Distracted driving is arguably the most important traffic safety issue facing America today. Amazingly, while we have many advocates and other smart people working to address the issue, the auto industry seems to be promoting it by turning cars into rolling computers.
A few things came across my desk this morning that show how these two trends -- getting tough on distracted driving on one hand, while promoting it on the other -- continue to be at odds with each other.
US DOT Secretary Ray LaHood released the latest piece in his ongoing series, Faces of Distracted Driving. As a father and as someone who likes to ride bikes on occasion, this one really struck a nerve with me. It features the story of 19-year old Eric Okerblom who was killed in 2009 after being struck by a man operating a truck at 60 mph while simultaneously texting on his phone...
As weve covered distracted driving over the years, people have often suggested that smart phones that would automatically turn off while a car is in operation would be a great solution to the problem. This morning I was happy to read a post on The Infrastructurist that reviewed several such apps. Turns out that Sprint introduced an app (aptly) called Drive First thats set to come out later this year.
While Im happy to see these apps and LaHoods continued focus on this issue, my good feelings were hampered by news from the auto industrys latest arms race. Heres a snip from a disturbing Yahoo News story:
Analysts say consumers are warming to the notion of more connectivity in their cars, with apps for information and entertainment just as they have with their smartphones or tablet computers.
Initially, putting Internet access in the car sounds like a distraction and frivolous but as time passes it will become a part of our lives and we will feel uncomfortable not having access, said Jeff Kagan, an independent telecoms analyst.
I think this is going to grow into a vibrant sector.
Seems to me LaHoods efforts and trends in the auto industry are heading in directly opposite directions. As Americas traffic safety watchdog, LaHood is in a great position to use his commitment to road safety as leverage on both telecoms and the auto industry.
President Obama is currently contemplating a mega-merger between ATT and T-Mobile. While Id rather not see that merger happen at all, perhaps LaHood can use the potential deal as an opportunity for leverage; as in, if they merge, the companies must agree to major funding of distracted driving prevention efforts. On a similar note, perhaps LaHood and Obama could use their bailout of the auto industry as leverage to reign in the cars-as-rolling-smartphones trend.
With powerful lobbies, getting anything out of telecoms and the auto industry wouldnt be easy; but distracted driving is quickly becoming an epidemic (in LaHoods own words), and left to their own devices, Im afraid corporations might get distracted by profits.
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Melco Crown Entertainment (Nasdaq:MPEL) hit a new 52-week high Monday as it traded at $7.94 compared with its previous 52-Week high of $7.90. Melco Crown Entertainment is changing hands at $7.91 with 97,325 shares traded as of 9:31 am ET. Average volume has been 5.9 million shares over the past 30 days.
Melco Crown Entertainment has a market cap of $4.1 billion and is part of the services sector and leisure industry. Shares are up 23.6% year to date as of the close of trading on Friday.
Melco Crown Entertainment Limited, through its subsidiaries, engages in the development, ownership, and operation of casino gaming and entertainment resort facilities primarily in the Macau special administrative region of the Peoples Republic of China.
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TheStreet Ratings rates Melco Crown Entertainment as a hold. The companys strengths can be seen in multiple areas, such as its robust revenue growth, largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and solid stock price performance. However, as a counter to these strengths, we find that the companys profit margins have been poor overall. You can view the full Melco Crown Entertainment Ratings Report.
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SHANGHAI, March 28, 2011 /PRNewswire-Asia/ -- Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. and NetEase.com, Inc. (Nasdaq: NTES) announced today that the open beta test for Blizzard Entertainments StarCraft II has begun in mainland China. During the open beta test, players will be able to experience the intense strategic gameplay of StarCraft IIs multiplayer modes for free.
Gamers who would like to participate and who havent already created a Battle.net account or downloaded the StarCraft II client can do so by visiting the official Battle.net website (www.battlenet.com.cn). Once the game is installed, players can run the client to automatically update to the latest version of the game and begin playing.
The open beta test for StarCraft II is scheduled to end on April 6, 2011 at 00:00 (Beijing time), at which time commercial operation of StarCraft II will begin. Players will be able to purchase game time in 30-day increments for a suggested retail price of RMB20, which provides full access to the games unparalleled multiplayer play and epic single-player campaign through Battle.net, the premier community destination and online-gaming platform for players of Blizzard games.
Weve worked hard to make StarCraft II the ultimate competitive real-time strategy game, and were excited that players in mainland China are now able to experience it for themselves, along with Battle.nets advanced matchmaking and social features, said Mike Morhaime, CEO and cofounder of Blizzard Entertainment. Were confident that Chinese players will have a great time playing StarCraft II, and we look forward to hearing what they think.
