Music Showcase! 10 Dramatic Royalty Free Tracks

first_imgThe best dramatic royalty free tracks to add tension and suspense to your game or video project!One of the best ways to emphasize drama in your game or video is by including a driving and stimulating soundtrack.  From epic movie trailer scores to subtle music beds, the following dramatic royalty free tracks will draw the listener in and keep them engaged!last_img

Audio Workflows in Autodesk Smoke

first_imgSmoke is best known for powerful video and visual effects tools, but what about audio editing? Check out these tips and trick for getting the most out of the audio workflows in Smoke.The workflows explained here apply to the Extension 1 Release of Smoke (2013.2.53). This release is now available in the Free 30 Day Trial and via new 36 month Educational License.Stereo vs Mono Tracks in SmokeSmoke works with both Stereo and Mono tracks of audio…but there are some caveats.  If you drag and drop your clips, from the source to the record timeline, then the audio will drop on the timeline regardless of whether it is Stereo or Mono.However, if you like to actually edit audio and use the insert or overwrite commands, then you can only edit stereo tracks to stereo tracks and mono to mono. So, just be aware of your track assignments, as you can’t ever route mix matched audio on to tracks that aren’t equal.There are some functions that can help you deal with this slightly annoying issue. Under the GEAR Menu in the timeline controls for either the Source or the Record Sequence, there is a STEREO adjustment that allows you to split or merge tracks.Performing this action on source clips is quite handy. This way you can keep your record sequence track assignments organized the way you like. The only catch is that in order to merge mono tracks to stereo, they need to be in sync. Each audio clip must be the same length as the other, so that they can merge together.Audio Gain and Level Adjustments in SmokeIn order to adjust the sound level of a clip in the timeline you must add a Gain Effect to it. You can call up all of the audio effects in the same way that you call up video effects, via the FX Ribbon.When you have an audio clip selected, you get the audio effects when you hit the FX button or  shortcut Shift+Tab to call up the FX Ribbon in place.Once the Gain effect is applied you can simply adjust the db level via the numeric slider.  But as with most things in Smoke, there is often more than one way to do something.Just adjusting the numeric slider doesn’t give you the amount of control you might need to adjust a clip if the levels vary within it, or in the case of a music track, where you would need to lower the level and raise the audio as it mixes with a voiceover track. Smoke gives you a few options in clip adjustment:After the Gain Effect is applied, you can activate the AutoKey button in the effects tool bar.Now you can move the Positioner along the clip and stop at various points in which you would like to make a level adjustment. By changing the db values in the numeric slider, a keyframe will be placed and a blue indicator mark will be seen in the clip.But what if you need to adjust these keyframes?  There are 2 ways to do that. Fire, you can go into the Editor for the Gain Effect. This will bring you to the Animation Channel editor and show you your keyframes and the waveform in the graph.Now this is ok, but you can’t see the audio in relation to your other clips in the timeline.  But don’t worry, there is another way.In the effects toolbar, activate the EDIT button. Now you can add and move keyframes on the clip itself and see everything in context.You can use the same hotkeys to control the points that you use for other operations like in Action or Gmask.Move [Shift+M]Add [Shift+A]Delete [Shift+D]When you are done editing your keyframes, you can turn the edit button off. You will see the waveform in the clip being adjusted, but no other indication that there is a change in level.  Extension 1 has a new option to help that.In Extension 1, you now have the option to Show Gain Animation on a clip basis in the timeline.When you have keyframes created and you activate this option, you will see that there is now a black line that shows you the ups and downs of your adjustments.You can also use this option in a different way:If you just have the Show Gain Animation active, you will see a black line and black square on your clip as you select it.You can grab this black square you can raise and lower the db level, and in doing so a Gain Effect will be instantly applied.  So you can use this for quick adjustments to add Gain effects that you can tweak later.It is also possible, to play a clip and adjust the numeric sliders or the black box, with Keyframe enabled, enabling you to do a real-time mix.You can also choose to simply make a cut in your audio and adjust the ramp up or down to another clip or even the same clip. You can add audio cross fades in between your clips by selecting a transition point and simply adding a dissolve, just like on video tracks.More Smoke Audio EffectsThe other effects available in the Audio FX Ribbon, are fairly useful for manipulating and stylizing your clips.Timewarp is great for speeding up or slowing down audio as it does automatic pitch correction. There are 5 processing algorithms depending on if you applying it to Voice or Music.EQ is a 5 Band graphical equalizer that you can adjust in a visual way, perfect for video editors who aren’t audiophiles. You can loop your clip or selection as you adjust the EQ to dial it in perfectly. Reverb Send is a quick and easy way to add a bit of echo to your audio.The other effects like Gate, Compression, Delay and Modulation, allow you more advanced audio tweaking.Smoke is a video and effects editor first. Smoke’s audio tools don’t make it  Pro Tools or Adobe Audition, but for adjusting audio in your video edit Smoke has some very useful features. You can also choose to export out an AAF for Pro Tools, if you need to expand your audio editing capabilities.last_img read more

Product Announcement: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000, 4K Under $900

first_imgFlashYes – Built-In Burst ShootingUp to 50fps Crop FactorN/A LCD Size3 inch touch screen; 921,000 dots Shooting 4K footage with a Leica designed lens, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000 might be a great entry level camera.If you’re a filmmaker or a photographer I’m sure this happens to you all the time…You’re at a social gathering, typically a wedding, and people see you with your big fancy camera. Which prompts them to ask you something like “I was looking to get a new camera, do you know of any good ones?“. In reality this question makes about as much sense as saying “I was looking for a new car, do you know of any good ones?” Even so, we might have found the perfect go-to camera for individuals looking to buy their first “serious” camera, the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ1000.FZ1000 Quick LookThe FZ1000 is what’s known as a “bridge camera” meaning it is a step up from a point and shoot and one step below a DSLM/R camera like the GH4. Definitely the most incredible feature included in the FZ1000 is the ability to capture 4K footage. The footage isn’t RAW but that shouldn’t be a problem for someone just entering the filmmaking world. The camera also comes with a Leica designed 25-200mm f/2.8-4 lens, which is a pretty decent kit lens for the price.The FZ1000 features a 1″-type MOS sensor. The unit also has built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, allowing for users to offload their photographs without connecting their camera to a computer. An OLED viewfinder enables users to see 100% of the image frame.Pricing and AvailabilityThe FZ1000 is is going for $897.99 on the B&H website, which includes the camera body, built-in lens, rechargeable battery with charger, lens hood, & a one year warranty. The FZ1000 is expected to be available by July 31, 2014.FZ1000 Technical Specs Storage MediaSD, SDHC, SDXC Sensor20.9 MP MOS Sensor Autofocus49 focus areas Shutter Speed60 Sec – 1/16,000center_img View FinderTFT LCD 2,359k-dot w/ diopter; 100% coverage Wireless FlashYes Sensitivity RangeISO 125-12,800 (Extended Mode to 25,600) VideoMOV: 3840×2160: 30 fps, 1920×1080: 30fps & 24fps, 1280×720: 30fps, 640×480: 30fps BatteryDMW-BLC 12 Battery Pack Image StabilizationHybrid I.O.S. What do you think of the Panasonic FZ1000? Would you recommend it to someone just starting out in the photography/video world?  Share in the comments below.last_img read more

Adobe Takes the Lead in 360 Video and VR by Acquiring Mettle SkyBox

first_imgSoftware giant Adobe has bet big on VR and 360 video with the acquisition of Mettle’s SkyBox VR editing tools.Top image via Shutterstock.Adobe has just announced the acquisition of all SkyBox technology from leading VR tool developer Mettle. The VR tools were originally available from Mettle as plugins for Premiere Pro and After Effects, but this acquisition will enhance the Adobe Creative Cloud by offering the best VR tools natively to all users.Since 2015, the Mettle tools have been the best in creating 360 degree videos. At the most recent NAB, Mettle announced the ability to work with fog, volumetric effect, and depth-based masking in Adobe Premiere Pro and After Effects. It looks like those tools will be the first major changes to the Adobe CC.Mettle has also been a leader in the tutorial space, offering hours of instructional content to 360-video creators. You can even download 360 footage to experiment with.In another great move, Adobe will also hire Mettle co-founder Chris Bobotis as a Director of Professional Video. Chris is an incredibly talented developer who brings twenty-five years of production experience to Adobe.Our relationship started with Adobe in 2010 when we created FreeForm for After Effects, and has been evolving ever since. This is the next big step in our partnershipI’ve always believed in developing software for artists, by artists, and I’m looking forward to bringing new technology and integration that will empower creators with the digital tools they need to bring their creative vision to life. — Chris BobotisMettle will soon no longer offer the SkyBox tools as plugins on their site, and we should see the tools natively in one of the upcoming CC updates.As for the move to Adobe, Chris had the following to say:I am honored to be working with the team at Adobe. I look forward to contributing to the team efforts, moving forward with new tools in immersive media.You can read the full Adobe Press Release here.last_img read more

Attitude Checklist

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now You get to choose your attitude. You get to decide who you will be when you engage with other people. Print this list. Put it somewhere you’ll be reminded to choose wisely.☐ Depressed☐ Angry☐ Bored☐ Tired☐ Unresourceful☐ Impatient☐ Uninterested☐ Intolerant☐ Adversarial☐ Helpful☐ Happy☐ Engaging☐ Enthusiastic☐ Courageous☐ Energetic☐ Playful☐ Confident☐ Resourceful☐ Inspiring☐ Nonjudgmental☐ Interested☐ Passionate☐ Thoughtful☐ Grateful☐ Collaborative☐ Determined☐ Caringlast_img read more

Don’t Wait. Create Opportunities.

