“Record Flooding” Forces Closure Of Yellowstone National Park

Posted By on June 14, 2022

Unbelievable events are shaking areas we never thought possible.

TUESDAY, JUN 14, 2022 – 09:24 AM

Yellowstone National Park closed all entrances to visitors due to widespread dangerous flooding, forcing park evacuations, and has left some trapped inside as roads and bridges were swept away.

“Due to record flooding events in the park and more precipitation in the forecast, we have made the decision to close Yellowstone to all inbound visitation.

We will not know the timing of the park’s reopening until flood waters subside and we’re able to assess the damage throughout the park. It is likely that the northern loop will be closed for a substantial amount of time,” Yellowstone Superintendent Cam Sholly said in a statement.

Yellowstone is a 3,500-sq.-mile national park nestled in Wyoming and parts of Montana and Idaho. The damage is unknown as the flooding only began over the weekend, and the park closed on Monday.

“Our first priority has been to evacuate the northern section of the park where we have multiple road and bridge failures, mudslides, and other issues,” Sholly said.

Footage of the flooding, rockslides, and other hazardous weather conditions were shared on social media.

East Idaho News shared photos and videos of the wild weather:

Home swept away 

Bridge collapse 

Homes battered by flooding 

Town flooded 

Infrastructure damaged

Another home swept away

More views of the disaster from above 

People attempting to flee Yellowstone

“The Yellowstone area is experiencing major flooding. Bridges are being washed away, roads are collapsing, and access in and out of the northern range has been blocked,” one Twitter user said.

Another town flooded

Sources: ZeroHedge.com

America’s Electric Grid Has A $2 Trillion Problem

Posted By on May 17, 2022

Electric grid upgrades dead on arrival, and will never on its best day meet objectives of a carbon free grid by 2035, “We really don’t have anyone in charge,” Rob Gramlich, president of Washington D.C.-based energy consulting firm, Grid Strategies LLC, told Reuters for a special report on the hurdles the U.S. grid faces.

The regulatory ‘nightmare’ makes investments in the grid more complicated, which could delay much-needed transmission infrastructure updates and thus, push further the timeline of the clean energy goals, analysts say.

Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com

  • The U.S. power grid is strained as-is, with disruption and outages becoming more frequent in many regions.
  • Regulatory ‘nightmare’ makes investments in the grid more complicated.
  • Grid upgrades may cost up to $2 trillion through 2050.

Getting America to reach the goals of zero-carbon electricity generation by 2035 and net-zero economy by 2050 with a surge in electric vehicle transportation and renewable power installations will require massive investments in outdated power transmission lines and building thousands of miles of new lines. The undertaking is huge, and it’s so huge not only because the price tag for making the U.S. grid capable of handling a net-zero economy is estimated at a couple of trillion dollars.    Permitting, regulation and uncertainty over who is and should be in charge of the massive transformation of the power grid are also major hurdles to booming renewable power generation and massive adoption of electric vehicles (EVs). 

The U.S. power grid is strained as-is, with disruption and outages becoming more frequent in many regions where local grid operators struggle to keep the lights on in case of extreme winter weather or heat. Those events would only become more frequent with climate change, such as the current early heat wave in Texas, which is testing ERCOT’s ability to withstand a surge in power demand.

In recent days, grid operators from a growing number of states started warning about electricity shortages as grids cannot cope with the imbalance between demand and supply heading into summer. California warned last week that it would need to produce more electricity than it is currently producing to avoid blackouts. The Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), the nonprofit charged with operating the power grid in 15 U.S. states and Manitoba, issued a warning about outages during the summer.

If grids are warning they may not be able to cope with a surge in power demand now, what would they do if renewables were to become the dominant source of electricity generation (provided that the Biden Administration’s goals of a carbon-free grid by 2035 and 50 percent of all new vehicles sold in the United States in 2030 be zero-emission vehicles are met)?

For sure, the grid needs huge amounts of investments, researchers and analysts say.

For example, in a “high electrification” or E+ scenario, with aggressively electrifying buildings and transportation so that 100 percent of cars are electric by 2050, America would need $360 billion invested in transmission through 2030 and $2.4 trillion by 2050, the Princeton University said in a report at the end of 2020. 

Yet, it’s not only a matter of money, but many analysts and industry consultants also say. That’s because the U.S. currently lacks a national strategy that clearly defines the roles of policymakers, states, federal agencies, grid operators, and utilities in preparing the transmission system on a national level to handle a surge in renewable power generation, demand from EV charging, and the “electrify everything” drive at home.

“We really don’t have anyone in charge,” Rob Gramlich, president of Washington D.C.-based energy consulting firm, Grid Strategies LLC, told Reuters for a special report on the hurdles the U.S. grid faces.

“The politics are a freakin’ nightmare,” Alison Silverstein, an independent industry consultant and former senior adviser to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), told Reuters’ Tim McLaughlin.

The regulatory ‘nightmare’ makes investments in the grid more complicated, which could delay much-needed transmission infrastructure updates and thus, push further the timeline of the clean energy goals, analysts say.

“The majority of the nation’s grid is aging, with some components over a century old — far past their 50-year life expectancy — and others, including 70% of T&D lines, are well into the second half of their lifespans,” the American Society of Civil Engineers said in a report last year.

Expanding the grid capacity by 2-5 times from current levels and transmission investments totaling up to $2.4 trillion presents “multiple technical, economic, and public policy challenges,” Jonathan M. Moch, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, and Henry Lee, Director, Environment and Natural Resources Program at The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of Harvard Kennedy School, wrote in a policy brief in February 2022.

“First, there is a lack of coordination between regional and national transmission planning. The organizations responsible for regional transmission planning are often legally constrained from prioritizing the reduction of carbon emissions. Furthermore, construction of new transmission requires an extensive siting and permitting process that can stretch for over a decade and may put the goal of a carbon-free electric grid by 2035 out of reach,” Moch and Lee wrote.

According to consultants Brattle Group, interregional planning processes are ineffective. In a presentation prepared for the ‘Building a Better Grid Initiative’ of the Department of Energy’s Office of Electricity, Brattle said in March that “essentially no major interregional transmission projects have been planned and built in the last decade.”

U.S. climate envoy John Kerry also admitted as much at the CERAWeek conference in Houston in March:

“We can send a rover to Mars, but we can’t send an electron to California from New York.”  

Sources: Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com,

Pentagon Report Claims UFOs Left “Radiation Burns” & “Unaccounted-For Pregnancies” After Encounters

Posted By on April 8, 2022

Very interesting stuff here!

Authored by Elijah Cohen via TheMindUnleashed.com,

According to a huge database of U.S. government records recently made public as a result of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, encounters with UFOs have allegedly left Americans suffering from radiation burns, brain and nervous system damage, and even “unaccounted for pregnancy.”