William Ding, Chief Executive Officer of NetEase said, Over the past several months, we have been working closely with Blizzard Entertainment to finish our preparations for the launch of StarCraft II in China. We are looking forward to providing high-quality service and support to Chinese players, ensuring they have a great experience with StarCraft II.
StarCraft II is the sequel to Blizzard Entertainments 1998 blockbuster hit StarCraft, which has been hailed by players and critics worldwide as one of the top real-time strategy games of all time. Sporting a vibrant 3D-graphics engine, StarCraft II once again centers on the clash between the protoss, terrans, and zerg, with each side deploying legions of veteran, upgraded, and new unit types. StarCraft II also features a powerful map editor that allows players to create and share custom maps. Unparalleled online play for StarCraft II is available through a new version of Battle.net, Blizzard Entertainments world-renowned gaming service. Battle.net has been redesigned from the ground up to be the premier online gaming destination for players of Blizzard games, with several enhancements and new features, such as voice communication, leagues and ladders, achievements, stat-tracking, and much more.
For more information on StarCraft II, please visit the official Chinese website at www.starcraft2.com.cn.
About Blizzard Entertainment, Inc.
Best known for blockbuster hits including World of Warcraft and the Warcraft, StarCraft, and Diablo franchises, Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. (www.blizzard.com), a division of Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI), is a premier developer and publisher of entertainment software renowned for creating some of the industrys most critically acclaimed games. Blizzard Entertainments track record includes thirteen #1-selling games and multiple Game of the Year awards. The companys online-gaming service, Battle.net, is one of the largest in the world, with millions of active players.
About NetEase.com Inc.
NetEase.com, Inc. is a leading China-based Internet technology company that pioneered the development of applications, services and other technologies for the Internet in China. NetEases online communities and personalized premium services have established a large and stable user base for the NetEase websites which are operated by its affiliates. In particular, NetEase provides online game services to Internet users through its in-house development or licensing of massively multi-player online role-playing games, including Fantasy Westward Journey, Westward Journey Online II and III, Tianxia II, Heroes of Tang Dynasty and Datang, as well as the licensed game, Blizzard Entertainments World of Warcraft and StarCraft II.
Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-looking Statements: Information in this press release that involves Blizzard Entertainments and NetEases expectations, plans, intentions or strategies regarding the future are forward-looking statements that are not facts and involve a number of risks and uncertainties. Blizzard Entertainment and NetEase generally use words such as outlook, will, could, would, might, remains, to be, plans, believes, may, expects, intends, anticipates, estimate, future, plan, positioned, potential, project, remain, scheduled, set to, subject to, upcoming and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause Blizzard Entertainments and/or NetEases actual future results to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements set forth in this release include, but are not limited to, sales levels of Blizzard Entertainments titles, receptiveness of Chinese players to StarCraft II and the results of the planned open beta test, shifts in consumer spending trends, the impact of the current macroeconomic environment, the seasonal and cyclical nature of the interactive game market, the risk that Shanghai EaseNet will not be able to operate StarCraft II, World of Warcraft or other games licensed by it from Blizzard Entertainment for a period of time or permanently due to possible governmental actions, the risk that Shanghai EaseNet or NetEase will be subject to penalties or operating restrictions imposed by governmental authorities in the PRC resulting from the operations of their online games, including suspension of their Internet service or other penalties, the risk that changes in Chinese government regulation of the online game market may limit future growth of Blizzards or NetEases revenue in China or cause revenue to decline; industry competition and competition from other forms of entertainment, rapid changes in technology, industry standards and consumer preferences, including interest in specific genres such as real-time strategy, actionrole-playing and massively multiplayer online games, protection of proprietary rights, litigation against Blizzard Entertainment and/or NetEase, maintenance of relationships with key personnel, customers, licensees, licensors, vendors and third-party developers, including the ability to attract, retain and develop key personnel and developers who can create high quality hit titles, counterparty risks relating to customers, licensees, licensors and manufacturers, domestic and international economic, financial and political conditions and policies, foreign exchange rates and tax rates, and the identification of suitable future acquisition opportunities, and the other factors identified in the risk factors section of Activision Blizzards most recent annual report on Form 10-K and any subsequent quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and of NetEases most recent annual report on Form 20-F and other filings and submissions with the US Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements in this release are based upon information available to Blizzard Entertainment, Activision Blizzard and NetEase, as the case may be, as of the date of this release, and none of such parties assumes any obligation to update any such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements believed to be true when made may ultimately prove to be incorrect. These statements are not guarantees of the future performance of Blizzard Entertainment, Activision Blizzard or NetEase and are subject to risks, uncertainties and other factors, some of which are beyond their respective control and may cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.
