Tuesday, May 24, 2011

How Cool Is This?

When one sees tech as cool as this, shock and awe comes to mind when considering how this bot moves on walls and ceilings without touching anything.

Seen below is a picture of Daniel Bournoulli, the brilliant mathematician who developed the principle theory of fluid dynamics used by virtually every hard drive on every computer in the world. Not bad for one born in 1700 if you ask me.


For a long time, 9/11 has never been discussed in BRT until now. Most intelligent people have questions about this horrific event that have never been properly addressed in the official findings, particularly regarding Building No. 7 or the likelihood of anyone being able to surreptitiously plant explosives without being discovered, a notion not discussed in the 9/11 commission report. Washington's Blog, a highly respected site, covers the latter with persuasion and proof that ruthless pros could have done the planting without question and yours truly totally agrees.

I, like so many others, question the official commission's report, including scholars, pilots, firemen and architects, professionals who have far greater knowledge about 9/11 and the tech involved in the attacks than I. To view their findings, go to the links located on this site to learn what experts in these fields have to say. Needless to say, you will be amazed with their commentary as was I.

As additional proof regarding the planting of explosives here's a 2009 article, courtesy of WB and Raw Story.

Investigators smuggle live bomb components into federal building 

Addendum: WB just added a post regarding jet fuel and WTC steel. A most interesting read to be sure. 

They're Everywhere

For years, researchers despaired in hopes of ever finding exoplanets. With persistence and sophisticated tech, the search started bearing fruit with over 200 discovered but this was just the beginning. Within four months, NASA's Kepler spacecraft...  found evidence for more than 1,200 planetary candidates.

"NASA's Kepler spacecraft has discovered 170 planetary systems containing between two and six transiting planets. The above image - ed shows all the multiple-planet systems discovered by Kepler as of 2/2/2011; orbits go through the entire mission (3.5 years). Hot colors to cool colors (red to yellow to green to cyan to blue to gray) are big planets to smaller planets, relative to the other planets in the system. Credit: Daniel Fabrycky"

As tech advances, the search for planets like ours will become a fate accompli. I wonder how the End of the World believers will deal with that little tidbit. Only time will tell. :)

10/21/2011 - End of the world date rescheduled due to the fact ...

"Camping, the 89-year-old East Bay preacher who gained international fame with his prediction that the rapture would come at 6 p.m. Saturday, said that he misinterpreted the Bible and that May 21 was not really the end of the world but the spiritual beginning of the physical end. 

"Were not changing a date at all; we're just learning that we have to be a little more spiritual about this," he said in a rambling 90-minute radio broadcast that was part sermon, part press conference. "But on Oct. 21, the world will be destroyed. It won't be five months of destruction. It will come at once."

Any "more" questions?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The One Exception

Several times in BRT, this phrase has been posited, One cannot predict the future because:

1. The Law of Initial Conditions
2. Chaos and it's connect to No. 1,  &
3. Quantum Mechanics indeterminacy

forbid it. In every instance, these three "laws" as it were, makes de-facto prediction of the future impossible save for intelligent guesstimating but Paddy Chayefsky's Network may be the one great exception to the rule seeing just how prescient this great screenwriter was in creating the script for one, IMHO, of the greatest films in history.

"Mr. Sorkin, however, spoke for “Network” fans who respond to it as a devastating media-industry critique — one whose author never saw television devolve into a vast wasteland of reality programming and political partisanship, but who after 35 years is still shouting just as loudly about the dangers of crass, pandering content.

“If you put it in your DVD player today you’ll feel like it was written last week,” Mr. Sorkin said. “The commoditization of the news and the devaluing of truth are just a part of our way of life now. You wish Chayefsky could come back to life long enough to write ‘The Internet.’ ”

To me, this Network quote kind of says it all regarding the media miasma we find ourselves in.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Prepping for THE RAPTURE

Some funny bits prior to THE END OF THE WORLD!!!

"With the Rapture due very soon, people are facing some tough end-of-life-as-we-know-it questions, like what should I wear, do I get to sleep in, can I go off my diet, do I have to pay my parking tickets and what if the weather's crappy, like it has been for weeks now? But enterprising heathens are working hard to soothe our fears."

Any questions. :)

An Unsung Hero

An unsung hero of the computer age recently died. Dr. Jack Wolf, a seminal thinker in the area of information processing, helped to usher in the digital revolution by developing algorithms to efficiently compress, store and transmit information over networks that now encompass the entire world.