first_img Essential Reading! Get my 3rd book: Eat Their Lunch “The first ever playbook for B2B salespeople on how to win clients and customers who are already being serviced by your competition.” Buy Now Million Dollar Bill tweeted me to share something someone said on television this morning. This person said, “You can’t sell to people. You can only be there when they want to buy.” He knew I would have a strong opinion about this bad idea.Yes, in fact, you can sell to people. More still, if you are going to be relevant at all, you are going to sell to them before they decide to buy. In business-to-business sales, you actually help create the compelling case for change that starts the buying process.Right now, people are still suffering from post traumatic recessionary stress disorder. They believe that we are still in a recession, even though this hasn’t been true for over 6 years. This, when the economy will come in around 19.2 trillion dollars, making it the largest economy in our Universe. Even though the economy continues to grow, and people have money, they are still afraid to spend money it.If you want to be a trusted advisor, what sense does it make to allow your dream client to struggle and perhaps hurt themselves when you have the ability to help them do better? What sense does it make to know the right answer to their challenge, posses the ability to execute for and with them, and help move them forward if you have to sit on your hands and wait for your dream client to decide it’s time to buy.In the old days of sales, you might have waited for your prospect to become dissatisfied enough to change. Now you create the compelling case for change. It used to be enough to lead with your product, but now you lead with your ideas, especially your strategic, future-oriented ideas.I loved the 1980’s, but that was a lifetime ago, and sales was a very different game (even if many still play the game as it was 40 years ago). What served you then will hurt you now, and the idea that you should wait, that you aren’t supposed to create opportunities, is bad advice.last_img read more

How You Changed Your Client’s Perception

first_imgYou have tremendous business acumen and situational knowledge. You understand your client’s business well enough, and you know where your business and theirs intersect exceptionally well. You were able to capture their mindshare by sharing with them an understanding of why they have the challenges they’re having, how to make changes that produce better results, and you gained their trust and support. You won the account on your merits as a value creator and someone worthy of being a strategic partner.But as you started to execute with your team, you and your client started to experience the day-to-day challenges of implementing. It required a lot more of your attention, and sometimes around the more transactional tasks that must be done. Even though these tasks do not belong to you, they either weren’t getting done or weren’t getting done fast enough for you or your client, so you jumped in there and became another pair of hands. You made sure that whatever needed to be done was done effectively.As time went by, your client depended on you to help them execute and achieve the outcomes you sold them. A lot of what started to show up was more transactional work that belongs to someone else on your team. There was that one time an order was lost, and they asked you to track it down because it was important. Another time they had an invoice problem and 11 invoices needed re-typed. You had a tough time finding somebody to do it, so you did it yourself. Your client was grateful for your effort. And then they called for help as they prepared for an internal meeting and needed reports. You generated the reports and added four-color charts to make sure that their meeting was a success.Because you owned the transactions and not the outcomes, you’ve managed to move from a peer, a trusted advisor, and a strategic partner, to a typist, a clerk, and an administrative assistant. Even though all of the things that you did were necessary, you’ve changed your perception from a value-creating change agent to something less than that.Bringing on the new, large, and important clients may require that you do whatever is necessary to produce the outcomes you’ve sold. None of this is to say that you cannot lend a hand to your team under certain circumstances. Instead, it’s a reminder that you are responsible for the outcomes you sell not all the transactions that surround that outcome. It’s also a reminder that the value you create for your clients must be something of greater and more strategic value.Stay in your lane. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more

Stop Sending Prospecting Emails Before Calling

first_img Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now Why do you keep sending emails to your prospective clients instead of calling them?You know that most people get too much email, and because they are already too busy, a salesperson’s email is among the easiest to ignore.You know that an email finds its way to the bottom of a never-ending onslaught of emails that accumulate day and night, moving to a place where it is both out of sight and out of mind.The information you provide to your prospective client about what makes your company so great isn’t useful or helpful to your potential client as an email. More still, more PDFs are not better than fewer PDFs. Fewer PDFs aren’t better than no PDFs (unless it is serious insight with your handwriting all over it).An email is a lousy place to ask for the Commitment for Time, especially when it is your very first communication. It’s doubtful that you can pitch enough value in this format to gain the commitment you seek.You make it easy to say no when you ask over email. You make it possible for your prospective client to reject you without even having to tell you no by merely pressing the delete button.You have established that you are no different from the dozens or hundreds of salespeople and sales organizations that seek efficiency instead of effectiveness, trading less effort for even less effectiveness. Your effort should match your desire for the outcome you want, and your unwillingness to exert that effort is proof positive you don’t want the outcome enough.The person receiving your email knows something about you, namely, that you are afraid of them. They know that you prefer to hide behind a computer screen, which indicates a lack of confidence and suggests you don’t think of yourself as a peer and a value creator.You send the email believing that your dream client will read your words, pick up the phone, call you directly, and ask you to drive out to see them so they can buy from you. But the phone never rings, and you rarely receive even a rejection email. When you do receive an email, you believe it indicates engagement and become your dream client’s penpal, arguing for a meeting.Email has a place in your prospecting sequence and cadence. However, it should not be your first attempt, and it isn’t the right place to ask for the commitment for time. If you want to schedule a meeting, and if that meeting is important to you, start by picking up the telephone.last_img read more

A digital boost for the preservation of Sindhi

first_imgDigest this: the Sindhi language has 52 alphabets against 35 in Hindi; it has 101 words for ‘Elephant’; 28 commonly used words for camel, and an equal number of words for water.Its vast lexicon lent it the sobriquet of being the most ‘oxygenated language’.In a major step aimed at conserving and disseminating the Sindhi language, the National Council for Promotion of Sindhi Language (NCPSL), affiliated with the Union HRD Ministry, on Monday released software tools and eBooks developed by the city-based Centre for development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) in order to adapt Sindhi into the digital medium.“There was a maxim that if one was afflicted with lung problem, speak Sindhi. Its moniker of the most ‘oxygenated’ language was not without reason as in early medieval times, the province of Sindh was a bustling commercial entrepot, lying on vital land and sea routes connecting west with the east,” says author and Prof. Aruna Jethwani, who is also the Vice-Chairperson, NCPSL.Speaking to The Hindu, Prof. Jethwani said that owing to its peculiar geographical location in History, Sindhi embraced the gamut of Indo-Iranic languages including Uzbeki, Persian, Pushto, Hindi, Urdu, and Kannada, Malayalam and Tamil.Yet, she trenchantly points out, in spite of assimilating so many variegated tongues, Sindhi remains a purely Indian language.The occasion marked the 50th year since Sindhi was included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution of India by the 21st amendment of the Constitution. The Eighth Schedule enumerates languages (presently 22 in number) which the Centre has the responsibility to preserve and develop.“It is all very well to learn and find the learning of foreign languages exciting. But what about our Indian treasure trove of languages? For instance, Sindhi has the maximum number of alphabets, adjectives and adverbs compared to any regional language,” observes Prof. Jethwani.The Partition of 1947 resulted in the community being scattered and living as a Diaspora across the globe, leading to the atrophying of the language. As a result, the community’s leaders endeavoured to get the language included in the Eighth Schedule to the Constitution.The community has a significant presence in Pune, with a populace exceeding two lakh and a robust presence in the educational field, manifested especially in the educational institutions set up by the Sadhu Vaswani Mission.“The inexorable process of, and stress by necessity, on Anglicization has reduced the importance of several Indian mother languages, including Sindhi. It was with the view to preserve Sindhi that the NCPSL was instituted in 1994 and the release of software is a huge shot in the arm and an important step towards its rejuvenation as an educative force,” Dr. Jethwani said.Speaking to The Hindu, Mahesh Kulkarni, Associate Director, C-DAC said that the release of the CD containing tools and technology for the conservation and propagation of the Sindhi language – both in the Devnagiri and Arabic scripts – is part of an MoU the institute has signed with the NCPSL.Under this two-year project, software like Sindhi typing tool on Android devices and desktop platform, Sindhi fonts, Sindhi eBooks, and other free and Open Source software like office productivity tools, children software and website development tools are being developed in the Sindhi language, he informed.“The project is pegged at Rs. 72 lakh. In the first phase, we have focused upon content creation, like developing user-friendly tools like a Word Processor and Chat Messengers localized into Sindhi language. We’ve also localized browsers like Firefox and the Thunderbird email software into Sindhi, along with educative tools like Mathematical Markup Language (MathML),” said Mr. Kulkarni, commenting that the NCPSL website was also being upgraded by C-DAC in tandem.Further, he said that some books on Sindhi literature were ready to be viewed and downloaded for teaching purposes.“The training in technology would be imparted to ‘master trainers’, who in turn would introduce these tools in schools where Sindhi is taught,” he informed, stating that in the second phase of the project following content creation, C-DAC would be developing open-source Natural Language Processing (NLP) tools like spell checkers and grammar checkers.last_img read more

Who is Bimal Gurung?

first_imgAn unprecedented 45-day shutdown in the Darjeeling hills, with no end in sight, has put the spotlight back on Bimal Gurung, leader of the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha (GJM), which announced a fresh agitation for a state of Gorkhaland on June 15. It was almost 10 years ago, in October 2007, when Mr. Gurung pulled the rug from under the feet of his mentor Subhash Ghisingh, president of the Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF), and marked the beginning of a new era in the politics of the Darjeeling hills by setting up the GJM, which raised the pitch for Gorkhaland afresh. Now, the 53-year-old stares at political uncertainty over the demand.Why the shift from tea?Born to tea garden workers, Mr. Gurung had to do menial jobs while growing up to help the family. He has said his “life took a dramatic turn when the GNLF launched an armed struggle for a Gorkha homeland in 1986.” He was 22 and became a member of the Gorkha Volunteers’ Cell.In 1988, he left the volunteers’ cell after the GNLF signed an accord with the Centre and West Bengal, leading to the formation of the Darjeeling Gorkha Hill Council (DGHC). In 1992, Mr. Gurung floated an organisation for unemployed youths from the hills. Seven years later, he was back with the GNLF after winning the elections as an Independent candidate from the Tukvar constituency. A sports enthusiast, he was entrusted with the Sports and Youth Affairs department in the autonomous hill body, which he administered well, and became popular among youngsters.How did he fall out with GNLF?In 2007, when the Centre and the State government were toying with the idea of including the Darjeeling hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution and giving the tribal-dominated area special administrative powers, Mr. Gurung seized the opportunity and launched a massive resistance in the hills.In February 2008, Ghisingh had to face arguably the greatest humiliation in his political career when he was not allowed to return to the hills after a visit to Delhi, as GJM supporters laid siege to all the entry points of the hills. Since then, Mr. Gurung has been the most prominent political leader in the hills, with the GJM overshadowing all other parties.Why did he agree to GTA?After the Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011, ending 34 years of Left Front rule, Mr. Gurung used the chance to enter into a truce with the government by signing the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration (GTA) agreement for setting up a second regional autonomous body in the hills. Mr. Gurung became the chief executive of the GTA and held the portfolio of 23 departments. With the help of his confidants, he ran the GTA and ruled the hills for the next six years. His wife Asha Gurung, also a GTA member, looked after the women’s wing of the GJM. But the relationship with the Trinamool was uneasy, and less than a month before the term of the GTA was to expire, the hills plunged into uncertainty again. Protests erupted after Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee announced that Bengali would be compulsory for all students. She later clarified that it would be optional in the hills, but the damage had been done, and the situation reached a point of no return when the police raided the residence-cum-party office of Mr. Gurung at Pateleybas on June 15.What is the road ahead?As passions run high among the people over the demand for creation of Gorkhaland, pressure is mounting on Mr. Gurung.Though a Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee (GMCC), with representatives of all major political parties, has been set up to take the movement forward, there are rumblings within the GMCC that protests must be directed at the BJP-led government at the Centre with whom the GJM had entered into an electoral understanding in 2007 and for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.The murder of All-India Gorkha League leader Madan Tamang in May 2010 has also come back to haunt Mr. Gurung and other leaders of his party. There is still no news of tripartite talks with the Centre and the State that could help all stakeholders end the stalemate. In such testing times, it remains to be seen how Mr. Gurung finds a way out of the predicament.He would not want to end up like Ghisingh, kept out of the hills.last_img read more

