U.S. weapons exports from 1950 to 2017. Data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfers Database. Units are expressed in trend indicator values (TIV). Each dot on the map = one TIV. Visualization by Will Geary.
The United States of Arms


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Millenium Tower SF

Millennium Tower  San Francisco, Ca

The “leaning tower” of San Francisco

The situation at San Francisco’s sinking skyscraper is so dire, residents are selling their condos at a loss of millions.


The well-heeled residents of San Francisco’s leaning, sinking skyscraper are scrambling to sell their condos, taking losses of millions of dollars.

A two-bedroom, three-bathroom unit at Millennium Tower sold earlier this month for $2.99 million, but sold for $4.25 million in 2013.

The new owners, Rohita and Vijay Caveripakkam, both work in tech. Vijay is the founder and CEO of InFor500, a small cloud-computing company based in Silicon Valley.

Millennium Tower is a luxury residential high-rise that has sunk 17 inches and tilted 14 inches since it was completed in 2008. Though an inspection by the city showed it’s safe to occupy, the situation has sparked an exodus from the building.

The unit that most recently closed at Millennium Tower previously belonged to Robert Darby, Jr., president of Berkshire Hathaway Homestate Companies, according to property records.

“The seller took about a 30% loss over a period where the market appreciated rapidly,” Patrick Carlisle, chief market analyst at brokerage Paragon, who wasn’t involved in the deal, told the San Francisco Business Times. “That’s got to be pretty painful.”

Carlisle estimated that the 1,664-square-foot condo would sell for between $5 million and $6 million, “if it was in any other building,” he told the Business Times. Home prices elsewhere in San Francisco continue to soar.

A year ago, a penthouse unit at Millennium Tower, previously owned by late venture capitalist Tom Perkins, sold for $13 million. Perkins bought the two-bedroom condo unfinished for $9.4 million and spent $9 million on renovations, which should have bumped it sales price higher.

In May, a second penthouse apartment sold for 29% less than what it sold for two years ago, the Business Times reported. The seller shaved 36% off the asking price.

The situation at Millennium Tower is likely to get worse before it gets better. Engineers have estimated the building will continue to sink at a rate of about one-inch per year.

There may be a fix in the works. A pair of engineering firms hired by developer Millennium Partners and other parties have recommended drilling 50 to 100 new piles (a type of foundation in the shape of a pillar) 200 feet down to bedrock from the building’s basement.



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Historical Social Security Payroll Tax Rates

Historical Social Security Payroll Tax Rates from 1937 to today…



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The 40,000 mile volcano

ring of fire

Oceanographers have inaugurated a deep-sea observatory to study the volcanoes and hydrothermal vents of the Juan de Fuca mid ocean ridge, a dark ecosystem where the Earth’s tectonic plates are spreading apart.




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San Diego Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade this Sep. 10-15th is the first of it’s kind since 8 years ago…

cbdb899b-a4d7-422d-802e-5029b0293dc0_zpszpp8r9o1Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade

San Diego Bay
San Diego, CA 92101

Region: Downtown

Date: September 10 – September 15, 2016

Time: 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM

Price: Free
VIP – $150

Venue: San Diego Bay

Follow Us On:

This event is soaring back to San Diego with great fanfare as we prepare to experience the best of the U.S. military on display and in action with cruisers, amphibious ships, destroyers, frigates, submarines, and landing craft in addition to a demonstration of SEAL capabilities, Coast Guard Search and Rescue, a fly-over of contemporary Navy and World War II aircraft, and much more.

View the action all along the San Diego region waterfront, from the South Bay to Coronado, the Embarcadero, Harbor and Shelter Islands.

Ship tours, a STEM fair and many more static displays will be available and FREE to the public.


  • Fleet Week Sea & Air Parade
    San Diego Bay
    Saturday, September 10, 2016
    12:00 to 2:00 PM
  • STEM Fair
    Broadway and B Street Piers
    September 10-11
    10:00 AM to 4:00 PM
  • Ship Tours
    September 10-14, 2016
    Broadway and B Street Piers
    10:00 AM to 4:00 PM


VIP Viewing

VIP viewing aboard the USS Midway is available on Saturday, September 10, 2016, 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM. $150 per person includes luxury chalet with food, beverage, seating and unrivaled viewing. Call 619.858.1545 or email

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Two Chinese fighter jets carried out an “unsafe” intercept on a US Reconnaissance Plane over the South China Sea

Chinese-aircraft-intercept-1024x576WASHINGTON, May 18, 2016- Two Chinese fighter jets carried out an “unsafe” intercept of a U.S. military aircraft on Tuesday over the South China Sea, the Pentagon said on Wednesday.

The incident took place in international airspace as the U.S. reconnaissance aircraft carried out “a routine U.S. patrol,” a Pentagon statement said.

The incident comes a week after China scrambled fighter jets as a U.S. Navy ship sailed close to a disputed reef in the South China Sea.

Another Chinese intercept took place in 2014 when a Chinese fighter pilot few acrobatic maneuvers around a U.S. spy plane.

The intercept is also days before President Barack Obama travels to parts of Asia from May 21-28, which will include a Group of Seven summit in Japan and his first trip to Vietnam.

The Pentagon statement said the Department of Defense was addressing the issue through military and diplomatic channels.

The Chinese embassy in Washington did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Over the past year, DoD has seen improvements in PRC actions, flying in a safe and professional manner,” the Pentagon statement said, using an acronym for the People’s Republic of China.

In 2015, the United States and China announced agreements on a military hotline and rules of behavior to govern air-to-air encounters.

