Former A.R.T. resident director dies

first_imgThe American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) learned with great sorrow of the loss David Wheeler, longtime resident director and later associate artist. Wheeler died Wednesday at the age of 86.Since 1982, when Wheeler directed his first production — Sam Shepard’s “True West” — at the A.R.T., he created more than 20 productions, including most memorably his productions of Shaw and Pinter, including “Misalliance” and “Man and Superman,” “The Homecoming,” “The Caretaker,” and most recently “No Man’s Land,” which featured his son Lewis Wheeler, and his longtime collaborator, the also recently departed Paul Benedict.A.R.T. Founding Director Robert Brustein said, “As director of the Theatre Company of Boston, David Wheeler was one of the founding fathers of postwar American theater and his influence on the American Repertory Theater has been incalculable. He was a particular master of American and English contemporary plays to which he added his customary humanity and humor. He will be sorely missed.”A.R.T. Artistic Director Diane Paulus concurred: “It was with great sadness that we learned of David Wheeler’s passing. He was a wonderful and visionary director who helped shape many seasons at the American Repertory Theater and in Boston’s theater community. As a teacher here at Harvard, he mentored hundreds of students. Most importantly he was a friend to all of us at the theater.”The A.R.T. planned to honor Wheeler with the annual Robert Brustein Award at its gala on Feb. 13, and intends to present it posthumously to his family at a separate memorial event to be held at the Loeb Drama Center. The date will be announced shortly.last_img read more

Who needs answers?

first_img Silk Road players explain how they meld playing and traditions to make new music “Works of art are designed to take us as quickly as possible to our most important questions,” Steven Seidel told an audience of artists and educators gathered at Farkas Hall on Monday night. It was the start of the 2015 Arts and Passion-Driven Learning Institute, three days of workshops, performances, and conversations hosted by the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE) and Silkroad, the cultural organization founded by the cellist Yo-Yo Ma.By now, in its fourth year, the event has acquired the air of a soiree — or a barn-raising. A celebratory buzz filled the hall, fueled by the particular energy of nearly 100 creative people from around the world coming together to trace connections among passion, inspiration, and learning.The powerful questions that Seidel evoked were asked, answered, and then asked again — both in his opening conversation with Ma and in the exhilarating performance that followed, as the Silk Road Ensemble seemed to enact passion-driven learning right there on stage. As conferences go, there’s none with a better soundtrack.“One of the things I think a lot about is, ‘What does the imagination consist of?’” said Ma, when Seidel asked about works that had inspired him. As the institute’s faculty director, as well as the director of HGSE’s Arts in Education master’s program, Seidel had framed the gathering as an open-ended exploration of art’s power to disrupt, to vanquish pat certainties and conventional explanations. Path to understanding Related When confronted with a work as challenging as the one he’d perform later in evening — a new piece for cello and tabla called “Tom and Huck,” commissioned from MIT-based composer Evan Ziporyn — Ma said he enters the imaginative space of the piece, then brings it alive again in his own imagination. “It’s about layering and layering real experiences and senses and memories,” he said, describing how he understands the nature of the friendship the piece depicts.As performers, Ma and his friend and musical partner, the percussionist Sandeep Das, decided they had to get away from trying to render the piece in a “correct” way.“We had to forgo the idea of impressing anybody, pleasing the composer, doing what’s written — which is basically impossible. We’re going to make it up!”The resulting performance — a dialogue, filled with the joys and frustrations of friendship, and with all manner of noises (which Ma created by tapping every part of his cello, including the peg) — was stunning, and felt simple.Seidel’s framing questions about what art reveals, and about how those revelations can inspire us, resounded through the rest of the evening and beyond. During his plenary the next morning in Longfellow Hall, he quoted Anna Deavere Smith’s book “Letters to a Young Artist.” After interviewing the painter Brice Marden, Smith wrote of her conviction that “questions and uncertainty are the stuff of artists.”“And I would add,” Seidel said, “they’re also the stuff of educators.”From those questions and uncertainties, from the artist’s “insatiable curiosity and desire to make sense of the world,” Seidel said, come new connections and new theories. For him, the distinction between his roles of artist and educator faded long ago; in both, he said, his job is to navigate the questions and never take the standard answers for granted.To view photos from the Arts and Passion-Driven Learning event (Aug. 3-5), visit the website.last_img read more

