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Patent
FX Inc | Date: 2013-06-05

A non-toxic, non-static, environmentally benign artificial snow product is made by extruding a mixture of starch, polyvinyl alcohol, hydrogenated soy flakes and talc to form an extruded starch product and processing the extruded starch product into snow flake like fragments. The snow flake like fragments may be sorted by size. Colorant may be added to yield artificial snow flakes in various festive colors.


News Article | August 13, 2015
Site: www.bloomberg.com

Global growth projections are holding up against China’s surprise move to change its exchange-rate regime as economists remain confident a slowdown there won’t be severe enough to derail the world economy. Forecasters see the global economy gaining 3.1 percent in 2015, unchanged from their consensus view a month earlier, a Bloomberg survey of economists Aug. 7-12 showed. Respondents predict growth will accelerate to 3.5 percent next year, compared with 3.6 percent in the prior survey, according to the median estimate. The People’s Bank of China moved to weaken the nation’s currency Tuesday, touching off the yuan’s steepest two-day drop since 1994. While the Chinese action stirred speculation that the nation’s growth momentum may be slowing more than expected, most economists said the global fallout from the devaluation will be minimal. “I don’t think we should see the devaluation as a bad thing for the global economy and global growth,” Robert Minikin, head of Asia foreign-exchange strategy at Standard Chartered Bank in London, said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “To the extent that it’s an orderly, contained adjustment, and that actually brings us toward a more reasonable set of FX rates, it could actually be a healthy development.” China’s central bank cut the currency’s reference rate by 1.9 percent on Aug. 11 and has lowered it further since. Under the PBOC’s new system to set the daily fixing, market makers who submit contributing prices must consider the previous day’s close, foreign-exchange demand and supply, as well as changes in major currency rates. The PBOC said in a press conference Thursday that there’s no basis for depreciation to persist and policy makers will step in to control large fluctuations. Two motivations could have prompted China’s decision, said Zheng Liu, a senior research adviser at the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The move might be part of the nation’s push to make the currency more freely floating in order to meet the criteria to become a member of the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights basket of reserve currencies. “It’s more likely that in China, the government realizes that the slowdown is worse than they thought, so they’re trying to stimulate the economy,” he said in an interview on Wednesday. Chinese growth that’s weaker than expected could drive commodity prices and global inflation lower, he said. China’s move came against a backdrop of lackluster economic data: The International Monetary Fund projected in July that the country’s economy will expand 6.8 percent this year, down from 7.4 percent growth in 2014. Reports in recent days have showed a pullback in Chinese industrial production and a slump in exports. The yuan changes were probably partly “a panicked decision by some politicians in China” in response to the nation’s economic slowdown, Adam Posen, president of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington, said in an interview on Tuesday. “It also raises the prospect that their panic is based on them knowing something bad that we don’t know yet -- we being people outside the government.” The yuan weakening will create winners and losers, Minikin said. A cheaper yuan could cost trading partners in Asia, whose goods become less competitive when their currencies become more expensive against China’s. That effect could be offset if China’s move boosts its export performance, causing positive reverberations throughout the supply chain. “If you do get a further depreciation in the currency and that helps the Chinese economy, that could be very positive for global growth,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, a U.S. rates strategist at TD Securities in New York. In the U.S., economic spillover from the devaluation will probably be limited, economists said. Trade flows with China “seem to have little sensitivity” to the yuan’s value, for instance, economists including Tom Porcelli at RBC Capital Markets LLC in New York wrote in an Aug. 11 research note. “We simply do not see a path at present that will yield a wildly different economic backdrop in the U.S.,” they wrote. For Fed policy makers weighing when to raise interest rates, how markets respond to China’s move could prove more important than speculation about how it will effect growth, Goldberg said. Seventy-seven percent of respondents surveyed by Bloomberg expected the Fed to begin raising rates in September, while 11 percent projected a December increase. In July, 76 percent of economists expected September. While the Chinese move could “conceivably mean the difference between a September and December hike, or a December and a March hike,” domestic economic developments are more important to the Fed, said John Greenwood, chief economist at Invesco Ltd. in London. New York Fed President William C. Dudley said Wednesday in Rochester, New York, that if China’s economy has proved weaker than authorities had anticipated, “it’s probably not inappropriate for the currency to adjust in consequence to that weakness.” Financial markets are attuned to what’s happening because it “has implications much broader than China, it has implications for the global economy,” Dudley said. “I’ll be watching very closely what happens there.”


