first_img For Harvard hoops, an off-court education HSAC’s current leadership shares Puopolo’s commitment to moving the field forward. Current co-president Erik Johnsson, a junior concentrating in statistics and a member of the Crimson volleyball team, recently completed a project designed to improve upon the Elo model, a widely respected player skill-level rating system often employed by statistics heavyweight fivethirtyeight.com. When perusing fivethirtyeight while watching an NBA game, Johnsson noticed that the site had “huge percent chances” for then-underperforming teams the Utah Jazz and the New Orleans Pelicans to make the playoffs, which he thought to be “a little odd.” So Johnsson read up on the site’s model, replicated it, and, to make the model more exact, added in some new variables (in short, accounting for off-season changes in team strength by making adjustments in ratings for games earlier in the current season). His findings: Over a 10-year period, his model did make “slightly better” yet “statistically significant” predictions.By working with the Elo model, Johnsson followed in the footsteps of HSAC faculty adviser and senior lecturer on statistics Mark Glickman, whose Glicko Rating System was also developed as an improvement to the Elo model. Johnsson was also able to implement ideas from a Harvard statistics course in his analysis. This spirit of learning and then teaching, especially among members of the Collective, has always been a big part of what HSAC does.“We actively encourage members to ask us for help,” said the other current co-president, Jack Schroeder, a sophomore studying government and data science who is also on the curling team, “either with the methodology behind the project, the writing process, or even just getting the data, which is often the hardest part.”Faculty adviser Rader added that he is able to maintain a largely hands-off approach in his own role thanks to mentoring from the older members in the group, who have a wealth of institutional knowledge and a stronger understanding of potential methodologies than some of their younger counterparts. He said he only steps in when he sees an opportunity to push the students further by recommending more sophisticated models that they may not be familiar with yet. Hoping for an edge in this year’s March Madness office pool? Have a longstanding argument with your friends on which team’s fans are the most loyal? Always wondered how much of a difference it makes to be able to throw the last stone in the initial curling end? You can find your answers in the work of the Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (HSAC), a student-run organization dedicated to the quantitative analysis of sports strategy and management.Since its founding in 2006 under the tutelage of “Moneyball”-cited statistician and Professor Emeritus Carl Morris, HSAC has been answering a variety of sports-related questions, employing often-sophisticated statistical models to get to the bottom of longstanding debates or offer context to those eye-popping and head-scratching numbers that excite, and boggle the minds of, sports fanatics and pundits all over the world. (The collective just posted its analysis of this year’s March Madness college basketball tournament.)HSAC member projects, which range from social media posts drawn from simple fact-finding exercises to senior theses engaging complex quantitative analysis, reflect what’s current and relevant in the sports world, and they often emerge from spirited conversation during Collective meetings, which take place Tuesday nights in Winthrop House. According to HSAC faculty adviser and senior preceptor in statistics Kevin Rader, popular methodologies compare two groups (teams, leagues, player pools) or look at how things have changed over time. “Or a really extreme event happens,” he explains, “something cool happens in the Super Bowl, and a decision needed to be made. Was it the right decision? Let’s investigate that from an empirical perspective.”This past January, HSAC took to Twitter to answer a simple question many college football fans were likely pondering during Clemson’s surprising national championship drubbing of Alabama, 44–16, namely: When was the last time the Crimson Tide gave up more than 50 points in a regulation game? The answer, according to HSAC: When they lost to Sewanee 54­–4 way back in 1907. The tweet received close to 250 retweets and nearly 500 likes.,When the HSAC team looks to delve deeper into a question and really engage their skills as statisticians, they’ll write about their findings on the blog, which has drawn coverage from significant mainstream media outlets like ESPN, NBC Sports, Bleacher Report, the Boston Globe, and The New Yorker, as well as major league franchises and the leagues themselves, including the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, and Orlando Magic, the National Football League, and Major League Soccer. Some popular posts over the years: “A Way-Too-Early Prediction