Gorakhpur tragedy: CM Adityanath raised caution flag during previous visits

first_imgUttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his Ministers have claimed that officials did not discuss the crisis in oxygen supply during his visit to the BRD medical college hospital in Gorakhpur on August 9.While the minute details of his interaction with the doctors there are unknown, during his visit Mr. Adityanath inspected the Japanese Encephalitis/Acute Encephalitis Syndrome ward.Mr. Adityanath had also cautioned doctors that no patient should die due to lack of medical care. “He instructed doctors that patients should receive better treatment and no patient should die due to lack of medical care [upchaar ka abhaav],” said the government statement issued on Wednesday evening.Nine children died in the hospital that day, including two in the AES ward. Twenty-one children died on August 7 and 8, including five in the AES ward, prior to his visit.The figure took a big jump on August 10 when 23 children died. The government admitted that the supply of oxygen was interrupted on the night of August 10 but stressed that no deaths were caused due to this or during the period when oxygen supply was hit.Inspections conductedOn Wednesday, Mr. Adityanath conducted a bed-to-bed inspection of the wards, unveiled a 10-BED ICU and six-bed CCI wards. He also inaugurated a CCU ward for critical children affected by JE and AES.According to the government, Mr. Adityanath had also inspected the emergency ward, infant ward, and ICU and checked on the availability of medicines.Mr. Adityanath later conducted a review meeting with health officials and doctors from Gorakpur and Basti divisions. Incidentally, he had made another visit to the hospital on July 9.last_img read more

Goa issues advisory against Momo Challenge

first_imgThe Goa State Commission for Protection Child Rights (GSCPCR) on Thursday issued an advisory against an online game named Momo Challenge, cautioning parents and guardians of children across the State via the State Education Department.The advisory from GSCPCR comes in the wake of an advisory to the State Child Right Commissions across the country from the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) urging them to take up the matter in right earnest with various State authorities to generate awareness on child on-line safety.The NCPCR has, inter alia, stated that MoMo is a social media account on Whatsapp, Facebook and YouTube. Giving detailed information about the game and its potential for breach of safety of children on-line, NCPCR has requested concerned departments, Ministries in Government of India as well to take immediate preventive measures to stop its spread across the country. It further said that the Ministry of Electronics and Information & Technology has issued an advisory on the game.The advisory by GSCCR issued as part of child on-line safety, said that according to information given to it, children are becoming victims of the said game and are known to attempt suicide. The game is played by children on the mobile. As such, from the child safety point of view, the advisory has urged the State Directorate of Education to take appropriate steps to create awareness among school going children, their parents and guardians and also to take measures to prevent the spread of the said game.The Momo Challenge is the second such alleged dangerous game with potential for breach of safety for children online after the Blue Whale Challenge, which had sent panic waves across the country forcing police and other agencies to issue advisories and guidelines to parents and guardians to monitor the online activities of children.last_img read more

Call for northeast shutdown against Citizenship Bill

first_imgAt least 30 indigenous groups, including the North East Students’ Organisation, have called an 11-hour shutdown on Tuesday to protest the Narendra Modi government’s move to have the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, passed in the Parliament.The Bill seeks to legalise the stay of non-Muslims from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who migrated to India till December 31, 2014 allegedly due to religious persecution. Most indigenous groups in the North East fear this Bill, if passed, would make the region — particularly Assam — a dumping ground for migrants.“This Bill is unacceptable, and the shutdown call is to let the Centre know they cannot come out with a regulation that threatens the existence of the Assamese and other indigenous people in the North East,” All Assam Students’ Union president Dipanka Kumar Nath said.The Joint Parliamentary Committee on the Bill is expected to table its recommendations in the Parliament on Monday. The panel had rejected all the amendments suggested by the Congress and other parties to the draft of the Bill on December 31.Mobilising supportOn Saturday, the Citizen’s Forum against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill launched a campaign to mobilise support against the Bill’s passage. Its members appealed to the editors of all dailies in Assam to leave their editorial columns blank and television channels to run the upper or lower ticker black on Monday to register their protest against the Bill that “has violated the basic essence of the Constitution”.Harekrishna Deka, the forum’s spokesperson and Assam’s former Director General of Police, said Monday would be observed as dhikkar diwas (condemnation day) across the State.last_img read more

In Assam’s tea estates, an uphill battle against a killer brew

first_imgFive years ago, Rumi Kamar’s elder daughter wanted to have a taste of what she had brewed. That was when Ms. Kamar decided to end her 10-year-old sulai (country liquor) business which she ran from her house near the Ghuronia Tea Estate in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district.Ms Kamar started brewing sulai soon after she became a mother at the age of just 15. The liquor fetched up to ₹3,000 on Sundays as plantation workers splurged on pay day.Part of her decision to distil illicit liquor was to ensure a better life for her two daughters as her husband did not have a regular job.But her daughter’s demand changed things. “I suddenly realised this (brewing) was not the future for my daughters,” Ms. Kamar said.Now almost 30, Ms Kamar switched to rearing pigs. She earns a fraction of what she made from “quenching the thirst”, but “I no longer feel guilty”, she saidThe 45-year-old Debaru Bhakta, once a competitor to Ms Kamar in Ghuronia, also started raising pigs three years ago. “Sulai is paying. But I don’t want to reap the curses of the dead and their survivors,” he said.Mr. Bhakta was referring to the last month’s hooch tragedy in Golaghat and Jorhat districts that killed 168, mostly plantation workers — many of them women. At least a dozen others who survived, have lost their eyesight.Periodic awareness drives by the local administration, labour organisations, agencies such as the Unicef, and the management of some estates have played a significant part in the turnaround in small time distillers like Ms. Kamar and Mr. Bhakta.“Weaning people away from liquor or brewing, which is lucrative, is easier said than done. The difficult part is financing alternative vocations for small-time brewers, many of whom do not possess land,” Dibrugarh’s Excise Superintendent Ajoy K. Bayan said.He credited field workers such as Chandra K. Baruah who visit the estates periodically to keep tabs on illicit liquor dens apart from advising people to kick the habit. “It is not always a dark story (alluding to the hooch tragedy) though motivation is a painstaking process,” Mr. Bayan said.Dibrugarh upped the ante against sulai when Laya Madduri, since transferred to southern Assam’s Cachar district, was the Deputy Commissioner. “We learned that things did not end with campaigning with all stakeholders. We provided training to brewers in various vocations. The toughest part was convincing banks to back those who want to reform,” she told The Hindu.A few did go back to brewing, but many moved to other professions with or without financial support. They include Sailen Gogoi, a hitherto unlicensed brewer of Ahomgaon, who learned carpentry and received a loan of Rs 1 lakh through Dibrugarh district officials to set up his unit.Dealing with the plantation workers, though, has been tougher. This is where the efforts of the decade-old informal Mother’s Club comprising 12-15 women from estates under the Assam Branch of the Indian Tea Association, have yielded results.“Alcoholism has not been eradicated, but our intervention has made a lot of difference,” Radhamani Saonra, a club member of Borjuli Tea Estate in Sonitpur district said.British hangoverSocial activists said access to cheap liquor is a trait planters have inherited from their British predecessors to keep labourers in a state that do not let them seek any other opportunity. “Drinking keeps the workers busy during the evening, to be ready for work early next morning,” Amiya Sarma of NGO Rashtriya Gramin Vikas Nidhi said.Some planters disagree. “Our efforts have kept liquor off our estate. Campaigning against alcoholism is part of our managerial drill,” Somnath Nandi, manager of Borjuli Tea Estate, said.Navin Keot, secretary of the Congress-affiliated Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangh, admitted that lack of political will has hit the “century-old” battle against the bottle. “Action is often against the smaller illegal brewers who can be motivated. At the root of the problem are richer brewers who want the extra money,” he said.The bootleg sulai sells for ₹30-40 per 750 ml bottle while the licensed, branded variety costs ₹60. Two years ago, the BJP government changed the country spirit policy and abolished the British-era mahal system, in which a few people controlled large swathes of the legal, quality-controlled sulai market.The new policy allowed licensed manufacturers, spaced out across Assam, to produced hygienically packed sulai while IMFL outlets were allowed to sell the local liquor for an annual license fee of ₹20,000.The State government has not ruled out sabotage by those who were hit by the abolition of mahal system leading the February hooch tragedy.last_img read more

