Harrisburg Sought Support Before Ruinous Incinerator Retrofit


When former Harrisburg, Pa., Mayor Stephen Reed (D) and his aides set out to retrofit the city’s aging incinerator in late 2000, the project spun out of control over the coming years, enlarging the debt the city owed on the facility to $300 million and sinking Harrisburg into financial ruin.


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These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.

Fed keeps U.S. rates steady, to start portfolio drawdown in October

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged on Wednesday but signaled it still expects one more increase by the end of the year despite a recent bout of low inflation.

The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities acquired in the years after the 2008 financial crisis.

New economic projections released after the Fed’s two-day policy meeting showed 11 of 16 officials see the “appropriate” level for the federal funds rate, the central bank’s benchmark interest rate, to be in a range between 1.25 percent and 1.50 percent by the end of 2017, or 0.25 percentage points above the current level.

U.S. bond yields rose, pushing up the U.S. dollar after the Fed’s decision, but U.S. benchmark stock indexes were little changed.

U.S. benchmark 10-year Treasury note yields rose as far as 2.29 percent, the highest since Aug. 8., a move which helped push bank stock prices higher also.

“The Fed took another step on its path of beautiful normalization, announcing that the gradual balance sheet reduction will start next month and limiting revisions to both projections and policy guidance,” said Mohamed El-Erian, Chief Economic Adviser At Allianz, in California.

In its policy statement, the Fed cited low unemployment, growth in business investment, and an economic expansion that has been moderate but durable this year as justifying it’s decision. It added that the near-term risks to the economic outlook remained “roughly balanced” but said it was “closely” watching inflation.

Fed Chair Janet Yellen said in a press conference after the end of the meeting that the fall in inflation this year remained a mystery, adding that the central bank was ready to change the interest rate outlook if needed.

“What we need to figure out is whether the factors that have lowered inflation are likely to prove persistent,” she said. If they do, “it would require an alteration of monetary policy,” Yellen said.

While the interest rate outlook for next year remained largely unchanged in the Fed’s latest projections, with three rises envisioned in 2018, the U.S. central bank did slow the pace of anticipated monetary tightening expected thereafter.

It forecasts only two increases in 2019 and one in 2020. It also lowered again its estimated long-term “neutral” interest rate from 3.0 percent to 2.75 percent, reflecting concerns about overall economic vitality.

“The US Federal Reserve has firmly signaled that a December rate rise is still on the table,” said Luke Bartholomew, of Aberdeen Standard Investments Investment Strategist in London.

”Clearly the Fed still believes that lower unemployment will eventually translate into a pick-up in inflation, but if inflation continues to undershoot it is hard to see the Fed following through on a hike,” he said.

Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference after a two-day Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC) policy meeting, in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

FED BOND PORTFOLIO TO SHRINK FROM OCTOBER

The Fed, as expected, also said it would begin in October to reduce its approximately $4.2 trillion in holdings of U.S. Treasury bonds and mortgage-backed securities by initially cutting up to $10 billion each month from the amount of maturing securities it reinvests.

That action will start a gradual reversal of the three rounds of quantitative easing, or bond buying, the Fed pursued between 2008 and 2014 to stimulate economic growth after the 2007-2009 financial crisis and recession.

The limit on reinvestment is scheduled to increase by $10 billion every three months to a maximum of $50 billion per month until the central bank’s overall balance sheet falls by perhaps $1 trillion or more in the coming years.

Yellen said it would take a “a material deterioration” in the economy’s performance for the Fed to reverse a schedule that she expects to proceed “gradually and predictably.”

BALANCING ACT

The policy statement and accompanying projections showed the Fed still in the middle of a balancing act between an economic recovery that has kept U.S. unemployment low and is gaining steam globally and a recent worrying drop in U.S. inflation.

Three of the hawkish policymakers appeared to move their expected policy rate down to account for only one more hike by the end of 2017, leaving a core 11 clustered around a likely December increase. The Fed has raised rates twice this year.

The Fed noted that the recent hurricanes in the United States would affect economic activity but are “unlikely to materially alter the course of the national economy over the medium term.”

Forecasts for economic growth and unemployment into 2018 and beyond were largely unchanged. Gross domestic product is now expected to grow at a rate of 2.4 percent this year, 2.1 percent next year and 2.0 percent in 2019.

