COVID Impact – 1.5 Billion Pound Potato Mountain Trapped In Supply Chain

Posted By on July 5, 2020

Dominoes in action!

Business Insider took a trip to a potato seed farm in Sheridan, Montana, and spoke with farmers Peggy and Bill Buyan, who described the emotional and financial impact COVID-19 has caused them.

Courtesy of Business Insider, here’s an excerpt of the video transcript: 

Narrator: These potatoes aren’t gonna end up on your dinner table. Their final destination is this hole. We’re in the small town of Sheridan, Montana, on a potato farm. Normally this time of year, Bill and Peggy would be sending their potatoes to be planted. Instead, they’re throwing away 700 tons.

Bill Buyan: The potatoes have been awful good to us for a lot of years, but this year it just really turned sour.

Narrator: And the same thing is happening across the Northwest.

Bill: I mean, it was just unprecedented. It’s the supply chain from the growers to the supermarket that got interrupted.

Zak Miller: More than half of our market shut down by government mandate.

Narrator: Now farmers across Idaho and Montana are stuck with mountains of potatoes. So why did this all happen?

We visited Buyan Ranch, where Peggy and Bill have been growing potato seed for 59 years. Normally, potato production across the Northwest looks like this. It starts with a seed grower like Buyan, where farmers grow a variety of seed strains.

Zak: Virtually all the potatoes grown started out from a certified seed. That’s a fairly rigorous process that avoids disease, imperfections.

Narrator: Buyan grows three different disease-free seed strains: Umatilla, Clearwater, and Russet Burbank potatoes. Each potato variety goes to a specific grower in either the fresh or processed segment. In the fresh segment…

Zak: You’re actually seeing the potato in its true form.

Narrator: That’s foods like a raw potato at a grocery store or au gratin potatoes at your favorite restaurant.

Zak: The other side of that is – we call it our process segment. You don’t actually see the potato; you see the byproduct or the end result of that.

Narrator: That’s the bag of potato chips, the french fries at McDonald’s, or the precut fries in the frozen section.

Zak: If you’re a fresh-product grower, you’ll plant a different variety, or a different genetic line of potatoes. If you’re a process grower, you’ll grow a different product line. Just, some fry better, they have a better color to them. Others grow better.

Narrator: Now back to the farm. Potato growers get the seed from Buyan and start planting in March, then they harvest in early fall. Once the potatoes are out of the ground, they go into storage or are sent to a factory, where they’re cleaned and turned into either fresh or processed potatoes.

Zak: When COVID hit, we had a huge run on retail, which lasted for about a week to two weeks, but then when we shut off all the restaurants, that’s when everything came out of kilter.

Narrator: Potatoes for food service, like restaurants, hotels, and catering, make up an estimated 55% of all potato crops.

Zak: Think of everything from white-table restaurants clear down to your fast, quick service.

Narrator: So when food-service establishments shut down because of COVID-19, it was a chain effect. Processors cut down orders with growers. Out of options, the growers cut their orders with seed farmers. And more than half of the industry’s potatoes were stranded on seed farms. In Peggy’s case, her customers in Washington were cut back more than 50%, and she and Bill were stuck with tons of seed they’d normally sell.

Zak: You can’t take some of these facilities that are built directly for food service and then tomorrow flip a switch and make them able to sell into retail. You’re asking – a square peg in a round hole, I guess, is the best analogy I can come up with.

Narrator: The surplus potatoes also couldn’t just be sent to grocery stores.

Zak: Grocery stores or retails would have been bursting to the seams with potatoes if we had redirected all that.

Bill: We had high hopes that maybe something would turn up, you know? That in a month or so, we might be able to send them somewhere for some kind of processing. But this year’s, there’s just no market for them, and we’re just taking them out, taking them into a burial pit.

Narrator: Peggy and Bill have been forced to bury 1.4 million pounds of potatoes in total.

Inequity Explained Quite Simply With Monkeys

Posted By on June 27, 2020

This video is exceptional at explaining inequities rising out of today’s Fed policies

From: Chris Martenson via PeakProsperity.com,

The Fed has long pretended to be mystified by the rising inequality its policies are obviously causing. Jerome Powell  recently and (in)famously declared during Q&A after a speech that the Fed “absolutely does not” contribute to inequality. That bold-faced lie is infuriating to those who realize just how socially and culturally unfair and damaging the Fed’s actions really are.

When things become too unfair, people stop participating.  If laws are too one-sided and rigged, people stop following them.  If new hires receive a higher salary for equivalent work, the veteran employees stop working as hard.  If students know that their classmates are cheating and getting good grades, they’ll begin to cheat, too.

It’s just how we’re wired.  An aversion to unfairness is in our social DNA.

Peak Prosperity readers know I’m a huge fan of this short video.  It explains everything about the rising tide of social rebellion in America (and features cute monkeys, to boot!):

By unfairly accelerating the wealth gap between the top 1% and everyone else, the Fed is playing with fire.  Seemingly with the same level of ignorance to the consequences as a chimpanzee with a magnifying glass on the tinder-dry savannah.

Money is our social contract.

When that contract is broken, that’s when things really go south for a nation.  Zimbabwe, the Weimar Republic, Venezuela and Argentina are all past (and some current again, sadly) examples of just how badly the standard of living can plummet when a nation’s money system breaks down.

Source: Peakprosperity.com

Out Of Nowhere, Something Just Rocked Earth’s Magnetic Field

Posted By on June 26, 2020

Inquiring minds wonder what effects the irregularity of the earths magnetic field might have on earthlings (mentally, that is), especially during one of the deepest Solar Minimums in a century? Is it a coincidence that the world seems to be coming apart at its seams with ‘human spirits’ running at the highest levels in many many years. Or, that the north pole just recorded its all time record high temperature of 100.4 F on June 20th, 2020. See this: {The northeastern Siberian town of Verkhoyansk smashed an all-time record high Saturday, June 20th with a reading of 100.4°F}, a record dating back to 1885. 

 https://wrex.com/2020/06/23/siberia-recorded-first-100-temperature-smashing-all-time-record/

Authored by Anthony Watts via WattsUpWithThat.com,

A GLOBAL MAGNETIC ANOMALY:  On June 23rd, Earth’s quiet magnetic field was unexpectedly disturbed by a wave of magnetism that rippled around much of the globe. There was no solar storm or geomagnetic storm to cause the disturbance. So what was it?

The Sun today, cue ball blank. Image: NASA SDO

Lately, Earth’s magnetic field has been quiet. Very quiet. The sun is in the pits of what may turn out to be the deepest Solar Minimum in a century. Geomagnetic storms just aren’t happening.

“That’s why I was so surprised on June 23rd when my instruments picked up a magnetic anomaly,” reports Stuart Green, who operates a research-grade magnetometer in his backyard in Preston UK.

“For more than 30 minutes, the local magnetic field oscillated like a sine wave.”

This chart recording shows a magnetic wave rippling through Preston UK on June 23, 2020. Credit: Stuart Green.

Green quickly checked solar wind data from NOAA’s DSCOVR satellite.

“There was nothing – no uptick in the solar wind speed or other factors that might explain the disturbance,” he says.

He wasn’t the only one who noticed. In the Lofoten islands of Norway, Rob Stammes detected a similar anomaly on his magnetometer. “It was remarkable,” he says.

“Our magnetic field swung back and forth by about 1/3rd of a degree. I also detected ground currents with the same 10 minute period.

What happened? Space physicists call this phenomenon a “pulsation continuous” or “Pc” for short. Imagine blowing across a piece of paper, making it flutter with your breath. Solar wind can have a similar effect on magnetic fields. Pc waves are essentially flutters propagating down the flanks of Earth’s magnetosphere excited by the breath of the sun. During more active phases of the solar cycle, these flutters are easily lost in the noise of rambunctious geomagnetic activity. But during the extreme quiet of Solar Minimum, such waves can make themselves “heard” like a pin dropping in an silent room.

Magnetic observatories around the world detected the wave on June 23, 2020. Credit: INTERMAGNET

Earth’s magnetic field was so quiet on June 23rd, the ripple was heard all around the world. INTERMAGNET‘s global network of magnetic observatories picked up wave activity at the same time from Hawaii to China to the Arctic Circle. There’s even a hint of it in Antarctica.

Pc waves are classified into 5 types depending on their period. The 10-minute wave on June 23rd falls into category Pc5. Slow Pc5 waves have been linked to a loss of particles from the van Allen radiation belts. Energetic electrons surf these waves down into Earth’s atmosphere, where they dissipate harmlessly.

With Solar Minimum in full swing, there’s never been a better time to study these waves. Keep quiet … and stay tuned for more.

Source: SpaceWeather.com 

LeBron James Raises $100 Million To Build Media Empire

Posted By on June 26, 2020

It looks like LeBron James is ‘all in’ with Los Angeles. This is big news, and it ties LeBron to the Lakers (via his basketball career) and now to the LA Dodgers (via an entertainment partnership with Dodger majority owner Guggenheim Partners LLC) .

by Tyler Durden

Thu, 06/25/2020 – 20:10

NBA star LeBron James and his business partner Maverick Carter have raised $100 million for their newly created entertainment firm, The SpringHill Company.

Bloomberg reported James and Carter received a cash infusion from global investment and financial services firm Guggenheim Partners LLC, UC Investments, News Corp. heir Elisabeth Murdoch, and SC.Holdings, the investment fund managed by entrepreneur Jason Stein.

The firm’s board consists of Carter, Serena Williams, Murdoch, Marc Rowan, co-founder of private equity firm Apollo Global Management, Live Nation Entertainment CEO Michael Rapino, Minerd, Paul Wachter, who is James’ wealth manager, and Tom Werner, chairman of the Boston Red Sox and English soccer club Liverpool.

The SpringHill Company is a consolidation of James’ marketing firm Robot Co. and several entertainment companies, including SpringHill Entertainment and Uninterrupted LLC. SpringHill Entertainment is the company behind the production of the upcoming sequel to “Space Jam.”

The company is described “as a media company with an unapologetic agenda: a maker and distributor of all kinds of content that will give a voice to creators and consumers who’ve been pandered to, ignored, or underserved,” Bloomberg noted.

“Big news‼️ Announcing the next chapter as THE SPRINGHILL COMPANY: a media company with an unapologetic agenda – a maker and distributor of all kinds of content that will give a voice to creators and consumers who’ve been pandered to, ignored, or underserved,” The SpringHill Company’s Instagram wrote.

Bloomberg didn’t elaborate on the deal structure or the sizes of each investors’ stake, but it was mentioned James and Carter formed the company at the start of the coronavirus pandemic in March.

“When we talk about storytelling, we want to be able to hit home, to hit a lot of homes where they feel like they can be a part of that story. And they feel like, Oh, you know what? I can relate to that. It’s very organic to our upbringing,” James told Bloomberg.

“When you grow up in a place like where we were, no matter how talented you are, if you don’t even know that other things exist, there’s no way for you to ever feel empowered because you’re like, I’m confined to this small world. That’s our duty. A lot of exposure,” Carter added.

The pair recently signed a TV production deal with Walt Disney Co and is working with Netflix on a basketball-themed movie.

