This economy is a what?
Updated: Friday April 25, 2008 07:55 CST
The Early Briefing In depth perspectives are for subscribers to www.peoplenomics.com
Provided by Peoplenomics.com
Web Bot Project
NE Power Outage
Our Favorite Tool::
Vendors & Such
Machine parts: www.emachineshop.com
Printed Circuit Boards
Emergency Food Stores
Reader Note: There will not be a Saturday morning edition of UrbanSurvival or IndependenceJournal because of two projects requiring time on task. One is a very special edition of Peoplenomics which this weekend not only explores the concept of 'software defined manufacturing companies' but which also launches a new web site to facilitate mass customization and micropreneuring. Look for it at the usual posting time Sunday afternoon. The other time sink is far more mundane: Adding a small 10 by 12 covered porch to the house on the north deck. But not to worry, UrbanSurvival will be back on Monday barring tornados, floods, or other Acts of Universe. Now, where's my coffee?
Fancy Nuclear Footwork
While much of the speculation inside the Beltway continues to focus on the possibility of a neocon inspired attack on Iranian nuclear facilities before the Bush administration leaves office, there's a new twist to the Israeli raid on Syria last September. Specifically, Syria is denying reports about that the North Koreans had been working with Syria to be build an N-plant - a charge which Syria vigorously denies. On the other hand, South Korea, never missing a beat, figures the charges may hold water and is calling on the North to get out of the nuclear business.
Last time I looked at the linguistics, the indications were that the Middle East would 'go hot' in the August/September timeframe, so all the footwork going on now may be leading to something before we get to the big shift due to start working its way through the economy around (shortly after) October 7th.
The International Herald Tribune has pictures of what it headlines "Bush administration releases images of Syrian reactor."
For now, Bloomberg reports that "North Korea talks may survive Syria Report, U.S. Says" but common sense says that when you've got a country with millions of starving people, and they see a chance to make some money selling nuclear technology, they shouldn't be trusted - just common sense. Arguably, however, starving the North just drives them to more desperate sales so it's a tough policy issue.
Growing Hunger Pressures
It's not like North Korea is alone - the global hunger meme continues to build, too. "UN food agency needs hundreds of millions for hungry" reports this A.P. today.
Although predictive linguistics have been warning that 'encounters with scarcity' have been headed our way for years, it's hard to conceptualize just how bad things will get as the year goes on. As you know, the longer the lead time on events, based on linguistic analysis, the larger the events seem to be (impacting at the archetype level) when they arrive. It's been building for more than two years now...
The economic dimension to the problem can not be overstated. "Price rises push UN food body costs up near 40 pct" advised a Reuters dispatch.
Behind the headlines are even more dire developments which are not yet surfacing in MainStreamMedia. Here's an email example:
Farming being an economic enterprise, farmers find themselves facing an important math problem this year: How much food for how much yield at what kind of price? Gone are the days of 'load up the fields' to maximum output because soaring input costs are really starting to bite. That will likely mean lower outputs later in the year, which means what? High prices, do you suppose?
Then we have the weather to keep an eye on. Weather around the country seems to now be running cooler than normal after a hottest ever year in 2007, and "Rains put corn planting behind schedule in Kentucky". Not enough to get all worked up over -- yet.
Grounds for Change
Starbucks is in the midst of a companywide review of operations because of declining profits. "Starbucks Revamps Entertainment Unit" seems to mean that CEO Howard Schultz is bringing the focus back to the core business - which makes sense to me...
A couple of other interesting coffee headlines: "Vietnam April coffee exports down 23% on year at 100,000 tons." and "Coffee may prevent breast cancer, says study".
About That Rally
The Consumer Confidence numbers are due out this morning, but the mantra around Wall Street is that stocks are headed higher - at least that's the pre-open buzz.
Someone youi know (me, silly!) has been telling you he expects a rally going into summer, and sure enough, despite the ups and downs of the week, the Dow is ink position to put on another weekly gain if a decent rally can be put on through the close. A check of the historical data over at Yahoo Finance shows last Friday closed at 12,849.36 yet for all the hype and jitters we've suffered through incessant drone of the money honeys and talking heads, the Dow is less than a point from that at the close of action on Thursday.
I figure any market that can shake off serious headlines like "Many state appear to be in recession" and "New home sales plunge to lowest level in 16 1/2 years" is going much higher.
More important to me is how the second layer of bad news - relating to earnings - has been shaken off: "Microsoft slides after sales through doubt on PC Demand" and "Honda profit plunges most in 10-years on Taxes, Yen."
And I'm hearing that a certain largish bank has it's IT department readying for a big round of layoffs in the next couple of weeks. That might stop the stock market's advance. Question is, which side of 13,000 will it be on when the pink slips go out. More when I can.
Dollar's going up and that has creamed the precious metals this week. I reckon "What goes up..." but when? I continue to hold my metal options but still eyeing a roll forward to longer expirations than July should the opportunity present itself...
