While Huskers’ fans fete Frost, new coach to be all business
By ERIC OLSON
AP College Football Writer
Friday, August 31
LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — This is what Nebraska fans have been waiting for since December, some even longer.
Scott Frost’s first game as the Cornhuskers’ head coach is here. That Akron is the opponent is a footnote. A Saturday night Big Red Rival is going to be held at Memorial Stadium, where the 362nd consecutive sellout crowd will celebrate the return of a homegrown Husker and quarterback of the undefeated 1997 co-national championship team.
The 43-year-old Frost carries the hopes of a fan base demanding a return to national relevance, eventually, but first respectability in the Big Ten.
A protege of Chip Kelly at Oregon, Frost orchestrated the rapid turnaround at Central Florida and was named national coach of the year after the Knights went 13-0 with a Peach Bowl win over Auburn.
On Dec. 2, Frost was announced as the Huskers’ new coach. That was three years late to a significant faction of fans who believed Frost, not Mike Riley, should have been hired in 2015.
Frost clearly understands the gravitas of his return, though he won’t be able to embrace it at kickoff.
“I wish my job allowed me to stop and smell the roses a little more,” he said, “because it’s going to be special running out on the field in front of the home fans again. If I’m doing my players a service, then I’m locked in on game planning, calling the game, and getting our guys ready to play. Hopefully there’s a moment somewhere when I can stop and take it all in. We want our players to be all business and the coaches to be all business as well.”
Akron is coming off a 7-7 season that included an appearance in the Mid-American Conference championship game and 50-3 loss to Florida Atlantic in the Boca Raton Bowl.
“There are two trains of thought when you open up a season,” Akron coach Terry Bowden said. “You play someone you are maybe favored over so you can make some mistakes and you can ease into the season to get yourself a win and get ready. Or you play someone very, very good and your kids are excited all summer about playing a top team in the nation. That’s kind of what we’ve done this year opening up with Nebraska at Nebraska.”
The Zips have opened against a Power Five opponent two of the previous three years, losing 52-0 at Penn State in 2017 and 41-3 at Oklahoma in 2015. The Huskers are favored by 24 points.
“We’re going to be facing a monumental task against a team with great enthusiasm, electricity and excitement,” Bowden said, “and I’m excited for my players to be a part of that. I also know that could be a very difficult situation.”
BEEN THERE, DONE THAT
Frost was the Huskers’ quarterback in the teams’ only previous meeting, a 59-14 Nebraska win in the 1997 opener in Lincoln. Frost rushed for a career-high 123 yards and passed for 67 on a day the Huskers rolled up 644 total yards. Nebraska finished the season 13-0 and shared the national title with Michigan.
NEVER DONE THAT
This is the first year since 1972 the Huskers open a season without a quarterback who has taken a snap for Nebraska. Starter Adrian Martinez and third-string Matt Masker are true freshmen. Top backup Andrew Bunch played at the junior-college level.
Nebraska is 5-1 against opponents from the MAC but lost its most recent matchup 21-17 to Northern Illinois in Lincoln last September. That loss dropped the Huskers to 1-2, led to athletic director Shawn Eichorst’s firing five days later and set the tone for a season ending with Riley’s firing.
SHOW ME THE MONEY
This is the first of two “money games” for Akron this season. The Zips will earn $1.17 million for visiting Nebraska and $1.2 million for playing at Northwestern on Sept. 15. They also go against a power-five opponent in Iowa State, but no money changes hands because the Sept. 22 road game is the back end of a home-and-home series.
QUOTE TO NOTE
“I want to see a team that’s going to put out effort no matter what and fight no matter what. Up 21, we need to be playing harder. Down seven, we need to fight harder. Fourth quarters need to be on point. We need to be a physical team. I want to see passion, I want to see togetherness and I want to see a bunch of guys playing for each other.”
— Frost, who inherited a program that in 2017 allowed 50-plus points four times.
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Monroe County is Home to 2018 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Aug. 31, 2018
Tour offered at tree farm on Saturday, Oct. 20
COLUMBUS, OH – Whispering Ridge Tree Farm, located in Monroe County in eastern Ohio and owned by John and Bess Lusk, has been named the 2018 Ohio Tree Farm of the Year by the Ohio Tree Farm Committee, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The Lusks have actively managed their 135-acre woodland in rugged Woodsfield for the past 23 years. The property features diverse plant communities and scenic rock outcroppings overlooking steep ravines. John and Bess have coordinated closely with the ODNR Division of Forestry’s service foresters throughout the years to implement good stewardship of the land. They have also worked to ensure future generations will be able to benefit from sound forest management.
