Macro Links Mar 28th – FANG Implosion
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MACRO LINKS TABLE OF CONTENTS (Click or Scroll Down)
- FACEBOOK, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA
- BITCOIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY, INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS
- BLOCKCHAIN, FINTECH, DIGITAL PAYMENTS
- FOREX, CARRY TRADES, EXCHANGE RATES
- TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
- BUDGET, INFRASTRUCTURE, HEALTHCARE, IMMIGRATION
- GUN CONTROL, POT BOOM, OPIOIDS, PUBLIC POLICY
- RUSSIA MEDDLING, RUSSIA PROBE, TRUMP WORLD
- KOREAN PENINSULA, MIDDLE EAST, NUCLEAR WEAPONS
- INFLATION, RATES, DEBT AND CREDIT, BALANCE SHEETS
- MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
- USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
- GLOBAL ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL
- POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
- COLOR, EARNINGS, SENTIMENT, VALUATIONS
- CREDIT, YIELD, BUYBACKS, CORPORATES
- HEDGE FUNDS, PRIVATE EQUITY, MONEY MGMT
- ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
- COMMODITIES AGRICULTURE & SOFTS
- POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
- BREXIT, SCOXIT, LONDON, UK ECONOMY
- PRIVACY, HACKING, CYBERWAR, SURVEILLANCE STATE
- ELECTORAL POLITICS
- SCANDALS, LAWSUITS, FINES, REGULATORY
- BANKS, BROKERS, INSURANCE, EXCHANGES
- SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
- CONSUMER TECH, SOCIAL MEDIA, E-COMMERCE, MOBILE
- MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
- AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
- AEROSPACE, MILITARY & DEFENSE
- SCIENCE, NATURE, PSYCHOLOGY
FACEBOOK, CAMBRIDGE ANALYTICA
The market’s darlings just suffered their worst day in at least three years. The NYSE FANG+ index, tracking the FANG block and its megacap brethren, tumbled 5.6 percent in the biggest rout in data going back to September 2014. Twitter Inc. led the plunge with a 12 percent decline as all 10 index members retreated. Facebook Inc., Amazon.com Inc., Netflix Inc. and Google’s parent Alphabet Inc. slumped at least 3.8 percent.
Facebook Inc. Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg has decided that he’ll need to testify before U.S. lawmakers in the coming weeks to answer a drumbeat of Congressional questions over how the company handles user information, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The Facebook boss will send one of his senior deputies instead, the company said. Damian Collins, who leads the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, had written to Mr Zuckerberg directly requesting that he appear. Mr Collins’s letter made the request in the strongest possible terms, and suggested that Mr Zuckerberg himself should appear. He gave until Monday evening to reply to the request.
Mr Collins said Mr Zuckerberg’s response was unacceptable. “Given the extraordinary evidence we have heard so far today… I think it is absolutely astonishing that Mark Zuckerberg is not prepared to submit himself for questioning in front of a Parliamentary or Congressional hearing given that these are questions of fundamental importance and concern to Facebook users and as well to our inquiry,” Mr Collins said. “I think I would urge him to think again.”
Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie has today revealed his predecessor died mysteriously in a Kenyan hotel room – and may have been poisoned. He said Dan Muresan was working for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s re-election campaign when he was found dead in 2012 amid reports a deal he was working on went ‘sour’. Giving evidence to the culture select committee of MPs, Mr Wylie told how rumours that Mr Muresan had been killed circulated around the controversial data firm. And he heard talk the Kenyan police had been bribed not to enter the hotel room for 24 hours in a bid to cover up the possible murder.
“On a comment about using audio and processing audio, you can use it for, my understanding generally of how companies use it… not just Facebook, but generally other apps that pull audio, is for environmental context,” Wylie said. “So if, for example, you have a television playing versus if you’re in a busy place with a lot of people talking versus a work environment.” He clarified, “It’s not to say they’re listening to what you’re saying. It’s not natural language processing. That would be hard to scale. But to understand the environmental context of where you are to improve the contextual value of the ad itself” is possible. Wylie continued: “There’s audio that could be useful just in terms of are you in an office environment, are you outside, are you watching TV?”
Palantir, a secretive company co-founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, worked with Cambridge Analytica, the political analysis firm that harvested data from Facebook users, whistleblower Christopher Wylie told U.K. lawmakers Tuesday. Wylie claimed that Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix was introduced to Palantir by Sophie Schmidt, the daughter of former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.
Several prominent hedge funds could be among investors feeling the pain from Facebook Inc.’s recent plunge amid the Cambridge Analytica data crisis. AQR Capital Management, Appaloosa Management, Coatue Management and D.E. Shaw & Co. were the stock’s top hedge fund holders as of Dec. 31, with a combined 21.9 million shares, data compiled by Bloomberg show. While they’re not obliged to provide a public update on those holdings until May and could have adjusted positions during the first quarter, holdings that remained unchanged may have suffered.
Facebook is counting the cost of losing users’ and investors’ trust, with up to $100bn wiped off of the company’s value since news of the scandal broke, and is now also under investigation by the US Federal Trade Commission that could result in a penalty of up to $2tn. “The FTC takes very seriously recent press reports raising substantial concerns about the privacy practices of Facebook,” said Tom Pahl, acting director of the FTC’s bureau of consumer protection.
BITCOIN, CRYPTOCURRENCY, INITIAL COIN OFFERINGS
It’s one of the more unusual deals in the art world. After more than a decade, an Alberta businessman has finally found a buyer for his prized collection of gold castings of Nelson Mandela’s hand. The final price? Ten million dollars — in bitcoin. Attempts by Malcolm Duncan, formerly of South Africa, to sell the hands back in 2007 were scuppered by controversy over provenance and a possible missing charitable donation. This time he’s had better luck, albeit with an unusual buyer.
Bitcoin may not cut it as a currency in Mark Carney’s eyes, but it has at least one other use: it’s a pretty good measure of animal spirits. There’s a remarkable similarity in chart movements of the digital token and the forward price to earnings ratio of stocks in the S&P 500 Index. The valuation measure peaked on the very same day as the cryptocurrency back in December, and hit a low days after Bitcoin bottomed out. “The price of Bitcoin is worth watching,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Michael Wilson wrote in a report Monday. “While we do not expect this relationship to continue to hold so tightly we do think it will be hard for price-to-earnings to move significantly higher or lower without a commensurate move in the digital currency.”
