Tag Archives: Learning

Extreme Climate Turn Norway Into A Blowtorch (Extreme Photos)

This may very well be a strange side effect of the global climate change. Extreme dry weather this winter have turned the cost of Norway into a hazardous area that may ignites and burst into flames in a matter of seconds. Right now firefighters are trying to save another village from total destruction as nearly 100 buildings are lost,  but still hey are not able to control the wild-fire. Only one week ago 40 buildings were lost when another small Norwegian village suddenly burst into flames.

“Our theory is that sparks from power lines has started the fire, but that’s what we’re going to find out.”

Trude Skogen

nrk3

Criminal investigators are now arriving the burned-out village, Flatanger, Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) reports Tuesday night. Increasing wind in the area have made fire even more difficult to manage and it is now threatening almost 140 buildings.

“We have begun questioning already. Tomorrow, crime technicians and tactical investigators will arrive to continue the research. Our theory is that sparks from power lines has started the fire, but that’s what we’re going to find out,” police prosecutor, Trude Skogen, says.

And hold it, right there.

Sparks from power lines? You mean those wires hanging over my head right now?

This seem to be the case, based on eye witness reports.

Løsly hanging power lines may have come in contact with each other and produced sparks that may have ignited the extreme dry grass, moss and heather below. Strong winds may have created the scary blowtorch effect.

State meteorologist confirms that the winter have been extremely dry along the Norwegian cost this year. Areas, usually covered in snow this time of year, is currently being blow dried in a way I have never seen before.

Another on of those “small prints” on the “Big Wall”?

If there’s anyone out there, who lives in another part of the world, but have seen or experienced something similar, please let me know.

Photos from:

 nrk.no

andrssa.no

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ONE WEEK AGO:

Something similar happened in the village, Lærdal, on the western coast of Norway. 40 buildings were lost.

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LATEST: 

News reports at 22:30 (Local time) says the firefighters has the fire under control. About 100 buildings are destroyed.

UPDATE:

On Wednesday morning local police says firefighters have lost control over the fire once again, as the fire hoses froze during the night.

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Filed under ecology, National Economic Politics, sustainable development

Financial Industry To Spend $90 Billion on New Technology

Between 2001 and 2005 the financial industry spent billions on developing new derivatives and other complex financial instruments. Nobody really understood what was going on until it all came tumbling down in 2007/2008. Now, something similar is happening; the financial engineering is swapped with pure engineering. The industry is expected to spend $90 billion on new superfast computer systems equipped with artificial intelligence and advanced algorithms that no one – except for the engineers who made them – really knows how works.

“Investors seeking the high returns it can once again provide have come back, and IT investment is slowly growing as a result. By 2012, we expect the market to reach pre-recession levels.”

Daniel Mayo

The financials markets industry’s spending on information technology will hit almost $90 billion by 2015, driven by strong growth in the Asia-Pacific region, and a bounce-back in the hedge funds sector, according to an analysis by the independent technology analysis firm, Ovum.

The analysts find that the Asia-Pacific region will see some of the strongest growth in financial markets IT spend, as global companies continue to transfer power to the region due to its growing economic strength, advancedtrading.com reports.

In China, IT spending will grow by a compound annual growth rate (CAGR), of 8.8 per cent from 2011 to 2015. Meanwhile, Hong Kong will experience a CAGR of 8.1 per cent for the same period and Singapore 7.1 per cent.

Although the amounts invested will be lower, growth in all three will outstrip the US and the UK and Ireland, which will hit CAGRs of 6 per cent and 5.8 per cent respectively.

Daniel Mayo, financial markets technology analyst at Ovum, comments:

“While there will be growth in nearly every major market, the Asia-Pacific countries will be at the forefront. This is mainly due to global companies shifting their decision-making power from New York and London to cities such as Beijing, because of their growing economic influence.”

Meanwhile, global spending on IT in the hedge funds sector will grow a CAGR of 11.1 per cent from 2011 to 2015.

This is the strongest growth of all the lines of business and is being driven by a resurgence in the hedge funds market as investors seeking high returns forgive the woes of 2008/09.

Mayo adds: “The hedge funds market was badly affected by the financial crash, with investors staying away due to its disastrous performance. As a result, investment in IT fell significantly in 2008 and 2009. However, investors seeking the high returns it can once again provide have come back, and IT investment is slowly growing as a result. By 2012, we expect the market to reach pre-recession levels.”

According to Mayo, much of the investment in all regions and lines of business will be made in risk management systems, as well as reporting systems that allow financial markets companies to provide greater transparency and comply with new industry regulations such as Basel III.

Let’s see how long it takes for the law makers and regulators to catch on this time…

More from advancedtrading.com:

Meanwhile, the extreme volatility we’ve experienced over the last few days, are still puzzling many experts.

There’s an interesting article at NorthJersy.com well worth reading.

Here’s some of it:

Wall Street’s wild ride Tuesday may be due less to rational decisions and more to computers automatically trading stocks at lightning speeds.

Large institutional investors like mutual funds often employ strategies to buy and sell stocks or funds at certain pre-programmed prices.

Other traders, meanwhile, employ high-frequency strategies and offload or buy huge blocks of shares in minutes or seconds, depending on how markets move.

“Volatility begets volatility,” says John Longo, a professor at Rutgers Business School.

