Thursday, October 20, 2011

1318


"The work, to be published in PloS One, revealed a core of 1318 companies with interlocking ownerships (see image). Each of the 1318 had ties to two or more other companies, and on average they were connected to 20. What's more, although they represented 20 per cent of global operating revenues, the 1318 appeared to collectively own through their shares the majority of the world's large blue chip and manufacturing firms - the "real" economy - representing a further 60 per cent of global revenues."

As tech becomes more powerful, the ability to merge entities like these into one monstrous "company" controlling all the world's business operations, to enhance profits of course, becomes easier just as turning dollars into bits using the same tech enabled the five Wall Street Banks to bankrupt the world with consummate ease. With this in mind, thinking how The Company could operate in it's own behalf,  here's a possibility devoutly to be missed. :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm in the Wrong Business


Just a short blurb on why I'm in the wrong business...

"But that’s the beauty of working at a major investment bank. Performance doesn’t matter nearly as much as just showing up. Goldman booked $13 billion in pre-tax profits in 2010—a steep drop from the $20 billion the bank booked in 2009. Despite a precipitous drop in profits between 2009 and 2010 and a stock stuck in neutral throughout the year, the Goldman board of directors raised Blankfein’s base salary to $2 million, up from $600,000, and showered an extra  $13 million in stock grants on Blankfein and his executive team.


Not bad for the executives of a bank forced to pay a $550 million fine after being accused by the SEC of duping its clients by selling them shares of a mortgage-backed security they allowed a hedge firm to secretly hand-pick. Still, this is hardly like the fat and happy subprime-mortgage days, when Goldman was buying toxic subprime mortgages and selling them to unsuspecting clients. In 2007, the year before the economic collapse, Blankfein made $68 million in stock and bonus money."


Dilbert.com

Monday, October 17, 2011

Dracula Could Only Wish


Without doubt, this terrific 1912 cartoon shows, in great detail, exactly how the Fed operates in manipulating our money even though this gem was drawn one year before the "great" Woodrow Wilson signed into law the Federal Reserve Act, (the updated version of the Aldrich Plan) thus creating the private non profit we all know and love as the Federal Reserve Bank, the "guardian" of the dwindling financial wealth of this once great nation.


In 1910, Senator Nelson Aldrich of Rhode Island was the political operative who colluded with the Wall Street bankers in secrecy at Jekyll Island to bring the vampire to life.




To me, the words elastic currency, in addition to fractional reserve banking, have become the twin pillars of profit for the banks (prior to turning dollars into bits) as the notion of an elastic currency gives easy entry to creating inflation through creative use of the money supply, something so simple to achieve yet is kept so hidden from public scrutiny to the point that we, the great unwashed, accept inflation as something "beyond" our control even though, in reality, it is anything but.



Within 48 hours...


Seems morphology works somewhat akin to 3D stereolithographic printers in the sense embryos are built layer by layer governed by exquisite timed expression  of Hox genes to give proper shape to any organism whether it be a fruit fly or whale as size or type of animal, in this case, does not matter.

"Why don’t our arms grow from the middle of our bodies? The question isn’t as trivial as it appears. Vertebrae, limbs, ribs, tailbone ... in only two days, all these elements take their place in the embryo, in the right spot and with the precision of a Swiss watch. Intrigued by the extraordinary reliability of this mechanism, biologists have long wondered how it works. Now, researchers at EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) and the University of Geneva (Unige) have solved the mystery. Their discovery will be published October 13, 2011 in the journal Science. 


The embryo is built one layer at a time 
During the development of an embryo, everything happens at a specific moment. In about 48 hours, it will grow from the top to the bottom, one slice at a time – scientists call this the embryo’s segmentation. “We’re made up of thirty-odd horizontal slices,” explains Denis Duboule, a professor at EPFL and Unige. “These slices correspond more or less to the number of vertebrae we have.” 

"Stereolithography is an additive manufacturing process using a vat of liquid UV-curable photopolymer "resin" and a UV laser to build parts a layer at a time. On each layer, the laser beam traces a part cross-section pattern on the surface of the liquid resin. Exposure to the UV laser light cures, solidifies the pattern traced on the resin and adheres it to the layer below."

Kevin Kelly was right, the more powerful the tech, the more biological it becomes.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Can't Help Myself...

Dilbert.com

Kinda sums up Washington, the endless Presidential campaign & the banks trying to show us yahoos that they are the competent ones with all the answers needed to make our lives "wonderful". :)

"Strange as it ever was." - Talking Heads

Thursday, October 06, 2011

On Reaching 800 With Sadness


I was hoping the 800th BRT article would be a happy occasion relating some aspect of tech to society in ways you, my faithful readers, would find interesting but sadly, it will not happen because of the death of Steve Jobs, one of the true giants of our age. I won't get into the achievements of this extraordinary man, others can do that for me, but a quote from a 2005 commencement speech he gave at Stamford says it all.


