Powered by subscribers to Peoplenomics.com
This site is supported by subscriptions: For additional content, please subscribe to Peoplenomics. .
A Saturday AM Note
This being the weekend, we save some of the particularly juicy stuff for subscribers to www.peoplenomics.com, our premium service. On tap for Saturday, "Banks for the Memories", a possible line-up with the Friday morning dream note, and then on Sunday we delve into how a financial software interchange format could almost totally automate all aspects of your financial life. More for subscribers, and if you're not one of those who can afford just $40/year, there's a lot of good/fun/interesting and even sometimes thought provoking material right here...so warm up the coffee and keep on reading...and be sure to visit this site before the markets open (US) Monday...
Friday July 23, 2010
The Sideways Shuffle & Happy Hype
The futures were up a little bit when I looked earlier this morning - something like 32 points on the Dow and that's on top of yesterday's 201 point smoker that puts us back on track for a short-term pop to as high as 10,650-ish before we collapse in a heap. Despite the cautionary comments from Ben Bernanke this week, and the lousy housing numbers which continue to dribble in, Wall Street and indeed global shares all seem to be running on crack.
It's a lot like being in a really tall building and not caring (because we're so high up) that the foundation is cracking. CBS, for example is closely watching how the payment for extended unemployment is being turned into something of a political football. Goes to the idea of emergency unemployment spending was OK for republicorps, but now that the democorps are in, suddenly it's a deficit creation problem...some things just never change.
OK, so the deficit goes up, housing is crap, and unemployment numbers this week were bad. No reason to stop the party down on the Street. Party favors and champagne are all set for this morning's higher opening.
Today's session, though, has the feel of rally early and sell off later on, to me. Might not work out that way, but certainly could. The Thursday close while a nice pop, is still under the June 18th 10,450.64 close, so pardon me if I snooze this one out.
Come to think of it, in a longer term view the Dow was at these levels in April of 1999, so if I seem a little smug sitting here with 21˘ of life savings with some in gold and some in Treasuries, it's only because we hold to the view around here that long term economics matter far more than intraday noise trading, unless you have an HF trading platform plugged in and can frontrun a whole brokerage business. That's be a different deal. But we don't have that, so I'd expect a lot of day traders will click out this afternoon and then come back in Monday, if events remain on present trajectories over the weekend.
I watched the old timer on one of the financial channels after the close yeste3rday talking about how grand equities were and how it was all light and roses ahead. And then I got an email from a reader who asked "Housing looks like sh*t and market rallies 200, WTF?"
Simple one to answer: "Pump & dump, chump." Beer bet on the side says a month from now we'll still be under 10,000. That's not financial advice - as nothing around here is. Just saying what my expectations are, which is why you may be on the other side of a trade from me now and then... Markets tend to fall, bounce to the 50 or 200 day moving average, kiss them, and then fall back toward the larger declining trend. Call me when we get to Dow 11,205 and I'll reconsider.
Meantime, I think of it as "The Sideways Shuffle" and "Happy-Talk Hype".
Uniform Thinking, Part Deux
In today's cruising of the 'net, searching for something that made sense, I happened to see a picture over here...
Notice the guy in the window? Is it me having one too many beers with the new/soon-to-be-kin last night, or is this guy looking like an ex WW II German solider hanging out? Time to get out the ViceGrips and start pinching myself... Vee haff vays..... is this a subliminal?
This Explains Everything
You know what's cool? My new thought file coding extension I call .XNL - short for eXtensible News Language. Not to be confused with the more pedestrian XML. Here's how it works.
You read a story like "U.S. Credit Card Agreements unreadable to 4 out of 5 Adults."
Now we pop that into an Excel pivot table, press F9, the macros runs and out pops our conversion to .XNL:
Say, now we're getting somewhere!
Maybe this is the reason we elect idiots, morons and thieves to CONgress, you think? Mass media - the MainStreamMedia secretly loads subliminal .XNL code as we mindless watch Cyclops. Let's assume you have at least a clue how HTML works, right and have figured that .XML is just HTML unbounded, OK?
Why, this breakthrough in language is so cool I may start rewriting all headlines in eXtensible News Language. Here, let's try another story from today's news flow, shall we?
<jailtime?> Rangled </jailtime?>
<ethics framework 1.0> "Rangel charged with multiple ethics violations" < /ethics framework 1.0>
: Rem: On error, reelect anyway.
Say, this is going well...
<end if convicted> We'll see, I guess... </end if convicted>
<idiots> Wonder how many more members of congress have similar issues undetected yet? </idiots>
<conjob> Elections this fall...should be even more interesting as a result, </conjob>
<ref: previous> 4 out of 5 adults are idiots, though, so no big hopes, though. </ref: previous>
I wonder if the w3c consortium would consider formalizing this new language,,, much more intuitive than .XML.
A coding note: If you think UrbanSurvival typos you see are interesting and occasionally amusing, you should read the .html Validator feedback. Frigging barrel of laughs...that anything other then gibberish appears on your screen is a g-damn miracle around here most days.
Comedic Writer Note: Please work a plug in for UrbanSurvival.com if you borrow the idea of eXtensible News Language for some shtick, 'ok?
Microsoft Note: A definition of extensible may be found here. New concept.
Well, Blow Me Down Department
♫♫My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean....My Bonnie Lies over the Gulf..♫♫
Tropical storm Bonnie warnings are going up in Florida this morning as a depression forms, which I guess would really be a secondary depression given Gulf Jitters.
This one has a forecast cone like so:
Just a little more westerly and our little ranch in East Texas might be a good site for sample around 2AM Monday. I've got Panama leaving the tractor outside just in case...I figure a light coating of oil might preserve it... Wonder how long before some tax committee in Washington changes depreciation schedules on farm equipment near the Gulf?
We'll be back on the ranch Wednesday evening after the weather clears, thanks. I don't think I need to do a big whiteboard diagram of how this could impact the BOP mess, do I?
"American-Bred Terrorist Causing Alarm for Law Enforcement". And this is outside Washington where terror in the form of swelling taxes seen on the horizon.
Say, that's an interesting conversation for cocktail time tonight: "Which is more dangerous: Politicians with Tax Code Changes or militants and their agenda?" The sales trick is to start with an intelligent question or discussion topic and then work it into an email address or phone number...
Trashing New York Dept.
Mayor Mike's got a plan: Hiozzoner is thinking about charging for residential trash collection. I've never lived anyplace that didn't charge for trash, so why this should shock anyone in Gotham is beyond me. But, economic reality is a stranger in that part of New York, as evidenced by the market this week....
RF ID Marketing
Word that Wal-Mart is planning to use RFID technology to track clothing shouldn't come as a great surprise to anyone.
Here's how I figure it: You know the RFID promoters got blocked by common sense farmers who rebelled at the idea of RFID chipping all their livestock, right?
Best I can figure it, the RFID people simply took the marketing plans for the intrusive National Animal Identification System (NAIS) and popped it into some PowerPoints and went after the really big herds.
<f*cked> We are so... </f*cked>
Oh, but since we're all going to be renting our existence as "life-croppers" doing slave time for the wealthy elites anyway, this weekend, Peoplenomics lays out for subscribers the software foundation for a new kind of economic platform... it's all just computer code...so why not take it all the way to logical limits?
==== snip and save section ====
Coping: Tooling the Future
Our trip to the Pacific Northwest has gone off without a [publicly visible] hitch so far.. Elaine's son about to be married is going through all the family gatherings and we're having a grand old time meeting new folks and sampling what may be our last face-stuffings of seafood as the oceans near their tipping point brought about not only by BP but by serious commercial strip-fishing, if you'll indulge me in a new word du jour.
But, as the social mood continues cheerful with the prospects of the wedding tomorrow there's a dark personal undercurrent to next week's continued conversation with Clif about the long-term data sets which his predictive linguistics work keeps pointing to this fall. When we got together for the launching of his Umiak Q' Oqi Oqi this week, I don't think we said more than a few dozen words about the project. (If you're lost, click here for a simple explanation from a few years back and here for how predictive linguistics works ahead of a major event like the big quake in China in May of 2008...)