The unemployment rate is forecast to remain at 4.3 percent this year before falling to 4.1 percent next year and remaining there in 2019.

Inflation is expected to remain under the Fed’s 2 percent target through 2018 before hitting it in 2019.

There were no dissents in the Fed’s policy decision.

(For a graphic on the legacy of the QE era, click here)

Reporting by Howard Schneider and Ann Saphir; Editing by David Chance and Paul Simao

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Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Toys ‘R’ Us files for bankruptcy protection

(Reuters) – Toys “R” Us Inc, the largest U.S. toy store chain, filed for bankruptcy protection on Monday, the latest sign of turmoil in the retail industry caught in a viselike grip of online shopping and discount chains.

The Chapter 11 filing is among the largest ever by a specialty retailer and casts doubt over the future of the company’s approximately 1,600 stores and 64,000 employees. It comes just as Toys “R” Us is gearing up for the holiday shopping season, which accounts for the bulk of its sales.

Toys “R” Us filed the petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.

Reporting by Tom Hals in Wilmington, Delaware and Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

Researchers produced the first 2D field-effect transistor (FET) made of a single material — ScienceDaily

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Modern life will be almost unthinkable without transistors. They are the ubiquitous building blocks of all electronic devices: each computer chip contains billions of them. However, as the chips become smaller and smaller, the current 3D field-electronic transistors (FETs) are reaching their efficiency limit. A research team at the Center for Artificial Low Dimensional Electronic Systems, within the Institute for Basic Science (IBS), has developed the first 2D electronic circuit (FET) made of a single material. Published on Nature Nanotechnology, this study shows a new method to make metal and semiconductor from the same material in order to manifacture 2D FETs.

In simple terms, FETs can be thought as high-speed switches, composed of two metal electrodes and a semiconducting channel in between. Electrons (or holes) move from the source electrode to the drain electrode, flowing through the channel. While 3D FETs have been scaled down to nanoscale dimensions successfully, their physical limitations are starting to emerge. Short semiconductor channel lengths lead to a decrease in performance: some electrons (or holes) are able to flow between the electrodes even when they should not, causing heat and efficiency reduction. To overcome this performance degradation, transistor channels have to be made with nanometer-scale thin materials. However, even thin 3D materials are not good enough, as unpaired electrons, part of the so-called “dangling bonds” at the surface interfere with the flowing electrons, leading to scattering.

Passing from thin 3D FETs to 2D FETs can overcome these problems and bring in new attractive properties. “FETs made from 2D semiconductors are free from short-channel effects because all electrons are confined in naturally atomically thin channels, free of dangling bonds at the surface,” explains Ji Ho Sung, first author of the study. Moreover, single- and few-layer form of layered 2D materials have a wide range of electrical and tunable optical properties, atomic-scale thickness, mechanical flexibility and large bandgaps (1~2 eV).

The major issue for 2D FET transistors is the existence of a large contact resistance at the interface between the 2D semiconductor and any bulk metal. To address this, the team devised a new technique to produce 2D transistors with semiconductor and metal made of the same chemical compound, molybdenum telluride (MoTe2). It is a polymorphic material, meaning that it can be used both as metal and as semiconductor. Contact resistance at the interface between the semiconductor and metallic MoTe2 is shown to be very low. Barrier height was lowered by a factor of 7, from 150meV to 22meV.

IBS scientists used the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) technique to build high quality metallic or semiconducting MoTe2 crystals. The polymorphism is controlled by the temperature inside a hot-walled quartz-tube furnace filled with NaCl vapor: 710°C to obtain metal and 670°C for a semiconductor.

The scientists also manufactured larger scale structures using stripes of tungsten diselenide (WSe2) alternated with tungsten ditelluride (WTe2). They first created a thin layer of semiconducting WSe2 with chemical vapor deposition, then scraped out some stripes and grew metallic WTe2 on its place.

It is anticipated that in the future, it would be possible to realize an even smaller contact resistance, reaching the theoretical quantum limit, which is regarded as a major issue in the study of 2D materials, including graphene and other transition metal dichalcogenide materials.

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But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children— with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.

