Tesla Tumbles After Fatal Self-Driving-Mode Car Crash

It appears Elon Musk has more problems than simply corporate incest:


Tesla Statement: A Tragic Loss

 The Tesla Team June 30, 2016


We learned yesterday evening that NHTSA is opening a preliminary evaluation into the performance of Autopilot during a recent fatal crash that occurred in a Model S. This is the first known fatality in just over 130 million miles where Autopilot was activated. Among all vehicles in the US, there is a fatality every 94 million miles. Worldwide, there is a fatality approximately every 60 million miles. It is important to emphasize that the NHTSA action is simply a preliminary evaluation to determine whether the system worked according to expectations.


Following our standard practice, Tesla informed NHTSA about the incident immediately after it occurred. What we know is that the vehicle was on a divided highway with Autopilot engaged when a tractor trailer drove across the highway perpendicular to the Model S. Neither Autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied. The high ride height of the trailer combined with its positioning across the road and the extremely rare circumstances of the impact caused the Model S to pass under the trailer, with the bottom of the trailer impacting the windshield of the Model S. Had the Model S impacted the front or rear of the trailer, even at high speed, its advanced crash safety system would likely have prevented serious injury as it has in numerous other similar incidents.


It is important to note that Tesla disables Autopilot by default and requires explicit acknowledgement that the system is new technology and still in a public beta phase before it can be enabled. When drivers activate Autopilot, the acknowledgment box explains, among other things, that Autopilot “is an assist feature that requires you to keep your hands on the steering wheel at all times," and that "you need to maintain control and responsibility for your vehicle” while using it. Additionally, every time that Autopilot is engaged, the car reminds the driver to “Always keep your hands on the wheel. Be prepared to take over at any time.” The system also makes frequent checks to ensure that the driver's hands remain on the wheel and provides visual and audible alerts if hands-on is not detected. It then gradually slows down the car until hands-on is detected again.


We do this to ensure that every time the feature is used, it is used as safely as possible. As more real-world miles accumulate and the software logic accounts for increasingly rare events, the probability of injury will keep decreasing. Autopilot is getting better all the time, but it is not perfect and still requires the driver to remain alert. Nonetheless, when used in conjunction with driver oversight, the data is unequivocal that Autopilot reduces driver workload and results in a statistically significant improvement in safety when compared to purely manual driving.


The customer who died in this crash had a loving family and we are beyond saddened by their loss. He was a friend to Tesla and the broader EV community, a person who spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly in Tesla’s mission. We would like to extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends.

Does Musk have another brother, cousin, aunt, uncle to buy this?

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Silver Market Set To Break Out Above 20 Dollars (Video)

By EconMatters

The Silver Market really broke out this week, far outpacing Gold, and is the market to watch in my opinion going forward regarding more “Central Bank Currency Devaluation QE Stimulus Initiatives” and the resultant implications for financial markets.


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Silver Surges To 21-Month Highs, Gold-Ratio Crashes

While gold surged to its highest since March 2014 on Brexit; Silver is nearing $19, up almost 9% since Brexit, breaking above Jan 2015 highs to its highest since Sept 2014



Gold has not been this ‘cheap’ to Silver since May 2015…


If gold is institutional safe-haven buying then many argue the surge in silver is retail rotation out of fiat.

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Military Announces Its Own Transition Plan to Allow Transgender Troops

troopsAs leaked earlier in the week, today Defense Secretary Ash Carter formally announced that the United States military is ending its blanket ban on transgender people serving in the forces.

As of today, transgender troops will no longer be discharged from the military or denied reenlistment “solely for being transgender individuals.” That use of “solely” as a modifier there is important because it’s an acknowledgement of both the pro and con arguments: There’s nothing inherent about being transgender that should disqualify someone for military service; but the totality of that person’s experience and their ability to adjust to both what’s going on within them and the military’s need for conformity requires analysis.

There are a whole bunch of “next steps” in the Department of Defense’s fact sheet about this transition. In three months, military handbooks will be updated to acknowledge transgender troops, medical “guidance” on transition care will be hammered out, and service members will be able to officially change their gender on their personnel records. More steps deal with the complexities of gender transitions will be rolled out over the next year.

Beyond that, it’s important to note that military does not appear to be buying into any sort of “gender is just a construct” or “gender fluidity” dynamic. Transgender troops will be expected to identify as male or female, just like everybody else. There’s nothing to suggest that there will be no new pronouns, nobody will be able to declare themselves “non-binary,” and nobody will be able to demand to be called “they.” A transgender person will be expected to live and conform with the appearance and guidelines of the gender they’ve become. This doesn’t necessarily mandate reassignment surgery but will require living as the chosen sex permanently.