Get It While You Can Department: Taxing The Net
The headline is simple: "N.Y. orders large web retailers to charge tax." Hoping to generate $50-million this year, New York's motives are pretty clear. Coming on June 1st. If NY can make this work, look for other states to follow suit.
But before you drop a new HDTV onto your bank card, remember America is the land of Lawyers - and this could end up in court as it's debatable where a sale takes place on the 'net: Is it done at your home or office where you click, or is it done at the server-farm 10-states distant?
The idea is still percolating in other states, but in one (Florida) "Internet Tax dead. Again."
It's things like the lack of sales tax on the internet that have prompted states like Tennessee to offer a Tax Holiday - Tennessee's this weekend. As least for three days, brick and mortar operations will be on an equal footing with the etailers. But then comes Monday and we're back to the tax dilemma again...
Eyes on Oil
A refinery strike looming at a Scotland refinery operation could force a shutdown on a key North Sea oil pipeline. "Minister warns over petrol shortages as oil pipeline set to shut" and yeah, I expect this won't lower the price of oil... Another pipeline bombing in Nigeria, too.
Don't Try This At Home Department: Stuntman Injured
--- snip and save department ---
Coping: Linux Moves Ahead
Linux may not yet be sporting a visual theme like Vista's Aero, but Ubuntu 8.04 continues to develop the look and feel of a really competitive OS. Reviews with headlines like "Ubuntu 9.094 Brings Power and Polish to the Linux Desktop" should give you a hint.
Crime May Not Pay, But....
It may be a get-by option for some people. A reader offers this:
Other readers have been sniffing around the same concept: "How soon before we bring back debtor prisons?" wonders one. Just think! Why, we could open our own forced labor camps!
What a marvelous way to onshore production, huh?
Speaking of concentration of power in the uber classen, I assume you caught the story of the "Billionaire to set up a magazine for snobs". Robbing from elsewhere? Being just an enterprising Plebe, I've been secretly working on business plans for "Wage Slave Weekly" - a sort of comic book version of Peoplenomics...
My friend Dr. Pete Mickiewicz ("Millennials and the Popular Culture" ) has been watching what seems like an inverse relationship between virtual worlds and the real one. In particular, he's sighted a blog which explains how the economy is Second Life is picking up while the one in here and now is faltering....
When he's not sending emails, Pete can be found at Poppyland in SL...
Its only anecdotal, and I'm sure lots of people will show up by race day, but this Talladega note from earlier in the week is of interest:
Don't know how this compares with previous years, but make me wonder..
Corn Syrup "Not Natural"
Just as the linguistics predicted, High Fructose Corn Syrup is getting trounced in headlines. "High Fructose Corn Syrup Declared Unnatural" says a report this week.
Quick...looked surprised. Ain't having a time machine dandy?
Send snip and save notes to email@example.com
---end snip and save section ---
Double Issue: Waves of Change & An Ultimate Contingency Plan
Two items on the agenda this week: First up is a lesson on how to gauge the winds of change blowing through the housing market and how to build your own local housing index to help you spot the bottom if you're looking to time buying of a house or picking up a rental unit or two. Then, a special report from a reader who's a retired nuclear industry emergency planner. He details a layered approach to personal emergency plans, based on high to low consequence triggers. Fresh coffee in hand?
Tell Your Friends About This Site!
If you know anyone who is interested in preserving the Constitution, fighting usury from banksters, and shaking off consumer hypnosis, tell them about this site. Click here to send 'em an invite...
Mr. Cheap's Tricks
There are lots of ways to save money on food, shelter, transportation, and such. It just takes a little reading and one source of good ideas is our handy ebook "How to Live on $10,000 a year or less. Still just $10.
I promised Elaine that I would unload some of my equipment, so if you're looking for ham gear, especially the older tube-type (EMP resistant) type, send me a note and I will send out the list of what I'm selling off when I get it together. Click here to Put Me On Ham Gear List
Thursday April 24, 2008
Active Denial Department: "The Word for 2009"
I won't steal the thunder from the predictive linguistics team at www.halfpasthuman.com, but they have recently picked a single "word of the year" for 2009 -- a word which will summarize how life will 'feel' in '09. While I won't say what "IT" is, a collection of the morning's headlines might get your brain pondering in the right direction:
If you're guessing 2009 might be summarized with a word like "starvation", you'd be wrong. That's only one concept that pushed their selection of the "word of the year". Sampling more headlines will give you a sense of the breadth of things:
If you're limiting your thoughts to terms encompassing food and housing, get over it! Keep your head open w i d e because there will be a lot more to it.
Food, foreclosures and fuel -- are these road enough markers? No...:
I don't need to mention that tornados are still way ahead of trend, do I? And there are other markers, to ponder:
This last one is a HUGE clue for the aware. What the time monks have noticed in the interviews done lately is that while everyone 'gets' that 2007 was the year of emergence and 2008 has us seriously into manifestation, not one interviewer has yet felt compelled to ask the 'software time machine' boyz what's the Word that will sum up 2009.