There are more than 1,500 pages of UFO-related information in the collection of records, which comes from the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP), a clandestine United States Department of Defense program that operated from 2007 to 2012.

The information was never classified as secret or top secret per say, but became more widely known about in 2017 after former program director Luis Elizondo resigned from the Pentagon and revealed to the world multiple now-infamous films of an unidentified aircraft moving in apparently inconceivable ways.

Soon after it was disclosed that the AATIP was in existence, the American edition of the British tabloid The Sun filed a Freedom of Information Act inquiry for any and all records pertaining to the program.

Four years later, on April 5, 2022, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) complied with the request by providing The Sun with an additional 1,574 pages of information.

Reports on UFO encounters and human biology are among the papers found in the trove, according to The Sun. Studies on advanced technology like invisibility cloaks are also among the records along with plans for deep space exploration and colonization. The AATIP informed The Sun that certain papers were “withheld in part” to protect privacy.

Anomalous Acute and Subacute Field Effects on Human and Biological Tissues is one of the collection’s highlights. Anomalous sophisticated aerospace systems have allegedly injured “human observers,” posing a “threat to US interests,” the report claims.

42 incidents from medical records and 300 “unpublished” cases in which people were injured following purported contacts with “anomalous vehicles,” which include UFOs, are described in the document.

The research indicated some persons had burns or other illness caused by electromagnetic radiation, perhaps caused by “energy related propulsion systems.” 

Unusual car incidents have been linked to brain and nerve damage.

Between 1873 and 1994, the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON), a civilian non-profit entity that examines reported UFO sightings, collected a list of suspected biological impacts of UFO sightings on human observers.

UFO sightings have been linked to “unaccounted pregnancy,” “apparent abduction,” paralysis, experiences of telepathy, teleportation, and levitation.

More information may be found in The Sun’s original story on their Freedom of Information Act request.

Sources: ZeroHedge

VPN Use Surges In Ukraine And Russia

Posted By on March 12, 2022

Virtual private networks – or VPNs – enable web users to disguise their location and thereby circumvent the blocking of web services by location.

Restrictions to internet access in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have seen demand for VPNs surge in both countries, highlighting, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below, a war fought not only on land and sea, but also in cyberspace.

Infographic: VPN Use Surges in Ukraine and Russia | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

In Ukraine, the search volume for VPNs increased by around 600 percent between February 27 and March 2, compared with the 30 days prior. According to Top 10 VPN, which publishes this data, the number is indicative of Russian cyber attacks on the country’s online infrastructure. One such event took place on Feb 24, the first day of the Russian invasion, for example. Other cyberattacks targeted Ukrainian government websites, according to the BBC, but like disruptions to the Ukrainian internet caused by the destruction of physical infrastructure by Russian forces, they cannot be remedied by VPNs.

In Russia, restrictions placed on social networks like Facebook and Twitter as well as foreign media sites led to increased VPN use. Between February 27 and March 3, demand surged by 668 percent.

By far the biggest search interest in VPN was generated in the current year by a coordinated internet shutdown in Kazakhstan on January 5. The government pulled the internet plug as protests erupted over rising natural gas prices after a price cap ended. VPN searches increased by around 3,400 percent as a result.

In Asia, moderate increases in VPN searches were seen in early 2020, as Myanmar proposed severe penalties on VPN use as part of new legislation and Cambodia mulled a national internet gateway. Similar to the internet controls implemented in China, all web traffic in the country would pass through a single government-controlled entry point if the plan was enacted.

Source: ZeroHedge, Statista

Americans Love The NFL, But Change Is Looming

Posted By on February 13, 2022

According to recent findings from Statista’s Global Consumer Survey, the NFL remains the number 1 among major professional sports leagues in the U.S., at least for now.

Infographic: Americans Love the NFL, But Change Is Looming | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

While 52 percent of self-declared sports fans follow the National Football League, compared to 42 percent for the NBA and 31 percent who follow the MLB, looking at the youngest group of respondents reveals a worrying trend for NFL executives.

Among 16- to 25-year-olds, the NFL only plays second fiddle to the NBA, with just 33 percent of young sports fans following the league. The NBA reaches 40 percent of Gen X fans, who are overall less likely to follow any professional sports leagues than their older compatriots.

Sources: Stagista, ZeroHedge

A New Gene Discovered In Georgia Sewer System Is Resistant To The World’s Most Important Antibiotics

Posted By on January 15, 2022

This is scary stuff…

“MCR can be spread through global travel and the import of foods from other countries. Results of the CFS study prove that the U.S. is no less susceptible to the threat than other nations around the world,” the researchers said.

“If we don’t tackle it right now, we are jeopardizing human and animal medicine as we know it and that can have huge repercussions on health and the economy.

“It’s a dangerous problem that requires attention from multiple sectors for us to be able to tackle it properly,” they said. 

The World Health Organization has warned that antimicrobial resistance is “one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.”

Researchers from the University of Georgia’s Center for Food Safety (CFS) have discovered a gene that causes antimicrobial resistance to one of the world’s most import antibiotics.

CFS researchers found the presence of the MCR-9 gene in the sewage water in a metro area in Georgia. The gene is resistant to colistin, also known as polymyxin E, an antibiotic used as a last-resort treatment for infections.

Colistin is prohibited in the U.S. for livestock, a move by regulators to help slow the spread of antimicrobial resistance to the antibiotic. But the finding suggests the spread could already be widespread than initially thought.

“MCR can be spread through global travel and the import of foods from other countries. Results of the CFS study prove that the U.S. is no less susceptible to the threat than other nations around the world,” the researchers said.

“If we don’t tackle it right now, we are jeopardizing human and animal medicine as we know it and that can have huge repercussions on health and the economy.

“It’s a dangerous problem that requires attention from multiple sectors for us to be able to tackle it properly,” they said. 

The World Health Organization has warned that antimicrobial resistance is “one of the top 10 global public health threats facing humanity.”

A silent spread of colistin-resistant bacteria is happening in Georgia sewers. If people or animals contract it, there are potentially no medications that can treat their infection, leading to possible death.

Just when you thought things couldn’t get any better on the global health landscape, along comes the drug-resistant MCR-9 gene.

Sources: ZeroHedge

Have The “Pandemics Of 2022” Already Started?

Posted By on December 30, 2021

It sounds like we will have to learn to live with pandemics going forward! The real question is are these man made pandemics, or caused by nature. I think we all know the answer to that.

Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog

Wouldn’t it be great if we could have a year without any major pestilences?  2019 seems like it was so long ago, and we may never see another year like it.  All of the measures that global authorities have imposed to try to end the COVID pandemic have failed, and now we are being told that we are just going to have to live with COVID on a permanent basis.  And Omicron has shown us that a new variant can sweep across the entire globe in just a matter of weeks.  Meanwhile, there are several new “outbreaks” that are unrelated to COVID that I am going to be keeping a very close eye on as we enter 2022.  For example, we are being told that there is a “massive bird flu outbreak” in Israel right now.  The following comes from a Daily Beast article entitled “Massive New Bird Flu Outbreak Could Be 2022’s Deadly Pandemic”

Israel’s National Security Council has assumed control of a massive bird flu outbreak in the Galilee, which scientists warn could become a “mass disaster” for humans.

Over half a billion migrating birds pass through the area every year, heading for warm African winters or balmy European summers, making this a catastrophic location for a major bird flu outbreak—right at the nexus of global avian travel.

If you do a Google search for “H5N1”, you will find that bird flu outbreaks have literally been reported all over the planet this month.

So this isn’t just happening in Israel.

But the reason why what is taking place in Israel is so alarming is because birds are dropping dead in such large numbers

Of the 30,000 Eurasian cranes passing this winter at the Hula Nature Reserve, 17 percent are dead, and scientists fear the worst for their surviving brethren, at least 10,000 of which appear to be ailing. The infection of the cranes is the same strain of avian flu which infected chicken coops throughout northern Israel, and led to the cull in recent days of nearly 1 million birds.

The good news is that so far there are no confirmed human cases of H5N1 in Israel.

Of course that could change at any time, and once H5N1 starts spreading among humans it has a very high death rate

The virus can be deadly if it infects people. The World Health Organization says more than half of the confirmed 863 human cases it has tracked since 2003 proved fatal.

Here in the United States, officials are deeply concerned about a widespread outbreak of an “undiagnosed respiratory illness” in northern Ohio…

Public health exclusively tells Dayton 24/7 Now undiagnosed respiratory illnesses are popping up in the Miami Valley, Cleveland area, and across the northern tier of Ohio.

Health experts say symptoms are similar to the flu, but patients aren’t testing positive for influenza or COVID-19.

Charles Patterson, Clark County Combined Health District’s Health commissioner, explains there’s no way to know how many confirmed cases of this illness are in the state since there’s no case definition for it yet.

Hopefully they will find out what this mystery disease is soon, because it doesn’t sound good.

On the other side of the globe, a different mystery disease has killed close to 100 people in South Sudan

The illness has so far claimed the lives of 97 people in Fangak, Jonglei State, in the northern part of South Sudan. On Thursday, Fangak County Commissioner Biel Boutros Biel said an elderly woman’s death came as a result of an unidentified illness. South Sudan’s Ministry of Health has said that the disease has mainly affected the elderly and children under 14. It is also said that the symptoms of the mysterious illness include cough, diarrhoea, fever, headaches, joint pain, loss of appetite, body weakness, and chest pain.

WHO officials were deployed to the region to investigate the illness, but they reportedly left the area without revealing their findings to local officials.

Initially, health officials thought that this might be a cholera outbreak, but testing has ruled out that possibility.

Last but certainly not least, the Omicron variant is causing widespread panic all over the world.

In New York, the number of confirmed cases set another brand new record high on December 24th

The number of positive COVID-19 cases in New York continues to set records, as the state confirmed that 49,708 positive cases were reported on December 24 alone.

That number marks the highest single-day total in the state since the pandemic began.

Fortunately, some experts are telling us that even though Omicron spreads very easily it may be less deadly than the Delta variant.

Of course Omicron and Delta are not the only variants that are floating around out there.

Over the past couple of months, there have been reports that certain COVID variants seem to be causing very ugly skin sores.  The following comes from a report in a British news source

The doctor explained: “I was treating patients in August 2020 last year and I had three patients who had COVID-19 and they had a rash.

“It’s purpuric, almost like a hive-like rash, [it] can be prickly heat rash as well.”

Dr Nighat’s patients weren’t the only ones who suffered from rash linked to Covid, as the COVID ZOE app received thousands of self-reports of this symptom.

If you have developed skin sores or a “rash” after catching COVID, I would like to hear from you.

Because this appears to be something that is happening on a large scale, but the mainstream media in the United States is not really talking about it.

I don’t know which of the news items that I have shared in this article are the most important, but I will be monitoring them all as we enter 2022.

The COVID pandemic has clearly demonstrated how vulnerable we are, and scientists assure us that it is just a matter of time before we are hit by even more pestilences.

I know that most of you are very eager for life to “return to normal”, and I feel the same way.

Unfortunately, our entire planet is now being ravaged by sickness and disease, and a “return to normal” is simply not in the cards.

*  *  *

Sources: Michael Snyder via The End of The American Dream blog

How Safe Is Your Password?

Posted By on December 6, 2021

The single most important thing you can do is build a safe password.

Password, 123456, qwerty… While passwords which appear on the list of the most common passwords should definitely be retired from use, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below that even a more unique password can be easy to crack if a computer program is tasked with systematically breaking it.

As seen in data by website Security.orgadding even one upper case letter to a password can already dramatically alter its potential. In the case of an eight-character password, it can now be broken in 22 minutes instead of instantaneously in one second – an increase of more than 1000 percent.

The Blockchain Ecosystem

Posted By on November 21, 2021

In this day and age of digital technology, it behoves everyone to better understand how blockchain works.

BY TYLER DURDEN
SUNDAY, NOV 21, 2021 – 07:35 AM

Many technologies are coined as “disruptive”, but only a select few can be considered transformational.

One such technology is blockchain, because it has the potential to permanently change our economic, legal, and political systems.

In this infographic from Global XVisual Capitalist’s Marcus Lu provides an overview of the entire blockchain ecosystem, and look at some different ways investors can gain access to it.

Blockchain: A Decentralized Network

In its most basic sense, a blockchain is a type of database with several unique properties.

One of these is decentralization, which means no single party has control over the data. To see why this matters, consider a traditional database where users store their data on a central server. The server is ultimately controlled by a single entity with the authority to modify or delete data.

In the event that this authority is compromised, users of the database can be left at great risk. A blockchain, on the other hand, is distributed across many participants in a peer-to-peer network. This means that all users play a role in verifying the integrity of the database, as well as verifying new additions.

Furthermore, blockchains are designed with an append-only structure. This means that users can only A) search and retrieve data from the blockchain; and B) add more data onto the blockchain.

Blockchain Structure

A blockchain is made up of “blocks” which contain three items.

First, there’s the data itself. In the case of Bitcoin, this includes all of the relevant information for a given transaction such as date and quantity. Second is the block’s hash, a unique value that identifies the block and its contents.

For Bitcoin, a hash takes the form of a 64-digit hexadecimal number, though this can be different for other blockchains. The following table provides a simple example of how hashes are generated.

On any given blockchain, the hash values will share the same format. Modifying a block’s data will also result in an entirely different hash.

