Friday, April 27, 2012

Yale University Dangers, Terrorism

Is this smart? Yale is the #1 University in the USA in many rankings. Within walking distance of campus are huge petroleum storage tanks constantly refueled from Muslim countries using some of the largest super-tankers in the world. Harvard and MIT are not far from the Everett refueling station. Much of the Northeast heats houses by fuel oil, and much of the rest of the economy runs on imported oil. I remember circa Dec 1981 being awakened in Berkeley when a huge tank in Richmond blew up. I remember circa October 1987 when I was driving on 680 east of Berkeley and saw the Shell refinery burning, a huge fire. Accidents happen. Terrorism happens. I tend to think that USA infrastructure and preparedness is poor. Will they fix it in these days of incompetence and decreasing budgets? Is there an internet gambling site with odds on the various catastrophes that are likely to happen? Is that a business opportunity?

I am attracted to the Yale area but closer to NYC is Bridgeport which is another port with similar problems. Lubbock Texas was 104 degrees yesterday and still in a serious drought. It seems that most of the USA has serious problems with large populations sitting ducks.


Magellan Midstream Partners, a Tulsa-based company, has 3 docks and 54 storage tanks that hold 3.9 million barrels of petroleum products in New Haven. Motiva has 1.7 million barrels of storage, its second-largest operation in the United States. The most common security breach, according to the Coast Guard, is people trespassing on the tank farms at the port to get to the waterfront, usually to fish under the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, which runs over New Haven Harbor where it meets the Quinnipiac River. There was also an incident in 2003 when two people were found videotaping the harbor from the bridge. They were later found to be illegal aliens and were deported.Typical cargo problems, according to Customs, are small drug seizures

There are deepwater ports in Bridgeport, New Haven and New London. Motiva Enterprises, is partly owned by a subsidiary of the national oil company of Saudi Arabia. Motiva owns and operates a portion of the ports of New Haven and Bridgeport. And, in an odd twist, Motiva also owns some of the storage tanks at New Haven's port that hold part of the Northeast Heating Oil Reserve, a component of the country's Strategic Petroleum Reserve, which the federal government taps in times of emergency. Motiva is a joint venture of the Shell Oil Company and Saudi Refining, a subsidiary of the Aramco Services Company, which itself is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Saudi Arabian Oil Company, a government-owned company also known as Saudi Aramco. Houston-based Motiva brings petroleum products, including gasoline and aviation fuel, into Connecticut.

Magellan Midstream Partners owns, operates and acquires energy assets. Our primary business is the transportation, storage and distribution of refined petroleum products. Our current asset portfolio includes over 80 petroleum products terminals, a 9,600-mile petroleum products pipeline system and an 1,100-mile ammonia pipeline system

Motiva Enterprises LLC operates primarily in the eastern United States. Its operations include 7,700 Shel gasoline stations, three refineries with a combined capacity of 740,000 barrels per day, and ownership interest in 41 refined product storage terminals with an aggregate storage capacity of approximately 19.8 million barrels.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mormons, QE3, Money, Keynes on the importance of ideas

Mitt Romney may win the presidency so I am reading on Mormonism to see what that may portend. Mormons may not be so prone to scandalous behavior such as what is going on with Obama in charge. Mormons may not want to run up big debts that endanger feeding and educating their many children. Mormons may better understand the problems with middle eastern religious wars.

One problem with low interest rates and QE1, QE2, ... is that these programs have not and will not stimulate the economy if the banks hoard the money given to them in exchange for the paper given to the Fed. The evidence that this has happened is indicated by the low volume of lending, low volume of money, and the weak recovery with not enough economic growth to meet the needs of an expanding population. The money hoarding boosts bank capital as required by new regulations. Bankers bonuses and employment have not fallen as much as they should due to past poor performance. Maybe they justify it by saying they are running better capitalized banks than before the crash.

I saw a 60 minutes show implicating the leaders of Lehman Brothers in their collapse that spread economy-wide to cause the fall 2008 meltdown. This case illustrates how bad ideas can sink one of the largest banks. This case is also a good example of the following quote by Keynes who said that ideas are more important than vested interests. Unfortunately I have not yet seen a great outpouring of good ideas since the crash. There have been some complaints and calls for criminal prosecutions, but mostly the academic community are just doing what they were doing before the crash including Sharpe CAPM and Black-Scholes OPM. Many smart young people are going into the new dot-com boom instead of finance since the crash -- Facebook, smart phones, apps,... I too am thinking about writing 2 patents for iPad apps.

"... the ideas of economists and political philosophers, both when they are right and when they are wrong, are more powerful than is commonly understood. Indeed the world is ruled by little else. Practical men, who believe themselves to be quite exempt from any intellectual influence, are usually the slaves of some defunct economist. Madmen in authority, who hear voices in the air, are distilling their frenzy from some academic scribbler of a few years back. I am sure that the power of vested interests is vastly exaggerated compared with the gradual encroachment of ideas. Not, indeed, immediately, but after a certain interval; for in the field of economic and political philosophy there are not many who are influenced by new theories after they are twenty-five or thirty years of age, so that the ideas which civil servants and politicians and even agitators apply to current events are not likely to be the newest. But, soon or late, it is ideas, not vested interests, which are dangerous for good or evil."


Assets, Retirement, Random Walk

Asset prices are mostly a random walk, especially currencies. Some lucky idiots occasionally guess right but an equal number guess wrong. Most idiots claim success except those looking for sympathy. Slight advantages can be gained by trained professionals with access to powerful statistical tools

Nonprofessionals cannot forecast or buy access to forecasts. There are a few pros (crooks?) with contacts inside governments, banks, and companies who will occasionally be able to gain considerable advantage in trading. Outsiders need enough education to know to not try to compete with insiders on their own turf. Insiders often gain undue influence or completely control smaller markets. Insiders can thus ruin outsiders who are the sheeple flocking into poor investments heavily promoted in the media. Proliferation of TV channels and internet web sites make it possible to target and stampede smaller special-interest flocks of sheeple more effectively.

Most assets have at best zero returns, for good economic reasons. Most people cannot and never do compute returns, which is great for peddlers of investment scams. This poses a problem for those saving for retirement. It can take decades to discover which assets will not pay off. Good formal education helps to make good investments -- what are the fundamental concepts and how to do the calculations. Much of this will have be learned by reading books, verbal interactions and work with pencil and paper in a room with no distractions such as TV or computers. Few are willing to do the work so become sheeple herded around by the media.

One strategy is to "lock-in" your personal flow of goods and services. This strategy is used successful financial institutions. If you know you will need a cash outflow on a certain day in the future then buy an asset that will pay off on that day in the future with little risk. Minimize the need for cash outflows such as moving to a low tax state. Minimize the cost of security by moving to a safe state. Minimize the cost of insurance by moving to a sober state with healthy people. Minimize health costs by moving away from smog, pollution, crime. If you will need medical care then marry a doctor and send children to medical school. If you know you will want milk then buy some cows. If you know you will want vegetables then buy space and learn to garden. Also learn to walk, fish, and hunt. Nobody is too old to garden -- everybody needs the exercise. Get your own supply of free water and electricity. Avoid dependence on the government for anything and take a tax accounting class. Minimize people problems with lots of space between you and them.

These strategies can be seen to be useful immediately as well as in the future during retirement. Many such strategies. But they take work. So the sheeple look to salvation in investment scams that mostly serve to enrich brokers. They are not locking in assets that will provide the goods and services when they need them.

Reply to:

Nonetheless I still welcome any advice you may have in the Euro vs Dollar issue, which is right on the mark that you made about the ratios. I had German friends bring me Euros several times after seeing nearly a decade of US economic destruction by our central planners. Last summer a friend went to Europe so I sold her all my Euros for 1.38 instead of the 1.50 I paid. Needless to say I was disappointed. I expected so much more of the Europeans because I know their leadership has learned the lessons from the last century that war doesn’t pay (so eloquently pointed out in Rummel’s “Death by Government.”) Kudos on your choice of books, Joe – that is a great read. I should also say that after my Euro experience, I read up on the Euro (duh!) and learned that despite it being, what 15% (?) gold backed, at least on a national basis, it was specifically designed as a medium of exchange only, but not a store of value – and I did not do my due diligence. Had I known that, I could have saved myself the trouble. They pegged it to the dollar originally at .80 so it certainly gained on the dollar due to inherent European conservatism despite dropping interest rates. Japan, with it’s ZIRP policy beginning in 1991, is now in it’s 3rd decade of deflation and as you’d expect, the Japanese are not at all unhappy with stable prices, but they’d like more change. They’re now “forced” to adapt to 40 hour instead of 60 hour workweeks and many of them are finding a more European way of living, less “live to work” and more “work to live.” Once the rats stop running, it’s hard to get them back on that wheel and the Banksters must be seething over that turn of events.