The core notion that Clif's work essentially predicts the future by sampling language shift on the internet is really cool. Terribly time-intensive from the analysts standpoint, but it works in some cases very well. That said, there are some limitations to it which are hard to work around, chiefly the inability to discern a set of future headlines which may seed a language change in the future which means the system can get the headlines right, but the reality may not be encompassed in the headlines. Gets a little squishy there but events like BP's oil disaster may be the 'blue ocean murder' in modelspace and the timing may be close in a general way, but not really specific because there's not a single day you could point to when the gravity of the spill became real in mass consciousness. It sort of came in like a bad tide.
Pondering this, and after a fair bit of study on my own, I've concluded that dreams may occasionally have predictive value, too; although Clif disagrees and we've agreed to disagree on this. As evidence on my side, I pointed to a bizarre dream about murder in an oil services industry setting not 20-hours before the Gulf Disaster which I captured in a column I wrote up called "Irwin Allen's Dreams". This was posted the morning of April 19, 2010.
I mention all this because we have a possible converge of events coming up in November of this year - specifically what seems like the final window where an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear infrastructure may set off a larger - months long tipping point and release - which by Clif's work will start on November 8th and run for 4˝ days - which makes it several orders of magnitude greater than events of 9/11 - and which will change the way the whole world operates from that point forward.
The reason for all the background - and a passing mention that I set up the National Dream Center ( www.nationaldreamcenter.com ) to capture dreams which may bring us other information about a pending mass consciousness change-point, has started to pop into a dream or two with the same syrupy texture that preceded the Gulf Disaster dream.
The dream overnight had to do with a group of people who considered themselves patriots defending their land and who were being driven south in advance of an army which was planning to press down on these 'patriots' who were actively engaged in sabotage. The locals were operating in a physical landscape which was farming based, not too densely populated and which had a fair number of trees and so forth.
The local group was only four or five men, mostly young and they were busy at the time of the dream moving a food cache some distance so that it would not be captured when the advancing army from the north came south. There was an urgency to the food stash being moved, too, because there was some intelligence indicating the army to the north was planning to use extremely dangerous - perhaps theater tactical nukes - to cauterize an east-west boundary and prevent the insurgent/local patriot types from conducting hit and run raids north of a certain line.
The locals had decided to make one last attack on a locally prominent sympathizer with the northern army using a pipe bomb (and somehow angle iron was involved, strangely) and they made a 'just barely escape into the woods where they hoped their retreat would sound like a few deer crashing through the woods.
Shortly thereafter, the commander of the small group was staring at a map - which seemed to be a black & white map - like a satellite map print-out on back & white thermal paper, and he was convinced that within minutes, if not seconds, there would be a blinding flash and the whole ground and some hundreds of meters in all directions would be reduced to molten glass.
And then I woke up with a pretty clear (such as dreams are ever clear, eh?) that while one of the reasons for the delays of an Israeli attack on Iran's nukes are the touchy U.S. elections November 2nd, the time would not be wasted and that some amount of Western resource would be deployed to covert operations along Russia's southern flank to give the Russians something additional to consider as they take in the pending Iran action.
Can't say from the dream whether this meant Western field aid to groups in Abkhazia, or whether it was the Caucasus groups - just the impression was there that part of the calculus to keep[ Russia from escalating would be a feint by local forces.
Whether last nights dream was just "George's monkey-mind" going nuts trying to find odd bits of intel into some kind of a workable pattern (Clif's view on dreams like this, especially given the power plant attack in Caucasus this week) or whether it was enough to actually form some kind of conjecture about what feeds the "Israeli mistake" in linguistics, not already filled by the Gaza aid ship boarding, remains to be seen.
But, based on how the 'maps' in dream-state worked out, the best fit was somewhere near Groznyy and perhaps south and east of there (click for map), but some distance inland from the Caspian Sea and in moderately hilly country, not yet too cold.
Anyway, another one to write down and take note of, I suppose. But, if in coming months, and prior to the November 8-12 tipping-point which starts in the US and then goes global, we start reading about more attacks in the Caucasus region, I'd at least lay two a two-bit side bet that the West is pushing a little resource (food and sabotage items) up north to remind the Russians that coming south to confront the developing launch facilities in Azerbaijan would not be a good idea.
All of which sets up the worst of all outcomes: An attack on Iran's nukes which quickly then escalates to a direct U.S. Russian standoff that has a glass melting outcome before Christmas.
Nothing to get bummed about - I'm sure it was just something on my cheeseburger last night.
Or, was it? Ask me in mid November if we get through the first two weeks without a flash-bang that goes viral.
Send your comments to email@example.com
Reader Action Department:
So You Finally Got Some Dough...
A number of emails have popped in lately asking (in one form or another) "What do I do with this big...[Pick one or more: inheritance, pension fund buy-out, 401(k) roll-over, or lotto jackpot, etc]... that just landed in my lap?" And "What's the best way to spend it?" Wow - for a doom & gloomer, I never thought I'd be asked to write up an answer to that one, since my inheritance was small enough to pay off a car and get a six-pack. Still, even the worst streaks of bad luck break now and then and it may be useful to have a plan to make sure the money is well-spent, no regrets whatever and always grateful. But, what about BIGGER sums? And I mean MUCH bigger?
Dream A Little Dream...
If you have an especially vivid dream that seems to have something to do with the future, please write it down so others can look it over for possible future/predictive values. Simple go to http://www.nationaldreamcenter.com/ and click over to the DreamBase - commercial-free and open registration...
The folks at Maxa Research have put together a short video (sound track by guess who?) that shows the Maxa Cookie Manager. You can see it here.
I don't usually get all whipped up about software, but this is one of those dandy tools that just simply works great. First thing I put on my new computer when I got it was Avira Anti-virus and Maxa Cookie Manager (MCM). Either follow the on-screen download instructions of simply click:
Once you try it out, to upgrade to the fully functioning version, just click the upgrade button (!) on the upper right hand side for the $35 unlock to get it to remove even those nasty and highly intrusive 'non-browser specific' cookies. Bonus: You computer may run faster.
"Live on $10,000" A Year
Having a hard time making ends meet? (Like who isn't, right?) A good starting point to better match up income with outgo is our $10 e-book "How to Live on #10,000 a Year...or less!"
It's an automatic download. It's written in an information dense style: The whole thing runs about 65 pages, but it gives you a vision of how to not only live on the cheap, but also how to migrate up the economic foodchain if you have a little hustle left. A bonus section called "How to Build Anything" should instill confidence if you've never taken on a home improvement/home creation project before, too..... Click here for the index and details.
Yet Another A Gardening Pitch
No time like summer to do the work to get ready for bountiful harvests in the future, regardless of what the economy does. My friend Gary Seman, who's been an avid 'make do' gardener for years has put together a 70-page ebook on survival gardening using things like old tires to make raised beds and it's really worth the $15 bucks, IMHO:
What makes his ebook so interesting is that it is all based on a few hand tools and he has this back-friendly "no tilling" approach that saves a whole bunch of effort...to get there, he's big on kill mulches and such, too.
Also not to be missed is the vertical hydroponics work of my commodity broker JB Slear and I have written a simple book to get you started on high density hydroponics. It's an example of how someone with a little creativity, access to a few 'dollar stores' and willing to try out some new farming techniques can grow an amazing amount of produce sin a very small space - like even an apartment balcony (if it gets some sunlight). Sound interesting? It's just $10 bucks here...
You may get sick of me saying "Learn to Garden!" so much, and I'm certainly no expert on the subject, but short of running out of water, which is why you want to live on a creek or river if you ever have the opportunity to make a choice, gardening and full stomach is extremely important.
Pass It On
A different take on things - that's what you'll find here most mornings. If you know of anyone who might also like our content, simply click here and send a link to them. Or, if you hated what you read, send the link to all your 'worst enemies'. Like they say in Burbank, "Ain't no such thing as bad press..."
Thursday July 22, 2010
When Ben Speaks
No, I'm not the only economic realist about. Fed boss Ben Bernanke was reporting to the senate on Wednesday about the economy and it wasn't all happy-talk: One problem to be considered is how low should rates be - and for how long?
Interesting thing to notice ( in my semi-sleep deprived state) was that several times in his questioning, Bernanke or the interrogators made reference to the Great Depression and how the current period is nearing those kinds of impacts. Bernanke's testimony didn't use the term, but I figure it's only a matter of time.
