This Canon Gear Is 10x More Expensive, but Are the Results 10x Better?

Image result for This Canon Gear Is 10x More Expensive, but Are the Results 10x Better?When you put a Canon 5D Mark IV and an L series lens up against an entry level Canon with kit lens, you’re obviously going to get better results with the more expensive option. But are the results 10 times worth the price?

How many different ways can you say that it’s not the tools that create the masterpiece, but rather the person using them? A piano doesn’t compose a concerto, a typewriter doesn’t write a great novel, a camera doesn’t make a great photo. The list could go on and on, however, I think we can all agree that, by and large, when you pay more for a certain piece of technology or tool of the trade, you get something of a higher quality with more features and benefits. But are those features, benefits, and results worth the extra price that you pay? And if you pay 10 times more, are your results 10 times better? It’s difficult to answer these questions, because results and criteria might be subjective, and one person may have a different standard of grading than another. Be that as it may, The School of Photography’s Marc Newton has put a Canon 5D Mark IV paired with a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L lens up against an old Canon 1200D with 18-55mm kit lens for your viewing pleasure. That entry level DSLR body has been discontinued in many countries but you can still get an entry level Canon DSLR with an 18-55mm kit lens included for about $400. One thing I must point out is that Newton’s video emphasizes the point that the more expensive pairing is $4,000, but the 1200D is only $200, however it should be noted that he’s using the price of an old secondhand 1200D model he picked up, which I didn’t think was apples and apples.

So, what of the results? Ultimately, whether one set of images is 10 times the quality of the other images will be subjective, and there may be other factors that you look for when you outlay for gear. But do have a look and let me know your thoughts in the comments below. How did the Canon powerhouse stack up to the cheaper version?

[“source=fstoppers”]

Despite Money Tap Dent, Ripple (XRP) Buy Wave is Strong

Image result for Despite Money Tap Dent, Ripple (XRP) Buy Wave is StrongResona Bank is pulling out of Money Tap initiatives, a project fronted by SBI Group. All the same, prices are stable above 32 cents, reversing from Apr-2 lows and with increasing momentum, may close above 34 cents as bulls shore prices.

Ripple Price Analysis

Fundamentals

At core, Ripple is a network that seeks to provide banks with an alternative messaging and settlement system that is fast, secure and beneficial for the end user. It may be less than a decade in operation, but the team behind the platform are putting forth powerful solutions that invert interest, prioritizing the consumer via incentives as speed and costs.

Although the native currency in XRP is bogged down by uncertainty, the SEC framework clarifying what an investment contract is from a utility would shed some light, allowing payment processors as well as banks to upgrade to xCurrent 4.0 which has a wriggling ground for banks to incorporate xRapid for their operations.

Latest news is that Resona Bank, one of the few financial institutions that had joined the Money Tapinitiative fronted by SBI Group, is the first to discontinue from this novel arrangement. Ahead of the Tokyo Olympics in 2020, the effort “is a safe, real-time and comfortable app that allows users to transfer money between individuals directly and can deposit money directly from a bank to a bank account 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Candlestick Arrangement

Ripple XRP

On to the charts and Ripple (XRP) is reacting from Apr 2 lows of around 32 cents. From an effort versus result point of view, this is bullish and to that end, we expect prices to inch higher as momentum builds up thanks mainly to the correction of undervaluation clear in the 1-HR chart.

Since we now have a long lower wick and prices finding support from Apr-2 trendsetting bull bar, every dip should be a buying opportunity.

Nonetheless and despite our optimism, conservative, risk-off traders must wait for a strong, high-volume press above Apr-5 highs of 38 cents or even 40 cents before loading up. As per our emphasis, our ideal target lies at 40 cents and later 60 cents.

Technical Indicator

Our anchor bar is Apr-2 with 79 million. As aforementioned, any bar breaking above Apr-5 highs signaling trend continuation must be with high volumes exceeding recent averages of 44 million or even 79 million.

[“source=newsbtc”]

BRAZIL’S LAUNCH SITE IS IN A GREAT LOCATION, BUT WILL US ROCKET COMPANIES WANT TO USE IT?

On Tuesday, the Trump administration signed a preliminary agreement with Brazil that could one day lead to US rockets launching from the South American country’s coastal spaceport. President Trump praised the idea of using the site, arguing that “because of the location, tremendous amounts of money would be saved.” But while the launch site offers up a few key benefits to US launch providers, it’s possible that these advantages may not be enough to draw all major rocket companies to the area.

The biggest asset of Brazil’s spaceport is its proximity to the equator. The site, known as the Alcântara Launch Center, is located at a latitude of just 2.3 degrees south. For anyone launching a rocket, that’s a juicy spot. There aren’t many options on Earth for launching that close to the equator, and the site would make it much easier for satellite operators to send payloads into an equatorial orbit. Additionally, rockets at the equator get an extra boost in speed, thanks to the Earth’s rotation, which helps rockets save on fuel.

