Archive for March, 2014

Michael Lewis On ’60 Minutes’ Says Stock Market Is Rigged

Posted in Conspiracy, Finance on March 31, 2014 by betweentwopines

The U.S. stock market is rigged, with elite traders buying access to a high-speed network that allows them to figure out what you’ve just ordered, order it first, then raise the price before your order is complete.

And according to Michael Lewis, author of a new book about high-frequency trading called “Flash Boys,” this form of “front running” is completely legal.

The insiders are able to move faster than you,” Lewis said on “60 Minutes” on Sunday night. “They’re able to see your order and play it against other orders in ways that you don’t understand. They’re able to front run your order.”

The advantage adds up to less than a second — in some cases a fraction of a millisecond — but thanks to the powerful computers masterminding the trades, it’s enough time to make serious money.

“One hedge fund manager said, ‘I was running a hedge fund that was $9 billion and that we figured that the, just our inability to, to make the trades the market said we should be able to make was costing us $300 million a year.’ That was $300 million a year in someone else’s pocket,” Lewis said.

Watch the full “60 Minutes” segment above for more on the story, and to learn about one Canadian trader’s groundbreaking idea that he says completely eliminates the practice.



ATS  Thread

Putin Backs National Card Payment System

Posted in Finance, News on March 31, 2014 by betweentwopines

MOSCOW–President Vladimir Putin Thursday backed plans for Russia to create its own national payment system to protect itself against the kind of disruption caused when Visa and MasterCard cut ties with Russian banks hit by U.S. sanctions over the annexation of Crimea.

Russia has floated developing such a system for years although few steps have ever been taken. But the idea resurfaced after the international payment providers stopped servicing four banks last week when Russia came up against a broader round of sanctions.

Thursday marked the first time the idea received presidential backing. “Why do we not do this? This definitely should be done and we will do this,” Mr. Putin said in a meeting with members of Russia’s upper house of parliament. “We need to protect our interests, and we will do it.”

He pointed to similar national systems in Asia which he said should be used as models for creating Russia’s own network.

“These systems work, and work very successfully in such countries as Japan and China. They originally started as exclusively national [systems] confined to their own market and territory and their own population, but have gradually become more and more popular,” he said, noting that Japan’s JCB system is now accepted in nearly 200 countries.

Valentina Matvienko, the upper house’s speaker and herself a target of western sanctions, said sanctions made it clear Russia had to be prepared to rely more on its own resources.

“It seems to me that this should make us mobilize to rely on our own resources first and to increase the efficiency of our economy,” she said.

Analysts said Mr. Putin’s sudden attention to the project suggested he viewed the possibility of broader sanctions as a real threat that needed to be minimized.

“The threat of further sanctions gives it a bit more urgency and I expect as long as that threat is in place, the government will look at it more seriously,” said Chris Weafer, senior partner at Macro-Advisory Ltd. “It’s a knee-jerk reaction and the system is mush less optimal than being part of the global economic system but he views Russia being vulnerable to foreign systems as a potential strategic weakness.”

On Friday, Visa and MasterCard cut off service to four Russia banks: Bank Rossiya, which was directly named on the U.S. sanctions list; its subsidiary Sobinbank; and SMP Bank and a subsidiary, which are majority owned by two people on the list. Over the weekend service was resumed to SMP and its subsidiary but Bank Rossiya and Sobinbank remain cut off.

Card holders with accounts at these banks are unable to pay for goods and services using their cards, but can use them to withdraw cash from the bank’s ATMs, or ATMs of other banks, serviced by a national network linking Russian banks.

SMP Bank said the move caused its customers to withdraw around 9 billion rubles ($252.7 million) in deposits. Russia’s central bank has said it is ready to support any bank that is hit by sanctions. Mr. Putin said he would open an account at Bank Rossiya in response to the sanctions.

On Thursday, Mr. Putin said the international providers would regret turning their backs on Russian banks.

“This will simply lead to them losing certain segments of the market, quite a profitable one,” he said.

Mr. Putin also said Russia should look closely at the threat presented by its own nationalist groups to spark upheaval similar to that which resulted in the ouster of Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych last month, which Russia has claimed was driven by ultranationalist groups. But he said Russia didn’t need to impose further restrictions on its already stringent rules on public demonstrations.

“No doubt, we should analyze the events that are taking place around us, ” he told the members of parliament. “Only, I am asking you not to make any decisions that would considerably restrict civil liberties and citizens’ right[s] to express their opinion.”

Read more:
Related Article  Putin Flushes the US Dollar: Russia’s Gold Ruble Payments System Delinked from Dollar?

