position:consultant

  • Boeing’s 737 Max Software Outsourced to $9-an-Hour Engineers - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-06-28/boeing-s-737-max-software-outsourced-to-9-an-hour-engineers

    In offices across from Seattle’s Boeing Field, recent college graduates employed by the Indian software developer HCL Technologies Ltd. occupied several rows of desks, said Mark Rabin, a former Boeing software engineer who worked in a flight-test group that supported the Max.

    The coders from HCL were typically designing to specifications set by Boeing. Still, “it was controversial because it was far less efficient than Boeing engineers just writing the code,” Rabin said. Frequently, he recalled, “it took many rounds going back and forth because the code was not done correctly.”

    Boeing’s cultivation of Indian companies appeared to pay other dividends. In recent years, it has won several orders for Indian military and commercial aircraft, such as a $22 billion one in January 2017 to supply SpiceJet Ltd. That order included 100 737-Max 8 jets and represented Boeing’s largest order ever from an Indian airline, a coup in a country dominated by Airbus.

    Based on resumes posted on social media, HCL engineers helped develop and test the Max’s flight-display software, while employees from another Indian company, Cyient Ltd., handled software for flight-test equipment.

    C’est beau comme tout la langue de bois des public relations :

    Boeing said the company did not rely on engineers from HCL and Cyient for the Maneuvering Characteristics Augmentation System, which has been linked to the Lion Air crash last October and the Ethiopian Airlines disaster in March. The Chicago-based planemaker also said it didn’t rely on either firm for another software issue disclosed after the crashes: a cockpit warning light that wasn’t working for most buyers.

    “Boeing has many decades of experience working with supplier/partners around the world,” a company spokesman said. “Our primary focus is on always ensuring that our products and services are safe, of the highest quality and comply with all applicable regulations.”

    In a statement, HCL said it “has a strong and long-standing business relationship with The Boeing Company, and we take pride in the work we do for all our customers. However, HCL does not comment on specific work we do for our customers. HCL is not associated with any ongoing issues with 737 Max.”

    Starting with the 787 Dreamliner, launched in 2004, it sought to increase profits by instead providing high-level specifications and then asking suppliers to design more parts themselves. The thinking was “they’re the experts, you see, and they will take care of all of this stuff for us,” said Frank McCormick, a former Boeing flight-controls software engineer who later worked as a consultant to regulators and manufacturers. “This was just nonsense.”

    Sales are another reason to send the work overseas. In exchange for an $11 billion order in 2005 from Air India, Boeing promised to invest $1.7 billion in Indian companies. That was a boon for HCL and other software developers from India, such as Cyient, whose engineers were widely used in computer-services industries but not yet prominent in aerospace.

    La sous-traitance logicielle peut-elle suivre les modèles de la sous-traitance de l’industrie ?

    HCL, once known as Hindustan Computers, was founded in 1976 by billionaire Shiv Nadar and now has more than $8.6 billion in annual sales. With 18,000 employees in the U.S. and 15,000 in Europe, HCL is a global company and has deep expertise in computing, said Sukamal Banerjee, a vice president. It has won business from Boeing on that basis, not on price, he said: “We came from a strong R&D background.”

    Still, for the 787, HCL gave Boeing a remarkable price – free, according to Sam Swaro, an associate vice president who pitched HCL’s services at a San Diego conference sponsored by Avionics International magazine in June. He said the company took no up-front payments on the 787 and only started collecting payments based on sales years later, an “innovative business model” he offered to extend to others in the industry.

    The 787 entered service three years late and billions of dollars over budget in 2011, in part because of confusion introduced by the outsourcing strategy. Under Dennis Muilenburg, a longtime Boeing engineer who became chief executive in 2015, the company has said that it planned to bring more work back in-house for its newest planes.

    #Boeing #Sous-traitance #Capitalisme #Sécurité #Logiciel

    • In the desert near Las Vegas, Nevada, Bertha Parker completed her daily tasks of cooking, cleaning, and organizing the day’s finds from the Gypsum Cave excavation and stole away from her role as expedition secretary. She put on a dust-mask and head-lamp, and went exploring. Being small, Parker was able to sneak through a small opening others on the archaeological team couldn’t. There, under a slab of rock, she uncovered the most important discovery of the Gypsum Cave Expedition: An intact skull of a long-extinct giant ground sloth, sitting near man-made artifacts. Her find of these two artifacts, so close together, was compelling evidence that about 10,000 years ago, the sloth and tool-wielding humans had lived in the cave at the same time. It was the earliest record of human inhabitance in North America at the time.

      It was lauded as “the most outstanding anthropological find ever made in the United States.
      After this groundbreaking discovery in 1930, Parker gained wide acclaim as the first Native American archaeologist. Not only was she one of the first women to achieve such success in the field, she followed a non-traditional path to get there.

      Parker was literally born into archaeology—her father, Arthur C. Parker, was an archaeologist and anthropologist from the Seneca tribe, and Parker was reportedly born in a tent at one of his dig sites. But she was never formally trained in the field. She accompanied her father to excavations as a child, but this apprenticeship ended when her parents divorced, and Parker moved with her mother to Los Angeles when she was only seven years old. There, Parker and her mother worked in show business, performing in films and as a part of the “Pocahontas” show with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum, and Bailey circus.

      Parker met her first husband, Joseph Pallan, on a Hollywood set and the two had a daughter they called Billie. But Pallan became abusive, and when Parker tried to get a divorce, Pallan kidnapped her and Billie, taking them across the border to Mexico. Parker was rescued by her uncle and famed archaeologist, Mark Raymond Harrington, who rode after them and brought them back to a dig site in Nevada.

      A picture of Bertha Parker, anthropologist of Abenaki and Seneca descent.
      Matteo Farinella

      There, Harrington and his wife offered Parker and Billie a place to stay, hiring Parker as the secretary and cook for the expedition. While she had no formal education or training, she enjoyed being in the field, and had a keen eye for discerning man-made objects from surrounding natural features—a skill that made her a valuable member of the team. While working with Harrington, she learned excavation techniques, and frequently spent her free time helping at the dig.

      Parker eventually found several archaeological sites, including the Scorpion Hill pueblo site—which she discovered, named, excavated, and documented completely on her own. One such find, the Corn Creek Campsite, she discovered after noticing fossilized camel bones in a lake bed. But by far her most notable discovery was that of the ground sloth skull in Gypsum Cave. It was lauded as “the most outstanding anthropological find ever made in the United States. Harrington recognized it as the most important discovery of his expedition, and it secured funding for further field work.

      While older sites have since been found, Gypsum Cave remains an important archaeological site and expeditions in the area are ongoing.
      When Parker found the skull, the idea of human migration into North America via the Bering Strait land bridge was still highly debated. Her Gypsum Cave excavation placed early humans in North America at the same time as the ancient ground sloth (Nothrotherium shastense)—in the Pleistocene, nearly 10,000 years before present. This supported the contentious idea of an earlier migration into the Americas. In fact, at that time, the Gypsum Cave artifacts were the oldest human artifacts found in North America. While older sites have since been found, Gypsum Cave remains an important archaeological site and expeditions in the area are ongoing.

      The Gypsum Cave excavation is also where Parker met her second husband, a fellow archaeologist named James Thurston. The marriage was short lived, however, after Thurston died tragically only a year later from a heart attack at the site in 1932. Parker herself fell ill shortly after his death and left Nevada to return to Los Angeles.

