Tuesday, 7 March 2017

AI Hits The Road.

Baltic Dry Index. 979 +40   Brent Crude 55.90

LIR Gold Target in 2019: $30,000.  Revised due to QE programs.

"When it becomes serious, you have to lie"              

Jean-Claude Juncker. Failed Luxembourg Prime Minister and ex-president of the Euro Group of Finance Ministers. Confessed liar. European Commission  President.

For more on artificial intelligence developments, scroll down to Crooks Corner.
We open today with the oil market. Despite renewed production and export trouble in Libya, crude oil’s recent pricing action suggests that OPEC’s production cuts aren’t working as intended, and March is half way through the six month agreed reduction. I suspect that without Libya, Crude oil prices would begin a serious decline. The Baltic Dry Index rally excepted, the global economy seems to be slowing again.

Oil prices slip further, pressed by China growth worries

By Biman Mukherji  Published: Mar 7, 2017 12:55 a.m. ET
Oil prices extended their declines on Tuesday over concerns about rising U.S. oil supplies and pessimism over China’s economic growth outlook for this year.
On the New York Mercantile Exchange, light, sweet crude futures for delivery in April CLJ7, -0.13%   traded at $53.13 a barrel, down 7 cents in the Globex electronic session. May Brent crude LCOK7, -0.21%  on London’s ICE Futures exchange fell 11 cents to $55.90 a barrel.
“In H1 2017, we expect persistent macroeconomic headwinds (in China) and by extension, slower consumption growth at home for certain fuels (diesel, fuel oil) to maintain the pressure on overall oil demand. Also weighing on imports will be softer demand by the independent teapot refiners,” BMI Research said.
However, longer term demand in China is likely to be positive with plans to build-up import and distribution infrastructure in the Shandong province, it added.
In its annual meeting of the National People’s Congress over the weekend, Beijing said it expects GDP growth of 6.5% this year compared with 6.7% in 2016.
Near-term outlook for crude oil remains weak as investors are bracing for a U.S. rate increase next week.

U.S. Oil Industry Becomes Refiner to the World as Exports Boom

by Laura Blewitt and Javier Blas
6 March 2017, 05:00 GMT
Within three months, PBF was ready to load its first tanker for shipment abroad. By late last year, the New Jersey-based company was exporting 22,000 barrels a day of fuel, or 16 percent of that refinery’s output.
Now, it wants to boost that to almost 25 percent.

PBF isn’t alone in this push. From major producers such as Chevron Corp. to specialized refiners including Valero Energy Corp., the U.S. refining industry has shifted its game over the last five years, taking advantage of gaps left by struggling refiners in Latin America, Africa and Asia. Along the way, it’s transforming what had long been a largely domestic business into a new global venture.

"U.S. refiners are now the refiners for the world," said Ivan Sandrea, head of Sierra Oil & Gas, which is planning to build infrastructure to import U.S. fuels into Mexico.

U.S. companies last year exported a record 3 million barrels a day of refined products, more than double the 1.3 million barrels a day shipped a decade ago, according to data from the Energy Information Administration. Gasoline led the surge, with exports hitting an all-time high of almost 1 million barrels a day in December, up ten-fold from a decade ago.

The export boom, together with surging domestic shale oil output, has redrawn the global energy map.

The U.S. a decade ago reported annual net imports of crude and refined products of 12.4 million barrels a day. Last year, it received a net 4.8 million barrels a day, the lowest since 1985. In late 2016, the U.S. exported more crude and refined products to Latin America than it imported from the region -- a first.

---- Mexico is emblematic of the shifting landscape. The Latin American country relied on U.S. gasoline last year for nearly 50 percent of its total consumption as refineries operated by state-owned oil giant Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex) malfunctioned. In December, Mexico imported a record high of 1.2 million barrels a day of U.S. fuels, particularly gasoline.

Finally, in Europe, is Grexit finally here? Is it all over for Italy?