Senator Bunning had some particularly tough questions about whether the Fed's role was mainly about pressing on management of the nation's money or whether that was somehow taking a back seat to another priority - managing economic stability, which we all know around here are distinctly different critters.
The problem is obvious: The Fed is trying to come up with a reasonable way of sorting out "who's too big to fail?" which gets to the core of stability, but at the same time, the deficits which will need to be run to continue any kind of economic recovery fly in the face of sound monetary policy = if you subscribe to the idea that maintaining the strength of the currency matters.
There was also a sense that everyone was looking for data - although a truly cynical personal would lump data in the same head-space as a dog chasing a car - what's he going to do when he catches it? Same problem with more data.
Toward this end, we have this morning's latest employment figures to gnaw, but now that we have these what do we do with them?
Based on the futures, the market earlier was headed for a stronger opening...which if you call the "Bernanke Bounce" would be fine with me. Bernanke in questioning Wednesday optimistically talked of a 7.1 percent unemployment rate by the end of 2012 so as you watch the numbers be particularly watchful of the reductions in the nation's workforce which mask the real depth of the problem by ignoring people who are no longer job-seeking because there's nothing out there.
So, how much dough has been pumped into the "recovery" such as it is? About $3.7 trillion so far...and considering the whole GDP of the US is only about $13 trillion, that's no trivial amount.
Is it working? Well, the mortgage help part isn't doing so well, says the federal watchdog on point.
CONs as in CONfidence or CONgress
As much as people are becoming frustrated over lawmakers ignoring with ever increasing arrogance, calls from the home district on issues like bail-outs and TARP (especially with banks turning up ball-busting profits - tell me why did we lend them that money again?) It should come as no surprise that the Gallup organization is now penciling Congress's approval rankings in the 11 percent range.
The amazing little detail here is that neither the polling groups, nor the MainStreamMedia, spoon-fed as they are, have bothered to ask the logical follow-on question which is obvious:
A little more polling on root causes would probably reveal that to the degree people understand how the ability of lawmakers to operate on conscience has been co-opted by corporate buy off money, the real major issue facing America has not really surfaced yet. It's all money from outside the district, folks...plain as day and simple as hell.
We need a two more party system or we need lawmaking moved to eBay so we can at least see who's bidding and how much.
Then we have an interesting OpEd piece in the WSJ this morning which discusses "The Vast Left-Wing Media Conspiracy" that helped put Barack Obama in office...
The reality of people's performance has long ago disappeared as a measure of their electability. I like Ike...and Kennedy was OK, too. But somewhere back in there, America stopped looking at real accomplishments as campaign strategists relegated you and me to "persuasion blocks" and because selling candidates like soap and other consumer goods. Divide and conquer. So much so that we now have a whole 'political hack class' that doesn't do anything but go to law school and then go making laws...and then going on to judge them. Truly laughable in a tragic comedic way.
The purpose of our political parties, as a result of this, has been to keep us largely divided...so we don't catch on to the larger swindle, the one which keeps only two parties in power and that in turn starts at the state level with tough restrictions on third, fourth, and fifth parties making it onto ballots.
Oh Crap Department
You may want to bring a roll of Charmin with you when you visit Newark, New Jersey. The city is stopping the purchase of toilet paper.
In the interests of decorum, I'll just pass on local government officials that are full of....oh, you know.
Thrills and Spills
Good (like in quality, not like in cheery) article in the NY Times about how workers on the ill-fated BP rig were voicing safety concerns prior to the accident.
Much smaller, but important to track, is an oil spill in China that's a small fraction of the size of the BP mess. But, still growing....
The story "Gold coin sellers angered by new tax law" is worth a read, since somehow in the 'healthcare bill'; there's a section requiring that gold sales be 1099'ed starting in 2012. Gotta wonder if there will be a tax liability for in-kind exchanges, where one physical commodity (gold) might be exchanged for another physical item (airplane, house, boat, etc). Seems to me if there's no gain and it's a non-monetary exchange - no dollars are involved - a case might be made that the impact of the law will simply be to make gold more directly convertible into large goods.
Don't know if anyone has ever raised this one in tax court, but seems to me that if you bought silver - as we did in 2005 - that the cost basis should be inflation-adjusted. In other words, yeah, we paid around $7 and ounce, but why should we use that as the cost basis, since monetary inflation might correct that to $8... so goes bracket creeping, huh?
Under tax laws current - as I understand them, if you bought $800 gold in 1980 and sold it for $1,200 today, you'd be on the hook for a $400 gain per ounce. BUT using the Federal Reserve's own calculations, the gold to hold purchasing power would have to be prices over inflation-adjusted break-even which is presently $2,133.01 per ounce. Hell, that oughta be a loss, right? Not in current tax law...so sorry, you lose.
Is this a crooked tax regime? Ignoring purchasing power and all.... You tell me....
Say, weren't we just talking about 'screwing the pooch"?
==== snip and save section ====
Coping: Traffic Vs. Prosperity
Last night's 'family dinner with the kids' at Ivar's on the Seattle Waterfront was - like always - a delightful affair, but getting to the event was an interesting adventure. Not that it was bad, mnind you - just interesting.
Our hotel is on the Tacoma waterfront and the Seattle restaurant was, I estimated, about a 2-hour jaunt to get there. from north Tacoma, getting onto the freeway would be a semi-slow part, then endless sitting in stop & go traffic all the way to our destination. But, thanks to a lot of engineering work for which the Washington State Department of Transportation gets a lot of credit, the trip was done in about an hour and 20-minutes, which is much better than I'd anticipated.
Part of the reason is Seattle's high occupancy vehicle program. Cars with 2+ persons get their own lane which allowed us to set the autopilot on 65 MPH and snooze a good portion of the trip. Another part is the slightly noticeable slowdown in the Pacific Northwest's economy. True around the nation, I expect: If the economy slows a bit, then traffic volumes are lighter than they might otherwise be.
The first time I noticed the effect was in the early 1970's when the Boeing Company went through a major contraction in its Seattle aircraft manufacturing. This led to signs being up "Will the last person leaving Seattle turn off the lights?" and other such signs. Its a period when I personally learned about real estate, too. There was a home on the waterfront I looked at which I could have afforded at the time, out past the locks on the Magnolia side, that could have been had for a mere $55,000. Recently, the same house (bad economy or not!( sold for $2˝ million). Priced reasonably, I learned any chance to buy waterfront, riverfront, or stunning view property should always be considered extremely carefully. But, I digress.
I'm not the only guy to notice the connection between cars and the economy and I don't know if you're familiar with Robert Prechter's Socionomics web site (www.socionomics.net) but Prechter, who has been one of the leaders in Elliott Wave studies started something called the Socionomics Foundation which has is focused on a non-numeric approach to investing using wave principles (closely aligned with cycle principles),
Definitely worth a few minutes to consider is the paper "Automobile Performance & the Stock Market" a 2007 paper by Mark Galasiewski and available here.. Here's a morsel of the paper:
So, the alert reader can, with a little effort, utilize all kinds of transportation data to form an assessment of the nation's relative economic health. There's the obvious daily freeway volumes, which one would expect to be highly correlated to the number of people going to work, and then there's Galasiewski's observations about car performance statistics which in the age of 'going green' might be interesting to update, since increasing fuel economy and lower emissions has become even more important. "Is there a correlation between green and hybrid development versus certain stock indices?" would make a dandy follow-up paper, for example.
Another measure which might be of interest would be the correlation between "average age of cars on the road" with stock market levels. Not as predictive as a raw horsepower/performance study, to be sure, this would likely be a lagging indicator, but since most economists look overt their shoulders a lot (angry mobs with pitchforks, maybe?) seems like someone ought to have done some work in this area as well.
Something to think about as you are sitting in traffic, I'd offer: Universe is continually presenting information about economic conditions - I mean it's literally everywhere if we just but have eyes to see it. Next time you're stuck in traffic, and some idiot cuts you off in a fit of road rage, ask yourself "Is this a behavior that might mean something in the stock market?" Maybe, or maybe not...but it might be.
Two Dopes and Some Ropes Dept.