Curious? Indeed it is: Maybe down at some kind of deep archetype level, people aren't interested. Or, more likely to my way of thinking, because are living in a state of active denial about what's ahead.
Or, a little delicately, we stumble across THE most difficult questions facing those who can see some distance into the future. Boils done to the hardest question of all: "If you could see the moment and circumstances of your own death, would you?"
It's not like 'mass death' is coming in 2009 - nothing so extreme - yet. But for several billion people on this here third rock, life will not be what it used to be by the end of 2009.
Still not clear? Need another hint? How about this one: 'Diet programs' will likely disappear into the dust bin of history. "Rising gas prices are changing consumers' tastes" says the Globe and Mail this morning. The word is clearly behind stories like this one, too.
Maybe the concept will gel as you head over to Costco to pick up some rice....
How Big is Tupi?
Lots of different ideas in the oil industry about how big the two big oil finds (Carioca and Tupi) are. Good sampling of guesstimates here. What is not discussed in depth is time-to-market which will be the biggie...
Oil industry expert/financier Matthew Simmons' latest paper "Is Ocean Energy and Idea Whose Time has Arrived" is definitely worth a read. Besides being a leading expert he's also the prince of PowerPoints which makes for easy data absorption....
Global Coastal Thoughts
One of the highlights of 2009 (or later as there's some drift to linguistic predictions depending on how big something is) is the descriptor set going to Global Coast Event.
Aware readers are starting to collect web sites and articles like these:
Sunspots/Global Cooling Connection?
Mystery Lights Solved
Road flares and helium balloons are the source of the latest round of 'mystery lights' over Phoenix, say reports.
Mass Layoffs Rising: Story-Chart
Worth a thousand words - but if you need the words, too, then click the chart.
Not so Durable, Not so Goods
Another argument that the country is already in a recession as Durable Goods Orders fell for a third straight month -- although people in Washington seem to choke on telling it like it is outside the Beltway.
Wait a minute! Have I just gone full circle back to the "Active Denial Department" headline that started off this morning's report?
--- snip and save section ---
Coping: Green Acres II
Although I had no shortage of friends and acquaintances that thought I was a raving loon for taking a pass on further adventures in the six-figure corporate rat race in order to move to the wilds of East Texas and build something of more than passing value, I was encouraged this week to see that the kind of life which we've been building has continued to crop up in the most unlikely places.
While it may be easy to pass off advice from writers like Barton Biggs, the idea of a 'something else' approach to life hit the Wall Street Journal's "Page One" this week with a piece "Green Acres II: When Neighbors Become Farmers."
While we've been encouraging folks to plant small gardens to help offset the soaring price of food regardless of where they live, based on the predictive linguistics that have been pointing to 'counters with scarcity' and such, the headlines around restrictions on rice purchases and now this on the Journal's Page One, well, even the most dunderheaded reader would have to be hard pressed not to see at least the outlines of a sea-state change to modern life here.
If you've been a long time reader, I hope you'll forgive us being four-years ahead of the macro trend (again).
More Plumbing Parts
Still more things to add to that blossoming hardware store in your basement or garage:
That time of year:
Letters We Like
No, we don't encourage "hoarding" of food. However, that said, we do believe that families should have some rolling inventory in the pantry so that in the event of events outside human control, we'll at least be able to provide for a meal for our own family and neighbors should trips to the store become impeded
One other reason to have some 'rolling cushion" in the larder? If you lose your job, it should be a great comfort to at least have some food.
Send snip and save ideas - anything that saves money, time, or reduces the stress of living in an 'unsane' world to firstname.lastname@example.org.
--- end snip and save section ---
Wednesday April 23, 2008
Hunger Going MainStream
On Monday I told you the NY Sun was reporting on how the global food shortage was starting to ripple across America. Ripples ripple so now we see that in the San Francisco Bay area, local television is reporting "Bay Area Shoppers Asked to Limit Rice Purchases."
And it's not like the SF NBC affiliate is alone: A column by Brett Arends in the Wall Street Journal's "R.O.I." column suggests "Load Up the Pantry".
A reader who we'll just call "Rob" has been sending me nearly daily reports for how the term "foot riot" has been popping up in the Google news S.E. Makes for an interesting chart:
Rob rather hopefully notes that the term "cannibalism" has been holding in the 200's so he has given up on tracking that term. But the way I have it figured, that one will likely be more pertinent come 2010.
The BIG change this morning is that returns for the term "shortage" are back ascending again after a long period of bouncing around 30-34,000 hits daily. It's up to 36,782 as we put bytes to eyes. (So to speak...in a computing, not cannibalistic way. Which brings up...)
Eating Our Words
Bottom lined by the Times Online: "Era of cheap food ends as prices surge." I don't suppose you remember who has been telling you to get ready for 'encounters with scarcity" since at least as far back as March 2006. Remember how predictive linguistics seems to work: The more lead time we get on a shift of things at the archetype level, the bigger the event will be when it eventually arrives in conscious from preconscious awareness.
Soooo.... the encounters with scarcity stuff will likely be HUGE in terms of impact.