Anyway, seriously, do you have any input that would help me choose one of those two fiat currencies to diversify? I am following the Euro situation very closely and so far all I see is each “sovereign” being toppled and replaced by a GS schooled vampire squid from the Cabal. The citizens have ample motive for their own European Spring, so it will be interesting this year. Regarding the USD index tracking the “health” of the US dollar, I find it to be nearly useless since it values the dollar against what, 5 or 6 currencies? The problem is that since they’re all fiat currencies, which are all being competitively devalued by their desperate “sovereigns,” it really tells nothing significant about the value of the dollar. The current fiat plan seems to be for all “sovereigns” under the majority Rothschild/Rockefeller cartel to print like there’s no tomorrow. The goal being “wealth effect” as Benny puts it - give everybody a room full of fiat to swim in and they can’t help but feel like Scrooge McDuck. It won’t solve anything in the way of prosperity or infrastructure but “feel good” seems to be the mantra.

Your points about family farms are excellent, Joe. The USSR survived their breakup with winners and losers and are doing better now. Central planning didn’t work for the Russians and failed, as it will for the US. Central planning was never in the Constitution, in fact it’s prohibited, but that’s never stopped our anointed ones. They have installed at least 6 of the 10 planks of the Communist Manifesto and 2 (fiat money and income tax) have done incredible damage. We survived the last depression because 30% were still “on the farm” (“unproductive” to our central planners) and reasonably self sufficient. That attitude helped the Russians survive their fiat collapse but they, like the Argentinians, were more homogeneous and self sufficient than us. The Russians had their decade in Afghanistan and we had ours, so now’s a good time to call the game. I think Lothaar and I are too old for farming, but again your points on “back to basics” are spot on.

Remaining on the fiat topic, here’s the Fiat model I used to drive in Europe long ago. The Fiat 850 Spyder. Small, simple and very efficient. Playboy quoted them at 44mpg but I usually got 40 to 42 in every day driving. See how far we’ve come in 40+ years? – we can now get, yup, 40 mpg but only by buying a Diesel at 10X the price. 90% of the US auto fleet would love to see even 30mpg as Benny deflates the dollar, raising gas prices globally. Anyway I keep looking for these out here, but they go pretty fast because they’re smog exempt. If you see any back there, I just might come back. And no, I won’t ship you any fiat after all. I got to thinking about today’s shipping costs and realized, like the Weimar Germans, that it costs more to ship than it’s worth. If we stick to basics, at 12.44 BTU, it’s better to “burn in place” than it is to ship it.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

gold vs. Electronic currency.

Prices are ratios of exchange. You can write the same line y=f(x) or x=f(y). Currently the euro is around $1.30 whereas previously it was around $0.85 so now the euro costs more dollars but the dollar costs fewer euros. So one currency has gone up and the other currency has gone down by a simple mathematical relationship. You cannot rig transactions so that both currencies go up or both currencies go down. One will have to go up by the amount that the other has gone down. The holders of the falling currency will lose but the holders of the rising currency will win. Tradeoffs are the core of economics. They taught it in 1967, the last time I looked in an economics 1A text. Pie in the sky and prophets of doom often are just making money off herding the sheeple. Clown-like arguments are common means of deceiving the gullible as is the style of most html internet writing. Look to see that they do some pro forma financial statements with correct mathematics.

Fiat money rules -- that is all people want. Coins are trinkets to hypnotize landless peasants who lack acres, cows, horses.... So they are lulled into a sense of complacency before the coming extermination and movement of their gold into Fort Knox. Never forget that the top twenty regimes have killed 156,000,000 gold owners the last century

Ah, Joe, so many errors to correct, but where to begin, I wonder?

You make a fundamental error in the chart that shows currencies dropping in value. When one currency falls then another currency is rising, as is the nature of transactions. The net effect is a wash. Another gross error on your part, I’m afraid. Regardless of whether it was Russia or Argentina, you say that THEIR currency was falling and another was rising. The effect, however, was NOT a wash for those poor possessors of fiat – they lost big time. YOU, on the other hand, were extolling the beneficial effects of fiat but as you can see, these people lost everything. If you don’t care then Joe, you’re either pathetically cruel and heartless toward humans or just being obtuse. If you were there advocating fiat to these people, Joe, you’d be lucky if you were not lynched on the spot! You were saying how beneficial it is for us humans but the chart shows the exact opposite. Are you ignoring history, I wonder, or are you just being callous and shallow? I.E. if the euro weakens against the dollar then the dollar strengthens against the euro. When one goes up the other goes down. The internet is filled with such meaningless graphs with similar mistakes (note the lack of definitions and footnotes). Usually they are deliberately to mislead the sheeple. I remember when the masses started seeing such graphs in large quantities circa 1992. They often were pretty but completely illogical. This was two decades after I was producing better graphs on a zeta plotter. Joe, you either don’t understand or don’t care – which is it??

Also if you go out and spend one of your fancy silver dimes, you will get only 10 cents for it unless you take it to a dealer. I thought you were talking about an emergency like the Carrington event or EMP, no? Did that suddenly change or did you just forget? In those events, the cloud is GONE and your bits are worthless. We’re talking barter. Coins are not useful in emergencies. Plastic is easier to carry and more acceptable. You may be required to use plastic as many stores may not accept cash if there is an emergency involving security problems. Joe, once again you’re either forgetting or pretending to. You can’t possibly be that ignorant. We discussed before the reason that gold coins are placed in the survival kit for pilots that might wind up in enemy hands. No, the pilots don’t barter with paper or plastic as you suggest, but then you’re not a pilot so likely wouldn’t know. Nonetheless try to envision yourself in the hands of Taliban tribesman in Afghanistan and you might think differently. YOU were the one positing the emergency situation so get with the program and give us a real emergency - don’t just hypothesize as you so often do. Around here I rarely see anybody using cash. Some stores may already not accept cash. I continue to give you high marks for your fertile if febrile imagination! I use cash sometimes but get funny looks from the cashier. Cash is used by mostly illegal Mexicans and drug dealers. C’mon you can do better than that – cite please? I remember my German marathon running partner in 1982 disrespecting some hippie who pulled out a big roll of bills to buy some tires. He said he would never do that way back then when cash was more common. Nowadays there is little reason to use cash. The best deals nationwide in the US are on Craigslist – they only take cash and you pay no tax. With patience (well, maybe not in your case) you can get anything you like for 10 or 20 % of retail and no tax. And yes, it’s legal, but then you already knew that, right?

The fiat money system is not in any danger of collapse. No, of course not - one currency dies and a new one springs up at 1/100th of the old value. It just keeps happening but what do you care, unless it happens to be your currency. There is no viable alternative. Don’t be ridiculous – use your imagination - you excel at that. The rich are in control and they need it, as do all citizens. No dictator could get away with trying to get rid of fiat money. Too many people want and need money and they will get all upset if the fiat money system sputters even a little bit. Well, join the club, I guess. You can see how all those fiat users made out when their currencies collapsed. “Upset” is not quite the word I would use to describe their situation! Nuclear war and solar events will not harm fiat currency which is stored in the cloud. You’re such a kidder Joe! Those are problems of commodities which cannot be stored in the cloud. And thank goodness for that! If I’m hungry and want a commodity, I want it for real, not some binary figment of your imagination.

You can learn it the hard way. Call tomorrow and disconnect your water, gas, electricity, cable... C’mon Joe – that’s a poor simulation – you gotta think outside the box – I know you can do better than that. Then see how well you fare with gold and silver without travel. Then go traveling with coins. I predict you will be back on fiat money within a week. Lotsa luck Joe! I’ve got bales of fiat you’d like but if you want it, you’ll have to pay me gold or silver. How about some cool Zimbabwe fiat – I can get bales for pennies. I aim to please so just send gold and I’ll send you some fiat. Remember the ultimate value of all fiat is 12.44 BTU. It may not sound like much but it could save your life during a cold winter.

farm investments: profit, health

Has the human herd gone too far in abandoning family farms? I attach 2 maps showing that the population has moved off the best farm land and crowded into the cities (especially Las Vegas, Phoenix, and Los Angeles) where they collect welfare, food stamps and other government checks. Unfortunately that puts them far from their food which is increasingly trucked in from Mexico and other foreign sources along with illegals, drugs and other contraband. That food is chemically treated and processed to withstand the rigors of transportation and to not rot while waiting for consumption. In the old days people on family farms ate fresh healthy foods free from their gardens without taxes, shipping, shoplifting, or a drop of Muslim oil.