Sources: ZeroHedge.com

Hitching A Ride … To Nowhere, Hertz Global Holdings Has Just Filed For Bankruptcy Protection

Posted By on May 22, 2020

Iconic Hertz, the rental car company founded in 1918 with 12 Ford Model T’s and owner of Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty car-rental brands, has filed for bankruptcy protection. Just 3 months ago on February 20, 2020 Hertz stock was trading at $20.85. Now, puff, its gone. Zippo. Zero. A total wipeout.

Just as bad, this is disastrous news for the automobile companies, the used car market and also wall street’s huge junk bond auto related securitized debt market, just when they don’t need more bad news! But it gets worse, stuck between a rock and a hard place, Hertz has proposed selling more than 30,000 used cars a month through the end of the year in an effort to raise around $5 billion. Inquiring minds wonder ‘sell to whom’. This will effectively bury the used car market and the auto finance companies for the foreseeable future, with virtually all leased vehicles expected to plunge below their lease residual values. It also will then significantly change the structure of many leased car trade ins. Bad for everybody.

Furthermore, it means the rental car companies won’t be buying new cars anytime soon, which will further negatively affect the auto makers because they rely on the rental car companies for a large part of their fleet auto sales business. Oh, and did we say that state, counties and cities are in serious deficit, and in this environment won’t be buying many new fleet vehicles either, surely not until tax revenues recover.

This is Economics 101-B: What Happens When Dominoes Fall.

Car rental company Hertz Global Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection on Friday after its business all but vanished during the coronavirus pandemic and talks with creditors failed to result in needed relief.

Hertz said in a U.S. court filing on Friday that it voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 reorganization. Its international operating regions including Europe, Australia and New Zealand were not included in the U.S. proceedings.

The firm, whose largest shareholder is billionaire investor Carl Icahn, is reeling from government orders restricting travel and requiring citizens to remain home. A large portion of Hertz’s revenue comes from car rentals at airports, which have all but evaporated as potential customers eschew plane travel.

With nearly $19 billion of debt and roughly 38,000 employees worldwide as of the end of 2019, Hertz is among the largest companies to be undone by the pandemic. The public health crisis has also caused a cascade of bankruptcies or Chapter 11 preparations among companies dependent on consumer demand, including retailers, restaurants and oil and gas firms.

U.S. airlines have so far avoided similar fates after receiving billions of dollars in government aid, an avenue Hertz has explored without success.

The Estero, Florida-based company, which operates Hertz, Dollar and Thrifty car-rentals, had been in talks with creditors after skipping significant car-lease payments due in April.

Forbearance and waiver agreements on the missed payments were set to expire on May 22. Hertz has about $1 billion of cash.

The size of Hertz’s lease obligations have increased as the value of vehicles declined because of the pandemic. In an attempt to appease creditors holding asset-backed securities that finance its fleet of more than 500,000 vehicles, Hertz has proposed selling more than 30,000 cars a month through the end of the year in an effort to raise around $5 billion, a person familiar with the matter said.

On May 16, the board appointed executive Paul Stone to replace Kathryn Marinello as CEO. Hertz earlier laid off about 10,000 employees and said there was substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern.

Hertz’s woes are compounded by the complexity of its balance sheet, which includes more than $14 billion of securitized debt. The proceeds from those securities finance purchases of vehicles that are then leased to Hertz in exchange for monthly payments that have risen as the value of cars fall.

Hertz also has traditional credit lines, loans and bonds with conditions that can trigger defaults based on missing those lease payments or failing to meet other conditions, such as delivering a timely operating budget and reimbursing funds it has borrowed.

Hertz earlier signaled it could avoid bankruptcy if it received relief from creditors or financial aid the company and its competitors have sought from the U.S. government. The U.S. Treasury has started assisting companies as part of an unprecedented $2.3 trillion relief package passed by Congress and signed into law.

A trade group representing Hertz, the American Car Rental Association, has asked Congress to do more for the industry by expanding coronavirus relief efforts and advancing new legislation targeting tourism-related businesses.

Even before the pandemic, Hertz and its peers were under financial pressure as travelers shifted to ride-hailing services such as Uber.

To combat Uber, Hertz had adopted a turnaround plan, aiming to modernize its smartphone apps and improve management of its fleet of rental cars.

Hertz traces its roots to 1918, when Walter Jacobs, then a pioneer of renting cars, founded a company allowing customers to temporarily drive one of a dozen Ford Motor Model Ts, according to the company’s website.

Sources: CNBC, The Wall Street Journal

Say What? A Parallel Universe Where Time Flows Backwards…No, They’re Not Kidding

Posted By on May 21, 2020

A new discovery in Antarctica has caused a stir in scientific circles as possibly representing the first tangible physical evidence of a parallel universe.

Scientists Discover Evidence of Parallel Universe Where Time Flows Backwards

JAKE ANDERSON

(TMU) – The existence of parallel universes sounds like science fiction, but over the years a number of prominent physicists have come to believe the idea is not only compatible with conventional physics but that it may explain some of the anomalies in quantum theory.

A new discovery in Antarctica has caused a stir in scientific circles as possibly representing the first tangible physical evidence of a parallel universe.

Scientists working for NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna (ANITA) have been conducting a cosmic ray detection experiment. Antarctica is the ideal environment for such an endeavor because a persistent wind of high-energy particles rains down from outer space unperturbed by radio noise.

ANITA Antarctic Hang Test/University of Hawai’i at Manoa

ANITA is a stratospheric balloon that ferries complicated instruments high into the air over Antarctica, surveying over a million square kilometers. Its instruments search for heavier tau neutrinos trapped by solid-state matter. But while these high-energy particles do not pass through the Earth, like their lighter low-energy cousins, they should be originating from out in space and moving “down” toward us.

However, ANITA scientists discovered something surprising: tau neutrino particles that seem to be arising “up” from the Earth, implying that they’re moving backward in time.

Principal ANITA investigator Peter Gorham, an experimental particle physicist at the University of Hawaii, says he was surprised by this and checked for computational or equipment glitches to explain the finding.

“What we saw is something that looked just like a cosmic ray, as seen in reflection off the ice sheet, but it wasn’t reflected,” said Gorham“It was as if the cosmic ray had come out of the ice itself. A very strange thing. So we published a paper on that, we just suggested that this was in pretty strong tension with the standard model of physics.”

Gorham says these “impossible events” are controversial but “could indicate that we’re actually seeing a new class of sub-atomic particle that’s very penetrating. Even more penetrating than a neutrino, which is pretty hard to do. This particle would be passing through almost the entire earth. So this could be an indication of some new type of physics, what we call beyond the standard model of physics.”

Surprisingly enough, one of the simplest explanations for such a finding is that when the Big Bang occurred 13.8 billion years ago, it formed both our universe and a mirror universe where time flows in reverse. Inhabitants of that universe would likely not experience time going backward but would rather perceive us as the reverse universe.

“Not everyone was comfortable with the hypothesis,” Gorham told New Scientist.

Another possibility is that the Earth was inundated from cosmic rays from a supernova blast that penetrated our planet.

Scientists have increasingly come to accept the possibility of multiple universes. A few years ago astronomers considered evidence of a “bruise” on our universe, an anomalous “cold spot” that could represent an ancient collision with another universe in the multiverse.

Stephen Hawking’s final paper, released posthumously, proposed a theory for explaining alternate universes.

Source: The Mind Unleashed

Global Warming Where Are You? Hello Greta Thunberg…

Posted By on May 19, 2020

Inquiring minds wonder what is happening with the Sun and global warming? It seems we may now be on the pathway to global cooling.

The Sun “Has Gone Into Lockdown”, And This Strange Behavior Could Worsen Global Food Shortages

Mon, 05/18/2020

Authored by Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog,

At a time when the world is already being hit with major crisis after major crisis, our sun is behaving in ways that we have never seen before.  For as long as records have been kept, the sun has never been quieter than it has been in 2019 and 2020, and as you will see below we are being warned that we have now entered “a very deep solar minimum”.  Unfortunately, other very deep solar minimums throughout history have corresponded with brutally cold temperatures and horrific global famines, and of course this new solar minimum comes at a time when the United Nations is already warning that we are on the verge of “biblical” famines around the world.  So we better hope that the sun wakes up soon, because the alternative is almost too horrifying to talk about.

Without the sun, life on Earth could not exist, and so the fact that it is behaving so weirdly right now should be big news.

Sadly, most mainstream news outlets are largely ignoring this story, but at least a few are covering it.  The following comes from Forbes

While we on Earth suffer from coronavirus, our star—the Sun—is having a lockdown all of its ownSpaceweather.com reports that already there have been 100 days in 2020 when our Sun has displayed zero sunspots.

That makes 2020 the second consecutive year of a record-setting low number of sunspots— which you can see (a complete absence of) here.

And here is what the New York Post is saying…

Our sun has gone into lockdown, which could cause freezing weather, earthquakes and famine, scientists say.

The sun is currently in a period of “solar minimum,” meaning activity on its surface has fallen dramatically.

Experts believe we are about to enter the deepest period of sunshine “recession” ever recorded as sunspots have virtually disappeared.

Yes, covering COVID-19 is important, but the fact that scientists are warning that we are potentially facing “freezing weather, earthquakes and famine” should be deeply alarming for all of us.

And since the mainstream media has been largely silent on this crisis, most Americans don’t even know that it exists.

Last year, there were no sunspots at all 77 percent of the time, and so far this year there have been no sunspots at all 76 percent of the time

“This is a sign that solar minimum is underway,” reads SpaceWeather.com. “So far this year, the Sun has been blank 76% of the time, a rate surpassed only once before in the Space Age. Last year, 2019, the Sun was blank 77% of the time. Two consecutive years of record-setting spotlessness adds up to a very deep solar minimum, indeed.”

So why is this such a big deal?

Well, every once in a while a very deep solar minimum that lasts for several decades comes along, and when our planet has experienced such periods in the past the consequences have been quite dramatic.

For example, the New York Post is claiming that NASA scientists fear that we could potentially be facing “a repeat of the Dalton Minimum”…

NASA scientists fear it could be a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, which happened between 1790 and 1830 — leading to periods of brutal cold, crop loss, famine and powerful volcanic eruptions.

Temperatures plummeted by up to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over 20 years, devastating the world’s food production.

Even worse would be a repeat of the Maunder Minimum which stretched from 1645 to 1715.  It came as the globe was already in the midst of “the Little Ice Age”, and it caused harvest failures and famines all over the globe

The Maunder Minimum is the most famous cold period of the Little Ice Age. Temperatures plummeted in Europe (Figs. 14.3–14.7), the growing season became shorter by more than a month, the number of snowy days increased from a few to 20–30, the ground froze to several feet, alpine glaciers advanced all over the world, glaciers in the Swiss Alps encroached on farms and buried villages, tree-lines in the Alps dropped, sea ports were blocked by sea ice that surrounded Iceland and Holland for about 20 miles, wine grape harvests diminished, and cereal grain harvests failed, leading to mass famines (Fagan, 2007). The Thames River and canals and rivers of the Netherlands froze over during the winter (Fig. 14.3). The population of Iceland decreased by about half. In parts of China, warm-weather crops that had been grown for centuries were abandoned. In North America, early European settlers experienced exceptionally severe winters.

