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Maine Governor Orders Restaurant Staff To Wear COVID-Visors Like Dog-Cones

Maine Governor Orders Restaurant Staff To Wear COVID-Visors Like Dog-Cones



Maine Governor Orders Restaurant Staff To Wear COVID-Visors Like Dog-Cones Tyler Durden Thu, 08/20/2020 - 21:05

Authored by Paul Joseph Watson via Summit News,

The Governor of Maine has ordered restaurant staff to wear anti-COVID visors upside down so they resemble dog cones in order to direct breath upwards.

Yes, really.

Governor Janet Mills’ decree states that “front-of-house staff in restaurants who choose to wear face shields must now wear them upside down so that they are attached at the collar instead of the forehead, so that their breath is directed up, not down,” reports Maine Public Radio.

Given that air conditioning units can facilitate the spread of coronavirus, Mills’ order looks like another ridiculous and pointless measure.

“As a symbol of submission, forcing us to obliterate our individuality by wearing masks was not explicit enough,” writes Dave Blount. “So they pushed the envelope even further. No one can miss the significance of making people wear dog cones.”

Last week, the CDC announced that masks with valves, which millions of people around the world have been wearing for months, do “not prevent the person wearing the mask from transmitting COVID-19 to others.”

As we highlighted earlier, Sweden’s top expert on the coronavirus, Anders Tengell, warned that encouraging people to wear face masks is “very dangerous” because it gives a false sense of security but does not effectively stem the spread of the virus.

As we explain in the video below, the issue of masks has become both a logistical and political minefield.

*  *  *

In the age of mass Silicon Valley censorship It is crucial that we stay in touch. I need you to sign up for my free newsletter here. Also, I urgently need your financial support here.

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Finger-prick test developed for ‘trich’ a common, undiagnosed STI

PULLMAN, Wash. – A quick, affordable diagnostic test developed by a Washington State University researcher may help curb one of the most prevalent but…



PULLMAN, Wash. – A quick, affordable diagnostic test developed by a Washington State University researcher may help curb one of the most prevalent but least discussed sexually transmitted infections.

Credit: Washington State University

PULLMAN, Wash. – A quick, affordable diagnostic test developed by a Washington State University researcher may help curb one of the most prevalent but least discussed sexually transmitted infections.

More common than chlamydia or gonorrhea, Trichomonas vaginalis, also known as trich, causes no symptoms in about 70% of those infected. Even when asymptomatic, trich is linked to a host of bad health outcomes, including increased susceptibility to HIV, prostate cancer in men and infertility and pregnancy complications in women.

Trich is easily curable with a drug called metronidazole, if diagnosed, and WSU researcher John Alderete has been working for years to improve testing and make it more accessible. His latest development, detailed in the journal Pathogens, is a new finger-prick test that delivers results in five minutes and can be produced for under $20.  

“We know a lot about the biology of this organism,” said Alderete, the study lead author and professor in WSU’s School of Molecular Biosciences. “There probably will never be a vaccine for trich simply because the organism is well equipped to evade our immune responses. But I’d argue we don’t need a vaccine. We just need to diagnose people, and once diagnosed, they can be cured.”

Currently trich is often only diagnosed when symptoms are present, which can include genital itchiness and a burning sensation during urination. The tests in use now are focused on diagnosing women and involve a vaginal swab. It takes time to get results, and the tests require trained personnel as well as specialized equipment. Other methods recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration also have similar limitations.

As detailed in this study, the new test requires only a drop of blood to detect an antibody specific to trich. Alderete previously identified this biomarker, an alpha-actinin protein unique to this organism named ACT::SOE3 in earlier research. Both men and women make the antibody when they are infected.

Alderete, working with co-author Hermes Chan from the company MedMira, used the diagnostic platform of the company for his finger-prick test to detect for antibody to the target protein. Similar to COVID-19 and pregnancy tests, the results are displayed in a window with a dot appearing if the antibody is present, indicating infection. It is a point-of-care diagnostic test meaning positive results lead to immediate treatment and cure of a person. The test does not require specialized training and equipment to administer.

The goal was to meet World Health Organization “ASSURED” standards for disease detection, which stands for affordable, sensitive, specific, user-friendly, rapid and robust, equipment-free and deliverable to end users. Since trich is a world-wide problem with an estimated 156 million new cases each year, Alderete hopes the test can ultimately be used in many low-resource countries, particularly in places like Africa where trich is suspected to be a contributing factor in the spread of HIV. 