Is this a recipe for a booming economy or is it mostly a waste of resources? Are people better sitting on their butts talking on phones, peering into computer screens, driving or parked in traffic jams, getting stressed collecting debts, selling junk, paying taxes, dependent on the government for providing child care? Or worse, just collecting welfare and watching TV?

Nowadays it seems that more work can be done over the internet, leaving time for gardening and milking the cow. Retired people might especially benefit from less stress outside the city. Also large families that need a lot of food and space for play. I can see why highly educated people might need to be in glass and steel towers in the big city. However fewer and fewer Americans fall into that category. Especially poorer people on welfare who have trouble feeding themselves on food stamps would benefit from having their own house on acres with free food and freedom from drugs, guns and gangs.

It seems to me that some redistribution of the population would be helpful. Particularly many family farms have been abandoned and are available cheap for people to move in and use those existing resources. Instead of building more houses in drought prone fragile desert environments such as Las Vegas or Los Angeles it would be cheaper and safer to use already constructed homes on water-rich farmland such as Iowa or Missouri.

Iowa is known as the "Food Capital of the World". Most of Iowa is used for agriculture, crops cover 60% of the state, grasslands (mostly pasture and hay with some prairie and wetland) cover 30%, and forests cover 7%; urban areas and water cover 1%. Iowa ranks 49th in government land holdings. Iowa, in common with other Midwestern states (especially Kansas, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota), is feeling the brunt of rural flight, although Iowa has been gaining population since approximately 1990. Another demographic problem for Iowa is the brain drain, in which educated young adults leave the state in search of better prospects in higher education or employment. During the 1990s, Iowa had the second highest exodus rate for single, educated young adults, second only to North Dakota. Significant loss of educated young people contributes to economic stagnation and the loss of services for remaining citizens. economic diversity has helped Iowa weather the late 2000s recession better than most states, with unemployment substantially lower than the rest of the nation. 2009, Standard and Poor's state of Iowa's credit AAA (the highest of its credit ratings, held by only 11 states) January 2010 unemployment rate is 6.6%

Friday, April 20, 2012

acres, cows, Columbia Missouri

For decades sheeple have been abandoning family farms and flocking into the cities to live on food stamps. So functional family farms are now good buys for smart investors willing to bet against the crowd. This is called "contrarian" investing against the herd instinct. It has scientific support in the literature on "mean reversion" that finds that eventually the herd realizes its error and reverses course (often after it is too late and they have lost their shirt). Closely related to asset price "bubbles." Investors extrapolate recent trends and think those trends can continue when they cannot.

I can appreciate the problems of learning farming as one gets older. Like other professions you need to start young and get professional training. But a garden is easy and good exercise. You can easily produce far more vegetables than you can eat. One holy cow can produce 10 gallons of milk per day. Small scale farming is easy and fun and takes little effort. I did so 4 years in high school.

Another option is to live in a smaller city with sufficient space around that city to provide food and put distance from social problems. Then hunt, fish, and shop in farmer's markets. Many USA smaller cities are mostly white people with clean air, mild weather and robust farming and/or wild game ecosystems all around.

For example, Columbia Missouri is a small white city but has a large university, swimming pools, libraries, medical school, VA clinic, and is midway between Saint Louis and Kansas City that are big enough to have everything including a top-4 medical college. Surrounded by highly productive farmland. No droughts -- the Missouri River is huge and the eastern border is the Missisippi, the largest river. Then lakes and forests all over the state, especially the rugged south. Great hunting and fishing, often in your back yard! Survivable and great recreation. Not the best city for young people needing jobs in highly profitable technology companies. Older people don't need that.

We city folks are just doing the minimum of preparation as a hedge [insurance] against future hyperinflation.
Real Estate, Art, Precious Metals, Guns & Ammo should go a long way if the SHTF.
Most of us are too old to start farming ! (hard physical labor)
Sure, having some land, where you grow your own food is priceless.
We all come to you in an emergency !

I was offline today due to thunderstorms, I unplug all computers. All modern services are maintained by Rube Goldberg devices that can easily break down. Survival depends on the same ecosystems that have been around for eons, and the same nutrients, sleep, exercise,... as developed in traditional cultures.

Solar activity follows normal mathematical laws of cycles, probability, and is well understood. The greatest probability is for smaller localized magnetic pulses and those probabilities are small. My debit cards were not affected by the recent event you mention, nor were 99.9999% of those in the world. Large banks have servers around the world and redundancy is a well understood way to prevent total system failure

The probability of nuke war EMP is lower still but should not be totally ignored. These will also be localized and will not affect the usability of cards or checks outside the area hit. Money orders were used in Great Britain in 1792. Checks were used in India in 321BC. These do not need any computers or electronics

Your bank account debit cards, checking accounts, auto-deposits and auto-pays will continue to work in all these scenarios unless you are in the affected areas. Cards and checks are light and easy to carry and easy to replace if lost or stolen. Gold is even worse in a disaster situation than as an investment. It can be lost or stolen and cannot be used in transactions. You will need to rent a hotel and buy food unless you want to be totally at the mercy of the authorities who may not show up for days or weeks. Gold dealers will be flooded with gold driving its price down to nil, if you are lucky to find a working gold dealer.

Gold is now marketed as the "new housing" asset whose price will always go up. It used to be hard to find a gold store but now they are all over the place and in the media. Just like the housing boom. Even in California real estate brokers were not that noticeable before 2000. Now they put fancy printed ads all over the place, even after the house price crash. Today's young gamblers do not remember the multi-decade gold silver bear market, and internet charts often do not show this. Investors are irrational more often than not (I will send you footnotes, this is current research).

You will not be able to find out the short and long interest in gold or silver or any other market. Most derivatives are contracts between private parties that often do not have to be reported. Contracts that do get reported may be put into the public domain just to mislead the market. The internet is a cheap way to put out misleading information. All the traditional media can push gold. Criminals, idiots, and drug dealers who are not familiar with stocks, futures, and options can get the idea of gold and may notice if the price is doing well, and may think they can trade it. The big boys running the market are only too happy to see idiots piling onto gold and will keep the game going as long as they are making money and getting more hooked. I remember the same events in the housing boom. I quit looking at housing at all in 2002, what a joke. Surprised it took 5 more years to start crashing.

Gold is a smaller market than houses and the big boys have more control. Everybody needs a house but nobody needs gold or silver which are increasingly worthless commodities. A few players may make a little money off the price fluctuations but most will lose their shirt. I don't know what the powers that be have planned for the gold market, or what they are up to. Without inside knowledge I would stay out. Ants that try to play with elephants can be trampled.

However it is clear that people need cows, horses, acres, water, mild weather, energy, etc. Buying gold is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic if one lacks life-sustaining essentials. A sure path to doom in a survival situation. May be a plot by the 1% to exterminate the 99% -- the poor will have gold but no food. After the gold owners starve then collect the gold and use the physical gold to cover the derivatives contracts. More importantly you need space both for security and also to grow you own food. The junk in stores is unhealthy. Some kinds of excellent farm-land is cheap and hard for the big boys to get into due to distance. I would say get out of gold and into something you really need. Large acreage in an area with similar neighbors that will not conspire against you on racial grounds, for example. I am amazed what money will buy in Missouri, for instance, on physical inspection which does take some work to get to.

There is little indication in the article you cited that CME effects would be localized. The large solar flare that hit about one month ago disabled electronic passcard activators and cellphone communications locally. Electronic debit cards et al would probably be the last priority to have. I do not understand your claim that the mainstream media would want to "stampede" persons into gold. The PTB that control the mainstream media spend their resources convincing persons that the Wall Street financial snake oil matrix is the only credible alternative. The President's own "plunge protection team" as well as J.P Morgan and other global banks spend enormous resources naked shorting gold to keep it below the $1700. level. I obviously agree that in a starvation situation that food would be more valuable than PM. However, even during the Donner Party disaster during the winter of 1846-1847 the $10000 in gold and silver bullion held with George Donner was never used to bargain for food from others in the party that had food. The bullion was buried prior to most of the family starving.("History of the Donner Party a Tragedy of the Sierras",C.F. McGlashan, published 1879). A glimpse of human nature. Somewhat like the Spanish soldiers drowning rather than releasing the Aztec gold they carried. If large scale electrical transport systems went down it could be months or never that they would be repaired depending on the level of disaster and the availablity of qualified remaining repair personnel. Modern buildings are susceptible to power surges and losses from power suppliers such as P.G. and E. even with a solar or other backup system. The old startup generators are gone. They had provided some protection to building electrical circuits from power variations. I have personally witnessed two recent instances where some building circuits including alarms were fried when backup systems kicked in after a power loss. This necessitated a couple of days of location and repair in the circuits.
Without adequate protection anything you have of value would be taken by marauders. Any bargaining would be for your life. As "duress" would be present this would definitely not pass the smell test for a freely bargained contract. Extortion or robbery not "bargaining".
Cash, gold, weapons, ammo and freeze dried or dehydrated food would be my priority if someone were forced to hit the road. I can think of a myriad of other items depending on the type of transportation, distance, planned duration of stay etc. Medicine would be one. If one is a Type 2 diabetic take extra insulin or naturally occurring substances such as cinnamon that would reduce serum blood sugar levels. Antibiotics would be another choice. Pockets full of plastic would be a waste of valuable space.