Forest fires threatening Odisha’s flora and fauna

first_imgOdisha had registered a sudden jump in forest fires across the State resulting in massive damage to flora and fauna.As many as 5,332 fire spots had been noticed since November 1 last, the beginning of forest fire season, in the State. The month of March had alone registered 4,495 fire spots. As per statistics generated by SNPP (Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership) satellite, only 385 fire spots were recorded February while in January, only 55 fire incidences were detected.Southern Odisha looked red in the map provided by Forest Fire Geo Portal of Forest Survey. In Koraput, the southernmost forest circle in Odisha, 2,809 fire spots had been detected since November. It was followed by Bhawanipatna with 622 fire incidences and Berhampur (601). Rourkela and Sambalpur division had relatively lower incidences with 416 and 355 fire spots detected during the same period. The month of April started with 11 fires on Monday as detected by Moderate resolution Imaging spectro-radiometer (MODIS) with a resolution of 1 km.Forest divisions mappedThough forest department claimed to have mapped the forest divisions prone to fire and maintained more than 6,000-km long fire line in different forests ahead of the fire season, forests continue to be gutted. Given the vastness of forest areas and gigantic task, number of fire watchers engaged in fire-fighting appears to be too little.“Apart from causing a huge loss to the timber and other fruit and leaf bearing trees and creepers of the forest, fires also destroy wildlife and their habitat. Nests and eggs of ground dwelling birds are lost. Reptiles also lose their young ones due to forest fires,” said Biswajit Mohanty, former member of the National Board for Wildlife.Fire could only be tamed at the initial stage before it became a conflagration preventing anybody from even approaching it due to the intense heat generated, Mr. Mohanty said demanding it should be monitored from the office of Principal Chief Conservator of Forest.last_img read more

PG medical students upset at one week stay by CET

first_imgThe Maharashtra Common Entrance Test (CET) cell, through a notification issued early on Tuesday morning, stayed the admission procedure for post-graduate medical courses for seven days and said fresh guidelines would be issued following the Supreme Court order.Mentioning the possibility of changes in the admission schedule keeping in mind petitions before the SC and High Court, the notification said, “Due to the legal issues that have come in the way of the admissions and Maharashtra government’s plan to approach the SC for an extension, the admission procedure has been stayed for a period of 7 days, starting May 13.” This move has been criticised by post-graduate medical applicants from various reserved categories who lashed out at the State government for delaying the admission procedures.Advocate Sriram Pingale, who is representing the Maratha students in the Supreme Court, said he has advised the petitioners to file a review petition for the May 9 verdict that struck down the 16% reservation on PG seats this year. “We will most likely be filing the review petition tomorrow,” he said. While students of the Maratha community called it a confusing notice, students from the open category, Other Backward Classes (OBC), Nomadic Tribes (NT) and Scheduled Caste (SC) and Vimukti Jati (denotified tribes) (VJ) said the postponement was unnecessary.Dr. Samruddhi Shinde (23), a Maratha community applicant for Masters in Dental Surgery, said the CET cell notice was not only confusing but also against their demands. “It states that a request has been made before the SC for an extension. We are clear about our demands, but this decision has brought us no clarity over retainment of our seats and branches. We will not take our protest back till our demands are met,” she said.The applicants from the NT, OBC, SC and open category, on the other hand, questioned the move.“We want reservations to not exceed beyond 50%. The government must follow the SC order of May 9. We are of the opinion that reservations should simply be eliminated from the post-graduate admission process,” Dr. Shrikant Ghugre, an applicant from the NT (3) category, said.Dr. Angad Randive, an open category applicant, said the extension will further delay commencement of the academic year which usually starts by the first week of June. “Now, we have no idea when admissions will finish and when we will begin our courses. The notice says that the government will move SC seeking permission for the extension. We want to know why did they stay when they don’t have the permit?” he asked.State Minister for medical education and water resources, Girish Mahajan, told The Hindu, “Some students have already moved the SC for a review. We will be moving the SC tomorrow seeking permission for an extension of admission in Maharashtra. The students’ immediate problem was that they wanted an extension, as the last date for form filling was May 13. We, therefore, requested for the same.” Meanwhile, Bhalchandra Mungekar, former vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, who met the protesting Maratha students on Tuesday, said the one-week extension will not solve the problem and that procedural lapses and irregularities of the government were to be blamed for the mess. “Without making preparations and taking into account perspectives, the government took the decision due to political exigencies,” he said.last_img read more

Biodiversity in Forest Fragments Proves Precarious

first_imgAs deforestation accelerates around the world, ecologists have increasingly pinned their hopes of preserving biodiversity on nurturing the isolated patches of forest often left behind. But new research suggests that small mammal species native to these forest fragments are at greater risk of extinction than previously thought.The filling of the Chiew Larn Reservoir in southern Thailand in 1986 and 1987 created more than 100 islands and presented a rare opportunity to study the effects of sudden isolation on small-mammal communities. In the early 1990s, a team led by population geneticist David Woodruff of the University of California, San Diego, set traps to survey small mammals on 12 of the islands, ranging in size from 0.3 to 56.3 hectares. They found that after 5 to 7 years of isolation, the three biggest islands were still home to seven to 12 species of mice, rats, squirrels, and shrews. The range of species was similar to that found in a large, undisturbed forest on the nearby mainland. On the small islands, however, the researchers found just one to three species, indicating a rapid decline in diversity, presumably because the islands were too small to sustain animal communities.Ecologist Luke Gibson of the National University of Singapore and colleagues revisited those islands plus four more in 2012 and 2013 to repeat the surveys, with some dramatic results. Six of 12 species present in the early 1990s, including the pencil-tailed tree mouse and the red spiny rat, have apparently disappeared. Five other species have declined dramatically. For example, the 1993 survey turned up 47 common tree shrews, but only one was found in 2013. “We documented the near-complete extinction of an entire group of animals,” Gibson says.Sign up for our daily newsletterGet more great content like this delivered right to you!Country *AfghanistanAland IslandsAlbaniaAlgeriaAndorraAngolaAnguillaAntarcticaAntigua and BarbudaArgentinaArmeniaArubaAustraliaAustriaAzerbaijanBahamasBahrainBangladeshBarbadosBelarusBelgiumBelizeBeninBermudaBhutanBolivia, Plurinational State ofBonaire, Sint Eustatius and SabaBosnia and HerzegovinaBotswanaBouvet IslandBrazilBritish Indian Ocean TerritoryBrunei DarussalamBulgariaBurkina FasoBurundiCambodiaCameroonCanadaCape VerdeCayman IslandsCentral African RepublicChadChileChinaChristmas IslandCocos (Keeling) IslandsColombiaComorosCongoCongo, The Democratic Republic of theCook IslandsCosta RicaCote D’IvoireCroatiaCubaCuraçaoCyprusCzech RepublicDenmarkDjiboutiDominicaDominican RepublicEcuadorEgyptEl SalvadorEquatorial GuineaEritreaEstoniaEthiopiaFalkland Islands (Malvinas)Faroe IslandsFijiFinlandFranceFrench GuianaFrench PolynesiaFrench Southern TerritoriesGabonGambiaGeorgiaGermanyGhanaGibraltarGreeceGreenlandGrenadaGuadeloupeGuatemalaGuernseyGuineaGuinea-BissauGuyanaHaitiHeard Island and Mcdonald IslandsHoly See (Vatican City State)HondurasHong KongHungaryIcelandIndiaIndonesiaIran, Islamic Republic ofIraqIrelandIsle of ManIsraelItalyJamaicaJapanJerseyJordanKazakhstanKenyaKiribatiKorea, Democratic People’s Republic ofKorea, Republic ofKuwaitKyrgyzstanLao People’s Democratic RepublicLatviaLebanonLesothoLiberiaLibyan Arab JamahiriyaLiechtensteinLithuaniaLuxembourgMacaoMacedonia, The Former Yugoslav Republic ofMadagascarMalawiMalaysiaMaldivesMaliMaltaMartiniqueMauritaniaMauritiusMayotteMexicoMoldova, Republic ofMonacoMongoliaMontenegroMontserratMoroccoMozambiqueMyanmarNamibiaNauruNepalNetherlandsNew CaledoniaNew ZealandNicaraguaNigerNigeriaNiueNorfolk IslandNorwayOmanPakistanPalestinianPanamaPapua New GuineaParaguayPeruPhilippinesPitcairnPolandPortugalQatarReunionRomaniaRussian FederationRWANDASaint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da CunhaSaint Kitts and NevisSaint LuciaSaint Martin (French part)Saint Pierre and MiquelonSaint Vincent and the GrenadinesSamoaSan MarinoSao Tome and PrincipeSaudi ArabiaSenegalSerbiaSeychellesSierra LeoneSingaporeSint Maarten (Dutch part)SlovakiaSloveniaSolomon IslandsSomaliaSouth AfricaSouth Georgia and the South Sandwich IslandsSouth SudanSpainSri LankaSudanSurinameSvalbard and Jan MayenSwazilandSwedenSwitzerlandSyrian Arab RepublicTaiwanTajikistanTanzania, United Republic ofThailandTimor-LesteTogoTokelauTongaTrinidad and TobagoTunisiaTurkeyTurkmenistanTurks and Caicos IslandsTuvaluUgandaUkraineUnited Arab EmiratesUnited KingdomUnited StatesUruguayUzbekistanVanuatuVenezuela, Bolivarian Republic ofVietnamVirgin Islands, BritishWallis and FutunaWestern SaharaYemenZambiaZimbabweI also wish to receive emails from AAAS/Science and Science advertisers, including information on products, services and special offers which may include but are not limited to news, careers information & upcoming events.Required fields are included by an asterisk(*)In contrast, Malayan field rat numbers exploded, from 77 in 1992 to 289 in 2013. This rat is not normally found in the region’s undisturbed forests but likely migrated to the islands from villages and agricultural areas after inundation. It now dominates the islands but is rare in the intact forests of the nearby mainland.In the absence of other obvious causes, the researchers blame the loss of species on fragmentation and the impact of the invasive rat. This one-two punch “underscores a dire need to maintain large intact forest blocks to sustain tropical biodiversity,” the authors write today in Science. Gibson adds that the loss of species occurred more quickly than has been reported by other groups studying other sites around the world.”This study makes a valuable contribution in quantifying how fast the extinctions take place—very fast in this case,” says Ilkka Hanski, an ecologist at the University of Helsinki. But he notes that the study does not tease out whether the fragmentation or the rat invasion had a greater impact. Robin Chazdon, an ecologist at the University of Connecticut, Storrs, notes that the mechanism by which the invasive rats contributed to the demise of native species—whether they devoured available food or introduced new diseases—is not clear. “These findings are not directly relevant to forest fragments in terrestrial landscapes,” where animals from surrounding areas could recolonize the isolated patch, she says.Gibson agrees that it is difficult to separate the impact of forest fragment size from that of the rats. “Our data don’t show any direct mechanism,” for how the rodents might have tipped the scales against the natives, he says. As for the implications for fragments on large land masses, he argues that these small islands provide “a sign of things to come.” For example, he says a recent study of Brazil’s Atlantic forests found that 80% of fragments remaining after deforestation are 50 hectares or smaller—about the size of the Thai island samples. Although most forest fragments are not ringed by water, they are nonetheless “increasingly surrounded by intensive agricultural landscapes that often harbor invasive animal species,” Gibson says. Beyond preserving large intact forests, he adds, conservation efforts should aim to keep or create forested corridors to link small fragments of important habitat or to connect them to larger forests nearby.last_img read more