List of tourist services for active and adventure tourism published

first_imgAccording to the definition in the Act on the Provision of Services in Tourism, which entered into force on 1 January 1 (OG 2018/130) tourist services of active and adventure tourism are activities on land, water and air, in open or unorganized natural environment or in specially arranged and equipped places which due to their specifics pose a risk of injuries and their consequences for users. Pursuant to paragraph 3, Article 92 of the same Act, the list of activities considered to be active and adventure tourism services within the meaning of the Tourism Services Act is determined by the Croatian Chamber of Commerce within the Adventure Tourism Community and published on its website.Thus, the Adventure Tourism Association of the Croatian Chamber of Commerce has adopted an initial list of activities considered to be active and adventure tourism services, which will be further supplemented as necessary in accordance with paragraph 4, Article 92 of the Act.Tourist services of adventure and active tourism are:Canoeing (canoeing)Caving (caving)Free climbing (sports routes, multi – length and Deep water solo: climbing above the sea)BicyclingMountain climbing (walking, hiking, trekking, ferrata) *RidingKayaking on the riversKayaking on the seaWindsurfing (Stand up paddling)Rafting and INLineRaft *Canyoning (canyoning)Zipline *Activities within the adrenaline parksParagliding / paragliding (Paragliding / parasailing)Kitesurfing / kiteboardingRope Jumping (Bungee jumping)You can find the part of the Law on the provision of services in tourism that refers to tourist services of active and adventure tourism HERE.</p>
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Joy FM to play debutants at Invitational Tournament.

first_imgTeam Joy has been drawn in Group B of the sixth edition of the Joy Sports Invitational Tournament which comes off Saturday at the El Wak Stadium on Saturday, October 20.Group B has Team Joy,SDC Group,APM Terminal and Sap Holda Ventures.Twenty corporate bodies will be participating in the one day event which has football,basketball,volley and athletics.The draw on Friday was held at the Multi Media complex and the other Groups are:GROUP A :Global Access,Procredit,SAB Miller,Dream FinanceGROUP B: Team JOY,SDC Group, APM Terminals,SAP Holda VentureGROUP C: McDan,Ghacem, Zoom lion,Fidelity Bank GROUP D: Merchant Bank,Ghana Commercial Bank, Beige Capital,Opportunity InternationalGROUP E: Bank of Africa, GlaxoSmithKline(lucozade sports),Ghana Life Insurance, Bond Financial Serviceslast_img

Fantastic Four showing at Wellington Regent

first_imgThis week at the Regent Theater: Fantastic Four (see trailer below)Schedule: Friday, 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 2 and 7 p.m.Rated: PG-13. Time: 2 hour 12 minutes.Movie Synopsis: FANTASTIC FOUR, a contemporary re-imagining of Marvel’s original and longest-running superhero team, centers on four young outsiders who teleport to an alternate and dangerous universe, which alters their physical form in shocking ways. Their lives irrevocably upended, the team must learn to harness their daunting new abilities and work together to save Earth from a former friend turned enemy. (C) FoxRotten Tomatoes rating (movie critics collective approval ratings): 8%. Audience review: 21% approval.Coming soon: Friday, Sept. 4 – Vacation.last_img