A public field day is planned for Saturday, Oct. 20, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. at the Whispering Ridge Tree Farm to highlight conservation practices with demonstrations by forestry and wildlife experts. Guided walking tours will be provided via trail systems that highlight unique areas of the woodland, including examples of completed timber stand improvement projects and a small-scale maple syrup operation.
The field day will be held rain or shine so people are encouraged to dress for the weather and for hiking in the woods. Pre-registration is appreciated; people can email email@example.com with the number of participants attending. Parking will be available at the Swiss Hills Career Center, with buses shuttling participants to the tree farm. Parking address for the Swiss Hills Career Center is: 46601 State Route 78, Woodsfield 43793; GPS Coordinates: 39°45’08.9”N 80°58’41.8”W.
The Ohio Tree Farm Program was organized in 1946, bringing foresters and landowners together to apply the American Tree Farm System standards of sustainable forest management. The system includes 1,700 woodland owners across the state committed to caring for their land under a comprehensive plan developed by a professional forester. Landowners interested in the American Tree Farm System may visit ohiotreefarm.org.
The ODNR Division of Forestry works to promote the wise use and sustainable management of Ohio’s public and private woodlands. To learn more about Ohio’s woodlands, visit forestry.ohiodnr.gov.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
What teenagers need to know about cybersecurity
August 30, 2018
Everyone’s using technology – but they’re not all as safe as they could be.
Professor of Information Technology Management, University at Albany, State University of New York
Sanjay Goel is currently funding from National Science Foundation, Department of Commerce, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and Blackstone Foundation.
University at Albany, State University of New York provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation US.
Now that school is back in session, many high schoolers have new phones, new computers and new privileges for using their devices – and new responsibilities too. High schoolers today are more technology-savvy than average adults. While many people think that young people use their devices primarily for video games and social networking, the reality today is that high schoolers use technology for learning as much as for entertainment.
As the director for cybersecurity programs in the University at Albany’s School of Business, I regularly encounter high school students through the camps I run or as interns in my research lab. My first task is to describe the potential threats for them. I tell students that hackers and cybercriminals are constantly looking for vulnerable targets to attack and steal information from. Teenagers must keep their devices and information secure, behave appropriately on social media and shared devices, and respect others’ digital privacy on devices and online.
Here are some ways they can protect their own – and their friends’ – cybersecurity.
Passwords are the keys to your digital life. Make sure they are at least 10 characters long – including letters, numbers and symbols to make them harder to crack.
Don’t write passwords down. Consider using a secure password manager. Also use two-factor authentication – either a physical security key or an app delivering time-based one-time passwords, like Authy or Google Authenticator.
Don’t share passwords with friends. It’s the same as giving them the keys to your house or your car – plus the power to see everything you’ve done and even impersonate you online. For the same reasons, don’t save usernames and passwords on shared computers, and always log out when you’re finished using someone else’s device.
Another key way to protect your data is to back it up regularly to an external hard drive or a cloud storage system.
The best way to protect your smartphone is to know where it is at all times. Also, set a password on it and be sure it’s set up so you can remotely wipe it if you do lose it.
Be very careful when downloading apps. Often hackers will create apps that look a lot like a genuine popular app but are instead malware that will steal your personal information.
Disable Bluetooth on your devices unless you’re actively using a Bluetooth connection. Especially in public places, it opens your phone up to being hijacked and having your data stolen.
Avoid open public Wi-Fi networks. They can easily be penetrated by hackers – or even set up and operated by data thieves – who can watch the traffic and see what you do online. Consider using a virtual private network, which encrypts everything your device transmits.
Get a camera cover for the webcam on your computer; an attacker can break into your computer and remotely activate it, watching your every move.
Don’t open emails from people you don’t know – and check the sender’s email address by hovering the mouse over it, to make sure someone’s not trying to pretend to be someone you do know. Especially, don’t download email attachments you’re not expecting to receive.
Don’t click on any links you don’t recognize. If you must follow a link, copy and paste the link URL to make sure it’s going to a legitimate site.
Video games – on consoles, desktops and mobiles – are also potential security threats. Set strong passwords to protect your accounts from other gamers.
