Saturday, September 22, 2012

Range extender for automobiles

Here's an idea for you--- a range extender for electric cars.  The range extender would be set up as a trailer hookup that would be only for a short time as you need it.

The logic behind this is the same as the Volt with the difference being that the range isn't built in.  The Volt builds the extended range as an internal combustion engine.  But the range extender could be anything off the shelf--- an ICE (internal combustion engine) , a battery, a gas turbine generator, or a fuel cell.

Of these options, you may want an all electric setup.  If you don't like the all electric, you can try something else.

The advantages are economic.  Why have all that extra capacity when you don't need it all the time?  Why buy a battery that can go 200 miles when you seldom drive that far?  Same thing for a fuel cell.  As for internal combustion engines, the disadvantage is that the price of gas is too high.  ICE's do have range, but it comes at an economic cost.

With a battery powered city car, you can get a vehicle that can go 50 miles or so on a charge.  That would be good enough most of the time.  When you need extra range, you would just attach the trailer to extend the range.  You could sell time shares to mitigate the cost of the trailer.  For example, if you share it two weeks per person, up to 26 people could share the cost of 1 of these trailers.  Now, if each trailer cost 52k each, each person would have to pony up 2 grand apiece.  Not too high a cost for not having to buy a second car with a longer range.

The cost benefits over time would pay for itself.   With gas at 4 bucks a gallon, and an average mileage of 25 mpg, the cost per mile would be 16 cents per mile.  A battery powered car could be 3 cents per mile or less.  Now, 50 miles a day gives about 18k per year of driving.  That's 540 bucks per year times 4 years of the initial cost would get back your 2k.  But then you would own the thing outright and it's gravy from there.  If the thing lasted for 10 years, you would get 6 years for free.  At trade in time, the trailer could still have residual value.  How can you lose?

War Stories

The stock market is a bit nuts right now, so I'm not in it.  But it may be useful to go back and tell a few of my investments and why some worked and others didn't.  Or, to put it more accurately, why I think it happened the way it did.

I thought about getting into the markets back in 1987.  I talked to a guy about a stock broker job and it seemed like he wanted to hire me, but I got wet feet.  Not too long afterward, the market crashed.  It seemed like a good decision.

By 1998 though, I decided to get in.  Online trading made it easy for anyone and the market was going gangbusters, so I was in.  But I got creamed.  One of the first stocks I tried was Computer Horizons.  This was a Y2K stock, and by 1998, it had seen its better days.  But this was not obvious, at least to me at the time.  But there was a pretty strong hint.  It is called a head and shoulders type chart.  By the time I started trading, I knew what a head and shoulders chart was, and I saw it for Computer Horizons.  The trouble is that I didn't believe it.  So, I invested anyway and got my head handed to me.

To make matters worse, I did what you shouldn't do.  I averaged down.  I knew this was against good practice, but I did it anyway.  It only added to my losses.  Being stubborn when you are wrong only makes matters worse, you know.  You have to be able to admit to yourself when you are wrong.  Did I learn this lesson?  No, because a couple years later, I did it again.

By 2001, the bull market was over and I decided to stay bullish.  Big mistake.  I bought a stock called JDS Uniphase.  As with Computer Horizons, it became obvious that was a loser, but I didn't want to believe it.  So, I averaged down and only added to my losses.  The fate of that stock is hardly any better than Computer Horizons.  While Computer Horizons has gone out of business, the last time I checked, JDS is still kicking.  But that investment would never have paid off.  There are times when I look back and think that it might have if I waited a little longer, but time muddies the waters a bit.  Closer examination showed that it was a loser and the loss could never be regained.

In both of these cases, I really didn't know what I was doing.  That's why I lost so badly.  So, I stopped speculating in stocks and tried some other stuff.  Stock picking ain't my game.  But what game could I play and win?  I tried currency trading and precious metals.  Currency trading didn't work.  There was a reason why it didn't work.  Currency trading is highly leveraged.  If you time it wrong, you can be wiped out and wiped out fast.  It was too hard.  Precious metals did work.  I think it worked because the risk was limited.  Your investment can never be completely wiped out.  It will always retain some value, so if your timing is right, you can make money.  If your timing is wrong, you can get back most of your money.  Yes, and this did work for me.  I regained most of my losses from before, plus a small profit.

Despite all the failures, I wouldn't condemn trading.  There were plenty of opportunities to make a killing, but it didn't happen.  I just ran out of time.

For instance, just before the market started on its last upward blowoff top in 2000, I put in an order for Broadvision.  The order nearly completed when the rally began.  That meant I missed the boat by 3/8, which is about 38 cents per share.  If that order filled, the potential would have been a 20 to 1 return on my investment.  Of course, I would have had to had played it right to get that, but the opportunity was there.  There are many stories like this that I could tell.  But it never did happen.  I had to understand what a blowoff top is and why it was a blowoff top.  I had to understand how doggone hard it is to judge a bottom perfectly and buy at the bottom.   It is also doggone hard to judge a top too.  But this is possible, just not possible to do with great precision.