Despite the continued popularity of South Park and The Simpsons, adult-oriented cartoons still seem to miss more often than the hit. That can’t be said about Archer though, as the FX (soon to be FXX) series is currently heading into its seventh season with no signs of slowing. In order to complement the show, FXX is adding a second cartoon to its schedule from Archer creator Adam Reed and Community writer Megan Ganz. Called Cassius and Clay, the new show takes place in a post-apocalyptic Deep South, starring It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Kaitlin Olsen as Cassius and Childrens Hospital’s Lake Bell as Clay. “Tearing through the Smoky Mountains, Cassius and Clay don’t just survive the end of the world – they thrive on it with a pack of misfits who persevere against all odds in this Southern-fried apocalypse,” said co-president of FX Networks programming Nick Grad. “Our thanks to Adam and Megan for creating this hilarious and twisted tale and to Kaitlin, Lake, Susan and the rest of the voice cast for bringing these characters to life in all their damaged glory.” Joining Olsen and Bell in the cast will be a few familiar faces such as Susan Sarandon, JB Smoove, Jeffery Tambor and Katy Mixon, whose voice you’ll probably recognize from Eastbound and Down. The first season of Cassius and Clay will consist of 10 episodes, with the show set to debut in 2016 alongside Archer’s seventh season.


News Article | August 31, 2015
Site: www.techradar.com

The Walking Dead is a global phenomenon. It's currently the most watched show on cable TV, sending comic books sales of the source material through the roof and establishing its own spin off series less than five years after starting out. One of the key elements behind the show's success has to be the incredible attention to detail that goes into making-up the show's stars. Forget Rick Grimes, it's all about those walkers. Whether it's bicycle girl from the pilot episode, the well walker from Hershel's farm or Michonne's pets – everyone has their favourite walker. And the likelihood is Greg Nicotero had something to do with your favourite mound of rotting flesh. He's co-executive producer, special FX make-up designer and sometimes director on the series and is now producer on the new spin off series Fear The Walking Dead. With special effects credits ranging from Scream to Kill Bill, Day of the Dead to Deadwood, Inglorious Basterds to Breaking Bad – you name it, Nicotero has had something to do with it. We spoke with the effects mastermind before the premiere of Fear The Walking Dead to discuss the new series, its effect on the main show, and what he and his mate Quentin Tarantino have got up to in the meantime. It does. When we first started out on the original series we were about six to eight weeks into the zombie apocalypse so we were able to play up more decomposition. Here one of the things Dave Erickson and Robert Kirkman were very specific about was we wanted to make sure you had to look twice at some of these infected people to tell they had something wrong with them. That was kind of fun. It means we're not getting into a bunch of rotting flesh but we are taking advantage of the opportunity to see people struggle with the zombies and the exact result of stab wounds, gun shot wounds and things like that. The damage to the infected is much more immediate. In the first three episodes there are all examples of what I'm talking about. In episode one, the first walker we see, she turns around and there's a knife sticking out of her chest. That was something I pitched to Dave as it'd help sell this. Nick is having this hallucination but we were implying violence in and amongst what has happened in this moment. She was clearly attacking someone who'd stabbed her but they'd died in the attack so the knife stayed embedded in her chest. It's all those little nuances that help tell the story. It's something that's very important to me in any character or make up effect that I design – it has to tell part of the story. The nice thing is in episode two and episode three we have similar instances where the effect is not just done for the sake of a cool gag or gore. But it's done in service of the story. It goes to show and educate our characters what the world is now about. For sure. The amount of detail that you're able to see in digital versus film is exponential. The blend edges on the pores, the colouration of the make-up and prosthetics, all of that has to be much more precise. Even going from the pore texture on our performers compared to the pore texture on the prosthetics. You really see everything in 4K, the colours are much more vibrant. One of the reasons that we initially chose film for The Walking Dead was because we felt it gave a much more classic horror kind of feel. The grain of the film works to the benefit of what we wanted to tell. In Fear The Walking Dead we wanted a much crisper, cleaner look in that instance. There have been times when we've had to be cautious. When you're filming a close up of an infected person, they have contact lenses in and you have to be careful you're not seeing where they end. So we did a lot of different make up tests during our prep and photographed them. We looked at the colours of the blood and the way the make-up reacts to different lighting scenarios. These are all things that we still test when shooting on film but we had to learn our ground rules a little differently on the new series. For visual effects, shooting digitally helps and actually saves money as you don't have to digitise a negative. You can just use digital information to begin doing your CGI work. In that instance it gives us big savings in terms of money and time.