of the NFL Season,” “Conference Bias in College Football,” and “Which Sports League Has the Most Parity?”Often, existing fan theories (“that referee hates my team” or “we never win in that stadium”) inspire HSAC members to challenge their veracity. Last February, HSAC President Emeritus Andrew Puopolo, a senior at the College and a self-professed soccer addict, sought to answer the age-old question of referee bias using the oft-maligned English soccer official Mike Dean, who is particularly reviled by supporters of the London-based Arsenal Football Club, as an entrée into a statistical analysis of referee/team-specific bias throughout the English Premier League. In short, Puopolo looked at every combination of Premier League teams and referees who managed at least 15 of their matches between the 2005–2006 and 2016–2017 seasons, comparing actual results against pregame betting odds in his quest to find bias — of which, in the end, he found “no alarming signs.” Not that an Arsenal supporter would ever be swayed by the data, even if it was culled from tens of thousands of combinations.Which is fine by Puopolo, who is the first to admit when he finds flaws in his own methodologies, and who loves the opportunity to spark conversation — on sports, but especially on statistics — in a quest to help himself and his colleagues get better. Often, HSAC analyses encourage readers to make their own decisions about the data; there isn’t always a clear-cut answer to every question. This spirit of engagement in finding new ways to look at data is what HSAC is all about. Often, existing fan theories (“that referee hates my team” or “we never win in that stadium”) inspire HSAC members to challenge their veracity. On a Southern swing, men’s basketball team meets former President Carter and visits Martin Luther King Jr.’s church and gravesite Quidditch, anyone? Inside Harvard club sports Johnsson, Schroeder, and Puopolo all foresee potential future careers in sports analytics, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of HSAC alumni such as Alec Halaby ’09, vice president of football operations and strategy for the Philadelphia Eagles; Daniel Adler ’10, HLS/HBS ’17, director of baseball operations for the Minnesota Twins; and recent grad Nathán Goldberg Crenier ’18, who is already assistant to the president of the U.S. Soccer Federation. And opportunities may arise in fields outside of traditional sports venues, said Puopolo. As more and more states seek to legalize sports gambling, there will be new opportunities for machine-learning- and data-science-minded graduates to pursue careers in that field as well.The pipeline is real, and the connections to the professional major sports are active. Last semester, Puopolo set up consulting projects with teams from the National Football League and Major League Baseball, which are ongoing.“[These projects] give everyone a chance to take these skills that we talk about during meetings, and stuff people are learning at school in an academic setting,” said Schroeder, “and really apply it in a professional, business setting.”“We see this as a great way to increase membership in the club, too,” added Johnsson. “If we can convince freshmen and sophomores who like sports and statistics to come to the club, and who can then gain actual experience working for real teams, and say they have connections with [major professional sports teams], it’s a great way to get people involved and excited.” Related Snapshots of student athletes in motion The Daily Gazette Sign up for daily emails to get the latest Harvard news.last_img read more

first_imgNew England municipal utilities see big benefits from battery storage projects FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Greentech Media:NEC Energy Solutions is building momentum with its grid battery offerings for municipal utilities in New England.Two years after a pathbreaking storage project with the Sterling Municipal Light Department in Massachusetts, NEC has added five more contracts in that state and one in Maine. The projects will add up to 20 megawatts of power capacity and more than 40 megawatt-hours of energy storage.The battery systems will help the municipal utilities reduce the consumption peaks that drive monthly transmission costs and an annual capacity charge. By predicting peaks and discharging at the right time, the storage plants save money for utility customers.The 2 megawatt/4 megawatt-hour system built in Sterling, Massachusetts, for a municipal utility with less than 4,000 customers, has already saved local ratepayers more than $1 million since December 2016, NEC said.With that project as a model, the storage manufacturer and integrator has succeeded in expanding its footprint in the growing New England storage market, where supportive state policies combine with access to wholesale market revenue to make project economics viable. “This activity is added proof of an inflection point in the adoption of energy storage in the market as municipal entities are now moving forward with projects without subsidies,” sales director Doug Alderton said via email Monday.NEC Energy Solutions, the storage unit of Japan’s NEC Corp., claims to have more than 750 megawatts of storage in place around the world.More: New England’s municipal utilities get a taste for battery storagelast_img read more

