imageWhile we wait a few seconds for the Retail Sales figures and other fresh data to land, the biggest story in the greater scheme of things is likely the discussion in the Washington Port this morning about how “Einstein predicted gravitational waves 100 years ago. Here’s what it took to prove him right.”

This overcoming gravity is not going to be a “fast mover” because there is so damn much engineering ahead, but the discovery of gravitational waves could signal the dawn of a new technology on the horizon; one that science fiction writers have been telling us is coming ever since H.G. Wells penned The Time Machine.  Time and gravity is the game.

Wells was not the first, of course, but the discovery of the phenomena of gravity may be expected to be closely linked with time since what we’re talking of here is reverse-engineering the glue of space-time. 

Adoption can’t be allowed to be too quickly, however.  After all, if there is anything dangerous about anti-gravity it is that it is a “top of class” disruptive technology.  Would you want to work at Boeing if uncontrolled anti-grav was popped out of Apple or Google?

There are some who believe that anti-gravity has already been discovered by military and black project teams and has been a known commodity for a long time.  Perhaps, suggest some, ever since Roswell or every since Operation Paper Clip.

The economic impacts could be immense.  Not the least of which is finally getting a kind of global transportation system that would not pollute as much as high altitude “smoke burners” produce now.

Whether gravity technology can be distilled down to a flyable essence remains to be seen, but while we are all glued to the screens looking at what will happen in the next 20-minutes of markets, the next 20-years (or longer) is an important horizon, too.  So for this reason, we begin this morning with a reminder that the day is coming when…

Historically, the market didn’t really do much for the micro-trend traders on December 19, 1974.  But that was a day when the entire world changed and a disruptive technology that is still disrupting today was factually born.

You see December of 1974 was when the Altair 8800 computer was introduced.

Sure, we had known the technology of computers was coming and was out in the wings somewhere.  People like Ures truly were being force-fed Venn diagrams and unions of set theory by the School Mathematics Study Group courses in the mid 1960s. 

Initially the textbooks changed – in 7th grade I got my first-even paperback textbook.  SMSG content hadn’t come from a traditional textbook publisher because what was “needed to be known” wasn’t so tightly defined yet.  Paperbacks were faster to the classroom.  We knew, as students, that we would need the set theory, we would likely need to be able to communicate and function in Base x but little did we know that hex would it IT.  We hated base 6.

Today, Robotics is in a similar situation:  Kids are playing with small processors and learning to program motion and even voice responses and a whole lot more.  So again, in some ways, the major technology-shifters become apparent in what kids are being instructed to learn and there’s something to come from observing the hobbies, too, much as the CPM users groups were important signs for investors.

And what better way to see a great company evolving (back in the day) than by joining the local AUG – Apple User Group.  Comparing the mindset of the Commodore User Group with the AUGs was useful.

The same is going on with robotics today.  The Arduino and Raspberry Pi fans are walking down a familiar road.  At some point, as Robotics rolls out full-on, perhaps in 20-30 years, there will be some follow-up to Ure’s truly asking “But where is the next technology after robotics?”

The answer to that seems likely revealed in the Washington Post piece – and when we get gravity nailed, it’s likely the first-cousin time will also fall out of the engineering processes.

Which leaves only one question about the greater schema:  Is it all baby-steps to the stars, or do we have a Flash-Bang and Over event along the way?

7-billion people have an interest in the answer.

We now return you to the minutia of the moment.

So We Rally, Huh?

No, market collapses don’t happen from the top.  And today is a low-prob(ability) day for one, too, unless there is some kind of out of left field event that no one sees coming.

I mean what if the orbiting North Koreans actually put up an EMP device?  You see, THAT would be a left-fielder for sure.

But absent that, most of the day’s news flow is sadly predictable – a point we’ll return to after we toss around the data:

imageRetail sales press release is out:

The U.S. Census Bureau announced today that advance estimates of U.S. retail and food services sales for January, adjusted for seasonal variation and holiday and trading-day differences, but not for price changes, were $449.9 billion,  an increase of 0.2 percent (±0.5%)*  from the previous month, and 3.4 percent (±0.7%) above January 2015.  Total sales for the November 2015 through January 2016 period were up 2.5 percent (±0.5%) from the same period a year ago.  The November 2015 to December 2015 percent change was revised from down 0.1 percent (±0.5%)* to up 0.2 percent (±0.3%)*.  Retail trade sales were up 0.3 percent (±0.5%)* from December 2015, and up 3.1 percent (±0.5%) from last year. Sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores were up 9.1 percent (±2.1%) from January 2015 and nonstore retailers were up 8.7 percent (±1.2%) from last year.

And if that’s not enough GS-14-written happy talk, how about import and export prices to go with them Wheaties, huh?  From your Labor Department word of some deflation.

“In January, prices for U.S. imports decreased 1.1 percent for the second consecutive month, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. In both months, the declines were primarily driven by lower fuel prices. U.S. export prices also fell in January, decreasing 0.8 percent. The decline followed a 1.1-percent drop the previous month.


All Imports: The price index for overall imports fell 1.1 percent in January, the largest monthly decrease for the index since a 1.8-percent drop in August 2015. Both fuel and nonfuel prices continued to trend down. Import prices fell 6.2 percent over the past year. Despite declining in January, the 12-month drop in import prices was the smallest over-the-year decrease since the index fell 5.6 percent between December 2013 and December 2014.