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OTTAWA - Ottawa has upgraded its travel warning for Bahrain, telling Canadians to avoid all travel to the island nation.
Bahrain has faced a month of nonstop unrest which has killed seven people as the countrys majority Shiite Muslims call for the ouster of the long-standing Sunni monarchy.
Canadas department of foreign affairs is advising against all travel to Bahrain due to the unpredictable security situation in the country.
Canadians already in Bahrain are advised to stay indoors, avoid all political gatherings and keep away from the particularly tumultuous capital Manama.
The department is also advising all Canadians in the middle-eastern country to register with the consulate in Manama or the Canadian embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Ottawas warning comes hours after a military force led by Saudi Arabia entered Bahrain to prop up the countrys monarchy, launching the first cross-border military operation to quell unrest since the Arab worlds rebellions began in December.
An internal Microsoft video showing the companys dark, horrific vision for the future of the Windows Gaming Experience has found its way onto YouTube. [Caution: not for the faint of heart.]
That which is seen cannot be unseen, which is a real shame when it comes to things like this video created by Microsoft that details the companys plan for a connected, social, casual gaming experience characterized by bright colors, microtransactions and ceaseless interaction with online friends. The importance of Avatars, representing the style, attitude and character of each persons online identity, is a big point of emphasis, as is the ability to easily search for, find and share new games and media across multiple platforms.
The focus here is clearly on the casual market. The video kicks off with FarmVille before switching over to an American Idol contest being held by the Idol Moms Group. Next up is another woman shopping for a new virtual dress for her Avatar, followed by a different woman who jumps in to play some online Bejeweled. The core gamer demographic gets a bit of a nod at the very end, when a guy decides to slack off at work to help out a buddy playing some Battlefield 2 by buying him a better gun and then immediately misspells pwn3d.
I dont even know what to say here. Maybe Im being overly harsh, or maybe Im bitter because Im feeling left out, but if this is what Microsoft means when it talks about taking the PC seriously as a gaming platform, I think Ill just go back to watching television.
via: PC Gamer
Oil Price Inflationary Mega-trend
Crude oil is both a major driver and beneficiary of the inflation mega-trend because during times of high inflation or expectations of future high inflation the highly liquid crude oil market is utilised to both hedge against and speculate in favour of future inflation, thus one could say illustrates the self full-filling prophesy at work as witnessed during 2008 that saw inflation hedging result in a surge in the crude oil price to $148, which had the effect of dragging inflation higher, only to crash as a consequence of the financial crisis which continued into the deflation of late 2008 and early 2009. In addition to its inflationary impact, crude oil is also subject to Peak Oil, which the next section touches upon.
Peak Oil Mega-trend
Firstly, Peak Oil does not mean that the world is running out of oil any time soon, peak oil means that the world is about to pass the point of maximum rate of production after which production is expected to decline as it becomes ever more costly to find and extract new oil fields thus resulting in diminishing supply. The theory of Peak Oil is based on the principle originally developed by M King Hubbard in the 1950s, who observed the rate of production and depletion of oil output from the United States oil fields over time which culminated in a bell shaped curve. M King Hubbard went on to use his findings to accurate predict that US oil production would peak by 1970 and decline rapidly. The below updated graph illustrates the most recent forecast projection for global Peak Oil which implies that the supply output peak is imminent, where the test will come when supply fails to respond to rising demand as the worlds economies return to trend growth.
Whilst the developed world continues to stabilise and in some cases cut back on total oil consumption due to improvements in technology and switch to renewables and alternatives such as natural gas. However much of the reduced western oil demand (ignoring the recession) for oil consumption can be attributed to the exporting of industrial production abroad to China and India, which remain several decades away from reaching the level of West in terms of stabilisation of consumption as the collective total of 2.5 billion people of both countries consume on a per capita basis less than 10% of that of the average western person.
Peak Oil is a reality, the major cheap oil fields across the big producing nations have already passed their peak outputs and are declining fast in output and where discoveries of new economically recoverable reserves are not keeping pace with. We got a taste of the consequences of peak oil during 2008 when Crude oil soared to $147, where a small shift in the supply demand balance can cause extreme shifts in price as MARKET SENTIMENT drives prices into ever increasingly volatile price trends.