By 2006, I still wanted to trade stocks so I bought a stock called Altair Nano.  They made batteries intended for automobiles.  But in 2007, things started going south for the economy.  Fortunately, I saw and remembered that you don't want to be long in the markets when the economy tanked.  I sold and went short the entire market.  That play worked like gangbusters.

Going short is high risk though.  It worked for me because I was right.  But if you're wrong, your losses can be unlimited.

By 2009, I was absolutely convinced that current economic policy was nuts.  I tried going short, but I got my butt kicked.  I've been out ever since.  Sure, I could have gone long and made big bucks, but I have no confidence in the markets.  For I've learned that when the market turns against you, losses can mount very fast.  I wouldn't touch these markets with a ten foot pole.

That's a short history of my doings in the market.  Basically, it all boils down to learning from the school of hard knocks.  You learn what works and what doesn't.  Besides that, you learn about yourself.  For example, some people can tolerate risk better.  I'm not one of those people.  A high risk play is probably not for me.  You have to know these things if you want to have any hope of success.  Another thing is that you can make plenty of money if you are right.  Likewise you can lose your butt if you are wrong.  So you better be right.  The opportunities are there as long as the market is sane and working properly.  I don't think it is right now.


Voting for your own best interests

Lefties like to say that people don't vote for their own self-interest.  I think this is derived from the old communist idea of false consciousness.  Any liberal lefty, like Michael Moore, is using that communist notion every time they say this.  But the way they say it is with a twist of corruption.  It isn't communism, it is a corruption that will eventually get you there.  The left will bribe people for their votes, then when they collapse the capitalist system, communism will take over.

The problem with this formulation is that communism won't work.  In the historical comparison with capitalism, communism just doesn't measure up.  For example, China dumps the communist model, and is now the fastest growing major economy in the world.  But they were on a communist model prior to that.  That old model wasn't working too well.  China was backward until they started using the market as an organizing principle.

Let's not glorify China, though.  They are still being run by Communists, even if they are better capitalists than we are.

Let's face it lefties.  Obama is a communist, and so are the rest of you.  You believe this class envy garbage, so you are communists.  But your utopian system doesn't work.

Communism doesn't work because it removes the incentives that make it possible to make progress.

Progress isn't automatic.  History has shown that civilizations can go centuries without changing in any fundamental way.  The idea of progress as an ongoing process is actually a recent phenomenon.  It is thanks to the capitalists--- not to the communists.  Progress has occurred under capitalism since the industrial revolution.  The industrial revolution is only a couple centuries old.  It is this continual progress under capitalism that has created the illusion of automatic progress.

But that automatic progress can be undone.  It will be undone if the communists get their way.  For the communists, even though they preach progress, only deliver stagnation.  In their heart of hearts, these so-called progressives hate progress.  For example, Obama preaches jobs, but doesn't deliver.  He can't because he doesn't believe in it anyway.  Just look at his record.  His biggest failure, he says, was not to deliver immigration reform.  If he believed in progress, he would have said the economy was his biggest failure.  Just listen to what he says.  He says capitalism hasn't worked, even though it has.

So, the lefties will tell the average Joe that to vote for capitalists is a vote against their own self-interest. What the left is really saying is that the average Joe should just forget about progress, because he will always be an average Joe.  That may be true, but the average Joe will tend to be better off under a capitalist system than a communist one.  So, how is a vote for communism in the average Joe's interest?

Funny thing about how lefties will tell you that you only an average Joe and that you will always be an average Joe.  They use that envy in order to destroy a way in which an average Joe can benefit.  That is, the benefit is from true progress that is achieved through incentives.  The incentives though, inevitably lead to inequality, which only exacerbates the average Joe's feeling that he is only an average Joe and will always be an average Joe.  So, the lefties use this envy to drive everyone back down to the lowest possible denominator so that they don't feel so average anymore.  But losing that envy means losing the progress that comes with it.  Stagnation results.  You have to be willing to accept some inequality in order to have progress.  Get over yourselves, liberals.


Blogger interface

It may have been about a year ago when Blogger came out with a new interface.  But it sucks.  At least there was an option to use the old interface, but now Google has taken that away.  It is now harder to use than before, as this interface is less powerful than the old one.  For example, I can't find my old posts as easily as before.  If I want to link back to a previous post, I'll have to find that post in a different way than before, and I haven't figured that out yet.

Not that it makes much difference, because I don't think readers were clicking the links to my older posts.

Update:

I've just figured that out.  But I still don't like this interface.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What World Are Democrats Living In, Exactly?