USA Today notes that as part of the research before implementing these changes, the military did evaluate the likely impact on readiness as well as costs to the military to pay for medical treatment, based calculations of the number of likely transgender troops:

There are between 1,320 and 6,630 transgender troops in the active-duty force of 1.3 million, according to Agnes Schaefer, the lead author of a RAND Corp. study commissioned by the Pentagon on the issue. Of those troops, RAND estimates that between 30 and 140 would seek hormone treatment, and 25 to 130 would seek surgery. The estimated annual price tag: $2.4 million to $8.4 million, per year.

The effect on readiness to fight, or deploy, is anticipated to be small, Schaefer said. Transgender troops would be unavailable to deploy between 8 and 43 man years annually, a measure of military readiness. The military overall has 1.2 million man years. The Army has about 5,300 non-deployable man years.

“The bottom line is that we think it will be minimal,” Schaefer said of the effect on military readiness of lifting the ban.

For some context, America’s annual defense budget is around $600 billion.

A source gave Dominic Holden at BuzzFeed some indications of what some of these new policies might entail for transgender citizens who want to join the military. Much of the policy developments happening right now focus on transgender people already serving. Of note, if his info is accurate, an openly transgender person who wants to join the military may be expected to complete the transition before joining. There’s little foundation to suggest that transgender people will go running to join the military in order to get free treatment or that such behavior would be permitted.

On the other hand, if they did, is that any different than people who join the military for any other economic reason? How is that different from joining the military to pay for college? As long as they’re still expected to conform to military policy and perform up to the same standards as their nontransgender peers, there really shouldn’t be a problem. And if it turns out a transgender military member is emotionally or mentally unfit for service in other ways, that’s still no different from other men and women who end up washing out for being unable to adapt or conform.

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Military Transgender Ban Ending, Indiana Abortion Restriction Blocked, Possible House Gun Bill Coming: P.M. Links

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The Best Argument for Religious Liberty You’ll See This Week

Children at prayerI’ve said before that it’s important to engage with your opponent’s strongest argument (as opposed to the one you find easiest to counter), which is why I was glad to hear from a liberal legal scholar at the Federalist Society last fall.

In the spirit of making life easier for those who don’t already agree with me, I wanted to share a beautifully articulated defense of religious liberty, natural rights, and the idea that just because something is “the law” doesn’t necessarily make it right. (That, by the way, is a fallacy people on both sides of the aisle have been known to succumb to—from conservatives who think immigrants who came to the U.S. illegally should always be treated as criminals to progressives who think Christian-owned pharmacies should be forced to stock the morning-after pill). Without further throat-clearing, I present for your consideration these excellent recent remarks from Becket Fund founder Seamus Hasson:

The Massachusetts Bay colony in the 1650s is the site of our story, and it features the Puritans at the time puzzling about what to do about these nasty Quakers that they had heard tell of. Before there were any Quakers in the Massachusetts Bay colony at all they decided to outlaw them. So they passed a law saying any Quaker that turned up in the colony was to be banished immediately, and if he returned, was to be flogged and then banished again.

Well, the Quakers had a very robust idea of conscience. In fact, it was even more than conscience. They claimed it to be the inner light of God’s presence in themselves and us all. And darned if the inner light didn’t tell the Quakers to come back. So the Quakers, being flogged and sent off, returned.

So in 1657 they passed another law saying that banished Quakers who were flogged and returned, for a first offense would have one of their ears cut off. For a second offense would have their other ears cut off. And for a third offense would have their tongues bored through with a hot iron. And they enforced this. We have the names and dates of people who lost their ears to this law in Massachusetts. But the inner light was a very stubborn thing and told them to return. And so earless, and with holes in their tongues, the Quakers returned to preach against this manifest injustice.

So the Massachusetts Bay colony passed another statute, saying that for a third offense the punishment was death. Now, Mary Dyer was a very free-spirited woman. She returned four times to the colony of Massachusetts Bay to preach against the Puritans there, not counting the two trips she took to New Haven to preach against the Puritans there as well. So on June 1 of 1660 she was solemnly, lawfully hanged on Boston Common for the crime of preaching in Massachusetts.

There’s the story. Here’s the question it poses: Why shouldn’t she die? After all, she had notices of the law. She willingly broke the law. She was duly arrested, properly tried, and properly hanged. What’s wrong with that?
That’s a monstrous question, of course. You can’t kill people for preaching in Massachusetts. But the question is, why can’t you? It wasn’t illegal; it was legally required. It wasn’t unconstitutional; there wasn’t a Constitution yet.

While you’re pondering that, an even briefer story: Vermont in 1870, in its Constitution, provisioned that all office holders had to hold and preach the Protestant religion, thereby excluding Catholics and Jews. There’s the brief story. Here’s the brief question: If the law requires you to be anti-Semitic, may you be? To repeat, this wasn’t illegal. This was legally required. And it wasn’t unconstitutional, because although there was a Constitution, it didn’t apply to the states in 1870. So the question is, if the law requires you to be anti-Semitic, may you be?