In fact, it is being reported that widespread shutdowns of meat processing facilities in the United States may force farmers to euthanize “as many as 10 million hogs by September”

U.S. pork farmers may be forced to euthanize as many as 10 million hogs by September as a result of production-plant shutdowns brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, according to the National Pork Producers Council.

At least 14,000 reported positive COVID-19 cases have been connected to meatpacking facilities in at least 181 plants in 31 states as of May 13, and at least 54 meatpacking facility workers have died of the virus at 30 plants in 18 states, according to an investigation by the Midwest Center for Investigative reporting.

Even if the sun suddenly started acting perfectly normal once again, we would still be facing what the UN is calling “the worst humanitarian crisis since World War Two”.

Global food supplies are getting tighter with each passing day, and many are warning that some areas of the globe will soon be dealing with severe food shortages.

What we really need are a few years of really good growing weather, but the behavior of the sun may not make that possible.

So let’s keep a very close eye on the giant ball of fire that we are revolving around, because if it remains very quiet that could mean big trouble for all of us.

Source: http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-sun-has-gone-into-lockdown-and-this-strange-behavior-could-make-global-food-shortages-much-worse

Is This 1929-1932 Sears Catalog From 90 Years Ago The Prelude to Amazon in the Year 2110, 90 Years Forward

Posted By on May 18, 2020

More than just interesting!

A Look At The Great Depression Through The Sears Catalog

Submitted by Nicholas Colas of DataTrek Research

The slide, and recovery, from the depths of the Great Depression is on full display in the once iconic Sears catalog. But what really stands out is the increasing presence of modern appliances like blenders, vacuums and washing machines. Rural electrification was one of the Depression’s big infrastructure projects, a good reminder of what is possible even in hard times.

Stay at home life in New York City is getting pretty old and dull after 8 weeks confined to an apartment. My wife Misty and I took a walk around the block this morning and stopped in at CVS to buy a few things. It felt like a big outing…

At least the mail still brings some novelty, and yesterday I received fresh from an eBay seller an original 1938 Sears Roebuck catalog. It adds to the small collection of Great Depression ephemera we have discussed with you in prior Story Time Thursdays. Last week we compared the 1929 and 1932 editions of these time capsules of the American consumer experience to show you how much things changed from the top of the Roaring 20s to the depths of the Great Depression.

With the 1938 catalog we can now examine the changes that occurred from the bottom of the Depression in 1932 through the recovery as the decade progressed. We’ll take a few detours to highlight notable shifts in merchandising/ consumer behavior.

#1: Page count as a proxy for US economic growth. Sears, like so many large companies, did much better in the Great Depression than smaller operations. Yes, exactly like Amazon today… But printing and mailing large catalogs to a third of American households (Sears’ market share at the time) still cost real money so page count mattered to the bottom line. Here is the history of total Sears catalog pages from high to low to high again:

  • 1929: 1,104
  • 1932: 974
  • 1938: 1,172

Takeaway: it took 10 years for the Sears catalog to bulk back up to its 1929 heft, just as it took the American economy the same time to recover back to its old levels of GDP.

#2: Demand for different sorts of merchandise shows where consumer attention shifted between 1932 and 1938; here is the change in category page count over those 6 years:

  • Women’s/children’s apparel & fabric: +58%
  • Shoes: +39%
  • Men’s apparel: -18%
  • Household: +26%
  • Automotive: +4%
  • Radio: +70%
  • Watches/jewelry: -7%
  • Furniture: +38%
  • Heaters, stoves and home appliances: +62%
  • Farm supply/Home repairs & maintenance: -10%

Takeaway: put aside the obvious cyclicality of categories like household durable goods, and the 1930s technological disruption of mass electrification is the other notable if hidden force behind these page category variations. During the decade of the 1930s the percent of American households with electricity went from barely half (58%) to a large majority (80%). That not only explains the 62% increase in home appliance page count, but also the first category, which includes fabric. Electric sewing machines dramatically decreased the time required to make one’s own garments. The Greatest Generation was famously parsimonious, but they still adopted new technologies just as we do today.

#3: As far as how prices changed from 1932 to 1938, let’s look at the apparel featured in each catalog:

Here are women’s day wear dresses, from the first page of each catalog’s selection. Note that every dress in 1938 has an elaborate story around it while 1932 offers more affordable options and less flowery descriptions:

1932 and 1938:

In men’s suits, Sears’ approach to merchandising changed dramatically from 1932 to 1938. In the depths of the Depression they started the catalog’s section with a price-leading product. In 1938, the first page of the section showed a suit costing 2x as much, even though there were more affordable options listed on subsequent pages.

1932 and 1938:

Takeaway: the Great Depression is synonymous with deflation, but the examples here are a good reminder of how difficult it is to measure inflation when spending patterns shift dramatically. Consumers substitute quite readily between options as they manage expenses. Did men’s apparel really see 100% inflation in 6 years? No… It’s just that Sears was confident enough in the economy to lead with a more expensive offering in 1938. That’s “sort of” inflation, but does it count? To an economist doing hedonic adjustments the answer is “No”. To a consumer, it feels more like “Maybe”.

#4: The coolest thing about the 1938 catalog is that it features “Version 1.0” of many now-ubiquitous household appliances. The reason they appear at this time: the combination of electrification (the Great Depression’s biggest infrastructure program) and rising personal incomes after the 1932 lows for the US economy.

Three examples:

A washing machine ($60 is about $1,100 today)

A vacuum cleaner ($32 is $581 today)

And a kitchen mixer with the most explicit substitution of capital for labor pitch you’ll ever see.

#5: We’ll wrap up with a look at the back cover of the 1938 catalog, the most prime piece of real estate in any mailer. The 1932 edition featured just one item: a plain white wood-fueled kitchen stove for $62 ($1,200 today), with ad copy that literally said, “The price is down to where you can afford it”.

By 1938 Sears had lowered their ambitions, putting a variety of stylish women’s shoes on the back cover at the low, low price of $1.60/pair ($30 today), but they also changed the tenor of their messaging as well. A product could be affordable, but also fun and even playful. A good reminder that whatever comes next for the US economy, business can adapt and even thrive.

Sources: ZeroHedge.com

Singapore Oil Trading Giant Files For Bankruptcy After Hiding $800 Million In Losses, Secretly Selling Loan Collateral

Posted By on April 19, 2020

Checkmate for Singapore’s biggest and most iconic – and extremely secretive oil traders, Hin Leong Trading…

ZeroHedge

Sun, 04/19/2020 – 14:20

Last weekend we reported that one of Singapore’s biggest and most iconic – and extremely secretive – oil traders, Hin Leong Trading, whose website reported the company’s revenue surpassed $14 billion back in 2012, was on the verge of collapse as the company’s banks had frozen letters of credit for the firm – a death sentence for any commodity merchant – over its ability to repay debt; as a result, the firm appointed advisers this week to help negotiate with banks for more time to resolve its finances.

After pointing out the perplexing lack of high-profile blow-ups in the current commodity crush (as a reminder back in 2016 when oil dropped less than it has now, the Glencore’s and Trafigura’s of the world were this close to collapse), we explained the critical nature of L/Cs…

Letters of credit are a critical financial backstop for commodity traders, used as way of financing critical short-term trade. A bank issues the so-called L/C on behalf of the buyer as a guarantee of payment to the seller. Once the goods have exchanged hands, the buyer repays the lender.

… and said that Hin Leong had “suddenly found itself without providers of L/Cs – for reasons still not exactly known – without which it is effectively paralyzed as it needs to front cash for any transactions, something no modern commodity merchant can afford to do.”

One week later we may have found the reason: according to a Bloomberg report, the son of the “legendary” founder of Hin Leong said the Singapore oil trader hid about $800 million in losses racked up in futures trading, suggesting a much bigger hole in the company’s finances than many expected, even if it explains why the banks scrambled to cut off the giant company’s funding.

Not only that but the Singapore commodity giant was also involved in the oldest trick in the commodity trader’s book: liquidation of pledged collateral to obtain critical funding. According to Evan Lim, the son of company founder Oon Kuin “OK” Lim, the company also sold some of the million of barrels of refined products it had used as collateral to secure loans from its banks, Bloomberg adds citing an April 17 email sent by the shipping affiliate of Hin Leong, notifying recipient parties of proposed moratorium proceedings.

As Bloomberg notes, the downfall of Hin Leong Trading, one of the biggest and most secretive forces in the world of physical fuel-oil trading, whose markets include crude oil, feedstock, middle distillates, petrochemicals, biofuel, mogas, naphtha, fuel oil, LPG, asphalt, base oil and lubricants, shows “the depth of the fallout from the dramatic drop in oil prices so far this year as a consequence of the Saudi-Russia price war and the coronavirus pandemic.”

It also suggests that we have finally found our first mega casualty from the corona commodity crisis (a long overdue offset to Pierre Andurand who managed to reverse just in time and to generate record profits in the past month having gone short oil): as a result of cooking its books and collateral shortfall, Hin Leong faces a significant shortfall between the oil stocks it held and the inventories pledged to its banks. That potentially means huge losses for the banks which provided the merchant with billions in loans as the collateral they thought they have as a guarantee isn’t there.

In what may be the most brutal case of cooking one’s books since Enron, the founder’s son, also known as Evan Lim, said he was unaware of the reason for losses suffered over some years and his father had instructed Hin Leong’s finance department to omit them from its financial statements; all this was disclosed in an email sent by Ocean Tankers Ltd., the group’s shipping arm which owns a fleet of more than 130 tankers, signed by the son and his sister Lim Huey Ching.

Completing the picture, just hours earlier, Hin Leong and Ocean Tankers both filed for court protection from creditors on Friday as the former struggles to repay its debts. Both companies are solely owned by the Lim family.

While Bloomberg focuses on the plight of the commodity trading giant, noting that “the trader’s financial distress has rocked the tightly-knit trading community in Singapore” and is “raising speculation that the privately-held company could be the latest casualty of the historic collapse in oil prices triggered by the coronavirus” the bigger question is whether this collapse will be systemic enough to send shockwaves among Singapore’s banks, some of the most levered in the world, and one of the world’s last remaining spot to launder money which is why so many Chinese have opened Singapore bank accounts in recent years.

The deception was simple: Hin Leong posted a positive equity of $4.56 billion and net profit of $78 million in the period ended October 31, according to the Bloomberg sources. But Hin Leong told its creditors this month that total liabilities reached $4.05 billion as of early April, while assets were just $714 million, leaving a hole of at least $3.34 billion.

The balance sheet of the company showed no equity at all as of April 9, 2020, and warned that “figures obtained from the company are subject to verification”.

What is even more bizarre, is that the company had used an otherwise reputable auditor, with Hin Leong Trading accounts for the financial year ending October 31, 2019 were audited by Deloitte & Touche LLP. The auditor didn’t flag any problems, according to people familiar with the matter. Meanwhile the banks too, were apparently unaware of the gross fraud taking place right under their noses, begging the question just what is the use of banker diligence?