The German National Tourism Board has announced that it accepts cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin for its services. The organization promotes German travel destinations with offices in 32 countries around the world. GNTB also intends to implement blockchain technologies in its finances. “We want to be a global innovation driver in the tourism industry,” its chairperson recently stated.
The European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) has strengthened requirements for Contracts For Differences (CFDs) in cryptocurrencies, as stated in an announcement on March 27. CFDs are an arrangement in a futures contract whereby differences in settlement are made in cash payments, rather than by the delivery of physical goods or securities. It is considered an easier method of settlement, as all gains and losses are paid in cash. It also gives investors the same risks and benefits of a security, without actually owning one.
The San Francisco-based company said it will support Ethereum’s ERC20 technical standard on its platform in the coming months, according to a blog post the firm published Monday. ERC20 is the technical standard used to build Ethereum-based tokens, such as EOS, Qtum, OmiseGo and Bancor. There are more than 50,000 ERC20 token contracts, according to Etherscan website. “This paves the way for supporting ERC20 assets across Coinbase products in the future, though we aren’t announcing support for any specific assets or features at this time,” the post said. Coinbase trades Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ether and Litecoin on its GDAX exchange.
Longfin Corp., a fintech company whose stock skyrocketed 2,600 percent after it touted ties to cryptocurrencies, will be booted from the Russell 2000 Index less than two weeks after joining. The New York-based firm failed to meet a rule that required it to have at least 5 percent of its shares available to the public, FTSE Russell said in a statement Monday. The stock is set to be removed from the Russell 200 Index, the Russell Global Index and the Russell Developed Index after the market closes on March 28. Longfin shares plunged as much as 35 percent to $38.26, after slumping 17 percent Monday. The stock has still returned almost 700 percent since the company went public in December.
A growing number of internet companies are banning cryptocurrency advertising, fearing reputational damage if their users are duped or left penniless, even as regulators struggle to get to grips with the fast-emerging industry. Once restricted to small online chatrooms for early bitcoin backers, cryptocurrencies have since exploded in popularity and the industry has grown rapidly. Huge billboards promoting the latest coin hang over Tokyo’s streets, ads touting crypto-trading dot the London underground network, and social media platforms are full of start-ups looking to raise capital through “initial coin offerings” (ICOs), as the selling of new virtual tokens is known.
“Advertisement of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) and token sales will be prohibited globally,” a Twitter spokesperson said in an emailed statement Monday. “We know that this type of content is often associated with deception and fraud, both organic and paid, and are proactively implementing a number of signals to prevent these types of accounts from engaging with others in a deceptive manner.”
Major South Korea exchange Bithumb will allow its users to pay with cryptocurrency in 8,000 brick and mortar outlets by the end of 2018, it announced March 26. In a pioneering move for cryptocurrency payments in South Korea, Bithumb will partner with digital payment services provider Korea Pay to facilitate purchases for its users. A pilot is expected to launch by June, with 8,000 merchants coming on board by year end, according to an accompanying press release.
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic has a short message about cryptocurrencies like bitcoin: Avoid! “Don’t do it,’’ Bostic told an audience in Atlanta Tuesday at the Hope Global Forums annual meeting, which promotes financial inclusion, young entrepreneurs and affordable housing. “They are speculative markets. They are not currency. If you have money you really need, do not put it in these markets.’’
A Russian official has refuted claims that Venezuela offered to repay its debts in its newly-launched Petro cryptocurrency, Reuters reports today, March 27. As Reuters reports, Konstantin Vyshkovsky, head of the Russian finance ministry’s state debt department, told reporters that no cryptocurrency-based debt repayments were on the horizon.
Payment services startup Circle announced it has hired former Square, Boxed, and Salesforce executive Naeem Ishaq as its new CFO, Treasurer & EVP of Risk in a blog post published March 26. Ishaq, whose background Circle CEO Jeremy Allaire describes as “noteworthy and highly relevant for Circle,” joins the company just a month after a $400 mln deal saw it buy major cryptocurrency exchange Poloniex. “Naeem joining Circle comes at a transformative time for our company considering the recent acquisition of Poloniex, our recently introduced app Circle Invest, and continued global expansion and growth for Circle Pay and Circle Trade,” Allaire continued.
BLOCKCHAIN, FINTECH, DIGITAL PAYMENTS
Just two months after going all-in on crypto, venture firm Full Tilt Capital LLC has been acquired by a hedge fund looking to make a big bet on blockchain. Full Tilt, a Raleigh, North Carolina-based firm focusing on seed-round investments, announced in January that it was dedicating its next fund entirely to cryptocurrency businesses. But rather than go it alone, the company will be part of Morgan Creek Capital Management LLC, a hedge fund with more than $1 billion in assets under management.
Blockchain startup Digital Asset has revealed a new project aimed at streamlining the way systemically important financial infrastructures access its technology. Led by former JP Morgan global commodities boss Blythe Masters, the startup is in the process of packaging its custom smart contract language DAML into easy-to-use software development kits (SDKs) for customers. Already an active ingredient in its existing partnerships (such as its work with the Australian Securities Exchange), the creation of the SDKs stands to accelerate the rate new financial infrastructure providers can build with the technology, Masters says.
FOREX, CARRY TRADES, EXCHANGE RATES
The commodity-driven currencies of Australia, New Zealand and Canada are about to become victims of the global trade war, a former Tudor Investment Corp. trader said. Global trade tensions ratcheted up earlier this month, triggering a sell-off in stock markets. President Donald Trump last week announced punitive tariffs on about $50 billion of Chinese imports and directed his Treasury Secretary to come up with new investment restrictions on Chinese companies. China then unveiled tariffs on $3 billion of U.S. imports, retaliating against earlier steel and aluminum duties ordered by Trump.