"His most important early work was devising a theorem with David Slepian in 1973 proving that two separate streams of correlated data can be sent independently and simultaneously and then combined and simplified at journey’s end. An example would be neighboring temperature sensors independently sending data to a weather center. Decades later, building on the work of other theorists and engineers, the technique propelled the development of computer networks."

"The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards."  Arthur Koestler on Originality

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Mother of All Nightmares

This is the last post, for a little while, I promise, ;) about the shenanigans of Wall Street finance but one most admit, the subject is truly fascinating considering just how Byzantine and corrupt this environment truly is. In  The Jig is Up... , post, a blurb about Eric Schneiderman's intent to bring to justice the largest mortgage lenders (BOA, Wells Fargo, etc., etc.) was quoted. Here, Matt Tiabbi details Schneiderman's approach, something akin to how skillfully Freddy Krueger of Nightmare on Elm Street fame, dispatches his victims, may be coming to Goldman, Morgan Stanley and BOA, among significant others, in America's morality play of 2011.

"This investigation has the potential to be a Mother of All Nightmares situation for the banks for a couple of reasons. For one thing, the decision to go after the securitization process is a total prosecutorial bullseye. This is the ugly heart of the wide-scale fraud scheme of the bubble era. Again, the business model during this time was a giant bait-and-switch scam. Sleazy lenders like Countrywide and New Century first created huge masses of bad loans, committing every conceivable kind of fraud to get people into loans (from doctoring income statements with white-out to phonying FICO scores to engineering fake appraisals). They then moved the bad loans quickly to the big banks, which pooled them and chopped them up (this is the “securitization” process), sprinkled hocus-pocus math on them, and them sold them to suckers around the world as AAA-rated securities.

The questions Schneiderman will seek to answer are these: did the banks securitize loans they knew were fraudulent, throwing the rotten mortgages into the stew before serving them to customers? Did they also commit insurance fraud by duping the bond insurers (known as “monoline” insurers) into thinking the mortgages were not as risky as they really were? And did they participate in the fraud scheme on a more basic level by lending huge amounts of money to the Countrywides of the world, knowing that they in turn would immediately use that money to create the bad loans? In other words, did the banks finance the fraud in addition to brokering it?"

What comes to mind when writing about "high" finance is the fact the web enables one to actually see how the rich and the powerful have, in fact, gamed the system for eons. Prior to this tech, hearsay and articles written by courageous investigative reporters would bring these actions to light but now, the dirty laundry comes out in drips and drabs due to the ability for the entire world to search and locate juicy tidbits like the one Tiabbi has researched concerning one prosecutor who has the guts to go after the most venal of organizations who have, in fact, defrauded the entire world.

The Esteemed Freddy Kruger

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Jig is Up...or is it?

"They weren't murderers or anything; they had merely stolen more money than most people can rationally conceive of, from their own customers, in a few blinks of an eye. But then they went one step further. They came to Washington, took an oath before Congress, and lied about it.

Thanks to an extraordinary investigative effort by a Senate subcommittee that unilaterally decided to take up the burden the criminal justice system has repeatedly refused to shoulder, we now know exactly what Goldman Sachs executives like Lloyd Blankfein and Daniel Sparks lied about. We know exactly how they and other top Goldman executives, including David Viniar and Thomas Montag, defrauded their clients. America has been waiting for a case to bring against Wall Street. Here it is, and the evidence has been gift-wrapped and left at the doorstep of federal prosecutors, evidence that doesn't leave much doubt: Goldman Sachs should stand trial."

Now, what is the betting bool on Eric Holder having the guts to go after these guys?  One can only wish Vincent Bugolosi was the prosecutor on this number.

In addition to Goldman, Holder will get another shot to do good, this time regarding the mortgage disaster perpetrated by companies we all know and love...

"A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post.

The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said."

Regarding mortgages, BRT's Habious Corpeus or Hey Dude, Where's My Mortgage is a primer regarding the importance of deed verification and how it was systematically violated in order for outfits like this to make enormous amounts of money at the public's expense.

"The devil can cite scripture for his purpose". -( Quote Act I, sce. III). Merchant of Venice

Addnendum: There is a guy who has the courage to go after, in this case, the mortgage lenders who defrauded the public.