Keeping storage tank corrosion rates to a minimum considered vital for use of molten salts — ScienceDaily

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Next-generation concentrating solar power (CSP) plants require high-temperature fluids, like molten salts, in the range of 550-750 degrees Celsius to store heat and generate electricity. At those high temperatures, however, the molten salts eat away at common alloys used in the heat exchangers, piping, and storage vessels of CSP systems. New research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is aimed at mitigating corrosion levels in CSP plants with nickel-based coatings.

“We are very excited about the potential implications of this research to provide corrosion-resistant coatings for CSP applications that could improve the economic viability of these systems,” said Johney Green, associate laboratory director for mechanical and thermal engineering sciences.

CSP plants with low-cost thermal storage enable facilities to deliver electricity whenever it is needed, helping to support grid reliability. Molten salts are commonly used for both the heat-transfer fluid and thermal energy storage because they can withstand high temperatures and retain the collected solar heat for many hours.

To commercially use molten salt mixtures containing sodium chloride, potassium chloride, and magnesium chloride, the corrosion rate in the storage tanks must be slow — less than 20 micrometers per year — so that a concentrating solar power plant can achieve a 30-year life.

Bare stainless steel alloys tested in a molten chloride corroded as fast as 4,500 micrometers per year. The solution to the corrosion problem could lie in research conducted by NREL’s Judith Gomez-Vidal and published in the Nature Materials Degradation journal article, “Corrosion Resistance of MCrAlX Coatings in a Molten Chloride for Thermal Storage in Concentrating Solar Power Applications.”

Gomez-Vidal applied different types of nickel-based coatings, which are commonly used for reducing oxidation and corrosion, to stainless steel. One such coating, with the chemical formula NiCoCrAlYTa, showed the best performance so far. It limited the corrosion rate to 190 micrometers per year — not yet at the goal but a large improvement compared to the uncoated steel by a 96% reduction in the corrosion rate. That particular coating was pre-oxidized over a 24-hour period, during which a uniform and dense layer of aluminum oxide was formed and served to further protect the stainless steel from corrosion.

“The use of surface protection is very promising to mitigate corrosion in molten salts in particular to those surfaces exposed to chlorine-containing vapor,” said Gomez-Vidal, who holds a Ph.D. in metallurgical and materials engineering. “However, the rates of corrosion are still considerably high for CSP. This effort highlights the relevance of testing materials durability in solar power applications. More R&D is needed to achieve the target corrosion level needed, which could include the synergy of combining surface protection with chemical control of the molten salt and the surrounding atmosphere.”

Additional tests will require evaluation of the coatings under thermal cycling and the introduction of oxygen-containing atmospheres to increase the oxidation potential of the systems. The addition of oxygen ensures the formation of protective scales that could reform in the presence of oxygen if cracks appear during operation. Gomez-Vidal has recently published other work in which such aluminum oxide layers were able to grow and remained adhered to the surface in the presence of air during thermal cycling of samples.

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The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

UH researchers discover new form of stretchable electronics, sensors and skins — ScienceDaily

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A team of researchers from the University of Houston has reported a breakthrough in stretchable electronics that can serve as an artificial skin, allowing a robotic hand to sense the difference between hot and cold, while also offering advantages for a wide range of biomedical devices.

The work, reported in the journal Science Advances, describes a new mechanism for producing stretchable electronics, a process that relies upon readily available materials and could be scaled up for commercial production.

Cunjiang Yu, Bill D. Cook Assistant Professor of mechanical engineering and lead author for the paper, said the work is the first to create a semiconductor in a rubber composite format, designed to allow the electronic components to retain functionality even after the material is stretched by 50 percent.

The work is the first semiconductor in rubber composite format that enables stretchability without any special mechanical structure, Yu said.

He noted that traditional semiconductors are brittle and using them in otherwise stretchable materials has required a complicated system of mechanical accommodations. That’s both more complex and less stable than the new discovery, as well as more expensive, he said.

“Our strategy has advantages for simple fabrication, scalable manufacturing, high-density integration, large strain tolerance and low cost,” he said.