      Parker’s reports gave a voice to often overlooked people.
      In California, Parker was appointed a position at the Southwest Museum, first as a secretary, where she documented the findings collected during the Gypsum Cave expedition, and later as an assistant archaeologist and ethnologist. In this role, she was able to make a series of trips to visit the indigenous peoples of California, including individuals from the Maidu, Paiute, Pomo, and the Yurok tribes. She was able to document important records of the culture, traditions, history, and folklore of these tribes, which she preserved in detailed notes and published in numerous reports for the Southwest Museum’s journal, Masterkey. Due to her heritage, she was more sensitive than many other academics to tribal concerns, redacting people’s names from reports when desired, but giving editorial or co-authorship credits to many of her interviewees. Parker’s reports gave a voice to often overlooked people.

      In 1936, Parker married her third and final husband, the acclaimed actor Iron Eyes Cody. With Cody, she returned to the film industry, where she advocated for and helped to support Native American actors. Alongside her husband, she worked as a consultant to ensure respectful representation of Native Americans in TV and film. The couple also hosted a television series in California on the history and folklore of the Native American peoples.

      Her gravestone is engraved only with the words “Mrs. Iron Eyes Cody.
      Parker died in 1978, and the fame and recognition she had gained in the archaeological community during her lifetime quickly faded. Years after her death, Iron Eyes Cody published an autobiography, in which he falsely described his relationship with Parker and marked her as a partier and a drunk. But this isn’t the only thing that’s kept Parker out of history books. Even though Parker published often in Masterkey, the legacy of her work is almost completely tied to the men in her life. Even in her obituary, she was named as “Arthur Parker’s daughter,” “M.R. Harrington’s niece,” and “Iron Eyes Cody’s wife.” Her gravestone is engraved only with the words “Mrs. Iron Eyes Cody.”

      Perhaps her achievements were hard to track due to the numerous name changes over the course of her three marriages , or because her more notable accomplishments are encompassed in the writings of the men she worked and lived with—who refer to her as a “daughter” or “wife,” rather than by her own name. Whatever the reason, it is time that Bertha Parker—the self-taught archaeologist and ethnologist, who gave a voice to the overlooked and under-represented indigenous peoples in America—receives recognition for her role as a trailblazer.

  • As Thousands of Taxi Drivers Were Trapped in Loans, Top Officials Counted the Money - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/19/nyregion/taxi-medallions.html

    [Read Part 1 of The Times’s investigation: How Reckless Loans Devastated a Generation of Taxi Drivers]

    At a cramped desk on the 22nd floor of a downtown Manhattan office building, Gary Roth spotted a looming disaster.

    An urban planner with two master’s degrees, Mr. Roth had a new job in 2010 analyzing taxi policy for the New York City government. But almost immediately, he noticed something disturbing: The price of a taxi medallion — the permit that lets a driver own a cab — had soared to nearly $700,000 from $200,000. In order to buy medallions, drivers were taking out loans they could not afford.

    Mr. Roth compiled his concerns in a report, and he and several colleagues warned that if the city did not take action, the loans would become unsustainable and the market could collapse.

    They were not the only ones worried about taxi medallions. In Albany, state inspectors gave a presentation to top officials showing that medallion owners were not making enough money to support their loans. And in Washington, D.C., federal examiners repeatedly noted that banks were increasing profits by steering cabbies into risky loans.

    They were all ignored.

    Medallion prices rose above $1 million before crashing in late 2014, wiping out the futures of thousands of immigrant drivers and creating a crisis that has continued to ravage the industry today. Despite years of warning signs, at least seven government agencies did little to stop the collapse, The New York Times found.

    Instead, eager to profit off medallions or blinded by the taxi industry’s political connections, the agencies that were supposed to police the industry helped a small group of bankers and brokers to reshape it into their own moneymaking machine, according to internal records and interviews with more than 50 former government employees.

    For more than a decade, the agencies reduced oversight of the taxi trade, exempted it from regulations, subsidized its operations and promoted its practices, records and interviews showed.

    Their actions turned one of the best-known symbols of New York — its signature yellow cabs — into a financial trap for thousands of immigrant drivers. More than 950 have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records, and many more struggle to stay afloat.

    Remember the ‘10,000 Hours’ Rule for Success? Forget About It
    “Nobody wanted to upset the industry,” said David Klahr, who from 2007 to 2016 held several management posts at the Taxi and Limousine Commission, the city agency that oversees cabs. “Nobody wanted to kill the golden goose.”

    New York City in particular failed the taxi industry, The Times found. Two former mayors, Rudolph W. Giuliani and Michael R. Bloomberg, placed political allies inside the Taxi and Limousine Commission and directed it to sell medallions to help them balance budgets and fund priorities. Mayor Bill de Blasio continued the policies.

    Under Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. de Blasio, the city made more than $855 million by selling taxi medallions and collecting taxes on private sales, according to the city.

    But during that period, much like in the mortgage lending crisis, a group of industry leaders enriched themselves by artificially inflating medallion prices. They encouraged medallion buyers to borrow as much as possible and ensnared them in interest-only loans and other one-sided deals that often required them to pay hefty fees, forfeit their legal rights and give up most of their monthly incomes.

    When the medallion market collapsed, the government largely abandoned the drivers who bore the brunt of the crisis. Officials did not bail out borrowers or persuade banks to soften loan terms.

    “They sell us medallions, and they knew it wasn’t worth price. They knew,” said Wael Ghobrayal, 42, an Egyptian immigrant who bought a medallion at a city auction for $890,000 and now cannot make his loan payments and support his three children.

    “They lost nothing. I lost everything,” he said.

    The Times conducted hundreds of interviews, reviewed thousands of records and built several databases to unravel the story of the downfall of the taxi industry in New York and across the United States. The investigation unearthed a collapse that was years in the making, aided almost as much by regulators as by taxi tycoons.

    Publicly, government officials have blamed the crisis on competition from ride-hailing firms such as Uber and Lyft.

    In interviews with The Times, they blamed each other.

    The officials who ran the city Taxi and Limousine Commission in the run-up to the crash said it was the job of bank examiners, not the commission, to control lending practices.

    The New York Department of Financial Services said that while it supervised some of the banks involved in the taxi industry, it deferred to federal inspectors in many cases.

    The federal agency that oversaw many of the largest lenders in the industry, the National Credit Union Administration, said those lenders were meeting the needs of borrowers.

    The N.C.U.A. released a March 2019 internal audit that scolded its regulators for not aggressively enforcing rules in medallion lending. But even that audit partially absolved the government. The lenders, it said, all had boards of directors that were supposed to prevent reckless practices.

    And several officials criticized Congress, which two decades ago excepted credit unions in the taxi industry from some rules that applied to other credit unions. After that, the officials said, government agencies had to treat those lenders differently.

    Ultimately, former employees said, the regulatory system was set up to ensure that lenders were financially stable, and medallions were sold. But almost nothing protected the drivers.

    Matthew W. Daus, far right, at a hearing of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2004. CreditMarilynn K. Yee/The New York Times
    Matthew W. Daus was an unconventional choice to regulate New York’s taxi industry. He was a lawyer from Brooklyn and a leader of a political club that backed Mr. Giuliani for mayor.

    The Giuliani administration hired him as a lawyer for the Taxi and Limousine Commission before appointing him chairman in 2001, a leadership post he kept after Mr. Bloomberg became mayor in 2002.

    The commission oversaw the drivers and fleets that owned the medallions for the city’s 12,000 cabs. It licensed all participants and decided what cabs could charge, where they could go and which type of vehicle they could use.

    And under Mr. Bloomberg, it also began selling 1,000 new medallions.

    At the time, the mayor said the growing city needed more yellow cabs. But he also was eager for revenue. He had a $3.8 billion hole in his budget.