Therefore, oil and energy commodities despite continuing to exhibit high price volatility over the next 10 years, will still result in an rising trend curve as the oil price escalator repeatedly moves to ever higher trading ranges, therefore I expect we will continue to see extremely high price volatility in the region of 50% as speculative funds continue to dominate short-term trends in the highly liquid crude oil markets, which the long-term inflationary mega-trend (as a consequence of emerging markets growth, population growth and fiat money printing) continues to force oil prices ever higher.
Oil Price Impact on the Stock Market
The consensus view as iterated on a near daily basis in the mainstream press and on the internet is that rising oil prices are generally bearish for the stock market, and falling oil prices are generally bullish. However, the below graph of the Dow and Crude Oil price illustrates that most of the time the oil price and the stock market (Dow Jones index) can be expected to trend in the same direction. This clearly implies that most of the time a rising oil price is associated with economic growth and thus rising future prospects for corporate earnings are discounted by rising stock prices. Whereas a falling oil price is associated with weaker future economic activity and thus implies lower future corporate earnings which is again discounted in the present.
As mentioned earlier, rising oil prices are part of an inflationary mega-trend, which means that as higher oil prices trend higher, the associated costs can be expected to be passed into consumers in an orderly manner, thus the peak oil mega-trend is bullish for nominal stock prices.
The only fly in the ointment is that as illustrated by the oil price trend during the first half of 2008, when there was a serious divergence between the stock market and the oil price as mania gripped the market that sent inflation soaring, and thus as the oil price soared the stock market entered into a severe bear market. However this divergence did not persist as oil price bubble burst sending the oil price literally crashing lower, playing catch up to the stocks bear market into the March 2009 low.
A rising trend for oil prices is bullish for the stock market as long as it does not involve a parabolic mania driven spike that is likely to kill future economic demand and is thus discounted in the present by the stock market trending lower, with the oil prices soon catching up to the stock price decline as occurred during the second half of 2008.
The current situation with oil prices hovering just above $100, is not bearish for the stock market as long as the oil price does nothing more than just trend higher rather than enter into a mania driven spike for instance to say $150 by mid summer, therefore a gradual uptrend is unlikely to impact negatively on the stock market.
Inversely a weak oil price is likely to be bearish for the stock market. However the current outlook is at worst suggestive of oil prices consolidating before trending higher and therefore continue to support a bullish outlook for stock prices.
Stock Market Trend Forecast for 2011.
This analysis forms part of a series that is working towards a trend conclusion for the stocks stealth bull market for the remainder of 2011. Ensure you are subscribed to my always free newsletter to get this in your email in box on completion (including ebook).
Recap of Stock Market Trend Forecast for 2010 - 02 Feb 2010 - Stocks Stealth Bull Market Trend Forecast For 2010
Dow 10,067 - Stocks Multi-year Bull Market that bottomed in March 2009 will trend Sideways during first half of 2010 attempting to break higher. The second half will see a strong rally to above 12,000 targeting 12,500 during late 2010.
Source and Comments: http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article27213.html
By Nadeem Walayat
Copyright copy; 2005-2011 Marketoracle.co.uk (Market Oracle Ltd). All rights reserved.
Nadeem Walayat has over 25 years experience of trading derivatives, portfolio management and analysing the financial markets, including one of few who both anticipated and Beat the 1987 Crash. Nadeems forward looking analysis focuses on UK inflation, economy, interest rates and housing market. He is the author of two ebooks - The Inflation Mega-Trend(Jan 2010) and The Interest Rate Mega-Trend(Mar 2011) that can be downloaded for Free. Nadeem is the Editor of The Market Oracle, a FREE Daily Financial Markets Analysis amp; Forecasting online publication that presents in-depth analysis from over 600 experienced analysts on a range of views of the probable direction of the financial markets, thus enabling our readers to arrive at an informed opinion on future market direction. http://www.marketoracle.co.uk
Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any trading losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors before engaging in any trading activities.
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX 19) - The residents of Pleasant Ridge arehoping to see the fruits of becoming the citys first nonprofit Community Entertainment District. Recently, the residents of Pleasant Ridge were granted a Community Entertainment District (CED) designation following their successful application to the city and state.