That said, while auditors should have caught the accounting fraud, even they would have had trouble catching the company’s secret liquidation of pledged collateral. As noted above, Lim’s son said his father sold a substantial part of the company’s inventories even those used as collateral for banks loans. As a result, he said there was a large shortfall of oil inventories compared with the amount that had been pledged to secure the credit lines.

It also explains why as recently as last weekend, the banks had pulled their letters of credit.

Altogether, Hin Leong is said to owe almost $4 billion to more than 20 banks including HSBC, who will now scramble to figure out just how massive their loan losses are.

Meanwhile, the company which is not just a giant commodity trader and one of Asia’s largest suppliers of ship fuel, or bunkers, but co-owns oil storage unit Universal Terminal with PetroChina, and whose bunkering arm, Ocean Bunkering Services Ltd., was ranked the third-largest shipping fuel supplier in Singapore last year, is no more. Founder Lim Oon Kuin, known to many in the industry as OK Lim, will be resigning from all executive roles in Hin Leong, the Xihe Group and related companies as of April 17, Bloomberg sources reported. He will also step down as director and managing director of Ocean Tankers.

Meanwhile, the banks will be fighting with other creditors for whatever scraps are leftover: both Hin Leong and Ocean Tankers filed for protection from its creditors under Section 211B of Singapore’s Companies Act.

One unexpected consequence of the company’s sudden bankruptcy, is that with a record 160MM barrels of oil loaded up on tankers to ease the global commodity glut, Singapore may suddenly lose its place as the world’s tanker “parking lot.” While traditionally Singapore has had massive spare oil storage capacity which explains photos such as shits one…

… it is Hin Leong’s Universal Terminal that has storage capacity of 2.33 million cubic meters and is the largest independent petroleum storage terminal in Singapore and one of the biggest independent storage facilities worldwide. But now that the company is bankrupt, the ability of tankers to store their holdings in the terminal is suddenly in limbo, which means that storing oil on sea may suddenly become far more complicated.


Hin Leong’s Universal Terminal with storage capacity of 2.33 million cubic meters is the largest independent petroleum storage terminal in Singapore and one of the biggest independent storage facilities worldwide. Source: Hin Leong

Last week, before we know the extent of the company’s financial debacle – and fraud – we concludes that “it is unclear what will happen to the Singapore commodity trading giant if it is unable to find banks that will backstop its operations.” Well, we now know – game over – which makes the second part of our forecast especially applicable: “should the firm become insolvent, the downstream cascade for companies in the Pacific Rim could be devastating.” We now wait to see if we were correct again.

Source: ZeroHedge.com

US Launches ‘Full-Scale Investigation’ Into Wuhan Lab

Posted By on April 17, 2020

This would seem to be the logical thing to do, all politics aside. The question has been asked why transportation outside of Wuhan, specifically to other parts of China was immediately forbidden, but international travel was allowed. Best to clear the air.

The United States has launched a ‘full scale investigation’ into whether COVID-19 escaped from a biolab in Wuhan, China, according to Fox News.

According to the report, US intelligence operatives are gathering information regarding the laboratory and the initial outbreak of the virus, which was found in a horseshoe bat specimen collected by scientists from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in 2013 in a cave in Yunnan, China.

The investigation will help intelligence analysts piece together a timeline for what the CCP knew, as well as ‘create an accurate picture of what happened.’

The findings, which aren’t expected to take long, will then be presented to the Trump administration to determine how to hold China accountable for the pandemic which has killed over 150,000 people and infected at least 2 million as of this writing.

On Wednesday, Fox News reported that the virus likely originated in the Wuhan lab as part of an effort to prove that China’s ability to identify and combat viruses is equal or greater to the United States, as opposed to the creation of a bioweapon. Although according to the Nobel Prize-winning professor who discovered HIV, SARS-CoV-2 is a manipulated virus which was accidentally released from the Wuhan Institute of Virology.

Professor Luc Montagnier says that the virus was clearly being used to study an AIDS vaccine.

“With my colleague, bio-mathematician Jean-Claude Perez, we carefully analyzed the description of the genome of this RNA virus,” explains Luc Montagnier, interviewed by Dr Jean-François Lemoine for the daily podcast at Pourquoi Docteur, adding that others have already explored this avenue:

In order to insert an HIV sequence into this genome, molecular tools are needed, and that can only be done in a laboratory,” he added.

Fox News, on the other hand, says that “sources point to the structure of the virus, in saying the genome mapping specifically shows it was not genetically altered,” and that “initial transmission of the virus was a naturally occurring strain that was being studied there – and then went into the population in Wuhan.”

Perhaps Fox, or their sources, are giving China a pass on the question of engineering.

Meanwhile, US officials are “100 percent confident that China went to great lengths to cover up after the virus was out,” and that the World Health Organization (WHO) was either complicit in the coverup, or looked the other way.

The president hinted at an investigation on Wednesday when he told Fox News’ John Roberts: “More and more we’re hearing the story…we are doing a very thorough examination of this horrible situation.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday reiterated that the administration was eyeing the Wuhan Institute of Virology, and accused the Chinese government of stonewalling scientists from finding out what happened. –Fox News

“We know that the first sightings of this occurred within miles of the Wuhan Institute of Virology.  We know that this – the history of the facility, the first BSL-4 lab where there’s high-end virus research being conducted, took place at that site,” said Mike Pompeo on the Hugh Hewitt show. “We know that the Chinese Communist Party, when it began to evaluate what to do inside of Wuhan, considered whether the WIV was, in fact, the place where this came from.”

“And most importantly, we know they’ve not permitted the world’s scientists to go into that laboratory to evaluate what took place there, what’s happening there, what’s happening there even as we speak,” he added.

There has been speculation for months, not just in the U.S., that the virus originated in a Chinese laboratory. A February study on the origins of the virus from the South China University of Technology concluded: “In addition to origins of natural recombination and intermediate host, the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan.”

Should it turn out that the virus escaped from a Chinese laboratory, the global pushback against the Chinese government could be significant. The virus has infected and killed hundreds of thousands of people and ravaged economies across the globe. Trump, who has frequently taken a hardline towards China even before the crisis, would be expected to lead calls to make Beijing face consequences. –Fox News

Sources: ZeroHedge, FoxNews

The Jones Act of 1920 or J.A. for Short, Regulates Maritime Commerce in The United States, but Unfortunately in Modern Times it has Created a Severe Hardship for US Energy Maritime Commerce

Posted By on April 17, 2020

Ahh, now I get it. Another outdated law from a hundred years ago.  That time line alone should explain the problem here. The Merchant Marine Act of 1920, also commonly known as the Jones Act, is the fundamental law of the U.S. maritime industry.

The Jones Act when used in the sense of maritime law refers to federal statute 46 USC section 883. This is the act that controls coastwise trade within the United States and determines which ships may lawfully engage in that trade and the rules under which they must operate.he Outdated Law Threatening US “Energy Independence”

Authored by Alex Kimani via OilPrice.com,

After months of high drama and unceasing tedium, the OPEC+ group of countries, led by Saudi Arabia and Russia, finally granted President Trump his wish and agreed to pull some by 9.7 million barrels/day from the market in response to the epic collapse in demand. Trump’s second act is here already: Exhorting America’s allies to buy ‘America First’ as U.S. storage bursts at the seams.

Yet, Trump might do well to first look at an antiquated law that places limits on shipping oil and gas to customers in the U.S.: The Merchant Marine Act of 1920.

The century-old law, colloquially known as the Jones Act or simply J.A., regulates maritime commerce in the United States in a way that could curtail the nation’s efforts at energy independence.

Jones Act: The Drawbacks

JA demands that vessels undertaking shipments between two U.S. ports be U.S.-built, U.S.- owned and U.S.-manned. Even foreign steel used in repair work on a J.A. vessel should not exceed 10% of the vessel’s original weight. However, that same requirement does not apply to shipments going from a U.S. port to a foreign port or vice versa, meaning any ship can make that trip.

Originally meant to protect U.S. fleets after suffering heavy losses in World War I, JA is now coming under scrutiny because it limits shipping oil and gas to customers in U.S. ports, encouraging American producers to send their low-cost oil and gas to consumers abroad. 

In many cases, it’s much cheaper to ship U.S. products to foreign buyers in foreign ports considering that J.A. ships cost up to five times as much as their foreign-built counterparts. Further, a 2010 study by the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) revealed that the average operating cost of a US-flag ship was 2.7x greater than that of a foreign-flagged vessel. This can lead to significantly higher prices for goods transported domestically, making them less competitive against imported products.

J.A. has been detrimental for the U.S. energy industry because it limits inter-state trade in oil products and LNG with the high costs for US-built vessels forcing producers to turn to less efficient forms of transportation oil products.

The average cost of oil transport by huge oil tankers amounts to only US$5 to $8 per cubic meter ($0.02 to $0.03 per U.S. gallon), the second cheapest after pipeline transport.

Noncontiguous states and territories, like Puerto Rico, Alaska, or Hawaii, are even more disadvantaged since no pipeline, rail, or truck transport of U.S. energy products can reach them, forcing them to rely on imports.

This problem hits Puerto Rico, in particular, quite hard, with economists estimating that the Jones Act cost Puerto Rico’s economy $29 billion between 1970-2012. 

Reforming JA could potentially save consumers in Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Hawaii as much as $15 billion per year, and possibly prevent Puerto Rico from going bankrupt again.

Shale Producers Disadvantaged

Refineries searching for light oil make up the principal demand for fracked oil. Unfortunately, the refineries at the epicenter of the shale boom are located in the Midwest and the Gulf Coast, where many have upgraded to handle heavy oil from Canada, Venezuela, and Mexico. This leaves refineries on the U.S. east coast as the most obvious destination for light fracked oil.

Unfortunately, it costs ~3x to ship oil from Texas to refineries on the U.S. East Coast compared to shipping it further to refineries in Canada, thanks to the Jones Act. There are simply not enough JA-compliant ships to transport oil from Texas to the U.S. East Coast, meaning it must be shipped abroad. Similarly, it costs more than 3x for northeastern U.S. refineries to ship oil from Texas compared to shipping from West Africa or Saudi Arabia.

As a result, the northeastern U.S. is forced to rely heavily on foreign crude.

U.S. LNG markets face a similar problem. Massachusetts import facilities take in gas from Trinidad & Tobago while new LNG facilities along the Gulf Coast are exporting cargoes across the Pacific Ocean to Japan because there are no U.S. flagged LNG tankers that can carry LNG between U.S. ports.

Repealing Jones Act

Modern-day JA proponents argue that it helps to promote economic growth, national security, and domestic employment by allowing the U.S. to better monitor labor, environmental, and safety standards. But given the heavy burden that J.A. imposes on domestic energy producers and consumers, it is not surprising that it’s now meeting with heavy opposition.

Will they succeed? Unfortunately, history does not seem to be on the anti-JA’s side.

J.A.’s basic structure has remained unchanged for decades, with the last major challenge to the law coming two decades ago when free-market advocates sought to weaken or repeal the act. 