    The sales put the taxi commission in an unusual position.

    It had a long history of being entangled with the industry. Its first chairman, appointed in 1971, was convicted of a bribery scheme involving an industry lobbyist. Four other leaders since then had worked in the business.

    It often sent staffers to conferences where companies involved in the taxi business paid for liquor, meals and tickets to shows, and at least one past member of its board had run for office in a campaign financed by the industry.

    Still, the agency had never been asked to generate so much money from the business it was supposed to be regulating.

    Former staffers said officials chose to sell medallions with the method they thought would bring in the most revenue: a series of limited auctions that required participants to submit sealed bids above ever-increasing minimums.

    Ahead of the sales, the city placed ads on television and radio, and in newspapers and newsletters, and held seminars promoting the “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”

    “Medallions have a long history as a solid investment with steady growth,” Mr. Daus wrote in one newsletter. In addition to guaranteed employment, he wrote, “a medallion is collateral that can assist in home financing, college tuition or even ‘worry-free’ retirement.”

    At the first auctions under Mr. Bloomberg in 2004, bids topped $300,000, surprising experts.

    Some former staffers said in interviews they believed the ad campaign inappropriately inflated prices by implying medallions would make buyers rich, no matter the cost. Seven said they complained.

    The city eventually added a disclaimer to ads, saying past performance did not guarantee future results. But it kept advertising.

    During the same period, the city also posted information on its website that said that medallion prices were, on average, 13 percent higher than they really were, according to a Times data analysis.

    In several interviews, Mr. Daus defended the ad campaigns, saying they reached people who had been unable to break into the tight market. The ads were true at the time, he said. He added he had never heard internal complaints about the ads.

    In all, the city held 16 auctions between 2004 and 2014.

    “People don’t realize how organized it is,” Andrew Murstein, president of Medallion Financial, a lender to medallion buyers, said in a 2011 interview with Tearsheet Podcast. “The City of New York, more or less, is our partner because they want to see prices go as high as possible.”

    Help from a federal agency

    New York City made more than $855 million from taxi medallion sales under Mayor Bill de Blasio and his predecessor, Michael R. Bloomberg.

    For decades, a niche banking system had grown up around the taxi industry, and at its center were about half a dozen nonprofit credit unions that specialized in medallion loans. But as the auctions continued, the families that ran the credit unions began to grow frustrated.

    Around them, they saw other lenders making money by issuing loans that they could not because of the rules governing credit unions. They recognized a business opportunity, and they wanted in.

    They found a receptive audience at the National Credit Union Administration.

    The N.C.U.A. was the small federal agency that regulated the nation’s credit unions. It set the rules, examined their books and insured their accounts.

    Like the city taxi commission, the N.C.U.A. had long had ties to the industry that it regulated. One judge had called it a “rogue federal agency” focused on promoting the industry.

    In 2004, its chairman was Dennis Dollar, a former Mississippi state representative who had previously worked as the chief executive of a credit union. He had just been inducted into the Mississippi Credit Union Hall of Fame, and he had said one of his top priorities was streamlining regulation.

    Dennis Dollar, the former chairman of the National Credit Union Administration, is now a consultant in the industry. 

    Under Mr. Dollar and others, the N.C.U.A. issued waivers that exempted medallion loans from longstanding rules, including a regulation requiring each loan to have a down payment of at least 20 percent. The waivers allowed the lenders to keep up with competitors and to write more profitable loans.

    Mr. Dollar, who left government to become a consultant for credit unions, said the agency was following the lead of Congress, which passed a law in 1998 exempting credit unions specializing in medallion loans from some regulations. The law signaled that those lenders needed leeway, such as the waivers, he said.

    “If we did not do so, the average cabdriver couldn’t get a medallion loan,” Mr. Dollar said.

    The federal law and the N.C.U.A. waivers were not the only benefits the industry received. The federal government also provided many medallion lenders with financial assistance and guaranteed a portion of their taxi loans, assuring that if those loans failed, they would still be partially paid, according to records and interviews.

    As lenders wrote increasingly risky loans, medallion prices neared $500,000 in 2006.

    ‘Snoozing and napping’

    Under Mr. Bloomberg, the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission began selling 1,000 new medallions.

    Another agency was also supposed to be keeping an eye on lending practices. New York State banking regulators are required to inspect all financial institutions chartered in the state. But after 2008, they were forced to focus their attention on the banks most affected by the global economic meltdown, according to former employees.

    As a result, some industry veterans said, the state stopped examining medallion loans closely.

    “The state banking department would come in, and they’d be doing the exam in one room, and the N.C.U.A. would be in another room,” said Larry Fisher, who was then the medallion lending supervisor at Melrose Credit Union, one of the biggest lenders. “And you could catch the state banking department snoozing and napping and going on the internet and not doing much at all.”

    The state banking department, which is now called the New York Department of Financial Services, disputed that characterization and said it had acted consistently and appropriately.

    Former federal regulators described a similar trend at their agencies after the recession.

    Some former employees of the N.C.U.A., the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency said that as medallion prices climbed, they tried to raise issues with loans and were told not to worry. The Securities and Exchange Commission and the Federal Reserve Board also oversaw some lenders and did not intervene.

    A spokesman for the Federal Reserve said the agency was not a primary regulator of the taxi lending industry. The rest of the agencies declined to comment.

    “It was obvious that the loans were unusual and risky,” said Patrick Collins, a former N.C.U.A. examiner. But, he said, there was a belief inside his agency that the loans would be fine because the industry had been stable for decades.

    Meanwhile, in New York City, the taxi commission reduced oversight.

    For years, it had made medallion purchasers file forms describing how they came up with the money, including details on all loans. It also had required industry participants to submit annual disclosures on their finances, loans and conflicts of interest.

    But officials never analyzed the forms filed by buyers, and in the 2000s, they stopped requiring the annual disclosures altogether.

    “Reviewing these disclosures was an onerous lift for us,” the commission’s communications office said in a recent email.

    By 2008, the price of a medallion rose to $600,000.

    At around the same time, the commission began focusing on new priorities. It started developing the “Taxi of Tomorrow,” a model for future cabs.

    The agency’s main enforcement activities targeted drivers who cheated passengers or discriminated against people of color. “Nobody really scrutinized medallion transfers,” said Charles Tortorici, a former commission lawyer.

    A spokesman for Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement that during the mayor’s tenure, the city improved the industry by installing credit card machines and GPS devices, making fleets more environmentally efficient and creating green taxis for boroughs outside Manhattan.

    “The industry was always its own worst enemy, fighting every reform tooth and nail,” said the spokesman, Marc La Vorgna. “We put our energy and political capital into the reforms that most directly and immediately impacted the riding public.”

    Records show that since 2008, the taxi commission has not taken a single enforcement action against brokers, the powerful players who arrange medallion sales and loans.

    Alex Korenkov, a broker, suggested in an interview that he and other brokers took notice of the city’s hands-off approach.

    “Let’s put it this way,” he said. “If governing body does not care, then free-for-all.”

    By the time that Mr. Roth wrote his report at the Taxi and Limousine Commission in 2010, it was clear that something strange was happening in the medallion market.

    Mr. Daus gave a speech that year that mentioned the unusual lending practices. During the speech, he said banks were letting medallion buyers obtain loans without any down payment. Experts have since said that should have raised red flags. But at the time, Mr. Daus seemed pleased.

    “Some of these folks were offering zero percent down,” he said. “You tell me what bank walks around asking for zero percent down on a loan? It’s just really amazing.”