Annabel’s putt seals Sunningdale Foursomes

first_img15 Mar 2014 Annabel’s putt seals Sunningdale Foursomes England international Annabel Dimmock and Challenge Tour player Steven Brown forged a successful partnership when they won the Sunningdale Foursomes at their first attempt. The Wentworth pair came triumphantly through the seven-round test when Annabel holed a 30-footer on the last for a one-up win over Inci Mehmet, also from Wentworth, and Oscar Granström-Livesey of Royal Mid-Surrey. “It was a great match and we all played so well,” said Annabel. “The number of birdies was unbelievable. This is a really good tournament to win, especially as it’s near my club and we had the home crowd watching!” It was a first competitive outing together for the winning pair: “We play a bit of foursomes against friends but we’ve never before played together in a competition,” said Annabel. Both players went into the event in great form. Already this season, Annabel has won on the Orange Blossom Tour in the USA, been runner-up in the Spanish amateur and taken fifth place in the European Nations Cup. Brown, a former English champion and the player who sealed the GB&I Walker Cup triumph of 2011, is currently fourth on the Challenge Tour order of merit and came in to this event fresh from a fifth place in the Kenya Open. “We were both really tired before it started because we both got back into the country only the day before the practice round, but we knew we were both playing well,” said Annabel. Their impressive putting was critical to their success. In the first round, they holed a long putt to win the 18th, taking the match into extra time before they squeezed through to the next round on the 20th. In the semi-final Annabel had a must-make 15-footer to keep the match alive, before the pair eventually defeated England international Toby Tree and boy international Marco Penge on the 19th. Then, in the final she clinched the title with that 30-footer. “We holed a lot of putts when we needed to,” she said. Click here for the full resultslast_img read more

$2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile – Quotes and Recap – Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016

first_imgWinning jockey Joel Rosario (Tourist) – “It was a good trip, a perfect trip. It looked like they were going fast up front and I just wanted to save ground the whole way around and not have to stop him at any point in the race. I had to take a little hold turning for home to keep my position, but after that he got a clear run.”Winning trainer Bill Mott (Tourist) – “Just a great trip. He bailed us out. We had three that didn’t run so well and we had one last chance. He ran beautifully.”Second-place jockey Julien Leparoux (Tepin) – “We had a good race. I was right behind the favorite and was in a good spot. She made a run but the winner got a dream trip on the inside. What else can you say about her? She had an incredible year. We were hoping she would end the year with a win but it’s been a pleasure to ride her.“I’m not sure if they are going to retire her but it has been a pleasure being on her. It’s been a thrilling year. It’s great.”Second-place trainer Mark Casse (Tepin) – “She ran a huge race. Everybody was counting her out and she showed she’s still got it.” BREEDERS’ CUP MILE QUOTES Trained by Bill Mott and ridden by Joel Rosario, Tourist covered the mile on a firm turf course in 1:31.71, breaking the Breeders’ Cup record of 1:31.78 set by Wise Dan at Santa Anita in 2013. Six-place trainer Henry Candy (Limato, favorite) – “He was possibly a bit green early on. We have no excuses. Everything seemed to go right.” ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 5, 2016) – WinStar Farm, Wachtel Stable and Gary Barber’s Tourist ($26.80) held off a late charge from defending champion Tepin by a half-length to win the 33rd running of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) for 3-year-olds and up Saturday afternoon at Santa Anita Park. It is the first Breeders’ Cup victory for the winning partnership, the ninth for Mott and fifth for Rosario and the first in the race for the trainer and rider.Tourist, a 5-year-old son of two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow, was making his third start in the Mile having finished eighth last year at Keeneland and 13th in the 2013 Championships at Santa Anita. Third-place jockey Rafael Bejarano (Midnight Storm) – “I had a beautiful trip, but the only thing that concerned me was that we drew a bad post which forced me to ask him a little bit earlier to attempt to get clear. He tired a little bit down the lane, but I am very proud of my horse and his big effort.” Six-place jockey Harry Bentley (Limato, favorite) – “We got in a good position. He possibly didn’t come around the final bend as well as he could. Quite possibly he was not at his best today.” Third-place trainer Phil D’Amato (Midnight Storm) – “He got like the best trip of all time. My horse ran well; he just got beat by two nice horses. Very pleased with the effort. I thought it was a strong edition of the Mile.” TOURIST HOLDS OFF DEFENDING CHAMPION TEPINTO WIN BREEDERS’ CUP MILE IN RECORD TIME Fourth-place trainer Shug McGaughey (Ironicus) – “He’s probably not as quick, now that he’s a bit older and they were flying up front.  Despite being as far back as he was, I thought our rider had him in a good position.  He started to make a run around the final turn, but the horse wasn’t quite ready, so he had to wait a little longer to start his run.  He put in a good finish, but we probably could have used a little longer distance.”last_img read more