Unfortunately, they were soundly defeated by a maritime industry coalition consisting of US-flag domestic carriers as well as shipyards and their suppliers. They did score a minor victory though in 2017 after forcing the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to withdraw a proposal that would have tightened US-flag shipping requirements by redefining components such as pipes and valves used in domestic offshore oil and gas construction as “merchandise” subject to J.A.

But given Trump’s ‘America First’ ethos, the pursuit of energy independence, and the fact that the U.S. shipping industry is currently not reaping many benefits from the high demand for crude oil and storage from an oversupplied market, J.A. opposers just might have a fair shot this time around.

This Is What COVID-19 Does To Your Body That Makes It So Deadly

Posted By on April 4, 2020

This just in… and it’s not a pretty picture. 

Authored by Benjamin Neuman, Professor of Biology, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, via The Conversation,

COVID-19 is caused by a coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2. Coronaviruses belong to a group of viruses that infect animals, from peacocks to whales. They’re named for the bulb-tipped spikes that project from the virus’s surface and give the appearance of a corona surrounding it.

A coronavirus infection usually plays out one of two ways: as an infection in the lungs that includes some cases of what people would call the common cold, or as an infection in the gut that causes diarrhea. COVID-19 starts out in the lungs like the common cold coronaviruses, but then causes havoc with the immune system that can lead to long-term lung damage or death.

SARS-CoV-2 is genetically very similar to other human respiratory coronaviruses, including SARS-CoV and MERS-CoV. However, the subtle genetic differences translate to significant differences in how readily a coronavirus infects people and how it makes them sick.

SARS-CoV-2 has all the same genetic equipment as the original SARS-CoV, which caused a global outbreak in 2003, but with around 6,000 mutations sprinkled around in the usual places where coronaviruses change. Think whole milk versus skim milk.

Compared to other human coronaviruses like MERS-CoV, which emerged in the Middle East in 2012, the new virus has customized versions of the same general equipment for invading cells and copying itself. However, SARS-CoV-2 has a totally different set of genes called accessories, which give this new virus a little advantage in specific situations. For example, MERS has a particular protein that shuts down a cell’s ability to sound the alarm about a viral intruder. SARS-CoV-2 has an unrelated gene with an as-yet unknown function in that position in its genome. Think cow milk versus almond milk.

How the virus infects

Every coronavirus infection starts with a virus particle, a spherical shell that protects a single long string of genetic material and inserts it into a human cell. The genetic material instructs the cell to make around 30 different parts of the virus, allowing the virus to reproduce. The cells that SARS-CoV-2 prefers to infect have a protein called ACE2 on the outside that is important for regulating blood pressure.

The infection begins when the long spike proteins that protrude from the virus particle latch on to the cell’s ACE2 protein. From that point, the spike transforms, unfolding and refolding itself using coiled spring-like parts that start out buried at the core of the spike. The reconfigured spike hooks into the cell and crashes the virus particle and cell together. This forms a channel where the string of viral genetic material can snake its way into the unsuspecting cell.

An illustration of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein shown from the side (left) and top. The protein latches onto human lung cells. 5-HT2AR/Wikimedia

SARS-CoV-2 spreads from person to person by close contact. The Shincheonji Church outbreak in South Korea in February provides a good demonstration of how and how quickly SARS-CoV-2 spreads. It seems one or two people with the virus sat face to face very close to uninfected people for several minutes at a time in a crowded room. Within two weeks, several thousand people in the country were infected, and more than half of the infections at that point were attributable to the church. The outbreak got to a fast start because public health authorities were unaware of the potential outbreak and were not testing widely at that stage. Since then, authorities have worked hard and the number of new cases in South Korea has been falling steadily.

How the virus makes people sick

SARS-CoV-2 grows in type II lung cells, which secrete a soap-like substance that helps air slip deep into the lungs, and in cells lining the throat.

As with SARS, most of the damage in COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus, is caused by the immune system carrying out a scorched earth defense to stop the virus from spreading. Millions of cells from the immune system invade the infected lung tissue and cause massive amounts of damage in the process of cleaning out the virus and any infected cells.

Each COVID-19 lesion ranges from the size of a grape to the size of a grapefruit. The challenge for health care workers treating patients is to support the body and keep the blood oxygenated while the lung is repairing itself.

How SARS-CoV-2 infects, sickens and kills people.

SARS-CoV-2 has a sliding scale of severity. Patients under age 10 seem to clear the virus easily, most people under 40 seem to bounce back quickly, but older people suffer from increasingly severe COVID-19. The ACE2 protein that SARS-CoV-2 uses as a door to enter cells is also important for regulating blood pressure, and it does not do its job when the virus gets there first. This is one reason COVID-19 is more severe in people with high blood pressure.

SARS-CoV-2 is more severe than seasonal influenza in part because it has many more ways to stop cells from calling out to the immune system for help. For example, one way that cells try to respond to infection is by making interferon, the alarm signaling protein. SARS-CoV-2 blocks this by a combination of camouflage, snipping off protein markers from the cell that serve as distress beacons and finally shredding any anti-viral instructions that the cell makes before they can be used. As a result, COVID-19 can fester for a month, causing a little damage each day, while most people get over a case of the flu in less than a week.

At present, the transmission rate of SARS-CoV-2 is a little higher than that of the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza virus, but SARS-CoV-2 is at least 10 times as deadly. From the data that is available now, COVID-19 seems a lot like severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), though it’s less likely than SARS to be severe.

What isn’t known

There are still many mysteries about this virus and coronaviruses in general – the nuances of how they cause disease, the way they interact with proteins inside the cell, the structure of the proteins that form new viruses and how some of the basic virus-copying machinery works.

Another unknown is how COVID-19 will respond to changes in the seasons. The flu tends to follow cold weather, both in the northern and southern hemispheres. Some other human coronaviruses spread at a low level year-round, but then seem to peak in the spring. But nobody really knows for sure why these viruses vary with the seasons.

What is amazing so far in this outbreak is all the good science that has come out so quickly. The research community learned about structures of the virus spike protein and the ACE2 protein with part of the spike protein attached just a little over a month after the genetic sequence became available. I spent my first 20 or so years working on coronaviruses without the benefit of either. This bodes well for better understanding, preventing and treating COVID-19.

Sources: ZeroHedge, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, The Conversation

COVID-19 Speculative Expectations and Projections

Posted By on March 30, 2020

President Trump expects the peak for COVID-19 now to arrive around Easter though some projections put it around April 15 vs. Easter’s April 12. Trump insisted he would “rely on experts” to determine the end of the quarantine and that the worst thing to do would be to “declare victory” over “the invisible enemy” and have it not be true.

Hours after Dr. Anthony Fauci appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday and declared that the current modeling projects between 100k and 200k deaths in the US alone, President Trump stood up at last night’s Rose Garden press conference and declared that the White House would extend its current guidelines – which call for Americans to avoid gatherings of 10 or more, along with a host of other commandments intended to help “flatten the curve” – through the end of April.

CornaVirus Timeline

Source: ZeroHedge

Charles Lindbergh, Can You Believe This?

Posted By on March 25, 2020

One would logically think it probably can’t get any worse!

According to this stunning chart from Deutsche Bank’s Torsten Slok, US airline passenger traffic is currently just 10% of normal. As Slok explains, “on a normal day in March, over 2 million people travel by air in the United States. Yesterday that number was 279,018.”

We Currently Have the Largest Market Crash of All Time in the Shortest Period Ever

Posted By on March 21, 2020

The world has never seen anything like this before, ever! Please remember that the world pension system needs the stock market and the stock market needs the pension system.  Rest assured the governments of the world will be throwing everything they can in monetary stimulus to lesson the financial blow as we move forward. At some point there will be clarity and the financial system will start to recover, and at that point things will start to move forward again.  

The financial markets have continued falling this week, making this recent crash the fastest plunge into a bear market in history:

Bear market crash chart

Fungi That Absorbs Radiation Has Been Growing All Over Chernobyl Power Plant

Posted By on February 12, 2020

Very interesting happenings at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Russia.

Authored by John Vibes via TruthTheory.com,

For a long time, scientists have known that certain types of fungi are attracted to radiation, and can actually help to break down and neutralize radiation in certain environments.

The radioactive site of the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant has acted as a real-life laboratory in many ways over the years, giving researchers a look into the physical impact that radiation has on plant and animal life.

In 1991, while a team of researchers was searching the Chernobyl area remotely with robots, they noticed black-spotted fungi growing on the walls of one of the nuclear reactors. They also observed that the fungi appeared to be breaking down radioactive graphite from the core itself. The fungi also seemed to be growing towards the source of the radiation, as if it was attracted to it.

Follow up research in 2007, at the University of Saskatchewan found that different types of fungi are attracted to radiation. A team led by Professor Ekaterina Dadachova observed that some types of fungi grew more rapidly when exposed to radiation.

The three species that were tested were Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Cryptococcus neoformans and Wangiella dermatitidis, all of which grew faster when exposed to radiation. The scientists believe that since these species had large amounts of the pigment melanin, it allows them to absorb things like radiation and convert it into chemical energy for growth.

Another follow-up study, in which eight species collected from the Chernobyl area were sent to the International Space Station (ISS) began in 2016, but has yet to be published. Scientists are eagerly awaiting the results of the study, considering that the samples are being exposed to between 40 and 80 times more radiation than they would here on Earth. If this study is successful, experts hope that the knowledge gained can be used to produce drugs that could protect astronauts from radiation on long-term missions.

It has also been suggested that the results of this study could lead to the development of fungi-based cancer treatments.

Source: ZeroHedge.com

College Enrollment Skids For 8th Year In A Row, But Student Loans Skyrocket

Posted By on February 9, 2020

This was a time bomb waiting to happen, especially since most colleges have spent millions on expanding campuses for more profits and ever increasing student populations. To bad they didn’t use common sense in their actions!

Authored by Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com,

With college costs blowing through the roof, with “luxury student housing” and not so luxury “student housing” having become asset classes – including, of course, CMBS, now in rough waters – for global investors, with textbook publishers gouging students to the nth degree, and with the monetary value of higher education questioned in more and more corners, the inevitable happened once again: College enrollment dropped for the eighth year in a row.

The post-secondary student headcount – undergraduate and graduate students combined – in the fall semester of 2019 fell 1.3% from the fall semester last year, or by over 231,000 students to 17.97 million students, according to the Student Clearing House today. In the fall of 2011, the peak year, 20.14 million students had been enrolled. Since then, enrollment has dropped by 10.8%, or by 2.17 million students:

This is based on enrollment data submitted to the Student Clearing House by the schools. It does not include international students, which account for just under 5% of total student enrollment in the US. Duplicate headcounts – one student enrolled in two institutions – are removed from the data to eliminate double-counting.

The 10.8% decline in enrollment since 2011 comes even as student loan balances have surged 74% over the same period, from $940 billion to $1.64 trillion:

Enrollment in for-profit colleges collapses.

The overall decline in enrollment hasn’t been spread evenly across the board. After myriad scandals, lawsuits, government action, and government inaction, enrollment in for-profit four-year colleges has plunged by 54%, from 1.64 million student in the fall of 2010, as far back as the data series is available, to 750,000 now.