Economists are predicting a South African rate cut on Wednesday. The market’s pricing in another later this year. Rand traders, it seems, couldn’t care less. Bearish bets on South Africa’s currency versus the dollar are at the lowest level since before the 2008 financial crisis, even with the South African Reserve Bank poised to loosen policy while the Federal Reserve tightens, narrowing the rand’s yield advantage over the greenback.
Gains in the currency came as the Trump administration was said to be urging China to lower tariffs on cars and open its market to U.S. financial services as part of talks to resolve a rise in trade tensions. Adding to the bull case was last Friday’s announcement that China’s yuan-denominated bonds will be included in the Bloomberg Barclays Global Aggregate Index, which could prompt inflows of around $110 billion, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
TRADE, PROTECTIONISM, REGULATION, OVERSIGHT
The Trump administration’s steel and aluminum tariffs are provoking a chain reaction around the globe, as governments from Europe to Canada prepare to erect barriers to prevent cheap metal once bound for the United States from entering their markets. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada announced a series of regulatory changes that would make it easier for border officials to block steel and aluminum imports into that nation. The European Union has begun a “safeguard investigation” that could result in tariffs or other trade actions if it determines that steel intended for the American market is being diverted to the bloc.
The Trump administration once against fanned the flames of a global trade war on Tuesday amid a new report that it could move to block China from investing in certain types of US tech companies. Bloomberg reported Tuesday that as part of new sanctions on China — which included Thursday’s announcement of tariffs on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods — the Treasury Department is looking into using a decades-old national-security law to prevent Chinese firms from investing in up-and-coming technologies.
The Trump administration is urging China to lower tariffs on cars and open its market to U.S. financial services as part of talks to resolve a rise in trade tensions that has shaken global markets, according to a person familiar with the matter. Meanwhile, one of President Donald Trump’s senior trade advisers says the president is seeking a nearly one-third narrowing of the U.S. trade deficit with China. Trump wants to see a $100-billion reduction in America’s trade deficit with China this year, as well as action on intellectual property, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro told Bloomberg Radio on Monday. The U.S. had a $337-billion trade shortfall in goods and services with China last year.
The Trump administration is considering a crackdown on Chinese investments in technologies the U.S. deems sensitive by invoking a law reserved for national emergencies, among other options, according to people familiar with the matter. Treasury Department officials are working on plans to identify technology sectors in which Chinese companies would be banned from investing, such as semiconductors and so-called 5G wireless communications, according to four people with knowledge of the proposal, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
From Japan’s electronics to Australia’s iron ore, the Asia-Pacific region’s economies depend on selling parts and materials to feed China’s export machine. That is why the prospect of a deepening U.S.-China trade conflict has these nations worried about getting caught in the crossfire—even if some of them have sympathy for President Donald Trump’s criticism of China. “It’s not just the combatants themselves who suffer damage, it’s the other countries too,” said Shujiro Urata, a professor of economics at Tokyo’s Waseda University and former World Bank economist.
Germany is willing to offer the U.S. concessions to stop President Donald Trump from slapping tariffs on European steel and aluminum, exposing a divide with France on how to avert a trade war. Germany is ready to discuss with the European Union in every respect measures to counter the U.S. threat to impose tariffs, according to a government official in Berlin. That flexible approach to protecting Germany’s export-led industry risks alienating other EU countries including France, which according to a French government official doesn’t want the bloc to make any concessions.
A crucial element of Beijing’s development plan has been to partner with foreign companies or acquire overseas technologies that will help Chinese groups rise to global dominance in their respective industries. It is these companies the US is expected to take action against. “Planned US tariffs and investment restrictions are meant to hit China in response to what the US sees as unfair technology and intellectual property practices,” Louis Kuijs, head of Asia for Oxford Economics, said in a note. “The most important part of this seems to be to slow down the transfer of technology to China,” said Christopher Lee, S&P Global’s lead China corporate specialist.
The peculiar, painful dance between the president and his once-prized veterans affairs chief has become a symbol for how Mr. Trump often handles personnel matters — publicly, without concern for ending the drama quickly, and with a hope that offending employees will decide to leave instead of forcing the president to oust them. In this case, the standoff has left rudderless a vast federal bureaucracy of about 370,000 employees that serves more than 20 million veterans.
BUDGET, INFRASTRUCTURE, HEALTHCARE, IMMIGRATION
The healthcare system supported by Bernie Sanders and many liberal-leaning Democrats has begun gaining steam with more Americans, according to a new poll. The poll, from the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health policy think tank, found that: 59% of respondents supported a Medicare-for-all healthcare system in which all Americans would get coverage through a government program like Medicare or Medicaid. Moving to a public-option model, under which people could sign up for the Medicare-like program, would be even more popular. About 75% of the public would favor a program framed as a public option for anyone who wants it.
President Trump, who repeatedly insisted during the 2016 campaign that Mexico would pay for a wall along the southern border, is privately pushing the U.S. military to fund construction of his signature project. Trump has told advisers that he was spurned in a large spending bill last week when lawmakers appropriated only $1.6 billion for the border wall. He has suggested to Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and congressional leaders that the Pentagon could fund the sprawling project, citing a “national security” risk.
GUN CONTROL, POT BOOM, OPIOIDS, PUBLIC POLICY
Former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens is calling for a repeal of the Second Amendment, decrying the right to bear arms as outdated and misunderstood.
Infowars, Breitbart and other far-right media sites have begun comparing David Hogg, the Parkland, Fla., high school shooting survivor who has gained nationwide attention for speaking out for gun restrictions, to Adolf Hitler.
RUSSIA MEDDLING, RUSSIA PROBE, TRUMP WORLD
The UK shared “unprecedented degrees of intelligence” about the Salisbury nerve agent attack as part of its international drive to secure the biggest diplomatic offensive against Russia since the end of the cold war, according to a senior British official. The UK not only shared detailed scientific analysis of the nerve agent used in the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4 in Salisbury but also intelligence reports that backed up London’s claim that Russia has been running an “explicit” state-backed assassination programme, said the senior British official, who declined to be identified.
The tweet followed a common pattern that has emerged in recent years among the Russian diplomatic corps. In an attempt to show what they say is the hypocrisy of the West, Russia’s Twitter-savvy diplomats in Moscow, London and Washington frequently resort to memes to mock Western allegations of election interference or human-rights abuses.