Only download games from legitimate sites, to make sure you don’t download malware.
Just as you would with other apps and devices, be wary of people impersonating others or trying to get you to click on misleading links or download malicious attachments.
Don’t share personal information on gaming sites, or use gamertags or other profile information that could connect your gaming persona with your real life. Frustrations in games can turn into personal conflicts – with the potential to be very scary and even dangerous.
Do your part to deescalate online conflict by not taking other gamers’ actions personally.
Social media safety
When you’re on social media, don’t befriend people you don’t actually know in real life.
To protect your privacy and to minimize the digital footprints future colleges and employers might find, don’t post – or let friends post – embarrassing pictures of yourself or any other questionable material.
Be aware of cyberbullies and online stalkers. Limit how much you reveal about your daily routines, habits or travels. And if you ever feel uncomfortable or threatened by someone online, immediately stop communicating with that person and alert a responsible adult, like a parent, teacher or school librarian.
How banks have set a trap for the U.S. Fed by creating money
August 28, 2018
The financial system is awash with money, which is why interest rates have been so low for so long.
Instructor of Business Management, University of Toronto
Hoa Trinh does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
University of Toronto provides funding as a founding partner of The Conversation CA.
The 10-year anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis is upon us.
A decade ago, former U.S. president George W. Bush signed into law the money-printing scheme called the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), aimed at purchasing toxic assets and equity from financial institutions to strengthen the country’s shell-shocked financial sector amid the sub-prime mortgage crisis.
How do banks, treasury departments and central banks create money anyway? And does it work to buoy economies teetering on the brink of collapse?
In the U.S., banks are required to set aside, depending on the total amount, up to 10 per cent of their deposits to be held at the Federal Reserve.
Here’s how the reserve system works. Let’s say you deposit $10,000 at Bank A. The bank sets aside $1,000 as reserve. It will loan out the remaining $9,000 and charge interest, enabling it to make interest payments to depositors and earn interest income. So Bank A becomes a financial intermediary between savers and borrowers, and money keeps getting created.
How? Because there are many banks in the financial system, and they are required to hold only a fraction (10 per cent) of their deposits. Loans end up deposited in other banks, which increases reserves, deposits — and the money supply.
In the U.S., the Treasury Department can sell IOU papers via the Fed to the open market in order to finance government deficits instead of raising taxes. The Fed itself, domestic and foreign banks and investors, and foreign governments will buy and pay for them with American dollars. When the government spends these dollars, they get channelled into the commercial banking system as deposits.
Big corporations and commercial banks can also sell their own bonds. Today, U.S. non-financial corporate bonds stand at $4.8 trillion. And so the system’s money multiplier gets even larger.
When the Fed buys financial assets from financial institutions, it pays for them by making bookkeeping entries into their reserve accounts. Banks can create up to $10 in new loans for every one dollar increase in the commercial banks’ reserves.
During the financial crisis of 2007-2008, the Fed engineered what’s called quantitative easing, or QE, by buying many billions of bad assets from endangered banks.
The banks’ damaged assets became safe because the Fed had bought them. And it also allowed banks to extend more credits to, supposedly, stimulate the economy.
This financial injection multiplied, and money flooded the system.
Here’s how and why.
Bank assets versus liabilities
Mortgage loans are bank assets because banks can call in the loans and the borrower must pay. Deposits, on the other hand, are bank liabilities because customers can withdraw their money at any time, so banks owe that money to them.
If people start defaulting on their mortgage payments and house prices plummet, it can create fears among depositors; they will rush to take their money out of the bank before it collapses and they lose their savings. So in 2008, the Fed stepped in to nip this fear in the bud to prevent a possible system-wide bank run leading to the collapse of banks.
Today, the cumulative balance of the Fed’s financial assets over a 10-year period from 2008 to 2018 has risen to $4.3 trillion from $872 billion, an increase of about 400 per cent. Money keeps multiplying.
Why? Recall that each time the Fed buys financial assets from banks, it pays for them by making bookkeeping entries to banks’ reserve accounts, and for every one dollar increase in their reserve accounts, banks can lend out up to $10.
Where has all the money gone?
The financial system is therefore awash with money. That’s why interest rates have been so low for so long. Interest rates, essentially, are the price of money. When the Fed makes it easy for banks to create money, banks must lower the price of money in order to move it into the hands of borrowers. Banks, after all, are in the business of making money by selling money.