If you're a regular reader and you've gotten this far, I suppose you deserve an update on Clif and me meeting on Wednesday morning. Really cool meeting someone you've worked with for nearly 10-years...the human part was really cool.
The idea was that we'd meet at a local )to south Puget Sound) wildlife preserve, launch Clif's Umiak Q' Oqi Oqi, go for a nice sail and shoot video. Nice plan.
In reality, Clif got a couple of minutes late getting to the boat ramp at Luhr Beach, which meant the tide which was going out had gotten just far enough out so that the boat could not be floated off. And, since there was no one around to help out, until I showed up, the boat sat stubbornly on its trailer.
And then, since the tide was still going out, we backed the trailer up as far as possible - down to the last inch of the ramp and with two of us grunting and puffing (as old farts do) the boat sat unmoving.
No worries! We decided we'd pull the boat up the ramp a ways, then tie the boat to a concrete block next to the ramp and then pull the boat halfway off the trailer by driving the truck forward about 10-feet. No worries!. After hearing only a single "Tzzzzing!" as the nylon line parted on the first attempt, launching itself at the boat (which lived through the experience) we got the boat kind of half off the trailer.
Now, you gotta remember somewhere in here that Clif's boat is a real work of art, but the trailer which worked fine with just the boat on it, wasn't sliding the boat very easily because of what was now about 550-pounds of batteries in it to turn the electric outboard - a really skookum German machine which we agreed would have done about 7-10 knots if the boat could be wrested from the trailer's death grip.
Still full of optimism, with the Umiak half off the trailer, we backed down the ramp, still in good humor and all, only to discover while we had been sliding the Umiak around the tide had managed to retreat another 3-4 inches in depth. Oh-oh...not good. This did allow us to get the snout of the boat into the soft-squishy mud, but just shy of enough lift to help.
About here, Clif who had on regular height boots decided it was time to wade into the Nisqually river estuary and see what was going on with the snout of the boat. "Got a shovel, think we could dig out the mud far enough?" "Nope..."
So we started hatching plans C, D, and E...but a glance at the clock told us this one wasn't going to work out so smoothly. There's just no substitute for water depth and despite the grunts and such, rocking the boat, and all that, we just could not get it to move. And the tide kept retreating. Darn clocks....
Engineered solutions? You bet. Various rollers were tried: "Crack!" "Here, want a collapsed PVC pipe roller?" Could have filled it with sand and taped off the ends, maybe...Hmmm... how about we use one of the sweeps as a lever to push the boat off? "Crack!" Here, want some lightweight firewood that used to be a 12-foot cedar sweep?
Hmmm... Let's hook up a rope or two and winch it off the trailer using a cobbled up block and tackle. That resulted in breaking the welds on the backside of the boat winch. Crap!
Eventually, we gave up on playing Beat the Clock with the tide. "Screw this, let's reschedule the video..." we figured. BUT this didn't solve the new problem we'd created for ourselves: We now had an Umiak which was half hanging off the trailer and George had busted the winch welds...now what? Besides making a note to weld in some George bracing....
We had a couple of choices: We could have waited for the tide - which would have pushed me into overtime ( already running critically short on sleep and with a kid's dinner to go ) OR we just put the Umiak back on the trailer and reschedule for Monday/Tuesday once we get through a high density socializing window.
Except! The Umiak didn't want to slide on any easier than it didn't want to slide off. So the next 45-minutes was spent with Clif removing 550-pounds of batteries, lashing up 3,000 pound line to yet another concrete block to hold the Umiak steady, while he backed the trailer under the boat.
Whew! All good fun though...and in many ways, it was a kind of sync-wink from Universe: "OK, you guys seem to do OK working together on this & that with rickety time machine stuff, but let's see how you handle a real life problem..." Quite well, I'd say, as long as victory over tide isn't counted.
Q' Oqi Oqi is a real work of art...never seen so many knots holding a boat together...and it got me to reflecting on the way back to el hotel how clever some of our ancestors had to be - not only to figure out how to tie up a boat, but also just the whole nature of pyramiding knowledge.
I think both Clif & I, near as I can figure, are the kind of people who get a problem in the craw and just can't let go of it till the one best/most elegant engineered answer is found. All night I've been dreaming up new ways to set rollers, tilting the trailer bed - even having a wheel pivot to drop the trailer much lower than would be acceptable on a public highway.
So we go back to the drawing board with some dandy video of how the Umiak works and a possible plot line for a Stephen King novel about "the death grip trailer"...not to mention a lot more data for future friction coefficient studies... but the best part? The good old- fashion male bonding that comes from messing about with boats. Sometimes, it's not whether you win, or lose, it's how you play the game that's the point...
Wednesday July 21, 2010
The Rally on The Grave of Jobs
I happened to be banking some nap-time prior to the busiest part of our visit up here and got to watch the usual nonsense about how "stocks are the best investment out there". To be sure, the market put on a rally of some 75-points, but a lot of that was due to regional and state unemployment numbers released Tuesday. Oh, and let's not forget the oversold condition after Friday's 261-point decline...
All of which - it was knowledgably argued, is evidence that a recovery is here and this is the time to be buying stocks.
Not to be the bearer of bad news here, but the way these numbers are contorted to give the illusion of progress is important.
How soon do we forget this little nugget from the last national employment situation report?
Going into Table 8 of the last EmpSit report, we observe that roughly a million fewer people have jobs this year, compared with last year. So, here's what I think is going on: A million or so fewer people are in the 'workforce" and consequently, a statistically noise gain is recorded. Wall Street Sheep get rounded up for another haircut.
The Senate (and I have no idea why I capitalized that...) has just broken a deadlock over extended benefits, but that's going to come too late for many people on unemployment to avoid another round of going to relatives, living in cars, and so forth.
For Wall Street to rally - and futures are up a tiny bit already today - makes the case that stock peddlers have no memory, and all it takes is today's 'good story' for them to turn on the HF trading boxes and run up the market so they can front-run the little people and pocket more dough.
I don't understand why more people didn't pay attention to the Housing market report and other
sobering news for the Street?
BP Asset Sales
Ill winds seem to be blowing for BP which is trying to raise $7-billion through asset sales to Apache of properties in Texas, Wyoming, and so forth. I must not be the only guy who thinks the asset sales ought to require a federal review with BP's huge (and still growing) liability in the Gulf. Why the government agreed to $20-billion is beyond me...or is that just how such things work.
Why is it that if you or I tried such moves, we'd likely be tossed in the click? Oh, size matters, I get it...
The well is staying sealed for another day, today. And a report says there will be only 100,000 jobs lost which sounds too low to me, but I'm just a guy who might go angling for a waterfront home on the Gulf if prices get low enough.
Terror for Russia
Militants attacked a power station in the North Caucasus. Militant Islamists tried to blow up the dam there but failed.
March to War
The predictive linguistics hot dates (Nov 8-12 or slightly beyond) in are continuing to pop up in headlines, like this story about how Israel ought to have its new missile system deployed about then,
One of these days I will do some gaming out of possible expansion paths for this conflict, since it promises to go global.
Egypt's Al-Ahram is already out saying clear as a bell: "Waiting for November" and we would have to guess that the current plan is to get past the November elections and then take out Iran's nukes the following week, which then gets global war going, sets of domestic attacks and so forth. That's if I was just throwing a couple of darts.
Hillary is telling North Korea that new US Sanctions are in place. Fat lot of good that'll do, since NK is a hotbed of counterfeiting, small arms sales, and so forth. Worth tracking this, since the NK's are likely to us any attack on Iran as a timing marker to march south to Seoul, at least that's what a halfway good chess player would think over.
More Dam, Rain in China
Flooding back in 1998 killed more than 4,000 people, but the eyes of the world are on China now because there is so much rain still falling - and a lot of the internet's so-called prophesy boards are full of expectations that the Three Gorges Dam will fail and that will set off calamity downstream.
The other morning (yesterday, but tired enough so as I can't be sure) I suggested that maybe I could talk earthquake database whiz Anthony Ring to do a quick look at Amchitka, out in the Rat Islands in the Aleutians. Interesting bit of research.