A nearly 100-page magazine published by Donald Trump’s allies at American Media Inc. is providing a different kind of celebrity gossip than the American supermarket shopper is used to seeing. It’s selling America on a fellow Trump ally, Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The owners of the National Enquirer have a slick, ad-free magazine on U.S. newsstands praising crown prince Mohammed bin Salman—and insist they had no outside help for it.
KOREAN PENINSULA, MIDDLE EAST, NUCLEAR WEAPONS
The exit of Rex Tillerson and the rise of Trump’s new national security adviser trades one agency critic with no government experience for another with years of it. President Trump’s appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser created a unique sense of shock at the State Department, where many diplomats rehashed anecdotes about his aggressive management style and prolific broadsides against the culture of the American diplomatic corps.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un traveled to the Chinese capital—his first trip outside his own country since coming to power—on a mission to strengthen ties with Beijing ahead of a planned summit with U.S. President Donald Trump. During the visit, which China and North Korea declined to reveal until after it had ended, Mr. Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping and other senior officials to discuss bilateral ties and tensions on the Korean Peninsula, Chinese state media said Wednesday.
Kim expressed an openness to U.S. talks during meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, the official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday, in what was his first foreign trip since taking power in 2011. North Korean state media reports also confirmed Kim’s visit — and his return to Pyongyang — without mentioning denuclearization or the potential Trump summit.
If President Trump actually meets Kim Jong-un in the next few months — an encounter that many American officials still doubt will come to pass — his challenge will be much larger than merely persuading North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons. Mr. Trump must also get Pyongyang to give up the factories, reactors and nuclear-enrichment facilities that produce the nuclear fuel needed to build more weapons — even as new satellite evidence suggests that North Korea is expanding its production.
INFLATION, RATES, DEBT AND CREDIT, BALANCE SHEETS
After a two-year wait, Chinese regulators have revived a programme allowing global asset managers including JPMorgan Chase to raise funds from Chinese onshore clients for investment in offshore hedge funds. The easing of capital controls shows how Chinese regulators are increasingly relaxed about cross-border capital flows amid a stable Chinese economy and persistent dollar weakness. JPMorgan Asset Management has received a new quota for the programme, and several other asset managers are expecting similar allotments, according to three people familiar with the situation. JPMorgan received a $50m quota in January, one of those people said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government in a surprise move announced it would auction just 48 percent of its planned annual bond sales in the first six months of the financial year starting April 1. That’s less than the 60 percent to 65 percent it typically raised in previous years.
Companies are paying the most in nearly a decade for some types of short-term borrowing, the latest threat to a long-running U.S. economic expansion and increasingly volatile markets. Libor has been rising for the last 2½ years as the Federal Reserve lifts its key policy rate, but recently the pace has picked up. It has climbed nearly a full percentage point in the last six months—outpacing the Fed—and could rise further with the approaching end of the quarter, typically a time of elevated demand for short-term funds in the banking sector, analysts say.
MACRO OP-EDS, INSIGHT, EVENTS AND TRENDS
Granted anonymity, affiliates were happy to detail their tricks. They told me that Facebook had revolutionized scamming. The company built tools with its trove of user data that made it the go-to platform for big brands. Affiliates hijacked them. Facebook’s targeting algorithm is so powerful, they said, they don’t need to identify suckers themselves—Facebook does it automatically. And they boasted that Russia’s dezinformatsiya agents were using tactics their community had pioneered.
High valuations haven’t fully reflected new world of risks. Tech stocks have been on a long winning streak on strong demand for hardware, software and services. But the sector’s growing clout over everyday life also raises the risks of what can go wrong. The Nasdaq Composite has spent the past month trading at a 28% premium to the S&P 500 as a multiple of forward earnings, compared with its three-year average of 22%. That is a sign that tech’s new risks haven’t been fully priced in.
For years, economists have warned of major increases in future public debt burdens. That future is on our doorstep. From this point forward, even if economic growth continues uninterrupted, current tax and spending patterns imply that annual deficits will steadily increase, approaching the $1 trillion mark in two years and steadily rising thereafter as far as the eye can see. This string of perpetually rising trillion-dollar-plus deficits is unprecedented in U.S. history. Unchecked, such a debt spiral raises the specter of a crisis. Some may think that such concerns are overblown, as there is no current evidence in financial futures markets that a crisis is on the horizon. But a debt crisis does not come slowly and visibly like a rising tide. It comes without warning, like an earthquake, as short-term bondholders attempt to escape fiscal carnage. Only in hindsight are we able to see the stresses building and bemoan that we did not act. While some insulation flows from the dollar’s role as the global reserve currency, that is neither sufficient nor immutable, and relies on faith in the United States’ eventual fiscal probity.
By now, many people have come to expect that Mr. Trump will inject politics into every policy decision. But even by this administration’s low standards, trifling with the census, which is required by the Constitution and is a fundamental building block of American democracy, represents a serious breach of trust.
Getting your head around cryptocurrencies was hard enough before governments got involved. But now that policy makers around the world are drawing up fresh regulations on everything from exchanges to initial coin offerings, keeping track of what’s legal has become just as daunting as figuring out which newfangled token might turn into the next Bitcoin.
Reuters has found several blockchain projects launched by major financial institutions that have been shelved, as development of the technology enters a hype-meets-reality phase. These were among the wave of blockchain tests touted by the financial industry over the past few years, as firms bet the new technology would displace much of the sector’s infrastructure, cutting out middlemen, speeding transactions and reducing costs for things like securities and payments processing. Yet as some projects were developed, companies pulled back for various reasons – from costs to industry readiness, underscoring that, for all its potential, blockchain is still in its early days.
China is rife with face-scanning technology worthy of Black Mirror. Don’t even think about jaywalking in Jinan, the capital of Shandong province. Last year, traffic-management authorities there started using facial recognition to crack down. When a camera mounted above one of 50 of the city’s busiest intersections detects a jaywalker, it snaps several photos and records a video of the violation. The photos appear on an overhead screen so the offender can see that he or she has been busted, then are cross-checked with the images in a regional police database. Within 20 minutes, snippets of the perp’s ID number and home address are displayed on the crosswalk screen. The offender can choose among three options: a 20-yuan fine (about $3), a half-hour course in traffic rules, or 20 minutes spent assisting police in controlling traffic. Police have also been known to post names and photos of jaywalkers on social media.