The East African restaurant Emanu received the first new liquor license under the designation and its owners have decided not only to stay in Pleasant Ridge, but to buy the building where their restaurant is located on the corner of Losantiville Ridge and Montgomery Road. Sam Yhdego, an Emanu owner, said, Were investing because our customers and neighbors have shown us so much support. We want to be here a long time
The Entertainment District ties into the collaborative Arts District with Kennedy Heights called District A. Residents envision a regional attraction where customers and art patrons will have a convenient family oriented Arts and Entertainment District within a five to ten minute drive for most Cincinnatians.
Emanus success epitomizes the community investment that District A and the Entertainment District works to multiply throughout the Pleasant Ridge/Kennedy Heights corridor along Montgomery Road, says Maria Kreppel, Board Chair for District A.
The Entertainment District designation was made possible by Cincinnati Councilmember Laure Quinlivan who visited the neighborhood and met with leaders at Emanu last April to understand their vision for business district revitalization.The group then says she guided the Pleasant Ridge Development Corporation through the application process and convinced her council colleagues to change city law to allow nonprofit groups like the PRDC to apply for entertainment district designation at a dramatically reduced fee.
Pleasant Ridge has a great plan in place and committed organizations and residents to make it work, says Council member Quinilivan. The entertainment district designation offers entrepreneurs the incentive to open a restaurant and bar without paying an expensive liquor license brokerage fee. Its terrific Emanu is committed and investing in the neighborhood, and Im sure more restaurants will soon follow.
At noon on Tuesday March 29th, Marta Simmons, a Pleasant Ridge resident and Emanu customer, and Sam Yhdego, owner of Emanu, will address Councilmember Laure Quinlivans Quality of Life Committee about the positive impacts of the Community Entertainment District designation on the neighborhood.
Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.
The womens tennis team should have wrapped up its nonconference slate last week against UT-Arlington. Instead, TCU (5-6) will travel up I-35 to face North Texas (6-9) at 2 pm today to finish a match postponed Jan. 29 at the ITA Kickoff Weekend in Berkeley, Calif., due to inclement weather.
The Frogs enter the day riding a three-match winning streak after defeating UTA 5-2 on Wednesday. The victory gave TCU a 4-1 record against in-state opponents.
The Mean Green also enter the match as winners of three straight after defeating Northwestern State 5-2.
In doubles, TCUs No. 52-ranked pair of sophomore Federica Denti and senior Katariina Tuohimaa are 12-6 (7-4 at the No. 1 spot). Denti and Tuohimaa will be challenged by UNTs Irina Paraschiv and Barbora Vykydalova, who are 8-7 at the No. 1 doubles spot.
TCU junior Gaby Mastromarino has won four straight singles matches and is 7-2 this spring. Junior Shalini Sahoo has won five-straight matches and Denti has notched four wins in a row. UNTs Paraschiv is 9-5 in singles play this spring.
The Frogs have never lost to the Mean Green, holding a 32-0 advantage over UNT. TCU last defeated UNT 6-1 on Feb. 13, 2008.
The Frogs will open up Mountain West Conference play with three matches in a row, all at the Bayard H. Friedman Tennis Center, after the North Texas match. The Frogs will play BYU at 2 pm Friday, Utah at 10 am Saturday and New Mexico at 10 am Sunday.
TCU at North Texas
When: 2 pm Tuesday
Where: Waranch Tennis Complex Denton
Check DailySkiff.com for match coverage.
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama is still in the early stages of finding a successor to Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, chosen to be US ambassador to China, the White House said on Monday.
The president will consider a number of...
This may come as a surprise but its officially spring on Sunday where thenew season means construction is kicking off.
Traffic may get a little slower on I-29 around the Singing Hills exit. Construction workers are already getting busy and that means traffic may soon be going head on.
With construction season underway the Department of Transportation has now started their4.3 million dollar project along I-29 through Singing Hills this is going to slow traffic down a bit.
And not everyone is happy about it.
The construction on the interstate is really bad. Its either you have traffic trying to cut you off or cutting in. Youre slow to get to work and trying to get home at night, exclaims Linda Jones of Sioux City.
The main focus of this project is to remove the northbound bridge thats over Singing Hills Boulevard and replace it with a new structure.
The bridge were building at singing hills will be able to accommodate three lanes wide then a full shoulder as well. And well tie that together to the existing for right now, tells Resident Construction Engineer of the DOT Dean Herbst.
The first step of the project is to create cross over lanes to the southbound lane.
TheDOT. hopes to have the cross over lanes done by April 11th that will force traffic to be head on from April until the project is completed.
Now that winter is pretty much over the construction begins.
Weve had things through the winter but contractors are really pushing to get started, says Herbst.
The Department of Transportation hopes to have the project done by December of this year.