first_img“If FIFA will be increasing more football teams in the World Cup competition, I will propose two more teams to come from Africa,” stressed the 46-year-old football chief.He confessed to have had very useful discussions with Buhari on the way forward for football in Nigeria.“I have had some intense discussion on football in Nigeria and Africa. We discussed how we can best develop football in Africa because there are talents, potentials and passion to do great things in football in Nigeria and Africa.The FIFA president put to rest the protracted power tussle in the administration of the beautiful game in the country, insisting that there was no crisis in football management in Nigeria since there was an elected president in place and he was functioning ‎as such.“In a big country like Nigeria you are bound to see opposition, that is what you see happening,” the FIFA president observed.While stressing that it was an honour to meet Buhari, the FIFA president however admitted that:“When it comes generally to football development in Nigeria works still need to be done in organisational structures, setting up of training centres and better framework. A lot can still be done.”Infantino asked the Nigerian authorities to pay attention to infrastructure and find a lasting solution to the problem of violence and insecurity at match venues.‘‘I foresee Nigeria as a bedrock for the development of the game in Africa, however infrastructure, stability and security are needed to make this happen, ’’ he said.Infantino was accompanied ‎to the Presidential Villa by the Secretary General of the world football governing body, Fatma Samoura, the Minister of Youth and Sports, Solomon Dalung, President of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF), Amaju Pinnick and the President of the Nigeria Olympic Committee (NOC), Habu Gumel.Earlier, while welcoming Infantino to the Presidential Villa, President Buhari had said his administration will pay keen interest to accountability and transparency to fast-track football development in the country.Buhari challenged football administrators to fashion out strategic programmes to develop the game.He congratulated the duo on their election, particularly Samuora who is the first African and female to be elected FIFA Secretary-General.Buhari welcomed Infantino’s programme to reform the world game through transparency, anti-corruption and good governance.The president pledged Nigeria’s support to FIFA president’s reform agenda, noting that they were similar to those his presidency had outlined to resuscitate Nigeria.‘‘Majority of Nigerians are married to football. In the rural areas, when there is no electricity and there is a game to watch, Nigerians go to the extent of renting small generators, popularly known as ‘I better-pass-my neighbour’ to watch the game.‘‘We will take the development of football very seriously and I encourage the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) to behave itself and organise effective competitions for the good of the game,’’ he said.‘‘Accountability is serious business and I welcome you (Infantino) into the club of accountable Chief Executive Officers,’’ the President said.Also yesterday, President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki admonished football administrators to learn to accept defeat in the interest of the immediate environment and larger society, and not engage in ‘pull-the-house-down’ syndrome when things do not go their way.Nigeria’s number three citizen spoke at the Senate President’s Conference Room at the National Assembly when he received Infantino and Samoura, alongside NFF President Amaju Pinnick, FA presidents from other African countries and members of the NFF Executive Committee and Management.“The kind of global recognition we have today, as a result of this historic visit, challenges us to learn to allow peace and stability in Nigeria football. If people lose election, they should learn to accept defeat. People used to blame politicians for do-or-die attitude; politicians have moved, it is now football administrators who have this attitude! When you lose an election, you should be prepared to wait for the next poll.