EMP and CME are low probability and even if they happen they do not reduce citizens' need for electronic currency.

CME's may have little or localized effects

Similarly, EMP will be localized and some percent of the population will need to move ASAP. They do not want to carry gold but will need their ID, debit card and checks to get auto-deposits, pay bills and live in a new environment.

Most stores and landlords do not accept gold coins today, and in a catastrophe even fewer will. You will also likely attract the attention of police, militia, or gangs if you are carrying gold which is most often used for drugs, prostitution or tax evasion. You may be able to barter with a farmer and get a few eggs for a gold coin. Soon you will run out of coins and wish you had a more useable electronic money.

In disaster scenarios those who do best will own cows and horses in a solid ecosystem with acres and water such as in Missouri. Such survivalists who don't waste time watching TV might not know that a disaster occurred.

Such might be a good time to pull out the fake gold coins to rip off gold suckers. Who can do an EMP strike can also make fake gold coins and maybe can recoup the cost of the bombs for the strike!

Numismatic fake samples

There are well made counterfeit gold coins in circulation. For example, the St. Gaudens Double Eagle omega counterfeit is infamous for its complexity[23] and has fooled many numismatics experts. It is a high relief business strike, and due to the extensive wear on the die, these coins were not made for many years.

Another example is the US $20 gold coin ("double eagle"), which has raised lettering around its rim. If the coin is uncirculated, the letters will be flat on top. If slightly rounded, and the coin is uncirculated, it is a counterfeit. There are other counterfeit double eagles in which the gold and copper alloy was not thoroughly mixed. These counterfeits will have a slightly mottled appearance.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

mental illness: brain, gut: kraut kefir kimchee yogurt

Speech acts are partly caused by food and the gut brain. An excellent brief article on mental disorders below. Traditional diets are better than modern junk food diets. Probably a major cause of modern social pathologies and the idiots in the media wasting time talking nonsense instead of farming. Heal the world by setting a good example. Buy a cow and make your own organic yogurt, sour cream, kefir, buttermilk, cheese, etc. Grow your own organic vegetables and ferment them.

While they may seem very different, these two organs are actually created out of the same type of tissue. During fetal development, one part turns into your central nervous system while the other develops into your enteric nervous system.

Your vagus nerve—the tenth cranial nerve that runs from your brain stem down to your abdomen—connects these two organs together. Your gut actually produces more of the neurotransmitter serotonin—thought to play an important role in OCD, in addition to having a beneficial influence on your mood in general—than your brain does, so optimizing your gut flora may indeed have tremendous benefit for your psychological health. And there's plenty of evidence to suggest that this needs to begin from birth, or even, ideally, before birth.

Can You Reverse Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders with... Bacteria?

Increasingly, scientific evidence shows that nourishing your gut flora with the beneficial bacteria found in traditionally fermented foods (or a probiotic supplement) is extremely important for proper brain function, and that includes psychological well-being and mood control. The reason I am more fond of using fermented foods as a source of beneficial bacteria is LEVERAGE. You can typically consume more than 100 times the amount you would in typical serving of oral probiotics. You can get many trillions of bacteria instead of billions.

Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride has successfully demonstrated the power and effectiveness of this theory. In her Cambridge, England clinic, she treats children and adults with a range of conditions, including autism, neurological disorders, psychiatric disorders, immune disorders, and digestive problems using the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) Nutritional Program, which she developed.

crises, stable environments, Pangea, Ozark, Appalachia

Californians lead a tenuous existence due to too much or too little natural resources such as water. Small problems such as floods, earthquakes, droughts, oil embargoes, or power failures can kill millions or make life more miserable than it is already. Too much oil, gas, water, and roads make it easy for illegals to enter and grow marijuana all over the state and transport contraband and collect welfare and other benefits. Poor construction in the wrong areas, a crumbling infrastructure, and a dumbed-down immoral population will worsen the coming catastrophes.

One advantage of southern Missouri is that it lies in a stable ancient ecosystem that stretches from Eastern Oklahoma thru Arkansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Virginia, etc. Much is too rugged for farming or building cheap houses but many plants and animals live here naturally. The Ozark and Appalachian mountains were larger than the Alps or Himalayas millions of years ago at the center of the Pangea super-continent. When the Pangea broke up, the plants and animals living on the continent were carried away with the pieces that became Africa, Europe, Asia... Parts of Missouri ended up in China so many plants and animals are the same in both places. The mountain ecosystems became very diverse as different species developed at the different altitudes and the many nooks and crannies. Animals could also survive by migrating to different altitudes at different seasons. Indians survived here during the ice ages. People may get allergies here but they can survive if they learn the local flora and fauna. I am impressed daily with the many kinds of plants and animals that I see here daily.

This ecoregion, together with the adjacent mixed mesophytic forests, represents one of the world’s richest temperate broadleaf forests (only the temperate flora of central China is slighly richer). This ancient mesic forest type was formerly widespread in the Northern Hemisphere and is now represented by relictual ecosystems in eastern North America and eastern China. The related forests of the Appalachians and central and southwestern China share a large number of higher taxa and relict groups. Many genera and some species and families have disjunct distributions in these distant regions. Over 50 such genera of plants include magnolias, hickory, sassafras, ginseng, mayapple, skunk cabbage, several orchids, jack-in-the-pulpit, coffee-tree, stewartia, witch hazel, dogwoods, persimmons, hollies, sumacs, maples, and yellowood. Several animal taxa also show unique affinities with East Asian relatives, including copperheads (Agkistrodon spp.), hellbender salamanders (Cryptobranchidae family), some land snails, and paddlefish (Polyodon spathula). The taxonomic similarities between these two regions are paralleled by ecological similarities. These include dominance by woody, broad-leaved, deciduous plants, nonwoody plants with underground storage structures and spring blooming (1,400 species in the Great Smokies alone), early-leafing ephemeral herbs or shade-adapted perennials with buds that overwinter, and plant communities that vary predictably along environmental gradients.

Ozark mountains, rugged yellowish limestone, an ancient mountain range now worn down. Missouri limestone is softer and nicer than the hard granite of California and New England. Limestone is all over town and layers are exposed in many areas. Missouri is a leading limestone, cement, rock producer. There is currently only one active diamond mine in the USA near Murfreesboro, Arkansas.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

gold vs. Electronic currency. IPO junk Re: instagram $1,000,000,000


EMP and CME are low probability and even if they happen they do not reduce citizens' need for electronic currency.

CME's may have little or localized effects

Similarly, EMP will be localized and some percent of the population will need to move ASAP. They do not want to carry gold but will need their ID, debit card and checks to get auto-deposits, pay bills and live in a new environment.

Most stores and landlords do not accept gold coins today, and in a catastrophe even fewer will. You will also likely attract the attention of police, militia, or gangs if you are carrying gold which is most often used for drugs, prostitution or tax evasion. You may be able to barter with a farmer and get a few eggs for a gold coin. Soon you will run out of coins and wish you had a more useable electronic money.

In disaster scenarios those who do best will own cows and horses in a solid ecosystem with acres and water such as in Missouri. Such survivalists who don't waste time watching TV might not know that a disaster occurred.

Such might be a good time to pull out the fake gold coins to rip off gold suckers. Who can do an EMP strike can also make fake gold coins and maybe can recoup the cost of the bombs for the strike!

Numismatic fake samples

There are well made counterfeit gold coins in circulation. For example, the St. Gaudens Double Eagle omega counterfeit is infamous for its complexity[23] and has fooled many numismatics experts. It is a high relief business strike, and due to the extensive wear on the die, these coins were not made for many years.

Another example is the US $20 gold coin ("double eagle"), which has raised lettering around its rim. If the coin is uncirculated, the letters will be flat on top. If slightly rounded, and the coin is uncirculated, it is a counterfeit. There are other counterfeit double eagles in which the gold and copper alloy was not thoroughly mixed. These counterfeits will have a slightly mottled appearance.