    In interviews, Mr. Daus acknowledged that the practice was unusual but said the taxi commission had no authority over lending.

    Inside the commission, at least four employees raised concerns about the medallion prices and lending practices, according to the employees, who described their own unease as well as Mr. Roth’s report.

    David S. Yassky, a former city councilman who succeeded Mr. Daus as commission chairman in 2010, said in an interview that he never saw Mr. Roth’s report.

    Mr. Yassky said the medallion prices puzzled him, but he could not determine if they were inflated, in part because people were still eager to buy. Medallions may have been undervalued for decades, and the price spike could have been the market recognizing the true value, he suggested.

    Meera Joshi, who became chairwoman in 2014, said in an interview that she was worried about medallion costs and lending practices but was pushed to prioritize other responsibilities. Dominic Williams, Mr. de Blasio’s chief policy adviser, said the city focused on initiatives such as improving accessibility because no one was complaining about loans.

    Worries about the taxi industry also emerged at the National Credit Union Administration. In late 2011, as the price of some medallions reached $800,000, a group of agency examiners wrote a paper on the risks in the industry, according to a recent report by the agency’s inspector general.

    In 2012, 2013 and 2014, inspectors routinely documented instances of credit unions violating lending rules, the inspector general’s report said.

    David S. Yassky, the former chairman of the New York City Taxi and Limousine Commission.

    The N.C.U.A. chose not to penalize medallion lenders or impose extra oversight. It did not take any wide industry action until April 2014, when it sent a letter reminding the credit unions in the taxi market to act responsibly.

    Former staffers said the agency was still focused on the fallout from the recession.

    A spokesman for the N.C.U.A. disputed that characterization and said the agency conducted appropriate enforcement.

    He added the agency took actions to ensure the credit unions remained solvent, which was its mission. He said Congress allowed the lenders to concentrate heavily on medallion loans, which left them vulnerable when Uber and Lyft arrived.

    At the New York Department of Financial Services, bank examiners noticed risky practices and interest-only loans and repeatedly wrote warnings starting in 2010, according to the state. At least one report expressed concern of a potential market bubble, the state said.

    Eventually, examiners became so concerned that they made a PowerPoint presentation and called a meeting in 2014 to show it to a dozen top officials.

    “Since 2001, individual medallion has risen 455%,” the presentation warned, according to a copy obtained by The Times. The presentation suggested state action, such as sending a letter to the industry or revoking charters from some lenders.

    The state did neither. The department had recently merged with the insurance department, and former employees said it was finding its footing.

    The department superintendent at the time, Benjamin M. Lawsky, a former aide to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, said he did not, as a rule, discuss his tenure at the department.

    In an emailed statement, the department denied it struggled after the merger and said it took action to stop the collapse of the medallion market. A department spokesman provided a long list of warnings, suggestions and guidelines that it said examiners had issued to lenders. He said that starting in 2012, the department downgraded some of its own internal ratings of the lenders.

    The list did not include any instances of the department formally penalizing a medallion lender, or making any public statement about the industry before it collapsed.

    Between 2010 and 2014, as officials at every level of government failed to rein in the risky lending practices, records show that roughly 1,500 people bought taxi medallions. Over all, including refinancings of old loans and extensions required by banks, medallion owners signed at least 10,000 loans in that time.

    Several regulators who tried to raise alarms said they believed the government stood aside because of the industry’s connections.

    Many pointed to one company — Medallion Financial, run by the Murstein family. Former Gov. Mario M. Cuomo, the current governor’s father, was a paid member of its board from 1996 until he died in 2015.

    Others noted that Mr. de Blasio has long been close to the industry. When he ran for mayor in 2013, an industry lobbyist, Michael Woloz, was a top fund-raiser, records show. And Evgeny Freidman, a major fleet owner who has admitted to artificially inflating medallion prices, has said he is close to the mayor.

    Some people, including Mr. Dollar, the former N.C.U.A. chairman, said Congress excepted the taxi trade from rules because the industry was supported by former United States Senator Alfonse D’Amato of New York, who was then the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee.

    “The taxi industry is one of the most politically connected industries in the city,” said Fidel Del Valle, who was the chairman of the taxi commission from 1991 to 1994. He later worked as a lawyer for drivers and a consultant to an owner association run by Mr. Freidman. “It’s been that way for decades, and they’ve used that influence to push back on regulation, with a lot of success.”

    A spokesman for Mr. Cuomo said Medallion Financial was not regulated by the state, so the elder Mr. Cuomo’s position on the board was irrelevant. A spokeswoman for Mr. de Blasio said the industry’s connections did not influence the city.

    Mr. Murstein, Mr. Woloz, Mr. Freidman and Mr. D’Amato all declined to comment.

    The aftermath
    “I think city will help me,” Mohammad Hossain, who is in deep debt from a taxi medallion loan, said at his family’s home in the Bronx.

    New York held its final independent medallion auction in February 2014. By then, concerns about medallion prices were common in the news media and government offices, and Uber had established itself. Still, the city sold medallions to more than 150 bidders. (“It’s better than the stock market,” one ad said.)

    Forty percent of the people who bought medallions at that auction have filed for bankruptcy, according to a Times analysis of court records.

    Mohammad Hossain, 47, from Bangladesh, who purchased a medallion for $853,000 at the auction, said he could barely make his monthly payments and was getting squeezed by his lender. “I bought medallion from the city,” he said through tears. “I think city will help me, you know. I assume that.”

    The de Blasio administration’s only major response to the crisis has been to push for a cap on ride-hail cars. The City Council at first rejected a cap in 2015 before approving it last year.

    Taxi industry veterans said the cap did not address the cause of the crisis: the lending practices.

    Richard Weinberg, a taxi commission hearing officer from 1988 to 2002 and a lawyer for drivers since then, said that when the medallion bubble began to burst, the city should have frozen prices, adjusted fares and fees and convinced banks to be flexible with drivers. That could have allowed prices to fall slowly. “That could’ve saved a lot of people,” he said.

    In an interview, Dean Fuleihan, the first deputy mayor, said the city did help taxi owners, including by reducing some fees, taxes and inspection mandates, and by talking to banks about loans. He said that if the City Council had passed the cap in 2015, it would have helped.

    “We do care about those drivers, we care about those families. We attempted throughout this period to take actions,” he said.

    Federal regulators also have not significantly helped medallion owners.

    In 2017 and 2018, the N.C.U.A. closed or merged several credit unions for “unsafe business practices” in medallion lending. It took over many of the loans, but did not soften terms, according to borrowers. Instead, it tried to get money out as quickly as possible.

    The failure of the credit unions has cost the national credit union insurance fund more than $750 million, which will hurt all credit union members.

    In August 2018, the N.C.U.A. closed Melrose in what it said was the biggest credit union liquidation in United States history. The agency barred Melrose’s general counsel from working for credit unions and brought civil charges against its former C.E.O., Alan Kaufman, saying he used company funds to help industry partners in exchange for gifts.

    The general counsel, Mitchell Reiver, declined to answer questions but said he did nothing wrong. Mr. Kaufman said in an interview that the N.C.U.A. made up the charges to distract from its role in the crisis.

    “I’m definitely a scapegoat,” Mr. Kaufman said. “There’s no doubt about it.”

    Glamour, then poverty
    After he struggled to repay his taxi medallion loan, Abel Vela left his family in New York and moved back to Peru, where living costs were cheaper. 

    During the medallion bubble, the city produced a television commercial to promote the permits. In the ad, which aired in 2004, four cabbies stood around a taxi discussing the perks of the job. One said buying a medallion was the best decision he had ever made. They all smiled. Then Mr. Daus appeared on screen to announce an auction.