"Not surprising then to find all of the power players in on the latest deals: the Obama administration that had bailed out the banks but not troubled homeowners; the regulators and Fed officials who all looked the other way when the housing bubble was inflated; and the state attorneys general who backed away from going after the perpetrators of robo-signed mortgages and other scams used to foreclose homes.

But now Schneiderman has a chance to derail the deals, given that he is supported by the state’s tough 1921 Martin Act, which one of his predecessors as New York state attorney general, Eliot Spitzer, had used to good advantage in exposing the financial behemoths that are so heavily based in New York. The Wall Street Journal describes the Martin Act as “one of the most potent prosecutorial tools against financial fraud” because, as opposed to federal law, it doesn’t carry the more difficult standard of proving intent to defraud.

Last week, it was revealed that Schneiderman’s office has demanded an accounting from Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs as to the details of their past practice of securitizing those mortgage-based packages that proved so toxic. Maybe he will fail against such powerful forces, as did Spitzer and Andrew Cuomo after him, but it is a test worth watching, since no one else, from the White House on down, seems to be concerned with holding the bailed-out banks accountable for the massive pain and suffering they inflicted on the public."

N.Y. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman

T.R. would be proud.

When Chickens Come Home to Roost

Ah, the follies of man, the stupidity, lies, and the greed of same never ceases to amaze. Take the national debt, the debt ceiling and Tiny Tim, our esteemed Secretary of the Treasury, to see how our government deals with a self inflicted fiscal crisis created by a corrupt and venal financial system that goes beyond words.

"There are certain times in life when a man is faced with overwhelming adversity… times when he has no reason to adhere to society’s norms anymore.  It is in these instances that the true quality of his character comes shining through.

One of these situations is when he’s broke. Dead, flat broke. Some people, even when staring deep into their own financial abyss, still hold to their moral principles, honor their obligations, and keep their word.

For others, the boundaries of morality are quickly blurred into shades of gray, and things like fraud, thievery, and deception become perfectly legitimate tactics in their minds.

Speaking of broke, faced with what is tantamount to the official insolvency of the United States of America, policymakers have opted to seize funds from the retirement accounts of public sector workers in order to keep the government running.

Wow. America’s leaders are willing to engage in cannibalistic thievery in order to continue funding government operations. I wonder what sorts of operations are so important that they are willing to steal from their own people in order to finance? Any ideas?"

But it gets better.

"Never fear, though, the cracker jack squad of politicians in the 112th Congress is clearly hard at work, spending all of their time and attention at resolving the debt crisis and budget troubles.

Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee of Texas, for example, proved to America that she’s focused like a laser beam when she introduced bill HJ Res. 64 on Friday afternoon. What exactly is HJ Res 64? It’s a resolution to express support for designating September 2011 as Gospel Music Heritage Month.

The similarities to Nero playing his fiddle are all too obvious.

Adding injury to insult as it were, Ms. Jackson-Lee followed up HJ Res 64 with the introduction of HR 1900, yet another bill to give TSA sweeping powers over “surface transportation” such as train stations and bus terminals. Now you can be molested in planes, trains, and automobiles. Coming soon: shopping malls!

Not to be outdone by Ms. Jackson-Lee, Senator Barbara Boxer just introduced Senate res 177 to designate May 15th through May 21st 2011 as “National Public Works Week.” Wait a sec… that’s this week! Well what are we waiting for, comrades!?! Grab a shovel, there’s dams to build!

To cap things off, President Obama is getting ready for his highly publicized trip to Ireland next week where he will visit the ancestral home of his great great great grandfather, a small town called Moneygall.

While in Japan...

"After admitting that radiation levels in the building housing Reactor number 1 had reached 700 millisieverts per hour on Monday, TEPCO was forced to concede on Thursday that the reactor core has in fact been exposed and melted down, causing a leak in the containment vessel itself. This not only poses greater likelihood of contamination of groundwater, but makes it even more difficult to continue cooling operations. As one nuclear adviser noted, TEPCO’s current operation of flooding the core must now be scrapped, as large amounts of cold water hitting melted fuel could trigger another explosion, causing a further massive atmospheric radiation release.
Meanwhile, a new leak was found at reactor number 3 this week, and an unknown amount of radioactive material was confirmed to have leaked into the ocean. This leak was reportedly sealed by Wednesday.