However, the logistics of setting up a new launch site in Brazil could be an issue for some. The larger US rocket companies, such as SpaceX, the United Launch Alliance, and Blue Origin, already have multiple options for launching out of the US that are relatively close to the equator. A new site would need a lot of upfront investment in order to create the ground infrastructure in Brazil to support each company’s unique rocket design. It’s a lot of money and work for a small amount of benefit in flights. Plus shipping overseas to Brazil can add an extra layer of time and money that wouldn’t be an issue when launching from the US.

There are some launch providers on the smaller end of the rocket scale that see big opportunities in Brazil. Companies like startup Vector, which are focused solely on launching small satellites, have openly advocated for the chance to launch out of Alcântara. It would allow them to launch missions that they simply cannot do in the United States because of their smaller size. Since the company’s hardware isn’t as big as that of a Falcon 9 or an Atlas V rocket, very little investment is needed to make the launchpad infrastructure. “I think it’s really going to be the domain of the future small rockets that go there,” Jim Cantrell, CEO and co-founder of Vector, tells The Verge.

WHY BRAZIL?

Rockets launching again from Alcântara would reinvigorate what was once a major national resource for Brazil. Numerous sounding rockets took flight from the area throughout the 1990s. But in 2003, a rocket intended for orbit exploded on the site’s launchpad during some ground tests, killing 21 people nearby and leveling the pad’s launch tower. The accident halted Brazil’s efforts to launch two planned satellites, and the country’s space efforts have had difficulty recovering.

Wreckage at the Alcântara Launch Center, following the 2003 explosion.
 Photo: AFP / Getty Images

Since then, Brazil has been looking for international partnerships to bring other countries’ vehicles to Alcântara. The country even courted the Bush administration back in 2000 to bring commercial launches to the site, but those efforts were met with opposition from Brazilian lawmakers. Now, Brazil is trying again. In 2018, the government invited two major US players in aerospace, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, to visit Alcântara, according to a report in Reuters. The goal is to offer up a cheaper location than the nearby Guiana Space Centre in South America’s French Guiana where all of Europe’s rockets take flight.

Alcântara boasts a few impressive geographic benefits that are needed for a spaceport. It’s on the coast of Brazil, with the Atlantic Ocean to the east. That’s key for a launch site, as many rockets launch eastward to match the direction of Earth’s orbit. Launching over a large body of water is important for safety, as it reduces the risk of a falling rocket part hitting someone on the ground or damaging someone’s property. It’s the reason why US launches occur in coastal areas, such as Cape Canaveral, Florida, or the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Brazil has a slight advantage over Cape Canaveral, which is located at around 28.5 degrees north. Being near the equator is great for sending satellites into a type of orbit known as a geostationary orbit. This is a path 22,000 miles above the Earth’s equator where satellites are traveling at the same speed as the Earth’s rotation. The result is that satellites basically hover over the same patch of Earth at all times. It’s a perfect spot to deposit a communications satellite or a surveillance probe that needs to look at the same region of the planet at all times.

SpaceX: The Privately Funded Aerospace Company Founded By Elon Musk
A SpaceX Falcon 9 takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida. 
Photo: NASA / Getty Images

Getting to geostationary orbit from Florida takes a little extra work, though. Rockets must deposit a satellite on a path that’s slightly askew from the equator (at a 28.5-degree tilt), and the satellites then need to change their direction in orbit by burning an onboard engine. That requires fuel, which takes up space on a satellite and influences the vehicle’s design. At a spot like Alcântara or the Guiana Space Center, such a plane change would be minuscule, requiring less fuel.

Additionally, the Earth is actually moving faster at the equator than other points on the planet, which is good news for rockets. The Earth’s equator is its widest section, so it has a long way to travel each time the planet makes a full 24-hour rotation. One spot on the equator has to go a much greater distance than a spot near the poles, for instance. So a rocket launching on the equator gets an extra speed boost, making it easier for the vehicle to reach the extra high velocities needed to achieve orbit. The rocket doesn’t need as much fuel, making launches more efficient and potentially allowing companies to pack in more cargo on a flight.

“You can use a less powerful rocket to launch the same satellite, or you can launch a bigger satellite using the same launch vehicle,” Lakshmi Kantha, a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder, tells The Verge.

WHO ACTUALLY WANTS TO LAUNCH FROM BRAZIL?

Are all of these benefits enough to lure major US companies to Brazil? It’s not an enormous inconvenience to ship rockets over water. In fact, Arianespace ships its rockets by boat from Europe and Russia to French Guiana. The ULA also ships parts of its Delta IV Heavy by boat, and NASA used to ship the Space Shuttle’s external tank from New Orleans to Florida. “Large ships are used to accommodate oversized hardware,” Dennis Jenkins, an aerospace engineer at the California Science Center who used to work on the Space Shuttle, tells The Verge. “Most large rockets throughout history have been shipped at least partially by sea.”