The test can also have many benefits in the U.S. as well. Alderete estimated there are more than 9.2 million cases annually based on incidence rates and census data. . One study found that 50% of pregnant women had persistent undiagnosed infections – a significant concern since trich is associated with pre-term membrane rupture, preterm birth and low infant birth weight.

The first step is to make more people aware of the problem, Alderete said.

“Trich is the most common STI you’ve probably never heard of,” he said. “This STI may be the most neglected among the other curable STIs. We just have not done a good job in medicine to educate people. One of the major problems is that most people are asymptomatic. In other words, you may have it, but you don’t know you have it until you have a really bad problem.”

Patent protection on the new development is in process.


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Do you own video gaming stocks? This is why you probably should

The global value of video gaming is overtaking every other form of mass media entertainment, including television It’s not the first time…
The post…



The global value of video gaming is overtaking every other form of mass media entertainment, including television

It’s not the first time I’ve written about the growth of the gaming industry in the context of the sector’s growth and investment potential. But the sector’s continued growth and evolution is both steady and impressive enough that it is a topic that calls for continued coverage.

The ongoing evolution and rise of video gaming as a commercial sector and significant branch of technology justifies it. The scale of the industry means it is one investors should keep a regular eye on.

The rise of video gaming – a high tech ‘toy’ has become a global pastime spanning generations

Like me, you may well have grown up in the 1980s or 1990s. Even if you are slightly older, you will have witnessed the birth of video gaming as a mass home entertainment market over that period. And if you come from a younger generation, it’s possible your parents, who themselves will have come of age in that period, still play video games. Or at least reminisce fondly about when they had the time to.

The 1980s saw the first generation of PCs and gaming consoles like the Atari, Commodore 94 and the ZX Spectrum that were cheap enough to become accessible to working class kids in the UK, USA and other developed economies.

Big arcade machines packing the computing power for even more impressive video games became a standard in public amenities like swimming pools, sports halls and leisure centres. Youths would pay coins into the machine with playing time usually tightly connected to aptitude at the game being played. Lose all three lives and you would have to put in another 10p or 20p to be resurrected.

For my generation, there was something special about these video games. They drew us in, becoming part of our lives and the topic of playground chat. And we knew it was new, developing technology we were both ecstatic to be enjoying and curious to see what came next.

By the 1990s, affordable 8-bit gaming consoles like the Sega Master System and NES (Nintendo Entertainment System) meant the level of game once only available on arcades could be played at home. And for as long as we liked (parental nagging aside), not limited by how many coins we had managed to wheedle from parents.

A few decades later, the kids of 1980s and 1990s have already hit or are approaching middle age and are parents themselves. Many of them never gave up gaming and still consider it a hobby or leisure activity to enjoy when the opportunity arises. The rise of smartphones also introduced both older and younger generations to video gaming, which was mainly the preserve of tweens and teens in the industry’s early days. Today, 35-44-year-olds own more gaming consoles than 16-24-year-olds.

As of 2023, over 3 billion people play video games globally, a majority on smartphones. Women play almost as much as men and half of 55-64-year-olds in the UK do too, albeit for less time than younger age groups.

Video gaming has become the most valuable of all mass market media, including television

As a result, the industry has just kept on growing since the 1980s and it’s now worth several times what the music industry and cinema are. Video gaming brings in almost two thirds more revenue than video streaming. Globally, $185 billion is forecast to be spent on games this year, more than half on mobile games.

The value of hardware, accessories, and in-game advertising adds another $65 billion to that total. And by 2026, just three years from now, more money is forecast to be spent on video games than on Pay-TV.

Source: The Economis/Omdia

It’s hard to predict exactly how and how quickly new technologies such as Augmented and Virtual reality will shape the video gaming sector over the years ahead. Their integration into mass market video gaming has been slower than many predicted a decade ago.

In large part, that is attributed to the need for additional hardware that is still relatively expensive and bulky. Still low commercial demand for AR and VR-based gaming has in turn discouraged investment from gaming companies.

But VR and AR almost certainly will become increasingly part of video gaming over the next decade or two. At least, Facebook is so convinced of that trend it has gone in all in on it, even renaming the company ‘Meta Platforms’ after ‘Metaverse’ – the catch-all term for the still hazy future digital world that users will interact with, and each other, via VR and AR hardware.