IMPORTANT: The time monks have turned on the data collecting spiders again...launched just after midnight for their next scan for future events which will go out to 'sense' the area temporal range February 2009 to July 2009. Along the way, we'll likely get higher resolution on the whatever it is coming in the early morning hours of October 7th that will have massive economic impacts globally but in the US in particular. And it goes without saying that the "global coastal event" should start coming into clearer focus as well.
(No, the "Silent Tsunami" references to the food crisis are not what the global coastal event in 2009 is about, but nice guess...)
If you want in on the data - far more than the odd bits we put out on the free/public side, the subscription signing up is: http://halfpasthuman.com/NuHPHSubscribe.htm First time you subscribe is $240 and then $70 for each run after that. Not for the feint of heart, though. Seeing the future even vaguely is a pretty serious mental weight...
With oil popping up to the $119 range, but easing a tad overnight, all eyes will be on Washington this morning when the Energy Information Administration publishes its petroleum inventory date at 10:30. Thanks to the Middle East producers not raising their quotas, I wouldn't be surprised to see inventories level or drop some.
Airline groundings recently may have helped a bit, but not that much. Delta is out this morning with a $6.4 billion dollar sucking sound from their bottom line.
The Runs: "Her" Again
How do you spell "disappointed"? P-e-n-n-s-l-y-v-a-n-i-a.
There, voters have chosen her over Obama - and not that I'm an Obama fan, but haven't we had enough Clintons in the White House already?
Next thing you know, Chelsea will be running along with baby Bush clan kids who are growing up. Are we like electing royalty here? Where's the new blood, new ideas? Outsiders who can change the status quo? Are insiders & old-timers the best American can produce? Sheesh - No wonder Iacocca is pist.
Seriously: Have people in Pennsylvania got no frigging memory? Did they miss the revolution and still want to install a monarchy/corptocracy? Or, was this just voting machines at work?
Free Obama Marketing Advice: Start carrying a broom everywhere. When people ask "What's that for?" There are two answers: Publicly/verbally "A new broom sweeps clean" but the archetype linkage would be splendid...Hell, I'd make the broom the star of press conferences - have the broom suspended harry Potter-like in the background.
Home Prices Crashing
NYT headlines that "Existing Home Sales Decline 2% in March." But wait! This is reported sales. Let me share an email from a Texas reader whose experience is typical - multiple 'sales" but nothing seems to stick...
So the question is: When these "sales" figures are reported, are they closings or deals written? You know what I suspise...
Seems a man in the UK has managed to get a criminal record for overfilling his garbage cans by 4 inches. Quick! Let's set up a DHS Garbage Police Division!
And then we noticed that a "Louisiana panel blocks anti-droopy pants bill". Damn crackers...
"U.S. Deficit at Record High and Rising" Quickly, too. Where's the broom?
--- snip and save section ---
Coping: Living on Credit
If you think this site exaggerates (I've told you a million times we don't) about how bad the credit situation is in this country, try reading through this eye-witness account from a shopper:
True, there may not be much you can do about it right now, especially if you're in the 'victims of the squeeze player' who were talked into too large a home during the Alan Greenspan easy-money days at the Fed and now find you're locked out of the home equity loan you really needed to keep the family going, but at least there's plenty of people in the same boat.
Question comes now: Does anyone in that Disneyland on the Potomac get it?
Quite a few readers have complained that they aren't able to read UrbanSurvival because somehow this site gets pegged as a "survivalist" site, and therefore becomes verboten to the corpgov server censors. That's why on many military bases, for example, you can't read this site.
"Vee haff our vays..." however. One thing you can try is the other addressed for this site: www2.urbansurvival.com and www3.urbansurvival.com. Many corpgov firewallers don't think beyond the www. prefix so that's one option.
If you find that route closed, the other is to read the same content at www.independencejournal.com/today.htm Seems with a name like Independence Journal we maintain the look or a news site and that's somehow OK with the corpgov server censors...until they catch on, that is.
I don't know if you're aware of it, but big companies pay BIG money to limit employee surfing time at work. And yes, it is true - surfing cuts into work time and I'd be lying through my teeth to tell you otherwise.
I have a continuing dialog with myself on this point. part of me figures "Yeah, since the corpgov/company/taskmasters are paying for the computer, then I should use it to further their ends..." But the flip side is "If the people around [name your workplace] can't figure out WTF they are doing and keep me tasked, I will flip on the net, watch eBay, read George's site, and in other ways maintain my sanity while putting on a good show for management..."
Of course, the keystroke loggers, time slips programs, and other [draconian] management tools are a bummer, but whatcha gonna do?
When is a Rental House "Cheap"?
Advise from a real estate pro...
PVC Pipe Going Up
A reader connected in the plumbing industry sends this:
One thing I'd add to this list: A whole bunch of pipe caps. Maybe 5-10 of each common size in your house. I can't tell you how many times around here when a pipe breaks a cap would have gotten us back in business. They're only a few cents, but they will let you seal off breaks so youi can get back to them later. And oh yeah, don't forget PVC and CPVC cement ages poorly - turns to a sort of snot (sorry) after the 'hot' solvents escape, so put that on your list of rotatable spares.