Combs is already in line to manage a huge swath of Berkshire’s investments when Buffett, 87, leaves the scene. But his ever-growing portfolio has led some shareholders and analysts to speculate that he could one day become CEO as well. “Everybody else is a slave to attention, and Todd seems indifferent to it,” says Steve Wallman, a longtime Berkshire investor and money manager in Wisconsin, who’s met Combs. “This is just the kind of behavior you want to see in someone who’s lined up to succeed Warren.” Combs is also a talented networker who has used his smarts and drive to win the confidence of powerful men, according to interviews with a dozen people who know him. Most asked that their name not be used, even when they had positive things to say, for fear of jeopardizing their relationship with someone who values his privacy. Many of these people say they were surprised to learn about his involvement in the health-care initiative, given his lack of background in the industry.
Sean Gourley, founder and CEO of Primer, a company that uses software to mine data sources and automatically generate reports for the CIA and other clients, told a conference in San Francisco that the next generation of fake news would be far more sophisticated thanks to AI. “The automation of the generation of fake news is going to make it very effective,” Gourley told the audience at EmTech Digital, organized by MIT Technology Review. Gourley noted that the fake news seen to date has been relatively simple, consisting of crude, hand-crafted stories posted to social media at regular intervals. Technology such as Primer’s could easily be used to generate convincing fake stories automatically, he said, and that could mean fake reports tailored to an individual’s interests and sympathies and carefully tested before being released, to maximize their impact. “I can generate a million stories, see which ones get the most traction, double down on those,” Gourley said.
We’ve all heard the term “monopoly,” even if it’s just in the context of the board game. But a related term, or even another face of monopoly, is monopsony. A monopsony is when a firm is the sole purchaser of a good or service whereas a monopoly is when one firm is the sole producer of a good or service. Most examples of monopsony have to do with the purchase of workers’ time in the labor market, where a firm is the sole purchaser of a certain kind of labor. Just as the United States is seeing increasing evidence of monopoly power and cartelization on the producer side, we also need to pay attention to the effects of monopsony power in the labor market.
Ecuadoreans have grown accustomed to U.S. dollars, which their government adopted in 2000 to overcome soaring inflation and the sucre’s collapse. A similar action is now being proposed for Venezuela by Henri Falcón, an opposition candidate in the inflation-racked country’s May 20 presidential election. Dollarization is the course Mr. Falcon, in his long-shot bid to unseat President Nicolás Maduro, says will extract Venezuela from its worst economic crisis in modern history. De facto dollarization is already under way in the state-dominated economy, Mr. Falcón says. Ignoring price controls, merchants often sell goods at prices that reflect their free-market value. That is often too much for most Venezuelans, who earn the equivalent of a few dollars a month.
What we can say is that when complex technological systems fail, usually no single factor is to blame. In her study of the Challenger Space Shuttle disaster, the sociologist Diane Vaughan noted a phenomenon she called the “normalization of deviance,” an acceptance of assumptions and shortcuts that over time incrementally piles on risk until, like compounding interest on debt, a kind of technological bill suddenly becomes due. Something like this probably happened at the UniversityCity Bridge. And when all the rubble is removed and the reports are written, it is likely we’ll learn that the collapse had something to do with the philosophy of accelerated construction. In a part of the country notorious for slash-and-burn urban development, it turns out that ABC can be much more complicated and problematic than its rather glib acronym implies.
It is no secret that the newspaper business is in decline. So it’s hardly surprising that Freeman would feel the need to shrink the head count at his newspapers, just as almost every other newspaper owner has had to do for years. But what sets Freeman apart is that he seems to have a rather unique view of a newspaper’s purpose. In this view, his papers are intended not so much to inform the public or hold officialdom to account, but to supply cash for Freeman to use elsewhere. His layoffs aren’t just painful. They are savage. Although those running his papers claim the cuts are driven by necessity, the layoffs seem far in excess of what’s happening elsewhere in the industry. Instead, it appears that Freeman is cutting costs so he can pull out cash, and then, as the business dwindles because the product is damaged, he cuts some more, pulling out yet more cash while further damaging the product.
Islamic preacher Imam Idi Kasozi’s Friday sermons in the Ugandan capital typically focus on three subjects: faith, mercy — and religiously compliant banking products. Though the nation’s largest banks such as Stanbic Bank Uganda Ltd. and Standard Chartered Bank Uganda Ltd. haven’t committed to offering it, the adoption of Islamic finance, which doesn’t allow the charging or paying of interest, would permit trading of some of the world’s fastest-growing financial instruments. Sharia-compliant assets are forecast to reach $3 trillion worldwide sometime in the next decade, from about $2.1 trillion at the end of 2016.
Public anger at the fire — and claims that official bungling and corruption played a part — drowned out the Kremlin’s fury over Monday’s expulsion of Russian diplomats by 23 countries. Even on state-controlled television, news about the fire pushed aside routine denunciations of the West just as four more countries ordered out diplomats over a nerve-agent attack for which London has blamed Moscow. Normally, the Kremlin would have used the diplomatic crisis to stoke patriotic fervor and promote its view of Russia as a fortress besieged by “Russophobic” foreigners. Russia-24, a round-the-clock state news channel, tried early Monday to stick to its usual fare of patriotic programming, broadcasting a panel “discussion” featuring fiery tirades against the West. But even that exercise had to pause to give the announcer time to express condolences over the deaths in Siberia.
USA ECONOMY DATA, CITIES AND STATES
Home prices continue to post solid gains across the country, with the largest advances occurring in the West. While demand is being spurred by robust job growth, inventory remains lean and is allowing sellers to raise asking prices. The number of previously owned houses on the market during the month was the lowest for any January in National Association of Realtors’ records back to 1999.