Joe, I’m glad you cited that Wiki entry on EMP. If you read it you will surely have noticed NO mention of solar storms (CME’s) and that’s an important distinction to note. Man-made (EMP) events are completely different from natural (CME) events and their effects would be quite different on our current society. EMP would likely be accompanied by physical destruction of a lot of our structures to put it mildly. Either of the two, however, would seriously crush Wall Street and decimate “e-currency” or the cashless society, so sought after by the Totalitarians. Paper or metal cash, of course, would be unaffected and permit the unwashed masses to continue their survival to the dismay of our overlords. To advocate E-currency is to be expected from Totalitarians in their eternal quest for dominance. I think it would be best for us to take the conservative approach in managing our resources.

When NASA spent hundreds of thousands making a pressurized ball point pen for weightless writing, the Soviets chose a 5 cent (Shhh, don’t tell Bernanke!) lead pencil because… you guessed it - sometimes “simpler is better.” Occam’s Razor, I guess. Gotta go see a man about a horse. Really….

Romney? Well he’s funded by the same big 5 banks as Obama so I think anyone who likes Obama would also like Romney. Does it really matter?


Vitamin D Golden Age of Rome sunshine short hair wine pork

Your cat licks itself to ingest Vitamin D that is made by it's skin. Polar bear fur is transparent fiber optics that channel sunlight to the skin for warmth and Vitamin D production. Older people's hair turns white and bald to help make vitamin D in the scalp. If you shower after sun-tanning you will wash away Vitamin D. Convertible autos help generate Vitamin D. Ride your horse without a helmet to get more sunshine. Mongolian warlords rode horseback through Europe shooting Europeans with impunity. If pursued they swiveled to reverse on their horse and could shoot accurately while the horse charged forward (try doing that on a motorcycle!)

Hairy over-clothed Muslims do not generate enough Vitamin D, especially rich couch potatoes like Osama Ben Laden who sit indoors watching TV. Wild pigs eat carrion so may be diseased, but this is not a problem with modern corn-fed pork. Muslim polygamy leads to poor rearing of children which Iran disposed of by human wave attacks against Iraq in the 1980s war, for example. Clean shaven Romans had a much higher standard of living and longer lasting civilization using wine, wheat, olives, vegetables and fish oil.
Josephus claims that 1,100,000 people were killed during the siege, of which a majority were Jewish, and that 97,000 were captured and enslaved, The First Jewish–Roman War (66–73 CE), sometimes called The Great Revolt Hebrew: המרד הגדול‎ was the first of three major rebellions by the Jews of Judaea Province against the Roman Empire. The second was the Kitos War in 115–117 CE; the third was Bar Kokhba's revolt of 132–135 CE).

Because of the Empire's vast extent and long endurance, the institutions and culture of Rome had a profound and lasting influence on the development of language, religion, architecture, philosophy, law, and forms of government in the territory it governed, particularly Europe, and by means of European expansionism throughout the modern world. Romans had simple food habits. Staple food was simple, generally consumed at around 11 o'clock, and consisted of bread, salad, cheese, fruits, nuts, and cold meat. The Roman poet Horace mentions another Roman favorite, the olive, in reference to his own diet, which he describes as very simple: "As for me, olives, endives, and mallows provide sustenance." The family ate together, sitting on stools around a table. Wine was a staple drink, consumed at all meals by all classes and was quite cheap. Drinking on an empty stomach was regarded as boorish and a sure sign for alcoholism, whose debilitating physical and psychological effects were known to the Romans. An accurate accusation of being an alcoholic was an effective way to discredit political rivals. Pork was the most popular. There were fifty different ways of cooking pork as well as six kinds of sausages based on pork. Others meats such as mutton and veal were also consumed. Goat's meat was eaten by mostly lower classes. Geese were bred and sometimes fattened. The technique of force-feeding was already known, and the liver of force-fed geese was a special delicacy, as it is today. Chicken was more expensive than duck. The sauce was generally made through the crushing and fermentation in brine of the innards of various fishes such as mackerel, tuna, and eel. When mixed with wine (oenogarum), vinegar, black pepper, or oil, garum was served to enhance the flavor of a wide variety of dishes, including boiled veal and steamed mussels, even pear-and-honey soufflé. It was distributed to Roman legions. Pliny remarked that it could be diluted to the color of honey wine and drunk as a medicine for many ailments, including dog bites, dysentery, and ulcers; additionally, it was used as an ingredient in cosmetics and for removal of unwanted hair and freckles. Garum was prepared from the intestines of small fishes, macerated in salt, and cured in the sun for one to three months, where the mixture fermented and liquified in the dry warmth, the salt inhibiting the common agents of decay. The end product was very nutritious, retaining a high amount of protein and amino acids, along with a good deal of minerals and B vitamins. Garum also contained monosodium glutamate, an umami flavor. Concentrated decoctions of aromatic herbs, varying according to the locale, were added—sometimes from in-house gardens.
almost all Roman men were clean-shaven; being clean-shaven became a sign of being Roman. The first occasion of shaving was regarded as the beginning of manhood, and the day on which this took place was celebrated as a festival. Usually, this was done when the young Roman assumed the toga virilis. The hair cut off on such occasions was consecrated to a god.


Friday, April 13, 2012

Electronic currency. IPO junk instagram $1,000,000,000

I agree. Some junk IPOs may turn out to be popular but harmful like marijuana or junk food. But most junk IPOs will ripoff investors.

EMP solar storms or bombs will eventually happen and make the economy impossible leading to death and destruction. USA is a sitting duck.

Still paper currency should be banned and the currency should be all-electronic (it nearly already is except for illegal sales). In case of disaster people can write checks and clear them thru the fed by pony express. Also small denomination coins are ok if they are tungsten stainless steel heavy enough to thwart drug sales and other illegal activity.

Do you think Mitt Romney will run with Condoleeza Rice to appeal to women and Negroes? He is going to have trouble getting elected without more support from such groups. How is he going to balance the budget? Tax the rich? Is he running on his looks? Religion? Being set up to fail and guarantee 4 more years of Obama?

I think that this is nothing more than a smartphone fad. Like all fads, it will disappear in a year or two. Whoever paid the price will find another event as time goes on, in my opinion. I have often wondered what would happen with a good solar storm that would knock out satellite transmissions, and the electrical grid. Can you imagine the panic? We survive on a simple AT&T buy phone, and make very few phone calls. We stay off of Facebook and the rest for the sake of privacy. I take it that you are doing the same. Cheers.

Is a young 13 person San Francisco company worth a billion dollars? They process and share photos. I just downloaded it and a dozen related apps. Lots of pretty photos but so what? I got lots of pretty things to look at without peering into a little screen or fiddling with a little device. Seems to me couch potatoes should get out and look at the world around them and interact with real people instead of images and artificial scenes. The Facebook IPO, Instagram, and similar may be worth something but are niche products that should not be worth what investors are paying for them. Probably a lot of the demand is caused by federal funding of college loans, leaving idle youth in micky mouse classes with too much time on their hand so they buy smart phones and goof off online instead of doing real work, eating real food and getting real exercise. Do you think these companies are worth what investors are paying?

I am sitting at a desk with 2 computers, TV, and a dozen devices plugged into outlets. Working business people need a lot of electronics and other equipment nowadays. If they travel they may need smart phone. But it seems to me that smart phones may be more useful for grandparents to keep track of far-flung offspring and managing their daily affairs without lugging around a bigger computer around with them every where they go and keeping physical wires hooked up. If I did not have to work then I maybe could get by with a smart phone, laptop, e-reader, and paper books, newspapers and magazines. Maybe eventually I can whittle this down to smart phone alone. Inventors need to make smart phones about double-sized so the text is easier to read but small enough to a pocket or fanny-pack. These small devices are also too slow and sluggish and batteries run out of power all the time. Need more performance and bigger batteries, even if that makes it thicker and heavier. Do you use a smart phone? Instagram is a free photo sharing program

Thursday, April 12, 2012

instagram $1,000,000,000 Smart Phones

Cooler here, beautiful spring days. Many complain about allergies due to so many growing plants. My allergies seem much better on cool dry days. Probably some kind of mold or dust mite that grows in a warm humid environment. I think a high altitude, cooler, drier environment is healthier such as the Rocky Mountains: Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico and West Texas.

Is a young 13 person San Francisco company worth a billion dollars? They process and share photos. I just downloaded it and a dozen related apps. Lots of pretty photos but so what? I got lots of pretty things to look at without peering into a little screen or fiddling with a little device. Seems to me couch potatoes should get out and look at the world around them and interact with real people instead of images and artificial scenes. The Facebook IPO, Instagram, and similar may be worth something but are niche products that should not be worth what investors are paying for them. Probably a lot of the demand is caused by federal funding of college loans, leaving idle youth in micky mouse classes with too much time on their hand so they buy smart phones and goof off online instead of doing real work, eating real food and getting real exercise. Do you think these companies are worth what investors are paying?