The Real Idiot

first_imgThe highly anticipated movie, 3 Idiots, produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra and directed by Raju Hirani, which was released on Dec. 25, grossed a whopping $70 million within 18 days of its release, catapulting it as “the highest grossing Bollywood movie of all time.”But not everyone involved with the movie is celebrating. The movie is based on Five Point Someone (popularly called FPS), the bestselling debut novel by Chetan Bhagat. Within days of the movie’s release, Bhagat accused the makers of 3 Idiots of failing to give him due credit for the story. “They added a story credit right upfront, without my name, thus negating my contribution. My name was buried in the rolling credits at the end of the movie, after the junior artists and still photographer, and zoomed away fast. My own mother missed seeing my name after the film.”  Investment banker Chetan Bhagat poses with his novel One Night @ The Call Center in Hong Kong in 2005From his blog post, it appears that what irked Bhagat most was the fact that pre-release, the makers of 3 Idiots issued press statements that the movie is “very loosely,” or “only 2%-5% based” on FPS. He says, “When I saw the movie I felt that the movie was 70% of the book, and so I should have been given a prominent credit upfront, which didn’t happen. Also, when they started doing media promotions, they kept me completely out of it (you will never find me in an interview with them). And crores was poured into publicity on shutting me out and cementing the fact that 3 Idiots was not based on FPS.”In his defense, Hirani said, “Yes, the movie is inspired by the book. But while adapting it to the silver screen, we realized that we would have to change it a lot; the book is very anecdotal, but a movie has to have a plot. But he has signed a contract, giving us the rights to modify or change the story. The contract also clearly states that credit shall be given to him in the rolling credits, which was duly done. And we haven’t changed the font or increased the speed as Chetan claims.” At a press conference following the controversy, Chopra clarified that “we have paid him the entire amount (Rs. 1 lakh upfront and Rs. 10 lakhs as bonus after the movie was made) that we were supposed to as per the contract. So I don’t understand why Chetan is creating this controversy. This is all being done with a bad intention. I don’t want to see his face ever again.” Chopra lost his cool at the press conference and asked a reporter to shut up after being questioned whether was lifted from FPS. He later apologized for his outburst : “I really think I’m silly. I was provoked, but I shouldn’t have done this. I saw myself on TV and saw how I was shouting ‘shut up, shut up’ like an animal. I told myself — ‘what nonsensical behavior’.” So is 3 Idiots 2%-5% based on FPS like the makers of the movie claim, or 70% like Bhagat and his fans feel? Here is my take.The major similarities between the book and the movie are: 1. Both, the book and the movie, are about three friends at a premier engineering institute, who bond over ragging, and don’t quite like the way that they’re being taught. But there are many more similarities. One of them, rather extraordinarily, defies the seniors, and generally turns out to be much “cooler” than the other two, the second is terrified by the pressure of college, and the third is from a family that’s struggling financially, which leads him into taking some pretty “extreme steps.” Their shared disaffection results in disciplinary problems that are pretty much unchanged between the book and the movie, and those problems aren’t resolved differently either.2. One of the three friends starts seeing the daughter of a quirky professor, and there’s a major plot point — the biggest twist in the book and the second biggest in the movie — that has to do with the professor’s family. That bit is a direct lift, but it is a lot more “filmi” in the movie.3. The book and movie have 8-10 identical scenes, including some identical one-liners. 4.   The book and the movie have many similar things to say about India’s educational system, about controlling parents, about stifled creativity, and they say them in the same way, using Bhagat’s language.The major difference between the book and the movie are:1. The movie doesn’t stop at graduation; it follows the three friends into their post-college-education life, which is where it gets to its biggest twist.2. The “cool” character in the book is played in the movie by Aamir Khan, though the character is over six feet tall in the book. And in the movie, unlike in the book, he isn’t prone to sulks, and his distaste for the teaching methods doesn’t affect his ability to perform in exams, in which he in fact excels. In the movie he also makes certain “cool” things, which become central to the plot. Also, he is the one who has a love affair with the professor’s daughter.3.  The movie contains a lot of “original” humor, which is the trademark of Hirani’s films. His humor first made the audience ROTFL, short for “rolling on the floor laughing,” in Munnabhai MBBS, then in Lage Raho Munnabhai, and now in 3 Idiots to an even greater degree. The most notable of the humorous scenes is “the speech” delivered by Chatur Ramalingam, the Hindi-challenged character, superbly portrayed by the relatively unknown Omi Vaidya, a Los Angeles based actor.4. The movie leaves the viewers feeling very “good” and “positive.” It almost makes you want to be a better person, which is something that the book doesn’t do at all.So to be fair, I would say that the movie is about 30% like the book. But I would add that that is not just about how many scenes are identical between the book and the movie. Even if the movie was 70% of the book, as Bhagat feels, if the impact of the other 30% is bigger, then it would be fair to say that the movie is “quite different” compared to the book, which is what the makers of 3 Idiots seem to be saying, and I am totally with them on that.  Whatever changes Hirani made to the book’s story, combined with his humor and the presence of stars like Aamir Khan, Sharman Joshi, Kareena Kapoor, Boman Irani, and Omi Vaidya has transformed FPS into something magical. Bhagat is wrong to assume that 3 Idiots has achieved its phenomenal success because it is based on FPS. Let me remind Bhagat that his book One Night @ The Call Centre was also adapted to the silver screen and its box office collections after three weeks were just over $800,000, which is a tiny fraction of what 3 Idiots has made in the same period.That being said, I don’t see why the makers couldn’t have given Bhagat more credit and included him in the movie’s media promotions. His presence wouldn’t have hurt the success of the film; on the contrary, it would have only added to it. Perhaps Bhagat rubbed them the wrong way. Or maybe they have some other considerations for distancing themselves from him and FPS. We have no way of knowing and perhaps that is what makes Bhagat “sad and depressed.” But I suspect that the real reason he is ticked off has got something to do with the fact that he made only $22,000 of the $70 million the movie has pulled. But then again, if he had known that 3 Idiots was going to break all box office records, he would have structured his contract differently, especially given his knowledge of banking and finance as an investment banker. But he didn’t, and all he can do now, besides kicking himself on his rear end, is stir up a controversy over credit placement and the percentage of similarities between the book and the movie in the hope that it will help sell another million copies of FPS.Now, who is the real idiot here?  Related Itemslast_img read more