The current year-over-year decline of 2.1% pales compared to the plunges of 15% in 2018, of 7% in 2017, of 15% in 2016, and of 14% in 2015. Despite the relatively small share of total enrollment – by 2019, the share has withered to just 4% – these for-profit colleges account for 41% to the total decline in enrollment since 2001:

Enrollment at public two-year schools, such as junior colleges, has plunged by 22% since 2011, to 5.37 million (green line in the chart below).

But enrollment at private nonprofit four-year colleges has ticked up 3.9% since 2011. Yet, even these schools saw enrollment decline by 0.6% over the past year, to 3.84 million (brown line in the chart below).

And public four-year schools too had been hanging in there and the student headcount remains up 2.2% from 2011 though it too declined 1.2% over the past 12 months, to 7.82 million. At public schools, the peak was in 2016 with 8.1 million students (blue line):

Where the heck are the men?

Women by far outnumbered men in total enrollment in the fall semester of 2019 with 10.63 million women enrolled and just 7.61 million men, meaning that overall there are now 40% more women in college than men:

  • At public four-year schools, there were 30% more women (4.51 million) than men (3.48 million)
  • At private non-profit four-year schools, there were 50% more women (2.32 million) than men (1.54 million)
  • At private for-profit four-year schools, there were more than twice as many woman (508,000) than men (241,000).
  • At public two-year schools, there were 38% more women (3.11 million) than men (2.26 million).

Over the past three years, enrollment has declined for both men and women, but faster for men (-5.2%) than for women (-1.4%). Since 2011, enrollment has declined by 13% for men and by 9.4% for women.

Enrollment by state.

Of the big four states, California had by far the most students, at 2.45 million. Over the 12-month period, enrollment ticked down by 0.8%, and over the three-year period by 2.7%.

In Texas, with 1.49 million students, enrollment inched up by 0.3% this year, and by 0.7% from three years ago.

In New York, at 1.04 million students, enrollment declined 1.8% year-over-year and fell 4.4% over the three-year period.

In Florida, with 933,000 students, enrollment fell by 5.3% year-over-year, or by 52,328 students, the largest headcount decline among the states. And it fell 7.0% over the three-year period.

Enrollment in 35 states declined. Here are the states with largest enrollment declines by percentage change this year:

  • Alaska: -10.6% year-over-year to 22,300 students; -14.3% from 2017
  • Florida: -5.3% year-over-year to 933,000 students, -7.0% from 2017
  • Arkansas: -4.9% year-over-year to 144,000 students; -7.2% from 2017
  • Missouri: -4.4% year-over-year to 323,400 students; -6.9% from 2017
  • Vermont: -4.4% year-over-year to 38,200 students; -4.5% from 2017
  • Wyoming: -4.4% year-over-year to 27,600 students; -5.8% from 2017.

And in 15 states, enrollment increased. Here are the biggest gainers:

  • Utah: +4.9% year-over-year to 362,000 students; +13.8% from 2017
  • New Hampshire: +3.4% year-over-year to 157,200; +6.4% since 2017
  • Arizona: +1.8% year-over-year to 456,543 students; +1.1% from 2017, having dipped in 2018
  • Georgia: +1.5% year-over-year to 518,800 students; +5.5% from 2017
  • Kentucky: +1.5% year-over-year to 243,300 students; +1.8% from 2017

The overarching theme is the horrible expense of getting a higher education, as each layer element in the University-Corporate-Financial Complex extracts its pound of flesh, largely funded by parental sacrifices and by student loans, which are a mix of taxpayers funds when the loans default and students’ future sacrifices when the loans don’t default. The vision of a pile of student loans for years to come act as a discouragement to students who spend more than two minutes thinking about it.

But clearly, there are more factors at work. The collapse of enrollment in for-profit colleges is a result of numerous scandals and scams that left students with huge student loans and either no degree or with a degree that’s utterly worthless. It is likely that these for-profit schools marketed to people that would otherwise not have gone to university and enticed them with government-funded student loans.

The declining proportion of men among students has long been observed. That women flock to higher education is a great thing, but why did men bail on the system in such large numbers? This is subject to endless and wide-ranging discussions. One explanation that has been offered, and only a partial one, and only covering the past few years, is the relatively good job market where young men decided for forgo a higher education and instead enter the workforce after high school – and that makes sense in many cases, especially if it involves learning a trade.

Whatever the explanations may be, for most parents and students it has become a daunting task to pay for higher education and feed the University-Corporate-Financial Complex.

And so student loans have become the biggest problem area of consumer loans. Read… The State of the American Debt Slaves, Q3 2019

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Don’t Let Anybody Tell You That Coronavirus Isn’t A Big Deal!

Posted By on January 30, 2020

Putting this in the context of the deadly SARS epidemic, the coronavirus pandemic has now officially exceeded SARS in cumulative cases in just two weeks.

Summary:

  • First human-to-human transmission confirmed in US
  • 9,821 confirmed cases worldwide, 213 fatalities
  • South Korea confirms first human-to-human transmission
  • China reported largest one-day jump in fatalities on Wednesday with
  • Hong Kong warns of surgical mask shortage
  • Russia closes border
  • 6,000 quarantined aboard Italian cruise ship
  • Thailand leads with most cases outside China (14)
  • Chinese national hospitalized and quarantined in York
  • Virus arrives in India, Philippines
  • Air France suspends flights to/from mainland
  • IMF now monitoring crisis as economic fears grow
  • State Department authorizes personnel to evacuate China
  • WHO declares global pandemic
  • American Airlines pilots union files lawsuit to end travel to China
  • First 2 cases confirmed in Italy
  • Germany confirms 5th case
  • Turkish Airlines suspends China routes

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Sources: Zero Hedge

2020: The Lowest Solar Activity In Over 200 Years

Posted By on January 14, 2020

Authored by Mac Slavo via SHTFplan.com,

Predictions for solar cycle #25 made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), NASA and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) anticipate a deep minimum and a maximum that will occur between the years 2023 and 2026. During that maximum, they predict the Sun will have between 95 and 130 sunspots.

*  *  *

As wemove further into 2020, solar activity dwindles.  This year, solar activity will be marked as the lowest in over 200 years. The low in the sun’s 11-year cycle will also have at least some repercussions for the climate here on Earth.

On December 20, 2019, Iceland received one of the largest snow storms in its history. The so-called “10-year storm,” brought winds of 100 miles per hour (161 km/h), with one weather station reporting gusts of up to 149 mph (240 km/h), according to a report by Interesting Engineering. 

Iceland’s, Europe’s and North America’s weather have historically been tied to the sunspot activity of the Sun. According to NASA, in 2020, the Sun, which is currently in solar cycle number 25, will reach its lowest activity in over 200 years. That means “space weather” will be favorable for exploration beyond Earth, yet it could also very well mean we should prepare for odd or different weather patterns.

The solar cycle is a periodic 11-year fluctuation in the Sun’s magnetic field, during which its North and South poles trade places. This has an enormous effect on the number and size of sunspots, the level of solar radiation, and the ejection of solar material comprised of flares and coronal loops. –Interesting Engineering. 

When solar activity gets really low, it can have the effect of a “mini ice age.” The period between 1645 and 1715 was marked by a prolonged sunspot minimum, and this corresponded to a downturn in temperatures in Europe and North America. Named after astronomers Edward Maunder and his wife Annie Russell Maunder, this period became known as the Maunder Minimum. It is also known as “The Little Ice Age.”

Solar Minimum Madness: Is Thanksgiving’s Winter Wonderland A Preview Of The Bitterly Cold Winter To Come?

Predictions for solar cycle #25 made by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), NASA and the International Solar Energy Society (ISES) anticipate a deep minimum and a maximum that will occur between the years 2023 and 2026. During that maximum, they predict the Sun will have between 95 and 130 sunspots.

*  *  *

Source: ZeroHedge

Yellowstone’s Steamboat Geyser Eruptions Break Record

Posted By on January 12, 2020

In 2019, it counted 48 eruptions, according to the USGS Yellowstone Volcano Observatory. As Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details, this number by far surpassed the previous record set in 2018 of 32 eruptions.

Infographic: World’s Tallest Geyser Breaks Eruption Record | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

The last time the geyser was remotely this active was in 1964, when it counted 29 eruptions. Records published on the National Park Service website go back as far as 1878, also showing that the geyser has in the past gone years without erupting even a single time.

“Yellowstone’s thermal areas are the surface expression of the deeper magmatic system, and they are always changing,” R. Greg Vaughan, a research scientist with USGS, wrote.

“They heat up, they cool down, and they can move around.” And Yellowstone has undergone some changes as of late, such as the eruption of Ear Spring, and the newly active Steamboat Geyser.

A geyser is a vent through which hot water and steam from below the Earth’s surface can erupt. According to geology.com, geysers are extremely rare phenomena that only occur when many conditions are met. As a result there are only about 1000 geysers in the world. Generally, a geyser forms if water accumulates underground in the proximity of magma, is heated up quickly and ejected onto the surface as steam.

Michael Poland, the scientist in charge of the Yellowstone Volcano Observatory, said the irregularity of Steamboat is just “a geyser being a geyser.” Poland added: “Steamboat clearly has a mind of its own “and right now it’s putting its independence on display.”

Sources: Statista

So You Think Next Generation 5g Technology Known As 5th Generation Mobile Data Networks Is Being Built For You, Think Again! The New 5g Networks Have A Dual Use Far More Important Than Cell Phones! Here’s Why…

Posted By on December 22, 2019

The Hidden Military Use of 5G Technology

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At the London Summit, the 29 member countries of NATO agreed to “guarantee the security of our communications, including 5G”. Why is this fifth generation of mobile data transmission so important for NATO?

While the earlier technologies were perfected to create ever more advanced smartphones, 5G is designed not only to improve their performance, but mainly to link digital systems which need enormous quantities of data in order to work automatically. The most important 5G applications will not be intended for civil use, but for the military domain.

The possibilities offered by this new technology are explained by the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology, published by the Defense Science Board, a federal committee which provides scientific advice for the Pentagon –

“The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements”.

In other words, the 5G commercial network, built and activated by private companies, will be used by the US armed forces at a much lower expenditure than that necessary if the network were to be set up with an exclusively military goal. Military experts foresee that the 5G system will play an essential role for the use of hypersonic weapons – missiles, including those bearing nuclear warheads, which travel at a speed superior to Mach 5 (five times the speed of sound). In order to guide them on variable trajectories, changing direction in a fraction of a second to avoid interceptor missiles, it is necessary to gather, elaborate and transmit enormous quantities of data in a very short time. The same thing is necessary to activate defences in case of an attack with this type of weapon – since there is not enough time to take such decisions, the only possibility is to rely on 5G automatic systems.

This new technology will also play a key role in the battle network. With the capability of simultaneously linking millions of transceivers within a defined area, it will enable military personnel – departments and individuals – to transmit to one another, almost in real time, maps, photos and other information about the operation under way.

5G will also be extremely important for the secret services and special forces. It will enable control and espionnage systems which are far more efficient than those we use today. It will improve the lethality of killer drones and war robots by giving them the capacity of identifying, following and targeting people on the basis of facial recognition and other characteristics. The 5G network, as a weapon of high-tech capacity, will also become the target for cyber-attacks and war actions carried out with new generation weapons.