I am sitting at a desk with 2 computers, TV, and a dozen devices plugged into outlets. Working business people need a lot of electronics and other equipment nowadays. If they travel they may need smart phone. But it seems to me that smart phones may be more useful for grandparents to keep track of far-flung offspring and managing their daily affairs without lugging around a bigger computer around with them every where they go and keeping physical wires hooked up. If I did not have to work then I maybe could get by with a smart phone, laptop, e-reader, and paper books, newspapers and magazines. Maybe eventually I can whittle this down to smart phone alone. Inventors need to make smart phones about double-sized so the text is easier to read but small enough to a pocket or fanny-pack. These small devices are also too slow and sluggish and batteries run out of power all the time. Need more performance and bigger batteries, even if that makes it thicker and heavier. Do you use a smart phone?

Instagram is a free photo sharing program launched in October 2010 that allows users to take a photo, apply a digital filter to it, and then share it on a variety of social networking services, including Instagram's own.[2] A distinctive feature confines photos to a square shape, similar to Kodak Instamatic and Polaroid images, in contrast to the 4:3 aspect ratio typically used by mobile device cameras.

Instagram was initially supported on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch; in April 2012, the company added support for Android camera phones running 2.2 (Froyo) or higher. It is distributed via the iTunes App Store and Google Play.[3]

On April 9, 2012, Facebook announced it would acquire the company (and its 13 employees)[1] for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock, with plans to keep it independently managed.[4]

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Food. Horse. Re: Deflation Re: Inflation


Fresh produce is free. Grow it in your back yard to get needed exercise and sunshine. Produce sold in stores is poisoned by herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, fertilizers, e-coli, and other germs. And is grown by illegal aliens. And is shipped using imported oil over roads that scar the environment needed by large herbivores needed to replenish the soil and maintain the ecosystem. Food stores make a mountain of paperwork out of a molehill. Think of all the wars, paper work, truck crashes, traffic tickets, rules, regulations, lobbying, poisons that are needed to put that defective carrot on your plate! Better just go in the back yard and pick it fresh. Feed excess carrots to your horse.

The modern food system is a major cause of disease and social problems and destruction of the environment. Hand to mouth hunting, fishing and gathering are more consistent with freshness and long run sustainability and benefits people today. Even Michelle Obama figured that out, a no-brainer. Detroit is changing from a motor town ghetto into a vegetable garden, a city on the leading edge. Batteries are toxic to the environment, horses are not. Imported oil funds terrorists and causes wars. Re-engineer your community to be horse and garden friendly as it was not many years ago when USA was an economic powerhouse.



Are you denying that fresh produce prices have escalated dramatically in the last several years?



1986 I bought 2MB of ram for $700 or $350 per MB
2011 I bought 2000MB of ram for $40 or $0.02 per MB
So over 25 years price fell at about a 40% compound annual rate of deflation ln(.02/350)/25. Further that ram is faster, smaller and more reliable (i.e. higher quality) so quality corrected the deflation would be greater. Computers and electronics is in everything these days but deflation quality corrections are not reflected in popular price indexes. Most products have shown drastic deflation in performance / price.

No reasonable calculation can show any inflation in the economy in recent years. Those claiming inflation have not done their research. Inflation talk is media hysteria to placate people who want bigger government checks and something for nothing. What you are seeing is people getting rich from deflation and using that wealth to buy more and more luxury goods and exotic medical care to lengthen life. The population is now over-fed, over-entertained, stupid and dysfunctional. Why work? Use wealth from deflation to import more Muslims and Mexicans to do the chores. The deflation wealth generated by the capitalistic free market system can fund the liberal socialist agenda such as Obama-care.

The AIER EPI price index is just trying to get more money to pay for junk food, tobacco, drugs, child care, and gasoline so liberals don't have to walk more, eat better, get healthier and take care of their children. Just liberal propaganda in support of the liberal agenda.

Allied with the Bernanke agenda of tight money that hoards money in banks so as to not give savers much above 0% interest -- very punishing for retirees and the elderly who have money in the banks. Banks also hit non-savers with lots of fees to deprive them of what little money they have. The correct term would be tight money by tightwad banks trying to squeeze every last penny out of customers. I would rather see (1) more loose money flowing out of the banks in the form of interest payments (to me) and lowered fees. And (2) less money flowing out of government in the form of junk food stamps and other benefit checks -- at least elimination of the inflation adjustments (to them). The exact opposite of what we are seeing under Obama.


I just bought 40 lbs of Sams Kibbles and Chunks today plus I have a good ten speed mountain bike hung in the garage for ÷hen they ban gasoline. John

Sent from my Palm Pixi on AT&T

I’m always reminded by CNBC, MSNBC and various financial gurus that we really could ride bicycles and eat dog food instead (one of the items CPI doesn’t track) so it’s not nearly as bad as itlooks.


Forget the modest 3.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, the government's widely used measure of inflation. Everyday prices are up some 8 percent over the past year, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

The not-for-profit research group measures inflation without looking at thebig, one-time purchases that can skew the numbers. That means they don't look at the price of houses, furniture, appliances, cars, or computers. Instead,AIER focuses on Americans' typical daily purchases, such as food, gasoline,child care, prescription drugs, phone and television service, and other household products.

The institute contends that to get a good read on inflation's "sticker shock" effect, you must look at the cost of goods that the average household buys at least once a month andfactor in only the kinds of expenses that are subject to change. That, too, eliminates the cost of housing because when you finance your home with a fixed-rate mortgage, that expense remains constant until you refinance or move.

Will gas prices stall the economy?
Why higher oil and gas prices are good news
VIDEO: Ask the experts -- gas prices

The group maintains that this index better measures the real-world impact of price changes, particularly for people on a budget. And, largely as the result of the recent run-up in gas prices, this "everyday price index" (EPI) suggests that Americans are being pinched far more tightly than the official inflation measure would have you believe.

Over the past year, the EPI is up just over 8 percent, according to the economics group. The biggest factor: Motor fuel and transportation costs are up 21.06 percent from year-ago levels. The cost of food, prescription drugs, and tobacco also have increased faster than the government's inflation measure, rising 3.56 percent, 4.21 percent, and 3.4 percent, respectively.

On the bright side, prices of household fuel (natural gas and electricity) and supplies have increased only 2.74 percent; recreation and personal care products are up less than 1 percent; and telephone or Internet services are down 0.66 percent.

Admittedly, the purchases that the EPI tracks make up slightly less than 40 percent of the average household budget. But Steven Cunningham, research and education director at AIER, says these items are what contribute to the "sticker shock at the gasoline pump and the supermarket check-out line."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Gold Market Like a Coiled Spring

The rich use gold bubbles to fleece the sheeple -- the rich buy low and sell high low while the poor do the opposite. Simultaneously, the rich lure landless peasants into wasting their money into worthless dead stock assets instead of live stock that they will need for survival. This strategy was proven wealth robber in the quarter century gold bear market 1980-2005. Poor gold owners will also be tracked and audited by the IRS, and will be robbed robbed by Mexican gangs who got the license plates and addresses of gold owners. Criminals and the rich will get that gold after the owners "disappear" following the "big one" if not sooner. Miners and gold shop keepers will get rich from all the froth in the market, and owners of disinformation web sites will make a good living.

Investors should be buying cows, horses, and acres with water. If times get bad, a self-sustaining ecosystem will be needed for survival. If times are good then sell off excess cows and horses for a profit. If you design your farm correctly you will always have an excess of animals to sell, far beyond what you can consume. There will always be plenty of buyers for food.

Grow the best. High end food for the rich is fairly expensive right now, and that is what you need for yourself to maintain health. On the other hand, it is hard to compete on the low end during good times because the big food processors can spew out huge amounts of junk very cheaply. Think upscale. Improve your diet while getting rich.

Friday, April 6, 2012

the Coming Cashless Society

This journalist style book gives an overview of what might happen. Chapter 1 is online free. Not much on theory or technology details but he has looked at the issue and reports on what some are thinking and doing. Cash is rapidly falling out of favor. Any information can help prepare for the future and avoid dangers.

The End of Money: Counterfeiters, Preachers, Techies, Dreamers--and the Coming Cashless Society
David Wolman
List Price: $25.00

For ages, money has meant little metal disks and rectangular slips of paper. Yet the usefulness of physical money—to say nothing of its value—is coming under fire as never before. Intrigued by the distinct possibility that cash will soon disappear, author and Wired contributing editor David Wolman sets out to investigate the future of money…and how it will affect your wallet.