That Sinking Feeling

first_imgThe steady drumbeat of good news is getting infectious. The Dow Jones has rallied almost 40 percent from its bottom on March 9. The Federal Reserve expects the economy to pick up in the second half of this year. Homes sales rose 11% in June and corporate profits strengthened in the second quarter. Pres. Barack Obama has signaled signs of “green shoots” on the economic landscape. Alan Blinder, the former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve Board, recently pronounced in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “The Economy Has Hit Bottom.” The Aug. 3 cover story in Newsweek went even further, declaring boldly, “The Recession is Over.”But before you get giddy, several economists caution that we may be witnessing a false lull before the storm, that the temporary economic boost is propelled by the nearly $1 trillion infusion of government bailout money to financial institutions and the economic stimulus package. They fear that we are on the verge of a double dip recession and that the second recession could be longer and deeper.  A handful of prominent investment and trend analysts and scholars are decidedly alarmist, even projecting a depression that will rival the Great Depression of 1929. Gerald Celente, founder of The Trends Research Institute, which the Los Angeles Times once described as the “Standard and Poors of Popular Culture,” forecasts “Food riots, tax protests, farmer rebellions, student revolts, squatter digins, homeless uprisings, tent cities, ghost malls, general strikes, bossnappings, kidnappings, industrial saboteurs, gang warfare, mob rule, terror” by 2012 in the latest edition of The Trends Journal.Truth is, economic forecasting is a hazardous business even in less rockier times. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke recently quipped at a public town hall, “Economic forecasting makes weather forecasting look like physics.” These days many economic indicators are defying both logic and historical patterns. It is the reason why, despite many reassuring economic signals in recent weeks, national anxiety remains palpable.To gauge the view from the other side, Little India turned to Celente and three other prominent advocates of the counter intuitive perspective: investor advocate Martin Weiss, author of New York Times bestseller, The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide; economic forecaster Harry S. Dent, author of another New York Times bestseller The Great Depression Ahead; and Southern Methodist University economist Ravi Batra, author of The New Golden Age: The Coming Revolution Against Political Corruption and Economic Chaos. Bull Turned BearHarry S DentA popular speaker on economic trends and a frequent commentator on TV shows and the financial press, Harry Dent is the unlikely author of the New York Times bestseller The Great Depression Ahead, after authoring The Great Boom Ahead in 1992, which he followed up with two other bullish bestsellers The Roaring 2000s and The Roaring 2000s Investor.Your 2008 book The Great Depression Ahead and subsequent newsletters predict another stock market crash that could cause the Dow to fall to 1800-3800 by next year. But many economists and officials in the Obama administration believe the economy is turning a corner. Do you think the U.S. economy is out of the woods yet?This is not a normal recession or stock crash. It represents the peaking of the massive Baby Boom generation around the developed world from Europe to North America and these affluent consumers will be predictably shifting from spending to saving over the next decade despite stimulus programs. In addition, we are seeing the peaking of perhaps the largest credit bubble in modern history that centered around an unprecedented bubble in housing and real estate, including emerging country cities from Mumbai to Shanghai to Dubai. Such credit bubbles take more like five years to deflate and sometimes longer.  Consumers and businesses are saturated with credit. Hence, stimulus programs will be short-lived as well. As the developed countries turn down again from 2010 onwards, exports in emerging countries will continue to fall and burst the massive emerging market bubbles from China to India to Brazil to Russia and beyond. We have seen a concerted worldwide boom and bubble from 2003 to 2007 that is being followed by a worldwide bubble burst and deleveraging from 2008 into 2012 or so.You are more bearish than many mainstream economists. What are you seeing that they aren’t?I was also one of the very most bullish economists from 1988 into recently due to the massive Baby Boom spending and information technology trends we have been tracking. We are more bearish now, as all of the key cycles we track are peaking and turning down in the coming years especially, and longer term into 2020-2023.We have seen major stock market and economic tops about every 40 years in the last century due to the demographic/generational trends with peak spending occurring around age 46 in developed countries. A 29-30-Year Commodity Cycle is also peaking and that hits the recently booming emerging countries from Southeast Asia to the Middle East to Latin America to Africa. Hence, the perfect storm of peaking demographics in the more affluent developed countries and a commodity and export bust in the emerging countries. Again, this is the most concerted worldwide bust in modern history.Do you still think that we are at risk of a depression?We forecast the next great depression to occur between 2008 and 2023 all the way back in our first book, The Great Boom Ahead, in 1992. We said back then and continue to say now that no amount of government stimulus will prevent this massive deleveraging of credit or the Baby Boom slowdown, any more than it did in Japan in the 1990s or in the U.S. in the 1930s or in Southeast Asia from late 1997 into early 2003. Such major financial crises typically take 3.5 to 8 years to work out, or around 5 years on average.This is not a normal recession or stock crash and the stimulus programs will be very short-lived in their impact as we will see one banking crisis after the next hit, from the growing prime and commercial real estate defaults in the U.S., to a lackluster recovery and further defaults on East European and real estate loans in Europe to the continued bubble burst in emerging countries from falling exports and real estate and stock prices. We don’t see coming out of the worst of this crisis globally until around late 2012 to early 2013, and we don’t see the next concerted global boom until 2020/2023 into 2035/2036.What do you project the unemployment rate will be at the end of 2009 and the end of 2010?We see unemployment in the U.S. bottoming between 10.5% and 11% in late 2009 — and that may paradoxically trigger another round of commercial and residential loan defaults even as the U.S. and other economies start to recover. By early to mid-2011 we see peak unemployment rates in the U.S. around 14% to 16%, and possibly higher.What do you project the Dow Jones average will be at the end of 2009 and the end of 2010?  We see the Dow peaking between 8,950 and as high as 11,300 between late July and early September of 2009 and then crashing again to as low as 1,800 to 3,800 by late 2010. Even in our book, The Great Depression Ahead, which was written by mid-2008 and published in late 2008, we predicted a bear market rally into the summer of 2009 based on predictable stimulus programs that would ultimately fail.When will housing prices bottom out?The real estate bubble started in 2000 in the U.S. (and most countries) when tech stocks crashed and investors switched rapidly to real estate speculation (and to commodities and emerging stocks markets as well). In the U.S., home prices would have to fall around 55% from the top at best or 65% at worst (1996 lows). In Japan, the housing bubble occurred from 1986 to 1991 and housing prices bottomed back at the 1986 levels or down around 63%, with commercial prices going much lower.We expect different markets in real estate to bottom between mid-2011 at the earliest for lower end starter homes; and then vacation homes around 2012-2014 and commercial real estate between early 2013 and early 2015. Larger trade-up homes or McMansions may be more stagnant off and on into the early 2020s. Anywhere in the world our guidelines of 1996-2000 prices are likely to be reasonably accurate.Do you think our money is safe in U.S. banks?It is hard to judge how far this banking crisis will go. There is much more leverage than in the 1930s crash, but the U.S. (and most other banking systems) are much more diversified with more government safeguards. But given the U.S. government and others providing so much stimulus and so many guarantees, how good will they be able to make on this in the end? Therefore, it is best to put your conservative money in an investment account (not a savings or checking account) in straight T-bill accounts.… It is hard to judge which banks are safe given the recent meltdown that few saw coming.… If you have an investment account with a bank or brokerage firm, they cannot raid that account to meet their reserve requirements or failing assets. But if you have a normal checking or savings account, they may not be able to meet your withdrawal demands if many others withdraw at the same time — hence, “a run on the banks.”It is also best to diversify in safe deposits around the world to diversify against currency risks in the U.S. and elsewhere. However, currently, our indicators suggest that the U.S. dollar is getting very oversold and the Euro and many other currencies are getting overbought. It is likely better to bet on the U.S. dollar for the coming months and against the Euro and Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen.What advice would you give people regarding their investments or retirement accounts?We advise selling stocks between late July and early September and selling non-essential real estate (especially investment and vacation homes) by this fall. Simply hold cash or safe investments until buying opportunities come between late 2010 and early 2013 in different sectors, or for several months ahead, more aggressive investors can invest in counter stock funds, like Short S&P 500, or in crisis hedges like gold, silver, oil and natural gas.What can individuals do to minimize their financial or employment risks?Keep your job and any reasonable interest loans. Create as much short term cash flow as possible in your job or in your business or outside interests. Cash, cash flow and credit will be key to taking advantage of “the greatest sale on financial assets of a lifetime.” Most people will see their assets, cash, cash flow and credit so compromised that they will be a loser, not a winner. Businesses need to see this as a “survival of the fittest” shake-out where even though your sales and profits may decline, as long as you survive and decline less than your competitors, you will win long term by gaining market share and assets at their expense.What do you think are the greatest risks to the U.S. and global economy at this time?The first major risk is rising defaults on prime residential and commercial real estate loans due to rising unemployment as a lagging indicator even though broader sectors of the U.S. and other economies are starting to recover in late 2009. Rising interest rates from the expected recovery and potential inflation risks from so much stimulus will also hurt the real estate recovery as mortgage rates go up, bringing affordability down.The second will be that Europe has its “subprime crisis” in East European loans and extreme real estate collapses in Spain, Ireland and Great Britain. The signs of recovery in Europe are not strong as in Asia and even in the U.S. Hence, Europe could also trigger the next wave of bank loan defaults that reverberate around the world banking system.Finally, we have broader geopolitical cycles of risk that have turned down from 2001 into around 2019, but have distinct sub-waves of terrorist and other events every 8.5 years that are set to peak again between late 2009 and mid- to late 2010 after the last major event in September of 2001. Many events ranging from a civil war in Iran, to Israel strikes on Iran, to failures in Afghanistan or Iraq, to a major terrorist strike in Europe or the U.S., to drug wars on the border of Mexico, to North Korea tensions, to India/Pakistan tensions, could disrupt world trade and oil prices.What political shifts do you foresee as a result of these economic forces?I see major shifts first towards growing economic and military power towards Asia (China first, then India more so), and away from Europe and Russia. The U.S. will be competing as the largest economy with China and India in the decades ahead. After globalization and trade contraction and that appears to fail at first, I see a greater move towards globalization in the next boom from the early 2020s into the 2030s and beyond. We also need to see credible global institutions emerge to deal with global trade agreements, global warming and terrorism, etc. We will also see more territorial and dictatorships fail after accelerating near term in many emerging countries. The growth in the coming decades will clearly be in the emerging countries and more clearly in Asia.Which countries do you think will emerge better positioned out of this recession?China will likely emerge stronger at first after 2010 or 2012, but India will be the greatest winner between 2020 and 2065 due to better demographics and rising urbanization. China (and broader East Asia, including Japan and South Korea) will age increasingly along with Europe and Russia and start to fade in the next boom.The broader boom will come at first in India and Southeast Asia and then expand back into other emerging countries (The Middle East, Latin America and Africa with more commodity exposure) in the next and likely very strong commodity boom cycle from the early 2020s into the late 2030s.North America will remerge in this next boom to a lesser degree, as will Australia and New Zealand. Europe, East Europe and Russia will lag increasingly due to aging demographics and slowing productivity. Russia will be a target for natural resource acquisition (and potential wars) by China and India. India is the single large country best positioned to boom in the coming decades, from 2012 into 2065 or so. Of the developed countries I would rate Australia first, then Canada, then the U.S.Morass of Bad Debt Martin WeissMartin Weiss, a financial market analyst, is head of Weiss Research Group and publisher of the Money and Markets newsletter. His April 2009 book The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide: Protect Your Savings, Boost Your Income and Grow Wealthy Even In The Worst Of Times made the Wall Street Journal and New York Times bestsellers list.Many economists and officials in the Obama administration believe that things are turning around. The stock market has been rebounding. Do you still believe we are at risk of the depression your book The Ultimate Depression Survival Guide claims?  