlier this week, WTO ruled that Washington may impose economic sanctions on EU states after it became known that US plane-manufacturer Boeing had lost some $7.5 billion a year due to subsidies handed out by European governments to its arch-competitor, Europe’s own Airbus. Although the European aircraft manufacturer filed a similar complaint against the US Boeing, Washington had already come through with tariffs targeting, among other things, a number of German products. The tariffs will come into effect on October 18 and will make German goods like wine and coffee more expensive, setting a new hurdle in front of Germany’s already weakened economy.

     


    04.10.2019 | Domo arigato, Mr Roboto! Tech to replace 200,000 US bank jobs in next decade




    A recent report from Wells Fargo showed that banking will be the next industry hit by technology, with a significant number of jobs forecast to be lost over the next decade. According to the research, some 200,000 jobs will be replaced by robots over the next 10 years throughout the financial industry in the United States. It has revealed that back office, bank branch, call center and corporate employees are being cut by about a fifth to a third. The financial sector in the US spends more on tech than any other industry, about $150 billion annually, according to Mike Mayo, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities. He said that the industry has underperformed the market by 70 percent this century, but the investment in technology should pay off by lowering costs over time, particularly for larger banks. “This should lead to record efficiency and market share gains by scale players, reflecting our theme, ‘Goliath is Winning,’” said Mayo. He explained: “The next decade should be the biggest decade for banks in technology in history. You’re about to see the biggest capital for labor swap in history.” Automation can reduce the amount of repetitive work being done by humans, such as data input in a mortgage application. “You have a lot less errors, you need a lot less people to do it, and the customer is a lot happier too,” the analyst said. Michael Tang, a Deloitte partner who leads the consulting firm’s global financial services innovation practice, said it will be a “dramatic change” in contact centers, and these are both internal and external. “We’re already seeing signs of it with chatbots, and some people don’t even know that they’re chatting with an AI engine because they’re just answering questions.”   © Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon   https://quantsalus.com/news/...

    A recent report from Wells Fargo showed that banking will be the next industry hit by technology, with a significant number of jobs forecast to be lost over the next decade.

    According to the research, some 200,000 jobs will be replaced by robots over the next 10 years throughout the financial industry in the United States. It has revealed that back office, bank branch, call center and corporate employees are being cut by about a fifth to a third.

    The financial sector in the US spends more on tech than any other industry, about $150 billion annually, according to Mike Mayo, a senior analyst at Wells Fargo Securities.

    He said that the industry has underperformed the market by 70 percent this century, but the investment in technology should pay off by lowering costs over time, particularly for larger banks.

    “This should lead to record efficiency and market share gains by scale players, reflecting our theme, ‘Goliath is Winning,’” said Mayo.

    He explained: “The next decade should be the biggest decade for banks in technology in history. You’re about to see the biggest capital for labor swap in history.”

    Automation can reduce the amount of repetitive work being done by humans, such as data input in a mortgage application. “You have a lot less errors, you need a lot less people to do it, and the customer is a lot happier too,” the analyst said.

    Michael Tang, a Deloitte partner who leads the consulting firm’s global financial services innovation practice, said it will be a “dramatic change” in contact centers, and these are both internal and external. “We’re already seeing signs of it with chatbots, and some people don’t even know that they’re chatting with an AI engine because they’re just answering questions.”

     

    © Reuters / Kim Kyung-Hoon

     

    https://quantsalus.com/news/


    03.10.2019 | Countries resisting US pressure to ban Huawei’s 5G equipment




    The US has been trying to convince its allies and the rest of the world to ditch Huawei’s 5G technology over an alleged national security threat. However, not everyone is convinced the Chinese tech firm poses a risk. While restricting American companies from doing business with the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor, the US has also been trying to convince other countries that Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, an allegation that the firm and the Chinese government deny. Here is a list of European countries who are still reluctant to make technological development a victim of US policy. Russia Moscow has never been eager to bow to US pressure, despite facing multiple rounds of sanctions. As cooperation with its largest trade partner, China, is flourishing, Russian companies are actively dealing with Huawei in 5G development. In late August, the Chinese tech giant helped Russian mobile operator MTS launch a 5G pilot scheme in Moscow. At the same time, the super-fast network was launched in Kronshtadt, a city not far from St. Petersburg, which became the first city in Russia to get almost full 5G coverage. Norway became the latest country to announce that Huawei will not be banned from building the country’s 5G telecom network despite earlier considerations. The change of heart occurred in late September, when Minister of Digitalisation Nikolai Astrup said that “it is up to the companies themselves to choose suppliers” as Oslo has no bans against any suppliers. Germany In early September, Deutsche Telekom announced that its 5G mobile network went live in five German cities. Huawei reportedly provides the carrier, as well as other operators such as Vodafone Group and Telefonica, with some of the essential hardware such as antennas and routers.   Huawei logo © AFP / Mohd Rasfan   https://quantsalus.com/contacts/...

    The US has been trying to convince its allies and the rest of the world to ditch Huawei’s 5G technology over an alleged national security threat. However, not everyone is convinced the Chinese tech firm poses a risk.

    While restricting American companies from doing business with the world’s largest telecommunications equipment vendor, the US has also been trying to convince other countries that Huawei’s equipment could be used by Beijing for spying, an allegation that the firm and the Chinese government deny.

    Here is a list of European countries who are still reluctant to make technological development a victim of US policy.

    Russia

    Moscow has never been eager to bow to US pressure, despite facing multiple rounds of sanctions. As cooperation with its largest trade partner, China, is flourishing, Russian companies are actively dealing with Huawei in 5G development.

    In late August, the Chinese tech giant helped Russian mobile operator MTS launch a 5G pilot scheme in Moscow. At the same time, the super-fast network was launched in Kronshtadt, a city not far from St. Petersburg, which became the first city in Russia to get almost full 5G coverage.