Greek GDP Revision Shows Slump at Worst in Five Quarters: Chart

by Marcus Bensasson
6 March 2017, 10:58 GMT
Greece’s economy shrank 1.2 percent in the fourth quarter, three times as much as initially estimated and the most since the country closed its banks for three weeks and introduced capital controls in 2015. The revision means gross domestic product shrank 0.1 percent last year, dealing a blow to Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’s claims that the recovery has begun. As if anticipating Monday’s huge change, the International Monetary Fund said in a report last month that frequent and large revisions in Greek GDP data complicate analysis of the economy.

Births in Italy hit record low in 2016, population ages

Reuters March 6, 2017
ROME (Reuters) - The number of babies born in Italy hit a record low in 2016, the population shrank and the average age crept higher, national statistics office ISTAT said on Monday.

Births dropped by 12,000 to 474,000 last year, the lowest level since the unification of Italy in 1861, while deaths totaled 608,000, ISTAT said.

The average Italian is now 44.9 years old, up 0.2 years from 2015, while some 22.3 percent of the population is over 65, the highest ratio in the 28-nation European Union.

The total population fell by some 86,000 to 60.58 million, with new migrants helping to offset the falling birth rate.

ISTAT said fertility rates fluctuated wildly between the industrialized north and the poorer south.

On the island of Sardinia, women had 1.07 children on average, while the only province where births rose was in Bolzano, near the border with Austria, where the fertility rate was 1.78.

If applied to the whole country, Bolzano's figures would put Italy among the most fertile countries in the European Union, ISTAT said, whereas with Sardinia's rate, "dangerously close to one child per woman, Italy would be in last place in Europe, and likely the world."

The overall national average was 1.34 children per woman.

"If the EU cannot resolve a small problem the size of Greece, what is the point of Europe?"

Romano Prodi, former President of the European Commission, former Italy Prime Minister.

At the Comex silver depositories Monday final figures were: Registered 34.86 Moz, Eligible 153.47 Moz, Total 188.33 Moz. 

Crooks and Scoundrels Corner

The bent, the seriously bent, and the totally doubled over.
No crooks, scoundrels, banksters, or bent politicians today. Today a look into the future of motor car racing. I’m not convinced that the public will pay to watch algorithms racing each other, though from the teams’ perspective, the big advantage is that there’s no expensive driver to pay, plus the cars operate on artificial intelligence, which they think will be an improvement. Google makes an AI breakthrough.

320 km/h, no driver: Roborace reveals the Robocar

Scott Collie March 3rd, 2017
With testing underway for the hotly-anticipated 2017 F1 season, you could be forgiven for forgetting about Roborace, the self-driving race series supporting Formula E. After a long gestation period, the as-yet unproven competition has finally revealed the car that teams will be programming, and it looks absolutely wild.
Designed by Daniel Simon, the automotive futurist behind the light cycles in Tron Legacy, the Robocar is a seriously sophisticated beast. Hidden within its dog-bone-shaped body are four 300-kW (402 hp) electric motors, enough to propel the carbon fiber-heavy (and therefore light) body to over 320 km/h (199 mph). It weighs just 975 kg (2,150 lb) and measures up at 4.8 meters (15.7 ft) long and 2 meters (6.6 ft) wide.
With no driver behind the wheel, there are plenty of sensors around the cars to stop them (hopefully) from bashing into each other. There are five LiDar, two radar, 18 ultrasonic and two optical speed sensors on the outside of the car, along with six cameras and a GNSS module. The whole array is powered by a Nvidia Drive PX2 brain, capable of dealing with up to 24 trillion AI operations every second. Each team will program the car with its own algorithm, making software the crucial differentiator in Roboraces.
Michelin will supply the tires for the car, using the sport as a test bed for its own next-generation rubber. The tires used on the Robocar will eventually find their way to the street, as the company looks to use racing experience to improve its consumer products.
"This is a huge moment for Roborace as we share the Robocar with the world and take another big step in advancing driverless electric technology," says Denis Sverdlov, Roborace CEO. "I am so proud of the entire team and our partners and particularly the work Daniel has done creating this beautiful machine. It was very important for us that we created an emotional connection to driverless cars and bring humans and robots closer together to define our future."
Roborace will be on show in Mexico City on April 1, but that won't be the first time the self-driving racers have taken to the track. Just last month, two DevBots took to the streets of Buenos Aires. A hard collision with the wall means one of the cars didn't make it back from the outing, but the test did prove driverless race cars are no longer a pipe dream.

