Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Fix is in

BRT has talked often about the Fed and how it games the system for Wall Street while us rube take the hit. The old term, "Privatize the profits, socialize the losses." rules when bailouts at our expense became the norm in 2008, a policy that continues to this day though the corporate controlled press never talks about it... ever, save for Matt Tiabbi, a guy who knows the drill and has been right on since, it seems, from the beginning of time. To that end, I give you Everything is Rigged, The biggest Price Fixing Scandal Ever.

What's truly amazing about this piece is that the data used to drive ICAP and LIBOR is not vetted and the trivial bribes the geeks take in gaming the system is absolutely astounding.

David Stockman's right about the corruption permeating every aspect of finance. BRT disagrees about gold being the solution to our financial woes but not on his premise we are in trouble thanks to the malfeasance of government, the Fed and Wall Street banks but we already knew about this because the power elite has been doing this kind of business since the beginning of time, only now, the web shows us how this chicanery is done. 

Any questions?

Addendum: The book's a very good read. Very entertaining without question. 

Addendum II: Click here for another MT piece, this time on foreclosures. Guaranteed to make one feel even better about the Fed, governance and WS Greed.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Creativity Takes Flight :)

It feels good that creativity still rules as seen by this wonderful video courtesy of 18BIS. Enjoy

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There is a Hell

Being an atheist, god is not part of the equation but hell does reside, in Alberta, CA, as seen in the Tar Sands operation pix, courtesy of Nat Geo. The enormity of the project and the impact it's already having on the environment boggles the mind even though the pipeline itself is far from completion. BRT has written copiously about the impending disaster known as Keystone but as a "subtle" reminder, read on if you have the courage to do so.

Moving asphalt through a pipe 36"in diameter requires three steps. 1. Heating the sludge to high temperature, (think hot tar when paving a road as dibit is actually tar/asphalt) 2. Thin same with artificial hydrocarbons (naphtha etc., etc.) to keep it in a liquid state and 3. Move the stuff at higher pressure than that of crude (see 1. & 2.)  Because of these "wonderful" characteristics, the impact of dibit spills is far worse then that of crude as seen by the residents of  Mayflower Ak who saw first hand what a liquified asphalt spill of 5000 barrels really means. 

In perspective, imagine a Keystone rupture, with a pipe diameter of 36", vs the 9" pipe break of Mayflower or... instead of 5000 barrels, think 45,000 and have it go into the Missouri. Something to think about considering just how corrosive this stuff truly is. Already, 12 leaks, including Mayflower,  have occurred.

Even better, we don't know how to clean this stuff up.

Well Barak, do you have the guts to pull the plug on this Fubar? One never knows, do one?

As a parting shot, here's a before and after shot of the tar sands. Question, how would you like have this in your back yard?

Addendum: Click here for in depth data from people who really know about Keystone;

The Nature of Money

The Onion's right, it is an mutually shared illusion as fiat money is created from nothing and backed by nothing and...

Money is memory, said Narayana Kocherlakota in an important 1996 paper (he is now president of the Minneapolis Fed). It is the way we as a society record how much capacity to buy stuff each of us possess. In other words, The Onion was right. Money really is just a symbolic, mutually shared illusion.

and yet again...

So the U.S. dollar isn't just important because other people think it is. The U.S. dollar is important, because the world's strongest entity, with the full force of the U.S. army, the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, and various local authorities with guns demands that you pay them in U.S. dollars. That's not faith. That's the law. Sorry.

When combined with Triffin's Paradox, you now know what money truly is.  :)

America's REAL export

... the country whose currency foreign nations wish to hold (the global reserve currency) must be willing to supply the world with an extra supply of its currency to fulfill world demand for this 'reserve' currency (foreign exchange reserves) and thus cause a trade deficit.

Yours truly stumbled upon Robert Triffin's simple yet profound concept while reading about the staggeringly large perpetual trade deficits this nation runs every year, along with econmists endlessly stating the fact it's slowly eroding any kind of remaining financial stability this nation has regarding money because of the enormous debt we continue to incur because of the trade deficit, something I knew nothing about until now. I guess running on empty, is, in the short term, in this particular case, the right way to go.

Which is easier to export: manufactured goods that require shipping ore and oil halfway around the world, smelting the ore into steel and turning the oil into plastics, laboriously fabricating real products and then shipping the finished manufactured goods to the U.S. where fierce pricing competition strips away much of the premium/profit?
Or electronically printing money and exchanging it for real products, steel, oil, etc.?...

This leads to a startling but inescapable conclusion: no exporting nation can issue the global reserve currency. That eliminates the European Union, China, Japan, Russia and every other nation running surpluses or modest deficits.

Many commentators are drawing incorrect conclusions from various attempts to bypass the dollar in settling trade accounts. For example, China is setting up direct exchanges where buyers and sellers can exchange their own currencies for renminbi, eliminating the need for intermediary dollars.

This is widely interpreted as the death knell for the dollar. But this misses the entire point of the reserve currency, which is that it must be available in quantity for everyone to use, not just those doing business with the domestic economy of the issuing nation.

Any questions?

Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Perils of Smoking :)

Years ago, yours truly smoked cigars, pipes and weed, guilty pleasures all, which gave me the opportunity to learn how to blow outrageous smoke rings whenever the mood struck me. :) (Still can when called upon to do it. :)) In this vein, I give you a wonderful article titled Tobacco That’s So Brooklyn but Made in Belgium that captures the essence of why pipe smoking is NOT the same as doing cigarettes (which I never have done, thank god), a truly awful smelling commodity when lit given just how corrupt the tobacco contained in these little packets of death has become.  

I stopped doing the "evil" deed over 30+ years ago but always am tempted to restart my cigar and pipe smoking days again, particularly after reading a gem like this. 

Share & Share Alike

BRT has talked often about the absurdity of companies patenting genes as seen in a post titled titled Reducto ad Absurdum asking the question of how can a company patent something that A: they did not build and B: said something, DNA, exists in every living thing on planet Earth even though 40,000 genes have been privatized, thanks to the stupidity of the patent office. To that end, some researchers are starting to question this absurdity when it comes to cancer and how one company has been patenting genes regarding this horrible disease and will not share life saving data about it. 

Needless to say, this egregious violation of common sense must be rectified, and soon, as people's lives are at stake, something I hope the Supreme Court will properly address, starting on Monday, on whether companies have the right to patent genes. The question to ask now is, does this pathetic excuse of a SC have the common sense to say no given just how political this august body has become. Me thinks not but maybe yours truly will be surprised but I'm not betting on it. 

Surprise, the Supremes ruled 9-0 against. There is a god. :)

Form Follows Function

Form follows function, the old saw stating that design must follow function in order to it to work also applies to nature whereby dogs and hyenas,  two carnivores who could not be any more different, have acquired the same ability to crack bones in order to access the marrow inside. As seen in the video above, PHD Comics comes through big time in explaining how convergent evolution works. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 03, 2013

A Smarter Way

Great ideas, as often said, are hidden in plain sight. In The Shaushank Redemption, Morgan Freedman asks an insightful question while narrating Andy's escape from the prison.

"How often do you look at a person's shoes? I don't." To me, this is the essence of creativity and imagination. It's the ability to see the obvious and do something about it. The other component of creativity, IMHO, is the ability to ask seemingly "simple" questions fraught with profound implications. Think Einstein when he asked himself, "What's it like to ride on a beam of light?" while riding the tram to work as a patent clerk. Makes one think doesn't it? :)

To that end comes the EWICON wind generator, elegant tech solving a really difficult problem of clean energy creation by looking at it from the premise of physics and electromagnetism. Enjoy.