Yu and the rest of the team – co-authors include first author Hae-Jin Kim, Kyoseung Sim and Anish Thukral, all with the UH Cullen College of Engineering – created the electronic skin and used it to demonstrate that a robotic hand could sense the temperature of hot and iced water in a cup. The skin also was able to interpret computer signals sent to the hand and reproduce the signals as American Sign Language.

“The robotic skin can translate the gesture to readable letters that a person like me can understand and read,” Yu said.

The artificial skin is just one application. Researchers said the discovery of a material that is soft, bendable, stretchable and twistable will impact future development in soft wearable electronics, including health monitors, medical implants and human-machine interfaces.

The stretchable composite semiconductor was prepared by using a silicon-based polymer known as polydimethylsiloxane, or PDMS, and tiny nanowires to create a solution that hardened into a material which used the nanowires to transport electric current.

“We foresee that this strategy of enabling elastomeric semiconductors by percolating semiconductor nanofibrils into a rubber will advance the development of stretchable semiconductors, and … will move forward the advancement of stretchable electronics for a wide range of applications, such as artificial skins, biomedical implants and surgical gloves,” they wrote.

 

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For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

Self-folding electronics could enable advanced robotics — ScienceDaily

An electronic device that bends on its own could one day pave the way for self-folding robots.

Credit: The American Chemical Society

As demand grows for more versatile, advanced robotics and other technologies, the need for components that can enable these applications also increases. Producing such components en masse has been a major challenge. But now, in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, researchers report that they have developed a way to help meet this need by printing electronics that can fold themselves into a desired shape.

Creating small electronic pieces with specific architectural designs can now be accomplished with 3-D printing. But the process can be slow, relatively costly and can lead to structural flaws. So scientists have been working on methods to produce flat electronics that fold after they’re printed. But folding the devices into their desired shapes has required additional processing steps or specific conditions such as light exposure or dunking the pieces into liquids, which is not always a good option for electronic products. To address these limitations, Wojciech Matusik, Subramanian Sundaram and colleagues wanted to come up with a more practical approach.

The researchers formulated a new ink containing acrylate monomers and oligomers that can be cured with ultraviolet light. Energy is stored in specific regions of the printed part in the form of residual stress during the printing process. After the flat device is printed and removed from the printer platform, swelling forces cause it to fold itself into a predetermined shape without additional stimulus. The researchers say the development could have applications in robotics and human-machine interfaces.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Subramanian Sundaram, David S. Kim, Marc A. Baldo, Ryan C. Hayward, Wojciech Matusik. 3D-Printed Self-Folding Electronics. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2017; DOI: 10.1021/acsami.7b10443

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American Chemical Society. “Self-folding electronics could enable advanced robotics.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913104537.htm>.

American Chemical Society. (2017, September 13). Self-folding electronics could enable advanced robotics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 14, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913104537.htm

American Chemical Society. “Self-folding electronics could enable advanced robotics.” ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/09/170913104537.htm (accessed September 14, 2017).


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No one lights a lamp and hides it in a clay jar or puts it under a bed. Instead, they put it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light.

New spin-transition metal-organic frameworks use much less energy to capture, reuse CO — ScienceDaily

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Carbon monoxide is an insidious poison because it loves the iron in our blood; it pushes oxygen out of iron-based hemoglobin, leading to painful asphyxiation.

This affinity for iron comes in handy in a newly created material that can absorb carbon monoxide far better than other materials, with potential applications in industrial processes like syngas production, where CO is a key player, and reactions where CO is an unwanted contaminant.

The new material is a metal-organic framework – an amazingly porous material with a growing list of applications – that incorporates chains of iron atoms tuned to attract CO and exclude other chemical compounds. When CO binds to an iron atom in the MOF, it changes the environment of neighboring iron atoms to make them even more attractive to CO, creating a chain reaction.

“We see this cooperative adsorption effect where binding at one site activates the neighboring sites, which means that all of a sudden you go from very little adsorption to essentially saturating the material with CO,” said senior researcher Jeffrey Long, a UC Berkeley professor of chemistry and faculty scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The CO binding flips the spin state of iron, hence Long’s terminology for the material: spin-transition MOFs.

Two years ago, Long accidentally stumbled across the first of this type of cooperative adsorbent when he created a MOF that adsorbed carbon dioxide far better than other materials.

