Washington, D.C. – NASA says the number of illegal gold mines in the Amazon is increasing so fast that activists have turned to satellite imagery to identify them. Still, with thousands of new mines a year, the work was overwhelming scientists at Earthrise Alliance – they needed more hands on deck. That’s how ninth graders in Weston, Massachusetts, began locating illegal mining activity in Brazil’s protected Yanomami territory.
Earthrise is one of numerous organizations getting Earth-observation images, data, and analysis – much of which NASA makes available for free – into the hands of people working on sustainability projects.
Written by Lina Tran
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s continued quest to explore our solar system and beyond received a boost of new information this week with three key missions proving not only that they are up and running, but that their science potential is exceptional.
On September 17th, 2018, TESS — the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite — shared its first science observations. Later in the week, the latest two missions to join NASA’s heliophysics fleet returned first light data: Parker Solar Probe, humanity’s first mission to “touch” the Sun, and GOLD, a mission that studies the dynamic boundary between Earth and space.
Clarksville, TN – Next week, a number of important economic data reports will arrive, but the focus is expected to be on the May employment figures. Recent labor market data suggest that the tight job market has grown tighter still.
Over the next several months, the pace of job growth is expected to be restrained by a lack of qualified workers. The unemployment rate is likely to remain low (it was 3.9% in April).
Clarksville, TN – Next week, the ISM surveys have some market-moving potential and we should receive anecdotal information on the strength of holiday sales, but the focus is expected to be on the employment figures.
Seasonal adjustment is a bit quirky in December and can easily magnify the normal statistical noise in the job market figures (as a reminder, the monthly change in nonfarm payrolls is reported accurate to ±120,000 and the unemployment rate is reported accurate to ±0.2%). Market participants are likely to focus on average hourly earnings, which can be noisy.
Clarksville, TN – As expected, the Fed raised short-term interest rates for the third time in 2017 (market participants were more focused on the progress of tax legislation).
The dots in the dot plot did not shift much from where they were in September and were all over the place for the end of 2018 and 2019 – meaning that there is no clear consensus on the pace of policy action (and bear in mind that personnel changes mean that many of these dots will be replaced in 2018).
Written by Kimberly Minafra
Mountain View, CA – Planetary collisions are at the core of our solar system’s formation. Scientists have long believed that after the Moon’s formation, the early Earth experienced a long period of bombardment that diminished about 3.8 billion years ago.
During this period, called “late accretion,” collisions with moon-sized planetary bodies, known as planetesimals, embedded extensive amounts of metal and rock-forming minerals into the Earth’s mantle and crust. It is estimated that approximately 0.5 percent of Earth’s present mass was delivered during this stage of planetary evolution.
Clarksville, TN – Next week, the economic calendar picks back up and the Senate returns to work on its version of a tax-cut bill.
However, the focus is expected to be on Jay Powell’s Fed chair nomination hearing. Powell is unlikely to speak about the near-term policy outlook (what the Fed will do in December), but lawmakers will ask about his broader approach to monetary policy and banking regulation (expect vigorous questioning from Senator Warren, but he should eventually receive approval in a full Senate vote).
Clarksville, TN – Next week, the economic calendar picks up, with the important figures (nonfarm payrolls, ISM manufacturing) arriving as market participants get set for the three-day weekend. Consumer confidence figures will cover the first half of the month and are therefore unlikely to reflect much of an impact from Charlottesville.
Second quarter GDP growth is likely to be revised higher in the 2nd estimate (a 2.6% pace in the advance estimate).
Clarksville, TN – The May Employment Report was generally disappointing. Nonfarm payrolls rose by 138,000 (median forecast: +185,000), while figures for March and April were revised a net 66,000 lower.
Retail payrolls fell for the fourth consecutive month (down more than 80,000 since January, which is more than the total number of coal miners). The unemployment rate dipped to 4.3%, a 16-year low, partly reflecting a sharp drop in the rate for young adults (which could reflect a seasonal adjustment issue, although the trend is clearly lower).
Clarksville, TN – The economic data calendar was thin. December trade figures were roughly in line with expectations. The University of Michigan Consumer Sentiment Index fell in the mid-February estimate.
Stock market investors were encouraged by the prospect for tax cuts following comments by U.S. President Donald Trump. In contrast, the bond market, recognizing that the process for cutting taxes will be contentious and lengthy, is less fearful of a large boost to the federal budget deficit (hence, bond yields have backed down over the past month).
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