The metaverse and mainstream adoption of AR and VR are still unknown quantities and, as such, can be seen as high risk from an investment point of view, particularly for retail investors. But in the here and now, there is a huge amount of money being made by video gaming companies releasing products for today’s array of mass market hardware including mobile devices, PCs and specialist gaming consoles.

Video gaming is such a large and relatively mature market today that it can already be considered one it makes sense for investors to have at least some exposure to. That’s reinforced by expectations for continued sector growth for the foreseeable future.

There are lots of ways to gain investment exposure to the video gaming industry

In 2023, most active investors and invested pension holders will have a level of exposure to the gaming industry, even if not directly aware of it. Almost all of the world’s biggest tech companies have significant interests in gaming, none more so than Microsoft, the world’s second largest company, worth $2.09 trillion.

microsoft chart

Microsoft has been in the gaming sector since 2001 when it launched its Xbox console and has been investing in the fast-growth sector heavily since. Last year it struck a $69 billion deal for the game developer Activision Blizzard. If antitrust regulators finally approve the acquisition, which they have pushed back against, it will be one of the biggest tech deals in history.

Apple, the world’s biggest company with a market capitalisation of $2.59 billion is also heavily invested in the gaming industry, mainly through distribution via its AppStore for mobile applications. It’s also investing in developing its own cloud-based games streaming platform, Apple Arcade. For a monthly payment of $4.99, subscribers can access over 200 games in a Netflix-style model.

Google also distributes mobile games through its Play app store for Android devices and also launched its own cloud streaming platform for games – Stadia. The Stadia project has since been abandoned after failing to quickly gain enough traction but it is surely only a matter of time before streaming subscriptions becomes a standard business model in video gaming.

Other tech giants probing the games streaming market include Amazon and the chipmaker Nvidia. China’s tech titans are even more focused on gaming and Tencent, the country’s most valuable company, has built its business around mobile gaming.

Is the tech sell-off an opportunity to buy into video gaming stocks?

Like the rest of the tech growth sector, video gaming stocks and broader-based tech companies with significant exposure to gaming, have seen their valuations hit since mainly peaking in late 2021. While many have seen strong gains again this year, valuations are still typically significantly down on where they were a year and a half ago.

While many, like other growth stocks, looked overvalued before those declines, their futures also look bright and the current pricing of high quality video gaming stocks could present an opportunity.

Last year consumer spending on gaming fell for the first time in a long time but there were several extenuating factors. Inflation has hurt consumer spending and the end of the Covid pandemic and lockdowns saw more social, physically present forms of entertainment bounce back. Apple introducing stricter privacy rules for advertisers to contend with also made it harder for especially mobile games to attract new customers and supply chain issues limited supplies of new consoles.

But growth is expected to return this year and stay strong over the next several years. In 2023, gaming is forecast to grow faster than any other entertainment vertical.

Investors keen on exposure to the video gaming industry’s expected growth can either gain it via more diversified tech companies like Microsoft, Alphabet (Google) and Apple. Or they can look at more direct exposure via games developers such as Roblox Corporation (behind the hugely popular Minecraft game), Electronic Arts (FIFA, Sims, The Need for Speed) and Take-Two Interactive (Grand Theft Auto, Civilization). There are many more publicly listed games developers, large and small.

If video gaming isn’t currently part of your portfolio’s make-up, it’s not too late with plenty of sector growth still seen as remaining over the next decade and beyond. If you haven’t already, it may well be time to take a closer look at the sector. Especially with valuations significantly down over the past couple of years but starting to rise again, even if broader market conditions mean there could be a few bumps still on the road to recovery.

The post Do you own video gaming stocks? This is why you probably should first appeared on Trading and Investment News.

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Banking Crisis Is How It Starts, Recession Is How It Ends

Banking Crisis Is How It Starts, Recession Is How It Ends

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

As the Fed tightens monetary…



Banking Crisis Is How It Starts, Recession Is How It Ends

Authored by Lance Roberts via,

As the Fed tightens monetary policy, a banking crisis is historically the first evidence that something is breaking. As noted recently in “Not QE,”

Last week, amid a rash of bank insolvencies, government agencies took action to stem a potential banking crisis. The FDIC, the Treasury, and the Fed issued a Bank Term Lending Program with a $25 billion loan backstop to protect uninsured depositors from the Silicon Valley Bank failure. An orchestrated $30 billion uninsured deposit by eleven major banks into First Republic Bank followed. I suggest those deposits would not occur without Federal Reserve and Treasury assurances.