“I call on those who are fomenting trouble or trying to divide the house to stop their act. The National Assembly is united in moving to restore peace in Nigeria football, and creating an enabling environment for the game.”Saraki, who owns a football club (ABS FC, in the Nigeria National League), said the passion and love of Nigerians for football is incredible. “Football is a big unifying factor in our country. As governor of a state, I set up a football academy because there are so many talents out there waiting to be nurtured,” the senate president recalled while receiving the visiting FIFA chief.In attendance were Senators Obinna Ogba, Philip Aduda, Shuaib Abdullahi, Barau Jibrin, Baba Kaka Bashir Garbai, Monsurat Sunmonu, David Umaru, Mao Ohuabunwa, Tijjani Kaura, Albert Bassey and Mohammed Hassan, and Honourables Goni Bukar Lawan and Danburam Abubakar.Earlier in the day, the FIFA President and Secretary General inspected the new NFF headquarters (Sunday Dankaro House) located at the Package B of the National Stadium.On Sunday, both leading world football governors attended a welcome dinner powered by the League Management Company and which also had Sports Minister Solomon Dalung, Mr. Christian Ohaa (Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth and Sports), Nigeria’s IOC member Habu Gumel, members of the diplomatic corps, African FA presidents, NFF chieftains, LMC directors, Corporate bigwigs and media representatives in attendance.Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram Buhari pledges transparency in football administration in NigeriaTobi Soniyi and Omololu Ogunmade in AbujaPresident of world football governing body ‎(FIFA), Gianni Infantino, has said that he will‎ propose two more teams to come from Africa whenever the world football decides to increase the number of countries to participate in future World Cup tournaments.Speaking with journalists after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari at the Aso Rock Presidential Villa in Abuja yesterday Infantino said Africa deserves more slot at the Mundial.last_img read more

first_imgFie … Mike Fiers, whistleblower?Apparently so. Fiers, the Oakland A’s ace last season who recorded a career-high 15 wins and threw his second career no-hitter, has come forward to help unmask a systematic attempt on the part of the Houston Astros to steal opponents’ signs.Fiers became aware of the extralegal practice when he pitched for the Astros from 2015-17.According to The Athletic reporters Ken Rosenthal and Evan Drellich, the system was put into play early in the 2017 season.last_img read more

first_imgAnybody who thinks the hard sciences give us confidence in the real world should read this.Quantum physics was already weird, but not this weird. Nature says it has reached “a whole new level of weirdness.” The leading theory of reality contradicts itself. This is not good. For a field boasting itself as “hard science,” it’s like claiming a firm grasp on reality, opening one’s hand, and seeing nothing there.Physicists in the Cat BoxThe problem, according to writer Davide Castelvecchi, begins with Erwin Schrödinger’s famous theoretical cat.In the world’s most famous thought experiment, physicist Erwin Schrödinger described how a cat in a box could be in an uncertain predicament. The peculiar rules of quantum theory meant that it could be both dead and alive, until the box was opened and the cat’s state measured. Now, two physicists have devised a modern version of the paradox by replacing the cat with a physicist doing experiments — with shocking implications.Quantum theory has a long history of thought experiments, and in most cases these are used to point to weaknesses in various interpretations of quantum mechanics. But the latest version, which involves multiple players, is unusual: it shows that if the standard interpretation of quantum mechanics is correct, then different experimenters can reach opposite conclusions about what the physicist in the box has measured. This means that quantum theory contradicts itself.A theory that contradicts itself cannot logically be true. This is not the same problem as complementarity, such as claiming that light is both a wave and a particle. It is not the same problem as uncertainty, such as claiming that we cannot simultaneously know a particle’s position and momentum. Contradiction is a far deeper problem: it means what you believe cannot be true. Has the most widely accepted interpretation of quantum physics—the Copenhagen Interpretation—reached this hopeless state?The Copenhagen interpretation left open the question of why different rules should apply to the quantum world of the atom and the classical world of laboratory measurements (and of everyday experience). But it was also reassuring: although quantum objects live in uncertain states, experimental observation happens in the classical realm and gives unambiguous results.Now, Frauchiger and Renner are shaking physicists out of this comforting position. Their theoretical reasoning says that the basic Copenhagen picture — as well as other interpretations that share some of its basic assumptions — is not internally consistent.The “shocking implications” come from more creative versions of Schrödinger’s cat involving multiple physicists inside the box flipping coins, and multiple observers. Using the Copenhagen interpretation, two observers could be able to arrive at absolute certainty about opposite results. The reactions of ‘hard