Defending Darwin Day

first_imgTomorrow is the 199th birthday of Charles Darwin.  The rising anticipation of a big 200th celebration next year prompts a question: why is this man worthy of such hullabaloo more than other scientists?  Why the efforts to make Darwin Day an annual event of international scope?  Kevin Padian undertook to justify all this attention in an essay in Nature,1 entitled, “Darwin’s enduring legacy.”Perhaps no individual has had such a sweeping influence on so many facets of social and intellectual life as Charles Darwin, born on 12 February 1809.  Of the other two of the great nineteenth-century triumvirate of European thinkers, Marx’s ideas have been distorted beyond recognition in their political execution, and Freud’s approach to the psyche no longer merits scientific recognition.  Neither man had Darwin’s impact on the structure of empirical knowledge.2Considering how high Marx and Freud rose before their fall into the dustbin of intellectual history, Padian needs to make the case that Darwin is not only the “last man standing” among the triumvirate but deserves to remain as Grand Marshall in an endless parade of scientific thinkers.  “His contributions can scarcely be reduced to a simple list,” Padian disclaims, “but the following ten topics hint at the magnitude of the man’s legacy.”  Each of the items on Padian’s list will be evaluated in the commentary.  They are: (1) Natural selection, (2) One tree of life, (3) Genealogical classification, (4) Selective extinction, (5) Deep time, (6) Biogeographical distributions, (7) Sexual selection, (8) Coevolution, (9) Economy of nature, and (10) Gradual change.    At the end of the essay, Padian dismissed Darwin’s critics: “It is dismaying, then, to note the rise of anti-evolutionism in recent decades,” he said.  “This is a direct result of the rise of religious fundamentalism, whose proponents feel it necessary to reject modern science on the basis of highly questionable (from mainstream historical and theological viewpoints) readings of sacred texts.”  Padian did not deal with the many non-“fundamentalist” critics of Darwinism, including the 600 scientists with PhDs who signed the Dissent from Darwin statement.  He used a label that is primarily employed these days in a derogatory manner.    Noting Darwin’s influences not only on science but literature and the humanities, Padian ended with praise for the liberating vision Darwin ushered in for all mankind:Humans are animals, one species of many on the planet, bound by common ancestry to all other species, part of an ages-old dance of reproduction, accommodation, survival and alteration.    It is for this vision, one that liberates humans from the conceit of special creation, that Darwin was honoured by interment in Westminster Abbey.  And it is for his innumerable scientific insights, most still as valid and stimulating as the day he coined them, that we look forward to celebrating him next year.Kevin Padian also appeared in a Darwin Day press release posted on PhysOrg.  The automatic ads, though, included a plug for Ben Stein’s upcoming movie Expelled which documents Darwinian attacks on intelligent design proponents and has a blog entry criticizing Darwin Day, as do Evolution News and Breakpoint.1.  Kevin Padian, “Darwin’s enduring legacy,” Nature 451, 632-634 (7 February 2008) | doi:10.1038/451632a.2.  Notice how Padian called it the structure of empirical knowledge, not empirical knowledge itself.  This implies a paradigm shift in philosophy of science – a change in what constitutes ”empirical” knowledge.  Philosopher J. P. Moreland termed Darwin’s revolution a third-order theory change.  It was not simply a change of one theory with another, or a change of one value with another (e.g., elegance over utility).  Darwin’s theory change was a revolution in what constitutes science itself.Don’t be mesmerized by the rhetoric.  It is to be expected that the Archbishop of Can’tbury Charlie’s Corpse, Kevin Padian, rector of Bestmonster Abbey and former head of the Darwin Party KGB (i.e., the NCSE), would exude great swelling words of vanity for his bearded Buddha.  Did you notice how much of his sermon was religious in nature?  If you expected a scientific defense of Darwinism, you got a mostly anticreationist, humanistic, antitheological rant.  It was necessary to portray Darwin in bold either-or strokes: either stand with Darwin in the parade, or you are condemned as a fundamentalist heretic.  Try that on David Berlinski.    For Padian’s pitches to count, he has to send them through the science batter box or walk out.  This is Nature after all, reputed to be a “science” journal.  Logically, he also needs to defend several propositions, not just assume them: namely, that the points are germane to Darwinism and nothing else, that Darwin alone dreamed them up, and that they are so supremely important that they are worthy of granting Darwin an international holiday above and beyond the birthdays of all the other greatest philosophers and scientists in history, none of whom, including Einstein, Newton or Maxwell, have anything like Darwin Day.  