“The carbon dioxide capture material we lucked into in 2015 was a first-of-its-kind material for cooperative absorption,” he said. “Now we’ve shown that cooperative MOF adsorbents can be built by design to target other key industrially relevant molecules for separation. It is a fundamental new mechanism where, by adjusting the ligands bound to the iron, you might be able to get unsaturated hydrocarbons like acetylene, ethylene and propylene to bind also.”

The research, posted online Sept. 11 in advance of publication in the journal Nature, was supported by the Center for Gas Separations Relevant to Clean Energy Technologies, an Energy Frontier Research Center operated jointly by UC Berkeley and Berkeley Lab and funded by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Recovering rather than burning carbon monoxide

CO is used in a variety of industrial processes, including as a component of synthesis gas – a mix of CO and hydrogen used to make synthetic fuel or to synthesize other chemicals. These MOFs might serve as reservoirs for CO to maintain the correct ratio of CO to hydrogen for a particular reaction.

In pure form, CO is also essential in iron and steel production. Long predicts that the new MOF could be used to extract CO from the mixed-gas byproducts of such manufacturing to provide recycled CO for reuse. In most cases today, these mixed gases are burned, Long said, accounting for a large portion of the greenhouse gases produced by the steel industry.

Such MOFs also could help suck up CO in reactions where CO poisons the catalyst, such as in the production of ammonia for fertilizers or polymers like polyethylene and polypropylene, and in hydrogen fuel cells.

“There are lots of places where you want to separate CO sufficiently in industry, and these spin transition MOFs can potentially have a role there,” Long said.

In practice, the MOFs would adsorb CO at room temperature, then be heated slightly to drive off the CO, readying the MOF for reuse. These spin-transition MOFs can be precisely tuned so that only a small rise in temperature – from 20 C to 60 C, for example — releases the CO, requiring significantly less energy than other capture or storage technologies, such as cryogenic distillation.

As an example, they compared their spin-transition MOF to a commercial, liquid absorbent process for recovering CO, which is called COSORB. Initial calculations showed that the MOF requires just 32 percent of the energy to capture and reuse CO as the COSORB process.


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And every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Russia’s Rosneft not seeking Sistema’s assets: CEO

MOSCOW (Reuters) – The chief executive of Russian oil giant Rosneft (ROSN.MM) said on Sunday his company was not seeking the frozen assets of Sistema as it presses its multi-billion dollar lawsuit against the business conglomerate.

A court in the Russian region of Bashkortostan ruled last month that Sistema should pay Rosneft 136.3 billion roubles ($2.4 billion) to settle a claim that Rosneft-controlled oil producer Bashneft (BANE.MM) was stripped of assets when Sistema was the owner.

Sistema has rejected the claim as groundless and said it would appeal against the court decision. It has appealed against asset freezes imposed as part of the litigation but its latest request was turned down by a court last Tuesday.

The dispute has rekindled broader fears about investor rights in Russia and some observers have speculated about the redistribution of wealth among Russian elites.

“We in no way foresaw … our owning these stakes,” TASS news agency quoted Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin as telling state Russian television, referring to the frozen assets.

“For us it’s sufficient that Sistema settles our claims which the court has recognized,” Sechin was quoted as saying in the interview broadcast on Sunday.

He added Rosneft was ready to help Sistema arrange credit lines with the banks to repay the damage award.

Last Tuesday Russian President Vladimir Putin said he had met Sechin as well as Vladimir Yevtushenkov, chairman and main owner of Sistema, and that an amicable agreement would benefit both companies and the Russian economy as a whole.

The court froze 185 billion roubles ($3.2 billion) worth of Sistema’s assets in June, including 31.76 percent of shares in Russia’s top mobile operator MTS (MTSS.MM).

If Sistema loses its appeal, it will be able to raise the money from banks and has no plans to sell its shares in MTS, Sistema CEO Mikhail Shamolin said in August.

Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Gareth Jones

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He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

China studying when to ban sales of traditional fuel cars: Xinhua

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has begun studying when to ban the production and sale of cars using traditional fuels, the official Xinhua news agency reported, citing comments by the vice industry minister.

Xin Guobin did not give any details on when China, the world’s largest auto market, would implement such a ban.