Given that natural disasters have a way of happening, you might want to also outfit an electrical kit in the same way.
Oh yeah, even if your home doesn't use PVC pipe, a good supply of pipe and some T and X fittings can be used to fashion a pretty cheap greenhouse or emergency shelter if you need it. Just bend up a frame, hang tarps or greenhouse plastic on it and there you go.
Send snip and save remarks to email@example.com. Anything you've seen lately that would help people get a better grip on life, or help them get along a little better would be fine...
--- end snip and save section ---
Around The Ranch: High Altitude Copperheads
So there I was in the shop last night, working on some solar-powered lights for the entry to the house when Elaine semi-screams "George, get out here!" She had been walking over from the house and at spied some movement in a bird nest just above one of my office windows out of the corner of her eye.
Turned out to be a pretty decent-sized copperhead - about 3-feet in length:
The question I find myself asking this morning is "How did he get up there?" I've heard that snakes can climb poles and such, but up the siding of a building? This stretches the mind a bit far for this hour.
Anyway, Elaine hosed him with cold water (slows reactions of snakes) I tried to knock him down with a broom handle, and after he decided to try and hang onto a rafter (apparently he didn't go to snake jumping school) I finally introduced him to some bird shot dispensed by Mr. Mossberg.
This wraps up the signs of another scary spring-into-summer here in East Texas: We've had our first black widows of the season, the first scorpion, the first brown recluse sighting, and now the copperhead. All of these, of course, paling in comparison to the really scary stuff: our birthdays.
Looking Around & Ahead
A couple of people, for heaven knows what reason, have asked me about the writing style around here. "What's your writing style?"
If I had to stake out some boundaries, it would be all over a big field bounded by the Wall Street Journal content at one corner, the aware-of-danger and where's the future leading us discussion groups opposite that, and with a writing style that is part Mark Twain off in one corner and Playboy After Hours at the other.
Coming up this week, a really
special issue of Peoplenomics. I've got a bead on changing the
world (for the better I hope) and this week's report look at the
future of something called m "Mass Customization" and how that could
have a major/positive impact on reinventing America. It's all about
finding the right migration path...
Tuesday April 22, 2008
Monetizing Madness: BoE Swaps
Formerly filed in our 'Money for Nothing Department" the latest move by the Bank of England to exchange wadded up balls of questionable mortgage-backed securities and launder them into fresh and for now passable paper has investors understandably nervous. Nervous to the point where "Pound Falls on Bank of England's Bond Plan, House Prices Drop" reports Bloomberg.
The policy question is really pretty simple: Crash the economy and let malinvestment be worked out in the traditional way (economic depression) OR print enough paper and hope that HDTV sales and mindless cell phone consumption will drag (inflate) the country out of the ever-deepening recession? Easy choice, huh?
Of course, it's not like the BoE is the only group of money-changers with woes. Bank of America net income was down 77% on writedowns this week. And RBS has revealed another $11.7 billion related to mortgage losses.
And as housing prices continue their slow-motion swan dive, more and more people are trying to roll over their credit card debts to keep interest from accumulating faster than it already is, as they are forced to live on paper.
Against this backdrop, the folks at the Credit Learning Center have issued a consumer warning "The Silent Force Behind Your Credit Card Offers (Part 2) that's worthy of your attention. If you get the credit card offer equivalent of a free lunch, it's probably not free.
Twisted Earnings Logic
One of my long-time colleagues in the sport of long wave economic cycles and such is Bob Bronson who sends out occasional advisories to his friends. One he sent out this week really nails the insanity of markets and analysts when it comes to pricing stocks based on expected future earnings. In particular, his label "irrational complacency" fit particularly well:
The Dow gave back only about 24-points on Monday after the big Friday run-up, and I wouldn't rule out further upside action yet this week.
Oil has climbed over $118 this morning, but it's not the lead item. If it were, I'd be reporting a string of "whole dollar headlines" for the year. More important that you wrap your head around the size of the economic stew that simmering: It's one part liar's paper, one part peak oil, one part resource depletion, one part defenders of the corpgov paradigm, and two parts paper assets bubble.
With gasoline almost certainly headed for $5 a gallon, how to make a house payment fades into the background as you try to figure out how to put something on the table.
So, how does it feel to be a corporate/feudal serf?
FOREX Question Answered
A reader asks:
Easy: I've been saying it and living it for several years, but back in 2002 when we decided to get out of the Big City Rat Race and move to the country, a lot of people thought that I had become a 'survivalist nut". I prefer the term farmer, thanks.
If you can mentally take about five steps back from the headlines that hold your attention in hypnotic fashion, you can see that the world has been on a wild paper-asset binge since about 1913, or so. Write that down: "World Hooked on Paper" -- underline it and put a big "#1" next to it.
Now write "#2: Can't eat paper".