This fault could bring an earthquake worse than ‘The Big One’

Posted in News on March 31, 2014 by betweentwopines

Q: Why are scientists so worried about the fault?
The Puente Hills thrust fault is so dangerous because of its location, running from the suburbs of northern Orange County, through the San Gabriel Valley and under the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles before ending in Hollywood.

The Puente Hills fault could be especially hazardous over a larger area because of its shape. Other local faults, like the Newport-Inglewood and Hollywood, are a collection of vertical cracks, with the most intense shaking occurring near where the fault reaches the surface. The Puente Hills is a horizontal fault, with intense shaking likely to be felt over a much larger area, roughly 25 by 15 miles.

Video simulations of a rupture on the Puente Hills fault system show how energy from a quake could erupt and be funneled toward L.A.’s densest neighborhoods, with the strongest waves rippling to the west and south across the Los Angeles Basin.

Q: What is the worst-case scenario?
According to estimates by the USGS and Southern California Earthquake Center, a massive quake on the Puente Hills fault could kill from 3,000 to 18,000 people and cause up to $250 billion in damage. Under this worst-case scenario, people in as many as 3/4 of a million households would be left homeless.

Full Story,0,3659379.story#axzz2xUZQMsAr


Convention of States=Trashing of the Constitution. What you need to know. 25 states call for con-con

Posted in Law, Politics on March 30, 2014 by betweentwopines

MisterMandlebrot post at ATS.


First things first. Let us look at Article V of the constitution of the United states, the section that outlines how new amendments to the constitution are ratified. You may have to refer back to it through reading this thread, so I will put it at the top:

The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose Amendments to this Constitution, or, on the Application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention for proposing Amendments, which, in either Case, shall be valid to all Intents and Purposes, as Part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislatures of three fourths of the several States, or by Conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other Mode of Ratification may be proposed by the Congress; Provided that no Amendment which may be made prior to the Year One thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any Manner affect the first and fourth Clauses in the Ninth Section of the first Article; and that no State, without its Consent, shall be deprived of its equal Suffrage in the Senate.
For now on, constitutional convention is going to be referred to as a con-con.

Down to business. My state legislator of Michigan passed a call for a convention last week. Alaska passed theirs on the 26th of March. This makes 25 states. They called specifically for a Balanced Budget Amendment. It takes 34 states to call a convention on the same subject in order for one to be called.

Article V says congress SHALL call a convention on the applications of 2/3 of the states. Congress is obligated to do it.

Already, more than 2/3 of states have calls for a con-con, but 2/3 of the states have not called on the same issue. Many have called to repeal citizen’s united.

What is important to know is WHO is supporting the constitutional convention? How many of you have read Mark Levin’s new book, The Liberty Amendments? Popular talk-show radio host Mark Levin argues that out of control spending can only be fixed with a con-con. This book was praised by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and almost every other right-winger.

co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, Mark Meckler, would have you believe that what congress would be calling is a “convention of the states” where it is the states that choose delegates and choose issues discussed at the convention.


This week, the Convention of States resolution is pending in multiple state legislatures. Many state legislators are standing up and calling for an Amending Convention under Article V. These brave legislators are fighting to take the power from the federal leviathan and return it to you, the sovereign citizen. But they can’t do it without your help.…
There is no difference between a convention of states and a con-con according to Article V. We even have state calls for a con-con that use the term constitutional convention

United States Constitutional Convention–Democracy Amendment FOR the purpose of applying to the U.S. Congress for an amendments convention called under Article V of the U.S. Constitution, on the application of the legislatures of two–thirds of the several states, to propose an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that affirms every citizen’s freedom to vote and restores free and fair elections in America;…

New Hampshire
This resolution urges the United States Congress to adopt a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution of the United States or to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing a federal balanced budget amendment for ratification by the states.…

Would the Tea Party Patriots be supporting the convention idea if they knew George Soros was spending millions to promote it?

George Soros funds an internet news channel, The Young Turks through Media Consortium. The Young turks have organized Wolf-PAC, a PAC committed to a con-con.

Along with George Soros, nearly every lefty group under the sun is supportive of a con-con.…
Would listeners to Rush Limbaugh support a convention if they knew it was supported by:
Independent Progressive Politics Network
Progressive Democrats of America
and Occupy groups from every corner of the country.

What is worse, we are seeing these groups use millions of dollars to fund invite-only council dinners where proponents funded by Koch and Soros discuss a con-con.

We have the Con-con-con and Mount Vernon Assembly. At con-con-con were representatives of the Goldwater Institute, Cato and ALEC, all of which are funded by the Koch brothers, and members of Independent Progressive Politics Network and Progressive Democrats of America.

