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Archive for January 8, 2011

Food Stamp Usage Hits New High Of 43.2 Million

January 8, 2011 Comments off

Tyler Durden

Ever wonder where all the money for equity inflows came from? Here’s the answer: with all the money saved from participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, better known as foodstamps, which in October hit a brand new record, 43.2 million Americans decided to join in on this “wealth effect” they had been hearing so much about and buy Apple stock. After all 190 hedge funds are doing it: and there is no way that 190 hedge funds can possibly be wrong. As a result, the chart below shows our nation’s pending wealth effect in its full glory. Just think: 43.2 millionaire in waiting. Just consider the guaranteed explosion to money velocity…

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Utah’s $1.5 billion cyber-security center under way

January 8, 2011 Comments off

CAMP WILLIAMS — Thursday’s groundbreaking for a $1.5 billion National Security Agency data center is being billed as important in the short term for construction jobs and important in the long term for Utah’s reputation as a technology center.

“This will bring 5,000 to 10,000 new jobs during its construction and development phase,” Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, said on Wednesday. “Once completed, it will support 100 to 200 permanent high-paid employees.”

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Security Agency host a joint groundbreaking ceremony for the first Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, at Camp Williams. Construction of the $1.2 billion Data Center is scheduled to be completed in October 2013. 

Stuart Johnson, Deseret News
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and National Security Agency host a joint groundbreaking ceremony for the first Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative (CNCI) Data Center Thursday, Jan. 6, 2011, at Camp Williams. Construction of the $1.2 billion Data Center is scheduled to be completed in October 2013.

Officially named the Utah Data Center, the facility’s role in aggregating and verifying dizzying volumes of data for the intelligence community has already earned it the nickname “Spy Center.” Its really long moniker is the Community Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative Data Center — the first in the nation’s intelligence community.

A White House document identifies the Comprehensive National Cyber-security Initiative as addressing “one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, but one that we as a government or as a country are not adequately prepared to counter.” The document details a number of technology-related countermeasures to the security threat.

Hatch said Utah was chosen for the project over 37 other locations. He characterized the cyber-security center as the “largest military construction project in recent memory.”

Hatch said he promoted Utah’s favorable energy costs, Internet infrastructure, thriving software industry and proximity to the Salt Lake City International Airport in the bid process that ended up with Camp Williams earning the data center.

The Army Corps of Engineers is overseeing the project that is under contract to a joint venture between Big-D Construction in Salt Lake City, U.K.-based Balfour Beatty Construction and DPR Construction out of California.

“This project is going to give an opportunity for an awful lot of Utahns” who have seen construction jobs in Utah drop from 100,000 in 2008 to about 66,000 today, said Rob Moore, president and COO of Big-D and chairman of the Associated General Contractors in Utah. “My subcontractors, suppliers and vendors are very appreciative of the work that will be available on this project.”

Grading work is already under way for the complex, which is scheduled to include 100,000 square feet for the data center and 900,000 square feet for technical support and administrative space. The center is designed to be capable of generating all of its own power through backup electrical generators and will have both fuel and water storage. Construction is designed to achieve environmentally significant LEED Silver certification.

“It is so unique and so intensive,” Hatch said. “This will establish our state as one of the leading states for technology.”

One in four Germans wants microchip under skin: Poll

January 8, 2011 Comments off
Raw Story | It sounds like something from a sci-fi film, but one in four Germans would be happy to have a microchip implanted in their body if they derived concrete benefits from it, a poll Monday showed. 

The survey, by German IT industry lobby group BITKOM, was intended to show how the division between real life and the virtual world is increasingly coming down, one of the main themes of the CeBIT trade fair that kicks off Tuesday.

In all, 23 percent of around 1,000 respondents in the survey said they would be prepared to have a chip inserted under their skin “for certain benefits.”

Around one in six (16 percent) said they would wear an implant to allow emergency services to rescue them more quickly in the event of a fire or accident.

And five percent of people said they would be prepared to have an implant to make their shopping go more smoothly.

But 72 percent said they would not “under any circumstances” allow electronics in their body.

The results appeared to surprise even the high-tech sector.

“This is of course an extreme example of how far people can imagine networks going,” said BITKOM chief August-Wilhelm Scheer.

The CeBIT, the world’s biggest high-tech fair, throws its doors open to the public on Tuesday, with Spain, the current EU president, this year’s guest of honour.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero were due to speak later Monday in an official opening ceremony before touring the exhibition early Tuesday.

A total of 4,157 firms from 68 countries are to unveil their latest gadgets, a decline of three percent on last year as many high-tech firms stay away amid strong competition from other events.



Bumblebee Species Decline 96 Percent

January 8, 2011 1 comment

New research published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences has found that another vitally important pollinator, the bumblebee, is in serious decline. According to the figures, there has been a shocking 96 percent decline in four major species of the bumblebee, and an up to 87 percent decrease in their overall geographic coverage.

“We provide incontrovertible evidence that multiple Bombus species have experienced sharp population declines at the national level,” explained researchers in their report. And in a phone interview with Reuters, study author Sydney Cameron from the University of Illinois, Urbana, explained that these bumblebee species are “one of the most important pollinators of native plants.”

Over the course of three years, the research team evaluated 382 different sites in 40 states, and mulled data from over 73,000 museum records. They determined that bumblebees are needed to pollinate various fruits and vegetables, and that they accomplish this task in a very unique way.

“The 50 species (of bumblebees) in the United States are traditionally associated with prairies and with high alpine vegetations,” said Cameron. “Just as important — they land on a flower and they have this behavior called buzz pollination that enables them to cause pollen to fly off the flower.”

In other words, without bumblebees and the special way in which they pollinate, entire segments of agriculture are threatened with extinction. Like honeybees and bats, bumblebees are vital in order to grow food. Without them, humanity will starve to death.

Misleadingly, many experts largely blame various pathogens, fungi and viruses for the die-offs of these pollinators, while giving only a brief mention — if any at all — to the toxic pesticides and herbicides that are increasingly being linked to things like colony collapse disorder (CCD), the name given to the mass bee die-off phenomenon. A recently leaked report, for instance, has revealed that a popular Bayer herbicide is responsible for killing off bees.