Interesting chart, eh? I expect in future textbooks, things like this will be noticed. Maybe something like "Since the US set off an underground nuclear device in Amchitka, little happened until 2003, which is when the Pacific Plate break-up began. This was followed in late 2004 by the Banda Aceh quake and subsequent major quakes indicating the starting of plate fracturing in... (pick up the research yourself here, but don't forget Chile and such, or the Hawaii quakes and that big overhanging landslide that could cause a West Coast tsunami down the road.)
==== snip and save section ====
Coping: The Last Fish and Chips
Sometimes, as a writer, I'll use a familiar technique called exaggeration to make a point in this story, or that. Writer's occasionally do this in order to make a particular point more memorable. po here we are in the seafood capitol of the world (sorry Maine-iacs, Seattle and the PNW gottcha beats fins down except in the lobstah category) and a herring-eyed reader sedngs this:
No, actually, I had missed that, but rest assured I was expecting this to happen at some point. But, a green star today for catching it (sorry about high pun density here) but it's something I've been expecting for a long time. Or, at least since Deccember of 2008 when I wrote (in all seriousness) : "Kids born today will likely see the last of fish & chips in their lifetimes, so why not be ahead of the curve for a change?"
It's true: One of our missions up here in the PNW over the next week or so will be finding and eating as much in the way of seafood - and particularly fish and chips, but anything else from the ocean is fair game for now. This is the little dinner from Monday night at Harbor Lights, which ultimately ended with cod and chips pictured here.
In the interest of full disclosure, I asked a young army fellow who was coming up to Fort Lewis for logistics training to snap a picture of Elaine and me, so as to preserve the evidence that I was once the inhabitant of a much smaller bag of skin and bones. How much smaller will be determined when we get back to the ranch. I notice that my knee I twisted a few months back was acting up yesterday, apparently in reaction to the crab cocktails and so forth.
As far as I know, my cod fish taste was solely responsible for the penguin crisis. In fact, I'd wager a goodly sum that it was Asian long-liners that pretty much sweep miles-wide sections of ocean clean of everything that will take a hook.
Ultimately, this theft of resources is what caused the pirate situation off Somalia and northeast Africa: With traditional fishing gone, people still have to eat, and so if that leads to piracy, the Western nations can mostly thank themselves.
This is all a part of an even larger context where a handful of nations have gotten together at the misnamed Law of the Seas and have declared themselves 'in charge of oceans' and claiming the right to board any vessel passing through an area. Given how well Israel handled its recent boarding in international waters, and how well the US is doing in the invasion of Costa Rica, we have to wonder if the oceans aren't the easiest way for the world's powers to get to total global control.
If you don't have your own Navy, or enough funds to 'buy permissions' to be somewhere that Nature did just fine developing herself, it's too bad for little people.
And example of this comes in a couple of hours when Clif of www.halfpasthuman.com and I take to the water for "Umiak Conversations #1: The Rickety Time Machine." Because we'll be launching from a local wildlife preserve, Clif had to pick up special parking passes. In addition, the State and I think Feds have other use permits, too.
Part of me understands government's need to govern. On the other, even going out on Puget Sound means a serious amount of BS just to get the paperwork right. I have to wonder if Peter Puget would have ever gotten this part of the world discovered, if he'd has to get a stamp or permit of some kind from the First People's, who were perfectly happy living as Salish, Haida, Duwamish and all the other first peoples who roamed this area leading a low impact lifestyle.
Lots of contexts to be considered as person tries to keep in "right action" through life. I compensate by telling myself that we need to ever so gradually slow down on the excessive consumption front, but deep down inside, I know it's only a matter of time until the last order of fish and chips is served. The only point open to debate is whether there will be large enough stocks left in the wild for the sea to ever recover.
My tentative answer is no, but the why isn't clear; something just seems to escape me,
Pass the tarter sauce, please?
Cheer up. Read the story titled "From seedlings to servings: 11-year old grows tons of veggies for the homeless,."
Pretty cool, huh? But, wanna make a side bet that FDA, EPA, OSHA, or some state bureaucrat somewhere doesn't have her in their sights already on some ridiculous compliance issue?
Folks in general don't realize how absurd the human condition is: Living 'right path' seems more and more to result in governmental backlash.
Take, for example, a report recently from a reader in South Africa, who happens to be an American. West into a U.S. embassy office to renew a passport, handed over a #$100 bill but was told "Sorry, we don't accept those anymore..."
This patient reader was able to produce a credit card and get renewed, but you can see the problem. Right now - today - we have US embassies (by this report) refusing to take America's coin of the realm on the pretext that there is so much phony money out there. Understood that's a major issue, but having complete faith in electronic currency is beyond me. Slowly, like frogs being cooked in a pot, the water temperature keeps coming up. The only thing open to debate is when the local food store down the street will stop making change for a hundred dollar bill. It's not a question of if. Just when.
All of this has taken a fair measure of joy out of eating seafood, but I promise to persist for another week, or so. No one will miss the few I'll be responsible for. Besides, don't want to collapse the whole fishing industry. Why just look how important it is to the Japanese to keep on killing whales. Soon, there won't be enough fish or krill for them, either, so why not harvest now, right?
.XML - the extensible mark-up language so popular in ERP systems and such is a fine thing. But extensible thinking is something that just seems not to be in a hurry to go vial. The world really is a closed system, run by conflicting interests and all trying to play 'empire building' to the greatest degree possible.
Whether that means tuning children into suicide bombers, or the slower road of morphing the world into a corporate totalitarian state, doesn't seem to be open for discussion. Living 'right path' and excessive consumption...ah, there's the road to follow. So what if it stopped working and a few penguins go hungry.
Got change for a hundred? Oh, and pass the malt vinegar, too.
Tuesday July 20, 2010
Next Move Down?
There a mix of red and green ink showing up in the European marts this morning, so until the coffee kicks in, I'm not able to make heads or tails of it yet. The Dow put on 56 points to the upside on Monday but not too much fundamentally seems to have changed, Oil is still around $77 and the BP gusher in the gulf is still pointing a huge questionmark for a lot of humans. On that sticky matter of nearby seepage, BP is pushing the PR angle that it's not related, but we'll stick with lab tests, if you please.
Despite reports that methane levels are where they'd normally go only during 'extinction level events' the cap is staying in place - for now. When outfits of long reputation - like Time Magazine - write headlines asking "Could BP Spill Kill All Life on Earth?" even the more skeptical reader of alternative press and blog reports might wonder if there's not something to all this,
Which brings me to the first deep ponder of the week: I wonder what the market would do if a more obvious extinction event, like the asteroid heading toward earth in the Movie Armageddon, would really do to the markets? Would they keep trading in an orderly way? And, one has to wonder if that recently converted former investment house-turned bank would be found to have acquired rights to gravity (by coincidence mm of course, in the weeks before the asteroid's discovery,,,
I hope we don't get to find out, but the linguistic advice about "north of 40 degrees' still makes sense down in the guy somewhere; just not sure if that's people's fears being expressed, or whether that's a future headline. We shall see...and keep our fingers crossed that a new way to shut down the well might pencil out while there's still enough air to breathe.
Speaking of converting to banks, Goldman Earnings oughta make every Scrooge McDuck envious.
This is a big deal today. Latest from the Census folks:
One thing to keep in mind before we all go off and have a self-congratulatory group hug: Remember these are Year-On-Year data. In the strange world of Peoplenomics, we look at not only the short terms (one year) but also at the longer view - at least 3-years of data. And if we do that, the group hug turns into more of a wake.
The fall of gold under $1,180 may be significant: Seems like the markets are pricing in a LOT of deflation headlines to come. One school of thought is that the 'safe haven' buying is over, since the markets haven't collapsed in a heap as some predicted. My view is that gold is drifting down since people are not as panicky about getting out of paper, since deflation showed strongly in the recent CPI figures. Could paper be OK for a while longer? Maybe, but it's ultimately a game of 'catch falling knives.
The lust for gold still burns. Just in the last day or so, a search for three men missing in Arizona has been called off. They were looking for the Lost Dutchman Mine.
One of the world's major growth industry being war-making, the report that "Afghan forces to take lead by 2014" could be viewed as encouraging. Except that it's not 2014 hours, it's the year 2014 and you know how those take-over dates get showed around.