China claims most of the South China Sea, through which $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes every year. The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei have overlapping claims.

Washington has accused Beijing of militarizing the South China Sea after creating artificial islands while Beijing, in turn, has criticized increased U.S. naval patrols and exercises in Asia.

The Pentagon last month called on China to reaffirm it has no plans to deploy military aircraft in the Spratly Islands after China used a military plane to evacuate sick workers from Fiery Cross.

In April 2001, an intercept of a U.S. spy plane by a Chinese fighter jet resulted in a collision that killed the Chinese pilot and forced the American plane to make an emergency landing at a base on China’s Hainan island.

The 24 U.S. air crew members were held for 11 days until Washington apologized for the incident. That encounter soured U.S.-Chinese relations in the early days of President George W. Bush’s first administration.

Last month, the Pentagon said that Russia had intercepted a U.S. Air Force aircraft over the Baltic Sea in an “unsafe and unprofessional” way.



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Everything You Need to Know about Entitlement Reform

International Liberty

Most people have a vague understanding that America has a huge long-run fiscal problem.

They’re right, though they probably don’t realize the seriousness of that looming crisis.

Here’s what you need to know: America’s fiscal crisis is actually a spending crisis, and that spending crisis is driven by entitlements.

More specifically, the vast majority of the problem is the result of Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security, programs that are poorly designed and unsustainable.

America needs to fix these programs…or eventually become another Greece.

Fortunately, all of the problems can be solved, as these three videos demonstrate.

The first video explains how to fix Medicaid.

The second video shows how to fix Medicare.

And the final video shows how to fix Social Security.

Regular readers know I’m fairly gloomy about the future of liberty, but this is one area where there is a glimmer of hope.

View original post 76 more words

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What do Americans do with their tax refunds?

50fa1mdeAccording to a recent National Retail Federation study, almost 55% of young adults plan to turn their refunds into savings. If you are getting a refund this year, think about adding to your savings account or investing in a CD.






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US Sends 3 Nuclear Stealth Bombers to Pacific


WASHINGTON — The United States has deployed three B-2 Spirit nuclear stealth bombers to support U.S. Pacific Command, U.S. Strategic Command announced Wednesday.

The aircraft are the United States’ most advanced bomber and part of its nuclear deterrent defenses.

It is not the first time that the United States deployed the B-2 bombers to the Pacific Command. Last fall, the U.S. Air Force deployed three B-2s to Guam. In March 2013, the U.S. sent two B-2s to conduct a flyover near Seoul, South Korea. All three bomber deployments followed North Korean missile tests.

In recent weeks, U.S. and South Korean officials have publicly discussed providing additional strategic defenses for South Korea, including deploying the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense missile defense system. The officials announced they were discussing its deployment in response to long-range missile launches in early February by North Korea.

Previously, U.S. and South Korean officials had not publicly acknowledged any discussions on the deployment of the THAAD missile defense system due to pressure placed on South Korea by China not to accept the system. U.S. officials now emphasize the deployment of THAAD would be to protect South Korea and the approximately 28,500 U.S. soldiers based there.

On Tuesday, North Korea announced it has developed the capability to put a miniaturized nuclear weapon on a ballistic missile, the same day that the Air Force deployed the B-2s. The Air Force did not specify where the B-2s would be based.

“Recent events demonstrate the continued need to provide consistent and credible air power throughout the Indo-Asia-Pacific region,” said Gen. Lori J. Robinson, Pacific Air Forces commander. “Our ability to demonstrate credible combat power while training and inter-operating with our network of like-minded partner nations is vitally important.”



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2015 Report: How much H-1B visa holders make in the U.S.

shutterstock_268850816Ever wondered how much H-1B visa holders make? Now’s your chance to find out: San Francisco-based engineer Theo Negri has released a database of H-1B applications, searchable by company.

Whenever a firm based in the United States wants to bring in a worker via an H-1B visa, it must subm50fa1mdeit a Labor Condition Application (LCA) with the U.S. government. Every LCA features the potential worker’s proposed salary; compile enough LCAs into a database, and you can get a pretty good idea of how much companies are shelling out to bring in H-1B workers.

Quartz combed through Negri’s LCA database and came up with a list of the average salaries for H-1B holders at a number of tech companies. Topping the list was:

  1. Netflix, where the average H-1B holder could expect to earn $214,693 in 2014
  2. Box ($143,318)
  3. Etsy ($135,595)
  4. Twitter ($134,221)
  5. Airbnb ($134,039)


Many of these firms are willing to pay above the industry average for H-1B talent. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix applied for a senior database platform engineer at a $250,000 annual salary, nearly $100,000 above the average wage for that position (according to Negri’s data). Based on the LCA database, Airbnb seems willing to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 above the average for data scientists, software engineers, and other H-1B holders.

Many of these firms are willing to pay above the industry average for H-1B talent. Earlier this year, for example, Netflix applied for a senior database platform engineer at a $250,000 annual salary, nearly $100,000 above the average wage for that position (according to Negri’s data). Based on the LCA database, Airbnb seems willing to pay anywhere from $10,000 to $60,000 above the average for data scientists, software engineers, and other H-1B holders.

Earlier this year, developer Swizec Teller crunched H-1B data from the U.S. Department of Labor and concluded that the average engineer with the visa makes $87,000 a year, while developers and programmers earn $74,000 and $61,000, respectively. His visualizations also suggested that the number of H-1B workers in the United States has increased over the past two years, even if their average salaries have dipped.

Declining salaries or not, Negri’s data suggests that some H-1B holders can expect some pretty lucrative paydays.


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