The government stimulus package, but also all the efforts of the Federal Reserve to pump money into the economy will have some effect and the impact they are having is to turn a bad situation into a less bad situation and that shift is perceived as good news and so if that transition is helping consumers to become more optimistic, it is helping to bring optimism to Wall Street and so temporarily you see a stabilization and that temporary stabilization will last several months, maybe into the year.But none of the steps that the government has taken have addressed the underlying causes of the crisis we are in today. By shoving the problems under the rug and tamping down the fears artificially, all the government is doing is prolonging the agony. We don’t feel the immediate pain as much as we would feel now, but that makes it worse for the next time the economy starts running down, which could be as soon as next yearWhy are mainstream economists going along? What are you seeing that they are not?Several things. Number one, we are seeing things from a bigger, longer perspective rather than 2-3 yrs. We are looking over many years, going back as far as the Great Depression. There are many matrix today that indicate that the situation today is fundamentally worse than it was at the time of the Great Depression, or early years of the Great Depression. For example, industrial production globally is declining at the same pace as it was in the first years of the Great Depression. Global trade has been declining at approximately double the pace of first 2-3 years of the Great Depression. Unemployment today is approximately equivalent to first 2-3 yrs of the Great Depression. More importantly, the debt, as a percentage of GDP today is several times larger than it was in 1929. That excludes the derivatives, which barely existed, didn’t exist, in the 1930s.There are many reasons to believe that this is a very serious situation. I don’t think typical economists look back as far. They look back as far as the last recession or last couple of recessions, so their time horizon, in our opinion, is too short sighted.The improvements we are seeing here are almost entirely driven by the government’s very unusual and unprecedented intervention in the economy. It is a very, very strong medicine It is what the doctors would call the big guns, very strong antibiotics for the economy and it has very serious, known side effects. The first obvious side effect is massive out of control budget deficit. The second side effect could be return of inflation, rising prices that got us in the mess in the first place.What do you project unemployment rate will be end of 2009 and end of 2010?The Obama government is projecting it will rise to about 10% or more. We don’t disagree with that.… At end of 2010, I would say that unemployment would be significantly above 10%. The peak unemployment in the Great Depression was over 24%. We don’t believe it is unreasonable to forecast as much as 16%. It’s hard to pin down the time. I don’t know if it is fair to say when exactly that peak would be reached.What would you project the Dow Jones to fall in 2009 and 2010?Dow Jones is obviously going higher at this time but we could expect before this crisis is over it could be as low as 5000. But we can’t pin a time to that. It’s difficult to say exactly when.What about housing?The same pattern. Housing may experience some continued improvement. Prices have come down substantially. That was one of the biggest problem, high prices. Most people see falling prices as part of the problem and we agree, but it is also part of the solution. Thanks to the falling prices in recent months we are seeing more demand coming into the market and we are seeing improvement in the housing market, which can continue for rest of year. However if we are right about interest rates going higher, that could be a coup de grace for the housing market.So one can’t really time any of this. What can someone who is looking at taking decisions do?It is hard to pin down time. Essentially advice is for remainder of the year to take advantage of the better prices and improvement to get your house and your financial health in order. Use this interlude between the first phase of the crisis and the next phase of the crisis as your opportunity to calmly and deliberately go about getting ready for the storm. This is a calm before the storm. Even if it lasts as much as a year, it does not change the fact that there is another storm coming.Use this opportunity to raise cash, reduce debt, move from high risk investments to low risk investments. Essentially, do all the things you wish you had done in 2007- 2008 before this past phase of the crisis.Is an individual’s money safe in U.S. banks, and does it matter as they are all protected by the FDIC?  I think it matters. Even if the FDIC reimburses you for your deposit, it does not guarantee you can get the same rate that you were promised. The FDIC does not guarantee that you will continue to have revolving credit agreements with the bank if a bank fails. FDIC is clear about this. They are clear that more banks will fail. In fact they are predicting that quite a few additional banks are going to fail. The FDIC is clear that they are not giving any guarantee except returning your principal, the money you have in your account, up to a maximum of $250,000. With that in mind, there are three things you can do:• Make sure you keep your deposits comfortably under the $250,000 limit;• Make sure you are doing business with a strong bank that is strong in its own right, independent of the FDIC. It is good practice to do business with strong business partners;• For some portion of your money it makes sense to bypass the banking system entirely. Open an account directly with U.S. Treasury Department. Their yields are quite low right now, but that’s the price you pay for absolute safety. The treasury bills have certain advantages over a bank. The first advantage is there is no one between you and your money. You have a direct account with the treasury and direct guarantee of the treasury. The second advantage is that there is no limit on the guarantee.What is your advice for investment and retirement accounts?Well, I would recommend that you keep your 401(k) accounts; there are tax advantages in that. But I would use the next several months, if the market continues to improve, to move from higher risk investments to lower risk investments. I do not believe long term that stocks will continue to be a viable savings vehicle. They are investment and speculative vehicles, but it is a mischaracterization to say that they are good vehicles for long term savings and recent history proves that. You are much better off for savings vehicles in your 401(k) or IRAs to use more conservative investments, such as money markets, bonds, types of instrumentsWhat can individual do to minimize their employment risks or other financial risks?The primary step is, as I see it, is to build a cash nest of your own, an emergency rainy day fund to protect yourself against future loss of income, either because of losing your job or other problems that may affect the economy. Unfortunately as far as job security is concerned, there aren’t many safe havens. If the unemployment is surging it seems to be doing so across the board, including government and central government. So it is difficult to say at this time to go to this industry or that industry.What do you think are the greatest risks to the US economy in the global economy at this time that could make things much worse?Right now things have stabilized temporarily. But looking forward, the biggest risk is going to be rising interest rates on U.S. long and medium term securities, which could drive mortgage rates up, borrowings rates up for consumers, which would have a very negative impact on the market again.I would say we would see things deteriorate again next year and then continue on for several years and the reason is that I would have hoped we could have gotten it over with sooner and get it behind us, liquidate some of our bad assets, bad debts and move on. But unfortunately that is not what is happening. They are papering over the crisis and effectively prolonging the agony. So instead of a quick and deep crisis that helps pave the way for a true and healthy recovery, we are seeing artificial attempts to stem the crisis, stop the crisis and it is only going to prolong the agony in the long term.What do you anticipate will be the long term effects of this global crisis? Do you also anticipate political and global shifts?We are witnessing a millennium shift, a power shift from West to East. So, if you look at the global economy, it is pretty obvious that Europe and North America are at best going to experience slow, sluggish, interrupted growth whereas the Indian subcontinent and East Asia are experiencing more rapid growth.The key long term factor is that North America and Europe are now bogged down in a morass of bad debt all the way from the household to the federal government level, whereas China, India, Brazil and some other countries, actually have much lower debt level and larger cash surpluses. So financially speaking from the household level to the federal government level these countries are sounder financially.It used to be the other way round. It used to be that United States had all the capital and these countries were heavily reliant on the U.S. and maybe Japan and Western Europe for capital. It has turned upside down. It is hard to believe that countries like Brazil, China, and to some degree India, have become America’s greatest creditors. Even Brazil has a very big stake in U.S. Treasuries.Apart from these countries, do you see other countries that might be better positioned?I believe some of the other countries in addition to Brazil, China and India, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and South Korea, will benefit. Interestingly Indonesia and Malaysia have a sounder financial situation today because of some Muslim-Islamic oriented traditions and restrictions on debt and interest, which may sound antiquated and feudal, but in practice it has helped them to be more conservative financially and fiscally. So right now, for example, Malaysia and Indonesia are doing better than Thailand and Philippines and other non-Muslim countries.If these economic conditions continue to get worse can you see a political backlash that affects immigrant already in the U.S.?I hope not, but unfortunately my hopes don’t necessarily translate into government actions. We have seen in the past certain segments of society that scapegoat immigrants, use bad time as an opportunity to look at the economy as zero sum game. It is very short sighted, but unfortunately a pretty large minority of Americans respond that way. We see the same thing in Europe where we’ve seen rise in anti-immigration politics of the right. Their message tends to have more resonance with the public when unemployment is high.That is unfortunately fact of life. Under the Obama administration, given the political climate we are in today, I don’t think it will be a serious concern. I believe that especially in a deflation, depression, the political practice that ultimately prevails is the trend to shared sacrifice and the recognition that we all are in this together, we all have to step up and bite the bullet together. I believe that trend will prevail.Depression by Year-endRavi BatraRavi Batra, professor of economics at the Southern Methodist University in Dallas, built his reputation with startling economic forecasts, most notably his inaccurate forecast of The Great Depression of 1990 and the more recent accurate prediction of the 2001 meltdown in Crash of the Millennium. His latest book, The New Golden Age: The Coming Revolution Against Political Corruption and Economic Chaos, released in 2006 speaks to the current economic implosion.In your latest book The New Golden Age, you are quite pessimistic about the prospects for the U.S. economy. But many economists and officials in the Obama administration believe the economy is turning a corner. Do you think the U.S. economy is out of the woods yet?There is some improvement in the economy because of the inventory cycle, as retailers cut back on orders in the past because of falling demand. Now they are restocking, which is temporary. There is no fundamental improvement or change, and once inventories have been replenished, production will fall again.You have been more bearish than many mainstream economists. Why so and what are you seeing that they are not?  Mainstream economists, strangely enough, don’t look at supply and demand. If they did they would not be so optimistic. Here’s a bird’s eye view of my theory.A healthy economy requires that there is a balance between supply and demand.… Without this balance, there is either high unemployment or high inflation. The main source of supply is labor productivity, whereas the main source of demand is the real wage, or people’s purchasing power. When productivity rises, production or supply goes up and when the real wage increases, consumer spending, and hence investment spending, go up.… If the real wage fails to grow as fast as productivity, then over time, a wage-productivity gap develops and supply is greater than demand.…There is another way through which demand can be raised — new debt. It is an artificial way, and cannot be used forever, but it can postpone the problem for a long time, while the potential economic imbalance builds and cumulates. From 1981 on, U.S. budget deficits, with former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan advising Pres. Ronald Reagan, grew apace. Economists called it fiscal policy, but in reality it was a debt-creating policy. This is how the supply-demand balance was maintained in the presence of the rising wage gap. Thus, for a while, economic balance occurs….A time comes when people run out of good collateral and lenders become wary of new loans. A banking crisis is then inevitable, and this crisis cannot be resolved just by doling out money to the banks. Our government has been doing precisely the wrong thing since 2007. The economists are confused between the cause and effect.The ongoing banking meltdown is the effect, not the cause of the slump. Rewarding the banks with trillions is to treat the symptom and ignore the real cause, which is the rising wage gap. Until that cause is removed by following policies that raise wages to catch up with sky-high productivity, we are not going to come out of our recession.Do you think the administration is being overly optimistic in its economic projections?Excessive debt is the cause of our crisis, which cannot end by creating more debt. Until employment starts to rise, recession continues, and the administration economists have miscalculated the effect of the government stimulus on employment.Do you still think that we are at risk of a depression?  