One of the best framing concepts about wars has been what seems perpetual fighting over nature resources. Not only is China reporting that it's reliance on coal will drop to 7% by 2015 (oh-oh - another squishy date to slide?) but China also says the IEA has it wrong when they reported that China has now surpassed the US as the world's largest consumer of energy.
So who do you trust? Most times, I'd pick the International Energy Administration, especially given China's PR efforts around the coal story.
Ultimately this has major policy implicates for the US and Russia: The Russians because China could continue its expansion into Siberian territory, which is a tough one for Russians to defend. And for the US because we are an energy vacuum and to the degree we can have a slower economy, the more energy they'd be able to buy down the road.
Is America Crazy?
After spending 2,000 miles, plus or minus a butt callous Monday on airplanes, I was nearly convinced that Americans were hard working, diligent people with a lot of brains and a can-do attitude. Everyone looked so normal.
Then I hit Google's news aggregation site this morning and discovered the stop stories in order were:
It's about here my eyes went out of focus and I decided that maybe a Bloody Mary might be in order for breakfast. I must be missing something, or this is evidence of a kind of 'digital schizophrenia' - where people who appear reasonable on the surface really turn into online idiots. Hmmm...time to go look in the mirror. Possible extinction-level event in 4th place to an actress?
I knew I forgot to pack something on this trip: ViceGrips to pinch myself with. I should be able to find a few pairs at Lowes later on today.
Chilling the Web?
A lot of email has come in asking for further comment on the site closure of Blogetry and the possibly related closure of a large number of blogging sites. Not sure what anyone expects, except that as a web content author I made a conscious decision several years ago not to offer comment space for people because it could lead to exposure. Sure enough, that seems to have been a good call.
The report "Mystery shrouds closure of blog, forum platforms" but whether this is government tightening down on sites which might share anarchist or terrorist materials remains open.
Seems - for initial reports - that the issue was not copyright infringement, but I expect over time there will be more activity in that regard as well. It takes a tremendously larger effort to write and report (with supporting links) but based on how copyright laws work, I think the days of unlimited cross posting of whole stories will likely be coming to an end, too.
When people/authors/researchers do a lot of work, thinking, crunching around various topics, seems only reasonable that they should be the main beneficiaries of that work. Sites that filch content, don't provide source links, and which act as if they are the creators of the intellectual product of others, well, too bad. Calling content thievery a business model isn't - in my view - an honest approach.
Nothing to worry about - just the Pacific Plate getting ready to crack. OMG, did I pick a time to be on the West Coast, or what?
Lone report from the reader tip line but sounds believable:
Wait! I have to go to the sink! Another writes:
Say, remember when we were kids and the stories about the moon being made out of Swiss cheese? Maybe it's really Earth that's made of...no?
Weather Pattern Change'
A reader in Thailand sends this...
OK, now the bets are on whether the bumper crop of rice from the rains in Indonesia will offset the lack of wheat and other field grains in the Canadian Prairie and this Thailand shortfall. Too much rain in China lately....
==== snip and save section ====
Coping: Here? Where?
Been a while since I've been off the ranch. Normally (whatever that is) I'd sit in my home office, comfortably surround by four monitors on one workstation and two on another, do a little trading and some consulting work. The trip out west to do a video shoot with Clif about the rickety time machine and more has been enjoyable, but thoroughly exhausting.
The highlight of the trip from Tyler to Dallas was fine: Except we were in the very last seats on the plane which ensured the plane took a delayed departure with G & E sitting right next to an aft restroom door and with two fan jets just inches fromn our ears,
Fine - we can deal with that.
But, being on the back of the bus, running (literally) through DFW to get over to C concourse via the Skylink, arriving at our Seattle flight 3-mionutes ahead of door-closing was a bit tighter than I'd normally play things.
Trip across the country was fine - mostly great weather, some great cloud formations over Colorado and dandy mountain viewing coming in from over in Boise, For a few moments, we could see everything from The Sisters down in Oregon all the way up to Mount Baker and boy, St. Helens is sure a small hill these days, Not much snow left on Mount Hood, either.
Getting into SeaTac was fine - the Hertz counter delivered up a nice Camry - convenient because a 2009 Camry and Elaine's 4-year old Lexus are about the same in terms of layout, Things like the cruise control operate the same. Not that I could use it, Seattle Traffic Sucks.
I'm convinced that the Washington Department of Transportation has a secret crew that goes around and chips out new potholes in Washington roads so that lanes can be closed, The last time I drove uninterrupted from Seattle to Portland without a lane closure was just a few years after Peter Kiewit & Company out of Portland built the first lanes of I-5, that was in 1964 and my last 'clean' trip was in 1969, or thereabouts.
Our hotel on the Tacoma waterfront is a dandy - two room suite so I can close the sliding doors between the bedroom and the living room so Elaine can sleep in. All peach until I open the sliders and wander toward the wet bar where the coffee machine is and let in light. At last check, she had taken all the covers on the bed except for a sheet and had built a kind of piled-up fort.
When the door opens and I stumble in for more coffee, I hear this occasional Tourette's torrent from somewhere behind the fort,. Kinda muffled, but I think I heard "..so much noise.. (expletive) then something about "... door after you..." (expletive).
If I wasn't having so much fun adjusting to a new keyboard, I'd go into more detail, but you get the picture.
Pictures eventually - but right now, getting this morning's report cranked out from a different computer on 4˝ hours of sleep will have to do. More later on when I get the emails sorted and maybe tomorrow the alarm clock which I'm buying today will result in a little less frenzied report.
Or not. This is a semi-vacation, after all.
Quest for Cooler Junkyards
A reader sent in this dandy site: American Science Surplus...which also has three retail outlets. Might have to give them a try when we get back to the ranch.
Another reader offers this:
Not sure I could talk Elaine into a vacation to go surplussing...that might be beyond even my formidable sales skills....
A Canadian reader sends in this:
Yup. I figure it's one thing to try and reduce one's taxes with good business strategy. But NOT paying taxes is NOT a good strategy, near as I can figure...
Mr. Ure's Time Warp
So I get up this morning, new city and all, and look at the clock. OMG I'm late for writing this morning's column (thinking I had set my clock to PDT yesterday. So I earlier posted that this morning's report would be posted in two sections, and such.
Then, along about what I thought was 6:30 Pacific, I called the folks at the Census Bureau who are usually right on time with their press release on housing starts and such. "Why hasn't it popped up yet?" I asked?
"Well, we post that at seven thirty - and that almost an hour from now..." came the helpful reply. Oh-oh...
Sure as crap...looked at the clock and my 'apply' setting didn't work out so I actually got this morning's report out and posted on time, after all.
Should have figured it out when I was cursing the wake up call for being late. I'm going to stay up, I guess, hit the exercise room for a while, shower and have breakfast earlier than ever I suppose.
Yep...not only is travel tiring, but it's doubly so when I cheat myself out of two hours of nappy times. Sheesh! n Don't mention this to Elaine - she's hiding in her 'fort' and I won't tell if you don't...
Monday July 19, 2010
Crash Window, Day 22
The week's main feature for
Elaine & Me - besides flying up to the Northwest on a mix of business
and pleasure - will be answering the question "Will last Friday's
261-point decline carry over into this week?" If overnight markets
elsewhere are any guide, the answer is an unequivocal, absolute
Here's the layout: Most of Asia was down overnight. The closely-watched Hang Seng was down about 8-10th's of a percent while the Japanese Nikkei 225 index was down a whopping 2.86%. Most of Europe, on the other hand, was up but by less than stellar amounts. Something like 10-25-Dow point equivalents in the UK, German, and France earlier. Vienna was down almost one percent earlier, making it Europe's sausage.
A rather tame numbers week - mainly featuring various housing start numbers (take aspirin before these). The National Homebuilders Association today, government starts and permits tomorrow, existing home sales Thursday. The 'week after options, summer doldrums" if that was all there was to it.
Ireland's debt was downgraded about the time the coffee started to hit the bloodstream here in the outback. Based on this one factor alone the other PIIGS ought to start wobbling....a bad case of Monday Morning Moody's blues.