Critics say the rule would inject the government into the doctor-patient relationship and could throw patients who lost access to the drugs into withdrawal or even provoke them to buy dangerous street drugs. Although the number of opioid prescriptions has been declining since 2011, they noted, the rate of overdoses attributed to the painkillers and, increasingly, illegal fentanyl and heroin, has escalated.
Today, Cisco announced a $50 million donation to Destination: Home over the next five years. The idea is to help put an end to homelessness in Santa Clara County — an area of Northern California that is home to the tech industry’s Silicon Valley. This area consists of cities like Cupertino (home to Apple’s headquarters), Mountain View (home to Google/Alphabet), Palo Alto (home to Facebook), San Jose and Sunnyvale.
No two hurricanes are alike, and Harvey and Maria were vastly different storms that struck areas with vastly different financial, geographic and political situations. But a comparison of government statistics relating to the two recovery efforts strongly supports the views of disaster-recovery experts that FEMA and the Trump administration exerted a faster, and initially greater, effort in Texas, even though the damage in Puerto Rico exceeded that in Houston.
GLOBAL ECONOMY, INTERNATIONAL
The indicator takes into account five factors: growth momentum (measured by the average percentile for U.S. ISM indexes), the slope of the yield curve, core inflation, unemployment and stock valuations as measured by the Shiller price-earnings multiple. However, the strategists are telling investors not to worry, noting that the indicator’s high level is mainly due to the low unemployment rate and strong economic growth momentum skewing the results rather than rising rates or strong core inflation.
London Metal Exchange warehouse inventories hit a four-year high on Tuesday, breaking out of a zigzagging range seen since mid-2016. Analysts and traders have cautioned that, taken in isolation, that sawtooth pattern can give a misleading snapshot. Still, rising inventories seen on Comex and the Shanghai Futures Exchange signal that copper demand is going through a rough patch.
POSITIONING, INFLECTION, MARKET CALLS
The aftershocks from February’s volatility earthquake have arrived. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 Index’s trading range spiked to 314 points on Tuesday, its widest spread since the market turmoil following China’s devaluation of the yuan in August 2015. The calm that prevailed for the past two years is decidedly in the past. The Cboe NDX Volatility Index averaged 14.09 as the equity gauge surged 32 percent last year. So far in 2018, the fear measure has averaged 20.19.
Technology stocks are suffering one of their worst beatings in years, as investors reassess a sector that has been considered the growth engine of the global economy but now faces the prospect of greater regulatory scrutiny. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index fell 2.9% Tuesday. That selloff carried over to the broader market, where the S&P 500 index slumped 1.7%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.4%, giving back some of Monday’s 2.8% rebound.
Technology stocks helped propel the nine-year bull market. Optimistic investors piled into the shares, hoping to grab a piece of the profits from industries such as social media, autonomous driving, video streaming and artificial intelligence. Now, that confidence is evaporating.
It’s a fact of the life of the mind — things always seem worse in the present. In reality, they’re not. In this bull market alone there’s been five other corrections like this one, and it’s taken around seven months on average for equities to climb out of their hole. Based on that path, the current jitters won’t be fully eradicated until August. Just because bouts of losses are normal doesn’t mean they’re painless, especially when momentum stocks are leading the way lower. But the statistic is a reminder that it’s unrealistic to expect a market recovery to involve a straight line back up.
COLOR, EARNINGS, SENTIMENT, VALUATIONS
Tesla Inc. is taking it on the chin for trailing expectations and facing new investigations. The shares fell 8.2 percent Tuesday to the lowest in almost a year, while its non-convertible debt is at a new all-time low. Tesla’s stock and bonds fell as analysts cast doubt on the electric-car maker reaching its production targets for the all-important Model 3 sedan. The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board also announced it’s conducting its second investigation this year into a Tesla car crash.
Shares of Tesla slid as much as 8% Tuesday, their lowest price in well over a year, after Waymo announced a partnership with Jaguar to use 20,00 electric I-PACE vehicles in its fleet of self-driving cars. Jaguar’s I-PACE, which the British automaker revealed earlier this month, is its first fully electric vehicle — and is designed to directly compete with rivals like Tesla and Porsche in the luxury electric-vehicle market. I-PACE can rack up 240 miles on a single charge, compared to the Model X’s 295.
Here is a potential casualty of the U.S. government’s escalating fight against Huawei Technologies Co.: rural phone companies and internet providers that depend on the Chinese giant’s gear to connect their customers. Large wireless providers including AT&T Inc. have long steered clear of Huawei, which has been effectively barred from big U.S. business since a 2012 congressional report alleged the Chinese government could force the company to exploit knowledge of how its equipment is designed to spy or launch cyberattacks—a charge Huawei has denied. But many regional American providers of wireless, TV and internet services have flocked to Huawei, attracted by what they say are Huawei’s cheaper prices, quality products and attentive customer service.
Twitter Inc. plunged to its lowest price in six weeks after short-seller Citron Research said it was betting against the company because of potential privacy regulations. “Of all social media, they are most vulnerable to privacy regulation,” Citron wrote of Twitter. The firm said an increasing portion of Twitter’s revenue is coming from its data licensing business, which “makes this money from selling user data even from private messages.”
German lender Deutsche Bank’s chairman has reached out to potential external candidates for chief executive of the bank, gauging interest in replacing John Cryan after months of clashes, according to people briefed on the discussions.
CREDIT, YIELD, BUYBACKS, CORPORATES
Moody’s cut Tesla’s overall rating to B3, or six levels below investment grade, from B2 and said its outlook on the company is negative. Tesla’s $1.8 billion of senior unsecured notes, issued in August, were downgraded to Caa1, seven steps into junk, from B3. “Tesla’s ratings reflect the significant shortfall in the production rate of the company’s Model 3 electric vehicle,” Moody’s analyst Bruce Clark said in the report. “The company also faces liquidity pressures due to its large negative free cash flow and the pending maturities.”
Moody’s added to the recent woes of Tesla investors late on Tuesday, taking the company’s junk-bond credit rating down a notch to B3 and warning it may fall further if the company has trouble raising $2bn or so of fresh capital. The rating agency’s move came at the end of a day in which shares in Elon Musk’s electric carmaker had already fallen more than 8 per cent. Debt investors have not been spared the pain, with the company’s 2025 unsecured notes trading at about 89.7 cents on the dollar.