Formula E: Calendar


Google's artificial intelligence can diagnose cancer faster than human doctors

The DeepMind system is able to scan samples to determine whether or not tissues are cancerous

Making the decision on whether or not a patient has cancer usually involves trained professionals meticulously scanning tissue samples over weeks and months.

But Google's artificial intelligence (AI) supercomputer DeepMind may be able to do it much, much faster.
The search company has been working with the NHS since September last year to help speed up cancer detection. The software can now tell the difference between healthy and cancerous tissue, as well as discover if metastasis has occured.

"Metastasis detection is currently performed by pathologists reviewing large expanses of biological tissues.
This process is labour intensive and error-prone," explained Google in a white paper outlining the study.

"We present a framework to automatically detect and localise tumours as small as 100 ×100 pixels in gigapixel microscopy images sized 100,000×100,000 pixels.

"Our method leverages a convolutional neural network (CNN) architecture and obtains state-of-the-art results on the Camelyon16 dataset in the challenging lesion-level tumour detection task."

Such high-level image recognition was first developed for Google's driverless car programme, in order to help the vehicles scan for road obstructions.

Now the company has adapted it for the medical field and says it's more accurate than regular human doctors:

Solar  & Related Update.

With events happening fast in the development of solar power and graphene, I’ve added this section. Updates as they get reported. Is converting sunlight to usable cheap AC or DC energy mankind’s future from the 21st century onwards? DC? A quantum computer next?

Graphene sheets capture cells efficiently

New method could enable pinpoint diagnostics on individual blood cells.

Date: March 3, 2017

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Summary: Researchers have developed a new method for capturing cells on a treated graphene oxide surface, which could lead to very low-cost diagnostic systems for a variety of diseases.

A single cell can contain a wealth of information about the health of an individual. Now, a new method developed at MIT and National Chiao Tung University could make it possible to capture and analyze individual cells from a small sample of blood, potentially leading to very low-cost diagnostic systems that could be used almost anywhere.
The new system, based on specially treated sheets of graphene oxide, could ultimately lead to a variety of simple devices that could be produced for as little as $5 apiece and perform a variety of sensitive diagnostic tests even in places far from typical medical facilities.
The material used in this research is an oxidized version of the two-dimensional form of pure carbon known as graphene, which has been the subject of widespread research for over a decade because of its unique mechanical and electrical characteristics. The key to the new process is heating the graphene oxide at relatively mild temperatures. This low-temperature annealing, as it is known, makes it possible to bond particular compounds to the material's surface. These compounds in turn select and bond with specific molecules of interest, including DNA and proteins, or even whole cells. Once captured, those molecules or cells can then be subjected to a variety of tests.
The findings are reported in the journal ACS Nano in a paper co-authored by Neelkanth Bardhan, an MIT postdoc, and Priyank Kumar PhD '15, now a postdoc at ETH Zurich; Angela Belcher, the James Mason Crafts Professor in biological engineering and materials science and engineering at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research; Jeffrey Grossman, the Morton and Claire Goulder and Family Professor in Environmental Systems at MIT; Hidde L. Ploegh, a professor of biology and member of the Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research; Guan-Yu Chen, an assistant professor in biomedical engineering at National Chiao Tung University in Taiwan; and Zeyang Li, a doctoral student at the Whitehead Institute.

The monthly Coppock Indicators finished February

DJIA: 20,812  +133 Up. NASDAQ:  5,825 +120 Up. SP500: 2,364 +115 Up.

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