The third and final item is the hash of the previous block, and is what contributes to the “chain” part of blockchain. This feature makes it nearly impossible for someone to tamper with the blockchain’s data, because their copy of the chain would then conflict with all other users.

The Blockchain Ecosystem

Holding cryptocurrency is one way to gain exposure to blockchain, but as companies continue to study it, new use cases are emerging. Here’s an explanation of the four segments of the blockchain ecosystem.

1. Digital Asset Mining

Digital asset mining consists of companies that process transactions on blockchain ledgers, including Bitcoin. Processing transactions is known as “mining” because participants can receive cryptocurrency as compensation.

From an operations perspective, cryptominers are relatively simple when compared to other businesses. The following table lists the components a cryptominer needs.

Digital asset mining requires a significant amount of electricity and has sparked debate in recent years over its environmental impact.

2. Blockchain Hardware

Blockchain hardware consists of companies that produce blockchain-related equipment.

This includes graphic processing units (GPUs), which are used in computing applications such as rendering and animation. GPUs were not originally intended for blockchain use (and have been around for much longer), but their high processing speeds makes them suitable for mining.

Today, cryptominers are transitioning to application-specific integrated circuit (ASIC) chips that are solely designed for cryptomining. Using these chips is critical for maximizing hash rate and profitability.

3. Blockchain Transactions

The blockchain transactions category includes companies that operate digital asset trading platforms. The segment is quickly evolving as new and existing businesses enter the space.

4. Blockchain Applications & Integration

This segment is the broadest of the four, and includes any software or service that uses blockchain.

In many cases, blockchain can be used to improve our existing industries. Consider IBM Food Trust, a blockchain designed to create a more efficient and sustainable food supply chain.

Blockchain can also be used for more ambitious projects, such as creating a metaverse. While still largely conceptual, a metaverse is a digital world which would be accessed via virtual reality. In it, people would be able to work, play, socialize, and consume media.

These virtual worlds would also need their own economies—something blockchain could play a big role in. It’s reported that several companies, including the recently-named Meta, are investing billions each year in metaverse development.

Introducing: The Global X Blockchain ETF

The Global X Blockchain ETF (Ticker: BKCH) seeks to provide investment results that correspond generally to the price and yield performance, before fees and expenses, of the Solactive Blockchain Index.

Figures rounded. Source: Solactive AG, as of September 30th, 2021.

Investors can use this passively managed solution to gain diversified exposure to the blockchain ecosystem.

Source: ZeroHedge.com

The 5 Most Valuable — and 5 Least Valuable — College Majors

Posted By on October 4, 2021

If you are looking to get the best return on your investment in a college degree, you may want to consider a major in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

 

Top 5

STEM degrees dominated the top of the rankings. It’s an area of study that’s already been gaining popularity. In fact, the growth in STEM degree recipients has outpaced that for all degrees, according to Pew Research.

1. Architectural Engineering

Median annual income: $90,000; unemployment rate: 1.3%

2. Construction Services

Median annual income: $80,000; unemployment rate: 1%

3. Computer Engineering

Median annual income: $101,000; unemployment rate: 2.3%

4. Aerospace Engineering

Median annual income: $100,000 ; unemployment rate: 1.9%

5. Transportation Sciences and Technologies

Median annual income: $86,000; unemployment rate: 1.8%

 

Bottom 5

155. Clinical Psychology

Median annual income: $49,000; unemployment rate: 3.8%

156. Composition and Speech

Median annual income:$42,000; unemployment rate: 4.9%

157. Drama and Theater Arts

Median annual income: $41,000; unemployment rate: 4.5%

158. Miscellaneous Fine Arts

Median annual income: $38,000; unemployment rate: 5.6%

159. Visual and Performing Arts

Median annual income: $35,500; unemployment rate: 3.6%

Source: MFOXCNBC

The World Behind Bars

Posted By on August 30, 2021

The big question is how do you fix this?

The US leads the world when it comes to prison population per 100,000 residents as Statista’s Florian Zandt shows in the chart below.

Infographic: The World Behind Bars | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

An approximate ratio of 639 of 100,000 US residents are currently spending time behind bars according to data provided by Institute for Crime & Justice Policy Research at the University of London. With El Salvador and Panama, two other countries of the American continent make the top ten at places two and nine respectively.

The UK’s overseas territories are also represented with two entries, the Virgin Islands and Grenada.

The latter rounds off the list of the ten countries with the highest prison population rates with a value of 413 inmates per 100,000 residents.

Source: Zero Hedge

Updated Census Data Shows Areas of Fastest Growth, 3 States Stand Out

Posted By on July 17, 2021

The U.S, fastest growing states are Idaho, Nevada an Arizona. The worst 5 states are include New York, which shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody.

Idaho is America’s fastest-growing state, according to data released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Its population increased by 2.1 percent to almost 1.8 million from July 2018 to June 2019. Nevada is the second fastest growing statefollowed by Arizona.

As Statista’s Katharina Buchholz reports, new residents moving in from other parts of the U.S. have for some years been responsible for the population increase in the U.S.’ three fastest-growing states in the Mountain West and Southwest of the country. The fourth fastest-growing state, Utah, is growing because of an excess of births over deaths.

Infographic: Mountain West Attracts New Residents | Statista

There are 33 Millennial Billionaires in the United States, and a Total of 100 Millennial Billionaires Globally

Posted By on June 2, 2021

A lot of money equates to a lot of power. These 33 millennial billionaires will likely represent the future of the United States. We wouldn’t be surprised if they at some point even splinter off into a new political party. Why not? Wake up Democrats and Republicans. Let’s call them the Millennial party, or the Green party, sounds about right, don’t you think?

There are 2,755 billionaires globally – and combined, they are worth over $13 trillion.

Of these ultra wealthy individuals, Visual Capitalist’s Avery Koop notes that just over 100 are millennials, born between the years 1981 and 1996. This young generation represents around 3.8% of all billionaires on a global basis with a combined net worth of $573.1 billion.

This visualization, using data from Forbes, ranks the richest 25 millennial billionaires and details their source of wealth, total net worth, nationality, and age.

The U.S. is home to the most millennial billionaires at 33 total, with China coming in second at 23—most other countries fall far behind.

In the U.S., millennial billionaires are often associated with notable tech companies like Snapchat, Airbnb, and Facebook. Others are heirs of massive family fortunes like Lukas Walton—grandson of Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart and the original head of America’s richest family.

When looking at the average American millennial’s wealth, the Generational Power Index has determined that this young generation only holds 9.6% of economic power in the U.S. Here’s a quick look at millennial wealth metrics in the U.S.:

  • Millennials only make up 7% of American business leaders
  • They own $73 billion in equities and mutual fund shares
  • They represent 13% of small business leaders
  • They make up 7% of American billionaire wealth

In China, some millennial billionaires really stand out, like Relx founder, Kate Wang. The 39-year-old started her e-cigarette and vape company only three years ago, at age 36, and is expected to soon be vying for the title of richest woman in China.