Ace of Spades Blog

Actually, the world they live in appears to be a fantasy world.  Facts can't break through a closed mind.  A couple of findings in the post:

Study: Only 15 Percent Of Democrats Believe Economic News Is Bad
What is perhaps even less surprising is that only 26 percent of Republicans and 31 percent of independents have a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media. Yet 58 percent of Democrats have a “great deal” or “a fair amount” of trust in the media.

Actually, these numbers are too high, especially for the Republicans.  It should be near zero.

I'll take the 15 percent who believe the Economic news is bad.  That 15% who might be persuaded to vote against the Democrats.  Forty two percent don't trust the media.  I'll take that too.  You work with the cards you are dealt.

The propaganda was a lot worse in Germany during the Hitler years and he still couldn't get a majority.  People should take heart in that.  This blog wouldn't have been permitted in Hitler's Germany.
 

Reincarnation of Thomas Edison?

Elon Musk, that's my take of the guy.

Here's a profile of him at BusinessWeek.

A list of his accomplishments and goals:
  1. SolarCity, where Musk is chairman of the board, is a player in the residential and commercial solar markets [ comment: this is a little doubtful to me, but it is an IPO, so people are willing to bet money on it.]
  2. Musk is chief executive officer of Tesla and SpaceX
  3. Musk led his brother and cousins in a number of ventures, such as selling Easter eggs in the neighborhood and starting a video game arcade.
  4. in 1995 he bailed out of a graduate program in applied physics at Stanford and, with Kimbal, started an Internet map and directory venture called Zip2. Four years later, they sold Zip2 to Compaq Computer for more than $300 million.
  5. Musk took his winnings and plowed them into another startup called X.com. This was basically an online bank and would later become PayPal.
  6. funded a data-center software company called Everdream...And then the rich guy’s deus ex machina arrived when Dell (DELL) acquired Everdream, of which Musk was the major shareholder, for $120 million. 
  7. Next year, SpaceX looks to launch eight flights, and as many as 16 the following year.
  8. Freeing mankind from the scourge of carbon, not to mention its terrestrial shackles[ comment: Wow!]
  9. Musk is cooking up plans for something he calls the Hyperloop [ comment: a very fast type of ground transportation]
  10. “I would like to die on Mars,” he says. “Just not on impact.”
Put this guy to work solving our problems and we'd be in good shape in no time.

Obama: Lack of immigration reform, not unemployment, is biggest failure

dailycaller

“My biggest failure is that we haven’t got comprehensive immigration reform done … but it was not for lack of trying or desire,” Obama told his mostly Hispanic audience during the hour-long town hall meeting organized by the Spanish-language TV network, Univision.[ emphasis added ]

Comment:

Does this show what this President's priorities or what?  Not the economy, but Obamacare and immigration reform.  Geez.

Anti-jihad 'savage' ads going up in NYC subway

yahoo via Free Republic

  • The ad reads, "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad."
  • Abdul Yasar, a New York subway rider who considers himself an observant Muslim, said Geller's ad was insensitive in an unsettling climate for Muslims.

    "If you don't want to see what happened in Libya and Egypt after the video — maybe not so strong here in America — you shouldn't put this up," Yasar said.[ emphasis added]
  • The Metropolitan Transportation Authority in New York initially refused to run Geller's ad, saying it was "demeaning." But U.S. District Court Judge Paul Engelmayer ruled last month that it is protected speech under the First Amendment.
  • Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, backed publication of the "patently offensive" ads.
  • Opponents say the ads imply that Muslims are savages.

Comment:

Let's get this straight--- is it the government's position that Muslims have the right to jihad?  Do we have a First Amendment anymore?  Does this country intend to allow all of us to be dhimmified?

It is wrong under the First Amendment to ban any ad such as this.  There is nothing wrong with it at all.

Obama, Clinton, in Ads Disavowing Anti Muslim Film which ‘Must Not Be Named’

jewishpress.com

On Thursday, September 20, President of the United States Barack Obama and Hillary R. Clinton, the US Secretary of State, were featured in a thirty second television spot paid for by American taxpayers that was intended to make clear to angry Pakistanis that the US government disapproves of the cheap, artless film that portrays the Islamic prophet Mohammed as a pedophile and a womanizer. 

Comment:

Yeah, that worked really well in Egypt.  Now they are doing it again and the results appear to be the same.

What's with this administration?  How does anybody consider keeping them in office?

Falling Mortgages Undercut Fed Borrowing Plan

Via Meadia  via Instapundit

This is like pushing on a string. The Fed is trying to stimulate the economy by keeping interest rates low, especially for mortgages, but many borrowers aren’t qualifying for loans. If banks don’t want to lend or can’t find qualified customers, it doesn’t really matter how low interest rates go. It’s a remarkable spectacle in a way: the Fed is printing money that nobody wants.