    Norway became the latest country to announce that Huawei will not be banned from building the country’s 5G telecom network despite earlier considerations. The change of heart occurred in late September, when Minister of Digitalisation Nikolai Astrup said that “it is up to the companies themselves to choose suppliers” as Oslo has no bans against any suppliers.

    Germany

    In early September, Deutsche Telekom announced that its 5G mobile network went live in five German cities. Huawei reportedly provides the carrier, as well as other operators such as Vodafone Group and Telefonica, with some of the essential hardware such as antennas and routers.

     

    Huawei logo © AFP / Mohd Rasfan

     

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    03.10.2019 | US move to weaponize its currency is destroying dollar in international trade – Putin




    Russia never wanted to turn away from the US dollar but American policies have forced it, as well as many other countries, to do so, President Vladimir Putin told participants of the Russian Energy Week forum on Wednesday. The US’ attempts to weaponize its national currency and use dollar settlements as an instrument of political pressure is a great mistake, according to the Russian president. He explained that Washington’s actions have already forced many countries, including US allies, to reconsider the greenback as a reserve currency, while dollar settlements have already slid from 50 percent to 45 percent. “The dollar enjoyed great trust around the world. It was almost the only universal currency in the world. For some reason, the United States began to use dollar settlements as a political tool, to impose restrictions on the use of the dollar,” Putin told the audience. “They [the US] are biting the hand that feeds them,” he said, adding that sanctions only “undermine the trust in the dollar, isn't it clear, that they are destroying it with their own hands?” Moscow has recently slashed by half the share of the US dollar in its foreign currency reserves. However, such a move is not Russia’s choice, but the result of Washington’s sanctions and restrictions as Moscow and its allies want to protect themselves and diversify settlements, according to Putin. Thus more than 70 percent of settlements between the members of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are in rubles, while many other countries are switching to payments in national currencies instead of the dollar.   © Getty Images / Ralf Hiemisch   https://quantsalus.com/about/...

    Russia never wanted to turn away from the US dollar but American policies have forced it, as well as many other countries, to do so, President Vladimir Putin told participants of the Russian Energy Week forum on Wednesday.

    The US’ attempts to weaponize its national currency and use dollar settlements as an instrument of political pressure is a great mistake, according to the Russian president. He explained that Washington’s actions have already forced many countries, including US allies, to reconsider the greenback as a reserve currency, while dollar settlements have already slid from 50 percent to 45 percent.

    “The dollar enjoyed great trust around the world. It was almost the only universal currency in the world. For some reason, the United States began to use dollar settlements as a political tool, to impose restrictions on the use of the dollar,” Putin told the audience.

    “They [the US] are biting the hand that feeds them,” he said, adding that sanctions only “undermine the trust in the dollar, isn't it clear, that they are destroying it with their own hands?”

    Moscow has recently slashed by half the share of the US dollar in its foreign currency reserves. However, such a move is not Russia’s choice, but the result of Washington’s sanctions and restrictions as Moscow and its allies want to protect themselves and diversify settlements, according to Putin. Thus more than 70 percent of settlements between the members of the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are in rubles, while many other countries are switching to payments in national currencies instead of the dollar.

     

    © Getty Images / Ralf Hiemisch

     

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    01.10.2019 | Cosmic hide and seek: Can you find the huge black hole lurking in this Hubble photo?




    Somewhere in this stunning image, strikingly reminiscent of science fiction scenes, lurks an enormous black hole, consuming huge quantities of mass from its surroundings. Can you find it? (Hint: look to the light.) Black holes are incredibly dense with extreme gravity which sucks in matter at high speed, creating a bright disk of superheated gas and particles around it. Their behavior also distorts their surroundings and magnetic fields, propelling some material away and back out into space, creating dramatic columns of light. So, follow the bright trail back up to the top left in the photo to find where the black hole is hiding.  The incredible image, snapped by Hubble almost 20 years ago, was recently shared on Twitter by the team behind the space telescope to mark NASA’s ‘black hole week.’ The snap is of a section from galaxy ‘M87’ and its impressive eponymous black hole, sitting some 50 million light-years from our planet. M87 first began to draw attention from astronomers back in 1918, thanks to the strangely straight ray of light being projected through the galaxy. Scientists believe the enormous black hole has consumed material equivalent to 2 billion times our Sun’s mass.   The phenomenon was at the center of an incredible moment for science earlier this year when physicists released a new image of it as the first-ever photo of a black hole.     © NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)   https://quantsalus.com/contacts/...

    Somewhere in this stunning image, strikingly reminiscent of science fiction scenes, lurks an enormous black hole, consuming huge quantities of mass from its surroundings. Can you find it? (Hint: look to the light.)

    Black holes are incredibly dense with extreme gravity which sucks in matter at high speed, creating a bright disk of superheated gas and particles around it.

    Their behavior also distorts their surroundings and magnetic fields, propelling some material away and back out into space, creating dramatic columns of light. So, follow the bright trail back up to the top left in the photo to find where the black hole is hiding. 

    The incredible image, snapped by Hubble almost 20 years ago, was recently shared on Twitter by the team behind the space telescope to mark NASA’s ‘black hole week.’ The snap is of a section from galaxy ‘M87’ and its impressive eponymous black hole, sitting some 50 million light-years from our planet.

    M87 first began to draw attention from astronomers back in 1918, thanks to the strangely straight ray of light being projected through the galaxy. Scientists believe the enormous black hole has consumed material equivalent to 2 billion times our Sun’s mass.  

    The phenomenon was at the center of an incredible moment for science earlier this year when physicists released a new image of it as the first-ever photo of a black hole.

     

     

    © NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

     

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