And this does not even include Eurodollars. These are U.S. dollar-denominated deposits at foreign banks or at American bank branches abroad, the amounts of which are hard to estimate. And they are not subject to the Fed’s regulations on required reserves. The world is simply flooded with American dollars, with the Euro, the yen, the yuan and pound sterling all operating under similar QE policy.
Within the U.S. and major developed and developing economies, part of this flood of cheap money has created significant increases in the world’s selected real estate markets and in stock markets. By 2017, 16 of the 20 largest stock exchanges in the world have a market capitalization ranging from US$1.2 trillion to $19 trillion.
Key lesson: The Fed can create money, but it’s hard to predict where that money will go.
Why scant inflation?
Over the period of 2008 to 2018, the U.S. economy has not experienced noticeable inflation, despite the flood of money into the system. The broadest measure of inflation shows it’s increasing at about 1.55 per cent a year. America does not have a problem of too much money chasing too few goods, because there is plenty of money around for imports. That’s where trade deficits came from.
Meantime, while American after-tax corporate profits have grown at a compounded rate of 6.44 per cent per year, workers’ average hourly earnings before tax and before inflation is 2.29 per cent per year, which is practically zero in real terms.
The gigantic money-printing scheme, therefore, appears to have benefited banks, corporations and those who can afford to play in real estate markets, in stock markets and in the broader financial world. Broad-based personal consumption, however, remains unimpressive compared to pre-2008 periods.
The Fed is trapped
The Fed has increased its own federal funds rate over the past couple of years from zero to 1.91 per cent to spur rate hikes in the financial sector. This is the rate that short-term commercial interest rates are pegged to. And it has also started to sell off some of its assets back to the market. When it sells assets, the multiplier works in reverse, resulting in less money available and higher interest rates.
The rationale for this strategy is that the real economy seems to have picked up some momentum as unemployment rates are down and inflation is ticking up. The QE money that has been circulating on and on within the financial and real estate sectors may finally be going somewhere in real sectors.
But facing a total government debt of $21 trillion and climbing, the Fed is trapped — higher interest rates means bigger interest payments on government debt.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has projected that the government’s net interest costs alone will triple over the next 10 years, rising to be the third largest expenditure item after Social Security and Medicare.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax cuts may produce some short-term economic growth, but at the expense of even bigger budget deficits, rising to exceed $1 trillion annually by 2020. That’s two years ahead of CBO’s previous projection.
Ending easy money is not easy
While the Fed has pushed interest rates up, rates in the Eurozone and in Japan remain at or below zero, and QE is still ongoing there. More money will flow into the U.S. to earn higher rates. Adding to the ongoing trade wars, this global uncertainty will, paradoxically, result in higher demand for the dollar. The higher dollar will make American exports more expensive and reduce the effects of tariffs on imports.
A silver bullet has yet to be found to break through this vicious circle of debt, the dollar and trade deficit. But interest rates will have to rise to their normal level soon or pension funds will come under enormous stress to hit the eight per cent required returns in order to meet their obligations.
This is going to be a test case of the Fed’s independence.
Explainer: why the UN has found Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya
August 30, 2018
Medicins san Frontieres estimates that so far, over 13,000 Rohingya Muslims have died in the conflict.
Senior Lecturer in International & Community Development, Deakin University
Anthony Ware receives funding from GraceWorks Myanmar, and was also previously funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation’s Security, Society and the State special grants scheme. He is the former director of the Australia Myanmar Institute, and remains a board member.
Victoria State Government provides funding as a strategic partner of The Conversation AU.
Deakin University provides funding as a member of The Conversation AU.
The UN Human Rights Council released a new report last Monday, which calls last year’s violence against the Rohingya “genocide”.
Released almost exactly a year after the start of devastating violence that drove 671,500 Rohingya Muslims into Bangladesh within a matter of months, the report found conclusive evidence that Myanmar’s armed forces committed war crimes and crimes against humanity. Using the strongest language to date, the report calls for the Myanmar commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and five generals to be prosecuted.
What was the UN investigating?
The UN Human Rights Council formed a Rohingya investigating commission in March 2017, five months before the start of the violence that led to the mass flight of Rohingya refugees. The initial reason for the commission was a five-month military “area clearance operations” in Rohingya communities from October 2016 to February 2017, which resulted in widespread allegations of human rights abuses and war crimes.