Good luck, comrade Kevin:Natural selection: Darwin was co-inventor of this notion, so why no Wallace Day?  Actually, neither discovered it.  Hints of natural selection can be found in Edward Blyth (10/10/2002) and William Paley (12/18/2003) and others as far back as the Greeks.  Even young-earth creationists accept natural selection to a degree (CMI), so big deal.    Padian admits the flawed associations with Malthus and Spencer, and admits N.S. was rejected till the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1930s brought it back with a vengeance.  There exists a staunch minority of biologists who do not consider N.S. the be-all and end-all of evolutionary theory (e.g., 02/16/2005).  Besides, who wins a birthday party for inventing a tautology?  If fitness equates to survival, N.S. is a vacuous idea. One tree of life:  Well, of all things.  Look at Padian give good press to Haeckel – a racist hoaxster who “developed enthusiastically” the tree icon.  Then, he assumes that the tree of life was vindicated by “the discovery of genetic structure more than a century after the Origin was published.”  That is, only if one ignores recent findings and sweeps countless difficulties under the rug (02/01/2007, 10/08/2007).  The single tree of life is not a conclusion from inductive reasoning from observation, but rather a paradigm into which all observations must be fitted.  Neither was Darwin the inventor of this ancient notion that goes back to Democritus at least and is part and parcel of some pagan religions.  You know, like Darwinism.Genealogical classification: Darwin should not have expected taxonomic divisions.  His theory predicts smooth transitions between forms from top to bottom, from simple to complex.  Besides, the ability to arrange assorted items into a taxonomic scheme has no necessary correlation with natural divisions that are “out there” in the world.  Taxonomy is a human enterprise.  Taxonomists try to arrange parts (whether tools, occupations, atoms, or whatever) into compartments that are useful to them.  For Padian to claim that a genealogy-based scheme is somehow better than any philosophical, theological or pragmatic scheme, because it fits his preconceived notion of universal common ancestry, begs the question that evolution is empirical.  Say it is useful to promote materialist religion, but don’t claim it carves nature at its joints.Selective extinction: Padian knocks down a straw man of the “great chain of being” then explains how selective extinction rescued Darwinism from the evidence: “the living world [i.e., the observations] is a patchwork of possible forms, with most transitional stages and features removed.”  And you thought science was supposed to be about what you could see.Deep time: Darwin did not invent deep time.  Aristotle believed in an eternal universe.  Enlightenment anti-Christians before Darwin thought in terms of misty depths of prehistory: Comte du Buffon, Hutton, Lamarck and others.  Why should Charlie get credit for begging the question?  Darwin needed deep time, so he assumed it.  Look at this marvelous example of chicanery:True, Lord Kelvin’s calculated limits on solar duration nonplussed many supporters of Deep Time, but Darwin was not cowed by physics, because he knew the rocks.  Deep Time was absolutely necessary to his theory, in a way that it had not been for any biological theory before.  It was no longer possible to accept that Earth was 6,000 years old, as some Biblical scholars estimated.Stand in amazement at this admission.  Mr. Darwin was not cowed by physics.  Well, he should have been!  Lord Kelvin had him pinned and he refused to cry uncle (07/02/2007).  What kind of scientific attitude is that?  Deep Time was an escape, a hidden fortune where he could make reckless drafts on the bank of time.    Darwin “knew the rocks,” we are told.  Ever see a rock with a date on it?  Rock ages are interpreted, students, not discovered.  Rocks were dubbed ancient, and it was no longer possible to accept a young earth, for one reason alone: “Deep Time was absolutely necessary to his theory.”  It does not follow that the Earth needed Deep Time.  By force of propaganda and group-think, Darwin and his musketeers rode a wave of Victorian materialist progressivism and rising dissatisfaction with organized religion (some of it deserved), redefined science and took over the institutions of learning.  Since then, the Darwin Thought Police have enforced their totalitarian doctrines.  That is why it is no longer possible to think outside the paradigm.Biogeographical distributions: For Padian to score with this pitch, he needs to prove that nobody else with any other theory could accommodate the observations.  He simply asserts that “Only evolutionary adaptation and dispersal could account for such patterns” and that “the distributions of plants and animals are not serendipitous patterns or whims of a Creator.”  