News Article | September 1, 2015
Site: www.techinasia.com

Flipkart, India’s largest e-commerce store, today reportedly bought a majority stake worth US$6.5 million in payment services platform FX Mart. The deal will also place two Flipkart senior executives at FX Mart. Payments have been a pain point in Flipkart’s past. PayZippy, its first attempt at an independent payment gateway service, was forced to operate on a mechanism called “closed wallet”. This meant that customers were only allowed to spend their wallet money on products sold by Flipkart. It was shut down in August 2014. At the time, the “closed wallet” was the only option available for sites that wanted to provide payment services. In the past year, however, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has loosened its strict regulations to accommodate different payment structures. They have now distinguished three kinds of e-wallets: closed, semi-closed and open. Closed wallets restrict customers to purchases on a single website and do not require RBI approval. Semi-closed wallets can be used internally and at specified merchant sites. FX Mart operates as a semi closed wallet. For Flipkart, this means that customers can now use the wallet to buy from third-party sellers, native site sellers and recently acquired fashion portal Myntra. Open wallets can only be issued by banks and are generally used for single-click checkouts on partner merchants’ websites. A recent example of an open wallet company is mobile recharge site MobiKwik. When customers are redirected to payment on partnered websites, MobiKwik is offered as a payment solution along with other debit cards and credit cards. Unlike closed or semi-closed wallets, open wallets allow cash withdrawals at ATMs. A recent surge in RBI wallet approval has propelled the creation of a number of competitive epayment services across India. The recent Flipkart-FX Mart partnership is reminiscent of the relationship between Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba and Alipay, a third party payment platform. Launched in 2004 by Alibaba CEO Jack Ma, Alipay has over 350 million registered users in China and controls just under half of its online payment market. In 2014, 78.3 percent of Alibaba’s transactions happened through Alipay. This is three times the volume of eBay’s PayPal. Although Alipay is not directly owned by Alibaba, it is operated by Ant Financial, a financial subsidiary that was spun off of the Alibaba Group. Coincidentally, Ant Financial recently bought a 25 percent stake in India’s leading payment platform, PayTM. In the past two years, PayTM launched its semi-closed wallet and an app for sellers. This places it in direct competition with ecommerce stores like Flipkart and Amazon. Both India and China have low numbers of credit and debit card penetration. While Chinese customers have embraced online payments with open arms, India remains with the burden of the logistical nightmare that otherwise comes with cash payments. Currently, about 50 percent of Flipkart’s customers pay by COD, or cash on delivery. For Alipay, Alibaba transactions only make up a third of its profits. It is used to pay for several other things, including ticket bookings, restaurant meals and taxi rides. FX Mart, it seems, hopes to take the same route. Its nature as a semi-closed wallet will allow it to function across merchant sites like PayTM while still allowing it to take advantage of Flipkart’s massive existing market of customers.

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