Another book that deals on a con-con is “Six Amendment” by former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Jones, which calls for repeal of the 2nd Amendment.


There has been two conventions. One in 1787 and one in 1861 for the Confederate constitution. Both conventions were arranged in secret. One must assume any new convention will be negotiated secretly too.

The Articles of Confederation had to have new changes ratified unanimously. The 1787 convention changed this to 3/4 of state legislators without approval from the states. We must assume a new convention can lower the bar to half the states, or no states. Proponents argue a con-con can be held to one issue and bad amendments can’t pass the states. But bad amendments, like number 16, 17, 18 and 25 have passed state legislators. James Madison argued in Federalist #40 a convention cant be held to one issue. The 1787 convention was supposed to do nothing but amend the Articles. The Articles were scrapped. Another convention cant stay to one issue when the proponents of a balanced budget amendment are working hand in hand with socialists.

Here is the text to a proposed Balanced Budget Amendment in the Senate…

It says the government cant spend more money than it takes in unless if 2/3 congress votes to do so. Only 1/2 of congress is needed if we’re occupying somewhere. Section 9 says it wont aim to reduce the debt. No mention of off-budget spending, like foreign aid.

If politicians dont follow the constitution now, will the follow new amendments? If YOUR sends corrupt legislators to congress, wont your state choose corrupt delegates to a convention? What delegates will California send? If CONGRESS has to choose the delegates, won’t they choose corrupt delegates? Will the con-con chairman be Nancy Pelosi or John Boehner?

How can we pay the debt off? Repeal Amendments 16 and 17. End the Federal Reserve. Elect politicians that will cut back spending. It takes 50% of the House+1 votes to make a budget that cuts back spending.

This video makes the case against Articles 16 and 17:…

Groups opposed to a con-con:
John Birch Society
American Legion


ATS Thread :

Science gets closer to artificial life with first synthetic chromosome

Posted in Medicine, Science, Technology on March 28, 2014 by betweentwopines

By Casey Chan

Science gets closer to artificial life with first synthetic chromosome

An international team of scientists have made a major breakthrough in synthetic biology. For the first time ever, they were able to insert a man-made, custom-built chromosome into brewer’s yeast to not only create a life form but one that also passes down its man-made genes to its offspring. We’re closer to creating artificial life.
Scientists have previously made chromosomes for bacteria and viruses but this is the first time they’ve been able to build a chromosome for something more complex. Called eukaryotic chromosomes, they have a nucleus and are found in plants, animals and humans.
The artificial chromosome, called synIII after the chromosome three in brewer’s yeast it replaced, was stitched together via a computer by a team of scientists over a period of seven years. They basically redesigned the whole damn thing piece by piece. The scientist liken man-made chromosomes to the idea that you could shuffle genes into them like a deck of cards.
The yeast cells that contained the designer chromosomes behaved as normally as, well, normal yeast cells only that they could theoretically be improved and do things normal yeast cells could not. Potentially, scientists could create man-made versions of all the chromosomes in organisms thus creating artificial life.

ATS Thread:

Scientists find treatment to kill every kind of cancer tumor

Posted in Medicine, Science on March 28, 2014 by betweentwopines

New York Post
Researchers might have found the Holy Grail in the war against cancer, a miracle drug that has killed every kind of cancer tumor it has come in contact with, the New York Post reported.
The drug works by blocking a protein called CD47 that is essentially a “do not eat” signal to the body’s immune system, according to Science Magazine .
This protein is produced in healthy blood cells, but researchers at Stanford University found that cancer cells produced an inordinate amount of the protein thus tricking the immune system into not destroying the harmful cells.
With this observation in mind, the researchers built an antibody that blocked cancer’s CD47 so that the body’s immune system attacked the dangerous cells.
So far, researchers have used the antibody in mice with human breast, ovary, colon, bladder, brain, liver and prostate tumors transplanted into them. In each of the cases the antibody forced the mice’s immune system to kill the cancer cells.
Source :