In The New Golden Age, I predicted that economic chaos would begin in 2007 with a housing meltdown in the United States, followed by a banking crisis and share price declines in 2008 and 2009. I now foresee that this crisis would last at least till 2010, and possibly longer. This is because conventional economists still do not understand the nasty economic effects of the wage-productivity gap, which has grown enormously all over the world. If the doctor does not diagnose the sickness properly, the patient has to suffer for a long time.… Our recession will soon turn into a depression, possibly by the end of the year.What do you project the unemployment rate will be at the end of 2009 and the end of 2010?The unemployment rate at the end of 2009 will exceed 10% and could go as high as 15% by the end of 2010.What do you project the Dow Jones average will be at the end of 2009 and the end of 2010?Most likely around 6,000.When do you expect housing prices to bottom out?Perhaps next year.Do you think our money is safe in U.S. banks?Banks are safe, because they have the backing of the Federal Reserve, which can print as much money as it wants.What advice would you give people regarding their investments or retirement accounts?Buy gold ETFs, such as GLD, and sell monthly options on them.What can individuals do to minimize their financial or employment risks?People should save as much money as they can. Those still employed should not try to move to another job, because they could lose their seniority and be the first to be fired in the future. Small businesses should not expand and not offer goods on credit, etc.What do you think are the greatest risks to the U.S. and global economy at this time?  Goldman Sachs and the like are the biggest risk to the global economy. They are back to their shenanigans of the past, which through speculation raised the price of oil to new records. They are doing this again, but this time with the help of taxpayer’s money.What do you think are the biggest miscalculations of Obama’s economic team?Obama’s team like Bush’s is focusing on Wall Street and the banks, and is unaware of the true cause of the economic debacle. It thinks that government spending can replace private spending, which has plummeted. And it is trying to protect the status quo, which means business as usual for big business.The president lost a great opportunity when the Dow was at 6,500, because he could have then taken on the speculative machine of giant financial firms and broken them into smaller companies. Now it is too late, because the Dow has jumped and he has to wait until another crash hits the nation. But he will soon get another opportunity, as the Dow is likely to crash soon.What do you think are the long term effects of the current global crisis?The long term effects are great. The world is moving toward a golden age, which, for the first time in history, will eliminate poverty all over the globe.Which countries do you think will emerge better positioned out of this recession?The United States will remain the world economic leader, except that the globe will become poor until the rule of money evaporates. Then we will see unprecedented prosperity.Still Got Two EyesGerald CelenteTrends analyst Gerald Celente, founder of The Trends Research Institute and publisher of The Trends Journal, built his reputation by accurately predicting the 1987 stock market crash, the 1997 Asian economic crisis and the “Panic of ’08.” He has attracted both attention and ire in recent months with his increasingly dire projections, which he titled as “Obamageddon.”In the latest The Trends Journal you make very dire predictions of tent cities, food riots and tax rebellion by 2012. Do you still envisage conditions will be as bad as you were projecting?  Economists now predicting recovery are the same people that were saying recession wasn’t here even when we were in recession. Go back to the campaign in 2008, they didn’t start talking about the recession until the Fall of 2008 even though the recession began in December 2007.These are the same people talking about green shoots a couple of months ago and as you go back to the beginning of the year, they said we would be in recovery by second quarter of 2009. The Obama administration, which began with a stimulus package, had estimated that without the stimulus package, unemployment in 2009 would be at 8%. We had a stimulus package and unemployment is at 9.5%. They had also said that they would create by mid-year 600,000 jobs and we lost 2.5 million. At best, at best, they saved 150,000. All their forecasts are wrong. There is nothing they have forecast economically that has come to pass.But the improving signs of bank profits and new financial earnings reports, don’t give you hope?Let’s look at the bank reports. We know that hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money has been given to the banks and they refuse (this is like fiction), to tell the people (the taxpayer) who gave them money, where the money went, how they are spending it.If you gave me, as they gave Goldman Sachs, $13 billion to cover losses with AIG — 100% coverage of losses — converting Goldman Sachs for from a brokerage firm to a bank holding company, giving them access to $10 billion, plus all the loans and benefits they are giving them at discount prices, could you show a profit? These are profits that are pumped up by bailouts, rescue packages and stimulus plans. Yesterday the market went up because Caterpillar showed better earnings than they had thought, or rather losses less severe. They are not better off; their profits are off 66%. Who in the real world wouldn’t call that depression level results? I would consider that atrocious. What you didn’t have a 77% decline? Oh, you only lost one arm and a leg, but you still got your two eyes and the use of one leg!You have said this bailout bubble can be more lethal than the earlier bubbles. Can you explain?In The Trends Journal in 2004 we predicted the great recession. We noticed it would happen. It was very easy to see that after the dot com crash in March 2000, rather than letting Wall Street take its $5 trillion worth of speculative losses that were built up by the dot com boom, the Federal Reserve began to lower the interest rates to 46 year lows. They created this borrow and spend mentality that was unprecedented in American history.You want to buy a new house, borrow on your old one; with your new equity loan, you can build that new addition, go on a vacation, buy a new car, send your kids to school, go on a shopping spree. Your house is a piggy bank.So housing as an asset became artificially inflated by the availability of historically cheap money rather than letting the bubble burst. With the bailout bubble, they have added $13 trillion worth of phantom money.This isn’t real money, it is phantom money printed out of thin air, based on nothing, backed by nothing. So they are creating a bubble, but when this financial/real estate bubble bursts, it is worse than the dot com bubble, because now government has an equity position in these companies, and they have government executive powers and management controls. This is unheard of in American history. This used to be the entrepreneurial empire of the world, that so much of the world respected and revered as the capital of entrepreneurism. No more.You developed a fair amount of credibility in the media with your previously accurate predictions. But some of the things you are saying sound shrill. Do you really believe it will be as extreme as you are saying or are you trying to pierce through the clutter of the positive blather?Not at all. We take what they are saying to be extreme. How could people believe these people when everything they said is wrong. If you can show me they are right here, I’ll say fine, we’re only humans, we all make mistakes. But we can say with all certainty, and we say it over and over again, you cannot print phantom money out of thin air based on nothing, backed by nothing without destroying the economy. Look at Brazil, India, China, Russia, the BRIC countries, they all talk now about another reserve currency.But when you say food riots, tent cities and tax rebellions?  Tax rebellions, let’s take that. Go back to 2007, we wrote about tax revolts when George Bush was president. We saw this coming. Current events inform future trends. They are squeezing the people at every level. Look at what is happening in California. Tax rebellion is already happening. They are trying to downplay them when tea parties and tax protests happen. This hasn’t happened in America before in my lifetime. And now they are commonplace. They happened in April and again on the 4th of July. This is just the beginning. Food riots, oh yes. When people get hungry, when they have nothing to eat, you are going to see a lot of ugly scenes happen in America.What would you project the unemployment rate to be at end of 2009 and end of 2010?It will probably be heading towards 11% by end 2009 and by 2010 it could well be into 12-13%.Where would you project the Dow Jones?We don’t know. The Dow Jones is a different game. It can go in any kind of direction. When you go to the Great Depression, you saw the Dow Jones improving. It is not an economic indicator, it is a casino.When do you expect housing prices to bottom out?It could be many years. It could be a decade. There are two buying seasons in America, Spring and Fall, period, paragraph. Spring buying season was a bust and Fall does not look any better. It is very dismal for the future.Do you think our money is safe in U.S. banks?We don’t give investment advice. I tell you what I do. I am a big believer in gold and I think Indians like gold. I hedge my money. In my business I need cash, so I spread it between euros and dollars, knowing that if euros go up, dollars go down, so I have parity. That is the investment strategy for right now, it is not to take risk, it’s wealth preservation….We are looking at mid August for some dire economic news. In the event there is dire economic news, there are more financial collapses, there is a probability that they may call a bank holiday. It is not unprecedented, it has been done in America before, Pres. Franklin Roosevelt did it .… So are banks safe? It is not a question, are banks safe; it is a question, will they call a bank holiday, which they have done before? If they do, you will be restricted on how much money you can get out. They have done it in Argentina and other countries. Yes, you can get your money out, it’s FDIC insured. You just can’t get it out all at once and it may be devalued.What do you do with your investments and retirement accounts?I don’t have any. My investments are in the property and real estate I own. My retirement is all in gold.What can people do to minimize their employment and other financial risks?This whole mentality, this American mantra to shop until you drop, what kind of sick thinking is that? The businesses that we believe are going to make it in this new climate are going to be ones that accentuate quality — less is more. In our study, the very best company that we see are the ones whose profits are down between 25-30%, that’s the best. The worst are down 70% .…The other thing to consider is, why are you sending your child to college for an MBA, or a degree in communications, journalism, art, history? As an economist what is going to be the return on the investment? The college industrial complex is going to be one of the major economic collapses in the United States. They are producing students, retraining people for jobs that don’t exist. So unless you are in specialty fields in high tech, health, engineering, alternative fuels, or smart areas that have more productive usage of resources, outside of those fields, the soft arts are going to be losers.This country was built not on a mantra of shop until you drop. It was called Yankee frugality: use it up, wear it out, make it do, do without. Those are the kinds of things that need to be considered again.At this stage what do you think are the greatest risks to the U.S. and the global economy?The greatest risk on the economic end is the collapse of the U.S. dollar. That is the greatest risk that we see, because America has the ability to destroy the global financial system with these unprecedented bailouts, stimulus and rescue packages. Whoever heard of this before? They are jeopardizing the global economy. It is not saving it, it is jeopardizing it.Are there other disruptive forces as well?We are only looking at economic issues. Back in 2001, President Bush’s popularity rating was as low as President Obama’s is now. It was declining rapidly. I even remember word for word, because I was writing about it, what the American media were talking about. There was this Congressman Gary Condit and his aide, a young girl Chandra Levy, who was missing, and shark attacks. That was the news, that is all they were talking about in the summer of 2001 and Bush was off on vacation in Crawford, Tex., for months as America was still suffering from the fallout of the dotcom bubble burst.Then all of a sudden on Sept. 11 the whole game changed. The war on terror began and Bush’s popularity skyrocketed. The same thing can happen here. Any wild card could happen and change the game at a minute’s notice and deflect people’s attention away from an economic policy failure, an economic policy that is doomed to fail.Do you envisage that as conditions worsen, immigrants could face a backlash?I don’t care what country it is, immigration is going to be a major issue because there is not going to be enough wealth to go around under the current system.Do you know that the anti-marijuana laws in America grew mostly out of the Great Depression and they blamed the Mexican immigrants for all the heinous crime. They trumped up the problem and blamed it on the immigrants. They made it an immigrant issue, which had absolutely no foundation at all, either the danger of smoking marijuana or the problem being caused by the Mexicans. But they blamed it on the Mexican immigrants and it was used as a pretext to have very severe anti immigrant laws in place and they were of course also blaming them for undercutting the economy. So these trends are old. It’s just a new time and a new phase.Do you think either political party could have made a difference?No, it is like watching the World Wrestling Federation. They pretend to be arch-enemies on the stage. After the cameras go off, they do their deals together. There is very little difference between the two parties. Related Itemslast_img read more