Comment:

Besides the obvious, it is remarkable that this quote comes from a self-described Democrat.  Via Meadia has a number of such articles, which is even more remarkable.  If only the Soviet Union type mass media was like this.

The Terrorists' Veto by Michael J. Totten - City Journal

The Terrorists' Veto by Michael J. Totten - City Journal

Bullshit.

No, I'm not denying that there's violence and threats of violence.  But the article reads as if everybody is under threat for speaking their mind, so nobody speaks their mind.  Bullshit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Billy Joel - Piano Man

I am in the mood for this melody.

Something has got to give

For those of you in my international audience, this is translated to mean that something must change soon.  For the situation- as it stands- is simply impossible.

So, what exactly will happen and when?

The answer to that is a prediction and the future is unpredictable. It would have to be far enough into the future that a 100% probability would apply and general enough that any number of events could be said to satisfy the conditions of a successful prediction.

Therefore, with that in mind, I predict that the US Dollar will not be the world's reserve currency in five years or less.  A lot of things will flow from that- or to that event- but that event will be the defining event.  It would be defining because it would be undeniable proof of an end to an era.

What era?  Paper money, otherwise known as fiat currency.  Fiat currencies have always failed and it are failing again.  That's what all of this trouble in the world means.  Fiat currency is failing all over the world.

A bigger picture would mean the end of European or Western Civilization.  I am not prepared to make that prediction yet, but that could be an event that flows from the failure of fiat currencies.

EDITORIAL: Obama coddles Twin Towers bomber

White House considers compassionate release for the Blind Sheikh

Releasing the blind sheikh on any grounds would embolden radicals abroad and demoralize America’s counterterrorism efforts. It would also undermine the Obama administration’s argument that terrorists be tried in civilian courts. Rahman’s case is a model for this type of justice. He and his co-conspirators were afforded full due-process rights, given their days in court and convicted. He did the crime here; he should serve the time here.

The Washington Times

This would make a mockery of this country.  The only reason to do it would be to flip off our own country.  Why would Obama do this?


The National Debt and Federal Budget Deficit Deconstructed - Tony Robbins

Published on Apr 2, 2012 by TonyRobbinsLive http://www.tonyrobbins.com/

Watch Tony Robbins discuss the $15 trillion U.S. national debt -- how big is it really? And what can we do about the enormous federal budget deficit?

Comment:

You can't get something for nothing.  Robbins shows what it would take to pay for government for just one year.  It is staggering.

But Obama and the left want everyone to believe that all you have to do is to tax the rich and keep printing money.  It can't work and Robbins shows why you can't tax your way out of this.   The last post showed why you can't print money either.

The Trouble with Printing Money, QE3 Reflects Colossal Failure to Address Our Predicament

freerepublic.com  via marketoracle

For a while now, I have been expecting a coordinated, global central bank action that would seek to print more money out of thin air, or "QE" (quantitative easing), as it is now called. Now we have two of the most important central banks, that of the U.S. (the Federal Reserve) and in Europe (the ECB) having committed to open-ended, limitless QE.
Recently, Obama pointed out that "we owe it to ourselves" with respect to the debt issue.  Limitless QE means two things 1) limitless debt and 2) no limits on money supply.  Now, it is true that "we owe it to ourselves" but if unlimited amounts of money is created, what is the effect of that?  Isn't it true that adding money to the money supply will diminish the buying power of money already in circulation?  Also, this diminishes the existing private debt.  In the end, lending will cease because there's no incentive to lend if you can't make money from it and your principal is being inflated away.

Here's another point, which is important to remember:
One way to look at the $40 billion per month in new printing is to compare it to individuals and households. Remember, money only comes into your life through effort, and that's why it has value and can function as a store of value. Once upon a time you could make the choice as to whether to work to find money (by mining gold or silver) or work to earn money by farming or practicing a trade, craft, or service. Note that work was always involved. [ emphasis added]

This is just another way of saying that you can't get something for nothing.  When Obama says, "we owe it to ourselves", he is really trying to say that you can get something for nothing.  He's wrong.

His conclusion?
How does all this end? Like it has every other time in history, with a final destruction of the currencies involved. That's my best guess.

This can continue only as long as there appears to be no inflation and prosperity for some continues.  When prosperity ends for enough people and/or inflation begins to be undeniable, this policy will be all too obvious as being untenable.


Roosevelt's Second Bill of Rights

One of the rights that he spoke of was the right to a "remunerative job".

This may sound laudable in a superficial way.  But, let's look at this closely.

For instance, who provides the job?  The private sector, or the public sector?  How do you define "remunerative"?  What if a private company cannot afford to pay this "remunerative" wage?  How do you guarantee that these wages are paid?  Somebody has to pay for it.