Wolman begins his journey by deciding to shun cash for an entire year—a surprisingly successful experiment (with a couple of notable exceptions). He then ventures forth to find people and technologies that illuminate the road ahead. In Honolulu, he drinks Mai Tais with Bernard von NotHaus, a convicted counterfeiter and alternative-currency evangelist whom government prosecutors have labeled a domestic terrorist. In Tokyo, he sneaks a peek at the latest anti-counterfeiting wizardry, while puzzling over the fact that banknote forgers depend on society's addiction to cash. In a downtrodden Oregon town, he mingles with obsessive coin collectors—the people who are supposed to love cash the most, yet don't. And in rural Georgia, he examines why some people feel the end of cash is Armageddon’s warm-up act. After stops at the Digital Money Forum in London and Iceland’s central bank, Wolman flies to Delhi, where he sees first-hand how cash penalizes the poor more than anyone—and how mobile technologies promise to change that.

Told with verve and wit, The End of Money explores an aspect of our daily lives so fundamental that we rarely stop to think about it. You’ll never look at a dollar bill the same again.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Geometric Structure of the Brain Fiber Pathways

This is the right approach. Computers driving microscopes to study the structure of the brain. Interesting that the brain is geometrically regular, like computers -- hope for computers imitating the brain: "Van Wedeen from Massachusetts General Hospital says that his results came as a complete shock. “I was expecting it to be a pure mess,” he says. Instead, he found a regular criss-cross pattern."

The Geometric Structure of the Brain Fiber Pathways

The structure of the brain as a product of morphogenesis is difficult to reconcile with the observed complexity of cerebral connectivity. We therefore analyzed relationships of adjacency and crossing between cerebral fiber pathways in four nonhuman primate species and in humans by using diffusion magnetic resonance imaging. The cerebral fiber pathways formed a rectilinear three-dimensional grid continuous with the three principal axes of development. Cortico-cortical pathways formed parallel sheets of interwoven paths in the longitudinal and medio-lateral axes, in which major pathways were local condensations. Cross-species homology was strong and showed emergence of complex gyral connectivity by continuous elaboration of this grid structure. This architecture naturally supports functional spatio-temporal coherence, developmental path-finding, and incremental rewiring with correlated adaptation of structure and function in cerebral plasticity and evolution.

People / Faculty

Sebastian Seung Ph.D.

Sebastian Seung, Ph.D.
Professor of Computational Neuroscience
Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences

Building: 46-5065
Lab: Seung Lab
Email: seung


Today's automated microscopes acquire images with great speed, easily amassing terabytes or even petabytes of data. In contrast, the analysis of these images is largely manual, performed slowly and laboriously by humans. We are entering an era in which analysis of enormous image datasets is a major bottleneck for scientific research. My laboratory is dedicated to removing this bottleneck through innovations in artificial intelligence. We aim to make computers smart enough to analyze images from biological microscopy with little or no human assistance. In other words, we seek to fill an important technological gap: modern science not only needs machines for making images, but machines for seeing them.

cholesterol is good. fat is good. eat fat to lose fat

Interesting short Scandinavian article

Also I liked the book:
This book tells me why I gained 10 pounds when I converted from a high fat diet to a low fat diet. I am now following the book's advice and going back to a high fat diet. When I was a weightlifter I tried to eat more protein that naturally comes with fat (beef, cheese, eggs, fish,...). I avoided bread, cereal, potatoes, sweets.... When I converted to marathon running I reversed my diet to include more carbohydrates that I previously avoided. I thought by running that I would burn off the empty calories. My legs got thicker and I had to buy larger pants but I thought that was due to more muscles in my legs. I did note more fat around my waist and on my arms but shrugged it off. In fact, the high-carbohydrate diet did cause me to gain some fat that I did not have when on the high-protein high-fat diet of my weightlifting years.

So now I am following the book's advice and am eating more fat. I immediately noticed a difference -- less cravings and an immediate drop in fat around the waistline and elsewhere. I am reducing carbohydrates and starches, but slowly in a zig-zag pattern to carefully note how the dietary composition affects weight, energy, mood, and other aspects of health.

This book is mostly recipes but the first section is full of useful facts. It lacks crucial footnotes that are probably in the longer book by the same authors. Many of the citations are very old so they may be classics or defective by modern standards. If the references are correct they are very important and need to be taken into account by current dietitians and researchers.

The key recommendation of the book is to use coconut oil that I previously had no experience with. It is a staple in many countries so there should be considerable epidemiological evidence that could be reported in the book. So far I like coconut oil. I also like butter and am glad the book gave me more reason to use it. I also like wheat germ oil and cod liver oil as recommended by the book. I immediately started feeling better when using these oils even though I previously thought them to be unhealthy empty calories (lack protein). It is not clear what is the optimal dose of these oils.

Overall this book is well written with great recommendations. Should be read in conjunction with easy current information such as the Dr. Lustig video "Sugar -- The Bitter Truth." More difficult is actual scientific literature on cholesterol and "the lipid hypothesis" which can link to numerous researchers and topics that support the ideas of this book. Much can be found on google scholar and wikipedia. For example
The Cholesterol Myths: Exposing the Fallacy that Saturated Fat and Cholesterol Cause Heart Disease

voter ID. National ID

When I was in the military I had to carry an ID card. Civilians also need an ID card for many purposes. Should voters be required to have an ID to vote? Liberals say that discriminates against minorities. Are they trying to re-elect Obama by "vote early, vote often" illegal voting?

A national Identity card could help do many tasks. A single photo card with social security number would serve as a right to work card to screen out illegals, would save states from having to issue driver's licenses or voter id. Banks could use it as a debit or credit card. Hospitals and pharmacies need ID and access to health records. The SSN could also be used as a phone number, email address, license plates, facebook page, web site address, etc. There is no need to issue all these different cards and numbers. A single SSN ID card could do all these tasks. For highly secure and private communications then biometrics such as fingerprints could be called up by the database program. Seems to me that liberals are wrong and that USA needs a national identity card. The national database would also include birth certificates, medical records, professional licenses, college degrees, traffic tickets, etc. Users would pay a fee, but companies like google could subsidize some of this if the user is willing to accept ads. Illegal activity and taxes could be cut in half and most cops and bureaucrats fired. Minnesota lawmakers signed off a constitutional amendment Wednesday that would require all voters to show photo identification before casting ballots. The amendment, which would also create a new system of provisional balloting and end Election Day ‘vouching’ for voters without proof of residence, passed both the state House and Senate with all but one Republican voting yes, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Every Democrat opposed it.
An identity document (also called a piece of identification or ID, or colloquially as one's 'papers') is any document which may be used to verify aspects of a person's personal identity. If issued in the form of a small, mostly standard-sized card, it is usually called an identity card (IC). In some countries the possession of a
government-produced identity card is compulsory while in others it may be voluntary. In countries which do not have formal identity documents, informal ones may in some circumstances be required. In the absence of a formal identity document, some countries accept driving licences as the most effective method of proof of identity. Most countries accept passports as a form of identification.

Information present on the document or in a supporting database might include the bearer's full name, a portrait photo, age, birth date, address, an identification number, profession or rank, religion, ethnic or racial classification, restrictions, and citizenship status. New technologies could allow identity cards to contain biometric information, such as photographs, face, hand or iris measurements, or fingerprints. Electronic identity cards or e-IDs are already available in some territories such as Hong Kong, Malaysia, Estonia, Finland, Belgium, Portugal, Morocco and Spain.

Arguments for
In order to avoid mismatching people, and to fight fraud, there should be way, as a secure as possible, to prove a persons identity. Every human being already carries one's own personal identification in the form of one's DNA, which cannot be falsified or discarded. Even for non-state commercial and private interactions, this may shortly become the preferred identifier, rendering a state-issued identity card a lesser evil than the potentially extensive privacy risks associated with everyday use of a person's genetic profile for identification purposes.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

sugar, cancer, heart disease, inflammation

Cholesterol molecules are big and fluffy if from meat, dairy, fish, fowl, etc. So it floats through the bloodstream without sticking to the blood vessel walls

However, fructose is converted by the liver into small, dense cholesterol molecules. These dig into the blood vessel walls and are an independent source of inflammation. Fructose is often found in cola and other drinks; and bread and baked products. The cola is made dark by caramel burned sugar, similar to the crust in bread and cookies. BBQ, coffee, and whiskey, tobacco, chocolate are similar burned foods. These brown AGE "advanced glycation end products", free radicals, and are inflammatory. Will chew up your arterial walls. Probably soft drinks are the major cause of heart disease.

Also these sugars and carbos are the major cause of cancer and diabetes via stimulating insulin along with white breads, potatoes, and boxed chips, crackers, etc. Low glycemic diets try to minimize these to prevent spiking insulin, diabetes and cancer. Probably Alzheimers is another sugar starch disease, sometimes called Type III Diabetes. India has the world's highest diabetes rate from too much rice and too little meat. They take turmeric to protect the brain so do not get as much Alzheimers compared to their diabetes.