Banks quickly tapped the program, as shown by the $152 billion surge in borrowings from the Federal Reserve. It is the most significant borrowing in one week since the depths of the Financial Crisis.”

Since last week, that number has surged to almost $300 billion. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

Since then, UBS entered into a “shotgun marriage” with Credit Suisse, and the Federal Reserve reopened its dollar swap lines to provide liquidity to foreign banks.

The Bank of Canada, the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank announced on March 19 “a coordinated action to enhance the provision of liquidity via the standing U.S. dollar liquidity swap line arrangements.”

To improve the swap lines’ effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, the central banks currently offering U.S. dollar operations have agreed to increase the frequency of 7-day maturity operations from weekly to daily. These daily operations began on March 20 and will continue at least through the end of April.

Historically, once the Fed opens dollar swap lines, further monetary accommodations follow from rate cuts to “quantitative easing” and other liquidity operations. Of course, such is always in response to a banking crisis, credit-related event, recession, or a combination. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

While the “pavlovian response” to a reversal of monetary tightening is to buy risk assets, investors may want to take some caution as recessions tend to follow a banking crisis.

Banking Crisis Cause Recessions

An obvious consequence of a banking crisis is a tightening of lending standards. Given the “lifeblood” of the economy is credit, both consumer and business, the tightening of lending standards reduces that economic flow.

Not surprisingly, when banks tighten lending standards on loans to small, medium, and large firms, liquidity constriction ultimately results in a recessionary drag. Many businesses rely on lines of credit or other facilities to bridge the gap between manufacturing a product or service and collecting revenue.  (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

For example, my investment advisory business provides services to clients for a fee of which we collect one-fourth of the annual fee during each quarterly billing cycle. However, we must meet payroll, rent, and all other expenses daily or weekly. When unexpected expenses arise, we may need to tap a line of credit until the next billing cycle. Such is the case for many firms where there is a delay between the sale of a product or service and the billing cycle and collection.

If lines of credit are withdrawn, businesses must lay off workers, cut expenses, and take other necessary actions. The economic drag intensifies as consumers cut spending, further impacting businesses due to reduced demand. This cycle repeats until the economy slips into a recession.

Currently, liquidity is getting extracted across all forms of credit, from mortgages to auto loans to consumer credit. The current banking crisis is likely the first warning sign of a worsening economic situation. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

The last time we saw lending standards contract this much was during the pandemic-driven economic shutdown.

Many investors hope a Fed “pivot” to loosen monetary policy to combat recession risks will be bullish for equities.

Those hopes may be disappointed as recessions initially cause “repricing risk.”

Recessions Cause Repricing Risk

As noted, the bullish expectation is that when the Fed makes a “policy pivot,” such will end the bear market. While that expectation is not wrong, it may not occur as quickly as the bulls expect. When the Fed historically cuts interest rates, such is not the end of equity “bear markets,” but rather the beginning. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

Notably, most “bear markets” occur AFTER the Fed’s “policy pivot.”

The reason is that the policy pivot comes with the recognition that something has broken either economically (aka “recession”) or financially (aka “credit event”). When that event occurs, and the Fed initially takes action, the market reprices for lower economic and earnings growth rates.

Forward estimates for earnings remain elevated well above the long-term growth trend. During recessions or other financial or economic events, earnings regularly revert below the long-term growth trend. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

A better way to understand this is by looking at the long-term exponential growth trend of earnings. Historically, earnings grow roughly 6 percent from one peak earnings cycle to the next. Deviations above the long-term exponential growth trend are corrected during the economic downturn. That 6 percent peak-to-peak growth rate is derived from the roughly 6 percent annual economic growth. As we showed just recently, and of no surprise, the yearly earnings change is highly correlated to economic growth. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

Given that earnings are a function of economic activity, current estimates into year-end are unsustainable if the economy contracts. That deviation above the long-term growth trend is unsustainable in a recessionary environment. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

Therefore, given that earnings are a function of economic activity, valuations are an assumption of future earnings. Therefore, asset prices must reprice lower for earnings risk, particularly during a banking crisis. (St. Louis Federal Reserve/Refinitiv)

There are two certainties facing investors.

  1. The Fed’s rate hikes started a banking crisis that will end in a recession as lending contracts.

  2. Such will force the Fed to eventually cut rates and restart the next “Quantitative Easing” program.

As noted, the first cut in rates will be the recognition of the recession.

The last rate cut will be the one to buy.

Tyler Durden Mon, 03/27/2023 - 07:20

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