A thought occurred to me that one way to guarantee that everybody had a job was to bring back slavery.  If you had slavery, everybody would have a job with perfect job security.  Another factor is that responsibility for fair treatment of the slaves would ensure that nobody got unfair treatment.  Just like animal cruelty laws.  You can't mistreat a pet, or you'd get into trouble.  Why not give that same consideration to people?

People aren't animals, it could be argued.  But what makes people different from animals?  Is it because humans have a moral sense?  If that is true, what gives man a moral sense?  Isn't it the power to choose between good and evil?  Furthermore, isn't it the knowledge of good and evil?  An animal knows nothing about good and evil.  It just does what it does in order to stay alive.

If people have the power to choose, that implies responsibility, does it not?  For if you cannot choose, how can you be held responsible for anything?  After all, an individual is only doing what he or she does.  You don't hold a trial for animal that kills somebody, do you?  No, such an idea is absurd.  Why bother with a trial if nobody has a choice in their actions?

If the difference between people and animals is that animals don't have a moral sense, then how can you make a man a slave?  Are some people less than human then?  It is a perplexing question.  For if all people have the power to choose, how can some people be forced into working for someone else?

But if you can't have slaves, how can you guarantee that someone must be paid a certain wage?  That would entail that the employer would have to pay for something that is unaffordable. If such be the case, in order to hire someone, an employer would have to go broke.  Oops!  No more job.

Now, if jobs cannot be provided by the private sector, then the government must provide them.  But how do you pay for all these jobs?  What if the government cannot afford to pay for all of these jobs?  That seems to be a problem without an solution.  For you cannot require something that cannot be done.

It can't be a right if it cannot be done.  It should be called the Bill of Dreams, not the Second Bill of Rights.  But if it cannot be enforced, it cannot be a law.  Oops!

From this I conclude that the speech was just utopian rhetoric.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Obamacare: a program in disarray.

Behind the Black

The crown jewel of Obamacare’s effort to contain healthcare costs, the creation of Accountable Care Organizations, is so unwieldy that major provider groups have said they won’t participate. The idea is to consolidate doctors, turning them into employees of large systems, and then pay these systems lump sums of money to take care of groups of patients. A letter from 10 major medical groups that previously ran similar programs said, “it would be difficult, if not impossible” to accept the financial design created by Obamacare. In another rebuke, an umbrella group representing premier medical organizations said 90 percent of its members wouldn’t partake.

Comment:

How does Obama get re-elected when this is his major accomplishment?

A possible answer is that the people get so distracted that they forget about it.

So, what do you Republicans do about this situation?  Wring your hands about the latest polls?  Or try something that will work?

Hammer the hell out of the issue.  Don't let the public forget why they don't like this law.  For that matter, keep hammering on the jobs issue, the debt issue, and the economy in general.  That's the big issue in this campaign.  If they do this, they can't lose.

Romney’s “Secret Video” and the Dem Politics of “Squirrel!”

Michelle Malkin in Robert Ringer's blog

This election is about America’s makers versus America’s takers. Romney should never, ever apologize for making that clear.

Damn straight.

Andrea Mitchell: NBC Will Not Air Obama "Redistribution" Clip Because They Can't "Verify" It

Ace

On the other hand, they had no problem airing the Romney Hidden Cam with the missing 2 (or 18?) minutes.
Well, anybody not brain dead should know by now that the media is a Democratic mouthpiece.

The contradiction in Mitchell's position is fully illustrated in the video:

Published on Sep 19, 2012 by WashingtonFreeBeacon

MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell said she would not play a 1998 audio clip featuring Barack Obama speaking in favor of wealth redistribution because it had not been authenticated by MSNBC. However, MSNBC actually played the clip earlier in the day.



Mitchell is probably speaking for herself, or she doesn't know what's going on.

The state of the Presidential election in Houston


What election? I don't see no stinkin' election! Seriously, there are no billboards, yard signs, nor bumper stickers. Perhaps it is too early for these. Or maybe neither candidate is going to spend much time nor money here. The key battles are elsewhere.

But Houston is probably good territory for Obama. All big cities trend Democratic, and Houston is really no different. Yet, nothing much from Obama around here. If there was, I'd have the chance to see it since I drive around town all day.

Since I don't watch TV, except football games on Sunday, I can't tell if Obama is advertising here. Or Romney either. But, I don't recall seeing any political ads for the football games either. Television is expensive. Maybe the candidates are holding back. In previous elections, there were TV ads.

Perhaps they are spending all their time and money in battleground states.

Deliverance - "Machines are going to fail!"

He also said that the system is going to fail.

Systems are stupid. Any system can be beaten. Only intelligent people with integrity and courage can make a civilization work.