“No doubt about it, whenever you have these dramatic moves in a short period of time, programmed trading is largely behind it.”

Much of that trading takes place not on trading floors but within vast rows of computer services inside North Jersey data centers.

Years ago, when humans conducted the vast majority of trades on Wall Street, Monday’s roughly 6 percent market plunge and Tuesday’s roller-coaster ride that ended with major indexes recouping much of their Monday losses might have been less dramatic, experts said.

The markets would not have gyrated so quickly, and the ups and downs might have taken place over days, not minutes and hours, experts says.

Some electronic trading strategies involve chasing momentum — automatically buying stocks on their way up or selling as they lose value. And swings in the marketplace will always be driven by economic events — such as Standard & Poor’s downgrade of United States bonds, Europe’s debt crisis and the Federal Reserve’s announcement Tuesday that it would keep interest rates low through 2013.

“Definitely, there will be some events that move markets,” says Frank Zhang, a professor at Yale University’s School of Management who has studied computerized trading, which he estimated accounted for 80 percent of trading volumes (other estimates have pegged it closer to 50 percent.)

Adding: “But I think computer trading exaggerates such events.”

Adam Sussman, a partner at The TABB Group LLC, a Wall Street research and advisory firm, says the high-frequency trading firms feed off Wall Street volatility, which is often fueled by investors’ fear.

“When humans are panicking, the computers do better,” Sussman said.

He didn’t see high-frequency trading as necessarily being responsibility for recent volatility.

“They’re not really causing it, because they’re responding to market conditions,” he says.

I assume some might argue with that statement.

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Filed under International Econnomic Politics, National Economic Politics, Technology

Hackers: Wall Street Is An Easy Target

This weekend the grand finale of the annual Black Hat hackers convention is being rolled out in Las Vegas. On the agenda is a lecture on how easy it would be to hack the high frequency trading operations on Wall Street.

“Easy peasy.”

James Arlene

An annual hacker convention, known as Black Hat, is now in full swing in Las Vegas. Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports that one researcher plans to give a speach today, outlining how easy it would be to hack high frequency trading operations on Wall Street.

Every year, thousands of hackers, security professionals, and researchers descend on the desert mecca, to show off their latest exploits.

Marketplace’s Steve Henn reports that one researcher plans to give a speech this weekend, outlining how easy it would be to hack high frequency trading operations on Wall Street.

High frequency traders buy stocks at a lower price in one market and sell them a split second later, for a fraction of a penny more, in another.

The speed that we are talking about is insanely fast.

“You start thinking about fast things in the world, and you think about things like blinking your eyes. But these trades are ten times faster than that,” says James Arlen at Push the Stack Consulting.

In fact, it is a lot faster than that.

It takes barely a millisecond to execute a trade between New York and Chicago.

Now blink your eye:

That was about 400 milliseconds….

Computers automatically makes all the HFT transactions, based on their complex and rapidly developed algorithms.

Micro- and milliseconds are the difference between making a profit and getting hosed.

Over the last few years traders have put their servers in the same secret building as the New York Stock Exchange computers, and they’ve invested big time in building the fastest computers possible.

But that also means they have stripped their trading software and hardware down to the bare bones.

If these computers were cars there would be no seat belts, no airbags, no roll bars.

And the consequence is minimal security.

In other words; hacking made easy.

“Easy peasy,” Arlen comments.

James Arlen is also convinced that someone who gains access to these trading networks is going to try.

And so is this blogger…

Here’s the full radio interview with James Arlen:

Listen to the Story.

Doing Good – Being Bad?

Las Vegas is no stranger to shady characters, but there’s a plethora in town this weekend. So shady, in fact, they call themselves “Black Hats”.

It’s a convention of hackers and cybersecurity officials and researchers who claims they are trying to do good by being bad.

Here’s a little interesting piece from Marketplace’s Steve Henn who is on an all-expenses-paid trip to Las Vegas for the conference:

“It’s kind of an interesting scene out here. You know, I was registering for this conference, and the guy behind the press desk was this bearded, tattooed dude, and I asked him if there was a wireless connection I could hook up to. And he just looked at me like I was this lost, pathetic soul, and said, “Man, don’t use the wireless.” And I was thinking, why not? So I asked, and he said, “You’re at a hacker convention.””

No, Oprah, No!

According to Marketplace, there are a lot of people at the hackers party  who are raising concerns about how interconnective many different devices are.

Don Bailey at iSEC Partners hacked into one of these devices called the Zoombak.

Here he is what he told the participants at the Black Hat convention:

“This is literally just a small consumer tracking device. Nobody knew who the heck this thing was – before Oprah went on and said, ‘Hey, you know what’s really cool? You can track your kids and make sure they’re safe. To do that, use this little small device that you can throw in their backpack and now they’re super safe, and you track them online with a web 2.0 interface. Thumbs up!’ I heard that and thought, ‘Oh dear God, no. Please Oprah no, no Oprah no!'”

So, Don Baily targeted this device. He got on the network, looked around, and was able to identify these things, and tracked them as they moved around, like you would track your kids.

Then he realized he could spoof them – send fake information about where a device was back to the Zoombak website.

Now, that is, if you’re a parent, really terrifying.

Thanks a lot Oprah!

Follow the Black Hats here.

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