Obama to lay out economic growth plan in State of Union speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will describe his plan for spurring the economy in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, offering proposals for investments in infrastructure, manufacturing, clean energy and education, a senior administration official said on Saturday.

New nanotech promises nothing will ever get wet—so how should it be used?

Infomercials are notoriously tough to take seriously. Anyone with minor computer familiarity can sniff out the “MALWARE IS COMING NOW” 3am appeals. And even though something like the Slap Chop works, its autotune remix tends to be more famous than the actual product.

The newest infomercial to go viral, however, appears to have a surprising level of credibility. Take a look at Ultra Ever Dry, a “revolutionary super hydrophobic coating that repels water and refined oils using nanotechnology.” The demonstration video is nearing 500,000 views in a little more than two weeks, and it already received attention from The Daily Mail, i09, and NPR (where it was written up by Radiolab’s Robert Krulwich no less).

As any fan of the old PitchMen series knows, a good infomercial relies heavily on a wow-inspiring demo. Ultra Ever Dry is no different, with a series of coated vs. uncoated demos showing everything from concrete to oils unable to penetrate a layer of Ultra Ever Dry. Below, you can see some before-and-after screen grabs of gardening gloves with mud or a side-by-side of a funnel and paint (Another favorite: a piece of glass is framed with a perimeter coating of the substance and beads of green test liquid flow quickly to the center.)

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Auguries: Evil and Stupid

Gold was up (at press time) $7.70 (+0.5%) for the week to $1,671.80, and silver was up $0.04 (+0.1%) to $31.47. Thursday has been a bad day for gold lately. It fell $7 today (-0.4%), a development Reuters attributed to comments made by Mario “Batman” Draghi, a concomitantly stronger US dollar—and our old friend “technical resistance.”

Recent columns in this space may have given the impression that the United States intends to take no steps to address its fiscal crisis. Nothing could be further from the truth. A great bipartisan effort is shaping up in Congress, one with momentous consequences. For as Stan Evans, that lion of the Old Right, reminded us, “We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party… Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.”

Eric Cantor, Majority Leader of the House of Representatives, gave a speech, “Making Life Work,” to the American Enterprise February 5. He declared, “A sonnet by Emma Lazarus, ‘The New Colossus,’ was placed at the Statue of Liberty in 1903. Parts of it read: ‘Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a torch…From her beacon-hand Glows world-wide welcome…I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’ The message of this sonnet should sound familiar to most of us. The image of the Statue of Liberty blended with the stories of our immigrant past serve as humble reminders of who we are as a country.”

Cantor’s dog-whistle indicates that the game is up, that the Republican Party will certainly not oppose and will most likely support both the DREAM Act and “comprehensive immigration reform,” ie, the regularization of the anywhere from 11 million to 30 million illegals currently resident in the US.

In 2007, in response to President Bush’s failed amnesty bid, Robert Rector of the Heritage Foundation produced a study which calculated the cost at $2.5 trillion. In response to President Obama’s amnesty bid, Rector told the Daily Caller January 31, “[This proposal] seems to be virtually identical to the 2007 bill and would be extremely costly to the US taxpayers.” Even costlier than the 2007 bill would have been, “due to the increase in benefits programs and number of undocumented.” In addition, “Everything now has gotten more expensive. Obamacare increases the costs considerably.”

Rector explained, “The majority of the undocumented immigrants…are largely uneducated and therefore more likely to be dependent on government assistance. Fifty percent to 60% of the new immigrants are high-school dropouts, and 75%-80% have no more than a high-school degree.”

Specifically, “It’s not like they pay in a lot when they are young, and they take it out when they’re old. They are in fiscal deficit every year of their lives. For example, the typical household headed by someone who does not have a high-school degree, as I said in that paper in 2007, got back then $30,000 in benefits and paid $10,000 [in income and consumption taxes]. It’s a net cost of $20,000. That would be significantly higher now.”

And it gets better. “Rector warned that people should remember the lack of border and employer enforcement that followed the 1986 amnesty. ‘They almost all came here after the last amnesty, and almost all have been employed here because we did not enforce the law we put on the books in 1986… All administrations have basically turned a blind eye to the hiring of illegals, and we’re to somehow pretend that won’t happen in the future.”

If George Santayana were alive today, he would say, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it—and then pat themselves on the back.” (Bonus Republican stupidity: there is no evidence their support for amnesty will win Hispanic votes.)

