Old and busted: people lose their jobs due to outsourcing production into third-world countries.

New hotness: robots lose their jobs due to outsourcing production into third-world countries.

Adidas plans to close high-tech “robot” factories in Germany and the United States that it launched to bring production closer to customers, saying Monday that deploying some of the technology in Asia would be “more economic and flexible.”

The Adidas factories were part of a drive to meet demand for faster delivery of new styles to its major markets and to counter rising wages in Asia and higher shipping costs. It originally planned a global network of similar factories.

The German sportswear company did not give details on why it was closing the facilities, which have proved expensive and where the technology has been difficult to extend to different products.

Martin Shankland, Adidas’ head of global operations, said the factories had helped the company improve its expertise in innovative manufacturing, but it aimed to apply what it had learned with its suppliers.

Adidas started production of shoes largely by robots at its “Speedfactory” in the southern town of Ansbach near its Bavarian headquarters in 2016 and opened another near Atlanta in 2017.

Founded by German cobbler Adi Dassler in 1949, Adidas has shifted most of its production from Europe to Asia and now relies on more than 1 million workers in contract factories, particularly in China and Vietnam.

However, Adidas said Monday that production at the two factories would be discontinued by April 2020 at the latest as it focuses instead on using the technologies they pioneered to produce shoes at two of its suppliers in Asia.

The suppliers would use the techniques to make a broader range of products with a short production time, not just running shoes, while Adidas will keep testing manufacturing processes at its so-called adiLab site in Scheinfeld, Germany.

It said it would continue to work with Oechsler, the German company that operates the two factories, in other manufacturing areas, such as producing soles for its springy Boost shoes, as well as soles for soccer shoes and advanced 3D-printed soles.

Source: New York Post

How does this work? The Quran requires that muslims above a certain threshold of wealth give away 2.5% of wealth as charity (“zakat”). In Pakistan, the government automatically taxes citizens above this threshold at the 2.5% level.

The threshold (“nisab”) is historically determined as the price of 612 grams of silver. So each year, the Pakistani government looks at the current price of silver, and taxes everyone who falls above the corresponding threshold.

Individuals who fall *just* below the threshold one year due the changed price of silver suddenly avoid a 2.5% government tax. Those people then increase their private donations to charity.

Many such donations (whether intended or not) go to charities affiliated with terrorist groups. With this additional financing, these groups conduct more attacks:

↑silver price → ↑tax threshold → ↓taxes → ↑charity → ↑terrorist financing → ↑terrorist attacks!

Read the absolutely incredible paper presented at the Stigler Center’s Political Economy of Finance conference in Chicago this weekend, by Nicola Limodio, here.

Source: Ben Marrow

The U.S. Government issued Executive Order 13884, the practical effect of which  is to prohibit almost all  transactions and services between U.S. companies, entities, and individuals in Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela.

Executive Order 13884 was issued with no expiration date – the decision to rescind it rests solely with the U.S. Government. We will continue to monitor developments closely and will make every effort to restore services to Venezuela as soon as it is legally permissible to do so.

Source: Adobe

Put your data in the cloud, they said. It’s save and accessible from everywhere, they said.

Some classrooms in China are equipped with AI cameras and brain-wave trackers. While many parents and teachers see them as tools to improve grades, they’ve become some children’s worst nightmare.

Source: WSJ

It’s ridiculous and dangerous. They aren’t pop stars. Support them if you agree with their policies, and criticize them when they are wrong. They are servants, not celebrities. And just in case you’re a fan of celebrities: they are monkeys who perform for our amusement. Also servants. I don’t want their political advice, and you shouldn’t want their advice, too.

The U.S. government concluded within the last two years that Israel was most likely behind the placement of cell-phone surveillance devices that were found near the White House and other sensitive locations around Washington, D.C., according to three former senior U.S. officials with knowledge of the matter.

But unlike most other occasions when flagrant incidents of foreign spying have been discovered on American soil, the Trump administration did not rebuke the Israeli government, and there were no consequences for Israel’s behavior, one of the former officials said.

The miniature surveillance devices, colloquially known as “StingRays,” mimic regular cell towers to fool cell phones into giving them their locations and identity information. Formally called international mobile subscriber identity-catchers or IMSI-catchers, they also can capture the contents of calls and data use.

The devices were likely intended to spy on President Donald Trump, one of the former officials said, as well as his top aides and closest associates — though it’s not clear whether the Israeli efforts were successful.

Source: Politico

For years, an enduring mystery has surrounded the Stuxnet virus attack that targeted Iran’s nuclear program: How did the U.S. and Israel get their malware onto computer systems at the highly secured uranium-enrichment plant?

The first-of-its-kind virus, designed to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program, effectively launched the era of digital warfare and was unleashed some time in 2007, after Iran began installing its first batch of centrifuges at a controversial enrichment plant near the village of Natanz.

The courier behind that intrusion, whose existence and role has not been previously reported, was an inside mole recruited by Dutch intelligence agents at the behest of the CIA and the Israeli intelligence agency, the Mossad, according to sources who spoke with Yahoo News.

An Iranian engineer recruited by the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD provided critical data that helped the U.S. developers target their code to the systems at Natanz, according to four intelligence sources. That mole then provided much-needed inside access when it came time to slip Stuxnet onto those systems using a USB flash drive.

Source: Yahoo News

A federal judge ruled on Wednesday that a federal government database that compiles people deemed to be “known or suspected terrorists” violates the rights of American citizens who are on the watchlist, calling into question the constitutionality of a major tool the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security use for screening potential terrorism suspects.

Being on the watchlist can restrict people from traveling or entering the country, subject them to greater scrutiny at airports and by the police, and deny them government benefits and contracts. In a 32-page opinion, Judge Anthony J. Trenga of United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said the standard for inclusion in the database was too vague.

“The court concludes that the risk of erroneous deprivation of plaintiffs’ travel-related and reputational liberty interests is high, and the currently existing procedural safeguards are not sufficient to address that risk,” Judge Trenga wrote.

Source: The New York Times

On june 22nd there was an alleged coup attempt in Ethiopia. The army chief of staff was murdered, as was the president of Amhara, one of the country’s nine regions. Ordinary Ethiopians were desperate to find out what was going on. And then the government shut down the internet. By midnight some 98% of Ethiopia was offline.

“People were getting distorted news and were getting very confused about what was happening…at that very moment there was no information at all,” recalls Gashaw Fentahun, a journalist at the Amhara Mass Media Agency, a state-owned outlet. He and his colleagues were trying to file a report. Rather than uploading audio and video files digitally, they had to send them to head office by plane, causing a huge delay.

Source: The Economist

The prosecutor and the judge said it was because I had a lot of USB flash drives, — a lot of computers and a lot of books, they said that these were suspicious.

Source: Ola Bini

I guess, we’re all just one step away from being jailed.


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    We never asked for this.