However, moving by boat is time-consuming and somewhat costly, especially when traveling to Brazil via the Panama Canal. “That, of course, is one of the problems with ships — they’re very slow,” says Jenkins. Having a launch site closer to where a rocket is built does make things more efficient. Recently, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk noted that the company’s next-generation rocket, the Starship, would be built in Texas and Florida, next door to two of SpaceX’s launch sites. Plus, locations like Texas and Florida are still quite far south, so the performance benefit of moving even farther south isn’t going to be as consequential for US companies, as it would be for Russia or European nations.

Then there’s the cost of outfitting Alcântara to meet a launch provider’s needs. For larger rockets, companies will have to add concrete pads, towers, and fuel storage tanks to the surrounding area to support flights of their vehicles. Creating all of that in the Brazilian jungle, where there is minimal infrastructure in place already, will require a lot of work and investment. Plus, all of this would be in service to booking more missions to geostationary orbit, which is a type of flight that has seen a recent downturn in the market.

A Vector rocket, which stands about 40 feet tall.
 Photo: Vector

SpaceX already told Reuters that it was not interested in building at Alcântara and declined to comment to The Verge. Boeing and Lockheed Martin, which oversee the United Launch Alliance, confirmed they had looked at the site but haven’t made any major plans to invest there yet. “While we have made no concrete plans at this time, the potential for a new launch site is an encouraging development given the global interest in fast and efficient launch opportunities,” a representative for Lockheed Martin said in a statement to The Verge. Boeing declined to comment.

Ultimately, Alcântara may be a better investment for rocket companies that don’t look like SpaceX or ULA, ones that are chasing another market entirely. Companies like Vector are only capable of launching smaller satellites to low Earth orbit, and these types of probes are incapable of changing their directions significantly in space. So if a small satellite operator wants to go into a lower orbit over the equator, they basically have to launch at the equator. “Virtually nobody is launching any rockets to low Earth orbit equatorial orbits,” says Cantrell. “Virtually nobody.” Vector hopes to be one of the first companies to offer that option, claiming that around 10 customers have asked for it.

An extra boost in speed for a small launcher like Vector means much more than for SpaceX or the ULA. It could be the difference between launching 200 pounds and 300 pounds, opening up the company to different types of missions. Plus, the infrastructure and transportation costs for Vector’s smaller rockets are less of an inconvenience. “All we really need there is a concrete pad like we built already in Alaska, and we need permission to launch,” Cantrell says, adding that the company’s rocket can fit inside of an airplane.

Alcântara is nowhere close to being open for the US rocket business yet. The US signed what is known as a technology safeguards agreement with the company, which is the same kind of agreement Bush signed back in 2000. The deal needs to be approved by the Brazilian Congress, and if that happens, there are still a lot of regulatory hurdles to go through. But if it is allowed someday, the site seems much more suited for smaller rockets than bigger ones.

[“source=theverge”]

Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For MoneyAs we continue to enjoy the “Yellen gold standard,” now in its Powell phase — who knows how long it will last — let’s look at why the gold standard system worked so well for so many centuries, including nearly two centuries of U.S. history before the rupture in 1971, during which time the United States became the wealthiest country in the history of world.

In 1971, the economist Arthur Laffer — he was the chief economist of the Office of Management and Budget at the time — was asked what he thought the consequences would be of Nixon’s “closing of the gold window,” which effectively ended the Bretton Woods period when the dollar’s value was fixed at $35/ounce of gold.

“It won’t be as much fun to be an American anymore,” Laffer reportedly replied. And he was right.

But why? Why is it that the collective intelligence (let’s be generous) of today’s central bankers, and indeed all the central bankers since 1971, cannot outperform a yellow rock? This probably strikes some as bizarre, but it has always been thus. Way back in 1928, in a book called The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, George Bernard Shaw declared:

“You have to choose … between trusting to the natural stability of gold and the natural stability of the honesty and intelligence of the members of the Government. And, with due respect for these gentlemen, I advise you, as long as the Capitalist system lasts, to vote for gold.”

It’s the same today. These things never change. Ninety years ago, intelligent women understood these things.