HEDGE FUNDS, PRIVATE EQUITY, MONEY MGMT
Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund is considering opening offices around the world as it plans to expand its assets under management to $400bn by 2020 through overseas as well as domestic investments. Yasir al-Rumayyan, managing director of the kingdom’s Public Investment Fund said it was weighing opening up offices in the US – New York and San Francisco – the UK and Japan as it seeks to become a “global investment powerhouse’.
ENERGY CRUDE OIL, OIL SANDS, SHALE
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Reuters that Riyadh and Moscow were considering a deal to greatly extend a short-term alliance on oil curbs that began in January 2017 after a crash in crude prices. “We are working to shift from a year-to-year agreement to a 10 to 20 year agreement,” the crown prince told Reuters in an interview in New York late on Monday. “We have agreement on the big picture, but not yet on the detail.”
COMMODITIES AGRICULTURE & SOFTS
Egg prices in the U.S. have surged close to a record high, just in time for Easter. The wholesale cost of a dozen eggs in the Midwest has more than doubled in the five weeks through March 23 to $2.71, U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. That’s the highest since prices hit a record $2.77 in August 2015 amid a bird flu outbreak. This year, Easter is on April 1.
POLLUTION, CLIMATE & ENVIRONMENT
The orange-brown filter applied briefly to that part of the world was caused by dense Saharan dust kicked into the air and swept north, experts said. The process began when a polar jet stream made its way farther south than usual last week, bringing the strong winds and thunderstorms needed to whip up the dust, according to Tyler Roys, a meteorologist with AccuWeather.
BREXIT, SCOXIT, LONDON, UK ECONOMY
A Hometrack report provided further signs that London’s long housing boom is coming to an end. Prices across the capital will start falling by mid-year, the research company predicted, just two weeks after Acadata said values are already dropping at the fastest pace since the depths of the recession. The figures show that Brexit and tax changes aimed at slowing the rampant real estate market in London and the southeast are finally forcing vendors to cut asking prices.
After months of political turmoil in Catalonia, Spain’s central government is hoping for a clear victory at last over the region’s separatists — this time in a courtroom, with the trial of the top separatist leader, who has been arrested in Germany on a warrant issued in Madrid. But if that leader, Carles Puigdemont, who was seized on Sunday, is returned to Spain, a highly publicized trial could backfire on the government by galvanizing the separatist movement and prolonging a dispute that threatens Spain’s geographic cohesion.
PRIVACY, HACKING, CYBERWAR, SURVEILLANCE STATE
The assault on Atlanta, the core of a metropolitan area of about 6 million people, represented a serious escalation from other recent cyberattacks on American cities, like one last year in Dallas where hackers gained the ability to set off tornado sirens in the middle of the night. Part of what makes the attack on Atlanta so pernicious are the criminals behind it: A group that locks up its victims’ files with encryption, temporarily changes their file names to “I’m sorry” and gives the victims a week to pay up before the files are made permanently inaccessible.
A money laundering crackdown sparked by lavish bets at Vancouver gambling tables has a new target in sight: The Canadian city’s gleaming luxury dealerships where buyers can pay cash for $300,000 supercars. “Going after money laundering is very much like whack-a-mole,” British Columbia Attorney General David Eby said in a phone interview Tuesday from Ottawa, where he’d traveled to plead for federal help in battling dirty money. “We can take the cash out of the casino, but it’s going somewhere else and we need to identify where and take action to address it.”
Pitched legal and political battles have begun over whether the 2020 census should ask respondents if they are U.S. citizens, with Democratic lawmakers and state officials lining up to block the plan and the Trump administration strongly defending it. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said he would lead a multistate lawsuit to stop the administration from adding the question to the census after it announced its intention to do so late Monday night. Last month, he and 18 other attorneys general and one governor wrote to Commerce Department Secretary Wilbur Ross, who oversees the Census Bureau, urging him not to proceed with the plan.
The decennial census is intended to count the number of people living in the United States (regardless of immigration status or citizenship) and then to use that data to inform key decisions like government spending and allocation of House seats and electoral votes. If undocumented immigrants are less likely to respond to the census, the population figures in places that they live will be significantly lower than they might otherwise be. Pew Research estimated where those immigrants lived in a report released in February 2017. Of the 11 million or so immigrants living in the country without legal status, most live in cities.
At least 12 states signaled Tuesday that they would sue to block the Trump administration from adding a question about citizenship to the 2020 census, arguing that the change would cause fewer Americans to be counted and violate the Constitution. “The census is supposed to count everyone,” said Attorney General Maura Healey of Massachusetts. “This is a blatant and illegal attempt by the Trump administration to undermine that goal, which will result in an undercount of the population and threaten federal funding for our state and cities.”
SCANDALS, LAWSUITS, FINES, REGULATORY
Descriptions of the workplace from dozens of former employees paint a consistent picture of life at Wynn properties, and of the managers Mr. Wynn hired and promoted. Complaints were often dismissed or ignored. Supervisors sometimes looked the other way when Mr. Wynn asked for the private company of workers. Some supervisors advised employees to keep quiet to protect their jobs. Others were instructed to find damaging information on complainants as a pretext for firing them. The employees, many of whom are describing their experiences on the record for the first time, outline a wide-ranging corporate failure, from senior management to lower-level employees, who through their action or inaction enabled the boss’s behavior.
BANKS, BROKERS, INSURANCE, EXCHANGES
UBS Group AG is ready to jump on the electronic-trading bandwagon to help boost its U.S. corporate-debt trading business. The Swiss bank is testing a computer program that will price and trade some inquiries received by its bond desk — which are typically for smaller, so-called odd lots for high-grade bonds. The bank recently hired Gokul Chebiyam, who previously founded a machine-learning corporate bond startup, to its investment-grade credit trading team.
SILICON VALLEY, UNICORNS, STARTUPS, VC
A federal appeals court revived Oracle’s copyright infringement claims against Google, in a ruling that could give fresh muscle to leading software makers but hamper upstarts developing new apps for computers and smartphones.