    Fifteen years later, the cabbies remember the ad with scorn. Three of the four were eventually enticed to refinance their original loans under far riskier terms that left them in heavy debt.

    One of the cabbies, Abel Vela, had to leave his wife and children and return to his home country, Peru, because living costs were lower there. He is now 74 and still working to survive.

    The city aired a commercial in 2004 to promote an upcoming auction of taxi medallions. The ad featured real cab drivers, but three of them eventually took on risky loans and suffered financial blows.
    The only woman in the ad, Marie Applyrs, a Haitian immigrant, fell behind on her loan payments and filed for bankruptcy in November 2017. She lost her cab, and her home. She now lives with her children, switching from home to home every few months.

    “When the ad happened, the taxi was in vogue. I think I still have the tape somewhere. It was glamorous,” she said. “Now, I’m in the poorhouse.”

    Today, the only person from the television commercial still active in the industry is Mr. Daus. He works as a lawyer for lenders.

    [Read Part 1 of The Times’s investigation: How Reckless Loans Devastated a Generation of Taxi Drivers]

    Madeline Rosenberg contributed reporting. Doris Burke contributed research. Produced by Jeffrey Furticella and Meghan Louttit.

    #USA #New_York #Taxi #Betrug #Ausbeutung

  • Why Everyone Working On A Product Needs To Be Aware Of The Voice Of The Customer
    https://hackernoon.com/why-everyone-working-on-a-product-needs-to-be-aware-of-the-voice-of-the-

    Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré B2B #saas Consultant (right) and Poornima Vijayashanker, Founder of Femgineer (left)Interview with Nichole Elizabeth DeMeré B2B SaaS ConsultantI am the self-appointed family travel agent. Though if you ask my partner and the rest of my family members they’d agree that I am the best person for the job.Why?Because over the years I have become adept at making sure I don’t overlook the details when planning a vacation — you know where the devil hides! And who wants the devil to turn up on their vacation?!Unless of course, it’s a blue devil ;) #marchmadness #godukeI take the time to read through ALL the descriptions and fine print, talk to customer support agents to find out if there are any additional fees, and make sure that family members who have accessibility needs like (...)

    #customer-engagement #customer-service #customer-experience #customer-success

  • Decentralized Exchanges : Explaining #makers, Takers, and the missing piece
    https://hackernoon.com/decentralized-exchanges-explaining-makers-takers-and-the-missing-piece-6

    By: Kush PatelCo-Founder & Solutions ArchitectThis week we would like to showcase a series of guest posts from fellow Co-Founder and resident Solutions Architect here at BlockX Labs. Kush Patel has been a consultant for some of Canada’s top banks. His experience spans from developing financial products to scaling complex technical architectures. Kush has also built and maintained Exchanges which transferred approximately $1bn worth of assets on a daily basis. Nowadays, he is focused on working with our clients to build decentralized exchanges.Part I of this Guest Series includes an in-depth explanation of the Maker and Taker concept and the distrust that happens in Decentralized exchanges. Part II will cover part of the blog we will explore available solutions and limitations of (...)

    #decentralized-exchange #blockchain-technology #blockx-labs #blockchain

  • How I built my first Machine Learning Software-As-A-Service
    https://hackernoon.com/how-i-built-my-first-machine-learning-software-as-a-service-a726080f566a

    How I Built My First Machine Learning Software-As-A-ServiceAnd guess what? It didn’t need any funding. But it did need humans (and still does)My first payment from a real customer finally cleared. Product Pix just made $65.36. I feel like I can finally write a bit about my journey so far in building a #saas (software as a service). I can finally tell for sure that someone out there thinks my site is generating real value.And the site still doesn’t have any payment or subscription page! The transaction arose from the client reaching out to me and asking how much the service costs, because they needed to use my service at scale.That’s a good sign, right? So elegant. Here I am, a machine learning consultant, writing some code on my spare time, and I’m getting people to pay me for using it. Sheer (...)

    #ml-saas #machine-learning #startup #ecommerce

  • Finland’s basic income trial boosts happiness but not employment | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-finland-basic-income/finlands-basic-income-trial-boosts-happiness-but-not-employment-idUSKCN1PX0
    https://s4.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20190208&t=2&i=1354502227&w=1200&r=LYNXNPEF170XW

    HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finland’s basic income scheme did not spur its unemployed recipients to work more to supplement their earnings as hoped but it did help their wellbeing, researchers said on Friday as the government announced initial findings.

    The two-year trial, which ended a month ago, saw 2,000 Finns, chosen randomly from among the unemployed, become the first Europeans to be paid a regular monthly income by the state that was not reduced if they found work.

    Finland — the world’s happiest country last year, according to the United Nations — is exploring alternatives to its social security model.

    The trial was being watched closely by other governments who see a basic income as a way of encouraging the unemployed to take up often low-paid or temporary work without fear of losing their benefits. That could help reduce dependence on the state and cut welfare costs, especially as greater automation sees humans replaced in the workforce.

    Finland’s minister of health and social affairs Pirkko Mattila said the impact on employment of the monthly pay cheque of 560 euros ($635) “seems to have been minor on the grounds of the first trial year”.

    But participants in the trial were happier and healthier than the control group.

    “The basic income recipients of the test group reported better wellbeing in every way (than) the comparison group,” chief researcher Olli Kangas said.

    Chief economist for the trial Ohto Kanniainen said the low impact on employment was not a surprise, given that many jobless people have few skills or struggle with difficult life situations or health concerns.
    Owner Sini Marttinen poses for a picture at her coffee shop she founded while benefitting from Finland’s basic income scheme in Helsinki, Finland January 30, 2019. REUTERS/Philip O’Connor

    “Economists have known for a long time that with unemployed people financial incentives don’t work quite the way some people would expect them to,” he added.
    PSYCHOLOGICAL BOOST

    Sini Marttinen, 36, had been unemployed for nearly a year before “winning the lottery”, as she described the trial.

    Her basic income gave her enough confidence to open a restaurant with two friends. “I think the effect was a lot psychological,” the former IT consultant told Reuters.

    “You kind of got this idea you have two years, you have the security of 560 euros per month ... It gave me the security to start my own business.”

    Her income only rose by 50 euros a month compared to the jobless benefit she had been receiving, “but in an instant you lose the bureaucracy, the reporting”, Marttinen said.

    Mira Jaskari, 36, who briefly found a job during the trial but lost it due to poor health, said losing the basic income had left her feeling more insecure about money.

    The center-right government’s original plan was to expand the basic income scheme after two years as it tries to combat unemployment which has been persistently high for years but reached a 10-year low of 6.6 percent in December.

    That followed the imposition of benefits sanctions on unemployed people who refused work.

    The basic income has been controversial, however, with leaders of the main Finnish political parties keen to streamline the benefits system but wary of offering “money for nothing”, especially ahead of parliamentary elections due in April.
    Slideshow (2 Images)
    TAX BIND

    Prime Minister Juha Sipila’s Centre Party has proposed limiting the basic income to poor people, with sanctions if they reject a job offer, while Conservative finance minister Petteri Orpo says he favors a scheme like Britain’s Universal Credit.

    The higher taxes that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says would be needed to pay for basic income schemes might also be off-putting for voters.

    In a review of the Finnish scheme last year, the OECD warned that implementing it nationally and cost-neutrally for the state would imply significant income redistribution, especially towards couples from single people, and increase poverty.

    The researchers have acknowledged that the Finnish pilot was less than realistic because it did not include any tax claw-back once participants found work and reached a certain income level.