In related news, at Seeking Alpha February 3, Tim Iacono presents a graph showing “the gold price alongside the combination of rising US debt and increased central bank money printing.” The two graphlines are joined at the hip—$2,000+ here we come!

In a February 6 Gold Report interview, Ian Gordon, founder and chairman of Longwave Group, has bad news and good news. The bad news is the imminent collapse of equities. The good news is that the prices of gold and silver will skyrocket, and miners will be along for the ride. Caveat lector: Gordon’s thinking is grounded in thinking of Nikolai Kondratiev, so readers with violent objections to this should skip this paragraph and the next.

Gold stocks perform well when the general stock market performs very badly—Ian Gordon

How high for gold? Gordon says, “There will be a time when you won’t be able to obtain gold at any price. It will simply be off the market.” Gold equities did very well during the Great Depression, and Gordon expects similar results in the near future because “Gold stocks perform well when the general stock market performs very badly.”

And now to cases. Gordon is keen on Terraco Gold Corp V.TEN (“I really like the management. It has 1 million ounces in Idaho. It also has a fantastic property in Nevada, which borders on Barrick Gold Corp’s T.ABX Midway property, where Barrick is spending $30 million to earn-in”). More controversially, he has confidence in the resource estimate produced by Barkerville Gold Mines Ltd V.BGM, elsewhere met with disbelief and scorn, and expects BGM to resume trading shortly (“It’s going to be very difficult for anyone else checking the geologist’s report to find it was materially wrong or that there were massive mistakes made in the compilation of those numbers”). Caveat emptor: Gordon is a shareholder in both these companies and provides paid services to them.

Canaccord reported February 4 the best junior performers of the week: Tanzanian Royalty Exploration Corp T.TNX (+8.5%), Torex Gold Resources Inc T.TXG (+8%), New Gold Inc T.NGD (+6.9%) and San Gold Corp T.SGR (+6.1%) and the worst: Semafo Inc T.SMF (-6.7%), Romarco Minerals Inc T.R (-6.5%) and Endeavour Mining Corp T.EDV (-4.5%).

And on February 1, Canaccord concluded of Almaden Minerals Ltd T.AMM, “With US$17 million in cash, US$2.8 million in gold (1,597 ounces) and US$10 million in equity investments, Almaden appears well financed to advance the flagship Tuligtic project. Almaden also retains five royalties on projects that it has sold.” (See here for a Resources Wire feature on Almaden.)


Agnico-Eagle Mines Ltd T.AEM Barclays lowered it from US$64 to US$58 February 4 (currently C$45.55)

Alexco Resource Corp T.AXR Stonecap raised it from $5.25 to $5.55 February 4 (currently $4.46)

Atlatsa Resources Corp V.ATL JPMorgan set it at $0.17 January 31 (currently $0.19)

Atna Resources Ltd T.ATN Canaccord maintained it at $2.25 February 6 (currently $1.12)

Banro Corp T.BAA CIBC lowered it from $4.75 to $4 February 1 (currently $2.84)

Barrick Gold Corp T.ABX Barclays lowered it from US$48 to US$45 February 4 (currently C$32.69)

Bear Creek Mining Corp V.BCM Canaccord maintained it at $5.25 February 6 (currently $3.24)

Canaco Resources Inc V.CAN Canaccord set it at $0.55 February 1 (currently $0.50)

Chesapeake Gold Corp V.CKG Stonecap raised it from $23 to $24 February 4; and Canaccord maintained it at $17.25 February 4 (currently $9.05)

Copper Mountain Mining Corp T.CUM Canaccord maintained it at $5.25 February 1 (currently $3.44)

Eldorado Gold Corp T.ELD Barclays lowered it from US$16 to US $15 February 4 (currently C$11.34)

Endeavour Mining Corp T.EDV Raymond James set it at $4 February 4 (currently $2.07)

Esperanza Resources Corp T.EPZ National Bank initiated it at $2.15 January 31 (currently $1.32)

Fortuna Silver Mines Inc T.FVI Canaccord maintained it at $7 February 5 (currently $4.54)

Goldcorp Inc T.G Barclays lowered it from US$53 to US$49 February 4 (currently C$36.06)

Golden Predator Corp T.GPD Jennings Capital initiated it $0.65 February 7 (currently $0.385)