Discussion: Karl Marx was an advocate of owning the means of production, while John D. Rockefeller is quoted as saying "Own nothing, control everything." Rockefeller was lucky in his timing as paper assets overwhelmed the means of production crowd. However nowadays we're just swimming in paper assets with notional values of derivatives approaching (if not over) half a quadrillion dollars. In other words, 20+ years of the whole output of everything made by humans on earth - there's really that much paper.
Write this down "Buy some production ownership." You can buy a rental house, fix up an apartment complex, put in an RV park, grow a garden, learn a skilled trade - anything that you can acquire which represents the human basics: food, shelter, clothing, and so forth.
The future will work out somewhere between Quest for Fire, Little House on the Prairie, or Bonanza on the low-tech end to Star Wars, Star Trek, and Spaceballs on the other. My personal picks: Sustainable agriculture, a small machine shop, home/shelter building, and repairing communications gear.
Rather than try to be on the last boat sinking, I'd suggest you get on with making your own boat and floating it...
DuPont Net Up
Disarming America: Ammo Squeeze Tightens
There's a must-read story in the NRA's Official Journal Columns & Reports section. "No Bullets, No Shooting" and it discusses something we've been tracking for more two years: The drive to sop up ammunition from the civilian sector.
This is something that the Gun owners of America has also been tracking - see the heading "Ammo and MRE's" from our March 23, 2006 report.
Coupled with anecdotal reports around the web that some freeze-dried food companies are not able to deliver because of large military/government orders, we have to wonder "What's out there on the horizon that government is stocking up for?"
Driven to Drink
The EU Observer has a special focus section on the looming global problem of fresh water supplies. Several articles and all interesting.
Let's Not Go There Department
The State Department has issued a travel warning for Lebanon.
Quick! Call my pilot and park the Gulfstream...we won't be going there this weekend after all...
Foreign Oil Perspectives
It's easy most days to overlook the fact that America is not the center of the Universe, although we have what can nicely be called an "imperial culture" or not so not so nicely, it could be labeled a 'planet killer.' Whatever. It's important to read about actual life in other places - something largely absent from MainStreamMedia press reports. Take, for example, this street-level economics report out of Kuwait:
Who would have thought?
---- snip and save section ---
Coping: eBay Thoughts
A couple of interesting notes on my observation that auctions ending during the busiest times of the week seem likely to offer lower final prices than auctions ending on a weekend afternoon when lots of people can sit hope and play 'bid sniper'.
Not all we pro auctions:
On the other hand, there are lots of things to be had on eBay that just aren't available competitively priced elsewhere. For example, I am restoring some old tube-type ham radio equipment and I needed a handful of vacuum tubes (12BA6's, thanks, for a Drake R-4A rebuild) and I was able to find three on eBay cheap.
Back to the 'auctions ending mid-week' idea:
My advice: don't go mindlessly surfing on eBay - dangerous stuff indeed. instead, figure out what you want to buy, price new goods, and then figure what's the real value of something you'd consider buying used. Write down a price and don't go above it.
Done with some restraint, tools and such can be found at real bargain prices. But something where an appraisal would be appropriate? Pass...
Supermarket Discount Cards
Our note yesterday to read the NY Sun article "Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World" got reader attention in a big way. One fear is that with stores using discount cards and membership cards, people in the future might be limited to buying only what they have historically purchased.
Our plan? make sure we put as much through on those card numbers as possible so we have a large historical number to reference at some point down the road, if it comes to that.
Web-Based Computing: Microsoft vs. Google Docs?
Lately, my primary consulting client has been using www.docs.google.com a fair bit so we can share spreadsheets and such - and although it's a bit clunky (compared to a screaming dual core or quad core and Excel on the desktop) it continues moving in the direction of shared internet workspaces.
With this in mind, a story in Datamation over the weekend "Microsoft to Consumers: Are you going to 'Albany?' is worth a read.
This all gets to an interesting data philosophy issue to be considered. Do you trust networks and third-parties to hold your data? Or, do you want to keep things like banking information offline to as great an extent as possible?
Tough design question: I have a friend who had a laptop stolen last weekend - so for sure, keeping data on a laptop has its risks, but then so does leaving everything on a server farm without a VPN connection.
Time will tell, but in this age of massive government databases to look for who-knows-what, even at the risk of theft, having a personal computer remain personal, sure sounds like a good idea to me.
Send snip and save ideas - anything that helps you live a better life - to firstname.lastname@example.org.
--- end snip and save section ---
Around the Ranch: Someone's Birthday
This is Elaine's birthday - the actual number is classified higher than Majestic 12, however, so I am bound, under penalty of being converted to a permanent soprano from saying more.
The new heat pump may get turned on late today - no that's not the birthday present although it did cross my mind.... I don't have the nerve to attempt what my neighbor across the road did - bought his wife a new chainsaw for her birthday
Go write this down somewhere, however: As best I can reckon, given the current state of affairs in the world, within a few years (like three) a gift of something like seeds, a good hand tool, or some well-preserved food might very well be equal to more marketed birthday baubles today.