This is a collection of hot air balloons wrapped in a straw man pinata.  Maybe he should read the Creation Research Society Quarterly.  The claim that plate tectonics confirmed Darwin’s theory is like the claim that Marx predicted Al Qaeda.  Padian should read up on the philosophy of science, particularly in regard to scientific justification.Sexual selection: This idea is somewhat original to Darwin, but is not without controversy (05/17/2004).  Furthermore, since it concerns microevolutionary change, it is not germane to his philosophy of universal common ancestry.Coevolution: Padian discusses long-tongued moths that pollinate orchids with long corollas (11/11/2007 commentary, bullet 13), parasites and symbiosis and “many other associations that can only reasonably be explained by co-evolution through diversification over millions of years.”  We don’t need Padian to lecture us on what is reasonable.    How does Padian know that microevolutionary changes required millions of years?  How does he know that these observations fit Darwin, the whole Darwin, and nothing but the Darwin?  He needs more research on scientific justification of theories.  Claiming that co-evolution confirms evolution is like claiming that theories of the unconscious confirm psychoanalysis or horoscopes prove astrology.Economy of nature: Did Darwin invent ecology?  Certainly not.  Great thinkers and scientists from Greeks to medieval scholars were not blind to the interactions of plants and animals.  Calling Darwin the father of ecology is like calling Freud the father of dream theory – as if he were the only one who dreamt about it.  All Darwin did was change the vision: “What had been, for earlier authors, the divinely ordained balance of nature became the autocatalytic war of nature.”  If you want to believe that, worship in the mosque of Darwin, but don’t call it science.Gradual change: Padian spends a lot of time defending Darwin here in a most unusual way: he tries to prove that gradual doesn’t really mean gradual.  Darwin can still be reconciled with punctuated equilibria (or punk eq, you know, the punk who goes around making gradualists squeal “Eek!”).  But in Charlie’s own blessed words, he said, “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”  Aside from the fact that Charlie’s rhetorical ploy put the onus on his critics to prove a universal negative and opened the door for endless just-so stories by his disciples (12/22/2003), it is clear that by gradual, King Charles meant really gradual.Displaying his collection of non-sequiturs and big lies and half-truths and glittering generalities and irrelevant details on the table, Padian ends by acknowledging that there have been other great scientists, but Darwin is so precious and special we should all bow down and worship:But Darwin moved intellectual thought from a paradigm of untestable wonder at special creation to an ability to examine the workings of that natural world, however ultimately formed, in terms of natural mechanisms and historical patterns.  He rooted the classification of species within a single branching tree, and so gave systematics a biological, rather than purely philosophical, rationale.  He framed most of the important questions that still define our understanding of evolution, from natural selection to sexual selection, and founded the main principles of the sciences of biogeography and ecology.  His work is still actively read and discussed today, inspiring new students and scientists all over the world.  Few authors can claim so much.That paragraph is so corrupted with incestuous illogic and irrelevant appropriation of concepts not unique to Darwinism, only a gullible nitwit would be convinced that Charlie deserves Darwin Day.  This reads like Party propaganda defending reasons why Lenin’s corpse is displayed in public so that the peasants can file by it in reverence, while the Party troops parade alongside the big guns with the subliminal message “Don’t stray out of line.”  This list could not stand up to critical scrutiny from scientists or philosophers not already pledged to DODO (Darwin Only, Darwin Only).    Darwin may have been a polite English gentleman, but he was a loser who deserves to buried alongside his buddies Freud and Marx.  His ideas have inhibited real science for 149 years with endless quests for the ultimate just-so story, and have energized proponents of eugenics, abortion, racism and social Darwinism.  His disciples today have no conscience about playing God with human embryos.  Science doesn’t need him, medicine doesn’t need him, and politics doesn’t need him.  Let the dead bury their dead.  Shed some tears on Darwin Day for all the harm he and his followers caused (11/30/2005).  Then, for goodness’ sake, let’s get on into the 21st century – the century of intelligent design.(Visited 21 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Conquer your fear of using the futures market