“Some countries have made a timeline for when to stop the production and sales of traditional fuel cars,” Xin, vice minister of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology, was quoted as saying at an auto industry event in the city of Tianjin on Saturday.

“The ministry has also started relevant research and will make such a timeline with relevant departments. Those measures will certainly bring profound changes for our car industry’s development,” he said.

The United Kingdom has pledged a ban on new diesel and petrol car sales by 2040.

Reporting by Tony Munroe and Yawen Chen; Editing by Kim Coghill

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Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves.

Jamie Dimon ventures beyond Wall Street to have a say in Washington

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) Chief Executive Jamie Dimon is starting to look like Corporate America’s shadow president.

The 61-year-old banker has made more than a dozen trips to Washington so far this year to press a broad agenda with a range of influential policymakers, people who attended the meetings or are familiar with his schedule said. Dimon has already visited the nation’s capital four times as much as he does in a typical year.

His ramped-up presence comes after taking the helm of the Business Roundtable, a lobbying group that represents CEOs of large U.S. companies, in December.

“We couldn’t ask for a more engaged or more effective Business Roundtable chair,” said Joshua Bolten, former chief of staff for President George W. Bush, whom Dimon installed as the organization’s president and CEO.

The frequency of his trips, and the wide range of policies he has been discussing, have started chatter among power brokers in Washington and on Wall Street about how much energy Dimon is devoting to issues beyond JPMorgan.

At times, they said, Dimon carries himself more like someone running the country than someone running a bank.

“If you’re Jamie Dimon, you’ve always had access,” said Tim Pawlenty, CEO of the Financial Services Roundtable, a Wall Street trade group. “The difference is, now he wants it. He wants to play a role in policy more broadly than just representing his company.”

Dimon has said in the past that the only big job he would want would be U.S. president, but also said running for office would be impractical. Associates told Reuters he has abandoned the idea entirely, and only became more active in Washington because he was worried about his bank, the economy and the future of the country.

A JPMorgan spokesman declined to comment or make Dimon available for an interview. Reuters spoke to over a dozen people who have interacted with Dimon in Washington or were briefed on his meetings. Most spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss his activities.

Those who have met Dimon recently include Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Democratic Senators Sherrod Brown and Mark Warner, Rep. Patrick McHenry, who is a member of House Republican leadership, National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

FAMILIAR SIGHT

He was around so much during the summer that Washington regulars said it was no longer surprising to see Dimon pop out of the Capitol Hill subway system or leave a lawmaker’s office. He has joked with staff about getting a condominium in Washington because of how often he travels there, one person said.

Although Dimon’s meetings typically center on topics like tax reform or financial rules, he is not shy about weighing in on issues ranging from immigration to education and criminal justice reform, those familiar with the discussions said.

FILE PHOTO: Jamie Dimon, Chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., May 1, 2017. REUTERS/Mike Blake

In meetings, he has been using an app he asked Business Roundtable staff to build. It allows member CEOs to show how many voters in a district work for their companies, and how many facilities the companies have there, to persuade lawmakers that their priorities are aligned.

During his interactions with lawmakers, Dimon can be brash and expresses annoyance with Congress’s inability to advance legislation, people who attended the meetings said.

Sometimes he would show his lighter side.

One day in July, Dimon spotted his Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, an old foe who championed a rule that slashed debit card fees and which Dimon has called “downright idiotic.”

Durbin was withdrawing money from a non-Chase ATM when Dimon approached from behind and quipped: “We welcome competition.”

A Durbin representative confirmed the interaction, first described by a Politico reporter in a tweet, took place but declined to elaborate.

Those who have followed Dimon through his career are not surprised that the straight-talking New York banker has become even more outspoken during Donald Trump’s presidency.

Associates say he has been shocked by some of Trump’s actions, such as abandoning the Paris climate accord, threats to tear up free trade deals, a call for a ban of transgender people from the military and ending a program that protects people who were brought into the United States illegally as children from deportation.

Dimon is not the only corporate boss venturing outside his usual terrain. Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) CEO Lloyd Blankfein has criticized Trump in tweets, while others including Apple Inc CEO (AAPL.O) Tim Cook and Merck & Co (MRK.N) CEO Ken Frazier have condemned the president’s actions in public statements.