Fuel Imports: Import fuel prices declined 12.4 percent in January, the largest 1-month drop since a 12.7- percent decline in August 2015. Import fuel prices have not risen on a monthly basis since a 1.5-percent advance in June 2015. The January drop was led by a 13.4-percent decline in petroleum prices, although natural gas prices also fell, decreasing 3.2 percent. The price index for import fuel declined 34.5 percent for the year ended in January, while over the same period petroleum prices fell 35.3 percent and natural gas prices decreased 40.1 percent.

When all is said and done, what we come to is a rally.  But before getting too carried away with it, remember where the S&P closed last Friday – 1880.05.  The plus 116 on the Dow futures at press time ain’t gonna cut it.

What I’d expect today would be less than half of what’s needed.  More likely a fade going into the close over next week’s uncertainty.  But any port in a storm:  We will see how Asia works when really back to normal next week.  And if anything, at least today’s starting rally will give us a “little more dancing room on the edge of the abyss. “

My, I’m a positive fellow this morning, am I not?

And while I pass on the government assertions of no inflation, nothing to see, move along please, we notice that one coffee joint in the San Francisco area has coffee for $15 a cup…  Not your generic split-shot Americano tall, but still, OMG, we is the land of the bean demons, is we not?

The Sadly Similar Department

I don’t know how many times I have to say this:  Hillary Clinton is not really running for the White Houses.  She’s trying to BUY it.

Another example:  Super PAC makes big play to lift Hillary Clinton in primary states.  Make no mistake about it:  The Department of Justice headed up by a serious democratic contributor in Loretta Lynch seems no more inclined to file charges against Hillary for mishandling classified material than the Man in the Moon.

So we continue seeing the same kind of political operations that have removed will of the people and replaced it with the “Won’t” of the moneyed class.

Even CNN headlined that the “Debate (was) a reminder of Clinton’s weaknesses.”

Meantime Donald Trump Criticizes Pope Francis for Mexico Border Visit, and we have to wonder if the Pope will be able to turn the other cheek and bless Trump…or save it for Cruz?  A touchy Pope-litical question.

What his holiness may not grok is the destruction and corruption the open border drug trade has brought not only to the home invasion victims on this side, but also the tourism deaths in Mexico.  See the story about how the Families of Americans Murdered in Mexico Are Suing HSBC.  Reasoning?  The bank let the cartels do their dirty laundry, is what’s alleged and may not be too hard to prove.

These stories do have a kind of flow to them, a kind of cause, effect, and knock-on that is generally missing in mainstream accounts.

So we will point out that as the screws come down on the outside, the pressure is also heating up inside Mexican prisons where a Mexico prison riot leaves 49 inmates dead.

Shakes and Quakes

A 6,5 in Indonesia this morning.  The USGS geology lesson in the region goes like this:

The Sunda convergent margin extends for 5,600 km from the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea, both located northwest of the map area, towards Sumba Island in the southeast, and then continues eastward as the Banda arc system. This tectonically active margin is a result of the India and Australia plates converging with and subducting beneath the Sunda plate at a rate of approximately 50 to 70 mm/yr. The main physiographic feature associated with this convergent margin is the Sunda-Java Trench, which stretches for 3,000 km parallel to the Java and Sumatra land masses and terminates at 120° E. The convergence of the Indo-Australia and Sunda plates produces two active volcanic arcs: Sunda, which extends from 105 to 122° E and Banda, which extends from 122 to 128° E. The Sunda arc results solely from relatively simple oceanic plate subduction, while the Banda arc represents the transition from oceanic subduction to continental collision, where a complex, broad deforming zone is found.

No word on causalities, but this quake today was not out of the ordinary for the region which is creeping off to the northwest, if I follow the rest of the discussion here correctly.  (A slim chance until I get more beaned-up.)

Meantime, only five quakes in Oklahoma from fracking in the past 24 hours:

  1. 2.6 6km N of Stillwater, Oklahoma 2016-02-12 00:33:47 UTC5.4 km
  2. 2.5 10km NNW of Perry, Oklahoma 2016-02-11 22:35:11 UTC1.7 km
  3. 2.8 30km NW of Fairview, Oklahoma 2016-02-11 19:49:13 UTC5.0 km
  4. 2.9 30km NW of Fairview, Oklahoma 2016-02-11 18:32:59 UTC5.0 km
  5. 2.6 18km ENE of Mooreland, Oklahoma 2016-02-11 13:18:24 UTC5.0 k

But you can’t make an omelet without busting a few foundations, now, can you?

Speaking of Wars and Future Energy

As we watch the northeast side of the HUGE Leviathan gas war over Syria taking place we read how Syria Truce Agreed But Opposition Demands ‘Action on the Ground’  Not that it means anything, since there is a lot of energy to be had…

And, by the by, that’s why the Saudis have been so keenly interested.  Last thing they need is Iran or Iraq oil areas going into production full-tilt.

You know how we say in America that you shouldn’t mix discussions like sex and politics into polite conversation?  In the Middle East a slurry of religion and oil is what‘s happening and with enough gunfire, choosing up sides has become non-optional.