To understand why gold works, as a standard of monetary value, you have to understand what makes good money. Today’s cryptocurrency enthusiasts are rediscovering what monetary thinkers have always known: that the best money is stable money, or, as I like to term it, Stable Money — money that is stable in value. After learning that Bitcoin and its ilk make splendid devices for gambling (the continued popularity of places like Las Vegas and Macau show that there remains a large interest in such things), but a rather poor currency — exactly as I said would happen some years ago — the cryptocurrency engineers are now focusing their energies on developing “stablecoins.”Image result for Why Gold Is Still The Best Basis For Money

Ideally, a currency would be perfectly stable in value. The market economy is organized via prices, profit margins, returns on capital and interest rates. Changes in the value of the currency derange this process, creating chaos and havoc. John Maynard Keynes described in 1923:

“[Markets] cannot work properly if the money, which they assume as a stable measuring-rod, is undependable. Unemployment, the precarious life of the worker, the disappointment of expectation, the sudden loss of savings, the excessive windfalls to individuals, the speculator, the profiteer–all proceed, in large measure, from the instability of the standard of value.”

In The Scandal of Money (2016), George Gilder updated this insight, using the tools of modern information theory:

“Casting a shroud of uncertainty over all valuation, monetary manipulations shorten the time horizons of the economy. In information theory, the dominant science of our age, when a medium sends a message of its own–static on the line–it’s called noise. Noise in the channel reduces the channel’s capacity to transmit accurate information.”

In practice, such idealized perfection is not quite possible, so we have to go with the next best thing. The next best thing is gold: the thing that most closely approximates this ideal of stability of value. President James Madison summed up succinctly:

The only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency is its convertibility into specie [gold]–the least fluctuating and the only universal currency.

James Madison understood this.

And the United States became one of the most successful countries in the history of the world because people like James Madison understood it, and adhered to this principle from 1789 to 1971.

In this single sentence, Madison touched on some important political truths. You might argue that, ideally, “smart people” could get together and create some better — that is, more Stable — foundation for money than gold. But, you might also notice that nobody actually does this. They don’t even try, and never have, in the past five decades of floating fiat money. One reason for this is that they are human: consequently, they crumble to political pressures, while gold does not. Even if you could invent some statistical concoction that is a better measure of Stable Value than gold — although no human ever has — arguably, no human institution could ever implement it for any length of time. Just look at how statistical concoctions like the Consumer Price Index have been continually altered, each time in response to political pressures, and to serve political ends. This is one reason why, as Madison asserted, gold remains “the only adequate guarantee for the uniform and stable value of a paper currency.”

Related to this is the fact that gold is the “only universal currency.” It is the only thing (along with its adjunct silver) that all people have agreed to use as the basis of money, which then allows fixed exchange rates between countries, vastly simplifying trade and investment. In the pre-1914 era, most major governments participated in the world gold standard, which was simply the extension of many centuries of gold and silver coinage used throughout the world. This system was reassembled during the 1920s, and again in 1944, at Bretton Woods. We have had no difficulty establishing world monetary systems based on gold.

Contrary to popular belief, most countries today do not have freely-floating currencies. According to the International Monetary Fund, about half of all countries actively “anchor” their currencies to something else, usually a major international currency like the dollar or euro. In other words, they have fixed exchange rates. Another 25% of all currencies are “stabilized” against a major international currency, which remains the reference although exchange rates are allowed to drift somewhat. Either “anchored” or “stabilized,” most currencies today are part of the dollar or euro currency blocs. The only significant difference between the euro currency bloc, and the prior world currency bloc based on gold, is the standard of value: gold, or the floating fiat euro.

Despite this enthusiasm for fixed exchange rates (a form of Stable Money), there is little interest today in establishing a unified world currency bloc. We could, for example, form a world currency bloc around the euro, and the IMF has long promoted such solutions. Then, the world would be free of the difficulties of floating currencies. The dollar/euro exchange rate would be fixed, along with the pound/euro, yen/euro and other exchange rates.

The simple reason is that nobody would trust the European Central Bank. I wouldn’t — because the ECB is subject to political pressures, or other agendas, to which gold is immune. The ECB can also serve as a means of imposing political pressures.

Actually, the world did have a system like this. It was called the Bretton Woods arrangement. The British pound, German mark, Japanese yen, French franc and all other world currencies were nominally linked to the U.S. dollar. The reason why they agreed to this is that the U.S. dollar was also linked to gold, at $35/oz. When the dollar left gold in 1971, nobody was interested in remaining linked to the dollar, and currencies floated. They still float today.

Gold’s performance as a standard of Stable Value has been exemplary. It is, actually, a lot better than one might rationally expect. The things that the gold standard made possible — such as the extraordinary stability of bond yields during the nineteenth century — have never been replicated under fiat currencies. Just look at those results (achieved without market manipulation), and tell me which central bank wiseguy — give me a name of a real person — that you think could accomplish this; and then explain, if that is true, why they haven’t done so already.

Yields on long-term government bonds: U.S. (1970-2017) and Britain (1830-1880)NATHAN LEWIS

Economies work best when currencies are stable in value. Once we know what the goal is, we then look for a way to achieve it; and the best way has always been to base a currency on gold. Nobody has found a better way, even in the form of a proposal; and nobody has ever needed to find a better way, because gold has always worked very well.

[“source=forbes”]