As well as the United States, this technology is under development by China and other countries. The international disagreement concerning 5G is therefore not only commercial. The military implications of 5G are almost entirely ignored, because the critics of this technology, including many scientists, are concentrating their attention on its toxic affects for health and the environment, due to exposure to very low-frequency electromagnetic fields. This engagement is of course of the greatest importance, but must be linked to research on the military use of this  technology, financed indirectly by ordinary users. One of its greatest attractions, which favours the dissemination of 5G smartphones, will be the possibility of participating, by subscription, in war games of impressive realism in direct contact with players from all over the world. In this way, without realising it, the players will be financing the preparation for war – but this time it will be a real war.

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You are welcome to forward this article to your email lists.

Manlio Dinucci is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

$3 Billion, 300-Acre MegaCity Envisioned For California’s Record Homeless… But There’s A Twist

Posted By on December 21, 2019

Why not just call it the HH (Homeless Hilton)?

Ask any San Franciscan what the state of California has an excess of and the most likely answer will be homeless people (and their excrement, especially with the liberal mecca recording as many as 16,000 “feces complaints” in one week ). Actually, ask just about anyone and the answer will be the same: after all with 130,000 homeless, California is now home to more than a quarter of the nation’s homeless population.

That all may soon change, however, if a new crowdfunding effort succeeds in its effort to solve the US homeless crisis by building a 300-acre city open exclusively for those without a home. Daune Nason, founder of the Folsom-based Citizens Again, released details Thursday of his plans for an estimated $3 billion private city equipped with amenities and services for a 150,000 “high-needs” population, CBS LA reports.

Artist’s impression of the Citizens Again “Homeless City

“Qualified citizens” – those who meet as-yet undisclosed criteria – will be allowed to live in the city and are free to leave whenever they wish, says Nason, who adds, “Some might want to stay forever.”

According to a press release, the all-inclusive city which hopes to overtake San Francisco as the mecca of America’s homeless, will offer high-density housing in dormitories consisting of sleeping quarters and communal bathrooms with private showers. Additionally, residents would be provided RFID-enabled wristbands to be tracked constantly gain access to their dorm rooms as well as perform tasks such as job check-in, purchasing items with credits, medicine consumption, and more.

In describing his vision, Nason says that each of the four neighborhoods will have their own cafeteria and kitchen and multiple scheduled eating times to accommodate a 150,000-person population. And since the homeless are probably not best known for their ironclad work ethic, the neighborhoods will also be fitted with tiered seating for residents to watch TV in “a community setting” within their neighborhood.

According to the Citizens Again website, other aspects of the homeless city will include:

  • Hospitals
  • Dental and Vision Services
  • Mental Health
  • Movie Theatres
  • Bowling Alleys
  • Sports Courts
  • Hotels for visiting family
  • Dog parks and kennels
  • Perimeter staff housing
  • Job Training
  • GED certificates
  • Housing & Job Placement

TV Pods are semi-enclosed rooms with tiered seating for citizens to watch TV in a community environment within their neighborhood. Each TV Pod will play a unique channel, giving the entire 1-acre floor many viewing options.

Citizens will scan their Wristbands through Access Turnstiles to gain entry to their residential building, their dorm rooms, and venues, as well as perform tasks such as job check-in, purchase items with credits, check their daily schedule, account for meals, log medicine consumption, and more.

Dorm rooms are similar concepts to college dorm rooms and sleeping rooms in long-distance passenger trains: they’re a safe, comfortable place to sleep and rest.

Tunnels under the City will be used to minimize disruption of Citizen life. Deliveries and logistics can be performed without clogging city streets; city workers can quickly get to job sites; and infrastructure maintenance and upgrades can be performed without tearing up paved city streets

Citizens live in the dorms, which consist of sleeping rooms, and communal bathrooms with private showers. Each building consists of 16 floors, 5 wings per floor, with 40 rooms per wing. That equates to 3,200 rooms per building.

As part of his plans for the homeless mecca, Nason also envisions building underground tunnels by which deliveries can be made and city workers can commute to job sites in order to “minimize disruption of citizen life.” And when those living in the city are prepared to leave, they’ll be provided with job and life skills training along with counseling and therapy, Nason said although it was unclear if the tree will also be growing Magic Money Trees that fund all these lofty civic goals.

Proposed city map

“It will be a city they’ll want to live in, a community they’ll want to be part of, and for those that desire, an opportunity to gain life skills to integrate back into society,” according to the Citizens Again website.

Or maybe it won’t be, and the whole homeless city “vision” is just a giant online fundraising scam.

Consider this woke, noble mission statement that Nason has proudly penned on his $50,000 gofundme campaign:

A new and unique solution for every chronic homeless adult is coming.

For decades, our government has been building small shelters all across America to house our chronic homeless. But at the current placement rate, it will take about 200 years to house them all.

It’s time to think differently: instead of building 4,000 more shelters, Citizens Again will build 1 city, catering towards America’s entire chronic adult homeless population. It will cost billions less than current efforts; be built in about 11 years; and the homeless will want to live there.

… and yet just a few lines below we read:

Launching a crowdfunding campaign during the holidays is not ideal, but I have no choice. By not taking a salary for the last few years, I have exhausted all financial means to get this project launched, and I am now many months behind on my mortgage payment and all bills, with no cash or credit leftEvery donation – and clicking the share button – truly matters for this project, myself, my family, and eventually for the people I’m trying to help

How appropriate that one man’s noble “vision” for a homeless city is nothing more than a giant online panhandling campaign, one which has so far raised $570 of the $50,000 goal to make Nason’s life more palatable.

Source: ZeroHedge.com

The Best and Worst Investments During The Last 10 Years

Posted By on December 15, 2019

It’s almost time for the month-end, year-end and, yes, decade-end retrospectives from various investment banks.

And so, without further ado, here is “2010s did you know…”

  • Central banks: most activist…Brazil (25 cuts, 24 hikes); least activist…Japan (1 cut, 0 hikes).
  • Population growth: most…India +149 million since 2010; least…Syria -4 million since 2010.
  • US jobs: in the 2000s US economy lost net 1 million jobs; in the 2010s US economy created net 22.4 million jobs.
  • Negative yielding debt: $0 of bonds were negative yielding in 2010 vs. $17 trillion at peak in 2019.
  • Government bonds: best…30-year Treasury $1 in 2010 = $2.08 today; worst… Turkey govt $1 in 2010 = $0.61 today.
  • Equities: best…US equities $1 in 2010 = $3.46 today; worst…Greece $1 in 2010 = $0.07 today.

A little something for the goldbugs:

  • Commodities: best…gold $1 in 2010 = $1.34 today; worst…oil $1 in 2010 = $0.74 today.

And last but not least:

  • Asset class: best…Bitcoin $1 in 2010 = $90,026 today; worst…Myanmar Kyat $1 in 2010 = $0.004 (spot) today.

Sources: ZeroHedge

Doctors Have Officially Frozen And Reanimated A Human Being For The First Time

Posted By on November 24, 2019

One of the biggest problems with exploring the furthest reaches of space is the sheer time scale involved. Without a breakthrough in physics that would allow human beings to enter a state of suspended animation (or faster than light travel), it wouldn’t be possible.

But now, it looks like doctors have made progress with actually freezing and reviving human beings. Samuel Tisherman, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, has led a team that has actually put a human being into suspended animation, according to the Daily Star.

Tisherman told New Scientist that he replaced a human’s blood with ice-cold saline solution. He called the whole ordeal “a little surreal”. The patient was then removed from the cooling system and taken to an operating theater for a two hour surgical procedure before having their blood restored and their body warmed back up to its normal temperature.

Tisherman says he’s going to be producing a full account of the procedure in a new scientific paper that will be released in 2020. He aims to pause life long enough to perform emergency surgery, rather than use the technology for space travel. 

He recalled the story of a young man who, after being stabbed, didn’t have enough time to make it to surgery: “He was a healthy young man just minutes before, then suddenly he was dead. We could have saved him if we’d had enough time. I want to make clear that we’re not trying to send people off to Saturn. We’re trying to buy ourselves more time to save lives.”

But, of course, it’s only a matter of time until everybody’s favorite “I can’t keep my nose out of anyone’s achievements and if you don’t believe me, ask Vernon Unsworth” tech entrepreneur will weigh in on the issue and, undoubtedly, comment on how it can be used for space travel, and to further his own PR agenda.

Tisherman also did not release how many studies took place before this one successful one. The experiment had the blessing of the FDA, who waived the requirement for patient consent, as the patient could not be saved by any other means. The biggest obstacle remains limiting damage to people as the patient is re-warmed – reperfusion injuries.

“We haven’t identified all the causes of reperfusion injuries yet,” Tisherman said.

But one way or another, the “future” we could only imagine in movies is now at our doorstep…

Who Has Spent The Most Dollars Lobbying Washington In 2019?

Posted By on October 27, 2019

This explains why healthcare is out of control. Healthcare lobbying costs have parked the field, with electronics a distant 2nd.

The pharmaceutical industry is holding on to its title as the top lobbying force in Washington amid pressure from lawmakers at all ends of the ideological spectrum.Drugmakers have spent more than $129 million through September, slightly down from nearly $133 million at this time last year, but still far more than any other industry.

lobbying2019

Sources: Data via OpenSecret.org, Zero Hedge

Are U.S. Presidents Getting Older?

Posted By on October 18, 2019

If you thought Reagan or Trump were old when they were elected, look no further then the coming presidential election. 

With three front-runners over the age of 70 and one heart attack suffered by candidate Bernie Sanders on the campaign trail, the presidential primaries for 2020 have been putting presidents’ ages on the agenda.

President Trump, who is running for re-election in 2020, is himself the oldest president ever to be inaugurated (he was 70 at the time), and as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz notes, all three democratic frontrunners (Warren, Biden, Sanders) would break that record still.

But taking a look at all presidents’ ages at the time of their inauguration since 1789, the trend only extends to the four individuals already mentioned.

age_of_us_presidents_at_inauguration_n

Sources: Statista, ZeroHedge

US Surpassed Saudi Arabia, Russia To Become World’s Top Oil Exporter

Posted By on September 12, 2019

Let’s not celebrate too soon.

The US’s spot at the top of the global oil-exporting heap was rather short-lived, because according tot he IEA, Saudi Arabia reclaimed the top spot for July and August as hurricanes disrupted US production.

In June, the US has once again surpassed Saudi Arabia and Russia to reclaim the No. 1 spot as the world’s largest oil exporter, according to data from the International Energy Agency.

Record shale production helped the US ship nearly 9 million barrels of crude and other oil products a day in June, surpassing Saudi Arabia, Bloomberg reports. And as more companies build the infrastructure necessary to transport oil from fields in Texas and New Mexico to the coast, the amount of oil exported by the US is expected to climb.

US Oil Production

The increase in US crude exports in June was helped by a surge in crude-oil shipments to more than 3 million barrels a day, according to the IEA report. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia was cutting exports in line with the OPEC+ agreement on production cuts, while Russia’s output was hampered by the Druzhba pipeline crisis.