Alcohol is another sugar product and is metabolized similar to sugar. Fruit contains fructose. Apples had a bad reputation since Adam and Eve and were associated with sin and alcohol. Apples were fermented until prohibition when the apple industry tried to make them respectable and get people to eat them instead of drink them with the expression" an apple a day keeps the doctor away." An apple a day is too much.

In sunshine the skin converts cholesterol and Vitamin D into sulfated forms of cholesterol and D which are water soluble --- That is, if there is enough sulfur in the diet (sulfur has been depleted from many soils). Sulfated soluble cholesterol may prevent some arterial inflammation. I am still researching this. I got a sunburn lasted several days from too much sun on my back which is not used to so much bright sun.

Dry high altitude sun around noon is great for generating Vitamin D in a short period of time without getting burned. New Mexico has the most pleasant high altitude weather but is a high tax expensive place to live. The most Phd's per capita and center of USA Nuclear research, supported by lots of poor Mexicans and Indian peons who think they own the place, having been a Mexican capitol since 1610. Colorado and Wyoming get too cold for sun-tanning much of the year. Southern NM Cloudcroft 8888 feet is probably the best but does get some snow load in the winter.

Book on AGE inflammation discovered by a Frenchman in 1912:

Ditto for me. Inflammation causes heart disease not cholesterol or saturated fat. Cholesterol in the bloodstream may "hang up" on scarred arterial walls caused by inflammation. To blame arterial plaque and blockage on cholesterol is akin to blaming scabs for wounds.

Monday, April 2, 2012

texas tech free market institute. Drought

Texas Tech is in Lubbock which is running out of water. Their aquifer water table is low and getting lower. Now they are in the middle of the worst hit region in the drought so their rivers are drying up.

Still they are doing a lot of interesting work in Economics and Finance. Probably less debt and more private property ownership of acres, cows, and horses would solve a lot of USA ills. I notice many of their graduate students have Islamic names, probably attracted by the increasingly dry and barren landscape.

The Department of Economics and the College of Arts and Sciences at Texas Tech University is pleased to announce plans to establish the Institute for the Teaching and Study of Free Market Economics. The mission of the Institute will be to advance the teaching of and research directly related to the virtues of free markets. The Institute will serve as a nexus to identify and study the workings of free markets; past and present. By promoting scholarship that crosses disciplinary boundaries, the Institute will provide a forum that encourages and values discussion and rigorous debate regarding all aspects of free markets, including voluntary transactions and free trade, entrepreneurship, innovation, and property rights.

Through a systematic approach of joining diverse parts of the university into a comprehensive system of entrepreneurship and innovation, the Institute has the ability to place Texas Tech University at the pinnacle of universities constructively addressing the challenges of modern economies.

The state of Texas covers 23 aquifers (7 major and 16 minor aquifers) that underlie approximately ¾ of the state. The Ogallala Aquifer accounts for about 90% of the water in all of Texas aquifers. Groundwater from Texas aquifers is used for irrigation, municipal use, manufacturing, and livestock production. Pumping of water from many aquifers in Texas has resulted in a significant lowering of the water table.


Sunday, April 1, 2012

educational reform: certification, professionalism

I agree on the problem with business education. Unfortunately business is not the worst branch of college, and K-12 is even worse than college. Too many unqualified students are in college and the professors have to dumb down the classes so they can pass. Then colleges have to hire dumbed-down professors to teach the dumbed-down students. Much of this is at taxpayer expense. Even the expensive private schools admit dumb students, often on athletic scholarships, and the taxpayer is on the hook for loans which are often not repaid. The default rate will worsen as student debt skyrockets to pay for skyrocketing tuitions. Students are wasting time accumulating debt when they could be out learning a trade and becoming owners, not debtors.

Marketing should be a more solid quantitative discipline. Huge amounts of data are collected by Wal-mart and other retailers. This is somewhat analyzed but not much is reported in the journals by professors. Consumer behavior is taught by folklore more than science.

Finance, accounting, statistics, information systems, management science, and actuarial departments are often fairly difficult and rewarding. But organizational behavior, law, international business, business and society, nonprofit management, and other such "B.S." departments are mostly chit-chat format with grades on the basis of looks and jokes. Unfortunately graduates often carry on like that on the job so we see an increasingly dysfunctional business profession and an economy that is falling behind. Some say the remedy is to make management a profession. Others say no.

Business Schools Under Fire:
WOLFGANG AMANN is the Executive Academic Director of Executive Education and Faculty at Goethe Business School in Frankfurt, Germany
Experts versus Managers: A Case Against Professionalizing Management Education

I have thought for a long time that non-quantifyable areas of study are a
source of corruptive education by those who have a political agenda to cram
down students throats. Such things as African studies, social studies,
political science, artistic thought, and other make-believe disciplines are
the problem. This is what happened to most business school agendas and what
led to students having to complete college in excess of four years. Too many
non-descript subjects that had nothing to do with helping orientation
towards a business degree. I have objected to such things as Marketing,
Organizational Theory, Entrepreneurship, and Business Behavior Ethics as a
major courses to graduate. Most are worthless time spenders while neglecting
Accounting, Finance, Statistics, and Math followed by actual Case Studies
for the business oriented student. As a matter of fact, these four areas of
concentration would be sufficient to propell the motivated student to doing
what those other worthless courses try to do by waisting students time. Most
of these business courses are junk courses, dreamed up by incompetent
professors trying to enhance their own retention on some faculty.
Business Schools need an overhaul.

Too many economists have become more lobbyists than scientists. I have long
argued for certification exams in economics and other fields. Along the
lines of the CPA CFA and actuarial exams that have a high flunk rate. Too
many graduates did not learn much in college or high school and cannot
perform as adults. That is why I lost interest in college teaching -- I
can do it but it is counterproductive to spend a lot of time and money to
issue degrees to the uneducated. Many writers such as Charles Murray agree
and have put forward proposals to reform the system. I would add US
government should not provide any loans or support to non-certified

Should Economists be certified?

The Wall Street Journal had yesterday an op-ed on the fact that a college
degree often does not constitute proof of competency. As I have argued
before, many students have no business being in college, but the latter
graduate them anyway. This waters down the quality signal of a college
degree. The response to this situation by various trades has been to certify
themselves the competences of prospective tradespeople. Examples are the bar
exam, CPA, CFA, actuarial exams, etc. Should the same apply to Economics?
In most US colleges, an Economics major has only two years of study in that
field, hardly worth claiming to be an economist. To make matters worse, many
Economics programs feed on the rejects from business schools, who typically
failed out because of low grades in basic Mathematics and Statistics. Hardly
the best clientele for an Economics degree. While Economics programs
typically dismiss more students than most other programs, they still
graduate many that do not have required competences. A test like the GRE
subject test would have been a good start, but this has been cancelled in
2001. The American Economic Association has been thinking about devising
some criteria to be voluntarily applied to college curricula, but I think
something much more drastic would be needed.

Charles Murray Rethinking the BA

Charles Murray suggests directing most undergraduate study toward
certification rather than degrees. Many people, though they have degrees,
don't know anything close to what they should know in their field. I think
very highly of Charles Murray. He's brilliant and bold. What the BA offers
that certification cannot provide, among other things, is training in
writing and speaking. But many colleges have given up on this. What I like
about this proposal is that it would challenge the complacency of the
college industry in the same way that school vouchers challenge the
complacency of the government school system.

For Most People, College Is a Waste of Time


The Wall Street Journal August 13, 2008; Page A17

Imagine that America had no system of post-secondary education, and you were
a member of a task force assigned to create one from scratch. One of your
colleagues submits this proposal:

First, we will set up a single goal to represent educational success, which
will take four years to achieve no matter what is being taught. We will
attach an economic reward to it that seldom has anything to do with what has
been learned. We will urge large numbers of people who do not possess
adequate ability to try to achieve the goal, wait until they have spent a
lot of time and money, and then deny it to them. We will stigmatize everyone
who doesn't meet the goal. We will call the goal a "BA."

You would conclude that your colleague was cruel, not to say insane. But
that's the system we have in place.

Finding a better way should be easy. The BA acquired its current inflated
status by accident. Advanced skills for people with brains really did get
more valuable over the course of the 20th century, but the acquisition of
those skills got conflated with the existing system of colleges, which had
evolved the BA for completely different purposes.

Outside a handful of majors -- engineering and some of the sciences -- a
> bachelor's degree tells an employer nothing except that the applicant has a
> certain amount of intellectual ability and perseverance.