science’ physicists to this development are quite revealing:Physicists are still coming to terms with the implications of the result. It has triggered heated responses from experts in the foundations of quantum theory, many of whom tend to be protective of their pet interpretation. “Some get emotional,” Renner says. And different researchers tend to draw different conclusions. “Most people claim that the experiment shows that their interpretation is the only one that is correct.”One physicist commented, “I don’t think we’ve made sense of this.”Demon in the Maxwell BoxAnother famous thought experiment is “Maxwell’s Demon.” Around 1870, James Clerk Maxwell proposed a situation that could contradict the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which most physicists feel is one of the best-attested laws in all physics. Physics students know that atoms in a gas come to thermal equilibrium if mixed; the hot atoms never spontaneously gather to one side of a room. If an imaginary person or machine (the demon) could select atoms passing through a barrier, though, it could theoretically sort all the cold atoms on one side and the hot ones on another, providing free energy to drive a heat engine – reducing entropy and thus violating the Second Law.James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879). Click for bio.Occasionally the science literature brings up Maxwell’s Demon for discussion. This month in Nature, four physicists proposed “Sorting ultracold atoms in a three-dimensional optical lattice in a realization of Maxwell’s demon.” Penn State imagines this as a possible way to build a quantum computer. As most physicists explain, though, the Second Law is not violated in any case, because the entropy of the demon’s work and memory storage would more than compensate for the reduced entropy of the gas. That may not be the case near absolute zero, however:“Later work has shown that the demon doesn’t actually violate the second law and subsequently there have been many attempts to devise experimental systems that behave like the demon,” said Weiss. “There have been some successes at very small scales, but we’ve created a system in which we can manipulate a large number of atoms, organizing them in a way that reduces the system’s entropy, just like the demon.”….“Because the atoms are cooled to almost as low a temperature as possible, the entropy of the system is almost entirely defined by the random configuration of the atoms within the lattice,” said Weiss. “In systems where the atoms are not super-cooled, the vibration of the atoms makes up the majority of the system’s entropy. In such a system, organizing the atoms does little to change the entropy, but in our experiment, we show that organizing the atoms lowers the entropy within the system by a factor of about 2.4.”Whether this configuration actually is the “first, to our knowledge, to capture the full essence of Maxwell’s demon on a large array of particles,” remains to be seen, since the qualifier, “to our knowledge,” is an expression fraught with the lack of omniscience.Through Two Doors at OnceFor another case of physicists living with contradiction, read Melanie Frappier’s book review in Science, “Understanding the Double Slit.” She reviews the famous physics lab experiment that seemed to show photons (thought to be particles) going through two slits simultaneously, forming a diffraction pattern on a screen that would be expected from a wave train. Richard Feynman considered this the “one and only mystery” of quantum physics. A new book by Anil Ananthaswamy, Through Two Doors at Once, recounts the history of this phenomenon, first a thought experiment later confirmed in the lab. Is light a wave or a particle? “Yes,” the answer seems to be. Physicists must embrace contradictory explanations.Ananthaswamy carefully guards himself from offering any guiding principle that might help us decide which explanation is the best one. There is, he explains, no such thing as the “right” interpretation in good science. This does not mean, however, that we have to be mere instrumentalists and reject interpretations as misguiding fantasies. We have another, better option: We can decide to embrace the diversity of interpretations at our disposal because despite their respective flaws, each likely holds the key to at least one essential aspect of quantum behavior.The Reality of UnrealityTo round out this look at physicists’ firm grasp on unreality, consider that astronomers are still looking for the universe. All they see, according to their favorite theories, is just a small fraction of it. According to Phys.org, physicists at Virginia Tech are making “Large-scale simulations [that] could shed light on the ‘dark’ elements that make up most of our cosmos” – i.e., the “so-called dark matter” and “the even more mysterious ‘dark energy’ thought to be speeding up the universe’s expansion…” Together (according to theory), these unknowns make up 96% of the universe, meaning that hard science only