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest The indication of precipitation in the forecasts will drive these markets for the next four weeks. When the weather models agree, the market feels more confident in its predictions. When the models disagree there is more uncertainty, which is why the market is up one day and down the next. Dry weather will make the market go up while a chance of rain will mean the markets fall. It will be that simple.The referendum in Britain on June 23 is another important piece to these markets for the next week. If Britain chooses to leave the EU, many view this as bullish the dollar. If Britain remains, the Euro and Sterling will increase at the expense of the dollar. The polls continue to change daily.Fear of using the futures marketIn the past, I’ve explained the benefits of trading futures. Today, I’ll explain the “dreaded” margin call.As a true hedger, I don’t like calling it a margin call, because that term is most often associated with speculators. A speculator making a margin call is in a bad financial situation. I’m not a speculator, I’m a hedger, and a hedger making a “margin call” is more accurately just making a finance decision. It’s not a bad thing. Let me explain further.Margin calls for hedgers are typically a net neutral (neither a gain or loss). When using the futures market to hedge grain, it doesn’t really matter if I have to make a margin call. Following is an example: I choose to make a sell when Dec futures are $4 per bushel in June. In August, corn rallies from a weather scare and Dec corn increases to $6 per bushel. Margin call means I have to have the difference between what I have my grain sold for in futures and the current CBOT futures price. So, I will need to make a $2 per bushel margin call to my futures trading account.This part frightens farmers. That’s a lot of money. But, there is no reason to be worried, because I’m not losing that money.I harvest my grain in October and I could take the grain immediately to the local elevator, assuming the market is still the same (it doesn’t actually matter what price it is, for simplicity sake I’m leaving it the same) in October as it was in August, I could sell it for $6 per bushel. Then immediately I turn around and BUY my futures back at $6. I receive $6 per bushel on the corn delivered to the elevator. This leaves me net neutral.When I combine my hedge account and the check for the physical grain, I lose $2 per bushel in my futures account but I still sold the corn for $6. This is where I net out $4 per bushel, which is where I originally made my sale. At the time I sold in June I thought I was making a good sale. This is the point where I get back all of my margin call money.I don’t have cash just lying around to make margin call payments. This sounds bad.Most farmers don’t have a bunch of cash laying around. Farmers hedging grain need to work with their bankers. For my clients, I have worked with their bankers first to set up a path for margin calls as a part of a hedging position. This is a very low risk loan for bankers, so they are usually extremely supportive.In the above example I sold futures in June and delivered at harvest (four months). If the rally didn’t start until August, it would mean a $2 per bushel loan for three months (August to October). With a typical interest rate of 5% on an operating loan, this means only 2.5 cents per bushel interest for the margin call for those three months (math = $2 x 5% / 12 months for a monthly rate x three months). Why would I even do this then? I could have just sold grain to my elevator and not worried about margin call. If corn rallies due to a major drought, you can’t take advantage of basis levels and other premium opportunities unless you use futures contracts or Hedge To Arrive contracts (or HTAs). For instance, in 2012 (a drought year), I received 80 cents per bushel more for my corn that I sold using futures than farmers who sold corn flat price to an end user the same day as me and took the cash price quoted. Why not use an HTA and let someone else make my margin call?I prefer to carry my own hedge because the cost of an HTA is approximately the same price as I will have in my futures brokerage and the interest on any margin call. This allows me the benefit of being able to find the end user who may be paying more for corn at or after harvest. It’s not uncommon to see end users have 10 to 20 cent pushes in their bid in years with short production. I want to be able to take advantage of this premium in the market. I can’t guarantee where the best bid will be three months in advance so locking my grain up with an end user now isn’t something I want to do.Another benefit: if farmers are unable to produce corn (e.g. due to weather), it’s easier to get out of futures sales than asking end users to be let out of contracts, be it cash trades or HTAs. Myth: Making a margin call is badMany farmers may be shocked by this, but making a margin call is a good thing. Here’s why….Typically I don’t price all of my corn at any given time, and I doubt most farmers do either. I usually hold some back for potential market rallies. As described above, I have to pay margin call on my priced/sold grain with every rally. But, this means the corn I haven’t priced/sold yet is now worth more. All future unsold grain is now worth more. Since I plan to farm well into the future, I have more corn to sell, maybe not this year, but next year I will.Margin call means corn you haven’t priced/sold is worth more. Embrace it. I’m too scared of the margin callMargin call scares most farmers the first year of futures trading. This is why I highly recommend using a marketing advisor to walk farmers through it. I always make sure that my banker understands exactly what I’m doing and what my potential borrowing needs could be.Many of my clients have expressed reservations and fear that first year when they have to cut a $5,000 to $10,000 check several weeks in a row (despite knowing they will eventually get it back). For example, a farmer raises 600 corn acres at 150 bushels per acre and hedges 50% by Jun 1. Say they have a $2 margin call, it could be upwards of a $90,000 margin call. That’s a lot of money. However, this farmer will be getting that money back later and they’ll also have an opportunity at improved basis levels than their neighbor who didn’t use futures. Typically after the first year, my clients wonder why they didn’t start using futures sooner.Don’t let your fear of margin calls keep you from using the biggest marketing tool there is to hedge your grain and take advantage of market opportunities. Savvy farmers understand it and use the tools that are available to increase profits and minimize risk.Jon grew up raising corn and soybeans on a farm near Beatrice, NE. Upon graduation from The University of Nebraska in Lincoln, he became a grain merchandiser and has been trading corn, soybeans and other grains for the last 18 years, building relationships with end-users in the process. After successfully marketing his father’s grain and getting his MBA, 10 years ago he started helping farmer clients market their grain based upon his principals of farmer education, reducing risk, understanding storage potential and using basis strategy to maximize individual farm operation profits. A big believer in farmer education of futures trading, Jon writes a weekly commentary to farmers interested in learning more and growing their farm operations.Trading of futures, options, swaps and other derivatives is risky and is not suitable for all persons. All of these investment products are leveraged, and you can lose more than your initial deposit. Each investment product is offered only to and from jurisdictions where solicitation and sale are lawful, and in accordance with applicable laws and regulations in such jurisdiction. The information provided here should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research before making your investment decisions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC is merely providing this information for your general information and the information does not take into account any particular individual’s investment objectives, financial situation, or needs. All investors should obtain advice based on their unique situation before making any investment decision. The contents of this communication and any attachments are for informational purposes only and under no circumstances should they be construed as an offer to buy or sell, or a solicitation to buy or sell any future, option, swap or other derivative. The sources for the information and any opinions in this communication are believed to be reliable, but Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC does not warrant or guarantee the accuracy of such information or opinions. Superior Feed Ingredients, LLC and its principals and employees may take positions different from any positions described in this communication. Past results are not necessarily indicative of future results. He can be contacted at [email protected]last_img read more