Golden Star Resources Ltd T.GSC CIBC set it at $2 February 6; Zacks set it at $1.70 February 6; and Credit Suisse raised it from $1.50 to $1.80 February 5 (currently C$1.59)

IAMGOLD Corp T.IMG Barclays lowered it from US$14 to US$12 February 4 (currently C$8.74)

Kinross Gold Corp T.K Barclays lowered it from US$13 to US$11 February 4 (currently C$8.23)

Midway Gold Corp V.MDW RBC lowered it from US$2.60 to US$2.25 February 6 (currently C$1.31)

Moneta Porcupine Mines Inc T.ME Paradigm Capital initiated it at $0.95 February 5 (currently $0.285)

New Gold Inc T.NGD National Bank lowered it from $14.75 to $14 February 6; BMO lowered it from $15 to $13 February 6; and RBC lowered it from $15 to $14 February 5 (currently $10.10)

Newmont Mining Corp T.NMC Barclays lowered it from US$65 to US$60 February 4 (currently C$45.90)

North American Palladium Ltd T.PDL Raymond James set it at $2.75 February 4 (currently $1.90)

Orezone Gold Corp T.ORE CIBC lowered it from $4 to $3.50 February 5; and Canaccord maintained it at $4.50 February 5 (currently $1.58)

Osisko Mining Corp T.OSK Raymond James lowered it from $11.50 to $10 February 4; Canaccord lowered it from $9 to $8.70 February 4; and Dundee initiated it at $11 February 4 (currently $6.38)

Romarco Minerals Inc T.R Cormark Securities initiated it at $1.60 February 6 (currently $0.82)

Royal Gold Inc T.RGL Scotia lowered it from US$98.80 to US$96 February 1; and MLV Capital lowered it from US$95 to US$92 February 1 (currently C$73)

Silver Standard Resources Inc T.SSO Zacks set it at US$14.70 February 5 (currently C$11.73)

Silver Wheaton Corp T.SLW Scotia raised it from US$51 to US$53 February 7; RBC raised it from $45 to $48 February 6; TD raised it from $45 to $46 February 6; BMO set it at $48.50 February 6; Credit Suisse raised it from US$47 to US$49 February 6; and Canaccord raised it from US$48 to $US49 February 6 (currently C$37.13)

Stillwater Mining Company T.SWC.U JPMorgan raised it from US$14 to US$19 February 4 (currently C$14.36)

Taseko Mines Ltd T.TKO Scotia lowered it from $4.70 to $4.30 February 6 (currently $3.26)

Teranga Gold Corp T.TGZ Scotia lowered it from $3 to $2.50 February 1 (currently $1.87)

Yamana Gold Inc T.YRI Barclays lowered it from US$24 to US$22 February 4 (currently C$16.73)

At Stockhouse February 1, Peter Kennedy reports that Pierre Lassonde has made a grand claim for New Gold’s T.NGD Blackwater gold project and adjacent endeavours: “There is a 50/50 chance that it will be a 25-million-ounce camp.’’ Lassonde is not only a NGD director, he is also Chairman of Franco-Nevada Corp T.FNV, so his words carry weight. Amusingly, NGD’s spokeswoman refused comment on his assertion.

Blackwater’s resource is currently 8.4 million ounces. So where will the rest come from? Lassonde made reference to New Gold’s exploration of its nearby Capoose property, and Stockhouse refers to the other miners active in the area: Amarc Resources Ltd V.AHR, Independence Gold Corp V.IGO, Parlane Resource Corp V.PPP, Red Hill Resources Corp V.RHR, RJK Exploration Ltd V.RJX.A and Troymet Exploration Corp V.TYE.

At Seeking Alpha February 7, Epsilon writes, “Assuming support holds and gold does continue its uptrend, many related equities appear to be offering opportunistic entry points and promising upside.” They are: Barrick T.ABX, Claude Resources Inc T.CRJ, Eldorado T.ELD, Exeter Resource Corp T.XRC, Goldcorp T.G, Kinross T.K, Minco Gold Corp T.MMM, Nevsun Resources Ltd T.NSU, Newmont T.NMC, Primero Mining Corp T.P, Richmont Mines Inc T.RIC, Sandstorm Gold Ltd T.SSL, Tanzanian Royalty T.TNX and Vista Gold Corp T.VGZ.