But Dimon, who often refers to himself as a “patriot,” differs in tone and demeanor, sources said.

The table of contents for his April letter to shareholders includes categories such as “The United States of America is truly an exceptional country,” and devoted more space to public policy prescriptions than in prior years.

After Trump said “both sides” were to blame for the violence between white supremacists and left-wing protesters in Virginia, Dimon offered unsolicited advice on how a president should carry himself.

“It is a leader’s role, in business or government, to bring people together, not tear them apart,” he wrote in an employee memo.

(The story changes headline to clarify Dimon is not leaving his bank)

Reporting by Pete Schroeder in Washington and David Henry in New York; Additional reporting by Patrick Rucker in Washington and Olivia Oran in New York; Editing by Lauren Tara LaCapra and Tomasz Janowski

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It is written: ‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, ‘every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.’

Scientists unravel new insights into promising semiconductor material — ScienceDaily

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Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have established new findings on the properties of two-dimensional molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), a widely studied semiconductor of the future.

In two separate studies led by Professor Andrew Wee and Assistant Professor Andrivo Rusydi from the Department of Physics at the NUS Faculty of Science, the researchers uncovered the role of oxygen in MoS2, and a novel technique to create multiple tunable, inverted optical band gaps in the material. These novel insights deepen the understanding of the intrinsic properties of MoS2 which could potentially transform its applications in the semiconductor industry.

The studies were published in scientific journals Physical Review Letters and Nature Communications respectively.

MoS2 — An alternative to graphene

MoS2 is a semiconductor-like material that exhibits desirable electronic and optical properties for the development and enhancement of transistors, photodetectors and solar cells.

Prof Wee explained, “MoS2 holds great industrial importance. With an atomically thin two-dimensional structure and the presence of a 1.8eV energy band gap, MoS2 is a semiconductor that can offer broader applications than graphene which lacks a band gap.”

Presence of oxygen alters the electronic and optical properties of MoS2

In the first study published in Physical Review Letters on 16 August 2017, NUS researchers conducted an in-depth analysis which revealed that the energy storage capacity or dielectric function of MoS2 can be altered using oxygen.

The team observed that MoS2 displayed a higher dielectric function when exposed to oxygen. This new knowledge shed light on how adsorption and desorption of oxygen by MoS2 can be employed to modify its electronic and optical properties to suit different applications. The study also highlights the need for adequate consideration of extrinsic factors that may affect the properties of the material in future research.

The first author of this paper is Dr Pranjal Kumar Gogoi from the Department of Physics at NUS Faculty of Science.

MoS2 can possess two tunable optical band gaps

In the second study published in Nature Communications on 7 September 2017, the team of NUS researchers discovered that as opposed to conventional semiconductors which typically have only one optical band gap, electron doping of MoS2 on gold can create two unusual optical band gaps in the material. In addition, the two optical bandgaps in MoS2 are tunable via a simple, straight forward annealing process.

The research team also identified that the tunable optical band gaps are induced by strong-charge lattice coupling as a result of the electron doping.

The first author of this second paper is Dr Xinmao Yin from the Department of Physics at NUS Faculty of Science.

The research findings from the two studies lend insights to other materials that possess similar structure with MoS2.

“MoS2 falls under a group of material known as the two-dimensional transitional metal dihalcogenides (2D-TMDs) which are of great research interest because of their potential industrial applications. The new knowledge from our studies will assist us in unlocking the possibilities of 2D-TMD-based applications such as the fabrication of 2D-TMD-based field effect transistors,” said Asst Prof Rusydi.

Leveraging the findings of these studies, the researchers will apply similar studies to other 2D-TMDs and to explore different possibilities of generating new, valuable properties in 2D-TMDs that do not exist in nature.

Story Source:

Materials provided by National University of Singapore. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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U.S. seeks to jail Shkreli, citing ‘pattern of threats’

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. prosecutors on Thursday asked a judge to jail Martin Shkreli while he awaits sentencing for securities fraud, after a Facebook post by the former drug company executive about Hillary Clinton prompted an investigation by the U.S. Secret Service.

“Shkreli has engaged in an escalating pattern of threats and harassment that warrant his detention pending sentencing,” prosecutors said in a filing in Brooklyn federal court late on Thursday.