Growing up in the 60's, Stewart Brand's singular statement, Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish in his Whole Earth Catalog. became part of my mantra as designer, web developer and writer. I am proud to say it was Steve's as well.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall


Oh, where have you been, my blue-eyed son?
Oh, where have you been, my darling young one?
I’ve stumbled on the side of twelve misty mountains
I’ve walked and I’ve crawled on six crooked highways
I’ve stepped in the middle of seven sad forests
I’ve been out in front of a dozen dead oceans
I’ve been ten thousand miles in the mouth of a graveyard
And it’s a hard, and it’s a hard, it’s a hard, and it’s a hard
And it’s a hard rain’s a-gonna fall 


To me, the rolling thunder of Dylan's  A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall describes what is happening to society as we move from the old way of doing things to the new, where transitioning will be a truly wrenching experience, something I feel every civilization at our stage of development in the multiverse experiences with some succumbing to the rigors of change while others survive and become wiser for the passage. It's the old saw of the student asking the Zen master this question...

Master: Chop wood, carry water, that's what one does in the journey through life.
Student: What happens after enlightment?
Master: Chop wood, carry water.



I use these examples as gateway to Robert Reich's excellent article titled Another Bailout of Wall Street?

"The Street's total exposure to the euro zone totals about $2.7 trillion. Its exposure to to France and Germany accounts for nearly half the total.


And it's not just Wall Street's loans to German and French banks that are worrisome. Wall Street has also insured or bet on all sorts of derivatives emanating from Europe - on energy, currency, interest rates, and foreign exchange swaps. If a German or French bank goes down, the ripple effects are incalculable.


Get it? Follow the money: If Greece goes down, investors start fleeing Ireland, Spain, Italy, and Portugal as well. All of this sends big French and German banks reeling. If one of these banks collapses, or show signs of major strain, Wall Street is in big trouble. Possibly even bigger trouble than it was in after Lehman Brothers went down.


Make no mistake. Lurking here is another giant bailout of the Street. The United States wants Europe to bail out its deeply indebted nations so European banks don't implode. And they don't want European banks to implode because they don't want the Street to crash again like it did three years ago."

Musical Chairs, musical chairs, the guardians of the old way of doing things keep circling the chairs but sooner or later, the music stops and A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

The Lord Giveth, The Lord Taketh Away


"This section of Montana forest is under attack by mountain pine beetles. Red trees died recently, and gray ones probably died several years ago. The warming climate of the West encourages the growth of beetles. It also causes mountain snowpack to melt earlier in most years, creating summertime water stress for trees that makes them more vulnerable to beetle attack."

Regarding climate change and CO2, the unforeseen consequences these entities have in terms of planet earth is perplexing to say the least. On the giveth side, CO2 can be a "good" thing.

"One major reason is that forests, like other types of plants, appear to be responding to the rise of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by growing more vigorously. The gas is, after all, the main food supply for plants. Scientists have been surprised in recent years to learn that this factor is causing a growth spurt even in mature forests, a finding that overturned decades of ecological dogma.


Climate-change contrarians tend to focus on this “fertilization effect,” hailing it as a boon for forests and the food supply. “The ongoing rise of the air’s CO2 content is causing a great greening of the Earth,” one advocate of this position, Craig D. Idso, said at a contrarian meeting in Washington in July."

On the taketh,

"In the 1990s, many of the white spruce trees of Alaska’s Kenai Peninsula were wiped out by beetles. For more than a decade, other beetle varieties have been destroying trees across millions of acres of western North America. Red-hued mountainsides have become a familiar sight in a half-dozen states, including Montana and Colorado, as well as British Columbia in Canada.


Researchers refer to events like these as forest die-offs, and they have begun to document what appears to be a rising pattern of them around the world. Only some have been directly linked to global warming by scientific studies; many have yet to be analyzed in detail. Yet it is clear that hotter weather, of the sort that science has long predicted as a consequence of human activity, is playing a large role.


Many scientists had hoped that serious forest damage would not set in before the middle of the 21st century, and that people would have time to get emissions of heat-trapping gases under control before then. Some of them have been shocked in recent years by what they are seeing.


“The amount of area burning now in Siberia is just startling — individual years with 30 million acres burned,” Dr. Swetnam said, describing an area the size of Pennsylvania. “The big fires that are occurring in the American Southwest are extraordinary in terms of their severity, on time scales of thousands of years. If we were to continue at this rate through the century, you’re looking at the loss of at least half the forest landscape of the Southwest.”

To this writer, the taketh appears to win out, especially when looking at Canada's disappearing ice shelf.


"Recent (ice shelf) loss has been very rapid, and goes hand-in-hand with the rapid sea ice decline we have seen in this decade and the increasing warmth and extensive melt in the Arctic regions," said Ted Scambos, lead scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado, remarking on the research."

As stated before in BRT, the albedo effect of reflective ice turning into absorptive water is ominous to say the least.

Click on the NYTimes graphic to see an interactive view of the world's forests to see why, IMHO, the taketh part of the equation rules.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

Limitless Space


Had to add the terrific Truthout/ACLU info-graphic detailing the various surveillance entities that keep tabs on us rubes since 9/11. The sheer magnitude of same defies description. What's even more disquieting is the fact "Many of these databases are exempt from the Privacy Act." 

Seems Obama or should I say, Bush II Lite marches on regarding the slow motion death of our civil liberties, doesn't it?

"Meet the Old Boss, Same as the New Boss." - The Who