The commission was set up to investigate alleged human rights violations by military, “with a view to ensuring full accountability for perpetrators and justice for victims.” The August 2017 violence occurred after the commission had already begun, but obviously gave it more to investigate.
The “area clearance operations” were triggered by attacks against security forces on October 9, 2016, by a new militant group called the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). What really spurred the military into action was that the same day as the attacks, the organisation uploaded a series of 11 videos calling for international funding and fighters to join their jihad to liberate northern Rakhine State for the Rohingya – links were quickly found between the leader and the Taliban.
Apparently fearing a situation similar to the ISIS-linked Marawi crisis in the Philippines, the Myanmar army launched massive operations. But this military action failed to root out ARSA, and they responded with a second, much larger attack on August 25, 2017.
The Myanmar government quickly labelled the coordinated attacks by ARSA on over 30 security posts on a single night as “terrorism”. In response, the military quickly launched even more brutal counter-terrorist operations.
Obviously, any government must respond to violence perpetrated against its security forces. But the UN commission has been investigating alleged human rights abuses by the Myanmar army against the Rohingya people as a whole, as they tried to contain the armed threat.
What is the state of the Rohingya crisis?
The onset of brutal military action in their communities led to mass panic by Rohingya communities. Over half the Rohingya in Myanmar were so terrified they abandoned everything and fled to Bangladesh. Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) quickly estimated that at least 6,700 Rohingya died in the military violence in the first month alone. Total Rohingya deaths were perhaps over 13,000 people.
By March 2018, the UNHCR counted 671,500 Rohingya who had fled Myanmar since August 25, 2017. Counting those who had fled earlier violence, the UNHCR was looking after 836,210 Rohingya refugees in camps in Bangladesh.
Given some remain outside the camps, the Bangladeshi authorities claim 1,092,136 Rohingya refugees are now sheltering in their country. Only about 500,000-600,000 Rohingya Muslims now remain in Myanmar, and their situation is very vulnerable.
With allegations of Rohingya links to terrorism, some elements are trying to isolate these Rohingya villages and drive them out. On the other hand, there are many others locals rebuilding relations with local Rohingya.
What did the report find?
The Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar released this week found conclusive evidence that the army and security forces had indeed engaged in mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya, with “genocidal intent”. It therefore recommended that the UN Security Council should refer the Myanmar commander-in-chief and five generals to the International Criminal Court in The Hague, or an ad hoc international criminal tribunal. The report also suggested that ARSA might be guilty of war crimes too, and should be held to account.
The report said that Nobel Peace Prize-laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her government “contributed” to the atrocities through “acts and omissions”. This is a serious critique, and the international community must continue to demand she and her government change policy direction on the Rohingya.
The report authors strongly criticised Suu Kyi in particular, for not using her moral or political authority to stem the hate speech or apparently attempt to limit the military response. However, the passive role described in this report does not leave her open to international prosecution.
How can the crisis be brought to an end?
With serious mass atrocity crimes now documented, it is now urgent that the power of the army be reined in. The Myanmar army must be brought under civilian, parliamentary oversight, and the key perpetrators be at very least removed from position. The military have clearly demonstrated that they need formal oversight, and that their current senior leadership are unfit for command.
Myanmar has long demonstrated its ability to be belligerent to the international community, and that it is prepared to isolate itself in the face of international criticism. If this occurs now, 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and up to 600,000 Rohingya in Myanmar remain in peril.
The perpetrators of mass crimes must be removed. But we must be careful that dogged pursuit of individuals for prosecution does not so undermine any hope of cooperation by the military and government, and thus further jeopardise the future and wellbeing of the Rohingya themselves.
Read more: ‘They shot my two daughters in front of me’: Rohingya tell heartbreaking stories of loss and forced migration
The repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar is urgent, before all chance of them returning to their own land is removed. But repatriation plans to date don’t sufficiently guarantee their security and human rights guarantees. The international community needs to push for this, and engage more strongly than ever with the Myanmar authorities in achieving this outcome.
Likewise, the international community must commit resources now to ensure the security and future of the 600,000 or so Rohingya remaining in Myanmar. Much work must be done on strengthening social cohesion, and facilitating the sort of social change that would prepare the local population for accepting all the refugees back too. Now is not the time for broad sanctions and isolation, but engagement for the sake of the Rohingya.