They pointed to a Sept. 4 Facebook post in which Shkreli offered $5,000 to followers who could grab a strand of Clinton’s hair during the former presidential candidate’s upcoming book tour. That led the Secret Service, charged with protecting Clinton, to contact him.

Shkreli told the Secret Service, through a lawyer, that he would remove the post on Tuesday, but did not do so until Wednesday, prosecutors said.

The prosecutors said Shkreli’s conduct showed he poses a “danger to the community,” and that his $5 million bail should be revoked.

U.S. District Judge Kiyo Matsumoto will hold a hearing on the motion on Sept. 14. Shkreli’s lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, said he would file a response soon.

“However inappropriate some of Mr. Shkreli’s postings may have been, we do not believe that he intended harm and do not believe that he poses a danger to the community,” Brafman said in an email. “We take the matter seriously and intend to address the issue responsibly.”

Shkreli was convicted in August of defrauding investors of two hedge funds he ran, MSMB Capital and MSMB Healthcare. He was acquitted of stealing from a drug company he later founded, Retrophin Inc, to pay them back.

Though he faces a maximum sentence of 20 years, Shkreli will likely serve much less, in part because none of his hedge fund investors lost money.

Before the trial, Shkreli, 34, was best known for raising the price of anti-infection drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent in 2015 while he was chief executive of Turing Pharmaceuticals. The move sparked outrage by patients and U.S. lawmakers, earning him the nickname “pharma bro.”

He has remained active on social media since his December 2015 arrest, frequently clashing with critics. He was banned from the social media platforum Twitter in January for harassing a female journalist.

Reporting by Brendan Pierson in New York; Editing by Bernadette Baum

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Wall St. opens higher as energy, financial stocks rise

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks opened higher on Wednesday, driven by gains in energy and financial stocks, but investors remained cautious amid tensions on the Korean peninsula and concerns that the Category 5 Hurricane Irma could hit the United States.

Exxon’s (XOM.N) 1.56 percent rise was the biggest boost on the S&P, while Goldman Sachs (GS.N) and Home Depot’s (HD.N) more than 1 percent rise propelled the Dow.

“I think it (North Korea) is still going to be a factor with a bit of nervousness out there. We also have another hurricane heading towards Florida,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Florida. “We’re already seeing water flying off the shelves at grocery stores.”

North Korea conducted its most powerful nuclear test yet on Sunday, triggering a dramatic escalation of its stand-off with the United States that drove investors toward safe-haven assets.

Also weighing on investors’ mind is Hurricane Irma, which is en route to a possible Florida landfall at the weekend.

At 9:39 a.m. ET (1339 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 65.91 points, or 0.3 percent, at 21,819.22 and the S&P 500 .SPX was up 5.84 points, or 0.24 percent, at 2,463.69.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 10.73 points, or 0.17 percent, at 6,386.30.

All the 11 major S&P indexes were higher, with a 0.67 percent rise in the energy index .SPNY topping the advancers.

Oil prices rose on Wednesday as strong global refining margins and the reopening of U.S. Gulf Coast refineries provided a more bullish outlook after sharp drops due to Storm Harvey.[O/R]Financial stocks .SPSY also gained 0.55 percent, a day after they suffered their biggest one-day fall since mid-May.

The Federal Reserve issues its Beige Book, a round-up of anecdotes on the health of the economy, at 02:00 p.m. E.T.

Three Fed policymakers on Tuesday expressed doubts about further rate hikes, with one influential policymaker calling for a delay in raising U.S. interest rates until the Fed is confident inflation will rebound.

Data showed the U.S. trade deficit increased less than expected in July as both exports and imports fell, suggesting that trade could contribute to economic growth in the third quarter.

The Commerce Department said the trade gap rose 0.3 percent to $43.7 billion, compared with an increase to $44.6 billion forecast by economists polled by Reuters.

Newell Brands (NWL.N) was off more than 4 percent after the company slashed its profit outlook for 2017.

Sarepta Therapeutics (SRPT.O) was up about 12 percent after its drug to treat patients with a form of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy met the main goal in an early-stage study.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners on the NYSE by 1,800 to 691. On the Nasdaq, 1,455 issues rose and 819 fell.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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