On Tuesday the Japanese government confirmed that the number 4 reactor building was leaning and that emergency work had been done to shore up the building to prevent it from collapsing in the event of another earthquake or aftershock. Reactor 4 contains fuel rods from 3 to 4 reactors, leading to worries that a building collapse would lead to spent fuel rods being scattered around the Fukushima site, making the entire area unworkable.

As nuclear engineer Arnold Gunderson notes, the admissions of containment vessel leaks in three of the reactors represents a turn of events that nuclear regulators in the United States have previously thought impossible.

In the latest setback, one of the plant workers collapsed and died shortly after beginning his shift at the Fukushima plant on Saturday. The cause of death has yet to be determined.

Confidence in the Japanese government’s ability to respond to the unfolding catastrophe slipped even further this week, as it was revealed this week that the prefectural government appears to have failed to notify 4 of the towns in the vicinity of the Fukushima plant that there had been a nuclear accident following the March 11th earthquake and tsunami. The government is connected to all six towns within 10 km of the plants via special digital communication lines, and is obligated to inform the town governments in the wake of any nuclear emergency. However, records released this week show that the government only contacted two of the towns in the vicinity, and neglected to inform the other four. Two of the towns that were not notified learned of the accident via tv news reports and concluded that it was necessary to evacuate residents.

After reading these two articles, one readily see the similarities to the days preceding the French Revolution whereby the power elite haven't a clue on not only just how dire the situation really is but also on how to deal with it before everything goes to hell. Combine this total lack of leadership with the demons of declining energy resources, global warming, a corrupt financial system and countries sliding into default and one see the makings of a possible new dark age of frightening proportions.

Tech, at one level, can handle the energy equation but without sound finance and intelligent governance, the ability to accomplish anything of consequence is a fool's errand at best. Seen below is our debt. The Zerohedge copy accompanying the DTS linked image is a must read to learn more about the precarious financial condition of our nation.

"We have seen the best of our time: machinations, hollowness, treachery, and all ruinous disorders, follow us disquietly to our graves.
" Gloucester, Scene II - King Lear

Capturing the Moment

Reality can never be scripted. Fleeting moments when one wishes they had the means to record something magical almost never happens but.... this time I did.

The Little Tiny Ones

Springtime, particularly after a harsh winter, beckons one to view the reawakening of nature.with a sense of wonderment and gratitude  To this end, here is a short clip from yours truly showing the often overlooked wonder of tiny flowers coming into bloom circa 2011. Enjoy

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The Ownership Equation

Click on the image to see who actually owns the Fed. As stated before in BRT, the non-profit located in Delaware names no owners, and for good reason.

Addendum: This document dates back to 1976, which, in a way, validates ownership even more as digital manipulation of same was not even dreamed of way back when. This page also shows the source of the information in question so accuracy of this content can be ascertained without too much of a problem.

Addendum II: No doubt some of the players listed here are different due to the passage of time but the fact of our financial system being a private enterprise run for bankers by bankers has not changed.

Seek & Ye Shall Find. :)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The Gift that Keeps on Giving

The profit motive in healthcare keeps on giving...

"The nation’s major health insurers are barreling into a third year of record profits, enriched in recent months by a lingering recessionary mind-set among Americans who are postponing or forgoing medical care.

Yet the companies continue to press for higher premiums, even though their reserve coffers are flush with profits and shareholders have been rewarded with new dividends. Many defend proposed double-digit increases in the rates they charge, citing a need for protection against any sudden uptick in demand once people have more money to spend on their health, as well as the rising price of care."

But it's never enough, right?

"Because they say they expect costs to rebound, insurers have not been shy about asking for higher rates. In Oregon, for example, Regence BlueCross BlueShield, a nonprofit insurer that is the state’s largest, is asking for a 22 percent increase for policies sold to individuals. In California, regulators have been resisting requests from insurers to raise rates by double digits."

Sound like Wall Street to me.

We won't talk about big pharma and how the Bush Administration set precedence in not allowing the government to procure drugs on behalf of Americans, something the Canadian government routinely does, thus cutting the price in half of what we pay for drugs in this country. 

Bud Fox: How much is enough? 
Gordon Gekko: It's not a question of enough, pal. It's a zero sum game, somebody wins, somebody loses. Money itself isn't lost or made, it's simply transferred from one perception to another. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Keeper

Mashups are tres cool. Sepiatown connects gmaps locales to historical pix us rubes upload to give context to places we have visited. History lesson writ large I must say. :)

Thwarted Dreams :)


Monday, May 09, 2011

Risky Roads et al

I just discovered a great website to find out where risky roads reside. Living in CT, the condition and danger of probably the worst roads in the country, are well known but having RiskyRoads.org in tow is a good resource to have in hand.