When Gold Bars aren't Really Gold Bars

via Barnhardt

You have to go to the Barnhardt site to see this video.  I wanted to embed it here, but the code provided does not work.

Anyway, the story is that a reputable dealer in gold bars has been selling gold plated tungsten as pure gold.

When you can't even trust gold to be gold, you've got a problem.  A big problem.

When nobody and nothing can be trusted, civilization will break down.

Update:

By the way, Ann Barnhardt has a post up that validates what I posted here myself nearly two years ago.

I am not upset that people don't come to this blog and go to Barnhardt's blog to read something that is very similar to what I wrote myself.  I am glad that somebody with a bigger audience is saying what needs to be said.

After all, I began this blog because I felt that something was wrong and I wanted to do something about it.

The Al Fin blog has a quote that is highly applicable here:


During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

This could well be such a time.

Update:

Another typo error had to corrected.  I have a theory as to why this is happening.  This software gets slow sometimes and a line of typed text doesn't appear directly after I type it.  There's a delay of a few seconds, then it appears.  I think by then, I have already moved on to the rest of the post.  That's no excuse, but an explanation.



Althouse: The secret video of Romney talking to donors.

Althouse: The secret video of Romney talking to donors.: Presented at Mother Jones as if it's quite disturbing, but I don't see anything bad in there at all. There are 47 percent of the people wh...

Comment:

I've been seeing some claims that this is a loser for Romney.  Just one more thing to worry about when telling the truth becomes impossible.

You have to be able to tell the truth in order to have any integrity.  Truth and integrity go hand in hand.

If this is true, hold on to your butts

How China's Rehypothecated "Ghost" Steel Just Vaporized, And What This Means For The World Economy

via Instapundit

We now know that this has been happening in China with the most critical component of its economic growth miracle: steel. We will soon discover that all other assets: stocks, bonds, commodities (including gold and silver) and finally cash (think deposits) have been comparably rehypothecated and criminally commingled. The end result will be the most epic bank run in world history, which incidentally is precisely what the central banks are attempting desperately to delay as much as possible by generating excess inflation to "inflate" away the debt, leading to rematching of finite assets and virtually infinite liabilities. Alas, in a world in which credit-money liabilities are in the quadrillions, and in which the real assets are in the tens of trillions, only hyperinflation can seal the deal.

The Fed recently announced another round of QE.  Could this be the reason?   In order to inflate away massive debts which isn't backed by nearly enough collateral?

This reminds me of the MF Global mess.  There is no integrity in the financial system.  Because of that, the system is a house of cards.  Integrity is an absolute necessity in a leveraged financial system.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Democratic Convention Bounce

Dick Morris TV: Lunch Alert!

Sounds like a wake-up call for Republicans.  The Democrat convention bounce was real, he says.  But it can be turned around because fundamentally, the Republicans have the right approach to government.

Next Big Future: Path to Affordable uranium from seawater

Next Big Future: Path to Affordable uranium from seawater: IEEE Spectrum - Our oceans contain an estimated 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium, diluted down to a minuscule 3.3 parts per billion. The ...

No shortage of uranium.  You can use uranium in a molten salt reactor.  This could power civilization forever.

What about proliferation and waste?  The molten salt reactor makes those problems manageable.  The solution is not to close down all nuclear reactors, but to upgrade the technology to molten salt reactors.

In case you haven't seen all this before, check it out by clicking on the label for Kirk Sorensen's (Thorium) LFTR's.  The mentioned label is included at the end of this post.

Sorensen v Musk, whither dost one follow?

In the last past, I asked why aren't there more people like Elon Musk?  But I didn't consider something and that is this:  What has Musk actually accomplished?  The answer is that he has shown a talent for making money and raising money towards reaching his goals.  His accomplishments have not changed anything fundamentally, in my opinion.

Compared with Musk, Kirk Sorensen of Flibe Energy is not nearly so successful.  Sorensen is probably not very rich, and he may never be.  Yet, in studying his plans and writing about them with 85 posts thus far over the course of this blog, I think Sorensen's ideas may come closer to sustainable energy than anything that I know about with respect to Musk's plans.  Yet, progress appears to be rather slow.

The unfortunate conclusion is that the overall merit of an idea isn't a guarantee of it being successful in the financial sense.  But the problems we face can only be solved if a financial basis exists for that solution.  Otherwise, it is not a solution for the many, although a particular solution may work for a few.

Therein may lie the key to understanding why one is financially successful and the other isn't.  Trying to run things for the good of the many is a lot harder than trying to run things for the good of the few.  It is a fundamentally more difficult problem to solve.  Trying to get the many to go in one direction for very long is like trying to herd cats.  It is hard enough just to get one person to follow consistently in one direction.


Next Big Future: Elon Musk's big plans include Vertical takeoff Sup...