The US markets will also need to price in a report about how low (think deflationary) Treasury yields have been lately. The 'judgment' (to use the overworked Greenspanian verbiage) is how long does money have to remain cheap/near free before people significantly drop their expectations of higher prices in the future, locking in a first destination of incipient deflationary depression before a year or two out papering it all over with a more quickly-ending inflation?
Three personal observations here about deflation's arrival:
#1: Elaine and I have set a relatively high asking price for our ranch (only a couple of nibbles so far) based on its survival platform capabilities. I wouldn't entertain selling this place I didn't think that there was a risk of significant further deterioration of prices in housing. One of the drivers on this front is the expiration of the housing tax credits - which is bound to show up both in this week's housing numbers and in Fed mortgage data in a month or so - such is hysteresis in economic data.
#2: I recent sold my Porsche 930 deciding after rerunning video of Katrina-Rita that being able to hop in a plane and fly 600-nautical miles north (708 statute miles if the kidneys can take it) would be far preferable, not to mention faster, than having a car as a bug-out vehicle. Sold it at a small loss, but I reckon I got 95% of my purchasing power out of it since...
#3: "Mark the Mechanic" who's the local A&P advising me in my airplane search mentioned in passing that "aircraft prices are still falling - so no real hurry to get into a plane yet..."
All of which are anecdotal, but even paying slight attention to housing, collectible cars, and single-engine aircraft prices argues that deflation is really, really out there.
Not to mention the importance of a greater than 8% annualized deflation rate housing index in detail level of last week's CPI report.
The key thing to all this is: Until would-be buyers of most goods and services start to feel an urge to "Buy now!", slowly falling future price expectations is what leads to a deflationary depression. Open your eyes a bit wider and you'll see it.
As aggregate demand declines, so do prices, which in turn triggers additional declines in demand as people 'wait for the low' not realizing that by doing so, they are simply making the future low even lower./..and lower...and lower....and say, is this a Depression now?
Same thing happens in markets. People's money seeks both return of purchasing power and a little 'juice' if possible. But certainty of return is the more powerful driver when times are uncertain and prices wavering.
Which is why even in the markets should put on an early 'show rally' I'll be sitting in my short positions for a while longer. Further down seems likely sooner or later.
Our Monday Bear mantra this week is: "What goes up comes Dow."
Cocoa beans - the stuff from which chocolate is made - look like they are being bought up in an attempt to 'corner the market' in 'em.
Just because housing prices argue deflation doesn't mean there won't be violent counter-trend examples about. Doable, too: You do spend less on Hershey Bars than House Payments, right?
Super Quake Foreplay?
Don't know how closely you follow the build-up period to what should be another 8.0 (or larger) quake in the next month or three, but the USGS earthquake site is just popping off with all kinds of quakes up in the Fox Island area of Alaska the past day or two... Even more worrisome is that there was a 7.3 down in the new Britain region of Papua New Guinea on Sunday.
I suppose I don't need to explain - for the umpteenth time - why I worry so much about the Aleutian Islands region, but here goes:
Back in the 1960's and 1970's the US Department of Energy set off a series of underground atomic tests at Amchitka Island which is real close to the Ring of Fire up there.
The first was a piddling little 80-kiloton blast called Long Shot, and then in 1969 a 1-megaton device -Milrow - was set off. And then, despite a rising civilian outburst in 1971 a just under 5 megaton explosion was set off named Cannikin.
To be sure, the Fox Islands quake swarming is 500-miles (or so) east of the Amchitka site, but we have also had activity out in the Rat Island group where Amchitka lives on Friday. In fact, when I put the lat/lon into Microsoft Streets & trips, it looks to me like this Rat Island quake on Friday was was less than 5miles from the shores of Amchitka.
Stay with me here|: the USGS references Amchitka quake as:
If you have the good sense to keep a $34 copy of Microsoft Streets & Trips (2010) handy - as any good news junkie should - putting in the distances reported by USGS reveals how really, really close to Amchitka the Friday shake was... (Streets & Trips, please?)
However, rather than say "4.63 miles east-southeast of Amchitka - where we blew off a 5-megaton bomb in the 1971" the USGS studiously avoids ANY mention of Amchitka, which us boomers remember, due in part to the Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, and Phil Ochs album of the same name. (*Your memory may have been impaired by chromosome damaging drugs and/or vapors in that time period, so all is forgiven...).
Somehow USGS failing to mention Amchitka's location and referencing that instead of using the "Who's heard of that?" Semisopochnoi Island, Alaska is an example of the subtle ways the PTB rewrite inconvenient history. Odd, too, since we've set off all kinds of crap underground and are really quite good at it...
Last time I looked this lack of candor - a year or three back - I was told the official explanation is that there was an agreement to use certain key geographical features and that's why Amchitka is not referenced. To my "WTH? Who makes up this stuff? Why not Amchitka?"
I never got a definitive answer other than "We use different standard landmarks..." No reason for the other standard - so I tossed it in the Excuses, Excuses folder. who has even heard of Amatignak Island?
This kind of logic makes me near-certain USGS would refer (using this kind of logic) to a large earthquake in New York City as being "9 miles north-northeast of Sayreville, New Jersey, 2,463 miles east of Los Angeles and 3,860 miles west of Barcelona, Spain"...which while all true lacks a little....transparency or candor, don'tcha think?
Not to shake the quakes to death, but a SoCal reader sent this:
An aside: my EMT son participated in a Pacific Northwest earthquake drill in the Seattle area a couple of weeks back...he was doing triage, so at least around the edges, lots of activity around the 'earth moves' archetype.
I may ask quake tracker Anthony Ring to ping Rat Islands prior to 1969 and 1971 see what pops up though I'm not sure what's in the USGS db prior to 1973 or so......When the Pacific plate lets loose with its next biggie, we will pick up the discussion again. Admittedly, memories of an old newsman are a pain sometimes. But like Lt. Columbo was fond of saying..."There just one thing bothers me, Ma'am..."
Usual stream of gobbledygook today on the spill front. Got a bunch of GOP politicos trying to make the case that Obama is failing in spill clean-up.
Political hacks aside, the real issue is that seepage has been reported near the well - which would explain where the balance of the pressure has gone. Not saying "I told you so" but isn't this what Matt Simmons has been saying pretty consistently all along? (audio here)
And this development leads to a disagreement between BP and the government over whether the cap should stay on. BP's under PR pressure to keep the cap in place, but the government's thinking is if the cap causes seepage elsewhere, we may need to open things up again to prevent losing all control over the mess...which would mean back to surface ship pumping.
Peoplenomics readers who have the "Diaspora Handbook" parts one and two might not want to toss out those reports just yet. This is going to keep dragging out, methinks...seeping slowly into consciousness, as it were.
Think the supply of silver is loose? Not what seems to be lurking behind this story in Canada's Globe and Mail...
Confirmed by my commodity guy, JB, who says at least one silver warehousing bank (besides the one mentioned in the G&M story) is slow to the tune of 5 or 6-weeks in actually handing over silver for delivery.
Hmmm...how do you spell s-t-a-l-l-i-n-g ?
Road to Total War
Iran's official press office is whining about how "Israel to get mega military handout." Another way of looking at this is "Israeli generals win US high-tech ballistic missile tracking system".
Tensions seem to rise without end in that part of the world, don't they? The world oughta cut off coffee and Viagra shipments to the region, the way I got it figured... Saltpeter injected water supplies might help, too...
Say, here's a new business model for you: Set up a company to rent basic city services to places like financial strapped San Jose, California... hear they're in the market. Or, simply outsource San Jose to India, maybe?
Definitely an eye opener: The Washington Posts in depth report "Top Secret America: A hidden world, growing beyond control".
Most mornings, I'd put a sour spin on such things, but because I'm about to fly out, leaving Panama and the attack goats to guard the homestead, along with the killer cats, I can actually see an upside to this.
Way I figure it is simple: If the US intelligence apparatchik is so confusing even we can't figure it out, it's probably equally confusing - or more so - to enemies of America. Sort of like walking into a den of vipers, you never know what's gonna bite you because you don't know where all the snakes are.
Makes sense from every standpoint except one. Money. Of course, to fix that, we'll just print up some more, right?
There, now that we have that settled.....