ATS Thread


Gunshot victims to be suspended between life and death

Posted in Medicine, Science on March 28, 2014 by betweentwopines

Doctors will try to save the lives of 10 patients with knife or gunshot wounds by placing them in suspended animation, buying time to fix their injuries.
NEITHER dead or alive, knife-wound or gunshot victims will be cooled down and placed in suspended animation later this month, as a groundbreaking emergency technique is tested out for the first time.
Surgeons are now on call at the UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to perform the operation, which will buy doctors time to fix injuries that would otherwise be lethal.
“We are suspending life, but we don’t like to call it suspended animation because it sounds like science fiction,” says Samuel Tisherman, a surgeon at the hospital, who is leading the trial. “So we call it emergency preservation and resuscitation.”
The technique involves replacing all of a patient’s blood with a cold saline solution, which rapidly cools the body and stops almost all cellular activity. “If a patient comes to us two hours after dying you can’t bring them back to life. But if they’re dying and you suspend them, you have a chance to bring them back after their structural problems have been fixed,” says surgeon Peter Rhee at the University of Arizona in Tucson, who helped develop the technique.
The benefits of cooling, or induced hypothermia, have been known for decades. At normal body temperature – around 37 °C – cells need a regular oxygen supply to produce energy. When the heart stops beating, blood no longer carries oxygen to cells. Without oxygen the brain can only survive for about 5 minutes before the damage is irreversible.
However, at lower temperatures, cells need less oxygen because all chemical reactions slow down. This explains why people who fall into icy lakes can sometimes be revived more than half an hour after they have stopped breathing.
Finding ways to cool the body until it reaches a state of suspended animation – where people are not alive but not yet dead – could give doctors more time in an emergency.
The technique was first demonstrated in pigs in 2002 by Hasan Alam at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, and his colleagues. The animals were sedated and a massive haemorrhage induced, to mimic the effect of multiple gunshot wounds. Their blood was drained and replaced by either a cold potassium or saline solution, rapidly cooling the body to around 10 °C. After the injuries were treated, the animals were gradually warmed up as the solution was replaced with blood.
Vital signs
The pig’s heart usually started beating again by itself, although some pigs needed a jump-start. There was no effect on physical or cognitive function (Surgery,
“That solution will be put to the test in humans for the first time. A final meeting this week will ensure that a team of doctors is fully prepared to try it. Then all they have to do is wait for the right patient to arrive.
That person will have suffered a cardiac arrest after a traumatic injury, and will not have responded to attempts to start their heart. When this happens, every member of Tisherman’s team will be paged. “The patient will probably have already lost about 50 per cent of their blood and their chest will be open,” he says. The team sees one of these cases each month. Their chance of survival is less than 7 per cent.
The first step is to flush cold saline through the heart and up to the brain – the areas most vulnerable to low oxygen. To do this, the lower region of their heart must be clamped and a catheter placed into the aorta – the largest artery in the body – to carry the saline. The clamp is later removed so the saline can be artificially pumped around the whole body. It takes about 15 minutes for the patient’s temperature to drop to 10 °C. At this point they will have no blood in their body, no breathing, and no brain activity. They will be clinically dead.”
“In this state, almost no metabolic reactions happen in the body, so cells can survive without oxygen. Instead, they may be producing energy through what’s called anaerobic glycolysis. At normal body temperatures this can sustain cells for about 2 minutes. At low temperatures, however, glycolysis rates are so low that cells can survive for hours. The patient will be disconnected from all machinery and taken to an operating room where surgeons have up to 2 hours to fix the injury. The saline is then replaced with blood. If the heart does not restart by itself, as it did in the pig trial, the patient is resuscitated. The new blood will heat the body slowly, which should help prevent any reperfusion injuries.?
The technique will be tested on 10 people, and the outcome compared with another 10 who met the criteria but who weren’t treated this way because the team wasn’t on hand. The technique will be refined then tested on another 10, says Tisherman, until there are enough results to analyse.

Getting this technique into hospitals hasn’t been easy. Because the trial will happen during a medical emergency, neither the patient nor their family can give consent. The trial can only go ahead because the US Food and Drug Administration considers it to be exempt from informed consent. That’s because it will involve people whose injuries are likely to be fatal and there is no alternative treatment.
Will human hibernation ever happen?
Is long-term suspended animation possible? Humans may soon be held at death’s door for a few hours (see main story), but what about more lengthy “human hibernation”?
Clues could be found in our genes. The fat-tailed dwarf lemur is the only primate known to hibernate. Its brain might hold clues to the genetic mechanisms behind such metabolic flexibility. Kathrin Dausmann at the University of Hamburg, Germany, who made the discovery with her colleagues in 2004, reckons that humans may have the genes to hibernate, but we just don’t switch them on (New Scientist, 21 January 2006, p 28).
Chemicals could also help slow metabolism. Mark Roth at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington, and his colleagues have used hydrogen sulphide to put mice into suspended animation for 6 hours. The gas slows the metabolism by limiting oxygen uptake by cells. They are now studying a metabolism-decreasing chemical found naturally in the body.

ATS Thread