Next Big Future: Elon Musk's big plans include Vertical takeoff Sup...: Business Week has a lengthy feature on Elon Musk. Elon Musks Hyperloop transportation system is discussed but there are still very few det...

Why aren't there more people like Musk?  Why isn't there more effort to solving problems?  It seems like people are just interested in conflict, or contests.

Think what you want about electric cars, but Musk figured out a way to sell the darned things.  Maybe it will be successful some day.  But I have my doubts.  I could also be wrong about that too.  He did successfully find a niche market for his cars.  The mass market is where I have my doubts.

On another subject, this quote struck me:
“The next six months will be about really proving things for Tesla,” Musk says. “We need to get in excess of 20,000 units a year and in excess of 25 percent gross margins, which would be close to the highest in the car business.” SpaceX has a backlog of about $3 billion booked from spaceflight customers through 2017, but still has to successfully execute all those launches using equipment it hasn’t finished developing. Musk’s goals go well beyond cash-flow statements, however. “We don’t have sustainable energy production solved,” he says, “and we are not a multiplanetary species.”[emphasis added]
That's kinda what I've been writing about.  But he is doing it.

What about this quote from Business Insider?
Musk is the "most risk-immune person I've ever met," he says. "He's really an American hero, more than anyone I've ever met."
What does that mean?  That he does risky things?  But this concept of risk is business risk, not bungee jumping kind of physical risk to life or limb.

Still, if you've got somebody who is willing to tackle a problem and is able to solve it, you just might have something special.

You could assemble a group of these kinds of people and do some really big stuff.


Monday, September 17, 2012

People are irrational, or are they?

Back again from a day of work.  Went back to work today after a four week absence due to a foot problem.  While at work, a thought came to me again and again.  It was this political business about how polarized we in the USA are these days.  That's how I segued into this thought about people being irrational.  After all, with all the evidence of Obama's failure, why does he poll as well as he does?  Are people close minded to the evidence?  Are they rational?

Well, nobody rational will stick their hand into a boiling pot of oil.  But is this really rational?  Maybe it is just fear of injury that causes the avoidance of injury.  It isn't necessarily rational, or is it?

Maybe there's some psychological tests that have been done which attempts to answer that question.  Just guessing offhand, I'd say people are capable of being rational, but aren't always rational nor irrational.

So, why pay attention to and debate politics when most people aren't going to be persuaded anyway?

The reason is that people really are reasonable enough to respond.  But it only happens on the margins.  That, by the way, is an important term.  At least it is in economics.  So, it must be generally true in life too.  The margins mean at the very edge.  In economics, if I remember this right, and in terms of income tax rates, is the  tax rate on the last dollar earned.  You might hear it as marginal tax rates.  The marginal tax rates is important in terms of incentive to do a little extra work.  The idea is that if rates are high, the response is to not work as hard because there is no point in earning that extra dollar if the government taxes it all away.

According to the economics I learned in school, people respond to incentives.  So, is this evidence of being rational, or irrational?  It would be irrational, in my opinion, to work as hard for the last dollar earned as the first, provided that the last is taxed much heavier than the first.  I'd like to think that most people would not do that, but would stop working hard after a certain point because there wouldn't be any point in it.  In other words, I'd like to believe that people can be rational.

So, if people are voting the wrong way, it isn't necessarily evidence that people are acting irrationally.  But it is also possible that people are acting rationally, but the people objecting may be the ones who are wrong.

This may bother a few people who look at Obama and wonder why his loss isn't a foregone conclusion.  Maybe it really means is that something the Republicans are doing wrong, but don't understand what it is and can't correct it.

Kinda late in the game to do anything about that if it is true.

There are other things to consider as well.  One is information.  People can't make good decisions if they are kept in the dark.  When it comes to the media, I don't think they are very helpful in informing people.  Too many people are too dependent upon the media for information.

Here's a thought--- what if Obama really isn't what he pretends to be?  His supporters will always believe that he is what he says he is.  His detractors will always say that he isn't.  But what happens at the margins?  What happens with that last bit of information or that last bit of effort?  It may make the difference in a close contest.

People shouldn't look to polls too much.  But it is exciting to watch a contest.  But if you are in the contest, it may be better to focus yourself on the task of winning it, as opposed to constantly watching the polls.  Losing the game may happen because you aren't focused on what you need to be doing.

Betsy's Page: What to do when reality catches up with the narrat...

Betsy's Page: What to do when reality catches up with the narrat...: Ever since Obama appeared on the national scene he's been selling the idea that he would have some special connection with the Muslim world ...

Comment:

Why would he have a special connection with the Muslim world?  My understanding is Obama would be considered as a Muslim by other Muslims because his father was a Muslim.  If he renounced this faith, that makes him an apostate.  An apostate is not going to be esteemed in the Muslim world.  As a matter of fact, apostasy is punishable by death.