has a grip on 4% of observable reality.Much of even visible reality remains to be explained. Live Science reported on fast radio bursts (FRBs). “Mysterious Light Flashes Discovered in Deep Space,” Mike Wall writes, “But What Created Them?” After discussing several observations of “one of the most tantalizing mysteries in astronomy,” he refreshingly admits, “we still don’t know what FRBs are.” Some are even suggesting they might be intelligent signals from extraterrestrial beings. In fact, the Breakthrough Listen Project, funded by 100 million dollars from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner (22 July 2015), is actively involved in trying to explain them. So far they cannot rule out intelligence.Hard Science Mysteries“Ten Mysteries of the Universe” listed by New Scientist look pretty major. These are scientific questions hard science has been unable to answer so far.How did it all begin?What came before the big bang?How will it all end?Is earth in a special place?What makes monster stars?What is dark matter?Is our solar system normal?What makes supermassive black holes?Is there life out there?Why does anything exist at all?Looking over this list, one could wonder, ‘Just what parts of reality does hard science have a grasp on at all?’If the “hard sciences” cannot get a grip on reality within labs where observations are testable and repeatable, how is soft science—like political science, psychology or biological evolution—supposed to give anyone confidence in its mushier claims?Secondly, if scientists can seriously entertain intelligent causes for signals in space, from beings they cannot even describe or imagine except from their intentions, why do they refuse to use the exact same reasoning about signals in biology? The purposeful nature of the DNA code makes an even stronger design inference than unknown bursts from distant galaxies. Only worldview bias prevents hard-nosed materialists from following that evidence where it leads.(Visited 607 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

first_imgSignificant spin-offs This programme was initiated a few years ago and is already successfully established, using the framework of a hub-and-spoke collaboration philosophy, at several South African universities. SAinfo reporterWould you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo material The new LECO Pegasus 4 GCxGC-TOFMS – a comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatograph combined with a time-of-flight mass spectrometer – has been commissioned at the university to gain better insight into the influence of trace components in synthetic diesel, and the application of such fuels in engines, turbines, and other devices. The initiative forms part of Sasol’s university collaboration initiative, a long-term programme that supports the core objectives of world-class teaching and research capacity in chemistry and chemical engineering at selected South African universities. 25 May 2010 The LECO Pegasus 4 GCxGC-TOFMS will enable scientists to make much more detailed analyses of how the more than 100 compounds that make up synthetic diesel fuel contribute to the likes of performance, viscosity, and lubricity of these fuels – an area of research known as tribology.center_img University collaboration initiative Although primarily designed to protect Sasol’s competitive advantage of doing R&D within the country, the programme will also have significant spin-offs benefiting South Africa in general. “With the rapid changes in engine technologies globally, it is important to fully characterise the composition of these fuels in order to exploit their unique benefits,” Sasol said. Research collaboration between Sasol and the University of Pretoria’s department of chemistry and chemical engineering has led to the commissioning of high-tech equipment to gain better insights into the properties and performance of synthetic diesel fuels. “The acquisition of this expensive equipment was made possible by financial support from Sasol Technology through joint research interest in the chemistry that underpins the physical properties of diesel fuels,” Sasol in a statement last week.last_img read more

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first_imgIt was obvious that there were not-for-profit sellers about…especially in the silver market.The gold price traded in a very tight range all through Far East and the first part of the London trading day.  The several attempts that the price made to break above the $1,695 spot mark, were easily turned back.The New York high [$1,696.20 spot] came about twenty minutes after the Comex open…and that was it for the day, as a willing seller came along and sold the price down about ten bucks…and it recovered a few bucks after that.The low price tick of $1,682.80  spot came around 10:40 a.m. Eastern time.Gold closes at $1,684.80 spot…down an even $7.00.  Net volume was very light…around 96,000 contracts.Like the Tuesday trading day, silver had a life of its own yesterday.  