At the Financial Post January 31, Peter Koven declares that the $380-million bought-deal financing closed by Torex Gold Resources Inc T.TXG proves that it “is one of the rare juniors capable of financing and building a large goldmine on its own.” The deal is testimony to the promise of its Morelos Gold Project in Mexico and to the cachet of TXG Chairman Terry MacGibbon, of whom Jason Neal of lead financier BMO says, “We get involved in pretty much everything he’s involved in.”

At Happy Capitalism February 6, Lou Schizas examines Turquoise Hill Resources Ltd T.TRQ, which “has a major gold/copper mine in Mongolia that is just starting to produce [and is] owned 51% by Rio Tinto.” Not a pretty picture: “The stock topped out near $28 [currently $7.76] in the winter of 2011 and has been punishing investors for the last two years, [and] the six-month chart isn’t generating much in the way of enthusiasm.” Conclusion: “If you like the story, follow the stock and wait for a reversal.”

And at the Globe and Mail February 2, Doug Saunders reports that “Canada is now the largest foreign mining operator in the continent, exceeding even China: We have almost $25 billion in investments.” Yay, right? Nah. According to Saunders, miners are “exploiters” whose “taking of resources” facilitates “colonialism” and necessitates “counterinsurgency.” Canada, he avers, is not “comfortable with this role,” as it remains “not yet fully free from its own years as a colony.” Oh, boo, groan, hiss.

Finally, despite its miniscule viewership, HBO’s Girls is the most talked-about show on TV. But what is creator-star Lena Dunham trying to tell us? After she got her kit off yet again in last week’s episode, her mission is now clear—nothing less than the redefinition of female beauty. In other words, changing America’s national motto from No Fat Chicks to Yes! Fat Chicks! Well, one fat chick, anyway.


U.S. trains for mass migration in Caribbean security drill

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – A simulated wave of Caribbean migrants sailed to the Guantanamo naval base this week for a training drill designed to prepare U.S. troops and security agencies who might someday have to handle the real thing.

Get it done: Reader-recommended Android apps for staying on task

There are more than 700,000 applications in the Google Play Store, all waiting to be downloaded and taken into a good Android home. With so many Android applications to choose from, sometimes it’s hard to find all the good ones.

This week, we’re checking on a few of the applications featured in the comments from last week’s quest for a proper to-do application. We’ll also take a look at a neat little game Google suggested for Triple Town lovers. (You know, to enjoy after completing the tasks you wrote down with one of the many to-do apps spotlighted. We call this synergy.)

ColorNote, Free

Last week, we asked Ars readers what apps you like to use to keep your to-do list in check. Some quickly suggested trying ColorNote. Indeed, it’s quite a popular app in the Google Play Store. At first the app seems like nothing more than a notepad knock-off, but you can actually create helpful little sticky note widgets to remind you of things each time you check your device. ColorNote also allows users to password-lock a note or assign a reminder alarm for each task.

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Obama to travel after State of the Union speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Barack Obama will travel to three states over three days after giving his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, going on the road to drum up support for his economic and other policy proposals, the White House said on Sunday.

Cantor: children of illegal immigrants should get U.S. citizenship

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. Republican lawmaker said on Sunday he would support granting citizenship to children who are in the country illegally in a sign that conservatives who oppose immigration amnesty will be playing defense as Congress takes on immigration reform in the coming months.

Seven vulnerabilities found through Mega’s security bounty program

Since Kim Dotcom debuted his Mega service, security experts (Ars included) let out a collective “huh?!?” regarding some risks taken by the digital locker site—its use of deduplication, the security of its encryption keys, etc. Dotcom heard the message loud and clear. Two weeks after launching, he responded to criticism by offering up to 10,000 euros ($13,362) to anyone who could break the site’s security.

This weekend, Mega reported its first batch of successful challengers. Seven vulnerability fixes were highlighted on the Mega blog—several thousand dollars worth of fixes, if Dotcom makes good on his promise. (The post did not reveal who the successful hacks came from, much less whether they got paid.)

Along with describing the discoveries and fixes, Mega outlined six levels of vulnerabilities it uses for its security program. These range from level one (“All lower-impact or purely theoretical scenarios”) to level six (“Fundamental and generally exploitable cryptographic design flaws”). The seven newly identified vulnerabilities ranged from level one through level four (class descriptions added within brackets):

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