Since our “market darts” have already told us where things should go when markets open today (down until around lunch-time, then a strong rally into Friday…but this is just the darts, lol) we can sit back, watch the dough pile up and try to sort out the question of how social media is used to create “fake news” – Or, is it?

My consigliere called last night to give me his take on things.  He’s been tracking the high-noise levels on social media and suggested it would make an interesting case study.  So, here goes…

There is a dam in California, up river from Oroville and there was a “close encounter” with disaster there in 2017.  The dam, some argue, came close to failing.  Since then repairs have been in the works.

Fast forward to a couple of days ago:  Some sharp-eyed people on the Internet noted that a late-season storm was headed into that part of the Sierra’s this weekend and that MIGHT put the dam above its limited.

The idea is that the dam is very close to its peak depth (900-feet) and if there’s appreciable rainfall in the area (and early excited reports on the web mentioned as much as 7-inches was possible) then the dam could be in real trouble.

Oh, should mention my consigliere is a bit suspicious that the dam’s main gates haven’t been opened a bit… but you know how attorneys are  – suspicious!

Well, except he’s maybe onto something.  For one of the oldest saying in newsrooms across America is “When the government says “Don’t worry”  what should you really be doing?  Worrying.  At least a bit, anyway.

So I went “headline sniffing” this morning to see who’s saying what.  And here comes the flood of “No problems…move along…”

Take for example, The Merc is rolling with “Oroville Dam Spillway Concerns?  DWR says No…

Then there’s also “Fact check: KCRA investigates Oroville Dam rumors” and “Water Officials Quell Rumors Of Oroville Dam Spillway Problems.”

Just a case of “nervous Nellies of the Net?”  Maybe, maybe not.

If you check out (a useful site when gathering futuring words, BTW) you will find a discussion thread that going to the idea that “California’s Lake Oroville Main Spillway Severely Damaged/Eroded. Oroville Dam’s Recently Reconstructed Main Spillway Fundamentally Flawed.”

We also heard (just rumor, mind you) that an accomplished remote viewer saw a dam problem prior to the 2017 event, but the remote viewing didn’t match-up with the actual view of the dam in 2017.  Seems the viewer didn’t see any power lines running over the emergency spillway area which were there in 2017.

What makes it interesting (*we get to the prescience part of the discussion here), is that those powerlines are not there now.  They were rerouted following the 2017 near-miss.

Normally, we don’t try to sort real news from fake news from human prescience>  But since I’ve had a number of personal encounters with this “prior knowing” stuff, I’m not as skeptical as I once was.

You can find the Accuweather forecast for Oroville here, and remember there may be a lot more rain in the mountains behind the dam.  Should just be starting to rain out there right now.

Just remember – before getting to whipped-up and worried – that the RV’er could still be right at some point in the future – just not this weekend..  And, if you want to read all of the documents related to the dam, prepared to be disappointed since some may now be “classified” due to “national security” concerns.

Gotta keep us all safe, right?

Housing Data’s Out

Looks like this:

Building Permits 

Privatelyowned housing units authorized by building permits in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,296,000.   This is 0.6 percent (±2.6 percent)* above the revised March rate of 1,288,000, but is 5.0 percent (±1.4 percent) below the April  2018 rate of 1,364,000.  Single?family authorizations in April were at a rate of 782,000; this is 4.2 percent (±1.2 percent) below  the revised March figure of 816,000.  Authorizations of units in buildings with five units or more were at a rate of 467,000 in  April.

Housing Starts Privately-owned housing starts in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,235,000.  This is 5.7 percent (±13.0  percent)* above the revised March estimate of 1,168,000, but is 2.5 percent (±10.4 percent)* below the April 2018 rate of  1,267,000.  Single?family housing starts in April were at a rate of 854,000; this is 6.2 percent (±13.7 percent)* above the revised  March figure of 804,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 359,000.

Housing Completions  Privately?owned housing completions in April were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1,312,000.  This is 1.4 percent (±15.5  percent)* below the revised March estimate of 1,331,000, but is 5.5 percent (±11.9 percent)* above the April 2018 rate of  1,244,000.  Single?family housing completions in April were at a rate of 918,000; this is 4.1 percent (±13.4 percent)* below the  revised March rate of 957,000. The April rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 381,000.

Next big economic news item is the Philly Fed Business Outlook just released:  Modest growt5h continuing…

Tomorrow, look for a couple of minor reports.  More than anything, though, tomorrow is options expiration.  In our Aggregated Markets view, the market is 2.568% lower this month than it was on the last options expiration in April.  Sell in May and go away?

We wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t get a bit of a rally in here but the headwinds on things like trade continue to confound.  Dow futures after the release are up 100 but that’s the starting gate mark…

Here in the Worker’s Paradise

A Majority of Russians Have No Savings, Poll Says .  Better here?  Well, USA Today reported last fall the median American household has $4,830 saved…  The average is higher, but median is the half-above, half-below line…

Cyber Security Note

Since I’ve had my consulting hat on in the cyber-insurance arena for a while now, this (trust me) is a biggie: Trump declares national emergency over IT threats.

Interleaving: China’s Huawei, 70 Affiliates Blacklisted By US Commerce Department.  So to retaliate, China formally arrests 2 Canadians in case linked to Huawei.

But from a NATO ally: Dutch spy agency investigating alleged Huawei ‘backdoor’: Volkskrant .  But then there’s the socialist/apologists of France where Macron says it is not France’s aim to block Huawei.

Tripping Through the Headlines

Gas prices may continue higher than we’d like as Brent oil hovers around $72 on Middle East tensions .

Our “daily economic distortion story?” Steve Mnuchin’s dad pays record $91M for stainless-steel ‘Rabbit’ sculpture by Jeff Koons.  (filed under funny bunny money).

Meantime, Flopsy, Mopsy and BTC’s have drooped to the $7,850 area. They’re expected to hop back, of course.

Will change come to the “98th Circus Court of Appeals?” Senate confirms Trump pick to 9th Circuit — but Dems Feinstein, Harris oppose fellow Californian…which is what obstructers do, I guess.

Given a chance, equality shows up?  Not so fast:  While  The Fortune 500 Has More Female CEOs Than Ever Before.  Still, just 33 out of 500.  6.6%.

Auto Safety Pointer: Rhode Island cop pulls over self-driving car.  We can’t make this stuff up…

And in the NY Times biz section:  if you’re thinking about Retiring: Why Working Till Whenever Is a Risky Retirement Strategy.

“Prescience” & Submarines

I don’t post everything immediately when it happens…but this “prescience topic” does deserve a further explanation.  Since a dream (Sunday morning last weekend) I have been looking for two submarines to appear in the news.  One of them showed up this morning in the story German submarine inspected for damage after mishap in Norway.

And here’s an odd press release for you: Submarine Market is Anticipated to Reach at a CAGR of 4.86% By 2024.

The account (woo-woo column this Saturday) is one of those long, rambling, oneironaut dreams of mine.  But, just so you know what’s coming, the part about “fake/low freeboard” submarines is interesting as hell… Been walking around with “submarines”  since Sunday with this image of a fake sub in my head wondering what the hell “fake sub” means:

One had an aspect of “here” and one had an aspect of “there.”  You go ponder that…while I go wolf down some chow.

\Moron the morrow\

For the Conspiracy-Minded
The World’s “Wasted People”