Sources: TYLER DURDEN

 

Looking Back in History

Posted By on May 16, 2021

The world as we remember it…

Using insights from our Generational Power Index 2021 report, along with survey data from Pew Research in 2016, Visual Capitalist’s Iman Ghosh identified some key milestones for each cohort, to understand how these events helped shape each generation’s unique perspectives.

Download the Generational Power Report (.pdf)

A Polarized United States

Posted By on April 19, 2021

This type of thing will happen more and more as a politically polarized country.

 

Submitted by Sovereign Man Blueprint

Idaho legislature considers absorbing part of Oregon

What happened:

A group of Oregon residents want their rural counties to be absorbed by Idaho, to throw off the control Portland exerts on a very different area of the state. Two counties have already voiced majority support for the idea in ballot initiatives.

The latest step for the organizations Move Oregon’s Border and Citizens for a Greater Idaho, was to present the idea to House and Senate committees in the Idaho legislature.The former house speaker of Oregon, who lives in one of the counties that want out, joined the movement’s leader to help pitch the plan.

In order to move the border, both Oregon and Idaho legislatures would have to approve the plan, as would the US Congress. Even the groups’ leaders admit that’s a long shot, but said, “When the 13 colonies got together, it was a long shot.”

And that spirit of freedom is what the movement wants to capture— escaping what they see as a tyrannical state government which does not represent the interests of the rural sections of the state.

What this means:

Don’t count on this movement becoming a reality. But what’s interesting is that the reorganization of political jurisdictions is being taken more seriously. The Idaho legislature’s willingness to consider it certainly lends the movement some credibility.

Plenty of groups around the world are fighting for more political autonomy and independence from centralized governments that do not represent them.

If just one of these long shot groups has its way, the precedent could lead to a domino effect.

What you can do about it:

Here are a few independence movements happening around the world, and where they stand.

Texas

Seeing as Texas was in fact an independent country from 1836-1845, it has perhaps the best case of any US state for becoming a sovereign nation once again. An independent Texas would have the 10th largest economy of any country, rank 40th worldwide by land area, and 50th by population.

bill introduced this year in the Texas house of representatives would create a non-binding referendum to be held this November where voters could vote yes or no on the question:

“Should the legislature of the State of Texas submit a plan for leaving the United States of America and establishing an independent republic?”

If “yes” prevails, then the legislature would be required to put together a plan to exit by 2026— although the plan, again, would not be binding.

The plan would have to address a number of questions like how much of the US debt Texas would take on— over $2.5 trillion if total US debt was apportioned based on population. Based on the language of the bill, Texas expects the US government to agree to the secession, and enter negotiations for “free trade,” “common travel,” and “collective defense” agreements, plus allow Texans to keep certain government pensions and benefits.

Would DC agree to let Texas go? It seems unlikely, but then again, it would give the Bolsheviks a larger political majority to control the Senate, House, and Electoral College.

Some call the renewed movement to secede from the USA “Texit” referencing Brexit, Britain’s exit from the European Union.

But while EU membership is voluntary, the Civil War set the precedent that state membership in the US is not. (Opposing this view is the compact theory of the states, which asserts that US states entered a compact to form the federal government, and this fact gives states the ability to exit the union.)

Still, it’s impossible to know how such a Texit would go, given the rapidly changing political environment, full of unprecedented events.

Catalonia

Catalonia has somewhat of a complicated history of independence from the surrounding countries of Spain and France. It was occupied by Spain in 1714, and in 1833 Spain broke the Principality of Catalonia into four provinces. More recently, Catalonia was allowed some small degree of regional self governance, while remaining strictly under the jurisdiction and control of Spain.

The Catalan language is unique from Spanish, and generally not considered simply a Spanish dialect. Catalonia is also bordered by the tiny independent country of Andorra to the north, whose official language is Catalan.

The population of Catalonia is around 7.5 million, and the region is wealthier than the rest of Spain. That means it is a net contributor to the Spanish government, giving more than it takes back in government benefits and expenditures. That might be why Spain has not taken kindly to a recent Catalan Independence Movement.

It culminated in Spain declaring a 2017 independence referendum illegal and police attacking polling stations. The prosecution of Catalan Independence leaders for sedition and misuse of public funds followed. Some are still in prison, and others who fled the country are now facing possible extradition to Spain after the European Parliament recently waived their immunity.

The future of the movement is uncertain, but pro-independence parties took more than 50% of the vote in regional elections held in February.

Scotland

If the UK can pull out of the European Union, why can’t Scotland pull out of the UK?

Although in a 2014 referendum the majority of Scottish voters chose to stay in the UK, polls show that opinions may have shifted since then. The pro-independence Scottish National Party, which has led Scotland’s government for 14 years, has been gaining ground.

Scottish parliamentary elections in May will show whether that ground will be lost due to recent scandals involving party leadership.

The Scottish parliament did originally vote to join Great Britain in 1707. And it would be hypocritical for the UK to argue against political self determination given Brexit.

Western Cape

A movement among South Africans seeks to separate the Western Cape, which includes Cape Town, from the rest of the country. The Cape Independence Advocacy Group distills its argument into seven words, “We are better off on our own.” The Western Cape region is a net payer of taxes, and is not politically aligned with the national government’s ruling party, the African National Congress (ANC).

About 47% of Western Cape voters currently support holding a referendum on secession from the rest of South Africa.

The movement appears to stand on firm legal ground, given section 235 of the Constitution which states that “The right of the South African people as a whole to self determination, as manifested in this Constitution, does not preclude, within the framework of this right, recognition of the notion of the right of self-determination of any community sharing a common cultural and language heritage; within a territorial entity in the Republic or in any other way, determined by national legislation.”

And given the ANC’s support for self determination, and its recent support for the secession of South Sudan, it would be contradictory to oppose independence if the majority of Western Cape voters wanted it.

Considering all these secessionist movements (and more, like the State of Jefferson in northern California/southern Oregon and the State of Liberty in central and eastern Washington).

Sources:  Sovereign Man

Where COVID Cases Are Growing The Fastest in the World

Posted By on April 19, 2021

It looks like successful vaccination campaigns don’t stop the spread of COVID-19. Although these vaccine programs do help, we all need to be on guard for what is still lurking out there!

 

BY TYLER DURDEN

COVID-19 cases are growing in many countries around the world, but, as Statista’s Katharina Buchholz details below, some are hit harder than others. Numbers by Johns Hopkins University published on Our World in Data show that among the highly affected countries with rising case numbers are several with successful vaccination campaigns, highlighting the need to not rely on vaccination alone to combat the coronavirus.