My neighbor's just ahead of the curve. Stories like "Global Food Fight" are popping up - and as ,I explained to Peoplenomics subscribers a while back ( "The Coming Protein Cost Explosion" Issue 246, June 25, 2006 in the subscriber archives) at some point, the cheapness of the [paper] money collides with the expense of the energy and transport and we will see things like protein shortages.
Rather than be completely obsessed with collecting zeroes written on paper, I think the wisest investments today are in good health and outdoor skills, the collection of durable knowledge (could you hack a workable homestead out of undeveloped land?) and a few carefully chosen hand tools.
As I've advocated many times: A dual-purpose plan - one that works in high tech times and yet has high applicability to bad times, too, seems like the most reasonable course.
But a chainsaw or new vacuum cleaner? Good luck - Pappy didn't raise no fool - at least to that extent. Besides, she already has a Husqvarna Rancher 455, a late-model Hoover, plus a Roomba. Maybe an upgrade to a 580...
Monday April 21, 2008
Encounters with Scarcity: Rationing Arrives
No, it's not the lead story in th4e MainStreamMedia this morning. But, IMHO it should be because I've been telling you 'It's coming" for better than a year thanks to the predictive linguistics work at www.halfpasthuman.com. The story headline in the NY Sun this morning is: "Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World" and it recounts how stores in many parts of the country are limiting "purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply."
(You may have trouble with the link - because as you might expect, mentioning Rationing in America has apparently gotten their servers slammed at the NY Sun...)
Money For Nothing Dept: The Disco Mix
Not to start off the week
sounding like a bad spouse, but I'm going to issue a number of "
First, the market is poised for a slightly higher open this morning after the barn-burner of a rally on Friday which a number of readers are asking "WTF?" They seem perplexed about how a big-name company missing their widely reported targets could possibly be construed as good news. Frankly, I don't know either - but what I do know is that a lot of money has been sitting on the sidelines, and it has been itching for somewhere to land, and equities is as good a gamble as most others right now. So "I told-you-so #1" is that the market seems likely to rally into summer and at least for now, it's not a bad bet. If you like betting at all.
Second: In the wake of the G-7 meeting, the central banksters around world are going through what I call the "disco mix" of propping up paper assets. Starting with the Bank of England this morning which is saying (with £50-billion pounds) "Dis goes here..." This comes after the US "Fed" has done about several hundred billion dollars worth of "Dis goes der"... to bail out The Street.
Not everyone is pleased about it. Me for one. The reason is that since the world seems to be operating in "upside down mode" (as the Debtberg is rolling over - something I've talked about for years) we read paradoxical sounding headlines like this one: "A pause in interest-rate cuts by Federal Reserve ready to lift US dollar and bearish for precious metals."
OK, I follow the logic of how slowing the printing of paper would be strengthening for the dollar, but if the Fed does take a pass (which I don't think they will, BTW) they would no doubt cite inflation as a driver and that ought to be good for Precious Metals. So go figure.
Nevertheless, the Fed, Bank of England, and just about ever other major bankster hideout in the world is set to print whatever is needed to stoke up a global equity market recovery.
Not to sound too much like one of my weekly Peoplenomics.com reports for subscribers to that (well worth it, $40/year) newsletter, but one of the charts which is updated weekly is something I call the "Global Index". This is one of those "slap you upside the head obvious" charts that everyone should be touting because it reveals tons about The Big Picture, but which isn't widely followed for reasons that escape me:
So that's the game as I expect it to unfold now - based on the www.halfpasthuman.com linguistics, the current read of the US markets, the pressures on the Fed, and the beat down on metals so pros can lock in prices: US to rally a bunch into summer, the right side of the global head-and-shoulders finishes up over summer, and along about August-September, the Middle East lights up (the war's been pushed back to late summer it seems) and then because of whatever the fallout from that is (get it?) then we crash starting October 7th at 7:10 Eastern Time. Just roughly.
The last part of the "George Trifecta" is that although I expect deflation to come calling in a serious way by late year in things like consumer electronics, which are already coming down anyway, the price of food but more importantly OIL continues to head skyward. Why, just this morning oil is popping back to the $117 range, and once there again, I figure it's only a matter of time until the dollars rolling off the printing press will dilute the real purchasing power of the US dollar to the point where first $120, then $130, and ultimately perhaps several hundred dollars per barrel in paper-equivalence will be demanded by the oil states.
By the way, there may be more to this story than meets the eye: "Oil producers refuse to raise output" is the headline. But, we have to ask is that because they maybe can't raise at a sustainable rate because of Peak Oil? I'm sure that will be bounced around as a hot topic later this week at places like the Oil Drum and Life After the Oil Crash.
If you were a radio station programmer, and figuring out a "power rotation" of the top songs in in the investment hit parade, it would be something like this:
Then, the whole programmed economy runs into the brick wall of the fall, when the music of the market mirrors reality and dis-go is dead.