Speaking about roads brings up the obvious fact the US addiction to the car reigns supreme, where bicycles are viewed a nuisance for people "on the move" using SUVs and other brobdingian vehicles to covey themselves to wherever, a situation needing to be changed as we move further into the era of past peak oil and contracted economies. When looking at the desperate moves to sustain the unsustainable via fracking, coal burning, deep water drilling and nuclear, one comes away with the fact, solar's (wind, wave & fuel cell as adjuncts) the only viable way to go, combined with a move toward intelligent mass transit, localized food production, broadband communications, fabbing and artificial photosynthesis, to enable transitioning to a life style able to be maintained by realistic means as we move toward the future. (Military misadventures, financial corruption, governmental malfeasance/incompetence and healthcare, among named disruptive forces, will be part of a longer article titled What If - Days of Future Past, a questimate on the near future that may or may not happen if change is not made to alter the disastrous course we find ourselves in.)

As precursor, here's the Moody Blues classic, Days of Future Passed, an overblown but interesting sonic exploration using cutting age tech of the late 60's along with accompaniment provided by the London Festival Orchestra.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

A Very Big Deal

This Rube Goldberg like diagram depicts a system able to change how man generates electricity while producing potable water at a cost thought to be impossible to achieve until now.

Needless to say, if this tech works in the real world, the first viable step to achieving affordable sustainability may be here at last.

Seen below is just one of Rube's "fabulous inventions". :)

Dear Diary

Dear Diary, this is but another piece in BRT that, hopefully, will live on long after I'm gone with the intent of "educating" people on the vagaries of tech, reality and the human condition. ;)

In actuality, this little passage is true as, we, as a species, are generating digital diaries at exponential rates, a  fact really well explained in a series of insightful articles from New Scientist titled Forever online: Your Digital Legacy.

"Today, historians have to piece together the details of their subjects' lives from tiny scraps of evidence. Their successors are more likely to be overwhelmed: the problem will be making sense of our vast digital legacies. What techniques will they use to make sense of this deluge?

Many of us now generate more data than we can manage – think of all those holiday pictures you'll never get round to organising into an album. The contents of our hard drives are jumbled messes; the web's lack of structure, coupled with anonymity and the use of aliases, will make the online world an equally formidable challenge for future historians."

Other questions NS posits includes this really important one.

"How much does it cost to keep a nation's heritage online? "The price of a cup of Starbucks coffee," claimed the civic-minded hacker who in January copied and archived 172 websites that the BBC had earmarked for deletion.

People like this anonymous hacker argue that we're not doing enough to preserve such digital records. These "preservationists" argue that even redundant or outdated websites have historical value – and that it's not very expensive to preserve them for posterity.

The BBC, which is funded by the British public, attracted opprobrium for its decision. Those who had donated personal stories and images to sites like The People's War felt betrayed. Surely a titan like the BBC could have afforded the cup-of-coffee cost of keeping the sites online?

Perhaps, but a cheap afterlife is a precarious one. Jason Scott, who in 2009 led an effort to rescue Geocities after Yahoo shuttered it, struggled to muster the bandwidth needed to publish the archive. And Geocities was tiny compared to today's vast social sites, which are spending not-so-small fortunes keeping their server farms running as efficiently as possible."

We live in strange times.

Addendum: Deathwatch is the connect to seeing what sites are going down. No doubt, much of the content contained within should not be lost.

Monday, May 02, 2011

To Be or Not to Be, That is the Question

Ah, it seems BRT is ahead of the NYTimes on this story as well but this time, it's not about mortgages but rather the Fed, the cartel protected by government. 

What's not stated in the article is the fact the Fed's a non-profit private entity located in Delaware with parties unnamed who run the institution using the IRS to collect interest on the (our) money the Fed borrows in order to buy US Treasuries. Fed Q&A When viewed in this light, one can easily see the corruption issuing forth, the most egregious of which is the BRT Let Them Eat Cake piece quoting Matt Tiabbi on who, in part, got bailouts courtesy of us middle class types.

To get more information about an organization run by banks for banks, type in The Fed in Search and stand back, the content presented will be most entertaining to say the least.

"Give me control of a nation's money and I care not who makes her laws."
Mayer Amschel Rothschild