The price mostly chopped sideways in a twenty cent range during Far East trading.  The low of the day appeared to come shortly after the London open…and rallied from there.  It really took off at the Comex open…got smacked…and then rallied strongly again after the London p.m. gold fix was in.  The high tick was $32.58 spot…and that came around 10:25 a.m. Eastern.That rally got hit even harder by a not-for-profit seller…and fifteen minutes later, silver hit its low price tick of $32.04 spot.  The subsequent forty cent rally lasted right up until very shortly before the Comex close and, like Tuesday, got sold off in the electronic trading that followed.When the smoke cleared, silver was up the magnificent sum of 2 cents…closing the Wednesday session at $32.23 spot.  Volume was around 33,000 contracts.I thought I’d include the New York Spot Silver [Bid] chart on its own, so you can see the details of the New York trading day with more clarity.  The footprints of JPMorgan et al are more than obvious.The dollar index opened at 79.87 in early Far East trading on their Wednesday…and had another wild day like it had on Tuesday.  It traded as low as 79.71…and as high as 80.08…and closed 79.86, basically unchanged.  Except for the fifteen minute sell-offs in both silver and gold that accompanied a small portion of the morning dollar index rally in New York, there was virtually no co-relation between the precious metal prices and the currencies yesterday.Here’s the 3-day chart so you can see the bit of a ride the dollar index has had since the Tuesday morning open in the Far East…Even though the gold price was flat going into the open of the New York equity markets, the shares headed for the nether reaches of the earth immediately…and never looked back despite what gold was doing.  The HUI finished on its absolute low of the day…down 2.87%.Past experiences have taught me that counterintuitive price action in the shares is, at times, a precursor to a bear raid in the metal itself.With the odd exception, the silver shares were down across the board as well…but the damage wasn’t as bad.  Nick Laird’s Intraday Silver Sentiment Index closed lower by 1.73%.(Click on image to enlarge)The CME’s Daily Delivery Report is hardly worth mentioning, as only 7 silver contracts were posted for delivery on Friday.Over at GLD they reported a withdrawal of 58,089 troy ounces of gold…and there were no reported changes in SLV.There was no sales report from the U.S. Mint.It was a very busy day over at the Comex-approved depositories on Tuesday.  They reported receiving 1,017,030 troy ounces of silver…and shipped 1,942,672 troy ounces out the door.  However…417,547 troy ounces of the activity on both sides of the ledger was a transfer out of the CNT Depository…and into Brink’s, Inc.  The big withdrawal [1.52 million ounces] was from Scotia Mocatta.  Tuesday’s activity is definitely worth a look…and the link is here.There was a story out last night that the Royal Canadian Mint went on allocation with its silver maple leaf bullion coin yesterday morning.  At 1:05 a.m. Eastern time this morning, I went on the RCM’s Media Room page and looked under News Releases…and saw nothing about it.  Maybe the story was posted elsewhere on the RCM’s site…but until I see the hard copy confirmation somewhere, I’ll stick this in the ‘hearsay category.  However, I just wanted you to know that the story was out there.Unbeknownst to silver analyst Ted Butler, I stole a couple of paragraphs from his mid-week commentary to his paying subscribers yesterday…which he’ll discover when he runs through my column this morning.  The linked essays embedded in it…”Life After Bear Stearns”…is a must read.“It’s just a fact of life that we can’t usually see the full picture on any significant silver development at the time. That’s because all the details aren’t available or visible when we first learn of something new. The best example I can give you was of JPMorgan’s takeover of Bear Stearns in 2008. I even wrote an article about it back then titled “Life After Bear Stearns” in which I talked about many of my usual themes, COMEX, COT, SLV and the first sell-out of Silver Eagles by the US Mint. I stand by everything I wrote in that article, but I admit that I had no clue at the time that Bear was the big COMEX silver short. Nor did I know that Bear Stearns most likely failed because of its giant silver short position and its inability to meet a $1 billion margin call on silver. It was only when the August 2008 Bank Participation Report was released and subsequent correspondence from the CFTC that the full facts became known.”“I feel similarly about the big SLV deposit in that we know it is significant, but all the details are missing. At this stage of the game, I feel confident that if and when the full story is known it will parallel and confirm the silver manipulation story to date, just as the real story on Bear Stearns did. The central conclusion of just about everything that comes out in silver is that this has been a manipulated market that is destined to end at some very high final price, no matter what is thrown at it in the interim.”Ted mentioned the August 2008 Bank Participation Report in silver in the above commentary.  