Infographic: Where Coronavirus Cases Are Growing Fast | Statista

You will find more infographics at Statista

Chile still recorded an average of 377 new infections per one million of population on Thursday despite having given out 67 vaccine doses per 100 people – the equivalent of 40 percent of the population having received at least one vaccine dose and 27 percent having been fully vaccinated.

The same phenomenon is happening in Bahrain (60 doses per 100 people as of April 15) and Qatar (41 doses).

Sources: ZeroHedge.com, Statista.com

Who Are They Kidding?

Posted By on February 25, 2021

Congressional approval hits 35% and everyone celebrates. They got to be kidding!

 

Infographic: Congressional Approval Hits Yearly High | Statista

How A US Nuclear Strike Would Work

Posted By on January 16, 2021

This infographic, via Statista’s Niall McCarthy, provides an overview of the steps necessary to make a nuclear strike happen.

 

Strongest Sunspot Cycle On Record Could be Imminent

Posted By on December 9, 2020

Pay attention class, this may be of critical importance!

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Digital Economy Disruption Possible As “Terminator Event” Suggests Strongest Sunspot Cycle On Record Imminent

Researchers at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) are forecasting the Sun is about to wake up, expected to hurl pulses of energy into space. Earth’s implications could be dire as stormy “space weather” could be disastrous for the digital economy. 

NCAR’s new paper published in Solar Physics and titled “Overlapping Magnetic Activity Cycles and the Sunspot Number: Forecasting Sunspot Cycle 25 Amplitude,” predicts Sunspot Cycle 25 could peak with a maximum sunspot number between 210 and 260. This contradicts the official forecast by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who both expect Sunspot Cycle 25 to be as weak as Sunspot Cycle 24 peaked around 116.

If the NCAR forecast is correct, it will support the research team’s theory that the Sun has “overlapping 22-year magnetic cycles that interact to produce the well-known, approximately 11-year sunspot cycle as a byproduct. 22-year cycles repeat like clockwork and could be a key to finally making accurate predictions of the timing and nature of sunspot cycles, as well as many of the effects they produce,” according to NCAR & UCAR News, citing the study’s authors.

Using 140 years of solar observations, researchers were able to identify “terminator” events that signal the end of a sunspot cycle. They believe Sunspot Cycle 24 ended in the first half of 2020, with Sunspot Cycle 25 beginning imminently. Recommended Videos

“McIntosh believes the bright points mark the travel of magnetic field bands, which wrap around the Sun. When the bands from the northern and southern hemispheres – which have oppositely charged magnetic fields – meet at the equator, they mutually annihilate one another leading to a “terminator” event. These terminators are crucial markers on the Sun’s 22-year clock, McIntosh says, because they flag the end of a magnetic cycle, along with its corresponding sunspot cycle, — and act as a trigger for the following magnetic cycle to begin,” NCAR & UCAR News said.

Terminator Event 

NCAR Deputy Director Scott McIntosh, a solar physicist who led the study, said, “evidence for terminators has been hidden in the observational record for more than a century, but until now, we didn’t know what we were looking for. By combining such a wide variety of observations over so many years, we were able to piece together these events and provide an entirely new look at how the Sun’s interior drives the solar cycle.”

A sunspot’s source is a solar flare, which can interrupt satellite activity, navigation systems, and even blow out transformers on power grids. Simultaneously, sunspots may also release coronal mass ejections, which is magnetic energy that can produce northern lights.

With the Sun entering a possibly record-breaking period of activity, Daniel K. Inouye Solar Telescope in Hawaii released an image of a sunspot in unprecedented detail.

“Each of the ‘scales’ around the sunspot itself is a convection cell – areas roughly 1,500km (932 miles) across, with hot plasma erupting from the center that then cools as it flows outwards, creating the patterned effect around the periphery of the sunspot itself,” RT News said.

Perhaps the NCAR forecast is right. Last week, one of the strongest solar explosions, measured as an M4.4-category eruption, was recorded. 

A few years back, Mike Hapgood, head of space weather at the UK Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, said the Sun has been “very quiet for the last ten years. It reminds people not to be complacent.” 

Source: Solar Physics

 

Artificial Intelligence Just Solved A 50-Year-Old Mystery That Could “Dramatically” Change How We Fight Cancer

Posted By on December 2, 2020

The problem of “mapping the three-dimensional shapes of the proteins that are responsible for diseases from cancer to Covid-19” appears to now have a solution – thanks to AI

 

On the day our technological AI overlords decide to finally end the human race, we will be able to tout the feather in our cap that at one point they helped us solve some of the world’s toughest mysteries.

Such was the case with a science problem that the medical and scientific community has been struggling with for more than 5 decades. The problem of “mapping the three-dimensional shapes of the proteins that are responsible for diseases from cancer to Covid-19” appears to now have a solution – thanks to AI.

Google’s Deepmind now says it has created a program called AlphaFold that can solve the mapping problems in “a matter of days”, according to a new report from The Independent. If it works as claimed, the solution will have arrived “decades” before it was expected, the piece not

Of the 200 million known proteins, only a small amount are understood. The task of figuring out how each individual protein works is time consuming and expensive. This development could dramatically move our understanding forward further, and faster.

DeepMind claims that “AlphaFold determined the shape of around two-thirds of the proteins with accuracy comparable to laboratory experiments.”

The 14th Community Wide Experiment on the Critical Assessment of Techniques for Protein Structure Prediction (CASP14) partnered with Google for the project. The group is comprised of scientists who have been working on a solution for protein mapping since 1994, more than 25 years. 

Dr John Moult, chair of CASP14, commented: “Proteins are extremely complicated molecules, and their precise three-dimensional structure is key to the many roles they perform, for example the insulin that regulates sugar levels in our blood and the antibodies that help us fight infections.”

He continued: “Even tiny rearrangements of these vital molecules can have catastrophic effects on our health, so one of the most efficient ways to understand disease and find new treatments is to study the proteins involved. There are tens of thousands of human proteins and many billions in other species, including bacteria and viruses, but working out the shape of just one requires expensive equipment and can take years.”

Nobel Laureate and Professor Venki Ramakrishnan said: “This computational work represents a stunning advance on the protein-folding problem, a 50-year-old grand challenge in biology. It has occurred decades before many people in the field would have predicted. It will be exciting to see the many ways in which it will fundamentally change biological research.”

Source: ZeroHedge.com

“Skyscraper Of The Year”

Posted By on November 14, 2020

“Skyscraper Of The Year” – Russia’s Lakhta Center Wins Prestigious Award

For the first time in its two-decade history, the annual Emporis Skyscraper Awards, the world’s most distinguished prizes for high-rise architecture, awarded a Russian project. The Lakhta Center skyscraper in St. Petersburg received the “skyscraper of the year” award on Nov. 10.