Google could owe Oracle Corp. billions of dollars for using Oracle-owned Java programming code in its Android operating system on mobile devices, an appeals court said, as the years-long feud between the two software giants draws near a close. Google’s use of Java shortcuts to develop Android went too far and was a violation of Oracle’s copyrights, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Tuesday.
CONSUMER TECH, SOCIAL MEDIA, E-COMMERCE, MOBILE
Apple unveiled a new iPad aimed at classrooms and other education tools on Tuesday, in a bid to catch up to Google for students’ attention — and win more school districts’ dollars. Apple said the new 9.7-inch iPad includes a faster processor and supports Apple Pencil, a stylus that previously paired with just its pricier iPads.
MEDIA, CABLE, SPORTS, ENTERTAINMENT
The right-wing website is taking a cue from one of its foes — the mainstream media — and sponsoring a town-hall event in suburban New Orleans next month. It’s an experiment for a site that has lately been confronting declining web traffic and turbulence in its top ranks. Stephen K. Bannon, the site’s longtime executive chairman, was forced out in January. Its page views last month were down by nearly half from a year earlier, according to the data-tracking firm comScore, though Breitbart disputes the figure.
The NFL, at long last, has a new and streamlined catch rule, a development that league leaders hope will finally bring some much-needed clarity following nearly a decade of confusion over what should be one of the simplest, most straightforward acts in all of sports. There still will be controversial plays and debated rulings over what’s a catch and what isn’t, the NFL’s leaders acknowledge. But at least now, they hope, the issue will be approached in a common-sense manner much more in line with the expectations of players, coaches and fans.
AUTOS, ELECTRIC, SELF-DRIVING
Late Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey barred Uber from further autonomous-vehicle testing in Arizona indefinitely while authorities investigate the crash, which he called “an unquestionable failure to comply” with the expectation that companies make safety a priority. It was a sharp shift for the first-term Republican, who signed an order in 2015 that allowed self-driving cars on the state’s roads and wooed Uber in late 2016 after the company ran afoul of California regulators.
Luxury cars are shedding the knobs, needles and dials once needed to control the cabin, opting instead for digital dashboards. But the software that now runs everything from speedometers to climate controls can prove buggy, causing car buyers to rethink just how modern they want their cars to be. Car companies that typically charge a hefty premium have issued recalls to fix various glitches, and regulators now pinpoint software problems as being responsible for an increasing number of malfunctions.
Nvidia Corp., the graphics-chip maker that has been seeking to expand in the automotive market, temporarily suspended its self-driving vehicle testing. The shares tumbled as much as 7.7 percent. The company, which provides technology to Uber Technologies Inc., stopped its self-driving test program on public roads in the aftermath of a March 18 fatal accident involving an Uber vehicle in Tempe, Arizona. It will continue to use vehicles with drivers that gather data.
Uber Technologies Inc. said it doesn’t plan to renew its permit to test autonomous vehicles in California following a fatal crash involving one its robot vehicles last week in Tempe, Ariz. The company will let its testing permit lapse at month’s end, rather than resubmit for renewal and face potential scrutiny amid an investigation into the circumstances of the accident. Uber’s self-driving vehicle struck and killed a pedestrian crossing a Tempe street with her bicycle outside of a crosswalk.
Even as a cloud hangs over driverless-car testing after a rival’s fatal crash, Waymo is vowing to shift its operations into overdrive. In the next two years, it intends to put thousands of self-driving cars on the road in selected cities to ferry not its own engineers but ordinary people from place to place.
As Uber Technologies Inc. reels from a fatal crash involving one of its autonomous vehicles, rival Waymo is moving ahead, buying as many as 20,000 Jaguar vehicles for its robot fleet. The deal, announced Tuesday, is potentially worth more than $1 billion, and escalates Waymo’s effort to put vehicles on public roads without human drivers behind the wheel. The vote of confidence comes a day after Arizona’s governor suspended Uber from testing in the state following the first pedestrian death involving a self-driving vehicle.
AEROSPACE, MILITARY & DEFENSE
Debris from a defunct Chinese space station could crash to Earth as early as Friday, scientists monitoring it say. The Tiangong-1 was part of China’s ambitious space programme, and the prototype for a manned station in 2022. It was put into orbit in 2011 and five years later completed its mission, after which it was expected to fall back to Earth. Time and place of impact are hard to predict as it is no longer controlled. The latest estimate for re-entry is between 30 March and 2 April. Most of the station is likely to
burn up in the atmosphere but some debris could survive to hit the surface of the Earth.
SCIENCE, NATURE, HISTORY, PSYCHOLOGY
There was a time when no archaeologist expected to discover such an elaborate settlement in this relatively resource-poor part of the rain forest. But in a paper published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, de Souza and his colleagues describe the mound village and 80 other newly discovered archaeological sites from the years 1250 to 1500.
“The idea that the Amazon was a pristine forest, untouched by humans, home to scattered nomadic populations … we already knew that was not true,” said Dr Jonas Gregorio de Souza, first author of the study from the University of Exeter. “The big debate is how populations were distributed in pre-Columbian times in the Amazon.”
NASA’s new spacecraft, to be launched next month, will give scientists a much clearer view of the planets orbiting stars near to us. TESS is the latest effort to try to answer questions that have intrigued humans for millenniums and dominated astronomy for the last three decades: Are we alone? Are there other Earths? Evidence of even a single microbe anywhere else in the galaxy would rock science.
In 1986, there were an estimated 3.5 million cases of dracunculiasis in 21 countries on two continents. But today, we’re on the cusp of completely eradicating the fiery infection, thanks in large part to work by the Carter Center, a philanthropic organization co-founded by former President Jimmy Carter that led the charge to eliminate Guinea worms.
Originally proposed in 1974, the “dual origin” hypothesis suggests that insect wings actually began with a fusion of two separate tissues: the dorsal body wall provided the membrane, while its articulation arose from leg segments. This sort of evolutionary fusion sounds bizarre, Dr. Linz said, but there is some precedent. The ancient ancestors of insects probably had relatively symmetrical body segments, each with a pair of legs. These segments have become modified over the millenniums in wildly different ways. In some insects, legs have been lost in the abdomen; in others they have moved to the head, becoming antennas.
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