    Swiss voters rejected a similar scheme in 2016. Italy is due to introduce a “citizens’ wage” in April in a major overhaul of the welfare state, which will offer income support to the unemployed and poor.

    Trial participants were generally positive, however, with Tuomas Muraja, a 45-year-old journalist and author, saying the basic income had allowed him to concentrate on writing instead of form-filling or attending jobseekers’ courses.

    He said the end of the two-year trial, during which he published two books, had made it difficult again for him to accept commissions, because “I ... can earn only 300 euros per month without losing any benefits”.

    “If people are paid money freely that makes them creative, productive and welfare brings welfare,” Muraja told Reuters about his experience of the pilot.

    “If you feel free, you feel safer and then you can do whatever you want. That is my assessment.”

    ($1 = 0.8817 euros)

  • Big Tech May Look Troubled, but It’s Just Getting Started - The New York Times
    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/01/technology/big-tech-troubled-just-getting-started.html

    Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Alphabet, Google’s parent company, together generated $166.9 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2018 alone — up 24 percent from a year earlier, when the four companies hauled in $134.4 billion.

    “Much as people are now wary or even unhappy with the outsized power held by Facebook, Google, Amazon, etc., they are simultaneously quite dependent on the services they provide,” said David Autor, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Big Tech needs to be regulated, many are beginning to argue, and yet there are worries about giving that power to the government.

    “The government doesn’t have a good clue,” said Mr. Bajarin, the consultant. “They’re not even asking the kind of questions that would drive to regulation.”

    Which leaves regulation up to the companies themselves, always a dubious proposition.

    #silicon_valley #régulation

  • Semantic Merge with Pablo Santos
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/semantic-merge-with-pablo-santos

    Rob and Jason are joined by Pablo Santos from Codice Software to discuss Semantic Merge, Plastic SCM and more. Prior to entering start-up mode to launch Plastic SCM back in 2005, Pablo worked as R&D engineer in fleet control software development (GMV, Spain) and later digital television software stack (Sony, Belgium). Then he moved to a project management position (GCC, Spain) leading the evolution of an ERP software package for industrial companies. During these years he became an expert in version control and software configuration management working as a consultant and participating in several events as a speaker. Pablo founded Codice Software in 2005 and since then is focused on his role as chief engineer designing and developing Plastic SCM and SemanticMerge among other SCM (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-180.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • The omnipresence of AI and an intelligent IT consultant made in France
    https://hackernoon.com/the-omnipresence-of-ai-and-an-intelligent-it-consultant-made-in-france-9

    Realizing to what extent AI could replace human labor, can be extremely frightening. However, AI is a source of fascination at the same time.An impressive level of technological progress and wealth characterize modern economies nowadays. While in the early period of human history, the pace of technological progress was relatively slow, the success of today’s companies is strongly defined by time-to-market and state-of-the-artness. Key factors for competitiveness are therefore the capability of reacting quickly and predicting successfully the development of new and old technologies.The Competitiveness ChallengeA look into the landscape of technological trends 2018 reveals that innovativeness seems to be driven by data, cloud, intelligence and algorithm. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is (...)

    #technology #artificial-intelligence #innovation #business #consulting

  • Learning C++ with Devon Labrie
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/learning-c-with-devon-labrie

    Rob and Jason are joined by Devon Labrie to discuss his experience learning C++ at Augusta Tech and being a first time attendee at CppCon. Adi is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, software architect and a computer vision and machine learning expert with an emphasis on real-time applications. He specializes in building cross-platform, high-performance software combined with high production quality and maintainable code-bases. Adi is the founder of the Core C++ users group in Israel. Having worked on proprietary software for most of his career, his most visible contribution to the world of open-source software is, somewhat ironically, the design of the OpenCV logo. News Common Package specification Modules are not a tooling opportunity Herb Pre-trip report Devon Labrie (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-174.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • CppCast Episode 173: C++ Bestiary with Adi Shavit
    http://isocpp.org/feeder/?FeederAction=clicked&feed=All+Posts&seed=http%3A%2F%2Fisocpp.org%2Fblog%2F2

    Episode 173 of CppCast the only podcast for C++ developers by C++ developers. In this episode Rob and Jason are joined by Adi Shavit to discuss his spooky C++ Bestiary Blog post, CppCon talks and an announcement from the Core C++ User Group in Israel.

    CppCast Episode 173: C++ Bestiary with Adi Shavit by Rob Irving and Jason Turner

    About the interviewee:

    Adi is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, software architect and a computer vision and machine learning expert with an emphasis on real-time applications. He specializes in building cross-platform, high-performance software combined with high production quality and maintainable code-bases. Adi is the founder of the Core C++ users group in Israel. Having worked on proprietary software for most of his career, his most (...)

    #News,Video&_On-Demand,

  • C++ Bestiary with Adi Shavit
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/c-bestiary-with-adi-shavit

    Rob and Jason are joined by Adi Shavit to discuss his spooky C++ Bestiary Blog post, CppCon talks and an announcement from the Core C++ User Group in Israel. Adi is an entrepreneur, speaker, consultant, software architect and a computer vision and machine learning expert with an emphasis on real-time applications. He specializes in building cross-platform, high-performance software combined with high production quality and maintainable code-bases. Adi is the founder of the Core C++ users group in Israel. Having worked on proprietary software for most of his career, his most visible contribution to the world of open-source software is, somewhat ironically, the design of the OpenCV logo. News What Happens in 2098 with C++? JSON For Modern C++ version 3.3.0 released Meeting C++ 2018 (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-173.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • CppCast Episode 162: The Art of C++ Libraries with Colin Hirsch
    http://isocpp.org/feeder/?FeederAction=clicked&feed=All+Posts&seed=http%3A%2F%2Fisocpp.org%2Fblog%2F2

    Episode 162 of CppCast the only podcast for C++ developers by C++ developers. In this episode Rob and Jason are joined by Colin Hirsch to discuss his work on The Art of C++ collection of libraries including PEGTL, json and more.

    CppCast Episode 162: The Art of C++ Libraries with Colin Hirsch by Rob Irving and Jason Turner

    About the interviewee:

    Dr. Colin Hirsch studied Computer Science at the University of Technology in Aachen, Germany in 1993 and later got a PhD in Mathematics from the same university. He worked for two years as a consultant for T-Mobile, developing back-end server applications in C++ and Lua. Later Colin moved to Italy, opened his own business and continued working for T-Mobile (now Deutsche Telekom) as well as working for some other interesting (...)

    #News,Video&_On-Demand,

  • The Art of C++ Libraries with Colin Hirsch
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/the-art-of-c-libraries-with-colin-hirsch

    Rob and Jason are joined by Colin Hirsch to discuss his work on The Art of C++ collection of libraries including PEGTL, json and more. Dr. Colin Hirsch studied Computer Science at the University of Technology in Aachen, Germany in 1993 and later got a PhD in Mathematics from the same university. He worked for two years as a consultant for T-Mobile, developing back-end server applications in C++ and Lua. Later Colin moved to Italy, opened his own business and continued working for T-Mobile (now Deutsche Telekom) as well as working for some other interesting projects like Greenpeace and the Austrian ministry of ecology. In his free time he enjoys photography, being in nature, science fiction and spending time with his daughter. News Google Open Sources Filament rendering engine (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-162.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • ’We Need Healthcare Champions, Not Puppets’: Documents Expose Big Pharma’s Scheme to Turn Democratic Candidates Against Medicare for All | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/we-need-healthcare-champions-not-puppets-documents-expose-big-pharmas-sche

    At least three of the six candidates running to represent the “reliably” Democratic district in Hawaii “took time out from their schedules to talk to a consultant dispatched by the Healthcare Leadership Council, a lobbying group that seeks to advance the goals of the largest players in the private healthcare industry,” according to a new report by The Intercept.