Designed by Gorproject and RMJM, the 1,515 feet (462 meters) Lakhta Center is Europe’s tallest skyscraper and the 15th-tallest globally – also the new headquarters of Russia’s state-owned multinational energy corporation, Gazprom. The building will open to the public in 2021.

According to Emporis’ statement, they chose the Lakhta Center as the favorite because of the “skyscraper’s unusual form.” If you had to ask us, the building’s form appears to resemble one of Russia’s hypersonic missiles deployed with the military.

“The twist creates a dynamic impression, giving the building the shape of a blazing flame, which resembles the logo of Gazprom, the natural gas producer that has taken up its new headquarters inside the building.

“The skyscraper was also able to score points with the jury due to its use of environmentally friendly and energy-efficient technologies,” read the statement.

“As the northernmost supertall skyscraper in the world, the building is exposed to extreme temperatures,” the statement said. “A double skin facade prevents unnecessary heat loss and makes it extraordinarily energy efficient. In addition, thanks to the innovative use of infrared radiators, excess heat are not lost but fed back into the system.”

Beijing’s Leeza SOHO skyscraper placed second, while New York’s 35 Hudson Yards came in third.

Sources: ZeroHedge

Election Timeline

Posted By on November 1, 2020

Here is the Election timeline.

Election Timeline

Free Speech Crisis On Campus: 60% Of Students Keep Quiet Due To Fear How Others Would Respond

Posted By on October 3, 2020

 Colleges have become perilous places to express unpopular ideas. 

 

By Nathan Harden of RealClearEducation

A university should be a place where students can be exposed to new ideas, where they can engage freely in debate and discussion. But do college students really feel free to speak their minds on campus? Newly released College Free Speech Rankings show that, at most colleges, the answer is no.

RealClearEducation launched the College Free Speech Rankings, with an interactive website, so parents and students can see how schools they’re interested in stack up.

The rankings are based on a survey of nearly 20,000 students at 55 schools across the country. The survey reveals some startling facts. Almost 20% of students say that using violence to stop an unwanted speech or event is in some cases acceptable. Among Ivy League students, 36% said that it was “always” or “sometimes” acceptable to shout down a speaker one doesn’t like.

Self-censorship is also a major problem. Sixty percent of college students say they have kept quiet due to fear of how others would respond. Among conservative students, that number is 72%.

Colleges have become perilous places to express unpopular ideas. Professors and students fear being shouted down, shunned, or, in some cases, fired or expelled. This has a chilling effect on the classroom.

Jonathan Haidt, a professor at New York University, frames the problem this way: “At my university we have a ‘bias response line.’ Students are encouraged to anonymously report anyone who says anything that offends them. So, as a professor, I no longer take risks; I must teach to the most easily offended student in the class. I therefore avoid saying or doing anything provocative. My classes are less fun and engaging.”

The University of Chicago received the highest score in the College Free Speech Rankings. Both liberal and conservative students there say that the administration supports tolerance for a wide range of views and opinions. Rounding out the top five in the rankings are Kansas State, Texas A&M, UCLA, and Arizona State.

Most of the schools in the top 10 are large public universities. Only one Ivy League school, Brown University, made it into that group.

DePauw University came in last in the College Free Speech Rankings, with both liberal and conservative students rating the school poorly. DePauw had the highest percentage of students who self-censored, a whopping 71%.

Coming in at No. 52 out of the 55 schools surveyed, Dartmouth received the worst ranking among Ivy League members. Rounding out the bottom five were Syracuse, Louisiana State University, and the University of Texas at Austin, which ranked only slightly above DePauw.

The bottom 10 in the rankings includes seven private universities and two Ivy League schools.

RealClearEducation developed the College Free Speech Rankings in partnership with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a leading advocacy group for free speech and academic freedom. Data research firm College Pulse conducted the survey that forms the basis of the rankings.

At 80% of the schools included in the rankings, liberalism is the dominant political ideology among students. Students say that racial issues are the most challenging topics to discuss.

Chicago’s top ranking is no coincidence. University President Robert J. Zimmer has taken a proactive approach to defending free speech, releasing the influential “Chicago Statement” in defense of freedom of expression on campus, which has been adopted by dozens of other universities.

The rankings demonstrate that academic administrators have real power to create a culture of free speech and open inquiry. Students who attend colleges where their political opinions line up with the majority naturally say that they are more comfortable sharing their beliefs. The University of Chicago has one of the most liberal student bodies of any school in the rankings. Seventy-four percent of students there self-identify as liberals, while only 12% identify as conservatives. Yet both liberal and conservative students rate the university relatively highly in the area of free speech.

Still, even Chicago has plenty of room for improvement. It won the top spot with an overall score of only 64.19 out of a possible 100 on the scale developed for these rankings. That shows just how poorly most other schools are doing.

The College Free Speech Rankings paint a clear picture of the speech crisis on America’s colleges and universities. Most schools are failing to protect open inquiry, academic freedom, and free speech. The good news is that now, for the first time, students and parents have a tool they can use to find out which colleges and universities are doing a better job of living up to those ideals.

Sources: ZeroHedge, Nathan Harden of RealClearEducation

The World’s Richest Families

Posted By on September 10, 2020

The top 2 are from the United States.

This graphic, using data from Bloomberg, ranks the 25 most wealthy families in the world. The data excludes first-generation wealth and wealth controlled by a single heir, which is why you don’t see Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates on the list. Families whose source of wealth is too diffused or opaque to be valued are also excluded.

The Full Breakdown

Intergenerational wealth is a powerful thing. It often prevails through market crashes, social turmoil, and economic uncertainty, and this year has been no exception.

Here’s a look at the 25 most wealthy families in 2020:

The Waltons are the richest family on the list by far, with a net worth of $215 billion—that’s $95 billion more than the second wealthiest family. Sam Walton, the family’s patriarch, founded Walmart in 1962. Since then, it’s become the world’s largest retailer by revenue.

When Sam passed away in 1992, his three children—James, Alice, and Rob—inherited his fortune. Now, the trio co-owns about half of Walmart.

In second place is the Mars family, with a net worth of $120 billion. The family is well-known for their candy empire, but interestingly, about half of the company’s value comes from pet care holdings. Mars Inc. owns several popular pet food brands, including Pedigree, Cesar, and Royal Canin—and it expanded its pet presence further in 2017 when it acquired VCA, a company with almost 800 small animal vet hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.

The Koch family is the world’s third-richest family. Their fortune is rooted in an oil firm founded by Fred C. Koch. Following Fred’s death in 1967, the firm was inherited by his four sons—Frederick, Charles, David, and William. After a family feud, Frederick and William left the business, and Charles and David went on to build the mega industrial conglomerate known as Koch Industries.