Getting painfully little mention in MSM: "Pakistan declares a long-range missile ready for wartime use" headlines the International Herald Tribune on an AP story.
But against whom? An d are they selling the technology to the Iranians?
Lots of happenings this weekend:
Be Old, Happy
You may not think so this early on a Monday, but turns out older people are happier than young people according to an AP story. Like one of my late friends used to remind me "Life is only about 18,000 days from here" (we were young at the time). Yup, and then another adventure begins...
Yeah, yeah, cognitive dissonance in the choice of terms: "still" and "shaking" but get over it and don't go splitting hairs. The story is that there are some aftershocks to the Friday Illinois earthquake. Not the clever juxtaposition in my phraseology. Say, you weren't up at the CU smoke-in, were you? A 4.5 says USGS
The leaders of the US, Mexico, and Canada are meeting in New Orleans to firm up plans to stampede us all into a North American Union. Innocent headlines like "Bush seeks to cement legacy of ties with Canada, Mexico" seem innocuous on the surface until you read how the elite are planning to turn all three countries into a single EU-like trade menagerie.
All that remains is the final trashing of the buck, giving up on the fence building on the Mexico border, and figuring a way t hoodwink Canada into signing off it's rich natural resource base. The plan to use Canadian troops on US soil (and visa-versa) has already been inked.
Good story in the NY Times today under the heading: "Message machine: Behind Analysts, the Pentagon's Hidden Hand" Well, not that well hidden, it turns out...
Where There's Smoke
Research question of the morning. The headline is "Hasbro 1Q net income, sales handily top analyst expectations." The question: How much of this is attributable (if any) to that new .MP# playing toothbrush?
Meantime, we have to wonder if the board of directors at Mattel will be looking for a hot new item having swung to a 1Q loss amid lower sales, margins.
--- snip and save section ---
Coping: Timing eBay Buys
A really simple note from the time monks. "If you want to save money on eBay items, try to pick things that end during the week" they offer. "Less competition at the end of bidding because fewer people are on line than weekend, or so it seems..."
Where's Spring in the PNW?
A number of readers in the Pacific Northwest - and some of our kids - are complaining about the cold weather which is setting all kinds of records:
Ha! Did I tell you our putting in a new heat pump system would single handedly cure global warming?
Send snip and save comments - anything that helps you get along well/better is fair game. Send 'em to email@example.com.
--- end snip and save section ---
An explanation of this chart
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the powers That Be, the talking heads on the teeve, and the other information sources that actively engage in the programming of humans not to think, had conveniently swept several trillions of dollars that disappeared in the Internet Bubble's bursting (since spring 2000) under the rug. Surely, it wasn't unnoticed by the thousands of people who called brokers and said "Where is my money?" "Gone, but hang in there as you're a long term investor!" was about all they heard back.
But, the truth of the matter is that this chart shows what your account would look like if you have taken a few thousand dollars and invested equal amounts in the Dow, the S&P 500, and the NASDAQ Composite in the waning days of 1999. It's not a very pretty picture, and it sort of gives away the other side of the story. You know, the one that no one has an interest in telling, because it's a truth which shows the amazing coincidence of the timing of 9/11, the disappearance of naked shorting evidence and all, along with the impact of The Wars which have managed to keep the economy out of an earlier depression than the one expected by me by late 2008.
No, it's not a perfect replay of 1929, but history doesn't repeat exactly, it only rhymes. So think of this as the rhymes and the crimes chart:
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
Free Financial News updated daily except Sundays. UrbanSurvival.com is mirrored at www.independencejournal.com
· Bulletins are posted as our work schedule permits and as events warrant.
· We try to publish Monday-Saturday by 8 AM Central Time/ 9 AM Eastern with 7:55 Central pretty normal. If you're easily offended by the occasional typo, then check about 8:15 Central we usually proofread and spell check after the first post. We've had some amusing typos in the past...
· Financial and news judgments of the publisher are not to be considered "advice"
· Please read and understand our disclaimer
· All original content (C) 2007 by George A. Ure.
· Copyright of all linked articles is cited under fair use as this is a topic specific site (long wave economics and humanistic economics, which we call "Peoplenomics"
Our premium service, which contains more in depth reports is available on a $40/year subscription basis. Details at www.peoplenomics.com/subscribe.htm.
The "web bot project" indicates a reference to the time predictive technology embodied in the "Asymmetric Language Trend Analysis Intelligence Reports" technology pioneered and operated by Tenax Software Engineering for www.halfpasthuman.com. An intro to the technology is here. Extracts, when used, are with exclusive permission and any references on other web sites must contain a link to both this site and HalfPastHuman's main page: www.halfpasthuman.com.
Site Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2008 Copyright Notice: The author(s) of this site requires that any links or use of material from this site include the author's name and a link to this site. All links included in our material must also be included in citations. Address questions to: email@example.com. Copyright infringers will be pursued, and please note that Fair Use requires identification of the author name and we require a link which when you think about it is really minimal recognition of our works and the works of those who are quoted herein.