    Although much of the report focuses on the Hawaii race, as The Intercept notes, the Healthcare Leadership Council—which is funded by Big Pharma companies such as Pfizer and Novartis—spends more than $5 million a year representing the interests of “insurers, hospitals, drugmakers, medical device manufacturers, pharmacies, health product distributors, and information technology companies” across the nation.

    #Big_Pharma #Corruption

  • Lean #strategy for Web 3.0
    https://hackernoon.com/lean-strategy-for-web-3-0-2a4dd2a62398?source=rss----3a8144eabfe3---4

    I recently came across this new McKinsey report which measures the “strategic value” of #blockchain and distributed ledger technologies.I didn’t hate it. The report adequately explained blockchain, debunked a few common myths, and presented a not-unproductive framework for blockchain use cases. As a former consultant at Bain, I dig these sort of reports.But then I got to the 2x2 matrix — a classic consulting tool typically used to help companies navigate a sea of strategic opportunities. The matrix grades both industries and industry-specific use cases by scoring the potential impact of blockchain as well as the feasibility of realizing that potential. While such a tool is easy on the eyes, I suspect that it is far from accurate.McKinsey prioritization framework for blockchain‘Legacy’ (...)

    #decentralized-web #web-3-point-0 #lean-strategy-for-web

  • #Seymour_Hersh on spies, state secrets, and the stories he doesn’t tell - Columbia Journalism Review
    https://www.cjr.org/special_report/seymour-hersh-monday-interview.php

    Bob Woodward once said his worst source was Kissinger because he never told the truth. Who was your worst source?

    Oh, I wouldn’t tell you.

  • C++ Simplicity with Kate Gregory
    http://cppcast.libsyn.com/c-simplicity-with-kate-gregory

    Kate Gregory has been using C++ since before Microsoft had a C++ compiler, and has been paid to program since 1979. She loves C++ and believes that software should make our lives easier. That includes making the lives of developers easier! She’ll stay up late arguing about deterministic destruction or how C++ these days is not the C++ you remember. Kate runs a small consulting firm in rural Ontario and provides mentoring and management consultant services, as well as writing code every week. She has spoken all over the world, written over a dozen books, and helped thousands of developers to be better at what they do. Kate is a Microsoft Regional Director, a Visual C++ MVP, an Imagine Cup judge and mentor, and an active contributor to StackOverflow and other StackExchange sites. She (...)

    http://traffic.libsyn.com/cppcast/cppcast-148.mp3?dest-id=282890

  • Gregory Klimov. The Terror Machine
    http://antimatrix.org/Convert/Books/Klimov/klimov-pp-e

    About author
    Gregory Petrovich Klimov

    Russian writer, member of the Writers’ Union of Russia. Author of the bestseller “Terror Machine”, published in 12 languages ​​in the “Reader’s Digest” sold more than 17 million copies. Three films based on this book were made in England, Germany and the United States in the years 1953-1954 German film “WEG OHNE UMKEHR”, was awarded at the International Film Festival in Berlin in 1954, the title of “the best German film of the year.” English “THE ROAD OF NO RETURN” and the American “NO WAY BACK” movies for a long time did not descend from screens all over the world.

    The author of the books:

    1951 MAШИНА ТЕРРОРА (БЕРЛИНСКИЙ КРЕМЛЬ, КРЫЛЬЯ ХОЛОПА, ПЕСНЬ ПОБЕДИТЕЛЯ)
    [TERROR MACHINE 1951 (BERLIN Kremlin LACKEY’S WINGS, WINNING SONG)]
    1970 КНЯЗЬ MИРА СEГO
    [THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD]
    1973 ДEЛO #69
    [The case #69]
    1975 ИМЯ MOЕ ЛEГИOН
    [MY NAME IS THE LEGION]
    1981 ПРОТОКОЛЫ СОВЕТСКИХ МУДРЕЦОВ
    [THE PROTOCOLS OF THE SOVIET ELDERS]
    1987 КРАСНАЯ КАББAЛA
    [RED KABBALAH]
    1989 БОЖИЙ НАРОД
    [GOD’S CHOSEN PEOPLE]

    Grigory Klimov, born September 26, 1918 in the city of Novocherkassk, Russia, in the family a doctor. In 1941 graduated with honors from the Novocherkassk Industrial Institute, and entered the Military-Diplomatic Academy in Moscow.

    In 1945 he graduated from the Academy and was assigned to work in Berlin, as the engineer-in-chief of the Soviet military administration.

    In 1947 he was ordered to go back to the Stalin’s Moscow. After much deliberation, he fled to West Germany.

    In 1949-1950 worked at the CIA’s highly classified subject “COLLAPSE OF THE COMMUNIST SYSTEM BY MEANS OF A SPECIAL TYPE PEOPLE. PEOPLE WITH THE POWER COMPLEX (Complex of latent homosexuality of Lenin).” The code name - Harvard Project. In 1951-55 he was the chairman of the Central Association of the Post-war Emigrants From The Soviet Union [ЦОПЭ] (TSOPE) and chief editor of the magazine “Freedom” and “Anti-Communist” (the latter in German).

    In 1958-59 worked as a consultant at the Cornell Project in New York, where he was also engaged in all sorts of cunning psychological studies related to the Hungarian uprising of 1956.

    The results of 50 years of work on this subject are reflected in the seven books. The last three are the abstracts of the series of lectures for the entire top of the command officers of the KGB, on the eve of perestroika.

    All the books were published by Sovetskaya Kuban [СОВЕТСКАЯ КУБАНЬ] - Krasnodar, RUSSIA. Total circulation has exceeded one million.

    For orders, please contact a representative of the publishing house Sovetskaya Kuban. Mironov Vladimir Leonidovich by e-mail klimov_gregory@yahoo.com

    You can send your opinion about books or via e-mail to klimov_gregory@yahoo.com:

    GREGORY KLIMOV
    48-34 91 place
    Elmhurst
    New York 11373
    USA

    Gregory Klimov - Search results - Wikipedia
    https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?search=Gregory+Klimov&title=Special:Search&fulltext=1&search

    Klimov (surname)
    Russian linguist Gregory Klimov (1918-2007), pen-name of Igor Kalmykov a.k.a. Ralph Werner, Soviet defector and writer Igor Klimov (born 1989), Russian

    #anticommunisme #conspirationnisme #Russie #USA #guerre_froide

  • South Korean company under fire for alleged deforestation in Papua oil palm concession
    https://news.mongabay.com/2018/04/south-korean-company-under-fire-for-alleged-deforestation-in-papua-oi

    A report by WRI shows ongoing deforestation in an oil palm concession in Papua, Indonesia, operated by a subsidiary of South Korea’s POSCO Daewoo.
    The company has responded by saying its operations in Papua are legal and fully permitted.
    Concerns over deforestation by POSCO Daewoo have prompted other companies to say they will not allow its palm oil into their supply chains. These include big-name brands such as Clorox, Colgate Palmolive, IKEA, L’Oreal, Mars and Unilever.
    POSCO Daewoo has issued a temporary moratorium on land clearing in its Papua concession and hired a consultant to advise it on how to proceed with its operations there.