And the third story takes place in the 19[9]0s in China, where a 6-year-old boy named Gedhun Choekyi Nyima was arrested, and if he’s still alive is still being held today, for the crime of being thought by others to be the Panchen Lama’s reincarnation. Every time the State Department says to China, “This is an outrage. Release the little boy,” China responds the same way: “You’re interfering in our internal affairs. Get lost.”

Here’s the question: Why aren’t they right? Why isn’t the question of whether you can arrest and imprison a 6-year-old boy for the religious beliefs of others—why isn’t that just a question of Chinese law?

All three of those questions posed are different versions of the same master question: Where does religious liberty come from? If you think that religious liberty comes from the Constitution—not that the Constitution codifies religious liberty, but that it actually comes from the Constitution in the first place—then you must think that Mary Dyer was properly executed, that in 1970 anti-Semitism was OK, and that the Chinese are right. Because in none of those cases was there a Constitution that applied.

To skip ahead, if you don’t think that Mary Dyer was properly executed, and if you think that anti-Semitism is always and everywhere illegal, and if you think the Chinese are wrong, then you must think, along with Madison [and others], that religious liberty has a foundation elsewhere, prior to and higher than the Constitution.

Hasson’s comments were part of an event last week at the American Enterprise Institute called “Catholic thought and human flourishing: Culture and policy.” You can see video of the whole thing here.

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How Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party Are ‘against…free speech’

Last week I appeared on Fox Business Network’s Stossel to talk about Hillary Clinton’s long, terrible record on free speech. Here is a briefish excerpt from that appearance:

And last night I was on the Fox News program Red Eye w/ Tom Shillue, talking about any number of silly things, but among them (from the 7:30 mark) the awfulness of watching Hillary Clinton pander to a crowd of social media kids who are almost certainly clueless about what an anti-constitutional buzzkill she is about the technology and free expression:

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Stocks Bounce, Bonds Bid, But Gold Soars To Best Year Since 1980

Overheard everywhere this week…


But it seems something changed…

*  *  *

Across global assets…

Half-way through the year and judging by the last 3 days, everything is awesome… Gold and Silver are massive outperformers, stocks just broke even, and bonds are surging…


This is gold's best H1 since 1980…


Stocks bounced hard off their End-QE3 levels…


But Nasdaq -4% and Trannies remain the laggards year-to-date…


*  *  *

In Q2, Silver and Crude were best performers, stocks and HY debt worst with bonds and gold doing well…


This was the worst quarter for the Chinese Yuan since 1994's Q1 49% devaluation…


Trannies ended the quarter down 6% and Nasdaq -1.6% while Small Caps short-squeezed themselves to a 4% gain…


*  *  *

And finally, for June…stocks managed to scramble back into the green barely this week but Silver soared with bonds and bullion big winners…


A 3rd 200-point plus gain in The Dow was the first since the face-ripping rally off mid-Feb lows…


If ever there was a presence of The PPT to be found, we note that the last 3 days are the first time since the August crash rebound that The Dow has ripped over 200 points from the open to the high…same as in Oct 2014 when Bullard saved the world…

Makes sense – if The PPT is going to step in then they will want cash investors to take the momentum… not overnight futures traders.

Here is June – The S&P scrambled all the way back to unchanged (ending June +2pts)…

Manipulation instrument of choice – VIX – collapsed almost 40% (yes we know we don't like using %ages with VIX) – the most since the Bullard bounce in Oct 2014…notice VIX is stuck right at its 50DMA


*  *  *

Since Brexit, gold remains the winner but stocks are catching back up to unch…


While Trannies and Small Caps are laggards, Dow & S&P surge desperately for the pre-Brexit levels…


VIX broke down to 15.29 intrday today, but was unable to hold below its 50DMA at 16.05…


Treasury yields were crazy today – spiking higher early at the EU open, then plunging on BoE, spiking again on ECB, then tanking into the close…


Notably on the day (this is bond futures) – Gilts gained (BoE easing), TSYs unch to lower (safety/yield), and Bunds tumbled (ECB buying elsewhere)


FX Markets were nosiy…Cable dumped on Carney but rallied back, JPY dumped (to support stocks) and EUR dumped and pumped…


Commodities were mixed as the USD swung around. Crude was weakest as Silver soared…


Crude ramped into the NYMEX close yet again… and then crashed…


Finally, Precious Metals are soaring. Silver is at its highest since Sept 2014…


Charts: Bloomberg

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Police Called to Elementary School After 3rd Grader Makes “Racist” Comment About a Brownie

Screen Shot 2016-06-30 at 2.11.55 PM

So this really happened.

On June 16, police were called to an unlikely scene: an end-of-the-year class party at the William P. Tatem Elementary School in Collingswood.

A third grader had made a comment about the brownies being served to the class. After another student exclaimed that the remark was “racist,” the school called the Collingswood Police Department, according to the mother of the boy who made the comment.

The boy’s father was contacted by Collingswood police later in the day. Police said the incident had been referred to the New Jersey Division of Child Protection and Permanency. The student stayed home for his last day of third grade.

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