Welcome, 77 artists, 40 different points of Attica welcomes you by singing Erotokritos an epic romance written at 1713 by Vitsentzos Kornaros

Friday, September 19, 2014

The Greek Holidays with a Fuji X100s By Joao Marques

The Greek Holidays with a Fuji X100s. By Joao Marques. My name is João Marques i`m an amateur photographer living in Lisbon and i would like to ...


Elliniko investors eye Cyprus project warily

The investing group that has undertaken the development of the old Athens airport plot at Elliniko is expressing concern that as well as having to contend with the Greek state agencies, whose notorious red tape was to be expected anyway, its project on th... ...


Auctions lead to surprise stock growth

While Greek stocks contracted on a weekly basis, Friday’s closing auctions provided a happy ending, pushing the benchmark to it’s biggest daily rise in four months, while trading volume soared. Friday’s September triple witching, the rebalancing of portfo... ...


Hardouvelis: Greece Will Take Emergency Loans to Exit Bailout

Greek Finance Minister Gikas Hardouvelis talked to Bloomberg TV’s Guy Johnson on Friday and stated that Greece is likely to resort to emergency loans in 2015 and 2016 in order to exit from the terms of its bailout. “The IMF doesn’t want to lend alone; the Europeans feel itchy about the IMF lending and them staying out,” Hardouvelis told Bloomberg. “All possibilities are up for grabs,” he added. Although Greece’s bailout program expires this year, the IMF is expected to continue disbursing funds until the first quarter of 2016. Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is agitating to end the 240-billion-euro bailout, which came with austerity measures that fueled a political backlash and a recession that damaged the economy. In his interview, Hardouvelis eliminated a writedown on the Greek debt‘s nominal value. “About 70% of the Greek debt is held either by the ECB or the other countries, so you can’t write it down,” he stated. “You can extend the maturities, you can fix part of the variable rate of debt, but writing it down, that would have to go through various parliaments,” he added, claiming that no country would accept it. Commenting on the possibility of early elections, Hardouvelis noted that there is no such case, as the Greek citizens don’t want snap elections. “Investors think long term and they see no downside risk to Greece. The presidential elections are a minor nuisance,” the Greek Minister told Bloomberg.


Activists battle animal cruelty in Greece

Last month, a restaurant owner in Nea Styra, a coastal town on the eastern Greek island of Evia, used food to lure a puppy named Magi to his side. Then he beat the puppy to death. The incident was far from unique in this land that considers itself ...


Outstanding Debts to Greek State Exceed 69 Billion Euros

Outstanding debts to the Greek state hit a record high, reaching 69.24 billion euros in August, compared to 68 billion euros in July 2014. The amount of debts to the state is still huge, although 2.8 million citizens paid owed taxes in August, much more than in previous months. It appears that debtors in Greece used their vacation allowance to repay their debts to the Tax Service instead of going on vacation, as the Greek state collected 1.6 billion euros in August, compared to 1.2 in July. Greek taxpayers paid 1.1 billion euros in June, 1.2 billion in May and 1.1 billion in April.  Within 4 months, the debt rate repayment increased by almost 50% but outstanding debts increased by 7 billion euros (62,3 billion euros in April). Austerity measures, cuts in wages and pensions as well as increased taxes, are making Greek citizens unable to pay their debts.


How The Microsoft Engine That Nailed The World Cup Is Using Your Facebook Status To Predict NFL Games

After correctly predicting 15 of 16 World Cup knockout stage games, Microsoft's virtual assistant Cortana is taking on the mother of all American sports, the NFL, and it's doing it with the help of Facebook and Twitter data. Cortana's NFL predictions come from a model developed by the company's Bing Predicts team. When you search the term "NFL predictions" or search for a specific game on Bing, the results contain the Bing Predicts prediction with the team's percentage chance of winning. Windows phone users can ask Cortana who will win this weekend's Seahawks-Broncos game, for example, and it will tell them. Here's what the predictions look like on the web: The Bing Predicts NFL model, which a small group of computer scientists at Microsoft came up with, includes all the traditional variables that you'd expect it to include. Determinative factors like past results, home/road effect, turf/grass effect, weather, strength of schedule, and advanced offensive and defensive statistics are all in there. But Bing Predicts includes a variable that other systems don't — public sentiment. "It takes into account the wisdom of the crowd," is how Microsoft director of consumer communications Craig Beilinson described it. Because of exclusive partnerships with Facebook and Twitter, Bing has access to a mountain of social data that they can use to determine the public perception of teams and games. By analyzing aggregate Facebook status updates and tweets, the model can quantify the public sentiment for or against a given team and factor that into its prediction. The idea is to catch things that the stats can't see — like injuries or inner turmoil. Advanced statistical models are often held up as the antidote to public perception. These models are meant to be purely empirical, immune from human subjectivity. The Bing model is different. It sees the wisdom of crowds as a legitimate indicator. It sees public sentiment as the expression of unseen variables that ought to be incorporated in the model next to traditional indicators like rushing stats. As we saw in Week 2, this can be dangerous. The Baltimore Ravens played the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night Football only days after cutting Ray Rice in chaotic fashion that week. While Microsoft wouldn't tell us how heavily public sentiment is weighted in the model's "secret sauce," anecdotal evidence suggests it affected the prediction. Bing Predicts had the Steelers as a relatively significant 59.8% favorite. That prediction deviated from most other models. Las Vegas had the Ravens as a slight favorite, and Nate Silver's ELO model had the Ravens as a 54% favorite. Baltimore won 26-6. Bing Predicts was wrong. Overall, though, things are off to a decent start. Cortana is 19-13 on the young season. Silver's model is 19-13 as well. Vegas favorites are 17-15. Time will tell if Cortana can duplicate its World Cup success. Bing Predicts started as an experiment to see if Microsoft could predict the results of shows like "American Idol" and "The Voice" based on what people were talking about and searching for online. After some success in the reality TV realm, Bing moved into trickier, more saturated predictive territory — sports. It found success there too. It correctly predicted all but one World Cup knockout stage game. It picked Germany to beat Brazil in the semifinal when every other statistical model had Brazil as the favorite. It nailed apparent toss-up games like Costa Rica-Greece and Uruguay-Colombia. Its only blemish was the third-place consolation game between Brazil and the Netherlands — which the underdog Netherlands won. That success raised eyebrows. It's one thing to look at social data and figure out which "American Idol" singer the public likes, it's another to correctly predict a sporting event. Microsoft still views Bing Predicts as something of an experiment. The company breaks down predictions into three categories: open votes ("American Idol"), limited votes (the Academy Awards), and things that happen (sports). The third category is the hardest to get right. Whereas Facebook statuses and tweets about "American Idol" has a relationship to the actual outcome of the show, public sentiment in sports isn't actionable. The team is updating its model every week to try and get more accurate predictions, which we'll be tracking week-by-week.SEE ALSO: NFL Power Rankings, Where Every Team Stands Going Into Week 3 Join the conversation about this story »