    #industrie_palmiste #Papouasie #déforestation

  • Bahrain’s Biggest Oil Find Since 1932 Dwarfs Reserves - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-01/bahrain-says-its-biggest-oil-find-since-1932-dwarfs-reserves

    • Kingdom currently has two fields, one shared with Saudi Arabia
     • New undersea deposit lies off Gulf nation’s western coast

    Bahrain, the smallest energy producer in the Persian Gulf, discovered its biggest oil field since it started producing crude in 1932, according to the country’s official news agency.

    The shale oil and natural gas discovered in a deposit off the island state’s west coast “ is understood to dwarf Bahrain’s current reserves, ”Bahrain News Agency reported, without giving figures. U.S. consultants DeGolyer & MacNaughton Corp. evaluated the field, and Bahrain plans to provide additional details on Wednesday about the reservoir’s “size and extraction viability,” BNA reported.
    […]
    Bahrain discovered the offshore Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin as it seeks to expand output capacity at its wholly owned Bahrain Field to 100,000 barrels a day by the end of the decade. The country is pumping about 45,000 barrels of oil a day from its Bahrain Field, and it shares income from a deposit with Saudi Arabia that produces about 300,000 barrels a day, according to figures from the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

    • Bahrain Seeks Big Oil’s Help to Develop New Shale Discovery - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-04/bahrain-seeks-big-oil-help-to-develop-its-new-shale-discovery

      The amount of oil and gas that can be recovered from hard-to-reach pockets in shale rocks under the sea is uncertain, and development is potentially an expensive proposition. Halliburton Co. will drill two wells this year in the offshore Khaleej Al Bahrain Basin to appraise how much of the oil contained underground is actually recoverable.

      Only a fraction of the 80-plus billion barrels is likely to be recoverable,” Tom Quinn, senior analyst for Middle East upstream at consultant Wood Mackenzie Ltd., said by email. “The oil will also be technically challenging and potentially high cost to develop,” while Bahrain’s previous oil contracts offered meager returns for international oil companies, he said.
      […]

      Elsewhere in the Middle East, differences between estimated shale resources and the amounts that are exploitable can be great. Oman’s Rub Al-Khali Basin area contains an estimated 24 billion barrels of oil, but only 1.2 billion barrels are “technically recoverable,” according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Jordan’s Wadi Sirhan Basin resource holds about 4 billion barrels, and just 100 million can be extracted, according to the EIA. Both deposits are onshore.

      In addition Bahrain’s sole wholly owned field, the country shares income from a separate deposit with Saudi Arabia that produced 153,500 barrels a day in 2016, according to the International Energy Agency. The government needs oil at $118 a barrel, almost twice the current price, to balance this year’s budget.

      The newly discovered field should provide support for Bahrain’s “very strained fiscal situation,” said John Sfakianakis, director of economic research at the Gulf Research Center in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “It will provide additional cushion, depending on when the stream of oil comes into play and the price of oil at that point.

    • Bahrain Shale Find Puts Oil Market on Notice

      The Global Oil Market Is About to Be Upended - Bloomberg
      https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-04-10/the-global-oil-market-is-about-to-be-upended

      Bahrain discovered the first oil on the Arab side of the Gulf in 1932. It took a long time for the small island to find anything of similar significance, but its recent announcement of an enormous shale oil resource under its shallow waters should not be underestimated: Commercial offshore shale oil production would be a first for the worldwide industry.

      Perhaps more significant is that this discovery has the potential to boost Middle East output, while raising the odds that shale oil production outside the U.S. and Canada finally takes off. The Middle East has the advantages of good geology, existing petroleum infrastructure, and a lack of environmental or community opposition.

  • What’s at Stake for Oil as Trump Appoints Another Iran Hawk? - Bloomberg
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-23/what-s-at-stake-for-oil-as-trump-appoints-another-iran-hawk

    Iran is trying to attract more than $100 billion from international oil companies to boost crude and condensate output by about 25 percent to more than 5 million barrels a day. Without new investment from international companies production will stagnate.

    Trump’s disdain for the nuclear deal has already deterred investors from the country, the third-biggest producer in OPEC. Of the Western energy majors, only France’s Total SA has returned, and its gas venture is proceeding slowly. Iranian officials are already complaining that western oil companies are too cautious to return to the country and there are signs that Russian companies are stepping in to fill the vacuum.

    Total has the biggest financial stake of any international energy major, having pledged to invest $1 billion in the first phase of an offshore natural gas project. Overall investment in the project could reach $5 billion, and while the company is determined to press ahead, Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne has promised to review the legal consequences of any new U.S. restrictions.
    […]
    Three years ago, in a New York Times op-ed titled “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran,” Bolton argued that the only way to prevent Tehran obtaining nuclear weapons was a military strike. He cited Israel’s preemptive strike in 1981 on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor as an example of effective action.

    Bolton downplayed the significance of his past public statements in an interview with Fox News shortly after the appointment was announced, saying he would defer to the president’s judgment.

    I’ve never been shy about what my views are,” Bolton said. But, he added, that “now is behind me, at least effective April 9, and the important thing is what the president says and what advice I give him.

    Bolton’s appointment has lots of implications beyond just Iran, Ian Bremmer, president of consultant Eurasia Group, said on Twitter. It also makes Trump’s scheduled talks with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-Un riskier, he said.

    Thursday was “probably the worst/biggest single day for geopolitical risk since I started Eurasia Group in 1998,” Bremmer said on Twitter.

  • Webinar - Demystifying C++ Lambdas—Glennan Carnie
    http://isocpp.org/feeder/?FeederAction=clicked&feed=All+Posts&seed=http%3A%2F%2Fisocpp.org%2Fblog%2F2

    Following the success of our first webinar on ’Measuring software quality’, we are pleased to announce the second in our series:

    Demystifying C++ Lambdas by Glennan Carnie

    About the webinar:

    Lambdas are one of the features of Modern C++ that seem to cause considerable consternation amongst many programmers.

    In this 45 minute webinar, Feabhas Technical Consultant Glennan Carnie, will have a look at the syntax and underlying implementation of lambdas to try and put them into some sort of context.

    The Webinar runs twice

    10am GMT 4pm GMT

    Choose a webinar and reserve a free place on our (...)

    #News,_Training,

  • Bahrain: Another Year of Deep State Repression – LobeLog
    http://lobelog.com/bahrain-another-year-of-deep-state-repression

    by Emile Nakhleh

    This past year in Bahrain, much like those preceding it since the popular uprisings of 2011, was one of unending repression and persecution of human rights activists. Yet, the Trump administration and the British government, arguably two of the most influential actors in Bahrain, have remained silent in the face of the Al Khalifa atrocities against human rights activists, especially within the Shia majority.

    When it comes to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other serial violators of human rights and basic freedoms, the American and British governments have allowed arms sales and lucrative money deals benefitting them to trump their traditional commitments to the principles of justice, democracy, peaceful dissent, and freedom. They seem to view Bahrain and its autocratic Sunni neighbors as “cash cows” with an unending source of money. Washington and London are constantly pressured by hordes of lobbyists and consultant—retired diplomats, senior military officers, businessmen, think tanks, and some academics—who do business with autocrats and tribal potentates to take a lenient attitude toward these repressive regimes.

    America and Britain have traditionally protected their own people’s freedoms of speech, assembly, and peaceful protest but not those of the peaceful protesters in Bahrain and elsewhere. Bahraini human rights activists have suffered severely from government repression, yet Washington and London continue to treat the Bahraini regime with velvet gloves.

    An American-educated Bahraini national in a recent conversation with me expressed skepticism about the efficacy of my frequent articles denouncing human rights abuses in his country. He said, “You keep writing, yet your government has given the green light to the Bahraini regime to continue its torture of its peaceful dissidents without fear of retribution or censure from Washington.”