Here’s Nick Laird’s chart of that monthly report in silver going back twelve years.  A cursory glance at the red bars on charts #4 and #5 for August 2008 shows the sudden appearance of Bear Stearns’ mega-short position…now on the books of JPMorgan Chase.  Bear Stearns didn’t have to report this position to the CFTC on a monthly basis, because it wasn’t classified as a bank.  It was, in fact, an investment house.  But that certainly wasn’t the case for JPMorgan.  They are a bank…and they had to report.  And they did. [The ‘click to enlarge’ feature is a must here.](Click on image to enlarge)The other eye-opening development was the sudden appearance of the non-U.S. bank with a monster short position in silver. That showed up in October of 2012…and it’s my belief that this non-U.S. bank was none other than Bank of Nova Scotia/Scotia Mocatta.  Note the blue bars in the last four months of data on Chart #4.  I asked them politely on several occasion if they were the new non-U.S. bank that the CFTC mentioned on their website.  They wouldn’t say they were…but they didn’t deny it, either.I have a lot of stories again today, so I hope you can at least read the introductions to each one so you get the flavour of the story.When the white missionaries came to Africa, they had the Bible…and we had the land.  They said “Let us pray.”  We closed our eyes.  When we opened them, we had the Bible…and they had the land. – Desmond TutuEven though volume was light yesterday, it was obvious that there were not-for-profit sellers about…especially in the silver market.  Heaven only knows how high the price would have gone if left to its own devices.  The fact that “da boyz” stepped in three times during the Comex trading session should tell you a lot.I was also less than amused about the performance of the shares, as they stunk up the place once again.  And as I mentioned further up, this counterintuitive price action in the shares is, at times, a precursor to a bear raid in the metal itself.  We’ll see if this is the case this time…as the charts in both gold and silver are potentially set up to ‘fail’ at their respective 50-day moving averages.One other thing about that big deposit into SLV last week. Ted Butler pointed out that it was made on the morning of January 16th.  The cut-off for the bi-monthly short position report posted over at shortsqueeze.com Internet site is at the end of trading on January 15th.Ted mentioned in his bi-weekly commentary yesterday that the latest report from shortsqueeze.com will most likely be posted on their Internet site tomorrow…and because that big deposit was carefully made after the cut-off date, it won’t be in that report.It’s my opinion that this was a deliberate act…but maybe I’m looking for black bears in dark rooms that aren’t there.If one were of a suspicious nature, you would have to ask yourself what might happen during the next couple of weeks in the silver market that required the precise timing of the monstrous surprise deposit in SLV.  Based on my suspicion, I’d guess that it was made to cover a short position…and that they wanted to hide what they were doing for as long as humanely possible.  As they say, we will find out in the fullness of time.It was also quite a coincidence that this HSBC USA purchase of Polish silver occurred within a very short time of the SLV deposit.  It may be nothing in the grand scheme of things, but the fact that it wasn’t public knowledge until KGHM was forced to report it, is just another data point for consideration.In overnight action, both gold and silver were sold off a bit in Far East and very early London trading…and then really took a turn for the worse at 10:00 a.m. GMT…as it appears that we may be in the early stages of the engineered price decline that I spoke of earlier.  As I hit the ‘send’ button at 5:35 a.m. Eastern time, gold is down a bit over ten dollars.  At one point, silver was down over 50 cents…and has recovered only slightly since.  Gold volumes, which had been a little heavier than normal at the London open, have now blow out quite a bit…and there are considerable roll-overs out of the February contract, which hasn’t been the case lately…at least not this early in the trading day.  Silver’s net volume was already very heavy by the open in London…and is now heavier still…around 11,000 contracts.I note that this price pressure is confined to gold and silver…because platinum and palladium appear to be trading without much interference.  The dollar index is bouncing around the 80.00 mark pretty good at the moment…but what it means, if anything, is hard to tell.  It could get interesting when Comex trading begins at 8:20 a.m. Eastern time.That’s all for today…and I’ll see you here on Friday. 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