Sources: ZeroHedge.com,

A Second Earth, Is It Possible

Posted By on August 1, 2019

This would be amazing, we will know more in 2021 when a pair of telescopes that are expected to begin operating in 2021 and 2025 should reveal whether the planet is rocky or has oceans.

 

Astronomers have discovered a ‘super-Earth’ just 31 light-years away. But, is it habitable or glacial?

N’dea Yancey-Bragg

A potentially habitable ‘super-Earth’ has been discovered just 31 light-years away from our solar system, astronomers announced Wednesday.

2nd Earth

The planet, named GJ 357 d, is about six times larger than Earth and orbits a dwarf sun GJ 357, much smaller than our own, every 55.7 days. The international team of astronomers that discovered the planet said in a news release that it could “provide Earth-like conditions.”

“With a thick atmosphere, the planet GJ 357 d could maintain liquid water on its surface like Earth, and we could pick out signs of life with telescopes that will soon be online,” Lisa Kaltenegger, the director of the Carl Sagan Institute at Cornell and associate professor in astronomy, said in a statement.

“If GJ 357 d were to show signs of life, it would be at the top of everyone’s travel list – and we could answer a 1,000-year-old question on whether we are alone in the cosmos.”

Without an atmosphere, the planet would have an equilibrium temperature of 64 degrees below zero, according to NASA, which would make it “more glacial than habitable.”

While using NASA’s planet-hunting Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in early 2019, Kaltenegger’s team first discovered another planet GJ 357 b, a “hot Earth,” orbiting the dwarf sun.

The satellite finds other worlds by monitoring the nearest and brightest stars for periodic dips in light. These dips, called transits, suggest a planet may be passing in front of its star.

Follow up observations from the ground lead to the discovery of two more planets orbiting the dwarf sun, including the super-Earth.

Two of the planets discovered are considered too hot to support life as we know it, but GJ 357 d is in the host star’s habitable zone meaning it’s not too hot or too cold.

Kaltenegger told NBC News that a pair of telescopes that are expected to begin operating in 2021 and 2025 should reveal whether the planet is rocky or has oceans.

“This is definitely going to be one of the best targets for these telescopes because it’s so close and so bright,” Kaltenegger told NBC News. “This means we can collect that light and analyze it further to see the chemical composition of the atmosphere, or if we see signs of liquid water or oxygen. The closer the better and the brighter the better, and this one happens to be both.”

The astronomers’ findings were published in journal Astronomy & Astrophysics.

Sources: USA Today, Journal of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Big Data Never Sleeps

Posted By on July 21, 2019

The Data Explosion, by Source

Today’s infographic comes to us from Domo, and it shows the amount of new data generated each minute through several different platforms and technologies.

Big-Data

Sources: ZeroHedge.com

Wealthy Millennials Are Now Moving To These States

Posted By on June 13, 2019

This makes sense, until a big earthquake hits the U.S. west coast.

According to a new SmartAsset study, wealthy millennials are moving to the coasts, but the Northeast isn’t one of them. We defined millennials as people under the age of 35 and looked specifically at millennials with adjusted gross incomes (AGI) of at least $100,000.

States People Moving To

To determine migration flows of wealthy millennials, SmartAsset examined data (IRS 2015 to 2016 tax year) from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. To calculate net inflow of each state, the study used inflow minus the outflow of wealthy millennials to find precisely which states wealthy millennials are moving to.

Seventy percent of the states in the top ten list of where wealthy millennials are moving to are located on the East and West Coast. With Texas on the Gulf Coast, and Colorado and Tennessee in the Heartland.

Sources: ZeroHedge.com

5G Cell Phones – Do We Really Need The Extra Radiation?

Posted By on May 5, 2019

Advancement in technology isn’t always for the better. It would appear that 5G radiofrequency has many health risks, along with other draw backs.

5G radiofrequency (RF) radiation uses a ‘cocktail’ of three types of radiation, ranging from relatively low-energy radio waves, microwave radiation with far more energy, and millimeter waves with vastly more energy (see below). The extremely high frequencies in 5G are where the biggest danger lies. While 4G frequencies go as high as 6 GHz, 5G exposes biological life to pulsed signals in the 30 GHz to 100 GHz range. The general public has never before been exposed to such high frequencies for long periods of time.

 

This is a big deal. It turns out that our eyes and our sweat ducts act as antennas for absorption of the higher-frequency 5G waves. And because the distances these high-energy waves can travel is relatively short, transmitters will be required closer to homes and schools than earlier wireless technologies: the build-out will add the equivalent of a cell tower every 2-10 houses.

The “medical people” have conducted over 2,000 international evidence-based studies that link health impacts with pulsed radiowave radiation from cell towers, routers, cell phones, tablets, and other wireless devices. These studies tell us that RF radiation is harmful at even low and short exposures, and that it impacts children and fetuses more rapidly than adults. Among the findings are that RF radiation is carcinogenic, causes DNA damage, affects fertility and the endocrine system, and has neurological impacts. Pulsed electromagnetic frequencies have also been shown to cause neurological symptoms: depression, anxiety, headaches, muscle pain, attention deficits, insomnia, dizziness, tinnitus, skin tingling, loss of appetite, and nausea.

The U.S. Government has known of these risks since at least 1971, when the Naval Medical Research and Development Command published a bibliography containing 3,700 references reporting 100 biological and clinical effects attributed to microwave and radio-frequency radiation.

Recent findings, such as the $30 million 2018 U.S. National Toxicology Program (NTP) Study, have corroborated the findings of all well-designed heart and brain cancer studies of people with 10 or more years’ exposure to cellular radiation from cell towers and cell phones. They all agree: RF radiation causes cancer.

Sources: Iishana Artra via Counterpunch.org, www.zerohedge.com

An Internet Minute In Action

Posted By on March 16, 2019

internet-minute-820

Degree’s That Earn You The Most, and Those That Don’t

Posted By on March 2, 2019

So, there you go, Degree’s for high earners and those for all the rest …

Degree MostDegree Least

Which Car Color Is Most Popular In Your State?

Posted By on February 21, 2019

Black was the top choice among CarMax buyers, with 22.25% of all sales. White was a close second, with 19.34% of sales. Gray (17.63%) and silver (14.64%) rounded out the top four most popular colors. The chart below shows the national best-selling vehicle colors at CarMax.

Car Colors

This is Probably Not How Miss Lube Rack of 1955 Wants to be Remembered …

Posted By on February 3, 2019

Subject: Miss Lube Rack of 1955………

Miss Lube Rack 1955

For what it’s worth…..sometimes your past can come back to haunt you!!

Who was MISS LUBE RACK OF 1955 ? 

Can You believe this?  Take note all you young people . . .
pictures, especially on the Internet, never go away.

Guess who was Miss Lube Rack of 1955 ?
  
I know, you have no idea! !    She could be a Movie star?
Recording artist?    Politician?

Her name is Nancy D’Alesandro.

Still stumped?

Nancy D’Alesandro is today known as  Nancy Pelosi, Congressional Speaker of the House  on Capital Hill, yes, also known as, drum roll, the former Miss Lube Rack 1955!

Guess Who is the Least Trusted Profession? Yep, We Think You Already Know …

Posted By on January 25, 2019

Some professions have a better reputation for honesty than others.

america_s_most_and_least_trusted_professions_n

A Hacker-Proof Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) Network

Posted By on January 17, 2019

This is impressive, innovative, and potentially dynamic advanced technology. We are thinking in terms of huge potential in a variety of industries. Is this the next great thing? Time will tell …

by Tyler Durden

New Yorkers traveling in the Holland Tunnel, a vehicular tunnel underneath the Hudson River connecting Lower Manhattan and New Jersey, are now discovering that the next generation of communication technology is being tested right outside their car windows, said Bloomberg.

Lining the 8,558 feet tunnel is a fiber-optic cable that harnesses the power of quantum mechanics to guard corporations and government against potential hackers or spies.

fiber pipe

A technology startup called Quantum Xchange said last Fall it signed a contract giving it exclusive access to 500 miles of fiber-optic cable running along the East Coast to build what it claims will be the nation’s first quantum key distribution (QKD) network. The first span of the system links New York City to New Jersey via the Holland Tunnel will allow financial institutions and government agencies to safely transport information between offices in Manhattan and data centers abroad.

Bloomberg said the QKD approach used by Quantum Xchange works by sending an encoded message in bits while the keys to decode it are sent in the form of quantum bits, or qubits. These packets are sent via photons, which travel through fiber-optic cables. The key to this technology is that any attempt to snoop on a qubit immediately destroys its fragile quantum state, wiping out all data it caries, which basically means this technology is unhackable at the moment.

“Financial firms see this as a differentiator,” says John Prisco, chief executive officer of Quantum Xchange. Prisco says several large financial institutions are testing his fiber pipes, but he declined to tell Bloomberg the names of them, citing nondisclosure agreements.

The Chinese government has already constructed a 1,200-mile QKD-protected link between Beijing and Shanghai.

QKD has distance limitations. It can only protect data in transit, not when it is resting in data centers. And because fiber-optic cabling itself absorbs some light, a single photon cannot travel far.

Researchers have managed to stretch the network 260 miles in lab conditions. For real-world conditions, the total distance is about 60 miles.

Further transmissions require a series of “trusted nodes,” however nodes are prone to hackers or physical tapping. China solves this by placing armed guards at each of the node stations along the 1,200-mile route.

With six QKD startups in the US. Qubitekk Inc., a startup in Southern California, has a US Department of Energy contract for a pilot program to secure the communications between power plants.

Telecommunications companies including the UK’s BT Group Plc and Japan’s NTT Corp. have indicated they would soon explore options for QKD-protected networks.

There has been a significant push towards QKD networks thanks to Edward Snowden, a contractor working for the US National Security Agency, leaked documents that showed intelligence agencies were spying on networks via hard taps into fiber-optic cables. With QKD technology, government and or spies can no longer do that.

Sources: ZeroHedge.com, Bloomberg.com

Are You in the Middle Class?

Posted By on January 10, 2019

Interesting Stats

Are you in the middle class?

You probably think you are, according to new research from the Pew Research Centerbut that doesn’t necessarily mean you’re right.As HowMuch.net explains, it turns out household size is a major determiner of status in the lower, middle and upper classes.

Least-Educated State: California No. 1 in Percentage of Residents 25 and Older

Posted By on December 20, 2018

Hmm…Massachusetts ranks No. 1 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older—42.1 percent–who have earned at least a bachelor’s degree.

(CNSNews.com) – California ranks No. 1 among the 50 states for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 50th for the percentage who have graduated from high school, according to new data from the Census Bureau.

Texas ranks No. 2 for the percentage of its residents 25 and older who have never completed ninth grade and 49th for the percentage who have graduated from high school.

educationchart1

Sources: CNN.com

A Thanksgiving Feast With A Big Turkey Fades Into The Sunset

Posted By on November 22, 2018

Millennials cut back on large Turkey diners…

There are signs that wee birds are in greater demand. Inventories of whole hens, which are smaller than males, are down 8.3 percent from a year ago, the latest U.S. Department of Agriculture data show. Whole toms, the males, are up 6.9 percent.

Turkeys

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