The Digital Transformation, Creators, and Consumers

first_imgPeople use the social channels in two very different ways. One of these ways is extraordinarily useful, and one is mostly an enormous waste of time. Your results using the social channels are based on which of these choices you make.ConsumptionMost consumption is a poor choice. The Internet provides an infinite number of distractions. If there is something that interests you, the social channels will provide access. If you are bored, you can scroll and scroll and scroll forever, or until something captures your attention.Consuming content may entertain you, and it may occasionally educate you, but mostly it steals your time, producing nothing in return for the investment you’ve made.CreationThere has never been a greater boon to creators than the Internet, and specifically the social channels.  I now call this digital, distinguishing the practical commercial aspects from pure consumption.If you are a writer, you can publish. If you are an entertainer, you can entertain. If you are someone who sells, you can create awareness and establish your expertise. If you are a business, there has never been a bigger, better platform from which to conduct commerce.It doesn’t matter much where you are and what you do; if you are a creator, the digital channels are unmatched—and if they aren’t in your space, they soon will be. But only for creators.Artist? Perfect! Solopreneur? Outstanding! Small or Medium-sized business? Nothing better on Earth. Big commercial enterprise? Scale has a whole new meaning.The digital transformation, which we are still on the front end of, is going to impact you differently depending upon whether you are primarily a consumer or a creator. It is a content creator’s world, and you are just living in it. Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Nowlast_img read more