Despite being affected by the oil crash this year, the Koch family’s wealth still sits at $109.7 billion. Before David’s passing in 2019, he and his brother Charles were heavily involved in politics—and their political efforts were the subject of much scrutiny.

Richest Families, by Sector

It’s important to note that many of these families have diversified their investments across a variety of industries. For instance, while the Koch family’s wealth is largely concentrated in the industrial sector and commodities, they also dabble in real-estate—in May 2020, they made a $200 million bet on U.S. rental homes.

That being said, it’s interesting to see where each of these families started, and which sectors have bred the highest number of ultra-wealthy families.

Here’s a breakdown of each sector and how many families on the list got started in them:

The top sector is consumer services—8 of the 25 families are heavily involved in this sector. Walmart helped generate the most wealth out of families in this space, while luxury brands Hermès and Chanel were the source of fortune for the next two wealthiest families.

Industrial is the second largest sector, with 4 of the 25 families involved. It’s also one of the most lucrative sectors—out of the top five wealthiest families on the list, three are in industrials. The Koch family is the wealthiest family in this category, followed by the Al Saud family and the Ambani family, respectively.

Communications and consumer goods are tied for third, with 3 of the 25 families in each. The Thomsons, who founded Thomson Reuters, are the wealthiest family in communications, while the Mars family has the highest net worth in the consumer goods sector.

Resilient, but not Bulletproof

Despite a global recession, most of the world’s wealthiest families seem to be doing just fine—however, not everyone on the list has been thriving this year.

The Koch family’s fortune dropped by $15 billion from 2019 to 2020, and the current political climate in Hong Kong has had a negative impact on the Kwok family’s real estate empire.

While intergenerational wealth certainly has resilience, how much economic and social turmoil can it withstand? It’ll be interesting to see which families make the list in 2021.

www.bloomberg.com

Crypto Currency Heat Map

Posted By on August 17, 2020

Interesting heat map on Crypto currencies and their various market shares.

Bitcoin Heatmap Aug 2, 2020

The United States Postal Service Has Filed A Patent For A Blockchain-Based Secure-Voting System

Posted By on August 17, 2020

This is BIG NEWS! The United States Post Office is getting into the business of voting.

It has recently been unearthed that he USPS filed for a patent on February 7, 2020 for a “Secure Voting System” that uses a blockchain access layer. Obviously, this could be one of the strongest signals of a welcome adaptation to blockchain by the U.S. government since blockchain was thrust on the map by Bitcoin.

“A voting system can use the security of blockchain and the mail to provide a reliable voting system,” the patent application says. “A registered voter receives a computer readable code in the mail and confirms identity and confirms correct ballot information in an election. The system separates voter identification and votes to ensure vote anonymity, and stores votes on a distributed ledger in a blockchain.”

The “United States Postal Service” is listed as the applicant on the application.

“Voters generally wish to be able to vote for elected officials or on other issues in a manner that is convenient and secure,” the application says. “Further, those holding elections wish to be able to ensure that election results have not been tampered with and that the results actually correspond to the votes that were cast. In some embodiments, a blockchain allows the tracking of the various types of necessary data in a way that is secure and allows others to easily confirm that data has not been altered.”

Equally as interesting as the patent itself is the fact that the application was filed before the coronavirus had wreaked total havoc on the country and long before the idea of mail in voting was being tossed around by pundits and the mainstream media on the daily.

Sources: ZeroHedge

 

There Are Now Less Than 3,000 US Listed Companies, Dwarfed by Over 7,000 Global ETFs

Posted By on August 12, 2020

Rather important happenings if you are an investor. We would pay attention class, it will matter at some point.

ETFs used to be touted as a great way to gain exposure to the stock market. But now, thanks to fee-hungry issuers, the tail is wagging the dog and ETFs are the stock market. 

“The number of public companies in the U.S. has been on a steady decline since peaking in the late 1990s. In 1996 there were 7,322 domestic companies listed on U.S. stock exchanges. In 2017 there were only 3,671. Easy access to venture, growth and private-equity capital means that companies no longer need to pursue an initial public offering to fund growth or access liquidity,” the WSJ wrote about 3 years ago.

Yesterday on CNBC, it was reported that there are now less than 3,000 public listings. But there’s now more than 7,000 ETFs globally.

Number of ETFs worldwide from 2003 to 2019 (Statista)

Late last year it was noted that passive funds had surpassed active funds thanks to the Fed basically making active investing obsolete. Retail has followed this lead, which has spurred the demand for ETFs that have allowed them to continue to grow.

Recall, back in September of 2019, Michael Burry had claimed that “Passive investments such as index funds and exchange-traded funds are inflating stock and bond prices in a similar way that collateralized debt obligations did for subprime mortgages more than 10 years ago.”

He may have a point!

Sources: ZeroHedge.com, BofA Merrill Lynch,Satista

Bitcoin Hits 1 Year High Then Plummets After $1 Billion Liquidation In Seconds

Posted By on August 2, 2020

Crypto currency heats up, Then blows a fuse.

The infamous cryptocurrency pump-and-dump or dash-and-smash was on full display overnight, when shortly after midnight ET, bitcoin hit a one year high of $12,112 – rising 20% in just the past week when it hit $10,000 on July 27…

… before it was hit by a furious wave of selling that sent the price as low as $10,550. The catalyst: more than $1 billion worth of futures were sold in seconds.

As CoinTelegraph adds, in the last week as Bitcoin soared 20%, the cryptocurrency market was heavily swayed to the side of the buyers and the funding rates of Bitcoin and Ether were nearing levels that are not sustainable over a prolonged period.

Meanwhile, futures exchanges, like BitMEX and Binance Futures, utilize a mechanism called “funding” to implement balance in the market. When the overwhelming majority of market participants are holding long contracts, then short holders are incentivized with a fee and vice versa.  Prior to the drop, the funding rate of Bitcoin was hovering at around 0.0721%. Since the average funding rate of BTC is at around 0.01%, the market was dominated by long contracts.

The market imbalance was even worse for Ether. The ETH funding rate was at 0.21%, which indicates significant bullish bias. After the liquidations, the predicted funding rate of ETH is at 0.19%, which means some more pain may be coming for longs.

Bitcoin Heatmap Aug 2, 2020

Sources: ZeroHedge

Old Cars Everywhere: Average Vehicle Age Hits All-time High

Posted By on July 30, 2020

In ordinary times, this would be a precursor of good news for auto makers. But we are in anything but ordinary times.

Average vehicle age hits all time high.

Still driving a beater?

You’ve got company. The average age of vehicles on the road in America has reached an all-time high.

The typical vehicle on the road today is now 11.9 years old, having increased an average of 4% over the last five years, according to research firm IHS Markit.

The number of vehicles on the road has also hit an all-time high: more than 278 million.

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.

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