=== snip and save section ====
Coping: With "The Far Side" & Matters of Convenience
Every once in a while I get an insightful note from our one-time Houston Bureau, whose initials are Bernard Grover, who of late has been working on new business development projects down Indonesia way. His periodic dispatches - given his background in the Houston oil community are always refreshingly free of BS many writers of lesser standing feel obliged to put in their prose. His latest?
Bernard's got a blog over here, but he doesn't post often enough...so you're welcome to contact him through that and encourage him to do more of that. Inquiries from Indonesian business interests looking for some capable North American thinking are also encouraged...
I suppose I should add the understanding that B was only referring to 'bribing' a local in a metaphorical sense, since to pay a bribe a foreign official seems a little more harsh than 'convenience and assistance fee' which is common in most other parts of the world, including South America.
Panama Bates - just back from his namesake (where he taught Army Jungle Warfare School for a while - which explains his enjoying laying on the bottom of Lake Gatun in scuba gear as freighters and passenger ships go by overhead) explained to me a while back how the 'conveniences' are worked out in Panama.
Seems the officer of the law who pulls you over for speeding - or whatever infraction - opens up a little pocket Bible-sized book of local regulations. He'll then open the regulations book to the right page, place an accusatory finger pointing right at the spot he's building his case on...and hand you the book.
The correct thing, says Bates, is to lubricate the page with a $10--bill, or so, and hand it back, all the while making profound excuses for failing to see that bug on the road, or whatever little nit you did. If the bill is large enough (and you didn't expose a fat 'flash roll', the problem ends there. However, if a lot of cash is seen, that $10-spot disappears and in comes the book again, as another infraction has also been noted.
This goes on until the officer figures he's gotten as much supplemental income as is 'right', however because Panama has been in tough economic times lately, the traffic stops are more frequent.
Adding to the mess: Not enough money to get new licenses plates made up so most people are running around with slips of paper taped in their back windows saying a fee (of convenience, largely) has been paid and the vehicle is able to be on the street.
All of these little things
weigh on me as we head out on our trip up to the Northwest for work and a
bit of play this week and into next. I do the usual 15% gratuity
with meals, occasionally 20% for really first-rate service, but the one
that few do - and more should IMHO - is leaving $5 a day for the folks who
make up your room. Makes an amazing difference to people at the
lower end of the foodchain.
Other than that, we don't go many places where tipping is customary. We'll no doubt hit 13 Coins at the airport - can't do Seattle without an SST Sandwich which is still made by request, or last time I was up there, they still remembered how to make one. When my first daughter was born, first stop on the way home was 'Coins' for an SST and a side of fries...
More than anything, a trip to the PNW is a gastronomic break from Texas' fine steaks ands BBQ. Dick's Drive In and the outside fish bar at Ivar's on the Seattle waterfront...those kinds of things. There, my tip is behavioral, not financial: 'Arrive hungry, very, very hungry'...
Seattle is to the 2000's what San Francisco was to the nation in about 1975, or so. Still has character, hasn't been completely 'redeveloped to death' - but they're working on it. Vancouver's Gas Town gives it a fair run, another either is worth a week's visit. And Seattle has a very marvelous sense of community and a shared sense of loss about some of the great restaurants, clubs, and hangouts of yesteryear.
Quest for Salvage Yards
This may seem like a bit of an oddity, but years ago, one of my favorite pastimes with my late father was to go 'junkyarding'. You see, back in the 1950's through mid 1960's there was a tremendous business going up up that way in ship-breaking (busting ships down for salvage) and Boeing Surplus was largely sold in lots to local scrap operators.
Many a weekend was spent getting a burger and then going through "Black & Tan' - known back in the day as Aircraft Supply and Salvage. They had an amazing assortment of close-fitting aluminum aircraft tubing from whence came many of my early ham radio experimental antenna parts.
Another spot - probably long-gone - was Washington Liquidators which used to be on Airport Way in Seattle's Georgetown area, near Boeing Field. Can't count the times I'd run into an old transmitter off a merchant ship that somehow landed there, and never could come up with the means to buy one. They were about the size of an upright freezer, heavier, and usually had a pair of 833 finals (or similar) and the times I could afford one, I was in an apartment with no where to put it - or no power.
One of the real tragedies of outsourcing has been sending ship-breaking overseas. There's a wealth of goodies off old ships (merchantmen and liners alike) that formed an incredibly interesting mosaic of memory blocks. Navy coffee mugs off WW II destroyers - a good 3/4" thick to hold heat, for example. Almost impossible to find nowadays.
Brass ports - the round ones that opened -could be had for $10 or less - only by the 1980's when hatch covers and ports became 'campy' for interior design did the prices go up. Now that I'm in a place where some old teak hatch covers would look good - covered with a 1/2" of Envirotex Lite clear plastic, I haven't been able to find even one of them at anything near a reasonable price.
"Hey Dad, where can I find an antique 741 op amp?" Just ain't the same. Worse: "Dad can you email a C-library of graphics calls..."
Maybe we can't ever go back to those places of our youth and earlier years. 10-days of seafood and poking about every so often, does help. But even the after lunch stroll through the venerable Boeing Surplus is now online...
I suppose there are some young kid out in India, or on some half forgotten shore of Bangladesh somewhere, who is getting the joy of seeing technology that comes off old ships. But today's kids in America are being cheated out of a sense of connection I'd call it, with something older and in some ways better. Recycling at its finest (asbestos dust aside).
Haven't seen one on the web, but if you come across a directory of surplus emporiums where a person can still wander in wonder through the scrap yard, buying whatever along the way, please point it out to us...that's a special kind of place worth preserving. Insurance and cheaper labor elsewhere, aside.
So THAT is where Time Went
A reader sent along a weekend feature we somehow missed in last week's report; it's from the Daily Galaxy site and is titled" "It Time Disappearing from the Universe?"
This popped up in a conversation with Chris Tyreman up at TheChronicleProject.org this weekend (a little 2˝ hour chat about what's coming out of Self-Defining Hebrew retranslating the Bible. Seems one way to look at cosmology is to have two universes, with one having time as the air for matter to appear in. In the other universe, time can be a dimension and maybe something like 'energy' occupies the role of time 'over there'.
Which comes really close to last week's discussion of "Grokking the Complement".
Won't launch into a full-up rehash, just wanted you to have a couple of good excuses ready when you're not able to get things done (on time).
Besides this article, the simple math point to be aware of is that a one year project to a 20 year-old is a whopping 5% of their life. To a 60 year old, a one year project is only 1.6% of their lifetime...so of course, young people will get things done faster....they hav e proportionately more time...
Before the chart, a little background:
Once upon a time, a long while ago, I observed during my quest for 'truth' in economics, that the PowersThatBe, 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.
So one of our charts for Peoplenomics subscribers oughta be widely circulated - it shows that if you line up the peak of the Dow in January 2000 with the peak in early September of 1929, we're on a very very close replay track. Much closer than even the chart shows if you were to back out inflation, and put in the effects of 1929 deflation, but that'd be real work, and I'm sort of lazy if the truth be told.
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:
"George, that's only a coincidence!" your monkey-mind will protest.
Why sure it is...you bet. A 9˝ year long coincidence...yessir....just a coincidence, I'm sure...
Write when you get rich,
George Ure, The People's Economist
Be Sure to
Bots: NE Power Outage
Our Favorite Tool:
Emergency Food Stores
Hi guys! qrcodeqrcode Adrian
Lol Dandy marketing concept - well done!
This is a Free Financial News and economic information site updated daily except Sundays.
If you can not get to http://www.urbansurvival.com/ from your corpgov workstation, please try our mirror site: http://www.independencejournal.com/ . This site is also available at www2.urbansurvival.com and www3.urbansurvival.com which may not be blocked.
· Bulletins are posted as our work schedule permits and as events warrant.
· I 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... Sometimes a Saturday issue will be dropped due to projects & chores on our ranch.
· Financial and news judgments of the publisher are not to be considered "advice"
· Please read and understand our disclaimer
· All original content © 1997-2010 by George A. Ure except sources as linked. Very short extracts are occasionally used under 'fair use' but never entire articles without permission. That would be beyond 'fair use'.
· 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 http://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: http://www.halfpasthuman.com/.
Site Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2010 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/source 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.