Ignorance is dangerous.  Anybody who believes that Obama has a special connection with Muslims just because he grew up in a Muslim region has rocks in their heads.  There would only be one exception to this--- if Obama is a secret Muslim who is trying to overthrow the United States.  But that contradicts itself.  If everybody knows about it, it isn't a secret.  Either way you look at it, the statement that he has a special connection is indefensible.


Video: Why We Are Afraid, A 1400 Year Secret, by Dr Bill Warner

This works better than Pastor Jones. Jones is a problem because he looks like an idiot. Jones can be easily attacked and discredited.

But there is legitimacy in criticizing Islam, as this video shows. Yet, it has to be done properly, as this video does, or it will be discredited. With it being discredited, the criticism will fail.

It is already being discredited by a cheesy video which is being blamed for the attacks upon embassies. Even with a cheesy video, this is no excuse for violence. The violence is just an excuse for jihad, which has been going on for centuries.

The attacks are not the new kind of war that Bush talked about right after 9/11. It is the same old war of Islam against the rest of the world.

There must be no sharia in the United States or Europe. Wherever it exists,either here or in Europe, it must be struck down. Sharia is the advance agent of jihad. Stop it at its root and it cannot spread. Pull it up by its roots, and save our civilization.

An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf

www.telegraph

"An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s covert nuclear weapons programme."
A couple comments here.  One, it isn't covert if everybody seems to know about it.  Two, everybody in the region is talking tough, so something is about to happen--- with consequences that can be hard to imagine if it gets out of hand.

I figured Israel wouldn't attack because it looks like they could get blamed if things go badly.  If things do go badly, that would be very bad very for them and for the US.  If things go well, that could still be bad, because the Iranians could still make a big fuss.  The Russians could also make a big fuss, and the Chinese could take advantage of the situation if we get over-committed to the Mideast.

Update:

Corrected as indicated.  Typo.  Can't believe I made that mistake.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Democrats going after Ryan


It reminds me of the debate in 1988 when Bush said he never heard of a President running against the opponents number two.

Supposedly, this is the best way to go after Romney. They did have an edge on foreign policy, but that is going up in flames in the Middle East. With no other cards to play, they can go after the number two guy.

The polls are reported as being close, even though they are not, because that's what drives interest up and helps advertising rates. The horse race is more exciting if it is close.

Obama is going to lose, unless the Democrats pull a rabbit of their hats. Or spin their way back in with an assist from the media. But no amount of propaganda can polish up this turd.

Solidarity on the issue of freedom of speech

Once again, I'm putting up a video on that principle.

I had to think a bit about this one. No, don't send it to Salafists. That is trouble making. But to inform people of what is in the Koran, and to express diapproval, yes, this is necessary.

Florida pastor says he did not promote anti-Islam video because church website was hacked

bradenton.com

This seemed like something new that I didn't know about, so I checked out the article.

Whether he promoted the video or not, U.S. authorities were so concerned about Jones that Gen Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, asked him not to post the controversial 14-minute video in fear it could further inflame tensions in Libya or Egypt.

All attention is focused on Jones, but why?  He didn't make the video himself.  If he didn't promote it on his website, where's the beef?  There was a story out there that claimed that Jones sent the video to a Salafist TV station.   But it may not have been Jones, but someone else.   A little further digging surprised me, as I was under the impression that Jones only threatened to burn the Koran.  That's not true, as the article reveals the reason for Jones' infamy in Islamic lands.  He "executed" a Koran by burning it.  So, it doesn't appear that Jones did it himself, but a little further digging shows that Jones may know who did it.  Hence, all the concern about Jones.

Jones doesn't want to back down--
“The problem I have is how far do you back down?,’’ he said. “…Honestly, no matter what you do if you speak out against the Quran in any form, that is reason for them to retaliate. They do not tolerate any type of criticism.”

This following quote is ambiguous, so I attribute it to General Dempsey:
Jones said Dempsey had seen the film and considered it to be “in his words, pornographic, not fitting for a Christian or pastor to show and he was concerned about the retaliation it could have around the world.”

Pornographic?  What?  That's a loaded word and not descriptive.  Unless there's something I haven't seen.

If the following quote is true, then our government may be getting a bit out of hand:
He now posts a sign on his church property that reads: “Obama is killing America.” That action prompted a visit from the U.S. Secret Service afterward, he said.

It is against the law to threaten the POTUS, but this is a bit of a stretch.

Jones may have some questionable judgment, as it shows here:
Jones has lost more than his congregation since he first won attention in 2009 for posting a sign outside is church that read, “Islam is the Devil” and sent the children of congregation members to school with t-shirts promoting the same message. [emphasis added]
It may be permissible for Jones to take a stand with his own security, but including children shows that he may be a bit off his rocker.