Sunday, April 26, 2009

Reflections on middle-age spread

My body is a temple.

Currently I am standing in the rotunda...

Step aside Susan Boyle

Another surprise from Britain's Got Talent.

Whoever invented the bicycle...

...probably did not have this in mind.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Threats below the economic radar

Investor sentiment has risen to more bullish levels with the recent recovery in the US stock market. Is this the long-awaited recovery?

The world economy can be approximated by the US and the Chinese economy. Both seem to be recovering but there are worrisome hints that reality is worse than appearances.

In the US, banks have done well with their recent earnings reports but there are two under-reported factors to take into account. The first is the impact of all the federal bailout money and the second is the recent decision to suspend the "mark-to-market" rules for valuing bank assets (loans). US banks still face crippling losses and lower stock valuations in future, because they are carrying huge housing liabilities that are not reflected in their reporting. Want an example? Only half of bank-repossessed real estate is on the market; the rest is being held back so as not to further damage property values. This should tell us that prices are still not low enough to clear the market, and that bank losses are more probable than bank profits in the future.

Here is a link to my source for the above gloomy opinion. There is more bad news in the full story.

In China there are reports of economic recovery but, interestingly, total power consumption has dropped by 5.2% in the same period that economic activity was reported to be up by 6.1%. Exports are also down sharply. Headline economic figures might just be easier to fudge than power consumption figures, especially if governments have just had a big G20 meeting to discuss the state of public confidence in the world economy and resolved to try to get people spending again. The Baltic Dry Index certainly looks feeble these days after showing signs of a promising recovery, so actual trade volumes seem to be retreating again. Further details are available on the April 17 posting on the following link.

Conclusion? Be willing to sell into short term strength in the stock market, and be prepared for a sharp market correction once the superficial warm feeling passes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

I had no idea how doomed we all are...

Check out this list of the dire consequences of global warming. 598 bad things!

The predicted shortage of beer concerns me. Who knew that atmospheric conditions that would lead to both higher humidity and better plant growing conditions could threaten the production of a staple of life made from water and plants?

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Why study the Great Depression? The crash of 1819 offers a better lesson

So says the Mises Institute, in its review of actions that put the US back on its feet following an expensive war, abandonment of monetary discipline, bank foolishness and a housing bubble.

But none of that silliness has happened around here lately, has it? So of course there is nothing to learn...

Back then, those unsophisticated rubes just went back to the idea of solid money and free markets. They figured the loose credit that had caused the problems could not also be the solution to those problems. The very idea! What a bunch of maroons.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

The rules must have changed

Let's see:
The US EPA is en route to declaring CO2, a naturally-occurring trace gas essential to life, a pollutant.

John Holdren, chief science advisor in the US, is en route to declaring that pollutants (in the form of aerosols and particulates) are now essential to combat warming.

Nothing odd about this, is there? Fortunately all those unregulated new coal plants in China will provide us with a cheap source of particulates.

But there is more:

Cooler temperatures, which cause more weather-related deaths than warmer temperatures and lead to lower crop yields and food shortages, are preferable to warmer temperatures, and people are being asked to pay more money for power, while using less electricity, in order to bring us to this cooler state.

And according to the NSIDC polar region ice coverage is apparently threatened with melting by temperatures in the minus 10 to minus 25 deg C range because the ice itself is not old enough. The fact that ice coverage is growing compared to the 70-year lows recorded in 2007 is not relevant.

I can only conclude that it is time to be very worried indeed. Essentials are now pollution, pollution is now an essential, expensive and dangerous discomfort is good, and minus 20 C is warm enough to melt ice.

And "scientists" wonder why we don't give them more power...

Sunday, April 05, 2009

I had to watch this twice

And I STILL can't believe it is a real ad.
Caution - suggestive content.

Of course, I may watch it another 20 times, for research purposes. Any ad that can get the words "topiary" and "Aphrodite" in within the same minute deserves some admiration.

"Mow the lawn" by Wilkinson Sword

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Poor lost creatures

(The title of the post refers to Al Gore's audience, mentioned near the end of the video)

Economic Summit Haiku

G20 meeting:
A confidence game unwinds;
Debts come home to roost.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The Swiss Spaghetti Harvest

"...because there is nothing like real, home-grown spaghetti."

Truer words have never been spoken.

Cash cow?

Casey Research